I like history; the analysis of the temporal flow as experienced and expressed by humanity. I like learning about ancient battles almost as much as I like learning about the socio-political events that led up to those battles almost as much I as like learning about the interesting insights into human life, like there’s a bit of ancient Egyptian (bathroom-stall-style) graffiti showing (possibly) the pharaoh Hatshepsut (1473-1458 BC) having sex with one of her courtiers.
I especially like the organization of the historical record into different time frames, or epochs (non-geological of course). The Old Kingdom, Classical era, the Medieval period, the Enlightenment, and so on. Of course, these classifications apply to specific geographic regions and cultures. Europe may have been in the “Dark Ages” from ~ 500 – 1000 AD, but this period saw the rise of the Tang Dynasty in China, the Nara period in Japan, and the Classic period of the Maya.
While these periods can sometimes be defined with a specific date, as with the ascension of an emperor or the sacking of a city, the demarcation lines are far more nebulous. It is not as if the with the fall of the Western Roman Empire (WRE) in 476 AD all the educated Romans forgot how to read. The WRE was already crumbling before the Germanic revolt, as Britain had been abandoned 69 years earlier, then Rome was sacked three years later in 410 AD, and of course the Huns were having their fun around 444 AD.
In my own brief existence on this planet I’ve found that, long before pursuing history in academia, I loosely structured my life in similar epochs. But instead of using dates to demarcate historical periods I’ve used my friends and my closeness to them. These epochs could almost be defined in geographical terms, but I’ve found that using friendship has give a far more satisfying analysis as “what is said about men often has as much influence on their lives, and particularly on their destinies, as what they do” (Les Misérables, Hugo) and who should say the most about us but our friends.
I also realized, early on, that I had different spheres of friends; in high school terms it’s cliques. But I rather dislike the term cliques so I use the term spheres because it was apparent that while social groups do coalesce I rarely, if ever, encountered the stereotyped shunning of others outside one’s predominant sphere (at least in high school, in middle school the exclusivity of the spheres was more pronounced, at least in my own experience).
Below is a rough outline of the major epochs and spheres in my life. This is not definitive and it is the first time I’ve put them down in a concrete list. It’s also not meant to indicate value. It is a list of friendship groups, the key-word being “friend”; valued humans in my life, and is in roughly chronological order.
- Pre-history Epoch, a cloudy era of half-remembered events.
- Elementary Epoch, the era of first friendships
- Camel Rock Sphere (after-school friends)
- Mountain View Sphere (school friends)
- Red Desert Sphere (individuals living outside the first two spheres)
- Dark Ages (Middle-school)
- Us Geeky Few Sphere (school friends)
- The Great Vintage Sphere (after-school friends)
- Silver Age of Gaming
- Dice & Pipe-bombs Sphere (after-school friends)
- Donut World Sphere (school friends)
- “Somebody bring me a brick” Sphere (football/wrestling friends)
- SLO Excursion Sphere (summer friends)
- Golden Age of Gaming
- Shadowrunners (gamer friends)
- Volvo Treeforts (school friends)
- Beautiful Underworld (neuvo-beatnik friends)
- Thespians (theater friends)
- Coffee Shop Nights (work friends)
- Northern Sojourning
- Traminer and Beyond Sphere (college friends)
- Bookstore Gamers Sphere (work friends)
- Camino Calligula Sphere
- Nuevo-Beatniks part Duex Sphere
- Costa Mesa Codex
- The Crew Sphere (boat-drinks)
- Rizzolirow Sphere (work friends)
- Lovage Sphere (starting a family)
- New Roots
- FizziksFreaks Sphere (college/work friends)
- New Golden Age Gamers Sphere (gamer friends)
- Realms of Chaos (present)
- Sonoma E/PO Sphere (work friends)
- Voodoo Sphere (work friends)
- Condor Crew Sphere (work friends)
- New Golden Age Gamers Continuation Sphere
- One Sphere to Rule Them All (Social Networks tying all the spheres and Epochs together)