Archive for Drivers

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

No Time for Hate ..

Posted in Drum Roll, The Flow and Rhythm of Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 08/27/2012 by Angel D. Vargas

I have to poke my head up for a minute.

This time, there is a great deal to share.  The problem now is that my time is limited.

There is plenty for me to do right now. I am editing my first true book. I’m working. I am helping to clean my family’s apartment while contending with the wants and needs of the autistic adult in my life. I’m also attempting to balance social media, help my friends with their creative endeavors, and make sure that I support those who are getting their literary work out there for all to see.

I don’t do any of these things because I expect anything in return. I may be one of those rare cases where what you see is what you get. The world owes me nothing. If I get anything for my efforts, it’s because I work for it.

In other words, my time is short. I want to enjoy what little time I have to myself these days. The friends of mine who “get me” are the ones who go out and do. They’re the ones who put themselves out there for scrutiny, holding their necks out for a vampire’s kiss or the blade of the executioner. They are the ones who ask, “when,” not “why?”

I have a question for “the others.” These are the ones who are NOT my friends, but seem to think I need to hear racist, homophobic, or otherwise plain obnoxious rhetoric and propaganda.

What the fuck makes you all think I have time for all this?

Living in New York City has been a blessing in disguise for me. It’s reminded me of one universal truth. There are so many people in this world that I have yet to meet. Most of them will not become my friends. Most will barely give me a second thought unless we introduce ourselves to one another. New Yorkers have a unique way of reminding me that their time is just as precious to them as mine is to me. New Yorkers remind me that sometimes life is best lived on a moment to moment basis. Nothing is permanent. Nothing is trivial.

There is an ironic way that haters seem to spread their hatred that I am still trying to understand. Facebook is replete with this kind of hatred. Someone says something inflammatory (and often just plain wrong).  Their words stink up my life for mere seconds in the miasma of ignorance. Their energy knocks me off my path. Haters count on this. They get off on it.

But haters also count on the fact that nobody will stand up to them for lack of courage or time.

When I encounter a hater, for the briefest of instants, I have a choice to make. I can keep on my path and ignore the hate, living my life as I see fit. I can cross swords with each hater and make them suffer for their ignorance.

But there is a third option that I forgot about until recently. It’s the one that I prefer.

I’m a smart person who can read the haters from a mile off. I often see them coming, and I have turned my blinders on in the past. If we’re going to use the metaphor of two ships passing in the night, I’ve been the lonely ghost ship  that turns on giant lights  and goes their merry way after they’ve blinded the captains of other boats. From a warrior’s perspective, I’m the guy with the broad chest and the focused stare. I leave others alone if I’m outside because I’m often too busy doing something to care what you’re about.

But of late, haters have stopped me in my tracks. They bump chests with me, or stick their feet out to try to trip me up and make me look bad. They forget one thing.

I still carry a sword.

I don’t have to stop and engage you if you’re a hate monger who needs to fill their time insulting and hurting others. I don’t want to waste my time pointing out the myriad of ways in which you are wrong. I don’t think you’re going to listen anyway. I’ll save my breath.

What I will do is exercise the third option. I will cut you down and leave. If I take the time to strike, I do it fast. I won’t waste emotion on your demise. I won’t waste energy. I will remove you from my life and the lives of others in one fell swoop. Simple. Efficient. Effective.

And it puts a grin on my otherwise stoic (yet handsome) face.

I have no time for hatred. I have no room for bigotry in my life. I will show you no quarter if you hurl your negativity in my direction. I have too many things yet to accomplish to stop and point out how wrong you are. But do not doubt that I will eliminate you if needed.

The opposite of love and caring isn’t hatred, folks. It’s apathy. It’s obvious to me that I can’t exercise apathy in the way I move through the world. But for the haters, the racists, the homophobes, and those who would tell me that I can’t have what I want in this world, I’ve got advice for you.

Your hatred is unwelcome. Don’t cross my path.

 

Know Yourself

Posted in The Flow and Rhythm of Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 08/18/2012 by Angel D. Vargas

Have fun with this latest post. I don’t have a bouncing ball for you to follow, so my words are below.

There isn’t much to tell.

A lot of good things come to those who get up in the morning, suit up and show up for life. Hard work and discipline help me to surmount the obstacles that stand in my way. I toil, I fix things when I break them, I put things back where I found them, and I try my best to leave the world a better place than it was when I found it.

But it appears that there is yet another lesson to be learned in all of this. Social networking, making new friends, and sharing the ups and downs of life with others have made something crystal clear for me in this past week.

I take on too much.

I’ve been forced to draw lines in the sand with people these last few months. Unneeded drama really does unsettle me. I don’t exercise patience with those who would choose to surround themselves with it. To embroil myself in the “he said, she said” arguments of others leaves me feeling confused, angry, and ultimately alone. I try my best to avoid it.

But even my best efforts can fall short.

I do try to be there for the people who matter most to me. I’ve made some beautiful friends. They all have varied personalities. But I have a tendency to want to look out for people who mean something to me. When I was younger, that manifested in a strong desire to rescue others who appeared “lost.” It even led to what I thought would be my ultimate life calling.

I wanted to be a therapist.

But life happened. Some people came and went. Others stayed. In the last decade of my life, I discovered some ugly realities about people and choices.

Fast forward to my life in New York City. I can count the close friends that I have on one hand. When I devote myself to someone, I remain loyal no matter the cost. But that means that I must watch myself in my dealings with others. I must chose my words carefully. I must not make promises that I know I can’t keep.

Now I’m here. I’ve realized something as I lick my wounds and prepare for the battles that lay ahead.

Among people there may be no such thing as unconditional love.

I’m here to propose that maybe that’s not always a bad thing.

Among my truest friends, there are varied talents, desires, and life goals. It can be quite the adventure to navigate through all of those to get to know these people better as time goes on. The ones who have stuck with me the longest are the ones who are willing to let me get to know them, and to get to know me in turn. These are the ones who listen to me as often as I listen to them. I can’t really say that any one of these friends has a drama free existence. Frankly, my life is replete with opportunity for melodramatic nonsense. But the realist in me wants to know that the people in my life can hold down the fort until I get to the scene of the carnage. The pragmatist in me needs my friends to exercise self awareness, to know when to put up and when to shut up. The warrior in me knows that I can’t be there for everyone all the time.

I’ve lost sight of that somehow, and it bothers me.

My inner samurai seems to have his sword drawn all the time now for someone else’s defense. What happens to a warrior that rescues all his comrades in arms? Does he ever see the enemy coming from the side if he’s busy smiting the pursuers of his friends?

If I am a friend, it’s until you find some way to make me deviate from my course. Those who know me  well are in no doubt of my sincerity or loyalty.

But I do make mistakes. I do, on occasion, open my mouth to switch feet. As eloquent as I can be, I have used the wrong words, and made the wrong impressions. I have hurt other people’s feelings. All I can do is apologize and move on. I can’t be perfect. Nature is as close to perfection as anything gets on this planet, and even it can get under my skin.

Only someone who knows themselves well will understand and pursue what makes them happiest in life. At some point in adult existence, people draw their own conclusions about life, love and the  universe. We all must move through this world on our own, and yet we can’t do it by ourselves.

It is one of the many ironies of my own existence that I’ve stopped trying to puzzle out.

If I meet you along the path of my own journey, the warrior in me simply hopes not to cross swords with you. The friend in me might stop and offer a greeting. As an older brother to someone vulnerable, I’m used to being a protector.

But I am no mind reader. I never was. I must make do with the information I am given.

I make no promises and I tell no lies. In the end, you can all think of me what you will.

I think I heard a movie quote once that sums it up rather nicely.

“Good, bad, I’m the guy with the gun.”

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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