Wednesday, June 29, 2005


Last Thursday, from 2:30 PM to 8 AM Friday, I worked. That's a 17.5 hour shift. I like working second shift for a few reasons. First, I'm generally nocturnal. I also have a mild case of insomnia, so getting up at 11 AM isn't much of a problem if I pass out around 3 or 4 in the morning. Second, I have the office to myself for half of the day. I get to queue up some mp3s and blast music that normally has to be on the lowest setting possible. I also don't have to play musical chairs with my coworkers. We have more workers than work stations. Once they're gone, I get to concentrate & work on multiple projects. This can be a problem if there are a lot of rush jobs. It means I have to stay even later than I usually do, and it REALLY messes up my sleep schedule.

I got home at 9:30 AM, and I tried to go to sleep. It didn't happen. I was wired. I had no intention of going back to work, because I had some difficulties forming a coherent thought. I finally passed out at 11 PM. I was awake for 36 hours, something I haven't done since high school.

All weekend, my sleep was screwed up. I was going to bed at dawn. And I got very tired when I was awake. I got in to work on Monday, a little tired, but otherwise fine.

We had to get access to a bunch of drawers. Leaning against them were huge 4' x 8' sheets of Sintra (pvc for mounting prints), foam core, & cardboard. I had most of it leaned up against myself so the others could get to the drawers. I underestimated how tired I was, because I lost my balance and everything fell on me.

I was fine...just buried. I waited patiently as everyone ran around trying to pull everything off of me. I got my balance, stood up, and dusted off. Everyone kept asking if I was okay, and I was. It was just a very silly situation, lying there beneath all that plastic & cardboard. I suppose it would be more interesting if that symbolized the way I feel about my life, but it doesn't.

I'm not trapped, smothered, or overwhelmed by anything. That's mildly comforting, I guess, but it would be nice if I had some sort of drama in my life. But my problems are either extremely mundane, or extremely tragic. Maybe it's a good thing that I don't have anything to worry about.

However, it would be nice if I had something...someONE to occupy my thoughts. And my personal space ;)

Monday, June 27, 2005

"I don't want someone with 'issues.'"

I have a profile up on a few internet dating sites. Meeting women in real life is about as easy for me as it is easy for ants to build skyscrapers. I go to work and sit in front of a computer all day. I come home and sit in front of a computer all night. I sit here and chat with friends I hardly ever get to see, and work on art projects that may or may not ever see the light of day.

In case you missed the title of this site, I'm rather shy & quiet. (Yet I seem to be perfectly comfortable humiliating myself here for the world to see.) I never know what to say to someone I've just met; or in the case of online personals, have yet to meet. Because of my family and some former friends, I have trust issues. My biggest obstacle is breaking the ice and being comfortable with someone new.

Before I continue, a few words about bars & clubs. What's the point? Yes, I know, those places are just about quick hookups, and I want something better than that. And it helps if you drink, which I don't, EVER. Still, even if alcohol weren't part of the problem, I can't HEAR anything over the billion-decibel backbeat that threatens to disrupt my heartbeat.

The personals sites have been about as fruitful as the Sahara. While I'm not picky at all about looks, I have to at least think she has a cute smile. If her profile mentions something that I think we'd have in common, I try to connect with that. I figure if we can talk about that for a half-hour or so, it'd be worth the trip to the cafe. Sometimes, we connect very well, through emails and long phone conversations. When we meet face to face, one or the other of us looses interest -usually her, though. Am I that intimidating? I go back and look at more profiles to find something in common, but one phrase keeps popping up over & over again: "I don't want someone with 'issues.'"

Excuse me? I'm sorry, but if you don't have issues, then it appears as though you've never overcome any hardships. You've had everything handed to you, and you don't have an opinion about anything. As fucked up as my life has been, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I want someone who's had to deal with some shit. I want someone who's made heavy decisions in her life, and has shouldered the consequences. I want a woman who thinks about more than just what kind of eye shadow matches the puny little rat-dog she carries around in her purse.

If that sounds mean & condescending, it's not meant to. It's just frustrating when you get coldly rejected by someone you've never met, saying your life is too complicated. It's really dehumanizing, and it makes me feel more invisible & worthless to everyone else.

Saturday, June 25, 2005


I used to work in a print shop just below Canal Street that has a lot of walk-in clientele. Once in a while they'd bring in their dogs, which is the only benefit of working at this place worth mentioning. I don't know what it is, but dogs love me. I'm not complaining; quite the opposite. There was a golden retriever that sat right in the middle of the aisle, stared at me, and let out a quiet "woof." As if to say, "hey, get over here & pet me!" I dropped whatever I was doing and approached it. He stood up & wagged his tail in anticipation. My theory at the time...and still is, "fuck the customers! I have to make the dogs happy!" There was a regular customer who brought in her old German shepherd, who immediately bonded with me. He looked just like my landlady's dog, the only difference was gender. They were absolutely the sweetest dogs ever. Even sweeter than my parents' dog, a black lab they got shortly after I left for college.

The funniest thing that happened was when a woman brought in three of her beagle puppies. They were SOOOOOO cute and excited, each of them climbing over the other, vying for my affection. I said aloud, "If I got this kind of response from women, I'd be SET!" Naturally, everyone at the front counter laughed their ass off.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Shit List

After I graduated high school, I developed a Zero Tolerance policy for idiots, morons, the willfully ignorant, creeps, psychos, and people who betray my trust. So here's why I don't have anything to do with my little sister & her brood.

During my last semester of college, most of my energy was focused on getting a decent job and an apartment in the city. I really should have focused on the cute girl who would make eye contact & smile at me all the time in my Latin American Fiction class, but that's a story for another time.

Me and my friend Bowie figured it would be easiest if we got an apartment together. He had already got me a job as a coffee bitch, and he's proven to be one of my best friends. So we made the rounds, and had absolutely no luck. We kept trying, even after graduation, after I had left the dorms, had my stuff all boxed up in a friends' basement (thanks, Christian!), and living like a gypsy in Lynne's apartment for two months (Lynne, I'm still sorry about that, even though you keep telling me not to be). Something that bothered me was that I was told many times that I had BAD credit.

Huh? I thought I had NO credit. That's different. I had nothing but student loans in my name, and I just graduated. I couldn't have BAD credit.

So after all avenues were exhausted, I retreated back upstate, feeling beaten and depressed. Then I got a substantial bill in the mail for some shop-at-home catalogue. I made phone calls, and wrote letters to find out what was going on. The shipping address for the items ordered was where my sister was living with her boyfriend (now husband and father of their 2 children).

Coincidence? Yeah, right. My sister was very dumb, lazy & selfish, and the boyfriend was an all that plus an ex-con. Before they moved, they snagged a catalogue that had been shipped to me with the pre-approved notice (that should have been thrown out), got my social security number from my mom's purse, and went on a shopping spree.

Of course, I became highly pissed. It took four months just to clear my name & credit. It took five more months to save up enough to get back to New York City. I had to put my life on hold for a year just so they could put a fucking subwoofer in their car.

Yeah, you know what? Stay out of my life. I don't want you in it. You were always a pain in the ass to me, you practically disowned me when I needed some support, you constantly treated me like shit when I tried to help you. Fine, we're done. Good riddance.

It's been almost five years since that happened. In all this time, not once have they uttered an apology. My parents wish I'd forgive them and be best friends with them and that everything should be great because we're brother & sister and sometimes all you have is family and blah blah blah. Sorry, sharing DNA doesn't give anyone a free pass. In fact, sharing DNA means I have higher standards for you to adhere to. If you can't figure out that identity theft & credit fraud are bad, you probably shouldn't talk to me.

Due to lack of funds, I only visit my parents once a year, for Christmas. Every year, I get the same speech. If I hear it one more time, I'll threaten them with not coming home at all. I don't want to have to say that, but it gets irritating, being told who to give my love & trust when they certainly don't deserve either.

Which one's the 'any' key?

Here's how dumb/ignorant I am. I have all these buttons on my keyboard and I don't know what they do, and I don't particularly care. However, I just learned that F5 is the refresh key for your favorite internet browser. I'm way more interested in the FU key. Hook me up with one of those. My instant messaging experience would be brought to new heights of juvenile discourse.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Be nice to the cashier.

You'd think this was common sense, but damn, a lot of people are boorish elitist rotten vulgar ignorant miserable stupid bastards. I know, I used to work behind the counter at a coffee chain, a competitor of Starbucks that is now out of business in the USA. There's nothing like being shouted at by an old lady who has five minutes to catch a train, but needs four café au laits, one cappuccino, and a pound of coarsely ground beans. An order like that takes about seven to ten minutes, and I happily pointed this out. Well, duh, this Upper East Side "see you next Tuesday" didn't care. After two minutes of her berating me for not making sure she had freshly ground cinnamon sprinkled on top of the foam of the cappuccino and for not doing a it in a cute pattern, I told her to die. She left ranting about how she missed her train.

Whenever I shop, I try to exude patience and understanding towards the cashier, or to anyone trying to help me. These people are over worked, extremely under paid, and don't need to deal with any extra bullshit or stress in their lives. So be nice, answer their questions properly. "How are you doing today?" should not be met with, "Just looking, thanks." A simple, "I'm well, thank you. How are you?" will work wonders for someone's disposition.

And tipping is not just a city in China. If you get good service, reward it. Trust me, an extra couple of dollars can make someone's day. I got a $20 tip once, out of appreciation for getting a difficult order right, and making the customer happy. It was very generous and unexpected.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

I want a lion.

Why the Animal Kingdom rules, and humans drool.

Say something, would ya?

A little while after I started college, my parents separated for a year. Dad was cheating, and moved in with a woman and her 13/14y.o. son. She was nice, and seemed good for my dad, so that's really all I cared about. The three of us were driving around one night, and we pulled into a gas station/convenience store. Dad got out, pumped gas, and got us some sodas.

So what's-her-name (I honestly don't remember) tried making some small talk while Dad was shopping, and I reciprocated, because I'm not a total asshole. Dad came back, and we resumed our drive.

A few days later, Dad & I were talking.

"What's-her-name told me the other night, 'I don't think Jeff likes me.' And I ask her, 'why not?' She says, 'he doesn't talk to me very much.'"

Dad and I start laughing at this point. He continues, "Look, Jeff doesn't talk to anyone. Don't take it personally."

So kids, the lesson today is that I'm not a talkative guy, especially if I don't know you. I can babble freely if I've known you for a year or so, and we've developed some trust. But otherwise, chalk it up to my debilitatingly, paralytically shy nature and take your time to get to know me. I'll try not to waste your time, and you probably won't regret it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Wedding Entertainment

You know what I love about weddings?

Watching three morbidly obese women slam into each other trying to catch the bouquet.

You know what I hate about weddings?

When the groom turns around and tucks the garter into my breast pocket.

A tip for anyone who's forced into the position of touching the inner thigh of someone you've never met and you're not thrilled by the sudden prospects. Say, "I'm sorry, I can't do it. I'm not good enough for her."

You'll avoid causing a scene, and no one's feelings will be hurt.

Go see 'Batman Begins.' NOW. That's an order.

It's a damn great movie, and plays closer to the source material than any other Batman movie (aside from the Bruce Timm/Paul Dini animated series).

Here's what I identify most with the character Bruce Wayne/Batman:

His sense of loss, and the fact that he pretty much had to raise himself.

Granted, my parents are alive and were NOT gunned down ruthlessly in the back alley of a movie theatre in a sprawling metropolis. I'm from a rural upstate New York town with less than 26,000 people.

However, I was pretty much a latch-key kid. My parents worked their asses off to put a roof over my head, clothes on my back, and food on the table. My mother worked nights for a while, even after my little sister was born, and I barely remember her being around except for Saturday mornings. My dad would come home and drown himself with alcohol, sometimes violently so. By the time I was five, I wasn't sure what I was afraid of most; going to school, or my father coming home from work. If I ever changed the channel wrong, or put the spoon down wrong, I'd get thrown across the room and beaten. He sobered up eventually, but it wasn't soon enough.

I'm 26 years old, and I barely know who my parents are. Whenever I go home to visit, I'm transported back to 1986, to an eight year old boy who doesn't know who to trust. The feeling wears off after a few minutes, but it's still damned strange to go through all that.

Another one of the themes explored in 'Batman Begins' is fear, and how we cope with it, and turn it into something positive…or negative.

How does one cope with being constantly afraid for the first 13-15 years of life?

I'll give you a hint:

Not too well.

Monday, June 20, 2005

What the Hell am I doing?

At the request of some friends, I've started a blog.

 Yeah. Just what I need. Let me spout out my neuroses for all the world to see, so when they see my miserable ass walking down the street, they can all point and laugh.

Like not having a blog was stopping you from laughing.