One of my good friends, Mike grew up in Bartlesville and happened to be in town the same night as me. We checked out Sunfest 2008, a live music festival which was pretty lame, but I was in the mood for fair food after having been on the road for several hours, so it was alright by me. After we had enough of the angst filled live music; bands that seemed to be angry about having nothing to be angry about, or some other avante-guard-nuevo-gauche philosophy, we left.We visited a couple of local bars, and only a couple because there are, in point of fact, two bars in all of Bartlesville. That seems odd to me considering the blue-collar ethic of the place. After plying our whiskeys and rums we searched in vain for an all night diner. We settled for Taco Bell instead, haven't we all?
Mike said we should go to the "secret spot" but, warned me it would involve some hiking. We did not hike. We climbed. Up a tree and over to the roof of his old elementary school. To be honest, I was too inebriated to climb the sodding tree and instead I was lofted on to a rain gutter and pulled myself up from there. "I haven't been here in ten years." he said, once we were up. The roof had a commanding view of the town. Lights in the distance, the city and the homes of those who knew it was time to sleep and not time to trespass laid out before us.
On the roof we ate out burritos, and sprawled out on our backs with the whole of the night sky above us. Satellites and shooting stars whizzed overhead. The stars in their myriad and immovable setting twinkled and blinked. We talked about the nature of the world in the way that we might have done if we were ten years younger. Who created the universe? What happens after you die? Were our failures really blessings and so on.
It dawned on me as we reclined on the gravelly roof that we are never to old to stop and take it all in. The questions we had as teenagers never really get solved, we just stop questioning them. We tire, we give in and just accept the facts of the world. On the other hand, we are always questioning, we always struggle with faith and love and life. That is the lesson. No matter how comfortable or set in your ways you are, you should always try new things and have new experiences, no matter how ludicrous. In the end how you choose to deal with life is what matters, and that lesson is quite old school indeed.