I used to get together with my friends for dinner or brunch, either at one of our houses or at a restaurant. There didn’t have to be an occasion. It would just be one person’s idea, and the other person would say, “Sounds great!” It was fun.
I used to celebrate holidays with my large, extended family. We’d eat communal meals, occasionally sing songs, hug and kiss hello and goodbye.
I used to walk around in public with a buck-naked face. Nose, lips, chin, everything just right out there.
I used to pay a bunch of money to watch theatrical presentations, sometimes live, sometimes on a giant screen, surrounded by strangers. It was fun (and occasionally irritating) to hear peoples’ reactions. Sometimes their reactions would make me like or dislike what I was watching.
Come to think of it, I used to hang out with lots of people indoors.
When really happy or extremely sad things happened, I used to attend medium-sized or large gatherings. People would sit, stand, or dance right next to each other. Once in a while, someone would accidentally laugh or spit a tiny droplet of saliva on me, and they’d say, “Oh my god, sorry!” and I’d say, “It’s okay!” and we’d both laugh about it.
I used to associate the word “droplet” with Walt Disney animated movies.
I used to go on business trips from time to time. I’d fly on an airplane to attend meetings where 5 or 6 people would sit around a table and my business partner and I would talk for about a half-hour, and the other people at the meeting would talk too, and we’d all talk and laugh and sometimes the meeting would even end in hugs.
I used to wear jeans.
I used to walk my kids to a building five days a week, where they’d be taught by one or more adults who are experts in different fields. And they’d joke around with each other in between classes, and eat a little lunch, then play for about 45 minutes a day, while I got lots of work done at home.
Most days, I’d run into a friend or two on these walks and we’d chat for a while, sometimes over a cup of coffee.
About once a year, maybe twice, one of my friends would organize a karaoke outing. Lots of us would gather in a small, windowless room, drink a lot of alcohol, and belt out so many songs at full volume into a microphone. Often one person would start as a solo and another might hop up as a back-up singer, then another and another. We’d lean into each other and sing-shout into one microphone. Lots of hugging at the end of the night.
Fairly regularly, I’d meet with a friend who was having a hard time. Or I was having a hard time. Or both of us were having hard times. We were sad or worried or angry, often a combination. We’d give each other long hugs at the end of these dinners or breakfasts or cocktails, and say we’d see each other soon.
It’s all a bit fuzzy to think about now, my old life. But Trump has definitely changed everything. That’s clear. ❏
Photo by Anna Earl