Someone that believes in himself

Better than the alternative

I finally got my piña coladas the other day. No umbrella in it but beggars can’t be choosers.

You see, my cousin, Ras, didn’t come with us the last time Cho, Mouse, Chad, and I went off to get seafood so she suggested we go there earlier this week.

Cho picked up Ras first and then Mouse and me. Chad wasn’t feeling well so he wasn’t going to come but Mouse rang him up and found out that he was fine and just being overly-cautious.

Mouse: You have 15 minutes to get dressed, we’re picking you up.
Him: I’ll need more than 15 minutes, I have to…
Her: (interrupting) You can just put on your makeup in the car. We’ve all done that. 15 minutes.

So off we went. It took us 15 minutes to travel the 10 blocks we needed to get out of Manhattan, and then 15 minutes to go the next 10 miles.

That’s driving in Manhattan for you.

While on the way to the restaurant, we saw this massive truck try to parallel park into this tiny spot.

Me: Now that’s someone that believes in himself.
Her: God, how small is his stuff that he needs a truck that big?

We ended up ordered the same thing we got last time.

Ras, Chad, and Henry: We’re stuffed.
Mouse and me: We’re ordering two more stone crabs, one snow crab, and potatoes.
Ras: You two are animals.

Mouse didn’t say a word for the next 20 minutes as she silently made those crabs regret being born.

I managed to say a few words in between bites and more piña coladas.

The next day, Mouse made made me a lunch of grilled fish with a low-carb creamy cauliflower risotto.

Now, she’s cooked for me before but this was honestly the best thing she ever made me – so much so that I asked her for the recipe.

What I got from my request was not only the recipe itself, but also vindication that it’s not just my mind that was going, because Mouse did to me, exactly what I did to her just a few weeks ago.

Me: Can you send me that recipe?
Mouse: Sure. (sends me the recipe, my phone beeps) Oh, you have a notification.
Me: Oh? Wait, that was was you texting me the recipe!
Her: What the heck!? I guess I’m getting old.

We all are. Getting old is a blessing, though – it’s better than the alternative.

Podcast Version
Location: early this morning, getting a gyro with my coach
Mood: hangry
Music: they don’t know about you and I(Spotify)

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Blogarama - Observations Blogs

Herding cats

Nothing is, I suppose

Been working on alla these projects of mine. Some for scratch, most not.

For example, I’ve been heading out to Queens early in the AM to meet up with a buncha guys to roll around every once in a while.

See, I’ve been trying to keep as busy as possible because I’ve been missing the boy something awful.

He just biked by himself the other day. When I was in another state.

It’s less than ideal.

And when I’m not thinking of him, I’m thinking of Alison. Or Mouse. Or my old life lives.

Suppose we’re are all just prisoners here of our own devices.

I’d just finished a project when Chad hit me and some friends up, outta the blue, via a messaging app.

Him: What’s up everyone? Cho and I are getting dinner later today and then look at the sunset together if he’s lucky. We’re doing Flushing.
Cho: I’m driving.
Pac: I can meet you guys in Flushing.
Mouse: (later) Reading this chat is like trying to herd cats.

I needed the distraction.

Me: I’m in.

And I hopped on my scooter to meet up with Cho around my old offices and we went off to pick up Chad downtown and Mouse in Brooklyn. It was a 90 odyssey.

Mouse: Since you all came to pick me up, I brought some homemade dumplings to tie everyone over.
Chad: Sweeeeeet!
Cho: Sorry, no eating in the car.
Chad: Dammit!

We ended up meeting Pac at the same restaurant that Mouse and I met him at over a year earlier. I wanted to go see my mom and sis since we were there but I figured it wasn’t fair to make everyone go out of their way.

I chatted up one of the greeters there for a buddy of mine.

Me: It’s too bad you’re not single, Sophie. He’s a catch.
Her: You remembered my name!
Me: Of course, darling. It’s what I do. But enough about me, tell me about this fella you’re seeing.

We ate. We drank. And then had some complex carbs.

It was a good night and a good distraction.

I went home and tried to get some sleep but instead pulled up pictures and videos of my family.

I’m grateful for my friends, really. But it’s not the same as family.

Nothing is, I suppose.

Podcast Version
Location: in front of my computer, non-stop
Mood: focused
Music: I had to find the passage back to the place I was before (Spotify)
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First bike ride

I’ll say joyful

Took the train to see the boy last week.

I was on a completely empty train car when some dude got on and decided to sit directly behind me.

Thought it was odd but didn’t say anything. After just a bit, I heard a deep voice say, “Hey, man. Hey, man – yo, back here.”

I turned around to see this huge fella wearing a baseball cap and a Black Lives Matters mask.

Him: Hey, man. I just wanted to tell you that I’m sitting behind you because this is the only seat with a plug near it and I gotta charge my phone.
Me: Oh! Hey, thanks for telling me. I was wondering…
Him: Yeah, for sure. I’d do the same thing. Empty car. I get it, man.
Me: Seriously, thanks so much for saying something.
Him: No problem, man. I get it.

When I got to my stop, I wished him well.

Me: I hope you get to where you’re going safely, homie. Have a good weekend.
Him: (big smile) Hey, thanks, you too, you too.

My mother-in-law picked me up.

The boy was in school (online) so he couldn’t come with her but when we got to her home, he was there on the porch, waiting for me. He started screaming, “Papa, papa!” at the top of his lungs.

If you’re not a parent that hasn’t seen his kid in weeks, I can’t fully express how it felt to see him.

But I’ll say joyful and hope it translates, knowing that it won’t.

MIL: I wanted you to be the one to teach him how to ride a bicycle.
Me: Thanks, mom. That means a lot to me.

I remember riding my first bike.

It was a yellow girl’s bike with flowers on the plastic banana seat and a white basket. I didn’t care. It was mine and I loved it.

I took off the training wheels from the boy’s bike and he began to cry.

Me: Are you scared?
Him: (nods)
Me: It’s ok to be scared. You can only be brave if you’re scared first. But you get points in life for being brave. Be brave for me, ok?
Him: OK, papa. I’ll try.

He was. He did a great job.

Although, to be fair, even if he didn’t, he’s mine and I love him.

Podcast Version
Location: yesterday night, home again
Mood: busy
Music: Everything means nothing if I can’t have you (Spotify)
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He’s ambulatory

Seafood in the rain

Chad ended up fracturing his foot in two places the other day. Since he’s as much eat-what-you-kill as me, this was not good news.

Him: According to PT Steve, I’m looking at six weeks at a minimum. Most likely six months before I get full mobility back.
Me: Well, that’s not good news.

Our buddy Cho was nice enough to chauffer him around the place.

Chad: Do you wanna grab some food with us?
Me: I just made lunch so…
Him: We’re going to Queens for seafood.
Me: Heck, yeah!

But first we Skyped with my son, who decided to do math problems for them by adding three sets of three digit numbers.

Chad: Is that right?
Me: How would I know?
Cho: Do all four-year-olds know how to do that?
Me: I don’t think so. He takes after his mom.

Somehow, we all decided to pick up Mouse as well so – after a snack of some homemade ribs and collard greens, we went off to Brooklyn to pick her up.

Her: Where in Brooklyn are we going?
Cho: We’re going to Queens.
Me: An hour from here.
Her: What?! Why would we do that?
Me: Because Cho’s the driver and that’s where he wants to go.
Her: OK, I’m sold.

Because of Mouse’s diet, she’s super limited as to what she can eat. But she can go to town on seafood. Which worked out perfectly because Cho was hankering for some of that.

Chad: I’m not a big fan of seafood.
Mouse: (correcting him) You’re not a big fan of fish. That’s different from seafood. You’ll like seafood.

Just to hedge our bets, we got him some wings and an arepa from the food cart on the street. Because of the lockdown, we sat in a rainstorm on the street under a tent. It was pretty fun, actually.

Cho and Mouse then proceeded to show Chad how to eat lobster, snow crab, raw oysters, and the like.

Mouse: What do you think?
Him: Pretty good, actually.
Me: Mouse and I used to eat 48 oysters at a time.
Chad: Get outta here.
Her: It’s true. They’d give us like six forks each and we’d say, “We just need one.”

I ended up having two pina coladas, Chad’s lemon drop – it was Alison’s go to shot drink and he wanted to try it (he wasn’t a fan) – and a beer so I was pretty lit by the time we headed home.

Cho, who didn’t drink, wanted to drop everyone off – me uptown, Chad downtown, Mouse in the middle-of-nowhere Brooklyn, and himself in deep Queens – so Mouse insisted on paying for everyone’s dinner.

Me: I’ll cover half, at least.
Her: Nah, I just got a promotion. It’s fine.
Me: Are you sure?
Her: I had good company, good drink, good food, and good music. I’m sure.

While heading home, our buddy Robinson wrote me…

Him: Have you talked to Chad? Is he ambulatory?
Me: Yup!

…and I sent him this picture.

I generally don’t like last minute anything but they do have their moments.

Especially when they involve good company, good drink, good food, and good music.

Podcast Version
Location: yesterday night, eating in Jackson Heights
Mood: busy
Music: I’ve got friends that will fly once called  (Spotify)
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It’s not that bad

Running into friends

As I was saying, while Mouse, Chad and I were eating at our usual Vietnamese joint, I locked eyes with this tall fella walking by with a buddy of his that seemed familiar, even though we were both wearing masks.

Him: Logan?
Me: John?

It was actually a buddy of mine from my old judo class out in Queens. The last time we rolled together was just around 9/11. At the time, I was living in the boy’s room, before Abbie. That’s one of the few pics I have of it from back then.

Man, was I a mess before Alison.

In any case, John was in high school then; he now had grey hair.

Me: (turning to Chad) This is actually my coach, Chad. Chad, this is John, he’s a purple belt…
John: I’m a brown, actually. (laughs)
Me: Damn, nice! Sorry.
John: (to Chad) We saw your ears and figured you were a fighter.

The two of them started to chat about our old coach. I stayed out of it since I got it all outta my system but it was interesting to see these two strangers trade very similar notes.

I do remember that I asked my old coach once how he was so ok with his less-than-stellar reputation. He said he was fine with it so I don’t have any compunction telling you.

I wonder what my reputation is like. Like, what do you think of me?

In some ways, I don’t care, in others, I care a great deal. Like my professional life – I care greatly what people say about me and my work product.

Because I don’t advertise at all and I also haven’t had a salary in close to 20 years; it’s always been eating what I kill. And that’s 100% dependent on reputation.

My personal life, I care about my reputation far less so. I’m probably making it all up anyway.

Can’t tell you how many people tell me that I shouldn’t write this blog. But it’s for me. To remember what I want to remember and keep myself honest about what happens in my life.

I suppose I’m rambling again. Anywho, John had to run because he was eating at Playa Betty’s and his table was ready.

Me: Oh, that place is great for kids but the food’s terrible.
Mouse: Why would you say that, Logan?!
Me: (stammering) Uh, uh, well, it’s it’s not that bad…
Everyone: (shakes heads)

Podcast Version
Location: in front of my computer, all day
Mood: busy again
Music: I’m anti-everything, but you (Spotify)
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Pandemics and lifestyle

Going through this very moment

Nick Cordero’s death really shook me. Mainly because I thought he would make it, somehow.

I guess you can relate.

Also, because I know exactly what his young wife with their young child is going through at this very moment. Exactly. It’s heartbreakingly awful.

I wish her whatever she needs to survive this. Making it through to the other side is never guaranteed.

I married Alison for dozens of reasons. One was that she didn’t wear shoes in the house.

This may seem like a stupid thing but changing someone’s lifelong habit is difficult, if not impossible. The key to any relationship – romantic or otherwise – is reducing friction between the two parties. This means a combination of communication and shared interests.

Was thinking of this as it related to this whole COVID-19 insanity.

Did you ever read Guns, Germs, and Steel? It’s a fascinating look at why white Europeans were able to essentially conquer the world both socially and economically.

One thing that Europeans did, that Asians and Native Americans did not do, was live with livestock.

Assuming, arguendo, that these pandemics like:

      • COVID-19 (bats)
      • measles, tuberculosis, and cowpox (cattle)
      • influenza (pigs)

originally came from animals, and European invaders essentially wiped out entire populations of native Americans, it’s interesting to see how something as simple as one’s lifestyle can change the entire course of history.

Having now experienced a pandemic firsthand – again, I don’t recommend it –  it’s morbidly fascinating to realize how much of the world I currently live in is the result of just random chance.

This is all just a long way of me saying, while it’s probably better for the kid’s immune system, I can’t have dogs in my pad.

Which is unfortunate because it seems that every single girl in NYC has a dog.

Me: Oh, it’s 7PM. I thought you had to leave for a date.
AnotherGirlWithADog: I cancelled while we were chatting.
Me: Now why would you do that?
Her: (laughs) Well, you’re more interesting.
Me: You don’t know the half of it, lady. I’d prefer to be a bit less interesting, frankly. (later) Oh, you should be investing. Has anyone ever told you about compound interest?
Her: That kind of stuff is too complex for me.
Me: Don’t put self-limiting beliefs like that out into the aether.

Podcast Version
Location: Home, missing out on a thunderstorm
Mood: stupidly sober
Music: It’s dead steady, there’s falling and flying (Spotify)
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Si vis pacem, para bellum

Seems so easy

BrightBea: You don’t seem scary or violent.
Me: I’m not. Si vis pacem, para bellum.
Her: What does that mean?
Me: If you want peace, prepare for war. All I ever wanted was to be left alone. To become invisible. Easy. I just wanted easy. 

While the price of the antibodies is – for serious – outrageous, it’s now a sunken cost. At least for me. So, I mean to enjoy it.

The city’s opening up again but I don’t think people are fully prepared for what this virus does. Don’t think they fully realize the price that has to be paid.

But I understand the allure of being blissfully ignorant.

Me? I know more than I wanna know.

Her: I’m sorry you didn’t get that.
Me: You and me both, lady. You and me both.

On a related(ish) note, I’ve been trying to figure out a way to – safely – see the boy with more regularity. I’ve got a few ideas that I’m toying with.

Speaking of toys, Mouse sent him and me a gift recently for Father’s Day. She admonished me not to open it until Sunday and I listened.

That’s another of my ten-thousand regrets.

I’m gonna need a bigger list.

LViv: You met your ex for pizza? Are you sure she’s an ex?
Me: Quite. Well, I suppose it’s time to share our sad stories then.

Podcast Version
Location: on line at TJ’s
Mood: hot in the hot-hot heat
Music: the kind of thing I always hoped I’d find (Spotify)
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A litmus test

Under Pressure

Him: I didn’t realize how broken it all made you. You know, you don’t have to be a high-functioning alcoholic.
Me: That’s like saying you don’t have to eat cake. I *want* to eat cake. If nuthin else, I’m a good cautionary tale.
Him: Well, you’ve become something else to me now.
Me: And what’s that?
Him: (thinking) The standard by which I measure another person’s decency. How people treat a guy that lost the person he loved most in the world, his father, and his career all in one shot tells me everything I need to know about him/her. I think you’ve earned some kindness from people.
Me: Great. That’s what I’ve become: (sighing) A cautionary tale and a litmus test. I just need to know that I’ve earned some rum.
Him: At least that. You’ve earned at least that. Fuck everyone else.

Eight years ago, Alison gave me a bottle of Ron Zacapa XO Rum just because.

There was just a little bit left when she got sick and I refused to have any more. When I found the bottle late last year, the cork had deteriorated and I had to transfer it to another bottle. It was one of my most special things.

Before she exited my venn diagram, I asked Mouse to share the last glass with me because I felt she earned it, unlike some weird rando, but she declined. Which is fine.

So, yesterday, a friend stopped by and we had it together in honor of Alison’s birthday, along with a lot more rum.

Speaking of randos, I met someone that also had COVID antibodies at Pier 64 today as I tried to clear my head and sober up for some meetings.

Me: It’s like we have superpowers!
Her: (laughing) Kinda!
Me: Well, since we just met, I suppose we should keep to safe topics like politics and religion, yeah?

I hide my real face well, I think. I work well under pressure.

Fake it till you make it, right?

Podcast Version: A litmus test
Location: my empty apartment, with no rum
Mood: disgustingly sober
Music: Keep coming up with love but it’s so slashed and torn. Why? (Spotify)
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Trading our sad stories

One man’s search continues

I saw my son the other day. I wore a long-sleeve shirt over my shirt, pants over my pants, a hat, and gloves. The only thing exposed were my eyes. I didn’t want to chance getting my in-laws sick.

My sister-in-law picked me up from the train.

Her: You’re being ridiculous, you know.
Me: Nope! If your parents are getting sick, it’ll be causea you, not causea me.

I didn’t tell my son that I was going to see him so it would be a surprise. When I finally saw him, I wouldn’t let him hug me until I got cleaned up. Then I practically tackled him.

It was the first time I touched him in well over a month. After a minute or so, he finally demanded I let him go.

Him: (laughing) Stop! Stop!
Me: Never!

It’s been raining a lot lately so when the sun broke out the other day, I continued my quest for deep-fried chicken. Kinda.

This is what I tool around with, BTW:

I went up Central Park West to West 96th Street and then across the park to 5th Avenue. Normally, there would be crowds in front of the Museum of Natural History but it was completely empty.

Made my way to 103rd Street and  Lexington. The thing is, I was actually heading to the White Castle on West 103rd Street and 1st Avenue.

I know, I know. I need help.

Now, I was going east-bound on a west-bound street when I found myself in front of this store: Texas Chicken & Burgers.

Well, I thought, this is kismet. I should try and stick to my low-carb, high-fat/protein diet anywho.

So, in I went and I bought an assortment of a dozen pieces of fried chix.

Treasure in hand, I went home.

Definitely the worst of the lot compared to KFC and Popeyes.

Good god, I’m now gonna be known as a connoisseur of deep-fried fowl fast food.

Seriously though: Kentucky>Texas.

Not because the Kentucky governor’s a democrat but I’m sure that doesn’t hurt.

Found out that I’ve got the COVID-19 antibodies for sure.

Because of this, I met a grey-eyed writer from Bensonhurst. In some ways, she’s my normal type, in others not so much; I always felt purely artsy people were a bit weird.

But she has potential. I suppose that’s all you can ask for in the world right now.

Her: Do you mind if I ask what happened?
Me: We only just met. (pause) Let’s not trade our sad stories just yet. There’ll be time enough for that. 

Podcast Version: Trading our Sad Stories
Location: my empty apartment, which feels a bit emptier
Mood: can’t look at another piece of fried chicken
Music: Just wanna go home (Spotify)
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Lunch by the river

Noticing things

Me: Yo, what are you up to? I can’t do any more work and I’m going stir crazy here.
Him: Screw it, come on by. Do you have any extra gloves and masks?

I’ve been trying to catch up on work, but it’s hard being here with the sheer emptiness of it all. I miss the boy terribly.

So, like I said in my previous entries, I hopped onto my scooter and zipped down from the UWS to the LES to take Chad out to eat.

Here’s a quickie vid on what it’s like out there.

It was honestly the perfect day to be out and about. It took me twice as long to get there as it should’ve because I kept stopping to take pictures or video. Once I finally got there, we tried to figure out what was for lunch.

As you know, I’m a sucker for a gyro, so that’s what I got.

He got a gyro burger, which makes no sense to me but he’s an adult so…

Me: OK, where we going, man?
Him: It’s a nice day, we can eat by the river.

My lungs are mostly ok but, honestly, walking those few blocks was difficult. Not necessarily bad, but noticeably not normal.

This thing is truly a bear. Being audited while you’re trying not to die is a new experience, lemme tell ya.

And I’ve had a lotta shitty experiences.

We finally got to the river and it was just perfect. More people were out than probably should’ve been but definitely less than the normal crowd. It was nice to be in society again.

And the food was so good that we both agreed not to speak for five minutes as we enjoyed it shoveled it into our pieholes.

Afterward, we chatted for a bit when I locked eyes with one of the most beautiful women I’d ever seen in my life. She was stupid attractive.

Me: Hi there.
Her: (laughs) Hi!

Chad commented that I should have spoken to her more.

Him: Whoa, she was hot and that was a huge smile she gave you, why don’t you talk to her?
Me: (laughing) How do you know she had a huge smile?
Him: (puzzled) What? I saw.
Me: (nodding) OK. Yes, she was beautiful, and, yes, that was a big smile she gave me. But here’s what I noticed….
Him: (afterwards) Oh, that’s really interesting. I never thought about that.
Me: I have my rules. I always have my rules.
Him: (shaking head) I don’t get it but, ok. Man…

It’s a little party trick of mine; noticing little things and trying to make sense of what they mean. Hopefully correctly.

All my senses have been dulled for so long but I feel a little bit of the old me from so long ago.

After a bit, we headed back to his place but stopped off at a local bodega.

Me: Hard seltzer. I’m secure in my manhood. Do it?
Him: (laughing) Sure.
Me: Oooooh, mango…

We kept some good social distancing in his tiny pad.

Honestly, it was good to see and speak to another human being again. I didn’t realize just how cruel and harsh solitary confinement is. And this is nuthin compared to that.

Me: Well, I guess I should go.
Him: Are you ok to get home?
Me:  (getting up) Well, we’re about to find out.

Podcast Version: Lunch by the River
Location: a few days ago, the John V. Lindsay East River Park
Mood: hungry
Music: I notice every single thing, that’s ever happening (Spotify)
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