REPORT A PROBLEM
I recently moved to an apartment building downtown. This building was one of the first condominium communities in the area. I remember back in the early 2000's when three quarters of the owners in this building were gay men (and maybe a lesbian or two). A couple of years in a row, in the summer during gay pride, they would have a big pool party with a DJ and hundreds of half naked men and women dancing till all hours of the night. Even better, they donated all the proceeds from the event to the now defunct Tampa Aids Network.
I like plants, a lot. So much so that I'm actually pursuing a degree in botany. I moved into a new apartment recently and had only two requirements. A pool to escape the oppressive Florida heat, and a balcony so I a could plant a garden. Most of my favorite plants survived the move from the old house, which had a deck about three times the size of the balcony I have now. The only ones that didn't make it were some cacti that I wasn't too attached to anyway and a native hibiscus that grows rangy like a weed.
One of my favorite parts of my garden is the herbs. Currently I have a small selection of herbs on my terrace. I have green onion, chives, rosemary and lots basil. Three pots of it in fact. I love the smell and the taste of it, I put it in just about everything. Baby plants get put into dinner salads as micro greens. Large "lettuce leaf" style plants get used whole on sandwiches and Genovese basil is the quintessential variety used in making pesto. I've also experimented with making my own basil infused vodka, perfect for Sunday morning bloody Marys.
Recently while rearranging the layout of my bedroom I came upon a box of old notebooks. Some of them are from as far back as 1997, when I first moved to Florida. The most recent is from about ten years ago. I think that, when I find myself wanting for a subject to write about, I may turn to these notebooks for inspiration. Leafing through them briefly I found a lot of letters to friends and family, mostly never sent, as well as home improvement lists, and lists of music I enjoyed back then. It may become a Multimedia project.
A yellow fellow walking down a black track came upon a blue loon fishing by the waterside. The blue loon stopped what she was doing and she asked the yellow fellow, "have you seen a brown hound anywhere nearby?" "Why do you ask, blue loon?" said the yellow fellow taking a final step towards the waters edge. He bent down to take a small drink of the water which was pink from the last rays of sunset."No bother." said the blue loon to the yellow fellow. "I'm sure the brown hound will saunter down the black track rather soon".
This being my sixth entry, I thought I'd try to remember something from when I was six years old. I have to admit though, I don't remember much from so young an age. I do remember when I was around four or five years old we lived in a trailer park in Levittown Pennsylvania. My mom would get us up early and get us ready to go to the babysitter while she was at work. I remember she would promise us candy if we were good for the sitter. What I thought was candy all that time was actually Velamints.
I read a quote on social media recently that said "If you can't make room for everyone at the table, don't be surprised when they come for your chair." I really liked this quote, I wish I could remember who to attribute it to. It reminded me of the poem "First They Came" by Martin Niemöller, in that it suggests an opposite message. Whereas the Niemoller poem conveys the idea of someone being silent to the oppression around them, the "table" quote gives the hope that we can unite, and says those who can't will be the ones oppressed.
I came across another long lost note from an ex-lover. it said "I couldn't sleep so I went back to my house. Call me when you wake up so we can have lunch and hang out. Love, Always,...." The note wasn't dated, but I would place it circa 2004. At that time this particular relationship was still in the "honeymoon" phase. The fact that a note was written at all reinforces this notion, but also the inclusion of "Love always" is a dead give away that this was well before the relationship degenerated into something I'd rather left forgotten.
The red apple sitting on the counter doesn't look nearly as appealing as the orange next to it. It doesn't taste as good as that damn orange either. It's not really the apple's fault though, its been bred and inbred so many times that most of what would have made it truly a "red delicious" was lost generations ago. Now what's left is mealy semi-sweet flesh encased in an obscenely red shell. Flavor has been sacrificed for shelf stability and higher yield. Any variance in color replaced with uniformity for better customer appeal. But hey, at least it's shiny.
Michael wasn't used to this new place, these new people. The small town he came from was relatively quiet. That isn't to say the people there were without sin, but their transgressions were of the more mundane. Having "impure" thoughts, missing church, swearing, god damn it, these were what Michael referred to as "the invisible sins", as far as he was concerned they didn't matter. God didn't care if you took his name in vain, or that you jacked off to an underwear catalog.God saved his wrath for the truly wicked, and Father Michael had just found their haven.
All I want right now is some pizza. Not pizza from a shop or the market, pizza made from scratch. A nice chewy crust from dough that's been allowed to proof for days. Homemade roasted onion cream sauce. Shittake, crimini and maitaki mushrooms sauteed in butter and garlic with a hint of rosemary. And the cheese, can't forget the cheese, smoked provolone, fresh mozzarella, fontina, feta and parmesean. With the cheese it's go big or go home. Baked up in the oven until the bottom is charred and the crust is chewy. Scallion for garnish. That's my idea of pizza.
I was reading an article in the paper today about Derek Jeter getting a variance to put up a larger fence on his property. I have mixed feelings about this. Part of me sympathizes with the need for privacy, I can't even go out on my balcony for a smoke without turning my chair away from the onlookers below. Another part of me has no sympathy for anyone who bitches about being in the public eye after putting themselves there for years. Not to mention the fact that you'll never be incognito when your house is 20,000 square feet.
Today is Friday the thirteenth. I don't have many superstitions, and I certainly have none regarding the number thirteen. I used to have some mild obsessive compulsive disorder when I was in my early teens. I would click the light switch on and off at least seven times because seven was supposed to be lucky. The time I set my alarm for would always end in a seven too. These actions, and avoiding fissures in the pavement for the sake of my mother, were the extent of my superstitious behavior in my adolescence. That is, if you don't count Catholicism.
Monday is one of the easier days of my school schedule, for now. The only class I have on Monday is a two hour Elementary Spanish course from noon till two. I say that it is easy "for now" because we are only on chapter one. We are learning about the bare bones basics. Gender of nouns, correct article use, subject pronouns, and the verb "to be". All of these are aspects of the Spanish language that I've picked up over several years of trying to learn Spanish on my own. I'm pretty sure I can ace the first test.
The last time I was in love was about 6 years ago.I love falling in love.The flirting,the thrill of the chase,the butterflies in my stomach when I see him. The first kiss,and how every kiss after that still feels like the first. The feeling that you can handle anything life throws at you as long as you're together.The first time you make love is always amazing,if a little awkward at first.Even better is the first time you can both let all of your inhibitions go,let instinct take over, and finally fuck.
Today we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. day. How has our president elect decided to celebrate? By getting into a twitter war with civil rights icon John Lewis. Trump tweeted that Lewis was "all talk,talk,talk-no action or results" my immediate thought was that a simple "I know you are but what am I" would have summed up the difference between these two leaders rather succinctly. On one hand you have a man who fought successfully to end legal segregation, on the other you have an immature bully who seems to get off on sowing discord all around.
I have a dog, a little white Westie named Darby. She's not technically my dog, she belongs to my roommate, but I feed and walk and bathe her as if she were mine. I call her horrible names in a sing-song voice and she gets really excited at the attention. She has my roommate trained to get up at 5:00 am so she can go out. She knows better than to try that with me. She'll walk into my room and give me a quiet "woof" and I'll yell "Snooze!" She knows that means go back to sleep.
Friday, Donald J. Trump becomes the forty-fifth President of the United States. I've been slowly getting over my initial shock at this fact. Sometimes when I listen to him speak I think, "this won't be so bad", sometimes I even sympathize with him. Then I remember that three quarters of what he says is bold faced lies. I hear the simplicity of the words he uses and remember him saying how he "loves the uneducated". I think about him saying he likes to grab women by the pussy and cringe at the rally cry it became for his supporters.
I think about his choice of Mike Pence as vice president, a man who supports his homophobic beliefs based on a two thousand year old magical tome, and I fear for the future of the LGBT community. I think of him boasting about walking in on half naked girls during his pageants and how he was accused of rape by one of his ex wives. I think of how he has sleazed out of paying people for services by defaulting on loans or filing for bankruptcy. I think of these things and I'm thrown back into a state of shock.
So, this is reality now. The racist bag of gonorrhea fluid was sworn in as pervert of the United States today. I kept hoping against hope that something would happen to thwart this timeline. Aneurysm, assassination, alien invasion. Anything! I remember feeling this same dread over something political being a freshman in high school in rural America. My biggest dream at the time was to join the military, travel the world, and get out of my little one horse town. Then came "Don't ask don't tell". My stomach churned then, as it does now, tormented by undesired and undeserved uncertainty.
Time is a funny thing. In one of my old notebooks,randomly written, is this fact,"08:16:95 Arrived at Joy's Parent's camper for vacation at Stony Fork Creek Campground in Tioga County PA." Just for fun I calculated how long ago this was. 7,830 days ago, or 676,512,000 seconds,or 11,275,200 minutes,or 187,920 hours,or 1118 weeks and 4 days. All of these numbers mean relatively little compared to the one that really hit me.I was sixteen years old vacationing with friends, 21 years 5 months and 6 days ago.
Here are Some Haiku
Walking in Ybor
Seeing trash ride on the wind
Sorry for your luck
Oil is pumping through my veins
Tin man needs a heart
Fuck you Seminoles
Taunts of your football rivals
Seminoles fuck you
Lovely orchid blooms
Blooms fade lovely foliage grows
Soon to bloom again
Cut the crap asshole
Just give me my fucking drugs
I will cut you man
No love in the air
Roses are not always red
I choose to stay blue
Prick me and I bleed
Cut me and I will not cry
I will fuck you up
Looking ahead to some course work I'll have to do soon makes me realize just how rusty my writing skills are. My math skills are on point, which was evidenced by my acing my Algebra class last semester. Spanish class is basically memorization, which I'm fairly good at, and Chemistry is basically just very complicated math. Writing on the other hand is much harder. It's not that I don't have a lot to say. Anyone who has read my posts this month can see I could talk about myself, literally, for days. I also have lots of ideas for stories.
The trouble I find with writing fiction is tri-fold. First, it's very hard for me to commit to one idea, even my outlines for stories tend to veer off in several directions like a "choose your own adventure" book. Second, I can't think of anyone who would want to read any fiction I'd write, and I really have no desire to share any of it, so in essence, what's the point? Lastly, when the ideas I have are in my head they seem to have a life to them that doesn't translate once I write them on a page.
An example of the last point I made yesterday is the entry I wrote on January fifth. It was a stupid nonsensical story, but every character came from somewhere. The yellow fellow was the man in the yellow hat from the "Curious George" books. The blue loon came from the movie "On Golden Pond". The brown hound is from various cartoons. The black track was a vinyl record on a turntable a la Lauren Hill's "Everything is everything" the lake in the middle being the middle of the record and the setting sun being the lights of a dance club.
One hundred words wasn't nearly enough to allow any of these characters to develop. For one, they were inspired by, but not actual representations of the characters they were based on. Some of which were never fully developed in their original incarnations. More so though, I had thought of a dozen different ways for this story to play out, but could never bring about full cohesion. I really liked this world I created, and was excited about the characters, but anything I put down on paper seemed hollow. It was no longer fluid, it was static, spent, a dead end.
"Sorry ma'am, I didn't mean anything by it" I heard myself say. I should have said something else, but i thought maybe she was just having a bad day. I saw her in the morning, looking so happy, long dark hair, a large red bow on top and deep red eye shadow. What a great contrast to the drab navy blue uniform she had to wear. When I got to my stop she said have a nice day.Later on the way home I asked where her bow was. "We don't all look the same you know" she said furiously.
Today is Gasparilla, our annual, local, day of idiocy and debauchery. During Gasparilla several groups of mostly rich white businessmen dress up like pirates for the day. They ride their boats and floats into town and throw shiny plastic baubles at the drunken masses who clamor for these useless trinkets. The class division in Tampa is rarely on display as forcefully as it is today. In the old days the kings men would throw actual gold to the poor. The modern day equivalent being the philanthropic side of the Gasparilla parade, which, unfortunately helps few to the detriment of many.
Stevie's in the hospital again. That mans had more helicopter rides than the actual pilot. Second verse same as the first, possible kidney failure. I've never met a nicer person who has had to go through so much just to keep on trucking. When we first met years ago he had to give himself insulin by injection several times a day, finally that wasn't sustaining him so he had to get a new pancreas, they threw in a new kidney for good measure. Now the kidney is failing. I'm going to see him tomorrow. No matter what, he's all smiles.
My first test of the 2017 Spring semester is today. It's in Spanish class, I'm fairly confident I can swing an "A", a "B" at the least. I have to say though, it wasn't until recently that I understood what people meant when they would say they understand Spanish,but don't speak it. I feel that I'm gaining my understanding mainly from context clues, and not necessarily an understanding of the language itself. The professor did say that we shouldn't expect to become fluent through this class or the class that comes after. I guess I'm just expecting too much.
Nothing really exciting going on today. Tuesdays are pretty productive for me though. This semester my Tuesday schedule includes chemistry class from 11am to 12:15pm then English from 2pm to 3:15pm. Having an hour and fourty-five minute break between the two classes, and no car to head home quickly, I use that free time to study. There is a computer lab near english class where I go to work on whatever homework I have. There is also a cafeteria on the ground floor if I'm hungry. Tuesdays I can get everything done all in the same building.
The Tip Jar