If Everyday Were My Birthday

Friday, October 31, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

I wish everyday were my birthday, and not just for the cake.  Though the cake is nice.  I mean, who doesn't like cake.   Of course, when your birthday falls on Halloween, as mine does, there is already a cavalcade of candy coursing through your system, rendering the cake a smidge less essential.  Just a smudge.

Today I'm writing in a tea shop.  Old school.  Hundreds of shiny sliver tubes, all labelled with their worldly dry tea leaves, sit on shelves built to house the canisters. There is a shamisen playing on the hidden speakers up in the exposed wooden rafters. It's a mellow place.  On not my birthday, I type as much as I can before getting distracted, and then fiddle around online for a few minutes until I can get myself back on track.  This is not the most productive way to be productive.  It is MC Scat Cat productivity: three steps forward, two steps back.

But on my birthday, I waste much less time.  I get distracted, click over to Facebook, read eight messages of good tidings from long lost friends from high school, Israel, Japan, Australia, even New Jersey -- and that love focuses me back to the task at hand. Apparently getting a constant barrage of online loving for 36 hours (time zones!!!) is an affective counterbalance to the solitary nature of writing.

Which means the only logical conclusion is to find a way to make it my birthday everyday.  If I parcel out each date to my Facebook friends, I should be able to get at least 2 or three good threads going by midday, everyday.  I'll have start working with the volume turned off on my computer to avoid the noise pollution of my Facebook indicator chiming endlessly at the commentary rolling in.  Oh what a life it would be, if everyday were my birthday.

Who wants to take November 1st?

Fuck the Police--Part VI: The One Where They Give Me a Ticket and I Get Legitimately Pissed Off

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 | 3 Comment(s)

I had just finished writing Fuck the Police Part V.  Just.   After getting my verbal warning on Sunday, on late Wednesday afternoon I was driving home to post my recent police encounter on the blog and then be done with it. You know, cause, fuck the police.

When the now ubiquitous blue and white lights began flashing behind me, I was on the same road on was on the last time I got pulled over.  I was going 30 mph, just like the last time I was pulled over.  Three days ago.

When the short stocky police office sauntered over to my driver side window, I figured, "Yay, this again. What a waste of time. At least I can just explain to the guy what happened and this experience might not even be worthy of a blog entry."  As you are reading this, you understand that this is not how things went down.

Fuck the Police: Part V

Saturday, October 25, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

At this point, when I see the police lights alight behind me, I almost get giddy at the bountiful harvest of a blog post I know is about to unfold through my car window.  Almost.

This is a REAL photo I took this past Wednesday
As I mentioned recently, I get up early on Sundays to beat the church-goers and brunch-getters on my way to go swimming.  If I can be in the locker room before 9am, I am pretty much guaranteed a lane to myself for the duration of my workout.  That's the dream, that's why I'm setting my alarm on the weekend.

This past Sunday, I fed the dogs, stuck them back in bed with their slumbering mom, and voyaged out into the morning, right on schedule.  About five minutes down the road, I see a cop car with its lights going.  A recently pulled over driver is still awkwardly leaning over the center console to find their registration.

"The cops are out this morning," I said to myself, and kept cruising down the street.  Ten minutes later I see another cruiser in an alcove to my right.  I going 35.  Maybe 35.  "That cops really are out today," I  think, as my car shuffles past.

Then the lights and the pullout. This is when I would be giddy if I werent trying to get to the pool early and if it wasn't 8:30am on a Sunday.  This is the most important use of police resources.  Sigh.  Here we go again.  I honestly have no idea why I'm being pulled over this time, but the anticipation is palpable as I start surfing the web, knowing the police take 45 minutes to come to your window.

Power Padding Through LIfe: Little League Edition

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

After elementary school on Tuesdays, my friend Nicole and I walked together the quarter mile to her family's house.  Just a pair of Jewish 9-year-olds cruising down the middle of a rarely travelled side street, on our way to our weekly play date.

Nine times out of ten, the Nintendo was involved when celebrating those parent-free moments before Nicole's mom took us to Hebrew school.  I still have vivid memories of tapping at the floor like maniacs, stretching for the finish line of Power Pad's maiden release: Track and Field.  When we got too sweaty, we would switch over to Ice Hockey or Double Dribble.  Those 16-bit competitions soon led to an adolescence playing sports together. 

In little league, Nicole and I were on the same team: The Italian American Club.  All the teams were sponsored and named after local businesses (no MLB Trademark infringements here). Perhaps they mistook us for Italian.  We were just thankful we weren't on Burger King, which was an actual team name, even though they were the perennial champs.  Must have been the special sauce.

The Invisibles: The Supervillians Behind Interior Design

Wednesday, October 15, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

When I was growing up, I did not use the downstairs bathroom. Ever. That was the guest bathroom, and it was only for guests.

On any given day, this no poop zone was no big deal.  Our bathroom, that is to say, my brother and my bathroom, was just at the top of the carpeted stairs. And for all 17 years I lived there (post pooping in my pants), I managed that cushy climb to the toilet.  

I never fully grasped why the downstair hall bathroom held such a place of esteem in my parents' eyes.  It isn't a special bathroom.  Don't get me wrong, I love the geometric wallpaper and the late 80's decoration sensibility, but it undeniably cramped and doesn't even have a tub.  

To be clear, it wasn't only that you didn't go to the bathroom in the guest toilet.  You didn't go in the room.  You didn't wash your hands in the sink.  You didn't dry your hands on the towels that were forever hung to rest on two metal rungs.  And you sure and shit didn't throw anything in the trash can provided under the sink. Blow your nose elsewhere son. 

It was a long time before I started to realize the dynamic behind our vacuum-sealed bathroom.  The guest bathroom was a show room.  A room you provided off-handedly for visitors to use that was secretly the most well-coifed, curated spot in the joint.  The main utility of the guest bathroom was to give off the impression that this little area was a microcosm of the entire house.  That is to say, the entire estate was immaculate and neat -- as if no one had set foot in there either.  The guest bathroom was a lie that said, "We've got our shit together . . ." and possibly the, ". . .way more together than you!" addendum.

The Locker Room Happened Again Yesterday. That Shit Was Not Ok.

Monday, October 6, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

So.  I've been off the locker room stories for a while now.  I realize they were some of the best comedy I've put up thus far, but they were also tinged with a smattering of mean-spiritedness. Since most of them, not all of them, but most of them were innocent bystanders who I just decided to attach labels to and break down physiologically.  I agree that the guy who left his bathing suit hanging off the lock in front of his locker kinda had it coming, but it's the first time I've gone so far as to be that person who gives it.  I didn't convince myself that it was worth the bad karma.  Especially after the back surgery that followed. 

Another reason for the lack of locker room hijinks is that I switched gyms.  For the past 5 months I'm been going to an "Athletic Club," which in Amherst pretty much equates to a Jewish Community Center + a pool + other diverse older people. There are lots of "oy's" and kvetching.   The locker room in my new gym is a minyan of town gossip and bragging about off-spring. If you needed to explain to your grandparents what humblebragging is, you should tell them to come visit my current locker room.  It defines it. 

But today.  Today . . . today I was visually assaulted, and it was not cool.  It was a steaming sweaty pile of not cool at all.

My Reckoning with Modern Religion

Thursday, October 2, 2014 | 1 Comment(s)

Welcome to the Days of Repentance.  It's a Jewish thing.  If you don't know what they are, I suggest a quick google search. For a lot of reasons.

Anyways. During this period of reflection I've decided to take a harder look at my own relationship with religion. During the recent passing of the Jewish new year celebration (5775 btw--palindrome year), I found myself spending that night in my recliner watching television.  No big deal.

And then like any good plugged-in American I made my way onto Facebook where I saw a litany of pictures of Rosh Hashana dinners.  High school friends, grad school friends, family.  I felt an avocado-sized pit, with toothpicks punctured into its sides, growing in the cabinet of my soul.  I yearned for a little rustic traditionalism.  

This isn't a sob story.  It wasn't like I was the lonely Jew on Christmas.  I was at home out of my own indifference towards the coming holiday.  Because religion, to put it bluntly, has simply pushed me past my breaking point.