My ass hurts. And it's a beautiful feeling because it signals progress... Progress with an ouch, but progress nonetheless.
Why does my ass hurt? My ass hurts, because in early 2001, while I was traveling in China, I met a couple from Toronto. (that's obviously me on the left)
They had probably been married for decades, but their romanced looked brand new. They'd be walking down the street, and no sooner would her hand fall to her side than his would scoop it up. And they'd walk on, arms swinging ever so slightly. It looked as if puppy-love had failed to tell them it was a temporary thing. (Who's to say it must be?)
She had a warm smile that could soothe an entire room full of people, and he had a laugh that could fill it - and them. She was soft and he was bold. She reassuring and he hilarious. Their differences complimented each other so well.
But the memory that affected me most was one of a couple that looked so young at a time when I felt so old, even though I was less than half their age.
And that's when it dawned on me: "Rob," I said to myself "You're fucking up."
I was working at a radio station called HOT 100 in Dallas at the time. My boss was a brash man named Carmy (short for Carmello - a very Italian name for a very Italian man). Carmy was the kind of boss who'd tell you point blank when you weren't measuring up to his expectations. I can't count the number of times I'd hear him say to some member of the staff: "dude, you're fucking up." You didn't need Carmy to explain how you were 'fucking up.' Generally speaking, it was obvious. A dj lets a listener drop an f-bomb on the air? "Dude, you're fucking up." Show up late for some live appearance: "Dude, you're fucking up."
...allow yourself at age 29 to feel older than an elderly couple from Toronto: "Dude, you're fucking up."
And I was. When Carmy would tell one of us we were fucking up, it was never said with malice. In fact, he was our biggest fan.
I lost my job the day after I returned from my trip to China. My radio station had fallen under new management, and I was asked to resign - which I refused to do. "These people are my friends" I said. "If you want to fire me, that's fine - but there's no way I'm letting these people think I'm walking out on them."
That's a sure way to get fired :)
Carmy was to be fired as well, but he was out of state dealing with a death in his family, so his termination would have to wait.
"It's nothing personal Rob" they said. "We're making changes and you'd fight 'em, so you're out." They were right: I'd have fought the changes. HOT 100 became WILD 100, which then became something else.
Carmy had been my boss at HOT 100, but he'd become a trusted friend as well. He knew what he was paying me, so he'd lecture me about saving money. That's part of the reason I had a year's salary in the bank when I was fired.
At first, I went through depression of having everything I'd worked so hard on destroyed. But I enjoyed my time off as well. I visited Dylan in Salt Lake City. I built websites for my travel pics in Bolivia and China... and I spent a LOT of time thinking about what I wanted from my life.
My thoughts kept coming back to that couple from Toronto. How could they be so young?
And that's when it dawned on me: Youth isn't a number. It's a way of being. It's swinging on the swingset with your sweetie. It's telling a joke because it's a sure way to share a laugh. It's constantly learning new things. It's sincerely enjoying the moment rather than just getting through it.
In short, 'youth' is celebrating life... and that is why, as I sit here typing out this thought, my ass is sore.
I changed my ways in order to get my life back on track - to re-learn how to celebrate life. The first steps were to leave radio behind and move to Portland (a city I adore). I wanted to live in a place where I felt like I belonged. This is it.
Another step was to sell my stuff and start fresh. A new apartment in a new city with new stuff.
I met new people, updated my wardrobe, and started eating better.
Many of my fondest childhood memories are of riding my bike - so, this past friday, I bought a used Schwinn Hybrid. I've already decked it out with a headlamp, tail light, and fenders.
For my first bike ride in at least eight years, I met a friend at the river & rode from Portland to Sellwood and back.
And that is why my ass hurts. I blame the couple from Toronto even though I've never felt better...
Photo caption, from left to right:
"What did I just buy?"
"What is that smell?"
"Whatever! It cost me a nickel!"
Was browsing Google and found your site, enjoyed the reading, thanks::::: | September 25, 2004 2:04 PM