Seriously, who am I? Who am I to give this guy any shit? We’re all on this train alone, I’m gonna judge this guy? I’m gonna judge this guy because he’s old and fat? I’m gonna judge this guy because he’s old and fat and looks homeless and has a jug of pink lemonade? I’m gonna judge this guy because he’s old and fat and looks homeless and has a jug of pink lemonade that he knocked over while he was sleeping? Who the fuck am I? I’m gonna judge this guy? Because he knocked over this pink lemonade and it’s flowing down the entire length of the train and looks like the Nile River? I’m gonna judge him? Because the pink lemonade split the train in two? Have I seen the Nile River? Has he? I don’t think so, so neither of us has seen it. So who the fuck am I? I’m gonna judge this guy? I’m on some kinda superior Staten Island train? Some higher train than this fuckin guy? Why? Because I’m younger and thinner and have options in life? Do I? Is that why? What, I’m gonna judge him? We’re on the same train. So what’s the difference, really? I had a lemonade stand when I was younger, sure, it wasn’t much money. Now I’m grown, and not a whole lot is different in that regard. I’m on the train, and I’m not going back to my own place, and I’ve never seen the Nile, and I bet he’s never seen the Nile, but who am I to judge? Maybe he has, I don’t know this fuckin guy, I’m gonna judge him? Sure he spilled a jug of pink lemonade, sure it split the train in half like the Nile, sure he’s old, and fat, and looks homeless, and he spilled the pink lemonade, sure. But who the fuck am I? I’m on the other side of the river, I’m taking train too at 2 a.m. on a Tuesday. I’m going somewhere. He’s going somewhere. And who the fuck am I anyway? Get real, we’re both going somewhere, and it ain’t the Nile. I got off before him, by that time he picked up the jug of pink lemonade, but who cares, it left a stream, like the Nile River, but who cares. I got off before him, and he got after, and we both had less lemonade, so what did it matter.
It’s that thing, it’s like that thing. You know the feeling, you know, you’re at a party or at work or some shit, and you meet this person and you’re like “fuck, woah, what the fuck is this about.” And you get excited, you get too excited, but you play it cool, because you have to. You have no other choice but to play it cool. Not playing it cool would mean losing that feeling. And let’s face it, that’s the best feeling, you’re talking to this person and you’re like “wait a minute…” That’s the best.
But let’s face it, even if it goes well, and you play it cool, you don’t know this person. You like to think they’re thinking “holy shit,” but the vast majority of the time they’re thinking, “I wonder what’s the quickest way home if I leave in a half hour,” or “how late is that taco truck open,” or they’re thinking “holy shit.” But it’s usually the taco truck. And you can’t really blame them, because they don’t know you. Not that it would matter if they did.
That’s the thing about that thing, that feeling. Even when the stars align and all parties involved are feeling that thing, and they have that feeling, sooner or later they’re going to know you, at least some of you and that’s no good, because you get too excited. And “wait a minute…” turns into “can you gimme a fuckin minute!” it turns into “can I get a fuckin word in!” it turns into “you’re putting words in my mouth.” And nobody is playing it cool anymore, everyone is playing a game of is this still worth it, and even when it isn’t, you still hold on, because who wants to wait for the next time lighting strikes and you get that feeling. The next time you think “woah, what the fuck is this, wait a minute.” Because even if you do think that, they’ll likely be thinking of tacos. And you don’t want to wait for the stars to align, and why would you. That thing doesn’t happen very often, and time alone is mostly spent drifting towards and around insanity. It’s mostly spent drifting around thoughts of that thing.
It felt like you were doing something, and at the end of the day that’s all you were looking for. You just wanted to feel productive, like you were contributing to the greater good in one way or another. It was something you could put on a resume, so fostering dogs wasn’t nothing, however it rarely felt like work.
It beat drinking by yourself, that’s for sure, you did that for long enough, and sooner or later you had to start asking yourself some tough questions. And let’s face it, you’d rather stare at these pups than stare in the mirror.
It may not have felt like work, but hey, they weren’t gonna let themselves out of their crates to piss. You got thumbs, and that was something.
It wasn’t like they were plants or robots, these guys and gals had personality, hell, you could call them guys and gals. Fritz, the main guy, your permanent one, was a real shit. Cute as fuck, but a real shit. But you loved him, and you forgave him for being such a shit. But if ever it did feel like work, it was usually because of him. He was the jealous type, and small as fuck, you never saw a dog who hated other dogs like Fritzy hated every other dog he came across. You would say to him, “why can’t you just play like every other dog on the god damn planet, why are you such a shit?” And he would jump up and lick your face, and keep licking your face. With some dogs it went beyond hate, the second he saw them all his hair would stand straight up and he wanted to kill them. But he wasn’t killing anything, because he was a little shit. He would bully the smaller fosters, and try it on the bigger ones until they eventually had enough of his shit and would beat his little ass. You would say to him, “how many dogs need to beat your ass before you get that you’re a little shit?” And he would jump up and maniacally lick your face.
Patches, the latest long term foster, put Fritz in his place the other day after Fritz was bullying a little guy. Fritz yelped and bared his teeth, but Patches just calmly held him down as if to say, “look at you, you’re such a shit,” and you laughed and sipped your beer, because Fritz had it coming.
Patches was choice, he’d seen some shit in his day, was locked in a trailer somewhere in the sticks with a bunch of other dogs. He was scared shitless of you when you first got him. You couldn’t go within 5 feet of him or he would whine out of pure fear, shake uncontrollably, and his stomach would make this crazy rumbling noise. You didn’t know exactly what the previous owners did to him, and you didn’t really wanna know. But now he slept on your head at night and he’d whine when you weren’t petting him.
Outside of work, you spent about 87% of your time with dogs. And not at dog parties with other dog owning humans. Only dogs. You felt justified for talking to yourself so much. You just said all the bullshit that came out of your face to them, then told them how cute and stupid they were. So it felt more like a give and take. And if they barked you would say, “shuttt upppp,” then you would pet their faces. They would keep you up sometimes with their barking, but hey, nobody’s perfect.
You’d call all of them “buddy.” You’d say, “hey buddy,” “what’s up there buddy,” but then you took in a dog actually named “Buddy,” and boy, was that a confusing couple of days for everybody involved.
Patches recently got himself a little girlfriend, you teased him mercilessly, but it did’t phase him. They run around the yard, biting each other’s necks, while you’d leave Fritz in the bedroom. Fritz wouldn’t stand for other dogs enjoying themselves; Fritz the Fun Police, you’d call him.
Fritz loved eating shit. At first it was just his shit, now it was everybody’s shit. You’d catch him in the act and yell, “HEY,” and he’d get the last few bites before you ran over to stop him. You’d say, “Stop eating shit, you fuckin’ weirdo,” and he’d jump up and try to lick your face, but you’d swat him away because his breath smelled like shit.
Fritz and Patches tolerated each other, sometimes they’d attempt some form of playing, but Fritz was dumb and a shit, so he didn’t know exactly how to play. They were indifferent towards each other, but that’s all you could really hope for with Fritz. But they were your core crew for the time being, until Patches eventually gets adopted, but you didn’t want to think about that. For now, they were your guys, and you weren’t alone, ever if you were the only one drinking. Patches slept on your head, Fritz curled up at the back of your knee, he’d contour with how your leg would bend.
I was at the point that when I woke up, I felt every single beer from the night prior. Even if I just had like one or two with dinner, it weighed me down a tad the next day. So when I would have one or two an hour, while out with friends for hours on end, I felt like throwing myself off a bridge for the next three days. It was like someone laid concrete in your stomach and your head, and filled your pockets and shoes with wet sand, then chuckled at you for moving so slowly. And then forced you to re-watch your actions of hours upon hours of one or two beers an hour.
Last night was a one or two an hour nights, and I was driving across a bridge earlier today to another friends surprise birthday party. I wasn’t going to know anyone at this party except for the surprise-ee, so essentially I wasn’t going to know anyone there. I was feeling every single hour and feeling shaky, I crossed the bridge and had to pick up some beers, couldn’t show up empty handed. I hand to keep my hands occupied. It was like when you’re dancing and you’re white and you don’t know what to do with your hands, so you have one or two beers an hour, but just to keep your hands occupied.
So it was starting soon and I had already crossed the bridge. I went to a coffee shop to kill time and try to look interesting while reading a book and drinking a latte, but I was filled with dread and concrete and wet sand and replays of my actions. It was like when you’re having a forced conversation at a surprise birthday party, and you can see the disinterest in the person’s eyes, and you know you don’t have anything to say after the next thing you have planned to say, and you can feel their eyes kinda looking through you to see who they’re going to talk to next. So after you say the last uninteresting thing, you ask them if they want one of the beers you brought, but they say no thanks and pity you with a sigh and a smile, and you walk over and get a beer and mercifully let them go over to whoever it was their eyes drifted towards.
The last panic attack I had was on Mother’s Day, well technically Mother’s Day night, well technically it was past midnight so it was the Monday after Mother’s Day. I was about to fall asleep, I went to bed. I was living with my sister and we had a few brews while watching the Yankees and at some point I said, “I’m so excited to sleep tonight, it’s gonna be great.” I had a few brews and I was so tired, I had far too many brews the night before and was hungover all of Mother’s Day. I had too many brews the night before and stayed up until 6 in the morning. I woke up a little before 11 and went down to where our childhood house used to be and picked some wild growing flowers for Mother’s Day. So me and my siblings went to my parents house and we all gave her flowers, separately, we had never done that before. She said “wow! I’ve never had so many flowers!” We never got her much of anything for Mother’s Day, just our presence and my dad would make a cake or something. But this year we all got flowers, separately, unplanned. So take that for what it’s worth. And we did that and it was fine, we gave her some flowers and ate cake and talked about stuff and it was fine, the cake was quite good, cheese cake, my mom put the cake dishes out and attempted to serve the coffee, but the coffee wasn’t ready yet, so we had the cake without coffee, but it was still quite good. Blueberry compote on top, it was warm and the cheesecake was cold. My dad thought he fucked up the graham cracker crust, but it held just fine. My sister left because she had dogs to tend to. Me and my brothers hung around for a little while longer, but eventually left. I left and headed to my sisters, I was staying in the basement. A few days earlier I roasted garlic in olive oil at my sister’s house, so now I had a jar of garlic flavored olive oil and roasted garlic, in the same jar, it was fantastic. I used it with almost everything. I went back to my sister’s and I made some biscuits, and I made some eggs, and I used the garlic oil and some garlic cloves to fry the eggs, and put them on top of a freshly made biscuit with some kimchee. It was quite good, almost as good as the cheese cake with the blueberry compote. The blueberries were warm. I worked with a chef who showed me the roasting garlic in oil trick, I loved it, used it with almost everything. He said “make sure you refrigerate it, because it can actually cause botulism if kept at room temperature. And that’s actually pretty serious.” So I made a bunch a few days before Mother’s Day, and put it in a jar and forgot about it for 10 minutes or so. No big deal, it had to cool down anyway. I used it to sauté some kale a few days before Mother’s Day, and it was quite good, and I didn’t get botulism because I was keeping it in a fridge, except for the 10 minutes I forgot about it. So I was at my sisters and I fried some eggs up with the garlic oil and a few cloves and had a few brews and watched the Yankees and I was so excited to sleep. I went down to the air mattress in the basement and I was so tired, I laid down and my stomach felt a little funny, almost as if I’d been drinking for two days, or I was dying of botulism, the disease thing I vaguely remember hearing about a few months prior. I decided it was botulism and forced myself to stay up, because otherwise I was going to die in my sleep, I was sure of it. My sister was a nurse, but more importantly she was no stranger to panic attacks. So she could easily talk me off this irrational ledge. I went upstairs and she was asleep on the couch. I got some water and went back downstairs, I was laughing to myself, I was laughing at myself, I knew I didn’t have botulism, but I was certain that I most definitely had botulism. It wasn’t Mother’s Day, well it wasn’t Mother’s Day anymore technically, but it was, because I hadn’t my slept yet. I felt myself drifting off, but I forced myself to stay awake. I googled “botulism in…” and garlic oil was one of the first things the search engine guessed. I was justified. The first words that I read in the search were “extremely rare,” but I was sure I was going to have all the symptoms. I researched for 10 minutes, I didn’t have any of the symptoms. I was laughing to myself, at myself. I was drifting off to thoughts of my own wake, people lining up to say sorry to my parents, tell them what a great guy I was. I pictured the chef who warned me about botulism telling my mom what a great worker and guy I was. But it wouldn’t mean anything, no amount of flowers would help. I couldn’t go to sleep because I knew what would happen, and it was Mother’s Day, even if technically it wasn’t anymore, I hadn’t slept yet.
It was dead. It was always like this during the week. That’s why I enjoyed working during the week, particularly Tuesday’s, since that was the only day that is was just me and her working.
It felt pathetic to get excited about going to work when I was alone in my room Monday nights, but that’s generally how things went. And I generally tried to suppress that excitement, because then thoughts of how incredibly uneventful my life had become, that I was actually excited to go to my shitty job, would creep up soon after.
We were both lounging in chairs behind the counter, immersed in our own thoughts and distractions. She was playing with a single curl of hair and looking through a book about photography. I was biting my nails and skimming through another one of these How to Live a Self-Sustained Life books. I’d become slightly obsessed with the idea of being self-sustainable, but had put very little of it into practice. While I was reading- and frankly during many other aspects of my life- I would try to think of things to say to her that would simultaneously get under her skin, peak her interest, and eventually make her laugh. “You know,” I said while placing a mark in the crease of the book and folding it over in my lap, “I think it’s about high time I killed a chicken.” She rolled her eyes at me, “why do white people always feel the need to fuck with animals?” I grinned, “what’re you talkin’ about?” “You guys always gotta be doing weird shit with like nature and animals, it’s like, can you just chill.” “I don’t wanna like smack a lion in the face with my cock…” She smiled and interjected mid response, “well that’s very noble of you, not wanting to smack a lion with your cock.” “Thank you, I try… anyway, as I was saying… I’m not tryin’ to do any weird shit. I just feel like if I’m to continue eating meat, I should have to kill an animal that I eat.” “So just don’t eat meat anymore, and be cool, like me.” “But I like eating meat. And I don’t see anything wrong with it if it’s done responsibly. That’s why I need to humanely kill a chicken.” She grinned slightly while rolling her eyes again and shaking her head, “oh gaahhddd, humanely kill a chicken, you’re ridiculous.” She went into the token white guy impression that she broke out from time to time, “so you could feel like a man, bro? You wanna feel like a big strong man, bro?” I laughed a breath through my nose, “yea pretty much. I’m tired of my suburban-slash-city existence dampening my manhood.” “Gotta kill a chicken bro, gotta feel manly.” “Plleeeaaseee with this holier than thou herbivore shit.” “Whatever, I’m not the one trying to murder cute lil chickens.” “If those cute chickens were big enough they’d gouge your eyes out in a second and never give you another thought.” “So, just let a chicken be a chicken…and they wouldn’t do that to me, because they would know that I’m cool and smart.” “The only reason humans have gotten to the point of being this cool and smart was because of our ability to hunt and eat meat during ice ages, and tundra’s, and winters, and shit.” She looked at me accusingly, “really? That’s the only reason?” I smiled feeling that I was behind in this argument, “I’m exaggerating, but whatever, you know what I’m saying.” “She resorted back to her impression, “gotta kill chickens like my manly ancestors, bro!!” I chuckled a bit, “that’s right, I gotta be a part of this time honored tradition…my inner monologue reprimands me every time I’m cooking something with meat.” She laughed, “reprimands you?” “Yea you know, like the voice in my head turns into a father-in-law who’s like disparaging his dead beat son-in-law for continually disappointing his daughter.” She burst out laughing, “what?! Why is that so specific?!” I continued, “yea you know, like the voice always starts out by like shaking his head slowly at me and saying ‘look at you, just look at you…where’d you get that pork? The super market? You’re pathetic! There’s people out there killing their meals with spears!!’ So by the time it’s ready to eat, I can’t even enjoy it anymore.” She was still laughing and wiping tears from her eyes, “do you really talk to yourself that much?” “Yea of course, everybody does, in their heads at least. I’m not like saying this shit out loud to myself, at least not that often or when people are around.” Her laughing fit was dying down, “you’re soooo weird.” “C’mon, you definitely do the same shit.” “No, I know what you mean…I’m just not calling myself an asshole or anything like that.” “Alright, so who’s your head-voice?” “Hmmmm lemme think…my voice is like encouraging me and trying to convince me that I’m going to be ok.” “Alright.” “Yea, yea it’s like those white people who watch marathons and cheer the runners on, like, ‘come on! You’re doing great! Just keep going!” I smiled “like handing out those little white cups with water.” “Yea, yea ‘you can do it! Ok, yea… that’s fine, you can stop to pet that dog.’” I laughed, “see there you go, you’re a weirdo too.” “No, not me, I’m just cool.” “Rrriiigghhtttt.”
We both looked up momentarily as it appeared we might get a potential customer. “Phew,” I said as the person decided to keep it moving past the shop’s doors. We slumped back into our seats. After a minute she began to stretch and said “I’m falling apart, hurry, I need a back massage.” “I’m sorry, but that would be against company policy. No back touching in the workplace.” “Oh shuutttt uuppppp, you say that every time and every time I get a back rub. So let’s just skip the theatrics and get to the massaging,” she said half-jokingly.” “Well, I don’t respond well to demands, so now I can’t do it.” “C’monnn.” “I’d be betraying my personal ethics.” “C’mmmooonnnnnm, I’m in severe pain.” “I don’t see it happening.” “I’m gonna die.” “You had a good run.” “C’mmmmoonnnnnnn,” she said, sliding her chair over and grabbing my hand, as she tried to manually get me to massage her back. “I’ll tell you what, I’ll meet you halfway. I’ll give you a foot massage,” I said with a grin. “How is that halfway?” “Because you get a massage, but it’s not exactly what you wanted.” She laughed, “yea right, like you would rub my feet in the middle of the shop.” “Kiddin me, I don’t give a fuck.” “And if a customer comes in?” “Then they’ll feel weirded out and leave, it’s a win-win.” “Fine,” she said taking off her shoes, still not believing me. She flung her left foot into my lap and leaned back further into her seat as if to say ‘your move.’ I didn’t hesitate and started working the arch of her foot by rotating my thumbs, and the top with the rest of my fingers, as if they were squeezing a stress relief ball. She had knee high navy blue socks with cartoon-esque pizza slice stitched all up and down them. “Cute socks.” “Thanks,” she replied, closing her eyes and leaning her head back. Those little pizzas are gettin’ me hungry, wanna order a pie?” Keeping her eyes closed and head laid back she said, “What’s say we just focus on the massage for now.” I was ok with that, and decided it was probably time for me to shut the fuck up. I increased the pressure with my thumbs ever so slightly, and soaked in her subtle moan of approval as she sunk a little deeper into the chair.
A moment later there was a familiar sound that seemed to be coming from another dimension, it was a customer opening the front door, the first one in nearly two hours. She straightened up in her seat and swung her foot off of my lap. We locked eyes for a split second, before standing up and looking forward at the customers.
A middle aged couple shot us quick fake smiles, before slowly circling the shop and internally deliberating over all the bullshit stocked on the shelves. They weren’t even going to buy anything, I could tell by their indifferent curiosity.
We stood side by side, a few feet apart and watched them. My eyes were wide, and I was biting down on both my top and bottom lip as I shook my head, barely moving it side to side in disbelief. I didn’t want any good fortune or happiness to ever come the way of these people or their families ever again. I wish I had a trained swarm of bees to unleash on them, a pride of starved lions, a herd of frazzled water buffalo, a stampede. I wanted them to know, I wanted them to see the hatred in my eyes.
I waited all week for this.
Two fat people walked in and ordered fat people things, and a skinny person ordered a skinny person thing directly after, and I felt like the universe punched me right in the dick and screamed at me that nothing happened by accident. That’s why I worked in this shitty coffee shop for so long, because I needed to know that. What a relief.
I was relieved when a clearly gay lad came in with his grandfather and they just ordered regular coffee. That was easy enough to make. They ordered the coffees, talked about it, coffee that is, and seemed very comfortable with each other. I was intrigued by that, and found it to be rare and beautiful, the older man being so understanding and accepting that is.
An older man and I drank, not together, but in general. He was alright, came in for a cup of tea a few times a week, he looked pretty fried. We talked about it, drinking that is, “it wasn’t a problem” he insisted, “you just have a few drinks a night, like everybody.” I agreed even though I knew most people didn’t do that, but it made me feel better, because I only drank like four or five days out of the week. Every night? Don’t be ridiculous.
We drank while making coffee, from time to time. My co-workers and I, that is. I had one of my best friends hired and had become pretty good friends with one of the other guys from the shop throughout the years, and we all drank, so it worked. While the cat was away we put whiskey in our coffee from the bottle we had hidden in the bathroom. The cat was oblivious. We drank during some weekend mornings/afternoons to keep the hangovers at bay, from the damage done during the night prior. It kept us civil and jolly, but terribly uncoordinated. It was a good time though, especially since we were able to play our own tunes over the shop’s speakers.
And we play some good music, some groovin’, thumpin’ and bumpin’ funky ass shit. Some customers are like “yeaaaa,” and some are like “can you turn that down, just a little?” and we’re just gettin’ down, bobbin’ our heads having a good ole time, like “doesn’t this make you wanna drink some mothafuckin’ coffee?” And we sing and pretend we’re in Parliament, the funk group not the government thing. And women laugh, and hot girls ignore us, and guys are too cool and are thinking “fags,” and I’m like whatever Serious Jones, gay dudes are way more fun than you anyways. And right on cue a gay guy walks in and orders a mocha and signals for me to leave the change in the tip jar, and isn’t fun at all. “Have a good one, thanks” I mumble.
I mumbled a lot of the time. I was miserable most of the times that I mumbled.
The Mexicans in the next store over seemed so happy, always smiling and jovial, and making eight dollars an hour if that. Meanwhile, the Mercedes owners stared in disgust at the prices and calorie counts. They called me “boss” or “guy” or “buddy,” and they took themselves very seriously, which kept me in stitches. Middle aged women acted the age they were trying to look, unable to admit their time had come and gone. Tough guys looked at hats in herds in one of the other stores nearby, and the simple right leaning white guys just wanted a regular small hot coffee. “None of that fancy mocha-chino crap.” “Those are for fags and Mexicans,” I imagined they thought, with their short sleeve polo’s tucked into their cargo shorts. I wondered, what if these kinds of guys had a gay son, or their daughter fell for one of my Mexican friends from the next store over? Wouldn’t that be some shit?
I wanted someone’s daughter to fall for me in the back corridors, where the garbage and stock rooms were for the various stores. I tried to get my ex to come with me to the stock room, before she was my ex that was. She thought about it, but ultimately said no. I always imagined one of the girls from one of the stores would mosey into the stock room while I was picking up supplies and give herself to me on a whim. It’s yet to happen, but I won’t give up hope.
I went out with one of the girls from one of the stores once, and she drank a lot, and she threw up a lot, after we were making out for a minute. I held her hair back, and told one of her friends whom was still in the bar what had happened. We got her into my car, and she directed me to the girls house, the friend that is, and we got her into the house. She was embarrassed the next day, and swears she was drugged. She never got like that. She didn’t know what could have happened. I thought prior to that we would meet in the back corridor one day, but we kinda stopped talking after that, which was a real shame, because she was terribly attractive.
The last girl I was with told me to lick her asshole after we had both already came, and I was appalled. Not that I haven’t done that in the past, I have and have enjoyed it, but I don’t want to be told to do it. I had already been in the region earlier with the necessary tool if that was going to happen. If I wanted to do that, I would’ve, but I didn’t want to. I didn’t know or like her like that. I didn’t want to know her at all after she said that, and I was sooo happy when she left later that morning.
A mentally unstable lady told me to go fuck myself and wouldn’t leave my work place, because I didn’t notice her walk into the shop earlier that day. She thought I was deliberately avoiding her for some reason, and apparently everyone knew her in that mall and everyone always noticed her, so she told me to go fuck myself. I purposefully did not jerk off for two days just to spite her.
Some jerk off spewed out some racial slur about Obama after I served him his coffee, assuming that I was an out of touch racist like him. “This is why I hate white people,” I tried to explain to the black girl I worked with. “But you’re white” she responded, unable to understand my point.
A younger black fella asked what I had for a dollar, “water” I said. He asked if something that cost more than a dollar was a dollar, and I replied no, “come onnnnn” he groaned or asked as he slowly walked out, holding his book bag by the inside of his elbows, so that it hung very low. It looked quite uncomfortable. “Sorry?” I thought to myself.
I enjoyed when customers apologized to me while I was sitting on the counter at work reading, or just sitting there, and I had to get up to go help them. They actually apologize for disturbing me and forcing me to carry out what I get paid to do, and I totally expect and think I deserve their apology at the time. How dare they?
How dare you people come in at all, annoying me with your orders and demands, it’s like can’t you see that I hate you, you don’t care about that? You don’t care that the random coffee shop guy hates you? No? Of course you don’t, why would you? I’m only your temporary servant, your sub-human. Right, no, don’t worry I get it, I’m the asshole.
Snow and monotony weigh heavy on this every day working guy. All he wants is a nice dinner to come home to, is that too much to ask?
Things In Jars I never got married. I’ve been thinking about getting a pup, for some time now. But they seemed like a lot of responsibility. The vet, the food, they would need plenty of exercise. Which I didn’t mind, I liked walks as much as any dog out there, I could promise you that. But I wasn’t always around… No kids.
My shanty house was jam packed with all sorts of experiments. You couldn’t go two feet without happening upon a jar filled with some sort of vegetation or what have you. In the cupboards, all along the counter, lining window sills. The fridge, forget about it, you’d be hard pressed to find something that hadn’t been jarred. My bedroom was where I kept all the red cabbage, red onion, watermelon radishes, or anything else that gave off a pretty vibrant tint. Most nights I didn’t light any candles or turn on any lights. I just let the moon reflect off of those colors.
Some heard this and assumed me to be a recluse, not the case. I understood though, being in the jar world for as long as I had, I’d met recluse a plenty. But I was originally from a bigger city, and although considered myself somewhat of a homebody by bigger city standards, I liked quite a bit going out and about in this little artsy town and mingling with folks. And even though I’d only had those jars to speak of, I’d done fairly well with the women here. Most of them younger, some from bigger cities themselves, they liked my peculiar ways, they were typically earth people. And since I consumed mostly things from jars, I kept my shape and health. And since I wasn’t a recluse, I could still clean up a bit. So it didn’t look all that strange when a lovely young twenty something and myself were strolling about town arm in arm.
I began putting things in jars a while a back, when I was still a twenty something myself, living in a bigger city. I read an article about sourdough bread. They explained the fermenting process, how if one were to just leave water and flour in a jar (or bowl) after some time, yeast in the air would start to eat away at it. And if one periodically replaced some of that mixture with fresh flour and water, after some more time, one would have a base for bread. And that this bread was actually quite good for one’s digestive system, unlike the store-bought varieties. I read this article just as I was getting over a nasty intestinal infection and was looking to make a drastic change in my diet. The next day I found an empty pickle jar and mixed in equal parts of flour and water.
The very thought of a house filled with funky food things in jars might send a shiver down one’s spine, they might think there would be a putrid odor and clutter, bugs all about. Not to pat myself on the back, but I kept a fairly tidy home, all things considered. Yes, there were bugs, but not nearly as much as there could be, it wasn’t as though they were crawling all over the place. I’ve heard one was never out of arm’s reach of a spider, no matter where one might be, spiders were simply masters of hiding in creases and under furniture and such. So, all the jars did was bring out the insects into plain view more than your typical household. A small price to pay, plus jars could make for wonderful home décor when arranged by the proper pair of hands and eyes.
One of the young women I spent time with studied at the nearby college for a time, in the arts. She never finished school but stayed in town, became an earth person. She possessed a real eye for beauty, before I met her, my jars were all over the place, scattered about. During one of her stays, she began to reorganize my jars, without asking. I was skeptical at first; after all, these were my jars. But I knew she was in the arts, and an earth person, so I gave her some leeway. By the day’s end I was astonished; it was as if I was living in a whole different space, all together. The lining of window sills and mantels, designs and placements that had I’d never considered, color and size arrangements that gave my entire house symmetry I didn’t believe to be possible. Even my fridge was organized and beautiful. It was her idea to replace candles and lightbulbs in my room with the most vibrant of the bunch. I would fill more jars and she would find new homes for them amongst the others.
Why wouldn’t one put things in jars? The amount of food that was just thrown away struck me as completely ridiculous. If one didn’t think they were going to consume something in the near future or something was going to rot soon, salt it and put it in a jar, it was so easy. Salt it and submerge it, they’d be astonished as how much longer these things would last, and how delicious they would be! Sure, some things took more time and attention, one would have to carve out some time to make yogurt or kimchi… or mead or miso or beer or cured meats or cheeses or… I’m getting ahead of myself, those things would need more than jars. What I was trying to illustrate is that jars were amazing things to behold, they were alive, they were like family.
Twenty something’s and earth people often times went back to bigger cities. I understood, making it in the arts wasn’t the easiest route. Things in jars get old.
It was silly really, getting a pup wouldn’t interfere with my lifestyle that much. It wasn’t as if I couldn’t just bring the pup in the car with me, when I was to go on a trip somewhere. A lot of pups liked car rides. I’m sure a pup would have plenty of curiosity over the jars, I would have to mentally prepare myself for a jar or two shattering. That was a little worrisome, since I loved all my jars. Plus, the glass could hurt them. I would certainly have to do some research first, but I didn’t see why they couldn’t consume things from jars, that stuff was good for you… Well, just because it was good for me didn’t necessarily mean it would be good for a pup. The more I weighed the pros and cons, the more a pup seemed like a good deal of trouble. After all, there were only twenty-four hours in a day, and the jars kept me plenty busy.
Tom Waits Goes Organic
The goin is slow and sticky as molasses. Chinamen and Mexicans, who play soccer with Moroccans, flood the trees and shake the branches. While Americans are elsewhere, drowning in fructose; a competition in whose heart can explode the fastest.
The ones that got some give to ‘em. have already been claimed by the varmints, if you don’t display some patience It’ll taste like cobblestones in your cobbler, with cue balls instead of peaches.
Park on grass instead of gravel, the aisles are all green, and while you shop, taste while you stock, so at least a few are free. It’s not convenient truckin’. and coupons are a waste, against the breeze, put your mind at ease, but don’t tell nobody ‘bout this place.