Pace Macklemore and Ke$ha, I wish somebody would have told me then that someday these would be the good old days. Twenty years ago, in the snow outside Ireland’s Four Provinces, a new pair of Dr Martens and a new obsession with Irish music and a new home away from home for what was rapidly becoming Our Gang.
I don’t think I realized until years later that it was an anomaly to have television. They would pull down a screen and run a projector during the World Series, or on an election night, but on a typical Saturday, you only had the musicians or the jukebox. I don’t think I ever ordered any beer but Guinness, although I did have a weakness for the occasional Blackadder, Guinness cut half with cider. (Which is apparently a Black Velvet anywhere outside DC, but I go with what I was told first, and besides Black Velvet is Guinness and champagne.)
The pub would ultimately come to stand in for DC, I think. I missed the pub, and came closest to reproducing it with a mixture of two bars in San Jose, but what I really missed from 2007 on was that sense of purpose, of camaraderie, of being on the one road – north men south men comrades all. I had my troubles in DC, and there’s no diminishing them, but I don’t remember ever questioning my purpose or who I was as a human being from 2000 to 2004. I was a loyal specialist in the Rifles of the EUS, and that was sufficient. And I went looking for a California pub at a time when I was adrift in identity and purpose, and you can make a case I never really figured it out in the same way.
And I’m reminded of this, seven years on from the encryption debacle which I never really recovered from, as the same left shoulder hurts bad enough for me to go to urgent care and the workplace management spins its wheels fecklessly while the rest of us wait for the penny to drop. The values I developed then are the ones that sustain me now, and as before, it doesn’t matter that they can’t ride to my rescue. It’s enough to know they would.
And meanwhile, the world spins. Of which.