Writing about yourself is always a narcissistic undertaking. I want to shy away from it simply to avoid exposing this narcissism. The motivation to write is simply to share a story, to connect you with your fellow man. I felt very much alone in this world growing up. There are many reasons that could explain it, but as I grew older I realized that just about everyone felt alone in this world, and everyone coped differently.
My life is not unusual. I lived a good life. I am not sure that anyone’s life is considered typical. I am not sure where to even start, so I will start with the earliest memories.
My earliest memories involve sun bleached fields. California 1986. My father was in the military. My mother had escaped her past life in jersey to wed him and move across the country to California where he was stationed. He was an Annapolis graduate. Hard worker, goal oriented, always wanting to rise above the way he saw himself.
So, there they were, in their early twenties, in love and making children. I remember watching home videos of my mother when I was a child. My father was off at sea for six months out of the year. Her children were her saving grace. She was alone, on a naval base, drawing her only source of comfort from the babies she produced. My two sisters were born a few years later. I was one of those children that never developed his inhibitions. Throughout my life I was always wandering away from my family. They lost me wherever they went: county fairs, Wal-Mart, parks, and our neighborhood.
Life has always been an adventure. More than that, life has been a pursuit of meaning. Adventures seemed to be the best way of capturing the meaning, especially in my youth.
A stream of memories quenches my reminiscing as I think about my earliest adventures.
After California my parents moved to Fairfax, Virginia. My memories there include being held down by my parents and force fed a syringe full of cough medicine, watching squirrels bury little treasures in the earth, and learning how spaghetti-o’s are made. These years contained the queerest discoveries. I faintly remember gray skies and a small park with untrimmed lawns containing long soft grasses. There with my mother, I remember plucking the grasses from the earth. She let me in on a little secret. Speghetti-o’s are actually made from grass. She made a deal with me that she would make me these spaghetti-o’s if I collected these grasses. I was exuberant with delight. I remember scavenging the whole field for these little tufts of grass. I returned with a bushel under my arm and handed them over to my mother. She instructed that they needed to be cooked and they would be ready soon and to go outside. I ventured outside for additional playtime. On this day I remember pulling the plastic sheathing of my neighbors newspapers and attaching them to the handlebars of my bike. This way, when I accelerated, they inflated to awesome orange cylinders that flopped in the wind as I rode. Hearing her call from the balcony I ran up to the kitchen. It was just turning fall so there was a bite to the air. Sitting down at the kitchen table, I removed my neon windbreaker and, to my amazement, she had turned the green grass into spaghetti o’s.