Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Praise to the Man

When I turned 25 I had this thought (stupid brain). It crept on me slowly, descending with some sort of cosmic force that made me shudder. If it were a voice, it was an unpleasant one, said in a whisper, and full of spiteful glee.

“You’re an adult!”

It was hard for me to believe, but there it was. I tried to ignore this fact, but as I chewed the flavor of the phrase, the more I knew it to be the truth. I had just finished a master’s degree and was working full time at a language school. I was the director of curriculum and development, I had a staff of 20 teachers, and I was part of the largest private ESL school in several states. So, yes, I think there was evidence to support this “adult” hypothesis of mine.

But so much evidence to the contrary! I was living with college roommates whose diets consisted of delivery pizza and weight gainer, and I had just left an apartment complex where I had a freshman roommate. So, yeah, I thought, I’m still a kid.

My brain then countered by suggesting that this freshman roommate of mine, my proof that I was still young, was also my linguistics student in a class I taught at Brigham Young University (he got an A). Sigh. I am an old man stuck in the college atmosphere. It depressed me.

And this is why I moved out of college dormitories and found a new roommate in Brennon Davies. I found an apartment complex far from other apartments I had frequented and simply signed up. He and I were placed together out of sheer circumstance, although we both supposed that management placed us together because we were both, as far as the median age of Provo, Utah is concerned, “OLD.”

Brennon and I would be roommates for more than 7 years. Wow. I would buy my first condo and invite him to stay with me (sorry about the train, Brennon), and then would find a three-level condo just a year and a half later. Having someone closer to my age was a comfort, but I admit that dating when you are several years older than most is frustrating. Brennon and I were kings at sharing such frustrations, and I dated my brains out. For years. I’m not proud of this, but there it is. Dated all kinds of girls. And in turn, I was all kinds of men. Sometimes I was gallant. Sometimes I was shallow. Sometimes I needed to offer apologies for being less than I should. Sometimes I stood up for myself and for others. And through it all, Brennon and I would speak about it. If anyone knows my dating travelogue, it’s Mr. Brennon Scott Davies. Poor sap.

Brennon’s travelogue, by the way, throughout my entire 7-year run, was pretty much non-existent. He’d go on the occasional date, but not generally more than that. We would spend some time discussing the reasons for this, but ultimately, it seemed to me that the guy just wasn’t picking the bat up off his shoulder, and I would tell him so.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the rodeo. I found a beautiful woman outside of Provo who happened to have three kids from a previous marriage--now THAT’s thinking outside the box. (Yes, Provo, you’re a box). And I got married. And, as a result, left Brennon to fend for himself. I felt bad. I even felt a little guilty. Shoot. I still feel guilty just writing this.

We spoke about a year later when he visited his old/my new hometown in Mesa, Arizona, and we chatted at a Wendy’s. What a difference a year makes. He had been dating a girl, was now dating another, and was unsure if that relationship was one that would last. He seemed a different person. He was, well, a lot more like I was. He was taking swings, being different people. Trying his brains out. It was all rather surprising and shocking. It couldn’t be the same guy! And then my brain gave me another thought. Stupid brain.

I think I held him back.

In all our discussions about what Brennon should do, one that I never fully realized is that I might be crimping his style. I was gregarious, a little brash, always talking to those who visited our apartment, whether he was interested in those who came to visit or not. I was the owner of the property, the guy who would sing a song, the guy who loved to talk and take over a conversation. He and I had always discussed how the other roommates were always going after the girl he was interested in, but what I think is more true, is that I demanded to be the alpha male of the apartment, which made it impossible for him to show off all his own awesome. I was a big ‘ol butinsky. And yes, the more I chew on this, the truer it becomes. It doesn't escape me that even in this post, which is supposed to be about one of my closest friends, I mostly prattle on about me. So let me at least end this right. Ahem.

Here is a tribute to Brennon Davies, who has a lot of awesome all on his own. Musician, friend, and the man who has listened more to me than anyone rightfully should. For your sheer endurance and long-suffering, I praise you! Here’s to a man who dedicated himself to the gym and lived off of Subway sandwiches for three years. Here’s to a man who was determined to lose 100 pounds and so he did. Here’s to the man who convinced me to grow the only beard I’ll ever grow. Here’s to a man who knows how to appreciate the grandeur of mountains, the beauty of a storm, and the splendor of a winter skyline.

And I totally want to hear about your engagement. Give me a call. Maybe I’ll listen for a change.

1 comment:

  1. What a great post. It was a great story-telling kind of post--with a happy ending and a picture to boot!! Love the "Provo box" comment. It's totally a box. :)