Sunday, January 26, 2014

On petty anger.

I'm having a hard time not being furious right now.

See, on my street, when the snows come, there's a particularly obnoxious practice of people putting shit out along the street to reserve their parking spots. The system is entirely baseless - these spaces are owned by the city of Philadelphia, and there's absolutely no reason to respect this behavior. But for better or for worse, it's done anyway.

Across the street from my house, a pair of pink lawn chairs mark a perfectly good spot. One that, judging from tire tracks in the snow, has not been used in two days.

Someone is reserving a spot for a car that hasn't been there in forty-eight hours. Let that sink in for a second. Someone has laid claim to something that isn't theirs and isn't using it at all.

It's stupid, right? It's such a small, petty thing that in my head, I know, I know it's absolutely nothing to get worked up over. It's not worth the time and energy to find this person and beat them mercilessly with their own lawn chairs. It's not worth the heartspace to hate them with the intensity of an excretory outburst the morning after you've eaten two dozen hot wings.

But I feel it. It's in my head now, popping up every third or fourth thought like a bass drum thump. I can't help envisioning what kind of self-centered, over-entitled cunt would do something so thoughtless. What kind of empty, fuckless life this person must lead to need to grasp at something so obnoxious to feel some modicum of control. What their face would look like as I rang their doorbell and shat on their doorstep.

I want to lash out. I want to teach them a lesson. I want to rub it into their face just how much of a fucking cock they're being.

And I wish I could end this post with something inspirational, like "But I rise above, take the high road, and let it go." But that wouldn't be honest of me. Truth is, I want to find this person and smash their face into a brick wall.

That's the punchline, folks. I don't care how enlightened, easygoing, or good a person you think you are. The fact is, everyone has shitty thoughts. Everyone gets pissed off at really small, stupid shit. And sometimes, it's all we can do to keep ourselves from doing something illegal in response to it.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

On New Year's.

I can't really remember when I started it. I remember standing outside the Tavern, I remember standing on rooftops, I remember walking through the desolate streets of Ocean City.

It's a simple little ritual. Find a moment after midnight to get away, to slip out into the night with a glass of whiskey in my hand, and empty my mind. Find a second of stillness in the dark, and think. Think of those that matter to me. Where they are, what they might be doing.

Tonight I'll think of those under the roof I'll share, the truest beauty of good friends mere minutes away.

Tonight I'll think of those in the great city I walked away from, spent laughing with friends and significant others and wives and husbands.

Tonight I'll think of those who celebrated before me, curled up in beds in London, on a couch in Bruges, getting on a train to Budapest.

Tonight I'll think of those close but not close enough, sharing this city and my heart. Of the girl in Boston, the one in DC, the family in Connecticut and New Jersey and Pittsburgh.

Tonight I'll think of those in time zones west, with their boyfriend's family in Chicago, with his wife in LA.

These are the people I love, that have meaning to me. I will stand on this whirling planet, and I will love them; I will pray they find a moment of quiet to sit in, and pray they can feel it as I speak these borrowed words.

Now we are known.

We take root.

Happy 2014.

Monday, December 30, 2013

On Amsterdam.

So here I am, somewhere over the Atlantic, throat still itchy from the cheap hash we had to finish before we left the boat, arm crackly and aching from the fresh ink scratched into my skin three days prior. Already in my head I can hear the inevitable cavalcade of voices asking the same thing - “How was Amsterdam?”

Somewhy, I don't really feel like answering. Not for any particularly deep-rooted reason – there wasn't some deep resonance to the trip that would encourage me to keep it to myself, nor did anything untoward happen for me to keep under my hat. Amsterdam simply was, and I was in it. I had a good time, and now I'm coming home.

Then how do I answer? With the obvious, I suppose – with the details, with the simple joy of meeting Darian at the door, or finding Jon at Centraal or Pigtails leading her cadre to us in the rain. The cheese, the coffeeshops, the bars and clubs, the Christmas dinner. The genever and the advocaat, the stroopwafel and showarma. Or even the quiet times between, the hours spent watching movies and napping, lying about in flannel and comfortable t-shirts.

It was a vacation. One with plenty to do at our fingertips. For some of us, it was one stop of many, a link in a chain of crazy European adventures. For others, it was an escape from the day to day, a walkaway from our jobs and quiet lives. It's over, and I'm ready to get back my work and my kitties.

But regardless of what it was, or how it was, I spent Christmas Day with a table of near-strangers and dear friends, raising a glass to something as simple as a houseboat on the canals of Amsterdam.

So here's to that.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

On blogging in Amsterdam.

So I thought this trip would be a lot like Paris - with moments of my day I could settle down in front of the computer and write entertaining things for you folks back home to read.

Toooootally not the case. I'm either out wandering uncontrollably, doing something I'll be needing to recover from, or recovering from said things. Soooooooo I'll let you guys know what's up when I get back.

Because there's still totally things I need to be doing right now.


Sunday, December 22, 2013

On BED2013.

I know, I've been flying under the radar lately. For someone who started out the year blogging every day, the dropoff has been significant.

I remember why I started this project with Kitty - it was to start writing again, to regain some semblance of creativity in my life. It was also to keep track of myself, since I'd just started coming out of my shell after a couple of pretty dark years. And to both ends, even though I haven't been keeping up with the project in recent months, it's served its purpose mightily.

I guess what I'm saying is if you're finding yourself in a rut, maybe give something like this a try. It's not for everyone, of course, but chances are, if you're reading this, you're probably a blogger of some sort. Get your thoughts out on paper (or what passes for paper these days). Reread what you've said, what was running through your mind a day ago, a week ago, three months ago. It helped keep me on track, helped me realize when I was floundering, helped me figure out which directions to take.

And maybe it's the friendships I've made this year, be it through work, BiSCVEDA, or otherwise. Maybe it's just getting out of the house and getting my hands dirty again. Or maybe it's the blog. (It's probably all of the above and more.) But I feel good again. I feel like me again. And much like getting some action after a long dry spell, you never really feel the impact of that kind of thing until you're in it.

Cheers, guys. Thanks for being a part of this year. Now if you'll pardon me, I have to finish packing for my trip to Amsterdam.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

On keeping the horizon horizontal.

In response to SweeneySays' prompt.

Define the horizon. (is it the future? is it what you want? is it what you're aiming for?)

Keep it level. (look straight ahead at it. focus on it. see it for what it is. see earth and sky, dark and light. define the path that leads you there.)

Behold the road ahead. (see the things in your way. the steps you must take, the stones must stride over, the holes you must not fall into.)

Look at the things. (with your eyes on the horizon, keep it straight. don't turn your head at the people and events in your way; see them all from the same direction, facing forward.)

Know the things. (how do they fit against the horizontal line? do they stand in your way or guide your steps?)

Measure the distance. (that which is far away seems small. know they will grow as you approach, compensate accordingly.)

Keep the horizon horizontal. (the wind resistance will lower your gaze. obstacles will alter your trajectory. lift your head. remember to refocus. keep your perspective stable.)

Walk. (never stop walking.)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

On a quick note about nachos.

Whenever I get nachos at a restaurant, I'm always sad to see them pile on the toppings, then throw the cheese on top to melt in the salamander before it comes out. It always ends in sadness - the soggy chips, the having-to-use-a-forkedness that nachos, true nachos, are supposed to obviate.

If you top the chips with cheese before you put the rest of the toppings on, the tasty lipid-rich shreddings create a waterproof barrier that delays the toppings' inevitable drippage, offering the perfect balance of crisp, toasty chips with the moist deliciousness atop it. Plus the steam from the meat or beans or what have you has somewhere to go other than down.