I completed the short train ride without further incident, then headed to the courthouse to meet up with one of my newest, unknown Facebook friends, J. He'd sent me a message after seeing an interview I did 34 days earlier on a Denver news station, so it just seemed right to pay him a visit now that I was back around. And it worked out well for me. J got delayed a bit doing Deputy DA types of things, so I spent a good part of the afternoon watching a carjacking trial in courtroom 5D. While it was a far cry from watching my favorite judge, Judy, it was not a bad way at all to kill a couple of hours.
J finally got away from work for a bit, so he took me out for eggs and fruit and filled me in on the seedy underbelly of the pot game in Denver. I got a pretty good size kick out of the conversation, the food, the whole thing really. It's really neat to me that a former stranger was willing to reach out to me, to share with me some of his time, money, and good vibes, and to give me the I-know-the-Deputy-DA type of confidence that is necessary to blow by the ticket kiosk and hop on the southbound train.
J, a woman who was a couple years ahead of me in Tinytown High School nearly twenty years ago, shared with me her family and suburban home, specifically the futon area. There were many, many things that I liked about my overnighter with them. I ate some peaches, experienced beer elitism, got freaked out over a killer mouse, tripped over a loose piece of their walkway, and laughed at the way the kids called me Mr. Mikel in the morning. I arrived at their home quite late the previous evening, so since the kids were already in bed, I thought it just made sense to start grilling them with super personal questions. I sometimes wonder if my Facebook friends tire of me attempting to delve into things that may not be my business, but on this occasion, it at least seemed that they were open to it.
During the rapid fire barrage of questions, it became apparent that J, like me, and like many other Facebook friends that I've met with along my journey, has some non-lukewarm thoughts about her time in Tinytown. I've been particularly interested lately in hearing other's feeling on growing up and leaving the small town lifestyle, as it has helped me work through my "conflicted relationship with the place where [I] grew up." So hearing J's two cents and perspective was both interesting and helpful. It made me feel a bit more normal and a bit less freaky, a bit more okay with not understanding why I can feel both joy and dread when going back to Tinytown. Further, it made me feel a bit more connected, probably both to J and to all of those I grew up with back in Tinytown. And I think that's a good thing because, after all, isn't that why I'm out here doing what I'm doing?