Dead, Hopefully

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It was late January and as I drove my Honda along the long, dark highway, all I could think about was the all-encompassing death I was heading towards faster and faster every day. My career was in the toilet, my love-life was on its way to its death, my hope was dead, and worst of all, my ambitions were dead-and-gone. Death had swallowed my life whole, and now it was simply spitting out the bones one by one, leading me into the dark alleyways of despair. I breathed- in…out…in…out- the simple task of breathing seeming somehow more difficult than living another day on this earth.

Lost, desperate, lonely, and hopeless, I drove on through the night, a lone pair of headlights illuminating the suffocating darkness.

What was it that they used to say back in Catholic school?

“When God closes a door, he opens a window.”

What a load of bullshit. When God closes a door, he fucking slams it as hard as he can in your fucking face.

Career: unemployed; spouse: none, twice divorced; kids: none; life: DEAD. The only thing I had to show for twenty-seven long fucking years of life was my old shitty-ass Civic, Marge, as I called her. Marge was my one true companion; she seemed to love me no matter what.

I was driving on the highway towards… well… towards the end, wherever that was. I was finding my new life at the other end of a long, winding highway- how fucking euphemistically cliché. Bitter, that’s how Aunt Lois used to describe me, bitter, resentful, nasty, and her favorite one, fucked-up. I was as far removed from the fucking bitch as I could get; I moved across the country just to finally evade her grasp. Lois was a poised, elegant woman when she wanted to be, but Lois didn’t often want that.

Marge purred along as my mind wandered aimlessly through the dark.

Back in Illinois, I had always believed that it would work out, that I would make it big and never come back to this God-forsaken hellhole. My whole life had been like that, always running away from something. First it was my family, primarily Aunt Lois, and then it was my first marriage, and now, it was my entire God-damned life. Running…

Cities appeared and then flashed by, my destination was unknown, but I was sure that none of this was it. I was ready for death now, nothing could stop me. Happiness had left me. You know what they say; when life gives you lemons- fucking give up. Well, life gave me a whole fucking lemon grove, and guess what, I fucking gave up.

I hated Lois for who she had become, a crotchety, selfish, old cunt who did nothing but bitch all day long. Thank God her poor husband Lester had died so at least he was in a better place now- hopefully a very quiet, peaceful one. I had spent enough years of my life with Lois to realize that death was better than having to put up with that old bat.

I was close now, the road was about to end, one more path ending abruptly in death. Mine was just one life, would it really matter? I longed for death, for only in death was the pain gone, were the voices silenced, was the anguish extinguished.

But death was too fair, suffering was much more realistic. And so I suffered. And I still suffer, and I’m alive. I guess that’s good, being alive. I wouldn’t know if death is any better since I’ve never reached it.

I guess it’s safe to say that the road never ended that night- who knows when it will end. Life’s a bitch as they say, and you know what, so am I. I’m a fucking bitch, and that’s ok, there are lots of us out there.

I hope death is a little less unfortunate, that’s what I fucking hope. Oh well…

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Love Is… A Life Story

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Love knows no boundaries. Love is limitless. It is undiscriminatory. Love is unconditional and blind in its stark equality. Love is both indefinable and definite.

For all that love is, it remains as an underlying context as well as an all too familiar companion in life. But with its numerous virtues aside, love is painful, bitter, and heartbreaking. Love strengthens our resilience while in turn silencing our pride, humbling our very being, and squelching our quasicomfortable facade. We are in love, we are out of it, but the line between the two is existentially undefined as well as inexorably finite. We feel each experience with clarity, we know the journey of life is ephemeral and stern, and we contrive our self-esteem and self-sufficiency every day in preparation for love; but in all reality, not a single one of us isn’t blind-sided by the sheer intensity, the rancor, and the turmoil caused by love and its repercussions.

We cover our pain and sorrows in the scarves, the clothes, the cars, the handbags, the shoes, the alcohol, the makeup, and the hairstyles, but deeply recessed within the impenetrable layers of concealers, we still experience vivid sentiments of hatred, anguish, vengeance, suffering, and most of all, heartbreak.

Love never withers; nor does it succumb to vagrant dormancy. It is seldom forgotten. Love as coincident with passion flames vivaciously in fury. Love is raucous, it is undeserving, it is timid, it is venomous, it is pretentious, it is stubborn, and it is ignorant, but it is paramount to existence. A life without love is purposeless, cruel, and discontent. But incidentally, a life with love seems just as discordant and spiteful.

But, we live onward; we love onward. We try to forget; we try to remember; we try to live and laugh and love as best we can. Failure isn’t an option in love and so succeeding becomes the solitary alternative as necessitated by our aspirations for our lives. Our fate is indeterminate and our love is similarly unstipulated, but we live each day hoping the next one will be the day we fall in love. We are imprudent with love, but we are reasonable in our decision to keep trying, to keep hoping, to keep living, because tomorrow could be filled with love, and only time will tell what the future holds.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Scotland, The Cutest Place on Earth

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When I arrived two days ago in Edinburgh, Scotland, cute was not the original word I would have used to describe it. Dirty, loud, foreign, these are closer to what I said when I first started walking around the foggy streets. But my thoughts on this place have changed. Scotland is actually pretty adorable. Between the incredible cathedrals and museums, the gorgeous gardens and parks, and the cute Scottish boys, Scotland is cute in the best way possible.

Since the reason that I’m on this trip is that my dad is leading it as a Study Abroad program for the University of Colorado, yesterday we went off in pairs to explore, discover, and get lost in (literally) Edinburgh and Scottish culture. And what I found was that each part of the city was different, incredible and full of beauty in its own unique way. The people were different, the food was different, even the building were very different. And it’s all pretty much gorgeous.

Toady we went off to explore again, this time with specific aims to find out more about a certain piece of Scottish culture. My group went off first to the Scott Monument, a statue and surrounding tower paying tribute to the great author, Sir Walter Scott. Next, we went to the National Portrait Gallery of Scotland, which houses all the portraits of the Scottish Royalty, as well as paintings and photographs of Scottish history, sports, authors, and artists. And last, we went off to the National Gallery of Scotland, which has a collection of other Scottish artwork, landscapes, portraits, and even impressionist paintings. All were beautiful, although one can only look at some many royal portraits before they want to run away screaming. Through the art, we learned not only about the people within the art, but also the painters, the history, and the countless stories told through each and every piece. The thing about being here in Scotland is that every piece of this place, every building and every street has meaning. Every person in each of the paintings was important in Scottish history and helped to make it the country it is today.

But to me at least, the real value of Scotland is that it’s not only historically and culturally relevant, but it also houses a level of beauty and aesthetic importance that brings in the many thousands each year. Scotland’s “cuteness” lies in its ability to captivate and inspire people. It lies in the mountains and glens of the highlands, and in each and every churchyard. Each park that I walk through every day houses a new beauty and “cuteness.” Each person (especially the boys) that I meet here is adorably cute in there own inevitable and very Scottish way.

As I was walking through one of the courtyards of a church today, I saw an adorable boy, apparently on holiday to Scotland. The churchyard was quiet and solemn, so was I, so was the boy. But there were was a hidden exuberance and lovely peacefulness between all of us. There was a shared charm , a living existence, and it was beautiful. That’s why I love Scotland, because its real, because its honest, because it’s cute!

Love, Ethan Brown Jones

Destination: Scotland

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As I blog to you today, I sit, looking out the window of my hostel, at the quiet streets of Edinburgh. The past few days and even the past few hours have been anything but quiet. I awoke only a little over a day ago, and began frantically cleaning and packing, preparing any last minute things the I could for the upcoming trip. By noon, we were almost ready, and by 12:20, we were off leaving my beautiful dog Sophie behind. First came the easy part, the car ride down to the bus and then the hour-long bus ride to the airport. Next came the irritating piece, security and boarding. And then the mundane segment, the first flight from Denver to Minneapolis.

Soon, but not soon enough, we were on the ground in Minneapolis, running from one plane to the next, just in time. Here’s where it got fun! The flight was on one of the huge international jets with fancy bathrooms, comfy seats, blankets and pillows, and of course, great food. I was actually starting to get excited and lose the worry at this point. I snuggled in, and after eight hours, two meals, and little sleep, we were finally on the ground in Amsterdam. The airport was beautiful, with fresh smoothy shops, cheese, a museum, a lounge, and even a library. Because of the lack of sleep and the comfy surroundings, the library served as a perfect place for us to rest up and recuperate.

By the time we got on the next flight, we were too tired to even think. I just slumped down in my seat and listened to music while dozing for the entire flight. And then we were there, in Edinburgh! When we exited the airport I almost was a little disappointed by the surroundings, bare grass fields and small buildings. But as soon as the bus hit the edge of town, that all changed.

There were cute little houses arranged with rose gardens and cobblestone driveways out front. And then we saw the castles and the churches and the enormous towering old apartment buildings. When we got off the bus, it was just a short walk up to the hotel. Inside we found the modest, but homey apartment we would be staying in for the next three weeks. The bedrooms were simple, with some artwork and fairly large closets. The living room, dining room, and kitchen were nicer with couches, more art, a couple of tables, a sink, an oven, and even a clothes washer. Overall, the apartment was livable, if in somewhat disrepair. Going out to dinner, we decided to go to a pub, but when we arrived, it turns out that the over-18 rule was strictly enforced, so we headed on to a pizza, burger, and kebab place and got lamb kebab and chips, and felafel. The food was good, and the view of the rain-soaked evening streets was even better. After dinner we walked around for a while, wandering through block after block of restaurants, bars, and apartments.

By the end of the day, we were incredibly tired, and I feel asleep blogging and writing. First impressions: wow, beautiful buildings, beautiful setting, sexy-ass boys. Life is good.

Love, Ethan Brown Jones