Foot Path

My longtime friend Pat is moving back home to Wisconsin this week. 16 years is a long time to know a guy and to live in one town. I was one of the reasons he moved here in 2002. But, citing the growing cost of living here, the lack of potential in this town, and his desire to move back to live near his family, he and his boyfriend Will are packing up and kicking up gravel in their wake.

I know my future isn’t in Austin, either. I just don’t know when or why I’d move, or where I’d move to. But occasionally I wonder about it, ponder on my wanderlust. If not here, then where?

Mostly, I think about what I’d miss. The food, mostly. Thundercloud, Ruby’s BBQ (now closed), East Side Pies. Among many others. But yeah. What else? My radio club? Sure. The cafes? Maybe (regardless of how much time I’ve spent inside them). The few personal friends I still see occasionally? Certainly.

Really, I’d miss the squandered potential of my 18 years here. I could have had and done and been so, so much here. All I’d have to do is fluff up my feathers and peacock along with every other dime-store DJ dotcom startup burner techie elite. Instead, I stuck to my muted integrity (somewhat) and got nowhere. It’s not necessarily that people are excluding me, they’re just not including me. I drive around and see places and things, and don’t see the people inside. I don’t call, don’t write, don’t visit. Finding my society means I have to actually look for them, because when I’m out of sight, I’m completely out of their mind.

One day I’ll have it figured out. Until then, my love for this town remains unrequited.

It’ll suck to know Pat’s not around when I need to say Hi, but it’s good knowing he’ll be in a less tenuous locale. Godspeed, Pat and Will.

So Big and So Strong

Hey Stacy–

Remember that night after the night when we first met? We were hanging out at Maxine’s in Hot Springs, getting our buzz on. Live guitarist sang “Come a Little Bit Closer” as part of his acoustic coffee-bar set. Remember that girl, the waitress? Remember, during the chorus, she put down her tray on our table and sang, directly to me, the whole chorus, as if she meant it? I just sat there and smiled and blinked while she went through the entire rousing chorus, as if I’d never heard it before. Such an amazing, impulsive girl.

(That night was impulsive, what with my planned trip, but your impulsive ride-along — we’d just met!)

Well, something like six months after the little one month relationship you and I had, I went back to Hot Springs, just to hang out and spend the night in a motel (needed to get away, y’know?). Well, the following morning I had breakfast at Shoney’s (remember those?). Yeah. Guess who sat at the table next to mine. You guessed right: the cute, impulsive waitress…and her girlfriend.

As is the way of things, I was not her kind of man. Neither so big nor so strong.

The irony of the whole thing is lost on most of the world. But I see it. And now you do, too.

In Touch

Been compiling all of my contacts from various address books, phone books, and contact lists into one central place. It’s strange, the gaps and the old information. Missing phone number here. 10-year-old instant messaging contact name there. 5 year old email address with a service that’s no longer in vogue. Makes me realize the importance of constant contact. Each fresh relationship, each updated connection, that is the sum total of our worth. Human capital. You are who you know as well as who you keep in touch with. It is not enough to aggregate relationships; you must maintain them. I must do that if I am to maintain my net worth above social poverty level.

Subtractive, Reductive

Math is the foundation of abstract thought. Actually, they go hand-in-hand.

I faltered years ago and skipped over some important mathematical fundaments and got lost, sowed the seeds of confusion and grew the crop of poisonous mental ineptitude that killed the young abstract thinker in me. I have trouble thinking past my immediate surroundings. It knocked me out of architectural school, a computer science degree, electrical engineering. I have always been technically-minded, but my weakness in math has been my stumbling block.

I was listening to this woman talk to a kid here in the allergist’s office. He was saying that he wanted to go to architecture school. The woman (not his mother) asked what grade he was in, what math class he was taking. Ninth grade, algebra. She went “Ew, algebra. I don’t think I need to know what X and Y are doing.”

That hurt my brain to hear that. I wanted to speak up in defense of math, but held mute. Damn my shy nature. My behavior is annoying, but hers is terrifying. Don’t revel in your ignorance.

Maybe I should heed that lesson.

Cling Linger Hold Adhere

“Would you like to go grab a filling but stomach-annoyingly spicy meal for a high price, followed by a wet drive to and a muddy parking at an overcrowded neighborhood coffee shop for some mediocre but hot coffee and pitifully poor wireless internet access?”

“Sure.”

It is a sunday. The UT students are back. It is raining; not the heavy rain that breeds excitement, but the light “well, I think I’ll rain…nah, hold on…would you settle for some drizzles on your glasses?” kind of rain. The kind of rain that clings to your side windows and obscures your vision when you’re trying to pull out into traffic. The kind of rain that falls from clouds that just stay all day, obscuring the sun and chilling the ground. The kind of rain that breeds mold.

It is a sunday.

I slept for something resembling 10 hours. It wasn’t a spectacular kind of sleep. It just hung there and lingered. The dreams and fantasies dragged on while my twisted backbone generated enough pain to make the dreams not worth the alpha waves. As I sit here 5 hours after waking up and after a hot shower, some stretching, and a warm meal, my back is still hurting. It’s times like this that I wish I had a drug habit.

There is this guy here at this coffee house who I don’t think I like. I’ve never met the guy. Don’t even know his name. But I don’t like him. Two months ago I was sitting at Spiderhouse, another coffeeshop, with an old friend of mine; she was giving me the lowdown on one of her ex-boyfriends who disappeared from her life and then reappeared at Spiderhouse that night to do the “I don’t see you, you don’t exist” thing at her. She pointed him out to show me who he was as he was about to walk by. He saw me looking at him and nailed his eyes back at me as he kept walking by, like he was saying, “You got a problem, fuckhead?” But I didn’t look away. For once, I didn’t look away. And now that guy is here, at Flightpath.

I shouldn’t feel anything about the whole thing. I shouldn’t. But I do. It was a glare, a daring glare. The kind of glare that communicates with the Animal Urge underneath. He’s nothing to me. I’m nothing to him. And I have this fear/anger motivation. My friends that night, when I mentioned the exchange, said, “Dude, it’s nothing. Just let it go. Don’t let it get to you.” This is the kind of thing that happens on 6th street downtown. A stare is an offense punishable by an asskicking. But nothing happened. Nothing has happened. And I’m a fool for holding onto it.

Fuck.

It is a sunday. Hello.

The past two or so weeks have driven me kinda nuts. Three weeks ago I started coming down with a cold; the whole ears/sinus/throat thing. Well, it went away after an evening, and a few days later I went out to eat; had a meal with some chips and salsa. The salsa irritated my throat which started swelling up. This, of course, broke down the defenses enough to let whatever was waiting in the wings to come in and give me a full-on infection. I had a cold. Lacking the desire to go anywhere or do anything, and wracked with morals that prevented me from spreading my cold to others, I stayed at home for a week at a half. I went to work like normal, but I had to take a day off after the doctor visit because I was too ill to work. And now I’m finally getting well enough to go out; I’m still sniffling, and my chest tightens up every now and then. I’m at 80%, but that’s it.

I hate the cold, damp weather of mid-winter in central Texas.

My time spent on IRC these days is less than stellar. Each day that passes shows me that I’m not cut from the same cloth as most of the people in the one IRC channel I frequent. There are a few people I revere; the rest can rot away, I don’t mind. It is in IRC that I keep getting proven, day after day, that it’s just not worth speaking up or having discussion because someone, thanks to remoteness and anonymity, will fire off an insult or two and make my attempt at carrying a point across worth nothing. It seems the laws of the street apply online as well.

So should I give up on IRC as well, as I’ve given up on other things in the past year, or should I hold on or join other channels? This sounds so stupid. But this is the level my life is at these days. Debating my presence on IRC. Screwit. When the balance between the benefits of chatting with other people and having a good laugh is outweighed by swagger, bravado, attitudes, and insults, it is time to move on.

The balance is tipping.