Thomas Time

Hey!

My name’s Thomas and I often introduce myself as “Thomas, like the Train”. Or “Thomas the Train”. Usually I get a laugh or a knowing smile. As a fan myself, of the original Thomas the Train series I get a kick out of that.

A while back, the morning after New Year’s, a friend of mine, we’ll call him ‘Heli’ introduced me to a concept called “Thomas Time”.

Basically, Heli explained that I, ‘Thomas’, when I say I am going to be somewhere, either show up [hours] early or [hours] late. He explained that I am predictable in that I am unpredictable; I often zig instead of zag and vice versa. Planning with me can be an exercise in frustration. The only reason, Heli said, why he doesn’t mind as much as he might, is that I don’t make demands on people’s time, don’t get mad when they don’t clear their schedule for me, and am perfectly happy to do my own thing, even sleep in my own car in the event of a mismatch in schedules or communication.

Recently, I pretty much, torpedoe’d a different friend’s New Year’s Eve. He told me he wasn’t mad at me the next day (knowing that I am how I am), but just doesn’t want to do “Thomas Time” planning anymore. I believe he was mad, may be over it now, but we haven’t talked much since.

I talked on the phone with my Dad about ‘Thomas Time’ and heard knowing laughs. I realize that I’ve been on “Thomas Time” since about 5 years ago when I started seriously chasing girls the first semester of my junior year in college. My friends were mostly insulated from Thomas Time because I knew them in military college, where I was in fact very punctual and easy to make plans with. But my long suffering family knows Thomas Time all too well, even if they didn’t make up a name for it (they probably did and I just don’t remember).

I could say that my flakiness is in part, in response to flaky girls, but that would just be deflecting blame and responsibility.

I realize that if I don’t get a handle on Thomas Time, and eventually retire it, I’ll eventually railroad both over my friendships and relationships with family. It’s part of my New Year’s Resolutions, to get a handle on Thomas Time.

~Wald

Environmentalism

When I was younger I used to have a theory I called environmentalism, which seemed to better explain people’s’ behavior towards one another than how ‘racism’ did. That is, people develop opinions about the world and others depending one what their environment is comprised of.

For example, if you’re a policeman, you might tend to think of the world in three terms: cops, perpetrators (perps), and civilians. If you meet someone who’s not a cop, you’re already more likely to put them one of two boxes.

When it comes to race, I always thought that no one intrinsically dislike another race. At best, one is indifferent and forms opinions based on the types of people one interacts with. If you’ve got only negative interactions of a race, then you’ll have negative opinions. However, people, races, sexes, all behave differently in different locations and circumstances. For example, whites in the US are different from whites in England. Whites in the North are different from Whites in the South. Same with blacks. Blacks in Chicago are different from Blacks in New York and Blacks in America are wholly different from Blacks in Africa. A man who interacts with Blacks in Chicago is liable to have a vastly different opinion of Blacks than a man who interacts with Blacks in Africa.

I believe that people start with neutral opinions of other people and other places and form them after repeated interactions. If one travels, it gives one a bit of perspective that different people can be even more varied in behavior and beliefs in different areas, even amongst a particular race or nationality.

~Wald

“…and I Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart…”

This past year has been busy and my motivation to post has been tiny. But this year, I hope to change that. This was meant to go up earlier last year. I think I didn’t publish it because I wasn’t yet happy with it. Instead of letting perfect be the enemy of good, I’m going to publish today. Luckily, I had a little inspiration and was able to add to it.

I wrote this down 9 June 2017, to be published today, 4 July 2017. A two year anniversary.

“Everytime we talk, I remember that day,

Suddenly you clear up the haze,

Don’t be fooled it was no small heart break,

It’ll haunt me, for the rest of my days.

 

Everytime we talk, I can’t decide,

Whether or not I should push you away,

Or maybe I want to pull you in,

Equivocating, this is my fate,

 

…and I nearly forgot my broken heart,

It’s given me years of ache,

But still despite all of the enduring pain,

I’m addicted to, this game

 

Everytime we talk, I feel alive,

It’s not over but you can’t deny,

The cycle goes like day and night,

For now it’s a hello and good bye,

 

You’re like a habit that I can’t kick,

Everynow and then I need a fix,

More than I deserve, I get my wish,

My eyes roll back as I take hit,

 

…and I nearly forgot my broken heart,

It’s given me years of ache,

But still despite all of the enduring pain,

I’m addicted to, this game

 

I just want to be done learning,

So I can start living, but it’s hard,

After every disaster, looms happy ever after,

But it’s hard…”

~Wald

P.S. The original chorus and the bridge in the lyrics actually fit this poem quite well, but I was trying my best to be original.

“And I nearly forgot my broken heart,

It’s taken me miles away,

From the memory of how it broke apart,

Here we go ’round, again

Every single feeling tells me this is leading,

To a heart in broken little pieces,

And you know I need this,

Like a hole…”

 

Blood on the Risers v.2

I wrote my own version of the above song as a cadence for my platoon to sing when I went through airborne school a little over a year ago. Sadly, we never got to sing it. I thought I might put it up here so that the pages containing the lyrics don’t get lost in my next move.

There was a paratrooper, he was from 1st platoon,

He jumped outta the plane, thought this is what he wanted to do,

Realized a little too late, he was fresh outta ‘chutes!

He ain’t gonna jump no more!

 

Gory, gory, what a hullava way to die,

Gory, gory, what a hullava way to die,

Gory, gory, what a hullava way to die,

He ain’t gonna jump no more!

 

There was a paratrooper, he was from 2nd platoon,

He curb stomped riggers and smurfs for fun, his boots were bloody blue,

The riggers they had enough, they put a few holes in his chute,

And he ain’t gonna jump no more!

[chorus]

There was a para-hoorah, he was from 3rd platoon,

A dirty, nasty marine, basic trained at Camp Lejeune,

He popped a motorboner, put a hole in his ‘chute,

And he ain’t gonna jump no more!

[chorus]

There was a paratrooper, he was from 4th platoon,

Locked and loaded, high speed and ready to go,

Got up, shuffled, out the door in his airborne boots,

He’s gonna jump some more!

 

Glory, glory, what a hell of a way to fly,

Glory, glory, what a helluva way to fly,

Glory, glory, what a helluva way to fly,

He’s prob’ly gonna jump s’more!

 

The hapless troopers of first, second, and third platoons,

Barrelled through the air, in the hot month of June,

Not a safe space in the sky, their time was coming soon,

And they ain’t gonna jump no more!

[chorus]

There was blood upon their risers, there were brains upon their chutes,

Intestines were a-dangling, from their paratrooper suits,

They were a mess, they picked’em up and poured them from their boots,

They ain’t gonna jump no more!”

Clearly, I was part of fourth platoon, the best platoon.

~A801J

“What hurts the most; having so much to say, and seeing you walk away…”

No matter how many break-ups you go through, the next one is always going to hurt.

No matter how many break-ups you go through, you’ll never be truly prepared for when a girl just disappears [like a ghost].

What hurts the most was being so close
And havin’ so much to say
And watchin’ you walk away
And never knowin’ what could’ve been
And not seein’ that lovin’ you
Is what I was trying to do

The feeling of not being done yet, yet powerless to do anything about what’s going on or to ascertain what might have been. Powerlessness combined with the fear of the unknown. I don’t care who you are, there’s few things that match this particular pain. Even if you think you’ve seen it all.

It’s hard to deal with the pain of losin’ you everywhere I go
But I’m doing it
It’s hard to force that smile when I see our old friends and I’m alone
Still harder gettin’ up, gettin’ dressed, livin’ with this regret
But I know if I could do it over
I would trade, give away all the words that I saved in my heart
That I left unspoken

Recognize any of that?

After dealing with 4 ghosts in the past two years, one of which confused me, two of which hurt, and the one the rended my heart, I’d like to add to some excellent advice that my good friend Ace has already provided on the subject and answer some potentially frequently asked questions on the subject.

  1. Get a support group of people you trust to whom you can vent about the girl and (over-analyze it if you must). Having a large group of people is important, because you’ll get tired of talking about before anyone in your support group does. Telling the story to more than three people makes the story get old, to the point where you’re actually fed up about it enough to stop thinking about it so hard.
    1. My support group at one point consisted of (* = most important/helpful):
      1. Dad (vent/advice/sounding board)*
      2. Brother (vent)
      3. Sister (vent)
      4. Sister’s Husband (vent/advice)
      5. Mother (vent)
      6. Best Friend (vent/sounding board)
      7. Family friend (vent/sounding board)
      8. Family friend’s Mom (vent/sounding board)
      9. Mentor (vent/advice/sounding board)*
  2. Write it out. Write as much or little (and as meaningful) as possible on the subject as you can allow yourself. This will get some of the pain out of your head and on paper. It’ll help you think less of things because you’ll not worry about forgetting details, especially the good parts. Might help you come to terms with things or see them in a sober light if you take a break and come back for a review.
    1. Here a couple of examples of this in action:
      1. Russian-Thought Criminal
      2. Smarty Pants
  3. Realize there’s a reason for everything and sometimes it’s not you. Sadly, since you don’t know what could have been it’s hard to accept that things are over when you aren’t ready for them. Realize that ultimately, you’re better off that these relationships are over. Yes – I know. As someone who’s employed to get shot at and live, I never thought it could hurt so much to dodge a bullet either.
  4. Give yourself time to recover. Of course it hurts. Attempting to deceive yourself into thinking it doesn’t or that you’re perfectly fine doesn’t work. Often times, bottling your emotions just means that they’ll come out at a time you didn’t expect when you can least afford it. Try to give yourself a reasonable deadline to mourn the relationship. Allow yourself to listen to sad songs. Allow yourself to stare off into space. Allow yourself to drone on about it to your support group. In my experience, the pain leaves sooner when I let it go through rather than attempt to block it or otherwise bottle it up.
  5. Date girls who live close by. It’s easier to see the signs in girls who live close by. They’re less likely to ghost on you as they’re more likely to run into you and you can better gauge how they feel about things and more importantly, you. This doesn’t mean you can unequivocally stop a ghosting, but rather see it before it happens and prepare for it, at least.
  6. If you have something to say, say it. If you think there’s something you need to do, do it. A medium plan executed now is better than a good plan executed later. Women are creatures of the moment. If you don’t say what you need to say or do what you need to do at the moment it’s time, you don’t usually get another chance. So don’t worry too much about saying or doing the wrong thing, as you’ll always regret and beat yourself up over inaction over action. Every time. Sometimes all you can say is that you still like her and that she knows where to find you when she realizes her mistake.
  7. Vocalize your dislike for ghosting to each girl you start to see. Say it’s because you don’t want to waste your time or hers. You may not (ok, probably won’t) get the whole, complete, honest answer why things are over, but you’ll probably at least get clear message that things are over. This will stop you at least from wondering where you stand what you could have done about your heretofore unsure standing. This won’t work 100% of the time, but it’s worked so far for me.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1) Does it ever get easier? Does it ever stop hurting?

No. It doesn’t really get easier and it doesn’t stop hurting. Eventually, you find it within you to carry on despite the pain. To my mind, the quality of girl and circumstances around the ghosting determine the recovery period from a measly couple of weeks to many miserable months.

2) How do I make it hurt less?

Make yourself busy to the point where you don’t have time to sit around and be sorry for yourself (that is not saying do not deal with it!). Eventually you don’t think about it because you don’t have time to and therefore won’t dwell on the pain, cutting old wounds afresh.

3) Is there anything I can do about her leaving?

You can do nothing. Anything else will make it worse and in time you’ll regret. Contacting her in hopes of the small dopamine hits you get from talking to her, seeing her, will take their toll on you when the withdrawal from what you really want from her (everything) hits you.

4. Will she ever come back?

No. Don’t even go there. Out of 6 ghostings, one girl messaged me back 9 months later after no contact, to tell me that she found out she Ovarian cancer shortly before she broke it off and blocked me on all social media. She didn’t come back to me, she just got in touch with me to let me know what happened out of guilt and because she thought I was over her. She was mostly right. Regardless, the more you accept your fate (it’s over) and that there’s nothing you can do about it, the more likely you are to get a second bite of the apple.

Hope this helped.

~Wald

He Mattered

Bob last posted on 30 March this year, and after checking back in a couple times since then and noticing a lack of updates, I checked the comments section and found my suspicions confirmed.

It seems I’m late to the punch.

Robert Martin Wallace Jr., 60, of Granite City, IL, passed away unexpectedly at 1:07p.m. Thurs. Mar. 30, 2017 at Gateway Regional Medical Center in Granite City.

He was born Aug. 17, 1956 in Granite City to the late Robert Martin & Glenna (Weiss) Wallace Sr.

Bob worked at the Granite City warehouses and wrote his own blog, Uncle Bob’s Treehouse.

He is survived by a sister, Dawn A. Wilkinson of Granite City and her children, Julie, Daniel and Jacob Wilkinson and their spouses and children.
He will be missed, he was one of my favorite bloggers.
The family will hold a private service at a later date.

I’d been reading Bob for almost two years after discovering him late 2014/early 2015. I found his perspective a fresh one amongst a seemingly more and more uniform palate. While I did not agree with everything he wrote, I could never deny that Bob had a point, which made for really good reading. I’d say he was a very good countervailing opinion, in some respects, to keep one balanced in thought amongst our own echo chamber.

I only wish I could get in touch with this man’s family, his sister, her children and say, “You don’t know this, but Uncle Bob mattered.”

God Bless, Uncle Bob.

Save me a seat up there.

~Wald

A Speedy Brush With a Smartass & a Sweatheart

Dear Smartypants,

Even though you won’t read this, I hope this short note finds you well.

Our short ride together has been a series of broken expectations.

I didn’t expect to meet anyone special that night in the pool hall. I didn’t expect you to remember me well, despite asking for my phone and tapping your number in. I didn’t expect to enjoy talking to you as much as I enjoyed kissing you. I definitely didn’t expect to like Coyote Ugly or Burlesque, your two favorite movies.

How can I fault you for taking the information I freely gave you and making a decision? I can’t.

I didn’t expect to like you as much as I did when that Saturday morning came ’round.

The phrase “good intentions, poor perfomance” is highly underused and underrated and I owe you thanks for giving me (albeit unintentionally) a lesson with that. That, your curves, and your smile will stick in my memory long after I fade from yours, like tears in the rain.

I wish you and your Father all the best.

~Wald

80 Proof Playlist Complete

I’ve gone through Ace’s blog and have added 9 songs to the 80 Proof Playlist, bringing it to 80 songs in length. As you read this, I’m working on the youtube playlist to bring it up to date.

  1. “..and I place a nameless stone.” (A Pale Horse Named Death – Shallow Grave)
  2. “Times have changed and times are strange…” (Ozzy Osbourne – Mama, I’m Coming Home)
  3. “I just wanna lay here and let myself die…” (A Pale Horse Named Death – DMSLT)
  4. “…zero to 60, can it outrun her memory?” (Montgomery Gentry – Speed)
  5. “…still got that feelin’ but I’m too old to die young now.” (Brother Dege – Too Old to Die Young)
  6. “How low low low can we keep digging this hole until we come out on the otherside?” (Red Sun Rising – The Otherside)
  7. “To feel the pain that spurs you on” (Alice in Chains – Your Decision)
  8. “…trying to be me, oh, it ain’t easy…” (Bad Company – Simple Man)
  9. “Sent a letter on a long summer day.” (Journey – Wheel in the Sky)

These songs are a bit dark. The last 5 from no.4 to no.9 will no doubt find their way into your ears more than appropriate, when you endure a break up.

All my best to you and yours.
~Wald

A Short On My Brother and I

I started writing the below post 33 days ago, but couldn’t finish it because I wasn’t happy with it. Now, I’m pushing it out anyway. Between the “~” is the original post. Below that’s my commentary since the birthday has come and went and I’ve asked the opinion of my sister and my Father.

~

With a 15 year age difference, living apart for most of our lives, and different mothers*, my brother and I have quite a bit of a gap between us, without accounting for any ability to get along or not. And the last four years, I’ve not gotten along the best with my brother.

My opinion of him has oscillated between outright hating his guts (briefly) and being glad I have an older brother, even if just one. At this point though, I feel that my sister’s (then fiancee and now) husband’s been more of a brother to me than my own brother has.

The long story short, is that most of the time, my brother and I just don’t get along well. It’s been hard to bridge the gap. For the last four years, I’ve been focused on his side of the story. He did this. He did that. He married this women, of whom I’m no fan. At moments when I was angry, I was ready to cut him out of my life.

But I still call him every now and then. To keep in touch. I called him today and when he asked if I could make his birthday, I told him I couldn’t because of work. Then he told me that no one was showing up for it. Not his best friend, not my sister, not her husband, not me. His 40th birthday. I’m not even sure if his wife will make it ( they don’t live together yet, because of work circumstances).

The 40th birthday is a big deal.

I was talking to my sister about it, who is about to be in the same situation with her 30th birthday. I made an (in hindsight) insensitive remark about how no one was there for my 24th birthday, but she patiently pointed I was missing the point and explained that while my brother has been difficult, he has shown up. Whereas not many family members have shown up for his events. She asked me if I was going to show up to his graduation (he’s about to get his masters) and I had no idea when it was; never gave

Now I’m wondering if I’ve been the bad brother all along.

~

My father’s been trying to impress upon for me for the past couple of years, in between listening to me complain about my brother, that family is forever. Family will show up, when it’s important, even if they’re mad at you from last Saturday. Family will still pick up the phone when you call, even after it’s been months, if not years, since you last spoke. Family, generally will have your best interests at heart, if at least, make sure they don’t step on your toes. Family is the original safe space™. It’s why my Father still keeps in touch with his sister, despite her giving him plenty of reasons not to.

After talking to my sister and my Father, I’ve decided that I haven’t really been a good brother myself. I’ve been so caught up in how my own brother’s been wronging me, that I’ve not been receptive when he’s done me right. I’ve not made any real effort to build any inroads myself. I’ve made to no real effort to bridge the large gape that exists between us.

Neither of us has been a terrible brother.

I still call him about once a month, and I’m happy with that for now.

But once he gets his housing in order, I plan to visit him once a year. Perhaps in Spring.

I wish him and his all the best.

~Wald