Thursday, October 1, 2009

Our Neighbor Jim

Jim moved in to the neighborhood in the year 2005 with his frail, old mother.
Jim's mother passed shortly thereafter.
Jim was left to the four-bedroom house all alone.
Jim has never been married.
Jim is in his late sixties now.
Jim likes pianos--player pianos, that is.
Jim bought multiple player pianos of all different ages and sizes and makes.
Jim filled the house with these pianos.
Jim listens to these pianos play ragtime tunes every day.
Jim believes rock music is absolutely horrible.
Jim thinks rap and hip hop is even more dreadful.
Jim has a lot of time to dwell on things he hates.
Jim sits by his front window for most of his day.
Jim prides himself on being a major contributor to the "Neighborhood Watch" program.
Jim has four cars--two in the garage, and two in his driveway.
Jim habitually moves these cars out of the garage and driveway and parks them momentarily in the street.
Jim finds routine in this daily task.
Jim takes his sedan out and makes up a reason to drive to the nearest city.
Jim gets out of the house this way.
Jim eagerly waits for five o' clock p.m. so that he can stand in his front yard and hand-water his lawn.
Jim waves down passersby as they stroll past his street address painted on his curb.
Jim enjoys making his opinions known to his neighbors.
Jim watches the news on channel 7 and likes to start conversations by saying, "Did you hear about . . ."
Jim dyes his graying hair jet black, almost purple (but I don't think he knows it).
Jim sometimes rides his bike, a shiny, red cruiser.
Jim rides his bike to the mailbox nearly 50 feet from his home.
Jim places the mail in a basket fixed onto the bike.
Jim enjoys being snoopy on his bike and subtly peering into other's lives as he pedals.
Jim hates his young next door neighbors.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Everybody in McDonald's Drive-thru Lane is Dissatisfied.

A flying beetle frantically runs into a florescent light located in a dark, dingy McDonald's parking lot and plummets to the black top, backside down.

Nobody in the drive-thru lane has any idea.

The beetle whirs and kicks its tiny limbs, shuffling about, circling, struggling to regain an upright position.

It takes a beat, a breath. Its shadow dances slowly.

Nobody in the drive-thru lane has any idea.

It flails around some more and, still, cannot seem to find its way back on its legs, back in the air.

The car at the front of the drive-thru line moves on and the rest of the cars proceed forward. A man complains about a petty order issue--some kind of coupon or receipt thing--and demands to see the manager. The woman in the car behind his grumbles about the man complaining and says, "GOD! Hurry up!" The group of teenagers in the car behind hers are taking "so damn long to order," according to the middle-aged couple in the car behind the teens.

Everybody in McDonald's drive-thru lane is dissatisfied.

And a flying beetle can't get off its back.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pooping with Indiana Jones

INDIANA JONES!  Of course he'd boorishly barge through the door while I sat with the porcelain princess. Of course Indy would with his big, lumbering boots slapping the wet tiles of the restroom floor. I can tell it is him right from this tiny stall, without even seeing his face. You know how? The door slammed the wall and I saw some drywall particles crumble to the floor. I swear, you can tell a lot about a guy by merely observing the way he opens a door. Let me give you a few examples:

The well-rounded door opener: 
This man doesn't just bump into the door with his body and slither through. He firmly, and precisely, with control, pushes forward and, with hand on door, checks behind him to make sure there are no others who might also need to enter the room. After a thorough check, he enters and makes certain the door does not slam shut behind him. This man usually has a wife and kids. 

The jerky, jackass door opener:
This man usually kicks the door open with his foot, swiftly enters and, if somebody is following behind, allows the door to slam upon them. Oftentimes a muffled, quick jab of an apology like, "Oh, sorry, dude" is called back to the victim of the jackassy door opener. This dude usually drives a car he cannot afford. He might also be wearing sunglasses indoors.

The lackadaisical slug door opener: 
This man, unlike the well-rounded door opener, slowly thrusts his weight upon the door and slips through expelling as little energy as possible. More times than not, he will purposely wait for a well-rounded man to open the door for him as to not use unnecessary energy. This guy usually works for a boss he hates. Ice cream is his good friend.

So, you get what I am talking about now. I'd say Indiana Jones falls somewhere in the jerky jackass category of door openers, as I am sure you already assumed. Oh, hold on--I almost forgot--my Indiana Jones is not Harrison Ford. I just call this one kid "Indiana Jones" because he wears accessories that I feel the true Indy might wear such as a weathered, brown fedora hat, random holsters with who knows what in them, and a greenish hemp bag around his shoulder. I had the fine pleasure of meeting this chump in a drawing course. He drew anime dragons while the rest of drew live models or still life displays. Yep, that's Indy.

He has no idea I am in here right now in MY stall, in MY restroom! Yes, that's right. I choose my restrooms carefully and claim them. It's part of my routine as I get accustomed to a new environment such as a school campus or work place. Restroom location and quality is one of my highest priorities.  In this case, it is my school campus. Pooping is a big deal. On the first day I toured this campus I took a stroll around and found a restroom that met my rigid standards. I find that on most campuses there are a few restrooms that are uniquely hidden and glorious. Nobody knows about them. They are infrequently visited and consequently immaculate. I find them. Pooping is a pleasure in these wonderful, little safe havens. And nobody likes to hear the sounds of other people pooping right next to them, so the more isolated, the better. I had discovered my restroom between two funny walls around a weird corner with a fire exit nobody turns to. It has been perfect until just now. Now, of all people, Indy is in here, jingling metal chains and accessories off his body, violently shuffling through the room. And I--I am stuck sitting here waiting for his departure. 

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Generational Gaps

His grandma bought him the Encyclopedia Britannica for his ninth birthday after she found out that his grades were slipping.  That's a very "grandma" thing to do. 

The 15th edition. 32 volumes.

He also got a set of Hot Wheels toy cars, and those plastic, orange tracks you could link together to make all sorts of loops and bends and dips. 

He sat in his room and stacked up volume after stiff-spined volume on top of each other and laid out complex Hot Wheels tracks over the Britannica. The die-cast toys sped over "Volume 8: Menage-Ottawa" and ended up curving around a loop to "Volume 29: United-Zoroastrianism."

Smart kid.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Beneath the Fold

I have a habit of folding a piece of paper after I am done writing or doodling on it. When I am lazy, and my room is messy, I will usually let it fall behind my desk or under my bed, or behind the bookshelf. Sometimes, I will throw these notes in my backpack, and they will settle near the bottom and turn yellow, stiff. Finding these folded pieces of paper later is fun, though. I find it very difficult to throw away an old, folded piece of paper without first peeling apart the crease and exposing the note inside. There is something so much more intriguing about the hidden message. Usually I'll open it up and it will be an old homework assignment or reminder, maybe a small sketch, but sometimes I write some random things that really bring me back to a moment I would have otherwise forgotten completely. I like coming across these folded memories. 

I think there are a lot of things that aren't paper that are folded and need to be opened. People are often folded up. You come across them and you can toss 'em aside like an old, yellowed piece of garbage, or you can take the time to uncover a message you might have missed. Sometimes I think I like to fold myself up, and let one or two people uncover things as they find me floating along. I also like to unfold other people. I find a folded piece of paper much more intriguing than a bold billboard. You know what you are going to get from a mile away with the billboard! I like that unexpected treasure in the small fold. I like the unexpected, great or small.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

You Ewe

Hey, ewe.

I like you, ewe.

You stand like a ewe should stand.

You eat like a ewe should eat.

You look like a ewe should look.

Good ewe.

You ewe.

Stay ewe.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


When I crawl into this familiar blanket, night after night, and tuck it between these bony knees, it falls into place. It creases along and caresses my form. It translates and adapts to hands folded in a lap. It warms these numb toes, loosens stiff bones. It breathes when I breathe, shifts when I shift, and doesn't leave when I leave. And, snug and protected, I curl my hidden limbs and bury my head deep into the bosom of great nature's second course, sweet sleep.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Jimmy Blue Hands

I call him Jimmy Blue Hands.  I call him that because Jimmy was rubbin' his knuckles along the sides of his new dark blue denims the day I sat with him.  He was real fidgety and all, couldn't keep himself still. Nervous. A bothered guy. Dyed his hands blue, he rubbed so much. Smoothing the palms of his hands along the tops of his thighs; running his fingers along the seams; scratching his nails against the vertical denim grain; tucking his hands underneath his bottom; slappin' his knees like two bony tom-toms; Jimmy Blue Hands, yesiree

 I don't know why he was so wound up, really. He was stretched taut like a piano string, though. Yeah, that's right, like an old piano string a child wants to reach in and pluck but can't because this child keeps hearing his father yellin', "Dammit, don't touch those strings! You'll cut your hand off if one snaps! I'm tellin' ya!" No, no, we certainly don't want any snappin' strings. That would cause all sorts of problems. The piano would fall out of tune. Things would be shifting all over the place with the snappin' of that string, not to mention the loss of the curious hand that was tuggin' at it! Yes, let's listen to father's admonition and let the old piano sit as it may.

I was sitting across from Jimmy Blue in a dark waiting room/lounge/whatever-you-call-it of a dingy tire shop, and it was just him and I in there after a nice old lady was called out to pick up her car. "Janice, your Honda's ready." She stood up and a distinct scent bellowed out of her folded garments and overwhelmed my nostrils. She was wearing perfume that smelled like it came from the bottom of a drug store's 99 cent item clearance bin. It's awful, thick as it hangs in the air. It comes in a gaudy, gold bottle and has one of those old-fashioned lavender puffer-thingamajigs that pumps the dense miasma into the air. It felt like I was breathing in cotton candy. But she was nice. And that's all that matters, right? She was nice. She greeted me as I walked into the dingy waiting room. That's nice. That trumps her awful sense of tasteful perfume, I suppose. And Janice, the nice old smelly lady, drove away in her Honda, and then there was rickety ol' Jimmy Blue and I, sitting in Janice's fog. Waiting. Rubby Blue Hands. Fidgety McGee over there in the corner. 

I picked up a tattered magazine from a pile on the coffee table sitting next to me: Popular Mechanics. It was five years old. I wondered if the mechanics were still popular. Jimmy was shakin' and mumbling words under his breath to himself. The magazine was my comfort as I held it close to my face and tried to tune out. I picked up his nervous tick immediately, though, and started wondering all sorts of things. I had been in the room less than a minute and Jimmy started getting to me. I was in a good mood, too, before my tire blew out in the rain and I had to call a tow truck to rip me off and tow my car 2 miles down the street to this dump shop. But that smelly old lady was nice. There's always that smelly old lady. She gave a soft "hello." I then wondered what she was thinkin' when she was in there all alone with Jimmy Blue Hands. I wondered if she talked to him at all. I wondered how long they had been sitting together. I wondered if she said something nasty to him. Something nice? I wondered a lot of things, and then Jimmy stood up and my mind hushed. I kept my nose down and watched him drag himself slowly into the restroom and then shut the door. Click.  

I heard water rushing and imagined Jimmy's blue hands turning the sink blue leaving a blue ring around the bowl. Washing away the blue physical markings of a blue nervous man. 

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Bustin' Your Chops

Bube and I brought back the chops. Motorhead is appropriate now.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Clean, Cool Glass of Water Thirty Minutes Before 2009

Thirty minutes before we jumped into the year 2009, I drank a glass of clean, cool water. It was the best tasting glass of water of 2008, there's just no doubt about it. I sat there amongst friends, holding my glass, watching the water level sink as I took each sip. 

Everyone checked their watches, pulled out their cell phones, peaked over shoulders and asked the person sitting next to them, "Is it time yet?! What time is it?!"

My glass of water had gone from full to half-full. I say half-full and not half-empty because that's what you are supposed to say to sound optimistic and upbeat about the coming year.

My clean, cool glass of water opened its mouth. It spoke to me with more sagacity and simplicity than any man ever could have. The water of 2008 went into my body and I had plans to let it "out" in 2009. I will never be able to have 2008 water ever again. I was able to carry it into 2009, though. I just had to store it in my body for a short period of time. It would come out as 2009 waste water. Excuse the imagery, but this was my own little, personal New Years project I had created on the spot and just went with it. 

What does it mean? Well, create your own metaphor. I think I could create several New Years metaphors around drinking a glass of water, and I thought about many of them as I sipped down the water that night.

One resolution I have this year, 2009, is to let the seemingly mundane, the ordinary, the humdrum, the routine seep deep into my senses. To become porous like I have never been before. To let them give me lessons. To stop searching for the extravagant and extraordinary as a means of gaining purpose and value. 

It's funny how much mental and physical wealth a glass of water can give you.

About Me

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I am recent graduate just looking at the dirt, writing about it.