In attempts to have on-going side projects to balance out the different mediums of art and creativity in my life, and to have a few things I do, independently, from Tyson: I've decided to practice writing short stories.
The first "real" job I got out of college was to work as a graphic designer for a Health Marketing firm in Walla Walla, WA. After I had received my undergraduate degree from this same tiny town in which google search tells me has a population of only 8,888 people and is a prime destination for "retirement", I was hoping to get out, and move to the city.
However, being employed in a time of economic crisis was enough to make me ecstatic to find I was starting one week after graduation, after I moved out of my college house to another one just down the street.
There, most of my co-workers were a few decades older than me, married, and with children. So I was happy when, a few months later, a boy, one year younger than me, originally from the east coast, started working at my same company. He was tall and broad, with one of those movie star chins, and when everyone else I spent all day looking at was old and gray, I gushed to my friend Alex over the phone that he was the "best looking man I'd seen in real life."
Maybe it was due to the fact that he had told me he was very overweight as a child (so he had empathy and/or compassion), or that I told him I was "very outdoorsy", or that we encountered no other young people throughout our 40-hour-a-week office enslavement, but he was eager to befriend me. Which, being a homely, slightly-overweight asian girl, came to my surprise.
He could drink more than anyone I'd ever met. He spent most of his time skateboarding. The single late 30s spinsters at my work spoke vulgarly of their crushes on him, and I pictured him as one of those charismatic rebels, like James Franco as Daniel Desario in Freaks and Geeks, who wouldn't have looked twice at me in college. However, he was far from a "burn-out", which is what they often referred to Daniel as. He was an English major in college and loved to read, although when I asked him if he'd like to write, he responded with, "No, fuck that."
He also mentioned he was head of his choir group in High School, and even when I had sufficiently gotten to know the person he is, I still made up an alternate life for him in my head, like a Z-boy from Lords of Dogtown, who lived in a cloud of haze and smoke, and had plenty of anonymous sex at parties.
A few weeks ago, we met for a beer after I had quit my old job and moved to Portland, and he told me this story:
Him and a few of his friends, whom he called "the bros", went on a skateboarding trip in Portland. They checked in to a La Quinta Inn and walked across the street to a 7-11, where they drank 40 oz beers hidden in paper bags and sat on the curb in the dark. Awhile later, they were invited to a bar down the street by a couple of people who had befriended them in the parking lot.
After hanging out for awhile at the bar, they were approached by a group of obese and ferocious black women. One started to give his friend a lap dance, jiggling her large behind over his lap, and licking his face. Not quite sure what to do, his polite friend sat there motionless, nervously chuckling until she stopped.
Later, this same group of ladies approached another group of men, in which, one, slammed the woman's head hard on the table top, bringing the two groups into a full on brawl.
While I would have left the bar right then and there, his story continued to later on in the night, when this group of women insisted that someone in his group had cocaine and that they should share it. One of his loud mouth friends made the joke that he "didn't have coke, but he had some meth." And the lady was outraged, brutally offended that he was calling her a "meth head."
From there, she punched him in the face, and being just a boy from Walla Walla, raised with the etiquette to not strike a woman, just laid on the floor mercilessly, as she continued to beat him.
After that all somehow settled and ended, another man in the bar decided that their group was "all-right" and offered to buy them drinks, but suggested they leave the bar and go back to the 7-11. They went back across the street where the man bought them each another 40 oz beer. But while talking with him, another one of his friends proceeded to again make the "wrong joke" and this man ended up wanting to fight them as well.
They returned back to their motel room, and when he went to bed, the rest of the "bros" stayed up partying. And when he left in the morning to eat continental breakfast in the lobby, his hung-over friend mistook his foot cream for his toothpaste and ended up with a terrible throat infection.
I told this story to Tyson, and he just laughed, exasperated and amused that after each event, the story kept continuing, sounding like something you should watch in The Hangover.
Although every once in awhile, I like to delude myself in to turning him into a self-destructive rock star, maybe one reason I value our friendship so much is because he reminds me of a modern day Sal Paradise from Kerouac's "On the Road", or like David Sedaris. Deep down, I know he's still the bookish kid who, once told me, posed with a copy of R.L. Stine's Goosebumps in his 2nd grade yearbook photo, just trying to fill his life with exciting characters.