It’ll never be ok

Just like that, I’m back

Woman: Mister. Mister. Are you ok?
Me: No.

This past week, I had a number of clients and friends contact all at once.
I’ve not really worked in any meaningful capacity in almost three years. But I’m right back as if nothing happened.

And yet, so much has happened.

Had a meeting on the Upper East Side with my buddy Steele’s wife for some work the other day and I’ve always prided myself on always being punctual.

She was on East 80th Street so I took the train to East 77th and got off.

When the train pulled into the station, I was so concerned about being on time that it didn’t occur to me that I’d been there. So many goddamn times.

I forgot that’s where the hospital was. The last hospital we went to.

As I walked up the stairs, saw it and my knees buckled. Ended up sitting on the stairs as I tried to catch my breath.

For those of you that know me in real life, that know my aversion to germs and dirt, picture me wearing one of my suits and sitting on a subway stairwell.

It was surreal.

Passerbys asked me if I was ok, if I needed help. Told them that I was beyond help.

Made it to my feet and made it to my friend’s door. Don’t even remember how.

Her: (opening door) Logan! Come on in. So good to…
Me: (interrupting) I forgot. (leaning against wall) I forgot this is where the hospital was. I…(chokes)
Her: (steps out, gives me a hug) It’s ok.
Me: It’s not. (shakes head) It’ll never be ok. (her baby cries)

Just like that. I’m right back as if nothing happened.


Steele and I chatted about it afterward.

Me: BTW, I’m sure the wife will tell you but I had a mini-breakdown in your apartment and may have scared your kid a bit.
Him: I can’t blame you. He’s gotta toughen up anyway…

Funeral Blues
by W H Auden

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message ‘He is Dead’.
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

Location: A black desk
Mood: tired
Music: I’m broken and I don’t understand
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Opinion: The judge in the Five Pointz case got it wrong

VARA isn’t a great law, but it’s the law

(c) Ezmosis

Wrote once about The Pigtail Ordinance: That was when this super racist judge in 1873 tossed out alla these racist local laws against the Chinese because he knew that the laws were contrary to the Constitution, the controlling law of the land.

In other words, he upheld the main law of the land over his own personal feelings.

You see, the Constitution says you can’t hurt a group of people just because you don’t like them.

That’s equal protection, which came about in 1868; The Pigtail Ordinance was shot down just five years later, which makes it all the more impressive.

But logically, if what I just said is true – that the Constitution says you can’t hurt a group of people just because you don’t like them – then the contrapositive must also be true: If you like a group of people, you can’t help them.

Thought about that with everything that’s going on politically.

Nowadays, it’s all about one’s team winning – whatever winning entails – at the cost of following the rules. Help those you like, hurt those you don’t. That’s not how it should be.

That’s all a preface for an unpopular thing I’m about to say:

The judge in The Five Pointz case got it wrong.

Since we’re walking down memory lane together, do you remember when I flew to give a lecture in front of the Paris Bar Association? The topic I was speaking about was VARA: The Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990. VARA was the law in question for this case.

Most of my clients – when I had clients – were artists.

So I’ve always been on the artists side. And what I’ve always believed was that VARA didn’t go far enough to protect artists. For example:

  • Why are only visual artists protected?
  • Why isn’t the art protected if the artist wants it destroyed?
  • Why is the law written so that only works of “recognized stature” are protected?

That last one always bothered me. Because who is to say when a work is of “recognized stature?”

But that’s one of the main areas where the judge got it wrong (amongst others).

In my opinion, and this is just my opinion, he saw that the developer was kinda a sleezeball, which he was, and simply assumed that 45 (45!) works of graffiti were of “recognized stature.”

That’s just not fair.

If I put a gun to the head of the average person and asked him/her to point out the Mona Lisa or Nighthawks, chances are they’d get it.

  • What if I did the same thing but asked him/her to name any one of these art pieces?
  • What if I did the same thing to the average art critic?

VARA is a wrong law and but that’s still the law. You don’t get to cherry-pick the laws you like and the laws you don’t like.

  • A racist judge shouldn’t ignore the Constitution to help white people.
  • A (rightfully) offended judge shouldn’t ignore the wording of a poorly constructed federal law to help these artists and hurt an unsavory person.

The artists were allowed to paint on the exterior of this building. That doesn’t give them the right to prevent the building from being torn down. They could have removed their art, at their cost, or taken hi-res pictures of it, which they did.

How the developer did it – without warning – was sleazy. But VARA doesn’t comment on the character of the art benefactor.

VARA should be replaced with a better law that truly protects art and the artist. But until then, it should be followed.

Below’s me talking about the case a lifetime ago. If you want to read my notes on the subject, you can download the powerpoint here.

And now I return to my life now: changing diapers and trying to figure out a way to get my kid to eat something besides peanut butter.

 

Location: memory lane
Mood: wistful
Music: a raspberry beret, the kind you find in a second hand store
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Long weekend

I’ll take a tiny win

Her: Do you know what the worst part about being short is?
Me: You don’t get to go on the adult rides in an amusement park?

This was a long weekend. The kid’s usually away at least every other weekend with my mom so I get a little break but this week, I had plans to bring him up to a birthday party with Alison’s college friends on Saturday morning.

See, I want him to have as much of the life that he woulda had with Alison. She woulda been there with her friends.

But he had a stomach thingy and we couldn’t go at the last minute.

This also messed things up for me because I was hoping that a neighbor or a sitter could watch him while I went to one of my oldest friend’s bday parties. But it’s not fair to stick someone with a vomiting kid.

Besides, I was worried it was the flu, despite him not having a fever.

So I stayed in the whole weekend. Then I started feeling rough. So the Gymgirl came over and spent one day watching him while I slept and drank fluids. She even brought him to an indoor playground through the pouring rain.

The Gymgirl is pretty short. I’m no giant but she’s tiny. I tell her that I could easily bench press her.

I like her cause she’s got a big heart, though. Actually met her because she did a few fundraisers for Alison.

I was in the living room resting when she was playing with the boy in the other room and smiled when I heard them interacting.

Her: Who’s that? Who’s that? (pointing at Alison’s picture)
Him: Mama.
Her: That’s right! That’s your mama.

Often write about how the only luck I’ve got is of the kind you don’t want.

But I did wake up this morning to this text from my phone from ABFF:

I have two kids with temps of 104 and one threw up tonite. So it’s good Nate didn’t come by…

It’s a tiny win but a win nonetheless. I’ll take it.

Me: Look at it this way, you and the kid can see eye-to-eye.
Her: I’m not that short!
Me: (looking over her head) Wait, where did you go?

Location: A white desk this time
Mood: tired
Music: So come over, just be patient and don’t worry
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A Parliament of Owls

A Murder of Crows

 

Me: What is that?
Him: Owl. Owl.

When I was younger, there was a film called The Crow that I loved. Heard they’re gonna re-do it.

Always thought that crows were cool. They’re all black, sociable, are one of the few animals that mourn their dead, and seek revenge.

Alison, however, preferred owls. In fact, we have several owl figures in the house, all purchased by Alison throughout the years. She was always surprised when I pointed out that we had other owls here and there.

Her: Oh! I didn’t even notice. I wonder what it is about owls that I like?
Me: What’s there not to like? They’re nocturnal, solitary, eat everything, are highly intelligent, and are quietly dangerous. 
Her: (laughing) I’m going to name it “Reginald.”

The Gymgirl also likes owls, as her family name has a part that means owl in her native language.

As luck would have it, one of the first words from my son is owl. He can recognize both regular and barn owls as owls.

I find the whole thing both peculiar and interesting

Since everything went down, I don’t suffer superstition well. I don’t believe in signs or the supernatural or anything of the like.

But I do like this, somehow. That my son likes owls. It must be Alison in him. This little thing makes me happier than you might imagine.

Did you know that owls and crows are mortal, natural enemies? They will try to kill each other on sight.

I’ve always said that we spend our lives seeking out our tribes. So, perhaps I was a crow that became an owl. Or maybe I was an owl all along.

It’s better this way, I suppose.

A group of owls is called a parliament. A group of crows is called a murder. I’d rather be a party of a parliament than party to a murder.

Current political climate notwithstanding.

Location: The same black desk
Mood: pensive
Music: You were only waiting for this moment to arise
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Disquieting

Everything worries me

Him: How’s it being a dad?
Me: Disquieting.

The boy is rambunctious.

He’s kinda like a cat that randomly runs into another room for no reason, only to hurriedly run back. Like the cat, he knows exactly why he runs, but the observer does not.

As I told a buddy, life with him is disquieting.

Not because of things like that, though. That’s comforting, somehow; that he’s a happy child, doing happy child things.

Rather, it’s because of something that Alison related to me once that her mother told her: The day you have a child is the day you start to worry and never stop.

I agree with that. And my case is especially anxiety producing, for two reasons:

1) I do this mainly alone.
2) Everything worries me.

On the former, I don’t have Alison’s keen insight into child rearing that she seemed to have naturally. She had an answer for everything.

Wish she was around for a million reasons, one of which is that I don’t have anyone to discuss rando child-rearing things with.

On the latter, that’s a different matter.

The other day, we stopped by a Super Bowl party with the same neighbors I spent NYE with. While there he fell and hit his head while playing around with RE Mike.

For anyone else, this is probably something that’s quickly forgotten. But because of what happened to Alison, any time he hits his head, feel a panic that I can’t describe.

Didn’t sleep well for a few nights afterward.

After all, what is anxiety if not the fear of the hypothetical?

Parenthood, ideally, is filled with love. But for every drop of love, there’s a commensurate drop of fear, I think.

All the more for me because of what happened to our family and because he’s all I have left that matters from her.

Then again, I suppose fear’s the bargain one makes for love. For some it’s too high a price to pay, and I get that. Now more than ever.

But I still think it’s worth it. I’d do everything all over again in a heartbeat.

Man, if you could see my kid laugh and not love him, you’re a tougher person than I.

And I’m made of titanium.

My mom: He said “I want daddy” while you were away.
Me: Get outta here. Wait, “daddy” or “papa?”
Her: Daddy.
Me: I wonder where he learned that from?
Her: Does that really matter?
Me: No. I guess not. (leaning in) Did you miss me?
Him: No!
Me: (laughing) Well, that didn’t last long.

 

Location: A black desk
Mood: tired
Music: I’m broken and I don’t understand
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Something for her

The Gymgirl turns 20-something

Her: We should do something for her.

The Gymgirl turned 20-something the other day.

Brought her out to eat sushi downtown and we were going to spend a weekend at my place when my cousin decided we should throw her a surprise party at a beer joint around the way.

My cousin introduced us, you see. Well, after a fashion, but that’s another story for another time.

The thing is that I threw a surprise birthday party for Alison when she turned 30. That was the first and last surprise party I ever threw anyone. Felt guilty for Alison for throwing one for The Gymgirl. Then I felt guilty for the Gymgirl about feeling guilty about it.

Wrote once about the difference between guilt and shame: Shame’s hating what you are. Guilt’s hating what you’ve done.

When I tell people that I have little to no shame, that’s true. It’s why I was pretty good out there. I know what I am and I’m ok with what I am.

But, the truth is, that I struggle with guilt far more than most people, I think.

Logically, dispassionately, I know it makes no sense.

That Alison’s gone now and the Gymgirl’s here. And yet I wonder if I’m doing something I shouldn’t be doing. Having any joy at all. Moving on with my life. Not only going to a party but planning it.

Was going to tell my cousin that I couldn’t do it. But I refuse to be controlled by that which makes no sense.

The fact is that the main things that Alison would have wanted for me are: (a) to be right in the head to take care of the kid and (b) to meet someone good and decent that would help me take care of the kid.

Obviously, it’s way too early to figure out if the Gymgirl’s that person. If there’s even is the possibility of another person out there for me. Or if I could be someone for someone else.

But I’ve always been stupidly optimistic like that. Even when all evidence tells me otherwise.

Me: Ok.

After dinner, we went to my regular hangout downtown, Solas. A friend that’s part of the establishment lost his significant other as well. That’s his story so that’s all I’ll say on it.

We talked a few moments outside. He showed me pictures and it was too much for me to take.

So I went upstairs to a seat I used to sit at for years doing pickup, hoping it was empty. It was. So, I sat and cried.

But then my friend Drew came upstairs and sat down next to me. He’s the handsome weirdo next to The Gymgirl in that picture up there.

Me: (after a bit) I never wanted anything else but her.
Him: I know.
Me: Sorry, man.
Him: For what?
Me: For being such a whirlpool of sadness and depression alla time.
Him: You’re not. Not all the time.
Me: (laughing) Good. (wiping eyes) Well, we’re pretty sober. Let’s fix that. Lemme buy you a drink?

The Gymgirl and I ended up stumbling out of the bar after 1AM. She didn’t have a drop of alcohol because of her meds. I couldn’t say the same.

Me: Sorry I’m such a mess. I hope you still had a good birthday.
Her: It was great. Thank you.
Me: Sure. Everyone deserves a nice birthday. (thinking) You may have to carry me home.
Her: I’d do that.
Me: I know.

Location: My son’s room
Mood: conflicted
Music: I believe, I believe, I believe, I believe that I’m in too deep
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Closets full of her

Good save, Logan

After all these months, finally decided to clean out Alison’s closet.

Her clothing management was a lesson in urban organization.

She managed to put her entire life into an dresser and a closet measuring 6′(w) x 2′(d) x 8′(h). All her clothes were perfectly pressed and hung. Several had tags on them.

I remember she told me that she was excited to work out and get back to her “normal weight.”

I find people use too many superlatives to describe things. Let me just say these simple true things:

  • The sun is hot.
  • Space is cold.
  • I loved her more than anything.
  • I was in agony as I cleared out her things.

Spent a few days on it. Was pretty mechanical about the whole thing towards the end. With the random tourette’s sprinkled here and there for effect.

Managed to clean up a little more than half of it all before I had to stop. Gave away as much as I could to friends and family. Donated or tossed other things.

Kept far more than I intended. Had the most peculiar thought while I was cleaning it all up:

She’s gonna kill me if she comes back.

Ah, if only.

I’d kill myself a thousand times over if only. But you knew that.


The Gymgirl helped one day. I asked her if her helping me bothered her. She asked me if it bothered me. We both said no.

Caught her crying on the sofa over something of Alison and mine, but she wiped her eyes, cleared her throat, and continued to help. Almost wept myself because of it.

Gymgirl: (later) I wish I met her. I feel we would have been friends.
Me: Sure. You’re nice. She liked to clean stuff up.
Her: Wait, what?
Me: Well, you’re a mess…y person…?
Her: (shaking head, laughing) Good save, Logan.

The Gymgirl ended up cleaning up and tossing out a lotta my junk while I was focused on her stuff. She found my 1999 law school yearbook.

Her: (reading it) I’m surprised at how modern everyone looks.
Me: What do you mean?
Her: I thought the pictures would all be black and white, people would be wearing funny clothes, and the guys would all have waxed mustaches.
Me: (laughing) How old do you think I am?!
Her: (thinking) I was nine when you graduated law school.
Me: (shaking head) Not what I asked.

Location: A clean(er) apartment. For now.
Mood: sigh
Music: A brown headed stranger, with a five-letter name
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Everything turns

Should be a good thing

Before everything went to hell this past weekend, a good friend of mine just had a promotion at work so a whole slew of former co-workers and such got together to wish him well in his new position. It was nice seeing everyone out and about.

As for me, I feel as if I’m running in place. It seems everything I touch turns to s__t in one form or another. This past weekend being a case-in-point.

Everything that should be a good thing – like the birth of a child or his first steps – is followed by some horror or, at the very least, some downer.

Clients are calling me again but it’s always for the most complex of work.

Used to relish the challenge. Now I just wonder if I should get a job doing something mindless and insignificant just to not think about anything at all.

Man, for five days in 2015, I had everything I’d ever hoped and wished for. It’s 2018 and I only have one thing that really matters to me.

Although, to be honest, it is such a wonderful thing:

Me: Who am I?
Him: (pointing to me) Pa, pa!
Me: (nodding) And who is that? (pointing at picture of Alison)
Him: Mu, ma!
Me: (smiling) Oh, that’s my smart boy.

 

Location: still in the basement of my brain
Mood: troubled
Music: And I’m on my knees, looking for the answer
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Cannot believe I’m back here

First ER trip of 2018

Took that pic yesterday.

Gymgirl was battling something and inadvertently mixed some medication and alcohol that resulted in a really rough night for the two of us plus a mutual friend. It was something I experienced with Alison after she had gotten sick because her body was so weak.

Luckily for the Gymgirl, hers was not because of cancer.

Because of that, she bounced back pretty quickly but just a day later, we ended up at same medemerge that I went to when I got that cut above my eye.

The same one I’d brought Alison to so many times before.

Doctor: [The Gymgirl] needs to go to the hospital. The ER. If she doesn’t go by ambulance, you’ll have to bring her. It may be nothing but if it’s an appendicitis, she could die.
Me: (deep breath) OK. I’ll get her there.
Her: (outside) You don’t have to bring me.
Me: Of course I do.

Fifteen minutes later, we’re in the same goddamn ER that I brought Alison to twice: Once for the baby – the height of our joy – and then countless times later for the fucking cancer.

My life is on some horrific type of repeat Groundhog Day.

Gymgirl: Are you ok?
Me: Nope.

Had to go outside repeatedly to catch my breath. And weep. One guy handed me a buncha paper towels. Another girl gave me a box of tissues.

Me: These used to be red. I had so many of them.

Gymgirl insisted on having her brother come but I wouldn’t leave until he came. It was agony.

Went to the bathroom and dry retched.

Her brother came and I shook his hand and apologized to her for leaving.

Her: Don’t. Thanks for staying.
Me: Of course. That’s the deal.

Walked home through the women’s march in a daze.

And when I got home, I poured myself a stiff drink. The Gymgirl wrote me and told me she was gonna be ok, which was a huge relief.

Alison’s BFF messaged me too and I told her what happened.

ABFF: Oh, man…You’re not the right wing man for any hospital trips in 2018 I don’t think – it’s too soon
Me: Sheyeah…

After we finished chatting, poured myself another drink and, spent the rest of the evening unlocking the bootloader on a phone, flashing a new recovery, reformatting the encrypted drive, and installing a debloated distro copy of the stock ROM.

Oh, and drinking and cursing the whole time.

So that was my Saturday. You?

Location: In front of a soft-bricked LG V20
Mood: @#$@#$@#
Music: Caught my reflection, drop the call, I’ve been medicated with cigarettes and alcohol
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No Happiness Scar to Show

Starting off 2018 with Dom


When Alison and I got married, her sister bought us a bottle of 1989 Dom Perignon. We decided to keep it for a special occasion in the future.

Her: Let’s have it when the baby’s born.
Me: Perfect.

Of course, we didn’t count on the heartbreaking amount of losses. And absolutely never thought our life together would start ending just five days after the kid was born.

So it stayed in my fridge all these years.

The messed up part of it is that, I grew to hate this thing born of family, kindness, and love. On a practical matter, it just took up space in my fridge. On a deeper level, it was a constant reminder of all the b______t things that were supposed to be sweet for us but were bitter instead.

Can’t tell you how many times I thought of just opening it and chugging the whole damn thing.

Was planning on staying in for New Year’s Eve. My mom had the kid. My mother-in-law just bought me a new bottle of rum so: Plans.

But then I got a text from an old and dear friend around the way.

Him: Yo. Are you around tomorrow or going out? RE Mike is coming by for drinks around 8 if you want to come by.
Me: Cool. Was just planning on staying in but that sounds like my speed.

Decided to bring the bottle for three reasons:

  1. The couple that invited me did more for Alison than most people, by a large margin.
  2. Alison always liked all of them. RE Mike’s girl was even from her hometown. She was excited to get to know her.
  3. I actually had a bottle of it with them in past, so I thought it’d be a nice continuation.

We cracked it open a few minutes after I arrived. We toasted my family and said the goodbye to the old year. And, like always, I hoped that this year would be better.


Should note that I spilled two glasses of champagne there – not the super good stuff – so the clumsy is still working.

Stumbled home just before 1AM. Gave the Gymgirl and my family a quick ring.

Afterward, I lay down in my suit on my white couch for while and opened up my jacket. For some weird reason, I like to have quotes sewn on the inside of my suits. On this one it said:

It’s a piece of a quote I told you about once before: It’s so hard to forget pain, but it’s even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness.

It’s funny. People notice the scar above my eye now. And the one on my lip from time-to-time. And the one on my leg and arms. The biggest scar I got is the one in the shape of Alison on my soul. But no one sees it.

Although, you know about it, I guess.

Wish I had a scar for all the amazing times I had with Alison. The amazing life I had with her. For that, I have no scar. Yet another b______t thing in my life.

Anywho, I laid on the couch, thought of that for a bit.

Then, I got up, poured myself a glass of rum, and sat down again.

Started 2018 the same way I started a lotta my days in my life: In an empty house feeling empty.

Me: Hey. I miss you like crazy. Happy New Year, hon.

Location: Seven days into 2018
Mood: thoughtful
Music: It’s gotta get easier and easier somehow. But not today
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