Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Tying off the threads

friends in hats
Originally uploaded by pwilnyc.

When we moved to Baltimore from New York City 4 years ago, I was a little tentative about certain things. I last lived here from 1988 through 1995 - from the age of 23 until I was almost 30 - and those were, er, sort of fast times. I went out a lot, I dated a lot, I drank a lot, I knew everyone, I lived WAY downtown, I hated my job, and I ran a coffee house on the side.

Kind of one of the reasons that I left was that I could no longer go into a bar or restaurant without running into someone I used to date or employ. Another reason was that a lot of people started using heroin, and that was seriously unpleasant.

Apparently St. Louis, Missouri is like that too.

So when I came "home" in 2002 I wasn't over-excited about revisiting my old hangouts. There were people in this town who I kind of winced about.

I do run into people from way-back, without seeking them out. Sometimes it's great, sometimes not. But there's no avoiding it. It's not a small world, I always say, but it surely is a small town.
  • Martha across the street is not only the sister of the trumpet player in Mambo Combo, one of the bands I used to like, she used to date one of my regulars at the coffee house, AND she's my distant cousin.
  • A couple of our new friends used to be friends with the boy who lived in our house. Upon entry, Loren said, "I know this house - I used to do drugs in your basement!"
  • Bob's boss Eric is a friend of the All Mighty Senators, whose shows were a real highlight of those bad old days.
  • When I went to get my new tattoo, the guy with the needle was the guy who years ago had dicked over my dear friend the massage therapist.
  • We ran into one of the parents from the Big Man's school one evening out in White Marsh, about to go on stage... and when I saw the rest of the band assemble, I realized Darius was guesting with Rumba Club, with my neighbor's brother sitting in on trumpet and Craig Considine, from the Senators, on trombone.
So Monday, picking up the Big Man from his first day at kindergarten, I see Landis, the front man for the Senators. His little boy goes to the same school. Of course. He introduced me to his son's mom, K, and when I squinted and said, "No wait, I know you..." Landis told us he could swear he has a picture of her and me sitting together on the hood of Phil Minion's art car.

I almost remember that.