24 December 2015

Airport bars

While reflecting on the sad nature of airport bars, where the impersonal meets the $8 beer and joins the interminable wait for a flight, a silver lining: it's a place where no one expects anything of anyone else.
Sure..  The TSA has expectations. And the bartender expects to get paid. But these people around here? They are only here for the moment. No harm, no foul, just do your thing, whoever, and move on.

07 September 2014

who am I to do such things...

An unstructured night leads to A Bourbon, then Another, then a musical browse, then a walk down memory lane, searching for a photo.  Wondering if I actually took a photo of that place where I realized my mortality, where I realized "oh shit, I could have easily died (cold ,dark, and alone) as a result... but for that moment, just by chance, by reflex, that turned the other way".

And it turned to a photo browse that took me further, to nostalgia.  Thinking of friends far away, wanting to share with them.  But a particular photo, and a particular friend, who in the years since has seen...  well... change.  Distance, time, life, family, career.  I hold the memories from then as happy ones for me, and precious.  But it's been a while, and change happens, ever and again.  I recognize that, regardless of how lucky I am to have met her when she happened to be here for that short while, she was unhappy here, for many reasons. And now, years later, with a wife, and a son, and a gleam in her eye, that part of me that wants to share "remember back then?" loses the fight against "who am I to remind her of that time when she was so profoundly, chronically unhappy when she was here?"

I can't do that to her.

I mean... who am I? My experience was different - I was blissfully moving through days.  And while I knew that she hurt, I didn't *understand* until later. And that was years ago. Time has passed.  Life has gone on. She is away, I am here.  Water has flowed down the river in the meantime, and the space of miles and years are in between.

 In the end, regardless,  I look back with fondness and love for a friend now far away, and am happy for what she has made for herself - going forth, seeking and finding.

29 July 2013


In the grand tradition of the great variety of "I like my women like I like my _____" sayings, if it please the court, I humbly add to the body of work the following...

     I like my women like I like my bananas: lightly freckled and slightly twisted.

31 May 2013

... and there, in that moment, standing next to the sink, eating blue cheese and olives with a fork at 11:00pm... I realized that I had somehow become my father. Not through intent, and not in every detail.

But in a shape that was recognizable - by the time of day, location, choice of snack, and attire.

20 May 2013


It sort of became clear today at the office that there is quite the parallel going on between my youth and work.  The experience that many children have when they are the children of high-functioning, non-physically-abusive, alcoholic parents.

It's a thing that wasn't clear until I started to come out decades ago as having an alcoholic father. It became clear when I would, in casual and public circumstances bring up as a matter of fact, or as a way to set context for something else I was going to say: "so, having grown up with an alcoholic parent..." or "as the child of an alcoholic...".  The peripheral result was unexpected... a quiet acknowledgement that you could see in the eyes of others, and then would sometimes be cautiously, quietly, and-in-a-way-that-only-those-on-the-inside-recognize, spoken of... "Yeah, me too". 

One of those things that is hard to explain to those that haven't experienced it, is the notion of constant irrational and unpredictable threat.  When you live, as a child/adolescent, with an alcoholic parent, it is sometimes never clear what will happen next.  For me, it was luckily only after the hours of 6pm when this happened (see above: high-functioning). 

The Dinner Table:  What I learned was... it made no sense what came next, or why.  The ranting and raving did not require logical consistency.  That it was impossible to respond *correctly* to a question, because sometimes the question from him was just about picking something to argue over, and the answer didn't matter.  So I learned how to not answer.  To answer the minimum.  

To do what?  to ... not move... 

not a muscle.

not an inch.

This may sound strange to some, but when a rant and raving is going on, and a fight is being looked for, the simple act of leaning back, or forward, or turning to look, or look away, or even... anything... draws attention.  It's base primate something-moving-on-the-horizon type of shit, but it's amazing how true it happens to be.  

So learning to not draw attention becomes a survival skill.  If one engages, one is signing up for something that might last longer than one expected - so engagement in a topic means taking on risk.  

Thus, I developed the ability to not move.  Sit at the table, and stare at the placemat.  Trace patterns with my eyes... "But listen, listen carefully! For thou might be called on at any moment!"  

Yes, one need be vigilant.  One also needs an active response as a form of disguise... like the Kung-Fu master who uses the opponent's energy against them.  When a threat approaches, respond, bend, deflect, bounce back... and if you've done it right, it sends the the threat back off in another direction without work or damage, and (phew!) you are safe.

So how does this come full circle to the office?  Well, we have these company-sponsored lunches each week, that are essentially a version of Corporate Communication.  While the first half-hour is bland kibbitzing and "fine weather we're having!" with co-workers over a free lunch, the second half-hour is the head honcho holding court... talking to a captive audience, and occasionally calling on individuals to hear what they have to say about what they are working on, or calling on them to agree with the premise that has just been floated..  And during this (and other sessions like it), you look around the room and you can see a room full of people, quiet, not sure what to say, and hoping not to be called on.  

You see, the head honcho reminds me of that alcoholic father of mine... who goes on and on, jumping from topic to topic in his head.  You're not quite sure if he wants you to respond or not to respond - it's just too ambiguous.  And if you respond and have an opinion of your own, suddenly that makes it your responsibility.   Or it makes you a target.  Or... hell, you never know what might happen...

So we end up with a room full of people, who I can just imagine their internal voices in a chorus: "don't call on me... don't call on me... don't call on me"  

Because you never know what might happen.

There's no visceral, existential danger... but there's no upside to it either, so why bother?

Don't move.  

Don't speak.

11 May 2013

Sometimes I wonder....

If *this moment* is in the midst of that luxurious amount of time.

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