Waking up around 1:30 p.m.
My hard drive enclosure came in the mail, which means I can now transfer all the old files that I didn't get the chance to back up from my former laptop onto the new one. It's fun stuff having to reconfigure permissions and inspect all the details of the sync program. But eventually everything will be completely transferred and ready for action.
Clobbering a whole Tupperware of these Muddy Buddies that James made last night.
Still consolidating and organizing files.
Egg Sandwich with Cream Cheese and Tomato. Goldfish Crackers. Honey Green Tea.
General chores around the house.
Shooting some hoops alone on the basketball courts.
Black Beans with Onions, Mushrooms, Peppers, and Brown Rice.
Ana comes over to hang out. I'm just finishing up some rent business. She just came from a girl's hangout where they made penis cupcakes. We go for a walk with the pogo stick and practice our jumps on the abandoned volleyball courts near the entrance of Chanticleer.
Then, venturing into the Friends School. I discover the white school bus door is unlocked. We coop up inside. It's quiet and not a soul is stirring besides ours because it's almost 4 a.m. She brought along the Philippines Airline blanket and wraps it around her head like a shawl. Mimicking what it would be like if we were students on the way to school – a little role playing. Both of us sitting across from each other.
I look over and say, "Hey."
Shyly she responds, "Hey."
Me: "Did you do the homework?"
Her: "Yeah I finished it."
Me: "Oh. Well I didn't. Can I borrow your notes?"
Her: "No. You can do it on your own. You have time now."
Me: "I think you're cute by the way."
Smiling with embarrassment she returns the gesture, "I think you're cute too."
I move over and sit next to her.
Me: "Can I kiss you?"
"Yeah," she says as her lips meet mine.
From there the scene takes on romantic pornographic proportions. Amidst the heavy breaths of elation and the bouncing from the vinyl seats I ask, "Do you think the bus driver sees us?"
Her: "No. I don't think he cares. He's too focused on driving."
I apologize for having to pause every now and then to slow the fountain billowing up inside me.
With an ecstatic smile on her face she says, "As long as we keep slippin' and slidin'..."
None of this feels real. I'd almost believe this was merely some pent up fantasy that I'm daydreaming about back in my room. But no, it's actually happening. The shadows from the trees and light poles dance around our movement in the dark. The lush green foliage surrounds the bus and lulls us into a heavenly place.
After finishing we clothe up and recline on the seats.
Me: "I think this is one of those moments Charlie was talking about in Perks of Being a Wallflower. Infinite. I feel infinite."
On the walk back I mention some of the qualities I like about her.
Me: "You have a hidden sensuality. I like that you're modest and not so flamboyant."
Back at the house. Snacking on Popcorn and Tea.
She drifts off to sleep while I tweak with stuff on the computer. Eventually I plop into the bed around 5:30 a.m. I rustle her awake. And we pick up where we left off on the bus. The endorphins are racing through my bloodstream. We can't stop. It truly is a heavenly place.
[i] Images by me.
Posted by James Robert Smith at 4:36 PM
Waking up hardly at 11:05 a.m.
Strawberry Greek Yogurt. Orange Juice.
All day shift (Or all day shit, same thing) at China Wok.
I'm subject to delivering to my enemies over at 1009 Barnacle Court, the assholes that signed for a credit card that wasn't theirs and cost me $20 of hard earned money. The whole time leading up to the delivery I'm nervously scheming and planning out the things I could say. But the actual transaction just goes like any other delivery. The guy I recognize from last time comes outside and counts out his cash from a wad in his hand. I don't say anything. He doesn't say anything either. I could've said something smart like, "Hey, thanks for actually paying this time!" but I keep my mouth shut like the non-confrontational guy I am. I just didn't feel like wasting my precious energy over reprimanding him once again. Just get it over with. As I drive away I entertain the idea of snatching that wad of cash from his hands, driving off with it, then taking the $20 he owes me and throwing the rest out the window for him.
The tips are minimal today. Blurg.
Dried Apricots. Five Guys French Fries with Ketchup. Honey Green Tea.
Being the only driver all day is kind of nice because my tip profit is maximized. But overall there's no substantial money being made today.
I drag through the night.
Off work and back home.
Hot and Sour Soup with Broccoli, Carrots, and Rice.
Watching The Awakening (2011).
In the kitchen James, Becca, and Carmen are baking up a storm of sweets: sweet & spicy pecans, muddy buddies, and banana bread.
I turn on the Sega and try playing the other Sonic games but not feeling as inspired compared to last night.
Sleep 5 a.m.
[i] Arik Roper.
Posted by James Robert Smith at 2:29 PM
☼ ○ ▬
With Darren and a few friends sitting in a church service of predominantly black people. Earlier we were close to the front listening and engaging with the preacher giving the sermon. Now we chose to move behind a curtain further away from the Pentecostal antics. Darren purposefully spills purple ink on my pants creating a decent sized splotch. At first I reprimand him with sarcasm...
"Dude, what the fuck?"
He just smiles mischievously.
I'm whispering harshly as to not cause a scene, "Seriously! Give me something to clean it off with!"
But then I just smack him across the face. In my mind I'm justified because he's being an asshole. I look around. A few nearby audience members take notice to the incident.
"Look at that. He just slapped him in the face."
▬ ○ ☼
Waking up around 1:30 p.m.
Strawberry Toaster Pastries. Orange Juice.
Stopping by Kroger to return a watermelon I bought yesterday because it wasn't a good one. I was going to get another one to replace it but decided to just get my money back. To my surprise they have a produce policy that states when a customer is not satisfied with something they get twice their money back. The customer service lady gave me about $9. I had only paid four and some change for the watermelon. Wow. That's great customer service.
Dropping the glasses off at the post office then to the thrift store, talking with Elliott. Snagging a few drinking glasses, a copy of The Stranger, a kids book, and an old frat party record.
Grilled Cheese with Tomato and Hummus. Goldfish Crackers. Honey Green Tea.
Watching End of Watch (2012).
On the courts near Mill Dam Road with Moe and Anthony. We get involved in a full court game. And then a 3-on-3 game with our Chinese brothers from last time. Just another night on the basketball courts.
Anthony and I arrive back home. A few friends gathered at the dining room table.
James: "Hit the showers, Robert."
Me: "I am."
Haircut party at the house. Becca brings her clippers and haircutting supplies to offer cuts to anyone who wants one.
Kofi brings over some homemade dinner to share with everybody: Eggplant, Chic Pea, Tomato Mix with Pasta and Potatoes.
I pull out the Sega Genesis for fun, competing in Primal Rage, Mortal Kombat, etc. Of course Art and I battle it out in NBA Jam but it only ends in upsetting him when I win multiple times. His angry Russian side comes out and causes laughter in all of us.
Art: "Dammit, Robert! It always happens!"
He thinks I'm cheating but I can't possibly. We're both using the same settings, the same hot spots, the same power icons, and the same juice mode. This is just my dominant game.
Making, baking, then sharing Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Hanging out in the living room with Ana, James, and Ken Nishimoto; other people in and out. At first it was merely a fun idea to play Sonic the Hedgehog 2 but it turns into a serious endeavor to beat the game. I control Sonic while James helps me with Tails. Pummeling through zone after zone and collecting chaos emeralds via the special stages that eventually lead us to activating Super Sonic. I can't explain to you how rewarding that feels. It's quite the accomplishment. We're committed now to beat the game. Death Egg Zone, the last level. Here we are. All the patterns and sequences of the game and the enemies/bosses come back to me, like second nature. Robotnik, Sonic's arch nemesis and the enslaver of all animals, is defeated and the victory music starts. With all that video game adrenaline a victory dance is well deserved. Everybody gets up to celebrate and dance to the end credit theme music.
"Hell yeah! Robotnik is done! We fuckin' did it!"
It's a nostalgic time travel for James and I...both remembering all those times when we were kids having sleepovers staying up late playing Sega games like this and not going to sleep until one of us beat the entire game.
Time became irrelevant. It's almost 5 in the morning. People depart. Ana stays behind and to spend the night, or rather just nap for a few hours until she has to get up for work at 7:30. Before we drift off I read us a bedtime story I picked up from the thrift store called King Bidgood's in the Bathtub.
* Images by Becca.
† Images by me.
† Images by me.
Posted by James Robert Smith at 2:04 PM
2:09 p.m. waking up.
Onion Bagel with Cream Cheese. Orange Juice.
My new glasses came in the mail, Converse frames. They're not exactly to my liking. Good thing the company I ordered them from has a full refund policy.
I made mention to Ana last night about how easygoing she is and the positive energy she has.
She responds, "Why waste our time with negative energy right? It does nothing but leave you feeling like you're sinking in the same spot. There's a lot of positivity I just want to pour all over everyone! I know what it's like to be really sad to the point where I've felt helpless and alone."
Tweaking the computer and doing chores.
Falafel Wrap with Hummus and Tomatoes. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Lime Water.
Practicing basketball out on the Lynnhaven Middle School courts.
Baked Garlic Barbecue Tilapia with Onions, Mushrooms, Green Peppers, Bok Choy, Rice, and Garlic Rolls.
Watching Mission: Impossible II (2000).
It's after 2:30 a.m. I decide to visit the storage unit to work on some songs. Out of all the hours of the day and night there has to be somebody else using their unit right next door to mine. Trying to find privacy in my life to practice music is almost near impossible. It's so frustrating cause I can't really do any rigorous practicing at the house because people are always home. I don't know why it bothers me so much or why I can't just be comfortable playing music with others nearby. When I'm constructing and composing it's imperative that I have privacy. So I leave as soon as I arrive when I realize my storage unit neighbor is probably not leaving anytime soon.
Back home. I work quietly on a few piano songs.
Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
Sleep 5:30 a.m.
[i] David Stewart.
Posted by James Robert Smith at 1:38 PM
Waking up shortly after 1:30 p.m.
Cinnamon Oatmeal with Brown Sugar, Strawberries, and Milk. Orange Juice.
I take the Sony Vaio I just bought on Friday back to Best Buy because there was a faulty key and the spacebar seemed to not have as much sensitivity as expected. So I replace it with another, hassle-free.
Egg Sandwich with Mayonnaise and Tomato. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Water.
Setting up the new laptop fresh out of the box. I've done this once already.
Becca's in town. I go pick her up from her parent's house off Indian River.
Then to Chicho's for an acoustic Memorial Day show. With Ana, Kevin, Kofi, and Tyler Davis watching Mike Gombas go on first. The stage is set up on the porch looking out on Pacific Avenue. Everybody has fun with Tyler's fish eye lens for his camera. Sipping on a few Bud Lights. I go on next and play through a fun set of the usual covers I do. A lively gang of people in their late 40's or early 50's sit at the family table right in front of me. Once I play that oldies song "All I Have To Do Is Dream" they sing along. Playful banter ensues. I preface the crowd that I'm about to do a Weezer song and one of them says they don't know who that is. Jokingly I reprimand him and mention how they're from the 90's. He responds by asking to play something from the 1890's.
Me: "Give it up for the 1890's crew over here!"
JoAnna Lynne goes up third and serenades everyone's ears with sincere soulful country pop tunes.
Back at the house with Becca, Ana, Kofi, and Tyler. James Graves arrives later after driving from North Carolina. I brew some Coffee and we snack on anything around: Almond Crisps, Double Stuf Oreos, Garlic Rolls, Bok Choy, etc. A smooth bossa nova jazz CD on the stereo. James describes the over abundance of fireflies on his drive here.
James: "There was so many of them it was almost like the trees were filled with Christmas lights."
I pull out the Ninja Turtles playing cards and we play a few rounds of "No Way, Dude," which is basically "Bullshit" but the Ninja Turtles-family version.
Ana: "What's the number?"
James just put down one ten for his go. Now it's Ana's turn.
Ana: "Okay. One eleven."
Everyone bursts out in laughter.
Me: "No way, dude! You can't even lie correctly."
It's supposed to be jacks, not elevens, obviously. She's embarrassed and hides under the table.
After hours of fun with "No Way, Dude" we move on to a few guessing games where it's as simple as guessing the card on top of the deck. Kofi amazingly guesses a King of hearts. Then, Becca shuffles the deck and spreads all the cards face down and asks me to guess where the shredder (the joker) is. Without any thought I flip up the first one I see and coincidentally it's the shredder!
Tyler's playing through popular theme songs on the piano, everything from classic movies and musicals. He reaches the Titanic theme but uses strange relative minor chords.
Me: "That's an interesting version."
James: "Did you just call him an interesting virgin."
The girls put on this Youtube video of Astrud Gilberto singing. I realize Ana's alter decade is the 60's.
Me: "I think you might be a 60's child."
Kevin steps into the house with a huge smirk on his face, but quietly, which is nothing like his style. We all suspect something out of the norm.
Me: "Alright, Kevin. Why are you smiling?"
Then we hear the door open again. It's a girl he brought home from Murphy's named Amy.
Amy: "I like your art house. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside."
The gathering dwindles down sometime after 4 a.m. Ana and I retreat upstairs to my room. She sits in her corner reading Persepolis while I go take a shower. I return. We cuddle in the bed. Turned on. Kissing. Lost in a mesmerizing state of sexual bliss.
Sleep at some late ungodly hour.
* Images by Becca.
† Images by me.
Posted by James Robert Smith at 1:14 PM
☼ ○ ▬
At a party gathering somewhere. I instigate an impromptu play in front of everyone. I perform as Jesus, dressed in a white robe. It's meant to be a comedy of sorts. In one scene I'm calling out to God because I'm angry at the human race. "God damn it!" I scream. Of course this comes across as goddammit but that's not what I meant. I wanted God to damn all the people. It may not be representative of Jesus's idea of unconditional love but I was upset. Either way the audience laughs at my antics and impersonation of an angry Jesus.
▬ ○ ☼
Waking up to next to Ana with intimate feelings. Her only clothing is a shirt. My hands wander up and down her warm legs. Her hands wander up and down my lower stomach and eventually to the prize. My alarm already went off so our time is limited. After we arise out of bed to get ready to leave I breath a sigh of relief and longing, "Gosh, I'm still in the zone. I don't wanna go to work."
Onion Bagel with Cream Cheese. Orange Juice.
At China Wok for my all day shift.
Within the first few minutes I witness a heated squabble between my bosses. They gibber gabber back and forth in Chinese. It escalates so much that Ling pulls off his chef hat, snags a dollar and some change from the register, and leaves in defeat out the door, I assume to catch a bus home. Then Cecily says to me in her simple words, "People are crazy right now!"
I just smile and ask, "So what's the problem?"
She explains something about the broccoli boxes being stacked too full in the walk-in fridge.
Me: "So all that was just about broccoli?"
Part of me wants to intervene and attempt to bring peace to the situation. It also causes me to wonder about their sex lives. I mean what if that's the source of the problem? A husband and wife, especially as young as they are, should have a poppin' sex life. I feel like if they were satisfied sexually they wouldn't feel the need to be so hard on each other.
I'm more interested in the fact that the word crazy seems to be the theme word of the weekend. First, it was Donald at Denny's warning those cops saying, "There's a lot of crazy people out there!" Then there was last night's full moon and the general chaotic mood and happenings at the house. And then, she says this to me. And not to mention the blog I posted today from last year has a quote in it about psychosis.
Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Tomato and Hummus. Goldfish Crackers. Mango. Water.
It's another slow day at work. Memorial Day Weekend brings bad business for Chinese food.
During the dinner rush Ana joins me on a few delivery runs. She brought me Green Tea Mochi Ice Cream. She brings up something personal that bothers her from time to time. It doesn't have to do with me or anything but it's something she's reluctant to express, as we're still getting comfortable with each other. At first it was really hard to get it out of her but she's slowly gaining my trust.
I send her an after text, "Hey just so you know I really do think you're beautiful...all over."
Her: "You're very sweet. You're always ooh so very sweet to me, and you always make me blush when i least expect it."
Dried Apricots. Banana.
Off work at a decent hour.
Enjoying Tofu with Broccoli, Onions, Carrots, and Rice in Garlic Sauce.
Watching Mercury Rising (1998).
Practicing some songs at the storage unit.
Sleep 4:30 a.m.
[i] Jesus in a Digital Age. David Cherry.
Posted by James Robert Smith at 10:50 PM
☼ ○ ▬
At my parent's old house in Ocean Lakes. I walk out of my room and notice the distant sound of a band playing. It could be coming from another room in the house but I check outside first. There's a small group of people scattered about the house, coming inside and out. I confront Kevin about the noise. He says it's coming from some youth center down the street. But the rumble of the music is still so present it just can't be true.
Me: "I'm gonna go check the other rooms."
Immediately he blocks me from going up the stairs. He's got a big mischievous smile on his face like he's hiding something. I get aggressive and force myself past him. I barge open the door to my parent's room and discover a band IS playing in our house. It's just a bunch of teenagers too. I march right on over to the power cords and unplug everything.
Me: "Alright. The show's over! Time for everyone to go! Sorry to do be a downer but it's almost 3:30 in the morning."
I notice without thinking about it I'm clapping my hands as I speak to emphasize the words.
Me: "And I'm doing that thing moms do where they [clap] emphasize [clap] every [clap] word [clap] with [clap] a hand [clap] clap."
▬ ○ ☼
Waking up with heavy eyes at 11 a.m.
Strawberries. White Peach. Honey Black Tea.
All day shift at China Wok.
Five Guys French Fries with Ketchup.
It's dead slow at work.
While attending to my mundane duty of snapping the snow peas Leslie pops in unannounced. She asks about the spelling of a word. On random I challenge her to spell out "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious". She gets some of the letters wrong and then asks me to give it a try. I make some of the same mistakes. We get into conversation about the upcoming out of town trips she might be taking and the potential life shifts that might happen.
The day continues into the night slowly, very slowly.
Strawberry Greek Yogurt. Dried Apricots.
Elliott drops by and tags along on the last leg of my deliveries. It's a full moon tonight. And you can feel it in the air. More people on the roads. More commotion in the street. The spirits are eager. We drive past a line of cops, ambulances, and fire trucks on Laskin Road near Birdneck. There seems to be a serious motorcycle accident but it's hard to tell what's going on. I tell Elliott how I almost hit two bicyclists earlier. There's just a general sense of chaos and crazy out there. I remind myself what stranger Donald said last night in Denny's, "There's a lot of crazy people out there."
Off work and back home. There's a party scheduled at the house and energetic guests abound.
Staying in my room for a while eating Egg Fried Rice with Mixed Vegetables and drinking a Stella Artois. Eventually I step out into the chaotic scene downstairs and allow myself to be disturbed. A chatty congregation is gathered just outside the front door. Hey Panda Amanda. Hey Stef. Hey Elliott. Hey JP. Hey Kevin, you're drunker than usual. Hey Anthony who's tossing beer bottles across the parking lot and riding Kevin's bike around like it's a circus. Hey cop neighbor who's reprimanding us for all the noise. Hey steam punk kid with the top hat who's known as the Candyman. Hey mattress being used as a means to slide people down the stairs.
It was inevitable. After some time we get called in for a noise complaint. I confront the lady officer with inebriated Kevin by my side. He's so nervous and won't shut up, saying I'm sorry over and over again. It's merely a warning and the lady cop is nice enough to leave us be at that. But that doesn't stop Kevin from inviting her in for a drink.
I just feel like I'm 28 years old living in a house full of juveniles and I'm getting the cops called on me. Granted it isn't everyone as a whole who is to blame. I know there are really only the rambunctious few who cause such escalations.
A couple volunteers offer to help pick up the trash while I clean the excess dishes. After things have calmed down there's quiet discussions about the semantics of communication on Facebook started by Kofi at the dining room table.
Later, in my room, Ana lies down in the bed all balled up under the covers. I listen to her talk...
"Baking and clothing. That's how women bond."
Sleep shortly after 3 a.m.
[i] Full Moon. Maria Bovor.
[ii] Doodle by Leslie.
Posted by James Robert Smith at 10:43 PM
Waking up real late just before 2 p.m.
Unfortunately my laptop has decided to quit on me permanently. She's been a good trustworthy Sony Vaio for about 8 years. I guess the splatter of water yesterday got into the motherboard and unless I want to spend about $400 on parts, which isn't the wisest move, I'm gonna have to move on to a brand new computer.
Blueberry Bagel with Cream Cheese. Orange Juice.
At Best Buy shopping for a new machine that will guide me through for at least the next ten years of my modern life. I think I'll stick to Sony Vaios. A personable sounding guy named Andre creates small talk while ringing me out.
Andre: "So you using this for school?"
Me: "No. I'm not in school anymore."
Andre: "So what do you do?"
Me: "I do a lot of writing."
Andre: "Like books?"
Me: "More like blogging."
And then I have to explain everything.
He jokes, "So I guess I'll be reading about this a year from now?"
Back home setting up the Sony Vaio T Series Ultrabook and acclimating myself with Windows 8.
Strawberries, Blackberries, and a Banana.
Falafel Wrap with Tomatoes and Hummus. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Water.
Quick little run-through of songs at the storage unit. Then rushing over to The Shaq for the show. There's a mini open mic segment going on when I arrive. Eventually I get up there and perform "Have You Forgotten" by Red House Painters, a soft nostalgic tune that matches my mood. And then I invite Kevin to join me on violin for the lyric-less song we do together all the time with the la's and the oh's. I didn't feel like doing a whole set and Pinball Locomotive is eagerly awaiting their turn to rock the house. Dyslexia closes out the show with his frenetic rap grooves.
Afterwards, Ana and I drive over to Denny's off Newtown Road for a late night dinner.
Me: "Man, I haven't been here in ages!"
We sit down at a booth in a more isolated area across from two brown suited cops sitting at the bar. Ordering Egg and Vegetable Skillets with Coffee and Pancake Hush Puppies. I enjoy Ana's company. She's always very easy going and empathetic, very much like myself. I express my unnecessary anxiety about tonight and the busyness of the upcoming weekend, how I just didn't have any enthusiasm and desire to be at that show or be performing music in general. The event itself was a last minute thing. But I enjoyed myself despite. I think I'm simply dealing with the loss of my laptop. Even though I've upgraded to something quadruple in power, speed, and life, that prehistoric blog machine was like a girlfriend to me. My fingers graced its keys every day of my life for the past 8 years. It's just strange how we as humans become attached to anything, persons or material things. With every year I gain and with every mark of progress we make as a human race I find it more and more difficult to avoid attachment. I always remind myself of the suffering one has when dealing with attachment. It's not a positive and freeing energy. I continue my rant talking about the crises our generation faces.
Me: "We keep reinventing the wheel. What else can we do? Everything's already been invented. I feel like once you pass your early twenties you go through this phase of like, what is life, where am I headed, philosophy, existentialism, you know, what's the meaning of it all. And then when you get towards the end of your twenties you start to, like, lose your zest and drive to understand those things anymore. I feel like I already understand it. It's kind of sad but I understand that it's all meaningless in a way."
Ana: "You enjoy it though!"
Me: "Yeah. But I only hold onto certain truths. I don't know. I feel like that's all I have now. And the older you get the less things you hold onto. And they kind of define your life, those few things. In your early twenties everything defines your life. Your eyes are just wide open. And when you hit your thirties that's when you become what you call an adult. You start to accept facts of life. For me...I'm happy where I'm at."
Towards the end of our meeting we observe an older man approach the officers and introduce himself as Donald Allan. He shows them a weird trick with a torn napkin and as he's walking away warns them to be safe in regards to memorial day weekend.
"There's a lot of crazy people out there!" he says.
He walks out of the restaurant with a coffee mug still hand.
Me: "Did he just walk out of here with a coffee cup? I guess he's a regular."
Outside in the parking lot it's terribly chilly and windy. Exchanging multiple hugs before we depart.
Sleep 5 a.m.
[i] Image by me.
Posted by James Robert Smith at 6:03 PM
Waking up late at 1:40 p.m.
Downstairs, our food angel Skipp was just here and dropped off a ton of fruits and vegetables. Darren and I sort through everything, washing and slicing up strawberries, melting Ghirardelli chocolate to dip them in. I gobble down the sweetest Papaya I’ve ever had while Darren confides in me over the latest 20-something existential crisis he’s having. He’s supposed to be moving out of the house in August to live in Radford with Devon. But recent events between him and Devon have led him to his current troubled state of mind.
Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
General chores and tweaks.
While getting frustrated with my computer’s abnormally slow wait time for an edited picture to finish loading I angrily squeeze the plastic gallon of water sitting on the stool beside me causing water to squirt all over me and across the computer desk. A good amount landed on the computer itself. I quickly dry it up using a towel and a compressed air container. But something’s still wrong with it. So I’m forced to grab the screwdriver and open up the backend to spray the compressed air into the motherboard and areas where it got wet. This whole angry incident just cost me 30 minutes of my time. In the end everything turns out fine except the keyboard is mistyping the “d” key now adding unintended letters every time it’s stroked. So I’m forced to use an external keyboard.
Egg Sandwich with Mayonnaise and Tomato. Tortilla Chips with Avocado. Honey Green Tea.
Watching The Giant Mechanical Man (2012).
I grab my fellow neighborhood ballers, Moe and Ben, and head to the Lynnhaven Middle School courts. We hook up with our buddy, Matt, and play a few two-on-two games. Three other guys join up with us for three-on-three matches. Overall I feel my performance has improved. The more I compete in these pressurized street games the more enhanced my skills become.
Back home. My sleeveless shirt is drenched in sweat. I clean off in the shower.
More Papaya with Peach Greek Yogurt.
At the storage unit. Josiah, Josh, and Jon are just finishing up Bamm Bamm practice. Chris Dilkes, an old friend of Fox Trot Rio’s way back in the day, is here with his harmonicas. I set up my guitars while the guys share cigarettes and beers just out front. Coming up with an interesting new melody on the specially tuned guitar. Josiah lingers for a long while cleaning up everything, using the straw-made broom to sweep up the carpets. He teeters on being OCD sometimes when it comes to organization, which I understand cause I sometimes fall victim to things of that nature.
Eating some leftover Chicken Salad I found in the fridge along with Vegetable Pad Thai.
Finishing the movie.
Ice Cream Bon Bons.
Playing music at the storage unit till the late hours of the morning.
Sleep 5:30 a.m.
[i] TRS-80 Pocket Computer Ad.
Posted by James Robert Smith at 5:56 PM
Waking up just before 1:30 p.m.
Cinnamon Raisin Bagel with Cream Cheese. Orange Juice.
Shopping for new eyeglasses online.
Skype chatting with Aysena. It’s nice to see her. It’s been at least two weeks since the last time we had a complete online meeting. At first we just catch up and the conversation is light and warm. But in the end we’re facing critical conclusions and seem to bring the romantic relationship that we kept alive for a long time to a close. It’s very strange. I feel sad about it and feel like shit. As usual we keep getting disconnected because her internet and my internet sucks. We’re forced into sending Facebook messages back and forth...
Ays: “Even the internet doesn’t want us to talk anymore. so it's not gonna work for us. it is really really sad. just like really sad. I dunno how you came to thoughts that you and me aren't right match , but it's really really sad. I will dream of you till ... oo [forever]”
Me: “it just feels like the right thing for me to do is let go and let it be...for now. i don't know. im really sad about it too. the story doesn't have to be over. i think if our story is strong enough that it will continue again later in the future. i truly believe that. i think it's important at this time in your life (you've graduated, you want to see Paris and Spain, or just travel to other places) you should be free to go and do that. i'm not going anywhere. ill still be here for you always...”
Ays: “yes. I'm just too silly. you ll find someone better, I know. you deserve a happiness that close to you. I will miss you so much so much so much. never forget that I'm the one girl you know that really believe in true love that lasts forever.”
Egg Sandwich with Hummus and Tomato. Goldfish Crackers. Honey Green Tea.
Errands. Stopping by Kroger I run into my old boss from The Flower Gallery, where I used to work way back in the day. She’s this lively woman in her 40’s, very beautiful for her age. She introduces me to a man shopping with her. There’s thoughts of starting up another flower shop again and she takes down my number.
Her: “How have you been? I know you did a lot of traveling. I always talk about you.”
Then, at Trader Joe’s.
On the Lynnhaven Middle School courts shooting some hoops.
Back at the house. Ana comes over at 10:06 p.m. I cook us dinner: Barbecue Garlic Salmon with Peppers, Onions, Mushrooms, Green Beans, and Couscous. Sipping on this Sparkling Rose Wine I picked up at Trader Joe’s. I encourage a sit down at the piano together in attempt to play a blues progression. She already has a talent at reading music notation as she grew up playing the piano. I recently saw a video she posted on Facebook of her and her mom playing and singing an old church song. It reminds me of my mom and I cause we used to do that stuff all the time when we lived together. So Ana continues playing and singing from a Mormon songbook she brought over called A Song of the Heart. She has such a sweet and pitch-trained voice.
I wash the dishes while she draws an androgynous mini Lego version of her face on the cork from the wine bottle.
I announce, “I love doing dishes. And I’m not being sarcastic.”
Ana: “And I like chopping vegetables. The simple things in life ya know?”
Upstairs in my bedroom we share Ice Cream Bon Bons and watch a time-lapse video of the dandelion. There’s a general silliness and happiness that fuels our connectedness. In the bed she rustles under the covers nonstop. There’s cuddling and snuggling. And eventually it leads to sexiness. Now I had actually prepared myself to personally restrict any kind of sexual things to happen. I just wanted to keep things at an even pace and maybe take things a little slower. As well I wanted to respect the recent endings between Ays and I. But sometimes the desire is too strong, the fire too hot, or the fantasy too tempting to avoid. I’m drawn into this direction. Why should I stop it? It doesn’t feel wrong. It feels right. It’s exciting.
After all the sexy commotion we settle down body to body and fall asleep satisfied.
[i] All images by me.
Posted by James Robert Smith at 10:37 PM
☼ ○ ▬
At the house. For some reason my old roommates from 1623, Kyle and Elaina, are living here. It’s understood that nobody sees them very often as they keep to themselves inside their bedroom. On this particular night there’s a heated argument between them. Elaina requests that I bring her some cinnamon to sprinkle over her carpet. I don’t really understand the purpose but it seems really important to her. Kyle, out of frustration, decides to grab the vacuum cleaner and vacuum my bedroom.
Puzzled I ask, “What are you doing?”
Kyle: “I just need to do this.”
So Josiah and I pick up all the stuff in my room to make way for the vacuum. Kyle eagerly rolls the vacuum across the floor. Later, I’m delivering for China Wok. It’s the end of the shift and I take my last run. Darren’s about to finish up and we have plans to take a road trip somewhere after work. I park on the side of 22nd Street close to where it merges into I-264. I notice it’s trash day. I decide to knock on all the doors of a small apartment complex and ask if I can take their trash to the dumpster.
▬ ○ ☼
Alarm goes off at 10:55 a.m.
Plain Bagel with Cream Cheese. Orange Juice.
All day shift at China Wok.
A slow Tuesday afternoon.
Five Guys French Fries with Ketchup. Honey Green Tea.
During the down time I exchange conclusive messages with Aysena on Facebook. There hasn’t really been any official clear understanding of our terms. I lay out what’s been stirring in my heart. She takes it with sadness but also with respect.
Ays: “its your choice and i take it, because i respect you, i respect your decision. you were always wise in our relationships. you were leader, a magic stone that used to tell us how to be, and used to gave me breath of life in our relationship. i will always dream about you :*(”
I know our story can’t be over just yet. I mean who knows what will happen later down the line.
Ays: “Robert, if you not sure dont give me hope that will kill me.”
Me: “It is better to not hope and be surprised than it is to hope and be disappointed.”
It rains again today like it has been all week. Today is a schizophrenic kind of rain. Towards the end of the pummeling showers the sun comes out and rewards our eyes with an awesome double rainbow. As I’m driving around I notice the environment and scenery become more vibrant. Everything feels refreshed and beautiful. I’ve always appreciated this city’s character and charm. This urban deciduous forest habitat is my home.
Strawberry Greek Yogurt.
The night comes to a close. I feel satisfied with the day’s workload and payoff. It was just me, Cecily, and Ling in control of the restaurant with no other drivers. Everything went smoothly.
Hot and Sour Soup with Broccoli and Rice.
Watching Into the Wild (2007).
At the storage unit practicing songs.
Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
Sleep 4:30 a.m.
[i] Hope Kills. Source unknown.
[ii] Image by me.
Posted by James Robert Smith at 10:23 PM
Awakening at 1:30 p.m.
Darren traded shifts with me so I’m not working today.
Strawberry Toaster Pastries. Orange Juice.
Our internet went out...
“We are experiencing a high volume of calls. There is a technical outage in your area. Technicians have been dispatched to fix the problem. Please stay on the line if you need further assistance...”
Grilled Cheese with Tomato and Hummus. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Honey Green Tea.
At the storage unit preparing to practice some songs. But Josh and Josiah show up with plans to jam. I let them be and figure I’ll come back later.
For the time being I’ll go exercise. Literally, the second I pull up to the Lynnhaven Middle School courts, an entourage of teenagers with watermelons and footballs pile out of a caravan of cars. They line up out in the muddy field with intent on playing some kind of game that involves two trashcans, a few footballs, and sliding across the grass. If I didn’t know any better I’d predict they’re a part of a youth group from a church. It’s just obvious in the way they interact as a group. I disregard all the wildness and take to the track field to run as long as I can.
The emptiness of this football field that I encircle always haunts me in a nostalgic way. The old bleachers, the hurdle lanes, and the scoreboard keep my mind at bay. I’m having conflicting feelings. I’m thinking about the possibilities and failings of romance. I’m thinking about all the heartstrings that have courageously and sometimes involuntarily stayed connected to Aysena, my Yakutian-Russian love story. Over the past two weeks it has failed. In all its logical forms I’ve lost hope in it, partly her fault because of the extreme nature of how she deals with our miscommunication (e.g. blocking me on Facebook/VK for a week or acting like a child sometimes). As much as I understand her feelings of defeat, cause I have these feelings too in life on occasion, it’s not necessary to treat a relationship like a rollercoaster. And it’s not entirely her fault or anyone’s fault for that matter. It’s a question of not being the right match and how difficult it would be to create a life together living in the same country (visas in America are majorly complicated and expensive). And throughout all this convoluted mess I’ve birthed a romantic connection with Ana, a girl who lives here in my country and my town. Everything is set up, or in the process of being set up, for something genuine and real. But where is my heart? I can’t even answer that question. I’m excitedly open to what’s happening between Ana and I. That’s all I know with certainty. I will wait to see how it grows.
About 45 minutes have passed. All the dirty kids run over to the big puddle where the blocking sled sits and wash themselves off in the rain water looking like a third world image straight out of National Geographic. Secretly I’m annoyed by their presence but I can’t help but smile in amusement at this ridiculous scene. One of them even has a body wash bottle.
Crab Cakes with Spicy Ketchup, Mixed Greens, Carrots, and Garlic Bread.
Watching Into the Wild (2007).
I head to the storage unit and find Josh and Josiah lounging on the futon couch listening to some recordings they just did. I had planned on practicing but instead get caught up in conversation with them sharing old band stories and tour revelations. While they smoke cigarette after cigarette and drink PBR after PBR the reminiscing doesn’t stop. The shovels keep digging up wild memories from past shows. Josh really knows how to bring out the amusing moments more vividly with his descriptions and hand gestures. --- Aaron Lachman’s monstrous snoring capabilities --- The time Josiah went longboarding by himself in the hilly streets of Lynchburg after a show and slammed his head into the concrete causing a concussion to where he was hospitalized and had to get a metal plate put in his head. He says, “If I could change any one thing in my life it would have been not taking the longboard out that night.” --- Josh recants a story about a girl in Blacksburg dubbed “Thunder Thighs” that tried to suck his toes in a dark hotel room.
Sleep 5 a.m.
[i] Image by me.
Posted by James Robert Smith at 10:01 PM
Waking up just before 11:30 a.m.
White Peach. Mango Greek Yogurt. Banana.
All day shift at China Wok.
Egg Wrap with Tomatoes and Non-Dairy Cream Cheese. Goldfish Crackers. Honey Green Tea.
It’s a putridly humid day but the rain refreshes my soul eventually.
In the late evening of my shift Ana tags along for the last leg of my shift.
I guide her through some of the pet peeves and ugly consistencies about my job...
Me: “If you ride in this car with me you’re gonna be forced to listen to me go on China Wok rants. I’ll preach you a sermon.”
Delivering an order to Fairfield Inn, a hotel I frequently deliver to. As I’m parking in the loading zone another car impatiently waits behind me to keep moving. But I’m obviously not moving. I signal for them to go around. It’s a tight spot so they’re having a difficult time. I mean if I were them I would have no problem maneuvering through but they’re just tourists without my accomplished driving skill set. They pass by slowly while one of them inside the car yells out something not so aggressive about me being in the way. Ana and I take our delivery up to the sixth floor. I have her hand over the food to the ladies who happen to be Filipino like her. We head back outside and as we’re walking through the sliding doors a group of people pass by. One of them playfully roars at me. Without second thought I roar back.
Me: “Did they just roar at me? I think they did. What was that about?”
Ana laughs. I realize that those people were in that car trying to pass me earlier.
Me: “That’s too funny.”
It’s slow enough for about twenty minutes allowing us to be able to order Chinese food and eat together at the marbled table.
Fried Shrimp with Broccoli, Carrots, Onions, Rice, and Garlic Sauce.
Off work and back home up in my room with Ana.
Eating Cinnamon Rolls and watching clips from Coffee and Cigarettes (2003).
Appropriately enough she wraps up in the Philippine Airline blanket I kept from when I traveled to The Philippines and gets embarrassed too easily when I ask to see her phone where there’s a list filled with ideas of things her and I can do/share with each other. She’s adorable and genuine.
She leaves and I’m left to do some chores.
Sleep 4 a.m.
[i] Image by me.
Posted by James Robert Smith at 9:49 PM
Waking up at 11 a.m.
Blueberry Bagel with Non-Dairy Cream Cheese. Orange Juice. White Peach.
All day shift at China Wok.
It’s a slow afternoon for business but it allows me with enough time to complete the tedious task of snapping the ends off the snow peas as well as enlighten my brain with some reflections on The Internet’s effect on our modern lives.
“We surf’n’search for perfect serendipity with our eyes wide shut. We are fully connected yet we don’t care.” - Geert Lovink
Mesquite Almonds. Five Guys French Fries with Ketchup. Lemon Water.
“We create machines in our own image and they, in turn, recreate us in theirs.” – Marshall McLuhan
Strawberry Greek Yogurt.
“How many hours of our life are we not busying ourselves, hunting around aimlessly on virtual shores?” – Stefanie Krasnow
The rain falls down. I am grateful. My car was dirty. And the after scent is refreshing to say the least.
Working right up until 11 p.m.
Egg Fried Rice with Carrots, Onions, and Broccoli.
Watching Imposter (2001).
Cinnamon Roll. Milk.
Sleep 3 a.m.
[i] Computer-Pets. Adbusters Excerpt.
Posted by James Robert Smith at 9:46 PM
Waking up around 12:30 p.m.
Blueberry Bagel with Non-Dairy Cream Cheese. Orange Juice.
Fiddling on the computer in the dining room while the steam cleaner guy cleans the carpets throughout the house.
Grilled Cheese with Tomato and Hummus. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Lemon Water.
The carpet job is complete. There goes $200 and some of the paint stains didn’t even come up.
At the basketball courts playing a few 2-on-2 games with more experienced players.
White Peach and Mango.
There’s a show at The Wave in Norfolk tonight. I got invited by multiple people. On the drive there I scarf down some leftover dinner: Tilapia with Peppers, Onions, Carrots, Rice, and Potatoes. Then wash it down with a Mickey’s.
Going to The Wave is usually a special occasion for me. Kelley and her friend Tara came from the house on their own accord. Mingling with them every so often. Ana’s here. We stay by each other’s sides for the most part. Rocky is thrilled to see my face. Her experimental band Scoughs opened up the show along with Karacell, Ikagura, and Geneva Jacuzzi. Out on the smoker’s patio Ana and I witness a guy sitting on the bench dozed off in dreamland wake up suddenly and lean over to spew on the seat next to him. Wow. Later inside relaxing at one of the booths with Ana. She explains that her drinking limit is three beers, which is a responsible line to draw. I respect that. I examine the aesthetics of her overall appearance (the black outfit, her hair, her boots, and the treble clef tattoo that’s showing on her right arm) and explain that she looks exceptionally pretty tonight.
Me: “What color is your heart?”
Kelley and Tara plop down in the booth with us briefly. Kelley’s going on about a Japanese redneck that reminded her of her future desire to have babies.
While waiting along the banister of the dance floor I have no choice but to eavesdrop on a conversation between a tall cross dresser type and a guy. The cross dresser is upset.
Cross Dresser: “I’m in 4-inch stilettos and he fucking pushed me! He shoved me!”
The guy sympathizes, “Yeah, fuck that shit.”
Cross Dresser: “And he thought it was fucking funny!”
During the beginning of Geneva Jacuzzi’s set of empty costumed theatrics Ana and I dip outside and lounge in the front seats of my car. She lies her head down on my lap as I describe the random happenings around us, which include a drunken woman hugging a beggar and boisterous couples hollering in the street.
I head home. Enjoying a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch before I fall asleep shortly after 4 a.m.
[i] All images by me.
Posted by James Robert Smith at 1:53 PM
Waking up at 12:30 p.m.
Baked Cinnamon Brown Sugar Grapefruit. Cinnamon Oatmeal with Brown Sugar, Bananas, and Milk. Honey Black Tea.
Getting an eye exam at Pearle Vision. It’s been at least 3 or 4 years since my last one and my glasses are losing their endurance.
Grilled Cheese on a Bagel with Hummus and Tomato. Tortilla Chips with Salsa. Lemon Water.
Tomorrow we’re getting all the carpets steam cleaned, something we’ve never done in our residency here. But the living room has to be cleared out so I take it upon myself to give it a thorough cleaning. Amongst the scraps and rubble of mostly Cheerios, popcorn seeds, loose change, beer cans, pens, bottle caps, etc, I find a 2Gb flash drive and somebody’s birth certificate. The flash drive seems to contain papers and essays from school and the birth certificate belongs to someone born in New York. How does one lose their proof of birth under a couch and never think to look for it?
Leslie drops by right when I finish cleaning up. She’s been in the middle of a hectic travel schedule and hasn’t had so much as an ounce of time to see her friends. But here she is. We catch up briefly and fiddle around on the computer, browsing songs.
Shooting up my daily hoops on the Lynnhaven Middle School Courts.
Baked Barbecue Garlic Tilapia with Onions, Peppers, Broccoli, Carrots, and Rice.
Ana comes over with her cool rackety Schwinn vintage beach cruiser. We ride bikes to the beach, meeting up with Elliott. Ana’s a little uneasy on her bike as one of the pedals is locked and she says she doesn’t have a lot of experience biking. But it’s a beautiful night to ride. We take to the boardwalk on the bike lanes and keep going past 40th Street and then along Oceanfront Avenue. We pause in front of The Wyndham hotel on 57th Street.
Elliott: “Have you ever just layed down on Atlantic Avenue?”
Me: “No but I will.”
We lie down on the asphalt knowing the cars in the distance are getting closer.
Me: “Dude, this would be a good photo.”
I snap a shot just in time before the cars approach then retreat off the road. One of the cars slows down and turns around up the block. After it passes Elliott and I both realize who it is: Margot. I mean how can you miss that license plate: “MARGOAT”. On instinct we hop on our bikes and jet it across the street. She honks as we disappear into the night. Upon reflection I realize I had nothing to be afraid of. We were only fearful in a sarcastic way.
Me: “My life is so strange. What a small world.”
We keep riding and riding until we stop in an alleyway on 36 ½ Street. Elliott and I have fun with rolling a few huge bulldozer-size tires down the hill.
We part our ways with Elliott. Ana and I head back towards my house.
In the bedroom my eyes are puffy and itchy. And both Ana and I have stuffy sneezy noses. Something must’ve been in the air. But I didn’t see any pollen floating about. So here we are pulling out tissue after tissue blowing our noses and dabbing our eyes. I pop open a bottle of sparkling wine. Sipping on sweet bubbly liquid and composing a nasal symphony. She confesses her love for Vick’s vapor rub. We medicate our irritated nostrils with it.
Lying down and cuddling and talking. I’m feeling urges...that are reciprocated. Kissing. Touching. Pleasuring her. I wrap it up and we enter into a sexual outer space. Still learning about the geography of our bodies. At some point I get a bright idea to lubricate myself with the vapor rub. It turns out to be a swell idea. The burning tingling sensation only enhances the experience.
Eventually we settle down to sleep at a late hour.
[i] Images by me.
Posted by James Robert Smith at 2:16 PM