What do you have for me?

Friday Pt. 1

Went to the gym on Friday night because I dropped the kid off with my mom. Was planning on going home and going right to bed because I agreed to see a buncha people that night but then the ABFF dropped me a line.

Her: What are u up to this weekend ?
Me: What do you have for me?

Before I knew it, I was at her pad breaking my fast with some Moscow Mules and Peruvian food with her and some other people.

Me: To be clear, everyone thinks I’m a good human being because I lost Alison and my dad. But I was never a good person; I was only good because of Alison.
Her: I don’t believe that.
Me: Yet it’s true.

The ABFF convinced me to not shelter the boy from the women/people in my life.

Her: Kids are resilient. As far as they know, everyone is just your friend.
Me: He asks about Mouse all the time. I told him she was coming by this past Saturday because we chatted but then plans changed and he was pretty…confused.
Her: Kids are resilient, Logan. He’ll be fine.

Her sister and I also chatted about dating in NYC.

Sister: I’m taking a break.
Me: Man, I feel that, as a woman, online dating’s gotta be easier.
Her: (rolls eyes) No. And it’s exhausting. And the same guys you didn’t want in the first place keep showing up over-and-over again.

Looked at my watch and told them I had to run, thanking them for the company and hospitality. Hopped a train downtown.

Soon, I was in an Italian restaurant with a dear friend of mine. It was his birthday.

Me: I wanted to buy you dinner.
Him: (laughing) You better have cash, because that’s all they take here.
Me: Get outta here…

Ended up having a latte and paying for most of dinner but not all, which was a disappointment.

We chatted for a bit. He lost his love to cancer too. It’s part of the reason I avoided seeing him. That, and another friend of ours also has cancer.

Suppose I’ll have to write about that as well soon.

Me: I wanna contact him. I’m just a coward.
Him: You’re not. (gently) Write him. He’d love to hear from you. I know he would. (later) I met someone. An old flame dropped me a line. Hoping things will work out.
Me: I hope so. You deserve a good life.
Him: You do too, Logan. (later, on 3rd Avenue) I’m always here, if you need anything.
Me: I know. I’ll see you soon.

Stopped by Solas for a spell and talked to some people there. There’s more but that’s all I wanna say about this part of the story.

It was after midnight when I left for my appointment but then I got sidetracked by another old friend.

I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow.

It was a long Friday night and the kickoff of a three-day crazy insomnia streak.

Location: home
Mood: insomniatic
Music: I know that, time will heal it

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I have my rules

Whatever works for you, bud

Her: Hey!
Me: Hey!

Ran into a girl from my gym today while I was walking with the boy.  Like I said a million times before, NYC’s a small town sometimes.

Turns out that she babysits in my area. I’m literally collecting babysitters like other people collect Pokemon.

Speaking of babysitters, I was chatting with someone the other day on the train that mentioned that she babysat. As the Germangirl used to say, I’m a talker/glattzüngig.

Her: Your son’s so cute!
Me: Thanks! I have to keep him regardless, but the cute helps. (later) Oh, you’re right by my gym. You should join us, it’ll change your life.
Her: (laughing) Sure. Let me know when you’re around.

She’s super young but seems like a sweetheart. She has a blog as well. I miss having a group of blogger friends.

Speaking of the gym, I legit thought I’d have to change gyms this week for a number of reasons. I even called up a new one in my area to find out details to switch.

I swear, I have PTSD from my old gym.

Him: You’re fine.
Me: I was actually more anxious about this than I woulda imagined.

Speaking of friends, spoke to another young lady I knew from waaay back but never made it into this here blog.

She’s going through a breakup too, as is a friend of hers. We said we’d all get together at some point. She also wrote me something very nice about her friend and me.

Speaking of friends getting together, saw Curt a few more times. He and I have radically different ideas of what it’s like to be out and about in the city. Radically.

Her: 23.
Me: (laughing) Of course your are. Let’s play a game: How old does my friend look? (pointing at Curt)
Her: 25?
Me: OK, and me?
Her: A bit older. 27?
Me: I’m older than that, but thanks for making my night! Enjoy your evening, ladies.
Curt: (later) See, you care about things like that. The moment they told you their age, I saw you check out. And she’s the best looking person here.
Me: (shrugging) Still not my type; just seeing if I’m still me. Besides, I have my rules.
Him: (shaking head) You and your rules. I honestly don’t get you at all.
Me: (getting up to leave) It’s simple, man. She’s not the prize. (pointing at self) I’m the prize.
Him: (shaking head) You’re nuts.
Me: No, I’m Harvard. See, anyone can apply. Not everyone makes it in. Besides, I’m just killing time. I know what I want.
Him: (laughing, rolling eyes) Whatever works for you, bud.

Location: out and about
Mood: thoughtful
Music: makes me feel like nobody else, nobody else

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Dear Nate… 004: Understanding is gold

Defending something you didn’t choose

Dear Nate;

It’s May so I spend a lotta time thinking of your mama.

This fella named Nilesh Jain once said, “Five minutes after your birth, they decide your name, nationality, religion, sect, and you spend rest of your life defending something you didn’t choose.”

I’ve always felt that everyone is who they are because of the parents to whom they were born.

For good or bad, you either inherit your parents views or rebel against them. Don’t know which path you’ll choose but I hope you understand why I live my life as I do.

I chase understanding, not knowledge. Friends, not fortune. Meaning, not entertainment.

There’s a saying called, “Tiger Parents,” where Asian parents push their children for success through any means necessary. To a large extent, I’m the result of tiger parents.

But I don’t want that for you. I want something greater for you: Not knowledge but understanding.

I look at my role in your life as your guard and instructor. My job is to protect you so that I have time to show you what I know and hope you find some wisdom in it.

My life is full of instructors: Uncles Chad and Agapito teach me violence but are some of kindest souls I know. Uncle Aki is the single smartest human being I’ve ever met, yet uses that brilliance to help others, including us.

You see, we are all the average of the five people we spend the most time with so I make sure to spend time with those that can instruct me. Because they bring value to me, so that I can bring value to you.

I don’t want you to root for a team because you happen to be born in that team’s city, or – even worse – hate someone else because they were born in a different city. Or to different parents.

That’s beyond worthless in my eyes and, I hope, with time, your eyes as well.

Understanding lets you maximize the valuable and minimize the worthless. And none of us are here very long so the sooner you can separate the wheat from the chaff, the better.

If most people aren’t here very long, your mama was here for just a beautiful moment in time. But she died knowing things. Things she told me that I will tell you because they made my life richer and will do the same for you.

For all this, I also hope you grow up enjoying frivolous things, because there’s joy in the ability to be extravagant.

But knowing that something is frivolous makes it ok; thinking that the unimportant is important is not.

To collect gold, you have to know what is tin. Because, you see, you don’t get gold by making it; you get gold by washing away everything that’s not gold.

The self-made wealthy are wealthy because of what they eschew, not because of what they acquire.

We’re all given 24 hours here; what you do with it plots out your life, minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour, day-by-day.

If you’re lucky, you’ll have 26,280 days here. Use them wisely. Surround yourself with kind and knowledgeable instructors.

Speaking of luck, you’re my son – and Alison McCarthy’s son – by pure luck. For us, it was the best possible kind. For you, only time will tell if it was good or bad.

I hope it’s the former but luck, and life, is what you make of it.

In the end, I don’t want you to be some imitation of me. I want you to be better than me.

Love,

Papa

Him: (randomly) We don’t have a mommy at home.
Me: (pause) No, we don’t.
Him: Is she stuck?
Me: No. Papa misspoke.
Him: Where is she?
Me: She’s…she died.
Him: She died? Why?
Me: She got sick.
Him: She got sick? Will she feel better?
Me: I don’t…no. She won’t. But I’ll tell you all about her because I was her best friend and she was mine. (clears throat) OK?
Him: (laughs) OK!

Dear Nate… 001
Dear Nate… 002: Wait and wish
Dear Nate… 003: Rain happens

Location: Central Park West and W 72nd, crossing the street
Mood: unhappy
Music: Not enough time for all that I want for you
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Catching a film

It’s a good thing


I finally saw Avengers: Endgame the other day. It was pretty good, I have to say.

It also makes sense why they split it into two films, cause, man, it was long enough as it was.

A buncha my friends said it made them cry, but there was only one part that made me. Without giving too much away, one of the dead significant others came back and called a character on his mobile phone.

That made me cry.

Because it’s just another thing that’ll never happen again.

The Gymgirl patted me on the shoulder, which she does a lot for me. Her kindness helps.

Well, that and our inadvertent comedic moments.

Her: I’m balling in this bathtub.
Me: You’re “bawling?” Are you ok?
Her: No, not “bawling” – “balling.”
Me: We have a 17-year age difference. I have no idea what that means; is “balling” good or bad?
Her: (laughs) It’s a good thing.

It’s May. I hate May.

Location: earlier today, 68th and Broadway, with a toddler
Mood: blah
Music: I would never do you wrong
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All the places I’ll never see

Decrepit old man

The Gymgirl kept doing things for me all week for my birthday, including buying me a Red Velvet cupcake.

She also pulled a bunch of my friends from the gym together for a surprise dinner for me last week but I had a stomach bug so I couldn’t really eat anything, which is a shame because it was at my favourite local joint of Cuban-Chinese food.

They came back to my pad to play some games but I had to call it an early night because I started getting feverish. It was a rough two days – we were supposed to go to see the Gymgirl’s family the next day but I was so sick that I couldn’t make it.

Her: Call me if you need anything!
Me: …

The next day, she came in to check in on me.

The Gymgirl: (upbeat) You look much better. (pause) Hey, are you ok?
Me: Sorry. (distracted) I’m better. I’m just thinking of Alison. She felt rotten for years. I just think about how much she suffered and endured…
Her: I’m sorry Logan.
Me: No – I’m sorry I’m such a downer all the time.
Her: You’re not. (later) At least you’re not projectile vomiting.
Me: Yes, there is that.

Eventually, I felt good enough to get out of bed and we had a nice day together and watched a few travel programs.

I like to look at all the places that I’ll never see in real life.

Her: Why don’t you actually go?
Me: (shrugging) I’ve lost that drive. Plus the kid and work means it’s hard to get away. This is like the next best thing. (watching a show on St. Paul Cathedral) I do like London, though. I’d climb that the next time I’m in London.
Her: It’s 30 stories! You’d never make it, you decrepit old man.

Also saw my boss for drinks the other day.

Me: I wanted to say, “I’m sorry.”
Him: (surprised) For what?
Me: For how things turned out. I had all these beautiful plans – personal and professional. And life ____ed me outta all of them. I thought I’d come back this summer but I just wanna take care of the kid. That’s all I want to do these days.
Him: You don’t ever have to apologize for any of that. And raise your son. We’ll be here when you’re ready. Trust me – when he goes to school, you’ll be itching for something to do.
Me: (laughing) Maybe…

Location: the gym, pretending I’m not 46
Mood: hopeful
Music: I’m a little bit home, but I’m not there yet
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Falling to the level of our training

Defining things

Me: Can you pack stuff for a picnic and I’ll meet you in the park? It’s beautiful today.
The Gymgirl: Pier?
Me: Perfect. I was also thinking of getting us half a roast duck.
Her: Woo-hoo!

I had run down to Chinatown for a haircut and some food but the weather was so nice that we made last minute lunch plans.

We’d not been out in a few days because we both got sick with a stomach bug so it was nice getting out.

We’d also not been able to get to the gym, which we both wanted to do.

This fella named Archilochus once said that, We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.

In a way, at our gym, we’re both training for something that will hopefully never happen. But I thought about that quote for a different reason.

You see, if not for this blog, I’m not really sure how much I would have remembered about our meeting.

Don’t remember much from the last several years. My mother-in-law thinks it’s because I slept so little and sleep is when your memories are set.

This is probably a good thing. There are horrors I experienced with Alison that I don’t wanna remember. But there are things I wish I did remember. About Alison. About the boy. About the Gymgirl.

All I know is that, after Alison died, I could barely function. So I just did that which I trained myself to do – after all, you are what you constantly do and after years of womanizing,* that’s what I defaulted to.

Well, that and drink to excess.

And as the fog of all the alcohol, craziness, and misery slowly faded, the Gymgirl came into focus and what I thought initially as another disposable relationship became anything but.

My life and luck has been – admittedly – complete s__t. But she and the boy are welcome outliers to my otherwise execrable existence.

Me: I wanted to say thank you. For everything. For all the things you do around here. With me, with the kid.
Her: Of course. (laughing) It’s not a big deal. But what brought this on?
Me: (shrugging) No reason. Life. Just…thanks.
Her: You’re welcome, Logan.

*Alison hated when I used that word: Womanizing.

But I don’t know a more appropriate word. I don’t think what I did/do really falls squarely in the realm of dating, or pick-up, or what have you – for reasons that are my own. They’re different things to me.

And once I met Alison, I stopped so I never spent any time thinking of a different word.

And once again, I’ve stopped. So it remains the most appropriate word I have.

Location: noon, yesterday, Pier I in NYC
Mood: grateful
Music: we’ll never know when, when we’ll run out of time
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Disposable relationships

Here we go again

Gymgirl: (puts on music)
Me: (after several minutes) What are the lyrics to this song?
Gymgirl: “____ you, I don’t need you, I can be just fine without you.” (the next song plays, Here I go Again) These two songs sum up our entire relationship!

The Gymgirl and I bicker a lot. Not sure it rises to the level of full argument, most of the time, but there’re definitely disagreements.

The problem with me is that I’ve been spoiled by living in NYC and by my old single life. For me, if there was an issue with a relationship, I’d just get another one.

Used to tell people that you can crash and burn all night at 20 different bars and parties but at the 21st, you might meet the girl of your dreams.

Meeting people has never been an issue for me – even when I didn’t need to meet anyone. Wanting to stick around was my issue.

The Gymgirl’s no slouch herself at meeting people so I think we both looked at whatever we were initially as disposable.

Neither of us thought anything much of what might come of us getting together, just that it would be nice to have some company.

Somewhere along the line, we realized that the other was the best company we could have.

But our relationship’s imperfect because life is imperfect; we’re each broken, in our own ways.

Still, we’ve discovered that we’re both pretty good at fixing broken things. Kindness floats, you see – itself and other things.

That Brave New World fella once said that, Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.

Both the Gymgirl and I catch ourselves forgetting how terrible our lives were before we met each other and, when we bicker, somehow forget that we’re not disposable to each other.

And then we wait until the other remembers.

Ideally…

Me: Man, how does someone as tiny as you get so angry all the time?
Gymgirl: Are you saying I’m short?! Come down here and say that to my face.
Me: (pause, laughter)
Gymgirl: (laughs) You can’t leave me, I’m perfect.
Me: Sheyeah…

Location: Bicker-city
Mood: hopeful
Music: gonna hold on for the rest of my days
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Heading north

I want to be wherever


The best thing about having this here blog is seeing the changes that’ve happened across all this time.

I don’t always use pictures that relate to the entry I’m writing about. For example, this entry is when I met a waitress that looked just like Natalie Portman, but the picture is one I took when I met a girl named Alice.

I don’t mention every person I meet in this blog for a number of reasons, least of which so many people I meet stay in my venn diagram. Natalie didn’t but Alice did.

Alice and I’d not seen each other in years; as I said, before Alison got sick, we stopped being social and in the world because Alison and I lost so many pregnancies. And then the fucking cancer came.

Been gingerly stepping back into the world here and there. When I was young and single, had a rule that served me well: Never turn down an invite.

It’s how I met both Alison and the Gymgirl. And a lotta others.

Anywho, Alice invited me to her birthday party the other day and I decided to go with the Gymgirl to this bar called The Churchill.

Cause I’d decided to stay here in this world so I might as well take part in it. From time-to-time, at least.

Alice: Logan! (hugs me tightly) You came. I haven’t seen you in…
Me: It’s been a while.
Her: (hesitatingly) How have you been?
Me: (shrugging) You know…it’s been a lotta rock bottom. But, maybe I’m heading north.

 

My brother wrote a song once about a girl named Alice – not this Alice – that I’ve always liked.

I seem to like women whose name begin with “Al.”

Location: Not north yet
Mood: pensive
Music: I want to be wherever Alice is
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Dear Nate… 003: Rain happens

Bearing the weight

Boy: Papa, it’s raining.

Dear Nate;

As I write this, you sleep in your room. You’re almost three. I’ve written you twice before. I should write you more.

I’ve been sleeping better lately. I dream a lot but I’m a terrible sleeper. Your mother didn’t have this problem. I hope, in this regard, you take after her.

There are things that I hope you’ll take from me, and things I hope you’ll take from her.

The most important thing I want you to take from both us is the ability to bear the weight of the world.

If you ever read through this blog, I want you to tell you two things:

  1. Papa probably made up most of it; and,
  2. I talk about bearing things, quite a bit.

I always thought I could bear more pain – emotional and otherwise – than most. Then I met your mother.

She was, and remains, the bravest and strongest person I’ve ever known. I’ve never met anyone who bore as much as she did.

I hope never to meet another, because to watch it is soul-crushing.

The first time your mother and I spoke on the phone, she was unkind to me. But she immediately called me to apologize and ask how she could make it better.

I told her, “You get points in life for being brave.” I think I loved her at that moment. There is nothing more attractive than bravery.

You’ll meet a lot of people in this life that have all the trappings of bravery: They yell the loudest, act the craziest, threaten the most. They are many things, but they are not brave.

The truth is, we are made in our sleep and by our lonely. Bravery is quiet and happens when no one looks or notices.

And bravery requires you to bear things you don’t wanna: Disappointment, pain, ridicule, and loss.

We’ve lost so much, you and I.

There will be times when you can’t bear it any more and you’ll want to cry.

I want you to remember that rain happens when clouds can’t bear the weight they carry.

Likewise, tears happen when people can’t bear the weight they carry. So put it down and cry for a bit.

It’s ok to cry. Papa cries a lot when no one looks or notices. Papa carries a lotta weight, you see.

Anyway, once you’re done crying, you pick up the weight again. Because life is nothing if not bearing the weight of the world.

The world will teach you things like anger, greed, hatred, and cruelty. I’m sorry for that. I’m so sorry. I wish so many things were different.

But here – in the four walls of our small Manhattan apartment – I’ll try and teach you curiosity, patience, and kindness. With those things and bravery, you’ll be able to bear the world.

And always remember that you get points in life for being brave.

Love,

Pop

Me: Yes. The clouds can’t bear the weight anymore. But it’s ok. They will again and then it’ll be sunny again.
Him: Sunny again… I like the sun. (thinking) Papa doesn’t like the sun.
Me: (laughing) That’s not wrong.

Dear Nate… 001
Dear Nate… 002: Wait and wish

Location: home with the boy
Mood: heartbroken
Music: I love you oh so well

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Alison saved the day

Nothing is ever as it should be

Went to Boston this past weekend on a last minute, 48-hour trip with the Gymgirl. (I’m as confused as you are.)

Had a great time and was gonna write about it but the kid got sick while visiting Alison’s mom in NJ. They’re in the ER right now. I think he’ll be ok but I’m waiting.

I’m a wreck. Alison once said that the day before you become a parent is the last day you’re not worried. She’s right. Even more so with me. For obvious reasons.

In any case, here’s a something I was working on last week that’s much happier so I post it instead as I wait.

I hate the waiting so.

The kid started going to a five-day-a-week school recently.

When I arrived to pick him up, the teacher wanted to talk to me.

It seems they took his thermos out of his lunchbox, and – for some inexplicable reason – thought it was some other kid’s thermos and wrote that kid’s name on it.

It was annoying but an honest mistake and they felt terrible about it.

I was gonna buy him a new one when I remembered that when Alison moved in here, she bought a multipack of these things called Magic Erasers (that’s what the cap’s sitting on in the pic above) and scrubbed both bathrooms methodically until they sparkled.

She was so proud. She said that Magic Erasers were her favourite cleaning product ever.

I spent a solid 20 minutes going through the entire utility closet and found a single Magic Eraser tucked into the corner and used that to clean his thermos – you can’t even see it.

That made me happier than you might imagine because I know that if she were here, and this happened, she would have done exactly that.

Alison saved the day.

Location: 24 hours ago, Boston Commons
Mood: anxious like you couldn’t believe
Music: Miniature disasters and minor catastrophes bring me to my knees
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