That’s my old house. No, not the brick houses behind the fence. I mean that exact spot where the pewter SUV is sitting. Two years ago, I parked in that spot every night, and went to sleep. It got so hot in McKinney, TX that one night I nearly drowned in my own sweat. I was sleeping in the backseat at a weird angle, and the sweat just rolled down my throat until I woke up choking and heaving, half-naked in the back of a 2002 Ford Taurus, at 3 am. The next morning I had to catch a plane to New Jersey, so I headed to:
That’s my old gym. Every morning I drove two miles from “home”, took a piss, showered and shaved, lifted for a bit, and chatted with the owner, who was an absolute saint. He also had a super cool name like “Titan” or “Ernesto” which I can’t remember. I’m pretty sure he knew I used his gym as a bathroom, but he was cool with it. When I couldn’t pay, he never complained.
Next door (out of frame) is a dry cleaner. One time I had to catch a flight to Pittsburgh and I locked my keys in my car, with all my belongings. The owner of that dry cleaner (without even knowing me) paid for a service to come unlock my doors. Moving on:
This is Coffee Squared, the coolest little corner of Texas. I lived here more than that Wal-Mart parking lot. The owner told me “good morning” by name every single day. I bought an English muffin and a cup of coffee religiously. I made house music with Ableton 8 after work every day. I met a talent scout who wanted to represent that music. I met all the cool hardcore bands that the owner let play in his shop on Friday nights.
Why the pictures? I’m just reminiscing, I guess, and thinking about happiness, and change. Some people think being happy is a sign that you live an easy life, and I disagree. All of these places made me happy during the second-most miserable time of my life. When I lived on the streets, I met a lot of people who were not only unhappy, but hell-bent on remaining so. I wasn’t interested in that, so I wandered and wandered until I found people who thought I was interesting, and thought I had potential.
But something made me happier than even those wonderful people. When I left Oklahoma it was finally me calling the shots. I was no longer forced to live with an AK-47-wielding heroin addict, or pay for my boba tea (a necessity!) with nickels scrounged from the couch cushions. I got a job within two weeks that put me on airplanes to every corner of the U.S. It was an adventure. Even being dirt poor and suffocating on my own sweat was suddenly wonderful.
My dad once told me that the great thing about rock bottom is that there’s nowhere to go but up, and (like usual) he was very right. I told him once when I was homeless that I was the happiest I’d ever been, because literally every day was better than the one before. Logically, it had to be.
Oh, hey, I think I found a reason for why I’m thinking these thoughts. I have an opportunity to maybe change big things in my life again, and I’m a bit scared. I think it’s a healthy fear, but it still irks me because I don’t like being scared. Things are comfortable now, and shaking them up seems foolish. Things are going well. I was just promoted. I’ve tripled my salary and my boss likes me. I have an apartment and friends and new shoes and air conditioning.
But shaking things up is oh-so-tempting, and that’s a wild part of me that the Adderall can’t level out. I want to throw caution to the wind again. I want to convince myself that I’m smart enough to make things work.
Final thought: my “two-week experiment” with coding in Ruby has turned into an obsession. I’ll love Python till the day I die, but Ruby has reached official side-ho status.