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

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Meanwhile, I Dream Of Beyonce ....

I want to be the dude dancing with her near the middle of the video, wearing the white shirt and jacket. I imagine that I even look a little like him--I dress like him already. And I can dance like him. After my 15 lbs are gone, I'll fit my clothes like him. But I may not get as tall as him, so I'll have to find a Beyonce who is my height. :-)

What? I can too dance like him!

Best I Could Get Out Of My Saturday

... was this pic. There are more of me, but no one has posted those yet.

A married couple came to New York City this weekend for their vacation, from Wales. I knew of them through this place. Knowing they had awesome Doctor Wholike accents, I wanted to go meet them and sit down with them and listen to them speak. The plan was hatched by a comicbook podcaster who felt closer to them than I did, whose show I didn't listen to regularly. So essentially I was crashing a party that was being thrown for people I knew only peripherally.

But the invitation was open, and if time with My Hero has taught me anything, it is that I can be social if I try, and that it has its rewards in the end.

So out to the meeting place I went. And I kid you not--I went up into the shop, caught sight of one of the guests of honor, and spun around and fled to the street, heart triphammering in my chest. A thousand million things went off in my head. What if they, what if I, what if it...! Scared out of my mind.

I talked myself out of it. I reasoned that I'm just an outsider. We've only read each others' posts briefly. We don't know each other at all. They will SO not miss me if I don't show up. I walked around the block looking for my bank, in hopes to salvage the day by doing some banking--but my branch in that area was closed on Saturday. And back I came to my starting point. Was I really going home, then? Was I really going to give into my fears?

And before I gave myself a chance to answer, I plunged upstairs and walked into the shop,and headed toward 1/2 of the couple and shook his hand and introduced myself.

From there it was all gravy. I have new international friends. And I have new New York City friends. And I have new comicbook industry friends.

So the title of this post is a bit of a misleader. The best I got out of this Saturday was some more of my humanity back.

Yay me!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Got Me A New Toy Today--

--so I decided to give another crack at it.

In doing so I discovered the following--
1) Good lighting helps wonders.
2) Sucking in the gut and twisting the body gives you that "come-get-some" stance.
3) I'm only 5% as confident as I look in the picture. These three were the best out of, literally, about 50.

Now, if I lose 15 more lbs, I won't have to suck in the gut as much, if at all. I want to be able to actually take off the shirt and look as good as I think I do here. I think if I think I look good, then others will think so too. It'll be a matter of self-confidence, not actual physical attributes. Yet, I feel like I must have certain physical attributes to look good.

I'm fully aware this is my somewhat shallow opinion. But it's my preference. Guys with guts, and eight-hundred other different attributes that don't alert my inner gay man get girlfriends, wives, and sometimes both, all the time. So I know it isn't a universal that a man must look the way I want to look in order to be successfully paired with The Love Of His Life.

But while I'm waiting to find Her -- I might as well stick to it.

But, in other related news--I've decided that Saturday and Sunday are my allowed days for sweets. I decided that at 1:30 AM Saturday morning when coming home from the Friday D&D game in midtown Manhattan. So much for obsessive ... :-)

And on, on and on, and on and on...

Friday, October 26, 2007

High Suckitude

It helps to know that these emotions are not unique. It doesn't make them feel any less sucky, but they didn't last as long last night as they might have if I hadn't been able to check myself with the following wake-up call; "Dude, get over it. This isn't the first time and it probably won't be the last."

Last night, at work, I grew dumb and desperate. When I first got there, I still had my day clothes on and I do look good at my day job. So I felt good. I had about an hour before I clocked in, so I went to The New Employee's department to pick up my ordered merchandise. I got the merchandise. She wasn't there.

But on my way down the escalator, there she was, coming up. She had dark grey slacks on and a purple top. Her hair isn't long--I misremembered that. It is dark, glossy, and shoulder length. Like Chaka Khan, she has a sprinkle of freckles across her nose. (Or am I misremembering that too?) We exchanged hellos, but I wanted to jump the rails and ride up with her.

I didn't, of course.

Finally I change into my all-blacks and cafe apron, and commence to making lattes. There's another new cast member in the cafe who comes from another store. She's English, with a marvellous accent, and she's a ball of energy. She might like the way we Americans soak her up because she plays well to a crowd. I don't have a name for her yet.

Anyway, the drinks felt unremarkable. The thank-yous were not sufficient. Jabberjaw, Snapper, Attention Deficit Annie, and new English lady were my co-workers. Nothing felt special or noteworthy because all my attention was back upstairs with The New Employee.

It has been a long time since I've been so smitten. I hadn't seen her for the last couple of days, and combined with the drama which occured 'netwide in the last week, I had thought that maybe her presence in my life was now tainted and I wouldn't be interested in her anymore anyway. But then there she was again.

And this is what happens;

"She's awesome looking.
"You're an old man
"She's got big dark eyes
"You're probably old enough to be her father
"She could be in her thirties
"She could also have a child
"I could just say something to her and find stuff out
"You could also make an utter perverted fool of yourself
"Yeah, you're right. I'd better just keep it moving
"You're saving yourself a lot of embarrassment.
"But ... how will I ever know if I don't try?
"But how will you ever recover if you try and fail?"

This dialogue was driving me to pure distraction. I haven't seen The Linebacker all week, last night being no exception, but I needed some help. I looked to my co-workers.

At this point you're saying, "No, Alan! DON'T!"

But I so did.

I waggled my finger at Attention Deficit Annie. After all, she's a manager, like The Linebacker is. Annie has certain connections--certain freedoms. So I asked her to do me a favor, but make sure she kept this to herself.

Um, hello. Attention deficit. What part of that did I not understand? I mean, you'd think I never cracked open a psych textbook in all my life. Do you see what this love stuff can do to a rational mind? WHY? Of all the humans working in that store, WHY did I pick Attention Deficit An--WHY?!?!

Well I asked her to find out if The New Employee was "available." Off she shot, like a rocket.

A few minutes later, here comes Annie, into the cafe area, guns blazing. "I can see why you like her!" said she. "She's a spunky little thing! Oh, I like her a lot!" Annie went on to describe the bit of conversation they had as she went up to The New Employee's department and introduced herself.

Snapper was within earshot. I dared not look for Jabberjaw. New English Lady might have been on a break. Won't Go Away Girl may have even heard Annie's convo from her perch. I don't know. I just did what I could not to change colors or otherwise betray how badly I wanted to commit a homicide/suicide.

Energy finally discharged, Annie informed that she hadn't found out all the details about The New Employee--yet. But she liked her, and she said she'd have time to discover everything.

Possibly an hour later--possibly three--possibly an eternity later, The New Employee came to the cafe.

To speak to Annie.

Oh they had such a nice, animated conversation. I overheard her talk about yoga. Her voice is the definition of dulcet. She would put Lauren Bacall to shame and send Bogie scrabbling to his knees in supplication.

Annie and The New Employee, suddenly best buddies.

With nary a look my way.

I mean, not a glance, not an eyeshot, not a periph.

New Employee was ... enraptured by Attention Deficit Annie.

Now, it's a vibe and nothing more. But I felt it rise and fill my head like a backed-up sewer. The New Employee adores Attention Deficit Annie. Like that.

How do I jump to this conclusion, knowing that they had only just met three hours prior?

I don't know. Self-protection? Jealousy? Frustration? Rejected-Man Syndrome?

All I know is, The New Employee isn't sending me any signals. I was making drinks, and she didn't order any. She spoke to Annie at the far end of the cafe, and didn't check on me at all.

So, without making a final judgment, I must still conserve what's left of my energy for the next pursuit. I must try to believe that one bad apple (read; experience--not the girl. I still think she's awesome) don't spoil the whole barrel. There's more fish in the sea. --insert your favor additional cliche here--

I just think that if The New Employee was interested in me at all, I'd know it by now. I get more vibes from guys than I did from her.

So that's where that is.

On the plus side--I didn't eat any of the baked goods in response to the heartbreak, and I had been craving before I had even seen The New Employee, while still in my day clothes. At the point where I was ready to tear into the plates, screaming like a grieving bull elephant, I told myself no. I knew I'd only feel worse.

And this feeling I have right now? It's common. We all have felt it, in varying degrees. I can't plunge into a downswing of despair just because of disappointment. (Well, yes I can. I soooooo can. But I don't want to.) I can be sad, yes. Feel it, own it--and then continue to navigate.

I can, and I will.

But it sure sucks.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I Scared My Own Self Today!

At B&N, I had to actually BAKE the chocolate chip cookies today! I NEVER have to do that. You see how evil Satan is? So did I pop an errant chip into my mouth as I juggled the trays and buried my head in the fumes of the oven?

Hell. No. Yes they smelled good and looked better, and so did the cinnamon scones, the oatmeal cookies, the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup cookies, the caramel frappucinos, the toasted marshmallow mocha lattes, the pumpkin cheesecake slices (which I plunged my thumb into to save five slices from falling onto the ground. I washed off the blob of whipped cream and pumpkin cheesecake that resulted like little Jack Horner's trophy. Washed it off. Didn't eat it) and all the dozens of other ungodly sweets surrounding me tonight.

But here's what I ate today;

Scoop of protein in a Vitamin Water drink.
Double shot of espresso, sweetened with equal and cut with Half & Half.

Kids' sized portion of BBQ ribs from Chili's with veggies instead of fries. (This costs 6.41. About what a McDonald's meal costs. But ssoooooooooo much tastier.)

Seedless grapes

4 crab cakes (supermarket bought and microwaved. Real crab, not that "sea legs" crap)
A Granny Smith Apple
A bottle of apple juice, 100%.

Midnight snack(as I'm typing this now):
Scoop of protein in a Vitamin Water.
Half a bag of Lay's potato chips. Because hey. You can't eat just one.

Plus I take a "B-complex 150" per day.

As the Godfather of Soul used to say--"OWWW! I jump back and kiss myself!" Or was that just Eddie Murphy?

Who's bad?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I've Eaten My Last Choclate Chip Cookie Today

...because I'm tired of looking at these body-perfect men and feeling like a troll. I'm on my way to the body I want to have, but I keep sabotaging myself with sweets. I'd gotten up to 212 lbs. when I worked at Starbucks, due to the sweets I'd scarfed, and I got down to 185 last year by cutting them all out.

Time to do it again. And this time keep it off. (I've only gotten back up to 190, but still---)

Today I went out to Central Park for a jog after yesterday's debauchery. Yes, yesterday I ate like a condemned man. I dunno what was pushing me, but I had ColdStone ice cream in the morning and Mrs. Fields cookies last night. I had gone out twice yesterday into my city. I had finally got the courage to climb the stairs to the karaoke place at St. Mark's only to find that someone was being lazy and hadn't opened the joint up on time. So I had pizza instead. Then ice cream.

Last night on the way back from Mrs Fields (yes, when I binge, I actually take the train down to 42nd St Port Authority and get the cookies. It's the only one on Manhattan that is open after 10:00 on a Saturday night.) And then I went to Dallas BBQ up a little ways on 42nd, and got some pulled pork. I was out of my head with binge. The New Employee is driving me to eat, it must be.

Interestingly enough, I was wearing my new jeans, a GAP sweater v-neck, no undershirt, and a suede suit jacket. I have finally gotten a 'professional' haircut last week as well. So I'm looking a'ight last night, right? Then while waiting for my pork, a trio of nighthopping girls stood before me. One girl was rail-thin, but wearing a black corset. Her skin was the color of burnished wood. While they discussed whether they would eat at the restaurant, or go locate the Friday's nearby, the rail-thin girl looks at me. Then she smiled a little bit. And I smiled back. I mean, I smiled as though I was working at the B&N cafe. I smiled with confidence. She was checking me out. And I was checking her out too. Then they left. And my pork came. And that was that.

But can I tell you that it felt good to hold my own, as a man, in today's meat market?

Anyway, on the way back, with BBQ on my lap, the A trains went crazy on me. At 155th St, the first one decided, via train operator, that 168th would be its' last stop. But my last stop was 207th! It was 1:00 AM at this point. So it dumped us onto the platform at 168th with the promise that another A train was going to come and take us to 207th shortly.

For 1 AM, there sure were a lot of abandoned people on that platform. I had been eyeing a couple who had gotten onboard way back at 42nd street, where I had. The woman was in her twenties and she had an ample, Botticelli figure. A little less than that. Her dude was a thinnish guy--nothing special to rouse the homo in me. She had a nice cleavage hiding away between the wide lapels of a knit sweater. Her blond streaked hair was tucked up in a bun and her lavish eyes were hidden behind a schoolmarm's glasses. Then just like a schoolmarm, she took two books out of her bag, one for herself and one for her man. She then took out a pair of glasses for her man to use as well. And for one hundred and twenty-six blocks they read their perspective books in silence. I watched and I watched as they read. I had to consciously turn my head because I felt obsessed.

There had been something in that amazing gesture. She carries his glasses and his book. They have their routine. "We get on the subway, and we ride for a long time," I could imagine her saying, "So I bring along our books to read, and I have to hold on to his glasses or else he'll forget them."

To me, that's love.

She seemed gentle and nurturing. She had even buried her cleavage at one point, tucking her sweater closed. After a while, they both grew sleepy, so she put away their books and his glasses, tucked her arm under his, and nestled her head on his shoulder to nap away the remainder of the trip. He too, cradled her head with his own.

Love... until the A train kicked us off at 168th!

The train that came to complete our journey was not "shortly". It took fifteen minutes to show up. And then it had the nerve to take us only one stop up the line before that operator told us it had to wait for track construction and a southbound train to pass on the remaining track.

After the fourth such announcement in the next fifteen minutes, I bolted. The operator was lying to me.

I've discovered that I hate being lied to. So much so that I couldn't sit another minute, listening to the excuses. There was no southbound train arriving to let us go forward, or else it would have come. The operator was feeding us tales to keep us calm. It backfired. I launched out of the subway with a stream of under-my-breath curses. I could have sat there longer, or even have taken a nap, seeing how late it was and how many cookies I had eaten already, if only that idiot would not have lied to me. So I got mad and went up into the night.

And there was The Schoolmarm and Her Guy! They had left the train below too! Only, whereas they caught a cab--I walked 46 blocks home. Next time, I need to remember that the buses stop running after 1 AM, and that I hate giving unnecessary money to cabs more than I hate lying train conductors.

I ate my BBQ on the way.

So today, I knew I had to go to The Park and jog. And soon as I get there, on this beautiful, amazing, 71 degree, cloudless day--here comes Underwear Model Man jogging shirtless toward me. There were hundreds of others around too, and dozens of other joggers, but this guy became the center of the universe for the seconds it took to get out of my range of vision. I don't really know if he models underwear, but he had the physique and good looks for it.

What gets me is the very real possibility that he isn't a model. That he's just some white guy with crazy good looks who maybe works in some bank or some law firm, who takes care of himself, goes out to beer with the guys after work (Miller Lite, of course), and has some boringly normal girlfriend that he lives with. That he's just a normal Joe with good genetics that he enhances by jogging, taking care of himself, and doesn't freaking binge eats Mrs. Field's freakin' cookies at 1 AM in the morning!!! There are so many of these Joes.

And that's why I've eaten my last cookie--I'm a Joe, too, dammit! It's time for my turn to jog with no shirt on!!

Friday, October 19, 2007

My Night Job; Episode 6, "Spankonia"

For the past few nights, it's been me and Snapper closing out the cafe. Baby Boy was supposed to be with us, but he called out all week due to a car accident. He made the call so he's okay. Meanwhile, we've had special guest stars filling in.

Two nights ago, Won't Go Away Girl Jr. decided she had a crush on Snapper in Baby Boy's absence. What exactly bugged me about her is inexact. She literally stands at the counter while I and Snapper are cleaning and putting things away. She followed him around as he wiped the tables. They spoke about. NOTHING. I was only concerned as far as that she slowed him down from a more efficient closing job because he returned her inane, preteen "So like, totally, omigosh" conversation. Again, I don't know why it bugged me. It was only an extra ten minutes, which we got paid for anyway. And the poor girl was lonely and bored.

But at the time all I kept thinking was, Go AWAY! It's not our responsibility to entertain you, you moonfaced urchin!

Yes, I'm working on improving the attitude.

Last night was much better for several reasons that I'm not even sure which to name first.

To begin--Snapper didn't snap as much and we had friendly banter, even though he speaks way too loudly for polite conversation. But because I have flirted with lady customers and pointed out the beautiful after they've walked away (just like a true neanderthal, I admit--but being at this job makes me feel sexy, so I act sexy) Snapper feels he can do like I do, and return the comments as well. So he was telling me about the butt of a woman that, if she offered him the chance to spank, he said he would do gladly. As for myself, I didn't understand and I shared that with him. "What would you get out of spanking a nice butt?"

My confusion really threw him for a loop. Perhaps I hadn't relayed this before, but Snapper is a little slow. I keep him on the register because he can't make drinks as fast as I can, and when he is on the bar, he's always calling across the cafe to ask me how to make something anyway. So I just let him go where he shines. And I stay where I can shine. And we're a happy little cafe that way. But he couldn't tell if I were being sarcastic or serious with my spank question. Thankfully.

Because I was being serious. But since I project such a sexy confident image, he couldn't imagine that I wouldn't be into "Spanking that ass" He doesn't know how awkward and obsessively analytical I really am. In other words, a big ol' nerd.

Well he couldn't answer the question for me. It was just something that turns him on. Huhn? I mean, I'll spank if requested, but I don't see where I'll get anything out of it personally. I mean, are there nerves in my hand that will trigger some kind of pleasure from living in the land of spankonia? Inquiring minds want to know.

Which brings me to the main topic, despite the name of the post.

How I met your mother.

At the beginning of the week (or was it last Friday?) a new employee came down to the cafe, who I will heretofore call The New Employee.

She fascinated me from the split second our eyes locked. I was already in midsexy, mixing a drink and having already passed on some witticism earlier which had New Kid, Snapper, and Attention Deficit Annie amused. I'd also insured that a few customers were satisfied in the afterglow of the drinkgasms I'd given them, so I was on top of the world.

Then up walks The New Employee. She was introduced to me along with all the cafe staff, yet it felt that she linguered on me longer. (Male ego powers, activate!)

"How're you doing tonight?" she asked.

I weighed all the possible answers I could give. I settled on, "I'm managing. But I'll be great when my baby daughter wakes me up and says, 'Happy Birthday, Daddy!' But she doesn't exist just yet. So... yeah."

At that point I realized I'd just fallen off my lofty perch of sexy self-confidence. What a rookie!! What. Was. I. Thinking?? Was there any recovery? I opted for a quick finish. "Way more information than you wanted to know, right?" says I.

She said, "No, man, you just sometimes have to let it out."

That was a few nights ago.

Now, last night, I was sitting at the timeclock in the back, wolfing down my dinner, waiting for the last few minutes to fade so I could punch back in, and here came The New Employee. She grinned as I sat in her path to the clock. "How's your night going?" she asked.

A second or two passed because I felt That Thang Inside drifting forward. Going out towards her as if she had it on a fishing line. It's like this--she's half a head shorter than I am. She's the shade of cappucino with long black hair. Her voice is like cinnamon dolce, dusky with earthpower. When she speaks to me, I hear Kathleen Turner, Suzanne Pleshette, and India.Arie all saying my name at the same time.

So I responded with the only thing I could think of. "It's getting better now."

So there she went, punching out, and here I went, punching in. And suddenly there this big poop-eating grin on my face that I can't get rid of. What was going on?!

And I thought--is this--what is going on--am I--um--? No way!

Then like a lightning bolt out of nowhere, I knew what to do! I got back to the cafe and called The Linebacker. This is the name I've decided to give the male store manager with whom I have flirted with and decided not to anymore. He's built like a linebacker and looks like a Duke University frat boy who's had three too many keggers. And still undone was the way I was going to officially stop the flirting I had done, in case he really was gay and was thinking I was fair game.

So I called him to the cafe and told him I had a personal question I had to ask him. "What's the name of The New Employee?" It was all over my face. He knew why I was asking.

The Linebacker warmed to the idea instantly. He didn't seem crushed or disappointed at all. In fact, he got right on it, going to her department to get her name, and even flirted (see what I did there) with the idea that he could go into her records and get her age for me. He drew the line there though. Unethical much? But in one fell swoop, I confirmed two things.

1) The Linebacker now knows I'm not gay, without my having to embarass myself or him. And I think he's not gay either. The way he not only lit up, but went puppydoglike to help me out with her name, seems to be an indication that he supports my hetero-ness more than he'd support my homo-ness. I mean, he still might be gay, but he'd still be my friend too, and that's the best way to get out of the sitch that I, like an idiot had put myself in.

And 2), I am crazy about The New Employee. I swear, it's like I'm making all this up. I wish I had a dollar for every time someone told me that when I stopped looking, that's when I'd find her. And yes, I know--better than you could possibly imagine--that this isn't necessarily The One. I mean, it's only been two chance meetings. But the existence of sparkation and spankonia, coming out from nowhere, is like a clear sign that I've still got all sorts of potential. If New Employee doesn't dig me, or if she's married, or lesbian, or if she's only just turned 19, or if she's a druggie, or has five kids and three baby daddies, or whatever of a million other reasons exist Why It Won't Work Out, I still know what I want. I know what I like. I know what turns me on. Girls like The New Employee.

So that's all right then!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Three years and 9 days ago I spent my 40th birthday in a welfare office about 12 blocks away from where I currently live, trying to get rental assistance. I didn't get it. Subsequently I was evicted.

Today I dumped my Geico insurance and got a policy with "Don't Ask Don't Tell Insurance Co." (name changed to protect the lives of the innocent) for half the amount that the lizard wanted me to pay. It allows me to keep the trend that has begun in the last few months of keeping money in my savings and checking accounts, instead of dropping it all on my debts.

My savings are growing. Possibly for the first time ... ever.

I live in NYC again and I can afford it now. I have not only one job, but two jobs that I like.

Three years and 9 days from now ... what will it be? The start of my 43-year marriage? The birth of my daughter? The publication of my novel? The purchase of my NYC condo?

I am a vital, attractive, single and intelligent man of a certain age living in Manhattan. The sky is my limit. My past is just that.


Thanks be to God.

Monday, October 15, 2007

My Night Job; Episode 5, "Separation Anxiety"

Friday night I worked to fill in for A.D.Annie because she was headed off to her vacation jump-off to get her pipes cleaned. I hope that vacation boy can put something on her which will get her to calm the eff down upon her return.

My working brethren were Snapper, Jabberjaw, and a heretofore unnammed lass I now call "Red" (mostly harmless so far). Jabberjaw has uncovered both another flaw and a virtue. She likes to poke and prod people. It goes along with all that energy she spends also blabbing. And I don't like to be touched. So imagine how famously we're about to get along. She touches everybody, by the way, and brags about how she has slapped some co-workers when dared. So her checking out my flesh is no specific compliment. I did like it one night when she looked over at me in my black, short-sleeved polo shirt and said, "Mmm! Never saw you wearing that before! You have something going on over there, huh?"

Ladies, I'm telling you. Want to make your man happy? Compliment his body. Find anything you can and tell him how good it looks. I felt like My Hero, A Supervillian, and King Leonides all wrapped up in one package (teehee. I said "package").

Jabberjaw's virtue is that she likes the TV show "Heroes".

I also found out on Friday that Little Sexy was leaving the store. I was so upset. I'm actually going to miss him! I barely know him! But dig this--there's another store manager who I suspect is not leaving, and we actually flirt! I honestly don't get it. It's like we're both racing to see which one of us can prod the other out of the closet. And if I were gay, I doubt I go with him. Little Sexy was more my type.
I'll be the first to crack, I'm sure, because in the possibility that he really is gay (which isn't obvious, I promise he's fairly butch) then I'll feel like dirt for leading him on. But he does pay me a LOT of attention, making sure to verbally banter when he sees me, and always asking how I'm doing and then waiting for the answer. I mean, who does that?

As I've already explored, being gay cannot be easy. Unless you've already got the longterm hookup like my dude Coaster Punchman, then you've got to always be testing and questing guys to find out if there's going to be any love in your future, and then an idiot like me comes along and plays the game until you make your move, and you get a crap-eating grin and a "Oh, I'm sorry dude! I didn't know you were serious!"

Yeah, I feel awful in anticipation. I'm going to come clean with him tonight. No pun intended.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

My Night Job; Episode 4, "The Bull Returns"

Yes! In all his bald glory! And it was crowded last night too, but there he sat, all twitchy and introspective--and BEARDLESS! Yes, he shaved it off, ladies and gents! It was not a compliment to his face, I must say. The beard gave his jaw a definition which didn't actually exist, I discovered, after the beard was gone. And also without the beard, he looks about 21 years old. Much less Bullish.

Meanwhile, I have new people to introduce you to.

"Baby Boy" He worked at the cafe before I was rehired, and had just quit when I appeared. But, like myself, he was still on the books and agreed to plug in some holes in the schedule. The way A.D.Annie bombards you with words, Baby Boy had no choice but to come back. I call him "Baby Boy" because he shares the name of the guest artist in Beyonce's song of the same name. But he looks like Eminem and acts like Marky Mark when he was back with the Funky Bunch. He's okay.

From the customer side of the counter;

"Hollow Leg" This woman starts out with a large coffee, black. She might be 95 pounds. Within two hours, she has come to us for her third refill. That equals 60 ounces of coffee in two hours. Every. Night. I can't believe I hadn't mentioned her first. I have no idea why she STILL looks so tired.

"The Multicolor Madwomen's Brigade" I hadn't noticed that these women were part of one set because they intermittently attend the cafe throughout the week, but last night they were in full session at the same table, clucking away. Their faces pale as ditto paper. Their lips are bright red slashes, like wounds. Their clothing is like Stevie Nicks as designed by Richard Simmons. Once, the chief instigator wore yellow and orange the color of Sherbet. Their median age is roughly 68 yrs. old. And I almost made one of them wear her free water away from the counter last night. I mean, if there's a long line, and you already have ALL OF YOUR ORDER, and there's only TWO WORKERS helping everyone else (me and Baby Boy on register while New Kid and Undercover Emo are on one their endless breaks), and if I squeeze in a second to give you a FREE cup of ice water while filling two other orders, and you dare ask me to remove some of the ice cubes, and I find another nanosecond to do that, you don't yell at me to remove ALL THE ICE CUBES when you clearly did NOT say ALL of the ice cubes. I swear, I almost lost my job last night. No one knows how close I came to dumping the water on her head. Then when we handled the crowd successfully (Baby Boy and me, brothers in arms!) and I looked back at gouts of water I splashed on the counter in the vicinity she had been standing, I guess I came pretty pert near close to it when I handled her back the ice-less ICE WATER she asked for. Because at that point I stopped looking at her or trying to please her. I had just snatched the cup out of her hand, dashed the ice water and cubes into the sink, refilled it with iceless water, handed it back to her without eye-contact or a thanks, and then willed her into the cornfield with all my other enemies as I went flying back to the espresso machine. That mad old hag.

And here's a new category of cast members--Employee's Loved Ones featuring;
"Won't Go Away Girl Jr." This is the daughter of an employee who apprently has no child care, but doesn't believe the daughter, who is now nearly sixteen, can take care of herself at home alone. So this girl loiters in every department, trying to be relevent and liked, past closing, while we all try to clean our departments and get. the. hell. out of the store before midnight. Won't Go Away Girl Jr. has a mad crush on Baby Boy, and so I was treated to her presence in my cafe for two nights in a row now. Thank God Baby Boy doesn't work full time in the cafe. The only consolation I had two nights ago was that Jr. plopped herself down at the original Won't Go Away Girl's table and loitered for two hours. The karma was a flowin', let me tell you. I though the Sr. was going to gnaw her own arm off at the socket to get Jr. to go away. Talk about your immovable object and your irresistable force. I'm suprised the store didn't implode.

Only Carmine Macchiato could have saved the night, but neither he nor his Lady was in attendance. I suppose they were home, making little Macchiatos. Woof! I bet that Carmine is one hunkalicious freight train of chugging love! Now that The Bull is shaved, Carmine's back on the throne. And too, Carmine doesn't wear flip-flops.


Mona wrote in the last comments;

Aloneness is ultimate. there is no way to be anything other than alone. One can drown oneself in so many things, but again & again the truth asserts.
It is not the aloneness that creates sadness. It is one's idea that to be alone is to be sad that creates the problem. Aloneness is utterly beautiful because it is s profoundly free.

Aloneness misinterpreted looks like loneliness. In loneliness you go on missing the 'other', the other being any excuse that helps you drown your consciousness, any intoxicant...a man/ woman, a book...anything that helps you to forget yourself, that takes you away from self remembrance.

Aloneness is beautiful. It is when the other is no longer needed, when you are enough unto yourself. You are rich when you are alone, because you are so full & you have so much you can share. But you are poor when you are lonely. A lonely person's heart is a begging bowl.

A lonely person cannot relate because his need is so much. He clings and leans upon the other. He tries to possess the other because he is constantly afraid of desertion. In loneliness the possessing game becomes the biggest problem. Love becomes politics, love becomes domination and exploitation. This is because lonely people cannot love. They have nothing to give & bundled together, they create misery for each other.

Life becomes a bargain then. Relationships become a bargain, a continuous conflict.

Look at the couples who are always fighting each other. They cannot leave each other, & although they go on fighting they cannot leave.In act that is why they are fighting, so that nobody can leave.They cannot be at ease, because if they are at ease they will be at loss, as the other will exploit more.

One wonders why people don't leave each other if they are not happy with each other. They cannot live together, they cannot separate either. In fact the very idea of separation is creating the conflict.They cripple each other so that the other cannot escape even if he wants to escape. they burden each other with such responsibilities, such moralities. That even if the other leaves s/he will feel guilty.His own conscience will hurt & pinch him reminding him that he has done something wrong. And together...all that they do is fight. Together they are haggling for a price continuously. The so called love relationships & marriage today are not love. They are a market place.

October 9, 2007 2:25 PM

And I cannot respond. I at once want to defend my position and just break down and confess at the same exact time. There isn't a thing in this message that I would disagree with. Every concept here is valid, and I thought I aspired to each one. I extolled the virtues of "The Alone Life" once upon a time, and now I'm embarrassed to see how far I've swung from the ideal.

At the moment, it looks like another roadblock to relationship. It feels like being lonely is going to set me and She up for failure. In the past I have run screaming from clingy, interdependent relationships. Now I'm a leech waiting to happen.

That's so not what I want.

I need to "man up". Be the man I want to be before I go begging for love. Get some self-possession and quit whining. But I need a little help. Is this reaction too far of a swing back in the other direction?

"A lonely person's heart is a begging bowl." Haunting.

Sunday, October 7, 2007


Thus ends three days of communion with My Hero. I have words to use, and they would do the job, but still it wouldn't be adequate. But I can tell you this; I was able to stammer out my thanks like Big Sad did Rocky. We had a quality conversation. (Included were your 'hellos', Steve. And someone told him it was my birthday tomorrow. He gave me a present. It's amazing that I could feel so close to someone so far away.)

Tonight, he went off to his plane in the company of the promoter and his son. He left me with a big hug (yes, My Hero is a huge hugger) and an enormous person-shaped vacuum in my chest. I went alone back to my car and weighed myself in the balance.

It isn't My Hero that I need. I need my other half. I'm just not a whole person. I can't be filled with the joy of quality companionship for three days and not notice the subzero absence of it when it hops on a plane to rejoin its life in California with its wife and two dogs. I may have a lot to offer as a friend, but I'm nothing compared to his Other Half, and rightfully so.

As I left the airport, I realized that I should either be driving away with my someone, or heading home to them as quickly as my tires could carry me.

I now know the difference. I'm not just Alone. I'm Lonely.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Cry If I Want To

Alternative side of the street parking suspended? Check.
One roommate in Timbuktu, or it's geographic equivalent (in other words, Not Here)? Check.
The other roommate departed way before I awoke? Check.
Lay in bed until I dang well felt good and ready to move? Check.
Surfed channels to watch Kella Ripa, Matthew Perry in a horrible comedy, the news, Robert DeNiro in a horrible comedy, the weather, an infomercial on how to make more money than God, the traffic, snippets of the movie "Fame", and Cher as a trashy mom trying to raise her facial/cranially deformed son? Check.

Things were going well.

Then my left eye dropped a tear, and the right eye--not to be outdone--dropped its twin with cinematic perfection.

At first I was going to title the post, Shouldn't Be Crying This Early In The AM. But then I thought, nah.

See, Rocky Dennis was getting his awards in the ceremony at his Jr. High. And his trashy Mom, along with her biker boyfriend and their crew, were on their feet, all loud, being embarrassingly encouraging for the boy with the big, bloated head. And one of the bikers, who I will call Big Sad, looked especially choked up--almost tragically so.

So afterwards, when Rocky watched the girl of his dreams go off to Summer with Blonde Hunk, and his family gathered around for a second round of rowdy congrats, Big Sad biker steps again to the forefront to lay a special one on Rocky. He's fat, he's hairy, and he's got tears in his eyes.

"I'm ... v-very ... p-proud ... of ... you ... R- ... R-Rocky."

Seems the Big Sad has a Big Speech Impediment, and physical defect was something he shared with Rocky. So he saw Rocky achieve something despite his "handicap" and Big Sad decided he would achieve something too. Tears were in Cher's eyes and they were in Sam Elliot's eyes as the scene was shot. They were in Big Sad's eyes, of course, and then they were in my eyes too.

Did I cry because I was moved by that sudden, unexpected bond between the two struggling outcast characters? Did I overidentify?

And why did the actors in the scene get choked up? Were they just commanded by the director? Or do most people know what it's like to be the Big Sad guy, watching a hero triumph and then feeling the personal victory of it because the hero represents the person inside of you. The person that you want so badly to be. Especially when that hero has flaws--it brings you that much closer because they know, like you do, what it means to struggle. And when they win, not only do you win--but everyone like you wins. Everyone who has ever known what it means to be alone and lost and hopeless and scared. Everyone who ever asked the question, "why me?"

Which, actually, is everyone.

It's all of us. Why do we hide it under layers of fashion and muscles and bravado and shallow sophistication? Why do we segregate ourselves into cliques of Better Thans? We're every one of us alone. We're all inside these skins alone.

And that makes us Not Alone At All.

Tonight I go to see My Hero. I've written my expressions of admiration and gratitude in several different ways so that he and others can read, but every time we're in earshot of one another I only usually manage to say surface "Aren't I Clever, Please Don't Hate Or Leave Me" things. Treading water to keep him in my life.

Tonight, the way Big Sad did to Rocky Dennis, I'm going to stammer out my appreciation. Even if it kills me. It just feels like something I should do.

Oh, that, and get a haircut.

Last night at B&N, I made the mistake of telling Jabberjaw that my birthday was on Monday. She asked how old I was going to be. Me, thinking I had made perfect peace with it through the last series of posts and comment responses, went ahead and told her.

"No way," said she. I watched the muscles in her face systematically fall, cord by cord. "Well," she said as she attempted to recover, "You look great!"

How did my age become equivalent to brain cancer that she thought I needed consolation? "Jabberjaw. She's mostly harmless too." My ass.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

My Night Job; Episode Three, "Premature Friday"

There's a new kid who I will simply call "New Kid," and he has the potential to creep me all the way out because ... well, he's too much like me. That is, if you were to darken me a few shades, stretch me to about 7 more inches higher, give me back all my teeth, then put braces on them, then lop twenty years off--you'd have me.

Last night I had to work with New Kid and Snapper (who the two of them just happens to be friends from way back, oh joy) and although I was in no specific mood, I found myself shrinking back. He sings aloud like I do (only better than me), he laughs a lot with the customers, and he'd throw himself on a grenade to keep the peace.

It was as though I felt uncomfortable watching my own vulnerabilities and insecurities reflected in New Kid. But at least he keeps Snapper involved long enough through conversation and hijinx to reduce the snapping. So it's all good.

No sign of The Bull in the past two nights. I miss him. :( Maybe his awkward attempt at seducing me has embarassed him to the point of no return. Poor Bull. If I were a chick, I'd let him take me right up against the cafe' wall, because that's the kind of 'ho I'd be. As I am now, I'd easily watch him in a porn flick. Big handsome bastard!

But wait, Carmine Macchiato was in the house! No macchiatos, but he was with the Lady Macchiato, and I heard him making her laugh a few times. They LIKE each other and I love it.

Little Tea Guy stopped through and got his teas. Won't Go Away Girl wouldn't go away again. She gets persnickity when we have to spray the tables with disinfectant and wipe them, which we don't start doing until at least 10:00. But of course, because she won't go away, she's always there to make a big open show of her disdain by covering her nose and mouth with hand. It takes a lot of control on my part not to tell her that if she doesn't like it, GO THE HELL HOME!! Instead, I just laugh because how funny would that be if I busted on her in such a manner? Would she even know how to act?

Also, I introduce to you in this cast last night was Chester the Molester. I give him that name because Drama Queen took one look at him once and decided that he fancies children. It's odd that I didn't have a stronger reaction. Instead, I choose to add him to the list and give him a name. Besides, not all greasy, belt-buckle-wearing-up-around-the-chest, comb-over bald, constantly smiling guys diddle with kids behind the magazine rack.

Oh, and ooh! There's also a manager in the store who I haven't decided between names yet. On the one hand, I want to call him Little Sexy, because his walk is bad-ass, and he has a visceral presence that I think smoulders. Kind of like The Bull, only more compact. But on the other hand I want to call him Mr. Stands-Too-Close because, um, yeah. We're not freakin' posing for pictures, dude. Can you step the hell over just a little and let me breathe?

Well, that's enough for now. In I go to B&N for my "Friday," because tomorrow I'm off from both jobs and alternate side of the street parking should be suspended, so I'm going to be laying in my bed tomorrow AM until the room spins.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

My Night Job; The Series

Dear Diary,

Tonight my heart leapt as Carmine Macchiato ordered two Caramel Macchiatos!! The which he took back to his table where sat his lady of color!! Yes, the same one from two years ago!! I wanted to hug the both of them!!!!

I kid you not, people. I had a smile on my face that could not be taken away after I saw him with his lady. Oh, he's just so masculine and gentle. It must be the poindexter glasses sitting atop his Roman nose. But I LOVED the fact that he was buying the Macchiatos and bringing them back to his lady, where they commenced to sitting in companionable silence, each reading a stack of their own magazines. And later? When they had left and I took my break at their table, thus studying the mags they had been reading? She was scanning tabloids--The STAR & Enquirer, while he was tackling Road mags like Car & Mechanic. SO wonderful. A Man and his Woman.

In other news, Drama Queen has worked her last night in the cafe. She peppered the night with only a very few attempts at the Ebonic Effect. Eminem she's not. I will not miss it. She went to the bookseller floor, where her erudite verbal skills shall not be wasted. And now I shall be the only drama queen left in the cafe. :D

Snapper was in rare snapping form last night, as well. I realized a few things about my hyper co-worker. He's pretty scared. As in anxious. Popping his fingers is how he discharges his nrevous energy, and judging by the frequency, he must be brimming over every 15 seconds. He needs medication. This is my professional opinion. It helps prevent me from wringing his neck, because that snapping sound is like the beating of the Tell-Tale Heart. It's like whistling. I'm 100% autistic when it comes to certain high-pitched sounds like that. Add the buzz of a fly or a mosquito to that list.

Attention Deficit Annie leaned against my back at the beginning of the shift to purr "Aren't you going to miss me when I go back to (insert vacation city here)?" I told her, "Well if you're going to press up against me like this ... yeah!" And I said it loud enough to be heard. She's going to meet a vacation-boyfriend (you know, the kind you meet with a bunch of friends, get laid, then stay in contact with when you go back home), so I know she wasn't overtly flirting with me or being sexually inappropriate. She just doesn't know her boundaries. So I took the opportunity to remind her. While feeling her breasts press into my back.

I love my night job.

An addition to the cast, who I hadn't remembered, is "The Bull" I studied him a little more last night. He's a strapping guy with a bald head and immaculately trimmed full beard. He's got the best facial features--better than Carmine Macchiato's. Bold, strong eyebrows, straight nose, perfect teeth, perfect-shaped head. Drawbacks, he wears flip-flops exclusively. I can't wait until the Winter months so he'll put those cruddy feet of his away! And secondly, I'm sure he followed me into the bathroom last night. Because he keeps stealing glances at me.

I had come back in from a trip to my car in the parking lot, and caught a glance at him catching a glance at me. (This happens in the gym a lot too. Hey, what can I say?) From the cafe', especially at the rail where he sits, you can see practically the whole bookfloor. I smiled at the phenomenon of being possibly attractive to another man. Lord knows that it happens to me often enough, so when I think the mancrush gets reversed on me, I get a warm glow. I mean, I do want to be attractive--I don't care to whom. :D

So in I go to the bathroom, and I'm doing my business at the urinal, and in swings "The Bull". And does he come to the neighboring urinal, or does he go past me to the enclosed stalls? No, he just goes to the sink and washes his hands a few times. Throughout my process and my handwashing, there he was. So I made a little small talk and off I went.

"The Bull" ladies and gentlemen.

I love my night job.