I have to say, I am kind of nervous about this blogging experience. Never have I written in a book that wasn’t graded. I suppose, in a sense, this will be graded as well. You know that feeling you get on the first day of 9th grade? Well, I have that feeling right now. The night before, you placed all of your clothes on the bed, trying to see which one was fitting for the first day of school. You couldn’t wear the best thing you had, because you would not be able to top that the following day. You definitely couldn’t wear your least favorite either. Well that is how I feel right at this moment.
I spent 10 years in the Marine Corps. (1997-2007) During that time, I met some incredible people. Friends for life. There is a reason why the Marines are considered a band of brothers. We form bonds that are impenetrable. After leaving the Marine Corps in 2007, I was faced with a harsh realization. Though this Robin Hood affair ran deep I was leaving. My time in the Marine Corps had come to an end. I will discuss why at a later time, but I was about to leave my friends, my brothers and sisters. I was about to embark on a life that was as foreign to me as Tatar, a language which only has about 5 million native speakers. I was embarking on life as civilian.
At age 28, this was the first time in my life I was alone. My family, where I grew up, are all in Houston. I stayed in southern California after I left the Marine Corps. Though, my friends in the marines were around, they lived an hour or 2 away. And I saw them on certain occasions, once or twice a month. I soon realized that this civilian thing was not going to be as easy as I thought it was going to be.
Since I had no friends in the area in which I lived, Hemet, Ca, I set out to make some. On Thursday nights, since I love karaoke, I would go to this bar called the Bum Steer. Hoping that maybe I would find cool friends eventually. I would go to the local bars. Well they all happen to be dive bars. Anyway, I would go there on the weekends to meet new people. Befriend the bartenders and the locals that frequented these places. You see, I thought the best way to meet new friends was to go to these places, have a good time, meet new people, invite them back to my home to continue the party. I was a bachelor, living the bachelor life. I had a pool in the back yard, a stocked fridge that stayed stocked with drinks, any wine you wanted to drink, a full size pool table, a huge projection screen which usually played video games, or Pay per View Sports. I had it all, so I thought. Well, I also though they would see how “cool” I was and want to be friends, for me. Not for what I had. Well the only thing that came out of that whole mess, each time, were fun nights and a dirty house that I would have to clean up alone the following morning.
I didn’t realize that making new friends in a new area was supposed to be difficult. I didn’t even know my neighbors. We waved at each other in passing. Salutations, when we were mowing our grass on the weekends. You remember, in the 80s, early 90s when we knew our neighbors. We played outside together with their kids. We stopped and talked and laughed about nonsense. We did favors for each other. What happened to that? Why did we change?So I sought out to try something a little different. Something so unorthodox, something so crazy; a concept of old; meet my neighbors.