Doogie Howser journal-save-and-close

March 3rd, 2010

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Ben,

It’s morning in Philadelphia. I woke up again at like 5:30 and watched the light grow brighter on the horizon, the el train start to move about its morning business; the city stretched and yawned. Yesterday the same thing happened, but just before sunrise, and the moon was low in the western sky. I explained to J yesterday why that happens, that the moon isn’t specifically a night time thing, but it goes around the earth every 29ish days, but the earth spins every 24 hours, and the clockwork of our planetary system puts the moon in all kinds of celestial positions. Which is what she said.

We’re tiny, Ben. I read about the Pale Blue Dot photo every now and then. I pretty much always feel something akin to vertigo. But what if someday I feel that aching void reserved only for a man who looks at something that excited him in his youth, but now stirs nothing? I’m glad it didn’t happen last time I watched Rushmore, and it pretty much never happens when I read about Voyager I & II, and zeppelins, and that video game P told me about where they ran out of program space to create a certain monster, and so they just allowed the code itself to get rendered as raw data on the screen.

But I guess in the spring time I start feeling emotions again. And the place I’m in now I can only describe as pre-nostalgia. I love my friends, Ben. You and just about everybody has said, after upgrading to Philadelphia 2.0 (New York, LA. I consider Portland a lateral move), that the people they knew there were still the best. And they’re the ones I get to see every day. I’m contented these days, things are very easy. But I definitely look around sometimes, particularly on the kinds of simple fun nights that you remember forever for some reason, despite the fact that you just went to a bar and played pool. Despite the fact that you didn’t get any phone numbers. I look around on those nights at the people I’m drinking with, that I feel comfortable with, and I’m afraid I’m going to blink and suddenly be looking at a sepia photo of it from a kitchen with a wife and screaming kids, bald and tired. Trapped. Then I feel like I need to preserve these people somehow, that I need to make sure these moments never stop. But my cryogenic plant is maybe 45% operational, and my interest level wanes.

All joys have a finite lifespan. A specific start and stop point and after that they’re gone forever. You can take a picture of what it looked like, but you can’t take how you felt with you. And looking at that picture later can make you feel something different entirely.

This letter is a perfect example. I thought I was getting somewhere, but that last paragraph sounds like it should be a voiceover on a doctor show. It cheapened the whole thing, until I wrote this paragraph to save it with the life-raft of contextualization. So, I’ll leave you and get another day started. Low-frame rate slow motion… Doogie Howser journal-save-and-close… fade out. Credits, and cue the instrumental version of the theme.

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