Please update your records

I doubt there are many people who read this blog that don't know about a girl named Etta that has been in my life for more-or-less two months now, even though her name has never appeared here.

Suffice it to say that this is the first and last mention of her.

-Thank you for reading.


Ode to Jamie S. Rich

It's funny, because I was already planning on posting something silly about the fact that I haven't shaved in over a week - which is not in itself something I owe to Jamie S. Rich, but is coinciding with a recent post of his. But then I go and check his blog today and find this incredible link to a preview of his upcoming comic, "Love the Way You Love."

And it's really good.

I'll be the first to admit that I was skeptical about the style it's drawn in. Very cartoony. Jamie and I have talked briefly about it, and after seeing how well the art works with the storytelling I am a full convert. It will be part of my purchasing schedule even during my unemployment.

...which explains the beard. You see, whenever I suffer a break-up of sorts, I like to not shave for a good while. I don't like the feeling of a beard. I don't look good with a beard. Hell, I don't even grow a respectable beard. The hairs present are willing, but the numbers just aren't there. Anything after five days just looks silly.

I know all these things. And I go against my better judgement for one reason: The transference of the symbolic act of moving on to the a concret physical experience. It's like that part in "The Royal Tenenbaums", except with the Elliot Smith and wrist-slitting. Yeah...

We'll see how long the "beard" has to hold out.

-Thank you for reading.


A night to remember... (Birthday: Part II)

In case I haven't told you yet, my birthday was friggin' awesome.

After spending the afternoon generally resting and reveling in the calm before the storm, I began to get back in step with some balloon inflating. I completed the project before my sister and her boyfriend (who intended to help me) showed up - which was all for the best, because then we could make a hasty jaunt to the Rogue Pub where I could take advantage of my free yearly half yard of beer. Or so we thought.

Scott from Holocene called as we were stepping out the door and we were able to swing by to distribute the newly inflated balloons - which was a load off my mind. Seeing Holocene in the fluorescent light of day was odd. It looks smaller. And without the cover of mood, it is blatantly apparent how sparse the decor is. Truly a success in minimalism.

With floating bunches of lime green, mandarin orange and silver in place, we left for the Rogue. Time, at this point, was running out and I did not have the time to drink my half yard with the leisure that such a thing usually demands. Needless to say, I was sporting a healthy buzz when we arrived at Jakes for my Birthday Dinner With The Family.

I like seafood, and I like Jakes - but the real reason I chose this place was because I'd been told they carry 25-year-old scotch. I was told correctly. I am now of an opinion that 25-year-old scotch does not change in any but the subtlest ways in the 10 years that pass between it and a slightly more economical 15-year-old variety. But, lord, is it smooth. All flavor and no bite or burn. I will never ask my Dad how much our two glasses cost him, but they were worth it. For his part, Dad had bought me a bottle of 12-year single malt that he had researched and found to be The Good Stuff. It was, also, the finest bottle he could find at the one store he went to. I could say something about the occasion of a son turning 25 possibly being cause to go to more than one liquor store looking for scotch, but I am sure I will be more than happy with his choice. Thank you, Dad.

The dinner was the best family gathering in recent memory. Perhaps, actually, since my last family birthday two years ago. Maybe it is just when seen through the birthday high that the family comes across so pleasantly. But conversation was animated. Food was delicious. Togetherness was felt. I regret that my Uncle and clan chose not to attend, but I respect their reasons.

And then on to the party.

I arrived just before 8 as the band was finishing up sound check. The band. That I had at my birthday. It just sounds good to say that. My first guests were there moments after, and they were the unlikeliest of first-comers. A new friend, Aaron - who tends bar at the wonderful Renaissance cafe - was there +guest. Shortly after, Nestor - another friend who I rarely see - was the next invitee. That the first people to come were people apart from the inner circle of my friends is a great compliment to me and my party: It was a good sign.

All in all, I can account for at least 40 people (parents excluded) in attendance. I am almost certainly missing a few. There were many who I didn't expect and many I did expect that fell short. None of which mattered at the time - but let me just say to those who didn't make it: You missed a great party. That is not meant to shame. It is merely a fact. I was kept in drink (predominantly a gin concoction with cucumber that was cool and refreshing as well as intoxicating. Sweet Jimmy T Did me service and more than service by spinning records until the wee hours - and even stooping low at my request to play "Footloose" - which is the single greatest dance song of all time. I also cut some rug to "Love Pipe," by the Red Elvises, whose day has come and gone. I could say more about the evening, but it is not a recollection of numbers and informations that will stick with me. It is the simultaneous feeling of love and support and joy and pride and giving and receiving that I embodied all day.

And maybe that's why Monday was so terrible.

I was, miraculously, not hung over. It is a birthday miracle. I was, however, Very Tired. I was at work on time, but there was a cloud above my head all day. I was constantly taken with the need to get out of there, like it was sucking me dry of all the feelings laid out in the above paragraph. And so, I called the Boss and asked for a sit-down. As we were on the phone together, he being out as he so often is, I did not want to make any true decisions. Things like this are best done in person. But I did impress on him in plain words that I was unhappy in the position I've been put and needed concrete plans to be reinstated in the function for which I was hired. His response was non committal and defensive, stating that I would never truly not be in a sales position and if that is a problem for me it may be time for me to "move on." This is nothing I haven't thought of or expected. But it was finally real. I postponed any final judgments until we could arrange for a meeting Tuesday. These things are better done in person, after all.

When Tuesday came, I was wresting with the idea of whether to quit or endeavor to get fired. To me, being fired - or, rather, "let go" - would acknowledge for Rick's part that my purpose for being there had evaporated or never materialized and thank you very much, but we just don't need you. It would have made me feel right. I also thought about going on a tirade and telling Rick all the things that are wrong with him and his company. I wasn't sure what exactly I would do when we sat down.

Of course, we'll never know, because that didn't happen.

I went to his office, asked if he had time. He said no. I asked if I should wait. He said he would call me. I accepted this and went to lunch because I was hungry and it was my lunch. When I came back, he had left for the day on some errand or other. I fumed. It was another two hours until I simply called him and told him I was giving my notice. His response, and I will remember this exactly and always - though I don't know why - was: "Sorry things didn't work out for you, buddy." And what really gets me about that statement is the utter disposability with which he views me, and I suspect all the employees in his company. I knew it, but knowing and feeling are two different things.

So I have quit my job. I will put in two weeks to wrap up loose ends and hopefully make a smooth transition for the people I work closely with and have come to respect and care about. It's odd because almost nobody who leaves this company ever does things the respectable way. One day they just decide to stop coming in. And I don't blame them. It's a symptom of the crushing feeling one gets working there. You take all the pressure until finally you just snap. The snapping is a quick thing and once you have broken, there is no way to possibly phone two extra weeks. But I will do it, and it is my hope that in doing it people will know that I have no malice and was a good employee and deserved better than I got. That is my little smug hope.

What does all this mean? Likely that I will be blogging a lot more. That I will be taking some time to reflect. And, ultimately, that I need a new job. Anybody have any ideas?

-Thank you for reading.


Birthday: The beginning

12 hours into my birthday and all goes better than well. As per tradition, I officially began the day by dancing around to the Beatles' "Birthday." In past years, I've done nothing but listen to that song all day. There is a beautiful presence of mind to that song - filling a much needed space for annual tradition. Much like Queen's knack for knowing that sporting events through time were lacking an anthem such as "We Will Rock You" or "Another One Bites the Dust." Marketing genius.

My birthday has already reached outrageous heights at the J&M cafe, where I seemed to know everybody in the restaurant. Cari and Erin were both there with their families. And this fine fellow Andy, who used to stop by Vivace now and again was there with a friend. Writing it down only three names doesn't seem to convey the extraordinary coincidence of it all, but believe me when I say the impact was profound.

On noticing the words on my bright gold paper top hat proclaiming it was my birthday, the waitress brought out my breakfast with a candle stuck in the orange slice. Andy and his friend commenced to clap and sing me a shy round of Happy Birthday, while Russ and Etta lowered their heads in laughter and shame. I was beaming. I still am.

I fucking love my birthday.

-Thank you for reading.


The funny things that happen between people

I do not understand people.

I like to think that I do. That I attempt to do so is paramount. But I still don't get it.

So, Tuesday night I go to the bar. My bar. Well, it is less my bar now than it used to be. Still, I have ties there and generally feel welcome. This is due almost entirely to a friend of mine who tends bar and serves there. Shortly after we met, we tried our hand at dating. And when I say that it was a mistake, I simply mean that the chemistry was not there. Not the right chemistry, anyways, and it was with a fairly mutual agreement on that fact that we placed the boundaries of our relationship squarely around "friendship."

This is almost two years ago. Recently, I met her new beau and he seemed a decent fellow. He builds bicycles. I saw this as fortunate coincidence as I am in the planning stages of doing just that. Tra la la.

Unfortunately, as it turns out, he is "the jealous type."

I don't know if he knows that I ever smooched his lady. What I do know is that I have a level of physical comfort with her - the kind that comes (and is so enjoyable) when you know as a solid fact that there will be no romantic entrigue to follow. Where so many male/female relationships are burdened with the constant uneasiness of sex, the possibility of sex, the thought of sex, et al, it is a pleasure to have people you can be close to without any of the fuss. And this chap observed me acting as such on Tuesday night.

My actions are not wrong. This is something I am very firm on. I however will allow that some people like the lines to be drawn a bit tighter - and it is my place to respect that. If I'd known, I would have. Hypotheticals are not much help to me now. Because as it stands, he is in a jealous rage against me. As I left the bar that night and commented on the new bike he had built, he proceeded to cut all ties with my acquaintance.

And I'm the one who feels bad.

I feel bad for my friend, who has at this point been inconvenienced by my actions. I feel a void of connection with this fellow because of the potent irrationality of his thinking. And I feel the sinking feeling I get every time I know there is nothing I can do to make a situation better.

I am not telling this story to you for you to act as a judge on propriety - because I found myself behaving with a vaguely similar irrationality last night.

I went to get a coffee with another friend. And on entering the establishment, the barista was on the phone. No problem. I was a barista. I have a great respect for the service industry and do not expect its workforce to abandon their humanity when on the clock. But without having words... something about the way he was on the phone immediately pissed me off. And when he spoke, I was more enraged. For no reason, I was sure that this person was an asshole. Do some people just give off asshole? Without even speaking?

I was courteous and he continued to emit this ass-vibe. We sat in the back. I drank my coffee. I went in for a refil. I look about for cream - it is after 10 and my coffee is more dessert than anything else - and I look to him silently as if to say "Where is the cream?"

He is talking to some girl. I'm not sure if they are flirting and they are planning on making out when he gets off work, if she is a friend come to see him or merely a regular customer. So we look at one another, and before I speak he says, "We're closed, man." He is bobbing his head slowly while he says this. Maybe twice up and down through the phrase. And the tone, was that of the most vacant and false apologies backed with the attitude that I am somehow making his life miserable by not knowing this intuitively and leaving quietly.

I could have punched him in the face.

I know what it is like to have people keep you at a job past closing. I am all for being told that I would do better to leave, so these workers can end their shift and enjoy their work-free lives. But there are ways to be told such things. There are manners that must be observed. As I respect him, so too do I demand respect. And this man had none. I am sure he is the kind of man who does not care if a sexual partner is enjoying his or herself. As long as he's taken care of, what could possibly be amiss.

The reason this sticks with me is that I can't explain it. Again, I am not wrong. But as my bartender friend's boyfriend could not control his reaction to my behavior - likewise I could not control my reaction to this man. And it bothers me. Because I want to accept people for their differences and understand situations and emotions that are not my own. But even if I can do that - and it is no certain thing - what if other people can't. Do I have to sink to their level? And can I let it not bother me that there is nothing I can do?

Thank you for reading.




Bunnies and Birthdays

The decision has been made and Holocene has come out on top. That lands my party on my actual birthday: Sunday April, 16. Show up any time after 8 pm. Bring friends. Dance. Converse. Bring me presents... expensive ones.

I'm paying for 100 drinks and intend to give two drink tickets to the first 50 people who come wish me a happy birthday. That means actually coming up to me and saying the words. I'll make sure I'm easy to spot - likely by making my hat MUCH taller than everyone else's party topper. And I'll probably be loud and drunk after too long. That should be a dead giveaway.

I know having a party on Sunday is less than desirable. I hope you can overcome that mental hump and come enjoy the festivities anyway. It would mean the world to me. Because 25 years is far to short a time to have spent among such admirable hobbits...

-Thank you for reading