Saturday, March 19, 2005My parents always said I was hardheaded. They were right. It takes a long time for an idea to sink into my head, unless that idea is an overwhelming craving for pizza or Ben & Jerry’s or caffeine. I felt for a while that my life was sort of bland, but I’m starting to realize that I’m smack dab in the middle of this transient twenty-something subculture. And I’m perfectly comfortable with that. No, scratch that. Positively thrilled might suffice.
I rushed home from work yesterday. My roommate was returning from Atlanta; his MBA class had taken a day trip to Atlanta. His girlfriend had come over and done some cleaning; she had left but would return. I started cleaning, and when I say cleaning, I mean an all-out blitz. It was weird, too, because parents weren’t coming. No preachers or popes or presidents. Just some friends from out of town that we haven’t seen in a few months. Roommate comes home, and Roommate’s Girlfriend returns. We clean and we clean frantically. My mother would be impressed, but frankly I’m a little scared. I cleaned like mad for some friends that I care about but I’m not out to impress; Lord only knows what I’ll be like when I have in-laws to score points with.
Anyway, cleaning notwithstanding, our friends came to town. Roommate and I skipped out on the Drive-By Truckers in order to see our friends. It was worth it. (Incidentally, I found out yesterday that one of the Truckers singer/guiter players - not Patterson Hood, but the new guy, was two years ahead of me in elementary school in rural northwest Alabama) We ate at Hooligan’s. We talked until 3 a.m. We gave the beds to the girls and the rest of us slept on couches or floors. We woke up this morning to coffee and The Return of the King. We ate nice Italian food for lunch (or was it breakfast?), and everyone went back home by 1 pm.
By 1:30, my best friend from high school was at my front door with another friend in tow. We drove over to the hallowed steps of Bryant-Denny Stadium for The University of Alabama’s annual spring football scrimmage. It was too cold for late March in Alabama. The freshman quarterback looked good. Nice running backs, too. The stadium is under renovation, but the most exciting thing for me are the signs noting that this fall, the stadium concession areas will feature Golden Rule BBQ. Thanks heavens. It's not Corky's, like they have at Ole Miss, but it will do. After the game we hit up a surprisingly not-too-crowded Buffalo Phil’s for a snack and some NCAA tournament viewing. I was hoping to watch the Crimson Tide today, but no dice. Thanks, Mark Gottfried. No bother, though. Back to my apartment, and everyone was gone by six.
It’s weird how transient we all are. In the span of eighteen hours I’ve said hello and goodbye to six friends; some I’ve known for a year or two. Others I’ve known for ten. I’m fortunate to have these sorts of people in my life; friends who make me think and care and stretch my personality in ways that I’m not entirely comfortable with but are terribly needed. It’s a lot for me think about, really, so I fell asleep on the couch while Kentucky and Cincinnati were lighting it up in Indianapolis. It was a quick nap, though. I woke with Roommate tossing a remote control at me. What else is left to do on a Saturday night when you're too tired to organize a shindig or group adventure? I did what comes natural. I rode off to the bookstore. Why? Because I’m both a geek and an addict.
By geek, I mean I love books in a way that would make Tolkien proud. By addict, I mean I buy magazines like a woman buys makeup. I can’t just read them at the store and put them back on the rack. I have to own a copy of that Christopher Hitchens story about anti-war protestors or David Sedaris’ ridiculous new essay. It’s turned me into a pack rat. Anyway, concerning magazines. I’ve gotten over my beef with Relevant, or at least come to an understanding. I can appreciate the goal of the magazine and I’ll enjoy what’s there for me. I’m just “over” their demographic. You know the guy in the ad with the Chuck Taylors and messy hair. That was me four years ago. I still have messy (though now slightly receding) hair, but I prefer my Polo sweater.
I bought my magazines – National Review and the Atlantic – and a book – Matthew Paul Turner’s The Coffeehouse Gospel. In the car I was listening to Kentucky/Cincinnati or Wake Forest/West Virginia. Everyone with a shattered bracket raise your hand. Good, I’m not alone. I like sports on the radio; we enjoyed them a lot growing up as a family and it’s still a lot of fun. It was tempting to revert back to my current music obsessions: Richard Buckner, Sufjan Stevens, Iron and Wine. Oh well. Save it for another day, when no basketball is played, and perhaps the day has been too much and it’s better to let someone else do all the talking.