Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Reno Education

I previously mixed a post about Information Society with one about driving to win back the girl. I'm finally going to end that story. I was in my first apartment, a little heartbreak with a girl that ran off to school in Reno to her boyfriend after I drove off to try to change her mind in Arizona (my first solo road trip.) I had then sold my car, lost my job and had a flood in the apartment which damaged all my furniture and anything near the floor -- forcing me to move somewhere else or pay damages to the management company. The story continues...

After a few calls, I had reconnected with M.B. (names abbreviated to protect the unaware) and she planned to stop back in Vegas during her break. She had dismissed the boyfriend and wanted me in her life. I had just recovered from some financial issues. I was living with Mom and had been saving money that I was making at a steak house (they had the best cream of chicken soup.) I had also purchased a nice used 1988 Toyota pickup. M.B. was heading back to Reno for classes and I was really tempted to follow her. I did. Well, at first it was a short stay during her birthday. But in the back of my head, I knew that I'd be up there soon. I saved a few thousand dollars and found out from M.B. that my former roommate/co-worker D.G. was heading up there for school also. So we wound up loading his things in the truck as well as mine for the drive north.

It was spring and cooler than Vegas. M.B. and I decided that I needed a place as her parents would probably yank her college funding if a guy was living with her. D.G. already had a place that he was going to stay. I went for what I could, a small little trailer that someone was renting a room out of. I gave him my deposit and had remorse about the deal later, giving up the deposit. I made a deal with D.G. to split rent and would sleep on the sofa bed.

This worked well for awhile. D.G. worked for the photo company we both did in Vegas at the Reno location. I held down a few part-time jobs (K-Mart dock worker, change person at Fitzgeralds, valet person at a downtown hotel and runner/detailer at a rent-a-car company.) Dad was nice enough to help me with tuition for my first classes. D.G. was going to UNR with M.B. while I went down the road to TMCC. We split the bills evenly and had some good times. I tried to give M.B. a little room to study as she had quite a workload at that time.

Things started going bad when D.G. stopped working. After going through his bank account, he sold some rare coins left to him and made calls to his parents for money when needed. Needless to say, things started getting lopsided. He had more free time with some bills getting paid late while I was working and going to classes. In one of my dumbest moves ever, I agreed when he said, "They are going to shut off the phone and power. Why don't we put them in your name instead so we can keep them on?" Heck, we did that with the apartment too. D.G.'s car was uninsured and unregistered now while parked in front of our apartment.

Things weren't going so well with M.B. I was busy and some classes had ended so she had some free time. She and Dave would go off for walks near the botanical park. I chalked that up to him needing someone to talk to as he was financially falling apart and probably not going to be able to continue school. He obviously wasn't going to tell me that himself. It was shortly after that M.B. and I had a little talk about where things were between us and ended it.

I was still working and had only a few months left to finish my classes. Sure, my reason for being in Reno was lost but I knew that I could still accomplish my goal. I just wasn't as aware of how bad D.G.'s financial situation was getting (no work, no income...) I had several of the same friends as M.B. and D.G. up there. L and L were very good friends of mine that worked with her at our former job and lived not too far away. I'd see them every week or so. Her roommate K.R. graduated with me (as did D.G.) and shared a lot of musical interests notably Depeche Mode. She and another girl that I remembered from school had a few friends that they'd get together here and there.

I was over at a birthday party with those friends when K.R. came in and needed to talk. Essentially, she walked into the house and heard the bath running and figured that M.B. was home early. Then she heard a second voice... D.G.'s. Many things went through my head. Of course, I was disturbed by this but heck D.G. had a lot of free time and I didn't. By the time I got back to the apartment (M.B. and K.R. lived in the same complex), M.B. wanted to talk. That was the last thing that I wanted to do. Of course she was worried about D.G. I made that pretty easy as I moved out after finding a place that I could pay weekly.

The last time that I would see D.G. was on my drive back to Vegas. He needed a ride. I never discussed the topic during the hours in the car. It was between M.B. and myself. Sure, my respect had slowly diminished for him (monetary) and disappeared after the other incident. Years later, I left a letter at his parents house just to let him know that all is well. I never heard from either of them again. Knowing they are alive and well would be nice.

But I learned a lot in Reno. Life lessons. You can't run from your problems and have to own them. Trust is earned and can be destroyed easily. I accrued a lot of debt and bad credit. You didn't think that the rent, power or phone were paid after I left, did you? I remember trying to purchase a house several years later and finding a laundry list of debts that needed to be paid. I'm better off for it as getting the house at that time would have been a mistake. Anyhow, I don't hold myself blameless for Reno and my relationships at the time. I'm sure that I had to have done or not done something to lead to some of these issues. I do think that this is probably one of those reasons that I think going to college out-of-state can be a good chance to learn about yourself.

Otherwise, Reno was a beautiful city. Oddly enough, Las Vegas started building a 215 years later and it reminded me of McCarran which is a street that circles Reno. It made a lot of sense there. Ice on the roads freaked me out a little. I'm a warm climate person. When I smell pine, I still think of nearby Incline Village.

7 comments:

BeckEye said...

Those good ol' life lessons...certainly hard to take when they're happening, but really invaluable to the growing up process. I've had more than my share!

Lucy Stern said...

Wow Martin, that is quite a story.. WE do learn "life lessons" the hard way many times. Actually we are better persons if we learn from the experience.

Teri said...

Just when I think I kinda know you, I learn a lot more. I agree going off to college is a good thing. I really hope Josh will do it as it will help him grow up. What a life lesson you learned, I am glad you are back in Vegas though. (cough, not Boulder City) hehehehe

Molie said...

It says a good deal about your character that you are still willing to help out friend in need despite having been screwed over a couple of times doing so.

Life lessons, we don't ever stop learning them do we? They help shape us into the people we are today and for the majority of us that's a good thing.

LoraLoo said...

Life lessons are truly never ending, as others have said already. You learned quite a few there but I'm glad none of it jaded you, only taught you those valuable (yet painful) lessons.

Oh the things we do when we're that young!

Ken said...

I agree with you - about the best thing a kid can do is go away to school. They will a lot about themselves. Some kids aren't ready for it, but when you learn that Mom and Dad won't always be there to bail you out and you need to solve problems on your own, it's a good lesson. That, and every kid really should try and spend a semester studying abroad if they can afford it. Take the time when you are young to see some of the world...

David Amulet said...

Never been to Reno. Not sure I'm too enticed ...

-- david