Friday, May 22, 2009

Oh, here it is...

There’s always that one day when you really know it’s summer in the city. You finally break down and have to turn on that window A/C unit. Everyone outside is wearing shorts and flip flops, jogging in the middle of the day. Park benches are full of readers and amateurs with digital cameras, dogs off the leash. Beat cops trying to catch drug trades and college kids sipping 22-ounce tall boys in brown paper bags. You walk into a deli for some iced coffee and ‘Little Red Corvette’ is playing on the radio. I can’t hear that song and not instantly be happy to be alive. It’s impossible. Summer makes me feel like a little kid, all snow cones, pool days, and waking up at 6am for no reason at all. Realistically speaking, however, it’s more like margaritas, bar-hopping, and getting home at 6am for no reason at all, but I digress. No matter what age you reach, your career path, your plans, the summer just has that feel of infinite possibilities. More so than ringing in the New Year or celebrating another birthday. You hear all the Hallmark descriptions about the sun shining and the flowers blooming, and you have your summer blockbuster movies, your outdoor concerts, your trips to Coney Island. Summer is all of those things, and none of them at all. It’s intangible. And it’s so necessary right now. Come fall, we’ll see this whole thing turn around.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Where is Spring?

The human condition is more of a process than a state of mind. It is developing a repertoire of addictions and fatal flaws, all of which make a person less than perfect in the eyes of idealism. We are all unwittingly fighting to be the much adored and all too eagerly martyred protagonists of our transient lives, stars of the epic novel no one will ever read. The tall tale never printed, but passed from mouth to ear and mouth to ear until our considerably mediocre lives are forgotten in a last whisper, disappearing into the thin air like hot breath. You can strive to be a hero or a villain, but for the majority of the time, you can only just be. Be confused or uncertain. Be conflicted. Be angry. Be proud. Be something or anything. Be nothing.
But you can’t ever really be whole. You shouldn’t want to be. You aren’t a piece of fruit, a pizza, or an apple pie. You are not an inanimate object that at one point is whole before it is devoured. People chase this dream of completion that simply does not exist; not in another person, a career, or a desirable amount of zero’s at the end of a paycheck. Strive. Strive. Strive. We are always striving for something instead of realizing the simplicity of it all; piecing together the enigma of ourselves as we want to be remembered. Chances are, however, that no one will be writing your name in a history book. And chances are, even if someone does, on a long enough timeline, no one will care.
I no longer want to waste time figuring things out. I don’t want to be puzzle, some novelty meant as a diversion to pass the days. A jigsaw puzzle is manufactured in hundreds of jagged little pieces. Tongues and grooves, patterns of color, all packed into a cardboard box rattling full of chaos. That is, until the puzzle is complete. You see a landscape of snow covered mountain peaks or a herd of wild horses trampling through a meadow. You see a picture that is finished. You see a frozen moment that is over and done. Sometimes you meet people that seal these puzzles in a frame for display, some sort of unorthodox makeshift diploma as proof that they have too much time on their hands. But most people, they break that puzzle apart, shove the pieces back into the box and slide it under a bed, on the shelf of a storage closet or in the dusty corner of a basement.
Nothing is complete forever, nothing is whole for eternity.
You hear stories about hunters and fisherman who pursue the quintessential catch, the ultimate game. And once they catch it, all camouflage, determination and gratification, they set it free. Because after that, there is nothing left. The future narrows down to a pinpoint. You solve the ultimate riddle and suddenly, there is nothing else. Strive. Strive. Strive. You have nothing left to strive for.
To be complete. To be whole. You are then either consumed, broken down, or inertly sealed away. It isn’t a process; it is a fleeting circumstance, not to be maintained. I don’t need to be complete, I just need to be. That’s the human condition. That’s life.

Friday, May 8, 2009


Whirlwind. It's a metaphorical tornado; all speed, force, and destruction. It's an inherently violent action, but when someone tells you they had a 'whirlwind vacation,' for some reason it seems positive. Like they had a great time. The thing about a tornado, however, is that it's indiscriminate, enveloping all in it's path, leaving nothing in it's wake. Accordingly, anytime you make such a decision, you don't necessarily have the option of picking and choosing what comes your way. I've realized that you can always change the scenery, but never the situation. Every day is some form of organized chaos, full of infinite variables, and at some point it's important to accept that for the majority, we have little control over our lives on a day to day basis. The recent recession has taught us just that. The irony is that in losing control, we seek to further abandon the idea of control. Which is why somehow, in a devastating economy, liquor sales are stabilized, maybe even improving. Liquor stores are open earlier than most restaurants, and if you walk into a bar at noon, it's probably full, the unemployed and underemployed draining their paychecks on temporary escapes by the glass. It all happens so fast, the greatest nation in the world suddenly crumbling, subtilely falling apart. I didn't choose the best time to make a move, an impulsive change, a whirlwind decision, but there is really never a good time. Nothing is ideal. There is no such thing as perfect timing, just coincidence. Luck. The bad always comes with the good, but hopefully, like a tornado, eventually the winds will die, and the storm will pass.