Stepping Stones

August 2004

Friday, February 03, 2006


Story time - Pete

It was a beautiful patio.
One of the best parts about living in CO. The apt.

A small studio .... seriously it was 300 sq.ft. if it was a foot. It was tiny. I had a hallway that led to the bathroom, and I had a tiny kitchen with an opening where the counter led or became my dinner table on the other side as you stood in my one room, the living/ bedroom/ magic happens there place(card tricks at most).
It was tiny and I loved it. The best part though ... was the balcony, a balcony that was almost as big as my bedroom, and with the weather as nice as it was in Denver, a balcony that I used as a bedroom. The first few years I lived there. I was the only one on my level who used the balcony, so I had many a night of people watching, smoking cigars and drinking beer, while watching TV or listening to the radio.
That was cool, the watching TV, sitting outside, having a smoke, a beer and opening the screen door so I could see the TV. It was a small apartment. The other great thing was just the location in general. I lived on the first floor, but the first floor was in a split level building, so the first floor started 5-6' off the ground, just high enough to be above people for optimal watching, but low enough to still interact with people on the sidewalk and street. It was great. Not to mention the neighborhood was filled with bars and restaurants so there was always great nightlife and people around.
I loved my little place. My actual first place, by myself. No roommates, not job on campus that paid the way .... it was mine. paying by the month, tinyness. It was great.

(I added five pics in flickr.. that sum up the awesomness of the apt.. check em out if you actually read this thing) Anyways ...

Then ... Pete moved in. Pete was a new neighbor, a next door neighbor. A neighbor who also used his balcony, a lot. More than me actually.
I would find out, Pete used his outdoor shangrila so much, because Pete had nothing else to do. Seriously.
At first me and Pete saw each other in passing, as I would venture to my balcony, see him there, give the ole head nod (the international guy greeting, "hey how you doing, I'm good, stay away or I'll stab you fucker", greeting) and go back inside, and sit and pout while waiting for him to go inside, so I could go back outside and enjoy my balcony... my time ....

Pete didn't go in very much.
So over time I adjusted. I got to know Pete, and got over the desire to be outside on my balcony, without having Pete in his balcony next to me. I shared my balcony time with Pete... after work around 5:30.. the screen doors would open and we both would usually head to our seats on our respective patios. Some days it was all buisness head nods. Other days there was a little conversation.
Well funny thing... I got to be friends with Pete.
Pete was a good guy.
A messed up guy... but a good guy.
You see I have been thinking about Pete lately, because I recently found a piece of paper I had jotted a few goals on.... one that stated that by the time I was 34 I wanted to be more than 0. Kind of a wierd goal. But to me it was something. It was something, because I knew Pete, and Pete had told me some things about himself, like ... Pete was a recovering ski bum. The guy that hits the slopes as a college underachiever(one who keeps changes colleges but does manage a degree, no matter how obscure) The jumps had landed Pete from some where in Minnesota, to some ski towns ... and then when Pete was 34, to Denver and the apt. next to me. What had happened in all that time, I never really knew, but I did know the result.
Pete was 34. Had a job he hated and nothing to his name. Pete was one paycheck from complete bankrupcy and living on the street. Pete didn't have many friends at the time. Pete didn't have the best relationship with family... as I gathered. I did meet some of them.. but that is another story.
Pete did own a couch, a bed.. a couple of plates and pans and few glasses. He owned a nice chair and enough clothes for a few different jobs, and he owned a radio. But that was it. He cobbled used books from where ever he could.. even used the library.. surprise, surprise. But that was all Pete had. No meaningful relationships, no meaningful things... no effort to cultivate any talent or push himself into something else
. It wasn't just things though or talent.. it was his interaction with life in general, or lack of. Pete was adrift, while sitting on that balcony. Pete was a little angry about it. Pete didn't have the answers.. but had plenty of problems.
I got to know Pete.
Pete scared the crap out of me.
I started a roth IRA, played the company 401k game...
Pete really scared me. I half assed and started trying to lose weight, trying to sketch, paint, take pictures... anything creative. Pete's lack of.. pushed me to want some of it ...
Pete scared me.
I went on dates... blind and eyes wide open.
Pete scared me.

I liked Pete though. But I am not sure I like Pete for the right reasons. I think I liked Pete because I saw something in him that I would never be.. or could be and fought against. I don't think I really liked Pete for who he was and the friendship we had developed. I know that now because ... I don't know Pete now.

So I unpacked the other day. And there at the bottom of a box was the note I had scribbled.

I hung it up again.
Maybe I will do better this time. Maybe I won't...
Maybe I will get there, Maybe I won't.

I hope I do. I strive to do. I will keep trying.

I hope Pete did... and does also .. I hope Pete is doing well


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