I had to run down to my old stomping grounds this afternoon and ended up eating at the Schlotzsky's not far from what used to be my old office building. Maybe this isn't how you handle running up against reminders of what could have been the "last good thing"--relationship, job, whatever--but I tend to poke at it; drive around, visit landmarks, wax nostalgic, the whole nine yards. So after spending a few tense moments sort of mooning out the window at the old office building...I mean, being in Westchase just trips all kinds of triggers...I ended up driving around and finding out the old office building now houses some other company. There are designer apartments accreting all around the area. And the Supercuts where The Pumpkin King used to get his hair cut is still there, even if few other familiar businesses are. Of course, when I drove by the green glass building, the one with the glass pyramid above the lobby that I remember when it was just an architect's rendering, it looked tired, reflecting the grey afternoon as if it was hollow.
The old comic book store is gone, as is the Cajun restaurant on the corner. Shopping centers are huge and anchored by all the familiar suspects, although they aren't the same ones that were here ten years ago. Driving out toward West Oaks is the nostalgia equivalent of playing a chord: I remember driving out this way in college, when the Pumpkin King and I were ensconced in that first house, and just before we moved, after several months of dealing with unemployment and living in an apartment after selling the house. Something tells me it would be a minor chord.
And driving. I forget the way that we used to spend so much time in the car; both of us to & from work and then out in the evenings and on the weekends. Roads like rivers; push your car into the flow and negotiate the width of the moving traffic. I forget the way I used to be in love with my car.
Out of this, out on the northern edge of the county, it's easy to forget the weight of four lanes each way and twenty stories of glass and concrete on every corner.
Remembering it gives dimension to the present. It wakes me up from the desire to huddle in the house. I remember that I used to know how to swim. I can learn again.