“you’ve got time” (pt ii)

by s.

The kinds of conversations one has while dancing tend to take the form of the dance itself. Put simply, they flow. They feel important in an easy, sense-checking kind of way, and they sort of happen without you thinking much about it. I had one such conversation this week about time and the unique sense of comfort it offers. “Look,” I said, “whenever I get weirded out about where I’m at in life, I just think about how much can change in five years. I don’t recognize the life that I had five years ago anymore.”

“So much can change in a month even,” she said. “Or a week.”

“Twenty-four hours ago if you’d told me I’d be dancing at the black tie afterparty for Jay-Z’s Carnegie hall show, I would not have believed you,” I replied. The DJ was playing New Kids on the Block, which felt relevant to the ideas of time and change. I’d spent the day excited and overly nervous about the possibility of interacting with the rich and famous, and it mostly felt like a relief to be discussing things I understand.

The next morning I rolled out of bed, drank eleven hundred cups of coffee, and vaulted my way through the day and into the end prize, which was a rather carefully cultivated selection of three of my favorite people, in committee form, offering advice to a particularly brain-wounded fourth. There is always something triumphant about the moment you finally walk into such a gathering, and something about it for me that sets apart such encounters with strangeness: I realized that I’d spent the day looking forward to it as I’d done seeing Jay-Z the night before. My love and my awe have always closely mirrored one another.

Five years ago I hadn’t even met any of these people. Last night I found some old work notes from around that time; they contained plans for themed reggae promotions at mobile retail and album sales highlights from classic rock records. That used to be my life and it felt like the only way that my life would be and for this weird, brief window, I could talk to you about the origins of dubstep and the subtle nuances of dancehall, and I could make you think that I thought Europe’s new album really, really mattered. We all shed skins so that we don’t need to do the things we once did, and we break our hearts and our brains so that we can snap them back into a place that looks much different than the one that we left. Five years, a week, a month: it doesn’t take that much time.

The day after Friend Intervention #1, another friend frantically IMed me a couple of hours before I was scheduled to go home and sleep. “Can I beg you to have a beer?” she asked. It is karmically impossible to say no to these requests lest one find oneself in need of such a soul-saving beer later, so I went. I ordered nachos and worked on a new piece while waiting for her, and after she showed up it turned out that I had also needed a soul-saving beer and not even known it. She ripped me apart some, to be perfectly honest, in a way that I carefully fell apart over about twenty four hours after the fact, but the thing about having beers with friends is that you open yourself up to that ripping apart. It is part of the contract. I did the same thing right back at her, and in the morning she woke up with a pro-con list and she did a couple of things that have definitely changed her life. I woke up with a Catch-22 in my brain, and then I sorted it out and realized the only thing I needed to do was wait. A week, a month, five years: my life is going to look completely different.

A week ago, I didn’t have this fancy dress in my closet and I hadn’t known what it felt like to make eyes with professional football players and I didn’t quite realize just how much I respect certain people in my life. A week ago a lot of things hadn’t yet happened. Next week, who knows? As much as we hate to admit it, we have got time.

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