Archive for October, 2008

home sweet home.

26 October 2008

can you give the guy i just kissed a cigarette? we were outside a bar in manhattan, and the guy she just kissed was homeless. earlier in the night he tried to pass off a bag of plaster as cocaine. later he wanted one hundred dollars to buy pot from up the street. he’d be back in a few minutes, he had to make the deal alone. when no one budged, he renegotiated his terms — he’d put in forty, if someone else would give him sixty. then we would get sixty percent? okay, he said, fifty/fifty, split down the middle. we hung around him long enough (or let him hang around us long enough) that the bouncer thought he was with us. your friend outside is causing trouble.

among his lies were that he was a basketball player, in the nba, and that he lived in paris. he was just in new york briefly, on vacation. he told some people he lived a block away and others that he lived in harlem. for a newport cigarette he will pay ten dollars (so he says), preferring their high nicotine and tar content; he’ll pay nothing for a camel, but will gladly smoke it. he is tall, six foot six or seven.

my friend told me she made out with him thinking he would be satisfied and continue on, leaving us alone. unfortunately girl kisses, even bad ones, act like magnets, with suitors returning again and again to attain the prize, for as long as it’s available. this magnetism probably especially affects homeless men who lean against cars while girls straddle them. it’s not hard to imagine them biting the girl’s bottom lip, bruising it, as if to say, this is my terrain, this is a place i can call home.

on the subject of dave grohl.

23 October 2008

i’m usually not the kind of person who gives his audience what they want, but there’s been an overwhelming trend on which i feel i must comment. over the last few weeks, solely due to this entry, a large portion of my readership has found this blog by typing something about dave grohl into search engines. honestly, i cannot comprehend this phenomenon — how is it that the man is this relevant? when did the foo fighters release their most recent album? (apparently echoes, silence, patience & grace came out 25 september 2007, not as far back as i would imagine) — but i relent nonetheless.

let me take this opportunity, then, to thank those that have discovered my writing after initially searching for dave grohl smoking, dave grohl hair, sexy dave grohl, dave grohl tattoo, dave grohl tribal tattoo, dave grohl tattoos, dave grohl wig (no doubt for halloween), and, my personal favorite, dave grohl crying — and have, thus, returned here again and again. keep in mind most of those phrases showed up multiple times (yes, four people want to see poor dave grohl weep).

let me please also take this opportunity to thank those that will inevitably come here in the future in need of the latest news and information  — and be disappointed. this site is quickly becoming the number one source on the internet for mentioning dave grohl yet not providing anything substantive about the man himself, not even rumors and speculation. i intend to keep it that way.

post script: now that i’ve given in to your demands, at least one of you needs to click on the link above and buy the album. i have bills to pay.

society’s rejects.

21 October 2008

when driving toward my parents’ house, i take a long look at the neighbor’s. until fairly recently, one of the boys would be standing in the yard, waving at cars. now, as my dad relays, the older one, eighteen, is arguing with a man who wants him to stop yelling at small children who pass. he tells the man to fuck off.

the older one found a dead body in the woods once, a guy who had taken his motorbike off-road, hitting a tree and splitting his head open. the older one poked him with a stick. he’d also been shipped to military school because he wouldn’t recognize authority. on another occasion, my ex- reached deep into the trunk and, when she backed up, he was pressed up against her. he said, hi. later that day he would hurriedly tell me, hey man, your girl has big breasts, bye.

we used to play hockey, he and his brother against me, in my garage. he now lives in his own garage. late at night, the light on, and in the driveway, one of the following cars (or, more often, a combination) is parked: a bright orange one with black racing stripes, one whose front half has been involved in a wreck and the owner hasn’t had painted back to the original white, the earliest mini van in existence. during the day there are kids roaming the lawn with baggy pants and gauged ears or running out of the house when their parents arrive to pick them up.

my dad sees this whole situation as if he were a small country with a weak military adjacent to a country test firing nuclear weapons and making threats of war. every time i come home he makes me go back outside to prove that my car doors are locked. he comes running upstairs to give me updates when a police car stops next door or there’s more than two kids in the yard. my dad tells me that while i was away, an ambulance came to the house and a bystander asked the older one what was going on. they feared that a friend had overdosed on caffeine. maybe we should put up surveillance cameras, maybe we should build a security fence (or a moat), maybe we should train a fleet of attack dogs.

through his teeth my dad often says, just the ugliest bunch of kids you’ve ever seen — society’s rejects. i know rogue nation is on the tip of his tongue. my sister and i share a laugh in private, as they remind us, to the letter, of her friends at that age.

the charm of the highway strip.

18 October 2008

one of my favorite things in the world is driving at night. i often delay trips so that i can maximize the hours spent in the dark, lulled into a sense of calmness by the music and the glowing red lights of the cars in front of me. sometimes i listen to a single song for an hour or two, starting over each time i mess up a line. it helps me clear my head. i never want to stop; i just want open road, i want the vastness of this world to make me comfortable with how small i am.

it’s no secret that, to paraphrase samuel beam, i want to live like my ghost will live. i long to travel, invisible to everything, save for those for whom i choose to appear (i don’t know if i really buy into that last bit). the night makes me anxious usually, but only when i try to sleep. i often lay awake where a thousand and one lonely thoughts creep in and thrash about. someone once told me that all i needed to do was turn my thoughts into waves and envision those waves crashing into the beach and let them steadily become quieter, until they’re just part of the landscape, the everyday, and you don’t notice them anymore. it worked for her; my seas, on the other hand, are always populated by sharks and shipwrecks and portuguese man o’ war.

i’m frightened that if i sleep i’ll miss something important. in grade school i hated being absent because invariably one would come in the day after being sick and hear about something that happened in the classroom or during recess and then be awash in regret. i’ll always be a child, with big green eyes, taking pleasure in minute details and plumbing the depths, wary that, without warning, i can be engulfed.

excuse the poor segue: i attended the magnetic fields show in raleigh, alone. upon arriving at the meymandi concert hall at the progress energy center for the performing arts (i think they could have successfully made the name longer), i sat on a bench inside, pretending i was waiting for a friend to arrive. there was a couple sitting beside me, who fortunately only stayed until the intermission, as i couldn’t stomach much more trivia from him or outbursts from her — when someone on stage mentioned boston, she shouted, what’s the score of the game? i overheard one of the tickettakers describe the crowd as odd. apparently she’s not familiar with irony.

happiness is egg-shaped.

13 October 2008

i have an uneasy relationship with eggs. while i greatly enjoy eating them, i’m not very adept at cooking with them. my omelets invariably turn out runny in places, overcooked in others, and taste bland overall — and don’t even get me started on the folding. in an effort to understand that complex little world inside the shell, i purchased michel roux’s eggs, which meets all of my requirements for a cookbook — loads of information (anecdotes, chemistry, storage, safety, assorted facts), beautiful pictures, and a dose of kitchen snobbery (across america, i can hear parents calling, kids, tonight i made your favorite, quail’s eggs on toast with mustard hollandaise and don’t forget to save room for camembert ice cream!).

now that roux has taken me under his, um, wing, i made a frittata with pancetta, onion, bell pepper, corn, and parsley that, granted, may not have been eggscellent but was also definitely not an eggscruciating experience for this, okay, it’s a toss up, do i refer to myself as a yolkel or albuman, you decide. either way, it’s important you understand that this entire post exists solely because earlier i wrote a primitive version of the preceding sentence in the margin of the book.

still, despite the minor culinary victory detailed above and ignoring the major linguistic one, i sense that i’m going to have to eventually come to the realization that omelets and scrambled eggs are just not my thing, which is a sobering observation considering that any boy heading off for college with no culinary skills owns a frying pan for one reason, that is, to confidently make his girlfriend scrambled eggs in the morning. perhaps, though, that is merely a collegiate phenomenon and no one expects someone of my age to excel at these techniques (note: i figured substituting eggspects and eggscels here would just be confusing). hopefully, instead, it is firmly insisted that we serve mollet (soft-boiled) eggs on tomato nests with crunchy cucumber or banana and golden raisin ice cream, because i’m sure i’d be more successful with those.

a phenomenon in the fashion world.

7 October 2008

this afternoon i interviewed for an assistant management position with a retailer who, according to their website, is a phenomenon in the fashion world. they also, again on their website, assert that they are celebrated by many style conscious and trend-savvy shoppers. at this point i should probably stop quoting from their website for fear of reprisals, but i throw caution to the wind once more to note that, while walking around the store, i saw a lot of missing buttons. also i saw an older blond-haired woman with skin like dried papaya wearing an interesting variation on overalls — the legs ended at mid-thigh, quite becoming on a sexagenarian, and the bib, i swear, was modeled to appear sexy (according to wikipedia, and more accurately a user named amybeth, who thinks she is way funnier than she actually is, these may be called shortalls). i don’t need to tell you that this trend-saavy woman’s hair was styled like a waterfall.

possibly the best part of the interview was when i was asked about the clothing company theory.

me: it’s men’s and women’s, mostly sportswear, but a few pieces of suiting as well.
district manager: is that something you’re into? sports?
me: no, no, sportswear as in casual, everyday clothing.

for those that didn’t find the above conversation funny on account of never having spent time working in retail, i feel i shouldn’t end now. let me backtrack then: i arrived at the designated place at the designated time where i was, first, told that the district manager was running late and, then, the entire story was changed, i was told that i had come to the wrong mall. i asked if she was there, at the right mall, to which the co-manager said she was on her way. mind you, at this point it was over thirty minutes after our scheduled meeting. i drove across charlotte, arriving at the new designated place slightly before the district manager, who still told me that she would interview the other candidate first since i was so late. on the way to her office, which was actually a back room with two folding chairs, a computer, and boxes of clothing with people vigorously folding and hanging, she pointed out how i had gone to the wrong place. she repeated this fallacy twice more during the interview.

shaping tomorrow’s leaders.

2 October 2008

in the morning i’m visiting a dairy farm, self-proclaimed as an udderly cool place, in canton, georgia, where, at the end of a one and half hour tour, i’ve been promised a free half pint of either whole or chocolate milk.

admittedly i could have left atlanta by now, venturing out to the interstate where, in all likelihood, i’d be able to fill up, but i was fearful my fate would parallel those we saw at a station where gasoline was expected soon. at nine pm, a man in line told us he’d been there since three because he had heard a rumor. it was a shanty town, with abadoned cars and feral dogs, small fires and hucksters selling panacea.

the reason for my delay in returning to charlotte, then, is that i’m spending time with two people i’ve known for over a decade and their son. during high school we spent most of our waking moments — and quite a few sleeping ones — together. this frequency continued with only a slight abatement through college. for graduate school, they moved to new york city, and i visited only occasionally on the way to and from my own form of higher education in vermont.

their son was born about twenty-five months ago. this is the second time i’ve seen him, the first being a year ago and, thankfully, his head no longer looks like an egg perched atop a toothpick. he speaks in this staccato french-sounding language (curl e na translated into english becomes squirrels eat nuts). since i’ve been here i’ve taught him a lot of important things. for instance, i taught him how to lick my big toe, though i could only get him to do that once. also, i showed him how much fun it is to put ice down someone’s shirt (well, until you get a handful in your diaper). he takes me outside to show me insects; i pick them up to show him their iridescent wings up close. i keep telling people that i’m not his parent and, therefore, i can’t be expected to stop him from pouring sand on a little girl after borrowing her pail at the park (yeah, he did that and it was so awesome my eyes welled up with pride). i’m only responsible for coming around every once in a while to show him cool things, guaranteeing his high school popularity.

after my morning tea finished steeping, i gave him the bag and showed him how he could swing it like a pendulum, and, if he wanted, hit people in the face. he ran around the house with it held as far in front of him as his arm could reach. later, when his father returned to the room, i told the boy (pictured here after scalping the family dog) to show him what he had learned. go teabag, daddy, i repeatedly called out to him, my little puppet pupil, excitedly.


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