Thursday, September 2, 2004

Entry 2135 Going Back

Well it's been almost a year since I rejoined my old company.

Now, I've never been a big fan of "going back" a previous relationship, a previous way of life, a previous employer, or somewhere I've lived before. However I have managed, since 2002, to hit three of those four. While the less said the better about the return to the previous relationship ("Just keep the Margaritas coming, there, Barkeep!"), the return to Tucson wasn't so bad (although I would rather be in Phoenix, thank you very much)...and returning to my old job turned out to be one of the things that has really made me want to get up in the morning.

I would never have guessed that back in 2002 when I left them. Believing that you should never burn bridges, I still left them with as much acrimony as a person could have toward anything, although I was careful to keep that hidden. After I left I even refused to go into any of the old accounts I had with them. But hey, things change...and many of the things that I hated about my old job have gone away, it seems.

For one thing, the whole process of getting the stuff into the stores has been greatly improved. I realized just how much when recently my handheld ordering device broke down, and I had to not only place orders with an older machine, like before, but also check in merchandise BY HAND. This means also looking for missing items BY added 30 minutes to each of my stops. By the end of the day I knew pretty much EXACTLY why I had left, before....

So, soon it will be a's hard for me to believe it's been that long already! I just hope that it doesn't get worse, only better. As someone much wiser than me once said, "the only inevitability is change"...or something like that, anyway.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

Entry 2035 Some Things Should Not Be Asked

Not too long ago I was accused of being angry and bitter in discussing ex-girlfriends.

Well, maybe “accused” is too strong. Let’s just say that, in a conversation after a date, I was told that my attitude toward some ex-girlfriends was somewhat less than healthy. I think the actual terms she used were…angry and bitter.

The thing that I find most amusing about this is…she asked.

If somebody asks why a longer relationship you’ve had ended, the answer is not likely that one person joined the French Foreign Legion. I would expect the answer to be infidelity, lying, drinking, any of the nasty things that characterize any relationship ending. Or, you just grew apart…or didn’t grow together, which is not necessarily the same thing. Point being, it’s probably not going to be a pretty answer. In fact, if you have such an answer, they’re not going to believe you.

“Billy was a wonderful guy…but after seven years of us being happy together he met his Soul Mate at the gym…I wish them both all the best.”

Uuuuhhh no. I don’t think so. I would be asking…so how do you really feel? I mean, REALLY?  Yes, it’s normal to forgive and forget…it’s healthy. But you must’ve had some feelings about it, when it happened. And that’s what I’m talking about…and that’s how I described these past relationships. They’re in the past now…I don’t have any resentment or “darker emotions” about them. But while it was going on, the ending part, that might’ve been a different story.

Hey I’ve had my share of bad ones…and not all of them were the other person’s fault. Similarly, some of them were not all my fault. In this respect my past is not that much different than anyone else’s, I suppose.

Like, for example…let me tell you about what could have been the best relationship I ever had. No anger, no bitterness. But there is still…sadness.

When I moved to Arizona in 1987, I left behind the girl that I still believe should’ve been my wife. Not a day goes by that I don’t wonder about that…and just to summarize: the very weekend that I negotiated a real estate sale that allowed me, allowed us the opportunity to leave, to get away from the Sunset Grill existence that we had and start a new life, of which we were richly deserving…ah, Fate!

“Do you remember that pain I’ve had in my side for three weeks? I have a cyst on one of my ovaries.”

You could hear the doors, all of them, slowly slamming shut. She couldn’t leave…I couldn’t stay. Ironically, months before I met her I had been to AZ for the second time. When we met I talked about it all the time. But slowly, I forgot…or I allowed myself to just settle for what was my existence.

“Let’s go down to the Sunset Grill, watch the working girls go by,
Watch the basket people mumble, and gaze out into the auburn sky.
Maybe we’ll leave by springtime…meanwhile, have another beer….
What would we do without all these freaks anyway? And besides—
All our friends are here.”

(And YOU KNOW at the end of that song—they ain’t leaving. They’ll talk about it until they die…but they ain’t leaving.)

Well that was me…until 1986. It was April of that year that she and I vacationed here, in AZ. And the dream that I had nearly let die—the dream of living here—came roaring back to life…thanks to her.

I was lying by the pool at the now defunct Motel 6 on Grant Road and I-10 in Tucson…it was about 6 pm. Suddenly she ran excitedly from our room, yelling my name…she had been calling apartment complexes…she had found a couple that she liked.

We visited…and soon we had found our prospective future home.

When we returned to Pittsburgh a few days later—a city that I still deeply love—and saw the banners proclaiming it as “America’s Most Livable City”, as chosen by Places Rated Almanac…we saw the sleet and the clouds, felt the 30 degree wind, all after a week of 80 degree temperatures….

We muttered to each other, “Yeah? Well, when does the next PLANE leave?”

We tried to save our money…but there was always something. We grew discouraged. While at lunch with her father one weekend, we confessed to him that our dream was very far away…both literally and figuratively.

And then, several months later…my good news. And her bad.

She shared a health history with her brother…he had thyroid cancer. He beat it, eventually. But she was scared.

She ain’t leaving.

All she could talk about was how concerned she was. It consumed her, and rightfully so.

And I ain’t staying.

And all I could talk about was how I couldn’t wait to go, to get away.

It consumed me, too. And also…perhaps rightfully so.

And, just so you don’t think that I was some kind of idiot for leaving her, despite how I felt about moving to AZ...there was more too. How she took up with, became involved with a man almost twice her age, who had been married twice before. How he couldn’t have any more children. How desperately she wanted children…how she should have had my children.

How I was still there while this all started, and for months as it went on. How it broke my heart.

How I guess she did it because she knew I was leaving.

I walked the beach in Ocean City, Maryland…my life was like a flooded basement. But I’ve told you all this before.

We made love for the last time, the night before I left. How detached she was…compared to our glorious past, how disappointing and sad it was. How I told her it was the worst sex I had ever had. How…she cried. How she shouted out her car window that she loved me for the last time, as she drove away…for the last time.

I was certain that I would never see her again.

For years I carried a torch for her…God, I missed her, and the life we could have had!

But it’s okay…life goes on. I hope she’s happy…honestly I do. Years ago I moved least, I tried to. I learned to try and accept what happened…but I will never understand the why, or the how of the circumstances that pulled us apart.

I’ve had some relationships since then…but none that could truly compare. But regardless--I certainly tried.

If you ask what happened with some of my past girlfriends…some of what I say you might not like. But all of it is the truth…I don’t have secrets. I’ll tell you whatever you want to know, whatever you feel you should know.

But hey, just remember--you asked…!

Wednesday, July 7, 2004

Entry 2016 (Revised, from Entry 1950) 'Why'?

"How many times do I have to try to tell you
That I'm sorry for the things I've done
But when I start to try to tell you
That's when you have to tell me
Hey... this kind of trouble's only just begun
I tell myself too many times
Why don't you ever learn to keep your big mouth shut
That's why it hurts so bad to hear the words
That keep on falling from your mouth
Falling from your mouth
Falling from your mouth
Tell me...

I may be mad
I may be blind
I may be viciously unkind
But I can still read what you're thinking
And I've heard is said too many times
That you'd be better off
Why can't you see this boat is sinking
(this boat is sinking this boat is sinking)
Let's go down to the water's edge
And we can cast away those doubts
Some things are better left unsaid
But they still turn me inside out
Turning inside out turning inside out
Tell me...
Tell me...

This is the book I never read
These are the words I never said
This is the path I'll never tread
These are the dreams I'll dream instead
This is the joy that's seldom spread
These are the tears...
The tears we shed
This is the fear
This is the dread
These are the contents of my head
And these are the years that we have spent
And this is what they represent
And this is how I feel
Do you know how I feel ?
'cause i don't think you know how I feel
I don't think you know what I feel
I don't think you know what I feel
You don't know what I feel."

—“Why", Annie Lennox, 1992. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Entry 1911 'Always Forever'

"Feels like ... I'm standing in a Timeless Dream ...
of Light Mists ... of pale amber rose
Feels like ... I'm lost in a Deep Cloud of Heavenly Scent
Touching ... Discovering You ...
Those days ... of Warm Rains come rushing back to me
Miles of windless ... Summer Night Air ..
Secret moments ... shared in the heat of the afternoon
Out of the Stillness ...
Soft spoken words ...
I Love You Always Forever Near and Far Closer Together
Everywhere I Will Be With You Everything I Do for You (Repeat)
You've Got ... the most unbelievable [Green] Eyes I've ever seen
You've Got ... me almost Melting Away
As we Lay There ... under a blue sky with Pure White Stars ...
Exotic Sweetness ... a magical time ...

Say you'll Love, Love Me Forever
Never Stop, Not for Whatever
Near and Far and Always and Everywhere and Everything
Say you'll Love, Love Me Forever
Never Stop, Not for Whatever
Near and Far and Always and Everywhere and Everything (Repeat)
I love you always forever near and far closer together everywhere I will be with you
everything I will do for you ...."

--Donna Lewis, "I Love You Always Forever"

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Entry 1893 The Enlarging Doors Theory

I drove past the Foothills Apartments today, for the first time in years. Of course I was moved to think about all the great times our short-lived group had there, from 1987-90. There were about 20 of us, from all parts of the country and all walks of life, as the cliche goes. That wasn't that long ago. Still, I will likely never see most of them again...the rest, I might run into at the DMV or something like that. Another cliche...the ships passing in the night analogy is dead on, took 2-3 years, but we all passed by each other, each on the way to the rest of our lives.

There's much more to be said about that, at another time...more stories to tell. Right now I'm reminded of a Bob Dylan poem, of all things, that pretty much EXACTLY sums up how friends meet and then part. For example, if you make friends at your job and then you leave that job, likely eventually you will leave those people. YOU DON"T HAVE ANYTHING ELSE IN COMMON, outside of that job.

“First of all two people get
together and they want their doors
enlarged. Second of all, more
people see what’s happenin’ an
come to help with the door
enlargement. The ones that arrive
however have nothin’ more than
“let’s get these doors enlarged”
to say to the ones who were
there in the first place.

It follows then that
the whole thing revolves around
nothing but this door enlargement idea.

Third of all, there’s a group now existing
and the only thing that keeps them friends
is that they all want the doors enlarged.

Obviously. the doors are then enlarged.

Fourth of all,
after this enlargement
the group has to find
something else to keep
them together or
else the door enlargement
will prove to be

--Bob Dylan (a poem from the collection included in the CD release “Another Side of Bob Dylan”)

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Entry 0002 Introduction; Entry 1987 Being An Allegory Of A Flooded Basement

I have to tell you a story.

It’s a story that is made up of both fiction and fact. A story told in episodes much like that of a journal, but in a mostly nonchronological order.

It is woven with rich and vibrant colors. It’s much bigger than just a weblog…it’s the events that categorize one person’s life. And I have spent much time living it, this tale I have…that I will now share with you.

I have to tell you a story.


Being An Allegory Of A Flooded Basement

There are many stories I have to tell. Some have been told to me, others I have experienced…some others just need escape into the open air, to be freed from imagination.

This Ocean City story is one such experience.

Now, there are many Ocean City stories…there was the burglary of my hotel room in 1982, the humorous attempt with my antique saxophone to imitate Grover Washington Jr. as seen in an old television ad, and the Tram Riding experience while I was under the effects of various illegal drugs. There was my close friend leaving a prized apparel purchase inside a restaurant there, some music I heard that will never be forgotten from legendary radio station 100KHI, sleeping on the beach (and another time that featured sex on it at dawn)…and so on.

And, this is Ocean City, Maryland. Not the imitation in New Jersey that shares the same name. (If you’re from there—I’m sorry.)

This experience occurred just before I came to live here in the Southwest…I was wading through the flooded basement of my love life, looking at things here and there that were still floating on its surface. A relationship that I had for almost 3 years was behaving like a patient slowly dying of a nasty infection. We had named our future children…we had bought art and knickknacks for our future home. Now, dealing with this thing that sure seemed like the flooded basement of our past lives together, I was left as many ARE with flooded basements, wondering how it happened.

This is a whole ‘nother story altogether, however. In the days that I wondered around in that metaphorical basement—for about three months—I questioned many things, chiefly love and romance. And I found myself in Ocean City about three weeks before I was to move away, for what I thought might be my last visit, with one of my best friends and his college roommate. After we had gone to some of the local drinking establishments, hoisting and toppling a few, we were ready to head back to where we were going to spend the night, and I determined at that point that I wanted to walk the Boardwalk one last time, and “traffic with the ghosts”. The hotel where I had stayed for years was many blocks away, and my little group objected, but it was something I believed I should do…so I started off.

I was near 4th Street…the hotel is at the north end of the Boardwalk, at about 26th Street. Because all the action was more and more going on behind me, and it was 11 o’clock at night, there were fewer and fewer people out walking as I moved on. For those who have never seen a Boardwalk…well, it’s beyond my scope here to describe it. Besides being the subject of a great Drifters song, it’s just something you have to experience.

And, in my walking, I expected to find nothing but the end of the Boardwalk and the hotel situated thereon. I was alone now, walking all by myself…except--wait! What was this?

People all dressed up. I mean, really dressed up. Suits, and formal dresses (and this was June!).

I approached…I was invisible to them. As memory serves me, I sort of floated by--as a spirit, able to see but was unseen--and I could not stop staring at them.

Here, a man and woman, probably 30s or so. Two children, boy and girl, maybe 6 or 7 years old, also dressed up in that sort of junior formalwear that makes young children look so cute and adorable.

And, just coming off the beach, walking up the wooden steps to the Boardwalk and the street light where the others were…a teenaged couple, also dressed up.

Well, honestly, this scene all by itself was not all that noteworthy…certainly not so much that it would still burn in my memory years and years later.

But  what made it so was what happened next…I was just passing them now, but I stopped and turned around, observed in wonder.

When the couple got to the top of the steps the girl said to the man, “Look, Daddy, I got engaged just now. Just NOW!”

They all looked at her left hand…all attention was on her left hand. She hugged her father, her mother hugged the young man, then she turned to her mom and they embraced. Her new fiancĂ© turned now to the father, and shook his hand in that awkward I’m-trying-to-be-really-mature way, the young man stretching to his full height.

The two children, stretching to see what was going on…now she held her hand down for them to see, to admire.

I witnessed all this…I was enthralled. I believed I was meant to see this…not that it was staged just for me, or anything—because clearly it didn’t need ME there to have it happen. And, a few seconds in either direction—late or early—and I would’ve missed the whole point, the reason it was so special.

I believe that life is full of bad news to be sure…but there is plenty of GOOD, too. The trick is being able to find it, to recognize it when it happens, and spend as much time enjoying it as dwelling on the bad times.

I thought of emotional flooded basements…I thought of leaving and starting over, perhaps, in a new home, a new place, leaving my past life behind. Going through what I was going through at the time, this sure seemed to be a sign meant for me. That I should not give up on romance, that I should not become bitter, that there could actually be…hope.

Years later, I still remember this scene. I try to still believe there is hope. There are many times since when I have thought back and wondered why I was shown this…what it means. Maybe it means nothing…or maybe it means that hope is still there.

I have never forgotten…and I’m still waiting.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Entry 0001 First Off, Some Important Words

"As I look into your eyes I see the sunrise, the light behind your face helps me realise.

Will we sleep and sometimes love until the moon shines? Maybe the next time I'll be yours and maybe you'll be mine.

I don't know if it's even in your mind at all. It could be me, at this moment in time. Is it in your mind at all? It should be me, it could be me; forever.

Wandering through life will love come home to you, and the love you want forever will they be true to you?

Will we sleep and sometimes love until the moon shines? Maybe the next time I'll be yours and maybe you'll be mine.

I don't know if it's even in your mind at all. It could be me, at this moment in time. Is it in your mind at all? It should be me, it could be me; forever."

("Sunrise", by Simply Red. All copyrights reserved by their respective owners. 2003 ltd)

--For the Impish One.

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