A Meeting of Ghosts

Not to seem maudlin or anything like that, but my last couple trips have had a weird but of nostalgia mixed with resilience.

As I noted in my past post, I'm divorced now. It was a shock: I found out there was a very real problem then two weeks later we were discussing terms of divorce, despite my protests.

The last two trips I have taken were conference related, bringing me back to the last two destinations my ex-wife and I had gone to. Only this time I'm alone, left to experience the city as I see fit rather than being caught in the whims we were restricted to. It's a different experience to be alone in a city where you know nobody as opposed to being on a trip with the person you trust the most.

That all being said, I've definitely made more friends on my own in both circumstances, went to more places, and got to explore more than previously.

I'm not going through some pining for days gone by. I have no interest in reconnecting with my ex-wife, but there is an odd disconnect. I even made the same mistake this time around when trying to hit my exit, going one exit too early then roaming the side streets of San Antonio. Everything has this feeling of déjà vu, but under much different circumstances.

The best way I know how to examine this is from a quote from Cowboy Bebop:

Look at my eyes, Faye. One of them is a fake because I lost it in an accident. Since then, I’ve been seeing the past in one eye and the present in the other. So, I thought I could only see patches of reality, never the whole picture. I felt like I was watching a dream I could never wake up from. Before I knew it, the dream was over.
— Spike Spiegel

I've walked down streets where I have memories that were one-offs, a simple slap, dash movement. While I run into this at home, I go over those same streets and locations dozens of times a week, which really lessens the impact as the months pass. However, when you pass bars that you went to once a year before, back when things were good . . . well, it tends to stop you sort as if you're watching ghosts from the past.

Now, my trip took a decidedly different route with the few, but infinitely interesting, people I met at Dad's Karaoke in San Antonio. While I won't get into it, I definitely enjoyed that particular location and, if I get back to PAX South next year, I will be going there once more. By the time I left San Antonio, the dream had passed and I had a whole suite of new memories to draw on, but I'm sure that San Antonio, like Minneapolis, will be a haunted city for years to come. The only thing I find amusing about this is that my two favorite conferences NerdCON and PAX South will only be in those respective cities and thus, year to year, I will be drawn back to them and my dysfunctional past will be there, waiting.

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Justin D. Herd

Justin D. Herd is a purveyor of the weird and strange. He occasionally squawks at friends and family, but does so only under the cover of night. Okay, that's not true. He squawks in full daylight. Drinking games have been built around his peculiarities, but the truth of it is this: he is a loving husband, with two wonderful dem--children. One growls at things he likes, including pretty women. The other has started to learn hand-eye coordination. Neither had made it to the tender age of three. From there, things will only get more interesting. He spends most of his writing time either at a coffee shop or sitting at one of his many desks around his house. Any other place makes it nearly impossible for him to write. He uses horror movies and rock music to help get the juices flowing. His favorite authors are Jeremy Robert Johnson, Alan Campbell, Terry Pratchett, Justin Cronin, and Patrick Rothfuss. He consumes most of his books through audiobooks, but still loves his personal library and getting lost in the printed word.