Time In A Bottle

1982. I’ve left school, and done a secretarial course. My place at Oxford is in the bag.  A family friend has wrangled a job for me in Munich and I am feeling pretty grown up even if I am living in my Omi’s flat. I am smoking cigarettes at work and playing music (mostly Grace Jones) very loudly with the doors open, and more or less doing what I want because I have the run of the ‘gallery’ (a poster and framing shop). I sell the odd print, assemble the odd frame, but also just have strangers come in off the street and talk to me.

I was reminded of this period in my life because now we’re in May, life in Camden Town (where I work and which is always, er, ‘vibrant’) is hotting up.  Streets thick with groups of visiting teenagers from Holland, France and Germany.  Lord knows why they all want to do their shopping (shoplifting? the tiny Superdrug employs security) in this neck of the woods, with its stalls selling overpriced tat, but they do. And the other day as I crossed the street, I saw one of the many buskers had attracted quite a crowd. He was handsome and gave off an air of bored superiority as he sat strumming his guitar and crooning. The teenagers gawped at him, perhaps hoping they might catch his eye.

Time In A Bottle
If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I’d like to do
Is to save every day
‘Til eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you.
If I could make days last forever
If words could make wishes come true
I’d save every day like a treasure and then,
Again, I would spend them with you.
But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do
Once you find them.
I’ve looked around enough to know
That you’re the one I want to go
Through time with.
If I had a box just for wishes
And dreams that had never come true
The box would be empty
Except for the memory
Of how they were answered by you.
But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do
Once you find them.
I’ve looked around enough to know
That you’re the one I want to go
Through time with.

I often walked the streets of Munich in my gap year, and one day in a shopping district I stopped to listen to a busker. He was singing Jim Croce.  I don’t think any of the other passers-by knew the song or gave a shit. But I did. I can’t remember what the chap looked like, or what his name was.  I only know that I was smitten.  I can’t remember how we started talking, or what we said, but that evening I took him out to dinner. I thought it was quite romantic, and that I was quite the girl about town. Actually I was a silly teenager. But it’s sort of nice to remember. And I still like the song.  Tried to sing along just now and found myself crying.  Then, as now, I have nobody to whom the song refers (other than my children of course).  But, sentimental fool that I am, I still get choked up by it.  So easily manipulated still, and nostalgic.  And old.

 

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Florence Feynman

I am a middle aged, middle class woman, thinking.

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