Wednesday October 31 2012

[i]

☼ ○ ▬

I’m been given a tutoring job to two kids at a private school. My students are the two lovebirds from The Wonder Years, Kevin Arnold and Winnie Cooper, a show I used to watch all the time when I was a kid. I’m walking alongside them behind a muddy hill. “I’m Batman, of course!” I yell out. A small group of strange hostile men are trailing us. I’m supposed to help them escape now. We make a run for it but Kevin Arnold gets left behind somehow (it’s understood he will catch up later). So Winnie Cooper and I run and run as fast as we can up this dirt path. We make it to the main road. I reach out and hug her in celebration. “We made it! Now I guess we can hitch hike.” A motorcycle gang approaches. I put out the hitchhiker’s thumb and they pull over. Winnie hops on back of one and I hop on back of another. I wrap my arms around the woman driver and hold on tight. She’s kind of heavy set and my hands are barely on her boobs but nothing seems awkward about it. Another person is standing on the backside of the bike. None of it makes sense. Everything feels so vivid, the ride on the road, the sound of the motorcycle, the touch of the woman’s back. At some point we’re inside a moving RV. They won’t let me get off the bike yet. My feet feel sore from their position on the metal rods sticking out the side. I’m holding a booklet of animated panda stickers. They open the side doors and we jet out back onto the road only to stop at a public restroom. I’m told by the woman driver that I can get off now and fix my bleeding wounds. I didn’t have any bleeding wounds but I guess she was referring to my sore feet.

▬ ○ ☼


Waking up around 2 p.m.


Instant Blueberry Oatmeal. Orange Juice.


Skype chat with Aysena. It’s a decrescendo that starts off happy and drops to solemn. It’s just too hard for her...things are too hard for her...the beginnings of becoming an independent fresh-out-of-college adult...and I make things hard for her she says, being so far away. It’s a dark place sometimes with her. I mean I know I can be very dark as well when I want to be but there’s a gloomy aura around her that’s hard to ignore. I miss her but I foresee this fading somewhat. I don’t like that idea but it almost seems inevitable.


Kevin barges into my room fully costumed as Batman.

Kevin: “You can’t ignore Batman, Robert!”


Double Egg Sandwich with Mayonnaise and Tomato. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Honey Green Tea.


Halloween costume preparations. Darren’s going as a Twister mat where he’s strategically constructed the spinner to land on the yellow 90% of the time. And guess where the yellow dot is located. That’s right. His groin area. Oh the immature cleverness. I’m going as a party pooper, which can easily be done by carrying a bag of candy that looks like poop (i.e. Raisinets and Whoppers) and distributing them at the party.


I pile all the kids into the wagon and we head to Norfolk for Hallow’s Eve. First stop is Josiah’s new girlfriend, Bianca’s, apartment. She’s cooked up a delicious Shrimp meal for everyone and the wine is a plenty. Kevin (Batman) destroys my costume by dropping all of my poop-imitating Whoppers and Raisinets on the floor.






Afterwards, we assimilate at Lola’s down by where The Boot used to be to attend a Halloween ball. Everything is a hazy chaotic dance trip. I’m alive and without hesitation to be loud and socially obnoxious – I can hardly contain myself – shuffling feet across the dance floor – snapping photos of the odd lively party moments. An African beauty costumed as a unicorn that goes by the name of Octavia strikes my attention. Of course she’s friends of friends of friends – anyone you know around here you can assume is inter-connected in the local circle. I don’t know what it is about this semi-cosmic attraction, probably nothing but a passing blossom. But she actually approaches me and asks my name and there are quite a few moments where we catch each other’s stare and smile – and it’s in those moments I feel giddy and boyish.











This part of the evening recedes. Onward back to Virginia Beach. At Rick’s Café with Elliott, James, and Leslie. Eating a Short Stack of Pancakes and laughing about various things.


Back in my room. Calming down. Sleep shortly after 4 a.m.


[i] All photos by me.

Tuesday October 30 2012

[i]

Awakening from long deep hard sleep sometime after 2 p.m.


Strawberry Toaster Pastries. Orange Juice.


It’s exceptionally cold in the house. Putting on the heat for the first time this season.


Groceries.


Naan Bread with Hummus, Cheese, and Tomato. Raspberry Lemonade.

Watching The Expendables (2010). Even with an all-star cast of action heroes the acting and flow is bad. I’m not sure why I put myself through it.


Learning Russian and going for a jog around the neighborhood.


Buffalo Garlic Salmon with Kale, Carrots, Quinoa, and a PBR.


Editing.


Rachel calls me at random; she’s at Rick’s with Stephanie and tries to invite me out. In her sassy voice she comes up with this statement: “I know I look cute and I live off of candy but don’t fuck with me!”


Organizing.


Biscoff Cookies with Milk.


Playing a long game of poker on my phone.


Sleep 4:30 a.m.


[i] Quantum Hand Through My Eyes. Jason Padgett.

Monday October 29 2012

[i]

☼ ○ ▬

I’m on the clock for China Wok delivering an order to a strangely built house that requires me to climb a ladder to get to the front door. I reach the top but find it difficult to maintain my balance; I keep thinking I might fall. I knock and knock but no one comes to the door. While waiting I situate myself in such a way that’s comfortable and then I start to draw a picture with my pen symbolizing a family as a self-sustaining community that can prolong life. Someone finally opens up and we make the exchange. The man adds to my drawing and says, “I hope you don’t mind that I drew some more on your picture.” Whatever he did fit quite well with the images so I didn’t mind.

▬ ○ ☼


Waking up at 11:15 a.m.


Strawberry Toaster Pastries. Orange Juice.


All day shift at China Wok.


It’s Day Two of Tropical Storm Sandy, or Frankenstorm as some are calling it. The rain and wind beat down on my back. Flooding in certain areas is unavoidable.


Delivering to a repeat customer from yesterday. They stiffed me then and so it happens again. Without any shame I say to this guy, “I do work for tips just so you know.” There’s hardly any response from him except for a mumble. I’m just thinking to myself, how ignorant and inconsiderate do you have to be to stiff the man who’s delivering to you a fully prepared hot meal amidst this storm? I feel if his social skills were better he might possess a little more empathy than he did and maybe, just maybe, he might’ve understood what it’s like to be in my shoes. I guess his parents are to blame. Either way I say my angry words of peace and move on.


Five Guys French Fries with Ketchup. Honey Green Tea.


Despite the unfortunate first delivery, business is booming and the tips in general are generous. It’s busy as all get out. I mean I’ve barely turned my car off all day.


Arriving at The Dolphin Inn. The customer is on the 11th floor and to my dismay the elevators are out of service as a precaution. The white pieces of paper taped to the elevator doors state, SORRY FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE. “Of course! Well this will be a good work out,” I tell myself. Then I trot up the eleven flights of stairs for a $5 tip.


Phew. This day just keeps going and going and going. The storm subsides quite a bit towards the later half of the evening. With every tip I hear a Cha-Ching above my head.


Hot and Sour Soup with Rice and Spring Rolls.


Wow. And what a profitable day it has been, probably the most profitable in my China Wok history. Worked 11 hours. Drove 173 miles. Delivered 40 orders. Made a grand total of $239.60 including the wage. A rarity for sure.


Elliott and his girlfriend Michelle invite Darren and I to Rick’s Café afterwards. I order a slice of Apple Pie with a cup of Coffee.

Somebody cracks a joke about Romney and Darren, without warning, retorts back with some kind of your mom joke-thing like he always does on automatic.

Me: “Oh wow. That was original.”

Darren: “Yeah.”

Mockingly I produce a monotone chuckle and call him a “dorkface”.

He grins and says, “I’m really good at this.”

Me: “What? Being yourself? On repeat? Oh it’s awesome!”

...

We try to encourage Darren to flip the cream cups with us. He refuses by saying, “I’m the conscientious objector. I don’t compete.”

...

Briefly we talk about The Smurfs and Darren concludes it with, “If I had a girlfriend I’d paint her blue.”

...

Discussing the next generation of kids that are learning, through modern realistic forms of entertainment, the skill of manipulation.

...

On the drive home with Darren.

A cold shiver shoots down my spine from the coldness in the air. I announce, “This is probably the first shiver of the season.”

Darren, while shivering himself, lays out his plan for the rest of the night in an excited manner, “I’m gonna get on my robe! I’m gonna be so baked. I’m gonna eat some chocolate. Drink some scotch. And I’m gonna masturbate because I’m really lonely.”

We both share laughter. To make fun of ourselves while shedding an exaggerated light on the deeper emptiness in our lives makes it easier to understand. It’s the recipe for great comedy I suppose.  


Back at the house.

Eating a Banana.

Watching Trainspotting (1996).


Sleep 4ish a.m.


[i] Obama Unicorn. Source unknown.

Sunday October 28 2012

[i]

Waking up at 11:40 a.m.


Strawberry Toaster Pastries. Orange Juice.


All day shift at China Wok.


Grilled Cheese with Tomato and Hummus. Potato Chip Trio. Honey Green Tea.


The rain started yesterday and has been persistent all throughout the day. Our Hurricane Sandy has turned into a tropical storm. Minor flooding in the usual areas on Laskin Road. Strong wind gusts. Nothing too unbearable for an experienced delivery driver warrior. The tips are rewarding and they come in bulk.


Dinnertime comes around and everything slows down.

...

Darren enters the restaurant with a ridiculously large umbrella at his side, technically a beach umbrella. He thought it would be a comically useful way to keep him dry when walking from his car to the customer’s door. He’s got on his infamous leather jacket. I think it’s safe to say he’s the finest faux badass in Virginia Beach.

...

Sitting down together at the table discussing his current hopeless romantic affairs and eating dinner.

Fried Shrimp with Broccoli, Onions, Carrots, and Rice in Garlic Sauce.


Off work at a decent hour.


Recollecting myself over a cup of Coffee.


During the day I had random spurs of moments where I allowed my thoughts to veer towards an old love. I had considered texting her but just never got around to doing it. She beats me to it.

Margot: “Hope you’ve been safe driving out there in this weather. I get worried knowing you’re out in stormy situations. Old habit I guess.”

It’s been two weeks since we last saw one another. In no way do I feel attached or overwhelmingly drawn to her. My brain and intuition knows better. But there’s a special compartment inside me that, every now and then, itches for her, even if it’s just an acknowledgement that she exists. Being sexually deprived doesn’t help. Either way I respond to her. She calls me up and invites to pick me up in her brand new car to hang out for a little while. I comply.

...

Over there. Come to find out she just discovered she’s got a urinary tract infection; heading to the bathroom 5 or 6 times within the hour is expected. But she took some medicine to help. We lounge on the couch and catch up on whatever topics at hand. Every now and then she asks awkward questions about other girls in my life. I take it with a shade of nonchalance and stay comically evasive. Nothing about this meeting is steamy or sexual. Just friendly affectionate company.


I’m dropped off back home.

Eating a bowl of Cheerios with Brown Sugar and Milk.

Watching Trainspotting (1996).


Sleep 4 a.m.


[i] Image by me.

Saturday October 27 2012

[i]

☼ ○ ▬

I’m a part of a basketball game on sand courts located in the middle of the forest. Dribbling the ball proves to be quite difficult. Anthony determines the out-of-bounds. I oppose even having an out-of-bounds because normally when we play street ball there is no out-of-bounds but nobody likes my idea. I get away from the ruckus for a little bit and find myself running barefoot across wet mushy grass and then on a wooden pathway connected to a stranger’s house...

▬ ○ ☼


Waking up at 11:10 a.m.


Strawberry Toaster Pastries. Orange Juice.


All day shift at China Wok.


A slow afternoon.


Egg. Five Guys French Fries with Ketchup. Honey Green Tea.


The business picks up big time after the rain and wind start up...the beginnings of a hurricane approaching. It’s only a category one where it’s at currently and is determined to change to a mere tropical storm. Hopefully, this will do well for Chinese food; any kind of bad weather that traps people at home usually does.


Today is much more uplifting in profit compared to last weekend’s bust. Back to normal China Wok business.


Delivering one of my last orders of the night to Piper’s Crescent. The customer has fake gel-like blood splotches attached to their front door (it’s close to Halloween). As soon as the door opens I point out to the lady, “You’ve got blood on your door.”

Lady: “Yeah it happens sometimes. It’s a hobby.”

Me: “So when you get bad delivery drivers you just shoot them through the peephole?”

She grins and says, “Yeah but not today.”

In gratefulness I say, “Well thank you for sparing my life.”

Everybody laughs.


Off work and back home.

Broccoli, Snow Peas, Onions, and Almonds with Rice. A tad bit of PBR.

Watching Coriolanus (2011).

Fortune cookie says, “Good things will come to you in due course of time.”


It’s 2 in the morning. Despite the harsh weather and the storm to come I suit up in my running shoes and go for a jog around town. The strong gusts of wind only fuel the adrenaline and atmosphere. It feels great. The night’s shadows and solemn light poles guide my lone path.


Chocolate. Milk.


Sleep 4:30 a.m.


[i] Source Unknown.

Friday October 26 2012

[i]

☼ ○ ▬

I’m spending a lot of time organizing this particular corner in a schoolroom that resembles the corner of my living room, with the computer desk and all. A coin operated candy machine filled with Nerds. A computer monitor. Boxes full of documents. Meanwhile, a group of friends are corralled outside on the back patio, not necessarily waiting for me to join but for some kind of party.

▬ ○ ☼


Waking up sometime after 1:30 p.m.


Strawberry Toaster Pastries. Orange Juice.

Watching Sleeping Beauty (2011), not the Disney classic.


Chores.


Pita Pockets with Hummus, Cheese, and Tomato. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Honey Green Tea. Some Strawberries.


Taking a walk in the cool night. Stomping around in the abandoned basketball courts in front of our neighborhood. Learning Russian on my iPod. My body aches from whatever brute physical activity I got involved with yesterday or maybe it has something to do with the food I ate last night. I can’t tell. Something feels off. I feel stuck. It’s an awareness of the rut I’m in. No production. No progression. It’s like I’m just sprawled out on an inner tube in a stagnant lake. I need a restoration. I’ve lost my ambition. I just need a push to take that next step. Something needs to change.  


Richie, Anthony, Kevin, and Tristan are having a jam practice in the living room with an Americana folk vibe. I settle down at the dining room table and construct the fourth collage of mine.

Polenta Provencale with Carrots and Sweet Potatoes. Bud Light.

Richie walks in and says, “You’re losing it, Robert. You’re on a downward spiral.” Even though this was meant as a joke it’s funny how relevant it is to how I actually feel.


In my room, reading Franny and Zooey.


A bowl of Cheerios with Brown Sugar and Milk.


Sleep around 4 a.m.


[i] Don't Get Lost. Mixed Media Collage by me.

Thursday October 25 2012

[i]

A hard-knock sleep. Waking up just before 2 p.m.


A much more uplifting conversation with Aysena on VK. She apologizes for her “not right attitude” yesterday.


Downstairs, Darren, in a pit of personal angst jokingly puts on Limp Bizkit’s “Break Stuff”. I join in the raging shenanigans; head banging, jumping around and slamming pillows around the room.

Darren: “I’m not even angry anymore after watching you.”


Grocery store.


Pita Pockets with Hummus, Cheese, and Tomato. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Honey Green Tea.

Watching the third presidential debates on Youtube.


Elliott just got off of work at the thrift store. We’ve got basketball plans before poker tonight. Art happens to show up early, so the three of us head out to the courts on Mill Dam and First Colonial. We’ve only got about 20 minutes to shoot hoops until the stadium lights turn off. Afterwards, Elliott convinces us to ride back with him to his house, which was a bad move because to our dismay the cops pull us over. Elliott was speeding a little bit on Baltic and didn’t come to a complete stop at the stoplight. He receives a ticket and unfortunately I do too because I’m sitting in the passenger seat without a seatbelt on. Fortunately, it’s only a $25 fine and none of it goes on my record.
Wow, if only Elliott dropped us off none of this would’ve happened. Such is life. We stop by Elliott’s and scoop up some equipment and head back to my house.

...

We had planned poker but nobody really shows up so Darren and Art go to Kelly’s Tavern for pool and beer. I stay behind with Elliott.

Black Beans with Baby Broccoli, Mixed Vegetables, and Quinoa. PBR.

I sit back on the red couch, eating dinner, and watching Elliott raise hell on a racing video game. He’s really into computer NASCAR racing. He chugs back a few PBR’s, takes hold of the steering wheel like a pro, and guides me play by play on his tactics. Despite his confidence he makes a few fumbles that pushes him behind.

...

Walking him out to the car as he’s leaving.

Me: “Gosh man, tonight was such a night of misfortune. I mean we got the lights turned off on us at the basketball courts. We got tickets from the cops. Poker didn’t happen. You sucked at racing.”

Elliott: “Yeah but so what. I’m still happy.”

Me: “Yeah me too.”


In my room. Vegging out. Watching the third presidential debates.


Cheerios with Brown Sugar and Milk.


Sleep 4:15 a.m.


[i] NASCAR Elliott. Image by me.

Wednesday October 24 2012

[i]

☼ ○ ▬

I’m the big sister of a little sister. Two strange men have broken into the house while our mom is at work. They’re forceful and want their sexual needs fulfilled. I don’t give in easy. And so throughout the dream I’m constantly running away and loosening myself from their grip and attempting to find help throughout the neighborhood. It’s stressful and I can never seem to completely escape.

▬ ○ ☼


Actually getting up at 1:11 p.m.


Strawberry Toaster Pastries. Orange Juice.


Skype chat with Aysena. Something is ultimately wrong with her. She’s depressed about her future and such things. I try to encourage the best I can but it kind of brings me down. I know she understands the balance of life; that is certain. But it just kind of sparked a dark hopeless mood in me. Despite it we smile and crack jokes between each other. Most of our conversation teeters on sincere and nonchalant. It makes it interesting, however a little bit exhausting.

...

Me: “I’m afraid of you. That’s the only thing I’m afraid of.”

Ays: “Yes I’m afraid of everything. Every. Single. Thing.”

Me: “You have no reason to be. BE STRONG.”

...

Me: “It’s hard to help you understand the truth.”

Ays: “But everybody has their own truth.”

Me: “It’s not just my truth. It’s wisdom.”

...

Me: “Life is full of seasons. Nothing lasts forever. Everything’s temporary. It’s depressing. I just want something to last...just one thing to be infinite.”

...

Me: “Keep your balance.”

Ays: “I will.”

Me: “I miss you. I do.”

Ays: “Me too.”

Me: “Bye.”

Ays: “Bye.”


Double Egg Sandwich with Mayonnaise and Tomato. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Orange Mango Honest Ade.


Spending a lot of time organizing and cleaning up downstairs – consolidating – installing the chair throne in the corner.


Kevin’s cooking up some bacon; the greasy salty smell fills up the whole house. I comment on how that’s the worst kind of meat to put into your body. He contradicts me of course and tries to convince me otherwise.

Kevin: “You’re wrong. It’s got protein and it releases endorphins.”

Me: “You know what else releases endorphins? Sex.”


Fish Nuggets with Onions, Mixed Vegetables, and Quinoa.

Watching K-19: The Widowmaker (2002).


Going for a nightwalk and learning Russian on the iPod.


There’re a few of the usual guests roaming around the house including Jessa Potter, Richie, Mike, Skippy, Joshua, and Erin Gilroy (not usual). Jessa is deejaying on the computer spinning 60’s garage jams. I muster up the energy and put on a dance show.

...

At some point I enter Kevin’s room. Josh, Erin, and Skippy are engaged in a discussion about some fraternity horror story that happened at Longwood. I role-play and become their English teacher. I give out pieces of paper and demand we all write for one minute non-stop, which is called applied writing. Afterwards we all read aloud what the person next to us wrote.

Go JIF I’m not choosy I love to be loved by...you...by myself rethink about existential grief over my dead brain...can you feel it can you understand...

I reject the blue pen. It is not me. Flow and depth did you know we felt so much the same same fears I know everyone all full of theirs I saw his blank face when I said what he said it was all the same woods in the

...

I depart the mild social stimulation and head to the Friend’s School to shoot some hoops for a while.


Back in my room.

Cheerios with Brown Sugar and Milk.


Sleep 4:30 a.m.


[i] Photo by Jessa Potter.

Tuesday October 23 2012

[i]

☼ ○ ▬

Traveling on the far Siberian side of Russia with my mom. A vision of the map. Our current location is a small city near a prominent lake. We’re deciding how long it will take us to drive to another city. There it’s vastly white from the snowfall as opposed to here where it is a bearable temperature. I’m driving on the foreign roads and come across a sandy hill that leads to the lake. I pull over and my mom and I get out to enjoy the scenic view. It feels like we’re not supposed to be here because it’s connected with a logging facility. A strange truck pulls up and we jet it out of there. Later, I’m on bicycle riding with Aysena through Paris, France. As we ride down unfamiliar streets I brush up on what French I know. We pass a string of condo housing where police enforcement is handling a situation with a woman. We decide to turn around and head back to the house, which is strangely 1435 in Virginia Beach. Somehow we get split up and I arrive home without Aysena. It’s been a few hours and she hasn’t returned. I thought maybe she found somewhere else to sleep and that she was probably mad at me for losing her. I attempt to write her a message online.

▬ ○ ☼


Getting out of bed around 12:40 p.m.


Strawberry Toaster Pastries. Orange Juice.


Taking my car to the BP on 17th and Pacific for an oil change. It’s gonna be a little while so I go for a walk on the boardwalk. I take up residence on the bench opposite side of a homeless bag lady, or maybe more accurately put, a wagon lady. She’s wearing thick cozy sweatpants and footed with a pair of rugged running shoes. She’s got a plastic Little Tikes wagon over-packed with belongings. She sits there at the bench, sometimes walking over to the railing to observe the crashing waves, and mutters (talks) to herself; I can’t decipher the topic of conversation she’s having. Whenever somebody passes by she asks politely but intrusively, “Do you have an extra water?” Nobody seems to. If I had one I would offer her one but I don’t. She doesn’t think to ask me and even say a word to me. But I’m okay with that cause I just want to sit here undisturbed and read Franny and Zooey. Occasionally these tiny puffy brown birds will land on the armrests, unafraid of my presence. They bounce like kangaroos along the cement pecking at anything they discover edible. I feel the cool breeze envelope me and I’m sheltered by the shade of a tall hotel behind me.

...

I check my phone to see if I missed a call from the shop. Instead I find a missed call from Wheeler (I had tried to call her earlier to see if I could pass the time at her place since she lives so close by). She left a voicemail...

“Sorry. I was in class...I had a bizarre dream with you in it. I accused you of being a predator and you quite matter-of-factly agreed with me. Anyway, just returning your call.”

After a while I call her back and we meet up on the beach near 11th Street. We sit just above the shoreline discussing skydiving (which has become an interest of hers as of late) and lucid dreaming. My car’s done. We depart.


Grocery shopping at Harris Teeter.


Lunch: Pita Pockets with Hummus, Tomato, and Cheese. Potato Chip Trio. Honey Green Tea.


Aysena sends me this Henry Rollins quote...

I think it’s great for two people to be together. That is a good number. I think, that to keep it alive though, you can’t spend every day together. It wears out the magic, Love means nothing to me if it’s not fortified with fierce, painful longing, brief explosive instances of furious passion and intimacy and then a sad parting for a time. In that way, you can give your life to it and still have a life of your own. I think some couples spend too much time together. They flatten out the potential for experience by constant closeness. Passion builds over time like steam. Let it rage until it’s exhausted and then leave it alone to let it build up again. Why can’t love be insane and distorted? How can it be vital if it has the same threshold as normal day-to-day experience? Why can’t you write burning letters and let your nocturnal self smolder with desire for one who is not there? Why not let the days before you see her be excruciating and ferment in your mind so on the day you go to the airport to pick her up, you’re nearly sick with anticipation? And then when desire shows the first sign of contentment, throw it back it its cage and let it slowly build itself back into a state of starved fury. Then when you are together, it all matters. So that when you look into her eyes, you lose your balance, so that when she touches you, it feels like you have never been touched before. When she says your name, you think it was she who named you. When she has gone, you bury your face in the pillow to smell her hair and you lie awake at night remembering your face in her neck, her breathing and the amazing smell of her skin. Your eyes go wet because you want her so bad and miss her so much. Now that is worth the miles and the time. That matches the inferno of life. Otherwise you poison each other with your presence day after day as you drag each other through the inevitable mundane aspects of your lives. That is the slow death that I see slapped on faces everywhere I go. It’s part of the world’s sadness that’s more empty than cold, poorly lit rooms in cities of the American night.


Leslie surprises me with a phone call and stops by, to give a present to Anthony and to me as well: a new set of markers and rubber cement to help with my collages. We sit down at the table and create various artwork. I spend most of the time putting together a third collage, all the while conversing about various things.

...

It’s Anthony’s birthday today and it’s officially LIVE. Tim and Erica have moved out; Kelley and him take over their room.

...

Mentioning how much time has passed since Leslie showed up and all this social stimulation around the house began, “Yeah when I walk down those stairs time becomes null and void.”

...

Darren describes a science experiment he read about involving a woman living with a dolphin for 10 weeks in order to get the dolphin to talk to people. It turned strange when the dolphin began to make sexual advances and then LSD was involved.

Darren: “The next time that I take acid I’m going to try to think of what it must be like to be a dolphin and get a hand job from a scientist. Think about how glorious that is! You’re just the only dolphin in the WORLD that got a hand job from a SCIENTIST!”

Apparently none of this was fabricated, according to this article...


...

Spaghetti with Green Peppers, Onions, and Tomato Basil Sauce. Killian’s.

...

At some point a bunch of pumpkins are brought in. I retreat to my room. I’m exhausted. But before I retire I’m given a little goodbye note from Leslie written on the back of the Cinnamon Toast Crunch box she cut up along with two pages of markered notes from school she thought I’d find interesting.


Today was such an offset kind of day. Nothing went according to the plans I had in my mind. People can be very distracting from my personal agenda but I think in respects to today it was a positive thing.


Sleep at 4 a.m.


[i] About a Universe. Mixed Media Collage by me.

Monday October 22 2012

[i]

Waking up at 11:10 a.m.


Orange Juice.


All day shift at China Wok.


Slow as mud at work today.


Snapping the peas while simultaneously losing at poker on my phone.


Two Hard-Boiled Eggs. Five Guys French Fries. Honey Green Tea.


The day doesn’t prove profitable whatsoever. I may need to consider giving piano lessons again to make some extra cash. The financial pinch always comes towards the end of the year.


Belgian Chocolate Bar.


While waiting at a stoplight I barely hear someone from another car on the other side of the road comment, “That is the purplest car I ever fuckin’ seen.” I laugh out loud to myself after the light turns green.


The night drags on and on, one order at a time.


Finally off work and at home.

Broccoli, Snow Peas, Mixed Nuts, and Rice in Garlic Sauce.

Fortune cookie says, “If the table moves, move with it.”


Research.


Getting a head start on bedtime. 2 a.m.


[i] George Bezhanishvili.

Sunday October 21 2012

[i]

☼ ○ ▬

Exploring a wonderland maze built inside an apartment complex with a stark contrast of styles. Rugged to Sophisticated. It’s quite a thrill. I’m not alone. Tons of others have decided to run through it. It seems as though it’s not merely for pleasure but maybe with an ultimate purpose. Later I’m offered an opportunity to play a mini slightly out of tune piano for a presidential candidate. I perform a scattered version of “Moonlight Sonata” and “Fur Elise”. There’s a problem with my footing on the platform...a hole directly underneath me. I have to plant my feet on the outer edges in order to avoid falling through.

▬ ○ ☼


Waking up at 11:35 a.m.


Strawberry Toaster Pastries. Orange Juice.


All day shift at China Wok.


It’s quite busy for the afternoon – the complete opposite from yesterday.


Banana.


Grilled Cheese with Tomato and Hummus. Potato Chip Trio. Honey Green Tea.


Darren’s here to work his two-hour shift. But it’s utterly slow, at least for two people. At one point there’s a squabble between him and I on who’s going to take particular orders. In my head the route I gave him and gave myself made sense. It starts out sarcastic but ends with me calling him a bitch and storming out the restaurant. To go into detail of the hierarchy at China Wok would be a waste of time to explain because there isn’t really one. I feel entitled because I’m paid the beaucoup bucks to work a whole day and he’s only here for two hours or so. He’s the help. He’s here to help out when we’re busy. My goal is to maximize my profit while maintaining fairness and efficient routes between all drivers. In general it’s disappointing when I’ve been here all day having to deal with shitty tips and long drives, and when dinner time rolls around I have the opportunity to balance out my misfortune but I can’t because somebody else is here reaping my benefits.

...

As I drive in hastiness to my next delivery I feel absolute anger, mostly carried over from the harsh moments at the restaurant. But I think about having humility. I think about how unnecessary it is to complain – how little one accomplishes by not accepting what is. At the end of the day I still make a living. I should be grateful. And I’ll admit I do tend to get overprotective about my job and what I do. After doing this for over two years, almost three, I feel I deserve a certain kind of respect. And in that moment with Darren I didn’t have it, but then again maybe I wasn’t respecting him.

...

I arrive back at the restaurant. Darren’s engaged in figuring out this video surveillance system that our bosses want to install. Almost immediately I feel relief without discussing anything with him. He sort of cracks a joke and anything we argued about is now water under the bridge, just a pinch in our friendship.


Pear.


Back home. Finally. It’s been a long day.

Eating Fried Shrimp with Broccoli, Carrots, Onions, and Rice in Garlic Sauce.

Watching The Siege (1998).


Fortune cookie says, “What makes an apple fall to the ground?”


Enjoying Chocolate Milk.


Sleep 3:30 a.m.


[i] Swiss Maze Lock.

Saturday October 20 2012

[i]

☼ ○ ▬

I’m involuntarily a part of a sexual love triangle with Pee-wee Herman and Nicole Kidman. We’re temporarily staying in this small apartment owned by an old black lady who also owns a bunch of little dogs that prance around. I’ve got the sniffles—maybe I’m allergic.

▬ ○ ☼


Waking up at 11:10 a.m.


Strawberry Toaster Pastries. Orange Juice.


All day shift at China Wok.


We finally upgraded to new Technicolor pictures on the overhead menu board. Oh it’s stellar looking. I couldn’t imagine how much more appetizing crab rangoon looks with a pretty roses and flowers in the background.




Oh man it’s terribly slow.


Two Hard-Boiled Eggs. Five Guys French Fries. Honey Green Tea.


Cecily asks me to help figure out this new security camera system they just bought. It’s troublesome to understand.


Darren comes in to help with the dinner shift but it’s not like we need the help. He describes his night last night with the kids at the strip club in Elizabeth City. He had a complete blast and goes on and on about how attractive the girls were and this and that.

Me: “Just killin’ money for eye candy.”

...

I’ve been reading Franny and Zooey. I shove the book across the table and tell him, “Here. Read this section right here. I think you’ll like it.”

I’m not afraid to compete. It’s just the opposite. Don’t you see that? I’m afraid I will compete—that’s what scares me. Just because I’m so horribly conditioned to accept everybody else’s values, and just because I like applause and people to rave about me, doesn’t make it right. I’m ashamed of it. I’m sick of it. I’m sick of not having the courage to be an absolute nobody.


A real amateur day for deliveries. 16 orders all day long. That’s half the amount of an average workday. I’m genuinely disappointed. I mean that’s about a $60 to $70 difference.


Finally leaving the doldrums of work behind and arriving home.

Vegetable Lo Mein.

Watching Payback (1999).


There’s supposed to be a meteor shower tonight. Everyone’s meeting up out on the bridge off the abandoned railroad tracks. Instead of driving I snag Kevin’s road bike and ride into the night to join up with the kids. It’s slightly chilly and this bike flies like the wind. I cut through behind the Wawa and follow the traversed path...under the I-264 overpass...through the Hobo Village (embers still smoking from a once lit fire pit)...a few more walking minutes and I’m there. It’s a good crowd: Anthony, Kelley, Elliott, James Graves, Darren, Alicia, Nathan, Josh, Richie, Kevin, and Rigs. Unfortunately, the clouds have taken over the skies and no falling stars are in sight. But it’s still nice and lively atop this railroad bridge above the water. Sharing smokes and PBR’s and stories.  








Taking our big bunch and joining the hip and semi-hip night crawlers at Rick’s Café, every native’s stomping grounds after midnight. Our ruckus and boisterous attitude does not go unnoticed by our fellow patrons. Endless spitballs and throwing of various sugar packets. The Cream Flip. Picking on Kevin. Oh yeah, I’m having the time of my life being 28 years old and acting like a middle schooler. I reinforce the idea out loud, “Welcome to 6th grade lunch period!”  




Back home.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch.


Sleep 4:30 a.m.


[i] Image by me.

Friday October 19 2012

[i]

☼ ○ ▬

There’s much anticipation for a DOOM tournament planned for tonight in this giant coliseum. About 40 to 50 players will engage in a death match battle. I can’t tell if it will be real life action or if it’s just some kind of virtual reality. I arrive on site early. It’s dark and dismal. I take the elevator and it shoots me up to the umpteenth floor. I look out upon the larger than life terrain. I mean this place is huge, a colossal sized arena. It’s possible I may have been here before in another dream. I shoot back down the elevator, which takes about two seconds to land at the bottom. Aaron Long, somebody I haven’t seen in a while, meets me in the side building. Both of us were asked to do a musical performance in honor of the event, which I thought was strange. Either way, we load in our equipment and prepare for the big time.

▬ ○ ☼


Waking up around 2 p.m.


Strawberry Pastries. Orange Juice.


Researching.


Skype chatting with Aysena and Phil Gray.


Grilled Cheese with Tomato and Hummus. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Honey Green Tea.

Watching Equilibrium (2002).


Learning Russian and exercising.


The big group is embarking on a trip to Elizabeth City to kick it at a reputable strip club called Headlights and then spend the night in one hotel room. Even after all the noble attempts from Anthony and Darren and whomever to persuade me to join, I decline. I have work in the morning and I just want to stay home. They leave.


Going for a night jog around the neighborhood.


Reading.


Fish Nuggets with Onions, Green Peppers, and Quinoa.

Finishing Equilibrium (2002).


Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies and Milk.


Working out another idea for a collage.


Enjoying the peace and silence around the house. It’s almost frightening but therapeutic nonetheless.


Sleep 4 a.m.


[i] Kilian Eng.

Thursday October 18 2012

[i]

Waking up just before 3 p.m.


Strawberry Toaster Pastries. Orange Juice.


Errands.


Grilled Cheese with Tomato and Hummus. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Pomegranate Blueberry Drink.

Watching Detachment (2011).


My head hurts to no end. I feel I’ve spent too much time inside an electric two-dimensional world.


Going for a night walk while learning Russian on my iPod.


Chamomile Tea with Honey and Strawberries.


Phone conversations with Becca and my mom.


Chicken Noodle Soup with String Beans and Potato Bread. Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies.

Finishing the movie, Detachment (2011).

God, this film, depressing and great all at the same time...a captivating drama. It fits the mood for me today...feeling detached and trapped. Cerebral films like this really do something to me.


Our friends Alicia and Nathan, from New York, arrive at the house for a weekend extravaganza.


Working on another collage.


Sleep shortly after 4 a.m.


[i] Piece of God. Mixed Media Collage by me.

Wednesday October 17 2012

[i]

☼ ○ ▬

Out in public. I have to use the bathroom. I find a hallway of stalls but all of them have curtains instead of doors. I consider finding another place to go but I really have to take a crap. I step inside one of them and close the curtain, which isn’t very thick and you can practically see through it. Useless. The toilet is doused in urine and wet toilet paper. I rip off some paper towels and start wiping everything down as much as I can. I mean it’s dreadful. I fear I’d probably get some kind of disease if I sat down without cleaning it. That’s how bad it is. Finally it’s clean enough. I sit down but not after placing a layer of toilet paper on the seat, which I always do as a precautionary measure. I can hear other people just outside the stall. I catch a few walking by. The lack of privacy doesn’t bother me so much now. I’ve got my laptop on the ground with random porn footage playing on it. I suppose I’m trying to relieve myself sexually. Originally I was just going to take a shit.

▬ ○ ☼


Waking up around 12:30 p.m.


Coffee. Instant Blueberry Oatmeal.


House business.


Double Egg Sandwich with Mayonnaise and Tomato. Potato Chip Trio. Pomegranate Blueberry Drink.


Book hunting at the thrift stores near Newtown Road. Finding some great books for only a buck and some change.

...

On the way back I notice the hot doughnut light is on at Krispy Kreme. I couldn’t resist to treat myself to two Glazed Donuts. Remembering when I was a kid and my mom used to take me here late at night and we’d watch the big doughnut machine through the window. I see two Filipino kids run over to that same window and watch in wonder.   


Meeting up with James Graves at Rick’s Café. We have to do this every once in a while to catch up on our personal lives in a one-on-one setting. I order the Spaghetti with Marinara Sauce and Italian Bread with a side of Broccoli.

...

We start out on the topic of dreams and how to fall asleep quicker without all the pressing jumble of thoughts that race through your brain before sleeping. He says he likes to imagine himself alone on an island and focus on the surroundings, to practically meditate and tame your thoughts.

James: “Or maybe imagine you might fall asleep in a dark cave.”

Me: “Oo. That sounds good actually. I like that.”

James: “Can you imagine hearing the drips from the ceiling? Can you imagine how cool it is inside the cave?”

...

Me: “I mean what life problem isn’t girl related?”

...

Me: “You don’t understand the burdens I put on my own back. I put those there. They’re not burdens I can’t carry. I just wanna be able to complete them.”

...

I brought along this Black Erotica book I got from the thrift store. Reading aloud excerpts from some of the sexually charged poetry. It entertains us well.

“Then, quick, like a bulb blows,
the orgasm starts and ends—
it fills the walls of me with heat
as dense and sharp as an injection,
quick as the breath I exhale, it
descends like a heavy fog down,
sharp, immediate . . . It comes and
goes, a flash, an appeasement.

...

JP and our newly acquainted friend, Christine, drop in. It’s nothing unusual to run into familiar faces here at Rick’s. In fact, most every time I make an appearance here I happen to see JP...unscripted.


Back at the house with Will Clark, Jonathan, Kelley, and Anthony. We’re revved up and ready to watch the long anticipated film adaptation of On the Road (2012). It had a limited release but with the help of internet savvy friends we were able to obtain a high quality file of it to display on our TV tower. For all of us in the room we find our own special nostalgia for Jack Kerouac’s story, especially between Anthony and I whom we often call ourselves by the book’s main characters, Dean Moriarty and Sal Paradise, I being Sal and Anthony being Dean of course. The movie is a beautiful visual realization of the book. I bake some Chocolate Chip Cookies to share with everyone.


Troubleshooting some things on the computer. Then, sleep at 5 a.m.


[i] Chocolate Erotica. Image by James.

Tuesday October 16 2012

[i]

☼ ○ ▬

Sitting down at a table with my mom in some kind of restaurant. She’s describing a story on how complicated it was to buy something the other day without being bombarded by 48 audio advertisements on the product she was buying.

I comment, “I’m coming to terms in regards to things about life.………..it’s miserable.”

“Mhm! Yes,” she replies as if I just said what she was thinking.

“Life is miserable,” I re-word. But I wasn’t saying that life in general is miserable, just life the way it is sometimes with all it’s technological complexities. I continue with my thoughts, “After watching that documentary on the utopian society in Siberia I realized how better that would be. What we need is a community.”

A lady sitting across from us overheard our conversation and turns around, “I couldn’t help but overhear what you were talking about. It’s sad really. You’re right. We need a better community.”

▬ ○ ☼ ○ ▬

I step into a busy coffee shop that seems to appeal to the 20-something age bracket. I’m typing on some computer keyboard and whatever I type appears on a separate small screen off to the side as an interpretation. I type in, “I KILL”. The small screen shows my name but glitched and misspelled, “JAMES 8RuROBERT SMI&TH”. All of a sudden I have the realization that I’m dreaming. I even say to myself, I’m dreaming. I pull up my hands to take a closer look just to make sure. They’re all blurry and shifty. I keep reminding myself that I’m dreaming. I focus my vision and they become clear as crystal. I can do whatever I want. I will control this dream. I wave my hand over the small screen and magically correct my name, “JAMES ROBERT SMITH”. There! Easy. Just to test it again I walk over to a lady playing an arcade game and pinch her butt. She doesn’t react. Nobody really notices me. A man in the back of the room is yelling and being a comedian. I decide to leave. I run outside and over to a counter where two female clerks are working. One of the girls is sitting in a chair with her back turned. I walk over in confidence and stroke her hair. She turns around. Her face is quite attractive. Because I’m dreaming I know there are no consequences. I pull myself in closer to her face and kneel in between her legs. She’s talking to me but I guide the mood to a sexual one, both of us feeling a surge of passion. I rub my hands on her thighs, up and down, up and down. She’s not wearing panties. She tends to my groin. I’m strong and ready for action. But my body’s had enough of dreaming and...

▬ ○ ☼


...I wake up just before 2 p.m.


Strawberry Pastry. Orange Juice.


Long Skype chat with Aysena. It’s been almost a week since we’ve seen each other via webcam. It’s nice talking about books and smiling at one another and laughing and being bashful and being cute in general. I plan on coming to Moscow maybe in the beginning of next year to teach English for a month.

Ays: “You gonna be so confused by everything in Moscow.”

...

She keeps thinking I’m gonna forget about her and stop talking and all that.

Ays: “You gonna forget me.”

Me: “I’m not gonna forget you. How could I?”

...

Ays: “I should write a book about girls that don’t have a father. Cause they have a big big problem. I mean we have.”




Pep talk with Darren...

Him: “I hate my whole life, Robert. Sometimes I just wanna lay down and cry...for my whole life.”


Grilled Cheese with Tomato and Hummus. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Honey Green Tea.

Watching Machine Gun Preacher (2011).


Catching up on writing.


Exercising. Stretching. Learning Russian.


Playing basketball with Anthony. It’s a bit chilly but perfect weather for physical activity.


Back at the house. Kevin cooks dinner. I throw in some of my own dishes.

Mahi-mahi Fillets with Fettuccine Noodles, Broccoli, and Carrots in Alfredo Sauce.

Watching the presidential debates with Anthony, Kelley, and Kevin.


Downstairs working on a collage using the clippings I’ve been gathering. On a whim I use some of Anthony’s hair we’ve kept in a Sangria bottle.  


Sleep shortly after 4 a.m.


[i] Mixed Media Collage by me.

Monday October 15 2012

[i]

Waking up at 11:11 a.m.


Strawberry Pastry. Orange Juice.


All day shift at China Wok.


When I pull up to the restaurant the cops are here. Some kid threw a rock at one of the windows at China Wok. Maybe somebody didn’t like the Gen Tso’s they ordered yesterday?


A guy from a glass company comes in and hands Cecily the bill for almost 600 bucks. It’s crazy how one person’s decision to pick up a rock and break a window just cost someone else $600. It’s twisted.


Another cool summery day. It’s quite a contrast to the dirty tips and stiffs I keep getting. Almost every order I’m left with barely a dollar or nothing at all. This one black guy wouldn’t let me keep the dollar and explained, “Y’all took too long.” Really? I doubt even if we didn’t take long, under your standard, you would’ve tipped anyway. But a dollar isn’t worth fighting for. I’ll let this dragon go un-slain. The Chaos Theory. One moment of misfortune acts like a magnet for more misfortune. It’s really true. Obviously none of these customers know one another, so it’s not like they’ve all conspired to stiff me. But I think in some sort of cosmic way they have.


Delivering an order to a lady off Rosemont and Virginia Beach Blvd. It takes her a while to greet me at the door. Meanwhile I observe her wonderland of a yard: lawn ornaments everywhere, cement figurines, various colored stones, seashells, a brick fountain tower, clocks, picture frames without the pictures (just the frames mounted on the patio). She finally comes out but from the right side gate.





“I like your yard,” I tell her.

Her: “Oh that’s my mother. She does all that.”

All of a sudden she becomes extremely grateful and exclaims, “She’s gonna like that! I’m gonna tell her you said that.”

She only leaves me with a dollar tip but I can’t be as angry like I was with the other customers.


But these shitty antics continue. I keep getting pummeled with stiffs like a machine gun. Sometimes I feel like I’m a ghost to these people, just a nobody that delivers their dinner. They don’t see an honest hard-working human being standing at their front door. I think that broken window was a bad omen for the day.


Meanwhile, throughout all this nightmare-ish workday, I’m talking with Aysena on VK. I can vent to her and feel better knowing we both miss each other

Ays: “im lost. every day im thinking about my future. now im looking for job. like an engeneer . i dont know. i think i wouldnt like it. but moscow is too expensive for easy work . eventually i need to find anything .. because im at the edge of adult life. i need to find myself. i dont want to but i have to.
it makes me sick
i want to shoot the cat”

Me: “welcome to the Real World. Life decisions. adult thinking.
you should write a book
call it The Perks of Being a Russki”

I was confused by the cat statement; I wasn’t sure what she meant. Apparently it was just a weird joke she made up on the fly. It’s funny to me.

Ays: “a glow of desire kindles my soul and fires and fullfills all my body ever time i think of you.
i want to say myself no more enchanted days in my memory
i remember when i got text message you sent ‘enchanted’ i didnt know what it meant
i was confused”

Me: “enchanted. we are enchanted by each other.        
i remember.”


Two Hard-Boiled Eggs. Five Guys French Fries. Honey Green Tea. Ah. These fries...my only escape.


The night falls and so does the rain without warning – pouring in bucketfuls. The tips gratefully get better. That’s how it always is. The ignorant ones order at odd hours of the day while the blessed ones order at dinnertime.


Plum. Coconut Water.


Finally off work.

Vegetable Lo Mein.

Watching Get the Gringo (2012).


Chocolate Chip Cookies with Milk.


Time to shave.


Sleep 4 a.m.


[i] All images by me.