Monday, February 27, 2012

This is what we talk about when we talk about gazelles

Growing up I lived in what has historically been referred to as "the parsonage" a house adjacent to a church building  that is typically owned by that church for the pastor to live in. The parsonage that I grew up in, which has since been bulldozed to make room for a as yet unrealized gym, was design as an almost two family house. Meaning that two families could live there as long as the second family was smaller and/or not staying for a lengthy amount of time. There were some definitive perks to this including a fairly massive yard for our area of suburban NJ and a half-sized basketball court.
When speakers came to the church  for particular speaking engagements, such the annual week-long "summer seminar", they would often stay in the bottom part of the parsonage. The summer of my 12th year one such speaker brought along his wife and his fourteen year old son. My mom informed me that this kid played basketball and was into the piano/keyboard. Large chunks of my day were devoted to playing mediocre basketball with much smaller chunks grudgingly given to playing mediocre piano and thought this other kid might be pretty good stuff.
There was a particular detail that my mom failed to share with me which was that this kid was a behemoth, especially compared to me. At fourteen this kid was inches, if not at least a foot, taller than me and much bigger. While I was an average height I was a really skinny kid. (I didn't weigh over a hundred pounds until well into my 13th year which was kind of a milestone.) Te outcome of the games is lost to memory but I do remember playing multiple bouts of basketball throughout that week  in which my attempts at rebounding were distinctly Sisyphean. There's not a lot of distinct recollection from that week of summer and in the standard thinking of a pre-adolescent there wasn't much expectation of needing to remember anything from that particular time.
So fast forward eight or nine years to sophmore year at Philadelphia Biblical University. I run into another student under circumstances that I don't totally remember though I'm  pretty sure it was outside the cafeteria entrance. I don't even remember what the initial conversation was. Not sure if was our parents but we both had vague inklings that other was in PBU's vicinity but hadn't run into each other. However both of us recalled the basketball games. Jon and his then girlfriend/now wife Kim and my my then girlfriend/now wife Kara and myself, that is to say all four of us started hanging outplaying once a week poker games.
Jon had a breadth of cultural interaction and experience that was quite foreign to me.
It wasn't until my senior year that Jon and I started hanging out quite a lot. Jon had graduate from college and was working/waiting for Kim to finish up school so that they could get married. Jon  introduced me to good coffee, interesting movies  the New Yorker and wide range of books. However the thing that we both spent a ton of time working on that year was Word of Warcraft Diablo II. This was Jon's last go-round for gaming. Our standard operating procedure was a call from Jon to me or from me to Jon around 9 or 10pm around the lines of
hey you doing anything
not really.
Want to swing by?
We'd play until 2 am  and then fall asleep on his floor.
It was at least a year or so after Jon and Kim's wedding and I was going through my phone to call a another John. However, I got my Johns mixed up and was seriously surprised to hear Jon Beall's voice on the other end. So surprised that it took me about 20 seconds to figure out exactly which Jon/John to whom I was speaking. This accidental phone call kicked into gear a now ongoing every couple of months phone call from me to Jon or Jon to me which results, not unsurprisingly, in these intense 30-35 minute chats about music, politics, future of reading/texts, tech, the cell-phone industry and any variety of other topics.

All this to say is that Jon posts pictures here in Google+ and Flikr and roasts really amazing coffee while listening to awesome music. Kim has a delightful day-in-the-life blog here and a deeply compelling, incredibly moving, very honest and thought-provoking blog about living with infertility and the implications of that. Frankly, I wish we saw them more often.

1 comment:

jb said...

thanks so much for this post. I would be remiss if I didn't correct you though - WoW didn't come out till after I graduated from college. We played Diablo II all the time in my apt, not WoW.

-with gazelle-like intensity