Archives for June 2009

The Squeeze is On

Johnny looked out the window and stared aimlessly into space. Blue skies were all that he could see, endless blue skies punctuated by the occasional roof line. He sighed, long and deep and shook his head. Blue skies were supposed to be symbolic of hope and possibility. Blue skies were so often used by writers to help describe the feeling of what could be.

But as the ubiquitous “they” said, he wasn’t feeling it.

No hope, no possibility. Not now, not today, not at this moment. Because at this very moment he felt like an anaconda had wrapped itself around his trunk and was slowly squeezing him to death. He grunted and looked for the head of the snake. If he could wrap his hands around it he would return the favor and teach the reptile that two could play the game.

The thought made him laugh. What the hell was he doing thinking about wrestling with a fake snake, but it was classic Johnny. He had a plan for how to deal with it and he knew that he was capable. Didn’t matter how big that sucker was, Johnny was built for demolition, broad shoulders and hands that looked like they could crush boulders made it clear that this was so.

But there wasn’t a snake. All he was doing was engaging in a game of mental shadow boxing. It made him feel better to do so. It was easier to paint a face onto the troubles that had plagued him for the past four years. Easier to give it some sort of name that he could curse and hate.

Again he laughed, such strong words, curse and hate but that was the feeling and in some ways it wasn’t a bad description. He had lived with frustration for so long that there were moments were it felt like rage. Rage was an old friend, familiar and comfortable. He had never acted upon it and probably never would.

The closest he came was a heavy bag he kept in his garage. Sometimes at night he would slip into the garage and pound that bag into submission. Two hundred pounds of sand was supposed to keep it from moving, but it wasn’t enough. Johnny and his fists of fury would batter it repeatedly and after a while it would slowly start rocking and sliding around the garage floor.

That fists of fury line made him snort. It was a ridiculous description, but he needed it. He needed to find a way to keep dreaming and to keep believing that things would turn around. He needed to feel like there was hope.

Intellectually he understood that there was no question that things would change. He was an active participant in his life. He was working to make things happen. He analyzed his actions and adjusted so that he could optimize his performance.

But emotionally he was beat up and worn out. Emotionally he felt like he was the bag that had been battered. Emotionally he felt used up and torn apart and that made it harder to deal with the frustration and feelings like it just didn’t matter how hard he tried.

Someone told him that god never gives you more than you can handle and received a glare that forced them to turn and look away. At the time Johnny felt more like he had stolen fire from the gods and was being punished for it.

But there was sort of a grain of truth that he took from it, at least something that resonate with him. He was a dreamer. He was a man who had to believe that somehow he could live out his dreams and though it seemed impossible now, maybe it wouldn’t be later.

So he sighed again and stared out the window and told himself that if he put his head down and kept trudging forward it had to get better. One day he’d be on the other side, because he just couldn’t believe in anything else.

It Caused a Fight

Not so long ago I had to referee a fight between the children about the meaning of the word crotch. Or should I say that I explained that both boys and girls have crotches.

This led to more questions about anatomy. Ah, the innocence of children and their unflinching ability to share their observations with you, unadulterated and uncensored.

This Sounds Interesting

I have a gift card for Borders that I haven’t used yet. I might pick this up.

“He was 11 years old, riding in a Cessna in a blizzard through California’s San Gabriel Mountains in 1979, on his way to pick up a trophy he won in a skiing competition.

“The gray clouds were just pressing against the windows; it didn’t even seem like we were moving,” he recalls. “Then, there’s a limb reaching out of that fog and disappearing. Then another one and another one.

“Then realizing we were in the trees.”

The plane crash that followed killed his father and the pilot and badly wounded his father’s girlfriend, who with young Norman was tossed violently onto the top of an 8,600-foot mountain in the freezing, February chill.

“I felt three thuds. The third one must have knocked me cold,” says Ollestad, now 41. “I remember feeling those thuds in my spine — a clear memory of that. Then I woke up who knows how long after.”

The ensuing nine-hour, life-or-death descent — in the end, he was the only survivor — is the topic of “Crazy for the Storm: A Memoir of Survival.”

Music For My Morning, Except it is Evening

Seven Spanish Angels– Willie Nelson and Ray Charles
Always on My Mind– Willie Nelson
You Are Loved ‘Live’– Josh Groban
Bitter Sweet Symphony– The Verve
Jay-Z versus The Verve “Bittersweet Dirt Off Your Shoulder“- Some of you will love that and others will hate it.
Drop It Like It’s Hot– Snoop Dogg Kid parked in front of my house played that three times before I had enough.

I was tempted to move my stereo and blast him with some of the following:

Thunderstruck– AC/DC
For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)– AC/DC
Panama– Van Halen
Bulls On Parade – Rage Against The Machine
Phantom of the Opera – Iron Maiden ( Bit different from Andrew Lloyd Webber)
You’ve Got Another Thing Coming- Judas Priest

But I didn’t do any of those things. And now it is getting really late and I need to start winding down. But before I do here are some more songs from the day.

Californication
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Under the BridgeRed Hot Chili Peppers
Around the WorldRed Hot Chili Peppers
Start Me Up-Rolling Stones (why play this when I am ready for bed? Beats me.)
Loving Cup-Rolling Stones
Gimme Shelter– -Rolling Stones

Knockin on Heaven’s Door– Bob Dylan
lay lady lay– Bob Dylan

That’s enough for now.

He Tried To Forget Her

She was the one who came unsought and unseen into his life and turned it upside down. She was ready but he wasn’t and then he was ready and she wasn’t. It was an awkward dance of ups and downs and uncertainties. It was a time of change in many things and many places and it was never clear what was really going on.

And so they took a step back to look at their lives and to review what it was and what it was not. A seesaw is a great place for a child but not always as much fun for an adult and so it seemed that if they could not be then the best thing to do would be to walk away.

To walk away and say that if it was meant to be then somehow it would work out. He said it and he meant it but deep inside it never did take. Though he did his best to try and forget her there were always things to remind him that something was missing from his life.

It was a funny sort of realization because something had been missing from his life for a long time and her arrival in it had filled that spot. It was a hole that had been there for a long time, so long that he had become accustomed to its presence.

And when he realized that it had been filled he was excited and thrilled in all sorts of ways. There was real joy in the knowledge that someone could still do that to him because he had convinced himself that it could not and would not happen.

It is probably why her absence from his life was so difficult. Think of the stories of man stealing fire from the gods and what would happen if it was stolen back. A fundamental part of your life, part of the trunk of the tree was gone.

Loss is one of those funny thing. Sometimes you don’t appreciate what you have until it is gone. Sad, trite, but true.

And so he did his best to forget her. He found way to fill his days and when his thoughts drifted off he did his best to think of her negative traits. This proved to me moderately successful because though he could some up with a list he would find himself thinking about all of the good things.

It wasn’t a case of denial, just reality. That was the problem. He wasn’t romanticizing. He wasn’t ,pretending and that is in large part why it was so hard. Inside he knew. He just knew.

For now he can’t live with her and he can’t live without her. Though there is no doubt that he is capable and able of walking alone and living a life in which there is no engagement with her ever again he doesn’t really believe that to be the case. He doesn’t really think that this is how it will go.

Because he knows that some nights when he stares out at the moon and thinks about her she is thinking about him. Because he knows that somewhere she is fighting the same battle as he is, albeit in a different place.

It had a crazy start to it, their relationship. But if there is one simple truth that they learned it was that the kiss that they used to kid around about was true. One simple kiss and it was all over.

One kiss that made it clear that sometimes there really are two people who belong together because they have what it takes to complete each other. One kiss made the impossible turn into the improbable and set off hope for the future.

So in his quiet moments of frustration he may curse the day that it happened he silently gives it his blessing. And he smiles at the moon and looks out at the sky and waits for a day that he hopes will come sooner than later.

Sometimes it is no more complicated than saying a boy loves a girl and a girl loves a boy and all that they ask for is the chance to somehow share that love.

Dreams of a future built upon hope and a memory. Fragments of a life that could have been built together and may still yet be are seen through the mist. Because if he can’t forget her than what else can he do.