Modern hippie.

The one thing that my dad and my boss can agree on is that I come off as a modern hippie and I agree with them.

I’ve been free spirited most of my adult life and abandoned the super serious persona that I had growing up. That part of my life is long gone and I’m glad it’s gone. I never had fun during that time in my life and it sucked.

I was having this talk with my boss a few days ago and he was like “you remind me of a modern hippie in a good way”. He talked about my personality and attitude and said that it was a welcomed addition to the office. He also talked about how other departments kept getting uptight interns who would never joke around or try to be funny and that it would bring the environment down. He asked me to stay the way I am because it meshes well with the rest of the sector.

My dad also concurs with what he said and sees that very much. He knows more about me than I ever post here or talk about. So between what he knows personally and what I display here, he says that I remind him very much of the guys he went to college with in the late ’60s into the early ’70s. The only difference is that I actually have a professional job and don’t bum around.

I embrace the modern hippie vibe. It makes me happy and it makes other people happy. That’s the best anyone could ever ask for.

Pottsville.

I woke up around 7:30 to get out to ride before 8 so that I could get to Pottsville early enough in the afternoon. 8 am cycling sessions are very much old parts of my cycling past. I typically don’t go out until 9:30 or 10 on the weekends anymore just because I don’t feel like riding sooner than that. I sleep in a lot more than I had in the past. I heard my parents go out so I thought I might as well get up. I was kind of tired and felt a little hungover. I was watching episodes of The Mick on Hulu until like 2 am. Plans bailed, so I was like “I’ll just have fun without them”.

For a week or two, I had planned on going up to Pottsville for the day. Visit the family, get a case of Yuengling, reminisce, kind of just go around the city and play a little bit of Pokemon Go (I still play.. almost level 30. Maybe you’ve seen me — I’m SuburbanCyclist). The good stuff.

I went out for cycling around 7:55 and came back around 10:10. I stopped once because my dad asked me if I wanted anything for breakfast so he could go get it so we could leave sooner. I told him I wanted two bacon, egg, and cheese bagel Sizzlis from Wawa and a can of Coke. I typically get two Sizzlis and eat them when I come back from cycling sessions (it’s an easy way to eat 800 calories really fast — if you’re into trying to get extra calories in). I ended up eating them in the car on the way up.

We got there. Guess what happened though. Our family wasn’t home! So, it felt like a wasted trip. What ended up happening is my dad started touring us through the city and showed us where his mother and rest of his family grew up in the area. My dad’s family can be traced back over a century in Pottsville. He was also born there. We also visited the cemeteries to visit the cousins and put wreaths on. I also got my case of Yuengling. That was brewed not long ago and located in a distributor a mile a way from the brewery. The place is simply called “Scanlan’s”. If you’re ever in the area, check them out. They have just about every brew that Yuengling makes. This whole process took like two hours. Then we headed home.

On the way back, we stopped at a diner in Reading. Really good food in there. I love diner food. It’s like my favorite. My usual go to at any diner is chicken parm. It’s almost impossible to mess up.. unless you burn the breading. They didn’t burn it. It was fantastic.

Now, I’m home.. and weirdly kind of hungry despite a big dinner. I’ll probably get like ice cream or something. Or maybe a hoagie. And a beer. I just got my case of Yuengling, so there will definitely be beer involved.

 

 

Lacking enthusiasm.

Have you ever been a part of something for so long that you lost enthusiasm doing it?

I’m now in that place with cycling.

It’s been my baby of a project since I was 14 (I’ll be 23 in July) and was the first thing I ever gave a commitment to and what also got me to love the outdoors. While I was cycling in just one place almost the entire time and still cycle there, I’ve expanded my horizons and go a lot of places on my bike now outside of the usual routine.

But, there’s just something that’s changed. I don’t really know what. It could be spiritually or emotionally. I feel like my heart isn’t in it anymore like it once was. It was the one thing I always loved talking about when people asked because they knew it’s who I am. But, nowadays.. if someone asks about it.. I’ll be like “Yeah, I plan on riding today” or “It’s going alright”. I don’t feel like elaborating it anymore because I feel like I’ve done enough of that to last two lifetimes.

Sometimes.. I just feel worn and tired. I wake up and walk downstairs to get coffee in the morning and all I hear are my knees crackling.

I’ve also missed more time this year for cycling than I have since 2014 and have not surpassed 1,100 miles in a month yet this year. It’s very unlike me. Almost every year I would significantly pass that milestone by March and get more than 1,300 miles in a month. I feel like I can’t do it anymore.

And I even look at the neighborhoods that I’ve used as my path. They aren’t the same anymore. Up until this year, they were pretty empty most of the time. The only time I would experience anything was if I overslept on the weekend and the kids would be out at like 1 in the afternoon and I expected it. Those were good kids though. If they were playing something, they would wait for me to pass and then continue. Now, most of the week when I go out.. there’s loads of disrespectful, self-entitled kids out there who.. if I ride by them and they are playing a game get so upset they will intentionally try and make it hard for me to ride. They typically throw things at me or try to walk directly in front of me and laugh. I’ve also watched a few of them throw things at passing cars if they made them stop playing something. Some of those kids don’t even live there. It’s a mess and it’s the one thing I’ve gone to hate more than anything. Parents are nowhere to be found to stop it from happening as most times they throw them out to the streets and make them the neighborhood’s problem. There was one instance that it got so bad one night that I had to get my dad out to police it so I could finish a ride and so that kids would stop throwing things at me. One night this young boy (can’t be older than five), unscrewed the saddle post to a bicycle that wasn’t even his and threw the saddle post with seat still attached directly at my head and only missed me by inches. He stood there clapping his hands as if he was proud of himself that it almost hit me in the head. I can’t even tell a parent about it because I don’t know who his parent is. Like six adults live at his house and the times I’ve come in contact with any of them, they’ve been incredibly rude to me. The kid’s got serious issues though (there was one incident that the little dude punched an unfamiliar kid in the face and started bleeding as they were running away and the little dude just stood there laughing about it as if someone told him the funniest joke ever — great parenting).

Depression may also be another factor. People have told me that my appearance has changed in recent months. Longer, uncombed hair, an unshaven face, dead eyes that I typically hide when I’m out. I feel a lot of disconnect in my life right now even though I’m in a good place in my life (a great job, about to graduate college).

And.. you know.. I celebrated the eighth anniversary of cycling on the 18th. I typically bring out a picture from the first year and try to find it in myself to write something inspiring to people on their own weight loss journey and I just.. couldn’t find anything. I just wrote a status that acknowledged it was the anniversary and that cycling was a big part of how I got my job. I’ve lived through most of my life with depression and can often hide it pretty well.. just not recently. It comes to the point where I sometimes feel too depressed to ride. I’ve never been there until recently. I used to ride more when I was depressed to make me feel better. I can’t even do that anymore.

It’s a darker time in my life when it shouldn’t be and I don’t know how to explain it or why it’s happening.

 

 

 

Trying to find your happiness in other people.

I just wanted to find happiness my whole life. I never really knew where to look for it. I thought I had found it in a girl last year.

But, while we snuck around for several months and were low key a couple for a bit.. that wasn’t happiness. That was fulfilling a dream that the seventeen year old version of me had. Five years later, that was the worst dream I had ever chased and to this day I still regret. I could have invested that time and effort in a actual good person not an awful person who would go on to use me for a few of my contacts until I cut her off. It was after that whole month and a half of being official and over six months of being unofficial I realized that I can’t find happiness in people and my dreams and goals cannot be tied in with people. Only I can control my own happiness and dreams and I’ve started to find it.

I go out a lot more than I used to. When I say go out, I don’t mean my history of forgettable weekend parties of the teenage years. I mean going out to places I like to go. Like out with the guys for a few drinks, or out to support my friends in their bands, and having a bunch of summer plans like concerts and beach trips.

The truth of my job.

Back in early 2016, I had applied for a job in the federal government. Me. The long haired, flannel shirt wearing, twenty-something that has the mentality of a modern day hippie.

I heard back four months after my initial application and they said that they were interested in me but for an odd reason. You see, when I applied for my job I *never* had a real job before.  I helped friends move and also looked over essays for friends and sometimes revised them if they gramatically didn’t make sense or were formatted wrong (to this day, the twenty or so papers I’ve looked over have gotten nothing lower than a B). But, that stuff didn’t pay cash. I would get paid in like pizzas or bottles of Bacardi. What grabbed attention was the fact that I was a 7 year, 65,000 mile cyclist (at the time) and that I had written blogs as far back as 2011. In an interview, I pulled up my cycling archive and one of my former blogs. They liked that I was a genuine writer but didn’t like that I had absolutely no real experience in jobs that didn’t involve friends.

I got hired at the end of December. With a caveat.

A compromise was made. After I passed background and security checks and all that other good stuff,  we made an agreement. I would get to work one day a week and show what I can do until the end of the semester. At the end of the semester, it would be decided if I had quality to keep me on board or sucked so much they would cut me.

Last week was the final week of the semester.

Today, I was notified that I have been hired as part-time officially and will be going to work three days a week starting next week. I’m beyond excited. I’m doing what I love and the people I work with are amazing.

 

Baltimore. No longer my favorite city.

Ever since I was 16, I would regularly travel down to Baltimore and spend time in my favorite city. I always avoided the touristy stuff and typically hung out in either midtown Baltimore or the western part near Camden Yards. I’ve always rocked the local mentality while I’ve stayed in the city because I know the best places for whatever; food, views, and art.

I woke up super late and had plans to go the flower festival in midtown in the early afternoon and go painting near the Bromo Seltzer Art Tower in the west end at night.

I went to the flower festival and found this stand that sold vintage concert posters. There was one from Lollapalooza II with Pearl Jam on it that caught my eye and I picked it up. The car was a couple blocks away in a parking garage. I walked the few blocks and up the several flights of stairs to get there. I walked towards the car and it didn’t look right. I walked closer. The passenger side window was smashed out and receipts and papers that were formerly tucked in the seat pouch were thrown everywhere in the car. The glove compartment broken into. Money for tolls that had been hidden away had been found and stolen.

The first thing I did was panic. The second thing I did was call the police around 12:45. I notified them what happened and they said they’d send people over to investigate and assist. At 1:15, I had not heard or seen anything so I called them back. They said someone had been dispatched.  In the mean time, I called insurance to see if I could find an auto repair place to fix the window or at least give a temporary cover. They gave me a place that was about 20 minutes away. I wrote the address down and plugged it into my phone. It was then about 1:45. Still no sign of the police. I called them back and asked for a status and was told the same thing again. Around 2:00 or so I decided to leave because I didn’t think they would ever show up.

As glass was flying off the car, I made it to suburban Baltimore. As I was talking to the guy working on the window, I asked how common it was for an incident like this to happen in that part of the city. He told me that he works on cars from the Baltimore area with the exact same issue on a regular basis and said we were lucky it wasn’t worse. It was a little after 3:30 and I was looking at the job he did on the car and I got a phone call from the Baltimore police asking where I was because they were where I had originally called from. I told them I had to leave the area or I wouldn’t have been able to get the car worked on to go home. They said “okay” and hung up.

But think about it. They got there THREE hours after my initial call. Anything could have happened in those three hours. Vandals could have been waiting for me with a weapon or I could have been held up because nobody was in that section of the garage. The 90 mile ride home was very loud and cold with wind blowing through the temporary window. I came home two days sooner than anticipated.

With the incident occuring, I have no plans on going back to where I grew up ever again. I also learned to have an extreme amount of disgust with the police. The police station is pretty close to where I was and they could have even walked from the station to help me out. But no. It took them three hours to get any kind of communication from them. I felt disregarded by the police and that my problem meant nothing to them because it took them so long to even correspond with me in any form. I grew up respecting the police and admiring their work. When I was younger, I even wanted to be a police officer. But given the events of today, my opinion and views on law enforcement has changed.

The feeling of finally belonging.

I spent many years of my life not knowing where I belonged. I never really had a great social life with any circle of friends. Yeah, I had friends but we never really went anywhere.

I spent years with “whatserface” and we hung out a bit. But, even that wasn’t great despite her being my high school crush and later on my girlfriend. Most times it was just me and her and it was me babysitting her because it was her chance to break free from her parents. She was highly overprotected by her parents growing up and for some reason her mom really trusted me going to the city with her despite me being very open about certain things of my past that most mothers would not be happy about. My friends never really liked whatserface and were very vocal about not wanting her around and not liking her.

They didn’t like her because she would always invite herself to things that only I was invited to and everyone hated that. She even invited us to things only her friends were invited to and insisted that we went despite neither of us being invited.

(Quick story: New Years Eve was the biggest example of that. Her friends were invited to a party, neither of us were, and they pretty much told her that we couldn’t go because the guy throwing the party didn’t know us).

I’m just happy that’s all over. I don’t have to fake smile my way through pictures until someone gets the “right angle”, I don’t have to spend a Sunday night in a hookah lounge while a million freaking pictures are being taken, and I don’t feel forced into going to house parties where I feel totally out of place. It’s all such a relief that I don’t have to worry about any of that anymore. I can also drink in a restaurant because we’re all of age. I also don’t get my hopes up anymore being told I’m getting to go somewhere and then like an hour before leaving getting a phone call being like “Oh, sorry. We don’t have room in the car for you” or “The driver doesn’t want to take you. Find a different way there and we’ll meet up” with her knowing that I couldn’t arrange plans that quickly and would constantly send me Snapchats of literally everything she was doing and rubbing it in my face.

After I broke it off and distanced myself from her, I was able to reconnect with lost friends of the past and hung out with them almost every weekend for the first month after the break up. They’ve got lives too though and I haven’t seen some of them in a little bit. I also kind of feel out of place because they’re mostly couples and it’s not an ideal match.

What is an ideal match is the new circle of friends that formed this semester. It’s kind of weird how we formed though. We formed out of a group project for our Finance class. Three of the four of us also have another class together and it helped us grow closer because we would spend about an hour together after that class just hanging out and going on mini “field trips” after class. It was nothing special. It was like going to a trail near school and exploring, or getting Levi allergy medicine at CVS, or just going to Chick Fil A for a snack. Finance also grew super draining towards the end, so we would go out for a little while afterwards and eventually end up playing parking lot frisbee. We make fun of each other quite a bit but it’s because we care about each other (and we’re just jerks to each other).

We’ve already got a concert together scheduled for the summer and also a Memorial Day weekend trip to the beach. I finally feel like I fit in somewhere. That I can be myself and I don’t have to filter myself and pretend to be things I’m not. I’m just Dave, the cyclist with huge legs. I’m known for being the loudest and one of the most sarcastic in groups of people and I like that I can do and be that.