Friday, May 27, 2005

Once in a Lifetime (Friday Song)

And you may ask yourself
What is that beautiful house?
And you may ask yourself
Where does that highway go?
And you may ask yourself
Am I right? ...am I wrong?
And you may tell yourself
My god!...what have I done?
It must have been early in the spring of 1980; it was still cold outside. I went home with my friend E, and, in an effort to seduce me, he put headphones on me and played this song for me. E was one of the first hackers I ever knew, and this was (as the date suggests) back in the day--he taught me how to use The Computer to write a paper (which meant, at the time, using the mainframe). We had a crude version of email, even, printed out (if you wanted it printed) on those big wide sheets of green and beige paper with the holes along the sides to track in the printers. The other thing about E is that he was unbelievably attractive--tall, the bluest eyes I've ever seen, extremely handsome; all in all, just stunning. I forget how/why our paths started to cross; probably when I was running student government and he was doing something with the co-ops, I think. In any case, we became friends, and the funny thing was, I'd just forget how good-looking he was; it wasn't what was important about him to me.

Every so often, though, I'd really see him, and it would take my breath away. I wouldn't call what went on between us an affair, exactly, though the efforts noted above were successful (I remember it was cold because I remember that he had flannel sheets, which I'd never encountered before but immediately learned to love). He wasn't much into casual encounters; he wanted to be in love, and that wasn't what was going on with us. We were pretty good friends, though. The other thing about him I remember most is the night we were sitting in the student bar on campus, and they had brought in a big-screen TV so people could watch Monday Night Football. I was sitting with my back to the TV, and suddenly E says, "There's a picture of John Lennon on the screen." I remember the place getting quiet so you could hear Howard Cosell saying that John Lennon had been shot. We got up and left soon after that, barely saying anything else to each other. He walked me home and we went our separate ways, as we usually did, but I'll always remember that he was with me that night.

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