Hello again ATS / BTS!
Some of you might have noticed that I took a short respite from ATS recently. I found myself burning out a little and decided that taking a step back
and recharging my batteries was in order... so I did just that! Now I am back, refreshed, revitalized, and totally abusing the rule of three!
During my time away I spent a lot of time thinking about random things. It had gotten to the point where I spent most of my time on ATS and I think
that had somehow inhibited my natural creativity... sort of set me into auto-pilot mode, as it were. Upon breaking that cycle my mind quickly
recuperated and began to become analytically active again.
One of the things that I pondered, during this period, is those moments in life that define us as individuals. Those little nexus points that we often
do not even see as important as they happen. Things like the first time we meet a person who will, one day, be very important to us... Or the day we
interviewed for that job which became our career... Or the day we innocently picked up the object that would eventually become our obsession or
hobby... Or... well you get the idea I think.
We often encounter "Where were you when" conversations in life. But they are usually followed by largely external and mostly universal events. Where
were you when Kennedy was shot? Where were you on 9-11? Where were you when Armstrong took that first step on the moon? ( Nb4 the moon landing was
But how often does anyone ask us about those same sort of moments as they happen on a personal level? How often do we look at friends and say "Where
were you when something happened that changed your life? I would very much like to hear about that!"
While my memory is abysmally and notoriously horrible... I cannot recall anyone
ever asking me such a question. It is true that I have
discussed these sorts of moments with friends and loved ones - but never because they randomly just solicited the information... it was always in some
other context. It strikes me as very unfortunate and sad. We are creatures of compassion and curiosity - it follows, then, that these are exactly the
kinds of questions that should be common.
Meh, then again I am also a big fan of random acts of kindness... and those aren't very common either I'm afraid.
OK, and to get things rolling, I'll go first:
Late, in the summer of 2001, early August, I had just moved from the north side of Atlanta to the south side of town. My sister had met a man, on a
blind date, you see. And she'd decided to marry him. He lived down here so, to be closer to her and her kids, I followed. At that point in time she
was working her way through school and was managing one of the two bars in this town. So it was a no brainer, me being me
that I'd start going
there, when she was working.
New town, didn't know anyone...
Of course there were the free drinks...
Love my sister and am happy to spend time with her whenever I can...
Free freaking drinks...
Well, you get the idea.
The very first night I opted to pursue this course of action, I put extra effort into looking good. Truth be told I am usually pretty casual. I dress
in jeans, T-shirts ( Often ones with anti-social slogans or concepts screen printed onto them ), boots and, if cold enough, a leather jacket. But for
this night, assuming I would be meeting new people, I think I wore a Polo-type shirt and my "good" jeans ( read no holes nor oil stains ) and put my
hair ( which was fairly long back then ) into a pony tail. A fresh shower, shave, and dousing in cologne and I was set.
I showed up at the bar, a place no longer extant called The Arctic Circle - and began making my rounds, beer in hand - as my sister happily walked me
around and began introducing me to her staff, and to the regular customers that she was on friendly terms with. As this was happening the bartender
and I hit it off instantly - after all... he was the man with the Heinekens so he made my list of favorite people right off the bat... even if he
hadn't turned out to be such a great guy ( which he really was ).
At some point in talking to Bennie ( the bartender ) I realized that I'd sort of abandoned my sister mid meet and greet... so I politely excused
myself and quickly hurried off to find my sister to apologize to her and to continue meeting new folks.
I found her sitting at a booth with three other people. Two that I cannot recall at all... and her
Sadly you will have to accept that "her" is as close as you will get to knowing who she is. Some years later ( August 28, 2007 to be precise ) she and
I reached the end of our shared journey. It was not a good break-up at all and it's taken me years just to begin getting past it. But in 2001,
standing there at that booth in that bar? I knew none of that. In fact I did not even know that I would soon be head over heels in love with the woman
I was standing in front of. At that moment all I did know is that she was unfathomably beautiful and that the skimpy shirt she was wearing was
threatening to drive me insane.
So, to catch you up... bar, just hung out with friendly and awesome bartender, meeting new people, a bit nervous ( which my good friend Bennie had
picked up and had tried to fix by handing me several shots of liquor during our short conversation )... and now I am standing there, in my "Sunday
best", so to speak, in front of a woman who was beautiful enough to take my breath away. All this just
as those several shots of alcohol were
I'd like to tell you that I said something unfathomably profound or romantic as I stood there listening to my sister say "John, this is my
I would like to tell you that, but it would be a lie. What did come out of my mouth was...
Oh! you'll do!
Yup. I had just been introduced to the woman that I would soon love more than I was even aware I could love... and that tripe is what dripped out of
the faucet of utter stupidity situated just beneath my nose.
Oh! you'll do!
Needless to say, she reacted exactly as one would expect a beautiful woman to react when she is told that she will do. In fact it took me weeks of
concerted effort just to get her to talk to me again. But, eventually, we did talk again and we were instantly bonded from that point forward. It took
us a couple of years to seal the proverbial deal. She even married and divorced another guy in between the day we met and the day we finally hooked
up. As crazy as it sounds, on her wedding day, after her vows, I was the first person to kiss her - not her temporary husband. She said she wanted to
kiss her best friend first and nobody seemed to notice how absolutely inappropriate it was.
Even though, as it turns out, it all ended horribly ( the above marriage kiss story sheds a LOT of light on just how things went I suppose ) - she
changed me. Before her I had never really loved anyone ( other than family ) and tended to be a very dispassionate person. I was mean. I was cold.
For all the bad? She somehow taught me to be human. I don't think she meant to. But she did. For that, I remain eternally thankful to her and for
So, my ATS family... Where were you when something important happened in your life that helped to make you into who you are today? I'd truly love to
hear about it.
edit on 7/18/13 by Hefficide because: (no reason given)