Friday, December 17, 2010

The Closest Thing to Home

Those of you who've come to know me during the last two and a half years will already recognize that I attribute great importance to milestones.

Every man, in my view, is built by his past, and he who acknowledges that instead of fighting it can have a better understanding of who--and why--he is.

That's the line I try to walk: drawing on the past without being drawn into it, understanding its significance but only through the context of the ever-important present.

December 17th has unique importance for my family.

It was five years ago today, on December 17, 2005, that we moved to Mountain Town from Rich Town.

Then, as now, the roads were covered in snow and the air stung with cold. Then, as now, I took issue with my parents on many counts; that Saturday evening was, in fact, punctuated by an tumultuous argument between my mother, my Aunt Lesbian, and me.

A few examples notwithstanding, though, very little seems to be the same.

Five years ago I was seventeen and Powell just turned sixteen five days prior (his birthday is December 12th). Teenagers then, we've both been out of high school for years now and have taken very different paths: I should have graduated in May but an opportunity with a major record label, among other things, interfered to keep me in school; he's been through rehab, bounced from job to job, and made a few abortive attempts at community college before deciding higher education wasn't for him.

Thomas was ten years old five years ago, but a child and scarcely older than Pie is now. Today he's stepped into being a teenager and everything that comes with it: dating, thoughts of sex, experiments with drinking and marijuana, dreams of rock stardom, and the first ambitions to attend university.

Pie, only two years old in 2005, is now a strong-willed and rambunctious seven-year-old girl. A toddler when we arrived here, Mountain Town is the only reality she's ever known.

I've become better, smarter, and infinitely more self-confident, the consequence of a social flowering experienced at college. If anything my relationship with my parents has grown more fractious, but that is the result of my growing assertions for basic fairness and respect, and so in a way is a good thing.

I've spent five years here now, and I know I won't remain here five years more. It's interesting, and a bit terrifying, to think of where I'll be in a half a decade's time.

Below you will find my diary entry for December 19, 2005. I was halfway through twelfth grade and had moved to Mountain Town only two days earlier.

December 19, 2005

Of the five transitions I've gone through in the last four years, Saturday's was by far the worst.

In the days leading up to our move, our parents allocated us one full week in which to pack. In practice, however, we had much less time to gather our things; after seven hours of school and a full night of homework, there was perhaps one half hour left before we went to bed, and no one wanted to spend it sorting through piles of clothes and such.

Then, on the night before the move, I was home just long enough to fill a single tote before Mom made me go to the store with her. We came back to the house, stayed there for about five minutes, and then went off to Mountain Town for some last-minute unloading.

Oh, that's right; Mom and Dad decided that, to save money, we would move most of our things, leaving only the "really big stuff" for the movers. The result was a laborious few days spent lugging endless totes, prolifically heavy boxes, a good deal of our own furniture, and even Betsy (Dad's motorcycle).

I can't tell you what fun it all was, getting up in the early morning to drag as many things as possible into our trailer, driving to Mountain Town on roads of pure ice, unloading the objects in frigid winter air, and then returning to Rich Town after several burdensome hours to start the process over again.

Really, just peachy.

We moved in on the 17th of December, and then began the tiresome task of digging through all of the boxes for our possessions. My stereo and computer, initially displaced, were located within a day of our relocation, but the green binder containing both my English and Physics classes remained unaccounted for.

Obviously, this caused me great distress, and I was adamant that it must be found.

Dad, thinking perhaps he had seen it in a pile of trash in Rich Town, asked Aunt Lesbian to check. She dug through our garbage and found a purple binder that I'd intentionally thrown away.

The mere act, however, made me feel inclined to view Aunt Lesbian in a much more positive light than I had before. This more amicable attitude towards my aunt was dissolved literally within minutes.

Frantic over the lost binder, I tried to get Mom to tell me the day and time at which the trashmen would come.

After answering a single question, she told me she'd "had enough."

When I tried to ask a second question, she went into a fit of screeches.

"Answer my question!" I yelled over her screams, at which point she exclaimed, "Fuck you, BB!"

Furious, I stalked into the kitchen, where Aunt Lesbian eyed me sharply and said in a dangerous tone, "Don't you talk to my sister that way."

I was already emotionally charged by the whole experience of the move and angry at Aunt Lesbian for earlier rudeness in the weekend, and so I said the first thing that popped into my head: "Shut up and mind your own damn business."

It was as if an atomic bomb had gone off in our kitchen.

The next thing I knew, my mother, Aunt Lesbian, and I were facing off in an explosive three-way screaming match that shook the polished countertops and sent Pie into hysterics.

Tomorrow I'll find out if I got into Major University!!!


Sue (Someone's Mom) said...

You've come a long way in 5 years haven't you? They moved you at a terrible time. My husband got transferred halfway through my daughter's senior year, he went and we stayed behind so she could graduate with her class. It was the best decision for her at the time (she was Valedictorian and not willing to give that up). But...because she really only lived in our "new" town that summer and on college breaks, it isn't home to her and she has no friends there. It was easy for her to move halfway across the country! So...when is a good time? I think Pie was the lucky one in your house.

Thanks for the kind words on my post about my mom...I know I just have to feel how I feel, which sometimes is fine and sometimes is just awful. I really think that we all want to to grow up and stay a kid at the same time, no matter how old we get. Something about losing a parent makes you realize that you really are the grown up...I don't think I was ready for that role.

I hope you have a good Christmas!I'm looking forward to some mother/daughter time with my kiddo.

laura b. said...

Wow. I cannot even imagine having to move halfway through senior year! That would be difficult even under the most positive of circumstances and personalities.

I know it is a cliche, but a difficult childhood can really make or break you. From what I read here and from comments you've made on my blog, you seem to be an incredibly poised, intelligent, and ambitious young man.

I hope you feel a lot of pride when you stop and realize that all of what you have accomplished and all that you will accomplish, are functions of your own hard work and talent. For the most part, it doesn't really appear that you have anyone else to thank.

Harley said...

Poor Pie.

I'm lucky in that my brother and I are only a year and a few months apart, so any arguments (and there are many) we have with our parents (mother, mostly) are team efforts. Like a relay.

I'd hate if there was a two year old around to witness our familial bloodbaths.

Just me said...

Thanks for your comments on my blog! I love hearing from new people reading it & it's great to have your perspective on the last one - thanks :)
I'm off to bed now, already way overdue, but your blog is looking interesting & I'm definitely going to have more of a look at it when I get a chance!

Brock - said...

I love the concept here!

Its always fascinating trawling back through past thoughts and reliving experiences. You are a brave man to bare them for us all to read.

I wish I still had all of my old journals from years gone by. I have a tendency to destroy them over time, especially if they containted content about past relationships or something I didn't want to relive.

One of the motivating factors of starting my blog was to solidify my thoughts on line and not allow myself to throw it all away.

As you say, a man is shaped by his past.

Kevin Musgrove said...

Let's hope for a quieter time for you this year!

Have a good Christmas.

Relyn said...

I know I'm not really getting my wishes in on time. The truth is, it's just after midnight, but I still had to come by and wish you the merriest Christmas season ever. I want to thank you for making my life richer by sharing your blog and by reading mine. You are a blessing to me. Merry, merry Christmas, my frined. May the coming week bring you laughter, joy, short returns lines, and lots of good deals at the after-Christmas sales. ;^) Much love, Relyn

patti said...

Wow. Your journey these past years has been fascinating.