The MacGuffin of the 1994 movie “Star Trek: Generations” is a place called The Nexus, a place in a reality beyond ours in which a person’s perfect life is manifest. One of the key conceits of The Nexus is time doesn’t pass there; each person who enters it always existed and always will.
I think I found a tiny little pocket Nexus earlier this month.
A couple weeks ago, my wife and I took a dinner cruise around Manhattan in celebration of her birthday, which was in May, but that’s the busy world in which we live.
I was shooting for elegance, because anyone who knows me will tell you I’m nothing if not elegant. What we got was a fun cruise that gave us great views on the deck of the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty, but was basically a night club dance party inside after the sun went down.
Like I said; fun, not overly elegant.
Fist pumps and remixes aside, what struck me over the course of our three-hour tour was the eclectic nature of the celebrations going on around us.
At this juncture, I’m going to tell you we were celebrating my wife’s 40th birthday. Don’t worry about that revelation; she’s a marathon runner and it shows.
Plus, I asked her permission and she said it was OK.
It’s important you know her age, and mine for that matter, because we represent a certain demographic and a certain stage of life; a different demographic and stage of life than those of our fellow passengers celebrating around us.
There was the woman who just graduated from medical school. She was there with a group of, I’d imagine, friends, family and colleagues marking what I have to think is the end of a massive, grueling slog through the uppermost annals of higher education.
Then there was another woman, already a doctor but not part of the other woman’s party, who had just finished her residency, so she and her contingent were cruising the night away for that reason.
Two doctors at different stages of their careers and their lives. One boat.
Before our yacht even put to sea—or river, in this case—we noticed the captain marrying a couple on the top deck. That, the DJ would later inform the rest of us, was Lauren and Tonya, who sat with their small wedding party in a corner of the main deck and danced when it suited them until it was time for their first official dance as a married couple.
It was nice to see.
One wedding, two doctors and at least one birthday on one boat. None of the people involved the same age, all bringing the sum of their experiences to that one evening of fun and, presumably, none of us will ever see each other again.
Kind of an interesting situation when you think about it. It’s like that yacht was one big fist in which we were all clenched over the East River for a moment before it released us back to our lives like so many happy dice.
And if you like that metaphor and simile, that bridge in Brooklyn might be for sale.
I suppose the thing that fascinated me about that experience was disparate people made the same choice for their disparate celebrations. Taken together as passengers, we all shared the same experience while, as individuals, we were all there for different reasons.
The wedding, the 40th birthday, the graduation from medical school and the end of a physician’s residency; they could be, and so many times are, points in one journey through life. But two weeks ago aboard a cruise around the isle of Manhattan, they were four parts of four lives, each on a different path, intersecting for one moment before continuing on their respective way.
No starship needed.