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Old Man Noises
"City of Refuge"

No Answers
Tuesday December 22, 1998

The weather in Cali has been freezing because of an unusual cold front. Naturally, I am still wearing shorts. I'm not exactly sure that I want to move to the mainland anymore. I am too acclimated to the warm weather in Hawai'i. I guess I didn't know how good I had it over there. Well, now I know for sure.

It doesn't really matter where I am or what I am doing here in Cali. This basically is a spiritual journey. I found myself in Monterey briefly. It has been years since I've been in this small coastal town. Lunch today was at the Mucky Duck. I've noticed that there is not a whole lot that is different between most of the small towns in Cali. Only the beautiful coastline distinguishes Monterey from the rest. However, the dark blue Pacific Ocean is uninvitingly cold. Nothing like the warm waters in Hawai'i.

I am moving at a pace that is more suitable for Maui. I have yet to plan out my itinerary. I am somewhat at peace with myself, although I still feel the undercurrents of my not-so-distant past tugging at me. Perhaps there is no City of Refuge. I search for answers, but the answers are not here in Cali.

Boy in the Army
Wednesday December 23
I have done absolutely nothing since I arrived in Cali. I'm not exactly sure why I am here. I have been absorbed in thought about all that has gone on in the past few weeks. My thoughts, however, are jaded and I am in total confusion. If I had to guess, I'd say that I am going through a bereavement. I am finally in mourning. I know that I will soon be amongst many friends, but I feel like a stranger. An outcast. I am beginning to see what was meant by "issues of failed relationship" as told to me in e-mail. Part of my problem is that I fail to understand the feminine mind. This is a dilemma that all guys face. As Caroll once said, it's similar to being "stuck on stupid." For guys, it's being "stuck on the guy thing." Similarly, babes get "stuck on the babe thing." Guys are probably much easier to understand than babes. Guys are usually less emotional. Even Annie said that, as a babe, she didn't quite understand some of the things she herself does. I have placed a lot of emphasis on trying to understand what has been going on recently. I have tried to analyze everything. Well, hey! I'm an engineer! As it turns out, there is nothing to understand per se. There is no explanation for the peculiar behavior of babes except that it's inherent in femininity. Here I have been trying to figure this thing out and there's nothing to figure out. It must just be accepted on face value. End subject. Do babes just accept the way guys are on face value? Apparently.

Accepting this puzzling phenomenon is one thing. However, what's a guy to do while this emotionality is being played out? The Bull (EquityBull@aol.com) described his own relationship as torrential, just as mine was. His solution was to spend more time with his business. In my own situation, I chose to defend myself at any cost. Wrong response. Pride was at play once again, only this time it was me. There were probably several different proper responses. I just didn't have a clue about any of them. I'm still a boy in the army.

Thursday December 24
My little red rent-a-car and I finally hit the road today. I met Neal (niall@allover.com) at the Lyon's in Morgan Hill. Meeting a virtual homey for the first time is always a nervous experience for me. This is because I usually know a lot less about the person than that person knows about me. I am also a little self-conscious about the oversized cranium. I often wonder why anyone would want to meet the ol' lavahead. We had a nice chat over lunch. Neal showed me pictures of the trip that he and his wife took to Hawai'i. As we talked, I realized that most readers and I share a common thread. Our life experiences are similar, although our respective interpretations may be different. The feedback I receive from people is the most important aspect of my interaction. As I shook Neal's hand and bid him farewell, I realized that I made another friendship that would never have been possible without the journal.

The drive to Modesto was much more intense than I expected. The holiday traffic was heavy. I spent most of my drive time in contemplation. I arrived at John's place at about 4pm. I spent a few minutes talking with John and his wife Julie. Their son Gianni has grown quite a bit. He is a handsome kid. Then, we were off to John's sister's place for dinner. It was a family gathering. I was made to feel quite at home even though I was the only outsider. After dinner, John realized that he forgot to blow out a candle at home before leaving. So, I rode home with him. We got there to find the candle completely melted but there was no serious damage. I managed to call moms before we returned to the dinner party.

When we returned home, we ended up talking to 4 o' clock in the morning. There was much to catch up with. Julie was recently reunited with her natural mother for the first time since she was adopted 36 years ago. I could not even imagine what it would be like to not have known moms for most of my life. We also discussed my own situation. I appreciated the input. I am still very confused but I see that the purpose of my trip is becoming much more apparent. John and Julie have gone through some tough times in the past. They separated for a while and later reconciled. There was a lot to forgive and forget. Of course, that takes time. I am sure that they have many more hurdles to jump. I am glad that they stayed together as I consider both of them to be my good friends. Finally thanks to (jconnoll@bellatlantic.net) for writing in!

Parallel Lines
Friday December 25
In my discussions with Julie, I have come to realize that I must fall into the typical stupid guy category. I do things just like the stereotypical guy especially when it comes to relationships. When Julie describes some of her domestic experiences, she could have easily been talking about the ol' lavahead. Although she believes that everyone should transcend gender lines, she also said many things that were almost verbatim to what I have heard in the past few weeks. Very scary, to say the least. I think that most guys are ill-prepared to be in relationships with babes. Even having more "experience" does not seem to matter. We tend to repeat the same mistakes. However, I think that babes do the same thing. Julie has been reading a book titled A Woman's Worth. It seems to be a decent attempt at bridging the gender rift. Women seem to be more socially equipped to be in relationships but that, in and of itself, does not mean that they are truly emotionally prepared to deal with guys. There has been an infinite amount of research, analysis and conjecture about this problem yet nothing seems to change. Why? The reason is simple. The actual problem only exists between the two participants. All of this other third-party nonsense is just extraneous noise. Communicating wants and needs to a partner is one thing. Helping that partner to learn how to accomplish these tasks is another.

Where do we go from here? My own journey continues. The one thing that I have learned is that there is no hope in salvaging anything from what has happened in the past few months. It's a done deal. This is a hard pill to swallow but there is no other choice. I believe that this trip had one primary purpose ... I have to be alone to complete the mourning process. I also needed the companionship of close friends. I don't bemoan my problems to them, but they know that I am still in grief. There's good grief and bad grief. I'm not exactly sure which I am going through.

Passing Through
Saturday December 26
I met with Steve today at Starbuck's for coffee. It has been over five years since I seen him last. We talked for about an hour. Steve updated me about his life. I chose to remain ambiguous about my own life even though there is little that is secret. I wanted to visit a few other friends from the distant past but I may pre-empt that event until my next sojourn to Cali.

I went along with John and his son to Target. They had to return a gift. As they stood in line, I watched the people around the store. I was reminded of what was told to me in e-mail ... "Me, I am going to live this life, live it, not just pass though it." I reflected on this statement. How many people are just passing through their lives? It certainly seems like most of the people I observe are doing that. Most of the people I know are also doing the same. Yet, they appear to be satisfied with living a mundane life. Most of life is a routine. In comparison, I live a somewhat more exciting life than most of the people I know. Yet, it had been implied that I am merely passing through life. Perhaps my expectations are somewhat lower than others. Yes, it's interesting. I know a lot of homebodies. They watch the tube a lot. They rarely go out even to see a movie. They dine out only when a friend visits town. Does that mean they are not living their lives? I have been very fortunate. I have been blessed with the freedom and the resources to share this mundane experience with others. Some may argue that I am wasting my life by doing this. I think that I am experiencing life and living it as well.

Sunday December 27
I went along with John and his family to Knight's Ferry, an historic site along the Stanislaus River. We spent a couple of hours hiking around the area. It was nice to get out into the wilderness. Well, that's as close to non-civilization as one can get without travelling for days. It was nice to be in a quiet place. As I walked about, I felt a chill run through me. I felt truly alone out in this great expanse.

I was supposed to leave for Convalescent City today. Somehow I did not feel like leaving. I have no idea why but I am sinking into the abyss. No, I didn't forget to bring the Wort. Here I am in Cali ... I'm supposed to be having a great time but I am grieving instead. It's totally absurd. The problem is that I am technically not on vacation. I am here on business. I'm trying to put my life back together. Frankly, I did not want to part company with my friends during my most vulnerable moment. I was seeking a City of Refuge. I don't know why I feel so alone. I am even dreading my return to Hawai'i. Closure is going to be more difficult to attain than I imagined. I suppose that I am prolonging my trek to Convalescent City in order to avoid the inevitable. Nothing will be the same. I have observed too many changes along the way. I already know that most of my friends who were single before I left will now be involved in various stages of relationships. Once again, I am being left behind. That's why I am truly alone. Tomorrow, I make the trek to Convalescent City. I face the demons of the mind once again as I will for the rest of my life.

Monday December 28
I missed the 680 freeway on-ramp three times. I have no idea whether I was just in a coma from lack of sleep or not. John and I had managed to talk into the wee hours of the morning every night. I opted to drive the long way so that I could take in the scenery. There has not been much rain in Cali. The dried grass on the foothills were brown. When I finally made it over Cuesta Grade and descended into the fertile valley that cradles Convalescent City, I was afforded a view that I had not seen in two years. I felt anxious as I made the exit off of the 101 freeway. I was back at the beginning ...

This was the beginning of the strange journey I now call my life. John and I reminisced about the times that preceeded the journal. Oh, if only had a copy of the handwritten journal of those days! I had not called in advance so I was not exactly sure if anybody was around or that I would have a place to stay. I failed in my initial attempts to contact Tom and Big John. I was ready to lose it. Fortunately, I managed to contact The Bull. I met him at his palatial manor. I met his future wife Chantell for the first time. We talked for a while. Then, The Bull called the Cardinal. We met the Cardinal downtown at Starbuck's. While we were drinking coffee, Matt showed up. The Cardinal had called him before meeting with us.

Matt wanted us to see his new palatial manor. So, we drove out to see the $1.5 million estate on the outskirts of town. Sheer opulence is the only way I can describe the experience. Matt's wine collection alone was more than my net worth. Matt offered to let me stay in the guest house. Mind you, the guest house was a mirror of his master bedroom. It was difficult but I declined. However, I came to realize why I had been Matt's boy all these years. I called Tom from Matt's place and made arrangements to stay at his place.

Tom was in much better spirits than I expected. I was soon to learn why. We talked briefly before departing for Hudson's. I had not eaten anything but half of a bagel all day so I was famished. Hudson's looked exactly the same. As I sat and talked with Tom, I felt as if I had never left. Tom disclosed to me that he has a new squeeze. She has made a significant impact in his life. We continued our discussions into the wee hours of the morning. There was a lot more to catch up on than I thought. All in all, it felt good to be back. I'm getting my groove back.

Tuesday December 29
The Bull did not show up for lunch today. Matt and I managed to enjoy a great meal regardless of The Bull's conspicuous absence. Matt gave me a short history of how he accumulated his wealth. He also gave me a few encouraging tips to follow in his footsteps. Do you see why I'm Matt's boy? I don't know whether he feels that I can do much better for myself or he just feels sorry for the oversized cranium. Nonetheless, I should take Matt's suggestions seriously. I am on my own now and I should identify any viable options to fend for myself.

I drove out toward Avila Beach before lunch. Tom had told me yesterday that most of the beach front has been torn up because of an underground oil spillage. I was distressed when I saw that part of the town had been leveled. Fortunately, the beach was untouched. I stayed for a while to appreciate the scenery. After all, it will be some time before I view this beautiful coastline again. I'm not exactly sure whether I will be heading north tomorrow. I am still contemplating whether I should move my departure date up to Thursday. Why do I need to return to Hawai'i any earlier than planned?

Wednesday December 30
The view of Morro Bay from the hill above the golf course was spectacular. Tom and I hiked to the top and spent some time taking in the view. I came to realize how fortunate I was to have lived in this area. This was the most relaxed I've been. Tom and I discussed a number of things including life and unemployment. I am beginning to see more of the inner workings of my own time of reckoning, and I can now see what happens to people who go through similar experiences. Pride is what kept me from accepting help, although I've admitted to that before. Tom has given me new insight into old situations. By the way, Tom has secured an adjunct faculty position at the local junior college.

The Bull, the Cardinal, and I ate dinner tonight at McClintock's. This was the capstone event of my visit to Convalescent City. The Cardinal gave me tips on how to deal with babes. Strange, considering that he claims to be a monk. The Bull discussed his current situation and upcoming marriage. The Bull has come a long way from player to family man. No one has heard from the Bishop. I bid my friends farewell. I felt sad that I will not see them again for a long time. Shortly afterward, I met Skip and his wife Lorraine at the Barnes & Noble Café. Yes, they are now married. They have purchased a cozy place in a rural setting just a few miles out of town. So many things have changed.

I think I've gotten my male bonding in for the upcoming year. This is just what the doctor ordered. Guys need the company of other guys. In retrospect, I believe that I would have fared better during my time of reckoning if I had my old gang around. These days the slapstick antics are gone but we still share quite a few laughs together. And, laughter is always the best medicine.

Party Like It's 1999
Thursday December 31
There is nothing like having breakfast while enjoying the spectacular view of the coast. That's what Tom and I did this morning at the Spyglass Inn in Shell Beach. This is the same restaurant that the infamous all-you-can-eat crab night events took place. I also stopped by Skip's place out in the country. He and Lorraine have a comfortable home on about an acre of land. The whole area is pretty much a forest of oak trees. The air was so fresh. Skip has finally come home. I have enjoyed my visit to Convalescent City. As it turns out, I was apprehensive for nothing. Now, I don't even feel like leaving. I don't want to go back to being alone again.

I have had a lot of time to think about my old relationship. Somehow, I still seem to have hope that things will work out. Amazing, isn't it? I don't want to just throw out the last two years of my life. I wish that I could wave my hands and make everything right. I wish that I could undo my faulty decisions. I wish that I could take back the many things that I have said and done. I have failed miserably. My attempts at reconciliation only made things worse. The journey to Cali was supposed to help me sort through these issues. Instead, it has only served to obfuscate them. What do I do now? Maybe I should party like it's 1999. Or, perhaps I should change my name to The Putz Formerly Known as Lavahead.

Well, the end of the year is finally upon us. New Year's Eve. I did not go out partying or anything like that. In fact, all I did was vegetate. I am tired. My excitement today was to lock myself out of the rental car, which cost me some dough to remedy. I did experience some anxiety about staying in tonight. I know that everyone is celebrating. In Hawai'i, New Year's Eve is a big event. The neighbors are having a big block party again. I will not be there to attend.

New Year's Day 1999
My last two days in Cali ... I will not be doing much except winding down from a hectic schedule. I don't know if I accomplished much here. Psychologically, I felt better for a while. I should be stronger now, and ready to accept the challenges ahead. Instead, I feel weak. What a way to start the new year!

I was very hesitant about making the call. I had not spoken with John for 13 years. We were close friends back then. In fact, I met my first ex-babe Susan (at right) through him about 22 years ago. I was surprised that he remembered me when I finally did make the call. We agreed to meet in Capitola. We spent the afternoon catching up on the last 13 years. This was one of the more poignant moments in my life. If there was an event that justified this whole journey, this was it. John is still a computer nerd. Heck, I remember when he bought one of those Cromenco computers. Aside from trying to get me to convert to Linux, John provided me with an important link to the past.

Saturday January 2
John met me in Capitola again, this time to pick me up. The drive to San José on Highway 17 was one I haven't taken for a long time. Once again, we talked along the way and continued updating each other about the last 13 years. We also stopped off at Fry's, a large computer nerd store. I haven't done the nerd thing in months. John filled me in on some details about the other people we once knew. Most of the details were sketchy since John had lost touch with many of them a long time ago.

When we finally returned to John's place, I felt some anxiety again. I would be meeting the rest of John's family. His wife Linda still remembered me. The two boys, Tim and Todd, are now in college. And, his daughter Vicki is 13 years old. We all went to dinner at El Burro, an excellent Mexican restaurant located in the Pruneyard. After dinner, John and I spent the rest of the evening nerding out in John's nerd room. I even pointed him to LoserNet. Well, hey! It's hard to escape the computer nerd life when one is in the heart of Silicon Valley! Sheesh!

Home Again
Sunday January 3
This is the day that I have been dreading. It's the day that I return to the reality of my situation. John drove me to the airport this morning. He kept me company until it was time for me to board the plane. I was overcome by sadness as I settled into my seat on the plane. The last two weeks have been hectic but enjoyable. I have attempted to socialize with my friends in Cali in a concentrated fashion to compensate for the void that I have experienced in the last two years as well as the void I will be experiencing once I return to Hawai'i. I don't know why I have had so much difficulty in making new friends. If I don't overcome this problem, I may return to Cali sooner than expected. I have no choice. Otherwise, I'll end up losing my mind.

I took the bus home. It was a less than exciting ride. I made it back by three o' clock. There were messages and a stack of mail. That's what I hate about returning from a trip. There's always business to attend to. There was a notice from the gym. It is going out of business in two weeks. If it isn't one thing, then it's another. So, I will have to look for a new gym. There were assorted bills and I also received cards from The Bull and Robert (rbryant@mci2000.com). Tomorrow, it's back to the old grind. Sheesh!

Monday January 4
I felt as though I was "in a funk" (as Steph would say). For one thing, I am extremely tired from my trip. My patience is at an all-time low. And, I am beginning to lament at the Wailing Wall about my defunct relationship. The same sickening wallowing about nothing is coming back like an old sitcom. They say that it's part of the grieving process. Who the heck is "they"? You know, whenever I hear someone refer to "they" when making some kind of blanket statement, I just want to break out an axe and splinter everything in sight. Why? Because "they" seem to have an answer for everything but no one seems to know who "they" are. Old men who make strange noises do not accept answers from non-entities.

Speaking of non-entities, I was not able to contact The Master when I was in Convalescent City. I also neglected to mention that I met up with Big John. He seems to be doing fine although he recently found out that he has diabetes. I also tried to contact JD so I could find out what happened to Rod. I usually hear from Rod every year since we share the same B-day. This year, he never called. Well, there's another friend whom I will have to track down.

Tuesday January 5
I think that I am finally coming to grips with my obsession about my defunct relationship. It was starting to eat at me from the inside out. No amount of pondering and contemplation is going to change anything. My trip to Cali only served to prolong the grieving. Many people have tried to talk some sense into the ol' lavahead. A few pumice chips may have been broadcast like shrapnel during the process but things appear to have settled down. I have also decided to discard most of the e-mail I had archived on the subject. It was only beginning to serve as a sore spot anyway. I have got to get on with my life.

I need to find a new gym. I am thinking of joining the one in Waikiki. Why not? Most of the people who go there are tourists. I seem to get along better with the mainlanders anyway. Maybe I'll find a gym babe there, huh? I bet you thought you caught me, didn't you? I'm a monk, for goodness sakes! Seriously, perhaps I should just go for broke and start skinnin' up all of these gym babes like Clare. Remember my favorite car pool buddy Clare? Sheesh! I need to break out the Thorazine already. I'm beginning to lose it. These kinds of psychotic reactions can occur after a traumatic experience.

Master Plan
Wednesday January 6
The Master Plan is still in effect. As you can probably guess, my contingency plan is to move back to Cali. Initially, I want to move there for part of the year. The contingency part is whether I can find a job or not. I'll continue to live in Hawai'i as long as possible. Then, when the time is right, I'll just move there permanently. Hawai'i is actually a very unfriendly place. People are nice but they will not let you into their closed circles unless you have some kind of connection, be it familial or otherwise. Without that connection, one is stuck being an outsider. I have been away for so long that even most of my family do not know that I exist. I am a non-entity.

I am essentially alone now. Although, I live with moms, I am alone. It is an embarrassing situation to be living with moms but I will use this time wisely to get myself financially viable. Matt's words echo through my mind daily. I know that I need to begin investing my paltry savings. I will be indebted to the loan people for ten years no matter what. The sooner I begin to develop a financial plan, the sooner I'll get out of this mess. In some respects, babes are fortunate. They can find rich studs to support them if all else fails. A guy is just relegated to being a loser, a derelict.

The babe situation is now a moot point. I'm not in a position to find another babe. I don't preclude the occurance of this phenomenon, but it looks slim at this point in time. Frankly, I need to see The Master. I need his guidance now more than ever. What happens if an incredible gym babe were to come along and show interest in the ol' lavahead? Will I jump into the fire like a desperate fool? First, that would never happen. And, if it did, well what can I say?

Coming Clean ... My Turn
Thursday January 7

This is anything but a juicy confession. It is a summary of my transgressions in my previous relationship. Perhaps I never made it clear that I was not the perfect mate. I mentioned before that I have tried numerous times to end the relationship. I used little tact or consideration when I did so. I was prone to tirades which included cussing and yelling. Many times, there was no clear or justified reason for my actions. I felt like a trapped rat, not because of my relationship, but because I was going nowhere quickly. My significant other took the brunt of my verbal abuse just because she was there. If ever there was confusion about my participation in this debacle, this should clear up any questions. I was downright mean and ornery at times. I reduced her to tears. There is nothing that I can say or do now to change that. My apologies did little to prevent the emotional scars that resulted.

I have been told that I included false information in this journal and that I made unfounded accusations that should be retracted. If I have deceived anyone concerning this matter, then I must clear it up now. Much of what has been written recently is my interpretation of what has been going on. It is a written account of my own thought processes. When I was losin' it, you were right here with me. When I became paranoid, you were here with me. If anything, these accounts bear witness to my flawed character and are testimony to my own foolishness. I have never wanted to hurt anyone, especially not someone I loved and cared about. Then, why don't I remove these insidious journal entries? I can't because I must preserve my own integrity. I hope that this clears up that I am less than perfect and that there is also a dark and nefarious side to the oversized cranium. In time, I hope that all, including those I loved, will forgive me.

Zip It Up, Fool!
Friday January 8

In response to my "coming clean," Barbara (brossmoore@yahoo.com) wrote, "Living with other humans especially the opposite gender is tough and a constant learning experience. To tell you the truth it is down right exhausting. Think about all the people you saw in Cali, they were male so things flowed a bit easier. We communicate better with our own sex. I think girls are more fun because we aren't so serious. Guys can be fun if you don't have the sex thing going between you. But once you cross that line we (both partners) become territorial and less considerate. Go figure that out?" I knew it! It's all because of the wild thing. I see now that my call in life is to write a self-help book for guys. I should call it, Zip It Up, Fool!

The closing of the gym is really causing a furor. This is the first time that most of the members are talking freely with each other. That seems to be the way it works ... a crisis brings people together. I will be spending some time in looking for a new gym. I also have to consider alternative activities (like hiking or kayaking) since the commute time to the nearest gym will be about an hour each way. The cost of joining another gym is another story. Most of the other gyms have membership and initiation fees (read: sales commissions) which will make the gym a line item in my paltry budget.

Saturday January 9
The days seem to blend into each other. The sunsets are redundant signals of yet another day's end. And I ... I am the Keeper of Lost Lives. I am also The Keeper of Lost Days. The Bose Acoustic Wave is collecting dust. The Time Bomb is still ticking away. My six-four is turning into a rust heap. My cell phone is a paperweight. My beloved computer is now a hurdy gurdy gateway. Just kidding! Time can be your friend. Or, it can be your worst enemy. Where has the time gone?

An early morning hike up Diamond Head ... the search for a new gym ... another day in Paradise. I will start teaching at Chaminade University this week. I also discovered that the loan people have gypped me of out four months of my deferment. Although I already paid off almost half of the principal, I knew that I would still be treated like a common criminal by the cash vampires. I can't believe how anybody can stand to be in debt for most of their lives to these leeches. It's probably time for me to think about a new contingency. I need to save my dough and move to some obscure town off of the coast of Mexico permanently.

Sunday January 10
Do you ever stop and wonder why your life is so out of control? I ponder this situation almost daily. It baffles me to see how a simpleton like myself can end up in the predicaments that I do. Yet, my life has been reduced to the mundane. There are no more adventures. I will be working two days per week. Yep, all my classes will be on Tuesday and Thursday. The rest of the time is open. Open for what? I can only keep myself occupied with busy work for so long. I am not a wage slave. I am merely a slave. Everything has unraveled at the seams, and I am attempting to sew the fabric of my existence back together with a needle and no thread.

Simplicity was always the key for me. I leveraged my future to live in simplicity for a number of years. That only proves that there is no such thing as simplicity. It is just another option that has to be purchased. It costs about as much as opulence and indulgence, only one ends up with nothing. Well, it makes moving a lot easier. The real wealth that I have is time, but it is time alone. And, I am squandering this precious resource because I have no dough. Time without dough means nothing. The converse is also true. Herein lies the dilemma.

Demon Seed
Monday January 11
I once thought that I was possessed by the demons, those evil minions of the sinister kahuna. There is no way I could actually prove that. However, I did notice specific relief when I sought help from the Creator through prayer. There are many ways to become a slave of the demons. The easiest way is to just welcome them in. It does not take much except a willingness to succumb. Joining Club Cobra is the equivalent of opening an express route to the sinister ones. Tantalizing one's heart with vices is another. Evil lurks all about us. We just need to lower our shields for a fraction of a second. Poof! Then, it's all over but the cryin'. You've read what the demons had done to the ol' lavahead. His thinking went askew. I still feel the presence of the demon entities around me. I know they are here. Although I am a monk, I cannot exorcise the demons from someone who is possessed. Only that person has the power to expel them. The demons feed on emotions like anger and despair. They grow stronger and stronger until they destroy everything but the human shell. Be careful of the demons, my friends. Don't doubt their power or existence, or you may become another victim.
Dream Weave
Tuesday January 12
I received my student evaluations summary yesterday. My ratings were consistantly high, so I won't be fired just yet. In one of the comment forms, a student wrote, "We love you, Professor Lavahead." I just hope the Dean did not see this. Sheesh! Tom told me that there were tenured faculty positions opening up at the community college he will be teaching at. This is a ground floor opportunity in the new Information Technology department. It could be the only break I have to move back to Convalescent City. I will apply for the position because I have no reason to remain in Hawai'i anyway. As a faculty member, I will have many more vacations than a wage slave. I can still return home to visit moms. For now, it's just a dream.

I have many other dreams but they are being quashed by my own stupidity as well as reality. Reality can be a hard medicine to swallow. I talked about the sinister kahuna yesterday for a reason. I have noticed an interesting phenomenon in my life. I can tell when things are going to go smooth. I can sense when that window is there. I can also tell when that window closes. It's a strange form of déjà vu. Maybe my intuitive skills have increased. I just seem to know when the sinister one is going to strike next.

These Days
Wednesday January 13
I have overused the term "end of an era," but there is probably no other way to describe these times. The gym is closing. I am divesting more of my stuff again. Everything I own with the exception of my six-four can fit in one suitcase and a carry-on bag. I will be discontinuing my cell phone service again. My trusty credit card with gasoline rebates is no longer. I have broken my chain of sobriety with my moderate imbibing of wine. I will begin my loan payments. My time of grieving is just about over. So many changes have taken place.

I am ruminating but I am not making any old man noises. Something is wrong. Perhaps it is time that I go into seclusion. Writing seclusion, that is. Suffice to say, this is a new year with promise. We can move ahead or stay where we are. Perhaps it's also time that I write only when I feel like it or when there is something interesting to discuss. It's the end of an era.

Thursday January 14
As I mentioned the other day, I can sense when things are going to go smooth. That window of opportunity closed just prior to my departure to Cali. I don't know why but, ever since, I have felt a negative energy working against me. That's the reason I postponed the second phase of my interview with another university. My current classes don't appear to be running very well either. Something is clearly wrong. Perhaps it's due to bad biorythms, or maybe a bad batch of Wort. In any case, my confidence is waning.

It's time for me to assess my situation, too. I've been in limbo now for months because I perceived that it was necessary to have someone else around for my existence to be complete. Even the journal reflected that. This, of course, is a common perception. I don't know many single people these days. And, they don't plan on remaining single if they can help it. Singularity is a pure concept ... the ultimate prime number. Yet, it can be the loneliest number.

No Refuge
Friday January 15
A beautiful stroll in the Koko Crater botanical garden, a nice hike to the Makapu'u lighthouse, hottubbing at the gym for the last time ... one would almost think that I've made a comeback. Looks are deceiving, are they not? My struggle continues and the climb is still upward.

The concept of the City of Refuge is now superfluous. There is no refuge.

Saturday January 16
It seemed as if I had foresaken my Creator and allied with the sinister kahuna. I had partaken of the evil fire water for these last two days. I didn't have to, mind you. But, I had to approach the demons on their own turf. I had to face them eye-to-eye to observe their true ugliness. I had to smell their stench. And, I had to listen to the foul crap uttered from their putrid lips. Within the pupils of their dilated eyes, I saw the fire and the brimstone. The demons have tried to touch my soul with their deadly fingers. I rose with my arms outstretched and bellowed, "Step back, sinister ones!" They vanished. I have hastily discarded the memorabilia and dungy idols of my recent past in an attempt to purge the evil and to break with that past. The point of no return is here. Everything has worked out in such a way to facilitate this timely end.

As I downed my 40-dog of some obscure stew of hops and barley, I realized the futility of it all. The fire water makes one see things that aren't there. It facilitates anger because it causes the mind to distort the truth. With prolonged usage, one finds that truth doesn't exist. Truth becomes a fleeting concept rather than an axiom. I have neither the time or the resources to argue fictional truth or situational ethics. The evil ones thrive on these concepts in order to bamboozle the unsuspecting fool and lure the foolish one into their sacrilegious lair. There is a way to avoid becoming another victim. Look into their eyes, my friends. If you see the fire, then run the other way.

Pelican Brief
Monday January 18
The Board of Directors have decided to replace the ol' lavahead. The new CEO of LoserNet is Mr. Potato Head. I am unable to provide the kind of leadership that LoserNet requires. So, instead, I'll talk about my finances. I have been accused of being a miser and surreptitiously hoarding money all this time. Remember when I foolishly made that huge balloon payment to the loan people? Yeah, I also took out a zero percent interest loan for $3,000 from the credit card people shortly afterward. That's why I had $5,000 in savings in the first place. I was optimistic that I would have a job and pay that off when I moved to Hawai'i. In essence, I really only had about $2,200 to my name. I worked the minimum wage consultant job here and paid off that credit card loan and made another foolish balloon payment to the cash vampires. I also increased my savings to $5,500. I didn't realize that I had another small check coming in January, so the total came to about $6,500. Then, I became hard-core unemployable. The rest is history. I'm sick of being told that I am a dickhead. The decision to make the premature payments to the loan people was stupid. But, I didn't hear any dissenting votes. Given this information, does it appear that I hoarded a lot of dough?

Yes, I live at home with moms. I don't pay rent. I get room and board, of which I must perform specific tasks to earn my keep. I also have to live by moms' rules. However, I am extremely thankful for this safety net. Ever since I started working again, I've been able to spend more freely. When I was in Cali, I took friends out to dinner and bought gifts. I also did that here. Money doesn't mean much to me until I have only enough to survive. I've also offered to pay the gym memberships again. I have a free trial membership until the end of the month. I'll wait until then before signing up.

Kim Chee
Tuesday January 19
I didn't make it to the gym today because I was just too tired to get back on the bus and head to Waikiki. The gym is actually pretty nice. It's on the second floor in a building along Kalakau'a Ave and it overlooks all of Waikiki Beach. The equipment is nice and the place never really gets crowded. Since I have nothing else to do in my spare time, I'll be going to the gym regularly. I have to devote at least four hours to include commute and workout time. I don't really mind the commute. It's actually kind of nice since I take the bus directly to Waikiki. Of course, nothing beats the five-minute walk to the old gym. We have to make do with what we have.

I have to apologize for going off like I did yesterday. I suppose that I have a long way to go insofar as my own humility is concerned. I have to gain more control of my temper. However, when I am prodded and pushed too far, I have little restraint. Perhaps that is my problem. I'm letting too many morons and external factors get to me. I'm an old man now. I should be mellowing with age. In fact, my main goal should be to consume as many bottles of Kim Chee as humanly possible. Then, I should ride the bus and breathe (with my mouth open) on all of the passengers who are fortunate enough to sit next to me. Throw in a few old man noises and we have the trappings of "livin' large in small way."

One West Waikiki
Whew! That's some pilau Kim Chee!
A bottle of Kim Chee, the Big One, some old man noises, and the Wort. One West Waikiki. That's the address. That's the place. That's where we're heading. Hele on, braddah. Hele on, braddah. Hele on to One West Waikiki.

The Keeper of Lost Lives: Old Man Noises

© Copyright 1998, 1999 by The Keeper of Lost Lives
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