Alexplorer Goes Time Traveling...

If you're just joining this series already in progress, then it means you don't have a time machine, so here's the short version: Every Tuesday (your present), I come back from my adventures time-traveling around MySpace and fill you in on what happened to people from my past as they keep slippin', slippin', slippin' into the future.

Ah, here's one now...



Rick

Then:
Rick (not his real name) and I rode the bus together to our high school.  This was in the late '80s, so according the cultural recycling calendar, it was the late 1960s.  Rick was totally down with that.  He wore tie-dyes and fringe leather jackets you see in stills from Woodstock.  He listened to Hendrix, Floyd, and Led Zeppelin to the near-exclusion of all else.  And he loved the drugs.  He did a fair share of pot, but what he really dug was the acid, man.

Pretty much every Monday I could rely on Rick to have a story or two about LSD trips he and his friends went on.  They were hilarious.  Rick was a really animated guy, and by their very nature these were wild stories, so I got to live vicariously though his experiences without ever burning up my chromosomes or whatever the hell acid supposedly did.  All I knew was that I didn't have to deal with flashbacks or any of the other issues some of my similarly-minded friends were having to contend with during the height of the acid resurgence.

I looked forward to Rick getting on the bus a couple stops after mine in the morning, but one day during his junior (my senior) year, he just disappeared.  Wild stories followed within a day or so.  Supposedly he had gotten in a fight with his mom about something and she called the police on him.  He took off and got out of the country and his mom supposedly sold off all of his things (his stereo, his guitar/amp, cds, etc.).  Rick's dad was in the military, so he hooked up with him and finished high school in the Virgin Islands where his father was stationed.  In the meantime I graduated from high school, then took a year off before I went to college.

The next year I started school at a small college not very far from my high school.  A few weeks into the semester I ran into Rick.  I was like, "Whoa!  Where have you been?"  I knew the part of the story about him going off to the Virgin Isles, so I wondered what he was doing back here.  He said he was living with him mom now.  He talked really slow like a textbook example of "fried" as in "This is your brain on drugs..."

"What?" I asked him, taken aback.  "Didn't your mom send the cops after you, basically run you out of the country, then sell all your stuff?"

He said ---at a speed I can't even begin to imitate by typing with just two fingers, "Yeah, man..." (we can pause here while waiting for him to continue his sentence to wonder is it the acid that made the hippies talk like that or were people with that particular dialect disproportionately attracted to psychedelics) "she (his mother, you may recall) was a bitch.  She was like a psycho.  She was cra-azzzzy...  But she's cool now."

I was astounded.  I believe from the notable difference in his processing speed that it was not Rick's mother who had changed, but rather his frame of reference.  I just started laughing.

At this point the sun was starting to set.  We were in the university cafeteria, and the sun was working its way down to the point where it was inescapably coming into the windows and straight into my eyes.  I held my hand up to shade them.  This gesture apparently confused Rick from the look he was giving me.  Maybe if we had upgraded his RAM he might have been able to decode the nuances of life on earth.  I explained that the sun was shining in my eyes.

Rick: "Yeah, man.  The sun's a bastard."

At that point I had heard enough to know that Rick was gone.  I usually call this story "Why I Don't Do Acid" or "Rick Doesn't Live Here Anymore."  I saw him occasionally at this one bar right off campus, but only for the rest of that semester.  There's no mystery as to why he wasn't back in school after xmas.


Now:
He ended up in the military and moved around a bit.  He's out of active duty at the moment, but he's in the reserves.  He has a son who is maybe seven or so, but doesn't live with him.  I actually contacted him since his profile was set to private.  It took a couple days before he responded.  He didn't remember me.  Admittedly, I purposely posted a picture that didn't show me very well, but a lot of the synapses from those years may have been cauterized by all the drugs as well.

It turned out that he finished high school not very far away from where he disappeared.  In other words, in a district nowhere near the Virgin Islands.  I asked him for corroboration of the other details of the fantastic story I'd been assuming was true all this time, but he never responded to that request.  Possibilities include that he's ignoring the question, is gradually processing the question and will get back to me when it computes, or doesn't really know the answer to the question himself.


Hypothetical letter I'll probably never send to him:
Rick,

Were you behind that whole Dark Side of the Moon/Wizard of Oz conspiracy in the late '90s?  It just sounds like something you'd come up with.  I won't tell anyone.

-Alex.


Copyright 2007 Ale[x]plorer.  All photos are of the actual individuals described above because, seriously, I can't make this shit up.
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