54. Sunday Night Confessions

I am the type to constantly remind my friends and significant others of their promises in an effort to force them to follow through so I don’t get hurt by their broken ones.

A girl that I really like promised me on Wednesday – four days ago – that she would call me by tonight before I left on vacation in the morning. Instead of reminding her, I decided to trust that she would do as she promised. I was really, really looking forward to her call so much that it gave me butterflies thinking about it.

She forgot.

53. ‘Animal Farm’ by George Orwell

7613‘Animal Farm’ is a short novella. The owner of the farm, Mr. Jones, is getting older and is increasingly unable to care for his farm animals due to this and his severe drinking problem. The animals, after much neglect, stage a rebellion against Mr. Jones and the farm – and after the overtake the farm, they create a Constitution to govern themselves and decide that the farm is better off without humans.

This works initially, but as the book progresses it becomes clear that there is largely no escaping running the farm how humans run society – by creating a hierarchy, implementing rules and rations, and punishing violators. The pigs, being the smartest of all of the animals on the farm, naturally assume the positions of authority, with all other animals acting as followers.

As the years go on, the pigs start to realize that the other animals are so ignorant and uneducated that they simply trust the pigs to run things fairly and do not question how they go about this. They begin to abuse their authority and the “dumber” animals are unable to see that they are being treated unfairly. The pigs, for example, allow themselves higher rations of food and alcohol, while the others continue to suffer on smaller rations, yet still believe they are being well taken care of simply through the process of brainwashing. Some animals do learn to read and write to a limited extent, but most find their value by learning to perform manual labor equal to humans. Towards the end, the animals – specifically the pigs – begin taking human form and dressing in clothing. They even begin walking upright on two legs, and by now have moved into the old owner’s farmhouse and are living comfortably – superior to the rest of the animals.

As the book comes to a close, it is obvious that the animals on the farm whom are under the pigs’ rule are no better off than they had been when the book opened. The future is just as bleak, if not more so.

The book, while written quite literally about animals back in the early 1940s, is filled with metaphors that can be applied to our civilization even today. Power and ego always rise to the top; shyness and weakness always make their way to the bottom. We’ve seen this throughout many conflicts – WWI, Vietnam, The Soviet Crisis, Cold War, etc. The entire book is a metaphor for human nature and conflict.

When I read the reviews and saw that the animals began “walking upright on two legs,” I was expecting this part to be really ominous, chilling, or terrifying. Not really so – and I was disappointed that this wasn’t explored more. However, the ending did leave a very dark and bleak future while referencing this behavior, and I think it was well wrapped up considering how late in the book this theme appeared.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, although I think the end was rushed and could have stood to be 15-20 pages longer to properly give some closure on what happened over the course of the final few years leading up to the end.

52. Cold War Kids – First

Cheated and lied, broken so bad
You made a vow, never get mad
You play the game, though it’s unfair
They’re all the same, who can compare
First you lose trust, and you get worried
Night after night, bar after club
Dropping like flies, who woke you up
On the front lawn, sprinklers turned on
It’s not your house, where’d you go wrong
First you get hurt, then you feel sorry

Flying like a cannonball, falling to the earth
Heavy as a feather when you hit the dirt
How am I the lucky one, I did not deserve
Wait around forever when you were there first
First you get hurt, and you feel sorry

There comes a time, in a short life
Turn it around, get a re-write
Call it a dog, not in his soul
Ticking up clocks, gravity’s pull
First you get close, then you get worried

Flying like a cannonball, falling to the earth
Heavy as a feather when you hit the dirt
How am I the lucky one, I did not deserve
Wait around forever when you were there first
First you get hurt, then you feel sorry

You’re going silent, the silent treatment
It’s not invited now, don’t deny what you meant
You get excited, you get excited
You got a feeling for, at least you can pretend
You wanna light it, you wanna light it
You wanna light it now and can’t afford more things
You get excited, you get excited

Flying like a cannonball, falling to the earth
Heavy as a feather when you hit the dirt
How am I the lucky one, I did not deserve
Wait around forever when you were there first

Flying like a cannonball, falling to the earth
Heavy as a feather when you hit the dirt
How am I the lucky one, I did not deserve
Wait around forever when you were there first

First you get close, and you get worried
First you get close, and you get worried
First you get close, and you get worried
First you get close, and you get worried

You wanna light it, you wanna light it
You wanna light it now and can’t afford more things
You wanna light it, you wanna light it
You wanna light it now and can’t afford more things

51. Thirty

My Twenties treated me well. They treated me badly. They treated me wonderfully and they treated me terribly.

I suffered my share of grief and loss, but also experienced my share of excitement and joy.

I traveled around the world, I drank more than I should have, and I partied fairly hard.

I made good friends and I lost some others. I treated people well and I treated others like shit.

I had great relationships, I had boring relationships, I had short-term ones and long-term ones.

I had my ups and my downs, but I’m still here, alive and kicking.

Turning Thirty doesn’t do a whole lot of good for someone who has a self-admitted severe problem with reminiscing as it is.

I just want to make it to Forty.

50. Long Distance Friendships – Part II

With regard to the person that most of my last post was about, I mailed her a package yesterday that I am excited for her to receive in a few days. I put a few things in the box, all of which have special meaning to our friendship and what it represents for both of us. One of the things I did was have a poem engraved on to a wooden plaque for her with a small dedication at the bottom. The poem reads:

Friends
They’re the few people who accept silence over conversation
And deny silly promises and petty persuasion
They second guess no thoughts and measure no words
Their love comes in wholes; not halves and not thirds

They guide you through when fate takes its turns
Fights, small and large, end in forgiveness; never with burns
They forget first impressions and the feelings they brought
They’re grateful for who you are and forgive you for who you’re not

I also placed an FAO Schwarz teddy bear in the box along with a handwritten two-page note, something I haven’t done in many years. It really made me feel good and I sincerely hope she enjoys it. I had tried to send her a dozen yellow roses, but there are apparently no flower shops near where she lives that were able to deliver them, so I had to scrap that idea.

49. Long Distance Friendships – Part I

I’ve been volunteering on a website called 7 Cups of Tea which is a support and counseling website for people, teens and adults alike, who are experiencing some rough patches in their lives. I’ve found it very rewarding and I think I’ll be a long-term support listener there, but I do admit that some talks are more emotionally draining than others.

One of the common issues I deal with, if not the most common, are people who are having a hard time recovering from a breakup from a fiancé or a significant other. Believe it or not, marriage divorces are not a heavy topic, which I find odd. Other common issues are social anxiety and depression.

The reason I bring this up is because I recently started talking to someone who has experience all of these things and found me for some support. Little did I know that I would end up feeling so deeply connected to her for reasons I still am not sure about. From the first or second time we talked, I felt an instantaneous bond that I still feel today. I’ve spoken to over 300 people and have helped them all without anything like this happening to be before. Since I am not a professional Psychologist, I am free to explore this connection for what it’s worth. That said, the site does have rules against this, but I decided – quite rationally – to break that rule and befriend her off the site through email. I’m extremely happy that I did.

We don’t have a ton in common, but there was an instantaneous mutual attraction with one another and we click really well together. She lives about 2500 miles from me, closer to my hometown, and I am very aware of the fact that a friendship is all we can have for the time being due to the distance. But what I don’t yet understand is why, without any special circumstances at all, we feel this way about one another. Our first chats were not at all out of the ordinary from my others on there, so it literally just came out of the blue – the attraction that is. Some people might argue that it’s natural for the “patient” to feel attracted to the “supporter,” and I would say this is sometimes true. But I can be pretty confident in saying that it is not the case here.

We have talked online and offline for almost a month altogether now. I haven’t written a handwritten letter to anyone in over a decade, yet this week I did for her, and I will be sending that in a package with some other tokens of our friendship later next week.

I’m so excited to have found her, and even though we can’t be in a relationship, if we can focus our efforts and attention on a friendship, it will be lifelong and inseparable. I feel confident about this more than I have with any friendship, with the exception of my best friend.

If this wasn’t exciting enough for me, I talked with my friend, Eliana, tonight on the phone for the first time since we have known each other dating back about two years now. That’s another example of a friendship that is just meant to be due to the distance, but I wouldn’t trade either of them for anything. It makes me happy to have such great connections outside of the USA. Friendship is a universal language and knows no borders.

48. Meg Myers – Sorry

My heart is wasted and cut up like a drug
And your tears – they taste like vinegar and blood
And these conversations choke us ’til we’re numb
No matter what we’re saying, it never seems enough

So take me to the start
Take me to that kiss
‘Cause I gotta know, baby, what I’ll forget
Sorry that I lost our love, without a reason why
Sorry that I lost our love, it really hurts sometimes
And I’m sorry, sorry
What do you want, what do you want me to say?
Sorry that I lost our love
Until the end of time

My voice is twisted, guilty goes the tongue
Your eyes are faded, that used to turn me on
And our skin is dangerous, villains when we touch
No matter what we’re feeling, it never feels enough

So take me to the start
Take me to that kiss
‘Cause I gotta know, baby, what I’ll forget
Sorry that I lost our love, you’ve got a reason why
Sorry that I lost our love, it really hurts sometimes
And I’m sorry, sorry
What do you want, what do you want me to say
Sorry that I lost our love
Until the end of time

Sorry that I lost our love, without a reason why
Sorry that I lost our love, it really hurts sometimes
And I’m sorry, sorry
What do you want, what do you want from me?
So, sorry, sorry
What do you want, what do you want me to say?
Sorry that I lost our love, without a reason why
Sorry that I lost our love, it really hurts sometimes
And I’m sorry, sorry
What do you want, what do you want me to say?
Sorry that I lost our love
Until the end of time

47. Childhood Reflections

I used to do a lot of fishing while I was growing up. My dad and I used to go out in the evenings during the summer and fish for Bass and other fish along the Kennebec River. We had a few favorite spots together, but my personal favorite spot was an area just below the Shawmut Dam. This area in particular had some rock formations that made it easy to get up close to the dam and catch some nice Brook Trout, and the calm, shallow pools of water between the rocks made for prime real estate to catch Bass. We would typically get out there around 6:00 PM and stay for a couple of hours. We had pretty good luck most of the time.

Another place I used to go was on Water Street in Fairfield behind the Riverside Assembly Church. There were some nice, steep banks behind the church that made for good privacy, and a wooden dock that went out into the river several dozen feet. I’ve caught some good Bass there in my time.

A little ways down the road, maybe 10 minutes walking and one minute by car, the Fairfield boat launch also made a great place to do some fishing. The water always seemed to be calmer and there was a nice bank to sit on and have some snacks while waiting for the fish to bite.

A couple of towns over in Winslow, there used to be an auto parts store on Bay Street. I can’t remember exactly what it was called, but I think it was Bragg’s. One particular evening, my dad, my uncle and I decided to go here because there was a good fishing spot behind the business along the Kennebec. While waking down the embankment, there was a lot of trash and auto parts that had been discarded, making it hard to step over them to get to the water. At one point, my dad said, “there’s everything but the kitchen sink out here!” At that moment, I quite literally stepped into an old kitchen sink in which a family of wasps had inconveniently made their home. I wasn’t very lucky this evening, because one of the wasps stung me in my ankle and it hurt like hell.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, we decided to go back to this same spot several years later, and it didn’t end up much better for us. After catching a nice large mouth bass (still my only large mouth catch ever), my dad decided to be nice and help me take it off the hook. I’ll end the story here by saying that the Bass got the last laugh, and our evening ended with a trip to the hospital where the doctor was nice enough to remove the barbed hook from my dad’s finger.

45. The Happy Wanderer | WordPress Daily Prompt

Today’s WordPress Daily Prompt asked:

What’s your travel style? Are you itinerary and schedule driven, needing to have every step mapped out in advance or are you content to arrive without a plan and let happenstance be your guide?


I am very much an itinerary-driven traveler. As an example, here is the itinerary I made before my recent trip to the Orlando area:

Itinerary

As you can tell, I leave out no detail. On trips where I will be seeing multiple people over many days, I usually bring my laptop or iPad with me so I can reference my calendar to see who I’m meeting, when I’m meeting them, where we’re meeting, etc.

It’s a system that has worked well for me over the years, and in large part I have the military to thank for my organizational skills and promptness.