Thursday, December 31, 2009

tic-toc, tic-toc, tic-toc...

I’m sure all of you have experienced how, during a certain stage of our lives, the passage of time was such that days seemed like months and years were like decades. Certainly this perception was fueled by the desire to move onto the next phase: getting a driver's license; going out unchaperoned and/or without curfew; graduating from college; moving out of our parents’ house; and so on.

Now we look around—or in the mirror—and see men and women who were children not that long ago; remembrances of things that seemingly took place in recent times actually have decades behind them. It is as if we feel time pass, more than in the opposite manner of that original stage, but accelerated, to boot: years feel like weeks and days go by like minutes.

I bring this up because 2008 marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of my high school graduation. But for reasons I’m unaware of our reunion was postponed until the following year. This event led to, in order to establish the necessary logistics, a small avalanche of people from that era of my life contacting me for the first time in decades. Many of them, once inseparable, have reminded me with their brief reappearance in my life that time and distance stealthily plot to weaken bonds once thought unbreakable. Or at least more durable.

But perhaps the ties bind us have nothing to do with the timing and/or geography. Except for the occasional e-mail exchanged with Mr. R, who has been living in Venezuela for decades, Mr. B is the only one from my graduating class with whom I have remained in contact. This is, of course, due to our long and close-knit friendship. Yet, Mr. B and I have not lived in the same time zone in nearly 20 years. Meanwhile, there are other good friends from those days with whom I had little or no contact within the same period, despite the fact they live here, in NYC.

Obviously, when I hear from those old friends, the first order of business has been to catch up: professions, marriages, children, divorces, who has come out of the closet (there has been that, too) and more. But the sad part is the unexpected mention of deceased schoolmates. It is painful to learn of the passing of people with much life yet to live, but when it hits home, it’s a bit more confusing.

How is it that my boy, Mr. S—with whom I once had a different but perhaps as close a friendship as the one I had and still have with Mr. B—died not too long ago without my even knowing about it? Yes, of course: the result of not having nurtured our friendship over the years. But how did that happen? How does that unnecessary estrangement come to pass without significant cause or reason?

In the end, the purpose of sharing this post is to exhort us all to try and keep meaningful folks close to us while we can. Every day we are surrounded by constant reminders that time passes too quickly. Much too quickly.

Have a very healthy, safe, and prosperous 2010.

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