Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Know Thyself


The worst thing you can ever do is have expectations. Especially with people. So fuck em right? If only it were that easy. Bonding with a friend or a lover isn't something you can examine, calculate, and reason; it just happens. No matter what logic dictates or the results of your own shitty little lists; the mind at some point is forced to give up. It's then you start doing stupid shit like checking your phone right after you took a piss thinking it might have rang; or rationlizing someone letting you down.

Fuck'em and feed'em pig shit; all day and all night. It's like gutting a fish and expecting M & M's; you're just gonna get a handfull of putrid intestines; that's if you're lucky! Sometimes it's completely empty. Squeezing blood out of a stone doesn't work; well maybe a few days out of the month. You can forgive someone for a myriad of offenses: betrayel, threats, unhealthy pursuit etc. Or you can always be there, it doesn't really matter what you do; your mistakes (of equal or lesser value) always seem to over shadow the others. What are you gonna do?

I would never claim it possible to objectively look in the mirror and pronounce an aura of infallibility. However understanding valid motivations and self forgiveness make for good nights sleep; getting retarded doesn't hurt though.

This isn't anything groundbreaking nor am I trying to present myself as some binary guru; this has been around forever. I think it's the Temple of Apollo; the Oracle of Delphi in ancient Greece where the phrase "Know thyself" (not good with greek but I think the latin version is Nosce te Ipsum?) was inscribed over the entrance. Not sure if it was Socrates, Pyhtagoras, or whoever. By the way I'm pretty sure that the visions or premonitions seen by the prophets in ancient times were supposedly result of some hallucinagen gas that permiateated from the bowels of the temple; I think it was a natural chemical occurance of some sort but I can't really remember the exact facts. Some chinese philosopher (I'm terrible with names, but can remember ideas) said (paraphrasing): "Conquering others requires force, conquering one's self requires strength." Whoever these carcasses were they all lived sometime before anyone cared about crosses, the black plague, uprising in the colonies, the fuhur, the commie bastards, the price of gas, or what Tom Cruise's baby looked like.

This message is lost through all of our bullshit we feed ourselves day to day with to avoid the dreaded boredom our inattentive minds fear. Now I'm a big fan of distractions, wheather they be toxins, entertainment, religion, or believe it or not work. They all can facilitate looking outwards instead of within; but really you can't bullshit all the time and you cannot please anyone but yourself.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Now Taking Auditions


I'm telling you I get heated over the dumbest shit. Normally I'm too laid back. Laid off, broken finger, fight with someone close: What are you gonna do? You can't change what happens, simple as that, all you can do is learn from it. I'm not even going to claim that I haven't made the same mistakes, 1, 2 or 6 times over but I also realize that you can't always change who you are just to avoid a poor outcome. Yeah I've been laid off in the past for refusing to compromise my own ethics in favor of more profits for someone else and a job. For instance I got laid off once for not running, really not running. I work construction and 8 hours is a long day, I'm not going to run around for anybody, nobody should work like that, except for those ball boys at tennis matches or rickshaw conductors. Or in relationships I haven't changed and the same problems keep arising. You shouldn't have to mutate for anybody or anything, I mean of course if you have real issues you should take care of them. Fortunately for me I have none of course, and I've never been wrong.

Anyway little stuff kills me. I was working downtown in this building and next door was an ice cream parlor. Standing in front having a cigerette during break I'm looking at it an notice a sign. They were looking to hire but instead of the usual "Help wanted" sign they had this elaborate white sign that read "Now Accepting Auditions" in large red letters, with 2 white gloved hands pointing to the words.
"Now accepting auditions"? What the fuck is that? Does that mean if I want to work there I need to come up with a bit or a routine? Maybe an ice cream song? Or I can make a costume of an ice cream based Superhero, or fill up 5 cones and juggle them. To me the sign suggests that the company is doing a favor by hiring you. Like they're saying "impress me so that maybe one day you will have the honor of working here and making minimum wage with no benifits." It's a fucking insult, really. I mentioned this to someone and she agreed with me to a point (possibly to shut me up) but in no way could relate to my anger over it.

"You take stupid shit too seriously"

Whatever I won't be eating ice cream in there.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Live with Pleasure


I spent the first 11 years of my life in Newport, Rhode Island. I guess it's a fairly know New England town; famous for the America's Cup, mansions, and waterfront. It's basically a yuppie's dream. I think only 30,000 people live there but I couldn't imagine the number of tourists that stroll through the cobblestone roads and beaches every year. It's laid back, nostalgic, and possesses it's own weather pattern; it's always 10 degrees cooler then anywhere else. Being in my twenties I hate pulling the "back in my day" routine but it has changed in the last 10-15 years. There never used to be a starbucks, a stop and shop, a Pub 99, and the ultimate sign of commercial pillage: Walmart.

Now I'm really not against the decline of Mom and Pop shops and the little guy; if anything it makes me feel uncomfortable going into a small town record store and having the the owner behind the counter watching, as you search through the countless copies of that one cd they over ordered, hoping you'll buy a few CDs so he can eat tonight. That's a lot of pressure. The impersonalzation of the juggernaught chains is comforting as you're surrounded by employees that dont give a fuck. I guess what bothers me is that I want to preserve the town as it was when I was a kid. I feel bad for whoever goes with me down there because we'll pass the Walgreens; I'll point and say "you know there used to be Chicken City and the Oriental store in that strip mall" or "I remember when there was a baseball card shop there; the guy Vinny was..." Yeah it gets to be pretty disgusting. But it was a pretty cool place, once you get downtown you can walk to just about everywhere. I liked it; I really still do now and this year nobody is going to suffer the reptitious topographical history of the city; block by block.

It's September and to me it's the best month to go down. It's not like I've ever gone down and swam with dolphins or toured the mansions or anything really special. Usually park in this little lot and I'll suck my own dick praising the well planning and cunningness of my knowledge of it's existence. Stroll down the old alley-way and go for drinks and an ill cheeseburger. Down the cobblestone, a smoke in the park, visit the old arcade I used to go to, check out the souvenier stores (one thing that hasn't changed, the number of them and inventory), the antique store (bought the choicest ashtray one year), sit on the rocks by the beach, and always go to the creamery on the way out of town. It really isn't a big deal, but I can't think of a place I feel more comfortable, can still remember almost every road and at the same time forget about anything else.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Twin Towers and Rigatoni


I've read many different articles and blogs, heard stories all day about what everyone was doing "when it happened." Some are sexier than others. Some were there, in the building, just outside; many knew someone on one of the planes or someone who "just missed the plane". I even know some people that worked at the airport that day and were later questioned. Most people caught it on the radio or watched it all unfold on TV. Well I all have to offer is: I slept through 9/11.

I was working overnight shifts doing "security" for a construction company. It was 6pm to 6am a few nights a week. Pretty much the easiest job you can imagine, the hardest part was staying awake or sober; not that either one was required. Sometimes it was a party, I'd have friends and girls over; we could watch movies, listen to music, get fucked up all the time I was on the clock. I'd leave for hours at a time and nobody ever noticed as long as I punched in and out; even still that could be cirumvented once or twice a year with an "ohhh shit I forgot to punch out". Simpliest excuses are the best. The 10th was one of those lonely endless nights. Nobody can make it down and you have to stick it through after using a "get out of jail free" card recently. Those nights were terrible.

Sometimes when you're fucked up you get those self reflective moments where you always see yourself as the sorriest sack of shit alive. "My job is a joke, where am I going?, I should've never left school, I can't even get my own place, how come my girl isn't answering her phone, is there a god? (well I never really stooped that low, but I added it for effect)." Whatever things can seem pretty daunting looking up at an overwhelming city skyline from the bottom of a pit; literally and figuratively. It was the kind of night where you can never get comfortable in your seat. Pacing around like a rat in maze; I should've checked the ceiling tiles for any hidden cameras under suspicion of being an unwilling partner to some twisted socio-labor experiment. It was a job a monkey could do but it could be maddening. It reminded me of being a kid; stuck at grandmas house with nothing to do while all the adults talked around the table. The whole time watching the clock only there was nobody to ask "are we leaving soon?" My reprieve was one of three foreman, none of them eager enough to show up to work on time.

Of course Joe wasn't on time in the morning. I got out at around 6:30 but still had an hour drive ahead of me as I was partially living out of state with my zia (aunt) from the old country. At the time I had a routine I would go through for my drive home, jump on the highway, get off at the other end of the tunnel into Dorchester grab a large tea, drink that and smoke my brains out the way home. Usually I'd listen to the howard stern show and honestly, weed is an enhancer, it really is. It was just a normal never ending ride home with a few laughs. I got "home" (couldn't help but feel a guest) a little before 8. I turned the radio on and listened till I feel asleep. Not quite sure what time I exactly feel asleep but from listening to rebroadcasts of the Howard Stern Show from what I could remember it couldn't have been more than 10 minutes before the world changed.

My aunt is in her 60s and of poor mental health. She was always very skittish and paranoid but since my grandmother died 7 years ago she has become progressively worse. She came straight off the boat with poor english skills, but enough to get by. Every year it seems like she gets shorter and a little more gray. But thank god the meatballs are still the same. She's one of those relatives that gives real odd and domestic presents not just on holidays but during any visit. Last time I went there I left with some potholders, a box of toothpicks, and 2 tubes of toothpaste; this after 15 minutes of refusal for place mats and a gentley used cannister of crisco. All together she possesses a good heart; too bad the mind cannot always catch up.

I woke up at 4pm on September 11th 2001. I missed "the defining moment of our generation", at least I hope nothing happens to take that "title" away. My aunt felt it uneccesary to wake me to witness this tragedy. I guess I didn't miss much; the fear, anxiety, the false reports, the live shots of people jumping out of buildings as it happened. The collective conciousness of almost all experiencing and witnessing one moment in history and I was sleeping with my baby blanket. Honestly though I can live without that, I was watching "I Married an Axe Murderer" with Mike Myers on VHS when they were chasing OJ on the highway, so I'm used to it.

Anyway I got up and went into the living room still oblivious to find zia almost in tears babbling "Gl'aeri se nannarano du World Trade Center e il Pentagone": this isn't even italian, it's a dialect.
"Sei secura, are you sure it isn't a movie?" (The Italian side of my family liked to speak a mix of italian, english, and dialect). "Si, I'ma sure" I quickly turned on the TV which was much more comphrenhisble and watched, muting out zia in the backround. It was unbelievable, angering, and just uneccesary. What the fuck did that do? Why would someone even think this could help their cause? It's just plain terrible. Who did this, how did they do this? All these thoughts scurried through scattered brainwaves, interupted by: "gioa, I made some sauce, do you want Rigatoni or Ziti?"

It snapped me out of the moment, I thought for a second I can't eat a time like this right? Wouldn't that be against some sort of "major-tragedy etiquette"? However I reasoned you know with the water boiling and all it would take at least 20 minutes, which is more than enough time for comiseration and solace. "Rigatoni per favore" I answered back. I checked my phone and my girlfriend had tried calling me several times. She was in college and told me how they interupted classes when it happened and everyone was watching it on TV, people were crying, screaming, pissed off, sad and confused. She told me about the false reports, threats everywhere, hysteria.
"What were you doing?" she asked.
"I was sleeping"
"Oh"
"Yeah, uh I'm gonna eat right now I'll call you right after"

Like I said there are more interesting stories out there but this is all I got.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Girl with a funny name


I remember this girl from highschool with a funny name. She wasn't that pretty, she wasn't that nice, but I could never figure her out. I guess sometimes that's enough right? But maybe all I had was a funny accent and green eyes. She liked loud music, books, had a nose ring, and she used to be a cutter, well at least that's what she said. Back when cutting yourself was an institution; think about it, it really was. For a couple years it was huge, was it the chicken or the egg? I mean Im sure people did it before cuttingmania, but it's like the big cigar fad a few years ago; people love to be part of a trend; even self-mutilation can be trendy.

We used to get a long Christmas vacation in the land of olive oil; around 5 weeks. This girl lived about 45 minutes away by train. We decided to meet up in the town where we went to highschool to do I don't know whatever, drink, fuck around, or maybe a movie. I hadn't even kissed this girl yet but we had a fingersplash and tug session in a school; really that whole deal is another story worthy of another time. We were supposed to be going out but I really didn't care that much. Who had time? Time to do whatever, time to know someone, or time to care. Well at least I felt I didn't.

We met up at this park in the main part of town. Marble statues, palm trees, and the obligatory patron saint of the town adorned the grounds. It was cold and we huddled together sharing a smoke. We talked about the holidays, our families, ourselves, well she did most of the talking. I still didn't know what her deal was; for some reason I thought she wanted the American boy as a badge. Besides the aforementioned subjects were not amongst my most revered topics of conversation. I was a little drunk at the time; it's prudent to make sure you're going to have a good time despite any circumstance that could arise.

In my silence she turned around to face me; now moving on to aspirations and dreams I started noticing her teeth. "What the fuck is that?" I thought to myself. She had this 1 tooth that was jagged and miniature. In my mind I was calling it "Corky tooth", for Corky Thatcher the retarded kid from Life Goes On. I don't know I thought it was funny and I smirked not to suddenly in the middle of "...or maybe a journalist, I'm still not sure."

-What the fuck is so funny?

Nothing, I'm sorry.

-No, really. -Now staring at me- Why don't you just kiss me?!

Ahh, you know what, I don't think thats a good idea.


I liked you a lot better when you were just the girl with the funny name.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

If there's one thing you can say about me is: I am not a litterbug


" Thank god for the rain to wash the trash off the sidewalk. Listen you screwheads: Here is a man who would not take it anymore. A man who stood up against the scum, the filth. Now I see clearly."- Quote from Taxi Driver
I'm not a psycho but I heard the quote in a song and made me think of all this.


I don't really litter. It's something I always actually made a conscience effort to do, or not to do, you know what I mean. I honestly think it started when I was around 9 at Disney world. I could not put my finger on it but besides the obvious, the landscapes and characters there was something definitely queer (oldschool queer) about the place. My mother's pretty cool sometimes, just aware without imposing it. Well I don't know maybe I'm blowing it up but really when I mentioned to her that Disney was peculiar she simply stated "there's no trash on the ground." Now I'm fucking 9 years old and thing I am most impressed about in "the happiest place on earth" and where supposedly every Super Bowl MVP has rushed off the field to flock to, is the waste management abilities of the venue. Not even the intricacies of the labor and management required to pull off this amazing feat, which is geeky by all accounts in a sort of nerd-savant semi-noble freakish way, but just the simplicity of the removal of filth and just how appeasing and out of the real world it made the site feel. I don't know but to the current me it seems queer (modern day queer).

Whatever now I'm in my mid twenties and I still don't litter. However I am convinced that the reasoning behind it is as "idealistic" as it once was. I gotta get this out of the way first; I smoke and when I'm driving I throw my cigarettes out of the window. Before you accuse me of hypocritical behavior I offer this into evidence. How many birdsnests made with the cotton plucked out of butts (yeah I meant it to sound kind of dirty as well) have you seen, trust me they're there. Also if a bum picks up enough of them he won't be at the red light asking you for money to buy some and it saves you the trouble of rolling up your window and staring straight ahead. I'm striving for the common good of man and beast equally so go fuck yourself.

Anyways I've deduced that my continued effort against litter is not a mere continuation of a habit since I still think about it when I don't throw the plastic cover wrapper of the pack and the foil out the window as well. It's not spontaneous it's premeditated. I couldn't give a fuck less unless you paid me too about the condition of the streets. My pedestrian litter is no match to the fucking needles, diapers, booze bottles, old toilets, piss stained mattresses, and I swear even used fucking tampons you see in the city. It's fucking nasty, and whatever I've given up to the fact that it's what makes it what it is. The skyscrapers and garbage are symbiotic, they need each other to survive in some twisted capitalistic way. To go one step further I'll state that the shear volume of garbage that we produce is a monument to how far we've come as a civilization. I'm really fine with it; it's like this, you want to eat Mexican food: expect the shits. People eat Mexican cuisine everyday, you learn to live with the shitting.

I really believe that my abstinence (except for the saving mankind and the animal kingdom) from littering is now being used as an excuse or some sort of moral counterbalance for my vices. "Yeah I might like to get fucked up but hey I don't litter... I can't be all bad." It's become a crutch (I have recently begun to explore the possibility of other such moral crutches) that allows to me to go about my not extremely heinous behavior without the slightest thought of moral consequences. "I consider myself a functional sociopath with slight dysphoria however I throw my garbage in can." As fucked up as it sounds this is my subconscious.

Memory


My memory is my best friend. I’ve done a lot of bouncing around and it seems like every time I land in a new place I bury away the past. Some say a person is made of their memories; that would make me very empty. I’m not disagreeing with that assertion, what can you do? Some can never let go, I wonder which is better or is the middle ground once again victorious? Well I’m digging and I think I have a good one.

Preface: A small village in Italy, maybe June 1995.

I thought I was pretty cool back then. Smoked menthol cigerettes, drank religiously, wore a leather jacket (that makes me laugh when I look at it in my closet), and carried around a butterfly knife. I was never a "bad kid", I’d always prefer to be the little devil sitting on ones shoulder that said "hey! Wouldn’t it be funny if "someone" hopped out of the window in the middle of latin class?" or "psss! Signora Antonella would flip if "someone" put a cricket in the lesson planner." Nothing major, just enough excitement to make the day differ from the next or the previous.

It was the end of middle school. You see in Italy High School isn’t mandatory and I’d guess that only half of my 8th grade classmates ventured into high school. Our town didn’t have a highschool so the likely hood of having the same people in your class the next year was remote. Luckily for me one of my best friend’s Nino was also going to the same highschool as me; a twenty minute train ride 3 towns over. He also was originally from the United States and it was comforting to relate to someone in my native toungue.

That night Nino, Alessandra, and I were going to have a "pregame" drinking and cards session before we went to a mutual friend’s party at "La Trattoria Rusticana." Alex, as I called her, was as tall as an italian woman could be at around 5'7, long and slender, more importantly one of the few girls in town that believed in maintaining a depilated underarm. She was pretty with uncommon light eyes, but at 2nd cousin she wasn’t quite attractive enough; maybe 3rd would’ve been plausable but not second. All I can say about Nino is: he looked exactly like the male version of Mayim Balik (AKA Blossom).

We started with a few games of Scopa: an italian card game played with a 40 card deck, and of course a few plastic cups of homemade vino. My parents had an old house across the street from ours that was generally a storage building. However a table, lightbulb, and a stereo made it a fairly good "clubhouse". I think I might have been up on the game about ten lira when we decided to go to Peppe’s shindig.

There wasn’t one place in town that couldn’t be reached by a fifteen minute walk. It was unseasonably brisk that night. Usually by June it rarely hits under 60 degrees; no clue anymore what that relates to in celcius. The nights there are long and don’t really start until after eight o’clock or twenty as they use the twenty four hour clock. Walking and smoking in town was always a stealth operation since I couldn’t sneeze in public without it being immiediately reported to my parents. Literally. Once when my father came home from work he asked me if I was feeling ok and when I asked why he responded that Don Furnaro had seen me sneezing in front of the post office earlier that afternoon. So our walk was planned as to avoid the main streets where prying eyes eagerly awaited witnessing my attempt at rebelious pulmonary damage.

It was early enough in the year that the beach had yet to become congested with tourists, peddlers, and most importantly townies. We were walking and Alex sound was left out of the conversation as Nino was telling me in english about wanting to move back to the United States. He was a year older than me at sixteen and less resigned to the fact that he was stuck. We both felt the same way; locked in a place you don’t belong. Like when you first bring a pet home, that look on it’s face like it’s lost. Maybe that look had been masked but it was still there.

>What are you going to do?

I still have relatives in Providence, I could go to school and work part-time.

>How would you get there? I mean it wouldnt be cheap, and your parents?

I’m working this summer and can save all that money towards the plane ticket

Alex began whistling to make sure we hadn’t forgotten about her. I asked her "Ti posso scopare?" (Can I fuck you?). She followed with a quick retort but that pretty much kept her from wanting to talk.

>Well I wish you luck man, but I really hope you’re thinking this through.

Well aren’t you sick of this place? Don’t you want to leave?

>Yeah but really, what can I do?

I didn’t want to lead on to any more than that. It’s a lot harder when you have to proclaim something aloud than shouting it within a vault. Everything is easier that way. Like after an arguement, in your head you think "I should have said ....." you think about it enough and it’s almost as if you said it, without having to suffer the consequences.
Before he could answer a car pulled up next to us, the driver window rolled down and an older man asked, "Excuse me, can you tell me where I can find "La Corona?"

La Corona was the biggest hotel in town, not too far from where we were. The clearly from out of town, well dressed, looked as if his family accompanied him in his Passat. Quicker than I could administer counsel, Nino confidently gave him wrong directions and valiantly accepted the man’s gratefullness.

As I turned away from the car to address Nino I noticed directly to the right of where he was standing was a big white wood sign that said "La Corona" with a big black arrow underneath. I just pointed to it laughing, Alex’s cackling immiediately followed. Nino pivoted slightly and stared at the sign. He walked up to it, tore it off the nail and proceeded to demolish it. Looking at him puzzled I soon joined in breaking it into undecernable pieces. Alex yelled calling us "animali" (I don’t have to translate that right?)
I was still laughing; Nino began sobbing and the paused conversation was never resumed. The mask soon went back on, and the party was forgettable.