asher553: (Default)
1. "I was one of the assholes."

On the Sunday of the Thanksgiving weekend, I was sitting in the Victoria Street Cafe when a man about my age went up to the counter and ordered a coffee. He made conversation with the young woman behind the counter, and I overheard a few words. "Excuse me," I said, "did you say you were in town for your twenty-fifth high school reunion?"

"That's right."

I told him I was in Connecticut for the exact same reason. His school was one of the ones in the local area - northeastern Connecticut - and I went to school in the Manchester area. He introduced himself as Ben. We compared notes about high school. "You know," I said, "it was good to go to my reunion. I had a really hard time in high school, and some of the kids picked on me pretty bad. But I made it through okay, and it was good to see my old friends again. You know, people change - we all grow up."

He nodded agreement. "Did you have a similar experience in high school?" I asked.

He grinned sheepishly and shook his head. "No - I had a 1.37 grade point average. I was one of the assholes.

"In my senior year, there was this one kid that I used to torment mercilessly. I'd threaten to beat him up so he'd give me his excuse notes and I could cut class. One day I was so stoned I forgot to put the note in the teacher's mailbox, and we both got caught. We had to do detention together. We got to talking, and by the end of our detention we'd become friends. I took him out for beer afterward."

[The legal drinking age in Connecticut was 18 in those days.]

A few days later, I spotted Ben driving in as I was crossing the parking lot, and we waved at each other. Ben drove around the lot to find a space, and must have crossed paths with some guy in an SUV. I don't think there was an accident, just a dispute over a parking space. The other guy got out and started yelling at Ben, calling him names, and threatening to kick his ass. Ben just drove out of the parking lot, shaking his head nonchalantly. When his car passed me for the second time, I caught his eye and jerked my thumb toward the other driver. "Hey," I said, "looks like some people never grow up!" Ben laughed and drove off.

2. "Better them than me."

I got an airport limo to take me back to Bradley from Putnam - not that much more expensive than renting a car, and a lot less hassle. The driver was a short, wiry woman named Jean. It was a long drive to the airport, so we got to talking.

"In grade school I was getting beat up all the time, because of my size," she said. "When I hit high school, I decided it was going to be different. I got tough. My philosophy was, Better them than me. I'd walk down the hall and people would make way for me. I started going with the two biggest guys in the class, and I'd walk around with them on either side of me. Instead of taking all the crap, I started dishing it out.

"I didn't finish high school - got expelled in my sophomore year for fighting. Eventually I got my GED, and went into security work. I got a technical degree and went to work installing electronic security systems. Then I had to leave work to start a family.

"When I went back in the workforce, my degree was obsolete. That happens fast, especially in technical fields. So I went to work driving for the limo service. The pay isn't as good, but the hours are regular. I'm hoping I can get back to school soon so I can go back to what I was doing before.

"I hated being scared all the time as a kid. I'm glad I learned to take care of myself. But if I had it to do over again, I think I woulda done it different."
asher553: (Default)
Last day in Putnam! I'm flying home tomorrow - homeward bound, leavin' on a jet plane, etc. Two weeks of rest, relaxation, and being spoiled rotten by relatives was just about right. Now I'm ready to go back to normal life.

LiveJournal seems to be working *almost* reliably this morning.

[ profile] heyfoureyes - I love pen and paper. It forces me to slow down. Also easier to keep track of work and revisions. Different product? Yes, I think so. I'm going back to drafting in longhand for new episodes of TQC - never mind the enormous mountain of notes I've already generated - because it makes me more conscious of the work.

BTW, a while back you were asking about single-gender societies in SF. Did I mention the short story "Breathmoss" by Ian McLeod? I thought it was quite well done.

[ profile] heldc - It's baaaaaack!
asher553: (Default)
Just another beautiful, relaxing day in Putnam, before I pack up and get ready to fly back home to Oregon. Did a little creative writing (of the pen-and-paper variety) this morning, planning to get some more done later on today. Got out for a run for about 25 minutes.

That's all for now.

Oh, and don't think about a pterodactyl.
asher553: (Default)
I'm enjoying a beautiful midday hour at Victoria Station in downtown you-know-where. The air outside is cool but it's a spectacular, sunny day. They're saying this is the most pleasant Thanksgiving season they've seen in southern New England in years. We had some strong winds and heavy rain last night, but by this morning the weather was clear and lovely.

I'm flying back to Oregon on Tuesday, and my only concern is whether the weather in the Midwest will mess up my stopover in Minneapolis. If it's not actively stormy at the time of my connection, I guess I should be okay - presumably they know how to deal with snow there.

Went to services this morning at the local synagogue, Sons of Zion, which is about a ten-minute walk from here. I took a wrong turn on the way there and found myself taking the scenic route along the river and through the park - which wasn't a bad thing. Got there a few minutes late, but didn't miss much of the services. The folks there are warm and friendly - mostly in their 40s and 50s. It's a small congregation as you might expect - I was the ninth adult and the last to show up, so we didn't quite have a minyan, but we read the prayers and schmoozed over kiddush. They follow an egalitarian but traditional service, which I like, and recited the full traditional Birkat HaMazon (grace after meals) from the NCSY bencher. Everyone knew the words.

Now, back to the world of Christmas carols. Just a few minutes ago, the radio here in VS was playing "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow." At the exact moment the song ended, the red new-message indicator on my e-mail popped on, and I discovered the following message from my Flickr account:
****** has invited you to be a member of
Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow!!!.

To find out more about this group and to accept or decline
this invitation, click here ....

asher553: (Default)
Just a few days left in northeastern Connecticut before I fly back home to Portland, Oregon. Have been staying with relatives and had Thanksgiving dinner with them for the first time since I was a kid; went to my high school reunion and had a great time; got to see my 2nd cousin K (had a huge crush on her at age six); heard from my sister's old friend (had a huge crush on her in high school); and got to spend some time away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Portland.

I find I'm looking forward to going back, not just because I'm ready to see my friends (and my apartment) in Oregon again, but because I think I'll need some time to integrate this whole transition into my life. Again, the pieces of our lives that keep floating back ....
asher553: (Default)
Victoria Station, Putnam, Connecticut. By now, they know me well enough here to know that I like my espresso "black". In all honesty, I'd never suspected there *was* any other way to drink espresso. But I've led a sheltered life.

The decor here is classy and funky; they must have spent a long time raiding the antique stores. A very nice job.

Two cute young women are working behind the counter. The younger of the two looks about 22 and is skinny to where it's almost scary. A 40ish woman in a sweater orders pastries. "I have to weigh in tonight ... it's not going to be good, after Thanksgiving."

Through the glass door of the side exit, I can see the train station, which appears to be abandoned. Yesterday I wondered idly whether there's an Amtrak line that stops in Putnam; if so, I might be able to make it to New York City this weekend to visit some friends there. But you know, if I don't make it to NYC, I don't think I'll be too disappointed.
asher553: (Default)
The local headline is that the cops have arrested two suspects on that shooting (the guy who was shot a couple of weeks ago when a bunch of people waiting for the new PlayStation were robbed - it happened in Putnam just before I got here). The shooting victim is going to be OK; the suspects are from nearby Danielson, Connecticut.

The announcer on the local radio station is pissed - and I don't blame him - because they called the media in Hartford for the Holiday Dazzle Light Parade (see here), but supposedly they "couldn't find their way" to Putnam ... but the shooting, they could find Putnam for that! [Insert MSM rant here.]

You know, I'd never driven in Connecticut before, I'm completely unfamiliar with the area, and in fact my driving experience is fairly limited ... but somehow I managed to find Putnam from Bradley Airport, in the dead of night, after flying across the country. But hey, that's just me. Grrrr.

Anyway, I'm now past halfway through my stay here. Having a great time ... and looking forward to going home to Portland, Oregon next week.
asher553: (Default)
I'm sitting, once again, in Victoria Station, which is the funky-hip place on the main drag of Putnam. (The trendy-hip place is 85 Main. I haven't ventured in there yet 'cuz I'm not cool enough.) Right now there's a thirtysomething woman chatting with the two young women behind the counter about clothes (and how if you're in your thirties you should not dress like you're in your twenties, and there was this one woman at my husband's reunion who simply did not know how to dress, etc.). There's Christmas music on the radio which I am stoically enduring.

Last night was the Festival of Lights parade. Macy's Shmacy's. You HAVE NOT LIVED until you have witnessed the Festival of Lights Parade in Putnam, Connecticut. For the benefit of those who may have missed this extravaganza, I'm posting pictures behind the cut.
Small-town New England goodness here! )
asher553: (Default)
Wow. Had a great time at the class reunion last night ... 25 years since I last saw these people! (I'll post photos later under a friendslock or filter.) It was an absolutely amazing experience.

The reunion was in East Windsor but I'm staying with some relatives in Putnam, in the northeastern corner of Connecticut. I drove up from Bradley Airport (BDL has free wi-fi, yay) Tuesday night. An hour-and-a-half trip on the backroads in an unfamiliar area, in the dead of night ... definitely a test of my driving confidence! Which I'm proud to say I passed. (I never drove in Connecticut before this, unless you count the time Dad tried to teach me to drive in high school. We put the new mailbox up the next day ...)

I'm posting from Victoria Station, the very picturesque coffee shop in downtown Putnam, which has wi-fi and great espresso. Will probably spend the afternoon wandering aimlessly around.

I'm flying back to PDX on December 5th. That means I spend a full week in scenic Putnam with nothing to do except take in the countryside and the fresh air, visit the antique shops, and let my elderly relatives dote on me.

Think I can live with that.

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