Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Dec 20, 1954 - Dec 20, 2012

I don't know if my step-dad and I were especially close, though we had gotten closer over the years. We didn't chat on the phone. But that's not fair measure of closeness as I am not much of a phone person. We did talk a fair bit about this and that when I'd come visit. We got on well. But "close" is a strong word and I don't know if we were that. I think it would be safe to say we were friends, though. And despite our differences and some of the things he did, said, or thought that I may not have agreed with, I believe he was a good man.

Whatever we may have been, his passing has hit me harder than I would have expected. He always seemed like such an irrefutable and steady part of life. Something that could weather any storm, something that, if you looked for it, was always there, like a mountain. I didn't realize it until he died, but I sort of expected him to outlast everyone, and it's a shock to me that the last happy birthday I wished him was on the very day he left us all behind as he lay diminished, but peaceful, in his hospital bed.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Manly Moments

I woke up very groggy this morning. I got up, threw on a shirt, headed out to my yard to do a quick chore. Only then did I realize it was still completely dark outside. It was at this point I heard a rustling in the bushes and I look over in time to see two glowing eyes come charging right at me. And naturally, I took off.
I ran a very clumsy loop around the yard before retreating into the safety of my home. It didn't really click during the chase that the eyes were only a few inches from the ground. All I know is that when two glowing eyes rush at you out of the darkness, you run. You run your ass off.

After making it inside and reflecting, I realized it was probably an animal (which some later investigation confirmed to be a possum) but at the time, my natural assumption was some sort of demonic terror.

On the up side, the whole affair may have increased my street cred. I think I already have a reputation for being a little unbalanced for a few completely innocent and silly incidents. Now we have me, in the darkness, doing full speed sprints around my yard with a battle cry issuing from my lips. At least I hope it sounded like a battle cry and now what it probably really was: a girly squeal of terror.

Everybody floats down here

Thursday, October 04, 2012


Never mind how long it lasted
You’re still the best thing
That never happened

Sunday, August 19, 2012

If you're a bird, I'm a bird.

I have the most ridiculous habit of watching sad/romantic movies when I am missing someone. I think I overdid it today. If I drank, I'd be getting ripped right about now. I feel like I at least should have had a gallon of ice cream to eat while I watched two such movies back to back, but instead I just stared unblinking at the TV while I foolishly let the cinematic adventure kick my fragile insides around for a while. What a productive way I spend my late, late Saturday nights.

Do you think of me, like I dream of you-
Do you wish you were here, like I wish I was with you
You loved me before; do you love me now?

Friday, June 08, 2012

Awkward Moments: The Police (not the band)

For being someone who never does anything against the law, I have certainly had some crazy (and unfair) run-ins with the police over the years. Between nearly getting arrested for "excessive drug use" (I've never done drugs a single time in my life) by a cop who could "sense drugs - even pills - when someone has taken them", to getting cuffed and slammed on the front of a police car with a gun trained on me for "kicking in a public bathroom door and stealing all of the toilet paper at a swimming pool" as my other friends with me at the time were calmly and politely interviewed by the many, many officers who came to stop the infamous Toilet Paper Bandit, I've had more than my share of misunderstandings with the law. With this in mind, I feel I am completely in my rights to get rather paranoid when a police car gets behind me, even though chances are I haven't done anything. 

...I should note that, as far as the toilet paper theft is concerned, I've never stolen anything (tp included) except when I was six or so and I took a 5 dollar bill off of the mantle in my grandparents home. And I thought the face on the bill was cool looking (6 year old me respected beards) which is why I took it. I still very vividly remember the shame of admitting my crime to my family.

The point is, there's other people out there the police should probably be focused on more than me, especially in my neighborhood, which is where this incident went down.

Last Friday, I was kindly invited to some sort of shindig at the zoo. I never did know what the official name of the event was, but it was sort of like Oktoberfest except with wild animals, which initially struck me as a bad place to have people consuming lots of alcohol. So I went and, while I don't drink, who doesn't love the zoo, hot dogs, and being with friends?

Important to the story; though I don't drink, I gladly try sips of different drinks to see what their flavor is and, basically, remind myself why I don't drink, as every sip of alcohol always does. And when I say "sip" I mean "wet my lips so the hint of flavor gets on there". I had a sip of about 5 or 6 different beers, each one tasting increasingly like wood, or feet, or wooden feet during the 3 hours I was there. The total volume of those sips would probably add up to a teaspoon. Far less than the shot of NyQuil I take when I'm sick which, due to my low alcohol tolerance, will find me afterwards going "WOOOO I'M SICK!!!" and ripping my shirt off like a professional wrestler.
When you arrive at the Zootoberfest, they give you an actual glass that you carry around to sample the various drinks and, upon leaving, you take it home with you. Obviously mine didn't see much use but at some point it was used for drinks when there was no water to be found to rinse out the other glass.

The actual zoo visit was uneventful; the line for The Grilled Cheesery was way too long, which was very sad but I was uplifted by seeing a 40 lbs rabbit, and eating a delicious pretzel and hot dog, and having good company, so all-in-all, great evening.

As we are leaving, I think, "perhaps having two open glasses smelling heavily of alcohol in the front seat with me isn't a great idea" but then I dismiss it, figuring I have to get the glasses home somehow, and besides, what are the odds of being stopped? High, apparently. Very high.

The last time I was pulled over, it was literally in my drive-way. The officer had seen my brake light was out, which I did not realize, then swarmed me when I pulled into my home. Nothing of note there; a bunch of people looking out of their windows, glad it wasn't them, and I was given a warning and off he goes.

Back to the zoo night, I am less than a mile home when I pass a cop parked in the very obvious "waiting to see someone slip up and pounce" spot. My first thought is "I hope I wasn't speeding" but that's pretty much always my first thought. I pass and he doesn't move, whew. Safe. Then as I get to the red light, he pulls out and behind me, but in a normal fashion. The traffic light changes and we proceed. My cars tail light had come to mind around this time, but clearly I was good to go or he'd have gotten me. I tell my friend in the car "last time I was this close to home, I got pulled over for a dead tail light. I'm glad they are both working this time.

Naturally, no sooner have I spoken than "booooeeeeeewwww" (siren sound), the lights come on and I'm pulled over. That's when a moment of panic sets in. The glasses!

"Oh crap. Hide the glasses".
That alone makes me sound pretty guilty.
My friend grabs the glasses and is about to put them on the floor when suddenly a blazingly bright light shines in HER window, right as she has both glasses held up and in front of the window. There's no way the glasses weren't seen. She puts them back into the cup holders and we fumble trying to roll the window down. It's my car, I know that the window control is on the center console, but we are both hitting every button but that one. Doors are locking, flashers are turning on and off, and it looks like we are stalling. I manage to pull myself together and roll the window down.

The cop is very laid back, "yeah I just wanted to let you know your tail light is out. If you'll get me your info so I can run it, I'll give you a warning and send you on your way".
Instead of just complying, I figure it's a good idea to tell him that, "yea, I was just telling my friend here about this happening before and how you're supposed to replace both lights but the other was fine so, despite it being $3 to replace it, I just went on my way" and rambling away like the Micro Machine guy. The ceaseless, inane rambling of the guilty.

"Sir, have you had anything to drink?" and by reflex I say "no" which, considering my less than teaspoon of manly "sipping", is true. However my first thought is "I'VE LIED TO THE LAW" and I mentally start to fall apart.

Normally in such a situation, anytime I reach for something, I tell the officer what I'm going for and where it is. But as stated, I'm falling apart and feeling guilty even though I'm not, so I reach (waaaaaay too quickly) for my wallet to get my license, as previously requested. I get a very quick, stern "SIR do you have a WEAPON in this vehicle" and his hand goes for his hip. Given the shadiness of my neighborhood, I'm surprised he didn't blast me out of pure anticipated self-defense. I replied (quickly) in the negative and told him what I was reaching for. Everything settles back down and he heads off.

He can't have been gone for more than half a minute when he gets back and says "our computers are going a little slow, can you step out of the car for a minute please". Oh boy. I join him on the sidewalk, which of course I trip over as I step up on it, and he says, "I want you to do this for me" and he describes how he wants me to put both hands over my mouth (as if I had just seen something shocking) and follow the pen of his with my eyes.

First off, I'm so nervous at this point that my hands are clamped down on my mouth and over my nose (which for some reason I covered as well) so very tightly that I can't breathe through my hands and I'm nearly causing myself to hyperventilate. But I'm worried moving my hands away will cause me to fail the test, so I leave them. I'm not sure my frantic breathing was helping me seem like I was innocent, though.
Second, it's pitch black outside. I am in front of him and blocking any light from his car, and behind him is nothing but darkness. And his pen is completely black. For a minute I thought he was completely messing with me and had no pen. I do my best to follow it but am basically just watching his hand move because I simply can't see the pen most of the time. 

After this, he holds it straight in front of me at arm's length and says for me to take my index finger and touch the tip of the pen. Pfft, easy. I go for it and as you might expect miss it by about an inch. Then it just all comes out, how it's dark and the pen is dark and he has a black outfit on and I can't see the black pen against the black background, maybe if I moved and let the light hit him, etc etc. More ramblings of someone who is clearly guilty-ridden. 

Thankfully, there's not really much after that. He looks to me and says, "did you just have one?" and I said, "no, no, I don't even drink at all" which, I now realize, is probably a bad reflex simply because it's not that believable. Most people drink SOME. I followed it up with a smooth, "I was the designated car driver type person from the thing at the zoo place". I get a warning about the light, and am sent on my way, and no cuffing or guns or anything like that. It could have been a lot worse.

The next day, I'm at a Taste of Nashville with another friend. It's a similar event but it has things for me to do as well, namely eat tasty food. But they do give you two plastic cups to sample the drinks when you first arrive. At one point I'm holding both my cup and my friend's cup as they are in the bathroom, mine filled with booze-free lemonade (but I had to ask for it specific because all the lemonade had booze in it) and another that was clearly alcohol, when who should walk by me but the officer from the previous night. I on reflex threw both cups into the nearby trash and headed the other direction. 

My friend was not pleased I had tossed away the drinks but at least I narrowly avoided jail yet again.

Friday, March 16, 2012

I Am Troubled

Today has been a strange day for me, and it's not even noon yet.

The word "betrayal" is a strong word. I don't feel like I've ever experienced it. Not in a way that would warrant a use of such a dramatic word, at least. I have friends who have and I've seen the results. It's pretty terrible. Sure, I've had relationships that fell apart, but I've never been cheated on (that I am aware). I've lost friends, but simply through growing apart and not something terrible happening. But never betrayed. I feel like I got a little taste of betrayal today.

I have a friend (or HAD, I guess) who I've known for over 10 years now. We've always been close, or so I thought. Over all the years while she was moving to various places for school, we always stayed in touch and talked often. She felt like one of the cornerstones of my life, of who I am, much the same way that my family does, or my best friend, or other such staples in my life.

I haven't heard from this friend in about a year which was after a very passionate - and I realize now, ironic - speech from her about how I was the only one in her life who was always there for her no matter what the situation was and how much she appreciated it And then I never heard from her again. That was over a year ago.

I couldn't reach her via phone, email, Facebook, anything. She had been really sick for a while and no one knew why, and I was afraid the worst had happened and she was dead, but I couldn't find out. I obsessively searched obituaries in the areas she had last lived. I couldn't find any news of her of any kind, and I'm usually pretty good at playing detective. So naturally I was terrified. Not knowing was awful.

Last night I had a dream about her. I don't recall the subject, just that when I woke up, the worry had set in and I ran upstairs to begin the search anew. But it didn't take long; Facebook saved me some time, seeing that she finally had some activity going on. Unless someone hijacked her account, she's alive and active. I'm now torn between relief and fury, and people who know me know that 'fury' isn't a word that can ever describe me.

Obviously I'm relieved she is alive. I had no idea how much stress that was causing me until I felt the overwhelming weight lift from my shoulders that I didn't realize I was carrying. But with the good comes the back, and her being fine means she's received my many attempts at communication, my frantic inquiries on if she was alive and she knows how worried I was. And she didn't give a shit. Instead of even the quickest reply of "I'm fine", she thought it was totally fine to let the guy who she said is always there for her assume she might be dead. That is what I'm worth to her. I feel bad for her friends who weren't as reliable as I was.

What kind of person is this? My friend April says I am very good at seeing through the BS of people and seeing what kind of person they really are. So how is it that I could be so completely fooled by the quality of this individual for over a decade? How is it so possible to be THIS wrong about someone? And how will I ever find rest and comfort in knowing another person when in the back of my mind this memory will nag at me and constantly remind me that, hey, you might not know who they truly are even a little bit.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Good Times

I saw one of these today for the first time in years. It reminded me of when I was a teenager and someone special to me used to randomly give them to me during the day on occasion. They appeared sealed, but upon opening one I would find a loving message carve out of the strip. A silly thing, but I miss that.

I also miss having my patterns carved into my apples.
(And that is a literal comment, not a sexual euphemism).

It's not my destiny-
to be the one that you will lay with

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Awkward Moments: The Restroom At Work

We have an unfortunate restroom situation at our new office. When I first moved in, we only had one functional restroom, which was located downstairs. It was a bit of a hike to get to the restroom, and you had to walk through a whole floor of people you didn't know. Aside from that, it wasn't really a big problem. It mostly meant I had to stop making a habit of waiting until the absolute last second when my bladder was at maximum capacity to take a bathroom break.

Shortly after we moved in, they installed a new set of
restrooms on the second floor, where I am located. I was out of work at the time and didn't realize it was open and proceeded to use the old restroom downstairs for about 2 weeks before I was told the new one was open. Oops.
Unfortunately, with the new one open they shut down the old restrooms for a remodel, so we are currently having to deal with 1 stall and 2 urinals total for the entire building. Not an End of the World type of problem, but it has led to some awkward situations.

I wouldn't think designing a
restroom would be all that complex. I mean, I have never done it (and I have drawn a surprising number of diagrams of what I thought was a better way to show my teammates) but I would expect people who do it for a living would be pretty savvy at it. This doesn't seem to be the case.
The design of the new men's
restroom is horribly thought-out. A friend told me before I'd seen it that the door opened outward in such a way that people in the department across the hall could see inside to any guy who was using one of the urinals. I thought this had to be a joke. Turns out he was right.

During my first adventure to use a stall, I'm standing there, doing what you do at such a location, when the
restroom door opens. As one naturally tends to do, I looked back to see who had entered the room (without making eye contact; it IS the men's room, after all). Having seen who was entering, I start to turn my head back around when my sight goes beyond this new person, out the still open door, across the hall... and my eyes lock with a very uncomfortable looking woman in the department across the way. I think I could see a little part of her die inside, even from that distance. Now I spent half my time trying to ninja my way around the office so I don't bump into this person.

The stall itself is another adventure. The inside of the stall is HUGE. The toilet is so far back from the door of the stall that you can't see if anyone is in there by looking at the floor to find feet. And the stall door closes on its own so there's never a time where you walk in, see it open, and know it's safe to enter. Now you either have to knock or bend over to look under the stall. Both obviously quite awkward. I've tried to figure out a good angle to use the mirror to see feet, but so far, when I've thought the coast was clear, it proved to be very unclear.

So it comes down to knocking, which isn't nearly as reliable as you'd expect. If I'm in a stall and there's a knock, I can't yell "OCCUPIED" - in a fake voice to disguise my identity - fast enough.
Much to my surprise, not everyone is like that though. Twice in a row I had exhausted my other options to see if it was safe to open the door, and proceeded to knock. Loudly. No answer. I pull the handle, there is resistance and a very angry shout of "I'm IN HERE". Twice. By the same person. The first time was evidently not enough of a lesson.

In the old location the cleaning lady would come by and knock on the
restroom entrance and yell "is anyone in here?" while knocking. It was really weird to yell out something to let her know someone was there, but it was even worse if one of the other stalls was being used. You didn't want to shout out and let the other person know who you are. So you'd wait it out and hope they answered. It was like a really strange game of chicken. In the end, you'd both wait too long and the cleaning lady would come in anyway and there would be three very embarrassed people instead of just one semi-embarrassed person.

I'm starting to think those people who refuse to use any public restroom are on to something.