I know I said in last year’s post that 2019 was going to be my biggest year yet, and while it was indeed the biggest year ever, 2020 will be even better. Just like last year, I’ve outlined my goals below to make 2020, The Year of the Gagnon.
Today, I was gobsmacked with a wave of nostalgia. I went to a new restaurant for my office’s lunch run, Belcampo, on 3rd Street in LA, and it was there (in the Verve coffee shop next door) where I spent many a day typing away at my creative endeavors. Whether the focus was My Cancer Story, a screenplay, or the then-numerous blog posts (yeah, sorry about that), I spent my free time (of which I had ample supply then) ticking away at my form of expression. On November 8th, it will have been three years since I moved into my first apartment here, the temporary room rental on Blackburn Ave.
This apartment was a surrealist breeding ground. Who knew that Travis and I could keep an apartment together? It was refreshing to have a roommate that did their share of cleaning, dishes, and trash removal. He even got the mail– without prompt! And we used to be at each other’s throats constantly!
Our friends, of both the former roommates and neighbor varieties, would also frequent our apartment. I remember one night, Shawn and I had been drinking a lot and I had seen Derek (the mutual friend that landlord, Trevor, and I shared) walk up our driveway. I thought it best to moon Derek as an innocent goof. Our windows were terrible at retaining any heat and were to be replaced soon; thus, I felt the cold exterior of the elements from outside upon my bare ass.
Veronica and I continued to flirt at the hospital after that night of dancing. We often made dirty jokes directed towards each other, and I could tell there was something there.
I was apprehensive at first for two reasons: she had a son, and I didn’t know if I was ready to deal with that responsibility (or if I was able to), and she was overweight. I knew how I used to be when I was obese as a teen (and technically now), and yet, I didn’t know if that meant that all overweight people were lazy, but I was trying to steer clear of that lifestyle. It was bad enough that I would occasionally smoke weed.
Veronica had actually come over during one of our apartment’s most egregious parties where Travis’ girlfriend ended up lying naked in front of the bathroom (and literally everyone else). Veronica and I continued to flirt then finally, after several mixed drinks, we went upstairs and hooked up.
This particular apartment was filled with many unsavory moments but also featured some of the best in entertainment; from the first time I watched Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny or the original Indiana Jones trilogy or finally giving football a chance. But nothing was more epic in terms of amusing memories than the long-awaited release of Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
Our friend, Mike (who worked with us at EMMC and lived next door) would constantly come over and play Melee in anticipation of the newest game in the series. We had become fast friends, and he was one of the biggest reasons why I began to enjoy football.
My Smash Bros. fervor reached a point where I had mapped out the route to the mall to reach Gamestop in the fastest time possible during the game’s midnight release. Luckily, most of that planning had already been completed due to my mad dash for a Wii preorder.
Over the next few months, I felt that Tonya had been acting differently. I couldn’t explain why and when I asked her if she was okay, she would be quick to give me the answer I was looking for. “Yeah, I’m fine.” I was confused for I knew she wasn’t fine.
Meanwhile – back up north – MBNA was preparing to close. In June of 2005, Bank of America bought the credit card giant, causing the entire branch to fear the worst; that they would be out of their jobs. The company reassured them that they wouldn’t do such a thing and our immediate managers surmised that since Bank of America didn’t have an outward telemarketing arm that we would be safe in our profession.
Clearly, it was just a matter of time (and assessment) until the branch was shut down. In fact, not only did the company buyer shut some of the offices, but all of them. The Fort Kent center was consistently one of the top branches in the country, but even stellar numbers couldn’t save us.
It was difficult for me to live so far away from “Tonya.” I had finally found a steady girlfriend and she was three hours away. My mind tinkered with ways in which we could spend more time together. I decided to use some of my time off for Christmas from MBNA so I could go down for more than just the weekend.
Taking time off from MBNA was actually rather easy to do. Since it was an outbound call center, all you had to do was to work the twenty hours that you’re required by front-loading the week with longer days. They would always advise against it, however, because it would affect your “numbers.” But I never cared about that; I sucked at selling credit cards anyway.
The distance also made me wonder what life would be like if I continued on with my plan to go to the University of Maine at Orono (the O.G. UMaine) and finish my schooling down there. It certainly would be nice to get out of town sooner rather than later and I could be closer to Tonya.
My path was set. I was ready to make films professionally and my tools to do so were falling into place. The money from the Sunshine Foundation finally came through (a cool grand) and I used it in tandem with my credit card to fund my very own laptop.
I stuck with Dell and decked it out with state-of-the-art processing power and the best graphics card and storage money can buy (in 2005). All in all, the impressive laptop cost me around twenty-five hundred dollars.
Yet, I still felt like I was missing something even as my desired career was well underway. I had spent the past two years being comforted with the fact that I remained in the vicinity of my family and friends, but I had spent the past twenty years without a single relationship.
Sure, I’d had some little childhood flings as many kids are wont to do, such as my girlfriend, Jenn, in second grade or my other girlfriend, Danielle – of one day – also in second grade, but I never had a true relationship.
Ever since my battle with cancer, memories were something that I was compelled to create in abundance. Those memories didn’t need to be tied intrinsically to monumental moments in my life but also derived from simple things such as melodies and quiet nights at home. This next memory, however, involved an event of middling proportions: the departure from my very first home rental… and return to living with my parents.
As it turns out, the plates did indeed still belong to the Cadillac. For whatever reason, Dad hadn’t changed them over. He did have the insurance though, so I knew I could at least contest that. But what about that stupid “transportation?” Ugh, this sucked more than anything has ever sucked before.
Instead of worrying about the impending court hearing, I tried to focus my attention on more pressing matters– My first classes of college, my camerawork, staying warm, and our upcoming Halloween Party.