Monday, August 25, 2008

college days

I meant to write this last Friday as it was prompted by the most recent Poetry Friday challenge. But - I wouldn't want to start a trend by blogging on schedule, or anything. I might garner a few regular readers if I did something like that - which is anathema to my blogstyle of whatever-whenever.


I, like most folks, have done a few things that I probably shouldn't have when I was in college.

My dorm was right across the street from the chapel. Every Sunday morning for about an hour before services the pastor would sit on the front steps of the chapel and play hymns over the loudspeakers. This somewhat annoyed those trying to sleep off a Saturday night's debauchery, myself sometimes included. Well, one Saturday night we returned to our dorms somewhat worse for wear and someone brought up the hymn-playing disruption of our Sunday-morning sleep-in. During the following discussion a plan was formed that, in our inebriated state, we thought would put a stop to these recitals. We sneaked into the church via an unlocked window and pulled the cassette tape that was queued in the public address system. We took it back to the dorm and recorded some rather earthy Frank Zappa over the middle of the tape and returned the tape to the church. Alarms were set so we wouldn't miss the new music and we went to bed. The next morning we straggled out and gathered on the front steps of the dorm and waited. And waited. And waited. We sat there until services started and the music was stopped. No Frank Zappa. We retired to bed disappointed and seeking hang-over remedies.

Three weeks later I was walking to work Sunday morning, having lost the weekend work shift lottery. I was passing the front of the chapel, having just waved to the pastor, when the music hiccuped and Frank Zappa came blaring out in all his inappropriate glory. The pastor look confused, and he must have started to understand what he was hearing because he leapt up and ran inside. A second or two later the music stopped. I almost tripped over myself laughing as I continued to work.

We didn't manage to shut down our Sunday morning concerts, the hymns continued next Sunday on schedule. But I'll bet the windows were locked after that.

Friday, August 15, 2008

when I was a kid.....

When I was growing up, I lived on my bicycle. There was no sitting in front of the TV, Atari hadn't come out yet, nor had PCs, so no video games to play for hours on end. Mom would throw us out of the house and told us to go play. It was good for us (and we were out of her hair). So, we would get on our bikes and take off looking for the other kids who had similarly been unceremoniously thrown out.

We would be gone for hours. We would ride up and down the street seeing who could pop a wheelie the longest. We would build ramps and pretend to be evel knievel, jumping for distance or jumping over each other. (I once jumped 6 kids. we were uncommonly stupid then, and I had scars on my elbows and knees for years to prove it). We would search the ditches for coke bottles and go to the store, redeem them and use the money to buy ourselves a coke.

We would take off to explore neighboring communities, getting ourselves lost and spending the afternoon finding our way back home. During the fall and spring we would ride our bikes to school. We would put sissy bars on them, extend the forks to make choppers, put 6-foot antenna-like poles that had flags on (That would trip us up when trying a rolling dismount). We'd put playing cards on with clothes pins so they'd flap in the spokes and pretend this was the motor and we were riding motorcycles.

Do kids do these things today? I rarely see kids out riding bikes in my neighborhood. My bike was a ticket to independence. When it was taken away for punishment, it HURT! I was trapped - all I could do was stand by and watch the others have fun. I see kids walking down the sidewalk, one or more talking on a cell phone, on their way somewhere. I don't see them on bikes.

It's a shame, really. Within weeks of moving into a new house, I knew the neighborhood like the back of my hand. I met the kids in the neighborhood 'cause they were out riding too. Our moms didn't get together and organize play-dates or stuff like that - we just rode around and found someone else who was outside and played. It seems like these days everything is so tightly organized, all of kids' time is scheduled down to the minute.

Do kids just go outside and play anymore?

Friday, August 08, 2008

As I was saying......

Well, hello there. anyone? anyone?

I took some time off, trying to decide if I really am a blogger, or a blogger wanna-be. I mean, there are blogs that I read because merely because they are well written and invariably entertaining. There are other blogs I read that go beyond this, they are written by people I feel a connection to and I want to keep up with what's going on in their lives. These are the blogs where I feel drawn to comment and these are the ones that inspired me to write my own blog, so I could share something of myself and my experiences beyond the smidgen of space allowed in a comment.

Blogging had given me a way to join what I saw were interlocking circles of friends. People whom not only commented on each others blogs but exchanged emails, IM's, or even phone calls on the side. A very few even visited each other. For a while I experienced this myself, and felt I really had made a some new friends. And then - I hadn't. There were a few people that faded out of that circle, that moved on leaving me behind. These were people that I had regular contact with outside of the realm of blogging, one of which I had actually met. I thought I had made some real friends and it turned out I hadn't.

As you can imagine, this was really disappointing. It made me really wonder about myself. Had I mistaken the depth of the connection? Had I done or said something that drove them away? I mean, I realize that things can go great until a certain point is reached and then something stops clicking or something becomes apparent that causes the other person to decide to back away. But what? In some ways I felt like a teenager again - unsure of anything or anyone. So I took some time off to see if I could figure it out.

I didn't reach any conclusions with regard to my lost friendships, but I did come to a few other realizations.

I missed you guys. I shouldn't abandon this community just because I was disappointed. And - I DO have some friends out there that don't deserve my abandoning them. So, I slowly started back. At first I used my reader to lurk here and there. Then I started posting an occasional comment where I couldn't not. And recently I found myself reading all of you again - but it wasn't the same. Because I wasn't participating.

So - I'm going to stop lurking, start commenting, and maybe even start writing a post here and there. Not that I'm a great writer, or have a burning within me to impart some important message. But I am a part of this and want to share it with you. I hope that there are a few of you that still care enough to read, but if not - well, it's my own damned fault and I can live with that.