Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Happiness is a Warm Gun?

Nightmares.

They're bad, right?

I mean, like, by definition, they're bad.

So bad that when something really, really bad happens, it's often described as a nightmare.

Like, for instance, say you're with your very new kind-of boyfriend who we'll call James after a particularly bad breakup with a significant other we'll call Louie who you dated for a significant period of time and let's say you and your very new kind-of boyfriend who we're calling James and his friends want to get something to eat and let's say it's pretty late and you're only eighteen so you don't know any better and end up at Denny's where it's really crowded and they go to sit you and your very new kind-of boyfriend who we're calling James and his friends at one of those big oval booths with two tables that can be connected by a leaf and usually are reserved for big parties but could be used for two separate ones in a pinch, like if it's really busy, and when you get to that table that's pretty much connected to another table, which no matter what, makes for an uncomfortable meal if you're sitting with people who aren't in your party, you see that not only are you going to be sitting with people who aren't in your party, but you're going to be sitting with the significant other who we're calling Louie, the one you just had the really bad breakup with and--wait for it--the girl he cheated on you with. If something like that were to happen to you, it would be so bad that when describing it later to everyone you'd ever met, you just might call it a nightmare.

Unless, of course, you don't think nightmares are bad.

Wait.
What?

There are people who don't think nightmares are bad?

That's what I thought, too, because, as we've just been through with my crazy convoluted, highly unlikely--yet totally true--story,
nightmares = bad.

But listen to this:

A few days ago when Griffin, his friend, N, and I were talking, the subject of nightmares came up. Griffin talked about the worst nightmare he'd ever had and how scary it was, and N, in a totally unprecedented reply, said that he loves nightmares.

Yes, you read that right. N loves nightmares.

Being scared is awesome, N said, and you get to be terrified and have that scared feeling, but nothing bad is going to happen you. I hope I have a nightmare tonight, he said as the nightmare talk concluded.

Okay, so let me just repeat--
Wait.
What?

It's crazy, yes?

Except don't we hear things like The glass could either be half empty or half full; it doesn't matter what you're looking at, it matters what you see; and perception is everything* all the time?

*All aphorisms are paraphrased due to laziness

We do, or at least I do, but despite hearing them, it's never really occurred to me how much of a difference the way someone looks at something could make on his or her life, but then here's this kid taking something that most people think is horrific and traumatizing and acting like it's awesome. Actually, no, that's wrong. He's not acting like it's awesome; he really thinks it is awesome. To him, nightmares--nightmares!--are good.

How fucking inspirational and amazing is that?

(The answer is pretty fucking inspirational and amazing, in case you didn't know.)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

When It Starts to Thunder, They All Stare

I've never been a fan of the outro.

I still remember, to this day, lying on my bed late one night when I was a teenager, trying to go to sleep but being unable to because something stupid I had done was keeping me awake, when "Hey Jude" came on the radio. It started out innocuously enough, with Paul telling Jude not to make it bad, to take a sad song and make it better, but before I knew it, I was enmeshed in a quagmire of na na na's and hey Jude's that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't escape. You think I'm exaggerating, I know, but it's the truth. I'm talking, I changed the radio station and listened to entire songs, I went to the bathroom, I read War and Peace. No matter what I did, every time I went back to what was most likely BIG 105.9 but may have been 103 SHE, Paul was still going on and on to Jude.

I wanted to blow my brains out.

To this day, I can't listen to that fucking song without being traumatized, and maybe as a result of that night or maybe because I was just built to not like the outro, I can't stand songs that take a long time to end.

Take Angels and Airwaves, even. My love for AVA can't be denied, but some of their songs are like Hey Jude Juniors, and sometimes, I have no choice but to cut them short. I listen until Tom says what he has to say, and then I skip to the next song, only to do the same thing when the end of the next song starts prattling on.

Actually, though--

Movies don't have outros in the same way that a song does (except maybe that one Lord of the Rings movie that ended over and over and over), but they do have endings, and some of them are entirely misguided and twelve hours too long (GoodfellasBoogie Nights, and Titanic, I'm talking to you). Some movie endings, like long outros, I just can't stand.

(Conversely, some movie endings I like so much, I watch them and nothing else from the movie. Can't Hardly Wait? An Officer and a Gentleman? Love, ActuallyNever Been Kissed? Do better things exist?)

It's funny. I never saw the connection before, but I always kid around with Griffin and Keifer that there's a finite number of X and once someone has reached that point, there's just no more of X that can be done. Example:

My longstanding favorite is There's a finite number of essays that someone could grade throughout life, and once that number has been graded, there's just no more grading that could be done.

And my new one is There's a finite number of miles that someone could run, and once those miles have been reached, that person is physically unable to run any more.

Those are jokes, of course, but they do reinforce the same idea, the same notion, the same value, that my inability to stick around for long outros does.

When things are meant to

end--

(STOP)

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Cracked Rearview

The night of the fight, you may feel a slight sting. That's pride fucking with you. Fuck pride. Pride only hurts. It never helps. You fight through that shit. 'Cause a year from now, when you're kicking it in the Caribbean, you gonna say to yourself, 'Marsellus Wallace was right.'
                                                                             --Pulp Fiction

What do you do?

Do you act like Butch, reckless and crazy? Fuck common sense and anything close?

Do you ignore the sting?

Because you know you're gonna feel the sting.

Butch heeded the sting, and we all know what happened to him.

Do you end up in a basement with your hands tied together, rubber ball in your mouth, awaiting your turn to be fucked in the ass while the gimp watches, all because you didn't ignore the sting?

You know you're no Butch; you know you might not make it out alive.

Or do you listen to Marsellus and fuck it? Fight through it so a year from now you could kick it in the Caribbean?

Because even though you hate the sun, the thought of a Caribbean in the future is kind of nice.

Do you ignore
the identical blank and the blank who won't blank and the blank he took away and the blank who doesn't know or doesn't care?

Or do you write about them here?

What do you
What do you
What do I
do?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Glimmer Like Bolan in the Morning Sun

Because it was so cold on Thursday night, I had to run at the gym instead of outside. I started out by running what was, by my counting of laps, a mile on the inside track, but by my Nike +'s calculations, .8 miles. I know I know how to count, and I know 16 laps around the track is just short of a mile, so I was fairly certain about my distance, but just to be sure, I decided to run on a treadmill instead. 

Ugh.

Fuck.

I HATE the treadmill.

I used to run on one all the time. For years after I started running, it was my go to--probably because Glenn hates running outside and it's his go to--and I had no problem with it at all. Every once in a while I'd run outside, like if the weather was particularly nice or I was on vacation somewhere, but for most of my running life, if you were to find me running, you'd find me on a treadmill, listening to music while alternating between watching myself in the mirror, the silent TVs on the wall above my head, and other gym people walking in and out of the room.

I don't know exactly how I transitioned to running outside, but I guess it must have something to do with not being with Glenn anymore since now, looking back, I'm realizing that anytime the two of us are off, I do most of my running outside, and then once we get back on, I resume my running on that insipid machine.

This time, though, the relationship isn't resuming and the treadmill isn't, either.

The crappy thing about the treadmill isn't that it's so boring, even though it is, or the notion that if you're on it, you're running and running but not getting anywhere, like people used to say to me, although that's true, too. The thing about the treadmill is that it's so damn uninspired; so repetitive; so mechanical; so predictable. When I used to run on it, I'd get in my car, drive to the gym, walk to the cardio room, put in my ear buds, set the treadmill to the speed I was running that day, set the timer to the amount of time I planned to run, start the treadmill, and run. Hisshisshiss. Boom. Hisshisshiss. Boom. Hisshisshiss. Boom. If my music wasn't loud enough, I'd hear the whir of the machine as the belt continuously looped and the sound of my foot strike every however many seconds or so. The speed never really changed unless I had an interval day scheduled, the conditions in the room never really changed unless a particularly smelly or loud person was in the vicinity, and I never really changed, in mind, in body, or in soul. The treadmill was, and I'm sure still is, a harbinger of sameness.

Running outside, though--that's something else completely. Running outside is running free. It's energy. It's hope. It's bounding down the street with a spring in my shoes, the endless sidewalk in front of me, and the world all around. It's Tom and Mark and Gerard and Vic and Patrick and Nate sing screaming in my ears, urging me on. The speed and intensity, so unlike when on the treadmill, follows my body's natural rhythms: if I feel like I need to run fast, I run fast; if I feel like I need to run slow, I run slow; if I feel bouncy or like taking big strides, I bounce or widen my strides; if I feel like I need to go easy and shorten my strides, I do that, too.

Outside, as opposed to on the treadmill, I don't need to do what the machine tells me.

I don't need to strike, strike, strike, repeat.

Outside, I can bounce, glide, shuffle, and soar.

The treadmill is okay for some people--I guess--but it's not

okay--

for me.  

Saturday, January 31, 2015

She Said It Stopped Being Fun, I Just Bring Her Down

Where am I?

The Pit of Despair. Don't even think about trying to escape.
                                                                            
                                                                                 --The Princess Bride


When I was sixteen and had been dating Louie for about a year, his parents put him in some residential mental facility called The Retreat for about a month and then when he got out, withdrew him from the school where we went together and put him in a new one, away from me. This was, appropriately enough, around March, the beginning of spring.

I remember not long after Louie went in, my friend Stork--our friend, actually, Louie's and mine, although I don't know how good a friend he was to Louie since we started having sex not long after Louie's and my final breakup--telling me that I was so much better without Louie. He said when I was with him, I was fat and dreary, and when I was without him, I was cute and happy. It's true that I lost a little bit of weight, about ten pounds (without even trying! An amazing side effect of breakups throughout my life), and cut my hair, both of which likely contributed to the cuteness, but I think the main thing contributing to the positive change in me was the loss of Louie.

I'm not going to pretend I didn't love him because oh my God, did I love him, and I won't act like I'm glad he was gone because I seriously felt like I was a character in a tragedy after his parents shipped him away, but somehow, despite the sadness and despair I felt, I found a way to be happy--happier, certainly, than when I was with him and found out every other week he'd cheated on me or heard his parents or sister had said something awful about me or learned that he'd done some drug I didn't want him to do; happier than when we'd fight for hours about something absolutely insignificant and then make up for just as long; happier than when I was stressed twenty-four hours of every day of my entire life.

(Go figure, right?)

Anyway, the point is, when Louie disappeared, albeit temporarily (because any parents who think they can keep teenagers apart who don't want to be that way are stupid with a capital S), I felt like I'd never feel good again, but without even trying and without even realizing I was getting happier, I did until one day I was just a happy person. Being forced to step away from my crazy situation enabled me to find happiness I didn't even know I didn't have.

And the best part? Or at least the most significant?

It wasn't even because of some other boy or any external force that I found the happy that I did.

It was entirely me.

Sometimes, I just love how life works.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

It's My Party

So.

It's my birthday today.

40.

Kind of a big one.

Can we look at 39 for a minute, please?

(The birthday, I mean, not the entire year.That's a fiasco I'm in no mood for.)

Depressed for weeks leading up to it.

Depressed at work.

Depressed when Glenn gave me the headphones he bought me for my birthday.

Depressed when I lay in my bedroom with the lights out and sobbed for about an hour or so.

Depressed when trying to figure out what to do.

Depressed when finally deciding on pizza and beer.

Depressed when reflecting on how alone and unloved I felt, especially on my birthday, but pretty much all the time.

Now can we look at 40?

Happy when I got a text at twelve o'clock on the dot last night from my very own Jordan Catalano (information forthcoming. Maybe) because he wanted to be the very first person to wish me a happy birthday.

Ecstatic when I achieved a running goal I've had for the past at least five years (and surprisingly nonplussed when being handed my second place award by the mayor who it was handed to by C's mom).

Happy when--okay, wait.

Stop.

This isn't working.

I can't make a list for this one. For this one, there's no really breaking down the parts, there's only the omnipresent feeling of happiness. Of excitement. Of positivity.

Of a new journey.

Of love--both loving and being loved.

The difference in my life from last year at this time to now is unreal.

All right, before I jinx myself--

enough.

I have a vegan dinner to get to (no wondering what to do with myself this year!); can I just say I love everyone and call it a day?

Or how about this?

A few days ago, I said that if I ran my 5k in under 30 minutes, I'd be so happy, I'd have sex with everyone on the field, and while I didn't end up spending countless hours on my back, the sentiment is still there.

I know I have my own weird logic and way of looking at things, and that statement probably doesn't make the slightest bit of sense to you, but that's how happy I'm finally starting to feel.  

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Mutt

When I was eighteen, I once took someone to Opa-locka to buy heroin in the middle of the night. Well, maybe it wasn't quite the middle of the night, but it was midnightish, which was defintely late enough for it to be a pretty scary experience. It was just the two of us, a guy I barely knew and me, in the car, and when I say barely knew him, I mean it was the second or third time I'd laid eyes on him in a five-year period. All I really knew about him was that he was the ex-boyfriend of the sister of a friend of mine, that he liked the song Bitchin' Camaro, and that he was a heroin addict. And, of course, that he was cute.

Which is actually extremely relevant to this post.

I hadn't really thought about that night in a while, but a couple days ago, when one of Griffin's friends was telling me about his car having broken down (with Griffin in it) between two bad neighborhoods and them hearing a gunshot, it came to mind, and because it was relevant, I told Griffin and his friend the story.

I told them about how when I had my apartment with my sister, I drove someone to get heroin in Opa-locka in the middle of the night, and it was one of the scariest experiences of my life. I told them about how we drove up and down some side streets until we found one where a bunch of men were milling about, some on foot, some on bikes, and how the person I was with had me pull up next to a specific guy, only to roll down his window, take a look at the guy and scream, Go, go, go! in such a loud and urgent manner that I was sure I was about to get shot and killed right then and there and that he did that to me not once, not twice, but three different times, which means that three times in a span of about five minutes, I was sure I was going to die.

Griffin's friend then asked me why I would do something as stupid as drive someone to Opa-locka to buy heroin in the middle of the night, and before I could answer him, Griffin did by asking me a question. He looked at me and, never having heard the story before, not knowing anything more than what I've told you just now, said, It was a cute boy, wasn't it?

And I'm pretty sure that tells you absolutely everything you need to know.

The part about my watching him shoot up in my bathroom, vomit in my toilet, and what ensued on my bathroom floor immediately after pretty much only reiterates what you've already been told.