Becca and I have been binge watching “The Sopranos” lately. We’re both suckers for mobster fare, especially when it’s done well. Due to our respective schedules and moods, we watch independently and sync up to discuss which character is the biggest piece of shit.
I wonder how many people who enjoy this fare wish to be mobbed up themselves. Some of the appeal is undeniable. The fashion is simultaneously horrifying and awesome, and the food is quite good. Still, I couldn’t see myself living that life as I am the antithesis of a tough guy. I do share their affinity for cutting corners though. Lordy do I ever.
During the opening credits, there is a shot of the twin towers peeking through Tony Sopranos’s rearview mirror, at least in the first couple of seasons. That really puts the show in a different era. Then again, February of this year seems like a lifetime ago.
I’ve settled comfortably into the new normal. I still have my job (I safely work from home) so cash flow is not a problem. Supermarket trips continue to be annoying, but at least they still have food on the shelves. It may not be the first choice of what I want to eat, but you can’t have everything.
Overall, it’s an existence with a past and future, but no present to speak of. This is familiar territory. It reminds me of living in Santa Barbara circa 1986, fresh out of college and working in a department store. I knew that better days lay ahead, but was clueless as to the when and how.
A more recent example is 2008. After the whirlwind midlife crisis following my divorce, I had given up hard drugs and contented myself with self-pity and drinking every night. There were others, shorter in duration and too numerous to mention.
This time I’m at home instead of standing in front of the Roma on State Street watching traffic go by or perched on a barstool at the Argus pickling my liver with Jameson whiskey. My current drinking is moderate at most so I spend my free time on “The Sopranos” and whatever amusement I can find on the web. News stories are great fun and like “The Sopranos,” there is no shortage of pistol waving.
Unlike previous experiences with life in intermission, there is little quiet desperation this time. Maybe I’m more mature or maybe I’m just more tired. The jury is still out on whether there is any difference between the two.
Like a lot of people, I’ve fantasized about the opportunity to travel back in time and offer sage advice to previous versions of myself. Of course, I wouldn’t expect any past Daves heed my words. Part of it is their hubris in believing they know better than anybody. Though in their defense, I wouldn’t listen to me either. I’m just some fat old man with a beard.
That got me thinking about what would happen if future Dave traveled back to the here and now. Would I learn anything valuable? Probably not. He would likely be in the advanced stages of dementia. There is not a lot of wisdom to be gleaned from “I don’t know you” uttered by a man with eyes empty of everything but fear.