June 2002

23 Jun 2002 09:08 pm

Back in Manchester now. Trying to outlab the film for developing and proofs, maybe even prints. Looking for a job and an apartment.

We’ll see how things go.

Photos and stories are at Carpetbagger

14 Jun 2002 09:04 pm

Tired sees to be a continuous existence for me on this trip. The overnight on the 11th really did a number on me. I felt the exhaustion when I picked brendan up from the airport, but it didn’t really hit me till clearwater beach. The hostel was un-airconditioned, humid, and hot. I felt fine at first and we went and got lunch.

Afterwards, my stomach really started to bother me. I could barely keep my eyes open but my stomach hurt too much to be able to sleep. I called Sandy and asked if we could come up there, to air conditioning and not sharing an eight by eight room with three other people. I drove up and by the time I got there, I felt better.

Things seem outwardly okay with the family down there so far, but that may be due to Brendan’s presence. We’ll see when I go back up there.

The drive to Key West took forever (so it seemed).

Key West has and hasn’t changed. It seems much more commercialized that I remember, and hotter than I remember. At night, there’s still the warm onshore breeze that I love and only get hints of when I’m in other places. That’s the part of Key West that I will always love.

I found the old house. One of the owners chose to build a tall wall around the entire property, blocking all of it from view save the couple tallest palm trees. At least I could see the one I climbed on, though I’d like to have seen the two decks and sea grape tree in the back.

The school had changed it’s playground! All of the wooden equipment was gone, replaced by the cushy plastic stuff.

Took the tour of the Hemingway house…definately makes me interested in Hemingway and his career and his life. Poor guy had a serious suicide problem in his family. He committed suicide, but so did his sister, father, grandfather, uncle…a lot of them did.

61 cats on the property!

Sunset Festival wasn’t exactly like I remembered. The cat guy wasn’t there, neither was the guy with the bagpipes. Also, the sun didn’t make an appearance today because of the clouds. That would be MY luck. No real sunset. Very sad.

Tommorrow is hitting the beach for a bit before heading back up to Tampa.

After that, I start back to New Hampshire, hitting Atlanta, Williamsburg, Binghamton, and then done.

Been a long trip. It’s really time to head home.

june 12 photos
june 13 photos
june 14 photos
june 14 b photos

12 Jun 2002 12:58 pm

Driving overnight isnít so bad after all. Of course, I say this at 10 am as Iíve already arrived at the Tampa Airport and am waiting for Brendanís plane to arrive. Weíll see if I really mind it later.

Tampa is a nice airport. Iíve never really spent more than ten minutes in it because I was already being picked up by family. This time, though, said family is in certain angry moods and not returning my calls, because Mom moved out already, even before Aubreyís graduation. I spoke to Aubrey last night, and she hates Mom at the moment, completely taking Dadís side and wanting to know which side I am on.

Iím not on anyoneís side. Dad is acting strange, itís hard to tell how he really feels, but I can tell heís angry at least. Canít go live at my parents, canít live with my mother. Dad and Aubrey arenít paying any attention to poor Owen. Iíve got to find him a good home as quickly as possible, the poor pup.

I had two real rest stops on the drive down. The first was around 5 am just before the Florida state line, twenty minutes or so. Rest areas are really packed at night, I never realized that. Folks passed out in their cars and awaiting more energy and the dawn light. The car next to me had Maine tags, that made me feel better, seeing other Yankees in the Deep South. Itís the second rest that got weird.

I pulled over like I usually do, turned off the car, stretched out, used my hand over my eyes to block the sun, lay my head on my window.

Then looked back up and made sure that all my doors were locked. You never can tell.

After about ten minutes, I feel somethingÖoff. I look up. Some strange old man is standing next to my window, ridiculously close to the glass, ready to tap. Really, if you want to get on my good side, donít tap on my car window at seven a.m. when Iím trying to catch a nap.

The guy has pure white hair aside from this greased-together off-white piece laying across the top of his bald head. His fingernails are badly in need of a trim. Heís wearing a light blue oxford shirt and a tag about the size and shape of a name tag, except his says ìSeptember 11, 2001: United We Stand.î It has a little American flag on it. His trousers cause me a double take, then a subtle triple take: I think heís wearing two pairs, I can see the others above the waistline of the lighter khaki colored ones.

Of course, I notice all of this while heís talking to me.

ìNew Hampshire?î he says, pointing to my front license plate.

I blink. ìYeah.î Okay, Iíll give him the benefit of the doubt.

ìYou going to Disney?î

ìUh, no. Key West.î

ìIím headed there too,î he says. Somehow, I think no matter where I was heading, he was ìheaded there too.î

ìThatís nice,î I say. Mind you, my window is closed.

ìYou and your boyfriend could go up to Vermont, get a civil union up there.î

What?! Oh great, not only has he assumed that I am gay because of my short hair, but he has now assumed I am a gay male. Strike two. The fingernails and hair were strike one. I just look at him.

He keeps going. ìI still have my cherry,î he says. ìNo diseases. Seventy years old.î The number of thoughts and feelings that flew through my head at that point were numerous: disgust, freaked out, bemused. Dear lord, get me away from this man. I look. I think at that point I was still trying to figure out if he really had on two pairs of pants.

ìBut anyway, they donít bother you up there, though there was one guy out of fifty that voted against giving the unions. All republicans, kicked him out.î

Ah. Not making sense. Crazy. Heís well past struck out.

He keeps going. ìAnyway, youíve got to love Jesus,î he says. ìHe was born before AD, so two thousand years will be in 2031 and theyíll come down in spaceships and there will be an ark and all the animals and frozen eggs and spermÖî

For someone whoís a virgin at 70, heís certainly obsessed with reproduction.

He continues. ìAnd the earth will melt and theyíll take our souls and then our souls will be put back in our new bodiesÖî

Inanely, I remember from a theology class that our souls and bodies are never separated.

And he keeps talking. ìAnd then the Jews, the Jews have all the moneyÖî

I point to my watch. ìI need to go.î

ìOh, okay. Key West! Right!î

I start up the car and put it in gear before he actually walks away.

I did eighty and sped down the highway, intent on getting away from the crazy old man who interrupted my nap at the rest area, with the clean, working bathrooms.

Dang. I didnít even get to go.

photos from the day

11 Jun 2002 12:46 am

Silly me. I forgot the photos links.

June 9th

June 10th

11 Jun 2002 12:45 am

So I’m leaving for Tampa/Clearwater in an hour! Less than, now.

The apartment fell through, so I’m not relocating to Atlanta after all. Now I need to see about jobs in the Manchester area yet again.

I drove early this morning from Birmingham, nice, easy straight drive on I-20.

I called home. Mom doesn’t live there anymore. How weird is THAT? Sandy never returned my call, so I’m doing an overnight drive down to Tampa. Bet you the Taylor family is REALLY upset right now. I know my sister is mad at my mother. Hates her, even. My father was acting very strange. Not sure how I feel about any of this at ALL.

Well, time to pack up the car and head south.

See you on the flip side.

10 Jun 2002 12:29 am

Lesson # 1: Don’t drink the tap water as you travel down the East Coast. You will get backdoor problems.

Lesson # 2: Never assume that your family is still comprised of non-internet users.

My family decided to implode on me last Tuesday, which has caused a serious disruption of the whole trip and project and life in general. My aunt found the site and the log while looking for me (because somehow my father had become unconscious for the last three months and told them he’d no idea that I’d gone on this trip). She printed everything out and gave it to my grandparents to read.

Dear lord.

My grandparents are already having a hell of a time in their lives right now, with his heart trouble and his leg not healing from diabetes, and chest shunts and a foot amputation. I’m guessing that I just make an easy target for most of my family. I’d called to confirm me heading down what should have been last week and my grandfather wouldn’t speak to me, just handed over the phone to my grandmother.

She laid into me. She’s upset about the project and this log, that I would air family business for everyone to see. Seeing my site statistics, “everyone” certainly does not read this log. She says that I have said bad things about the Taylors, that they are bad people, and I said nothing about the Sinclairs (my mother’s side).

I hadn’t realized that it’d been so bad, all bad. Somehow I made my grandparents and aunt hurt and confused and upset, but I feel that somehow they’ve missed the point of this entire project, MY entire point after all I’ve worked to do. I love both sides of my family, and my grandparents and aunt have been there for me, my grandparents even took me in for a year when I was little. They are amazing people and it hurts a lot to even think that I’ve somehow disappointed them again.

They also make me cry the easiest. After my grandmother came my aunt, and all told, I cried for three hours that day, no exaggeration. I rarely, if ever, cry. Now the Florida part of the trip is and was a lion’s den. My cell phone isn’t working and the voicemail isn’t working, so I can’t make or recieve calls. I’m off my medication because insurance ran out and every program has a “preexisting condition” clause. My bank account is dwindling. I have no place to live after this trip, no job as of yet. Panic is setting in.

Leanne and I are trying to get a lease for an apartment that comes with two months free rent, so that’s part of the plan. If we get that place, I move to Atlanta for a couple of years, if we don’t, I go back to New England. I need to find a job, set stability. I have to rehome Owen with all this shit hitting the fan.

My grandmother and aunt don’t really believe me about my father, either. That somehow I am painting a fictional picture of him for my writing and I am taking my mother’s side.

I’m not taking anyone’s “side.” I love my father, but how many times have I tried to get through to him? Yes, I know he holds everything in, but there are times when the most stoic of stoics need to say something about their feelings and let things out and be honest in order to save what they hold most dear. With my father, we’re still waiting on that, and time is running out.

I feel the little dark tendrils of my depressive symptoms creeping in. Feeling overwhelmed, indifferent, having trouble sleeping, the crying (well, that one spell). Paige and Lora want me to call Todd, but Leanne’s place doesn’t have a landline.

…I also think that the cat that is sitting on the floor has awful horrible gas…

I had fun at Olivia’s, with Liam and Robert, and her husband Ron. Cool folks. Adrian’s was fun too, and Wes and his joking. Wes is a firefighter and is also a plumber. He had a job to do at this guy Sammy’s house. Now, Sammy is an Egyptian who has become a citizen. They were supposed to the the job on September 11th, but had to reschedule to the 12th for obvious reasons. So Wes looks at Sammy and says, “You realize that the price went up.”

“What?” Sammy asks.

“Well, your people just killed a thousands of my people, someone has to pay for the widows and orphans.”

“What?!” says Sammy. “One day I am good ol’ boy Sammy and the next day I am rag-headed bastard? I am Southern Baptist for the love of Pete!”

Damn, that was funny. It’s a better listening joke than it is reading.

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