My affair at the end of the ocean

See, back in the day.
I love “back in the day.”
Back in the day is such a lazy and pastorally wicked phrase of half-hearted longing.

Back in the day distances you.
I can say, “back in the day, when I had my 13-month affair (actually, about 18), because really, I define an affair as that which happens in secret. I think if you are fucking another chick and your wife knows, this is not an affair. It’s an open relationship, it’s kooky, whatever the fuck you want to call it, but it’s not an affair. An affair insinuates illicit liaisons and hotels and steamy car windows and hushed midnight phone conversations. “Affair” implies some degree of despicable slyness. That is an affair, and as such, I believe my affair lasted about 18 months.

That’s a load of stress, man.
Lying, day in, day out.
Lying becomes a fixture of personality. You refine it and sculpt it in your image. Some people do this shit with Jesus or God or whatever, some of us do it with the tales we spin in order to save our own ass.
I haven’t been very open about the A word on this blog, interestingly.
I reveal every little disgusting thing about my life. My dilapidated shower stall, my drinking, my whoring….but I have not talked about the A word. Is it for shame?

Maybe. I don’t enjoy talking about some things, and this is one of them. God knows, you gotta be a fuck up of cosmic proportions to have an affair for 18 months.

See, it really was love. I don’t use the word lightly. But it was love and it triumphed over all else that should have mattered more.
When you’re in love with someone else who you shouldn’t be morally and legally uninvolved with, you find many ways to work around the system just to talk. And love.

We sang songs to each other on the phone. Most of the time, we sang the same ol’ pop crap and sappy oldies. I have absolutely no voice to speak of, but I don’t care. I sang to my heart’s content. I would dial her number and sing. Everything from Leo Sayer to 10cc to Louis Prima. I sang it all man, I was in love. Every sappy melody related to me, and it related to her. I was a basket case. Singing the most outlandish embarrassing shit over the phone to an electric mail box and calling it Romance.

Despite it all, there was one song I found myself singing over and over to my mistress.
An oddball quirky thing from this hot skinny brunette, Ivy , who incidentally has a new album due soon.

This song has sat tireless on my computer for the longest time. Yesterday I listened to it again, closely, for the first time in years. The lyrics must have spoken to my torn heart then and I didn’t realize it. Such is the blindness of love affairs. This is why I chose to sing this song to her during the most tempestuous and illicit period of our affair. It bespoke of something I fought living in the netherworld of an adulterer.

Men fall in love when they have sex too.
That thinking is not solely the domain of femdom though they would have you think it.

We are weak and we succumb.
Face it, guys. The more honest you are, the stronger you will be.

Go ahead and ruffle your unruffled feathers.
Pound your chest and happily act like there is no woman walking this planet who ever (or will) matter to you.

Love is weakness and it is strength and it fucks up your life if you let it.
I did, but I love singing my adulterer, dreamer song to my love. The lyrics spoke of my pain.

There’s a place I dream about
Where the sun never goes out.
And the sky is deep and blue.
Won’t you take me there with you.

When you love another woman, she resembles an alternative existence, a fantasy that is the antithesis to the daily grind, bullshit, that you are fending off. She is the anti-responsibility, the anti-commitment, and you leave her each passionate evening to come home to a morosely responsible wife and defined children. But for 20 minutes or an hour, the sun came out and you Went.

Ohhh, we can begin again.
Shed our skin, let the sun shine in.
At the edge of the ocean
We can start over again.

In an affair, there is a promise of a constant state of revival.
You feel, each time you embrace your illicit lover, that the world has begun anew. That you have found love again. It is like having your first crush in the 3rd grade. Horizons unearthed and upheaved. You can shovel your sordid past into forgetfulness.

There0’s a world I’ve always known
Somewhere far away from home.
When I close my eyes I see
All the space and mystery.

We romanticize that which lies beyond our grasp. All affairs. As such, they become mysterious and epically favorable. They embody that which we yearn for. You kiss a girl for the first time, a sly peck which burdens your soul with guilt, and you escape. An escape like an opiate. And you can never come back. If you close your eyes when you kiss her, give up

Ohhh, we can begin again.
Shed our skin, let the sun shine in.
At the edge of the ocean
We can start over again.

This embodied the love affair I knew.
You can shed your skin but lawyers wait in the wings.
And if you had children, you can never shed a thing unless you are a monster.

But you want to shed, you want to fling off the shell of existence and and pretend it never happened.
You worship normalcy.
You hate hotels, you hate 9:30pm pained goodbyes.
You hate your false reality.

“Defender” as a symbol of my obscure mental life

It’s that special time to insert some cheesy graphics which serve absolutely no purpose other than to illustrate an undefinable and esoteric point about my psyche and which, most likely, don’t even do that very well.

But here goes.

Remember Defender?
Most likely, you don’t.
Do you know Defender?
It was an old 80’s style under-pixelated arcade two-dimensional video game which allowed you to steer your fighter jet or spaceship, never quite sure, right or left, up or down. In that sense, it played like a three-dimensional game because you needed to be leery of shit coming at you from 4 directions, up, down, left, right, and if you were moving, diagonally.

Here’s my cheesy video of a sample of the game play:

So now that I’ve become ridiculously distracted and strayed wildly from my point, let me just say I thought of Defender this morning as I drove into the parking structure at work.

Just before I arrived in Hollywood I found myself corralled into one of those great flows where everything just seems to go right. Have you ever experienced that? For a few moments, minutes, whatever, everything is just right. Your mood soars, all physical placements of your environmental elements seem to fall into place perfectly, and things are so good for that sliver of time that you wonder when the other shoe will drop, because it always fucking does. Drop.

Let me put it this way.
This morning was undifferentiated, for the most part. I showered, dressed, ate, lifted weights, drove to work, entrenched in a zombie-like pall that my daily work day frequently succumbs to. Rote maneuvers and automatic unthinking reactions litter and mold my day. I am a rehearsed robot, responding to a string of calculated commands. I have no conscious will during the work week. I mindlessly head in the same direction, mindlessly do the same shit, day in, day out, and most of the time I am a walking glob of carbon matter which obeys a higher chain of demands. So it was this morning.

Immersed in this zone, I drove by street, the gray clouds gathered, rain promised. Somewhere in or near Hollywood, I became stuck behind a large Staples cargo truck that wasn’t moving very swiftly and cars kept switching lanes in an attempt to pass it. Me, sedated by my robotic zone, just stayed behind the truck while everyone darted around me in hopes of passing the lumbering truck. I did not give a crap about the truck or making good time. Who the hell rushes to work? Only losers and idiots. Fuck that. I hung back and I stayed on the tail of this teetering Staples truck (which incidentally boasted, in a big yellow placard on the rear trailer wall, “this truck does not exceed 60 mph”) and just allowed my car to drive itself. Cars passed, so many that they began stacking up in the free lane next to us, piling on each other in their frantic rush to pass us. At one point, the truck suddenly lurched into a left turn lane, leaving my lane free and empty for 2 or 3 blocks. I was then able to pass all the cars that had become stacked by virtue of trying to pass the truck and me. Now I was passing them and flying down a portion of the street that is never empty at this time in the morning. I flew down the street, made it through a couple of yellow lights and hit my left turn at the precise opportune moment when no other cars were headed in the opposite direction (another rare occurrence) and I was able to turn left quickly and cleanly. Suddenly, physical elements fell into place, barriers gave way, the universe unfurled clearly and welcomed my progress for once! My mood lightened. I pulled into the parking lot and flashed my badge at the morning security guard who was feasting hungily from a bag of potato chips. “Great breakfast you got there!” I bellowed uncharacteristically. I don’t talk to people like this, you see. But the auspicious clearing of lanes left me in an accelerated state of energy. My spirits soared as I drove by another security guard who waved at me. I returned his wave enthusiastically.

This was one of those slivers. Happy, ebullient slivers where the precious briefness of time carries the slightest breath of joy and contentment. And as I walked into work, of course the euphoria began to dissipate, as it always must.

Ups and downs of our moods, they go like this.
For a moment pure happiness lifts your spirits; and for another, pure dread and unease trample your spirit in the same breath.
Up, down.
Life is your landscape, your memory is your joystick.

You can live backwards, you can hope forward.
Up, down, are oblivious to the forces of memory and this dramatic interaction of your moods and fleeting memories and aspirations are entangled with the moments in time where you place yourself, then, now, or tomorrow. A morass of actions and intersections. For some, going back is natural; for others, going forward. Up and down confound matters. Two dimensions, but perceptibly, it’s like 4.

Generalizations about Money

A new installment of the Generalization Chronicles coming at ya, afresh!
*****
It’s the root of all evil.
Or this true?
Why do so many say it? And repeat it?

Can this be argued? Is human evil intrinsically constructed from all rudimentary units of currency and barter? Are dollar signs solely the cunning source of all human misery and grief?

Conversely, can money serve any saintly purposes?
Can money be the root of good?

The only possibility I believe can be argued for this is when money is used as a tool or vehicle of charity, of a self-imposed sense of selfless volunteering of one’s personal resources in order to help those with less. But is this “good” behavior spawned of money, or is money merely a flashy byproduct of the human altruistic impetus?

In other words, money is an elemental ingredient of evil. It’s the voracious human hunger for money in its dearth which drives man to commit the most heinous and unspeakable acts. However, the presence of money does not necessarily connote virtuous behavior. Money does not make us donate or lend a helping hand. Money can be offered as a token of kindness, but evil is proffered as a token of simply money and nothing more. Man is driven to display kindness through the elaborate exhibition of money. He is rewarded in tax breaks and shiny societal recognition and that strange sense of self-congratulatory mental masturbation he may experience. Relinquishing money; surrendering it without receiving material recompense is counter-intuitive. We construct a rewards system to make people disobey their base urges. Charity sates an image and many times it is ulterior and impure.

Money is the root of all, or most, evil.

Money is a manifestation of the human desire to display that which can’t and shouldn’t be displayed.
It is a physical and tangible outgrowth of man’s intellectual instinct to stratify his civilization, to compare and contrast himself and to elevate himself in the absence of the ability to display such qualities gradually and by example. Money is impatience.

Money is immediate. It is anti-stoic gratification. Money is our lurid consciousness stacked in bundles of potential pleasure.

If someone came along, a magical, powerful entity, and he snapped his fingers and every single item of money and currency on the planet vanished, man would be at a loss. For a while. However, his nature would eventually distort any artificial sense of equality and his ego and vague ambitions would again give birth to an artificial measuring stick of societal bartering which would eventually coldly sift through the entirety of mankind and leave those who want it the most with the most. Though resourcefulness or viciousness, or both. But those who want it the most will end up with the most. Money is like the fruition of a physical urge to defecate on those below us. Money is a tool of emotional distance and triumph.

Money denotes worth and what is worth?
If not an inherent value…to what?
American money used to be based on the gold standard, it represented a consistent and delineated standard of measurable worth.

Money creates secrecy and it creates conspiracy and it cloaks honesty.
Money represents different things to all and it can represent different things to the same person thorughout his life.

Money used to represent fast cars. Cologne. Clothes.
Entertainment.

Money loses its luster to the even-minded.
Money is always important and it makes us do anything we don’t wish to do in good conscience.
Money represents savings, now.
It represents a net.
Money represents undiluted potential. It is unknown and untouched dark matter.
It represents food and peace.
And nothing more.

The amount of energy we devote to money and its adulation is inversely proportional to sporadic flares of personal serenity.

Money buys happiness, I don’t buy it.
Money buys the ability to be happy.
The way society is structured, many times the pursuit of money is simultaneously fraught with personal peril and happiness dissolves in the mad race to accumulate more money…

And what is money, but goods. And belongings, frail possessions.
Items.
Status.
Money is incurably human. Vile.

What does money measure of a person’s worth? Value?
Are there virtuous qualities of the man who attains money?

In some Latin American countries, money is scarce, but happiness is abundant and immeasurable. Those who crave money in the civilized sense are baffled by such unlikely possibilities. This is the the left-brain bullshit our consumerist society pounds in our heads as soon as we can comprehend televised advertisements.

What is happiness?
Why…what is money?

Money is a man-made contrivance which gives life and form to his desires and their disproportional rarity. Money gives form to value and worth which man cannot spell clearly in words.

Money…makes me think of a cartoon I saw once in which one of the characters is invisible. Another character, not invisible, looking to spot his hiding invisible friend, throws paint or other colored liquid which falls upon the invisible character. Painted, he is now laid bare, his unseen presence highlighted by a coat of this foreign substance. His unreality defeated by the form of material reality.

This is what money does to our appraisal of our own desires.

Eight hours

By my very own blogestimation, this is like shooting fish in a barrel.

It’s the archetypal urban myth. You know, the over-worked white collar cubicle dweller unmercifully cast aside to the fates of clerical insignificance. Office purgatory.

Rebecca Wells showed up for her L.A. County civil service job at the Department of Internal Services (whatever the hell that is) bright and early on Friday morning. Undoubtedly there was a tinge of relief and elation in the air as all office prisoners experience that joyous fifth morning of each week (as I can attest). Just 8 more hours we regale ourselves. Rebecca showed up at her cubicle, and was last seen alive at 9 am.

Friday came and went.
The casual indifferent anonymity of our modern age is both a consolation and a curse.

We work. Housed in a physical matrix of square and functional fluorescent wombs. During the day, Rebecca slumped over at her desk and died. When, no one knows. But the last time she was seen alive was 9 am which means she probably told her co-workers “good morning” before she faded into the clerical cloud of non-existence.

Frankly, I don’t know which is worse. If she died immediately and her hunched body was simply ignored due to the physical isolation of her workspace and the possibility that some people can work entire days without interacting with one other person despite the fact they work in a swarm; or if she died minutes before the final bell and not one single witness can be summoned to recall that they saw or spoke with Rebecaa any time after 9 am.

DOWNEY (KTLA) — An L.A. County employee apparently died while working in her cubicle on Friday, but no one noticed for quite some time.
51-year-old Rebecca Wells was found by a security guard on Saturday afternoon.
She was slumped over on her desk in the L.A. County Department of Internal Services.
“I came in Saturday to do a little work, and I saw them when they were taking her out,” co-worker Hattie Robertson told KTLA.
The exact time of death is not clear, but detectives say that, at worst, she had been dead for a day before her body was discovered.
The last time a co-worker saw her alive was Friday morning around 9:00 a.m., according to Downy police detectives.
Wells, a USC graduate, was a longtime compliance auditor, and had recently become a grandmother, according to co-workers.
Investigators have not determined the official cause of death, but they say foul play is not suspected.

It’s the siege of the worker bee!
We are steered to our cells. We devote our life to crafting a resource, to the essence of pure production while we lose our Selves in the process.

And our Self, lost, will shed all importance to those around us. We drop dead while we work and the Hive will shovel us away and replace us immediately with another denizen who stands in the wings, ready to fill the empty space. A never-ending supply of labor.

Anonymity of the worker is the greatest gift they never taught Business school robots.

Anonymize them, seclude them, rob their souls, burrow them into a little efficiently lit cave and throw some cheap rewards at them so they won’t worry about their security or family. The Business schools are furiously working a way around that sticky family issue. People with families are so beholden to matters outside of work, yet, because of these very same families, are so utterly dependent on the pseudo-benevolence of the masters as well. It’s a two-edged sword.

How in the fuck.
How can someone die at their desk under the bright moon of office park fluorescents in complete anonymity for a day?

They say we all die alone.
But what of those who die in a crowd, a stampede rush?

Valentine’s Day, when dreams come true!!

Sure, St. Valentine’s Day is lameass, why spend more than two seconds of precious blog time trying to drive that point home?

We all know it, we all embrace it, however some of us act a bit too self-righteous in our denouncements. We act as if the human race is not entitled to the occasional bullshit diversions, as if each and every day must ring with the dignified echoes of stern humanity. C’mon, we are a glib and bored species, we need the cyclical pressure valve of mundane trivialities around which to parade our most insignificant rites and obsequious buffoonery. If anything fits, it’s most assuredly Valentine’s Day. Go with it, leave it be. Women love this shit, they eat it up, the day is elevated to a level of Goddess-infused worship that astounds the most clear-minded male thinkers. Actually, most of the clear-minded male thinkers themselves get rounded up and sucked into the womanly vortex of the intellectual vacuum of Valentine’s Day and its relentless parade of trite solipsisms. Rare is the attached male who escapes the Kafkaesque maze of Valentine’s rote expectations.

Valentine’s Day marks a very,very special anniversary for me. It marks a momentous pinnacle of achievement in my life. In 1993, Valentine’s Day fell on a Sunday, but the Saturday before, the 13th, was the perfect day/night for exaggerated celebration and nihilistic and symbolic snubbing of the institutionalized holiday. Some of the customers at a restaurant where I tended bar planned this “night out.” I was a spry 28. We all piled into the club called “The Hop” in the Puente Hills area of the San Gabriel Valley. The Hop was a large dance club that played “oldies” and “old school” – a blend of Motown and 70s funk with the occasional 70’s or 80’s disco inferno-ized rhapsody’s thrown in to satisfy the younger crowd and lead them to think they were actually in a club that someone under 25 might actually appreciate (ie, “hip”). We nabbed a section of seats and sat down between dances, drank and talked, and the horny electricity of Valentine’s Eve sliminess filled the air. The Hop, due to the demographics which favored its DJ playlists, was populated mostly by my people, especially older gangster dudes, veteranos and some washed out but cosmetic-induced chicas. However, the club induced a good mix of young clientele to liven the place up and make the older men drink a little more in order to reassure themselves they might actually go home with a 25-year-old sweetie tonight.

See, my problem was, and is, I’m a chickenshit. I find it very difficult to ask girls to dance, and implicit in each failed invasion of any nightclub was my personal expectation and futile hope that maybe this would be the night I would get asked to dance. This could be the night some chick, taken with my (fill in the blank) would make an effort to ask me to dance and spare me the embarrassment of risking my own dignity. As it turned out every time, I would leave the clubs much drunker than when I entered and with absolutely no dance floor Travoltian triumph to call my own. It was a tired routine and the implicit expectation was wearing thin and I barely bothered retrieving it and dusting it off for a fresh wear each time I went out. My hopes were in tatters.

Well, the evening flew by, lots of dancing and drinking, and a few hours later found me standing by the edge of the dance floor, looking on, and suddenly I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around and there was this short woman, thin, and she gestured me to dance. My moment had arrived! She was not hot, but she was not ugly, and like I said, she was short, and I would venture that I mirrored her qualifications in a male way. It was Valentine’s Day and she was no doubt fighting the obligatory loneliness all single women experience on this most romantic of days. I agreed to dance immediately. When we began, nature felt wronged. We danced and feigned fun, but I was caught unawares and I had nothing to say to her or to break up the monotony of our rhythmic swaying with. I could not entertain. I could barely find it in me to dance. We danced silently and glanced at each other apprehensively. I probably never would have thought to ask her to dance. Something didn’t strike me natural about this and I came across about as exciting and thrilling as a wet noodle. After the song, we split up. We didn’t continue talking or pursue our dance floor union. I didn’t see her again the rest of the evening.

But it happened, on a Valentine’s Eve.