In the gutter

My little human needs me

For reasons we don’t need to get into, I had to head to midtown just before 8PM the other night.

So, I hopped onto my scooter and zipped down 9th Avenue to the Penn Station area. I did what I had to do and then headed home.

Was going down West 33rd Street when there was a slight dip in the road, which I hit it perfectly.

And by perfectly, I mean that I went flying through the air – I was literally weightless for a moment. I crashed down into the street gutter, right next to a cop car.

I swear the two cops in the car both looked at me as if I had just messed up their drink order. It was a combination of puzzlement and wonder. They never left the car, and instead just turned away from me and waited for the light to change.

I got up and did a quick visual and mental check of myself. Most of my left side stung; nothing insanely painful but still pain.

I put myself back together again and started to head home as the cops slowly pulled away. I’m guessing they figured I woulda motioned to them in some manner if I was hurt?

It was late enough that I didn’t have to worry too much about a car hitting me. If it was before COVID, I woulda had to worry about a second impact.

When I got home, I realized that my bag was ripped, a chunk of my thigh was scraped open, as were my shoulder, and a solid part of my left palm (click here if you wanna see my hand – which is how my leg looked as well). The rest of my body looked like my elbow, above.

I think nuthin really bad happened because I was wearing a helmet and managed to breakfall correctly.

The thing that bothered me the most was thinking that if I got hurt, the kid would be left alone in the world. That, and my stinging palm, kept me up for a while.

Need to be more mindful of things. My little human needs me.

Podcast Version
Location: at Verdi Square, ranting to a man of God
Mood: still ouch
Music: Maybe it’s in the gutter? (Spotify)
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Rolling in Brook

Holy guacamole

Chad: If you’re biking there, I can meet you at the Brooklyn Bridge and we can head over there together.
Me: Can we hold hands while we do it?
Him: (scoffing) How else were we gonna do it?

I’ve been working 10-15 hours day on this big project as well as things with Scenic Fights.

Holy guacamole, in 11 days, the video that I mentioned to you earlier got over one million views!

One. Million. Views. In 11 days.

That means that somewhere out there, there are a million people that don’t know me as a writer, or as a lawyer, or as Alison’s husband, or the kid’s father, but rather as a guy that plays around with knives in his free time.

Which I do, but that’s neither here nor there.

Dunno how I feel about that.

I wonder how many of those views are from my mom? I should call my mom.

Since we’re talking about violence, I went to roll with Chad and some friends at another friend’s place. It was the very first time I’d rolled since the last time I told you about it. And it showed.

I was gassed after only the second roll.

Me: (lying on floor)
Him: Who’s free to roll?
Me: (lifting up arm) I am. But, I am not moving. You gotta come to me.
Him: (walking over) That’s just gonna make me mad, Logan.
Me: Goddammit.

The crazy thing is that I biked from my apartment in the UWS, ten miles to the place in Brooklyn, rolled for two hours, and then did the ten mile bike ride back.

Now, to be fair, part of that was with the electric bike turned on. But, most of it was with it off. And I somehow managed to lose a mask, my fave pair of sunglasses, and mess up my bike seat on the ride back.

My legs – and body – were jelly when I got home. Mouse and I had plans later that day, which was dumb. Because I was in no shape to do anything or see anyone.

Her: Are you ok?
Me: Everything hurts.
Her: Do you want me to walk on your back?
Me: God, yes.

There’s more, but I’ll tell you tomorrow.

Podcast Version
Location: earlier today, making beef ribs for a girlie
Mood: busy, busy, busy
Music: already flying through the free fall (Spotify)
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Cutting it Close

Dreaming of family

Finally got a replacement car-rental service and woke up early on Monday to see my mom for the first time in months.

I’d rented a cheap Civic but because of a whole mess of issues, they gave me a BMW instead. While that was nice, there were even more issues with the BMW so I ended up leaving an hour later than I wanted to.

Made an executive decision to see my son first. Chatted a bit with Lviv on the way there.

Me: I have to keep you safe from COVID.
Lviv: What do you mean?
Me: Well, I figure I can’t make out with anyone for three days before I see you.
Her: (laughing) I appreciate it. You’re sacrificing a lot.
Me: It’s cause I care.

My mother-in-law told my son to keep an eye out for “workmen,” so he kept a watchful eye on the front windows. When he saw me, he started screaming, “Papa! Papa!”

It was really something. I can’t explain it to you unless you’re a parent.

After a quick lunch, helped my in-laws set up a new router that I brought over because their old one was giving them spotty service.

MIL: How much do we owe you for the router?
Me: I think I owe you more for childcare.
Her: (laughing) Grandparents don’t charge for childcare, Logan.
Me: And I don’t charge for tech help, mom.

The kid and I spent the day together, including going for a drive around town. He sang the Rolling Stones the entire time. He’s not a fan of Paint It Black.

Every time I leave, it seems to get harder and harder.

Him: I wish you could stay.
Me: Just a little bit longer. Promise. Once you come back, you’ll get sick of me and miss your grandparents.
Him: (nods)

Then I dashed off to see my mom and my sister and her family.

Because of the rain – and because I wasn’t feeling all that great – only saw them for 15 minutes. No hugging or anything. Goddamn COVID.

Mom: Here’s some money.
Me: What? (laughing) You don’t need to give me anything.
Her: It’s for your birthday. Buy something nice for yourself. And here are some 粽子.
Me: Man, so many carbs.
Her: It’s tradition!

I took the Belt Parkway to get home because I wanted to check in on Mouse. Her family’s dealing with stuff that I’ll let you read about yourself.

Me: Your dad ok?
Her: He wasn’t getting better and we had to get lawyers involved.
Me: Shoot, I’m sorry.

We only got to chat for a little bit, which was interrupted by fireworks going off literally 10 feet behind us and people knocking on our windows.

Stranger: Bring her to a hotel!
Me: (puzzled) We’re just talking.

She and I almost slipped into an argument before we checked ourselves. It was nice seeing her.

It was late when I headed home. Drove by BrightBea’s pad but we don’t know each other well enough for me to just show up unannounced.

Besides, I was cutting it close, returning the car.

A lotta people don’t know, but NYC’s traffic lights are timed at 25 miles an hour, which makes sense since that’s our speed limit.

Here’s me hitting every green light around Park Slope.

Got back to the garage in the nick of time and then picked up some packages from the doormen next door before calling it a night.

Him: I’m glad you finally got to see your family.
Me: You and me both, man.

Podcast Version
Location: home, cleaning and still dreaming of family
Mood: homesick
Music: I can’t resist (Spotify)
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Isolation Days 5-6: A gaping yaw

Getting outta Dodge…again

Him: Where are we going?
Me: (as upbeat as possible) To see your aunt!
Him: Yay!

The redheaded babysitter and my regular babysitter have been the only company that the boy and I’ve had the last four days.

Because I manage my building, I realized that – with the possible exception of two people on one of the upper floors – there was no one else in my building.

Right around when I came to that realization, my sister-in-law called to check in on us and said that there was a chance that the mayor would be shutting down all non-essential travel. While I read that this wasn’t likely, I still felt this really cold dread.

You see, if anything happened to me, the boy would be all alone in the building. I could fall down the stairs (again), cut my my head open (again), get sick and pass out (again), or any number of things.

That’s when I hit the grief button (again). If Alison was here, at least it would be the three of us. But I didn’t feel safe being alone with just the two of us so we got outta Dodge (again).

Me: We’re out the door. What do you need from me, if anything?
Her: Just bring some extra clothes and I’ll bring them to my parents. Who knows how long he’ll be there?
Me: OK. We’re already on the subway.

I was about the same age as the boy when the Blackout of 1977 happened. I remember that my parents didn’t seem like themselves that day, even all these years later.

Didn’t want the boy to hear or feel any anxiety as I took him out of the city, so I played a version of “lava” with him to try to not have him touch anything. That was fine while it lasted.

Him: I’m tired of this game.
Me: (sighing)
Him: You’re doing (imitates a sigh) again.
Me: (nodding)

We were the only ones in our car.

I only saw my sister for a moment as I buckled the kid into the child seat and dashed off to catch the train back.

Me: Please try to be good, ok?
Him: OK. Bye, papa! (waves)

Told Pac that I’d support his mom’s business – Noona Noodles – while things were sketch.

Me: Should I head to your mom’s?
Him: Nah, she’s not picking up.
Me: Actually, fuck it, I’m here. Lemme see if she’s open.

She was – place was dead quiet. I was the only customer in the whole joint. Picked up some Vietnamese pho and a 40 on the way back, for no particular reason.

Woulda picked up more food but it’s just me. It was delicious.

Tried to be as productive as I could: Did my taxes, submitted my census form, and finally got around to cleaning up some digital files.

Found some pics of my family before everything went to shit. That’s an entry for another day.

On my last one pound jar of peanut butter to boot. Went through two jars in five days.

I already miss the boy. But he’s safer there than in an empty NYC apartment building with just me. Growing up with no friends, I’m used to being by my lonely. But this feels different. Finding those pictures didn’t help.

It’s a gaping yaw of existential loneliness that only comes with profound moments of grief that I can’t quite seem to explain.

Her: What are you going to do?
Me: Seeing as I’m here in this building by myself, I’m going to go to the back room and randomly scream for a bit.
Her: (laughs)

Location: an empty UWS apartment building
Mood: inebriated
Music: standin’ out there alone. A yearning, yeah, and it’s real
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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 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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Watching the leaves change colours

A weekend getaway

Mouse and I went to a bed and breakfast in Westchester this past weekend and took a hike on Bear Mountain to watch the leaves change colour.

Her: (panting) I didn’t know you were part goat.
Me: (panting) Like I said, I like to keep things to myself until I need to show what I can do. Now I’m gonna throw up.

Besides the hiking, we spent half the time trying not to get killed on scooters, and the other half waiting for taxis.

Speaking of scooters, we stopped off at a diner and the owner was nice enough to let us park them indoors.

When we came back to get them, we found these notes on them, which we thought was a nice touch of kindness.

We ended up eating there…

…a dive Middle Eastern joint (I do like my gyros)…

…and an IHOP.

The IHOP was something special from Mouse to me, for reasons I’ll keep to myself.

Me: Thanks, this means a lot to me.
Her: Of course. (scanning menu) You’ll have to order for me because I want everything.

I used to live around there when I was a really young kid and we went past so many things that were somewhat familiar.

Her: You ok?
Me: (nodding, slowly) Just thinking about my dad. (pointing) I think he took us there once.

Afterwards, I went to Hoboken to pick up the kid from my sister-in-law’s.

Me: Hey! I missed you, did you miss me?
Him: (nodding) Can I eat this candy?
Me: (laughing) We’ll see…

Location: back in the UWS
Mood: hopeful
Music: Maybe I’ll run away

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Afraid of the dark

Landslides take us down

Me: I forgot the anniversary of dad’s death.
Brother: I forgot too – until you brought it up.
Me: I feel guilty about that. I feel guilty about everything.

It was the anniversary of my dad’s death this past weekend. I actually went on a hike in Long Island to clear my head that day and somehow forgot it.

It’s a terrible thing, but when you lose someone you love that deeply, you can’t really think of them. You do everything in your power not to think of them.

And yet, late at night, I do. I don’t wanna. Because that gnawing anger and sense of loss is too much to bear and that’s when the insomnia creeps back in.

Two friends from the gym each gave me something to help me forget and sleep, and each worked for a while. But I ran out of one and the other ran out on me. And I’m left with … me.

I get how people become alcoholics or drug addicts. Pain is a difficult thing to bear in prolonged capacity. You blunt it however you can.

Used to be afraid of the dark because I thought I might not be alone when the lights were off.

Now I’m afraid of the dark because I am alone when the lights are off.

Ain’t that a kick in the head?

At least, though, you can scream out, “What the fuck?!” as loudly and as often as you want.

So there’s that.

Him: Why? He would never want to you to feel guilty about that. He’d want you to remember how he lived. Not how he died.

Wonder if my son will think I’m a good dad. Hope so.

Didn’t realize how much my dad musta wanted everything for us and how much it musta killed him that he couldn’t get us much when we were kids.

But he loved us. That was enough. Love’s enough, sometimes.

I get that now.

I get a lotta things now. The past few years have been a landslide of things I didn’t wanna know but now know.

The thing is, landslides take us down and bury us if we’re not careful.

So I struggle for breath.

It’s been over eight years of death, loss, and pain. And I still struggle for breath.

Location: chatting with a new friend on an orange chair
Mood: WTF
Music: Can I handle the seasons of my life?

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Travelogue: Los Angeles 2018, Days 5 & 6

It’s good to be home


We grabbed some food and coffee around the Avalon Hotel for Christmas eve right before checkout.

Her: The coffee was free!
Me: Why?
Her: (shrugging) Christmas?

And then had some traditional Christmas Persian food.

But we got in one last swim pool before we got ready to go.

The Gymgirl has an odd way to sunbathe:

Afterward, we met up with my brother and his girl for dinner at a Chinese joint near him.

Him: I think we ordered too much food.
Me: I don’t think so. The Gymgirl and I eat a lot.
Him: Why don’t we see if the food we already ordered is enough.
Me: (30 minutes later) I think we need more food.
The Gymgirl: We need more food.
Me: See?

The owner gave us a calendar for the new year.

The rest of the night was them singing karaoke. Everyone else had a good singing voice so I just let them sing while I enjoyed it.

Me: Sing for me, you singing monkeys!
Brother: (laughing) Why would you say such a thing?

The next day was Christmas. We woke up super late and the Gymgirl and I exchanged presents.

Me: Do you like it?
Her: I love it! No on has ever bought me anything like this.
Me: (laughing) Good. I like to be first.

Her gift to me was at home as it arrived late but she got me some Firefly-related things to tide me over.

My brother’s girl also got us a gift; a tiny waffle maker.

Girlfriend: It’s just a little something.
Me: It’s the perfect size for the kid. Thanks! Shoot, we didn’t get you anything…

Later, the Gymgirl and I went for a walk to do some reconnaissance and see what was open for dinner. We decided on some Thai food, followed by some coffee.

The rest of the night, we all played board games, like Midnight Taboo, which kinda made me realize how much The Gymgirl and I thought alike.

Me: Our friend V is covered in…
The Gymgirl: Tatoos!
Me: Yes!
Brother: What the heck?!

We woke up the next morning and stopped by Lucky Boy, the greasy spoon I went to the last time I was in town, for some brekkie before heading to the airport.

Unlike the trip there, the trip back went completely smoothly. When we landed, we took a cab home that was only five days old.

Me: This is the nicest cab I’ve ever been in. And I’m a native New Yorker. Can I take a picture of it?
Driver: But of course!

We got home and I sighed yet again.

The last time I went to California, Alison ran out to greet me when I returned by shouting, “He’s home, Logan’s home!

This time, as it was so late, it was completely quiet when we got back.

So I turned to the Gymgirl and said, “We’re home.”

“Yes,” she said, nodding, and putting down her bag, “it’s good to be home.”

Location: in front of screens all day
Mood: super busy
Music: Just tell me if you wanna go home

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Travelogue: Los Angeles 2018, Day 3a

Grappling with some scooters and Zankou’s Chicken

Actually, one of the first things we did after we checked into the hotel was to look at a grappling school just a few blocks from the hotel.

Me: Wow, it’s only two blocks away from here. Did you plan that out?
Her: (pause) Yes?

We were planning on seeing a few schools but I neglected to factor in the holidays so we only got to visit the one. But  we were fine with that because it was so nice and welcoming.

In fact, the woman that worked at the front desk used to live just two blocks from me.

Her: I loved the Upper West Side.
Me: Correction, it’s the Upper BEST Side.

The main instructor is a pretty famous practitioner named Ryron (pronounced “he-ron”) who was just the nicest guy.

We spent two really enjoyable but challenging hours there early on Saturday before we went back to the hotel to get changed.

Her: That was a lot of fun.
Me: I know! I think we’ve been brainwashed to think that grappling schools are fulla screaming and impatient instructors (because of our old instructor).

After we got cleaned up, we ended up taking an Uber to a Zankou Chicken.

Driver: I haven’t seen anyone read an actual paper in years.
Me: I’m as old as dirt.

Interestingly, while we were there, it was the first time I’ve ever asked anyone to take a picture of us and they said no.

Woman: I’d rather not.
Me: That’s unexpected, but ok.

Instead of taking a car back, the Gymgirl suggested that we take one of the several electric scooters around us. It took us a few tries but we ultimately got two going.

Unfortunately, while mine was pretty zippy…

…hers was decidedly not:

There’s more but you know that I don’t like to write super long entries so I’ll have to continue this tomorrow.

In the meantime, here’s a video of Ryron (the guy on the bottom) and his brother Renner, doing what they do:

 

Location: heading out to see some friends with the boy
Mood: hungry
Music: they shine for you and all the things that you do
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