Monday, July 29, 2013

The Radio Room

In my last post (Two posts in less than a month! Can you believe it?), I mentioned how I've been sorting through old files form my college days.  Here is another essay I wrote for one of my writing classes.

The Radio Room

After greeting my grandma, I slip out of the back room where Mom and she are talking and walk to the other end of the house.  I pass through the kitchen and living room and step out on the porch; however, I am not coming to visit Pepper, as the little dog is obviously hoping.  Instead, I open the door on the left side of the porch and step up into a small room.  Closing my eyes and concentrating, I can still smell the combination of oil and Old Spice cologne.  This room may look differently than it did a few years ago, but it still holds the essence of the man who once occupied and loved it.  Before his death, I spent hours in here with him, playing and talking and listening to him talk.  He was my Grandpa Tapp, and I’m standing in his old radio room.

The room is positioned in the center of his domain of the house between his bedroom and his porch, and I would estimate that 75% of his indoor life was spent in these three rooms.  As the room is in the back corner of the house, it has two doors connecting it to both his bedroom and porch.  The porch stands lower than the rest of the house; therefore, a large step provides access to the radio room.  Faux-brick linoleum with its turned-up corners and rolled edges still covers the floor.  Although it is now filled with bookshelves and plant stands, two years ago the room was overflowing with metal shelving units.  Standing in the doorway between the porch and the old room, I stop to think about how it looked two years ago.

The room is not very large, maybe only 12’x10’, and he had every available inch of it crammed full of radios, batteries, microphones, light bulbs, and whatever else he could find a spot for.  His large chair, where he sat to call out on his radio, stood directly in the center of the room with its back to the porch door.   The only other seating the room could offer was an old, decrepit thing slumped in front of the window to my right.  I say “slumped,” for it was perpetually drowning in an ever-growing collection of papers and abandoned tools.  Grandpa’s acquired mass of forgotten items covered the whole floor of the room and most of the walls and shelves.  Besides the length of shelves and radio paraphernalia that faced where I am now standing, he also had the corner to my right filled with three metal shelving units, two shoved into the corner and one mounted on the wall directly beside the door.  These were overflowing with his collection of National Geographic and Reader’s Digest magazines.  From these corner shelves to the radio wall and all around the old chair, the floor was piled high under mountains of papers and tools under which there was always a liberal sprinkling of birdseed from Grandpa’s bringing Amadeus, his pet cockatiel, into the heated room during the winter.

On the wall opposite this hoard of paper, the floor area was relatively clean.  Directly beside his radio shelves, in the corner, the trap door to the cellar forced a no-pile zone.  On the wall were hung various certificates and photographs he had accumulated down through the years and a medicine cabinet that mostly contained screwdrivers and nuts and bolts.  The only interruption in this wall was a doorway in the other corner which stepped down into his bedroom.  A lone throw rug covering the worn area in front of this door gave testimony of his love for this disheveled corner of the house.

After his death, Grandma cleared out the room, giving away most of the equipment to her only son.  Thus, this room is always closed off now, for no one uses it anymore.  In fact, I may be the only person that regularly intrudes upon its calm.  I still love to go in and sit on the floor listening to the quiet and remembering the hours I spent in there with Grandpa.  His shelves and radios may be all gone now, but even through the books and plant stands Grandma has put in there, the room still seems to be waiting for him.  

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Friend-Losing: A How-To

You know how it goes: you change computers and back-up files, but don't remember what they contain or what program opens them. So, years later, you open a memory stick or disk to discover all items contained are from some ancient, forgotten file-type that nothing is able read. =)

This is the problem I've been trying to fix lately; I've been clearing out my external hard drive with all its old files from as far back as my college days (and before).  Re-formatting all of these old papers in my pack-rat tendency to keep every school paper I've ever written (Thanks for that, Mom.) has reintroduced me to some little gems from my scholastic endeavors. haha  Of course, as an English Education major, I wrote more papers in college than most people dread writing in their entire lives. 

As a kick-start to this poor, neglected blog of mine, I'm going to post a few of them on here.  It's been a laugh for me; hopefully, it will be for you, as well.

Friend-Losing: A How-To

            Many people would probably say that losing a friend is a simple thing to do.  This misconception comes from their accidentally stumbling across a specific path of action.  The art of friend-losing is very technical, but can become natural if practiced long enough.
            The first step to losing a friend is to lay the foundation for a rocky relationship.  This can be accomplished in several ways, but the most effective method would be to use all these ways in tandem.  Make sure that you seldom, if ever, confide in your friend; keep your secrets secret.  Remember that you are the expert…in everything.  Always one-up your friend’s stories or memories, and you should correct your friend often, preferably in public.  Finally, fight to have your way all the time.  What good is sharing?
            The second part to ridding yourself of this person is to cause a problem of some kind.  This, however, is the most delicate stage because the problem must appear to have been caused by the other person.  A good way to start is to lie to your friend, or, at the least, keep the truth to yourself.  If possible, date the person your friend is interested in or steal a promotion from them.  Tell your friend that you are crushed and shocked by the quandary you are in, but do not, by any means, get out of the relationship.  As time progresses, begin to tell people what your friend is doing to you.  Make it look like your friend is trying to ruin your life.  Do not let your friend ever see you upset about the situation--even if your friend dissolves into sobbing tears.  Always act like nothing is wrong.  As a last stab, be sure that your side of the story makes the gossip circle before your friend’s; this assures your friend will appear guilty and petty.
            After you have laid the foundation and caused your problem, it is time to close the deal.  Now that you have spoiled your friend’s reputation and probably made this person almost hate you, you must act stunned by the turn of events.  You must look more than innocent.  Absolute horror is the best attitude for this stage.  Cling to your friend as if you are terrified that the friendship will end.  Drag the misery out as long as the dead relationship will last; make your friend feel horribly guilty for wanting to get out of the relationship and away from you.  If a holiday is near, buy your friend sentimental gifts that will always bring back memories of you and this friendship.  Follow your friend around all the time, forcing your friend to be rude in order to get away.  Be shocked and hurt when your friend gets angry and retaliates or rails back at you.  After a sufficient time of playing the victimized innocent, tell your friend, “I forgive you,” for the problem that you, yourself caused. 
            This last act of selfishness should seal the death certificate of this friendship.  Do not be discouraged if your particular friendship takes longer than you expected to kill.  Some relationships have been known to last for several years before the foundation was strong enough for stage two, and every now and then a friend will endure the punishment of problem after problem before closure can come.  However, sooner or later, this fool-proof method will always obtain the desired end--you will lose your friend.