A Day in Irrevria

The world is full of humor, happiness and wonder.
The world is also doomed by ridiculous amounts of greed, hypocrisy and suffering.
Here, the two interact in harmony.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A grocery store, a bell ringer, and some annoyance

Big Y World Class Market. Manchester, CT. Today. Normal supermarket commotion.

A dinner bell-style bell hangs unassumingly on the wall by the automatic exit doors. On her way out, a woman pushing a cart swings the rope inside the bell, which produces an enormous ding ding ding, as if a trolley was making its way through.

The bell silences the store’s front end. Heads turn. Murmurs. Cashiers, baggers, customers stop and peer. The bell-ringing woman exits without fanfare, small child in tow.

With business at a stand-still, everyone wants to know why the mysterious and previously silent bell is even there and why the hell the woman rang it. With the disruption fresh in our ears, people frown curiously. Some grimace in annoyance.

Bagger 1: What was THAT all about?
Bagger 2: I have no idea.
Customer ahead of me in line: I think that woman just had a meltdown.
Cashier: What was her PROBLEM?

On my way out, I read the sign that hangs beside the bell.
“Ring bell if you received excellent customer service today.”

The nerve.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A toilet metaphor

The toilet seemed to work fine one day.

Then, we both leave the house. Off doing our own things.

Separate heartbreaking vacations.

During this time, it breaks. Tank cracks. Somehow.

Nobody sees it happen. It just does. We aren’t there.

Water runs. To the floor. To the basement. Things are ruined.

It seems salvageable. Repair the crack. Or replace the tank.

But no. They tell me it is too old. Whole thing must go.

“But it’s just the tank.”

“Nothing we can do.”

A plumber comes and switches the old for the new.

We carry the old to his truck. Leftover water sloshes. A drop jumps out onto my bare foot and I recoil.

Neighbors peer out their windows.

They only see what seems perfectly good being sent off to the dump.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Latin Night

We saw the Denver Nuggets take on the New Jersey Nets last night in East Rutherford, in what turned out to be the Nuggets' worst loss in 12 years. The game was over four minutes into the third quarter.
Luckily we were still entertained as it was "Latin Night" at the IZOD Center.
Sponsored by Goya, makers of All-Things-Latin Food, the promotion's purpose was simple: To "honor the Latin community."
So how did they honor the Latin community? One horrifying way after the next.
1. Featured Latin-flavored dishes (seasoned with Goya products!) throughout the concession stands.
2. Had the white and black (and uno or dos Latina calientes) Nets dancers wearing Latin dress and dancing Latin dances to Latin music between timeouts.
3. Gave away a vacation to the Dominican Republic to a slim high school kid who made more baskets in 30 seconds than a portly high school kid, sponsored by Republica Dominica department of tourism.
4. Had Nets forward Eduardo Najera, conveniently the league's only Mexican player (and my personal favorite player, especially when he was with the Nuggets) come on the jumbotron arriba-aribba-ing something in Spanish every five minutes.
5. Shot Goya-themed T-shirts from a T-shirt cannon.

But my personal favorite:
6. Having the Nets dancers throwing Chipotle burritos into the audience.

We were cringing throughout. Can you imagine what they would have done for Asian night or how they would have honored the black community? What foods would they have thrown into the audience then?

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

I found a better way

He rides my bumper like a jackass in some special hurry (to get where - his job that he certainly hates but is late for?) Unsatisfied with my speed, he jumps to the next lane to drive inches from the bumper of an old lady's car.

Now in a turn-only lane, I pass the old lady and the other driver. I beep my horn and point and glare at him to acknowledge his fine display of jackassiness. He then whips back into my lane to tail me, I thought, to retaliate for my beep and glare. My mind flashes forward to him tailgating me to my house -- just .2 miles away -- and the confrontation that follows. As my future self confronts him, nobly exclaiming "There's no need for any of this," he butts back into the right lane.

All fine until he is right beside me stopping for the red light. As he pulls up he is leaning on his horn, and has his middle finger ready hanging out his window. We make awkward eye contact, seperated only by six feet and the glass of my passenger window. He looks about 24.

Seeing my nemesis' portruding middle finger along with a bothered wtf face makes something unexpected shoot from my mouth: an outburst of laughter. I just put my hands in the air, laughing hard, and shrug my shoulders.

What I presume to be an unexpected reaction breaks his glare and he puts his middle finger away. And then he smiles, as if to say "You're right. This is silly, this game we play where you honk at me and then I honk at you and flip you off, the game where our blood pressures rise and we get really mad at each other but can't do anything about it because we're in separate moving vehicles, the game where we drive off in a huff and then when we get home or to work we retell the story, saying 'Oh you should have seen this idiot on the road'".

His guard collapses and we laugh at each other, suddenly just two guys, former strangers, former enemies, chuckling about old times. The light turns green and the cars ahead of him begin to move. As he drives away, with his hand still out the window, he waves.

I keep laughing all the way home, thinking that now if he followed me to my house, we'd probably end up being buddies and we'd have this really funny story about how we met.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

New stories

I'm pleased to have my story "Things to Consider Before Waking a Sleeping Bear" published at Johnny America. It went up today. Here's an excerpt:

The color of a bear’s fur is meaningless. Some brown bears are black and some black bears are brown. Some black bears (who are black) identify more with brown bears. Regardless, a bear will use its fur to trick you. And then maul you to death.

I am also happy to have another piece accepted at monkeybicycle called "A Modern Wedding." It should be up sometime soon.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Another "Bout" with Unconsciousness

It started so innocent and blissful: At IHOP downing cakes and eggs and coffee with C.G., talking poetry (of all things . . .christ help us). Few places I’d rather be. But the cakes and eggs and coffee were just a precursor to the main event (heh, heh): “The Wrestler,” starring the ever trashy Mickey Rourke.

We took one car to the movie, which later proved to my benefit. All is well about 45 minutes in when the movie went from a little graphic and bloody to mind-wrenchingly graphic and bloody. Rourke’s character, Randy “The Ram” Ramdeeslamdeedam (or something like that) is a washed up, decrepit, hard scrabble pro wrestler forced to compete in low budget wrestling events in high school gymnasiums. The scene is a match between The Ram and some scrawny Hillbilly Jim-esque feller whose schtick is giving and taking sadistic punishment, using staple guns on one another, body slamming onto piles of barbed wire and smashing windows over heads. The fact that these cartoonish matches occur in real life (with real staples, windows and barbed wire . . .and real pain and real blood) coupled with the film’s gritty realism became too much for me. I don’t know exactly what triggered it, but I went unconscious (I seem to recall an especially graphic gash over an eye). It was sudden but I felt it coming for about three seconds before nodding off.

I have a history of this sort of thing (as documented here), so I’m sadly accustomed to it. But each time it happens, I get a little more aware in the midst of unconsciousness. In the moments before passing out, my eyes are still open but I can’t see anything, like a nighttime power outage where you are suddenly sitting in the dark. And then I shut down, asleep against my will. I had my head planted on my hand, which was supported by my arm and elbow, which was supported by the arm rest. I don’t know how long I was out – estimates put it at 5-10 minutes.

When approaching the surface of consciousness, I remember posing myself a series of questions. Not the “Who are you?” or “Where are you?” types, but more like disjointed forms of questions like “Is there truth in friendship?” and “Do dogs smell in color?” I would dwell on the question for a half second, decide it was too difficult and then pose another. I remember my eyes darting around frantically for information. When I regained semi-consciousness, I had tears in my eyes, sweat on my forehead, drool on my chin, which I tried to wipe away about four times. I also began choking on saliva that had inadvisably run down my throat, to which C.G. would later say “I was wondering what all that coughing was about.”

Gripped with vomitous nausea, I wobbled out of the theater, thinking a bit of fresh air would make things right. About 20 minutes later, C.G. found me sitting woozily on a lobby bench with my head in my hands, eyes the color the blood that got me into this mess.

He admitted that he could take or leave the movie at this point and we left. I needed a milkshake, something of a routine for me now after fits of unconsciousness or particularly nasty roller coasters.

I was still a bit punch drunk and C.G. drove my car home, having taken one of my spells, as C.G. put it, for me to finally let him drive my car.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

How do you lie about your age?

I always wondered why people who lie about their age always lie younger. Shouldn't they lie older, so that when people look at you, they say "wow, you look terrific for 58". Instead people are fixated on how terrible you look for 38 and how you must have spent 20 years as a carny/roustabout during the day and a waitress/cashier at a bowling alley at night.

Most people can lie older and five years older usually does the trick. When I was 29, I asked someone to guess how old I was. "38," was his response. I wept internally. Now, I've found I have to lie at least 15 years older before people think I look good for my age. Eighteen years if I've just awoken.

I think I'm back

Not that you care or are even out there. But I think I'm going to start posting stuff here again. Sorry for the absence. It's just this whole MFA thing. You know.
Anyway, I added links to most of my stories and stuff that have been published on ye olde internet.
I also have another story coming soon at the ultra cool monkeybicycle.
Check in soon for a story about my latest trip to the dentist.