This below was inspired by a post from a blogger I much admire: Abby of Abby Has Issues fame: writer, published author, blogger, self-described sarcastic (and inspiring–my words) wench.
Ed. note June 2021: The link to Abby provides nothing. She musta left town. I can certainly relate.
Thank you Abby (Wherever you are finding yourself these days)
“Who am I?”
“Who do I Think I am? Who/What Should I be?”
Those should be a very provocative questions for all. Some ancient Greek guy once said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
I am rapidly approaching my sixth decade on This Earth and have been (painfully) taking stock of all that I could call “My Life.” What good have I accomplished? What are the bad things I have done? How many ‘friends’ do I have? How many bridges have I nuked? (I generally do not ‘burn’ bridges; I have a tendency to shock and awe ‘em—obliterate ‘em)
I have put my boots on the ground on every continent except South America. What has this taught me? A lot. Did I always use this knowledge gleaned? Most definitely not.
“Who am I?”
More and more I have come to the stark realization that I must sum me up with one word:
I am an asshole. I don’t want to be an asshole, pompous ass, arrogant ass, the smartest ass in the room, (which I obviously am… maybe once in ten or twenty tries 😉 )
I do not want to be any kind of ass, but that is my reality. I have made some friendships during my life which should have lasted forever, but didn’t: Mostly from my neglect. I have had some wonderfully loving relations with women, and actually married four of them.
Each one of those relationships should have been a lasting euphoria, but I did not, could not, would not, allow that.
Wanderlust always took me away, eventually needing to ‘get outta town’, but with no malice, just gotta go…
‘This is the part where the cowboy rides away’–find some elusive spot half-way across the globe where I could ‘find’ ME, unencumbered by people who ‘love’ me and think they can help me.
Not sure if I have ‘found me’ yet. And this is disconcerting, ‘cause I do fear the time for that is growing shorter. Writing helps, but I continue to struggle with:
“Who am I?”
I still don’t know.
As Abby broached the subject:
“How would you answer the question?”
Run with it, and drop in to read Abby: (and tell her I sent ya–I could use the publicity and btw, this link actually works)
When I was working in Basra, my gig allowed two weeks R&R every two months or so. Sounds like a deal, eh? Well, yes it was. Be aware however, we worked seven days a week, ten hours a day. NO days off. So do the math; we earned it. And of course we were getting shelled and rocketed and mortared regularly.
Anyhow, I had a stateside girlfriend back then. Actually more friend than girl. Rather platonic relationship, but we were ‘Buds’ and I loved her dearly. (Still do) And we went way back.
It was agreed by us both, that once I went to Iraq, we would spend our (my) R&R’s together. I flew her to Barcelona, Athens, Italy, and finally London. (She made all the arrangements. All I had to do was show up) Too easy for me.
Mid 2006 we met in London. I was ‘cacked out’ (Lenny Bruce vernacular). Worn out. Plumb tuckered. Tired. Damn tired. Spent.
Click Me: This Was My London
She was, of course not. Now mind you, this woman had been all over Europe already. London, Paris, Madrid, Rome, Berlin, Athens… well, she was rich. Catch my drift? I had seen quite a lot of Europe my own damn self. Did not hold much magic for me.
All I really wanted was some ‘down time.’
Bless her heart (and this speaks volumes of our great friendship), she let me do what I wanted; which basically meant I could sit in the flat she had arranged for us in downtown London and drink Beefeater while watching movies and smoking Marlboro’s and ranting at the current state of affairs in Iraq.
After a few days, she did manage to get me out of the flat for a walk-about. We went to Buckingham Palace (one day shot there)
We went to the British Museum; saw the Rosetta stone. Another day gone.
“Lance that’s the Rosetta Stone.”
“Yep, that’s cool.”
Had some fish ‘n’ chips (I preferred Long John Silvers, but that is just what an asshole I am)
Rode the Tube. (I prefer Le Metro in Paris, but what the hell)
And various other exhausting exhilarating excursions.
“About three days before we were to part: me back to The Sandbox; she back to Texas, she asked me, “Lance, isn’t there any place in London you would like to see?”
“Yeah, as a matter of fact, there is. I wanna go down to Marble Arch Station.”
“Whaaat?” she said.
“Yeah. Marble Arch Station.”
“That is a Tube Station.”
“Yeah, I know.”
“Why on Earth…”
“Because it belongs to Gary P. Nunn and Jerry Jeff Walker. And Texas.”
She acquiesced and off we went. Got there and I had a salutary beer to J.J. Walker and Gary P. Nunn. Then I was happy and pronounced my R&R a successful bit of Rest and Relaxation.
Best Video From “Lost Gonzo Band (with Gary P. Nunn)”
(Y’all guys need to watch this: a woman gets nekkid at the end…just sayin’)
“Well I decided that
I’d get my cowboy hat
And go down to Marble Arch Station…”
Went back to the flat and had a few gin and tonics and lived happily ever after.
“R&R” means that: Rest and Relax and do whatever the hell you want. London could wait… until I came back the next time.