July 15, 2009
I’m happy to report two instances of good news—one for anyone who might happen to read this regularly and one for myself in general. The first is this: I would like feedback on my work, but will no longer be begging for it like a little bitch. The second is that I’m happy to report that I did not go crazy! I in fact spent another weekend alone, but had a much more hopeful experience. More will follow.
It’s been June 23 since I last wrote, and I didn’t even realize how fragile my mental state was at that point until I went back and reread things. The following weekend went very well. I spent Friday night in Madison, where I was able to experience something a little more interesting than my normal Freeport existence. I saw some films on the rooftop of an art museum and drank a bit, and hung out with one of my best friends from high school. He’s an artist a bit more seriously than I’m a writer, and it was good to connect with someone else creative.
On my way home, I stopped by a friend’s house to swim, but only after seeing his little sister working at the gas station and inviting her to take a dip with us. She showed up, but fully clothed and unwilling to swim, so it was at best a mixed blessing. When I dried off and went downtown to slam a few pints before going home, I did something I’ve never done before—my second mixed blessing, considering that it was dumb but that I’m looking to have variety in all things—I locked my keys in my car. It all stemmed from my tendency this year to count more on shorts to cover my ass and also from my tendency to think that my ass looks really good in shorts. Because of aforementioned facts, I had been leaving my wallet more in my car. If your ass looked as good in a pair of shorts as mine you’d also be wary of putting a rectangular obstruction back there. Anyway, I had been locking my car door because of the existence of actual valuables and had gotten used to doing this, even though I don’t think I’ve ever locked my car doors in Orangeville before. I’d left my keys inside, and immediately I jumped to the conclusion that I’d not be able to make it to work, etc. and began panicking.
Just then, an older guy I know only as Bob came out the back door of my favorite tavern to smoke and gave me the idea that the fire department might be able to unlock my door. This grounded me a bit more in reality, as I then remembered that I’d heard multiple cases of these sort of things being “taken care of” with little or no fuss. He told me to go up to the other bar—or “The Other Place,” as it was legally known—where the owner, who is big wheel among the volunteer station which was located across the street, would probably be hanging out and drinking. I was relieved when I saw him there, but just as quickly disheartened when he told me that the fire department could not help me out. Since I had already ordered a beer, I began sipping on it while thinking of ideas.
Before my second sip, and after slightly overhearing a brief conversation between the owner and a third party he called, I was informed that I should be at my car in five minutes. I downed my Sam Adams in thirty seconds flat and took a fast-paced jog behind to wait. The number of people on the back porch of the first bar had multiplied, and there were now three employees concerned about my welfare. It’s so easy to get your fifteen minutes of fame in a small town. I got my door unlocked for the price of a beer, slammed a few celebratory glasses myself and talked agriculture out of my ass with a couple of “farming’s not what it used to be” old-timers.
By the time I got back to my apartment in Freeport, and got a call from some friends informing me that the local races had been canceled and that they were looking to pound a few at a big-city pub, I was already a bit in the bag. I chose to walk to meet them, taking a quart of water along with me to help with the process of sobering me up. We played the game of each person taking turns to buy a round, which causes everyone to drink just a bit faster, and I realized why I had pushed the group to go to a bar other than the one they’d chosen. The jukebox alternated between rap songs I had heard several times too many and Daughtryesque pop-metal songs I’d not care to hear even the one time I did, and it seemed like everyone was wearing their clothes a few sizes too big. Had I gone back in time to 1995? Were these guys actually getting attention from what passed for attractive girls in this town? I sunk back into the depression I’d felt the previous weekend, and passed up a ride home to have time to think.
By the time I was almost home, I figured I had sorted things out well enough to at least have another beer at my local watering hole. I got there and saw a few of the same types I had seen initially, but enough variety to keep me out of the gutter. I sat down at the only empty bar stool next to a blonde, but still had my head so high in the clouds that it took her saying my name to jar me into realizing that I knew her. She was there with a friend, we hung out, played darts, and I thought I had a legitimate chance to spend the night with this girl I’d just met, who was not gorgeous but passable. I ended up spending a plutonic night with both girls as well as the five dogs and four cats that occupied the house.
The next day I had to work, and the next weekend was the Fourth. Saw ‘works, heard some live music, good all around time. More important than going out, though, was the reading I did. I completed Nabokov’s Laughter in the Dark and began Howards End. In the time since I’ve written a fun little review of the Nabokov that I’m going to submit to a local newsweekly and, if that doesn’t work, maybe start up a hand-distributed one-page flyer with the guy I hung out with in Madison.
This previous weekend was even lonelier than the one where I almost went crazy, but proved to me that mental health is all in your head, anyway. I was going to meet my dad Friday night for some live music, but didn’t get to when the event was canceled for weather that never came. I made my own fun, walking all over town to hit six bars, including four I had never been to before, and got reacquainted with a girl I went to grade school with. Saturday, knowing I’d again be alone, I went to see a good exhibit in its last day at our local art museum, ate a very overpriced lunch at a café I didn’t know existed and saw live music at night, all without meeting up with anyone I normally hang out with. I met some characters that I’m sure will help me out, and genuinely felt good about myself. Let’s all hope for a bit more sanity for everyone!