#25 In Roads-School boy

Today I decide to try a different approach and commit to not starting off by asking for a photo. Instead I will concentrate on getting to know someone first. Brian is an enthusiastic, energetic 30-year old apartment dweller who works half an hour north of his downtown digs. He laughs about his one motorcycling experience but  says he would forfeit his masculinity if he shared details, though he did say he suffered no broken bones in the experience.

As a Sacramento State student who has already earned a degree in communications, he’s working towards being a civil engineer and I wonder what he intends to do with his degree after graduation. “I wanna build my own house,” he tells me. I snicker and call him on the statement since he can do that without the degree. “Well, yeah, ok, you’re right. I could be a contractor, yes.” Then he winks. “Ok, I guess if you want to know what I’m really working for, you’d have to be family. And you’re not.” Then he wanders off to tend his customers. The next time we get his undivided attention he shares that his entire family is accomplished, he is the baby and he wants to do them proud so he continues his education. Meanwhile, he makes a great living at his four-day-a-week job. He has a sister but his 36-year old brother is his hero.

“He used to be a Marine but really, but you know, once a Marine always a Marine. He’s an excellent artist. Watching my brother draw is like watching a 9-year old. He gets so much joy from his art. It’s really cool.” He beams when he talks about his brother, though he doesn’t share much about his sister. I ask if he has a girlfriend and he says yes, but with a lack-luster attitude so I ask for details. He seems lost.

“You know, I think she works at like, Ross or something. It’s over there somewhere.” He waves towards the mall and I commence teasing. Really? He doesn’t know were she works? “Nope, I don’t,” he shrugs. When I ask what classes she’s taking he again throws his hands up in confusion. “I dunno what she’s studying for. Dance or something maybe, who knows?” He finally admits that they’ve only been seeing each other for three months and they don’t live together. It’s new but he does consider her his girlfriend. I suggest that maybe he needs to start paying attention to details and tell him it’s pretty hard to build a house on shifting sand. He points out again that I am not family, even though he says I already know more than most of his clan does about him. Then he patiently poses for pictures, but never asks why.


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