Wednesday, July 23, 2008

You know our Hearts beat

I remember the stink of alcohol on his breath, it was a mixture of hangover and Jack Daniels. Anytime that I was in a bar, and some guy next to me would take a shot of jack my memory would go back to what he said.

"The world doesn't make any fffucking sense," he had drawled. We were at my father's funeral. My uncle was drunk, which was his usual state for as long as I knew him, and for as long as I was conscious of what the state of drunk was. The two went hand in hand, at some point I recognized what being drunk was, and at that same point I realized my uncle was always drunk.My uncle followed me with his beady red eyes, brightened around the edges due to years of the drink. His nose was bulbous and looked like a crimson wart on his face. He was dressed in a suit circa 1974 that smelled of mothballs. I was glad to be away from him. I looked around the funeral home scanning for someone else to accost me with their emotional garbage.

"You're tha man of the family now, Jacky boy," he had continued. He poked me hard in my chest. "You haft to take care of yo mom, and your brother."

I rolled my eyes and walked away. My mother was in a nursing home, my younger brother was in his third year of college, doing his undergraduate studies in biology. He had gotten a full ride to college because of dad's career as a firefighter. Mom was taken care of due to my father's occuppation as well.

My father had passed away while he was in a nursing home across town. There were two nursing homes and my dad chose to live in the one that my mother wasn't in.
"Every man has a right to make decisions for himself," he said when I pointed out the substandard qualities of my father's choice in nursing homes.

The parlour had about a dozen people in it. My brother had decided not to come as he had midterms to study for. Our family obligations had bottomed out when mother had been diagnosed with alzheimer's and we'd put her in the home. We're not an asian family, there is no loyalty to the elders. We put them away to die without regret. At first I had some problems reconciling myself with my decision but then I thought of my childhood dog, Bear. When Bear grew old enough that we thought he would die, he walked off. I decided that my mother made the same decision when she came down with alzheimers. She was leaving this world to die, just like Bear.

The people in the parlour were old firefighters and their spouses. They came out of obligation. I looked at my watch and hoped that the room would clear out within an hour. I wanted to leave, not just the parlour but the town. I had a date later in the evening at a bar a few blocks from my house. I'd finally gotten up the nerve to ask Jeannette, a data entry clerk at my office, out. Jeannette worked a few cubicles down from me. I heard her playing ABBA one day and we talked about how "Mama Mia" was coming out in theatres. I decided then to ask her out.

I shook hands with a half dozen people and slowly ushered people out. It took 45 minutes. It would have only taken 30 minutes if my uncle hadn't fallen asleep in his chair. I called a cab for him and gave the cabby the fare along with the directions to my uncle's house.

On the drive to home I tried to think of interesting things to say to Jeanette. I didn't want to sound contrived but I didn't want there to be a lull in conversation either.

"What do you want to drink," that would be a given.
"How is your drink," another obligatory time filler.
I made a mental list of topics to talk about they included; music from the 90s, the election, rising gas prices, the Oakland Raiders, Ralph (the annoying intern at work), Dark Knight, and an article I'd read in the New Yorker. At some point in the evening I would excuse myself to go to the bathroom to assess the evening.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Working it. pt. 1

I woke up at 7:45, tired still from the day's exercises. I put in my contact and blinked until they fit in without irritation to my eye. I brushed my teeth, wiping away the halitosis and then picked up my light track bike and headed out the door.
It takes me about ten minutes to get to the White Horse. Its about 15 blocks from my house on telegraph and 65th. I nodded to Rob as I walked in and looked up at the clock. I don't have to clock in but I like to be on time regardless, its a perverse work ethic and this is actually a job I like AND would like to keep. I set to work immediately filling up the ice buckets. I dumped the ice in the back room bar sinks and turned on the lights.
There were two women in the backroom, where the dance floor is located. They were rehearsing for their stripping show this Sunday. Every month a strip show is held at the bar, some of the proceeds go to an AIDS organization. The two women were playing around with some big feathery wings and taking off their bras. I snuck a few peeks at their breasts as I plugged in the lights, opened the back door, and put out the bar mats.
Setting up the back bar only takes 15 minutes and after my brief stint of work I did a sweep of the front rooms. The bar is composed of a main room with a pool table, and a smoking room/patio, that also holds a pool table. As usual it was pretty mellow with about 20 people in the bar. There weren't many glasses so I went to the back room to chat with my other coworkers as they counted their tills and what not.
There are a total of 7 workers on during the evening. There is the DJ, DJ Jay R, the backroom bartender, Isiah, the front bartenders, Winny and Robert, the admittance clerk, Roeholio, and the security guy, Charlie. I like all of them. Jay R is a nice, hip, kid in his mid twenties. He has a penchant for baseball caps and modern r &b. Isiah is a midwesterner and looks the part with his dirty blond hair, height, and dry wit. Robert is an outgoing guy who usually wears corny t-shirts like; "Sex Instructor, first lesson free," or "I shaved my balls for this." Winny the other bartender is a stout dyke with long red hair. She always wears a cap and has a pleasant demeanor. Rolieo is a tall Latino with a big grin, he enjoys playing the games on his cell phone as he collects the door fees. Charlie the security guy is a barrel chested douche, nuff said.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bitchin about writing

My twin brother and I have something have a couple things in common. I suppose this is true of most twins. Sadly one of the first things that we share is our ugliness. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, he's a shade uglier, I get the rest of the days of the week. I got the short side of the genetic stick. The other thing we have in common is that we both write. We write for different people, but we are both engaged in the act of writing.

James writes primarily to get published. He has been writing for the last three plus years, attempting to get his short essays and articles into various magazines (usually climbing related rags). He constantly has to go through editing and reediting processes. Not only is his written work never complete but he must constantly push his work. His pieces constantly get rejected from magazines. He thinks its a good sign when they write him a rejection letter back. Ouch.

My writing is for a different sphere. I do book reviews for AJODA and do short stories for myself. This writing is externally unrewarding. People will only comment on it when they hate it. Usually it passes beneath people's radar entirely. The good thing about this sphere is that getting published is much easier, although there is still an intensive editing process (usually with my cold hearted bitch editor). The bad thing is that you have to try to be critical, or at least pass yourself as being critical. I usually wax things over with a good schlacking of humour to show that I'm "critical."

Writing is hard work. To be a good writer you have to be diligent (I don't consider myself that good of a writer). You need to be sitting down and writing every day. Every day revising. Every day trying to hone your techniques. In many ways its similar to doing something like boxing, but instead of physical work, its mental, which doesn't make it any easier, or harder than boxing.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Not Writing

Lately I haven't been writing. Its not that I don't want to but that I'm just not taking the time out to sit down and do it. What am I doing instead? Going to the gym, working, hanging out with the kids, etc.

Recently I was at a wedding in Boston. One of my best friends from high school and early college years married his college sweetheart. The wedding was quaint, and held in a pasture outside of Boston. The food at the reception was delicious especially the vegan cake.

It was nice and a little bizarre seeing my old high school buddies. It was interesting to see how little people's personalities had changed but how their lives had taken different courses. There were no huge surprises, although my friend Joe Galli, has taken on a neat direction. Galli recently attended a horror make up and design school for a year and a half. He received an associates degree in specialty business and hopes to start to do horror animatronics. Specifically he talked about doing choreography, and design work for Haunted Houses.

I also saw my high school girlfriend, Emilie. Emilie, is Erich's younger sister. It was a little odd at first, seeing her after all these years. I probably haven't seen her for 5 or 6 years. She looks the same, maybe a little taller than I remembered, and with more tattoos, but still essentially the same. She still has the same sense of humor, a little dry, a little sarcastic. And she still seems undecided about what she wants to do with her life. I don't think that's a big deal, as so many people have no direction in their lives, but its always a disappointment when people are forever rudderless. We only talked for five minutes, if that. It made me remember why I dated her. Its funny to have been so young once upon a time...