Since my future is in both Transportation Planning and Transportation Engineering, seeing a program like this developed at my future school strikes a huge sense of pride in me...and also an incredible sense of excitement! I wonder what things we'll be developing when I'm there? :-P
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Since my future is in both Transportation Planning and Transportation Engineering, seeing a program like this developed at my future school strikes a huge sense of pride in me...and also an incredible sense of excitement! I wonder what things we'll be developing when I'm there? :-P
The Other Paper finally dished out a review of Black Olive! However, it's not necessarily very praising...
Visually, the new place makes the grade. The owner operates successful local joints like Typhoon and Shoku; given that pedigree, it’s no surprise to find Black Olive stylishly decorated in dark neutrals with a few striking orange accents. And along with the stylish interior comes the obligatory chicly black-clad army of haughty-hottie servers.Well, still, the place is cheap enough (<$10 sandwiches) that I won't be maxing out my credit cards just to check it out. And it's open for lunch, something that is somewhat lacking in The Short North! (Hyde Park, Rosendale's, and RJ Snappers are all closed during the day).
As for the food served by those servers, it’s less consistently impressive. Some of the offerings are ready for prime time, and some still need a little R&D.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Today in Economics 520, our Professor was teaching on the three theories of Money Demand: Quantity Theory, Keyne's Liquidity Preference Theory and Milton Friedman's Modern Theory. While mentioning that the Fed’s interest rate is indicative of the strength of our economy, he rhetorically asked the class, “What is our country in right now? Are we in an expansion period or a recession?”
A guy in the front row yelled out, “Well, sir, technically right now we’re expanding.”
My Professor burst out laughing. He was laughing so hard he couldn’t catch his own breathe. When the Professor finally found the strength to muster a few words, he said, “Are you crazy? Do you really believe that? I’m sorry, but America is in trouble right now. Big trouble. The TV and the President may be telling you that everything will be alright, but believe me, as an economist I’ll tell you—America is in a recession.”
(It’s interesting to note that my Professor is not an American, but Korean. I’d assume that would remove some of the subjectivity from the matter. )
What surprised me most of all was the way that he laughed. I’ve never seen a Professor laugh at a student, but I guess to this Economist the simple suggestion of us not being in a recession was absolutely hilarious gibberish.
That is a foot, in case you were wondering. Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "put your foot in your mouth", huh?
What I would GIVE to have been at this wedding. Can you imagine actually ordering this cake? "I want everyone at my wedding to eat a cake that looks like ME!!! Air-e-body gonna get a piece o' me!" I think I'd like a slice of the ear, please. (And can we talk about that wedding dress?!)
That may be the most disturbing cake I have ever seen. "What slice would you like, the foot or the ass?" And to think, in order to have been baked like this the baby would have to be BURIED ALIVE into the cake...Gosh, it's just freakin' me out...
In his 1952 article, rediscovered by Phelps, "Small" drew on democratic socialism's libertarian traditions, writing, "The freedom of the legally of-age adult of both sexes to have sexual relations with whomever he or she wishes of the same or opposite sex, without fear of sanction, is an important libertarian principle that is part of the law in many socialist and semi-socialist countries today, e.g., in Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, etc. It means, to the individual 'deviant,' that the fear of legal sanction, as well as illegal repression, blackmail, etc., are forever banished from his mind. It means an area of operational freedom that will enable the emancipated individual to work and think more effectively in his tasks of everyday life. It means the difference between health and sickness for thousands of people who are non-productive members of society today... Whether we individually consider it right or wrong, healthy or unhealthy, to have a large or small vocabulary of libidinal expression, repression of such expression, or practice under fear, does not make for a whole, productive individual.Interesting. Who'd ever imagine Stalin as a champion of human rights?
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
You probably have noticed that there are transportation problems in this country: Congestion in LA is a horrendous nightmare. Road rage is out of control in Miami. Bridges in Minneapolis are collapsing. And New York City is charging you a fee if you drive into the city (though this is a good thing, I swear). Point is, America knows she has problems with her transportation networks, she just doesn't care. AMTRAK is so poorly underfunded and has been since it became nationalized in 1971. The Government gives the Federally owned AMTRAK less than $1 Billion per year; our friends in congress give the private flying industry over $14 Billion per year. Something is wrong with that, isn't it?
Fortunately, things are changing. Two bills have been proposed and passed: HR 6003 and S. 294. Both bills have passed with a veto-proof majority, meaning that although Mr. George W. Bush has threatened to can the project, he won't be able to. Currently the bill is going into conference committee, which is the last step before Dubya signs it--which he will, and must. These bills effectively shell out $14 Billion for new transportation mediums. One of the recipients will be right here at home, The Ohio Hub Project.
This project will give birth to the dreams of many homegrown Ohioans--a high-speed rail that travels through all the big C's: Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland. Did you ever hear your grandparents talking about this one? (I know I have. They'd be sitting with the family, starry-eyed, dreaming of how glamorous and romantic it could be to just take the train from Cleveland to Columbus.) The plan will be to connect Ohio to already existing rails, going as far north as Ontario and as south as Southern Indiana. The proposal is for high-speed, 110 MPH trains that would make it possible to go from Cincy to Cleveland in 2.5 hours. By connecting the other rail lines in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan, it would be possible to get from Columbus to Chicago in 4 hours, from Pittsburgh to Indianapolis in 3.5 hours, and from Cleveland to Detroit in less than 2 hours. (Though this connectivity is part of a later phase).
Why is it so important that we switch to rail? The environmental impact of our cars is certainly nothing to sweep under the rug, but if self-interest is what sways your opinion, than consider that high-speed rail is safer than flying, easier than driving, cheaper than any alternative and is a perfect travel option for citycenter-to-citycenter business travel. Also, since 30% of flights don't leave on time, an efficient and brand new rail line will be a hell of a lot more reliable than the failing airline industry.
The options are this--expand the highways, expand the runways or expand the railways. We are a growing country and we're projected to have 404 million people by 2050; what are we gonna do with all of those people? How are we going to move them around? Certainly we've seen the failures of trying to run a country with "everyone has at least 1 car" city planning, and it's blown up in our face: we've had more people die on our highways than we have in all of our wars--combined. Our country cannot continue to function like this. Support high-speed rail and any initiative that promotes improving transportation options. We cannot continue running in a race we admittedly would like to lose.
God is love!
Monday, July 28, 2008
I just caught word of The Cheesecake Factory's 30th Anniversary Celebration plans--$1.50 cheesecake on July 30th!
To kick-off the anniversary celebration and in commemoration of National Cheesecake Day on July 30th, 2008, The Cheesecake Factory restaurants will offer every delicious slice of its more than 30 varieties of cheesecake with a dollop of nostalgia by featuring all cheesecakes at $1.50 per slice, limit one per guest, dine in only, on that day—as they were when the restaurant first opened in 1978.
In addition, a special, limited edition cheesecake, the 30th Anniversary Chocolate Cake Cheesecake, will be introduced on July 30th with $0.25 from the sale of each slice sold this year benefiting the national hunger-relief organization, America’s Second Harvest – The Nation’s Food Bank Network. Additional activities will be announced throughout the year.
The Cheesecake pictured is the Snicker's Cheesecake, but as a former two-year employee of CCF I'd also recommend Adam's Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Ripple, the Tuxedo Cream Cheesecake and their delicious Carrot Cake--oh, and their Strawberry Shortcake! Lastly, remember The Cheesecake Factory recently opened a new location at Polaris, in addition to their Easton location.
(Come on America...two? Just two?! )
The "quality-of-life city survey" opens by explaining its selection process, and it humorously explains my precise antipathy towards American cities and the way they are planned.
If your idea of the perfect city is one where you can have a driveway full of cars that can whisk you to a number of over air-conditioned malls, where the best schools are private and good citizens are best tucked up in bed by 22:30, then our quality of life survey is not for you. To clear up any potential confusion, Monocle's survey has not been developed as a guide for ex-pats looking for their next plummy posting. Rather, it has been created to identify the cities that put its residents happiness and well-being first.Here are a few fun random facts I learned:
- Tokyo has had 1/3 of their buildings erected since 1985.
- Vienna is Europe's "greenest" city, with over 1000/kms in bike lanes.
- There were only 19 murders in Honolulu last year.
- Minneapolis has a 90% recycle rate; Columbus has a 5%.
- Dubai is an Urban Planning nightmare. Outside of their row of towering skyscrapers, the city and its Government are both an absolute wreck.
And finally...the list.
1. Copenhagen // 2. Munich / / 3. Tokyo // 4. Zürich // 5. Helsinki // 6. Vienna // 7. Stockholm // 8. Vancouver // 9. Melbourne // 10. Paris // 11.Sydney // 12. Honolulu // 13. Madrid // 14. Berlin // 15. Barcelona // 16. Montréal // 17. Fukuoka // 18. Amsterdam // 19. Minneapolis // 20. Kyoto.
I seem to always forget about this building. If you're looking for office space downtown, looks like there is plenty available! Notice the reflection of the downtown Hyatt in the building...won't lie, kind of cool...
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Just keep scrubbing. Those damned dishes are still dirty.
They're forming in my eyes, I just won't let them find fruition. Just keep scrubbing. How did I let this many dishes pile up? How silly of me. An image of us together pops in my mind. My eyes are wet, my cheeks are curling up, I can't go a fucking second without blinking. Don't do it, he's not worth it.
The smell of Palmolive is getting to me. My hands are wrinkled from having them under a faucet for an hour. I remember the sensation of his head laying on my chest, the smile he found when he looked me in the eye, the way his eyes would simmer when he'd laugh. Don't let your roommates hear you. I turn the faucet on louder. I'm not doing this.
And then I began doing it. Streaming out of my eyes, faucet blaring so my roommates won't hear me, iPod blasting so I can't hear myself. The sweet cacophony of anger and sorrow converging into one blissful and blatant turmoil of emotions. How did I get to this? I thought I was the one who said, "It's over"?
Eyes narrow, hands trembling. The tears effortlessly cascade down my cheeks. A chill caresses my entire body. I'm both warm and cold, shivering yet unshaken. You won't miss him, Chris.
No, I won't.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Now, first off...this is not a joke. Second...hmph. That's not a pretty design. It reminds me of those strange Japanese products I buy from The North Market (I love J-culture! DON'T JUDGE ME.). But, even worse, as pointed out by IsThisStupid, who would ever seriously buy a cup of coffee from a place called $? Then to further enhance the folly...who would buy a cup of coffee from a place that has the syntax for kissing your money goodbye? :-* $
Oh, Starbucks. I hope you can make it out ok.
No, buildings were not literally exploding downtown, they were figuratively exploding. I know it doesn't have the same sound, but I'm sorry, your news report is inaccurate. No buildings in Columbus have been bombed (thus far).
Friday, July 25, 2008
Here is a short-list of some new things that are scheduled to arrive in our fine city:
-Martini Park: Set up to be like a playground for adults, this Martini bar and Small Plate Restaurant looks like it will be an incredible addition to the already booming Easton Town Center. The only problem? Well, who is going to want to party it up in a suburban nightclub? With no public transportation running from Easton to the city (at night, that is), this pretty much eliminates Martini Park from my options. Unless I want to drop $30 on a cab. (Which won't happen)
-Big Bang Dueling Piano Bar: Opening in the Arena District adjacent from Gordon Biersch, this bar has already found success in Nashville, St. Louis and Tempe. The dueling piano bar theme is nothing new, though to my knowledge there is nothing like it here in Columbus. When I was in Orlando I had the pleasure of enjoying a "dueling piano bar" experience, and it was certainly entertaining and unforgettable. They let me duke it out on the ivory keys with one of the professional pianists; we did the song Plush by Stone Temple Pilots. I'm excited to see what kind of talent this joint is going to round up! :-)
-The Book Suite: According to Columbus Underground, this snazzy loft is coming in the first week of September and will be located right beside the new Urban-Spirit Coffee Shop. Also recently reported was the opening of another coffee shop located in the same King-Lincoln District, Zanzibar Brews.
-Rosendale's Expansion: According to Columbus-ING, Richard Rosendale has purchased the now defunct Fibres and is planning an expansion, though it will probably be a restaurant with a more casual theme than his current restaurant.
-Cook Shack Bar-B-Q: This is an unconfirmed rumor, but I've heard that a part of the Atlas Building downtown has been leased out to the owner of Cook Shack Bar-B-Q, a restaurant in Hilliard.
- Black Olive: I asked readers about this a few days ago and seems like no one has written a review yet...but, it's been open a short while and from what I hear it's just mediocre. Opening at the former iconic Coffee Table in The Short North, the new restaurant features a vastly improved look from its predecessor (though that wasn't hard considering the old CT), a menu that is reasonable and eclectic, and a location that couldn't be more prime. However, it seems like the food needs a bit more reconditioning.
- Sage American Bistro: Sage opened a little over a month ago, but I've heard nothing but glowing reviews and I have yet to venture up to it. Located in the North Campus area, the only things I know about the restaurant is that it's beautiful and the food is delicious. Can you really ask for more?
- Eleven: I can't seem to find any news on this place, but a friend of mine has been hired there and all he has told me is that will be the next fun place to go for Cocktails. Although a different concept from Marcella's, he described it to me as "small plates, tapas, martinis and fun"...(yeah, sounds original, huh?). Regardless, if it's anything like Hyde Park, it will be great.
- Deepwood: You'd be surprised what came up when I googled this one! The former Abracci by the Greek Orthodox church foiled, but luckily this steakhouse showed up to take it's place! (Though, honestly, it couldn't have possibly chosen a worse name). From what I hear, the new restaurant is great and although somewhat pricey, the experience completely lives up to the tab. However, I still don't want to order a piece of meat from a place called Deepwood. (Note: They are open for lunch! I can hear it now, "Let's get Deepwood for lunch"...terrible, absolutely terrible.)
If anyone has been to any of the already opened restaurants (Deepwood, Sage, Black Olive, etc.), feel free to comment and let us know how they are!
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Today, I read the most brilliant summary of why I loathe this type of thinking. It was a response to a comment made by a Catholic named Isaac regarding the Eucharist. Isaac said precisely the same thing my friend had said: "I respect every belief equally". The response:
Ah, what a beautiful illustration of the complete open mind — utterly undiscriminating, lacking any criteria for acceptance, simply blissfully and uncritically according every idea his full respect. Although, of course, it's also a lie: Isaac does not regard every idea as equally deserving, since he clearly considers the atheist idea that the sacraments of his faith are empty foolishness to be an outrage. Rather, what he loves is the idea that everyone else must respect his beliefs, no matter what they are, and that any disagreement is an insult. This is exactly the kind of uncritical, unskeptical, nonjudgmental idiocy all religions seek to promulgate, because they all know that if we tore off the blinders of tradition and artificiality and mindless etiquette, we'd see right through their lies. Respect every idea! Especially mine! And if you find the idea that this cracker is a god stupid, why, you must be disrespectful and no gentleman!
In all of my years I could never write a paragraph that direct, that powerful and that revealing. I'll muster an effort, but don't expect much.
I received a lot of flack over my support for PZ Myer's desecration of a the Eucharist. I was told I was intolerant, that I was terrible person, that I was hateful and wrong. I had a few friends call me up and even a family member tried to intervene! They all told me the same thing: "Why does it matter if it's just a cracker?"
It matters because that cracker has more significance and respect than human life. It matters because that damned cracker continues to promulgate the willful stupidity of the human race. It matters because these vile priests dress themselves in elaborate jeweled robes, live in ornate palaces and then have the shameless audacity to preach that poverty is an exemplary virtue. It matters because this atrocious form of thinking continues to spread rampantly; a disgusting example of a thought-process void of thought. There is not a single shred of intelligence among a religion that forces you to believe that a frackin' cracker literally turns into the flesh and blood of a god. I will not back down nor will I apologize--that belief is stupid.
It's as stupid as saying Noah literally lived to be 900, stupid as saying Makkah literally split the moon in half, stupid as saying Horus literally protected the Sun and stupid as saying the Earth literally sits on the back of a turtle. I'm certainly not being selective here--any idea that requires one to abandon reason and in its place uphold lunacy is not a belief that I can nor will respect. Under that tenant, anything goes. Under that tenant, there is no right or wrong.
Instead, it comes down to Immanuel Kant's Categorical Imperative, which states:
"Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law."
Question everything. Learn for yourself. Never subscribe to any idea simply because it comes from a man with a robe. Where a question forms, seek out an answer. Never throw up your hands and say, "Well I guess it comes down to faith".
If that frame of thinking were applied as the above imperative--if the mere process of assiduous evaluation were to become a ubiquitous quality rampant among humanity--what would happen? Would the result be catastrophic? Would we continue to have wars over mere pieces of land? Would we continue to bomb cities in hopes of receiving 72 virgins? Would we continue to kill gays, lesbians and transgenders in the name of god? Would millions of children continue to be molested by the men in jeweled robes?
The answer should be inconveniently apparent.
In an elitist and thoughtless attempt to one-up Barack Obama's historic speech in Berlin, John McCain thought all he had to do was eat at a German Restaurant.
While Barack Obama was greeted by 200,000 Germans chanting “Yes we can” in Berlin, John McCain was greeting a few dozen people at a German restaurant here in Ohio.
“I’d love to give a speech in Germany – a political speech – or a speech that maybe the German people would be interested in,” McCain said at Schmidt’s Restaurant und Sausage Haus.
“But I would much prefer to do it as president of the United States rather than as a candidate for the office of the presidency."
So what's our pal Fed-Ex to do? MAKE A WORKOUT VIDEO.
“I plan to get back to looking ripped and sexy again — I know I have let it all go but watch me fly this year." The DVD will be out in time for the New Year and is set to make Kevin a cool collection of megabucks … if, of course, we buy it. ...
I love America.
If you haven't tried it out, you can check it out here. Just sign in, and if you want to return to the old layout there is an option in the top right-hand corner of the page. Don't worry, it'll only be a few clicks until you decide to revert to the original layout. ;-)
The method to which he'll be dishing out these tickets to his appearance? Fax machines! That's right--Catholics are going high-tech! Soon they'll be using those nifty things called "cell phones" (but only after adapting to beepers).
Oh, and also...The Pope is on twitter. That's just weird.(This news via Friendly Atheist)
Tina Turner. "Simply the Best".
Something isn't right here.
Today I woke up to an e-mail stating they made a error on my financial aid package and I had mistakenly been passed up on a $2000 scholarship. So, as a thank you to The Ohio State University for basically handing me 2 G's...today's Good Morning is of one of my favorite buildings on campus, Scott Lab.
Although it hosts the Department of Mechanical Engineering--which is as polar from Logistics or Civil Engineering as possible--I still find a host of fun places to study throughout the building. Who cares if I don't belong there, it's just too beautiful to not appreciate! :-)
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
That was the first thing Youssef said to me. I was at the Columbus Zoo with my niece, Gracie, checking out the flamingos. Children were frolicking all around me, and yet on the other end of a cell phone I had a friend who seemed to be caught in a terrible mess.
"What's going on, Youssef? Are you ok?"
"No. I may or may not be in trouble!!!"
That's a peculiar statement. You're either in trouble or you're not...right?
"Ok ok, what did you do?" I asked.
"Well...I may or may not have parked illegally."
I stood there puzzled. Why would he call me about parking illegally? "Well, why don't you move the car?"
"Ok...so, what's the problem?"
"Well Chris...I may or may not have gotten a parking ticket."
I was silent for a moment.
"...ok. Then pay it. Is that all?"
"Chris, I may or may not have been receiving the ticket as I was driving away."
"Oooohhh...yeah, that's a problem. You can't run away from a parking ticket."
"That's not the problem."
"So then, what's the problem?"
Youssef took a deep breathe, and then said, "Chris, I may or may not have run over the meter maid."
"She asked for it."
"No, Youssef, she didn't! Youssef you can't just run over Parking Enforcement Officers!
"Did you really do this?"
"I may or may not have."
"Where are you right now?"
"ARE YOU ESCAPING FROM COLUMBUS?!"
"No, no. Not at all. I'm just...well, taking an unplanned vacation."
Shock. Awe. Jaw-dropping incredulity.
"Youssef, you have to turn around."
"I may or may not continue to live in Columbus."
"Don't tell me it gets worse..."
"I may or may not have yelled something out the window at her." (The way he said 'her' was so scathing!)
"Oh gosh, please don't tell me--"
"Youssef, you did not run over a meter maid and then call her a whore."
"I may or may not have."
Do you see this photo? Before I get any further, let's talk about how there are five people at this banning of McDonald's. I mean, that's all they could muster up? A measly five people? They're claiming that 200,000 people signed the McDonald's ban...yet just a mere five people showed up at the first official protest? For getting national acclaim, I'm surprised their numbers are so...unsatisfying.
But, look at the photo. Look at the font used. Look at the sign on the far right that has the "x" on sex crossing over the border of the sign. Look at the pixelized "i'm NOT lovin' it" sign. All of it looks rather...amateur. Oh, and it doesn't look real, either.
Are you following me here? The group of Christians who are banning McDonald's photoshopped this photo (and quite terribly, might I add) to look like it was a same-sex marriage protest. Actually, with how bad the quality of the photo-editing, I doubt they even used photoshop; looks more like Microsoft Paint!
I have seen this so many times. I have seen so many Christians lie in order to prove their point; which, in turn, disproves their point. It's actually rather sad. Their point and their position are both are so weak they have to lie in order to be heard.
Lying for Jesus does not make your family values look any more appealing; in fact, it makes me worry what other values you'd easily compromise.
Vice Presidential candidate Sen. John Edwards was caught visiting his mistress and secret love child at 2:40 this morning in a by the NATIONAL ENQUIRER.
The married ex-senator from North Carolina - whose wife Elizabeth continues to battle cancer -- met with his mistress, blonde divorcée Rielle Hunter, at the Beverly Hilton on Monday night, July 21 - and the NATIONAL ENQUIRER was there! He didn't leave until early the next morning.
First off-- could the Enquirer choose a worse picture? I mean, damn, with him splurging on $200 haircuts you'd think Johnny boy could afford to buy himself a PR expert to get rid of photos like this (or, even better, get rid of stories like this).
And, can we talk about that broad over there? You're gonna have a love child with a woman who wears Peace Signs made into hearts? And the hair...oh that hair! Maybe she needs a $200 haircut?
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Honey, have I got news for you. We ain't going anywhere. You can beg and plead with us, but we'll keep on singing. You can write your letters and hold your rallies, but we'll still keep pounding our feet. You can huddle in the safety of your churches and cling to your banal idea of "family", but that won't stop us from prancing. You can protest, march, yell, scream...but we're here to stay. We're Americans, just like you. We're Doctors, Lawyers, Businessmen, firefighters, farmers, police officers and, yes, we're even even Ministers. We work in restaurants, in hair salons, in gas stations, in warehouses, in schools, in churches, in supermarkets, in hospitals, in bars and, yes, we even work for the Government. We walk the same streets as you, we love our families just like you do and we even salute the same flag as you do. I'm here to tell you to stop looking at us as if we're different, as if we're beneath you. Nancy, you and I are equals. Nancy, we are all equals.
If someone is gay, why can't they keep it private, confined to their homes? I don't hate gay people, just the lifestyle; it's not natural. They and their mates should have the same rights as any couple (man and woman) to have insurance on each other, to be able to care for the other if ill, all but the marriage vows. It just isn't what God intended to be the norm.
They have the right to life and pursuit of happiness like anyone else, but the line should be drawn at same-sex marriages. They are still human beings and should be treated as such, and I definitely do not wish to harm these folks in any way. There is no reason to beat them or kill them like what has happened in the past. We have a right to say how we feel, but not to take it upon ourselves to punish them. This is their choice, not ours. They will have to answer to God, not us.
But, Nancy, the most important thing I have to tell you is this--I love you. Yes, that's right, I'm talking to the person who just said I am an aberrant homosexual. I'm talking to the person who just told me she'd rather me hide in the closet than have to bother her with my well-kept hair and my proper diction. I'm talking to the person who said I chose this lifestyle, that it's against the norm, it's unwelcome, unwanted and frankly not even attractive. I'm talking to the person who said she hates me, and here I am going to say it again: I love you, Nancy, because one day, you'll also see that we're equals. And when that day comes, I hope you remember that it was I who love others and treated everyone with kindness...not you.
I'm not too sure, but was that supposed to be a compliment?
*This is a rare fiction piece I wrote a little over a year ago. It's the culmination of a few stories I've heard from talking to some homeless in Washington D.C. It's entirely fiction with just a sprinkle of real life situations.*
Dark, deep and daunting…that's the city for ya. I been here all my life, ya know, and it's one thing I know real well--this here city. I know the fastest way to get from Midtown to 42nd, the best route to get through Greenwhich village and, well, of course I know where they got the strongest drinks and all.
But one thing I don't know much about is those big buildings. Man, let me tell you, I ain't never stepped a foot in one of those buildings there. Yeah, it's probly cause they got those friggin' rent-a-cops guarding every door, and they see my raggy clothes and stuff, and they quickly tell me I better leave before they make me. Man, they always been doing that to me.
So like I was telling ya, I ain't never gotten one foot in them things! I've been in an elevator before, at a mall off the subway, but I always like bein' in the ones with all them fancy buttons. Like, you click the button that says "Floor 66" and then it takes you like 20 minutes to get up there. I mean, it'd have to take that long, right? I really dunno, but I know the elevators at the malls are like that. You click the button that says "Floor 3" and it takes like two whole minutes to get up there! Man, it's ridiculous if you ask me.
Oh, what I would give to just be able to go up one of those buildings there. I'd even kill, believe me I really mean that, to see all them city lights from so high up. Yeah, I seen the pictures and stuff…but it ain't the same. It's kind of like hearing some bum tryin' to sing a song you love. It just ain't the same. You know, like you know the words, and the bass line, and that part where the drums go all wild and stuff, but then you gotta hear this old crazy man doing your song all wrong. It just ain't right, ya hear?
So let me tell you my story. It's about a building, the really big one, it's called "The Empire State Building". Always thought it was funny name, since we don't have an empire here in America. Anyway, I said to myself, "Gregory, you been in this city here for like 35 years and you isn't never gonna go up in that building there." And I didn't like that. Now, one thing you gotta know about me, ya hear now--if I don't like something, I do something about it. If I don't like how I'm hungry, I go find me some food and dig right in. Like a hoagie! God I love me some hoagies. Or if I don't like how I'm feeling, I find me a real nice pretty girl to talk to, and she'll raise my spirits better then a beer would any day. So when I realized that I could never make it up in the building, ya know, cause of those damned rent-a-cops, I decided I was just gonna do something about it.
I already knew that I ain't so good at fitting in. My teeth aren't always sparkling shiny clean, my hair can be kind of messy sometimes…but there wasn't anything I could do 'bout that. But, I knew if I could find myself a good outfit, man I'd be set. Those rent-a-cops wouldn't even look at me, ya know? But, well, I never got money lying around, so how was I gonna get me a good outfit so I could see the city from all the way up? I get tired of begging, talking to those old gold baggers who won't even drop me a buck or two, so I wasn't gonna do it like that. Not my style, no way.
A song though. Yeah, that would do it. There was this one place, it's off of 36th, and they got some nice clothes that they sell for real cheap. They got bright colors, man I love me the color blue, and they had lots of it there. And, let me tell you, there is this girl who works there. Man, she a beauty. She like, needs to go on TV or something, cause I have never seen a prettier girl! But hey now, don't be thinking I am some, ya know…yeah. I respect pretty girls. I just like talking them, seeing them smile, make them laugh. Which, just so you know, is my specialty. Girls always laugh when they talk to Gregory Prowell!
My plan was so good, and I knew it. Write a song for that girl so once she heard the song, she'd give me a shirt and maybe a pair of pants. I had a little money, but not enough. The song would totally do it for her.
I wish you could hear this song! Man, it was so good. I spent all day and night on it, in the park, and when I finished it I had never been so proud. I had written some songs before, but nothing like this. I wrote it about that girl, and I called it, "Coffee with a Little Whipped Cream". Now, don't be laughing at me! I was serious here. Nothing is better then coffee with a little whipped cream, don't even try to deny that one, so I wrote that song for her so she would know that she was the only thing better then coffee with a little whipped cream.
There was just no way she couldn't hear it. It was too damn good of a song for her to miss it, so I found my way to her little shop and told her I had a present for her. I walked right up to her, the girl with the pretty brown locks, and I said, "Now young lady, what is your name?" She didn't really respond at first, she just kind of stared back at me, like I was crazy or something. I got kind of scared, seeing how she wasn't saying anything and just blankly staring at me with those big brown eyes. I was feeling really nervous, but then I remembered my favorite line from the song. "If there ever was a gorgeous morning, it was the day that my eyes laid…such fancy on you, my baby, where beauty was truly made." I thought of that line, and I thought of how God had to have made her as proof. You know what I mean? Proof that He knows what he's doin'. Cause if God wasn't showing off with this girl, then I don't know if He could.
So I didn't hold back. No, no. I said, "Young lady, you don't even need to tell me your name. But I'll tell you mine. It's Gregory--Gregory Prowell." She kind of lowered her head for a bit, the kind of thing girls do when they try to hide their beautiful smiles, and then she lifted her eyes, just her eyes, so she was giving me that look, and then said, "Hi Gregory. I'm Alicia." Oh, baby! Hot dog was I going nuts! Her smile was just like a taxi cab running me over at 90 miles an hour. I was floored just by hearing her talk! I tried to remain cool, tried to be like I always am, but then I just sort of fell...under her spell or something. I couldn't move or nothin'. But then, ya know, I thought of another line I just loved, and that was, "So many things in my life, I have tried to understand…but what you do to me, baby, I'll never comprehend." I was proud of that line, I used a big word. Com-pre-hend.
As I was saying, though, I thought about that line and realized I still hadn't told her about my gift. "Well my friend Alicia, I have a very special present for you." She smiled at that. "Now don't think I'm crazy, but here is your present." And right there and then I sang it for her. No introductions, nothing. And oh baby did I sing it for her! I don't think I ever belted out a tune as pretty as I did that day. I was doing such a good job that people's heads were turning around, their ears were all listening good on what I had to sing. It was almost as if I were a big politician. You know those big wigs who get on TV and everbody will stop what they're doing to watch them? Well, for the first time in my life, I was like one of them. I didn't have a pretty outfit on, or some speech someone else wrote for me...but I had my song, and this song was a tune that got every boy and girl in that clothes shop to pay me some respect.
Finishing up that song was a feeling I ain't never gone through before. My heart was all banging against my chest, my forehead was kind of sticky since I was nervous and all, but even worse was the feeling of silence after my last note of the song. It was only two, maybe three seconds, but it had to have been the longest silence I had ever gone through. But ya see, after those few seconds, this one girl began clapping. And not just a few claps here and there, no this was a really fast, hand pumping clapping. The kind I'd hear in church, back when Momma used to take me. Man, you ever think about how hard they clap their hands in church? I used to ask Momma if their hands would hurt, but she'd always yell at me saying I was being disrespectful.
But it was crazy! All of the sudden, all of the people in the store are clapping their hands for me! And there she stood, my beautiful Alicia, with those round brown eyes, looking back into my eyes with a gorgeous smile. That smile. Man, she didn't even need to say anything. I just knew she was so damn happy. "Gregory," she said, "that was a really pretty song. And...you wrote that? As a present to me?"
"Why yes I did my ma'am!" I responded, high on something from all that clapping.
"But why? I think I've seen you...maybe two times before? And I never even got your name those times!"
"Yeah, maybe...but those times were the nicest times I think I ever had." I got her with that one, I know I did.
"Well...thank you Gregory. I'm not even sure what to say. That was just...really sweet of you."
"Now Alicia, you don't got to worry about what to say. Leave that to me. I like to talk, ya know. And that's what I want to do with you. Talk. I wanted to tell you about a very special dream I got. It's a dream that I ain't never thought of before. Why I haven't thought of this dream...well, I'm just not too sure...but it came to me the other day and I wanted to tell you all about it."
"What is that dream? Do you want a job here?" Oh she got me with that one! I busted out a big, full laugh, cause there would be no way I'd wanna work in a clothing shop like hers. I mean, don't get me wrong, it'd be a great job...but I like my life now. It's simple.
"Nah, baby, I don't want a job here. But, I do want some clothes from here. And I just don't got the money. I know you get people from all over the world here in this store of yours, but I'm coming to you from New York. This is my home, just as it is yours. And that dream I was telling you about, it's about this city we live in. I want to see this city from that big building just down the way there...ya know The Empire State Building? I been in livin' here for 35 years now, and I think it's time I get to the top. Only thing is, I need me an outfit that won't get those stupid rent-a-cops all up in my face."
Alicia sure did laugh when I called them "rent-a-cops". You would'd thought she'd never heard them called that before!
"Well Gregory, you want to go up to The Empire State Building? And they won't let you because of your attire?"
"Yes ma'am, that would be correct." I was all proud of myself, I sounded like a professor or someone smart.
"I'd love to help Gregory, but I-"
"Oh don't give me that, sugar! I have $15.42! There gots to be something, I don't care what it looks like, but SOMETHING you can help me out with. I don't care if it is bright pink and says "Hot Momma" on it. Actually, if you had that I would like that please." Oh boy did she laugh at that! I'm just too damn good with the ladies, ain't I?
"Ok...for $15.42 I think I could find you a T-shirt. And maybe some shorts. It won't be the prettiest-"
"Baby, only you could be the prettiest." I said, even giving her a little wink. Boy did she smile at that one.
"Give me a second and I'll go see what I can do."
Alicia walked back to the part of the store where nobody else but employees can go. I always wanted to walk back in those parts of stores and see what was so special that normal people couldn't go back there. I bet they had jelly doughnuts just sitting around for everybody, 'cept all them people already had their fill, so a few extra just sat there with no one to eat them. That surely would be a tragedy.
It wasn't but a minute or two until my baby Alicia came walking back through those doors. And in her hands, she had a special present even for me. The shorts were those khaki colored things, and she also had in her hand a bright blue shirt! How did she know I just loved the color blue?
"Well I know it isn't much, but I found these on clearance and I think-"
"Alicia, these gots to be the nicest clothes I have ever seen!" Ok, so I lied, but you gotta do that to the ladies. You tell them the truth about their weight and then they smack you! Then they eat a jelly doughnut. I love women.
"I don't know if they're the nicest clothes" she said, "but they're all yours. Don't even worry about the $15.42. You'll need that to get to the top of The Empire State Building."
"Hold up, they charge to go up into that thing?" I asked her.
"Yeah, I'm not sure how much, but it's something." She said, now talking all serious and not smiling like she was before.
"Well I'll just have to make them change that for Gregory Prowell!" And of course that got a little smile outta my baby girl Alicia!
Alicia handed me the clothes, them nice shorts and cool blue shirt, and then said, "I'm still not too sure what to say...your song...it was just beautiful."
"That's all that matters, sugar. A beautiful song for a beautiful girl." And with that I walked away from her.
Wasn't but a minute after I walked out of the store that I already missed that girl. I mean, there wasn't no way she'd ever like a bum like me, but I don't think in all my years I had ever met a beautiful woman as nice as she. Like, think about it, I sit on the streets all day asking for money. I don't even stand up or anything. But with what I do, I run into a whole lotta bitches. I'm sorry to call them that, but it's what they are. They all walk by with their nice suits and crap, holding a cup of Starbucks they just paid $20 for, then say they don't have money to give me for food. Or beer. Bitches, I say. Bitches.
Anyway, I had to go find me a place to change. I was so excited I didn't even care where I did it! I ran into a back alley and threw off my old clothes, not even giving a damn that they landed in a pool of nasty water, and put on my new blue shirt so fast it'd make your head spin twice. And boy did I look good! Now it was a bit big and all, only giving Gregory Prowell more room to grow a belly, but that shirt sure was a beauty.
You ever read about that stuff in books and magazines called "Symbolism"? Well, I have once before. They say that people will see things or stuff, and it'll like...remind them of a time in their life, or it will be like a symbolism of something changing. Well, if there ever was a symbolism in my life, it was putting on these new clothes. Let me tell you, I don't think I ever felt that so damn good 'bout myself! Like I just looked so friggin' good.
Walking out of that alley had to be some kind of a symbolism too, cause I saw that big building off in the distance and starting marching after it. Man, I was moving so fast, I got there in like 5 minutes--which in New York is pretty damn fast. I hustled through all them people, all in with their Starbucks in one hand and a cell phone in another, and stood before one of the biggest buildings in the city. I looked straight up at it, almost hurting my neck in doing so, and felt just so nice. Nicer then I had felt in a long time.
My outfit was on. My smile was kickin'. I was so ready to do this, you would just not believe.
The doors opened, and in I walked into The Empire State Building. And GOD DAMN was this place beautiful! The entire place was marble, like a dark color of sorts, and it was packed with people. Thousands of people were in this building to do the same thing I was--get to the top. All these people here, and I doubt any of them had as big of a dream as I did.
Off on the left was the security people. I had to walk through this machine, I guess it sensed for guns or something, and when I walked through those rent-a-cops didn't even look at me! I showed them, didn't I now? I just looked so damn good, so I made my way through and hopped myself into line. And boy was that a long line! You had to stand in line for like 15 minutes for each floor, cause all of these people had to see this city from the top. And it got me thinking, why is it so special to see the city from so high up? Why not just go to the city, to central park, to the statue of liberty...instead of just looking at it from a distance. But then it hit me...I think that's how people really are. You know what I mean? People like to stay far away. Like, when I'm sitting down and begging for some money to get me some food, some will drop me a buck or two, but they never stay and talk with me. I have had that happen maybe three times in all my years, ya know? But that's what people are like. They like to see you from a distance, but not get too close. Well, I'll tell you one thing--that ain't Gregory Prowell! Ya hear me now, I ain't like that!
Speaking of getting close, I was almost to the top. I had been in line for like two hours now, thinking of how every floor I was going up was a symbolism for me. Man, I felt all out smart for once, doing all this symbolism thinking now.
But at the top, of the line that is, there was a man. Yeah, and this man, he was all short and Chinese or something, he was collecting money. China man didn't really smile or anything, he didn't even look at the people as he took their money, and he had this hat on. It looked like the kind a pilot should wear or something, but it was pretty cool if ya ask me. So when I stepped up to him, I told him. I said, "Sir, I just think you got the nicest hat." And when he looked back at me, he had this face. It almost scared me. It was a mix of fear and disgust, as if why in the world I was talking to him. It hurt.
"It's fifteen dollars to get in. Do you even have that?" Oh when he said that I just wanted to punch him in the face. That'd show him!
"Of course I got that! And I was kidding 'bout your hat. I think it reminds me of a drunken skunks behind!"
Momma always used to say that. I'm not really sure why, cause if there ever was a drunken skunk I'd like to know how he got his booze, but she meant it as a bad thing. And when I said it, I meant it as a bad thing too. He didn't even care though. He just took my fifteen bucks, thank God for Alicia being some damn sweet and not taking what I had, and he said I could step into the elevator. I was finally going into the top.
There they were. All them damn fancy buttons I always dreamed about. They were all shiny, almost as if everytime somebody pressed one of them, a man came running in and shined them again, just to make sure they looked just perfect. And boy did they! There was all these buttons, for like all these different floors, and I just got so damn excited I couldn't keep it in. I had to do something. So what did I do?
I sang my song.
Not quietly, now. No, no. I belted out that tune again. I had to, anyway, cause the music in the elevator just plain sucked.
Every neck in that elevator turned and stared at me as if I was crazy or drunk or both. And maybe I was! Drunk and crazy on being so damn happy. You see, here I was, in a nice outfit, in a nice elevator, on a nice day, and I was living out my dream. I was going to the top of The Empire State Building. So there was no way I wouldn't be singin' on such a nice day.
I sang 'til those elevator doors opened up, and when they did I just had to stop. The light was so damn bright, cause all the way up on top there ain't no buildings to block it, and I was just speechless. Couldn't think of a word to say--and that never happens to Gregory Prowell. But I walked to the window, really slowly now, and just stared down at this city that I grew up in. And everything hit me at once, like a double shot of 151 rum. It was just friggin' crazy. Right before me was every memory I had ever gone through. Like, I saw off in the distance 102nd street, and I remembered how I ran away from Momma and she began yelling at me, "Get your tiny little black ass back here or I'm gonna whoop it so hard the black will jump right outta you!" Then I looked at 89th Street, and I remembered how Momma saw my Dad in a bar there, and she all rushed me outta there, and I had no clue why. And he came out after us, all drunk and stuff, and he called my mom the "C" word. I don't even say that word, it's just that bad. But boy did she flip out! She put him in his place in two seconds flat, faster then any Fighter Jet could fly, if you ask me.
Then I looked at Central Park, and I thought of all memories I had there. Playing chess with Mob-Al, a friend of mine who begs by the Mobil gas station so he calls himself Mob-Al, or petting all the dogs and just watching how happy they are. Or seeing the families with all their kids! People playing with frisbees, or couples walking around holding hands. I just love happy people. Truly I do.
And, boy, then I looked at all the other big buildings! They were everywhere, I couldn't find a single place in that city without a big building, and I was getting so friggin' excited at everything that was before me.
And then I saw 49th Street, way off in the distance now, and I remembered the pretty girl who worked at the coffee shop, and how she always knew I liked my coffee with whipped cream. I'd walk in, with my $1.50, and she'd just start pouring that coffee. Didn't even need to ask me. And she never charged me for the whipped cream. There was a sign saying it was an extra 50 cents, but she never put on my bill. And then I began thinking. There are some crazy people in this world, people who get mad if you tell them you like their hat, people who drink too much and embarrass ya, and people who hurt your feelings so bad you don't even want to wake up the next day. But, once you get through all of that...there are some good people. People who will listen to your song. People who will love you no matter what you look like. People who will remember the way you like your coffee. And when I thought of that, of all the good people in this world, all the people I was staring down upon from this big building...I realized something. Life just ain't that bad.
Monday, July 21, 2008
I don't know your name, but thank you, my friend. Yes, you. Thank you for picking up my cell phone that I left at the movie theatre. That was so kind of you! Thank you for picking up that phone and, instead of returning it to its rightful owner, running off with it. That was so cool of you, you cool thief! Thank you for taking that phone of mine and making no effort to return it to me.
Cool thief, you are the best. You're just so cool! Instead of stealing the phone and selling it in on Craigslist, you decided to make phone calls with it. Thank you! Thank you for calling my dear father and telling him that my phone was in fact still at the theatre. Thank you for making me leave work early to go to the theatre to find out that they, in fact, did not actually have it. Yet again, cool thief--so awesomely cool of you! Thank you!
Thank you, cool thief, for continuing to call family members telling them the phone was really at the theatre and instructing them to tell me to yet again return to the theatre to get my phone. Thank you for instructing them to tell me to be really pushy in order to prove it was me. That was such a great story you made up about a lot of people coming to the theatre looking for "lost phones". Thank you, cool thief, for making me abandon my studies, leave the library and walk a mile to get to the theatre before they closed. The looks on the employees' faces were priceless! They really didn't know what to say!
Thank you for, after wasting even more of my time, calling many of my friends and leaving messages like, "Wazzup my ni**a!!!!" or "I HEART C%CK!!!". Cool thief, what would I have ever done without you? I would never have had to e-mail so many people apologizing for the mass-text involving me and my "friend" Mary Jane. Apparently according to you, she's a flamer! Baha! You, cool thief, made all of this possible. You and that wit of yours!
Thank you, cool thief, for making me not cancel my phone for multiple days, leading my sweet concerned mother to call my own job to find out if I were still alive or not. Without you, this would never have been possible! Thank you!
And lastly, cool thief, thank you for just being you. Cool thief...You are just so cool!
(Inspired by Joe.My.God)
"With West Coast gasoline prices averaging $4.41 per gallon, even car-crazed southern Californians are joining the nation's slow move away from the automobile and toward public transportation. But even as more Americans pile onto city buses, subways, and suburban trains, the increase at the pump is also hitting transit agencies hard."
(Full Store Here)
Gabriel de Jesus, 41, has been asked by the Catholic Archdiocese of New York to step down as principal of Mount Vernon's Sacred Heart School for the Arts, after being arrested for having sex on July 13 with two men outside an empty house in Greenburgh, the New York Post reported. Reached by WCBS-TV on Monday, de Jesus said "he made a mistake."
Gosh, Republicans and Catholics get so much gay action I'd almost consider converting!
(Key word: Almost.)
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Problem was, my friend's boyfriend snored. Loudly. So obscenely loud that I could not fall asleep. It was like a tortured and dying elephant lay in the room and this was his last plea for mercy. I couldn't get a second of slumber in. So I left the hotel room and found a couch right outside by the elevators. What may have seemed like a pragmatic decision turned out to be more kitsch than ingenuitive: I plopped myself down on the couch, snuggled up with a pillow and immediately fell fast asleep.
It wasn't very long until someone walked by and noticed a guy sprawled out on the communal couch. The man who noticed me was tall, thin and beautiful. He had eyes that sparked an immediate interest in me. He was Hispanic with dark skin and short, spikey hair. He walked past me in the direction of the elevator, but then stopped for a moment to observe me. He watched, perplexed, as he tried to piece together the show he was witnessing.
He raised an eyebrow and he asked me, "Why are you on the couch?", a reasonable question. I looked back at him and responded, "My friend's boyfriend is snoring so loud. I can't sleep."
"So you went out here?"
And then he just stared at me. I wouldn't say it was awkward--he actually was so stunning I was flattered--but I couldn't tell if he was at a loss for words due to a limited command of the English language, or simply because he was too drunk and just liked looking at me. Usually this would be the time that you say goodbye to somebody and let them get on the elevator.
However, as you all know too well, I've never been acclaimed for my wisdom in meeting boys, so I asked , "What are you doing here?"
"You're not staying at the hotel?"
He walked over to the couch and sat next to me, rather close. He looked me in the eye and said, "I'm Antonio," with an accent so redolent of the Mexican Border I wondered whether he was legal or not. The two of us began talking, and he eventually invited me to find some food. As is all too common at 4:30 in the morning, my rationality had been thrown out of the window hours ago and going along with him seemed like the polite and reasonable thing to do.
We stumbled through the streets of West Hollywood and eventually found a nearby IHOP. We found a corner table and sat down amongst the other drunks who recently had left the bars. For such a late hour the place was hopping, with clanging plates and cooks yelling obscenities at the servers.
Within minutes of sitting down, I had found out some interesting things about my new found Mexican friend: he had been arrested seven times, was in countless fights, and even had been stabbed--he showed me the large gaping wound to prove it!
Naturally, I was feeling slightly awkward. It was approaching five in the morning and I sat across from someone who had spent enough time in Police custody to actually know the officers by name. But as we were talking, I noticed something beyond my expectations--he was, without question, smart. That I did not expect. He would observe the people around him and point out their actions as if he were a licensed psychologist. He observed this one drunken girl yelling at her boyfriend, claiming he was beating her and stealing all of her money...but the correct analysis, as he stated, was that she just wanted to get fucked. Five minutes later they walked out together holding hands and giggling.
I asked Antonio if he had a job and he said no. I asked him what he liked to do and he said he liked to get into trouble. I asked him where he lived and he said with his mother. Clearly this kid was not the kind I'd want to be involved with, in ANY fashion, but I still found it enlightening to talk to him. He truthfully had a brilliant mind, but it was sad to see him throw it away as he did.
When the bill came he paid for both of us, something I hadn't expected. He pulled out a huge wad of twenty's, an amount of cash that even as a tip-earning server I rarely accumulated. And when I saw the wad of cash and added all of the clues along the way, an epiphany came to me: who leaves a hotel they aren't staying at 4:30 in the morning? Who has no official job but has tons of money? Who can read human nature better than a psychologist, especially in sexual circumstances? The answer was bafflingly obvious. Across from me sat a prostitute.
This news comes alongside the announcement of a new law in Flint that restricts the level where you pants may legally hang.
I'm going into overload. Crack laws. Missing Manholes. Prison punishment for exposing your buttocks. All the bad jokes and poor puns are convoluting in my head!
Starting on Saturday, health inspectors can slap fines of up to $2,000 on fast-food and casual-dining chains if calorie counts are not displayed on their menus in the same font and format as the name or price of food items.
"I'm going to eat whatever I'm going to eat," said Erika Roberson, 19, leaving an Applebee's restaurant in Brooklyn.
I'm all for it; I'm just doubtful it will actually work.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
The other closings:
- 6144 E. Main St. in Columbus
- 7561 Sawmill Road in Dublin.
- 530 N. High St. in Worthington.
- 1505 W. Fifth Ave. in Columbus.
- 925 N. State St. in Westerville.
I watch her wake. I'm here for you, I whisper. A thick tube forces its way down into her throat to provide her with oxygen; she can barely move, she can not even breathe on her own. My eyes fill with tears as I realize she is still alive. You are so strong, I barely allow the words to escape. I watch her, with all of the strength within her, lift her arm to wave. Her eyes squint; they are fixed on me, but can barely open. Her fingers are numb and feel no sensation, so I hold her hand; she can not squeeze back. I can see the pain in her eyes, but I also see tears: tears of joy, tears of renewal. Tears of the strongest woman I know.
Then, with command I know not from where she beckons, she lifts her other arm. The arm that has at least six IVs. The arm that has a heavy cast-like thing around it. And as she gradually raises her arm, she suddenly sways it to the right, then gently sways it back to the left. Now with both hands, raised barely a few inches above her chest, she moves them in a circular motion, and I can tell, even though she cannot utter a single word...she is dancing. With the ounce of energy left in her body she dances. Her transcendent joy overtakes the pain, supersedes the amount of drugs that flow through her body...and she shares with me her joy. A joy that for the rest of my life I will never forget. My mother is the only women who, after surviving one of the most difficult surgeries a surgeon can perform, would come out dancing. But she did. She didn't barely survive--she survived with inexplicable, exuberant joy. So much joy that she danced.
I cried the entire time I wrote this.
(Written May 24th, 2007)
Friday, July 18, 2008
1) It's ok. You are not confused. You are not wrong. No one knows, and that's fine--but stop viewing yourself as evil. You are not sinning. You will not burn in hell for the way you feel. You don't need to make any decision now. Just stop hating yourself. Stop begging God to take it away from you. Stop imagining getting into a car accident and dying. Stop lying in bed dreaming of the day you will die so you won't have to deal with it. Stop begging God to kill you so you don't have to think about being gay. It is not wrong. You are not wrong. You are beautiful.
2) There is no god. No, really, there isn't. I'm sorry. Just start thinking about it, and suddenly it will make sense. Everything you've been told so far is a lie. Angels, Heaven, Demons, Hell, Noah's Ark, The Second Coming...it's all a lie to control people. You'll go through months of shock. It won't be easy. But don't let that destroy you--in the end, it will only make your stronger.
3) Learn as much as you can. Don't treat school like it's only keeping you back. Stop treating it like a social hour and start reading and studying. You're good at math; stop telling yourself otherwise. You'll thank me later for this.
4) One day a bum is going to introduce you to some of the world's greatest literature. Read those books. Cherish them. You won't realize the significance of the bum until after reading the books. But after reading them, don't treat them like gospel. Treat them as great stories of fantastic inspiration, but don't let them ruin friendships, jobs or your personality. Continue to love and appreciate every individual, no matter what. Refuse to give up belief in every single human being.
5) On July 11th you will make the best decision of your life. Do it. You'll be forever grateful for it. Revel in that grand moment of victory. Revel in the fact that you love who you are, that you are a beautiful person and you do not hate yourself for being you.
6) You will see someone working in a restaurant and will want to talk to him. Do it. He will turn into a great friend. You will spend a magical few days together. You won't see him for over a year, but you will dream of him and live your life in anticipation of seeing him again. You'll spend ten days together and it will feel like nothing else matters. It will be pure bliss. When he is gone, you will continue to think of him. When you see him next, he will end up completely breaking your heart. You are going to cry for hours. You will be all alone. It will be miserable. It will feel like everything has caved in. It will hurt to even hear his name. But don't let that hold you back. Your most memorable times will be when you lived uninhibited. The tears, the pain, the sorrow, the anger...in the end it will all be worth it.
7) Don't run away whenever you feel a problem arises. They won't go away.
8) The inkling you have to move out of DC and see the world? Take it. You'll know the city to go to. It will be your first choice and you will love it. And if you ever get tempted to move back to DC so you can drop out of school, live at home and work in an Irish Pub...DON'T DO IT. Stay where you are and GRADUATE!
9) Without tossing out your pure joy and your innate love of people...do not trust everybody. You will meet a lot of people who will mislead you. Enjoy them for who they are, but do not be so willing to believe everything you hear.
10) If you take some time off between High School and College...that's fine. You won't regret it. But just don't take too much time off.
11) Your father will never be your mother. Accept it, move on.
12) If you meet a short guy at karaoke who asks you to go back to his hotel...DO NOT DO IT!
13) After July 11th, tell your grandparents you are gay. Might as well tell the whole family. One day you will get a phone call that your grandmother passed away, and it will be too late. She will have died not knowing that you were loved by a truly great man.
14) There will be a day you pull into a gas station and find a cat. You'll think that although you are allergic, you can still give him a home. Probably not a good idea, unless you really want all of your furniture torn up.
15) You are going to have some amazing times. You will travel all over the world, meet incredible people, work at a ton of different restaurants and you will live almost a fairy-tale life. You will meet celebrities and Senators. You will spend time in some of the world's greatest cities. You will have very few worries. The stories you will collect will be so crazy and bizarre that they will either be on Sex and the City or To Catch a Predator. Yes, Chris, your life will be that crazy. When you look back on those times, it will seem like something out of a book. Enjoy those times, live them to the fullest, do not let anything hold you back, because one day you'll finally settle down...and you'll miss those days of reckless abandon.
Chris, I love you. You don't love yourself right now...but in the future, you will. You will love yourself and your life more than anyone you will ever meet.
~23 Year-Old Chris