Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Josh's Trip to Keene, Part 2: The Keenening

Part two in a two issue limited series. The first one is here.

When we last left Josh, he was hanging out at Steve's house. If you'll excuse the digression, it's hard to make friends as an adult. As a kid and a young adult, you tend to meet new people at school and when first starting a job and those are options that tend not to be open to adults. As a result, unless you seek out out new people, you tend to have the friends you're going to have for the rest of your life by the time you turn twenty-five.

That's about when I met Steve. Jen and I had moved up to New Hampshire after we got married and I wound up working the overnight shift in the K-Mart. Steve was another guy on the shift and we wound up becoming good friends. I liked him, I liked his family .He's a great guy. When I was leaving New Hampshire to come back down here, we went to this comic store outside of Boston. He brought a bunch of unboxed Transformers to sell to the guy, so he would have a little money to buy me a going away present.

The store owner looked at them and said, "Okay, I can give you four fifty for the lot of them," and I was about to tell him not to bother if he was only going to get five bucks for them when the store owner started counting out twenties.

He may be most genuinely decent guy I've ever met. He's absolutely the best dad I've ever met. Greg Rucka had a post over at his blog a while ago. I had linked to it previously, but it bears repeating. He was talking about the grim and gritty trend in comics and comic book movies and the whole thing is worth reading, but this was my favorite part:

(Pet peeve time: for the contingent out there who sneer at heroes like Superman and Wonder Woman and Captain America, those icons who still, at their core, represent selfless sacrifice for the greater good, and who justify their contempt by saying, oh, it’s so unrealistic, no one would ever be so noble… grow up. Seriously. Cynicism is not maturity, do not mistake the one for the other. If you truly cannot accept a story where someone does the right thing because it’s the right thing to do, that says far more about who you are than these characters.)

Anyway, if you can't believe that someone would be a good and kind and decent person, I encourage you to talk to my friend Steve. (And for someone who is not infrequently kind of an asshole, I've managed to attract and retain a whole lot of really good people as friends.)

The previous night, I had told Steve that I was disappointed that Lily had put down the Superman Lego set in exchange for the girly Treehouse one. So, the next day, Steve gave me the Superman set to give to Lily, which had previously bought for himself. How awesome is that? Also, a new neighbor was moving a fridge into his apartment, but Steve stopped to help him, even though it meant being late for work. Steve had promised his coworkers some coffee when he stopped in earlier in the day, and he was going to make good on that even though it meant being even later, but I told him to drop me at Dunkin Donuts and I would run it over. And that's one of the reasons I like hanging out with him. He's a fun guy, he's a good guy and he inspires me to be the same.

I dropped off the coffee, then continued to walk around Keene for a bit. Tim was supposed to get out at 3:30, but he had to work late, so I just wound up spending the whole day wandering until it was time to meet Steve's kids for dinner. It's really a surreal experience. We left New Hampshire in early 2001. And I got older over the course of those eleven years, but I didn't really change. But the kids grew up. They should have stopped growing when I left! It was crazy!  I suppose it was inevitable, but still...

We had dinner at the Thai Garden (I had the Drunken Noodles) and then we watched a little bit of the UK dub of Arrietty before Steve had to go. I told Lily that I'd take her to see it when it opens in the US on the 17th and it looks like she'd really enjoy it.

Another thing that impressed me was a conversation that we had during Arrietty.  I said, "I assumed this was a period piece because the house had ungrounded outlets, but that guy has a modern cell phone," and Steve's daughter thought for about half a second before saying, "It's probably just an old house," and of course that was is it. She was right and that was a logical and sensible answer that I had overlooked, and I'm still dealing with the fact that these people that I knew as children have turned into actual adults. They were good kids and they grew into good people.

Steve's daughter gave me a Totoro pillow to give to Lily. She also made me promise to take a picture because I implied that I would keep it for myself because it's so awesome. Lily liked it a lot and here's the picture of her with it.

She also gave Lily a pocket mirror that looks like Gigi the cat from Kiki's Delivery Service. After that it was back to Tim's. We watched some TV with his roommates, played some video games and stayed up late. We slept in Sunday and did more of the same before we got together with Tim's parents and brother for dinner. Tim's been my best friend forever, and I've known his family since I was a kid. (I have to wonder if they viewed my growing older with same horror I had when Steve's kids did the same thing.) They wanted to go to the Thai Garden, and I hadn't had Thai for a couple hours, so we said yes. This time I had the Nam Sod (ground chicken mixed with peanuts, ginger, red onions and scallions in a spicy lime dressing) It was delicious.

Then we went back to his place and watched the Fright Night remake, which was absolute garbage, and played some more games and watched some more TV. We went to bed late, I got up early and Tim and I went to Friendly's for breakfast before I took off. Tim gave Lily a bunch of stuffed animals and she really loves the pup he sent home. It's super cute and very soft.

"Bow wow. Grrr. Woof!"

And that was my visit. I had to be prodded into it, but I wound up really enjoying it and as soon as the weather gets a little nicer, Jen and Lily and I will go up together as a family.


  1. sounds wonderful Joshua.

  2. Thanks again for driving up, even if it was Jen who prodded you into it! A thought: Japan doesn't have grounding prongs on their outlets, so that might account for the Arrietty thing.

  3. Ah, I didn't know that about the outlets in Japan, but a little research confirms it. Very cool. It's always a pleasure to see you, Mister Tim, and you may be pleased to know that Lily is taking the doggy with her everywhere she goes, including school and playdates with her little friends.

  4. Sorry it isn't housetrained. :/