Saturday, June 9, 2012

You are only as old as you feel

On Thursday night I met with my bookclub in Old Town for dinner/drinks/book discussion.  We met at a brewpub that sits on the corner of this plaza pictured above.  The red umbrellas are on the back patio of the brewpub - we sat on the front patio because we wanted to eat sometime during this century.  You see, in my old age and stuff, I forgot that Thursday nights in Old Town means that there will be a live band playing in the plaza...which means a lot of people, and at least an hour wait at the restaurants in the area.
Live music was already playing as I arrived at 7:30, but it was a smallish crowd, so I guess it wasn't a super-popular band.  We lucked out with just a short wait for our table out on the street-side front patio.  The view from our table was pretty cool as we watched the thunderheads build and the cloud-to-cloud lightning begin to light the night sky - the sultry weather that had suffocated the front range all day was building into quite the spectacular thunderstorm.  With the appearance of impending rain, we promptly parted ways and I walked back by the plaza as I headed for my car. 

I rounded the corner and could hear the familiar strains of the beginning guitar rift to Sweet Child O' Mine, by Guns N' Roses.  A cover band... hmmm.  I have to admit I was drawn in, so I meandered towards the center of the plaza, where the stage is situated.  In the crowd there were summer college kids, a few families, high school kids (who probably have never even heard of GNR) and several young homeless people with large backpacks and mangy dogs...  The typical downtown mix. 

The crowd was electrified by the music (it was actually pretty good) as well as storm.  The breeze was blowing, the clouds were building higher and higher, and the lightning was pretty intense -  but the storm was remaining a safe distance away.  It is strange the energy that builds in the air when bad weather moves in...  You can actually feel it.

I wasn't exactly comfortable standing there alone (I felt awkward), but as I watched the crowd I felt a brief flash of youth.  Back when I was 21-22 years old, I lived on Mountain Ave., a street that is a straight shot to Old Town.  My roommates and I would walk down frequently and hang out on concert nights.  I also worked at a restaurant just a couple of blocks away, so I would walk down after work if the music was still playing.

On this night, I looked around the square and saw the large concrete steps where I and my roommates: Carolyn, Michelle and Margie, sat and listened to Opie Gone Bad, some 16? 17? years ago.  That was our last concert together...  A few feet from there, close to the fountain is where I sat with Dean and Jordan and a two-month old Rylan as we stayed for a concert one hot summer afternoon.

I turned to leave.  I was missing my family and the memories were making me sad.   As the saying goes: You are only as old as you feel....  Well flashbacks to my younger days make me feel old and either wistful or full of regret.  What made me feel sad on this night was watching a small group of college girls as they stood in a huddle, swaying to the music.  They were young and pretty, dressed casually, and looked like they were enjoying themselves.  I was envious.  I miss the feeling of that kind of camaraderie.  I miss my old friends - each and every one of whom has moved away over the years.  I miss the nights where we would people-watch and snicker at the drunken fools in the crowd - or actually be one of the drunken fools in the crowd.  (just kidding, mom!)

Time is most certainly marching why is the beat getting faster?

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