Making Chanages

[Originally written 1.23.06]

No matter what particular subject may be giving me the “winter blues”, there is something that comes along to give me just a little bit of hope.

Let’s take a short trip back in time.  The other afternoon, I decided to go out for a nice refreshing walk along the D&R, as fresh air coupled with exercise seems to clear my head of unwanted noise and focus my thoughts into a cohesive plan.  It also happens to be a nice place for me to have a smoke without anyone bothering me.  Instead of being bombarded by too much stress and anxiety, suddenly your ears are being tuned to the chirps and warbles of the birds fluttering through trees devoid of their leaves, the subtle breeze rattling branches and leaving a slight chill on your skin.  Hours passed by yet I didn’t feel them being wasted, and as I was making the return trip to where I had parked, everything seemed to straighten itself out.

Today, and for the rest of the week, I have a number of things to take care of in order to tie up all the loose ends, so to speak.  Friday I am checking out a room that is available for immediate occupancy – the price is right, and from the way things sound, it is very spacious.  According to the ad there is also some furniture included and plenty of extras that make it seem too good to be true.  There will need to be a discussion regarding how financially possible it would be to obtain this room, which brings me back to the beginning of this post.  While I may not exactly want to move to Philly, things happen for a reason and this feels like the opportunity to make a change in my life that is greatly needed.  Realizing this means moving into an area where everything will be new, but that is a huge part of the reason I am not hesitant about relocating from the place I have called home for my entire life.

Ah yes, I knew there was something that kept telling me it would be a good idea to get away not only from this area but the state in general.  Though I have been enjoying the company of someone who means the world to me, I also see what sort of price that comes with and for the first time in our sordid friendship, I understand what he was trying to protect me from for all these years.  However, I’m not a kid any more or some gullible teen that can be easily bullied, though I am at an age where I won’t tolerate threats against me or my family.

[Originally written 1.24.06]

It appears I am now going down to Philly in just a few hours to check out the room and talk with the home owners, as they want to make sure I’m a good person, can take care of things and pay my rent on time.  My Financial Advisor is aware of the situation, and funds are in fact available upon needing them.  If all goes well, I should be able to re-locate within the next week and though I am restraining from expressing too much excitement, I will say that I am so fucking ready to move on.

My mind is filled with many things, such as what I am going to do when I actually settle into Philly so that I can sustain living there and all.  Having just been to South Street with my best friend, it’s difficult not to entertain fantasies of having nights like that on a regular basis.  No one would know us there and in certain environments we would barely stand out, which I think I would prefer over being treated like a fucking zoo exhibit.  We could always escape to the Shore or the Pines when we wanted as both are a just a drive away, and there seem to be plenty of things to do in this so-called City of Brotherly Love that I am sure we could enjoy doing together.

See, there it is, lovesick wishful thinking that will get me caught up in intense emotions when I should be concerned with taking care of boring responsibilities so that I can make the transition from one state to another.  After all the years we have known one another, I don’t want to feel guilty about such expressions either, since I spent a significant amount of time dealing with other people’s issues with my relationship.  Which is pretty ridiculous since I don’t see the problem with forming a long-term friendship with someone.  We have survived through some very dark moments and I never find myself doubting that he is always going to be there for me, a huge sense of comfort I don’t find anywhere else.

[Originally written 1.25.06]

Who says you can’t leave Jersey?  Oh, having been here my whole life, quite frankly I never thought I would be making plans to do just that.

Driving down to Philly yesterday to meet with the people that own the house went really well, as they are pretty decent and seemed happy to have me there.  The room is incredibly spacious and I was told that I could paint it if desired; I can also decorate it anyway that I want.  Over the next few days I am going to be packing my stuff and squeeze as much of it into my car as possible to haul down on Friday.  The rest can be brought down later on I suppose since I don’t know anyone that would want to help me move, but I was assured no harm would come to it in the meantime.

The location is great as it is within walking distance to a train, which will save me a lot on gas for when I want to travel into Center City, and it also apparently can take me to the art museum, the zoo, the Mutter Museum [which I’ve wanted to check out for ages now] and Eastern State Penitentiary, which is a really old prison that you can walk through.  Suffice to say there are going to be plenty of activities to look forward to, and I know just the partner in crime that will enjoy doing them with me.

There are too many things I am going to miss about New Jersey, but as harsh as it sounds my family and most importantly my own safety is more important than fond memories.  This is the best thing for me, and perhaps some day I will be able to return – I really doubt my presence is going to be missed and I am actually excited for a change of scenery.

Did not  sleep all that well last night, and I am only awake now due to writing a letter to my best friend about how glad I am to be moving.  Figured it was best to get that out to him while I could since I am going to be without internet for a while, but that is why I have a cell phone even if he’s not a fan of using it to communicate.

Now I am just rambling and need to get stuff done instead.

Dream Ramblings

[Originally written on 1.19.06]

Memories are plaguing me tonight.  As I sit here watching the Sopranos, drinking whiskey after having smoked a bowl, someone sleeps nearby and the scene brings this mind to an apartment in E-town four years ago.  The familiarity of the situation does not cease to amuse me, as does the fact that I left that asshole for what I thought was a better one and still find myself right where I was before.

The chaotic sequences of my dreams the past few days have surely been influenced by my choice of stimulus during waking hours, as the subconscious tends to pick up on that sort of thing while also manifesting fears and desires.  Here are the things that I can remember.

Last Nite: Swing music filled the air as bodies twirled around a dance floor.  Decked out in vintage attire suitable for a Hollywood film, I was in Jon’s arms and he looked just as stunning, his face unchanged by year of drug and alcohol abuse.  We danced closer than anyone else despite the upbeat tempo that continued to swell, our passionate one-on-one conversation secluded from the rest of the world.  Removed from prying eyes, we were engaged in passionate kissing, and when there was a small break between them, he inquired what I would like to do.  Upon replying, I suggested it was something not subject for public display. Then I woke up.

The Nite Before:  The Garden State was under an alien attack, War of the Worlds style with people screaming in every direction.  The neighborhood is already in run and Jon comes strolling through the rubble like a postapocalyptic warrior, shouting orders into a crackling radio before hoisting me to my feet.  Walking along the desolate Parkway, the sound of incoming fire had us on edge though he encouraged me to keep going, insisting that we had to get out of Jersey and it needed to be soon.  Adrenaline and fear kept the heart racing at a fast pace as shelter was sought, and everyone has the collective thought of I’m going to die.  At some point we emerged from our safe hiding places, and all seemed calm until some sort of craft fell out of the sky and the screaming started all over again.  Kind of glad I woke up from that one before getting stuck in it.

The Nite Before That:  On carnival grounds, wearing high heels and dressed to kill, I am excited to be seeing the Family.  The entire Outlaw Cirkus crew was gathered and seated in rows of wooden folding chairs.  Smiling faces and warm hands greeted me, as it had been a while since we saw each other yet everyone was engaged in conversation as though no time had passed.  Austin and Aaron were up front, the two of them placing a kiss on both cheeks and complimenting my appearance.  We then sat down for a variety show, though there are suddenly other people around us who are making rude comments, so the three of us decide to leave.  Unfortunately that is where I lost the dream.

For some reason that least dream brings up memories of the time I spent hanging with Jerry.  Often I spent the evenings after work sitting in his bunk and just listening to his stories.  At his point it doesn’t even matter if they were true or not, due to the fact I appreciated that he made the effort to tell them at all.  While he talked to the other workers and whatnot, I like to feel that we a different kind of connection.  Right now I miss sitting in his room, smoking a joint and watching movies.

One night while at the spot in Frederick, Jerry hatched an idea.  The bunk house was set against a hill, and there was a pair of mattresses stored in the back.  Well he suggested we take them and  prop them up on the hill, thus creating a couch.  While someone tried to discredit his idea, the rest of us set to work pulling out the mattresses and placing them as suggested.  It actually turned out well even though trying to cram everyone onto this makeshift couch was a whole other feat.  Anyway, this had been done for optimum viewing pleasure of the selected film of the evening, as Jerry had a t.v. and DVD player that he was kind enough to share with everyone so long as someone provided a movie.

That night it happened to be Swing Kids, which I purchased earlier that week at Wal*Mart out of curiosity.  The bio had piqued my curiosity: based on a true story about the rebellious youth of Nazi-Germany that just wanted to enjoy swing music, the bonds of friendship between four young men are tested when one of them two of them are recruited into the Hitler youth.  This helpful article has much more information about the whole movement, which I have found quite interesting as far as historical gangs go.  Watched it again last night on account I was just in the mood to and perhaps wanted to fill my head with swing music in the hopes of having more dreams.

For some reason I have been looking forward to going up to Clifton, perhaps excited at the prospect of getting over the awkwardness of going out by myself.  Though I had invited Jon, there was some work he had to do on the Mercury, otherwise he would have been more than happy to accompany me.  He did send me some spending cash, which really wasn’t necessary but that’s just how he is, so I sent him a mushy thank-you note in return.

Drinking the last of this whiskey and then going to step out for another smoke so I can be off to bed and get an early start tomorrow.  In two more weeks I will be moving out of here and I can’t wait.  It’s time to replace old negative memories with new positive ones, and it will be much easier when a certain someone is out of sight and out of mind.  However, I need to take care of a few things first and will begin taking care of that business in the morning.

Superstition Condition

[Originally written on 1.15.06]

The second date I had with Jon in the last week was this past Friday, as it happened to be the thirteenth and he was in the mood to go out.  Here would be a good time to note that our relationship is developing nicely – he has called me at least once a week since I spent a few nights with him at the Shore earlier this month, and will send me little notes through e-mail to give me boosts of confidence when I need it, as the hostility and tension seem to be rising around me.  It’s not worth getting into, but there is definitely resentment of the fact I am living here though not a part of the family, yet the only person qualified to make the call of whether or not that’s alright hasn’t complained once.

Getting away from all of that to spend time with Jon reminds me I need to keep looking for a place to live and worry about getting a job after I move.  We are definitely not at the point where living together has even been brought up, as I suspect he is not ready for such a level of commitment yet and that’s fine.  There is plenty of confidence things will progress as they are meant to, and I need to appreciate that we have gotten to this stage.

The ride down to Philly was rather pleasant, mostly due to the fact there was minimal traffic. What, were people too damn paranoid to go out on the 13th, with a full moon and B-movie perfect fog drenching the atmosphere?  Having someone you trust behind the wheel tends to put you at ease though, as does the joint you smoke as the metal machine you’re riding in screams across the highway.

Our destination for the evening was Abilene’s, a club I read was supposed to be having some sort of Friday the 13th dance party.  The venue was quite small and packed with people, but we agreed to attempt to make the most of it.  Well, no one was really dancing and the party aspect was certainly lacking, though the people reminded me of those who attended a certain Jersey club I used to frequent.  Complete with half dressed bodies awkwardly gyrating on stages around a mostly empty dance floor while cretins drooled nearby.

Neither of us were really interested in the scene, so we hit the bar for pints of beer accompanied by shots of whiskey.  Perched on the tall stools, we had a decent view of our surroundings and it reminded me of the early days of our relationship, where we would get shitfaced and talk trash on everyone for kicks.  The intent was never cruel, more like a childish game we engaged in for some cheap laughs at other people’s expense, but we thought it was harmless fun and were rarely serious about the things we said.  Jon would put on a stoic expression and adjust the rings on his fingers while scanning the rubes before nodding to one, reading them as the southern accent got heavier with each shot of whiskey he had.  How he could gather all of this insight just by observing behaviors for a few minutes was part of the charm to the feat, and a showman certainly did not reveal the secrets to one of his greatest skills, even though I know better than to ask.  Will certainly take credit for my part in encouraging him, holding back laughter despite my sides aching and wanting to burst.

A few hours later, we noticed that more and more people were filling the venue, which had been crammed from the beginning due to its small size.  Seeing as how we had consumed quite a few drinks, I suggested we wander somewhere slightly less crowded, if that was even possible in Philly on a Friday night.  The temperature had certainly dropped, though Jon kept me close as we walked South Street and made our way to Tattooed Mom’s.  We were relieved to find only a handful of people inside, which made it possible to actually get a drink from the bar without having to take up residence there.  He bought us another round and then led me upstairs where we proceeded to hog the roller coaster car.  This was something I had wanted to do since he brought me here for my birthday, and there we were, pints of beer in hand with his arm around me, his position slightly awkward to accomadate the extra length of his legs.

Old school punk music swirled into the conversations around us, and though we chatted from time to time about random things, the drinks we continued to consume were having an effect on our words as they became less comprehensible.  He politely excused himself to the bathroom for a moment, and wouldn’t you know it, he’s not gone for more than a minute before these two dudes randomly approach me.  Whatever they were trying to say wasn’t registering, so I just stared at them while watching Jon approach them from behind.  In the sweetest southern drawl he could spill from drunk lips, he politely requested that they ceased harassment of his lady and removed their prescence from sight lest they find themselves in a painful way.  Their faces suddenly turned rather pale as they stammered an apology and nearly tripped over each other while shuffling away.

Moments later this guy comes over to us and asks if there was any trouble, to which Jon replied everything was handled, his composure changing completely as he offered a friendly smile.  The stranger’s name is Chris and he came all the way up from fucking Maryland to check out South Street on account he heard there was some kind of alternative scene there.  He hands us a demo CD and engages in conversation with Jon about his band and other general music stuff.  Seeing him comfortable enough to let his guard down and chat in such a casual manner was rather refreshing, and I could tell that he really was trying to make this whole thing work.

Leaving the boys alone for a moment, I made my own stop in the bathroom and felt compelled to tag the wall AARON + ANGEL = ANARCHY!!! in large Sharpie letters, which now makes two places I have left this mark in Philly.

When I returned they were making last call; Jon and Chris had now been joined by his girlfriend and fellow band mate.  He asks if it would be possible to drive them to their hotel over on 12th, confessing they are pretty wasted and didn’t want to try and navigate a city they were unfamiliar with.  Jon actually smiled and said he’d be more than happy to help them out, and the two were quite grateful for the entire ride.  Showing random acts of kindness towards others is something he has always done, as he spent many years on the streets homeless and struggling for survival, where even the smallest gesture of spare change or a sandwich could keep him from killing himself that day.  They thanked us profusely when we arrived at the hotel, and Chris even tried to give Jon some money for the trouble, but he would have none of that and insisted it was purely a friendly favor.

After ensuring they got into the lobby safely, he drives over to a diner though I express being too tired to eat.  He chuckles while kissing my forehead and stating that he needs coffee so he doesn’t crash on the way home, though he purchases it in several travel cups in order to avoid sitting inside.  That’s the last thing I remember since I passed out shortly after departing Philly, though whether that was due to the alcohol or the fact I tend to fall asleep during long car rides [especially at night] is hard to say.  When I woke up, Jon was carrying me into his bedroom so I figured that superstitions aside, we had made it safely and enjoyed another wonderful evening together.

We Only Came For the Beer

[Originally written on 1.12.06]

My days of hitting clubs and supporting the local scene sort of faded due to lack of interest in the grand variety of shit that was being churned out.  It seemed like any snot-nosed brat that had mommy and daddy drop some cash on expensive instruments and equipment suddenly had a band, and more often than not, they lacked any sort of talent.  Being out of the loop due to traveling and the fact that my focus was on sideshow, I had to admit that I didn’t even know what was happening with the music scene.  Outside of a few home-grown bands I had the pleasure of seeing a few years ago, I was slowly becoming convinced that it had crashed and burned and died a fiery spectacular death.

However, thanks in part to the internet, my faith that New Jersey can still produce great tunes was somewhat renewed.  Losing touch with what used to be a regular thing feels weird, as if I didn’t have enough issues with alienation and social anxiety.  Then again, it’s different now since when I find a show I would like to attend, I have someone I can invite along.  Anyway, I was browsing some message boards to see what was happening at the venues I used to haunt, which led to the discovery of a band called Turnpike Wrecks.  Listening to the tunes they had on their MySpace page, it only took a few seconds for me to get into them.  When I saw the bulletin posted a few days ago about their one-year anniversary up at Connections, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to check them out live.

While I was nervous about asking Jon if he wanted to go with me, I had faith he would put effort into being a supportive partner.  However, I was still too chicken to verbally pose the question, so I sent him an e-mail instead and had a positive reply within a few days.

This morning I was in grand spirits and went out for a two-hour walk before going about my usual routine of getting ready.  A certain someone was certainly stalking my actions, no doubt curious about what I was doing even though surely they had their own friends to hang out with or whatever.  Since I am doing my best to avoid any conflict, I drove to a nearby park and met Jon there.

The ride up was an interesting one, as a storm had rolled in, but I felt safe in the Mercury as we chatted and smoked a joint.  The sky had a strange red tint to it, there was a light mist that crept across the highway, and I was treated to a front-row seat for the lightning that lit up the night.  We stopped somewhere along the way on account he needed to gas up the beast, but that just gave us a few minutes to catch up on kissing and inappropriate public groping.  He smelled so good I could have drowned myself in the scent that came off his tattooed skin, but his suggestion of finding a dark spot in the parking lot was turned down on account we still had an hour or so of driving ahead.

However, the trip took longer than that due to the fact I haven’t been up there in quite some time, so it took me a minute to remember which exit to take and all.  Apologizing for the poor navigation, Jon laughed and said it was just all part of the adventure, his hand squeezing mind for reassurance.  We did manage to find the venue, though likely had missed a band or two in the process of getting sidetracked a couple of more times prior to doing so.

Sitting in the back of the Mercury, we traded a bottle of rum between us and drank the whole thing between more kisses.

“You know I have a hard time resisting you,” he said, hands exploring places usually concealed by clothes.

“The feeling is mutual,” I teased, rubbing my fingers across his cropped hair, trailing them down to dangerous territory.

Half an hour later we strolled into Connections just in time to hear Broken Heroes being introduced as they began their set.  Surely we were glowing at that point [for a number of reasons], which caused us to dance around to some tunes despite the fact everyone else was just standing around.  As the band was heading off stage, this girl comes up to me and calls me by name.  Intoxicated, I didn’t realize who she was until she introduced herself as Jess.  We went to the same cosmetology school and I used to go to her to have my hair cut, but I hadn’t seen her in quite some time since moving further south and all.  Jon was quite the gentleman and engaged in polite conversation, the three of us chatting while people milled around.

Then it was on to the main even of Turnpike Wrecks, which really got the crowd close to the stage cheering them on.  Though I’m not usually easily impressed by bands, these guys had something that kept our feet tapping, and plenty of stage humor without being stupid.  Someone could not resist sweeping me up into a few more dances, which encouraged other couples to follow suit.  Well, I can say I don’t think I have ever seen people swing dance to oi before, so that was a first.

After the set, I went to say good-bye to Jess who was with a friend of hers, so the four us wind up talking longer than expected.  Next thing I know, I’m shaking hands with Pete, who is the lead vocalist of Turnpike Wrecks.  It didn’t occur to me at the time on account I was so caught up in actually being social and having a great time with Jon, but I felt it was worth noting that he is a skinhead, and not the asshole self-righteous white power type that seems to be rampant in this state.  Just goes to show that carnies can get along with people from any subculture, so it was nice to have that experience.  He invited us to come up and check out his Thursday DJ night, then said his good-byes and was off to chat with some other people he knew.

Our drive back felt quite short, and it didn’t take long for the outfits we had spent hours assembling to wind up piled on the floor together.  Spending the night with him is certainly something that I can get used to, but I am so afraid that once I do, everything will get fucked up somehow.  When I am in his arms though, I can only think about how happy I am and that I never want the feeling to stop.