Grief and I are old friends

Falling in love, repeatedly

The boy’s away for spring break so I’ve been catching up with people when I can.

Before he left, though, I went to his school for career day.

Me: OK, so I have few jobs I do. I’m a lawyer, I run a building, I own part of a gym, and I teach people how to fight. Which one do you…?
Kids: Fight!

That made me laugh. The boy looked so happy and proud of me, I coulda burst.

This fella – don’t remember who – once said that you don’t just love your kids, you fall in love with them. I’ll add to that: Repeatedly.

Gotta say, that’s spot on.

Him: Thanks for coming, papa!
Me: Sure. Thanks for being glad I came, kid.

 

Met someone recently that I’ll call Heidi. In many ways, she reminds me of Daisy; dealing with a lotta things, ranging from simple heartache to some serious horrors.

Her: It’s sweet that you’ll listen to a stranger. I’m sorry I’m crying.
Me: After my wife died, strangers listened to me. So, I figured I’d pay it forward. And you should never apologize to anyone for your honest emotions.
Her: Whatever happened with the last girl?
Me: (shrugging) We were awful to each other, in our own ways. I suppose –  not that it’s an excuse – that we were both trying to survive. Which is what you’re trying to do now: Whatever you need to do to survive.
Her: That’s the first helpful thing anyone’s told me.
Me: Unfortunately, grief and I are old friends.

Saw the Acrobat, briefly and I’ll just keep the details of that to myself. We’re both unmoored in the world, but for very different reasons.

I suspect we’re all looking for home, but she’s a leaf in the wind and I’m a ship on the waves.

Because of that, what we want for ourselves are two very different ideas of home.

Sunday, it was my birthday.

I’m 40-freaking-nine. I cannot believe it.

Him: Honestly, you’re like a vampire, Logan. I don’t think you’ve aged a day in the two decades I’ve known you.
Me: I always believed that I just aged slower than other people, for a buncha reasons. (thinking) But the last six years aged me more than any other time in my life, I think. So, I’m catching up.

Of course, I did the traditional Chinese breakfast of cooking a six-pound pork shoulder overnight and waking up early to make a Cuban Sandwich for myself with an overly sweet, hot cuppa joe.

Birthday brekkie of champions.

Her: You spent your birthday alone? (laughing) You need better friends. I would have taken you out.
Me: I know. I appreciate that. It’s fine. I’m not sure how good company I’d be, anywho.

My birthday always falls around Easter but this time it fell on Easter. I remembered that Alison made a whole weekend of plans for me once and we caught the Easter parade too.

This year, I wanted to see it alone.

But I didn’t quite make it – partly because Heidi called me, and partly because, I hit the grief button because Heidi called me and I couldn’t.

I was doing so well.

Maybe next year.

Location: home, baking four dozen high-protein chocolate chip cookies for him
Mood: allergic to life
Music: you are flowing like a river, washing right over my soul (Spotify)
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I’m a freaking delight

I’m a goddamn pleasure

Out of everything I did the past two weeks, a few meetings/dates were interesting enough to talk about.

I’ll tell you about two or three of them. The first was with this gamer girl that also fights.

We’d been floating around each other for a while but finally decided to meet up for drinks across the street from my physical therapist’s office.

Me: You’ll have to excuse me, I take pictures of my food and drink that no one ever sees.
Her: Oh, I do too!
Me: Ooooh, lemme take a picture of you taking a picture of the drinks.

No umbrellas in them, unfortunately.

I think we both expected to be out for a short while but the conversation was pretty interesting – I’m always grateful when I’m not bored – so we stayed out until late.

Her: What made you learn how to fight?
Me: (shrugging) The usual, I suppose. I was bullied a lot as a kid. You?
Her: (sighing) What you might imagine. Guys on dates.
Me: Ah, I apologize on behalf of my kind. On the plus side, however, it really lowers the bar for a fella like me. Compared to other guys, I’m a goddamn pleasure.
Her: (laughs) I can tell. At least someone gets some benefit.
Me: Heck yeah – thanks to the average frustrated chump, I’m a freaking delight.
Her: (laughs) I know that song!
Me: OMG, you get two points for knowing it!

She had just come from her gym, and I ‘d just come from mine and we were both a bit peckish so we ordered a small cheese plate so we could drink more.

The waiter was really cool and suggested that I get a Downeast Cider.

Him: (taking can and shaking it vigorously) So the deal with this cider is that you have to shake it really hard because it’s unfiltered and…
Me: (interrupting) OK, when you open it, please point it at her and not me?
Her: (laughing) Hey!
Me: Sorry, lady. This is New York. It’s every man – person – for himself. Themselves. You know what I mean.

The waiter then explained that you have to turn the can completely upside down to pour it.

Him: (later) Did you like it?
Me: What’s there not to like? It was tasty and came with a good story behind it.

The gamer girl and I ended up staying out until it was pretty late.

Me: I’m trying to stay in the golden mean – it’s something I was working on a lot years ago and just recently started up again.
Her: How so?
Me: (thinking) I’ve spent the last several years living in the past or in the future. Not to sound all touchy-feely but I’m trying to live in the present, which I haven’t for quite a while.
Her: Ah, like Ram Dass.
Me: Definitely in that vein. 
Her: (later) I should tell you, though. I don’t know if it’s right to bring kids into a world like this.
Me: So funny you bring that up! I spent an entire meal arguing with a buddy over that exact topic. So, no kids for you?
Her: No, sorry. You?
Me: That’s why I’m here, darling.
Her: (later) Would you be down to just hanging out, maybe come by my school and I’ll go by yours?
Me: Oh man, that’s perfect! I always feel it’s me giving the, “let’s just be friends,” speech.

The rain started coming down hard when we finally called it a (late) night.

Her: Shoot, it’s raining. Should we grab a cab?
Me: (dismissively) Please, I’m always prepared. (pull out umbrella and offer her my arm) Shall we?
Her: Lets.

I took a picture of us.

Me: We’re a pretty good-looking couple.
Her: We are.
Me: Shame, really.

Some of my fave people/friends are people that I very briefly dated like El, Caligirl, HEI, Lviv, and the Sexologist.

She seems like she’ll still be fun.

Oh man, the ride home was a disaster. Tried to get a cab, none. Subways weren’t working (at all).

Finally got out and managed to snag a single taxi that got me home well after midnight.

On the ride back, I did chat with someone that doesn’t want to be in this silly-little blog:

Her: How was your date?
Me: Entertaining.
Her: (laughing) Is she my biggest competition?
Me: Her? No, she’s fun and I’ll probably see her again, but my front-runner is someone else entirely.
Her: For now…

There’s more but that’s all I wanted to share with you now.

This week’s quieter but only by so much.

Location: 8PM, a local BBQ and gyro spot (CC)
Mood: super busy, on every front
Music: There must be something wrong with you, cuz I’m a freakin’ delight (Spotify)
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Love is the eye of the storm

That’s why I asked

It’s been busy lately, for a number of reasons.

Red: I should tell you I’m married.
Me: That would have been useful information to have prior to this.
Her: We have an open relationship.
Me: I’m glad you found your person. Unfortunately, that’s not my bag.
Her:  I’ve never [had someone just say no].
Me: Life is nothing if not unexpected. I’m a terrible person, to be sure. But I don’t fuck with marriage.

Blue: Do you really want to know?
Me: That’s why I asked.
Her: Both my parents died and I was 16. So it was either leave school or be homeless. I made a choice. That’s probably why I’m [so successful now].
Me: That’s called a “Hobson’s Choice,” because you really had no choice at all. And I’m sorry.
Her: Don’t be. You didn’t do anything. And everything worked out.
Me: (shrugging) I’m sorry because I’m human. And some people’s human experience is much worse than others.
Her: I appreciate that, after all you’ve been through, you still have empathy for others.
Me: (laughing) How could I not? 

Green/White: I was married. Twice. Are you sure you want to hear about it?
Me: That’s why I asked.
Her: (shrugging) The first one, I was just a kid and it ended early. But the second one just ended right before the pandemic. He had his own trauma and the deal was that he would go to therapy after we got married.
Me: I assume he didn’t.
Her: (bitterly) No. You can tell I’m still angry about it. Sorry.
Me: Don’t apologize for your genuine emotions. You earned them. So, you’re entitled to them.


White: There wasn’t a straw in my drink.
Me: OK. (thinking) Ah, you think I put something into it.
Her: Well…
Me: (taking a sip of her drink) If I end up passing out because someone – not me – roofied your drink, just make sure I get into a cab toward the upper west side?

Black: It’s like a job. Once or twice a week, I wake up, switch on an app, answer a few dozen stupid/boring questions from a buncha stupid/boring guys, and then go on with my week.
Me: Ah, modern romance. Where do I stack up?
Her: (laughing) Are you sure you want to know?
Me: That’s why I asked.
Her: Charming. Handsome.  But shallow. Unable to commit.
Me: (nodding) Seems accurate.

Me: Well, I don’t mean this sound overly romantic, but if you’ll allow me to be maudlin and sentimental…
Her: Let’s hear it.
Me: (nodding) The universe, all of reality, is a storm. Love is the eye of that storm; the one bit of peace in an otherwise cruel and dispassionate world that doesn’t give a shit if we live or die. We’re born naked and confused, without claws, teeth, or fur. Nothing. We only survived because someone loved us enough to make sure we did. I don’t get why someone would want less than that. It’s like someone turning down a billion dollars. Yet, they throw away love for stupid shit as if it isn’t the most rare and valuable thing in existence. And that, Counselor, is what I want. Something I had once and was taken from me.

Location: Solas, of course
Mood: exhausted
Music: Put your arms ’round my neck, and your heart on my chest (Spotify)
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A Strange & Complicated Evening Pt 2: Putting on the Mask

Afraid of Yesterday

Me: Technically, any woman I meet is your competition and any man you meet is mine.
Her: (laughing) Oh, Logan…they’re not my competition.
Me: Fair.

It turns out the Counselor was in the same hospital, the same building, the same floor – the same wing – that Alison was during the early part of her illness.

Of course.

Felt that same feeling of “this can’t possibly be real,” that I felt for most/all of her sickness that I hadn’t felt in a really long time. It was an unwelcome but familiar feeling.

Dunno why but, I decided to go see the Counselor and – as if by auto-pilot – made my way from the gym to the Upper East Side.

That’s not true. I do know why I went to see her. There were two reasons, in fact, but more on that later.

Visiting hours were long closed but I managed to convince the guard to let me in after a solid 15 minutes of chatting with her. The truth is a powerful thing and I think the guard knew it would be good for the Counselor (and me) if I made it upstairs.

When I walked into the hospital, I was greeted with the same view that I first saw the day I first went there with Alison in that goddamn ambulance.

It was just missing the Christmas tree.

I walked past the same everything that I did all those years ago and tried to keep it together as I maneuvered my way past several security guards, nurses, and various support staff, alla whom noted that I didn’t have a Visitors Pass a solid hour after visiting hours ended.

I was clearly not supposed to be there. I suppose a bright red leather jacket doesn’t help matters.

But, after all that, I finally made it to her room and walked in.

As always, during times like this, I put on my mask: I pushed all that doubt to the side of my mouth, straightened my back, took a deep breath, put on a big smile, and walked in to see a set of pretty eyes.

Me: This is a terrible date venue you picked, I gotta say.

I settled onto the windowsill and looked out across the river to see the exact same view I saw all those years ago.

Me: (staring out) These windows don’t open all the way, you know?
Her: I didn’t.
Me: (nodding) Yeah. I tried to jump out of them years ago and I found that out.

It got a little darker than that but I was there to try to cheer her up, not bring her down.

As comedy relief, her roommate would let out a hacking cough (non-COVID related) every so often while we were in a deep conversation, which doesn’t sound funny but it was such an odd situation that it was.

There’s more, quite a bit more, but most of that’s her story and not mine to tell, as always.

I’ll just tell you that she’s probably going to be fine.

I was glad I went. Can’t remember the last time someone was that happy to see me. Forgot what it was like to have some kindness. That was probably the most attractive thing about her.

Her: It was sweet of you to come.
Me: (shaking head) No, not at all. I just wanted to make sure you were ok. You should get some rest.

So, that’s the first reason I went. Honestly couldn’t tell you if she was more grateful that I went or if I was more grateful that she let me see her.

The second reason, though, was that I’ve been forcing myself to not think of Alison for…years now. Think I knew that, if I went to that hospital, I’d be forced to think of her and remember her.

And I wanted that.

As I made my way downstairs, everything came rushing back at me at once. The smell of the place, the feeling of dread, it hit me as I felt as if it was December of 2015 all over again. Like it was yesterday.

By the time I got to the ground floor, I went straight to the same bathroom that I threw up in twice before over Alison and did it once again.

Honestly, though, after I cleaned myself off and left, I felt better.

I remembered Alison. I remembered that version of me; the one that was a new father, trying desperately to save his wife he loved more than anything.

Not knowing that they were all already fucked.

My gift, if you will, is to forget. It’s a survival mechanism and part of why I have this blog; because I know I’ll forget things. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be here right now.

After all, fear is forward, no one is afraid of yesterday.

I walked outside, hopped a cab home, and was neck-deep in my thoughts when the Acrobat called.

Her: How was your night?
Me: You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.

It was a short convo. I was worried about the Counselor, which sounds silly as she’s a stranger to me. But she didn’t deserve anything that had happened to her.

After a while, I shot a text to my mother-in-law asking if she was awake and she replied yes.

So, I rang her and told her what happened.

Me: I try so hard to forget Alison. And I feel guilty about that. But I just wanted you to know that…I loved her so much, mom. (deep breath) I loved her so much.
Her: (gently) I know, Logan. Try to get some rest.

Location: just north of Solas, being tossed out like garbage
Mood: don’t even know how to begin to tell you
Music: I’m gonna need somebody (Spotify)
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A Strange & Complicated Evening Pt 1: Sounds Class

No, no time at all

My friend Bridget hit me up the other day. There’s a bidding war going on for her skills in business and she asked if we could meet up for dinner on Thursday.

I already had a date lined up with the Counselor later on that night but the timing actually worked out.

Me: If you’re up for Korean, we can head to Koreatown.
Bridge: Koreatown sounds class, let’s do that, you pick the place.

The weather was just lovely so we took a walk from 18th Street to 32nd Street. Along the way, I showed her where Alison and I went on our first date all those years ago.

Here’s a picture of Alison that I snapped right before I walked up to her to tell her that I was there.

Man, I loved that girl. Fuck me.

Bridge: You know we’ve known each other close to 20 years?
Me: (laughing) Has it been that long?
Her: You know what I hate the most about that?
Me: What?
Her: You haven’t aged a day. Nadi and I both hate that about you.

I actually interviewed her for her gig all those years ago. I liked her immediately. She had this really cool Irish brogue to boot.

This was being filmed on the walk up.

After we settled into my go-to Korean restaurant, I reminded her that she and her husband were the last people to see Alison out and about, socially.

Her: (thinking) I’ve been wondering when I should bring this up.
Me: What?
Her: (slowly) We’re divorcing. It’s been a long time coming.
Me: I have to say, Alison always wondered why you were with him.

That unpleasantness aside, we honestly both had a great time hanging out.

Her: …I have about 45 people reporting to me.
Me: Jesus Christ. I remember meeting you when all you had was crazy ambition. Now look at you. My cousin Ras has this saying that she loves and you’re kinda the definition of it: You’re a Boss Bitch.
Her: (laughing) I like it.
Me: Now, how can I make this work for me?

Afterward, I walked her back to the train station.

Her: I hope you give one of these women a chance. (gently) The lawyer sounds promising. Give her a chance. The others…
Me: We’ll see. I’m in a weird headspace.

That was totally true.

After she left, I thought about everything we discussed and started getting really angry. It’s irrational, I know.

See, it turns out that he was drinking himself to death. They’ve got two kids and hearing that made me so…angry.

Alison and my dad struggled for so long to survive and this dude was killing himself instead of dealing with his demons.

But then I realized I did the same thing myself for years and, somehow, that just made me angrier.

Decided to head back to the gym and, while I was changing, Chad noticed that I wasn’t myself.

Him: Are you ok?
Me: I’m drunk and I’m angry.
Him: How angry?
Me: Murderously.
Him: OK, then you gotta go.
Me: (nodding)

So, less than five minutes after I arrived, I changed yet again, and walked out the door.

Had to pull myself together because I was meeting up with the Counselor. I was so messed up that I drafted a message to her asking her for a rain check.

But she actually beat me to the punch before I could send it.

Counselor: Hey, I’m sooo sorry to do this but I have to reschedule our date tonight. I had a bit of an emergency come up and I just can’t get around it. I’m super disappointed I have to cancel.
Me: Do you not have any time at all?

This was her response:

Her: No, no time at all.

That was the start of one of the strangest and complicated evenings I’ve ever had.

And I’ve had many strange and complicated evenings in this life.

Location: earlier today, running into a possible past downtown
Mood: not sober
Music: When the world goes changing, I will be your sure thing (Spotify)
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My reason for being here

Ready

My son and I went to NJ to my in-laws for Christmas where I had an endless stream of delicious food.

Mostly carbs, though.

My son’s gift to my MIL was that he played a song for her on the ukulele. I’m ridiculously proud of him, for the below and so much more.

Her: That kid is a genius!
Me: He takes after his mom.

Essentially spent my time playing with the kid, eating, and sleeping the whole time I was there. It was glorious.

The boy was sad when I left but I told him I’d see him soon. I took the train home; on the platform on the ride back was a fella easily six foot four or more.

Her: Is a giant next to you?
Me: Yes.

The rest of the weekend/week was spent meeting up with people that stopped by, with gifts like the Pastor

Him: I have a gift for you!
Me: Dude! I didn’t get you anything.
Him: (later) There’s a huge rat behind you.
Me: You’ll tell me if it comes near me, right?
Him: If you see my eyes widen in horror, run.

…and Pac…

Him: Man, I never thought of it that way. (thinking) You see things that other people don’t see.
Me: It was my gift, seeing all the angles. Except with Alison. I didn’t see what I needed to see and she paid for it.
Him: You can’t blame yourself for that.
Me: (shrugging and taking a sip of rum) But, I do.

…and my buddy Miller that, unexpectedly bought me a handcrafted knife from Raven Knives.

Him: Merry Christmas, brother! I got something for you.
Me: Ooooooh, is it a busty 32-36 year old? Because I’ve always wanted one of those. And, you shouldn’t have!

I carry so much guilt, you wouldn’t believe it. But, somehow, I feel better than I have in a long while, I have to say.

Think it’s because I survied another holiday season. Well, almost.

Just a few days more.

All these years, I keep wondering if Hope is a good or bad thing.

I suppose there’s no way to ever tell until our race is run.

Me: I only have 5,000 days left here.
Him: That’s it?
Me: (nodding) It means I can’t waste time. I gotta make sure the boy’s ready.
Him: If anyone will get him ready, it’ll be you.
Me: (shaking head) So many people put their faith in me and I feel like I’ve let them all down. Alison, Mouse, Gradgirl, Daisy. So many people. But I can’t let him down. He’s my reason for being here.

Location: having coffee on W 18th Street, telling him that I finally understand
Mood: hopeful(ish)
Music: Problems I created, yeah, I wasn’t perfect (Spotify)
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Becoming a fatty-fat-fat

I’m a goddamn blast

My son cried this week because I’ve been out almost every night for the past two weeks or so.

Him: I never see you.
Me: I see you every day! We have brekkie together every morning, I get you from school, and we have hours together.
Him: It’s not enough!

Parental guilt is awful. Anywho, this is because, for the first time in years that I went back to my Never turn down an invitation, rule and I’m exhausted.

It’s off again, so don’t invite me anywhere. I’m done until January 2nd, 2022.

Also, I’m ten pounds heavier; I went from 141 to 151 pounds in two weeks. For reasons that will be readily apparent.

For the first time, I met someone with the kid…because she had a kid too. A pretty adorbs daughter.

The woman was exactly my type: Attractive, buxom, wealthy, coloured eyed, wealthy…I mentioned wealthy already.

But…

Her: I hope you don’t mind, I brought pasta for her. She only eats pasta.
Me: Wait, what? But we’re in a Chinese restaurant. In Chinatown. There’re noodles galore.
Her: She’ll only eat plain pasta with some cheese and oil. That’s it. Nothing else.
Me: No fruit? No veggies? What about fiber and protein?
Her: She just won’t do it. (later) He has his own room? That’s great! She does too but sleeps with me every night.
Me: (nodding as the girl begins to bang on the table)

Non. Starter.

I’m at an age when it’s just as important that someone be a match for the kid as she is one for me.

I also met up with my buddy Ollie, who’s actually a black belt in jits despite us starting at the same time. My old coach was just the pits.

That’s him, above, listening to Chad tell a story at the bar.

The plus of hanging out with Ollie – I’ve known him close to 30 years – was that he could corroborate a lotta the crazy stories that I tell people.

Me: Tell him about our buddy that has so much scratch that he covers an entire restaurant’s bill.
Ollie: Even better, I’ve got pics of his wedding. Did Logan ever tell you…
Me: (later) It’s been a long time, man.
Him: (nodding) I read about your wife. Well, I tried to. I couldn’t finish it, I kept crying.
Me: Yeah. You and me both.

On that note, both Chad and Mouse were out with us. Mouse and I got along a lot better, I think, than we had in the past year. It was really nice, TBH.

She showed me pics of her and the kid that I’d never seen before and I gave her a kiss on her cheek.

Me: Thank you for that.
Her: (shrugging) Sure. Google shows me these pics all the time.
Me: Send it to me, will you, please?

She was nice enough to give Chad and me a lift to the subway in my old whip. Once she dropped us off, he and I promptly each got two slices of $1 pizza.

Him: God. Dollar pizza is so good.
Me: I’m getting us another slice.

On the ride home, I got up so an older couple could sit together.

They were so grateful. I teared up a bit because they looked so in love. She was so happy to sit next to him and lay her head on his shoulder.

I wonder if I’ll ever have something like that when I’m their age.

The next day, my cousin Ras came by to roll for a bit. She wanted to take me out because she got a crazy promotion that I (kinda) helped out with.

But that’s a funny story so I’ll tell you that part tomorrow or sometime this week.

Today, I was out during the day doing…stuff. BUT, it was the first night I was going to be home for dinner in weeks.

The kid and I were going to have dinner together when both Chad and I got hit up by a buddy of ours at the gym. It was his birthday and he wanted us to go meet up with him in Koreatown.

While he did mention it previously, I don’t think people realize how much planning a parent – especially a single parent – needs to be social.

Him: I am having a small get together at Let’s Meat at 7:30 for my bday. Not really sure if I need to get a reservation for a Sunday night but lemme know so I can get a headcount.
Chad: Crap, you mentioned this yesterday. I’m hesitant to say yes because it’ll be clutch for me.
Him: One of you have to make it otherwise I will be unhappy.
Chad: Logan, this is your moment to become a hero.
Me: Wait, today? I don’t have a sitter. Dammit, I love KBBQ!
Him: I’ll let this one slide since you guys have been running the gym so well.
Me: Please, this was a non-vite – I woulda come had I gotten an earlier heads up, you rat bastard.

It’s just as well. I’m becoming a fatty-fat-fat.

Her: We’re right by you.
Me: Jesus Christ. I need lead time, lady. LEAD TIME!
Her: You’re no fun, Logan.
Me: With enough lead time, lady, I’m a goddamn blast.

Location: earlier today, asking her if she liked KBBQ
Mood: plump
Music: You’re something that I can’t forget (Spotify)
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And I pay it

The keys to the kingdom

My son’s memory is pretty insane. My SIL and I once went to a parking deck and I thought we parked the car on the fourth floor, my SIL on the 3rd, and my son thought we parked on the second.

Me: There’s no way [it’s on the second floor].
Him: It was the second.
Her: That’s impossible.
Him: (10 minutes later) I tooooooold you!
Her: How is that possible?
Me: I have no idea. He’s ridic.

This past Friday, I completely forgot that he was due for his second shot but got an email reminder. I quickly had to cancel a bunch of plans and reschedule things to make this appointment.

Her: How could you forget your son’s appointment?
Me: Lady, you wouldn’t believe the stuff I’m forgetting these days. I’ll make it up to you.

Picked the boy up from school and, after his music lesson, sat him down and put my hands gently on his shoulders:

Me: OK, kid. I have good news and bad news. The good news is that we’re having dinner together and you can have anything you wan…
Him: McDonalds!!
Me: (laughing) OK, a deal’s a deal. We’ll get McDonalds. (deep breath) OK, the bad news is…
Him: More bad news? I’m already getting a shot!
Me: Wait, how did you know that?
Him: It’s the 3rd. I’m getting it at 6PM tonight.
Me: Whoa…that’s…whoa…

Legit, he remembered something that was mentioned in passing by the nurse, after he’d gotten both the flu and COVID shots. Crazy.

He didn’t even wince when he got stuck, let alone cry.

Me: Are you ok? Did it hurt?
Him: (shrugging) Not really. Can I have candy?
Me: Heck, yeah!

This is not to say that alla my conversations this weekend were easy. A buddy of mine asked to meet up.

Him: We need to talk.
Me: Do I need to be armed for this conversation?
Him: I hope not.
Me: Fair. (taking a seat) What’s going on?

It was unpleasant but not altogether bad. It was half about me and half about another buddy of ours.

Me: People like him never understood the power of these tools. [Our buddy] who mocked [the three-step apology] thinks it’s a joke, but you see its power now.
Him: It’s gold. It’s amazing.
Me: (nodding) And that’s why he’ll never be as good as you, in health, wealth, or relationships. None of them will. Because they think all these things I do are an inconsequential joke. But you know – you’ve seen – that these are the keys to the kingdom.
Him: I know I owe you a debt for these things.
Me: (shaking head) That’s where you’re wrong. You don’t owe me a debt; I’m repaying a debt I owe you. You gave me something I wasn’t entitled to, that put me in your debt. And I pay it.
Him: I appreciate that. (later) I see your rage and I’m sorry because I know where it comes from. But…
Me: (interrupting) I know. I’m well-aware…

The next day, I had a young new sitter come by to take care of the kid while I ran a seminar at Paxibellum given by the big man in my system, Tuhon Bill McGrath of Pekiti Tirsia International.

It was the first of what I had hoped would be regular guest seminars at the gym. We were packed to the seams with attendees, which was impressive…

Attendee 1: I remember reading, “Logan Lo,” and I thought, where do I know that name from? And then I remembered: You’re the Scenic Fights guy! I’ve seen every video!
Me: (laughing) That’s great. Thanks for the support.
Him: How long have you been doing this for?
Me: 17 years?
Him: What? How old are you!?
Me: Ah, we’re playing the game…

…but, Chad and I are making more moves with the gym that we didn’t anticipate – some annoying but some really quite cool and unexpected.

I’ll tell you all about them when and if they happen.

Attendee 2: I just want to say that I’m a big fan of Scenic Fights.
Attendee 3: (overhearing) Me too!
Me: And here I thought it was all just my mom leaving comments. Thanks, fellas.

Afterward, Bill and I took a walk back to his car.

Me: I never got a chance to say, “Thank you,” for all the kindness and support you’ve all shown me after everything went down.
Him: We’re old school, Logan. We try to take care of each other.
Me: I appreciate that, sir. I really do. Thank you.

Location: earlier tonight, looking for ice for my wrist
Mood: grateful
Music: yeah, that’s my kid / did I leave a better life for the rest? (Spotify)
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Thinking the kid and I are awesome

Trying to simplify

Since we’re talking about parenting, right after I wrote the last entry, read about a dad in a helicopter, bear hugging his daughter as the helicopter went down.

The daughter was the only survivor. He used his own body as a cushion for her.

Him: Holy shit.
Me: Right?
Him: I see you doing something like that, Logan.
Me: Jesus Christ, let’s hope we never find out.
Him: Honestly, if women knew what kind of dad you were, they would beat your your door down.
Me: How do I tell people I’m a good dad?
Him: (laughing) Easy, just show them the kid.

I’m much more careful about who I introduce to him, though.

There was one blond, hazel-eyed girl who was one of the most dispassionately attractive women I ever dated.

But I kept my emotional distance from her because she made it clear that she too “didn’t mind” that I had a kid and definitely didn’t want any of her own.

Female friend: I think she’d meet the kid and fall in love with him. Everyone does.
Me: I can’t take that chance.
Her: Wait, so that’s it?
Me: Pretty much. 

Even when I was in the height of my dating frenzy in my 30s, the paramount thing that I was looking for was someone that would be a good mother.

Ideally, someone that was also brilliant and hot as blazes was a close second but being a good mother came first. Because being a good mother/parent subsumes most of the other stuff I’m looking for.

Hot as blazes not withstanding (brilliant is subsumed under “good parent”).

And just like then, I let a lot of really great women go in the hopes of getting someone awesome – that thinks the kid and I are awesome too.

Figure that’s worth waiting for. Everything else is just wasting time. Besides, I did it once before.

Plus, I actually have two acquaintances that are going through divorces right now because they married people that are not good mothers. Full-stop.

Both are pretty gutted about the whole thing – met one of the wives as well and thought she was pretty nice but we all have our three lives.

Him: I swear, she uses him as leverage against me and that’s all he’s worth to her.
Me: Are you sure you’re not exaggerating at all?
Him: I wish I was. I think maybe if the kid was white, it would be different…
Me: Holy crap, I didn’t even think about that!
Him: Yeah. Once her family got involved, it was over.
Me: (nodding) Oh man, I’ve been there before. If the family’s against you, you got zero chance.

Life is so complex these days. I wish there was some way to simplify it. Or maybe it’s me that making it so.

Him: Can I sit next to you?
Me: Sure. Why?
Him: (climbing up onto sofa) Cause you’re my papa!
Me: Well, alllrrriiight!

And now we switch pensive thoughts for some extreme violence: The above is Chad and me breaking down a little show called Squid Games.

Definitely don’t watch if you haven’t seen it yet since it’s chock fulla spoilers.

Man, did we have fun shooting that episode…

Location: on a couch with some homemade ramen and the kid
Mood: forgetful but happy
Music: they told me I don’t need to worry (Spotify)
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He would have been 83

More than all the gold in the world

Saw a buncha kids around my son the other day cause he was telling them a story.

Laughed to myself as I approached them because I find him so amusingly social.

But then I heard him what he was saying.

Him: She died when I was a baby. I was only a few days old.
Boy: Were you sad?
Him: (nods)
Girl: How did she die?

That’s when I had to turn back. This is not how it’s supposed to fucking be. Shit. Piss. Fuck.

He’s in fucking first grade. This is not what a first grader should be talking about.

Speaking of painful, my dad woulda been 83 this week.

It hurts that my son will never know him. That he’ll never know Alison.

My dad took us back to Taiwan when his dad, my grandfather, died. I was the same age as the kid in the photo above, about two?

So, I have no recollection. Suppose I turned out fine but I realize how much this must have hurt my dad because I feel the loss myself now.

Whenever we would talk, he would want to cook me something. I suppose that was his love language: Food.

When I was doing keto/Atkins, he made it a point to keep steaks in the freezer so he could make me a steak with broccoli on the side. I eventually got tired of steak – a wild thing to say, I realize – but I never said anything because I knew he bought an army’s worth of steak for me to have.

If you have both parents and all grandparents, consider yourself very lucky in that regard. I never knew my dad’s dad, just like my son won’t know his dad’s dad.

Him: You miss your daddy? Because he died?
Me: (slowly) Yes. I miss my daddy.
Him: I’m sorry, papa.
Me: Thanks, kiddo. You’re my favourite, you know?
Him: Even mommy?
Me: (thinking) We both loved you more than anything else in the world.
Him: More than anything?
Me: (nodding) More than anything. More than all the gold in the world.

Location: this fucking place
Mood: heartbroken
Music: the beautiful thing You’re doing is making new things out of ruins (Spotify)
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