I saw him walking into the grocery store. I hoped that looking down into the produce would keep him from seeing me. Mike is a walking CAT5 hurricane of drama and trouble.
“How nice and old fashioned! You have an admirer!” said the bartender, placing an icy beer mug in front of him. “The muscle boy in the red t-shirt in back,” mumbled the bartender. He lifted the glass gently, motioning a “cheers” to the man in the back of the bar. “Do strange muscle boys send you beers all the time?” said his friend next to him at the bar. “Can I help it if the boys need Daddy?” “Revolting. You know a boy that age barely knows what gay is. He is not prepared for that dungeon of yours and sling of the ages.
He flipped the radio off. The story was so sad, that even the NPR reporter was careful with his words, and admitted it was a story that was messing with his head. He pulled the car over, and after pulling the emergency break just closed his eyes. So much sadness in the world. Sadness was dangerous to him, because he felt it so keenly versus everything else. He was a happy man in a good place in his life, but the power sadness has to overtake him has never gone away.
He sat with his head leaning against the glass. White earphone cords lead across his flannel shirt to his pocket. Eyes shut, he nodded slowly to the music as a contented sleeping smile swept across his face. He held a large leather-bound journal, liberally decorated with Easter-egg colored sticky notes. He was almost cuddling with it like he was under the covers. He smelled of sandalwood and coffee. He had missed a half-inch spot in that morning’s shave. I was feeling guilty at having him all to myself when his phone erupted in vibration. “Hello…” he said softly.
"I married Sasquatch. I'm cleaning up more of his hair than the cat," she laughed into the phone, "Yeah. Everywhere. Ev-er-y-where.......................Yes. I'm sure if hair would grow on the bottom of his feet it would be there, too......." She laughed outloud, "No, he won't manscape. leave alone wax. LOL," She squealed out another laugh in response to the person she was talking to. "what? flossing? LOL. oh.... down, dear god. I have never .... oh you are just disgusting. no I am not going to describe my sex life to you over the phone. what? no? gross. no!
She stood at the wall staring over the raging surf. The first frost glistened on the stones around her. She pulled the furs around her shoulder to keep the sea from catching her cold. When complete, the fortress would face the ocean wind and be a beacon to the coast. She imagined the thick stone walls would reveal themselves like a ghost in the ocean fog. The golden and red banners flew in the breeze from the spire tops.
“I saw the entire sky ‘powdered with stars….'” [caption id="attachment_1400" align="alignright" width="300"] Bill Hayes & Oliver Sacks
“Blasphemer!” “What?” “Who is Donna Summer? Really? That’s like asking 'Who is Barbra Streisand?' ” “Um,” he said, hesitating. “Good lord honey, do they teach you baby gays anything about your cultural history?” “I know Britney and…” “I know you didn’t just try to group Babs and The Donna with the Mickey Mouse Club?” “The what?” “Oh, nevermind. We’re going to have to give you a crash course: Babs. Donna. Diana. I will tie you down.” “Wait, is she singing about leaving a cake out in the rain?” “You are hopeless.” “Green icing? She lost the recipe?
“I had the weirdest dream last night.” “Suffocating Justin Beiber with a sequined pillow, again?” “No, but that one is delicious though. I was working behind a burger counter, with the Madonna headset. I was working retail, can you imagine? Anyways, I was working the counter and these three guys come in, big bears and they start ordering, and keep ordering. And instead of a dollar amount, their order came up in grams of fat and calorie count. They just kept ordering mini tacos, and nacho platters, and then they ordered an extra large onion rings.
Snow White was enjoying the quiet. The guys were off at the mine. The bluebirds were off at a convention and not asking for duets with her. She had finished her chores and was enjoying a cup of chamomile. She should have known better. It was too quiet. She was about to move for her sword when the boot smashed into the side of her face. She tumbled into the corner. “Snow.,” snarled the female voice. “Pocahontas.,” she said, bluntly acknowledging the tall warrior woman, sword drawn now, standing in her living room. “I heard what you did to Ariel.
I'm starting a new series of posts on my blog tagged as "adventures." My life seems to have them every once in a while, when something or someone crosses my path, and it feels worth writing out as a story. I'll also use this type of post to talk about bicycling trips, travel and other mischief that me, the adorable husband, my dog Miss Kate and my treasured friends get up to. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Recently Miss Kate and I met a new neighbor named Raj on our morning and afternoon walks.
The leather bar was crowded. There must be some kind of event in town. He just wanted to be out and have a cold beer, smoke a cigar perhaps. He got his drink at the bar and found a good people-watching spot on the ledge a step above the rest of the patio. He had already spotted a few lapdogs. The boys who cruise the crowd face to face, bulge to bulge so fast it looks like they are on an exercise program, like Midwestern housewife mall walkers.
I was out for my Sunday run and I saw him kneeling in one of the flower beds. The first thing I noticed was his dirty fingernails. The second was the large-scale chain and lock around his neck. He wore a sunhat that was in scale with the rest of him. He was a gigantic man with tattoos seemingly everywhere. He introduced himself as ‘the gardener,’ curiously with no proper name. The Placer place had been on the market so long it really was a surprise when it finally sold. Its yard was overgrown and the house, far removed from the street, took on a southern gothic air.
It was the perfect annoying Monday morning sound. You could hear the screeching of the fan belt from blocks away. Rev, screech, brake, throw, Fwap!, As she got closer, you could hear the Hispanic pop music radio she listened to at ninety Db above the pain level. Rev, screech, ♪ ♫ ♬ Es que yo sin ti, y tú sin mi ♪ ♫ , brake, throw, Fwap! I imagined her in the cockpit of the vintage 1982 Vega, with throwing arm with biceps rivaling Popeye the Sailor.
He looked purposefully crumpled. The worn flannel shirt was a size or two too big hanging on him like a monk's robe. He set down a coffee cup, with a tea bag crimped and it's string dangling from the lid. Fussing with his backpack, he produced a fountain pen and a small leather bound book. He turned through it, the pages crackling, to an open page. He caressed the opposing page, acknowledging the handwriting and drawings there. He took a sip of tea, took a brief pause to look out the window, and passionately dove into writing.
I was backpacking and staying in a small lakeside campground on Orcas Island. Moss hung from the trees, and my campfire seemed like it was the only one on the entire island. It was a rainy spring, and while that weather chases away most folks, it is precisely the kind of weather that calls my soul outdoors to watch the world refresh and start anew. It was all the more surprising when he walked out of the woods, soaking wet, to sit next to my campfire. He was a blonde lab with the most fascinating blue eyes.
"It's not you, it's me." "I know what you want, and I want different things." "We're at different places in our lives." (and the worst) "I thought I wanted a different kind of relationship but I was wrong. There is no 'why it didn't work' it just didn't, and I need to move on." The Cliche Tsunami continued on for a few more sentences. What got in his craw the most was the laziness. The least amount of work possible. Such bullshit. Once the veneer of a charming smile wore off, that was all that was left.
It occurred to me over coffee that what the world needed was a Fagat guide. Enough with Grindr and Scruff - what we need is a rating app. Fagat’s editorial team would enthusiastically curate the best bottoms, middles and tops in 18 cities worldwide and serve them up to you in a fun and accessible way so you can enjoy the best the city has to offer. Along with pictures and descriptions, it would ask users to separately rate the Fuck, Decor, Cleanliness and Service on a 0-3 point scale (0 = fair/poor, 1 = good, 2 = very good, 3 = excellent).
"And just what is this," he protested, brandishing a Subway sandwich wrapper in his hand. "Proof you've been raiding the recycle bin?" "Exactly, explain!" "Um - I like cold cuts? what is your issue?" "So that Jared guy from Subway plead guilty to child pornography charges," he said tapping his foot, "the guy who told us to eat submarine sandwiches, that eating fresh was the path to a healthier life. Follow me? so now that he's thin and wealthy, he's decided to watch and purchase kiddie porn.
The cadence from his earbuds tapped and buzzed from several tables over. Mumbling along with the words silently, he tapped his foot on the pavement. His 5 o'clock shadow beard had been neatly and deliberately trimmed around the edges, betraying it's initial appearance. As the song ended he pulled a small notebook from his chest pocket., He began writing, mouthing words to himself. He took a look down at his writing, rewarding himself with a approving smile. Tapping back the tight dark blue backwards ballcap, he turned the music back on.
"Eeyoreism?" "Eeyoreism. Going to the gym so I wouldn't be fat. Going to work so I wouldn't be evicted. Always painting obstacles in my life as bleak as possible. 'Nobody will want to date me if I'm fat, so I guess I'll go to the gym' , 'I guess I'll never love my job, so I'll just go clock in and collect the paycheck like everyone else.' Once I figured out I was doing that, it became a choice. I go to the gym to be healthier, not to live up to anyone else's measurement. I quit my job and went and found a job I actually enjoy doing. and so on." "I'll be fine, nobody will worry about me.
The clothes would probably have stood up on their own if he hadn't stripped right into the washer. The campground dust had gotten everywhere. He walked to the bathroom imagining himself leaving a cloud behind like PigPen from the Peanuts. His hair was so dry from the heat and dirt, that he could feel it crackling as he ran his hands through it. There was a fine grit of dirt on his fingernails. He smiled at the memory of almost buying the condo on the basis of this shower stall alone. A big waterfall shower with a stone shelf where he could sit for his infamous soak and thinks.
Hiking up my boxers, I shuffled into the kitchen. As Dolly Parton says, to "pour myself a cup of ambition." Adding a bit of sugar and milk, I wandered out onto the deck and waited. I can't remember when being there for sunrise became such a ritual for me. It is almost as if you can hear it, as well as see it. The birds start singing and chatting in the trees, just as excited as I am. The shades of blue and gray as the light starts, before the sun breaks the horizon. There is a lot of time to give to others, honestly, and it is my way to do so.
"I'll see you soon," he said, lying, "Yep. uh-huh. Gotta run. Yep. Running late. yes. must go. bye." He hung up the phone and let out a relieved sigh. He took a moment, darting into a doorway on the street to get out of the path of the other speed walking commuters around him. Why did he let himself get in situations like this? Why couldn't he be stronger, and just be honest? How did he get another installment in the "desperate stalker of the month club"? Why couldn't he just have a couple of dates of shamelessly hot sex, and then tell them the truth? He didn't want a boyfriend.
"Our city has a poop problem?" "The article says they've picked up human poop 300 times in the last year. Pretty much every day but holidays and Sundays." "Hello, breakfast here." "Don't hate on me, I'm just reporting the news," he said, sarcastically, tapping the front of the paper with his hand. "When did local newspapers become the Enquirer?" "Blame the internet." "Ah yes, the internet," he said, pausing then theatrically shaking his fist at the sky, "Damn you, internet, you've ruining everything." "The article is about the rise of homelessness.
The ear becomes so accustomed to the hum of the highway, the cadence of the urban commute, and the sharp shrieks walking by the playground on the way to the bus stop - - that right now out here under the trees, the silence feels like something I could actually reach out and touch. It's almost like the quiet protects me. All I can hear is the soft crunch of pine needles under my boots. The sun is filtering through the trees, leaving cold shadows still filled with morning mist and moonlit cold.
"That is so gross." "What?"
"That cereal" "You say 'that cereal' like it's a committed a crime or something." "it has. Against good taste. I mean look at it. it's so ...... branny." "Bran happens to be good for you - and accepting criticism from someone about cereal when their choices include sugar smacks, cinnamon toast crack and chocolate cheerios, is somewhat suspect." "This would be great if were about me, but if you refer to the chart on the refrigerator it is only about me on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and today is Wednesday.
It is a cathedral of the senses that only reveals itself to me when I am out on my bike when the sun first pours over the horizon. I could hear the leaves dancing on the trees, the gentle gusts of the northerly pushing through the neighborhood and gently washing over me.
She landed on his hand and he watched in fascination as the mosquito did an inventory of her choices. He'd read somewhere that mosquitoes can smell individual components in your blood. "What are you looking for?" he spoke to the insect on his hand. Almost as if answering him, she chose a blood vessel near his knuckle that his eye hadn't even noticed. He was surprised how much he could feel her incision. He watched her drink and then pause, He wondered if it was out of instinctual doom.
The occasional lurching stop of the bus bumped his head against the glass. With the arm of his sweatshirt he'd reach up and wipe his nose in his sleep. You could hear the pounding of some kind of rock music from his earphones from several seats away. The conductor came around checking tickets, and the young man produced a wrinkled paper day pass from his pocket. His eyes were tired, and bloodshot, but were soon shut again as the train chugged out of the station into the tunnels downtown.
"He understood you, you know," she said to me, breaking the silence. The December wind whipped around the tombstones in the small country cemetery. The leaves sticking like grade-school decoupage to the different colours of stone.
My brain untwists itself and lays me flat. I thought I wanted sex, I think to myself, but god how much I just want someone to touch me. How long can a person live without physical affection? How are people supposed to live like this? All this rushing to do the next thing - get to the next powerfully boring meeting at work, the rush to write that friend an intimate letter that seems to go ignored, what the fuck am I going to make for dinner? nope. nope. stop. mute all that shit. I want someone to touch that rise at the base of my neck.
The crunchy grass of fall met our feet as we arrived for a morning walk in the park. The bright sunrise sending the morning mist hovering over the park scurrying for shelter. As a senior dog, she is never in a hurry. Checking favorite spots and wobbling along her happy one-of-a-kind way. Across the park a man burst into the field with a golden lab puppy. It excitedly played ball with him until noticing me and Miss Kate. Bolting over, wagging a tail almost larger than the rest of him, he greeted us. Miss Kate loves labs, always crushing on them, and he was no exception.
This morning was the first rainy dogwalk of fall. It is always hysterical. Our condo has an indoor courtyard - so as soon as we step outside, Miss Kate can hear the rain. She starts the long slow slog outside, pouting. The trees that surround the buiding amplify even the smallest amount of rain, but at 6am - it was POURING. I popped the umbrella open and we stepped out.
The first crunchy frost of fall announced itself as he cut across the green grass in the predawn darkness. He stopped, staring up into the pre-dawn sky, realizing it had returned. He remembered his childhood room, pointing his Sears Roebuck telescope out the westward window hoping for Orion.
I circled the date on my calendar. I chuckled to myself, I was still keeping a 6th grade teacher red pen on my desk. September 25th. He's fifty today. He'll jog along the Outaouais, lost with some kind of morning prayer playing in his earbuds he will stop and stare out over the water. His hot breath will make steamy dances in the sunrise. Does he remember the sound of my name? How it rolled from his tongue like a poem of hope and heart break. How his french tongue broke it into so many syllables it seemed impossible. Does he remember standing on my stoop with tears in his eyes?
"How come you never hear people bitch about Tuesday? No 'for the love of Christ it is only Tuesday' memes ...... I think Tuesday is getting off easy." "I think you are thinking too much."
"Monday is hated, Wednesday is hump day, yet Tuesday is nameless, invisible." " Perhaps Tuesday prefers to be the day other things get posted.
"The community is there," he responded, "I guess I'd question what kind of community we are though? We're a gang of men that talk about cock all the time, yet someone that enjoys a lot of it, we label a slut. We talk about hot we are in the sack yet most guys have that irritating hesitation, like they suspect that it's really not okay. And they guys that really do let go and find everything there is to love in a man we label a pig.
I love being awake for sunrise. The trees silhouetted against a creamsickle orange sky. The best part is the stillness and the quiet. As the sun peaks over the horizon it almost as if you can hear the world let out a sigh of relief. The first rays strike the treetops as a raccoon scurries away to its daytime lair. A determined jogger heavy breaths his way down the street. The tin notes from his earphones being first to break the silence. The dog comes to me on the patio, finding me stretched out on the yoga mat.
I work very hard to live an uncomplicated life in complicated times. The path towards peaceful living has resulted in great satisfaction and at other times great loss - but that's the trademark of any journey worth looking into. I am a published novelist and short story writer - as well as anavid foodie and food blogger.