Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Audio Moves

I am 53 years old, and I’m not sure what that means.

When I was a kid, 53 was “getting up there.”

When I was a kid, few people made it into their 90’s.

These days, I may or may not be middle-aged. I’m just not sure. In my heart, I feel incredibly young. Some days, in fact, I feel that I’m just “playing office” or “making house.” Some days, I look around the home I’ve established (an apartment, granted), and I wonder, When did I get to be so grown up? Who told me I should put those spoons in that drawer?

And then there are those other moments – those moments when I arise from the couch – and I hear the noise of my age.

I hear the noise… a noise that says, I’m standing up now.

When did I start doing that?

When did I start providing a soundtrack to my ups and downs?

… Back in 2008, I had the resources and time to take a wonderful trip back east. It began in New York and ended in Virginia. It spanned three weeks.

While I was in NYC, I moved about. I spent the first two nights with some friends in Queens. Then, I cashed in some Amex points for two nights at a Radisson on West 33rd. And I spent the final two nights with some college buddies who always have room for me at their place. (Their place happens also to be on 33rd , but in their case, it’s the east side.)

During one of my Radisson days, I’d made arrangements to hook up with my friend Alyssa – another college buddy. She agreed to meet me at my hotel, and we’d take it from there. I emerged that morning and told her that I had two interests: either the World Trade Center site downtown or our old campus stomping grounds uptown.

Alyssa (perhaps influenced by her own emotions) shared that there was not much to see at Ground Zero. We headed north.

During our walk up Broadway, we had a great time catching up, and the eighty-plus blocks passed by quickly. Before we knew it, we’d arrived at the famous Columbia gates, and we entered College Walk.

The Columbia campus is something to behold. Remarkably imposing buildings. At the south end, Butler Library – with its columns and with the names chiseled into its façade: Homer. Herodutus. Sophocles. Plato. Aristotle. Demosthenes. Cicero. Vergil.

And facing Butler is Low Library, a domed structure that rises above the rest – the campus centerpiece.

Between the two, and leading up to Low, are “the steps.”

The Steps.

Just north of College Walk, there is a group of about seven steps. Then, after a bit of even pavement, scored with a nice brick design, there are probably 30 or so more steps.

Back in the day, that first group of seven was the place to meet.

Those were The Steps.

Back in the day, we’d plan to hook up with our friends between classes.

We’d hook up on the steps.

And more often than not, we’d pass a joint. That’s what the steps were about back then.

The Steps.

… So when Alyssa and I entered College Walk, just three years ago, we each were probably entertaining memories. (I know I was.)

And when we decided to just sit down and take it in for a minute, we were both feeling nostalgic.

We climbed three or four rows up.

Then, we readied ourselves to sit.

As we descended into our positions, we each made a noise.

Once we had settled, I turned to my friend.

“Alyssa,” I said, “I think they lowered the steps.”


Martha Mawson said...

I hear ya!

BECKY said...

Wow, Katie! I just so impressed you walked 80 Plus Blocks!! :)

I find myself making those grunting noises sometimes when I get out of the car! Acckkk!! When I hear myself, realizing I'm doing it, I am horrified and think, I will NEVER make that noise again. It sounds like an old lady noise!

Most of the time, I feel 25-ish or 30-ish, mentally. Then I look in the mirror...and see a strong resemblance of my mother...and not when she was young either...Oh well...We're as young as we any given point!

Sioux said...

Yes, Katie, you and I are both middle-aged. Middle-aged if we are going to live to be 106!

Yes, my joints talk to me, and parts of my body roll around and shift to make their presence known. Sometimes parts of me even roll around from the front to the back (or vice versa) in a "whimsical" way.

Life is fun...

Lazarus said...

Very cool reminiscence about your trip East Katie. I agree with you on wondering where the years went and how did I get so old. I don't feel nearly as mature at this age (49 as of last week) as I would've thought 49-year olds were when I was a kid. I think we're dumbing down the elderly!

Kristy said...

Well told story - you captured the nostalgia. How cool to have gone to Columbia. Upon settling on the steps, a small part of you must have wished there was a joint to share? :)

Deb Shucka said...

I hear the same body noises, and they seem to just get louder over time. What's worse is that conversations with friends now involve said noises and other physical woes, which makes us sound OLD!

Another really great story, Katie.

cj Schlottman said...


This is a wonderful stroll down memory lane. Your words paint a vivid picture of Columbia, the steps, the library, the other buildings.

I agree with Becky that it was quite an accomplishment to walk all those long blocks. You may think you are middle-aged, but you've got stamina, Girl.

Treat the noises with ibuprofen or some other such medicine, and keep walking. Never stop.

Namaste..........cj (Age: 63)!

PS - Thanks for your comment on today's post on The Red Sweater.

Jules said...

LOL, I know my steps keep getting lowered. Not to mention the new sounds I've started making. :)

And when did we grow-up? I don't want to grow up! :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Linda Medrano said...

At 65, I have to accept that I am finally middle-aged. It's not my favorite thing, but honestly, when I consider the alternative, I quit letting it bother me. I try to stay as active as I can and sometimes I even succeed! You are still young Katie. Making a little noise when they have lowered the steps on you does not make you old! just like the length of my arm shortening when I am trying to read a menu doesn't make me old either!!

Samantha Vérant said...

53 is the new 35, which works until you're 58. Because then 58 would be the new 85, and, yeah. I'm pretty sure they lowered the steps. LOL

Anonymous said...

Hi Katie, when I was younger I could clear out a room, remove all the furniture, wardrobes and all, get it all downstairs, take new boxes and chests of drawers up the stairs...probably doing all this with a child hanging onto my ankle! Now, in my new role, I get up the stairs with no. 1 grandchild almost 9 months old, I grab the baby, bath towel and all, go down the stairs (lest something happen to him while I am away) to fetch the lotions I have forgotten. I then stagger back up the stairs only to find I have forgotten his pyjamas. I manage those trips but the second time is slower, the grunt as I reach the top step, a little louder...thank goodness he then sleeps for 13 hours and I can rest! I think they raised these steps by the way...Great post, I shall try not to groan when I get up from this chair :-) Debbie (54)

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

I'm creaking too! LOL I'll be 51 this year and really feel it. My father-in-law is 87, and I wonder how he manages, but he's active and quite independent. I want to be just like him when I grow up. :) Your trip sounds amazing. Don't you love meeting up with old friends? The kind where five minutes into the conversation it feels as if you just saw them yesterday, even though it may have been years? Sounds like you made some nice memories, back in your college days and during that three week trip.

Theresa Milstein said...

Where were you in Queens? I used to live there.

I may over a decade behind you, but I ask many of the same questions. There's nothing like looking back to make you realize how long ago it was. Two weeks ago, my age struck me when I attended The B52s and Go Go's concert.

Linda O'Connell said...

Katie, Eighty!blocks. Wow, I admire your stamina. I look in the mirror and wonder who that old woman is, because I think I am still younger.

Jules said...

I came back to say thanks! Thanks for sticking with me in my MIA period. Sure means a lot to have blogging friends like you. :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Andrea said...

Ah to be 53 again! 80 blocks!!
Isn't it grand to have friends, old friends who take you back? This was the perfect glimpse into what that's like. The steps change, but not the friendship.