Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Chuck and Di and the RB Convention 1981

All the buzz about the latest royal wedding got me to thinking about the last royal wedding between Charles, the Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer thirty years ago. While that was going on, I was attending a Record Bar convention in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Like most Record Bar conventions, this one was enhanced with copious quantities of alcohol and a variety of other intoxicants that most of the attendees, if asked today, would deny knowing anything about let alone using. Oh yes, one other thing, a hurricane was passing by (Wikipedia says it was Tropical Storm Bret.)

Confined to my hotel room with an outrageous hangover, I sprawled on the bed and watched every single televised second of the wedding of the century while outside, wind and rain threw themselves violently against my windows and palm trees swayed ominously. The various ceremonies took forever and tempted as I was to drag myself out of bed in order to be accounted for by the senior Record Bar management, I just didn't have the energy.

I can't say that I remember anything specific about the wedding. Most of the images of that day have been replayed a thousand times so my memories of Diana looking innocently lovely in her gown and Charles looking gallant and dashing in his uniform could have come from anywhere. Eventually the wedding was over and by then I had sufficiently recovered enough that I was able to rejoin the uninterrupted debauchery going on somewhere else in the hotel.

Sixteen years later I watched every televised second of Diana's funeral. Coincidentally, just a few months earlier I had visited Westminster Abbey as part of my first trip to London. The next summer, in Paris our bus followed the same route as Diana's car and we saw the spot where she and Dodi died.

Obviously, the royal family and I go way back but I was not upset whenI I didn't get in an invite to the upcoming nuptials. On that Friday (who get's married on Friday?) I plan to take the day off, drink more than I should and relive a little history. What will you be doing? Come to think of it, what were you doing on July 29, 1981 (if you were alive may back then.)

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Here today, gone six years later

This blog is about impermanence and the disassociated ways we live with what we used to refer to as neighbors (would you be, could you be?).

We moved to our new house six years ago this May. As new neighbors, we were greeted pleasantly enough by many of the people who live next to and across from us including the doctor who lived with his wife and three children catty-corner from our house. He was going to introduce us to his wife on the day we met him but for some reason, she wasn't immediately available. Six years later, neither my wife nor I have ever spoken to her. We don't know her first name and if we ran into her in Harris Teeter we wouldn't recognize her. We don't know the names of any of their children either. We didn't intend for things to turn out that way, they just did. We're friendly enough with other neighbors--not going out to eat or socializing friendly--just "how you doing?" kind of friendly.

The neighbors we never knew, moved away last weekend. The didn't put their house up for sale beforehand so when the movers came, stayed all day Saturday and finally left, we had to clue where they were going. We're they splitting up? Who was moving, just him or the whole family? Happily, one of the neighbors we say hello to is also a Facebook friend. I wrote him and he wrote back with the story:

The family we never knew bought a house not far away and spent 6 months rehabbing it. Since he is a doctor in a very-well paid specialty, I guess money is not the issue it would be for the rest of us. I don't know anyone who can buy a new home without selling their current home, but I don't run with a very well-paid crowd.

So to paraphrase Richard M. Nixon, we won't have those neighbors to kick around any more. I wonder if they'll miss us as much as we won't miss them. Of course, on the other hand if they do put their house up for sale and we get crappy, loud obnoxious neighbors, we might miss them after all. (I'll bet they're planning to do just that)

UPDATE June 1: My mother-in-law keeps watch over the comings and goings of our neighbors from her second floor apartment. She's been telling us that woman who lived across the street comes over about every day and walks our other neighbor's dog. I've seen her a few times and have been tempted to speak on a couple of occasions but didn't. This morning I did. She had the neighbor's dog on a leash and would have probably walked by but I said: "you're a good neighbor to take that dog for a walk every day." She stopped and came over and we talked for the first time since we moved in. I introduced myself and we shook hands (she never told me her name) She had a lot to say about our neighbor who suffers from Lupus; about how and why they moved to the new place (her brother was moving to Greensboro and would buy her old house--except he didn't do either---how the dog was 11 years old and was a therapy dog but had some hip problems. We talked about her new house, the lake it was on and some of their new neighbors. Then I had to go to work and said goodbye. She didn't seem like the snob I assumed her to be so maybe I was just wrong about the other things I thought about her. Oh well.