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Showing posts from 2008

Over the edge.

I met my old Spanish teacher yesterday morning for breakfast with a couple of friends. I was late. It was very strange. Sometimes I forget that I'm not a child anymore. I'm a legal adult. I'm not restricted to only being a student. I can be a friend, too.

We all traded stories and caught up over bagels and coffee. It was nice. It had been years since I had seen Profa. Four years? Five years? Too long, I think. We made plans to all meet up again in a couple of weeks. That should be fun. I was glad to hear that she was doing fine at her new school, settled back in with her family. She deserves to be happy.

We all said our farewells and went our separate ways after a couple of hours. It's nice to know you have friends out there. It's a big world.

And the year is almost over. It's been a long year. The world has changed. Everyone has changed. I've changed. Except, I do not think that people change. Faults do not magically disappear and good …

The prince of darkness.

My dad came home for Christmas. It was the only present worth getting.

He went out of his way to arrange transportation for his group--renting vans to take them and their bags to the airport--when the other leaders did not. He stayed up late trying to make sure everyone was accounted for before making his own travel arrangements. He tried to use his frequent flier miles to get tickets for other people. And when everything was done, his group was leaving for the airport while the other groups struggled to find taxis.

"They have a nickname for me," he told me. "They call me 'The Prince of Darkness.'" He manages to get into all of the important meetings and pulls strings so that his group always ends up on top with the best arrangements, equipment, and assignments. Nobody seems to know how he does it, just that he does.

He's home now, but he's leaving again soon.

I sometimes wonder if he ever thinks about himself. I wonder if he ever finds the time…

In short supply.

Christmas does not give me many things to complain about. This is a good thing, I think. It's the one time during the year that people make an effort to pretend to be genuinely interested in being nice. That's okay.

It gives you a good chance to look back at the year at all of the mistakes you made. Or the good things you did, if you can remember them. It's nice to just sit down by the fire and relax.

And to wait for Santa.

Doodling and divulging.

When I was in middle school, I drew cartoons in class. Instead of having a notebook full of history notes, I had a notebook full of cartoons about history. I would make little doodles of historical figures and their stories. It helped me remember things better, for some reason.

They were not very good cartoons, admittedly.

My history teacher was good, though.

Mr. Ryals taught us a lot more than history. He told us stories about his life. His friends. His experiences. He gave us life lessons to take away from his class. "Balance." He said. "You need to find the balance." They were words I took to heart. Before the end of the year was up, he called me to his desk. "Hey," he said. "You should draw cartoons." "I do," I said. "No," he said. "Draw them for the newspaper. I'm serious. You could be a cartoonist for the newspaper." I laughed and said no. "Do it." He told me. "I want to …

A pointless victory in a fake war.

I do not trust people. It is not a learned habit but something instinctive, I think. People are inherently evil and malicious unless they make a conscious effort otherwise. People believe that trust is something that they are entitled to. Something they deserve. It is not. Trust is something earned. A reward.

Most people do not deserve to receive such a gift, as they would end up abusing it. If there is one thing that people are very good at, it is disappointing you. Everybody has ulterior motives for everything they do. Everybody. No exceptions.

Distrusting everyone you meet is a terrible way to go through life, though. It strains your relationships to breaking points and makes you a callous person. Unapproachable. Bitter. That's okay, I guess. If nobody gets close, nobody gets the advantage.

I parked the truck far back in the parking lot. I wanted to walk through the cold. I drew my coat around me and walked toward the store. I noticed them at about the halfway p…

The self-righteous whining.

December always arrives so quickly. You sit down in August and hold your breath for Halloween, but the next time you look up: suddenly, Christmas. It's always like that though. It's not something I really look forward to, either. It can hardly be called Christmas.

It's pathetic. And diluted. It's a weak imitation of what it used to be. Of what it's supposed to be. It's like Valentine's Day, hollow and commercialized. And the people that run with it are the worst part of the whole thing.

"Happy Holidays!" They say. I understand it's an effort to bend over backwards to accommodate the various religious celebrations of the season, but is it worth it? If someone is going to get upset--during the 'holiday season' no less--because you assumed they followed whichever arbitrary religion, then they probably aren't worth fraternizing with, I think. Is it really a good use of your time to stomp around in circles crying because some…

How organized that thought is.

I have always loved to write, I think. I would write research papers when I was younger just to have something to write about. It was always a lot of fun to me. I loved watching the words form and scroll across the screen as I typed them. I was watching myself create things. It was pretty okay.

I had wanted to be a writer when I was young. I was much more idealistic and full of optimism then. What a wonderful dream that would have been to hold on to.

I wrote stories long before I ever imagined making movies. I imagined things the same way back then, but instead of planning for cameras I planned for words. I wrote about all kinds of things. I wrote alone and I wrote jointly with friends. Most important to me, however, was that I wrote. I used to write a story every day at school. I would throw them away at the end of class. I wish I had kept them. That's okay.

I was never satisfied with my characters, though. They had names and descriptions, but they were still just id…

Care to lend a prayer.

I do not remember very many of my dreams. It makes me wonder how often I actually dream. I've heard we dream every night. It sounds wonderful. I tend to only remember my bad dreams. It's just bad luck, I suppose.

Last night I dreamed I was working in the hospital. I was not in the ER though; I'm not sure where I was. But I was drawing pictures for patients. The patients were mostly children. I drew pictures of whatever they asked onto a dry-erase board that would stay in their room. It made the children happy.

I walked into a room where a boy was laying down, connected to all of the monitors. His whole family was there, crowded around his bed. "What would you like me draw for you?" I asked him. "A cat." He said. I started drawing the image but my hand would not respond. Instead, it slowly scrawled out the words "because the boy's sin." I panicked and tried to erase it before anybody noticed but my hands kept drawing things.…

How it pulls my heartstrings.

I was walking down the sidewalk on my way to class, and passed by the library. In front of the building--in the middle of my path--stood a couple. Typical, I thought. It's like being in high school all over again. Couples tend to believe that the world revolves around their ever-ending relationship. They believe that they have the right to do what they want where they want. It stems from each partner believing that they--individually--are entitled to do as they please. So, with little regard for their environment or those around them, couples tend to stand in the middle of everything and mess everything up. It's almost as if they seek out the most high traffic areas to block. It lets everyone else know how madly in love they are, I guess.

As I got closer, I realized I had assumed wrong.

"Please, I just want you to know I care." He said dully. He moved forward to wrap his arms around her. She pushed him away and stepped back. "Get off me!" She hi…

Sometimes you never feel that way again.

It takes a lot to feel good, I think.

To be content with the world around you takes a lot. It seems like it doesn't matter how many people you meet. It's never enough. There aren't enough faces to forget, I guess. Maybe other people are different. It doesn't seem to matter how many things happen.

We were supposed to play music tonight, the way we used to. But not everybody was able to show up. Oh well, I thought. This will still be worth it. The drums were loud. The room seemed to make them even louder, which didn't seem possible. All I could do was stare at my guitar. I tried to strum a chord, but it wasn't music. It was noise. It was noise from the drums and noise from my amplifier. There was no inspiration. No spiritual connection. No emotion. It was a big, uncomfortable room filled with noise. I stepped back. It was the last place I wanted to be at that time. I draped my arms over the guitar as the drums continued to pound away.

It wasn…

Happy turkeys, and such.

I am a picky person. I hate to admit that. I'm picky about the foods I eat. I'm picky about the colors I wear. I'm picky about the holidays I enjoy.

Thanksgiving is not my favorite holiday.

I know that there is a deep rooted significance of the holiday, but I can't convince myself that it is anything other than an excuse to eat food. And I do not enjoy eating food. As far as I'm concerned, you spend a lot of money buying food that you in turn spend a lot of time preparing so that you can spend a lot of time eating it before spending a sizable amount of time either watching football or sleeping--or both. It is neither as fun as Halloween nor as endearing as Christmas.

But it is okay.

You get to see family that you otherwise would probably not spend the time to see. It's nice. Family and friends are important, I think. Many of us would not be where we are now if it wasn't for our friends. And family, I guess.

Cheers.

The modern day archer.

I pulled. The gun jumped to life in my hands with a roaring explosion. It sent a jolt up through my arms. I felt the concussion in my chest. The shell shot up in the air and bounced away off the cement, blending into the rest of the casings. A dot appeared on the target. I raised the gun and fired again.

Shooting is not really about machismo, I think. It's meditative. There is a level of comfort you have to achieve with the weapon. It takes focus. I thought about it as I pushed bullets into the magazine. It takes confidence. I loaded the magazine into the pistol. You look past the gun. I armed it. Past the iron sights and through the target. I raised the pistol up. Precision. I took a breath and shifted my weight forward. You let the gun extend your arm.

I pulled the trigger.

My father and my uncle always have the best conversations. They make fun of their age, weight, and skills in regards to pretty much everything. "You want us to put up targets for you gu…

It seems like so long ago.

There are so many ways to answer one question. I've always been interested in seeing what kinds of responses I get from people. Different people. Different answers. One question.

"Why medicine?"

"It's a calling," Martha told me. "It's what I'm supposed to do."
"I don't know." Dr. Harkins said. "Seemed like a good idea."
"Because I like science," Dr. Ravula said. "I guess."
"Why not?" Jonathan said. "It's a good job. It's fun."
"I thought I could make a difference." Jerry said. "I know better now."
"I wanted to be a firefighter," Heather said. "But this is more fun."
"I don't know," Chris said. "Something to do."

"I can't imagine doing anything else." They said.

I don't have any clinicals left. I wish I did. I want to go back to the hospital. I want to go back to the emergency…

I raided the EMS fridge.

"Why medicine?" Jerry echoed. He looked past the screen for a second before he responded. I rolled my chair closer. "I had this illusion--a delusion, really--that people would appreciate what you did. That people would be gracious when you tried to help them out. I didn't think they'd be spitting in your face, cussing you out, and fighting you every chance they got. They're assholes. People are assholes and they expect you to be waiting on them hand and foot. 'Get me water. Get me food. What's taking you so long.' It's like they don't understand that I went to school and got an education--made something out of myself--to come and help them, you know? People are shitty, and that's something I learned real fast here."

"If I had known then what I know now, I would've gotten into something else." He added.

He returned to his computer. "What keeps you coming back to such a thankless job?" I asked.…

So this is what a circ is.

"Why did you become a doctor?" I asked Dr. Harkins. "Because I love doing circumcisions so much." He answered. He shot me a sideways glance before making his first incision. I laughed. The baby struggled against his velcro straps and screamed. "Alright, dude, you hate this; we get it." He said as he tightened the clamp.

Labor and delivery is nothing like the emergency department. It was much slower. The walls were nice and homey. The nurses were like family. Everybody was very nice and approachable. It was very boring.

Every patient was the exact same. Pregnant female. Back pain, abdominal pain, contractions. Oh, you're having a baby soon? I wasn't expecting that! And everyone was very protective of their vaginas. Ma'am, your vagina is about to be ripped open by a miniature human in the most disgusting of human processes coupled with a couple other very disgusting bodily processes, I thought. Any dignity you're trying to…

I am not hungry, actually.

I feel unhealthy. It's not that I am actually unhealthy, it's just a self-perception issue. I've always been worried about being fat. Ever since I was a little kid. I don't know why. Actually it was probably my childhood role models. Role model, I guess.

I looked up to Batman.

Batman was never fat. I did not want to be what Batman wasn't. So I didn't want to be fat. There are no fat heroes in any medium. And if a fat hero saves the day he still loses. He's still fat. And who wants to look up to a fat hero? Nobody, I think.

So I rode my bike around a lot. And hiked. I've managed to stay thin as I've grown up. I have my diet to thank, I think. Not because I have a good diet but because I don't eat sometimes. It is not so bad. You don't have to worry too much about eating unhealthy food if you aren't eating anything. It keeps you thin. Also, a moderate amount of exercise.

I have not gained any weight since my sophomore year…

Nothing up my sleeves.

When I was a little kid I was fascinated with magic. I wanted it to be real. Like everyone else, I suppose. I remember watching David Copperfield and David Blaine dance around stages and walk down city sidewalks performing incredible magic tricks. I desperately wanted to be a great magician.

So I got a magic trick set when I was twelve years old. It was amazing. I was carrying my magician's tools around and bringing the magic. I had a top hat. I had a magic wand. I did ring tricks. I did card tricks.

I pulled rabbits out of my hat.

Then I stopped. I outgrew the tricks, I guess. Somebody told me that magic was a waste of time. I believed them. My fault.

It's not a waste of time. It's fun. People enjoy magic tricks. So now I do magic again.

It's an escape. An escape from what we have to do. From what we have to believe in. From what we choose to believe in. We want to believe in magic. We want it to be real. We're so entertained by it because to us …

This is an x-ray of lungs. Okay.

"I believe that it goes beyond just choosing a career. I believe that it's a calling. It's what I'm meant to do, and I can't imagine doing anything else." The nurse said. She smiled and rolled over to the counter where the paramedics were standing. I flipped open my notepad to a fresh page.

Riding out on the ambulances was fun. Every time you got the tones you'd rush into the ambulance. There was a sense of urgency that went with each call. The radio chatter through the headphones. The sirens in the background. The bouncing truck. Then, after visiting the hospital, you'd sit down on the couch and watch television.

And do nothing for a while.

The emergency department was constant action. I can't even describe it. I can't describe how great it felt to walk down the hall between patients. It was incredible. It was fun. It called out to me. There was no down time. I saw lots of people. I saw lots of patients. I saw lots of differe…

I go to sleep.

Overnight ambulance ride outs. No problem, I thought. I can stay up all night easily. I got off the bus and stepped out into the twilight. I walked down the sidewalk to the station. I was confident in my stride. I was confident in my skills. I was confident. In general.

I looked both ways. Five lanes of road. The garage door opened across the street from me. I felt giddy. They must be expecting me! The ambulance rolled out. I started to cross the street. The sirens turned on and the ambulance drove away. I watched it disappear around the corner and finished crossing the street.

Two hours later they came back. "So you're a student," The paramedic said. "What can you do?" "Uh." I said, considering my answer. I began to list off the things I could do in my head. "Just vitals and BP?" He asked. "I can dance." I blurted out. He looked at me sideways. "Vitals and BP." I said.

We were off to the first c…

There is no plan B.

"Do you want to go eat breakfast?" My dad asked me. I rolled over and looked at the clock. 45 minutes short of 6 hours. "Okay." I said. I made it sound like I'd been awake for a while. A few minutes later we were off.

Breakfast was nice. Old style diners are always the perfect breakfast spots. They're comforting, I think. We sipped our coffee in silence for a while. He turned to me. "So what's your plan?" I thought for a second. I had a plan. "Well," I said. "I'll finish out with my geology degree right now. I'll use one of the summers before I graduate to get paramedic certified. There's a course that runs 10-12 weeks, I think. After graduation I'll go back and take courses that would fill out pre-med requirements. While I'm taking those I'll work as a paramedic. Then I'll take the MCAT and shoot for med school." I sipped my mug.

He looked at me. "You don't have to…

Another exercise in regret.

Overcoming barriers to act. Duty to act. Both of those were lessons we learned in class. "Because we can," the instructor said. "We have to. We have a responsibility to act in situations where our skills can help." It was so easy in theory.

I walked to the FAC to meet with my friends. They all needed to vote except only one of them could vote here. I stood in line with them. We talked for a while as the line shuffled forward slowly. There was a commotion back behind us. We turned around to look.

A girl had collapsed on the floor.

People began to crowd around her and a handful of people stepped forward to help. And I stood there. I stood there and watched. Go over there. Something's wrong. I couldn't make myself walk over there. We stood there and told each other to do something. Nobody did anything. Alert. Patent airway. Breathing? Circulation? C-spine. Don't give her water. I stared as other people moved around and did things. I …

So tired. So tired.

I hate politics. I hate politics as passionately as others seem to love politics. Political opinions and debates tend to bring out the worst in people. Friends mince words and look down on each other and before long they aren't friends anymore.

It's not that great.

I hate being pushed to have a political persuasion. I hate being expected to agree with or disagree with people. I hate being forced into picking sides. I hate the candidates and their policies. I hate the people who criticize the candidates for stupid reasons. Everything about politics is terrible, to me. I refuse to have a political opinion. I won't do it. I won't be dragged into a pseudo-battle where everyone is a hero. I hate everything about it.

Something about roads and cars, I think.

The problem that I've always had as a musician was writing songs. I wanted to make my own songs. Play my own songs and sing my own lyrics. I just never had the time to sit down and do it. It was like songwriting was a terrible chore. I also felt like I never had anything to write a song about. Who am I to be writing songs about life at 19 years old? It seems a bit pretentious.

That's okay.

I am going to force myself to write a song every day in November. It doesn't matter how terrible the songs are. In fact, it's better if they're terrible. I figure that out of the 30 or so songs that I write, at least a couple of them have to be okay. Which is good. Then I'll have a bunch of songs that sort of suck.

But they'll be mine.

A couple of times before I've felt so inspired. I would sit down with the guitar and start playing. Then words would start coming to mind and before long I'd be laying down tracks. The final product would be imperfect at …

I have a plan. Right?

So I quit my job today. It was a pretty good after that. During one of my breaks I went into the break room. The vending machine in the break room is an older model, I guess. It has an interior compartment that revolves around. You can choose from an assortment of snacks that you do not want. I tested the door in front of the Mountain Dew. It opened. Huh. I thought. A free drink! I closed the door, pulling my free drink out. Suddenly the machine freaked out. It started beeping and spitting quarters out. Jackpot! It spat out $20 in quarters.

So I put them in my bag.

I've been thinking lately. Ever since Tuesday, really. People ask me what I'm doing a lot, now. "I'm in an EMS class," I tell them. "Are you going into medicine?" They ask. "No, I'm a geology major." I answer. "But I want to be a musician. Or a filmmaker." They stare at me for a second. "Oh."

"Why?" They ask.

I do not know. …

A continued exercise in regret.

Sometimes the seasons make you think about things you feel bad about. I was thinking the other day. I thought about things I wish I'd said to people. Things I wish I hadn't said to people. Things I wish I'd done differently. Things could've been so much nicer. It's the steps you don't take that you don't notice until later, when it's too late. When you're too far down the trail to turn back. I wish I had kept in touch. I wish I hadn't been so distant. I wish I'd smiled more. What good is it to have those shared memories? To remember you in everything I touch? There's no point in caring about it now, I guess.

That's okay.

In middle school everyone started to split off into their groups. Everyone was so excited to finally fit under one label. All of the athletes could sit at their own table and talk about athlete things. All of the nerds sat at their own table to play Magic: The Gathering. All the counter-culture kids sa…

MedCon this is Medic 6, en route.

There weren't any other cars out. Not that early in the morning. There was only one other person on the bus. I shivered under my jacket and stared out the window. 5:09 AM. Things are so different when you're on the inside of the glass looking out. Damn buses always blocking the way and driving slowly. It's just people going places.

"Don't worry about breaking shit in here," Chris the paramedic said. "If you break it that means it's been broken 15 times before you." We got the tone and loaded up. My first call. It all went by so quickly. The first call blended into the next which blended into the next. It seemed like it wouldn't ever stop. Blurs of faces and papers. Names and questions. Tubes and patches. Beeps and sirens. Blood and wailing.

"People just need to fucking chill out," Chris told me. "Things would be a lot better that way." I smiled. It sounded familiar. We stopped for lunch 5 or 6 hours in…

You probably can't do things like that.

So it's my birthday. Seeing Ben Folds last night really gave me a kick in the ass. Music. It's right in front of me all the time. It's in my head. It's in my hands. My fingers. Time to start making use of it.

I also passed my test this morning, so that was pretty nice. I suggested an intervention that showed incredible foresight on my part, apparently. My instructor was impressed. I shrugged. It happens. I smiled and walked out of the room. I didn't get to give blood, though. It was disappointing. They close so early.

Birthdays feel like regular days now. There's no big slumber party. There's no huge get together. There's no day off. It's a normal day. More people talk to you. That's nice, I guess. You get a lot of notifications on Facebook. It's kind of irritating. That's okay. At least people remember you. Or check their upcoming birthdays. Maybe I should talk to some of those people. I never do that anymore. …

Don't change your plans.

"Man, why are you doing geology?" Joe asked me. People like to ask me that. "I don't know." I told him. "I like dinosaurs." "Yeah, I like dinosaurs too." He said. "I like looking at them. I like watching my kids play with them and shit. But man, what have dinosaurs ever done for you? Fuck dinosaurs!" I laughed. "Fuck that shit, man." He continued. "You're a musician."

I stopped smiling and everything got heavy.

I looked up at him. It's been four years. Four years since we met. We're not teacher and student anymore, really. We're friends. We're family. I stood up. "Get your shit straight." He said. "And figure out what you want to do." We shook hands. "Alright." I said. "It's music." He added.

"I know." I said.

"Alright. I don't want any of that depressed shit or any of that crying shit." I started t…

How many did you take, exactly.

So my head hurts. I've got a wicked headache right now. Some days are funny. Sometimes the things that would make you upset just roll right off of you. Or bounce off your head. Some days you can take anything and keep smiling. It's funny how things work out.

I got my camera today. How exciting! I walked into the store and went directly to the cameras. A few minutes and a big bill later I walked back out, camera in hand. I started taking pictures of everything. People, things in my room, my shoes. It was nice. Finally, I can take pictures again! Then my car started acting up again. The same problem as before was starting to return. I recognized the warning signs.

After I finished my test I stopped off by the gym. A few friends were playing racquetball, and I figured it would be nice to see them. I haven't played racquetball much in a while. Although I was certainly not dressed for the occasion, I found myself serving the ball in the next game. It was a nic…

So hard to let it go.

Work has gone back from being a nuisance to being a routine. It is more related to my own mood than the actual work I do, I think. That's okay. I was working on a report my supervisor had given to me. Check lists. Cross-reference lists. Find the missing funds. I opened my desk drawer.

Where are all of my pens? I asked myself.

In place of my office supplies and papers were various minor decorations. Most prominently featured was a bag of fake pearl necklaces. I closed the drawer and grabbed a pen from the neighboring desk. Oh well.

I keep forgetting that my birthday is coming up this weekend. There are just too many things to take care of, first. So much work to do. To catch up on. To plan. We started filming on Wednesday. It went well. Not as fast as I would have hoped, but even so it was satisfactory. There is a good cast, I think. We chose to work with good people. There is a good chance, I think, that this project splits our friendship. I can feel tensions ri…

Feels good man.

I finally feel okay. I feel like I can handle it all. Everything. Things are not so bad, I think. Nothing is quite out of my reach. I hope. It's like everything is getting back on track. I'm moving forward again. I'm doing good things. I'm getting caught up in my classwork. It feels good. I'm helping my friends out.

"Do you have my saxophone?" My friend asked me. I thought about it. "No," I answered. "She gave it back to you back in high school when she got her new saxophone." "I think she still has it." He said. I knew she didn't, but asked anyway. "Damn." He said. "Don't worry, we'll find it." I told him. So I looked. I thought about all the possibilities. Where is the last place you saw it, I asked myself. The high school. "Did you check the high school?" I asked him. He never responded. I went to the high school on unrelated business and ran into an ol…

Moving, keep moving.

People are difficult. Right now, they're your best friend. In a second you won't be able to stand another second with them. You'll be hugging them one minute and struggling not to punch them in the face the next. It's ridiculous. Is this how healthy relationships are supposed to go? Probably not, I think.

That's okay.

I like to think of myself as a pretty calm guy. I can tolerate a surprising amount of nonsense from people. Most of the time. Everybody has their bad days. Those days where it just seems like every little thing is stacked against you. Every word someone says to you is twisted and amplified until it's a personal attack. It wears you down. Until you don't even want to stand up anymore. What's the point?

I can feel the bitterness. I can feel it rising in my throat as I look around at everyone. Why, I think. Why are you surrounded by people like that? In truth, I don't stand to gain anything from, well, anything I decide. O…

Don't move a muscle. Smile.

I was cleaning up my room a little bit the other day. I picked through the rubble that was the bottom of my book shelf and made a discovery. It had been so long since I'd even seen the bag, even longer since I'd opened it. I pulled it out. Tubes of undeveloped film spilled out from behind it and rolled across the shelf. I opened the bag.

And pulled out my camera.

I was visiting family in California when I'd gotten it. I must've been around 8 or 9 years old. I had just met the guy, my grandmother's roommate. We didn't speak during my visit until we were about to leave. "Wait," he told me. "I've got something for you." He came back a second later with his hands behind his back. "Do you like to take pictures?" He asked me. I nodded. "Yes." "Then you'll like this." He handed me the camera. It was an old film camera. Not an old-fashioned one, though. It still needed batteries to wind the fil…

Bus driver? I'll let you finish.

After I left work I got stuck in traffic. It's been such a long time since I've really driven anywhere. I forgot about the traffic. I pulled to a stop at a red light. On the side of the road in some gravel was a school bus. Must be on its way to school, I thought. I saw the bus driver standing next to it.

He was peeing on the bus.

There was no mistake in my mind that he was peeing on the bus. Not in the bushes or just off to the side of it. On the bus. He was peeing on the bus. I don't understand that. Why would you pee on what's yours? I would probably never pee on my own car. I've peed on cars belonging to other people, but that's different. Your car is a part of you in the same way a bicycle is part of you. An extension. A dancing partner. You don't pee on your dancing partner.

So I kept driving. Seriously, though. Who does that?

Sometimes I think about leaving. Acting on some dreams. Going places. Doing things. What's holding me d…

Yeah, that is not okay.

So stuff is okay, I guess. Things are alright. My friend and I are actually making some decent headway on our project. It's been such a long time since I've made a movie. Actually made a movie. Not just started it. I feel pretty good about where this is going, though. That's good. It's a good thing. I'm pretty excited about it, honestly. I think the scripts we've written so far are pretty funny.

They are probably not as funny as I think.

I tend to get unreasonably close to my work. That's okay, I guess. I think a lot of people tend to do that. It makes it hard to hear criticism. I have no problem with handing out the criticisms, though. That's always fun. Actually it is not all that fun. I know how they feel. That's okay.

We're just having some casting issues, I guess. We're planning for a lot of side characters to come in for one-shots episodes, but we haven't quite managed to fill those out. Or develop the characters t…

Just one of those days. As usual.

Going to work on 2 hours of sleep is a bad idea. Going anywhere on 2 hours of sleep is just a bad idea in general. You don't realize it when you're asleep, but places get cold. Very cold. You notice these things when you're awake. I also get colder than most people. That's okay. It's just bad luck, I guess.

The only person I talked to today at work was my new co-worker. I showed her around our section of the office. I also don't remember her name. I was listening to music the whole time. Afterwards I went off to my favorite bathroom stall. It is beginning to not be my favorite because of all the terrible things that tend to happen when I go into it. I crossed my fingers for a normal bathroom adventure.

Scrawled across the stall divider in pencil were the words "if u whont to get hed call me" followed by two local phone numbers. I recognized the phone numbers immediately as the phone numbers the guy had given me before. The dick sucking gu…

Maybe you aren't so bad after all.

"Eat the chicken or eat the pudding." My dad told him. "Just eat something." My brother looked down at the two dishes in front of him. A small bowl of banana pudding and a small plate of orange tinted chicken. Indian food, I thought. Not that great.

I leaned over to him. "Dip the chicken in the pudding. That way you can eat twice as much twice as fast." He looked at me, slightly disgusted. "What?" "It's the same way that people dip french fries in chocolate milkshakes." I continued. "People do that?" My grandmother asked. "Yes," I said. "I know a few people personally who enjoy it." "That's gross."

"Although," she added. "I sometimes dip potato chips in ice cream." I couldn't help but offer an offended look. "It's very strange, but it's a nice blend of sweet and salty."

"Oh." I said. "That's gross."

I tur…

How does this make you feel.

So I tried to write some poetry today. It was okay. I used to write poems every day. Most of the time they were terrible, terrible poems that didn't make any sense. I wish I could write some of those again. Things don't always have to make sense. They're actually nicer when they don't.

My poem got angry. Very angry. Very quickly. It alarmed me a little bit. I'm not usually an angry or emotional person. Well, sometimes. Sometimes I get angry. I get angry a lot, actually. I'm good at hiding it. Or pretending I'm not really angry. Or maybe I'm not really angry. I get angry a lot or I don't get angry a lot. It's one of those. Or both.

If I was a sin I would be wrath. I know this for certain because I took an internet quiz on it one time. I can see that. I'm also a Scorpio. They're vengeful. Being scorpions and all. In middle school I had an orange shirt with a scorpion on it that I wore to gym a few times. People didn…

That's got to count for something, at least.

It's always nice to see how you've given up on your dreams. Or it's not nice. I forget which one it is. I've realized something recently though. I have no follow through. At all. That is not that great.

If you had asked me what I wanted to become when I was younger I would've told you in a heartbeat. Filmmaker. Musician. Paleontologist. A terrible combination of all of them. Now? What do I want to be? What am I striving to become?

I do not know.

I'm just going through the motions. What happened to my aspirations and motivation? I must have misplaced them when I started growing up. If I started that at all. I was at home trying to play the guitar recently. Trying to write songs. I couldn't start. I couldn't even get myself to start thinking about it, really. I had given up before I had done anything.

I'm supposed to be working on a movie. We've got a script and everything. I can't even imagine shots. I want to, but nothing…

Why would you do that.

There's something about going to the bathroom at work. It seems like every time I go in there something silly happens. I went in today to take care of some business. I had just sat down when someone else came in. They immediately shut off the lights. I was in no position to do much of anything, so I gave up. I could hear the other person shuffle into a stall and do what they needed. I was unable to perform. "Could you turn the light back on?" I asked. The other person ignored me. They turned the light back on when they left. I'll come back later, I thought.

And I did, an hour later. I opened the door to the bathroom. There was someone in my stall. Damn, I thought. More importantly, though, they were screaming. In agony, I guess. But it was the most God awful, blood curdling screaming I've heard in a long time. I decided it was time to leave for the day.

I got my car back from the shop afterward. As I drove home into the fading light, I thought a…

Disappointing memories, revisited.

So I saw my cousin this weekend. I haven't seen him in years. I have so many fond memories. We used to run around outside on his land. Riding horses and ATVs. Dark tag. He was older than me, and I looked up to him. Then he made some poor choices. Now he's feeling the consequences of that.

Supposedly.

I couldn't help but distrust him. His motives for visiting. His words. I could smell the smoke on him and the sores on his arms gave me something to wonder about. He looked like he was in his 40's. It was hard to believe he just turned 21. I shook his hand and smiled. Then I checked my wallet. I thought he was going to steal something.

It took a lot of effort for me to laugh at his jokes. I didn't want to. He wasn't the same person I knew before. "It took you long enough to get here." I told him. "I got lost," He said. "I had to take every wrong road before I found the right one." It's like threading a bike chai…

And the art of bicycle maintenance.

One of the things I enjoy is my bike. So I worked on it today. It was a nice day outside, so it was nice to be there. I hardly spend enough time outside now. I wish I could spend all of it outside like I used to. I took everything apart so that I could clean and lubricate all the components. Things are so much nicer when you take the time to tinker with them. When you have the patience to brush off the tiny traces of grime. You don't even have to think about it, really.

But you do.

You focus on all the little things. Then you put those things together. Then you put those things together. Then you've got your bike back. It's calming. Peaceful. Simple mechanisms made of simple mechanisms, but when you step back it's a confusing mess of metal. It is a cipher, and I am the cryptologist. Finished. One serviced bicycle, my labor of love. A breeze blew by, I caught a hint of fall. I jumped onto the bike and brought the peddle back around. I looked down and r…

Bus driver? Oh, nevermind.

I do not like riding the bus all that much. Especially when the sun starts to go down. It happens just like in the movies. The sun light stops touching the ground and all of the ghouls start coming out of the woodwork. It makes me uncomfortable. But I ride the bus occasionally, there is nothing wrong with it. It is convenient.

I took my seat on the bus and stared out the window. One of the things I enjoy about life is staring out the windows of vehicles. You watch the world go by. All of the people and buildings and lives turn into a big motion blur. All of those people walking down the sidewalk have their own story, a story you'll never get to hear. I'll bet they've got good stories. Some of them, anyway.

We passed an ambulance. The crew was loading someone into the back, lights flashing. I'll be doing that in a couple of weeks, I thought to myself. I looked around the bus. Nobody looked at or said anything to anybody else. That's okay, I thought. …

Balls.

It's just bad luck. I've found that the worst days are the ones full of minor annoyances. This is something that most people will agree with, I think. You stub your toe a few times or knock your shins against something. Maybe you slam your finger in something or trip. All the little things add up and get blown up into the worst days while days with legitimate misfortunes are just bad days.

So I was at Dobie with a friend yesterday. "Ooh." I said, walking into the comic store. There was a $2 bin of comics wrapped up. I rifled through them, looking for good covers. "Are you serious?" He said. "You're one to talk," I said. "Besides, they're $2." I stood in the check-out line for about 5 minutes before making it to the desk, smiling. "That'll be $2.20" The clerk said. I handed him my card. "Oh, there's actually a $5 minimum." He said. "Oh." I said. I picked up a few more comi…

It's just bad luck, I guess.

So I went to work today. It was okay. I snuck in twenty minutes late and sat down at my desk. "Gabe, do this report like last time." The stack of papers said. Last time was over a week ago. I had no idea what to do. So I winged it. I'm 75% sure the report was already done when I started on it. I checked everything off and set it aside. Job well done, I told myself. You could use a break.

I sat down in my favorite stall after coating the toilet seat gratuitously with toilet paper. I was enjoying my bathroom time when another person came in, taking the far stall. This did not bother me. I did not make any noise, since I didn't need to. After a few minutes of silence he broke into song. Opera, I think. Bathrooms do have nice acoustics, I thought. I guess. He sang out for about 45 long seconds. He stopped abruptly with a sound that I'd heard before. Swish. Click.

A butterfly knife.

I froze on my toilet. "Hey cock sucker, come one step closer …

Lend a hand, or don't that's fine too.

"I'm embarrassed to ask this," he started. I knew what he was going to ask. Ah, I thought. I should've told him already. "Definitely, man." I told him. "I'll help however I can. Don't worry about it." And it was true. I don't mind helping him. Helping a friend in need is always a good idea. Helping anyone, in fact, is a good idea.

What do you have to lose by helping? Money? I do not care much for money. Money is a terrible object that brings out the worst in people. Money is useful only in trade for useless things you do not need. That's okay though. People need something to covet, I guess. Sometimes I wish more people would realize that it is okay to set aside your own wants. It is okay to help other people sometimes. I enjoy helping people. Feels good man.

I've noticed this a lot more lately. People are only interested in helping themselves. There are very few exceptions to that. They might say they want…

Entering a tailspin.

"It's almost October." He said. I paused for a second while that settled in my mind. Shit, I thought. He's right. "Shit." I said. "You're right." We continued what we were doing. A few months ago I was telling people how quickly Halloween would be here. "It'll be here before you realize it," I told them. Even I was caught off guard. That felt like it was a couple of days ago.

It seems like the days get shorter as each year goes by. You blink and a week passes. Already? I think. In the end I have nothing to show for the time. I haven't finished anything. I haven't started anything new. I haven't completed any objectives. I haven't even set any objectives for me to complete. I'm stagnating. I'm sitting here, stuck and unable to move myself forward. Why?

I can feel the panic rising inside. Run. It's all I can think. It won't matter what I'm doing just as long as I'm doi…

Frustration, etc.

I pretend I don't understand it. Their sudden religious revival, I mean. "What's the deal with that?" I ask them. We've never been the church going type of family. We've never really been overtly religious.

"There's an exhibit at the museum," I said. "About evolution. You can sign the guestbook, but it's full of creationists going on about how stupid evolution is. It's ridiculous. I mean, creationists: what's the deal?" The car was quiet for a while. "Um." I added. "Are you guys creationists?" "Yes." My parents said. "Oh." I replied.

"Why don't you understand?" She asked me. It's not that I don't understand. I do understand. I can see why it's happening. He was already over there for a year. They need something to hold onto. Something higher that they can lean on when they need it. When they need the help. When you start staring down anot…

Swing and a miss.

As I sat there staring deeply into the pathetic attempt at pizza eating on my plate I realized something. Something important, I think. I am not very good at conversations. My mind started to drift to increasingly non-pertinent topics such as the time my friend and I found a deserted town and the time we went through the cave at Enchanted Rock. I struggled to snap myself back into the conversation at hand. "I really like fruit." She said. "What is your favorite kind of fruit?" I asked.

Facepalm.

Shouldn't I be getting past questions like that? I feel like I should actually be talking, not asking MySpace profile questions. I was hungry but my stomach was so twisted up I stopped being hungry. That was not really that great. I ended up not eating that much. That's okay. Plenty of opportunities to eat food. Not enough opportunities to talk.

That is okay too.

I guess talking to people just takes practice. Or maybe it's something that comes natura…

Next stop: bummers.

It's not that I enjoy being sick. Nobody enjoys being sick. That would be silly. I just don't have a problem with being sick. I'm not averse to it. I mean, I don't want to be sick and I'll avoid it as best I can but I don't have a problem with being sick. I always feel really happy when I'm sick. I do not know what the deal is with that. I don't really like being sick all that much. It is kind of inconvenient. It does give you an excuse to act silly, though.

I do not need an excuse to be silly.

It's bad though. We shouldn't pretend to be who we aren't. I do this. I can't help it. I have a hard time being myself. I bounce around between people and become who they want me to be. They become friends with a fragment, and I forget how to be myself. It is not that great. I try not to do it, but it happens. I can't control it. I'll remember someday. Oh well.

I think that is the reason that old friends and new friends d…

No I'm not. No, I'm not.

One of the things I enjoy about life is cereal. My favorite cereal is probably Rice Chex. I like it so much, in fact, that one summer I attempted to eat nothing but Rice Chex for as long as I could. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner merged into a never ending bowl of cereal. After about a month I got extremely pale and weak. Then I stopped. I thought it was pretty okay. Nobody seems to agree with me. This is funny, I think.

When we like something a lot we tend to indulge in excess. When we find a favorite song we listen to it on repeat. When we find a favorite movie we watch it multiple times in a short time span. When we find a favorite book we read it again and again. When girls find a new favorite male actor they plaster their walls with his likeness and obsess over him day and night, making everyone else uncomfortable. These things are okay. What is not okay, interestingly, is when you eat a lot of your favorite cereal. This is actually disgusting. Who knew?

Eating a lot …

Oh, I see.

So my car broke down. Again. A couple of nights ago. I was driving home after class when, all of a sudden, everything started to not work. Ah, I thought. Damn. I pulled off into a bank parking lot and tried to start it up again. After a few minutes without success I walked over to the side of the road and tried to flag down passing drivers. Nobody responded to my frantic arm waving so I stepped it up.

I took my shirt off and started swinging it around in the air. This, I think, actually discouraged people from stopping even more. After a while I gave up and started dancing in the street again. This time somebody stopped. Yes! I thought. The driver stopped in the middle of the road and stepped out. He was talking into something. Then he flipped his lights on. Because he was a cop.

I put my shirt on and walked slowly to his car. "What are you doing." He said. It was not really a question. "Um." I replied. "My car broke down, can you give me a …

I mean, it could be worse, I guess.

So my car broke down last night. Again. As usual, I guess. It's been doing that for a few months now. I got onto Bee Caves and realized that my headlights were not on and the only light on, in fact, was the battery light. And then the service, check engine, and check oil lights. Then it died. Right before that I'd managed to pull it off into a random driveway. It was about 1 am. I tried to start it up a few times before giving up and walking away from it. I couldn't push it since it was on a hill and it was too far from anything I could get to for car help. Also my window was stuck rolled down and I didn't want to leave that. I thought about calling a few friends, but it was late. I didn't want to wake them up. So I called my mom.

While she woke up and drove out trying to find me I tried to find ways to entertain myself. I tried to flag down drivers that came by, but they sped away. Then I sang through Dr. Horrible songs. Then I sang through Nightma…