Tuesday questions, Pet Shop Boys edition

In the High and Far-Off Times, I had a nightlife.  Quite an active one, actually.  There was this one club where I would go all the time.  It had a tiny little dance floor and played a combination of old disco hits and new music and I just loved it.

I went there a lot.

In relatively short order I had made a group of friends.  We would all dance together and sit around when the DJ played songs we didn’t like, trying to have conversations over the loud music blaring all around us.  If I showed up, I could rely on at least some of them being there.

From this group I made one really good friend, a guy I’ll call Bart.  His family lived in the area, and over time they came to feel like a second family to me, too.  I’m not in touch with him anymore, and I miss him a lot when I think of him.

But there’s another guy I remember all the time, too.  I’ll call him Ryan.  He was a college student at one of the other schools in the city where I was going to school.  He was ridiculously handsome, and he dated Bart for a while.  For a while I went out with one of his friends.  I remember socializing with him once or twice outside of the club, but that’s mainly where I saw him.  And while we were very friendly with each other, I wouldn’t number him among my closest friends from that time by a long shot.

And yet, whenever one of the tunes I used to dance to at the club comes on (which is often enough on the 90s station on my satellite radio), it’s always Ryan who springs to mind.  I am prone to sentimentality and nostalgia, and for some reason my subconscious has chosen to personify those traits in my brain with him.  For all the times he pops into my mind you’d think we had been particularly close or romantically involved, but no.  As fondly as I remember him, it’s as a peripheral figure to the major events of my life.

Yet remember him all the time I do.

So that’s this week’s Question — is there someone or something that has lodged in your memory, despite being of relatively minor importance in your life?  Is there a symbolic person, place or thing that represents some moment or era, even if he, she or it was a bit player?  Who or what minor character shows up in the flashbacks of your story?

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20 thoughts on “Tuesday questions, Pet Shop Boys edition

  1. Yeah, a ghost from when I worked at the restaurant. I don’t even remember her name but we were pretty decent friends. We did stuff together after work from time to time, watched movies together, cooked. Pretty much had fun and I thought that that was that. I mean, her husband was stationed overseas or something. Anyway, he was *NEVER* around. I figured that I was the equivalent of the “gay friend” (hey, it was the 90’s. I was still a SNAG.)

    One day, I mentioned that we were going to watch a movie or something and Julie (I remember *HER* name) said to me “Jay… don’t hurt her.”

    And, all of a sudden, I realized “HOLY CRAP I WAS WALKING IN A MINEFIELD!!!” We did a lot less stuff together after that. (And, for the record, never ever fiddled about.)

    And, of course, I’m happily married now.

    Every once in a while, however, I find myself wondering what she’s up to.

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    • Oh, the songs vary. Many of them are terrible, repetitive, overproduced pop/dance songs, which I listen to regardless due to the aforementioned sentimentality and nostalgia.

      THE #1 song that will always, always, always make me think of those days is
      “The Visitors,” by ABBA. One of the drag queens (whose persona was kind of ironic, in that there was no effort at all to look like a passable female) had this little dance she would do, and we’d all cram onto the dance floor around her and dance right along. It is a surpassingly weird sensation to get choked with emotion by that particular song, but there you have it.

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    • The next time you watch a major sporting event, see if any of the people on either team seems to be dabbing his eyes afterward.

      You’ve probably thought “The air in that arena must be really dry” or perhaps “Did he take an elbow to the eye? How did I miss that play?” or some such. But no! Those men may be feeling something called “emotion,” either joyful in victory or despair in defeat. Sometimes as a result, their eyes will release a fluid discharge known as “tears,” in a process known as “crying.” Other emotion-related actions include happy dancing in end zones and kissing the fingers before pointing them skyward toward deceased loved ones.

      “Sentimentality” is when these “emotions” sneak up on one for no good reason or with undue regularity.

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  2. There was one person from my high school class who went to my undergraduate institution, and by a strange coincidence we ended up in the same high rise dorm a floor apart during our freshman year, so we spent a lot of time in each other’s rooms. I met her roommate on probably the second day that I was on campus (still a few days before classes started), and had a crush on her for every single day of college after that (hell, she’s on Facebook, and I can’t think to myself, “What’s Robyn up to” and then go look, because the crush will come right back!). Anyway, she and I became friends, and it turned out we had the same double major, so beginning our sophomore year we would to have study groups at her sorority house (where she then lived), where I met one of her sorority sisters. I didn’t really think much of it at the time — she was extremely pretty, and very nice, but I was in a house filled with extremely pretty and nice women — but we always said hi and maybe exchanged a few pleasantries when I came over to study. Anyway, the following year (now my junior year), I had the only night class I ever took, and it just so happened that the sorority sister was in that class. So she and I talked before class, during the mid-class break (it was a long class), and maybe afterwards. One day, as I was leaving at the end of class, she asked me if I’d walk her back to the sorority house, so of course I did, thinking she probably just didn’t want to walk in the dark by herself. Then when we got to the house, we talked for a minute, she thanked me, and then completely unexpectedly, she kissed me (not a thank you kiss on the cheek, but a kiss kiss). At the time I was seeing someone, not really seriously but at least semi-exclusively, so I didn’t act on it, and afterwards wasn’t cold, but was certainly less talkative before and after class. Then the semester ended, and I don’t think I ever saw her again. The relationship with the woman I was seeing ended at about the same time as the semester, too, so it’s not like I would have been giving up much.

    Anyway, I think about her every now and then, way more than I have any rational reason to. Always with a smile and a “what if?” that really has no data on which to begin to answer it.

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  3. Three, all college. Yukon Jake, Jen, and Angel (they are girls, Jen and Angel are their real names and Yukon Jake was a nick, obviously).

    I never dated any of them. I maybe, probably, okay… I could have dated Yukon Jake but she came in right when I was still dealing with a pretty smashed up ego and I couldn’t get out of my own head. Come to think of it I probably could have dated Jen too but she was overwhelmingly out of what I thought was my league back when I thought leagues were things.

    They were all delightful people and I wonder from time to time what happened to them.

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