Adrian is the Traveler
The ancient Greeks made point of honoring the traveler. Important destinations include stops with those who have influenced you as well as the physical places. These writings are a combination of what people have written about me and things important to me and things i have written about other people and influences.
Adrian is my formal name. It's a name which needs no explaining (unlike Pax or Paxus), it is a common enough name. I can introduce myself to anyone as Adrian Calta and the conversation flows onto the next topic. I had used my previous middle name to distinguish myself from my father w/ who i share the same first name, so i was used this type of arrangement. But Adrian has its own history.
It is the name of an incredible person who's full name is Raman Adrian Montinaro. Ram and i met in college. He was driven by his quests for love, for a workable philosophy of life, for friendship. At one point he described it to me as a "Unified Field Theory* of Life" (an appropriate twisting of Einstiens final and unsuccessful quest).
He was a better than A average student in physics after two years. He was physically attractive, athletic, theatrical and funny. People were naturally drawn to him. His father had studied mime under Marcel Marceau and Ram had learned some of the routines which he would launch into spontaneously, to his audiences delight.
At the end of his sophomore year Ram wanted to drop out, he was succeeding in things he did not particularly want to be doing and he was not finding the things he was looking for. He was socially and academically successful, but he was "only studying physics because I'm good at it, not because it means anything to me." He sought my advice, i was a couple of years older and had obtained illusions of similar success (i was a pretty marginal student in reality). I put on my sage hat, went thru it with him and for the first time in my life recommended a course off the safe conventional path. "Drop out", i said, "It isn't here for you now, go travel and try to find it without the distractions of school, your good enough so that they will always take you back later." He did not return for his Junior year. Instead he went to Conn., spent some time around Weslian, got into into co-counciling* and thus in touch with his feelings. He visited me in my fifth and final year at University. He looked and said he was happier, he had learned how to cry, was working thru some difficult stuff from his past, but he still had not found "it" yet.
Six months later, just after my graduation, i called him up and said "It's time to go to California", he said "Great". Ram, Amanda and i hopped on a Green Tortoise underground bus (which does this wild NYC to SF trip) and the adventure began.
This was actually supposed to begin my first around the world trip, but that's another story. We arrived in Berkeley and rented an apartment right next to the corner of Telegraph and Durant Ave's. For people not familiar with this area, it is right in the heart of student living for U of CA, and is filled with a busy collection professional staff, students and street people - it's a bit of a zoo. We watched in amazement the show of Berkeley in the summer.
After renting the apartment we were broke. Amanda got a job as a secretary at Bank of America and supported us all for a while. Eventually, i got a job with an oil company and Ram did some work as a model for a life drawing class in San Francisco.
But Ram was enjoying the atmosphere of Berkeley, it looked like it might hold some 'answer' for him. At one point he sat on the corner Durant and Telegraph for four hours, just talking to who ever talked to him.
Then one day at the Powell Street BART station in SF coming home from a life drawing class, Ram was approached by a friendly guy with intense eyes. We got a call saying he was going camping for the weekend. "Enjoy" we said and thought nothing of it. We got another call three days later, "I'm going to LA for a week" he said. "Hey, what's up? We miss you."
"Well, it's kind of a retreat"
"With who?" i was curious.
"A group called called Creative Community". i repeated the name and Amanda screamed, "That's the moonies tell him to get away from them!" I was in an ignorant panic.
"I know who they are, I'm just going to check out their situation in LA, I'll be back in a week, I promise" he said and was off the phone shortly.
We got a letter two months later saying he had become a Moonie and was sorry he had not gotten in touch earlier, and that it was the right thing for him. We had tried to get in touch with him at a number he gave us in LA, but we never got thru to him with dozens of calls. We had even considered trying to hunt him down, but the Unification Church is professional at hiding people and we were amateurs at best at trying to find them.
It was an emotional knock out for me, it was like a friend had been killed, only worse - his spirit had been assassinated. A year and a half later, Ram came to visit to pick up an expensive racing bike he had left behind. We sat on the back porch at Amanda's and my Mission District apartment in San Francisco and argued. For two hours Ram gave us the Unification Churches anti-communist line. It was Rev. Moon's version of the Evil Empire story and Ram was now a soldier of God going to college campuses with CARP (another Moonie front group) recruiting new members and getting donations. We told him the bike had been stolen, we could not stomach the cost Rev. Moon had already been to us, we certainly weren't going to support him any further. So my middle name is his middle name, a living memorial to a great friend and spirit lost in the quest for identity.
The name Zakarya also hails from an inspiring friend, who's name happens to be Adrian. I met Adrian Gras just before i was to start High School, he was a couple of years older and we used to play the board game Risk! at his house with the MIT students who lived there. Adrian's leprechaun appearance was accented by an angular mustache and beard combined with Rasputant's steel gray eyes.
Adrian decided that instead of going to High School he would sail around the world. So for four years while i was doing homework and living at home he was globe troting and having some delicious adventure. Our mail to him was mostly lost and the rest chased him around the globe for as long as two years.
And then he came back. We struck up our friendship again, though we were both quite different. He did not flaunt his experiences, but you could tell under his modesty they had profoundly effected him. They had sailed in the romantic way, with little money, stopping in many ports because they had to work to provision and repair. Most cruisers just order the broken part from however many thousands of miles they have to. When you can't afford these extravagances, you figure out how to fix it yourself using the minimal local talent, or you do without. Having completed this type of journey your self- confidence is shifted. If you can find work in Zanzibar, you'll never starve in Ohio.
I always comforted my comparisons of our lifestyles with the value of the education i had received, having bought the line that it was the necessary stepping stone to the good life. Then Adrian took the Massachusettes HS equivalency exam and scored nearly perfectly on it. Some part of my belief set was shattered. I began to wonder if the base assumption of "go to school, go to University, get a good job, marry, breed, become wealthy, retire, die" was really the path to chase - it seemed like there were more interesting alternatives. I resolved to chase at least some of them, there is no going back now.