Trains

Every few days I’m asked to explain the differences of “home” and here. These inquiries come from friends both in the US and here. I’m sure I’ve answered the question differently every time it’s been asked, but I thought of a new one just a few minutes ago. I haven’t heard a single train whistle since I left Atlanta. I rode on several trains in Chicago (real life big trains, with engineers and everything. I tried to play it cool), and I can see the local Metro train from where I’m sitting, but I haven’t heard one in forever.

Living in Auburn, I became quite accustomed to hearing the CSX Railways trains at all hours of the day, specifically at 1:00 AM, it was strangely comforting. I loved sitting up late reading on the balcony at Edge West and hearing that “lonesome whistle” as Hank Williams called it. Late at night in my parents’ house in Atlanta you can hear both the interstate and the railroad just to the west. It’s weird but I really miss hearing those.

I like trains. One of my favorite parts of majoring in Supply Chain Management was studying trains. In my Advanced Transportation Management class we spent a whole 65 minute class  watching videos of trains and train crashes. It was awesome. I have read several books recently about trains including Jack London’s The Road. 

I certainly miss tacos, burritos, barbecue, tasty beer, my family and friends back home, but those were to be expected. I’m surprised by the fact that I noticed that it’s 1:20 AM and I can sit on the balcony and hear literally every other sound except for a freight train.

I could wax poetic about the connection of travel with a route set into the ground, or progress moving forward, or the dying of the old ways, or a deep longing for a nomadic lifestyle, or something. I could also search for some other meaning, something spiritual and connected to my life right now, maybe a teaching point, but I won’t, at least for now.

I’ve had a lot of disjointed thoughts lately about a lot of things, and this one of them. Maybe it’ll become something some day.

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This isn’t Outback Steakhouse

View on a rare clear day
View on a rare clear day.

There are rules and everything isn’t just right.

This post is breaking some of the rules. I don’t feel bad because I wrote the rules, and I account for 25% of the people who view this thing and 90% of the total page views. Specifically this is breaking the rules where I said I wouldn’t post day to day things and I would try to present my life as it is, “warts and all”. I wanted to put in pictures because it looked really cool when my friend Jane Anne did it to her blog, but I don’t usually take pictures of mundane things and especially don’t think to take pictures of things that suck. This is stuff that’s happening in my life, but it’s not everything. I also go to class and struggle to pick up the language, I ride a scooter in the rain, I get into weird encounters with my friends where they insist that I eat a boiled chicken foot and I deal with the repercussions that come later. I’m also really bad at loving the people I live around.

Connor and I riding our scooters in front of a local establishment. They sell shoes and piggy banks. or something
Connor and I riding our scooters in front of a local establishment. They sell shoes and piggy banks. or something
A touch of Sweden
A touch of Sweden
Connor got his neck shaved in the alley while we waited for a key to be made.
Connor got his neck shaved in the alley while we waited for the guy in the background to duplicate some keys. He’s still alive.
This is beautiful, but this isn't normal
This is beautiful, but this isn’t normal
Tigers won
Tigers won
First game. First time I've not been there in approximately forever
First game. First time I’ve not been there in approximately forever
Kathleen surveys a rainy part of our city. They're all rainy
Kathleen surveys a rainy part of our city. They’re all rainy

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Getting down to business. Defeating the Huns
Here’s Tyler getting down to business. Defeating the Huns

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A normal day. All grey everything.
A normal day. All grey everything.

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A long way from home
A long way from home
Chris is 24
Chris is 24
The Mayflower
The Mayflower
Bluesmen
Bluesmen
Mid Autumn
Mid Autumn

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Jenga?
Jenga?
A bammer's toilet. It's a step up from the outhouses they're used to.
A bammer’s toilet. It’s a step up from the outhouses they’re used to.
Ginna is 1 year older than she was 1 year ago
Ginna is 1 year older than she was 1 year ago

Working Out

NOTE: This post is an adaptation to one I tried writing earlier about birthdays, burritos, working out and, community. All of those things have been going on here. It got super long and didn’t end up making a lot of sense, so I’m trying to apply the KISS method (Keep It Simple Stupid) for your reading pleasure.

For the past week I’ve been doing “Insanity” workouts with about 6 other friends. “Insanity” is a good name for it. We’ve been gathering in the parking garage that’s under our building (because it’s got enough space for us and it didn’t just rain for 18 straight days down there) and jumping up and down, running in place, doing jumping jacks, push ups and a ton of other stuff that sucks while this big man with 20 pack abs yells at us through Ben’s computer screen. The location makes me feel like I’m in Rocky or Fight Club, the activity makes me feel like I’m dying.

insanity

It sucks. I don’t like working out. I did enough of that in High School to last the rest of my life (not really, just as far as preferences go. I need to keep exercising. It’s not like I deposited workouts into the body bank and it’s been accruing interest. Someone should make a workout plan like that). I would prefer to run a few miles, but I know that I need to do more than that in order to get into shape. My obsession with high caloric craft beer and tacos joined forces with the persistent rain and my work schedule to slowly bring me to worst shape this summer. I know I need exercise, so I agreed to doing “Insanity” with some of my friends here.

Every day, right before the appointed workout time, I have the thought of “I really wish we weren’t doing this” but I remember the other people doing it with me and how much fun I have doing anything with them – including working out-, and I peel myself off of the weird fake leather couch in the living room and change into my gym clothes. I always struggle with the work out and have to take breaks even when Sean T (the instructor) doesn’t tell us to. Whenever I take more of a break than I really need or I look like I’m going to quit, someone from our little workout group encourages me back in. Sometimes this happens without any words being said, their dedication and their hard work inspires me to it too.

There’s a whole lot in the Bible that talks about encouraging each other and how men sharpen each other like iron does. I don’t know them all off the top of my head, my roommate Connor probably does, but he’s busy, so you’ll have to take my word for it. Lot’s of books have been written about these verses and I’ve always heard about the concept, but like most biblical themes, I didn’t really ‘get’ it until I experienced it. Christian community does a lot of things, but the function that I’m experiencing the most right now is the encouragement/accountability one. Intentionally (a christianese word that I try to avoid) living in a house with four other Christians, we spend a lot of time talking about how we’re doing, what we’re learning, and sometimes (but probably not enough) we talk about what we need spiritually and how to pray for each other. Paul knew what he was talking about when he used endurance running as a metaphor for the Christian life: we need others to challenge us, help us get better, encourage us when it gets hard, and even be a benchmark for improvement. So far, that has been the aspect of the community here that I have appreciated the most. When my roommates ask me what I’ve been studying in my quiet times, I get convicted by the fact that I haven’t had any quiet times this week. When I’m sleeping through my alarm and I hear the front door open and close, I realize I need to wake up, put some caffeine in my body and read my Bible. It’s great. I can’t wait to see what other ways we are able to serve each other.

Warts & All

When I was in High School I drove my older brother Jay’s white 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee. I’m not sure why I hated that car, probably because it wasn’t “mine” and wasn’t a pickup truck. I always swore I would buy a pickup as my first car and it ticked me off that I didn’t get to make that decision. – It’s worth noting that when I bought a car my sophomore year of college I bought a Ford Explorer.

Aside from not actually being mine, the Jeep wasn’t a bad car. The ignition was a little slow but once it got started it ran well, handled well except at high speeds in the rain (like all cars) and eventually had a CD player. Although Jay had a pretty cool collection of Scorpions cassettes, the car jumped up a notch in my book when he got a CD player for Christmas. The sounds that came from that CD player still stick in my mind. Whenever  I hear the first few beats of “Presidential” by Youngbloodz I’m transported to Paces Ferry Road, because whenever we would drive to Lovett lacrosse games together Jay would turn it up really loud and accelerate pretty hard up the hill. “All Around the world” by The Red Hot Chili Peppers reminds me of Howell Mill Road on the way to school in the fall of 2004.

Some of the CDs that were played with frequently were a collection of live albums by moe. called “Warts and All”. I would assume that they chose that title because they are live recordings and are done in one take, without much production, and any mess ups, screw ups, wrong notes or crowd disturbances are included on the tracks. The consumer of that album hears the band as they were on that night. Warts and all.  As far as I’m concerned that’s the first time I heard that term, and I love it. Not only because I love live music but because of what it means.

According to a search I just did 4 seconds ago on http://www.google.com, “Warts and All” is defined by phrases.org.uk as meaning “the whole thing; not concealing the less attractive parts”. Scholars maintain that it was first coined by Oliver Cromwell (he was an important dude in England a long time ago. yeah I got an A in both world histories freshman year) when he was having a portrait done of himself and he told the painter to paint him warts and all, so as to not make him look like anything other than what he actually looked like.

As I’ve been thinking about this blogging thing since starting it yesterday that’s the phrase that comes back to mind. I want this blog to paint the picture of my life, warts and all. Even if a post isn’t purely biographical, I don’t want to gloss over the ugly parts for the sake of making myself or my situation seem better than it actually is.

While I certainly won’t be  chronicling every detail of my life, I think the destructive qualities of social media/blogs/etc. comes from unfair self-comparison based on not only what’s embellished, but also what’s omitted from the post/picture/status/tweet. This is a topic I have a lot thoughts about but don’t really feel qualified to write about, but a lot of people are including this post the other day that made a lot of sense.

Warts and All is an idea that I hope will translate into other parts of my  life, not just online and in social media. I pray that the Lord will help me to have a personal honesty and humility in relationships with my roommates, friends, teachers and strangers. I hope that this develops from my knowledge of the fact that God loves me warts and all, sins and all, humanity and all.

I hope that anyone who reads this will help me with this pursuit. Whether that’s with suggestions on how to do that, accountability, or straight up telling me I’m wrong about something or doing something stupid.

-LFP

I guess this is a blog

As you can hopefully read at the top of this page, I don’t know what I’m doing with this website/blog/webpage. I mean that in as many ways as possible. I don’t know what I’m doing in owning a blog, I don’t know really know why I’m doing it, and I don’t even know where this will show up when I mash the publish button. I hope it will go on the front page. I don’t even know if that’s what it’s called.

I don’t know a lot of things anymore. Pretty much every day for the past year or two I have thought the thought of “what am doing [right now/today/tomorrow/with my life]?”. That feeling has been magnified over the past 25 days since I left home. I often feel like I’m living in the Talking Heads’ song “Once in a Lifetime”, except David Byrne would have said “you may find yourself behind the handlebars of a bright orange electric scooter” instead of “behind the wheel of a large automobile”. I don’t know how to talk to 99% of the people I interact with outside of the confines of my apartment. On top of all of that, I don’t really know how I ended up here, some 8,000 miles from “home”, but I do know that it was all God’s doing. I could never have made these plans for myself.

I really don’t know what I’m doing with a blog. Just a few days ago, I was sitting on the incredible L-shaped couch in “the potteny barn” (my friends Emily and Kathleen’s apartment) discussing the merits and downfalls of social media from a Christian point of view with some of our other friends. That might sound like a really academic- conversation especially since Emily holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the finest university in all of the land- but in reality it was just another opportunity for me to make myself sound like a jerk by making some definitive statement regarding something I don’t really know about.

I said that I would never have a blog because I don’t think I could do it and still be genuine and write from an honest place in my heart without giving into the pressure of trying to look smarter/cooler/funnier/hipper/better/holier than I actually am.

But here we are. This is a blog that was written by me, Lauritz Fraser Perrett on Saturday, September 7, 2013 from the bedroom that I share with Chris Osterlund while he is out playing basketball on campus. I am glad he’s not here right now because I would be embarrassed to tell him what I’m doing after making such a definitive statement about never doing this very thing.

I’ll make no promises about what you’ll find here. This might be the only post that ever gets published. I might post daily for a week and then not again for 3 months. Who knows? I will say that I want this to be an honest, frank, accurate portrayal of who I am. If anyone reads this, I hope that they will offer honest, frank feedback of how I’m doing with that goal.

Here we go,
Fraser