Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Changing of the Seasons

Ok, this has nothing to do with the changing of the seasons, I just thought that sounded profound. When you are full of shit, sometimes you say things like that to make people think you are smarter than you really are.

So, I left off at Circle K and all the fun I had there. Eventually we got run off from there and started hanging out at a variety of different places. Usually we'd hang out at one place til the cops came and ran us off, then we'd find some place else. They were all in the immediate area for a while so it didn't really matter. You knew where to go because there were a large number of kids there. People came and people went. Some got older and moved off to start their lives, when they did, other kids started coming to hang out. I went from being one of the younger kids to one of the older ones. It's the natural course of life. Some of us hung on longer than others, change is hard thing, and leaving your comfort zone is more so. I've already talked about the need for acceptance from your peers ,and the older you get the harder it can be to find that acceptance. the need for it doesn't change though. Some people transitioned into college right away, I wasn't one of those kids. I went to the University of Alabama the fall after graduating high school and that was a disaster. My main problem was that I wasn't ready for that kind of independence. I really didn't study in high school and had no real intention of doing it in college. I guess I figured I could skate by, it had worked so far, so why wouldn't it. Sure my parents and administrators told me I would have a hard road ahead and that I would have to really buckle down, but what did they know, they were old. So I ended up leaving before the semester ended because I hated it there. Now, to understand why I hated it you have to understand how the social system worked there at the time. It was VERY Greek oriented, and by that I mean fraternities and sororities. If you weren't in thoses you were an outcast. This was especially true for guys. If you were a hot enough girl, you got attention even if you weren't in a sorority, but for a guy you were a dead man. Now, I was far from unattractive in those days, but all my good looks and charm were for naught. I even had a girl come flat out and tell me it was a shame I wans't in her affiliated fraternity because she would love to go out with me. Fraternities were expensive, and honestly I just wouldn't have handled it well. All the shit you had to go through as a pledge and a younger member were ridiculous and I would have told someone to fuck themselves fairly early on. I'm fairly certain that would get me kicked out.

I had some good times there, don't get me wrong. We had this crazy dude who had a mohawk that was insane. I mean certifiable. He got kicked out of the dorms for making a new doorway in the wall with a golfclub. He was also extremely homophobic and freaked out that "fags" were chasing him down when he got drunk, and he got drunk a lot. There was one incident that comes to mind when I think of him though that was absolutely excellent. When you went to home football games, the fraternaties had there own areas where they all sat together. It was funny because they had a dress code, one they came up with themselves, that involved blazers, ties, long pants, etc. Whoever came up with that was an idiot cause it gets freaking hot in the summer and early fall. They looked absolutely pitiful sitting in 90+ degree weather, and we all laughed at their stupidity. Anyway, they only allowed member of the fraternity to sit with them, the rest of us weren't good enough. Well mohawk boy went and sat in their section. I don't know why he did it, probably because he could. You see, he was about 6'4 and 230 lbs of muscle. I dont know why he wasn't a linebacker, he sure looked the part. Oh, and he liked to fight. I don't know if he really cared if he won or lost, I think he just liked the act of fighting. Apparently he was good at it.

So there we are, sitting in the unbearable heat of early september and he goes and sits in a fraternaties section. We're all looking and waiting to see what will happen next. You could see that the older member of the fraternity had a problem. They needed to get this guy out of their section, he was making them "look bad". But none of them were going to say anything to him because they were all 5'9 160 lbs. So, eventually they came to a conclusion. They did what they always did when there was shit work to be done, they sent a pledge. This kid had no prayer and we almost felt sorry for him, almost. Well, he puffed up his chest and went down to where mohawk boy was sitting and told him to leave in his most authoritarian manner. Mohawk boy grabbed him by the throat, lifted him off his feet, shook him, and dropped him. Then the turned to the buys who sent this little kid down and challenged them all to come move him themselves. Right when we hoped it would get interesting, security showed up and escorted our friend away. None the less, that was how things worked there, and it just wasn't for me. So, I did what any brave sould would do, I quit.

Look, ultimately this was about me being away from my comfort zone and not handling it well. It's a problem I've had all my life. Every time I have to make a big change like that I struggle, I mean REALLY struggle with it. Sometimes I've bested it, sometimes it's bested me, but it has always been one of my biggest challenges. It's something I know I will struggle with for the rest of my life. I think I moved back to Huntsville after 5 years in Georgia, in part, because this place is my comfort zone, and even after 5 years in Marietta, that wasn't home. It's funny what "home" becomes, and it's a mystery to me how it all ends up working out. For some people, home is whereever they live. They can move about and the new place will become home. For others, like me, I think home becomes a place that you get so comfortable with that nowhere else will become "home". I don't honestly know. I do know that I ran back from Tuscaloosa like a whipped dog, right back into all the things that made me comfortable. In the end, it may have worked out best. That's the thing about decisions like that, you never know what could have been, you only know what was. And sometimes, that's enough.

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