Enter title here, preferably life-affirming cliché.

He was a bulky kid. People figured he’d be prized for a sport, football especially. There wasn’t much else going on for him– not only did he posses an apathetic attitude towards his own well-being, but the neighborhood was bad enough to only offer drugs or gang activity. He would saunter around, knocking over the smaller kids, taking precious time from them that could be spent doing anything but getting your ass kicked by some loser.

I remember scaring him off with our family dog, JJ, who had a severe distaste for “dark” people, as my aunt would say. The reality was he had been abused by a black kid, and didn’t trust them. I felt like an utter racist using him as a deterrent against the kids that chased after me (if I made him home faster than they made it to me) but you do what you have to.

So ghetto boy was walking down the street towards me, one day. We were all leaving Crystal Lake Middle, known for the welcoming environment and lawful behavior (lie) and I knew what was coming, so I ran. Luckily for me, I was very small and quick. It only really helps if you have a fine escape route, but I usually did. The school is near Sample and Dixie Highway, so I had to run to Copans and Dixie near the funeral home to get home. It’s quite a trek when a kid with two fists for you is chasing behind rapidly.

I knew some routes to take, but today I noticed cops by the old folk’s neighborhood. I made for a mad dash across Copans when it happened, because running past the cops directly is never advised unless you’re into batons and handcuffs. I was only twelve, so that sort of enjoyment didn’t come til later.

I heard a thunk and this weird sound, almost like a dying cat. The kid managed to get himself hit by a car backing out of a driveway. He wasn’t dead, he was hardly hurt, but he was weeping like a baby and flailing at any attempts to help him. I stood there in the median of the road and watched him convulse in sobs. I only had three thoughts of note before walking slowly home:

“Good.” — “Should have been hit harder.” — “He’s a waste of life.”

That was simply one of the many moments that made me pause and evaluate some things about life. First, despite the attempts to indoctrinate me that came from my grandmother or other members of the family, I didn’t think he’d be going anywhere after he died. I also realized how few of the people in this neighborhood would ever amount to a thing in their lives. The last thing I remembered was most important to me– I still remember this kid, to this day, for being an utter moron. That’s his claim to fame in my mind. He could be dead by now, in jail, or just sitting on a couch doing nothing. Maybe he is something, I don’t know. Chances are pretty slim, though.

It was after these times that I realized how easily it is to be remembered as a waste of time and a waste of flesh. I vowed never to simply sit still and be a nothing, to never look back and think “shit, I’m a loser. Why am I alive?”

I feel like this when I stay home and stare at a TV, even though that’s a highly unlikely event. I get this way if I am not actively challenging myself to something, mentally or physically. Some people take pleasure out of doing absolutely nothing. Good! You get pleasure from something. That’s for you to decide. I probably won’t join you, but that’s me. And that’s what we have as a collective. We have the ability to decide what is worth our time, what isn’t, and what makes us happy. We’re alive, and that’s only for so long. Not taking advantage of that is one of the biggest affronts to nature you can give. Maybe you think God put you here. Maybe you think you’re just a collection of symbiotic organisms that make you walk and talk. Doesn’t matter. You’re still alive.

Yep. Gonna die.

We’ve been born into a society that likes it when you do nothing with your free time. Then, TV shows get ratings. Things get bought from the commercials. That’s cool. We need consumers to keep society as we know it alive. If you can show me one thing I’ve bought due to an advertisement within the last ten years, I’ll give you my wallet. I’ve seen things and thought “cool, I like it” and moved on. Some people are like that, some are not. I personally don’t care which you prefer to be, since it’s not up to me to decide that. The only thing I care about is that the people I associate with bother to step up and say no, I won’t be lazy and useless, because I’ll be dead soon. (Even if you’re into TV.)

If you feel like it’s boring, stop doing it. It isn’t worth it. If you HAVE to because it’s your job, get a new one. Can’t do that? Make the best of your free time. The absolute best. Go do the things you keep saying you “hope” to do before you die. Don’t sit around hoping or waiting for some excuse to not do it. There’s always a way, unless it’s beyond human science or reach. No, you can’t travel to the sun, unless you’re a fucking scientist with the ability to build a rocket … to go die. It’s hot. Don’t do that. You’re stupid.

I keep hearing people say they envy this, wish they could be that. Why not? Worst you’re going to do is fail, but if you never tried, you fail anyway. At least you did something. Nothing is so impossible that it’s completely out of your reach, and other such self-help bullshit.

And like I said above, within the realm of science, before I get a comment about “but if the paralyzed comatose guy wants to go skiing, hurrr” … yeah, that guy is fucked. I know.

The point is this: If you’re unhappy with your life, nobody is going to come rescue you. Believe love will fix you? That’s nice. And when they’re gone, then what? They are going to leave you, or die. Unless you happen to die at the exact same moment, you’re going to be heartbroken. Maybe you’ll die and leave them feeling alone. Love is a wonderful thing, but it won’t keep you alive for very long. Eating your loved ones is not recommended for sustenance.

Think that new job is great? Cool. Now you have more bills. Now you’re broke again. You’ll possibly lose that job. Do something you at least like, or that you have a passion for. Or hell, even if all it does is pay for the things you want to do, keep at it. Maybe find some awesome free shit to do. Make your own entertainment. I’ve met plenty of freelance or jobless people that are absolutely content with their choices, since life is more than how much money you have.

There’s nothing in this world that has more say over you than yourself. People have successfully overthrown regimes, escaped totalitarian countries, started over and made the world their bitch. Once you read about a guy crawling and starving to get out of his shitty life, you’ve lost your excuse.  Even if you die trying, at least you had the balls to put forth the effort.

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Bitter roots and firewater

Downtown is a breathing beast, be it Fort Lauderdale, Miami or Key West. She’s deadly, but people will go even if they don’t like the options. The allure of alcohol-induced interaction always wins.

Simply walking through Fort Lauderdale’s Himmarshee bar district is a train-wreck of the various stages one can expect of alcohol poisoning. Some people are still flailing around, others are being carried back to the car before they hurt themselves. Most of my downtown friends can hold their liquor (and have many years of practice,) but not all are so fortunate. I’ve had to shove drunken, pilled up men waving bags of cocaine, into a hearse in Little Haiti– long story– and stop serious brawls from escalating to arrests. Other times I’d just kick back and watch as they utterly screw themselves.

There was a time when I found myself crawling on the floor of a random guy’s apartment as my friend had sex with him on a bed, much to my distress. I was about eighteen, and made a note to myself: NEVER DO THIS AGAIN. From that moment, I never had so much to drink in one sitting, or even one week. It was simple to me. Is it a problem? Yes. Should I do this? No. Of course, shortly after that incident I had the aid of my extremely sober then-boyfriend, so it was simple enough. I spent my 21st birthday sans any alcohol or otherwise. It didn’t hurt me, and I didn’t feel like I lost something vital.

After that floor crawl, I began sticking to the company of coffee heads and tobacconists. Quite a few of the people there led sober lives and avoided bars. It spawned my love for coffee houses, and kept with my life plan of avoiding all drugs. I’ve still never tried, or attempted to try, any drug more potent than a cute little weed that grows in the dirt. I’d like to keep it that way.

So this led me to my affinity for recovering addicts. Between self-imposed avoidance and hanging out where they prefer, I’ve met quite a few, and the differences between nights with them and nights downtown are rather grim at times. Recently, I was introduced to a local kava bar in Fort Lauderdale that has a strong base of NA folks. I’ve met some fascinating people there, just like I would at a coffee joint. Unlike downtown– where most of the interactions require a drunkspeak interpretation– there’s no alcohol to create a false sense of community and bravado. It’s just there. Walk into a bar you’ve never entered before downtown, and see how warmly you’re greeted. Walk into this kava bar, and everyone is happy to introduce themselves.

It’s an amusing kind of environment to the point of a recent example, while I was sitting outside smoking with other kava people. A slightly older, obviously party-friendly woman yelled down the hall at us asking if it was a bar. Without a word, we all looked at each other and grinned. One guy tried to explain there was no alcohol, but another told her to head in  and see. She ended up leaving with a smile and a desire to come back for the open mic night with friends. It’s seemingly easier to convince someone to back out of drinking for the night than it is to convince them to leave there to drink.

Personally, I can’t even drink kava. My kidneys won’t have it, but I find myself more than content to just sit with a tea or water. The people make it worth that for me.

So now, when I stomp around downtown (be it to see a friend’s show, or just because) I have even more appreciation for the stark contrast in attitudes. I may not know the full extent of the pain of addiction, but hearing a friend easily say “Yeah, I was a junkie. I screwed up, and I was an idiot,” gives me a little more faith in people’s ability to be brutally honest and strong for their own sake. I’ve never been able to look down on someone for their dependencies, as I’ve almost fallen victim to it myself before I found a doctor that didn’t want to cure everything with Vicodin.

While the amusement of the bars still holds for me, and I will never pass up a chance to watch stupid people do stupid things, I’m also very glad that I have places to run to when it’s too much. My “junkie” friends are some of the most talented and wonderful people I know, and I wouldn’t trade that for a thing. Some people tell me not to trust a former user. For me, this makes it far less likely to trust the person saying so than anything else.

A sort of meta rant.

Yep.

I’ve been working on short stories.


In my head. 


I’m trying to write a novel.


In my head.


None of this is helpful to actually getting it done, in reality. I like to think I’ll actually commit these things soon enough, but that’s something I am very bad at. I’m trying to gather people for yet another little series involving their stories, but trying to work around their availability and my own isn’t always fruitful. (Speaking of, if you want to be one of them, dear god message me. I have time for you. I love you. I’ll buy you coffee.)


I am trying to think of content and ways to promote a website that I’m part of while trying to further myself at the same time. All the while, juggling other needs. I’m viewing every little moment of my day as a possible thing to write down. I’m starting to feel like Superman, without the cool leotard. 
At the same time, I have this completed work of art for a show– in my head. Yeah, still. Can’t sell my idea of a drawing to someone. Just the finished product. 


Sometimes I read back on something I wrote and realize, hey, people won’t like that. It’s harsh, or rough. Do they want to hear me laugh at that guy who almost died because he did something stupid? No. Do they want to hear about how insignificant I think people can act? No. Nobody wants to read something with bitter undertones and realize they resemble what the writer is mocking. 
So I get caught, caught between what I want to say and what people want to hear. I write nice things on one website, only share my fiction (the tame ones) on the forums, only hint at the reality here. I keep a large, unread collection of my short stories hidden away from people. Those are the ones only a few would appreciate, and hopefully understand why I wrote them. 


I start feeling like these writing endeavors are going to lead me to that path of broke (sometimes) starving (sometimes) asshole sitting at Starbucks (which I am doing) not actually getting shit done (… FUCK.) One day, though, I’ll put all my effort into self-publishing those hidden stories. 
I’ll let go of those novels, throw them at readers and scream “I fucking dare you.” 


People can find out what I did on those long walks alone, what I thought, and know what I don’t say. Will they dislike me? Probably a few– though I tend to keep myself in the company of less than sensitive people, since emotional wrecks seem to drive me crazy. Did you call your girlfriend smoochie-face and abandon all man friends to cuddle puppies with her in a field? There may be a reason I don’t call anymore. It’s nothing against love, emotion, or that person. I just have a low tolerance for bullshit. True, hard, deep love exists. I feel it. But the overlying crap people lay on each other out of insecurity doesn’t do it for me.


That’s the problem. Right there, right above. That’s how I think, to a mild degree. That’s what people don’t like. As fascinating as it is to see from a distance, or even pretend you want to aspire to a realistic worldview, it’s not safe for some to bother with it. It’ll lead to depression some can’t handle. Anger. Maybe even rage. If you’re naturally this way, congrats, you ought to have a handle on it by the time you’re beyond the age of 25. I hope.


Or not. It all depends.


I want to walk around some days just slapping people, shoving a sign in their hands that says “I don’t bother to give meaning to my life. But look at my nice new car!”
I’m not saying that somehow, my life is better than anyone else’s. I’m sure some people enjoy their existences, truly. But others, you can see that they are simply empty. They have stuff. They have uncaring people for friends. You get them drunk and alone, though, and they spout off how much they hate themselves. It’s sad.

And that’s what I want to say. I want to say what I mean to someone other than my notebook. I’m learning the hard way that people want something that will make them think, but not too hard. Never too hard. 

A while back, before I knew most of the folks I know now, I was berated harshly for some things I wrote. I was told that expressing the innards of others wasn’t fair, or nice, and that the truth doesn’t need to be shared all the time. Seriously?

That’s fine. I know who I am pandering to, and where. It gives absolutely NO less meaning to what I write. Every single bit of it, every word, means the world to me. Just because it’s on a website I consider needing tamer things doesn’t mean I hate it. If I posted it, I cared about it. 

So, to those I once offended years ago, sorry. I hear Harry Potter is a nice series.
To those I never offended, I think you’re pretty neat. 

Otherwise, it’s taking a slight turn. I plan to update here four times a week, with one blog on the solecisms site and a story a week. 
It’s time to get serious. 


When it rains… well, it gets wet, obviously. Jeeze.

It’s been raining. Heavily. Here’s a picture of some awful weather. 


I finally managed to escape the house to get to my personal favorite spying location near home. When I arrived, nothing seemed too off. Everyone was busily typing away on their computers, or randomly blabbing on a cell phone. One girl looked drunk, but this is Florida, so it’s to be expected at 2p.m. 


It’s about the time I noticed drunkypoo that something strange happened. 
People started getting nasty. A couple broke into an enormous fight at the table nearest mine, complete with the obligatory “you’re not the man I started dating!” and “my mother warned me about girls like you!” kinds of insults thrown around like bad, bad step-children when daddy drinks.


I decided that I’d leave them to it and head inside for a quick bathroom break, but was met by another couple arguing at the counter, and yet another woman banging on the bathroom door for her slow (no, literally– she has Downs) child to exit. I had a flashback to the mentally distressed child that once came into the Starbucks I worked for who fingerpainted with his own feces on the bathroom wall, and rapidly gave up my thoughts of stepping foot in there. 


Outside! No, no. Outside is now populated by violently arguing college students. One lady sits among us, rapid-fire talking into a cell phone about how many apartments she has in what states. One of the students snaps, telling her to “take her rich ass back to one of them, we’re trying to get shit DONE.” 


By now I am assuming I’m hallucinating some collapse of society, that a raging virus is taking over their minds, and not everyone can be this utterly pissed off for no reason. It’s about the time that a man mumbles to his friend as they pass… “Fuck Monday.”
Right. The working man’s burden. That must be it.


But no. These people are not at work. Is the collective hatred for Monday so very strong that it invades the minds and lives of those without 9-5 jobs? Is there PCP in the coffee?
I have no idea, honestly– but it’s fucking funny to watch.


So for now, I’m going to sit back and collect their mutual annoyances for later stories. 
I feel pretty good, myself.