Fuck Yes…

There is an amazing article I read… Thank you Facebook Sharing.

Fuck Yes, or No By Mark Manson.

Pure genius. Not because it’s revolutionary, but because it’s what has always been true. It’s slightly juvenile in the sense that it is aimed at relationships and the courting process, but still holds more weight than many other things… I’ve thought about this article quite a bit lately.

As much as I would like to say I’m motivated to have a relationship, I find that most of the time I’m in a state of ‘Meh’… I used to think that something was wrong with me when I couldn’t quite figure out what someone else was thinking or feeling. Hence, I turned to straight sex in my past. Now, I turn to plain old ‘ignore-ance.’

For whatever issues I’ve been raised with, this spills over into so many other areas of my life. Jobs, goals, family, … even cars. I go so far and soon realize “This isn’t what I’m supposed to be doing”… and if I catch myself in time, I’ll escape and move along.

This idea of ‘Fuck Yes or No’ is something that I wish more people could understand.

Why on earth should it be ok to pursue something that doesn’t pursue you? I’m not religious in the traditional sense, but I tend to have faith in whatever happens, happens. Truth is, it’s worked out pretty damn well. I still get hurt feelings and my pride gets roughed up a bit but ya know what? Who the fuck cares? If I was able to go back in time and tell myself ten years ago that I would have done everything I did, I’d call bullshit. And if I wouldn’t believe it, how the hell do I expect anyone else to believe that I could do it all over again? And who has the balls to stick around while it happens?

My Not So Secret Love Affair…

I’ve written of this before but tonight I decided to revisit the romance I’ve experienced and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget. My first time was when I was 14. I barely remember what was going on but all I knew was life would never be the same again. It only lasted a half hour but that was all I needed. I had been working my ass off for the next few months just so I could do it again. I did it four times before my parents found out and I was ‘discouraged’ to say the least. It wouldn’t be until many many years that I would be able to do it again. And let me tell you, there’s not much in this world better than this…

“Big Bend 2, Runway One Eight, Clear for Take-Off”

I had been in plenty of military aircraft (and jumped out of them) enough times that nervousness had no factor in it. It was pure love. Aside from the cocky instructor on my right, I don’t think I’ve ever been in a place that has given me as much joy. Then the first big drop came from the crazy thermal action alongside the lake right after take-off. My heart said, “Yes Dave, this is it!”

For the next few weeks it was hardcore studying, chair-flying and immersion into everything aviation. My first solo was in quick order. Unfortunately it took about a zillion landings before the instructor finally jumped out of the plane and let me at it. I never had a problem getting the plane on the ground safely, it was really a process of perfecting it more so to cover the ass of the instructor that signs off. Along comes the first solo. I took to the sky with a love in my heart that no engine stutter or wind gust could shake.

Many hundreds of landings later, check-ride after check-ride and amazing flights along the way I was at the end. I had just passed my instrument check ride and was a few weeks from taking the commercial ride. There was only one check ride I failed… damn plane that I hadn’t flown before gave me a secondary stall about ten minutes in. Gillespie looked over at me and said “Are you serious?” I was dead on the altitudes, radio calls, everything…. That was the one and only time to date that I had experienced a secondary stall. Unfortunately, FAA says some things can’t be overlooked.

After a crazy-stressful instrument ride where I was a thousand feet above my final fix and a half mile out yet still managed to nail the ILS, lady luck was on my side. The chief pilot, who gave me that check ride looked at me after we landed and said “There were two times during that flight that I almost failed you, then you did something amazing and redeemed yourself.” He didn’t actually say if I passed until we got inside and everyone was waiting for the answer. He reached over, grabbed the paper and with a smirk on his face signed off ‘Passed.’

So on to the commercial ride. The last flight at the school. After this, I had one more annoying math test and I was set free. I don’t think I could have been more happy with my last flight. My spot landings were about as perfect as anything. I was even challenged (ungraded at this point) to land dead-stick with no instruments. Not even an airspeed indicator. The check pilot adjusted himself to turn towards me as he blocked off the instrument panel and killed the power. He says “I don’t think you realize how good you are. Now land this plane on those numbers.”

I turned towards the numbers, listening to the whistle of the wind to keep my speed. I came in a little high so I slipped in. 65 knots in a full deflection slip to lose altitude. He was about to rip the ‘oh shit’ handles off if there was any but I had never felt in more control. There was a fence about 40 feet before the threshold that he didn’t think I was going to clear. I aimed at the fence, got my speed up and at the last minute used the last notch of flaps to lift up and over. I straightened out from the slip, full back on the yoke and got the most amazing ‘wert’ from the wheels. Dead on the numbers. Nose wheel dead centerline.

“Take Us Home.”

The final landing at Grant County was actually a bit sloppier. He was used to a different style of soft field landing so he gave me the ‘What The Eff?” look when I came in with more power than his students ever used.

We got back to the ramp, hands sweating, heart racing. He was the kind of guy that always had a list of ‘things’ that I could have done better but he didn’t bring too much attention to it. When he turned to me in the plane he paused. I thought “Oh Shit.” He held out his hand and said “Congratulations, you’re a commercial pilot.” I almost felt like I was going to cry. Not really because I was relieved of the stress of it all, but because I knew this was it. When would I see my love again?

I have neglected it for far too long. Only taking a few flights here and there. I keep my license right in the flap of my wallet and see it every time I open it up to check my phone or grab my debit card.

It’s time for me to find a way back to my love. My happy place. Let’s Fly Away.

“When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return”

Well shit…

I’m realizing it’s really time for something new to happen in my life. Hopefully I’m in some sort of control of what happens.

For the last many months I’ve been trying to wrap my head around some craziness that has occurred in my life. I’ve also realized that there really truly, is nothing stopping me from doing anything worthwhile except for… myself. No, really…

The Dog House Saloon in Fayetteville, NC was where it all came together. Well, most of it. Some of it came from the once in a lifetime love affair I had with a Colonel’s wife. Anyways. I’d drag the Harley out of the garage most nights and ride straight down to have a few cold ones. Coors Light was my vice at the time. Maybe it was the fact that I had a for-real Harley that I got treated like family there, but one of the best things about that place was when I walked in, I didn’t even have to ask for a drink. Daniel, Sarah, Chris, Tara Lee, Clint…. and Ame… Oh, Ame… You were the butter to my bread when I was able to drag you out for company… Or karaoke… Or just kickin’ it listening to cover bands all night.

I remember sitting there one day with Daniel and I said… “I’m going to open a place when I get out.” I was never so sure of anything in my life until that point. Well, mo-fuckers…. I did it. It was a humbling experience really. I got support from people I never expected and I also got hands held out from people I never expected. I lost my soul in that place. It was the moment I’ve written about before in this blog… I sold my .45 to quell those thoughts from coming to fruition. Though I wasn’t a high volume place, I was always running out of food, short staffed and I found myself starting at zero every damn month. What could have catapulted me to the next level was spent on keeping people off my back. It’s surprising who has your back when such things are on the line.

I’m determined to open another place. Or multiples of places. As much as it’s about the money, it’s really about the passion you find within yourself to do something. I can’t quite preach the ideals that I think will carry me through to the next big thing in life, but I can do my best to wrangle up the demons that seem to keep me from progressing.

Somewhere, deep down the fire is still alive… and I’ll be able to tell a bad-ass story someday.

My story…

Playing Your Hand Right

This is a blog I found while getting started on this WordPress journey of sorts. Taylor Ocean is his name and there is an eerie familiarity between his life stories and mine… Sans the drugs, SWAT raid and crazy car wrecks… For my modest amount of readers, I suggest you check out his blog, and maybe even check out his book on Amazon.

His stories will more than likely offend many, and literary structure nazis would have a heyday with his prose. Personally, I think he’s got some real balls for doing what he did, telling his story as candidly as possible. I read half his book already tonight and pressed with the fact that I’m due to be up for work in a handful of hours, I’m going to save the last half for a well planned night with a few fingers of whiskey by my side. Kudos to you, man.

So this brings me back to some realizations I have about my life. I need some better stories… Well, ones that I can tell on this open forum. I’ve held thirty something jobs since I was thirteen years old, passed up an opportunity to go to the Naval Academy, passed up college after high school, passed up enjoying my twenties… Got my (then) girlfriend pregnant… (Actually, during post break up sex), got hooked up with a girl eight years older than me, bought a house with her, almost became dad number three to her kids… Spent years working my ass off for her and sacrificing so many opportunities of really good income… I left her cheating, alcoholic ass. Managed a pizza parlor, became a garbage man, then joined the Army at the age of twenty four. Went to Airborne School after basic training, (insert a ton of Army stories here), got deployed twice, (insert more Army stories here), got out, rushed home for reasons I still can’t accept, opened a restaurant from scratch… Ran it, grew it, loved it, hated it, sold it… Became a truck driver, then became a tree worker, onto becoming a tree climber at times… Oh, and I lived on a sailboat for a few years… Then flight school… Got my commercial pilot license free and clear using the GI Bill, learned all about the new age of how entitled kids are nowadays, finished flight school, enjoyed the sailboat before I finally sold it, drove trucks again for a few months then moved to California. Decided to continue using my GI Bill benefits to attend a joke of a school. Name is withheld until I finish this session. All in all, that’s where I’m at… There’s a lot of people in between all of that who have made their way into my heart and I will never be able to get them out. Others I wish I could go back in time and ‘un-meet.’ This can’t be it for me… It’s not my time to begin writing my story. I’ve lived my life for myself and I’m ashamed of that.

I’ve been pondering more than people can ever imagine about what to do with my life right now. I’m thirty three years old and feel like I’m twenty at times. To say the world is my oyster is an understatement right now. I’m trying to live a life of normalcy for a while to help finish the affairs of a lifestyle I chose to live and quite honestly despise. Debts are to be paid, demons are surely waiting to knock on my door again real soon, and life will probably kick my ass beyond recognition real soon.

Here’s my dream… Finish this shit life I’m in. Save up some money, open another restaurant. Make it damn good… Better than I had before. Open another… And another… I want to employ people and give back to people who support me along the way. I want the feeling I’ve gotten a few times in my life where I actually want to get up in the morning. I want to go beyond a simple restaurant. I want to build something to inspire people. I want to live a transparent enough life where I don’t have to pretend in front of anyone. And when someone asks ‘who the hell are you?’, I can say ‘I’m Dave-Motherfuckin-Smyth.’ Hah, well, maybe not in that context all the time, but the passion will be there.

My reality seems to be as far from that dream as ever right now. I spend my days hoping and praying that I don’t get that call that brings me to my knees. Yet, I also wait for the other call that brings me to my knees for another reason. I’ve been acting too long. I’ve been trying to wear this facade in hopes that it’s good enough to carry me through so I can jump in the deep end sooner than later. I fear if I truly let it all hang out, I’ll lose it all… Or maybe that’s the best thing I can do right now…

In a dream…

I love dreaming. Literally and figuratively, but more so literally right now. I went to bed last night with the goal of clearing my mind and trying to begin figuring out what I should focus on. I will sometimes refer myself to dreams I have to look for clues as to what I really want to do.

So, somewhere in the middle of the night last night I was playing soccer at a semi-familiar field. There was amphitheater style seating with a ton of people watching us play. I remember bright vivid colors like the amazingly green grass that I can still smell right now. It was a scene like a Friday night high school football game. I was pushed into the game and ended up kicking a goal. Another player handed me a saxophone to ‘celebrate’ the point made. Maybe it was actually for wining the game…

I haven’t played a saxophone since fifth grade and I told the guy this so he said, ‘just play one note on my cue’. I think he was playing the guitar and he looked at me and the craziest feeling came over me. It came back to me instantly. I started out playing one simple note complimenting whatever it was he was playing. When he came to a break, I played quite a bit more of a chorus line. Everything felt natural. Like I was meant to be doing it all along. The rest of dream pretty much consisted of me feeling like a totally new person as I sat in the stands.

Back to reality, I woke up. The football game was probably prompted by the game of foosball that was being played a few nights ago at the bar. The saxophone idea probably stems from my desire to be in a bit more of a loungy-classical scene. The aspect of an audience comes from my deep desire to be able to perform for people. At least those are my assumptions. Maybe some psychologist would say I have some repressed sexual disfunction causing me to lash out against the irrational viewpoint I have of the world I know of. Either way, it’s nice to have some altered reality once in a while.

Though this particular dream means nothing at this point, I can’t discount my minds effort to purge this sort of thing out.

My goal in life isn’t to simply make money and live an easy life. There’s something I’m meant to be good at, and it simply takes one person to hand me the saxophone and say ‘play this and everything will come together.’ What I do will not be unique, but will compliment and enhance something for the greater good. Somewhere the stage is set for all of us, we just have to let go of what we are afraid of and give it what we got. It’s entirely too true that none of us will get out alive, so what’s the point in taking life too seriously?

Post 304…

After a few days of realizing that my blog posts weren’t being written from the WordPress app, I decided to be a little less lazy and log into the site itself. Anyways…

I’m a little conflicted on my motivation right now. I’m getting comfortable finally with my new place and locale here in sunny California but found  a semi-familiar lack of focus on things. Might have to do with the fact that I’ve killed myself with a crazy workout this past week and my body is revolting against me.

I’m not a ‘materialistic’ kind of person. Really I’m not. But I do like nice things and enjoy the creature comforts of the finer things in life. With that, I see a LOT of money down here. I also see a lot of pseudo-money which means little to me. However the wealth was created, it is there. We can judge all we want about people who have quite a bit more than others but who are we kidding? We’re just jealous.

Where my motivation is heading is in the ‘stress-free’ realm of life. Even if it means thinking of ways to have a lot of money. I keep thinking about what was going through my head when I was sitting at the Dog House Saloon in North Carolina and decided that I would in fact open a restaurant. Though I did it, and for my level of expectation it was successful, I actually don’t feel like I accomplished my goal yet.

I don’t have as clear of a destination as I did that one hazy night when I decided my fate, but I do still have a little spark of something that needs it’s flames fanned. Maybe that fan has to be made of hundred dollar bills and I should quit being so whimsical about why I do what I do. I can save this deep emotional stuff for later.

Shut… Up…

I tell myself this all the time. It never seems to work. Another long day of driving gave me some time to really think about some things. I turned off the radio for a good four hours to reclaim some organization to my thoughts. Except for the early morning when I’m cursing the alarm clock, I can never really turn my brain off. I’m always thinking about where I need to be next, what time is it, what should I do with my life, why am I doing this to myself?… Just a few of the things I think of non-stop.

In the multitasking soup of thought today, I switched over to the phone to see if there was any exciting news on Facebook. Someone else got married, someone’s lonely, a giraffe eats off the ear of a mouse… And then I came across one of those cool little info graphics that seem to be the craze across social media lately.

“Sometimes the best thing you can do is not think. Not wonder. Not imagine. Not obsess. Just breathe and have faith that everything will work out for the best.”

That sure came at a peculiar time. I can’t do a damn thing about the time schedule I’m on. I can’t trade currencies on the weekends. I can’t make it payday already. I can’t go back in time and undo stupid decisions. I have to focus my life a little better. Ahhhh…. So many damn things…

I’ve written before about how some things seem to work out in the hardest of times. I’ve literally been down to the pennies that I scrounge out of the seat cracks in the car just to get a .99 cent burger to ease my anxiety about things. I’m obviously not incapable of doing just about anything I want, but I tend to put ‘un-importance’ on the desire for money at times. I think that’s why I’m so liberal with my spending. Funny thing is though, those hard times have proven to be the most enlightening. First of all I realize who is there with me when shit gets real… No need to make room for the long list of people here in this blog… (Sarcasm)… Second, shit just seems to work out.

I remember when my super slut ex girlfriend and I broke up, I was left with nothing. Well, so she thought. I ‘bought’ her car from her when we were in the process of buying the house. Crazy games you gotta play to beat the system. Well, anyways I never actually went to have the title transferred because quite honestly I forgot. She didn’t. When we broke up and I left the house, she hid the car at a friends house. Awww hell nah… Bitch that car is mine. I need that thing to sell so I can recoup the money I spent on what is now just your house. She mentioned that the title was never switched over so I thought I was screwed. About two weeks later, when I was finally settled into my own place I was flipping through some random books I had saved over the years… Wouldn’t ya know what fell out…. The title with her signature on it! I dropped everything and went to the licensing agency and paid every bit of late fee to get the title transferred. Walked out of the office, called the cops and surprise surprise, they showed up to her work, demanded the car and life was good for me again…

Long winded story about how things work out I know. In present day life however, I have faith that things will find a way to work out whether I like it or not. I can’t live off my savings much longer and Southern California living won’t be forgiving on my wallet, especially doing this alone. I’m probably giving myself ulcers thinking about everything I have to do to keep from falling flat on my face the next few years. I have to remind myself though, there’s not a lot I can do do change what is already going to happen. Three months from now I’m not going to think back and say ‘gee, I’m sure glad I worried about this back then because otherwise I’d be screwed.’

It’s hard to let go sometimes and just ‘be.’ I won’t speak for anyone else in particular but I notice that a lot of others always seem to have a desire to be somewhere else all the time. Too many people are caught up in their world which they can’t really control to notice what’s going on around them. Like the parents that leave their kids in the car on a hot day, or the people that panic when they realize they might have left the stove on and the house is burning down. Maybe even the person you’re on a date with and it’s very apparent that they’d rather be doing laundry than hanging out with you. Or the stripper who stares off in oblivion while giving a shoddy lap dance, probably thinking about what kind of formula to try giving to her newborn child… Ok, I’m out of control on these, but you get the point.

I don’t know how to do it. I can’t quiet my mind. I know full well that I can’t change what will simply be. I can however, keep on drivin’ on, drivin’ on… Worse case I might just have to go back to being a garbage man… On second thought, that was one of the best jobs I ever had… Hmm…

Slow down…

In the last few weeks I have here I’m finding myself being able to reflect a little more clear about my life up to this point. Something that hit me tonight was the fact that I’m painfully impatient. Funny because nothing ever seems to get done in my life. As I’m sure it is the case with anyone who is in the final few weeks of any school, I can’t wait until I can sit and not have to think about anything for a while.

I can sit and watch the landscape from a lookout point or maybe a hidden parking area that no one else frequents. I found it hard to take it in tonight though all I wanted to do was take a break from my life. Being able to take some time alone and reflect can do more for your soul than we may ever admit. My trouble is that I’ve allowed myself to become immersed in this life which gives me so little happiness.

I’m starting to set my life up for something really good. I hope. I’m trying to minimize my obligations to anyone else without straining myself any more than I need to. I’m realizing who has been there for me and who has decided to go their own separate way. I’m still waiting on word from one last person that I have hope for. Either way, I know it’s no ones fault but my own for the state of affairs that my life is in. To each their own.

After the end of next week, I have got to slow down. I’ve got to take the time to relax and actually enjoy it. I wish I could express how badly I can’t wait for it…

Onward…

I’m at a pretty major milestone with my flight training right now. This week I should get my instrument rating and be on the tail end of completing my commercial license. In the grand scheme of the aviation industry it doesn’t mean much, but on a personal level it’s a damn awesome accomplishment. I started flying when I was fourteen years old and hadn’t had a chance to do this until seventeen years later. Money was the issue on the surface, but it was never actually the real issue. Well, at least until the lame life I created for myself got in the way. Anyways, after proudly serving in the military and learning a LOT of life lessons I put the rest of my life on the line.

So tomorrow is my instrument oral exam. Nothing too stressful but any sort of exam makes one question themselves from time to time. Especially when these particular exams have nothing to do with GPA or educational standing. These are a direct reflection of competence and ability to perform in one of the higher stress careers out there. I didn’t say hardest, just high stress.

My brain is on overload right now. I want to be creative here with my writing but I simply can’t.

Insert motivational phrases and gems about going after your dreams, never giving up, blah blah blah… Really. Go do it. Life your fucking life and don’t let yourself or anyone get in the way. Up until the day you die you have a mark to leave on this world. Some people leave more of a skid-mark than anything but at least you’ll have served a purpose if not for yourself, for others.

When coming in for final approach to a runway it’s an oddly forgotten truth behind the mounds of rubber tracks left right around the point of touchdown. If you look beyond it, you’ll see something peculiar. It’s probably a plane, taking off again into the horizon. On to new worlds, new adventures. A dream has taken off in front of your very eyes. And as you touch down where so many others have before, you’re number is coming up and you’ll be cleared for takeoff soon enough… to wherever it is you want to go. Make it worth it…

I’m Dave…

I’ve worked in retail customer service waaay longer than I ever wanted to. I hate it but I love it. The motivation has to come from somewhere deep down, in a place only the brave dare to explore. Why on earth would anyone subject themselves to being treated like shit when making barely over minimum wage?

I’ve done McDonalds, Papa Murphy’s, Wal-Mart, Verizon, Cingular (now AT&T), Starbucks, Ziggy’s Lumber, Outback, Various Bartending locations and even opened my own restaurant.

I’d like to share why I do this…

There is a story I love to tell about something that happened at my place. It’s amongst countless stories in the short time I had my place before selling it. It was around three-ish in the afternoon I think and a guy came in to have some lunch. He sat down on the upper level with a bouquet of flowers. My server took his order and he mentioned he was here for his daughter’s birthday. He ordered for two and put a handful of quarters into the ’67 Rockola Jukebox. He picked ‘Sherry’… Over and Over… His food came out and no one else showed up. Other customers noticed but nothing was really made of it. Maybe she was running late? He finished his Cheesesteak Sandwich and came up to pay his tab. The server was a bit taken back because no one else showed up. On his way out, he gave the bouquet to a lady sitting with her husband as they had lunch. She had a look of confusion and naturally was a little perplexed why she was given these. He explained to her that this was his Daughter’s Birthday yet she had died recently. He wanted to have one last meal with her at ‘Dave’s Burger Joint.’ Her name was Sherry.

I charged less than six bucks for a hand-packed half pound cheeseburger with real cheddar cheese and fries. I think they were pretty damn good. I felt like I charged too much. The concept of making money from this was ultimately what drove me to hate it. Sure, I wanted to make money and pay the bills and maybe have some nice things, but what I really truly enjoyed and cared about was making something that made people happy. I would look out from the kitchen and watch people take their first bite of the food I just cooked. All the stresses about bills and debts went away when I could see smiles and nods of approvals as they would so often uncontrollably devour my food. An ever better feeling was when the empty baskets came back from the table actually empty. All the time.

Times were tough, I won’t lie. I wasn’t in dire straits by any means but it wouldn’t have hurt to be a little busier. It also wouldn’t have hurt to have someone willing to stand by me the whole time. I began to lose touch with my love of cooking for others because of the ridiculous fucking pressure of guilt to become someone I didn’t want to be. When I would stay late to clean up or finish some paperwork, I would spend a half hour or so sitting in the dark restaurant with all the neon lights on. I reflected on everything I had put myself through to get to this point. It was everything I thought I ever wanted, except nothing that I really dreamed of. When I locked my doors for the last time before taking the keys to the assholes that bought the place, I didn’t look back. I couldn’t.

I moved on to driving trucks and eventually worked for a tree service company. Awesome job but the one thing I was lacking in my life was people. The majority of my days were spent out in some forested area climbing trees or dragging brush. Aside from the occasional neighbor or passer-bys watching us skillfully drop a tree, there was no human interaction. I made up for it by having the weekends off to find a good dive bar or do a little ballroom/west coast swing dancing.
Staying on track, I find that I gravitate towards jobs that involve people. Regardless of how annoying some may be, I’m happy when I can offer something to someone else. An experience, a product or solution to a problem or even just an ear for them to vent to. I hate hate hate the idea that my intrinsic motivation to help people is because of a paycheck. I also despise the fact that I can’t offer more because my desire to help others is dictated by the very people that pay me to exist in their organization. It’s all about money and that’s it.

A caveat to all this… I still want ‘me’ time. There’s only so much of people that I can stand. I’m a very reflective person and quite honestly I get really fucking irritated when someone comes along and pesters me or gets in my shit. As much enjoyment as I get out of personally offering something that I have, I have a greater desire to create something else that will benefit others as a whole. Kind of like my burgers… And pipe dreams of having the resources and leverage to open more places. I’ve committed myself to opening another place… soon. How soon? Well, part of it depends on how soon I can get my own shit together and part of it depends on corralling enough of that ridiculous stuff they call money.

Even moving across the state I still hear from customers. A couple actually came in to the lumber store where I work and said they were from Port Orchard. “Oh cool,” I said… “Did you ever eat at Dave’s Burger Joint?” I asked. “Oh yes! We loved that place. The burgers were amazing until the guy sold the place.” I couldn’t help but smile as I told them “I’m Dave.”

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