Archive for July, 2010

8:14 (51)

Posted in eight fourteen on July 29, 2010 by darryl zero

Sunny summer days like this remind me of my first kiss, a brunette with hazel eyes named Katie Strachan, and the thought that I never thought I’d ever be happier than the moment she looked at me like I was looking at her, and not even the inescapable glare of the pond we were sitting next to was going to make me close my eyes.

Encountered one of the dancers at the bar I work at while getting sushi in a hurry last night. I never really know what to say to dancers I meet “off-the-clock,” as it were, afraid of offending them by recognizing them in public because I know how much it weirds me out to be recognized for what I do at nights even though I keep my clothes on. She smiled at me, though, something she’s never really done at the bar, but that’s probably due to the fact that more of the dancers know me now and, hopefully, I’m inoffensive enough to warrant acknowledgement outside the context of work.

In fact, I’m pretty sure that’s the case, because she was friendly and engaging, much to my relief. Rather than bore you with the specifics of the ensuing conversation, I’ll simply point out how awesome my sushi was, even though I took less than ten minutes to eat it in order to rush over to my grandmother’s place to keep an eye on her, as she wasn’t feeling particularly well.

My recent efforts to purge my brain of all thought have only succeeded in making the days leading up to my birthday all the more exhausting and uncomfortable in their brevity. I need to pull myself together, I need only gather my will, I need only gather my will.

A participant at the conference I’m working hailed me from across a courtyard yesterday. As I approached him, he said with a grin “do you own any t-shirts that aren’t superhero logos?”

I looked down at the red Ultraman logo adorning my torso, a shirt I’d bought the first summer I started coming to this crazy city I’ve since grown to resent, and shrugged with a smile. “All my concert tees,” I replied.

“I was just checking,” he said, “because I saw your Green Lantern shirt the other day.” He grinned and gave me a thumbs-up.

Time’s up.

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8:14 (50)

Posted in eight fourteen on July 28, 2010 by darryl zero

I worry that, in times like these, people will take the desperation and need for reassurance that comes with marginalization and retreat into the same kind of ostrich-head-in-sand attitude that keeps people in power that ought not to be. One of the greatest coups pulled off by the white power structure after the 60’s was the notion that the challenge of authority was something that had no real future or no real effect; now, in post-Bush America, we’re faced with the same kind of ideological attack.

It’s important to remain cynical and distrustful in times like these. One need look no further than the news to see what happens when people become complacent with their ideas of “hope” and vague need for “change.” The dominant social paradigm has always used the vague nature of revolutionary thought as a means of keeping revolution at bay; by repeating to those that seek change that we don’t know that which we seek, they have effectively created a generation of people who expect ideas to be solutions, people that fear specifics when they supposedly threaten the comfort and convenience that capitalists throw at them.

I look at the criticism of President Obama and see this attitude in action; essentially, the Obama Administration has become exactly what I thought it would be, an ineffective entity bound by the limitations of its’ vague messages afraid to exercise the power it potentially wields for fear of becoming something like that which it replaced, not realizing that, sometimes, the world only makes sense when you force it to, and in a time in which people are conditioned to expect things to be convenient, easy, and clearly-defined, sometimes people need to be told that, to quote Ice-T, “shit ain’t like that.”

Time’s up.

8:14 (49)

Posted in Uncategorized on July 28, 2010 by darryl zero

A friend walked up to me at the bar job last night, fairly early in the evening but still late enough so that the crowd of people actually showed up. “I don’t know,” he said, slightly buzzed, “it looks like there’s gonna be a bunch of those people here.”

“What,” I replied, “the kind of people that like to look and sing, but not tip?”

He grinned. “Exactly.”

True to form, the crowd was as shitty as advertised–lots of people wanting to sing and look at the ladies, but not a lot of people bringing their money up–not to me (not that I expect it), not to the dancers, and definitely not to the bartenders.

“So,” Lisa said to me as she did her usual five things at once as we closed, “how was your night on your side? Because over here was kind of shitty.”

“About the same,” I said, smiling in spite of myself, knowing even the shittier nights at the bar were better than doing karaoke shows to mostly-empty sports bars and cursing myself for not holding onto my jobs in the dedicated karaoke spots.

I deliberately took extra time yesterday to bake cookies, even though I didn’t really have the time. I needed the centering activity, though, needed that moment of zen I always seem to lack at times like this, to a point at which I eschew doing some of the other things I really need to do in favor of something that enables me to get through anything functionally.

I know I keep mentioning this in some way or another, but part of the reason why I profess to feeling so painfully old at times is that I’ve noticed my propensity to be kind and obsequious has resulted in me watching the more obnoxious, deplorably self-promoting sycophantic folks getting ahead. That’s what 30’s going to be all about for me–I no longer have the desire nor inclination to hold the door open for people whose heads I should be crushing in it.
Time’s up.

8:14 (48)

Posted in eight fourteen, emo on July 24, 2010 by darryl zero

I’ve pushed it way too much this week, working from sunrise until well after sunset, moving constantly with no real understanding of where I’m going to find the energy to do all these things to which I keep committing myself that further distract me from doing the billion other things I need to do in order to achieve some semblance of equilibrium.

Not taking the time to vent my frustrations adequately over the past couple weeks has made me very directive-oriented and easily infuriated, two things that never go well in an environment like my current professional situation, in which anything that may not be pleasant is looked upon as being as taboo as…well, I can’t think of a decent comparison, but just trust me when I say that direct, declarative statements don’t go over well here. My dropping-of-foot when it comes to being condescended to has not, apparently, gone unnoticed; I care, I suppose, but only in the sense that I want people to know my presence is intended to complete tasks–no more, no less–and my desire to avoid being micromanaged into inefficiency (as I’ve said so much as of late) is on par with my desire to have my testicles placed in a meat grinder.

It’s not the most diplomatic thing, stepping forward and saying “tell me what to do, then get the fuck out of my way–” but it’s what I’ve got. I take pride in the work that I do, and if I’m not going to be allowed the autonomy to handle my responsibilities or at the very least the respect one is granted when they have valid ideas–then so be it. Playing nice and being the good little boy got me wrestling with homelessness and skirting the poverty line. I have no illusions of a grand future, but I at least want to take pride in the work I do.

Time’s up.

8:14 (47)

Posted in eight fourteen, emo on July 23, 2010 by darryl zero

I’ve been debating the sense of reclaiming that which was left of my old notebooks from high school (and earlier). Wanting to submit to Mortified, I was dismayed to remember most of my journaling from 8th grade on took place on the family computer, contents saved to floppy disks that have long since become completely useless.

The poetry’s still there, though, hilariously embarrassing stuff I’m sure will make great fodder here, if not onstage in front of people or in print elsewhere.

My grandmother was surprisingly cool yesterday about my being twenty minutes late to her place. She’d seemed so stern and severe yesterday that I was concerned something alarming was amiss. I sauntered into her condo without bothering to knock; she was in the kitchen, surveying ingredients with her usual fierceness.

“We have to make banana bread,” she said plainly, pointing to three bananas whose brown spots threatened to overtake the yellow. “These bananas are at the point.”

As is normally the case when she catches me off-guard, I grinned that toothless grin which accentuates the cleft chin I inherited from her and nodded.

Considering how physically diminished she’s gotten over the past eleven-and-a-half months since her stroke, she seemed to make the ingredients materialize out of nowhere; gluten-free flour, sugar, vanilla. She handed me the bananas. “I can’t mash these anymore,” she said, referring to the loss-of-strength on one side.

Between the two of us, we made short work of the banana bread dough. She’d started pre-heating the oven before we set about the task; as she checked the oven’s slow heating progress, she glanced at the clock. “We don’t have time to put it in the oven,” she said calmly, and then in the same breath: “I think I want to make this fresh strawberry coffee cake.

[Time’s up, but I’m going to continue:]

More ingredients appeared, this time accompanied by a flat of strawberries. While I sifted flour, she whipped together the other ingredients in what seemed like seconds, although it was more likely minutes. By the time I’d spread the cake batter across the pyrex pan she’d put out, I realized how quickly we’d worked. Two recipes prepared in less than a half-hour. It made me realize the myriad benefits of allowing other people into the baking process.

I doubt my grandmother will ever know how centering that half-hour was for me. Baking has replaced laundry as my new zen activity; sharing it with her, at a time in which the vast majority of the people we run across have something they want to ask her about, was one of the better things to happen to me this year. The whole experience reminded me how simple things ought to be: boy visits grandmother, they make something tasty. In a hyper-academic, high-octane family like mine that doesn’t really share too much with each other that isn’t barged in upon by other people, that never really happens anymore. But it was nice to do yesterday.

8:14 (46)

Posted in eight fourteen, emo on July 21, 2010 by darryl zero

It would have been either shortly before or shortly after my thirteenth birthday that, on a red-eye from San Francisco to Honolulu, I encountered a British girl right around my age. The flight had been created to account for a gross over-sell of tickets and, thus, was barely a quarter-full; when the flight crew announced we could sit wherever we chose, I migrated around the cabin until I found a seat that fit me. I happened to be within earshot of the girl, sitting with her mother and younger brother, and she moved in my direction when she saw me.

For the life of me, I can’t remember any of the relevant details about her–her name, what she was doing on the flight, anything other than two things: her face, framed by long brunette hair with piercing, large blue eyes, and the bits and pieces of a game of “Name That Tune” we played, singing a capella over the roar of the engine while everyone else around us slept. I remember thinking I wanted to kiss her, a weird, concrete feeling it took me forever to clearly identify, but never having the nerve to suggest anything.

I had a dream about her last night, mostly her singing bits of Madonna’s “This Used to Be My Playground” (the song that won her the game, as I couldn’t identify it to save my life) and wondering who she was, is, I guess, where she is now, and what her life consists of after the plane touched down and we went our separate ways. She’s one of the few things in my life I haven’t really spoken about since it happened, owing partly to the brevity of the encounter and partly because there are things that happen to me that I still can’t explain, shared experiences that are significant because they mean everything in their nothingness, and that’s one occurrence that I sometimes hope had any significance or meaning.

Time’s up.

8:14 (45)

Posted in eight fourteen, emo on July 14, 2010 by darryl zero

I ran into a former professor while on campus at the conference today, a wonderful woman, a writer, a real, actual writer living the dream I’ve long-since given up on, a great woman who’s written me letters-of-recommendation for graduate programs and has been nothing but supportive toward me for no real reason. The local collective here is having their summer workshop right around the time SIIC’s going on, leaving me to watch longingly as other people do the right thing, the thing I should probably doing, I guess. God, I said to myself, I wish I were a writer.

I’d run into another woman earlier, a former classmate in the aforementioned professor’s class, a student in the graduate program whose work I found interesting, or as interesting as I can find anyone else’s work. I hate to sound picky, but workshop classes are as much an exercise in my ability to force myself to become interested in anything outside my own little mind as they are an opportunity to force my drivel upon others. Anyway, the former classmate didn’t seem all that surprised to see me on campus for the conference, until I pointed out I was around for the other one.

“Is that more your forté?” She asked, and yet another wire in my brain crossed as I tried to bite my tongue. I mostly succeeded.

It’s funny, how I spend so much time trying to make time, when I really should be stealing it. Like the Faux-Rex Grossman blog says: “You can’t just expect wins to come to you. You’ve got to grab that game by the throat and rape the ever-loving shit out of it.” Intense words, and certainly a slightly-less-than-appropriate joke, but the sentiment keeps staring me in the face.

I wonder when I’ll stop pretending and take what I deserve, I used to say, even though I’m in one of those boring phases where I feel like I don’t deserve anything.

Time’s up.