blah, blah, blah.

I thought about something really profound today.  I want to tell you so bad, but I can’t really put it into words. It’s like being happy and sad, regretfully proud and believing in the most truth based conspiracy theory ever.

I’ve felt like that a lot the last few months, especially when I was living in four different parts of the United States since June.  I drove 1100 miles in 21 hours, and I know that doesn’t sound very impressive, but almost six of those hours I spent waiting at Goodyear for my car to get four new tires.  Then less than thirty days later, I drove another 3200 miles by myself cross country and paid for almost everything with cash.

Fact.  I have not worked a real bonafide job since May 13th, and if I can be ultra candid, those last two weeks at my bar job I barely even “worked.”   I went to smoke a cigarette during a shift around 8:30pm and I never came back.  Who the fuck do I think I am?

Apparently, I’m someone who defies the rules of conventional thinking and bridges the gap between the brain cells and stars in my mind, and that reminds me of a song I’ve been listening to for a week.  this galaxy in my mind

Sometimes it becomes even more difficult than normal for me to understand what I know and even more of a debacle to explain it to anyone.  And I don’t know why, but I’m drifting away from you.

I’ve been kind of a baller lately, and by that I mean I cried like a bitch in May, June, and July.  In some ways I was a baller cause I made enough money to finance this $5000 move back home but it other ways I teared up when I saw the sunrise while crossing the border from California to Arizona.  Here’s the proof

0727170509c.jpg I know what you’re thinking….he can’t possibly cry and drive a car while taking a picture of the sun coming up, but you’re wrong because as I found out, I am able to do a lot of different things at once, even though I recently lost my wallet in my apartment tonight for a few hours.

Twice.

I swear to God I don’t know what I’m going to do with 1150 square feet of space but the good news is the walls are starting to come alive with the memories I’ve made in the past and those are the things that will inspire me in the future.

I’m numb from blocking out the pain, drenched from the tears I’ve been holding in since somewhere outside of Phoenix. and I need money so bad that I took the first and only job that I was offered,  even though a part of me loathes the fact that I have to.

My friends and family tell me it’s the logical choice, and that sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to do, and whatever other euphemisms that apply to my situation that they can throw my way. I do appreciate it, and I am listening with one ear, but right now all I can hear is blah, blah, blah.

 

For A Pessimist, I’m Pretty Optimistic

I’ve always believed in being an optimist, but strive to try to not be one to a fault. I guess I had no choice back in ’99 when I started thinking overtly positive, and yeah maybe always thinking on the bright side got a bit out of hand but I knew no other way to live.  I try to see the perfection in every thing, and by that I mean the positive AND negative and that can be a tricky game to play, especially when some things happen that I regard as “bad.”  Bad is just the opposite of what I want to have happen. See?  I just did it right there. I’ve trained myself pretty well.

This is my life, and I’ve chosen to try and find the good in everything even though with each situation that becomes a challenge, but just like the title says, for a pessimist, I’m pretty optimistic. There is a song with that same name and I have no shame in admitting I stole it for the title of this blog. It fits, and this is the realest I have been with myself all week. I’m sitting on my patio on Memorial Day drinking a skinny bitch and typing out my fuck yous to the world, all while I try to perfectly transpose my self inflicted rhetoric on a computer screen. I don’t know if this is what the war veterans had in mind for a celebration, but I thank them for their service today while I try to make my complaining look an art form.

I’m not really a pessimist at heart, but I swing so far to either side sometimes, that it almost makes me feel like I could be fooling myself into thinking I’m an optimist. But who cares if I am?  I’m rarely let down with things in my life for more than a minute and believe me, I can get over anything pretty quickly.  But if I can be totally honest, the only way I wake up disappointed is when someone else lets me down. I try not to let that happen a lot, but unfortunately, it’s not entirely up to me.

However, I do suffer from the case of the “slightly dramatics” and sometimes I’ve been known to make it out to be the worst thing in the world…. for about five to ten minutes.   Even though I’m still a member of the drama club at age 40, BELIEVE me, I’m not as bad as I was when I was eighteen, nineteen, or twenty, so in my head I think I’ve made progress and I’m cool with that.

I have to cry out loud some of the time, but then I have to laugh out loud the rest of the time because those acts remind me not to be so fucking serious. “Why so serious,” a dead celebrity once asked. Well, he certainly took his life, and took it seriously, and all that makes me think is I don’t want to be anything like the joker. I’d rather be the King.

The King of wishful thinking. Another song title that comes to mind. I don’t know if wishful thinking is the same as being an optimist, but it sure feels like I’ve been doing what works for me for 16 years and I’m pretty sure even in my darkest hour, I have found some light at the end of the tunnel.  When something is going the way I want it to, I’m highly optimistic about it, but when something is going backwards or when I don’t like the outcome, I’ll probably get bummed out for a minute before the phrase “I guess it wasn’t meant to be” comes creeping into my brain.  Sometimes that works, other times it’s all smoke and mirrors.

I believe that the shit gets better, and that the shit is never as bad as it seems, but I also believe that sometimes the shit needs to hit the fan, and I think it’s healthy when it happens every now and again. I think that I’ve been used to the worst thing always happening in my life, but I’m learning to train myself to think otherwise because I outgrew my fatalist quarter-life crisis attitude, and I’m outgrowing my foolish post traumatic stress way of thinking.

I’m learning to be the positive thinker with his head in the clouds, but his feet on the ground so that way I’m always connected to what I really know to be true which is that sometimes, I’m a pessimistic optimist, but it doesn’t matter as long as I’m a confident pessimistic optimist.

That’s literally all it takes.  I’m calling the shots in my life and I know what I know. I’ve gotten to where I’m at by being who I am, and so far I can’t complain about how it’s all worked out. So if I could sum it up in one ironic phrase, I’d have to say that for a pessimist, I’m pretty optimistic. You can just call me Mr. Brightside.

 

 

Accidentally Shoplifting, On Purpose.

I was so excited the other day to have finally gotten some money on my unemployment card. I thought to myself…”I can eat this week,” and headed out to the Ralph’s to spend a modicum amount of my weekly benefits on food, something I need to survive.

After making a right hand turn into the parking lot, slamming on my brakes and having to idle impatiently while two other cars chose to block the entrance to the underground parking and apparently wait for one of the 12 spots on the ground floor, I made my way over two annoying speed bumps and parked close to the escalator, which of course has been broken for two weeks now.

I had a small shopping list that included some lettuce, chicken, cat food, diet coke, and toilet paper which I desperately needed probably more than the 20 pack of soda I picked up first and put on the bottom of my cart.

“Remember to pay for that later.” I told myself.

I cruised my shopping cart down the aisle and ran into an extremely attractive Russian brunette who picked out her most uncomfortable pair of high heels to go shopping that day, and it almost felt like she wanted to say something to me until her short Armenian boyfriend who was about thirty years her senior appeared out of nowhere. Upon seeing me about to strike up a conversation with a stranger in the salad dressing aisle, this little man decided to say something I couldn’t understand in a language I don’t speak and then proceeded to grope his girlfriend in front of the tabasco sauce as if to send a clear message to me that she is hot, and belongs to him.

Silly Armenian, I’m more focused on my 10 soups for $10 than I am on your ten dollar mail order bride you got to make yourself look better in public.

I cross the frozen food section and pick up nothing as I make my way down the snack aisle where I run into an appealing Spanish girl who asks me which cheddar and sour cream potato chips I prefer as I’m picking out the Kroger brand bag of the same flavor.

“I actually like these.” I say as I put the chips that will probably be eaten before tomorrow into my cart.

The Spaniard picks them off the shelf, and is about to put them into her cart when low and behold, another short, foreign, “hands on” boyfriend appears out of nowhere and immediately puts those potato chips back while muttering something in Spanish about how Ruffles taste better. I choose not to interject with the fact that I have been eating cheddar and sour cream flavor chips for over 15 years and that recently I switched to Kroger brand because Ruffles changed their recipe and they’re just not that good anymore.

I make my way past the half off Halloween candy aisle and I think to myself it’s  like three weeks past that holiday and 50% off just doesn’t seem to make sense to me. I’ll wait for the big after Christmas blow out in what feels like it’s two months away, but I know it will be January before I know it.

I grab a few bags of lettuce that I have a coupon for and I throw in a few power bars which is a breakfast meal I don’t necessarily look forward to but it’s cheap, and I’m frugal these days, plus they have a buy three, get a dollar off promo going on.

I pass by the cookie and cracker aisle, grabbing two bags of goldfish that I have been eating since the 1980s and as I turn the corner to grab a few cans of cat food, I see that weird Russian/Armenian couple again and as he spots me coming around the corner it’s almost on cue that he puts his arms around her waist and grabs her butt until she squeals with what I think was embarrassing excitement.

Oh God, get me out of this place already, but of course not before I find myself trapped at the end cap of that lane while an overweight asian woman mulls over which brand of toilet paper to buy and a regular sized asian man is texting while leaning on his cart which is ALSO blocking my way.

I check my list and I think I got it all, and as I look across the checkout lanes, I see the one with the shortest line and I head that way until right before I’m about to enter the lane, that Spanish couple cuts me off and oh look, they decided to go with the store brand potato chips like I told her to do.

As I’m starting to put my items on the belt I am greeted by the young, sweet cashier who asks me about my day, and tells me about hers and how it started at 7am when she dropped off her kid at school and I thank God that I’m only buying fancy feast at sixty-nine cents a can rather than baby food.

Then the uber sweet older Latino bag lady, (not homeless mind you) compiles all of my groceries into three bags, places them into my cart at right about the same time I turn around to hear that Armenian dude arguing with his girlfriend that she doesn’t need to purchase the Star, Us Weekly AND the National Inquirer magazines in her hands.

I hand the cashier my money off vouchers, and watch as a contestant does on Extreme Couponing as my total amount owed drops from $91 to $68 thanks to the Campbell’s 10 for 10 soup sale, the $3.50 off I saved, and the Ralph’s club discount I received. I swipe my EDD card, enter my pin, and I’m approved as the cashier hands me even more coupons and I thank the bag lady for packing my cart as I push it out the front door and into the elevator.

No one gets on with me, and I smile because I know I hate riding in elevators with other people, and I laugh at the antics of those two weird couples in the store as I make my way down to the basement floor and as I’m loading my groceries into my car, I look down at my cart, and it hits me…..

I never paid for that 20 pack of diet coke.

I guess I could go back in and be honest. I guess I could take the elevator back up to the 2nd floor and shell out the seven dollars for this soda, but with people across the country taking meat from the butcher aisle and shoving it down their pants to save money, I feel like maybe this accidental moment of theft is God’s way of telling me to enjoy the fruits and carbonation of my labor because no one really saw me, and getting away with shoplifting when you don’t mean to shoplift is a rush in itself.

I pack up my car, turn on some music, and drive away with a clear conscience.

And if you’re wondering…. those still are the best tasting twenty cans of diet coke that I never really paid for.

 

I Will Never Fail Drama

The other day I cooked two chicken breasts for lunch. I had a salad all prepared and I was ready to garnish it with some cheese, some cucumbers and some free range fowl. I wanted to save one of the chickens for later, so I cut one up and started to put it in a tupperware container. As I did this, the tupperware starts to fall with the freshly seasoned chicken in it. To the ground, and onto the floor it went…. White meat face down on the linoleum. Fuck. My. Life.

There on the floor was my $3.00 chicken breast, my meal for tomorrow, and my dignity. I saw what was happening before it happened and I just couldn’t stop it. I looked down at the ruined chicken which was now spread across my semi-dirty kitchen floor and it angered me. It made me irritated and disgruntled, and then…I freaked out.

I grabbed the tupperware container and threw it against the window. It bounced back and hit me in the jaw. Oh the irony. It’s not enough that my lunch was ruined, but now I was literally slapped in the face by my own polyethylene frustration. At this point I had enough of throwing plastic against the wall so I threw a small frying pan instead. It hit the glass, made a resounding crash, and the window shattered into a hundred pieces which flew all over the kitchen counter top, and possibly into the salad I was about to eat for lunch.

I was pissed, I was annoyed, but in some strange way, I was also relieved. After I spent the next 20 minutes picking out shards of glass from my sink and windowsill, I sat down and started to eat what was left of my salad. I didn’t get very far for fear of there being sharp glass hiding in with my romaine lettuce, blue cheese, and bacon salad, topped with the Olive Garden’s signature Italian dressing. I ate some of the chicken, threw the rest of the salad away, and I reflected on what just happened.

As the summer heat wafted into my apartment through my newly found air space, I stared at the huge hole in my window for a moment, then I went and found some cardboard to cover it up. I hadn’t broken anything in years. Way back when I was a kid I used to punch holes in the walls when I got frustrated, but I’m an adult now, and I don’t do things like that when I get upset….or so I thought. I’ve been pretty much aggravated with my life this summer. I haven’t gotten what I wanted, I’m still annoyed with where I’m at, and I guess a shattered window in my kitchen perfectly represents my soul….broken and scattered into many pieces.

God, I’m so dramatic, I know this. In the words of Joey Cape, “I will never fail drama.” It will always be one of my best subjects in life. Sometimes it makes for good stories and it fuels the fire I have inside of me and I can wield it like a superhero. Other times, it sucks me in and I allow it to make me bitter and hateful, but I’m getting past that now.

I think about that window a lot, and I think about what it represents to me. Why did I do something so destructive just because some chicken fell on the floor? Was it the chicken, or the cheap IKEA plastic container I was trying to put it in. No, it was neither. As much as I tried to blame the awkward set-up of my cutting board being so close to the refrigerator door, that wasn’t it at all.

I lost it. I fucking took my frustrations out on an inanimate object and I take responsibility for it all. I broke a window in my apartment and I don’t really care that I did it because a part of me felt better after it had happened. The dissatisfaction with my life had been building up all summer and it actually felt good to break something. It happens. I remember looking at the window right after I broke it and I thought to myself… Man, you’re probably not getting your security deposit back now.

Look, I know I have a long way to go until I can look back on this time in my life and realize I’ve learned something from it, but I’m a better person for having gone through this. When it comes down to it, I didn’t get drunk and then drive somewhere only to crash my car. I didn’t yell at some unsuspecting person on the street who didn’t deserve it, and I didn’t self destruct to the point where I regret the actions that brought me to where I am.

I’m never going to look at that window and be pissed at what happened. I don’t regret it. Maybe a part of me thinks it was therapeutic for me to do that. From now on, I’m going to remember not to overreact when stupid things happen, cause I know more stupid things are going to happen in my life. I’m going to remember to make sure the surface I put my tupperware on is flat and has no way of falling to the ground, and I’m going to think about new ways to let my melodramatic tragedies turn into a text book comedy because when it comes down to it, I only have two other windows in my place and just like my spirit, I need for them to remain unbroken.

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