When I was in Jr. High - I think it was eighth grade - first period was gym, and second period was history.
It was nice to have gym as the first class of the day because I'd get to shower after that class, and that meant I could skip washing my hair and sleep for a few extra minutes in the morning before school. A little gross, sure, but I was a kid.
Anyway, one day I guess I'd eaten something for breakfast that disagreed with me. Maybe milk that was a little past its expiration date, maybe cereal that was a little stale. All I knew for sure was that I wasn't feeling very well when gym class started, and that I was feeling even worse when it was over.
It'd been one of those dodgeball days, with a lot of running around trying to keep from getting killed. I ran around a lot when we played dodgeball. I never won, but I was always one of the last three or four people standing.
On this particular day my stomach was giving me fits. All that running around combined with whatever I'd had for breakfast - ugh.
I was sitting in history class when it happened. The contractions. The spasms. The taste of vomit rising ever higher in my throat. I felt my cheeks fill up, and I did what was necessary.
I got up, ran to the trash can next to the teacher's desk, and just let go into it.
I sold Buicks. I blew chunks, I did the Technicolor yawn, curled and hurled, introduced my friend Ralph to the class, had facial diarrhea.
Needless to say, this wasn't exactly what the teacher had in his lesson plan for the day, but he handled it with great aplomb. Calm as shit, like people turned themselves inside-out every day, he suggested that I might want to go to the nurses office. No shit, Sherlock. It was either that or spontaneously burst into flames and die, and that wish wasn't coming true. So I went to the nurses office, emptying along the way an estimated 200 gallons or so of my insides into fun little exhibits of modern art every few feet along the way.
Well obviously I lived through that day, but for the rest of the year I was The Vomit Kid in history class. Thankfully, none of the kids were mean about it. I suppose that they were all really grateful that it hadn't happened to them, but it was a stigma that stayed with me for quite some time.
I had a point here, what was it...Oh, yeah.
I got sick back then because of what I'd eaten and what I'd done that morning. Once that morning was over I felt fine. The breakfast and the dodgeball had no further impact on my life.
When I've gotten sick over the years, I have never once said to myself that I really wished I hadn't eaten that cereal or played that game of dodgeball back in Jr. High.
Nope, I can separate the past from the present. Even though I still get sick sometimes, it's always for a new reason. The Vomit Kid has been dead for 25 years.
Some of you, my dear readers, really need to work on that ability. For you see, the guy that was in all that turmoil in the Fall - that guy was erased with a single phone call in November. Just like The Vomit Kid, he doesn't exist anymore.
Believe it or not, I am quite capable of having a thought that's completely unrelated to my turmoil of the Fall. Believe it or not, I am quite capable of being in a bad mood, or a good mood, or an irritated mood, or whatever, without my mood being related her.
Also, and this is the part where those of you with weaker minds may want to look away, I can actually think about things that once made me sad without getting sad again.
This ability goes by many names. Gaining perspective. Learning from our mistakes. Moving on.
I just call it progress.
What prompted me to write this entry was a series of messages I've received over the last few days. I wrote an entry about being unable to grade the year 2004, and an entry about how New Year's Eve didn't go quite the way I'd wanted. People sending me messages keep assuming that these are all related to my Wednesday entry. I can almost hear the gears turning in peoples' heads:
Dave's in a pensive mood. It must be because of that girl.
Dave's plans didn't work out. He must have been hoping to hear from that girl.
Wow, I thought Dave was getting better, but that Wednesday entry sure proves otherwise. He's still obsessed with that girl.
Well you know what? Fuck that girl.
Now of course I don't mean that, but I know what most of you, upon reading that last sentence, will be thinking:
See, he's just so emotional about her! I knew he wasn't over her!
What I'm trying to say here, in my roundabout way, is that I've put that pain behind me. At some point in the future, maybe tomorrow, maybe next year, I will be in a sad mood again. I'm sure of it. What I'm also sure of, however, is that my feelings for you-know-who will not be the reason. Just like I'm sure that the bad breakfast I ate in the 1970s will not be behind my next illness.
Now I'll type this next part real slow so everyone can understand.
Everything is fine. I have gained perspective, and I have learned from my mistakes, and I have moved on. I know exactly where things stand, and I'm at peace with it. Really and truly. Everything I wrote was the absolute truth at the moment I wrote it, but things do change over time. Feelings soften. New evidence comes to light. New people enter a life and fill the voids left by others. Some times you just build up an immunity for things.
A perfect example of the point I wanted to make with the entry is this:
I'm irritated right now. I'm irritated because I felt that I needed to write this long-winded entry. This irritation has nothing to do with LaptopGirl at all.
Damn this is a long entry. And the sad thing is that it won't make a bit of difference. People will continue to think what they want to think, and to hell with the truth.
The truth is boring, but it is the truth.