Friday, December 28, 2007

He sits cross-legged on the futon, the crumbs from last night’s pizza crusts harassing his thighs. Stares out the window as the boy sleeps in the other room with noises emitted from his nose indicating that his pulmonary system is enduring some ancient torture. A car drives by. It’s 2:28am on a Friday morning. There is only one explanation for being on the road right now, he thinks: a night of debauchery has just ended. With each passing car, he tries to guess what form the debauchery took. He sees the sports bar Sunfire, the coked-out Chrysler, the booty call Buick. He wonders why we reserve these activities for night time, as though we still feel residual shame from before the revolution. Night shields and protects from admitting the dirty, pretty things we lust after; they don’t have a place in reality. Not yet. We haven’t evolved that far and even so, far less than we think we have. This is that awful refractory period between explosion and recovery, when we understand what we’ve done but are unable to move forward. The marijuana Mitsubishi. His mind wanders back to the boy, barely legal, sleeping in his bed. From this angle, all he can see is a corner of the white bed, an athletic foot leading up to a peach-fuzzed calve. He’s nice enough. Not bad to look at either. Certainly enough to get hard over. Still, despite that stiffness at the memory, it’s clear the boy won’t be treading deeply in his path of life. For each other, they are merely momentary distractions, hedonistic and appropriately shallow. When one is waiting for the intensity of a butane flame, these small Bic lighters are necessary along the way, otherwise one would go insane from the anticipation. The hook-up Honda. Despite his daylight convictions, at times like this he debates whether this freedom is actually weakness, the antithesis to the nobility of chastity. Vows to the latter have been made in the past. They never last long. It’s all too attainable these days. It’s not as though these adult recesses distract him from his goals. He’s ensured that they’re completely unobtrusive, like mistresses that go down back stairs to avoid wives, never to meet. He’s heard this makes for better husbands. He hopes it’s true, that this metaphor will hold true. The groping Grand Am. He thinks about the date he went on last week, how the guy wasn’t all that special and yet within the first five minutes of drinking their tea, he just wanted to crawl into bed and hold him. Fuck the foreplay; let’s cuddle. And the next day, the amount of energy it took to limit his painfully cute and impossibly endearing text message to less than 150 characters, the panic when there wasn’t an instant reply, the relief at awakening to one, and for what? Someone he wasn’t even really into. Time to reassess. This should be easier for him. And yet, despite the encouragement of friends that “you haven’t met someone good enough for you yet,” and that he feels his standards have been sufficiently lowered, there’s been nothing for years. He’s slipping, beginning the all-too-familiar descent into pity and doubt. The hummer Hummer; an internal smile at his joke. Nope. Not doing this. He shakes his head and squeezes his eyes shut, trying to make diamonds out of coal. He opens them, takes a deep breath as his vision readjusts and walks to the bedroom doorway. The boy, demonstrably awake, gives him a smile of unmistakable intent. He closes the door.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I have seen my future and it is not pretty.

A gentleman on my floor has perhaps the slickest comb-over I have ever seen. I had always assumed that this youngish guy (29? 30?) had a slightly out-dated do in the form of the gelled 1999 cowlick. However, upon close inspection, one can see that, in fact, the hair actually begins at the very top-back of his hair (about where the ‘bald spot’ is) and works its way up to the front, probably totaling a good 7 inches in length. It would have been remarkably convincing if not for the fact that on this particular day, the hair on either side had crept up slightly, revealing the place where on a full head of hair there is a part between the “top hair” and the “side hair”. However, rather than a part, there was simply “no hair”.

Now I am not what some people would call modest when it comes to personal appearance. I try to have a sense of style, with diverse influences and flair that is original but not over-the-top. So two years ago, when my hairline started receding faster than the Beauty & the Beast villagers when getting their asses handed to them by the animate objects of the enchanted castle (it’s my metaphor; go with it), it was not a small deal. I fully went through the 5 stages of grief:

1. Denial – “No, really, I’ve always lost an average of 256 hairs with every comb stroke”

2. Anger – “WAAAAAAAAAAH! Not fair! This should be happening to some Tub o’ frosting-loving, Wal-Mart cart-riding, stained sweat-suit-enthusiast hambeast from Transcona, not me! This is my ‘Nam, man! Gah! I will fully devote myself to the servitude of the Dark Lord in exchange for a less prominent brow! I am Faust! I AM FAAAAUUUST!”

3. Bargaining – “Um, God? Hiya. I may have been a leeeeeeeeettle bit rash before with the whole rallying behind Satan thing. Here’s the thing though: I need this hair. It’s really the only gimmick I’ve got, cause the six-pack isn’t happening and, well, I’m kind of an asshole sometimes. Ok, frequently. So maybe, just let me have half of it back, and I will totally let those pawing Menno kids be my friends. Two-thirds and I’ll even throw in a couple of Jews.”

4. Depression – “I will die alone and unloved. Just like Frasier.”

5. Acceptance – “…” (Ok, so I haven’t technically reached this one yet)

While I haven’t fully accepted my follicley-challenged dome, I am proud to say that the recession (while not having corrected itself) has stopped and along with my stylist (who I can never, ever leave. Ever.), I have developed a largely-inconspicuous hair style, designed for my needs as well as those of the sick fuck I will eventually coerce into loving me. The word ‘comb-over’ is an ugly one, and really, I don’t have a comb-over. It’s simply a bohemian marvel of modern construction, held in place with a series of gels, waxes and sprays. However, it still isn’t a comb-over. Not yet anyway. (That is the deal, isn’t it, Red?)

Friday, December 07, 2007

This is not a revelatory entry nor are these, I imagine, original thought in the least, but I am struck more and more as life goes on at the polarization of goodness in the world. On an hourly basis, I am reminded that akin to the alien theory of yore, I really don't understand how most people can function the way they do and not feel a deep sense of need to immediately terminate their lives. Perhaps, my assumption that they feel in the same way is simply incorrect. This is not to say that I think I'm intrinsically better for feeling more, cause trust me, it's a pain in the ass most of the time, but I simply don't understand it. People who have lost all sense of pride in the way they present themselves, who are unhealthy and slovenly, use wretch-worthy grammar and whose sense of culture is limited to new episodes of Gossip Girl. I do realize that the things which I uphold that separates us are not necessary for survival (style, aesthetic, bathing), but the goal of striving beyond the base is what contributes most to our humanity and it leads us to better social places. Of social aesthetic one could say, "Well, what good are you really doing the world by using words not found in the Winnipeg Sun or putting down a table cloth when you invite a friend over for pasta and salad?" and if they were examining these examples as individual events, they would be correct. However, I would argue that a sense of decorum and aesthetic, no matter how poncey it seems, contributes greatly to the way we treat one another. Language is an art that appears destined for Value Village and this is a tragedy because in ten, fifty, one hundred years, we won't have a word for, you know, that's, like, really bad, like so bad you couldn't forgive them, and...dammit! what is that word?! And they won't know because it's not important anymore.

Aesthetes don't start wars. They don't bicker in lines at Wal-mart. They don't urinate in public. They don't think of their children as chores but rather the greatest opportunity to create that there is. I think we fucked up, people. Think of the trillions of dollars going to fight wars and make dirty money, carry out knowingly evil deeds and appease a public by pandering to their ignorance. What if all that money went to people that needed it, to art, to good food, not this prepared crap we eat, to medical research, to educate, or just to give away. And it's never gonna happen.

Ultimately, I think the problem is America. I know that's such an easy out, to blame everything on them, but c'mon... they're the only distinct society that doesn't create it's own culture as a part of life rather than simply a pastime. I really dig the Europeans in this manner (of course I do), but it's true in Eastern cultures as well as South America. They just get that it's a good time. Kenneth Nelson, who was an American actor in the 60s and 70s has a great way of putting it:

"I moved to England to escape theatrical stereotypes. Personally, I've enjoyed the change. It's a cultural thing. Here, people don't think Rimbaud is a Sylvester Stallone character, or that matricide is when you kill yourself in bed ..."

All this having been said, there is a fraction of Americans that despite, or perhaps because of, this sin of avarice act in what could laughingly be called a radical manner, were it not so tragic that is was considered radicalism. As an example, I put forward this site onto which I stumbled, on which teachers can post donor requests for teaching materials that they can't afford due to lack of government funding. Since 2000, they've raised fourteen million dollars. I confess I got a little misty when I went to the site, for all the reasons listed in the preceding paragraphs.

Ok, what began as a rant against coworkers wearing socks and sandals in December quickly dissolved into a sanctimonious monologue about the state of the world. God, I love blogs.

Monday, December 03, 2007

I am fighting a losing battle with my kitchen. La cuisine and I have been at odds practically since day one. There was the great fruit fly invasion of August, wherein, drunk off two martinis and the influence of watching Casino Royale, I launched a full-scale stealth attack using GLAD Sea Breeze aerosol bathroom deoderizer (yes, I'm well aware that there weren't enough toxins to kill them, but it stuck and froze to their wings and that made me happy.), leaving the walls sticky and smelling like decaying fauna. Then there was the first time I opened the kitchen window only to have it slam down on my thumb, causing me to anthropomorphecize it as the reincarnation of Hitler. Things weren't always this way between us. When I first moved in, I remember lovingly scrubbing every surface, the stains in the fridge, rust around the stove elements, arranging the single large cupboard according to themes. Inviting my first guest over for dinner and breaking out the killer placemats, my first purchase after deciding to move out. (I should mention here that placemats are right up there with foreskin and inner monologue on the list of Things Jews Don't Have.) Those were the good times. And now...she smells if I don't do the dishes within seconds of using them, she inexplicably turns bananas brown less than 24 hours after bringing them home (don't cry for me, Price Choppers), and like the rack belonging to women of a certain age, my own spice rack has begun to droop and slant in ways clearly not designed for public viewing.

Kitchen, my proud, worthy adversary, to thee I say: suck it.