Submitted by Shawn Conn on Sun, 08/11/2013 - 13:30
I'm at the Sayre Lair, the alter ego of the voluminous Sayre household, heading back to my car. My schedule of the last week had been one of stress, accomplishing deadlines, and tying up loose ends before I hit the road. I felt a mix of sadness and frustration that loose ends would not be tied up before I would be taking off. Knowing of the futility, my reasoning just distilled it into sanguinity.
My was phone was buzzing with a call from Davis, likely regarding preparation details for arrival, my sanguinity was tossed in preparation for discussion of logistics. We walked through details: when I was getting in, stops that will be made, a place to stay. Through coincidence, he happened to have a friend, Adam, who had an open upstairs apartment. My couch surfing accommodations were upgraded to a small one bedroom apartment. Nice.
Logistics aside, Davis and I started talking about other things going on in life. The Gohmann Situation, GS, (NOTE: details regard the situation will remain intentional vague) was on top on list. Sanguinity had returned, that's about the best I can say. Many bad things were going on with the man, very deep rooted problems. To stick with the metaphor, I half way wondered whether the uprooting (or removal of bad roots) would break, or worse, kill him. It was too hard to say, details coming out every day was bad. 
Our conversation turned away from that. I was tired from repeating 1st/2nd hand accounts about the GS, let alone trying to expend mental energy with solutions which, ultimately, I would have little say in. Trying to not think anymore about the GS, I moved on to how much I'm looking forward to the trip, the things I was planning on doing, the people to meet, and leaving problems in Louisville.
Davis, himself having left Louisville for some problems, had much to say about that. He'd left for many reasons I'm sure. The most prominent one in my mind was his work/travel situation, something Portland offered a nice solution to. Many things were discussed so details were a bit hazy, but I also got a feeling from him that one reason he left was because of his family. He also talked of some regrets about leaving too. Most seemed to be related to friends, Portland being too social cliquey, and other people he misses.
I spouted the cliche about home being where the heart is. I went into my feelings about the Louisville area; I love the city a lot for being a balanced of urban and rural living, but mostly it is the people and memories that make it home for me. I talked about how, career-wise, the city isn't offering me much, and how lucky I felt to have a career that didn't tether me to it. I was going to be an on-the-road web developer for a couple of months and it felt great. 
Of course this wasn't just a workcation. I've kind of been deeply mulling it as an exploratory step into moving somewhere. It feels like I'm at a crossroads in my life. My current career mostly lends itself to a no-family life style. More and more friends are getting married or having kids and, while I love all of them, I feel a mix of frustration, being pushed down that path, and alienation with a mostly couples social dynamic.  
In some way, I would be fine with that path if it was nearby, but I don't think its close. I wondered verbally about my experience with women and how mostly awful it has been, topped with a rather awful experience during Friday/Saturday. With an insight from a friend, I put on the hat of Shawn Conn BS Psychologist Ph.D. Now as it came up in conversation, I interjected this:
"I don't think I have any memories of my parents being affectionate toward each other."
"That's sad."
The further I thought about it, without the changing social context, the haze of drinking, in a self-reflecting perspective, I felt there was nothing there when inside me when it came to expressing love, just an empty pit of desire that was near impossible to fill. I think I've hurt people because of it, including myself. 
Not wanting to keep the topic too heavy, the conversation changed to various musing on philosophy, pop culture, and books. The conversation concluded mostly after that. I drove back home following that. 

Sunday was lazy. I woke up from groggy dreams. I remember feeling drunk through the whole dream; I was having trouble focusing on things; my head kept tilting back and forth; I remember I was having trouble expressing my point verbally. I woke up. The back of my neck was being pressed hard into the pillow making me feeling the pulse of blood going into my head. An ephemeral thought wondered if my brain wasn't getting enough blood as I was having such an odd experience. 

Having that experience combined with my regrets of the weekend made me think of the movie, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, I forgot how much I loved that movie. The dream sequences are great. I finished that up while I waited for my sister who was to give me a trim.
When she got there, we talked about my loveless insight. She confirmed my perspective. We talked about my plans and other things I planned on doing while there. She picked up on my bursts of pain that I was trying to direct out of my mind. She told me not too worry and to have fun out there. I hugged her and said my goodbyes.
I had a couple of hours to kill so I headed over to the New Albaian Bank St. Brewery. Upon arrival, I saw email notices from friends about the latest with the GS. It was not good. The "nuclear option" was being tabled as the result of erratic behavior. Fuck. I couldn't stand it. I send a message about my thoughts and how I could not make the meeting where the option was being contemplated. I turned my mind off from it again.
Luckily, shortly after that I was pleasantly surprised by the arrival my friends Sherry & Mandy. We had various chats about TV shows, current life events, and, a brief summary of the GS. I kept the summary as short as possible so to focus on the positive of getting away from here. We talked a bit more until the clock hit 4:30 where I need to go makeup with the parents who were dropping me off at the Airport.

I met with my parents, loaded up the car with my 3-4 weeks of clothing and my portable office, and headed off. Upon arrival, we were a bit early so we had sometime to chat at the bar before we headed out. I thought about bringing up last night's insight but it slipped my mind as the topic went to my trip logistics, solving various smartphone technical problems, and my plans. Shortly before 7, I needed to get through security to get to my gate, I said my goodbyes and headed to Portland.

It was a one-stop trip at DFW. The first leg was around 2.5 hours. I had a nice window seat. Reserving flights a head of time allowed for all window seats. By the time of take off, the sun was set on the horizon, it added a nice color to the sky as I did some reading to the pass the time. I read a great article about neuoromorphic computing, a different attempt at  computing that is more akin to our own brain activity. It made me get all metacognitive.
As a primer, I'd suggest reading You Are Not So Smart, an excellent, layperson reading of how our brains delude ourselves for the sake of efficiency. I read that book over my summer vacation in Florida. It provided  much insight about many things that I've experienced myself with out even thinking about it.
With that it mind, I began thinking of my own psychological biases, logical fallacies, and heuristics. I thought about my problems of the last week. The misinformation effect, the distortion of specific memories by adding information known after it happened, kept coming to mind. Had I'd been deluding myself about many things for along time without realizing it?
I'm pretty sure I had. I had been deluding myself about being loved, being in love, feeling in love, or some permutation of such. Coming to grips with such made me feel an intense pain, something I could have wished away with more delusion if I hadn't been made aware of the fact. Instead, I let it sit there as I tried to move on to other thoughts via more reading. After awhile I descended into a daze of current world events and the hum of the airplane cabin.

Upon touching down in DFW, I received a call from Sayre about the GS. My mind not wanting to dwell too much on it, I just took in the details. Everything sounded good for the most part; the escalation was more a gut reaction than an informed one; the "nuclear option" would not be pursued. The worst thing I heard was the man was homesick (and sort of making his living space akin to his old, now-dead, space that was a cesspool of depression. He wanted to go home to place that didn't exist anymore; in essence he was creating it.

Upon getting out of the gate, I had to rush across the entire airport to get to the next gate, taking the monorail across the entire airport. Being lazy about the exact time details, I didn't have an extra hour that I thought I had. Upon arriving to the gate flying to PDX, I was one of the last passengers inline. 
Upon arriving, I had to ask my way into my seat, another window seat next to the left wing just ahead of a side exit door. Upon sitting I began adjusting for the long flight while grabbing my reading materials. I noticed the girl that let me in had a Rolling Stone, I thought she might have something interesting to say. I began reading and she mentioned how our cross-aisle passengers had cokes (or so I heard) already. I quipped with a half turned faced, "luxuries." That got a laugh out of her so I struck to the conversational script about our destination, why we're going, etc.
Coincidence appeared in the conversation; we were both from the Louisville area. We talked about the the places and things we were familiar with. I talked about my job, the bars I frequent, and the people I knew. As it turned out--Louisville being the small city that it is--we had a few friends in common. We talked about them. We also talked about some of things that Portland in Louisville have in common. 
Surprisingly to me, she wasn't excited to head back as I was to head there. Liz, as I now knew her name, was a recent Louisville transplant that I had not yet established herself. Though I didn't get her reasons for heading out in the first place, it sounded like things didn't turn out as she thought they would and her weekend home with friends just reiterated that. She was already ready to leave and that it might be likely to happen soon. I once again reiterated the cliche about homes & hearts. 
After a lengthy conversation I mentioned that I would hit her up on Facebook and we could hangout together and meet some of the people I know. We exchanged info and the conversation eventually lulled off. I nodded off looking out the window, the passing nightscape of towns below put me to sleep.
I perked upon hearing the captain announce the imminent landing. Looking out the window was disorientating; there was nothing but darkness, save for the wing's blinking light, outside the plane. A few minutes later, a large spotlight on the wing moved into position, facing forward, illuminating the fact we were in a cloud cover while descending. Upon the touch down, parking, and everyone shuffling out of the plane. I told Liz good bye and that I would contact her later. I made my way out the gate and toward the baggage claim. 
One the first things I noticed upon my entrance out the gate was the air. It felt cooler and cleaner than before. The Ohio Valley has some reputation for triggering debilitating allergies via pollen. I guess that effect would have been probably stronger had I been afflicted with allergies. Regardlessly, it still felt invigorating.  
On way to my way to the baggage claim, I half way expected on Davis to surprise me by sneaking up on me. He did last time to Evan and I on our 2010 trek out to Portland. Sure enough, as I was scanning the first bags out on the line, he snuck behind me, grabbed my shoulders and said "What's up you dirty hippy?", referencing my beardy unkept-hair look in preparation for a Halloween costume. 
I said my greetings to Will and Bella, his girlfriend. After some awkward searching for my bags, one of which I had forgotten what it looked like, we found them and rolled out to the car. I remarked about the air which Will agreed, saying the Ohio Valley has a humid stinky river smell to it. We headed to the house I was staying before enjoying the rest of the night.
The house was great. It was an upstairs converted into one-bedroom apartment. It had nice decks reminiscent of my friends's, the Lee's, house, small enough for one person to live with enough seating for a small party. I dropped off all my stuff at the base of operations, then Will, Bella, and I headed back to Will's place to spend the rest of the night.
Bella wasn't in the hanging out mood (or she wanted to let us catch up) so she left us upon arrival. A bar was mulled at some point, but then Will mentioned the night's premiere of Breaking Bad, a much more enticing pull for me. We took off to pick up some beers/snacks and watch the intense opener for the its last season. Some video games and other distractions went on through the night. 
As the night was coming to a close I remarked on how much I planned on enjoying this vacation. One of the things I was anticipating so much was to visit different friends with varying lifestyles. I'd like to see what each of them has established as home.
Vacation to me isn't a place to go with an itinerary of events. It's a place to step outside the physical and psychological constructs that we've walled up as home via routine and commonality. It's an experience to see the world through a different construct than your own. It's an event to change up the narrative of your life. It's a chance to redefine what home means to you.