Time Travel and Pancakes

Pancake invite this Sunday June 4 any time after 9am, bring your self and them, long form nostalgia below...

Time travel is real and google will prove it to you every time you get on street view. The street view of our house at 311 W. Anapamu is a patchwork of passes made by the many-lensed search engine’s roving watchers. From some angles my blue truck is visible parked nearby at the curb, full of camping firewood. In others you will catch glimpses of the recently departed 2002 Honda Civics. Peter’s storage van is ever present sliding one space forward or back. Peter claims he has moved that van twice a week to avoid street sweeping for over twenty-four years. When you look at our house from some angles it is bright spring daylight and the yard is empty. A lonely green bicycle is parked on the porch. There are no hammocks or PiƱatas. No stumps for splitting wood or ring toss on the post. Then you move the mouse and the street view rotates and suddenly there it is, the place where we huddle together to learn of the new baby on the way and the corner where we lean back in the folding chair and try to fight off the hangover with a big Bloody Mary. The nutty scrawny fake tree covered in light bulbs that my mom left for us in the closet when we moved in, is missing from one angle and then appears in the next. As street view slides down the alley toward our back gate you can catch a glimpse in the windows. A strange bottle of grocery-store shampoo in the bathroom window makes me feel there are strangers in my house, but really they are always there in this strange digital echo.

I looked around the floors of our house this morning, I think about a hundred years of renters dancing late into the night keeping the neighbors awake. Our house was where the front house on the corner used to keep the carriages. Then in 1915, just over a hundred years ago, the owners converted it into a duplex to house their grown children and spouses. Giving them enough privacy to start families. The floor plans are nearly identical, if you see Anne and Darrel you might bribe them into a tour of the upstairs with a beer or two. History of places falls through the floor boards and occasionally it is retrieved unintentionally by a wayward curious seeker who was looking for a bouncy ball that got away. We don’t have a comprehensive timeline for the activities of all the tenants of our house. We know some day people will be scooting through the holograms of google looking at their house wondering what kind of people lived in the house when the front yard was covered in tiny bright colored Nerf darts.

Many of you have been coming to pancakes since we lived up on Anacapa in the tiny one bedroom over the preschool with the big back patio and the view. But before that, a few short years ago we didn’t know any of you. Four years ago I could invite everyone to pancakes with a six person text, now this email will go to at least 151 email addresses. We built that you and I. We can call all the time we don’t have a record of as “before” and all the time I have known you as the “now”. Now is so much better than before. For many people we are still behaving like the before, they just haven’t come over and had that moment that saturates them yet. They haven’t leaned back in a folding chair on the porch trying to stay out of that damn sun that keeps making that hangover slightly worse sipping the bloody Mary that makes it slightly better. They still doubt our ability to make another batch of pancakes just because they showed up and that it is in fact, no trouble at all. Some people who live very near us are still skeptical that a community still exists that is waiting to meet them. Sometimes isolation creeps in to us like a lost dog and we feed it thinking we will make stronger and better and healthier. But sometimes feeding isolation leads to more stories about Netflix and less stories about real points of view from people who have strong reasoning and well researched facts. Which is to say, come visit our echo chamber it’s pretty nice in here with all the fresh opinions. People come and go but friends are never lost just missed.

Friday would have been my grandfather Merlin’s 95 birthday, he got me in the habit of checking in with people. Some morning I would only see him for 30 minutes, other times I would give him all day till dinner. I should be clear about that, he never asked me to leave, not once. Which is why I sometimes feel guilty that I didn’t linger more, that I didn’t make more excuses to fix something around his house. Sometimes I think what a stupid hurry I was in back then to get to the next thing as if this thing wasn’t enough. I still use his pace most days to get through being somewhere I didn’t plan to stick around as long. Like here in Santa Barbara this was supposed to be a two year tour, and it has turned into an eight year linger. On the best days he would sit on his porch and watch his yard and the street. Watching for gophers and hopped up kids in hot rods driving too fast down our dead end road. Often after one hot rod or another would pass he would tell me to go in the garage and find a piece of lumber or a rake and throw it out in the street for the inevitable return of the hot rod. Statute of limitations restrict me from providing further details of that story. My grandfather was big proponent of getting together. He would work real hard all week and then gather people up and hold them close. He would let you linger until you got fully checked in and knew who you were again. He would wait for me to see myself in the place and the pace of my origin. That knowing would carry me through whatever I had to do that week until I needed another reminder that no matter how far I got away from that front porch, I was not missing just missed. Come linger a while would you, its been too long and I need reminding. Bring all the loose characters you can find with in arms reach, they don’t have to be all the way awake just drag ‘em in their pajamas or bathing suits and lets find our way to the beach in the afternoon dig our toes in and remember the heroes who used to dance on our floors before us.


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