It wasn’t so long ago that a good friend and I found ourselves in the kitchen, taking shots of frosted bourbon we had discovered in the freezer. With each shot we became drunken philosophers, discussing anything from world politics to American literature. It was near dawn when we realized neither of us knew what we were talking about or more importantly, whose kitchen we were in.
Those were some crazy days. I have a picture in a box somewhere (my wife didn't like it on the mantle) that encapsulates my twenties. In it, a group of us are gathered in the courtyard of an old apartment complex drinking beer. The characters: An elderly woman, complete with a walker, drinking a Miller Highlife. A strange lady with a really short skirt who had just happened to walk by moments before the picture. A random guy with a football...why not? And of course there’s us, arm in arm, both with carefree smiles on our faces.
My current lifestyle is much easier on the liver. I’m waking up around 6am and changing a diaper while trying to coax a smile out of the little guy. I'm fluent in baby talk, taking piggies to the market and all sorts of other places. I'm testing the temperature of breast milk on my wrist and can even pour it into a bottle with one hand, all things that were unimaginable to me even a couple of years ago. And I would never go back. There are far worse ways to spend one’s time. Perhaps it’s age, perhaps it's having a family, but these days I like to know whose kitchen I’m in. Life is much simpler that way.
Recently, that same friend—whose son is almost three and whose wife is expecting, sent me a text asking if I would like to get together and catch up over a beer. In the text he mentioned that he could meet me any time after 8pm. I looked at the phone as though I were holding a human heart. After 8pm? Is he crazy? I was laughing off this late night invitation when, sure enough the phone buzzed again.
I meant until 8pm.
Our lives have changed. Our bar meetings are months apart and usually consist of a couple of beers and a glance at the clock. We’re gone long before happy hour ends and at home before the band has set up their equipment. I leave the bourbon to the kids who don't know any better and the old timers who can handle it. I have no time for kitchen philosophy…