S.O.C.: Lucky ’13?

“Let me tell you, I know you don’t wanna listen to your father, I didn’t listen to mine but I’m telling you, you gotta pay attention to the signs. When life reaches out with a moment like this, it’s a sin if you don’t reach back. I’m telling you, it’s a sin if you don’t reach back, and it’ll haunt you for the rest of your days like a curse. You’re facing a big challenge in your life right now, at this very moment, right here… I’m telling you, don’t fuck this up.”

– Robert De Niro as Phil Sr. in The Silver Linings Playbook (2012)


I. Introduction (As Usual)

I don’t know why I am deeming this another S.O.C. installation; the majority of my posts are Stream of Consciousness writing. However, while driving home from work the other night, this stream of thought just exploded like a geyser. My parents got me a hand-held recorder for Christmas, so I utilized that moment to take everything down. It was all because of Less Than Jake and the cognitive association with Less Than Jake playing through the speakers via my iPod: “All My Best Friends Are Metalheads” off of their 1998 release, Hello Rockview. Thanks to this song: you are all allowed to–once again–gain some insight as to how I keep writing and come up with ideas as simplistic as they may seem. As separate and as random as these segments are, they are all connected perfectly as you are connected to Kevin Bacon.

II. Resolutions

This is another new year. Who knows what this year or the future holds. The world did not end, which is a perk, but that means we all have to continue coping with the ups and downs of life. We get to embrace The Good, the times where we are so euphorically happy that we cannot sleep, anticipating the continuation of living the good life. Then there are the times where you’ll screw up or something bad will happen in your life; you’ll go through an incredible amount of hell, save the onslaught of depression to throw your mind and body for a loop, but it’s important to keep your head up when focusing on the light at the end of the tunnel. Embrace the pain and challenge yourself, channeling your sadness. This year, instead of making those resolutions you never keep, just simply live life. Learn from your mistakes, and keep on truckin’ day after day.

This writer has been plagued with the inability to have a solid poker face. I wear my heart on my sleeve, and I am coming to terms with the realization that I am perceptive of this as often as I am not. The heart on the sleeve has a heart of its own. It’s obvious to tell my demeanor is pleasant or irritable. Being vulnerable is something to work on this year.

It’s not a resolution.

I have been writing more, so I am definitely going to keep that mentality. That is, also, not a resolution. It’s simply keeping the ball rolling.

III. The Road Home

Resolutions are only made to only be broken, and when you are being righteous about your pledges, you’ll have tendencies to go above and beyond to validate your determination upon fulfilling those resolutions, but that is all prior to gradually fizzing out. Set goals, but just don’t proclaim these goals as resolutions. If you want to make yourself better, you aren’t going to limit yourself to a resolution specifically for this one year. You want to continue going beyond January 1, 2014.

You should always resolve to strive to be a better person, pushing yourself to do the uncomfortably humble.

I am wondering if this driver in front of me on Fayette Street the other night was living up his resolution. It could have been being more cordial while driving. However, to compliment his resolution, he reached a level of douchiness with his driving ability. You don’t stop and constantly let people though the line of traffic when the light is green. Green lights signal that you drive, and the people driving behind you will have to use their best judgement when it comes to potentially blocking a side street or intersection. Stopping in the middle of the road when there are no traffic lights, or in the middle of the intersection for that matter, is not legit driving.

You’re going to cause an accident, hoss.

Instead of laying on the horn, flipping the bird, or yelling profanities, the graciously educated (or filled for all you non-romantics) iPod kept my temperament at bay. It’s easy to sit back more comfortably in your seat and sing along with a smile upon your face. Take a listen. Less Than Jake is playing right now.

IV. 1998: West Genesee and E.C.O.S.

In October of 1998, I was a 15-year-old 10th grader at West Genesee High School. I still had glasses and braces, and the top of my head sat the infamous part-down-the-middle bowl cut. Due to my biking accident where a bee’s hitting me in the face caused me to off-road-it into a ditch, yielding a split-wide-and-flapping-open food wound (don’t ever wear sandals while riding a bike), I was cut from the JV soccer team; my food opened up again during tryouts, which meant benching me for most of the season. That accident was the first time I ever received stitches: 15 of them. It’s all about going big, or going home.

To compensate not playing sports, finding other activities to occupy my mind was a necessity. Since I couldn’t run or play any kind of sport where some type contact was inevitable, anything involving my foot specifically, joining a club seemed to be the best idea. At the time, politics were of no interest to me and chess seemed too boring; how can one develop or sustain social skills by watching hands move statues and then clicking a button, all while being expected to anticipate your opponent’s every move on top of contemplating what the opponent is anticipating from you.

My head is going to explode just thinking about it.

Being a guitar player, I thought of joining a jazz or blues ensemble; however, I never credited myself as good enough. What else was there? I enjoyed science and the environment.

E.C.O.S. was my answer. If I remember the acronym correctly, it was Environmentally Conscious Organization of Students. There is that great chance my thought is incorrect, which takes precedence over your believing me to be right. As I found out, one of the greatest perks of E.C.O.S. was the whale watching trip.

As I referenced Mallrats (1995) in my Sentimentality Lane or Bust post, Kevin Smith as Silent Bob states, “Adventure, excitement… a Jedi craves not these things.”

However, this trip was anticipated to be a blast. We were going to have to pair up, which was cool, because Allen and I were good to go as each other’s trip buddy. However, we had to share our hotel rooms with two other guys. Unfortunately, this meant that we would have to share beds; for all of us teenagers, we were totally not cool with having to share a bed, even if we have been friends since kindergarten. We had sheets separating us, which made it alright. The guys we roomed with were cool, and we played cards the first night we were in Boston. As for others, a good handful were caught drinking, which meant their parents had to drive from Syracuse to Boston to pick them up. Talk about being up Shit Creek.

This trip was definitely not like the last trip to these Massachusetts destinations, plus the first time was with family.

V. 1996: Boston and Cape Cod

Going to Boston and Cape Cod, being at the age of 13, I knew I couldn’t wear anything Yankees-related. I didn’t have the audacity as I have now, but I still believe in being proper and making a good impression. Forbid my father for having to knock out a Bostonian out for saying something inappropriate or crass to his kid for wearing Yankees gear.

The trip primarily was a family trip, because we had never gone there before. We hit up the Freedom Trail and did museums and mass. Quincy Market was a definite stop, and it was highly enjoyable. Boston had quickly become one of my favorite cities. However, this was coming from a 13-year-old with little travel experience; my father didn’t like to fly, so our U.S.-based excursions were limited. The history of Boston really struck a chord.

My family did leisure trips, i.e. driving to Disney World twice and Yankee games, but we hit up a lot of hiking and insightful or educational stops. Mike and I didn’t know we were learning anything, because my parents played it up so well. We came to realize this education, but we never regretted it.

When we hit up Cape Cod, I didn’t know what to expect. We did a lot of touristy things, including visiting Provincetown. I think they wanted to throw my brother and I out of our comfort zone at a young age. My parents brought my brother and I up well. They exposed us to several things, and they were honest. My parents, as conservative as they are, they have a liberal social agenda. They taught Mike and I that everyone is equal no matter who that person is; after all, we humans have all the same insides. Race, religion, sexuality, and other differentiating qualities just make us unique in our own ways. We should embrace and accept one another, and disregard judging someone.

Anyways, getting off of that tangent.

We arrived in Cape Cod, staying at the Colonial Motel in Dennis Port. How I remember that? It’s just how my mind works. There was this girl that was there, and I didn’t know if she was from the area or not, but there seemed to be camps/cabins or some type of living arrangement on the other side of the motel, beyond the pools. Her family was there, so that made things a bit awkward, especially since her grandmother was the more prominent figure. Her friends/family surrounded her at all times, which made it difficult to attempt to attempt to talk to her. I just wanted to go swimming whenever there was down time; I was fishing for an opportunity.

There were a couple instances, offering opportune moments to speak to her, and yet I failed miserably each time. The amount of strain put on mental state was overwhelming; I could not find the audacity to speak to her. It was like it was known she would have blocked any of my advances, or she could have bitten my head off. Talk about taking things in stride. So, I went to get ice one night, and the mystery girl and her entourage were huddled by a pay phone. Yes, this was when pay phones were actually were prominent. As I walked by, the group hushed to an obviously loud quiet; the tension was thicker and more difficult to cut than a block of cheese just removed from the refrigerator. Of course, as I walked by, I looked right at her to make eye contact; upon my success, my eyes quickly dart away.

By assumption, anyone would have realized (if this was a movie) that she–in fact–wanted to talk to me. However, my perspective told me differently. Talk about being a coward.

The family stayed an extra day, partially to visit another sight (I don’t remember what) and partially–with hope–to appease my pending desire to talk to her. Not listening to my parents, specifically my mom, the obvious notion of her taking a liking to me (apparently she was caught looking over at me several times and then whispering to someone in her family/entourage) had the reverse result. However, despite the delusional teenage young-love-at-first-sight, Cape Cod was left without exchanging pleasantries, names, addresses to write, or numbers for that matter.

Do you think typing up a missed connection on Craigslist would far-fetched? Hahaha. I hope you know I am kidding.

VI. 1998: Boston and Cape Cod

I was still the same shy coward as in 1996. However, there were other people to contemplate talking to in high school, and then avoiding any chance of dating whatsoever. However, my interests never really were contained at West Genesee. Sure, I had crushes on a few girls I went to high school with, but–I’m sorry–there were none that really stood out as worthwhile. Okay, I am probably going to get hated or spit on for that comment, but–in all honesty–I didn’t really want to date anyone in the West Genny pool. It seemed, at the time, incestuous due to knowing everyone for so long and seeing them on a regular basis.

The hopeless romantic in me wanted to believe I would run into this girl again, aside it being damn near improbable. However, that’s how a Piscean and hopeless romantic mind works: keep positive and never underestimate the What If. I knew running into this girl was highly, highly improbable, but we Pisceans like to dream. While in Boston, our group hit up the science museum, which was amazing. I, also, found the opportunity to swing by a music shop and pick up Less Than Jake’s newest release, Hello Rockview. After buying batteries, I was able to borrow Allen’s CD player, listening to my newest acquisition whenever he slept on the bus. From start to finish, I must have listened to the album countless times. It was more poppy, more mainstream, than the band’s other albums, but it was still highly enjoyable.

This was the year I, also, made my confirmation; after the church rehearsal, a science class friend of mine–what was his name?–headed out to see Less Than Jake play at LeMoyne College. A punk band, Pandemonium, opened up for them. I don’t have the stub, but the latter band’s sticker is on my electric guitar case.

VII. And Now…

So, I was sitting at Parisa last Sunday, December 30, eating the Crème Brûlée French Toast and coming up ideas for the Project Rock City review of brunch that I was planning on writing up. As I was eating alone, I wanted to come across as productive, keeping busy, or any type of phrase that would make me not look lonesome or a loser. I was continuing to read Different Hours (2000) by Stephen Dunn, which is a book of poetry. The waitress asked me what I was reading, and I told her that it was a book of poetry. My statement continued with telling her that I didn’t like poetry, but I wrote it anyways, and ultimately this was helping me get back into the literature circle. I knew it didn’t make any sense, but she was a sport to go along with it.

I felt like the guy in Garden State, who watches over the canyon while living in that boat. Zach Braff turns to his character upon his leaving, and he says “Good luck exploring the infinite abyss.” Of course, as you may have realized, this blog of mine pays respect to that line.

Good luck exploring the infinite abyss.

I was debating on changing the title of this blog, but–after much consideration–I have decided to keep the title. It’s fitting, it’s appropriate, and it’s me. It clues readers, who pick up on the reference, into my personality and who I am as a person. I am a nerd.

Life is an infinite abyss, obviously, and we are all exploring our own precipice, not knowing and fully understanding how deep understanding can go. We’re all essentially clueless, learning every step of the way.

I got to thinking about several things: my turning 30, dating and marriage and kids, houses, careers, and hobbies amongst other things. It has, also, been a few years since my last excursion abroad; this year may be a year to travel; if it’s not abroad, then a trip across the country is necessarily fitting. I do have to make it back down to Brooklyn and New York City, and that is to say the least.

Yes, being in Parisa made me feel like it would be one of those idealistic places to meet someone, or hang out with that significant person. It’s a good food, good drink, good atmosphere to hang out. It’s the perfect setting for a Woody Allen movie, and jazz or mellow blues would/could–but is!–pumped through the speakers. Live jazz would be a perfect touch.

I got to thinking of Cape Cod 1996 and other instances regarding one-that-got-away, or so it is said or believed. Tom Waits’ music would be perfect in Parisa, including and not limited to his 1976 release, Small Change, which features a song entitled “The One that Got Away.” 

Well, Andre’s at the piano behind the Ivar in the sewers,
With a buck a shot for pop tunes, and a fin for guided tours
He could-a been in “Casa Blanca”, he stood in line out there all day
Now he’s spilling whiskey and learning songs about a one that got away.

Well I’ve lost my equilibrium and my car keys and my pride,
The tattoo parlor’s warm, and so I hustle there inside
And the grinding off the buzz-saw, “What you want that thing to say?”
I says, “Just don’t misspell her name, buddy, she’s the one that got away.”

There should be no sense of worry, however. That’s life. If he/she is the one who got away, then it’s obvious that the person wasn’t meant for you. That moment is a temporary grand feeling, which is satisfying to only a certain degree. Bygones are bygones; keep focusing ahead and stop driving while focused in your rear view mirror. You want stories to tell, not distractions to make yourself sick over. Granted, this goes against my hopeless romantic quality, but it’s true. The one who got away only provides a learning experience. The experience tells you to grow a pair and not hesitate, because he who hesitates is lost. You lost the person; the moment is done and over with, so it’s time to life here-and-now.

VIII. And So…

References of music, hopeless romance, the number 13 (a favorite of mine), and other echoed places and concepts. You read about them full circle.

It’s not about resolutions, hoping something will come about from practice. It’s not worrying over the past, because you are living right now. It’s important to look ahead. Life is simply about doing.

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