Cleaning up the friends list

I’m running outta time


It’s been so long since I’ve seen most of my friends that I realized I’d an opportunity to whittle down the people in my life. I’m running outta time to do the things I wanna do. And the things I gotta do.

After all, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.  Without Alison to ground me, I worry that my worst instincts will take over.

Johnny I’ve known for 25 years. Invited him over the other day.

Me: I think our friendship’s run it’s course, man.
Johnny: What? What’re you talking about?
Me: You tried to con RE Mike outta his cut for that last deal I sent to you.
Him: (shrugging) Who is he to us, Logan?
Me: I sent him to you. That means he’s someone to me. $500,000 is a lotta hurt, man.
Him: We’ve known each other over two decades, Logan.
Me: And that’s why I’m cutting you out. I deserved better than this. Thanks for trying to help Alison. But she never woulda wanted you to be part of our lives after what you did. Lemme walk you out.

The Devil stopped by not soon afterward.

Him: This is the first time you’ve ever invited me over in all these years.
Me: Considering you didn’t ask for my address, I assumed you knew where I live.
Him: (laughing) You know I like knowing things.
Me: Good. I’m here to tell you that I think we’ve outgrown each other. I’m a different person from the kid you met alla those years ago.
Him: Are you really, Logan? You and I are different from the rest of the world. We need each other.
Me: I only need the kid. The rest of the world can burn. And this is for the kid.
Him: I’ve never hurt you and I’d never hurt the kid. (scoffing) You’re gonna raise your kid to be like everyone else? In a world of sheep he can be more than we ever were.
Me: He’s my son, and – more importantly – Alison McCarthy’s son. That means he’ll be better than alla us.

Of course, there are those friends without whom I couldn’t imagine life.

Me: You still working in the Upper West Side?
Bryson: Oh, I shifted over to the design department at The Olive Garden. I’m taking care of all of their interiors.
Me: Wait, do you get free food? Can I get free food? Answer the second question first.
Him: (laughing) Yes, and yes. Just tell me when you have time.
Me: For friends, I find time. For free food I have time.
Him: Great, we have a nice bar too.
Me: You had me at, “Free food.”

Location: a red chair in front of her desk
Mood: kinda sick
Music: Don’t say you’ll stay, cause then you go away
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Random Meetings at Arte Cafe

Empty men


She collapsed exactly two years ago today. So today, I drink.


Went to my law firm the other day for a bit of work. It was the first honest work I’d done in a while. It was as if nothing had happened.

Afterward, walked over to the train in a daze. An older fella asked me for directions to my neighborhood for a party and we got to talking.

Him: You know, I was supposed to go to this party with my business partner and he can’t make it. Why don’t you come with me?
Me: (laughing) I should head home.
Him: Why? You just said that someone was watching your son. You look like you could use a drink. It’s an open bar.
Me: You had me at “open bar.”

We walked a bit when I realized that the place we were going to was the very last place Alison and I ever ate out at: Arte Cafe.

She got nauseated when the food came and we both assumed it was from the pregnancy. I only learned later it was probably the tumor. She gave birth soon after. Then everything went to s__t.

My face turned white, so the man asked me what was wrong and I told him everything.

Him: (gently) Come in. One drink. It’ll be good for you.

I nodded and went in. Stayed for a moment cause it was too much and I politely said goodbye to the man, who nodded again that he understood.

As I walked out, someone handed me a glass of wine and I downed it in a gulp. I turned to leave and bumped into a young woman with brown eyes.

Me: (smiling, holding out hand) Logan. You must be…?
Her: (laughing) Sharon. Nice to meet you. Who are here with?
Me: Well, Sharon, it’s a bit hard to explain…

I chatted with her for a bit and left. I don’t know why I do it; meet so many random people for no reason. Something pathological about me and my childhood loneliness, perhaps? Who knows…

I put on personalities like you would an old coat. Take them off just as easily. But I always feel empty afterward. Like I’m the coat and not the person. It’s why the Devil calls me a friend; the devil likes hollowed-out men.

I’ve got so many stories that’d blow your mind. But I don’t want you to think less of me.

Not that I care. I only care what Alison’s family and my family thinks.

And the Gymgirl. She’s different to me than the others. Mainly, I suppose, because she actually tried to help us when Alison was alive. That means so much to me.

And because of this conversation:

Me: It’s only fair to warn you that I’m a mess.
Her: I expect that. If you weren’t, I’d think something was wrong with you.
Me: I should also tell you that I’ll love her until the end of the world.
Her: (nodding) Of course you will. She sounded amazing.
Me: She was. (pause) Thank you.
Her: For what?
Me: (exhaling) For letting me be in love with her. I miss her terribly.

Location: inside my head
Mood: empty
Music: maybe, you’re gonna be the one that saves me
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Heading out for Halloween

A lifetime ago


Went to a friend’s place for Halloween with Gymgirl – you can see how I’m dressed above.

Me: I like your hair that way.
Gymgirl: I get it, I look better and less homeless.

Reminded me of last year when Alison, the kid, and I were the bat family.

Everything that should be nice and fun is never just that. Everything reminds me of stuff.

But I did have a nice night out with friends, which is always a good thing.

On that note, Gradgirl’s finishing up school here and heading abroad in a month or so.

Me: I wanted to say thanks for the company.
Her: (laughing) I could say the same.
Me: Maybe we’ll see each other again someday. If I can get my head on right.
Her: You’ll always love your wife. And that’s one of the things I find attractive about you. But…
Me: I know. That wasn’t our deal anyway.
Her: No, it wasn’t. Let me know if you’re ever by me.
Me: (nodding) Paris was nice the last time I went. That was a lifetime ago.

Location: on my white couch, looking at pictures of my family
Mood: conflicted
Music: I’m always thinking of you, but my words just blow away
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Comic Con NYC 2017

Good and irritating things

Been dealing with a lotta admin stuff for myself and the kid. None of it fun or interesting. So I’ve been lax with my updates.

But Halloween’s coming up, which reminds me that I went to Comic Con this past month.

It was just like the last time I went, all those years ago: I got a message one Sunday morning; my cousin and a mutual friend of ours had an extra tix to Comic Con.

So off I went.

Alison was alive the last time I was there. Everything reminds me of her, of course.

When I got there, the place was a madhouse; it took a while to find everyone in our group.

We immediately stopped by a booth where I promptly got flanked and choked.

Couldn’t stay long because I had to pick up the kid.

But it was nice to be outta house and at something fun, if only for a short while.

Back to the irritation.

Me: Ma’am, you’re telling me that my infant son and I are both losing our insurance this month?
Her: (long pause) Yes. Unless I could speak to your wife.
Me: Ma’am, if anyone could speak to my wife again, it’d be me and I’d never let her stop talking. (sighing) Get comfortable. This’ll take a bit to explain…

Location: in front of mountains – mountains – of paper
Mood: irritated
Music: I don’t wanna be me anymore
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The Boss and Me

We’re in luck

I ordered Netflix for Alison, years ago. It was a concession because I didn’t have cable.

On like our second date over a decade ago
Her: You’re not one of those weird guys with no cable, are you?
Me: I’m totally one of those weird guys with no cable.

Finally got around to cancelling it last night. After my dad passed, I cancelled cable for my mom as well.

It’s amazing what little things knock the wind outta you. Then again, it’s amazing what little things you treasure forever.

Years ago, I came home to find this.

After that, I used to label everything around the house: The Boss and The Other One.

Don’t think I’ll ever stop missing her sharp wit.

Her sister took the kid for a bit. When she brought him back I asked her:

Me: What would you think if I maybe went on a date with someone?
Her: I thought you were dating.
Me: Hmmm, it’s hard to characterize what I’m doing. But anyway, what do you think?
Her: No one’s judging you on anything, Logan. Even if they do, who cares? I don’t. No one close to you does. If it was reversed, I’d want Alison to get back out there.
Me: (getting upset) Oh man, if only it was that wa…
Her: (interrupting) Pull yourself together, Logan! No woman wants to see that.
Me: (laughing, wiping eyes) Noted.

Which is also interesting because I went out to lunch with some friends a while back and a girl from my gym was there. Ended up walking her back to her ride.

Me: Do you read my blog?
Her: (grinning) Occasionally.
Me: I feel I should tell you that I’m not dating anyone in the traditional sense.
Her: Oh, I only date people in the traditional sense.
Me: As well you should. (laughing) I’m just working through a few things right now.
Her: How’s that going?
Me: It’s a work in progress. You’re single, right?
Her: Yes.
Me: Well, if you meet someone between now and, say, the end of November or so, he’s a lucky fella.
Her: And if not?
Me: Hmmm, I make a mean bowl of chili.
Her: (laughing) OK.

Anywho, got a call from her Saturday night after a sleepless week.

Her: Hey, I’m in your neighborhood walking to the subway from 83rd Street. I was thinking you should join me.
Me: (thinking) I might be free.
Her: If you are, I’ll walk slower.
Me: Well then, we’re in luck – turns out, I’m free. Gimme 15 mins?

 

Location: not on the other side yet
Mood: hard to say
Music: I’m not stopping for ya, I’m a f_____g warrior
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Got a nickel and dinner at Bistango

Seeing yet more friends


Since I’m talking about self-medicating with food and friends, there was a group of my buddies that all got together to donate to Alison that I had been meaning to see for a while. So I invited them all over for dinner last week.

Spent a full day making pulled pork tacos three ways: Mexican, Japanese, and Chinese.

Him: Churros? Do we want churros?
Me: Why do you bother asking questions you already know the answer for?
Him: I need validation.

They’re a private bunch so no pics. But the food and the company were killer.

In a similar vein, a college buddy had a birthday at Rice and Gold downtown, so I dashed off to see him for just an hour or so. I arrived a sweaty mess but got a hug from everyone anyway. Poor bastards.

Broke down when walked in I saw my friend’s wife. The last time I saw her was with Alison.

Her: How are you doing these days?
Me: About what you’d expect. Drinking less. Womanizing more. My usual song-and-dance.
Her: You look good – you’ve lost weight.
Me: I’ve been doing intermittent fasting. (thinking) And abject depression. I don’t recommend the latter.

Met a young couple there that threw a fundraiser for Alison at their restaurant. The wife sat down with me and was really sweet.

Me: Thank you for everything you did for Alison.
Her: (waving her hand) It was nothing.
Me: (shaking head) No, it was something. It was definitely something.

On that note, both Bistango and Nickel and Diner went far out of their way for my family so I wanted you to know about them.

If you’re looking for places with great food to eat in the city, consider going to one of those two restaurants and support some great people that supported me.

There are most stories I need to tell you. But I need to start my day.

And, I suppose, restart my life, again.

Me: I think we should talk.
Gradgirl: OK.

Location: back at my desk
Mood: fuzzy
Music: I’ll give you my best side, tell you all my best lies
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Asking them how to do it

Back on the dark side of the moon

Food from the New York Mall in Flushing

It’s funny. When I don’t write for a while, it’s either because I’ve got a lot going on or nuthin at all.

It’s been busy here but hard to explain with what.

After you’ve taken yourself outta society, it takes a while to reintegrate.

Saw some friends a little while back for a lunch out in Queens at the New York Food Court. PB was there as was my brother and several other people I knew and didn’t know.

Alison was alive the last time I saw them all. Just like everyone else I’ve seen. It’s a hard thing to think about.

My brother and I have a somewhat rare quirk in that we have very close female friends who are simply that: Female friends.

His best friend is female and was there for lunch. She was the woman in this entry where I hoped I’d never face the kind of tragedy she did. That didn’t work out the way I’d hoped.

I spoke to her after everything went down. Asked her how she survived the blow.

As an aside, I met another woman this past week who lost both her parents in her teens and asked the same question. But that’s another story for another time.

In any case, no one ever really has an explanation. People just survive, somehow.

I’m surviving somehow, I think. With the help of some good souls.

Her: I hear about you meeting up with all these women, when are you going to ask me for a friend date?
Me: You wouldn’t like the cost of admission.
Her: Ewww, gross, Logan!
Me: (laughing) You know who and what I am. But I’ll see you again soon enough, I’m sure.

In that good souls entry, the horrible event I alluded to was the loss of yet another pregnancy for Alison and me.

I wish everything was different.

Ah, goddammit. I’m back here again.

Location: back on the dark side of the moon
Mood: back on the dark side of the moon
Music: Are you at it again? I think you hold your heart too close to the vest
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Ancient conversations, just ancient

Conversations


For you to get the full effect of this story, you have to know that I’m a germaphobe.

Not a terribly bad one, but enough that I’ll return home to get bottle of hand sanitizer if I leave with it or buy a new one immediately.

At last count, I have 14 bottles of them. That I know of.

I gave the little guy a bath the other day and he did something he’s never done before:

Me: …and that’s why the story of Tyre, the seige of Alexander the Great, and the Elvis Barbershop. Wait, what are you doing?
Him: (concentrating)
Me: Wait, are you…? No, don’t you…don’t…ohmygod…what are you doing?! For the love of god, stop! Stop! Stop! Don’t! Oh, man…
Him: (doesn’t stop until he’s done, inhales, smiles)
Me: (sighs) Well, papa’s gonna go throw up now. Then we’ll clean you up and figure out how to sell this apartment. We can never come back here.


Was on 41st Avenue, between Main Street and College Point Avenue in Queens the other day. Saw this lanky construction worker lead this group of elderly Chinese women around the construction site.

That’s him in the pic above.

He spoke to them in polite but limited Chinese, despite not being Chinese himself. I had to chat with him.

Me: Dude, that’s cool.
Him: What?
Me: That you took the time to learn the words to talk to them.
Him: (laughing) Thanks! I try. I figured I should learn how to say the right thing.
Me: (holding out hand) I like meeting nice people. The world’s fulla douchebags. It needs more nice people.
Him: (smiles and takes my hand)


Striking up conversations is a skill, but not always one that ends up anywhere meaningful. Although they’re all interesting in their own right.

Me: (interrupting) …sorry, I have to ask how old you are before we go on.
Her: 22, why?
Me: Oh, that won’t do at all.
Her: (laughing) Why? How old are you?
Me: Not to ruin this lovely conversation but…ancient. Just ancient.

Speaking of conversations and foreign languages, here’s a video with Oakland Raider, James Cowser discussing dim sum with much (much) better Chinese than I ever have.

Went to dim sum with someone recently but that’s a story for another time. One can only jump around so much in a single blog entry without making the reader’s head spin.

I think I hate James Cowser. Purely out of jealousy.

Location: all over the place
Mood: not good, not terrible. Meh
Music: I’m a funny little thing, I can tell you this for nothing
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A(nother) night in Solas

A goddamn rock


My cousin invited me out again and I figured I should try and be social. We ended up going to my old haunt Solas downtown. The last time I was there,  I was with Alison.

Used to go there every week or so for years. Turned 30 there. Also found a lost heart once on the long walk home from there as well.

And old habits are hard to break

Me: Hi. My name’s Logan, and you are…?
Her: (laughing, takes hand) Joan.
Me: Joan. Y’know, I knew a lovely girl named Joan in college…

I asked another woman to take a picture of me and my friends.

Me: Focus on me, the others don’t matter.

Which was a joke, of course. Because the night was only bearable because of them.

Me: You’re 27 right? You don’t have a drink?
Pez: Yes. And no.
Me: (handing her mine) Here’s a gin and tonic. Do you know the story about how it came about?
Her: (laughing) No.
Me: Great, I’ll tell it to you. It started when the British were in India

Think I was fine, for the most part; was there a few hours. But then the bouncer – who’s an old and dear friend – showed up and I totally broke down. I remember introducing him to Alison.

“I’m gonna marry that girl one day, man. You watch.”

He gave me a bear hug and said he was sorry. The owner came out and gave me a hug and and handshake too, which only caused me to break down once again.

Me: I never thought I’d ever be single and back here again. I’m sorry I’m such a mess, man.
Him: (gently) You’re doing great.
Me: (bursting out laughing and wiping eyes) Sheyeah, I’m a goddamn rock.

Just managed to pull myself together when Bal and Mouse from my wrasslin class were leaving so I  ended up leaving with them as well.

Bal headed to NJ and I walked Mouse to her station.

Me: I’ve been meaning to ask – are you dating X?
Mouse: (laughing) You should ask him. Why?
Me: (shrugging) No reason. Let’s just say I’m curious. Oh, what are your thoughts on Nietzsche?
Her: (smiles, thinks) Blessed are the forgetful for they get the better of even their blunders.
Me: Ah, that’s my favorite quote from him. There’s a lot I’d like to forget.
Her: It’s funny: You’re a nice guy, without being a puppy.
Me: (laughing) You’ll have to explain that to me someday but I’ll take that as a compliment, I think. (arriving at station) See you in class on Monday?
Her: See you on Monday.

I took the long walk home again to the west side and ended up chatting with Gradgirl before I hopped the train and made it back to my pad.

She was there when I arrived.

Me: How was your night?
Gradgirl: I was out. Danced with some people. You?
Me: The same. Jealous?
Her: (laughs) No. We both knew you’d end up here with me.
Me: So it seems. Come on in. The place is a mess.

Blessed are the forgetful.

Yeah. There’s so much I’d like to forget.

 

Location: same old haunts
Mood: deflated
Music: Got no place to go but there’s a girl waiting for me down in Mexico
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Pretty good out there

Being loved by someone like that


RE Mike recently took me out to lunch around the way.

Me: Last time I was here, it was with Alison.
Him: (sadly) I’m sorry, that’ll happen a lot, I think. How’re you holding up?
Me: Better. Kinda. I’ve been drinking a lot less these days. It’s the pharmaceuticals now that’re screwing me up.

Man, we had some fun times back in the day.

He also has work for me to do. So I guess I won’t starve after all – if I get my head on straight. Still trying to accept that my dad’s gone as well.

And my grief over Alison is still so raw.

Me: Spent the first week afterward wondering if I could kill myself without triggering a suicide clause in my life insurance.
Him: Jesus!
Me: (shrugging) Merely a mental exercise. Obviously, I didn’t do it. Someone has to raise the boy. (thinking) Think I’m gonna get the Reuben.

A Reuben was the first thing Alison got herself when she was finally pregnant.

It’s these constant things that keep me from getting my footing.

That she died before she could really spend time with the boy and me as a family guts me still. Suppose it always will.

Him: When I met Alison, I honestly thought, “Wow – She’s beautiful.”
Me: She was. That’s why I think that I do so well when I’m out and about. It’s amazing what being loved by someone like Alison does to your self-confidence.

On that note, he mentioned a doctor friend of his that was single around the way. Redhead.

Him: I can introduce you two – when you’re ready.
Me: Not now. (joking) But I told DC to keep an eye out for investment bankers for me in the future.
Him: (laughs) She’s a doctor, not quite an investment banker but you’d like her.

Told him that I’m not ready to date anyone that might think of me as anything but entertaining company.

Him: Think about it. 
Me: I do OK on my own. I was pretty good out there when we were out and about, no?
Him: You were very good. (laughing) But that was 12 years ago. You’re 12 years older now.
Me: No. (shaking head) I’m 12 years better now.

Location: in my head again
Mood: hard to say
Music: You’re gonna find yourself somewhere, somehow
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