Frenemies

(ish)

I have a group of people that I can only call my frenemies. The Devil’s one although, that’s…in flux, for a variety of reasons.

Another is the guy in this entry. I sued him and won(ish) – we settled but mainly on my terms.

For the next seven years or so, we became friendly(ish).

I’d stop by over every few months or so and trade stories with him over coffee. We had our flareups but he knew what I was capable of and I knew the same for him.  So, we were kinda like Russia and the US; in a polite, Cold War type of existence.

He ended up retiring and the guy that took over and I went almost started a hot war over something recently. But a mutual party stepped in yesterday morning.

Friend: You should meet him. He wants to talk.
Me: Sorry you’re in the middle of this. Let’s see where this goes.

I don’t like meeting people in their environment. It gives them too much advantage. But he needed me more than I needed him so off I went.

Him: What can we do to work this out? My guys mean well.
Me: They mean well to you, because you pay them. They don’t mean s__t to me. Here’s what I want…
Him: (after) I can do that. (takes out papers) Now, here’s what I want…
Me: (after) I can do that. (thinking) I’m starting to like you. Your predecessor was a frenemy of mine and I miss having coffee with him. Are you down to have a fella like me as a frenemy?
Him: (laughs) I’d love it. (holds out hand)
Me: (takes it) I’ll give you my official response on Friday but I’ll tell you now that I’ll let you do this thing. Ask your predecessor, my word is all you need.
Him: Good. You know my daughter’s a lawyer too? I’m surrounded by them.
Me:  So am I. Hell-of-a-thing. That means we’ll continue to be polite to each other, yeah? Lawsuits are expensive. Coffee’s cheaper. I’ll come by in a month with the latter. You can tell me then how you take it.

I find that the people that give me trouble make me better at what I do. Lincoln was known to surround himself with rivals. I don’t go that far.

But I do collect valuable people. His predecessor was one, as is he.

It’s better to have valuable open adversaries than useless disloyal friends.

Location: earlier today, a new office
Mood: dull and vicious
Music: feel it really…sinking in

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Sorry, Wrong Meeting

What wins I can get

Been working for and with startups since I was in my late teens. Some of them became huge entities, others pretty big deals. Most, however, fizzled out with little-to-nothing to show for themselves.

Many of them paid me in stock options or some form of equities. You see, I remember reading about Robert X. Cringley as a kid and was determined not to make the same mistake he did – passing up the opportunity to be on the ground floor of a major world player.

Although, I kinda did that when I turned down being an early employee of Cnet to go to law school. But that’s neither here nor there.

In any case, a legal client of mine just got acquired by a public entity which means that I actually have stock in a company that’s worth something. It’s nothing huge, at all.

Still, it’s something new and a win. I’ll take any weekday wins I can get.

Her: What does this mean?
Me: It means that I can get that monthly Metrocard I’ve been saving up for.

Speaking of lawyers, been talking to a whole slew of them lately, for a variety of reasons.

Him: Nope, he’s still a republican, despite everything. He’s been one for 30 years, he’s not changing now.
Me: Do you know what the definition of “stubborn” is?
Him: I think so?
Me: It’s, “Not changing course despite good arguments or reasons to do so.” That’s the difference between [your client] and us [lawyers]. We don’t waste our time on a losing issue. 
Him: (joking) Unless they pay full-freight, which he kinda does. And all lawyers are grey. That’s why people hate us.
Me: (nodding) I’m nuthin if not the grey man. Speaking of hate, did you ever watch The Jeffersons when you were a kid? 
Him: I know of it, never really watched it, though.
Me: There was an episode called Sorry, Wrong Meeting. George is at a meeting fulla white racists and one of them gets a heart attack. George hates them but decides he can’t let the guy die so he gives the guy CPR and saves his life. When the guy comes to and realizes that it was a black person that saved his life, he tells his son: “You should have let me die.” Whenever I hear the word ‘stubborn,’ I think of that. They’ll die before they just let their petty nonsense go and have a peaceful life. Your client’s no different from the farmers going bankrupt but continuing to vote for Trump.
Him: Thank god for that! We’d starve if not for people like them. (laughing) You know, the animal most closely associated with stubbornness is an ass?
Me: (nodding) Maybe that’s why they sit where they sit and we sit where we sit.

Was planning to surprise Gradgirl this past weekend in Paris when I realized neither of us are the people we once were, which is probably a good thing, all things considered.

Need to listen to that voice in my head more often.

Location: home, asking her how the boy did today
Mood: ambitious
Music: I’m sorry that I couldn’t get to you

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Adding a pail to the buckets

3.5 buckets

Him: I think I had an anxiety attack today.
Me: Over what?
Him: My future.

Been chatting with two people almost daily now for the past few weeks – both are younger than me, wending their way through life.

Remember when I told you how friendships are made? Well, I find that happening to me more often than one might expect for a misanthrope like myself.

Was chatting with this one fella that I met years ago but we never really talked. We recently got thrown in together for a project – which is exploding in the most spectacular way, but that’s another story for another day – and have now been chatting on the reg.

Him: Even though this went to hell, I feel like we connected. Shoot the s__t?
Me: Cool. Lemme know when you wanna try some rum.
Him: Oh, there’re lots of questions I have to ask you.
Me: Clearly, I have no idea WTF I’m doing. You should ask someone else.
Him: LMAO – I meant about you, homie.
Me: What’s there to know? I like rum and gyros. I love my kid and my family. I never lie because I suck at it. I enjoy pickup and building s__t. I’ve never opened my vault. I’m into kind women that are hot. You can’t get more simple than a fella like me.

I said dozens of times that alla your problems can fall into three categories; well, I’ve edited that somewhat. Every action we perform can be categorized into furthering one of 3.5 pursuits – I call them buckets just because I like the imagery:

        • Health
        • Wealth
        • Relationships
          • Pleasure, or avoidance of pain (this is more a pail than a bucket)

The first three are additive. Focusing on them adds, at a minimum, to that bucket and your overall life.

If you focus on health, you’re that much stronger – health-wise – after whatever activity you did to focus on it.  You might also get a bump up in wealth and relationships if you chose the right one.

Ditto for the other two buckets.

Pleasure is simply that, pleasure. Note that the avoidance of pain is a type of pleasure – that’s why it’s so easy to procrastinate.

The last one is a pail versus a bucket because it’s not truly additive and, oftentimes, subtracts from the other two: It gives you momentary happiness at the cost of health, wealth, and relationships.

Which is not to say you shouldn’t do it. But it’s like dessert or a small reward after a hard day. They should be used sparingly.

It’s mental masturbation.

I’m not against masturbation or anything pleasurable done purely for pleasure’s sake. But every minute you spend on pleasure, is a minute you’re not spending pushing the ball forward on the other three.

Moreover, if you spend too much time on personal pleasure, it’s a turnoff for people around you. Because we gravitate to useful people and the more you push the ball forward in each of the three main buckets, the more useful you become to the world.

Anywho, I mentioned this to the first fella, recently.

Me: Anxiety is the fear of the hypothetical. So allay your fears: Run through the list. Are you where you wanna be with the three buckets? And are you overdoing it on the pleasure-pail?

We did it together as an exercise.

        • Health – yes. Dude’s in phenomenal shape and works out, easily, three hours a day.
        • Relationships – yes. Good friends and family support. Is there when you need him and others are there for him when he needs them. As it pertains to the opposite sex…well, he’s killing it.
        • Wealth – could be better, but he’s on the right track and getting better each day.

Him: Thanks, that’s useful.
Me: I’m nuthin if not useful.
Him: I want you know I really appreciate your…
Me: (interrupting) We’re friends. Friendship is symbiotic. Trust me, I’ll need your help one day. Probably soon. And it’s gonna involve a crapton of rum.
..

Location: 11:30AM, talking with a buncha lawyers, doing lawyer stuff
Mood: productive
Music: how do you always seem to know just when to call?

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Food is an interesting trigger

Rock in a Stream

Food’s an interesting trigger.

When I had the mutton curry in the Bahamas, it reminded me of the very first time I ever had any curry.

It was actually one of my dad’s favourite dishes. He made it at least once a month. I remember that I thought it was disgusting the first time I had it. But it grew on me.

Fast forward to earlier this week: I’d been talking to my mom a lot for various reasons and I remembered the curry and thought of my dad.

While at a Korean supermarket near my pad, I came across my dad’s fave brand and bought it.

Sleepy Logan spent a good part of the night chopping up some goat, onions, and carrots to make it. My dad loved goat but only made the curry with chicken, otherwise my mom wouldn’t eat it.

This whole night, my pad smelled like my childhood home and – if I closed my eyes – I could imagine him making it downstairs while singing a Japanese song.

Boy: What’s that?
Me: Curried goat. My dad liked it.
Him: Can I try it?
Me: Sure! (gives him some)
Him: (makes a face, shakes head)
Me: (laughs) Maybe in 42 years, you’ll have it again and think of me.
Him: (putting food on plate) That’s a long time!
Me: It happens just like that, kid. (snapping fingers) Just like that.

Don’t have the words to express how much I miss my dad.

I’ll just simply say that my heart aches in a way I hope you never feel but know you will one day. For that, I’m sorry.

Because it’s just awful. It brings you to your knees.

On a related note, my mom’s been dealing with her own stuff recently but that’s her story so I’ll leave it there.

She told me something once years decades ago that I used as a guiding principle of my life prior to Alison getting sick and I was reminded of it recently.

When I was a kid, got upset one day over something that was probably nuthin.

Her: You let the world affect you too much. You should be like a rock in a stream.
Me: What does that mean?
Her: Imagine a rock in a dirty stream for a 100 years. You take it out and smash it open, you’ll see that the inside is dry. It’s unchanged. Nothing from stream got into the rock. It’s in the stream but unaffected by the steam.

There’s a power to being in the world but unaffected by it. Of course one should change and grow but I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about having hopes and goals and pursuing them, unfettered by the whims of the world.

People ask me how I’ve done so much in my life and my mom’s comment to the teenage me is a major reason why.

To me, things are either productive or just mental masturbation (OK, I watched Star Wars, The Rise of Skywalker recently but that’s another story). More on that later.

My 20s and 30s were best described as living a pretty blissfully uninvolved in life. I went to or threw parties (and invited 2,000 of my closest friends), worked, traveled, washed, rinsed, repeated.

I was in the stream of life but unaffected by it. Even when I met Alison, it was the two of us separate from the world. We were in it, but separate from everyone else. That was nice in its own way.

That is, until November 8, 2015. Then I felt every bump, bruise, and papercut. Because she suffered. And I felt all of it.

Mouse once said that, in some – not all – respects, it’s harder for the caregiver than it is the cared-for. That’s true, although my dad and Alison suffered more than I would wish on anyone I didn’t despise. Even then…

Speaking of wishing:

Mom: I wish…I wish things were different for you.
Me: Me too. But wishes are just that: Wishes. I’ll be ok. Honest. I survive things. It’s what I do. Even when I don’t wanna.

I’m still affected by the world but – gradually – less so, I think. Maybe in time, I can be who I was once before? One can only hope.

I wouldn’t mind, actually, if it was just me and the kid – in the world but unaffected by the world. But I don’t think that’s possible anymore.

Cause I want the boy to be in the world, more than I want not to be.

Little girl at the park: You want to be my friend?
Boy: (nods, laughs, and spends the rest of the afternoon with her)

Location: Chatting with new old friends around the way
Mood: affected
Music: Mama don’t cry, long as we try. Maybe things change?

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You didn’t know this?

Still done

Been bringing the kid to tests for a little while and speaking with other parents. Literally, every time I speak to another parent, I find out something I feel I shoulda known.

Gonna condense about five or six different conversations into just three for clarity.

Her: (breathless) Were you stuck on the train getting here too? I was worried we’d miss our test slot.
Me: Oh, I live right down the block. We kinda rolled outta bed and ended up here.
Her: You live right down the block?! We came here from Staten Island!
Me: Staten Island?! Why?!
Her: (confused) Anderson’s the gifted and talented school for the entire city. People from as far away as the Long Island border commute into the city for hours to get in. It’s like Stuyvesant or Bronx Science for middle schoolers. You didn’t know this?
Me: (slowly) Yes?

For a different test:

Him: If we make it in, we’d sell our home in Douglaston and try to squeeze the four of us into a one-bedroom in the area.
Me: You’d move here just for a music school?
Him: (puzzled) Special Music School is the only free music school in the city, maybe even the state. The lessons are valued at $10,000, per year, per student. AND it has the highest academic rankings in the city because they only accept 24 students a year so – even though it’s a music school – they were ranked number one out of every school in the city for common core, three years in a row.
Me: Wait, it’s ranked even better than Anderson, PS 87, and PS 199?
Her: For grades K-to-3, yes. Each child is essentially privately tutored for 12 years. You didn’t know this?
Me: Yes? (laughing) Now I feel I shoulda prepared him for these tests. I bought my place decades ago and kids weren’t on my mind at all. (later) My wife would have known this but she passed away a little while back.
Her: Oh! I’m so sorry to hear that.
Me: I’m sorry to say that.

Then it got weird:

Her: Sorry, I couldn’t help but overhear your other conversation. Are you single?
Me: (amused) According to Facebook, yes. But it’s complicated. Why?
Her: My cousin’s single and she’s an educator working with special needs kids. She’s always dreamed of living in the Upper West Side.
Me: (laughing) I’m both flattered and slightly insulted.
Her: (quickly) Don’t be! Your son’s adorable and I love your jacket!
Me: Good to know…

On the topic of interpersonal relationships, with my last entry, my female friend admits that she might be catching feelings for one of the two guys that she’s seeing.

Her: I dunno if I’m ready to jump into anything serious just yet but…
Me: Is he on your side?
Her: What does that mean?
Me: (thinking) When we first started dating, Alison’s best male friend once said something rude about me. I think he loved her. She told him to knock it off. He did it again one day on the phone, so she hung up on him, blocked his number, and stopped hanging out with him.
Her: Whoa!
Me: (laughing) Yeah. The kicker’s that I didn’t know for months. She just handled it totally on her own, I wasn’t involved at all. When I asked her about whatever happened to him, she just said, “He said something rude about you.” That was it. When I found out about it later, I figured she was my person and we married just a year later.
Her: That’s really cool.
Me: (nodding) If you find hidden kindnesses and love – meaning he’s secretly on your side – then, bam, you’re done. Take it and go. Unfortunately, if you find out he’s secretly not on your side…you’re still done. Just not in a good way. Either way, you’re done, though.

Location: 9AM yesterday, W 67th listening to him sing
Mood: freezing
Music: I’m secretly on your side

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I sit where I sit and you sit where you sit

Lowe alley

When Alison passed, I made a conscious decision to not see old friends. They all knew Alison to varying degrees and I didn’t want to be reminded of her. Of the life I lost.

Also, I was planning on hurting myself. So I didn’t want them to be in more pain if I did.

Instead, I started hanging out with my gym friends and other people that knew only distantly.

Figured that if I was gonna go, they’d all get over it pretty quickly.

The diseased mind is pretty diseased.

I’m much better now.

Interestingly, I’m now legitimately friends with a lotta of these people, whom I thought of as just scaffolding. Most of them are far younger than me, so they ask me for advice and I give it when I think I have something useful to say.

Then put it all away in the vault. Unless I put it up in this here blog.

A woman I know is seeing two fellas, both of whom don’t want anything serious, as she says as well. But she thinks that one of them is developing feelings for her.

Her: So, should I stop seeing him?
Me: No. You’re not a stalker.
Her: What does that mean?
Me: It means that you’re not trying to read his mind. He said he wants it casual and to see other people. You have to take that at face value.
Her: I get the feeling…
Me: (interrupting) Stop. Don’t say what dude stalkers and rapists say. Things like, “I know she really wants me. She’s just being coy.” Or whatever. When people tell you what they want – or don’t want – you should believe them. People tell you what they’re all about if you listen.

After she left I started thinking that I should take my own advice when an old friend contacted me.

Him: How’s the kid?
Me: He’s good. Just waiting for him to be old enough to make some scratch and start pulling his own weight around here.
Him: (laughs) You becoming a tiger mom?
Me: No. But he’s the best parts of me and Alison. He could be someone.
Him: You coulda been someone. You chose to be like everyone else.
Me: I chose to have quiet life with the woman I loved and a kid or two if we were lucky. We weren’t. That’s why you sit where you sit and I sit where I sit.
Him: Didn’t you once say, We make our own luck in this world?
Me: I did. Before I realized that everything I touch turns to shit.
Him: Not everything. (thinking) And maybe that’s what he’ll want: A normal life.
Me: If he does, I hope he gets it. One of us should. I’d rather it be him anywho. I’d bear it all, if I knew he’d be ok. Alison too. She said if she knew that what she was going through was taking pain from him, she’d do a million times over.
Him: (sighs, nods) Yeah.

Location: meeting up with Joe and boy on 61st
Mood: nostalgic
Music: I’ve forgotten my past. I am only a mask, just a pretender
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Until you notice them changing

Twice in a row

Her: Do you want to buy some raffle tickets? Only a dollar each!
Me: I don’t have the kinda luck that people want. But what the hell, I’ll support. Gimme five.
Her: You never know, Logan.

Went to the holiday party for my gym the other day. One of the owners – the wife of main coach/owner – asked if I wanted to buy some raffle tickets. So, I bought five just to support.

She started pulling out tickets and the first two tickets were…mine.

Her: If I didn’t pull the tickets myself, I woulda thought something was fixed too.

To make matters worse, I inadvertently took the two best prizes.

Woman-in-the-crowd: What?! Boo! You can’t win twice in a row.
Me: Evidently, that’s not true.

Felt guilty about that so returned one of the two – a water bottle – the following week; was hoping to exchange it for a tee-shirt. No go so far, which is fine since they’re both friends of mine and have always treated me much better than warranted.

If you’re ever in town and want to check out a great fighting gym, check out Evolution, which is my home-away-from-home.

I’m usually there when the boy’s in school. Trying to avoid the inevitable.

Owner of the gym: What I like to do is pull up pictures of people I went to high school with. That makes me feel a lot better.
Me: That’s the only reason I come here.

Went to my friends around the way for new year’s again.

Me: You know, I met (your husband) the first day he started work there.
Her: Oh, that means you’ve known him 20 years.
Me: What? No, that can’t be…holy cow.
Him: Yup. 20 years.
Me: Now I need that drink…

It’s becoming a mini-tradition for me. The kid really loves going there, which is an added bonus.

And he even made it until midnight before, rapidly, crashing.

Son: (on the way home) Is it January yet?
Me: It just became January.
Him: It still feels like December.
Me: I know. Sometimes, you don’t really notice things changing until you notice them changing.
Him (sleepily) OK, papa.

Location: yesterday, on the phone with a client
Mood: tired
Music: I got issues but you got them too
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Travelogue: Bahamas 2019 Pt 3

A Wedding or My day with Pac

While Mouse was off doing her own thing, Pac and I decided to explore the island. The first thing we did was hit up the local KFC. Of course.

Me: Should we get a large order of fried chicken and then hit up the Greek place next door for a gyro?
Him: I didn’t come to the Bahamas for Greek food.
Me: We didn’t come here for KFC either!

Afterward, I went to the local supermarket for some fruit and soda.

Me: Do you want some oranges?
Him: I can’t think of food. I’m too stuffed.
Me: You’ll regret this later.

We met up with Mouse and some other people for dinner and drinks.

The next day, Pac and I went out again to try another fish fry, this time, right under the bridge.

Waitress: Do you each want a fish or split one?
Me: I’m not…
Him: (interrupting) We each want one.
Me: There you go.

Me: God, I’m so full, that was huge.
Him: We shoulda done this the first day.

The next day was the wedding itself.

The weather was just perfect. I’d tell you more but that part is their story, not mine.

Afterward, came the party.

Romance was in the air.

The next day, Mouse took me out for some all-you-can-eat.

Me: How is it? Worth it?
Pac: Worth it. They have oxtail and mutton curry.

And then it was time to go home.

Pac: I’m ready to go home, have a green smoothie, and make out with my girl.
Me: I just wanna see my kid.
Him: What should I get her? Chocolate and wine?
Mouse: No girl is gonna be upset getting chocolate and wine.
Me: Good to know…

Location: the boy’s room, surrounded by toys
Mood: worried
Music: We’ll hit the coast on the late night
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Travelogue: Bahamas 2019 Pt 2

All glory

After the hectic travel day, the next few days were us all enjoying Atlantis,…

…then looking for relatively affordable food, and catching some rays.

We eventually hit up the water park. If you watch closely, you can see Mouse in all her glory.

Not going to lie, I watch that on repeat and laugh each time.

This was one of the tamer slides. It was fun being on them again.

We managed to hit up the beach some.

It took a few tries to get the shot below. Tough job, but the things we do for art.

There was a reception for the bride-and-groom-to-be so we had to head back eventually to get ready to go.

We may have had a drink or two before we left.

Me: How is it?
Her: Awful. (continues drinking out of the bottle)
Me: (nodding) Lemme have it when you’re done?

But we managed to clean ourselves up enough to be presentable.

Friends from the gym, and my kali class, were there.

It was really nice seeing everyone out and about in a different environment.

There was an open bar so we probably drank a bit more than we should have. But it was still a really cool night.

Her: (concerned) What?
Me: Nothing – you look really great.
Her: (smiles) Thanks, you too.
Me: (rolling eyes) Well, I always look good…
Her: (laughs, pushes me)

Gonna re-watch that video above now, so I’ll tell you more tomorrow or something.

Location: earlier this week, NJ
Mood: nostalgic
Music: I hate to hear that you won’t come home
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Travelogue: Bahamas 2019 Pt 1

A wedding in the Bahamas

My cousin got married in the Bahamas the other day. So Mouse, Pac, and a lotta our friends took a plane to see her get hitched. I ran late.

Pac: I’m like 15 min away.
Me: I’m 35-40 mins out.
Mouse: LOL. Y’all better run.

Turns out that we needn’t have worried as we were on the tarmac for over 90 minutes because of the weather.

But we finally took off.

Me: (moving tray) Here, you can lie down.
Her: How?
Me: You’re like 4 foot 2. You just lie down.
Her: (thinks, lies down)

A few hours later, we landed in sunny Nassau. The three of us immediately stopped off at a Fish Fry. Because that’s what we do.

Me: I’m hangry. How long will the fish curry take?
Waitress: An hour? Get the fried fish, it’s faster.
Me: Fried fish it is.

 

Me: Frozen drinks?
Mouse: I’ll buy them for us.

Everything was closed by the time we got to the hotel but Mouse snuck into a hot tub and gave us a ring to join her.

Afterward, we went to a local joint called Anthony’s and had some more fried food.

Not a bad way to spend a cold winter’s day.

I had come here once before with Alison and there were moments that were less than ideal on this trip.

That’s all I wanted to say about that.

Location: not the Bahamas, that’s for sure
Mood: cold
Music: Tell me, is this the part when
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