Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Don't Floss Angry

So, been a while. Sorry about that. Since last post I have met an icon, gone back to school, found an amazing woman, was scared by said woman, and then after reconciling myself to being happy with that fear, lost scary woman to the stupidest lapse in communication I've ever been a part of. I've been busy.

School is fantastic, and I have no idea why I waited so long to go back. If you are thinking about it, do it. Don't wait, stop with the excuses, just go do it. It's not nearly as hard as you remember it to be, and school as an adult is a VASTLY different experience than it was as a hormone soaked teenager. I couldn't be happier about my choice.

That said, the "Fuck You" fairy finds me on an almost daily basis. When you're an (ahem) aged man who suddenly finds himself surrounded by 18 year olds, you quickly realize that simply opening your eyes is going to be a constant reminder that time has flown by. On my first day back, I sat next to a pretty coed who was all eyes and smiles. We talked for a bit, no real effort or expectation on my part, but the whole talking to a pretty girl thing was really nice. Class began and as we went around the room introducing ourselves, she got up and said: "Hi, I'm Gemma and I'm 17!"

My eyes flew open as I looked for the door. The urge to go wash myself was overpowering, and I was certain that everyone there was judging me. Don't get me wrong I AM an old (well, oldish) pervert, I just want to be one in private with an age appropriate consenting adult. She was hurt to find that I had scooted away from her, but I couldn't explain it as I didn't quite understand it myself at the time. I have only now, at the end of the semester, begun to talk to her again. In a very formal, standoffish manner of course. That's just one example of a dozen or so old man hits that I've taken recently. I don't know how I got this old this fast, but wow. Just how the Fuck You Fairy rolls I guess. The scenery is sure nice though.

Let's see what else? Oh yes, I met a music Icon. Can't say his name, simply because I'm trying to go into business with him and that would be a monumentally stupid thing to do, but let me just say that the whole experience has been VERY cool. I'm not the type to get star struck, and I didn't here, but I can say that I was very impressed. I've met some heavy hitters in my time around Hollywood, but with only a few notable exceptions (like Harrison Ford) few of them are impressive as individuals. Sure their careers or talents may be stellar, but as people? Not so much. This guy is different though. He would stand out even without his career history and gobs of success. It really was a privilege just to meet him, I don't have words for the fact that he liked my writing. I actually leave in two days to go back for a follow up meeting. Not quite sure what's going to happen as it's still very much "Pie in the sky" at this point, but I figure if you're going up to bat you may as well swing for the fences.

Alright I'll quit beating around the bush and get to the girl, it's what you want to hear about anyway. I'm literally sick over it. I'm hoping that pouring all of this out to online obscurity will help me get my head right for the big meeting this weekend, but we'll see. The problem with being a self contained individual is that when you need to vent, you don't have a lot of options. Sure I have friends, but I feel whiney when I vent too long, so here I am, whining in safety where I can't see your eyes roll in person.

Let me say right off that she is a fantastic woman. Seriously. She has issues like all people, and while I'm not clear if her issues are abnormally big or not, they are rather invasive. So, being the insightful guy that I am, I zeroed in on them pretty quickly and almost jumped ship. Almost. I have a history of being too critical, and as such, am a bachelor. I want to change that, so I stuck around. Then she went and did the damndest thing. She grew on me. She's so damned cute and lovable that I couldn't help it. She also made a conscious effort to earn my affection. She even went so far as to ask me if it was okay to look for my birth mother. She wanted to be the one who gave me that knowledge. I brushed it off as not a big deal, but looking back, that was the single most amazing thing anyone has ever contemplated on my behalf. It scared the absolute shit out of me.

Being a perpetual loner, I was surprised to find that I really began to love being around her. I started to see her quirks as good things. I even began to question if the potential deal breakers were really that big a deal. I started to reconcile the reality of this wonderful woman with the cookie cutter checklist I had always held potential mates up against, and found that she exceeded it in far more ways than she came up short. Then I started to worry.

Was I good enough for her? Was I too old? (Yep, I hate that Fairy) I began to fear her waking up one day and wondering what she was doing next to this gray haired furry guy who wasn't going to be wealthy for at least ten years, couldn't feasibly have kids for another four, and was currently living like an 18 yr old college kid.

Then there were the issues. They plagued me. Like a scab you can't leave alone or a missing tooth. I knew there were things that would grow to be problems later. I knew that if I allowed myself to really get attached, that it would scare her right back. In a lot of ways she reminded me of a wounded animal. All you want to do is love on it, and all it wants is to be loved. Make one false step though, one sudden move, and it will either run off to hurt in solitude or try to eat you with its big saber tooth teeth. I knew that she was getting attached to me, I'd have to be blind not to see the signals lobbed my way, but I had to question the speed of the attachment. Was she really this into me, or was it just the idea of me? This made me pump the brakes a little more.

Either way it didn't really matter. It was already too late you see, I'd really started to care for her. The fact that she was hurting on top of it all made it just that much worse for me. combine that realization with the fact that I was in an emotional mine field where a good sneeze could kill the whole fragile, fleeting thing and you see my dilemma. "Warning: This way lies co-dependence!" My mind kept screaming at me, but I kept on like the stubborn ox that I am. However my one concession to common sense was the fact that I went slowly. Very, very slowly. Which coincidentally, was the main reason it all died.

To make a long story (juicy though it may be) short and respectful, she had a habit of running off whenever anything upset her. To be fair this only happened twice, but both times it happened were occasions of relationship import. It left me wondering what it was I'd done wrong. No explanations, no reasons why, just gone. After the first time I expressed my severely negative reaction to this. I did so diplomatically, but I let it be known that I found it unacceptable. If I upset you, tell me. That way I can fix it or explain why I disagree with you, but don't just run off assuming the worst of me. The second time, I figured she knew how much I hated this whole retreating thing, so it must have been for a really good reason. Not wanting to pressure her (wounded animal) and really hoping to avoid running her off at this point, I stayed away. No pestering calls, no texts, no whining, no alpha male displays. A terrible little inner voice even suggested that maybe her running off was a good thing. She was too close, and too chaotic. No good was going to come of this, maybe it was all for the best. I found myself hating that voice. For the first time in my life, logic wasn't my friend. I even went so far as to tell my few venting friends it was for the best, but part of me didn't believe it. Even now, I still don't despite mountains of evidence to the contrary.

So three days go by and no word. Logic was finally pushed off the throne when I found one of her hairs (she sheds like crazy) on my face upon waking, and emotion took surging control of my mind for the first time in thirty years. We made a few mistakes that day, emotion and I. First, was in my overly cautious state I decided to text her instead of calling. I felt that my tone of voice might guilt her too much, or let her in on my emotional state. I thought she would still be upset and didn't want to add to that, so text it was. Stupid stupid stupid.

The text wasn't inflammatory despite my mounting frustration. Basically I said that I knew she was dealing with some stuff, and that I still had problems with a few things I wont mention here (but included her running off). I then said that she should talk to me when she's figured things out.

She replied with something along the lines of "God knows when that will be."

I was numb. I didn't understand anything about what had just happened, and the red flags were waving. I still had no idea why she's run off in the first place, and as I tried to piece possibilities together for the hundredth time a childhood memory of a wounded horse running away from a well meaning veterinarian popped into my head. Beauty in pain is a terrible thing to behold, and I knew I'd somehow stepped on the hidden landmine. The nasty little voice piped up and told me that she had finally realized who and what I was and was taking the opportunity to ditch me. I told that voice to fuck off, and decided to wait it out. She would realize that I was waiting for her to talk to me, and would call when she'd thought over what Id said.

She never called. In my rarely used pride, I told myself it was for the best.

Weeks went by and she called me out of the blue. She was hurting and needed help. I found that I still wanted to help her, even though I had a feeling that I was about to take a kick to the junk. Over coffee she ignored our issues and focused on her new ones. As she described an incident with a new boyfriend, I was screaming at her on the inside. "New Boyfriend?!? What the Hell? I am the worlds biggest asshole!" That's when I realized my mistake. We had always been operating at different speeds relationship wise, and my mistake was that when I pulled over to wait on her to catch up, she was actually barreling right along at full tilt. I'm an idiot.

I thought she was working through things. Things that will take a while to sort out no matter what she does, so I was simply trying to keep my head up as I waited like the patient little idiot that I am. Meanwhile she'd jumped right back into the craziness without a backwards glance. I was irrelevant, and in that moment, I finally knew it. At some point in the last few weeks she had dismissed me altogether. I have no idea how long it had taken her to find a new guy, but It was obviously quick. I felt more and more stupid as the conversation went on.

She also dropped the bomb on me that she had taken my text as a breakup. That I had broken up with her over the most impersonal form of communication possible. It hit me then that she didn't really know me at all, and that that was MY FAULT. I went too slow, too cautious, and too logical. I tried to be the good guy and wait it out, meanwhile she's off with someone new. My imagination ran wild. Actually, it's still zipping around the countryside as I type this.

I'm so angry right now I could chew nails. We later had a conversation (again over text cuz I was afraid Id yell) where I revealed a bit about how I was feeling, but when I realized what I was doing and how unfair it was, I snapped off a remark how I had to go floss. Lacking anything else to do that might possibly take my mind off the mess I'd made, I actually did go floss and wound up tearing my mouth up. My teeth are still sensitive days later.

This hurts. This massive frustration that I can't do anything about. I'm not used to problems without solutions. I'm very good at solutions and take pride in dismantling obstacles. There are a lot of reasons to stay away from her, but there's one really strong one that just won't let me stop thinking about her.

The final twist of the knife was that not two hours later I was walking across campus and bumped into her with the new guy hanging on her. I make that same walk at the same time every day, and this was the first time I'd ever seen her. She gave me her beautiful smile and I had the uncontrollable urge to kick puppies even though I LOVE puppies. He knew something was up in that way that all guys know, and I muttered something unintelligible as I looked away, hoping to control myself for just a little bit longer. I kept walking. That's actually something I'm kinda proud of. Apparently my control is still strong like bull.

I'm acting like a moon struck tweener. If I'm not careful I'm going to go do something stupidly macho just to reassert my manliness. Even if it's just to myself.

Alright, enough whining. Time to go figure out how to impress a modern day icon. After all this, how hard can it be?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


An action or judgment that is misguided or wrong:
Kissing her was pure flubbery. | It was the worst kind of Flubbery to mix Margaritas with Xanax.
*Something such as a word, act, or belief that is patently wrong, but only realized in hindsight; an inaccuracy or mistaken belief of sometimes ginormous proportions with unforeseen consequences.
See also: Screw up, Jackass, Socially Stunted, or Bryan White

So yeah, the current theme of Bry’s world is flubbery. Despite my best intentions, efforts, and copious amounts of over thinking every little thing, there seems to be lot’s of flubbing things up going on lately. I’ve apparently been adept at flubbery my whole life, but never really sat down and looked at it. Never appreciated the sheer scope of ineptitude. I’ll start at the beginning. Well, towards the end of the beginning anyway.

In the first grade, a girl followed me all over the playground on the first day of school. I was still new to this whole girls are different than boys thing, and so I completely misread the situation. She wouldn’t leave me alone, and I was annoyed in the way that only an all knowing seven year old can be. I finally turned around and asked her to stop following me in what I thought of as a very adult manner. This promptly made her cry, which made me realize my mistake, and then I wanted to cry. In the end it just made me feel like a grade “A” idiot. She went on to be in my class for the next two years, and then again in my homeroom in high school. Nothing like a perpetual reminder of failure to brighten one's education.

In middle school, (maybe high school, not sure) I was caught in the center of the theater room when someone thought it would be funny to turn the lights out. In my stumbling search for a door, I got a handful of something soft. I thought it was the stage curtain, and thinking that it might be brighter back stage I tried to pull it aside and unintentionally got to second base for the first time. The girl in question squealed that I had her boob in hand, and out of startled reflex I squeezed a little before basically slapping it away in terror. I have no idea which boob I had a hold of, only that there was boobage and I wasn’t supposed to have it. I ran into the wall three times trying to claw my way out of there. When the lights came up I was tangled up in a few chairs and surrounded by kids laughing. I don’t like to think about it, but I’m pretty sure there was whimpering involved in my escape from humiliation. Also, I think this might be why I’ve always been more of a butt man. Just a theory.

Later in high school, I became aware through the wonders of the grapevine that there was a girl who had a thing for me. This was a new occurrence. Normally the grapevine had terribly bland things to say about me, and I didn’t know what to do with this new notoriety. I didn’t get much time to dwell on it, because that night I saw her at a volleyball game. Her friends steered her over towards me in that crowded way that they all seem so expert at, and then promptly abandoned her in a feat of choreography that still baffles me. Awkward silence ensued. After a few moments of rocking back and forth from toe to heel like a downhill racer, I finally get the nerve to ask her to go for a walk, and wonder of wonders she said yes. Giggles followed us down the aisle, and when we got to the stairs, I realized my confidence was riding high. I decided to ask her if she’d like a piggyback ride. She jumped on with a giggle and away we went. I took three stairs before I got cocky and tried to flirt. Now ask anyone I’ve ever dated, and you will find that this is just not my strong suit. It didn't occur to me that I had never flirted before, that I had no idea how to properly string together a playful conversation, and that I was woefully unprepared for any flirtation she might throw back at me. Unfortunately, I didn’t know any of this back then, so feeling like Don Juan I asked if she jumped on all the guys she took walks with. Yep, that little pearl was my first attempt at clever enuendo.

“What did you say?” I knew immediately by her tone I was in some serious trouble. “Nothing.” I replied. She got down off my back, something that I instantly hated, and asked me again: “What did you say?” I decided that I should be a man about it and face her. “What did you say to me Bryan?” So I repeated what I had said, still clueless how to extricate myself from those anger/hurt filled eyes. She turned a truly spectacular shade of red, and still unable to sort through the shame I was feeling, I braced myself for the inevitable impact of her backhand. When none came, I opened an eye and watched as she stomped back down the stairs enraged. When her friends later came to me demanding to know what I had done to her, I repeated myself in some sort of weird need for contrition. One of the girls took pity on me and explained that the entire volleyball team was now hissing at me and that I should avoid all attempts at flirting in the future. The grapevine got decidedly worse after that, and out of some sick retaliation the girl started dating one of my buddies later that week. There was nothing I could do or say to fix it, and that feeling of impotence is still one of my all time lows.

Once at a party in college, I announced to a room full of black people that I was so drunk I felt like Kunta Kinte. Now in my defense, I had no idea who he was, but I thought feeling like him must be a good thing because I was beyond tipsy and I liked his name. My drunken logic told me that no one with a name that cool could ever be sad. Reality, (and a whole truckload of verbal abuse) hit me pretty hard about then, and I will say that I have never been more insanely terrified, and yet thoroughly ashamed at the same time. I may be wrong, but after “Roots” was explained to me in horrifying detail, I’m pretty sure I told a group of guys to go ahead and jump up and down on my dumb ass for a while.

Now here I sit 20 odd years of random awkwardness later, and I’m sad to say that the streak continues. It was avoided for a while, simply by not having a life to make awkward, but here we go again. I would tell you about the latest and greatest of my never ending flub reel, but I try not to kiss and tell. At least not when I have hopes in terms of maybe kissing again someday. Sorry.

In a lot of ways this whole dating thing reminds me of high school. I know this isn’t a new comparison by any stretch, but it IS a comparison that I haven’t lived through before. For the most part I’m enjoying it, but man those social blunders and awkward moments can really come out of nowhere sometimes. So far in all of these endeavors I’m relentlessly putting myself through, I’ve learned exactly one thing of substance:

Too much thought is not necessarily a good thing. Sometimes, the only way to get through the darkness is to just feel your way.

As it happens, I have some practice with that. This time though, I think I’m gonna try the whole instinct side of feeling, and not so much with the felony kind. Jail scares the beejeebus out of me.

I’m still sticking with the whole “A Better Bryan is a Loving Bryan” theory, I’m just gonna leave more room in all of that work for actually letting myself have some fun too. That IS what dating is supposed to be isn’t it?

Still, as I sit here and contemplate going to a play this weekend, my mouth feels decidedly dry...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

So I just got a book that I've been hunting for over ten years now. I first heard about it at an obscure art gallery in LA. The artist of the hour was giving a talk about his influences, and threw up some examples. I was struck dumb with sheer wonder at what I saw. It made me feel like a kid again, imagining what might be out there in the wide world for the first time. I needed more of it, and the next day set out to find it. I failed. Apparently the artist was not what you would call a capitalist. He had done a short printing run on all his books, and wasn't interested in doing a reprint. As a result, collectors hoarded their copies, and due to some weird loyalty to the work and the wishes of the artist, no one put his stuff up on the internet. Here I was with just three examples of his work, completely mesmerized, and no way to get more. I imagine that this is a bit of how junkies feel.

I decided not to give up. For the last ten years I've treated every used book store I come across as an opportunity for a treasure hunt. I search the disorganized stacks and feel like an explorer of old. Sometimes I'm a prospector trudging around in California, and others I feel like Nemo gliding through the deeps. Then, three weeks ago I found it. I found the book and delightedly took it home to learn it's secrets, to gaze upon art that hasn't been seen (at least not by me) before. I broke half a dozen traffic laws on the way home, ran inside, opened up the first page...

And went numb. The book is everything I hoped. It's filled with some of the most exacting freehand artwork I've ever come across, and the stories are wonderfully pulpy in that age of wonder kind of way. Sure there are shortcomings, but they are the kind of flaws that quickly become endearing. They are a part of the charm of the book, and as I turned past page one, I found myself searching for more. I realized that this book was one of those wondrous tomes that does what only a great book can, it was food for some small malnourished part of my soul. Something that I hadn't even realized was hungry.

I've had it for two weeks now, and I still haven't gotten past page four.

It's too good. I find that I want to savor the feast, make each moment of discovery last as long as possible. With each new revelation, I find new insight into what has come before, which leads to new anticipations. Every night as I get into bed I look at that book sitting on my nightstand and debate whether it's time to move on. To turn a page. I know that there will be nights where turning a page will take but a moment, but I know that turning others might take me a week. I'm okay with that. I looked for ten years, I can read for another ten if that's what feels right.

I say all of this to describe another process of discovery that I'm currently going through. With each new facet, with each new kernel of truth I glean, I'm finding myself pulled deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole. I like this plunge, I love the feeling of anticipation as I stand on a precipice, I love the imagination that runs roughshod over my sensibilities. This is what life is supposed to be, and I've never been more excited about simply being awake.

In fact, it just might be time to turn another page...

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Lock 'em up!

So after a long and depressing hiatus from some equally depressing dating, I’ve decided to become active in the whole romance department once again. This is interesting from a personally developmental point of view for many reasons, most of which are obvious to anyone who knows me. In the last few months various people that I know and trust have told me do several things that would presumably get me moving in the right direction. Needless to say some of the things I heard were a kick in the junk, while some of them were simply laughable.

*Shave the ferret (My facial hair)
*Lower the flags (Get rid of the silver at my temples)
*Lower my standards
*Be more forgiving
*Push out of my comfort zone, get out more
*Improve myself physically (loose weight) and emotionally (grow a pair)
*Resurrect Nick (My obnoxiously blunt, charmingly roguish alter ego)
*Join a dating service

A few of these suggestions managed to strike a chord, and I decided to do something about it. Loneliness is a hungry beast, and it was high time I stopped feeding the greedy pig. But how should I change? What should I change? Outside opinions are all well and good, but I’m the one who has to do the work and ultimately live with the results.

So this is what I’m doing:

I’m getting rid of the paunch. Yes, I know that women aren’t as visual as men, but who actually wants to date a fatty? There’s a reason that Brad Pitt is more popular than Jack Black. Besides, I’ve discovered that when I look good, I FEEL good. When I feel good, I am occasionally more charming than I have any right to be. Thus, a fit Bryan is more likely a lovin’ Bryan. Problem is I hate, Hate, HATE gyms. Bleh. I’m biting the bullet.

After a talk over the holidays with a genius friend of mine, I’m going to work on my excellence. “What does that mean?” you ask? Well, it’s simple. We are all attracted to excellence. Think about it. It’s not the football player who gets all the girls, it’s the star football player. Mick Jagger is hideous, but he still married a super model. Being wonderful at something, at anything, gets attention. A big part of this is that to be truly excellent at anything, you must have a passion for it. I have been excellent before. It’s a feeling unlike any other. A certainty that anything is not only possible, but that you can expect it to happen because you have reached one summit already. I’ve let a lot of my passion wither recently, and it’s high time I started throwing some fertilizer around. I’ve identified a few things I’m good at, and I’ve decided to try and be excellent at them. Again, this will take A LOT of work, but all of the things that are worthwhile usually do. Plus, there’s a certain pride that comes from being excellent at something. You are able to take ownership of it, to be a part of it. Excellence is a worthy endeavor for me at this point simply because it’s beneficial for a multitude of things beyond mere attractiveness.

As for the fur, I’m ambivalent. I’ve always been torn over the Goatee. I hate shaving in general, and the goat saves me some of that. I’m not dyeing anything though. I happen to like the silver flags. It’s like a badge of honor after the crap I’ve been through. Besides, it’s too much effort for such a small thing that ultimately doesn’t matter that much to me. Sure, I have my vanities, but that’s not one of them.

Forgiving the little things. I’ve realized that my pickiness has inadvertently become a sort of barrier to hide behind as far as women are concerned. A friend once wanted me to run interference with a true hag of a woman so that he could talk up her friend. I thought she was cute enough, but a monumental bitch, so I declined. He missed the point and half shouted in exasperation “They can’t all be supermodels!” My response was to ask him: “Why not?” While I still agree with the sentiment that you should always reach beyond your grasp, I fear that this has caused me more than a few opportunities to be wondrously happy. My Stepsister is someone who loves to fight it out over every little thing, but she will be the first to tell you that a relationship is a lot of work. Not in changing the other person, but in trying to change yourself. Now while there are things that I refuse to compromise on, there are also things that I can live with that I’ve refused to tolerate in the past. So I will consciously be taking a more open mind set when it comes to women that have little aspects about them that would normally turn me away. I’ve always prided myself on being open minded, so it’s time to apply that to my preferences in this aspect of my life.

Nick, my evil twin, will not be making a come back I’m afraid to say. Yes I was quite successful with certain aspects of dating when I approached it all like a self-serving, sharp-tongued asshole, but I also came to despise myself for it. I was certainly more popular, but I’ve never been the guy who went for quantity over quality. I want one woman, one GREAT woman. That’s why I’m going to go for a very different approach this time around. Instead of being the man who is self important to the point of being attractive to many insecure women, I’m going to try to be the man who is worthy of one strong, independent, exceptional woman.

Actually getting out there is problematic for me though. I don’t like bars, and it seems sacrilegious to go to church intent on seeing who you can meet, so as far as Albuquerque is concerned there’s precious little else in the way of venues for meeting quality women. I’ve started to consider drastic measures, but the whole hostage thing can go bad if you’re not careful… The solution I’ve come up with is a tad bit embarrassing though, so no I’m not going to list it here. Sorry, I don’t mean to tease you dear reader, it’s just more than I’m ready to share yet.

So there it is. I’m trying to get away from the whole moaning my single status thing, and concentrate more fully on fixing the root cause (myself) instead. As I sit hear and contemplate the staggering amount of effort required to achieve my goals, I find that I want to curl up and take a nap instead.

But a nap won’t help me earn the attentions of Ms. Right now will it?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Caffeine Runaway

Went into one of my favorite people watching spots today to have a cup and a gander. For a cup of coffee and a cookie (Yeah, my dieting skills suck) I paid six bucks.

I don't want to sound cheap, but seriously? I know how much a cup of coffee costs. I know how much you pay for it, I know how much it costs you in overhead to make it, and I know damn well that it's nowhere near what you charged me. I sighed in defeat though, took my portion of chemical energy, and went to sit down and plug in my computer so I could get down to why I really came here: Free internet.

I had been sitting for maybe thirty seconds before a little old man tottered up to me and motioned for me to remove my headphones. Pandora hadn't kicked in yet so I figured what the hell. I did so and he looked at me with a straight face and asked me in a deep baratone: "What's my name?"

I looked around for the screaming monkeys and ninja cowboys to see if I was in some sort of weird brain fugue state again, and seeing none, I replied that I had no idea.

He shook his head, lifted his cup of coffee a few inches to indicate what he was talking about, and said: "I'll tell you what it is. My name is Don, but if you ever see me in here again having bought a cup of coffee, I want you to come up and call me by my new name - Stupid."

He didn't wait for a reaction, didn't smile and wink to let me know it was a joke, he just tottered off to sit on the patio. I almost fell out of my chair I laughed so hard. After he sat down, one of the employees walked past his table. He raised his cup in a toast and sang out "Stupid!" so loud that everyone stared. I couldn't help it. I went up and sat down with him. We talked about his life, my love of the scenery (Lot's of Coeds), and inflation. He was a fascinating old curmudgeon, and prone to fits of loud and obnoxious commentary on everything around him.

Don, AKA Stupid, eventually got up and left without any long, drawn out goodbye. "People to see." He said without a backwards glance.

He's kinda my new hero.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Taking out my trash requires a long walk.

I only say this so that you will understand that in my sanitation quest to the back end of beyond, I am afforded some me time to think without distraction. My path leads me through a dark parking lot that is completely bereft of billboards, tvs, and IPOD generated white noise. There is usually no one around when I perform this particular chore, as I usually wait until the middle of the night to do so, so there's no risk of idle conversation. There's no internet, no coeds (I think they're scared of big furry guys in the dark), and no little old ladies walking their dogs. It's nice in the same way that even though duct tape is silver, silence is truly golden.

All of this is relevant for the simple reason that I haven’t been writing much lately. You see, this time alone in the middle of a dark and ominous parking lot on an unusually cool evening, managed to do what no amount of directed thought during the heat of the day could ever do. It kick started my cognitive thought process, and as I stood there in the dark and looked at the shattered remains of some discarded shelving, I couldn't help but marvel at how easily my brain continues to be led astray. I tossed in my little white bag of castoffs and leaned up against the dumpster as a new thought tickled my brain in the strangest way.

The writing has been hard coming. It’s not that the ideas have dried up, my creative streak is still as strong as ever, its just that I’ve been distracted. Rather, I’ve been distracting myself, and distraction is really dangerous for me because I’m not all that huge a fan of reality to begin with.

It’s true that I’m a pretty scatterbrained guy most of the time, and that I get lost in my own head far too often and for far too long. I’ve simply cultivated my mind to think in a certain way, and it’s hard to stay rooted sometimes. Now while I could ramble on and on about this subject for days, (and have) no discussion about distraction would be complete without talking about my preferred method of reality bending source material: Women.

I love them. I think about them all the time, and when I’m not thinking about them it’s because I’m dreaming about them. It’s kinda sad really. Here I am, this guy who has so much to say on the subject of the fairer sex, but only because he so rarely ever considers anything else. No, I’m not just talking about sex either. While that’s a big part of it sure, I’m talking about the whole package, the entirety of the feminine condition. The sum total of what makes a woman what she is. That, or some elusive aspect of that, is what I am constantly considering. This is distraction in it's purest form.

Take recent events for example.

I’m sorta kinda having an incredibly hot, yet totally superfluous online affair. I have never met the woman, I am not entirely convinced that it even is a woman, and even if it is I'm not at all convinced that the face on the other end of the keyboard is at all related to the pixelated version on my screen. Hell, for all I know it is quite likely some sort of scam. Even when it gets exciting I keep waiting for the hook. You know, the part where I am asked for my credit card #. I know it's crazy, yet despite all of the ambiguity my chats with her/he/it are some of the most erotic times I’ve had in months. When talking about anything other than sex she is evasive and vague, and when she’s not driving me crazy via instant message I am busy stalking the chat room in hopes of her return. It’s pathetic, and because of the inherent mystery, it comes in at a solid 9 on the distraction meter. Seriously, I’m like a cat with the whole curiosity killing it thing.

As I mentioned before, yet another one of the truly amazing women from my past is getting married soon, and yes I’m still having trouble with my inner whiny bitch voice. Thankfully my inner tweener has moved on from the whole "It could have been me" mode though. Now it’s just grumbling at me about how If I’m gonna keep passing up on fantastic women, I should at least lower my standards so that I can get a little more pep put into my step. She (the soon to be bride) recently contacted me with the message that she’s not allowed to talk with me anymore. She’s been cut off. No calls, no emails, nothing. Apparently she told her fiancĂ© all about yours truly and the subject of Bryan Lee Home Wrecker White is now verboten in their happy little corner of Pleasantville. I feel as though I was just grounded or some other such silly thing. It’s a ridiculously frustrating feeling to have someone cut you off from someone else. It also smacks of someone meddling in my life, manipulating who and what I choose to have affect me. This rises the hackles like few things can, and my urge to break things in a destructively stupid and manly way is riding high at the moment. While I am perfectly capable of stepping back and acting like a big boy, of empathizing and seeing his side of things, I find that I am having trouble doing so. The sheer amount of gall required to forbid contact with someone is... well it's galling! It's true that when I look at both sides I can see why having an ex still muddying the waters of my soon to be marital bliss would make me nervous too, but in the end I always wind up coming back to the indignation of it. I mean really? Are you serious? It feels like we’re all 15 yrs old here. The worst part of it is the fact that every time I see a wedding ring, or a Walgreens (don't ask), the wound gets picked at. Seriously, I feel like I'm some kinda clumsy ADHD kid forced to sit still, picking at some scab I got while skateboarding. BTW, have you ever noticed how many freaking Walgreens there are? They're the geriatric equivalent of Starbucks.

Then there’s the ongoing tease of a truly lovely lady that keeps popping in and out of my life. In her defense, it’s not her fault that she’s a tease. While we both have some very powerful chemistry when together, we also share the trait of monumentally bad timing. When she’s single, I’m inevitably dating her roommate or something equally horrid. When I’m single, she’s off backpacking in BFE with some uber hunky sherpa guy. It sucks and it’s making me blue in more ways than one. We see each other quite a bit, and we keep having conversations that devolve into something that reminds me of the force field game. You know the one, the game where you get naked with your favorite play date and try to get as close to the other person as possible without actually touching them? Yeah, It’s a game I love to lose but that’s beside the point. We keep verbally dancing around the fact that we both want the same thing, but for whatever reason can’t scratch the itch. It’s maddening. I feel like the obsessive-compulsive guy who wants desperately to eat a Twinkie but can’t. I mean seriously, just picture the poor bastard sitting there in front of the broken open vending machine weeping. He is starving to death, low blood sugar putting him into a brain fog where his hunger is all consuming, and yet he can’t get the image of fat Panamanian fingers with grime under the nails stuffing that twinkie with creamy goodness in some third world shit box that’s never even heard of things like health codes or cross contamination. He can’t eat it, not even to save his life. That’s what flirting with her is like. The truly sad thing is that there are TWO women like this in my life right now. The particulars may be different, but the end result is much the same.

I recently picked up a number from a woman I met in line at the grocery store. When I called her and commented on the noisy background, she informed me that she was packing for her big move to Farmington of all places. In a week.

I recently met a woman for dinner only to have her insist we go to the store first. I shrugged and went along, thinking nothing of it until we wound up in the feminine products aisle. For all you ladies out there here’s a simple tip. Nothing says “Not interested” quite like asking a man to hold your Kotex on a first date. In retrospect I guess that I shouldn’t call it a date when it so clearly wasn’t, at least not to her. I’m still foggy on what the Hell I was doing there.

As bad as that one was, it's still not as bad asthe time I went to pick up a date only to discover that she was stoned. I shrugged, not really caring about a little trouble with glaucoma, but when asked if she was ready to leave she said no. I inquired a little further and discovered that she was waiting for her dealer to show up. One look around told me that she didn't have much if anything in the way of money, and that was when three things occurred to me all at once. One, she was really hot. Hotter than I rate in fact. Two was the fact that despite our differences on the hot or not scale, I was looking pretty damned good if I do say so myself. I took in my getup and realized that I may in fact have been resembling something akin to a sugar daddy. Number three was the distressing and very imminent arrival of the unknown quantity represented by her dealer. I've known both good dealers and bad, and while I'm not into the scene I'm not an idiot either. I tested some of the theories floating around in my head by flirtation and probing questions disguised as witty banter. She wasn't responsive to the flirting, and the answers she kept giving were vague and incomplete. After a stolen kiss that resembled a dead fish, I came to the conclusion that she either only wanted me to buy her drugs, or that she was setting me up to get rolled. Either way, I wanted nothing to do with it. I faked a cell phone emergency call from a coworker in distress and left with the promise I'd be back. When she protested I took a gamble and told her she could come along. She declined. I followed up with the statement that I needed to stop by an ATM anyway, and I saw relief come flooding back into her previously rigid body language. Relief and something decidedly predatory. I left in a more of a hurry than I'd like to admit too, and out of curiosity I circled the block and parked a few houses away. Three minutes later an SUV pulled up and neatly blocked in the random car that was parked in front of her house. I watched feeling a grim sort of justification as three guys got out and hurried inside. I guess she wasn't content with some guy just buying her drugs after all.

Keep in mind that these are just the dates that went bad. There are a few good ones in there too, but I make it a rule not to talk about them. I figure if the lady wants to talk that’s her business. My business is making the lady happy in the first place and I don’t wish to fuck it up after the fact. Sorry. I should also point out that the good dates are actually WAAAY more distracting than the bad ones. They can throw me off track for weeks at a time, and suddenly it becomes clear as to why I seldom have any idea what day it is.

Plus, reality still sucks. I’m typing in the middle of my 85 degree living room at 3:55 on a Monday morning as I patiently listen to the swamp cooler chug it’s way towards mechanical death. There’s no scantily clad model waiting to snuggle in my bed, and I get to fall asleep thinking about yet another amazing woman who is soon to be walking away from me down an aisle draped in white taffeta. The funny thing is, I would actually be sitting there in the pews smiling for her if I were allowed to. She’s a good girl and deserves every bit of happiness that I was unable to give her. So far, I think the guy sounds like an insecure little douche bag of a man, but I might be a tad biased. She DOES sound genuinely happy, if somewhat nervous, but that describes every bride I ever met. The thought of her happy, even if it’s not with me, makes me grin a little. Is that weird? Is it sad that I still keep checking the empty chat room? Is it healthy to be eating a quesadilla at this hour? Should I go back to the dumpster and steal that couch that only mildly smelled of cats?

Questions, questions, questions. That is the life of Bryan right now. Shrug. Of course, I think answers at this point would only serve to further distract me.

PS: (Do you use PS in a blog? Is that right?) Anyway, I inherited a slightly used film camera and have even convinced a beautiful woman to let me take pics of her as I learn how to use the thing. Yeah, I know. More distractions... Still, she has lots of buttons and cool moving parts (The camera) and I am quite sure that I’ll break it within the first ten minutes. Should be fun.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

High Steppin

So I’ve been having an interesting couple of weeks. Here’s a few highlights.

I moved. This is both good and bad.

The good.

I finally have my own place again. I’ve had roommates for years now, and it’s nice to have my own little man cave to retreat to. I can run around naked, and often do. I can cook onions again without fear of reprisals, and I can walk barefoot in the dark without stepping on little doggy land mines. It’s a nice apartment, and it comes complete with really hot coed neighbors that like to giggle at the charming old guy and his antics whenever I talk to them in the mailroom.

The bad.

I miss seeing my brother and his new wife everyday. I love them both dearly and we were all at this weird kinda status quo thing where none of us really needed to talk to each other all that much because we were simply comfy with the way things were. It’s kinda empty without my brother and his wife around. I came to really take comfort in their presence, and even liked the smelly little beasties that loved to ruin any shoes left lying on the floor (their dogs, not my bro and new sis). I miss the fridge too. Neither of my old roomies liked leftovers, and I simply love them. I sometimes go to the fridge in the middle of the night convinced that there is some Dion’s in there somewhere only to find that the only thing I have are condiments and half an onion. I’ll usually shrug and take a bite of the onion anyway, but it’s just not the same.

The unrequited. A woman I was in love with is getting married. Married to someone else. Now I really did/do love her so I’m truly happy for her, but there is that inevitable thought of “It could’ve been me…” in the back of my mind. The voice sounds like a nag and is always speaking up when I’m at my loneliest, weakest, or most selfish. Basically, it’s being a little bitch and I want to hit it with a cactus repeatedly.

It’s also really hot out. Africa hot. The effects this has are many and varied, but the highlights are A: women are not wearing much, and B: I’m too sun baked to enjoy it. I once had heat stroke really bad, so now I have a huge weakness for it. Basically I’m like a trained chimp at anything higher than 95 degrees. When you couple these two things together, you get this weird sort of drooling, glassy eyed lurch thing that grunts a lot and blinks rapidly at every single passing woman as it tries to process what it is that it’s supposed to be doing. Let me just say that it’s made for some interesting conversations so far, and I dread the inevitable slap parade.

And then there is yesterday’s little incident. First a little background. A while back some of you may remember me mentioning that I kinda sorta got hit by a car. For those of you who don’t know, here’s the skinny.

I was walking through the target parking lot after dark. I walked past a lowrider and thought that he saw me. He didn’t, and sure enough he threw his car into reverse and hit the gas. He was yelling at his unruly kids so he was a little heavier on the gas than he could have been, and I was pretty much dead center in the way. I didn’t have time to get out of the crosshairs, so I was either going over or under. I’m a big guy though, so I just sorta hopped up and sat on his trunk lid. I grabbed on and went for a ride as he flew out of the parking spot and rolled backwards for a good twenty feet, pissed at his kids for something I didn’t see. His kids were busy watching me though, and I distinctly remember one mouthing the word “Whoa…” as I stepped off the car and started walking into the store. I figured no harm no foul, and I honestly didn’t think the guy would realize what had happened. I guess the kids told him though, because he jumped out terrified that he had killed me. He looked under the car first thing then up at me and turned pale. He was a little cholo guy, tats, bandana, the works.

“Holy shit holmes, are you okay esse?” (I honestly have no idea how to spell that word. Esse? Essay? Shrug.)

Anyway, here’s this gang banger that looks like he shoots gats and slings drugs, and yet he’s acting like a achoolboy caught smoking behind the bleachers. It was comical, and I couldn’t help but feel bad for the guy he was so scared. I assured him I was fine and told him to have a nice night. I went on about my business and thought nothing of it. Well, it seems that the automotive world wasn’t done with me yet.

After lunch yesterday I went to the Sears at Coronado Mall to pay an old bill. I was walking along the sidewalk, headed straight for the front door, when I decided that Barnes and Noble might be a good idea. I’d just finished talking to a friend of mine thru the frustration machine known as a chat room, and was feeling right as rain. After the short drive in my oven known as the Maxima, I thought the air conditioning might be a nice bit of frivolous luxury, and the good looking woman I saw through the window was just further proof that a detour was in order. Anyway, I veered off and stepped inside the chilly aired little slice of Heaven. The angel inside smiled as I passed the door, and I walked along between the window and the magazine rack. As I neared the sci fi section a commotion outside the glass drew my eye. I turned just in time to see an newish Pontiac Grand Am looking thing catch air over the little grassy knoll that separated the parking lot from the driveway running along outside the North side of the store. The car landed in the middle of the street with a crunch as it’s plastic bumper shattered, sending little Styrofoam chunks bouncing everywhere. I saw all of this, because it didn’t occur to me to run like a ninny. The car bounced towards me like an incensed bull, and in my lack of self-preserving frenzy I noted that the old lady behind the wheel looked kinda glassy eyed. It hit the curb directly in front of me, and right about then some small part of me decided that I should move. Someone up there was smiling on me though, because the front tie rods snapped on impact with the concrete, and the car turned ninety degrees on a dime, sending it running down the sidewalk parallel to the building. I stood there and watched stupidly as it coasted to a halt, and wondered at the fact that I still didn’t have the sense to feel flustered. A noise turned me around and I saw that there was a store full of people looking from me to the car and back again. That’s when it dawned on me that had I taken the straight route down the sidewalk to Sears, I’d be sandwiched between a Styrofoam bumper and the street. Gulp. I was forgotten in the rush outside to check on the old lady, and the angel that had earlier drawn my eye came up and repeated the whole incident verbatim in a weird sort of play by play. I looked at her funny until I realized that this was how she was dealing with seeing me almost killed to death. I nodded at her, absently noting that I should try and get her number while she was rattled, but the thought of actually saying aloud the lines my inner perv were feeding me were enough to make me hit the old brain reset button and go find a seat instead. I eventually sat down with a cup of blended coffee flavored diabetes accelerant and waited. I don’t know what I was waiting for, but I knew it was important.

That’s when she walked in. She being a woman I know vaguely who is dating a guy I know a little less vaguely. Now, as many of you know, I have the tendency to fixate on beauty, and this woman is no exception. The one flaw I can find in her is that she’s in love with someone else. I’m used to that though, so no tears on my behalf. I intended to say “Hi.” And do all of the required conversational crap that you’re supposed to dance through upon seeing an acquaintance, but what with the near death and the heat addled brain and all, I sorta gave a half hearted wave and grunt thing. Imagine the old black and white Frankenstein trying to do the Macarena and you’d get the appropriate visual. Anyway, she had breezed past me and was on her way up the escalators before I even knew what had happened. I stood up and even went to follow her, but somewhere between my coffee and the value section I lost my drive as I realized I wouldn’t be able to talk to her in my state anyway.

So I paced back and forth in the no mans land between the up and down escalators like that duck that keeps getting shot with the bb gun at the funhouse, changing directions every time a new thought or emotion hit me, plagued in my attempts to reassert some sort of control over myself.

I eventually looked up and realized that she was directly overhead talking to her mother, and I’m pretty sure she saw my whole duck hunt antics. She was busy being tactfully unaware of course, trying not to embarrass me further, but there’s nothing quite like that new crazy feeling you get when someone sees the inner turmoil for the first time. I shrugged, laughed aloud at myself, and went to Sears.

I didn’t even look at the wreck as I walked across the pavement not thirty feet away, fully content with my own wreck just moments before. No rubbernecking for me thank you, all full up on mayhem here in Bryantown.

I don’t know what all this near death shit is about, I don’t like it, and I don’t want to look at it too closely. What I do know is that after being slapped repeatedly in the face with the fleeting, quicksilver nature of any particular moment, I now feel a near overpowering need to go out and get drunk, crazy, laid, etc.. Truth to tell, I’m not all that sure as to what to do about it. I know what the responsible Bryan wants to do; the one who always does what’s best for everyone involved and damn the boredom. He would say to ride out the storm, lay low and avoid interesting situations like the plague. That if I absolutely had to scratch the itch that I should go on a blind date (GASP!) or see an action flick. Yeah, he's a putz.

What about crazy Bryan though? What does he have to say at a time like this? Well, let’s just say that he’s not interested in anything to do with moderation at the moment. Or cars. Yeah, screw cars.