Archive for the “Asa Jay” Category

It’s all about me, myself, and I.

For nearly 15 years it was the one thing I took care of the most. I treated it like it was the most valuable thing I had (which it was). I cherished it, I cared for it; I made sure it was the one thing in my life that would last. The next 10 years however, I hardly ever touched it. Today I’m reminded of the terrible things that can happen due to neglect over time.

I’m speaking of my 1971 Mach I Mustang. In 1986 it was pretty much “done” with new bodywork, paint, new engine and transmission, was all cleaned up, and became my every day driver. I would wash it and wax it on weekends. I would enter it in car shows, sometimes taking home a trophy.

No it wasn’t a show car, nearly but not quite. There were still small details I’d never bothered with, like the interior door panels or concourse correct things. It was my baby, specially modified in just the right areas to be -my- ride, personalized to -me- and nobody else. For years upon years I continued to take care of her.

Even when I moved into a new house, the first thing I did was make sure I had a garage to keep her in. The everyday driving habits tapered off after 10 years and found me driving a 1987 Jeep Cherokee Sport. She (the Mach I) lay silently in the garage, waiting for her turn to come again. Eventually it did, as I would still try to make a car show here and there or take her out for just a drive. But then one day the engine started making expensive noises, so she got parked until I could rebuild an engine for her.

In 2001 she got that new engine. A fresh rebuild I had done myself. New everything and even some special go-fast parts to make her purr. Once again she was a live horse in my stable ready to ride anytime I was ready. Sadly, she became an outdoor horse not long after that because I now owned a 1973 DeTomaso Pantera.
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This is a delayed post. I originally wrote this on a plane in August of this year. I’m just now getting around to editing and posting it.

It’s 2011, I’m 47. Where did the time go? Mentally I still feel like that testosterone filled young man of my 20’s; looking to fast cars and gorgeous women. Physically I feel like I’m in my 30’s. In reality, I’m married with a son who turned eight this year. I think the angst has changed.

Sometime after 16, when I got my first car and it opened more of the world to me, there was so much I wanted to do. I needed money and I needed to figure out how to be “smooth” with the ladies. I never really developed either one at that age. Does any kid? Instead I trekked along a long series of years that found me fawning over very few women and always trying to figure out the next step in finding good work to make money to take girls out. It found me working jobs that didn’t much seem like they had a future and I wasn’t very much sure where I wanted to go.

The one thing that brought stability to my younger years was being in the Washington Air National Guard. There was a commitment there, a one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer kind of commitment. It gave me some education, a place to be and people to know. It helped me build relationships and find jobs. It never really helped me find love though, that had to wait.

I still didn’t have a full time civilian job, and without one, I just never felt like I could support a wife, much less kids, and at the time I never really wanted kids. The angst was how to find a woman, how to date, how to make it to third base and what to do when it came time to hit a home run. The quest for a woman gave me angst. And oh what an angst it was.

My angst was driven by the lust for beautiful women; the desire for companionship from someone who cared for me, was gorgeous to behold and generally could satisfy my desires and whom I could satisfy in return. Even so, long ago my dad had impressed upon me the chivalry I should carry into my relationships. As I look back, I know it held me back some. My fathers words to me still ring true today, he said I should never do or say anything to a girl (woman) I wouldn’t want some man doing or saying to my little sister. Yea, -that- stuck in my head because I was protective of my little sister. It helped me treat the opposite sex with a bit more respect, and it sometimes kept them at arms length.

It was no wonder I really didn’t take my quest more seriously until after my sister was married. After that it just felt better as I tried to gain the confidence of the women I dated. Still, the angst was there. Some of that angst can be found in the poety and short stories I wrote in my younger days; things I’ve not done for years and sometimes wonder if I ever will again. I no longer have that same angst that drove the emotions and writing of my younger days.

Eventually I met a women and we saw the value of loving each other. We dated for about two years and finally got married. It’s like the quest was over, the dragon had been slain. The angst disappeared. I don’t wish to make it sound like marriage has subdued me, because I do have a loving wife and we enjoy many things together and separately. I still like fast cars, car shows, and other things. It’s just that now I share those things with my son and wife. Still the angst seems to be gone. I’m not pining after the affections of a girl anymore, because I have my wife now. Without that old angst I don’t seem to have that same lustful creativity I once had. It’s like marriage killed it, but I must it’s more than that. Perhaps it’s only suppressed, waiting in the wings for something to trigger it all again.

I now have a good job and a stable income (thank the Lord). I have a wife who takes care of me and a son who loves me. It’s like life is complete, yet sometimes there’s this empty hole. I think my angst fits in there, but it’s missing and it took a lot of my old creativity with it.

Have you seen it?

Asa Jay

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Our family sat down to watch the recent Veggie-Tales cartoon “It’s a Meaningful Life.” In it there was an interesting little quote:

“For every regrettable there’s a hypothetical.”

Wow. It brought back memories of a singular event the likes of which I’ve not really been faced with again. This movie gave an illustration of what could have been if the main character hadn’t had fate get in his way. In this story, the choice wasn’t so much his, but bound to circumstances beyond his control. The life he could have had if it hadn’t been for the unforeseen accident was not as desirable in the end. But again, the thing that changed the course for him was out of his control. The thing that changed mine? Well, let’s say the choice was fully within my control.

A decision I made at that moment, led me down a different path. I have to look at my life as it is now and be content. I -am- content. Sure, I strive for more, to do more, to keep my family fed, housed, clothed, with some change to spare for fun times. In a related thought, it occurs to me I try to keep myself as busy as possible in order to forget. Had I made that -other- choice, some 23 years ago, where would I be today?

Would I be in the same position I am now? Would I have this wonderful house we built? Would I be married to a woman who cares for me so much? Would I have the same job? Would I be facing the challenges I find with Sam and his conditions?

I don’t know. I just -don’t- know, and I never will. Why? Because we can’t construct an alternate future. The reality of what could have been will never be known, it can’t be. There is no such thing as time travel, unless you count the constant forward movement. There is no going back. Seems regrettable.

I’ve often wondered what would have happened. I often dream of what it would have been like. Even today there is constant mystery surrounding the big “what if.” I sometimes think this pain in my heart wouldn’t be there, but then I try to remind myself that it’s that pain that helps define who I am. I try to think how different it might be, but then I tell myself it could have been far worse; things could have unfolded much differently than what I daydream. I could in all fairness be less than who I am today.

Still the pain is there and though I try to tell myself I have no regrets, I lie. There is one. It’s only one and it shall haunt me the rest of my life. I’ve written of it before but it’s doubtful you’ll find it. I sometimes go months without it haunting me, and perhaps it’s not fair to say it haunts me anymore. I’ve faced it and overcome it, but the regret still hides deep in my heart and rears it’s head every once in a while.

It’s but a dream now, a shadow cast upon the dim recesses of my mind. Barely there, persistent and nearly transparent. And it’s things like this quote from the movie tonight that cause it to alight in my thoughts. The melancholy grows sweet again, I taste it and allow it to ferment the memories. Once more I shall drink of it’s reminder of things I could have done had I performed the other thought of two, yet without knowing where it would lead or how it would have left me, today.

With that drink, a spark occurs that tells me it’s the mystery of it all that burns in my blood and shall never be quenched. For it is in the mystery we are all drawn, to know what ends shall come: who did it, why, when and where. But this mystery is one without end, a book that was never written, an ending that will never be known. All because, of a different, choice.

Asa Jay

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Change can be hard, and I’ll be the first to admit I resist change. When it comes to work, I get very comfortable in a job, sometimes too comfortable. Sometimes it’s time for change, sometimes because I’ve done what needed to be done and it’s time to find a new challenge, to move up in the corporate world, to force myself out of my comfort zone for a little while in order to make progress. Today, that change happened.

I have worked with Itron, Inc. for nearly 14 years. I had a year away from the company as I pursued other advancement opportunities but was able to come back when that didn’t pan out. Initially I worked in engineering as a technician. I had past experience in electronic production with Hewlett Packard and the step to a technician was the professional advancement I needed at the time.

As a technician I worked with electrical, mechanical and software engineers. I was exposed to sales and marketing, production and many other functions in between. During my time as a technician, I discovered I really didn’t want to be an engineer, I wanted to be a manager. I wanted to lead. This is what led me to completing my Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management at Whitworth University.

Currently, I work in Customer Service with Itron. Upon my return I wasn’t able to get back into engineering, but that turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to me. My manager and I have had many conversations, one of which illustrates how the company is held up by three things, like three legs of a stool: Engineering which builds the products, Marketing and Sales which sell the products, and Customer Service which provides a conduit for customer feedback as well as help with products. I had engineering background and now over the last three years I had gained customer service background. My next logical step was into the marketing area.
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I’ve recently completed my third class at Whitworth.  This time it was “The Sociology of Middle Eastern Society.”  Our instructor was very knowledgeable and simply crammed information into our heads on a non-stop basis for the entire course.  The tests were comprehensive and depending on how much a person studied, could be found to be difficult.  In my case, I felt I wasn’t doing too bad and I hoped to get a “B” when it was all over.  By the end of the course, I managed to pull an “A.”  With this one out of the way and the fall class schedule coming out, I’ve had to do some thinking about changing plans, more on that later.
With my last class out of the way, I’ve entered into my next class, or rather set of classes.  The accelerated program I am in doesn’t leave much room to be taking two classes at the same time; however, in this case I am taking one full three-credit class and another small fill in for one credit.  My primary class is “The Life and Teaching of Jesus” and my minor one credit class is “Problem Solving and Decision Making using Microsoft Excel.”

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Copyright 2014, Asa Jay Laughton