Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Romeo Railway

If you’re a young single person, and you live in the suburbs, you’re a moron.  I’m sure, for millennials, moving to the burbs often makes financial sense, but at the cost of being castrated socially. For some reason, my generation is obsessed with large luxurious apartments. Making that apartment happen, after majoring in a worthless degree, is only possible in the burbs.  My peers justify it with the lamest of arguments.  “It’s only a 15 minute train ride away” or, “I can always take a cab if I get too wasted” or, “there’s too many people downtown, it’s cramped”

They don’t take the train into town, they don’t take a cab, they don’t think it’s too cramped.

The really issue is they cannot afford the loft they want. They can’t afford the illusion of wealth.

My apartment is not very nice, but it has character. There is no garbage disposal, no dishwasher, and no central air. However, it’s well decorated with pop art and trendy furniture.  While it goes without some modern amenities, it’s clean, smells nice and is only five blocks away from the cultural epicenter of my town.

Yes, you’re right, your luxury apartment is only a 15 minute train ride away, but, it’s also a 15 minute walk to the train and another 10 minute wait at the platform.  Now you’re looking at a 30 minute trip, still not so bad right? Wrong.

Try this scenario on for size. You just picked up a girl (or boy, no judgment here) at the bar. The bar where liquor is cheap, laughter is plentiful and inhibitions are lowered.  2am. Time to head home. Time to ride a 30 minute train home for some hanky panky, mattress mamba, or my favorite action verb: fucking.  30 minutes for fun reckless excitement to be replaced by uneasiness and second thoughts.  Your potential lay is now a 30 minute ride away from the safety of knowing where they are.  Still stoked on that 30 minute commute Romeo? I didn’t think so.

Walking home from the bar to an apartment downtown will always be preferable. Why? Because they know where the fuck they are.  Say this out loud “yeah, I’m just five blocks up the street across from the college.” Or “Yeah, we can catch the B train out of Alameda, it like 15 or so” Which sounds safer?  I’d let you decide but you probably live in the burbs.

While you’re enjoying her (or him) on the counter, if she (or he) comments on the granite, you’ve got bigger (or rather smaller) problems. Catch my drift? I am commenting on your dick size.

Move downtown, there's no way that luxury apartment is helping you get laid.

As a millennial you’re still, hopefully, enjoying a life debauchery and bohemianism.

Live where you live.

Move downtown, and watch life get better. Or don’t and stay neutered.

Friday, February 1, 2013

A Bar Lifestyle

I took a look at the calendar today; again. I wish I could avoid the small, seductive, Microsoft calendar in the bottom right hand of my screen.  Why? Simple, it reminds of how far away I am from my next visit to the bar.

Sometimes people tell me I have problem with alcohol. Luckily, if I do, I have the quiet kind of problem; I don’t drunk text my exes, I don’t black out, and I don’t have hangovers. Therefore, I choose to think its lifestyle. Look at it this way; some people commit to six hours of yoga a day, I commit to a six pack. Is there really a difference? I’ll ask my liver in twenty years.

Right now, It’s the best lifestyle for me. I love beer culture and bar culture. I don’t drink a six pack a night, well not usually, I’m more of a three to four beers kind of guy. Any given evening during the week you’re likely to find me at one of three bars. These three bars are an extension of my living room. I don’t go there to get plastered, I go there to socialize. I go there for bartender therapy. I go there to eavesdrop on the ever interesting, or ever mundane, stories the other patrons tell. I go there to learn about beer. I go there to learn in general. The bar, and the beer in my glass, provides more entertainment than any show playing on my small 1080p television.

As I ride my bike to the bar, I look forward to the next few hours, I look forward to new beers on tap, I look forward to unknown conversations ahead, and I look forward to the patrons.

As I ride my bike home from the bar, I always feel good about my evening, I feel good about the way I closed the night, and I feel good about my lifestyle.

It would be hard to describe my frequent visits to the bar as a vice; in fact I would choose to call it a virtue.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Reevaluating the Truth

As a part of my attempted rehabilitation from my life of fiction I have come clean about my problem to a few people. Three people to be exact. My sister, a friend and a former lover. The reaction to my last blog post was a “Why?” “Why do you lie?” “Why do you feel that no one would like you?”

I don’t know.

 I don’t lie to everyone; two of my best friends and my sister know my reality in a completely honest manner. I haven’t, outside of white lies, been anything but truthful with them. Until recently, however, I never told them about my problem. I can, around them, be truthful. To their friends, my life is truth, and their friends do seem to like me.

I think, it comes down to support. My sister and my close friends like me, they’re popular, and their word and favor carries a lot of weight. With their backing, I feel much more confident in myself and my story. 

People really enjoy them, so they assume I must be enjoyable too.

Not so long ago my sister came to visit me in Colorado, she and I met up with a friend of hers from college. He took us out to a bar and later a party his sister was hosting. At the party I conversed with complete strangers about life, current events and social issues. The issue of my education came up; instead of lying about some degree from some college I admitted I was a college drop out.

I was expecting a negative reaction, but the conversation just continued on without hesitation.

There are numerous examples of the truth rewarding me with good or even great outcomes. However, truth only exists when in the company of someone near or dear, someone who is already privy to the real me.

There is loads of empirical evidence proving who I really am, without my carefully crafted substituted reality, is a person others enjoy.

So why do I lie when they’re not around? Why is the truth not an option without the support of my family and friends?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Substituted Reality

Lying is my addiction, my vice, my fault. It has become who I am and I often fear it will end me.

The life I want, the one I’ve spent so much time and energy crafting, is beautiful. It’s perfect. It exists based in reality, yet takes turns, and scenic routes. It’s my life, combined with bits and pieces of other people’s lives. It is a beautiful collage.

I was never extraordinary in anyway. The story of my life is full of mediocrity, or worse. My ego has been scared by a history of shit grades, obesity, and spending my youth ostracized from my peers. I determined, the person I am, was not of significant value to others.

After I created a new narrative, friends came easy, parties were more interesting, and the girls were easier to bed.  My friendships, although based in the fiction I created, were fun and meaningful. As my success in social interactions grew, so did my story. I learned that a few facts, added to a batter of lies, baked a cake of credibility.

It’s a beautiful substitution. Well crafted, every angle covered. A life not to awesome, yet great, and interesting.

The side effects of my lie cannot be understated. I unhappy with what I have become and what I am not. I will never be the man I created. The man I created is not me.

I find myself in Afghanistan, I am trying to stop the lie, but I have found a problem, it is hard to stop. I have become attached to the lie; to separate from it is scary. I find myself automatically retelling my lie, it comes out before I can even stop it. The lie, although clearly destructive, comforts me.

I am now afraid I will not be able to stop, the momentum has become too great, the story to addicting.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Dating and Dogs

Owning a dog is comparable to having a toddler for 15 years. A while ago, I dated a girl with a dog. I lived downtown and she lived in suburbia to have a nice yard for her "Fuzzy Wuzzy". This wouldn’t be an issue except that every evening had to end at her place so her dog could have a "wee" (side note: it often had a "wee" well before we got there). I’m not saying I’m an alcoholic, but I thoroughly enjoy adult beverages. I like drinking them downtown and then responsibly walking home.  However, her dog made this routine impossible, because every night had to end in suburbia and suburbia is not walking distance from the bars. In addition to this, unfettered travel is ruined by dogs. I wanted to go to Vail for a weekend, but again, her dog made this impossible. “What I am supposed to do with my Fuzzy Wuzzy?” “Fuck.” Sell the dog and get a cat. Cats shit in box and are perfectly content alone for a weekend with a pile of food and a bowl of water. Also, you don’t need a yard, and slobber is not an issue. I feel all the reasons I hate dogs translate to why I’ll never have kids. I mean, kids are worse. Children stick around a lot longer than 15 years, and people judge you if you leave them home alone while you’re at the bar.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Bikes and Breakups

My ex-girlfriend, the girl I’m in love with lives next door. She rides a beautiful bike I rebuilt for her; a 1950’s Sears and Roebuck Free Spirit. I spent a lot of time rebuilding it, making it perfect. I custom built baskets front and rear for her to be able to haul beer and groceries, modified the brakes, decorated it with sunflowers to match her always sunny disposition, and added a three speed hub for easy riding.  Together we rode our classic bikes all over town, bar hopping, running errands, dates… you name it. Some of the best times of last summer were spent riding next her. Until one night, four months ago, she found another man to share her affection with. I ended it, it was the hardest time of my life.

I would often see her go for a ride and I would smile to myself. At least, if I was nothing more to her, she has a beautiful bike to remember me by. That was until today, a piece of her mail ended up in my mailbox, so, like a gentleman, I walked it over her house. There, sitting on her patio was another classic bike laden with beer stickers, a classic male’s bike, not unlike mine. This bike sitting feet away from hers made me cry. She’s found another man to ride with. A man probably not unlike me, but not me. I have no idea why it had such a dramatic effect on my psyche, but it did.  Maybe, somehow, I thought the memories and experiences of bike rides would stay her and mine forever. Clearly not.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

It never gets better

I wrote this last year coming up on a deployment that never came to be. Headed out to another here shortly. It feels pertinent again. 

The date draws nearer. A three week reprieve is nicety not afforded to most. However, the date of my departure still lies ahead. Questions fill my head, questions to which I still have no answers.

What accommodations can I expect? Will I be outside the wire? Will I still be the man I am today when I return from a year in Afghanistan? The worst is my questions, fears and considerations are often looked at as weakness. The other day, when I failed to fire my M-4 accurately, I asked a military cop what I could expect. I asked the questions I listed above, he laughed at me. “You’ll see, don’t worry about it now, you’ll adapt, you’ll grow up”.

Year to date, 54 United States service men have been killed in Afghanistan. The total NATO forces killed this year is 92. (http://goo.gl/6OeyH) This number does not include those permanently maimed by combat. In the 98 days of 2012, 92 people have been killed. Close enough to round up to one a day. Americans death to day ratio is simple, one every two days. Every other day in in Afghanistan I will have to ask myself. Is this my day? Am I to become a statistic on website? Am I to become a cross on a hill, across from a BART station, in Lafayette, California? (http://goo.gl/nZnsT) Am I to become a $400,000 Service Group Life Insurance payment to my family?

Or worse yet, do I come back a man shattered? A man who can no longer connect, feel, or live as he used to? Do I “adapt” or “grow up” at the expense of myself?

The date draws nearer; I sleep less and worry more. The date draws nearer; I drink more and try to think less.

I’m scared. And worst of all I feel alone in this fear. I feel alone in this fear because it’s a burden I feel I cannot put on anyone else. I don’t want them to feel this fear, this weak and unwise emotion.