Archive for Darwin Awards

Living in the Surreal ..

Posted in The Flow and Rhythm of Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 04/14/2013 by Angel D. Vargas

Life is surreal.

“Surreal” isn’t a term I really like. When I use it, I feel like I’m dumbing down a process through which some major epiphany has granted me the power to move on with my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad life with a fresh, “up with people” perspective.

But if you had been in the neighborhood of 125th and Lenox in upper Manhattan at about a quarter to six this morning, life would have seemed pretty surreal to you too.

I was sleeping next to my girlfriend. She awoke in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. Everything seemed normal. She crawled back into bed next to me and we remembered that it was Sunday and that we really like snuggling together and talking under the covers during a lazy weekend. It helps us remember what matters, even if it’s just a moment in time.

Not five minutes after she came back to bed, a horrible sound of crunching metal and plastic erupted just outside the apartment. It seemed to rattle the bedroom window.  I didn’t know what the sound was. I wasn’t awake enough to make sense of it until a horrible screeching noise followed. Rubber scraped against asphalt, and the squeal seemed to echo into eternity.

“Jesus Christ!”

I think I might have said that twice. I said it once before we both sprang from the bed and ran to the bedroom window to see what had happened. Even now, the fucked up visual doesn’t make any sense without context. I said it again after I told my girlfriend that I had to go take a major piss.

Why I decided to go relieve myself at that moment is still a bit beyond me. All I remember is that I was nauseated, and I still didn’t understand what had happened.

I also recall my knees shaking like the leaves of a quaking aspen in the wind. I sat down on that toilet seat and put my head between my sweating hands. I might have stayed like that for minutes or hours. I didn’t really know or care.

Eventually, I stood up and washed my hands. Like some character out of the show Supernatural, I thought I smelled a Reaper in the air.

I was sure that death lingered close by, waiting to claim the lost soul of the victim of a freak accident.

“Jesus H. Christ!”

I got back to the bedroom and stood next to my girlfriend. She seemed more than willing to give me a blow by blow of what was going on out there.

“Nobody’s gotten out of either car yet.”

“Motherfucker.”

In all honesty, I don’t recall saying that last word. I don’t remember much of what was said after that. But as the haze and the shock of the accident seemed to lift from around us both, things started to fall into place. Out the window, on our side of the street, we only saw two cars. The first one was a silver Charger with its back turned to us like a wounded dog hiding its face.  The second car was sort of sitting to the right of the first. It was a green SUV that didn’t appear to have been even been scratched, at least not from our vantage point. The only thing that seemed to have happened, in fact, was that the SUV was nudged a few feet out of its parking spot.

It made no sense. Such a horrible crash followed by a rubber screech that lasted for at least three seconds just didn’t do … what we saw.

But time ticked by. Some of the neighbors from across the street turned on their bedroom lights and peeked outside like we were doing. Thanks to them, I felt a little better about being some sort of voyeur. The cops were on the scene immediately. The fire department came minutes later. EMT’s never showed. That struck us as odd until we came to the most important conclusion.

Nobody died.

I thought for sure someone was going to buy it. For about a nanosecond I was disappointed. I can’t lie. I’m a horror writer.

Then the stomach ache began.

About an hour later, all sorts of things had happened. The driver of the silver Charger, wearing a black shirt with green writing on it, angrily shouted into his cell phone that the car for which he was responsible was a “fucking wreck.”

“What de’ hell I’m ‘a do wid ‘dis shit?”

His friend, a shorter man with a grey tee shirt on, seemed to be the voice of reason.

“Look, dude, least you’re alive.”

And that was what mattered. When other details fell into place, we learned that nobody, in fact, was dead. A third car was apparently involved in the accident. That unknown driver may or may not have been at fault for the entire catastrophe. We never really got to figure that much out.  A tow truck driver couldn’t even tow the silver wreck out of the way in one try. His truck’s hook lost its grip on the wreckage twice.

I grinned. And call me sadistic, but I was thankful I wasn’t going to have to figure out how to pay for THAT repair bill. The driver and his friend drank two cups of coffee purchased at the deli just below our window.

My girlfriend and I  went back to bed. We didn’t fall asleep right away, of course. We talked about the accident. We talked about how our weekend was going before the crash, and how it might go afterwards. Things like money and job woes don’t matter as much when you’re thankful just to be in one piece. That lesson sinks in deeper when you’re with loved ones.  The problems might not go away, but their importance in the grand scheme of the universe dwindles.

I just got through sending out something like 6 job aps. I took a break to watch a show. I thought about my latest submission of a short story to a magazine for consideration. My girlfriend’s out teaching a dance class. We still have lives to live and things to do to survive in this city. She still has to talk to her dad about her insurance costs, and I still want to start writing the latest chapter for my online serial. At least I know she’ll come home in one piece, and we’ll have an easier time figuring out how to scrounge up enough money for dinner together tonight.

There’s a cat purring in my lap too.

Surreal or serene? Take your pick.

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Chapter 12

Posted in Drum Roll, The Flow and Rhythm of Life, The Writing Process (How do I Come up These Beats?) with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 12/06/2012 by Angel D. Vargas

No, my faithful readers, I have not forsaken thee.

I’m simply tired. This has been a full work week. Yet I’ve managed to come up with another chapter for my Serial, Unbreakable. Be sure to read chapter 12, vote for it (because let’s face it, why the hell wouldn’t you?) and then get your friends to vote on my serial, and get their friends and family to sign up, read it, and cast many votes in my favor.

 

Bribery doesn’t work when you don’t have any money, folks, so I’ll have to rely on your good judgment.

 

Fuck that shit. Free Aikido lessons to the next fifty voters.  😛

On another note, it’s come to my attention that links to my current chapter may only work if one is signed in with an account already. This is strange, and not at all convenient. Methinks a conversation with my lovely editor is in order 🙂

 

Adios for now.

 

 

A Lot To Tell

Posted in The Flow and Rhythm of Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 11/18/2012 by Angel D. Vargas

And here we go! Follow the bouncing shuriken.

If you’re going to ask me “what’s new,” I’m going to answer you with the following sentiment: There’s a lot to tell.

I’ve found myself wondering why some people have a tendency to tell me that there “isn’t much to tell” when it comes to their own lives. I know this isn’t the case. For my short time on this earth, I’d like to think that I’ve learned some things about the complexity of life. I tend to want to hear people’s stories. If I’m asking you what you did before you came to work, for instance, I genuinely want to know what makes you tick.

And don’t make the mistake of thinking that I interview people on the spot because I’m a writer and I want to secretly write them into my books. That isn’t the case for me. People’s motivations for getting up and being alive matter to me in the same way that mine do. I like to think that there are reasons for some of the crazy shit I end up doing. I believe that there are deep roots behind the emotions I experience when I run into an unexpected situation.

But maybe the real reason I’m writing this entry is because I can feel myself changing.

I don’t want to get lost in the crowd. I don’t want to be invisible or anonymous anymore. And part of the reason I don’t want these things anymore is because they no longer serve me.

It used to be a romantic concept for me to be the silent, wandering observer. In many ways, I still do that when the mood strikes me. If I want to think about the next few chapters of a book I am trying to write or edit, nothing does me better than to wander the streets of Manhattan and watch people. But I’ve been looking into people’s faces more and more of late. Instead of making up stories about them without their knowledge, I stare straight on and almost dare them to speak to me. I smile, I laugh, and I even interject myself into the occasional conversation about ice skating and coffee at a Starbucks just before I buy that white chocolate mocha and wander into the park.

That’s not the me that I am used to. If you want to know the truth, I haven’t done things like this since I was a very young kid.

I began to ask myself questions at the beginning of this week about how closed off I’ve been since I’ve moved back to New York City. In a city that seems to teem with life, how is it that I haven’t made new friends? Oh yes, it still appeals to me to some extent to keep myself a mystery; to hold onto the secrets of my sordid existence. But how secret is my presence on this planet going to remain if I’m busy trying to make a career out of writing? True, writers need a lot of alone time, and I finally seem to be able to get some when I need it. But people are social creatures, no matter how alone they wish to be. The art of being alone seems to manifest best when loners have the choice to reintegrate and be among others on a moment’s notice. Nobody can be truly alone, or they would cease to exist. If I wanted total Isolation, I could try something like solitary confinement, but I can pretty much guarantee that I wouldn’t like it once I woke up from a twelve hour sleep.

Certain aspects about my history are still very difficult to reconcile. Integrating the lessons from my past with my progress toward my long term goals is still a challenge. But utter silence and self isolation both fly in the face of everything I truly know about myself. I can yammer with the best of ’em. I can hold my own in a political debate or a contest to see who can murder the most songs in a karaoke stand-off. Life is so damned funny to me these days that I stop every few minutes and laugh at nothing in particular.

How can I not explore social interaction when I have trained myself to read people so well? That’s easy. What I learned about people was how to read extreme, negative emotion. I can tell right away when someone is a bully, a sexual predator, a child abuser, or just not a nice person. But that’s a lot like a police officer who can spot a perp at 50 yards before he or she does anything to get themselves arrested. After decades of honing that skill, it’s become clear to me that it actually keeps me pretty separate from people. Don’t misunderstand me. It’s a fine thing to be able to tell these sick individuals apart from the rest of the populace if you mean to live another day on this planet or otherwise avoid trouble. I’ll neither understand nor accept child rapists, but I can spot them a mile off thanks to my past experience as a mental health professional. It helps to have a family member who was in law enforcement for more than two decades. But if you were to ask me if a woman was attracted to me, for instance, I’d say that more than half the time, I would give you the exact wrong answer.

So here’s to a new challenge for me coming in 2013. I haven’t waited that long to start the journey, but I’ll certainly continue it. The rule, if I want to call it that, is simple. I’ll hold my head up high, stop pretending that I’m invisible, and I’ll stop turning around and looking for trouble whenever I hear excited shouting in my own neighborhood. It seems simple, doesn’t it? Don’t think for a minute that this is not a major undertaking for me. But spending years in a shell after having been dealt a crappy hand by life has finally gotten old. I’ve already reclaimed writing as a part of my being. It’s time for the next step. It’s time to stop playing the social ninja.

In The Thick of It

Posted in The Flow and Rhythm of Life, The Writing Process (How do I Come up These Beats?) with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 09/28/2012 by Angel D. Vargas

Ok. I’m going to get to the heart of the matter.

Life is weird. Life is hard. I don’t know why, but I’m going through a blue period.

It isn’t as though there’s any reason that I can discern for it. Life may be hard, but I am living my dreams. I am writing for the masses. I hope to make some money at it someday. My work is being read by more and more people. I am having fun losing myself in the universes that I create.

I also feel alone even when I am surrounded by others.

I somehow don’t know how to react to the taste of success. It could be seconds away from my fingertips, and I would have an attack of nerves. I’d get cold feet  if I had to give a speech in public. Maybe I should just read it in someone else’s voice!

I’ve gotten colder. I’m not going to lie. My inner warrior took over. My mind has been on nothing but self defense and survival for so long now, that I can’t seem to shut it off and just breathe. I can’t put down the sword.

How often does one receive an anonymous gift of flowers?

And how did I forget to breathe when I got that gift? It doesn’t seem right to me.

Plainly, I’ve more work to do in learning to accept friendship, gratitude, love, admiration, and respect. I somehow got the impression that I didn’t deserve any of those things. I’m not going to delve into my past. I’ve already been there and done that. It’s time to move on.

I made a video tonight with new free editing software. In truth, I’m not at all sure how I did it. I didn’t add any effects. I didn’t speed anything up or slow anything down. It just sort of came together and turned out pretty well. My writing is the same way.  I don’t know where the fuck the next sentence is going to come from, but I plunk down one and than another. Before I even realize what I’ve done, I’ve amassed more than a thousand words inside of an hour.

I feel like my life has been that way. I don’t have a plan. I just get up, suit up, show up and hope to goodness that something good comes from my efforts.

Life often fucks with me when I make too many plans. So I have to tread with some care, it seems.

I’m awfully tired lately. I have a short fuse. People who waste my time become nothing but irritants.

And I’m worrying everyone around me. Co workers shake their heads and wonder why I go silent. Friends ask me what the matter is. My parents cock their heads and furrow their brows.

I feel like telling them all to back off.

But I won’t. It isn’t anyone’s intention to get under my skin or to try to make me admit to things that I don’t want to talk about. But the only answer I have for such a question is “don’t give up on me.” I can’t speed this along. I’m obviously in it. I’ll figure my way out of it. I always do.

Though I wonder if I’ve spent my entire life living with such a pattern. Perhaps these mood swings are seasonal in nature. It might explain why I brood so much during the fall.

Then again, maybe I brood because I haven’t yet learned to recognize my own progress.

It’s a lesson we might all need to be reminded of. It pays to take stock, but to focus too narrowly on one single detail can be toxic.

I’ll hold onto my flowers. I’ll keep writing my stories. I’ll keep blogging, recording my voice and making my vids.

I’ll keep trucking. With some better rest along the way, even I might learn to see the bright side of life.

Until then, maybe it’s best if I just get through the obstacles in my way and move along until I give a damn again.

Anyways, enjoy the vid. I made this bad boy myself 😉

 

 

 

 

Have At!

Posted in The Flow and Rhythm of Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 09/16/2012 by Angel D. Vargas

You want a video to indicate how I feel at the moment, have at this one ..

It’s Almost Here!

Posted in Drum Roll, The Flow and Rhythm of Life, The Writing Process (How do I Come up These Beats?) with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 09/14/2012 by Angel D. Vargas

The ideas have been fine tuned. The words are in place. I have finished and edited the content of my book.

All it needs now are chapter names and a title worthy of its greatness.

It also needs a professional editor, of course. I just refuse to send mine utter crap.

Time to save massive amounts of money.

Time to celebrate. My succubus can’t wait to make your acquaintance .. really 😉

Have a video!!

 

Coming Back ..

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 09/14/2012 by Angel D. Vargas

I’d like to start this blog by saying that I was on a hiatus for a bit. A friend of mine came into the city and I decided to show her a good time. There are pictures. No, not that kind, you sick perverts!

As a result of my mini “staycation,” I stayed away from most social media. I didn’t even e-mail more than once, and that was to confirm that I was continuing a writing project that I started many moons ago.

My writing is going very well, I think, despite all the challenges that life seems to throw at me. I’m one busy motherfucker. I have the cleaning project in this apartment that has all but consumed my life when I am not working. I’m taking a break from that messy business. It’s done great things for this house and for my own mental health, but the process of getting cleaned up around here has been slow, and at times, so fucking aggravating that I want to snap someone’s neck and call it a day. I’m glad I took some time.

But my mindset since I’ve gotten back from that hiatus has been one of purposeful relaxation. I don’t want to delve back into the rat race that quickly. I’ve got to catch up with myself. I’m a bit tired of putting the needs of others above my own. My balance has been off in that respect. It happens. Life hurls its many curve balls at me, I get busy, and I don’t take the time to take care of me. I get sick or I get sick and tired. Those are apparently very different states of being according to my mother.

Cue studio audience laughter.

Parents have a way of making their adult children think about the course of their own lives. My parents are no exception.

A friend of mine engaged me in a discussion this afternoon before work. Of course, it started when the word “denial” came up. The word “denial” immediately puts me on the defensive. I won’t make any bones about that. But my friend, as far as I could tell, was genuinely concerned that I don’t appear to know how to slow down. Our discussion took on several different dimensions of course, but this is the one that stuck with me all the way through work this afternoon. It’s the one thing that I kept thinking about as I hurled myself into my captains chair and tried with utter desperation to bring the fun in.

If I have to try that hard to bring the fun in, perhaps the vacation wasn’t long enough.

But this is not the first time that this has come up in discussion this week.

Another friend of mine expressed concern that I won’t let anyone into my heart.

A third friend of mine seems worried that I don’t talk much.

My co workers seem to think I’ve become withdrawn.

With all these concerns coming to the fore AFTER I’ve just had a vacation, I was forced to consider the very real possibility that people simply didn’t like that I was gone for as long as I was. Even today, people expressed concern that I was in the back of the store at work pretty much my entire shift. My job sort of requires that right now, so I have little choice. But even I have to admit, after so much public face time and customer contact, being stuck in a little alcove in front of an elevator processing returns all day long feels isolating.

I’m beginning to worry.

My parents have put their two cents in. For some reason, their interjections on this subject have made me angry.

My father tells me “kid, you look tired and you work too hard.” Never mind that virtually every other day after work, he makes plans for my time that involve even more home projects that I am getting rather sick of doing. I have to shake my head at chuckle when he does this and then tells me “relax, kid,” as though I’m the one who keeps coming up with all this shit.

On the other hand, this is what my typical week looks like.

I wake up at 6 am monday morning. I prepare for an early work day. I got to work at nine.

After work, I do a load or two of laundry. It takes hours.

After that, I edit my story and try to catch up with my friends.

Maybe, I get some sleep.

The next morning, I do MORE laundry before a closing shift at my job.

The third day is a morning at work. If I’m lucky, I can rest after work this day, except I almost always have errands to run concerning my family. Even better, I’ve got writing projects that I’ve been putting off for so long that I try to do some of them. But my brain is so shot and I’ve had such a tiring previous couple of days that I get very little done. I start to wonder where my discipline has gone.

And then, I do the social networking thing.

Oi.

Thursdays are my last day at work for the week. I want to say that this means I have some fun. I can do that most of the time. But then the drama begins at home. Someone at home always has to make a scene at the end of my work week. Drunken arguing ensues. I slam my door and try not to regret that I came home at all.

Friday and Saturday. These are supposed to be fun days. Of late, they are replete with a lot of work. My cleaning project is foremost on the list of chores. My autistic brother decides to intervene by making noise and complaining when I won’t let him play with my keys. I try to maintain good humor and patience through all of this, but the previous week has been stressful. I compromise on everything. I don’t even get to use my bathroom when I want to this day because my father is busy doing an hour and a half long asthma treatment two times a day in our only bathroom. I’m getting angrier, but I press on because I know that this will all be worth it, right?

Meanwhile, I have NO social life to speak of in this city. I don’t hang out with family. That may have something to do with the fact that they all seem to want to give me advice that I don’t ask for. Or maybe it’s because I’ve been gone from most of their lives for so long that they no longer can relate to me in any other way. Some of them scare me with their sheer ignorance. Others are just living their lives, and we’ve remained separate for long periods of time.

I was gone for ten years. I won’t deny that it hurt some people. But I won’t apologize either. That was my time to figure out some things I needed to know. I’ll ask those of you who bother to get to know me again to remember that.

But I’ll only ask once. I have no energy to repeat myself.

I worry that I’ve swung my katana too hard. I’ve scared people away with my intensity. I’ve intimidated them with my inability to slow down. I’ve elicited concern and, in some cases, alarm from my nearest and dearest.

And I won’t lie. I am tired. So tired.

But I can’t stop fighting. I have goals to meet. I’ve got a life to live. I’ve got dreams.

Are all of these things supposed to fade into nothingness again like they did before? Are all of my own aspirations supposed to take a back seat again because I grow so tired of trying to balance it all on my shoulders?

I can’t allow that. If my ten year absence taught me anything at all, it is that I cannot allow my dreams to fade. I will not allow anyone to tear me away from my writing and my art. I can’t bear the thought that I have to sacrifice those things again so that someone else will think I’m doing something “practical” with my life. FUCK PRACTICAL! Practical doesn’t make anyone smile when they wake up in the morning. Practical is what you reserve for balancing a budget or figuring out how to dress your kids for school while writing a grocery list.

It’s NOT the word you use when you talk of love for something, or someone.

.. I’m afraid I don’t always know what real love is.

That scares me more than anything in this world. All this hard work and all this running around, being fast and efficient means nothing. All this motion and repetition leaves me feeling cold on the weekends. It leaves me feeling rather irritated with most people.

Am I growing colder?

Is exhaustion taking away my humanity? Am I killing my own spirit with too much work and worry?

These are legitimate questions.

The calm of a weary warrior suffuses my being. It is the calm that comes before the storm.

Maybe as I wipe the blood from my sword in my private forest sanctuary, I’ll stick the blade in the soft earth, lean my head upon the hilt and just weep.

 

 

 

 

 

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