Monday, August 25, 2008

A Timeout from Myself

I just got back from my trip to Arizona, and during my travelling, I came to a revelation that I guess I've picked up on in the past, but never really put much to it. You see, often times, I'll take trips by myself, mostly to visit old friends, like this trip and my numerous trips to see my old college buddies (heading down to Charlotte in a month for Homecoming, in fact).

The overall feeling that I get when I take these trips, aside from the obvious enjoyment of seeing people I haven't seen in a while, is that everything I do on these trips is more or less inconsequencial to my normal life. It's literally like taking a timeout from my real life and living in a surreal tangential existence. I've probably confused you. Here's where I'm going with this...bear with me. (If you've seen Fight Club, you may be able to more easily follow as well...think 'one serving friends')

I left on Friday afternoon and drove up to Baltimore to catch my plane. After arriving at the airport and going through the whole process, I boarded my plane and of course I've got a woman sitting next to me that wants to talk. I don't know what it I look like a person who wants to talk to people? This shit happens to me all the time. Everybody else on the plane seems to be quietly sleeping or reading, but I always have the talker right next to me. I guess I could be rude and end the conversation quickly...but that's not really my style.

Anyway, I find out that she's a grandmother of two who lives in Alabama, works for Choice Hotels, loves to people watch, and is extremely close with her grandson and almost seems to act like his mother, based on the NUMEROUS stories I heard. Despite all this information, I didn't catch her name. Why should I? I'm not planning to go to Alabama anytime soon (or ever) and even if by some miracle I did, would I have any inclination to meet this woman while I was there. Nope. And yet, here we are, sitting there, talking about our lives (I tried to say as little as possible in hopes of ending the conversation...not much luck with that) and I will never see this person again. Aside from this story, she is gone from my life.

As is the guy who sat next to me on my second flight out of Memphis. He was an ASU transfer student from New Jersey, who was a Yankees and Jets fan. We talked about Yankee baseball and discussed fantasy sports; he mentioned how he hates the heat in Arizona, and spends most of his time indoors, playing Socom on XBox and that he works part time at Olive Garden in Flagstaff. All important information that I have absolutely no use I am never going to see this guy again. Again, I did not catch his name. Nor the man in front of us who heard me mention that I went to Davidson, where his daughter, a basketball player, just graduated from. Apparently, I am a talker...who knew?

Anyway, this trend continues as I reach my destination and the weekend is filled with Amy and I visiting random places, including a different restaurant for every meal. We had Chinese-style food at a PF Changs-type of place, Mexican food at a New Mexico style restaurant, Pizza from a place that seasons their crust, and sushi at a place called Shogun, that serves the biggest portions of sushi I've ever had. I would certainly go there again...but when? Probably never. Amy is the only person I know that lives in Tucson and I hadn't seen her in two years. And it's not like it's around the corner.

All of these things I saw, and people I talked to, and food I ate were all a part of that moment. And that moment has now passed. One serving moments. Just like throwing up on the street in Charlotte at 10 PM. Or eating the best garlic shrimp I've ever had in St. Kitts. Or getting mugged in New York trying to help Stroker get a fake ID, like an idiot. Or performing my smoothest pickup line ever, which I performed in a bar in Boston:

(With Suggs' brother, wearing his glasses, as we approach two girls)
Suggs' brother: Do you think I look good in these glasses?
Girl #1: They're OK.
(I grab his glasses and put them on)
Me: Do you think I look good in these glasses?
Girl #2: Yeah.
(I take the glasses off)
Me: Do you think I look good without these glasses?
Girl #2: Yeah.
(Sometimes I amaze myself with the shit that pours out of my mouth)

And that's what I realized. I may never see these people or these places again. But they are now a part of me. They have changed the way I am, the way I view things (I don't follow random black guys into a pizza joint that claim to make fake IDs, that's for sure), and most of all, they allow me to bring you this blog.


Alex said...

Why don't you read a book or put your IPOD on if you "really" don't like talking to people you don't know...

The J Man said...

I've used that technique before, and did so on the flight back, but as is the whole point of the blog, talking to these 'one serving friends' is part of the experience.

Alex said...

Oh, I guess I missed your "point" :-)


The J Man said...

I rarely make a point, and to be honest, I'm not sure I really did, so it's all good. Thanks for reading my blog.

Alex said...

I was in the neighborhood so thought I would check ya out. :-)