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July 23, 2014

It’s strange being back again, anywhere really.

My old grade school, for example. That place, years later when I returned, smelled a bit like it might have been moonlighting as a sewage treatment plant each evening after everyone had gone home. As I was wandering the halls, I almost asked myself whether that was actually how the place had smelled all the years I had spent there, but then stopped myself when I realized that it most definitely did.

And the size of everything had transformed to almost absurd dimensions. And proportions were off–to put it lightly. The desks, for example, were smaller than the books, and the windows were larger than the doors. And the most interesting thing was that the books–though they were larger than the students’ desks–were smaller than the teacher’s desk, which was much larger than I had ever remembered it–I’d say somewhere between a Range Rover and a mini-mart. Why a 6th grade teacher would need to sit behind something that large while overseeing a room of harmless kids is beyond me. And where had the desk been constructed? And why? Anyway, it’s just surprising that none of us had noticed it as kids and notified our parents. In fact, I’m not really sure how we got along all those years with chairs barely the size of sandwiches and windows that took up 90% of classroom wall-space, and doors that only house cats could fit through.

So, I suppose the real point of this whole thing is that going back to a place you haven’t been to in a while is all fine and dandy in theory, but just be prepared to realize how much you had been fooling yourself all these years when you hadn’t thought you had been breathing in human feces fumes your entire childhood. Apart from that, though, it’s always great to be back.

NY

Restart!

 

Breakfast

December 1, 2011

People carrying 5 liter jugs of frappucino to work in the morning may or may not know that they are in fact drinking milkshakes at 8:30am, but just for fun let’s assume that they don’t actually know they are consuming milkshakes and in reality think that they are just having frozen coffee, even though the consistency is eerily similar to that of a milkshake, and actually the ingredients are completely identical, and of course who could forget the third and final fact: that actually they are drinking milkshakes but that the milkshakes taste a bit like coffee and are sold in coffee cups by businesses who purport to be selling coffee. Despite these three small details based entirely on objective truth, someone may decide to slurp down a gallon of coffee-flavored blended ice and sugar while simultaneously telling themselves that they are glad they just had their coffee in the morning because they could never wake up without it, and that coffee sure is good and that they honestly need it to stay concentrated while at work and remain energized throughout the day, although in actuality what they need is a bowl of ice cream with a straw sticking out of it.

Not sure if ice cream is necessary that early in the morning, but maybe it is if you are some sort of successful stock trader or magazine publisher and you need to attend some meeting at 9:30am where they will be serving Oreo cookies and screening cartoons while people sit around giggling and pointing out people in their class that they have crushes on while waiting for face painting at 10am. The point, in case it isn’t clear, is that maybe everyone is really just 8 years old and only wants to eat ice cream in the morning and sit around in piles of cookies while watching animated television programming, drawing hearts around pictures of their classmates and having their faces painted.  I’m guessing these things are all somehow connected: that is, people drinking 4 pint cups of blended chocolate cake in gigantic clear cups with the word coffee written on them while commuting to work, swinging a briefcase around and telling themselves that they just had a cup of coffee–and 7-year-olds eating junk food while watching Tom and Jerry and working with complex financial models or operating a magazine.

Being wrong

July 1, 2011

The other day I was thinking about how I’m pretty much always right, and in connection with that how I’m almost never wrong. These two concepts honestly apply to anything I can think of: my actions, for instance, and my words, and, of course, my judgement of other people’s actions and words, as well as my overall assessment of situations and people in general. What I’m saying is that my perception of reality as a whole is objective truth. It’s incredibly comforting. I mean, the way in which I mentally process my surroundings is 100% entirely correct, and the conclusions I then draw from the things I am fully convinced I am seeing and hearing are likewise right as well. I couldn’t be happier about the whole thing.

So, anyhow, this is what I was thinking, and doing so was all nice and fine, and heartwarming–bringing a really monstrous grin to my face and all, and making me feel pretty damn excellent about myself–but then it went ahead and hit me that probably everyone actually feels the exact same way. Everyone. That likely includes you. Well, that little number sorta put a damper on things, I’ll be honest, because it got me thinking that not only is no one else aware that I’m right and they’re wrong, but they’ve actually got the ridiculous idea slithering around their brain that they’re right and I’m wrong. A bit mind-blowing, I’m not gonna lie.

So then, there I am, imagining people I know walking around believing that they’re right and I’m wrong, and as a result I start to sweat and begin scratching myself and sniveling a lot, and feeling pretty nervous. The idea seems slightly inconceivable. But anyhow, I’m forced to go with it, mind and body now firmly latched onto this crazy idea that people–who just a few minutes before I thought I knew so well, in all of their wrongness–think that I am wrong and they are right. The mental exercise, exhausting as it is, then leads me to heavily consider the possibility that maybe I’m not actually always right and that perhaps, just possibly maybe, some of the things I have done and said have actually been wrong, and that I may not actually be perceiving my reality completely correctly. The whole thing is not good at this point and really doesn’t digest well.

But then I take a breath and explain to myself that maybe there are actually some things I’ve done that are wrong, and maybe I could have done them just a bit differently in order to be a step or two closer to actually being right. And, of course, I can think of a few instances, here and there, where I was wrong and someone else may have been right, and I feel pretty crummy about myself as a result, because, after all, I’m supposed to be right all the time. But all this passes pretty quickly when I realize that actually–now that I have identified these areas where I was wrong and have correctly judged them as such–that I am once again right. So then I feel really great about myself again. If you ask me, there’s nothing wrong with that.

Mid-day shutdown

June 8, 2011

I understand that costs must be snipped just a bit, every once in a while, here and there, and I get it that things can get expensive what with operating an entire building, turning on lights, running the air conditioner, and making sure employees take home just enough money to buy food, pay bills, and keep themselves from ever seriously contemplating suicide, but if this place is going to unilaterally implement a rule whereby the entire building is shut down at 3pm in order to save on electricity, then maybe everyone inside should be allowed to leave, because, to me at least, it doesn’t quite make sense to have it be 95 billion degrees in here, with no printer and no lights, for the whole rest of the afternoon, especially if I’m being asked to be alive and not dead, and definitely if I’m expected to fight off the urge to break open one of these windows and dive headfirst from the 8th floor.

How much can really be demanded of one measly human being? Having to march around in what amounts to a clown suit every day seems like enough in itself, to be perfectly honest with you. Then there’s the whole thing about me having to be pleasant to everyone all day, and not scream at the top of my lungs and bang my hands on the keyboard demanding my basic human rights, which actually if I could define them would include the right to be sitting at home right now, the right to a computer that doesn’t freeze every 5 minutes, the right to coworkers pronouncing my name correctly, and of course, the right to come and go whenever the hell I’d like, at whatever hour of the day I see fit. Just the other night, for instance, I was fully prepared to stroll in here at 3am. Would have been nice to be able to have acted on that. Today, on the other hand, I wanted to leave roughly around 10:15am–about an hour or so after I arrived. That would have been the perfect time to embrace my basic human right to be at home, taking a shower, and subsequently napping for 2-3 hours.

Oh, life. It’s quite delicious. So much more to do, it seems. Like emerging from this stifling office shutdown. I’ll have to get working on that once this shutdown is over and things start operating normally again.

On edge, at my desk

May 3, 2011

I don’t go around constantly thinking that I’m going to be stabbed in the back or anything–by anybody I know really, because in general I try to only know people who are least prone to lodging knives into my spleen while I’m turned the other way–but some people I work with seem a bit too keen on actually doing it, and I feel as if maybe I should watch what I do, think, say, and feel around here because if not all of it, then certainly some of it, could very easily eventually be used against me for whatever reasons might suit some people who would like to never see my vibrant young face every again, if you understand what I’m saying. What I’m saying is that some people around here would like to see me dead, if possible, or at least fired–something, I should add, that is slightly more likely because while I’m bound to fight back if physically attacked, being told to go ahead and collect unemployment for 6 months wouldn’t necessarily fire up my survival instincts. So, as a result of this constant fear of being betrayed and hung out to dry by any one of these nameless individuals who prowl around my desk throughout the day like rabid hyenas, watching me out of the corner of their eyes to see if I don’t read my personal email on my computer, or take a personal call, or do what I’m doing at this very minute, for instance, I’m constantly on the edge of my seat, looking around, watching, waiting, trying to stay calm.

In general, I’m a pretty sensitive guy, in case you didn’t know, and a fairly honest one at that, and I’m only trying to get through this life without severely hurting anything or anyone along the way. What’s worse is that I’m rather easily hurt by knives in my face or in my eyeballs or in my back, and it takes me about 240 days on average to recover both physically and emotionally. But being on guard like this all day long tires me out a bit, and I’m wondering if it might just be best for me to bring a bullet proof vest with me every day and put it on backwards, or better yet, drag in the carcass of a gazelle to work so that various knife-wielding animals stay out of view of my computer screen while simultaneously getting their fix.

Money, spending money

April 29, 2011

Something about money and thinking about money, and spending money, and trying to make money puts me a bit on edge, mostly because I don’t have money, but also because I need money, and most importantly because I’m not sure where exactly I’m supposed to find it.  It’s for this reason that finding a newly emerged “Account Maintenance Fee” of $20 charged to my checking account by Citibank gets me riled up, huffing and puffing, and tapping my fingers on my desk while asking myself what the average time handed down to arsonists is these days, and eyeing the bleak walls of the local Citibank building while wondering what material they’re made of. Hopefully oak, I think to myself. although it’s highly doubtful they build anything from oak, let’s be smart, and does oak even burn that well to begin with?

I march into Citibank and quietly demand to get my $20 back, which they assure me they will return, all the while pretending it was an error and saying they don’t know why it happened, although I offer some helpful suggestions–one of which is that by “maintenance” they mean vacuuming. With half a smirk, I then announce to the representative that they should rename the bank “Sneakybank,”–a comment that I was particularly proud of because of the uncanny resemblance the word bears to “Citibank” but also because I had actually said it aloud. The account representative, pulling on her pants nervously while arranging a stack of papers on her desk, didn’t think it very funny, of course, because after all she’s on the payroll and as a result assumed I was implying that she too was sneaky, which she isn’t, although if she was I wouldn’t actually know, now would I?

So, with $20 back in my account, I instantaneously spend $5 of it on a coffee and a muffin, then proceed to parade down the street like I own the entire Upper East Side–which mentally I do, physically I don’t, and emotionally I’m more of a seller than a buyer, if you get what I mean–and I spot this strange cartoonish-looking couple sliding along the sidewalk, dragging the cool corpse of a clean cut Pomeranian behind them, peering into the window of some insultingly expensive shop overflowing with coffee table books featuring a dozen photos of the Eiffel Tower on the cover, and “hand crafted” bowls that cost $590, and $7,800 Buddha statues, and as loudly as he can the man demands of his wife to “come and look” at what to me appears to be a gigantic silver turtle statue, about the size of a mountain lion, perched up on a rocking chair behind the glass of this store on Lexington Ave., laughing, I suppose, at all the 94 year old widows, half-ghost, half-human, who hover up and down the street all Friday afternoon searching for a good plastic surgeon, and now at this couple, who are shifting around uncomfortably and staring with their mouths wide open at this enormous turtle, all the while pointing at its face and motioning to their Pomeranian, asking for its opinion, and whispering obscenities at each other and listing all the different locations in their apartment that this silver reptile might be able to inhabit, with little to no concern for the–and I’m guessing here–$1800 price tag on the damn thing. And all I can think about the entire time is that measly $20 which I fought so hard for, and the acquisition of which made my entire weekend, and how these two probably spent that kind of money 50 times over since breakfast on various silver animals, bowls, $40 t-shirts, and $18 salads, while never paying an account maintenance fee in their lives. It also makes me think, interestingly enough, that if I ever really need money I can always just go to them.

Death

April 27, 2011

Oddly enough, it just hit me today (1 hour ago) that eventually, at some point in time, I’m going to die. Oh man. It probably sounds like phony baloney crap to try to be clever–which, of course, it sorta is–, but to tell you the absolute truth, I had never seriously considered my own death until just this afternoon. I mean, I knew about death–I had heard about it–and I know people who are dead–although not really anymore, because they’re doing their own thing now being dead and all, and I’m hanging out here being alive, so understandably we’ve lost touch–but I hadn’t really ever bothered to reflect on the fact that I too was going to be dead someday.

The whole thing is a bit hard to believe, I know, because while I’ve been pretty busy the last 26 years–growing up and all, and being in school, and running around yelling with other kids, and focusing on growing up, and going to different schools, and having summers off from school, and making new friends, and losing old friends, and then losing the new friends and making old ones again, and then continuing to run around playgrounds yelling with all my friends new and old, and then getting a bit older and learning to drink until I threw up all throughout high school, and then going to college to practice it further, and filling up my once great summers with crappy unpaid jobs and even crappier paid jobs, and then doing god knows what throughout the year, thinking about how I was still young all along I assume, and talking to various people, at bars, in rooms, in offices, outdoors, in automobiles, and watching television while sitting on various couches with other people, but sometimes alone, and other times with different people, and eating food and moving around from place to place, and buying new stuff, and hanging around different people, and driving around in a car a bit, and sitting in traffic, or on a bus, or in a train, and lying in bed, waiting for a plane or a subway, or taking showers, and reading things, and walking around my house, and swimming in pools and oceans and lakes and rivers, and having dinners and lunches with people, and using computers, and sitting around with more people–but I just can’t imagine how I didn’t have even just a couple of seconds among all of the stuff that comprises life to just stop and think about how I was eventually going to be dead. It seems that the opening in my schedule came just around 2pm today while I was eating a Nutri-Grain bar.

I’m pretty glad it did, I’ll be honest with you, because only now am I fully realizing how odd it is that I’m going to have such a massive, endless amount of rest and relaxation with all expenses paid and no planning needed in only a matter of decades. I’d almost say it sounds pretty good, but I would really prefer to have that rest and relaxation while I was alive instead, if possible.