Archive for Central Park

New Pictures from January, 2013

Posted in The Flow and Rhythm of Life with tags , , , , , , , , , on 01/24/2013 by Angel D. Vargas

 

 

Hello all! It’s been awhile since I’ve posted the picture’s I’ve been taking. I want to say that I took these near the end of December and the beginning of January, but in the whirlwind of daily activities, I’ve forgotten. At any rate, I’ve been experimenting more with light and shadow at certain times of day. Enjoy! ūüôā

 

Unknown Samurai

Posted in Drum Roll, The Flow and Rhythm of Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 07/06/2012 by Angel D. Vargas

I wake up. Thoughts begin to tumble in my mind.

They come into focus when the rest of me does.

Cold water hits my face in the shower. I don’t flinch. I make it warm and go about washing myself. I remember to check myself for unusual lumps. There’s still pain in my arms from the last few days. I ignore it and move on.

I get out of the shower. I still look more or less clean shaven even though I’m not. My face looks chiseled because I’ve lost weight again. I eat more when I get to eat, but I don’t get to eat as often. My chest is broad, but not solid. ¬†I will get that back very soon.

The family coffee gets made while I drink the rest of the old stuff. I’m grinding the beans that my best friend sent me. The smell of fresh beans almost makes up for the noise of the grinder. Fortunately, I am on autopilot. I can switch my mind off to the noise anytime I please.

Coffee is brewing in the kitchen while I run back to my room to set up the laundry. This sets up the second half of my day. It promises to be long.

I drink fresh coffee as I finish the task. Time moves faster than I expect. ¬†I guess it really does fly whether or not you’re having fun.

I do a hundred push ups. The first two sets are clips of 25.  I do 50 more before I text my best friend on skype.  She worries.  I scoff, but in secret I worry too ..

I finish getting dressed and I make the mistake of sitting down. ¬†I’m not sure I want to get up again, but I haven’t even put on my shoes yet. It’s minutes before work, and I don’t want to go. ¬†I do what I must, and push on.

I don’t let on that there’s a pain in my right foot from the blister that popped. I don’t bother to mention that I barely got to eat breakfast. ¬†I let it get cold.

I arrive at work. A co worker looks up and says “there he is.” Another co worker smiles. I smile back, but I can tell it’s a tired smile.

I move to the back room and punch in for the day after waiting for five minutes.  My brain is already going. My job is a minimum wage job.  It will do for now.

I make the mistake of believing that my body can move fast and that my brain will eventually catch up. ¬†What else would three massive cups of coffee be good for? ¬†I spend the first two hours screwing up book returns. ¬†I accidentally process two books from the same publishing company in separate returns. I then proceed to lose the paperwork for one of those returns while I switch the forms for two others. By the time I realize my mistakes, my right eye begins to hurt. I slow down and take a breath.¬†I remember that I saw Sherylin Kenyon’s book. ¬†I also remember that I follow her on twitter now in the hopes that she’ll follow me back. ¬†I’ve never even read what she’s written, but it’s still wild to have seen her book in my hands .. It’s even wilder to know that Jerry Seinfeld might have been here too, but I missed him.

I don’t follow him on twitter though. ¬†I guess I don’t want to be a stand up comedian with a hit television show under my belt.

A full on headache ensues when the next obstacle appears in the form of a six legged menace. A cockroach appears and I stop dead. I’m something like 20 times its size, but I freeze. Childhood memories come flooding back and I want to scream. It’s not the roaches that frighten me, but what their associated with ..

And this makes me angrier than I expect.

My chest heaves when the creature appears again. ¬†A young lady points it out to me, and I walk toward it. I try to step on the thing and it scampers, creepy antennae and all. I sigh. ¬†I’ve missed my chance to reclaim my manhood.

Stupid emasculating bug.

The third time it manifests, it scuttles toward me. Goosebumps form on my legs as I drop the book I’m scanning. As soon as the book hits the ground, I clench my teeth and stomp after the thing. ¬†It scampers away, making a mad dash for the bottom of a metal bookshelf. ¬†I go to kick the thing. ¬†I want to hear the chiten of its shell crunch underneath my black Lebron James shoes. I want the thing to quiver underneath my foot ..

The fourth time it appears, I am prepared. ¬†I have grabbed a book from the “strip” list. The thing was going to get its cover torn off anyway. ¬†What a waste. I use it for something much more worthy. ¬†With a discuss throw, I hurl the book at the object of my childhood fear and rage. It connects. The book bounces off another bookshelf and sails across the room.

Now I have to clean the thing up. ¬†I gather an empty box and a broom, but I still have the fight the shakes for 15 minutes before I get the corpse into the box. It’s severed clean in half.

I hope to God I put the other half in the box too.

Funny thing. As soon as I toss the thing into a trash bag and wrap it up tight, I feel a rush. I’ve done more than kill a stupid cockroach. My childhood fear has become less tangible, somehow. I don’t know if it’s gone, but we’ll call this a step in the right direction.

Work goes a bit more smoothly after that. It seems my brain has caught up with my body.  I tear through returns, and get them ready for shipping.  I rip through some more, and I get those ready too.

My day is over at 4pm after a last minute cock up. I punch out and head home only to remember I set up laundry. Damnit.

But I have to do it. Nobody else can.

God, why do I feel like Micheal Keaton in a batsuit?

I make the mistake of sitting in my captain’s chair and turning on my computer. ¬†I tool around briefly on social media sites. It bores me, but I am addicted to them like I used to be to cigarettes. ¬†I need my fix.

I like klout.  I miss my facebook friends sometimes.

But I heave the giant rolling bag full of laundry into the living room with little effort. It’s been done before. I’ve been doing this for a year now. The family laundry is the only rent I can pay while I live with my parents. ¬†Even now, I don’t make much. ¬†Just enough to feel like I have a job.

I heft the large bag downstairs and I begin to feel my body really hurt for the first time. ¬†My chest is sore. ¬†My back is in pain. My arms quiver. ¬†But I can’t let this go.

I won’t spend my only day off between shifts washing clothes.

The laundromat is crowed. Perhaps I was foolish to try to come out here in the evening, but I don’t feel like I have a choice. If I want to rest tomorrow, I’ve got to get this out of the way.

Loading the machine should be easy, but it feels a lot like pulling circus clowns out of one of those old VW Bugs. It’s beginning to piss me off. My right eye hurts worse than before. I drank water at work, but the heat has robbed me of all hydration. The humidity is low, but I don’t quite feel the difference.

I make eye contact with a young, Asian woman and she immediately smiles. I offer a grin, but it feels odd. I don’t know what to do with my face when a woman smiles at me anymore.

It shouldn’t make me angry though.

I turn my head to pretend to busy myself operating the machine I just loaded. I even stop the cycle and start it again just to be sure I “got it right.” She’s not staring anymore, and I feel a sense of relief. It isn’t like me to shrink from a woman’s attention. It bothers me. I must look the way I feel.

I walk to Time’s Square from the laundromat. I feel like a soldier marching to a steady cadence. My bearing feels like that of a warrior. My feet are already throbbing, but I ignore the pain. I just want to move.

As I get closer to Broadway, I realize my mistake. I need to thread my way through a massive crowd. I do what I’ve been doing lately. I push on, refusing to give in. I don’t want them to cut into my work out time. These people don’t have the same need I have to move fast and stay active. I’m thirty two years old. I am not as young as I once was. I feel it catching up with me in attitude more than anything else. I don’t want to waste time. I don’t wish to indulge others their whims. I don’t wish to become overweight and burned out like so many I once knew.

I certainly don’t feel like the asshole that just stepped on my new shoes is going to get a second reprieve.

But the stupid fuckers with their damned smart phones come out. They text when they should be crossing the street. They call people when they should be watching where they walk. Instead, I must watch where they go. That’s been happening too often of late. I shuck and dodge all sorts of arms and legs without batting an eyelash. Little kids whiz by my feet and I don’t miss a step. A cabbie runs a red light and I flip him off as he sails past my back. ¬†I do all this without changing the expression on my face much. I’ve learned to duck elbows, canes, umbrellas from stupid pale women in the sun, and the naked cowboy.

Today, the naked cowboy has a naked cowgirl counterpart that looks old enough to be his grandmother. There’s also a naked Indian

Great, so all we need is a naked construction worker and a naked cop and we have the Naked Village People.

Swell.

Today, I’m fucking impatient.

I call one guy a dickhead before I run past him to cross the street before the light changes. He just stands there texting his life away, unaware of the amazing redhead in the blue dress that just passed him.

Fuckufaizu!!!!!

I begin to treat the crowd like schools of fish. I am a shark that must dart through them all unseen, eyes scanning the area. I thread through them as though I’m trying to create a wormhole with New Yorker Ninjitsu. I used to think of myself as a linebacker when I was larger. But I’m thinner now. People don’t get out of my way as readily when they see my scowl. I don’t care as long as I can get past them. They all seem like pestilential weeds. I want to cut them down with a samurai weapon and toss them behind me. I’ll move on to the next series of targets and deal with them accordingly.

I go through the next twenty blocks feeling this way. I walk back along fifth avenue with the same alacrity. I am getting stared at again. I don’t know what to do. People look at me as though they should recognize me. It’s creeping me the fuck out.

I go back to the laundromat and throw my clothes in the drier. Then it’s off to Central Park to visit my duck pond.

Only ¬†when I get there, it’s kind of crowded and I can’t sit at my favorite Gazebo overlooking the pond. People and their stupid babies want to take pictures by the water. I almost want the kids to drown as they chase the turtle heads that poke out and form golden ripples under the sun.

I sit on a rock by the edge of the pond and try to phase everyone out as I look at the water.

It doesn’t work, but I start to doze off anyway. So much for mind over matter.

I spend fifteen minutes sitting and getting distracted by wandering people and their dogs. When I finally get up, my feet are sending signals to my brain to sit the fuck back down, but I hit the override button in my head and press on. the chafing of my upper thighs begins to burn. My thighs always were a bit too thick, but in this heat, I feel like my skin will be rubbed raw. I bite my lower lip and walk through the pain. I push my limits. I’ve a massive headache and a sudden urge to scream. I’m so tired that everything I see pulsates with the violent waves of a stormy ocean.

I march back to the laundromat feeling like a lonely, unknown soldier. I pass the pain threshold for my feet 10 blocks from the place, but I don’t stop. I am thirsty, but I won’t stop and drink. I must get this done.

It takes too long to fold the clothes that are dry. ¬†I am there for an hour folding my father’s button down shirts. I know he’ll ask the same question he always does when I get home.

“Was it crowded?”

I wonder what I’ll tell him.

I trudge back home, watching the light fade from the sky. I’ve got one more mile to go before I sleep. The pain has stretched from my feet to my knees. Each step makes me want to wince, but I don’t bother. What’s the point of acknowledging pain at this point in the mission? I’m almost home free.

A cold beer and a bowl of food sounds just about perfect. So does a foot rub followed by sex. I’ll only get two of the four tonight. I’m sure you can all guess which two.

I have a full blown headache now. I’ve been on my feet for almost fourteen hours. I want desperately to flirt with the women with the short shorts, but I can’t even muster the strength for a sardonic smile. I settle for a grimace. I get gas pains from hunger. I’m almost home though. I’ll make it all better.

I’ll make it alright again.

I’ll rub my own feet and drink a beer.

I’ll celebrate my productive day. I’ll have another one in a couple of days.

I hope my body doesn’t scream at me then the way it is now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Duck, Duck, Person…

Posted in The Flow and Rhythm of Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 04/30/2012 by Angel D. Vargas

It was another early morning wake up time for me. ¬†The sun hadn’t crept into my room through my open window yet, but the cold air definitely made my toes curl. My blanket had gotten twisted off of my bed, a sure sign that I’d had at least one nightmare. ¬†I’ve gotten used to waking up with my blanket in knots under my arms, or even with my blanket having been tossed to the other side of the room violently. ¬†When I was in high school, I woke up once to serious pain in my right hand, and a knuckle sized indent in my bedroom wall.

 

I groaned as I got out of bed and dragged my computer to me like a willing lover. ¬†I did what I’ve been kicking myself for doing lately. ¬†I checked twitter, I checked Facebook, I checked the stats of my blog, and I checked a couple of other websites. ¬†In truth, I felt hopelessly lost, like one of the Knights of the Round Table in search of the elusive Holy Grail. ¬† I don’t even know what the hell I’m looking for anymore. ¬†Checking the internet just feels automatic now. ¬†I’m up, it’s time to check to see if my life on the internet is worth all the time and energy I seem to put into it lately. ¬†Gotto tell you all, it wasn’t. ¬†And none of my other friends were going to be awake anyway, so there would be no Skyping or instant messaging with them. I was alone again among a different crowd on the world wide web.

 

Once I was done messing around with my computer, I got dressed, brushed my teeth, and got the fuck out of dodge. ¬†My family was asleep. ¬†So were their dogs, thank God. ¬†Those yippie little motherfuckers have a habit of barking and giving away my position when I want to let my family sleep in. ¬†They act like it’s my fault my parents were up late again watching bad television. It’s all I can do not to kick them both before I leave the apartment. ¬†Worse, I’ve been feeling a cold sort of cruelty lately, a disdain for most of humanity that could easily become a dragon’s fire that consumes everyone in my path. ¬†Maybe some of my muses are trying to wake the fuck up again so they can distract me from whatever is making me feel this way. ¬†With my luck with writing lately, I just don’t know that it will happen. ¬†Granted it’s only been a couple of days since my last couple of thousand words, but it’s still another frustration that I don’t want . I’m doing the mental masturbating that I’ve gotten so sick of lately. ¬†My mind’s left hand is going either fall off or get really hairy.

 

But I figured if I was going to brood over something, I might as well go do it over at my favorite duck pond.

 

And it didn’t take me long to get there. ¬†My feet were able to find the familiar path even thought the rest of me was so distracted by other things. ¬†And it was nice to not be utterly surrounded with people at the park on a sunny, 45 ¬†day.

 

The pond was definitely pretty.  Morning sun reflects off the water in a different way than the afternoon sun does.  The ducks are lazier too.

 

They were doing something that I have never been awake and out at the pond early enough to see them do. ¬†One duck would lazily swim along, his feet just kind of swishing behind him in the water. ¬†Then without warning, he’d duck his head under the water as his body kept moving forward. ¬†It was a bit like watching a feathered submarine. ¬†When he wanted to see above the water again, he’d poke his head up slowly, like a periscope. ¬†I had to smirk at that moment. ¬†The hunt for Red October was on.

 

But then another duck showed up. ¬†The first duck kept his head but he didn’t see the second duck making a bee line for him in the water. ¬†Their paths were about cross. ¬†It wasn’t going to be a violent collision, but maybe they would have quacked at each other or something. ¬†But just when they were about to collide, they both stuck their heads below water and passed each other with two sets of moving ripples. ¬†They were two feathery submarines with the same mission in mind, and they just missed each other by inches.

 

I love my ducks, but I don’t know a heck of a lot about them. ¬†I don’t know if they communicate underwater using “quack” bubbles or anything like that. ¬†But the sight of two ducks missing each other by inches got me to thinking New York pedestrians, and how many of them I witness each day passing each other like these ducks. ¬†Instead their heads aren’t buried under the green, sunlit water of a pond looking for food. ¬†The heads of these curious “New Yorker” creatures are looking down at their smart phones and their kindles, texting, reading, not looking where they are going a great deal of the time, and still managing to avoid each other.

 

And I find that sad.

 

I am not going to sit here and type out this BLOG post while condemning social media. ¬†My hypocrisy will only stretch so far. ¬†I am an American consumer, and like the rest of us, I’ve somehow embraced the tenets of capitalism and technology’s role in said norms.

 

But I can’t lie to you either. ¬†There are some very interesting people in this world, ¬†and I’m sad to see them looking at their smart phones instead of paying attention to the world around them. ¬†There are teenagers with keen intellect in their eyes, pretty women and handsome, snappily dressed men with stories written all over their faces, old people with tales of their glory days just itching to be shared with young strangers like me. ¬†And even in places like Central Park, they wander around practically Eskimo kissing their smart phones in an attempt to communicate while the world around them continues to exist. ¬†Spring flowers continue to bloom. Tiny robins tweet (and not on the internet). Potential conversations with real people are avoided. ¬†Gothic Architecture isn’t admired. Food festivals aren’t savored for the unique cultural experience that they provide. And even the potential for romance seems to fly out the window, replaced (most believe) by something known as internet speed dating.

 

I’ve done my share of internet “dating” too. ¬†It flies in the face of everything I was taught about love and romance growing up. ¬†Then again, maybe that’s not always a bad thing in my case ūüėČ ¬†Live ¬†with my parents for a month and you’ll think that movie “War of the Roses” was a picture of paradise.

 

I met a special someone on the internet. ¬†It isn’t always easy. ¬†Only time, at this point, will tell me if it will work. I gamble with my heart when I think it’s worth it. ¬†Deep down, despite my apparently cold view toward people, I think she has the potential to be.

 

My parents didn’t prepare me for that one.

 

But what does it mean when the people around you all start to look like ducks who bury their heads underwater looking for something special? ¬†Ducks have a simple reason to “duck,” don’t they?

 

Maybe people have their reasons too, but I am only really beginning to understand what they are. I do it myself, and I’m still trying to understand why..

 

“Duck and cover” isn’t just something people say when fighting breaks out.

 

 

What do you all think out there in internet land? ¬†Why do people lower their heads and avoid the potential for joy and goodness in their lives? I’d love to hear from any of you on this subject.

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