Friday, October 31, 2008


CHAPTER THIRTY SIX: The Worst Possible Outcome

In which our hero hears what he really knew all along.

[Sunday, October 5th(?)]

"1990-1991 were apparently more chaotic years than I recall. The timelines still aren't really clear."

"As far as dimples goes, there are times when it would be nice to be a bit less analytical."

"The fear of freedom vs the comfort of the familiar."

"happy vs content vs settled"

** This is the last section of actual writing that occurred at the time surrounding the reunion. By this point my brain was scrambled pretty good, so there wasn't a lot that made a whole lot of sense, even though I knew how it was going to go beforehand.**

* He reunion hadn't ended, but I found myself starting to do my wallflower impersonation. That, and there were conversation groups forming that separated me physically from a couple of the people I wanted to talk to. Got a call from Dimples wondering where Cromag and I were, and that seemed to be a good enough reason for us to say our goodbyes and head out to Peoria. Heights, that is.

Turns out that the place we were going was somewhere I had walked within a block of earlier that same day. Pretty nice place, as bars go. I'd like to go there sometime when the patio was open. And even though there was karoke going on out by the bar, the area we commandeered back by the dart machine was blessedly quiet. We played some darts (Dimples, Cromag, and I) and sat and talked about days gone by. I actually didn't talk a whole lot. Since there was so much I either didn't remember or didn't know, I just sat and listened for the most part. I did get to throw in a few questions of my own, and hopefully clarify my position on some other things. And in the midst of all this, I began to learn a few things.

(1) I was a fairly minimal part of things back in the day. Even in my own life I spent a good amount of time as background noise. It was a fair degree of self-centeredness that made me put myself so high in the pantheon of things.

(2) I was either very fragile or very dangerous. People went out of their way to keep thing from me. While it did not prevent them from doing those said same things, they felt compelled to actively keep them from me. Why? Was I that unstable then? (possibly...) That would have been on the near peak upswing of my drinking days, and no one cared much to be around me when I was drunk. So that could have been a big factor. Not to mention that I was not a nice drunk once I hit a certain point. I lashed out physically and verbally/emotionally at whoever was close. At the time, it was the only way I could access all those really deep emotions of anger, frustration, and way down in there: love.It just wasn't a good way to do it. Ever. Maybe keeping things from me was the best thing they could do to keep me from flying off the handle, yet again. But, man, does it ever sting. Even though I played the 'damaged goods' role to the hilt, it stings. When I learn about stuff that went on while I was on yet another bender, it stings. Then I factor in my own stupidity and I just feel ashamed and embarrassed for having put people through all that crap. The lesson I learned from living at home was that if you're sick/damaged, you get attention. If you're not, you don't. Turns out that was another one that proved to be a really bad lesson. Then there is that part of me, who upon hearing these stories from the past, wonders how the hell I could have not known these things were going on. I do vaguely remember the bracelet/anklet incident from Lums, but didn't ever do anything about it (when I was sober). And maybe this is all over analysis. Maybe everyone was just having fun and didn't feel like sharing. There are also lots of reasons I'll never know. Can finding any more of these vintage skeletons do me any good? Are there any more to be found? Fuckity doo dah. I know the answer, but am totally unwilling to accept it completely. If I flip the question around and try to figure out what it is I get out of discovering this information, I hit another wall. I can't get all righteous and indignant, much as I would like to. There's no point in even trying to do that now. And if I get all wound up about it, then what? I can't change what happened then now, and there was only a really slim change that I could have changed it then. That leads me to this somewhat obvious conclusion: I DIDN'T HAVE A CHANCE.

But I really hate that conclusion. It's a global denial of personal responsibility. It's an extreme position of helplessness. 'Oh, I CAN'T do x, y, or z, because THEY (some nebulous force beyond my control) won't let me', which is, for the most part, a bullshit argument. And it really galls me to levels I can't explain when I end up feeling this way about the whole 'Dimples Era'. Truth be known, most of the events played out that way because I put my choices in the hands of others, and then wallowed in self pity when things didn't go my way. And that pisses me off as well.

I doubt that I could have surpassed Wolfboy. I doubt that I could have equalled him on his own field of play, but since I wasn't inclined to try and go in another direction, I lost on that one too. I was basically happy (certain moments excepted) to ride his coattails and enjoy the benefits of hanging out with someone far different from myself. One of the down sides to that was getting a glimpse of things that I probably would have been better off not seeing. And in a case or two, hearing. In the end, he excelled at being able to have whatever it was that I wanted.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


In which our hero hits his limit.
[Sunday, October 5th(?)]
"Seems that my head feels very full right now. Lots of stuff sloshing around."

The ongoing online dissection of these events bear witness to that fact. What it does not explain is why I developed such a fondness for the words 'seem' and 'seems' in that time span. Or why I feel kinda sad that none of this really panned out. I put little or no effort into maintaining any connections, and I was too naive to be able to see what was really going on. I'm now looking at my teenage fantasy world with slightly more adult eyes, and it's damn sure disappointing. It was probably pretty disappointing then, too, but I was way too lazy to change it. So now I get what I always got, and I don't like it any more now than I did then. Go figure. Inertia is a very powerful force that takes a lot to overcome. I know that. I'm just lazy.


In which our hero just doesn't look right.
[Sunday, October 5th(?)]
"It's good to know that my efforts (1) to reinvent myself have worked. To basically be unrecognizable at both (2) reunions is an interesting accomplishment (3). To be recognized in one case for my eyes (4) and in one case for my lips (5) was interesting."

(1) If you consider aging an 'effort'.

(2) The 10 and 20 year, that is.

(3) Again, not so much an accomplishment as a result of aging.

(4) Always behind the lenses of glasses in high school.

(5) That could be really good, or really bad. I have no idea which it is.


In which our hero has plenty of senior moments.
[Sunday, October 5th (?)]
"The novelty of having my memory proved wrong time and time again wore off fairly quickly."

** I think I have made this point abundantly clear. It's just that if I repeat it, perhaps I'll remember it next time. Probably not, thanks to the ol' Teflon brain. I will most likely just charge right on into the next event with a head full of misinformation thinking that I have something in common with a bunch of people that I don't. Even now I don't have a large social circle. OK, it would be better said that I don't have a social circle. That part hasn't changed. I guess I just wanted to have the stereotypical class reunion. But, since my high school years weren't really all that typical, that just wasn't going to happen.


CHAPTER THIRTY TWO: And The Winner Is...
In which our hero has a laugh.
[Sunday, October 5th(?)]
"Probably the best story of the evening was Craig Dawson's 'How I Met My Wife Story'. I know of no one else that met over watermelon. Absolutely fantastic."

** A great story in any social context, to say the least. Apparently she liked the way he sliced watermelon for her. Not only did I get that little gem from Mr. Dawson, I also got a little surprise package from him in the mail. It was a CD of 'Craig Dawson's Greatest Hits'. Fantastic stuff. Not quite the same velocity as PUSA's stuff, but I would very easily put him in the same category of 'joy pop'. I really can't say enough good things about this gem of a CD. Quite inspirational to see what he's done over the arc of (gasp) 20 years. I only hope that what I send him in return is as well received.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


CHAPTER THIRTY ONE: Life at the White House
In which our hero goes back 30 years.
[Saturday afternoon, October 4th, Metamora, IL]
"200 W Rohman (Roman?). I don't remember much about living there, or even how long it was that I lived there. Unless I've forgotten somewhere, that was where we (1) ended up after moving from Eureka. I have no idea why it was that we left Eureka in the first place. 200 WR was where I was living during the blizzard of 77-78. I had a large snow cave by the driveway (2). I remember having this gold colored toy space gun that shot these neon colored plastic discs (3). I remember that pennies or dimes also worked in it (4). I remember buying Charlie Brown books from one of the neighbor kids and relating way too much to the title character (5). I remember lying to my peers at the time about seeing Star Wars so I could fit in to the group better. I remember having a snap together model of a WWII German tank (6) that I put together and took apart incessantly. I remember the room in the basement that they (7) called a 'bomb shelter'. I remember 'be home by five' before dinner, and 'be home when the street lights come on' after dinner."

(1) The family at the time. I can't remember if Janette had been born yet or not. Maybe it was Jennifer's arrival, or soon to be arrival that prompted the departure from Eureka. If that were the case, the case could be made that the main reason for departing 200 WR was the arrival or imminent arrival of Jeanette. But I don't remember the exact timeline. Go figure.

(2) Or maybe I was a lot smaller and the cave was of no great or impressive size. I want to say that I named it 'Fort Power' or some such thing.

(3) It ended up being the first clip fed, sawed off weapon I ever owned.

(4) But to far less distance and effect. The only advantage of the coins was that they were easier to come by than the discs the gun was meant to shoot.

(5) That would be a good indicator that there was something not quite right with me even at that age. Other kids wanted to be Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader, yet I found a reflection of myself in Charlie Brown. The main difference being my little red haired girl ended up being a blonde.

(6) Or some such armored vehicle. I remember it was molded grey and had tracks.

(7) The parents. Really I think it was a small pantry/storage area or some such thing.

** Much to Cromag's annoyance, I have been adding all sorts of little doodads to my blog page. One thing I've wanted for a while was a way to have some type of music player that I could load with whatever music was in heavy rotation for me at any given time. So I went out and found just such an add-on. Then I discovered something. The program supports MP3 format, which is what I've been encoding anything I bring in from tape or LP as. Turns out that when I rip things from CD, they get encoded as WMA files, which the player does not support. I was not happy, as a tad more than 2/3 my music is in this particular format. I then ventured onto the 'net to find a conversion program by which I could change WMA files to MP3 files. I now have that program, and have to decide how much of my music I want to change. Then, I have to figure out how to use the add-on program, then I have to load it into my blog, then you can be further annoyed by my choice in music.

Friday, October 24, 2008


CHAPTER THIRTY: Fragments Forced Together

In which our hero's train of thought derails.

[Saturday afternoon, October 4th, Metamora, IL]

"I guess that the early fall is going to be an oddly appropriate time for me to have made this trip. Just like the leaves that will soon be falling from the trees, it seems that this trip will most likely be when all but the last one or two connections to this place will fall away from me (1)."

"There is still a curious sense of both physical and personal isolation for me here. I'm listening to the wind rustling the corn and looking at how the green of the trees plays against the sky (2). It might be nice to have someone (here) that I could use as a verbal drain for all the stuff wandering around in my head, but luckily I have paper (3)."

"The butterfly effect: The notion that one tiny simple choice , the alteration of one minimal event could have kept me from sitting here at this moment (4). A different result that could have been better, worse, or equally indifferent. Really has no bearing on the fact that I'm here now, but it does provide a fertile field for playing the 'what if' game (5)."

"Is there any real reason I should feel bad about the way things are now (6)? I suppose, but only if I'm still feeling this sense of isolation and disconnect when I get home. Home. Home is not here. I guess this is now just where I used to live. There be no tiki in Metamora."

(1) Nice thought, but thus far it has been far from that easy in practice. I guess that one of the things this trip did was come close to shattering the unrealistic notions of the past that I have been holding on to for so long. Having the disparity of memory versus reality thrust into my face has really and deeply cracked all of those false notion even though I really don't like that. The whole idea of giving up on all those things from the past still makes me uncomfortable even though they are being proven to be valueless. Maybe it's the whole notion of needing to have something. Could also be the fear of having to be present in the present without a bunch of props holding me up.

(2) As much as I really enjoy the pure raw heat of the summer, I think fall may be my favorite season. May be the shifting of the sun lower in the sky but the colors seen to be more vibrant. The cool air is also something I find pleasant. And, of course, there's Halloween. And I have a number of memories regarding pleasant fall wanderings.

(3) Or not, for those of you who may be trying to slog through all this.

(4) For example: although you could conceptually clone Hitler, you could never duplicate all the events that made him who he was in the end. So, even though I could jump into the ol' time travelling DeLorean and go back to the time when I was attempting to date Number One, there are an infinite number of variables that were in play that I could not control. Therefore, no Groundhog Day for me.

(5) Mental masturbation at its finest and most pointless.

(6) I can't remember the context in which I was phrasing this. Not sure if I meant just the whole reunion scenario, or my overall life in general. Either way, I don't think I have a good answer, as usual.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


CHAPTER TWENTY NINE: Geez. I Really DO Suck....
In which our hero shows more of himself.
[Saturday afternoon, October 4th, Metamora, IL]
"I am finding no evidence to refute the theory that there is nobody that I had been involved with that hasn't gone on to a vastly more successful relationship (1). That does nothing but encourage me to take efforts to keep all of my memories of Number One in a place quite secure from the intrusion of reality (2)."

(1) Three parts pity party, one part unproven theory. As hold with most things of this ilk, a small nugget of truth is indeed present. I'm not quite sure how to word this , so just stick with me for a moment. There are people I had relationships with in the past. These frequently ended badly because of my high level of idiocy. There are also people I had wanted to be involved in a relationship with who wouldn't touch me because of my high level of idiocy and/or the fact that they had a line on something else. I think that loosely covers the groups of women I still pine over. The disproof of this theory would lie in finding just one example of someone whose relationships had not gone on to something better. And why would I want to find that person? So I could dance around them and say, "You should have stayed with me!! Nyah!! Nyah!! Nyah!!"?That tends to make the statement fairly transparent as a way to get these women I am/was attracted to to say something positive about me. Because, in doing so, I guess I see a tiny bit of hope that I may still have a chance with them after all. A pretty manipulative way to weasel a compliment out of someone and at the same time administer a backhanded ego stroke/threat minimization to the significant other.

(2) The most obvious reason for this is also the one that puts me on the least stable footing. While I look at those memories (wildly inaccurate as they must be) and see the person I was sort of getting to know 20 years ago, the memories she would be looking at would be those of the jerk that I was 20 years ago. My memories are unrealistically slanted towards the positive, but i doubt I could say the same for hers. And that supposition rests heavily on the further assumption that she has any memories of me at all. And backing all of this up is the incorrect thought process whereby we remember the things that support our theories, and forget those that do not. So, I have spent years and years cultivating these memories of these people trying to make them become something that may have only actually been that way for the briefest of moments of their lives. If at all. Talk about chasing after shadows.

** It was an exhausting weekend moving MSD and the Giant to Fort Wayne. I think it will take many months before I find myself willing to consider helping anyone else move.

** "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" Didn't quite manage to live up to the hype in my opinion. It was better than 'Temple', but still not up to the level of 'Raiders' or 'Crusade'.

**I am really liking the thought of doing a rebuild of a classic Rifleman. For some reason I seem to have rotary AC/2s on the brain. A quartet of those could put just over a ton of AP shells way downrange every 10 seconds. To me, that sounds like a good thing.

** Still not sure if my separated banana plant is dead or not. It doesn't look dead, but it shows no signs of growth, either.

** My yellow thumb also extends to the aquarium. So far it seems to be resisting my efforts to revive its plant population. Not sure what to try next.



In which our hero sits in the sun some more.

[Saturday afternoon, October 4th, Metamora, IL]

"I'm sitting in a small park on the south side of Metamora. Off to my right and maybe 30 yards away is a pinkish boulder that marks the site of 2 of the Lincoln-Douglas debates that happened in the 1800's. One of the houses where I used to live is abut 3 blocks NW of here. Of course, it bears only a passing resemblance to the way I remember it "WEIBTY" (1). So for the moment, I'm just sitting in the sun and doing some writing (2). Gonna head over and say hello to Steve's folks (3) for a bit, then back to the hotel for a nap maybe (4). Then it will be time to get cleaned up for the event. "WEIBTY" will most likely be the order of the evening, along with a vast sense of disconnect and distance (5). Why am I doing this again (6)? Monte and Jana had the right idea, I'm starting to think (7). "WEIBTY" "

(1) Whaddya Expect, It's Been Twenty Years" This is what the common sense voice kept saying in my head, over and over and over again through the whole weekend.

(2) No, I did a lot of writing. I killed a pen, I wrote so much. There is a slight chance that it died of boredom, though.

(3) This was one of very few points in the weekend that was very much the same. Strange how often dinosaur poo comes up in conversation.

(4) Never got the nap.

(5) Less of the first than I had thought, but slowly increasing levels of the last two throughout the evening.

(6) It was supposed to be a fun weekend away from home. That's not quite how it turned out.

(7) Or, they're just much better adjusted adults than I am. Either way, the end result is the same.

Friday, October 17, 2008


In which our hero identifies with a lyric
He's the boy with the messy mind
It's hard to find the time to clear it
He's the boy with the broken brain
Not insane but never happy
Sharpen up those fangs
Not insane but never happy

It can be quite tricky when you attach yourself to the words of someone else. They never end up meaning the same thing to anyone else who reads them. For the moment, though, this seems to work.


CHAPTER TWENTY SIX: Mmmmmmm.......So Many Bits.....
In which our hero gives in.
[Saturday afternoon, October 4th, Metamora, IL]
"Yes, I broke my promise to not buy any more games this year (1). But Just For Fun games is an incredible game store that would acquire far more of my money if I did live in the Peoria area (2). For those of you who do live in the Peoria area, I would highly recommend that you pay them a visit for all your game related needs (3). They're located on Brandywine Drive right across from the entrance to Northwoods Mall (4). Go there (5). Spend money (6). I command you."

(1) But I promptly remade that promise after paying for my nice new copy of Nexus Ops. It's a really nice game, just ask Trotzkie. You should drop by some time, and we'll play a game or two of it.

(2) Gotta give some thumbs up and down to Cromag here. He was the one who found this place for me, so thumbs up! The dent this store puts in my wallet rates a medium thumbs down. Yes, I could see me spending lots of money there. Good thing it's 2.5 hours away. I would even go so far as to say that it's better than my local game store.

(3) They also have a big stock of jigsaw puzzles and plenty of space to set up and play games. They do also have CCGs (blech), and just about whatever other game you could want.

(4) 4640 N Brandywine Drive, Peoria, IL, 61614 (309) 686-7720

(5) Now! Go now! You're not doing anything better than goofing around on the computer, so go!

(6) Lots. Help keep this little gem in business. I probably could have easily spent $400-500 and not even tried too hard. Mind you, I never would have lived to play any of the games once Pinklady found out, but it would have been easy to spend a lot. Just as a word of caution for those not really familiar with the world of games beyond Monopoly and the like: it's not unusual to spend $35-50 on a new game nowadays. That would be for boxed games. Card games (not CCGs) probably land in the $10-20 range, depending on the game. Go on, spend a few bones and try something new. Interact with real people for a change. Or you can just sit there, reading weird blogs and surfing for porn.

Thursday, October 16, 2008



Wherein our hero tries to get caught up on the more immediate past.

* Congrats to BigB on 18 years of gunfire free marriage!

* We had about a weeks worth of a most excellent Indian summer. Now the weather is turning more and more fallish. With any luck, I won't have to mow the yard again. But the leaves haven't even started to fall off of the big trees in back yet. And there will be a ton of plant removal to do once we have our first hard frost.

* Even though I have all the stuff I need, I don't know when I'll be able to get that post in the ground at the folks. And I really didn't want to tell them there was a very pervasive cat smell in the family room.

* I have thought about starting to run again. I don't want to spend this winter getting softer and whiter, and I'm really bad about getting out to the Y to go swimming. The treadmill is paid for, and I only have to go downstairs to use it. Not to mention that I have 13 more Monty Python DVDs to watch while I use it. I think I will wait to start until after this weekend, though. I'll be helping MSD and the Giant move, so I don't want to muck up a knee or my back before I have a chance to do it helping them.

* Really dreary day yesterday. Cold, rainy, gross. Also didn't hear boo from anyone all day.

* Diabetes Ed has proven to be so basic that I have been excused from having to go to the last two sessions by Pinklady.

* The Princess Cowgirl has dropped back into things. Nice to hear from her again.

* I am fighting against the notion that I may have to start taking those stupid pills again.

* Tom and Donna were kind enough to point out to me that on of my banana plants had sprouted two daughter plants. A quick trip to the internet told me that they are called 'pups' by those in the know, and they can be separated from the parent plant and grown elsewhere. If done right, you end up with another full sized banana plant. If I play my cards right, I could end up with my own little tropical looking banana grove right outside my front door. How cool would that be?
For now, time will tell if I manged to perform the separation correctly. The bigger of the two pups now resides in a pot of dirt in the sunny office window. I'm not sure if there's enough to the smaller one for it to be removed, but since I already bought a pot for it, I guess I'll give it a try. I also need to do a bit more reading on how to overwinter the outdoor plants so they come back next year.

* I need to get out more. This was proven to be the case when I became enthused about the new furnace. The two new hole sin the north side of the house I'm not so thrilled about, but the nice, quiet, 95% efficient furnace I am loving. And I fully expect to stay thrilled until the bill arrives.

* I figured out at least one contributing factor to the decline of the plant in the aquarium. Both heaters had crapped out. The tank was resting at a rather chilly 73 instead of its normal 80. A quick trip to the pet store and $50 later, I have managed to put the tropical back into tropical fish. Now I just have to wait and see if the plants manage to come back.

* Looks like I may be getting Trotz to lay out a few bones to pick up one of the older Battletech manuals that I have. If that happened, it'll be nice to be playing on a regular basis again.

* Why is it that the minute you start pinching pennies, everything you're interested in goes on sale?

* Intentional or not, Kittyluv really caught me off guard the other night.

* Electricity, the Goalkeeper, and water. Two of those I wouldn't mind playing with. The other could kill me.


CHAPTER TWENTY FOUR: Sleeping Dogs and Bitter Pills

In which our hero mopes a little more.

[Saturday afternoon, October 4th, Metamora, IL]

"I seem to have gained nothing from turning over rock here. It does seem oddly appropriate that I am here reliving all this stuff as alone as I was when I was growing up here."

This was only partly a mope. I had driven through a couple of parts of town, and for such a nice day, it seemed oddly empty. The section of town where I used to live seemed to be falling into decline, further adding to the sense of, for lack of a better word, 'wrongness'.

As for my being alone most of the time, well, I was about 8 hours from getting some insight into that issue. As far as the past went, I never quite fit in then, either. And, as a child I didn't have the confidence in myself or the strength of character to stand as an individual apart from the group. Even though I found interactions with my peers to be boring/uninteresting, I still craved the acceptance of the group. That whole dynamic of wanting to be part of, yet not really getting anything form the group has followed me for many years.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008



Wherein our hero opts to not look.

[Saturday afternoon, October 4th, Metamora, IL]

"Far Hills Drive is in Germantown Hills. It starts on the north side of Rte 116 and winds back into a hilly wooded area whee there are many nice houses. I know if I took that road, there is a particular place where that road forks. If I were to go to the left, somewhere down that road is where Number One lived (1). If I were to go to the right, I would find the past residence of Wolfboy (2). I can't see any benefit in going to either place (3). There is truth in either place that would damage the memories I have and/or want to keep. Those, and anything east of town I guess I will let be (4)."

(1) The odd part of that being that for as fond of those memories of her as I am, I doubt I could find her old house. And, finding her old house would be of no use to me, except to feed the pangs of nostalgia.

(2) Which, I learned later, is no longer inhabited by any member of his family. That makes one more place left to exist solely in the halls of memory.

(3) For the reasons listed above. I was already riding a bit of a downer from trying to digest how many things had changes or been lost. There is enough positive memory association with both of those place that I opted to keep the memories as they are and ignore the present status of either location.

(4) My travels took me no further east than the road I came into Metamora on.

Monday, October 13, 2008


CHAPTER TWENTY TWO: Overstating the Obvious

Wherein our hero has a 'duh' moment.

[Saturday afternoon, October 4th, Junction Center, Peoria Heights, IL]

" 'Whaddya expect? It's been twenty years?' True. Also begs the question of what I was expecting from this trip. I guess that scab has fallen off and even the scar has faded almost completely away."

A ridiculously common sense question leading to the more interesting issue. I think I have to admit that the event was about what I expected it to be. However, it was not at all what I wanted it to be. And there you have it. That moment of fantastic disappointment when reality collides with expectation.



In which our hero is moderately surprised

[Saturday afternoon, October 4th, Peoria Heights, IL]

"Can't believe that what used to be grandma's house is still standing. I can't comprehend how much work would have had to go into it to make it habitable, much less bring it up to code and repair the damage done by decades of neglect. Then again, for all I know, it could still be in the 'family'."

This was the only stop I made on the trip that brought me in close proximity to anything family related. Partly because it was on the way to Cromag's office, and partly because I had no real belief that there was any chance of encountering any family members. Now it's just another group of my memories paved over with something vaguely familiar, but not at all what I remember.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


CHAPTER TWENTY: Writing on the Side of the Road
In which our hero become indecisive. Maybe.
[Saturday morning, October 4th, Peoria Heights, IL]
"How can it be such a gorgeous day yet nothing seems to have gone right? I seem to be just randomly cruising around Peoria. Couldn't find the antique mall I was looking for in E. Peoria (1). Had the wrong address for the game store I wanted to visit (2). Not sure if I want to go look around Metamora at all, and if I did, I left my camera back at the hotel (3). Lack of focus may be partly to blame. Sifting and sorting thru all this new info that just doesn't match up with old info has put me in a bit of a funk. And the actual reunion hasn't even happened yet (4). This may prompt me to hit the road early on Sunday and zip back home, basically writing this area off. That doesn't change the fact that at the moment I'm parked in Peoria Heights waiting to hear from Cromag and wondering what the hell I'm going to do with myself till the reunion. There's not a cloud in the sky, the temperature is damn near perfect and I feel totally blah (5). Should I go have my mandatory meal at the Fountain, if it still even exists (6)? Should I track down the Wolf's den or see if I can find Number One's place (7)? What about the bridge where I took my historic plunge (8)? It's just too pleasant a day for this headful of bad wiring to be causing me issues. It's good that Pinklady didn't come, because by now we'd be snipping at each other constantly (9). I couldn't really take her to see the sights, because they don't exist any more (10). The strip of stores in the Heights is nice, but there wasn't much to catch my eye, really (11). A stranger in a strange land. Or better, a stranger with a strong sense of deja vu in a strange land (12). Still, I suppose it's too late to bail out on the whole thing. I'm not really sure I want to continue my tour of disappointment though. Back to the hotel would be the best course of action in that case."

(1) I did make it into Creve Cour for the first time ever, and purely by accident, but I never found the antique mall.
(2) Apparently you can physically move a store faster than you can update an online phone directory.
(3) Not sure if having the camera would have made a difference, since by that point in time I may have taken 10 pictures.
(4) This was probably around 1 in the afternoon, if I remember it right. The way the weekend went, I think it's safe to say that I didn't.
(5) Motivation seemed to have abandoned me at this point. I felt highly isolated and very out of place.
(6) It does still exist, and I did not eat there.
(7) I did neither of these, but it did stick in my mind, as will be seen later.
(8) Another area I chose not to visit.
(9) This would have proven to be very true.
(10) At least not as I remember them.
(11) And a good portion of the stores weren't even open.
(12) It left me feeling quite uneasy. Most of the places were familiar enough to register in my memory, but different enough that they couldn't completely connect to those memories. It was kind of like having a new pair of glasses where the lenses didn't quite match and your eyes were constantly struggling to focus.


In which our hero channels Forrest Gump
[Friday, October 3rd]
"Am I just choosing to just play the role left over from the past era? The harmless goofy nice guy? Or is that simply who I am for no other reason but by default?"

I think there is some degree of genetic programming in action here. There must be a 'nice guy' gene. And, this gene must be an unfavorable mutation, as one of its primary functions is to all but eliminate the ability of its carriers to mate. The ladies do really like the bad guys. And, despite many attempts over the years, every bad guy persona I tried to develop was a dismal failure. Even on Halloween. The best (and that is a very loose usage of the word 'best') that I could ever come up with was this manipulative, deceitful, evil-wanna-be kinda thing that got me far more trouble than sex.

So, I'll guess I'll just wander back and take a seat in the 'I'm So Glad We're Friends' section. Or maybe the 'I Don't Want To Complicate Our Relationship' area. The 'You're Really Nice, But...' section is really pleasant this time of year. Or, I always have my reserved seat in the 'You Never Had A Chance' balcony.


CHAPTER EIGHTEEN: Easier Said Than Done
In which our hero tries to understand
[Friday, October 3rd]

"A bit sad, but at the same time trying to see it as being free from that past. Not really released, but finally recognizing that whatever was isn't anymore. There is only as much holding me back as I choose to allow."

How strange to be sad for the loss of something that you had made no effort to preserve. Makes it real hard to point an angry finger and say, 'you took my past away' when you understand that you just left things behind, and eventually someone cleaned up after you. No one took my past. I left it behind, and eventually it just faded away. There still is a bit of sadness, a small sense of loss, and a touch of melancholy in all that. So, it's OK to be sad about it for a while. It's just proving to be really hard for me to completely let go of it though.


CHAPTER SEVENTEEN: Everything Sucks...
Wherein our hero mopes a bit.
[Friday October 3rd]

"There is nothing left here. The march of time has erased or obscured pretty much everything."

I think the degree of change at the high school, and everywhere else, left me a bit stunned. The drive down from DeKalb was really nice, but that stop at the high school really knocked me for a loop. It was just supremely naive on my part to expect to be able to step right back into what I remembered. Just felt like an awful lot to process all at once.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


CHAPTER SIXTEEN: Un-Be-Freakin-Leivable!
In which our hero finds his mouth hanging open
[Friday, October 3rd, Gino's Pizza, Metamora, IL]

"The Amazon seems to be completely ageless (1). Plus her latest child resembles a cabbage patch kid (2)."

(1) Poor choice of words on my part. It's not that she's ageless like a rock or an ocean or something like that. That would be kinda creepy. More like she seems to be unaffected by the passage of 20 or so years. At least as far as appearance goes.

(2) This is completely true and requires no clarification except for those who don't get the reference. If this describes you, go look it up.


CHAPTER FIFTEEN: Well, It Used To Be Sore....

Wherein our hero gets overly dramatic.

Saturday morning, October 4th, Sleep Inn and Suites, Washington, IL

"It's like a scab that has fallen off. There was a remembered wound. There was pain, injury, and then the event passed or ended. There is a lingering remnant the serves as a reminder while the healing goes on (1). Then that falls off, and all you have left is a scar. Whatever issues, whatever wounds, whatever unfinished business (be it real or imagined) that I was set to bring to this reunion seems to have evaporated (2). There is nothing left. None of the people, none of the physical structures. There is no perfectly preserved time capsule of events surrounding that time period (3). Aside from that cardboard box of stuff sitting on the bed in my hotel room (4). What was I expecting? Given, the weekend isn't over yet, and odd things do tend to happen but so far, things have gone in a predictable manner (5). Pinklady was right about the primary topic of conversation (6)."

(1) Overly dramatic for sure. Not totally inaccurate, but a bit much for the average taste, to be sure. Then again, I am a writer.

(2) This seems to have been annoyingly true. Aside from the fact that my memory has been proven to be wildly inaccurate regarding this period of time, very few of the players in the drama of my life were even there. And I just keep seeing that scene from 'Grosse Point Blank' in my head: 'There is no us'. That would be true regarding my high school days. Very very few super close friends, no opposite sex relationships, no long standing grudges or feuds (that I know about). There are a lot of other things missing as well, and without them (not counting Cromag), there's really not a lot to discuss with others at the reunion.

(3) Time has it's way with everything and everybody. I'm not the same as I was then (I can only hope), so why should I expect other people and things to be? As true as that is, the whole series of events left me a profound feeling of disconnection.

(4) Which generated very little interest.

(5) In fact, nothing even remotely odd happened, and things did indeed reel out in a predictable manner.

(6) And that would be kids.


CHAPTER FOURTEEN: Turn Your Head and Cough
In which our hero does something just to be part of the group.
[The quoted part that follows was originally written on the weekend I spent in Peoria attending my 20th high school reunion. I have retained the original text as written, adding in numerical annotations for things I had further thoughts on later.]

**Friday night, October 3rd, Mt Hawley Bowl, Peoria, IL**

"It would be safe to say that I no longer have any desire to smoke cigarettes (1). After opting to have one with Dimples (2), I found it didn't really do anything for me. As far as my ego went, it was nice to be able pick up a cigarette and have a few drags without doubling over in a fit of coughing (3). But I really have no idea why that would be important to me other that to allow me to fir in a bit better with groups that I don't really associate with anymore. I don't go out to the bars much any more, (4)"

(1) Or cigars, or anything else of that nature.

(2) It was a sight straight from the old days, me dashing out the door hot on Dimples' heels. Then, I became instantly aware and slightly embarrassed at what I was doing. So, to explain my sudden appearance at Dimples' side, I bummed a smoke. Since I wouldn't admit to her or anyone else that I wanted to talk to her by myself for a while, I instantly came up with a cover story. I had no idea what was in store for me on Saturday night.

(3) That really seems to say something about how desperate my need to fit in is, doesn't it?

(4) Not to mention that most bars and such in IL are smoke free now.

The whole thing was areally odd scene. All six of us were in the bar of a bowling alley, and at one point in time, three or four of us were having a rather lively discussion of the nature of faith, religion and God. This was even more interesting considering that that backgroud music to this discussion was, at one point, old Black Sabbath tunes. The Johns spent most of their time playing pool, and any time Cromag or I let the conversation lag, the ladies were quick to fill in the gap with stories from their combined past. The dinner we had prior to this was quite nice. Neat little Italian resturant called Rizzi's. I got a plate of tortellini roughly the size of a garbage can lid and about as deep as a wading pool with enough pasta in it to keep me fed for the next two calendar years. It was kinda hinky. Even without the capers, still kinda hinky.

*The redo of the studio floor is done, and more trash is set to hit the curb next week.

*This is like the bestest indian summer in a looooong time.

*MSD is now experiencing the full joy of home ownership.

*The Princess Cowgirl remains MIA.

*My long term memory is for shit. Period. Or should that be a comma?