Monday, June 27, 2011

Then and Now 6 - The Base

Then and Now 6 - The Base
Time: Mid-2007, at my bud's aunt's place.

A week or so after I stopped being a scrub, when I decided I was going to work hard and enjoy my unmarried life, my bud and I were having a good time, as usual.

The day started normally enough: we climbed the stairs of his aunt's place, which was one of a few residences and stores housed in one big building, to the laundry area. The early morning light was creepy that day. The stairs wound around and around a very dark pit that went to the basement, where a pool of mosquitoes lay in wait. The light threw humanoid-shaped shadows on the walls, and it was made only worse by the occasional (and surprising) buzzing of a nearby mosquito or fly. It was a very interesting sight, if a bit unsettling, and we went upstairs to his aunt's washing machine to take care of the week's clothes.

When that was done, we went back downstairs to play some Guitar Hero: his favorites, my favorites, a new song for exploration's sake, the usual. We had to keep the volume down because it wasn't our house, but it was still a nice warmup for the day ahead. After an hour or so, we finished, then dressed up and headed out to town to see what we could see.

We headed down to a local river, and it was hot. Diving in was out of the question, though, because back then, the city had a huge problem with trash and other junk in the water. We had a fun (if stupid) time pointing out the different and interesting kinds of trash in the water that we could see. After a short time of that nonsense, we headed along the waterfront until we came to a huge department store. They had a funny looking statue of their fish mascot our front, so I forced my cool-as-ice bud to take pictures of me making funny faces and poses in front of the thing. He didn't seem to be entertained, but hey, that's how my bud is.

We kind of meandered around for a bit, but nothing else really interesting came to our attention, so we just headed home to relax a bit. Before I could plan my escape from his aunt's place and go out on my own, my bud got a phone call. It was his uncle and aunt, and they wanted to take us out to dinner. We agreed, and after another hour or two of Guitar Hero and PSP, we all piled into his aunt's tiny car and were off to dinner.

It was a tiny, hole-in-the-wall place that served all kinds of food (my favorite kind of restaurant). I had my first beer in forever there, and surprisingly found myself getting pretty tipsy after only two or three. My bud was opening up really well, too, and pretty soon, everyone was laughing and eating well together. I even practiced my godawful language skills with his uncle and aunt, who I think were pretty amused by my poor attempts. Finally, when we had all finished our food and sobered up, night had set in... and we went to the place where this day went from fun to awesome.

It was a slow ride to our destination because of the narrow roads and numerous traffic lights, but once we got near the mountains, we were able to speed up pretty well. On our ascent up the mountain, I asked where we were heading. My bud partially answered my question: we were going somewhere interesting up in the mountains, past an army base. And indeed, when I looked out, I noticed that the houses that we were passing looked very cozy and well fortified. It seemed that the nation's soldiers had some very comfortable digs.

After a few minutes, passing many shadowed trees and under the glow of the moon, we parked outside of a little coffee hut a good ways up the mountain. We all got out of the car, and my bud's aunt invited me to get something to drink. I was going through my "manly man" stage at that point, so I ordered coffee: black, and cold.

Good lord, what a mistake. With the beer and food in my stomach already, I felt queasy in no time. Still, I nipped at that thing as best as I could, and when I was halfway through it, my bud and his uncle and aunt took us to the final part of this trip.

It was a scenic overlook, almost completely devoid of other people. The wind was blowing, and I forgot entirely that there were people behind me and a drink in my hand. The only thing I saw at that point was the view: the city in front of and around me spreading out for miles, was brilliantly, beautifully lit up with thousands upon thousands of lights. In the distance, vast neighborhoods and tall office buildings were just brightly lit rays of color, but just in front of and below me, I could see the headlights of little cars heading back and forth on that warm summer night.

A plane passed by above, its blinking red lights slowly drawing my eyes to the distant horizon, and then passed near an even greater sight: the glowing ferris wheel atop the mall from Then and Now 2. It was still spinning, no doubt taking another group of locals on a fun ride in the night air. The trees rustled in the breeze as I scanned the view. I quietly wondered how many people I was looking at, what dreams they had, what they were doing, and what they were like... and I felt a little sad. I wanted to know all of them, but I knew there wasn't enough time in the world to meet everybody.

A while later, I suddenly remembered that I had company with me. My drink was somehow empty, but my bud and his family were still there, at my side, watching the horizon with me. I felt in awe, at peace, happy, excited, relaxed, too many things to properly feel at the same time. I felt that things would be great for the rest of my life.

Not too long after, we got back in the car and headed back to the house. My bud and I went out again to get some flavored tea and coffee from a local shop, then headed back home for a little Guitar Hero and sleep.

As for today...

I woke up at 11:30 to an empty house.
I played video games.
My wife and son came home, so I turned off the computer.
I ate lunch.
I watched TV.
I roughhoused with my son.
I talked with my wife.
I watched TV.
My wife and son went to bed.
I spent an hour or two calling up places to find a new job, and wrote my resume to send out.
My wife and son woke up.
I watched internet movies with my son.
I surfed the net.
I played video games.
I watched internet movies with my son.
I folded and put away a mountain of dry clothes.
I hung up wet laundry.
I started a load of laundry.
I watched internet movies with my son.
I hung up wet laundry again.
I played video games.
I slept.

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