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.

[livejournal.com 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.
http://www.asimovs.com/_issue_0401/breathmoss.shtml

[livejournal.com profile] heldc - It's baaaaaack!
;)
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 ....

Heh.
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 ....

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