Expectations of the Day

There are always certain expectations we have in our lives.

I can expect today that I will  leave my house to go to a job that I have long since lost all passion for. It would not be unusual for my daughter to get angry or upset because I am leaving so soon after bringing her home from school, my getting a bit frustrated about this would be about par for the course, from here the prospects for my day will only get grimmer.

When I arrive at work I can assume that my boss will greet me and ask me how I am doing. I am expected to say, “Fine.” I am fairly certain that if I were to say anything difference would change his , we’ve been going through this routine for years and I can tell that he’s not really paying any attention. I’ll draw some coffee from the air pot, in all likelihood it will be luke warm and taste of old pencil shavings.

At some point, probably late, the rest of the staff will begin to trickle in, various levels of excess from last night all too readable on their faces. I can anticipate an exasperating string of hours watching them drag themselves through the paces of the day.  It is only a matter of time before they get started, probably early, on tomorrow’s hangover.

In all probability the mediocrity of my employment, the drudgery and thankless nature of my work will further embitter me, and throughout the night I can safely expect to seriously consider quitting my job about four times, at least one of those times I will come close to just walking out. It won’t be worth it, I’ve got too much sense and too much responsibility, but it would be a damned satisfying thing to do.

After some many years I would suppose I might be inured to the feeling bleakness when examining my prospects for an evening.  It is within all reasonable expectations that I will struggle with the urge to drink. At the end of it all it will probably be best if I go home eat a pint of ice cream, and stare at my computer in mild annoyance. These short bouts of depression really get to me sometimes.

I expect…

Well, I expect I’ll feel better tomorrow.

This was written in response to a Weekly Challenge.

Re: The proper use of swear words

 

” I haven’t met anybody who’s truly shocked at swearing, really, they’re only shocked on behalf of other people.”

Stephen Fry (2007)

I don’t believe in bad words, but I do believe in bad language. I think just about anything can be said as long as it effectively conveys the point you are trying to get across

It should come as no great shock that I, like most normal human beings, swear. I swear a lot in my daily life, much more than I do in my writing.  Besides being the cultural norm for my profession, the creative use of swearing is vital for the proper expression of attitude and emotion. If used properly they can bring attention to the portions of your statements that you  wish to highlight.

In stream of consciousness speech they often take the place of punctuation, especially the comma. A true master of foul language can use practically any four letter word as an effective substitute for a noun, verb, adverb or adjective several times in a sentence and you would still be able to follow along and clearly understand the subject of discussion. I’d like to count myself among those masters, though I am sure I could still be taken to school by more than a few people. You can tell a lot about a persons frame of mind; for instance if someone (like me) suddenly stops swearing after clearly being annoyed by another person and starts to speak very slowly, and deliberately, and calmly then that individual is most likely contemplating violence.

When my daughter was born I started playing that delightful game that all new parents do where they pretend like they don’t swear when they around their children. I was actually good at it for a long time, well really I just work a lot. I realized quickly however that I was fighting a losing battle. This first occurred to me when my darling little girl called someone a jackass. It dawned on me that simply modifying my speech while around my child was going to do little to prevent her from learning and using curse words.

Late last night I stumbled across this short piece from NPR’s All Things Considered.  

So, I still havent digested the fourteen pages that Dr. Jay published in the American Journal of Psychology (I plan on doing that on my break at work), but kids are going to swear. I think it is just lazy parenting to try to simply tell them not to use certain words. It is up to us to make sure they know how  and when to use them. This doesn’t mean raising our children to talk like sailors, it means teaching kids how to properly communicate their emotions and intentions, regardless of the vocabulary they use.

Besides, it is hilarious when kids swear, just ask the internet.

Happy Monday

Visits From Nowhere

I was going through my routines this night
when as from the thinnest air,
I felt a touch that was so slight.
Might it be that someone’s there?

A brief interest seen for my endeavor
and how shallow  it does always seem,
that after this our ties you’ll sever.
It was just briefly we have shared the theme.

I labored and loved and this I showed,
to receive a view from you and others.
In return, being fairly owed,
I’ll  read your ravings about Big Brother.

In the end I’ll be alone,
Despite my writing this silly poem.

Meh, I could do better.

Meh, I could do better.

 This butchery of an art form presented in response to a Weekly Challenge.
Typing chimpanzee image from Wikimedia Commons and is public domain

RE: Loneliness and the sober line cook

“Now the thing that I call living is just being satisfied
With knowing I got no one left to blame”

Gordon Lightfoot, Carefree Highway (song 1974)

I knew going into becoming sober I would have to keep myself busy It’s not that I don’t do anything I do quite a lot of things, go to work mostly, ride my bike, help my wife and her mother with some of the landscaping projects around the house, play with my daughter when I have a day off. I write, or at least make an honest attempt at it.

The problem is that’s all it ever seems to be, just keeping busy. I have not had a drink in over a year and a half, and one question still persists. When do I start enjoying life again?

Don’t get me wrong the last year or so has had its moments. There has been however this overwhelming feeling of emptiness around me. I have been living in isolation for that time, what remains of my previous lifestyle, the one thing that I haven’t found a viable way out of, is my job. To make that work I have to put up with crazy schedules, always working weekends, and putting in long hours at night.  This leaves little in the way of time to schedule socializing during the day. Most cooks and other restaurant personnel take care of their need to blow off steam by frequenting bars, and night clubs, and house parties.

For a few reasons this isn’t a good option for me.

It’s not that I don’t trust myself as far as staying sober goes, I feel I have moved past that for the most part; of course I see no reason to test this on a regular basis.  No, at this point the problem seems to be that I find drunk people terribly annoying now that I am sober. To voluntarily surround myself with them more than necessary, well that seems like a good way to make my relationships with my coworkers a bit awkward.

This leaves me largely alone in a house full of sleeping people most nights. Fiddling around on the internet;  feigning interest at the comings and goings of antisocial networks and streaming bad television shows. Anything to occupy the time while wrestling with erratic sleep patterns and a short attention span.

And it all begs the question, what do sober people do for fun?

Well enough of that. I apologize for missing my regular publish time this week. I’ve been feeling a bit out of sorts the past few days.

Hope you all had a happy Monday.

Around the Garden

Darkness and moonlight are our time. Eyes wide, I see you trembling in the garden.

You know I am here, you are excited.

I worry you, don’t I.

A smile.

A quick step.

We have our dance and then a kiss.

I leave you a gift, she will like you.

Photo courtesy of  my cat.

Photo courtesy of my cat.

This story inspired by a Weekly Challenge, and my cat.

RE: How big a deal is 500 anyway?

 

 

I don’t have any commentary on this, I’ve just been very sick recently and could use a good laugh. Besides I really love that scene, and I will say I think that My Blue Heaven is a hilarious movie with a great cast. The fact that it is not on Netflix instant play is a constant source of mild disappointment to me.

Another piece of good news…

Over the weekend this blog reached five hundred followers, not bad for just over five months of erratic writing attempts. Five hundred, that’s a big number (or is it? I never really thought about it before) and, come to think on it I can’t be sure I’ve ever been associated with that many people in my life, at least not that I am consciously aware of. It almost makes one wonder about the nature of human relations and how we’re all somehow connected, perhaps maybe even wax philosophic about the possibilities of a collective unconscious and speak about how we are all just really one perfect being.

Fortunately I am not one to waste my time on that type of bollocks.

Instead I’ll take the opportunity to once again thank anyone and everyone who has ever read, liked or followed me or my works. I thought I might take a few moments to highlight a few of my posts I am most proud of.

Fortunately I am not that type of self aggrandizing ass.

I am the type of self aggrandizing ass that will ask you to do it. I can not help but wonder how it is my readers have come across this blog. So, if you don’t mind, I would appreciate if you let me know what was it that got you reading? Are you a regular reader? What type of writing interests you?

I’ve mentioned before that self expression requires an audience, and I would like to get to know that audience a bit better.

Besides looking at analytics is less interesting than hearing from real people.

My plans from here is to push myself to publish more content on a regular basis, so I might be trying to write about a few new topics and stretching my style a bit, I look forward to your input .

Happy Monday.

Interdepartmental Meeting

PREVIOUS

Zoos, thought Janice, are testament to the fortitude of  human will. It is no small feat of courage to spend the day watching these magnificent beasts mope around the far corners of their little enclosures, trying to ignore all the noisy assholes with cameras, and not finish the afternoon by going home and hanging yourself.

The truly maddening part was ridding on the little tram around its circuit of reproduced continents and listening to  the prerecorded tour guide drone on about all the good research and breeding programs that the facility was involved in. Another one of mankind’s attempt to put its thumbprint on the world. Part of a long series of pompous attempts at controlling nature, this time by trying to save it.

The little mock safari train rounded the final bend to the back-end of the zoo and came to a halt at the cute little rundown station right in between Asia and Australia. Just past the Komodo dragons was the Pagoda Cafe, a small plaza surrounded by an ornamental garden and complete with a large pond. Crossing the bridge she took a moment to admire the gold jumbo koi before scanning the cafe for her meeting. She gave an annoyed little sighed when she spotted him.

“I thought you’d be kidding about the pink carnation,” she said approaching the man in the white linen suit, “you look like a walking cliché.”

“I’m sitting if you hadn’t noticed, and the good thing about clichés are they’re obvious sweetie. The obvious tends to go unnoticed. I can I buy you a drink? I’m afraid the strongest thing they got here is Gatorade, but I’m sure something can be arranged.”

“I’ll be fine thank you,” Janice said taking a seat. “Please tell me why we are meeting in this god awful place.”

“You want god awful you should go to the Africa exhibit when they feed the White-backed vultures,” the old man smiled, “talk about a stench.” He took a sip from his drink and looked around casually. “Let’s just talk about our little problem. I know this isn’t your preferred venue for our little interdepartmental meeting, but this is the one place that I know our mutual friend is not”

“Any word on him?”

“Nothing yet, but he ain’t got too many places to go. So tell me Doc, what do you think happened?”

A scowl briefly ran across her face. “I am not a physician,” she snapped, “so please don’t address me as one. What I do requires more skill than those glorified barbers.”

“I’ve had a long look at your dossier, I picked you for this job myself, and I know damned well what you are. Doctor you ain’t but, there are several names for what you do as a matter of fact, and lady most of them ain’t pleasant. But that isn’t what concerns me right now. What I got on my mind is that I got an asset runnin’ loose with his memories all scrambled. You were brought on to keep that from happening, you pretty much screwed that up. Now, I’m not pissed about that,” he leaned back in his chair, “it’s a temporary setback, we’ll fix it. What I want right now is for you to tell me, in your professional opinion, how long you think we got before he gets his old brain back?”

“Untreated? I estimate a week at best,” but we’re probably looking at closer to four days.” She softened he tone but still couldn’t hide the insulted look on her face. “He’s developed some tolerance to the serums, also he was under a great deal of mental strain. I recommended a longer series of treatments but, that was obviously disregarded.”

“Your objections were noted but I don’t control of the timing on this one, there’s outside influences at work. Can you mix up a cocktail,” he asked, “that will bring his head back to where we need it?”

Janice winced at the comparison of her art to that of a bartenders “I was already planning on upping the dosage, on your suggestion. That and a few days of rest and further treatment should repair the situation. I will need some time and a few samples from our subject to create a more permanent solution.”

“Well, we can’t have him running around remembering things, that would be inconvenient as all hell. Probably get him killed to boot.” There was a ringing from under the table and the old man pulled up a large shoulder bag and dug through it for a moment. He produced an antiquated cellphone from its depths and stared at it for a moment. “Excuse me Janice,” said Mr. Davis, flipping it open “I have to take this.”

Janice nodded, pulled out her own phone and toyed with it patiently while he talked.

“Yeah? What’s that? Good, good, just take care of it, but be careful I don’t want anyone hurt, and I don’t want you seen doing it either. She’s with me now, we’re on our way.” He shut the phone and dropped it casually back into his bag.

“Good news?” she asked looking up.

“They located our boy. He used the credit card I gave him to check into a motel about two hours ago. He’s still there sleeping off his little fit. One of my other associates is going to scoop Jerry up and bring him back to his apartment sedated,” he said getting to his feet. “Get your stuff and meet me there in an hour, you can do that right.”

She opened her mouth to speak, but Davis was already heading across the little carved bridge. She watched him go as he lazily plucked the carnation from his lapel and dropped  into the koi pond. Jerry was right, she thought, his boss  is kind of a jerk.

RE: The Trouble With People

“Some things may change. People, however… People stay the same.”

Mr. Wednesday

From the novel American Gods, by Neil Gaiman (2001)

As I travel through my days I have, as of late, come to expect considerably less of most people. This ha little to do with the fact that they are short-sighted, avaricious, self-centered, petty and spiteful, which by and large most of them are. Instead given an examination of my life and what I’ve wound up doing with it I am faced with the simple fact that humans are just by nature unreliable.

People are frail, and weak, and vulnerable, and riddled with faults. They have problems, and goals, outside influences and worries of their own. Generally when they disappoint you, or make you angry it ends up because they are doing what they want, what is best for them and not what you want from them. Even though most of the things they do are deliberate, chances are they aren’t doing it just to piss you off.

Harder still, is acknowledging the fact that you too are unreliable. You are just as flawed as the next guy.

It’s really easy to lose sight of that some days.

 

Happy Monday

It’s Kind of a Long Story

I wasn’t an avid reader in my youth. Don’t get me wrong, I liked to read books, I just wouldn’t consider myself widely read. What got me telling stories was sitting around kitchen tables playing Dungeons and Dragons.

I started off as a bit player. The older kids had a regular game and one of them couldn’t show up. I was just the annoying little dweeb that wouldn’t go home, and some how I wound up spending the rest of the day fumbling around with a half-elven magic user and bugging the crap out of the rest of the group as they tried to explain the rules. By the end of that first session I don’t think I had a handle on what I was doing, but I knew there was something there I wanted more of. I loved being given the opportunity to be part of the adventure. After a few more tries I made my first ham-handed attempt at running the game. My first story had little in the way of plot but there was a dungeon and there was a dragon, the heroes prevailed and so I guess three out of four wasn’t bad for a preteen with a fist full of dice.

It all sort of ballooned from there. I spent the larger portion of my formative years geeking out with what ever game could be found. Fantasy, western, spy thriller, science fiction, super heroes; if you can name a genre I have been an active participant in a story of that fashion. My compatriots and I got to spend any number of afternoons describing as a group the various adventures of a universe full of protagonists.

My earliest writings that I found satisfying were in a journal that I kept as a way to pass the time while I was homeless and hitchhiked my way from state to state. It was a way to keep sane, my own little piece of mental real estate. It wasn’t my first diary, but it was the first where feel I was writing creatively. Not necessarily fiction, but lets just say that my life as a vagabond looked a lot more interesting on paper.

It was also the first journal I let anyone else read.

It’s a big step to let the general public into your head space. Let them read the things you think about in the dead of night, in the middle of the woods, with no one around but the crickets chirping at you. In a way that journal was the first step towards blogging.

I was dedicated to that journal, I wrote in it everyday (except for the time it went to Jamaica and back without me) until the swampy environs of Florida caused it to molder and rot apart. It’s so hard to have nice things when you’re a vagrant.

There is only so much rough living a body can take, so it does become useful to reenter society.  The upside of networking from scratch to obtain lodgings and a source of income is very time-consuming, and my relationship with writing became a little more erratic while I reestablished myself. All the socializing this required did allow me to bring together a rag-tag group of people interested in adventure games. This kept the stories flowing, gave me a chance to develop some skills, work on technique. A well thought out game is some times a lot of paperwork, a lot of writing.

My character sketches were becoming more like narratives, my plot lines more elaborate I was getting good at it. I started penning out a story, well technically typing but you get the idea. It was a nice piece of fantasy fiction. It was going well I thought. Somewhere along the way I became a drunk. In hindsight, I’m pretty sure it was a preexisting condition.

I got distracted. I forgot to write one day, then I forgot another day. Sometimes I would forget for weeks at a time. Then came a day when, in a fit of inebriated shame and depression I deleted the contents of my hard drive. A few years of drinking later and I can’t say I remember many of the details of the story.

Sobriety isn’t a second chance. Sobriety does make second chances possible, that’s what I have to believe anyway. At any rate if you want something you have to pursue it. I decided some years ago that I would like to be a writer. I failed in this endeavor the first time around. Now I’m ready to try again, and that’s not the only thing I’m taking a second shot at.

I couldn’t say if I aspire to write for a living. For now that point is moot, we’re not there yet. I am at best and out of practice amateur, getting some practice in, needing to keep these ideas from boiling over in his head. At worst I am grasping at straws, just searching for focus, a way to replace the booze. Either way I suppose it’s either try writing or go crazy.

For now I settle for writing, I’ll always have crazy to fall back on.

This essay  inspired by a  Weekly Challenge.

RE: Leaving It All Behind

“You know, walk the earth, meet people… get into adventures. Like Caine from Kung Fu.”

Jules Winnfield, Pulp Fiction (1994)

It was some years ago that, despite my meager attempts to get a hold of my life, I found myself living on the streets for the second time. It had been a rough couple of years that included losing my parents, starting a business to watch it fail due to my own ineptitude and lack of experience, self-inflicted relationship problems, a string of meaningless and less than satisfying attempts at remaining employed. Needless to say I was feeling more than a bit under confident and just a little worthless. It certainly seemed that  I had little left to lose, and not much was on the horizon as far as future prospects.

It was in this state of emotional desperation I decided that perhaps the life of the aimless wanderer might be a good career option.

With little more than the clothes on my back, my journal, a purse full of random odds and ends, and the company of strangers I set off on a road trip to nowhere. It seemed like the thing to do.

It was an action packed trip full of easy to find good times, decent drugs,  mediocre people, and crappy music festivals. Most of these things I don’t recall with much clarity, for precisely what that were. I am left however with the shape of them in my mind so I am largely able to embellish the details if called upon to do so. No really, I can totally make it sound like a great adventure provided I basically lie about it.

What I remember distinctly about this point of my life is how miserable I was and how much I missed the friends and what was left of the life that I had left behind. I traveled across half the country, including Ohio twice. I traveled through downtown Cleveland in the middle of the night, hiked fourty miles in a day, spent half of a very cold autumn camping in a forest far from familiar faces. The thing that I wanted to leave behind the most in all of my depression and confusion was myself. 

No matter where you go there you are, or so the saying goes.

It took a lot of time to get my head out of my ass and screwed back on straight. I’m glad I did.

The other thing I missed was flush toilets. Seriously, I am not cut out for the rugged life.

Happy Monday