An email from Kazakhkstan leads to coffee in Newport

Tom at Kéan Coffee

Saw Tom today, for the first time in more than 20 years. I went to high school with him and I think saw him once after that. In the meantime he’s had a few careers and is currently fully employed saving the world. This is a damned good thing in that the world is in need of saving and Tom is both smart and on the side of the angels.

I tried to explain some of the more recent features of our locale including Mortgage Bro ‘n’ Ho Culture, the Vanguard Nice Christian Kid Death Star Attack, and the deadly affluenza of drugs and alcohol among the Kids These Days. Not sure if I was sufficiently descriptive.

I went away with the happy feeling of having reconnected, some good stories from both of us, and a sticker that says COALITION CONVOY / STAY BACK 50 METERS / DEADLY FORCE IS AUTHORIZED in English and Arabic. I think that is going to go on the laptop. I’ll leave the rest of the storytelling to him, if he chooses to tell the stories.

On the way over there I was listening to Indie 103 (which I’m liking more and more) and it was Steve Jones’ show. It was a crazy reunion show at that because Jonesy had John Lydon on the show and they were bullshitting and laughing about the Sex Pistols days. Best quote was from Lydon: “And we were very confused, as one ought to be.”

Anyway they wrapped up the show as I was driving from the shrink’s office to meet Tom at Kéan. Just as I drove past my alma mater, all decorated with happy cheerleader girls doing the splits, the radio spat out “God Save the Queen” and I realized that this was something like my 25th anniversary of driving past that high school blasting that song on my car radio.

As Tom said, “that still works.”

19 thoughts on “An email from Kazakhkstan leads to coffee in Newport

  1. also an eye comment
    Which is that, judging by this picture, you and Tom have in common the eyes that are filled with warmth and understanding and intelligence and humor and also a little meltiness. I noticed that at Peet’s the other day. The meltiness, I mean. Your eyes have it.

    1. Re: also an eye comment
      Agreed. I thought the same thing seeing Mr. Tom. I don’t think I know many people with blue eyes anymore… perhaps that’s the solution.

  2. HOLY CATS!
    It reminds me of a Jimmy Buffett lyric: “I had to search my memory as I looked into those eyes… our lives changed like the weather, but a legend never dies…” Last Mango in Paris
    mojo sends

  3. I really like this photograph, and it makes me happy to hear you talking about reconnecting with someone meaningful to you and having it go so well.

  4. Holy Guacamole

    Yep:
         That's him, all right.
         I still remember him volunteering to "take the fall" when
    we ran the mythical Mitch Kramer for ASB vice-president since
    he was gonna be spending the next year out of the country
    anyway...
                         Mike
      1. Re: now more than ever

        Of course:
             The problem with Mitch is that he needs
        a running mate--his campaign slogan, stolen
        the old Pogo comic strip, was "Who cares
        who's for president; who's for vice?"  
             Though I wonder if that would work given
        the current climate in Washington...
             Now that I think on the whole affair, it
        seems to me that our own  was one
        of the ring-masters, too.
                   Mike Again
      2. Re: now more than ever
        I didn’t get in trouble over that one, even though I was responsible for a good chunk of the evil.
        I think Mitch’s VP was to be some kind of shadowy figure, menacing and unnamed. Like Dick Cheney but cooler.

      3. Re: now more than ever

        Evil?
             Why, it was merely youthful
        high-spirits, was it not?
             I've been trying to recall who
        all was involved outside our regular
        group--you and Tom and Mojo and both
        the Dans and all--and for some reason,
        I'm recalling a tall, thin fellow
        named Ted Drayton who let us use his
        student ID number...
                 That Continuing Mike Guy
      4. Re: now more than ever
        I’d forgotten about this. I wasn’t involved, but I remember hearing about it from you at the time. I still think this is one of our group’s more inspired bits of brilliance. I’m happy to be reminded of it now.

  5. Yeah, that was a very worthwhile – even inspiring – cup of coffee.
    The Mitch Kramer campaign was a political innovation decades ahead of his (our?) time of which I continue to be proud. I still use the name when i need a disposable user id. I don’t think I had a choice about taking the fall. I had a NHHS student ID in Mitch’s name with my picture but as I remember we couldn’t bring ourselves to spend the $12 or so to get the little orange ASB sticker so used Ted Drayton’s (a name I would not have been able to drag from memory), who got identified and fingered me and I got pulled out of Mr. Shira’s German class by some Vice-Principal (Mr. Dominic?) and warned that falsifying a school ID was a fedral crime and I could be sent to jail. Who knows what would happen now. My parents were – understandably – somewhat baffled by the purpose and meaning of the whole incident.
    Nice to re-connect. I’ve probably devoted more emotional energy to forgetting about high school than remembering it, but its worth being reminded of the things that are worth saving and that still work.
    Tom

    1. If anyone would like to hear the tale… I actually have a pretty clear recollection of this, including how it all fell apart… (It is one of my two really clear memories of high school.)
      My clearest memory, of course, was Tom, Me, and one other person (Tim O’Brien?) walking out of Dominic’s office with his admonition not to ever do anything like this again, and Tom saying with something of a sly smirk “Ok… until next time…” just loud enough for him hear.
      mojo sends

      1. i said that?
        how astonishingly confident and cool. I don’t remember that at all, but I don’t think I’ve ever been impressed with my teenage self before. That coffee at Kean with Conrad (apologies for all alliteration) just keeps on leading down interesting memory paths.

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