9:42 a.m. - 2004-08-30
In short, the Asshole party was...interesting... I got there late, but my no means missed the festivities. We wrapped it up at around 9 or ten, saved Six's mom's dog from a locked bedroom (you really have to go read Six's entry about the weekend), and headed over to The Bar to regale the crowd with our tales of dog rescue.
I still think Six's mom should have let me call the fire department. There would have been an opportunity for me to meet cute men that way.
At The Bar, I was overcome with runny nose, eyes and scratchy throat syndrome, indicative of having been away from The Bar to long. The smoke gets to me unless I go regularly. So I headed outside to sit at a picnic table, and was treated to the company of an ex-con many times over, who is just a little older than me. I could have walked back into The Bar, but I was curious.
Ex-con and I chatted for a while. Then I had to ask the burning question. "When you were a kid, is this what you thought your life was going to be like?" I expected some hemming and hawing and maybe a little shock at my boldness.
He looked me in the eye for a few minutes, then told his story. He is a product of his environment. Growing up on the redneck streets of a large city, making his way. He just never grew out of it. Its what he does.
It lands him in jail more often than not for a few weeks to months at a time. He enjoys the time off, because he can spend his days reading thick novels that he never has time for in real life. He got a 1495 on his SATs, got decent grades. He won a full scholarship to a great college, went for a couple of months, and fell back into his old patterns, his comfort zone.
Ex-con would be a good looking man, if it weren't for the cheaply done tatoos, bloodshot eyes and wife beaters he insists on wearing.
What I didn't ask him is why he does what he does, when he isn't money driven.
I know the answer already. Like so many who don't live by society's rules, he follows expectations just the same. People have expectations of him which he is afraid of breaking. Its the comfort zone again. He, just like most rebels, if following the rules set out by society for his kind. And he follows the faithfully.
So he goes to jail now and then, sometimes just for fighting in public, sometimes for more serious offenses. Never for long. Just long enough to read with a voracious appetite undisturbed.
I don't feel sorry for him. But, I see the lack of something human in him that only he can claim for himself. That something that call us to transcend our environment and the expectations of others to live a better life. I hope he gets there. He has such potential.
But for now, I think I made a good friend. A loyal one anyway. He all but threatened the lives of two other very bad applicants for new fuck-buddy if they were bothering me. They, of course weren't. But he hovered over me like a mother hen as the courting progressed throughout the evening. I have always believed that one needs friends in all corners. That way, there is always someone at your back. And now I know a little more about a scary facet of life that makes it a little less scary, but no less sad. The Bar has given me many opportunites to peer through the glass cage that separates the good from the bad, and to see how grey the difference really is.
Oh, and no, I do not have a new boyfriend. I gracefully turned down the ex-con, the drug-infested goofball, AND the neo-nazi, white hood wearing lost boy.
But, all in all, they are good aquaintences to have, because even though jail, drugs and prejudice are repulsive to me, it is good to keep them close. It is good to know, and not be afraid. None of these men are inherently bad. Just lost and unable to see past the glass walls.
Just another day at the zoo.