There I was in a pub, and the school bus due at the house minutes hence. Blimey, and blimey again. Seven miles.
But in three hours we had scratched the surface of 30 years, and more. 30 years. Nearer 35 as it happens. Oh yes age is catching up, but aside from that there was a lesson to learn.
Two chill glasses of the black stuff, and two bowls of what we used to call chips but are now fries; and steak & onion ciabatta, side salad for goodness sake. Two blokes in the corner, side salad untouched, by one of them. T’other is a new man it seems, eats greens, and dressing. But underneath nothing has changed and the years roll back. The swine has even avoided the shades of grey that give that salt &pepper, or big butch silverback to the rest of us.
It was back in the late 70s that I shared an office with Baker George. Lunch back then was a different thing entirely, no salad for a start. Oh the things young whelps got up to in those days, long forgotten so I thought. And the people, where are they now? Baker George knew, for I was the one that left, moved on. And he told of some; names, memories, exploits. He told me of successes, and of disasters.
I learned of an old friend; we travelled together, played football every week, even frequented the same ale house of a Friday night, me in the lounge, he in the bar. Wrecked he became; the bottle took over. A life destroyed. And I knew nothing. I can see him now, The Obergruppenfuhrer.
But enough of that. We’ll meet again soon, will BG and I, for I owe lunch and the miles between us are ridiculously few. No the real point of this is that life, as we all say, is far too short. How easy it is to lose touch, to shrink into our own bubble as life becomes busy.
Back then, through the 80s, into the 90s, we had an excuse. We did, didn’t we? Can’t remember what it might have been. But today, in this age of technology, of social media and email, and of course of blogs, how hard can it be? How many people do we all think we ‘keep in touch’ with, purely by printing a label in December and scribbling a card? And that’s it. And years drift by, getting quicker all the time.
Then it dawns on you, or it did with Baker George, that he’s at the age his father was when it all came to an end. So he picked up the phone, made that call. And I’m guessing he’ll be doing a fair bit of lunching this year. Perhaps next time Mrs Baker George will be around, for she goes back to those days too, and it’s she who does the social media thing, pops up on LinkedIn. They’ve a wedding coming up, their daughter’s off, and a generation has rolled by.
Oh yes, too short it is. Are you going to burst your bubble?