If You Are The Insane, Teach Me Your Ways

Take a good look at this masterpiece of a photograph. Yes, that is me making a fool out of myself and ruining a serious picture where the memo was to maintain a 'hard' look (whatever that means) with an eclectic mix of vagabonds, nomads, and ruffians. So in essence, all is well with the world. I'm still taking awful pictures and hanging out with frightening characters - and by frightening I mean better than you.

As an introvert, making friends has never been the easiest thing in the world (INFJs unite!). My parents thought there was something wrong with me when I was a baby because I was so utterly quiet. My case was probably helped by the fact that my older brother was a baby who screamed and cried all the time so when I came out in all my stoic and laconic austerity, I'm sure I seemed an anomaly. I hope I have a kid like that. I'd just put them in the corner with Legos and do whatever I felt like for the next 8 hours.

That quietness followed me most of my life and was broken sometime in 1998 when my family moved to El Paso and I made a friend who taught me that being loud and obnoxious was awesome. I was 10, don't blame me. Pokemon hadn't sunk its cerebral fangs in me yet. But still, even though I had broken out of my shell of introverted-ness (not a word) in a sense, I still maintained a quiet demeanor throughout my younger years. In high school, I always had small groups of close friends rather than droves of them. I prefer it that way and always have. To quote Robin Williams' character in Good Will Hunting, "We get to choose who we let into our weird little worlds."

And oh, how weird my world is.

I think the main reason it was hard for me to make friends that stuck around at an early age is because when it came down to it, most of them were too 'normal' for me. I didn't understand people who I understood perfectly. They were boring. Not that normalcy is boring, because the older I get the more convenient routines can be, but I was a kid and I wanted to form a collective with the weird, the ostracized, and the unusual. Because that was me. I had a forte for becoming fast friends with people who were usually rejected by society at large mostly because I was (and let's face it, I STILL am) used to being one of those people. I'm not saying I grew up oppressed by society and rebelled against socially accepted norms and was a goth or whatever. I'm saying I was friends with a kid named Jonathan Scher in 6th grade because he was obsessed with Bomberman 64 and could do a sweet Beavis & Butthead impression at the most inopportune times. His last name was Scher. Yes, like that one lady who used to do music with Pluto or whatever his name was.

How does one make friends in a new place? As mentioned in previous posts, I came to Seattle knowing 2 people. My friend Halye (as of this post, she is getting married tomorrow, woot!) was a buddy of mine from the old ACU days circa 2008-2009 and our families go way back. She had found herself up here after leaving (read: escaping) Texas. I also had a friend named Riley from my home church in Escondido who attended Seattle Pacific University. And that was it, all two of them. So how did I go from that to joining the ranks of the men above?

Take a good look at that picture again. The one guy who is obviously too cool for school (and he really is, trust me) in the middle of the picture, the guy wearing glasses - that's Dakota, Halye's fiance (also getting married tomorrow - coincidence??). I didn't know this guy or anything about him before I moved up here. But somehow, in the conversations with Halye that would stimulate my decision to make the move, it was brought up that I would need a place to stay. The conversation more or less went like this:

Me: "I would love to move there, but I'd need a place to stay."
Halye: "I can talk to my fiance, he has been saying he wants a roommate."
Me: "That's nice and all but I don't really know this guy and--"
Dakota: "Hey bro. Sleep in my room."

Next thing I knew he was texting me strange messages and emailing me and pretty much being as warm and inviting as a stranger 45 hours away from you who wants you to live with them can be. The deal was I could live with him in his house of six men as long as I cleaned up after myself (which let's be honest, is kind of like making sure the Bengals will miss the playoffs - always happens). And through Halye and Dakota, I was more or less pulled right into the crowd of people at Calvary Chapel, where I met most of the pictured above hooligans. It was kind one of those things where I didn't have a choice; I was pretty much enveloped by a tide of friendly people.

As the weeks went on, I found myself living, eating, and making music with most of the guys pictured above - those are just the civil things. Here a few vague highlights we've encountered:

- skating mishaps at parking garages
- really late night swims at Green Lake
- interesting things involving Icy Hot
- way, way too much How I Met Your Mother
- putting birds on parts of our bodies
- trips to retro video game stores
- instructions on how to play Yugioh

..and many more. In fact, that picture is the summation of Dakota's bachelor party weekend, which was a 3 day excursion into the outskirts of Washington at Shi Shi Beach, a place where you can camp within sight of Canada. I'll leave the more colorful details of that adventure out for now, but the fact is - in only 3 months I must say I am absolutely blessed to even have the opportunity to be able to do things like that with people I love already.

That was a fast chemical reaction because friends don't always happen like that.

Seeing as how God saw fit to give me a church home and a mobile group of loonies to spend my time with, I wondered how I would find the funds to keep up my oh-so-expensive life of dissipation and debauchery (I just wanted to say debauchery). That story is a little weirder - the one about finding a job. And I'll talk about that next time. But for now - Taylor, Austin, Nick C., Dakota, Matt R., Matt H., Nick W., Jordan Y., Dom, and PJ - thanks for that weekend.

Here's one last photo of the bird tattoos I got with some of the guys because why not:

PS congratulations to Halye & Dakota, soon to be Mr. and Mrs. Ford. You guys are way too awesome.


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