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…

Merry kissmyass…

I really do like the holidays. Really. But every year that I spend the way I do, the more I appreciate the fact that Christmas should be less about things and more about the finer things in life. Seems that everyone always has somewhere to go or something to do. Even when they go to do the things they are rushing to go do, people seem to be in a hurry to be somewhere else. You go to work, wanting to go home… You are at home, living around the schedule to go back to work. Haircuts, oil changes shopping, doctor visits, lunch meetings… Need I go on?

Christmas in Southern California is awesome! It’s almost eighty degrees out and there’s still plenty to keep a perpetually single guy occupied. Thing is, being in a place like this makes me want to spend Christmas in a small town with people that truly appreciate the holidays for their own special reason.

It doesn’t have to be for religious meanings nor does it have to be for anti-religious purposes. The holiday season should be a time to come together as families, friends and communities to let bygones be bygones… Not simply a temporary hold on the conflicts we live with throughout the year. It most definitely shouldn’t be about the commercialism of it.

I’m enjoying a Christmas looking out for myself once again. I’m happy… no matter how much guilt is laid on me by people who think I shouldn’t live this way. Off to bed for now for an early morning at work…

Still…

I find myself in the same damn spot in life all the time. I wonder if I actually don’t mind it. Being single is actually an understatement. I love people, but I’m constantly going alone. I don’t mean that in a pouty whiny fashion either. I live for myself too often and it gets old. Then I’m reminded of times when I tried to live for someone else, and I got fucked. Prime example, family. It’s ok though, because in something like five billion years the earth will be consumed by the sun and we will be nothing more than…nothing…

After a marathon of a day (15 hours of work and school) I decided to go to my new local watering hole. Guinness is my poison and a good crowd keeps me coming back. For some the toilet is their thinking spot. For me, it’s the bar. A good bar. I’m happy with where I’ve decided to take my life currently but I’m not happy with certain aspects that should have been different.

I decided to open a small little diner in my pseudo-hometown. The support I was expecting was nothing more than a hand ready to be held out with the palm to the sky waiting for a handout. I sold it not because it wasn’t working, but because I wasn’t happy. Plain and simple. I’ve burnt a lot of bridges with it and quite honesty I don’t care at this point. The demons inside me have decided to speak out a bit tonight. Not because of the time at the bar (I only had one Guinness), but because of the overwhelming fatigue from the last few weeks. (And really, the last ten years of my life)

The last visit to my parents was quite sobering for me. For the zillionth time I recently turned my life upside down (flight school)… Seeing my parents after a few years amongst hate-filled emails of guilt and shaming to me, I couldn’t have wanted a faster exit. Everything I’ve done and every decision I’ve made is my fault. Got it. I sold my place still owing money.. Got it…. I paid off people that truly helped along the way. When all is said and done, I was sitting in a house that I’ve never felt comfortable in. Ever. As I’m looking up at the thousands of dollars worth of Thomas Kinkade paintings and the ridiculous amounts of trinkets and random shit, I hear the undertones of guilt being thrown my way. “Oh, the big news…. Me and your dad are going to Ireland for… ” if I had a gun I would have pulled it out, polished one round, stuck it in the chamber and pulled the trigger to my fucking temple. Reminiscing of the time I got my ass beat to a pulp when I was a kid and dropped my wallet on the ground after tossing and catching it like a baseball. I was informed to never ever disrespect money.

Welcome to the first explanation of a part of my blog that I’ve left out this whole time. Ever seen the movie American Beauty? Totally different story line but same sort of effect.

I’m tired now and feel like sleeping. As much as I haven’t shared too many details of a part of my life I hate, there’s plenty more waiting to be vomited out someday. Because of some other really good things in my life right now, I’m finally content with my path. I have no clue what it is, but living for myself once again is an amazing feeling. Guilt is waiting right outside for me though…

Some truth…

The day my final occupancy permit was approved for the restaurant, I couldn’t have wanted to leave town any more than that day. Not only was the vision of what I wanted awash in weird interpersonal politics, people had wasted my time so much that by the time I turned on the open sign I owed two months of rent and had to figure out how to pay employees I had ensured had a job.

Little by little things came together. I drank, I worked, I drank some more, I worked. Good and bad came along with the adventure. Of all the bad things that came along with my place, I had some really good things. Casey was probably the best manager I could have asked for. Aside from some minor fundamental disagreements, I didn’t think I would ever have someone like her that I could totally trust with the business. Unfortunately, at the end of it all decisions were made that in a way, I wish I could change.

The decision to sell came after a plethora of battles within my own head. I had so many options, yet getting out of town won through.

I spoke with a realtor that I thought would have my best interests. Boy, was I wrong. What a crook. The initial offer was great. I could recoup the money I spent on the whole thing and walk away at a solid baseline of zero. Of course, the desperation I had to leave could not be masked. The asshole of a property manager that took over the complex made for an interesting negotiation. I had eight months left on my lease and I made if very clear that I would NOT be continuing. Even if it meant clearing all the equipment out on that final day and throwing it in the trash. Figuring I would try to do the prudent thing and sell it, I was railroaded and in a way I really don’t mind it now.

The buyers (so it was told by the idiot realtor) offered to sign a new five year lease if they could have three months free rent. A-fucking-mazing! I’ll take it. Wouldn’t ya know, the property manger, who didn’t like that I scored such a good deal on my initial lease declined to sign. He said I would have to pay for the free rent if they wanted that offer. You’re kidding me right?

Logistically the cards fell out of my favor. The buyers had the leverage of a crook of a realtor, the asinine nature of a property manager, and were a couple who had a sudden sense of entitlement and power because of the deal they were scoring.

Being a nice guy, who wanted nothing more than to be done with it all, I offered any help to the new buyers. Of course, the prick of a guy thought I was useless to him and he of course knew everything there was to know about this place. Him and his wife played the role of talking shit about me for quite some time after the deal was done. Contracts to be transferred over during the sale of the business never occurred and a peculiar consequence of their sheer ignorance caused their power, gas and telephone to be shut off because a few weeks after the sale I was informed it was all still in my name. I made the call and said ‘shut it down, right now.’ I think the electric stayed on but the gas man locked out the valve and the phone service was gone. Oh, and the phone number they thought they would get wasn’t transferred over because they didn’t buy the ‘business’ they bought the assets and the right to conduct business as I was.

So many issues I could discuss, but the primary thing I want to share is that I didn’t fail.

Quite a few people offered condolences to me after I was done with the place. I looked upon them in confusion because regardless of what the naysayers think, my business was successful. The support system I thought I had throughout is what failed me. I took my losses and moved on, regardless of what it did to my credibility. Even though the players at the end turned against me and made me out to look like the asshole, I was in fact the asshole that created it from damn near nothing. Oh, and the place is still standing as a testament to the foundation that I created. The current owners will never ever admit to even themselves that someone else actually gave birth to their business, but I did. They don’t know the agony of getting up at five in the morning to build a place while fighting with county inspectors, health departments, vendors, employee interviews, contractors that never fucking showed up… It’s cool though right?
I could write a blog spanning more words than this entire years worth of what I went through during the course of opening and running this business.

Some will conclude that it was all about the money. It wasn’t. Sure, I hoped for busier days to pay the bills a little farther ahead but I was never really worried about making any money for any given day. What I was worried about was a complete meltdown of the superficial support system that I had arbitrarily created. I beat it to the punch.

One of the best feelings in the world when I had my place was to send food out and look through the kitchen window to see someone take a first bite of one of my hamburgers. The reaction from countless people is something that is keeping the fire alive inside me to create something more… Later on of course… And to the older lady that started crying when I said I was selling, that was enough to make me realize that I have no business listening to anyone bad mouth who I am and what I can do.

Down the line I have paid the price of having to hear people belittle me under their breath. Now, I understand that people really don’t care about me and don’t spend every waking minute of their day discussing what they think of me, but each and every tidbit of shit talking that I hear adds up and reminds me that though I want to give people the benefit of the doubt, I need to trust my gut when I believe people don’t have the integrity I think they should.

Until the next crazy thing I do in my life, I’m going to live as if everything is just gettin’ by. I want to see who my real, no-shit friends are. I want to see who stands by me expecting nothing in return. It is then, that I will feel the desire to share more of who I really am, and what I can really do…

What’s your twenty Papa Smurf?…

So for the last few days I’ve been on a truck with my ‘trainer’ to learn how this trucking company handles their shipping procedures. I have to do fifty hours of driving before they assign me a truck of my own and I can venture off all over the country if I want. All is well and I’m just about done.

If anyone has every thought of driving a truck for some period in their life I can confidently say it’s one of the cooler things I’ve been able to do. Getting paid to travel around the country isn’t too bad. The turn off immediately is this whole riding with a trainer thing. Being a trainer for these companies pays awesome. You not only get paid for the miles you drive, you get paid for the miles the trainee drives and with this company you get paid for each mile the trainee drives for six months after they get off the truck.

Normally with these entry level companies you have to ride a few hundred hours with a trainer but luckily because of my experience I only have to do the minimum. All that being said, life is no fun right now. This guy drives from Sumner, WA to Medford, OR every day of the week sans Saturday night and Sunday. Being that he has me on his truck he can maximize every last bit. The day starts at eight a.m. and he drives till about seven in the evening. The truck gets unloaded and I drive from about nine in the evening till about eight in the morning. And it starts all over again. Ugh.

His paycheck gets fat and I get my required hours. I’m ok with that. This is where I become reflective on the concept of killing ourselves by working too hard. This guy I’m riding with makes a ton of money simply for sitting on his ass all day. Good for him, but today as he was driving (and I was trying to get sleep in the bunk) he met his wife at a truck stop. He normally only sees her on the weekends since he’s out on the road so much. Granted I don’t have anyone in my life that would even want to spend more than a day with me but how can some people expect to have meaningful and fulfilling lives when so much time is spent away like that? I guess it works for him and plenty of other people though.

Being that I’m single and (ready for a pringle) have no major obligations to stay in one spot, this is an excellent route for me right now. As I’ve sort of explained in prior posts, this is really a temporary thing until I can get settled where I want to be. I’ve come to the conclusion that I probably won’t be flying for a living for the same reason I think driving truck isn’t conducive to any sort of life I want to live long term. Enough with the reasoning.

Kittens will die…

I have a huge elephant standing right in front of me but I can’t quite bring myself to open up about it in this forum. This elephant has traits however, that I cannot stand. Guilt is quite possibly one of the worst things I’ve experienced and it’s about as easy to deal with as an elephant stuck in a doorway.

Back when I was twenty one I had an amazing person in my life. Sans the fact that she cheated on me more times than I’ve changed my socks, she was a huge part of who I am today. Good and bad. We got in a fight as usual, and she brought something up that I haven’t wanted to forget. She mentioned how much I rely on guilt and how much she saw it in my interactions with others. I took a step back and almost immediately realized what was happening. Guilt is extraordinarily powerful when it is used to the fullest extent. Subtle hints mixed with strong emotional bonds to something or someone are a recipe for control over another person. That is, someone that isn’t paying attention to the clues.

– If you don’t change I’m leaving you – If you love me, you’ll do this for me – I can’t go on without you (sniff sniff) – You might as well go, I’m no good anyways – (precluding a gift) I spent all my money on this – So and So will be devastated if this doesn’t happen… The list could go on and on…

I used to get my way by trying to make people feel sorry for me or feel guilty for not giving me a chance. We learn it as babies when we cry. If we cry, mom or dad or someone might feel sorry for us and give us the love and attention we are seeking… It’s like a drug. Proper parenting I believe is paramount in curbing this kind of behavior. And we all know what track parenting is going down lately right? If we grow up with it and guide our own children with the same ideals it can get dangerous. It is what happened to me.

I really try to be aware of when I may be throwing out a guilt trip. I have a hunch I still do it from time to time but I would hope someone has the balls to call me out on it when it happens. I really don’t mind. On that note, calling someone out on their ridiculous behavior is not a guilt trip. Some people just act like tools. One thing I strive for in my life right now is to be considerate to others. I don’t need a lot and I don’t expect anyone to give anything up for me. I don’t even expect anyone to hold up their end of the bargain anymore because I don’t want to waste any more of my life filling it with disappointment. Did that sound like a guilt trip? Well it was. Pompous behavior and self-proclaimed righteousness in my opinion is a guilt trip.

I’ve thought of ways to wipe the slate clean for myself and rethink how I interact with every other human being out there. Maybe it’ll take a trip to become a monk… Maybe I need to do some time in the big house… Maybe I simply need to find a way to appreciate the people I have in my life and learn to rid myself of people with toxic behavior. Insane asylum?

Guilt can be a funny joke at times. Sometimes it can be cute and playful if used responsibly. Other times it can destroy our souls in ways I could only really explain while in a drunken stupor.

Debt free…

I just realized something tonight. I’m debt free. I don’t owe anyone a fucking thing. This may start off as one of those whiny ‘I’m all alone on valentines’ rants but there is some real merit to what I’m saying.

Truth is, for no obvious reason, today has been one of the best days I’ve had in a long time!

Tonight I go home with… No one. No one has made the choice to truly stand by me. That’s fine by me actually. I wouldn’t expect anyone that I have to beg to be there to actually be worth the effort. After a bit of a drive tonight I realized how lucky I am right now. I don’t have to answer to anyone and I don’t owe anyone anything. Granted I still owe monetary debts but the guilt of someone else not being repaid with something that causes so many problems is non-existent in my conscious. The kind of debt I’m talking about is owing something more important than money. I not in a committed relationship in which I owe my soul. Friends have stationed themselves at a distance from me and I feel pretty good about it. I did my time in this hell and I don’t feel bad about feeling this way.

I don’t think I’m owed anything either. I wouldn’t expect anyone else to give me anything for nothing. Anything I’ve ever done for anyone else has been repaid to me.

I’m at a point in my life where most people would relate to being financially debt free. I don’t have baggage. I don’t have unresolved issues. I’ve sold off my dreams and am starting at ground zero. I’m open to any possibility in my life but I won’t accept anything but extraordinary. Sort of. I have to accept the mediocre right now simply because of the lifestyle that I have immersed myself into. Beyond this life that I’m living though is where some good things can happen.

I fall into the trap of using financial wealth as a means of establishing my credibility. (Or lack thereof). Being surrounded by self centered, spoiled rotten, entitled rich kids makes me realize that I’m pretty damn proud of the trials I’ve endured in my life. My family is for all intensive purposes, well off. Financially that is. However my school is being payed for with the time I served in the military, my part time employment and a little bit of savings from a business that I started from ground zero. I get zero support from family. Any criticism I receive from one of these snot nosed, wet behind the ear kids is almost humorous to me. Anyways, the reason I went off about these kids is because the general attitude amongst a lot of the youth today is how money and status is the driving factor in our existence. The acquisition of money does not alleviate the debt that is created by the lack of contribution to the world in which we live. They’ve got a lot of work to do to command any sort of respect. Their attitudes is putting them in debt beyond their wildest imagination. It’s how I started to grow up.

I still owe a lot to my life and everyone involved. Time will take its toll and I will find a way to continue this payment. As for now, I’m not burdened with the constant pressure of feeling like I need to prove myself or establish credit. I’m not in the hole per-say.

I regards to valentines day, it’s a holiday that can be interpreted in so many ways. I’m not a fan of holidays anyways, but the mere fact that being ‘single’ is thrown in my face on this day, I tend to think of how much I could care less about this day. Realizing that I’m an open book makes me happy though. I think one reason I’m single is because I don’t have drama in my life to share with someone else’s drama. I try to immerse myself in the soap operas of others lives, but I can barely keep myself interested for any measurable length of time.

I know that if anyone that knows me personally reads this, I will get some unspoken criticism about how I don’t talk to my parents or family anymore. Yea yea… I get I it. Life is too short for grudges. Sometimes when you are finally able to free yourself from a creditor of your soul, it’s hard to go back knowing that you will be bound by guilt and judgement for the way you think about life. I’m simply not in the mood for explaining myself and don’t anticipate the desire right now. Once I have something solid in my life maybe I’ll find a way to connect with others in my life. Until then, I gotta take care of myself. Did I mention lately that this is my blog? Not yours?

Go forth young sheep

I could only listen to about 10 minutes of the State of the Union address tonight. Partly because it annoys me that the audience has to give an obnoxious applause after every strong point that the president tries to make. More so I have a problem with the message that is being delivered. He’s a very condescending individual when he speaks.

He also plays games of semantics when he proposes his plans. ‘We all need to compromise’ is merely his way of saying, ‘those who disagree with me need to give up your ideals in the name of coming together as one.’ He pretends to understand the gravity of the situation but he keeps reverting back to ‘party lines’ and ‘budget compromise.’ I got nothin’ else right now.

This blog isn’t meant to be political in any way shape or form so this is about as in-depth as I’ll get with political opinions here. The meat of what I felt like writing about is in regards to followers being led, and how most people don’t know how to be led.

Most people in my generation grew up knowing that when rules were in place by our parents, we could find ways to interpret those rules to best suit what we wanted. I wasn’t allowed to ride my bike past visual range when I was at home. When I was staying at a friends house it was a totally different story. I could ride wherever I wanted as long as my parents didn’t find out. I sure we can all think of ways we worked out of rules that were given to us.

I’ve grown to think of rules as simply guidelines that we need to live within to maintain general order in this world. Any organization of people tend to have guidelines, typically passed down from leaders or successors. No matter if it’s a family structure, workplace, city, state, nation or the world, the rules or guidelines that are passed down are generally meant to be interpreted for any given situation. We as humans are dynamic and should never be forced to operate within unreasonable constraints. (Insert socialist, communist, big government, etc.) This idea I’m talking about also applies to the powers given to government agencies in charge of making their own rules, outside the approval of the people it governs.

Simple terms for what I’m saying. When the CEO of a company passes down a directive it is generally a broad idea. The CEO entrusts their staff to interpret the directive and implement it the correct way. Sometimes what happens, is the person or persons in charge of implementing said directive adds their own flair to it. They see an opportunity to include their own ideals in order to implement this idea. As it is passed down to the lower levels of management and the general workforce it has the appearance of being from ‘The Top’ but really the intent of the idea has been twisted and manipulated by the agenda of those in between. Even the ex-druggie receptionist in charge of typing a memorandum could have added their own bit of input into the plan. Maybe a CEO wants the employees to dress more professionally. Well, in the midst of delegation, good-for-nothing middle managers may communicate it as a need for uniforms and specific rules will apply according to the general attitude that these managers have for their workers. One simple example but I think it gets my point across.

This concept I’m trying to write about seems to be at the root of many problems in our society. Sure, rules suck but they are there for a reason. As well, the origins of these rules and guidelines that we live in have been lost due to wrongful interpretation. I’m not even talking just about laws set forth by government entities. I’m talking about things that our community leaders try to instill in its members in order to advance the group. A leader saying ‘ we need to stand and make a change’ can be taken so many ways by so many people. Just like the recent legalization of marijuana in this state, everyone seems to want to put their hands into the policy making pot and pull it in directions that has nothing to do with the original intent of this change. (Pun not intended)

As with a lot of issues that we seem to have, it can be tracked back to the family level. We have families of specific religions or beliefs and they may feel they need to treat people a certain way, unless certain people are of a different value system. Too many people are growing up with a self centered sense of entitlement that does nothing for the good of the community or the entire world in which we live.

Some people want control. Some want too much control. Some people need to learn to keep their mouth shut and live their life as a sheep. Being a sheep can mean mediocrity (which I hate) or it could mean learning how to be led. Be it led by experience or assignment of job title or status within a social structure, some people need to be humbled by their roles.

I hate rhetoric. I hate rhetoric out of principle and because I’m tired of hearing the damn word. Seems that these ‘leaders’ we have thrive on the use of rhetoric. Why can’t someone step up and say it how it is? No bias, no judgement. Our existence on this earth is in a fragile state. On so many different levels. What are we going to do with this time we have? Pride ourselves on financial strength made from a concept of currency that ultimately does nothing for our souls when we are long gone? Find ways to establish our superiority by creating weapons of mass destruction to silence those who think differently than us? How about we reexamine a purpose here. If this god character is for real and his word is what people should live by, then why don’t we live by it? Because just like the middle manager that is able to require employees to conform to their interpretation of a company policy, too many people feel entitled and believe that their interpretation of ‘god’s word’ is the way it’s supposed to be.