Thursday, February 16, 2006

Lost in Life and the Story of Downs

Since I have to work on Friday I figured I would post this a day early. I have found writing on this thing to be rather therapeutic. See my problem lately has been my inability to figure out what the next step in my life will be. Actuelly this has been a problem for a year now. Everytime I think I have it figured out, the next day, BAM, I'm lost again. While growing up things were easy, their always seemed to be a next step, a next rung on the ladder of life to grab on to. For example, all through grade school you wanted to get to junior high, then in junior high all you could think about was moving onto highschool, then getting your drivers license, to graduation, to going to college, to turning 21 so you can drink that beer legally, to graduating college, and then getting that first job, then turning 25 so you can rent a car, but then what comes next?

Some existential writers like to refer to this as your quarter life crisis. I even suppose their is an entire book out there on the subject. I belive that at this point in our lives is when we look back at all our life experiences and figure out what makes us happy and start doing that. I guess what I can't figure out is what makes me happy, because everything is so dissapointing sometimes. At first it was to excel in my job, which I have to admit has not been the easiest of tasks. But looking back at where I started four years ago I definitly have made some rather large leaps. Unfortunatly I find myself at a place where I am standing still, with no clear path to show me how to get to whereever I need to go to next. It is kind of disconcerting to be at this place. It is also really hard to write about this without giving any real clues as to where I am going, all I know is am lost and it seems I don't know what will make me happy.

But the one thing I have learned is that life is too short, we must keep on livin', enjoying everyday to its fullest. Getting out there and making mistakes, because it is not the end of the world. Which brings me to my friend Downs. Downs left I think yesterday on a trip that I am envious of him for taking. He's out there living life to its fullest and having a great adventure. So I wanted to tell the one story that always cheers me up.

When I was 17, right after graduation from highschool. I know what your thinking I had one of those late birthdays, it's true I did. I had a group of friends from highschool who will forever be my friends. One day we decided to go hear the "Mighty Blue Kings" play at Ravinia. This is an outdoor music ampetheater on the northwest side of the city of Chicago. The group consisted of Me, Downs, Giles, PETE, and Fuller. We all met at Giles' house around 3:00 PM on a Saturday afternoon. Where we loaded a cooler full of beer, a hibachi, all types of meat and vegtables into Downs' trunk. We were ready to grill out on a grassy field and listen to some awsome swing/blues music. I will never forget these words leaving Downs' mouth as we got into his car, "Don't worry guys I prepared the burgers with my secret onion soup treatment." What a great day we had in store for ourselves.

Now to fully understand this story you must understand Downs. Downs had a crappy car, still has a crappy car, in fact I think it is the same crappy car. Downs basically has the worst luck out of anyone I have ever met. Once he was driving by a bar, hadn't even gone into the bar, wasn't even speeding, and he still got pulled over by the cops. Or the time Downs was driving and Giles stuck his hand out the window of his car and started hitting the side of the car, so Downs would think his car was breaking down. When Downs' realized it was only Giles he screams, "Dude don't do that! The car door will fall off." Giles laughed and said, "that won't happen" and then the car door fell off. Their are many more stories like this, but I think these clarify Downs. By the way I love you buddy.

So anyways Downs was driving us to Ravinia. When we got there, we unloaded everything. Now to get into Ravinia you have to park miles away and take a tram to the actual gate. So we had a lot of stuff to carry from where we parked to where the tram would pick us up at. Downs and I were carrying the rather large cooler full of beer. Now let me reiterate, we were 17, definitly to young to be drinking. Now as we came to the last corner before the trams, Downs saw some attractive women. So grabbed the whole cooler from me and slung it up on his shoulder to impress them.

Everything at this point went in slow motion. I remember all of us saying, "No Downs! Don't do it!" "It's to heavy you'll drop it!" "Noooooo!" Next thing you know Downs takes two steps and the whole cooler comes spilling off his shoulder onto the ground. Best part we were in the middle of the street, Oh wait it's get's better. We also happened to be at the top of a rather large hill. And if life couldn't get any worse, ice and beer went screaming down the hill and it all came to rest at the foot of a police officer.

Now I know what you are thinking, Wow! What could possibly have happened next!

Well the gods were looking down on us this day! The police officer helped us put everything in the cooler and then wished us a good time at the concert. I know, I still can't believe it. We managed to get to the concert ok, and we staked our claim on this great piece of grass. We pulled out the habachi and Giles started grilling Steaks, Burgers, and Chicken. Then as we all cracked open our first beer to toast we were swarmed by security.

It was like that episode of Seinfeld, when Jerry's uncle is stealing books from the book store and all the security are like, "On my mark, swarm, swarm!" We quickly hid the beer, but the security informed us they were their for an entirely different purpose. I guess you are not allowed to grill on the premisies. It is a fire hazard or something along those lines. But the reaction from the lead security officer was classic, he says and I quote, " Wow is that steak, ooo and chicken. Oh man that smells good, wait is that some sort of special sauce, aww I'm sorry. Oh I am sooo sorry." he then informed us that after the concert was over as long as we were outside the gates we could grill.

The concert was good, we danced, we drank, we had alot of fun. When it was over we walked exactly three steps outside the gate, saw the line for the tram and then set up camp. Giles started grilling like it was nobody's buisness because we were right outside the gate and had no idea how long it would be till they told us to leave. We were sitting their and everyone who was in the long line for the tram was drunkingly yelling at us that they would pay us for the food we were cooking. Instead we just kept on eating and drinking. We closed Ravinia, in fact Downs and I took the last tram back to get the car and then drove the car up to the gate so we could continue to grill in the dark. Not only that after everyone left we ran through the festival grounds and found wine in the box, which we took back to our camp. It was the best night I have ever had, and whenever I get sad, lonely, depressed, or just can't make it I remember this and think about how great life can be sometimes.


Blogger Ex-Addict said...

Yes, the writing thing IS therapeutic. But don't worry so much about not knowing the next step. You could always go back to school. School is way easier than the real world for sure.

Cute story, but never fear, you have many more exciting days ahead. Have a good weekend!

February 17, 2006 7:50 AM  

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