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Thu September 23, 2004
Happy Days Redux
Deja Vu, the complexities of time, and "The Way We Were".
By Nan Graham
Wilmington NC – [Click the Listen button to hear Nan's commentary.]
Time is a trickster. Sometimes it stretches endlessly?defying logic and your own internal timepiece. Think of the minutes at the doctors in that tiny waiting room after you have left the convivial crowd in the outer waiting room. A small forever.
Then on occasions time compresses into the wrong end of a chronometer telescope and shrinks into an unbelievable short band. Yoga always does that time compression thing to me. An hour long class shrivels to four minutes. But by far the most interesting are those moments when time doubles back on itself and you are caught in the cosmic loop.
We were invited to join friends on their sailboat Sea Fever for a trip to Bald Head Island where we would moor, enjoy a sumptuous dinner at the Island Restaurant and spend the night on the boat before returning to Wrightsville Beach. In a ten knot headwind after several hours of beating against the wind, our captain said we would never make Bald Head before midnight and we had better put in at Carolina Beach. We had never been to Carolina Beach so it was an adventure. Our hosts said that it wouldn?t exactly be the same flavor as Bald Head Island but that we could get a taste of Old Carolina Beach with its boardwalks, doughnut makers, colored lights, and some dirty dancing beach music, and penny arcades.
Jane and I, clad in our Bald Head Island shorts ensembles, sauntered out to reconnoiter the area for suitable restaurant while the men secured the lines, furled the jib and other such nautical necessities. As we approached the corner across from the filling station, a red convertible crept along the curb and stopped just a little ahead of us. The two occupants, both middle aged Fonzies straight out of ?Happy Days? turned and leered our way. The Fonz nearest the sidewalk grinned.
?You girls want to go to ride?? he drawled. We, ?girls? both fifty-something, looked at the two sideburned prospects and then at each other. We burst out laughing, we whopped, we snorted, we all but fell on the sidewalk in hysterics. We could not compose ourselves to speak.
The Fonzi were not amused. The convertible fled in a squeal of burning rubber. Little did they know that they had given two old dames a wondrous moment of time doubled back on itself. A step back into 1955.
Nan Graham is a lecturer in the Honors Department at UNCW, and a lifelong Southerner.