On the passage of time - Life since high school

I was recently contacted by a girlfriend from high school. What follows is a recap of my life since then...

When last we checked in on our intrepid explorersÖ

Wow. Thatís a voice (or at least typed out words) from the past. Holy crap. Letís see. My memory starts to fade (that happens when youíre old), but I figure that itís been 33+ years since weíve last chatted. Any news? I guess so. Your kids got you on a social networking site. Kids. Thatís new! So letís get startedÖ

Letís see. 33 years. I used to have hair. Perhaps thatís how you remember me. My face is mostly unlined. I attribute this to the desire to not worry about things too much. No worry lines, but no laugh lines either. Perhaps Iím just living an un-emotional life. Or maybe Iíve been successful at staying out of the sun.

Army thing. That was four years of my life. I spent one of those years in an Army chorus. Of the four years, that was the best one. I spent another year (the worst one) overseas. When I came back from that trip, I was sent to Kansas. As I drove through Utah, I tried to look you up. There was insufficient contact maintained through the intervening time that I didnít have enough information to find you. I couldnít spend too long doing that, so I moved on. That was the closest that we ever got in the interim.

After I got out of that I spent some time in school. By 1985 Iíd graduated with a B.A. and a B.S. in Physics, with a concentration in Astrophysics. Yeah, for a while I was a rocket scientist. I graduated and got my first out of college job in San Diego, where I spent 2 Ĺ years. When I got laid off from that job, I found another one working at Boeing where Iíve been for over 21 years. The first project that I worked on was some kind of anti-missile Death Ray. Now I work in a group that tries to make the insides of the planes quieter. Beats the hell out of Death Rays any dayÖ

The biggest news of the years that have passed, and the biggest news of my entire life was finding a terrific woman to live with. C is the sweetest, kindest, most wonderful person that Iíve ever met. She was in the same dormitory as I was when I went to the real school (there was a community college in there somewhere) in a room across the hall. I kissed her the first night that I met her, and the rest is more or less history. We lived together for a while, but I left her behind when I went to San Diego. After a while I realized that I did not want to be without her, and we got married in 1986. It hasnít been all sweetness and light since then, because even though sheís wonderful, it turns out that Iím not, but weíve been more or less happy together for pushing 23 years now.

We never had kids, which probably goes a long way towards explaining the lack of lines on my face. It turns out that even before we met, neither of us was ever particularly driven to have spawn. Now the years have flown by, and we couldnít even if we were to change our minds. There has been a succession of cats, and at one point two memorable dogs in our lives. We try to spoil our nieces and nephews as best we can, and some of those are adults in their own rights. Yes, the years have passed.

So who am I now? Or at least, what have I been doing? I learned to ride motorcycles a few years after we last saw each other, and I still have two of them, including a 1965 Triumph Bonneville, even though I havenít ridden either of them in years. I tried to be a serious chess player for a while, but I was never very good. For several years I was a furious zymologist, and I made more than my share of beer, wine, mead, cider, sake, and soda pop. During that time I found that I no longer enjoyed chess unless I was raging drunk at the time, so I quit that game. And when I discovered that I enjoyed making strong drink more that my waistline could handle, I quit drinking so much. Then I discovered that if I was making it and not drinking it, the boxes of liquid filled bottles began to fill the garage, and when stacked upon each other began swaying in the breeze. So now I donít make much of that any more either! I dabbled in bee keeping for a few years, but it became a lot of work, and my bees kept dying, so I donít do that much any more. C and I live in a big house with a big yard, and weíve done quite a bit of gardening. I forget how many different roses we have planted about the house. I think that the last count was 27, but theyíre more Cís thing. Thereís a nice little arbor in the back yard with a single male and a single female kiwi vine growing up and into each other thatís kind of neat. A couple of years ago I decided that there wasnít enough music in my life, so I tried to teach myself to play the guitar. I say tried to because there were some chords that simply failed to register between fingers and brain, so that project kind of foundered. Then I saw on Wikipedia that the baritone ukulele shared the top four strings of the guitar, and I was inspired to try that. Ever since then, Iíve been learning to play the weird ukulele, finding it to be two-thirds as difficult as a guitar. I bought C a more regular type of ukulele last year, and now we enjoy playing together. Sheís only been playing for a few months or so, but sheís becoming more proficient every time she plays. One of the main uses for my computer is as a recording studio, and I have grand plans to record myself (and others) covering other peopleís songs. Youíre now on the list to receive proof of this effort should any of those plans pan out.

So all of that is where Iíve been, not so much of who I am. For those interested, the masochistic might look at my writing on-line. Iíve had web pages (ha, ha, Webb pages!) for years now, with my current address at http://www.varroa.biz. I used to be near the top of Google rankings when searching for ďRich WebbĒ, but some Australian singer has usurped my position. I donít update very often, and really itís more of an outlet for me when the creative writing bug bites me, but many of the things Iíve written speak well to who I am and what I believe. Did D tell you that we donít speak any more? The day after the 2004 General Election, she called me up to gloat and to rub my face in the defeat of the non-criminal nominee for President. I felt then, and still do, that Bush was the worst president of my lifetime, if not ever, and her calling up to laugh and poke fun at the disaster that I felt / feel to be visited on my country, if not the world, galled me to no end. She lives in her little right-wing world, where Ronald Regan is a saint sitting at Mother Theresaís right hand side, and Iím about as opposite as can be. There are several articles on my space (not MySpace!) with my political opinions. There are also pages on the lives, current and past, of the pets that have come and gone. And a couple of jokes. Thatís about as public a persona as Iíve got.

So me in a nutshell? They just might put me in one someday, but today Iím free. Pretty liberal, not religious, no kids. Too many people in this country consuming too much stuff, and the world is going to hell, but pretty much without me. With no descendents, the disasters that I imagine will soon fall upon the world will have to do so without my participation. Iíve got a friend whoís been playing guitar since pretty much the last time I saw you. He used to be in a few local bands, but now he makes music more for fun and for himself. I tell the joke that when Iíve been playing ukulele for as long as heís been playing the guitar, Iíll have been dead for a few years. My familyís lineage, as well as the name Webb, dies out in my generation. Sure, my two sisters have three kids between them, but the name stops with me, and I have no progeny. Yeah, I was careful when it counted! So my view of the world seems rather slanted. If I had had kids, Iíd sure be angry about the world that they were being handed.

So I donít talk to or communicate with anybody from back in the day. Itís not that I have any sort of animosity towards the few people from that era that Iíve communicated with in the intervening years, itís just that I donít have a lot in common with the kid that I was, and less in common with the people that kid knew. I donít dismiss them, but after a bit of reminiscing, the conversation kind of falls off. The people that I communicate with now tend to be people with whom I have something in common, something other than our previous experiences together. Iíve got a pen / email pal in Australia that I met when she responded to my first web page, the one about Dalmatians being demon dogs, hounds from hell. She still has Dalmatians, but I donít even have dogs any more. So having the thing that we had in common at first now removed, we need to have something else to talk about. Being contacted by people I knew thirty years ago is like that. Itís hard to sustain a conversation based on stuff that happened so long ago that I donít remember them. Iíve communicated exactly two words (ďVerne Rolle?Ē) with D in the last four years. She can tell you about how Verne is now somebody else, on the run from his previous life. I have a hard time being interested, as that discussion fails to touch who I am. I am who I am now, and Iím moving forward. And sure, that forward movement is taking me towards the end of my existence one day at a time, but itís what Iíve got to work with. And itís what I am.

So whatís up with you?

This page is authored and maintained by Rich Webb.You can send E-mail to me by following this link to the contact page. And feel free to contact me if you have any comments, criticisms, or suggestions. I remain, however, perfectly capable of ignoring your useless opinion...

This document was last modified on February 18, 2009, and has been viewed countless times.