Monday, September 1, 2008

The Swimming Song

Yesterday afternoon, as Jonathan returned to the apartment we shared for the last sixteen months, to pick up a couple of remaining items and to drop off his keys, I jokingly remarked, "So I guess we can go back to being friends now that we aren't roommates anymore," after offering him my new phone number. He laughed.

It wasn't really that bad, living with Jonathan. It's been way, way worse with other roommates, but we certainly let sharing space issues interfere with what was once a pretty fun and very honest and close friendship.

The end of summer, three summers ago, "The Swimming Song" was our soundtrack, whether we were driving through the Annapolis Valley or getting merrily stoned and drunk in someones apartment, raising our voices like a choir to hear it. And boy, did we hear it! Jonathan would repeat the song as many as ten times in a row, I am sure, fiddling with the MP3 player attached to his stereo as we sat outside in his beat-up car smoking cigarettes there to avoid the rain. I liked his car, I liked smoking there. I liked the imposed physical intimacy that such a small space offered.

Most of that summer revolved around the Granite Brewery. It is where we met one another, and where we met Jen, who for much of that summer completed our hedonistic trio. We consumed so much alcohol, the three of us, and we stayed up so late. We thought we were the best of friends but we were really just as immediate as Loudon Wainwright's song, which is not to belittle that time. It is something to talk so closely, to be so abandoned and in the moment. And it was nice to feel like we were in a kind of a club, the three of us. I know that I felt free, and I know that it was because of these late nights and this feeling of belonging and this speedy, motorized vehicle that brought us to the beach on sunny days. I would go so far as to say that it was the comfort and confidence that Jonathan and Jen unknowingly afforded me that allowed me to be receptive to other people, too. I belonged in that pub on Barrington street. I could walk into the building by myself and be recognized and welcomed and known. Katie, and Lisa, and Joe, and many other dear friendships came of this. I cried and laughed and danced with these people, and I was every single version of my messy, uninhibited, insecure, honest, sad self that warm and receptive hearts and several pints of Peculiar can unleash.

Time will tell, it always does, what is forever and what was for then, but it was all real, whatever kind of spin I'm inclined to put on it.

I am so glad that Jonathan laughed.

The Swimming Song - Loudon Wainwright III

This summer I went swimming,

This summer I might have drowned

But I held my breath and I kicked my feet

And I moved my arms around,

I moved my arms around.

This summer I swam in the ocean,

And I swam in a swimming pool,

Salt my wounds, chlorine my eyes,

I'm a self-destructive fool,

a self-destructive fool.

This summer I swam in a public place

And a reservoir, to boot,

At the latter I was informal,

At the former I wore my suit,

I wore my swimming suit.

This summer I did the backstroke

And you know that's not all

I did the breast stroke and the butterfly

And the old Australian crawl,

the old Australian crawl.

This summer I did swan dives

And jackknifes for you all

And once when you weren't looking

I did a cannonball,

I did a cannonball.

No comments: