The blog took the weekend off, but I am going to try to make sure that is not a regular occurrence. Each time I sat down to write, I got stuck. I don’t believe in writer’s block, but there are undeniably factors that keep you from putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, as the case may be.) This weekend, the biggest factor for me was simply self-consciousness. Unfortuntely, not my own, though. I realized Friday that my mom is responding to things she reads in the blog. (She spent Friday morning attempting to clean up the “clutter,” for example.) I wanted to write about some stuff going on with Stacy. Once it was down on paper, I quickly deleted it, figuring she’d delete me if I aired out my feelings like that. So, I was stuck, and I marinated in that “stuckness” all weekend.
Finally, I came to the conclusion I knew I would come to all along: Big fucking deal.
Here is the thing… I will never write a lie. Everything in this is true – even if it’s just how I see it. I’m not writing to piss anyone off, or make anyone self-conscious, or to hurt anyone. If I’ve learned one thing in my journalistic life it is writing a half-story does no justice to the real story, and you can never hide behind lies or exaggerations. If it’s true, well, it’s just true. I love my mom and her clutteredness doesn’t change that. I love my dad, and he could leave a million dishes in the sink and that wouldn’t change. I love Stacy even if she goes on an overnight trip with her ex-boyfriend. This all means I’m done worrying about that. (You should, too.)
I really thought it was going to be a great weekend. My mom and Mary took Blair to Morgantown to finish unpacking Mary’s family into its new house. I decided to stay and work on my syllabus. I met with a doctoral student who is teaching a different section of the same class and bounced some ideas off her. I felt good because it sounded like we were on the same page. After I read the textbook I had ordered for a second time and got about half the syllabus completed, I got an email from the professor who assigns the GA’s teaching assignments. Turns out, only two students registered for my class and, because there are some stringent prerequisites, it is unlikely there will be many more students registering before class starts.
I asked Dr. Stewart what he wanted to do and he said to come in Tuesday afternoon and we’d talk in person, but he is teaching two Journalism 101 classes – one that has 225 students in it! – and he “ could use some help with one or both of the courses, and it might make sense to have you work with me on those courses.” Ugh. Did I really just go from teaching a 300-level class with a max of 17 students all by myself to that?! I felt a pit in my stomach… I actually wanted to cry. But, if there’s no one signed up for the original class, I have to do something to get the financial assistance. And maybe Dr. Stewart can teach me some things that I otherwise wouldn’t have learned. I’m trying hard to look at the glass half-full. There’s no sense in getting too upset, especially when I haven’t even met with him to discuss possibilities. But, Saturday afternoon, I felt pretty bummed.
After getting this news, I left Donkey Café (cool little coffeehouse that reminds me of Seattle in an old-school Fremont kind of way) and went home. I had asked my dad earlier in the day if he wanted me to make dinner. He said no, so I needed to think of a way to escape. I had emailed (via Facebook) Kara Hagen earlier in the week and knew she was in town. So, I was going to go Uptown and try to hook up with her.
This is a cool Athens phenomenon: Kara and I weren’t really friends in high school. She was a class ahead of me, was a cheerleader, we never in our lives sat down and had a heart-to-heart. But growing up in Athens and going to Athens High School, you undoubtedly went to some of the same parties and, at one point or another, you had an alcoholic beverage together. For whatever reason this – and the experience of sharing the early 90s in the same place – bonds you for life. So, I was looking forward to seeing Kara. So excited I was two hours early for any sort of rough plan we made. I went down to the Cat’s Den, a bar A.W. Matters manages. He wasn’t there on a Saturday at 5 p.m., but Brock Toadvine was. Brock is another guy I was never really friends with, but we hung out with roughly the same people and definitely shared some underage libations. We got to chatting and, for the first time in my life, I had a really good conversation with Brock Toadvine. One of the men he was with bought a round of drinks and I was three beers in before I even left the Den. I needed to get something to eat, so I went to Courtside Pizza and got some food. But a group of obnoxious Cleveland Browns fans were too annoying to stay long. Dude… it’s preseason.
So, I walked across the street to the Pigskin… at least this bar was playing lots of preseason games and I got to watch some of the Bears game. (Jay Cutler was NOT impressive, but again… preseason.) I was enamored with a jukebox that played 50 songs for $5. That’s amazing. The atmosphere there was weird – two really drunk 21-year olds slamming “Irish Carbombs” – but without the Guiness. Whatever. Next bar = the Crystal. It was well-air-conditioned, mellow and I ordered a Red Bull and Grey Goose for a grand total of $3.50. (Bless this place.) I ended up having a long football conversation with a kid from Stow, Ohio. (That is the hometown of former UW defensive coordinator Ed Donatell, in case anyone wondered.) The kid was a senior-to-be and about as drunk as I was, so we hit it off well, and both watched Brady Quinn start for the Browns — and couldn’t help but laugh for some reason.
My uncle John Yanity and his wife Amy met me around 9 and weheaded to Tony’s, (which is quickly becoming my second favorite bar in the world to Jabu’s. Maybe third behind South Beach Bar & Grille in Ocean Beach, but… ) There, I ran into the former Dawn Mingus. We ended up having a blast. I never saw Kara, either. John and Amy gave me a ride home and I passed out about immediately.
On Sunday, I had dinner at John and Amy’s Sunday and John made the most amazing stuffed peppers I’ve every had.
AND IN OTHER NEWS: I went to Ohio U’s football practice. This is a mid-level MidAmerican Conference team. And all I could do was marvel at how the offensive line greatly resembled the Washington Huskies’ o-line from last year with “overweight” being the overriding common thread. … I’m sitting in Perk’s writing this and listening to Duffy on my iPhone. … Despite the heat and humidity, I’m going golfing today with Heather Vail. She and my brother were really good friends in high school and she’s a riot. She always feels young to me still, even though she is married to Jeff Warmke, a guy who was a year older than I in high school. Once a long time ago, Jeff, his friend Broc and Molly Riestenberg climbed the fence at the country club and went skinny-dipping in the pool in the middle of the night.
OTHER MEMORIES: The strangest thing about being in Athens is driving around and everything reminding me of my childhood. John and Amy live on Radford Road. On the way home last night, I remembered Molly and I driving down Radford Rd. in the middle of the winter about age 16 – all four windows all the way down – smoking a cigarette. I remember my hands being so cold I couldn’t even feel the cigarette. Can’t look at The Pub without thinking of Kristi Skinner and amaretto sours, can’t drive by the old neighborhood without thinking, “There’s where Elissa Garske broke her arm,” or “That was Melinda Binegar’s house,” or passing Bong Hill and knowing that’s where I first smoked pot AND lost my virginity (not the same night. 😉 Hey, it’s just the truth…