Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Bored bored bored

I'm back at work again, thank heavens. Cooking again, which in one aspect is a step backwards, but in another is relying on a skill I've had for 20 years or more to get me through the lean times. If you can't rely on your trade, what can you rely on?

Right now however, that is to say, at this very moment, I am so bored that even drinking isn't helping. No one has posted a new schedule yet at the restaurant, so I ended up with the day off. Since my current jawn is part-time, I decided to take this opportunity to inquire about a day prep position at an Italian place nearby. I headed over around 11:30 and was told to come back at 3:00. Not having much else to do, I came home, made myself some lunch, and got into bed for a few hours of shut-eye.

3:00 came, I went back to the restaurant and interviewed. Looks like I have a good shot: I know a number of people who work there, I have 20 years worth of skills, etc. So I came home, made some dinner, caught The Simpsons and...

well now what? Someone's IM-ing me, but that's more annoyance than entertainment. I'd go out but.. well, that means spending money somewhere, most likely on beer that I have here at home. But TV tonight is loathesome. I can't watch anymore of it, it's making me crazy.

As it is, I'm drinking a beer (beer number three actually), and it's not helping anything. I'd like to smoke a bit, but then, as mentioned in a previous post, then I'd just be bored and stoned.

And the internets are no fun today. Bored bored bored.

I'm readingThe Plague, by Camus. I have to admit, I would rather be bored than have the plague.

See how boring this post is? Boring, boring booooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooorrrring!

Thursday, November 25, 2004

The things I have to give thanks for, I give thanks for every day.

However, this Thanksgiving Day is just about the most thankless I've ever experienced. If you're an American, there ain't a hell of a lot to be thankful for. And that goes for the idiots in the confed--I mean the "red" states. They just don't have the brains to realize it.

As we say up here in the always-been-blue, always-will-be-blue (no changing colors and loyalties every 150 years like some states I know), we have a saying: Better Dead Than Red.
I'll give thanks for one thing: Thank God I'm a Yankee.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Ennui and the Fallacy of Drugs

I was sitting in the ar with my friend Eric one afternoon a few months ago. Eric's a big drinker, and at 4:00 he was well on his way to being three sheets to the wind. I'm a big drinker too, but not as far as he goes.

I love Eric: he's one of the funniest and most jaded people I know. Like me, he mines his own life for stories which have no moral, but ring long and loud like a bell.

Here's a great story he told me. For a couple of years, he'd been dating this girl Amy, another big drinker. Amy's a sweet girl, a bit on the needy side and with some self-esteem issues and a tendency to hysteria, but wonderful nonetheless. She and Eric made a good couple, for a couple of lushes. However, after about two years, the relationship hit the skids, and Amy moved out. She left behind piles of clothing and possessions at Eric's place, and after about a year of trying to get her to pick them up, Eric finally gave her an ultimatum: "Pick up your shit, or it's going in the trash." Not very nice perhaps, but reasonable enough: I know Amy, and she's got a LOT of stuff. If even half of her crap was floating around Eric's place, it was probably all he could do to find a vacant spot to sit down.

By this time Amy was dating Dave, also a big drinker. By the time Amy got Eric's message about her stuff, she'd been drinking all day and promptly freaked out. She went crying to Dave, who had also been drinking all day and was shitfaced. Between his alcoholic haze and Amy's alcoholic hysterics, Dave came to the not unreasonable conclusion that Eric needed a good thumping. So off he went to find Eric.

Dave found Eric at a dive somewhere in South Philly. With a bang, he kicked open the door, and spying Eric, pointed a shaking and hand and growled "YOU." Eric knew that face: it was the face of a man pushed too far, and he began to back up with his hands in the air. "Dave, I don't know what's gotten into you but.." as Dave moved in for the kill, his fist clenched.

Just as Dave had Eric cornered, raising his hand to belt him in the face, someone leaped out of nowhere, and sucker-punched Dave in the back of the head, knocking him to the ground.

"HEY!," yelled Eric, "That's my friend! What the fuck do you think you're doing?" Then he clocked the guy, helped Dave to his feet and got the hell out of there.
So it goes...

So Eric and I were sitting in this bar at 4:00 PM drinking beers (Eric was chasing his with Irish whiskey). It was late summer, the sun was shining in through the murk, and the door was half-open letting in some fresh air

"Why aren't you guys outside?" said the bartender. "It's gorgeous out there." Eric looked at me, I looked at him. We glanced outside through the half-drawn blinds, and in unison said "Ehh?"

"Not to be negative," said Eric, "but what's to see that I haven't seen before?"

"My feelings exactly," I said. "I mean, yeah it's a beautful day outside. But so what? Yesterday was beautiful too, and tomorrow will be as well. And if it isn't what's going to happen, other than it might be coudy or maybe it'll rain."

"The way I see it," Eric added, "it's like Jesus said. 'There's nothing new under the sun.' I'm uhh.. uh, 37 years old now. The same things happen every year."

"I know it. The birds always sing. The sun always comes up in the East and sets in the West. In a few months, the leaves will turn colors and fall from the trees, like they've done... well, pretty much every year since I've been born."

"You guys are a couple of downers," said the bartender.

"No. No, we're not," said Eric.

"Just realistic," I added. "Could I have another beer?"

"You know," Eric went on, "not that I'm suicidal, but if I died today--"

"... It wouldn't make much difference in the long run. I feel the same way. And it's the same for everything I've been noticing," I said. "Things that used to get me all excited.. I don't know anymore. Like when I think about women, you know, they all do the same things anyway. I mean, sure some will do different things than others, some will let you do it in the ass, others want to dress up funny, but at the heart of it, it's the same act, different body. And once the body loses its novelty, it's rare that you find one you want to spend all your time with."

"You got lucky," Eric said. I nodded my head in agreement, sucking down my beer.

"I guess we both have a good case of ennui," I said.

"Is that what it is? Ennui? Existential boredom? You know, I never thought of it that way, but I guess you're right." He took a deep gurgle of beer and threw back his chaser. "Thank God for drugs and alcohol."

"Amen to that. Hey hon, could you grab me another beer? Lager this time I guess, I'm running out of cash."

It was back in July or August when we had this conversation, and while I still feel the same way about alcohol (Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy as the sage said), I've changed my mind about drugs. Drugs, especially marijuana, are a fallacy. It has taken me 20 years to realize this.

It's no secret that I've smokeda lot of pot in my day. I used to joke in college that I was going to leave my lungs to my children so they could scrape them for resin. For as long as I can remember, smoking pot has been my way of relaxing, social lubrication, and dealing with boredom. But it's a lie.

I've been trying, with varying degrees of success to get off the weed. This year has been a toughie for me: my girlfriend and my son live in Canada, and I rarely get to see them; I've been unemployed for the better part of a year, despite a solid resume; I find that everything is to some extent in stasis. And at every opportunity I've reached for the weed. On tour with UncleFucker, I would be smoking joints fromt he minute I got in the van to the minute we got off stage. In Holland last year, I would wake up, walk to the coffeehouse, and have a cup of joe and a bowl of hashish for breakfast.

Lately though, I've been observing a number of things about my behavior: I don't get anywhere near as high as I used to get; in fact, I don't get high at all; weed exacerbates any feelings of depression or unhappiness I feel; and when I start smoking weed, I can't stop.

Yet I find that when I'm bored,the first thing I want is to smoke pot. I'm bored as hell right now, and I find myself craving just a hit, just one little hit. But I know I can't do that: it won't cure the boredom at all. I'll just be sedated and bored. I know this from experience: earlier this week, I backslided and had a toke. I felt awful. My head began to spin, and my brain felt like a hive of bees, buzzy buzzy buzzy. I was unable to think straight, and my depression, which had been at bay, surged forward.

The same is true of cocaine: empty promises, all of them. Drugs are a fallacy. I wish I'd never tried them, because now I have to train my mind to dismiss them as an option when I feel bored or need somethign to do. And believe me, I need somethign to do.

I was discussing this with my friend's ex-girlfriend just yesterday. I had been in the house all day, as I have been today, and finally decided to take a bike ride to releive the boredom. I'd gone less than a block on my bike when I began to wonder why I'd left the house to begin with. I'm just as bored, but now I'm outside, I thought.

Alcohol has it's own problems and ill-effects, but it does relieve bordeom if only by putting you to sleep.

And that's all I have to say about that for now.

A Story Without Much of a Moral

[Normally when writing a story like this, I change the names. In this case, the names are too good to change, so I'm leaving them as is.]

When I was living in Western Massachusetts, I was socially on the fringes. The uber-cool people like me well enough, but I was on the outside of their orbit. There were some people who took an instant dislike to me: one of them was young woman named Gage. For whatever reason, the woman always looked down her nose at me, spoke to me in a snide tone, and lorded her self-perceived superiority over me.

To be sure, Gage had a fantastic body. She had two of the hugest breasts I've ever seen, a fine ass shaped just like a heart, and a nice set of legs. When she wasn't busy being a jerk, she had a cute and refined southern accent, which someone told me came from growing up in Savannah.

What Gage did not have was a pretty face. Her cheeks were puffy like a chipmunks, and bore the scars of high-school acne. Her eyes were buggy and a bit close together; her lips, while thick and pouty, only served to highligh her poofy cheeks. Her facial structure was more than a bit piggy.

One of the guys from the cool crowd was a fellow named Hawkeye. He was one of the best-looking guys I've ever met. Self-confident, with a bitingly dry sense of humor, he had great taste in clothes, knew where to get a good haircut, and had these deep set blue eyes thats eemed to bore right through you when he spoke to you. He was a metrosexual before the term even existed. Hawk and I got along really well, although I'm sure if I'd been single at the time I would have hated him for his luck with women. I can't remember how many times we had conversations that began with "Hey Hawk, is it true you went home with.. NO SHIT! Dude you have to tell me how that went..." And as is true with a lot of good looking people, Hawk had a streak of cruelty and arrogance in him. But he was always nice to me, and really funny too. He and I had the same dark humor, and probably the same type of arrogance as well.

Gage, like almost every other girl in town, had the hots for Hawkeye and had been quietly pursuing him for months. One night, after a long drinking bout at Hugo's or some other dive bar, she finally got her chance. They went home together to Hawkeye's place. I don't know what transpired int he interim, but at some point, Gage stood in front of Hawkeye and stripped naked for him. Garment after garment fell to the floor until she was standing there in all her glory.

Hawk lifted his bleary lids, took a look at the girl standing before him, shook his head and deadpanned "No thanks." Then he got up from the sofa, walked to his room and shut the door in her face.

When I heard this story, I felt no vicarious triumph. I felt a little ill, and a new well of sympathy for Gage opened up in me. I thought a lot less of Hawkeye as well. A friend of mine who knew Gage during college told me once that she had major self-esteem issues. This friend of mine was part of a clique that was notorious for experimenting sexually. Group sex was the order or the day, and gage desperately wanted to be a part of it, but because of her less-than-spectatcualr face, she didn't hook up all that often. Upon hearing this about her background (this was well after I heard the Hawkeye story), I felt like I understood why Gage was so haughty and unpleasant toward me. I may have been on the outskirts of the "cool crowd" while she was one of the crowd, but I was more secure in my place than she was in hers. And she dealt with her insecurity the way so many do: by being cruel to people she felt were beneath her. The fact that I didn't care probably made me even more of a target.

A few months after learning this story, I moved to Philadelphia and began playing music full-time. We were in Brooklyn one night for a gig, and who should show up but a whole coterie of gals from Western Mass. Murdock was there, Jenn was there, the one-whose-name-I-can't-recall, and Gage. It was good to see everyone, and I said so. You know how it is wghen you see someone you haven't seen in a long time: you're extra nice to them, because it's such a pleasant surprise. And so I was extra nice to Gage, maybe even especially so since I couldn't look at her without thinking of how badly Hawkeye had treated her.

And maybe I shouldn't have been surprised, but she had the same snide attitude she'd always had with me, and spoke to me with such contempt I could practically see the venom dripping from her canine teeth.

Some people don't learn anything whether they know it or not.
I'm not sure if that refers to Gage or me.
One of the last emails I got from Trolly McTroll asked me why, if I wasn't interested in his comments, I was "airing [my] dirty laundry (moron)."

Well, the answer is two, maybe threefold.
One: just because the website is public doesn't mean I care what you have to say. What makes you think you're so important anyway.
Two: One man's feast is another man's posion: my "dirty laundry" is pretty much what fuels my writing.
Three: Some of us write for the sake of writing. God knows there never seems to be rhyme or reason to most of Bukowski's work or to most of Henry Miller's output either (in Miller's case, he does seem to be on a mission to employ as many variations on the word "cunt" as he can, but that' s skant reason for writing).

Trolly seized on one of the rare pieces of politics at this blog in the past year: as most of you know, I was doing political blogging for quite some time, but as I mention in another post, with fantastic political blogs like atrios, dailykos, pandagon, and juan cole, I began to feel like part of the echo chamber. Being part of the echo chamber seems to me more a role suited for the small-minded, the radical right, and the ill-educated who only know how to parrot what they're told to say.

So basically, I write because I like to, and I find my own life an endless source of amusement.
Anyone who's too stupid to realize shouldn't be visiting this blog. You simply won't understand.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Well, it looks like I've had to do away with comments for awhile.
A very bored person, who I think is probably Jim Mathews mentioned in an earlier post, has showed up to troll me. And so, instead of dealing with his inane comments (especially when no one else comments here, does anyone read this except me?) I've turned 'em off. i think. Blogger doesn't seem to have responded, but oh well.
In the meantime, this unfortunate sap calls himself "Robert Zimmerman" and "Robert Johnson." What's especially funny is that this blog hasn't really dealt with politics in a LONG time. I mean, what with people like atrios, dailykos, and allthe other truly awesome sites out there, adding my voice to the cacaphony accomplishes little. I'd rather write about things like my kid, the People Paper Poetry, and of course publish emails here.
I don't think either of the inspirations for his pseudonyms would care for him: Robert Johnson would surely have cut whitey open with a rusty razor.
Anyway, Bobby as I'm calling him can be found at unhingedliberal@yahoo.com. Drop him a line if you get a chance. You can also probably find him at jmatt@ticnet.com, and jmatt@linkupamerica.com since they're probably one and the same. aAd if not, well, Jim needs some harassment anyway, he's a royal asshole.
Oh and Bobster (should I say Jim?) don't email me at my yahoo address. I've already complained to yahoo about you and blocked you as a spammer.
And on that note, I'm going back to cooking dinner.
The People Paper Poetry
Was once a source of mirth for me.
Hidden in the back of your classified pages,
Your readers wrote poetry for the ages,
and yes some was bad and some was cruddy,
and some written by the utterly nutty,
but still: I miss it. It's gone away,
And I think this reflects poorly on your paper today.
"The People Paper": it's right under your name,
but without the People Paper Poetry, the Daily News ain't the same.
It may be hard to separate the wheat from the chaff,
but bring back the poems, they always gave me a laugh.Please?
[meant to be read in the sonorus tones of Sowfluffya]
[apologies to People Paper Poets for biting your style]