Writing & Writers

T(h)rust

Gothic Wedding

I faced the horrible task of letting one of my workers go a couple of nights ago. It wasn’t my choice; it’s just how this game is played, I suppose. And I’m not very good at the task. I mulled it over for a bit before calling him to tell him the bad news, which I’ve hinted at for a few days now. The truth is, I knew I would have to do it – I just didn’t want to.

I’ve never been good at this sort of thing. If memory serves me well, I remember I’m even terrible at telling people to go home and get their act together – which wasn’t my call either, but somehow it was my burden to bear. This incident – if I do recall – also left me with the label of racist, as the parent of the girl thought my decision was solely based on the color of her daughter’s skin – which isn’t true, because I thought the girl was Hispanic.

Firing someone – or terminating his services, in this case – isn’t much different from breaking up with someone. He asked me if there was anything else, and I told him it was all out of my hands. We’d been having problems with the company that brought him to us and we were already replacing everyone with in-stadium staff. Simple as that. I felt bad, nevertheless, so I sent the woman I dealt with an e-mail stating that he was a great worker and I hoped that they would find him employment swiftly.

The new team consists of someone who did clean up the previous year, my mother – the clean up expert – and a new guy – someone who’s a year younger than me, but looks at least a decade my junior. The latter is the one I’m confused about. He’s a great worker, but also godawfully slow. Not only that, it seems he hasn’t come into his own. Like he’s still somewhere between adolescents and adulthood. Someone who hasn’t fully broke out of his awkward period.

He’s a great guy, though there’s something about him that just reminds him of, well, me. A much more exaggerated version of me – my phobias, my neurotic tendencies, my anxiety. No. Wait. Not exactly me. He’s more like me if I didn’t take charge of whatever pathetic life I had before this alter ego syndrome took over. He’s my Edward Norton to my Brad Pitt (though neither of us are remotely attractive and I’m about to kill myself for making a Fight Club reference).

There was a moment of clarity when he started spilling certain facts about himself – facts that I did not want to even know about because there’s a line that I like to draw that keeps me from knowing too much about the people I’m working with, for and otherwise.  Not to mention that having people open up to me crosses my comfort zone and my immediate response is to bail and leave them hanging there, drying in their own mess.

I suppose it’s a matter of trust and I don’t much like it being thrust upon me that quickly. When people do that, they become the emotional vampires I despise. The ones that smother you with a thousand excuses to stick around – “Oh, I need your help,” “My boy/girlfriend broke up with me,” “My parents still don’t understand me,” “Maybe we should go/do somewhere/thing together.” And when I shut them off, cut off all my faked empathy and interest, they go ballistic. It’s just best that I don’t get involved in any way with such people, unless I like them to a degree where their shit doesn’t faze me.

Not to mention that this guy still has a high school view of the world. When asked what he thought about the wedding cake above, he said it looked more like a funeral cake – which is the first I’ve ever heard of this. I explained the symbolic aspect – the even in death aspect, if you’re not catching my drift – but nothing stuck. I also explained the personalities that Jyg and I both hold. Nada. I was back being judged again like I was in high school and only this time I didn’t have any school books to throw down and say, “What?! You gotta problem, fucker?” – course, I only imagined myself doing this in high school as I was rather fragile.

Now that I’ve managed to slip into a segue, I’m gonna take it. I’d also like to say that I’ve hunted for rings lately and I think I found the right one, but I’m terrible at making decisions. We’ll see.

Writing & Writers

Set & Setting

Underneath

I used to think if i could realize I’d die
Then I would be a lot nicer
Used to believe in a lot more
Now I just see straight ahead

That’s not to say I don’t have good times
But as for my days
I spend them waiting

If I didn’t know any better, I’d say someone or something were watching me from above. It seems, when my esteem as a writer is evaporating, a symbol of some sort stumbles back into my life. That symbol just happens to go by the name of The Frank Man.

I met Frank back in 2005 at the University of Texas, Pan American. We both attended the Creative Writing Institute that summer – he as a grad student studying poetry, while I studied short fiction. He noted my fondness for Hawaiian shirts. A few years later, before graduation, I re-encountered him as I left the COAS building, heading for the SBS. He stopped me, noted that he remembered me  – not because of my shirt, but because of my penchant for including profanity in my works.

Yesterday marked my third encounter with Frank. After finishing the first half of my job at the stadium, I walked into the administration office to grab a drink of water. I downed my first cup when he walked through the doors and finished a second cup before I asked if I could help him. He recognized my face, he said. But couldn’t place me. I asked for his name – he did look familiar, but a man like Frank – up until now, I’ve failed to mention he is African-American in all sense of the term – isn’t hard to overlook, our black community in the valley is slim.

“I’m the one with the Hawaiian shirts and the profanity,” I replied. He laughed, remembering hints of me. We reacquainted ourselves, caught up in our writings and plans. I told him my plans of returning to school to get my MFA, while he seeks a publisher. I mentioned to him that we’re in a digital age, hard copy publishing is on crutches. Digital is where to look toward and sites like Amazon and Smashwords are likely to aid him into the world of self-publishing, as his fear is someone running off with his works.

Dreams and death, I’ve learned, fill Franks life. The former healing the latter. Frank doesn’t let it get him down. He can laugh at situation most of us would cower in the shadows with. Be it his faith in God, but the man has something I favor – hope. Not many of us have it. Some of us have given up on it. And while, I may or may not enter an MFA program this fall, at least I know what my reasoning for doing so is. And it took a man like Frank to remind me.

Doldrums

God’s Gift

Last Season at Edinburg Stadium

I never understood my fellow man’s constant need of hitting on women. In high school, while most of my friends were trying to get laid, I spent my time perfecting my humanistic qualities. That’s not to say, I didn’t notice girls my age. I did. They were remarkable creatures filled with so much emotion that it made it hard for me not to notice them. That’s not to say guys aren’t emotional creatures – they are; society, however, instructs them otherwise.

A guy who attempts on expressing emotion is often labeled queer, gay, a faggot, a homo, a sissy, etc. They’re mocked and bashed for it. And while I’ll never understand why – often time, the only emotion I truly grasp is confusion – society functions better this way. Still, I don’t understand guys’ constant need of hitting on women.

Late last week, two of my morning crew members decided to up and quit. They disagreed with how we were running things – i.e. their pay. Both were replaced by a newbie. While this new guy is a great worker, his priorities are skewed. If a pretty girl were – say – appear underneath a tree by the bar, typing away on her laptop while her son was out on the field with a university baseball player, he will drop his responsibilities and focus all his attention on picking her up. Of course, assuming that is her son out on the field with the university baseball player, and that ring on her finger is her wedding band, we can draw to the conclusion that, rather than being – possibly – flattered by his verbal assault of what he’d like to do with her, she’ll probably find him – well – annoying.

The same thing happened when he first came to us and the blonde in spandex pants – I’m not really sure if they were spandex, but was told they were (and it makes the story slightly more interesting, don’t you think?) – appeared in the exact spot laptop girl appeared today. He spent about an hour sweeping the same spot, I kid you not. Yesterday, a receptionist was present in the front office when they were signing him out. It caused me to state, “No flirting with the receptionist, please.” And today, A. also fell victim – if you can call it victimization – to his pathetic attempt of flirtatiousness.

I gotta say, though, if I understood the need to pick up as many women as possible, I’d probably attempt it myself (but humans – for the most part – disgust me, so this could never truly work out).

Another thing I realized I’m terrible at is talking about women around guys. I’m terrible. When they’re going on about how great certain assets of a female’s body are, I’m the person who comments on her hair – which, if you’re not the person commenting on the hair comes off as either homosexual (sorry for the stereotype here, gays guys) or a serial killer (yup, again, sorry).  And I always fear that, when talking with the fairer sex, my communication will come off as flirting – which it has been mistaken for in the past. (Let me break off here in order to note that I do flirt, but not because I want to bag some “fine ass honey.” Flirting, I’ve noticed, isn’t just a way to get into somebody’s pants, it’s also a way to get something you need – in a nonsexual way, of course. People who feel flattered are more inclined to listen, to provide services – again, nonsexual – or get you free stuff.)

Okay, before people start calling on my bullshit – I do happen to notice when a woman is – for the lack of a better phrase – well-endowed, beautiful, drop-dead gorgeous, fine, stunning, sexy…well, you get the point. After all, I am human. But all those “assets” hold a time-limit. Sooner or later, gravity will do its work and not matter how advance cosmetic surgery is, it will never win the battle against nature, so give it up. What matters to me is a woman’s ability to keep me interested in what she has to say. Because life bores me. This world is filled with superficial beauty that it irks me. I love communication, arts – in short, a woman with a brain.

Well, that and an ability to make me feel – well – normal. Lucky I’ve already found that someone, hu?

Doldrums

Ohhhhh Yeah, Let’s Play Some Baseball & Other Tales from the Ballpark

Can't remember the source of the image, sorry

I’ve never been one for baseball, or sports for that matter. Ask me ten years ago what I thought about the stadium built here in Edinburg, I would’ve told you it was a waste of money. But it’s grown on me. The stadium, not so much the sport. Though, I gotta say, it’s sorta humanistic of me to – dare I say? – have a favorite sports team.

Okay, maybe favorite is too strong a word. I mean, I’m not about to collect Roadrunner memorabilia. Though, as I type this, a team baseball cap – which goes for $20 at the pro shop (it’s called a pro shop, right?) – rests upon a pile of books on my desk. But that’s nothing. Right?

It’s not so much the team I love, but the familial attitude within the front office. Unlike the Coyotes – back in 2007 when I worked for them – the administration is great in the sense that they remember that their employees – while not really considered employees according to the IRS – are human.

Today, for example, in the front office, the phrase “Oh yeah. Let’s play some baseball”  – obviously said with gusto – filled the air. A. wanted it as our new catch phrase, as in:

Scene: Front Desk. The phone rings. Receptionist answers.

Receptionist: Edinburg Roadrunners. Oh yeah, let’s play some baseball.

It was R. – for some odd reason, I’m still hooked on attempting some anonymity for these wonderful people – who really “owned” the phrase, with his unenthusiastic voice.

Sadly, not all people at the ballpark are as great as those in the front office. And, yes, I’m talking about the players. At the beginning of the season, the players loved me. Some of them still do, in fact. Probably not as much as before as I don’t feed them every night – which was explained at the beginning of the season, but a sudden case of amnesia as plagued the clubhouse. For the most part, these people are understanding and know their boundaries. Except one.

Every year, there is some schmuck who thinks – just because he’s playing as a professional athlete – he’s the top shit. He carries that attitude that as clubhouse manager, I must drop all things to meet his beck and call. His first night, he made a demand for me to get him a cup of ice, which I did. (FYI, anytime you piss off the clubbie, you’re bound to meet some consequences. In TT’s case, the consequence was a cup of less than favorable ice – the bottom of the ice machine, which is more commonly known as the great bug graveyard.) Today, he decided that he’s important enough for the front door of the clubhouse to remain unlocked. No dice. And if Mr. Attitude thinks he can continue this act without repercussions, he’s wrong.

Last season, this character was played by another person. It ended with a pathetic excuse for an idle threat – “If that’s the case, then I’m not going to let you wash my clothes anymore.” – this threat, by the way, has become my favorite anecdote to describe how greatly some of these fellows hold themselves. I’m not one for conflict – who am I kidding, yes I am – but I swore that I would never allow anyone to insult, mistreat or belittle me in front of the team again.

But let’s not dwell on the bad side of this job. Let’s focus on what makes it enjoyable. And that’s everything outside the clubhouse. Until next time.