Tag Archives: time

Time Is Running Out

Well, this is it. My leisurely stroll through the sunny fields of contented unemployment have officially been numbered. Starting next month, I need to be able to scrounge up at least a couple of thousand dollars on a regular sort of basis. The day has finally come when the kids have found a place and are moving out. I can’t even begin to count the number of times when I was working that I asked them to move out, but now that they are finally going, the moment has turned bittersweet. At least I know that I can jump right in and do my manager thing. I have a particular set of skills, you know. I wouldn’t mind transferring them to a slightly different field, but work is work, apparently, and my experience has transformed a high school dropout into an affordable commodity. And now that I know that I can keep up with my writing, for at least a thousand words per day, I’m not as scared of the daily grind and falling out of rhythm. It just might be the time to put my will back to the test, and make a little money in order that I might finally be able to finance my own dreams.

Strangely enough, this doesn’t really come as a surprise. Not the money thing. I mean, I know I cut out one year early from my compulsory education, but even I can still do basic feats of arithmetic. Recently, my wife has been informing me that she might have to go back to working closing shifts to be able to make forty hours. With her switching back to nights, that leaves me open to run for something during the day, assuming that I would be able to get back home before she had to go to work. I know restaurants in general tend to abhor a nine-to-five, but I am good at what I do, and I think that I could make it worth their while. Part of me wants nothing more than to go back to the man I used to work for and offer to take back over at the store I left (a possibility, since my son-in-law is going to be taking paternity leave as soon as my granddaughter has been born). I know his staffing issues, and I’ve also been made aware of the limitations which he faces in his current management roster. After spending nearly six years in that organization, I know that once I got back, the months I’ve spent away would slide off down my shoulders, and I’d be right back where I started (or ended, depending on just how you want to frame the tale).

Luckily, I’ve still got some contacts in the industry, and my reputation there was always fairly solid. Honestly, if I didn’t really need the cash, I’d probably just settle for some random cashier gig, but my credit cards and rent aren’t going to pay themselves, so it looks like I’m stuck with management again. It could be worse, I suppose. I might never have acquired any skills whatsoever, and be forced to consider the dwindling options which labor can provide. And I’ve worked my way up from the very bottom at almost every job I’ve had over the last ten years, so I know how to grind it out, and I understand how not to be the type of manager who runs the store from somewhere deep within the office. I’ve earned the respect of my employees many times before, and I can do it again if I have to. To be honest, I think that I’d prefer to put a Paypal button for donations in the corner of my site, but all my friends who read this are at least as poor as me, and don’t really have the resources to subsidize my adventures on the run from an honest day’s toil.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew that once I left my last job, it would be like pulling teeth to get me into another, as I tend to not want to put myself in a position to have to meet new people when there’s any chance I might avoid it. But the fact is that after a half-dozen years in the crucible of the pizza game, I needed to take a breather and find my bearings again. And, despite the financial shortcomings of writing for a blog which pays me not a single dime, it’s hard to say that it has been anything other than a complete success. I’m writing more than at any other time in my life, and though it’s not all diamond crusted flecks of platinum and gold, on the whole, it’s of a higher quality than the nonsense I was churning out before. Sure, there are fewer moments of inspired genius, but then again, I’m also not penning epic droning poetry that just kept going on for page after page, long after I’d run out of anything to say. With a new job comes a chance for new experiences, and that means sprinkles of inspiration that I seem to be going without due to my isolation and unwillingness to step foot outside my house, cigarettes and escort missions aside.

I guess this means that tomorrow will be my last hurrah before responsibility sets in. I’m glad my wife and I get to have a night out on the town. It’s been too long since we’ve done anything outside of domestic squabbling, and I’d like a chance to try for some redemption from the last time that we went out. It turns out that when you all but give up drinking, you can’t just jump right back into it and pound ’em down like in your twenties. If I could remember anything outside of snippets of our journey home, I’d probably feel as embarrassed as my wife did as she babysat her husband while he wandered around and made a proper ass of himself. Somewhere there’s a cabby who will most likely never be able to forgive me. But this time we’re going to go and do it right, with water and an early evening. I’ve said it before, but I’m kind of glad Apocalyptica is not headlining, and that I have no interest in seeing Sixx:A.M. We can duck out early from the show, and make it home in time for bed.

I didn’t choose the elder life, the elder life chose me.

I promise that someday, when I find the cable for my Nikon charger, I will get a better picture for you all. Right now, however, this will have to do.
I promise that someday, when I find the cable for my Nikon charger, I will get a better picture for you all. Right now, however, this will have to do.



I always tend to overlook the other pole in my disorder. I’ve spent too long gazing into the navel of my depression, learning each and every contour of self-deprecation, and taking for granted the few occasions when I’ve not only gotten out of bed, but actually felt inspired. I don’t know how long this wave will last, but I’ll take it. And who knows how deeply it will mire me into the melancholy aftermath, not that I am all that worried. A little inspiration goes a long way to validate the pain which must come after. This is a side of me which most people never get to see. And I’ve found ways to keep it under wraps for almost a decade, but now that option has expired. So here goes: A little present for all of you, before I finally get started on what I should have months ago.

I feel like I am burning brightly, shining out from within myself, converting will to energy, and racing toward the end. It’s not a sad thing, to burn as such, like a candle warding off the darkness. But as I am that point of light, expanding outward, yet never quite able to outrun myself, I find that I am lost somewhere within a sea of darkness. I am racing on the wave’s edge, surfing at the speed of light, and there can be nothing lit before I have arrived. I’m not going after messianic glory, mind you, just trying for a smidge of illumination. I would like to find a way to transmute my suffering into a beauty which inspires joy. The only hurdle that I face is that I am not all that terribly cheerful of a fellow.

And now there are too many thoughts bombarding me, and I can feel myself beginning to fly apart. When I was riding smoothly, there was never any problem, but now, even a tiny pebble can send me tumbling into trouble. It’s something that I should have seen much sooner, something which I think that I’ve instinctively always known: my consciousness itself is the bottleneck to my own creativity. That’s why every time I found something to get me out of my own way, the words would just begin to flow, beautiful and perfect, from my fingertips, and I wouldn’t even realize what I’d written until I’d put the pencil down. I know my voice. I know my myself. I don’t need to always overthink it. I do, of course, because that is who I am.

And now I’m getting a little worried that my two lives have begun to crash into one another, like matter and antimatter, destroying both themselves and everything around them in what can only be described as a blaze of glory. The version of myself which can blindly jump into the wordstream cannot do so if he constantly must worry about silly grownup things. And the part of me that’s somehow managed to grow up knows that’s all fine and dandy, but it’s more complicated than that. But I know that it is not, that it’s only as complicated as we allow it to become. That there are solutions of simplicity, if only we are willing to admit to ourselves that they can exist.

The wave is subsiding once again, and I can feel myself calming. Not that I am actually in a state of peace, but calmer than I was before. I have established balance once again, and the world isn’t spinning quite so quickly. The tapestry of time has faded from tangibility once more, and I am merely its passenger.

Breathe. Calm. Repeat.

Breathe. Calm. Repeat.

The migraine is returning, so I don’t have much time left. But it felt great to feel that moment of inspiration. That moment when I knew that I could tap into something so much greater than the limitations which I’ve placed upon myself. Somewhere within this meatsack is a spark of genius which no one else can fan. Everyone has something which they are able to present the world, a thousands of millions of moments of perfection, burning dimly throughout the world, just ready to ignite, and make the human race its own crucible until we’ve rid ourselves of the impurities that greed and prejudice have brought us. Lighter, then, than air, we shall begin to rise, free of the stupidity of shortsightedness. Let’s throw the world into a conflagration of liberation from the shackles to which we’ve forgotten that we hold the key.

Breathe. Calm. Repeat.

Breathe. Calm. Repeat.

At the end of this journey, there is a land of constant shadow and despair, and I know that it’s but a matter of time before I am welcomed home. I’ve spent too much time basking in the light of day and searching for the happiness which, it seems, must always elude me. Or maybe it’s just that I’m terrified that some day I might actually be happy. Without conflict, there is no tale to tell. The moment when I know that the world can spin on without me is the moment that a part of me will die. Call that arrogance, if you must, but it’s what I need to get through the day. I just want my time here to have mattered. I want to know that all the pain was worth it. I want to contribute something of beauty back to the world before I must depart. Is that so terrible a desire?

I’ve still got stories in me, stories which no one else can tell. But I’m so afraid that they’ll be stupid, or that I’ll find out along the way that I’ve only been telling stories to myself, reinforcing my ego, so that I don’t collapse. I have to believe that the past twenty-eight years have been for something. I have to believe that I’m the way I am for some evolutionary reason. There has to be an answer somewhere deep inside me, if I only have the courage to go looking. And if I can maintain that courage once I find it.


Today I was reminded of just how old I truly am. A little boy who I once helped to raise has just turned 28. And another little boy whom I have known since the day of his birth just asked me if there were cars when I was younger. It seems that I cannot escape the march of time, or the inevitable karmic payback of things which I once said when I thought that I was being clever. My youth keeps coming back to poke me in the eye, and I can only sit and watch it happen with a little smile across my face. It’s times like these that make me think that maybe my time has come and gone, and that perhaps the moment has arrived for me to shelve my old ambitions and look forward to the future. And then I think that The Boy isn’t really all that much younger than myself, only David’s age difference between us, and he’s too busy being an amazing person to want to change the world. He is the type of person who will lead by example, which is the change for which I’ve advocated, but I don’t think that he’d like all the attention that comes with starting a cultural revolution. And David can barely make it the length of a commercial break without losing all focus entirely. But enough about my failed dreams and lack of accomplishments.

When I first met The Boy, I was coming over to hang out with his sister. This was just before I wound up calling in a favor, and changing my permanent address to that location. Here came this little kid, though I suppose not so little as I saw him at the time, running up the driveway and demanding that I pick him up and swing him around. I’ve never understood what it is, exactly, that makes kids love that particular type of play. I myself shrink back in terror at the very notion of someone grabbing me and swinging me around, robbing me of control over myself, and the gentle tug of gravity. And yet The Boy could never get enough, nor David, nor my grandson, for that matter. They all kept demanding that I play until the moment that I physically couldn’t anymore. That time is coming for my grandson far sooner than I’d care to admit, but at least for a little while longer I can still scoop him up and spin him wildly until we both feel just a little green.

History replays its finest moments.
History replays its finest moments.

But what strikes me most, is are memories of a conversation that I once had with The Boy regarding his homework, and how he wasn’t doing it. I’ve been having the same conversation with my son lately, and, like The Boy, he also has been diagnosed with ADHD. It seemed odd to me that I was the one, of all people, to have to lecture another human being about the necessity of bowing to the pressures of the busywork. I was the kid who would blow off weeks of homework and then stroll into the classroom to ace the test. I knew the material, but I never had even the slightest inclination toward wasting my time on repetition. Time has taught me that me that there was more important lesson hidden somewhere in the rows of nonsense, and I would have been better served to learn just how to ignore the boredom and get the homework done. I hadn’t figured that out the first time that I had to sit somebody down and try to convince them to do what I could not, but I know it in my bones this time.

The Monkey and The Boy
The Monkey and The Boy

All in all, though,  The Boy didn’t turn out too bad. He’s living life more beautifully than I ever had the courage to even truly begin considering. Sure, I’ve moved hundreds of miles away from where I once ran free, but I fell into the trap of doing all the things which I was supposed to do, and setting aside what mattered in favor of another dream. I had the chance to have the family which I never could when I was just a boy, and I took it because I’d finally found out what it was that I was after. I don’t think that the couple of years that I spent with The Boy when I was learning how to be a man, and practicing to be a Dad, could have influenced him all that deeply, but it is my hope that a little of the dream which I once dreamed might have inspired him just a little to seek out the man he would become, and never sacrifice himself to for anything that wasn’t worth it. I’m not saying that my sacrifices weren’t of value, just that I never seemed to have made a bargain which had unexpected consequences.

Am I happy? In so many ways, I must admit that I am indeed. But there is a part of me that misses the freedom that I once had to go and see the world, not that I ever really did. I have what I have always dreamed that I might have: a family. I grew up in a home torn apart by the statistics of divorce, and I swore that if I ever married, it would last forever. That means, however, that I cannot run off on wild flights of fancy whenever the mood may strike me. I am needed here at home, and, more than that, have no desire to disrespect the bonds my wife and I have forged together. So instead, I settle for a little thrill in hearing of The Boy’s adventures as he travels across the country in search of what it means to be alive. I don’t believe that there is just one answer to the questions life is asking. I’ve found several, both as a father, and as a husband. And these past few months, I’ve rediscovered what my writing has always sought to tell me.

On this day, the twenty-eighth anniversary of my good friend’s birth, I wish him nothing but the best, and hope that his travels might lead him back here once more, as I’ve found that I kind of miss him. Like a blur, the memories are overwhelming, but of him, they are all pleasant. As I look toward the man my own son may become, I have no better example of a good and decent human being to show him than The Man which The Boy has become. Happy Birthday, Homunculus! Be well, and try to do something fun.

Memories in motion.
Memories in motion.


Real Life: Into The Mouth Of Madness

I am enjoying a surge in readership, which has led me to believe that an hour’s worth of writing cannot possibly justify twelve hours of obsessing over the site stats. I figured that I would be more at ease seeing that I was reaching a wider audience, but it turns out that I only fall deeper down the rabbit hole. Suddenly, what would have been inconceivable just a couple of weeks ago, has become commonplace, and as I breeze past milestone after milestone, it becomes not about the people whom I have just reached, but rather, how much further I can watch the numbers climb. I’d like to say that the game is over now, and that I’m back to writing as if no one else was listening, but somewhere there is a Site Stats page open which I am constantly refreshing. It’s really been fun, these past couple of days, reaching people all across the world, but now the time has come for me to sit back down and work on something different. Thank you to everyone for taking the time to read what I have written, and I hope that you continue to come back on your future journeys through the interwebs.

Now back to real life and reality (for once, not mutually exclusive!). Today my new stove is coming (I’m assuming that means the entire oven, but you never know), and I’m excited that I will once again be able to cook with ease. We’ve been dealing with the limitations of cooking with only one functional burner, and it has forced me to a level of efficiency that feels entirely unwholesome and unnatural. I’m the type of cook who likes to time everything just right, and use up several pots and pans, as each recipe demands. With only one working burner, I’ve had to plan things out so that I can run it like a timeshare and, to my credit, it hasn’t been a complete disaster. But now I get to play with a full set for the time in months, and it disturbs me just how much I want to whip something up just so that I can be the first to break in each and every element. That probably speaks volumes about me, but I don’t care. I get to be lazy as a cook again!

Now if only parenting were easier. My son’s counselor thinks that it is great that I am reflecting on my past, using my prior points of view to come up with strategies on how to be a better parent. I keep trying to tell her that I’m not sure, exactly, what good it’s supposed to do, as no one figured out how to be an effective parent once I became the embodiment of rebellion. The only thing that I have going for me is that I am at least as stubborn as my precious child, and I’ve had decades more experience to guide me. I knew that teaching David to question everything would come back to bite me, but I never imagined that I’d see the gapped teeth marks (as he’s been losing baby teeth) so soon. I swear, the only things he’s really lacking are discipline and time. He’s got a raw intelligence that makes me nervous on my best days, and a matching lack of anything resembling even the barest hint of common sense. It looks like my mother is getting her revenge, after all. I think that when the time comes, I’ll send myself off to boarding school, and let him stay at home. Sometimes it’s just easier to move house than it is to face cleaning up your messes.

Shannon Buxton, a friend and mentor, said recently, in response to what I wrote about the Teen Center, “I stand by my belief that teens are not broken and therefore do not need to be fixed.” I know that this is true, but it takes an amazing amount of patience to guide them through their formative years, and I look forward to sending the Minkey up to spend a summer (or several) with his Auntie Shannon who has so graciously volunteered to not fix him. That was a bit tongue-in-cheek, obviously, but I do hope that I can have him spend a little time with her when he is older, as she is able to interact with kids as if they were actually people, and I think that sometimes parents get so caught up in trying to make sure that their kids don’t wind up serial killers that we forget that (eventually) our kids might have something they can teach us, if we’re only willing to stop and listen. That’s easier said than done, of course. There’s only so many times that I can listen to stories about a video game that I was watching my son play before I starting twitching uncontrollably.

I feel like my son and I will wind up like Sean Connery and Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and not just because I am bald (and the first impression I ever did was of Mr. Connery), and David is afraid of snakes. Maybe it’s something that all fathers and sons go through which I missed out on because I didn’t get to know my dad. I just feel like by the time he grows into his own skin, and is capable of thought which isn’t directly influenced by raging hormones (or, as they are currently: sugar), it will be time for him to go out into the world, and I will find that I miss him more than I had thought possible. I think I’ll have to look back at this in a decade or so, and see if knowing what would happen made it any easier to live through. If his childhood is any indication, I do not think it will.

UPDATE: The new oven is here, but cannot be connected, as the wall outlet is for a dryer, apparently, and this new oven will not plug in correctly. Instead of replacing the outlet, the owner has told me that he’s just going to replace the power cord, thereby voiding the warranty. I don’t know. I’m not an owner, nor am I a licensed electrician, but I feel like it would just be easier to replace the outlet than perform surgery on a perfectly functional appliance. The downside to all of this is that we have been reduced to microwaving everything we wish to eat at temperature warmer than the room in which we’re sitting. Good thing Flor bought a couple more boxes of cereal yesterday!


Oh, and here’s the Photo of the Day:

Doesn't my wife have just the most beautiful eyes?
Doesn’t my wife have just the most beautiful eyes?

What Kind Of Day Has It Been?

I came up to Bainbridge Island to spend Christmas with my family, as it could very well be my final opportunity. I don’t regret moving out of state, falling in love, and starting a family of my own, but each time I’ve come home to visit, I cannot help but notice how unkind that time has been. When you spend an extended period in the company of another, the changes which remold them are so gradual you really cannot see them. But when I left home, my grandparents were both active senior citizens. They couldn’t do all of the things which they once they had been able, but they were still the same people I had always known, and I figured that they could stick around indefinitely. I never felt the need to worry, safe in the knowledge that they were still years away from the age my great grandmother had been when she passed away. My first couple of trips back, I really didn’t notice any significant changes, maybe just an extra wrinkle here or there, but essentially they were unchanged.

Then the reports came in from my mother that the both of them had truly begun deteriorating, and I started to believe that I was running out of chances to come and see them. And before I knew it, they had somehow joined the ranks of the terribly and officially ancient. They have become, in the time I’ve been away, just paper dolls shaped like people that I used to know. I’ve seen the bite marks that the jaws of time have left upon them as it tore out ragged chunks of organ functionality and even their sense of self. I look at pictures taken back before I moved, and marvel at how young each and every one of appeared. My passage through the stream of time has come upon the rapids, and the landmarks have begun to blur. The years are gone before I know it, leaving only brief impressions, and I long to hold on to everything just a little longer, pause this moment for forever and never have to let them go.

I’ve complained that on my visits, I never get to go and have any of the fun that I’ve been putting off since the last time when I put it off from earlier. The truth is that, yes, I have neglected several friends that live on the other side of the water (and even some that live here on the Island), but it isn’t like some unbearable punishment, like it might have been when I was just a kid. Normally, I’m just up here for a week or so, and by the end of that vacationary stretch, I’m eager to be on my way. It’s easy to remember all the reasons why I left, petty arguments and the notions of being bound by rules merely by residing under someone else’s roof. But this has been a true vacation, both from work, and life itself. There’s nothing that I left behind this time that can’t live without me just a little longer. Except…

To not knowing how to smile for a school photo.
To not knowing how to smile for a school photo…
Leading the revolution at just a couple of weeks old.
Leading the revolution at just a couple of weeks old.

On the other side of the divide of time, there stand two little boys, as ravaged and consumed by aging as those I came to see. Of course, no one really sees the process at the other side of that same coin, we just call it “growing up,” but it’s just as fundamental of a change.

Between the moments captured in these photos, lay seven and a half years of my little boy’s life. In that time he has become an entirely different person at least a dozen times over, and yet the thread of his existence connects these two to make the same sweet person that I’ve come to know. But the truth remains that in blink, my baby boy was gone, replaced by someone new that I’d had a hand in shaping, and yet needed to get to know once more.

And then there is my grandson, who celebrated his second birthday just before we left. Each day he seems to learn something that he couldn’t fathom just the day before, and I’ve been lucky enough to see it happen right before my eyes. Even on the days when I only missed out on his company for the duration of my work day, I would invariably miss out on some new, adorable achievement. I cannot begin to fathom what I may have missed over the course of these past couple weeks. He’s probably begun speak in near-complete sentences, and learned to climb up and down the bookcases when his parents aren’t looking.


I’m not nearly ready to face what is inevitable: I know the sand is running down, and I haven’t much time left. I’m steeling myself against the day when I get that call I absolutely cannot bear to take. It was bad enough to lose someone that I loved, but never spent much time with. On the day I get that fateful call, I know that I’ll feel something breaking. I think that I might rather remain entirely oblivious, were it not for the certainty that I would tear myself apart in the days which followed, for not having done enough to prevent that which can never be avoided. So I wait, curled up into a little ball within myself, and hope that if I worry just enough, my fears might never come to pass.

My wife has been getting on my case for not engaging in more quality time with those I came to see, but I know that sooner than I’d care for, everything will suffer from a permanent rearrangement. So I’ve done my best to sink back into the role I played when I was younger, trying to make it all seem effortless, just like I had never left. It’s not that I am not aware of everything that’s changed, but I wanted my final memories spent in this place to resemble something close to normal, not the extended last goodbye that it could easily become. I want to be able to remember all the happiness to shield against the despair which I know will come.

This guy was so happy to have moved the hell out, and gotten started with his life,
This guy was so happy to have moved the hell out, and gotten started with his life.