Travelogue: Cornell University 2018, Day 2

Buttermilk Falls


Didn’t get to sleep the night before until it was late.

I was gonna spend the day inside writing while everyone else went on a hike to Buttermilk Falls but the weather was too good not to go.

Gymgirl: You’re going hiking?
Me: I’m as surprised as you are. I mean, I’m gonna complain the whole time, but yes.

Got dressed and grabbed my bag.

Her: Oh! Don’t forget to bring your picture of Alison.
Me: (feeling for her picture in the bag) Got it.

We went downstairs to meet my cousin and her boyfriend, Young, who’s only a few years younger than me (no pun intended).

Cousin: You’re going hiking?
Me: I’m as surprised as you are. I mean, I’m gonna complain the whole time, but yes.
Young: (later) This is great. Now I know why she likes making fun of how old I am.
Me: Yeah, this is just great.

We arrived at the falls and it was pretty empty. Most people were away for the Easter holiday, which meant we had most of the hill for ourselves.

We ended up hiking for a solid 90 minutes or so, mostly uphill. The girls really enjoyed it. Us, not so much.

Me: This was a terrible idea. We should just push the two of them down the hill and get something to eat.
Young: Nah, they’ll both just say “wheeee!” alla way down.

We got as far as we could go before we had to turn back. Well, that’s not completely true.

Me: It says it’s dangerous and blocked off we should…
Gymgirl: (goes around fence)
Me: …just ignore all the warning signs and go in anyway.

Gymgirl: (later) Why don’t I take a picture with you and Alison?
Me: (nods)

Afterward, took the hike back down and then went to the Statler Hotel for brunch. Was so hungry that I forgot to take pics.

Cousin: I thought you were just going to eat bacon.
Me: I didn’t know steak and salmon were an option.

When we were done, most of them wanted to see the brain exhibit that was going on but Young and I both decided to head to the library there and just chill for a while.

Took some more pics of Alison there. The library was where I spent most of my time in college and I always wanted Alison to see it. It looks like a scene from Hogwarts. She woulda loved it.

Gymgirl met up with us a little while later and took some pics of me.

Everyone ended up going to some wineries around the area but I just wanted to sit in the library and think and write for a bit.

When everyone got back, we went out for dinner but this post is getting long and you’re probably bored so I’ll just finish it up tomorrow.

In the meantime, here’s a picture of my family in Cornell, finally.

I’d been waiting so long to take it, y’see:

Location: In front of a red painting
Mood: missing my son
Music: every now and then she dreams of all the lovely places
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Travelogue: Cornell University 2018, Day 1

All good or all powerful?


The Gymgirl and I decided to head up to Cornell with my cousin Ras and her guy. Ras’ brother, RL, was in grad school there so it was a good excuse to go while the kid was away for Easter.

I was last there ten years ago, right before I met Alison. We always talked about going up there, especially after we went to her college, but something always came up.

Me: Would you mind if I brought a picture of Alison up with us?
Gymgirl: Of course not.

We got out of the city late so didn’t end up there until after a quarter past six and checked into the Marriott there.

Her: You never stayed in a hotel here before?
Me: I have but this is nicer than what I was used to. When I came back after I graduated, I did mostly couch surfing.

It was late so I persuaded them to go eat dinner at one of the food halls I used to go to as a freshman there, RPU. It was almost empty, which was just great for me.

Ras’s brother had some friends join us.

Friend: Y’know, you’re just a little over a year older than my dad.
Me: Well, this dinner’s ruined. (turning to RL) Thanks for inviting your friend to come eat with us.

Neither Gymgirl nor I had been feeling well; the kid got a stomach bug and we, in turn, did as well.

Ras: Man, you ate a lot.
Me: Imagine what I woulda eaten if I wasn’t sick.

I walked them through my campus at night where I kept thinking that Alison woulda loved to have been there. I told her about the clock tower there and she said it sounded nice.

We went to my cousin’s office for a bit where we had a beer and then finished the night over sangria in Collegetown.

RL: I recall Neil DeGrass Tyson once said that you can’t have a God that is both all good and all powerful. He has to be either one or the other.
Me: My friend believes – very much – in god but has always said something really similar that answers that.
RL: Which is?
Me: He believes god exists but is convinced he’s evil. He said that every grotesque leader was once loved and thought of as a savior. That what the Devil’s all about. (shrugging) I don’t know what to believe but I see his point better than ever now.

Location: three nights ago, Collegetown Bagels
Mood: lonely
Music: marry me, your father will disown you
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Her chair was never dusty before

I love you oh so well

Gymgirl: You have glitter on your face.
Me: Dammit. I’m a 44 year-old man and covered in glitter all the time.
Her: Yes. You’re a very sparkly 44 year-old man.

The kid goes to art class twice a week. This means twice a week, I do a double batch of laundry and search for glitter in my house. It’s things like this that I think Alison woulda loved. Being a mom.

In many ways, being so busy is a good thing. Keeps me from dwelling on stuff. That’s why the quiet nights are the worst. Got time to think of everything and don’t wanna.

Artistgirl dropped me a line recently, just to ask for some legal advice. She’s back in the dating world. Gradgirl just wanted to say hi, and Daisy told me she’s happy as well.

I’d like to be happy.

The world keeps turning and I wonder how it’s possible.

Alison spent a good deal of time in her professional life trying to fight this disease called Guinea Worm. It’s gross. Don’t google it.

President Carter just announced earlier this week that it’s been eradicated from South Sudan. That woulda made Alison weep with joy. God, she was a such a beautiful soul.

Speaking of weeping, I was walking on Broadway the other day when Dave Matthew’s Oh came on right as I was in front of the medemerge. There are lyrics that go:

I hear you still talk to me
As if you’re sitting in that dusty chair
Makes the hours easier to bear.
I know, despite the years alone,
I’ll always listen to you sing your sweet song
And if it’s all the same to you
I love you oh so well
Like a kid loves candy and fresh snow
I love you oh so well
Enough to fill up heaven, overflow and fill hell
Love you oh so well

And I just lost it.

The world turns and I look at her dusty chair and just don’t know how it does without her.

Oh…

Location: Yesterday, at the dentist’s. That’s for next time.
Mood: sigh
Music: You are here with me. Makes it ok. Oh girl, you’re singing to me still.
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Kindness Floats

Being Invisible

Me: I’m the best thing that ever happened to you!

The Professor wrote me this morning while I was writing this blog entry and sent me this article entitled: Shkreli vs. Holmes: 2 Frauds, 2 Divergent Outcomes. Were They Fair?

Actually read it last night but I thought it was interesting that he wrote me because he and I were both bullied as kids.

Suspect that all bullied kids wish they had superpowers but I think that they diverge on the type they hope to have.

Most want to be Superman – strong and invincible. But some wanted to be invisible. Like me. I just wanted to be left alone.

Left alone cause I was a weird kid that wanted to do my weird kid things in peace.

When I read Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, one story that stuck in my mind was that of what was the single biggest determinant of whether a doctor would be sued or not was how much the patient liked them.

And that story reminded me of yet another story – weird kids become weird adults – which was about James Bond.

Read somewhere that James Bond was protected, not by all the gadgets and gizmos he had, but by a cloak of affability. People just liked him and wanted to help him or sleep with him.

Always thought that was a pretty good deal.

I digress, back to the article: Martin Shkreli and Elizabeth Holmes were both morally bankrupt business people that broke the law. And yet Martin Shkreli is going to jail while Elizabeth Holmes essentially will get a fine and go on with her life.

Why? Because one was hated and one was not. Or at least, less so.

That thing I wrote previously about leaving people better off having met you than not isn’t so much about being nice to other people so much as it about me being left alone.

Being nice to other people is just a beneficial by-product.

What Johnny, Trump, and my old friend don’t seem to understand is that being hated is like a sinking ship; it forces everyone around you to either sink with you or frantically swim away lest they get pulled down with you.

It’s why I always value kindness above everything else. Because kindness is peaceful. Kindness floats.

And it lets you be the invisible man. No one pays attention to the invisible man. So you’re free to do your weird kid things in peace, even as a 44 year-old adult.

Gymgirl: (shrugging) Eh. You’re alright…

Location: bed, waiting for the kid to wake up
Mood: thoughtful
Music: Slow down my beating heart. A man dreams one day to fly
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Be hot or be cold

In for a penny, in for a pound

Me: Papa’s gotta get back to work and make some scratch.
Him: Scratch!

In the film Heat, there’s a scene where they accidentally kill a guard while doing a heist.

When that happens, they kill everyone. Because the law says that if someone dies during a robbery, that’s murder, period. And murdering one and murdering 20 is the same, so you might as well not leave any witnesses.

A dark example, I know.

On a slightly brighter note, I also wrote about this story once before, over a decade ago:

Alexander the Great used to burn his boats once his army landed somewhere so that they had no choice but either fight and win or die in a foreign land.

Once again, I find myself on foreign shores, far from what everything I know. Far from my old life.

But I’ve made a decision to stay in this world that I despise. So in for a penny in for a pound.

That’s the thing with doing stuff. If you’re gonna do it, you gotta shut up and do it.

I’ve lost my faith in God. If there is a god, he hates my family. If there isn’t, then I’m no worse nor better off than before.

But there are things from the bible that still resonate with me. Revelation 3:16 said that “Because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I spit you out of my mouth.”

Because I’m staying, I stay as a single father now. Gotta be the best single father I possibly can.

And there’s not much to do but do it. Everything else is a distraction from the real job at hand.

What a job that is…

Me: We’re gonna start potty training, doesn’t that sound like fun!?
Him: (laughing, shaking head) Noooooo.
Me: (laughing also) Trust me, I like it even less than you do. But we do what we gotta do, yeah?
Him: Yes.

Location: Earth
Mood: alive
Music: You bet – If you’re gonna do it, do it right
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Self-destruction

Fiction, by Logan Lo


Nothing in this blog entry actually happened. Just writing some fiction.

An old friend rang me the other day to accuse me of trying to ruin his business and life. Found it so strange because that requires a level of hatred that I don’t feel for anyone. It’s hard to feel anything these days. For anything and anyone.

Me: To be clear, if I wanted to ruin you, I’d want you to know it was me. You wouldn’t have to call to ask. You’d know.

Hatred is actually the farthest thing I feel for him. You see, he and his wife raised more than anyone for Alison when she was sick. I owe a debt to him and his family.

But he’s also extremely difficult.

Don’t think we’ve ever had a conversation in the 18 years I’ve known him. He talks to you rather than with you.

Him: Wait, I’m not done.
Me: You do realize you’ve said 10 words for every one of mine, yes?

In many ways, he’s a classic bully: He uses his position in life to demean and belittle others.

He’s never been unkind to me – far from it – but like Trump, you kinda want someone to say to him, Dude, you know these are people, right? What you’re doing is wrong.

Like Johnny, what I actually feel for him is a mixture of affection, gratitude, and disappointment.

Mutual friend: You mean pity. You pity him. That’s not what you’re supposed to feel for a friend.
Me: I feel obligated to try to help him. For everything he’s done for me and my family.
Him: (gently) You’ve done that. He’ll only change if he wants to and he said, straight up, he’d rather lose everything and end up homeless than change. You’ve done your part.

Also like Johnny, the punishment for his cruelty is that he doesn’t get to hang out with me.

I’m running outta time. Don’t have time or energy to waste on anything or anyone that doesn’t make me better. And, by extension, my son.

The fact that someone wants to destroy him makes me more comfortable in my decision to cut him out.

Think about the level of hatred it would take to have someone spend weeks – if not months – of their time plotting how to unravel everything you’ve worked for.

And if someone has that level of animosity for you, think about how many people simply dislike you.

I’ve always lived my life – including the womanizing – with the credo, “Leave people better off having met you than not.”

In any case, it’s puzzling how someone can be so compassionate to some and yet so cruel to others. But many of my close friends are complicated.

Me: A relative of mine said that he thought I was a sociopath.
The Half Man: I disagree with that. A sociopath lacks empathy. You’re one of the most empathetic people I know.
Me: Perhaps it’s something else then? Or maybe he’s just wrong.

I wonder what others – Johnny, The Devil, him – see in me, both good and ill.

Me: What does that say about me?
Gymgirl: I don’t know. Maybe it was Alison that kept you from turning into them?
Me: Maybe. Then what am I without her?

Still, I’m not able to cut off all the deeply flawed friends I have. Because I see my reflection in them. I need them for some reason.

And they each have their own twisted humanity, in their own strange ways.

The funny thing is, that I did spend weeks – months – plotting to destroy someone that I did hate. But it wasn’t him.

Months ago…

The Devil: Are you sure you want to do this?
Me: (ignoring him) The three coins are worth about $20,000. (placing a USB stick on the coins) This has almost a whole bitcoin that I used to buy black market meds for Alison. It’s worth about $17,000. Both are untraceable and cash equivalent. The rest of the money is in trust for the kid and he’ll get that once I’m gone.
Him: I’m a thief and womanizer, not this thing you ask me to do.
Me: We both know what you’re capable of.
Him: That was in war and when it was my job. Neither is true here.
Me: I’ll find just someone else.
Him: You don’t have anyone else, that’s why you came to me. (laughs) But suppose we do this? I just wanna ask one thing: (leans in) Without you here, without Alison, who’ll protect your boy from someone like me? People, like us.
Me: (startled, angry) You’ll never meet him. Just like you never met her.
Him: Ah, there you are. (stands up) Pull yourself together, Logan. Raise your son. When you’re ready, we’ll talk again. (takes a gold coin, pockets it, turns to leave) I earned this. See you soon, brother.

I’m better now.

Don’t hate myself quite that much any more.

Location: home, sick
Mood: unsettled
Music: son, if you can hold on, if you can hold on, hold on
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Citrus Betty, the playa

Surviving it all

Me: (with kid in stroller) Can you pop the trunk?
Brother: Why don’t you just put him in the car seat?

My brother visited me the other day.

He used to come all of the time to see my dad. Now he comes to see my mom. He travels here from Cali and I wish I had more time to spend with him but I’m always taking care of the kid.

The week he came, I started potty training. It’s been tiring and gross, I’ll leave it at that. Also been sick. Seems like I’m constantly sick; kids his age are like sponges for germs so as soon as I’m over one cold, another one starts.

So I only got to see him one night and even then, we didn’t get to really spend any time together. But we all went out – him, me, the kid, and Gymgirl – and got some food at this joint called Playa Betty’s.

It used to be a Latin fusion place called Citrus. Was last there with Alison on December 31, 2008 at 11:30PM. I know the time because I wrote briefly about it here. We sat on the second floor and she and I both ate so much that we had to head home before it actually turned to 2009.

This is a picture I took that night. It’s not great but it’s all I got. She just laughed at something I said. I’m just hilarious.

And there I was at this new/old place earlier this week with our son and another woman and my brother.

Felt it kinda perfectly summed up my life now: Very different but with some unifying things. My brother has always been a constant in my life, and for that, I’m so grateful.

At his wedding (he’s single now) I joked that he was a year older than me. Said that I couldn’t imagine how he survived that year without me. Truth is, I’m not sure how I woulda survived all this without him.

As for me, I’m trying to move on as best I can. Mainly for the kid. Suppose it doesn’t really matter why I move on, just that I do.

And I’m always thankful for the good souls that keep me company along the way.

Nate: (pointing to his room while eating dinner) Mom! Mom!
Gymgirl: You want your mom? Let me get her for you. (gets up, goes to room and returns with Alison’s picture) Here you go. Mom!
Nate: (laughs, takes picture) Mom.

Location: In front of a potty
Mood: still injured, still heartbroken, still here
Music: In my heart, she left a hole
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I’m back. Kinda.

Kindasorta

I’m slowly – slooooooooowly – getting back into work.

Used to lecture on these really arcane areas of the law to get my name out there and meet clients and I was invited to do so again by this great company that I used to lecture for alla the time, Lawline.com.

So the other day, I put on a suit for like the fourth time in three years and took the train downtown.

The receptionist gave me a warm smile.

Her: Hey Logan, long time, no see. How’ve you been?
Me: You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.

Gave my lecture and said hello to a buddy of mine that works there before I left.

It was an hour lecture, so for an hour, I didn’t think about the kid, Alison, or my dad. I had a job to do and I did it. It felt good. Weird, but good.

I texted my sister-in-law to see if she was free for a cuppa joe.

Me: Yo! I’m in Wall Street at 61 Broadway. Is that near you at all?
Her: Hiya. Yea I’m not too far. Do you know the Oculus? I can meet you at the winter garden.

The last time I was there, I was with some girl – don’t remember who – driving a beat-up BMW and showing her the World Trade Centers.

What was that? 17, 18 years ago? A lifetime ago, as always.

In any case, met up with my sister-in-law, who bought me a diet coke.

Her: That stuff’s terrible for you.
Me: (shrugging) I like it better than the alternative.

We talked about stuff. Not Alison. Everything else. That was weird too.

Thanked her for the drink and company and made my way back home.

I felt almost as if Alison would be there waiting for me when I got home. Like she was after alla my other lectures. She used to always say the same thing with such joy and love:

Logan’s home!

But she wasn’t home. The kid was out. The Gymgirl was at school. Came home to an empty and completely quiet apartment.

So, as I hung my keys on the key rack, I said to no one, except maybe Harold,

Hey. I’m back. Kinda.

Location: At the Oculus a few days ago
Mood: still injured
Music: And times when you’re all alone all you do is think
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Rum, beer, chili, and friends

A Chili Cook-off and Birthday


Had a buncha friends from my old gym over the other day to celebrate my cousin’s birthday.

I remember meeting her when she was just a few days old so it was kinda a kick in the head.

It wasn’t entirely for her because I insisted on making it a chili-cookoff, so it was win-win for everyone.

Well, me anyway.

Friend: Does she even like chili?
Me: (confused) Who doesn’t like chili?

We had five competitors and I made a pretty good batch with chocolate and dark beer for some added depth.

Here’s the thing: I either came in fourth or last. Everyone else’s chili was just that good.

Him: Are you ok coming in fourth or fifth place?
Me: (puzzled) Sure – I got to have four other amazing chilis. If that’s not a win, I don’t know what is.

Very, very little bothers me these days.

After dealing with – literal – life and death matters, it’s hard to take anything else seriously these days. I have no patience for the ridiculousness of others.

Besides, I have no problem supplying my own ridiculousness.

Gymgirl: Will you have prizes?
Me: The first prize is gonna be a portrait of me by my son.

Drew won both the first prize and the chef’s choice prize – a crystal cigar ashtray – because he made a killer batch with beef ribs.

It was amazingly good and I ended the day with a ton of new ideas for chili.

Her: Did you have fun?
Me: I had rum, beer, chili, and friends come by. So, yeah.
Her: Good. You deserve a little fun.
Me: (looking around) Yeah. Now I gotta clean up. Everything’s a mess.
Her: (picking up a dish) Don’t worry. I’ll help.

Location: At home, with a fridge fulla chili
Mood: still injured
Music: we keep busy. The waves come after midnight
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I’ll be busy on the 24th

I have plans, you see


My friend Rose wrote me to tell me she was coming into town.

Her: I’ll be there in August! I’d love to help you diminish any quantity of rum you would like.
Me: As long as it’s not the 24th.

This comedian named Rita Rudner once said, “I love being married. It’s so great to find one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.”

It was my wedding anniversary this past Saturday. Spent it drinking by myself from 11AM to midnight.

I remember getting married pretty clearly. Was working on a project for a client until the moment we left for the courthouse; I took this one last job because I knew we’d spend the next few weeks or so just daydreaming.

She probably found it annoying but never mentioned it. I just wanted to get all the work out of my brain and desk to focus on being married to her.

We picked February 24th because it was exactly 10 days after St. Valentine’s Day, so it would be easy to remember.

I remember that we spent the whole day trying on the words, “my wife” and “my husband” like a new shirt.

Alison died on May 24th.

My father died on August 24th.

And February 24th is miserable day for me.

So if we ever meet up in RL, figure I should tell you now that I’m busy on the 24th.

I have plans, you see.

Location: On a train heading to Queens
Mood: injured
Music: we could be married and then we’d be happy
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