REPORT A PROBLEM
I flipped open my phone and sent a message that told him I was debating.
Debating over a place to go for a beer and a smoke.
I hoped he would be interested, and not challenge my decision to quit the day before.
Half a dozen messages and revolutions around the house later, and just as I was about to flip the lid on a can of Campbell's split pea soup, it was Boulder's in 15.
Decorative spider webs lined the mirror at the bar.
The bartender was uptight, but I was free. I relapsed.
I loaded a piece of plywood into a woman's minivan, unwittingly putting myself beneath the board. I think I bent my neck, evident by the clicks it made later whenever I turned my head and watched for customers-- hauling a full pallet of soda to the coolers up front. I listened to the Foo Fighters,
Best of You
that night in my car as the streetlamps began to resemble watercolors. I squeezed my eyes shut and opened them again, worried I fractured a vertebrae, concerned I had pink eye, yet somehow wondering where I'd be for new year's.
I brushed my fingers across the oily skin of a peeled white onion and recalled eating a roast beef sandwich with goat cheese in a friend's kitchen months ago. The paperweight I gave them as a gift sat on the windowsill, reflecting colorful halos of light through each of its suspended bubbles. A basketball bounced incessantly next door as we discussed how hot James T. Kirk was in the new Star Trek film. I knew he would also be leaving soon. Turning around, I inspected an expensive package of goat cheese and bought it. Quality was never cheap to them.
I went over a pothole at about 70mph today. Were the gods out to get me? I thought as I continued to drive, fingers crossed as my hands clutched the wheel. A van and a tirejack was parked on the right shoulder. Another vehicle was on the shoulder further ahead, and another, and another. I rolled my eyes as my own vehicle succombed to the inevitable, clunking loudly and losing control. Determined not to do whatever it is I needed to do on the shoulder, where some random motorist might run me down I made it to Tim Horton's, cursing.
Mixing writing and reading into the same day is challenging. It's hard for me to return to my own voice. After reading for a few hours about medieval times in the fantasy world of Westeros, I wrote for an hour, subtracting the time it took to move into an opposing chair, get out my notebook, and smoke cigarettes. I wrote about a prince and used words like newfound and hither readily. This prince however had a machine gun he used to control the noise of the masses, turning the hall's ceiling into swiss cheese, speaking of battles won and lost.
I stared at this box for awhile tonight, before going into the basement, drinking a 40 and drawing the rest of my sketch of Barry and Marius's living room. Some football game was blaring upstairs, and whenever I heard footsteps I'd quit drawing and take my 40 by the TV so I could hide it if the steps decided to descend. They never did, he hates the basement. I don't care for it either but it seems when I'm down there I'm the closest to being independent as possible. I tore the sketch off, what kind of crap is this?
After leaving the sketch of my friend's living room on my dresser from yesterday, I built up a sort of determination to do it right today. I just couldn't fit all the accessories into it, let alone fitting them all in at the right angle. There was the crystalline lamp, the vase full of flowers, the chaise lounge, the inviting bottle of wine, the flat screen, the wood burning stove and the set of miniature french doors for the rabbits. I uncorked a bottle of wine to assist, but only ended up reminiscing over what little I had already, drunk.
Was just about to put my hand onto the rusted bars of a lumber cart when a voice on my radio asked me to report to the service desk. Interrupted from vague memories at the playground, using the monkey bars, I returned the cart to its loosely designated place and proceeded inside, where I sat down in front of Rachel, who reminded me of my dad's girlfriend. I nodded in tune while she illiterated my review, not taking it too seriously, smelling my own perspiration. "You're temporarily working the lot until I can find a replacement," she said, nasally; forced.
The sky was overcast tonight on my way to Ferndale. Driving cautiously down 8 mile, I observed the increasing number of strip bars, the dilapidated buildings and finally the neon automotive store with rows of hubcaps on display in varying colors of green, orange and red. I reminded myself that just twelve years ago I parked here in front of affirmations for the first time, listening to coming out stories from fellow gay peers. I knew who I was tonight though and what I was supposed to do, affirmed by the sight of an old friend's long, flowing blonde hair.
Insanely early mornings at work really aren't so bad. All that is required of me is to smile and say hello, listening to each item beep as it is run over the scanner. I would normally be sleeping at this hour anyway, so by the time I am fully awake, it is time to go home already. Later that afternoon, just past noon, I arrived home to an empty house and retrieved the Lebanese stir fry I ordered last night over dinner with Carrie and her friend. I ate it slowly, savoring each bite, wondering why leftovers taste so good.
Didn't feel like doing anything after work tonight but watching some movies. Sandra was lurking somewhere inside the house, so I took shelter in my room. Stu dutifully reported how he wished the Mexican Restaurant at Queensley and Bordersligh served sangria and later suggested a pitcher somewhere exotic. I sighed, requesting a rain check, letting him know he is next door to the office I cleaned in 2001. Acosta. Later that night, I nearly fell asleep to a movie called Deeply as the wind swirled through my drapes. Gay bar, here we come Stu jibed in another text.
This morning I awoke with one goal in mind: to spend the day reading. I didn't bother to boot up my computer. I made coffee, but even as I was pouring myself a cup, I longed for the half-finished can of ginger ale I left on my nightstand last night. My big red paperback was waiting, and I immediately began reading even though my eyes were still full of slumber and my arms and legs shivered in the early morning chill. I read an entry about how some people read for the wrong reasons. I'm definitely one of them.
Every now and then, nothing tastes better than a Crush. Orange was the only flavor available in diet, so I settled on a 12-pack of that along with my last pack of smokes. Outside it was sunny and green. I occasionally saw one species of tree that already began changing color. When I got home, I promptly guzzled down a soda, staring into the darkness of my can. I tried to position my eye so that no light could get into it. It was certainly dark inside, but not without the pleasing smell of spiced oranges and sparkling bubbles.
Eighteen boxes of vinyl tile are heavy, regardless of how many wheels a particular cart sports. I loaded six of them into an old man's trunk. The spare tire was removed so I held onto each box longer so it did not ruin his shock absorbers.
I'll be right back for the other six
he exclaimed, while I began wheeling the remaining twelve back inside. I was standing by the clock in the back of the store, my fingers eagerly about to touch the suede keys on the time clock, when they told me he was back again.
I was sitting up in bed, on top of an afghan of teal, orange and purple--a color one would associate with the leftovers from some mental neurosis, I often thought, perhaps crystallizing now, or, more optimistically, metamorphasizing into something functional. I was reading Amazonia by James Rollins when an unexpected ringtone broke the silence. I looked at my display and found that it was Work. Convinced they would ask me to do something, I made myself unavailable. Turns out it was only Kayla though. All serious but with a giddy laugh, confirming I was swapping lot shifts with Ben.
All of my suspicions were confirmed as I was driving to work, changing the radio station (or at least trying to) from NPR to 89x to 95.5 to 96.3 and back again. My shoulder simply did not want to function. I brought in a few carts, chatted with some of the cashiers as usual, but something wasn't right.
Tell a manager and get a worker's compensation claim filed,
Mary said, a young, short woman with the mental maturity of someone twice her age. John escorted me back to the office, where I spoke of vinyl tiles.
Tonight we were determined to venture outside the city, so we went to Gigi's in Southfield. Inside, the bar was dark and smoky. The drapes were still shut and people were conjugating. In back an older woman was serving popcorn and I bought a bag. I remembered my younger days here in the basement bar and upstairs on the dancefloor, but moreso the bolder moments: like when I snagged a drag queen's boyfriend into the parking lot to make out, or when I danced with Chuck upstairs with little or no inhibition. The clock surrounded with purple neon still glowed.
It was a warm summer night and the club was going boomps, boomps, boomps. Rainbow lights illuminated a sea of strange faces and glittered sequins. Xavier took a detour into the handicapped stall, bragging to a friend back home. The familiar voice gave him the strength he needed to return to the crowd, where he coyly slipped his arms around someone's waist whose identity he confirmed online. The stranger immediately turned, eyes full of fire and drink. He grabbed Xavier's collar and dragged him around the club forcibly. It was just the kind of attention Xavier needed, at the time.
I just needed a couple items from the corner gas station today: hamburger buns and a lighter, however, a mint Three Musketeers bar also added itself to my list once there. The food mart smelled old and dusty. An entire set of refrigerators was reserved for coffee-flavored energy drinks. The attendant was a friendly blonde. "You are Gayle's son, aren't you? And Sid is your aunt, right?" He inquired. "Yes, they are my crazy family," I commented. "Sid. That's a funny name," He added. Back home, burger patties were waiting, and an especially pungent smell of marijuana shortly thereafter.
Today I began dusting the mantle while on the phone with Verizon Wireless. "I mistakenly added a line when I just wanted to upgrade. I'm not paying for both lines," I explained, phone against my shoulder. I sprayed a fine mist of lemon oil onto a cloth. The wood took on its natural shine instantly as I wiped a layer of dust off the surface, realizing there's nothing I could do about the knots and irregularities. "Is that all you needed today? Well, we'd like to thank..." she repeated for the third time, hollowly. I hung up before she finished.
Celebrating my weekend consisted of standing in front of the fridge after the night shift, ravenously taking in forkfuls of broccoli salad. Mayonnaise dressing and shredded cheese dripped lazily down my chin. With my fourth and final bite I made sure to include the last of the cranberries at the bottom. I chucked the container into the trash and wiped my mouth with the back of my hand, stumbling back to my bedroom and knocking over the lava lamp. Miraculously, it didn't break. I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow, dreaming of Cirque de Soleil acrobats.
I decided to bring a steno pad to work this morning because I knew I would be alone. I figured that if I'm not to be given more challenges at work, I can at least work on my writing. In retrospect, I don't know how I would have survived if I hadn't brought it. After getting berated by a supervisor because someone my age TATTLED on me over something trivial, expressing my anger through creative writing was my only outlet. It helped put things into perspective. I may need an attitude adjustment, but that doesn't mean putting up with bullshit.
I want to hold the hand inside you I want to take a breath that's true I look to you and I see nothing I look to you to see the truth You live your life You go in shadows You'll come apart and you'll go black Some kind of night into your darkness Colors your eyes with what's not there. Fade into you Strange you never knew Fade I think it's strange you never knew A stranger's light comes on slowly A stranger's heart without a home You put your hands into your head And smiles cover your heart.
A call with a 615 area code came in multiple times today. I assumed it was a bill collector, so quickly answered and disconnected to save myself the trouble of deleting some computerized voice mail later. Worse yet is when it's a live representative who tries to sound all formal and intimidating. I mean, please I'm aware of how much I owe and if I had a job that involved me using one ounce of my intelligence I'd probably be able to afford the minimum payments. Turns out it was simply Verizon calling. I was late on my phone bill.
I descended the creaky basement stairs with a slice of chocolate cream pie in one hand and a beer in the other. Everything in John's room was exactly the way I found it ten years ago with the exception of a few things. The black curtain used to seperate the living area from the dresser was down and the couch was ripped to shreds by Loki, awaiting burial in the garage upstairs. I brushed cobwebs off a Metrotimes Article still taped to the bedroom door as John contentedly browsed BiggerCity. The fraternity brother featured in drag was still smiling underneath.
Lunchtime. "No more chili dogs, please," I told myself as I walked to my car. I passed the front of Harry's Volkswagon and waved to him as he unabashedly bobbed his head to some eighties rock song. Jill rang twenty minutes later and spoke too loudly as she asked me to describe my experience. "Do you have any more questions for me?" She asked. "How long will the position be twenty hours a week?" I asked, disappointed. She yelled some more. "Sounds good," I lied. "Ok, well if there's any interest we'll get back to you."
Eric was leaning over the cashier station, talking to Rhaena, the hot dog girl, about Halloween. I kept the same measure of distance from his engagement as one might keep from a stale vat of cheese. "So what are you dressing up as for Halloween?" Rhaena asked. "Oh, I'm not dressing up this year," I said. She slammed a hand down onto the hot dog stand, staring at me incredulously. I laughed. "Well, what are you doing?"
"I'm going to Cedar Point," she said. "but I already bought a costume I won't need now." I shrugged, poor baby.
I woke up to the sound of the doorbell this morning and was immediately convinced it was the mailman. My room was a blur and I had trouble making out a shirt from a pair of jeans. I did manage to spot a green towel, so I wrapped it around my waist and pulled back the blind. The mailman's form was walking back to the curb. I ran to the door, squinting at the porch and his form getting back into the truck. I thought about yelling, "Hey!" but my voice was still asleep. Shrugging, I made coffee and showered.
"I am committed to this now. It's sucking me in. It's beckoning me from the deepest depths," Tommen thought, walking around the perimeter of his basement. There's a dead wolf spider attached to its own web on the baseboard. A few ceiling tiles are missing, others blackened at the corners by years of precipitation. Glass block windows only knowing snow, grass and lawn mowers. A bar that screams the eighties, and a pool table unused since Valerie was over last month. There's nothing insightful to say, no riddles to solve. It's just about going deeper, and deeper...even deeper, still.
I learned today that V would be airing a new series. Initially I thought it would be a movie, and was a little disappointed when I found out it was
a series. Although I would see more of it because it is a series, series mimick other series that I don't care to watch. Needless to say, however, I pumped myself up, watching old episodes of V on Fancast, thinking of the elegance of my grandparents when watching it with them originally in Florida. I'll be telling my friends online, sending links to Victoria eating guinea pigs.
Halloween 2009. I was arranging batteries and pretending to be the head cashier to my supervisor's mild amusement. While pacing back and forth across the cracks in the warehouse floor, I waited for customers to ring up, but found little. Barb, an older cashier worked self-checkout next to my lane and mothered me often. When I finally got home after 11, I finished David Sedaris's, When you are Engulfed in Flames, put Michael Jackson's Thriller on high so other people in the house would think I'm in the spirit, and wrote out the book review in full detail later.
The Tip Jar