The 30th anniversary today. I was there in New York with some very good friends for the 10th anniversary. We had found this little Irish pub for a bit of dinner before going to the park. As happens sometimes when you’re young, dinner often becomes just the mattress in your stomach to cushion the countless ounces of beer, shooters, wine, and whatever else you choose to let free-fall down there.
So there we were, four of us, eating a steak sandwich for appearances, and ordering round after round of flaming sambucas, JD, Ghostbusters… not quite sure after that. We talked to a few people around us – how could you not, you’re sitting on top of people in New York – and I swear that they were all servers-slash-actors. Except one guy who was studying to be a lawyer. But he was a server.
We kept an eye on the time, and when it was time to go down to the Dakota, we asked for the bill. You’re leaving? the waitress asked. Yes, we said. Oh, well just a minute. Sure enough, a minute later, she came back. The manager would like to buy you a round before you leave. More Sambuca?
Okay, so we’re in downtown Manhattan, the West Side no less, just blocks from million-dollar homes over looking Central Park. We’ve had a few drinks. We’ve had a bit to eat. And the manager wants to buy us a round before we leave. Panic starts to seep in – we’re all in the biz, and we know just what it takes to trigger a “free” round in a normal town, never mind the heart of capitalism.
We down the Sambucas, sure that we’ve deserved it, and get the bill. It was – wait for it – something like $96. For four of us, not each. Relief is not the word. We plunked down our cash, giving the waitress a very healthy tip of course, and wandered down to Strawberry Fields.
The “ceremony” was very plastic. Some guy with a boom box (I think that’s what they called it back there, back then – do those even exist still?) organized the whole crowd standing outside of the Dakota, orchestrated the “hush”-ing, and then after the prerequisite minute of silence, hit play on his squeaky tape. It hissed out Imagine, just off cue (if it were a documentary, they’d fix that in post…)
Yes, all very contrived. We were right along the rope leading up the alleyway to the Dakota, so I had an excellent view of where he last walked exactly 10 years before. It was a little unsettling actually, like the way you try to ponder the end of the universe. Watching him in your mind’s eye making that last walk, silently screaming at him to stop…
I also thought about Yoko Ono, who I assumed was sitting up in the apartment, maybe looking down on the scene. There weren’t that many people really, maybe a couple of hundred. I’d expected a few thousand, but the Beatles were in a bit of a trough in popularity that particular year – you know how the Beatles are cyclical. I wondered if she was happy to see people or sad to see people or sad not to see more. I wondered if us being there impacted her own thoughts about the evening, and how she was remembering, and if we were getting in the way of that.
Then we were away. Getting on with our lives. 20 years later, we still are, even though a little piece of all of us is frozen in that moment that we first heard that John Lennon was dead.
(Novel Writing Totals)
Hours Today: 1
Words Today: 1,442
Hours Total: 61
Words Total: 82,349