Tag Archives: life

Wandering In The Desert

The words are hovering about me this morning, whispering promises of eloquence into my ears. I rather tend to disbelieve them, however, as it’s taken me twenty minutes to get this far, and it only looks to go downward from here. This is what I get for only sitting down to write every few months or so, waiting on a free moment, or a special occasion, such as my birthday. I didn’t even manage to write a Second Annual Thanksgiving post, so now, should I have time in future years to remedy that, I am uncertain of the numbering system which I will be forced to devise. I guess I could pound one out after this, and preface it by saying that it took extra consideration to prepare, as this was a completely shit year, and I wanted to include at least some levity. That is, of course, if I ever manage to finish writing this one.

I always get a bit melancholy on my birthday. My wife thinks that it’s because I have convinced myself that everything will be terrible, while I know it’s because there is a fifty-fifty chance that this day will bring some sort of misery or disappointment. I wound up in the hospital on my birthday once, and, on another occasion, was giving the gift of compulsory freedom from my newly ex-girlfriend. It’s not that I believe that things will be horrible, and so endeavor, subconsciously, to make them so, but rather that I have been paying attention, and would prefer not to be blindsided by misfortune. Then again, this could be a really awesome year for celebrating another successful campaign against mortality, and it’s only the early waking hours of the day which are tinged with sadness and physical discomfort. I guess I’ll have to wait and see.

Since leaving Blondie’s two years ago, I have had four jobs, not including the time I spent writing (and grossing a grand total of $19 (net was -$60, as I had to purchase TurboTax Business for that year)). All, aside from my current gig were somewhat disappointing. Big Lots (insert ridiculous exclamation points wherever) reminded me that the hardest jobs are done for the least amount of respect and pay, and that even after years and years in management, I still believed in unions. Bear’s Lair introduced me to several cool people while reinforcing the notion that large corporations frequently lack a delicate touch. Jupiter was where I saw the sausage being made, and very nearly became a vegetarian (metaphorically speaking, obviously, as I cannot abide by vegetables in real life). It’s like I am forcing myself to remember what I swore that I would stand for, and begging myself to get started on changing the world already.

All of that, of course, led me to Canyon Market. A friend of mine from back in the Blondie’s days had been working there for nearly a year, and had only great things to say about it. I took a chance (and an hour-long BART ride) and applied for a job making sandwiches in the Deli. Now, I’ve worked in several restaurants (most of them in the Quick Service Arena), but I’d never actually gotten a chance to be paid for making sandwiches. As it turns out, I kind of love it. I mean, I’ve been rocking the amateur scene for decades now, but the chance to go pro has fundamentally fulfilled me. Sure, it’s not a desk job involving the pitter-patter of tiny keystrokes, but it’s strangely satisfying, all the same. And, of course, I was just recently made Acting Supervisor of the Deli, which came not so much as a shock to me, but as an inevitable consequence of my work history.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

So where do I go from here? Obviously, I need to be writing more, especially since it’s almost time to renew my WordPress hosting, and this year has essentially been a gym membership for me (not to mention last year after May. I need to find a balance between work and home (and a balance at home between family, writing, play, and sleep). It looks like I may need to invest in a slightly less awkward laptop (of the non-Chromebook variety) so that I can use the 3+ hours I spend commuting everyday on something more productive than naptime. I need the person who I am to become to step the hell up and give me a hand. But, as we all know, Future Batmart is kind of an asshole. I don’t blame him too much, though, as Present Batmart (with the aid of Past Batmart) is constantly screwing Future Batmart over.

I’m not going to make a resolution, as those seem only to exist for the express purpose of breaking into tiny, bite-sized shards of shame. Nor shall I make a covert plan of action, for those also seem to good for tracking just how quickly things go off the rails, and by how far they’ve missed their destination. What, then? Perhaps just one step at a time. Every day from now until, oh, I don’t know… success… I will try to find the willingness to do something positive with my time. One day that might mean being a little more romantic with my wife, while another might include a little less paternal judgement toward my son.

I feel like my life is getting chopped up into increasingly tinier pieces, which are harder and harder to fill constructively. The older I get, the faster that time seems to pass. I have postulated that this occurs because each second is an increasingly smaller unit of measure compared to the total amount of time which I have lived. Think back in your own life: when you were a kid, five minutes took forever to finally pass, whereas five minutes now are gone before you realize that you’d been counting. As a child of five, one year was twenty percent of your existence. At 37, it’s (let me pull out my calculator) it’s just under 3% (and diminishing). Much as a quarter was a magical unit of currency when I was small (you could mail a letter, make a phone call from a pay phone, or buy a can of soda from a vending machine (wow, I just realized how truly old I am)), now it seems only good for 15 minutes in a laundromat’s dryer. Hell, I won’t even (can’t even) sell a smoke to someone for a quarter anymore.

So what’s the answer?

No, seriously. What’s the answer? Because I haven’t got the slightest clue.

Mental Illness: Edification

Perhaps it’s mean-spirited, but I truly wish that everyone could suffer from mental illness. Well, for the most part, that statement isn’t entirely accurate, but there are days, or even single moments where I wholeheartedly wish for it. I’ve touched on this subject several times before, but I felt (for some reason or other) like it needed revisiting. Mental illness is, by and large, invisible. Sure, its effects can be as plain as day, but it’s not like jaundice or chicken pox. It gets even worse when its sufferer is intelligent, and capable of “maintaining” for some length of time. At least, believing that he (or she) is maintaining. It’s not always obvious what is wrong, and there are many people who are terrified of admitting that they suffer, for fear of retribution due to the stigma of mental irregularities. Sometimes I wish that I had never learned any coping mechanisms (effectiveness and results may vary), so that I could not force myself to hide behind the curtain of normality. For all the progress we have made in erasing the myths of mental illness, we are not so very far removed from the world in which my father lived (the father who suffers from a depression so severe that he could not bring himself to open the letter which I sent him, relying instead upon his brother, who was back for a visit from Japan).

I honestly believe that the only reason that what little progress has been made came only after Big Pharma realized that they could make a profit off of inner demons and melancholia. I remember, twenty years ago, when Prozac was the Next Big Thing. My family practitioner diagnosed me as “Manic Depressive” (yet more evidence of how old I am), and was eager (a little overly so, in my opinion) to get me going on this new class of crazy pills. As I was a minor at the time, and suffering from a contentious relationship with my mother, I am grateful that I had second thoughts. Can’t say why, but I felt this cold chill in the pit of my stomach at the very thought of those pills, and graciously declined (as graciously as any teenaged Caucasian male is able). A year later, I did decided to try Prozac (just one pill), and suffered immediately from auditory hallucinations and a sense of dread. A year after that, I gave Wellbutrin a try. When I was in the hospital, they taught us that depression is just rage turned inwards (psychologically- biologically it is something else entirely). Wellbutrin took my depression away, but left me with an overabundance of rage (directed in each and every direction).

It wasn’t until my hospitalization that someone decided to try Lithium. You know, the medicine prescribed for well over a century. The element. The drug off of which there is no money to be made. If I’d had the money back then, I might have been able to afford to stay on it. But, you see, it wasn’t the prescription which I could not afford, but the blood draws which were required to ensure that the levels in my system remained below toxicity. A few years later, I managed to get another prescription, but lost my insurance too soon to be able to continue. That was in 2004.

Since then, no matter where I’ve gone, or to whom I’ve spoken, I cannot seem to get the one thing which has ever been effective. Either I get brushed off all together, or the doctor insists on trying out all manner of medications which I know (with a growing level of experience) are only going to mess me up far more. No one seems to want to hear that Lithium actually works for me. Sure, I feel exhausted all the time (nothing out of the ordinary these days), and wrapped in a numbing insulation, but I also do feel safe from the pendulum’s swings. It also stifles my creative instincts, which would be unacceptable if the preponderance of my income came from writing, but is tolerable if I have to deal with other people. Not that it actually matters: there are no drug rep kickbacks for a freaking element.

So no wonder that so many people have turned towards self-medication. When you can’t get help from medical professionals, you look to squelch the pain in any manner you are able. Some turn to drink, other to pills, and others to any other number of substances. When the illness exists, for all intents and purposes, in one’s own head, it’s impossible to accurately convey the struggle to someone who doesn’t understand. And then are some people who have it easier than others, or have had better luck in dealing with their own private demons. Hell, I’ve been extremely fortunate myself, as I’ve been able to pass for “normal” for the majority of my life by merely accepting the mantle of “asshole.”

It had been my intention of seeking out medical help tomorrow, to enlist the aid of those who are able, to assist me in fighting my own particular demons. Don’t really see the point now. Everything repeats and falls victim to entropy, and there’s not much point in fighting it anymore. Exhaustion has set in, and apathy is ever-present. I’m just tired of fighting, you know? Better to just throw in my hat, and let everyone have their laugh. I guess I should have finished up Hiraeth, but it’s kind of epic where it’s at.

Thanks, everybody.

Don’t know where the night will take me, but if I see you all on the other side, so be it.

Eleven Month Year

As it turns out, I’m no good in December. Even if I were to abstain from sneaking glances at a calendar, I think that I would still know when the clock ticked over to December 1st. This month seems even worse than other recent Decembers. Like last year, I left a job. Of course, I left due to some family reasons (a similarity with 2014), but also because I’d thought that I’d locked up a new job. Knowing me, however, it comes as no surprise that it seems that I somehow managed to blow the final interview (as I am amazing at speaking to other people), thereby leaving me to face another January in which I am unemployed. Sure, I wouldn’t have been working anyway, as the Bear’s Lair is shut down until mid-January, but if I’d played things a little more conservatively, and if I hadn’t felt the need to stay at home to make sure that my wife could get some rest, I could have stuck it out for one more week, and been eligible for seasonal unemployment, thereby freeing me up to sit at home and write without feeling guilty about it. In all fairness, I have been writing (just not on the website that I own), but I find it difficult to free myself from the sinking feeling that I’ve screwed everything up again. Go figure.

There are just a few days left in 2015, and I cannot help but think that it didn’t really go according to my plan. I took six months off to try my hand at writing once again, and for my effort was rewarded with literally tens of dollars. I’m not complaining, mind you, as those were tens of dollars earned doing something which I’d always dreamed of doing, but it’s hard to feed your family or even pay the smallest bills with that kind of money. Even the thing I’m writing now is basically for practice only, as it’s been over twenty years since I’ve written anything cohesive which lasted more than 5,000 words. As of now, I’m at 14,000, and, assuming that I don’t find some excuse to keep myself from writing, I’ll probably add another couple of thousand words before I go to bed. Mind you, this is the most positive interpretation of how things have gone since I quit my job at Blondie’s.

I found myself working at Big Lots for minimum wage and a schedule of less than thirty weekly hours. Of course, as the work was physically demanding, and I have dedicated my existence to the pursuit of a sedentary lifestyle, I wound up spending almost the entirety of every other paycheck on visits to the Doctor and prescription medication. Just when I thought that I could take it no longer, I was offered a promotion (which would have meant full-time and a raise of a couple of dollars). I wasn’t thrilled about the money, but that, combined with nearly double my regular hours, would have given me enough spare cash to consider paying off some of my growing bills. But, because my life is rarely bound by just one single narrative, I was contacted around that time by someone whom I had known through my previous employer. And, because my life seems to run off of some sort of omnipresent snark, the day I interviewed for the promotion at Big Lots (wherein I had to reassure the higher-ups that I had no intention of leaving), I had another interview in Berkeley for a management gig back in restaurants.

I’ve got an interesting relationship with restaurants, and I’d honestly believed that I was done with them, but my experience demands a certain wage, one which I realistically cannot demand in any other field. That interview went wonderfully, and the guy who interviewed me really sold me on the idea. They were resurrecting the Bear’s Lair after a four-year absence, and I would have a part in it. My experience in Food Service Management, not to mention having helped to open a restaurant from Day One, would be of enormous help in this endeavor. It was the chosen job. And the best part was that I was to attend a Management Retreat in just a couple of days, with my time there being paid. I said at the end of my interview that I would need to give my notice, and it seemed that I would be able to balance the handful of hours that I was pulling down at Big Lots with the full-time prep work I would be doing for the Bear’s Lair. But, after the Retreat, I realized that we had a lot of work to do, and I didn’t want to be hamstrung by a job that would only, at that point, serve to distract me from the job which would finally allow me to pay the bills. When I got home, I wrote up a letter of resignation, and delivered it to work.

Having worked in the industry for as many years as I have, I should have paid more heed to the red flags which I noticed almost immediately. I don’t want to get into a lot of detail, as it really was a wonderful opportunity for me, one which allowed me to pay off my credit card debt which had amassed during my sabbatical. But, ultimately, it was a difference in philosophy which caused us to part ways, which is a shame, because I almost believe that there has been some progress of late, and that the future for the Bear’s Lair may be brighter than its past. Of course, no matter how things wound up turning out, if I hadn’t felt that my dream job (in that industry, at least) was a total lock, I would have stuck it out, and gotten on unemployment. I know that this will merely be an opportunity for me to take another path which I might not have otherwise seen, but there are times when I get tired of the constant tension within my shoulders which always leads me to land upon my feet.

But, hey, at least I’m writing!

Also, sometime over the next couple of days, I will be reviewing “Not What I Meant” by Leah Pape. And there is a small possibility that I will give away a copy of this album to a lucky reader of that post. Just leave a comment, and you will be entered to win!

Has It Really Been So Long?

So it’s been well over a month, with nary a word sent out. I want thank those of you who have kept checking back in the hope that I might have had something to say, or an opportunity to say it. As it turns out, opening up a restaurant is a time-consuming venture. That, and we just got connected back up to the internet a few days ago. I suppose I could have brought my laptop with me to work, and taking advantage of the free Wi-Fi, but I really didn’t want to have to wake up any earlier, and by the end of my day, I really didn’t want to stick around, and postpone my pilgrimage back home. We’ll see how well I can stick to a regular writing schedule moving forward, but it will probably be a while more before I can set aside some regular time for me to start writing every day. For now, it’s my goal to write on my days off (which happen to be today (kind of- more later on that) and tomorrow), and I suppose that two days a week are better than one day every six weeks. I’m also hoping to get back to working on that story I’d started around when I got hired for my current job, as there’s still a chance that I might be able to break $50 in sales for 2015. All of this unimportant, however. The future will bring what it will bring, and only time will tell if I will see success. The past, however, is ripe for repetition, so let’s go back a couple of months and see what brought me to this place.

I’d been working at Big Lots, destroying my body and whittling away my sanity, only to fall further into debt, looking toward an imminent promotion as the only light, however dim, at the end of my tunnel of penitence. Then, out of the blue, someone I’d known when I was working at Blondie’s Pizza got a hold of me, and informed me of an employment opportunity. Of course, I wound up having my interview for this new job on the same day as I had my final interview for my promotion at Big Lots. I knew going into the first interview, that I would take the new job in a heartbeat, assuming the money was okay, but decided to go through the motions anyway, as I have learned to hedge my bets, and that I am not the best person to be involved in interviews, either asking or answering the questions. As it turned out, I needn’t have been so worried. It was the single most painless interview I have ever had. The gentleman with whom I sat seemed eager to hire to me from the moment I sat I down, and based upon his sales pitch (and mostly that he offered me twenty percent more than I had been seeking (only two dollars less than I’d been making at Blondie’s, but with a significantly shorter and cheaper commute), and a benefits package that was better than I’d had before), I was just as eager to accept his offer. I filled out paperwork, and made plans to attend the company’s leadership retreat in just a couple days.

At that point, I was still planning on giving nearly two weeks’ notice to Big Lots, but by the end of the retreat, which featured a layout of the coming game plan, and conversations about just how much we had left to accomplish, I made my decision to to resign immediately. I feel somewhat bad that I left them in the lurch, but on the other hand, it’s simply not too realistic to expect loyalty when you aren’t willing to pay more than the minimum wage and refuse to have more than one full-time employee per department. Combine that with their anti-union rhetoric, and subversively anti-employee culture (something which I’ve noticed has become the norm over the past decade), and I came to regard to the entire situation as something more akin to a prison break. I’m not sure why, exactly, that so many employers have decided to regard their employees as some sort of necessary evil, like interchangeable equipment that should be tossed away instead of even minimally maintained. I’ve written about this before, so I’m not going to go into it again, but it just disappoints me to see people treated this way, and feeling like it’s the best thing they can get (whether or not it’s true).

Since the middle of August, I have been working toward the reopening of a Berkeley institution. We’ve gone through some personnel changes, and faced some common hiccups that all new restaurants must face, but with the added pressure of both retaining the link with our namesake from before, while trying to establish an entirely new identity. We opened our doors on the eighth of September, surrounded by construction, and it’s taken a little longer than to find our footing, than if we had opened free and clear. I don’t mind going on about the past, but it’s good to keep in mind that there’s nothing you can do to change it. Should I ever be in the position to open another restaurant, I have learned some valuable lessons which will hopefully spare me from some of the growing pains I’ve been feeling this time around.

I was talking to one of my employees last night, commenting on the fact that it felt like I was finally starting to get a handle on how it was to work at this place. To my surprise, she echoed the sentiment.

I’ve just looked down at the time, and realized that I have to take off and pick up David, and then run off to Berkeley for a management meeting (I’m the only one of us who’s off today) at 4. I’ll keep on with this when I get home, and then try to think of something interesting to share with all of you tomorrow.



17213468443_369c567e5a_kWhat a fun week it’s been! I haven’t disliked a rollercoaster ride that much since early 2004, when, to avoid what would have been a relationship-ending fight, I got onto The Medusa at Six Flags, which turned out to have been something which is known as a Supercoaster, which seemed more like a suicide machine to me, but without the inherent fun of taking your own life. But unlike that experience, it seems that I cannot exit this ride, and steadfastly refuse to get onto another for the rest of my time here. Also, I’m not sure what kind of metaphor I can make from Dippin’ Dots, but I want to go on record as saying that they were an abomination which managed to lessen my love for frozen treats and tiny snacks of all types. That was a truly horrible day for me. Actually, to be fair, that entire time was one which I would almost rather forget entirely. It summed up everything that I disliked about my life during my twenties, and were it not for the lessons which were hammered into me, I would block out that time entirely from my mind. I haven’t really shared a lot of my relationship with La Diabla with all of you, and I guess that it’s probably the time.

You're seriously not going to get on another ride? Seriously?!
You’re seriously not going to get on another ride? Seriously?!

First, a little backstory: I left Seattle in January of 2003, leaving behind my family on the invitation of my friend to come and live in California and see palm trees. It was a twenty-two hour train ride, and when I arrived in Emeryville, California, I was ready to put my past behind me. It took me about a month to find a job, but I wound up getting in at the new Fuddrucker’s in the local open-air mall. It was only six months between my hire date and my first promotion. I’d poured myself into the job, sacrificing a social life in search of the almighty dollar, pausing only to blow of steam with Fed by drowning our sorrows in a frightening quantity of booze (which I could now buy in almost any store, including the Pack N’ Save next door). But two guys, no matter how good of friends they may be, cannot share a one-bedroom apartment for six months without discovering that they hold within them the secret desire to destroy the other. That, and Fed’s mom was coming to visit, and she’d made it clear how much she disapproved of me.

So, faced with more money, but nowhere to live, I paid for a couple of weeks at the Extended Stay America down the road, and invited my new baker to share place when I wasn’t there. She also needed somewhere to hang her hat, and worked mornings, while I was the closing manager. I should have known better. I’d been working with her for a little while, and had seen that everyone in the restaurant was falling over themselves to try and get with her. I took one look at her, and then back down at my expanding waistline, and suddenly felt peace wash over me, as I realized that she was so far out of my league, that it wasn’t even worth my time to dream. Ironically, it is probably my lack of interest which put me on her radar. I was the only one who was truly able to play it cool, because I knew that we would never be together. Honestly, I didn’t even have an ulterior motive for offering to share a hotel room with her for a fortnight. I was just trying to help someone out, and lessen the financial impact upon myself. And so it might have been, had we not celebrated her “birthday” toward the end of our stay with one another.

We invited all of our coworkers with whom we were friendly over to our room, and drank a few bottles of some type of liquor or another, until it was time for everybody else to go home. Nami and I hadn’t really had a chance to speak with each other during our stay there, but we’d grown… accustomed to each other, and begun to feel comfortable together. The booze played a part, as did the meddling of our friends, but that night, after everyone else had gone, we sat down and spoke about our feelings. One thing led to another, and we decided that we’d stick it out together as a couple, which turned out to be a good thing, at least at first, as our time was up at the Extended Stay, and the only way that we could scrounge up the necessary cash to move into an apartment was to join forces and move in together. It also helped that I had a nasty habit of falling in love at the drop of a hat, and once hooked, that was it. For the first (and possibly only) time in my life, my apathy seemed to have scored results.

We were both young, and better at drinking and fighting than at common sense (much like a couple of kids I know quite well), and before long, we discovered that we were going to be parents. I took the news with all the composure of someone who has suddenly discovered that nothing he knew was what he had imagined it to be. By the time I got back from my walk to the liquor store, she had begun freaking out, and I was forced to do my best to put on a face of resigned serenity. I was going to be a dad. I began experiencing an existential crisis. It wasn’t that I was afraid of fatherhood, in the traditional sense. Rather, I was suddenly faced with impossibility of bowing out early. I looked into the future, a future where I still existed, and it terrified me. No matter where I tried to find my center, it seemed always just out of reach. So I did the one thing that I could think of, the one thing which I thought would fix the growing problems in our relationship, and calm the terror just beneath my skin: I proposed to her.

When I mentioned Nami’s “birthday” earlier, it was in presented as such because that summer date was not actually her date of birth. In reality, it was just a few days after mine. With hardly any cash, I went to The Diamond Exchange, and put the down payment on a set of wedding bands. On her birthday, I dropped down to one knee and proposed. She said yes, and I (stupidly) thought that I’d managed to solve our problems once and for all. That spring, we went up to Seattle so that she could meet my family. It was then that we discovered that we just couldn’t make it work. We’d been to Six Flags, where she’d tried to surprise me with a fun day out doing something which I’d never wanted to do, and since then we’d been walking on eggshells around one another. By the time we started fighting on The Island, I think that we were both out of ideas on how to fix the negativity between us.

Not impressed.
Not impressed.

When we got back to California, she made the decision to abort the baby. She insisted that we tell everyone it had been a miscarriage. True to my word, I never said otherwise until we finally broke up. The final straw in the drama which had become our lives, was when she brought her line cook over to our apartment and… Well, I think you get the idea. By this time, she was also physically violent with me, and in trying to restrain her arms so that she could not strike me (because I still thought that if I could just love her enough, I could fix everything), it left bruises on her arms. Her best friend, who didn’t care for me, was actually the one to stand up to her and tell her to quit saying that I was beating her. She’d been working in the San Francisco store for the past few months (where she found that line cook), and her boss over there decided that he was going to come and “beat my ass.” Due to mismanagement, the owners had to close that store, and I wound up having to incorporate their staff in with my own. Except Nami. She was where I drew the line.

I’m sorry this has been so rambling. I guess the wounds aren’t all as closed as I had believed. The point which I have so spectacularly failed to make is that my twenties, much like my late teens, were defined by my inability to accept the fact that I hadn’t died, and that I believed that unconditionally loving someone would fix everything. For almost the entire time that Nami and I were together, I’d been trying to figure out how I’d managed to snag someone so far out of my league. It wasn’t until I took into account the person who she was inside, that everything began to come together. I understood why her “friend” would kick her to the curb. And I began to understand that I was unquestionably attracted to women who were absolutely wrong for me. I lost a son who never drew a breath (though it was probably for the best that he was never born). I faced the failures of myself and things in which I so fervently believed. And, for the first time in my life, I looked at the repetitions in my life, and tried to learn something from them.

But I also managed to prove to myself that my ethics were more than just convenient lies I told myself to feel better while looking in the mirror. It should be obvious by now that she was here without permission (why she had both a work and personal birthday). My friends wanted to call in the big guns and have her forcibly removed from this country. I said no. The only person who her presence had hurt was me, and that wasn’t enough for me to criminalize her. I pushed aside my dreams of vengeance, and threw myself into a pattern of comfortably self-destructive behavior instead. But were it not for La Diabla, I doubt that I would have been aware enough to understand how much of a wonderful chance which my Wildflower would represent. I’d vowed to make my life everything that it hadn’t been when I had been with Nami. And really, that choice describes how I now look back upon my early twenties. I lost a decade before I found my wife, and I’m only now beginning to realize that it is not too late to try and give that loss some meaning.


I feel a rant coming on, brought about by a growing sense of irritation. The blood within my veins has begun to boil, and if I’m not careful, I’m going to blow my top. This has obvious advantages, of course, over the general state of listless melancholy in which I’ve been immersed for the past few… let’s say months. Anything to distract me from the handful of sand which is emptying itself rapidly into the bottom chamber. I’ve been forbidden by my wife from going into detail (she doesn’t want me starting a civil war within the confines of our tiny apartment), but let’s just say that I am at a loss for civil words when it comes to this. I don’t want to claim more credit than I’m due, or for that matter, even the credit which I may claim without exaggeration. But I have managed to be there for someone when he had nowhere else to turn (actually, a few people, but I’m focusing on just this one right now), and when I could use- no, not even a helping hand, simply the fulfillment of his obligations. Instead, I’m being treated to childish insolence and petty power games because it has been shown that I apparently do not hold the power to carry through on ultimatums.

In any other circumstance, he wouldn’t dare to do this. No other landlord would accept this level of disrespect, and yet there’s nothing I can do to remedy the situation because it’s all tied up in family politics. You can’t just bail on a lease with less than two days until the rent is due (no matter if the landlord has given a three-day grace period for payment), and say that you’re just “waiting to see what happens.” You want to leave? Fine. You let me know right now for next month and when that final date has come, you get the hell out of my house. I don’t care if you are an “also ran” upon the lease to which we all signed our names, you bear the same responsibility to this legal contract as the rest of us. If I told the landlord this very day that we were bailing on the place, there is not a chance in hell that we would get our deposit back (to which this person contributed absolutely nothing), and our landlord would be well within his rights to take legal action on the whole merry lot of us. And if we thought that we could wait until three days until after the rent was due, and have half a chance of leaving our stuff here while we were moving because some sort of baby situation had popped up, we would be financially responsible for a month of rent on an apartment we were leaving, and if we didn’t put the money up, our belongings would confiscated and sold off to defray the costs we had incurred.

I wish that I could say that I was going to be the adult with all of this, and help gently guide the next generation toward wisdom of their own, but I’m fairly pissed off about this whole ordeal, and sometimes scorched earth can be a learning moment. I’m probably just overreacting, or possibly not nearly enough: it’s hard to tell with passions running parallel with commercial airlines at cruising altitude. My wife was right when she told me that I’ve let people walk all over me. When I was the boss (at both locations) at my last job, I did my best to take care of everybody else first, and even put the good of the store before myself. I’d learned that style of management from people I’d admired, and seen firsthand the horrorshow that came from a lesser style. But those people have long since burned out (myself included), and what do they have to show for it? Grey hair, no hair, failing health, or a complete abandonment of that career. And yet that was the only option which I could have taken. Sure, I was fool, but at least I was an honorable fool.

And now I seem to be drowning in a sea of irritation. Everything these days seems to piss me off. I know I’ve mentioned that depression is just rage turned inward, but after weeks of beating the living crap out of myself, it’s nice to share the torment with others, especially when I’m right (which seems to be a rare occurrence these days). Both my wife and brother have barraged me with the same advice (with which I don’t know that I agree), and now it looks like I will have to swallow what little pride remains and follow the advice of another person. Which makes me doubly pleased to be able to come down with righteous fury on someone more deserving.

If I stopped to think about it, and to tried to be more reasonable, I suppose that I could find it within me to be slightly more accommodating. But, in addition to safeguarding my own family, I am still trying to help my grownup children learn life lessons they will need once they have left the nest. With us, the only true risk which they might face is a dressing down, But in the real world, there are consequences which cannot be ignored. I know this because the lesson was hammered into me during the excitement of my twenties. Back then, I was single and childless, and failure simply meant resetting the clock back another seven years. I have since tested my ability to cheat the inevitable (to surprising success- more than I’m sure that I have merited), but even those heady days are soon to pass. The next job which I take will be the last which I will work within the borders of the United States. I was hoping to have a little better luck with writing so that it might not come back to working for The Man, but it looks like my timing was off by a year or so.

Thank you for bearing with me, and I hope, at least, that I have been informative in my excoriations (I know that I feel better now). Have a good evening, everyone!

Here, have a picture of some stupid bird:

Pictured: Some Stupid Bird.
Pictured: Some Stupid Bird.