As a writer, the world presents itself to me in ways that I translate through the strokes of a keyboard. Similar to an artist with a brush, writing employs a much starker canvas than a palette of oil paint, while unique and different in its’ expression.
I started writing at a very young age; prompted by my parents to complete ‘themes’ and odd homework assignments, whose value I didn’t fully understand at the time. Now, I look back at those days and appreciate the grudge-laden efforts they squeezed out of me, one movie theme at a time.
I’ve been lost in my head for the past few days/weeks. There’s a sense of nostalgia from the previous cities I’ve lived/worked in that has become heavy on my heart. Memories of people, places, faces, and time begins to blur into summarized blips in time. Yet, my heart still longs to revisit these times…just once more.
I want to write a few short stories here, so they remain.
Columbus, OH (2007)
Every Friday evening, I would drive from the city to pick up my younger brother, Mark. Working until 11pm, I would arrive to Duvall, OH, around midnight. I would arrive in the driveway and he would come into my car, a 1994 Volvo 940 Turbo with helluva sound system (later stolen, the day my tonsils were removed. Tears fell.). We would drive to the local Waffle House and order enough food for 3-4 people. At that time, I still hadn’t eaten eggs (Kevin H. introduced me) and would instead order enough food to cover the table.
What made those nights special were the times Mark and I would listen to Alice Cooper. “Bad Place Alone” was one of our favorite tracks and we sang every bar of it. Those nights were some of my favorite memories with Mark, because it was shortly after the time our father passed away. Singing Alice Cooper was our hats-off tribute to Dad.
Many nights, I have played Bad Place Alone to remember the nights we drove through South High Street, windows open, and the feeling of eternal brotherhood pumping through my veins. Part of me wishes that I could share this experience with Steve, or Josh, but the other part of me knows it was something special that only Mark and I can smile and remember.
I was so proud of Mark during those days. He went to a public high school, played football, and had a girlfriend (who shall not be named…the web hosting incident). It was a time that I started to see, and enjoy, Mark as my best friend – not just as my brother.
Columbus, OH (2007)
If Mark and I went to Waffle House, Lydia + Tyler went to Bob Evans. If you aren’t a midwest native, Bob Evans probably won’t ring a bell for you. For me, it was an employer (server) and a Saturday morning destination for early breakfast after Lydia and Tyler finished their night shift at the hospital.
Not working a 7p-7a shift, I’d wake up early on Saturday to meet the two – often accompanied by Travis + Jess H. – to recap the night of work.
Oh, how we laughed…
Add a 12-hour work shift to a depleted sleep schedule and you’ve got a great atmosphere for early-morning slapstick humor, fueled by coffee and mediocre breakfast food. No, really. Mediocre. However, it was the atmosphere and the people that made those mornings special.
The servers were also a part of our family gatherings; eventually being hired as waiters/bar staff at Lydia and Tyler’s 2007 wedding. Being the still-illegal little brother, they took it upon themselves to keep me loaded with champagne during the wedding reception. Mark carried me home, that night.
Columbus, OH (1992)
I have several treasured memories of my Dad, but two of them stand above the rest. When I was in Kindergarten, he took an entire day to spend time with me. Driving in his 79′ Toyota Land Cruiser, we ventured off-road to a local mudding spot in Columbus (now condos) and explored the terrain.
There’s something magical about going off-roading with your Dad. As a kid, I remember being terrified that we’d get stuck, flip over, or have some sort of off-road emergency. Yet, this was reassured by the confidence I had knowing that Dad would make it…we would make it.
After mudding, we spent the day at Wyandotte Lake, riding water slides and amusement park rides. He did something we had never done before when he took me to the arcade and played a game of skeeball with me. Family budget was tight during those days. And arcades were something I looked at with wonder – instead of experience.
I remember seeing him carrying a large double-person inner tube, used to travel down the water slides at the park. That was when I realized that Dad was powerful, strong…and my Dad.
That memory of my Dad as my own Superman was something that stays with me, even through the years where I realized he couldn’t ‘fly’ the way I once thought.
Between the teenage years where we struggle to claim our father in front of our friends, and the adult years where we look back and miss the loved ones we no longer hold dear, is a time where our parents are our heroes.
I’ll take a break from my storytelling here to expand on my thoughts from earlier. While I have enjoyed my time in San Francisco, my heart is reminding me to remain with past memories for just a while longer, instead of drowning them in the fast-paced world of KPI’s, MVP’s, Big Data-Driven Apps, Widgets, and Disruptors.
I embrace the new experiences as they come. Yet, the midwestern heart in me is still alive and well. I think it’s important to stay rooted in the qualities that form your adult personality – while not getting lost in the fruits we are now capable of reaching for.
Sometimes you need a day to look back on your experiences. Perhaps you laugh, cry, or see them through a different light than the day you experienced them. Life is a constant flow of change. Yet, here we stand. Still.
Today was that day for me. Thank you for sharing in it.