Monday, June 30, 2008

Letters from a Bristol P.O.W.

Is that title offensive? I can never tell…. Whilst it chills me to think that the last time I thought to write anything was almost two solid months ago, to dwell on the reasons would only be a waste of time: I have no reasons. Life got in the way of my sometimes weekly updates and it wasn’t until now that I felt compelled enough to actually take fingertips to keyboard once again. If this paltry reason alone does not satisfy, … suck one. Hey, I’m sorry but there are only so many hours in the day and I am not disciplined enough to force words to come pouring from my brain ala cool crisp air through an HVAC system anytime I want. That analogy sucked. I’ll need a little time to warm up. Go with me on this …

Okay, … Lemme s’plain. No. There is too much. Lemme sum up: There are a ton of things to tell about but I will not be bulleting them this time. Bullets bore me today (plus the formatting nightmare that was importing onto blooger has gotten so spiritually draining I simply cannot continue the practice, enjoying to read though it may have been).

I suppose the most important of all phenomenon of the past two months is that I’ve managed to fall in love again. And before you ask the question: Yes, it is just as clichéd and romantically nauseating as you might expect it to be. It seems I never learn.

Truth be told, I had almost given up. Dating here in Bristol was just short of a reoccurring nightmare where you spend a lot of money and waste a lot of time and have nothing to show for it but an empty wallet and a fervent wish to find zen-quality peace with becoming asexual. This is not a quality distinct to Bristol alone, mind you. I’ve always hated dating. Hate is a kind word. Despised with the blazing passion of a thousand dying suns…. That’s a little closer. C’mon, I’m going to go out to a restaurant I’ve never been to to sit across from a person I’ve never really met to try and talk about myself in such a way as to not sound self-depraving but not ego-centric at the same time to vainly hope I don’t hate the person and wonder if I’ll fall asleep alone in my bed wishing I’d’ve just spent the evening blowing away zombies with a .45 magnum…. Sound about right? I can think of half a dozen medieval tortures right off the bat that sound more fun than that. The whip, the Rack, the Iron Maiden, the Spanish Tickler, Water Torture & the Judas Cradle…. Okay, maybe not the Judas Cradle; that thing was above & beyond inhumane. [shudder]

So I’ve no doubt that I would find myself hating modern courtship were I here north of Philly or back home in DC or on the moon. (Fact was, three months ago I would have thought my chances actually were better on the moon.) And perhaps what was even more frightening was that I was becoming more and more okay with that idea. Being single and zen held a kind of appeal. I could become some sort of Bristol-based Shaolin monk; above such earthly desires. Seriously. I thought that.

That’s when it hit me. Not from whatever girl I had just been going out with; but from the girl I didn’t even know was there…. That was a Jurassic Park reference …

So no, I don’t know what happened. Suffice it to say that the adage of good friends can make great lovers (or something like that) holds more truth for me now than perhaps ever before. All of a sudden, feelings I had been suppressing and had been telling myself for close to nine months didn’t (& couldn’t) exist were so forcefully present, ignoring them simply wasn’t an option. It was literally like someone tripped me. One minute I’m up and walking just fine on my own, the next the ground is rushing up to meet my nose with a speed usually reserved for time-traveling Delorians. It was like a mugging. “Except the only thing stolen was my heart … Sigh, …”

Please don’t mistake my cynicism here to mean I’m not happy. Boy howdy am I. It’s just that I’ve been sarcastic about Love for so long now, it’s hard for me to break out of that habit, even when talking about myself.

There’s a kind of undeniable truth about Stef & I. (… THIS is going to be the cliché paragraph; you’ve been warned.…) It’s like that perfect object you’re shopping for; when you try & convince yourself the first place you stopped couldn’t possibly be right because it was too easy; it can’t be right because of all these reasons you try and justify to yourself. But eventually you can’t deny how it fits perfectly. All along, there was something in your subconscious that knew it was what you’d buy, even if you never knew it otherwise. Look, that’s an absolutely terrible analogy for basically saying that somewhere in my brain I know Stefi’s right for me; even if I can’t put into words the reasons why. I want to do everything with this girl and the usual part of me that tells of danger & of how THIS particular relationship will fail & is bad & a waste of time … is strangely quiet. Whilst I might have wondered at this as recently as a few months ago, I’m just going with it this time. We are but shadows and dust and I’ve no more desire to waste my time trying to protect myself from an endless onslaught of potential failures.

Fuck it. If I’ve learned anything from my one season here North of Philly, it is to trust my instincts. And though I cannot explain why my instincts are so content & insanely attracted to this girl, I’m going to do just that: Trust them.

Sigh; … Onward!

I have actually started kung fu. Hell yeah. My first class was at the beginning of June. I could spend hours telling you the rationale behind the decision to start; but I’d just be wasting those hours of yours. It was time. I had been given the means and I had the time. No other reasons were necessary.

And I’m loving it. Oh, it’s difficult, make no mistake. Spirit Fist Kung Fu (or Than Vo Dao in Vietnamese … even though it’s a Chinese style… I dunno) is HARD. Especially after coming in with thirteen years of TaeKwonDo under my belt (pun intended).

Think of it as learning to write in a basic block script: Here’re your letters, here’re your numbers, add them together to form hundreds upon thousands of words and eventually even sentences. This will serve your purposes for years, nay decades. With constant practice, your ability to communicate will be ideal; and not only that, but you will grow faster and more fluent and the complexity of your sentence structure will also grow. Now, you have gotten so good with these blocks letters, you don’t even need to think about writing some of them: You just do. Now, you’ve used this handwriting for over a decade and it has become practically engrained into your mind: It is a part of your person and your personality; a vivid part of who you are. Am I going too far with this analogy?

Now, imagine someone handing you a pen and saying, “Now write in cursive.” Is one better than the other? Is one faster? More stable? Easier to communicate your message? Maybe. But in essence, you’re still writing in the same language; simply with a different style.

Hear me now and believe me later, the word, “Punch” written in block letters hurts as just much as in cursive. But the cursive “Punch” is a HELL of a lot more difficult to write well. Especially when you’ve been writing in block letters for so long.

But with the difficulty also comes the challenge. I haven’t felt like a true STUDENT – someone who is absorbing on an almost constant basis – in years. I’m not going to say I had mastered TaeKwonDo (oooh boy, far from it) but I was growing bored with it; even before I quit KCA. Nevermind moving up to Bristol, my school had changed into something lesser than it was since I had begun. I had grown disillusioned with it. For my own sake as a martial artist, I needed to move on. Seven Mountains seems like a great place to do just that. There is a reverence placed on the spirituality of the martial art that had no place in TaeKwonDo and yet was always something I have been fascinated with. There’s a camaraderie at this school that was found lacking in the latter years at KCA which I missed a great deal. My hetero-Lifemate is here. What more could I ask for?

Yeah, the commute sucks. I leave Bristol at five to get into the city by six-thirty for a seven o’clock class that lasts an hour and a quarter to catch an eight-forty train back home, which gets in around nine-thirty. But that honestly isn’t much longer than it was back when I was working Virginia, driving through DC to karate class in Maryland and then back home somewhere in the middle afterwards. All in all, the time to & fro is a wash. I plan on getting a lot of reading done.

Oh yeah and I suppose I should talk about my job. It’s a good time here in Bristol. The main season is over and although there is steady work to be done over the course of the following summer season – what with a half dozen or so Summer Musicales (the number gets bigger in my head every time I talk about them; it’s really something like three [and Musicale means something silly like, “An evening with music and friends,” and is a completely ‘tarded way of saying, “Summer Concert” without sounding like a Steely Dan reunion tour…]) and a couple of rentals here & there – there isn’t nearly the kind of workload as during the regular season.

This is called fun.

It means we all get to relax. It means I can get some shop projects done (the dangerous joke that is my vertical lumber rack near the top of the list, I think; not to mention shopping for “Nora” …). I’m throwing more stuff away and I’m organizing like a sonofabitch. It’s all kinds of awesome.

And that’s sort of that. Doesn’t much seem worth waiting two months for, does it?

That’s word. Good night. And good luck.