If You Build It, They Will Come.

Tuesday, July 31, 2001

Well guess what. I had a long and interesting story on here about how my garbage disposal broke loose and spilled about a gallon of spaghetti flavored water on the floor at 2:30 in the morning last night, but it seems to have never been published. I could re-write it, but it has been brought to my attention that my pal Jackie has shot back at my rebutal on her site. So in the immortal words of Samuel L. Jackson, "Well, allow me to retort..."

Falling in love doesn't take strength or courage. Sometimes the weakest people can fall in love. That's never good, and I've seen it happen. It's been me once. See my view on love is not totally optimistic. In fact if you'd ask anyone who knew me well over the last year and a half, it's been pretty pessimistic. See, I'd say I've been in love twice, and once it was never good, and once it was good for a while before going really bad. My email quote links to this site promising a deeper look into my life, and now it's living up to its promise.

The first time there was this girl that I was crazy about. Her name was Kristine and I met her in 7th grade. Everyone said we'd make a good couple through out junior high, but I was a shy kid, especially around girls, and I never had the courage to ask her to be my girlfriend. Then one day I was like, "C'mon Joseph. You can do this. Just ask, what's the worst that can happen, she'd say no?" Turns out that wasn't the worst that could happen. I rehearsed it all day, what I would say, what she could possibly say, and all my answers to her responses. We took the same bus home, that's when I'd ask.

I got on the bus and she was all smiles. I was ready to launch into my sales pitch, when I aborted to ask why she was so happy. Turns out she just hooked up with Kevin Segard. My best friend since 2nd grade.

The next year I moved to BFE Ohio, and Krissy and I wrote back and forth. But it was mostly me writing. Me calling. She'd move a few times and never tell me her new address until like four months later when she'd write me a letter saying "Sorry, I suck" and that would usually be all it would take for me to get over it. It was by this time that I thought I was in love. She really was cool, and we'd have a good time when we hung out and stuff. But those times were few and far between. And then she was gone.

For about six months during my senior year I didn't hear from her. Her number had been disconnected. I wrote letters but never got a reply. Then someone sent me a newspaper clipping (of which I recently discovered I still have) that said she was in a play in downtown Grand Rapids. I tried to call the theatre, but never got through to anyone. So discouraged, I gave up. Then my friends mom somehow figured it all out and got Krissy's number. I called and there she was. We ended up meeting in Grand Rapids and I saw her play. Then she came down to Ohio to see my band play. The first night she was there, we stayed up until 3:30am just talking, the whole while her hand on my head, playing in my hair. She was telling me how great of a guy I was, and how I'd make a teriffic husband someday, when she quietly drifted off and fell asleep, looking as beautiful as ever lying peacefully in the moonlight. The next night we had our show and her and I drove to a post-gig party. That's when I told her. This feeling I had for her, built up for so long, spilled out when I finally said those three little words.

And she knew. Like for a long time she had known how I felt. She kissed my cheek. She told me she didn't feel the same way, but she let me down really easy. She gave me a little hope though, that it didn't mean she would never feel that way. But then she went in and flirted with my friend Seth. I didn't care. I got six years of feelings out in three words.

I recently also found twelve pages of notebook paper on which I wrote how I felt about the whole event days after it happened. I would drive down to Clearfork Reservoir everyday after school for a week and write about that night. It's almost humorous to read it now.

February came around and I was on the phone with her one day. We were talking about Prom. I was like "I'm probably not going to go. There's no one I want to go with." And she said "I'll go with you." This was the first of February, I remember because it was my brothers birthday. Prom was May 9, but I was counting the days. We made all the plans, who was driving where, what dress she was wearing, I had dinner reservations, we were all set. And after three months of planning, she cancelled on me five days before Prom because she was going to start a new job that day. Of course she could've started the next week, but she didn't want to wait.

I knew then why they called it heartbreak. I felt it. It hurt like nothing I've felt before, this pain in my chest. I missed school the next day. My mom called me in sick. That was the only time in my life my mom said I was sick when I wasn't. I ended up going with my friend Erin, who had already graduated and I'm sure had to swallow a lot of pride to come back to a high school prom. I am sure I had a better time with her than I would've had with Krissy. Erin was so sweet. She knew how down I was about the whole thing and agreed to go with me with only four days notice. She really helped me out, not just there, but throughout my life. She's always been there for me and she's always backed me up. She's taught me more about myself than anyone else. For this and so may other reasons I am forever grateful to have her in my life. And in a much more powerful way than any of the relationships I've had in my life, I love her, because she is truly my best and closest friend.

Since that day, I had seen Krissy a few times. The earliest was two years later when I moved up to Kalamazoo and we ran into each other at a TGI Fridays. I saw her in another play after that. That was a good day. She introduced me to her boyfriend. I had never actually met any of her boyfriends before but I was sure if I did, I would probably flip out because of all the feelings I had for her. It was a good day because that was the day I realized I didn't have any feelings for her apart from friendship anymore. She was there when Laura and I broke up. I met her at a restaurant and we hung out. She came down to visit a few times and I went up there a few times. She moved out to Colorado for last summer (2000) to work at a ranch. She wrote me a letter from there, telling me how much she loved it.

That was the last time I ever heard from her.

I still think about her sometimes. Sometimes I find old pictures of us and remember how much fun we had together. Other times I find old pictures of us and remember the hell both her and I put me through. It wasn't all her fault. She wanted to be my friend, I wanted more. I was weak. I was always loyal and never dared give up on her, thinking that she'd come around and fall for me, and we'd live happily ever after. I kidded myself for six years. Six years. And then I finally gave up.

The reason I went into such a long story, other than the fact that I just got carried away, is to prove the "no pain, no gain" theory. That whole thing sucked. Completely. I've never felt as bad as I did May 4, 1998. But from it, I've taken away so much. I've learned a lot about me, and about love, and about girls, and long distance relationships, and faithfullness, and so on and so on. I've learned that sometimes a hopeless case is a hopeless case. I've learned not to force something that isn't there. I've learned to see the signs that it's not there. I've learned when I'm being strung along. I've learned that distance isn't always a killer, but you both have to want it, not just one of you. I've learned what it's like to be taken advantage of, and how to not have it happen in the future. I've learned that you aren't owed a fairy tale ending to a story that seems like it deserves one. I've learned how to get over someone (although it never has been nor ever will be easy).

And that is my outlook. No matter what terrrible thing happens to you, there's always a lesson. There's always something you can take away from it. It's sucks that experience is what you get after you already needed it, but it's always there for next time. I had a pessimistic outlook on love for a long time, (ask Jon, Jackie). I was sad that I had no one. I was alone and I hated it. But now it's not so bad. I mean I'd like to have a girlfriend of the same caliber of the 60" flatscreen digital TV, but I don't need it. I don't need anyone but myself. I've learned that. Before I couldn't stand being alone, because I thought it was a reflection on me. Like I wasn't worth a relationship, because no one liked me. But the truth is, I didn't like me either. That was my whole problem, and once I fixed that, once I realized that I am the first one who has to like me and then others would follow, I did some serious searching, some serious self evalution, and I realized that I'm a pretty cool guy. I mean, I remember birthdays and stuff. I'm nice, and I listen to people. I'm deep when I want to be, and other times I just love to sit down and watch WWF Monday Night Raw (speaking of which, what did I miss Jackie?) I'm good at reading people, understanding why people do what they do, and with that comes compassion. So as it turns out, I'm not a bad guy, no matter how worthless Krissy made me feel. And when you get to that point where you realize you're cool without needing people to tell you you're cool, it's very liberating, and everything else seems to fall into place (yes, Tera, that was for you).

So after that, it all boils down to this. Love can be the best thing in the world and it can be the worst thing in the world. Sometimes both at the same time. My good friend Crystal says it's "complicating. Amazing if it's good. Tragic if it's one sided." But it's not something to be afraid of. Once you're there it's the most intense feeling you've ever experinced. And even if it doesn't work out, there's always something you learn that helps you out the next time. No one gets through life without a little heartache. Very seldom are first-loves also only- and last-loves. But it all comes with life.

"Life is pain. Anyone who says differently is selling something." -S. Morgenstern

"Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out." -Steve Martin

Saturday, July 28, 2001

I got the day off work today. Tomorrow too. It's the weekend, but this it the first weekend since the shutdown I haven't worked. I always sit at work thinking about all the cool things I'd be doing if I wasn't there. Turns out I don't do any of them. My day has consisted of ordering a pizza. Now, I've got things to do tonight. But there is a lot of stuff around this apartment that I've put off doing until tomorrow.

Tonight though, I'm going to Jackson. At the Michigan Theatre (notice "theatre" not "theater" so it must be elegant) tonight, they are showing the original midnight movie. That's right kids, it's the Rocky Horror Picture Show, and I'm going. Am I bringing stuff to throw? Of course. Am I dressing up? Of course. Although, I'm going to be Eddie. The biker guy that Dr. Frank N Furter lobotomizes and uses to create Rocky Horror. I'm going with my aunt and uncle. This is of course a family show.

For those of you out there who have not seen the Rocky Horror Picture Show, that was sarcasm.

All I need for Eddie is fake blood, and face paint. Fortunately I have those from last Halloween, when me and my ex-girlfriend, now close friend Laura (the Cheese and Cracker Woman) drove up to Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids Michigan for a mass showing of... you guessed it, the Rocky Horror Picture Show! I was Eddie then too. She was Magenta, the maid. Eddie is simple, just a black shirt tucked into blue jeans, darkened eyes, and a big scar with blood dripping down your head. Everything else involves cross-dressing, and I don't know if I'm comfortable with that. For myself anyway. There will be a lot of guys in teddies there tonight, and that's fine. I just couldn't hack it. I don't have the legs for it. :)

On another note. I miss my friends. I can't wait for school to start back up. I miss my pal Jackie. (The Fish Dinner Girl. All my friends are associated with food.) This will be a good year. I can tell already. I hope. I'm getting a new place, turning 21, and I'm going to have some green after I get done with this crappy job. I'm almost ready to start packing. Though it is like three weeks away, I'm just excited.

Anyway I'm off. Time to go to that hunting lodge for rich weirdos.

Friday, July 27, 2001

My friend Jackie is also writing on Blogger. (http://www.jacks.blogspot.com). I just read her latest entry. Not the blatent lie she posted about a pickle, but the one about love. Read it, it's pretty good. In it, she compares love to a fish dinner. Let me try another analogy. I came up with this one a few nights ago, and was pretty impressed when I did.

Think of television in the 1950's. Yes, this is my anaology. See back then, people didn't have TV like they do today. They weren't as common as having a toilet or a chair in your apartment, like they are now. (Though Jackie did go almost a full semester last year without a TV, but that is beside the point). So a kid doesn't have a TV, but he hears about it. He hears how cool it is from all his friends, and he decides he really wants one. So finally dad comes home with a brand new, RCA black and white with the little antennae and the dials with UHF and VHF. (Actually, UHF and VHF may still be too advanced, but I digress) So he turns that baby on, and it's incredibly cool. He is so excited. He can watch the Lone Ranger, and if he gets tired of that he can switch it, and suddenly it's Howdy Doody Time! His friends call him up and ask him to hang out, but sometimes he blows them off for his TV.

This is a relationship.

After a while his TV is still cool, but it's less of a big deal than it was that first day. He's still spending time there, on that couch, but he's not really thrilled anymore. And one day his friend calls him up and says, "Hey wanna come over and watch TV here?" He agrees, thinking it might be cool to watch I Love Lucy somewhere else. He gets there and is blown away. His friend has a 60 inch digital flatscreen TV with picture in picture, surround sound with a giant subwoofer, DVD, sattelite programming with 900 channels, and a big freakin remote. He has NEVER seen anything this cool! He is in constant awe as they watch the Matrix, and it actually sounds like the bullets are flying by. He gets chills when the voice says "If you build it, he will come" in Field of Dreams. The picture is beautiful, the sound is amazing, and the variety is astounding.

And this is love. These are those moments with someone you love. Those moments of intimacy. Those long car rides together, those times you cullde up in bed, the times you talk all night about nothing at all, all the little smiles and kisses that put butterflies in your stomach.

And then he goes home. Back to his little B and W, and suddenly he notices all the flaws with his TV. The sound sucks, the speaker sounds blown. The picture is fuzzy and small. There's only three channels, and no remote. The bar has offically been raised, and his TV doesn't even interest him anymore. All he can think about is getting back to his friends and watching The Iron Chef on the Food Channel. Or maybe someday getting one of those systems for himself.

I don't believe there is one person out there for everyone. There are over six billion people on this planet, there's gotta be more than one person you are compatible with. So as my rebutal to Jackie, falling in love is easy if you let yourself. You can do it when you're twelve. You can do it when you're 94. But very seldom is it the kind of love that you are talking about. The kind that works out. Those are the ones you hold on to. The other ones just end up hurting you, and teaching you about what you really want and need in love. But they're necessary too. I mean, you wouldn't know how good a fish dinner is, unless you've had a bad one to compare it to.

Now I have to go to work. I'm going to be late. If you want to know how much I like my job, read my next entry. TGIF, eh? Adios.

Sunday, July 22, 2001

I tried. In response to my Stanley Kubrick rant, a friend of mine pointed out I had never seen "Full Metal Jacket," and that I couldn't judge until I had. Forty-Five minutes. That's all I could take. I had to stop it. So maybe it's a good movie as it enters the fifth hour, but I couldn't make it that far. I'm still convinced Stanley Kubrick hated all of us. A burning hatred that kept him awake at night, staring at his ceiling. He wanted revenge. He wanted us to feel as mindless as he did all those long nights.

But enough about that. I want everyone to know I hate factory work. If I ever say that I am going to another factory job, shoot me. Please. I want a job where thinking is a requirement. Even a small thought. That's all. I couldn't do this for two more months, let alone 30 years. How these people accomplish that is beyond me. I can actually feel my brain atrophy. It's slowly turning to tapioca pudding and dripping out of my ears. That's why I wear the earplugs. My day consists of taking a car part and putting it in a rack. That is it. No more. No less. Move said car part 3 feet and put it in a rack. This takes on average 4 seconds. Then the next part comes about 10-30 seconds later. I do this for 8 hours a day, 6 days a week.

Friday a mexican worker tried to sell me some acid, marijuana, cocaine, a cable cheat box, ecstasy, and a sattelite dish. I politely refused. I said he was mexican because he kept saying "F&$^ing white people." when I wouldn't buy anything.

Friday was a long day.

Today is sunday. I'm working today because I asked to. Sunday is double pay. See the only reason I'm working in a metal plant is because it pays well. Very well. Sundays I make around $35 an hour. Not too shabby.

Still the thought comes into my head... "If I dropped this block on my hand, I'd probably break a finger... then I could go home... it's only a finger...I have nine more... I hardly even use the little one... i might even get worker's comp...." The sad thing is I'm not kidding. Even sadder is I'm not the only summer help who has had this thought. I've discussed it with others, and they agree with me. A broken finger is a small price to pay.

Those who have never done factory work are thinking to themselves, "It can't be THAT bad. I mean, there's no stress, right? It's easy work moving one part back and forth. How can you complain?"

Allow me to answer that. Saying the alphabet is easy, right? Four year olds can do it. Simple. Now imagine being forced to sit in a chair and do nothing but say the alphabet over and over for eight hours a day, six days a week, for three months.


Oh yeah, and add the fact that it's 95 degrees and humid in the room you're in. Very loud, and smelly too. Not so fun anymore, eh? You see, just because it's easy doesn't mean that doing it over and over won't drive you completely insane.

Dammit. I have to go to work in a half hour. Five more weeks... only five more weeks.

Sunday, July 15, 2001

It's 8:30pm on a sunday. It doesn't get much worse than this. In beds in little rooms in buildings in the middle of these lives which are completely meaningless. Help me stay awake, I'm falling....

I can't finish registering for my classes until the 24th of July. They have to hold the classes I need to fill my general requirements for the incoming freshmen. Punks.

I'm killing time now. I should be doing something. Laundry, dishes. Something. I go back to my normal work schedule tomorrow. 5am is too early for me. So maybe I'll go see a movie or something tonight.

God, I can't wait for this summer to be over. I can't wait to start school again. To get all my friends back here, to move into my new apartment, to get back into a normal routine, to have some money, to turn 21.

There's a topic. My twenty-first birthday. I'm a bit apprehensive. I mean, once you're 21 what more do you have to look forward to? At the same time, there's really not much more that I can't do when I turn 21. My poor mother though. I think she thinks I won't drink. I think she thinks I don't now. Maybe she just hopes. Hopes that I'm still her little boy or something.

Mom, if you're reading this, I will drink when I turn 21. I do drink now. I live alone, all my friends are 21, and I am in college; it's pretty much a given. I swear too. I never have (I don't think) in front of you, but I do. I'm not 10 anymore. But so you don't worry, I am not bad. I've never lost control, I've never forgotten anything, I've never woken up somewhere not knowing where I was. I've only been sick twice, and that's because I broke the rules. Rule #1: Beer before Liqour: Never been Sicker. Rule #2 NEVER mix beer and wine. I'm always the first to cut myself off, and it's usually very early. I never drive when I am buzzing, and if I do drive after drinking, it's always at least an hour and a half after the buzz is gone, and is always a short distance, or I don't go. I am responsible, and if I plan to pass a buzz to the drunk stage, I make sure I have a place to sleep. So don't worry about me. When it comes to things like that, you know I'm good.

You also know how hard it would be for me to say this stuff to you in person. You saw me freeze at the Riverhouse, you had to know what the answer was. Right? I've been to Windsor too. With Tera and Erin, remember?

All I'm saying is that I am one of the family. I don't sit at the little kid's table anymore. One of these days I'm going to be drinking at the table with dad and grandpa and Tammy, Edward, and Ed. It's not too far away. But I'll be good, and responsible.

Then again. I doubt my mom ever reads this. Oh well.

Sunday, July 08, 2001

It's hard to watch people you love hurt themselves. It's harder when you realize you aren't their father and you have to let them do it. Unless, of course, you're their father. Then for God's sake, stop them!