Friday, October 24, 2008

Halloween Campfire Stories (Kinda)

Next week is Halloween, the best time of the year to pull a nice prank, to go around and have a great party or to just run around collecting candy.

I’ve had my moments during Halloween just like the rest of us. I can think of a few times where I’ve really enjoyed Halloween.

When I was ten, I was living in the Miami area, we had just moved to a house and the area was ripe with kids about my age. We never sat and completely associated with each other but we knew of each other’s presence. To this day I can’t remember anyone’s name from that night but I know that we decided to go out and have some fun.

I never was very good for costumes; I usually just tossed something together at the last minute and hoped for the best. This year my best was basically one of my sister’s dresses and a basketball. I was a pregnant woman. (Yea I know super sad.)

So me and two or three other ghouls got together, grabbed about 3 dozen eggs and walked the streets. We’d pick our targets at random. Perhaps a kid walking on the other side of the street, maybe a house that didn’t have any decorations. Whatever. The point was that we wanted to have some fun… DAMNIT!

At one point we decided cars would be the best bet. We lived in an area that had a main drag right next to it and a service road running parallel to it. We found some bushes, squatted low and waited for what we considered to be the best cars… the newer ones. We managed to hit three or four without incident, the drivers either didn’t feel the eggs, weren’t sure WHAT was going on or weren’t willing to stop in case there was trouble.

Still, the rules of probability state that just because things happen one way, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t expect it to stay that way. An Accord was driving through the service road, we tossed three eggs on it and it screeched to a halt. The tail lights burned bright red like the eyes of a demon who’s found it’s prey. The four of us took a quick glance at each other and booked it. The Acura peeled some rubber and headed forward, made a right and started to double back, they were going to try and catch us on the other side of the street.

I took the district bus to get to school every day and it so happened that my stop was on the little connecting street between the two roads. I knew the owners of the house by my stop because they let me sit on their front porch until the bus got there. I jumped over their fence, lost my basketball and hid behind the front porch pillars. The Accord sped past us, stopped, backed up and cruised the area slowly. He did this for about twenty minutes. His passenger side window down, the driver side window up, the windows were tinted. He was concealed in the shadows. We weren’t worried that he was an off duty cop, we were worried that he HATED the cops.

That last car was the end of that night. It just wasn’t enough fun.

The other time I can remember I was living away from home. It was my junior year and I picked up Moshe, Omar and Mick and we were driving to Miami’s Haunted House extravaganza. It was chilly I suppose. All the windows were up and we were driving along when we felt that all too familiar impact of eggs hitting my car. I came to a stop, pulled to the side of the road and surveyed the damage. Four hits, passenger side and it had happened within a hundred feet of where we stopped.

I didn’t get back into the car. Not me, I decided we would WALK back and see who had caused the issue.

The unfortunate part of that decision is that this was Omar’s neck of the woods and well, he wasn’t very well liked by some of his neighbors. They had seen us pick him up and when they saw us walking toward them, well that just made their evening.

To make a long story short, we showed up to the haunted house and while Mick, Moshe and I came away clean, Omar looked like Humpty Dumpty AFTER his fall.

You can always bet on at least one good story from Halloween experiences.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Thoughts of the year so far

If you ask some people, change is a four letter word. It instills dread and fear into the hearts of which it takes place. Humans, as a rule, are creatures of habit. They do the same thing day in and day out. They go to the same haunts during the weekend and mingle with the same people over and over again. In some circles, people become so comfortable with each other that the inner circle knows each other intimately.

This year has been about change. I might have already touched on it before. I’m not willing to search older blogs to know for sure but I know this much. Change affects everyone.

For my two friends Jen and Travis the change has been one that has forced and is forcing both of them to grow. From the rubble of both their lives they realized that had something special in each other and have decided to follow it through. In doing so though, they are challenging each other to grow and change out of the way that they’ve handled relationships before and try something new, learn something different. If you ask them they’ll tell you that they’re the happiest they’ve ever been and I believe it , but I also know that change can be daunting.

Ryan, one of my oldest friends, has had several changes this year as well. He’s gone from a single man to a husband, he’s moved into a better location and he’s managed to go back into school to study for a field he has always had interest in. All of those have ups and downs attached to them. In walking that path though, he’s becoming a better person, a better husband and a better friend.

Shannon, the immovable object, has finally found the unstoppable force and decided that while her times alone have been fun, perhaps there is more to life than that and made the decision to try and remember what a relationship can look like.

I’ve got several other examples that I can toss out. Several things that I noticed this year and I know that many of you are saying, "Life is about change." Yes. This is true but so much change at such a quick pace? That’s not something I’ve ever seen. Most cases, one person’s life changes but everything remains status quo until that’s been absorbed and everyone can cope. Not this year.

This year, which is rapidly coming to a close, has really tested everyone’s ability to grow up and move on. It’s trying and difficult, it’s brought me to the verge of tears a couple of times if you know me at all.

Personally? There was a point in the year where I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to see the end of it all. I seriously had doubts whether my sanity or my desire to live would continue to hold and if it wasn’t for excellent friends and fantastic people around me that lent me some support when I didn’t think I could do it alone, that I’m still here.

The beginning of the year was rough; I don’t have to tell you. My misadventures during the summer could’ve put me in the grave (Insert Ariel jokes here). Because many of my choices were self destructive. I went against everything I was being told,, everything I was taught to do and I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off.

I think that I started getting it right a little over a month ago. I got all of those bugs out of my system, the partying, the bed hopping, the everything that you’re told to do when you’re young.
I think the accident was my catalyst. In that moment, in that specific moment in time, I think I saw everything crystal clear for the first time since the buzzing began in my head. The buzzing that told me that my life for the last 2 ½ years had nothing to truly show for it except hurt, pain and the feeling that I wasn’t enough.

In that moment, I felt it all melt away and I felt centered again. Stupid as it sounds, I felt like it gave me that straight shot to where I’m supposed to be in my heart, where my brain is supposed to be centered on, and what my soul should be trying to accomplish.

The year is drawing to a close and I find myself better off than I was at any other time this year, or for several years in point of fact. I have my own place. The first place that’s been mine in I don’t know how long. I don’t have to depend on someone else to have a roof over my head.

Losing my car cleansed me of so many things I was holding onto from my past. The more time passes the more I remember other little things that were the car that I didn’t bother to try and grab. Did I forget that stuff because I didn’t care? Did I forget it because it was blocked from my memory? Did I forget it because holding on to it would have been holding on to a past that caused me hurt? I’ll never know, at least not in this life.

My perspective of this life that I live is much different now. I feel more solid. I feel like there’s something for me to accomplish now. I feel like, time is on my side.

I’ve got a beautiful girl by my side, a nice flat, a great ride, a stable job and great friends. It’s more than I could ask for at any one time and I’m getting it all at once.

Life is good. Don’t stress out about the same things in life. Money comes and goes, places to live and cars can be replaced. Feuds within family are common. Love, Health, and Happiness, those three things, no matter what you may hear, are priceless. Don’t ever take them for granted.


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