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Pangs of History

February 19 2005 08:09 PM ET (Permalink) (Comment)

The past couple of weeks have just been crazy. I've been on this weird emotional roller-coaster that I can't quite pinpoint the source of.

Last weekend, I headed up to Charlotte to help out at a tournament. Back when I was in college, I made the drive from Atlanta to Durham (via the same stretch of interstate) on a semi-regular basis. But, granted that I haven't done much travelling of late, I haven't made that drive in six years.

The tournament itself was a college tournament, and, for whatever reason, I found myself longing for the days of piling into cars and driving somewhere to play Ultimate for the weekend. The last time I travelled anywhere out-of-town to play Ultimate was October of 2001.

It turned out that I wasn't needed for Sunday at the tournament, so I ended up with two options: 1) return home and play the Goaltimate game that I'd already told our captain I wouldn't make, or 2) drive the two hours up to Durham/Chapel Hill and spend the day checking out the old haunts.

I surprised myself slightly by how quickly I came to a decision. Maybe it was the thought of doubling the amount of driving I'd have had to do on Sunday or the realization that we were probably going to be short-handed for our game, but I ended up driving home to make the game.

And it's a good thing I did. I got to the fields, and, at game time, we only had three players. (In Goalty, there are supposed to be four on the field at all times.) I thought for sure we were going to get killed. Yet, somehow, we pulled out the win. It was absolutely phenomenal. I think it was easily the most rewarding game of Goalty I've ever played.

(We chuckled to ourselves when two more of our players arrived after the game was over, thinking we had the late game.)

But in the days that followed, I kept having more and more flashbacks to college days. And, to me, that's kind of scary. While I loved living there and the life I had around the area, I hated college. I can pretend for a few minutes that I loved my college experience, so long as I forget about my freshman year, where I spent a great deal of time imagining myself loading up my car and driving nowhere in particular.

Oh, yeah, and so long as I forget the semester where I was having regular panic attacks and was bordering on suicidal. (I lived on the fourth floor that year. Our suite's commons had windows with no screens and overlooked a concrete patio. When I'm down, I use that image to push me to think about something else.)

Last night was probably the lowest moment of this week. I couldn't get my mind off of how long it'd been since college, and how little I have to show for those years. Christ, I tried to think of one memorable thing that happened in 2004, and came up empty. I mean, I know there were a lot of little things, but no one major hey, man, that was fucking awesome moment to mark the year. I've never had a year that I could completely write off, but I'm worried 2004 might be the first.

And the weirdest part: as 2004 was happening, I was okay with it. So why the big issue last night?

Actually, that wasn't the weirdest part. The weirdest part was that after continuing to deal with that this morning, as of this afternoon, I felt fine, as if nothing had happened. Even writing this, I'm just kinda, enh, whatever.

Was it just the regular ups-and-downs that I've documented eighty million times?

I'm wondering if I'm just becoming more aware of lengths of time. Maybe it was turning thirty. But I thought about those tapes I made in college, where I blew out fourteen songs in a day and a half. And the one song in my head today was something I wrote in the fall of 2001 that still doesn't have any lyrics. And it's an awesome song. Yet that three-and-a-half-year gap covers almost as much time as my entire college experience. By comparison, it seems unfathomable.

But I think that's off-topic. What's getting to me is how I can hyperfocus on one period of the past for several days, for no apparent reason. During the college pangs this week, I kept looking at the photo in the upper right hand corner of the collage on the Who Am I? page (taken in May of 1995), and seriously wanted to trade places with the guy. (Actually, I'd want to skip back to a week before that, but beggars can't be choosers.) That guy just spent a weekend at the beach, is now in Florida, and is about to spend the summer working for the Olympics and working on songs with his band.

Then, today, I look at that same photo and feel nothing. Simply nothing.

Part of how I've felt this week motivates me to want to do something. Apart from working on music (which I've been struggling with), though, I can't think of anything significant to be motivated to do.

Maybe that's what's getting to me.

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