Friday, April 30, 2010

Don Draper

Lately I've been having the most elaborate lunches. I start with an appetizer - cheese or salad. Move on to my premeal beverage - beer, wine, or mimosa. Then it's entree time, usually fish, sandwich, or chicken (always with at least two sides). And at the end, I have a dessert, either scone or muffin, and wash it all down with an espreso, coffee, or tea. Sometimes ice coffee.

Basically, I like to pretend I'm a Mad Men character.

Now I'm usually very tight with money, but no matter what I do my bank account is always around the same number. That being said, I've decided to hold an experiment. I'm going to continue my elaborate lunches, regardless of the cost, and see if something changes in my life to compensate for my soon predicted debt. Now I know what you're thinking. That's mad, man! But you know what? Fuck it. Maybe you have to act like a baller to be a baller. And you know what else? I'm getting tired of feeling tight on cash, and I fucking love a robust meal.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Something I found in my notebook. Jan. 2010?

I saw a post-it hanging on a subway window last night. It had the word "help" written on it. It made me wonder who had put it there. It made me wonder if someone actually needed help. And most importantly it made me wonder if anyone was there to help the person who wrote it.

Then the post-it lost its stickiness and fell face down so no one else could read it, and I got the strangest feeling in my stomach.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My Plant

My plant is dying.

This is affecting me more than I ever thought it would, and although I'm predicting this to be a mind numbingly boring post,I still have to write it. For my plant. A eulogy of sorts:

I bought my plant four years ago at a corner store in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn; one with a half a dozen cats strolling around and a handful of old ladies scattered about on their rocking chairs.

"What plant do you want?" an old woman said. I scanned the store, clearly unsure of myself and my surroundings. I stuttered a little, and the old woman smiled.

"We have plants that grow tomato's, herb plants, whatever you'd like."

"What does that one do?" I said. I pointed to the far corner at a little plant with three giant leaves. The old woman stared at me and then back at the plant. She nodded, knowing we were a perfect match.

"That plant just grows," the old woman said. "It doesn't do anything." And I bought it for five dollars.

At the time I shared a three bedroom apartment with four other men (young men). It was a very smelly place. In fact, it was a very smelly time in my life all together, but one I'm very fond of.

The plant stayed in our living room, expelling fresh oxygen from our thick musk. I watered it everyday. I bought little blue sticks to put in its soil (plant food), and bought a spray bottle to keep its leaves fresh and moist. In a way, it was the first thing I ever took care of as an adult, and I loved it.

I drank a lot of beer around that plant. I only worked about fifteen hours a week and didn't have the money to go out much, so as you can imagine I stayed in most nights. Just me, my roommates, and my plant. My buddies! At night I would take the plant into my room, partly because I worried one of my roommates would knock it over if I left it alone, but mostly because I liked the company. I would put the plant on my bed and write with it at my side. It was a good companion, letting me do all of the talking, and every few minutes when I felt all alone I would peak over my shoulder and see it stretching wide, a smile of sorts, and I'd watch it continue to grow.

And then we moved. To a two room apartment in Bayridge, Brooklyn, and I shared a bedroom with a friend. I didn't own a lot of things at the time, basically just a mattress on the floor and a lamp and a nightstand I found during a garbage night. But I also had my plant, all I really needed, which I set up next to my mattress so we could sleep side by side. From the floor we could see a window, and on clear nights we could see stars. It was very nice, actually, and my plant and I looked out at the universe together, both continuing to grow.

And then winter came. My apartment didn't have good heat, or any heat some nights, and the window, which we used to love, was now just a doorway for freezing air. One morning I woke up and could see my breath and I was shaking from the low temperature. I turned to my plant and saw it drooping, a frown of sorts, and I quickly went to see my landlord.

"This apartment is too cold!" I said. "My plant will die. Don't you realize that? My plant!"

He gave me a curious look, was silent for a moment, and then said he would fix the heat in a few days time. So I left and bought two space heaters. I put them right next to my plant, surrounding it to make sure warm air touched all of its open surfaces. If this was the first thing I had taken care of in my adult life, then I was not giving up on it now. I couldn't give up on it, and I started thinking of all the different ways to mend my little plant back to health. I thought about giving it warm water, maybe tea. But of course I didn't. It's just a plant, I thought, I need to relax! And then I slowly looked over and touched its wrinkly leaves, trying their best to keep growing in my freezing, dark room.

But then the next day it was better. And the day after that it was healthier. My plant turned fresh and smooth again, and it grew and grew. My heat was fixed, and then it was spring.

And then, if you can believe it, I got an actual bed! I bought a wire to hang my plant up next to our window, I got a girlfriend, a full time job, and started becoming busier than I ever imagined. Life was good. But I still took care of my plant the best I knew how, always taking the time to water it with my spray bottle, write next to it, and even talk to it sometimes. My buddy.

One night, on my birthday, I took something, which we'll just call a substance, and I connected with my plant on a level I've never connected with another living entity. I could write more about this, but there's no need. I'm happy just having that moment be between me and my plant.

Then I moved. Again. This time to a place with my girlfriend in Bushwick, Brooklyn. It was much nicer than any other place I lived in after college, and it's safe to say the smelly time in my life was coming to an end.

I worked, went on vacations, wrote, played music, and always came home to my plant hanging by my bedroom window. It was big now, so big that it stretched almost two feet wide, and life went on.

And then, two months ago, I saw something I had never seen. A brown leaf. My plant had a dead, brown, wrinkly leaf. I did some research and quickly learned I should pull the dead leaf out, since it was sucking up the plants energy and life. So although I didn't want to, I reached down to one of its stems and removed it. My plant didn't do anything. Of course it didn't, it's a plant. So I went out to dinner.

Weeks went by, more working and living, and I kept seeing more brown leaves. So I kept picking them, until I noticed my plant was much sparser than ever before, and if I kept picking its leaves it would soon be left with nothing. So I started giving my plant much more attention. I'll admit I'd been neglecting it a bit for the past few months, but that was over now. I started watering it daily, never missing an afternoon. I used my spray bottle to moisten its leaves. I even got fresh plant food and sprinkled the proper amount on its soil as often as it was recommended. It was just like the old days. But there were still more brown leaves. Each day a new, brown leaf, and even the remaining green ones seemed weaker than usual.

I was confused, and oddly enough a bit angry. I wanted to go back to Bensonhurst and yell at the old women rocking in their rocking chairs that my plant was dying. That I was doing everything I could to make it better, but nothing would work. And then my girlfriend, who noticed I was getting a little too worked up, said something I'll never forget.

"Sometimes things just die, Sean." And she was right. There didn't need to be an explanation. Maybe my plant was just dying. Nothing else to it. So I thought about taking it outside and putting it back in nature. If it's going to die, maybe it should be in the earth. But I can't. I'm too selfish. I need to see this plant to the end. If it's the first thing I've ever taken care of as an adult, then it felt wrong to abandon it.

And now I'm just watching it get sicker and sicker. Everyday. There's no more growing for my plant, just brown leaves, ones that I'm too scared to tare off because there's so few left. So I'm just leaving it by my window now, letting it stare out to the world, our world, just like we used to.

It was a good plant. My first plant. And you know what? Working on this blog is a lot more fun with my buddy at my side.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Holy Man

Something I found in my notebook. Feb. 2010?

A holy man came up to me on the street today. He had a shaved head and was wearing a big, red robe. It's exactly what you're picturing. Anyway, I have no idea what religion he was promoting (I'm kind of a derelict when it comes to religion), but man was this guy passionate! He had all this paperwork typed up, explaining the path to spiritual enlightenment and giving every detail to his beliefs. Pretty precise, papers. But as he explained everything, my mind was floating adrift. There was no religion in my thoughts, however, just the holy man and his paperwork. I imagined him staying up late the night before, typing everything up to make sure it looked perfect, going back and forth between italicizing certain words or bolding them to get the perfect aesthetic effect. And then I imagined he didn't have a printer, so when he was done he had to go to Kinko's. But, OF COURSE, there was a problem there (because it's a fucking Kinko's) and he had to wait in line for probably like forty minutes until a disgruntled worker helped him. And then when he was FINALLY done he hit the streets, spreading the word of god (his god), and looking to pounce on the first clueless soul he could find - me.

So I'm standing there with the holy man and I'm listening to him go on and on. Boy does he love religion! And when he's finally done he holds his paperwork up, like he's got hard evidence which proves everything he's saying, and I just stare at it.

"You spelt atheist wrong," I said. "It's E before I." Forgot to press spell check I though! And then he stares at me. He's all sad now, real sad, and I feel like I just ran over a puppy. So I quickly smile and laugh a little. I want to jokingly hit the holy man's shoulder, but I don't.

"But I'm a horrible speller," I said (which is true, another area I'm a complete derelict in). "I'm sure you spelt it right."

And the holy man smiles - he's got real bad teeth. Then he talks a minute longer, gives me a paper or two, which I somehow trade him a dollar for, and we go our separate ways. Two confused souls lost in the details of a crowd.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Buddy and Friend

It's funny when you look at a person and you know there's so much more to them than you'll ever know. Allow me to explain...

This weekend I had coffee with a friend of mine. For the purposes of this story we'll call him Buddy. So Buddy is quite a fellow, probably one of the most friendly and passionate guys I know. So we're talking about life, work, music, love, and everything else that seems to naturally flow out of me whenever we meet, and then the topic of our significant others come up. You see Buddy's got this girlfriend, which for the purposes of this story we'll call Friend. Now I don't know Friend very well, we've only had a few short meetings despite me and Buddy's tight ties, but she's a very nice girl. Sweet, funny and gives great hugs. But besides that I honestly know nothing about her other than what Buddy tells me. And this is what I'm getting at... If Buddy is one of the most passionate people I know, then Friend must give him something amazing for them to be lovers, also meaning that Friend herself must be more amazing than I actually know. And honestly, I shouldn't know. I mean, what Buddy and Friend have is just for them, and even if I ask dozens of questions about their lives and relationship, I'll still never understand their bond and the idiosyncrasies that make them what they are. But regardless, when I see Friend or think of her, I can't help but imagine all the things I'll never know about her. How she's able to satisfy Buddy's soul. How she has thoughts and dreams and fears that are only hers. You see, to me she's a sweet girl that gives great hugs, and that's enough. It's all I need. But I still like knowing there's more, even if I never see it, and that's there's more to everyone in this world that we casually walk by everyday.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A One-Act

Guess what time it is? More sharing time!

So below is a link to "Original Works Publishing," which amazingly enough published one of my plays about two years back. It's not exactly selling like hot cakes, but nevertheless, I wanted to share this incase anyone's interested in checking out some new plays.

They're really good, too. HONEST!

Friday, April 23, 2010


Something I found in my notebook. Sept. 2009?

Remember when you were little and you saw big trucks drive by? So you would bend your elbow and raise your arm up and down, trying to get the driver to honk his horn? Well, I did that today and guess what happened? The driver leaned out of his window and said this:

"Fuck you, faggot!"

So I got to thinking. Do you think...

A - The driver actually thought I was gay?

B - The driver was in a rotten mood and doesn't like adults playing child like games?


C - The driver is against playfulness in general?

Now it would be easy to assume the driver is just another ass hole, but that's exactly why I don't want to do it. I mean, it was easy for him to call me a faggot, so I'd rather not follow his simpleton path by responding with another vulgar name. So Instead I'm going to think. Ready...Set... So when people see strangers they usually use single words to classify/ describe them. I mean, we don't have the time or the want to actually learn who everyone is, so by yelling "ass hole" or "hoe bag" or many other silly things that I'll let you imagine on your own, we're just connecting with other humans in our simple, cave person way. So that being said, is it better to connect with a person than to not connect with them at all? Even if the connection is only for a split second and is negative, is that better than nothing? Sure being called a faggot wasn't a nice thing, but it was still a thing, and things are what keep us all going. So you know what?! I'm going to forgive you, Mr. Truck Driver, because before I go any farther and start sounding too existential for my own good, here's a thought for the universe: emptiness is a distant second to vulgarity and anger.

It might not be true, but it makes life a little easier.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Holding Hands

When do we stop holding hands?

On my way to work I walk by a few schools and often see large groups of children, guided by a teacher, walking outside and holding hands. The children are divided into pairs, girl-boy, boy-boy, girl-girl, and it's adorable. They're just walking around the city, sweet and innocent, not self-conscience or homophobic enough to care that they're holding hands. So when does that stop?

I mean, you couldn't have high school kids hold hands, or even middle school kids really. They would call it "gay" or say people have "cooties." (Do kids still say that?) Either way, it makes me sad.

So I've decided that the next time I'm walking with a male friend I'm going to ask to hold his hand. And this isn't meant to be funny. I just really want to hold someones hand that I'd usually feel too uncomfortable or embarrassed to hold. Because I'm realizing now that something changes in a person when they start questioning and over analyzing basic human connections. Simply put, people lose something deep inside of themselves when they stop holding hands, something I don't have a name for, but I really want it back.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Time Traveler

So today I'm eating lunch when a guy comes in wearing black pants, a tan tie, and a brown button down shirt with a vest over it. He also has a pocket watch hanging at his side and he's wearing a monocle instead of regular eyeglasses. Yup, a fucking monocle...So naturally, I think he's a time traveler.

Anyway, he sits down and takes out an old fashioned notebook, way fancier than any moleskin I've every seen, and he places a glass jar next to it. Then he takes out a pen, really old school, with a metal tip on it that you dip into ink in order to write. And that's when I realize what the jar's far! We gotta fucking Benjamin Franklin on our hands! So he dips his old fashioned pen into his old fashioned jar of ink, and then he starts writing in his old fashioned notebook. He's real serious about it, too, like he's signing the constitution and determining the fate of our nation with a signature.

So as you can imagine, I'm sitting there with my mouth hanging open, and I quickly decide that I NEED to find out what this guy's writing. I mean, this is the classiest fella I've ever seen in my life, and he's just sitting here in my favorite lunch spot! So I walk over to him, nice and easy, and I slowly peak over his shoulder...and guess what he's writing? Nothing. He's drawing pictures... Pictures of BOOBIES! Yup, boobies. All shapes and sizes, too. So I stare at him, not sure I believe what I'm seeing at first, and I start laughing. Real loud, and the guy looks up at me all incredulous like and covers his notebook. But I don't give in, I just keep staring at him, chuckling away, because there's something about a time traveling pervert that I find very, very funny.


I saw a woman feeding squirrels in the park yesterday. She must have been some kind of Dolittle. There were about five squirrels lined up, no more than a yard away from her, and she was throwing nuts to them. One by one she threw little nuts, and the squirrels waited patiently for their turn. It was pretty amazing... At one point the squirrels were only a foot away, and I actually started to get nervous they were going to attack her. But the woman wasn't. She just kept feeding, the leader of a calm, collected clan. And when she was done, she slowly stood and walked away.

And then I got to thinking...maybe squirrels aren't so bad. Maybe they could even be cute and cuddly. And maybe, just maybe, all those little creatures we ignore all day could actually be our friends. Yeah! Beautiful, sweet friends.

And then you know what happened? A fucking pigeon took a shit on me.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Vietnam Vet

Something I found in my notebook. Sept. 2008?

I see this guy on the subway wearing a Vietnam Vet hat. Who knows if he was actually in Vietnam, but he's definitely the right age to be. Anyway, he's a bit drunk, mumbly, and he's pointing at everyone and yelling, mostly the young folk. He's saying stuff like we've never fought for anything in our lives, and we're just a bunch of spoiled, ungrateful shits. Pretty standard stuff. So I smirk at him, and he comes over.

"You think I'm funny, Boy?"

I put my head down and look away. I do think he's funny, but it's clearly not the time to show it.

"You're just another spoiled shit, aren't you? You get anything you want, don't you?"

And now I'm getting upset. Granted, I'm sure this guy has had a hard life, and if he actually did serve in Vietnam then I'm sure he's done and seen things I don't even want to think about, but for him to make assumptions about a complete stranger, whether it's me or anyone else, is a load of bull shit.

And then he leans in close. Real, real close.

"I bet you haven't seen a thing in this world, Boy. This whole god damned world...I bet you can't even imagine half the shit I've done for you."

I pause. We're both waiting for me to speak. I then slowly tilt my head up and stare at him. I want to tell him off, let my tongue run wild, but oddly enough his words are starting to sink in, somewhere I don't even know exists, and I just sit there.

"Thank you," I say. "Really, thank you."

And there's a pause. The guy stands there, a bit wobbly on his feet. I can tell he wants to keep yelling, to prove something to me and my entire generation, but instead he walks over to a seat and collapses down. Then he lowers his Vietnam Vet hat over his eyes and he's done.

Now I'm still for a while, just staring at the guy. I don't know what to think anymore. Is he the confused one, or is it me? Regardless, one thing's obvious, all he wanted was to be thanked. Pretty simple stuff. I guess at the end of the day that's all anyone wants.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Three Wise Men

I saw a woman breast feeding on the subway this morning. She had a baby girl, I'd say two months old, and she was crying louder than I ever imagined a baby could cry. The mother was embarrassed, red, and sweating. She looked so overwhelmed I imagined she was going to cry herself. She rocked the baby, sang to it, and rattled toys in front of her cute, little face, but nothing would work. Then finally, when it seemed like the crying would never end, the mother turned to me and the other passengers. She gave a defeated smile, sighed, and quickly lifted her shirt, exposing her swollen breasts. I turned away, a moment too late, I'm embarrassed to say, and the baby finally stopped. There was silence. Pure, beautiful, silence, and I smiled... That's when I noticed the other passengers. They were staring at the woman, disgusted. They stared at her breasts, making offended faces like they couldn't believe she was breast feeding on the subway. They rolled theirs eyes and shook their heads, and I wanted to say, "What the fuck?! The baby needed some food! Who cares?!" But of course I didn't. I just sat there, feeling the stares get stronger and stronger until I finally couldn't take it any longer so I stood. I moved in front of the woman, my back facing her, and I tried my hardest to block all of the stares. I don't know why I did this. It was silly, very unneeded, but I felt I had to. And then suddenly two other men stood, both much bigger than I am. They came to my sides and we formed a wall, protecting the baby and mother, making sure no one could see past us. We were a gate, guarding a world only meant for them.

And I know it sounds ridiculous, but as I stood there I felt like one of the Three Wise Men, using my body to shelter and give warmth to a baby Jesus on the A train.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Bad Waitress

So I go to this restaurant down the street from my work a lot, and they just hired a new waitress. The girl's a trip. She fucks up orders, drops things, and is basically a bad SNL skit. BUT despite her shortcomings as a waitress, she's extremely sweet and apologetic, so sweet that it's hard to ever get upset with her.

So last week I go to the restaurant, and as usual the waitress is a kindhearted mess. She drops a plate, spills a coffee, and mixes up peoples credit cards. We're all shaking our heads... And then she comes to my table with a wobbly plate, and I look down at it and sigh.

"I'm sorry, but I asked for a salad with this, not fries."

"Oh, I'm sorry! I'm just so stupid. Stupid, stupid!"

She's apologetic, as usually, but it's not sweet like I'm used to.

"It's fine," I say. "Not a big deal."

"But it is a big deal! I'm stupid. I'm such a stupid person!"

And she hits my table. Hard. We stare at each other. A few customers turn and stare. We're all silent, waiting to see what she'll do next, until she finally goes back to the kitchen with her head down. A minute later she returns with my correct order, making no eye contact with me or anyone else, though we're all watching. I pause. I want to say something to her, comforting words, but I just sit there, and she's leaves.

So the next day I come back to the restaurant and there's no bad waitress. I go a few days later and there's no plate dropping or drink spilling. And I keep going and going and I still never see her. So obviously, she's gone. And that's probably a good thing. I mean, she wasn't a good waitress, in fact, she was a horrible waitress, but that doesn't mean she was stupid. It doesn't mean she should have called herself stupid. And most importantly it doesn't mean she should have let a fucking restaurant goer like me ever make her feel stupid. Because she wasn't, and I really wish I had told her that.

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Clever Artist

There's this artist I know, and he said something clever. He said...

"I'm a very good dancer, because when you dance there's music to keep the beat. It tells you what to do. But when you're doing art there's nothing. That's why it's hard. There's nothing to help you or tell you how to move."

I'm still trying to figure this one out, because for some reason I think it's much deeper than meets the eye. Not sure. But regardless, it makes me wish everything in this world was like dancing, and that there was music to instruct our everyday lives.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

My Eyeballs

I keep thinking I'm going to lose an eyeball. Is that weird?

I keep writing about characters with eye patches, and seeing people with bandages across their eye.

"Careful!" I said to a man on subway holding a broom. "If you swing that the wrong way, you'll stab my eyeball!" He turned and sighed.

"Don't throw paper airplanes!" I said to the boy I give guitar lessons to. "Might hit an eyeball." And naturally, I pointed at my eyeball. He stared at me and laughed.

This is a very irrational fear I have, like most fears, but I can't help it! I'm not worried about death, the economy, or global warming...just my eyeballs. A very shallow thought, but the truth.

And then I started thinking...If I DO lose an eyeball, maybe it wouldn't be too bad. Under two strict conditions:

1 - That there's a big, bad ass scar going from my forehead to my cheek.

2 - That I own lots of fake eyeballs. Really cool ones, too, like I'm a James Bond villain. I ALSO want an eyeball that's like a snow globe, so when I shake my head it's a winter wonderland.

Then it wouldn't be so bad, right?

I guess what I'm getting that we all have our weird fears. But maybe instead of trying to stop those fears, we should just realize that there's a strong possibility they could become real, and instead of running away from that, we should try to make it funnier.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Prayer

I saw a young woman kneeling in front of a church. I walked to her. I wanted to see how she was praying. If she was crying or if she was hurt. I wanted to be near someone who had so much faith they would kneel on the sidewalk just to pray.

And then I saw it. She wasn't praying, she was texting. So I sighed and walked back to work.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The End Of A Book

You know what's something? Watching someone finish a book.

It doesn't happen a lot, but if you scan the subways, parks, or any other crowded place in the city, you're bound to see someone flipping through their last pages. They finish, look up, and usually sigh. Because it's the end. The end of something that can never be replaced. All those friends and stories trapped between hundreds of pages are just memories now...Just like everything and everyone else in this world.

You can revisit them of course, but it's different now, and so are you.

I hate finishing books.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Pretty, Pretty Rose For A Gangster

Something I found in my notebook. April, 2009?

I'm on the subway holding a bouquet of flowers. I'm going uptown, way uptown, to a cute town in the Bronx called Pelham. Despite the quaintness of my final destination, the journey there can be a bit spotty. Fights, screaming fits, and the occasional homeless person relieving themselves is an often occurrence on this subway. Basically, you have to keep on your toes.

So I'm holding and sniffing my flowers when a crew of a guys come on. There's 12 of them. Wife-beaters, tattoos, and thick gold chains...It's exactly what you're picturing, and they surround me.

"Nice flowers," a voice says.

I pause and look up. Real up, and I see a man of about 6'7'' and 300 pounds. He's got a tattoos on his face, of spider webs growing out from his sideburns. His voice is low, so low I'm not sure if it's him or the moving train vibrating my feet, and I can tell he's the man in charge.

"Thanks," I say, and the other guys laugh, like they know a joke that I can't seem to get.

"Where you taking those pretty, pretty flowers?" the big man says, and I start to sweat. By now the other passengers are on the far end of the train. I'm alone, just standing there, sweating, watching the big man raise his arm and expose his bicep and a long, thin, pink scar covering his ribcage.

"I wish I had some pretty, pretty flowers like that," the big man says. And the guys snicker. They clap their hands and stomp their feet, and I stay still, huddled and tightly gripping the stems. The other passenger lean forward, but no one says a word.

"These flowers are for my lady," I say. And everyone gets quiet. A bead of sweat drips from my cheek and lands on my hand, and the big man sighs. He leans in close, sniffing me like I'm sniffing the flowers.

"You want one?" I say.

And there was a pause. The guys, the passengers, and even the big man is now looking from side to side, like I'm telling a joke that no one seems to get but me.

"You trying to give me a flower?" the big man says.

"Just one," I say. And I swallow and look at my bouquet. I designed it myself, perfect, picking random flowers and putting them in order, and I slowly slide one out from the center, a thin, pink rose.

"Here," I say. And I hold the rose out.

The big man stares at it. He's silent. It's like he's only seen roses in the movies, but never actually held one in real life, and he opens his mouth, like he might say something, and he gasps. A little, tiny, cute gasp. Then he slowly reaches for the rose. His large, callused palms grip the delicate stem. He sniffs it, and for a second the other guys laugh, but he shoots them a look and they quite back down.

"Enjoy the pretty, pretty rose," I say. And then the subway stops. The doors open and the guys file out, silent, and looking down at their feet. The big man is the last to leave. He doesn't speak, he just holds the rose close to his wide chest, protecting it, right below his thick, gold chain. For a second I think he might smile, but there's nothing...Just a big gangster holding a rose.

Then the train takes off to a cute town called Pelham in the Bronx, and my perfect bouquet feels light.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Audio Documentary

I'm doing this blog because I need to share more. It's not really to write, since I do plenty of that nonsense other places. I'm just looking to share...even really, really old things I've been hiding.

So here is an audio documentary. It's about Santa Clause - right in time for summer.

18 minutes long (UGH!), but if you're interested in some holiday cheer...pump up the volume HERE.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Angry Student

Something I found in my notebook. Jan. 2009?

At work today I told a student we needed to move the date of his piano recital. He yelled at me, and then quickly left my office. I remained still, and after a few seconds I heard a loud bang. The student punched a wall, consequently braking his hand, and now he can't play piano.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Younger Woman

Last week I went to a meeting, and myself and a few coworkers arrived earlier. While we waited, an older man, which is what we'll call him for the purposes of this story, asked a fellow coworker, a younger woman, what she had majored in at college. The younger woman seemed instantly embarrassed by this question, and turned a bright red.

"I went to school for something silly," the younger woman said.

"What was it?" the older man said.

A long pause.

"Singing," the younger woman said. "Just singing." And she looked away. The older man was silent, and I held my breath.

"If there weren't silly people in the world, then the world would be ridiculous," the older man said. And the younger woman smiled.

I like that.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Boy Who Threw Sprite At Me

A few weeks ago a boy no older than twelve years old threw a bottle of Sprite at me. A full bottle. I'm just thankful it wasn't a can.

I was coming around a corner and we accidentally bumped into each other. I dropped my notebook. He dropped his cellphone.

"Watch where you're fucking going!" he said, and I quickly stepped back, not being used to strangers swearing and yelling at me.

"I'm sorry," I said.

"Better fucking be sorry," he said, and then I fully saw him. A little boy. Big baggy pants and a hooded sweatshirt on a little boy. So I laughed and stood tall.

"Watch your mouth," I said. "You don't have to swear." I took a step closer, and the boy put his arms up, preparing to strike.

"Back the fuck up!" he said. "Back up!" And I should have. I should have left and gone home, but instead I moved closer. There was no reason for him to yell. People bump into each other. It happens. And for whatever reason I was infuriated the boy couldn't realize that. And I just imagined him getting older and bigger, yelling and swearing, more and more, at stupid, little, pointless things that didn't matter.

Nothing would change him, unless I made him change.

"I said watch your mouth," I said, and we stared at each other, both waiting for the the next move. Sweat dripped down my cheek, I clenched my teeth, and we paused, long enough for me to realize how ridiculous it all was. And that's when the boy threw a bottle of Sprite at my chest. POP! It bounced to the ground, obviously causing me no harm, but still making me retreat, since I have little experience with soft drinks ricocheting off my body.

"Fuck you!" the boy said, and he ran off. I bent over, then remained still, catching my breath and watching the big pants and hooded sweatshirt get smaller in the distance. I wanted to chase him, and I almost did. I wanted to throw him on the ground and say something that actually mattered and could change everything in his world, whatever it was. But I did nothing. Because even if I did catch him there was nothing for us to say, only more yelling and throwing.

So I stood tall and waved, though I know he couldn't see it.

"Adios, amigo."

And now I'm very careful walking around that corner.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Something I found in my notebook. Nov. 2009?

Yup. Cockroaches. Lots of them. Crawling up my fucking walls and chillin' out in my cupboards. They’re out there. Little black buggies making a home in my home, having parties in the moonlight and eating my leftover potato chips.

I walk through the door and scan the walls, waiting for them to scurrying. They're fast. Too fast. Most of the time I can't catch the little bastards since they vanish into cracks, ones I never even knew existed, and then I'm left with nothing but a dumb expression. And that's when I grab my spray bottle. My KILL COCKROACH spray bottle, which I apply liberally like febreeze, and cover the cracks (cockroach tunnels) hoping it drips down and makes them twitch and twitch. But alas, I know they've gotten away. Back to their headquarters where they gossip and laugh and tell their friends they've escaped me...again.

Why can't we be friends, cockroaches? I'll give it a shot. Because you crawl on my face! You crawl on my dinner minutes after I cook it. So enough! My apartment is now a jungle and I am the ugly mother fucker. I will spy on you. Let you crawl every which way you please so I can discover your most traveled paths and set them with booby traps. You know what?! I even have a song for you. It goes:

I'm the cock-a-roch killer!
I kill cock-a-roches!
I'm the cock-a-roch killer!
Gotcha bitch!

Learn those lyrics, little sirs and madams.

So I've been hunting for a few days now. Like REALLY hunting. And I've cleaned, too. Not just straightening up, which is usually my version of cleaning. I mean, I've mopped, dusted, washed the insides of my cupboards, and locked up all of my food into little plastic containers. Basically, there's nothing but Lysol for these little mothers to munch on. But they're still out there...And that's when I start thinking. Thinking about all the little Snapple facts I've heard over my life but never fully digested. Aren't cockroaches invincible? Obviously they can die, but as a species, aren't they the most adaptable creatures on this planet? And I sign on to the internet...Did you know cockroaches can live a week...WITHOUT THEIR HEAD?! And did you know cockroaches lived during the dinosaur era? FUCKING DINOSAURS, MAN! Cockroaches survived comets and an ice age and now I'm trying to kill them with a spray bottle I bought from a bodega. It's just not fair! They're too strong. Little buggies the size of my thumbnail are too strong. I'm helpless. And whenever I'm helpless and delicate and feel like a little boy...there's always one thing I do.

"Dad, I have cockroaches."

"Well, you live in a dangerous area."

"What does danger have to do with cockroaches?"

"They correlate."

"Okay, so how can I stop them?"


"Bay leaves. They hate bay leaves."

My dad was a chef, so any advice he gives pertaining to food I take very seriously. So I buy some bay leaves, not an easy item to come about in my area, and I spread them around my apartment. EVERYWHERE. It's like an Easter egg hunt. In every crack, picture frame, and drawer is a fresh bay leaf, carefully set up so it's pleasing to the eye as if that will help keep them away.

And guess what happens? I wake up the next morning and I see a cockroach...Sitting on a bay leaf! I think he's even munching on a corner of it, not because he likes it, but because he's saying "f-you, buddy! Keep them coming!"

I can't see the cockroach's eyes, but I imagine he's winking at me. So...

"Dad, bay leaves didn't work."

"But they hate bay leaves."

"Well, these ones don't."

"Maybe they’re adapting. Cockroaches are the most adaptable creatures on the planet."

Long pause. Real long.

"So what I do?"

"Turn your apartment into an aquarium."

SO! I get some caulk and spackle. I get long strips of foam you put around your window to make sure air can't pass. I even buy this heavy duty door stopper, making sure nothing can crawl underneath it, which is very annoying because it now makes entering and exiting my apartment a task. But I do it. I make my apartment like a pinched tuba. An aquarium, as my father so wisely put. Nothing gets in, and nothing gets out! Now when I see a cockroach it runs to a crack and hit's nothing but spackle. BOOM! And when it runs to the door it hits a dead end and can't squeeze through.

Gotcha bitch. This ain't no ice age!

And slowly, one by one, I've been killing the cockroaches. Everyday there's fewer. And now days go by, weeks even, when I don't see one. And life is good. But they're still out there. I know it. I feel it. And every so often I see one in the middle of the night, lounging in the moonlight alone with no friends. Because I've killed all of his friends... We'll stare at each other, neither of us moving, because we both know that we're trapped.

And then I wink.

Monday, April 5, 2010

A Really Good Book

I'm reading a book by Ernest Hemingway called "A Moveable Feast." It's so amazing it makes me want to punch someone in the face.

There's not a lot going on in it, it's just him and his wife roaming around Paris and drinking lots of wine and making love (at least from what I've read so). It makes me want to travel. I mean, who doesn't want to travel? But more than anything else, it makes me want to appreciate how wonderful New York is.

I've been drinking lots of beer lately, only at places where I can sit outside and watch people wander by. I sit there, sip away, and go back and forth between eavesdropping and admiring how pretty the city is. It's a very pretty city we have.

Everyone complains, I think we have to, but this little book is making me realize what an amazing life I have. How drinking wine and making love should be enough to make any story/ life amazing.

But oddly, the book also makes me depressed. It makes me wish we didn't have the technology we do, simply because it's too easy to find information out on a person. I can click and type and find everything. Nothing to the imagination anymore, so it's harder to create legends. Mr. Hemingway is a legend, and he didn't have a facebook. Obviously that's not the only reason, but there's something mysterious about people from way back when that's completely lost on our generation(s).

But then again, they're only legends because we make them into legends. Maybe if we knew everything about them and saw how many "it's complicated" relationship statuses they had, we'd think they were pretty silly.

I'm going to sit outside and read this book.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Meet my nephew, Mr. James. Too much, right? I just spent Easter with the little booger, and I must say, he's pretty cool.

So, as much as I'd like to write about how wonderful my nephew is, which I assure you, he's very wonderful, my mind is drifting to a much shallower place. SO shallow that I feel guilty just thinking about it! Basically, I'm worried that my own little booger (one day) won't be as cute as Mr. James. I mean, LOOK, he's pretty freakin' cute. So cute that most other babies are frightfully hideous to me, not because they actually are, but because they're not up to his par. Hm...Now seems like a good time to reiterate that these are very shallow thoughts, but I can't help it! What if my own little booger ACTUALLY looks like a little booger? What if my sis got all the cute baby making genes? Probably only so many go around, right? Ah, well. I'm not helping to pop out a kid anytime soon, or ever for all I know, so I'll just keep focusing on my nephew. That's the good stuff. I'll keep focusing on bouncing the little guy, because he's very bouncy and wonderful.

Peoples Butts

My girlfriend likes my butt. I try not to think about my butt, but she brings it up quite a bit in conversations. Anyway, this is what I'm getting at...

I keep imagining an old woman describing the butt of her lover from when she was in her early 20's. How perfectly round it was. Hairless. Smooth. Something you could cup in the palm of your two hands. A little dimple on the side only encouraging you to poke at it with your index finger.

Now I imagine the same old woman with the same lover from her early 20's, and how his butt is now sagging. Long white hairs, wrinkles, and maybe a mole or two have sprouted. But she still loves her lover, and she tells everyone what an amazing butt he once had. And most importantly, she tells her lover that his butt, from way back when, is better than any other butt struttin' around today.

My butt is going to sag one day. So will yours. I mean, it's a butt, it has to. And that's a good thing! I hope all of our butts sag and get gross, because the only thing worse than a saggy butt is a young, beautiful dead one.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Girl I Feel Bad For

I had lunch the other day at a restaurant down the street from my work. It's one of those places that has couches instead of standard chairs, making it look a little silly, but also cozy.

So I'm sitting there by myself, which I usually do on my breaks, and I notice the people next to me. It's a young woman, early 20's, and an older man, say mid 50s. The younger woman is dressed nice, but casual. Long dress and a light blue sweater. The man is dressed like a professor. Khaki pants, a corduroy suit jacket, and he has speckled white hair. There's even a leather messenger bag to his side with a pair of fancy spectacles resting on it. He's spot on.

So I'm eating my sandwich and eavesdropping. They're talking about health care, a topic the young woman is very passionate about. She speaks loud and confident. Direct. She speaks like she's speaking for more than just herself, but for her entire generation. She lists dates, and policies, and people, most of which go over my head, and she even bangs her hand on the table a few times, because she wants change now! She wants to be the one to give the change! She has ideas, more ideas and passion than I'm used to hearing, especially from anyone my age, and I'm honestly getting excited listening to her, while at the same time trying to remain inconspicuous eating my sandwich.

The young woman talks and talks, goes on and on, and the professor just sits there, listening and nodding his head. She'd been starving for this, and he saved her, allowing her to finally express something she truly believed in when no one else would. She then smiles, catching her breath, silently thanking him for being there, and more importantly treating her like an equal. That's when the professor reaches under the table and grabs her knee.

He says, "You're adorable, you know that." Then he laughs and takes out his wallet, because I guess he assumed he would pay.

After that the young woman was silent, and I felt very bad for her.

Friday, April 2, 2010

A Post a Day

So I think I'm going to write one post every day. Maybe more. Not sure why, but I feel it's right. In all my stories I try to cram my odd little experiences into one coherent plot, which usually leads to characters doing random things one after another. But maybe that's wrong. Maybe all my little stupid experiences (yours too!) deserve their own space, deserve their own story, and deserve the chance to be read with no other distractions. Granted, my first post was about someone farting on the subway, which might not seem like it warrants a whole lot of recogniton, but I think it does. Really. Because It doesn't matter if people read this,what matters is that something is shared.

A thought is a terrible thing to waste, and I feel like I've been wasted for a bit.

My Commute

I have about an hour and fifteen minute commute to work. Because of this, I often see very memorable things on the subway, today being no exception.

The A train was crowded this morning, unusual for Fridays. I sat between two large black women, and across from me was a mother with two little girls. People of all ages, races, and sizes standing aimlessly about. A standard morning, until everyone, myself included, felt something off. We all started to squirm. We all started to cough, hold our noses, and look from side to side, all thinking the same thing, but saying nothing out loud.

Someone had farted, and it was bad.

The large black woman to my left quickly stood and moved to the far end of the train. An old man a few seats down covered his face with a handkerchief and shook. And the two little girls tightly closed their eyes and wiggled their cute little noses. The rest of us stared at each other, knowing one of us was responsible for the stench, but no one fessed up. We all just sat there, silent, marinating in an invisible dust, until finally one of us snapped.

"It wasn't me!" The large black woman said to my right. "I see you all looking at me! But I didn't cut no cheesy!" And then there was silence. I had been holding my breath, for obvious reasons, but I finally exhaled and started to laugh.

"What?" the woman said. "That's what my daddy used to call it. Cuttin' cheesy!" She smiled at me, and a man a few feet down raised his arm.

"I call it butt-thunder," the man said. "BANG, BANG!" And then the two little girls started to laugh, though their mother quickly hushed them back down.

"Butt-thunder is what we got here!" the large black woman said. "We're all just sitting here looking at each other, wondering who did it!"

"Poofy!" one of the little girls said. "Poofy, Poffy!" Then the mother started to laugh, finally realizing there was no point in trying to stop it. One person clapped, another danced, and I said nothing. I simply watched everyone smile. People who would never say a word to one another letting go of all inhibitions and acting like kids.

Strangers heading to Harlem at 8:30am talking about farts.