The Loss of Nostalgia

Originally uploaded by Cap'n Pete.

My wife has been busy putting piles of old photos into albums. They've all been organized into seperate sections on top of her sewing table. I look at these photos as my child would. I can hear them asking, "Dad, what happened to all of your hair? You used to be so in shape, you sure dressed like a dork, Dad."

At work, I've been busy taping drywall. I'm mudding the corners with my four-inch knife switching between net tape and carbon tape. It's an art, really. You need to lay down a thin layer of Spackle first, then measure and cut the tape and lay it into the wet Spackle. The tape then must be covered and smoothed with Spackle. The challenge is to cover the tape with the smallest amount of sanding for tomorrow. Carpenters and do-it yourselfers will tell you taping is no fun. It's a pain in the butt. It takes a bunch of patience and a slow hand, but I love it.

The same fascination I had the first day I posted a blog, the first day I saw words that I created on the screen, is the fascination I have taping drywall. It's liberating to know that I could fix a big hole in the wall, or create an entire new wall. I wonder what moments will flower in my child's mind. The smell of sanded Spackle unlocks circumlocutions from my childhood. The dust feels cool when it hits your arms. Your boogers are white.

I listened to audio coverage of the 1968 Democratic Convention today, when the police attacked the crowd of anti-war hippies. Tear gas covered the streets and rose to the fifth floor of the hotel where news anchors, Dan Rather and Walter Cronkite were staying. They cough. Then I hear about the "free" speech zone set aside for protestors this year. People who are crying for peace. People, who are pleading for an end to war, contained by barbed wire and metal fences.

That feeling of self-sufficiency dissipates like rising tear gas. The feeling of growing up, learning things to tell your child, or not being a child becomes meaningless. I look at my wife, filling the photo albums, and I wonder how I'm going to explain this tomorrow.