And this is what I learned…

I held my grandma’s hand as she died. She was never supposed to be on life support, but they kept her on until the family could see her. I got there last. I closed the diner up early, got on the motorcycle and hauled ass to the hospital where she was sitting upright, completely unable to move, speak or breath. She was there, however.

I held on to her arm and her hand. I closed my eyes and tried my best to talk to her, but all she could do was point her finger to the door. I knew what that meant. A few minutes later, I felt her leave. Everything in the room got a little brighter… I looked out the window and knew right then that she had left. Her body was no longer struggling to breathe. It was nothing more than a vessel. As we all are.

In trying to figure out what the holy-hell to do with myself, I think back to that day. When she was there, giving every damn thing she had to hold on for even a few more minutes, there is only a few things that really matter. It was what her and grandpa did. It’s what I realized is ultimately the most important thing in my life.

Before I die, I not only want to have a good story to tell I want to accomplish these three things… Build a Family. Build a home for my family. Help others build the same. Everything in-between is just pages in a book.

Tonight, I stopped by to grab a bite to eat from a fast food joint. I saw a homeless guy laying on the ground next to his wheelchair. I bought a few extra burritos and parked in front to give him some food. Looking at his almost empty bottle of vodka, various blankets and random things, I realized everything else in this world didn’t matter to this guy. I got him back in the wheelchair with the help of another passerby that saw me struggling with him.

He was lost. He was scared of the bags of blankets tied to the handles. He had no clue what was happening. In a weird way, it didn’t seem so unfamiliar to me.

As I drove off, I looked back at him and something took a hold of me. This isn’t about realizing that we all need to help one another. Dead horse is beaten… This is about realizing that at the pace I’m going right now in life, I could only hope that a random person would help me if I was ever in a position that I couldn’t help myself.

It’s time to start realizing what’s important for our own lives. Damnit…

A Veteran’s Fuck You

I was abruptly reminded today of what being a Veteran really is. Depression, Pride, Anguish, Resentment, Confusion…

Google all the heartwarming and tear-jerking stories you want… it doesn’t really get rid of what lives inside us once we’ve experienced it.

No matter what kind of story you can tell about your time in, every vet holds their experiences near and dear to their heart. My experience was less of fighting the enemy, and more of how war really changes the human spirit. On both sides.

However stupid war is… and trust us Vets, war is pretty fuckin stupid, there is something to be said about someone who will place their life on the line for something they believe in. To see the barely 17 year old who never has to worry about getting in trouble for not shaving, to the 98 year old who can be brought to his knees at the sound of taps is not to be taken lightly. Everything in between holds just as much value.

Living in Southern California isn’t really the place you go to feel patriotic. Sure, you see some of those ‘support the troops’ things, but it’s usually part of someone’s marketing plan. It’s even part of the personal ‘marketing’ for some. (That last line was motivated by seeing a shit-bag specialist show up in uniform on a Sunday to a venue for dining and drinking.)

I don’t really care if people know I’m a veteran, or what my experiences have given me. No one really cares except for my brothers and sisters who stood toe-to-line with me. I will never ask for special treatment because of what I chose to do. I will never take advantage of a fellow veteran, and I will never disrespect what a veteran works so hard to attain.

This is rambling, I know. maybe someone, somewhere will read it and feed the knowledge that it will never be easy to fit back in to reality when nothing ever seems to be the way it was before. No matter how many years have passed, it can all be brought back in a flash when one, little, thing brings you back down.

One… More… Day…

Sometimes I question whether or not I can get it right. I’m always misaligned with almost everything in my life. Seems like I’m always the one late to the party only to realize that it isn’t really a party at all.

Can’t seem to get it right with friends, lovers, jobs, traffic… By the time I figure it out the ship has sailed. Lately I’ve had someone really awesome come into my life and I don’t quite know what to do with it. Patience in the sense of time, is not one of my virtues. Mix that with the fact that I know what it feels like to always be ‘unsure’ about things and it’s a recipe for Dave going gypsy again. I’m tired of going it alone. I’m tired of waking up every day wondering if it’s really worth it to me.

I think of the pearls I bought on my first deployment. Still safe in my possession. When I bought them along with another set that went to a dear friend, I didn’t have anyone specific in mind. It’s my own little way of keeping hope that they will be worn by someone truly deserving of not only the pearls themselves, but of what I want to give. Thing is, I sometimes wish that I knew of something special waiting for me to come along. It’s always ‘now’s not the right time’, ‘the timing is just a little off’, ‘let’s just be friends’, ‘come back another day’…

I’m tired of waiting.

We are all tired of waiting even if we don’t know it yet.

Apathy has set in and it’s killing us. It’s killing me.

I’m tired of being tired with nothing to show. I find myself always saying ‘just one more day…’ I’ve had too many one more days…

Here’s to hoping for a good night’s sleep and maybe a kick in the ass to do what I need to be doing…

Emptiness…

In ’04 when I decided to join the Army, all of my possessions fit in the back of a small Mazda pickup truck. Even then, I probably had too much crap that I didn’t need to deal with. My life was at a bare minimum in every aspect. I had broken up with the girlfriend a handful of months before and left the house without a heck of a lot of stuff. My rebound cleaned me out of anything of worth that I had left. I went from an eighty thousand a year job to collecting garbage through a temp agency. I packed my stuff in a four foot cubed storage unit and walked to the greyhound station with one single backpack and headed to basic training. Every friendship, relationship and acquaintance I ever had in my life took on a whole new meaning at that point. My new life would start right then.

It’s truly an indescribable feeling when you live your life with so many comforts and ‘things’ and within a blink of the eye it’s all gone. Regardless of whose choice it was, it’s really a scary place.

I rebuilt a life I didn’t know that I didn’t want. I made E5 in two years, formed relationships with people that will never escape me, acquired more of those ‘things’ that made my life so comfortable and gained the moderate respect I needed to build a successful business out of literally nothing. My downward spiral started out of control in the kitchen of my restaurant on a busy day…

Everything I worked for meant nothing. I wanted it gone… At any expense. I sacrificed the good name of my business to escape one of the worst mistakes I think I ever made. The actions of the buyers keep remnants of the business nipping at my heels. It’s really annoying at times. The appearance of failure is well within view of those who know little of my journey.

Today was a peculiar day for me. I woke up with the overwhelming feeling that I really need to move on. Though I’ve been living a good life recently, the stress of everything crept up on me this week at the most inopportune time. My body is retaliating from the stress and my demeanor is not what it should be. Though I’m overly gracious of the experiences I’ve had in my life, I’m more than disappointed with where it’s gotten me.

I rented a u-haul van and began to filter through all my crap. A 10 x 10 storage unit was filled to the brim. I literally had to push things in while I closed the door. Every time I opened it, I felt sick. Luckily, a saint at the rental place gave a referral to someone who buys storage units and ‘stuff’ from just about anyone. I was going to donate all my stuff but I got a whole two hundred bucks for everything from clothes, to power strips to anything that was doing me absolutely no good. All I have left is a pile of paperwork that I need to find a way to burn and some general personal goods that I’ll deal with hauling wherever I go next.

The joy of ridding myself is overwhelming. The feeling of emptiness is something I ignored until now. Even if I would have gotten ten grand for all my stuff, I would feel the same way I do right now. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say I’m scared to death right now. Being that this feeling is nothing new at all, I can’t wait until the next step.

I wake up in the morning with nothing but junk emails and Facebook notifications of random comments or updates of those in the social circle. I’ve had to deny what makes me happy out of my own sick pride. It’s time for me to go.

With the gloom of my unexplainable emotions right now and right before I decided to write, I got a call about someone wanting my boat. After my excitement mellowed, I realized that’s it… No one cares if I go or stay. I know I have dear friends that would do what they could to help, but this is something a bit different for me. Trying to live for something when you are squeezed out to nothing is a bit odd. Once the boat is gone, I have no choice but to move on.

All that being said, I know this is one of the times in my life that I will never forget. I may be making the same mistake I’ve made before, but at least I’m moving forward. At least I have the ability to do just about anything I damn well please…

Bowline…

It’s definitely time to start packing up to go. This next week will be the fun week, the weekend will be cleansing my storage unit to the bare minimums and the week after will be finishing a deal for the boat. I got a few interested buyers and for the price quite honestly, they’d be stupid to pass it up. We’ll see how that works out…

I realized last night as I was talking to my neighbor that life on the dock is my happy place. It symbolizes being on the edge of every other opportunity in the world. The algae-rich water I walk over every day and night is connected to the rest of the entire world. Three lines (and a power cord) are truly the only thing keeping me from the rest of my life. Now if my boat was an open water boat I’d be gone already. The local yacht broker claims that my boat would make it just fine down the coast but I remind myself that I’m adventurous, not stupid. (Mostly).

I walk up the ramp, through the gate and I almost feel suffocated. I’ve been making random trips to my storage to get a plan of attack and I feel an uncontrollable sensation of depression and resentment for decisions I’ve made and the relationships I’ve formed.

I’ve stuck around ‘waiting’ for something to happen in my life. Funny thing, everything good that has happened to me has been when I stepped out of my comfort zone and left my inhibitions at bay. I’ve come back to a comfortable place and its the most uncomfortable I’ve ever been. Hopefully the latter half of this year long blog will take on a little more meaning and tell a bit of a better story…