Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Letter to my friend Schuy

I feel like writing. The thing is, I have a hard time bringing myself to actually perform the act. I type a lot faster than I write, and I can never keep up with my thoughts when I write. So I'll start writing, and then lose my train of thought. By the end nothing ever makes sense. So I type on my computer. It's sad in a way, I'd much rather bring that dreamy image to life -- that image of sitting down and furiously noting thoughts like the classic writers of the past. But as a pebble of a generation bound by new media and technology, well, typing is just better. In fact, I'm closer and closer to purchasing a typewriter I've seen at this antique store. It would be great, but the sound would annoy my flatmates I'm sure. So out of personal conveience and out of respect to my neighbors, I'm typing on a laptop. Or is it labtop, I've never known, maybe you can clear that up for me.

So I'm going to write to you, because I've been thinking of you tonight and I prefer writing in the form of emails. I'm not going to re-read this, so excuse me for typos. I always have typos and my mom always gives me crap for it. "Hi mom, did you read my last email? What did you think?" "Oh yes it was fine, but you obviously didn't spellcheck, Audrey. As a journalist I expect you to at least not have any typos." Oh mom, the one person I unmodestly ask for praise from delivers nothing but cirticism. I should be thankful.

Anyway, I have a lot of things on my mind, so this email will be a ramble that I can only hope you'll read at least the beginning of. It's 2.30am and I'm awake. This is unexpected because I'm usually sleeping in a monkey bed by one. That's right, a monkey bed, or a bed on stilts that I climb a ladder to get to. It would be nicer if it was a rope ladder leading to a hammock where I swing myself to sleep. But since I live in an Austrian village in the Alps, it's just not as practical.

I drank coffee tonight and that's why I'm awake. Not the greatest idea, but sometimes you just need a good cup of coffee.

I should stay up this late more often, it's the only time where there's actualy peace. My windows are open and the only sound I heard is rain falling on the streets and rooftops. It rains here almost every day, in the afternoon or evening. I love the sound of rain, but most of the time I can't hear it because of the explosive noise pollution that bounces through my room (see mass email).

I wanted to tell you that I thought about Paris on the Platte. Do you know this cafe? You must, and I've probably asked you before. I loved that cafe, near the Denver skatepark. It was a secret spot for Sarah and I when we were teenagers. After driving from Boulder to Denver to see a show, we would always end up there. We'd never tell anyone, and those who did join us, well, they were damn lucky. In our minds they had somehow earned the privilege to join us, but I can't remember the criteria the guest actually had to meet. I don't even remember how we found out about it. In all honestly, it was probably from some guy Sarah met off America Online. Sarah met lots of guys from America Online, and I always tagged along. Looking back on it, we met a lot of really cool people that way. One time we got lost and ended up at Rocky Flats because of some guy we were supposed to meet, but that's another story.

I used to work at Whole Foods in Boulder at the Jamba Juice section when I was 16. Sarah was a cashier. Once I went on a date with a guy who worked there. It was late and he didn't know where to get coffee, so I thought of taking him to Paris on the Platte. My date was a preppy guy from Nederland who, in the end, was definitely not impressed with Paris on the Platte or my "elite" knowledge of it. The mix of punks, snobby anarchists, indie kids and old weird people was not his scene. I was completely turned down at the end of the date, he high-fived me as he said goodbye. Ouch.

Being a Jamba Juice employee at a Whole Foods store in Boulder rocks, and I'm sure you can imagine the sort of people who work there. This was during the time of the Kava Kolada, a smoothie packed with pineapple, coconut, mango, and all the kava mix one could handle. Ever try one? Employees were allowed one smoothie per shift, and I chose this one most of the time. Kava is a strong herbal relaxer, and dumping a shitload of it into a smoothie filled with fruits that hide the taste is a receipe for a smooth shift. Maybe a little too smooth at times, and eventually the company took the drink and its kava off the menu because the effects were so strong.

I never was fired from Jamba Juice, but I was asked to leave on my last day because I showed up six minutes late. The majority who work at Whole Foods are the stereotypical laid back hippies, but there are always a few bad apples -- high-strung upper managers that have ten-foot poles up their asses. One of my bosses was like this, and he kicked me out as I was walking in. I never knew how much I really enjoyed there until he turned me away, I was sad to leave friends and such a cheerful environment. The people that work in those natural food stores are genuinely happy, they show it, and it's from good vibes but also good benefits and good pay.

Where was I going with this? Oh right, the next job. It was at another smoothie place in Boulder, right off of 28th and Valmont. I forget the name, and I began working there as the place was going under new ownership. Every single employee there was a high school friend of mine, so I loooooved work. Plus the new boss liked me and handed me a key before I should have had one. He and his family went on vacation once, and I decided to have a party there. Although my co-workers/awesome friends said it was a bad idea, which it was, there was no way I could back out on it. I had a reputation to feed, so the party pressed on. I spent hundreds on liquor and nothing on mixers because the smoothie shop provided it all, and walk-in fridges and freezers of extras if I needed it. I even got a few friends to run the bar after I slapped a giant tip jar next to them in place of a cash register.

It felt like my own bar I had created just for friends to party at. I covered the giant glass windows in the front with big pieces of black poster paper, and it worked perfectly. There was a loud redneck bar a few places down, so the noise blended in with the next door barfights. And the barfights were an excellent distraction when it came to cop concerns. With a surround sound system and more than enough space in the front and back, it was a rager. I caught Sam Ashabi trying to steal a blue door through the front entrance, but that was it for damage. Visual damage. I cleaned until it opened the next morning. It was spotless when I left. A few weeks later I graduated from high school and quit. The smoothie place ditched the fruit drinks and soon morphed into Glacier Homemade Ice Cream The owner, I think his name is Mark, now makes a LOT of money from it. There are a few shops in Boulder still. The ice cream rocks.

Last week two friends of mine from Boulder came to visit, Lane Harlow and Chris Kerrigan. One time I was at DIA picking up a friend when I see Chris and his army of CSU volleyball players strut out the main terminal area. What a coincidence, I thought, so we both were shocked to see each other and asked what each other were doing there. He was coming back from some volleyball match. I didn't have time to explain myself because he began to launch into his latest experience on the plane.
"Hey, remember that smoothie place you and your hot friends used to work at, and you all threw that ridiculous party once?" Chris is always interested in my girlfriends and always says how hot they are. I said yes I remember, and for the record I threw that party on my own.
"Well I just sat next to the owner, his wife and two kids on the whole plane ride. I asked if he rembered you, and he said 'Oh the one who ruined my business and sent me to bankruptcy?' I said probably."

In the end of it all, Mark had found out about the party. It was obvious from the drastic and dramatic gaps and falls he saw in the shops inventory and financial patterns. The party had left him with nothing, he really had no other choice but to start from scratch and start making ice cream in order to save the business, keep the family running, and keep (just like my teen-party reputation) his owner-dignity intact. It worked out for the best, he admitted to Chris, because there's much more profit and lucrative possibilities with homemade ice cream. Still, I felt guilty. And shocked, definitely shocked.

I took the escalator down to the fountain, the designated meeting point for my friend, still stunned from wha Chris had told me. And just like a movie, or a dream, I looked over to see Mark and his family take the opposite escalator up towards the exit. We stared at each other in total confusion -- he trying to piece together how his plane ride with Chris and me standing on the escalator could actually be happening to him at this moment; and me, well, the same. I'm pretty sure I smiled at him and his family, and he smiled back. I said, "How are you?" He said, "Great!" I said "You talked to Chris on the airplane?" He said, "Yes, I sure did."

We smiled at each other. I didn't have time to thank him for not bringing my ass to jail, to thank him for never bringing up everything he had always known, to thank him for keeping my teen-party reputation a legend in my memories of the past. He didn't have time to say I was welcome, that all along he was the true good guy in this scenario, that secretly it all worked out for him in the end, and that he could never thank me verbally but maybe every now and then he thought about it.

Moral of the story? Escalators just aren't long enough to speak of the things you never had the chance in your life to say.

Anyway, that's what I wanted to tell you tonight. It's 3.30am now, and I'm still not tired. But I'm going to climb up that ladder to my bed on stilts and try to drift off. I hope you are doing well Schuy. This is your last week of class, right? You made it through your first year of grad school, just a few more days until the real adventure starts. Goodnight and good luck. And if you read this through, thank you, and thank you for your time.

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