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Old Man Noises
I find that I make a lot of strange sounds for no apparent reason these days. For example, I feel the need to clear my throat using guttural noises that I did not know I was capable of producing. Every normal bodily function is now accompanied by sounds that would make a fraternity initiate proud. Sometimes when I sit outside in Fort Street Mall, I notice groups of old guys clustered about the other benches, each one engaged in a random medley of old man noises. The impromptu ensemble produces an interesting chorus of sounds. Why do old guys do this? Why do I do this? I'm an old guy, that's why! Sheesh! An old guy does not have to worry about babes. So, there's no need to keep these noises in check. Heck, there's no need to do much. I don't even bother coming up with cheesy graphics for the journal anymore. I also use the same boring default fonts. Who cares?

Now, it's time to rebuild again. Same old stuff. Tear down. Rebuild. Tear down. Rebuild. That's the key to life itself. On November 29th of this year, I spent a lovely evening at Lori's place enjoying a fine meal. My favorite ... Lasagna. It was my birthday. I don't celebrate my birthday but I appreciated the gesture. Toward the end of the evening, everything seemed like the good old days. There even seemed to be a spark of romance. At the end of the evening, she stood at the door and watched as I drove off.

I think that I'm beginning to understand things a little better. Of course, I can only reference empirical data related to my own experiences. When I was in dire straits, I tried to terminate our relationship a number of times. I felt so useless and hurt so bad that I wanted to wallow in misery alone. I knew that breaking up the relationship was not going to make matters better. However, despair causes people to do some very stupid and self-destructive acts. In retrospect, wisdom is really just an understanding of human nature. That's why it's worth more than all the riches in the world. But, what good is wisdom if it can't help others?

Tuesday December 1, 1998
Sometimes I just think that I love to be corny. Look at the last few lines of the opening paragraphs of this new and improved journal. Sounds like a cheesy speech. Maybe I should have taken the Governor's race much more seriously. Alas, I started teaching today at the business college. It's a very small campus. Actually, it takes up one floor of a small office building downtown. I only have one class now since the other was cancelled. However, I am anticipating that I will be able to pick up a class for the accelerated Winter term at the university. This will fall in line with my new plan that I will disclose later on. Right now, I just need to get my Toilet Ducks lined up in a row, if you know what I mean.

It's hard to be happy without a dream. There has to be something to motivate a person to feel good. Otherwise, depression sets in. That's why old guys make old man noises. These noises are ruminations of discontent which stem from the perception that life has passed the noisemaker by. Adventure is within the hearts of all of us. Yet, what qualifies as adventure? I have discovered that even a night of all-you-can-eat Chinese with The Bull, the Bishop, and the Cardinal was just such an adventure. However, breaking up a relationship is not an adventure, ladies and gentlemen. As I wrote in response to a few people, I had heard that it takes about a month of healing time for every year that a separated couple was together. So, I have a little over two months to go before I'm scot-free. I'll be making a lot of old man noises in the interim.

Fool's Fool
Wednesday December 2
Whatever happened to the Internet Panhandler? Does anybody remember that site? I think that it should be resurrected using modern e-commerce technology like the electronic shopping cart and secure socket layers (SSL). Why not? Doesn't panhandling serve a purpose in the general scheme of things? Sure it does, the reason being that it's a job just like any other form of wage slavery. LoserNet could actually suffice as the new and improved Internet Panhandler site. For some spare change, we can offer the same kind of pathetic nonsense you would experience when accosted on the street. Perhaps I can design a virtual derelict page. Ho boy!
Thursday December 3
I received an e-mail from an old friend of mine, Brian, this morning. I have not seen him since circa-1980. In fact, I have received a lot of mail, more so than usual, from several virtual homeys. I believe that this alone has helped me immensely during these trying times. The words of encouragement as well as all who urged the ol' lavahead to hele on was very touching. Nonetheless, the e-mail from Brian made me think of all of the other people I have known and how I lost touch with them. So, one of my objectives, whenever I eventually visit Cali, is to locate some very old friends. This is not an impossibility especially with the advent of those people finder search engines. Then, we can have a real "Welcome Back Loser" Houseparty, eh?

Did I mention that the Cardinal called about a week ago? He left a message but he didn't leave a phone number. I called his old number but it was no longer in service. The Cardinal is a private man so he has always had unlisted phone numbers. I e-mailed The Bull to see if he could send me The Cardinal's new phone number. I have yet to hear from The Bull. I surmise that I will find The Bull a married man upon my next visit to Convalescent City. This is the real adventure of life. It's about people and the changes in their lives. I need to return to my previous status as a mere bystander. I am an observer, nothing more and nothing less.

Friday December 4
I do not understand babes. That is my big problem, and I seem to share that problem with a large number of guys. In fact, I happened to peruse a few Web journals and I noticed that the journals written by guys are usually lamentations about babes (or the lack of babes), not that the babe's journals are much better. Why do guys and babes have such a hard time getting along? Why can't we communicate? Why are guys so oblivious to the subtle nuances of babes? If any of you have answers to these questions, please inform the ol' lavahead immediately.

The winds have been very gusty lately. Actually, gusty is an understatement. There has also been a pronounced haze in the atmosphere. I discovered that this so-called haze is composed of salt particles. Sheesh! No wonder everything here rusts so quickly. I figured this out while I was hiking up to Hanauma Bay this afternoon. After a few minutes, I could barely see through the Coke-bottle lenses of my dork glasses. At first, I thought that my eyes finally gave out from all of these years as a computer nerd. It turns out that the salt film was so thick that everything appeared blurry.

Moms has been in pain ever since she stopped going to her physical therapy sessions. The pain seems to be increasing each day. Moms also contracted some kind of cold, so she has not been doing much except to sleep. I have become increasingly concerned about moms' health. Each day I wonder just how long I have left to spend with moms. And, what will I do when her time comes?

True Wort
Saturday December 5
Have you ever noticed that people who accuse you of perpetrating something are usually the ones doing whatever is being alleged? There are probably a lot of qualifying reasons for this behavior, but I think the main reason is that the perpetrator really wants to divulge the truth and unload an overwhelming psychological burden. That burden is guilt. The allegations are usually thinly veiled confessions. Why do people use this modus operandi when they know full well that they are as transparent as glass? The answer is that the human conscience interferes with one's inherent need for self-preservation. Thus, the confession comes out as an accusation. A true observer will have already noted that the perpetrator has left enough clues to deduce the obvious. People want to be discovered so they can be released from the burden of guilt.

I spent most of the day at Barnes & Noble. I have a lot of work to do before the Fall Semester is over. I will probably have to do more of the same tomorrow. I happened to peruse a couple of books about the Wort. There seems to be some serious evidence that the Wort does work as an effective anti-depressant. The secret seems to be in finding the right formulation of Wort. The Wort used in the clinical studies is alcohol-extracted from the plant. Most Wort formulations available in stores is just made from grinding up the Wort plant itself. Thus, the potency may be significantly less. This is an important fact to know, especially in these trying times.

Sunday December 6
I took Lori to Roy's for dinner for her birthday. The place was extremely crowded and noisy. We were seated adjacent to a concrete column and next to a large part of people. It was reminiscent of a Denny's. We were pretty much rushed through dinner and I could sense that Lori was not very happy about the whole affair. She complained to the manager. To my surprise, Roy's picked up the tab. We were also treated to several other complimentary items. The rest of the evening was enjoyable and reminded me of the good old days.

I faced the demons of the mind tonight. I had a glass of Chardonnay with dinner. The Chardonnay was once know as "The Hammer," as I only guzzled down extremely large quantities of it to get hammered. The symbolism of the event was significant. I have finally come to grips with a painful part of my past, and I have now learned the meaning of moderation. This, in turn, will lead to tolerance, especially of others. This was the first drink that Lori and I had together in the time we've known each other. I have always tried to protect myself from the demons by walling myself off from them. My goal was to give myself enough time to develop the strength to combat the demons without the luxury of sanctuary. I believe that I have succeeded.

Biding Time
Monday December 7
I am overworked and underpaid. I am tired and burned out. Yet, I feel as though my life has improved significantly. I actually feel happy. Sure, there are some real problems lurking about. I still do not make enough money to survive. Moms has been ill for quite a few days and she does not seem to be getting better. I am single once again and living the monk's life. I take the Wort every day. Perhaps my happiness is based on my accomplishments in the last two months. Of course, by worldly standards, I am still a loser. I just don't care what the world thinks right now. I have no other responsibilities but my own. And, I cancelled my cell phone service. Free at last! Baha! Ha! Ha! Haaaa!

All I need to do now is to move back to Convalescent City and work at Trader Joe's with Steph. I can live there for the rest of my life as a mendicant monk. That day may come soon. In the interim, I'll just bide my time here. I'll try to pay off my loans and put away some money for my exodus. I'm still working on the Master Plan, the details of which are still a little foggy. It will all come to me in due time. Or, maybe I overdosed on Wort today.

Tuesday December 8
Once again, I find myself with nothing to talk about. In a way, my life now resembles that of a wage slave. My only salvation is that I don't put in a 40-hour work week. I spend a lot of time downtown, though. I find this to be a reasonable alternative to sitting in the detestable resin chair. I received phone messages from two of the smaller universities here in Hawai'i. I may have interviews for more teaching jobs very soon. Let's keep our fingers crossed, eh? My goal is to get my foot in the door anywhere I can. I suppose that if teaching is to be my chosen career, then I should pursue all avenues. I still would have to teach hella classes in order to make a decent living. Since I am single again and I have always been frugal, I should be able to do fine.

I'm gradually adjusting to the single life, too. For the most part, I have accepted my lot in life. However, there are brief moments when I feel so alone and so lonely. Lori and I took a step class at the gym tonight. I thought that I wouldn't remember any of the routines but I did better than I thought. I may start doing both step and aerobics classes once again. And, I'll make sure that I stay away from any gym babes. Who needs that noise anyway?

Wednesday December 9
Pops called and left a message last night. He also called today but I wasn't home. He called again tonight just a few minutes after I returned home. Apparently, pops is here in Honolulu for some reason. I will be meeting with him tomorrow for lunch. I'm not sure what to expect. I have not spoken to pops in over a year. My bro and my sister-in-law have probably already spent some time with him. So, no doubt, pops knows that something is up between my bro and I.

Moms finally went to see her doctor today. He prescribed some antibiotics for her. Moms has been ill for over a week. She has spent most of that time in bed. I have been telling her everday to make an appointment with her doctor. She kept refusing. After I told her that she has not been able to do anything for over a week, I think it dawned upon her that she was in bad shape. I hope that the medication helps out. Moms has been going a little stir crazy in the house. It was starting to drive me nuts.

Thursday December 10
I met with pops today at the Pagoda Hotel. Whenever pops visits Honolulu, he stays at the Pagoda. We ate lunch at the the Pagoda restaurant. Unlike other hotel restaurants, the Pagoda Restaurant is pretty good. Pops looked good. He put a little weight on, too. However, his movements were markedly shaky, a distinct sign of Parkinsonian symptoms. As I looked across the table, I saw the image of myself in the future. After lunch, we sat around and talked for a while.
"When are you going to settle down?" he asked, at one point.

"What do you mean?"

"When are you going to get married?" he clarified.

I suppose that he wanted to know because he probably wants more grandchildren. Sadly, I had to assure him that I intend to remain single. Pops drove me back downtown because I had a class to teach. It will be another year before I see him again.

Children are images of their parents. There are always traits that we, as children, have inherited from our parents. How much of my own personality are quirks that I derived from either moms or pops? In their prime, my parents were much different from the way they are now, especially in temperament. Why couldn't they be this way when I was younger? My history would have been significantly different from what it is now.

Data & Wort
Friday December 11
I took Lori and her daughter to dinner and then to see Star Trek: The Insurrection at Kahala Mall. How about that Data, huh? Lori has alleged that I have been much more benevolent since we broke up. I tried to explain to her that I am not trying to win her back or to make up for the past. Her take on the matter ... why didn't I do this while we were together? The answer is that I couldn't. I was in a very precarious situation. At this time I'm not making big bank, but I make enough to feel more secure about myself. Frankly, I feel good. So, I want to share my good fortune. As the days go on, I feel less anxious about being single again. I just want to move on. Maybe it's the Wort.

I may have another teaching assignment at another small private university in January. I will find out on Wednesday. I also have an interview on Tuesday with another university. Never before would I have believed that I'd be teaching at the college level. Of course, I am teaching mostly lower division classes. Still, it's a bit remarkable. In a way, the weakened economy of Hawai'i has been my advantage. Everyone with marketable skills has probably left the islands for greener pastures. I have just enough knowledge to fill the void. A true blessing in disguise.

Call of Steinbeck
Saturday December 12
Caroll called this morning to say hello. She has been extremely depressed because of her financial situation. Let me explain. A few years ago when Caroll and I were both in graduate school, Caroll had decided to move to Salinas because of the "Call of Steinbeck." Actually, she wanted to wipe ths slate clean and escape a relationship that was going nowhere. She worked a number of restaurant jobs that made decent money, so she decided to buy a condominium. The condominium became an albatross for her. It enslaved her and finally brought her into bankruptcy. At this point in time, she wonders whether to forsake the property in order to regain her freedom and sanity. I don't envy her situation.

Caroll would make a fine counselor. She has a diverse mix of experience and empathy to succeed in the field. However, neither she or I completed the graduate program. It's too bad that she didn't. I believe that she would attract quite a few clients. In fact, she helped me to understand the problems of maintaining a friendship after the end of a relationship. "It's gender tension," she said. "Once you have mated with someone, there is a strong bond that remains in place." When the relationship ends, the resulting void is what causes the frustration. Fighting these primitive urges upon seeing one's former mate spurs subliminal resentment. Although this sounds somewhat Freudian, it makes sense. I suspected as much. Caroll, of course, presented this from the feminine perspective and from her own experiences. Now I am beginning to understand why babes react the way they do after a relationship dissolves.

Moms is still sick although she constantly tells me that she is better. She has been coughing continuously all day and night. I offered to go to the store and buy her some cough medicine. She didn't want any more medicine. Her obstinacy is frustrating me. You see, moms has only one functional lung since her bout with tuberculosis many years ago. I know that the coughing is not doing her any good. Yet, I cannot force her to do anything against her will. Finally, thanks to Stephen (stwarren@interchange.ubc.ca) for writing!

Sunday December 13
The friendship between Lori and I has been mummified. I have tried to be sympathetic with Lori's situation but I can no longer tolerate the verbal abuse. She blames me for all that has gone wrong. I told her that we should both apologize to each other. She felt that an apology from her was not warranted.

Both Lori and Caroll suggested that I pray. So, that's what I did. I believe that prayer is what kept me from becoming bitterly resentful. It was my turnaround point. Everything gradually improved. I have maintained my humility to the best of my ability.

Other Cheek
Monday December 14
Lori sent me an apology by e-mail last night. I read it this morning. She claims not to have remembered anything that transpired. She had been drinking all afternoon and, from what I could see, some of it was hard liquor. Her take on the matter ... she was running away from the reality of a failed relationship.

I should actually turn the other cheek, as it were. After all, these are only words being hurled at me. I should be more compassionate about Lori's situation. She may not deal with stress in the same way that I do. Verbally accosting me accomplishes little but it may be her way of crying for help. I can and should offer that help no matter what. Otherwise, I would be a hypocrite. The greatest reward is not having others give thanks for a good deed. It's the satisfaction of having done it. It serves a higher purpose in the troglodyte scheme of things. If I give in and become an uncaring and selfish person, then I have helped humanity to take a step backward. What good is that?

Go East
Wednesday December 16
I had an interview with another university yesterday. I passed the first interview and have been invited to the second round. I don't know whether I am going over my head by trying to accumulate so many teaching assignments. However, I have no choice. This is finals week so I am wrapping up the term at Hawai'i Pacific University. This morning, I met with the department head of Chaminade University. I have been offered an assignment there, so I have another class to teach commencing in mid-January. I will have two weeks of vacation starting this Friday. I am seriously considering a vacation Why not?
New Day
Thursday December 17
As I sat outside in the warm Hawai'ian sun yesterday, I realized how oblivious I have been to the turmoil and suffering occurring halfway around the world. The only turmoil I have experienced is a stupid domestic tiff that has gone on too long. I see now how good I have it, and I am extremely thankful for this. In the span of four months, I have managed to turn my life around. I pulled myself out of the abyss and out of chronic unemployment. I will be teaching at two universities and a business college. Don't worry, I'm not making big bank. So, I'm basically still a pauper. The real change is that I have a purpose in life. And, I don't have to be dependent on anyone. I always want to maintain my humility. I believe that this alone is the key to success in life. What is success anyway? It's a measure of one's own abilities. Comparing oneself to other people will only lead to grief.

I want to thank all of you for being so patient with the ol' lavahead during his time of stupidity. Thanks to Marc (mglamb@moon.jic.com) for writing in! I also heard from Steve who was also a roommate of mine back in the old days along with Skip. This has been an interesting week for e-mail. The Bull (EquityBull@aol.com) is going to be a real father. Is that unbelievable or what? It's a new day, my friends. I am thankful to be here to enjoy it.

New Day Again
Friday December 18

I don't expect anyone to side with me. I am not running a Kangaroo Court here. As I've mentioned before, I am not soliciting sympathy or making myself out to be a martyr. I think that it's been pretty obvious that I have been trying to make sense of a chaotic life more than anything else. This journal is about the ol' lavahead's life. When someone or something significantly impacts that life, it gets included in the journal. So, given that, I find that we both have no choice but to follow the advice of many people including Robert (rbryant@mci2000.com) who said, "I'm afraid that too much has been said, and too much pain inflicted to try to salvage a friendship at this point ... Just make sure that you learn whatever lessons are to be learned from it, and try to avoid getting into the same situation again. Too many people don't learn life's lessons, and they go through life miserable and lonely. You don't have to be one of them." There's no need to second guess the circumstances. There's only one way to remove the subject matter ... mummify it. With that, all is said and done. There will be no more hurt and pain.

Post Mortem
Saturday December 19

I want to take this last opportunity to give thanks to Lori for staying at my side for two years. I know that this comes after-the-fact. I mentioned before that, were it not for her, I probably would have never returned to Hawai'i. She has been through some tough times as well. I know that I could have been a better partner, and my efforts came a little too late.

All that to say I will always remember the good times that we had. I will remember Lori as the object of my affection that I once held dear to my heart. I will remember the times I couldn't stand to be apart from her. Both of us worked real hard to even the score in this war. Well, we succeeded. Nobody really won. Now, we don't even speak to each other. It's funny how we both claim love for the other even in the midst of battle. Should I have paid more homage to her in these pages? Probably. As the journal turned more inward, I began to focus on serious issues. Issues that were affecting my life. My intention was not to turn Lori into some kind of beast. Perhaps that is what I did. I have no close friends to turn to here. If I did, none of this would have appeared in the journal. Maybe it was wrong to discuss my private life with total strangers. Yet, the strangers who stepped forward did not side with anyone. Rather, they helped me to understand the situation. They offered compassion and empathy. They offered alternative views. One even suggested that I start pacing.

As you know, I have a propensity to focus on the negative aspects of a situation. This is not because I am a pessimist. This is because I assume that the problem can be fixed in an efficient manner. After all, I am an engineer. Once an engineer, always an engineer. I try to dissect a problem into components I can identify and then I perform an analysis. The process went awry. Lori and I are two people who could have made it together. At one time, we did see eye-to-eye and had common goals. We were in love. Many things changed. Lori says it was me. I'll just leave it at that. I can only apologize for my own foolishness and ask that I be forgiven.

The Journalist's Dilemma is what is faced everyday by people who really work in the field and small-time operators like the competitor and I. The competitor gave in to the forces that be in order to preserve harmony. I continue to blunder forward toward some end that I cannot even perceive. There is a purpose. There must be a purpose, or I wouldn't be here.

Back to Cali
Sunday December 20
On Friday, I decided that I will make my return to Cali. I managed to secure airline tickets to San Francisco and back for a reasonable fare. The travel agent was surprised that I was able to get anything at this late date. I'm flying out tommorow. I need this break because I'm ready to have a nervous breakdown. And, there's still stuff going on behind the scenes here. However, I will not be reporting any of that anymore. All I know is that it is affecting my work. It is affecting my sleep. It is affecting my whole life. I can sympathize with Bill Clinton right now. Stuff like this can drive a man nuts.

I had second thoughts about the trip and I almost cancelled it entirely. However, I would have had to forfeit almost all of the cost of the airfare to do that. So, the decision was basically made for me. I may change the date of my return flight. It will cost $100 to do so, but it may cost a lot more for me to stay there. I should have most of my business done in two days. After that, I will just be visiting friends.

I bought a cheap travel bag at Ross, so I'm ready to pack up my junks. I'm not sure whether I'll take my computer or not. I may not even take my beloved cell phone (which I reactivated). I have no itinerary. I'm not sure where I'm going aside from Convalescent City. I'm not even sure where I'll be staying. This seems to be the way I always travel. There should be some interesting tales nonetheless. Of course, without my computer, I will have to rely on memory. All I'm doing today is getting ready for my trip. We'll see y'all in Cali!

City of Refuge
Monday December 21
I got up early and took the bus to the airport. I checked in and ended up waiting for about five hours. My flight was delayed because the plane was coming from Gatesville and bad weather apparently was the cause. I am not extremely excited about this trip. I know that I need to get away from what has been going on, but something just does not seem right about it. I am worried about moms. She is doing much better but she still isn't feeling all that well yet. There really isn't much to do on a plane. I don't care to watch the movie since I usually sit way in the back. Why is the screen always so small on these planes. One would need a pair of binoculars to see anything. I have been thinking about all that has transpired in the last few weeks. Just by being in the air over the Pacific Ocean seemed to give me a different perspective. What has happened to me in the last few months? I was unemployed for seven months out of eight this year. I spent three months painting moms' house, which kept me busy. Then, I went through my Time of Reckoning from mid-July to the end of August. Finally, my long-time relationship came to a tragic end. In retrospect, the year has gone by much too quickly. This is real life, I suppose.

I remember when I was shuttling to and from Hawai'i and Oregon. That was the heyday of the relationship. It brought drama and uncertainty to the table, but it also had an element of excitement and anticipation. I don't feel that tinge of anxiety on this trip. It seems so routine in comparison. When I got up and went to the restroom, I recalled the times that I wept in the very same small cramped space. Either I was leaving moms at home or leaving the love of my life. My eyes teared up for a moment, but it was not the same.

The last time I was in San Francisco was over two years ago. That's when baby and I met for a weekend getaway. Yes, I was the monk. She was baby. It was a time of gentle yet passionate discovery. That was then, this is now. I'll only be in San Francisco briefly this evening, just long enough to remember this glimpse of the past. It is strange to see how that relationship turned into a battleground. We completely destroyed it and reduced it to rubble. In the aftermath, we are still heaving rocks at each other. I doubt that there will be any way to rebuild it. The very foundation has already crumbled in the war. What has happened to us? Part of the healing process is to forgive, whether it be oneself, the once significant other, or both. Remembering the good times is an essential component of healing. I will never see baby again, but I can remember who she was.

Cali was once my oasis. My City of Dreams. Today, it is my City of Refuge. I am running but I know I can't hide. I am merely seeking sanctuary to rediscover myself. Not just who I am, but who I was.

The Old Man Noises Continue
Old man noises. Ruminations of the past and present. One day, I'll just clear my throat of all of this phlegm for one last time. In the meantime, I just have to make a few more odd sounds. Let's hele on to the next chapter now, shall we?

The Keeper of Lost Lives: Old Man Noises

© Copyright 1998 by The Keeper of Lost Lives
LoserNettm Love It, or Lose It.