Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Safe Haven

I'm not sure if it's the stress, or the nostalgic desire for something simple in life, but lately I’ve been looking towards [insert national chain] employees with a certain unwarranted envy. The simplicity of stocking a shelf, the simplicity of pulling out a cart and hauling a customer's television from the back of the store to the front of the store. The simplicity of ringing an item into the computer and throwing it into a bag all seem to point to two things that seem to be lacking in my life: stability and routine.

Though, with all nostalgic dreams, the fantasy never seems to stack up to the reality. I thought about the practicality of it, running the numbers, multiplying out an estimated $9.00*40*.71 and I'm reminded of a haunting quote by a fellow commissioned based sales rep; it began with me staring into the monthly numbers report while he crept up behind me and chimed in, "You can stare all you want, but the numbers aren't going to change." And with that the nostalgic dream of simplicity is gone. Back to the commissioned environment, back into the classroom, back into graduate school - all in the name of making a decent buck and exchanging happiness and safety in return. I think, more than anything, I’m looking for a safety net, a fallout shelter that beckons protection so that in the event of not hitting a monthly quota, failing to understand how the theorem works, or improperly explaining how to solve a problem I can simply have a plan B to run to. Strangely enough, I think Holden Caulfield thought the same thing:

I figured I could get a job at a filling station somewhere, putting gas and oil in people's cars. I didn't care what kind of job it was, though. Just so people didn't know me and I didn't know anybody. I thought what I'd do was, I'd pretend I was one of those deaf-mutes. That way I wouldn't have to have any goddam stupid useless conversations with anybody. If anybody wanted to tell me something, they'd have to write it on a piece of paper and shove it over to me. They'd get bored as hell doing that after a while, and then I'd be through with having conversations for the rest of my life. Everybody'd think I was just a poor deaf-mute bastard and they'd leave me alone. They'd let me put gas and oil in their stupid cars, and they'd pay me a salary and all for it, and I'd build me a little cabin somewhere with the dough I made and live there for the rest of my life. I'd build it right near the woods, but not right in them, because I'd want it to be sunny as hell all the time. I'd cook all my own food, and later on, if I wanted to get married or something, I'd meet this beautiful girl that was also a deaf-mute and we'd get married. She'd come and live in my cabin with me, and if she wanted to say anything to me, she'd have to write it on a goddam piece of paper, like everybody else.

What scares me most is that there is no safety net, that failure is simply not an option, as the game ends when you run out of money, out of hope, out of dreams, out of [insert here]. Doing something for its own sake is one thing, but having to rely on the outcome of that thing is totally different. Maybe this is overreacting, or maybe it's a bit of last-minute anxiety before the storm, but I think more than anything I yearn for something simple, something safe, something that beckons out "If you fail, I’ll be here for you." I'm sure time will wash away all these feelings, but for now there simply is no place like a safe haven.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Star the Page.

Star the passage. That is the passage I found within the dark recesses of a library long forgotten about five years ago. I was randomly opening books, reading a few pages, and throwing them back upon the shelf as I eagerly moved on to the next book in hopes to find some remnant that would bring significance to my existence, a passage that would thrust true knowledge in my face. I hoped that the books would become the teacher I never had, the teacher that would proclaim the true workings of the world, the true workings of myself, though that never happened...

This passage did happen though, and it’s the closest I ever came to the concept of true knowledge that I so eagerly sought - so eagerly sought out but never found...

Catcher in the Rye did come quite close, it came close to illustrating the discontent and heartfelt longing I felt for something real, but it provided no real answers; instead, it merely illustrated the example that all lone men face - the example of Holden Caulfield and the endless inescapable fall that consumes us all.

In any case, this book was the book that illustrated my thoughts as I had written it myself within another life. I have since ordered a copy of it and hope to read through the entire book (if I have time, which we are all so short on) but in any case if you wish to read it, here is the info:

ISBN 0-394-47995-5

“What Do You Say After You Say Hello?” – Eric Berne, M.D.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

...But That Was Someone Else's Dream

Strangely enough, I have spent my day going through my old diary entries in a vain attempt to figure out where I’ve been and where I’m going. My favorite post included the quote,

"I truly hate alcohol and I have vowed that I will never get drunk, but I will probably forget about it and get smashed someday. Nothing is more pathetic than a drunk." (My Diary)

So what does my future self say to the past self that wrote that quotation? I post a picture of myself smashed out of my mind as a response as well as a testament to the fact that existential man is a prisoner to his own vices, that when you remove external points of reference and leave man to wander around aimlessly he eventually picks up the lighter and begins to burn the house down.

Lately I have had a strange urge to drop out of everything and join an art school. My rational is two-fold, one being that an art school leads to an art degree which is completely useless and would only be attained for its own sake; that is to say that no one obtains an art degree for the future but rather it is a passion that implies living - it implies thinking for today, that life is a day-to-day venture that doesn't follow the systematic routine of storing up treasures that rust will eat tomorrow. My second rational would be the fact that I want to feel again. I want to look at a tree and be inspired, look at a bird and feel a sense of awe, look at a woman and perceive beauty, and perhaps through much practice I would be able to attain those senses of feeling once again.

I figure the art degree is about as far away as I can get from my present math degree, far away from the fact that math merely reduces everything to numbers without any sense of awe or inspiration, and far away from the fact that a math degree is merely obtained for the future. Though I must say, I do enjoy working out math problems (loser). Every math major I know loves to spout out their major and hear the words "Oh, Wow. You'll have no problem getting a job!" which in turn merely provides an excuse for tomorrow, a nest egg down the road - none of us are really living for today, but rather we are traveling upon the hopes and dreams of others.

How do I live then? Through the alcohol, through the alcohol and the vain idea that if I could get myself into an art school with like-minded individuals things could be different. That perhaps if I wish it, will it, and hope for it I will wake up in an art school a penniless pauper with a beautiful woman and it will merely be a Hollywood fantasy ending where the two inspired art majors drive off into the distance under the pretense of love and eternal longing for each other....

I can see us now with ratty tight-fitting tee shirts covering our perfectly toned bodies and Levis jeans, her with spattered paint stains from a freshly made portrait and I with the classic hole in the jeans signifying the trendiness that I so will so ardently oppose.

...but that was someone else's dream, I am just stealing it.

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

"CalLing Card"


I distinctly remember telling myself, "If you want it, take it" though just as so many young men often do, I was guilty of spurting out nonsensical talk that I knew nothing of. Through my elaborate visions, I had made for myself a fantastical illusion that had flown me into the highest peaks of the heaven, only to then allow me to fall into the farthest depths of hell.

I took it, I took MM today and like a naive doe stuck within the headlights of an oncoming train I find myself praying to God for salvation. I find myself harkening back to the fall of man, to the first temptation of Eve only to realize that I have fallen into a trap that has been marked from the dawn of time - a trap as old as humanity and as fresh as each passing generation, the trap of sex. I suddenly understand the wisdom that so many had tried to pass on, the wisdom that is impossible to teach, but rather must be learnt through cold bitter experience...

So says the poet,

"My child, be attentive to my wisdom, pay close attention to my understanding, in order to safeguard discretion, and that your lips may guard knowledge. For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey, and her seductive words are smoother than olive oil, but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps lead straight to the grave. Lest she should make level the path leading to life, her paths are unstable but she does not know it. So now, children, listen to me; do not turn aside from the words I speak. Keep yourself far from her, and do not go near the door of her house, lest you give your vigor to others and your years to a cruel person, lest strangers devour your strength, and your labor benefit another man’s house. And at the end of your life you will groan when your flesh and your body are wasted away. And you will say, “How I hated discipline! My heart spurned reproof! For I did not obey my teachers and I did not heed my instructors. I almost came to complete ruin in the midst of the whole congregation!” - Proverbs 5:1-14

Life is a hard teacher, though without a doubt life has taught me the lesson of a lifetime - the lesson of sex, the lesson of redemption, the lesson of falling into complete oblivion.

As I walked out of her apartment I couldn't help feel that I had just made a trade, I had traded myself for a cheap handmade mug that bore the name of MM - a calling card. An object that would forever mark that MM was here, MM had done this, and MM had left her business card. I stared into the elaborate font that marked her name upon the bottom of the mug only to feel that the name might as well be marked within my very skin, that instead of marking it into the cheap mug she should have been sound about it and scratched it into my flesh with her burning nails. She should have torn away at my flesh and carved it into my soul so the physical scars would bare testament to the spiritual scars of fear and disdain.

...Though in the end I am merely left with an a plain unwanted mug...

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

"Alright see-ya later. Adios."

"You can't leave the bread sit out"


"This isn't store bought bread."


"It doesn't have all those preservatives."


"It will get moldy."


Is life nothing but a series of mindless elaborations that go on and on and on with no purpose so that at the end of the day we so eloquently state that life is, "...a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing?"

So as the last day of the semester looms over my head, and with it the last day of traditional schooling, I’m tempted to ask myself whether or not I’ve seen all that life has to offer. Distraught, I ask myself "Is this how it is? Fixing the car when it breaks down? Going to work forty-hours a week? Checking an empty email inbox day after day in hopes that something will change? Doing laundry and preparing food to sustain me one more day in this vicious cycle of repetition that never ceases to end?" In asking these question I’m overtaken by a prophetic vision in which I’m led to the center of my town, the town I’ve spent endless summers driving through, only to have a masked visionary figure state "This is life", whereas I respond back in a puzzling tone stating, "WTF, this is only [My Town]."

Forgive me, though I fail to see the point. Maybe I feel this way because it’s the end of the semester, which always leaves me distraught, or perhaps it’s because I watched Ashley walk out of my life today. Ashley, her friend, and I all stood outside of the restaurant where we ate on a daily basis in that momentary awkward silence when I casually stated, "Alright see-ya later. Adios." in my traditional callous fashion - pretty smooth, wouldn't you say? In response, I’m tempted to call her up and state how much I will miss her, how much I care for her, and that I want my existence to revolve around her - that I would do anything for her and that I want a relationship in which we are completely inseparable so that our existences are so intertwined that it will be impossible for us to be defined individually...but...

...I already tried that once, and it didn't change anything. Instead of going on with that rant, I listened to her as she stated more news about her ex-boyfriend and his plans to return. I would wager to say there are many cruel acts in this world, many images that all of us would love to forget, though I would say none is as cruel as a woman dwelling on her past boyfriend in the presence of a man who absolutely adores her.

In my moment of hesitation, I am immediately drawn back to a previous moment in my life where I suffered from a brief bout of insomnia. I lived in an apartment complex where the tenet above me would play his music just loud enough so that I could make out the rhythmic notes of the bass, which in turn would keep me up all night long. After the third straight night of sleeplessness I broke down (I cannot function without 8 hours of sleep, let alone three days) and laid out on the bathroom floor praying to God that the sound would subside so that I could get some sleep. I remember thinking that as someone takes your sleep, they take all that you have as they leave you in that dreamlike state where you cannot function, cannot think, and cannot live but merely exist as a mindless puppet that can do nothing more than feel pain.

In that tragic moment of seeing myself wrapped up in my hoodie laying out on the bathroom floor, I’m immediately drawn to a parallel between then and now where the same distinct pain seems to linger in both rooms with no end in sight. They say that time heals all wounds…

…that’s what they say anyways…

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Monday, November 13, 2006

The Thin Line between Love and Obsession

"On the surface Don Quixote is a complex novel that is written in an ambiguous fashion; a fashion that many readers have found fault with, writing off the book to be a narrative of two idiots roaming the countryside in a completely random fashion, thereby eliminating the possibility of any meaningful whole. Though mostly false, it is quite understandable how many readers arrive at such a notion seeing the structure of the story is riddled with seemingly independent events and occurrences that often leave the reader oblivious to the nature of the book. The exploits of Quixote are impossible to predict, while the frequent deviation of the author into seemingly independent side stories baffle the reader to such an extent that the story becomes merely an account of two wonderers without any greater moral bearing or significance. Whereas the wonderers of Don Quixote spend their days within the secluded countryside of the Sierras..."

Then suddenly, in the midst of it all that thin line between love and obsession seemed to slowly fade off into oblivion as my mind brought back the fateful thought that marked my loneliness, my destitution. Like a ray of light sent directly from the sun itself, her presence made its way within my mind, causing me to abandon all care for the superficial paper that would act as a testament to the mundane tasks that marked my existence. Her face, her beauty, suddenly my mind could focus upon no other as my existence immediately took a backseat to the mere thought of her. Papers, exams, responsibilities - what were responsibilities if they did not involve her? What was anything if it didn’t involve her? What was the purpose of existence if it didn't involve her? Her hair, her eyes, her picturesque skin tone all conspired together to lull me off towards distant fantasies so far removed from the present reality of isolation.

"I love you. I want to love you. I need you." though the words just didn’t seem to capture the moment, they didn’t seem to stress the intense admiration for the object that now occupied my hopeless thoughts. "I want nothing more than your happiness; I want nothing more than to dry your tears of pain and present you with everything that I have" though that too seemed quite superficial as it had been state before, and done a thousand times over through the eons by such desperate men who thought they had as much love and admiration for a woman as I.

While my heart longed for the appropriate words, the beautifully haunting images of her eyes seem to tranquil my worries, ease my sorrows though all that remained of them now where the distant memories of a time long past, a time unbearably long. "The most beautiful of eyes" I would recant in a desperate attempt to conjure up more than a mere mental image of them, "...and her hair, her face, her countenance " I would speak out as if words had the power to create images, to ease the sorrow, or to pass the time.

…AlL This While the Paper Lay UnToucheD.

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

New Horizon

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Where do I go from here?

He goes into the apparel store defeated, eyes cast down upon the ground as he makes his way to the sale counter by following the gridlines of the tile. Waiting for the bubbly cashier - that feels the need to make small talk with every customer she checks out - the man stands silently awaiting his turn as the cashier slowly and ever so methodically rings out the five customers ahead of him.

Finally, with a turn of her head and a flutter of her beautiful brunette hair she asks, "May I help you?" with the smile that would ease the most disenfranchised of hearts, though not this one.

The man calmly lifts his downtrodden head and replies, "Yes, do you sell the shirt that reads, ‘I fell in love with a girl and all I got was this lousy 500$ cell phone bill?”


Though it hasn't happened, I can foresee the events that will lead to Ashley casually waving goodbye and walking out the door, leaving me with that cold sensation that my mind so ardently avoids at all costs. I must say, with her walking out she not only takes away my hopes but she takes away my emotions as well, taking away all that I care about with each step she makes - dragging with her my will as it silently gets up and leaves me.

What does a man do? I asked Bn today what I do, where do I go from here? I wanted to state that I’m picking up and leaving, that I’m moving on, that my life in [Town] has ended as there is absolutely nothing left for me - I’ve exhausted everything, and like an obedient virus once I consume all there is to consume I get up and move on. I merely want to get in the car and drive east – just as the condemned men do, always to the east. Eventually I will hit the beach, and at that point, I will just sit upon the sand, crack open a beer, and cry the day away while I stare into the overbearing impersonal ocean that is never impacted by the actions or thoughts of man.

That’s what I thought, but what I felt was completely different. Without going too far into it, I must say the idea of not having to face the day was particularly interesting as the idea of her walking out leaves me with a sense of complete abandonment, similar to the scene in which the man stands outside of a house on Christmas Eve looking in at the occupants feasting upon their Christmas dinner while he spends his days with the cold elements of nature – the snow, the dead trees, the decaying leaves are his companions. I must say, I refuse to admit those as my companions, and that is what makes the decision so difficult.

On the one hand is Ashley, on the other is the long winding road of solitude that I am tremendously tired of wondering – so tired that I refuse to go back to such a road – REFUSE.

Thanks for listening…

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Ultimate Full Frontal Assualt

In light of the realization that my hopes and dreams with Ashley seem to be slowly sliding farther away from my grasp, I am left with the cold sensation of complete isolation that I have felt for so long. My stomach can testify to that as I have been emotionally sick for the past week – going so far as gagging in the bathroom as my body emotionally vomited. I’ve never seen anything like it, nor have I heard anything of it, but just thinking of her made me heave blindly over the toilet as the realization of her leaving became ever and ever more apparent. Leave it to a woman to take away the cold feeling of loneliness only to hand it back to you again...

In any case, I’ve spent my days watching a classic Volkswagen commercial that embodies the Ultimate Full Frontal Assault, a clip that I now have a further understanding and appreciation for...I must say I’ve watched this clip a thousand times and yet each time its as fresh and as new as if I’ve never seen it before…

I give you, Volkswagen "Big Day"

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