You see, the sad truth is.
Many times all that separates my most profoundly unprofound thoughts and their shameless appearance on this blog is a mere breakdown in the technological infrastructure, ie sometimes shit really happens.
My mentally effusive goodness is only as good as the integrity of the technological highway which it requires to reach you.
Back in the beginning of September, right after I kicked off Phoenixism, a fire broke out at a local SoCal Edison power station. I had no power for almost 3 days. That was a serious breakdown in the technological highway. It was a serious breakdown on many levels.
I had nowhere to turn. I wanted to write, publish, share my witticisms and other amusements. But I had no access. The world was beyond my electricity-deprived keyboard tapping fingertips. My laptop worked off battery power, but the internet was dead. Disconnected from the cyber world and unable to share, I wallowed here in the candlelight.
During the second night of darkness, I typed out a small symbolic blog in Word and saved it to the hard drive where it could live until I retrieved it again after my power returned. Agony man.
Now this morning I crawled out of bed, started the coffee pot and routinely flicked on the modem and powered on the computer. Lo and behold, I couldn’t raise any websites. My Chrome browser flashed the same little message each time I tried to open a URL…resolving host. That message usually blinks by almost invisibly, but if it sticks around long enough for you to read, it means the internet is not in the cards right this minute. As soon as I see those two words refuse to vanish, I feel my little nerdy, asocial heart break. It means that for a minute, or a few hours, I will be thrown into a strange solitary confinement of sorts. Isolated from the world.
Sadly, I’ve now experienced these sporadic bouts of non-connectedness about 3 or 4 times in the past month. I’ve even programmed Time Warner’s customer service number into my phone. When I learned Time Warner was assuming control of my previous Adelphia neighborhood, I was thrilled. Time Warner, at the time, had a great brand and they represented the finest a popular cable provider had to offer. Lately, their internet backbone has been on crack.
You call Time Warner’s helpline and more often than not, you need to cycle through the menus before you reach a point where you’re talking to some customer service agent located hundreds or thousands of miles away while they weakly guide you through a series of steps which concludes with the same result every time…something is broken. And there are times the problem is so dire and widespread that you get the immediate “your cable connection is fucked up, we’re sorry, keep trying” message before you even have the opportunity to descend into the realm of Time Warner customer serviceland.
This was one such morning. After I punched in the number “1” for English, I was immediately treated to this message:
Great. I didn’t plan on posting anything, but I thought I would take a quick morning-after postmortem survey of the disaster I left behind in the wake of last night’s comment blitz.
It’s rather amusing that I take such great pains to maintain a somewhat dignified and intelligent vibe around these parts yet I have no such standards when I whore it up on other blogs where I find myself stringing together globs of comment vomit, some of which I’m really embarrassed about the next day. Your public comments are a reflection of you and your blog, but this little piece of logic goes right over my head, every time.
So that was my goal this morning. Survey the damage.
But Time Warner shut me down man. No surveying for me. I would just have to trust in the fact that my comments would typically prove rather benign and harmless (and slightly trite) when exposed by the morning sun.
The morning sun was shining but it was rather chilly out, and in spite of my strangely boastful post Cold Showers… the other day, I wore a jacket. Yesterday I decided to forgo the jacket but it wasn’t nearly as cold as today.
Yesterday was one of those days that proved quite amusing on the public transportation front. The Red Line, specifically.
When I entered the train I noticed right away that 2 sheriff deputies were sitting at the opposite end of the car.
Sitting, as passengers. They didn’t seem to be patrolling the train as you sometimes see. Nope, these 2 guys were just sitting there, riding along on the northbound train, looking every bit as routine and normal and bored a pair of riders as you and me. Still they were cops. Buff mothers. I don’t know what L.A. County gives those dudes, but they are always bursting out of their olive green shirts. It’s a police force manned by Incredible Fucking Hulks, every one of them.
They scared off one person, that’s for sure. There is a woman who takes the train almost every morning. I’m guessing she’s in her mid 40’s, but man, she looks like she’s been around the block a million and one times. Her face is thrashed. The hard life; she looks oh so hard. She has a nice body, one of those instances where the body catches your eye quickly and fills you with a short-lived excitement before your hopes are dashed in a ball of fire once you see the face. She is a paper bagger, simple as that. Anyways, when the train stopped, she was standing right outside the window where the cops were sitting. Skillfully and streetwise, she saw them and nonchalantly acted as if she was waiting for the next train, maybe the next week. Evidently she didn’t mind her schedule being pushed back 10 minutes (the next train), not when having to share a car with some of LASD’s finest and scariest waited for her. The train took off and left her little rap-sheeted, coke-snorting ass behind.
Eventually the sheriffs exited at Wilshire/Western, and I think this is where the older Filipino gentleman boarded and sat next to me.
Dressed neatly and primly, I barely took notice of him. I was too busy zoning, listening to my music, disconnected as you gotta be when you’re stuck in a tin can underground with a bunch of scary and smelly strangers. Disconnected and oblivious. We drove on for a while. At Sunset/Vermont, I began to get ready since I would be exiting in two stops and there is nothing I hate more than rushing to run out the doors before they close. That kind of thing can set you back a 1/2 hour…I know, it’s happened to me before.
So suddenly Filipino man pulls out a Watchtower from a bag and attempts to hand it to me. Now I’m an atheist but I still treat those who attempt to pawn their religion off on me with respect. Polite smiles, “no thank you’s,” I have it down now. I’ve learned to escape their pitch quickly and efficiently without being too offensive.
Not so with the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
I save all my anti-religious rancor in a special place where it waits to burst with each painful JW encounter. Maybe it’s because they’ve found a way to enter my apartment building or that they come knocking at the most inopportune times with their damn Sunday suits and Laura Ingalls frumpiness. Damn it they bother me!
So I was taken aback when Filipino man suddenly decided to proselytize here on the train! Watchtower my arse. I never accept the Watchtower. I see a lot of JW’s handing that shit out at bus stops or on trains or buses…I guess their breed of religionism flourishes when they have captive audiences. Although dealing with a pushy Jehovah’s Witness can make anyone want to walk off a moving bus…
The Watchtower invariably becomes trash. I think most people take it simply because they are bored and have nothing else to do while they are on the bus, not because they seek God or whatever lunatic sense of worship these trespassers have.
Oh, and I also noticed as he attempted to hand me the propaganda that the dude was gay as a pack of a wild Chihuahua’s. You could just tell. He had that curly smile and sweet expression, and the slightly limp wrist as he put the Watchtower away after I rebuffed him. Eeks! That changed the whole dynamic. I never knew the JW’s were so…open.
Hey that means I can title this post “Invasion of the gay Filipino Witness.” How does that grab ya?
One lesson that has stuck with me from Journalism school is that your story’s opening paragraph and headline need a “hook” to draw the reader in. A boring headline will easily deter or lose the casual blogreader who is pressed for time.
Blog posts follow many of the same guidelines that newspaper stories follow.
Succinct. My high school journalism teacher, Ms. Wang, was big on that quality. You must be succinct!
God, that is one lesson that never stuck.