In lieu of the jam-packed weekend I just enjoyed, and many new experiences I had, I just had to blog about the lessons I've gotten from what I've seen, heard, smelled, tasted, and contacted. I feel that life is somehow different this week. Like Kevin from Home Alone or George Bailey from It's a Wonderful life, I have woken up this week to a frame of mind and change of scenery that has me, like neither of the previously mentioned characters, simply.. happy.
Let me run through (briefly) what I did this weekend, and maybe you can put the pieces together of why the good life for me is obtained through learning the lessons of new experiences.
I spent the weekend in LA. More importantly, I spent the weekend in a place where Disneyland was easily accessible. Less important, I only visited Disneyland once. Of upmost importance, I used illegal means to enter Disneyland and partake of the goodness of supreme imagination. I lied. I committed crimes that only lawyers know the names of. Let's recap what I did.
I drove down to southern california thursday evening with two friends and bunked up at a friend of a friend's married housing apartment. It was decided in the nightly conversation that Friday would be devoted to Disneyland, and that I needed somehow to obtain a ticket for the excursion. We looked at Disneyland.com--yield? 97 dollars. We continued our search until we found tickets on eBay for $55. An email was sent out to the owner of the ad--Santos. We did business with a man named Santos. Friday morning came, and we met Santos on the corner of Ball and Harbor. His little office, above the ghetto chevron station, consisted of a large room with a tiny desk in the middle. All windows were blacked out. I was taken to a different room to do business with a woman named "Tracy." There is no way this woman's name was Tracy. She pulled out a manila envelope of small cards and asked me if I was OK with the name "Steve Whittaker." I told her I was, and she told me that today, I was going to be Steve Whittaker. I was told not to answer probing questions from any disneyland personnel, and not to carry any valid ID with me at any time throughout the day. I gave her my cash and did my best drug dealer "do we have a deal?" face, to which she responded with a "I do crime for a living" smirk. I insisted that all in my party refer to me as Steve the entire day. The gravity of the situation did not strike me as I was committing the crime. Looking back, I would not do it again. Don't judge me.
What did I learn? In the short run, I learned that a little justification can satisfy and ease the guilty conscience--to which a dose of entertainment or pleasure can knock conscience right on its butt. In the long run, I realized that taking short cuts and compromising values really just isn't worth the pleasure--yes, even the pleasure of Disneyland. I also learned that crime makes for a worthwhile story.
Ok, one last batch of experiences. These came right out of the oven of relationships. An oven that sometimes burns hot. I spent part 2 of the weekend with a group of friends that one in Provo would classify as "non-member." I like to call them friends. Part Two of last weekend provided me with a grip of new experiences. Let's list a few: 1)My first Designated Driver stint. 2)My first LA night club experience. 3)My first LA university visit. The first two may strike the casual friend (of mine) as a surprise. He/she might say, "Ryan, at a club? How preposterous." I object all you casual friends. It was preposterous, and I was awkward, but I tried my hardest to get the full experience (and yes, I kept all my morals).
The real lesson I learned this weekend, however, was of relationships. I tagged along with two girls whose lives of late have been dampened by the gloom of sourly-ended relationships. And these weren't your "we dated, and I think I liked her, and she broke my heart" relationships. These were "we were getting married and then he devastated me" relationships (at least in the one instance). I heard how disrespectful actions led to heartache and hurt. I even witnessed first hand how the negligently rude actions of one partner in a relationship can really hurt the receiver. I empathized more than I have allowed myself to in a long while. I was honestly very troubled this weekend because of the hopelessness of the dating world and of trusting people.
What lessons did I learn? I learned a little bit about the really fragile nature of us people. Don't let me get too cheesy on you, but respecting the vulnerability of those who love us, really allows us to enter each others' hearts and bring a little bit of happiness and confidence to them. When I woke up Monday morning, I had the spirit of respect in me..and it is kind of dictating my life right now. I hate to say that listening to those bad stories helped me, but it just opened me up and allowed me to choose the path of respect rather than selfishness.
Life is good. The people that surround me are good. I just hope that all new experiences teach me how to be really good to them.
For your enjoyment, these were the "pit stops" I made on the road trip to and fro. I have either a small bladder, or a large thirst.