Sunday, October 9, 2011

With All The Songs To Sing When We At Last Return Again

With this blog, and I guess any personal online periodical, there's always an imaginary line drawn between the personal life you share and the personal life you don't. Three days ago, my grandfather died and that accounts for my lack of posts on any "Poli" (trademark pending) platform in a good while. Please don't be offended or taken aback if I never told you. I didn't really tell anyone unless they asked why I couldn't hang out. I didn't really want to bring other people down and I doubt very much that in the mysterious hereafter my grandfather suddenly had the desire to be technology savvy enough to consult my facebook to confirm I was missing the heck out of him, so I played the whole situation pretty close to my chest for better or worse. With that said, those of you that did hear about his passing, I thank you for your well wishes and support through the time.

So, I feel like talking about the ins and outs of the situation and various ceremonies would be emotionally taxing on both of us, but I did want to take a blog post to recount a couple memories and pay tribute to him in my own way. However, I also want to keep these posts in a somewhat chronological order. The bottom line is, with respect to my grandfather, I'm going to write this post as if nothing has happened. I wanted to preface the piece in this way just so it didn't look like I was ignoring the situation completely. Look for a post in the near future regarding his passing and until then, enjoy this one.

This past weekend I had the awesome opportunity to revisit my collegiate stomping grounds (I say that like I'm 50, but it's only been 5 months.) of York College. Armed with an Arizona green tea, judged by "Where Did You Get That Corn?" to be the greatest American deal since the Louisiana Purchase, I made the great sojourn with the Sachers (sanz Zach) who were off to visit Rosalie, who's just getting acquainted with the space I've come to love and call home for the past four years.

I respect the hell out of the way the Sachers run a road trip. They equip themselves with a variety of snacks and various libations and settle in for the long haul. Everyone was able to reign in their fluids until we were just outside of Harrisburg (a camel-like skill I inherit from my father) and we actually stopped at the same rest stop at which I lost my headphones sophomore year of school. They weren't there anymore.

Anyway, we made great time and talking with the Sachers is always a great experience. They needed some help bringing some random freshman essentials i.e. soup, ramen, and soda, up to Rosalie's room so I had the chance to take a look at York's new dorms. They might as well be a hotel. Don't get me wrong, I had the time of my life freshman year, but living in Laurel Hall was equivalent to setting up camp in a concrete box with plumbing. It had a couple of windows through which one could easily whisper "suck a cock" in the anonymity of the night. (It was one time.) The domicile was pretty basic. These new dorms are anything but.

Carpeted hallways, elevators, no distinct odor of bodily waste, common areas with cushy chairs and microwaves for community use, hand sanitizer, caviar serving butlers with quaint non-oppressive British accents... okay, that's a stretch, but the digs were unreal. The rooms themselves are pretty basic, and the bathrooms won't stay spotless for long, I have to admit, but still...

I wasn't, by any stretch of the imagination, expecting my return to be emotional or anything. Like I said, it has only been 5 months, but I was shocked at how normal it felt to be there at first. It didn't feel like a visit, is what I'm saying, it just kind of felt like my summer was a little longer than everybody else's. I took the 10:30am walk over to Dennis' house, the confines of the 7-2-7 being kind enough to house me, and was reminded that on a Saturday in York College "morning" does not begin until noon. I found not a creature was stirring at the place until I roused Dunn from his slumber and he opened the door. Dennis was cajoled out of his nest a short time later and joined us. Having seen Dennis a couple of weeks ago, we didn't have all too much to catch up on, so I hopped over to Ben and Jake's to find Ben Scott hard at work cleaning up after what at the time could be presumed to be a homicide. Fearing for my well being, I agreed with everything Ben Scott said occurred. As much as I could make out, the story went like this:

Jake felt as though Ben's freshly made sandwich looked a little dry for his liking and, being the great friend he is, took it upon himself to moisten the midnight snack with a dousing of your finest light beer. Ben was so appreciative of the gesture that he sought a glass from the once closed cabinet and requested Jake wet his whistle with him. In his eagerness to share the brew, Ben put a little too much mustard on his toss and the glass struck and shattered on Jake's head. Jake insisted the incident wasn't a big deal and to prove it, offered him multiple beers in quick succession.

Short story: Jake soaked Ben's sandwich, he got pissed, threw a glass at his head cutting him open, after a thorough examination from everyone but a doctor, it was deemed okay that Jake go to bed. Fortunately, he woke up okay the next morning. It was good to see that not much had changed in my time away.

After becoming an accessory to the crime and helping dispose of the evidence, I went over to the indoor fall fest at the GC to catch up with Rhapsody. It was great to catch up with them and due to their lack of basses for their scheduled performance, I was able to sing some tunes with them. I think it was an experience that I enjoyed a lot more than I would have you believe. The only drawback was Mike Adams taking multiple photos of the performance. As much fun as it was, I'm not sure how I'd feel about showing up on the school website post-graduation. Again, I don't mean to present this as a negative experience, but it was a little on the weirder side. Words kind of fail me to describe this, but overall it was a great time I wouldn't trade for much.

I do have to say, the one and only, Justin Rivera, made the experience that day. He sees me and feels the need to tell me that he's going to be late for the performance. I kind of laugh because I'm no longer the guy to tell those kinds of things, and when I was the guy to tell those kinds of things, he never told me those kinds of things. I figure whatever though, old habits, or lack thereof, die hard. We both laugh it off. Then however, about ten minutes later he asks me where Rhapsody is meeting and what songs they were singing. At that moment the situation went from a mistake any Rhapsodian could make to something that could only be carried out by Justin Rivera. I, again, told him that being not a member of the group, I had no idea where anyone was meeting and when. He again laughed in the spirit of admittedly charming apathy and we sought the group together. Truly one of a kind, but I figure as long as I don't get any Sunday night texts on Long Island that he's going to be late for rehearsal, all's well that ends well.

The weekend worked out nicely in that it happened to be Joe Mayes' birthday. A lot of people came out to celebrate the occasion. It was great to catch up with so many people at Murph's. Prior to heading over, I met up with Sharnell and Jess (two of my favorite people) at Jaci's (not so much) and we caught up and whatnot and after a few backhanded insults to Jaci, it really felt like I was home again and we went over to Murph's.

A lot of us spent the evening lighting up the dance floor, which was a lot of fun, and Nate was wearing purple, which is a gift that keeps on giving. At one point a song which Carly apparently liked quite a bit came on and in her efforts to make it to the dance floor as quickly as possible, she nearly hurdles poor Joe, who was nursing soreness from the day's Frisbee tourney and struggling to get out of her way in time. Joe's few moments of clear discomfort with a grinning and uncaring Carly behind him was easily one of the funniest visuals I've seen in a long time and a highlight of the trip.

After a good while of dancing with everyone, Jess and I eventually wound up pairing off. I think it was a pairing we were both grateful for because I was running out of both gas and creativity for dance moves and we both had a distinct understanding of the 5 to 10 second transition period of dancing from one song to another. I had a great time with her and the rest of the crew and I left them with the sight of Jaci walking away backwards into the night. While anytime Jaci is moving away from me is worth celebrating, this was additionally special.

I then hopped over to Brett's to see some more friends, including the briefest of Czar sightings. The party was soon broken up by the cops, unfortunately. However, this was the first time in my life I saw a student cop interaction go by the book, so to speak. In my limited, but no less established experience with cops busting up parties, either the cop has seemingly been kind of a jerk, or some loud mouth punk tries to be tough and ruins the name of most all other college students. In this case, the cop simply said to get out and leave your beer or you're going in cuffs. Perfectly reasonable, he's got to do his job, and the kids really did leave in a quiet and orderly fashion. I mean, I saw some kids stuffing beers in their coats as they ventured into the night, but for the most part, the transition was a smooth one. It was warming to see a cop interaction handled so calmly by both the police and the students. It gave me faith in humanity in a subtle way.

I then when back to Matt's and had a first experience with Drunk Driver, (it's a card game, relax) I told a story that centered around a desert journey to a river of Jello while beards got tangled and people buried themselves in the sand while one poor soul continually offered to remove his shirt. Needless to say, after that it was time for bed.

Sunday was chill, went out to dinner with Brian and Sharnell. Always great to see and chat with them. Then the piece de resistance... Rhapsody practice. It was tremendous to be back and I was welcomed with a classic Nate sandwich, which is the highlight of any man's day. The group sounded great and to sing with them was a real privilege. The group was kind enough to blow the dust off Ants for the new cats (who all seem cool and nice) and we sang some old staples for returning alums. The highlight of the rehearsal however, was easily the spontaneous "Lion Sleeps Tonight" jam session. To have everyone get so immersed in something we just made up off the tops of our heads took me right back to my favorite times with that group. It was incredible. Words fail me for the second time. The new group was very welcoming and I thank them truly and deeply.

The next day, I caught a ride to Philly with the Czar; always a better time than I'd like to admit. We even made a quick stop in Port Deposit (not very cryptically named) and with the exception of a rather underwhelming well (pun wasn't intended the first time I said it, but by now... yeah, it is) sighting, I had a great time talking with Mr. Heaps about past great Baltimore Bullets, Wes Unseld, and Black Jesus, "The Pearl". I love talking about the old game man, a lot of fun. Amber and I spent the trip discussing, among other things, rainbows, the impossibility of excreting an actual brick from your backside, and the finer points of stripping as hobby and/or profession.

A trip to York I won't soon forget. Hoping to go back in late November, but if not, definitely this spring. Thanks again to everyone for catching up with me.

That Tuesday I had a featured poetry reading at a local coffee shop. It went really well and Jay was kind enough to lend a hand and we performed some spoken word and Marley songs. People really seemed to dig it, and with the exception of an aptly placed "chosen one" from Jay that very nearly through me off my game for good, everything went according to plan. The night was capped off with an ode to the one and only Sean Taylor, which is the best cherry to place atop any night. Look for a hard copy of that piece and a few others to make their way to the Internet as soon as tonight.

Song of the Day: Lenny-Stevie Ray Vaughan
Jazz Song of the Day: Only the Lonely-Keith Jarrett Trio

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