Tag Archives: eyes forward

Clearing the Poison

I’ve sort of made it an unofficial guideline — not a rule, but a guideline — to steer away from politics and away from negativity when I can, here at the ol’ blarg. I don’t always succeed, but it keeps me from spiraling into rants and endless anger … or at least from doing so here in the digital space.

But with so many things still locked down, and so many of us still living half-lives thanks to COVID, there is a relative dearth of things to think about or write about. I mean, sure, the world’s still spinning, but what’s new with *me*? What’s unique to *my* experience that merits spinning off 300-1000 words here in the digital space?

Very little.

I keep my head down, I go to work, I wear my mask, I repeat. I go for my runs, I try to work out, I try to get some words on the page every day. I keep pushing forward. Try not to get lost in despair at how absolutely moronic people can be, and how horrible they can be to each other.

Still, it’s hard not to notice that the last few weeks have been … easier, somehow. There’s a little less of the feeling of impending doom from day to day, a little less of the feeling that as bad as things are, they could go from very bad indeed to absolutely catastrophic with a tweet or a speech from a certain individual.

And with that, there’s a little less mental fog. A little less pressure in the chest region. A little less headache over things so fantastically out of my control. The poison is being purged from my personal system, it seems, and that can only be good.

This does not mean, of course, that things are peachy. But it does mean that my mental energies can turn a little more effectively to some of the things that matter, rather than to some of the hopeless distractions that have commanded my attention for the past months.

Things are as stressful as ever, in other words. But this is a stress I welcome. Stress I can live with.

Here’s hoping your days are a little less poisonous, too.

Never Go Back to Your Alma Mater

My sister-in-law has followed in the footsteps of my wife and myself and chosen to go to the University of Georgia. She enrolls in the fall, which means that the summer is orientation season — and that means that my wife and I got the chance to go back to our old Alma Mater to stomp the grounds a bit and reminisce.

(Actually, the wife and I were never enrolled at UGA at the same time. Just another quirk of our relationship.)

And it was great! Just being in the place where I spent so many years, the memories came rushing back like a lost puppy seeing home. The Fine Arts building where I stumbled across the stage. Sanford drive, where I was nearly mowed down by cars daily.

But I kind of wish I hadn’t gone.

Going back to your Alma Mater is a little bit like looking up an ex. You do it out of pure curiosity, with the purest of intentions. Just want to see what they’re up to, what they’ve got going on. But it can only end in depression.

First of all, the college is seeing all kinds of new people, all of them young and beautiful and reminding you just how old and decrepit you’ve become. But you expected that. You were prepared.

What you maybe weren’t prepared for is just how far the college has come since you’ve been gone. There are shiny new buildings all over the place, and the old eyesores have been torn down or renovated. The football stadium has had a sprucing up. Hell, even the buses are so clean and sparkly you just can’t help but wonder what a ride would be like.

But these things are not for you. They’re for a new generation of students: your time — you old codger — is past. Your old flame went and hit the gym and sexified itself and now you’re like, damn, I’m missing out on all this? What about the good times? Don’t they mean anything? Can I just sit in on a class or two?

And you leave eaten up with jealousy and frustration that you can no longer have this thing.

Or — worse! — maybe the gloss isn’t so pervasive and all your eye is drawn to, instead, are the old and busted parts. After fifteen years (help!) it’s the same sad old hill leading up to the dingy science buildings. Same old vomit smell one street up from the main street from downtown — the whole street. Same old not-exactly-operating-on-a-timetable-compliant-with-the-real-world bus system that makes you feel like you have to walk everywhere, paired with the murderous hills and lung-gumming humidity that make you break into a sweat if you so much as look outdoors.

Outside of the surface stuff, not much has changed. And was it really so great? And, holy cow, I spent four (okay, fine, FIVE) years of my life with this college thinking times were grand?

Don’t get me wrong; the visit was lovely (outside, of course, of the fact that our daughter, as expected, wouldn’t allow my wife a moment’s peace, let alone a night’s worth of sleep). But we look back on the past with rose-colored glasses for a reason. Going back messes with all that. Maybe you come away with some perspective, but sometimes, perspective is the last thing you want.

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