31 March 2011

My, How Things Change

There was a letter waiting for me when I got home today, addressed from Hannah.  I was surprised, she's held so strongly to the ultimatum she gave me last fall.  Considering I haven't mailed a letter in a month I didn't really expect anything, but checking the mail about mid-week is a residual habit now.  Another thing that is still a residual habit?  Getting excited when I see a letter from Hannah in the mail.

Getting mail from Hannah used to make my day!  Seriously, I'd have one of those stupid smiles on my face for hours after checking the mail and reading her correspondence.  Now it's the opposite, out of habit I still get excited when I see that envelope sitting on the table.  When I finish however, there is no stupid grin, only words of frustration.  Her letters seem on par with those birthday cards from the great-aunt you haven't seen in 10 years, no real content; some rambling about things that are important to her but don't really interest you; a few specific questions, just specific enough so that you know she knows whom she's writing to.

I just sat here for a minute, the letter unfolded in front of me thinking, who is this person?  Do I even know?  How do I reply?  She only asked me three of the most general questions she could:  "What have you been up to?",  "How's your new job?", and "Are you happy it's Spring?"  To be honest these letters only make me feel like I'm doing the right thing in my recent efforts to move on.

Will I write back?  Of course, I'm not a jerk.  What will I say?  Who knows, I'm pretty much trying to figure out how to say, "Look me up if you ever become normal again." in a way that doesn't seem mean, self-centered, or altogether to douche-baggy.  Because that is what I'd like, I think socializing too much, too early would be the final nail in the coffin for the Hannah Era of my life.

30 March 2011

Opening Day

It's that time of year again!  Baseball season!

Opening day is Friday, it marks the beginning of Major League Baseball's regular season.  Now in Utah baseball is the least popular of all sports, I think.  I mean on my version of Salt Lake-opoly, where the various Salt Lake sports teams are the railroads, guess the one team that got left out?  That's right, The Bee's, heck, even the Grizzlies are on there...  Of course Utah is a little stunted when it comes to sports, back in high school Sports Illustrated did a little sports census, they polled people from all over the country about sports and of all of them, Utah was the only state whose most popular sport was something other than Football or Baseball, it was basketball, which I hate and makes me a social pariah.

A lot of people these days diss on America's past-time,which means they're probably socialist and communist, probably even fascist too.  One big complaint is that it's too slow-paced.  I'll agree, it's slow paced compared to other sports, but baseball is a thinking man's game.  There's a lot of strategy that the casual observer will miss, I'm sure it's like me and soccer, I just see a bunch of guys running around on a field kicking a ball back and forth, the casual observer may only see baseball as throw ball, hit ball.

I honestly didn't enjoy watching baseball until I became a pitcher at the beginning of high school.  There's so much thought, deception and double-think happening up on the mound that most people will never understand.  Every at-bat is like a mini-chess match between pitcher and hitter, each trying to predict what the other is thinking, will this be a fastball? Curve? Change?  It's a little cat-and-mouse my favorite feeling when facing a batter is when I'm ahead in the count and I can see in the batter's eyes he has no idea what is coming next, that I own him.

I'm especially excited for this baseball season because it marks my return to the sport.  A high school buddy of mine put together a team for a mens' baseball league that plays up in Davis and Weber counties.  I'm pretty excited!  I was informed I've got the opening day start!  Like, seriously I'll be throwing the very first pitches of the season for the league.  It's pretty intense, I've got to be ready to pitch in 17 days!  This means I'll be taking my little bro to throw a few times a week from now on.

I'm so excited, I've missed playing and pitching greatly, probably even more than I've missed Hannah.  What?  I'm being honest, my relationship with baseball is older and lasted longer.  I hope I'm ready for this!

29 March 2011

King of the Losers?

The singles ward continues to be an interesting experience.  It's beginning to look like spring(well, now and then) and love is in the air.  Singles are dropping like flies.

I still remain the most attractive male, single YSA as stated in an earlier post.  Though this ward is better, probably because it's smaller and more tight-knit, I still catch glimmers of the meat-market concept.

I tend to get to church early, not on purpose of course, but early enough so that the chapel is almost empty when I get there.  I usually go in pick my seat, not so close that I seem overly enthusiastic, but not so far back that I seem I'm obligated to be there;  I also sit about one or two people widths from the aisle, close enough to it that I don't have to climb over 10 people if I need to hit the bathroom, but far enough away that I don't look like a prisoner preparing for a jailbreak.  Because I'm first there, I don't sit by people, people sit by me.  Ever since Brianne got more or less snatched up there's a rotation of girls who, I swear, take turns sitting by me in sacrament meeting.  I'm still trying to figure out why this is, the conspiracy theorist in head head tells me they've been sent in an effort to keep me active.  I hope this isn't the case, I like this ward, I plan to keep going, but I know the 2nd counselor from the home ward, and he's aware of my history of inactivity.

Now I'm sure some people are thinking, "Maybe they just like you/are interested in you?"  Well that's definitely likely, I am a fine specimen of manhood and all, but the problem is they don't ever talk.  I mean, if I saw someone sitting by themselves, and I decided to sit next to them, I would strike up a conversation.  They don't, which makes me uncomfortable because I feel like we should be talking, I mean, the chapel is empty and you came and sat right next to one of only 3 or 4 people in the room, shouldn't we be interacting in some way?  And I'm talking right next to me, that little two person wide area between me and the end of the bench.

I could probably try harder.  I could easily be one of those people, like my brother-in-law, who everyone loves.  I'm definitely sharp enough to be like that, everyone at work tends to love me, even the crazy people;  The literally crazy people who don't know who they are, where they are, or even that this is not the year 1921(even though they hadn't even been born by then), all they know is that they like me.  I don't need to be liked, so unless I care about someone, or need to care about someone, I don't push it.  I'm not going to bring anyone out of their shell, so if they're not going to give me anything to work with I'm not going to worry about it.

Still, why sit next to someone, in an empty room, without a purpose?  Either let's talk or let me sit alone and contemplate things other than why you're sitting next to me in silence.

24 March 2011

"It's a Metaphor ...But it Really Happened."

From middle school to high school I had a dog named Ranger.  He was a chocolate lab and he lived to be incredibly old, 105, roughly, if you accept the 7:1, Dog:People year ratio.  It was really one of those classic Boy-and-his-Dog scenarios, sure Ranger was the family pet, but he thought he was mine.  We got Ranger when he was a little older, so I always knew in the back of my head that time was limited, but I didn't think about it, eventually I almost forgot about it.

Eventually Ranger got sick.  The vet said it was a tumor.  We were told it would most likely cause Ranger to die, but it might not.  Still, the vet told us most likely Ranger's condition would deteriorate and we could choose to put him down now, or hope for the best, at least enjoy what time we had left with him.

At first Ranger seemed completely normal, we'd play in the backyard, he'd hop up on to my bed at bedtime, where ever I sat he'd be within arms-reach.  Eventually, however, Ranger's condition started to deteriorate, just as I was told.  At first he wasn't interested in playing anymore, which was expected so I spent more time on the little things, belly-rubs etc.  Soon enough I had to start helping him with the things he loved to do, I'd lift him on to my bed at night, help him get into the car to go for rides.  A time later he would spend most of the time laying on my bed, this period became very hard on me,  I loved Ranger and even though he was still there he wasn't himself.  It was really hard, I knew he wasn't doing well but I knew he was still happy to be with me, and I was happy to still have him.

The time came to put Ranger down.  It was a very difficult thing for me, I wanted to keep Ranger with me, more than anything, but I knew he'd only keep getting worse, keep getting harder on me, on both of us.  Afterwards, even now when I think about it, I wonder if it wouldn't have been better to put Ranger down before things started to go down hill.  He was still happy, I was still happy.  Sure, we got a few more months together, and I know we still made each other happy during that time, it was hard to watch him slowly waste away like that.

To this day I don't know what the right decision was, or even if there was a "right" one.  The regret of drawing it out to squeeze what happiness we could out of the last little bit, or the mystery of what could have happened if we let him go at the beginning.  It's one of those things I try not to think about too often.

23 March 2011

Creature of Habit

Superstition is a very large part of baseball.  It's something people who haven't played don't fully understand, but in a sport where much of the action is measured in milliseconds and fractions-of-inches you need all the help you can get.  Because of this, baseball became very ritualistic, very repetitive.  

I'm not saying that in my 18 years of playing that I thought by completing pre- or post-game rituals magically made my play better, however these rituals do bring a kind of inner-peace and calm.  In a sport where split-second miscalculation of a millisecond or a quarter-inch means failure, any doubt or stray thought can be disastrous.  To avoid this you come up with little rituals that convince you that you've done all you can, whether that's never stepping on the foul line, setting your glove down carefully rather than tossing it, not washing your jersey, eating a specific meal, or listening to certain music.  Your body begins to thrive on the consistency and reputation and soon it becomes subconscious.

This necessity for habit and ritual tends to flow out into my everyday life even still.  Whether it's the habit of working out or eating right, going to church or missing a certain missionary, once you get in the habit of doing it you do it subconsciously and it become easy.  At the same time, however, break the ritual and it can all fall apart, especially with habits you don't necessarily enjoy being in (like dieting).  Some habits become natural, especially the ones you wanted to get into (at least at the time), to break those you have to reverse the system, create new rituals to over-write the old.

Replacing the habit of missing Hannah daily has been my goal for the last month.  The last few weeks I've been quite successful.  I'll admit, I've allowed myself to be a bit of a hermit over the course of the last year, not really on purpose, I just let it happen.  Over the last week I've been liberating myself.  Beyond being really busy with work, I've allowed myself to get out more, opened myself to new relations.  I've literally made it a habit NOT to think about Hannah, I even get a sense of self-pride when I look at the countdown and realize, Hey! It's been almost a week since I really thought about Hannah coming home.  It feels good, to be honest, I feel free.

21 March 2011


How do you know who you are?  Sometimes I forget, sometimes I feel that I'm constantly changing and I can't remember who I was a year ago.  Have my interests changed?  Maybe it's only my priorities.

I've been talking a lot the last couple weeks to various people.  I've started to realize what a great gig some shrinks have.  Really, you put people in a situation where they feel like they're comfortable enough to talk about anything and they start spilling EVERYTHING.  Then you ask a few simple questions which triggers so analytical thinking and, voila, there's your answer.

I've started to analyze my relationship with Hannah before she left.  Probably not a good idea given it's been nearly 14 months and I honestly don't remember much of it other than things we did together.  Granted, there are huge holes in my memories of the two of us together, but I can't help but wonder if our relationship was as great as I thought.  The gap between breaking up with Liz and dating Hannah was my smallest, could it have all been a delayed rebound?  Sometimes I think back and wonder if Hannah and I agree too much, but then again many of my friends say I've become more confrontational over the last year.  I can't help but wonder if the issues with the letters is a foreshadowing of the difference in our spirituality, to be completely honest I almost can't stand receiving her general e-mails to her family that are forwarded on to me, I don't know that person.  Sure, people say, "She's on a mission, it always happens."  But those feelings just don't disappear like that, they're always there, they may just become hidden behind a mask of normalcy.

My cousin got married this weekend.  It caused a lot of drama in the family.  We've always been closer with our Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins than most families, so everyone is involved with everyone else.  As cousins get older family holiday parties have become like showcases, boyfriends and girlfriends are brought to see how they stand up, and see if they can gain approval.  I like to think I know how to pick'em.  My family loved both Liz and Hannah.  The drama with this wedding was that no one really approved of the match on our side.  Apart from violating several of my "lines in the sand" when it comes to weddings and receptions, I haven't really had a part in the scandal.  After going home today and discussing the issue with my family I came to realize my problem, I'm too laid back.

I'm the kind of guy that knows a good amount about many, many things which, while being a valuable skill in the real world, has become the source of much paranoia in my romantic life.  The problem lies in the fact that when I become interested in a girl(or really when I'm around relations in general) I tend to subconsciously mirror them.  Their interests become my interests.  Really I've found it to be a natural process, they start talking about their interests so I begin discussing their interests with enough knowledge that they think it must be a major interest of mine as well (not to say it isn't).  The issue is that I've become laid-back, sometimes I feel like I'm lost and I'm not being myself.  My masks allow me to be anyone, the problem ism every time I don a new one I seem to gain some amnesia about why I bothered wearing the last one.

I suppose I'm dealing with a lot of confusion in my personal life right now.  I'm trying to decide on and prioritize what I think I want.  I'm trying to decide where Hannah stands with me, or if she does at all; Then struggling with the fact that the judgment is unfair after 14 months apart.  (I feel like I should throw in a sweet analogy right now, but I can't really think of an adequate one, we'll try this:) It's almost like trying to decided if you'll still like a TV show's latest season after missing the one previous.  You can't accurately judge because you don't know the direction it's gone in the season you missed.

I was confronted on the matter of my thoughts and feelings towards Hannah, and those of pursuing a new relationship, it was frustrating to realize that I really just don't know.  Frustrating because I feel like I'm always the guy who can come up with the plan that covers all the bases.  I just don't know, and I found myself repeating that line a lot following the questions as they came, I really just don't know.

There's a lot going on in my mind right now, how to handle the Hannah thing, how to approach new feelings, how to be who I want to be rather than a reflection of whoever I'm with, or maybe the answer is to be with someone whose reflection I'd want to be.  In the words of Derek Zoolander, "I guess I have a lot of things to ponder..."