All the Wrong Ghosts

Keys

Johnny called me the other day. I didn’t pick up.

I called the Devil the other day. He didn’t pick up.

All the wrong ghosts haunt me.

Movie: “You have 212 more supplicants to see you.”
Me: (to wife) That’s why we have judges – they act on the king’s behalf because the king couldn’t possib…
Alison: I have to write down everything you tell me while watching movies and television and call it, Stuff my husband tells me during movies and television.

Did you ever wonder why “movie trailers,” are called that, even though they come before the movie?

Or why the Three Musketeers candy bar is called that, when it’s one single bar?

The former is because the trailer used to trail the main film but no one stuck around to watch them, so they switched it.

The latter’s because it used to be three different candy bars – chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry – until just after WWII when it cost too much to make all three flavours.

The thing is that these things just stick around, long after they make any sense to anyone.

In this post, I wrote about putting up a key holder for Alison and me. I never put up a picture of it because I was worried about someone being able to duplicate our keys from the picture so I never did.

But, after the gate incident with Pac, I replaced my locks, so it’s a moot point.

I took that picture up above with Alison on June 6, 2014 and told her that her spot would always be the first hook.

She hung up her keys at the end of October, 2015 and never took them down again. They’re still there now. If you ever come over, those are her keys.

I never touch them.

I always tell myself that this is the year I’ll take them down but I can’t bring myself to do it. Which makes no sense, I know.

But, neither do trailers or single chocolate bars called Three Musketeers.

It’ll be November soon. I’ll be drinking again then.

Who am I kidding? I’ve already started. Because.

Podcast Version
Location: this fucking house
Mood: not good
Music: Tell me you love me, come back and haunt me (Spotify)

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Blogarama - Observations Blogs

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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Grief-Stricken

Chuck and Chad(wick)

Chuck, Cho, Chad, and Mouse came by on Friday to wish Chuck a safe trip back home.

Me: Well, I already spent thousands this month on my apartment and health so I figured, “Why not blow another $150 on a smokeless grill? What difference’s 150 bucks at this point?”
Chad: Makes sense.
Me: We should invite Chuck over for a last BBQ in NYC.
Him: Let’s do it.

For anyone that’s been to my pad before, they know that the air circulation is low-to-nonexistent. No matter what I try to pan-grill, my smoke alarm goes off and it’s a sauna most days of the year.

I’d gotten the grill a while ago and decided to christen it and wish Chuck a farewell at the same time.

We picked up burgers, kielbasa, kraut, cole slaw, roasted veggies, potato pancakes, and drinks around the way, bringing them back and grilling everything up. We were supposed to start around 5:30.

Mouse: (walking in at 7PM) Wait, you haven’t started eating yet?
Me: We started a bit late.
Her: I can see that.

After we were done eating, we watched an episode of a food channel, an episode of hot ones, and then got down to serious matters, like board games.

We started with SpotIt

Chad: My morale’s deflated.
Me: I gotta put that in the blog.

…before moving onto Exploding Kittens

Everyone: How could you have that many defuse cards and still lose, Logan?
Me: It’s a gift, really.

Chuck: I’m going to throw a hairy potato at you. And not one of the cards.

…and finishing up with the classic, Pictionary.

Guess what this is and click it to read the URL of it to see if you’re right (Chuck figured it out)

Note that we were all two-sheets-to-the-wind – except for Cho – because he was the only one driving. Which is why I found the following exchange so amusing:

Mouse: (drawing)
Cho: What is that? An eye?
Her: (nods)
Him: Eye circle?
Her: (shakes head)
Him: Eye globe?
Her: (eyes wild and wide, stabs picture)
Him: Eyeball?
Her: YES! It’s an eyeball! EYE GLOBE?! EYE CIRCLE?! WTF is an EYE GLOBE, CHO?!

Chad was laughing hysterically when he glanced at his phone and suddenly turned sober. “Oh, no!” he said.

Him: Chadwick Boseman died from colon cancer. He was 43.
Me: What? (taking out phone, reading) Um, I need a second, fellas.

I went into the back room, sat down, and just cried. That’s how it works, you see. That’s how grief works.

One minute with you’re with your fave girlie and good friends, and the next minute you’re in the back pulling up pictures of people you know you love and that you’ll never see again and an actor that you never knew.

You never know when life’s gonna hit that grief button. But when it does, holy shit…

I always knew the word, “grief-stricken,” but I never truly appreciated the etymological brilliance of the word until that moment.

It’s actually so perfect with how it works as a word, you are literally stricken – hit, bludgeoned, injured, wounded, struck – with grief.

That’s what grief-stricken means. Grief hits you like a fucking baseball bat, and you’re left gasping for air.

I was literally laughing one moment and trying to cry as quietly as I could the next. That’s what grief-stricken means.

As for Chadwick, that’s a whole different matter that I need to work through.

Chad: (leaning in) I’m sorry, brother, I wasn’t thinking.
Me: (shaking head) Why are you sorry? It wasn’t you that took her from me.

Podcast Version
Location: alone in my apartment
Mood: Friday, grief-stricken
Music: Sooner or later in life, the things you love you loose (Spotify)
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But wait, there’s more

Good having friends

After the plumbers left, I rang up my neighbor Vic, who’s helped me many times in the past – including when my radiator cracked and Alison was sick – to talk about patching up the massive holes the plumbers left.

The problem is that, while getting him, I got locked out of my apartment. Of course.

More accurately, the lock wouldn’t unlock because the casing around the lock was completely snapped off.

You see, when the firemen came to deal with the gas from Pac, they seriously weakened the housing for my lock, to the point that, when I locked my gate, the screws that kept the lock in place weren’t attached to anything; the metal itself had been crowbared open.

Anywho, I was locked out of my home for close to an hour until I finally managed to get the gate open by repeatedly trying to jiggle the lock back – somewhat – into place.

I couldn’t get in touch with Vic, so I called up another workman around the way.

Me: How much do you think a gate like this would cost to replace?
Workman: Easily a thousand dollars; these are all custom made. Your best bet is to find a welder but even that’ll be expensive with COVID.
Me: You’re fulla good news.
Him: (shrugs)

So, between the flooding, the broken AC, the continued flooding, the fall, the doctor’s visit, the jackhammering, and now the gate, this has been a decidedly annoying and expensive few weeks.

Now, I had been continuing to pay my gym fees during COVID because the owner’s such a good guy and he and his wife have been nuthin but super generous with me.

But, after all of the expenses piling up, I finally had to stop paying.

Me: Hey brother – I’m sorry to do this but I have to stop payments. Got hit with a flood that wiped me out.
Owner: Shit, sorry to hear about the flood! I’ve suspended your membership. Thanks for sticking with us for as long as you have.
Me: Dude, I was hoping to stick with you guys until you reopened. It’s been a rough few weeks.

Of course, my life’s been far, far worse. So, I suppose everything’s relative.

Plus, it’s good having friends like the gym owner and Vic on your side.

Vic: I can do that for you. And I’ll see if I can find a welder for you to try to fix the gate. Maybe a week after next?
Me: Man, you rock. For sure.

Podcast Version
Location: earlier today, seeing Gio at Columbus Circle
Mood: drained (of money)
Music: Please come to save me from myself again (Spotify)
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Where to begin?

Streaks of bad luck

It’s been a trying few weeks. Where to begin?

I’d been feeling off for a while. Cloudy headed, disoriented, etc. I thought maybe it was just allergies or I was getting a cold but no sneezing or coughing so I just chalked it up to my regular insomnia.

I met with some clients for the first time in a long while.

Him: How have you been?
Me: This is my first time wearing pants in months.

It was short, which was for the best because, as it turns out, after four sets of plumbers, the flooding issue was not fixed, so I didn’t have time to really focus on much beyond that.

After my last entry, it rained again and so I was out on a rickety wooden ladder furiously trying to pump water out of my patio beyond a retaining wall. I’m essentially about six feet off the ground, wearing shorts and boots, when the pressure from the pump knocks me down all six feet onto the brick floor.

I felt that I, for sure, either broke or sprained two fingers. I went about my day as normal but a few days later, the pain just kept increasing.

Mouse – who’s dealing with her own streak of bad luck – hit me up and insisted that I go see a doctor.

Her: Go to CityMD.
Me: I think it’s just a sprain. Gonna give it a day.
Her: Why bother with a day? Just take care of now. Go to the doc and avoid other problems.
Me: Fiiine. I’ll eat and then go.

Next thing you know, I’m back there.

Doc: (looking at fingers) These aren’t broken or sprained. Both are infected. Pretty seriously, actually. From the looks of them, they’ve been infected for at least four days now.
Me: Wait, what? So, it has nothing to do with the fall?
Her: Not if it happened just a day or two ago. I need to open them up.
Me: (sighing) Of course you do.
Her: I have to say, I’ve been doing this for 20 years. I’ve never seen anyone with the exact same infection on two separate hands in two separate places.
Me: I like to go for the superlative.

Relax, it’s mostly iodine. Mostly.

It was painful and hard, but mainly because it brought back a flood of memories of Alison.

She endured what I endured but for every single day for years. That girl was tough as nails. I spent the rest of the day remembering stuff I didn’t wanna.

There’s more, but my fingers and soul are killing me. I’ll tell you the rest tomorrow.

Podcast Version
Location: in front of a bottle of antibiotics
Mood: drained (literally!)
Music: I heard you fell off after a couple bad nights (Spotify)
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Goodnight, Luciano

I don’t understand why

Haven’t heard from the Devil in months. That worries me because he’s one of the few people in the world I think of as a friend.

How odd, to have a friend you call the Devil.

We’re friends because we see the world in the same way.

Me: Why me?
Him: (shrugging) Because you can separate signal from noise.
Me: So?
Him: As you get older, you’ll realize that most people can’t.

On July 14th, I felt compelled to reach out to this fella named Luciano Anthony.

What a name. Picture a super-built, really good-looking guy that was brilliant and you’d be picturing Luciano. He looked like a dude named Luciano Anthony.

(I also just found out that he went by Luciano Bianco as well – I only ever knew him as Luciano Anthony).

We were never close but he always said hi to me at the gym and was never anything but the nicest fella. He was covered in tats so I immediately made some judgments about him. All wrong.

He had a masters degree in Biotechnology from Johns Hopkins and worked as a science engineer. He did woodwork on the side.

Quiet and thoughtful, he was a beast on the mats. I remembered that I liked rolling with him because he always kept his gear clean.

Anywho, Luciano posted something random that night. It seemed out of sorts for what I knew of him.

I’m so fucking clever, you see.

So, I wrote him. I was probably drinking.

He was struggling with some demons. As a friend of the Devil, I know demons. In fact, I knew these particular demons he was struggling with. They’re old hated companions of mine as well.

Him:  (afterwards) Sorry if that’s too straightforward. Don’t have much family or friends so I tend to word vomit.
Me: No. That’s fine. When I say I understand, I really do. And more.

The last thing I said to him was, “I get it. If you’re in heed [sic] of someone to vent to, lemme know.”

That was it. Even though I knew something was wrong, I thought, I did my part. I reached out. I patted myself on the back. And I went back to my life. And I didn’t reach out to him again.

He killed himself exactly a week later. I didn’t know until today.

In ironies of ironies, I just wrote about depression and suicide in my last entry.

In the past four years, I’ve known six – now seven – people that died; I loved two of them completely. Luciano was the only one that took his own life.

I knew there was something wrong but I didn’t follow-up.

I get it. What could I have done? With him, with Alison? But what’s the point of hearing signal if nothing changes, if it doesn’t make a fucking difference anyway?

His mom posted that he died on Facebook. That’s how I found out. Fucking hell. No parent should have to do anything like that.

Like I said, a mother’s love for her child is like nothing else.

I think the same thing I always think whenever I hear about someone as good and as talented as Luciano dying – doubly so when it’s suicide – why?

For all my cleverness, I’ll never understand why. I suppose I don’t really want to. He was only 29. To me, that’s just a kid. What a fucking waste of a good soul.

Goodnight, Luciano. I’m so sorry you suffered and felt like you had to go.

I hope you found your peace.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Hours: Available 24 hours. Languages: English, Spanish.
1-800-273-8255

Podcast Link
Location: Pier 84, talking about Luciano with Chad
Mood: not good
Music: Didn’t get to sleep that night till the morning came (Spotify)
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When it rains, it pours

Future reference

After my disastrous week last week, one would think that my week would improve.

But, dear reader, you know that my luck is always of the stripe you don’t want.

Case-in-point, I had a young lady here the other night.

Her: I like the heat, but this is ridiculous. (looking at thermometer) It’s 88 degrees in here!
Me: I think my AC may be broken.
Her: No kidding…

Turns out that BOTH my ACs – which I just got when Alison was sick to keep her comfortable – aren’t working. So, I spent today trying to schedule someone to come in and just happened to get someone in tomorrow.

But, in the middle of scheduling it, my internet goes out. Turns out my physical cable’s bad, so I stop scheduling the AC repair so I can schedule the cable company to come in tomorrow.

As I pull up my calendar, I also realize that I’ve got workmen here tomorrow to repair part of my building’s brick wall.

Finally, it’s supposed to thunderstorm tomorrow so I may also find out if my flooding issue is actually fixed.

For serious, home ownership isn’t at all what it’s cracked up to be.

Like I said, when it rains, it pours.

Me: Dessert?
Lviv: What no tea?
Me: I didn’t know you wanted any.
Her: I don’t think you’re really dating that many people from my country as you say. There’s no such thing as dessert without tea or coffee for us.
Me: I’ll file that away for future reference.

Podcast Version
Location: my 92 degree apartment
Mood: still exhausted, man
Music: I’m tryna fix this damage, yeah (Spotify)
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IDGAF

Why is that so much to ask?

Me: You wanna hear something true? I care about both of you deeply. But – honest to fuck – if someone told me that I could get Alison back by killing you two, or anyone, for that matter, I would do it without hesitation. I would feel bad about it, yeah. But I would be at your doorstep within the hour to cut you clean and cut you deep. Alison would hate me forever, but I would do it. There is no sin I would not commit to get her back. (sighing) But I don’t have that option. So, (raising glass) cheers…

The last time I got audited was twelve years ago for about $25K.

Got audited again this past week. Happy birthday to me.

Essentially, NYS wants to know how come I went from reporting $XXX,XXX in income in years past to $X,XXX (AGI) for the last couple of years.

Honest to god, my first instinct was to write them a letter that just said:

My wife and father died exactly 90 days apart in 2017 from some medical bullshit while other assholes get to live their shitty meaningless lives.

I spent the last three years trying not to kill myself cause of the injustice of it all. Frankly, I don’t give a fuck. Fuck you. Fuck everyone. Tell me what you think I owe you and send me a goddamn bill. I don’t give a shit.

Sincerely,

Logan Go Fuck Yourself Lo

I actually wrote something along those lines. Just with less restraint. I subsequently toned it down.

Logically, I know that some innocent bureaucrat that has no interest in hurting me will be on the receiving end of my vitriol but, I’m the eggshell plaintiff. And I don’t care.

Plus, now, I had to find her goddamn death certificate.

There is nothing more hateful or rage-inducing than having to look for – and, ultimately, find –  something that you despise with every fiber in your body. I keep it in a case, on the bottom drawer, in a folder, in a folder, in yet another folder.

It’s as if it’s radioactive and will kill me if there aren’t enough layers between us.

That’s probably not too far from the truth.

In the past, I used to go to the gym to get out my anger and frustration. I don’t have that option any longer. So, I sit here and quietly seethe, holding a piece of paper that tells me to go fuck myself because my family’s gone and we’re shit outta luck for a happy ending.

Well, that’s not entirely true. The silence part, that is. Cause, right now, I can scream to my heart’s content.

Always a silver lining, yeah?

Speaking of my gym, I think the last time I got hit with some pure truth was when I spoke to someone out there about Alison dying. He lost someone that he loved with all his soul as well.

I asked him if it ever got better.

Him: You never stop being angry. I’m angry right now thinking about it – and that was years ago.

We’re surrounded by bullshit 24/7 – our president is 24/7 bullshit – so that’s more true than ever. My Facebook feed is fulla people clearly ok with consuming and vomiting up Trump’s daily bullshit.

I don’t know how they live.

The thing with the truth is, when you hear you hear something that you know is true, your soul hears it. You feel it. In three years, what my friend said about the person he loved and lost was and remains one of the purest true things I’ve heard felt yet in my life.

Well, that and when my son said I had a big head.

When a toddler tells you that you have a big head – and your wife said the same – it’s probably true.

I’m sorry. I’m tired. I’m tired of so many things. I’m mostly tired of being surrounded by bullshit. I am craving some truth and peace.

I just want some goddamn truth and peace. And kindness.

Why is that so much to ask?

(c) Alyson McClaran

Sir(s);

The reason for my lowered income is that I find myself unable to work full-time any longer.

This is because my wife and father both died in 2017 and I find it difficult to care about anything. Including this audit, frankly.

Attached, please find her death certificate and a copy of my bank statements…

Podcast Version: IDGAF
Location: the basement of my brain again
Mood: blindingly white hot rage
Music: my best friend caught you creeping. You blamed it all on the alcohol (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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When you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you

Demons and Darth Vader on the Washington National Cathedral

Been sick so the insomnia’s been pretty bad.

Have you ever heard the saying, When you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you?

It’s from Friedrich Nietzsche’s “Beyond Good and Evil,” and the full quote goes:

Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And when you look into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you.

In a nutshell, the idea is that, as you fight demons, you have to be careful not to let the demons affect you so much that you’re consumed by them. And potentially even become one of them.

We see it all the time in literature and movies: Oedipus, Macbeth,  Darth Vader, etc.

It’s an explanation as to why narcotics cops can become dealers and defense lawyers become criminals themselves. It’s why we have to always be on our guard.

But lately, at night when I’m awake, the demons come and sit beside me and tell me that it won’t be ok.

And there’s always a possibility they’re right. So I listen to them.

For now, at least, they seem to be wrong and I hold out hope.

Him: I’ve got some good news!
Me: Man, I could use some. What is it?

A lot of people don’t realize that there is a grotesque of Darth Vader carved into the Washington National Cathedral in Washington DC.

It makes sense, doesn’t it? To have our modern devils beside our historic ones?

Location: an hour ago, still in bed sick
Mood: still sick, but less anxious
Music: I can’t wait, I can’t wait, I can’t wait
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