Monthly Archives: April 2011

Five Minute Observation: Hail No

I was riding in the very front row of a charter bus headed north to Athens, T.N. to coach the last lacrosse game of the season. I like sitting up front because the big windows make me feel like I’m on one of those weird trains that ride around the food courts at malls during the holidays. Everyone you pass gives you a condescending smile as their way of expressing how happy they are to not be you. While I find the condescending smiles from the people in the RVs annoying, and a bit ironic, I’d still rather be up front because this means I’m not in the back next to the toilet, which, more often than not, smells like what I imagine the inside of a warthog’s poop shoot smells like.

 As I stared out the window and thought about all of glorious things I was going to do once lacrosse was over, a cloud blacker than Lady Gaga’s soul rolled authoritatively over the pale blue sky. Then, like a big, fluffy machine gun, the soulless clouds started firing bullets of hail at our bus. The wind picked up ferociously and with it, it brought any loose sticks, rocks and small cats crashing into the front, side, top and back of the bus.

 I looked over at our bus driver who suddenly became my savior. To my dismay, my newfound savior was un-heroically fumbling around on the control panel like a blind man. I assumed he was looking to activate the windshield wipers since we were knee-deep in a tornado and he had yet to turn them on. After about five minutes he gave up and decided the windshield wipers weren’t necessary to our survival.

 I took a mental note of his short-lived perseverance before I accepted that I was going to die. I was going to die on a charter bus with a bunch of people who I yell at everyday. The paramedics were going to find me after the storm and simply shake their heads in pity when they saw that I was wearing an awkward fitting Under Armour tracksuit and tennis shoes. One of them would probably sacrifice their own garments so that the last image my mom saw of me wasn’t one where I looked like an 80-year-old synchronized swimmer. In order to do that, though, they’d need a crane to lift up my lifeless body, which I assume would weigh more than my living body, if that were possible.

 Just as I was throwing together a mass text detailing my last goodbyes the storm cleared up. Our bus driver used this as an opportunity to pull into a rest stop and investigate the windshield wiper situation. He called corporate headquarters to “troubleshoot” the problem. I can’t say for sure what was said on the other end of the phone, but after he talked to them he turned a knob near the steering wheel and the wipers fired right up. I heard him say, “Oooooooh,” and then, without an apology or explanation, he whipped the car into drive and we continued our trip.

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Five Minute Observation: Old Man at Starbucks

I’m going to start a daily (but probably semi-daily) post called “Five Minute Observation”. In these I’ll briefly describe an encounter I had during that day in just five minutes so that I only have time to include the meat of the experience. I need to start listening more and observing the world around me (even if it means having to look at ugly, fat people, I’ll have to suck it up) and this is the perfect way to do it. We’ll see how this turns out. The first one is titled, “Old Man at Starbucks”:

I sit down at a table in the Starbucks next to the Publix on Abercorn.

Behind me there’s an old man. He’s sitting at a table for two but there’s no one with him. He’s reading the New York times with a white, plastic magnifying glass. Something tells me that magnifying glass isn’t really helping because he’s still hunched down to within two inches of the paper, his eyelashes even touch the magnifying glass. He seems deeply enthralled in the Business section until a customer walks in. At that point he becomes the unofficial greeter of Starbucks. He welcomes each guest with a, “How’s it going today, you fine young man?” and a “Good morning, my dear.” He talks to each customer as if he knows them but the looks on their faces make it clear he probably doesn’t.

He comes here everyday and reads the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, he says to my back. As I turn around, I notice he has one piercing blue eye and one eye that looks like a cloudy beach day. His long, wrinkled face contorts into a smile and he asks me what I want to do with my life. “I want to be a writer,” I respond. “Good, well now, I can say I talked to you before you got famous,” he says confidently as he decisively hunches back down to his magnifying glass.

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Let’s Stay In

These days I don’t get out very often. Too much school work, not enough money and a body that’s unwilling to fight the adverse effects of alcohol are a few reasons why I’m spending the prime of my life drinking wine in my bed and writing blog posts. I know, you’ve heard it all before. I am a loser. Big. Fucking. Deal.

But I digress.

I did get the chance to face the drunk hipsters of Savannah this past weekend and they kindly provided me with yet another reason why I generally loathe large crowded college bars: alcohol makes unfunny people think they are funny. After a couple cans of liquid courage and a few sympathy laughs everyone’s the next Richard Pryor.

Now, I’m not saying that I’m the next comedic prodigy because I know for certain I’m about as funny as a bag of ham. I also realize that when I pound down a couple brews I pretend to walk into poles and I eat sausage biscuits in sets of two but, like most people, I choose to believe society is the problem.

It’s just that nothing annoys me more than when I’m at a bar enjoying my mental judgement of everyone and some moron with a plaid shirt, ugly haircut and overwhelming body odor interrupts with quotes from “Jersey Shore” or “Zoolander.” Look, buddy, that was so 2,000 and late. You look like a bozo and you smell like a trashcan. Go home, wash yourself and work on some new material.

As Lucille Bluthe would say, these people “make me want to set myself on fire.” I didn’t take it that far. Instead I just drank away the pain. This could be why I am at the tail end of a two-day hangover. I don’t know when I become an anti-social 60 year old stuck in the body of a 24 year old but it’s happened and there’s no turning back. Sorry, friends.

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Body Notes

Body Notes

This was a short poem I wrote that was inspired by all of the little noises our bodies make.

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