‘We Meet Every Day . . .’

As I pondered the autumn of 1972 this morning, I thought about something I wrote about six years back:

I remember finding myself at loose ends that season. During the year before, I’d had a group of folks around – fellow first-year students I’d met through a college orientation. We’d hung out together, done some short road trips and managed a few drunken weekends. We seemed pretty tight.

Then, as my sophomore year began, I took up with those same folks again, guys and gals both. And it no longer worked. We’d all changed since we’d first gotten together a year earlier, and we’d each moved in different directions. I recall spending part of a Friday evening with a couple of the guys who’d been central to my freshman year: Dave and Dave. We were in one Dave’s dorm room, yapping and listening to music. As Loggins and Messina told some gal that her mama didn’t dance, I listened to the Daves talk, and I realized I no longer felt like I belonged there. After a brief wait, I said something suitable and took off. I don’t think I ever saw either of the Daves socially again.

A few months later, as 1973 began, I met the first of the people from the group that became The Table, and the social life that defined the rest of my years on campus began to take shape. But for a while, I was adrift . . .

That almost made it sound as if I were desolate and friendless during November and December of 1972. It wasn’t quite that bad. I had mid-morning coffee with a few folks from my speech class. I was getting to know a couple of the guys who worked in the audio-visual distribution office in the library, where I spent ten hours a week. And pretty much every day when I left the distribution office, I had a Coke with an attractive young lady named Patty who staffed the main desk at the library during the same hours I was distributing AV equipment.

Patty, however, was seeing someone at the time – a bus driver, if I recall correctly – and Coke in Atwood was as far as that went. The guys in the office were fun, but we just worked together and that was all. And the folks from speech class were good folks, but they’d known each other going in and were already pretty tight. There wasn’t a lot of room for me there, it seemed. The only person in that bunch who seemed interested in getting to know me was a woman a few years older than I who was married but didn’t seem real interested in acting that way. That made me nervous, and I backed off, thinking no good could come out of that type of entanglement.

So as the autumn devolved into winter, I felt a little twinge every time I heard Billy Paul’s hit (No. 1 Billboard pop and R&B) of that season:

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