Friday, April 10, 2009
~Sitting on the lawn across from the White House, just relaxing and taking it all in.
~Library card for the Library of Congress! Terrible picture on it, though. Fuck it, who cares?
~The Capitol building is immense and truly a thing of beauty. I could stare at it for hours.
~The Metro is amazingly clean and pleasant.
~Walking around in the rain, past the Grant statue, and wishing I could share this feeling with the world.
~Everyone here is very friendly. It's staggering.
~The Coast Guard Honor Guard putting on a show at the WWII Memorial. What an awesome bit of serendipity that was.
~Bucket drummer guy. Some of the best laughs and certainly the best 20m. spent here.
~"You fucked Lumbergh?"
~Drunken Metro ride
_being CB'd by gay friends, blonde girl Ronnie squeezing some poor sleeping guy's nose shut
~giving away pins and rings
~Bohemian Rhapsody slurred and butchered by a howling group of ecstatic drunk people (myself included)
~smoking in bars
~"Ghandi kicked your ass"
~Yuengling on tap
~falling in love on the Metro
~Venture Brothers at midnight and hushed snickers, "I dare you to make less sense"
~goofing off on the Mall
~surreality and naturalism of seeing James and Chris
~knocking over potted plants in The Leadership Institute
~South Park in the Metro station, "ooooh, -naggers!"
~Thai food and Cold Stone
~"that's a pun!"
~$3.50 for a slice of pizza bigger than my head
~P-90s on the Secret Service guys
~cherry blossoms and beavers
~the perfect layout of the park & restaurants
~being hustled at pool and then being treated by the same guys to the grossest and most wretched strip club I've yet seen
~tequila shots that were way too big
~cute Chilean women
and ever-so-much more.
What a silly world.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Walking out of the Smithsonian Metro station, right outside the Department of Agriculture, an unappreciated building on the sidelines of the famous National Mall, out into the brisk wind and clear, star-filled night, there's an energy in the air that is indescribable. Not the feeling of walking up the escalator at Penn Station, seeing the towering buildings and hearing the bustle of a city constantly awake—something less tangible, something more ethereal, an energy that pulses and compels, not to move and shake and bustle but to stroll, bask, and generally stop everything but the sublime reverence of the things around you.
A couple of quick steps and the outrageously tall Washington Monument welcomes you to a place that is indulgent in its history and meaning, shameless and having no reason to feel shamed, magnificent in a scope respected and unintruded upon by presumptuous skyscrapers and tight one-way grids of pavement and activity. The W. Monument is unabashedly glowing, the bright fog lamps at its base billowing light onto the unevenly off-white obelisk.
However, it isn't until later, having taken ten minutes worth of steps, that I truly understand the grand and majestic scope of D.C. Lit gracefully and reverently are the WWII Memorial and, farther along, the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, somehow distant and mysterious, regal and filled with gravitas, and my head is spinning at the sight. My friend casually tells me to turn around, and there, a mile and hefty change away, looms the US Capitol Building, just as impressive and foreboding as the much-nearer shrines to America's immortal leaders. I feel like collapsing into an irrelevant heap on the grass and humble sidewalks of the Mall.
The enormity of D.C.'s famous and well-tread wonder is pervasive, both in the district proper and parts of Arlington, VA, just across the Potomac River, a stone's throw away from the tidal basin that leads to the abundance of standing water and available fountain-space. The district has fountains like Colorado has mountains, each more extravagant and billowing as the next, and the designers of this sacred American space left no monument un-watered.
Furthermore, there is a feeling of true American spirit all around. Not like the spread-out open plains of so-called Americana that dominates the Midwest, the corn-stalking can-do attitude of rugged individualism by-way-of working the land and getting one's hands dirty. This is the feeling of what being American means, the unadulterated spirit of America as best country in the world, the unironic edifices of American prosperity and determination, the carving out a place in history in a time that most dynastic cultures of the world often consider a footnote.
Americans feel like true Americans in D.C. There is a feeling that we're all in this together, and obvious foreigners feel that much more out-of-place, the sound of foreign languages spoken almost intrusive in the American cultural and political center of gravity. On the other hand, Americans seem to have a hand-in-hand familiarity and empathy for one another here. The district reeks of nationalistic brotherhood, a “we're all in this together” sympathy and collective consciousness. Even the Metro system, clean and pleasant but almost fascist in sensibility, is friendly and conversational, the spiritual opposite of New York's dark and dingy Subway system, where eye contact and anything more than whisper are grounds for dirty looks and distrust.
Washington invites me, the somewhat distrustful and intentionally unintrusive traveler, to act like a tourist. Rarely do I hide my camera or the gawking looks at the towering buildings, unlike Manhattan, where my eyes almost never travel above their natural horizon and my camera remains carefully hidden at all times. Washington encourages the appreciation of its spectacle, wraps its arms around you and says “it's okay” the moment a sense of self-conscious worry sets in.
All of this lends to the sharing of moments that are more personal despite their being shared. I make many comparisons to New York here because New York is the only other example I have of a major city that embodies a certain American-ness, so bear with me here. In New York, a street performance or random street-level spectacle is expected as part of the experience, and a certain distance is maintained from such events—it is simply “how New York is,” I suppose, and little thought is given to the uniqueness of the experience.
In Washington, every serendipitous and unique experience feels much more like it is serendipitous and truly unique. My friend James and I were waiting for other people who had missed the crowded and nigh-impossible to board Red Line train when we ran into a man playing buckets with table legs in spectacular fashion, a percussive tour-de-force for pocket change and errant dollar bills. The drummer, a haphazardly dressed black man in his late 40s, was personable and inviting, and at various times my friends and I got to play along with him. James even sat down and played the whole thing on his own for a spell. We all got a good laugh when I was handed one stick, and moments later a Persian gentleman with a similar lack of musical acumen found himself holding the other. We slapped out a sloppy and cacophonous mess of thumps and rattles, laughing unembarrassedly at the lousiness of it, the rest of the spectators laughing along in shared sympathy and appreciation of our dreadful performance.
This would never happen in New York, where street-level performance has a business-like feel, where performers attempt to capture the attention (and a sliver of the wallets) of a bevy of busy people, tiredly waiting for the next 6 train uptown for some reason or another. There is no “play-along” element to it, whereas in the district every performer seemed more than happy to stop for ten minutes and have a conversation with anyone willing or interested.
Then there are the moments that are strictly American, things that foreigners can really never understand, that drove me to tears of pseudo-patriotic reverence and joy. I say “pseudo-patriotic” because I am not interested in these things as symbols of “my country,” but rather part of the shared culture that makes me different from a Canadian or Briton—I may not always like “my county,” but I am distinctly American, and our culture is often just as moving and powerful as the Pyramids or Notre Dame.
One of these was the changing of the guard at the Tomb of Unknown Soldiers, a demonstration of discipline, grace, reverence, honor, dignity, and sense of meaning unlike anything I have ever seen. The 21-second increments of the guard's routine, smooth and impossible to disrupt, broken in half-hour intervals by a routine so well-choreographed and executed that we watched it twice just to see if there were any perceivable differences from one changing to the next. There were not.
On the first changing, the wreath that decorates the tomb was changed. The wreath to be placed was dedicated by a middle school in Minnesota, escorted up to the stand and placed by two young children, who (contrary to what I even thought possible) behaved with a hushed reverence and understanding and moved with a slow, measured, humble sincerity. The whole ceremony had me misty-eyed and sniffling, but the Marine playing taps after the placement of the wreath caused the big, meaty tears that had pooled atop my eyelids to let fly. For the first time in years, I proudly and honestly held my hand over my heart and felt proud to be American. Other nations have their rituals and ceremonies that elicit the same sort of pride in their cultural heritage, of course, but there is no way a non-American could feel the same feeling at this event.
Arlington National Cemetery offers this beautiful and unnaturally quiet ceremony, and just the layout and magnitude of the place tends to make one inclined to shut up and show some respect. There's one in every bunch, though, and the crowd around the JFK gravesite managed to be infuriatingly loud and boisterous from time to time. Rarely have I felt the need to hit someone based on their lack of respect for something others consider sacred (being a proud user of the word “cunt” and a member of an irreverent and often sacrilegious theatre company, myself) but this was definitely a place where general sense of decorum and decency was not forced and obligatory but simply the way of things—one does not horseplay and make “down and to the right” jokes while overlooking the great granite slab covering the resting place of one of America's most celebrated leaders.
Some people, I have really cemented after years and years of resolute suspicion, simply do not get it.
There are many more things to be said about my weekend in the District of Columbia but I simply do not have the energy to tread over them yet. The memories are all still too fresh in my mind, and the burden to document them is still overwhelmed by the urge to relive them over and over again in my mind, appreciating them constantly before their vivid color and shape become more abstract. I will get to them, I am sure, in bits and pieces over time, woven into the narrative of other musings, popping up as relevant, by then just nostalgic recollections more than pivotal memories that shape the course of my life. They will, regardless, be both—a sort of epic mark on my consciousness that will, nonetheless, begin to blend in with everything else, not unlike the scar on my belly from a surgery long-since-irrelevant but eternally present in the mirror and in photographs.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
I think my arms feel worse today than they did yesterday. This isn't right and it isn't fair, not unlike not being able to smoke indoors anywhere anymore. At least the sun is out, I have coffee, and the world isn't imploding in on itself or anything.
I have decided that, when I get back, I'm gonna stop fucking everything in sight and actually try to find someone I'd like to be with for some extended period of time. I am doing quite the opposite of pulling out the stops, because I am in fact putting most of the stops back in. This will require me, naturally, to branch outside of the circles of friends I've created. That's always fun.
It hurts to lift my coffee cup to my lips. My triceps are tightened up and belligerent. I walked down here with my jacket packed into my backpack—it got sunny and enjoyable about fifteen minutes after I left and hasn't let up since—so that I pretty much had a fifteen pound weight around my neck the whole way. That isn't so bad until extrapolated over the course of a few miles. My vertebrae are popping like crazy over here.
I had a quick chat with coffee shop girl while ordering said coffee and the bet is settled on that count. Now I suppose is the matter of the next step, the more presumptuous (regardless of how unlikely the rejection) act of actually saying “I should like to see you in a context outside of your place of employment” with any amount of sincerity and confidence. Though my confidence does seem to be coming back, it's a slow and involved process.
I am listening to Gogol Bordello and stretching out the muscles in my arms and texting James and watching the half-bevy of people strolling about past the window. I have eschewed the comfortable couches in favor of a stool and table by the window. I can see the people coming and going more easily and also have better line of sight to the counter. I may want to settle down for a bit but I think I will always be a creeper. Nothing to be done about it.
I was asked earlier if I eat, and if what I eat can be considered human food. This was in regard to my enormous coffee consumption while in here. I actually have been eating human food lately, and it has been quite nice. I told her that I do eat human food, assuming that ramen and easy mac can be considered human food. I am quickly growing to understand that it can, but only just barely. I am being spoiled simply on the count that I have protein and roughage in my diet for the first time in years.
I wish I had more clothing here. Wearing the same few shirts over and over is getting quite old. I find myself wishing, really, for just a couple different pairs of pants and maybe three or four shirts. Even still, I am coming to realize that I really do have an excessive amount of clothing. That will change when I get back. I am going to slim down my wardrobe, but not until I have worn everything except the things I have now. I will not want to wear this damn Rilo Kiley shirt for quite some time once I get back.
The shop is practically empty. Two people who work here, two people all the way across the place from one another, working on their laptops, and myself, by the window, isolating myself just as much as anyone else. That is bad. I am going to stop listening to my music, take off the headphones, and perhaps read my book and present a more open demeanor.
Ciao, my lovelies.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
So, then. I have taken, I suppose, step one in being a normal human being again—I introduced myself to the cute girl working at the coffee shop. Nothing more, but it's something. I know her name now, and hopefully that will become something more than a familiar nod here and there or some such pleasantry. Her name is Chelsea, and apparently she had meant to introduce herself but was nervous or some such. Amazing how that works.
I have been watching Battlestar Galactica and have blazed through three seasons in about a week. There's only a few episodes left, then, and they haven't finished downloading yet. It will be okay, I think, to take a break and wait for the rest of it—less distraction to occupy my time, fewer things to escape into instead of doing things need doing. I do hope to finish it soon, though, so I do not miss out on all the conversation on the internet about how it ends. I have managed to avoid spoilers thus far. The internet has honed my information avoidance skills.
I really have to pee. I am skipping out on working out for the day. My rotator cuff is sore as all get-up and I am really not feeling like aggravating my already-sore muscles. I think I work harder at it than my dad does—he may run further and faster, but that is due to his already being in something resembling shape. I am working hard, and I start to think it may be too hard at times. I cannot drive at this pace so constantly—I always feel as if my body has had no time to recover any, and that is bad for business.
I don't know what any of that had to do with having to pee, but I am leaving it as it is. I think my dad is somewhat disappointed that I am skipping out on workouts, but I have been highly consistent and haven't taken many off days. He can deal, and I suspect I can, as well. My body has hurt all day—even sitting in certain ways that are normally fine are terribly uncomfortable. My left shoulder and triceps, especially, are brutalizing the bits of my brain that process pain.
I am going to drink more coffee and try to keep up at this writing thing. I have taken a few more pictures of the neighborhood I am in, particularly the view from the balcony of my house. I have taken pictures of it before and have never felt satisfied that they convey the grandeur of the view. I doubt that I will be able to. Perhaps I will post a video somewhere that demonstrates the scope of it. I will ensure that I take video at sunset, when the spectacle of it is at its height.
A woman missing most of her teeth but not lacking in extra weight just joked that she is going to sell her body, but in a way that didn't immediately convey the humor intended. She has a bad lisp and the hectic, erratic gestures and diction of someone who is either off meth or kicked the habit but not before it wrecked the brain. Her sort is familiar, given the Springs' infamy for meth production and addiction. She occasionally gets a long stare, gazing off into nothing for moments before snapping back into cogency. She came in with a partner who has the wide eyes and gaunt face of someone still in the throes of methamphetamine.
There's a man here with them, a man I've seen before, a man who comes in and sips his drink and simply watches the people in the cafe, blatantly and unapologetically people-watching, observing, with a fuck-you posture and the steely, pursed-lipped demeanor of someone tired, suspicious, and fed up. I remember seeing him a couple weeks ago, watching me as I watched people, our gazes occasionally meeting and holding for several seconds at a time, I trying to see behind his eyes and he, unwavering in his stare, as if to say there is nothing behind the eyes to see. He walks and moves with the same exhausted focus. He seems like he is perpetually seething, anger simmering under the surface, hardly contained
A young couple is sitting next to them, the gentleman trying to explain Tropic Thunder to the lady, both of them tired, weary, the conversation slurred and lazy, like both of them stayed up all night and are desperately trying to stay awake just a little bit longer. They seem bored in a way that fatigue exaggerates. She obviously doesn't want to talk about the movie but he seems to have nothing else to say, so he stays with it. They have been together for some time. Those conversations don't occur to the newly-acquainted.
It is 5:09 in the evening and two young women have just come in and sit on the couch next to mine, divided by a table with a lamp on it. I wish I had the cafe to myself, just the coffee shop girl and I, so I could have a comfortable conversation with her. On the contrary, the cafe is too crowded to have a quiet chat.
“She was an existentialist, I think, in a certain way—I think she said she was Wiccan?” “She didn't live for the past or the future, she lived for right now, in the moment, for right now.” Overheard between the two girls to my left, meant to be slanderous, “she was turning into a monster.” Apparently this unseen victim of unkind words shaved her head a few times, ran away a few times, met a guy who was mixed up in the wrong things, dropped out of high school, only has a 9th grade education, et cetera. The two girls are 17 or 18, short, thin, attractive, dressed casually, and have the vocabulary reflective of their age and the diction stereotypical of girls their age. “You're a terrorist and I'm a drug lord, high five!” one (the white one) says to the other (the brown one).
Their conversation is boring me—one of the billions of conversations in a given day that have no weight or interest within them, the general chatter of two people on any given day. Not their fault—I certainly haven't had a conversation with anyone today that has any weight or interest (the therapy session aside, I suppose—that certainly had merit, though I doubt anyone aside from me would agree) so I am certainly in no position to judge. Sometimes I type things and move my arm a certain way and my arm flexes and then it hurts like hell.
The two girls have to be closer to 17 than 18. They're too short, undeveloped at the jawline and around the wrists, and move with the over-exuberant spring of girls who think they're women and children who think they're adults. I still really have to pee. I should take pictures of this place so you know what it looks and feels like. It has lighting that is half Montague's and half Pike's Perk, white light mixed with yellow, bright but atmospheric, the furnishings comfortable but not resplendent or gaudy. They play good music here—sometimes satellite radio tuned to atmospheric instrumental music, sometimes their iPods mixed with Regina Spektor and Sufjan Stevens and Johnny Cash and all sorts of other bands that I enjoy.
Both girls gossiping, their laptops open, Facebook loaded, commenting on others' pictures aloud, working on some sort of school work intermittently, the rest of the patrons with noses glued to laptops (just like me) or having chats with one another (unlike me) or having chats while their noses are glued to laptops (unlike me and somewhat indicative of the future) while coffee shop girl shoots off texts and makes myriad coffee drinks and prepares machinery for future use.
I am going to use the restroom soon, then get a refill and drink my coffee with a cigarette or two, map out my plan of attack on the rest of the evening and the bulk of tomorrow, curiously anticipate the weekend with unnecessary expectation, and carry on glancing about the establishment with furrowed brow and sidelong spatterings of curiosity. Curiosity is a word that trips me up spelling-wise. I always put the “u” in, “curiousity,” like you would expect but not like it is. I am going to shove it into my head like I have “license” and “suspicion,” words I have to spell out by letter in my head to make sure they're right. Same with “believe,” always spelled it “beleive” for some reason, though it looks completely wrong.
Girls say that a friend's writing compares to Hemingway, other girl doesn't know what that means, whether that's good or not, whether she should like it or not. I have my doubts as to whether he writes like Hemingway but I also have my doubts as to whether I deserve to have even ignorant people put me in the same stylistic category as the writers I adore. So at least he's got that going for him.
It is 5:33 in the evening and Operation PISSCOFFEESMOKE has reached T minus nothing re: execution. Make it so.
I had to branch plan the operation—I went to have a refill only to find that I still had half a cup of only slightly-warm coffee remaining in my cup. So, I took it and smoked two cigarettes, drank the coffee (finishing it off halfway through the second smoke) and then went inside for the refill.
Once inside, the other cute coffee shop girl served me and had a brief chat about the value of the three pennies remaining after the transaction—the cost is 97 cents, the available funds one even dollar—and concluded that, though seemingly useless, those three pennies are worth three Swedish Fish or, if you are so inclined, three Sour Patch Kids. We both agreed that such an acquisition is a worthy endeavour, though I still resigned the three pennies to the tip box, therefore ensuring a bevy of loose change either in a pocket or left to languish in the tip box into perpetuity.
Enthralling developments, I know. Coffee shop girl number two, though cute and interestingly round in the face, is not the object of my intrigue and enthusiasm. I do intend to make efforts to be friendly in kind with friendliness, of course, and the waitstaff here are ever-so-eager to please. How much of that is driven by me and how much is driven by their general demeanor is a subject of mystery, but I am not so arrogant as to presume that any amount of special treatment is afforded me, free refill doled out by Chelsea earlier in the day notwithstanding.
Did I not mention that? Free refill. A man cannot argue with the meaning inherent in the shits-and-giggles distribution of coffee without expectation of compensation. One also cannot argue with the small wave offered earlier in the day, in a previous visit to the coffee shop, given as I said “thank you” and departed. A “see ya” with a small, nervous wave seemed like little more than an unexpected courtesy until I found myself in the bathroom several hours later, imagining myself at work and mimicking the tone, volume, and delivery of the “see ya” and the shy, stilted breadth of the wave. That was not a courtesy but, rather, an attempt at something more connective, akin to a wink or a slight upturn of the mouth at the corner, but put through the filter of introversion and hesitance.
That wave was, at one point, ingrained in my muscle memory, and revisiting it was a warm nostalgia, a remembering of a time when I did occasionally delve outside of my own neuroses to connect with persons of interest in a tangible way. Though seemingly feeble and passive, it is the most I was once able to muster, and more than I have been able to scrounge up in quite some time without the benefit of intoxication and reduced inhibitions. It is a vestige of that year and a half and more I did without alcohol, the days between waking up one morning and deciding I wouldn't drink for a while and waking up one morning and deciding that I was getting back on that horse shortly after my 21st.
It is overcast and dreary, with a steady half-wind half-breeze mulling about, indecisive as to what degree of discomfort it would choose to dole out on the town of Newport. It has trickled a thin layer of rain on us, intermittently, while back home snow is seemingly falling by the inch by the hour. The girls next to me are talking about Twilight and the white girl said her friend's dad is reading it, followed by “fail. Epic fail.” She describes it as “softcore porn designed and marketed for fourteen year old girls,” a claim that I cannot assert with any conviction (not having read the series) but can speculate as being reasonably close to the truth.
I am unsure if I have given a good description of Chelsea, coffee shop girl, and so now I will endeavour to do just that. She is of average height, perhaps 5'5” or so, thin but hinting at the prospect of curves, dressed in pants that pear-shaped indie girls tend to wear close to their form but that fit her close in the hips and upper thighs but loose around the knees and ankles. Her hair is short, chin-length, and blonde with a generous helping of pink and red streaks throughout, bandana holding her hair back, not worn as I wear it but folded and tied into a band, the bangs that flank her temples dangling long and loose around the frame of her face. She has half a snake bite on her left lip, sometimes with a stud and sometimes with a loop that goes over the lip, glasses with black rims and hybrid retro-modern design, not the thick black hipster rims that men have made trendy and then beaten to the ground but general thinnish black ovular shapes, a black hoodie advertising the head shop across the street, skater shoes but not beaten up like a skater's shoes, thin red and black and green fabric bracelets on the wrists, rings abound across the range of her fingers, unknown piercings in the ears. Not an elegant description, not a sensual description, but the elegance and sensuality are implied, understood as something inherent but not broadcast, something I know without knowing.
That went on far too long. I think she is leaving now. I hope she'll come by and say something, “nice to have met you” or “hope to see you again soon,” but I have my doubts. It could be I'm misinterpreting everything, that my inferences are misinformed, that she has no interest in me beyond what is presented, a common courtesy and occasional generosity doled out without consequence or hope of same, a platonic gesture welcoming me to the establishment. I am going to go have a cigarette and hope to catch her on her way out, provide an environment somewhat more receptive to casual conversation, someplace where her coworkers are not necessarily dropping unsubtle eaves. Many spies have many eyes—Frodo, don't wear the ring, the magical bling-bling.
Back in moments you won't even perceive have passed, excepting now, as I return, to tell you that moments have passed.
It occurs to me that I am quite gassy today. That's not entirely something good, aside from demonstrating the health of my gastrointestinal system. Two guys next to me, at two tables put together, studying physics equations and every so often asking one another for an explanation of some formula or another. It was not raining when I went outside. Chelsea just left, bundled up and with backpack slung across shoulders, without so much as a glance or a motion in my direction. Alas for the course of things, I suppose.
It is 6:22 in the evening and I will be down this way for another half hour or so. Jewel, old Jewel, “Who Will Save Our Souls,” hurt to lift my coffee to my mouth earlier, while the cup was in my left hand, The Aviator, wave of the future. I do feel like taking a bit of a walk around town, finish my coffee and listen to music, singing just above my breath, strolling around the murky gray of the outdoors, fluidly crossing from street to street, guided toward a general direction but unpredictable in the course, like a leaf fallen into a river.
Half a cup of coffee, half an hour, half a chance, half a clue, half a mind, halfway gone and half-cocked, a man with half-missing arms, a woman dressed like a man but definitely a woman hugging him from behind as he half-hugs a friend, halfway there, O Glory, I'm halfway there.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
So, Providence. I have a chest cold and it's a nice day and I'm strolling about. Finally found a coffee shop amid the banks and strip clubs that dominate downtown. It's a beautiful city for about fifteen minutes, and then all the dirt under the fingernails and tartar on its teeth become noticeable. Walk 10 minutes in any direction and notice how nervous everything becomes.
It's 1037 and I am in limbo between chilly and overheating, depending on whether my jacket is on or not.
The streets here can get confusing but not like a lot of cities. Unfortunately, it's easy to drive around and suddenly find yourself on some state route heading out of town. There are twists and surprise curves and almost random one-way changes and lane merges.
Tons of shitty housing, lots of homeless people loitering about, hanging around outside amazing colonial-era buildings and statues of Burnside. Asians and hipster girls come and go around RISD near the enormous brick courthouse my mom is hanging out at, watching RI Superior Court cases for a class.
Business people and a strange woman with an Anonymous/4chan tattoo on her ankle examining her broken side mirror. She is legion and she drives a fucked-up Ford Escort. Be afraid, Scientology. What a strange tattoo. What a strange person. Think she may have been a trap.
I wonder if there's a Fight Club-style organization to Anon, and Operation Mayhem to their bluster and braying.
I don't really know what to do with the next two or so hours, really. I don't really see myself "discovering" anything too interesting without going too far off the beaten path. Have my camera but haven't seen anything really worth photographing. There are many pretty things to see but nothing I couldn't get on a postcard.
A cold breeze is coming in right at me. Perhaps the table right net to the door was a bad idea? Police--no, ambulance siren, cute girl comes in for a croissant, two plain women in khaki pants talking business, I making eye contact with people crossing in front of the shop, cars driving by, I glancing in and them glancing out.
Some girl from a social networking site wants to meet me at Starbucks and fuck me in the bathroom on Sunday. It all sort of came out of nowhere and I'm not exactly sure what to really expect. I think she's just a young girl who got burned and wants to have a little fun but I sort of expect her to clam up really quickly when/if we actually meet. If this chest cold progresses into something more, if I wind up with the flu, we'll have plenty of time to think it out a bit. Time will tell, but she's really hot and I could use some good fucking.
I think I will look back and find therapy one of the better choices I have made lately. I feel like being able to talk to someone whose sole relationshio to me is to help me think and feel better is a good thing.
Today, I feel very confident and uplifted, my understanding of myself and people better refined, and as if a load is beginning to lift from my shoulders.
I must keep it up.
PS: coffee jitters blah!
I have talked more with this girl and all of my initial doubts have alleviated some. If it is some sort of hoax, trick, ploy, etc., it is remarkably well-developed. Her Facebook page, OKC page, and all manner of other different online presences reinforce that this actually is a human being who is representing herself somewhat realistically.
I do think she is a young girl trying to figure out what she wants and who hasn't been free, previously, to explore her sexuality. I know this is not something I am supposed to approach philisophically (from a LCD cultural standpoint), but rather something I should be rather gung-ho about. Get some trim, enjoy the freedom from committment in all endeavours, etc. However, I am, despite myself.
It occurs to me that I may be responsible for shaping the sexual identity of this girl, and that is somewhat compelling (but not necessarily attractive) to me. I've been with ten times as many people as this girl claims, and even if that number is artificially low, I still likely have a significant edge on her. What will that mean, in the moment? What will it mean to her? How will this impact her future sexual encounters?
I cannot know, so I shrug. We will see how things play out. I know that most of the people who read this will shake their heads and mutter something along the lines of "Greg, Greg, what are you doing?" I am asking myself the same question, and many many others.
The chest cold is still around, though it has moved more into my face. The cough is replaced with sinus clogging and post-nasal drip. I am sneezing often. I am convinced it is just the common cold, though my mother seems to be afflicted with the same bug and it is hitting her harder. We will see there, as well.
There is little to report, otherwise, in my life. I look forward to the prospect of playing golf with my dad this weekend and I have some work to do editing his students' exam papers. Some of these people, the brightest officers the US military has to offer, cannot write their way out of a paper bag. Today, at several points, I had to simply stop reading, take a break, smoke a cigarette, and get away from the papers due to the sheer frustration of seeing 30-something professionals butcher and molest the English language.
Tomorrow (today, really) I will be checking a few suspect passages and sections for plagarism and giving one more quick look over all the papers before forwarding them to my dad. This after I work out in the morning, a mere 6 or so hours from now.
I started off running two miles at most and biking 6 or so per workout session. I am already running two miles as a matter of course and biking more than 8. It feels good to feel like I am growing stronger, mentally and physically. We play racquetball with some frequency and I have quickly shifted from getting my ass handed to me to winning 2 out of 3, though usually by narrow margins. I feel, strangely enough, as if I am learning and perceiving with a sharper focus as of late. It is reflected in a great many things.
It is 0334 and I have turned out the lights. It is time to drink the remainder of my water and retire. Enjoy yourselves until next we meet.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
The past few days have been a whirlwind--St. Patty's Day celebration was a wash, still didn't wind up meeting any folk on account of my severe intoxication by the time the parties really started up later in the evening, woke up with the most killer hangover ever, slept through the rest of the weekend and most of today, and still feel like for all the writing I've done and the things I've seen and heard that I have ever so little to show for it.
I know I'm bitching and moaning instead of doing anything about it, and that's my problem and not anyone else's. At some point soon I need to call off the pity party and get off my ass about the whole situation. It just feels like I'm going to leave here in no better shape than when I arrived, which is depressing. Of course, if I want to feel better, I have to start working for it, and that has been a problem for me.
My senses of entitlement and expectation of others carry on strong despite all evidence that both of these are ungrounded sentiments and should be abandoned. I need to start working for myself instead of assuming that everything I think is awesome about me will just sort of work out and do all the heavy lifting for me. I need to remember that at this point in my life, nothing I think means shit, and until I start working towards making the things I want to happen happen, that isn't going to change.
As far as what's been going on out here: this weekend was one big blur. Saturday was the massive St. Patrick's Day celebration in town, and all the bars had people in 'em as early as 9 or 10, and we were all drinking. The parade was pretty nifty, with bagpipes and fire trucks and shit, but at one point I was very much in a "okay, that's great, now let's go get hammered!" mood. I was with my parents most of the day and my father and I got well and truly hammered by about 12:30.
At one point, as my mother was getting a tattoo with my sister and my name in it, my father and I got into a confrontation that I've been meaning to have for a while, but not then, not in those circumstances. I really would have preferred not to see my dad cry for the third time in my whole life while we were all drunk in front of one of the busiest bars in town, but sometimes that sort of thing just happens. I said "fuck you" to my dad for the first time in my life, and that was a long time coming, and I'm surprised he didn't deck me.
That was just the start of "wtf" experiences on Saturday. Once we reconciled our shit and decided to talk about it when we weren't both completely sloshed, we went and had a nice prime rib lunch and I made eyes at one of the hostesses who was making eyes at me but didn't do anything about it because I was drunk, with my parents, it was crowded, and I knew I'd make an ass of myself.
So then eventually we all went our separate ways and I wound up at a little dive-style place. There was live music and a bunch of people and an outdoor patio to smoke on. When I say patio, I mean tiny little area with two port-o-potties and an outdoor bar, capacity maybe 15. I had a conversation with some old guy about the world "altruism" and gave him advice on how to deal with his 14-year-old daughter (wtf) and then made fun of Billy Mays and the ShamWow! guy with him and the guy tending bar outside.
All the while I am sipping from a half-pint of Jim Beam and the bartender is hooking me up with Sam Adams. At this point, around 7 in the evening, I have had 4 50-50 whiskey sours, about 12-14 shots of Jameson, and was working on the bourbon and beers. By about 9, I'd killed the bourbon and had 4 beers. That exceeds the "1 unit of alcohol an hour" recommended by, well, anyone. Suffice it to say I was raving, stumbling, completely incoherently drunk dancing with an overweight woman and wondering where my tie had run off to.
The rest of the story are things that I just plain don't want to get into.
I wound up back at home at 6:30 in the morning, still completely incoherent and stumbling drunk. Collapsed in bed until 12 or 1 o'clock, woke up, drank some water, ate some food, and went right back to sleep. Woke up for a little more, went back to sleep again, woke up today at 10:00 or so and still felt like a wreck. The hangover lasted about 36 hours. This is not how I like to spend my weekends.
Tomorrow is Providence and, well, who knows what I will wind up doing there. Either that, or downtown again, with the express goal of trying to start random conversations with people. I had an idea a while ago of starting a website/book comprised solely of recorded conversations with completely random people plus insight and reflections and etc. on those conversations. It seems that when I have a shtick or "reason" to start cold conversations with people, I have no problem. The second I just want to do it for the sake of it, I clam up.
This cannot stand.
So wish me luck.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
I am going to have to get over myself and start talking to people and going out eventually. I'm starting to really get sick of spending every night with my parents. My mindset has gone from introverted self-loathing to introverted desperation. Now if I could turn that desperation outward, I'd be in business!
Some guy here is doing a raid in WoW. He switches between YouTube and WoW. He's got a million different scripts running. Damage indicators popping up all over, super-duper raid list this-and-that, DPS tracking and the like. I have no idea what raid he's running. His group doesn't seem that big. He's a priest. Go him.
Fuck, it's cold even inside the cafe. I'm freezing all my little bits off. It's almost worse than being outside. At least the outside has sunlight hitting me. This is just a general atmosphere of chill. I really, really wish I had a jacket right now. Silly me.
But, as I'm stuck down here for the next few hours, I think I will grin and bear it. It is 13:37 right now, woot woot. I don't want to work out tonight. I am glad tomorrow is rest day. I worked out yesterday and my knees were killing me--a direct result of racquetball shenanigans, jumping into walls and falling down to hit low balls. My body is getting all banged up.
There is a pudgy little girl who works here who is always looking at me. I am sorry, pudgy little girl. I am not into you at all. You are cute in a pudgy little way but you are not my style. But thank you for the coffee and such.
Last night I drank 4 beers and a half-pint of bourbon just because I could. I was pondering over buying more this little excursion downtown but think I will pass for a bit. I woke up this morning not feeling bad per se, but not feeling as good as I usually do. I still imagine that when I get back, I will likely fall back into that old routine, but if I can be disciplined a little out here, maybe I can take that back with me.
Had therapy two days ago and I dig the guy. He's quiet and lets me talk a lot, which I dig. He's had some good advice so far, and he sometimes makes little quips that aren't meant to be quips but totally wind up funny. He's been pressuring me to take antidepressants and he makes a lot of good points about them. I told him "I don't really like medications, not even aspirin," and he says "you'd rather self-medicate with alcohol" in a way that makes me laugh. I still don't want to take antidepressants but I'm starting to lean towards giving them a shot. Sucks that it takes a few weeks for them to start working, though. I dunno. Advice?
Not that anyone will actually comment and give me any, but hey.
I have a bit of a runny nose and need to take a deuce-deuce. Ciao ciao.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
That's the front door to my place. The house is mostly vertical, so there's not a lot of porch space but there are many, many stairs.
Walking toward downtown (about an hour walk), within five minutes we're at the Eisenhower house, where Ike used to retreat for the summer.
Another five minutes walking and you see the proximity to the water. My folks' balcony overlooks Newport Bay. It's quite incredible.
Houses like this are commonplace around my neighborhood. They're absolutely gorgeous in the summer. Most of them are actually inhabited, unlike the "famous" mansions here (the Breakers, the Elms, etc.) which are largely used as museums now. There's a museum of American Illustration in town and a Rockwell museum, as well. I'd like to see both eventually.
A shitty panorama of one of the nicer views heading toward downtown. After narrow roads and tall walls around houses, the street opens up into this nice walk down the coastline. That long bridge leads to a yacht club of some prominence.
A few shots of downtown itself. The pier at the end of the second picture is where we typically buy fish and crabs, and the little hut in the third picture is a little outdoor bar that is quite popular when the weather is nicer.
That's all for now.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
I have been singing in public a lot lately though I've been pretty restrained about the whole thing. Then again, it is a bit difficult to sing while riding an exercise bike or running on a treadmill, but I have been singing to myself in the coffee shop and on the toilet and while smoking cigarettes at 2 in the morning. I like singing. It feels fun to do.
I have taken a bunch of pictures but haven't uploaded them yet, perhaps I will do that later this evening. Then I will have a photoblog that is all like "this is where I am at, this is what it looks like, ask me questions and stuff." It is frustrating writing a bunch of stuff and never getting any commentary back on it. I don't know if people just don't like it or don't care or my writing isn't interesting or whatever.
I just wrote a big long retort on a forum regarding Watchmen's fight scenes versus The Dark Knight's. The opening salvo, and the comment I still have the biggest gripe with, was "The Dark Knight was much superior, but I realize now how weak the fight scenes were." This, in conjunction with a picture from the prison fight sequence from Watchmen. Further comments by others are as follows:
"TDK was a great crime movie, Watchmen was a great comicbook movie, a better comicbook movie then TDK."
"yah the fight scenes in TDK (and even worse in Batman Begins) sucked. Nolan can't film a fight scene to save his life. While close angles do help give a claustrophobic feel thus not totally ruining them given the context of the film it's also the biggest fight scene cop out known to man."
"as far as what shaky description they're given and general concensus, it's assumed that pretty much all the mortal watchmen are at "peak physcial human ability" as per comic standards catch all, which means they're as strong as weight liters, agile as gymnast and are disciplined in some sort of martial art. Roarschach was described as being a gymnast and pugilist in the book, i believe dan was said to have "some training", we see Laurie train in her youth, Comedian obviously some levels of military training at least later on and Ozy is the worlds smartest man so I guess that extends to his fighting abilities."
"ah ok, i couldn't really decipher from the movie whether they were just well trained or if when they were sanctioned the government had given them "upgrades" in some sort of medical or bionic fashion or something like that. b/c they were clearly far above the average human, and seemingly above what you would think is capable for any human with someof the speed stuff that Ozy has and some of their strength."
"I could have done without all the damned slow-mo, but otherwise the fighting in Watchmen was light-years beyond the Nolan Batman movies (even if the Batman flicks are better overall)."
What the fuck.
My long and overwrought retort:
I do think that the fight sequences in Batman Begins were shot poorly for many of the reasons listed above about TDK. They're choppy, poorly edited, incomprehensible mess, generally speaking. However, I think a lot of the stuff during his training period montage was well shot (for the most part), especially the swordfight. Swords are heavy and require precision and control. They aren't lightsabers and most swordfighters don't have the classical sort of fencing battles--fighting with a katana is about patience, measured and precise attacks, and quickly ending the fight. That swordfight was very representative of what swordfighting is.
As TDK goes, I think the pacing and shot techniques are a huge step up from Batman Begins and are indicative of Batman's progress as a fighter. They're shorter and blunter. Batman isn't about big, drawn-out, flowery fight sequences. He's about incapacitating an enemy as quickly and efficiently as possible, and the fight sequences fit that bill.
Does Snyder do a good job at these big choreographed fight sequences, these long tracking shot takes of fluid action? Absolutely, slo-mo notwithstanding. Does his style fit into the Watchmen universe at all, given the context of Nite Owl and Silk Spectre? Absolutely not. Does it fit Ozymandius? Totally. He's the slick, trained, refined martial artist. He moves with grace and fluidity--you even get this feeling in the GN when he handles Rorschach and Nite Owl with ease toward the end.
However, NO and SS are two regular old people, out of shape, out of combat for years, and though they're accomplished fighters, the sort of hokey choreography and cinematography used in the prison break fight sequence are completely wrong for the characters and distracts from the whole purpose of the GN and film: that superheroes are irrelevant and merely human. Making them seem like they're superstrong is counterintuitive, and shooting it like they're Spartans, people whose entire lives revolve around combat, detracts from the entire message. All the while, it looks hokey, amateurish, and uninteresting to boot.
The way TDK is shot is intentional--it conveys the quick, brutal efficiency of a man who has developed into a living weapon, though he still has kinks to work out. Given that Nite Owl is a deconstruction of Batman, that Dan feels impotent and useless unless he's in costume fighting crime, and that he's been out of the game for a while, I don't think he should just jump into the costume and be a big-time awesome fighter all over again. He should be sloppy, overzealous, prone to mistakes, and the fight sequences should present that. That is why Vedit easily beats his ass--Veidt has remained vigilant in maintaining his abilities and is still one of the greatest fighters in the world. That is why he beats the hell out of the Comedian, who is still a strong, well-trained, capable pugilist.
Rorschach is none of these things--he's an improviser, a boxer, not someone who can just walk into any fight and hold his own (like Veidt or the Comedian). My biggest gripe with the fight sequences in Watchmen is that they're completely unrepresentative of the characters, they're a bit of hokey "look at what I can do" by Snyder and not necessarily in the spirit of the GN, especially in the case of the prison scene.
On the other hand, TDK is shot in the spirit of Batman--quick, hectic, brutal, efficient, and bare-bones. Batman's fights feel like a Batman movie should, and demonstrate an evolution in the character and his abilities.Watchmen's fights feel like a detraction from the source material, like a devolution from how Watchmen should look and feel.
In my estimation."
Am I wrong here?
In any case, it is 16:04 and I am sitting in the cafe having fights on the internet about superhero movies instead of thinking about things need thinking about. I think I will stop that soon. It is cool and crisp in Newport. I think I will walk around a little bit and settle my thoughts.
Monday, March 9, 2009
Told my folks a yarn about why I was acting like I had a half-pint of liquor in me. The kids in the place from earlier were from Carolina or maybe Pennsylvania, they had that sort of middle colonies/southernish twang, told my folks I met them at a bar right down the way and they were all like "oh hey guy we just met, we're drunk and on vacation, let us do many shots." They seemed to buy it and were just happy I had a good time. That I did, lads and lasses.
"I just saw like the #3 cutest girl I've ever seen. I was having a smoke and she was out there in her hoodie and black hair talking pirate to a little boy walking by with a little sword. "ARRRRRRRR you being a good boy today?" My heart just skipped like thirteen beats."
It's true. I should have talked to her, but she was down the way talking with a friend and blah blah blah I didn't, surprise surprise. Then I went home and ate steak and watched Pineapple Express and now I am in my room contemplating sleep.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
A bunch of people just came in and all the women in the group are fifteen kinds of everything I want and the guys seem cool and almost entirely gay but not entirely. I am not entirely about the sex, I'd like to meet people who aren't young and completely stupid so I can go out for drinks and be sociable with folk. They have all crowded around my area and a couple of ladies are looking at the stickers on my laptop. Then the ladies are looking at me and then going back to conversation and then kinda looking back and I know what that means but they seem impenetrable.
Wow, there are like 12 of them, I think they may be from out of town, which would be sad if I did start talking to them. Lots of people come to Newport from the outlying towns of RI and MA and CT, so when the weather is good one can never really tell. Whatever, I am going to drink my booze and then my coffee and then laugh at everyone maybe probably somehow what?
Regina Spektor, more coffee, coffee houses, no bars yet, not that that would be any different, just there by myself, that's pretty lame I think, I don't know what to do with myself at all.
Still have to piss, needed to for the past half hour, somewhat enjoying the feeling of needing to piss, feels like sweetness, a little sweet tingle in my abdomen, makes breathing more labored, reminds me of my body, the little soreness behind my knee, the little warm ache in my thighs, the stiffness of my neck and shoulders, cute girl with haphazard dyed pink hair, seems to work here, seems really aloof and uncertain despite herself, confident walking place to place but with a certain hesitation and doubt, introverted by design, not sure what to think of the art here, some of it better than others, not that it really matters, at least it's not pictures of boats.
People here seem somewhat familiar, lots of people looking into laptops, place has a few Macs set up for public use, quiet, soft indie music playing in the background of everything, everyone intent on something, but still glancing up from time to time, people here like people anywhere, people anywhere like no other place, bottle by the coffee that looks like vodka but definitely only some sort of flavoring, vodka and coffee disgusting, tried it once, takes the smoothness out, makes the coffee too minty, that feeling of alcohol lightening everything, cutting into the flavor too much, brown water with vodka flavoring, not a good experience, same with whiskey without Irish crème or milk of some sort, rum not even worth mentioning beyond mentioning that it's not worth mentioning.
Mother called a little earlier, wondering where I was, sounding concerned, like I can't get around town without an escort or accountability, good-looking prep-hipster comes in, pair of black boots hanging from his backpack inexplicably, not really sure what to think of the guy, not that it really matters, people seem off-put a little that I am looking around a lot, weird-looking dirty kid comes in, hair all over his face and head, seems to know the woman working here, guy sitting down near me, moving shit closer to me, has a gym bag and a beat-up canvas messenger bag, cute well-dressed woman at the counter, up from the couch where her friends are, interesting mix of people coming in, some old guy stopped in for coffee, sitting with a steaming mug just looking around, good for him, caught eyes with him earlier and held it, sort of inquisitive both ways, neither sure what was happening, cute girl at counter runs into cute friend and some random guy who looks sorta frattish, old guy just sipping his coffee, watching me as I watch everyone else, watching everyone else as I watch him, and us both occasionally watching one another.
Lots of Macs in this place, sort of the hipster badge of honor, expensive little shits, laptops not exactly bohemian, people forgetting what that word really means, I rarely use it excepting to describe things that certainly aren't despite best efforts, best efforts require little effort at all, that's the point, the more you try to fit in and be trendy and hip the less bohemian you are, more pretty girls coming through, a lot of them seem pretty young, too young for my tastes, but then again legal is legal isn't it, more of a mental and emotional maturity thing, not that I'm either of those things but I still have a leg up on most 18-year-olds, I think, cute girl's cute friend's random guy is boyfriend to cute girl's cute friend, wearing a Cape Cod shirt, starting to get a feel for this place, cool place for “cool people,” wonder if there's just a place for actually cool people, then again there is no such thing as a place for cool people, cool people make anyplace they go cool, part of the strange mystery of “cool,” so fuck it, just write your little observations and drink the coffee and stop fucking worrying about it, stare at the girls and deconstruct the atmosphere and be a jackass.
But still so many hipsters.
I start to realize that I don't like styles. I like clothes and people who wear what they wear with authority, but I am getting sick of tight pants and hats that are floppy and knit, Chuck Taylors and thick-rimmed glasses, it's all started to mesh together, I suppose if it makes people happy it makes people happy but I've started to wear thin on the whole hipster concept, reminded of Katrina, never really fitting into anything that would label her, really enjoyed the way she dressed, obviously never really met anyone like her, haven't thought about her in some time aside from last night, remembering a couple years ago, up all night talking on the phone with her, text messages at 3am, sitting in that same bed, how things change, curious times, didn't expect to sit in that same bed almost exactly two years later feeling lonely in a completely different way, things have stopped really reminding me of her, good sign I suppose, still nice that I have those memories even if they're not being drudged up constantly anymore.
Wonder what happened to the two girls who were just in here, one of them very attractive, not dressed in any way interestingly aside from how tightly her tights clung to her, very curvy, proportioned well, looked away for a moment to think of lost loves and missed out on the current developments, pretty typical of the past year of my life, though rarer in occurrence by a long shot these days, urge to pee getting stronger and stronger, no longer a pleasant sensation but urgent now, pressing, laborious to contemplate but unavoidable, cute dirty-blonde girl at a table to my front left, across the place, talking on a phone, cute smile, thin and sharp face, plain in an irresistible way, conservatively dressed, young-ladylike, curious. Short Italian-looking woman at the counter now, mid-late 20s, pretty, angled face, deep-set dark eyes, carries herself comfortably but with a certain out-of-place feeling, swaying a bit as she leans against a pole, having a quick look around but quick and discreet, catching my eye for a moment before moving on, wonder what's going through her head, now seeming a little impatient, like she's got something to do, coffee to go, not much of a body but what is there is probably rather nice, the sort that can't fill out a pair of jeans but would look quite lovely in a bathing suit, strange how that works and how her not filling out a pair of pants can inform how she'd work in a bathing suit, really need to piss now, no avoiding it, time to go up to the counter, I think, but I am going to make a further dent into this coffee before I do, seems counterproductive but fuck it, GOING FOR THE GUSTO.
Got the wireless key anyway, just to have it, telling myself I won't dick around on the net until I am well and truly finished writing for the time being, talked to the cute girl that works here but she's super-duper introverted, seems to have a lot going on upstairs but talks in a way that's not very friendly, but not in an unfriendly way, one of those sorts who'd just as soon run away than have a cold conversation, a lot like me, excepting that I try to keep a brisk tone when I talk to people for the first time, intonation, end statements on a high note like the Irish, sounds enthusiastic and interested, at least I think it does, also she has braces on her bottom teeth, interesting sort of detail, probably only something like 17, like the girl next to me, attractive in a “you're 17 so no thanks” sort of way, in no way jailbait but maybe will develop into a somewhat attractive woman, wind up a 7 or 7½ in the course of time, assuming she gets a little taller and fills out just a little bit more.
Goofy-looking redheaded guy here, mid 20s, on a Mac, big padded headphones, sort of outsiderish feel to him, uncomfortable glance in my way as I was glancing over the place, like a double-take, eye contact keyboard eye contact keyboard, almost like a dash of fear there, maybe he's gay and being self-conscious? Maybe he thinks I'm gay and is being self-conscious. I do tend to throw that vibe out to some people, I think, people in this place sit very comfortably, very open, legs spread out or curled up on the couch, I cross-legged, somewhat inward with my posture, girl to left-front looking at her laptop like she's playing a game and losing, but still with hope to bring it back, the sort of hand to side of forehead, concerned, leaning forward look, now hand curled up in front of mouth, thinking, concentrating, reading something, no headphones, very focused, hasn't looked up from the monitor in some time, I steal glances often knowing it, has the little three-cluster bangs, not spread out across her forehead but in little wispy bits here and there, hair not long enough to pull back, her hair slightly longer than mine used to be, knowing the feeling, hair pulled back behind the ears but not into a ponytail, always looked quite stupid on me but women can pull it off effortlessly.
“say yes” on Genius for “American Wedding,” Genius not very smart, then again my selection of music on iTunes limited, haven't imported everything into it yet, so it just kinda does what it can with what it has, now “Spitting Venom,” much better match, good job Genius, coffee good, quite like it quite like it, this stuff a bit nutty and not that good but at least it is coffee, slight chill rolling through my eyes, sour, interesting sort of synesthetic day I'm having, things feeling sweet and sour and the like.
Guy with the boots on his bag has one of those 3-pack thin Moleskines, consulting it over YouTube videos, girl working with the braces has a very cute body, I think she's older than 17 having seen it more fluidly, she went to the bathroom, bathroom here very warm, earth tones, yellow shower curtain on a pole blocking off a baby-changing table and hot-water heater, spacious bathroom, warm there, she walks with her hands together in front of her, part of the aloofness, closed off just walking across the place, hands look too thin to be as young as I first thought, lots of age shows in the hands, really good way of accurately guessing age, sort of something that develops over time and with frequent observation.
Three pages here now, well almost three pages, on page three more accurate, not that it matters. Lots of people actually working on things here, not just dicking around on the internet, looking intent and focused, I the only one really having a look around any, feels good to be something of a coffee shop voyeur, watching the faces change subtly, speculate what they might be looking at, might be thinking, why the posture changes, that sort of thing. Not that I actually do, but it is nice to know that I could if I wanted to, talking to Whitney on Google Chat now, talking about how things are going, old boss sent me a Facebook message yesterday, asking me how I was doing, I just told her “things are plodding along, as always,” no sense being bitchy about it, spilled milk and all that, trying not to get into that sort of negative thought modality, spent the past few days feeling very positive and proactive, no sense falling out of that over something unimportant, that's what I think anyway, new sort of feeling lately, being forgiving, not that it takes a lot of forgiving to make me feel forgiving considering I haven't forgiven anyone for anything in quite some time.
17:11 in the evening now, sun setting, going to get really cold soon, told father I'd call him when I was ready to go home, he's worried about my walking home from here, about an hour walk, mile and a half to two miles distance, nice in the daytime with the heat but a complete bitch in the evening, told him I'd walk home but he insisted on picking me up, would be really pissed if I just walked home despite not wanting to inconvenience him, he'd feel better going out of his way than if I tried to save him the trouble, and of course a ride is nice when it's cold as shit outside.
Took a bunch of pictures from the walk down here so I can share it with everyone, more or less the path taken to get down here and the general abundance of beauty and opulence on the way, how inspiring it can be to just walk around here, probably take a picture of this place's street and then walk down the hill to the big chain coffee shop and take a picture of that road and all its cobblestones and etc. so the context is complete.
Redhead bobbing his red head briefly to some music, noticed in the corner of my eye. Thought I'd share.
Getting quite hungry, haven't eaten since around 06:30 this morning, about 11 hours later I'm only just starting to get a bit peckish, which is how my normal appetite is/was, just a couple weeks ago I'd go the whole day without eating more than a little sandwich or bowl of soup and the like, good to have the appetite coming back a bit, bad in that I actually feel hungry sometimes, before I'd just feel nothing in my gut, strange sensation really, hunger, nothing at all like it, getting goosebumps from a touch and goosebumps from a chill very similar but being hungry entirely unique, sort of a nauseated feeling but not really, sourish regardless, nauseated more a bitterness, repugnant, feeling, hungry more bearable, a little offensive but bearable for a while if not occasionally pleasant, but too much sour over too much time is just an utter bitch, Warhead candies skirting that line, pucker and pucker and a little bit of sweat even, then sweet candy goodness, then a nice parting shot of semi-sour in the middle, just to keep it mixed up, those things burn my tongue and the roof of my mouth, too much coffee I think, too much for no food, overdosing, had two big cups at the big chain place and then another big one here, only been drinking one or maybe two cups a day lately, tolerance down, heartbeat normal but getting a little queasy, burpy, twitchy, cold.
Coffee got cold, still bearable, actually not quite as nutty when lukewarm/cooled, has a better flavor, more bodied, interesting that that's the case, usually quite the opposite, strange little cup of coffee, this, definitely coming back to this place, feels cozier and warmer than the chain place, they have a chess night here that I have no intention of participating in but it's cool that they have it. Plain girl leaves, abruptly, just closes up shop and walks out the door, hardly a glance in my direction, oh sad, girl who comes in doesn't find me attractive, world coming to an end.
Getting cold just sitting here, probably not going to do any picture-taking, feel too hokey and I am (at least I like to think) distinctive, going to be down here more, don't want to be outright seen as a tourist, CO driver's license somewhat encourages that anyway, but if I play it cool at least I can pretend for a while, right? Have to piss again, getting really irritated by having to piss so much, fucking diuretics, probably take a piss and then head off, have a cigarette, give my old man a call get someplace close to where he can get me easily.
Until next time, amity.
He was on the bed, Indian-style, shoeless and cold, tip-tapping away on his laptop. The speakers on it playing music, the music of the time, but tinny and empty in doing so, tinny and empty. He dealt with it well enough but never understood why he couldn't just get music as it was recorded. Always some defect in the speaker, always some static in the headphones, each set having its own specifications, its own little preferences.
He rubbed his chin, looking at the screen with concern and suspicion. There has to be something worth writing here, there has to be something to put on this blank space. Seems everyone has something to say until you ask them to say it, and then it all comes out garbled and disheveled and nobody really knows what it is they really mean except in their heads.
Tinny and empty, new song, tinny and empty, treble and treble and the low bits fall by the wayside and that's music. He tested his coffee again, distracting himself from the screen, blank and impatient, judgmental and taunting. Worst part of writing, that. Put down something, they say. They say a lot of things but they're usually saying it in writing, so I suppose they've got that going for them. Need to get a better coffee pot, one that will brew coffee that comes out at just the right temperature. Sick of tender gums in the morning, sensitive teeth aching for hours after.
Poke poke poke say the teeth. Don't forget we're here. You're going to need us later and you'd better take care of us because we're sensitive to these sorts of things. Brush and please do floss, all manner of bits stuck around up here that we don't care for. Poke poke poke, hey hey hey, lay off the sugar.
Coffee still too fucking hot, page still too fucking blank, teeth still too fucking sensitive, everything still too fucking something. Wind howling outside, bits of snow tossed about, the world spinning but the clouds staying put, only consistent thing going. Everything too hot, too cold, too bright, too empty, too tinny.
He sighed, not knowing what to do. Sit and wait for coffee. Sit and wait for the sun to come out. Sit and wait for the wind to stop. Sit and wait for the words to come. Wonder what Tom is up to. He, thousands of miles away, not even giving a thought to the blank screen and the seared coffee. He, studying some book, listening to some music, full and deep, strumming some guitar, playing songs we sang together, but now for some woman, some girl, laying on his bed, waiting for him to get it over with and kiss her. Should have picked up the guitar long time ago. Should pick one up now instead of staring at the stupid screen and thinking about all the things he could do instead of use the laptop. Too much pressure, so much work, for what now?
Guitar, music, gives immediate results. Strum strings, make noise, immediately pleasant or unpleasant. Typewriter, laptop, notebook, not the same. Press keys, make words, immediately unknowable. Strings of words together, paragraphs, sentences, books and pamphlets, process, choice. A word can be beautiful, like a strummed chord, but only to someone who thinks words can be beautiful. Who doesn't like music? Who doesn't like the G chord? Writing, so much work. Writing, doesn't get you laid. Writing around a campfire, aloof. Guitar around a campfire, sex. Sex and sex and sex.
Coffee ready to drink now. Procrastination successful, and don't you know it. No sex for months. Writer, not musician. Can sing but won't. Can write but won't. Can fuck but won't. Won't, can't, they become the same thing after long enough.
Stirring from downstairs, some cat moving about the house, little jingle bell on its neck, taking away the benefit of sleek fur and soft pads on the feet. No stealth, no mousing in that cat, all those instincts and inherited bits of knowledge canceled out right then and there by the ding ding ding of a master's bell. Hobbling. Worse than whiskers cut off. Full of false promise, like a slave's collar.
I know, I know, I must get out of this place. That is the key, to leave, to be someplace different from this little room set aside for me, to be out and about with the people. The car has all wheel drive, it can take the snow, and others here, the rich, the green, their Subarus and SUV GMC this-and-that's will be out, too, having bits of coffee themselves, out and about, a big bird to the snow and the elements and good sense and decorum. Writing in the coffee shop, reading in the coffee shop, only occasionally drinking coffee, being the cliché, feeling the ancestors' blood coursing through, excepting the laptop, a modern convenience. Death of penmanship, hardly even taught in schools anymore, shame but inevitable. Paper turning to kindle, paper turning to wipes and napkins and pens for barstool conversation, the legacy of other ancestors, that burst of drunken creativity that will be slept off with the rest of it unless its written down on some coaster somewhere, slurred letters, no penmanship, but legible enough to make an inferior facsimile after the fact, innovation lost in the heat death of the liver.
Gotta piss badly, but by Jove I'll be out there on the road soon enough, my own finger flippantly flipped at the lingering ice and sleet, for modern marvels mark my march to the promised land. Not even looking at the laptop anymore, looking only at its promise. Housemates already asleep, been asleep for hours, parents not housemates, housemates friends and parents anything but, feels like youth all over, sneaking out to go this place or that, except now to write and sip coffee instead of fornication and booze. What a world has developed here, boozing and sex well behind, left behind without choice, part and parcel with being older, wiser, sadder, resigned to the passage of time, the wreckage of freewheeling vessels heading west in search of God and glory and the glitter of gold. Now, coffee and empty, tinny words, translations of thoughts, always distorted by the speaker.
Fuck it. Going anyway.
Pants and shoes and down stairs. Jingle-jangle of curious cats, nothing better to do than wonder what the rest of us are doing with our freedoms, not knowing envy of that sort but certainly knowing envy. Cats get embarrassed, proud creatures, don't want to seem weak and incapable. Realize how graceful they are, realize how powerful they are, don't like to be seen shitting or falling off something, like thinking there was no curb and stumbling through the crosswalk, no good, jingle jangle just making it worse.
One cigarette before I go, just downstairs, can't smoke in the car. One of the rules. One of the so many rules, no smoking in the cars. Unfiltered, terrible cigarettes. No flavor except burning, but nicotine and smoke and the feeling of paper and muck between the fingers is good enough in any case. Tip toes, out into the snow, step lightly on the cleared path, the crunch of errant blocks of snow and the rock salt of the winter-prepared, simple concept that took eons to discover, salt and temperature. Puff and inhale, puff and inhale, cold air and hot smoke stinging all the way in, all the way out. A bit queasy from it, but who knows what the traffic will be.
Tom, out there, still wooing that girl, her still lusting and impatient but letting him have his little moment, too young to appreciate the serenade, masturbating in a dorm room, fucking because it's college and that's what you do when you get to college. First night in the dorms, I fucked, just like it's supposed to be, welcome to higher education. Awkward for the rest of the year, they find. Be selective, little girl, or you'll waste all that energy and vigor on the wrong people. Fuck the people who want to fuck you, not people who want to fuck someone. Much better that way, even if there's no emotion to it. At least there's a passion, little girl, at least there's a passion. Even still, she, sitting in his room, listening, wondering when she's going to get fucked already.
We'd have fucked twice by now, and then awkward for a year. At least I'll get to the point, if you're going to make a mistake I'll get it over and done with so I can go back to my coffee and the bottle of whiskey I keep in the freezer at home. Better than empty but deep serenade that nobody gives a shit about. Save the guitar for the campfire, for sitting around with people who don't want to fuck you yet, secret weapon not first contact. Never did know how to work those things. What happens when papa leaves? The boy never learns how to be papa himself someday. Goddamn, it's cold, too cold, and still have to piss.
Done with the cigarette, careful walk to the car, careful drive to the cafe, careful presentation when you get there. Not too closed off, not too intimidating, not too hard to talk to, not too hard to look at. Hair on the chin to soften the jawline, soften the cheekbones, make the face less imposing, a bridle, a bit in the mouth for control, vanity and arrogance all of it. Face too sharp for most people, features too angular, not boyish but like a man's face, but still in the eyes like a child. Thinking too much about his face, always he starts thinking about his face, how it is and how it isn't and what other people think. Silly vain arrogant honest truth.
Fucking car's going to take forever to warm up. Inevitable call on the phone, what have you done, where did you go? Coffee and writing and sex, mother, coffee and writing and sex. Queer fellows at the cafe will welcome me in, stare at me from afar, wonder why I'm alone, and I'll sit there with coffee and writing and say with my eyes that sex is why I am alone, that is all, not like you, who want sex but can't always have it, can't always know, never quite get what you're looking for, only thing stopping sex for me is me. I want to fuck people who want to fuck me, and plenty do but I won't say anything, just there with coffee and writing, makes them want to fuck me more, builds readership, maybe I'll say something that only you understand, something special between us, and that will be a cue for you—I want sex too, don't you understand? I am just too sensitive, too shy, but now you know, and nobody else does but now you know. It'll still be another three months of dancing before I do, at least, but you'll feel it more and I'll feel it more, too. Won't even have to do anything, sit back and let you do what pleases you, everything pleases you, everything pleases me, convenience, perfection, fun for me and terrible for you until you get yours, perfection, deep and full, the noises you'll make, like being in the studio and hearing it actually as recorded, deep and full.
Car's moving now, slush and crunch and slide a bit. Fuck, pissing and pissing, like I need to stop on the side of the road in some dark spot and let it flow. Bad idea, the coffee, just the heat set it off like a boy losing his cherry, part of the instincts somewhere, damp and heat makes for erections, makes for orgasm, makes for piss, no matter where and why and when, just something ingrained. Surprised more people don't like humidity, recipe for sex, recipe for a hard-on, recipe for so many things. People get used to walking around with an erection in Florida, I think, get used to seeing people adjusting the bulges in their pants, used to seeing womens' legs crossed and little beads of sweat in the pit of the knee, dripping from the thigh, Florida is for lovers or for finding lovers, everyone there wants to fuck, like in Italy, like in the Caribbean. Not so much in the Middle East. Too dry. Dry and heat is just hot, nobody wants to fuck and sweat and breathe in the stale desert air. Air needs its own steam, water vapor like exhales already always in the air, the pants and heavy breaths of fucking always lingering around, constant reminder of breathing in a lover's breath, all the sounds and feels of fucking while just heading down to the corner store.
This place, New England, cold, snowing, bitter, like Russia, wet and cold like a morgue. Gotta be a special sort of brand to want to fuck in the morgue. Some people do, I guess, that special sort of people, like fucking in a graveyard. Not interested. In the wrong place for fucking. Even still, coffee and writing and sex, just fine, I'll fuck in the graveyard if that's what you're into, I've got nothing else to do, bored with everything already, might as well try out something fucked up and different, might find out I'm a special brand of people and it gets me my jollies. Let's fuck on the snow in the park at 3am, ejaculate on the snow and see what kind of color it makes, sweat freezing into little drops between our asses, on our thighs. Could be fun, might be terrible, but I'm driving now and if it happens it might as well happen like that.
Finally at the place, a big chain sort of coffee shop. Not familiar enough with the place to go anywhere unfamiliar, too worried about being in the wrong sort of place, too worried about all sorts of this and that. Part of being away from home is finding those places that are like home, even the places you hate, places like big chain sorts of coffee shops. Their coffee's always too hot, as well, and flavorless, though strong in its own curious way. Stronger than diner coffee, anyway, which is a weakness mitigated by free and constant refills at those sorts of places. Find me a diner without free coffee refills and I'll show you a diner whose days are numbered.
First thing—into the pisser. I'll be a paying customer in a goddamn minute, thanks, but right now I need to piss and I mean to do just that. Into the little bathroom, decide to sit down, try my hand at taking a shit as well, never know if it'll turn out that I've got a bowel full of brown. Cold and sterile, though dark-walled. That one time on the boat, crossing the English Channel, high, staring at the cold blue stall walls, paranoid, thinking of everything all at once, wishing I hadn't smoked pot, thinking I'd never do it again, never do it again, someone's going to go looking for me, going to find me, going to throw me off the boat, kick the door in, they'll hear my breathing, see my feet, they know, they know, what will I do, soccer game in two days and I'm going to be on this boat forever, definitely a good call trying at the shit, satisfying, quite a few people out there in the shop but didn't get a good look at any of them, might want to take the lay of the land while I buy my coffee, like I always do, better to know what's going on than be surprised, where did she come from, that sort of thing. Wipe and shake and wash and go.
Two coffee choices, neither really distinguishable from the other, gaunt looking woman, late 40s, deep-set eyes, dark circles, looks like a soccer mom on crack, thin brown bag with long thin straps, wonder what made her buy that, completely devoid of style, even older women must think of style now and then, or maybe they just forget about it, like style is for the youth and she has resigned to never being young again, soccer mom more than crack addict but still with that streak that's been beaten into the ground without remorse. Cute girl walks in just as I settle on the coffee, being poured as we speak from a big stainless steel kettle, cookie-cutter sort of thing, design for coffee hasn't changed in centuries, at least decades, cute girl waiting for her coffee drink, checking me out, it's lemonade and tea and she's going upstairs and I'm downstairs and its obvious we're checking one another out but I don't say anything and neither does she. Thick black leggings, black boots, bright purple scarf, dark brown eyes, thin in the face but with curves in the body, womanly but still girlish, girlish but still a woman, in transition, figuring out the gap between one and the other, just like I am in the bleak little spot between man and boy, both of us probably dealing with same dilemma, written on our faces, playing like grown-ups but still feeling like children, lost, crying in the hardware section of Wal-Mart, wailing for our mothers, finally given up on the wandering search, not quite knowing yet how searching works and what to do and where to go, waiting for someone, anyone, to take our hand and wipe our tears and ask us what is going on. She walks up the stairs and I stay at my little table, not knowing what or how to say the things that should be said, were we better, smarter people. Sip the coffee now that it's cooled a little and say “oh darn” to yourself and wonder how another opportunity slipped right past, deflect from the faults of self and chalk it up to the way the universe works, settle in your things, clearing the table, making it look available, as if someone were just going to walk up and sit down as if you were just going to walk up and sit down at someone else's table. What's there to say, you coward? We're all cowards, yes, except me, that is what you could say. “I am not a coward. I will sit at your table without invitation because it's what both of us seem to want.” That seems a little forward, accusatory, gives too much relief, too blunt, too easy, too difficult, American prudence and internalization, romantic saber-rattling and bluster, but then you say “hello” and introduce yourself and now you're fucked, you still have to say something, whatever something you would be better off starting off with, the whatever something you can't figure out, so you just sit there drinking coffee and writing in the big chain coffee shop instead of walking up the stairs.
This is the way the universe works.
Fuck fuck fuck, coffee still too fucking hot, goddamnit will it never end? Baristas are all female or gay, bustling about, making this and that, cheerful and hustling, one of them periodically having a look at me, another situation where the universe demands a certain order, a certain structure, eye contact with one of the baristas, male, good-looking, brown eyes, trendy sort of short hair with a little product in it, not thick enough to notice outright but the shape is improbable without something being in it, green apron, tall, stalking about, one end of the counter to the other, collar popped, not knowing that everything about popped collars screams asshole or not caring, confident steps, go-getter sort, definitely a hit with the ladies and even moreso with the gentlemen, good-looking guy who makes coffee and drinks cocks, cop comes into the place, better suited at the donut shop with the crap coffee up the street, the New England institution of morning ritualism, shitty slogans for a shitty age, trying to be positive and outgoing and making a difference for people in this shitty world, economy's going to pot and they're saying “you can do whatever you want,” but the world turns and people keep getting shown how everything they've been doing has fucked them, it's winter time and we don't want slogans, we want answers and someone to blame. Depression setting in, on the economy and on people, sun is out but the spirits are down, morale at an all-time low, the back-and-froth of the tides, existential dilemmas, suicide rates inconclusive, confidence shattered, still looking over when shoefalls sound on the stairs, maybe it's her, maybe I'll catch eyes with her again and she'll figure out what's up, have a seat, make it easier. Maybe I should try to smile, always been bad at that, can never show teeth, never seem genuine, like to have a reason to smile other than attraction, attracted to a lot of people but smile at funny, not at beautiful, beauty deserves reverence, people buying hot chocolate, cute Mexican girl and big gruff American guy, maybe a fisherman, lots of fishermen here, lots of dreams about fish lately, fishermen probably not burdened that way, all through their fish dream phases, headphones back on, thicker sound than the little speakers, but not like hearing it live. Heard this band live, they were good, room not very crowded, sort of a little secret engagement except it was advertised all over town but fuck it, I was there and that was good enough.
His knee is tapping up and down now, “restless leg” they call it, pissed that the internet is pay-by-the-hour here, no connection to the outside world except for being in the outside world, but no way aside from the phone to contact anyone back home, the internet is a crutch, nothing to doubt about it, people in the place glancing at him now and then, not sure why, then again I look at people all the time, just to see who is there, nothing personal about it, good series of songs on the shuffled playlist, might have a cigarette soon, not sure what to do about this whole writing thing, world seems to be going on all around him and there he is sitting in the coffee shop in public feeling separate and distant, a deconstructed element surrounded by pillars and architecture. Existential distance, existential separation, the existential spearhead of absence, watching seagulls hover against the blowing wind, watching for fish bits or something else to eat, cars bobbing over cobblestones, making that noise, unexplainable, potholes kathunk and suspensions creak and everyone going about some important business, knee still popping up and down, shaking the little table, red notebook tassel quivering from the jostling, black fine-point pen rolling about, cute girl working at the coffee shop out of unflattering uniform, turns out to be petite and curvy and quite a delight to set eyes on, wondering if she's going to leave, probably only twenty years to her, good profile, roundness of the cheeks supple and warm, big obese woman seems to have replaced her, definitely a downgrade, guy across from me all the way across the room can tell I'm glancing at this girl constantly, fat woman behind her thinks I'm glancing at her but realizes her mistake while opening a garbage bag, another cute girl leaves with the employee chick, both of them heading for a Toyota in the parking lot across the street, heading out, maybe just on a break but it's 3:30 in the afternoon and that seems like a leaving time, maybe they're a couple, pretty liberal out here, who can say?
Car still not started, hasn't left yet, maybe just a mid-day break, meeting to hang out in the warmth, smoking a joint or a pipe, picking the high back up, work out the rest of the day, now it's started and put into reverse, backing out through the show bank, hair whipping around in its ponytail as she looks at her friend from the driver's seat, definitely leaving time, quite a shame, another lost opportunity for now, way of the universe, she'll be back there later this week, maybe I'll be a regular, banter with her now and then at the bar of the shop, then on a slow day she'll say something a little more forward and I'll say something even more forward and we'll cut to the chase when she gets off work. Go someplace, get a bite, no coffee, never that, maybe a drink or two, show me her place, take a look around, have a cigarette on her patio, give it a little time, what's going to happen when I come back in, what's going to happen when he comes back in, come back in and have that sort of body language, the sort of swagger where I come back in looking right at her like I'm looking for nothing but her, she's standing up, just kind of smirking at me, then the grab, then the kiss, and then she pulls me into her room, she's been picking it up while I've been smoking, making sure there's no clothing on the bed, nothing to stumble on heading to the bed, everything in a hamper, damage control, as if I'd notice some messiness on the way there, self-conscious still, and all the way through, even then, naked and misunderstanding, still cautious despite the sex, nervous and waiting for something more to happen, round 2, make it more comfortable, a little chatter about where I'm from, what's going on, but not enough to get too familiar too soon, can't cut off the second round, fifteen minutes of small talk, don't get into too much detail, make it obvious you're not ready to talk about that stuff yet even if you are, have something to talk about once it's all over and done, before the question of where you go from here is raised, no use getting there too early, might not happen again, might be awkward next time you go into her work, get what you can out of it before it's done and the rules change, never really knowing, never really knowing, definitely time for that cigarette, still haven't gotten a lick of work done.
Sun beating down, still cold but not bad, lumps on snow and ice plowed aside from sidewalks, park covered with snow, smothering grass, two of my footprints in the slush on the curbside, burning cigarette but just from not having a filter, seagulls cawing, crows cawing, the cars driving down the main road, people coming and going saying this and that to one another, generic repeatable unrepeatable conversation, cars parked roadside, navy guy in his black uniform, reflections off car windows and finishes stinging the eyes, wore ugly sunglasses, belong to my dad, mine accidentally in his car, feeling out of place smoking, what to do now? Trash cans but no ash trays, opposite of my house back home, gay tall guy comes into the place, going back in now. He's sitting on the counter, chatting with the staff, obviously a friend. Lots of gay people here. At least more obviously gay people. Not like home, everyone in the closet there, big closet population here, mother's friends with a bartender in town who works at a bar turned swingers club after dark, marriages of convenience, bad politically to be out in the open, even in this society, but in this town its the open little secret, come to this bar and bring a partner or be left out, no barflies here, nothing of the sort, swinging takes two chains, multiple points of contact, pretty girl upstairs, just inside the walkway, glances as me as I come back in and I'm obviously looking for her, why not go upstairs, nothing to lose, seems silly but I am a silly person, here comes a pretty blonde girl, probably to meet the pretty girl upstairs, just like last time, wasted a lot of time and now no chance of fixing that, walking upstairs too blatant, should sit upstairs more, nobody wants to be obvious on the downstairs level as if going upstairs were any more discreet, just sacrificing one group of people for another, maybe move up there and set up shop somewhere there, seems stupid, obvious, silly. But I am silly, aren't I?
Not that silly. Just a coward like everyone else, so many excuses, sip the coffee and listen to music and be alone like always. Comfortable, like the coffee shop, like most of the things going on. Better to be introspective and alone than run the risk of rejection and embarrassment, right? Wrong, obviously, but now we've come back to being a coward. Still looking over the shoulder at the sound of footfalls on the stairs. What is wrong? Something terribly broken inside the brain, still won't take those fucking chemicals, brain chemistry fucked up enough as it is, doesn't seem like a point in making it even more meddled with and rearranged, no thanks I'll pass.
3:42 now. Father picking me up in about half an hour, I figure. Another cute woman comes into the place, probably 19 or 20, bad calling her a woman, but still that in the eyes of the law. Got the wrong woman earlier, coffee shop girl still here, girl who just walked in actually more like 22, I think, sharp facial features, cute point to her nose, ripped up jeans, hair in a cute little bunch. She's about five foot six, dirty blonde, good cheeks, thin pink lips, tiny little solid ears, good cut to those jeans, perky ass, right up my alley, looks good in profile but standing waiting for her drink like she's gonna leave right after, should take up a seat across from me, won't, hardly even caught eyes with her, no surprise if I saw her walking away through the window, alas for the way of things, always the way of things, right back to her car, what a cute little walk, jesus christ someone help me out here because I won't do it myself. No wingman, does nobody else in this town just go out for coffee alone, everyone meeting up with someone else, coming in and leaving, stop for coffee really quick, gotta run, places to be.
Unique situation I'm in, just short of 24, back with the folks for a while, no real job to speak of, sitting in coffee shops writing nothing, drinking the coffee that doesn't do anything for me, smoking cigarettes and watching the working and non-working classes come and go, listening to baristas banter and jest, women studying with one another, men and women talking, days off, winter vacation, and I have nothing to offer, not to myself, hardly to anyone, women can sense a certain desperation, another cute girl in here, but her maybe 18 or 19 at the very most, looks like she's in with her mom, tall slender woman, good genes for the daughter, still a little too slender for her height, not grown into her bones yet, but only a bit of baby fat around the jowls and cheeks, dressed like a high schooler, 17 or 18, slight but important revision, difference, talking about school, sounds like maybe freshman in college senior in high school, the quick pace of someone young, still hasn't learned to slow down and think it through, talking about boys and this and that, familial conversation, not saying too much but still close enough to say, mother-daughter bond inexplicable, friendly and uneven, women learn to measure their words, the pacing of their talk, men learn to speed up, be more freewheeling, less mired in the density of thought and letting it spill out more openly, everyone trying to meet up in the middle.
It's almost time to go, nothing to be done here that will actually be done, gay guy checking me out, “cleaned up the area” right near me earlier, he and the barista joking that the area is dirty again, “anytime you need me to clean up your area, I totally will,” flattering but I am not interested, obviously, trying to keep the eyes on the screen, make it obvious that I'm not going that way, as nice as it is to be blatantly lusted over. Would be so much easier to be gay, men are more straightforward, we're lusting, we leer without reserve, no doubt about what is going on in our heads, definitely a good place for women, another good-looking woman, silver band on the ring finger, dressed like a grown, confident woman, maybe 26 or 27, pearl earrings, tall brown suede boots, but with that big motherly brown bag like my mother has, full of loads of shit probably, but she still carries herself like a young woman, good for her. Hair in general disrepair but not without elegance, just enough that it shows that she's not out to impress but is merely naturally impressive, long knobby Scandinavian nose, sharp blue eyes, coffee shop girl wipes down the table across from me with hardly a thought or glance, another woman, friends with a couple guys and the Scandinavia-nose from before, 29 or 30, dark-haired and angular-faced, powerful bone structure, confident and graceful. Beautiful town across the board, but stuffed to the gills with yuppies and old money.
Smell of chocolate from the bar, sun bright in my eyes, pondering another cigarette, have a smoke and glance at the girl upstairs, see if she's still alone, perhaps pack up my things and head upstairs, see what she's doing or working on, came in with a book I couldn't place, didn't seem to be up to much when I saw her earlier, probably up there with the friend but not sure, even with gay guys leering at me I don't feel attractive, feel like I'd be making a fool of myself, lots of people upstairs now, trading one small group for one large one, always something to excuse me, I know I have balls because the jeans I'm wearing are tight-ish and I can feel them but sometimes it feels like I've completely lost my balls, nothing to lose but the risk of irritating my depression, bad enough I'm going to therapy without having to deal with that.
Laughter from upstairs, not sure who from or why, still wondering, still wondering, complacent, not taking the advice of friends, going out for that cigarette now, more of the same I'm sure, more wasted time and painful throats. Battery on laptop dying despite it just sitting here doing almost nothing, time wasted away on nothing, approached to borrow a chair, not approached to talk, bringing the charger next time, 11 minutes left on it, no time to charge it anywhere, fuck it let's go.