Friday, October 15, 2010

Bathrooms and Crystal

Some things just inspire me. Babies, yes. Extra meat toppings, yes. But most of all, Crystal Oaklee and bathrooms.

In my new fancy downtown office, everything is automated. You pee, it flushes. You wash hands, it gives you soap. You dry, it papers. You poop, it wipes. Well, maybe not, but you get the idea.

This phenomenon has made a fool of me. In my own home, and in the homes of those dear to me, I have stuck (stucken?) my hands beneath the faucet and waited for the flow, which didn't come.

Let me paint you a picture here: I'm at a rest stop in Eastern Ohio. I've been in a car with same six people for about twelve hours now. I've been driving for the last five of those hours. I'm nursing a tall coffee and a two-day hangover. The time is either 4:15 am or 3:15 am, because supposedly Indiana doesn't believe in Daylight Savings Time and in certain months that leaks into Ohio, or something. Like I said, I'm tired. The drive back from Boston is long.

I shuffle into the door, catching an unfortunate reflection of myself in the single-pane door. My hair is disgustingly everywhere. Also disgusting everywhere. I just remember to hold the door for my brothers, with a look like "you're welcome, and who's driving next?" which they didn't even notice because they're almost as tired as I am.

Then it's in to the bathroom, picking urinals with the requisite empty in between so that we take up almost the whole nine-peeshot-row. I know just enough to ignore the sludge on the urinal cake, but not enough to avoid eye contact. I stare into his eyes, and both zippers are down. That's a nay-nay.

But we shake it off, share an awkward chuckle, and move to the sinks. And that's when it happens. I lift my red eyes to meet his, hoping that this too shall pass. But he's busy turning the faucet on, so that when he turns and notices me, he's washing his hands. And what am I doing? Shuffling dry hands in an empty sink and staring. And nodding a little, until I realize, that once again, I'm the creeper, and automation has gotten me.

I'd make like those freaks from the New York Times who forswore all bathroom luxuries, but that's just gross. Plus, I think I might have just pooped in my pants.

So thanks for that, Crystal.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Four months later...

I moved into the city a week and a half ago, and I thought about titling a post "My Big Movement," but that was pretty easy to abandon, with its scatological implications. Plus, if you write about something that is actually important, it gets gay real fast. At least that's what I tell myself as I write super-important super-gay entries in my diary before I cry myself to sleep.

An anonymous commenter suggested that I blog again, and I was 65% tempted to tell him to fuck himself, since he has told me before that I blog like a pussy, or something like that. But then I remembered that his pubes are golden and honestly remind me of Aslan's mane, and I thought, "how can you deny that?" So, you're welcome, Jake.

As I waited for the train today, I couldn't help noticing the bald black guy on the other platform brushing his hair with a lint remover. You know what I'm talking about: those double-edged felt things that you see rich dudes in movies use on their suits -- only not the rolly ones, the slidy ones. So here this guy was, brushing hair that was maybe a quarter inch long, and going at it intensely, switching hands and smoothing with the free hand, switching hands and stroking and smoothing again. And he went at it assiduously for a good six minutes (I timed him). Had he just come out of the dryer or what? How do you get a black man to stop jumping on the bed? Sprinkle dust in his hair and hand him a lint remover. Simple.

In conclusion, I would like to offer you this horrific joke. Stop reading if you have any decency. How is a gay man like shoes from the clearance rack? Neither one comes in a box.

Shut up, I was already leaving.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Bathrooms so automatic they poop for you

I'm about to finish my third week at a new job, working in this building. Fancy, right? I've never worked downtown before, and this is very much downtown. So far, this is what I'm thinking:

1. Working downtown is fun. The city and the people and the bustle and all of that. For about a second, when I caught myself looking up at the building as I was walking in, I made a pact with myself that I would always look up to admire the view on my way in. Naturally, I haven't done that since. Maybe now I will tomorrow -- that might make some kind of sense. But I don't really get sense.

2. The girls are a lot cuter, and there are a lot more of them. In the suburbs, it's just kind of different. In the suburbs you have families and white trash, and not a lot in between. In the city, you have all those girls who used to be part of a family but wanted to rebel and didn't have anywhere else to go because they didn't like the way white trash folks smelled. So now they're out there in the grand metropolis, distracting themselves from daddy with makeup and boots that aren't quite slutty. But then they all get on the Brown Line when I'm waiting for the Green Line, and I get disappointed.

3. Yesterday on the morning train, I smelled phenomenal for some reason. Believe me, it's unusual. So every time I would catch a whiff, I would stop and look around, like, "heck, who smells so good on the Green Line?" and then I would remember it was me and I'd take a big sniff of my jacket and smile and even manage to freak out the bag-lady across from me. And that's no small feat.

4. After that, I had sort of an off day -- you know, when you just feel dumber than usual, and think, "oh, this is what it's like to be everybody else," and then you spend ten minutes trying to remember where the "Save As" button is in Vista, and then you decide that maybe a nice cup of coffee will do the trick, but you can't figure out how to use the nice high-tech coffee-hot-beverage machine in the office, so you just poke at it for a while and then fill your travel-size mug with water and pretend that's what you wanted all along, and shuffle back out of the kitchen, remembering a second too late to wink at the cute girl from Room 33-something, so you're actually winking alone in the hallway.

5. But then I found myself giggling at my bed last night. This tends to happen when I go to bed early. And there I was, chuckling while I shimmied out of my pants (I'm kidding -- I never shimmy out of my pants, except that one time). So I guess the whole day couldn't have been that bad.

6. But the coffee machine does bother me. Flavia? Anyone ever heard of this? Supposedly it's God's gift to the 4:30 blahs, but my problem is that when I have the 4:30 blahs, I'm in no mood for cool, zany, hipster machinery. I bet if I ever had a nice big cup of coffee out of that machine, it would put me in the perfect mood to make myself one. Which doesn't exactly work.

7. Everything else in the office is all high-tech too. Like in the bathroom (come on -- you knew I was going there), it's automatic flushing, automatic water, automatic soap and automatic paper towels. My first time through the gamut, I had to stop before I got paper towels and say "ooooh" while doing Jazz hands.

8. Going back to a regular job in a regular office, which I haven't done in a while, reminded me of my old routine, and part of that was this blog. So while I'm making no guarantees, I wouldn't be surprised to find myself pouring out my poopful thoughts with some regularity again. I guess we'll see.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Seeing red?

Red makes you look fat. Who knew? Here I was thinking it was just the snazzy, sharp color to wear for a night out, and all along it's just a recipe for making yourself into a marshmallow. And as anyone who has ever appreciated a sexual food metaphor knows, marshmallows may be delicious, but they're not worth the mess.

I guess pinstripes are supposed to be the answer, but you know what? Fuck that. I look good in red, I don't care what your camera says. I look marshmallowy and delicious, and maybe, just maybe, worth the mess.

And no, your breath is not bad because of what you did in bed, it just gets that way when you stay awake too long after drinking. Let that be a lesson to you. Seriously, buy some mints or something. Or else just go to sleep; no one wants to deal with this.

I went to California between Christmas and New Years for my cousin Jake's wedding. I was in it; I had to. My flights were overbooked and then canceled and then retarded for one thing after another (naturally), and by the time I got there, I had missed the rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner. I was just in time to drink scotch and hear that I would be the first groomsman in line the next day. And that all struck me as fine at the time - because I was wearing red and I thought I looked good, and also because scotch is delicious.

The next morning the rain had cleared (I didn't tell you it was raining? Yeah, I didn't tell you it was my birthday either, but it was. Deal with it.) and the sun was out. It was that stupid kind of great California weather that makes you hate yourself for some reason, probably because you just saw the pictures of yourself wearing red the night before. Mimosas and Crabcakes Benedict happened for brunch (fucking California) and then there was the wedding.

I danced in line behind a guy in an electric wheelchair, and some other stuff happened, and then the next day, I went home. And on the flight, I snored so loud that I woke myself up, and no one even elbowed me.

Friday, August 7, 2009

On the practicalities of the search in infinite possibilities for true love, and on farts

I was sitting in the Library yesterday, reading, quiet. The woman sitting to my left was not as quiet. I don't know what she was doing; I wasn't ballsy enough to look over (Zounds!), but I do remember thinking, right at that moment, that she and I could never be happy together. That struck me as sad. Sure it's only one person, but still, to say that a human being that God made, loved by her friends and family, could never make me happy - that's a little sad, isn't it?

It was because she was doing this weird snerking thing, like she was sort of trying to clear her sinuses but then also her throat at the same time. And I was sitting there, trying to focus on my book, rereading a longish periodic sentence to find an especially tricky antecedent and- SNERRK! That did it for me.

But I don't give up hope (who am I kidding, of course I do); I know that it is possible to find the perfect someone, because my brother just did. The day after tomorrow, my family and I leave for his wedding in California. And we're driving, which is equal parts exciting, daunting, and gastrointestinally intimidating. Snakes on a Plane haven't got jack on Farts in a Car.

That reminds me of another long family roadtrip, ten years or so back, to Denver, I think, when we passed through Nebraska. Have you ever been to Nebraska? The whole state smells. It's really unbelievable. It's marvelous. Seriously, from border to border, the state of Nebraska is covered by a blanket of dry fart. It's like South Dakota just gave it a Dutch oven. We got out in some podunk town to hit up bathrooms, and for the first five minutes, I was convinced that everyone else in my family was emitting a constant stream of flatus - I think we all thought that. But as the time dragged on and we realized that no one can fart for twelve minutes straight, the sad truth soaked into our consciousness like the butt-dust into our clothes and hair: this town always smelled like doody.

Back in the car, on the highway, with the air on recycle, we tried to shake fart smell out of our shirts and wondered what it would be like for someone who grew up in a town like that. What happens when Charlie Jim ships off to college, opens his suitcase and pollutes his dorm with the stored smell of dry shucked taint? And does Charlie Jim ever come back once he's gotten a whiff of the outside world?

But I guess there are some things that just don't bother some people as much as they bother other people (me). That's why there can be towns and states full of Charlie Jims and why even though I could never bear to love the woman at the library, maybe there's someone out there who can. Still though, dude, yuck.

Monday, March 30, 2009

It's the attitude

I’m always interested to hear from or read stories of the Free Spirits. There are people whose MO is to bounce around through life, from job to job, relationship to relationship, sometimes family to family. And with the bolstering provided by 20th century art from Kerouac to Bridget Jones, the Free Spirit attitude is becoming more and more popular.

I have considered myself to have something of a Free Spirit streak for a long time. It’s a secret pride of mine that gives me a special balanced feeling in the face of my orthodox convictions and traditionalist bent. It’s something I can grab onto where no one else can see, whenever the dull, hard, traditional life becomes more than I think I can handle. And when my fingers touch it, the Free Spirit streak that I carry at the small of my back, I become part of a special club that no one around me knows about, a club to which no one I love belongs.

That’s why I have long hair and smoke cigarettes, and why loneliness gives me a secret melancholy delight. It’s a much more sophisticated attitude, of course, than that of a teenager who says no one understands him; it says, “some people understand me – you’re just not one of them.” Then it blows a confident thin stream of smoke and turns away, bored.

It whispers to you about long road trips with the sunroof rolled back and the music playing, about the big beauty of mountains and the crisp glitz of cities, New York and Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles. You listen with a heartbeat only slightly elevated and then whisper back about sitting on a park bench watching people and feeling like yourself, and about standing on a bridge watching the water twist beneath you. It pulls your eyes to the stars, clashing splashed in the dark, ventures on the potential of sound in space. You spin around with your arms extended, dizzy, seize its hand and walk through crowds where the women’s eyes are dark and their teeth are white, where your old best friend’s favorite song plays and one girl you thought you’d never see again presses against your side.

That glamor diffuses the feeling of uselessness that smacks most people in the face from time to time. It makes it possible to take on life all at once, every moment from now until forever, planned in various vaguenesses with the overarching security of having no limits, no boundaries. It encourages you to jump at life and swallow it whole, promises you that you are bigger than the world. It transcends the day-to-day and moment-to-moment modes of living and supplants the ordinary with the promise of guaranteed extraordinariness. And all you have to do is believe. All you have to do is tell yourself that you are a Free Spirit and the universe opens in front of you like a flower.

When I’m walking down the street and I remember that feeling, I have to straighten my shoulders, smile then frown for appearance’s sake, and pat myself on the back, the small of my back.

It loves when you pat yourself on the back.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

25 Questions

I saw this going around with a few mothers of young children, and thought a new perspective might be interesting. So I asked the 25 questions to my brother Ed, who is 20, but sometimes acts like he's two (who doesn't?). The answers:

1. What is something mom always says to you?
Get a job.
2. What makes mom happy?
When I do my chores
3. What makes mom sad?
When I sleep in too late
4. How does your mom make you laugh?
When she's sassy
5. What did your mom like to do when she was a child?
Ride her bike
6. How old is your mom?
7. How tall is your mom?
5'8" 5'6" I dunno, 5'10" ... 5'9"!
8. What is her favorite thing to watch on TV?
Biggest Fattest
9. What does your mom do when you’re not around?
take a nap
10. What is your mom really good at?
Spider solitaire
11. What is your mom not very good at?
12. What does your mom do for her job?
Takes care of the family
13. What is your mom favorite food?
Roasted beast
14. What makes you proud of your mom?
Her smarts
15. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
Fiona's mom
16. What do you and your mom do together?
Make dinner and eat dinner
17. How are you and your mom the same?
We're both smart
18. How are you and your mom different?
She has more common sense
19. How do you know your mom loves you?
She helps me with stuff
20. What does your mom like most about your dad?
His hard-workingness, his hard work, his work habits
21. Where is your mom’s favorite place to go?
22. What is one thing you wish you could change about your mom?
Her computer-savviness
23. What would your mom do with a million dollars?
Help pay off her kids' student loans
24. What do you wish you could go and do with your mom?
Go shopping
25. What is one thing you hope never changes about your mom?
Her awareness of human nature.

A charming mix of childishness and childishness, I thought.