Jason hasn't been at Gleason's Gym in six years. He and his wife moved to San Diego. Now they're in town trailing a three year old son -- Winston. They all look great. I love getting in touch with my past, especially when yesterday visits me in the gym. Gleason's is my memory. My students are my bridge to myself. I walk over to them and shake the hands of continuity.
Jason's wife Angela took lessons with me ahead of Jason. Then she brought him into the gym. I looked forward to their lessons not to teach them but to chat with them. They were fun and two of the few people in Brooklyn who were conservative. I felt like we were a hidden coven that had to keep our opinions away from the liberals who could not tolerate dissension.
Angela and Winston go out for a walk while I give Jason a lesson. I'm shocked by how much he remembers. His footwork is great, his hook comes from the body not the arm and his straight left could take my nose off.
"Man, I must have taught you well," I say, giggling.
"You're the old professor," Jason says.
"I hope you're not voting for that clown Obama," I say. "He's ruined the economy, messed up the Middle East, abandoned Israel, kept us from drilling for oil and encouraged the OWS crowd to move towards revolution. When he came into office he bragged about uniting the country but he's the most divisive president we've ever had." The man is a dyspeptic beverage of lies."
"I'm not that Republican these days," he says, shyly, waiting for my response.
I'm shocked. He had been one of my few Republican acquaintances in Brooklyn. But I don't want to make a big deal of it. He's a friend. I don't want to turn him into a political debate like the liberals do. I don't want to make him fodder for an argument.
"Of course you're no longer that Republican. You live in California," I say.
"I don't like the Republicans' social stuff."
"What do you mean?" I ask.
"Aren't Republicans against abortions?" he says.
"Any human being who likes abortions is a monster. But, don't worry, Romney isn't going to make them illegal. If you can't take the blame, you shouldn't get the abortion," I say. "Do we have to try to feel good about every sin? I wouldn't want to knock anybody up. I'd pay for an abortion. But what does that make me? A creep. I accept it. I don't hide from responsibility," I say. "The problem is not having the abortion. It's being proud of it and bragging about it."
"I don't know."
"Don't you want to protect your son? You're in private equity. Do you want Obama shutting down Bain Capital and your firm? Obama encourages revolutionary activities by groups like OWS. He'll inflate the dollar to the point where there are riots. Do you want your house burned down in a riot because you have a rock star president who's plucking on the guitar strings of fire and liberal gullibility?" I say.
Angela and Winston come back into the gym. I go downstairs with all of them to get a sandwich and eat on a park bench. I don't bring up politics. I had already separated Jason from the herd and I hoped he was seeing things my way. Angela I wasn't sure of. And Winston was too young to vote.