I never really wrote anything about Buddy because he was never really that large an influence on my life.
I met Buddy through Loki and we worked together on the CompuServe contract at Stream. We car-pooled a few times because our schedules lined up. I don’t remember why Buddy wasn’t driving himself; it was either that his car had broken down or he was having trouble with night-vision. For some reason, I want to lean more towards the latter.
Buddy was the youngest person in the US diagnosed with glaucoma. I remember pointing out to him that James Joyce had referred to the disease as “the morning star”—an allusion to both its refractive qualities on lights as well as a demonic level of frustration.
Loki used to tease me, “Don’t you want to date Buddy?” And I would say, “No”. It turned out (as it was reviled later) this was some sort of test on Loki’s part. He would also ask if I wanted to date Tony/Pat/Greg/Dave. Loki had an incident in the past involving a girlfriend and JM, or as the boys referred to her “the evil one”, had used Buddy to hurt Loki. It was an unfortunate incident and I doubt either got over it fully.
When we first met, I was still working at BookStop. Somer got me the position at Stream and I started working the customer service end of the CompuServe contract. I’ll admit, I started working billing and customer service because I didn’t score well enough on the entrance exam to start in a technical position. It didn’t take long before I was doing technical work, however. I’ve prided myself on an ability to learn quickly and as my skills on the phone increased, so did my paycheck.
I was still living at the Roach Motel, so any time spent away from home was worth it. I had moved away from Dan’s Lakewood Café and started hanging out at the Denny’s on Skillman and LBJ. This was where the “tribe without women” hung out and so if I wanted to be around them, this was where it was going to happen.
Loki used to tease Buddy about his eyes, to a point. “Eye blows up, eye blows up, car blows up, eye blows up, job blows up, TV blows up, eye blows up,” was a basic mantra recounting the last few years of Buddy’s life. I felt sorry for him and the stories he used to tell about his childhood made me try to make things a little easier. I tried introducing him to people who’s company I found valuable and took him to see a showing of the Butoh dancers at McFarlin auditorium once. (Looking back, I should have taken Kris—she would have gotten more out of it.)
I was interested in Loki and Buddy was interested in me. I knew it and decided to remove myself from the situation—things between Loki and I weren’t ever going to work out and I wasn’t interested in Buddy. We stopped carpooling and I returned to Dan’s Lakewood Café. Later that year, I was moved to different Stream location to work a technical contract. I saw Buddy there with Gavin and we went out for lunch a couple times, but none of us worked the same contract, so our contact was rather limited.
I dated Zach, I broke up with Zach, I moved, my car tried to kill me, a dated a 19-year-old for two weeks, I broke it off with him, I hung out with Donovan, I started dating Phil.
Phil and Dart had known each other for Forever and were old “hunting” buddies. They’d go to the church and see what was what, then meet up later for coffee and story-swap.
Buddy and Dart had started hanging out, and then started dating. I had met Phil a few weeks before Buddy and Dart moved into their new apartment on Preston and Beltline. This was about the same time that Phil and I moved to Garland with Dave.
Later, Phil and I started working at Software Spectrum—-Dart had handed our resumes in--and it looked like everyone who was still in town from the Stream days was working at Spectrum.
Buddy’s eyesight had been degrading slowly. We’d go out for lunch and Dart would stir the sugar in his tea for him. It was distressing. When a man in a towel walks into the living room and asks where his underwear is this time, you really have to wonder what is going on in that relationship.
Dart had started to gain weight. Her life was settling down and she was settling into it. At one point, her old car bit it and they bought a new one. I remember that Phil had advised against the purchase of that particular vehicle, but they did it anyway. Or I should say, Dart did it anyway. Buddy’s sight was getting progressively worse and the issue had been compounded by a botched laser surgery where they did the wrong eye. I would have sued, but they were told that because the Spectrum HMO had paid for it and the laser surgery was experimental for glaucoma, a malpractice suit was out of the question. I couldn’t believe that they didn’t put up more of a fight on the issue, but there it stands.
I’ll admit it, I never really liked Dart. This might be because I felt mildly threatened by her the first time I met her (everyone fawns attention on her and she doesn’t open her mouth). This may be true for that time of my life, but later it was the fact that she did open her mouth. I had asked about how to spell “myelin” and this started a discussion about nerves and synapses and Dart said, “Cats have no synapses; that’s why their reflexes are so fast.”
Who told you that, that you thought you should repeat it?
Phil left Spectrum and went on to ASD, I left Spectrum and started at CompuCom, Dart left Spectrum and started at ASD, Buddy left Spectrum and started at MedHost.
Phil and I were married and we had asked Dart to be a bridesmaid. The only reason this happened was Phil wanted a saber-line and so there were going to be eight groomsmen, so I had to scrounge up eight women to be bridesmaids. I don’t know eight women at any one time. Women annoy me. I was looking for warm bodies. Hell, I had two people in that wedding I haven’t seen since!
PLUS, it was at the Canyon Club, in the Bronco Bowl, and it’s dark, and as a groomsman you have to work double time as an usher, and that’s no good when you’re blind. So that’s why Dart as a bridesmaid and Buddy wasn’t a groomsman. No conspiracy. No attempt to send messages that we don’t want you getting married. Nothing like that.
Phil had a birthday and Kris, Phil and I decided to drop that night. We thought it would be a fun way to bring in his new year. At some point, Phil wanted Dart to be there. Neither Kris or I really liked Dart, but we could civil in public, for Phil’s sake. She was his friend and if that’s who he wanted there, so be it—it was his day.
No one wanted Buddy there.
Now, I tell ya, that was the wrong way to go about it. This was happening just after Dart’s cat had attacked Tristan.
Dart and Phil both believe in the idea of polyamoury, and so when Dart and Buddy weren’t doing well, Dart found Tristan at Café New Amsterdam and hooked her up with Buddy. (“I guess I was training my replacement,” she confessed later.)
On the night in question, Tristan had found a kitten and brought it home to the Preston/Beltline apartment. Kasha, Dart’s cat, saw the kitten and chased it into the kitchen where it promptly shat itself (yay, Kasha, for making sure he was on linoleum first). Tristan tried to break up the fight and Kasha attacked Tristan—this includes biting the woman on the head. Tristan ran out onto the patio and stayed there, bleeding, until she was sure someone else was home.
So, Dart leaves Buddy with this mess and comes over to our place to trip. Not too bright. I would have made sure everyone was okay first.
Buddy calls before Dart gets there and tells Phil, “Tell her she’s loosing a boyfiend and you’re loosing a friend.” Okay…Dart gets there and tells us about the cat, says there are maybe six more months left in the relationship, and Buddy starts calling the house.
We unplug the downstairs phone because, well, it’s really bad form to talk to someone who’s upset while you’re flying.
But then the upstairs phone starts ringing, so I go up there and answer it with the stupidest thing I’ve ever said in my life:
“Everyone is tripping, everyone is happy. Please stop calling.”
I paid for this later by having to delete 36 messages off call-notes.
So, we tripped, we listened to music and watched a storm roll in, and Kris and I got in a disagreement on whether they were grass-clippings or ants, and I ate tuna-fish sandwiches, and it rained and the sun came up and we sang and we goofed off outside, and I plugged the phone back in because surely, surely he’s stopped calling.
And the phone rang and Dart talked him down.
“Breathe, breathe…I don’t hear you breathing. Calm down….”
And there’s nothing like hearing someone who’s coming down talk someone else down.
I started working at ASD, now Ascendant Solutions, and Dart and I worked together. This meant I got to hear a lot more about the relationship than I wanted to. Then one day, she turns to me and says, “I want out. How do I do this?”
I offered advice like:
I found out later, very little of this advice was followed. Dart joined the OTO son after breaking up with Buddy. She did not get the car taken care of and I have no idea what happened with the apartment, but I imagine it wasn’t good.
The breakup was a complete disaster. Dart snuck things out of the house and into her new place, then moved the big items while Buddy was at work. She picked him up, took him to dinner, and gave him the awful news.
He was livid. He stopped and screamed, he waved around his Beretta Bobcat (a handgun that will not fire without the clip, oddly enough) and bellowed, “Don’t they know I have a gun?”
At least, that’s what Dart told us had happened. I have no idea how true any of that is. Considering how tightly wound Buddy’s life had become, I imagine she fed him some awful lines about what was going on in the real world. She had such control over him and his perception of reality it was frightening. She manipulated him. He was helpless.
Kris and I felt bad about the incident. “Dart screamed first and screamed loudest.” We followed the ranting of a stupid woman and helped her screw over an old friend who had done us no harm. He would never forgive us and never see the incident as anything but us scheming to destroy him. Buddy would never forgive me for turning him down in 1996, and he would never forgive me for being associated with Phil—the man who—in regards to Dart—had been there before.
By 2001, Phil and Dart got in an argument about a few things and that was the end of that. She’d already used up her good-graces cards with me and I didn’t have any patience for her. Kris and I would pick on her if we saw her, if we interacted with her at all; we tried our best to avoid her.
Our dislike turned to straight-up shadenfrude when we heard about the arrest. Same thing when she was arrested again. When we heard that Dart hadn’t been making her car payments, had been threatened with repossession, and that Buddy had taken possession of the car, we cheered. And we cheered for Buddy. Way to go, bro. Good for you.
Years passed and Phil entered LiveJournal, then I did, and then Kris was spurred to action by a post from an old friend.
Buddy was trying to study martial arts and had a theory on ki. Kristin was infuriated because she had the “ki is power is energy” conversation with him many moons ago. It was an insult to her intelligence and an insult to time wasted. I tried to calm things between the two via LiveJournal, but then it all just pissed me off. I could see Kris’s point.
What a phenomenal waste of time.
And Buddy responded with both barrels. The past is so contorted it no longer resembles the truth. It’s so hard to tell what’s really going on there. He’s so upset. He’s so hurt. I feel sorry for him because that’s really how it was for him, now. He really sees that as how things were.
I wish him no ill will. I wish he could let go of his past and grow beyond that. Sometimes I wish I could have that friend back.
And then I wonder if it would be worth it.
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