Sunday, February 19, 2017

My Rental Car Road Trip, and the Little Car-Shaped Void it Left Behind

Incoming: weird, sad post about a car. You've been warned.

Yesterday, I met this little creature when I rented a car from Enterprise. It was a chance meeting, because the car I was supposed to rent was covered in mud and still needed to be cleaned. This one just happened to have been fresh from the car wash at the back of the building. It was shiny and happy and ready for adventure.



It was smaller than anything I’d ever driven, and it displayed gas consumption in pellets. We started in Muncie, idled in the Starbuck’s drive-thru in Greenfield for twenty minutes for an iced chai tea latte and only used one pellet. We went to Nashville Indiana and the Bloomington area and back on six more pellets of gas.



We saw the lights of Nashville, the live music, the dark and secret magic of Antique Alley after all the shops had closed. I looked up at the sky above me and I was happy.



Highway 46 was dark on the way home, surrounded by wooded hills. I-65 was a bright red and white ribbon of vehicles, and after seeing an accident, we decided to go back to state highways. I found myself sitting in my living room wondering if I had enough time to go for a quick drive before bedtime. Angela 5.0 and her new companion looked like old friends in the driveway.



Today, I woke up early and we went for another drive in the country. Soon, it was almost time for my little friend to go back to Enterprise. We had been on so many adventures in less than 24 hours, and I was irrationally sad about taking it back. It had been an emotional 24 hours. I had been driving this car when I stopped at Colonial Crest and got to see my apartment. I had been driving this car when I went to Brown County for the first time. I had been driving this car when I went on my first road trip by myself with no particular destination in mind and no one to visit.



So I turned in the keys and stood at the counter dead-faced and responded to all human interactions like I wasn’t sick from grief, because normal people do not get emotional about inanimate objects, but not before I took one last picture.




Goodbye, my little friend. I wanted to keep you forever. I learned a lot from you. You taught me that I really like small cars, after almost a decade of never giving one a chance. I had no trouble turning in the Focus, as nice as it was. I had no trouble turning in the Caravan either, because as much as it reminded me of my own van, because I still had my van. But you, I don’t have anything to fill the fun-sized void you left. When Angela 5.0 is paid off, I might go to Enterprise Car Sales and look for one of your friends. I will look for a silver Nissan Versa, and maybe it will be you. I’ll never know, but it doesn’t matter. Maybe you can be the replacement for the van, a tiny little creature, a baby Altima that eats gas pellets. I hope when you retire, you find your forever home. Maybe we’ll meet again on the rental lot. I’ll look for those distinctive black marks on your driver’s door. Until then, I am glad to have known you, and I will always remember you.

I really scaled this blog down to not sound crazy, but there's only so much you can to look sane when you get attached to a car. After a while, you just have to admit you're nuts.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Yeah But I Saved You a Dollah Though

For whatever reason, in my haze of sickness, I thought that it would be a grand idea to go grocery shopping. The reasoning, initially, was sound. I needed food, I had money, so made my way to Aldi. However, the timing was bad. It was awful. Everyone on earth had just gotten off work and they were all driving their wheeled hate wagons toward this very same Aldi.

Let me describe how people drive in Muncie, just so you know what I fought with for ten blocks or so: Gets in car, immediately slams foot onto gas, careens through garage into traffic, swerves to miss bus, talks on phone while putting makeup on the baby, mistakes green light for red, gets out and has physical altercation with empty pizza box while other drivers fly around them, squelches across intersection two seconds after the light turns red, cuts off other driver, honks at them. Imagine this for ten blocks. It’s great. I was lucky to make it there alive.

So I get to the Aldi parking lot and a black Dodge Charger comes screeching around the corner the wrong way and stops dead in front of me. I put my van in park with cars behind me, because this is not a two-way and there’s nowhere for me to go. They just sit there. They SIT there. Let me explain this to you, because there are a disturbing amount of people who don’t know or don’t care that there are lanes in a parking lot. If you can read the license plates and see both taillights, you’re going the right way. There are exceptions, like two way lanes, but this was not one. So eventually the car backs up and slams itself GTA style into a space, nearly running over an old man who has decided that that empty space (next to his own car) is his own private storage unit for the time being. Everyone was happy. Whatever. Fuck a walrus.

Aldi is so busy, though, that my social anxiety kicks in, which paired with flare symptoms, is awful. So I get out of there and go to Marsh, and other than having to dodge some people who think they ought to take up the entire bread aisle and talk on their phone at the same time, everything was smooth. I should have caught the foreshadowing, though, when I kept hearing this disinterested wargarbler saying “key on four” over the loudspeaker with the microphone down her esophogas. I just happen to choose the wrong checkout lane. The wargarbler was a pale, googly-eyed heroine addict who looked like she sold drugs to babies on the side. She gets to the couple in front of me and rings up ten items for the next six hours, and then she’s like “AMMAH SAAAAVE YOU DOLLAH!” and she gets on the loudspeaker like “kan eye git a keeeeeyyyy on four please” and then she stands there all slouched over until this tiny, pissed off bog creature explodes out of the office and jams a key into her register.


I left the Marsh muttering colorful language to anyone who came within ten feet of me. Things like “Get the fuck away, get the FUCK away. Don’t you fucking even look at me.” It was a good experience. Yay social anxiety.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

When a Meme Becomes More About Your Confused Sexual Identity than a Gorilla, It's Time to Fuck Off

So my newsfeed on Facebook has been full of the phrase “dicks out for Harambe” lately. I had to really do some research to make sure I understood what getting your dick out had to do with the death of a gorilla. It seemed to me that it was a bunch of sad, weird early twenty-somethings who never got the chance to experiment, and at the risk of sounding unnecessarily dark, it seems as though I was right, at least in my area.

The word dicks, in some other regions, is also slang for guns, and that’s what the original meme was based around, but here in Indiana you have a bunch of almost-closeted men who finally get a chance to have a gorilla-themed show and tell party.

I mean, don’t get me wrong. It was pretty funny the first five hundred times, just like the first 200 Rick Roll experiences. At this point, though, I say drop the gorilla cover and just get it all out, all that awkward basement circle jerk nonsense you never got to do. Figure yourself out. The rest of us don’t need to see your sad penis party. No gorilla can save you from yourself. Step out into the sun, where no one needs to make tasteless jokes about a dead animal to rub penises with a stranger. It’s called Grindr, or if you’re nasty enough, it’s called a public restroom.

You’re welcome, Bud. Have at it. Dicks out for your confused little sexuality. That's all.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Bombs are for War, Words and for Social Media Comments

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: HOW TO ARGUE IN A PUBLIC FORUM

A polite argument goes like this:

OP: I have an opinion that is probably wrong but I can’t experience things outside of my own body!
YOU: I disagree with you, because of reasons 1, 2, and 3. I have experience in the subject your dumb self is raging about. Allow me to enlighten you.
OP: I see your side, and the reason that I feel the way I do is *monkey farting noises… insert important points or something*
YOU: I respect your right to have a stupid opinion, and we’re still friends. A stupid post on social media did not end our friendship.

A polite argument does not go like this:

OP: I have a stupid opinion but I am also a human and have access to social media. Hear me!
YOU: TACTICAL NUKE! *BOOM* CONFRONTATION MISSLES OF DOOM! *BOOMBOOM* YOU JUDGE EVERYONE YOU SHOULD JUST POST PICTURES OF CATS AND MEMES ABOUT NOTHING! *KABOOMBOOMBOOM* I AM GOING TO TURN YOUR COMMENTS SECTION INTO A CIRCUS BECAUSE I HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO CALMLY STATE MY OPINION, WHICH IS A PROBLEM IN POLITE SOCIETY! *CRUISEMISSLEFINISHBLAMBLAMBLAMMUSHROOMCLOUD*

There is a right way to do things, and there is a wrong way to do things. I do not entertain confrontation and “taking a stand” against some stupid post I put on here. There are people dying in the world. Hunger, disease, AIDS, all killing people. If you’re really that eager to stand up to something, at least help someone. If you just HAVE to take a stand against someone’s dumb post, be productive about it. Be respectful. Hostility is something almost no one responds positively to. Change does not come from it. No one learns from it. This is reality, not some after school special where everyone learns from being told how it is.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Behold, My Cheery Disposition and Sunny Outlook

I want to open this by saying that I have a lot of good things happening right now. I have a lot going for me. I have an apartment that I love, a job that I look forward to, I have my minivan back, I have a reasonable amount of financial padding, and a lot of really good friends. I have no logical reason to feel the way that I feel. There, that’s out of the way, and you’re welcome.

Now, let’s get this emofest over with. I’m reconsidering my decision to take next semester off. I think I have a math class and a capstone course left to take before I complete my completely useless General Studies associates degree. I started this degree in my twenties and it’s taken me about a thousand years and entirely too many credit hours to finally finish it, and I just want it to be over with. I will then deal with the future: will I continue school or skulk around and tell everyone I wasted my youth? Both seem equally satisfying right now.

I am over frozen microwave dinners. I know this has nothing to do with the last subject, but I am tired of eating this frozen sludge and being told by people that I really should eat organic. I really should. I should. I should eat organic, because it’s healthier. I really should, you know, and it’s not that expensive. I should move to a better state, too, and stop driving; it hurts the clouds.

Ugh. You guys, I think this is Portland working its magic powers of depression. I’m visiting my hometown and I really just want to go home. I’m glad I got to see my family and I’m about to get my hair colored again and see my mom’s grave, but I don’t know how anyone lives in this town without running out into the street and killing themselves from boredom. Maybe I’m spoiled, what with Ball State campus a block away from my apartment, but it’s no wonder people drink themselves to death in small towns.

I’m a cheery ball of cheer today. Hugs for everyone!

I feel so stuck that I want to scream until I feel better. Life after 30 is comparable to a black hole. You don’t realize you’ve crossed the event horizon until you realize all your roads lead to the same end.

Aren’t you glad you clicked on this blog? I bet I’m cheering you up right now, what with my rays of sunshine. I bet these sunshine rays are so hot, you could cook your dinner with them.


Fucking microwave dinners. I am so over being me. Put me in my van and send me off a cliff.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Ten Years Ago, I Was Hit By a Drunk Driver

It's odd to think about now, but ten years ago (maybe eleven) I was hit by a drunk driver on my way home from night shift at Burger King. I was stopped at the intersection of Votaw and Meridian in Portland when the guy plowed into me and left the scene with his horn blaring. I make it sound like I was on foot, but I was in a car, though there wasn't much usable car left after this. The back end was under the vehicle and I definitely found my previously AWOL spare tire, because it came up through my backseat into the cab. His name was Landon Fluekiger, and he exists to this day on social media. He ditched his car in the Marsh parking lot and the police caught him. I thought it was odd how much our cars looked alike when I saw his being hauled away on a wrecker. I was in a green Topaz and he was in a green Thunderbird.

The crazy nut doing night shift at VP was convinced that my car was going to blow up. I'd managed to steer it into the shell parking lot with no power steering or brakes and got it to stop, but he wanted me to move it away from the gas. Conspiracy theories and all that. The illuminati and stuff. Whatever.

It's a funny story to tell now, but I still look behind me when I'm sitting at stop lights. I still get panicked and shaky when a car approaches from behind, because I think they aren't going to stop. This guy hit me at about highway speed when I was stopped at a red light.

There are a lot of stupid people in this world who take unnecessary risks on the road: speeding up toward cars that are slowing down, tailgating, not moving over when traffic is entering the freeway. Listen, I get it. It's human nature to be angry at other drivers, but you cannot risk the lives of other people. You just can't. I still think of this guy as a monster, and to tell you the truth, his Facebook page does little to dispel that idea. I never met the guy, unless you count the two seconds his engine was in my backseat. We might have been close enough to say hello. I mean who goes highway speed down a city street? I'll tell you who. That guy. Not only was he drunk, the official records said the police found drugs in his car as well.

I remember very clearly the call to his insurance (at least he had that much sense). They were like "we haven't heard from our client yet" and I chuckled and said, "Well, that's because he's in jail." I found that bit pretty amusing at the time, because I was sad and hurt and millennial. The world revolved around me. But let's be honest, at the time I was still a new driver and had been in the middle of my fair share of near misses. Some of them would have been rear-endings. But you know what? At least I would have stuck around.

I'd like to know how a Village Pantry parking lot full of cars and people can suddenly be empty after I got hit. All the witnesses took off. That's Portland for you; everyone probably had a warrant for their arrest, so to hell with me, right?


Oh, memories. Tl;dr: it's winter, slow down and leave earlier. Calm that lead foot and be sympathetic of those of us who are kind of scared to drive in the snow. We don’t all have four wheel drive and balls of steel. If you're one of those people who accept car accidents and eventual and inevitable, totally unavoidable and part of the normal driving experience, you probably caused most of them. It's a harsh reality that someone needs to say, so I'll say it. They were probably all your poor judgment.

Friday, January 1, 2016

A Bunch of Nonsense (No Refunds, I'll Be Here All Night)

It's been a while since I've written a blog, and that's unfortunate. I'm still alive. I'm still writing off and on, working on new material. Sometimes, I'm able to convince myself that no one cares and no one reads my writing, despite the numbers Smashwords shows me. That's its own emo blog full of tears and self-pity and I just don't have the energy to write it, so let's focus on good things. I'm too old for the kind of intense negativity that fills me with angst at the worst times and drives people away. What a mouthful of words. Luckily, this is typa-typa land.

I left OkCupid behind, probably for good. I've realized that being on there for friendship is like going on Grindr for relationships. People do it, but let's face it, even people who do that have in the back of their mind that they might just want to meet and fuck. Otherwise, why would they have chosen Grindr? There are plenty of respectable dating sites that aren't hookup sites.

I suppose that's how I approached OkCupid. I convinced myself for a long time that I was only looking for friendship because every time I thought I met someone on there and finally told someone, anyone, about it, it was over and I had to go right back and say "just kidding, guys." Sometimes there are greener pastures to graze in, and mine is brown from urine. Sometimes, my crazy is just more than my profile let on (which amazes me, since I kind of bled into the about me box to make it as crazy as possible. It's funny what people take as a joke). I don't change for people anymore. No one should have to. If you're a horrible person, it's no one's place to decide you ought not be horrible. Maybe that's me. Maybe I'm actually a really horrible person. But you know, I'm actually kind of okay with that, because I have no idea how to change it.

As a boyfriend, I've found myself to be someone I would never date. I've found myself to be clingy and yet aggressively avoidant. I've found myself to be intensely shaming and quick to lie and mostly able to keep up a glossy if obnoxiously apologetic sheen over the fact that most of the time I feel very small emotions unless provoked. It's a selfish state of being that no one else ought to be subjected to, but it works well for me. I'm done apologizing, though. At least for things I can't change. I have no capacity to be a cork for someone else's leaking, flooding soul. I'm useless in that respect. I am terminally alone, and it's an easier disease to live with than anything else I suffer from.

I once met a guy in Cincinnati, and he knows who he is. I like to tell myself I wasn't looking for a relationship when I met him in Metamora for Canal Days, but the initial distance I was able to keep up via text melted away in person. He was and is a nice guy, and I hate to think that I'm just an impulsive mistake he probably wishes he could redo as something less intense if at all. I don't know what it is about the emptiness of being human that makes people seek one another so desperately and yet so choosily. You'd better look just like your profile pictures, be fit, have some kind of solid direction in life and love who you are or trust me, someone else will, and those qualities are a lot more attractive than a sad man-boy riddled with crippling self-doubt and low self-esteem, a sock of a person with no muscle tone and no real plan for the next five years, which is exactly what I am. People, gay men in particular, believe that they are entitled to a hard-bodied, masculine, intelligent, self-confident-but-no-the-cheating-type Adonis who smiles at their every word and tells them they're amazing. I don't know what to tell them. Those types are in short supply outside of romantic comedies. There's plenty more guys like me out there to disappoint them, I guess. I hope he finds what he's looking for among the rubble. I have a bad habit of turning people into weapons and using them to hurt myself. Sometimes I realize I'm doing it and sometimes I'm a gaping mess before I realize where all the blood is coming from. It's a very teenage way to approach a relationship, and I've not been a teenager for over eleven years. I'm not surprised anymore when the other person turns out to be just as damaged as me. What surprises me is that they deny it.

I'm not actually bitter. I know it sounds like I am, but maybe bitter is the wrong word for it. In today's world of delusional hippie happiness and new age unwashed organic bullshit, a little healthy self-loathing counts against you. It's pretty unfortunate. I don't hate myself. I just know I'm not what everyone's looking for, even though just looking at some of my profile pictures you'd think I was. Those pictures are the product of simple photo enhancing apps where I smooth my pores and brighten my eyes and make them pop. The reality is just as grainy as reality has every right to be.

I realized quite recently, like in the last few months, that I deserve to be comfortable, single or not. I deserve to be able to have my own apartment and explore the freeways of this nation with my sheet metal companion, Angela T. Vanmobile. I deserve to be able to enter into voluntary aspects of this fucked up life on my own terms, relationships being the biggest and most important of these aspects. If I don't want one, I need to spend my time alone enjoying it, and if that means playing video games and working in a call center, then so be it. It's not thrilling, but it's familiar.

Sometimes I wonder if my mom would be proud of the person I've become. I know she would have said she was. My dad says he is when he decides to comment on it, but I don't see much for a parent to be proud of, especially compared to my older and more successful older brother Eric. The guy started a chain of hugely successful fine dining establishments. I write dark little stories about the end of the world and occasionally read my poetry aloud to strangers. If we're judging purely by that comparison, I am pretty miniscule. All parents say they're proud of their kids at some point, but in a lot of ways it's the same as any other relationship. The human reality is that I am flawed, and I don't need anyone to be proud of me unless I'm proud of myself. Even then, it's optional. What's important is that I'm proud of myself, and I'm getting there.

I guess if you asked me to describe myself in one word a month ago, it would have been sad. Two weeks ago, it would have been disappointed. I've had a lot of cool things happening, including a trip to Chicago and a career change, and I suppose now the word would be okay. I'm okay right now. I'm having fun in my life, and I have no expectations of anyone, only of myself.

This year, I expect to be able to go from okay to happy without relying on anyone else to do it. That's called co-dependency, and I'm not about that life. I have never been someone who's afraid to be alone. I was alone for years and I was happier than I'd ever been.

I don't know how to end this blog. I guess the moral here is that I'm making resolutions this year, and I'm forgiving all the guys I disappointed, because I was just a much to blame. I'm not saying I plan to change, but I'm saying I get it. Some I'm still friends with, some I haven't talked to in years. If there were ever a damaged individual needing a warning label, it's me. I don't know, maybe it's not as bad as it sounds. Maybe it's like the explicit content stickers they used to put on CDs. Maybe it's a little embarrassing, or maybe it commands respect. Either way, I wear it, even if people over the years have failed to read it. In my opinion, that's better than being a fucked up mess in secret and exploding into an emo, twisted mess after the claws are already in.

I'm not in this world to be a ready-made suburban partner for someone. It's an appealing idea, but I'm much too unstable. I'm not an idealist anymore. I'd rather sit in an apartment and know that in the confines of my own space I am accepted than invade someone else's and know that my profile pictures have more self-esteem than I do. People tell me I'm hard on myself, but I like to think of it as cautious optimism with a healthy dose of the kind of reality millennials rarely have. I refuse to one of those people, confident and stupid and empty, riding along on a sea of selfies toward a headstone in the distance, too busy keep everyone informed of my life to actually live it.


I forgive the universe also for making me this way. I can't say the same for the people who have to interact with me, but I'd like to think they like me the way I am. Most importantly, I forgive myself for not being good enough for myself or my exes or my parents or anyone else, because I wasn't put here to be good enough. I was put here to do something with my life, and that's what I intend to do.