Archive for the ‘Philly Story’ Category

When we arrived at the bus station I was unceremoniously dumped on the pavement. “There’s no place for parking and we’re not going to be paying the extortionate rates they charge in centre city.” Mum got out the car and offered a caustic hug. I couldn’t be too surprised given my parents disapproval of my trip. I’d quit Uni at the Winter break to go in search of something bigger. I needed to explore and examine myself, remote from their judgement. In hindsight, I can’t help but think my parents were a bit jealous of my undertaking. It wouldn’t be for another year that I’d actually sit down and calculate the equation that was my parents life. (Married in June – my oldest brother born in December + devoutly catholic family) x 1960’s = Repressed parents forced to embark on a life less chosen.

“If you quit now you’ll never go back, you’ll never get a degree. You’ll end up like the rest of them, wasting your life,” barked mum at the time. By ‘the rest of them’ she meant my brothers… We all had quite a tumultuous relationship in our family, hardly Rockwellian. I think dad just grunted and went back to his can of ale. Well I’d proven her wrong. Over the next few years I would go back to Uni again, and again, and again. Despite the effort and more credits than any one degree is worth I still don’t have that damn piece of paper. It would have been significantly more cost effective to just have the shitty piece of parchment forged. Whether or not I’ve waisted my life, I think that’s still yet to be seen. Anyway the goodbyes had all been said already and there was nothing much left for me to do but… well leave. So I hoisted the backpack over my shoulder and cursed myself again about the upgrade.

As I entered the bus station I turned and watched my parents pull away. The glass panels of the automatic doors slid across my face and my own reflection stared back at me and I didn’t, rather couldn’t, recognize myself. It was true I had just had blonde streaks put in my hair but this unfamiliarity was not cosmetic. I can only describe feeling suddenly aware. Though looking back now I still looked like a child, the reflection that stared out at me from the glass, was, for the first time, an adult.

The sensation started in my neck, a vibration that resonated across my back and cascaded down to my toes. It was fear. I turned away from the glass and away from my past. It was then that I truly understood change, it scared the shit out of me and I loved it.

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Leaving

Posted: August 9, 2011 in Philly Story
Tags: , , , ,

It was excitement that woke me up the morning of June 10th 1999. To ensure I was perfectly organized I’d packed and repacked multiple times in the week leading up to my departure date. Hours had been spent strategically organizing the one rucksack (albeit huge) I was taking with me. Compartments had been tested in multiple scenarios till my luggage had been jigsaw’d into place allowing for the most efficient use of space. I admit there was a certain amount of pleasure that came from my almost OCD packing. I had almost convinced myself that there would be a special luggage examiner whose job was not to check for potential hazards but rather to assess the quality of ones packing. Best one gets a free first class upgrade. This was the thought that went through my mind as I stood out of bed into the carefully organized piles I’d emptied from my rucksack the night before and fallen asleep before repacking them.

SHIT!! 

“MUM! What time is it?”

“We’re leaving in ninety minutes, you better hurry up.”

The rest is blank. It wasn’t till we were in the car driving to the bus station that my memory returned.  Panicking, I started to go through a check-list in my head but this bloody awful iron taste in my mouth was distracting, so I gave up. I went over the basics; me, check; passport, check; plane ticket, check; unknown contents of luggage, check.

Oh my god, did I shower?

It had been months in the planning, of enacting scenarios in my head of what my summer in the States was going to be like. I can’t fully explain the excitement I felt. I was 18 but to most back here in the UK I was considered a bit of an old soul, someone who never really fit in despite all my efforts. Faceted is the only word I can describe myself as back then. Aspects of many groups appealed to me but never the whole, and so, I would present whatever facet fitted the situation; the scholar, the bad-ass, the geek, the partier, the rebel, the lover. Yet none of these things was ever able to draw my full commitment and it manifested in an awkwardness that, now I am back home in the UK, has horribly resurfaced. I even tried my hand at being a poof yet the physical repulsion I felt the first time I gobbled a cock made me think otherwise. ‘Better left in my head.’ an aspect of me that lay dormant for a few years before resurfacing with a vengeance, but there will be more about that later. Back then I never truly knew who I was which is not to say that now, almost eleven years later, I have any better clue. Seems there are just more facets to complicate things.

The beautiful thing was that I now had an opportunity to be whomever I wanted to be. Fantasies of assumed persona’s had been part of my build up to visiting America for the summer. Hey, I was only gonna be with these guys for a few months, who the hell cares what I tell them right? But fantasies were all these assumed persona’s were ever going to be. How much my experience participating in Camp America was to affect me was completely unfathomed as I packed the rucksack acquired through pseudo-sponsorship (I was lucky enough to be ‘in good’ with the head of the warranty department at a well known brand).