my_lost_mind: (foolish)
Dateline:  Blue Moon
I'll start with the daytime drama, er, adventure first.
I had the day off work so I decided to bite the bullet and venture into the Registry of Motor Vehicles to obtain my drivers license for my new state of residence, which happens to be the same state of residence where I grew up.
I'm not a big fan of such agencies.  I almost always end up waiting for hours for my "number" to be called, only to be told that some specific piece of paperwork isn't quite right, the employee processing my paperwork is having some problems with the computer, or some other random impediment that causes me to have to wait longer (or "come back when you have x, y, or z paperwork corrected").
Today, I got lucky.  A man old enough to be my father, dedicated employee of the registry of motor vehicles, decided to have a bit of fun and flirt with me while processing my paperwork.  Gawd I love the midwest.  Only in this part of the country do you get treated to some 65 year old man telling you that you "really need to go to the renaissance faire..."  because... "I work there, at one of the clothing vendor booths on the weekends".    He went so far as to complement me on the drivers license photo from my previous state, telling me that he liked my hair "down" (vs. restrained in a ponytail as it was on Friday). 
If that wasn't enough, he had to make a joke out of asking for my telephone number (for the voter registration paperwork), which he made a point of correcting to say he was "only kidding".   
Uh huh  (Didn't think it was possible for me to be able to roll my eyes like that anymore).
Really?  Thank you so very much for sharing that sir.  My life is now complete. 
Gotta give him an A for effort on that one.  At least he didn't lie and say he played the role of the "King" at the renfaire.
After dealing with Captain Renfest, I was told I had to take the written test for this state.    Yeah, I was not expecting that but soldiered on, paid my paperwork fee and proceeded to the desk where I was to pick up the written test.   The friendly woman at the counter looked at my name on the paperwork and said that my surname seemed familiar.  Turns out she was a neighbor of my father before he became a resident of an assisted living facility.  She and I chatted about dear old dad, I told her that dad is doing okay but doesn't always remember things from his day to day life.   We chatted for a bit longer, she told me of various elderly former neighbors of my dad who have passed on, she wished my father well, and handed me the test.
I took the written test, passed, got my photo taken and was presented with a shiny new drivers license.
The rest of the afternoon was spent in heavy retail therapy, including a trip to the Golden Land of Particleboard and a stop at a shiny new grocery mecca - spending no less than $40 on booze because there was a good selection of craft beer, and product demos. Seriously, who can pass up a rum cream liquor that tastes like melted salted caramel ice cream?
After returning to the condo of awesomeness, I took my devoted doggie out for her second walk of the day. We headed out on our usual route, but were sidetracked by the extreme cutness of a black pug with crooked teeth and a super bouncy personality.  The pug was outside with his humans, turns out that the humans actually live in one of the condos on the other side of the community.
I chatted with the neighbors for a bit.  This is where things started to get a little weird - I swear that I must have strange attractor radar or something - I seem to always find the oddest people to talk to.  The cast of characters:
Eccentric Polish Lady:   Owns the condo near the pond. Still has the awesome Polish accent that reminds me of my whackadoodle Polish grandma.
The Dude:  40-ish guy.  Son of Eccentric Polish Lady.  Lives with mom at the condo.  File under "Failure to Launch".
Too Friendly Italian Guy:   Owns a condo next to Eccentric Polish Lady and The Dude, was visiting them for some reason. 
Junior:  Son of Too Friendly Italian Guy.  Gainfully employed.  Friendly.
The Pug:  Funny-looking black pug dog with very crooked teeth.  Belongs to Eccentric Polish Lady's daughter who left the dog in mom's care while she was out of town.
Too Friendly Italian Guy seemed genuinely interested in me once I started talking about the fact that I was gainfully employed, was not married, and brewed my own beer.  Eccentric Polish Lady was also amused, as was The Dude.  As the friendly but awkward conversation continued, I started to feel like I was on some sort of bizarro world episode of "The Bachelorette" - where my "prize" would be to go on a date with one of the 40-something young men who seemed really amused by their respective parent's attempt at figuring out if I would be a good match for their offspring.
We talked of family, where I grew up, had I been married before (yes), whether I had a college degree (no) and other questions that seemed really random but I played along because my dog was having such a good time playing with the little pug.
After a while, we were joined by another neighbor - a woman I've met before (very nice, has an awesome dog of her own).  Her dog joined my dog and the pug in an impromptu doggie play date, and the conversation shifted away from me.
Eventually the little gathering ended.  Too Friendly Italian Guy and Junior left, neighbor lady took her doggie home, and The Dude wandered off with The Pug to walk around the pond with the children of another neighbor who happened to walk buy (I guess The Dude is friends with the mother of the kids).
I know... hard to keep track of all the characters!
I wouldn't even be writing about this if it didn't seem like I had been the first sane single woman to talk to either of these guys - and I suspect that their parents were thinking the boys needed to grow up and find a decent woman to settle down with.
Yeah, um... read the next entry for the follow up on that.   Never a dull moment in the heart of suburbia.
my_lost_mind: (Default)
I have a photographic memory. Sometimes for no definable reason, my mind will present to me some random snapshot of a moment in my past like a sort of twisted Viewmaster. Other times, these moments are presented to me in video form, flashing short-subject movies in a semi-dreamlike state of mind.

Anyway, I'm often presented with images of an apartment I shared with a friend of mine back in the summer of 1988. It was a sort of cheesy-looking place with hideous gold shag carpet that had probably been in that apartment for 10 years. The style of the apartment was also reminiscent of the 70's, it had what was called a "sunken living room". In other words, there was a step down to get into the living room. This was my first attempt at true independence, even though that really wouldn't come for me for another 5 years or so. I had just escaped one abusive relationship and traded it for an almost equally psychotic one. Yet, there were moments of pure bliss here. I would listen to music here, sitting on the living room floor, smoking a cigarette or doing a jigsaw puzzle and almost feeling like a real grownup.

I also remember the waterbed I had here. I had pastel green bed linens for it, and a lamp with a decorative green light bulb in it. This was a room that I had wanted since I was in high school - a place that was truly my own. I remember those wonderful summer nights when I could leave the window open and hear the breeze and the crickets and the noisy parties going on in the building across the courtyard.

These little flashes of nostalgia are generally no big deal. It's more unsettling when moments of passion, long buried in a shoebox of forgotten experience, stuffed in a corner of my memory, come flying at me like knives made of the most perfect polished silver. Bright, clear, sharp enough to slice me to ribbons. I see a moment of a first kiss, a boy that broke my heart when I was 14, with his deep intense gaze through dark hypnotic eyes. A boy who confused and thrilled me to the point of breathlessness. A boy who made me cry like I had not cried before (and it took me 3 years to get over him). Then I'm thrown another memory, another lost love, a memory that draws a breath and kicks me hard in the ribs. The one who broke my heart at 16. The smell of photographic development chemicals always brings this memory on (he was a photographer and had a darkroom in the basement of his parents' house).

These memories probably wouldn't be a big deal if I were to experience them in a more disjointed sense. But these are so surrealistically visual that I wonder if these memories even belong to me, or if they are some residual visual junk left behind after watching a movie or tv show.

I can vividly describe moments and places of my childhood. I now know why I was not gifted with a talent for drawing or painting. I would be truly tortured, surrounded by my own paintings of images from every snapshot in my head. A friend's attic bedroom where we would listen to music, burn incense, and talk well into the night. The backstage area of my high school, where I spent countless hours of my teenage years painting sets, messing with the costumes, or just hanging out waiting for my turn to rehearse. Yes. I really do have a time machine in my head. The only problem is, I can't go back into the experiences, I can only watch them. Like having my very own ghost of days past, keeping watch on my sanity, whisking me away to a randomly generated moment in time for some inexplicable reason.
my_lost_mind: (foolish)
I was born in the midwest. I grew up in the midwest, but these are tales for another entry.

More than 12 years ago, I left this part of the country to journey across the country to the land that borders the sea. I don't recall much of the original journey except that it included driving a 1993 Geo Storm with 2 cats along for the ride. A somewhat noble, but eccentric knight drove the big metal box on wheels that contained a collection of household goods and other useful items, as well as a ton of useless sentimental crap that I am incapable of parting with.

This knight and I made a homestead in a place called Germantown, and made a genuine attempt at the whole "happily ever after" thing. I learned about this great and powerful force that was about to sweep across the country, this amazing invention known as The Internet. I bought my first domain name, and set up a web site where I could write pages of content that nobody would ever read. There was no Blogger back then.

A year later we moved across the river to another town and set up our household there, but somehow it just wasn't meant to be.

I schlepped my crap back across the river and settled into a commune, um.. I mean.. apartment building in a nice suburban community. I had a great job, some great friends, and was fairly happy where I was in my life at the time, but there was something missing.

I did manage to pick up 3 tattoos while I was living in this particular part of the country, but I was hungry for the elusive "something different". Well, this... and intelligent single guys.

To make a very long story short, in the first summer of the new century I packed all of my belongings into another large metal box on wheels, loaded my cats and myself into a 1997 Saturn, and we all made a merry trek to a very strange land. A land full of friendly blue people who lived in a world quite different from the land I came from. These folks were liberal.

I suppose I should mention that the kind fellow who drove the metal box on wheels was a conservative living in the land of the blue people, but he was a strange sort of conservative. The kind that drives a rental truck with no pants on (it was July after all).

This journey was the beginning of 12 years of what could best be described as a rickety carnival ride left to run while the operator ran off for a cigarette, and to hit on the biker babe and her drunk friend.

Within these 12 years I had my heart broken more times than a boxer's nose, changed jobs at least 3 times, had mono, bought a place (only to lose it in a bout of serious economic hardship), adopted a dog from a shelter (only to lose him to a heart attack 7 years later), got a few piercings, swam in the sea, went fishing in the sea, learned how to brew beer, started a new career, made ice cream using liquid nitrogen, bred tropical fish, broke my ankle falling down stairs, got drunk a lot, and met a large number of really interesting people, some of which I still consider dear friends.

My last 5 years in the land of the blue people was also full of bitterness, anger, depression, insomnia, and helplessness because I foolishly tried to rescue a small boy trapped in the body of an adult alcoholic with a personality disorder.

It took more than 2 years for me to save enough money, and wait for the stars to align and guide the way back to my home.

I had no ruby slippers, no fairy godmother, just my own maddening determination (and a sympathetic employer who allows me to telecommute) to return to the midwest. My kin are here, both the kin I adore and the kin I am not so fond of. The people here speak my language. Even though I am still a blue person and these folks are mostly red (some are more purple), they are still welcoming and friendly.

There's no place like home.

March 2013

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