out of the shadows

My sinuses are still punishing me.
Saturday night was outstanding. At last pre-sleep glance, the cellphone said it was nearing 4am, and my swimming head said it was an evening to remember. The plan was to meet up with old friends at a local brewpub, enjoy some beers and company. Turns out the chosen watering hole must be a popular place in town or something, because before the evening was through, a small crowd of old friends had amassed. People I hadn’t seen in years, people I hadn’t dreamed of seeing. It was all so awesome, seeing people, talking to people, hugging people. Everyone’s a long-lost best friend when you’re standing around outside drinking. I couldn’t do it every night, but had time and beer not beat me down ‘round 3am, I’d’ve stayed longer. I really want to write more about it, but I don’t know what to say. I don’t want to gush on as if it were “magical” or anything, but it sure was nice to see everyone again and catch up.

And even though I don’t smoke, I found myself having a couple “social cigarettes” Saturday night. Beer-induced smoking is a vice of mine, and sometimes I indulge it freely. So happened that this time, as I was sitting, drinking beer and smoking, up walked two girls from the past. They walked up and greeted the older, fatter, balder, me, all as I sat swilling beer and puffing pussyish Marlboro Lites. What a great visual statement I must have made on my current station in life. Not that I expect I was judged, just wish I hadn’t had a cigarette pinched firmly between my fingers as I hugged my hellos. It’s OK though, the morning finds my body punishing me for my lung-blackening moments of weakness – with the stuffy head and caved-in-chest feelings of the infrequent social smoker. Look at me… smoking, drinking, and starting sentences with “and.” I am a soul damned. Here are some ones and zeros from the evening:

Old habits die hard.

Like it was yesterday, 15 years yesterday.

Changing subjects…

Because we’re driving home from Mims, FL, I’m reminded of a good story. So, sit right back and you’ll hear a tale. A tale of a fateful trip. Four passengers set sail that day, aboard a tiny ship. They were: Me, my then-girlfriend, her mother and her step-dad. I had been dating this girl for a couple weeks, or months, or something. It was the first time I really did anything with her family. We hitched up the boat, picked up some sandwiches, and launched at the local public ramp. I think the trip was mostly a pleasure cruise, I don’t really remember the intent – other than my intent, hang out with my hot new girlfriend in her bathing suit. I don’t remember a lot of the trip, but one memory sticks out in my mind.

The boat was anchored in shallows right off some island in the river, and we decided to get out and clam. Clamming involves walking around in the shallows, waist-deep in the river, and burrowing into the riverbed with bare feet, feeling for shells. It was just her and I, her folks stayed on the boat. Which meant, for us, clamming involved making out in the shallows, searching hands obscured from sight by the waist-deep river. It’s such a fun memory for me. Feeling, and being felt, up beneath the water. Adolescence, makes for good memories.

Changing subjects…

Just arrived home on a cool Sunday afternoon. Turns out there was some mix up with the housekey we left so that the cat could be fed and her litter emptied. While not that big of a deal, the combination of fatigue and travel-wear made it a sore point for me. Already pissed, I flipped on the computer only to have it tell me one of the drives in my RAID array had failed. Great. Not in the mood, I give up and emptied the cat’s shit-brimming litter box as Sharaun picked up the nuggets she left in her favorite litterbox-overflow area of the living room carpet. Having not eaten since the pre-flight 5am meal and arriving home to bare cupboards only exacerbated my agitation. As if to seal me to my gloomy mood, the fates made this the day the TV decided that the flaky video-in jack would start acting up again.

Woe is me, what I horrid life I have! Surely I must suffer like no other on Earth, right? I mean, how could anyone, anywhere, possibly have a worse day than me? The toll of flying home from a week’s vacation spent with friends and family, arriving at the house which I own and inhabit with my beautiful wife, and now the picture on the TV is so crappy that I can barely make out the “for the price of one cup of coffee a day” kid with a distended belly and fly-filled eyes… like I said, I have it so bad. Order me a pizza before I take my own life.

Changing subjects…

Wow, wow, wow. Got home from Florida and checked my e-mail. There was one e-mail that I got while on vacation, but couldn’t open the attachments. Turns out it was from my oldest friend – Shaine. After meeting in the 5th grade, he became what I consider to be my first “best” friend. We kept in touch after my family moved to Florida, but eventually lost track of each other somewhere after high school. Later on, Shaine somehow found my e-mail address, and we got back in touch. We had a few years of sporadic communication, and then I got married and moved back to California. Somehow, we managed to get in touch again – and now we talk pretty regularly. This year I saw him for the fist time in 15 years, and even attended his wedding. Anyway, the e-mail that this paragraph started out talking about came from Shaine. I guess his mom found some old letters that I sent him, dating from sometime after I’d moved to Florida. If I were to guess, these came from mid to late 6th grade for me. How rare is it to have something like this?

As, I suppose, is to be expected of a letter to an old friend – I stretched the truth a bit to make my goings-on seem a bit more exciting, but to be honest I was surprised to see how close I stuck to the facts. The part about the fire pit and gas and singed leg-hair is 100% true, as is the part about sneaking over to “Mary Jo’s” place and playing spin-the-bottle. We were what, 12, 13? Walking the streets at 3am, 4am… insane. Anyway, the only part that’s fabricated is the part about the kissing. Looking back, I exposed my own ruse. The part where I say it was “great” because there were two guys and one girl… not exactly what I call a “great” spin-the-bottle scenario. No one kissed me, I just hung out. In fact, my first kiss wouldn’t come for another year and a half. I don’t know if anyone kissed anyone, really, for the most part I remember being bored, but excited about being somewhere I shouldn’t at a time I shouldn’t.

I wish I’d saved the letters I got from Shaine. The one I remember most came in an ordinary envelope, but had a strange bulge at the bottom corner. Upon opening it, I found a small rectangular “packet” of paper, tightly wrapped and taped for transit. Inside that packet was a solitary seed. “Mexican Redhair,” promised Shaine. Although I was still a year or so away from my first experiments with marijuana, I’ll never for get that letter. If Shaine can dig up more, I’ll put ’em here… I eat this stuff up.

One good thing about getting home, I found the new dual Bright Eyes releases leaked online. Haven’t had the chance to listen to them yet, but am excited about both.

Look at all that media!! Blog-media, may I be excused from writing? Yes, yes you may. Dave out.

Also written on this day...

2 Replies to “out of the shadows”

  1. Dave, I’m confused… the part about playing spin-the-bottle was true, but you made up the kissing part? Was this some version of spin-the-bottle where the person the bottle chooses has to deliver a monologue or perform an interpretive dance? What was the point of your spin-the-bottle game?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *