On the Road by Jack Kerouac (Spoiler Free)

Happy Monday!

 

On the Road and Jack Kerouac were for me, growing up, one of the quintessential travel stories written by the archetype of the traveler. Or so I believed, because I hadn’t read it for the first time until this year.  I’ve spent a lot of the last eight or so years traveling, and in doing so I would read through peoples’ libraries, hoping someone would have copies of books I wanted to read.  However I never did find On the Road until I got a library card again(1) here at Lancaster.  Taking advantage of my library privileges I’ve gotten my hands on three books I’ve been wanting to read for ages but never gotten around to until now: Slaughterhouse Five, The Fault in Our Stars, and On the Road.  The other two books lived up to my expectations.  Did On the Road? Let’s find out.  

Image result for on the road movie

Apparently it’s a movie now, but it only got 6.1 stars on IMDB. I plan to view it at some time.  Review pending.

On the Road is a semi-autobiographical work about a character named Sal Paradise and loose cast of characters all of whom were influential beat authors, including the St Louis native William S. Burrows as Old Bull Lee(2)  The book is split up into five distinct parts which tell a story of Sal Paradise working, loving, running with friends, getting his heart broken, but in the end Kerouac gives Sal an optimistic ending and Dean gets a semi-romanticised ending.

On the Road, like a long-term trip, has some unforgettably beautiful passages that will stick with you long after moving on. But, also like a long-term trip, it gets tough to slog through in parts (and I have faith enough in Kerouac’s style to believe it was structured that way for pacing purposes).  Overall, I’d say the book is worth the read, but it’s likely to be a slow read, because also like a long term holiday, no matter how you try, some things can’t be rushed. And those things tell you when it ends and begins.

 

Footnotes:

  1. Most of the places I’ve lived require “proof of address” to get a library card and because I moved around so much, I’ve had a hard time getting one.    
  2. Allen Ginsberg as Carlo Marx and Neal Cassidy as Dean Moriarty are the other notables. (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_Road)

 

SPOILERS BELOW

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Martenisa: Grandmother March has a Spring in her Step (Folklore)

Cover Photo Source: Adventure Flair

Happy Monday!

A few weeks ago one of my flatmates gifted me a red and white bracelet with a purple butterfly charm on it.  I asked her why and she went to explain to me that it was a Bulgarian Spring ritual.  “It is just what we do.”

bulgarian spring twist

The martenitsi is usually made of red and white yarn. The red to ward off the gaze of evil spirits and the white represents long life.

Naturally I was curious for more and went digging around.  What I learned was that Martenisa is a spring celebration starting on March 1st when Martenitsi are tied around children’s wrists and necklaces of the same colours are hung around young women’s necks.  Martenitsi are always given as gifts, never bought for one self, and are given to loved ones, friends, and people they feel close to (aww thank you Tsveta!) with  the wish of good health and luck.

The Martenitsi is meant to be worn until the wearer first sees a stork, swallow, or blossoming tree (all signs of spring). What is supposed to be done with it at which point varies however I was told to tie it around a blossoming tree branch to pass on the good health and luck I have been gifted over the last month to the tree.  I like this a lot, trees are okay people.

The idea of wearing the Martenitsi is to protect the wearer from Baba Marta (Grandmother March) who is subject to mood swings bringing more cold weather.  By wearing a Martenitsi it’s a sign of welcoming Baba Marta and asking for a short and less bitter end to winter.

With that being said, I’m still wearing my Martenitsi but I’m hoping that soon (seeing as today is the first official day of spring) that I’ll see a blossoming tree so I can pass on the love.

If you want to read more, check out this wonderful post on Adventure Flair “What is Martenisa?”

Happy Spring!

 

Zheng Shangyou (Card Game)

Happy Monday!

A few months back my friend taught me this game he picked up called Zhen Shangyou which is a Chinese card game.  He translates it as “Swim to be the First”. It also appears to readily be known as “Winner”.  Either way, it’s a fun and simple game for two players with variations for more players.

Number of players: 2

Goal: Be first to get rid of all their cards.

Hierarchy of cards and combinations:

Highest  -> Lowest:

Spades -> Hearts -> Diamonds -> Clubs

3 -> 4 -> 5 -> 6 -> 7 -> 8 -> 9 -> 10 -> Jack -> Queen -> King -> Ace -> Joker

Red Joker -> Black Joker

 

  • Single cards: Any card from the deck, ordered by rank with suit being the tie-breaker. (For instance, Ace of Spades will beat the Ace of Diamonds, which will beat the King of Spades.) The red Joker is the highest single.
  • Pairs: Any two cards of matching rank, ordered as with singular cards by the card of the higher suit. (A pair consisting of the King of Spades and the King of Clubs will beat a pair consisting of the King of Hearts and the King of Diamonds.)
  • Two [or more] pairs. Any number of pairs of cards with consecutive rank, e.g. 5-5-6-6-7-7
  • Three of a kind: Any three cards of matching rank.
  • Full House: A composite of a three-of-a-kind combination and a pair. Ordered by the rank of the triple, regardless of the pair.
  • Straight: Any five or more cards in a row. Twos are low in a straight (so K-A-2-3-4 is not valid, but 2-3-4-5-6 is), and Aces can be played high or low. A-2-3-4-5 is the lowest straight. If a [x] card straight is the current play type, it is only possible to beat it with another [x] card straight with a higher lowest card.
  • Bomb: Any four cards of matching rank. Can be played on all tricks excepts higher bombs (i.e. the four same cards having a higher value) or straight flushes.
  • Straight Flush: Any five or more cards in a row of the same suit. Same rules apply as a straight. A straight flush can be played on any tricks except for a higher straight flush [see straight].

 

 

Rules for Play:

  1. Once the cards have been shuffled, deal out the entire deck including jokers.
  2. Who ever has the 3 of diamonds goes first, however the 3 of diamonds does not need to be played.
  3. The player who goes first lays down the lowest card they have as a single, double, or triple (as if player one has two 3’s they could play one 3 or both).
  4. The next player plays the cards that are of the next highest available combination or if they cannot or choose to they can pass.  The first player to run out of cards wins.

Good Morning, Mr. Magpie (Urban Legends #2)

Happy mystery Monday!

Several months back, I did a post on an urban legend from my home town of St Louis about the spooky Zombie Road and to quote one of my favourite you tubers, Ross Scott of Accursed Farms, “Like a porn series that already knows it’s going to have a sequel, I’m putting a big number 1 in the title.”, I named the last post “Urban Legends #1” because I knew that this is a subject that I would like to revisit because I value the tradition of story telling and urban legends are something I feel like are waning in style.  I don’t mean to say I feel like they’re going obsolete nor that I believe there will ever be a time we move away from them, in fact Slender Man is arguable proof that urban legends are alive and well(1), however there are smaller local legends that rarely leave the city or place of their origin unless told and retold by wandering bards(2), like yours truly.

This one, however, is much less sinister then the two previously mentioned but none the less has an element of morbidity which, I’ve come to terms with, is quite an attractive element in stories to me(3).

scary-stories-to-tell

This was one of my favourite images from the my favourite anthology series “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark”.

I first learned about this story because I was walking with a friend and we saw a solitary Magpie and she saluted it and said “Good Morning, Mr. Magpie. How are the wife and kids?” and kept going like it was something completely normal well adjusted adults do.

magpie

Just in case if you didn’t know what they look like. I had never seen any before coming to England.

And I’m not one to judge I talk to animals and plants like they’re people all the time however, never have I ever considered saluting one (or anyone for that matter). I asked and they just told me “That’s just what you do when you see one alone.” and then recited the following nursery rhyme:

One for sorrow,

Two for joy,

Three for a girl,

Four for a boy,

Five for silver,

Six for gold,

Seven for a secret never to be told.

“Brilliant. That Explains everything. ಠ_ಠ”

So I did what I do and learned a few things about the magpie and why this became a thing.

I learned that magpies, like many species of bird, mate for life and that seeing a solitary magpie is a sign of sorrow because it can mean the solitary bird has lost its mate and if you see two it is a sign of joy ergo the rhyme “One for sorrow; two for joy…”.  The salute is a sign of respect, similar to tipping of the hat, and asking after its wife and kids is to assume that it just happens to be away from the family.

The rest of the rhyme comes from a tradition of divining the future based on the behavior of birds called “Augury”, IE if you see five magpies you’re in for some money.

augur-magic

I *finally* understand the name of this card.

The depth of the myth goes on with variations of the rhyme, why magpies are bad luck (or in Chinese symbolism, they’re actually good luck), and different ways to ward off the bad luck crossing a singular magpie.

If you have a piece of urban lore you want to share, please feel free to leave a comment below about it.

 

Footnotes:

  1. Slender Man seems to fit the definition of “urban legend” as provided by dictionary.com

Urban Legend (n)

a modern story of obscure origin and with little or no supporting evidence that spreads spontaneously in varying forms and often has elements of humor, moralizing, or horror
2. I realise that “bard” is defined as “one who composes and recites poems” and as I do write poetry (rarely) but do not identify as a “poet” I am abiding by the archaic Greek definition of poet meaning “maker, author”, the use of poetry can be seen as recently as 1821 by Percy Shelly‘s essay “A Defense of Poetry” which is an excellent and extremely empowering read for any writer.
3. In talking to one of my friends about some of my favourite authors, bands, poets, movies, video games, and the stories I’m working on she said to me “Fin, I think you might be a little death obsessed.”  Now I’m taking a Victorian Gothic Horror class at university and I kind love it.  Love thy self, right?

 

Happy New Years Eve…eve! (comic)

Happy Friday Folks!

Oh boy it’s here guys, the long awaited end of 2016 and what a fucking strange year it’s been.  There are already plenty of articles talking about how many people we lost year, the implications of a Trump presidency and how relations between the US and Cuba will change with the death of Castro, and if the Cubs can take the World Series is that a good omen for the Blues in the Stanley Cup? (like did you even SEE the hat trick the other night?!)

However here I want to just reflect a little bit about my personal year (don’t worry, there is a comic this week) because as you can probably guess it has been a big year for me.

  • I got accepted into Lancaster as an exchange student in March
  • I got sober 25 April 2016
  • I started Offbeat On point in May
  • I got to live in one of my “Dream Neighborhoods” over the summer(1) (June – September)
  • I ran my first half marathon (110 minutes) in July
  • I moved to a new country (October)
  • I got to meet my musical hero MC Chris (November)
  • I got accepted into Lancaster as a degree seeking student (December)
  • I celebrated my first Xmas away from home

Overall it’s been a good year but it hasn’t been with out struggle.  Most of this year I’ve spent in one form or another of extreme isolation.

Before getting sober, this was my life:

Monday – Thrusday: School (12 credit hours), work (30 hours), drink alone at home until I couldn’t remember passing out(2).

Friday – Sunday: Friday I would work then go home and drink.  Saturday and Sunday I would do 12 hours of homework each day then come home and drink.

I had no friends left and I sort of tried to make friends at work and school fell kinda flat for numerous reasons. After getting sober, school was out and I started working a lot more, got promoted to manager at the sandwich shop and got back an old job I had in light construction. Between the two jobs I was working 80-100 hour weeks, which has never never really been a problem for me because ever since high school I’ve kept a kinda manic schedule where I would be “on” for a few months to a year and “off” for a few months to a year (“on” = working and/or in school; “off” = unemployed and not in school or unemployed and in school) which is partly why I’m 28 and still working towards a bachelor’s degree. All of this considered, you can probably start to see why I didn’t have friends.

When I got here, I knew from pretty early on that I was going to spend winter holiday alone on campus and that isolation kind of scared me a lot.  Like a lot a lot.  The week before xmas was my first week alone here and I might have been alone but I felt so so loved because every single day I would wake up to a phone full of messages from friends who lived in my block and others from school (and the odd person from the states) texting me “Hey how’s Lancaster?” “How are you doing?” “What’s the weather like there?” and it would literally take me about an hour every day to respond to everyone(3).  I’ve mentioned before that I feel the warmth of community here and that sense of community has really changed me.  Not dramatically but it’s helped me heal quite a bit.  It’s been a hard year for everyone but let’s not forget to take stock of the beautiful little moments that we’ve enjoyed this year.

Have a happy and safe New Years Eve, folks.

img_20161230_201549_716

 

Footnotes:

  1. I mentioned in a previous article about the Webster Groves area but basically it’s one giant botanical neighborhood just on the county/city line where people who make much more money than I ever hope to live but what gives me (a little) hope is the guy I was living with was the original editor and chief of a few small local news papers and he had a nice place. If that writer could make a good living, I can too (maybe).
  2. I could hold my own when in company, as in I could drink upwards of 30 drinks in a night and not vomit, but when you develop a long term drinking habit you start to experiment and see if you can get that nail that precise amount of alcohol to time ratio for the “daily ritual”.  Mine was a 6 pack of beer, 3 nips (this is what we called airplane bottle shots, usually 1.5 floz/50mL), in the space of 3 hours.  I had it down to a science because when you’re a functional alcoholic, having “leftovers” is a really bad idea because when you wake up: you already have booze and because of that I found it very very hard to get my day started.  I needed to not have booze in the house so I could be motivated to get some work done and then walk to the shop for my “reward”.  Also if you don’t have enough booze, woah that is like seriously the worst.  Like you drink and drink then if you’re still awake and booze free then you’re at a conundrum: walk to the store and pray it’s not too late to buy booze (legal limit was 3am in St Louis but frequently grocery stores, they had the best prices, would shut down their booze isle by 1 or 1.30am) or try to tough it out.  Guess what won most times.  This set amount played deeply into the psychology of being in control. See I knew even if I ate, I’d pass out; I knew if I got this much, it would be enough and if I wanted leftovers I knew that I would need more; I also knew when to start drinking to be in bed by a certain time, I could even tell by texts and other time stamps precisely when I would black out and just about how long I was conscious before I actually fell asleep.  All these things are important in the addict’s mind when trying to maintain the illusion of control because as long as you’re in control, you don’t have a problem.
  3. Taking so long is probably mostly my fault because I like to talk and my average text is probably 160-300 characters.

My First English Xmas Dinner.

Happy Monday!

As I mentioned last week, I’ve decide to deem Mondays “Mystery Monday”(1) and way back three days ago on Friday I already had an idea of what I was going to write about(2) but as reliable as clichés are life happened and now have quite a different thing to write about.

Xmas is just another day to me however my flatmates and friends here at uni all love xmas and many were gutted when they found out that I’m not going home or going to spend the holiday with anyone, to the point where a friend gifted me a chicken to roast for xmas dinner.

I’m not much of a cook but I can read directions.  I thought.

Four hours after putting my chicken in the oven, this is what I pull out.

20161225_175604

Xmas Dinner 2016: Briqued(3) Chicken

Looking at my blackened bird, I couldn’t figure whether I wanted more to laugh or cry(4) but either way I do what any sensible person would do: take a picture and send it to all my friends.

Everyone asked basically the same thing but my friend Nat phrased it best: ‘One question: how?’

Good question, because at that point I still didn’t have an answer until my other friend accused “did you read the directions?!” to which I replied “Of course I did, it read cook at 280* for 4 hours”, if you’re English and/or remember that I’m an American in England, you can probably see where this is going.   After a apéritif of ego, I dug out the package out of the trash, to prove to my friend that the directions were misprinted when I saw that it read 280F/137C.

Oh the joys of being a foreigner.

Happy Boxing days, folks.

If you have an embarrassing or funny holiday story, feel free to share in the comments below.

Footnotes:

  1. As a note from behind the scenes, I like alliterations and Friday being comic day lent it self to ‘Funny Friday’ and in the beginning I did memoir bits on Mondays but not exclusively, as it was originally my only day but once I started doing Fridays also it kept oscillating between book review and memoir and then sometimes it was just something else completely so I decided to make Monday more interesting by leaving it to be the wild card day or ‘Mystery Monday’.
  2. Don’t worry, I’m coming back to the Bubbles.
  3. I’m proposing that we make ‘brique’ a verb ‘to make into or like a briquette’ for my fellow Microwave Chef types.
  4. Not because I botched up xmas dinner, whatever, no I feel guilty about throwing out an animal food stuffs.  I’m not a ideological eater but I try to be mindful and I figure that if an animal has gone through the life of being raised to be food that the best way I can respect it’s former existence is to not let it’s nourishment go to waste because just to throw it away at this point seems kind of like insult on top of injury like “your existence was to be raised and killed and made into food but now you’re going to waste because you’re not even being appreciated as food.  I know there’s lots of logical holes and squishy bits in there but it’s why I felt guilty.

Stream of Consciousness Thearte presents: Cold

Happy Monday.

It’s gotten cold here in England.  Which is an interesting thing this time around because normally I don’t like the cold and the rain and have spent a lot of time avoiding it while I lived in St Louis particularly when it was doing both at the same time. However here I don’t seem to get as cold easily nor the rain bother me.  I’m not entirely sure if it’s just because it gets so much colder in St Louis or if it is a shift in my personal body chemistry however one thing that has changed is my level of social interactions which has grown much warmer since leaving.

When I was in the lou, I was left isolated socially, mostly my fault the longer I look at whether due to poor life choices or poor decisions in friends.  Social isolation is something that leaves my heart cold, less caring.  However here being in a communal living situation I’ve been introduced to the fact of living with lots of people over night.  I’ve been living away from my parents for over 10 years and have grown accustom to a wide variety of social living conditions from living in a one bedroom house alone, to living with 5 other guys in a massive house and lots of things in between but none of it was as communal as this is.  Everyday I see the same people, 7 of us inc me, share 1 kitchen and 2 bathrooms, and everyday we share the same struggles of acceptance, school work, cultural adjustment, money, and seeking out our place.  Living in this close proximity to strangers is both a wonderful and challenging experience that has left me feeling exhilarated and exhausted, loved and hated, apart of a bigger community and isolated depending on the day.  Communal living has been a wild ride so far but it’s left me anything but feeling cold.

I have been listening to this album on repeat the last few weeks, Soon It Will Be Cold Enough by Emancipator.  I don’t remember how I found it, somewhere through the youtubes. It’s a strange and funny and a little bit sad music experience.  I will write about it more in depth at a later point on a Wednesday but it has left me feeling the want for real snow.  It’s only rained here.  Maybe it’ll snow over winter holiday.

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For New Friends and Old Alike

Happy Friday!

NOTE: I am using [sic] to indicate that these people said these specific words to demonstrate that I’m not exaggerating the incredible rudeness I encountered.

As many of my regular readers probably know, I left my mother city of St Louis (Follow link for more information, however TL;DC [Too Lazy; Didn’t Click] St Louis is a Beer City with a Baseball problem [among other problems] that’s about 300 miles south on the mighty Mississippi River) 1st October 2016 at 4.20pm (tee-hee) central time on my first ever journey out of the United States for the University of Lancaster in the UK and the experience has been absolutely beautiful, depraved, loving, dysphoric, and already significantly life changing.

I believe in the some-what superstitious idea of synchronicity(1) and this being said, as much as I will always love St Louis as my Mother City, I believe she was giving me her blessing by fire to leave in three little flares:

Flare #1:  The Thursday before I left, I was trying run around town and finish the things I didn’t do yet because procrastination which when you’re errands depend on the public transit system in St Louis, it can take up to 4 hours round trip for less than a 20 mi/32.187km trip.  This being the case, I’m pretty used to eating on the go and being so close to leaving I was eating lots of glorious trash gas (petrol) station foods to avoid having groceries that I wouldn’t be able to eat before leaving.  I have some pretty wicked hair(2) and hair this wild was never made to play well with hats.  However I haven’t yet found a proper alternative to the skull cap for winter weather which leads to results that look kinda like this:

fin-hat-hair

So be me, sweaty from dressing for the cold morning weather that turned up to mild summer weather in the span of my transit travels and no longer wanting to be in a hot hat.  Taking it off when I arrive at the gas station and feeling self conscious but mostly hungry I made a bee-line for the junk food section and load up some slightly-burnt hot dogs and hot-dog-shaped chicken things and mildly-satisfying-for-the-price taquitos and jump in line(3) and the over middle aged cashier checks me out and says to his coworkers (as a complete non-sequitur) “…speaking of I need to get in touch with my lazy-ass [sic] barber because my hair is starting to look like absolute shit [sic].” To wit I thought “So it makes you feel good to insult boys half your age about their hair passively you fucking limp dick? Not only you insult your barber who earns an honest living unlike you’re dead end gas station attendant job?” However I’ve been trying to remember Louie’s advice “Let it go, Fin. You’ll be happier for it.” and resisted spitting sulpher and walked away letting the miserable prick marinate in his own negativity.

Flare #2: Saturday morning rolls around and I’m ready to leave this city.  I’ve had people who I considered friends ignore me completely in any respects to hang out one last time before leaving, we had been having miserable weather, and I was still a little pissed off about the hat hair comment (I mean the guy works in the HOSPITALITY industry, what kind of mum teaches their child to behave in such a manour much less at work?) however the bus stop to take me to the airport was literally less than a block from the front door of my motel room which made me pretty happy.  I packed (almost) everything I own in the world in a big roller bag that I had received as present for the first time I went off to university(4) however it was the very cheap Prestige brand of bag(5).  Before I even got to the bus stop (less than one block), the wheels broke off and the bottom of the bag was getting a friction hole exposing a structural wire. I’m convinced that Prestige brand bags are the type of bags you gift your traveler friend you’re trying to sabotage because they will not last more than one trip, if that.

Flare 3: I bought my tickets of this app I discovered via reddit (/r/budget if I remember correctly, however probably not) called Skip Lagged

Skiplagged is a pro-consumer travel website that aims to make it easier to experience the world. We expose secrets of the industry by finding airfares not found anywhere else that can easily save you up to 80%. FAQ

Regardless of how infomercial the pitch sounds, I literally got my flight here for 500$, the next cheapest being 1000$.  The itinerary I had purchased didn’t use American Airlines (instead using the appropriate “Finnair”) to get me from St Louis to Chicago and on presenting this to the boarding pass counter, the lady looks at my itinerary and says “What the fuck [sic] is this?”
Me: My itinerary?

To which she gives me a dirty look (another prime example of St Louis Hospitality) and told me to wait and went off to talk to her equally vapid and rude coworker to figure out my business.

Finally after over 30 minutes of waiting she comes back and mumbles “I guess I’ll try this again.” and when she finds my boarding pass she says to her computer screen “This was a fucking stupid [sic] way to buy a plane ticket.”   Be me (again), wheels have fallen off my 70lb/31.752kg and I’m tired from manually carrying the thing around to keep it from breaking further and for the second time in 3 days I’m being insulted passively to my face from an individual in the hospitality industry. “Let it go, Fin.”

I’ll be the first to admit, I was deeply unhappy being in St Louis long before deciding on this trip however I found it deeply bothersome to be treated with such blatant hostility from people who have jobs in an industry that is supposed to be focused on good manours.  And maybe this rubs me especially hard because I’m a food industry veteran of 13 years and I’ve fired people for less.  This sort of behaviour is absolutely unacceptable particularly when not provoked, however what bothers me the most is that both of the people from #1 and #3 I guarantee have higher wages than I’ve had at my peak regardless of my practice of loving compassionate kindness. Even now, just writing this is making me grind my teeth. “Let it go, Fin.”

Fear not, my dear reader, after 1300+ words there is a happy ending: Since touching down in the UK every single person (inc hospitality workers, flat mates, university workers, strangers, literally EVERYONE) has been radically kind, polite, and frequently even nice to the point of “sweetheart” levels.  Never have I ever encountered any place where everyone says “please, thank you, excuse me, sorry” so frequently which among other things (that I plan to cover in a future piece “Cultural Dysphoria: An American Abroad” [working title]) has made it easy to fall head over heels in love with the people of the United Kingdom.  For the first time in my life, I feel safe and accepted.

american-born-british-at-heart

 

Footnotes:

  1. I also believe in: ghosts, astrology, lucky pennies, that I can communicate with non-human living beings via deep empathy (inc trees, insects, birds, dogs, plants; in fact I had a basil plant named Bob once, he was a good plant but when he died because my thumbs are flesh coloured rather than the prerequisite green I had a funeral for em and I felt really bad which is why I don’t aspire to have pets, plants, or children in the near future; R.I.P. Bob, the basil lemon chicken I made with you was wonderful and I won’t forget it anytime soon), and that I can in fact identify as a cartoon stick-figure in real life as a legitimate claim.  This should give you a nice flavour for the sort of coconut I have on top of my stick-ish torso.
  2. fin-head
  3. Or a queue, which I’m learning is the Official British National past time, as someone in London told me “If ever in doubt, just form a queue and people will follow suit”, however I honestly wouldn’t call it a queue in the states because we’re more likely just to make an amorphis blob especially at gas stations.
  4. Straight out of high school (or college, being the English equivalent) I went off to the University of Missouri – Columbia aka Mizzou however after crushing the fuck out of my first term at 18 credit hours and a 4.0, over winter break I discovered the wonders of marijuana which lead to term two crushing the fuck out of me and leading me into what I’ve termed “7 Years of Summer Break”.
  5. Wal-mart’s “exclusive” travel bag line.  You get like a full 8 bag set for like 30$.  Avoid at all costs.

En transit & Enamored: A Traveler’s Proposal

INTRODUCTION

“Hal notes that girls always seem to slip out of their shoes when they assume any kind of spectatorial posture…Girls literally embody the idea of making yourself at home.  Males, when they come in from somewhere and sit down, project an air of transience. Remain suited up and mobile.”

-Infinite Jest, 703

Being a boy, I’ve always felt like it was natural and even expected for me to be on the move.  Especially when exposed to home crafted pieces of “wisdom” such as

when a boy enters a relationship, he never sees his family again.  When a girl enters a relationship, she brings that boy home.

-some family member(2)

Coming up we didn’t move a lot but it was enough to brand on my psyche the idea that everyone leaves and it’s best to figure out how to adapt to that rather than making an effort to hang on to relationships(3).

Then when I became old enough to begin, seriously, dating(4) I began seriously exploring the ideas of love, relationships, and marriage.  I’ve never been crazy for the idea of getting married, never have wanted and still don’t want kids, and being a minimalist(5) I was never interested in buying a house or owning property(6).  This sort of lifestyle, especially in more mature adulthood, inspires some thought about one’s future and what one wants in life because, clearly, it’s going to be a bumpy road.

This mind set also has shaped my love and relationship behaviors and preferences.  Even though I never dreamed dreams of white lace and black silk I still had notions about long term love because at my core, regardless of being a fairly independent and solitary individual, I still have a deep desire to be loved and accepted physically, spiritually, and emotionally.

Given my state of perpetual movement(7), it’s always been a tricky proposition to find relationship happiness because in my experience I’ve found open commutation about the ridiculous improbability of expecting everyone to find one person to be “the one for ever and always” regardless of the laughably small window of time that serves as “peak” mate time (between ages of 22 and 29) is one that is generally not taken seriously or interpreted as “a scared little boy rationalizing because he’s a scared little boy”.

In the past this obstacle has been relatively easy to overcome because many girls that I’ve dated were under the impression “this is cute, I’ll change him over time” and decide that I’m worth their efforts to change because I wasn’t actually leaving for a while or was just planning my next move.  However in the last two years since I’ve been single, after the end of a three year relationship, I’ve mostly had a disinterest in dating until this summer where for me it’s business as usual however for my potential partner, my proposal for a short term relationship, is not a philosophy but a reality: I am holding my plane ticket, I’m leaving and there’s nothing changing that.  This reality seems to have had a negative shade on potential partners view of engaging in a relationship with me. Frequently what I’ve gotten is “it’s too bad you’re leaving” or “I wonder what could have been if…” which is deeply frustrating because I just want to say “I’M STILL HERE! I’M NOT GOING ANYWHERE FOR 56 DAYS(8)! Please stop treating me like I’m already gone…”

In this five point essay, I would like to explain my proposal for why short term love should not be exclusively expressed in the language of the “sensitive hook up artist” but rather viewed more from a open minded point of view where not all love is made to last forever and sometimes short term love is not a failure waiting to happen but like anything else: something impermanent and should be valued for the time it exists rather than for the time it may not encompass.  Continue reading