Late last night, as it started to drizzle, I stood looking out and down on the townhouses that form our complex. Newly wet, in the orange-yellow haze of the dim streetlights, they looked very little but enough like the condos my friend Doug lived in in Northern Virginia almost 20 years ago. The feeling of looking down through the rain was not significantly but sufficiently like my Card Lane, Pittsburgh pastime, peeking out the big front windows of our second-story apartment. I felt very strangely as though all this time hadn't passed, and this wasn't Turlock, California, or 2011.
I've gone through a hell of a lot since leaving Pittsburgh in 1998 - several career crises, three major depressive episodes, an ugly divorce, involuntary home-ownership, an unpleasant number of feline deaths, the entire freaking Presidency of G.W. Bush. How can it feel as if nothing has happened, as if I'm still back there, back then?
The feeling was so strong, it was very hard to accept that I actually am here, or that any of that time really has passed, or even that I was around for its passing. My sweetest tried to help me shake it off, looking straight at me, touring me around the apartment to show me the guitars, the kitchen, the rooms we sometimes call the Room of Requirement and the Chamber of Secrets, finally pointing out that Alexander and Arthur, die Überkätschen, the Flying Kittois Brothers, 35 pounds of compressed silliness, have only been here three years.
So I guess the date on the calendar means that it really isn't 1998 anymore, nor 1992. Where the hell have I been?