(I’ve had sporadic internet and computer access for a bit here so I’ve written bits of drafts of a few posts over a few days, I’m going to post this stuff all now.)

It’s new year’s eve! Technically anyway. I’m up late on the 30th as far as I’m concerned, but if you stay up late enough it become early again. By the time I get around to posting this it will be a different day… speaking of new years I also want to find and finish my list of resolutions, which if I haven’t already done so I’d like to add to it ‘read more personal essays’, ‘read for fun on a regular basis and include reading that I read for the fun of the reading rather than for extracting the content’, and ‘cook bigger meals in order to have lots of leftovers and try to do so on a planned basis.’

New years has put time on my mind. By disposition for quite a while I’ve been a cumulative type. I like to do stuff that builds over time. I like to accomplish things. I like measurable progress. I like to have results to show, and I like those accumulated results to be usable in the present. I took conversational Spanish for a long while a few years ago. They were super early, before I went to work in the mornings, 2-3 days a week. This was mostly because I wanted to learn Spanish of course, but part of the satisfaction was that I was progressing through a series of indentifiable steps (which classes I was in, and the books we used), and that my Spanish really was getting better in a way that was noticeable if I thought about how my Spanish had been not too long ago. Someday I’m gonna take more language classes in part for this same reason.

Tonight as I walked my dog and I was thinking about new years I remembered the last big new years I can remember. I know I’ve done other stuff but this was the last time I can say for sure I went big. Some good friends and I went to see some bands at the Bottom Lounge, it was the Methadones, the Tossers, and the Deals Gone Bad. I like all of those bands a real lot. I was more of a drinker then than I am now but even then I don’t think I had a particularly high tolerance. I think I had like 8 or 10 beers. It was great. I remember the Methadones pretty well, because that was the set in which I started drinking. I remember that the Tossers and Deals Gone Bad played but damned if I remember any of the details of them playing. I remember that Tim and Eric and I danced like crazy and a few times we fell over, usually my fault, and bowled some other folks over, but folks were pretty nice about it, at least that’s how it seems in my memory. It was a fine time.

That sort of time, it’s not accumulation time. I mean, in a way it could be. I’ve been to I think a few hundred rock shows. I know for sure I’ve been to at least 50 really, really good ones (I counted once, because a friend was asking people to talk about really good bands they saw play really good shows), and I think probably the number is a lot higher than that. That’s cool, though the numbers don’t capture the texture of what my life was like when live music was a huge priority, and even when that was the case, it wasn’t really a cumulative thing so much as it was a lifestyle that I repeatedly re-enacted/re-affirmed/recreated. So, aside from accumulating and progressing, there’s also moment-time. As much as for a long time I made moment-time a priority in many ways, it was always in tension with accumulation time. Even when I was regularly engaged in really amazing ways to pass the time I always wanted to (felt a strong urge to) do stuff with my time, like have stuff to show for my time, have something come of it, not just pass the time, which was in tension with the moment times. (These don’t have to be in tension in every case, of course – back when I used to play music regularly I had a few really fantastic moments playing shows and stuff, those are good examples of cumulative time facilitating moment time – the time we spent practicing and writing and planning made it possible for us to have those delightful experiences, which in turn made us motivated to practice and write.)

As (all three of) this blog’s regular readers and my (bazillion) friends will know, the most important event in my life in recentish times has been becoming a dad. I love my daughter like crazy, and like her like crazy, I’m grinning huge just typing this sentence about her. Being a dad makes it hard to do some of the cumulative sorts of stuff I want to do. It makes it hard to do lots of stuff, because it takes up lots of time and attention. It also makes it hard to have a lot of the moments I used to have – drinking a lot? Loud live music? Late nights? Well, late nights are still here but not in the same way.

And yet, having a kid has changed my priorities. I still want to accomplish things but I have more moment times than ever before, like at least once a day and often several times a day when I’m taking care of my daughter. Like tonight, she was cracking up laughing at the word “nope.” She does this sometimes, she finds certain words – usually monosyllables but not always – to be hilariously funny. She’ll say the word and laugh and I’ll say it back and laugh and we go back and forth cracking each other up. It’s awesome. And it feels really good to laugh a bunch like that. I’d say that being a dad I definitely laugh a ton more than I used to, and way more often. Likewise for playing and goofing around. That’s passing the time, it doesn’t really accumulate, though maybe it does in the sense of parenting having results I guess, but it’s more about making and continuing the fabric of my lifestyle now.

One of the other things on my mind as I thought about the rearrangement of my time was friends. I’ve got lots of friends who I care a lot about. At the same time, the rearrangement of my time means that I’m not in the same frequency of contact with people and rarely doing the same activities with friends that I used to do. That fine new years at the Bottom Lounge is a good example. (Come to think of it I just remembered that at our first new years immediately after my wife got pregnant with our daughter we saw the Arrivals and the Lawrence Arms at the new Bottom Lounge, which was fanfuckingtastic.) I don’t know when or even if I’m gonna do new years up big like that, and honestly I don’t know if that’s my speed anymore even if I had the opportunity, and I don’t know if I want the opportunity.

Not only do I not spend my time the same way with the same frequency with the same people, I’m also old enough now to have had a few waves of relationships (and I’m young enough that I’m just starting to notice certain patterns for the first time). There are people I’ve fallen completely out of touch with, and then there are people I’m in really regular contact with, and then there’s a huge range in the middle. In general I feel like my interest and my affection outstrip my ability, under the circumstances, so I tend more often than not to feel like I’m catching up with most people rather than continuing to track in time with them. I’m getting more okay with this though it still feels a bit odd sometimes… It now sort of seems like… People move through different places and spaces at different times in different speeds. Sometimes we converge in different ways, and hopefully those convergences last, and outlast changes in the mode of convergence, and hopefully some kind of connection or at least openness to future connection stays there. A music metaphor… I feel sort of like I’m a bass drum, hitting on the 1s and 3s mostly. Other people are snare drum rolls and rhythm guitar, hitting a lot more frequently and on most of the 1s and 3s, while others are cymbals, hitting a lot less frequently and not always on the 1s and 3s. Other people are a sample, they come in once and then they’re done. We line up on those beats when we all hit, and its great. That’s plenty, and really it’s lovely. And sometimes its moments and sometimes it’s cumulative.

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