Thursday morning, as I got off the train at Science Park, I thought of the lyrics in Elvis Costello’s “Flutter and Wow” (one of the top ten best love songs of all time, yes, all time): “Pulled my hand up into the sleeve of my coat/so you wouldn’t know how it was shaking.” I had only been back to the Museum once since I left, and it was only a few weeks after my departure – I was in the area to get my hair cut and I’d ducked in quietly to see Chad and Croys at Da Boof. This visit, though, was designed for maximum exposure, and I was anxious about who I might see.
On top of all of that was also the sad news that had come just the day before that while they had been slowly letting the lifeblood of that place drain away, they’d decided to force some out on their own. I approached the revolving door (oh if they only knew the irony of having that right in the front of the building) with dread and felt my stomach turn. My fears were both warranted and needless, because at that place, nothing changes.
BoBo is still a complete clod who uses office lingo incorrectly. HC is still purposefully vague. Lumpy is still socially retarded and shows up when she’s not wanted, Barbara W. still has the best laugh ever (although she hasn’t much occasion to use it now) and Andrea is still the best person in the world, who can take any awkward situation and make it fun by just being her always sweet self.
Returning to the Museum didn’t leave me with the triumphant feeling I’d hoped it would. “HA! I told you all I was better than what you thought of me.” It also didn’t bring back the bittersweet memories of Eric K’s hourly smoke breaks to help me get over a bad break up, or Rob’s handkerchiefs in the stairwell. The visits to Heather and Blair’s office to eat the seaweed crackers they didn’t like. The joke that turned into a real argument between Mark and Chad about whether or not eating the shells of peanuts made you sick. The constant reminder of fridge cleaning. The nights at Lingos. The afternoon walks to J Pace’s. The bathroom launch pad. Eating my sandwiches down by the river. “And THEN I went for ANOTHA WALK.” “Ding Gala’s done!” Giving Kathy a near nervous breakdown as Chad tried to help her get over her fear of butterflies by taking her to the Butterfly Garden. Meetings with Blair at Aldo Accessories. Re-creating scenes of Kathy’s in-office demise with plastic figurines.
Being back at the Museum brought me nothing but sadness. Sadness that hatred of being there was what held many of my friendships there together, and without it I lost some people who were really important to me. Sadness that the bad leadership continues to march on. And sadness that I don’t think I ever really loved those moments and those times as much as I should have, or as much as I do now looking back. But this is how nostalgia works, yes? We look back fondly on things that weren’t so great. I sometimes wonder if the things I am nostalgic for ever really existed, or if my desire to re-create those feelings that I only have now in retrospect is what makes me so unstatisfied with my current state of affairs.