Even now - far removed from the original passions - I can still remember that my friends and I were once young and vibrant. When we were just approaching our 20s, we were night owls, prowling the Atlanta New Wave music scene when we should have been doing calculus homework. On a typical weekend in our suburban town, we'd finish our work at the mall or any of a dozen other places desperate enough to hire us, and we'd start out on our night crawls, down to the big city of Hotlanta. Hotlanta was what my out-of-state friend called it when she visited.
We never corrected her, but I secretly smiled every time she said it in her excited voice. Usually, the gang didn't even get serious in Hotlanta until it was 11 p.m. We'd go to The Agora, or 688, or the Fox if a great band like Pylon was playing, and we'd stay out until the streets were as tired as we were and our ears were aching from the loud amps and our stomachs were begging for scrambled eggs inside the warmth of a Waffle House. We were in heaven, and heaven stayed open all night, down among the living spires of the city. We were young and no one cared if we missed breakfast the next morning. We were night people and that's when we lived.
Now, where are we? Our precious venues are gone. New Wave is gone. And we're mortgaged and matured and domesticated and tired, and we no longer see the wee hours as we once did. The hours that once rang with loud music are now the hours of peaceful dreams as we lie on our fancy mattresses in our suburban worlds where malls are dying and no one's hiring. We crave our nights, rarely for music and fun with friends, mostly for rest and repair.
But where are our kids? They're out in our night, learning about aching eardrums and stomachs that turn violent at 3 a.m. They're living in our night world and living it up as we no longer will. And that's as it should be. We ignored the clock until we fell at its feet and joined adulthood with all of its sharp edges and dull aches. But our kids still have time to go before they fall. The night is still their time. It will be the clock's time, soon enough.
David McCoy, a notorious storyteller and proud Yellow Jacket, lives in Covington and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org