Tuesday, 02 April, 2002
: Last night's conversation
with Pav mentioned that he was beginning to make plans for his future. That's
been running around my head today now. He asked where I thought I would be in
30 years, and I said I hoped that I would be sitting on the porch of my house
with my wife and children on a similarly warm April evening. In truth though,
there are many outcomes that would be equally pleasant. I think what I want
the most is not to long for days gone by. I hope to be content with the life
I have chosen, whatever choices I may make.
I meet with my academic advisor to schedule my Autumn classes tomorrow. I'm
only just officially transferred into the business school so after two years
at university I feel like a Freshman again. At the very least I have, for all
practical purposes, every general education requirement completed. Aside from
a foreign culture class or two, I have only Business courses to take from here
on out. One less thing to worry about. And I have enjoyed my business classes
so far even if I have not been as diligence in the coursework as I ought to
have been. This will change from now on, even if it will not be noticed until
Ahhh, what else was it that I wanted to say...It's in the back of my head, but
it's not coming to me...
Oh yeah, the "Alpha Male" phenomenon that Pav noted at one time in
his writings. It is definitely an interesting observation. It seems that all
one must do is be reasonably sure of himself and he somehow commands more than
his share of respect among his fellows. My Sociology class is a good example
of this. It's a fairly small setting (small room, not small amount of people)
and I tend to harbour a more "classical" view than the professor (who
is a really great guy nonetheless) so I challenge his positions and offer a
decent amount of classical arguments and objections to the views presented.
There is a fine line though, and one must be careful not to overdo things. Rambling
becomes annoying to the other students rather quickly, as another member of
that same class is unintentionally illustrating very well. Confidence is good.
Thursday, 04 April, 2002
: Well, it's been a rather uneventful last
couple of days for me. I'm scheduled for classes in the Autumn now. I thought
my schedule would be a lot worse than it was owing to the lateness of my registration
appointment, but as it stands things are quite workable. No more three day weekends,
but that's not really something I can expect. Turns out that if I really want
to shoot for International Business, I'm going to have to do the 5th year Senior
thing. In order to get my scholarship to cover that, I'll have to pick up a
second major. Majoring in Finance is looking better and better.
Only two weeks of classes remaining this year, then Exams. In a little over
three weeks I'm done for the year. That means finding a job for the Summer and
finding a way to make a Typ. 901 transmission rebuild fit into my budget. I'm
looking forward to this Summer, if my internship plans go through as I hope
they will, it may well be my last summer at home for a few years. Scary to think
about. Exciting too though. It would be nice if I could pack up my friends as
easily as I can pack up my belongings though. I can think of a couple of people
in particular who I will miss terribly when I move away. Good think I enjoy
long road trips.
A good friend's life is changing drastically right now and she's been in my
thoughts a lot lately. I have not known her for very long, not quite two years,
and the more I learn about her, the more I see there is to learn. Pav was talking
the other night about how people adopt different personas in response to different
situations, and my friend is no different in that respect. She does wear the
masks better than almost anyone else I know though, I'm not even sure if she
knows when she's adopting a "mask" persona all the time. Not that
it's a conscious choice, but most people can see the mask unless they have worn
it for a long time. Every now and again though, the personas are dropped and
I'm rewarded with a look at her as herself. It might simply be my own projections,
but in those moments I sometimes think I see a lot of loneliness in her. Sadness.
But much potential, and much determination. She's going to be all right in time.
Sunday, 07 April, 2002
: Another Sunday night, feels earlier than it
really is because daylight savings time just kicked in at 02:00 this morning.
I was awake for the official switchover too, engaged in a highly interesting
conversation with Pav and Paige. Strange people they are, in the best possible
ways. I mean, where else am I going to find people my age who find it perfectly
normal that I should want a nice suite with a trenchcoat and a fedora? Also,
where else am I going to hear "sorry, had to go strain some cheese"
as an explanation when someone comes back into the conversation?
Reminds me of Friday night which I spent out on the town with some friends,
one of whom is currently fermenting milk. Yes, he's trying to make alcoholic
milk. No, I don't know why, and no, I'm not about to even think about how it
Got a Moody Blues album playing (Long Distance Voyager to be specific) and the
weather is turning Spring-like finally. Life is quite smooth right now. I'll
have to find a way to change that. Need some curves thrown in to keep things
interesting. Things are looking good. I have a lot of writing to do before the
week is out, but that's unimportant and easily enough dealt with. I missed listening
to the Moodies and to Cat Stevens. Must remember to keep them in the rotation.
Friday, 12 April, 2002
: OK, I know. Left this go for too long this
time. I'll get used to this frequent updates idea yet.
I'm sitting here listening to the Beach Boys, feeling the warm breezes from
my open window, and having a brief conversation with Paige. The world is full
of interesting people if one only bothers to seek them out. The Spring weather
almost makes the city bearable but there's still that "hemmed-in"
feeling I get from not having my network of backroads around for aimless driving.
I miss the old winding cart path that is Tontogany Creek Road. Nothing quite
like getting a nice four wheel drift going through a corner and steering the
car with the throttle. I definitely need to get the 914's transmission sorted
out this summer, it's exactly the car for tooling around at the lake late in
the summer. And since it's got an air-cooled flat four, I've now got a conversation-starter
if I see that redhead who was there last year driving an original VW Beetle.
(I'm human, sue me. haha)
In any case, I'm going out to the park right now. Maybe I'll revisit the journal
Sunday, 14 April, 2002
: Guess I ended up not revisiting the journal
on the 12th. I suppose that I really should have though, my time in the park
was more than well-spent.
So, you ask, just how was it well-spent? I finally found a place for my own
lonely meanderings. Down in a ravine is a nearly abandoned late 1930's footpath
that was originally blazed by the WPA. It's overgrown, eroded and hard to get
to anymore. Just doesn't get any better than that. The footpath follows a babbling
brook whose clear water is refreshingly cool when one immerses a hand or two
in it. I can still hear the stream, feel the coolness of the water and see the
ripples as the water runs past my hand, still pale from the winter.
Yesterday and today have been warm as well, even if rainy and a bit dreary.
There was a nice electrical storm earlier today, nice for the city at least;
I don't recall counting more than three thunderclaps. Perhaps it's just an oddity
of geography, or maybe I'm simply just not hear at the correct times of the
year, but Pittsburgh certainly seems to be lacking in the frequency of a good
strong thunderstorm. Still, the feeling in the air is there, and things are
feeling refreshed, even if I'm a little over-warm. The clouds are beginning
to break now, the pink light of sunset is reaching through the gaps.
The coming week has promise, things are going well. Life is good, as it always
is if I am only awake enough to see it.
Thursday, 18 April, 2002
: OK, I'm letting this thing lag a lot more
than I intended. Time to start putting my nose to the grindstone and developing
It's been a pretty good day today, all things considered. Sure, all the little
things kind of got screwed up, but the big things worked out as they usually
do. On the other hand, I could do without the big caffeinated damp spot on the
floor where I spilt the litre of Mountain Dew. It's been a fairly slow week
for me though, not a whole lot going on. It's the week before finals and everything
is being wrapped up. Only one class left to go to before exams. In about a week
I'm going to be back home. Now that I'm adjusting to things here at college,
I'm going home. Interesting.
The coming week will be fun at least. Only a few finals, most of the week is
free. Kick around the city with some friends. Ah Spring.
Speaking of Spring... I don't know if it's the time of year or if it's just
that certain facts about myself are filtering through my thick skull at a rather
coincidental time. Probably the latter. Almost certainly the latter now that
I think about it. Regardless though I'm feeling better about myself and about
my prospects for relationships (platonic included) than I have in a long while.
It's interesting to notice just how much emphasis is placed up on the non-platonic
male-female relationship in our culture though. I've started looking for instances
where the ideal of the "couple" is reinforced in media and popular
culture and it's amazingly pervasive. It seems that we're almost expected to
be more "in" a relationship than "out" of one once we reach
eighteen or nineteen. We're expected to be out "playing the field"
and other such claptrap.
It's just this expectation that creates all sorts of problems in the male-female
dynamic though. Heck, the idea of a special dynamic for male-female relationships
as opposed to the dynamic of simple friendship among a group consisting of a
single sex creates all sorts of problems for its dynamic. The idea that men
and women don't usually interact without some sort of non-platonic factor eventually
induces a non-platonic factor in relationships which would otherwise remain
uncluttered and unconfused. As it is, we consistently involve ourselves in relationships
that are complicated by our desire to find symbols where there are none and
to search for some hidden meaning in normal gestures. I say, to hell with it
all. Enjoy someone's company and leave it at that. Now I just have to work at
de-conditioning myself so that I can get past the ideas of male-female relationships
that have been programmed into me by the culture.
In all of this, however, it is important for one to realise that I do not mean
to condemn the traditional view of the male-female relationship. In fact, I
would be very happy to find such a relationship for myself at some point further
down the road in my life. Still, I feel that there are too many potential friendships
which are sacrificed because of our occupation with the traditional dynamic.
There are great numbers of interesting people and many worthwhile friendships
to be had, it would be a shame for us to only focus on the opposite sex as a
potential mate and ignore their capacity for legitimate and rewarding platonic
Wow, that got really long, really quickly. I like it though. I love it when
I write and the ideas just flow.
OK, something unprecidented has just happened. I have updated this journal twice
in one day. Must be a good day.
Anyway, I got to thinking about my conversation with Paige earlier when I mentioned
my curmudgeon persona. I'm starting to realise that the reason I'm considered
"old-fashioned" is largely because I choose not to embrace hedonism,
or, at the very least, admire those who do embrace hedonism. Also, I'm largely
immovable on positions of principle. People of my age bracket (I hesitate to
say "generation" since I fit in better with the values and ideas of
my grandfather's generation) are interesting to observe. There are so many things
with which I simply disagree no matter how much I may believe them to be pleasurable.
Perhaps the best example of this is the idea of "friends with benefits".
Maybe it's just me being hopelessly outdated but I have to wonder from just
where such ideas came. I'm sure that I'll look like a clueless reactionary here
but to me the idea of sex without an emotional committment seems wrong. I'm
not saying that marriage should necessarily be a prerequisite, but I'd like
to think that if I were sharing that level of physical intimacy with another
person there would also be a high level of emotional intimacy. Maybe I'm completely
off base in the modern world, but I would like to think that physical intimacy
is an expression of mutual affection, not just something that we do because
it feels good. In short, I think it should be a symbol for an intense emotional
connection and not something that's done because the two people have nothing
better to do on a Friday night.
Sunday, 21 April, 2002
: Well, not a lot has been going on this weekend.
I've been emptying my mind in preparation for finals, let us see what comes
floating back in tonight.
Ah, Home. The one thing that truly never leaves my mind. Though I may live in
many other places, they will never be home. I will go back there to make my
own life someday. Some are drawn to the endless buzz of the city, like moths
to the streetlamps, and they see the endless bustle as somehow more "alive"
than the sleepy countryside. Their choice, and a good choice at that, but it's
not the choice that I can make. I just don't ever feel as though I "fit"
in the mosaic of the city, the guy who picks up the freshly cut grass and inhales
the scent is not generally the guy who is fitting into the city life. There's
enough of a Tom Bombadil streak in me to prefer the more wild areas. Concrete
walkways just don't quite cut it.
Going home also means being with my family again. Another aspect in which I
seem to differ markedly from my peers; I enjoy my family. Not that we all get
along all the time, but my mother and father (and even my sister) are very important
to me. That sounds different than I intended it to, I don't mean to imply that
other people's families are not important to them. I guess it's just that I
truly enjoy spending time with them, it's not a burden on me, I don't really
have any issues with my family. I am also looking very much forward to spending
time with my grandparents this summer. I suppose that it's different from before,
not in that I care about them any more than I ever have, but having lost two
in the last two years I've been shocked into the realisation that they won't
always be around. It's one of those things that we always know but never really
think about until it's too late. I won't be wasting my time with them anymore.
Sometimes I wonder what the random person stumbling across these pages thinks
about them. I'm sure that a lot of it just looks like the ravings of someone
who's not quite in touch with things. And the truth is, that's the right assessment.
I'm not quite in touch. I don't want to be in touch. It's nice being just a
wee bit outside the lines, there are some fine things to be seen and some fine
thoughts to be thought of.
Monday, 22 April, 2002
: OK, so what happened today? Not all that much
that I feel like putting up here. Had a study session that consisted (as most
truly good study sessions do) mainly of normal conversation which just happened
to take place in an area with a few course materials scattered around. Ah, the
beginnings of friendship, when we are still trying to get the feel of the other
person. Except that this time I'm perfectly comfortable. Normally I have some
sort of awkward period of trying to feel the other person out, but not so much
this time. It's nice to just be able to slip into something without the cover
of a mask or persona.
What else? Oh yes, the plans for this summer. I'm already looking forward to
driving up to New Hampshire again. The White Mountains are quite beautiful,
and it's about time I broke in my new tent. I'll probably end up going to New
Hampshire via Pittsburgh, spend a day or so in the city with the people I've
met here and be on my way again. If I get really ambitious (or really stupid)
I might even take the 'teener
. Of course, trusting
a 26 year old car on a 1,800 mile trip might be asking a bit much. On the other
hand, my daily driver has almost twice as many miles on it so I'm not sure which
car would be worse to take. In any case, I'll be making the trip.
This page © 2002 by Zenmervolt.