The Distance to Here

Howdy folks. Wow I’m a sucky blogger, huh? I swear I’ve been meaning to write something up since October. I was planning this post about how my brother’s cat had kittens and I was going to be bringing two of the kittens home with me. Why two? Well, supposedly, it’s been suggested to get cats in pairs when you can so they will have each other when you are not around. So, anyway, I did that. What follows is pretty much what I wanted to post back then. Following that, I will catch you all up with what’s going on right about now.

In October I was cleaning up my apartment, getting it ready for the arrival of the kittens. Since my divorce in 2005, I moved into a smaller apartment in the same apartment complex in Midtown where Leah and I lived. I’m a packrat, and having owned a house in West Virginia once upon a time, I have a lot of stuff. This is a studio apartment, albeit a somewhat bigger studio than your regular studio. It is just barely big enough to contain me and my stuff.

Prior to this cleanup effort, I had all of my moving boxes broken down and stuffed under my bed. I had all the Styrofoam packing for all my electronic equipment stacked in a corner in what is basically the living room. I always keep as many boxes as I can between moves so I don’t have to go looking for boxes the next time I move. I’m just practical that way. I keep all the packing for my equipment so I can safely move it the next time I move. Again, I believe that is just forward thinking at work there. Hehe

Anyway, I knew I had to get that stuff out of here and into the closet so that the cats wouldn’t destroy it all. So that meant I had to completely re-organize the closet. This closet is supposedly a walk-in closet, but there really isn’t much walking space in it even when it’s empty. (It’s approximately 10 feet by 4 feet.) That’s okay, though, because I’m not a chick with a ridiculous amount of clothes / shoes that I might only wear one time in the entire span of my lifetime. However, like I said, I have a lot of stuff.

So I started collecting stuff in trash bags that I didn’t really need, and collecting clothes that I couldn’t or didn’t want to wear anymore so I could donate them. In the process of doing this, I came across a bag that is stuffed full of handwritten poetry that I have done over the years. I used to write poetry all the time, but usually only when I was sad or pissed off. So most of it is ‘woe is me’ kind of stuff, but a lot of it I still like. Looking over it all, I’ve decided to post some of it on the site here. Be looking for that – when it happens there will be a “Poetry” link in the “Pages” list on the right.

Also in this bag I found other pieces of memorabilia. I like to keep things, like ticket stubs, that I feel like I will represent a cool memory that I will want to revisit in the future. I also keep other things that represent cool memories to me as well.

I have my ticket stub for Game 6 of the 1992 National League Championship Series – Braves vs Pittsburg. Why did I keep this stub when in this game the Pirates beat the Braves 13 to 4 to tie the series at 3 games all? It’s simple – because the next night the Braves won in spectacularly dramatic fashion in one of the greatest moments in Braves history. Sid Bream slides in at home plate and Braves Win, Braves Win, Braves Win, Braves Win, Braves Win…. That was awesome. Me and a friend of mine were watching it on TV, and we heard that people were storming Peachtree Street in Buckhead. So we drove downtown and danced in the street, literally, until 3 in the morning. There were thousands of people there. Somehow people got a hold of a HUGE wooden tomahawk, it had to be 12 feet in length at least, and we were “surfing” it around the crowd. I will never forget that. The cops blocked off the street so there was no traffic as if we were some kind of Parade, and we danced in the most famous street in Atlanta until the wee hours. That’s a life experience right there. You can’t really appreciate it unless you were there. We did the same thing when the Braves won the World Series in 1995…but it just wasn’t the same. At least not to me. There was just something magical about that night in 1992, and I will never forget it.

There are other tickets stubs in this bag. Very special to me is my first ever Van Halen concert – Friday, August 16, 1991. Just $22.50 a ticket LOL. Crazy. There is also a stub for the one and only time I’ve been to see Pearl Jam – October 4th, 1996. Most important of all, though, is the ticket stub that lead to a series of events that drove me to move to Atlanta for good: Atlanta Falcons vs Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, December 30th, 1990. Here is the story behind that.

I have moved to Atlanta twice. The first time I moved was a spur of the moment kind of thing. But in order to tell this story properly, I have to start at the real beginning.

In the fall of 1987, I went off to college at West Virginia University. Being the young, crazy person I was I didn’t do much learning during that time. Instead, I did a considerable amount of partying and beer drinking. I think I just let myself get overwhelmed with how huge that place seemed to me after spending my entire life in little Princeton. WVU has its own mini mass transit rail system, ok? Sort of like a mini-MARTA. That’s how huge the campus is. Anyway, I failed all my classes and decided to drop out after the first semester. I returned home to my infuriated parents.

I wanted to take the winter and spring off, and not go back to college until the fall of 88. I was all set to do that when one day my Dad took me to the movies, but on the way there had decided to chat with me about how important he felt it was for me to get back on the horse, so to speak, and continue my education. He had never finished college, and therefore had a difficult life professionally, and he didn’t want that for me. My Dad and I were very close, and I wanted nothing more, really, than for him to be proud of me. So I relented and decided to enroll at a local college closer to home: Concord College (now Concord University) in Athens, WV. I didn’t want to go back to WVU because I was afraid the same thing would happen. I felt it was better for me to take baby steps into the world at large.

During my first semester at Concord I met a lot of awesome people, and also actually went to classes and learned stuff (haha). Most importantly a former high school acquaintance invited me to pledge in the frat he was a member of: TKE. TKE had just recently come back from being suspended at Concord, so this pledge class was really small…just me and one other dude, Ron. Ron and I went through so much shite that semester pledging that we became close friends. Winter and Spring came and went, Ron and I became full members of TKE, and summer vacation was upon us.

Ron and I hung out a lot over that summer, and we were like true brothers. That fact is really only important for one reason, and it will become apparent later. It was a great summer, but that is another story for another time. Like all good things it must come to an end, and fall of 88 arrived soon enough. It was time to go back to college.

In October of 1988, my life changed forever. One afternoon some of my TKE brothers and I decided to have lunch together. We were all hanging out on the library steps, and I was grilling one of the new pledges about the greek alphabet. He was trying to get me to sign his pledge book, and I was enjoying making it difficult for him. We were all waiting for Dennis and his mysterious new girlfriend to meet us. I remember hearing some of the brothers whispering around me and the new pledge about Dennis’ girlfriend, and how beautiful she was. So I was curious to see her. Just as I let the pledge off the hook and signed his book, around the corner came Dennis and one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever met in real life.

All time stopped for me. I’m about to detail another life experience that I hope everyone has gone through at least once in their life. I fell in love with her – Christine Price – right at that moment when I first saw her. It was like everyone else around us suddenly disappeared, and there was only me and her. You can’t hold time back forever, so things started moving again – but in slow motion. She was coming to me, and the sun was glinting all around. Her hair danced in the gentle breeze of her movement. I was hammered with what felt like at least one lifetime of emotion all at once. It was overwhelming to say the least.

I’m not going to go into the whole me and Christine story here. That is also another story for another day. Three days after we met, I found out that Dennis had broken up with her so I went to see her. We kissed for the first time that night while the Beatles sang, “All you need is love”, and the rest is history.

Now me, still being really young and crazy, was way over my head being so completely in love with this girl. I totally lost my sense of self. I smothered poor Christine with demands of every moment of her free time until she just couldn’t take it anymore. She lived in Manassas Park, Virginia, and so when the summer of 89 arrived she left for home and we kept in touch via letter and phone calls. As she rediscovered what it was like to not have me hanging on her every move during the summer, she came back to college in the fall of 89 not wanting to date any longer. She wanted some space.

She had to come back to Concord a little earlier than other students for band camp. We hung out a little, but she was usually too busy, or exhausted, with band stuff for us to spend too much time together. However, that wasn’t the whole story. During band camp she had met a drum major and they had struck up a romance, so that was the end of our primary relationship. I was completely, totally, and in all other ways crushed.

I don’t remember much about college in the fall of 89. I continued to go to class, and I’m sure I learned some stuff. But I saw Christine all the time, and she wanted to be friendly with me as if everything was the same. I just couldn’t do it. Everywhere I went reminded me of her, if I wasn’t running into her where ever I went. I think the primary problem was that she and I continually hooked up on various occasions after her new relationship ended.

I had other friends who were in the band, so I would be in the music department from time to time, and I would sit down at a piano and start playing. Not being a good musician at the time, and pretty much playing the same songs over and over, she would know when it was me playing and would come find me. We would spend that day together, and usually that night too, and the next day she would want to go back to not being together anymore. It was really frustrating for me because I’ve always been a one girl guy, and I wasn’t used to being with a girl who wanted to have singular nights of passion and then walk away. (hehe) Sounds like most guys wet dream, eh? It was driving me insane. I mean…seriously.

In the meantime, my frat bother Ron had moved to Atlanta. He was continually calling me and telling me that I needed to move to Atlanta. December of 89 rolled around and I decided that I needed to make a change in my life. I was losing interest in myself, my life, and everything in the world that’s me and that’s truly important. I needed to get out of Princeton, away from Christine, and put myself back together. One Thursday Ron called, asked me to move to Atlanta, and I told him that if he could get up to Princeton and pick me up, I would do it. Any day, any time, just let me know. He said, “How about tomorrow?” HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

I was living with my grandmother at the time, so after that call I went up to her and told her I was moving. I explained that I had to get away because I had lost myself to Christine, and needed to rediscover Brian. Granny and I were pretty much best friends, so it was really hard on us both. But I think she understood where I was coming from. Then I got on the phone with Mom and Dad and let them know I was moving to Atlanta…tomorrow. That was a shocker as you might imagine.

So that’s how I initially moved to Atlanta. I was here for 4 months before Granny passed away. She left me her car, her house, and the land the house was on. I had done a lot of healing in that 4 months, and given this opportunity to own my own place, I decided to move back. As it turned out I didn’t have much of a choice because my “brother” Ron, while I was in WV for my grandmother’s funeral, had stolen my computer, VCR, and pretty much everything I had of value and disappeared. When I went back to GA it was all gone. I would have moved back to WV at that time anyway, but hey…it wasn’t a great time in my life as you can imagine.

As an aside, I’d like to point out that I’m not sure I would have made it through the loss of my grandmother, and Ron’s betrayal, had it not been for Christine. She stayed with me pretty much constantly for the rest of that semester and just took care of me. I just want to make it clear that I don’t think she ever fell out of love with me any more than I fell out of love with her. At least not back then. It wasn’t meant to be, obviously, but we had a connection that you don’t achieve very often in life. Some people you “click” with more than others, yes. And very, very few seem like just another part of you. I’ve had that with my best friend Sheila, and then with Christine. When you have that, you gotta appreciate it. We’re lucky that it happens at all, I think. I just wish I could feel that way again about someone. I think I could have had a chance with some of the other women I’ve known between now and then, but circumstances prevented us from really getting close. I just miss that sense of completion. Ah blah I’m getting away from the point of this post. I just don’t want to paint Chris in a negative light. Yeah we didn’t work out, but she is in the top three of the most awesome human beings I have ever known. I will miss her for the rest of my life.

Anyway, while I was living in GA I met a lot of awesome folks, but never got involved in any relationship with anyone. The whole point was for me to be away from all that and rediscover me. But I met some awesome ladies, one of them being Deana (pronounced Dee-na) Crisp. When I moved back to WV, I kept in touch with everyone via letters and phone calls.

So now we come to the ticket stub. December of 1990. I grew up a Dallas Cowboys fan, and a lot of my friends in Princeton are also Cowboys fans. A bunch of us decided that we would take a road trip and go to Atlanta to see the Cowboys play. At the time, I didn’t have a lot of money so I drove to Atlanta without enough money to rent a room for the weekend…even if I was splitting a room with the guys. But I had my Atlanta friends, so when I got into town I started calling everyone to see if I could crash for the weekend. Some folks turned me down, but I got in touch with Deana and she was happy to offer me a place to stay for the weekend. She was just moving into an apartment with another girl we both knew (we all had worked together when I lived in GA), so I helped them move in for letting me stay.

During that weekend, Deana and I started some innocent flirting. It was clear that we were attracted to one other, but we never hooked up during that time. After the football game, I went back to WV, but Deana and I spoke with each other almost every day. We wrote to each other often. I went back to visit her in February for Valentine’s and we just hit it off. I decided to move back and move in with her. I did so in March of 1991, and I’ve been here ever since.

So here is this ticket stub. Not only was it my ticket to that game, but it was, in many ways, the ticket to my future. It was a big part of what had led me to where I am now. But I like to do this…I like to look back on my life and sort of observe how the things that happened to me led me to where I am.

Me and Deana didn’t last long, although she was the first girl I got engaged to. But I was a jerk to her. She was wonderful to me, and I wasn’t totally over Christine yet. I took her for granted and was basically an asshole to her. I wish I could tell her that I’m sorry. I’m thankful for her, though, because if she hadn’t given me a place to crash that weekend, I might not be here right now. So all thanks to Deana! 🙂

I wonder if I had never met Christine if I would have felt compelled to move away from Princeton. I think I would have eventually, but certainly the path of my life would be different. So…wow…every little thing moved me along the path of life from there to here. My craziness at WVU. Dad convincing me to enroll at Concord right away instead of waiting. That invitation to rush TKE. Dennis being with Christine to introduce me to her. The rise and fall of love. Ron introducing me to Atlanta. The ticket to the football game. Deana inviting me to crash with her for that weekend. A blossoming romance leading me to move back. So…wow..it’s been a wild, crazy, wonderful time from then through the path of my life until now. But that was the beginning of what I consider who I am now.

This ticket to a football game…I’m so glad I kept it. I will want to get it out and look back on everything from time to time. I think it’s good to remain mindful of where you’ve been. I hope I will always………………………………………………………….…remember.

So eventually I straightened up my closet. I got the things out of the other rooms that I didn’t want the kittens to attack. Between then and now I have acquired the cats – they are named Buffy and Faith after my love for the TV shows “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel”. They both are just awesome cats. I will be posting pictures of them soon as well.

Between October and now I turned 39 (craziness), spent a week in WV for the holidays where I had a great time with my actual family and my “second” family (Sheila, Rob, Kris, Jordan, and Trey), concluded another fantasy football season where I won the point championship but missed the fantasy bowl again, and spent New Year’s Eve and the first week and a half of January sick just like last year (really bad cold that led to a sinus infection). I still feel a little off, but I’m getting better. I’m still enjoying my work with Turner Broadcasting. Life is more or less good. I’m happy that I’m here, that’s for sure.

I’m getting tired and I want to post this, but here are some quick things that I was going to write a lot about but will just touch on right now:

1) For what it’s worth, I am endorsing Mike Huckabee for President in 2008. I am doing this primarily because he supports the Fair Tax plan. (Even though I absolutely abhor the word ‘fair’. I don’t think there’s any such thing as ‘fair’, but that is, again, a story for another day. It should be called The Common Sense Tax, or the Better Tax, or something like that.) The mainstream media is going to more or less misinform you about the Fair Tax, so I want to encourage everyone reading this to please seek all information you can. Read, learn, and think for yourself. People like to use creative accounting to try to discount the concept of the Fair Tax. Don’t allow yourself to be fooled. Please make use of the links below.
2) http://www.mikehuckabee.com/
3) http://www.fairtax.org/
4) http://www.factcheck.org/taxes/unspinning_the_fairtax.html — yeah even read what others have to say about it even though they, in my opinion, don’t get it.
5) http://www.fairtaxcalculator.org
6) http://boortz.com/ — especially read Neal’s Nuze every day.
7) http://www.amazon.com/FairTax-Book-Neal-Boortz/dp/0060875410
8 ) http://www.amazon.com/FairTax-Answering-Critics-Neal-Boortz/dp/0061540463/ref=pd_sim_b_title_2/105-5353101-9129208
9) http://www.fairtaxblog.com/
10) On to other things – I’m hoping that the Jaguars beat the Patriots on Saturday. Go Jags!
11) I can’t decide if I’d like to see the Cowboys go to the Super Bowl, or Brett Favre and his Packers. Favre really deserves it, though. I’d love to see him make it back. I hope one of them makes it because I will be pulling for them to win it all.
12) I will post my poetry and pics of the cats at some point in the future – be on the lookout!
13) I can’t wait for Saturday and the NFL Playoffs to start up again!
14) I’m really tired…should have gone to bed hours ago….

Until next time,
B

——————————————

I hate the world today
Insane or stupid people
Always in my way
Though there are my selected few
You know who you are
You’re each a shining star

Yesterday I lied
Said I love her
But God knows that I’ve tried
It’s just that she is such a bitch
She always wants her way
She never scratches my itch
And she wants me made of clay

But I kick ass
Indeed I rock
They’re not worthy
To suck my cock
I am all that they will seek
With my tongue here in my cheek
I’m the dude; I’m the king
They wish they had my ring
Because I know they know what they cannot replace

What is left to say
Through the ups and downs
Life is but a play
I try to share the marquee
Here on my center stage
Was this their cage?

I just wish that they would try
To use their brains
But that assumes a lie
They cannot use what just isn’t there
Mediocrity feels fine
Instead of better they seek fair
And the fault is always mine

But I kick ass
I’m too cool
They’re not worthy
To eat my stool
I am all that they will seek
With my tongue here in my cheek
Yes I rule; I’m the king
Their bitch ass gets nothing
Of all I am just get the hell out of my face!

We all keep asking ourselves why, but the reasons don’t even matter
If you don’t believe in yourself, then no one else ever will

I’m the one
To answer their prayer
But they’re not worthy
To breathe my air
I am all that they will seek
With my tongue here in my cheek
I’m their dream; I’m the king
They had my sweet something
They let it go and now it’s gone without a trace

Don’t you
Forget about me
Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t
As if you could
Forget about me

–“Cheeky”
J. Brian Terry
October 2007

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