Starting in March of 2000, I began a journey with my Static Girlfriend in north Phoenix, Arizona. TPG had come out here 3 months earlier, so we had a contact here. I had a little money, so I just dicked around with employment--at a multiplex theater, and a couple of sales jobs; E W Magazine, and RTI. Neither panned out to be more than short term, because neither one was very well-run. Spent a week of E W money on a 280 watt Sony stereo that I do still love; spent another week of E W money getting Gus a new exhaust system, that he still loves. I would find some pinball and golf (ordered, and got, my first Golen Tee card) to do bar games, and that's pretty much it.
2 "vacations" were completed in the first year; 1 to Roswell, New Mexico, and then a 2nd to Rachel, Nevada (near area 51). And it was good to get those 2 vacations out of the way--those were 2 of the biggest reasons to come out here to this part of the country. In my perfect little configuration the home base would have been Las Vegas. I went to Vegas as a kid, loved it, and Vegas has more $ than anywhere else in the world, and they have pinball contests. TPG had even agreed that Vegas would be as good a place as any to work from, back in 1998, but he had lived in Phoenix (back in the 80's) and wanted to come back here. TPG went with Rift and I to Roswell in mid-2000. At the end of 2000 was when Static Girl and I took our wonderful trip to Area 51.
2001: So I got to do Roswell, and Area 51; both before 2001. My life was as complete as it was going to get. What else is there? Shit. Well, I'm going to need a new job. Found a brand new telemarketing room starting up (not too far away) in Glendale; they agreed to hire me at more $ than I was asking for (who knew what to ask for?). February, 2001 started what would be my 2.5 years of employment at Infinite Marketing. I met many interesting people there, and also started donating blood plasma at a nearby clinic with some of my co-workers for an extra $50 a week; mentioned here because the people who donate plasma in a diverse, low-income area are fascinating and intriguing (drunks and druggies). At the clinic we also learned that I have the hepatitis anti-virus in my blood; I BEAT Hepatitis A at some point in life; cool. There's some more X-Files shit for you. Near the plasma clinic was the hippie-run Crooked Sky Garden, with their organic produce. I was just cruising through existence in 2001, as I am apt to do, bobbing my head to a decent independent alternative radio station (I applied to work there 2wice--they don't want me) while looking out at a very strange city (Glendale) reliant on a cheap labor force of functional illiterates with limited aspirations, then spending my free time at a small bar (Famous Sam's) back in my north Phoenix neighborhood (Moon Valley) that always had 2 pinball machines--as well as Golden Tee golf. At work, I was an elder with fun stories of the radio and other Athens experiences. More importantly, perhaps MOST importantly, I started to write again--at work. The world is ending soon--of course I'm writing! The constant distraction of boring phone calls helped to awaken the writing beast--in between calls, with poetry and social commentaries usually based on my immediate influences (again--coworkers). The people involved in a diverse, low-income area phone room (more drunks, more druggies) are fascinating and intriguing. I disliked some of them, and was also impressed by a few. Mothers, models, students, dealers, musicians; I was very lucky to have these experiences, even if I frequently felt superior to the people involved. The world would be ending soon--this was a fun little ride out. September came, and you could feel something brewing. Then 9-11 crashed unexpectedly, which I heard about while listening to Howard Stern on the way to work. The next few days were tense, but we went back to work by 9-14. 6 days after 9-11, I took 9-17 off, so that I could be sitting at home, alone, writing, when the poles shifted/flipped/reversed, whatever. This was the day, dude. My life was flashing before me; happy, sad, bitter, relieved--let's get it on! But then the pole-shift never happened. Great. Life goes on. I'm still writing; my bar still has good pinball machines--and gets the new Golden Tee games within weeks of their introduction. I would work, experience, and play, and try to do all 3 everyday. Soon I met Barney at my bar; he's 10 years younger, a music fan with a similar college town mindset--turns out I was the first person he met in Phoneix. Barney is a constant impact of surprise and disappointment; a friend, little brother, partier and fellow golf freak. He is still the constant impact up through 2005 today. Over 3 years Barney has helped me out, as I have helped him; but we have never become best friends because he's always losing jobs, women, cars, and getting kicked out of places to live (a more extreme, and less successful, version of my life in Athens). He has the charm and charisma, but lacks the voice and vocabulary to be a successful loser. I see some of myself in him, obviously. His influence brought back party mode; a mode that is far too easy for me to lose myself in. The Diamondbacks make it to the World Series, and win, in storybook fashion. Girlfriend's family comes for a short visit; they don't know what to think of me--but I am NOT boring like their daughter. 2001 is ending.
2002: PGA golf came out around this time, or would soon, and there was one in Barney's neighborhood 2 miles away. This gave us 2 bars and 2 golf games to play. Watched the Patriots win the Super Bowl, with their back-up quarterback (score tied--1 minute left) putting together the winning drive while the WHOLE WORLD was just waiting for overtime. Oops. It brought back visions of Frank Reich and the Buffalo Bills; these Patriots are now my new team. My girlfriend (who always wears her seatbelt) walks away from a head-on car crash, not her fault, on a cold Friday morning in late January. Her tiny car is totalled. She's bruised and dazed, and had to spend 1 night in the hospital, but overall she's okay. This twisted my guts up. My Dad comes to visit; and with girlfriend still shaken, his influence for me to get all the insurance that I can get from my job makes sense. Static Girl does the same. Now; the insurance at my job was actually very good, and not too expensive. Started communicating more with my FCP back on the east coast--she would send us packages. Girlfriend gets another car; trying to get the car finalized by the dealership had many headaches--this is the corporate world. Finances were hurting for me, and we would get no favors from people we had been loyal to; 9-11 had caused businesses to think more about the bottom line and pure profit--to hell with customer service. Soon I would need to save up $200 for a replacement bed; my bed was sagging. My job hit some tough times; many jobs did. I would choose to remain employed with my good benefits rather than look for alternate employment; I blame other people for this--like my Mom, but I should have known better. Girlfriend recovers and recluses; good for her--she's writing and drawing. Any and all of my extra money gets spent at the bar on stress release. The time flies by; did some heavy bar-partying with a Pool Guy in my neighborhood. At the Crooked Sky Garden I met the coolest pig ever; Oregano. Late in 2002 I suffered a back injury at work. When the first doctor concluded that my tailbone was broken, put me on a no-work status, and prohibited me from flying on an airplane to see my girlfriend's family for Christmas, I decided to take some time off. Collecting unemployment for a few months was fun, but I should have been much more productive with my time. I partied and ate good food until I realized that I was fat, and broke. Minor depression set in. Wasn't the world supposed to end already? This is the end of 2002.
2003: Tons of back injury details; MRI's, X-rays, evaluations, let's not be too quick to strain the body, sure, but when can I get back to work? A surge was building up; anxious and eager. Communications with my FCP became much more involved; with each inspiring the other--we both had some great ideas. My FCP (who also enjoys food and cooking) had many suggestions and questions about the Crooked Sky Garden and the hippie produce there. Spending more time at the Crooked Sky I made closer friends with Oregano the pig; also found out that these are the final days of the Crooked Sky. I finally got into some physical therapy, started back at work, also started writing again at work (cool), and started looking for new work. This other place, MIC, was looking for a few people like me, amazingly, and I began to work there in May. I met my spiritual advisor "X". Perhaps I can still have a relationship with God? I was now on the biggest upswing of my life right here--Summer 2003; losing weight, producing well at my new job, and another of my favorite pinball machines (#6; Jurassic Park) wound up at my bar. Excuse me while I recall how much fun this time was; I was ON. Not since my time on the radio had I lived with such confidence and passion. Then all 3 friendships nearby, and 1 back in Georgia would take hits and damage; while I was seeming to be getting my shit together, these others (all 4) were certainly spiraling down into demises of their own doing. With the excellent influence of my FCP 2500 miles away, and my girlfriend at home, I would more or less close off everybody else. This would prove to be a blessing and a curse. A promising new business venture was brought to me--through TPG, as well as work at a local record label that would eventually sign one of my favorite obscure bands (Fig Dish is now Caviar). Working with TPG, and working at the record label would fizzle out, but the signed band's new CD "The Thin Mercury Sound" would end up on the jukebox at my neighborhood bar in 2004--very nice. The MIC job that had done so well during the interest rate boom was starting to become just another phone job as interest rates went back up. I could still perform, but overall it was dwindling. Later in 2003 I started wondering what was next. Money slacked off at work. TPG finally got rid of his cheating wife, but his mind wasn't functioning correctly (I have proof), and he was now trying to convince the world (me) that he really was having a relationship with a stripper (he wasn't), and TPG was having car problems that he didn't deserve. Remember the replacement bed that I had bought in 2002? It was now sagging as much, or more than the one it had replaced (Because I listened to silly and stupid women who said that my bed needs to be OFF the floor and ON a frame. Beds on a floor DON'T sag--you dumbass women.). Let's slow down, because this is getting close to the present day now--and I'm feeling that "he-man woman-haters club" thing. I kept partying and writing in later 2003, and would see people at the bar, but that was the total of my social experience. Still writing as much or more than ever; wow, I obviously didn't need friends--Static Girl was having a slight impact on me. I re-adopted my superior attitude to those around me; it worked. I was trying to forge ahead with God and a good attitude, but it wound up being me and God riding around, alone, chatting pompously--with no radio now. All-knowing, loving, and forgiving is good, but (as you may already know from my ranting) people are still stupid. Why are people so stupid, God? (This is not a good question for the Big Man in the clouds.) See; I found out that you can't put God on the spot like that. So the big upswing really starts to even out now. And since we had been on an up for a few months, it was about time to come back down--the down was coming. Closing out 2003, we're planning, and did, spend Christmas with girlfriend's family in Iowa, I had another back injury at my newer job--it doesn't look like I will be getting re-promoted anytime soon at work now, my left ear was getting worse--occaisionally draining (yuck), I was killing time by playing tons of Caviar (2 CD's) in my room, doing my bar and balcony dances, and my Patriots looked great again. Musically, I also developed an interest in Crystal Method; they were on an X-Games soundtrack, and GT2. I could easily point out examples of how my friends; TPG, Pool Guy, Barney, and STT (back in GA) were totally fucking lost mentally, but it was just more fuel for me to remain isolated. How much do I care about keeping these people, or ANY people, in my life? Static Girl certainly doesn't need people in her life; she's good--I'm keeping her. I didn't have all the answers--I didn't even have all the questions, but I saw alot of people not remembering that they need to be kissing my ass--I am not just hanging around here for free. (Kiss it, or miss it; baby!) It will be good to go spend a week in Iowa. It was.
2004: Back to work; where the room has been "streamlined" from 120 people down to 40. These surely are the closing days of MIC. Wait; but sometimes I'm still the best in the room--I'm confused. My Patriots are going to be the first football team to win the Superbowl with no established running game; ha. They did. The time seems to mush all together for many reasons that are not my fault--but this took a whole year to get through. My FCP sent me a cool spiritual book, my ear gets worse, then I dumped cow milk and mayonaise. Most people who have lost their minds around here show no signs of recovering--or perhaps they're just content to keep going through familiar motions; good for them. Then the Crooked Sky Garden would be PAVED OVER to become overflow parking for a new super Wal-Mart across the street...depression runs rampant. So I agree with Static Girlfriend that this will be the last year in the desert, and now it's time to start doing some things for myself--while I can. Ear surgery! A new computer! 3 months later: from the latest insurance settlement of the 2nd back injury--a new Queen-sized bed with a (middle rail) no-sag frame! I will get things going better somehow. And many things did get better. There was the official release of the new Caviar CD in what, July? Then I started to look for a new job. Found a new job, in fact, that promised $400 a week, and it looked like the right way to go. But after 2 months the thrill was gone, and I was at another defining moment (stay with a new crappy job, or go look for something better for 6 months). With my girlfriend very disappointed in me one Saturday in August (which can motivate me), I went to a job fair and got hired at the place I should have been working at all along. It's too bad that we could be in the last 6 months of living in Phoenix now--I've found a corporation that actually cares about its employees (no kidding). Oh well. I would make some comments about other things, but they would be harsh. Ehhh. So it's the end of 2004 now; planning for a Mom visit. My Patriots have already added a great running back (Dillon) to their roster, so the Patriots are a lock to repeat. At work, I met a cool little guy who's into a business venture that seems to make more sense than any other business venture ever has. It's a service that I could have used many times already. So I got involved; it wasn't expense-difficult because this new company is paying me more than I've ever made before. However, nobody seems nearly as excited about the new business proposal as I am--but then, people are stupid. The new job keeps going well; I'm working out hard again. There's also extra money for vehicle maintenance and complete teeth repairs; it would be nice to dump about $3K into this new business and get it really flying, but I don't have time now--we're leaving soon. My bar starts having poker tournaments, and those are fun. Mom comes for a nice visit; we do some sight-seeing and good eating. STT in Ga wanted to come out for a free baseball visit while we would be trying to move--so I explained an easy way for him to get some money flowing to me...and he threw a screaming shit fit at me via e-mail. Not smart. As soon as Mom leaves, girlfriend is back and ready to start planning the move to big O.
2005: What a fine distraction the beginning of this year would be. TPG and Pool Guy seem to be getting their brains back; Barney has a new place to live, and I don't have to deal with that annoying STT at all. The poker tournaments are fun, too. I can feel the surge of the final wave coming. It's hard to be all excited about the Superbowl when you already know what's going to happen; Patriots win again. I quit doing housework in Phoenix; figuring that all we need to do is a final clean-up, right? Still no help in my new business; maybe it only appealed to me. Soon enough, it's March, and we're making a road trip to big O. Come back from big O, and it's a week of partying leading up to packing and leaving. These days in Arizona were certainly of a special style. Is that good enough?
Call me selfish, arrogant, snooty; whatever. It was not my idea to come here, and my ass was not being kissed. Vegas may have been better or worse; we'll never know now. We may have even overstayed a year too long here--that argument is easy to make. Personally, I see this desert world here in early 2005 as my having more money than ever, a great job, a good neighborhood bar, and friends close by who were regaining their sanity--this certainly is no time to run away!
But let's talk about "constants": My girlfriend has turned out to be so much better than all of the other elements of my life; nobody could have forseen this. People ask me why I'm leaving, and I say that it's because my girlfriend wants to--and (foolish, perhaps, but not a fool) I'm sticking with this GREATEST WOMAN IN THE UNIVERSE, thank you. MY ninja, stealth, alien, goddess; Jurassic Park Girlfriend! I wish everybody here in desert land well, and it DOES look like there is great potential NOW for the folks that I'm leaving. It's too bad that they couldn't get their shit together a year ago--when it might've mattered. And now my extremely awesome girlfriend says that it is time to go, so we are going. Hello big O.
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