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I cruised around my subdivision after work this evening, looking for remnants of Halloween. The highlight of my search was a large LED display of a jack-o-lantern and three ghosts. Some people parked in the owner's driveway and were entering the house through the garage, but I couldn't make them out because it was almost dark. A cloud layer covered a quarter of the sky that appeared to be mountains in the distance from another time and another place. Rounding a culdesack and taking my phone off vibrate, I returned home and heated a bowl of beef stew.
I'm not sure why I was determined to call in sick today. Granted, I did just recover from a shoulder sprain, but another kind of impulse caused me to pick up the phone early this morning as coffee was brewing.
. "It's a great day at Menard's, we install..." a voice began. I hung up, cursing. Rachel was working. I took a large swig of coffee, but not too much, unless I were to sound functional. "I've got too much to do today," I told myself. "I need to find a better job, gain control of my life..."
I spent longer than usual today browsing the science fiction section at the Canton library. The smell of dust and old glue permeated the air, and everytime I coughed it felt like everyone in the place furled a brow. Occasionally patrons would approach as if they were sleepwalking, but usually turned around before they reached any kind of close proximity. After half and hour, I finally settled on something, trying not to base my decision solely on books with extravagant art designs. I avoided a book with the title,
You Must Read This
entirely, reminded of marketing scams.
Writing is hard work. There's something I've recognized within myself that gets more resistant to it with each passing day, and I've noticed it ends up affecting my ability to communicate in general. I pondered over this while walking down the Plywood aisle today, having done some relection the night before.
You learn more about yourself when you communicate with someone,
my ex used to say, although he did so quite self-righteously. "Why aren't you ever on FB?" Nikki whined, flipping her long brown hair back, bored behind the register. "Do you second guess yourself a lot?"
I'm sitting in bed thinking about what to write about. My head is turned to the side, observing a square candle dish. Leftover rocks still remain in it with a tide of pennies, although the waters are not without silver crests of dimes and a few nickels. I can spot two paperclips offshore- perhaps two schooners enjoying the surf in another light. A small roll of unknown white tape bobs furthest away from the rocks, like an oversized buoy. In the center a keychain my dad got me from Las Vegas, flashing my name for another five years at least.
I decided I like the guy who I see occasionally working in electrical. His name is Jamey. He doesn't have a model's physique--actually, he is rather stocky, but have come to realize this can be just as much of a turn on. Perhaps I have come to transcend some of the physical. For example, when I look into his eyes, I see a pleasing aura around him--and feel he could be a cool and collected coach of a sports team perhaps. He is a positive person and I'm attracted to positive people, so want to be positive too.
Allison showed me a postcard she made in art class today. I eagerly grasped the piece of stationary and saw a hermaphrodite sitting ponderously on a beach. The front of the figure was male and the back was female. Breasts protruded out from where the man's shoulder blades should have been. I drew a picture of the head cashier with a sharpie later, but found someone had crinkled it up and threw it in the trash after closing. I salvaged it and walked it past Dina's monstruous corporate mural above the tool coral, coyly placing it somewhere she'd notice it.
All our times have come, Here but now they're gone. Seasons don't fear the reaper, Nor do the wind, the sun or the rain... We can be like they are. Come on, baby... don't fear the reaper. Baby, take my hand... don't fear the reaper. We'll be able to fly... don't fear the reaper. Baby, I'm your man... Valentine is done, Here but now they're gone. Romeo and Juliet Are together in eternity... Romeo and Juliet. 40,000 men and women everyday... Like Romeo and Juliet. 40,000 men and women everyday... Redefine happiness. Another 40,000 coming everyday... Feel.
I thought of my aunt in Florida this morning as I retrieved shopping carts and flatbeds from the lot, and asked myself how she would approach this job. Much like our trips rollerblading down the mossy trail by Circuit City--under bridges and across main roads, she would have a pep to her walk. She'd greet everyone without hesitation and be thankful for another beautiful day. That said, this morning I borrowed some of this enthusiasm, repeating to myself, "I am glad to help." It seemed my attitude adjustment was successful, until the day wore on and I became exhausted.
I brushed the golden glitter glued to the edge of an autumn leaf. "This wreath is nicer than the ones at Home Depot," I said.
"I only got it for $9.99, can you believe it?" My mom asked rhetorically.
I blew a puff of smoke outside the screen door, opening it a crack when I had to ash, but careful not to open it too wide because Bonnie wasn't far behind. Next, I went through an album as she rolled a joint. Most of the pictures had been removed for Grandpa.
"Geez, almost twenty years ago..."
I awoke this morning to the swirls and undulations of my lava lamp, casting shadows that resembled lung x-rays. I heard the shower running; coffee was made. I sat in the living room and scrutinized the length of my toenails, voting against the decision to call off work again. "Make sure you give yourself time to start your car, there's frost out there," my dad said before he left. As I roamed around the lot, I spotted a popular guy I used to go to HS with and hoped he wouldn't recognize me as tip toed around him.
Been feeling angry lately, originating with the receipt of a rejection letter from a job that only required a high school education. Although I remember reading somewhere that rejection letters are a sign you are doing something right, I am still angry. I am apathetic and tired of trying to sell myself to entities that don't even know who i am or what I've been through. Nevertheless, I don't like feeling this way so wrote in my journal today after researching anger and listening to Disturbed, Prayer on repeat. Why has finding a job always been so difficult for me?
Focusing my energy on something like applying for jobs takes is like a meditation of sorts. Whereas the job is the runway in the distance, I am the pilot. I breathe in my sights, sounds and experiences and purse my lips, exhaling slowly and deliberately. I attempt to vanquish myself of the irrelevant details: watching the clock on a sugar high between customers, picking my mom up from the curb after she fell down, fishing for meaning in everyday life, going down memory lane under the glow of restaurant tiffany lamps. None of it matters if I can't land properly.
I accompanied Teri and Ralph to Flint so I could see their cute friend, Chad, perform tonight. He was just packing up his drums when we arrived, so we listened to the recording from someone's car stereo in the parking lot as I took in lungfuls of crisp, November air and observed the Dort Mall across the street--aglow in green and white neon. The memories I shared with Joe seemed so distant. Cute Chad followed us to RO and the 4 of us toked, drank a couple and mingled uncomfortably with 30 to 40-somethings listening to live music.
It was hard getting into the spirit of things at work today. I always find that's the case after hanging out with old friends. They remind me of who I was in college and perhaps who I still am, and suddenly all the tolerance I had built up crumbles...but not in a bad way. My determination to get out from under the thumb of my retail corporate giant is refreshed and reevaluated. I believe that everything happens for a reason and why I find myself in my current environment is due to a number of things within my control.
I sat yawning after a long day, turning on a documentary about the bog in South Florida. Apparently, somewhere around 1984 (my brother's birthday), dozens of preserved remains were found in this ecosystem, dating back seven thousand years. I laughed inwardly at the Science Channel's tactics of keeping its viewers interested: playing mysterious and repetitive music, mentioning new, interesting information just before the commercial breaks, and casting actors to portray a day in the life of a bog person. Nevertheless, I sat transfixed as an archaeologist brushed dirt out of a bony eye socket, claiming a brain was still intact.
Whatever my next job will be, it will have to be something that can give me a little flexibility between working with the public and recharging somewhere alone. I still have a few hours before I have to work today, so I decided to make the most of this moment. Retail work zaps my reserves rather quickly, starting with the journey in from the parking lot and the awkward greeting I receive from a person obligated to stand by the front door. Yesterday, when I was feeling overwhelmed, I adjusted product in an empty, remote aisle for awhile to breathe.
Silence is golden. AMC Laurel Park closed its doors October 11 but I didn't notice until a few days ago when I saw "Phoenix" scribbled across the top of its parking garage instead of "AMC". I just searched "AMC Laurel Park closing" and found a fact sheet on the second page with some information I wasn't aware of when I was a teenager traveling up and down the glass elevators to and from work. For instance, the mall was built in 1989 and is owned by CBL and Associates Properties, Inc., a company that later expanded the property in 1994.
Ali gripped the cellophane wrapping around the pot of a cactus and admired the grainy texture of its spotted leaves. They were easy to touch, resembling a man's spiked hair. He continued, bending over to examine the texture of another cactus; however, this one was protected by a robust layer of thorns. Try as he might, every attempt to lay a fingertip upon the green bulb underneah lead to a painful prick. He considered maiming the plant by pulling a few thorns out first but would feel bad later. Instead, he persisted as drops of blood ran down the plastic.
Danny clambers out of bed, holding an iron poker to the kindling within the monstrous hearth. When the end of the black instrument turns to smoldering cinnamon, he holds it to the bottom of a large stack of journals. The ensuing flame begins to ripple and undulate within his vision like pebbles thrown into a pond. Then, without warning, the stack bursts into flames along with the two behind it and the one on the left. Danny takes a step back from the work table and watches a flame finds a current in the ceiling fan and engulfs the years.
I saw he was online so I said hello. Turns out he was reflecting on his fishing trip up north last summer, and, even though we had never met and have chatted only occasionally for the last six months, he sent me more photos from his expedition. I tried to keep the conversation about him, just vaguely letting him know I was tying up some loose ends before bed. He is cute and I have gotten the impression he is athletic, so tried not to lay on my bookish vices too thickly. Instead we discussed the climate and said goodnight.
I remember getting angry whenever my city was demolished by an enemy, accusing my ally of not doing enough or berating the enemy for not sticking to his own skill level. This continued for a countless number of games this weekend until I finally cornered the enemy's squandering army and prevented the axe thrower's outward expansion... but the next thing I knew I was in bed with a dislocated shoulder. The game was still on after the Emergency Room so I replayed it with the hopes of remembering the seizure but only saw the keyboard and mouse on the floor.
Nothing satisfies my hunger better than a bowl of Cocoa Wheats. Preparing it on the stove reminds me of drinking warm milk when I was younger, which used to help me relax when I was restless or upset. Sometimes my parents would lift me above the looming countertops so I could witness the milk gradually thicken within the pan. Today I am tall enough on my own accord, but remember those years whenever I prepare the meal, and it occurs to me that regardless of how we reminisce over our younger days, each stage of life presents its own challenges.
Six months without driving. It was a reality I told myself that I'd have to take in stride as I came back from Henry Ford in Downtown Detroit. Outside it was hopelessly overcast and I observed that just within the past weekend, the leaves had fallen off every tree entirely. I began to imagine them as the faulty synapses in my brain until my dad told me he had basal cell cancer on the way to the cleaners and a deli-style restaurant behind. I looked down at my sandwich, wishing I had more to say, wishing he'd quit smoking.
After watching the fire spit and crackle outside, and chatting with my dad and his friend, I went back inside into a cozy living room where three deer hung above the mantle. I excused myself to the bathroom and Heidi informed me of the multiple light switches. I found the appropriate one with ease, experiencing a more intimate sense of deja vu...especially now that I had a moment alone. Already it's been over two years since I fixed my hair in this mirror and observed the stained wooden clock, which resembled an ink blot. I had fallen quite hard.
A picture of a trumpet with scoops of ice cream on the end hung above a couch where an attractive gay man and an african american woman sat after dinner, chatting with me and the other five guests in the small one bedroom apartment. I took another sip of wine and observed Mark looking subdued, so I asked him if he wanted to take a walk. He gladly accepted, so we retreated to the courtyard where I lit up a smoke and brushed a palm frond on the way down to the pier; his facial scar undulating beneath each lamp.
I stood on Mark's porch, soaking in as best I could everything that was Florida before going back inside. The mannequin in the foyer shocked me again before I went into the bathroom and fixed my hair. I chastised myself for drinking too much wine in Gulfport the night before before joining Mark again in the living room and watching a movie about Angels and Demons with him, nursing my hangover. I understood how much of a problem it can pose to yourself and others when drinking is left unchecked. For the rest of the day, I paid the price.
A pelican flew parallel with the tide of automobiles moving across the bay, perching on top of a lamp post. Ty glanced below the dash in front of him and retrieved a model of the car his friend drove, adjusting a packet of sugar placed inside. Memories flowed throughout him in carying levels of intensity. Do you miss Florida? A seemingly casual observer inqured later that day, a blur within his peripheral vision. "I can't believe it's already been over two years," he replied. Everything looked the same, but everyone had changed and what was old had been born again.
I climbed into the Pathfinder and turned the ignition with haste, unless one of us were to change our minds. Slowly, I backed out of the long driveway as the motion light turned on beside the front door. My stomach muscles tensed as I attempted to come to terms with the fact that I wouldn't be driving for six months. The sound of tires crackling through dead leaves reverberated through my head until I reached a paved road and a break in the oak and spanish moss. With apprehension, I made my way back to civilization for contact lens solution.
The air was salty and a forest of sassy palms entwined each other on both sides of us. Smoke from the gaping jaws of a nuclear power plant painted the sky in the distance where I recalled fishing with my brother five years ago. My dad and his friend Lloyd anchored the boat and I clumsily attempted to secure a live shrimp to my hook as demonstrated. My dad started coughing again and spit into the water. "Too long," he said. I shrugged, turning to photography. Later, we stopped the Pathfinder over a bridge and I captured the sunset instead.
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