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In Florida, at some point, you have to save a turtle. I knew to grab the snapping turtle from behind. His neck didn't extend long and he wouldn't be able to reach my arms. So this little bastard, stalling traffic, protested fiercely when I picked him up oh-so-carefully. He started paddling air like I was gonna make amphibian kabobs. Who would've thought they have serious muscle? Those sturdy nails scratched the blood out of me. Safely, I deposited him on wet grass. And he quickly defied my act of heroism and walked immediately back toward the asphalt road.
Come home. Remove shoes. Wash smell off feet. Reminder not to shop Payless...ever. Change out of work clothes into fitness wear. Immediately do 10 burpees, 20 squats, a few pushups, some crunches. Start washing the dishes. Feeding cats. Load laundry. Add fabric softener. Fold last nights laundry clothing. Chop. Slice. Defrost. Marinate. Saute. Eat. Load new dishes. Prepare snacks for tomorrow. Prepack lunch. Fuck around on pinterest. Stretch. Warm up. Not do serious workout. Cool down. Stretch. Wash makeup off. Brush teeth. Whores bath and dry shampoo. Watch some mind numbing television. Maybe read. Do it all over again.
For the first time in three years, just now, I ran. It might've been more or a light jog, but anyway you slice it, I was cutting air with my body and hitting pavement. I'm still dewy from the quick little sweat I broke, but that's what it felt like. Breaking barriers. These knees had given up. My hips had betrayed me. My blood delivery system was a constant threat to my mortality. Granted, I was still careful and at the first crack of bone and twisted tension of a tendon, I stopped. But I'm finally moving forward. And fast.
In this household, there is superfluous waste. Packaging material, glass bottles, long first-world showers, using the whole perforated napkin. My previous family, every morsel of food was saved in an air tight container. Black beans were frozen or re-boiled to preserve them. Each used grocery bag was re-purposed. Chemical shit storms from mixing new chemicals in old cleaning products. Light pressure faucet water when we did dishes. I used to hate it, and now I cringe when he does not refill a water bottle with filtered tap. Being poor is not all a disadvantage. It's builds conscientiousness.
In my home, everything was saved. You ate every last bite on your plate, whether you wanted it or not. We usually did (we were quite chunky). You didn't leave the lights on, lest you get yelled at. The shower didn't run for three (or in this case, ten) minutes before you jumped in. Plastic containers were reused, grocery bags re-purposed, and if we bought it and didn't like it, by God, that woman (the mom) found a way to prepare it anyway. In this home, his parents were never poor. So we waste. Waste, waste, waste. It's shameful.
Maybe this one little thing, this out-of-the-blue and maybe permanent work access to the once restricted avenues of the internet, is a sliver of an answered prayer. Out of all the things I cannot have, I have been granted a measure of escape here in front of the slave master computer screen, that clocks and monitors every little step I take. Whethere it's look up genital diseases or express the faintest interest in a new job, they know it. But I don't care of they Big Brother my words. It's prevents me from killing myself or another.
Have you seen that image on Pinterest? The one with all the social networks displayed in a circle. It's called "The Circle of No Life". I've spent too much time with my face in front of some screen lately. Frankly, I hate it, but where I live, there is absolutely nothing of value or aesthetic appeal to look at without a reminder that humanity is doomed. I try to stay busy with productive things. But it feels like I'm falling in line with all the other dimwitted drones taking Instagram pictures of themselves in the bathroom, half naked. I refuse!
I can't imagine what it's like to be beautiful. Not just decent or pretty if I clean up. I mean, head-turning, knuckle-biting, pee yourself drop-dead gorgeous. What would it be like to sit down without wondering how much top the muffin had? What would talking to a boy be like if you weren't wondering how thick your hair looked? What would it be like to dominate a conversation without putting any effort into it? I just think those people have so much more energy resources. Not that mediocre fugs can't be radiant..I just wish I was.
I fought the e-readers as long as possible. I will soon bring a tablet home. I failed to withstand the pressures to move forward along with society's technology. I betray what I preached. I stood for pages, the turning of books, the weight of hardcovers. And now I stand for modern convenience, economical purchases, and quantity over quality. But alas, I don't buy books anymore. And my library fees burn pocket holes since I lack spare time. And I have nothing to read in the john, the few minutes that I get to replenish. I'm sorry, rich history. Goodbye.
I'm capable of much sorrow and whining, unappreciative and veiled to the boon and spoils available. I come home and start mindlessly snacking, talking excessively about problems, never minding that some are hungry and yet grateful. I'm afraid I'm slowly becoming a useless eater, forgetting to mindfully remember what we have. This shall stop immediately, because I should be growing older and wiser to the vanities of life. Because all I need is a good book, a great friend, and some fluids to keep my blood pumping. So what my shoes don't shine so much anymore? There is abundance here!
When I die, I will be remembered by my signature scent, vanilla and lavender. It doesn't seem significant, but I'm under the impression there isn't anything else distinct or particular about me that would stir up my memory. My loved ones say otherwise, but they speak out of unbreakable devotion or I have a very low opinion of myself. Just in case, I've made a perfumed body lotion, a scentless, chemical-free gallon of massage cream, sprinkled with essential oils that calm my breath. One whiff of either will bring them to a solemn pause after I'm dead and gone.
I can see how people are pushed straight to the edge. They give us eight hours to sit, simmer, and brew our increasingly desperate fantasies for freedom. We're idly festering in an unnatural state and the longer the blood remains stagnant, accumulating little pools of toxins around our spinal cords, the easier it is to perceive we're simply getting paid for our obliged servitude. More so, our imminent slow death. Might they have an inkling they pay us to scheme of ways to blow up their precious empire buildings? It would explain all the frivolous busy work they eagerly assign.
Nook is enabling the reading of teen propaganda, the Hunger Games trilogy. I admit guilt shamefully, but my penchant for books featuring dystopic societies dawned early in adolescence. Actually, at first it was a fondness for utopian lands (a perfect world where pizza was a muscle-toning agent). It was the first book I wrote. Illustrated. But precociously, I sensed a strange reality that there existed a buzzing matrix. We're conditioned to resist it, explaining the appeal for rebellious stories. But I grew up. And can see right through their recruitment for an uprising. The kids are eating it up.
All American pie? I'd never ordered it before. A whole heaping slice to myself. I was either too Spanish, led to wonder why is that cake so wet and gooey? Or soon too aware and absorbed by the devilish repercussions of fat, sugar, butter, etc. I've nibbled on slivers of apple pie here and there; a southern funeral, congregation picnic. But never a full-on experience, like they do at diners in movies, with coffee and no inhibitions about the ravages of dairy. But at 29, I can scratch it off my bucket list. Thank you key limes and graham crackers.
The apples are cheaper here. That's what I didn't expect, risking entering this McDonalds for use of their free WiFi. In this urban low-income vicinity, the slums of civilization are impossible to avoid, like the red side of a barn. I also didn't imagine the spanish music blasting. I did foresee a shiny purple Cadillac on oversized drug-dealing earned rims. I dont feel uncomfortable here. Just homesick. I'm far enough from the bay to still be in Tampa, not close enough for manered diners. I wouldn't eat a Big Mac to save my life, but here I am.
For lunch, I had sex and cake. No order in particular. Fluffy, moist lemon bread and whipped cream cheese frosting. Double layered for double the pleasure. Of course, it was the boxed kind and contained no actual fruit ingredient so I squeeze lemon juice in there. He had some cake, he had some me. I needed a treat, I ate it too. We also had a red velvet confection, also the same type of icing. These are the type of encounters that help the work day go by easier. The sweetest, sexiest, mid-day snack that just keeps on giving.
I used to care about the pictures we posted, the transactions we made, and the discretions we might email to our friends. But what does it matter? Big Brother is here and they know we know. There is no deleting the wedding pictures once uploaded. They don't even belong to us. We are all potential terrorists in the eyes of the Patriot Act. Might as well freely purchase what we want. Order that vibrator! Research Furries meetups! Praise Ron Paul! Because any other little secret is already a digital, very traceable, footprint. Especially these confidential one hundred nuggets a day.
Her bony fingers were splayed across her face, compressing her shut lids as tight as she could. Her moist fingertips slid slightly with the rocking of her body, in rhythm with her heaving sobs. The world as her audience, she couldn't help but come clean. They watched the screen in stunned silence. Across the country, only static and broken cries were heard.
"I know too much. Too many secrets."
A frame panned into her distorted face. She gasped in large buckets of oxygen as if confessing was strangling her airways.
"They control all of us. And we're in on it!"
After that hazy day of a memory, my dreams started fading in color. Then in vividness and in length. They seemed far away and eventually I didn't need them to fall asleep to. I had to start closing my eyes before I slipped into the night or I would even up glaring at the midnight void, empty of scenery and thoughts. It was so strange to not create any emotions or see any stories before my subconscious mind starting releasing my deepest desires. Morning light broke my archetypal journeys, flooded by a tempest of emotions that had no explanation whatsoever.
It hit me! I violently sucked in a gasp as to not attract the puzzled attention of customers! With this portable e-reader, I have enabled the loss of humanity. While I sit here quietly reading my iconic Superman history, no Starbucks guest will double-take on the colorful cover of my dazzling read and start up an impromptu friendship over our common hero. Jerry Spiegel himself could be sitting at the next table, unassuming that I was appreciating the genius idea he solidified in the hearts of our universe. This plain robotic device is just another form of isolation.
Between the barrage of YOLO's and LMFAO's on social networks, the most expedient way to fit it human traffic nowadays (and quickest way to make an adult sound ridiculous), it has taken a toll. Sadly, a quick vocabulary patch-up is a pitiful social app, Words With Friends. It's no scrabble, but it incites new synaptic connections. In the last three years, with that mysterious illness that slowed me down, my thinking and perceptive abilities have suffered. It is up to me to keep them up with added effort. If I can only get off the addicting,IQ dropping, Pinterest.
We went back to my post-adolescent, pre-adult, getaway. A Podunk pig town, where time slows time, the people become more hospitable, where conversation is rich, and the food on the table is homemade, from scratch. The wood smells aged, the hanging pictures are yellowed, every furniture piece has a history. I sat there in awe, staring at the top of their down turned heads, mesmerized into their respective tablets, iPads, cell phones. 80% of our catching up was not reminiscing. It was electronic gibberish hype. Even the old timers we're clicking,tapping and sliding away on their screens.
Other than a vacation to the greatest estate in the United States and my first trip to a Trader Joes, my life is relatively average, if not below . My thoughts unchallenged. My conscious becoming sleepy and the automaton in me fully active. So I'm grateful for the simple and dreadfully boring contact list I've been assigned to update at work. Typing in addresses and websites for cities all over the Americas, countries around the world. I look up pictures and statistics of there little recognized places and it blows my imagination all over the map. Moldova! Belarus! Kenya! Latvia! Estonia!
At my whim's disposal, I have excavators, haulers, and rollers to test drive. All I've fearfully managed to ride at 10 miles per hour is the measly forklift.
Do I think I'm going to wreck a machine? No.
Am I going to ram it into the building? No.
Will I hurt myself? Negative.
So what is holding me back from scratching off a task in my bucket list?
I suppose it's fear itself.
The anxiety of not knowing a control system.
The discomfort of being in a strange,new setting.
The fear of being bad at yet another thing.
I experience the world intuitively. I can be quite intelligent, but it conflicts with my proclivity to be extremely forgetful or verbally a spatial mess. I have an implicit memory that functions well, although I'm not sure when or how it was acquired. But ask me why or how, the words escape me. The linear explanations: void. I can point them out with infrared, a parallel dimension, in sonic frequencies, but not in a way you can read, analyze, and comprehend. In a few years, I could probably download the things I perceive into your brain and you'd be amazed.
At work, I have bitch face. Don't waste my time with a rundown of your hedonistic weekend. I will not feign interest in self-indulgent problems. Your jokes are offensive, distasteful, flat-out simpleton vomit. I'm not judging. I'm merely so far from amused, I'd rather stare at a screen all day while time streches itself into infinity before the clock strikes five. I have nothing in common with many people. What we don't have in common is that I aspire every breath to be useful, and these guys just want to brag or whine. They've stopped approaching me. Success!
Though I'd prefer to use this writing outlet to describe the world through my eyes, mostly I use it to enhance my self awareness. For example, it is here where I notice if I'm creeping the bitterness scale or descending into a little cloud of doom. I don't speak as truthful as I would voice in honest conversation, so I can write and re-read an extraction of my general moods . Today, I'm realizing that a good blend of sun-filled mornings with a small dose of caffeineited green tea, levels me enough to ignore the shit up on the fan.
Dear Future Dream House,
Remember when I said I didn't care if I lived in a tin box or moldy apartment? Remember how naive I was? When a little kitchen was something I should cherish instead of just having some hot coals steaming in trash can on a back alley?
Well, guess what?
I was an idiot.
I promise to wipe down the granite counters in my large new cooking area ever single day. Those vast sunshine-inviting east windows will remain spotless and sparkling, uncovered by opaque curtains.
Give me square footage or give me death!
I'm a modern guy I don't care much for the go-go
Or the retro image I see so often
Telling me to keep trying.
Maybe you'll get here someday.
Keep up the work kid.
I close the book on them right there.
I see myself change as the days change over.
I hear the songs and the words don't change.
I write them out of the book right there.
We've been had, you say it's over.
Sometimes I'm just happy I'm older.
We've been had, I know it's over.
Somehow it got easy to laugh out loud.
Stewing on my own, the rest of the workers just idle around their money-making business, while a storm is brewing over there. No one is talking about it. No one seems concerned. Every once in a while, a person who likes to seem important and in-touch will post a horrific story about it, but no one seems to comprehend the hurt and backlash is universal. It's no surprise, this isn't a big stink like the towers coming down. Seeing New York flooded, it only matters if you're suffering through it. The end of the world started years ago.
It's not happening. The thoughts are not flooding in. They're all scattered about like lazily removed jeans and bras (etcetera) sprinkled all over the living room floor. I see them, but where to begin categorized the clean clothes from the dirty? The new purchases; the selected tunics for a special occasion. I just wash them all instead and decide to start from scratch. But the inevitable happens. I forgot to transfer to the dryer. After a few hours of damp smelly thoughts, I re-wash. Finally, they go for a heated tumble; fresh attire. But my favorite sock is lost.
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