Posts Tagged ‘friends’

All Hallows

31 October 2011

Dear J-

Well, this is it: the last day of October and of course the night to go trick-or-treating. I woke up late this morning, whether because of oversnoozing or overexertion yesterday with the little saws and punches that are the pumpkin carver’s tools. I’m starting to realize just how little physical activity I actually get in the course of a typical day, and it’s fairly sobering; at least by driving today, I reason, I’ll get home a litle earlier and we’ll be able to prepare for tonight a little better, right? It’s a curious mix of trepidation and anticipation I have tonight as our plans are to meet up and go to a strange enighborhood so that figgy can go trick-or-treating with some of her classmates.

By now we’ve all been to enough birthday parties and activities to be able to gauge how the kids will be and how they’ll react tonight; I have some questions about how Calcifer will take the later-than-usual night but I think about how our social life has in short order come to revolve around this core group of friends. For me it feels like a constant balancing act: is my natural tendency towards taciturn shyness offset by the excuse I have hiding behind a camera? Should I instead be making more of an effort to speak or is that the role I’m in now? Is there that much that we should know about each other or is the casual nature of facebook and occasional encounters at school sufficient? So many questions, so much doubt every time we meet.

I’m looking forward to it as they’ve promised that last year there were a ton of decorations and it’s an easy couple of blocks. No pressure, just a mission in to extract candy from a strange neighborhood and we’re done. I can dig it. And it gets us out of the house for the evening though I wonder if we should go to the mall like the last couple of years too, even though there’s no particular inclination or tradition to hold up. We have good kids and it’s fun to have them head out together in a little mob, even if they seem to be inseparable we all know that entering kindergarten next year will likely scatter their social group to the winds, so it’s maybe the first and last time with this particular social network.

Mike

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Take Turns

1 October 2011

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Dear J-

So this is how kids who have met each other exactly once three years ago play: warily and exuberantly. Once they’ve decided that they will be friends there’s nothing you can do that changes their minds. It is a magical, privileged glimpse into the primal ways of humans and perhaps a model for how we should live: as ready to make friends as four-year olds, as quick to forgive transgressions and ignore our baser instincts.

I want to be Cinderella. I want to be Cinderella too. Best solution: have two Cinderella costumes on hand. Next best, take turns. Actually, scratch that: best solution is to have them work it out for themselves, taking turns as needed to make the world go smoothly. Now about Jersualem …

Mike

Old Friends

16 August 2011

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Dear J-

The other day we got to go out to lunch together, these friends from my first job and me. It reminds me that despite what you do it’s the people you work with that leave the strongest impressions, not the meaningless minutiae of the days gone by.

Mike

Hot Nights

21 June 2008

Dear J-

Hot the last couple of days here, nearly cracking 100 F. Go outside and the heat bakes off your brain cells; all you want to do is find a cool spot somewhere and lie down. Still, I remember some summer nights in Boston where the only time you weren’t sweating was when you were in the shower. Lie in bed. Sweat. Get up. Sweat. Those days I had a bus pass and Sundays, could bring along a passenger, so theVet and I found blessed relief in mass transit and theaters.

Little things make life more bearable. Small considerations, gentle courtesies, unsolicited “please” and “thank you” go pretty far as social lubricants. I got a call at home last night from a coworker who was concerned that I seemed down after meeting with the boss. Nah. Work is work and it’s just work, but I appreciate deeply that folks are looking out for me as I imagine I try to look out for them.

And in the end
the love you take
is equal to
the love
… you make

— The Beatles, The End

Mike

Procrastination Prognostication

2 December 2006

Dear J-

It’s not going to get done. Either that, or I chicken out and never show you the site. I’ve got a fair amount of work to do around the house, after all, and there’s no reason I need to sit here and type out what I know to be lies lies and more damn lies. I’m going to go to Charlotte next week (let’s hear it for EPRI!) and it seems like every time I head out on the road it’s with a certain sense of foreboding and fear, like that silver hammer was about to descend. I make a poor business traveler; I know how airplanes work, and the statistics show how safe it is, but all the same I check my dismal track record in picking grocery store lines (why yes, we do take your third-party out-of-state expired checks!) and traffic lanes and understand that it’s not personal, it’s just fate.

For the longest time growing up I thought that I’d be in a wheelchair by now — some kind of accident would take my mobility; I recognize it as some sort of odd cry for help or perhaps attention, as if I wasn’t already interesting enough being me. So, hi. Me me me. You? Really? Great, me again. Me me me. See you later.

This site is just another manifestation of it — if I really wanted to know how you were doing, I’d just send you a letter and be done with it. Instead I just do stupid stalker-class things like google your name to check what you’ve been up to. Not quite Every Breath You Take yet, but where exactly am I headed with this? How can this possibly end in any kind of happiness?

I’m headed to Charlotte on Monday, and hope to catch up with at least one of the friends I grew up with some time that week — another J, although the last time I saw her was under poor circumstances (her folks had just died in a car crash); there’s some truth to the idea that people you grow up with end up being like siblings. Sometimes I wonder if, had I ended up with someone from high school, it would have been more about comfort and convenience (there I go, losing the high school sweetheart audience; please come back, I’ll be nice).

There are still relatively few things I can say, hard and fast, as absolutes; the best I can offer is that if there’s a deadline, I will wait for it. If it can be done tomorrow, well, why not? I never read Quest for Truth until a few minutes ago (back then, because of the burning envy of the unpublished, now because of the wonderful powers of google, lifting back my scalp and POKEing directly into the grey matter beneath). My chores wait until the very last possible minute in a vain attempt to extract the last dregs of enjoyment from this morning.

Barring the far-from-evitable stumbling across the site before I have a chance to spring it on you, then, my biggest fears of today don’t revolve around where I’m sleeping tonight, but what kind of father I’ll be when I’m already so wrapped up in me. Do I just need someone else to lie reassurances in my ear, or is past performance really a good indicator of future returns? I tell you what, I kinda aped it up with my cousin to impress Missy at that buffet restaurant (yeh, the one she later told me to stay away from) — for some reason, the fourteen-year-old mind is so focussed on one thing that it stops thinking of implications one step beyond. Yes, if she sees me taking care of this toddler, she’ll think what a great father I would be, and therefore want me. I’d think that in the last years of high school, reproduction is not the goal — the act may be, but not the consequence. But really, the funny thing that happened was that I ended up liking it. A lot. Dunno if that was a tipping point, but once I forgot that I was trying to impress a girl and concentrated on actually taking care of my little cousin (she graduated, J-, graduated and wants to study music already; how old have I become?) I found that I actually was enjoying it.

So there it is, dopey as it might sound. I’ve wanted kids since I was fourteen, and not just for the process. There’s something magical about watching someone else learn things; like the universe being born anew in each amazing moment. It’s like I’m some odd cult member … join, join … you will like it … although I know that not everyone is probably suited for kids, that doesn’t stop me from thinking that your life wouldn’t be better for knowing at least a few. Maybe that’s the real question I should have asked fifteen years ago — I’m going to know a few really amazing folks (one of which I’ll meet for the first time in May) and I want you along for the ride, J- … life is going to become incalculably more interesting in six five months.

Mike

Here she comes walking ‘cross the sand
She’ll never know how she blows my mind
She’s there with the chemicals in my brain
Spinning softly ’round my head
I’m gonna give in, I’ll never change my mind
I feel it now, tonight is the night
And why should I try to resist
When it’s calling out to me

— Ash, Let it Flow

High School (Aren’t We Joe Cool Yet?)

5 November 2006

I’m not convinced I got the most out of high school. But at least I got out.

*****

To be honest, things didn’t change much in high school. The hair of the student body didn’t pose the fire hazard that it used to, but we stayed in the groups that we’d split into as junior high people. I don’t condemn it because it just happens and seems as natural as plate tectonics: huge masses rushing towards each other and one would inevitably grind the other down, but not without rumbling and trembling. It’s not always a wasteland, though; sometimes you find genuinely honest and wonderful people, like some of my neighboring locker-owners. We all had to deal with the peculiar quirks of the school, such as how it was designed for southern California weather (and hence was a series of disconnected buildings) while experiencing a snow-belt reality. I still like almost all of the people who graduated with me, but it was difficult to reach across the group borders afterwards; I have yet to contact probably 90% of my graduating class with something stronger than a rumor.

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