The mid-afternoon full tilt boogie was what we sometimes called it. We were in the golden valley of life and it was easy to let our cares roll away.
The highlight of the mid-afternoon full tilt boogie was climbing up on the roof with a cooler full of beers, a pack of cigarettes and a little tin filled with some items we had rolled by hand. We had a band, even though the singer couldn't sing, the man with the guitar thought he was too sophisticated to hang out with us, and the man behind the keyboards had a severe talent deficit. It was what bound us all together and passed the time during those summers between college semesters. The future was too far away and we were not focused on anything but enjoying the flavor of the moment. Up on the roof we could watch the cars drive by, feeling beautiful, high above the universe and thinking eventually it would all come together for each of us. Eventually summer would end and we would get back to the business of classes and new friends, promising to unite again the following summer.
The bass player was going to finish business school and take over his father's business. The guitarist was studying at a prestigious music school and intended to join the cultural elite. The drummer was going to open his own automotive repair shop. The singer was going to make it big as a writer and blow them all away. The keyboardist, the only one amongst them without any musical talent, was the only one who planned to play rock and roll as his life's work.
They watched dozens of sunsets together on that roof, slipping inside only to turn the record over or to retrieve more beer. The singer set himself to writing their next song in the notebook of dreams he kept clenched between his knees. Sometimes the winds kicked up and he never wanted those dreams to blow away. There was not a dream in that book he did not believe in.
Sixteen years passed and the five who ruled over the world from their rooftop perch no longer speak to each other. Every roll of life's die rallied to seperate them and the context of those days became obsolete. The man with the guitar dropped out of music school and ended up becoming a social worker. The drummer became a bartender. The bass player took over his father's business, drove it into the ground, and now works on an assembly line putting together electronic components. The man who couldn't play keyboards is somewhere in Oregon trying to keep his dream alive by telling everyone he meets that he is a "professional keyboardist."
The singer, who in all reality was the group's lyricist and only got behind the microphone because no one else would, has given up believing in anything other than coffee and fishnet stockings. It was simply easier that way and less taxing on the soul. The notebook had an inglorious end. Between moving from one home to another six times over the course of eight years it managed to get lost in transit.
Belief is something you shape as you travel through life. It is your personal filter for reality, and the only way to differentiate between your reality and that of your neighbor. Clinging to everything you once believed in becomes an anchor to ever changing perspectives. Some beliefs stay with you throughout your life and cannot be altered. Others escape you like leaves in the wind, floating just above you before they take flight. Some we dismiss and others dismiss us. Some we do not part with easily, but lose when we can no longer swim against the changing tides. The undertow does not care where you have been, only where it wants to take you.
Sometimes, in our dreams, I know we all return to the rooftop rendezvous and slip another record on. Mid-afternoon full tilt boogie lives on. The air was clear, the sky was blue, and everything was going to be perfect in the end. Nothing ever really goes as planned, life changes its melody, and hits more sour notes than our little band ever did. You don't always get a perfect cup of coffee and rarely does a pair of fishnet stockings come without some kind of pull or other imperfection.
Nevertheless, I still believe in them,
and in a way I still believe in us.
So actually, I still believe in everything,
but at the same time I believe in nothing at all.