Eats, sleeps, roams the streets -- Only arrested once: At age 14 or so, I was cutting through a school yard on my bike in the evening. I had a bag of candy I had just bought at 7/11. The school had been vandalized repeatedly around that time. The police were being ...'thorough'...in their surveillance of 'suspicious' activities in the school yard. The cop comes zooming up in his cruiser - right up on the sidewalk behind me. Blah blah, he reads me my rights. He didn't put me in the car though. He told me to get on my bike and ride home - and that he was going to follow me. I lived at the other end of the school yard, across the street. We got to my house and my dad came out. He yelled at the cop. He called downtown and yelled at somebody at the police station. He told me everything was alright and that the whole thing was stupid.
My brother always carried a gun. He didn't always need it. He didn't really need it much at all. In truth, I can only remember a few stories he told me where he actually 'needed' it. He never shot anybody. But he would make it known he was carrying it when he was doing his job, when he went to tow some junk car out of a rough neighborhood, say, and somebody was sneaking up or lurking, watching him, waiting for him to let his guard down, maybe, ...so that he could rob him. He had a few stories like that. Once he started carrying it all the time, he just got used to the feeling of having it on him. He got used to the feeling of security.
One night we were riding around for hours in my car, just driving...doing what we did on such drives... At one point my brother noticed that the vehicle behind us was very close. It was a big truck. The headlights were really high, and the beams were blazing on the backs of our heads. My brother got furious. We were on some desolate country road, in Suffolk, Virginia, I think. The longer the guy stayed on right our ass, the more furious my brother got. He had his gun on him, and he took it out. "Stop the fuckin car!"
I was extremely nervous.
"Stop the fuckin car, Bobby! Stop the car!" My brother was screaming at me as I drove.
I didn't want to stop the car. I was afraid of what might happen. I looked in the rear-view mirror at the blazing, big headlights getting closer and closer. I listened to my brother's escalating anger and screaming, right in my ear. I drove like that for a while...with the headlights...the screaming. I didn't stop at first.
I was afraid my brother would shoot at this guy. I was afraid of the guy in the truck behind us...or guys. I had no idea who it was behind us. It could have been six dudes with shotguns. It could have been one scrawny teenager. Finally I stopped the car.
"Okay. Now what," I said. The guy in the truck behind us also stopped. We are deep in the country, nobody around, no light, nothing. Just that guy's headlights illuminating us. I have imagined all kinds of alternate endings to that night. I imagined that I got out of the car and I sprinted back at the driver side of the truck, and I was greeted by a shotgun barrel. I imagined my brother getting out of the car and emptying a whole clip into the dude's windshield. I imagined myself...screaming back at my brother -- to get the fuck out of my car -- so he could walk his ass home three hours (the least likely of these scenarios).
So we sat there. The guy in the truck behind us just sat there too. My brother showed his gun to those big blazing headlights. My brother's raging body language, the gun shining in the headlights...maybe was enough of a demonstration for the guy behind us that...at least one of the people in my car was willing, apparently willing, to 'take this to another level' ...and end up on a police report or something.
We continued to sit there. Gradually, my brother became more still and quiet. He muttered stuff, that's right, motherfucker, you better not get out... So we sat there and we sat there and we sat there. I didn't say a word. Finally, my brother said, "Alright. Let's get out of here."
I put it in drive and began to drive away. The truck stayed parked where it was.
Time for a list:
1) After one hundred years in that relationship with that one and only person, I forgot how to deal with other people.
2) Last night I felt as though the most crucial writing task of my life was upon me, but I went to bed.
3) I am currently waiting out a rain shower, sitting in my car, waiting to go into a store. The other people who are pulling into the parking lot are showing admirable hustle, getting out of their car and running through the rain.
4) I hope that this friend of mine forgives me.
5) My boss is making me watch videos all weekend for some new product.
6) People should slow down in parking lots. I have seen two near misses just sitting here.
7) I have talked to two editors, and they both say, at the end of the day, in their spare time, they'd rather just look at the pictures, and not dense text, least of all: run-on sentences.
8) I have to go to my new favorite place tonight. They are starting to recognize me there.
Today I saw a guy riding a bike carrying a rake, and because my brain is really racing lately, I flooded this sight of this guy on a bike with a rake...I flooded it with all of this mental activity. My first unfortunate reaction was to make fun of him... like he was a superhero..."Look! It's Rake Man! And he's going to save the day, raking leaves at the house of some unfortunate elderly woman. I think my brain just felt the need to analyze and emote... something... anything... intensely. Plus, when I first caught a glimpse of him, it looked like he was riding the rake... like he was a witch... man witches ride on rakes instead of brooms.
Then I felt guilty... for making fun of him.
Then I felt sorry for him. He's just trying to get somewhere to earn some cash. People don't ride bikes to work in Florida unless they do not have a car. Everything is too spread out.
The guy waved to another guy who is on a bike across the street. For some reason, my brain made an association, and I looked to see if that other guy was also carrying some kind of tool. Like maybe these two guys were going to go meet on a job. But the other guy wasn't carrying anything.
Today should be a productive day at work, if I can focus all of this mental activity on something productive that is.
I believe that once I walked right through a real ghost. I told you the story, several times probably. Have you met that ghost in your ghostly interactions? Do you remember thay story? My coworkers from the restaurant and I ran around that 230 year old house all night, and we were all drunk. We were exploring and laughing and popping out and scaring each other. Nobody reported any ghost encounters at first, and people got tired and began to go home. In the end it was just a waitress named April and me. We were in the attic, and she was watching me walk around. Suddenly I froze. I felt a sensation like none I had ever felt before. It was hot and cold at the same time. Goosebumps popped up all over my skin. There was a weird, foreign energy that passed through me. I don’t think I ever told you what April and I did after that.
It often feels like a ghost might be watching. It’s never at a time that I would expect. It’s never at a time when I would actually need a ghost. Ghosts aren’t supposed to be ‘reliable’ I guess. They just are. Or they aren’t.
I have many theories about ghosts. Ghosts watch you when you are with your lovers. Ghosts can travel back through time and watch you with your past lovers. Ghosts can even see themselves during the time that they were with you, when they were still in a physical body.
Everybody has a ghost story. You had your ghostly photo with that strange blur of light. The light blur had a human form. I can’t remember now whether that ghost was somebody you knew, or if it was just a random ghost stranger . . . just moving through . . . a clumsy tourist, accidentally caught in somebody else’s photo.
That doesn't sound that fun.
Today, somebody asked me, and I finally said, "Not much. It's kind of sad."
I'm too old and beat up for my old hobbies: pick-up soccer, skateboards, blah blah.
What do I do with my free time? I watch a lot of videos on youtube. I do roam around. I read stuff. I head into bars and drink beer every now and then.
I have been blogging a lot recently. Blogging. That would be a weird answer to what do you do for fun...
I texted my neighbor a couple hours ago, "that was a shot right?"
Outside, I heard a firecracker or a shot, but I was thinking it was a shot.
"What?" he responded, an hour later.
"Earlier," I said.
"Nah," he said.
We do hear shots sometimes, we agree...some yahoo with a shotgun across the lake, the lake through the woods behind us. This is not a high crime area at all, and our complex management has even hired a security guard who I am afraid of who drives slowly in an SUV with more colored lights than Christmas. It made me think of other scary sounds from outside that I have heard while inside, lately, twice in the last couple of months, my coworkers and I have heard horrifying slams on breaks, screeches and subsequent crunches on the street outside. One time, it was a lady from another department of our company who pulled out of the parking lot in front of some BMW and got hit. She was okay. Everybody was okay.
Back to today and away from those extended thoughts and memories, today I was running around with a friend who I always get into weird goofy non-dangerous situations with. Today he wanted to take me to some place he thought was a park, but it was actually a reservation-required convention/retreat/compound sort of thing...but he was determined to enjoy this piece of America, so we got out of the car and started walking around.
"There is a sequestered retreat going on here today," said a lady with a tense face who hustled up to us as soon she spotted us. We said okay okay okay and started to leave...and I was getting bitten up by bugs anyway...but my friend had a business call he said he had to make right then and there and he didn't give a shit if they came and hassled us some more so I went and sat in the car. A mosquito got in the car when I got in, and I was trying to quick, open the door and shoo him out, and shut the door before allowing more mosquitoes in, but I was having no success, and the mosquito was the quickest one I've ever encountered, and I could neither swat him nor shoo him out, but I continued my efforts until my friend came and drove us out of there. The only way to get rid of mosquitoes in a situation like that is to start driving and put the windows down and let em get sucked out by the draft.
We made jokes about how the place was most definitely a cult compound as we drove off premises past a sand volleyball court and tennis court. We made about six wrong turns or missed turns on the way to and from the place because I was the one navigating.
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Today I texted a bit with a very stressed out person, an oncology nurse who I've been texting with lately. She was about to go into work another hellish night with people who are in the most terrifying part of their lives. She had only gotten four hours sleep between her last shift and this shift she was about to start.
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Today I looked up at an airplane and mumbled to myself, "Look at that airplane celebrating the sky." While I was looking up, I saw the top of this tall pine tree, and the needles were really shining in the sun. I was smoking a cigarette, and I got light headed, so I went and sat down. There were filter tips on the ground from those little cigars they make blunts out of, and my friend said, Yeah, he sits out here and smokes blunts all the time, and various women come and go, visiting him.
Around that time I drove home because I was feeling sick. I started to feel better after a few sips of an energy drink so I stopped and got my head mildly buzzed at Hair Cuttery. I probably left too big of a tip because of the lady who cut my hair and so on, and I felt stupid.
I got home to a lonely cat and a busted dvd player --no TV-- a blackout which I have half-enjoyed for the last week or so. I have an unfinished letter to my sister I must finish and mail...or just mail...because the letters are never finished. I read the ten year old blog archives of a dude who is one of my great great heroes and friends online...from all the way back at the beginning of my blogging days to the present day.
Second: I got a wrong number text. It was a south New Jersey guy, trying to reach some girl. The following is the transcript, starting with his first message. I didn't know if I knew anybody in the 609 area code, like if maybe this was somebody I knew, but forgot I knew...but it turned out to be somebody I didn't know:
HIM: Morning Sexy!
ME: Good morning! Right number? Who you trying to reach? Thanks for calling me sexy though...
HIM: Lol. Its my pleasure.. Im Derek, is this Dana?
ME: Nah, ha, sorry
HIM: Oh my apologies.. My mistake! Whats ur name?
HIM AGAIN: Hey everything happens for a reason..Are u a female?
ME: I'm a dude, dude. So tell me about this Dana. Ha. Just kidding. I am a dude though.
This is what you see from my balcony. I checked before I shot this, because it would be creepy to look over and see me with my cam pointed at you...I feel a little weird posting this anyway ...even though I made sure nobody was there at first. This shoot had to be done in order to illustrate the points I intend to make in my blog post. I don't know what those points will be, but I'm overcome lately with the impulse to write blog post after blog post and show up on stranger's blogs and comment there too.
No, I think the point I started with was going to be something about my neighbors and my community. Looking at this video, I realize our balconies could remind a person of cell blocks in a prison...like if you'd ever been in prison - or seen one on TV (I fall into the latter category, I promise).
I heard the property manager showing the unit on the first floor to interested renters. This place has quite a turnover.
I've only made neighborly introductions via the the space between balconies on two occasions: One guy, George, was an EMT. He was a divorced dad who ended up renting here after the divorce went down. He apologized in advance for the noise his kids would be making on the balcony, when he had his custody on weekends. I assured him it would be fine, and I told him I was glad to meet him.
The other guy seemed a little weirded out by me saying hello to him from my balcony as he stood on his balcony. I was sitting on my balcony with my other neighbor. It was really late, and she was being goofy and loud. I'm sure the guy across could hear us and see us. She burst out laughing at some point, I don't remember why...So I said hi to the guy across the way...hoping that he wouldn't think we were over here laughing at him for some reason... I don't know why I cared or thought he would think this ...or why I thought my saying hi would alleviate the imagined situation. He just said...um...hi...or whatever.
Why am I writing all this? I don't know. But I do know that the current tenant of the third floor unit sends her dog out to the balcony to pee and sometimes poop! It is horrifying. The pee runs off the balcony and drops three floors and hits the ground there. Sometimes I hear it when it happens...like if I'm sitting inside with the door open...the sound of some kind of liquid running off and hitting the ground below... I try not to even look over there ever. Today, when I glanced over there, though, I noticed that her balcony was really clear of dog poop. It was nice. I wonder if she's moving or something...cleaning up the unit so she can get her deposit back. I'll conclude this blog post here. There is a lot more I could say though.