Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
“My body controls this world! We’re all just looking for our pussies.”
“Hey big boy, wanna give me a try?” (This while apparently trying to solicit a boy who couldn’t have been more than 13 years old.)
“I don’t want you either, Michigan Secretary of State!”
And my two personal favorites, both aimed at my wife:
“Take it up with fucking Jennifer from 90210!”
“Fuck the tall whore with the long brown hair! Fuck that skinny bitch in the purple sunglasses! Look at her boyfriend! Isn’t he a physical specimen? He can put his dick right up her broad-backed ass.”
All of this came out over the course of about five, maybe ten minutes. Each sentence was spoken individually, with wild, angry gestures, and followed by a short pause. Then there would be another. Once the bus showed up, we got on, and a black woman got on with us. She was laughing, and said to my wife, “I wouldn’t have stood for that, honey! I would have told her to shut her damn mouth!
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
In the past year my wife has begun making crafts. They’re very cool, punk/DIY crafts. Her sewing machine has given her a new lease on life. She takes apart and reconstructs rock t-shirts. She makes purses, bags, patches, and all sorts of playful accessories. It’s all fun stuff. I’ve built her a website, and she’s joined a local craft group of like-minded younger women. They’re all pretty great people. She sells her work online and at craft fairs with the rest of them.
Yesterday she participated in a craft fair in Braddock. It was called “I Made It!” I had never previously been to Braddock, but I knew generally where it was and that it was a broken-down steel town. No shortage of those in western Pennsylvania. It’s kind of in the city of Pittsburgh, right on the edge of it. The craft fair was on a Saturday. My wife had to be there somewhat early, and I didn’t want to skip my Saturday morning leg workout. On Saturday mornings I do heavy squats. Then I come home from the gym, shower, and I’m ready for the day. Normally we go get lunch together once I’m ready, but since she was going to be at the craft fair already, I’d have to get my own lunch. No problem. We had determined that she’d go early and set up. Then I’d show up as soon as I could after my workout. Everything went as planned. I hit the gym, came home to an empty house, had a protein shake, showered, and left. Finding new places with Internet directions makes me nervous. So I decided that I wouldn’t eat lunch until after I had found the place. I’d drop my things at my wife’s booth, then strike off to find food. My expectations were low. I would have been content with McDonald’s. I left the house. The directions weren’t clear or especially accurate, and I got somewhat lost, but found the place without incident. No real problems. However, as I entered Braddock it was immediately apparent that Braddock was broken-the-fuck-down. I didn’t see so much as one fast food place on my way in. I parked and went in to see my wife. She was sitting happily at her booth. She looked wonderful, and was talking with the girls sitting in the adjoining booth. I plopped my stuff down and was introduced to them. They were all very cute, young, and nice. I quickly surveyed the room and asked my wife if there was any food to be had in the place. She said, “Cupcakes.” A few of the booths featured gourmet cupcakes. They looked wonderful, but not really like what your body needs after a crippling squat session. It was about 2pm and I really hadn’t eaten anything at all that day, other than a protein shake and a granola bar. One of the nice young girls from the adjoining booth said the vegan food booth had some sort of chili that looked and smelled very good. I’ve had some very good vegan food in my time. I don’t judge. I’m willing to give tofu chili a shot. The prospect of driving around Braddock looking for a McDonald’s, Burger King, Arby’s or Taco Bell didn’t really appeal to me. Homemade vegan chili didn’t sound too bad. Certainly it would be healthier than the cheap, greasy fast food that I would likely eat otherwise. I found the booth without difficulty. The line wasn’t long. It was being run by a tall, very skinny white girl with a nose ring and dreadlocks down to her waist. If Perry Farrell had been born a woman, this would have been her. These sorts of people don’t always respond well to me. I’m 6’ 2” tall, 210 lbs, kind of muscular, and have long hair. I look almost like a studio wrestler, but not quite big enough. Compound that with the fact that I normally dress in mostly black, in this case a Napalm Death t-shirt, and a crusty pair of ten-year-old Dr. Marten’s boots, and I really don’t look like a fan of vegan chili. I look like I should be eating raw meat and jacking off to snuff films. So I approached the hippie as gently, apologetically, and non-threateningly as possible, smiled and said, “I hear you’ve got some ferocious chili,” while eying up the Crockpot of what looked to be chili. She replied, “Oh yes, but it’s not warm yet. I just plugged it in. It’ll probably take a little while. Are you hungry now?” I replied, “Yes, quite.” You can always count on hippies to run a tight ship and fire on all cylinders. “Way to execute!” I could feel my blood sugar dropping by the second as my stomach growled, and I thought to myself that even if the chili was ready, I could easily kill the entire crock of it by myself and would likely still be hungry after I was done with it. Beyond that, I didn’t want to look like an asshole by buying all of it. She cheerfully offered, “Here! We’ve got some breadsticks and some marinara dipping sauce. You get one breadstick and one little Dixie cup of chunky marinara for a dollar.” God bless her ethical little heart. I responded, “Sold. I’ll take two.” In that moment I decided that I’d have to go food hunting. I didn’t want to just fill up on bread. A breadstick would be adequate to stave off the fainting that I knew was imminent. I gave my wife a breadstick and cup of sauce. I ate mine in a moment. It was very good. The bread was somewhat dry and stale, but the sauce was incredible, some of the best I’ve ever had. I ate everything but the cup, and asked my wife if she wanted me to bring her anything. She said she wasn’t hungry. I said, “All right, wish me luck.” I got back into my car and began driving around, hunting for something dead and cooked that I could eat. Braddock is not very big, and it didn’t take long to come to the conclusion that there wasn’t any fast food to be found there. I stopped in the only open store I could find, a flower shop, and hurriedly explained my plight (sans the part about the vegan hippie and her cold chili) to the frightened-looking women running the place. Based on the looks they were giving me, my composure must have been waning. The one who must have been their leader explained that there was a Kentucky Fried Chicken at the top of the hill. She gave me some brief and concise instructions. “Magnificent! Thank you so much!” I exclaimed and left their store with renewed vigor and conviction. Her directions were accurate, and at the top of the hill I saw a KFC. As I crested the top of the hill, the clouds parted, angels descended from the sky with horns and harps and the sung to me, my eyes filled with water, and I began to believe in god. Just beyond the KFC, I could see an impoverished, run-down little shopping plaza. I began to entertain the notion of trying for something a little better. I’m not a terribly big fan of KFC. It’s good, but not really the most portable food in the world. I drove past it into the shopping plaza and began looking for other eateries. A Chinese place! Jackpot! Quick, cheap, good, and big! I parked, ran in, and ordered a Kung Pao chicken lunch to go, while suppressing my desire to embrace the little Asian woman at the counter. My food was prepared with clockwork precision and speed. I was out of there and back into my car in minutes. After parking the car, walking back into the fair, sitting down at my wife’s booth, and explaining why it took me so fucking long to find food, I ate. It was incredible. It was probably almost 3:30, though I didn’t bother to check my watch to see what time it actually was when I finally got to eat. At that moment, it occurred to me that it would be fun to walk over to the vegan chili booth, exclaim in my best death metal growl, “I eat suffering!” and then sit down and eat my chicken in front of the vegan hippie and her fucking Crockpot of cold ethical chili. My manners and sense of restraint won out, though, and I just sat back and ate behind my wife’s booth. Then I got a cupcake and quietly read The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Saturday, March 20, 2010
I’ve been laid off twice. While I collected unemployment checks, I felt like a degenerate parasite. I felt like it was dirty money, and I was doing something wrong by accepting it. For those months I felt like other people around me knew I didn’t work and were constantly scrutinizing and judging me for spending free money. Work felt dignified. Work made me feel entitled to my money and self-esteem, like I'd earned it. Work felt righteous. A few more years of working have cured me of that sentiment. Now it just makes me feel loss. It’s time taken away from me that I’ll never get back. It’s time misspent. Every Friday, I mourn the loss of another week of my life that I can never reclaim. It’s slow, incremental murder that I hold like a grudge against my employers. Working doesn’t make you more or less entitled to anything. It’s just something that most of us have to do. Most of us have to do our own laundry. If you don’t have to do your own laundry, and somebody else does it for you, your clothes get no less clean in the process. I don’t think that anybody enjoys doing laundry, or would fault you for dodging the task if you have the means. That’s all it is. Don’t be ashamed of what you have.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Monday, March 15, 2010
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
We all got loaded. That part wasn’t my fault. Everybody planned on that. My wife. A friend of mine. The Blond. Me. However, I was supposed to be taking it easy, as I was the driver. It couldn’t have surprised anybody that I failed to achieve that objective, though. The first part of the evening was a beer festival at Construction Junction. We parked about a mile away from it, with the intent of giving me time to get my head back on the return walk to the car. The approach was a little quiet, but the festival was wonderful. Everybody loosened up pretty quickly. Beer is good that way. I saw a saint there, Sue. College art professor, brilliant woman, she taught me how to paint. She helped me find my voice with paint. I hugged her. We talked briefly. It was good for my heart. I kept drinking. I saw a girl from work and her boyfriend. We all talked. We moved on. I was still pretty sober and didn’t say anything stupid. After about an hour and a half, everybody was hitting the bathrooms in intervals. I was left standing alone with the Blond, talking with her. That’s exactly what I wanted. My heart was going to break through my ribs. We talked about very personal things. It felt good. Her character is so inviting. She disarms me in an instant. I’m a shitty liar to begin with, but around her I can’t help but gush. Everything pours out of me. Then another girl from work showed up. She jumped up to hug me. I hugged her back, and in a moment of unprecedented lack of restraint, kissed her on the neck. She took it well, played it off like nothing happened. Her husband was talking with other people, about 20 feet away. Eventually he came over, and she introduced us. It was awkward. I felt terrible, but said nothing about it. We all talked more, and took off. I hurried everybody out the door and away from my embarrassing indiscretion. I told them about what I had just done, and everybody laughed without restraint. We moved quickly through the dark, down the sidewalk, laughing, lighting up the night. The Blond and my wife disappeared between two houses to piss. They ran and giggled like children at play. My friend had lots of questions about the arrangement that my wife and I seem to have. It was news to him, and he just couldn’t get his head around it. He didn’t understand how my wife and I allowed each other to have sex with other people. He didn’t understand how nobody would get jealous, or why were even married at all if we wanted to be promiscuous. He fired his baffled questions with confusion and subtle, restrained frustration. My wife and I did our best to explain. I think we failed. We weren’t bothered. I drove us across town to the Lava Lounge. All of our bartender friends were there. I saw Greg immediately, and hugged him. We all got a booth, and started drinking more. Katie was at the bar, just as beautiful as ever. The Blond glowed red in the bar lights. She’s always beautiful, but special lighting amplifies that to great effect. It was a new context for me to see her in. I sat in the far corner of the booth. My wife sat beside me, to my left. My friend was directly across from me. The Blond sat beside him, and across from my wife. Greg floated around between the bar and the booth and sat where he could. He was on fire, in rare form. Mischievous. Free shots. He wanted me to get into a fight. Then my friend wanted us to start some sort of game where we punch the person to our immediate right in the face. Fortunately, nobody followed through. Though he really seemed into it, and wanted me to punch him. He was starting to lose it. I take responsibility for the whole thing. I took every chance I could to get close to the Blond whenever I could. I’d send him off with my wife. Nothing was meant to come of it, and nothing ever did come of it, but the Blond was his date, and I probably got a little too touchy with her for his taste. My fault. It was nice, but my fault. The tension must have been upsetting him. As everybody was getting ready to leave, apparently my wife tried to kiss him. I didn’t see the event, and my wife was blackout drunk, so she has no recollection of it. I’ve only heard of it secondhand. I was already outside. He took my wife aside, and asked her what was going on. She did her best to level with him. We generally like to have all of the cards on the table as our modus operandi. I know my wife was generally indifferent. She would have done it, but she wasn’t as invested in it as me. I can tell when she’s into a man, and when she’s just helping to get me laid. She can be a hell of a wingman. He calmly emphasized that he couldn’t be sexually involved with her. Fair enough. It ended there. I stood outside in the cool air with the Blond while that conversation was happening, and gave her one last hug. She went back in to get my friend and my wife, who were just resolving the aforementioned conversation. They emerged from the bar. It seemed like everybody was spinning in disparate confusion. There was anger and hurt feelings, and I was oblivious to it all. I had no idea. Nobody had any clarity left anyhow. I drove the Blond and my friend down to the “T” station, where they took a train back to his place. I drove my wife and myself home. Once we got to the bedroom, we still had enough left to go at it for one good round. Then we passed out until morning.
The next day was filled with awkward correspondence, and they both blamed everything on my wife. Nothing on me. Bizarre. No matter how I tried to request blame, it wasn’t given to me. Both in the moment and in retrospect, it seemed to me that everybody was having fun and fueling the tone of the evening. My wife still has no recollection of the event, though she doesn’t deny that it was possible that she tried to kiss him. She probably did, and that absolutely entitles the Blond to be angry with her. There’s no doubt about that. My wife is still apologizing for it. It seems odd to me, though, that my friend could be so sore. He was furious. A pretty woman tried to kiss him, and he was furious. It must have been traumatic for him. For all we know, it could have been a peck on the cheek. It could have been full on the mouth. I don’t know. My wife doesn’t know. I’m pretty sure the Blond didn’t see it, so she doesn’t likely know, either. The only information anybody has comes from the victim of said kiss, my friend, and he’s been absolutely shaken to the core by it.