Archive for Time’s Square

Intent

Posted in The Flow and Rhythm of Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 11/10/2012 by Angel D. Vargas

It’s been a long time since you’ve all heard my dulcet tones. Time to correct that.

Follow the bouncing ball … never mind that there isn’t one 😛

They say that intent is everything. I have a habit of saying “they talk too much.” I mean, who the heck are “they?” anyway? Are these the illustrious Men in Black? Are Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith going to come up to me and blast me with a red light and erase my damned memory? Maybe if they show up, I can get them to erase certain parts of the last few weeks, up to and including Hurricane Sandy. Let’s just say I’d rather have been out  chasing the storm then dealing with my family that night.

But what I was thinking about on my walk through NYC today was intent. What are people’s goals when they get up late on a Saturday morning? It’s not too difficult to imagine that these, along with people, vary in so large a city as New York. Perhaps the young man with the leather jacket and the Elvis-like sneer to my right  thought he was going to score with the gorgeous brunette that’s at least six paces behind me (trust me, I spotted her blocks before he did).  Perhaps the older woman and her husband are on their way to a nice dinner followed by an off Broadway show. Little kids are on their way to Central Park with their tired but otherwise content mothers. The weather is nice, and we all might as well enjoy it.

Yet I’ve had conversations over the years about what the weekend means to people. I’ve had friends and co workers tell me that their weekends are meant to be “fun and games,” or that they plan on “partying hard.” The mentality here is something that I think Bill Cosby once spoke of in one of my favorite stand-up comedy routines. The “I’m going to go out because I deserve to go out, and dammit I’m going to have a good time” mentality kills me!  Hours later when they’re worshipping their toilet bowls after getting drunk and making assholes of themselves, this is what people call “having a good time.” Then I think about my weekends. I spend a lot of time writing, ruminating, and quietly walking the streets of Manhattan, watching people and pretty lights.  I used to think I was doing something wrong. I don’t think so anymore.

That hasn’t stopped me from feeling somewhat isolated of late. It can be a lonely experience to constantly loose myself in a crowd of strangers, shuffling to wherever the heck it is they’re going. Feelings of  “where’s MY special someone to hold hands with and enjoy Times Square,” are only a part of my range of emotions on this issue. As I was walking to Central Park this afternoon, I had to ask myself what my intent was. If you had asked me that question just before I left, I would have jerked my thumb back to the door of my apartment before turning around and giving the door a silent middle finger. Things at home have been … tense.

But intention is funny. The energy behind which an action is taken seems to make a difference. “What am I running from?” verses “Where am I running to?” are both legitimate questions as far as I’m concerned.  These are the questions with which I wrestle every single time I leave my apartment. Am I going to do the laundry to get away from my parents and my autistic brother who won’t stop babbling at top volume right outside my bedroom door as I try to write? Am I going for a walk in the city to get away from the stresses of work? Just what the heck am I trying to do every time I walk through Times Square and catch the eye of some young women?

What is the meaning of it all?

A great deal of that depends on perspective, of course. The glass is half empty for some, half full for others. Life is hard for some, and it is a breeze for other people. When I stop and think about this, natural curiosity begs me to wonder if I ever felt that life was a cakewalk? Have I ever felt like I don’t need to be afraid of people?

Can I ever walk through a crowd without eyeballing throngs of young men as though they are potential threats to my safety?

I’m not always sure this is possible. That I’ve even been trying to do any of the above didn’t become clear to me until today when I was walking toward Broadway for the umpteenth time this week. Glaring at groups of young men and balling up my fists in my pockets is common for me. That’s left over from having been mugged more than a decade ago. Curiously, that never happened in New York. But the surgery I needed to get rid of the formation of traumatic cataracts in both my eyes DID happen here. Not too long after, 9/11 ensued.

Life is replete with ironies, broken promises, and shattered illusions. The illusion of total control is one that I still cling to in more ways than I care to admit. But for today, I tried to let it go. For once in my adult life, I took a breath and slowed down. I didn’t walk with the usual breakneck pace of an angry business man on fifth avenue. I didn’t eyeball anyone unless it was to offer a grin (albeit a small one).  I didn’t snort in irritation when someone cut in front of me. There was no hurry. I had nowhere to go.

But when I have nowhere to go, I wind up somewhere special. How fitting. I happened upon a free Jazz Festival at Central Park. Thirty bands were all scattered throughout the park, and all of them were playing the same sets on the same list. Everyone who heard one band heard the same things that the other bands played, supposedly in the same order. I got to spend time listening to the smooth sounds of a band called “The Yes Trio.” They broke the rules for the final composition. They were supposed to play something called “Autumn In New York.” They played something completely random and improvised.

When I stared at people bobbing their heads in time to the beat, I smiled. Yet the moment I lost myself in the music as I stared at fire-colored leaves, my eyes began to burn. You don’t cry at the sound of smooth jazz unless you’re me. My bones became hollow reeds through which the music could flow. My chest became another drum for my hands.  I closed my eyes and felt safe for the first time since Sandy blew through my city and pissed off so many people.  This is what happiness is. My chest didn’t feel tight, my shoulders didn’t feel heavy, and I didn’t feel so alone anymore.  I was in a crowd of people who all felt the same way I did about the music. They, like me, felt free.

I didn’t expect that to happen to me today.

My Best Friend’s Visit ..

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 09/22/2012 by Angel D. Vargas

My best friend, J. Marie Ravenshaw came to visit me in New York. I made this video based on the pictures we took together during her stay.

And I love the song.

Hope you like the vid, J. 😉

-A.

There are many other projects in the works, but I was happy to take the time to do this. 😉

Enjoy!

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Drum Roll, The Flow and Rhythm of Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 09/04/2012 by Angel D. Vargas

I’m here.

I’m not exactly sure what that means. I’ve toweled off after a shower. I look in the bathroom mirror. My right forearm sports a nasty purple welt that’s red around the edges. It stung when I washed it. There’s a cut on my face, just above my left eye. It looks worse than it is. In fact, it looks like my barber didn’t know when to quit and I got razor burn on my forehead.

There is another wound I can’t see, right at my knee. It’s an open wound I’ve had to cover with a band aid.

One would have thought this was from a street brawl or something. I guess when I think about it, I didn’t come off too badly. I can still move, though it stings sometimes. Bending my knee at work today will be an interesting experience.

But the real reason I’m bruised is because my autistic brother lost his cool yesterday. He had what we in this family have learned to call “one of his episodes.” It makes it seem like some kind of cop drama or something. NYPD Autism? Yeah, not so much. It’s not nearly as entertaining as all that, but it can get your blood pumping. You will leap out of your chair. It’s a “full body” experience.

But that doesn’t mean I want to participate.

I’ve got loads of work to do today. I have my actual job sometime this afternoon I think. If I have an afternoon shift, i might want to get some laundry done. And after work, I’ve got a bunch of damned plastic bins to put into the storage warehouse about a block and a half away.

Yeah. I’d say I’ve got my work cut out for me.

Happy Birthday to me. 😉

 

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.

 

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