Curiosity and the Asian Pirate

At some point in your career as a software consultant with IBM, they funnel you into a small featureless room with 12 uncomfortable seats and a bubbling projector on it’s last few hours. In this room, you are taught how to survive on the road, in the hotel, and at the client site. I only took three things from this…

  1. Always do your dry cleaning outside of the hotel, it’s exponentially cheaper, and you can bring mountains of clothes from home and the salvation army to clean for the same cost as doing it at the hotel.
  2. Chicago is a shitty hub airport to fly though for about 10 months of the year. I can only infer that Chicago is shitty as well.
  3. The receptionist is your first and most valuable friend at any client site. He/she knows everything that is going on and usually are in dire need of some conversation beyond the passer by saying Hi or Goodbye.

One receptionist, let’s call her Janine, was as happy as could be. Always huge smiles on top of her very round torso. She was young and always in everyone’s business. One day I gave her my blackberry number so a group of us could meet at a concert which I made an excuse not to go to. A week later she sent me photos of her smooshy boobs from behind the front desk. An hour later and the photos were still arriving of other areas of her body. What the hell was going on in that lobby? As I left work that day I had to pull her aside and firmly whisper to her that my work phone could not receive these sort of things from a client’s receptionist! Janine liked me and I didn’t mind.

A week later as I made my coffee in the kitchen, I was approached by Li Li (pronounced Lee Lee). Li Li was an elegant looking friend of Janine who was clearly first generation Chinese from her very thick accent.  She stood up tall and straight and almost shuffled around when she walked. It was hard to say how old she was but I presumed 30 and that’s why she enjoyed hanging out with the gossipy Janine so as to grasp on to her youthful years.

“Luke, I got somethin’ tell you. It important.” she said in her stereotypical Chinese accent

Up until this point, my interaction with Li Li was no more than 15 words exchanged as we passed in the kitchen or the halls. “Sure, what’s up?” I replied.

“Janine like you. Want to go on date with you. Why you no ask her out?” she quickly blurted out.

So to set the stage for my upcoming answer, I was a month or so into one of the many break ups I had with my ex-girlfriend. My dating life was dismal and I knew it. I loathed meeting girls at bars. My roommates chided me constantly for not talking to more girls or doing more about my situation. I needed to do something, and quick.

I awkwardly replied with, “That’s nice but I don’t like her like that. But Li Li, would you like to go out with me tomorrow to a comedy show my friends and I are going to?”

She had zero reaction. No blinking, no stammering, nothing. I started to get antsy after a few seconds but she finally replied. “OK. I send you email with phone number.” and walked away right passed where Janine was sitting and watching. I stood there alone and sipped my coffee. I wondered if her unexpected and odd reaction was at all any sort of foreshadowing.

Tyler and Marla, my buddy and his girlfriend, had bought tickets to the Laugh Factory and invited me to go as long as I brought a date. The three of us carpooled and I had arranged for Li Li to meet us at the sushi place before hand. Li Li was running late and after a round of beers and sake she called.

In a very frantic voice, “Luke! I outside. Come get me!” and then she hung up with no further instructions.

As I went outside, I heard some commotion near the valet area. As I approached I saw the valets screaming at a lady who apparently had skidded to a stop, diagonally, in the valet area and wouldn’t get out of her car and was blocking the rest of the traffic. She saw me as I jogged over trying to avoid the gaze of the valets, and she got out and sat in the passenger seat. I got in the driver’s side and quickly parked the car.

As Li Li got out of the car, I realized that she now had an eye patch over her left eye and was using a cheap looking cane. Neither of which I had ever seen before or even at work when I had seen her hours before.

“Li Li, what happened?! Why are you leaning on that cane and wearing a pirates patch?” I asked trying not to laugh.

“Well, I wa’ itching eye and my finga’ go too fa’ inside.” she casually explained as if this is a problem we all face at one point in our lives. “And when I leave building I trip on rug outside. I sue them I think.” again as casual as can be.

I convinced her the cane was unnecessary but the patch had to stay.

We got back to sushi just in time to catch Tyler and Marla getting up and saying we had to get to the show before it started. Brief introductions were made, Tyler made a crack about the eye patch which Li Li didn’t quite understand, and we were off.

The show was hilarious every which way. Li Li didn’t laugh once. Li Li didn’t drink her two drink minimum since she said she was on some sort of eye medication. I had given up on the date and impressing Li Li and tried to enjoy myself. We went for more drinks after the show. Tyler, Marla, and I kept the conversation light and jovial but Li Li never really joined in. She sat there very poise and straight backed, scanning the restaurant with her one good eye.

At some point, Tyler and Marla “went to the bathroom” and left Li Li and I to entertain ourselves. I tried to ask how old she was, which she avoided. I tried to ask about how long she worked at my client, which she avoided. I tried to ask how long had she been in the United States, which she also avoided. And on and on it went.

It turned out that “going to the bathroom” really meant going to Tyler’s suburban and fucking and then going back home without me. Thanks. In the end Li Li gave me a ride home. I pecked her on the cheek where her good eye could see me and I left without looking back. What a date.

As bad as this date went, I ended up seeing Li Li a few more times over the course of a few months. Come on, I am a guy, and at the time anything was a good thing. It became known that Li Li was well into her 40’s and remained to be as awkward as ever.

After many weeks of not seeing or talking to Li Li, I had gotten back together with the ex-girlfriend. We were coming back from a date at the beach and she was riding on the back of my motorcycle. We passed my roommates on the way home who were waiving at me frantically trying to tell me something but I just figured they were saying Hi. The ex and I arrived home and went into my room.

I came out to get some water and who should I find there but Li Li and my roommate sitting on the couch. My roommate looked at me with a helpless shoulder shrug saying “She said she would wait until you got home. I tried telling her that it might not be for days but she insisted on staying. She has been here like three hours. We haven’t said a thing to each other for ages. It’s so weird!”

Li Li looked at me and said “Is your ex in room? Ex you say you don’t want to be with?” to which I nodded meekly. She continued, “I thought you say is nothin’ serious between you guys?” I stuttered a bit saying how it wasn’t serious.

“If dat true, I want hear it from her.” she stoically demanded in her accent.

I was a little taken aback by the request. I tried to ignore my roommates watching and snickering. Fine, if it would get her to leave, fine. I told Li Li to wait one moment while I went in to talk to my ex.

As I entered my ex spoke first, “Who’s that? Is that the old asian lady you told me about? Oh my god.”

I turned on my salesman voice, “Ya it is. OK look. I haven’t seen her for months so don’t worry about it. OK. Here’s the deal. She wont leave until she hears from you that you and I are nothing serious and we are not getting back together. Please, can you just say that to her?”

“Are you fuckin’ kidding me Luke?! Fine. Whatever. I’ll say that. Looks like I ain’t lying anyways.” she said.

I went out and brought Li Li into my bedroom where my Ex was sitting on the bed. I made the introductions, unsure if I should suggest they shake hands or something. I then told Li Li that my ex had something to say to her.

My ex angrily said “Luke and I are definitely nothing serious. I don’t even know what I am doing here. We are just having fun, I guess.”

Li Li, now with two good eyes, just stood there taking it in. She didn’t say anything, long enough to give my ex and I enough time to look at each other, then look back at Li Li, and then finally Li Li said, “Good.” and turned around and shuffled out the door leaving me to deal with whatever the fuck I had created for myself. I felt I had been raped and pillaged by a pirate.

The Fear in Puerto Rico

If you tell anyone from the USA that you are going to Puerto Rico, they will ignore you and think you mean Costa Rica. If you tell anyone from the USA you are going to Puerto Rico for an entire month, they will immediately ask you “Why?” This is actually the programmed response for most Americans regardless of the destination as long as it is outside of what they know to be real.

The Rum Diary by Hunter Thompson takes place in Puerto Rico and in particular the San Juan area where I am staying right now. I read this book once before, but considering my circumstance, I thought I would dive in one more time now that I am a local.

In university I wanted to emulate the characters in Thompson’s books. A Raoul Duke halloween costume that lasted for several days even. But more than ever I saw myself in Paul Kemp, the 32 year old wandering journalist who is seeking his next place in life. After 10 years of travel and temporary residences and insignificant relationships, he begins to wonder “Why am I looking?”

I was feeling better now, warm and sleepy and absolutely free. With the palms zipping past and the big sun burning down on the road ahead, I had a flash of something I hadn’t felt since my first months in Europe—a mixture of ignorance and a loose, “what the hell” kind of confidence that comes on a man when the wind picks up and he begins to move in a hard straight line toward an unknown horizon.

When my kids are in elementary school, I plan to swap them out for the children of some international friends. Only temporarily mind you, six months or so. I will inculcate my children with the culture of a dozen lands because it is over the horizon they may find themselves. But there is no place like home Aunty Em and if the blade comes down on you hard enough, you will want to run home for safety. Through unhealthy amounts of rum and police fights and dubious employment, Paul Kemp begins to yearn for a home that didn’t exist and attempts to construct one in San Juan. He knew it wasn’t real but the temporary feeling of safety and the loving embrace of a place to call “yours” is priceless in an unknown land. I knew that all too well after 36 hours in Puerto Rico.

My wife and I had arrived to our “home” for the next month after a very joyous night at a trendy bar De La Vida. The building door was open, the apartment door was open, and inside we found my laptop, passport, camera, solar powered backpack, and travel journal stolen. The Fear set in. I wanted out. Take me home. I can feel their beady eyes watching me. The apartment owner must be in on it. The police inspecting the place just made me feel more uneasy. The hours of telephone hold music as a backdrop to my meager glare out the dark windows. For the first time in my life I felt genuinely frightened and I didn’t know what to do about it other than get the hell out of there. The underbelly of Puerto Rico had won.

The sweat was torture and the rest of the day was littered with the dead remains of all those things that might have happened, but couldn’t stand the heat. When the sun got hot enough it burned away all the illusions and I saw the place as it was—cheap, sullen, and garish—nothing good was going to happen here.

 

 

Rest in Peace: OurThursday Android app, Get a Grip

Three and a half years ago I created an app that I hoped would break the introverted chains of the masses. I called it “Get a Grip” and it was available on the Android Play Store. Apple rejected it saying it did not provide enough functionality, those sorry sots. Well last night, I made the decision to retire GAG in hopes for a more civil and humane future. This blog is a memorial to GAG.

The app was simple as all good apps should be… you opened it up, clicked the enormous and somewhat scary tongue, and a microphone was presented to you with a stop button. That was it. What would you do?

In 1000 days this app was downloaded 246 times and collected roughly 100 recordings. So what did these people say? Who were they? Why would they download an app that had a grotesque image of people gripping a slithery tongue? What would you do?

Well my first and only use of the app reveals that I need to be much more creative as I still use this in my daily routine including work meetings.

 

My Dad… whoops… I mean Sophie chimed in with his very dependable attitude towards most people.

 

This dude took the opportunity to practice his Italian swagger for all to hear.

This lost soul thought that they could earn some money with this incredibly well funded app.

 

This bastard said probably the most obvious and intellectual thing out of anyone.

 

I couldn’t help but feel this girl was the precursor to the currently annoying and will always be annoying “But first let me take a selfie” song.

 

This recording was actually made multiple times so I presume they thought that this one was the best of the lot.

 

This was just one of at least two dozen that were in Portuguese. Most were asking if they were happy like them or in the middle of a party like this one. Good on you Brasilians.

 

This one was asking for gas over and over in the tune of a Fergie song I believe. I am not sure the word is “gas” though in the actual song.

 

I am pretty sure that this person chose my app to die in front of.

 

And then I will just lump together the rest that I thought were of some sort of noteworthiness. Library of Congress can you hear me?

So to all the kids that downloaded this thing and made stereotypical gargling and mouth noises… to all those who are so bored when they are eating and do not find total comfort in the clattering of their silverware on the plates… to all the Israeli’s who got me to see if Google provides an audio translation so I could understand what the fuck you are saying… and to the umpteen others who pressed the microphone button and did absolute nothing, successfully wasting my time three years later down the road…. I thank you all. This app was not in vein.

So what would you do if presented with a microphone and nothing else?

Q & A: What Men Want

First of all, it has now been almost two years since my last blog post. No, I’m not married or in a relationship. I’m still professionally single and living the dream. I still love writing, but I no longer party every Friday and Saturday night like I was from 2008-2011, and I’ve taken on some new creative aspirations that don’t involve my disturbing sex life.

Anyways, one of my female Facebook friends recently sent me a message asking me some intriguing questions pertaining to a male perspective on sex and relationships. I thought I’d share it with everyone. If any girl has any additional questions, feel free to post a comment, and if it’s good enough I’ll add it to this blog.

 

Hi Dave. I’m just trying to understand men’s brains. Would you mind honestly answering some questions?

  1. Do guys notice boob size, sagginess, cellulite, jiggly thighs, etc., when looking at a naked woman, or do they just think, “yaaaaay! Naked woman!”?

Yes, guys notice everything—maybe not the first time, but eventually there are no secrets to your body. If something is fake, we’ll notice. If there’s cellulite or sagginess or a gnarly mole somewhere, we see it. If you’re scared about some physical shortcoming, don’t be. Some guys will like that part of you. I personally don’t care much about breasts (though I’ve never been a fan of huge areolas). But I have friends who value breasts more than a face. If your body means anything to you, exercise hard and eat right. It’s worth it.

 

  1. Have you ever had trouble maintaining an erection during sex? If so was it nerves or lack of interest? If nerves, what were you worried about?

I’ve never gone soft from “nerves.” I have on many occasion turned into a marshmallow either because I drank too much, or I was too sober and either her breath or vagina started stinking.

For example: Recently, a girl who I hadn’t banged in years invited me over for a late-night screw on a weeknight. I arrived at her place to find her hammered and at least ten pounds heavier than she used to be. Still attracted to her, we fooled around some (her vagina smelled worse than before), and then we started fucking. Not even a minute in, she insisted on kissing me while I plowed. And each time I got close to her face, I got a whiff of her stale breath and booze-scented face. I went soft in a matter of seconds. “I hope it’s not me,” she said. I told her it wasn’t and rolled off her.

Don’t be that girl. I’m not saying be self-conscious, but at least be aware. Chew gum if you know you probably reek of booze. Check your oil; if it stinks, go to the bathroom and take care of it.

 

  1. If you’re super keen on hooking up with a girl and really like her, if you sleep together fairly quickly, do you completely lose interest or just crave the chase again with someone new?

It depends on the girl. Intelligent guys usually know what they have in a girl within the first few hours of hanging out with her. Stupid guys misjudge the girl completely and wind up wasting the next two years of their life. Luckily I’m not stupid. But to answer your question, back in my twenties, and even my early thirties (I’m 33 now), yes, if she slept with me within the first two or three dates, I’d lose interest. Looking back, I do regret some of the girls I blew off after sex was…”achieved.” Had I spent more time with them, who knows, I might have really liked them. But now I’ve been with enough women to not care as much about “getting in their pants.” It’s no longer my #1 goal (unless I’m drunk, of course). It always varies on the situation, though. There are some girls who are fun to be around, but deep down I have no interest in committing to her, and it doesn’t matter how quickly we screw. In the back of my mind, I know it’s either casual fun, or nothing at all. And either she’s cool with the casual sex thing, or she isn’t. But if I genuinely like a girl and see it possibly going somewhere, I’m finding it much more healthy to do fun activities with her—Angels games, beach hangouts, concerts, surfing, etc—rather than simply bar-hopping and taking her home for a drunken lay, which is what my pattern has been since I started online dating back in ’09. At the same time, it’s important to not wait too long for sex or you fail to cultivate your physical and emotional chemistry, which is the crux of any meaningful relationship. It’s hard to draw the line when the “right time” is, but my advice to women is to trust their instincts and forget about rules—though I’d always wait until at least the third date (a little suspense is healthy). If the connection is there, have sex with no inhibitions. If he’s right for you, it’ll work out.

 

  1. What are some dealbreakers for men?

Every guy’s dealbreakers are different. Here are a few of mine:

-Overweight: Like I said, eat right and exercise. It’s sexy. (Again, this is just my preference. Some guys like heavy women)

-Hygiene, mainly stinky breath and/or stinky vagina: I’m sorry, but there are too many women in this world for me to settle on one who doesn’t know how to properly brush her teeth or douche her snatch.

-Cheapness: I’m not a sugar daddy, and never plan on being one. If I got the last beer or dinner, you get the next one. It doesn’t have to be perfectly even, just be conscious if the guy has been spending considerately more than you. And always say thank you.

-Selfishness: If I’m sitting there listening to you blabber on about yourself, and you’ve asked me maybe one meaningful question in the last half hour, you’re selfish (I can usually gauge this on the first date). If you’re a perpetual flake, you’re selfish (thanks for treating my time like a sandbagged beer). If you get angry when I have fun without you, you’re selfish (shut up).

-Neediness and clinginess: You know exactly what this is. Don’t do it. There’s no need to get mad if I don’t text you back something cute all the time–within whatever window of return-text-time you’re comfortable with. No, we’re not ignoring you; we’re just busy. Time away from each other here and there is healthy.

(Mani-pedi: This isn’t a total dealbreaker, and this is specifically just my thing, but for the love of God don’t chew up your fingernails like a fourth grader. Simple nail polish on your hands and feet go a long way)

Everything listed above are qualities you have complete control over. If this is you, make some adjustments not just for men, but for yourself.

 

  1.  What is it about a woman that keeps your interest after you hook up?

For starters, we’ll run for the hills if you tell us mid-post-sex-cuddle that you want something long-term, or are “finally turning your life around,” or are “finally starting to feel normal” (all true stories). Don’t text us nonstop, or act all lovey-dovey-nervous every time we see you, or make plans for a ski trip in two months. Relax and stop acting like a teenager.

What will sustain our interest? Put it this way: all those bad-boy qualities women crave in men are often the same things guys want in a girl. Have your own life. Don’t be so available all the time. If we send a lame or needy text, ignore us. Leave us hanging here and there. Make fun of us. Be mysterious, spontaneous, and courageous. Tell us interesting stories. Be a sweetheart at intimacy. Rock our world in bed. Obsess over adventures, not work and people. Live passionately. Think, do, dream. Be a woman.

 

  1. Why are relationships so scary?

As an Economics major, it’s simple really. With every prospective girl I date, I innately ask myself the following question: “Does my life improve by being in a relationship with this woman?” In other words, do the joys I experience being single—bars/clubs, traveling, road trips, Vegas, one-night-stands, fuck buddies, independence, free time, the unknown—outweigh the experiences I’ll gain by committing to this woman? Almost always I’ll choose the single path. And the few times I actually like the girl, I usually manage to fuck it up. I still have a long way to go.

 

  1. Why do guys pursue a woman, then freak out and go silent?

If we’ve gone silent, something came up that wildly turned us off. We’re likely not into you anymore. At least not long-term.

 

  1. What is it about boobs that are so alluring?

Boobs aren’t a big deal to me, but if you’re asking the question from a psychological standpoint, breasts remind men of ass, which reminds us of sex (and they’re for fertility and feeding a baby blah blah blah). Didn’t you watch that one human sexuality thing on the Discovery channel back in the mid-nineties? (Still to this day, that is the only time I’ve ever seen frontal nudity on network television. I had the hugest boner)

 

  1. What moves has a woman done in bed that made you classify her in your head as the best at something?

Be open to new things. The best girls are up for anything and everything, and they like it. But most importantly, and I’ve said this in my blog before, but here it is again: WORSHIP OUR PENISES. Marvel at it. Cherish it. Gobble it up. Tell us you love the way it looks, tastes, and feels in your hand, mouth, vagina, and ass. Seriously, I’ll take the dick-worshipping 6 over the starfish 8 any day.

(Any other questions, post a comment or email me at [email protected])

 

My friend Meyer recently told me, “No offense, Dave, but you’re the last person I’d want relationship advice from.” And he’s 100% right. I have the least actual in-a-relationship experience probably out of all my friends. The closest thing I had to a relationship was my on-and-off fling with Taylor in 2008-2009. But when I thought hard about what he said, I realized that I’m not necessarily “bad” at relationships. Dozens of times I’ve dated a girl, had sex with her, had sex with her again, and then reached a point when it was up to me to make her my girlfriend or not. And every time I chose to either keep it casual or remain single. I guess I’m bad at…not going through with the girlfriend thing. So ladies, as you let some of my responses sink in, keep in mind I’m not an expert at this stuff. I’m just a regular guy who, just like the girl who asked me all these questions, is still discovering myself, and you. Happy dating…

 

 

The Time I Quit Smoking

I first experienced cigarettes in sixth grade. I sneaked out my parents’ house in the middle of the night to go TP’ing with a friend. Some older neighborhood kids were sitting under a streetlight blowing giant plumes of smoke into the still night air. They had long greasy hair, baggy jeans, and absurdly long belts hanging past their knees. If one of them pulled out a switchblade and told us to take a hit, it would’ve been exactly as I imagined from all the PSA’s. But they didn’t. My friend came over and asked for one. They handed him a Marlboro Red 100 – the kind you only see in bowling alley bars and Keno lounges. He held the thing with all five fingers and smoked it like a fine Cuban cigar – then he threw up on the curb and never smoked again. I wasn’t so lucky. Continue reading “The Time I Quit Smoking”

McNever Forget

The morning of September 11, 2001, I awoke excited. I was buying my new car that day, a ten-year-old Volvo, all black with leather seats and an aftermarket spoiler I couldn’t wait to remove.

I’d spent the previous months backing out on the concept of college after graduating high school because 18-year-old me placed an irrationally heavy emphasis (100% sexual) on having a car in college. Having totaled my Dad’s Volvo by exiting a freeway without the aid of an offramp (that’s paraphrased from the police report), my days consisted not of learning to smoke weed or appreciate the Dead in Santa Cruz, but two jobs: repairing golf clubs and stringing tennis rackets for chump change, and hustling golfers on courses and putting greens for significantly more. 8 months after becoming car-less, I’d made enough (half the actual amount, thanks to a loan from my parents and a tap-in birdie worth $760) to buy another.

I popped out of bed, too excited to shower. I flew out of my parents’ door and walked up 29th Street to my bus stop, ducking into my childhood McDonald’s because I had a few extra minutes as a result of not showering. I grabbed a #1 (Egg McMuffin, hash browns, OJ) and waited for the #7 on Pico. As I sat on a bench near 30th, a homeless man covered in excrement (or an extraordinarily done excrement-esque pattern) approached me. This wasn’t your typical Santa Monica homeless man, the “sleeping under a freeway, drunk or high at 9 AM on a Tuesday” variety– but more along the lines of the “tragically aware doomsday homeless man”; the only thing he lacked was an apocalyptic proclamation of my godlessness on sandwich boards.

“Gimme that Egg McMuffin and I’ll blow you mind!” he shouted, marching over.

And just like any other Tuesday morning (or Friday night, or Sunday afternoon), I dismissed him as if by instinct. “Look, if I give this excrement-covered hobo with a promise of blowing my mind my Egg McMuffin, I’ll have to give every excrement-covered hobo with a promise of blowing my mind an Egg McMuffin,” I thought to myself.

So, I didn’t. He stopped, turned, and stormed off in the other direction. “G’fuckyaself, man, they just blew up New York!” was all I could make out.

I didn’t make much of it at the time, sitting by myself on that bench, waiting for my bus, eating my breakfast. When my bus arrived, it wasn’t particularly full, nor was it particularly loud; certainly not tense, let alone somber or devastated. Mind you, this was 2001, “olden times” during which we still used our voices to call each other, dated people we’d initially met in person, read the news on actual paper. I finished my McMuffin on the bus, suddenly felt guilty about that excrement-covered homeless guy, and left my hash browns in the bag on my seat when I got off.

When I stepped into the shop, I had no idea I was entering one of the most common scenes across America that day: co-workers standing still as gravestones, hands glued to their backs of their necks like stock brokers in a recession still years away, necks craned upward to a developing loop of the most terrifying, ominous, awesome visuals I’d ever seen.

I’d end up buying the Volvo a week later than planned, but by then it had become a formality, not a coronation. Much like the rest of the country, I judged everyone a little more closely that day. Not on a racial or ethnic or socioeconomic basis, just anyone who came in to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on golf clubs and hit free balls into a net while lower Manhattan disintegrated.

Them, and excrement-covered hobos with a promise of blowing my mind.

 

McNever Forget

 

If you don’t follow Mike on Twitter, the terrorists win.

Double Day

Lay awake in bed from 3AM till 7AM and you finally say whatever screw it and start the day. No aid or detriment of drugs to blame here just biochemistry, mental over stimulation, Circadian rhythms — what a mystery.  Morning smells like morning where you are and everywhere it’ll smell this way.  Good.  Crisp cool and you always feel like you want a hoody.  It feels like it just rained.
There’s a printout on the kitchen table saying our gas will be cut off on September 15th due to a $1,446.41 outstanding bill.  You have lived here for not even one month and the bill is made out to someone not you nor your roommates nor anyone you’ve ever heard of so you ignore it because its still August for two more days and you need milk.

Run across to the Bodega.

“Morning.” people say to you.

“Morning.” you say in return.

Affirmations passed back and forth.  Yes, it is morning.  That’s right.  Say it out loud and convince yourself.

You suppress the urge to say it’s been morning for over seven hours and the cheery folk are just showing up for the nice parts.  Insomniac jealousy, that.

In the bodega the radio plays a station you’ve never tuned into and you remind yourself you’re awake by hearing it now.  Oh yeah.  Things are going on as if everything fit a definition of normal.  The radio is still a real thing.  People still use it, for real.  Its another reminder like one of those of tearaway day calendars, little disposables to mark the uniqueness of an otherwise pedestrian occurrence.

Something about the word quotidian.

There’s a sort of stomach ache that comes with not getting sleep.  Another symptom of insomnia like how caffeine only helps you maintain function rather than boost it, yawning with your mouth wide open and not noticing, itchy eyes, keep stretching limbs.

But that sun can make up for it.  The stillness of pre-8am.  It’s like your skimming everything as you move through it.

You get back to the kitchen and make breakfast and there’s left over grease and seasoning in the pan but no paper towels so u get added flavor.  The sunny side up eggs look like a Dali painting and its gonna be a weird day.

You finish breakfast and you shower you go outside your eyes aren’t sagging too hard yet, non wrinkled clothes, nothings caught up and won’t for a bit still and you just gotta make it to around 6pm to reset your schedule so until then you gotta stay awake, you gotta try and pretend it’s just another day, and now you’re privy to smiles and nods of solidarity:

“Morning.”

“Morning.”

Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®
(Archived on August 30th, 2012 – 127 South 2nd Street, Brooklyn NY 11211)

The Dos and Don’ts of America

A handy dandy list for living in the greatest country on Earth.

– DO marry a 16-year-old if you’re 50.
– DON’T marry a consenting adult of your same gender.

– DO separate church and state.
– DON’T actually separate church and state.

– DO drink alcohol and throw a table through the window.
– DON’T smoke marijuana and sit at home laughing at the wall.

– DO share your teen pregnancy on national television.
– DON’T provide children with proper sex education.

– DO vote.
– DON’T worry, it doesn’t always count.

– DO buy food from a Walmart Supercenter.
– DON’T ask what’s in it or where it came from.

– DO cut social programs that help struggling families.
– DON’T tax the wealthy! They’ve got more boats to buy.

– DO hire foreigners for a low wage then kick them out for being aliens.
– DON’T allow foreigners to legally immigrate to our country and pay taxes.

– DO bring your machine gun to the mall!
– DON’T discuss gun control in the White House; it’s not the right day, OK?

The Falling Man

The Falling Man–So much happened so fast.                                In the midst of the atomic age, JFK challenged the nation to put a man on the moon, and within a decade, the space program did. The moon landing inspired a Cold War generation to pursue science and engineering in the name of innovation.  Kids who watched Neil Armstrong walk on the moon grew up to launch satellites, create the internet and build the International Space Station.  It’s 50 years since JFK, and even as we retire the Space Shuttle program alongside its memories and triumphs, our curiosity [1] is still wild enough to take us to Mars.It’s the Age of Terror and double-dip recessions now.  Everyone wants to know exactly where our money is going, and why.  What else can we do?Just eleven years after we watched one suited man fall to Earth [2], a global team of experts sponsored by an international corporation [3] put a new man in the sky.  Up.  Way up.This man [4] was wearing a suit, too — a new suit — one that caused him panic attacks and claustrophobia in the years leading up to his historic fall.This man was all alone.In his ear was the voice of an older generation.

“All right, step up on the exterior step. Start the cameras. And our guardian angel will take care of you now.”(Previous record holder Joe Kittinger, now 84, a retired Air Force colonel)

The man in the suit stood on a small platform facing outward, suspended at the foothills of the heavens.  He could see the curvature of the Earth and the continents unsullied by borders.  He stood between the blue glow ocean and the sheer void of space.  He stood there in silence.Nature thwarted one previous attempt.  Another, skipped because of panicked behavior.  [5] But this time, the man stood alone, above the Earth, while back at home we watched from indoors, behind locked doors.  Many of us watched through glass screens, some listened through headphones.  Some people held their breath with hand over mouth and some of us were all by ourselves.The man said something.  It was garbled and incomprehensible, but he said it.  Then, the man in the suit jumped and fell towards the Earth.We all fell.For minutes, we sat silent, the foreign commentary muted, and listened to his breath accelerate as our hearts did the same.

“There was concern early in the dive that Baumgartner was in trouble. He was supposed to get himself into a delta position – head down, arms swept back – as soon as possible after leaving his capsule. But the video showed him tumbling over and over.”  (Jonathan Amos, BBC)

The most dangerous part of his fall was the spin — too much can disorient a person, or worse, force them to lose consciousness.  But the man in the suit couldn’t feel the wind so he had to calm his nerves and think logically, which way am I spinning, how can I counteract this, focus, adjust.The man plummeted for minutes until he re-entered thicker atmosphere, deployed a parachute, and his fall turned into flight, and then a soar, and then a glide.We couldn’t see his smile beneath his substantial headgear.  We waited until he had his feet on the ground, his suit off, for him to tell us what he had said up there before he jumped:  [6]

“I know the whole world is watching, and I wish the whole world could see what I see. Sometimes you have to go up really high to understand how small you really are.”  (-Felix Baumgartner)

The action itself spoke loud enough to break the sound barrier. [7] It was a testament to the human will and proof of our kerosene blood.  Instead of asking ourselves what we can’t do, we’re shifted to ask ourselves what we will do.  And if there is a fight with fear we will win it.We will jump from space, just because. [8]This time, we made it.Times have changed.–Footnotes:[1] “I want to send a robot to the moon with a camera and I need a few billion dollars” is a hard sell no matter which political climate you’re pitching it in.[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Falling_Man[3] Red Bull did a good thing here.  The good-natured press they generate is the type of advertising money can’t buy.  Good attracts good.  Stratos is an example of having cake while also being able to eat cake.[4] Felix Baumgartner sounds like a cat name.[5] “At one point in 2010, rather than take an endurance test in it, he went to an airport and fled the United States. With the help of a sports psychologist and other specialists, he learned techniques for dealing with the claustrophobia.” (NYT 8/15/12)[6] Dude, imagine if he just… died.  It would have been a genuine tragedy.  We would never have known what he said, Red Bull stock would have taken a steep dive, and the groundhog would see his shadow and declare six more years of terror.  But  that was never going to happen and Red Bull invested heavily – they bet their equivalent of the economy on success.[7] Actions speak louder than words blah blah overcrowded volume of news commentary uh-huh whatever — the sound barrier thing is poetic to me because our parents may say what they will about the quality, but our generation’s tunes are undoubtedly the loudest.[8] “Engineers considered aborting the mission when Mr. Baumgartner’s faceplate began fogging during the ascent, but he insisted on proceeding and made plans for doing the jump blind.”  (NYT 8/15/12) … Man, he would have done it blind.


Additional Sources:

http://www.esquire.com/features/ESQ0903-SEP_FALLINGMAN#ixzz29RXZENJrhttp://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/world/americas/article3567921.ecehttp://www.stuff.co.nz/world/videos/7817432/Felix-Baumgartners-record-setting-leaphttp://www.esquire.com/features/ESQ0903-SEP_FALLINGMANhttp://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/15/us/felix-baumgartner-skydiving.html?_r=0]http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19943590The Falling Man, a photograph by Richard Drew for the Associated Press