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Archive for the ‘Non-Fiction’ Category

The Perks of Returning to a College Coffee Shop

In Non-Fiction on August 29, 2012 at 2:43 AM

Here I am sitting in a 24-hour coffee shop across from campus after my first day back in class.

The guy who just sat down at the table in front of me, facing me, used to be that annoying guy who professors began not calling on in class because he’d take the conversation off topic, then hold us hostage with his point-of-view. They’d actually make an exaggerated and clear arch with their heads and line-of-sight (if the class was large enough to get away with that) and he would lean to the right or left with his hand raised from the front row as if he believed the professor just hadn’t seen his hand raised. Each new semester, an ignorant professor would unwittingly green-light his aggressively argumentative self on us, unsuccessfully interrupting him while he shut people down before they could finish articulating their point.

He was an awkward blob of a guy with spray out of his mouth while yacking too and I probably only remember that because of his demeanor in classes.

But, clearly, dude met the gym because he’s completely UMPH now.

And who knew that this chiseled face was under that face that I remember?

Maybe he’s gay because he smiled at me (where was THAT smile?) when he looked my way and, also, because I remember this one time at a party when he really wanted to discuss a point I’d made in class. I walked away eventually from him, though, because he really just wanted to dominate the conversation.

But now he could totally domin—

Oh, two girls just walked up, one introducing him to the other as her boyfriend before kissing him and now he’s leaving, her hand in his.

He’s probably still a jerk.

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Three Rules to for Happy Marriage

In Non-Fiction on August 19, 2012 at 3:05 PM

(Here I go upcycling.)

A few Fridays ago, I randomly caught a wedding.

I was hanging out with some cousins who were staying at The Gaylord Texan for a business conference. Afterward, when they had to go to an awards ceremony, I wandered around inside. For those who haven’t been to a Gaylord, they’re centers, are a mix of indoor mall and huge, open courtyard with restaurants, gardens, a man-made river, statues, lots of people, a sky of, well, skylights.

That courtyard-like space is air-conditioned like the rest of the hotel. So I stayed. It was so hot outside, so cool inside; dead grass outside, lush gardens inside. It didn’t matter that I stayed long enough for parking to cost $20. I turned a corner from some gift shops and found a coffee shop*. Through it, I saw an inviting balcony that overlooked the courtyard-like space. From the counter while paying, I saw a seated wedding party beyond the balcony, waiting on a lower level across the river for a ceremony to begin. I wandered with my coffee out to the balcony. Read the rest of this entry »

Not to Jonah Lehrer you, but…

In Non-Fiction on August 15, 2012 at 3:45 PM

For a little while now, I’ve been posting little personal life episodes to my Tumblr instead of here. When I logged into this larger format, I wanted to gush about so many things that honestly I didn’t want to share (whether others wanted to read or not, I would not assume to know), and so, not only did I hesitate, I forgot my password. The larger format, the large blank white space begged for me to type furiously.

Specifically, I didn’t want to type about the inconvenience of my December car wreck, the life experience of realizing that it only takes one incident (with little physical injury) to hurl you into financial frustration, or go off on the sometimes funny (mostly boring and tedious) tangents that I could go on. There are so many words for the experience. Unfortunately for my friends, there existed no lexical gap for the experience.

I’ll save all of that for a novel or something with funnier dialogue. Read the rest of this entry »

The Danger of a Single Story

In Fiction, Non-Fiction on August 8, 2012 at 8:46 PM

This is probably the TED talk that’s inspired me and resonated with me the most. I think of the heart of Chimamanda Adichie’s well-said words whenever I’m searching inside for an LGBT character and their story. Sometimes it seems as if LGBT characters can only share a handful of their stories/experiences, that if those are not the stories they are telling, how can they be LGBT? There’s more.

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 »

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. !?!

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.