09 October 2017

Reviewmirror of Erised

Emotional scenes need more comic props. Next time you have a meltdown, bring a rubber chicken. Don the giant bowtie while sobbing that it's over. Blend those tears with the spewed disdain from a spitting flower.
Furthermore, drunk people should be encouraged to do magic. 

My neighborhood independent craft brewery is a quick five blocks up the street. Go straight through the community park until you see the Gamer's Lounge, and then take a left and go up to the Vegan Restaurant. It's right across the way; it's the building with the bar stools at the garage door and the giant eye painted on the door. 
They have a Groupon. 
I like to walk up and get a flight and a pint. They have locally-made wines; four different 4oz glasses for $7; and they make a blonde ale that gives me Crooked Eye. 
They know my name. 

I don't meet a lot of people that like me. 
It's a strange glitch in the time continuum when people want to know my name. 

His girlfriend really loves him. 

He wanted to have that conversation, the one to 'clear all of this up and move forward.' I find that kind of talking typically produces way more muddling and a step backwards, but who am I to question where people use their words. I imposed a condition of pure forthright and honesty. I needed no such condition to be accepted; as I had already had the facts presented to me in every manner in which one could possibly need, and a few that you really just fucking don't. 
Still, you need conditions. 
He said a lot of things. He didn't talk about his girlfriend. The one who loves him. I didn't need him to talk about her any more than I needed conditions on the conversation; I just wanted to see if forthright and honesty were in his wheelhouse. 
I wonder if her two little dogs have names. I will call them Forthright and Honesty. They love him too. 
It was his birthday, you see. And her card was so heartfelt. A perfectly-suited set of animals were cuddling on the cover. The inside was blank of artificially generated sentiment; only the purest hand-written emotion scrawled across the page. Each "by your side" was a little bolder than the last, as if she pressed harder to make him understand how she cared. Line after line of dedication punctuated with celebration of his time with her.
The heart at the end next to her name was outlined in both black and red.
She stopped what she was doing while signing a card to open a new fucking pen to retrace the heart. 

He didn't talk about the girlfriend that loves him. 

I left the conversation rather abruptly. 
I don't believe in dramatic endings. If I could get away with it, I'd disappear in a cloud of smoke, leaving only an oddly one-eared balloon animal in my place. 

I believe I can be magical.  

I drove home and parked my darling beat-up truck out back, and I cut right through the yard to hit the street in front of the park. CUT THROUGH THE YARD. Who does that? Like there's not an ideally laid out path that leads to the exact same destination only a mere dozen yards away along the edge of the house. Maybe take the sidewalk built for the explicit purpose of getting from one side of the grass to the other?
Nope, not this girl.
Not this day.
The remaining four block walk was a flurry of kicking those smelly green things that fall from trees that I bet piss off dogs who think they are tennis balls. There was some singing, but mostly subdued. I was wearing a black bucket cap.
My first beer in, I ran into a person I knew. We said some words, enjoyed a laugh. A band started playing over by the brew pots, but I needed less noise so I took my beer to the other side of the garage door. The bar stools line up pretty nice with some empty wooden barrels that the brewery keeps out back, so I flopped my ass down and watched the muscle heads cruise around town in their customary three-block lap. 
The seat next to mine was empty for only minutes before another person I know hooked foot into the rung to get an elbow on the barrel. There was even more of the chatting, some of the chittering, and a little of the chuckling. With a completely different human being than the previous quota-filling communication session that I partook in only moments earlier. 
Now I needed more noise. 
I went back inside and grabbed a stool at the bar. The bartender brought me another blonde ale and silently nodded. My favorite kind of exchange. 
I leaned my head back and listened to the band. They were skilled, despite being three middle-aged dudes in a garage brewery. It's what I picture Chris would be doing if his wife and kid weren't already worth ten million rock stars. 

They were playing Pearl Jam's "Rearviewmirror."

I don't look back on a lot of things. 
I remember memories, as I'm sure most people do. I recall times that make stories; I paint moments with words. 
I was fucking there, man.
I don't need to go back.

I got completely lost in that time and space; slouched back to hear the end of the song, wondering where to go from here, staring at one-third of a beer that I had been nursing. The bartender stopped and tapped the glass and I instinctively picked it up to swallow the rest. I nodded in unison with my arm lowering the pint to the bar and my eyes made contact with both of the bartenders who had come to stand before me. They shared a glance between them before the older of the two nodded and the other pulled from below the bar a series of wrought-iron rings and hoops interconnected and slapped them on the bar before me. 

"It's a puzzle," he said, and swiftly slid the hoops from here to there until they were all separated. He looked at his bartender backup and the opposite reached in and deftly put the rings back to their woven together state.

I picked up the rings and weighed them in my hands as the bartenders scattered. My ale had marvelously refilled itself and I reached for the glass as my brain picked apart the possibilities of this twisted metal. I sang through another Pearl Jam song ("Rats" this time), belted out some Fleetwood Mac, got a little misty-eyed with Petty, and not even once hollered about Freebird! like an asshole. (until later). Each time my beer neared the bottom, a questioning face would appear.

"Another one, Joleen?" 
Not yet, man. Can you show me how to do this again?

The band gave an encore. ("Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town.") I settled my tab and called The Sim to let her know I was walking home. She said she'd pick me up, but I insisted on walking. I knew that to mean she was going to meet me along the route to the house, but I didn't mind. I like the night time. 

She said I danced the whole way home.

I could be magical. 
I apparently had enough to drink to believe so. 

Once I arrived to the front yard, The Sim hung outside with me for a little bit. I danced some more, and made Sim sing with me. I complained about people who cut through the yard. I didn't have my hoops with me, and Drunk Me didn't think to walk inside to get them. 
But I was wearing a black bucket hat. 
Over and over I'd flip the hat into the air in an attempt to catch it on my head. I'd fail miserably at each shot, instead hitting myself in the face or the arm, or just dropping the hat altogether in a fit of laughter. 

Finally, I just placed it upon my head, pulled the hat down over my ears, and declared myself to be "incredible!" 

There's a Dumbledore quote that I'd like to use here. I think it's the one about needing socks.

06 September 2017

Perfectly Full Circle

People grow.
I mean, not me, obviously. I'm still making the same bullshit bad decisions. But I hear other people grow. Like, emotionally and spiritually and whatthefuckever. I wonder how that feels.
The kid says I have to learn to accept that feeling is part of living. I'm not sure if I find that to be accurate. It's also not accurate for me to call her "the kid" anymore; she's well beyond the point of being her own human. I guess now I'll call her "the Sim." It's her name anyway, I guess it sounds right.

Still, that nonsense about feeling?
No. Thank. You.

Wait, is that what I have to do to grow?
I have to feel?
You mean learning to love hoop isn't enough?
Feels like it should be enough.

I've had a few of those moments that deconstruct and define your beliefs throughout my life. Most of them had nothing to do with psychedelics. Some of them had nothing to do with psychedelics. 
One or two of them had nothing to do with psychedelics. 

This one here was a fine moment:
A good time ago, as you may or may not have read, I ended up on the side of a relationship that I had zero experience with; the outside. I did what I could to move away from the radius; tried with all I had to not end up in the circumference at all.
To no avail, of course. 
Geometry ain't nothing to fuck with.
It continued upon, in this weird roundabout way for quite some time. He'd feed me a tale and I'd chase after it. I'd stop running and he'd come around.
Just like circles go.  And then there was this night. This one night. The details are unimportant. You need not know of how the episode began;
(fade in on a dusky kitchen.)
 The counter-top griddle sizzling with pads of butter that the bearded bear laid upon it. A twinkle in his eye as he flashed a toothy smile.
"Grilled Cheese Fight Club."
Yes, you heard me.
"Grilled Cheese Fight Club."
And so it began. A fury of loaves in the air, the crisp notes of fresh-baked yeast hitting the air with the first swoooosh of the bread knife. Cheeses. EVERYWHERE. Smoked gouda, mozzarella balls, goat, farmer's, cheddar, vampire cheddar, whiskey cheddar, somebody has a thing for cheddar, provolone; there could have been nothing rotten in the state of Denmark that day, for all of the cheeses were in the Pike Pub kitchen.
Add mushrooms here.
There's a line between a grilled cheese and a melt, scientifically speaking. I believe that line to be meat. HOWEVER, bacon is always the exception. So, for clarification purposes, the rules of Grilled Cheese Fight Club are as follows:
  1. Bread, any type. Pre Cut hearty grain, uncut cheddar loaf, torn baguette, or off the wall regular white bread. Entrant's choice.
  2. Cheese. Any. All. Bring your A game. Handmade or gtfo.  Judged on stretchability, as per the norm. Also analyzed for ooey, gooey, and GAWD.
  3. Condiments. Use them.
  4. Fruits and vegetables must be limited to One Per. Anything more crosses into salad territory.
  5. No meat. (Bacon Exception. Double Exception for Black Forest Bacon)
And the first contender off the sizzle is a dessert grilled cheese, and the crowd goes fucking apeshit. A DESSERT GRILLED CHEESE. Liberally lathered salted butter on a thick rough cut bread, half of an inch slather of farmer's cheese, all drizzled with a fine maple syrup and grilled to a toasty golden perfection.
It tasted like a godamn fluffernutter. A GRILLED CHEESE that tasted like MARSHMALLOW.
This fight club was over before it even started.
Or so they thought.
And out comes the hearth-baked fire bread. A slight dallop of a good fig jam, with the smoked gruyere, a red pear, and black forest bacon. Top that with a little more whiskey cheddar and a smattering more of the fig jam for good measure.
THAT's a grilled cheese.
After that came a tiny grilled mixed cheese on quarter bread, and then a bacon cheddar on cheddar wheat. At one point I thought I saw an asiago pesto, and there was rumor of a dill havarti and tomato, but these could be cheese-imaginings for all I know.
I don't know if a winner was ever determined, we never talked about it.

Four hours later, I'm sitting on the back porch next to a girl in a tutu with a ukulele. Tab here. We had just finished watching the fire dancers in the side yard play their staffs and hoops and fans with the ease and grace of people NOT spinning and throwing and holding things that were on fire.
Such beautiful people.
And she begins to play her ukulele, this enchanting blue-haired nymph. So I start to sing. Out loud. Near people. On purpose.*
*full disclosure: NOT on purpose. 

A lot had happened in that four hours. I hugged a bear for a long time. I danced through hoops I didn't know I could. I think I fell? At least once?  I had conversations and hugged people who were on every plane near mine. Every plane I thought was mine. Every plane I wanted to be on.
I had a heart-to-heart with a sloth.

I think I've grown. 
I never would have talked to a sloth before.

I love to sing. I love to dance, and spread joy. I love to make other people act as foolish as I often feel. I love to make other people feel as foolish as I often am.
I love to make people feel.

I think I can grow. 
I'd like to think I have grown. 
I would say that I might grow.

It's much harder to human than most humans get credit for.

It has never been easy for me, even when I tried. There's a complexity to most emotion that I find to be simply unnecessary. Blame some diagnosis, blame a video game. Blame my mother, blame Depeche Mode. Blame psychological damage, blame The Baby-Sitters Club. Blame Data from Star Trek: Next Gen. I think the best thing about where I've been is that there have been times I don't have to try. Just existing is enough. When you feel like you don't matter, it makes it far easier to not care.

I wrapped myself in where I should go and what I should be, to get only to where I was, before I found me.

This one came a bit around the way. The connections that I made surprised even me. There's a harmony and light to some people and things that I had been missing since all of the death and disease and darkness decided to plague my existence.
Go figure.
I never would have thought it would be That Guy that tore me out from under being afraid to live.

I'm animated as fuck.
I'm damn full of life.
And I should be. 
I've gone through a damn full life to get here.

I hate to be that asshole that talks about mountains, and then gets one tattooed, and then climbs one.

So we went to Colorado, and then climbed a few mountains. 

It played out exactly as your local grocer's granola aisle would like you to believe. I know where I want to get to in life, and every spare second of it belongs somewhere else right now. 
On the trip back, I lost a dear soul and things could have gotten pretty bleak. And then the "it's not you, it's me" conversation ACTUALLY took place; which, incidentally, I previously thought to be nothing more than writer's foder. I have now determined to be both real, and, real fucking stupid. 
So things could have gotten to whatever level in the emo-rainbow is beyond "bleak." 
Maybe "decayed?"
That's a lovely shade of Decayed blue?

If ever the definition of surreal, it's how one feels after hearing "it's not you" and then hugging a bear. Followed by fire fans and ukulele. Then dancing through some things in the yard with a lightsaber. Double shots of whiskey. CAP. Scrum in the ring with an 82nd Airbourne. More grilled cheese.

Always grilled cheese.
   My eyes opened the next morning upon what I knew to be the last page.
That Guy.
I'm on my way to learning who this me is, I think she feels okay. She's smart, that's for damn sure. She got the tattoo ahead of time on this one.
One might say

07 November 2016

Courier Bold

After the first time my cooter tried to kill me, I decided it was time to pursue some of that fancy higher education people so often brag about reaching. That way I could outsmart my twat the next time it plotted a coup. I managed to eek out a nice little history degree before cancer kicked me in the learning curve the second time.
But during the time spent chasing that paper, I had started writing again. It began as coursework, and progressed to therapy. I wrote my way through required papers to the point of irritation for those left to read the tomes. After I wrapped up the first few years of study, I found myself writing for more than instructional purposes. I wrote about sick life more and more; connecting with others whose experiences were similar to mine. I found humor in the story; that kooky main character The Volatile Cunt, the hilarity of public puking, parenting with pus-filled bed sores. Time and time again, I turned hospital nights into inspiring tales of spilled wound drainage and filling my kid's pockets with stolen jello.

I still find humor in the story.

After correcting the cooter, round two, I wanted to learn more, so I went back to paying for it. This time, I focused a lot in writing-heavy courses; comprehensive studies in American Literature and Art. American Humanities. American Labor Movements. American Women.

It wasn't by design, but by curiosity.

I'm nosy as fuck, you see.
Or, "constantly inquisitive" as I like to say.

This curiosity, and developed love, was propelled by one of those deeply passionate addictions that I get. The one to know more. The need to know how it got to be like this.
How it got to be like this.
There had to be someone who could tell me. A history professor. Perhaps a sociologist or two. Throw in a couple of those classy political studies guys along the way and I'll be damned if I didn't get myself a graduate degree in this history nonsense. Every step I needed to move foward, semester after semester as I endured being a godamn "nontraditional" student, I ran into the same face over and over.

Bill Meiers.

Eventually, there came a time when I questioned whether I was on the right course of study. Nobody fucking pursues a degree in such a soft major any more.
History though? Focused on AMERICAN History? Are you a fucking dick?
Yes, yes I am. It's a great history, this country of ours. Come get drunk with me some time. I'll learn you something.
 I considered a change in focus that would have meant fewer opportunities for some of the less pertinent writing that I had engaged in. I discussed my inability to make decisions nearly every day with that old familiar face in graded-paper form. That was the year I won the Penland Prize for Short Fiction.

Bill Meiers.

So I kept at it, and earned a few paying gigs. Thrown in a few poetry compilations. Wrote a one-act play. Sold some shit. I slugged along and slugged along. I sat at a computer month after month after month, drinking random alcohol and spewing nonsense at a screen (much like I am now,) while I read and researched the bullshit of expert after expert to fill in blanks on the bullshit I had to say about the same exact fucking thing. I got through the chest-deep American-made horseshit by these delightful moments in which America was where I grew up. I didn't write that stuff for me. I wrote it for the sheer joy that it would bring to that familiar face.

Bill Meiers.

I remember the day way back when I met Professor William Meiers, who preferred you call him "Professor Meiers, or Bill Meiers, or anything except Billy, which is what my mother calls me, or a Plespisbut, which is what the Roman's might call a stick up the you know where,"
He was the kind of guy you remember.
His first required assignment was a paper on the current implications of changing technology on behavior, and whether or not "society is becoming more rude."
I gleefully waited in the back corner as he collected the works the next day. The fluttering rustle of papers filled the room as he walked about the students, lending out his hand at each individual seat. His striking blue eyes would glance down to breeze the first few lines before he would look up and scan the writer's face; seemingly tying the words to the creator's brain with a piercing gaze.
Maybe that was how he could tell the Madisons from the Jordans,
He traversed the room slowly and I followed his progress throughout. Now and then he would comment at a line in the paper he received; here and there a name made him smile. At the triplicate phone case of the third Madison his head turned slightly; wondering if he was allowed to comment on the Madisoness of it all, I suppose.

Bill Meiers.

It had been a longer trip the second time cancer came around. It made me much, much more cynical. On top of the way relationships in my life fell apart, and fell apart, and fell apart.

Finally he had reached my seat upon his journey to collect printed thought. He was a slight man, as a hobby he enjoyed marathon running. Routinely he would participate in triathlons, when 25 mile runs weren't already on his agenda. His grey hair had long since seen the passion he had for life, all 5'7" of him the very embodiment of a twinkle in the eye. He prefered to maintain a connected gaze while he was handed your work; I like to think he had limericks for features to remember them.
Although I nearly always caught his eyes flashing Dolly Parton's voice when they connected with mine.

Is Society Becoming More Rude?

My smile was slightly crooked as my gaze met his, my paper now in his hands as he looked down to the nearly blank top page.

"Fuck You"

His bright blue eyes shot up suddenly as he tried to suppress a chuckle. "Bwah!" He turned bright red behind his smart glasses; the pressure of laughter caught just beneath the surface. His attention turned back to the two lonely words upon the page.

"Indeed, Joleen. Fuck You, indeed."

Bill Meiers is the reason that I could write again, have written these last few years, and the mind that made me think that I can keep doing it. He regularly connected me with people to help build a name from my words; but more imperatively, he changed writing from an emotional outlet into a real piece of who I am.

My daughter stared college this past fall, and the first class I demanded she take was Professor William Meiers Monday/Wednesday Comp 110.

His first paper can be tough, but if you listen, he'll make you tell a story.

Bill Meiers passed away yesterday and the only thing I can do about it is write.

Because if there was a man who has more life in him, I have not yet met that soul. As Bill Meiers was everything that L-I-V-I-N' is supposed to be. And we are all less for it that Bill Meiers could not be with us longer.

So if there is any one thing that I have written that you have read, will read, could read, can read, might read, or should read; let it be this:

Thank You, Bill Meiers.

01 November 2016


I never intended to get this far.
Down the road.
Into this mess.
Without a plan.
Away from myself.

Everyone talks about these directions they follow; towards a goal, off the beaten path, trudging along, climbing the ladder. They ho and they hum, hand shielding their eyes as they squint into the distance, and they anticipate the moment when the happiest existence possible peaks into view on the horizon. The quest for that glorious destination propels them forward, day after day; on to bigger and better things, finding themselves, getting somewhere. Navigation has long since been engaged, a monotone of instruction spewing forth from a tiny voice that exists only in the peripheral. 
"Merge onto the freeway."
"In a quarter mile, take the second left."
"You'll never be right."
Or whatever it is those fancy gps-thingys say. I use a map. Like a godamn truck driver's daughter is supposed to do. The only navigation I need to see out of the corner of my eye is the glowing neon of a 24-hour diner's Hot Coffee sign.
The directions are pretty straightforward; do this, get there
But nobody moves at the same speed. And there's not one other soul caught in the traffic jam that's on the same route as you are. On top of speed traps and trap queens, there's all that other metaphorical nonsense too; missing guardrails, detours, broken stoplights, checkpoints, sinkholes, aggressive drivers, bumps in the road, the rat race, highway to hell. 
Image result for bat out of hell
Meatloaf's bat out of hell.

But continue onward, the directions do. Travelling around curves, rolling through highs and lows. People seem so keen to stay the course. Focused on the path laid out before them. Hearing nothing but the dulcet tone of that guide on the journey, the voice from nowhere.
The one from everywhere.
So condescending,
"Your destination will be up ahead."
Always in the distance that promise of open road; the glimmer of that last red light just around the bend.  Mile after mile of burning the oil, the croon from the corner offering instructional advice.
"Turn around when possible."
"Stay in the center lane."
"At the end of the road, go right."
I don't understand directions.
Says so on my 1st grade report card. 
Mom will dig it out if you ask her to.

So I guess they say I never have understood directions.
I don't find that to be accurate. I understand directions perfectly well. It's that I question under whose authority that the instructions were issued. Yeah, I'm looking at you, Miss Mosser. If that was even your real name. Who are you to tell me left from right.
I need to know neither
I'll get to the same place as everyone, eventually. 
I don't need it to be plotted out for me. I can clearly fucking see the direction I'm headed. Even when it's dead fucking wrong. 
I always want to be the one in charge when I drive into the pond.

This giant sense of "NOW WHAT" encompasses me a lot more now than it ever used to, I never needed an itinerary before. Just Trucking and all that. But fuck, the price of diesel what it is right now, I can't afford to Keep On Keepin On. 

I think I have to pick a new direction.
One way, or another; one way or another.

I think I've known for awhile.
The construction along this road tore my tread to shit. Absolutely destroyed my alignment. So you see, I had no drive system. And everybody said the way would be nicer for it, but I wouldn't know.
I had already long passed there.

For now, I'm going to take the road to work and make it through the day.

I'm just waiting for my truck to warm up. 
And I know there's a diner up ahead.

19 September 2016

I Feel That.

I anticipate that one day I will be spontaneous. 
It'll come on suddenly, maybe after the morning meeting. I can see it probably being a Tuesday, mid-October seems likely.  
Surely no one will expect a strange outburst from me. 
I might not even be wearing a Tuesday Teal work-shirt. I might switch things up and wear Muddy Monday Brown. 
Flip the script all together.
Spontaneity is wild like that. 

I'll start telling myself now about this upcoming spontaneous day; I need time to prepare. I'd rather not catch myself unaware. I'm not great with changes to my routine.

I recently had an emotional outburst. 

This picture doesn't pertain to the writing. 
It just makes me feel better. 
It looks like they're holding hands. 
I fucking hate emotions.

Moving really shook my jar a little. 
Rattled my jam. 
Not the physical actual labor of moving, that bothered me none at all. The fluidity in which I can relocate an entire household is an absolute vision of mastery. It's almost as if I pack and move boxes like an organized professional. 
No, I won't help you move.
It's the newness of new things that has me feeling new. More aptly: I need a definitive idea of what in the fuck is going on before I can proceed. But the development of a new routine takes time; and in the interim, there is no fucking routine. And a lack of a clear plan has put a loop in my brain. 
And here I am, loop in my brain just fucking whirling, while one new thing after another swirls by and pushes around and lands on top of my face. The black and white constantly blending to grey. 
Life just muddled as fuck. 

I think people call these "growing pains." The problem is that I've been 4'11" since seventh grade, and the closer I get to forty, the less likely that I'm going to hit any kind of late bloom. And all things considered, I think I'm adjusting as well as any parent could to their only child graduating high school and becoming an adult.

I bought a yellow key. 
I'm not saying that this is the only contributing factor to my current state of disarray; but I do blame it solely on that. 

I'm not going to let this one get the better of me. Not this time. I'm carrying the yellow key. I'm okay with just getting coffee wherever. I'm embracing the thought of unplanned shenanigans. 
Well, I am now. 
I just had to get used to the idea.
I'm still getting used to the idea.

The yellow key makes me look at things differently. 
That's not accurate. 
The yellow key is just a yellow key. It comes into the story as nothing more than a yellow key. It just so happens to be new, and on a keychain that is often in my hand. And I tend to look at my hands during conversations in which I am uncomfortable. Which is all conversations.
I stare at the yellow key with fifty million things racing through my mind. I stare at the yellow key and I don't say a word. I jingle it to a rhythm only I can hear, and I let my head find a melody.
The yellow key gives me a distraction, a moment to find the groove for my speeding thoughts. It pauses the race just long enough to give penalty flags time to fly when my mouth opens. 

I recently had an emotional outburst. 
I felt bad. 
And I cried. 
At the same time.
A disheveled mess of feeling, dumped out unexpectedly. Oh sure, I saw the build-up when I looked back. But I just never figure that emotions can catch me if I keep moving. 
That's why I'm always ready to walk away.
Keys in hand.
October 18th, I figure. 
If you guys want to plan something spontaneous too.

05 June 2016

Full Frontal

The mirror in my hallway has been waiting to be hung since the day I moved in.

I've been here six years.

It's not that I'm not capable; the art adorning every damn wall throughout my third-floor walk-up quite points to the opposite. Except the framed middle finger. That points up.
It's also the answer I give when someone asks if I "need help with that?"
No, I don't need help. I put this desk together my own damn self.
I've mounted shelves and installed wall brackets to hold bicycles. 
Yeah, I've fabricated units and assembled some shit.
Hell, I sanded and stained the entire length of my balcony deck when I moved in, just so I could be certain of the last time it was done.
I daresay, my toolbox is pretty nice. 
I have a hammer drill.

None of this impresses me when all I can see is my feet.

The mirror is a two-man job, you see. 

No, you probably can't see either.

Don't get me wrong, you can get a titty-pic in the frame if you stand way up the hallway and lean at just the right angle. But it's just such an awkward pose that it takes a good ten minutes to un-kink my back and I don't see the gains outweighing the cost.
I'm just not sending enough titty pics to warrant a yoga class.

Less than two months until the move to a new place. 

I had decided, after the third or fourth time of asking for help, that I wasn't going to press the issue any further. The godamn mirror could sit on the fucking floor. I've never had the nerve to handle an entire view of myself at once anyway. 
I'm sure I could piece together a whole image in my mind if I was tortured and it was my only option for survival. 
Like a color-by-number but with random naked texts. 

Self-confidence is a son of a bitch. 

Especially when you have none. 

I look at my feet a lot.
Which is perfect,
because I have a mirror that sits on the fucking floor.

I didn't ask to be a feminist.
You don't have to fucking ask to be a feminist.
You dumb cunt.
Didn't ask. 

Gender roles are eerie.
Dictating assignments based on the placement of hormone generators seems about as logical as the assumption that I'm not capable of holding a higher position; "like a woman could do my job."
   I'm sorry my internal nutsack doesn't make me qualified to walk with such a load of shit in my pants.
I have no time for more responsibility as it is; it's not like I don't have a dinner to make anyway, amIright,

I'm far more offended by the suggestion that I better be a good cook.
Bitch, I am a good cook.
Do you not see the size of these thighs?
These are rib-eating thighs.

You should be impressed with all of the other shit I can do.

Or not.
I don't really give a fuck if you're impressed.

And that's when feminism landed on me.

I turned out to be a lot of things in life that I never intended to be.
Fighting the system from within.

Less than two months until the move to a new place.

It's only one suburb over and up to the left, BUT IT'S ONE SUBURB OVER AND UP TO THE LEFT. It's a nice end-unit townhouse next to the local park and bike trail. There's a micro-brewery a few blocks over, and a farmer's market every Saturday. It's ten minutes from work, and in a straight godamn line even. My tattoo parlor is right up the way, and my favorite bar is practically blocking the path to get there. It's everything I looked for in the next direction I wanted to take, BUT IT'S ONE SUBURB OVER AND UP TO THE LEFT.


I bet"it's complicated" is an option on the application for the new fucking Rotary Club.

Are the Suburb² Police going to want to catalogue my tattoos on Instagram?

Do I have to pay higher taxes if I turn down the chance to live in an abandoned factory?

These questions haunt me.
Along with "What in the fuck makes you think that I can't do your job even better than you just because I'm a woman?",
"are pork rinds a meat?"

Doing that change thing again.
Willingly, it seems.

Inevitably; it was.

There's a great story that gets passed around my family every few years, mixed in with the fantastical fish tales of dead brothers far and wide, and I've heard it enough to believe that it happened.
The sun glitters upon the edge of a blue rimmed water in a quiet valley; the sound of the local station blaring from the pool-side radio warbled by miles of distance and static. A sleepy family spots the scenery, here and there dozing on the woven plastic chaise-loungers of the 80's whose click-to-set sound you either remember or you don't. In the corner of the small fenced yard, a grill puffed out a succession of intervals known as "Summer Minutes," the bursts of charcoal-fused water vapor ticking the afternoon lazily away.
Next to the indigo depths of the in-ground pool of water, a few small children bantered wittingly about. Well, I was witty. Jimmy was bantering. Jake was small. We were all children. We were all about.
There are few details that I recall with accuracy and certainty.

If there were ten people at the poolside on this particular afternoon, it's safe to assume there are twenty different versions of what happened next.

I know that one moment I was next to the water...
... the next, a light glow rose above my head as i looked up. The movement of everything so slow-motion; my eyes coated in a yellow I could not blink away. Moments felt like i was sinking and so fucking heavy, nothing different there. 
 The quiet, though.  
 Quiet I will never forget.
 The space above me began to bubble and my reach was plucked upward, my arms raised to cover my face from the boiling point just above my head. My nose began to burn and my chest felt so empty; I remember little else. 
 I've been drowning ever since. 

For years, as the story was told, everyone knew that Jimmy reached down into the water as I sank and pulled my tiny self to the surface. It was Jimmy that saved me, of this we were certain.
I think Jimmy pushed me in.
Never was my older brother a fan of being shown up by a girl. I asked for help, I'm sure I did, as I began to sink into the water. I asked for help at least three times before I looked down at my feet.
Less than two months until the move to a new place.

If i wasn't so stubborn, that mirror would stay on the fucking floor. 

I'll do it myself, I know that I can. 
I'll get my kid to help me, I know that I could. 
I'll give up on it, I know that I should. 
It wouldn't matter if I was a man.

It should come as no surprise that I fucking hate the color yellow.
And asking for help.
But even more than that,
I hate looking in the mirror.

Less than two months until the move to a new place.

12 May 2016


It's summer hat season.
This quite excites me for a number of reasons; the biggest of which is my ability to find a brim so floppy and low that I can avoid interactions with any other humans during the sunlit hours. A hat procured purely for the purpose of shielding my eyes and facial expressions from the prying gazes of the daywalkers fluttering about on their nice-weather way. 
A hat that exclaims, with unequivocal certainty, 
"I don't want to fucking talk to you."
Nailed It.

I've worked the third shift for nearly a decade straight, and sporadically for a lot longer if the years of bartending hadn't been more drinking than working. The overnight nets a creepy accumulation of odd characters and various miscreants; it's where the devious go to relax. There's an assortment of duty-bound fuck-ups and cash-strapped down-on-their-lucks. Even the atmosphere holds the scent of decaying promise; the whiff of early morning bakeries swirling in the air while rotting dumpster essence is spritzed like perfume by the rumbling garbage trucks that pass by. 

Obviously I love it.

Third shift is rough-and-tumble. There's very little polite conversation; hell, there's very little conversation at all, and the bulk of that is rude as fuck. Pleasantries don't apply after midnight. I learned that at the players ball.
Hey. You Up?
Third shift doesn't offer excuses, it's just fucking there, tucked away all nonchalant-like; a forty-year-old carnie with nothing but a shadow for company. The hours turn to overnight and the logical world powers down. The irreverent come first, creeping up slowly as the midnight hour passes. Out beyond bedtime and defying all the rules; hitting the bars and bro time and wooo! They aggravate the convenience store clerks precisely enough for them to blow off making coffee for the post-booze crowd delivery men. The bread risers and newspaper tossers. The road crews line the counter with a flourish of reflective neon green; the chorus line of groaning at the lack of fresh java an eerily choreographed show.

A grunt and a point. 
That's all the communication required to get a fresh cup of coffee on the third shift.

Sometimes a loud sigh is merited, but manners dictate a kind "rough night?" is uttered to the frazzled coffee/smoothie/drunk-guy burrito maker clerk that is on duty. If you're not willing to comisserate on the shittyness of the night for another third-shift worker, you have no grounds upon which to lay your own bullshit circumstance. 
Because it doesn't matter who you are, and what you may be tasked to do; you surely have not done everything right in life if you are heading in to work as the moon looks on. From the burrito clerk at the convenience store to the manager running the overnight at a multi-billion dollar shipping hub, nobody has had a smooth road if they landed at an alarm that beckons before the previous day even ends.
Nobody has much to say on third shift, and even less room to judge. I don't know why the guy at the gas station wears socks and flip-flops all year round. I know his idea of Good Morning is to silently stare, and that's okay with me. I don't care if the guy from the toll booth is a creepy pervert, I have an EZ-Pass. I don't ask why the guy sneaking garbage into the megaconglomerate corporation's dumpsters doesn't use the ones out back by the loading dock like the people that run #1 Chinese Star Restaurant do. I usually don't even mind when the counter girl has to give me change in all quarters because the safe with the paper money is locked until the manager comes in.

I care about none of this stuff just the same as these people don't care about my tattoos. They aren't even impressed by the escalating ridiculousness of my hats. They don't mind that I walk in singing; they could care less about my mumbling narration of my activities as I swear at the cunt coffee for being so hot. Try that shit around a daywalker one time and see how fast they yank their Northfaced toddler away to the other side of the store.

I mean, I still do the exact same fucking thing during the daytime. 
But you should watch how quickly suburban moms usher their douche-lings into retreat. It's hilariously comical, in a "I'm sad that you are teaching your children to be so hateful" sort of way.

I"m not always great at expressing my feelings in spoken form.
I'm not always great at expressing my feelings.
I'm not great at feelings.
Or expressings.
Or spoken.
Or always.

I'm not always great.

Third shift doesn't need me to be great. Third shift is pretty happy that I showed up, and even happier that I am both cognitive and functioning. Third shift knows that I just want to get the work done and go the fuck home. Third shift doesn't expect me to do anything more than today; which is fucking terrific, because by 11pm, I've got a good start on today.

Third shift doesn't care that I have nothing to say; no answers, no questions.

In the middle of the night, I'm able to respond to nearly every sentiment I encounter with a bob of the head. After dark, I can express sympathy with a tilt of the chin. I'm able to convey agitation with a wobble of the jaw. Excitement comes in the form of a brisk down-shake of the dimples. Curiosity flashes in a swing of inquisitive blue eyes. Humor gathers in a crooked grin.

I've been known to make it to dawn before even saying a word. 

There's so much to say, you know.
So it stands to reason.

I don't have anything to say.
You know.