Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Saint Patrick would be proud, anyhow.

Saint Patrick would have been proud, anyhow

Sometimes there comes a point when you've had such a long week that there's nothing to be done about it except to hop in your car, drive up to the mountains, and start drinking.

Last week was like that.

Remember when I bought that little 1987 Toyota hatchback about a month ago? My first car in 9 years? Well, it threw a rod on I-95 weekend before last. I was with my sister Sara at the time, and we just laughed about it, it was so horrible. And from that moment forward, things sort of steadily got worse over the next 5 or 6 days. I had to use up the few hundred dollars I had put aside for an apartment to buy a $600 stationwagon so I could get around. I have to use all of next paycheck to fix the Toyota. My sister Abby was in town all week, but I could only spend one night and one day with her. I got stressed out at work over a lot of stuff. The country started a war I don't agree with, and I couldn't even afford to party on Saint Patrick's day.

So I got to this point where I just said "Fuck it", and drove the $600 car through Friday Atlanta traffic up into Appalachia in the dark, way up to Morristown again. And when I got there, I saw that a Little League park packed on a Friday night. Dust was there with a big hug, a stack of comic books, and some Guinness. And hell, if that wasn't just what I needed.

I met Jill in person for the first time. We had the kind of conversations that you have when you've both been reading each other's work too long to see the person properly full on for the first time. The only way for me to see Jill as Jill and not as her writing voice was to look at her out of the corner of my eye. If I looked directly at her, I saw her words instead of her physical presence. It's hard for me to believe she's as young as she really is. I'm sure I was a shock to her as well. I tend to not be what people expect - and I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy that.

Aisling said my name, and I met Dee and Devon's grandmother. Fragments of stories I've read and heard over the past three years shifted, twisted, fell into place. Appalachia was all cool breezes and green mountains and the green gassy smell of roadkill in the ditches too long. It was the vernal equinox, and as usual Dust was taking me places I never thought I'd want to go but didn't mind so much once I got there.

What I'm saying here is, I had a good time.

After two days of Wonder Woman and anti-war plays and the Justice League and hiking and good food, I drove away at just the right time.

When I met Virgil and Ford in a Denny's In Knoxville, I knew the world was all right again. They both looked great. And just like we used to there were eggs and grits and bacon and talk about our hopeless love lives and good design principles and adventure photographs and action figures and gourmet chocolate. When it came time, I didn't want to go, and they didn't want to go, and we all promised to have a big sleep over soon, where we could sit around and drink and play cards again. Poker with Virgil, where I always loose. Uno with Ford, where I always win. Ford kicking my ass in mancala after that. Coffee and chocolate and old rented movies, and I spent my weekend with friends again.

I miss you all, all the time. More of you need to move to Atlanta. You know who you are. Get down here so we can drink and raise our own kind of quiet riots. Hugs and kisses, people I love best, the winter is over, and what matters most in this world is the power of love - even when it hurts -

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