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2002-09-17 - 5:55 p.m.

I had a kinda surreal night last night...

For the second time in three days I caught up with my friend Steph. with whom I worked for several years selling Ice Creams at the Entertainment Centre. On Saturday night my friend Bek was also their, this time it was Steve (who I mentioned is an old primary school friend but who also was a part of this group), Matt and Ollie (not a pseudonym so no comments on my continuing the seven dwarfs theme :) who came to dinner with us.

There is a chapter in "It" by Stephen King where a group of friends who haven't seen each other in twenty-seven years meet up in a Chinese Restaurant (okay so it's so they can discuss how to attack the evil presence that haunts their town and prevent lots and lots of gore, but the sentiment is still there), told through the eyes of the last person to arrive at the Restaurant, as he looks around the table. He talks of momentarily still seeing them as they were in his mind, before reality hits, and then how soon they are talking and joking as if it had been only yesterday that they had last seen each other.

The former was not applicable in my case, partly because it hadn't been nearly as long since I'd seen these people, and also because while one of them looked completely different, Steph hadn't changed a bit, but it was surreal as talking as if we caught up every week. And when I first poked my head around the corner, I thought Steph was there with a stranger, I fully did not recognise Ollie even though I had been told he looked heaps different. When we first started hanging out together he was 15, the rest of us closer to 19, and now he's about to turn 21. It blows my mind.

But the real surreal thing happened when the group of us (minus Ollie) strode into the Entertainment Centre to visit our friend KC, who, despite having a full time well paying job in IT still works there, supervising the Ice Cream boys and girls that we once were. We knocked on the door and there we were in our little room were we all used to sit and talk and play cards and stock up in preparation for a killer interval and count our money at the end of the night. The last time I set foot in there must have been two and a half years ago. And then Steve and I walked back from the Entertainment Centre to Central station along the same route as we had after literally hundreds of shows over about four years (I actually worked there for seven but when I started my parents used to pick me up).

Now I haven't actually had many jobs in my life (I get comfortable and stay put), but I don't think there could be the same nostalgia associated with revisiting any other place- say I left my current place of work and came back after 10 years to look around, it wouldn't have the same effect. Because these were magical times. I worked there from when I was fifteen until I was twenty two. I made an amazing group of friends there for a while (in the whole seven years there wasn't always the harmony that a select few of us had, but the overriding memories are of the likes of Steph, Ollie, Terry and particularly Tanya (who wasn't there last night but I caught up with her last year), I fell in love there at least once, I wrote myself off on a cask of wine between two shows I was working once and kept my job, they were crazy times.

It's nice to know that, just like the bunch of ageing Australian rockers who had reassembled after how ever many years in the arena behind us, the craziness and the memories are still there for all of us.


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