Sunday, May 13, 2007

Introduction - Better late than never

Or, who is this clown, anyway?

My name is Nathan Jolly, which you can see by my profile. I used to post on message boards as Dark Reality; before that, Dark Reality was going to be my pseudonym and I was going to write medieval fiction (fantasy, but I prefer the other term). And why not? Stephen King was Richard Bachman and Dean Koontz was Leigh Nichols. Why does a pseudonym have to be an actual name? It was more of a screen name, a web handle, but I wasn't online then - I've been Dark Reality since 1992, and most, if not all, uses of it not by me were either inspired by me (as I'd like to believe) or purely coincidental.

I was born and raised in beautiful Santa Rosa, California. Wine country, though I don't drink the stuff. I'd always been a loner. I kept to myself, listened to a lot of music, watched a lot of movies, read a lot of books, played a lot of video games. My severe asthma kept me from doing a lot of physical activities, although, I confess it was as much an excuse as a bona fide reason. I got into computers, although never professionally, purely as a hobby.

In July 2002 I joined the official message board for the rock band Disturbed (who I met in 2003), where I met Jennifer. I posted there as (you guessed it) Dark Reality, and she was Silent Jo (and still is, on their current board). We started out as friends, and became closer. Following a fallout with the fan club (based on gossip and misunderstanding) I started my own message board and made Jennifer a co-administrator. The board thrived for the first year or so but ended up dwindling down to a few members. That board closed in 2006, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

In July of 2003 (still on the Disturbed board) Jen suggested I come visit her for my 24th birthday. I brought it up with my mother, who immediately shot down the idea. After all, Jen was living in Washington, NC, about 3,200 miles from Santa Rosa. But it was my decision not to go. We were only just friends then, and it was a wild idea. But by July of 2004, we were much closer. We were an online couple then, and she was very much in love with me. She bought my plane ticket. When I brought it up with my mother, she told me "not this again". I told her that I wasn't asking this time - I was telling her. (Yes, I lived with my mother - until I was almost 25. But I paid a very generous amount for rent and spent a lot of money helping my mother live comfortably.)

I didn't fall in love with Jen when I visited on my 25th birthday. It wasn't until I had to leave, a week later, that I realized that for the first time in my life, I was in love. It felt wrong going back to California. When I heard that she was getting a week off for Christmas, I bought her plane tickets that night. She flew out and met my family. Most of them, anyway. During that visit, Jen decided she would move in with me. She told her mother and sister via email, and they were upset but understanding. After she left, we decided I would visit NC one last time. No one gave me a hard time about taking their daughter or sister or aunt or sister-in-law away; rather, they were all very kind to me. It was on that visit in May 2005 that I decided that instead, I would move to North Carolina. I had more material posessions, but she had family she was closer to - and she had her own place. When I told my mother, she wasn't surprised (much) and wished me the best.

In September 2005, I packed everything I owned that I could carry into my 1987 Acura Legend, and with a nomadic/hippie friend of the family, I set off on the road trip of a lifetime. I took local highways to California's I-5, which runs north-south down the middle of the state. From there I took a detour around Los Angeles (that hell hole) to I-40. I vowed to get out of California the first night. We stayed in Kingman, Arizona, just over the border. Semi-coincidentally, we stayed in Santa Rosa, New Mexico the second night. On Wednesday, we went through some tornados in Texas, but made it safely to my aunt's house near Dallas/Ft. Worth. We intended to stay Thursday night in Memphis or Nashville, TN, but ended up driving all night. We entered North Carolina on I-40 around 11:00 AM on Friday, and made it to Jen's place between Chocowinity and Grimesland, NC, around 10:00PM. We'd gotten lost in Nashville, TN; in Raleigh, NC (damn that beltline); and in Greenville, NC.

My travel companion stayed with us for about a week. I would have bought him a plane ticket, but he preferred land; specifically, a bus. I bought his Greyhound ticket and we saw him off by the end of the month.

Just three months later, Jen, her sister and sister's boyfriend, and their two sons and I travelled (in that same Acura) up to Connecticut to meet their grandmother and other family members. But the car died in Maryland, not far from the Delaware line. I had to get towed to a service station, which was not far away, but they didn't open for another 6 hours. In the rain, nearly broke, with no ring and her family members miserable, I asked Jen to marry me. I had been planning to ask at a restaurant. Then in her grandmother's house, in the bedroom she grew up in. I asked where and when I did because I realized at that point that we can't plan our life all the time, that some things just happen - but that my love for her was a constant, and I told her how I felt. She accepted.

We were married on July 7, 2006, three years after I first asked her out, in Washington, NC, with her family and friends present. My family was not excluded, however. We both had cell phones with a good speakerphone. With one phone we called my mother's house, who in turn put us on speakerphone. With the other phone we called my favorite cousin, 4 hours away from my mother's place. So my family got to listen in, and they said they got to hear OK. We honeymooned in Knoxville and Gatlinburg, TN. We went to a muscle car museum (her idea!), a Ripley's Believe it or Not! museum, and ate at Gatlinburg's Hard Rock Cafe.

We both work full-time. Our jobs are not glamorous; in fact they're just below average. But they pay the bills, and we are both fairly good at what we do. We are going places, however. We're working on building our credit now. In a couple years I'm going to buy a car or small truck (my credit's much better than hers), replace her car we affectionately call Chuggy with my Acura (which is still going great)... and hopefully by the time we're 35 we'll own our own home. Either a double-wide trailer or a modular home in a land/home package. I want a place in the country with nice scenery but still with access to city water and cable (for the Internet).

So, that's me. Now, read on - I aspire to post at least one rambling of this caliber or greater every day, plus some. I'll review movies I watch, albums I listen to, books I read. I'll talk about my life, I'll talk about Jennifer, about computers, about driving - things which interest me. And if I'm in the right mood, I may even risk offending my audience with talk of politics or religion. You will find, however, that despite some strong opinions, I'm actually a pretty casual guy.

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