Right about this time, thirteen or so years ago, a couple of years after I had begun to realize that girls were pretty cool when you really thought about it, I made a pledge to myself that this year would be the year I finally had a girlfriend for the first time. I made the same pledge to myself twelve years ago around this time. And eleven. And ten, I believe.
Here it is, my friends…the entry that will have you recalling the banner years of pressing on…where posts occurred every day, and sometimes more than once a day, and tended to be longer than just a couple of paragraphs. The entry so huge, it’s filed under four, count ’em, four, categories.
Do I sound enough like an NBC promo?
This is the last entry I’ll make here before next week, because come tomorrow, it’s time for the big move.
I can’t believe that it’s finally here. It’s amazing to me what has happened in the past 14 months. When I got out of the MBA program, I was fully convinced that I wouldn’t be staying long here; a job was just around the corner.
Too many times in the life of this site, and more specifically in this blog, I have been reluctant to post something that has crossed my mind. I’m not too sure why; I want to say that there are multiple reasons for this. But I think that most of the time it’s due to this feeling that I sometimes have: I have to write for the readers.
This, of course, makes absolutely no sense. It’s my site, after all; I should be able to post anything I want to say (within the constraints of the law, of course) and not worry about what the 20 or so daily visitors have to think about it. After all, a blog can be thought of as nothing more than a stream-of-consciousness in Internet form.
So why am I averse to the idea of adding an entry along the lines of “Sometimes I crack myself up trying to do ‘the robot’ while listening to music” (true) or “yesterday I got a new golf club. It’s a 60-degree lob wedge…” (also true)? Well, because frankly I’ll wonder if you, gentle reader, will think I’m insane or extremely boring. Instead, I wait until I either have something “valuable” to say or some breaking news story in my life happens. Admittedly, neither is very common, and so the site undergoes a drought of sorts.
Of course, the ironic thing here is that the comments that this entry receives will probably tell me a lot about what people think about me and this site anyway…
Today has been a long day. And it’s not been a very good day.
This morning, I went to church and found that the brother of one of my friends had been killed in an automobile accident. I didn’t find out anything more about it. I do know that he was younger than I am.
After I came home, I looked at a site featuring local news and learned that the grandmother of my childhood best friend had passed away a couple of days ago at the age of 84. She was something of a grandmother to me as well in my early years. She helped me a lot in my early walk with God. I’m glad that she got to be a great-grandmother, if only for a little while.
It’s hard learning about something about the death of someone like that. Much less friends’ relatives.
As a result, I’m staying down here for another day, and I’ll head back to Birmingham on Tuesday. That’s when I’ll break my big news, too. There’s really nothing preventing me from doing it right now, but I think that I’m going to hold off on it. My life is not the important one right now. A friend has lost a relative after she spent a long while here on Earth walking with the Lord. Another has lost one long before what we’d think was “his time”. Both families are hurting. Prayers would be welcomed.
Life is fleeting. I’m excited about the prospects for my future, but I have to remember that my future isn’t set in stone, and I don’t know how long I have here. None of us know if we get our next breath. Let’s be thankful for the time that we do have. Whatever time we have, it’s short.
As I type this, I am in the same spot where I practiced 3-point shots from the top of the key when I was young. My basketball court (who knows how many national championships were won on it) and goal were replaced with an outside office/storage area a few years ago.
The bedroom that I grew up in has long been changed. It was originally a porch before walls and a ceiling were added. It’s now a walk-in closet of sorts. The bedroom that I used for most of my high-school years has been converted to have more of a guest-bedroom feel. The wall decorations that marked a boy’s passage into manhood – pennants, news clippings of Alabama’s ’93 Sugar Bowl win, and other things that have long since escaped my mind – taken down, replaced with more formal decor.
The living room of my youth is now my parents’ bedroom. The old patio that I played on when I was young – I still remember the how the cracks ran in the concrete – was replaced with the new living room, and later a deck was added outside of it.
All the pine trees that once stood so tall have been uprooted. Three of them once held two hammocks – one for me, one for my sister. The red top that grew near the old basketball goal is gone now as well. It was the only tree that my sister and I would climb, because it was the only one that had a branch within grasping reach.
This house and yard have undergone many changes during the time that I’ve lived here. But no matter what changes take place physically, it has never ceased to be my home.
“Yesterday was a different world, and I am mourning for it.” — August Wilson, September 11, 2001
This morning I peeked out the window. I wanted to make sure that the world was still there.
The scene looked just like it would any other late summer/early fall day. Going by vision alone, my little corner of the world had not changed. But everything had changed, and I knew it.
Until yesterday, there had never been an event to truly become this generation’s defining moment. There had been moments when this nation had been moved, even called to action. But no one moment this side of Pearl Harbor had ever been the focal point of an event that would change the course of history forever until September 11, 2001.
Over the course of the past couple of days, a lot has been going through my mind. I think of the bravery of the individuals who are there right now, and of those who lost their lives in the initial search and rescue operations. I think about the people who were on those planes, who knew what was about to happen. I think about my friend who’s on delta alert on a base in Louisiana right now. Yesterday was his second wedding anniversary.
I almost don’t want to post anything about this, for fear that I may be trivializing the situation or all those involved. That is, those who are directly involved. Because we are all involved in this now. I don’t claim to have all the answers. I won’t even try to venture a guess as to all that will come from this. All I know is no one will ever be the same.
Pray for those who are searching. Those who are searching for more who are trapped. Those who are searching for those who committed these terrible acts. Those who are searching for courses of action. And those who are searching for reasons, and anything to hold on to in this time.
God Bless America.
I have not been sleeping well the past few nights. I was originally thinking that it had something to do with the fact that my grandparents keep the temperature hotter at night than I’m used to; I have a tendency to wake up at night if it’s too hot. But I’m starting to think that it’s got more to do with some oncoming stress.
I’m not used to not being in school at the start of a fall at all. I looked up Alabama’s academic calendar and found that I would be starting classes tomorrow were I still there. I’m starting to wonder if I made the right decision to take a year or two away from school before I made the decision about a doctorate.
I’m definitely not used to not having something to do for an extended period at all. The last time that I can remember not having school or a job to think about was the summer before my junior year in high school. And even then I had football practice by this time.
Yesterday, I took an application to UAB for employment. The lady at the counter took my application and told me that they’d be in touch with me. Then I walked outside and got into my car. I wasn’t ready to come back home yet. So I drove around Birmingham for a little while.
Driving has always been something of a relaxation mechanism for me. The thing is, what do I have to be relaxed from? If anything, I should be more relaxed now than I’ve been in eight years. I don’t have one thing that I have to do tomorrow. But that’s the problem.
This day, even driving failed me. I think that I would have enjoyed it more if I was looking around at neighboorhoods to live in or for new ways to get around town or something. This day, it seemed contrived, as if the only reason that I was doing it was to do something, anything. Which it basically was.
I turned left onto I-459 and headed for home.
Tonight is my last night in Tuscaloosa.
Have I really been here almost six years? That’s a quarter of my life. It’s amazing to me, really.
Tonight, I’m going to go out to my porch and sit in my chair and look out at the trees and the stars for awhile. Just like I did the first night that I moved into the apartment. Just like the night that I turned 22. Just like all those other times that I’ve done it. I don’t know what I’ll think about. Probably reflect on what has been and what’s to come. Just like all the other times that I’ve done it.
Except it will be special, because it will be the final time.