Broken Sole

I walked past a young man who was standing on the sidewalk, waiting to be picked up by a friend or an Uber or something. I am guessing that’s what he was doing, anyway. He was just standing there off to one side on the sidewalk, bag on the ground next to him, with a phone up to his ear. As I passed, I had a couple thoughts.

  1. I wonder what he does for work – it’s lunch time but he seemed like he was just leaving his apartment for the day, dressed in bright red basketball-style athletic gear, bright red hat (worn backwards), with comfortable, pristine white basketball shoes. Furthermore, the apartments are “luxury apartments” with an outdoor spa area and what appears to be a very nice private gym to be used by the tenants. I could make the guess that either he or his family are well-off. Which means that he either has an incredible job where they get to wear whatever they want, he has a very successful online job, or that his parents take good care of him. Or maybe he’s just on vacation.
  2. He is a very nice person, in general. As I walked past, he greeted me with a, “What’s up, man?” and I returned, “How’s it goin’ bud?” If you’re from Phoenix, AZ, you know that such niceties are rarely observed. What I mean is we tend to not acknowledge each other’s presence here. Maybe he’s not from around here and was just visiting a friend.
  3. I wonder what he thinks of me. I don’t care how people view me anymore. I gave up on that ages ago. But I am curious to know how he might view me. I’m a young man wearing a polo, khakis, and dress shoes. Hands in pockets, eyes to the ground, willing to participate but not necessarily initiate conversation. If I was him and he was me, I’d think he wasn’t a very nice or happy person. I can’t imagine I showed even the inkling of a smile. I definitely didn’t resemble someone who is willing to take risks, go on adventures, and meet new people (This is how I wish I was). Long story short: I do not outwardly resemble who I inwardly hope and wish to be.

I considered these things for a few steps after passing him, mind ready to float on to the next flight of fancy… or even just any flight of fancy. After a few steps, however, I was interrupted by a flapping sound, though it didn’t take me by surprise.

The bottom of my shoe hangs loose by whatever glue or stitching remains, causing the heel to dangle loosely, drawing unwarranted attention to itself with each step. They are very nice shoes, definitely not your typical tennis or skater shoe. Brown leather, solid black soles, the perfect shoe for incessant office meetings and perhaps a good church service. I, however, have a bad habit of stepping on the heels of my shoes as I pry my toes loose, eventually causing such detachments.

Then it dawned on me… What must he think of me now? There is no doubt that the THWACK of my heels was, at the very least, distracting if not entirely disruptive to a phone conversation.

My guess is that my initial presentation to him suggested a young man early in his career, dressing for the job in clothing, yet face suggesting he’d rather be doing anything else. Perhaps trapped by the will of his father or necessity of a family that simply needed him to pay the bills. Scuffed brown leather shoes, slightly wrinkles pants and shirt – this is not a man of passion.

And then, for the secondary assessment: Clearly not a man of passion when a simple spot of gorilla glue or trip to the shoe fixers would solve an issue that is most absurdly present yet overlooked because of the busy mind mulling over whatever it is that displeases him so much that he does nothing but stare at the ground. Perhaps not making as much as he had been promised when he was first offered the job. Perhaps whatever is in his mind so greatly trumps his shoe problem that he’s willing to suffer the cacophony and save his money for a more worthy cause. Or perhaps he is simply upset because of his broken shoe and inability to presently deal with it.

Now, here is my assessment of myself: I am a man of whimsical dreams and great passion. I do what I need to so that I can chase at least ten dreams at a time. While they do nothing but occupy my mind all the day long, they are not so important as to make me unsociable. I am simply conditioned by the culture around me after many failed attempts to strike up conversations with strangers that I no longer go out of my way to say hello. If I had more luck or thought I’d have more luck getting a response from my greeting, I might try it more often. I am a young man early in my career, but the only person trapping me here is my past self who once aimed to appease others and so took on debt that now needs to be paid off, and my future self who would someday like to be a reliable husband and father with a wife who can choose to work if she likes, but it won’t be necessary, and who would like to have the luxury of travelling the world before I am deep into my 30’s or 40’s and putting kids through school. I am not happy in my present job but I suffer it in hopes for the future.

And as for my shoes: One part of me dearly enjoys looking dapper and would love to get my shoes fixed. The other part of me thinks the symbolism is too much to pass up. As both a child who has been defined by broken glasses, ripped jeans, and torn up shoes, and a man who is only in a career type job by necessity, kicking and screaming into adulthood, and only just upholding his responsibilities, what better designator than a shoe with a broken sole?

Now it just makes me laugh.

Broken Sole.JPG

Ever On the Wing

Ever On the Wing.JPGAnd there it goes, my flight of fancy

Off into the wind, ascending well above my reach

It acts like a dream, only in reverse

Though I’ve never considered myself sibylline

My back side held fast to my seat

As I imagine the clouds above this opaque ceiling

Shifting shapes in tantalizing transmogrification

It is in this rectitudinous pareidolia I am sated

Yet in the same mist I breathe in the vitriol

That saturates my proprietary space

And when the air is heavier than my leaden heart

Mayhaps I shall sink into the depths of Alluvium

 

My dear Elysium, promise to visit

That I might taste the air belonging to the reaches of the furthest mountains

My dear Erewhon, rescue me

That I might not decay, but be ever on the wing of the sea-faring albatross

I Want To Be Terrified

I took a walk earlier today. In fact, I think I may go for another one here at the end of this post… I walked out the doors of my office building to simply enjoy the cool morning air. I went out there to talk with God, hoping that He’d strike me with some divine inspiration, or that I’d be hit by a bus. Sometimes I’d do anything to get away.

As I tried to breathe in slowly (you don’t realize how even just the action of going into work can speed up your breathing sometimes), I had just posted A Risk Worth Taking and my blood was boiling in that familiar way that caused me to start this blog. On my walk, I considered that the unfortunate thing is how I’ve allowed my blood to cool. Sure, I’m trying to grow up and gain some small sense of responsibility, but I want to be known for my spontaneous, adventurous nature someday. Not for how well I can sit down, shut up, and watch as my soul starts sprouting gray hairs and gets bald spots here and there before I’ve even reached my thirties.

What made my blood boil was the simple fact that I have just returned home from an adventure and I wanted more. I used to walk in to work every day with that same urge to stand up and run out, screaming at the top of my lungs. Now I tend to accept defeat as my computer boots up and I type in a password that I’ve pretty much forgotten altogether. Luckily for me, I have great muscle memory, and this place has turned me into a partial robot, as I suspected it would. Must be something about the recycled air and fluorescent lights. They probably inject semi-lethal amounts of robotic energy into the air that kills you slowly, kinda like drinking “just one more” until your liver just quits one day.

I didn’t just realize that I don’t like coming to my comfortable job every day, though. I realized I don’t really like being comfortable at all. Sometimes this manifests itself in intentional socially unacceptable behavior like singing out loud in a quiet library or eavesdropping and interjecting myself in others’ perfectly mundane conversations. It makes my heart race, not just to be at the center of attention, but to be doing something that others simply won’t. It makes me blush every time I stand up to get the attention of the innocent bystanders at a restaurant and request they sing “happy birthday” to my friends. It’s almost never someone’s actual birthday, but when the whole crowd is in on it, it’s convincing enough to earn us free dessert.

Beyond all that nonsense, I enjoy the thrill of being terrified. I liked going to Singapore and getting left behind on a train platform, separated from the rest of my group. I liked working for a coffee shop one year ago today, waiting to hear back from an engineering firm about my application. I didn’t like it at the time, but looking back, it was nice to not have so many constraints on living. I like the uncertainty of it all. I like the reminder that I’m not in control in this life. I like putting it all in God’s hands.

Sure, I also like control to the nth degree, but today, listening to “Hold On” by Twin Atlantic, I was reminded of the thrill of simply holding on for dear life.

Dapper Gemstone Advocates

What would I say to Love? Should she walk through the door right now, what words could possibly suit the occasion?

But of course, what circumstances could bring her here in the first place? Or what circumstances might I be in that would warrant the ordering and aligning of the cosmos?

My desire is that the provenance of Love be in a favorite coffee shop or a downtown park. Mayhaps atop a mountain overlooking a reluctantly lively, woefully avarice, decadently rapacious cityscape, clouds of halcyon above, foreshadowing a downpour that our Love would be steeped in. The mountain simply a personification of the place our Love will always lead us to in this world of uncertainty.

Yet I know I do not live in fairytale, I simply daydream as a Pollyanna when I daydream of Love. Why should Love not allow us to, for a moment, believe in the impossible? And why should we not believe in the impossible? If not Love, then what?

Even meeting Love amid tragedy seems cliché and too good to be true, as the answer to woes would simply be standing there, waiting to remove the veil of blind anguish.

So, being realistic for a moment, or mayhaps pessimistically commonplace, what would I say to Love, should she meet me in my cubicle? And why is she here?

“Do you have the office camera?” she would, no doubt, blush as she asks.

“Oh, hi…uh, yeah. One sec,” and I’d stall to keep her in place so we might both cherish this moment, “Here you go.”

“Thanks.”

“I LOVE YOU!” No no no, that may be a bit too rash… “See you around.” Might be creepy, especially if she doesn’t like me at first. Maybe I ought to sing to her. No… that’d do me in faster than the “See you around.”

“Yup, no problem,” and I smile stupidly as she walks away. And I wouldn’t know her name. But I’ll know her when I see her. And I’ll think of all the clever things I never said, how I was hunched over and typing something forgettable, how I hardly smiled when I looked at her, how I have a crease in my shirt and forgot to shave today. And I’d pray that she only remember where I sit, that I had the office camera, and my eyes, and I’d pray my eyes weren’t dull. Of course, to Love, my eyes will be exactly what she’s been searching for.

So remember to always dress yourself as if you are about to meet the Love of your life, from smile to socks. And when you aren’t dressed up smile to socks, remember that your eyes are the dapper gemstone advocates that will captivate Love, and all else will be but a blur to her.

Or mayhaps I am, once again, believing the impossible.

Throne of Straits

My friends, coffee is not music. It’s true that you can sometimes get away with playing loudly, and some people do, in fact, believe it sounds better. This principle does not apply to a cuppa joe.  The radioactive waste that my office serves in vacuum-sealed packages and labels as “coffee” is unfixable. Even if you added A LOT of creamer, you will not be able to rid yourself of its woeful ails until you pour so much creamer that it eradicates the so-called coffee from the mug.

Unfortunately, I took the opposite approach this morning, the “music” approach, and added a second package. As one of little foresight and poor cause-and-effect rationale, I must admit the restroom and I are now well acquainted, and the “coffee” is, in a word, vim. Take this how you will, but for me, I’d argue that it has its own life form and seeks to eradicate itself of you as much as you ought do of it.

You know what they say: You live and you learn… or die trying.

Dubious

You, My Formidable Friend

Formidable FriendI met you, but it wasn’t in the way we’d have supposed we would

In fact, I discovered you, the beautiful face from that picture

It was given to me, but I wasn’t supposed to look at you

You were just the friend of a friend

 

It turns out you were the friend of a couple friends

that eventually became like another family

and so we pressed into one another

I don’t know it from your perspective

but for me, it was like a leaf that falls on a pond

that dips ever so slightly below the surface

the leaf now with water inside its curl

the water resisting, yet still surrounding

and so gently, caressing

and I was the leaf, and you, the water

 

Then, truly, I met you

the way a cloud meets a mountain

both immense and detailed

and you, the mountain, with your trees

and I with my wisps and molecules extracted from every sea

I journeyed between the boughs of the mighty pines

But I could never reach the roots

and you combed through me with delicate fingertips

grasping at every plume

pulling me apart and putting me back together

 

I flowed over you

and you stood strong

you saw through me

and I applaud you

I have ripped apart sails

stifled the air surrounding flames

I have soaked wicks

I have drowned others as they breathed me in

 

We parted, a marred vapor

and a dampened earth

and I revisited you

but you surrounded yourself with a mighty tempest

from inside, and rightfully so

and I applaud and admire you all the more

 

Then, like lightning at dusk

you wrenched the darkness from you

now the cloud

and I, but the darkness

and I led my onslaught, taking advantage of the waning sun

but you fled into the static spark

and with the dawn

I was all but lost

 

You know I admire you, but I remain a damp leaf, marred vapor

a full-moon darkness

and I wonder if and how we will meet again

will it be a Heaven-meets-earth

a white-capped-wave-meets-shore

a thunderclap-meets-silence

 

Or shall we be the poles of the earth

only felt by one another evermore?

 

Gingerly

Nothin’ Doin’

Dancing

My mind doesn’t play well without other minds that play well. Creativity and deep thinking inspire creativity and deep thinking. I try to inspire myself by responding to one-word daily prompts first thing in the morning and surprising myself with the fact that I can and do, in fact, think. I wish they were always fantastical, romantic, whimsical thoughts, but the fact is they’re not a good portion of the time.

It can be discouraging to say the least when I look at those prompts and nothing of substance comes to mind first thing in the morning. I proceed to brood in my gray cubicle, get some work done so I can at least feel good about that, and leave work having not said a word all day and thought very little about anything of substance.

This morning, I’m starting in that broody way I do on occasions more frequent than I’d care to admit. All I can think of is my cortado from yesterday and all I can do is listen to piano jazz. With this sludge they call coffee here at my workplace, I sip and imagine I’m back in that coffee shop, grimacing a bit deeper with each draught.

Can anyone tell me why coffee shops are so perfect, what makes them so evocative of romance and whimsy? When did we decide they were the greatest places for the greatest thinkers?

P.S. This started as a response to the prompt “Dancing” but “thoughts dancing in my head” just isn’t enough for me to justify it as my response. Looks like it’s gonna be another broody day outside.

P.P.S. I’m actually in a decent mood. But I was in a great mood the last two days, as can be evidenced by my reasonably creative posts/poems. If you want something more enjoyable, listen to the playlist below and read those ones haha.

25 To Life

I find the psychology of driving to be very interesting…

I don’t like to be the type of person to piss and moan about everyday issues or overly-personal problems, but with a one word daily prompt like this, I can’t resist.

I wake up every day at 5am, pack my lunch (delete three sentences of unnecessary dialogue about my morning routine)… I do EARLY mornings. On purpose.

On this particular morning, I was out the door by 5:25 (crushed the whole pack my lunch thing, with a great deal of assistance from my mother), and cruising down the freeway toward my favorite coffee shop (Echo Coffee in Scottsdale, AZ, in case you were wondering). Everything was fine, people are mostly amicable or indifferent because we all commiserate together about the fact that we’re driving at a little past 5am, and we all just want to arrive wherever we’re going alive since our souls are already half-dead and we could fall asleep at the wheel any moment and not wake up. And then there was that one guy. He wasn’t a typical morning person. Morning people aren’t as reckless as he was.

I’m in the fast lane, he’s in front of me, moving slow. So I go into the slower lane (which is now moving faster than us) to pass him. He speeds up. I move into the next slower lane (still faster than we were going) and he moves over into the adjacent lane. At this point, he has officially targeted me as his morning pissing target.

I don’t need to tell you my strategy or how well I executed it or what an outstanding driver I am, but I was able to eventually pass him while he is blaring his horn at me.

As I passed, I couldn’t help but ask, “Why exactly did that person need to include me in their bad-mood morning?” Furthermore, if we were walking down the street, would he actually have the nads to pull that stunt in front of God and everyone, or would he be afraid of getting socked for being rude?

The issue I have with cars is that we feel so safe because it’s such n impersonal way to get around, so we feel like we can do whatever we want and be as blatantly rude as we’d like. That, my friends, is how accidents are caused. They truly are accidents by definition, but most are caused by ignorance and people compensating for other rude people.

And I think this behavior is caused by our innate human nature to want to be first, to get ahead, to be one step ahead of the pack. I thought about it and experimented several times during my morning drive, and when someone passes in a car to get one or two car-lengths ahead, that “step ahead” only gains you fractions of a second, and because of the unpredictability of traffic as a whole, often lands the person farther behind than if they had stayed put in their original lane. Everyone is going 65-85mph, and if you decide to be “bold,” (insert the term “stupid” in lieu of “bold”) you’re literally only getting roughly 35 feet ahead of the person you just cut off. That puts you ~0.34 seconds ahead of two car-length loser behind you. Congratulations.

I understand everyone is entitled to a bad day, but if you feel the need to get ahead in life and attempt to do so by driving like a moron, please get off the road and come to terms with the fact that we all die in the end, and you don’t need to be the person responsible for our deaths. It’ll either land you in jail or also dead. That’s a pretty bleak outlook on life, but without taking a moment to at least pretend to care about the person or family (gonna throw the term children out there for dramatic effect), what’s the point of existence anyways?

I know not everybody is extroverted or thrives on human interaction like I do, but we all get lonely sometimes. If we took a second to care and love the people around us, even the ones we don’t know (insert the term “especially” in lieu of “even”) then I think we’d be a little less lonely, a little less likely to feel like we need to “get ahead,” and maybe think before making the life-altering debate between a 0.34 second head start vs. 25-to-life/death.

Could we make it common practice to stop traffic every once in awhile, exit our cars, and shake hands with everyone around us? Is that what it takes to realize those other things around us are human, too?

Neighbors

Every Bird and Branch

Bird and Branches

It’s been many a day since I last saw the morning sun shine in my back yard… The grass speckled with dew, the rose bush blooms seemingly fuller and more robust, the patio chairs and swinging bench somewhat more contented by the hushed breeze. All the colors are more vibrant, more vivacious, as if the morning sun has a touch that animates the world it douses in golden purity. Even the plants on my windowsill stand a fair bit taller and more proud, emboldened by their addition to the polychromatic symphony. Mayhaps that is the secret to living well – seeing the morning sun. I am in a considerably better mood today than most days, and not just because I’m working from home for once. I attribute it to witnessing the morning sun.

I’ve been waking up rather gruff and grumpy in recent months (so sad to acknowledge that the timeline is on the scale of months now), and I have not fully understood why. Just as I identify myself as a Caucasian male from Detroit, MI, I have always identified as a morning person. It’s part of who I am and always has been. I’d blame my job but I don’t absolutely abhor it, and I know work isn’t going to be a carnival. I do somewhat blame traffic… 45 minutes to an hour in very abrupt stop-and-go traffic is nobody’s ideal way to start or end a workday. But that wouldn’t permeate into other parts of my life, would it?

So what is it that makes me so darn unpleasant all the time? That is the question I cannot seem to answer. Yet today I find solace in the morning sun and the way it illuminates everything outside and inside me. I am breathing deeper, calmer draughts in thoughtful, chipper sighs. I am running my fingers across the surface of my wooden table just to notice its softness and beautiful imperfections. My eyes even move from surface to surface with a tad more ease, the rush of the world disseminating with the glorious, golden glow.

Mayhaps it has naught to do with my life, how I live it, or where it is conducted that causes me to be such a grump. Mayhaps the lack of morning light in my life leaves me with such bitter disdain if for no other reason than its wonderful, innate quality of unlocking some of the most lovely beauty in this world, waking every bird and branch to join in the polychromatic symphony, and my ignorance to it all. Mayhaps.

Mystery