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Archive for February, 2012|Monthly archive page

The Divorce Party

In Non-Fiction on February 24, 2012 at 12:08 AM

M invited me. I just had to go.

Why? Because I’m a child of divorce? Because a few of my mom’s friends were always, in their words, “happily divorced” and “celebrating every day”? (Whether that’s actually as it seems is its own three-hour conversation.) I don’t remember my mom celebrating once we’d moved down the street. (Dad helped us move). I don’t remember either of my parents responding in any way to finally being divorced from one another. Maybe I was in school or band practice at the exact moment corks were popped. Guess I wanted to witness what I’d missed. In movies and on television, I’ve watched people exclaiming that their divorce “calls for a celebration.” In the next few scenes, they’re going out with friends, getting drunk, hooking up with a stranger, eating regret with breakfast.

I haven’t seen the celebration begin by inviting eighty-five friends to a rented out local one-screen theater for cake and live music.

Read the rest of this entry »

Beginnings

In Uncategorized on February 23, 2012 at 4:54 AM

When I look over my neglected blog, born just a short time ago yet still neglected by me so much, I think, welp, let’s make sure I have a husband and nearby friends for when I want to raise a baby. Days will pass. I’ll look around at how my husband has rearranged the furniture and while I’m rearranging everything back, I’ll see a rattle or the credit card that I used to help pay for said baby or I’ll pull my iPod ear phones out long enough to hear a scream, and I’ll gasp, Oh! Baby! Baby? Has it been eating?

Blog! Blog?

So I learned this week that when an insurance provider finally gets around to declaring your wrecked car totaled, they stop paying for your rental. Should’ve called the lawyer back to see what she was eager to tell me before I was charged for a week of car rental. Thankfully, somehow, the insurance valued my car and will cut me a check for $2000 more than I originally paid for my car used six years ago. I’m not challenging how that works. Just very happy that when I’ve finally settled, I’ll be able to buy a bicycle, replace a frying pan I accidentally set on fire, pay off some debts. Just begin again…a little.

Wish that I had a bicycle for this inbetween time of finishing treatment while carless and unsettled, though. I could peddle to the tram and ride that tram anywhere: the suburb above me, the suburb below me, Heaven, Dallas gang areas. I’ll just peddle from the station, big smile.

Speaking of peddling, I met my friend, M’s, riding group. (Yes, I know I’ve never mentioned M but you really don’t need back story on here yet. We met in college, though. Apparently she thought I was an asshole and I thought that she was a bitch.) M’s group speeds all over Dallas. Sometimes in formation, like geese. (At least, in my head.) She finally just moved to downtown Dallas from a suburb so that she could be less than a mile from home after the peddling and bar hopping.

I met them all at one’s divorce party (more on that someday). Raucous, horny, goofy group. I liked almost everyone that I met.

There was this one guy though. I’m not so sure about him. He’s M’s new guy. But not really her guy because she doesn’t want to use labels…or date a cyclist then have the whole group in their drama.

So this is her third guy from the group.

I met him really fast. He said, “Hi,” then explained his nickname, then walked off to text M for the rest of the night even though he could’ve just stayed standing next to her. I would’ve mingled. There was champagne and cake. But only on the first night. The second night, no one was celebrating divorce or celebrating meeting me. We bar hopped instead.

At the first bar, we met with some people. I sat next to this big brother type in the group who I immediately liked the first time we met. You know, the strong yet sensitive type you know will be there to fix your toilet or change your tire once you’ve become good friends, even if it’s in the middle of a summer day beside the highway. (Not a good place for your toilet. Oh, not funny? Well, there are more bad jokes to accost you so BE WARNED). He was eating chilli. So I ordered vegan chilli and Fritos. We sang along to ‘Don’t Stop Believing’.

M’s guy was sitting on the other side of the long table. I didn’t recognize him in his helmet. But then, would I really have known him after such a short chat? We didn’t make out.

He slid next to M, who was sitting across from me. He didn’t say much to me. Just to her. That’s cool. I was having my own fun like I do. But when I looked back over, he was eating my chili. He had my spoon up to his mouth and was hoovering the top of the spoonful into his mouth, not touching his lips to the spoon. He then laid my spoon back on top of my chili.

Now I’m not a germaphobe. If I had known him, I wouldn’t have minded. Maybe. But I didn’t know him. He’s some guy who wants to get in my friend’s pants. Nothing wrong with that. But why does my chili have to be involved?

When he saw my look, he explained, “I didn’t touch the spoon.” I said something really silly like, “that’s okay. You can just pay for my tip.” He said, “ummm,” then rolled his eyes.

He apologized later, opened a door for me, then walked off. I told him that he didn’t have to impress me. I don’t have any final say on whether or not M should keep a casual or serious thing going. But he didn’t have to try to be unimpressive.

Glad this is just some casual thing. Though I now want him to do that to every one of our mutual friends to see their reactions. I may use part of my settlement money to arrange this. Because my credit card bill isn’t that out-of-control yet. Not like I’ve paid for a baby.

Dada daa daa da da

In Uncategorized on February 20, 2012 at 4:09 PM

Happy 13th anniversary of your 50th birthday today, Mom!

One of her favorite movies is Lady and the Tramp, wrapped here in construction paper with construction paper balloons for whimsy at 3am because after a few too many beers, I’d forgotten to pick up a gift bag on my way home.

But I remembered bananas.

Very important.

Highlights of the weekend:

  1. A divorce party at a local movie theater
  2. Meeting my friend, M’s, bicycle riding group
  3. Arriving just in time on M’s moving day to help her make her bed in her new apartment and go out with her bike group again for drinks
  4. Kind of meeting M’s new fling, who ate a spoonful of my vegan chili at one of the bars last night when I’d turned my head
  5. Cute bartender at quiet bar who shared his salmon spread whatever with me because I called him cute (but actually I called the little man on the beer tape cute…but the bartender was also really cute…with beard)
  6. Realizing it was the weekend of M
  7. Helping to report a break in

I thank my actually eventful weekend for a few upcoming entries. Not that I haven’t been writing away all weekend on the non-non-fiction.

Hey, you see that guy over there?

In Non-Fiction on February 16, 2012 at 9:58 PM

I was sitting in a swing in the little kid’s area of the apartment complex while chatting on the phone. This tiny girl sat in the swing next to me for the last few minutes of my call.

As soon as I hung up, she turned to me and said:

“People who sit on swings are pedophiles when they’re your age.”

I thought it was absurdly funny. Clearly she had no real fear. Or did she sense I was gay and therefore wasn’t so worried since she was a girl? Who knows? I walked away and did what anyone would: I texted everyone. My friends thought it was a funny. Neither of my parents thought did. They both told me about these horrible rape stories they’d heard recently. !?!

Temporary Working Guy

In Uncategorized on February 13, 2012 at 8:40 AM

Every job that I’ve had has been seasonal or temporary in it’s own way.

On my resume, it’s the same answer after reason for leaving? I enjoy the change. This passed year, I’ve been a zombie in a haunted attraction, a spring garden planter specialist, a receptionist in a tax office, a manny while the family was looking for someone more perminant. I’ll even be paid to recover from a drunk driver wrecking me. Didn’t even need to apply for that one. Word of bumper.

On Tuesday, I return to the tax office.Though it’s a full-time job, the boss actually calls me part-time because he has another receptionist who he’s employed for several years. She prefers to go home around early afternoon. And to only work Monday-Wednesday. He has another lady, his neighbor actually, who answers the phone from her home and schedules appointments. So I’m more an office assistant and a coffeemaker. But he calls me his part-time receptionist because he’s used to that title being associated with that work. The job is easy and the biggest perk: when he was late arriving for his first appointment and I was waiting in front of the locked door when the client arrived, I would offer to drive the client quickly to grab lunch or breakfast or coffee somewhere close, and they would always insist that they get me something. Always. Lots of free food. Lots of, “You need to fatten up” comments.

On my last day last year, as I filled out the last of the extensions for people who hadn’t been…well, y’all know why people ask for extensions…the boss came up to me a said, “Jake, you’re smarter than you act.”

I ummm…what?”

You could do taxes. You don’t need to be applying for receptionist jobs. You’re smarter than that.”

And his opinion of his full-time receptionist is…?

“Well,” I answered, “I don’t mind learning more but it’s not a career that I’m interested in.”

He said, “Well. Maybe I was wrong.”

That was the only occasion when I thought, “Glad this is seasonal.” 

First Snow!

In Uncategorized on February 12, 2012 at 8:19 PM

Maybe if I didn’t live in a place where it melted on impact, I’d have a photo to share.

Gotye

In Uncategorized on February 12, 2012 at 10:31 AM

This dark story that I’ve been writing has put me in a mood that Gotye can only reel me in from this morning. Have you heard of Gotye?

Also – if you haven’t heard his single ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ – which seems to be everywhere nowadays – please check it out. Simple story, perfect rebuttal. And sometimes he reminds me of Sting in certain looks and certain vocals, which I love. If that bothers anyone, stick a kiwi in it and just listen.

$5 for…

In Uncategorized on February 12, 2012 at 2:27 AM

As a kind of New Year’s resolution, I’m determined to write one short story a week. I’ve promised friends that I would email them the draft by the end of each week. They’ve received two stories so far. So my IOU keeps getting ridiculous. Mostly, perfectionism gets in the way. Most of the stories do not blow my mind so I resist sending. So I made myself a sign:

Well…maybe that should be “stories” instead of “pages” but the sign is multipurpose, you see?

One friend, even though she hasn’t seen a story of mine in her inbox for a while, suggested that I even go on the site fiverr.com and sell them for $5 a piece. The songwriters and storytellers on the website who churn out song after song or story after story for $5 a piece to a client base that steadily grows is an intriguing idea but I see future clients sending me photos of their bitter faces, pitchforks and torches in hand, demanding their story. Just 24 hours after paying $5. And I run off into the forest in danger of fairies smacking my face.

Now if you’re not familiar with fiverr.com, here are the basics:

People advertise specific services that they will complete for $5. The services are almost always something that someone can complete at home without you present with the results sent either through on-line means or through the mail. So workout plans, recorded testimonials, sock puppets, ornaments with your name of choice stamped on, prof-read documents, etc., make up the bulk of the services offered. All advertisers post specific size, quantity, word, time limits, etc per $5 paid. Most provide a video of them selling their service with a smile.

Karen McCluskey? Just in your 20s but making references to Desperate Housewives?

While perusing, I noticed that most will provide you with, give you, make you something that they pretty much already have a template for (whether it be a workout plan, testimonial, or sock puppet), if not something already prepackaged and ready to go. The product only waits for some personalization like a name on that ornament, specific weight loss goals, etc. Of course, this is the way almost all businesses work anyway, right? What business isn’t stocked and ready, whether it be to sell you purses or to send people to mow your lawn. The purses have been made and are waiting. The mowers have the equipment that they’ll need and are waiting. All before you call wanting.

So I wondered how many of the songs and stories are waiting in this way, with blanks ready to be filled with personalization.

I emailed 13 of the songwriters and storytellers, asking if they wrote what they wrote ahead of time and then personalized for a specific client right before sending. I’ve received 7 replies.

Three replied that when I paid my $5, they would tell me. Ha. Ha. Looking back over their pages, these three have very few comments from clients, low ratings, and no video of their charming faces selling their service with a smile. Their replies only confuse me more as to what to expect. Of course, a trend materializes only until someone else replies with the same comment but with a different, observable success so I will not a judge a book by its secretive cover. A fourth writer replied, “that’s personal.” They had a video and several comments, though most comments just praised how fast the story arrived. Hmmmm. Which questions did they go ahead and answer?

Then there were three who excited me. These three, by their number of ratings and comments, seem to be among the most popular. Since I neither told them nor plan to tell them that I would be blogging their answers, I will not copy and paste their word-for-word responses into this post. But I will paraphrase.

Had they have a stack of already written songs/stories kept on hand ready to be personalized for clients really quick before sending out?

“Yes and no.”

Whether a melody or a plot, the song or story has already been started. Most who write have a pile of stop-and-starts, clusters of ideas not yet forming a successful and finished piece. They’re just waiting. The inspiration that leads to successful, finished pieces comes from being paid to produce. Also, the details (the more the better) provided by the client also inspire. The writers have jumping off points. The clients send a few details to jump toward.

Well that’s doable.

And this gig is my favorite*:

Send a Funny Cupid Valentine

*I won’t stop you from sending me one. Love, love, love.

Fairies

In Non-Fiction on February 7, 2012 at 1:29 AM

I went for a walk by the very large lake nearby. There is a Frisbee golf course in the field that I have to walk across in order to reach the lake. So many groups are out there during the evenings and weekends.

Just in case you didn’t know, many Frisbees have little lights on them. Magenta, electric blue, banana. That way, they can be found if you happen to be playing around 1AM on a Tuesday morning. When I first moved here, it was about a month before I figured out what those little zips of light in the dark were. My first thought: fairies.

When a Frisbee almost hit me in the head tonight, all I thought when I saw the light was, “FAIRY!”

Gas and the Policeman

In Non-Fiction on February 6, 2012 at 5:04 PM

When the car gaslight flicks on, I’m one of those people who keeps driving. For days. I’m not going cross-country. Just to the store, bank, Starbucks, to see friends, to class, to random neighborhoods to see if they’ve tossed any good knickknacks or furniture on trash day. (College apartment days are still in my blood.) Of course, (Mom and Dad, if you’ve discovered and are reading) since I’m unemployed, I’m also touring all of the businesses that I’ve applied on-line and in-person to so that they can see my smiling face and know that I’m serious. Of course, I leave my Starbucks in the car. (It won’t make you seem the right amount of desperate.)

A million gas stations are passed. A million times I think, “Should I?” Then I think, “Hmmm…next time.”

Not so easy to do in my new rent car, a lipstick red KIA Sol.* I saw a cartoon once where the passenger shouted to the driver, “Look out!” long after they’d launched from the cliff. He is the gaslight.

I only had about 5 miles to go the other night when I was driving home. Of course, stations were passed. I parked at home, spent the day in. Last night, though, I thought, “I should go ahead and fill up.” I had a busy Monday planned.

I made it about a mile before the car shuttered, then stopped. The two stations on my side of the highway were closed. I only had cash with which to pre-pay inside. So before the shutter, I had started up the overpass to the other side of the highway. The engine died as I was descending. Thankfully, the stoplight on the other side glowed green. Brakes didn’t lock. I rolled with the momentum all of the way to the turn-in lane for the gas station. Then I could roll no more.

A policeman was behind me. I put on my emergency lights. He honked and passed me. He pulled into the gas station. Another man pulled up and asked if I needed help, but I smiled and waved him on with a “Thank you.” Surely, the policeman and anyone working inside the station would help enough. When I walked between the pumps into the station, the policeman was purchasing coffee and hot dogs. I told the guy at the cash register my story. While staring hard into the back of the policeman’s head. He left. The man behind the counter suggested that I buy a gas can. He was surprised that I didn’t have one. Also, he was shocked that I had left my car there in the turn in. The policeman came in and asked whose car that was in the turn in.

!?!?!?!

Deep breath.

“Mine, Mr. Officer.” I said it in a high voice, too. He asked why I didn’t have a gas can and was surprised that I’d left it in the turn-in lane.

So I explained that I’d recently been in a wreck. I stressed that a drunk driver had hit me and that I was injured. For the past two months, it’s brought me the sympathy it should, gotten me out of lifting a lot of boxes. I might tell that story on this blog soon. Anyway, that’s why I didn’t push the car in, I explain. That and that it was chilly outside. But I didn’t tell him this last part. And to top it off, I was unfamiliar with this rental. “My Camry let me go about 40 miles after the gaslight came on. I only went about 5 miles with this one.”

He had sighed a lot while I was talking.

“You should always have a gas can in the car,” said Mr. Policeman, and then he left. But he came back before I could worry. With a gas can. “Give him enough for a gallon,” he yelled at me. I knew those hot dogs were waiting.

So the nice policeman put a gallon of gas into my tank. I prepaid for the rest, pulled up to a pump, and began to fill. While there, Mr. Policeman parked at the pump beside me, walked over, hot dogs and coffee in hand, and started chatting.

“A lot of you kids do this for free gas, you know?” he said. He sat his coffee on the top of my KIA. “It’s Obama. He has you all thinking you deserve free stuff.”

Yes, I’m in Texas. But no, no, no, no. This isn’t the norm. People just don’t come up to you and begin to trash Obama. Plenty voted for him in Texas among the plenty who did not.

Policemen are a grab bag, though. Some are nice, patient, or they just want to get on with their day. Then some are of the other extreme, i.e. bored and full of themselves and ready to make you suffer to some degree for it. And hunger makes the rest a mix. But I like policemen. Most days, I’m still in that Kindergarten “policemen are heroes who will always want to help you no matter what” state-of-mind. And this one was nice enough to put gas in my tank.

“Honestly, I’m still learning about this car. It has a smaller tank too than my old car.”

“Well plenty of you do it.”

He step to the side when the pump shut off. Tried to dunk his crumpled hot dog wrappers into the trash can beside me but missed each time. He was picking them up, dunking, missing as I left.

Putting Myself Out There…Over There, Too

In Uncategorized on February 5, 2012 at 7:04 PM

So I found a couple of writing contests (fiction and non-fiction) to which I really want to submit. Whether or not the pieces that I really want to submit are what the judges will be looking for isn’t really the biggest motivation.

You gasp? You shake your head? I know, I know. I may not be published yet but I’ve seen the scheming. Y’all come to submitting for contests like anyone on Project Runway or Top Chef. You figure out what you can submit that the judges will love that still has your style and flare.

I’ll work that way soon.

This time in my life, having a reason to revise and polish the piece is the perfect motivation to finish. I’m one of those cute fellas who needs a writing class or other form of deadline to spur me into finishing. I write everyday. Fiction, non-fiction, funny emails. I wrote that blog post yesterday. Did you catch it? That blog post had as clear a deadline as this one does. The rest of the time, I project hop. This one gets a page, this one gets a quick bit of editing, this one gets a sentence, this one is the reason why I decide to break for a snack.

I have some goodies. They deserve a chance at having lives of their own. There’s one contest with a judge who is an author who is gay whose book I admire. He won’t be reading all of the entries (screeners) but I hope that he will get a chance to read mine. And who knows. I’ve submitted to one already. Then I saw a shooting star and wished for the first prize money.

That reminds: the only ouch in the whole process really is the fee I have to pay out to each contest entry. While unemployment presents extra time to write, it also presents fewer opportunities to earn back the money that you just spent a couple of times last week driving out to Dallas to hang out with friends.

I have 9 days left.

In the beginning, there was a first blog post, Silly.

In Uncategorized on February 4, 2012 at 1:21 PM

About a year ago, Claire Legrand, my mom’s boss’s daughter and my former high school bandmate and the soon-to-be new rock star of Young Adult fiction (from what I can tell from my mom and her boss’s excitement), had as many people wanting to publish her first novel as that handsome policeman on The Walking Dead had zombies wanting his brains. From what I understand, Jesus will even be coming back a little early in 2012 to give her a read.

So I sent her an email asking her how I could take steps to maybe have Jesus add anything I’ve written to his cart also. It would be fun to be on the Jesus Kindle. She told me to start a blog, start a twitter account, but that she wouldn’t elaborate until I began bringing her hearts of baby unicorns. I became overwhelmed. I had to keep my futon folded up to make room for the baby unicorns. I had to get a second job to pay for all of the gummy bears and rainbows and unrefined, virgin coconut oil that it takes to plump up a baby unicorn heart to her liking. Meanwhile, in the last bearable moments of my hard-earned days, I wrote.

If I found a spare moment from it all, I also turned to my fellow writing friends to ask for advice. Mostly I just reminded them that they weren’t writing. They would sob, beg, “WHY?!” The only one who had been published, demanded that I bring him a bucket of lava before he would tell me any of his secrets.

All of these tasks! I’m not Hercules!

So I put it off. And had some vegan ice cream. And had some more vegan ice cream until the baby unicorns whined that it wasn’t fair that I had vegan ice cream and that they didn’t. So I focused on hiding my vegan ice cream instead of writing.

But then one particularly chilly night, I had a nightmare: I’d turned into my fellow writing friends. I became a Non-writer. Gasp! I woke in tears. Why? Because I actually almost, practically was a Non-writer. I crouched in self-flagellating shame, crying out that I would give the baby unicorns all of my vegan ice cream if they would just go away.

But then I saw the new Shepard Fairy mural in Dallas (I live in a Dallas suburb. Got lost trying to get lost.) that says ‘Rise Above’. And I told the baby unicorns to, ‘Shut it!’

And for the first time, I saw respect in their eyes.

I pictured each of my non-writer writing friends, and said to myself, ‘Mr. Jacob*, they need a leader.’ I’m not yet published, not yet awarded anything except for pats on the back with good ole’ keep it ups but I’ve decided that 2012 will be the year. Hopefully I’ll serve them well, inspire them. Rome wasn’t built in a day but I’ve had almost 28 years to get my act together.

So this blog begins! Now…

Hmmm…Hmmmmmmm….

Hi! How’s life? I’m Jacob, 27, a little over a month from becoming 28, living in a suburb of Dallas, poor after so much unnecessary spending on Starbucks and gas. For what it’s worth, I’m gay. You look great in that, by the way! Whatever it is that you’re wearing. Just. Great. I know it has a latte stain on but you pull it off.

So I’m not sure what else to write about today. I’ll read around, sacrifice another baby unicorn to Claire in order to get some pointers. (P.S.: They’re only for her. Please don’t try to bribe me with advice in exchange for baby unicorn hearts. I’m tired. I have lots of horn puncture marks in me because they haven’t yet figured out how to hug right. But any free suggestions would be lovely. I’ll compliment any of your latte stains. I might even complement them, too.)

So that’s it. Officially signing off:

Jake Off.

Oh that’s a little raunchy bit of a raunchy sign-off, isn’t? Gave yourself another latte stain? Well, I’m not taking responsibility. You’re grown up. At least you look it. I recommend jojoba oil for your face if you look older than you are.

Hmmm…I could go with “Peace, love, and rainbows”. That could be my sign-off. If I put that, I can just scroll up and delete the mention about being gay.

I’m decaffeinated. Who needs to say good-bye?

Until I write again!

* (always polite and formal here),