Internment

internment.  it’ll stress you out, that’s for sure.  the whole east coast on some red alert and all i see are some trees blowing, all i hear is a drip of water in a bucket but i haven’t seen it rain and this god forsaken door won’t stop rattling in its frame.  it’s the end of october, 2012.

these strings on the lines outside are dancing more than i’ve seen them do in the year-plus that they’ve been there.  they started out as balloons and ribbons and i swore they would pop from the energy in the power lines they were snagged on, but they never did.  now the balloons are gone, deflated, and it’s a knot of those ribbons pink and blue and some are yellow that i think used to be green.  something so purposemade, tailormade for happiness and celebration exterminated and its remnants reduced to this.  bright colors blowing in the wind of the storm of the century, caught on some black unkept power lines propped up by a rotting wooden pole.

when i moved here 19 months ago i was terrified.  i showed up with 3 bags of clothes and not much more.  i’d been caught on the powerlines once before and had severed the ties at whatever cost so that i could try again.  i’d moved from the upper east side of manhattan, the 25th floor of a high rise building down the block from the 6 train, i took a cab to my new section 8 in queens.  from the boulevards of the whitest old money to the tight streets and uneven sidewalks swarming with dominicans and pollocks.  from the land of opportunity and a seat of luxury, to the land of bastard children and unforgiving mothers, men with ponytails under fitted snapbacks, leased benz’s and goons throwing dice on the steps of my home until four in the morning.  when i cut loose, that’s where i landed.

but that’s not what scares you when you leave a girl after two and a half years and your world reboots.  it’s the wide open sky without a powerline in sight - that is the most terrifying view to a balloon and his trailing ribbon.  that notion that you can blow up and in any direction without a snag in sight…go anywhere, do anything, and beholden to no one!  the greatest of freedoms will instill the greatest uncertainties and if care is not taken then the wind has the mind to take you right back where you came from.

the moment is palpable when you insert a millisecond to consider where you’ve been.  don’t and be careful, because you lose a little bit of yourself every time you cut loose.  too many times and you won’t even realize the flinch when someone tries to touch you.  they will.  are they grabbing hold, reaching to snag you?  pick your battles.

we all want to exert control and that’s no surprise.  it must be human nature.  those who claim they don’t have the urge -  that’s not evolution, it’s just layers to the onion.  it could be the confinement that had me bucking the grip.  but we’re really good at convincing ourselves and i can’t even see where i fucked up.

Fathomless

It’s crazy. It’s just…crazy. I’m a philosophical kind of guy and I’ve got my life to blame for that. Crazy aunts and grandparents and parents and siblings. So what’s crazy? Because they have the capacity to love. And who am I to discount humanity when that’s at stake?

My life to blame? That’s convenient. The most unfortunate are those with nothing to blame. Is life so large and monolithic as to be acceptable as a scapegoat? We spend our lives gathering the strength to accept responsibility.  Does life take the credit for that one too?

We do what we can to not have regrets, either. But it’s all about definitions isn’t it? Is there some form of learning in a regret? And everyone wants to learn. And we’ve got it in our heads that regretting is bad.

My father never could understand why my mom ended up in the nuthouse. He couldn’t reconcile the notion. He’d tell her to snap out of it. Hell, I can’t understand my brother and I couldn’t understand my lover, knees up to her chin perched on the radiator and tears coming down her face in our college dormitory.  We were in Tom’s room when she lost her mind for the first time.  I put her on the phone with my mother because I told you I couldn’t understand.

"It’ll be alright.  It’ll be ok."  Only it wasn’t.  You’re still a nut and your family gave up.  I can’t imagine.

Seventy seven

How fucking dramatic. She says that. And never mind the inherent hypocrisy in what that sentence says about her, you’d hate her regardless.

But it’s what you wanted. Your own broken fairy tale. You even put it online. Your final pen stroke was that night in the park. You cried and I fumed, then you went home and posted a fucking gif from a movie you so desperately wanted to come true and be a part of. You seized that opportunity proper, admittedly. How dramatic. You’ve got an air for that if nothing else.

That was the straw? Your tipping point? So I looked back and thought I’d wiped myself clean of you- every text and voicemail was gone before midnight of the day where we spent until after dusk witnessing the death of the most important connection we ever had.

77 emails survived those efforts. Not the one I was looking for, but I left enough others to make up for it. Forwarded emails from my senile grandparents about baby hedgehogs, Christmas present planning with you, my brother, and me…

Subject: SURPRISE!
Body: i love you.

And the straw that finished us off, as we fought and as we gained ground, was something we couldn’t even talk about? That was what we couldn’t work through?

Who regrets? It’s admirable now to say “not me.” And usually I do. But regret is why I told you I was still in love with you 14 months ago, a year after breaking your heart the first time. And the only regret worth considering nowadays is that neither one of us had the blind courage to follow up on that confession. We smokescreened until we choked on it. And even I can’t shake my subconscious’s argument that you abandoned me that night in the park like he and she did so long ago and over and over. Sometimes I wonder, but I always wander back to that wound and that knife where all my subconscious has to do is twist and I’ll thank my stars for the present.

“This tramp kept hassling me at my house,” he said. “I know he has been a problem for other people round our way. He was ringing our buzzer early in the morning and kept asking if I would pay for his pay-as-you-go phone. Proper mad.”

He added: “The final straw was when he started messing with my recycling bins. I’m a bit anal about my recycling and he ended up shoving his crutches in my bin. I came out and squared up to him and he had a bit of a go. Put it this way, I don’t think he’ll be coming back round my way again.”

…people who claimed their “usual” workweeks were longer than 75 hours were off, on average, by about 25 hours. You can guess in which direction. Those who claimed that a “usual” workweek was 65–74 hours were off by close to 20 hours. Those claiming a 55–64-hour workweek were still about 10 hours north of the truth.

How exactly would “taxpayer money” have financed his “radicalization”? By helping him pay his electric bill and his cable company so he could stay on line and watch crazy YouTube videos? 

ESQUIRE.COM: How are you?

DAVID SEDARIS: I am in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

ESQ: That would definitely affect morale.

DS: Yeah. Have you been to Harrisburg?

ESQ: I’ve driven past on the highway. 

DS: It’s a lot of pregnant people with tattoos.

…despite your late-night hours practicing simultaneously juggling and solving three rubik’s cubes, your mind just can’t focus on what you want to say and not accidentally killing yourself with your car at the same time.