Friday, May 04, 2007

Graduation Time or Casual Friday?

Graduation time is here, but not for me...

Had I been a good student and son and stayed in school, graduation time would be approaching me pretty quickly now. I would've already put in a couple years of hard work mixed with a lot of hard college partying weekends out in the Valley. My artistic prowess would be at an all-time greatness and my upcoming Bachelor's Degree in graphic design would be a welcome thought in my mind.

My years of working part-time for crap pay would eventually pay off as I entered into the world of the working force. With my newly acquired certification of knowledge I'd most likely try to get in with an advertising giant in LA, or perhaps travel to New York and hit up the Big City with the same intention. Obviously within years I would've been an experienced young 27-year-old with more ambition than money, but more experience than that guy who never went to college.

I can't really see far past that.

As it turned out in reality, I put in a semester of shitty schoolwork (except for English, which I dominated) and another half semester of falling asleep, both at home in bed and at school. I don't think I really want to remember my college life because it sucked so bad. I've always been a friendly, affable person who knows that he's capable of being the best at anything he does. This never happened for me in college.

Instead of sticking around my high-school town and going to the community college for a couple years with all the friends I had made, I left and headed for the San Fernando Valley in search of a closer living situation with my highschool sweetheart. I figured that if I had her and a place to sleep, I could conquer schooling and lead a fulfilling life. And oh how fucking wrong I was.

I was okay at first, but obviously the college experience started kicking in and Becca decided that she needed more out of college then just a boyfriend and her friends. She needed partying, alcohol, sex, drugs, and all the other fun stuff that would've been better without a solid relationship behind her.

Of course there's no blame to place, as most people experience this when they go to college. Freshman year is a crazy time, and whatever you experience in high school is multiplied by as many times as there are stars in the sky. She went her way with it, I went into a black hole.

I started to spend more hours working part-time than I did actually attending school, and had all of about four friends in my new hometown. My living situation was unbearable, and I felt like I wanted to get the hell out most nights. My driver's license had been suspended thanks to a bunch of sophomoric driving on my part during the summer prior to college, so I had no way to leave when I wanted to.

Basically, my college experience was rotten, except for poker. This was the time I started to play poker. I wanted to get away, and when I had people who were lookin to always go to the closest indian casino that accepted 18-20 year-olds you bet your ass I was goin with them. I started playin home games and a tiny bit of SnGs online to get my fix from time to time. I read a lot and even had some contact with a few professionals who had some words for me in regards to becoming a professional poker player.

It was poker playing that would eventually lead me to a better place. When I met Joe, he was introduced to me as a "poker-playing" boyfriend of one my closest friends from CSUN. We started playing together, he started playing our home game, and we started headin up to the nearest casinos to play for days at a day without sleep. We both totally immersed ourselves in the game.

I ended up getting a job offer with tremendous "potential" in Santa Barbara, where Joe and a pretty cool group of his friends were also attending UCSB. With a car now under me at this point and the nearest casino with a 14-table poker room being twenty-five minutes away instead of the previous hour and a half, along with the fact that I would be able to eat, sleep, and breathe poker, the decision was pretty clear-cut in my mind.

I ended up packing my stuff up almost immediately, and took a one-week grace period to stop going to CSUN altogether and to crash in Santa Barbara until I had to start work. That one week ended in a four-day poker bender, where Joe and I played cards to four days straight without showering or sleeping. We didn't leave the poker room other than to eat and shit, with one exception of a four-hour nap in the car on the fourth morning. Without a doubt we smelled like shit, but we were winning and having the time of our lives.

That was the last time I'd ever really feel like a true poker player. I started working, first in the warehouse like everyone else, where'd I'd stay making $10 an hour for a year. I eventually got bumped up into my position six months ago making $39k a year with promised promotions and raises. My first raise came to me last week.

So as I sit here typing this in the office with no hesitation or worries of being hounded by strict bosses, and as I sit here with a comfortable living and a settled mind knowing that the promises by the Man are coming to, I can't really grasp what I think about the whole thing.

I could have been in school this whole time, slacking and barely getting by on procrastination and laziness, only to TRY to get a job at a big agency upon graduation. But I didn't do any of that, I took the job. Now I'm here working a 9-5'er with salary, raises, lax rules, and boss who's willing to pay for me to go to school if and when I ever feel like it, in a town that's as beautiful as any you've ever seen.

For now it feels like a great plan, but will it really make me happy in the end? I suppose only time will tell...

Until next time.

No comments: