Waves

Facebook is sneaky.  Sneaky like a wave at the beach that you underestimated.  Overconfident in your assessment of the danger.  Old loss that comes right up and swamps you.  

Unanticipated.  

Overwhelming.

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The first meet has its last stand

I’m here in sober mind thinking on less than sober moments though nothing in particular, a boom of laughter, eyes squinted from a smile, glasses making their unmistakable clinks and clunks, people talking over each other and with each other about nothing and the swell of everything. It hurts to say that it’s becoming hazy, the memories, the sound of it all and the pain. Sometimes I wish the pain were more present to serve as a more stinging reminder. Time trudges on and so does life while waving goodbye to memories from a speeding car. You never know what someone is going to mean to you initially. Sometimes while you are living in the moment, doing the right thing–acknowledging just what someone means to you–they leave; they die. I was basking in his light when it was inexplicably extinguished and done little to go back to touch that feeling. I have done what I can to move forward, as you do. It has been tumultuous, what with his fame and all. What was so natural between us became muddled, mired by those who showed up in the aftermath.

 

The aftermath is why I had to push on. I couldn’t be around the human forms of Facebook posts trying to prove their connection to my guy. I wanted to just go back for a quiet drink with him, Mikel, before his monicker, Eyedea. I just want Mike. I wanted to be at one of our spots. Our watering holes or my basement. I want to turn back the 5 years since and be there for the ease of it all.

 

Since Micheal Eyedea Larsen’s death, I have become different, more sullen and a bit of the ease of my joy now needs far too much effort without him. This ease was felt primarily at Costello’s, The Glockenspiel or my basement making music with him. Not too long after his death, Costello’s, a classic local St. Paul dive bar was bought out to become a bright shiny, high-end eatery. It hurt and I haven’t been back since even though reviews have been stellar. It’s just something that I have any reason to put myself through.

 

Over the last few months my wife, along with our beautiful daughter, made the jump into Minneapolis. Along with the move, obviously came the loss of our partially finished basement that held so many memories. We laughed, drank, smoked, and made music as effortlessly as any of ever had. The music was a true afterthought. Mike and I would get together, perhaps call a couple other guys with “make music” lightly penciled in our itinerary. Nothing was ever set in stone. The nights we tried our best to buckle down were a total bust at times and the nights to designed for goofing off bled into full weekends lost to making music together by utter accident. Our new house is lovely and even has a finished basement. But with this finished basement and new steps in life, also mark a small loss for the spontaneity of up to 10 hours spent somewhere between well spent and wasted. He was the only person that I have ever met that I could spend that kind of time with on such a regular schedule and I more than suspect he will be the only one. Costello’s is gone. The basement is gone.

 

Last week, I received a phone call from one of our best friends. Not a text; a phone call. I answered to ask Nic what was up. He told me that the Glockenspiel was closing. When we all first started hanging out together, before Costello’s, before the basement, there was The Glock. It may have been where I met Mike, or at least where I interacted with him enough on a serious level to say that I truly met him. It wasn’t much of a bar. I remember wondering why we would frequent that spot, well it turned out that Mike just didn’t like to drive and The Glock was right around the corner from his house. Fair enough. It wasn’t a terribly large bar, but the ceilings were 20 feet tall with a sizable eating area in the back. It gave the perfect illusion of grandeur though we were simply there for the libations and chatter. It is a noted for its German food if that’s a thing that you’re into, but it was near dead every we went there. It was a place for novelty and weekend lunches, but it just became our bar. The bartenders knew and liked us, frequently closing the doors (sometimes early) just to let us illegally smoke cigarettes and drink off the books, occasionally until near sun up. This was our spot, our first spot, and it was closing.

 

Nic and I determined that we had to go. We had to have a beer and a whiskey at least. The usually empty bar’s closing made the local news which created a bit of a fervor. Upon arriving for the last night of service, the place was packed, both bar and restaurant. Tubas and accordions filled the hall barely audible over everyone’s singing and talking. We were tucked in, barely able to move. It was an absolute spectacle, admittedly not quite the spectacle we were looking for. We got our whiskey and German beer. We attempted to reflect while moving out of people’s way. They were all reflecting on their times there also, but for very different reasons. We never really got down to the meat of our loss beyond a glass clink or two and his name being peppered throughout the night. But what did come was the ease. That ease of laughter and joy that had been absent for 5 years. Nic, my wife and myself smiled wide and another friend made a near perfectly timed appearance. It felt large and casual at the same time.

 

The Glockenspiel closed at 10 that night and we moved across the street to one of the more typical St. Paul neighborhood dive bars. It was never a favorite due to its seedy nature, but we had all been there with Mike a few times also. It was near empty and we continued to drink. None of us planned to be out that late, it just happened. Our talks filled our hearts more than any drink. We hadn’t all been together in this sort of capacity in over a year and we all needed it desperately without ever having said it. But how do you ever say that you need spontaneity and easy conversation without ruining it by virtue of its mention?
Costello’s is gone. My basement is gone. The Glockenspiel is now gone the way of my friend also. This time, we all just got to say goodbye the way we all wanted to, the way we needed to, the way we deserved to and in the way Mike deserved. We finally got to say our goodbyes in the most fitting way for Mike, with a boom of laughter, eyes squinted from a smile, glasses making their unmistakable clinks and clunks, people talking over each other and with each other about nothing and the swell of everything.

Its been a good week

Its been a good week.

After my trip to Nanjing I feel refreshed and like I have a purpose. I know what I am teaching and how to teach it.

Hong Kong is my home. I feel it and I’m living it.

I have friends who support me and are rooting for me.

I have a good workout routine and feeling fit once more.

I got my haircut to match a new me and I am excited by it.

I have 4 more weeks till holiday.

Though I am feeling a high right now, I know that I can survive any low.

Echo chambers and voids

Big things are happening everywhere. These things are noteworthy, eye-opening, and discussion worthy things. In the midst of all that deserves to be discussed about Paris, I realize that I’ve simply wanted to avoid most channels open for doing so. Well, let’s just name the beast. It’s Facebook, the great echo chamber of the world. We shout into it to hear the echo back from the like-minded. We all do it.

In the same weekend as the Paris tragedy came yet another questionable fatal shooting by a police officer. This one took place here in Minneapolis. I’m not going to get into the witness accounts, police records, facts or lack thereof thus far, simply that it occurred and people are angry. So angry that the Black Lives Matter movement took to shutting down a freeway that is the Twin Cities most major artery. It got press, then it trended, and then the venom.

My feed is filled with so much acid, so much twisted vitriol, that I can barely look to maintain the modicum of interpersonal connection upon which the foundation of my Facebook usage was built. Look, I know that everyone uses social media for various uses, but mine was more benign. I honestly do use it for news as well, but like most of us do, I’m learning that there are hateful people far too close to my inner circle.

The posts –Muslims this, Black Lives Matter that– it’s just so difficult to wade through. I honestly think personal connection is one of the finer, more important thing in existence. I have simply come to understand that social media isn’t about connection anymore; it’s about screaming into the void. People say the quasi-racist things that they would never get away with face to face. It’s allowing us the unmitigated, non-repercussive power to be loud cowards, to join sides and to pick the choir to which you will be preached. This leaves me so hollow.

I’m not even saying that Facebook is the issues. I need FB to be a catalyst for communication for so many 2nd and 3rd tier friends that still mean a great deal to me. I can’t speak on a need to rid yourself, much less myself, of the burden it places upon us all. I am just saying that, with all this turmoil, all this anger, all this hatred, we just want to be heard.

That’s why we do most of this right? Why we post at all? We want to share and have it matter. I don’t want to denigrate anyone for doing so, nor do I intend to suggest that it shouldn’t be done, but simply to acknowledge its roots: a need to matter. We all want to matter. This world is so large, but the internet has left us with a swath of communication lines of which we all deserve to take some sort of advantage. In this large world, the great unifier — the internet — has simultaneously become the great divider. I have gotten mad at, defriended, unfollowed, hidden, and seethed at people whom in real life I care for to a great deal. They simply use this wall to hide behind, and the communication it allows for the critically ugly.

We are at an age in society that people are being killed and legitimately killing for the same reasons as the yelling online: simply being marginalized, and simply unheard. This is Black Lives Matter. This is the last handful of mass shootings, they weren’t people that were bullied, but lone men who thought they deserved to have more attention paid to them or simply deserved more sex. They thought they were not being heard as men. It’s so awful to hear, it’s so awful to type, and it’s so awful that those that perpetrated such atrocious attacks on Parisians enjoying a football match, simply think they are not being heard either. And after all these things, we can’t help but take to the internet to hear what others are yelling about, sift through until we have our own opinion and begin the yelling anew but reinvested and doubled down on with personal reasoning.
We have a national holiday next week about being thankful for whatever we open our hearts and minds up to, yet we know has greater sales implications eating that day. I wish I could see the love that came the night of the Paris attacks and hold onto that because it was beautiful, even if for the sake of attention, it was the world coming together to say let’s stand together. Not standing together to fight, but stand together because we as the human race need to do that more. Unfortunately, we typically do this in the wake of tragedy, and only until we inevitably become mad. It’s one of the stages of loss. It’s bound to happen, but now it’s etched in the binary annals of time and for your world to see rather than simply your closest friends that earned the spot to see you at your darkest.

Single Living

jNEt2bM

I want to write about something that is on my mind a lot. After 4 countries in 4 years I have had a lot of experiences, most I would never trade for anything. These experiences have largely been solo adventures. Here and there I make friends and meet people to share my experiences with. Its a given that there will always be new people to meet, new people to explore. Its a privelge to do what I want to do when I want to do it. Not single I know my life and my experiences would be unparralled. I can’t wait for the new people who will come into my life..