Imagine that you were in a relationship for a long time. Then, you break up. Somehow over the course of that relationship you accumulated many objects that represent that relationship, not to mention all that emtional baggage that you’ll always lug along.
Now, you’re in a new relationship and you want to invite her to your house. But wait! Don’t do it! Not right away.
First, you have to do a house cleansing. You know that you have to remove all traces of any previous female in your life. The most obvious of all: all the pictures that show you with your ex. No girly things are allowed to remain. So get rid of the seat cushions on the kitchen chairs and the place mats on the kitchen table. Because no real man buys seat cushions and place mats of his own free will. The magnetic shopping list on the fridge. Gone! Because a new girlfriend won’t believe that a man actually makes a grocery list all by himself. And while you’re at it, get rid of the fuzzy toilet seat cover. That’s a girl thing. Because if your new girlfriend finds something that your ex-girlfriend gave you and you kept it. You’re in big trouble! Jealousy is retroactive! Men, don’t you ever forget that! Remove the bra hanging from your rearview mirror. The panties from your lampshade. The empty condom wrappers in you bedroom wastebasket. Woman notice these little things.
I will never eat at a certain Mexican restaurant again. I refuse to even mention its name or location. I met my girlfriend there for lunch one beautiful Sunday afternoon. Well, we ate and we had a couple of Margaritas. Before I knew it, the manager asked us to leave so someone else could sit there. I was so insulted by their manager who asked us to leave. The real killer was that he was Mexican. Sometimes your own kind will treat you the worst. When we said we would order something else, he said it was too late. We insisted that he serve us. We have a right to sit in a public place like a restaurant, especially since we were paying patrons. We didn’t get up and he called the police on us. He wanted us arrested for criminal trespass. The police showed up and my girlfriend said that she felt intimidated by them. I can honestly say the police officers did their job professionally. However, I understood that the manager wanted us arrested. I didn’t want to be arrested so we eventually left.
As I discussed this with my girlfriend later, I became more upset. How could they do this to us? I called the restaurant and asked to speak to the owner. The first time, I was told to call after 4 p.m. The next time, I was told the manager, Larry, was in a “meeting.” When I called back after the “meeting,” I was told that the manager would call me back, but I was allowed to voice my complaint to call taker. Of course, Larry never called me back. So I called Larry back two weeks later. He claimed he never received my message. I explained to him that I received bad service there because the manager called the police on us. Of course, he heard that my girlfriend (at first, he thought she was my wife) was making a scene and that’s why they asked us to leave. I had to correct him. The manager working that day told us we had to leave. Then my girlfriend became upset. I really didn’t blame her. I was upset, too, but I didn’t want to be arrested for something as silly as this. Who wouldn’t be upset when you plan to eat supper at a nice restaurant and then the manager calls the police threatening to arrest you for criminal trespass?
I have reached that age where everything reminds me of the past. Listening to the radio, I remember what I was doing when I heard the song the first time years ago. It reminds me of how I used to be and who I wanted to be, but somehow I realize that I haven’t changed all that much, and in some ways, I’m still the same boy deep down inside. When I hear an old song on the radio again, I still like (or hate) the song as much as I did back then. I recognize some songs after only three or four notes.
My sons are amazed that I recognize those old songs on the radio. I told them, “You know how you listen to some songs over and over again? Well, I used to do the same thing when I was your age!” And that’s why the songs remind me of my youth. And that reminds me of a Led Zeppelin song whose title I can’t recall: “In the days of my youth, / I was taught what it means to be a man,” which in turn reminds me of my first car and my first “real” girlfriend of that time period and how I almost lost my virginity while listening to Led Zeppelin. But that’s a blog post for another day.
My present didn’t quite turn out the way I expected. Perhaps, I should start creating some good memories now so that I may have some good nostalgia in the future. When I recall my past memories of how I expected I would be now, my nostalgia sure hasn’t lived up to my expectations, in the past or now. I should have thought of my past for the future in the past and not now in the present where I regret not having created better memories for my future in the past. I wish I could go back in time and do things focusing more on the future. But that’s all water under the bridge now. There’s no use crying over spilled milk.
Sometimes when I wax nostalgic, I wonder why no one uses the word “wax” (as in “to increase in size, numbers, strength, prosperity, or intensity”) anymore. I also wonder why when I refer to the waxing and waning of the moon, I get some strange stares. In fact, the other day I was waiting in line at the supermarket when I was thinking about the cycles of the moon and I accidentally uttered, “I enjoy the waxing and waning of the moon” out loud. Suddenly, I was all alone in the front of the line facing a nervous cashier! They probably didn’t know what I meant by “wax.” I should be more careful when and where I wax nostalgic.
In the future, I would like to recall the past with fond memories of my present “present.” In the future, no more regretting the past and loathing the present. Because today is the first day of the rest of my life!