Saturday, May 17, 2003

Oh, and I wrote a little poem while at the ritzy restaurant. It went like this:


Staring at my love's strawberry top in ketchup smear
I think I'm almost over being hit in crosswalk.

I couldn't imagine being a professor and having to go to graduation ceremonies year after year.
My day didn't go too well. I was almost run down by a fat man in an SUV when I was in the crosswalk to meet Nissa at a restaurant. I swung my jacket at his car as the wind from his fender nipped at my backside and the swine flipped me off. How do you like that?
I walked around the back of the restaurant and took many deep breaths before going in to have lunch at what is to me a ritzy restaurant with Nissa's family. A ritzy restaurant is anything I can't afford to eat at when I'm paying for it. So, Olive Garden is ritzy to me. But this was the Citrus City Grill, which is way off my map. Their soup is the price of the meals at places I eat.
He dad called me by her ex-boyfriend's name at one point, reminding me and, later, Nissa about the fact that they prefer him over me, even though I've been around longer than he ever was. They liked him because he would say, "Mr. and Mrs. Almquist, may I lick your butt for you, please?"
And I'm straight up with them. I tell them they're full of crap. Well, I don't say "crap."
Anyway, another nice part is that I kept all of this rattling around inside because I was there for Nissa. I had to be be strong for her and it was her day.

After her class was called, I went to the theater building and read until the ceremony was over. I'm reading a New York poet named Sparrow who RULES! Check him out. He's got some books out on Soft Skull Press.
I then raided the snack table before the mob arrived. I followed Nissa as best I could through crowds and left her at an asian restaurant. She was short and impatient with me today, but that's not only understandable but entirely forgivable.
This is just my chance to get it all out of my eyes. I kept it in there all day for her. Now I spew it out for you.



Friday, May 16, 2003

P.S. I don't know the answer, but I'm keeping the scooter. I guess it's a good sign that I put so much thought into it. It's dangerous to aquire and take without being mindful. That makes one greedy and needy at the same time. I'll appreciate my razor. I also know where the line is between stealing and using what others have tossed away. Recycling!
I hit an interesting, applied moral question today. I kind of think that putting this much thought into it is what people mean when they worry that I'm too nice of a guy.
Okay, so Nissa is graduating tomorrow. Today is one of my favorite days to be on campus at a private university. It's moving out of the dorm day. Chapman is a very expensive school and thus attracts many wealthy kids. You have to be filthy rich to go there or get a great scholarship or go way way way into more debt that you'll ever be able to repay. Having the first two options closed to me, I went with the latter route. Going to Chapman was a lot like my high school, Huntington Beach High, where everyone was rich except for me. I drove a '74 Malibu back then. It was smog-grey and looked like something the world's greatest blues singer would drive. All of the other cars in the Huntington parking lot were BMW, Mecedes, or Lexi (this was a few years before SUV's hit) all less than five years old.
Anyway, on moving out of the dorm days, said rich kids throw out LOOT. I mean, there were perfectly good easy chairs, couches, end tables, vacuum cleaners, fish tanks, coffee pots, and on and on, all piled out to overflowing the many dumpsters. Naturally, I like to go and salvage. I was hoping to find some books, but no luck.
Here's where the moral dillema came into my day. I walked across the grass to check my feet against a pair of shoes that were laying out there (A few years ago I got a pair of leather boots with zippers up the sides out of the dumpster that fit.) I mean, there was shoes, shelves, sacks of clothes and school papers, all just laying out on the lawn. Now, around the corner of the building, laying on the lawn was one of those razor scooters.
I thought I would like to have one to ride to the library on, rather than driving the five blocks.
There was nobody around. Nobody watching it or walking by. Totally deserted and left alone. To be fair, I went to the dumpster around the other side of the building for about twenty minutes. When I came back, the razor scooter was still lying there.
So I took it.
I didn't run with it. I rode it a little to make sure it worked and then walked leisurely to the car with it. I was waiting for somebody to shout out or tackle me. Nobody so much as looked at me funny.
If this were somebody's front yard, I wouldn't even think of touching it. But this was among a bunch of things that lazy people had just thrown out onto the grass as trash. It was a day where everybody was out and moving and throwing out things. You don't leave something you care about, or even want vaguely, laying on the lawn with other discarded items for at least twenty minutes. Right?

Everyone I've spoken to has told me that they would have done the same. In fact, they've all told me that waiting twenty minutes was a lot more than they would have done. Maybe the lesson here is for me to let go and enjoy serendipidous occasions like this instead of wringing my hands with Christian guilt over what I think might be a moral gray area.

I'm getting rid of a bunch of crap myself. Stuff that I don't need like old clothes and toys because I want to move out soon. Thing is, I'm giving them to the Salavation Army or Goodwill, which is more than most Chapman kids do. Which is not to say that I'm better than any of them. I did take the razor after all.


Thursday, May 15, 2003

A word of advice to myself, to my future self. When I find myself in a place where the air is clean, stay there. Don't come back to Orange County. My sinuses are jam packed full of mean. They have been for almost two days. They hate being teased like that. Last night I slept little. Today I napped at Nissa's and she said that it sounded like the devil was in my nose.
I'm 'unna move somewhere where the air is like crystal and trade my car for a really nice, comfortable pair of hiking boots. That what I'm 'unna do.
First of all, we laughed a lot. My brother is one of the most truely funny people I know. I also know that he says that about me.
I felt refueled by the end of the trip. I felt like I had the power to overcome negative with positive. I felt like I could start to work to make myself a whole new chicken. Of course, it'll be a lot of work, but my brother is evidence that it can be done. He and I have simular pasts and he's come out a whole new chicken. I'm still not a chicken, but after my trip I feel like an egg.
My brother used to do a lot of speed (like me except that I had alcohol too.) He screwed up a lot, flew off the handle a lot, and was going down the toilet. Then he found Jesus through Calvary Chapel. Now he has a wife, four girls and one on the way. He's got a job that he loves and where he does a lot of good, teaching the gospel to the homeless and cooking meals for them in a shelter. He's the best father I know (except that they spank and I'm agin it.) And not like Ned Flanders good. I mean, he's straightforward and doesn't seem to be messing them up in the long term.
Seeing how together they are made me realize that it can be done. That's not to say that I want my brother's life.
I also got some perspective on Niss and I. I realized that I want to work it out with her. It'll take a lot of work. But I also see that it won't kill me if it doesn't work out. It shouldn't even cripple me.
I know now that I need to move out of here as soon as I can.

Back into the material world, I bought a lot of books up there. We saw X-Men 2: Electric Boogaloo. Baby Lily walked about five steps across the room to me. I had a very hard time coming back. I mean, my car worked fine. I just wanted to stay. I already want to go back.



Wednesday, May 14, 2003

For those of you who don't know, I've been knighted. I've been dubbed Sir Perfluous.

There! Now it wasn't a total waste for you to check this blog today!
I know you're all waiting for me to sit down and write my story of my Chico trip. And I will. But I'm tired now and I'm not getting paid for this. So...

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Yes, I'm back. I drove like a monkey on crack yesterday for eight hours and made really good time. I went ninety most of the way down the five, with cruise control that I had just learned that I have on this trip. My car made it with no problems.
I'll save the details for tomorrow or something. I'll just say that it was a transformative trip. I refueled and learned a lot from my brother and his family. I have a lot more focus to where I need to go and drive to work for it. I realized that my sin has been sloth for quite some time.
Anyway, I'm trying to maintain the earlier bedtime that I achieved from five days with four screaming girls at seven every morning. So, I'm signing off for tonight.