Tag Archives: ramble

Our Rob or Ross

I think that I may have made a friend today, as childish as that sounds, though when I was a child, there would have been far less uncertainty in my declaration. Back then, it seems, anyone not overtly hostile could easily be considered more affectionately than an acquaintance. Now, of course, there is so much nuance to every interaction, so many subtle subdivisions of the classifications into which I file away the human race, that I am, for the vast majority of any given moment, almost entirely unclear as to how I actually regard any certain person. Were I to factor in the uncertainty of their reciprocity of consideration for myself, the whole thing would descend into such sweet and agonizing improbability and madness that only Chaos Theory could be employed in trying to sort the whole mess out and make heads or tails of it.

That being said, I think I’ve made a friend.

This happens far and far less frequently with every passing year, and not only because I am a slave to overthinking the fine (if functionally irrelevant) details of the myriad minutiae of human interaction. Mainly, it’s because I have no time (or rather, allow myself none of it (aside from moments of explosive decompression)), and, to be honest, very little will to muster in dedication to a friendship.

It’s not that I’m a bad friend (or person, as Bad Leon Suave will likely say), though I’ve not much defense against the former accusation (and to the latter, I’ll politely invite him to just fuck off); I just have too many conflicting priorities, and I’m shit about maintaining any sort of balance. Of my closest friends, there is perhaps a cache of maybe half an hour which I’ve set aside each month to share amongst them. Unless, that is, I happen to be struck with inspiration or brought to breaking by some new or recently rediscovered need.

And who’s to say that this friendship will or will not last? It was discovered while at work, entirely by random happenstance, and in my life to date, those sort of friendships aren’t widely regarded for their longevity, no matter how much I might prefer that they should last. I have also learned, due to paralyzing indecision, and warm soaks in pools of pain and apathy, that sometimes friendships need not last a lifetime, but for just a perfect moment of humour, a convergence of interest, or the simple act of connecting, platonically, with another person.

I wish the recap of my actions could make me out as wise as the words which I can so (seemingly) effortlessly craft.

But all of this has merely been the tangentially connected prologue to that which I’ve truly wished to be rid of from off my chest: I’m pretty sure that I am falling in love (again) with my wonderful, if long-suffering, amazing, and enchanting wife. To clarify, if you’ll indulge me, I don’t mean to say that I ever found a way to stop loving her, despite the countless times my brain has twisted in upon itself to worry at its self-inflicted wounds, if only to ensure that they could never fully heal.

I mean to express nothing more than the simple truth that in thrusting my head so firmly up my ass for all these many years, I’ve passed the point of no return, and have begun to come out on the other side like an ouroboros of having missed the point entirely.

Free, for the moment, of the impositions of  my own obtusity, I can once again see her clearly for the wonder which she is, and find within me some sort of will to see my way to slice the knot (of the Gordian variety) which has bound us through misunderstanding, frustrations, and the divergence of opinion into a creature built only for the experience of misery, trim away the barbs and blood, and fashion from the transmuted chains of resentment, some sort of common bond (fancied up a bit), which we might employ much as a lifeline to, perchance, save one another from the vagaries of life, lost adrift upon the sea.

Yes, that whole monstrosity was just one sentence, and if you’re reading out loud at home, I sincerely hope you finished quickly enough to avoid passing out from oxygen deprivation.

We both swore ’til death (though actually, we didn’t, as our ceremony was entirely more modern) and one of us must die before the other gets to finally win without conditions. Until then, we’ll just have to keep on meeting in the middle, ill-satisfied with compromise, each of our respective win columns punctuated wildly by unsightly asterisks.

The Comfort Of Bitter Laughter

Someday I will be capable of looking back at all of this and laughing. Normally, this isn’t an impediment to getting an early start, but I’m not sure exactly what the punchline is this time. I’ve always said that failure is a better teacher than success, but I have no idea what’s going on right now, and I can’t think of anything in particular that I am doing right. Sure, I’m inflicting my words on literally tens of people on any given day, and my beard had regrown to a respectable Ewok-Wookie hybrid length, but I’m also much more massive than I was before, and I seem determined to push the limits of just how far mopiness can take me. If I were forced to commit to a metaphor to describe my life, I would have to say it feels like a fairly unfunny sitcom before the laugh track has been added. Everybody is just waiting for the laughter which they hope will come, and praying that they don’t fall flat in the moment of truth, yet knowing that script just isn’t all that funny. It would be okay if this was just a pilot, but we’ve just begun our tenth season, and it really feels like we should have worked all of this out by now.

Batmart judging Batmart. This should be amusing.
Batmart judging Batmart. This should be amusing.

Have you ever woken up and felt like you might have slid one dimension down while you were sleeping? It’s hardly noticeable, but there’s just that sense that something just isn’t quite right. On the good days, if you can call them that, the differences are more pronounced, and it’s easier to believe that you might be a pilgrim on his voyage through the looking-glass. But on mornings such as this, with only five hours separating the moment of slipping into slumber and final surrender to the alarm which rings out to shatter the wall of sleep around you, there’s nothing at which you can definitively point to make your case that this is not your world, beyond a nagging sensation just behind the bags beneath your eyes. It’s either that, or I read entirely too much Speculative Fiction, and have lost the ability to view the world as anything but a metaphor for my internal struggles to find my place among the stars.

I suppose that if I had gotten into Westerns, I would be prattling on about cattle rustlers and a Frontier Spirit, and if I’d somehow been caught up in Romance novels, I would be able to describe this crisis as the irreconcilable difference between the billionaire who wanted me to be his trophy wife (thereby providing for my ailing, widower father, and the son I’d had with my the love of my life who had been claimed too early by some exotic disease he’d caught from treating underprivileged patients in the third world), or my secret, burning desire for the rough, lower class day laborer who loved with a burning passion which I never could resist, but couldn’t hardly provide for himself, let alone my son and father. And if that seems mean, please keep in mind that I have been subjected to telenovelas, on a near-daily basis. I used to be able to ignore the soapy melodrama altogether, but as my Spanish has improved, my ability to just tune it out has plummeted. That doesn’t mean that I am mocking those who indulge in romantic fantasy (any man who has that many Star Trek novels is in no position to judge another’s tastes in literature), just that I find that particular genre unappealing. Now if you’ll excuse me while I reverse the polarity, adjust the Heisenberg Compensator, and make the jump to Hyperspace.

Maybe I should get to work on a telenovela; it’s not like I don’t know the formula by now. I’m just afraid that this hopeless romantic poet will fall in love with the characters he’s written (especially the villainess), and be unable to return to the real world. Leave it to me to be worried about creating not the perfect woman (who exists fully within herself and yet compliments the best things about me, so that when we join together, there is no power in the world which might stop us), but the perfect nemesis: someone perfectly crafted to dig deep within me and destroy the best parts of me. I’m sure that it speaks volumes about me, but there is nothing more alluring than woman who wants nothing more than to destroy you. Yeah, I’m guessing that I’m not nearly as well-adjusted as I thought I was, and I wasn’t really confident in even that.

Truth be told, I’d love, one day, to be the hero. Not somewhere buried in the written word, but in the life I live. I’d settle for being remembered as fair and just man, but I would love to stroll into a situation where hope had long ago been forcibly extinguished, and discover that the key to fixing everything had been forged in the crucible of my suffering, and filed down by bitterness and blindness to hope itself. My ultimate dream, of course, would be to do all of that, but somehow die in the process, thereby elevating the mundane muddling of my existence to a burning light which would withstand the bitter winds of time. Hey, to each his own.

Sadly, I have an amazing wife (who I’m fairly certain I do not deserve), a son capable of moments of sheer brilliance, a daughter so much like myself that I find it difficult to believe that we share no D.N.A., and a grandson who is so full of love that sometimes I think that I may just break down in joyful tears the next time he embraces me. And I’m about to have another grandchild. This time it’s going to be a little girl. I don’t stand a chance. I’m going to wind up beaten down by all the love around me, and, if I’m not very, very careful, wind up a happy person. Who then, I implore you, will make sure the neighbor kids know the rules regarding my lawn? A sad day, indeed. I’ve spent my life carefully cultivating misery, only to have it tossed to the wind every time I see the love in the eyes of those around me. And then I remember just how lucky I truly am, and how far I’ve come, and the anger builds again because they’ve stolen my bitter tears from swollen cheeks, and left me with laughter in their place. How am I supposed to be complete if I’m not completely inconsolable and an utter killjoy?

The Swirling Mists Of Fortune

Looks like my legs may be getting a workout once again. My wife and I have not won the lottery, so it looks like I’ll get to see just how good I’ve gotten at writing no matter what. I’ve submitted several applications and hope to hear back from at least somebody within a day or two. I may not have done everything by the book in my younger years, but a decade and a half of experience in the same field has made me somewhat of a commodity. Ideally, I’d like to just go into restaurants and tell them how to fix the things that they are doing wrong, but there’s already someone doing that, and he has got a camera crew. I suppose that if I had started this whole process a few months earlier, I might have been able to coast by as a cashier, but since I’ve left it until the last moment, I’ll have to jump right back in where I left off, at least in terms of responsibility (and pay). And I know that once I’ve gotten hired and get used to where I’m working, all of this anxiety will dissipate, as I throw myself completely into the task at hand. In addition, depending on my salary, I may be able to give my wife the same opportunity for joblessness that she has given me.

Well, that’s not entirely accurate. Actually, I suppose that it is. Whereas I have been writing nearly every day that I have been away from Blondie’s Pizza (discounting a reasonable number of days off and time spend on vacation in December), I’m sure that she will launch into an all-out assault on the apartment, and have it organized exactly how she wants it. She’ll have all the time she’s said she’s wanted to devote to her home and to her children. I give her about a month, tops, before she’s ready to get back to work. I am the type who needs to mull things over, chew on thoughts, and then explode in prose while seated before my laptop. Wildflower, on the other hand, just sort of rages at the various tasks before her until they disappear or submit before her mastery. It would be nice to have some money again. That’s what I’d have to say I miss the most since leaving my last job. It’s hard going from having enough to pay the bills and maybe have a little fun (time permitting) to trying to figure out how to make the magic work.

It used to be so much simpler, before I had people who were counting on me. One person bouncing from couch to couch isn’t all that much, but trying drag along your entire family just makes it that much harder. But I’m going to be positive today. I’m going to believe that it’s all going to work out like it should. I’ve been far more productive than I was the last time I renounced a gainful state of employment, and I think that it was necessary to get me writing again. I wish that the cost wouldn’t have been so high, but I’m doing something that I feel that I was meant to do. The last time, I got to spend six months bonding with my son. This time, I’ve been bonding with myself.

In retrospect, I probably could have phrased that better.

But I’ve rebuilt my writing muscles, and the only thing that I need now is a little inspiration. It’s easy to get trapped inside your own feedback of madness, and I may have mined most of what’s been hiding in my head. I’m impressed that it took so long. I figured that I would have run out of nonsense to spout weeks ago. Then again, I have written this same column probably five or six times, so I don’t think that I should be so terribly impressed. Yeah, I need some outside influence on my reality. Fortune favors the bold. That used to mean being the guy who threw away a career to jump toward his destiny, but apparently that now means making enough money so that I can feed my family. And I feel about the same way with the change in definition as I did when “literally” became “figuratively”.

My fingers are crossed.

In other news, yesterday I managed to rack up my 2,000th page view since December 7th. As a gesture of thanks, I reprinted an old tale of mine, and then promised to start working on a version that more closely showcases what I’ve been able to pick up since I first wrote it, which I will debut here in when I hit 2,000 views for 2015. That’s only 83 views away, so I had better get started on it, if I want it to be ready on time.

Great. Now, in addition to finding someone to pay me for doing something, I have to rewrite one of my favorite stories for all of you. It’s only 900 words or so now, and I’d like to make it a little longer. I think it’s time that I learn how to make a meal instead of just a snack-sized story. I guess this means that I will have to put myself back into the mindset of who I was when I wrote the damned thing, and from there, try to remember everything about the story. I guess the biggest thing which worries me right now (about Terracrats, not life in general) is that I don’t know if I’ll be able to maintain that youthful tone, or if I should even try.

It will probably be the victim of a gritty reboot.

Batmart Begins:

I glared down at the cherry of my lit cigarette, furtively glancing about in the fading light of this spring day. Anyone happening to glance this way would wind up seeing us for sure. I dropped the cigarette to the saltwater-soaked concrete and ground it beneath my boot, much as my ex-girlfriend had done to me not months before in lieu of a birthday present.

Damn. I was going for mockery, but I kind of like that.

Memories of Minkey

He wanted to do this show... Solo!
He wanted to do this show… Solo!

 

I was going through some of my recordings as I transferred them to my external hard drive, and I came upon this one. I’d completely forgotten that I’d made it. It amazes me to hear him then, and just how little he sounded. To hear him now, you’d think he was practically grown up. We all sounded so happy then. I think I was still working in the Berkeley store, and this would have been right toward the beginning of Flor’s move to working overnight. Time has flown so quickly, and I don’t know where it’s gone. Memories are like that, I suppose…

Included are his observations about Kindergarten, and our attempt to do a decent rendition of “Mortal Kombat.”

This has given me the idea to do a weekly show with the Minkey. It might be kind of fun, and a way to keep up on the page during the weekends, although we should probably look for an endorsement deal from LEGO, as he will most likely only want to talk about whichever LEGO video game he’s currently playing.

I’ll do a test run and we’ll see how it goes. Depending on the results, we might do one Friday night or Sunday afternoon.

Transcript:

Me: So, David, how old are you?

David: Uh…. 5!

Me: And what do you do during the day?

David: Uhhhhh…… play with my LEGOs.

Me: Do you go anywhere?

David: Uh, yeah!

Me: Where do you go?

David: Uh, to Grandma’s house.

Me: You go to Grandma’s house? But Grandma lives in Washington.

David: Uh, yeah…

Me: Do you go to school?

David: Uh, yeah!

Me: What grade are you in?

David: Uhhhhh………………. (trails off)

Me: What class are you in?

David: Uhhhhh………………. (trails off) I don’t know.

Flor: Kindergarten, come on man!

Me: Are you in Kindergarten?

David: Uh, yeah!

Me: What do you learn there?

David: Uh…. I learn Morning Stretches, uh… Calendar, aaaand Workshop, aaand ABC’s, and Recess, and….. E.L.D….

Me: What’s E.L.D.?

David: Uhh… It’s E and L and D.

Me: Yeah, but what does that mean?

David: E! L! D!

Me: Thanks for that-

Flor: (garbled) ABCD…

Me: Thanks- Thanks for that gripping explanation, David. Can you sing the ABC song?

David: ABCD / EFG / HIJK /  LMN / OPQ / RST / UVW / XYZ / Now I never will forget / how to sing the alphabet.

Me: Very good.

(assorted sniffings and groanings)

Me: So what’s your favorite thing about school?

David: Uh… well… (sniffs) well… well… d- well, I think that my class did, was playing with cl- playing with Play-Doh, ’cause that’s what we did today.

Me: Today? But today was Sunday…

David: (sniff, snort) Yeah. I played with it. And I made a statue of Batman.

Me: You made a statue of Batman?

David: Yeah. (squirty booger sound). Like this Batman. Yep. He’s totally dead.

Me: Mmmm….

David: Hey will you stop burning me?!!

Me: How much do you love Mommy?

David: Uhhh….

Flor: Little!

David: This much and this much and one hundredy ninety nine! (snorts, sniffs)

Me: (laughs) Are you- Are you King Mocoso?

David: Uh, yeah. (sniffs) I have a stuffy nose.

Me: Oh… what did you stuff it with?

David: Mocos.

Me: (laughs)

David: (assorted mucous noises, laughter) Oh, that’s a (makes sound again) sound in my nose (continues making noise)

Me: Can you do the Mortal Kombat thing?

David: Mortal Kombat! Mortal Kombat! Mortal Kombat!

Me: Finish him!

Both: (laugh)

David: Mortal Kombat! Mortal Kombat! Finish him!

Me: That was close. Just, you should let me do the Finish him.

David: Okay. Mortal Kombat! Mortal Kombat! Mortal Kombat! (voice cracks)

Me: (laughing so hard I can’t follow). Fi- (laughs) Finish him!

Both: (laugh)

Me: So what’s your favorite thing to do?

David: Uh, my favorite thing is playing with Play-Doh.

Me: In general?

David: Yeah. At school.

Me: But what’s your favorite thing to do at home?

David: Well, playing with LEGOs. Playing with LEGOs and Play-Doh sounds fun. Yeah.

Me: Do you- Can you read some stories?

David: Yeah. One day, there was a little boy, out with his father. And they head for a walk.

Me: Then what happened?

David: And then… the little boy named David saw a big footprint!

Me: (gasps)

David: And it was Monster David!

Me: Oh no. What did they do?

David: Well… the monster caught Mommy. And then, there was a knight in shining armor. And then, I gave the dragon a pepperoni pizza!

Me: (laughs)

David: Yeah, ’cause the dragon think Mommy was food!

Me: (gasps)

David: And then, I gave him the pizza. And then he ate it all up and made some big crumbs. And then, David just saved Mommy and then the Knight David catched Mommy. The end!

Me: That was quite a fascinating story.

David: Thank you!

Me: (laughs) Well, is it time to go beddy-bye?

David: Uhhh… not yet. I still have more stuff. (sniffs) So… Um, Daddy?

Me: Yes?

David: Will you do the title?

Me: What?

David: Will you… ta-

Me: What?

David: Uh… would you do the thing?

Me: What thing?

David: That you tell me to do…

Me: What thing?

David: Aww, Daddy!

Me: (laughs)

David: You’re… You’re supposed… David what’d you do today?

Me: Oh, I’m sorry. You want to try it again?

David: (whispers) Yeah.

Me: Okay. David, what did you do today?

David: Well… there were some… dinosaurs at school, a clock at school, even a toy clock at school. Turn the… the hand around, the gears started spinning! And when I turn it really fast, it goes really fast! And then, I slowed it down, and then… it’s slower, and slooower, and slooower, (sniffs) and slooower, and slooower and slooower. And, the end!

Me: Oh- Say goodnight….

David: Goodbye, night!

Force Of Will

I will write something funny today.

will write something funny today.

will write something funny today.

Like I’ve said before, trying to be funny is a lot harder than it looks, especially when all you really want is to just curl back up and go to sleep. But I know that if I don’t try to do something to crack a grin, I’ll wind up being mopey for the rest of the week, and I’m going to need all of chuckle buffer available to me if I’m going to make it through this weekend. Note to self: Chuckle Buffer is a good name for something. Just days from now, we’re having a dual celebration in honor of my daughter’s birthday, and the impending arrival into this world of my granddaughter. Just think, I get to be a grandpa to a little princess! I’m not too worried about the birthday aspect, as the “Quarter Century” joke doesn’t ever seem to lose its luster, but the baby shower will involve lots of in-law relatives and work acquaintances of my wife. I always feel so out-of-place at these types of events, and I’m not just referring to the baby shower. Birthday parties, Easter egg hunts, Thanksgiving… Even when I go to parties with my friends, I’m usually that dude that hangs out on the patio and drinks his drink and smokes cigarettes all night, until it’s finally time to go. I used to get out of it by mixing poisons like a pro, but I don’t think my wife would be too happy if I tossed my cookies in someone else’s living room. To be fair, I don’t think she wants me tossing cookies in anybody’s living room, but at least at home we have the chance to clean it up before anyone else might see. And by “we”, I mean my wife, who seems unnaturally obsessed with not having vomit stains on furniture.

I mean, they all seem like nice enough people, but it can be a little overwhelming when everyone is speaking rapid-fire Spanish, and I have to pay attention to it all in case my name is called. I mean, it’s not like Spanish class, when I knew enough to goof around, and made it clear that I was only there for my own amusement. Here, I have to worry about all the things that everybody else does, when dealing when people not necessarily of their own choosing, but with the added strain of translating everything within my head all night. Normally, my answer to the anxiety brought on by these events is to down a steady stream of beer, but that just makes me slip into my Scottish brogue, and then my Spanish is all garbled. Okay, full disclosure: it’s not actually that bad. The beer is usually the Mexican equivalent of P.B.R., and I’m comfortable enough with my second tongue that even when I’m inebriated, I don’t do all that bad. It’s just that it’s hard enough to pull off “interested” in my native tongue. I’m bad enough with people whom I barely know, that to throw in a cultural divide and foreign language means I spend the evening in state of terror.

And baby showers are the worst (I say, having only attended the shower for my grandson). My wife and daughter know what’s going on, and have it under their control, and though I really don’t want to get involved, sometimes I think that it would beat the hell out of milling around for hours trying to look just busy enough that no one asks me to move furniture or put up decorations.

Pictured: Me not helping.
Pictured: Me not helping.

I don’t know if it’s a cultural thing, or a gender thing, or just something about myself, but I’m not really interested in a party for a fetus. Call me pragmatic or spoil sport, or what have you, but I think that it would make more sense to have the party after that child’s been born. That way, everyone knows the size of baby things which are needed and the new mother gets to show off her little bundle of adorable to anyone caught in the blast radius. In the moment that my son was born, he outgrew everything which he’d been given. I know that everyone believes that newborn clothes are unbearably precious, but not every baby is born that itty-bitty. And in this family, they tend towards the massive. I mean, my son was weighed in at just under twelve pounds, when all the goo’d been cleared, and as I recall, my grandson, though not nearly as gigantic, was still born above the average weight. I could be wrong, though. It was a long night, and I had to leave at one point to go and pick up pizza.

And now I’m trying to remember if we had a shower for the Minkey. I know that we had tons of stuff to give away when we brought him home from the hospital, but… I don’t know. That was almost eight years ago, and I can barely hold on to what’s gone on over the past five minutes. I guess I never really thought of baby showers as all that big of a deal. Maybe it’s just because I never got invited when I was man of fewer years, but these parties seem ridiculous at best, and at their worst, more closely resemble a Royal Rumble of passive aggressive sniping.

The humor of a baby bump without impending pelvic assault.
The humor of a baby bump without the impending pelvic assault.

Then there are the photographs. It’s been almost two and a half years since the last one of these which I attended, and it wasn’t until this month that I finally got around to posting the photos on my Flickr page. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. Despite all evidence to the contrary, I actually enjoy this job. It allows me roam about and look like I am working while not having to really talk to anybody I don’t want to. The only issue I’ve run into is when it comes time to open presents. I know that people put a lot of thought into what they purchased for the baby (or in the snarky gifts aimed directly at the expecting mom), but they make for lousy photographs. Out of maybe fifty shots, there might be one which I can use. Yet even knowing this, I still have my Nikon shooting rapid-fire, documenting everything just in case we want to see it later. Will I bring along my camera this time? Probably. I’m not the type to pass up the chance to avoid having to talk to people.

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Storm: A Brewing Torment

Storm's a brewin'.
Storm’s a brewin’.

There’s just something about a storm that brings out the spark of life in me. When the wind picks up, and the clouds race in to mass just above me, and the tiny drops of rain come flying in on a slant, followed by a rolling thrum of thunder and cascading shower of lightning bolts illuminating the darkened, purple night about me, I cannot help but feel so amazingly alive, like an abrasion of consciousness wrapped around my mortal frame of flesh and bone. I’ve always loved a good storm. They’re not so terribly impressive, here in the Bay Area, at least not anymore. I remember a few years ago when we could count on a couple of baby monsoons or so, but since then, the weather has been painfully uncomfortable for an Emerald City boy like myself. What rain we do get is primarily for show, and on the off-chance that it’s anything substantial, it just floods the streets and drains back out into the Bay. I have to say that I miss the weather on the Island where I used to live, and that growing up on a little rock in the Puget Sound raised the bar on miserable squalls.

I remember a ferry ride during a particularly brutal tempest, out on the Seattle-Bainbridge run. The boat was rocking side to side, just out of rhythm with blasts of lightning and kettle drums. And of course, this was shortly after Titanic had splashed into the cinemas, and the local papers had been making note of our ferry service’s similar deficiency in life-saving apparatus. I myself enjoyed the ride, and almost fell asleep. This was before the nanny-state surveillance which followed in the wake of 9/11, when the worst thing that would happen to you was winding up back where you started. And then there were the summer storms, when the drops dripping downward had been gently warmed by the rising waves of heat, and fell upon you like a silken shower to wash all of your worries down the dipping hills to drain into the rocky beach. It seemed that every August, I would find a way to re-enact that scene from Shawshank, albeit without the obligatory crawl through five football fields of shit smelling foulness I also could not imagine. The best that I can get in California is the occasional wafting fragrance of all those crawls that I managed to avoid.

I’ve been reading for years about how California is running out of water, and seen myself that we’ve managed to completely fail to make up years of falling reservoirs due to obnoxiously clement weather all year round. I’ve joked around with some of my friends still living in the Great Northwest about the possibility that I might return, but the Evergreen State itself isn’t in the best of shape. It terrifies me to think about a world in which my son and grandchildren will have to go to war over something as basic as H20. Once-prime real estate will be deserted as no one can live without access to water. Well, almost deserted. I can easily imagine gangs in stillsuits roaming the ostentatious paradise we once called San Diego. The Magic Kingdom will begin to crumble, and the animatronic army will secretly start its fortifications of the theme park empire of the West Coast. They will have some success, but by the time that they are able to communicate with Orlando, that capitalistically sacred land will have sunk beneath the sea. And we will observe a moment of silence for America’s wang.

What would be so hard about ensuring a world which future generations might enjoy? I know that it seems un-American to suggest something other than the Almighty Dollar has any intrinsic value, but I am now a father, and I’d like my offspring to have a chance at some sort of life that they actually might enjoy. I know that luxury is not a basic right of life, as any of the animals who died so that I might have something upon which to nibble could attest, but I believe that they possess the chance to find unhappiness as cogs within a giant, uncaring machine, as long as it allows them to buy all the newest, coolest gadgets. All joking aside, every time we go back up north, I make sure to walk around with David William, down the beaches, and up the wooded hills, through the forests and the fields. He’s been a city boy for his entire life, and I like to see him take in nature, cherish it, and fall in love with the sheer beauty of it all. He’s seen the urban jungle, and the clouds of smog between us and the view, so I know that when he gets the chance to breathe in air that doesn’t taste of car exhaust and the bitterness of broken dreams, he can appreciate just how wonderfully special those moments truly are.

The storm has finally come now, with gusting bursts of wind and rain drizzling down without conviction, rather like an afterthought. It rained last night as well, moistening the asphalt in the wee hours before the dawn, but once the sun had risen, all traces of the rains had fled, as the clouds flew toward the corners of the heavens, to reveal a pale blue elegy of sky. Sitting by the window, as I type these very words, I can hear the dripping on the roofs and cars throughout the neighborhood, like a hundred sinks with leaky faucets displayed just feet from where I’m sitting. Maybe I’m just getting all sentimental because I’m not used to being conscious at 2:30 in the morning, or maybe it’s because I simply miss the beauty of the land where I grew up. I came down here because of palm trees, and because I missed my best friend terribly. Of course, he’s back living in Seattle, and I’m stuck here with the palm trees and the loneliness.

All the years that I’ve been here in California, I haven’t really made the time to make new friends to replenish all the people whom I’ve lost. I know a couple of people who’ve been kind of close throughout the years, but like all family, I only see them once or twice a year. I could count Nerdenn Events, but he’s now my son-in-law, and my roommate, to boot. I don’t have anyone like Fed and Bad Leon, and they are both hundreds of miles away. The problem is that I was always working, and only had time to hang out with people on my way home from work, but once I got promoted, and ran the whole damn show, I’d found I’d lost the time I had allotted to get to know the revolving door of tolerable acquaintances. There are a couple of folks whom I still chat with, who know me well enough that I hope I never piss them off, but I don’t know that I would feel too comfortable calling them in the dead of night to whinge on regarding my recurring bouts of melancholy.

When I moved down here, I was young and full of hope. It’s been a dozen years now, and let’s just say that things haven’t quite turned out like I had been expecting. Restaurants were never my idea for a lifelong career choice, and I’d figured that by now I would have become a world-famous author. I have a wife and son, a daughter and a grandson, and a son-in-law who isn’t all that bad; for someone who always wanted a family of his own, that’s like hitting a home run. But with the lot of us squeezed into a two-bedroom apartment, bouncing off one another and always getting in the way, that sense of closeness feels, at times, like a pillow gently laid upon the mouth of a quadruple amputee. And despite being so smothered by attention that I feel sure that I’ve expired, there is a creeping sense of isolation which has overtaken me and made me miss my friends. It could just be that I’d like to have a conversation in my native tongue that didn’t involve children’s shows or bedtime. Or maybe it’s just that I am completely exhausted, and I tend toward thoughts of sorrow when I’m up so late and all alone. I’d say that I’ll feel better in the morning, but I have a sinking feeling that my son will want to wake me up and make me play with him.

And speaking of my one and only, I know that I am hard on him, and that I spend column yards on pointing out his foibles. But I love him so much that there are times that I am certain he has trampled through my heart. What a mind, that kid of mine does have, and the irritating qualities so prominently on display are due, in no small part, to a combination of genetics and my training him in rhetoric and the joy of The Debate. His confrontational attitude is a constant source of muscle spasms (mostly centered in my neck), but I would rather teach him how to think rather than just forcing him to parrot what think. Years ago, I told him that if he could lay out a case before me, using logic and what reason he could muster, I would hear him out, and if he did his job right, there was a chance that I would change my mind. I also warned him that there would be times when he would perform magnificently and yet still fall just short of swaying me. But do you know, in the almost eight years that he’s been alive, he’s managed to argue me into overturning two of my prior edicts. That may not seem like all that much, but when I consider that we still use rubber sheets when he sleeps with us in bed, I’m even more impressed. Yessir, that child of mine is something else.

I think that I have rambled long enough. Thank you for indulging me as I shifted between weather and disappointment, nostalgia and parental pride. I’ll be back again this evening with another report from Spring Break ’15.

-Tex

I Can Do This! A Tale of Exhaustion and Madness

Mind over matter, never mind that I can barely think right now. I had been working on a piece which I may eventually finish, in the unlikely event that I ever get some sleep. But right now I am just holding on to what little threads of consciousness remain, dreading the moment when my wife comes home, for that will mean that laundry time has come. If only I hadn’t built up a tolerance to caffeine, the industrial strength Red Bull which I drank earlier might have had some sort of effect. As it stands now, however, I am locked into a battle of wills with my computer to see if I’ve got what it takes to do this thing on autopilot. That’s not to besmirch the quality of my automatic functions; I am disturbingly efficient when I cut out my higher thinking. I just hope that this makes some kind of sense to anyone who reads it, as I can make no promises about quality control. I’m pretty sure that I used to be able to function almost normally on little to no sleep, but those days have long since passed, and now I’m lucky that I don’t have to figure out how I’m going to operate heavy machinery.

Half asleep, and not even close to human...
Half asleep, and not even close to human…

I apologize if any jokes included seem a bit… deflated. I’m at the point where everything seems funny. If you were to put me in a room with my son and grandson, the epic stream of nonsense that would pour forth from that room would cast serious doubt upon my mental health. But the joke’s on you: My mental health is already suspect! Ha! It’s difficult to be amusing when you know that you can’t tell what’s funny anymore. I’m sure that I can make a couple of people chuckle, now and then, but I don’t know that I’ve inspired belly-shaking laughter, unless it involved the removal of my shirt in front of other people. That’s assuming that they don’t go blind. I’m a fairly pale-skinned individual, and as I tend towards ruddy pain when in the presence of the sun. That means that when I remove my top, it’s like staring at a hairy moon, full and reflective, capable of piercing the defenses of even the most sober of individuals. I mean, it’s dangerous enough when I remove my hat, as the glare from most light sources collects upon my noble skullet, pooling all together, exponentially reflecting outward at the speed of apathetic light.

But what really brings me down, besides my inability to grow hair upon my head, is the knowledge that I seem to be experiencing a second round of puberty. When I was younger, I never really had a pair of boobs, but over the past decade, I have grown into at least a B-cup, and as the amount of hair upon my head decreases, the size of my chest increases. I’d like to think that they are follically inflated, but the truth is that they are of a more natural composition. If I don’t do something soon, I’m going to have to go bra shopping, and I don’t even know where to begin. I mean, sure, I’ll need a certain level of support, but I’d like it if I could still look pretty too. Wow, down the rabbit hole am I. I mean, I’m not interested in dressing like a lady (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but I do have a fondness for kilts, and my silk boxers do feel pretty awesome. Maybe they make pectoral support devices that come in…  more masculine designs. Like something that depicts explosions or something. Yeah, no. I’m just not feeling it.

Not pictured: budding man boobs
Not pictured: budding man boobs

I’ve gotten to thinking that this might not be the best idea that I’ve ever had. I am just a little bit eccentric, and even I manage to take my statements out of context when it suits me. Breaking News: Tex Batmart admits to dressing up like women! You see? I don’t know. It’s hard to judge someone based upon a lack of desire to wear pants. I mean, when I was living in the PNW, pants were slightly more of a necessity. It can get a little cold up there, and I’ve an image to maintain. But I live in California, and most of the time, I only put on clothing to keep from turning into a man-sized lobster. But if I could finally feel the freedom of a kilt, I might learn to relax. Having a soothing breeze upon my nethers couldn’t hurt, either. Mind you, it’s not that I feel a strong desire to run through the world while fully on display, it’s just that I’m not really all that big a fan of pants. I do like wearing suits, though. Weird, right? Exhaustion is a heady vice.

I have begun fade... I hope to hold on for just a little longer.
I have begun fade… I hope to hold on for just a little longer.

As I was typing up that last paragraph, I noticed a couple of spiders creeping toward me to feast upon the shattered bodies of the mosquitoes which I’ve slain today. Normally, I have no problem with spiders carrying out their necessary tasks, but all I ask that they do it where I cannot see them. That’s actually my rule for all insects and “lower” beings which may make their way into my home: They have just as much right to live as me and mine, but if they stumble into sight, I will take them out. The spiders normally do alright, whereas mosquitoes, ants, and roaches creeping in from their home base in the apartment directly above us all seem to be feeling just a little down. Seeing that they’re suffering, I do my best to end their pain, but I just wish that they would find somewhere else to spend their dying moments, as it can be a little hard to bend sometimes.

But I am Death, the Destroyer, and I shall not be stopped. I like to think that they have made up legends about me, and live in fear of the day that the other shoe will drop, as is prophesied in their holy texts. Perhaps I am tempting fate, and summoning a shoe much greater than myself which will come to fall upon me as retribution for my hubris. But what can I do? I’ve laid out the rules quite clearly for them, and if they choose to violate the Neutral Zone, their deaths rest solely upon themselves, not me. For I must defend the boundaries of my own sovereignty, and all which lies within. I guess that I’ve finally found some common ground with my family after all. Of course, I’m talking about bugs, and they’re talking about dirty foreigners, so maybe not. All I know is that one day I will be featured on the local news as that crazy dude running around in a skirt and bra, chasing after tiny creatures and smashing them with my shoe. I just hope that my tan lines aren’t obvious, or I’ll never live it down.

And now I can fade back into unconsciousness.
And now I can fade back into unconsciousness.

Ah! The spider is back again! And it looks ang

Fiesta

Last night, the three of us went to the birthday party of the daughter of my wife’s co-worker. Normally, I pass on these types of events, as most of the time, I am the only one who speaks English, and my wife and son are the only people who I actually know. But when I saw that Flor had gotten all dressed up (with makeup and everything!), I decided that I should probably tag along, at least for the sake of appearances. I threw on a suit, and was ready to go when our ride arrived. Years ago, when I started working mornings, I had the perfect excuse of needing to get up early, and normally Mexican birthday parties keep rocking until well after midnight. Actually, based on my experiences, they don’t even really get going until the sun’s gone down. I’m not implying that Latinos are some sort of vampiric entities, but I’ve never seen a birthday party happen in direct sunlight. Putting aside all of my misgivings, I hopped up into the car which came for us, ready for the evening, and knowing that I had a decent chance of getting enough sleep. There are always bouncy houses at these parties, and I knew that if David played hard enough, he might be so exhausted upon our arrival back at home, that he’d sleep a proper number of hours, and perhaps not wake up at the crack of dawn. Sadly, he did, but that is nothing new.

For those of you not intimately familiar with children’s birthday parties in Latino culture, let me run them down for you:

First, the mother spends an ungodly amount of money on the rental of the bouncy house, chairs and tables, and a DJ (This is not because the fathers do not care, or feel that it is women’s work, but rather, they have made the argument (and lost) that there is no need to spend upwards of $200 just to set the stage for a party for a toddler).

The mother then spends most of the day of the event preparing enough food to feed upwards of fifty people, and calling on her friends to make and brings several other dishes as well.

She will begin to grow agitated when no one shows up at the time she has announced, fretting about social standing until her guests begin to trickle in, in what I can only assume is an attempt to arrive fashionably late… to a children’s party.

The mother will then proceed to not sit down for the remainder of the evening, flitting here and there, always rotating through the crowd in an attempt to make sure that everyone is having a good time. Just like small child to whom the party is ostensibly dedicated, she will not remember anything about it.

There will always be too much food left over at the party’s conclusion, so everyone will have a doggy bag thrust upon them.

There is a disturbing trend toward alcoholism at these events. The budget for beverages is usually around $10 for sodas, and $40 for beer, and there’s always that one dude who drinks an entire box of Corona all by himself. The first time I ever came to one of these, I was shocked at how much alcohol was being consumed. At a party for a kid.

No matter how exhausted the hosts have become, they are honor bound to keep the party going until the final guest has finally found a clue, and decided to depart.

The mother will then look out upon the chaos that once was her backyard, and suffer a moment of paralysis at the sheer magnitude of work facing her when she wakes up in the morning.

You may have noticed that I was only writing about the mothers. This is because most of the fathers I have spoken to, would rather spend the money on gifts for their children, instead of competing to win the title of Event of the Season. I’ve had this argument with my wife, every year that my son has been alive. Every year, she almost kills herself making everything absolutely perfect, just to see an underwhelming turnout, an overwhelming mess, and a checkbook that is reduced to whimpering for mercy. And every year she tells me that she finally sees what I was going on about, and how next year, she’s going to do something smaller, for just the family. But I know that her convictions will begin to fade by April of the next year, as the weather warms, and she begins to feel that she needs to show the other moms just how much better of a mother she is. I’ve learned my lesson, after all these years, and now just shut my mouth, and offer what help I may provide. There is nothing that I can say which could possibly change her mind, so I’ve decided that I’d rather not get into a fight with her when passions are running that high.

For me, I’d rather just buy a cake and a goodly amount of toys, and tell my son that I loved him, and then hit the sack at a reasonable hour. I’m trying to learn all the ins and outs of the culture which I’ve married into, but there are so many levels to everything they do, that I feel like watching telenovelas is a form of basic training. I am not cut out for all of this political posturing, as anyone who’s ever worked with me will readily attest. I have neither the time nor patience to play politics, especially when dealing with the nebulous dance of social status. I appreciate the family aspect to the Latin culture, but I also like small, non-mandatory events which end on the same day in which they began. I like getting dressed up and going out with my wife, but not if it’s only to hang out in someone’s backyard to be bitten by mosquitoes.

I don’t know if I will ever truly understand where my wife is coming from. As she is so fond of saying, we are from completely different worlds. But I love her, and every time we do something, it’s an opportunity to learn something new. I moved two states away from my family, and enjoy the distance, but Flor is an entire country distant, and I can see that these little get-togethers are her way of beating back despair. And showing all her friends just how a party should be done. Oh, and if you will be in the Bay Area this summer, please drop me a line. I have a feeling that the Event of the Season may be happening toward the end of June, at least that what my instincts tell me.

Oh, and did I mention that piñatas are falling out of fashion?
Oh, and did I mention that piñatas are falling out of fashion?
Average attendance for David's parties (not really).
Average attendance for David’s parties (not really).

 

... and this was just a baby shower!
… and this was just a baby shower!

Prestidigitation: A Life of Education

I am not a good teacher of things. I lack both the patience and willingness to use it to be an effective educator, at least when it comes to the fundamentals. This is a downside of how my intelligence works. I tend to pick things up through osmosis, give them a go (in private, where no one can see me fail), and then pretend that it wasn’t all that difficult to begin with. The only things whose difficulty I intentionally emphasize are the things which I have absolutely no interest in being asked to do again. Just ask my wife on laundry day. She has a very specific set of standards on how she feels that clothing must be folded, and is in no way impressed by my technique, which involves a quick doubling of said textile, with no regard to whether they will appear to be septuagenarian leggings. Unfortunately, my wife has known me long enough that she has figured out my game plan. So now I have to fold the laundry correctly. I did earn a small concession, however: I do not have to fold her blouses, as even she has admitted that they do not conform to the laws of physics, and would rather that I didn’t tear a hole in the space-time continuum whilst attempting to neatly and geometrically fold them. But she does expect me to attend to the rest of our clothing in the manner which she has taught me.

She is a good teacher, you see. Flor will keep going over the basics, and even answer my patently ridiculous queries as to why it’s actually important do it in a certain way. I could never teach another person how to do their laundry. I mean, I could explain how to use the machines, and the describe why detergent is important, and when not to use chlorine bleach, but their clothing would remain forever wrinkled, and they, like me, would have not the slightest inkling of what fabric softener actually is, or why a person should even bother using it, or how to use it in the first place. But that’s regarding something which I am incapable of caring less about. What about when someone needs to know how to do something that I’m actually half decent at?

One of the things which always drove me crazy when I was working in restaurants, was having to train other people how to do things so that they wouldn’t remain completely useless. I’m crap when it comes to laying down the fundamentals, as any of my former employees would most likely tell you. There are certain basic concepts about how one does his job, and if you cannot understand them from the get-go, then I grow irritated, and probably counterproductive. That’s why I most often just farmed the first couple of shifts worth of training to my new employees out to someone who only did that particular job day in and day out. The owners usually wanted the newbies under direct management supervision, but I felt it was better to get new hires started under the tutelage of someone who wasn’t me. I didn’t want to waste my time talking someone through the basics of how to use a register, or how to do the busy work that comes before one is allowed to actually touch the food. I’d watch for those couple of days, jumping in to make a correction now and then, and finally, when it looked like the rookie had finally achieved mastery over the basics, I would step in to finalize their education.

You see, I’m all about the nuance, at least when it comes to work. I want to know why things work so that I can figure out the best way to make them happen, and then pass that on to my employees. Take register monkeys, for example. There are three stages that most cashiers will go through: Inept, Proficient, and Stellar (there is also a secret, fourth stage: Burnout, but that is usually reserved for those employees who no longer need this f’ing job).

Inept covers the first few shifts, and I like to think of it as Training Wheels. Sure, on the surface it appears that they can ride the bike, but there is no real confidence or speed, and if it weren’t for the extra help to prop them up, they would probably fall over. After cashiers have finally found their balance, they are upgraded to Proficient. There are several subcategories here, but the main defining quality of Proficiency is that I, as the manager, will not be called up every couple of minutes to answer a question that might just as easily be addressed by reading a menu board. Most cashiers tend to stay at this level until they find other employment, as they will not get their shift preferences until they achieve a Stellar ranking. Proficient cashiers are still not my problem, but I have been known to give advice or point out little shortcuts to those I think are on the rise. Think of a Proficient cashier as running the secondary register on a busy night.

And now we get to my favorite type of employee: Stellar. These are the people who take work seriously, and are always looking out for how to do their own jobs better. These are the people who get preferential scheduling (although they never seem to get to have a weekend to spend with friends or family anymore), and keep their hours when the restaurant hits the slower times of year. These are the people who have noticed that there is a difference between being good, and being great, and are no longer satisfied with remaining among the former. I love this class of employee, and will gladly teach them what I know regarding how to streamline customer interactions and generally rock it like a professional. How does one move their line faster when it’s slammed? Limit what you say, and don’t ask open-ended questions: If someone wants something to drink that isn’t Coca-Cola, they’ll correct you immediately. If you ask them what they’d like to drink, you might as well take a seat while they decide. Stellar cashiers will know the POS and menu shortcuts, know what’s in each menu item, and know how to make proper change. These are the people whom I am indebted to for making my job easier, and I will do everything within my power to keep them happy at their life-draining, soul-crushing place of employment.

But that sometimes doesn’t work, and this Stellar individual begins to fray around the edges. They are starting to Burn Out. Maybe it’s because they are so good that the restaurant cannot really run without them, which means that weekends are for other people. Maybe it’s because the owner hasn’t approved their raise, because it’s been forever since he’s had to worry about the personal cost of basic things, despite his constant moaning about just how broke he is. Maybe it’s because the truly talented people realize that they are simply too good to be wasted on a cashier gig, and that there’s more to life than being mistreated by the general public. I’ve seen it happen so many times, and have felt its seductive call, myself. And it’s hard to argue effectively against, because it is so obviously true. Despite knowing all of this, it still broke my heart to witness one of my Superstars decide to throw the towel in, and turn down the Burnout path.

At this stage, the once-Stellar employee begins to let things go. He begins to drop his standards and perform, at best, as a high-functioning Proficient. If there is line running out the door, he can still kick it into high gear, but usually that’s just a vestigial reaction back from when he still gave a crap. At this point he is looking for another job, or has made the other job that he already has, his main priority. He will change around his availability so that you can no longer schedule him during the really busy times, and he knows that he’ll still get as many hours as he wants because he’s still the best cashier you have. You can tell a Burnout from the hatred barely, if at all, concealed behind his eyes. He doesn’t care anymore, and doesn’t mind sharing that knowledge with you.

At some point he will either become insubordinate to the detriment of everyone around him, or else he will simply not show up for shifts (usually on the busiest days), and management will have to let him go. I tried to view this as a mercy killing, but I always took it personally. I only befriended the good employees, the best employees, but it was most frequently the members of this very group who wound up breaking my heart. I’ve since wished them the best, and have taken solace in their happiness, at least to their faces, but it still hurts that they couldn’t stick around to help me get through my own purgatorial days.

Maybe that’s why it’s so hard for me to deal with newbies. I don’t want to invest myself in personal interactions with people who aren’t going to make it through their first week. Or maybe it’s because, after decades of living with Bi-Polar, it’s simply easier for me to point out how someone is failing, as opposed to setting them up from the very beginning with a chance at legitimate success. I have tried to learn from the managers that I respect the most, though they seemed to Burn Out just as easily as I did, in the end. It’s hard to balance both the ledger and your humanity. But I thank them, all the same, for showing me the importance of retaining my humanity in an industry which seems to encourage its dismissal. In my mind, they shall always remain Stellar examples of how to do things the right way. And I hope that (if I don’t win the lottery this week) when I get back into the industry which has become the harshest of mistresses, I can face it all with courage and humanity until the very end.

-Tex

A good friend, and a cautionary tale I never took to heart. Too good a man to work in this industry.
A good friend, and a cautionary tale I never took to heart. Too good a man to work in this industry.
I hope you have been resting well, and I just want you to know that I have always hoped that you were proud of me.
I hope you have been resting well, and I just want you to know that I have always hoped that you were proud of me.
The man who taught me to value my time... and myself.
The man who taught me to value my time… and myself.

One Week on reddit

It’s been kind of an exciting week for me here. I succumbed to the narcissistic pressure within me, and submitted a few columns to reddit.com, figuring that I had gotten more or less back into form, and was ready for a truly global audience. I wasn’t prepared for the result. Amazingly, my column about Star Trek took right off, and has, to date, gotten more views this week by itself, than almost double the total amount of views I’d had in my best week prior to this one. Of course, reddit is a fickle mistress, and large numbers of people reading me there didn’t translate into much voting, in either direction. After spending almost a week in the r/startrek subreddit, I’ve gotten five votes, two-thirds positive, which have garnered me a total score of… 1 imaginary internet point! I’m trying not to get too hung up on that, as redditors can be unforgiving assholes (I should know), but it still kind of hurts that over two hundred people took the time to read what I had written, and only five had rated it positively. Still, I’ve said from Day One that my main goal in all of this was to give people a chance to read my stuff. I wasn’t expecting everyone to love it, but I had kind of imagined that it might have had more of an effect. Still, though, it’s kind of amazing. People with whom I have absolutely no connections in the real world have stopped and read the words and thoughts which have exited my head, and that, to me, is incredible.

The numbers have gone back to normal now, as I made a decision on Wednesday morning not to drink from that particular well anymore, at least not for a while. I wanted to see how many new readers I could maintain, and now, sadly, I know. It’s kind of wild to see just how this week has skewed the numbers, and I know that April is probably going to be the first month since I’ve started where I don’t increase my readership versus the month which came before it. To be honest, the temptation is there to head back to reddit sometime next month, just so I can try to avoid such a dubious distinction. Or I could try to make my stuff better, I suppose. I’m honestly just please with how easily the words are coming, compared to when I started, and how I can just jump in, even if it’s seven in the evening, and pound out words which, at the very least, make some sort of sense. I mean, I’m not really any closer to my larger goal of writing something that I can sell, but I’ve found my groove, and have built the courage to try out several different things over the past few months. And something that will please my wife: I’ve discovered that I can still write in the mornings, and that I can usually pound out an average column in an hour and a half. That basically means that I can now go looking for a job, free from the worry that it will cause my words to suffer.

The downside is that I now have to come to terms with my fear of everybody, and deal with easing myself back into the Food Service Industry, but luckily, I’ve had almost fifteen years of restaurant experience, with a decade of that spent in management. I know what I am doing when it comes to rocking in the kitchen, and the only thing which has held me back has been my exhaustion at the very notion of returning. It’s not the owners, it’s not the employees, and it’s definitely not the distributors; the component which worries me the most is having to deal with a brand-new set of customers. Well, that and doing interviews, but the latter is more a reflection of my personal bi-polarizing issues, so ultimately, it’s sort of just on me to get myself through that process. But when it comes to the customer experience, I think back to every single customer I’ve had the pleasure of not serving these past four months, and I’m reluctant to go back. But restaurants are generally always hiring, and are usually in need of competent management. And the only way that I can pay off all my bills at this point, is to jump into the deep end, and become Mr. Manager once more.

I’ve sort of gotten used to living this life of carefree indolence, and loathe to imagine the day when it must come to an end. But all good things must do so, if we are to truly appreciate them. I could be wrong, of course, and the only thing that stands between myself and happiness is my inability to accept myself for who I truly am: someone for whom putting on pants is the moment when he knows that his day will never stand a chance of recovering. If I was single, I suppose that I could travel the country on the backs of couches, seeking out just Wi-Fi, nicotine, and the occasional full belly. But the fact is that I would have never made it this far without the love of my dearest wife, and should the day come when she’s had enough of my shenanigans, I don’t imagine that I’ll be able to really handle anything in the manner expected of an adult. There will be crying, floor-pounding temper tantrums, and snot running down my face like a river flowing freely from my nose. And then I’ll slip back into habits better off forgotten, seeking solace in my liberation from overwhelming pain, and before I know it, I’ll wake up in Billings, Montana with a tattoo of Crying Rose, and naked, save for a strategically placed necktie. Poor Bad Leon Suave, I’m sure that he doesn’t entirely deserve that.

See? Watching the worst case (and yet, strangely entertaining) scenarios play out inside my head is still more comforting than the knowledge that I’m going to have to get (another) job! I’m not sure what that says about me, but I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading all about it. I’d say that I am now heading off to bed, but I think that I’ll do some pity-voting back on reddit.

The cowboy rode off into the sunset, but left his steed behind.
The cowboy rode off into the sunset, but left his steed behind.

-Tex