“I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good ol’ days before you’ve actually left them”

Sometimes events in life pass and you can’t experience it. You watch it from the sidelines as it goes by, others, you have no idea until later. For the good stuff, you might feel a pang of regret or sadness, but for the sour events you might just wipe your brow with a sigh of relief and think, “good thing that didn’t happen to me!”

I’ve been going through a bit of a sad period, leaving my beloved America behind (cue images fading into one another, of bald eagles, of flags flapping in the wind, of unnecessarily large pick-up trucks, all while the national anthem stirs within you something bordering on Nationalism)…

Since sarcasm is hard to read in text, I’ll clearly state for the record that the above paragraph was sarcastic.

On a more genuine note, I felt deeply connected to my significant other, and separating myself geographically, for what’s to be an unknown amount of an expectedly long time, I find myself looking back and kicking myself for taking things for granted. For not spending every possible moment of every possible day of every possible time period together. For getting upset. For being in an off mood.

That’s a common sentiment I sometimes hear when people talk about their loved one’s who have since died; phrases that all seem to express regret that they didn’t do or say a particular thing, or maybe something more general like being a moody teenager.

Looking back, it’s all too easy to inadvertently put on “rose-colored regret glasses”. The reality is that I’m still who I am, which is who I was then, too. I need personal space, in both physical and temporal senses. Even if I had a time machine and could go back in time knowing what I now know, I think I might act different but that wouldn’t change my needs, it wouldn’t affect my need to sometimes be alone.

Anyway that’s what I’ve been feeling the past week. Shoot, my girlfriend isn’t dead and we’re still together; there are many more memories to be made ahead…but I still find myself looking back and regretting how I acted, what I said or didn’t say.

But here’s where I’m lucky: while the known, finite amount of time apart is not quite the same as a dearly departed – I won’t make the comparison that they’re the exact same – it still hurts, and it still isn’t easy. But it still gives me a chance to have this look-back through the rose-colored glass. It still gives me the chance to have these regrets. Realizations can be had, plans can be set. It’s a rare opportunity to realize you didn’t carpe diem and to get another chance.

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42 Hours and Buckets of Rain

From the time I left my apartment to when I landed here, it took me 42 hours.

Two to drive to the airport, and with those associated wait times, landing in Seattle some time later that afternoon. With a 2 30 AM check-in, there was no point in getting a hotel, so I just “napped” in the USO, the kind where you’re sitting up but then your head nods and you wake yourself up. The kind of napping where you don’t realize there’s a passage of time but somehow when you head snap there’s just a little bit of drool on your chin. Check-in was 6 hours before take off. Why? This is the military, nothing makes sense. The flights were smooth all around, and the first flight only took about 10 hours. But that was the first of three, and it and the second stop both had delays for fuel/unloading/etc. All told it was 42 hours. During the flight it was more of the same “napping,” head nods into wormholes where those 5 minutes don’t exist. Normally, you’re basically unconscious when you sleep, but you wake up some time later and realize that you’ve slept. Not so with the head snap nap. It isn’t quality and it isn’t restorative and you can hardly qualify it as sleep at all. 42 hours later, and I only have fragments of the next two hours before my head hit my pillow. At least I didn’t have to travel far from the airport to get home.

The weather here is so humid that papers, if exposed to the air, will become soggy within minutes. I had gotten used to wearing pants and boots, I had almost nearly forsaken shorts. In a dry environment sweat is no factor. Here I can feel my thighs rub together when I walk. I’m aware of my skin. All the little things about arid or semi-arid climates I took for granted. My running hat isn’t effective enough for the buckets of sweat I make now, and I’ve had to go back to using my Andre the Agassi sweatband. I might need to bring a change of socks and shoes during long runs unless I want trenchfoot. Not much to get allergic to in the desert! Forgot to wear deodorant? No problem, just don’t get into the sun and you won’t even sweat. I got a jug of water from a store, and when I left the cool AC into the open air the jug – which had been sitting on the shelf, not even in the cooler – immediately started to get condensation on it. Mold is a thing again, so much for that. Maybe all of this is from going 0-60 on the relative humidity scale.

At the end of the first week, it’s nice to have greenery everywhere, with lots of birds and lots of bugs that all make lots of noises, and I think that rust is better than dealing with dust. But I do miss the comfort of the desert.

I don’t know how much it’s rained here in the past few days. I haven’t found a source of data yet, but I do know it’s been more than 1/2 inch, I can tell you that much! Finally, a rainy day. Yesterday it got so windy it knocked a trash can over – pretty exciting. It wasn’t raining during my run this morning, which is the best time for it to rain since I get back completely soaked anyway, but otherwise it’s been raining all day.

Buckets of Rain

Every time it rains, my mood gets better, usually no matter what. It’s not proportionate – last night it rained so much my “backyard” had standing water, but I didn’t have standing happiness. Sometimes it’s a complete pick-me-up, or at the very least, it’s a little bump.

It rained all night yesterday. That’s a rarity here. I woke up several times and it was raining. It’s such a good feeling to wake up, hear the rain, and go right back to sleep. Especially with thunder and lightning. It hasn’t really rained a whole lot in any of the places I’ve been in the past 4 years.

There’s something so interesting about precipitation, without it really every being attention grabbing, unless it’s a disaster. Even then, tornadoes, floods, blizzards, ice storms, are all way more interesting than a clear sunny day. The different anger levels of thunder, the different sounds rain makes, the varying levels and types of clouds. It’s something that passes through my brain without adding too much burden. There’s no brain power required to process that it’s raining.

Maybe I’m just starting to miss things I grew up with. Maybe I just like the rain. Even when the rain floods an entire street because the town has no sewers because it doesn’t rain enough here nor do the people have enough money for the town to tax to warrant sewers, instead funneling all the rain into the streets with one street being the entire town’s rain runoff catcher and when it pours this street, which can hold at least four cars abreast even though how can you tell since there’s no paint on the road, is entirely – from curb to curb – underwater, despite also having a huge depression down the middle of it…well damn if that isn’t more interesting than a perfect sunny day.

NY NY

In april, while doing some work stuff in Maryland, my beau thing and I visited NYC as a daytrip on one of my weekends. I’d only visited there once before, and it was in high school, as a band trip, and the whole thing was planned out. Vastly different experiences and mindsets.

In the first trip it was planned and I had no investments in it. “OK we’re going here now cool.” And I had no sense of anything. “Manhattan? Sounds fun I guess *brushes hair out of eyes* ” How could I appreciate it? I was in high school.

The second trip, 13ish years later, was exceptional. Where the first one was only an event, the second affected me – I chose to go there, I’d met people from there, I’d formed an opinion of the whole city from what I’d learned about it, I was coming from a place of, for all intents, as far away culturally in the US as you can get. I’ve been around the block just enough to not really be culture shocked any more (how can I when I saw a mom in China hold her kid over a sewer grate in the street when he had to shit), but at the same time, I was affected by the city, and I was aware of it. I felt it.

I was talking later with a coworker who’d lived there for a while. I was describing how I felt and he said something to the effect of it’s hard to live there and not hustle.

The energy there, with all the people, noise pollution, buildings…was tangible. I was only there for about 24 hours and it was probably one of the most influential single 24 hour period in my life. I wanted to paint and study art, I wanted to be an architect to study the buildings, I wanted to build things, I wanted to start a business, I wanted to do all the things.

That energy has faded away, sadly, as it’s hard to maintain it living where I do. There’s no energy here. I believe the cows feed off it, and the flies, in turn, feed off them.

It was a great city. A place like none other I’ve been to. I’d go back in a heartbeat. Although, I only went to Manhattan, and only the area of around Mid-town at that. So, huge grain of salt.

Enduro

I sold my car.

I didn’t really have anything go wrong with the car. I bought it at 32K miles, doubled the mileage, and aside from oil changes and tire rotations, there wasn’t anything. I know 64 thousand miles isn’t a lot, but it’s the trajectory. Diesel engines getting 300K+ mileage isn’t uncommon. And I just sold it.

I have no emotional attachment to the car. The offer of more money than I bought it for was too tempting to pass up, and in the end it ended up being the better choice, since now I don’t have to worry about my car at all while I’m overseas.

But what would have the car ended up doing? How far could I have driven it? That’s a question I’ll always be asking myself. What could have been. I feel like a door’s been closed and I wasn’t quite ready to close it. Oh well…I guess all that ca$h money can buy lots of tissues.

There’s something satisfying about an old car that keeps on ticking. Even if it’s a crap heap, if it gets you to and from work, school, store, where ever, that’s what really matters. But buying used is a risk, and buying new, who knows how long the computer chips can last? The golden era of analog has passed, replaced by the newer and less refined digital. Or, sort of, I mean cars still have engines powered by gas and the radiator is still a thing and who could forget the rear differential.

Around here, you see lots of old cars. Not cool ones, just old. I’ve seen more early 90’s, two-toned ford f150s than I’ve ever seen. As long as it gets you to where you’re going I guess. The mild-ish winters and dry air probably help a lot.

I don’t know if my next car will be able to be a diesel. Nowadays the only diesel vehicles in the US seem to be gigantic pick-up trucks – for the extra sensitive man. SAD.

Humor me this

We all go through changes of varying speed and intensity. The you in the morning might be different from the you at 3 pm. The you in 2009 is probably even more different than the you of 3 pm today. I didn’t really foresee this change, but over the past few years my sense of humor has gone from dry to dryer, and from middle-of-the-road to pretty cynical. I make fun of everything. And I believe everything should be made fun of, with nothing granted immunity. Well, maybe if it’s not racist/homophobic/whatever else. I blame my co-workers for having a similar sense of humor, but also the job we’re in doesn’t really allow you to have soft skin. If you get easily offended, chances are you’ll go day-to-day being offended. It’s easy to get like this.

With making fun of everything, though, you have to be able to make fun of yourself, and that’s probably even more important. Lots of “my people” take themselves very seriously when it comes to work, but are at the same time open for taking jabs. Once you’re in it you know where to draw the line (or at least most people seem to find it), but there is a line with two sides. And for those people who make fun of you seem to respond more positively to you when you go along with it, sarcastically and “in” on the joke, so to speak. A very over-simplified version would be:

Person A: You suck!

B: I know!

A & B together: HahahahAhaha

The me in the past would have seen this type of humor as being submissive, to let the other person smash you and look down on you. I think I took life too seriously. As long as you respond as person B with confidence, defiance, sarcasm, acceptance, humor…then both combatants are eye level. Hopefully person A can handle being made fun of and later won’t get pissy when you make fun of them.

Time

Been a while since I’ve written on this site. Nearly 3 years. 2014 feels like ages ago. Since then there’s been so much that’s gone on. When you’re a kid, 3 years feels like ages. I’ve heard time compresses as you get older. 3 years. Feels like a different life. Why isn’t it compressing for me? I’m already starting to non-ironically say stuff akin to Get Off My Lawn.

Reading back through this has been a trip down memory lane. A trip down someone else’s memory lane. 3 years. Well, more like 2.5 at this point. I pretty much stopped journaling, reflecting, thinking, pondering, pontificating, etc. Not a whole of time or energy for that these days. Actually there’s plenty of time, but I’ve mis-managed it worse than we manage our environment. It’s mostly the energy. Most days I’m so exhausted I just come home and crash. Time is irrelevant without the energy.

Hopefully I’ll be able to compare all the pos/neg of this place and the next. This place is pretty miserable with respect to many different aspects, I’m just itching to leave it and be done with it forever. I will be paying very close attention to my mood, energy, outlook, and activity for the next few months to see if it changes at all. I can’t keep living like this. Me 3 years ago feels so foreign to me now, it’s like watching a reflection of yourself on a rippled pond. I liked myself more back then, despite having grown up and made a lot of improvements.

Anyway, I started this as a way of keeping in contact with extended family during my study abroad (way back when I was a completely different person in 2011). Now that I’m taking a job offer in Japan, it seems like a good time to throw a log back on the fire.

Bye.