Beer, Pity, and Tears

I have been meaning for a long time to write a tribute to Darlene Badal. I hope her friends, remaining family, and her boyfriend of so many years will find this and add to it. I don’t remember his name, but we spoke by phone when I uncannily called on the one year anniversary of her death, after not having known that she was ill or having spoken with her since 1994. Darlene.

I met Darlene at the United States Psychotronics Association Annual Convention in 1990 (I think). I always remember her graceful way of moving, and the orange blouse she wore which went so well with her skin tone. Her chestnut brown hair waved side to side when she walked and she had a way of turning her head sharply, as though not to miss something. And Darlene had these very large deep brown dreamy eyes and long, dark eyelashes. She is easily one of the oldest souls I’ve ever met. I really wondered why she was here still? I have been told that her spirit amongst her friends was wise and giving and many people who would only casually meet her would be struck as I was.

And it is for a very selfish reason, really, that I can never forget Darlene. You see, I have a way of understanding people that I come about naturally, and it takes me comparatively little time to develop a metaphor for a person as they experience themselves. Perhaps Darlene was the same. We were in a group at the USPA after lectures were concluded and the conversation was charged and flowing like high rapids on a river. I found myself speaking to the group… relating a story I think. Darlene blurted something out to me, that I’ll never forget. It was validating something I knew of myself but had never had anyone perceive of me, and yet it would be something I could perceive of someone else. I won’t repeat it here; it isn’t really important now. But, I wondered why was she both able and so quick to perceive this? I can say that Darlene is the only person to have ever understand me, the way I understand other people. She made me a birthday card later that year; she colored it with pastels and it was obvious she was deliberate in its creation. I always looked forward to seeing her at the conference. We tried to get her to go dancing with a group of us a couple of times, both in Milwaukee and in Dayton. I remember her being shy and saying something about being “too old” to go dancing. I thought that odd; she wasn’t too old.

So the Internet hit in 1994, and that was the last year I saw her before going off to Germany. And in 1995, while in Germany, I found her email address at the University. She had no idea her email address was searchable on the ‘net, and she seemed bothered that just anyone could find it. Nevertheless, it was good to “talk” to her when I was so very far away from home.

I became so busy after that year, with 2 babies soon to be born to myself and Ela, that I kept putting-off calling her when I returned from Germany. And I did not go to any more conferences. And then I finally did call… and now I have experienced why it is so important to treat every encounter with someone special as though it could be the last chance you get to create a memory with them. Thank you Darlene, and I hope that the Universe is so constructed that the memories I have of you are not the only ones I will ever have of you.

– Chad

The Gift of Feeling

Why did I wake up, a wise old man, in a young man’s body?
Why am I able to understand a greater variety of things, moreso than anyone I’ve ever met? Or could it be that I simply am overconfident?

Waking up. To be awake. Inevitably, feeling is wakefullness. Feeling… feeling anything… is better than any safety or sanity. Love – circulated between Two, is the greatest feeling, and the greatest safety, at the same time.

Understanding could simply be the ability to gauge the distance between something finite and it’s infinite… with no knowledge of what lies between. Your degree of accuracy, as judged by others… determines whether you are perceived as a bullshit artist, or genius.

As such, I know nothing, but will risk putting anything into some context or frame of reference.

In the past, I’ve not written thoughts unless I perceived them to be of value to someone who might read them. I don’t think the web needs yet more mental masturbation? Tonight, I’m seeing what happens when I care less about what and why I’m writing. We’ll see.