At twenty-four, I was more or less washed up. I had no friends, I had no job, I had no life, and no one cared about me. It was then that I discovered LARPing.
…Actually, to be 100% accurate, I did have sort of a life. I had a couple friends, but they were more like acquaintances, and I had an aunt in Maine who loved me very much, but I rarely saw her. And my roommate and I had a pretty friendly relationship. And while I did have no job, it was by choice, and I was really fortunate not to have to work for a living, although sometimes I felt I should get a job because I wasn’t using all the free time for anything constructive, and I had no sense of purpose and nowhere to be, but it’s not like readers would empathize with someone who doesn’t have to work for a living. So, while it wasn’t strictly true that my life was that bleak, you know, I felt that way about it for whatever reason, and since the story is a comedic tale about my finally finding a really vibrant social life through LARP…well, that’s really dorky, so I think it makes the point better if at the beginning of my tale, I am a complete, 100% loser. But really, to be entirely honest, it was more complex than that.
In the single month since moving to Albuquerque, I had been fired, dumped and robbed. I began to think this wasn’t my dream city after all.
…Readers, I have to come clean about something. I was indeed fired and robbed that month, but I wasn’t actually dumped in the strictest sense of the word. But for whatever reason, the story wasn’t really satisfying with only those two things. And I had gone out with this guy and thought it went really well, but then he never called me again. But that’s clunky to explain and not on the same level as being robbed and fired, so I sort of exaggerated it up to a dumping to make three solid, bad things. So, really: In a single month since moving to Albuquerque, I had been fired, robbed, and had gone on what I felt was a promising date that nevertheless led to nothing.
Every single time we went to Moe’s, Amber ordered a vanilla shake and a grilled cheese sandwich.
…Well, okay, every time except for twice. Once she had a burger, and once she had a pita, but seriously, every single other time she had the same, damn thing, and that’s pretty dull is all I’m saying.
My earliest memory is of my father playing a John Coltrane record for me, when I was just a little baby. He told me that music is the highest form of expression of which mankind is capable. I knew at that moment that I would become a musician.
…Actually, my father says that he doesn’t remember this at all, that he never owned any John Coltrane records, and he thinks I either imagined this, or that maybe it was this man who lived across the street and watched me a couple times when my parents went out. But I’ve always remembered it as being my father, and this memory, however false, was indeed the basis for my career.
‘It doesn’t matter if you love the whole world in theory. If, in actual fact, you treat everyone you actually encounter like shit, then you are no hero, Mr. Peterman! You’re even more of an asshole than the men you take such pride in opposing.’
He stared at me in shock, and I turned on my heel and left. And I never went back.
…Well, to be honest, what I actually said was, ‘You know, you think you’re like, this benevolent God or something, like you love everyone? But you’re so mean to, like, actual people in your actual life…you treat us like shit! You really do. And I would rather spend a day with any of those, you know, corporate jerks you’re always ranting about than with you, even! I would. Because you’re just as bad, really…maybe worse!’
I’m pretty sure he didn’t understand what I was talking about, and since he was on his cell at the time, he might not even have heard me. But the point is, I did tell him exactly what I thought of him.
I hadn’t eaten at all that day.
…Well, okay, I had three M&Ms, and a bite of my co-workers reuban, and tea with a bit of half-and-half in it. But do I really have to go into all that?
I’d known my whole life that Craig and I were meant for each other.
Okay, sorry. I’d known my whole life, except for a few times when I was really caught up in dating someone else, and except for the year and a half I was alive before I met Craig, and except for sometimes when I was having a bad week, and except for a year I spent in Spain when I thought I’d never come back to the U.S., and except for several fights we had, and except for that three months he was engaged to Veronica — I’d known my whole life, other than those few periods I didn’t, that Craig and I were meant for each other.