Happy Birthday!

Remember that time you showed me how to use a potato peeler?  No?  That’s okay, I don’t remember either.  But I’ve got the scar still.

Remember that time you “helped” me lose one of my baby teeth?  I must admit, it was a really good roundhouse.

Remember that time I shot with a rock fired from my sling shot?  Ouch.  Yeah, sorry about that.

Remember that time you hit me with your hockey stick and I got really mad and went looking for my sling shot? 

Remember that time you let me hang out with you and your friends because I didn’t really have anyone to hang out with?  Yes, I remember that happening more than once too.

Remember that time you invited me out to spend a week with you at college?  Made.  My.  Summer.

Remember that time you were my confidant, my best friend, my voice of reason?  Yeah, I remember that happening more than once as well.

Remember that time you stood up with me at my wedding?  Don’t ever forget that I didn’t make you do any speeches.

Remember that time you held your nephew for the very first time?  He won’t remember that moment, but I’ll never forget the smile on your face.

Remember that time you turned 35?  That’s happening now.  That’s today.  And what a great 35 years it has been.  Thanks for being my brother.  I hope you have a wonderful 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.

the alarm

The day was dreary, gloomy and overcast,
The darkness pulled my thoughts to the past,
Where life’s joys and triumphs had happened all too fast,
And my memories were faded, because nothing ever lasts.

…..

The alarm clock droned in my ear.

Sometimes it was piercing, sometimes I couldn’t hear it at all, and sometimes I was in a dreamy state where I knew it was going off and I should turn it off but it was mellow, muted, and so I felt no great sense of urgency to deal with it.  It was one of those mornings.

Still it droned on.

I cracked open my eyes, a sliver, to see how much light was pouring through the gaps in the blinds and was pleasantly surprised that I could open them without daylight frying my retinas and the sharp pain that always accompanied that.  Sadly, that wasn’t really a good thing as it meant the morning was once again overcast.

I hadn’t seen the sun in several days and it was starting to effect me.  I didn’t have seasonal affective disorder, but I had found that the longer I went without seeing the sun the lousier I felt, the more despondent I became.  The harder it was to talk myself out of bed and head to the job I dreaded.

The alarm continued to beep away.  I was aware of it but still felt no urge to silence it.

I turned my head away from the blinds and opened my eyes fully to stare up at the ceiling.  I knew I needed to get up and get started with my day, it was going to be another busy one, but I didn’t yet have enough control over my body to make it do my bidding.  My mind knew what it should do, my body had the capacity to follow those instructions, but they weren’t yet communicating as they normally would.

The overhead ceiling fan stood motionless.  The May grey and June gloom hadn’t given way to the hot summer nights and the fan hadn’t yet been called into action.  The room around me lightened as the sun, though its influence was filtered by the clouds and marine layer, rose higher into the sky.  Time was ticking away faster than I was aware of.

The alarm droned on.

My thoughts, as my mind and body continued to wake up and try to interact properly, fled to the past, when I wouldn’t have had to worry about getting up at a certain time, when I didn’t have a job, and responsibilities, and the pressure of having people depend on me.  I often fantasized about the freedom of youth.  I glorified it.  I romanticized it.  I held it in high regard as the penultimate experience of my life: my days were filled with only the activities I wanted them to be filled with.

Games, shenanigans, adventures all ruled the day.  I had the time and energy to explore when and where I wanted.  I could sleep away the mornings and the afternoons if I felt like it.  I could stay awake long into the night and watch the movies I wasn’t supposed to… or, that I learned later, weren’t all that great anyway and shouldn’t have wasted my time with.  But, that was the point – I had the ability to waste time without repercussions.  Isn’t that one of the often neglected but finest definitions of freedom?

But those days were only the penultimate experience of life.  Fully awake, fully in control again, I smiled.  Sure, I had to get up and go to a job I didn’t enjoy.  Sure, I had responsibilities and pressure and stress and hours of my life I wasn’t the “owner” of anymore.  Sure, I rarely found time do to the things that used to define who I was.

Having those responsibilities, though, afforded me the opportunities to grow into the man I became, to marry the wonderful woman who agreed to share her life with me, to adopt the two cats who always make me smile, and to have the family I had always wanted and constantly brought me unparalleled joy.

I turned the alarm off and got out of bed.

The alarm meant that I had to return to being a responsible adult, but there was also a silver lining to it.  It meant that the sooner I could get my work for the day done, the sooner I could be home again and spend time with my loved ones.

…..

The day was overcast, gloomy and dreary,
But the darkness was there to help me see,
Life always happens exactly as it is meant to be,
And the joys of today shine through it all brilliantly.

………………………………………………………………………

Rara has prompted me again:

for the promptless, forthepromptless, prompts for the promptless

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

“Silver Lining” is a prospect of hope or comfort in a gloomy situation.  [1870-75; from the proverb “Every cloud has a silver lining”] *

* Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

 

a friend lost

Rara has provided a prompt (details at the end) I can’t ignore now that I’ve finally found a few minutes to do some writing…

… In Junior High I was a loner, an outcast, a nerd – before it was cool to be a nerd – in a school full of jocks.  Most of my friends from elementary school had gone to a different Junior High and the one friend that had transferred with me and I had a falling out very shortly into our inaugural year.  I had a few other people I knew and would hang out with from time to time but no one who was a “close” friend: no one to share secrets with, no one to bare my soul too, no one to depend on and to be dependent on me.

It was a very trying time.  I was bullied.  I wasn’t happy in any of my classes.  I didn’t feel like I fit in and I was seriously considering taking my mom up on her offer to home school me.  There were tears more days than not.  Tears of frustration.  Tears of shame.  Tears of humiliation.  I was miserable.

Then, out of the blue, I was moved out of one of the classes I wasn’t happy in to a different one.  New teacher, new classmates, new period… and in this new class, I met Joe.  Or, did he meet me?  Or, did the teacher somehow pair us together?  I don’t remember anymore.  But, Joe was exactly what I had been missing in Junior High.

We went on adventures together.  We got into trouble together.  We partnered on projects.  We laughed, we played video games, we played basketball in my front yard, we went rollerblading all over town, we shared secrets, we bared our souls, and I knew he had my back, just as he knew I had his.  We were BFF’s before that was a thing.

He helped me survive Junior High.  And, we were inseparable for several years after that.  At some point in High School he ended up transferring to a different school, and while we remained friends, we started to go our separate ways.  Eventually, I left town to go to college and we lost touch for awhile.

I ran into him again the summer after Freshman year of college, and we caught up, promised to stay in touch, and then never did…

A few years later I got a call on a random afternoon from my mom.  She was reading the local newspaper and had come across a name in the obituaries…  She wasn’t sure if it was my Joe or not and tried to break it gently in case it was, while hoping all along that it wasn’t.  It was.  He had died in a car accident, leaving behind a wife and children I didn’t even know he had.

The news hurt.  A very physical pain.  A lot of the pain was for the world losing out because he wasn’t around anymore.  A lot of the pain was for the family he had left behind.  Most of the pain was because I hadn’t kept in touch with him, and I had missed out on stories, and adventures, and everything else… and I would never have a chance to correct that mistake.

Time moves on and the pain dulls, but I’m still fighting tears, unsuccessfully, as I type out this total suadade.  I miss my friend, Joe.  I miss having the option of calling him up and saying, “Hey, remember that time we so on and so forth…”  But, I do remember those times, I treasure them, and they still make me smile, even as the tears run unchecked down my cheek.

…….

rarasaur, forthepromptless

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Saudade is a Portuguese word that describes a deep emotional state of nostalgic longing for an absent something/someone that one loves. Moreover, it often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing will never return.

Saudade was once described as “the love that remains” after someone is gone. Saudade is the recollection of feelings, experiences, places or events that once brought excitement, pleasure, well-being, which now triggers the senses and makes one live again. It can be described as an emptiness, like someone (e.g., one’s children, parents, sibling, grandparents, friends, pets) or something (e.g., places, things one used to do in childhood, or other activities performed in the past) that should be there in a particular moment is missing, and the individual feels this absence. It brings sad and happy feelings all together, sadness for missing and happiness for having experienced the feeling.

Above text and lots more information at : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saudade

decisions, decisions

Yesterday I posted about which five items I would save if my house was on fire.  Today I wanted to expand on that subject by discussing which things I wish I could have saved but had been forced to leave behind… in this hypothetical situation where my house burned down… and I was only able to save five things… though I still think I would have tried to put the fire out before it came down to a mad scramble to grab things on my way out the door, but that’s beside the point.

So, yesterday I saved five things, and today I’m happy to have those five things, but I am sad I wasn’t able to save………….. everything else. 

What a silly question, right?  I mean, if I didn’t want all my stuff, I wouldn’t have all of my stuff.  It’s not like I’d say, “Oh, I wish I had been able to save my DVD collection, but I’m okay with the bed getting burned to a crisp, I wanted a new bed anyway.”  Or, “It’s really too bad about my kitchen-ware melting down to puddles of goop, but I’m actually kind of happy the fire helped me clean out my closets.”

Or, how about this:  I wish I could have taken the fire out of the house – I’m sad I had to leave it behind to destroy my home.