Thursday, November 03, 2005

Secret Origin of Cap'n Neurotic pt.14 - Are We There Yet?

Oh, my dear blog monkeys, could it really be? Could this be the penultimate installment of the Secret Origin of Cap'n Neurotic? Es muy posible!

By 2001, I was starting to get restless in my position at OSU. I had been talking about going back to school for my MLS pretty much since I finished up my Bachelor's in '97; unfortunately OSU no longer had the program, and commuting to OU for their program really wasn't a viable option; I knew if I was going to go on to grad school, I would probably have to move to do so; therein lay the rub. Because hidden among my many, many, many fears, there lies a fear of change. I had to weigh the increasing boredom and lack of room for advancement in my position against the uncertainty of a future elsewhere, compounded with leaving behind my Book Monkey pals. After a while, I finally succumbed to the siren call of the Great Parkerite Exodus, and began looking for jobs in the Dallas area; I eventually got a job in the Cataloging department of the University of North Texas Library, and moved to Denton, TX in Dec. 2001.

When I referred to the siren call of the GPE, I wasn't just being figurative; Pooh-bear had started bugging me non-stop about getting my act together and getting back in school, and during a Parkerite get-together in Plano in August of 2001 several people, including Rocket G'ovich, bugged me about when I was going to move down there; interestingly enough, this was also the get-together which inspired the following ICQ message from me to Rebel Monkey the following week:

Although we were located in the same house for roughly 3 or 4 hours, the only words exchanged between my old friend Dr. G'ovich and myself were "Hello."
And yet, despite this ongoing disconnect between the Doc and myself evidence by that weekend, I had a really great time seeing everyone, and the questions about when I was going to move down made me start to think that it wouldn't be so bad moving down there; yes, that's right, I was actually optimistic for once . . . so, of course, once I did move down to the area, I saw most of The Parkerites, oh, next to never. I did make it down to see the Stonehearts once every month or so, but had little contact with anyone else for quite a while; I would eventually start to hang out with Clan Berzerkr (who had moved to Plano from Colorado) on those unfortunately rare occasions when our schedules would line up.

But even though I had my Plano Parkerite Pals, for the first several months I didn’t know anyone in Denton outside of my co-workers, and I hadn’t been able to really open up and be myself in the office; at OSU the energetic, frenetic staff and student workers drew me out of myself easily; the much more staid environment of Tech Services made me much more reluctant to release my more outgoing side.

Sometime around April or May, I wound up going to church for the first time since I had been in the house with G’ovich et al. I had turned down a side street one day after getting some fast food and driven by First Baptist, which had triggered in me a powerful need to attend a service. A week or two after attending FBCD, I received some visitors at my apartment: Hyperlad, Freezeout, Princess, and Angel; they were out on a visit for the church’s outreach program, FAITH, and had gotten my name and address from the visitor card I had filled out. They visited with me for a few minutes, told me all about Sunday School, and invited me to come to their class the next week; I took them up on their offer, which is when I discovered that my Outsider Complex was not quite dead and gone yet.

In many ways, my initial experience in the Singles class was a lot like my BSU days; lots of people who already knew each other, and with whom I could find no connection. One of my favorite memories of this period: one Sunday as I was sitting there in Fellowship Hall, waiting for the big All-Singles time to get underway before we split up into individual classes, one of the older Singles, who had been visiting with a couple of other guys about golf, wandered in my direction; I prepared myself to try to engage in small talk, never one of my strong suits; he stops, looks at me, says “Do you play golf?”; I say no; he then turns around and wanders back to the other guys, and never looks in my direction again. Oh, yeah, I was feeling the love then, baby!

Anyway, I sort of hung around the class for a few months, going to some functions, and feeling totally out of place; worst one was when I was forced to watch Meet the Parents for a second time, while sitting next to someone who was quoting the whole movie along with it; sheer torture; it was like the Southern Baptist Inquisition, only they weren’t doing me the courtesy of letting me confess to anything!

Finally, during a particularly Cap’n Cellophane inducing class, I made up my mind: that was it, I was getting nothing out of the experience, had found nothing in common with any of them, and was going to walk out the doors and not look back. But as soon as class ended, Hyperlad stopped me and asked if I wanted to be on his FAITH team in the upcoming semester. I, of course, did the only logical thing: I said “Can I think about it?” and left, totally planning on blowing the whole thing off. I mean, going around and talking to complete strangers? Cap’n Doesn’t-do-well-with-strangers? Get real, right? Right?

Of course, as I started to think of exactly what excuse I would give to Hyperlad, there was a little voice speaking up at the back of my head; a voice that I wasn’t quite as familiar with as I was the other voices; this was a voice that was saying “Hey, dummy, you’ve been saying that you want someone here to acknowledge you and make you feel wanted; isn’t that just what Hyperlad just did? And now you’re just going to flake because talking to strangers freaks you out? Fine, go ahead, run away, but don’t start moping about how nobody gives a dang about you.” Yes, that’s right, for once I realized that I was pushing people away before the fact, not after. I can learn after all! So, I listened to the nice voice, and called Hyperlad up and said “Sure, I’d love to be on your FAITH team”; I then got to the first meeting and discovered that he had traded me to a different team without telling me. So much for feeling wanted, eh?

It worked out pretty well, though; I was on a team with Trouble and Angel, and through them got to know the other Amigas pretty well; by the end of the year I finally felt like I was part of the class, even if I was still holding back a little. And then January ‘03 rolled around, and the Lightbulbs and Bizarro-Zinger and the Trumpeteer all joined the class, and the new dynamic inspired me to finally unleash my full pop culture, songbursty self on them one fateful Game night, wherein they tried to stump me on TV theme songs; I got tripped up on Bewitched vs. I Dream of Jeanie, as usual. And the rest, as they say, is history; I was soon invited to be a member of the class’s leadership and then, through Hyperlad and Papa L.’s incessant browbeating, er, I mean, ceaseless encouragement, I started to sub as teacher once in a while, and took the official position of second in command of the class just in time for Hyperlad to say “I’m moving to San Diego, see ya later, sucker!” Okay, maybe not that last part, exactly. So, with Hyperlad gone, I was now the official teacher of the Singles I class; yes, that’s right, Cap’n Neurotic was put in charge of other people’s spiritual well-being; it’s a scary, scary thought, I know.

So, let’s see, where does that leave us in my journey form total psycho to “hey, I can see ‘mental stability’ in the distance if I squint real hard” . . .

Outsider complex mostly suppressed? Check
Finally putting aside fears and moving forward with grad school? Check
Taking part in activities that force me to practice my communicating-with-strangers skills? Check
Finally listened to positive inner voice rather than negative one? Check
Accepting that people do like me and want me around? Check
Re-established communications with Dr. G’ovich and Flunky? Che . . . oh, wait.

14 pts. down, one more to go! And look, it will be divisible by both 3 AND 5! What serendipity! And if you have no earthly clue what the heck that has to do with anything, you obviously weren’t around for the Great Flunky/G’ovich Numeral Wars; count yourself lucky, it was a brutal time, we’re all lucky to have escaped with our lives; I ‘m still not sure we all escaped with our sanity. But, that's a story for a different time . . .

Anyhoo, be sure to check back tomorrow for the final installment in the overlong Secret Origin of Cap’n Neurotic!


CAP'N Disaster said...

Hey, there is NO mention of me in this blog...did you leave off a paragraph or two? sigh I need a drink...oh I'm starting on the drunkness that will lead to my lying dead in a ditch killed by my drunkeness or the the exposion that was caused when the snipers shot up the oil cans around me and caused me to drop my cigarrette leading to a huge specacular explosion that burned and burned until it consumed the city of Denton and exhausted all local resources and the Governor had to ask the President for help making the events of my death a disaster. Or maybe I could just wait for the next installment...surely I'll be in that one....I mean HELLO! I am a SUPERSTAR!!!

Cap'n Neurotic said...

You know, I meant to include the following in the post, but was so tired when typing it up that I forgot. So, here it is:

"Oh, yeah, and Cap'n Disaster was there, too."

Feel better now? I know I do.

G'ovich said...

That's specifically why I don't smoke, D.

Also, it bears mentioning that there are THREE sets of friends outlined in this blog. Score one for the good guys.