Circle K started spiriling downwards, as all good things seem to eventually do. There were lots of good times there. It's funny that a number of people I've reconnected with on Facebook now read this blog, waiting/fearing me mentioning their names. I'll try not to embarass anyone too much, other than myself.
As we moved around from spot to spot on the whims of the police, the whole scene began to change. That's inevitible when the people who make up the group change, new personalities imprinting themselves on the whole thing giving it a different flavor. It's strange that it's not really noticible on a daily basis, it's only when you step back and look at the whole thing over time that you see how drastically things changed. And the changes were rather drastic. I can't really describe the changes other than to say that they were different, very different. The people, the vibe, the whole deal was different. I can't (and won't) say which I think is better or worse, sometimes there just isn't a better or worse. Sometimes all you can really say is that things were different. Some of the people that I still talk to today came along during this time. That means you Craig. And, unfortunately, some of the people I was closest with faded away. I don't think I realized it at the time, but that was a sad thing to have happen.
In time we found ourselves hanging out at Super Shops. The old Circle K gang was gone for the most part, only a few of us were really left. Most had gone on to other things in other places. Some people would show up again from time to time. Some people who now carry chicken purses would make an encore performance to spice things up a little. But for the most part, the whole group changed. Super Shops was convient. The manager hung out with us, that helped with the whole police running us off thing. Personally I didn't care for Brett or Bart, or whatever his name was. He was imminently forgettable. But it was a place to hang out and we weren't harassed by the police.
Okay, here's a confession, it wasn't the same and at first I didn't really care for the changes. I didn't really notice at first, but the magic seemed to be gone when I took a good long look at it. I think it was because it was a repeat of something I had already done. When I first started hanging out at Circle K it was magical in the sense that it was something I had never done before, it was all new and that made it exciting. Once you've done something, doing it again becomes a retread and it loses something. It's not that the people weren't great to hang out with (I love you Craig), it's just that the whole thing seemed like I had been there before. It seemed like that because I had been there before. I'm still not saying it was better or worse, but I'm trying to explain why it felt different.
I guess part of it was that I was growing up, whether I wanted to or not. Things around you change, and sometimes as hard as you may try, you change with them. Sometimes you have no choice in the matter. As the people around me grew, it forced me to grow too, because in the end I still wanted to be accepted. Acceptance drives more decisions than most of us realize. It's a little scary when you think about it. The irony is that people think that changes as you get older, but many, if not most, of the decisions we make come down to being accepted by whatever group we desire to be accepted by. You may not admit it, you may not like it, but that doesn't make it any less true. I think I've said before, being truly honest with yourself is a real bitch most days. Fun, ain't it?
There's a guy I know, and I won't mention names, but he was and is particularly driven by acceptance. I've since seen him, although not really talked to him much, and it's no different. At one point it was our group that he desired to be accepted by and he did whatever he thought he had to do to gain that acceptance. In time, the groups he desired acceptance from changed, and he always went off the deep end to be accepted. Lately I believe he is currently into religon, which is fine. He tackles it with his usual gusto and imminent desire to be accepted. Is it true dedication to God? Or is it just yet another group he desires to be accepted by? I don't know, but if I was a betting man, I know where I'd place my bet. History is a great teacher.
So life was different, yet the same at Super Shops. Different personalities were in play, different cliques formed. Yet in many ways it was the same. There were quite a few true deja vu moments that I knew I had already been through. Same shit, different parking lot. I promised that I wouldn't mention Craig's fight with Hurley, but I have to say something because it was truly funny. I don't remember what it was about, just that it happened. Sorry, buddy, you were never meant for the UFC.
So, there we were, a bunch of kids trying to figure out what we wanted to do with our lives, how we wanted to live, and acting like we had it all figured out. Ofcourse we didn't. We were all clueless as to what we really wanted and how we were going to get it. Well, except maybe for John Miller. I'm not sure how or why, but he always seemed like someone who had a plan and had something figured out. He was a quiet guy with a fast car, but he always struck me as someone who actually might have a clue how to get on with his life. I don't know if that was true or not, but it seemed like it.
Anyway, we were really all a mess. We focused on all the wrong things naturally, we were still kids after all. Fast cars, fast women, booze, etc, those were the things that fueled our conversations and dreams. We all had a different vice, some of us more than one. We all also had various things the "defined" us. And by that I mean that if you were to ask someone what thing they remembered about that person during those days, there would be something that most people would come up with. An example, and I'll pick on Craig since he follows this. What I remember most about those days was his IROC. It was one sweet car. I can't remember everything he had done to it and can't guess how much he spent on it, but it was fast and is probably still the sweetest sounding car I've ever heard. The exhaust note on that car was just absolutely perfect. The other thing I remember about Craig was he was always working and that meant he always had whatever the "in" thing was. He got it honest, he had a legitimate 40 hour a week job. He didn't live off mom and dad like some blog writers did. Okay, so that's two things that I remember about him, but whatever. If you are going to expect me to live by what I say, boy are you in for disappointment.
I have no idea what "defined" me in those days. I could probably list a thousand things and they'd all be wrong. Truth is, I don't know what people really thought of me back then and I don't know that it really mattered. They liked me enough to let me be a part of the group. Or perhaps, coming from the beginings of it all, I liked them enough to let them into my group, whatever the point of view, I was accepted and that was what mattered. There's that acceptance thing again, sort of a recurring theme don't ya think?
Oh, and if you are wondering, I don't think I really care what people thought of me back then either. Whatever people thought "defined" me most likely was wrong. I don't claim to be the smartest person you've ever met, the best looking, the most ethical, the most anything, but I will say that I've never been an easy person to figure out. There are a lot of layers to me, more than many people I think, and I believe it takes time and real effort to get to really know me . There are a few people that have taken the time and effort to get to know me, most haven't. And here's a hint, if this blog, or anything I say in it surprises you, you don't know me half as well as you think you do. Maybe we're all this mysterious, maybe I'm full of shit. Well, I know I'm full of shit, but while I wear my emotions on my sleeve, I don't give everything away. Maybe it's all that ninja training I had.
Lots of people came and went at Super Shops, far too many to mention here. Maybe some will get their own post later on if I feel like it, but for now lets just says lots of people hung out there at one time or another. I've run across a few of them later in life, some of them I even still like. I'll be honest about another thing though. This might make some people mad, but what the hell, I do that daily. Not long ago there was actually a Super Shops reunion of sorts. I didn't go. The truth is, looking at some of the posts people were making about the whole deal reminded me of exactly how it was back in "the day". Frankly, I've moved beyond that. There was nothing wrong with some of the pursuits we had back then, we were kids after all. But now, honestly, some of it is kind of sad. I'm far too old to give a shit about fast cars and loose women. It's the same reason I won't ever go to any of my high school reunions. I have no desire to compete in a penis length contest anymore. So what your dick is bigger, you make more money, you have a faster car, etc. If you try hard enough, and it usually doesn't take much effort, you can figure out a way to compare yourself with someone else and come out on top. Congratulations! You win the prize! What's the prize you ask? A date with yourself, after all you are the one that loves you baby! No offense to those that went, and maybe I was totally wrong about the whole thing. But, for those of you that I've kept in touch with, I don't need a reunion to talk to you. For those of you that I haven't, some how I've mananged and will just have to keep on struggling through life without hearing about your fast cars and so forth. If that opinion makes me an asshole, you aren't informing the world of something that wasn't already abundantly clear.
Super Shops was an end of sorts for me. It really was the last great hurrah for hanging out in parking lots and drinking beer and telling bullshit stories. I drove a 4 cylinder truck too, so I couldn't lie about how fast my car was. One, it wasn't a car, and two, it wasn't fast. But the truth is, life started catching up to me. It always will you know. I don't care how hard you fight it, at some point you have to start growing up. My time came. I had to start getting jobs and trying to pay my own bills. I hadn't appreciated what college might do for me until then, but I started to. Hanging out in Super Shops parking lot changed to other parking lots as management changed. The one constant in life is change and it had come again. That's okay, as much as I hate change, it's necessary. To become stagnate is to die inside. If you aren't growing as a person, you are dying. That's something I believe in my heart. As hard as change is for me, it's the reason I keep on trying. I know that ultimately it's necessary and that in the end it will be a good thing, if I can just make it through the rough stretches. You want to know the secret to life? That's it. The necessity of change and growth.
I had series of jobs, but one would change my direction forever. Perhaps my next post will be about what meeting a man named Greg Ellis would do for me. It was my next Introduction, welcome to the real world.