When I Need A Pick Me Up, by my friend Ryan King

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Adventures at Barnes & Nobles

I am enjoying my time at B&N. And I'm absorbing people again. Taking in all their habits, and flaws, and quirks, and patterns. It's how I navigate--by understanding the human landscape so that I can manuever my way through it. (My own landscape--well, that's a horse of a different color)

There are at least a half a dozen customers in the B&N cafe that were regulars back when I used to work there on the first go 'round. Creatures of habit. And I tell you, they come and sit for hours. Nightly. It saves them LOTS of money, not having to buy all that material they read.

But it makes me realize that I'm not alone in my propensity to isolate myself. These folks aren't at the cafe with partners--they are alone. They dig into a book and that's all she wrote until their coffee runs out.

And then, there are the employees. Another half-dozen quiet people who have been working at the store for years.

Asperger's Disorder, I tell you! George claimed that he and his son had it, but they were embarassingly shameless and pushy. These quiet folk at B&N are more like my style of Asperger's. (Style as in preference. I'm still debating whether I have it or not.) These B&N type of folk are the folks I would be glad to number myself among.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

On Life And Death

Last night I did my first additional hours of work at B&N. It was fine. No complaints at all. It is in New Jersey, but is still only 15 miles away from my NYC apartment, so my get-home time at 11:45 landed me in the neighborhood in fifteen minutes. Especially at that hour of the night. So I'll be keeping the job and am looking forward to the additional weekly paychecks.

Additionally, I went to the gym between my day job and my new night job, and I'm not feeling any physical repercussions today. So hooray for my nearly-43 year old body.

And speaking of my body, I was thinking of my toxic friend again. Last night at 1:30AM I got a call from him, and a message was left--but there were no words. So one of two things happened. 1) He read this blog and was highly bothered, and called me, but decided against it when it was time to leave a message. Or 2) His phone dialed mine by accident. I mention him and my body in the same paragraph because part of his call to me on Sunday included a rant at me about the food I was eating when our gaming group was together on Saturday and additionally, he wanted to know what I had eaten that Sunday before his call. It went like this; "What's the matter with you, huh? What's wrong with you? *waiting to hear my response* Don't you know that stuff is poison? You're going to wind up as a statistic."

This is his style of caring. Aggressive. I'm not receptive to that personality style. I didn't understand that there was caring going on there until much later. (What is it now, 3 days ago?) Instead, all he made me do was get defensive. So yeah. I'm obviously attracted to bossy, verbally-abusive people but my relationships with them inevitably wind up broken. This is a pattern set up for me by my caretakers (read: parents) from way long ago.

I suppose I'll call Mr. Toxic later to find out why my phone rang last night, and I also suppose I'll still be friends with him if that's what he wants, but I also have to tell him what I've been feeling lately. I need to give him the information he needs to either use on my behalf, or to scorn me with. The same way I do when I blog. I love the encouragement --absolutely need it, in fact-- but I know I'm also opening myself up to some ridicule, some aggression, some impatience, and a liberal sprinkling of intolerance. And I can accept that.

And on death; I think when people have a good amount of life under their belts, and opportunities to learn how to cope with loss, then they can handle death better. I'm not one of those people. The fact is simple--I've been experiencing loss from the age of six--or less. Loss of innocence. Loss of security. Loss of love. So now for me, experiencing loss is like taking a drug. My physical body actually takes a blow. And I know this is common--I'm sure of it. This is what crying is--a physical reaction to emotions. But it takes longer for me to recover. It's real and it's just awful.

My therapist helped me understand this thing when I talk to her about my fears and stumbling blocks about relationships. She does it so easily, too! She just uses one or two sentences to remind me of my own past experiences, and boom! I recognize the origins of why I feel what I feel (see Loss; One paragraph above).

My challenge is to find ways to cope. Blogging is definitely one of those ways. Some of the heaviness--the thickness in my chest and the preoccupation in my head--actually does get managable after I've typed out what I'm feeling. So I'm going to go ahead and keep on doing that. And when the mood around here gets heavy, you can know (as we like to say in the 'hood) "I'm just going through some thangs!"

I value your patience and concern. It feels a lot like love.

So that's alright then.

Monday, August 27, 2007

It Still Hurts

I finally clicked on my own link and went to Mike Wieringo's website. I only got as far as his brother and best friend's addresses.

It just keeps shaking me up. Everything they said is true. Life is short and we need to take advantage of all the opportunities we have to love one another now.

But I'm getting so terrified that more people that I love will be taken away too. If Mike Wieringo can be snatched away from his cat, and his brother, and his best friend, then what is keeping My Hero in my life? Or My Friend The Doctor? And everyone else I need?

This is why there is religion. We need something to give us hope beyond this material loss of life, energy, and love. We live through our connection to one another. When those connections are severed, we lose a little bit of our own lives too. That just hurts so much.

And I'm not equipped well to feel secure about death. Death and me have a bad track record.

Out of everyone left that I know and love, I want to be the next one to go. Because I don't want to live without any single one of them.

I just don't.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


I've spoken about this friend of mine before, and I need to vent about him again.

To anyone else, I would suggest they excise the following type of person from their life;

Everything is "bad" with this guy. He sees the wrong in everyone and everything. He bullies us in his friend-group, slings insults, and struts around with his knuckles dragging. He constantly compares his fitness against our chubbiness, his meager one inch height difference above mine, his fighting abilities, his this and his that. It's like he lives his entire life in competition with everyone, and he always has to be the best. Once when we were gaming, I was about to make a decision that would adversely affect his PC, and he threatened to leave. I lost a LOT of respect for him that night.

But you might ask why I hadn't lost any respect for him before that night if everything I described has been his modus operandi? Well, mancrush, that's why. I admired him for his masculinity and his strong personality. But now I'm just seeing his qualities as toxic. My mancrush on him died a while ago.

So throughtout the day, he rang my phone three times, leaving a message once, so he could 'commiserate' some bad news with me. The bad news did not pertain to him, it pertained to My Hero. Something was promised to My Hero and the result fell pitifully short of what everyone who cared had expected. Fortunately, I already knew how far short of the mark the promise would fall, because we were dealing with an unreliable source to begin with. So I had not been looking forward to the promise anyway. But the sci fi community is up in arms about it.

Now let me clarify. This friend in question doesn't even like My Hero. Despite everything that he knows about me, and my relationship with My Hero, he refuses to even try. He doesn't respect my opinions about My Hero, nor trust my judgment about My Hero. He just refuses to accept My Hero because His Hero didn't win.

So why did he try to reach me three times today to tell me what an awful deal My Hero got, and how he feels bad for him? Because he is drawn to bad news like flies are drawn to steaming piles, that's why. And because he wanted to gloat under the disguise of commiseration. And because he's toxic and unhappy.

But My Hero? The movie wasn't the prize for him. The love of people who care for him and support his dream to do good in the world--that's the real prize. Go check him out at his convention appearances and he'll show you for himself how much he appreciates you.

Too bad my toxic friend can't see that. But given his nature, he wouldn't anyway. Sad. This friend actually used to be one of my heroes.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

There's A Little Black Spot On The Sun Today ...

I did my best! I did my best! Yay, Dane Cook--etching himself forever in the minds of millions whenever they're ready for a good cry. Well, Dane and a bunch of others are crowding around right now, waiting for me to let one go.

I was doing well, really, but the closer I get to my 76-hour work week (starts on Monday) and the more I think about Mike Wieringo's death, the more I feel like having a little meltdown. In less than two months, I'll lose the glamour of being "The Answer To Life, The Universe, and Everything." In other words, I'll be 43. Is there a sexy way to present the number 43? Can I pretend that 43 is the new 23? The new 33?

Mike Wieringo was to me what I might be to some of you. I never met him, but I read his blog. He was a great artist who took comments to his blog and responded at times--but he'd get like 40+ responses at times. He also posted the sketches he would make at the start of his day, which he used to get his juices flowing so he could accomplish his page goals for that day. But he took the time to blog his thoughts as well. Sometimes he would talk about his brother. Sometimes he would talk about his dog or his car. Or an animal he rescued in the road. But sometimes he would talk about how much time he spent at the drawing table, as opposed to out to dinner on a date. He didn't go on and on, like I do, but it might be one little sentence fragment, or a few inserts in a verbal interview. I just felt so much like him--a creator in our 40's, alone in our rooms--talking to the world, but not really a part of it.

That's why I go out to the #1 Train for no reason. I sometimes have to literally pick myself up by the scruff of the neck and thrust myself out of the house. I go, sit on the train, and watch people as I travel downtown. I felt like I had a major breakthru when I spoke to the acquaintance the one time, and the old guy the other week. But then I go up to the steps of the Karaoke bar ... and I freeze. There's a wall there that no one but me and Mike Wieringo can see.

I don't want to die in a year, a month, and two weeks, alone at home, never having done these things. I want Mike Wieringo to come back and have the chance to break out of these self-imposed walls, and then tell me how he did it. Or I want to be able to write him a letter and tell him some of the things I do to get out of the house. I cared for his struggle. It was mine.

I didn't mean to claim high drama and relapse back into the moan-and-groan, but the one line keeps going through my mind as I imagine Mike Wieringo's death and the fears his absence conjures up inside of me right now. Then when I looked up the lyrics that follow the one line, I couldn't help but admit that they apply.
Well, this just in ... one of the quality people on the planet just swung by and gave of themselves to help me out. It wasn't money. It was time. And concern. And encouragement. And insight. I'm not quite as lonely anymore. Nor as scared.

Heroes exist for a reason.

So that's alright then.

Rest In Peace, Mike Wieringo. Your struggle is over, and while you were here, you enhanced the lives of millions much the way flowers and rainbows do. You gave our world a little bit more color.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Nothing really. I just have a case of the Blue Tuesdays. Which is a lot like the Blue Mondays except it's a day late and about $25,000.00 short.

I still have to get my cat out of George's house. I offered the cat to a known cat-lover at work who is currently mulling it over. She lost her 10-year old cat a few weeks ago, so she's a little cat-shy, but she's also catless right now.

I call my cat "cat" because I can't really do this if I consider the cat as a person. Because I can't abandon a person. But I abandoned my cat.

I suck.

Hopefully this woman will take my cat.

Anyway, it's cold and rainy and dark-ish. That's kind of depressing. And next week, I'll be working 76 hours a week for an unknown amount of time. That's kind of depressing too. I didn't watch Dane Cook this morning either. So no laughies there. I'll be going to my therapist in about a half-hour, so that's alright then. But I don't have any money to give her today, so I'll have to ask her to let me pay 2x next time.

I'm in no mood to work with my clients, today, either. I don't want to hear their problems, which mostly consists of not tolerating their roommates due to their own organic brain problems. So it's just a matter of finding compromise to impose on their situation, since I won't be able to reason with them to change their thinking. They're developmentally disabled, you see. Back in the day, they were broadly categorized as just "retarded". But I like political correctness, and I have no problem skipping that label. And when I'm feeling better, I do believe they can change their thinking. Even if they can't, I'd still believe they can. And sometimes ... they do.

But this morning? Fuhgedaboutit. This is a sick day just waiting to happen.

Would a significant other change this? Help me get through it better? Or add one more thing for me to fret about today?

Hmm. I guess a GOOD significant other would be nice. Someone to cuddle my blues away ...

Monday, August 20, 2007

Dane Cookology

I did some more surfing and found an evolution of sorts. Sometimes I just love me so much.

First of all--Dane Cook when he was young and very Jim Carreyesque. This may have been why I missed his rise. I have had enough Jim carrey to last me several of his OWN lifetimes. And remember when I thought the way Dane Cook spoke was a dealing with a possible speech impediment? Welllll ... pay close attention to the early Mr. Cook.

Now here's Dane halfway to the stud he has become today. He's taken more command of the stage in this next one. and his voice is halfway to the more gruff, crisp sound in the current Dane. The cause? Cigarettes? The world wants to KNOW, Dane! Oh, and remember when I suspected the boy has moves? How awesome am I?

But I am most happy with this version of Dane, circa 2003, I believe? This was the special that introduced me to him. Now that I've seen his older self, I find he's less animated these days. (Too many ciggies, Dane?) and his Boston accent is really on fire! I though he was Canadian when I first heard him. There's nary a trace of it in the previous samples, if you'll notice. But what I like the best about all the performances? The man is not afraid to scream. Maybe THAT'S what changed his voice!! Every dude out there now--AAAUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

I have watched this one every morning so far. The thing that sends me out of the house laughing like a fool is at the very end-- "... auuuHUHHheee stole the beads ... -aaaiieeeee stole the beads ... gyaaaaahhh!!"

The Street Terrorism Begins ...

Down in my Dane Cook YouTube post, the center clip shows Dane's take on crying. The tagline of that segment is, "I did my best! I did my best!"

Well, I DID do my best. And no I haven't wept buckets of muscular tears about it, but ... I got my first parking ticket since moving back to NYC. Street terrorists.

The ticket is for being within 6 ft. of a fire hydrant. It was the only spot available on a Saturday night. And I don't think I was much closer than maybe 5 ft. 4ft. at the least. It's a spot I've seen others do. Heck, I've done it before and gotten no ticket.

So I marked it "Not-Guilty" and sent it in. Fire trucks would have been able to use the hydrant -- I wasn't blocking it. I was doing no one any harm at all. Let's see what happens. To me, it's a blatant scheme to raise money for NYC. And that money is $110.00. Do they really think I should be happy to pay $110.00 because of 1 or 2 feet of space? (Well, given the price of buying parking spots, they most obviously do).

It's ludicrous. I refuse to regret this decision of moving here, but let me just reassure you--it does have it's downsides. In addition to the accident increase of my insurance, it also went up $840 per 6-months because I moved here too.

But ... I did my best--ahHUHU-HUH-- I.. I did my best--HUHUhhh-AHUHHHNN---


Oh! I forgot to mention--I walked by David Hyde-Pierce yesterday on the Upper West Side, on Broadway! His clothes were casual, he had on a baseall cap (no specific team, just the style), and was talking on his phone. Can I tell you, about 90% of all celebs I walk by on NYC city streets are talking on their phones. I'm beginning to believe there's no one on the other end. I think it's a tactic they use to keep from being interrupted as they go to and fro. Ally Sheedy was not on a phone when I saw her walking her Greyhound-thin type dog on Central Park West a few weeks ago. But I left her alone anyway.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Good News ... Bad News

Good news is that I got that second job I mentioned earlier.

Bad news is that I'm being scheduled for 36 hours a week. Mon-Fri.

Good news is that this is much more extra money than I expected--and it's a weekly paycheck (I think I remember that it is).

Bad news is, what kind of time am I going to have for recreation? Serious recreation? Well--there are always the weekends.

Good news is that I don't start for another week.

The other good news is that it's Barnes & Noble cafe again. Check my brain at the door and relax kind of work. Talk to people and make nice kind of work. Get discounts at Barnes & Nobles kind of work.

Best good news is that it doesn't have to be forever. Goodbye debt.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

And This Just In From The Irony Department ...

She didn't say no, no, no this time.

Yup. And Billy Joel divorced his first wife post-"Just The Way You Are" to marry Christie Brinkley.

And on and on.

Can you name a few? Grizzbabe, tag!!

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Squeeze

My GEICO policy doubled because of the accident in March. They tell me it's because of the amount they had to pay out to the other party (which equals to 'points'). They offered to let me ask questions of the department which determined that, but after forcing the ultimate answer out of her, which is that they don't change their rules, I told her "no, I don't want to ask questions," and thereby spared myself an anyeurism brought on by disgust and fury. They know the circumstances of the accident. It was an icy road and I lost control of the car. That does not matter to them. They had to pay, so I have to pay.

How is that "insurance"? It's more like "car accident credit". I still have to pay for the damages, but over a long period of time (like, forever, it seems). Plus I have to pay the insurance company anyway, even if there were no accident, just so that I can legally drive a car. It's not "insurance". It's "extortion".

I've also learned today that in the state of New Hampshire, you don't need car insurance to legally drive your car.

I used to like that little gecko. Now his cool little voice mocks me. He represents an utterly corrupt and morally bankrupt system.

What I'm going to do is get some of this fly-by-night no-name insurance that I see advertised in subways and on street corners. The stuff written in Spanish with English subtitles. The stuff which is probably illegal or run by the mob. But if it saves me money, and it lets me keep driving, then I'm going to do it. I'll just never drive on a icy day again, ever.

Oh sometimes I hate the world.

SO much.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

And This Just In ...

I just discovered Dane Cook, and now I discover Jessica Alba is doing a lead film with him? Where've I been under a rock?

Day Addendum

I found out that the nearby McDonald's gives breakfast still at 10:30a and they give a free cup of coffee with a breakfast sandwich. Score!

Then I also found out that the appointment I thought I arranged this morning for a client was actually in the afternoon. WhoopS! But I got coffee now, so I can deal.

Third, a co-worker, who is the lead director of the building where my office is, told me this morning "I love you."

This co-worker is a man.

And he's not my type.

I dunno why I haven't blogged about him up until now. Many times he has found an excuse to come into my office and ply me with little jokes and stories, as well as gotten me involved in client psych matters when my boss has told him clearly that I'm only in the building because that's where they put my office. There is already a psych staff assigned to handle this site. But this dude wants me on the case. Every time.

I'm not going to say I'm uncomfortable with his attention. He literally acts like a schoolgirl with a crush when he comes to see me. It has been very flattering, I must say. Mighty ego boost and all that. But at the same time, I feel a lot of compassion for him. I know what it feels like to be so smitten. And I've told and retold myself that what I think I see is not actually what it is. After all, he has at least one child (I've learned in the many conversations) but he's also divorced. He isn't flaming, but he's soft enough to make me believe he could be gay--and again, there's the schoolgirl-acting thing. I swear, you'd be amazed to see it. I don't know why someone else hasn't yanked on his shirt tale when he's in high swoon. It's a little embarrassing.

But it does add up. His emotional control isn't good when he's also frustrated, angry, or insecure. His face gets red and he stumps around huffing. He also whines to anyone who'll listen, even though he's everyone's boss. So it shouldn't be hard to realize that he also can't control his behavior around me.

Now hear this--it would take A LOT to get me to get into a relationship with a dude. Way more therapy that what I'm having now. There'd be A LOOOOTTT of mental boundaries to cross and a lot of core beliefs I have to extinguish. A LOTTTTTT of work I'd have to do, if I wanted to decide to be gay. So this guy? This guy would not merit such work. Don't tell him I said that.

Fortunately, he said "I love you" real quick, as a throw-out, close to the end of a topic he was already on, and then he played it off as though it was supposed to be the kind of joke that a striaght guy would throw out--except he didn't follow it up with "...man."

So for now, I can take it like he was just joking. I can pretend that what I think I see coming from him is all really just my own delusional, bloated ego. But we all know about my ego, don't we? It's only strong when I think I'm getting disrespected, not complimented.

One possibly last thing (something else might occur before I jump back into the workstream today)-- Dane Cook has been taking lessons from George Carlin.

I was glad to catch the beginning of a Dane Cook concert on cable the other night. I wanted to see what the fuss was all about.

Oh my gosh.

That white boy was FUNNY!!!! There he was standing in the center of the universe, with some 20,000 souls amassed to watch him perform, and now I know why. Evidently he is to comedy what Dave Matthews is to music. The frat boys/girls love him. And this is completely his appeal--he is the voice of the white dude. He actually told the following joke and got away with it;

"I talk so much in the movie theater that black guys behind me tell me to shut up." Then he pulled off that black voice that white guys (like Eminem and Paul Wall) pull off well--"Ay, yo man, shut up."

We thank you, white fellas who like us so much that you put on our affect well. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and all that.

I encourage fans of comedy to watch Mr. Cook's body as he does his thing. What a groovy lil' cat! He got the MOVES, let me tell you. You could tell that he's one of those cool ass white boys who can seriously roll with any crowd, but is ultimately his own dude. And the content of his comedy is as intelligent as George Carlin's. Cook knows how to dissect today's guy-angst with surgical precision, and leave it flayed out there for you to laugh your ass off at. And then too, he says all the nasty words that just makes you automatically giggle.

I just have to wonder what he's like offstage. Broody and depressed? A raging pothead (contradiction in terms, I know)? The poster child for ADHD?

Whatever it is, you betta WORK it, Dane Cook.

Out Of Sorts

I'm reaching for a mouse I don't have on this machine (my work laptop). I couldn't think of a title for the post. I'm juggling clients and meetings and trainings that I have to give. I'm out of money until tomorrow. I got rained on between the front door and the car around the corner, and five minutes after I drove away, it stopped. I had to get four dollars worth of gas so I could keep driving to my appointments today.

Good news is that I don't feel panicky and trapped without money. Last time I ran out of it, I didn't get panicky either.

More good news is that I'm going to pick up the second job over at the Starbucks Cafe in NJ where I worked during my first few months of exile (what's it been, 2 years ago now?) It'll be in the evenings until closing, and it'll help me not run out of money so often. Ideally, it'll also make it possible to pay back my friends. One of them who lent me money, I haven't heard from in about a year. I'm sure they've written me off as money given away. One of those lessons of life, "Don't lend it if you can't afford to lose it." But that would mean that I cheated the friend. It would also mean I lost the friend. And lastly, it would mean the friend hasn't contacted me because they're uncomfortable about lending me money that I don't seem willing to pay back.

I so am willing, but not yet able. That's the sucky part of borrowing money. Every time I buy anything for myself, like my $100 clothes purchase two weeks aso, I feel guilty. That $100 could have gone to the payback. Except it wouldn't have. I'd have used it for something else if not clothes. It would have been gas money, for instance. And tolls. And lunches.

So I'm taking the second job to make a dent in my debts. I'll have to do a direct deposit into another account just so that I'm not cashing the check and spending it on frivolity. I need the money to build up until it reaches the amount of a debt, and then, ZING! Send the money off to the person I owe. After those are paid off, then I start applying the money to my car loan principle. Chip away at that until the monthly payments are reasonable (less principle=less interest per month) I actually did successfully do this once before, when I had bought a new car in Missouri. I paid it off within three years, if I'm not mistaken. Then the City of New York took it away from me for non-payment of tickets.

That's not happening again. :-)

SO, that's enough blabbering. I'm just trying to get my bearings so I can take on the rest of this day.

When my boss' job becomes available, I'm SO not taking it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Dream Weaver

I'm pretty sure that grape juice before bedtime makes me drunk. That sugar rush effs with my mind. Because I had a WICKED dream last night, and I also slept later than usual. (and that is also a constant when I drink grape juice before bed).

I killed somebody last night in my dream. Methodically. And I brought his body to his house so I could take his clothing and steal his identity. Then his parents and siblings came home, and left out again (leaving one sib who I had to bluff and sneak the body out past). It was such a psycho headtrip.

But then again, maybe I can't blame the grape juice entirely. It also could have done with a psychochick in a fanclub who clashed with me out of the blue. Details omitted because this is not about her. She's as unpredictable as nature and there's just no remedy for it as far as I can see.

It's rather my own vulnerabilities that I regret. I keep letting people in to my defenses and every once in a while, someone kicks over an expensive vase. Charlie and the Football. You want Charlie Brown to kick Lucy's teeth out instead of trying for that ball, but every time ... he goes for the ball again. And every time, Lucy snatches it away.

First I get hurt, and then I get so freaking mad I want to bite out eyeballs. I want to light into the offender with all the venom from 35 years of frustration and repression. (This isn't to say that I am on the average a meek person. I'm definitely not that. But I bend over backwards to keep the peace between me and people). Because in essence, it seems to be about disrespect. The offending person puts their own right to be foul over my rights to be treated with respect.

Makes me so want to school the bitch. That's right, I said it. If she's old enough to act like one, she's old enough to get called one.

lol. That was petty of me. But I'll leave it there anyway. This is me. Petty sometimes.

But I'm not going to school her. Let her wallow in her rotten personality. She's got a long life of misery coming her way, and I've got nothing to do with it.

Me, I'm over it now. I murdered some dream dude instead. And laying in the bed this morning after the "deed" I was wondering if I'd ever adjust to life in prison. It took me THAT long to realize it was a dream.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Too Young, Too Close

Mike Weiringo, a comicbook artist who maintained a blog that published his thoughts and sketches as he produced current work for Marvel Comics died of a heart attack yesterday. He was 44 years old.

What struck me about him was a sense of loneliness that came through his blogs. So you can bet that I was hugely empathetic for him. I felt like with enough contact, we could have become friends. He wasn't married (don't know if he ever was) and so that was another similarity between us. He wondered if his own art style was competitive in today's market, but his distinct style set his above the common artist. His work was expressive and simple and there was never a doubt you were looking at a Weiringo when you saw something he drew.

So I'm bummed out. I can't even bring myself to link to any of his sites or reference his art because I don't want to see more evidence that he's gone forever. All I can do is imagine him alone in his house, laboring over the work he loved, but wanting for someone significant to come into his life and love him. Just as I do. It's so profoundly sad. I don't understand. I hate death.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Conversations With Strangers, Part II

The other stranger I had a conversation with was a guy hawking pamphlets on Broadway, near Zabar's. I had just finished one of my favorite pasttimes at the 82nd St. Barnes & Nobles (reading for free and drinking a small beverage to cover the costs of my freeloading) and I was heading to the 79th Street Number 1 train stop. Each time one of these sidewalk loiterers thrust paper at me, I consciously have to shift my reaction because at first blush I feel invaded and imposed upon by their sheer cheek. I want to scream at them "LEAVE ME ALONE!!" That's Crazy Little Alan talking.

So I change that by looking the hawker in the eye as they stick their wares in my face and I look for a reason not to cuss them out then and there.

And I usually find it.

Usually, they are an immigrant, possibly with no command of my language at all, just doing whatever they can to survive. Somebody swooped them up to stand out on the corner and become the most unpopular person in a 10-block radius, beside the homeless guy carrying around his poop in a jar (hypothetically speaking). I can't be mad at them once I look in their eyes. Because when I do, they look back into mine. And it seems like they're saying "Please get me off this corner. Please?"

So then I just respond to their offer with a "No thank you," soaked with empathy for their position. Because God in his Heaven knows I'd not want to be doing what they're doing any more than they probably want to. I can only hope that speaking to them and offering a smile, even if I don't take the crap they're handing out, makes their job just a little more tolerable in that split second. Sometimes I get a smile back, which makes me think that yeah, they appreciated it.

Well, yesterday, the hawker matched none of these demographics. He was a middle-aged, articulate white guy with salt-and-pepper hair wild over his head like Gene Wilder in his heyday. But I did the same thing I always do, because hey--I'm me. I looked him in the eyes and smiled and told him, "No thank you."

Mind you, I knew this guy was articulate because he was all loud in his delivery with all the passersby. He couldn't just hand out the flyer, no. He had to cover up his embarassment and debasedness with middle-class, well-enunciated pap. Whatever, dude. I'm just trying to keep from cussing your ass out as you push all up in my grille with your bullcrap.

But what did he say to me--that's the point of this whole post. The exact words, I cannot remember. But it went to the tune of this;

"Well, thank you sir!"

And I kept walking on a bit, so that he now had to call out after me, "What a nice gentleman you are! And so handsome!"

I ish you not. The man called across a crowded sidewalk that I was handsome. My face erupted in a smile that I could not have prevented for love nor money. I turned back around to him and I said, "I really appreciate you saying that!"

And he said, "I really appreciate you too!"

I swear. Dozens of people heard this conversation between us. And off I went to the subway stop, walking ten feet off the ground.

I would have just flown the rest of the way home, but I'd already paid into my subway pass and I didn't want to waste my money. :-)

Being nice to people! It's what's for dinner!

Conversations With Strangers, Part I

I was in no particularly exuberant mood yesterday, but I did accomplish two conversations with total strangers, much to my delight and surprise.

On the A train going downtown, on my way to what would be a toe-blistering 4-mile walk/jog in Central Park, an older gentleman of color sat in a pendpendicular seat in front of me, so close that my knees could press into his right thigh if I so chose. (Our mid-generation subway cars are designed that way. Go figure.) I was listening to my mp3 player. Slowly, and ever so slyly, the gentleman (and when I say "gentleman", I mean "old-school plaYA") slipped a 12-pack of batteries toward my way. Suddenly I was at Wal-Mart. It made me smile. How could I explain the intricacies of the rechargeable .mp3 technology to this man who was probably what my father looked like twenty years ago? Unable to hear myself, I told him "No, thank you." He nodded sagely. Then he exposed a nice gaudy watch and offered that. My smile turned into a chuckle. "No thank you," I said again. Again he nodded. Gracious in defeat was this sly old fox. I looked him over. Then I said, "But I like that hat."

i KNOW?! Dig me being all chatty and coming out of my shell!

Well, I only had a few stops left before I reached my Park entrance (near the tennis courts) but the ice was melted and we chatted he and I. The hat was not all that special, a black canvas hat with silver skull-and-crossbones, but it was shaped like something Bing Crosby would wear and I did like it. He didn't want to sell it. But he did tell me about it. And how hot it was outside. And how he used to jog back in his day. (Come on. Nobody jogged back in his day.)

It was just so nice to reach out like that and be reached back to. Human connection! It's what's for dinner!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

See? This Is Kind Of What I Meant...

...about Harlem and what's happening to it, developmentwise.

The article in that link talks about how the "new Harlemites" who are moving into Harlem (by buying the newly built apartments that cost 400K to 4 mil) are clashing with the established residents over some of their local practices.

On one hand, I want them all to get along and uplift Harlem with posh digs and Starbuckses. (I'd love to be able to buy into one m'damn self). But on the other hand I want to tell the rich people that if they don't like the drumming, they can just get the you-know-what out. It's bad enough they've made an area unattainable by giving developers a customer that can pay their absurd prices. How dare they go in and tell the people who do still live there to change their lifestyles to accommodate them?

But then again-again, isn't that what I meant by 'uplift'? That the highstyle saditty ways of the rich folk would rub off on the locals and make the neighborhoods look nicer, bring in more political influence (money talks!), which in turn improves the schools, improves the policing of the area (again, admit it! The police protect the rich folks better than they do the poor ones), and so on.

So I don't know. I guess compromise never hurt anybody.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

TV Wasteland

Where have I been? Working on my hobby. It has kept me TV-free for the last few days, but tonight something went terribly wrong and I turned on the tube. (There wasn't really a "terribly wrong". Just me giving in to the ennui that was hanging around my head at about 7:00 this evening.)

So I surfed the telly and discovered/rediscovered two things.

1) I am a big girl.

I started watching a movie called "In Her Shoes" which was one big chick flick. I could not, nor would I, stop watching it. I saw every character development telegraphed as though I wrote it myself, and yet I did not turn away. and when the notes were struck, I cried like an itty bitty.

I have learned from one of my linked blogs a few days ago that crying can be a turn-off for some ladies. Didn't stop me tonight, though.

My crying trigger is love and family. Let someone enjoy or mourn a family relationship--be it spouse, sibling, parent, or child, and I will cry.

Cry because I am projecting myself into the situations and then feeling my own emptiness.

2) George Carlin is a genius.

The second program was George Carlin at Carnegie Hall in 1982. I was spellbound by his performance. His "Seven Words You Can't Say on TV" is not a scratch on the surface of his genius.

His delivery is full of gestures and voices and expressions which I realized has slipped into many, many people's style of communication. They probably don't even know where they picked it up from, but George Carlin is possessed by the zeitgeist of American comedy.

And that's just his delivery. His material is a reflection of his busy, brilliant mind.

And finally, he's one macho, muscular, stud bastard of a performer. Forget all the assery he's done in movie roles--watch him perform his own material. What a man!

And that's all really. There's an accounting for you who might be curious. I have to go back to work now to make good adventurous fun. And then in the daytime, I have to be my boss and run my department for the two weeks that he's off. Tonight I got a page from a client situation and it was just like my job in Trenton again! I don't miss that job! And I don't want my boss' job! I like being the assistant, thank you very much!

Friday, August 3, 2007

...Out Of Myself And Into The Fire ...

This song was written and released by Susan Ashton in 1996, who I have listened to and rediscovered during my move. (It was made a cover by Garth Brooks some years later, but its' Susan's and she ROCKED it.)

It was when I was singing these lyrics to myself in the car for the past week that I realized how many people it makes me think of.

It makes me think of you.

So as a thanks for all of you that have come here to befriend, encourage, and care about me, I sang along with Susan and decided to put action where my mouth was.

I've talked and talked about it.

Now you can listen for yourself.

And even if it sounds horrible, it's still true.

You move me.

by Susan Ashton

This is how it seems to me,
Life is only therapy;
Real expensive
No guarantees.

So I lie here on the couch,
With my heart hanging out,
Frozen solid with fear
Like a rock in the ground.

But you move me.
You give me courage
I didn't know I had.
You move me.
I can't go with you
Stay where I am
So you move me.

Here is how love was to me;
I could look and not see.
Going through the emotions,
Not knowin' what they mean.

And it scared me so much
That I just wouldn't budge.
I might have stayed there forever
If not for your touch.

Oh ('cause) you move me,
Out of myself and into the fire.
You move me--
(Now I'm) burning with love
And with hope and desire
How you move me

You go whistling in the dark
Making light of it!
Making light of it!
And I follow with my heart,
Laughing all the way.

Oh 'cause you move me!
You get me dancing and you
make me sing.
You move me.
Now I'm taking delight
In every little thing
How you move me ...

Oh, you move me.
You move me.
Oh, you move me.
You move me.

My Life As A Homo

Last night, I believe I got a taste (no pun intended) of what it would be like to be an out-of-the-closet, flag-waving, Gay-Pride-parade-marching homosexual.

Being that I'm growing more comfortable with expressing myself and my Inner Chick, on more than one occasion I've complimented dudes with whom I have a mancrush at internet lists and groups that I'm a member of. Up until last night, it seemed to me to have been accepted with no fanfare or complaint. The mancrushes in question have even expressed being flattered.

But last night I discovered that on one of those 'netgroups, someone did ask me if I was a homosexual because of what I had said. Except, I missed the question because moderators had deleted it. And then after the deletion, no one even wanted to talk about it. I'd see questions asked and then others would shut down the discussion. This was months ago. And I never knew.

So last night, the subject came up again (no pun intended) in a group chat because I said I had an Inner Chick. I was going to elaborate about crying at love scenes and love songs, and just being generally sensitive and emotional. But one lister said they were uncomfortable and departed the conversation. And that's when I discovered the months' old controversy about my sexuality, which I mention above. The moderators had censored that question that was posed to me because they didn't want to stir up unnecessary drama.

And they were protecting me.

And I don't know how to feel about that.

But it did give me a stark example of why I don't ever want to be gay. What a battle. Gay is not as wonderfully and widely accepted as television might want you to believe. It still appears to alienate people--and alienate them at the oddest times. Girls can express their crushes on other girls ("Cute hair! Cute shoes! Those jeans make your butt look so nice!"), but if a guy expresses admiration for another guy, then the sexuality question comes up, and some people get offended, and some get protective, and some just go and run and hide.

And what I want? I just want to be loved. I want to be who I am and have friends I can depend on. I just want to be someone who other people think of warmly. I want to be trusted. I want to be someone who others can depend on too.

Last night, I didn't feel that. I felt, instead, like a freak. I felt like a dark family secret being kept hidden away from strangers.

I felt different and most decidedly alone.

That's not the life I want.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Reconnection. Almost.

I jumped on the A train yesterday after being hit with a brilliant idea. I was going to South Street Seaport. I'd heard there was some nightlife going on down there and I wanted to see it. The sun was low enough to provide shade in the streets, so the heat was no longer an issue.

So I'm riding and people-watching, as I usually do. Standing out noticably to me was a man and his wife. She was pregnant. They were speaking in Spanish. And they seemed like the mainstream twentysomethings of North Manhattan. I couldn't understand anything about their conversation except the body language. The man had long wet hair and clean feet (yes, sandals. I've gone on enough about these peoples' feet). He wore a loose crepe shirt and cargo shorts. She wore a sunny, sleeveless dress the color of a peeled orange. She hung on his every word. She looked in love. Not slavishly devoted or co-dependent, but just admirably in love with the man. The man who had given her the baby she was carrying. The man was animated and spellbinding. Whatever story he was telling made her gasp with surprise. It seemed to have something to do with dancing or performing. I wouldn't call the man attractive, physically, but he was charismatic.

Then the train pulled into 145th and was being held at the station. The 145th stop is where I used to live. And during the 30 seconds of wait, I suddenly bounced out of my seat and dashed out of the subway car.

I wanted to see the "old" neighborhood.

When we last left our hero there, two luxury condo buildings were going up and I had been desirous of maybe getting an apartment there one day. Well, now they are up. They look very nice. One is across the street from the Hamilton. I believe it's called The Ellington, (edit correction: it isn't the Ellington. Or if it is, it doesn't have a website yet) and it borders Jackie Robinson Park. So does the other one, and it's on 147th and Bradhurst. And teeming around the both of them are the innercity culture who are not going anywhere. They will not be priced out and they won't roll over.

My people, my people. Gritty. Urban. Loud. I at once admire them and am a little repulsed by them. But mostly, I feel defensive of them. I love the new buildings. But having been divorced from the area now for two years, I think I'm seeing the place with an outsider's eye. (After all, I only lived there for 1.5 years.)

Those buildings just seem so wrong there. It's an obvious, glaring clash of culture. Am I saying my people don't deserve the finer things? Am I saying they aren't worthy?

No, but I am saying that they aren't rich.

(Edit: I've discovered the buildings at 147th and Bradhurst Ave. are called The Sutton, and they are made for low-income families! Now THAT'S good news. Somebody's got a conscience in housing and development.)

But my curiosity about the neighborhood was really secondary. Primarily, I wanted to see my cousin. She is the mentally ill daughter of the nurturing aunt who died during the last year that I lived there. I had sorely neglected visiting them when my aunt was alive, and then when she died, I stopped altogether. This mentally ill cousin has a daughter who I really was bonding with, (and had even lived up in North Manhattan at one time) but I lost touch with her too. I've lost touch with all of them. and when I say 'lost touch' I mean too phobic to call and visit.

So last night I thought I'd do it. Get it out of the way. After my exploration of the new new, I when to my cousin's apartment foyer and dialed her code so she could buzz me into the building. She answered. I told her who I was and she said "Who?!" just like my mother used to say it.

Then she buzzed me in, and I realized I didn't remember what floor her apartment was on. I re-buzzed her to ask where her apartment was. (The code to dial her does not reveal the floor or apartment address.) She answered again, then buzzed the door again, longer this time, but didn't speak. After all, maybe I wasn't who I said I was.

I called her daughter, (whose number I still have in my phone) only to find it disconnected. I considered calling another cousin (whose number I also have in my phone) but then I realized. I didn't want to do this. I haven't wanted to for the past four years.

I don't know why. It seems my family is the last hurdle to leap before I can consider myself "social" again.

So I left my old stomping grounds, bought some Jamaican food (ox tails--YUM), and headed back north.

I might try again sometime.

I might not.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

In Case You Were Wondering ...

...here is an example of what I think is a good-looking man.

Anyway, this payday I'm going to have to be late on my car payment. I have rent to pay, and with the money I have left, I'll need to hit some bills before next payday. If I pay my car note this Friday, I'll have nothing to cover at least two payments that come automatically out of my account, which, as I've discussed ad nauseum, the bank happily still pays for even though I clearly haven't enough money to cover it, then slams me with a 35.00 surcharge. "We choose to pay your bills for you as a courtesy to you," if I recall correctly. That's the kind of response that makes guys go into the belltowers with the high-powered arsenal. For the past three paydays they did and still I've survived. I've taken responsibility and did not grow homicidal. No, I haven't learned how to avoid it yet, but this is just me. I have no credit cards to cover what I can't afford, so I get overdraft charges. And life rolls merrily along. But I'd rather not have to just 'survive' in the next two weeks, so car payment people, save your autodial system please? You're not getting any scratch for at least two more weeks.

My solution for beating the draconian car payment is to just pay it off early. I doubt I'll get a refinance on the loan, credit rating not improving as quickly as I need it to be, so one or two late payments is not going to devastate me.

How am I going to get that extra scratch up to early-pay, you ask? Well, my resume is ready and printed up. I found my two-year-old contact list from when I was searching for part-time NYC therapy work. I'm ready to re-apply. I know I'm ready because all week I've been turning on my television and vegetating all evening into the midnight hours, and going to bed late. I've hated that. I've liked the stuff I've watched, evidently, but I hate having had given so much of my time and potential over to the TV. I could have done a dozen things that were productive, like working a second job hello, but instead I've only woken up dizzy and regretful.

TV is the mindkiller. But like all good drugs, we love it!

Meanwhile, as I speak of financial responsibility, I am still planning to buy a digital camera and a few sets of good, going-out-on-the-town clothes this payday.

I need the camera to begin to sell my comicbooks and Doctor Who books on the internet. Hello 3rd source of income. :-)

And too, I'm going to post another picture of another handsome man.

Self-confidence; All-Time High.

Stay tuned ...