Sunday, January 25, 2009

Taxi Crash

I wake up to the pulsing sound of talk radio blaring from the alarm. I push sleep, pleading with myself 5 more minutes. I concede. Showered and dress, I make the coffee and head out just in time to see my taxi driver crash into the snow bank outside my home. It’s Sunday, with no car and buses not running until after 8am, I must find a ride or take a taxi to work in the doldrums of winter. The taxi driver is not the first car I have helped push out of the snow bank. There is something about my alley’s driveway and the slippery slope of the road that promotes driver’s missing the turn completely, inevitably getting stuck in the snow.

I only get $1.00 off my ride for my services.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sketchbook: Morning into Afternoon

Empty Brown Bag
Day breaks the sleeping body awake. Cracking back to the morning rise, sundry steps towards the kitchen, I flip on the radio. An empty brown bag greets the morning fog, I finger it with disbelief. There are no coffee beans. My tongue slides against the cavern of the mouth, slipping desire against the teeth, I suck the lip in and lick it. "Can't you give me something?" I purr at the empty bag. I brew tea instead.

The City Marks its Territory

A white canvass stained with grit and exhaust churned up by the plow trucks, only sky unsoiled with pluffy white.

Cursing Brows
"You've become a cliche," the words fall out of her mouth with a clicking tongue. Brow pursed, a silhouetted vein piercing the forehead. The words meant for her friend travels through the bus and catch my ear. I look up for the snapshot of disapproval across her face. Blink, I search for her friend's response - stung eyes with a vacant smile. She, the friend, grows into her response like a slow-mo pan, she straightens her form and curses her naysayer with her own brow, "I may be a cliche, but at least I can say I now know love."

Work Calls In
"You don't have to come in, the trainings been canceled."
"The computers are down or something. B asked us to tell you first 'cause you take the bus in."
I am half way through my commute.
I still need coffee.

Vagabond sits next to me. A rancorous smell, layers of old sweat getting older perfumes the air with a motley musk. Passengers cringe with offense and discomfort. Suddenly I smell the condensation of fear forming across their own bodies. The pheromone exchange quickens my pulse and editorial thoughts skip across the mind. The man hugs his bag and turns his face towards the reflection against the moving back drop of the window. He turns to me, flushed cheeks greet my periphery and he speaks loud enough to address everyone close by. A scurried shame filled response, he is not from around here. Bad luck, the epidermis under the funky layers sent him moving to a city with a shelter. Rolled eyes and anger greet our conversation from across the bus. An aperture of protecting forms in my head. I want to curse them. I ask him to get off the bus with me two stops down. I know a place where he can get a shower and wash his clothes at this time of day. The shelters don't open for another 5 hours. He tells me he always paid his taxes and gave to charity, "Why me?" Selfishly, all I can think in my head is I wished I had farted loud on the bus.

Stumbling Heart Prayer
I don't know the steps of a better person, that perfection of self lingering in the mind's eye. She stands tall and always says the right thing. Her laughter catches the heart of those around her and she never gleams a flaw in the eyes of others. I can only try and be the best of myself at any given moment, owning and forgiving when I fail in the attempt. Sometimes I long for the moments when I can stub the toe and not bleed.

Love Note to Coffee
"Coffee, please." I say with a coy smile, my heart feels light and I finally get that cup. I press change against the counter and toss the buck in the tip jar. I love you, coffee.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sketchbook: What Keeps me coming back

Home. After another week in New York City. Midwest met the big city and keeps coming back. What I know is it is a crowded city. Economically stratified, the layers mix in subways and side walks. Poverty and plenty cross paths in the churned up watery flow of the city moving. So many people, the force of them bursts over the banks of the city's curbs, like a breaking levy every day. There is no stop to the numbers, a sea of colors, fusing and moving every where.

I like the town and the numbers, and I like to hide away in the apartment of my lover when the contact becomes too much. Fairway, the local version of a grocery store, is this mad house of people collecting their food, lines extending through all the aisles. No one working there is willing to tell you where to find anything, even if you've been through the aisles a thousand times, bombarding the crowded corners, to find it. It's more stimulating then a day of drinking coffee. Walking in the Fairway the mind scurries. After I've paid for my groceries, I take the quickest subway to the safe boundaries of walls between me and the thousands.

What I know is the cold can make the New Yorker walk faster. The river veins quicken the pace just to get somewhere warmer. The city becomes a wind tunnel in winter. Cold air moves downtown and spreads through the cross streets, swirling around the shoulders at the cross walk. I have been kamikaze'd by the bullet fast New Yorker more then a few times in that hurried pace. We all seem to be searching for the flushed skin of the steam heat or the safe harbors of warm restaurants and subways - the counterbalance to the frigidity of New York Winters if not the sore body dodging the madden tempo of the Winter New Yorker.

Ah, but now I am sipping tea in my own apartment, curled up into my Midwest neighborhood. We have room to stretch. People trickle down my own alleyway in smaller numbers. The cold is not contained by buildings scraping sky, but rather lingers at every door. It's still cold, colder; still swirling around the shoulders; still causing the body to seek the warm shelter of buses, restaurants and a warm home. Home. The grocery stores, though bigger, still over stimulates the mind with too many people scurrying and I know I will hurry home to seek shelter behind walls after I go.

Two cities, Midwest Town and the Big A, different, same, the orange and the apple. What I miss in New York is the hand holding mine while walking down the streets, those arms curled around me on subways, those eyes staring back at me with love in them. The cackling laughter from words whispered in my ear while in the rooms tucked away from the crowded city. I miss the body flushing against the warmth of my other. New York is fucking fan-tab, even when crowded and cold, but it's not what keeps me coming back.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Cable Company is a Butthole

So, I am at work and my job has cable for the clients to utilize while they stay here. Unfortunately, the cable box that receives the satellite information is dead. Completely whipped out, this doesn’t make my clients too happy. Its Sunday which means the normal person who has the authority to deal with this problem is off today.

I decide after prompts from the clients to contact the cable company in order to get it fixed. I contact the normal person who deals with this on her day off to get permission. I get on the phone with customer service and go through the prompts of trying to fix the problem. We unplug the box we plug it back in. We fiddle with buttons and my patience wanes as I already know the problem. In the end, the customer service rep finally lets me speak with the technical service support.

Long story short, they will come out and replace the cable box, but only if we agree to sign up for another year of service. Why? Because the cable box is only under warranty for 90 days and ironically the warranty expired about a week ago. :(. Although we have a contract with the cable company for one year, which expires November of this year, we would have to sign up, for an additional year. This would mean we would pay $30 for the new cable box, $120 for the service fee to install it, and only get 90 more days of warranty on the new cable box.

Get that?

What happen to customer rights in this nation? I don’t understand why we would need to sign up for an additional year, if the product can’t last for the first year of service. It’s not just the cable companies either who try and rob us of every last penny either. They trail slightly behind the cell phone companies in corruptive, money gouging practices. Um, that’s just an opinion, but I bet if I took a poll, most folks would concur.

I don’t know about every body else out there, but this down right pisses me off. I asked the cable company if they provide extended warranties or insurance for their products in the event that they died. I was told in very unclear terms that they do not. WTF!

Yep, the cable company is a butthole.

Friday, January 9, 2009

A Year in Rear View

Determination strikes half past the hour as the fluorescent lights from above hug my shoulders and rubs my tight back. Another late night shift picked up to guarantee another 40 hour week pay check and I am almost done with the tasks at hand. Finally, I have time to write and a computer in front of me to do it.

I’ve been meaning to talk about my life. Day after day I promise this self to expel insight and grace on this page and day after day I find wordless emptiness has taken harbor in the brain. I’ve always been a person who struggles with writer’s block until epiphany strikes me in the head with a 4X4. Only then am I a bleeder of inspiration that eventually coagulates into silence once again and I must wait for another blow to release it all over again.

As 2008 transgressed into a New Year, I found myself not wanting to review my experiences. Not because 2008 was a bad year. In fact, it was a very good year. I am glad for it. I was able to publish 3 articles this year and 2 proses were published in anthologies*. That’s more then the year prior. I have fallen in love someone who fits me and I never thought I’d let myself do this. I let myself believe someone could love me. I have successfully maintained 40 hours a week employment, even when so many have been laid off, and technically I only have a part-time job at the moment. I have been disowned and loved by my family which is a yearly cycle, but hey, at least it’s consistent. I said goodbye to old ghosts who have promised not to cross my threshold again. I made different choices, healed, and grew. I laughed and cried and did it all over again. I took comfort and gave it. I made mistakes, stumbled, and got back up again.

2008 was a vintage year for me. I just didn’t have the words to express them. And for me…for me, this is a hurt like no other. I blamed my growing assurance of my oars to navigate life’s waters for writing leaving me. I believed happiness silenced my creative side and I wondered if I needed angst to compel me to keep writing. Lets face it, who wants angst. But then I realized it’s the fear of being seen that has quieted me. Every time I expose this self in words, I seem to want to recede into my shell and cower. Since I began the first blog in 2005, every entry written came with a need to recede. Then I actually began to publish and it got worse. Insecurity perpetrated my thoughts and I began to doubt my ability to write. Comparing myself to every experience outside my own, I summed up that this little ole GoGo had nothing to offer. So, for the most of 2008, I hid in my shell.

And like inspiration, this realization had to hit me in the head like a massive stick to get me to see it. I was waiting for my bus between tasks on the to-do list yesterday. I was staring vacantly at the cars piling up at the red light on the road in front of me. I’m pretty sure the mind was blank, completely void of any thoughts and my body reacted with the blink of the eyes and suddenly my pupils focused on a rear view mirror of the car in front of me. It was broken and dangling from a makeshift string like an acrobat, serving no purpose except to entertain the driver. Hovering above the dashboard, its neck spun a semicircle from the twining of the string. When it slowed, the driver wound the string again setting it off into a gyratory madness. I watched the mirror reflect the world in my view’s arch. Spinning I could see myself a blurry mass captured for brief moments only to be lost again. My body stuffed into my winter gear – only my eyes peered out from behind my hat, hood, and coat.

I found myself feeling flushed and my internal dialogue murmured its dry wit, Its staring at me. I wanted to push the hat down further. Wanted to turn my gaze. I wanted to run. My heart beat fast and my internal dialogue began to race Dude, its seriously freaking me out, make it stop! And like magician to my thoughts, the passenger in the car suddenly stopped the mirror from spinning, the reflection pointed right on me. She seemed to look annoyed at the driver, perhaps with grievance to his odd form of entertainment.

My internal dialogue wasn’t happy. It was down right pouty and all I could do was stare at that bundled self of me staring back at me and behind me was the number 2008, which really was the house # 8005, but the 5 looked like a 2 in its reverse. Wham went the stick! The universe smashed in my thoughts and my internal dialogue was left trying to negotiate the bleeding insights. There was me, inside my shell**, staring back at me.

Oh snap! Went the internal, realizing its not happiness getting in the way of me, but the risk in it all. Leaping has never been my strong suite and g-d forbid if someone is watching me do it too. I’m pretty sure I’m gonna belly flop and it’s gonna hurt.

What does this insight mean for me? I don’t know yet. I just know it’s true and something I need to sit with. I know that I need to pick up the pen again and keep doing this writing thing. Writing comes from a very important core of me and I don’t feel like I’m living without it in my life. I need to keep trying to publish. I need to keep posting personal sketches of my world. I need to leap and trust I don’t have to hide while doing it. I need to keep risking even if my internal self is uncomfortable and scared and wants to recede.

So here I am under fluorescent lights typing my banter on the page, peeking my head out from behind the shell.

It feels good.

*I promise in 2009 I will actually post where one can find these things. That's the next step I suppose.

**I have to thank someone special for pointing out my shell and its tendencies. Without her I wouldn't have seen it myself :).