09 October 2017

Reviewmirror of Erised

Emotional scenes need more comic props. Next time you have a meltdown, bring a rubber chicken. Don the giant bowtie while sobbing that it's over. Blend those tears with the spewed disdain from a spitting flower.
Furthermore, drunk people should be encouraged to do magic. 

My neighborhood independent craft brewery is a quick five blocks up the street. Go straight through the community park until you see the Gamer's Lounge, and then take a left and go up to the Vegan Restaurant. It's right across the way; it's the building with the bar stools at the garage door and the giant eye painted on the door. 
They have a Groupon. 
I like to walk up and get a flight and a pint. They have locally-made wines; four different 4oz glasses for $7; and they make a blonde ale that gives me Crooked Eye. 
They know my name. 

I don't meet a lot of people that like me. 
It's a strange glitch in the time continuum when people want to know my name. 

His girlfriend really loves him. 

He wanted to have that conversation, the one to 'clear all of this up and move forward.' I find that kind of talking typically produces way more muddling and a step backwards, but who am I to question where people use their words. I imposed a condition of pure forthright and honesty. I needed no such condition to be accepted; as I had already had the facts presented to me in every manner in which one could possibly need, and a few that you really just fucking don't. 
Still, you need conditions. 
He said a lot of things. He didn't talk about his girlfriend. The one who loves him. I didn't need him to talk about her any more than I needed conditions on the conversation; I just wanted to see if forthright and honesty were in his wheelhouse. 
I wonder if her two little dogs have names. I will call them Forthright and Honesty. They love him too. 
It was his birthday, you see. And her card was so heartfelt. A perfectly-suited set of animals were cuddling on the cover. The inside was blank of artificially generated sentiment; only the purest hand-written emotion scrawled across the page. Each "by your side" was a little bolder than the last, as if she pressed harder to make him understand how she cared. Line after line of dedication punctuated with celebration of his time with her.
The heart at the end next to her name was outlined in both black and red.
She stopped what she was doing while signing a card to open a new fucking pen to retrace the heart. 

He didn't talk about the girlfriend that loves him. 

I left the conversation rather abruptly. 
I don't believe in dramatic endings. If I could get away with it, I'd disappear in a cloud of smoke, leaving only an oddly one-eared balloon animal in my place. 

I believe I can be magical.  

I drove home and parked my darling beat-up truck out back, and I cut right through the yard to hit the street in front of the park. CUT THROUGH THE YARD. Who does that? Like there's not an ideally laid out path that leads to the exact same destination only a mere dozen yards away along the edge of the house. Maybe take the sidewalk built for the explicit purpose of getting from one side of the grass to the other?
Nope, not this girl.
Not this day.
The remaining four block walk was a flurry of kicking those smelly green things that fall from trees that I bet piss off dogs who think they are tennis balls. There was some singing, but mostly subdued. I was wearing a black bucket cap.
My first beer in, I ran into a person I knew. We said some words, enjoyed a laugh. A band started playing over by the brew pots, but I needed less noise so I took my beer to the other side of the garage door. The bar stools line up pretty nice with some empty wooden barrels that the brewery keeps out back, so I flopped my ass down and watched the muscle heads cruise around town in their customary three-block lap. 
The seat next to mine was empty for only minutes before another person I know hooked foot into the rung to get an elbow on the barrel. There was even more of the chatting, some of the chittering, and a little of the chuckling. With a completely different human being than the previous quota-filling communication session that I partook in only moments earlier. 
Now I needed more noise. 
I went back inside and grabbed a stool at the bar. The bartender brought me another blonde ale and silently nodded. My favorite kind of exchange. 
I leaned my head back and listened to the band. They were skilled, despite being three middle-aged dudes in a garage brewery. It's what I picture Chris would be doing if his wife and kid weren't already worth ten million rock stars. 

They were playing Pearl Jam's "Rearviewmirror."

I don't look back on a lot of things. 
I remember memories, as I'm sure most people do. I recall times that make stories; I paint moments with words. 
I was fucking there, man.
I don't need to go back.

I got completely lost in that time and space; slouched back to hear the end of the song, wondering where to go from here, staring at one-third of a beer that I had been nursing. The bartender stopped and tapped the glass and I instinctively picked it up to swallow the rest. I nodded in unison with my arm lowering the pint to the bar and my eyes made contact with both of the bartenders who had come to stand before me. They shared a glance between them before the older of the two nodded and the other pulled from below the bar a series of wrought-iron rings and hoops interconnected and slapped them on the bar before me. 

"It's a puzzle," he said, and swiftly slid the hoops from here to there until they were all separated. He looked at his bartender backup and the opposite reached in and deftly put the rings back to their woven together state.

I picked up the rings and weighed them in my hands as the bartenders scattered. My ale had marvelously refilled itself and I reached for the glass as my brain picked apart the possibilities of this twisted metal. I sang through another Pearl Jam song ("Rats" this time), belted out some Fleetwood Mac, got a little misty-eyed with Petty, and not even once hollered about Freebird! like an asshole. (until later). Each time my beer neared the bottom, a questioning face would appear.

"Another one, Joleen?" 
Not yet, man. Can you show me how to do this again?

The band gave an encore. ("Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town.") I settled my tab and called The Sim to let her know I was walking home. She said she'd pick me up, but I insisted on walking. I knew that to mean she was going to meet me along the route to the house, but I didn't mind. I like the night time. 

She said I danced the whole way home.

I could be magical. 
I apparently had enough to drink to believe so. 

Once I arrived to the front yard, The Sim hung outside with me for a little bit. I danced some more, and made Sim sing with me. I complained about people who cut through the yard. I didn't have my hoops with me, and Drunk Me didn't think to walk inside to get them. 
But I was wearing a black bucket hat. 
Over and over I'd flip the hat into the air in an attempt to catch it on my head. I'd fail miserably at each shot, instead hitting myself in the face or the arm, or just dropping the hat altogether in a fit of laughter. 

Finally, I just placed it upon my head, pulled the hat down over my ears, and declared myself to be "incredible!" 

There's a Dumbledore quote that I'd like to use here. I think it's the one about needing socks.

06 September 2017

Perfectly Full Circle

People grow.
I mean, not me, obviously. I'm still making the same bullshit bad decisions. But I hear other people grow. Like, emotionally and spiritually and whatthefuckever. I wonder how that feels.
The kid says I have to learn to accept that feeling is part of living. I'm not sure if I find that to be accurate. It's also not accurate for me to call her "the kid" anymore; she's well beyond the point of being her own human. I guess now I'll call her "the Sim." It's her name anyway, I guess it sounds right.

Still, that nonsense about feeling?
No. Thank. You.

Wait, is that what I have to do to grow?
I have to feel?
You mean learning to love hoop isn't enough?
Feels like it should be enough.

I've had a few of those moments that deconstruct and define your beliefs throughout my life. Most of them had nothing to do with psychedelics. Some of them had nothing to do with psychedelics. 
One or two of them had nothing to do with psychedelics. 

This one here was a fine moment:
A good time ago, as you may or may not have read, I ended up on the side of a relationship that I had zero experience with; the outside. I did what I could to move away from the radius; tried with all I had to not end up in the circumference at all.
To no avail, of course. 
Geometry ain't nothing to fuck with.
It continued upon, in this weird roundabout way for quite some time. He'd feed me a tale and I'd chase after it. I'd stop running and he'd come around.
Just like circles go.  And then there was this night. This one night. The details are unimportant. You need not know of how the episode began;
(fade in on a dusky kitchen.)
 The counter-top griddle sizzling with pads of butter that the bearded bear laid upon it. A twinkle in his eye as he flashed a toothy smile.
"Grilled Cheese Fight Club."
Yes, you heard me.
"Grilled Cheese Fight Club."
And so it began. A fury of loaves in the air, the crisp notes of fresh-baked yeast hitting the air with the first swoooosh of the bread knife. Cheeses. EVERYWHERE. Smoked gouda, mozzarella balls, goat, farmer's, cheddar, vampire cheddar, whiskey cheddar, somebody has a thing for cheddar, provolone; there could have been nothing rotten in the state of Denmark that day, for all of the cheeses were in the Pike Pub kitchen.
Add mushrooms here.
There's a line between a grilled cheese and a melt, scientifically speaking. I believe that line to be meat. HOWEVER, bacon is always the exception. So, for clarification purposes, the rules of Grilled Cheese Fight Club are as follows:
  1. Bread, any type. Pre Cut hearty grain, uncut cheddar loaf, torn baguette, or off the wall regular white bread. Entrant's choice.
  2. Cheese. Any. All. Bring your A game. Handmade or gtfo.  Judged on stretchability, as per the norm. Also analyzed for ooey, gooey, and GAWD.
  3. Condiments. Use them.
  4. Fruits and vegetables must be limited to One Per. Anything more crosses into salad territory.
  5. No meat. (Bacon Exception. Double Exception for Black Forest Bacon)
And the first contender off the sizzle is a dessert grilled cheese, and the crowd goes fucking apeshit. A DESSERT GRILLED CHEESE. Liberally lathered salted butter on a thick rough cut bread, half of an inch slather of farmer's cheese, all drizzled with a fine maple syrup and grilled to a toasty golden perfection.
It tasted like a godamn fluffernutter. A GRILLED CHEESE that tasted like MARSHMALLOW.
This fight club was over before it even started.
Or so they thought.
And out comes the hearth-baked fire bread. A slight dallop of a good fig jam, with the smoked gruyere, a red pear, and black forest bacon. Top that with a little more whiskey cheddar and a smattering more of the fig jam for good measure.
THAT's a grilled cheese.
After that came a tiny grilled mixed cheese on quarter bread, and then a bacon cheddar on cheddar wheat. At one point I thought I saw an asiago pesto, and there was rumor of a dill havarti and tomato, but these could be cheese-imaginings for all I know.
I don't know if a winner was ever determined, we never talked about it.

Four hours later, I'm sitting on the back porch next to a girl in a tutu with a ukulele. Tab here. We had just finished watching the fire dancers in the side yard play their staffs and hoops and fans with the ease and grace of people NOT spinning and throwing and holding things that were on fire.
Such beautiful people.
And she begins to play her ukulele, this enchanting blue-haired nymph. So I start to sing. Out loud. Near people. On purpose.*
*full disclosure: NOT on purpose. 

A lot had happened in that four hours. I hugged a bear for a long time. I danced through hoops I didn't know I could. I think I fell? At least once?  I had conversations and hugged people who were on every plane near mine. Every plane I thought was mine. Every plane I wanted to be on.
I had a heart-to-heart with a sloth.

I think I've grown. 
I never would have talked to a sloth before.

I love to sing. I love to dance, and spread joy. I love to make other people act as foolish as I often feel. I love to make other people feel as foolish as I often am.
I love to make people feel.

I think I can grow. 
I'd like to think I have grown. 
I would say that I might grow.

It's much harder to human than most humans get credit for.

It has never been easy for me, even when I tried. There's a complexity to most emotion that I find to be simply unnecessary. Blame some diagnosis, blame a video game. Blame my mother, blame Depeche Mode. Blame psychological damage, blame The Baby-Sitters Club. Blame Data from Star Trek: Next Gen. I think the best thing about where I've been is that there have been times I don't have to try. Just existing is enough. When you feel like you don't matter, it makes it far easier to not care.

I wrapped myself in where I should go and what I should be, to get only to where I was, before I found me.

This one came a bit around the way. The connections that I made surprised even me. There's a harmony and light to some people and things that I had been missing since all of the death and disease and darkness decided to plague my existence.
Go figure.
I never would have thought it would be That Guy that tore me out from under being afraid to live.

I'm animated as fuck.
I'm damn full of life.
And I should be. 
I've gone through a damn full life to get here.

I hate to be that asshole that talks about mountains, and then gets one tattooed, and then climbs one.

So we went to Colorado, and then climbed a few mountains. 

It played out exactly as your local grocer's granola aisle would like you to believe. I know where I want to get to in life, and every spare second of it belongs somewhere else right now. 
On the trip back, I lost a dear soul and things could have gotten pretty bleak. And then the "it's not you, it's me" conversation ACTUALLY took place; which, incidentally, I previously thought to be nothing more than writer's foder. I have now determined to be both real, and, real fucking stupid. 
So things could have gotten to whatever level in the emo-rainbow is beyond "bleak." 
Maybe "decayed?"
That's a lovely shade of Decayed blue?

If ever the definition of surreal, it's how one feels after hearing "it's not you" and then hugging a bear. Followed by fire fans and ukulele. Then dancing through some things in the yard with a lightsaber. Double shots of whiskey. CAP. Scrum in the ring with an 82nd Airbourne. More grilled cheese.

Always grilled cheese.
   My eyes opened the next morning upon what I knew to be the last page.
That Guy.
I'm on my way to learning who this me is, I think she feels okay. She's smart, that's for damn sure. She got the tattoo ahead of time on this one.
One might say