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personal

I finally understand

Just one day

I was in my local supermarket when I ran into one of the cashiers, Lucy, in the produce section.

Her: (walking up to me holding a cup of coffee and put it down) I understand now. About your wife. My…my husband died.
Me: What?! Good god, I’m so sorry.
Her: (nodding) He was sick for a while. I thought he would be ok but…he didn’t let me know how bad it was.
Me: (putting down groceries and giving her a hug) I’m so sorry. We’re never ready, are we?
Her: (shaking head) No. I didn’t think he would go.

I went home, got a red envelope, stuffed a few bucks into it and went back to give it to her.

Her: No, no, I’m fine, really.
Me: (gently) I’m sure you’re fine. This is just for lunch. Make sure you eat, ok?
Her: (taking it) OK. Thank you.
Me: I wanna tell you that it’ll be ok. It won’t be. But you have to keep telling yourself that it will be. After a while, it’ll be kinda ok.

The rest is her story to tell but I was in my own head for a while after that.

Then, I was walking with the kid and he turned to me said the most profound thing:

Flowers may bloom again, but a person never has the chance to be young again.

Assume he learned it in Chinese class (花有重开日,人无再少年) because he certainly never learned it from me.

But then…

Him: Flowers come back. Why can’t mommy come back?
Me: I dunno. I dunno.
Him: I wish she would come back. Just once. Just for a day, even. (trailing off). She can’t come back, not even for one day? Just one day?
Me: Man, if only, kid. If only…

That was a hard walk.

We have hard walks, sometimes.

My kid’s a lot more mature than other kids his age. Sometimes, I think of him like he’s a little man.

Dunno if this is a good thing or not. I’m thinking not.

Wish he was just a kid without alla this weight on him.

It’s too much weight for a little kid like him to carry.

Don’t want a little man. Not yet.

Just want him to be a little kid for a little bit longer.

Location: On West End Avenue, finding myself at a loss for words
Mood: contemplative
Music: been gone far too long (Spotify)
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Our cancelled check that we existed

A cannonball in Vienna

Me: You know what I realized about that musical we saw, Merrily We Roll Along?
Her: What?
Me: It annoyed me that they told the story backwards but I just realized that’s how I…well, people…look at life as adults. Backwards. I’m at an age where everything in my life I look at in reverse.

A decade ago – man, time flies – I told you the story of Tyre, Alexander the Great, and the Elvis Barbershop.

In a nutshell, I’m always interested in how things from the distant past still affect us to this day.

When I was in Vienna, one thing I really wanted to see was St. Stephen’s Cathedral, which broke ground 887 years ago on 1137.

The Firecracker and I visited it early in our trip to Vienna.

If you’ve never thought of Vienna, or know anything about it, you should know that the city changed the course of history in 1663.

See, that year, the Ottoman Turks laid seige to the city in the Battle of Vienna and came pretty close to conquering the city.

If they did, Europe as we know it would probably have been Muslim instead of Christian, meaning the US would have been Muslim as well.

But the Ottman Turks failed in their conquest so Europe remained, for better or worse, Christian.

The crazy thing is that 341 years after that battle, there are still remnants of the siege lodged in the very wall of the cathedral: A Turkish cannonball remains fixed in time and space on the south wall of the building.

I’m always interested in things from our – distant – past that affect our current lives.

As I try to raise this boy, I think back on my own life and childhood and how I felt and thought about things.

I see life so much more through the eyes of my parents, particularly my dad, and I understand him more.

Don’t fully agree with alla the things he did but I get why he did so much of what he did.

This lady named Mignon McLaughlin once said, The past is strapped to our backs. We do not have to see it; we can always feel it.

That’s true. I always feel my parents and my past around in the things I say and do.

The kid doesn’t really understand how much of me was made by them and how much of what he thinks I’m giving him, actually come from them.

Ms. McLaughlin was right about our pasts always being there, but – sometimes, though – we can see it as well as feel it.

Back in 2008, told you that someone said that our kids are our receipts. The proof that we existed.

So, the kid is our receipt.

He’s the cancelled check that says that Alison and I were here, and that we did something good at least once.

Him: What are you thinking about, papa?
Me: You.
Him: (laughing) But I’m right here.
Me: (nodding) So you are…and I’m so happy you are.

Location: all day today, shooting Scenic Fights with the fellas on 18th Street
Mood: full
Music: I’m just gonna keep on dreaming’ of the way it used to be (Spotify)
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How you do anything…

…is how you do everything

My trip to Austria highlighted the fact that my life is very different now than when I was younger.

For one, the only real luggage I have is not one, but two garment bags – the first being the red one I brought all over the world for close to the past 30 years.

Still works great, btw.

The second is in the form of a shoulder bag.

The reason both are garment bags is because, in my youth, couldn’t imagine a scenario where I wouldn’t need a suit, or at least a nice dress shirt, when I traveled.

This time around, I had nonea those things and the rolling garment bag left a lot to be desired.

The Firecracker’s stuff didn’t fit it all that great and there was a lotta wasted space because of how it’s configured.

So, I started looking for luggage.

Jesus christ, are there a lotta options out there.

To narrow things down, I started only looking at luggage that had “YKK” zippers on them because that’s an indicator of quality to me.

What I noticed was that they were, by-and-large, about 20-30% more than luggage that didn’t have – or didn’t state that they had – YKK zippers.

This just supported my decision to buy one from that group because of another saying I like:

How do you do anything is how you do everything.

In other words, if a company cares enough to spend the extra money to use YKK zippers in their luggage, they probably care enough to do other things right and more thoughtfully.

Obviously, like all sayings, there are exceptions to it but it’s generally true, for the most part.

Been telling the kid things like this now that he’s getting older and can understand such things.

And this particular saying is pretty applicable to him because of his personality.

    • On the positive side, the kid is relentlessly upbeat and excitable.
    • On the negative side, because of his joie de vivre, he tends to rush at things and not really focus when he needs to.

So, I’ve been trying to tell him to slow down, which is hard for a kid like him.

It’s a work in progress.

Him: Done!
Me: That was fast. Lemme see…OK, well, you got every single thing wrong here.
Him: What?! I added up everything and checked my answer.
Me: Yes, I see that. Your math is right, but the instructions said round your answer to the nearest 10. You didn’t do that. So, yes, you got all the *math* right in all eight of them, but you got the *answers* wrong in all eight of them.
Him: That’s not fair!
Me: Listen carefully, kid: Life’s not fair. Accept that and your life will be better than most people. Now, slow down. Notice things. If you do that, you’ll be different from most of the world.
Him: What if I don’t wanna be different?
Me: Look, if you’re different, you can be irreplaceable. And if you’re irreplaceable…your life will be better still. And that’s all I want for you. Slow down.

This is the one I got.

I like red.

Location: 18th Street, getting floored because of my dislocated toe
Mood: ouchie
Music: Yeah, I want that red velvet (Spotify)
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A night of stupid human tricks

Silver and Gold

Forgot to put up pictures of the cooked purple sweet potatoes (on the left) and the regular purple potatoes (on the right); the sweet potatoes tasted a bit mediciney while the purple regular potato tasted exactly like a regular potato.

I bought a bunch so I’ll keep messing around to see what I might be able to do with them.

The Frenchman invited us to his pad the other night for hot pot.

Me: We’re in! What should we bring?
Him: Awesome. Food-wise, I’m covered.
Me: I can bring an assortment of sticks and knives?

The Firecracker and I brought our respective kids as well, so it was a full house.

The Firecracker never had hot pot until this past summer with my college friends, so I told her that this was a Japanese version of it, which she was excited to try.

Now, the Frenchman is half Japanese so he did a bang-up job with everything, making a hot pot version of Chanko Nabe, which is a special type of Japanese soup that was designed for sumo wrestlers to gain weight.

Her: Wow, that looks so great!
Me: I’m particularly excited for alla the mushrooms.
Her: Me too!

The cool thing that no one realized was that it was the Frenchman’s birthday just a few days later so his wife Tess ended up turning it into a surprise birthday party – the Firecracker and I felt honored that we were invited.

Afterwards, we got to know some of his other guests – some of them, he’s known for over 25 years, which is pretty impressive.

Like that old poem: Make new friends, but keep the old; Those are silver, these are gold.

They’re both in finance so their apartment’s view was full-on gorgeous.

The food was so amazing that we stuffed ourselves silly. At the very least, I did.

Now, I brought a six-pack of beer to go with dinner and the Firecracker brought a bottle of rose. However, considering that I drank five bottles of the six-pack and the Firecracker drank several glasses of wine, we essentially showed up with drinks for ourselves.

It also meant that, after several hours of eating and drinking, I started doing some stupid human tricks.

Now, the Frenchman is super athletic – we met in our gym, after all – and I mentioned that the ability to sit and stand without the use of one’s hands is an indicator of overall health and strength.

Well, we went one step further and did this drill I did in my 20s, which is sitting down, hugging your knees, shooting a foot out, holding that foot/ankle with your hand, and then standing up with one single leg, all while never allowing your held foot to touch the ground.

I had eaten – and drank – waaaaaay too much that night and kept falling down.

Me: Welp, honey, looks like this may be the first and last time we’re ever invited over.
Her: (laughs)

But the very next day, in the park with the Firecracker and our kids, I tried it again and was able to do it every single time – AND I have video proof of it.

I’m sure I’ll find ways to embarrass the boy even more as he gets older.

But more on that in another entry.

 

Location: earlier today, my kid’s gym, watching him get his first coloured belt
Mood: tired
Music: probably with that blonde girl who always made me doubt (Spotify)
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An infinite capacity for taking things for granted

Got COVID…yet again

Firecracker: Take a COVID test.
Me: What? Don’t be ridiculous. There’s no way I have COVID again. I already had it three times, I’m double vaxxed and double boosted.
Her: Just take one. You have a million tests, anywho.
Me: (sighing) I guess you’re right.
Her: (later) Well?
Me: I HAVE @#$@#$@ COVID AGAIN! FOUR TIMES NOW!

Felt like hot trash for the past few days.

The two people I rolled with the day before AND the Firecracker – who spent every single day with me – did not get it.

My luck runs ever true.

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

Thought about that tonight because I’m constantly reminded of my possible pasts that I didn’t realize would be so short and special to me in hindsight.

See, I’ve been clearing out stuff in the house and had to head down to the basement, which I’ve not done in a while because the basement scares me, greatly.

Not because of the spiders, or mice, or whatnot, but because of ghosts.

Well, that’s not wholly true because they’re not ghosts per se, but apparitions in my head.

Remember when alla that flooding happened and I told you that I lost most of Alison’s things then? That was true. But I still find things.

Tonight, I found a box of a 101 cookie cutter shapes. Alison got them when she was pregnant with one of the kids we lost.

She had all these dreams of making sugar cookies and tree ornaments for our children.

They’ve never been used.

And I found bags and bags of the kid’s clothes when he was younger.

See, I saved every single goddamn shirt and pants. Because I thought that, maybe one day, I’d have another fatty to call my own. And he, or she, would need some clothes.

And a crib, and a stroller, and a changing bed, and toys…

But alla that seems less and less likely now.

One of the (many) things about Alison that I adored was how unsentimental she was. As long as she had a picture of something she loved, that was good enough for her.

Coming from a poor background, my family slanted towards hoarding while her priorities were cleaniness and order. She always encouraged me to let things go.

So, I started giving away a lotta of the kid’s old clothes and things.

And I’ll probably give away these cookie cutters as well.

Alison would have.

Spoke to my therapist recently.

Therapist: How have you been?
Me: Besides getting COVID for the 4th time, pretty well.
Her: (smiles) You seem it. Tell me what’s been going on.
Me: Things have been going really well with the Firecracker and me. She understands, better than most, having alla these hopes and dreams and then having them suddenly disappear.
Her: That’s great, what else?
Me: (thinking) I think that for a long time, I’ve been unable to truly accept that this is my life. I think that for the past…Jesus Christ…seven years, I’ve been fighting – both subconsciously and consciously – the reality that is my life.
Her: And now?
Me: I don’t really have any other choice, do I?
Her: I’m proud of you, Logan. That’s a good step. You should be proud of yourself as well.
Me: I’m not sure I’d go that far, yet. But I’m trying to be better.
Her: (nods)

Location: my basement, sans COVID, thinking of my possible pasts
Mood: thoughtful
Music: the trace of a memory, stained into the past (Spotify)
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All men are little boys…

…to the parents that love them

11 years ago, I went out with Alison to Jersey City for Alison’s grandmother’s 90th birthday.

I remember thinking that her grandmother was so lucky that she got to live 90 years.

Can’t tell you how much it upsets me that Alison lived so much less.

But, I suppose, that’s a conversation for another day.

I wrote about that day and I titled it: The hours drag but the years sprint away

Never realized just how true that statement was until I became a dad.

Seeing the kid every day, I don’t really notice how much he’s grown, day-by-day, but looking at pictures, I’m shocked how much he’s changed.

The fella that wrote The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe said something similar: Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes but, when we look back everything is different?

It’s so true.

Everything, and everyone, is so different now.

The kid finished school today.

It seems like we just started and it’s summer vacation already.

I (barely) remember taking him to preschool when he was just 18-months old and I gave him a rum-carrier as a bookbag.

Now, he’s a full-fledged kid with opinions – lots of them.

Me: How on earth do you not like 紅豆湯, kid? I loved that growing up.
Him: People like different things, papa.

Alison loved this kid so much the short time she was here with him. She woulda loved him to the moon and back if she could see him now.

As I do.

Met up with some a group of fathers from the school for some beer and tacos the other day.

I really only talked to two of them, but a solid eight people showed up. It was interesting finding out about their lives.

Me: You’re a lawyer? My condolences. (laughing) I’m one as well.
Him: What do you do?
Me: Drink, mostly. When I’m not raising the kid.

I could only stay out for about 90 minutes before I had to pick the kid up from a birthday party he was attending.

Still, it’s one of those things I think I’ll do again.

When the kid was really little, my brother sent me a song called Imaginary Tea that I wrote about before.

Thought of it again when I told the kid that he was done with school and that he was starting a whole new grade next year.

Him: Can you believe it?!
Me: (laughing) Not really, kid. Not really.

He loves this shirt and wears it *waaaay* too often – no idea why.

Suppose I’ll always think of him as a little boy, even when he’s not one any more.

Like I said in my last entry, I think I understand my dad now more than I ever have before.

After all, all men are little boys to the parents that love them.

Imaginary Tea

I love you more than you will ever know
I love you no matter what you do
I’m gonna hold you as long as you will let me
‘Cause you’re mine, I love you

I loved you before I heard ever heard your voice
Before I even knew your name
I loved you before I saw those pretty eyes
I loved you right away

So, take it slow
Before you know it, you’ll be old and grown
Just remember that I’m always here
Hands you can hold on to

I love you

Don’t worry what anybody else will say
Don’t hurry to break that precious heart
When you try to be like somebody else
Remember I love you the way you are

So, take it slow
Before you know it, you’re gonna be old and grown
Just remember that I’m always here
Hands you can hold on to

And I love you

So, let’s climb every tree
And drink imaginary tea
And speak a language only we can understand
And I will fight back the tears
As we fly through the years
And I’ll keep you as close as I can

I love you more than you will ever know
I love you no matter what you do
And I’m gonna hold you as long as you will let me
‘Cause you’re mine, I love you

Location: her place and my place
Mood: exhausted
Music: I love you more than you will ever know (Spotify)
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Oh, how I wish you were here

Proud of ourselves

The Firecracker was busy for most of the following day but we met up for a walk to the pier near my pad when she was free.

There was a salsa party going on so we had to fight our way through that to make it to the edge of the pier, but it was worth it.

Me: What are you thinking?
Her: These are the times where I think, I can’t believe that I live here.

This fella named Richard Ford once said, The more we see our parents fully, see them as the world does, the better our chances to see the world as it is.

The boy just got his first red stripe in BJJ, which is kinda a big deal – certainly to him, if nuthin else.

Him: LOOK, LOOK! (shows me) Are you proud of me?
Me: Of course. But that’s not as important as if you’re proud of yourself. Are you proud of yourself?
Him: (beaming) Yes!
Me: That’s the most important thing, kid. Do things that make yourself proud of yourself, not me or anyone else.

Finding that I miss my dad the most when I want to ask him things about me when I was the kid’s age.

I mean, my mom’s still around and she and I talk about these things but I wonder what my dad was thinking when I was the kid’s age and doing similar things.

Realize all the times that my dad was right – and wrong – about things. I so wish he was here to talk about it all.

If he was, I wish I could tell him that I understand now, so much more about him than I ever did.

Wish I could tell him that I loved him, still do, and always will.

I wonder if he’d be proud of me. Then again, I think I did the best I could with everything I was given.

In that sense, then, I’m proud of myself.

Still, I wish he was here.

Although, truthfully, I always wish the people I loved were here with me.

Him: You looked like this again (makes face). Were you thinking of mommy again?
Me: (smiling, shaking head) I always think of her, but at that moment, I was thinking of my papa.
Him: (hugs me) I’m sorry, daddy.
Me: Thanks, kid. You’re my faves.
Him: YOU’RE MY FAVES!
Me: (laughing, hoping that I’ll stay in his top 10 forever)

Location: getting a second free soda at a street party because the person wanted a pic of me
Mood: hollowed
Music: how I wish you were here (Spotify)
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Upgrading my OS

I like it when we play 1950

Her: I’m sorry about your wife.
Me: So am I. All my gods look like her.
Her: What does that mean?
Me: Nuthin. (brightening) Let’s play a game…

It’s the first day of 2023.

I’m writing this on a computer that I first built when Alison was still alive and upgraded repeatedly, such that there’s nuthin left of the original computer, just like I talked about in my Ship of Theseus.

One thing that I did after the hack was to upgrade the operating system of that computer from Windows 10 to Windows 11, something I did with great reluctance.

Still working through the pros and cons of that, but I note that I went through Windows 7, 8, 8.1, and 10 on this machine before finally arriving here.

Just like the philosophical exercise of the Ship of Theseus, the question remains if there’s anything left of the original computer that I originally built all those years ago.

Speaking of philsophy, this blog has, more than anything, been my own personal repository of how I see the world, kinda like Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations.

Suppose my operating system has always been based on German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, who was introduced to me in my 20s by the Devil.

One of my earliest blog entries spoke about a quote that served me well my entire life: With increased intelligence comes increased capacity for pain.

When Alison, my dad, and another relative got sick – all at the same time – and I essentially gave up my career(s) to try (and fail) to save them, then lost Gradgirl and Mouse, I think that the truth of that statement is why I’m here writing you now.

Schopenhauer’s worldview was that life is, at its core, suffering.

Life swings like a pendulum backward and forward between pain and boredom. – Arthur Schopenhauer

At no point in this blog – through all the highs and lows – did my baseline OS change; it was always run on some variant of Schopenhauer.

And you know my feeling about those who’s worldview never changes. I can’t be a hypocrite.

All this, despite the fact that some baseline beliefs of his contradicted directly with my own heart’s desire.

For example, I’ve always wanted family and family, by definition, requires children. Yet Schopenhauer, like my billionaire buddy, feels that “Bearing children into this world is like carrying wood into a burning house.”

Schopenhauer, as the base operating system of my life, was ill-equipped to deal with the overwhelming sadness and despair of it all, for various reasons.

For example, Schopenhauer’s world view of Wille zum Leben respected love like one respects a dangerous animal, but it doesn’t deal with love, which I both respect and submit to.

To Schopenhauer, love is an illogical means to an important end: The extension of our very species.

I understand that but, having loved and lost in the profound ways I have, I think it’s an idealized version of what humans are actually capable of.

While it’d be nice to live a life purely pragmatically, the way humans are designed, it’s not practical. Because emotions exist and aren’t going away.

I need an OS that reflects that reality.

The Devil’s gone from my life and, while I appreciate all that he’s shown me in the world, the OS he helped build for me doesn’t work with who I am now, especially given all that’s happened.

Moreover, I want more for my son. Assuming that Schopenhauer was correct, and our universe is only what we experience through our mental facilities – our operating system – then I plan on giving my son the best one I can.

After close to 30 years of working on myself, I think that answer lies in Stoicism. Not “stoicism” with a lower-case “s,” rather the full philosophy of Zeno, Marcus Aurelius, and Seneca.

The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts. – Marcus Aurelius

I don’t think, at all, that Schopenhauer was wrong, or that the last three decades of my life were wasted. Rather, I think that it’s served its purpose for what I needed for that time and that version of me. Now, I have a new purpose – the boy – and that requires a new way of thinking.

We suffer more often in imagination than in reality. – Seneca

It’s still early yet in all this. Just like it’s early in the new year.

But I spent the last month reexamining my life and need to discard the things that aren’t working for me anymore, if they ever did, and find things that do work.

Don’t think you’ll notice any drastic changes here, per se. Just little things for myself as I try to give myself and – by extension, the boy – the tools I’ll need to be the best version of myself.

Man conquers the world by conquering himself. – Zeno

I’m still me, but I wonder how much of who and what I am/was is still there or if I’m a completely new being altogether, just like this computer I type alla this out on.

On that note, let’s start the new year off with a song.

This is by a young woman named King Princess that my brother introduced to me a little while ago.

Can’t put my finger on it, but it always makes me dream that my life might be better than it is.

Maybe it’s the line that goes, “I will keep on waiting for your love,” which goes directly against Schopenhauer’s distant respect of the concept of love.

Because love’s not only something I respect, but also something I want – to both give and receive – so it’s worthy of patience and time.

Even if it never comes my way again.

Here’s to 2023 and changing for the better.

Her: (surprised) Why did you do that?
Me: (shrugging) Seemed like the right thing to do at the time.
Her: (laughing) OK. (pause) You can do it again.

Location: in the first hours of 2023, on W 97, wondering if we should sell our apartments and move to NJ
Mood: new(ish)
Music: I love it when you try to save me
(Spotify)
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Still speaking Martian, Pt 2

Lovely imposter syndrome

It was Rain’s birthday recently, so if you see him, wish him a good one?

Years ago, he told me about this comedy skit where there’s this guy that has a speech impediment where he can only speak in a sarcastic voice, which makes his life totally miserable and lonely.

Rain told me about it and then I told you about it.

Finally found it, if you’re interested.

It’s not like I didn’t want to have friends.

I just talked like a weird 49-year-old Chinese-American man with a Queens accent…when I was 13. That was my speech impediment.

Met a pretty girl once in 7th Grade. Told her she looked lovely. And she and her friends called me a weirdo and worse.

As an aside, I say lovely all the goddamn time now.

In junior high, the closest I had to friends were a girl named Julia and a guy named Phil. I’ll tell you about them someday but, not for a while because I wasn’t exactly kind to them.

And the reason was because I started making friends here and there.

I did this by reading books like How to Win Friends and Influence People and Think and Grow Rich.

Books are really amazing things. But I digress.

By the time I got to high school, I (kinda) started figuring out how to talk like everyone else. I always had a Queens accent but used words like lovely and idiosyncratic all the time – studying for the SATs didn’t help matters.

In many ways, I always felt the weight of imposter syndrome – as if someone people would figure out that I was super mechanical at being social.

Step 1: Introduce yourself by looking someone in the eye.
Step 2: Shake their hand.
Step 3: Repeat their name.
Step 4: Smile.

And so on.

Yet, for the most part, people didn’t figure out that I was a ghost in a machine, pretending to be human.

The girl I called “lovely” was named Stella.

She wrote in my junior high school yearbook that I shoulda asked her to the JHS prom. She went with a guy named Edwin instead. It was junior high school where I slimed down and started dressing better.

It was also then I learned that if you look good, people will talk to you, even if you talk like a weird 49-year-old Chinese-American man with a thick Queens accent.

Hence my being unkind to Julia and Phil. That is one of the earliest of my 10,000 regrets.

A much smaller regret was that, for years afterward, I wished that (a) I didn’t tell Stella she was “lovely,” and (b) I asked her out to the JHS prom.

Didn’t realize that I was speaking Martian while everyone else was speaking English.

I wanted desperately to be understood, like that guy in the video above, but I didn’t know how.

I’m bringing alla this up because the two arguments I had recently have been on my mind.

Both were with people that mattered to me in some way and in both, I couldn’t make myself understood. And I suppose the same was true in reverse.

35 years after Stella, they were speaking English and I was speaking Martian. Or vice versa.

One ended with me being told to leave in the rain, the other, being told to get out at a desolate intersection after midnight.

Everything I said was construed in the worst possible way and there was no way I could make myself understood.

I always say that we’re the prisoners of our 14-year-old selves. In both arguments, I felt like I was telling Stella she was lovely and all she heard was that I was weird.

Every so often, we feel the weight of the chains we forge for ourselves as kids.

I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it. 

This is where I sat, waiting for the library to open.

In the end, the question really is, how much do we want to be understood and how much do we want to understand someone else.

These days, for me, most people aren’t worth the effort. I’d rather just be with my (e)books again.

But some people are worth the effort, even if you realize it too late.

Spoke to one of the women that helped me survive 2017 recently.

It wasn’t – at all – what you would call a “good” talk.

But she also didn’t tell me to go fuck myself, so I suppose that’s a net positive.

Location: West 79th Street, giving the boy a hug and telling him I’d see him soon
Mood: mute
Music: you do not need to speak (Spotify)
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Categories
personal

Life is Sweet

Until there isn’t

Had a pretty terrifying moment earlier this week. Was walking outta Union Square to the gym when this pretty huge white dude was yelling at this younger skinny guy.

But the white guy was so focused on the skinny guy, that he didn’t notice the hooded guy following him – and clearly holding a weapon of some sort in his right hand under his sweatshirt.

Note that it was 80+ degrees that day and he had a hoodie on and his hood pulled over his head.

The skinny guy ducked into a fire station and the firemen told the white guy to just go home. It was only then that the guy stalking him crossed the street, all while eying him.

I looked around for a cop to flag down but, of course, didn’t see any. So, I popped into the nearest store and waited a bit.

The city’s becoming like it was when I was a kid. This is not a good thing.

While the boy was away, I found that heart you see above on the table. He left if for me to find. Stood and stared at it longer than you might imagine.

That was an unexpectedly sweet find. But I was also cleaning out his class stuff – he brought everything home for summer vacation – and I came across his class folder. I’d never seen it before because it was in always his classroom.

He put pictures up on it of all the people he loved the most. In the middle was his mom and someone I didn’t expect him to put up.

I’m honestly not sure how he got these pictures, let alone print them out. That kid’s gonna be a handful when he grows up.

In any case, it made me sadder than you might expect. Because they were the mothers this kid never got to grow up with.

Suppose the closest I can explain is guilt.

Guilt that I can’t give him the family he wants. It might forever be just him and me.

He’s only six and he’s lost enough, I think. I’d rather never introduce him to another person than for him to wish for things that will never be.

Her: It’s not fair, Logan. You want someone to just give you kids. What about what we want?
Me: That’s the whole point. I don’t want someone to have a kid because I want her to do it, I someone to want a kid because she wants it too.
Her: You already have a kid!
Me: We all picture the family we want in our heads. This is not, at all, what I pictured for my family.

I suppose there’s always tomorrow. Until there isn’t.

Paris keeps calling me, which I find interesting.

Because I always thought it’d be Berlin.

Nothing is ever like I expect it to be.


There was a song I loved once, that has a line that goes, Life is sweet, despite the misery.

Dunno if that’s true anymore. I find the bitterness of misery cuts through everything.

Although, life does have its moments.

So, I’ll stay until he’s ready.

Me: I missed you so much, kid.
Him: Me too, papa. What’s for dinner?

Life is Sweet
by Natalie Merchant

It’s a pity
It’s a crying shame
Who pulled you down again?
How painful it must be
To bruise so easily inside
It’s a pity
It’s a downright crime
But it happens all the time
You wanna stay little daddy’s girl
Wanna hide from the vicious world outside
But don’t cry
Know the tears’ll do no good
So, dry your eyes
Your daddy he’s the iron man
A battleship wrecked on dry land
Your mama she’s a bitter bride
She’ll never be satisfied,
And you know
That’s not right
But don’t cry
Know the tears’ll do no good
So, dry your eyes
They told you life is hard
It’s misery from the start
It’s dull and slow and painful
I tell you life is sweet
In spite of the misery
There’s so much more
Be grateful
Who do you believe?
Who will you listen to
Who will it be?
It’s high time that you decide
In your own mind
Tried to comfort you
Tried to tell you to be patient
They are blind
They can’t see
Fortune gonna come some day
All gonna fade away
Your daddy the war machine and
Your mama the long and suffering
Prisoner of what she can not see
They told you life is hard
It’s misery from the start
It’s dull and slow and painful
I tell you life is sweet
In spite of the misery
There’s so much more
Be grateful
Who do you believe?
Who will you listen to
Who will it be?
It’s high time you decide
It’s time you make up your own sweet little mind
They told you life is long
Be thankful when it’s done
Don’t ask for more
You should be grateful
But I tell you life is short
Be thankful because before you know
It will be over
‘Cause life is sweet
And life is also very short
Your life is sweet

Location: earlier tonight, on 18th Street, telling him not to cry
Mood: empty
Music: life is short. Be thankful because, before you know, it will be over (Spotify)
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