many questions and one firm statement

I was bullied in Junior High: pantsed, laughed at, mocked, knocked around, chased, tormented…

I was fast, though, and, when I could, I would run.  I’d run away from my tormentors, run away from my bullies, run away from the pain…  Sometimes I managed to get away clean.  Sometimes I didn’t.

Regardless.  I could never outrun the shame and humiliation.

I often wished I had the courage to stand and fight, to take the punches and kicks, and lash out with my feet and hands, returning blow for blow.  I wished I had the strength to turn my shame into channeled fury.  I wished I had the fortitude to turn my fear off, to not worry about what they would do to me if I stood to fight, to not worry about what it would mean for my school career, the suspension, the possible expulsion.  I wished I could inflict the kind of pain on them that they had inflicted upon me.

But…

Would that make me as bad as them?  If I hurt them as they had been hurting me would I too be a bully?  Where was the line between defending myself and taking it too far?  Would I have known that line?  Would I have ever even come close to the line… me, against all of them…

Would I be a different person now if I had?

Because I like who I am now.  I like where I am now.  I love the people in my life and I wouldn’t give them up for anything.  Did those terrible experiences in junior high set me on this path?  Did I have to go through those trials and tribulations to make it here, to appreciate what I have now?

As much as I wonder how my life back then would have been different if I had chosen fight over flight, I wouldn’t go back and change anything.

However, if my little prince is ever bullied, I will let him know it is okay to stand and fight, it is okay to set aside the fear of the consequences and give as good as he gets, because if the time comes we will face the aftermath together.

the car

The wife and her husband,
Newlyweds,
Needed something to take them across the land,
They bought their first car together,
Shiny,
It served them well on every adventure.

……….

The wife and her husband,
Thieves,
Many and many more a heist they had planned,
They stole their first car together,
Still,
It never made their lives better.

……….

The wife and her husband,
Homeless,
Not the life to which they’d been accustomed,
They lived in their first car together,
Sheltered,
It kept them safe from the weather.

designated driver

I was given an elixir this morning… This magic potion promised to heighten, sharpen, perfect whatever sense I was concentrating on the most when I drank.  Sounds great, right?  Unfortunately, the warning label in super fine print on the back said that all the other senses would be dulled as a result.

My immediate instinct was to drink it down anyway.  I’ve been struggling with poor eye sight since I was in elementary school.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to see without the aid of glasses or contacts, without the star bursts at night, without numbers and letters swirling in front of me due to my astigmatism?  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to finally be able to see what everyone else is always pointing at and talking about?

I brought the bottle to my lips to knock it back, but as I started to tilt it I caught a whiff of a rather unpleasant odor coming from it, and that made me wonder what it would taste like, and what it would feel like as it ran passed my tongue and poured down my throat.  I shivered at the thought and gulped audibly, the sound reverberating in my head.  I pulled the potion away from my mouth.

I like being able to hear.  It let’s me know what all is going on around me that I can’t see.  I like being able to smell.  The good smells are tied to memories (the oceans, the mountain trees) and the bad smells let me know when something isn’t right.  I like being able to taste.  There is nothing like having a buttery filet melt in my mouth, and if something doesn’t taste right I can spit it out before I do myself harm.  And if I dulled my sense of touch, then would I be able to lift the little prince and hoist him over my head?  Would I be able to feel him tugging at my shirt when he wants to be held tighter?

I couldn’t risk dulling any of my other senses just to see again.  I set the potion aside.  It wasn’t for me.

………

I kept it just in case I found out later it would give me a super power like x-ray vision, or laser sight, or something else awesome.  Then it would definitely be worth drinking…

smack smacks

I woke this morning just before 6AM to a sound I was somewhat familiar with but not used to hearing as my alarm: smack, smack, slurp, smack, smack, smack, pop, gurgle, smack, smack.

Softer than either of my two normal alarms it gently rocked me awake rather than startling me out of my slumber.

Smack, smack, gurgle, smack, smack.

Out of context it took me a few seconds to realize what I was hearing.  I’d heard that sound before, sure, but not that often yet, and never so early in the day.  Usually it was an afternoon or evening sound.  As I shook off the cobwebs of my three-hour nap (“Wow, it’s been three hours, that’s great” – with no sarcasm at all), I smiled as understanding reached me.

The smack smacks continued.  With an occassional coo as well.

Smack, smack, pop, smack, pop, coo, gurgle, giggle, coo, smack, smack.

Rather than waking to an actual alarm telling me I need to get up for work, or a screaming alarm telling me that a change and some food are needed, the little prince decided he’d find his fingers this morning and suck on them for a bit… before letting us know that he still needed a change and his breakfast.

It.  Was.  Adorable.

Smack, pop, snap, smack, slurp, coo, smack, smack.

So, I laid there for a few minutes and let him entertain himself with his fingers, enjoying this peaceful transition into wakefulness, and then when the smack smacks stopped I threw back the covers and rolled out of bed to rescue him from his diaper before handing him off to the queen.

It’s going to be another great day.

the beat goes on

While wandering around San Diego this past weekend, I happened upon a garage sale in one of the neighborhoods I used to haunt when I lived there.  With a few more minutes to waste before meeting up with friends I stopped to peruse their offerings.  It was the call of vinyl (albums, 33’s, 45’s, singles, 12″ and 7″ alike) that usually found me peeking through boxes at garage sales looking for a treasure here and there, but this weekend without an agenda and without having really shopped for records in a very long time, I was shocked at what I found.

At first I didn’t even see it.  The vibrant purple had faded into a muted color that my eyes swept right over.  It helped that the bulk of it was hidden behind a few other odds and ends too.  But, eventually, I came around to it as I picked my way through the sale.  The color may have faded, but the places where I had forever marred the paint job by taping over the beat indicators (so I could learn to beat match by sound rather than sight) let me know it was definitely mine.  Somehow the very first mixer I had ever bought for dj’ing had found it’s way to that garage sale.

It was a simple thing.  A Numark two-channel mixer, once a brilliant (almost neon) purple with splashes of red along the sides.  It had served it’s purpose well, giving me a device to learn on before I was ready to upgrade to something a little more industry standard.  I had sold it to a friend while I was still living in San Diego when they too had felt the beats flowing in their veins and had wanted to attempt to control them, shape them, and spin them out for others to enjoy.

As I ran my hand down the columns of knobs I thought back to the day I purchased it.  I was visiting my brother in Arizona, the summer between my Freshman and Sophomore years in college, and I had been driven to buy a full setup of dj equipment even though I had no idea what I was doing yet.  That night, after also buying two Gemini direct drive turntables, a few speakers, a couple records, and a receiver, we threw a little party at his place where I had my first real taste of dj’ing.

I was terrible, of course, but that was to be expected.  What followed was three years of learning, throwing parties, practicing, and eventually getting good enough that I was able to start playing out at a few clubs and parties around San Diego.  I didn’t get paid much, and it wasn’t a regular gig, but I still had some good memories and each of them came flooding back as I looked down on my old mixer.

I once dj’ed with a friend for a private party on a harbor tour boat.  The first time I played at a real club downtime my brother and all my friends came out to see me.  As I was the opening time slot they were the only people in the place, but it was fantastic they were all there, and once my set was over we all went to a different club and watched The Crystal Method create their madness live.  I once opened for MARS.  I once played at an actual underground warehouse party.  Sure, my friend threw that party, but it was still in a warehouse, and it was still very much not a legal event.

I lifted my hand off the mixer and moved on.  Part of me very much wanted to ask how much they wanted for it and take it home with me.  However, while it held good memories, it was no longer my treasure.  I left it there for someone else to find it and one day make their own memories beat matching, record swapping, floor pounding, party driving.

Looking at my watch I realized I had tarried too long and returned to my truck to go about my day.  The smile I wore then lasted all through the weekend.