Toney took the older boy to Shippensburg University on Friday, so he could sign up for his classes and go through orientation, etc. It was an all-day event, starting at 7:30 in the morning. Which meant they had to leave our house around 4:30… He worked until almost midnight on Thursday, and they were both operating on not much sleep.
And, for whatever reason, it hit them hard. It’s beginning to feel uncomfortably real. Everything’s all shiny and exciting when it’s six months away. But when it’s right around the corner, shit can get scary. Plus, fatigue often makes a person put a negative spin on things. Ya know?
It’ll be tough on all four of us, at least for a while. It might even be hard on our dog Andy, aka Colonel Barkley. The older boy is his favorite food-begging target, on account of him being such a soft touch.
There’s also a really nice girlfriend in the picture, and that adds an additional layer of pressure and confusion to the mix. Who knows what’ll happen there? Plus, the boy’s never lived away from us, for more than a couple of days. It’ll be weird to walk past his room and not hear him in there playing guitar, and/or blasting the White Stripes. Hell, I’m getting a lump in my throat, just thinking about it.
I know it’ll be good for him, in the long run. But there are emotions involved. People shouldn’t allow them to rule their lives, but emotions DO exist. And they’re gonna be raging for a few weeks.
Today I’d like to talk with you guys about leaving home for the first time. How was it for you? After I get finished blathering on, please share your stories in the comments section below. Was it difficult, a relief, or something else entirely? I’d like to know all about it.
I was 22, almost 23, when I finally gave my parents a break and left home. I moved to Greensboro, NC under emotional duress. I had nothing going on, and my girlfriend was almost finished with college. I had to do something dramatic. I was scared to death, but felt like I had no other options.
A co-worker from the shitty convenience store I’d been working at moved down there with me, and we became roommates. It was OK. He was a nice guy (who unfortunately passed away a few years ago). But almost immediately he started missing his girlfriend, and lapsed into a perma-mope.
Next thing you know, she’s living with us. They got married, and she moved in! I don’t remember too much discussion about it, I think he basically just informed me what was going to happen. And talk about feeling like the odd man out… Newlyweds, and my dumb ass? Simply fantastic.
I went through some mopiness myself, especially on my first Thanksgiving away. My roommate was back in West Virginia, and I was stuck in Greensboro, not knowing anyone. I went to Shoney’s for dinner, amongst dozens of smiling and laughing families. Me? A table for one, please. And do you offer a dark, crushing sadness discount?
The waitress tried to pressure me into eating a slice of pumpkin pie, which I don’t like. She went on and on about it, telling me it came with the meal and everything. Finally I snapped. “I don’t want the pie,” I told her, through Jack Nicholson clenched-teeth. And she backed away, with a “WTF??” expression on her face.
My mother and grandmother knew I don’t like pumpkin pie. The fact that this pushy bitch was hammering me about it just drove home the fact that she didn’t know me. I should be with my family today, with folks who are up to speed on my dessert preferences. Not some anonymous pie-pusher with too much lip gloss.
Of course, it got better. Within six months I knew I’d made the right decision, leaving home. The girlfriend and I didn’t make it, but that’s OK. All that hard stuff I had to endure as a result of the move caused me to grow up a bit, increased my confidence, and made me tougher. There were no downsides, whatsoever.
Toney’s story is completely different. I stayed home as long as possible, and she bolted at the first opportunity. I mean, her mother is a certified crazy woman… so it’s understandable. But it still required a lot of courage. She downplays it, but I think what she did was pretty amazing.
As soon as she graduated high school she looked at a map, in search of a large city – far away from her hometown of Reno. She settled on Atlanta, sold her car, and moved there. She was 18, and had no plan. She knew nobody, and had never been to the east coast. She just wanted to put as many miles as possible between her and her insane family, without leaving the continental U.S.
She ended up going to school there, and working at Warner-Elektra-Atlantic – where I wooed her with my charms and Peter Brady hair. Heh.
And now it’s your turn. Under what circumstances did you first leave home? Was it difficult? Please tell us your story.
And I’ll see you guys again on Thursday.
Have a great day!
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