Doldrums

Awkward

"Be silent, and sit down, for you are drunk, and this is the edge of the roof." –Rumi
“Be silent, and sit down, for you are drunk, and this is the edge of the roof.” –Rumi

An old friend visited me at work the other day. Someone I haven’t seen in a while, but it wasn’t as awkward as most reunions. Several years ago, I re-acquainted myself with a girl I crushed on. She never knew how I felt about her, so when I told her, it got silent. Understand, this was years after the fact. It still felt a little weird. Awkward silence. “Well, I should be going.” “Yeah. Yeah. Nice talking to you. We should do this again sometime.” “Yup. Just give me a call.” “Whenever you’re free, I am.” “Nice seeing you.” “Bye.” “Bye.” Haven’t heard from her since.

There are moments in life that are just awkward. I do my best to avoid such moments. When I see a family member at a store, I quickly duck behind the closest heavy-set man until they’ve passed. This has become increasingly harder as the years have proven I’ve become the proverbial heavy-set man to hide behind.

You say I went to school with you? Oh. Wow. That’s great man. How’s it been? Shit. I’m sorry, my phone is ringing. You didn’t hear it because it’s on silent. How did I know? Bitch, who you think you are? FBI? Do I need my Miranda Rights read?

I’m not a fast man, but ninja skills are acquired when I see an ex-girlfriend. Well, that one’s not true, because I’ve maintained a healthy, post-relationship with most of my ex-girlfriends (there aren’t that many).

The king of awkward moments came tonight, though. And it didn’t involve me. In fact, I don’t consider it all that awkward. Earlier, Jyg’s mother was getting ready to go out with some friends. Apparently, someone was setting her up with a friend of hers. Long story short, I get a text message. Sometimes living in a small city has its perks. You can tell a story about a friend, and the person who’s listening will perk up and say, “Hey, I know that guy.” And it’s a little bizarre. Like having dwarfs throwing pickles at you or having midgets kick you in the shins. Other times, it’s receiving a text message with the words, “It’s your brother.”

G’nite everybody! [Exits stage right]

Doldrums · Writing & Writers

One Man Show, One Act Play

"The only thing you'll ever be is just a way for me to bleed on this stage"

As a kid, when my cats vanished, my family would tell it was because they went looking for their home. In no way was this an euphemism for death. It was an euphemism for sex.

Hope in November: Sitting on the bus from Chapin to Boroughs listening to the flavor of the month, a band named Anberlin. On her way to visit her dying grandfather, the patriarch of  the Queener family, Hope – or as her friends call her, HQ – prays her grandfather will allow her and give his blessing to her idea of leaving the state – and the college  she is attending – to attend an internship.

A conversation as we’re pulling out of Dairy Queen:

Jyg: Don’t you hate it when…Never mind. I forgot who I’m talking to.
Me: What?
Jyg: I was gonna ask, “Don’t you hate it when you’re sad for no reason?”
Me: You monkey.
Jyg: What?
Me: “Never mind. I forgot who I’m talking to.”
Jyg: Well, you’re always sad.

“You have to hear the entire story before jumping into conclusions.”

Javier’s lied before. It’s hard for me to trust him. When you’re raised knowing a father who can only disappoint you, you’re conditioned into always believing he’ll disappoint you, no matter your age. I feel childish holding on to imaginary grudges. And while I’ve allowed him human status for the past, it was current events that put me back into my funk. And now, I’m told he actually gave real, fatherly advice…Well, it’s hard to believe.

My niece, several years ago, sits with me at the table. I do my best to help her with a homework assignment. “Why don’t you talk to your father? He asks about you.”

“Your grandfather and my father aren’t the same man. You know a man who attempts to make an effort. I only know a stranger who made promises he couldn’t keep.”

Now she’s detaching herself from her father. Granted I don’t endorse or condone my brother‘s behavior or actions, he’s still my brother. And while I feel no attachment to most things human, a sense of fraternity is overwhelming. I love my family because they’re my family. They’re the people I can turn to no matter what, even though I don’t choose to. So in a sense, I – most times reluctantly – live up to my obligations as a son and a brother. I’m not blinded though. My brother is my brother. His actions, in no way, reflect those of my father. And while my niece is allowed to have a grudge against his leaving, I feel it’s unfair for her to do so. My brother, unlike our father, is attempting to be a father even though he’s no longer there. It’s not complete and utter abandonment.

“I’m gonna go back to bed. I’ll sleep until the world stops being ugly.” After a moment’s thought, “It’s never gonna stop being ugly, hu?”

The problem with me is I was too smart for my own good. In high school, I did my best to hide it. I aimed for average. When you’re average  no one cares. No one expects you to accomplish many goals, they just expect you to get by. Had effort played a role in my studies, I might have been something else. Might have given a fuck about it.

“Where’s your cat?” “Oh, he’s out fucking.”

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    Weren’t We Something Though?

     

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    In a patriarchal society, my grandmother was the matriarch of the family. The glue that held us together, if you will. Last Saturday, Jyg, Esmer and I had our annual Thanksgiving dinner sans Jerry – who was in San Antonio. It’s not so much a tradition that’s been going on for a while – well, at least not with them – but it’s something I’m hoping to conintue for years to come. Anyway, we got to discussing family rituals of Thanksgiving. Jyg commented on how her family doesn’t have dinners every year and Esmer went on to say that since everyone was grown up, it was hard to get everyone together. I laughed, remembering my grandmother’s hold on her family. Because that’s what we were – her family.

    Granted, we might not have subscribed to the same dogma, philosophy or whatever – half the time we probably didn’t even like each other with sibling rivalries or whatever. There wasn’t anything more important than Thanksgiving, nothing that kept you away. And if you questioned it, she’d give you the worse tongue lashing you can imagine. You didn’t go against abuela, didn’t question her. You did what you were expected to do and showed up on time. Otherwise there’d be hell to pay. Things weren’t the same when she passed away. We all drifted in our directions, allowed our rivalries or whatever to get in the way. We became too busy to do things. We were strangers at the table, not a family.

    My mother isn’t as headstrong as home was – despite the stubbornness that she inherited – which I inherited, as well. Whether my apathy about the world or my misanthropic view point on the world – my family – rubbed off on her, she doesn’t like to meddle in the affairs of others. Chismes, my grandmother would call it; the family had no place for gossip.

    When I decided to revive the Thanksgiving tradition, I didn’t know what to expect. For a while, we had all three brothers gathering at Mom’s house but we dwindled. Jay started working on Thanksgiving, Melissa would shuttle the kids to her mothers. Martin and his family would still come around, until it was decided that we would split the holidays – Martin had Thanksgiving, I had X-mas and Jay had New Year’s. Eventually, Jay got the latter two holidays and I would only be responsible for the main course for X-mas. Due to some misinformation this year, I was back behind the stove preparing Thanksgiving dinner. Once again, chismes befell the family.

    It’s not my place to butt in my thoughts on the affairs of others. My grandmother most certainly would, however. She’s give her grandmotherly advice, remind you of the vows you took before (G)od, etc. If it didn’t work out, then it didn’t work out. It was just the way it was, the way it was written. I never had the impression that she liked Javier much so whether she talked to my mother about divorce back in the day is beyond me. If anything, she was the gravity of my mother’s decision. Again, there is no evidence to conclude this.

    So despite the turn of events this year, I can only think of one thing. Yesterday was a good day. Jyg, Izzy and I took my nephew Jaycob to the park. In his hand, Jaycob dragged a cat toy tied to a shoelace behind him. It belonged to Dexter, whom Jaycob loved – though, the feeling wasn’t mutual.

    “In memory of Dexter,” Jyg said. Izzy made a comment to which Jyg replied, “I think it’s sweet to do something in memory of someone.”

    Yeah, so do I.

    Doldrums

    The Importance of Family

    via: WeHeartIt

    I’m sure we’ve all been there at least once in our lives. Your sitting with your family and the sudden realization that you’re actually related to these people seeps in. You hope that you are adopted because it’s the only logical explanation why you’re so odd compared to the rest of them – or rather, you’re not odd enough. I’ll admit, there are times that I hoped I was adopted. But the evidence of my biological attachment to these people was damning. I looked like my older brother when he was a kid; I resembled my mother; I have my father’s chubby cheeks, inability to grow actual facial hair and his temper. The creator or mother nature has one hell of a sense of humor when it comes to choosing who shares our DNA.

    And for those who know me, I’m not big on family. But once upon a time, I was. Not that I’m saying all I ever wanted to do was spend time with my family – no, nothing like that. It was just at one point I looked forward to the holidays, Thanksgiving especially.

    Thanksgiving meant cooking at grandmothers, starting at the crack of dawn. My uncle Danny and his family coming down from Midland to spend it with us. And me actually tolerating my family – for a day’s worth of feeling related to these strangers. That was tradition, anyway, up until 1997 when my grandmother passed away in October. That shattered my idea of what the holiday should be.

    Uncle Danny stopped by a two more times after her death before announcing he wasn’t going to spend Thanksgiving with us anymore. What followed was what I called the dark years. I spent Thanksgiving with an ex-girlfriend (who wasn’t an ex at the time, obviously) but I was the stranger again. There was no attachment. My mother, who worked for an elderly lady at the time, spent Thanksgiving working on other people’s dinner. And I would spend it listening to radio and drinking cough and cold medicine for a cheap buzz.

    Frustrated with the fact that I felt even more distant from the people I should have some biochemical bond with, I announced one day, a few years ago, that we were a goddamn family and should start acting like one. We had our first Thanksgiving with a motley crew of individuals including my immediate family, Joey, Jyg, Izzy and (possibly) Ruben. This idea bled into having X-mas together as a family, with yet another meal.

    Now there are three brothers and each needed to do something. It was agreed upon that Martin, the oldest, would have Thanksgiving, I, the youngest, would have X-mas and Jay, the middle child, would have New Year‘s. That way we all had to deal with each other three times a year and enjoy it. Then the rat incident happen and our oven died. So Jay consumed X-mas as well, though I would provide the main course.

    This year, Martin’s wife announced she wouldn’t be doing Thanksgiving this year. The reason was a long term struggle that I had known about and kept to myself, for the most part. The marriage was crumbling and she saw no reason for it anymore. Fine, I can take the helm of Thanksgiving and Jay can have the other two holidays, main course included.

    So where we are again. At the beginning of it all. Thanksgiving crumbled and I fear X-mas will follow suit (New Year’s is safe as my family tends to be filled with raging alcoholics – with the exception of me and my mother). What was my foundation of normalcy is now the tombstone upon its grave.

    I might not be a family guy, but I know the value that should be placed in one. Sadly, I might be the only one who sees this now. In this family, anyway.

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    This Post Is Lost In Confusion

    I’m just gonna ahead and blurt this out – I miss Amy Winehouse. I miss her crack-addled, drunk swaggering celebrity. I dedicate this blog to her memory. As I type this, I’m listening to her album Back to Black.

    I called Texas Car Title and Payday Loan earlier. Still no news. L told me that the regional manager was coming in tomorrow and they’d discuss the interviews then. She also stated that she’d call me tomorrow with the news, if any. I hate calling to see if I got a job because I feel like I’m coming off as desperate, but I know it’s expected. It shows that you’re really interested in the job. That’s why I played it safe and called today and not yesterday.

    Thanksgiving is looming closer and now that we have a new stove, we’re doing it here this year. That’s not the only reason, but I’m not going to get into familial issues at this moment. That’s for a later post, if I ever can stomach the subject. Mother wanted to make a turkey roast, which, I’ve learned, is just a nice way of saying a boned turkey breast. While at HEB, I saw a duck and thought that’s what we’re having for Thanksgiving dinner (or lunch, as we always make it for lunch). Now it’s just a matter of finding a good duck recipe.

    Thanksgiving this year will be made up of the usual suspects: Mom, Jyg, Izzy, (possibly) the kid and me. My brother and sister-in-law aren’t attending, as will my niece Selena. My other brother, Jay, and his family (except the kid, of course) will also be absent, but that’s something I’ve grown used to.

    I’m not going to discuss why Thanksgiving is important to me at the moment. I’ll save that for another post. Oh well, I’m almost finished with Death Troopers, so I’m gonna go ahead and finish that up.