Random Musings

March 2002

Thursday, 14 March, 2002: Yup, it's been more than two months since I've gotten around to this site. My ebbing and flowing seems to ebb more than flow, mainly from my own laziness I think. The angst just isn't there so much anymore, I'm starting to feel that I might just make it through all this alive after all. ;-)  I still hate the city though. There's an enmity that I don't think will ever go away, but I think that the city and I have come to a sort of mutual agreement to go about our own business and not bother with each other unless we have to. Works well for me. Thanks to the efforts of a couple friends of mine, I have become introduced to Country Music (bands like Alabama, Brooks & Dunn, and Charlie Daniels). I'm still trying to work out whether this is a Very Bad Thing or not, but I'm embracing it nonetheless because I enjoy it. Maybe it's just the subtle "anti-city-ness" in the songs as they extoll the simple virtues of "the middle-sized towns in the middle of the middle-west". :-)  Maybe it's just that things always look best once one enters the home stretch, or maybe the warm weather is getting to my head, or maybe certain other things that are happening in my life right now are getting to my head. Regardless, I feel now as though the current is flowing with me, even as I realise that it is I who is flowing (finally) with the current. Things inside me long sleeping are waking again. I didn't let them back in, they have snuck in with the cat methinks. Not that I really mind, I've been missing them lately and their subtly awakening presence is a welcome change. So I am inviting them in. I have not the proper food for their welcome, but being what they are I know they do not mind. Spring is coming. My 20th natural spring by the calendar, but I think it may still be my first spring. I am thankful that I have not missed it before it passed me by.

Friday, 15 March, 2002: I feel free. ("bum bum bum ba bum bum") Those who would tell you that Hope remains locked away inside Pandora's box need to spend some time laying on their back in a field on a warm March afternoon counting the hawks as they fly by. The weekend is upon me once again. For the first time in three weeks, Friday does not find me already gone. I have, as the Eagles say, "A peaceful, easy feelin'", I'm not apathetic, but I don't really care what comes either. Whatever move I make, I know I will make the right one as long as I listen to what the world is telling me, so why should I worry?

A frontal system is coming through the city this evening, I can feel it in the air. The feeling I get from the air when a front passes through may be my favorite feeling next to the feeling of a warm, soft Spring rain as I watch it envelope my world from an open porch or from under the boughs of a tree. It will be cool again tomorrow, though still quite warm enough to be pleasant. The air coming in through my window gets cooler as I write this, but it is more invigorating than uncomfortable.

I have been wondering a lot about the summer ahead of me. It may be my last summer spent at home should I get the internship I want in 2003. After spending so much time worrying about my friends scattering, it seems that I may be doing some scattering of my own. This bothers me in an increasingly smaller amount as I begin to see how well we are remaining friends despite distances. My fear that I would not meet people easily is proving true, but of almost no consequence despite that. I have met people, many of whom have proven most interesting, and some of whom are uniquely so. I am confident that my motion is in the right direction, I cannot see the "matrix", but I believe I have caught a glimpse.

Sunday, 17 March, 2002: As we get older, we supposedly get wiser. I'm not too sure about that, but we do continue to learn new things as we age. For example, I'm learning not to listen to songs like "She Ain't No Ordinary Girl" or "Let My Love Open The Door" after talking with a certain friend of mine. Simply not conducive to a positive mental state. Friendship can be almost painful at times. Still, the highs are more than worth the lows. I think.

I hate myself when I give her glimpses of what's going on underneath my surface though. It's all my problem and yet I invariably end up burdening others with it. When I bring it up with other close friends, I know that it's mostly because I know they will assuage my insecurities, and I can trust them not to mind. But I don't know why I can't help myself from dropping hints to her. On second thought I know why I do that, it's because I have some hopelessly irrational hope that she will suddenly change her point of view. Which is about as stupid as I can possibly get. But I do it anyway, only to curse myself for it later because I know that it adds an awkwardness into our dynamic, even if only for a brief moment. Yes, I bring it all on myself. I know this. Doesn't mean that I feel any more obligated to shut up about it. Besides, it's my site and I'll complain if I want to.

There's not much else going on in my life right now. A few things are going on that have the potential to turn out nicely, but I'm not in the mood to trust good feelings right now. Maybe it's just end of the weekend doldrums. Maybe it's not. Either way, the net effect remains the same. It's times like this that I want to head outside and look up at the night sky. Lose myself. Free fall out into nothing. I need to detach myself from myself. If not need, certainly want. One the surface, and even underneath, my life is moving along nicely right now but for one reason or another I want to escape from it. I'm not sick of being the straight shooter. I still enjoy being a simple, straightforward guy. But I look at so many situations where being that guy just doesn't seem to work. Hopefully I'll sort a few things out this weekend when I'm home. I need to go read now, think I'll detach myself and put away a few chapters of Kerouac's "On The Road".

Sunday, 24 March 2002: The clock beside me says it's 02:40 in the morning, but it's an hour fast. A reminder that I wasn't home to change it way back in the fall when daylight savings time either began or ended, I'm never quite sure if it begins with setting the clocks forward, or if it begins with setting them back. Regardless, it's early in the morning of my second full day home for the weekend again. I day "again" because of the frequency with which I'm home. Despite being nearly 250 miles away from home rarely do three weeks go by without my making a trip home from college. The trips are generally the same too, though this one varied a bit from the norm it still contained the requisite visit with a particular friend. To borrow a line from a song, "I saw her again last night".

I go out of my way to see her more than I ought to I guess, but for one reason or another that doesn't change things. I kind of wonder what it's going to be like next year when she's found her way away from here and I won't have hanging out with her as an excuse to come home. Twenty minutes have gone by with me writing very little and staring at the ThinkPad's screen very much as I lay here in bed. Thoughts run through my head, but not thoughts I am yet willing to put down in type. Those who know me well enough can insinuate those thoughts quite clearly enough already and the less explicitly stated they are the better. Call it simply "plausible deniability".

It's now 30 minutes since I started typing this, and over an hour since I've been in bed waiting for sleep. There are more thoughts to be grasped if I am willing merely to make a stab at them. Regardless, I would rather grasp for sleep. I have lost enough sleep over the past 22 months because of this little matter and I'm not about to artificially inflate that number by rambling on too long while rambling on and on in Notepad. That's enough for tonight.

Monday, 25 March 2002: 18 more minutes and I'm no longer a teenager. An interesting thought. People seem to assume that tomorrow will be an exciting or special day for me, but for some reason I'm nonplused. I look back and I wonder if I ever truly was a teenager. Aside from trying to figure out who I am, I've not really exhibited the "normal" teenage traits. I've basically spent my teenage years trying to act as though I was 45 years old. I suppose that's not really bad, just different, but it does make me think. I wonder what it is about me that I don't seem to value the same things as my peers. O well, I suppose it's enough that I'm different. No, never mind that. It's a cop-out to avoid having to look at the question of why. I'll have to come back to this.

Well, I'm legally 20 now. 20 feels just like 19.

Drove the 248 miles back to Pitt this morning. About 140 of those miles were through a snowstorm. Nowhere near as bad as it was last year when I came home for Christmas during a storm that dropped about a foot and a half of snow. Beautiful just the same though. By the time I got to the Pennsylvania border the snow had become a cold, grey rain that didn't let up until I was in Pittsburgh proper. The day stayed grey though, matched my mood well upon returning. I had to take a detour through downtown because of construction at my normal exit. I was most impressed with how depressing the area was. All glittering storefronts pushing products that we are told will make us happy. Melancholy. That's the word for which I'm looking.

Melancholy, pensively reflective, wistful. Not enough people cultivate and nurture these feelings anymore. Certainly we can't just give in to them blindly and allow them to consume us, but if we take the time and effort to carefully develop them and watch where they lead, we can gain some interesting mental paths. At least, I think we can. If we stop to ponder the cause of these feelings instead of just trying to cover them up, there may be some interesting things to be found in the digging. I think I know what's bothering me right now. It's the same thing that has been bothering me for the past couple of days. It's what was bothering me last night.

Her road and mine don't run parallel, I know. She's running toward the city, I'm running farther away from it. Still, the curiosity refuses to leave. The little voice that whispers "what if?" will not go silent. Ah, but how can I expect to find a relationship when I cannot even find myself? I wonder what Pav must think of my spending so much thought on something like this. I wonder if it doesn't all sound extremely silly to one who has not had the desire yet to pursue this sort of thing. I should have talked with him when I had the opportunity this weekend as my mind is whirling lately. I suspect that it's nothing which would be greatly apart from thoughts that have gone before but I do not doubt that Pav would be able to see this from another angle, or at least ask the questions that would make me see it from another angle.

"I want back, I want back
Back to the time when the earth was green
And there was no high walls and the sea was clean
Don't stop that sun to shine, it's not yours or mine...no." -- Cat Stevens

"I'll tell you everything I've learned,
And 'Love' is all he said." -- Cat Stevens

Tuesday, 26 March 2002: Intelligence breeds a certain amount of stupidity in me. At the very least, it tends to encourage laxness. The whole "I didn't need to study last time" rationale is not the best idea in the world. Not much to be done about it this time though, all I can do is buckle down and push harder next time. Next time, I shall be ready.

"I've always been crazy, but it's kept me from going insane." Waylon Jennings was a wise man. Wiser perhaps than it would seem on first glance. If we don't indulge our little odd impulses, we don't vent and everything just builds up until we go insane. If we bothered to live by every little social convention that defines "sanity" we'd never be able to stay even remotely close to sane. Everyone needs to take the time to stand on a hill in the pouring rain, to splash - sandal clad - in puddles during a soft Spring rain, to wade through a rushing river in midsummer, to look with wonder and awe on a clear night sky and lose himself in the infinite vastness.

That's about it for the 20th birthday. Here's to another year of wandering and discovery. :-)

Saturday, 30 March, 2002: Long time, no update, I know. Thursday night when I was going to make a journal entry my network connection went all wonky (I really like that word) and it wasn't worth losing sleep to fiddle with. Friday night I was back home on dial-up and more importantly, I was celebrating my father's 50th birthday with my immediate family. Had a very nice dinner at an upscale local restaraunt, but that's beside the point since I enjoyed the time spent with my father far more than the steak. (Though a nicely done rare steak is among my favorite things in life.)

It seems that my close friends and I are something of rarities among most persons our age in that we enjoy spending time with our respective families. I know that in my case, the comforting effect of the fairly stable home environment plays a large role in this, but the people do as well. My little sister is interesting to observe. So very different from me she is. She's every bit as intelligent, but our personalities are far apart. Unlike me, my sister has a functioning right brain. ;-) She's delightfully crazy too, in the good way that seems common amongst crafty people. I still think that re-decorating the upstairs bathroom in neon green and purple is probably a bit over the line though. Then again...

So, what else did I have on my mind in these past few days...

Thursday was fairly uneventful in an absolute sense. I participated in a roundtable political discussion where I was told by socialists that I "make [them] sick". (The reason? I don't support a "living wage" of over $10 per hour as a minimum for all jobs.) Considering the source, I took it as a compliment. I didn't learn much from the incident though. The socialists walked out refusing to explain the reasoning they had for their position ("it's undebatable" was all they would say), and the various other political groups in attendance were all working from the same problem as I, even though we suggested differing solutions. I suppose that I did get a better look into the position of the Democrats and found (as I had already suspected) that they are much closer to Republicans (and vice-versa) than either side would like to admit. With the exception of the socialists, the discussion was a resounding success. Nice to know that most people are not such zealots.

Friday was largely taken up by the drive home. 248 miles if my odometer is still accurate after 14 years and 209,000 miles. It's about a four hour drive, and I don't stop. I like the drive though. There are a lot of people who don't care to drive for long distances, but it's almost cathartic for me. It's decompression time. Yes, I know. Most of my life is decompression time, but I'll take all of it that I can get. I seem to need a disproportionate amount of unwinding time. Crowds just drive me nuts, nothing kills my energy faster than being in a large crowd of people. Give me an evening alone or with a close friend over a large party any time. That's the best part of driving, the time to myself. Plus, there's nothing quite like the drive home. The turnpike cuts through acres of Ohio farmland, and to me this is as beautiful as it gets. The White Mountains in NH have their charms, and the West does call to me sometimes, but the flat Midwestern farmlands of Ohio will always be home.

I spent today with a group of old friends, people I've known from high school (and some from before that) who are as much a part of me as anyone can be. It's nice to have a group of people like that who know all the inside jokes and who find my idiosynchracies interesting. Friendships, like wines, get better as they age.

OK, what else was on my mind...Ah yes, her again. I talked with Pav about this at length. As I had anticipated, he offered some insightful views on the matter, at least, he was able to look at things from another angle than mine. I also like to think, if I may be so arrogant, that I offered some modicum of insight into some of the current goings-on in his life right now. I had hoped to see her again this weekend, but life has other plans it seems and she is busied with other things. I suppose that it's just as well though, since this way the next time I see her I will be done with college for the summer and I will have greater liberty to go over things with her in more detail.

Tomorrow is Easter. New life. Things are well. And Ash, if you happen across this, remember;

"If you need someone to count on, count me in,
Someone you can rely on, through thick and thin.
When you start to count the ones that you might ever doubt,
If you think of counting me, count me out.
If you need someone to count on, when you're down,
And all your other friends are lost, count me found.
Just be sure you count on me, when you're down and out,
Count me in through thick and thin or it don't count." -- Gary Lewis & The Playboys (1950's pop band)
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Last Updated:  30 March, 2002

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