Turkeys and Dressings

Back home from seeing family for the holiday. This time around I really didn’t have any major insights or commentary about my hometown, my past, my future, or the cosmos at large. Didn’t really have much opportunity to get out and wander while I rolled thoughts in my head, although I was busy with things the whole visit.

The drive up there sucked, and the drive back sucked less.

Thanksgiving meal was great, and it was swell seeing my extended family.

My niece Jaime got married to her BFF Jamie. I wish the best for them.

Mom’s doing OK now, for the moment.

Found out I can make a speed-run from Texarkana to Shreveport on the new IH-49, take care of family business there, and speed back just shy of 3 hours total. That’s my quickest trip there and back.

I carried too much useless crap in my luggage. I’ve struggled with that since high school — taking everything with me “just in case”. All the travel guides say to pack for the best-case scenario: trust that much of what you’ll need will be there, or that you can buy what you need if they don’t. I have no understanding of how guys can pack 2 days of clothes and a toothbrush in a backpack and head off on a motorcycle for a week…until I’m at the end of my own trip and realize, “Well, I didn’t need that, or that, or this, or any of these, and that over there was totally unnecessary and cost me $595 in gas to carry.”

But I’m home now, I have my groceries for the week, my smoky fur-covered clothes are in the hamper, I’ve eaten my first meal since breakfast this morning, and this beer is kicking in. Here’s to a non-sucky week ahead as everything gets back into swing after the holiday slowdown.

Expansion, Not Vengeance

Late night, drinking screwdrivers, music on, playing single-player Mahjongg. Thinking. Remembering. Mental cleanser. Mind slowed down enough to give space to synapses. Chance to make connections. Listening to new VNV Nation “Noire”.

Reminds me of going home, to Texarkana. Staying for the weekend at mother’s house. She heads to bed, I head to the streets. Windows down. Get lungfuls of Red River air. Drive through stratified layers of fog North of town. Cranking VNV Nation. Dancing in driver seat. Constellations spin outside the windows as I drive 90 MPH on back roads. Something bigger, something spacious. Domes of light. Geolocation. Needs.

Thinking big thoughts.

I seldom do that these days. Life in Austin is always immediate. Cumbersome. Disruptive. Interruptions and imperatives telling me what’s next. TODO lists. Needfuls. Terrible hungers. I miss slowing down to think.

If I moved back to Texarkana, I would be a big fish in a little pond. I say that, but really, Not Really. I know myself too well. But I would pine for the bigger world out there. For places like Austin. San Francisco, Toronto, Berlin, Italy, Anywhere. Small man in small town dreams big, hungry for possibilities. Wants growth. Peter Gabriel’s “Big Time”. I was never meant for small town life. But maybe I was. I don’t know. Fuels my hunger and starves my desires. Mixes me up to question what I really should be doing to make things made. Big towns drown me out. So who am I?

This album, plus this solvent, plus this space I’ve created for myself, are really, really doing me in. Connections.

In Full

Today is an auspicious day, friends.

After 22 years and change, my student loan is a nice, round zero. Done. Finished. Paid in full.

For the first time in my adult life, I am debt-free. I owe nobody a god-damned thing.

Slow and steady wins this race, sure, but I should never have gotten into this race to begin with. When things got skinny in school, I should’ve sought better options or gotten out.

Granted, some of my best life lessons happened in college, but the bulk of the great education happened outside the classroom. I had so many great and wonderful experiences in school, and they really opened my small-town mind to the big world out there. I wanted to travel, to bum around, to see the world first-hand and experience it, live in it, embrace it, suck the marrow from its bones. But that crippling college debt convinced me I wasn’t able to do any of that. So I stayed in my rut and kept digging.

College showed me the world and then my signatures on 11 semesters of promissory notes kept me from being in it.

Now, this is a game-changer. There are new levels of income I can go down to and still get by. That buys a lot of breathing room. I don’t know what I’m going to do from here on out. The next obvious step, you say, is to buy a house, but I may’ve said before that I will never be able to buy property here in Austin. Why get out of a minor debt to jump into a massive debt? It just doesn’t seem worth it to me.

What I will do, however, is save as much as I can, live as frugally as I do already, and hold onto what I can. If you’ve ever lived in debt, you’ve learned that you just can’t trust the future. I certainly can’t trust the future, and I don’t enjoy the present, and I’m ashamed of the past.

So I’ll just coast for a while and enjoy this. It’s a nice change of status. Debt-Free. I like how that sounds.

Scattershot

Radiowise, yeah, I know I’m trying to do everything correctly to the best of my abilities, but really, I kinda suck at the radio thing. It’s terrible to look up from your sketchpad and realize you’re really not that good at your hobbies.

But here I am.

Maybe I should just throw a random wire across the apex of my apartment roof and not give two shits or a good god damn about it. Maybe then I’ll have success. I dunno. Last I checked, the laws of physics aren’t dependent on someone’s level of frustration and don’t suspend themselves when they stop giving a fuck about improving.

But here I am.