(Mini New York City tourist rant)
The fucking tourists and Times Square. It’s like the area was a giant nipple filled with the mythical milk of the gods, and the influx of Americans couldn’t wait for their turn to suckle at its holy tap. In my opinion, when you visit an area, you at least try to assimilate a bit, not remain the same slack-jawed asswipe you were in Des Moines, or Dallas, or wherever the hell you uprooted yourself from for the privilege of walking the glorious, electric streets of Manhattan. No one in New York City should EVER say the world “Golly!” unless he or she is seriously mocking something, or someone.
When the news showed pictures of the area, or one of the morning shows did outside shots, I’d always see fanny pack wearing, pointing, wide-eyed people sporting the famous I Love NY t-shirt with the red heart. Here’s a clue…you don’t need a t-shirt, because we knew you were there, right there with us, because we had to answer your insistent questions about how to get to Ruby Tuesday (gotta love that fucking football sized salad bar!), where the guy playing Mickey Mouse worked (I say rodent problems should be dealt with promptly, with poison), and how many more blocks was it to your precious, generic Comfort Inn (at five times the price of “back home.”).
Worse yet was the way the tourists managed to lose sight of the fact that they were surrounded by people, even though the sound and smell and sight of them couldn’t be ignored. Need to take a picture of a giant McDonalds sign? Just stop right in the fucking middle of a human-drenched sidewalk, like the concrete had grown teeth and latched onto your ankle, freezing you in place. Never mind the twenty people behind you who have to stop short. I heard a guy, three cameras noosing his neck, tell his wife, “That guy blocked my shot,” as she stood posed next to Spiderman. Guess what, dumbass? The world is blocking your shot. Pay some attention around you. When Mara (or sometimes I) took pictures, we never did it in an area where we were in danger of trampling, like poachers in a wounded elephant’s path.
Too many people wanted to bring their home base attitudes and comforts with them, as if the act of transporting themselves to New York created a culture shock that could only be soothed by the familiar. If you want to clothes shop, is a t-shirt from the American Eagle in Times Square BETTER than the one in the mall up the road as you, back in Cleveland? No, it isn’t. It’s the same cotton blend piece of fabric, only even more ridiculously priced. Traveling is supposed to open your mind, not cause it to try to recreate what you know. Expand, don’t substitute. Do you like Olive Garden’s salad? Then you’ll love the one at the family owned restaurant a couple of minutes away, where the aged balsamic vinegar dressing makes your mouth explode with bliss.
Two months after we arrived, Mara and I started working at an Italian restaurant three blocks from the main Times Square abominations, as hosts. Sometimes, we had to wade through Times Square to get there. At least once a week, someone came into the restaurant and asked how to get to Applebee’s or T.G.I. Friday’s. I need to repeat that. Someone came into our restaurant…opened the door and…physically entered the place…so he or she could ask us how to get to another restaurant, one which employed twenty-year old cooks who couldn’t tell their asiago from their elbow macaroni. Couldn’t they smell the five cheese baked ziti with daily made marinara and shaved garlic? Didn’t the amazing waft of the vegetarian eggplant parmigiana soak into their noses, its layers invading their souls? No. Not recognizable. Why take the chance on something new, just because you were in one of the culinary capitals of the universe?
Ask me how to eat somewhere not putting food on my table? You get attitude. Ask me our specials as you sniff the air, and I’ll tell you which wine will transform it from epic song to stunning symphony.
I’d stare at the intruders, hoping they weren’t from my hometown, my faith in humanity seeping out of me and puddling on the floor. Half the time, they’d turn and leave before I said anything. I’m sure my frowning eyebrows and forehead lines flashed like a caution light. When I would speak, I made sure to bite the inside of my lip. “It’s over in the main part of Times Square. Turn right and keep walking til you see all the people taking pictures. You can’t miss it. And if you’d like homemade food, keep us in mind, okay?” Sometimes I’d give them wrong directions, if it had been a grumpy type day, like the time an older lady brought a to go box from Olive Garden, containing some abortion involving sausage, shrimp, beef, and enough blotchy white sauce to last a desperate Italian with no taste buds a week, hoping to eat it while her friend ordered plain spaghetti and bread sticks from us. I sent them…away.
Mara was kinder, as with all things. “Ruby Tuesday is three blocks right, but the wait time is going to be around two hours, minimum. If you’d like, I can show you our menu and specials. We have a wonderful linguine today, with capers, garlic and lemon.”
I heard this response once. “Yeah, but I know I like the burger at Ruby Tuesday’s, honey.” Then, I shit you not, the bald sweaty bastard put a quarter in the coat check tip jar. Mara smiled. I plotted his doom, something involving a hanging noose made of braided bucatini.
You want to change an area? Fine. Go crazy. But remember, sometimes bad character is better than no character, or fake character. And there are fewer people dressed in superhero costumes on the street in an area with bad character, trying to hustle a buck from your Aunt Lily and Uncle Fred, who are on their way to the delicious wonders of all you can eat riblets.
(end of mini New York City tourist rant)
Have we ever been better than Wednesday night? All of the romance, dinner, the sex, talking, all wrapped together in a fantastic package?
All day I’ve been buzzing, replaying it all in my mind. I’m AMAZED. Every second, from when I watched you walk in, to the last kiss, blew my mind. After the first kiss, I knew we’d head upstairs before dinner. I could feel it in every part of my body as we grabbed onto each other.
Nights like that show me, again and again, that we have something so incredibly special. We still love and want each other an amount that no one could believe. The passion and love we share is like nothing I’ve ever experienced, or even heard of.
WE are incredible. I miss you so much. I can’t wait until I see you again, kiss you again, make love to you again.
Amazing, incredible, terrific, mind-blowing…all pale to what we experienced.
Aaron is telling a story, told to him by a guy who worked with Rat and Roy Simmons, the bastards who stole his lyrics and made the awful pop song.
Dennis found the singer in a coffee shop two blocks from the studio. He was running late that morning, in a huge hurry to get to the studio and talk Roy out of firing a lyricist who had dared collaborate with another producer. Dennis ordered a large black dark roast with two espresso shots. He received a small latte. He sent it back. He received a medium latte with a note on the cup. “Sorry I effed it up–Kimmy.” And a huge smiley face. When he sent the second cup back, Kimmy appeared, filled with excuses and apologies. Dennis dropped the cup she gave him.
“I took one look at her and said aloud, ‘Eff me,’” Dennis said. “She looked like a slightly harder, taller mix of Christina Aguilera and Shakira, with Britney Spears’ pigtails. She’d altered her coffee shop shirt with a notch to show off her chest and tied it in the back so it would hug her stomach. She smiled at me and I didn’t need coffee anymore, my blood pumped so hard. She put her finger near her mouth and my dick twitched. She turned around and her ass made me weep with joy.”
Kimberly Smith, soon to be known to the music world as Kymmya D’Oro (she wanted a name that sounded “expensive and shiny”), appeared on the scene like a fully-formed lightning bolt gift from the pop gods, a teenage daydream, night dream, and wet dream. She was nineteen but looked fifteen, with huge cobalt eyes that seemed to lock on yours at any angle and hold them, natural blonde hair that twisted and curled like someone had rolled her around a steamy bed for hours, and a body that a budding porn star would pay many thousands of dollars to a plastic surgeon to have. She dripped sex, sang (with a little Auto-Tune help) like she was three thrusts from cumming, and smiled like she was an equal believer in unicorns and porno movies, chastity belts and all night orgies.
Kymmya D’Oro looked like someone had spent years constructing her in a pop star laboratory, sweating over every important detail, reworking her until she was done. Add in some trampy clothes, a little work to get rid of a couple of tiny pimple scars, and she was ready to burst forth from an album like one of the Four Horsemen of the Music Apocalypse.
Dennis laughed. “It didn’t matter that she was so dumb that she almost forgot how to breath sometimes, or that she got scared one day because she didn’t want to get ‘struck by thunder.’ I waited until she got off work and gave her fifty bucks to go with me to the studio. I walked in to Roy calling me everything but a Catholic saint, but when he got a look at her his jaw took a trip to his waist. ‘Roy,’ I said, ‘meet the girl who’s going to sing that song.’”
I Could Sleep with You Here
Even at three AM we’d make love if I awoke,
startled wide eyed by that ongoing dream—
you know the one, where that shadow
thing chases me into that dark place
and tries to grab me with those bony hands.
I’d rattle back to the world panting,
my heart strumming a steady bass
to shake the open bedroom window.
You’d feel me behind you, huff and puff,
body beat and beads of sweat clinging
as I pull your back toward my front.
You would wiggle your ass into me,
moan and murmur sleep soaked words,
maybe half lost in a Scarlett O’Hara
dream, my Gable grin shuddering you
as my valiant South rises again,
my night fear melting with the heat
of my now nighttime fever of lust.
I could sleep with you here,
Even with sleep no longer considered
as your fluttering hand guides me home,
cup and ball, olive and pimento, puzzle pieces.
Our hair drowsy with sex sweat
after we crash and mold and wow at the room
with our Handel choruses of I love you
and please fuck me harder baby
and come closer so I can touch you in me.
When your back to sleep body is a slick lullaby
with every soft sound you strain to bring alive.
You giggle once, piercing air and opportunity,
twist your eager to arch back along my landscape
as our hum and heat and a cricket chorus
drop us back to the beckoning clock hands,
at the point the weary body insists on what
the heart and cock and pussy protest.
I’ve missed the blog, and talking to you on it. Now that the craziness has faded, I want to post something here every day.
I woke up very sad today, and ended yesterday that way. I miss you like crazy. Add to that the high, then crash of Antioch, and your man feels low. I know I’ll readjust.
Tuesday I start counseling. I’m dreading it, which probably means, in my experience, that I should do it. I always feel like I don’t know what I’m doing in there. I know my problems, know a lot of their bases in my life, but I’m not good with opening them to a stranger. Still, I’m committed to it, if I can be happier.
I went to bed last night sad. I needed you there, wanted to wrap my arms around you so badly. I made the mistake of watching this news story about a woman who blogged her dog’s last day on earth, with pictures – playing in his favorite spot, eating hamburgers…I wish I could’ve done that, even though I know we visited all of Coop’s spots a lot. It’s still pretty raw with me and that wonderful pup.
I thought of a short story idea while I went for a walk. The ideas are constant these days, like there aren’t enough years to write them all down. Sooner or later I’ll need my mind to rest, but not today.
I woke thinking of you, like every other day. Today, it was your hands, and how I wish that I could lie in bed and rub them, the way you like.
I should be kissing you right now.
Today was the day I began to lay the foundations for change. My goals:
To write more, to cook more, to eat less and better, to shave and shower every day, to make my bed each morning, and more. Some seem silly but they’re about trying to have more focus and discipline.
Number one on the list is to get myself right as a more functional human being. To put to bed the anger and tendency to shoot myself in the foot. I call the counselors again tomorrow, hoping someone will return my requests for appointments. Being counselors, I’d hoped at least one of the two I emailed would respond…guess I’m the guy who would get put on hold at the suicide hotline, no literal meaning.
Today I did cook and those other things. And I wrote, most of the day, since I didn’t leave the house. With stuff I incorporated and new writing, I added over 4300 words today. As I wrote about Aaron missing Mara, I thought of you. I changed their first kiss to him initiating it, like in reality.
As I wrote about them I was frantic, almost like by telling their past I could rewrite my future. I know I can’t, but the thought is a good one all the same. So many stories. So much of us in the characters. I’m glad they get a happy ending. Someone should in this world.
Off to sleep here. I do miss you so. I hope your day was a good one.
It felt strange to be home. Except for a grocery trip. I stayed in and caught up on yard work, wrote, read. I started on the Sinclair short stories. Out of 4 so far, 2 aren’t short stories at all. Damn writers.
Last night I had my recurring nightmare. It starts at an old farm like place, where I’m finding old collectibles with two people I can see, but don’t know who they are. It’s creepy, but benign as I find the relics. The. It shifts to a creepy basement, where I see someone hanging, then all kinds of evil ghostly presences. Then I wake, my body humming with terror. Last night it crept me out to go use the bathroom. I felt five.
I wrote down my list of changes today. Talk about long! Still no reply from therapists, so calls Monday.
I’m thinking of you and hoping you’re well. So sorry, Moira. I’m so sorry.
The trip home was uneventful. I was delayed out of Newark, but since I had a long layover in Charlotte, it didn’t matter. I drove home with windows down, sunroof open. The fears hit me as I walked to my car. Coming here, back to the house, alone. I’ve kept myself busy since I got here, bed soon. It’ll be nice to sleep in a real bed with my pillow again.
Your comment about me making the lasagna rolls nailed me. I like nothing better than cooking for you. It was nice of you to say.
Tomorrow I get to write down all the things I worked on in New York, and catch up around here. It’ll be a bit strange getting back to “normal.”
I hope your fireworks exploding went well. The air is thick with it here.
I went down the the seaport until it rained. It’s nice down there – a bit touristy, but the boats are beautiful and the air is cooler, with the breeze. I took my last subway ride and then had a nice Italian dinner and a few glasses of wine, as I watched the people pass. I fell asleep reading, and woke with stuff scattered on the little bed.
This morning was about saying goodbye. I walked to the river and sat in a park and wrote, went to the park across from the hotel and sat there. Greenacre Park is in my top 5 places I’ve ever been. The two times I’ve stayed at the Pod, I’ve spent a lot of time there. It’s almost like meditating, watching the waterfall flow.
I’m not ready to come home. I looked into staying a few more days, but the cost was immense. I think coming home will make things with is really hit hard. The first few days I was stunned, disbelieving, then I’ve been here, but when I get back to Danbury, to what will always be OUR house, I think the real struggle will begin.
This trip I’ve written as much about the changes I want to make as I have fiction. In New York, I’m at peace. It feels like home, in a way. I feel right there. I should’ve skipped Vegas and just gone to NYC. I need to figure out a way to make Dayton like my little New York, if I can. I have some ideas.
I haven’t gotten (2 inquiries so far) a counselor to return my emails, so I’ll work on that tomorrow. I have 3K in my HSA account, so hopefully that’ll get me going.
I’ve read all of your FB posts and they make my heart jump. I was happy to hear about you at Young’s. It’s somewhere I always wanted to go with you. I can’t believe Yellow Springs and Antioch is only a week away. I’m nervous and excited. This is my first big time go around with writing.
A full day of travel. I’m supposed to land at 9, so I’m hoping for that. Then, home to a house, and to me, most of all. Me who is tired of being me.
I’m sorry. I’ll always say that at the end of these posts. I’m deciding to prove that I love you by trying to get better. I’m sorry I had to lose another crucial part of me to do that.