About Justin Shrout

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Aliases and Exile

Greetings to those out there on social media who may have been aware that I was a blogger for NAM-BLO-MO last November and it had never really taken hold of me,  I enjoyed the chance to get to write about my time rambling around the good ol’ U-S-of-A, but now I find myself in a very different sort of discovery. I will get into a few things like the fact I will be testing out a new webpage which will be taking the reigns of my blog here just so i can test the new things that are out there and see if i can clean ‘r up a lil’ bit!

https://livinggamblinramblin.wordpress.com/This has been a journey of self discovery and of self exile as one Don Patron had put it, while I had coincidentally enough met him while I was going through some very painful struggles with Christopher and the subsequent ending of our relationship together.

Let me first tell you that living in New Orleans can be extremely easy.  Especially for a gay man who is good looking.  I had the opportunity (and often took advantage of it) to just go out to the bars with only five dollars in my pockets, only to dance and sing the night away while mingling with locals and tourists alike who would keep my happily toasting my bourbon (and paying for it) with them the whole night.  On many such occasions I have met some of the lowest people I will have ever encountered in my life but on the other hand I can proudly say I have met some of the most driven, beautify, experienced, traveled and interesting people in this city.  But it begs the question why I left my home to live semi- on the streets.

Since here I have been treated as a hustler on the streets, i guess many are quick to call me a whore.  Someone who might suck dick for money.  Well, while that is unfortunately (and fortunately) not the case I got a lot of attention around the Quarter.  This may have been because of the clothes I wore, because I was always seen at night, because the actual populace of this city is small but greatly obscured by the hustling and bustling of the tourism that parades merrily up and down the streets

I lived this way because I had to leave the home that I shared with Christopher.  It was only a stone’s throw from the Quarter, but as i have learned to appreciate recently, it is away enough from the French Quarter to make one appreciate the noise in a neighborhood that doesn’t look like it should be so noisy.

I must say I did very little but talk to a guy named Paul, shed a few tears pack a bag and walk out to the only place that I knew to goto:  The Courtyard Gallery on Decatur Street — just right across the street from Margarita-ville and the old French Market along the Mississippi.  And as it was agreed upon by both Don and myself, is that every important hero in any story goes through a self-imposed exile where they take what they can get both the good and the bad– which only helps you in better recognizing what the good and the bad are,  It also made me appreciate more for what I really needed and what I simply wanted in both my daily life here and my previous life in general,

Now, now, readers I hope you don;t upset yourselves about the lack of imagry on this post.  I simply wanted to let you know that I am going to start writing about how I have been living and why this is not really becoming of someone my age, but it is, very much so, a coming-of-age.

Since coming here, i have been kicked out of numerous bars, thrown into the New Orleans Parish Prison twice, assisted in getting a claims suit again the prison filed.  I have lived with some of the finest people for short periods of time, cooked with arguably one of the best chefs in the country, broken up bar fights, been propositioned to go away to live as a kept man on the beach of Fort Lauderdale in a condo of my own, witness the ebbs and flows of many a once successful but stagnantly slumped here.  I have a tale to tell that is absolutely amazing and in it, I always know that the fates have one helluva sense of humor.

Update (mid November) – Marshalling Up Escape: From the Frying-Pan into the Fire

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Greetings Readers,

Today I have begun to write about some of the most BIZARRE events that have occurred in our adventures in Salt Lake City (and the entire jaunt around the country). This includes a Run-in and extremely frightening situation with a man who was not only dangerous, but preyed on the discreditably and youth of our society. That being said, while I feel we got even, in some minor respect, I feel very conflicted that this man is still out there doing what he is doing. I have reason to believe that he has been acting like this for some time prior to both Christopher’s and my arrival, and that even former employers of his may be aware of his activities. While I am not going to come out and say who he is right now, it is safe to say that this man was a pedophile who worked in mental health of younger boys and he certainly did victimize them and use all the tricks in the book. I am seriously considering what I should do about who he is and what I have discovered.

I am not exaggerating when I also say that I feared for my safety and well-being but more importantly, I feared for Christopher’s safety and well-being.  This was in-part due to the fact that Christopher is a small guy and has similar qualities to the —shall I say — younger types that our new host found appealing in both boys and men (but more often boys).  My presence however threatening, constant, or boasting could not deter this man from trying a myriad of techniques starting with drugging us both, in order to get what he wanted.  This obviously included Christopher in his control and me out of the way entirely.

I was smart enough to recognize an insincere and strange tension when he was around, I noticed without needing any information about the guy that something was not right.

Not only did this guy play that icky part mentioned above, he was the worst elements of everything in this country I have come to hate: An Idiot who puts politics to play like his own toy-soldiers and utilizes idiotic cliches with rhetoric producing some half-baked political moronic sludge that was incoherent and senseless. It is safe to say this guy is one that I both feared and loathed with everything I could feel at first.  This fear grew more substantial as I put myself to discovering what the foreboding atmosphere was all about. It was NOT easy to play the part that I did for a little under two months.

There was a younger neighbor boy living nearby as well and I will go over his living situation, his mother, and another side of parenting for which I feel very conflicted about. All of this in my next post on “Marshalling Up Escape: From the Frying-Pan into the Fire.” From there we move onto the last section concerning our Salt Lake City travesty concerning, “The Trigger-Full-House. Both Aptly named. I hope my readers look forward to the excitement to come and will learn a bit from it.

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A Word on Misfortune, Expectations, and Fate.

Marvin and I - Feb 2011

Marvin and I – Feb 2011

First a Shout-Out of Thanks to a Reader!  Thanks Marvin!

The above picture was taken in Feb 2011, and since I owe a shout-out to Marvin, the handsome guy next to me in the picture, I will do so through honoring some memories I have of us together.  We became dance buddies after meeting because we both really enjoy dancing, are good at it, so it was only natural that we enjoyed dancing together.  I remember some really fun times that we had at Cobalt and Towne Dancebotique.  But that should not suggest that we didn’t spent plenty of time at Nellie’s socializing before our too few DC dance-capades.

The picture to the lower right is after a particularly cold, but memorable night in either, November or December of 2011. In my infinite misguided-infatuations I force myself to do things a little less than reasonable to feel like I got someone— whom I really did not have.  I knew it, but ignored it. Anyway, looking at the picture you’ll notice that Marvin is sporting a nice rabbit-fur hat, which was passed around to just about every guy in the Gayborhood, getting more action than any single guy that ever lived in said gayborhood— I should have charged to let people wear the damn thing.. Whether it was for the warmth or the fact that that hat looked utterly ridiculous,  no one could resist wanting to at least try it on.  Had i thought of it and charged for the benefit of using such a fashion-forward piece of rat-fur, I would have made out like Heidi Fleiss before she began her birdie binges.

To meet this person for whom i had an infatuation, I traveled all the way out to Charlestown WV after one of the BEST times dancing I can remember at Cobalt (with Marvin) and I had a little too much to drink (although I had sobered up I was extremely tired).  I often wonder what would have become of me if Marvin and I would have just stayed and enjoyed ourselves and I ignored the hold this lad from an adjoining state and I would have appreciated what was close-by?  I feel a tinge of regret and considering my other path ended the way it did I may always wonder.

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Anyway, the shout-out:: .

Marvin,  I really appreciate your feedback which, for one, lets me know people are actually reading my blog, and it also serves to provide me direction to better improve my humble efforts. By letting me know me your opinion, I feel confident with regard to the reflections you had on life and living my adventures vicariously though this blog. I genuinely don’t feel as though it is very different from anyone else’s mis-step (be it intentional or not).  I just know my comfort zone and that it’s been flexible of late. Forever clinging to the notion that everyone is equally capable of doing what they want, I desperately do not want to believe  that some people are suited to endure certain things that others would succumb to the same trials..  This is elitism and it justs just as well we believe it to a certain extent because some of us are more capable than others when it comes to anything, be it leading a nation, boxing, interpreting the law, or survival. What are you content with whereas someone else might need luxury,  Probably not, but there are those who will work hard to earn comforts so they no longer have to be capable.

To quote Shakespeare,  “Poor and Content is Rich and Rich Enough.”  There is a lot of truth in those words.  Even when living with someone you can identify where extreme discomfort hrt in a difficult situation emerges and I would hope for myself that someone would coax me into being content with the status-quo.  It’s really a way of surviving.  I am of the firm believe that people can become far too content with too little and perhaps shouldn’t be— but I am not referring to matters of wealth.  Marvin, you paid me a few compliments earlier in the day concerning  you !  More importantly, he flattered me with a line of compliments that was really the most satisfying a person could be paid in reference to the way one lives.  I try to live a satisfying life and, most importantly to experience as much as I can and try not to waste time.  Have I succeeded?  Who knows.  I said earlier in the month that some might find my life someone exciting or even accomplished but I really am not quite satisfied with myself.  I’m naive to whether or not that is a good thing.  Being dissatisfied certainly leads one to be more a person of action, but misfortune also begs the concern for weather it is safer and predictable to simply by stay home.

 A Theory On Living:

I have often tolds myself that bad luck is something that is rather invited into someone’s life.  I have been told this by others too.  These others seem to be supreme optimists— even if it is just idiotically stupid to keep with such a mindset.  At some point one must be realistic over optimistic.  The difficulty is sometimes in knowing when.  Hope drives us to keep going, but it can also drive us to foolish decisions.  There comes a time when if decisions are not made situations can me made exponentially worse.  It was at such a time that Christopher and I left our first place in Salt Lake City.  It was actually significantly outside of Salt Lake in a part of town called Draper.  It was a wonderful tech corridor if I could have broken into a solid position.

Our first three months there really saw the money that we arrived with gone.  Not only that, Christopher and I had been given the primary responsibility of taking care of two boys, ages Seven and Six.  I really loved taking care of them, but had really forgotten that taking care of kids is a full-time job in of itself.  I find it important to mention that the kids were expensive too.  Christopher and I were the primary suppliers of food and daily supplies that keeps any household running.  We were not required to pay rent, but the situation was a bit odd either way.  The house was full of people and a bit too small.  If I was independently wealthy I would have taken care of the boys until they were grown.  I loved cooking for them, introducing them to new foods, teaching them and just participating in their lives.

The boys got both Christopher and I up in the morning because if someone wasnt awake with them there would inevitably be some impending catastrophe without a sane presence.  I remember coaxing them away from the X-Box.  I had bought heavy whipping creme from the store and I asked the older boy, James, if he wanted to whisk the heavy creme for me.  He was not certain of the purpose but obliged as I prepared strawberries, bananas and chocolate.  Whisking heavy creme is actually really tedious when equipped with just a whisk.  But it’s how I always made whipped creme.  I added sugar and had the boys trade off in whisking while I finished, I have Christopher take over the whisking as their little arms get tired and they are questioning me with ever more frequency what is supposed to happen.  When I point out that it is thicker than it once, they found renewed will to whisk.  Either way, I finish it up for them as it gets difficult until there are soft peaks in the creme.  I then have James taste it with his fingers (clean fingers) and his response was:

“I love eating butter!”

“Well…. I guess it needs more sugar!” I generally remark, as Christopher laughs at how honest the boy is.

The minds of these children— and all children– are really wonderfully simple.  The simple notion that the whipped creme tasted like butter was a simple reaction to tasting something similar to what he has tasted before.  Of course, if we had continued to whip that creme it would separate into butter, but it was simply that he had not experienced having whipped creme before and he had tasted butter.  Similar taste without enough sugar.  My mind was worried before that point if I may have already added too much.  The important aspect is that I had an expectation for what it should be and the boys didn’t and I got a really honest reaction for something as simple as whipping creme for strawberries.  I had hope that my expectation was really what it should be, or good enough for the kids.  I got a slight adjustment with the frank “butter response” and couldn’t hope that it was sweet enough at that point.  It makes me think every day if our expectations don’t need to be re-assessed, and often at that.

More on that next time, as the situation becomes serious in Salt Lake.

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Protecting Privacy when using Google Plus (or Google+)

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This photo is for tranquility when dealing with targeted advertising. I couldn’t “like” this with a click when I experienced it… although Justin did with one and a camera.

Ok Readers, I’m taking a small break from my reminiscing stories to offer a bit of advice.  Recently Google has introduced “Endorsements” to your Google+ / Google Plus pages.

For those of you who don’t know Google+ is Google’s response to Facebook and other social networking sites and the benefit they bring the host –that’s NOT you::

They benefit through Targeted Advertisements and advertising.  This kind of advertising is tailored to you, based on your likes, dislikes, search history, browsing history and all sorts of other fun information that in of itself is pretty useless but when ads are injected into your browser which you might be MORE LIKELY to click, they become more valuable.  There is a whole bunch of research and statistics and more information on this, but Facebook and Google like to profit from things you actively like and dislike and place you into little advertising boxes – My friend Mark Fuentes would say, like a Japanese Food Box, which, before coming out of the closet, was how i kept my friends in relating to each other… separate!  Not relevant though, so I digress…

  • -If you have a Gmail Account, you might have Google+
  • -if you have an Android-based phone, then you likely have a Google+ account tied to that email
  • -If you had an Android Phone in the past year (depending on the version or the OS — i.e. Ice Cream Sandwich, Jellybean, Fro-yo, Donuts, Eclair, pastries galore – blah.) then you may have Google+

For those of you in question about your Android Phone, my guess is:

  • -if you have or had Jellybean OR Ice Cream Sandwich, then you probably have a Google+ account tied to that corresponding email on your Android Device. (this does include a tablet)

Don’t ask me about the iPhone, I don’t know how Google relates to this; as they are almost as much an evil empire as Google is now, in my humble opinion.  But ask me and I may look into it.

First goto Google+ this can be achieved by clicking "your name +"  from top right of gmail or logging in seperately. then follow the RED Notations made by me on this picture

First goto Google+ this can be achieved by clicking “your name +” from top right of gmail or logging in seperately. then follow the RED Notations made by me on this picture

So goto your Google+ Account as directed, either through Gmail by clicking “Your Name+” in the top right and following my school-teacher Red Remarks made on each graphic.  Sometimes there are arrows! (and captions)

home+ w.menu annotations

Don’t be afraid… follow the menu down to that “Settings” item with the little gear next to it and Clicky-Clicky! (you probably need only click once).

Look for "Endorsements" and click that "edit" sucker!

Look for “Endorsements” and click that “edit” sucker!

Just do as those RED REMARKS say… don’t be afraid this isn’t a trick.  the next page in this one is a bit bigger and wordy so scroll down after performing the ABOVE action and see Below for simple guidance on that wordiness.

Scroll down... read the fine print involved which I will include in the Blog below in fine print

Scroll down… read the fine print involved which I will include in the Blog below in fine print

Okieday.  If you don’t know what all that wordiness is, see me after class.  A lot of it is telling you that your FRIENDS may “Endorse” something that they MAY or MAY NOT BE trying to sell ON BEHALF of someone else. It’s really a foolish advertising means that poke references into your public profile and say that you might buy this product, have bought it, or whatever.  I’m, not precisely certain how the info will be used, but it may be misleading.

  If you want to read a review then go for it, CNET, Engadget or whatever.  However  I wouldn’t make my own unsolicited reviews public unless I intend to make them public.  Not from sleaziness round my profile or whatever (because people often post negative things they don’t really mean, or do so IN-JEST.  (I do that).  I wouldn’t want someone to think I hated something just because it wasn’t working for me and I mentioned it in a Facebook post.  I also don’t want to worry about libel suits before they begin.  And this isn’t necessarily what Google is doing right now, but I see where it is going.  Endorsements (weather intentional or not) might be inferred through hash-tags eventually.  #stupid.

More on Targeted Advertising and YOU, in another technical post that is really dry and boring to do for me, but hopefully a bit helpful for you.

I did promise Google fine-print below… so here ’tis:  This is really cheese on their part because it comes from their “help” section.   Stupid.  The below may be copyrighted and or change, changes which I will intentionally neglect in attempts for the self improvement of the GOOGLE entity admits public outrage, should it arise– Changes have also been made to the formatting for added ridiculousness.

For the current page see:  In addition, there should be no reason that you cant DISABLE your Google+ account and resume previous functionality without all this crap.

Next tech post:  Keeping Words with Friends functioning in a privatized browser!

https://support.google.com/plus/answer/3403513?hl=en

How shared endorsements work

To ensure that your recommendations reach the people you care about, Google sometimes displays your reviews, recommendations and other relevant activity throughout its products and services. This sometimes includes shopping contexts, like the Google Play music store, and ads. Your profile name and photo may appear with the recommendation.

For example, if you search for “Italian restaurants,” you might see an ad for a nearby restaurant along with your friend’s favorable review. Or, in Google Play, you might see that another friend has +1’d a new song or album.

We call these shared endorsements.

Here are some examples of shared endorsements. The example on the right shows a shared endorsement displayed in an ad:

Don’t worry, your account’s privacy settings are not affected. You get to decide whether you want your name and photo included in shared endorsements that appear in ads through the Shared Endorsements setting. And for users under 18, their actions won’t appear in Shared Endorsements in ads and certain other contexts.

How to turn on or off shared endorsements on ads:

  1. Sign into your Google account. If you came to this page while still creating your account, finish that process first, then come back here.
  2. Go to the Shared Endorsements setting page. If you are not already a Google+ user, you will be asked to upgrade your account.
  3. To allow people to see your name and photo in shared endorsements appearing in ads, check the box next to “Based upon my activity, Google may show my name and profile photo in shared endorsements that appear in ads.” Then, click the “Save” button to save your new setting.
  4. If you’d like to disable this setting, just uncheck the box and click “Save.” Remember, unchecking the box means that Google won’t be able to share your recommendations with your friends in some cases where they might otherwise see and benefit from them.

Copyright Google 2013

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From DC-topia to Salty Lake City

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Living in DC was some of the most fun I had ever had. Unlike most people that live there whom I actually hang out with… aside from my shorter, less-white, name’s sake; I enjoyed going to the museums and visiting the art galleries. I did so often. With that being said, I loved the night-life– I love dancing, music, socializing, etc. But I don’t like people that complain about their government jobs or contracting position, complaining about it over drinks but also squawking about how much they make and where they live what they drive, blah blah. I gladly told people that I was unemployed when the question came “what do you do?” I was unemployed, living in a great spot and LOVE gloating about it (even though secretly I didn’t feel like it was something I should be gloating about). My cultural pursuits in the district may have warranted my being there in of themselves– in simple reference to art galleries collection of art from the last century.

The story of us leaving for Salt Lake City is really a story of hopes for a new beginning. Christopher and I had been living in the Newport west on 14th and Rhode Island Ave NW in the District of Columbia. Those who know the corner know that there is a Caribou coffee right around the corner and a Whole Foods Market behind it. While we were sufficiently comfortable there, I spent a meager allowance that allowed me to live sufficiently and looked for paltry work in the meantime.

First: without getting any deeper into how I was really living, let me say that I look fondly back at this time in the district. I was waking up to Christopher lying next to me, heap fulls of clothes scattered throughout the room, because it just would not do for either one of us to get dressed into an outfit (for an outing that might only last an hour), and be happily satisfied with what we were wearing. From the clothes Christopher might pick from pick from my discontentedly-scattered and tempest-tossed wardrobe while I might pick from the odd shirt that a third party (living temporarily in the next room). I felt justified in doing so because he often picked from my wardrobe too. Those who know this system will label it in some form as the “gay bartering system.” Either way, with so much going for both Christopher and I, we paid these little indiscretions no mind. Although it should go without me mentioning, that we wanted the temporary roommate out. In fact, we wanted him out so badly that we partook in extreme theatrics in order to enact this desire into a reality.

This third party I will call Millhouse. Without being outwardly cruel myself, I will say that one fellow I know described Millhouse as being a real-life Arthur the Aardvark, on account of his particular skin-shade, shape of his head and the glasses he wore. All superficiality aside, we wanted rid of Millhouse because he treated our place of residence as though he were a house-boy, which two guys in their mid-twenties without doubt, do not need. Especially, one looking like Arthur the Aardvark. Just barely touching on what we were go through in order to get rid of this lad, I recall one night Christopher and I entering the apartment, –without the need of any alcohol at all– being caught in some inconsequential argument. However, upon hearing the argument as it was–as Christopher and I bantered and entered the apartment–it could have seemed quite serious. With little more than a phrase whispered between both Christopher, we escalated “the argument” and added references to give it meaning to the common eavesdropper (or unfortunate persons in the neighboring room –or adjacent apartments for that matter). Then push comes to shove, one ventured unto insult and drinking glass goes smashing on the floor accompanied by shouting (my touch). At that moment smiles have crept onto both of our faces and we are trying to keep those smiles from sounding off in the discourse of the “argument.” Performing very well under pressure, broken glass under foot, and real emotion understood to houseboy, we conclude our “argument” and exit the apartment in a dramatic fashion only suiting for such a ridiculous farce–giving us a means to relieve the laughter that has been building up inside of us.

So as you can see, our lives in the District were not completely without merits for staying or going. Pressure was building in my mind about the financial feasibility of our situation and I was of the believe that if something was not done the longevity of Christopher and I might suffer the more for our lack of foresight and action.

However, it seems that fate always has a plan in store, whether or not the parties involved in that plan were ready for it. As it turned out come April, Christopher and I were being evicted in the most clandestine way possible. No notice at the door, our exorbitantly expensive rent was being paid on time, nor any mail from the courts. I had the inkling that my mail was being intercepted when I checked it upon arrival one day, returned it to my mailbox and re-entered the building only to fetch mail that was no longer there. Strange? I agree.

Let me first say that I was renting a sub-leased apartment– on the chance taken that I was certain it would not be allowed and if discovered would only serve to see me kicked out. Well without too many details this saw itself into fruition. Should I mentioned that I was packed and ready to go, with everything in the truck by 3:30 PM, when Federal Marshals bang down your door to see you out of your dwelling-unit? Well both Christopher and I were ready and we had train-tickets to see our personal effects and our persons on the train to Salt Lake City the following day. I hope that the aardvark living there had ample time to get his stuff and get out. I am not a particularly vengeful person, but seeing as he was the primary cause for getting us booted, I thought it quite sporting of me to give him a good four-hour head-start before the marshals were scheduled to arrive.

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In Suspense ~ No Blackfish Banter ~

Publishing tonight: The Conclusions Concerning the Collisions & Terrible Trigger Tirade

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Living on Hopes Gambles & Rambles

Coming Up:  The Conclusion of the Rollover Accident

Also, the dilapidation of the Trigger House and what ill manners, distasteful habits and somewhat awesome company it was!

Take a peak at the kitchen:

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Amidst the Wreckage

Immediately after an extremely traumatizing and traumatic event, there is a discernible change in one’s thought process.  What was once important takes a back-seat to those that are important, but are often taken for granted.  More immediately still, are the thoughts that flooded my thinking.  While I was concerned with those things that I took for granted, I often give the appearance of being a cold and distant person.  It gave Christopher a cause for pause and made me have to think about being slightly more aware of how I was reacting in reference to the people around me.

One of my many flaws is the way I emote around others.  In a very old-fashioned brand of thinking, I am of the idea that public portrayal of emotion– or even non-public portrayal, let it be to friends, family, whomever– should be avoided at all costs.  This is because letting people know what you are feeling can be an insight into one’s weaknesses, making one vulnerable to the scheming of others.  Now, I would hate to be a pessimist and represent the belief that people are generally bad.  When it comes to question of whether or not people are good or bad, I have two strongly held convictions, one for which I quote Morgan Freeman.

“There are no perfect men in the world, only perfect intentions”

The second is concerning desire and want:  “One should always be aware of the negative his negative feelings.”

When dealing with people, particularly people whom are not well-known to me as well as those that are well-known to me, I never have these general ideas far from my thoughts.  I do this in an attempt to both be pragmatic and be flexible in my understanding of others and what they may want, as well as aware that everyone is in search of something for themselves, and not always through honorable means.  Without being on the defensive, I have always reflected a certain cautiousness coupled with an  undimmed and exceedingly sociable, charming, and likable character.  Those that know me might agree that when it comes to getting to know me, I can often be an alluring and intriguing conversationalist that piques the interest of those around me.  In my opinion, this can be mainly attributed to my vast set of curiosity-driven interests, an extremely good memory, and general fun-loving attitude.

However, in-turn those that have gotten to know me, also know that my self-directed opinions can be somewhat dark, macabre, and uncertain.  Not only that, but I often lack any kind of authentic emotions and can appear to be very vacant and devoid of real emotions concerning others around me.   When it came to the accident, this was no different and I seemed to have escaped inwards.  Christopher had told me that he wanted to run to me, hug me and hold each-other.  He had been severely traumatized by the rollover.

I am not sure to what I can attribute my lack of fear when it came to the whole incident, I can without any hesitation say that I was somewhat unaffected.  Even disturbingly unaffected as someone has relayed to me.

The vehicle had done an aerial in the air, after having struck the beginning of the guard-rail while traveling sideways.  I remember feeling the sensation of not being in contact with the road, weightlessness, and fear of the impending impact, after which the truck had rolled another two or three times before settling up-side-down.  my real fear had occurred when, calling out for both Rob and Pookie and hearing nothing but the still, quiet, cold.  Even hearing the sleet on the underside of the vehicle had an ominous kind of ring to it. I noticed how discomforting the loss of the hum of the engine was in its absence and the fact that I heard no one calling back at me for those first few instances was what I really feared.  There is nothing that can describe the dread and terror I felt welling up inside of me– the same terror that I felt when finding my Nathan those four years ago.  Since that moment I had never thought there was ever a time when such helplessness and dread would find themselves back into my life.  Even today, I cannot bring myself to thinking back to both this moment and that of finding Nathan without suppressing tears.  This time I was only scared of what I might discover not what I was going to discover.

In turn, the sudden elation I felt when I heard movement and the voices of both Christopher and Rob, echoing in return of my shouts was no bit short of the most amazing thing I could imagine experiencing.  Therefore when Christopher sought a bit of reassurance in me that we were alright, and a display of affection regarding that sentiment, it was not easy for me to show how satisfied I was.

We could have been seriously hurt or even killed but we weren’t

It was as simple as that for me and the fear of it all had very little lasting effect.  I’ve even joked about it.  It seems to me that I may lead a charmed life, albeit a jaded one.  Often, in wondering if there is a God, I feel that he is full of jokes and the cruelest ones are at my expense, but there is an irony in thinking God’s jokes as cruel because they would often display an equally kind side to his sense of humor.

Diane, who had seen the whole accident was a woman sent as a favor by the fates themselves.  I cannot explain her presence, with all that it offered and all she did for us, but she was the representative for a league of angels sent to earth.  As the aftermath of the accident unfolded, she waited patiently, wanted to make sure that we were OK.  Patiently waiting, she allowed us time to process what we could of the whole situation.  One by one we were checked out by nurses.  During that time i remember hearing that there were multiple accidents not a couple miles in either directions that had just occurred.  Not noticing the cold, we salvaged what we could from the mangled wreckage of the truck as Diane insisted we fit it into her car.

Looking back, I sadly remember having to leave certain items behind.  Many of which I have particular and fond memories involving this stuff.  While it was mostly clothes and jackets, I had kept them for myself after Nathan’s passing, a great many of the clothes that I have were his.  It was there on the side of the highway only miles past the Dalles,  amidst twisted metal, snow and ice that I left them.  From that place we were taken by way of Diane’s kindness and were brought to Portland. With weather far temperate than that from which we came.  The dreary, misty, foggy weather seemed to be somewhat warmer and temperate that I could ever remember.

Once in Portland, Diane insisted that we all stay at her house.  In light of the accident, she broke out a bottle of whiskey and we all served up shots to our good health and our survival of the journey through the treacherous conditions. Shots of whiskey!  Glad to be alive I shared in the merriment and good intentions for which the shots were brought out.  But I am partially of the belief that any kind of traumatic event should not be followed by drink or drugs.  Either way, the quickly down alcohol went well with hot tea afterward and put me right to sleep.  It was not until the following morning that the reality of what had occurred that night would set in, or the pain of it all.

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(I haven’t survived some of this without a little help)