The Army of Summer

•June 8, 2008 • 1 Comment

Something happened to me while driving home from work on Friday. With a Soundtrack for Leaving Colorado in mind, and the sweet bombast of Rufus Wainwright’s “Beautiful Child” on car stereo repeat, I decided that before long, I’d have to make some noise of my own; I decided that if I really am to leave Denver, then I need to leave behind something brand new. I decided that – as thanks to this fine city, which has treated me well in sum – I would form a summer band and give one or two final performances of elegant rock music.

It would need to be simple but highly nuanced, something big but light on its feet. It would have to reek of musicianship. It’s only Sunday, and I’ve already managed to recruit over half of the people I’d hand-picked to help me with this project. So begins the Army of Summer: eight people, seven songs, and two shows by the end of August.

Whether or not this is all just exquisite smack-talking remains to be seen.

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A soundtrack for leaving Colorado

•June 5, 2008 • 2 Comments

In a few days I’ll be traveling to Milwaukee to catch up with an old friend, and to have her show me around the neuropsychology department of this big-time med school, where she’s been on faculty for the last few years. She’s sent my CV around to her colleagues, and basically, I’m gunning for a straightforward psychometrician job (i.e., doing testing), with hopes of gaining some supervised assessment hours and getting involved in developing research projects. She says I’m overqualified, which I actually believe, but we agree that it would be the most efficient route for me to edge my way back into neuropsychology and the scene attached to it. That’s right, after seven years in the wilderness, with a few new tricks up his sleeve, the boy is coming home.

Ostensibly.

The position is far from guaranteed at this point, and I’m still searching for similar opportunities here in Denver. Thus, with the lease at Peachtree House ending this month, I’m lucky to be able to move into an empty room at Ellie’s place, with some great med student-types. It will be good to have the company of good people day-to-day. Solitude is important, but I’ve had way too much of it lately. It’s far too easy to view this shell of a home as a place to hibernate, and there’s no loving roommate to distract me from all of this useless pining I’m so goddamned good at.

I kind of hate the idea of leaving Colorado. There is certainly a life for me here, as well as an army of irreplaceable friends and innumerable fond memories. But I would by lying if I said I haven’t accumulated some very prominent not-so-fond memories as well. Indeed, there are things about this city that are haunted: a few too many places attached to this empty heartbroken feeling, a few too many faces that remind me of some failure or another. Still, those are rarely good reasons to skip town; it’s something else that has me eyeing storage spaces and moving vans: the idea that I’ve done what I needed to do here, and that my time in Denver simply needs to come to an end. And when it comes to this notion of dusting off an old dream, and of seeing once again a familiar vision of myself as a man, and of paying attention to some unfinished business – well, let me just say that I’ve never felt more right about anything in my entire life.

So, I’m starting to build a soundtrack for leaving Colorado, just in case.

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A movie scene in real life: “I’m taking a survey…”

•May 28, 2008 • Leave a Comment

INT. TOM’S WORKPLACE, 5:00 PM

TOM SLINGS ON HIS MESSENGER BAG AND BEGINS TO LEAVE HIS CUBICLE, BUT ABRUPTLY CHANGES HIS MIND AND DIVERTS HIMSELF INTO HIS BOSS’S OFFICE.

TOM

Got 30 seconds? I’m taking a survey.

KRIS LOOKS UP FROM HER WORK, PUZZLED.

KRIS

Sure!

TOM

Imagine I’m a character in a TV show or a movie. Knowing what you know about me – my likes and dislikes, my work performance, what I’m good at and what I’m bad at – knowing all of that, what would this character do for a living?

KRIS

Obviously, he’d be working right there.

KRIS POINTS TO TOM’S CUBICLE.

TOM

So…he’d be a data analyst at a health care foundation. Well, that makes it easy.

TOM STARES SIDEWAYS AT KRIS.

TOM

This is going to take more than 30 seconds, isn’t it.

KRIS

Heeeee’d…be doing something more involved with people. More than what you do over there in front of that computer. You are truly excellent when it comes to people.

TOM AND KRIS STUDY EACH OTHER FOR A FEW MOMENTS.

KRIS

We should probably talk some more about this, soon, huh.

TOM

Yeah, yeah we should.

TOM LEAVES THE OFFICE FLOATING AN INCH ABOVE THE GROUND.

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Your own worst enemy has come to town

•May 26, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Life-course freakout. I’ve found myself here too many times in my adulthood to date. I’m again noticing a few extra jitters and a few lost appetites. And the mild sting of loneliness I feel from time to time is, these days, more a crushing hollowness. And the satisfaction and security of my work, having recently proven itself fleeting, yields to the somewhat frantic process of planning my next moves, not to mention another sour evaluation of the moves I’ve made to get myself into this predicament once again. Indeed, how easy it would be to fall into those same old trappings: pessimism and doubt, loss of self-efficacy, and yes, even panic attacks and clinical depression.

But something is different about this time. Used to be that, despite my ability to observe and narrate my self-sabotage as it happened, I’d be powerless to do anything about it. This time, it’s no longer the quicksand legs of a bad dream. This time, I can run, and bend, and pivot, and make important sidesteps. This time, I engage in the battle without losing myself.

Maybe, this time, the curse is lifted.

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The sound of chirping

•May 21, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Up out of bed a little earlier than usual, trying to convince myself that the 7.5 15.5 mile ride to work really is no big deal. The past day or two has been spent reviewing the weekend’s mild panic, and – much like the major nervous breakdown I navigated in late ’06 – I’m taking the opportunity to gulp down some major perspective, and to begin thinking through my next steps in this life: which way I should be heading, and how far to go.

Indeed, my conversation with Jeff the other night yielded the important realization that, for sure, ‘this’ isn’t the culmination of anything.

Why these major existential nodes must center around women and rejection I’m still trying to get my head around, but certainly the rising tide of angst has also much to do with the coming layoffs at work (our next federal contract is underfunded) and, with it, this new decision I must soon make between buying a home in this city or moving away altogether.

At any rate, however frustrating it is to realize that I’ve grown comfortable and soft, this ol’ brain of mine is happy to once again toy with the idea of potential.

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Resentment and doubt up in Heartbreak City

•May 19, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Mentoring is a rewarding and socially valuable endeavor, but people are starting to make me feel a bit like a meal ticket and a babysitter. Dangerous ground, for sure. Not that his entire well being is in my hands, but the last thing the kid needs is a role model full of resentment.

Also, despite the many praises I shower upon my city and state, and this ongoing search for a home to purchase, I can’t help but take notice of the quiet but steady return of a familiar thought:

Maybe I need to leave Denver.

Best, perhaps, to sit on this one for a little while.

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Things that were fun this weekend

•April 27, 2008 • Leave a Comment
  1. Acquisition of household items to compensate for Emily moving out (blender; good skillets (8″ and 10″); waiter’s corkscrew; tongs; can opener; 16-piece dinnerware set; flatware service for 8 (okay, I didn’t need those last two things, per se)
  2. Dinner at my house with Alison
  3. Pretending to be a lacrosse parent at Kz’s frigid Saturday morning game
  4. Inebriation with new friends at dive bar
  5. Bonus validation of “she doesn’t know what she’s passing up”
  6. Secret late-night McDonald’s mission
  7. Quick sweep of four homes for sale, one of which was moderately impressive
  8. Early afternoon fundraiser at brewery with Ashley and Scott, with secret 7-Eleven mission and potential roommate recruitment
  9. Sunday night cartoons

Hell, even the hours I put into my data analysis were enjoyable. Pffft.

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