Couch denting at a 14th grade level

Some random observations on being back in my hometown for the week of the 4th…

I know it’s not the first time I’ve felt this way, but I was particularly amazed at how this place… no longer feels like home. Yeah, a few things have changed – buildings where there were no buildings before, a quadrupling of traffic density and more aggressive driving, mom-and-pops dearly departed – but that’s not what makes or breaks a place, it’s the people. And of relatively few people I knew here to begin with, most have kind of moved on.

So, of the people I called….

Da*: Didn’t return my voicemail, or previous call a couple months ago.

K*: I consider(ed?) him a good friend, so I ended up leaving repeated voicemails on both of his phones over the last several weeks, which went unreturned until Wed. morning or so. So, for the once-or-twice-a-year that we see one another, he proposed: “Yeah, let’s meet in the middle, at an Applebees or something over my lunch hour, near Fry’s Electronics, since I have to go buy an inverter there anyway. You like Fry’s, right? Maybe you could tell me which one to get.”. Then he buggered off, promising to call back around noon because he was arranging this at work on his desk phone, and a coworker was giving him the eye. So, needless to say, I wasn’t exactly plussed by this proposal. So, equally needless to say, this promised callback never happened, either. I left one further due-diligence voice mail (unreturned to date), but I’ve kind of relegated that whole business to the fuck-it bucket. There’s a fine (or not so) line between making extra effort to keep in touch with a good friend, and stalking someone who no longer considers you one.

I can’t be sure whether awkwardness surrounding the relationship between Da* and K* (mentioned previously) and its subsequent spectacular breakup, and my involuntary man-in-the-middle status, have anything to do with this, but suddenly not really wanting to be seen by either of them is statistically significant.

Nando: Did call back, but scheduling difficulties ensued. The night we both could do something, plans fizzled since neither of us had anyone else to bring along. Nando and I just staring at each other over an open fire sounded a little suboptimal (among other things)… I didn’t say as much, but he seemed to agree, ending the call saying he was going to call a few people and see what kind of posse could be rounded up. Not much of one, apparently, since I never heard back.

F*: Changed numbers since the last time I talked to him. Eventually met up, grabbed some brews and White Castle with him and D*, and headed home to enjoy them. Due to OCD-type issue (mentioned previously), I was holed up in a separate room most of the time as D* took his sweet time on those sliders. By the time I could re-enter society as it were, F* was asleep.

J* and E*: Actually returned my calls! We actually hung out! So, E* just graduated and is seeking a teaching job; J* got married this week. More on the wedding later.

B*: More like my brother’s friend, but anyway, we had this plan to go exploring Red Gate Woods, former site of Argonne Nat’l Laboratory and the first ever nuclear reactor. A carefully scheduled Sunday morning/early afternoon would allow this, a BBQ with my folks and aunt/uncle who were jonesing to BBQ with us, and busting ass for the airport. So, D* is getting calls at 2am from B* all hopped up about it. But then, Sunday morning rolls around and B* has disappeared off the face of the planet. Yeah, could have gone alone (if I knew this was going to happen ahead of time, which, given the luck with humans so far this week, I should have), but it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun. Ended up rejiggering the day to do the BBQ earlier and spend more time with the relatives.

So, other things I did this week in IL:

Hung out with family. Mostly my folks, but also an aunt and uncle from each side, and my “little” cousins. My folks took me to a new restaurant in the area that serves ALLIGATOR. Oh yeah, alligators are tasty.

Took a lot of pictures. Mostly nature, since I don’t like people chasing people around with a camera. I found what’s left of my old fossil collection back home and documented it. Identifying them is another story. ;-)

Got plenty of reading in. I know, not everybody takes vacation time to read, but there wasn’t all that much else to do. When I’m home (in Boston), I always have gf and/or some project to stay busy with, and so I never read.

Went to JLM’s (err… JLW’s, now) wedding. They had a traditional Catholic wedding, followed in the evening by a reception complete with open bar (w00t). Here, the entirety of the old LT photo club gang was reunited for the first time in ages(!) (even Ca*, who I haven’t seen in years). So we caught up, laughed and danced into the wee hours. Got a little bit of the usual pile of shit from my old man, wondering why I still hang out with these people, J* in particular, hinting that they’re not my intellectual peers and that there must be some romantic component in play (as.per.usual). I didn’t bother trying to validate my friend choices to him. As it happens though, J* is one of extremely few people who have never lied to me. In a world where most of the species is full of shit to some degree, this is meaningful – when you find people worthy of absolute trust, you hang onto them.

Enjoyed my brother’s pr0n collection, carefully stashed away across dozens of locations on my parents’ computer. “New Folder” indeed :-)

Brought back a few interesting plants that I will attempt to transplant and/or root, as the case may be. Specifically a ginkgo biloba tree, sassafrass, and a weird variegated thing that looks like it shouldn’t exist in the wild (outside of the tropics), but here it is.

I have a fridge compressor in my parents’ basement I wanted to bring back with me, but it a) isn’t worth the shipping from here to Boston (either UPS/etc. or the extra fees to have a checked bag on the plane, as of the day before I booked my flight, given the high likelihood of being damaged in transit), and b) in my carry-on, would look entirely too much like a (hollywood representation of a) bomb to a dead-end TSA screener wanting to be a hero. No 7-segment LED countdown, or indeed LEDs at all, but, you know, a big heavy sealed metal canister with wires and copper tubing protruding from it. For a moment visions of excitement danced in my head – a monumental overreaction, some mild police brutality followed by plaintiff status and press conferences where I talk about ’80s hairstyles – but it IS probably the last flight of the night, and my gf will be waiting to pick me up. That, and if I didn’t drain the oil from it as completely as I think I did, it could leak on my suit. Yeah, I am teh old.

Pictures will be uploaded…sometime!

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