A blessedly short memory

It’s funny how in the span of just one month, this place has gone from snow-covered mountains to summer. Today, the wind is blowing hard, but unlike a few days ago, the wind isn’t hot. It’s chilly, coming out of the upper atmosphere. I cannot complain since it keeps the mosquitoes away. The little bastards cannot fly in this wind.

After several months of bitter cold, we have entered mosquito season. We had nearly a month without them because of the snow. And the frogs. From the beginning of May, even with snow on the ground, you could hear the frogs out there in the night, singing. Where there are frogs, there are mosquito larvae being eaten. Once the singing slowed down, the mosquitoes got thick again.

The nice thing about how we remember things is that our short memories keep us sane. In the dead of winter, you don’t remember the keening whine and sting of mosquitoes buzzing your face. In the summer, you don’t remember how your toes ache and then go numb driving in -40 degree weather. Yet somehow we trade one for the other over and over.

I don’t mind living up here in the mountains with our two seasons: winter and mosquitoes. I lived through this for so many years that it makes sense to me. I remember living in the Front Range of Colorado, suburbia, cities, that strange climate that brings triple digit heat waves for months in the summer and in the winter only a few snow storms (if any at all). I have seen mosquitoes in January while walking with the kids along the Poudre River trail. That just didn’t seem fair. It wasn’t like it was a proper winter. No snow. No sledding. Just everything being brown and chilly. Leafless trees and cold wind. From November until May. Then that hot, oppressive summer air, humid. Humming with the buzzing of cicadas in their treetops. June bugs latching onto your face at night. And yes, those blood sucking bastard mosquitoes too. Can’t leave them out. The worst was the yellowjackets.

And that heat that got into everything, even when you had air conditioning you could feel it somehow.

I don’t mind being here. The wind blows. We have bugs. But we have secluded mountain trails that are absent scads of hikers and their dogs and squawking kids. When you hike here, there’s no repeated “On your left” which could mean your certain doom if you don’t heed the warnings. Sure, there are bears. And mountain lions. But even Boulder has those. The moose leave you alone if you give them wide berth.

Today it was cool and windy. I grilled food drop chicken on the free Weber grill I got a few weekends ago. I made mashed potatoes and salad with food drop stuff too. The world is not in a good place right now, and our “leaders” are using misdirection and keeping the fuckery going instead of actually fixing it. Before long, I won’t even be able to afford to leave town. Gas just hit $5 a gallon here, and that is a minimum of 4 gallons just to get to the next town.

I might as well get settled in and get some writing done.

Grilled chicken with fully loaded mashed potatoes and baby spinach/greens salad. Lavender balsamic honey dijon salad dressed made from scratch.

Surface Only

I’m going to cross-post to Facebook less and less. I’ve found the algorithm doesn’t really give me that much of a signal boost. Only about ten people are even getting my posts and even fewer of them are even clicking the links to get here. That’s okay. There are some things I write here that I don’t need broadcast over there. Some things are entirely too personal–though it’s funny to say that–for me to want to share a lot of what I write to people I went to high school with or my mom’s friends or others.

After all most people reading here are strangers, voyeurs even, who observe casually, but I also feel a little bit of a buffer too, since the few I have had conversations with that read these posts independent of Facebook prompting them are some very judgement free people. I am happy to call them my friends. Even if we have not yet met in person. I’m glad to have the conversations.

Sometimes the people I know in person want something else out of me. They expect me to be a certain way. Sometimes they think I overshare. That can make people uncomfortable.

The other day, an old friend was passing through town and introduced me to her new boyfriend. I’m not around people in person a lot, and her guy is one of those still waters run deep kind of guys. Very intelligent, but quiet, just kinda standing back and keeping his eyes and ears open. Nicole and I were much like we have always been. Chatty, oversharing, jabber-jabber-jabber. Some people I just click with and you can’t shut us up. I’ve have a few friends like that in my life. They are like gold.

I remember one girl from college, Emily. She and I would just freaking TALK. Jokes. Song lyrics. Stories. It’s a wonder we even breathed. I learned later that her roomate, Jill, was into me, so we drove to Boulder one night just because. Emily and I did NOT SHUT UP the whole time. Once we got to Boulder, Jill turned to us and said, “You two haven’t shut up the whole time!” Unbeknownst to me, I was apparently on a date with Jill that night and Emily was along for the ride. Jill found herself being the third wheel on her own date. She threatened to leave Emily and me in Boulder and we could find another way to get home if we didn’t shut up. Kids today would say that was her “toxic trait.”

No. I did not date Jill. That was a red flag.

So, the other day, Nicole and I are just oversharing the hell out of our lives and her guy handled it great. I guess on the drive home he was really open and talking about a lot of things he would normally be quiet about. Nicole reminded me later that the people who think you are too much aren’t the people for you. It was great to see her with a man who was so different, yet totally got her vibe.

Nicole knew me back in the days when I was dating the Professor. I’ve talked about those years here at length. Looking back now nearly four years later, I remember all the times Professor would warn me before meeting new people to just be “suface only”. Which meant pretty much making small talk around her friends and family. Since you’re a reader here, you know good and well I don’t do “small talk.”

On the drive home, she would reprimand me. “Why did you bring that up?” or “Why did you say X?”

Well, they asked.

But you don’t have to tell people everything that comes into your mind.

Then she would be “busy” for the next few weeks. Yes, this from the same woman who always got to choose what was appropriate to share with people. Like the stories of her sexual exploits with her ex-husband, which got her shock value and cred in mixed company. Which I thought was just tacky.

I’m sure there is some kind of happy medium between an introverted extrovert writer who has these stories clawing their way out of his brain at all times and Joe Six Pack who works all day, falls asleep in front of the TV and expects his woman to bring him a cold beer every couple commercial breaks and to keep them kids quiet.

But that ain’t me.

I’ve been reminded to not overshare for many, many years. I remember those chilly car rides back from social events with my ex-wife, who used to remind me of every perceived violation of good manners or simply taking attention away from her. It got to the point where I waved off from being social. If it meant being criticized for making friends or being chatty with people, well, the hell with it.

Nowadays, I can read a room within a few minutes, and if I’m going to be stuck having a “surface only” evening with people, I usually peace out and go do something else. Sometimes I might say goodbye. I like deep conversations, silly conversations, laughing at old stories, flirting mercilessly (and harmlessly), and laughing so hard that my ribs hurt.

You don’t get that from “What do you do for a living?” and conversations about things like the weather.

There’s a lot of that on social media. And anyone who reads here knows there’s not much room for that kind of bullshit in my life anymore. The people who get you get to be around you. I’m goofy, awkward, and a lateral thinker. I talk in anectdotes. I’m generally melancholy but I also love to laugh hard. I have opinions. I’m not for everybody.

Anyway, here’s a song I’ve fallen in love with lately. Enjoy.

Wolf Alice – Don’t Delete the Kisses

Muscle Memory

I’ve taken the words of T.S. Eliot to heart over the years. April is the cruelest month, from my experience.

Two years ago this week, I was saying goodbye to my last girlfriend, who had woken up something inside of me I thought might never come alive again. It wasn’t meant to be, even though she renewed my faith that you could meet someone on a summer evening, start dating them, fall in love, and be crazy about each other for almost a year. Not many people get that, and I’ve had it twice. I lost them both in April.

In just a few days, my daughter will be 19 years old. I haven’t spoken with her in three and a half years. I haven’t spoken with my oldest since April 4, 2016. I could list about a dozen other shitty moments of my life that have accumulated into Aprils all throughout my years. It’s a month to be skipped. A dead month, where the leaves aren’t even out on the trees yet.

Maybe that explains the funk I’ve been in. April is weighing hard upon me lately and like muscle memory, all of those sorrows are like the pain of an old wound. The grey skies and flurries. The naked trees and brown grass. Even just the way the air smells or the way the stars linger in the sky, with Orion just now reaching the western horizon at the beginning of night.

I remember an April day from a long time ago. A date with my first love. A perfect day. We started at the Denver Botanical Gardens on a day when almost nothing had been planted. She told me a secret about herself, something she had only shared with me at the time. I don’t know if she ever shared it with anyone else. Sitting there on a bench together amid the winterkilled flowers of last year, she cried happy tears. We went to the museum and stole kisses underneath the dinosaur skeletons. She talked about how she wanted to travel the world with me as we looked at dioramas of polar bears and seals together. We kissed for hours in City Park, using our long coats like a privacy tent. We thought we were cool. We had gyros at a dive restaurant on Colfax, and then drove to Golden to see the railroad museum. We never made it inside. Instead we kissed in her car in the parking lot until they locked the gates. Then we went to Westminster and watched the re-release of the Lion King in the theatre, finishing up the evening with more necking in her car until she drove home and I went back to my apartment alone, swimming in those feel-good chemicals the whole drive. It’s one of those days I wish I could relive over and over.

The next April, I was saying goodbye to her in the cold rain under a cottonwood tree in another park. The Hale-Bopp comet was still riding high in the sky with its twin tail. She didn’t want to get married or have kids, and I did. That was 25 years ago.