I often fantasize about the jobs I’d hold in alternate realities. Singer. Hair stylist. Travel Agent. I can’t sing a song that anybody would ever really say was worth listening to, and my bangs are terminally crooked despite the fact that I’ve been hacking them off myself for two decades now, but I do still confidently maintain that I’d make a fantastic travel agent. Continue reading
I have seen a good bit of the world, which for some reason has cultivated in others the mistaken impression that I might be a good source of counsel when it comes time to pack for a trip.
Let me assure each of you that this is not the case.
“I dropped out of college because I knew more than my professors did.”
“I often have to explain things to others because I just grasp stuff more quickly than most people do.”
“I often read books and think to myself, ‘I could have written that.’”
Six-and-a-half years out from tanking the global economy, demanding that foreclosed taxpayers bail the ship, and then threatening to sue the government for offering a bailout at all, America’s Big Banks continue to winge over legal costs, battle regulation of every sort, and dole out spurious bonuses to their Fat Cat Execs.
Disgraceful behavior warrants a bit of satire.
Kirk: “Well, there it is. War. We didn’t want it, but we’ve got it.”
Spock: “Curious how often you humans manage to obtain that which you do not want.”
– Stark Trek, “Errand of Mercy,” aired March 23, 1967
Hey, you! Humanoid American of non-specified ethnicity or gender born between the years of 1980 and 1985!
Are you suffering from a low-grade case of of pre-midlife malaise? Are you currently jobless, newly dumped, or suffering a case of the existential snifflies? Are you beginning to suspect that maybe you’ve totally flunked your own life?
IT MIGHT NOT BE YOUR FAULT!
I met this guy on a tropical island in Belize once. Steven.
He was very New Jersey, and I feel somehow qualified to describe him as such although I have never even been to New Jersey: pasty skin, caterpillar eyebrows, and costumed always in an unbuttoned Hawaiian shirt and a pilled-up Bowler hat.
Steven sauntered around town in a pair of tacky sunglasses, chain-smoking Colonial Light cigarettes and making frequent allusions to some obscure Internet business he was running.
Sitting in an airport terminal a few weeks back, I found myself drawn – more by sheer proximity than by particular interest – into a conversation playing out between two women reclining against a row of seats a few feet to my right.
“I’m trying not to binge,” the brown-haired woman was telling the gray-haired woman with a hint of sheepish self-recrimination in her voice. “But it’s so hard!”
The first thing you notice about India is the quiet.
The unexpected bursts of it, I mean – tiny little salvos of Nothing dotting the rumbling compunctions of this country’s inevitable chaos, flattening you in the most unplanned moments.
The way we are now it’s alright
So don’t tell me it’s the last night of our young lives
The way we are now it’s alright
So don’t tell me it’s the last night of our young lives tonight
– The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – “Kurt Cobain’s Cardigan”
I know the smell of Cuba, of revolution. I’ve never been there, but I swear I know it.
It’s Sharpie markers. It’s phony Cuban cigar smoke. And it’s the vaguely humiliating stink of being rich and white that rises up off you like a dead-meat odor when you stare, bewitched, into the eyes of a dead man who probably would have hated everything about you.
Hola de D.F.
It’s 6:20 p.m. and I’m just emerging from a nap. When I fell asleep, light was still pouring through the windows of our fancy colonial apartment. When I woke up – totally dark.
The sun sets early in these parts come December. No Daylight Saving Time. Mountains and tall buildings all around. And a pallor of smog that mutes out the wintertime sun before dinner.
Coffeehouse Five, Northeast Killingsworth Street | Portland, Oregon
11/13/2013 | 1:30 p.m.
I am at Coffeehouse Five on Northeast Killingsworth Street in Portland, posted up at my favorite corner-of-the-room table (corners are the best spots for inconspicuously surveying what’s happening around you, I’ve found) and writing away happily, when this happens.
Day two of my June writing experiment, “30 for 30 in under 30,” in which I write thirty randomass essays with minimal editing, to be finished in under 30 minutes.
(FYI: I pulled this together from a few pre-written bits.)
I really dig those moments in life when the universe hiccups and you are allowed to peer behind the proverbial curtain. To see the hidden bits of daily life, be they shameful or comical or nonsensical.
Like when you are watching a movie, and, just for a moment, you spot the boom mike bobbing up and down in the top corner of the screen.
Or like when a politician doesn’t know his lapel mike is on and he goes into the john and takes a super long and loud piss and it gets broadcast all over the building, to pretty much everybody’s glee.