Interesting Times

When I feel like I am getting into a creative rut, I sometimes turn to the rather large cadre of work I have created in my journals over the years. Just in the last few days, I picked up a journal from 2002 and read in it some, putting little Post-It® notes on the pages with notes like “Kay said she loved me on the phone,” or “OU practice light gun,” about getting the control tower in Norman to use the signal lights as I climbed out on my way back to Ada in the Cessna 172 I was renting all the time back then.

These notes are from 2001-2002, right around the time I tried to date Lisa, and about six months before I started dating Abby.

I love it when she says my life is better than hers. I could listen to her voice for hours, but not for days.

Misty told me, “We’ll never forget these endless nights on the balcony.” (We shared a balcony at my apartment.)

Balcony party, early 2000s.
Balcony party, early 2000s.

Laughed and laughed all night long with Kay online, both of us joking that we’d meet in Joplin tomorrow at midnight. Such tender feelings for her. I adore her.

Wayne is playing Quake III Arena on my computer and Misty is contemplating cutting her own hair.

In Norman, I decided on Thai food for lunch. It’s the anti-Ada. Excellent volleyball later on in a clear afternoon with Misty and two kids from across the street. We ended up on the balcony in the warm night air, trading stories.

I called Kay after her computer crashed, and listened to her go on about the stupidest stuff, captivated by the way her voice trails off and the way she pronounces her Ps.

Jamie called to tell me about getting run over and breaking her hand getting her friend’s car out of ditch.

Ten years ago was dirty and pure. It was just before Pam in the middle of the whole MP infatuation thing. In a way, I miss those times, and in a way, I know I never want to do that again.

I saw Anna (not the Norman one) at the store, and as I left, I thought, “I can’t believe I ever went out with her,” and I’m sure she was thinking the same thing.

Ostensibly for Cinco de Mayo, I took Wayne and Misty to Norman for dinner with the gang. Thea cooked and did a great job, and everyone laughed and had a great time.

Marilyn has been trying to set me up with someone named Amy. I called her today and asked her out, and she said, “I don’t even know you!” Why even try?

Instant message with Kay tonight…

K: I’m sorry, it’s not you. I’m just very mellow tonight.
R: If I were there, I would brush your hair.
K: I wonder why my husband never thinks of that.
R: Some guys are hair-brushers, and some guys aren’t. You are a great person and a great friend.
K: Thanks. I haven’t felt worthy of it in the last few days.
R: You have my permission to sleep well and wake up in a positive mood.
K: I’ll do my best. Thanks for cheering me up.
R: I love you. Good night.
K: I love you.

May 15: So much emotion arcing between Kay and me tonight. We admire each other. Today in an email, she said, “that’s why you’re my idol.” I’ve never felt closer to her.

Kay called to say she wouldn’t be online tonight. In some ways, she’s my defacto girlfriend. I probably talk to her as much as anyone, including her husband. Maybe it’s just as well that she lives 450 miles away. Or maybe if she lived close, this relationship wouldn’t exist. Sometimes I really hurt for her.

“It feels like I’m fighting God, that God hates me.” ~A

She wants her love life to be like a book, but it’s not a good book.

“When I wasn’t looking, you became my closest confidant.” ~Kay, May 29

She’s spending the evening with her husband, and it feels like she’s cheating on me.

“Have I said ‘I love you’ lately?” ~Kay, June 4. She called me four times today, and during the last one she said, “That’s why you’re my mentor, my hero.”

June 8: Jamie and I laid down together on my futon, where she slept for an hour while I read Quiet Days in Clichy. I could feel her body unwind as I held her. Afterwards, I could smell her on my clothes.

June 11: I had an excited message from Kay. I called her, and she was excited because she had processed her film from class. “I wanted to tell someone,” she said, “but no one cares but you.”

Women all around, all out of reach.

D told me that “kids suck.”

June 17: A told me she masturbated six times yesterday.

Kay isn’t who I think she is.

June 20: K and I just talked and talked and talked. She told me it was no accident that she calls all the time, and she really likes “talking to someone who has something intelligent to say.” I told her I hope I was a good listener. “I hadn’t really thought about it,” she added. “Maybe that’s why I like talking to you so much.”

I have a spotty acting career that included being in my next door neighbor Wayne's send up of James Bond, Montana Max. In this March 2002 scene, Max is about to break my neck at the end of a fight scene.
I have a spotty acting career that included being in my next door neighbor Wayne’s send up of James Bond, Montana Max. In this March 2002 scene, Max is about to break my neck at the end of a fight scene.

Kay, why didn’t this happen to us nine years ago? She is so much on my mind. I seriously doubt she understands the depth of my feelings for her. After all, what woman ever has?

“Your scrapbooks?” I told Kay, “they’re your style!”
“Ugh,” she said. “Can I have your style instead?”

June 27: “Kay, you can’t dispute what I am about to say. You were adorable in junior high.” …followed by the sound of a frustrated sigh on the other end of the phone.

She called me later on the phone in a foul and furious mood, repeatedly referring to herself as “stupid.”

“And it would be better if I could just go home and go to sleep,” she said, “but my husband will be there, and I don’t want to explain to him why I had a bad day. So you’re getting it all. I’m really a bitch on days like these.”

July 23, 2002: “You know why I like being with you?” Jamie asked. “All my other friends are noisy. You’re quiet.”

I ran into Allison, another woman who I asked out but wouldn’t go out with me.

July 31, 2002: Looking at my logbook, I realize yet again what a shame it is that I’m not flying much any more. Years ago it was so easy: the keys to the Cessna 150 were in my pocket, and Vera sent me a bill every month at $30 an hour. I practically had no choice but to fly a couple of times a week. Now, though, scheduling is a pain, and it’s more than $60 an hour for the Skyhawk. My flight instructor and the airport manager both haven’t flown in years.

I was flying a fair amount during this period.
I was flying a fair amount during this period.

August 3, 2002: At last I got my biennial flight review in the T-34. I didn’t fly especially well, but it was only my second hour in the model. Its splendid handling and power are easily offset by its awkward control layout and ergonomics. Still, it was a joy to fly.

Kay called me “Sweetie” on the phone today. Later she was online only long enough to tell me she was pissed off at her husband and “wasn’t handling it very well.” I re-read her December 1994 letter about how much she is in love with her husband, but she never says that about him any more. For the first time, I heard her use the phrase “seven year itch” to describe her marriage.

Wayne and Misty decided to move out.

It was that week that I got an email from a mutual friend that Lisa, a long-time hard crush for me, was divorcing, and that became my primary focus.

Kay called and told me she felt “protective of” me.

“Lisa was in my arms tonight!” ~Journal, August 11, 2002

In the middle of an my emotional conflagration, in the middle of the night, there is a knock at the door. It’s Jamie, who is a mess. “I just needed a few minutes with somebody sane,” she tells me, and I am secretly amused by the irony.

Kay called and listened to my self-indulgence for about 45 minutes. Sometimes I don’t understand what she gets from “us.”

September 16, 2002: I certainly haven’t been a Buddha these last few weeks. My thoughts are all over the place, in other times and other’s hearts.

Great flirting with Kay on the phone. Very affectionate. At the end of the conversation, she said she loved me.

A called in her usual funk of dissatisfaction. Jamie called in a miasma of heartache. The comfort of tears, and the night.

When asked to pick one word to describe me, W said it was a tie between “intense” and “passionate.”

Kay on the phone, miserable with allergies. A on the phone, miserable with a toothache. Richard (me) on the phone, miserable with self-indulgence and ingratitude. Lame is too lame a word to describe it.

This chapter sort of ends in October 2002, when I took a trip to Caprock Canyons in Texas, then just a month later, a longer trip to Utah.

This was my apartment in 2002.
This was my apartment in 2002.


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