It’s Hard To Find Good Help These Days

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Raise your hand if you remember walking into a business, asking for an application, filling it out (with a pen), talking to the manager and going home with a job.

Anyone?… Bueller?… (tap tap) Is this thing on?

I am either from the dark ages or I have been self employed for a long time.

Maybe both.

While I type like a three toed sloth, I do know a whole lot about a few things. I have survived in work environments so insane that they defy description. I have put in my 10,000 hours more than once.

I am smarter than some but it doesn’t necessarily work in my favor and the hardest thing is trying to conceal the fact that I don’t play well with others. There was a reason for being self-employed, and that’s the reason.

Trying to rejoin the workforce after nine years of riding fences is challenging but I’m tired of being cold, wet, and hungry so I’m coming around like a stray dog that is ready to give domestication a whirl.

Have you applied for a job lately? If not, and you have a whole lot of time to waste, I highly recommend it.

I’ve been interviewing with the nation’s largest retailer of used automobiles. Three interviews and literally dozens of long form essay questions later and I still don’t know if I have secured the entry-level position of Buyer’s Assistant.

This job is my top pick and working in my favor is that almost everyone I have interviewed with, five different people now, are either former personal trainers or former business owners. Apparently, this is the place where desperado types go when they decide to throw in the towel and get a real job.

But since I still  don’t know if I actually have the job, I take nothing for granted and continue applying at other places.

Long gone are the days of filling out an application and talking to an actual person. This is the age of the online assessment and mind-blowingly redundant questions. I just applied at Short Burst Cellular and was asked no fewer than ten times if I try to understand why people act the way they do and if I enjoy analyzing my own feelings. The other questions are, naturally, all related to how well I play with others and how receptive I am to taking bullshit from customers. I also applied at Horizon and spent thirty minutes answering questions like, “would you rather be subject to incessant interruptions OR be on the phone with angry customers all day?”  Would you rather stab a fork in your eye or drop this kettle bell on your foot?

I can’t help but wonder; who scores high on these tests? According to the job description, it’s people with a passion for customer service. Maybe my definition of passion differs from theirs. I say the word passion is reserved for art and science or a cause that changes the world.

Customer service is a vital bodily function of any business. The business cannot survive without it but it is not something for which I would equate the word passion.

Customer service is necessary of course, but only so that the company can succeed at what it’s passionate about – making money. Who wakes up in the morning and can’t wait to be interrupted constantly by people who are complaining about problems that are beyond their control?

People work customer service jobs out of necessity and in hopes of getting promoted. Let’s not pretend that necessity and passion are the same thing. This is why so many people burn out when they find a way to monetize their hobby, because necessity kills passion.

But back to my original question. Who scores high on these tests?

The U.S. has notably gone down hill when it comes to producing well educated young adults with high levels of etiquette or common sense. Not pointing fingers but…perhaps it is they who have necessitated the rise of the assessments in the first place. Having limited video game vocabularies makes them easy targets for swapping the words necessity and passion and tricking them into thinking it was their own idea.

One of the questions, or rather – statements, at the end of the Horizon assessment was, “I feel this assessment gives a good initial impression of the company values and makes the company seem like an attractive place to work.”  Strongly Agree. Agree. Slightly Agree. Slightly Disagree. Disagree. Strongly Disagree. Fuck Me.

Is the talent pool so shallow that the word passion has become displaced and is now being used in reference to customer service for lack of anything legitimate to be passionate about? In a world of young adults who would rather reside on their parent’s couches than blaze a trail into the frontier of freedom it makes sense.

Firmly rooted on the sofa like baby birds waiting to be fed, they would naturally have no concept of doing something unpleasant out of necessity because, thus far, they’ve spent all day texting their friends but meals still appear on the table at regular intervals.

In all fairness I may be projecting, displacing, evening blaming my hatred of online job assessments on other people in an effort to not throw my computer out the window and spend my remaining days walking the earth like Caine in Kung Fu.

I may be, or I may be the Johnny Come Lately frog to the pot of boiling water.

It is possible, after all, that the assessments exist specifically to weed out people like myself.



Yes, please.

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What will you focus on?

What does it mean?

How will you respond?

Winds of change are blowing around here. I’ve been afflicted with a desire to stop doing things all the time, to stop spending every last waking moment trying to do something.

I think maybe it’s time to reconsider my success strategy.

I closed a business three years ago.  It was a business that made me temporarily rich and less temporarily poor.  It was a short love with a long divorce.

I tried to bounce back but it didn’t come back. Not the business itself, I didn’t want that back, but the income – from any source at all – it didn’t come back and I’ve been so broke for so long now that it almost doesn’t seem weird anymore.

But it is weird and it’s not ok and I’m done.

I wouldn’t say that I’ve wasted my time. To the contrary, some would argue that I have helped facilitate life altering transformations for quite a few people.  I would say, “that’s nice but it’s come at my own expense.”

Not one of the people I’ve helped would be willing to do what I do for the amount of money that I walk away with.  Absolutely not, they wouldn’t even consider it.  I show up for them, whether I feel like it or not, but my wellbeing is left to their sense of convenience.  They think nothing of their work meetings and endless vacations, naturally they do what they need to do and now the time has come to turn the coin.

The answer is easy, if you take it logically.

The focus has to change to taking care of business on the home front. What that means is renegotiating my deal with the universe in regards to paychecks. The proper response is to say “yes, please” when offered an opportunity to join the world of functioning adults.

Soo…, yes please.



A Few Moments In The Cenozoic Era

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65 million years ago a meteor six miles wide crashed into the Earth. The residents blamed Obama and said that the meteor was part of a conspiracy to support his new world order. Choking on ash and poison gas, most of them died shortly thereafter thus turning the last page of the Mesozoic Era.

Organisms go extinct when they can no longer adapt to the prevailing climate.

Included on the short list of survivors was the winged dinosaurs and they flew on to see the dawn of a new age.

The Cenozoic Era continues today.

When I was 31, the tumbleweeds and goat-heads had overgrown the land between my back wall and the road.  Being a good citizen, I called the city to complain. The bored woman on the phone said, “Yep, alright”, and hung up.  The following week, everyone who lived on my street received citations from the city demanding that all the weeds be cleared from behind each respective house on the land between the back wall and the road. The land, that falls behind each person’s property but that the homeowners are not allowed to use in any way, yes, that land which was not ours.  The citation read, in no uncertain terms, “Remove the weeds yourself or we will have them removed and send you the bill.”

Way to go, Slick.

I never told the neighbors that I was the one who complained to the city.

Last week I turned 41.

The previous day, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but Donald Trump became President Elect of the United States – making this the 2nd election in twenty years where the choice of the people was misrepresented by the electoral college.

Some may consider this to be an evolutionary step backwards, like webbed nostrils or the development of genitals in close proximity to the rectum, but in the year of post truth others have a feeling that America is on it’s way to becoming great again.  I say we called to complain about the weeds and, in doing so, won Shirley Jackson’s Lottery.

Be careful what you ask for, America.  God won’t save us if we can’t adapt.



Coming Full Circle

 

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Home, a place with a lot of tumbleweeds and trailer houses.

In 1984, my parents bought a mobile home and put it on a piece of land out on the mesa in front of the Manzano Mountains.   At the time, the nearest neighbor was a mile away and my parents thought it was glorious.  Unfortunately the nearest phone was also a mile away. I saw nothing glorious about that.

We lived far from everything. Far from the mall, far from my school, far from my friends, and especially far from Albuquerque – which is where all the cool kids were.

Valencia county was generally unconcerned with maintaining the dirt roads so during monsoon season we would go without mail service for weeks at a time, we also had to make our own path through the desert to come and go because our road would be underwater.

Still, my parents were enchanted with this place. “It’s so quiet”, they would brag to their friends. “There’s no light pollution and we can see all the stars“, they would say while setting up their telescope.

Fuck that, I want cable TV.

They had purchased five acres of land and split it into two 2.5 acre lots.  My deadbeat aunt and uncle moved into their own mobile home next door.  They made zero payments on the trailer or to my parents for their land lease.  In the meantime, they did manage to erect an impressive chain-link fence, raise some malamutes, and sell some drugs.

They got the boot.

Later on, my other deadbeat aunt moved her own mobile home onto that side of the land. She was a depressed hoarder with trash piled up to the windows and she too failed to make any payments.  When my step-dad found the cages of dead birds in her living room, she was next to get the boot.

As I was going through my teenage years, this “glorious” place in the middle of nowhere turned into something else entirely.  Imagine being stranded on a desert island with two people in a relationship that is going south.

As my parents grew to like each other less, the silence became a void filled mostly with the sounds of slamming doors and never-ending passive aggressive standoffs. Sufficed to say, the glory was starting to wear off.

When I was 19, the universe told me it was time to move to Las Vegas, NV.  Six weeks prior to my departure, the parental situation came to head and my step-dad told my mom to get the fuck out, which she did.

But not me, I still lived there, playing marriage counselor to both of them right up until the last day.

But when I left, I left.

That was in 1995.  I had no plans of going home again.

Fast forward 21 years.

My step dad still lives on the land only now he’s married to my ex-sister-in-law. Wait, what?  He married my ex-husband’s oldest sister.  I know… you can’t make this shit up.

After a couple years of living in Easterville, Xavier and I have decided to move back to New Mexico so I took him there for a visit earlier this year.  We were planning on moving to Albuquerque, of course, because that’s where the cool kids are but I still took him down to Los Lunas to show him around.  I took him out to visit my stepdad on the land where I grew up and I had assumed that he would be horrified by the place.

He wasn’t.

We have a dream of flying light, of living with low overhead and never being stressed about money, of having more freedom and less worry.

We’ve done countless hours of research on the virtues of manufactured homes.

We’ve stood hand in hand on the beach at midnight and gazed deep into the milkyway while baby ghost crabs ran over our feet and the dark ocean tide was heard but not seen.

We live in an apartment in the city now and one thing’s for sure. The rent never goes down. Constant road noise, constant alarms going off and sirens running up and down the street all hours of the day and night.  Most of all, constant neighbors in every direction. Light pollution mucks up the night sky and we might see a star or two but only the biggest and brightest make it through the haze.

We talk about that night by the ocean and looking out into forever.

 The desert is an ocean with it’s life underground.

And maybe it was time to reconsider this idea of going home.

Nothing but a broke down fence and a pile of trash live on the other side of the land now. More neighbors have moved in but they are still a civilized distance away and at night, the sky opens up in a concert of stars like no one living on the east coast has ever seen.

I never wanted to go back because I thought the life I had lived there could only repeat itself.

But now, I long for the quiet and for the stars. I can see a future there that is different from my past.

At age 41, I didn’t expect to discover that everything I wanted was in the place where I began, the place that I couldn’t get away from fast enough, but time is the great revelator after all and every prophet is in her house.

As it turns out, I want to go home again.

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Ghosts Among Us

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Generally speaking, you could spit in any direction and hit someone who claims to have seen a ghost.  No shortage of those stories but there are some interesting consistencies when it comes to providing evidence.

I’ve listened to dozens of ghost stories told by people who seem to believe them but you know what they never say? They never say, “I saw a ghost and took a photo of it.”

Everyone that claims to have shot a photo of a ghost also claims that it was an accident. They say, “I was just taking a picture of this here empty staircase for no particular reason.” Or, “I shot this portrait of two people in an oddly off centered fashion”. Conveniently, “ghosts” appeared in exactly the right spot after the fact.

My ex-sister-in-law claimed to have photographed the ghost of Jerry Garcia. She proudly showed me a photo of what was obviously lens flare.  She was an experienced photographer and I felt she should’ve known better.  On the other hand, she also claimed that the ghost of Jerry Garcia did everything from giving her directions to the nearest pay phone to helping her move furniture. Sometimes you have to consider the source.

My mom once stayed for a week at the Monroe Institute, a place where people go to practice having out of body experiences and to train in the art of remote viewing. I thought it was fascinating until she told me that, during her visit, participants were told that the spirits living there would appear in photographs in the form of orbs. For a place that fancies themselves to be conducting scientific research, that is some hocus-pocus nonsense.

I don’t mean to pee in anyone’s candy corn but photos with lens flare are not pictures of ghosts and orbs are bullshit.  Sure, orbs will show up in photographs but they too are another form of lens flare.

I was a full time professional photographer for 15 years.  I have been all over the southwest visiting ancient cemeteries, old churches, ghost towns and abandoned motor lodges on the old Route 66.  I have shot tens of thousands of photographs in these places along with countless photographs of weddings and guess how many unexplainable pictures of “ghosts” I have?

That’s right. None.

The one thing that every bogus “ghost photo” of lens flare and orbs have in common is that they were obviously shot by amateur photographers on point and shoot cameras with built-in flashes. For the record, smart phones are also point and shoot cameras with built-in flashes.  The flash being too close to the lens renders all kinds of weird results and, not understanding how cameras work, easily excitable picture snappers immediately assume their cameras are haunted when unexpected things appear in their photos.

Enthusiastic ghost hunters firing their built-in flashes into swarms of nocturnal insects or into the mirror, or towards any kind of shiny object are ready and willing to accept bad photography as evidence of the super natural.  Failing to shade their lens from the sun and being blinded by the light, these are the same people who think they see the face of Jesus in a piece of burnt toast and go around checking their children’s hands and feet for the stigmata.

A few years ago, while on a quest to find an authentic photo of a ghost, I contacted every professional photographer I knew and asked them if they believed they had ever photographed a ghost or had any photos that defied explanation. They all said no.

I bet you think this story is about how I don’t believe in ghosts.

Let’s not jump to conclusions.

Maybe the issue isn’t that ghosts are real but maybe the issue is that they can’t be photographed.  More specifically, something that cannot be seen with the human eye is not going to show up in a photo because, according to the laws of physics, for something to be visible it must reflect light.

Inversely, if vampires were real they would show up in photographs and in mirrors because you can see them.

If you want me to believe otherwise, evidence more compelling that what I’ve mentioned will need to be produced.  The average person has a better chance of photographing a bona fide UFO than taking a picture of a ghost.

Not seeing and still believing.

There are those who claim not to believe in anything that they can’t see with their own eyes.

I call bullshit.  By that rationale, to a blind person, nothing is real.  Additionally, sight is only one of the ways that we experience and interpret reality.  You can’t see the way a pot roast in the crock pot smells but the scent most certainly confirms the existence of the pot roast.

No one has ever shot a photo of gravity, or inertia, but these things are real and for that matter, please show me your photos of music.

Ghosts stories, taken at face value.

Created by DPE, Copyright IRIS 2007

Several years ago I wrote a story for this blog called Watching The Flowers Sway.

I was proud of that piece but I never explained where it came from or why I would write such a horrific tale in the first place.

In 2003 one of my past wedding clients was murdered.

I saw her face on the news while drinking my morning coffee and I said, “That’s her!” as if I had already been talking about her though of course I hadn’t been.

The story on the news said she was missing and presumed dead.  The police found a horrific scene in her classroom at the elementary school where she was an Occupational Therapist.  I remembered watching her walk back to her car after she left my studio for the final time.  Though I was not involved in any way, I felt that I had somehow let her down by not protecting her, I guess everyone probably felt like that.

The police said the janitor did it. The physical evidence against him was overwhelming even without the body which took almost two months to find.

Later that evening her husband was on the news pleading for anyone with information to come forward.  It was heartbreaking.  They had been married less than two years.

And then the news team went to interview the janitor’s family.  The parents weren’t in a talkative mood but they found one of the janitor’s friends who said, “Martin wouldn’t have done something like that, he just bought new rims for his car.”

With a character witness like that and a trunk full of blood and hair, Martin was going to need a really good lawyer.  No Saul Goodman was gonna get him out of this shit. He needed Johnnie Cochran and even then, O.J. seemed less guilty.

With the body being MIA, the story quickly fell out of the news and there was only a brief mention when the case finally went to trial in 2005.  The body had been found by then and it, along with all the other evidence, was enough to get Martin sentenced to life in prison.

Good.

Fucker.

I watched the short bit on the news about the verdict in the trial.  Two things stood out. One was that Martin’s mom was shown crying and saying, “I know my mijo is innocent”. No, he wasn’t. And, two, cameras were rolling on Martin when the jury read the verdict. He sat in his chair, bobbing his head and looking around as if everything were right with the world. He didn’t look the least bit concerned.

Six years later in 2011, I grew curious about the case again.  Very little information was made available at the time and I still had so many questions.

One night I laid in bed looking up anything I could find on her case.  A lot more information had been made available and it was gruesome, all of it, but I read every article I could find.

I was considering writing about it but I didn’t know what to say or where to start.

It was late at night when I finally ran out of articles. I plugged my phone in and turned out the light.

I hadn’t even gotten my pillows situated when the energy in the room changed.

It was dark and there was nothing to see but I swear there was another entity present, I could practically feel it breathing on me.  I knew positively that it was her and the message was unmistakable.  This was a cease and desist order of the highest kind.  In retrospect, I wish I had tried to communicate but to be honest I panicked and turned the lamp on and just sat there like a big scardey-cat for almost an hour before getting brave enough to turn the light back off.

I decided not to write anything about her, ever.

But then I changed my mind.

While laying in bed trying my best to get some sleep I decided that she probably wasn’t trying to scare me.  There’s no reason she should have any animosity towards me. Perhaps I had misunderstood.

I decided to conduct an experiment.

For three days I asked her what she wanted me to say.  On the third day the story poured out.  I moved my fingers on the keyboard but the images weren’t mine, they were hers, and they just kept coming.

I believe I channeled the entire story from her eight years after her death.

There are no photos to back my claim but eyesight is not the only way to experience reality.

You may read that story here if you like.



Unconfirmed Miracles

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In the end, we believe what we want to believe.

It’s always bothered me when people tell the story of how the lost car keys saved their life.  You know, the one that goes like this: “I spent an extra 15 minutes searching for my keys this morning and I was so mad because I was going to be late for work. But then, while driving, I passed a huge accident. An escape convict in a stolen car ran the light and the other driver was blasted to smithereens.  I am so blessed because God saved me from being in that accident and it was a miracle.”

Is that a fact?  I always want to ask if it’s a fact but it seems rude to question other people’s miracles.

But is it? A miracle, I mean.  That’s the conundrum, we can’t know what would’ve happened if... because it didn’t.

On the flip side of the coin, how do we know miracles don’t happen dozens of times each and every day? Maybe you were day dreaming and missed the exit, maybe someone had to go and get a flat tire right in front of you, maybe you lost your car in the parking lot or maybe nothing out of the ordinary happened at all but someone else lost their keys or missed their exit thus preventing them from T-boning you at an intersection.

We don’t go around saying, “Nothing happened today and it was miracle!” But maybe we should.

Miracle or coincidence?

What if the keys were hanging on the hook in the kitchen and you left right on time? Would you definitely have been in the accident or, might it have still involved the same two cars?  There are no tangible answers but yet we still want to believe and can’t dissuade ourselves from looking for evidence.

Believing that events have meaning seems to be hardwired in our DNA despite the fact that the only supporting evidence lies in outcomes that never transpired. Human minds can find evidence to support absolutely anything at all so long as we want to believe it.

All miracles aside, perhaps the single most important evolutionary development that allowed humans to rise up the food chain was the ability to recognize patterns.  We see imaginary faces in clouds and in trees just as easily as spotting the gaze of a predator from within the tall grass.

Pattern recognition allowed us to navigate by the stars and to know when to plant the crops.  The FBI uses pattern recognition to profile serial killers and boxers use it to land a knock out punch.

Have we become so skilled at pattern recognition that we are now able to observe the wheels in the sky orchestrating the big picture?   Well, maybe, but we do know this: humans can process seven things at once, give or take two depending on I.Q and coffee intake.  Because there are a million or so observable things happening at all times, it hardly makes sense that we should focus our attention on seven of them and then call that reality.

Hey, do me a favor right quick and tell me which side of this mask is concave and in which direction it is turning?

Even knowing beforehand that it is an optical illusion, your brain cannot stop seeing the illusion.  So my question is, what if you didn’t know or even suspect that there was another angle from which to view something? Chances are you would accept it at face value.

In the same way that the A minor is relative to the key of C major – the same pattern from an altered perspective reveals a completely different thing.

The power of perspective and observation will make your beliefs about the world true, but only in your own world.

In November of 2004, shortly after making the final payment, my car was stolen out of my mom’s driveway.  My purse was in it along with my phone, camera gear, a suitcase of clothes plus all of my CD’s and the spare keys to my house including the garage door opener.  We were returning from a road trip and I was dropping her off. Not planning to stay long, I went inside but then ended up staying for dinner.

Let me tell you, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of returning to the spot where your car was, now gone without a trace.

Needless to say, the empty driveway was more than a little inconvenient. My insurance company flatly did not believe me about the contents of the car and refused to pay for anything except the actual car itself. Naturally I had closed my bank accounts immediately but this did not stop the crooks from writing my canceled checks all over town and it did not stop the collection agencies from pursuing me in an effort to collect funds for all the bounced checks.

The car debacle took months of unpleasantness to rectify.  To make myself feel better, I fired my insurance company.  I don’t want to name names but let’s just pretend they were called Allstate, and I told myself that perhaps I wasn’t as unlucky as it seemed.

Could I have experienced an unconfirmed miracle?  There’s no way to know what would’ve happened if my car hadn’t been stolen so I thought why not assume the best?  Maybe my perspective was all wrong and I thought I was looking at a picture of a horse when it was actually a frog, maybe I can’t tell which side of the mask is concave and which is convex.

Had my car been waiting for me in the driveway, like it had been for the past seven years, I may have driven it under a truck the next morning on my way to work.  I may have been driving too fast, swerved to miss a stray dog and crashed through the guard rail, plummeting to a fiery death.

Or, I could just be the unlucky victim of a very expensive crime.

Blessing or curse?

Unprovable either way so the verdict is out for interpretation.

But does it matter? Our interpretation, I mean.  Does it affect the actual truth?  I believe it does not.  Universal law is what it is and certainly doesn’t care what we think of it.  Gravity doesn’t go away or get stronger based on the strength of our conviction that gravity is real.  The difference being, of course, that gravity is provable.  Gravity can be demonstrated in predictable and consistent ways.

Unconfirmed miracles on the other hand, not so much.

But does that mean they aren’t real?

Last year in March, Xavier and I went to see David Sedaris at the Joseph Myerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore.

He was wearing the owl tie that I given him the previous year after his performance at Popejoy Hall in Albuquerque.  Xavier and I stayed for the book signing after the show so I could remind Mr. Sedaris that I was the one who had given him the tie (and therefore probably his biggest fan).

He remembered me and said it was the only owl gift from the book tour that he hadn’t thrown away.

Xavier and I arrived in Baltimore early so we would have plenty of time to park and to eat before the show.  We found a good parking space on a residential street that was a five minute walk from the theater.  We both made it a point to memorize the exact address so we wouldn’t forget where we left the car.

212 Park Avenue.  Simple enough.

If you’ve ever been to see David Sedaris, you know it’s not unreasonable to stand in line for 2-3 hours to get a book signed after the show.  By the time we left the theater, it was after midnight.

Midnight in Baltimore is unsettling.  Dark, cold, raining, and a bad reputation for crime in the streets.

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On the upside, at least we knew that the car was nearby.  Xavier put the address in his phone and we began walking, and walking, and walking.  We walked much further than we knew we should have and were passing things that did not look familiar but the map said we were going the right way.

Sensing that something was amiss, we cleared the route and re-entered the address.  This time the map showed us a different route and, though irritated, we felt relieved to have finally found the right way.

Did I mention that it was raining and that I was wearing high heels?

Once again we set out towards the car.  Walking quickly and confidently so as to not look like what we were – small town folk wandering lost in the streets of Baltimore at 1:00am, or in other words, likely to get mugged – we said that the map was stupid and clearly to blame for this predicament.

Lost in unfamiliar territory,  I was getting blisters on my feet and trying to stay cool like Fonzie.  This was no time to come unhinged.

We followed the map and we walked some more. A lot more.

At this point, most couples would’ve started bickering over who was at fault. We did not, and thus passed some kind of ill-timed cosmic compatibility test. Nothing brings out the true colors like being cold, tired, and scared.  For a moment I thought of the movie Open Water and hoped we would not suffer the same fate.

The map said we were headed right to the car but it was becoming obvious that we were nowhere near the car and probably even further away than before re-entering the address.

You know that feeling when you wake up in a hotel room and, just for a split second, don’t know where you are? Disconcertion and panic until the rest of your brain fires up and delivers the pertinent info?  Yeah, it was like that, minus the resolution.

Had we wandered into an alternate dimension? Seriously, what the hell was happening?

We walked around downtown Baltimore for an hour and half in the middle of night, following our map on one wild goose chase after another.

Eventually, when we ready to give up and find benches to sleep on, Xavier noticed that there were not one, and not two, but actually three streets with the name Park Avenue in the vicinity of Joseph Myerhoff Symphony Hall.

Hilarious.

At 1:45 in the morning, we finally found our way to the right 212 Park Avenue and to our car that was waiting for us.

We drove home without incident.

Was the universe fucking with us or keeping us away from the car for a specific reason?  Could this be yet another Unconfirmed Miracle?

Think what you will but I’ll tell you this.  Not one person threatened or even approached us while we wandered.  Neither of our phone batteries died.  Xavier did not lose the keys.  The car started right up and we did not get in an accident on the way home.  If the universe were fucking with us, wouldn’t something have actually happened? Wouldn’t we have gotten mugged or wrecked the car on the highway?

What did happen is that we were delayed by an hour and a half by a very bizarre map anomaly.

While we were shivering in the rain thinking what a bullshit scenario we had found ourselves in, maybe we were seeing the optical illusion and the truth is that we were being guided away from something sinister – a Bogey Man in the night who would’ve found us had things gone as planned.

There’s no way to know but, in the end, it’s what I choose to believe.

 


Poison Apples

 

“Democracy doesn’t work in a large and diverse country when all we do is demonize each other.”  

– Barack Obama

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By the way, you can tell if someone is a demon because they smell like sulfur… or so I’ve heard.

Would you rather watch in horror as the oncoming train rounds the bend or just play Candy Crush on your phone until the sudden stop?  And the bigger question, does it really affect the outcome one way or the other?

This dilemma, of whether or not the knowledge is worth the burden, has become the American condition.

I know I should probably be following the election more closely. I should tune in everyday to get my fair share of abuse but spending any measurable amount of time in the electoral theater of the absurd is just too much, even for me.

I try to imagine what Hunter Thomson’s new book would be called and, to wit, he killed himself some time ago. You know, before things got really weird.

The dangers of daily mindset training, when the monologue runs amok through fun house mirrors, is that a mind unhinged on fear and loathing will believe absolutely anything so long as it pushes the sore tooth.

“It used to take one, now it takes four. You don’t get me high anymore.”        

 -Phantogram

Having developed a tolerance to psychotropic nonsense at levels previously believed to be fatal, it takes more and more to get us high nowadays.  And make no mistake, we’re utterly intoxicated but the thrills grow harder to come by.

The first election in which I was old enough to vote was Dub-ya VS. Al Gore.  No one is actually going to vote for this clown, I thought to myself while watching George W. on TV for the first time.

I was mistaken but good ole W seems like Norman Rockwell compared to the angry orange man whose supporters have put forth the proposition that the 19th Amendment should be repealed. In case you missed that day in history class, the 19th Amendment is the one that gives women the right to vote. Apparently Trump’s army of Trumplets feel their right by might, pussy grabbing, “let’s build a wall” and “show me the birth certificate” candidate would have a better chance of winning if all those pesky women voters would just pipe down and get back to the business folding laundry and mixing cocktails.

But hold on a minute, raise your hand if you remember that Trump briefly threw his hat in the race when Obama was up for reelection in 2012.  Does anyone remember why he quit?   According to The Washington Post, he dropped out of the race in favor of keeping his show, The Celebrity Apprentice, on the air.  Personally, I think that after weighing the cost of the campaign vs. his chance of dying a slow and humiliating death while debating Obama, he decided to wait and run against someone whom he thought would be easier to beat – like a woman. Naturally, he presumed himself to have a better chance of winning if he ran against a woman but that is, of course, just my opinion.

I have voted in every election since 2000 when Al Gore won the popular vote but did not get elected and have been asking the same question every time:  Is this the best we’ve got?  

The republicans evidently lack even a single qualified person in their ranks who is willing to step up.  By qualified, I mean capable of doing more than make bumper sticker insults, not confusing religion for science, and perhaps being able to name all 50 states would be good too.

Sarah Palin’s idiocy single handedly killed John McCain’s campaign in 2008 but, even in the midst of that debacle, McCain called out a woman and set her straight when she shouted out that Obama was a terrorist at one of his rallies.

Two days ago, Trump approved conspiracy theorist, Alex Jones, concluded that Hillary Clinton was a bona fide, according to Hoyle, demon.  But don’t take my word for it, see for yourself.

Wow. And for this he gets a fat thumbs-up from Trump.

How broken does your mind have to be to watch that video and think it sounds reasonable?

As it turns out, it really does matter what you put in your brain hole.

I would watch the debates but there’s just no point except to get all riled up.  I’ve made my mind up awhile ago and let’s be clear, I wouldn’t vote for Hillary just because she’s a woman and I wouldn’t vote for her just because she’s a Democrat. Absolutely not, in fact I wish the Republicans could send out a qualified candidate so that there would be an actual choice to make. But this is not a choice. Neither was the last election, or the one before that, or the one before that. Sufficed to say, it’s been awhile.

Each passing election pushes the envelope between extreme politics and certifiable insanity. Worst of all, the pandering to the lowest common denominator has now made it cool to have the title Fucktard appear after one’s name where the letters MD or Ph.D may have once been coveted.  Before too long they’ll be pouring Gatorade on plants…

And here we are, either turning off the TV, unfriending people on Facebook and closing the blinds to the outside world or standing around the Tree Of Questionable Knowledge gorging our sticky faces on poison apples and waiting for the rapture.

Staying informed, what a bitch.