G&Des

Gary & Desiree (Part 2)

Friday, July 10th, 2015

I woke up and had the sudden urge to go to the bathroom. I was excited because I hadn’t gone since the day before we left. Armed with my coffee and my smartphone I headed into the ‘throom at the Hotel ML at 7 in the morning, but alas, nothing happened. I informed Tasha about my situation and then she proceeded to tell me to stop talking to her about stuff like that, so I kept it to myself. Literally.

“I don’t want to hear about your airplane constipation woes.” she said.

Tasha hadn’t gotten out of bed yet, and I was convinced that some time during the night she ate my orange creamscicle tastykake pie because there were empty wrappers everywhere around the room, and I didn’t remember eating THAT much last night. So I did what any good friend would do. I food shamed her by putting all these wrappers and bags on her bed the next morning and snapped a picture.

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Let me jump to the rehearsal dinner now because there is a lot of events that happened from Friday afternoon into Saturday night that I want to get to.

There was a rehearsal for Gary and Desiree’s wedding, but not one in the traditional sense. It definitely wasn’t going to be a huge event, but I think that kind of made it special and more intimate since it was going to take place in their backyard. There were no groomsmen and no bridesmaids, but regardless, we still all met at Tacconelli’s in Maple Shade that night for some great pizza, some good wine, and some incessant ball punching from one of the kids, but we’ll get to that later.

I parked the Stang outside and Tasha and I went into the restaurant into a private room in the back. Chad, Parr, Mary, and Nicola were already there, along with Gary, Desiree, and some, but not all of their immediate family. All of their kids were there too, playing with Star Wars stuff and what not around the table, and at one point, under the table too. I took a moment to think about that.

All of my friends who have kids were at this rehearsal dinner. I found it interesting the way they talk to them differently than they talk to me. I also thought the way Chad talked to Bastian is similar to the way I talk to my pets.

Bear with me for a second. I don’t have kids but if I did, I feel like I wouldn’t treat them much different from the way I would treat little human beings who are learning what’s right and what’s wrong, which is similar to how I treat my cat Dapple and Tasha’s bunny Rocco.

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When they do something good, I say good boy or good girl, and I give them a treat. When they misbehave, I let them know that they did that by changing the tone of my voice. It’s like when good things happen, Chad’s voice would go up in tone, but when Bastian did something bad, his voice got more stern and serious. I guess in that way I could relate to what was happening around me.  The pizza hadn’t come yet but the wine however, was sitting on the table ready to be opened.

“Is there a wine opener?” I asked.

Immediately Parr turned to me and reminded me of what happened a few years back at Chad’s wedding when “Is there a wine opener” turned into me accidentally grabbing the butt of one of the bus boys who was working Chad’s rehearsal dinner. I was kind of embarrassed, but also a little bit too drunk to care back then. This time however, I wasn’t going to be grabbing anyone’s ass.

There weren’t any dudes working at Tacconelli’s that night so every time a cute female server would walk into the room, I would ask “is there a wine opener” which somehow turned into code for ass grabbing. Fortunately for them, no ass grabbing occurred that night. I was fully behaved and ready to eat.

To my right sat Tasha who was drinking a watermelon beer, and to my left was Desiree’s aunt Phyllis who took a liking to me immediately. Maybe it was because we were both Italian, or perhaps it had something to do the fact that we were both single. Regardless, we were all having a nice mellow good time that night.

It was some time after P-Nut arrived that things started to get a little crazy. Not for us, mind you, but for Bastian, I think having all those people around and all that pizza was a little too much for him to handle.

After he kept shoving a fashlight into my face, bear hugging Nicola and Parr’s son Giann, and flirting with Tasha, he started to punch me, but not in a place where guys like to be punched. First I tried to pants him, and then I tried to reason with him (big mistake right there) I told him that he should never punch other dudes in the crotch area. Of course, when you tell a kid NOT to do something, it’s exactly what they WANT to do. This never happens with Dapple and Rocco, I kept thinking to myself.

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It wasn’t too long before Bastian had tried and succeeded in punching both me and Parr in the nuts. It didn’t hurt that much because we knew it was coming, and we were able to defend ourselves. However, P-Nut wasn’t so lucky.

I pulled Bastian aside and “suggested” he treat everyone fairly, and by that I mean he should also go over to P-Nut and give him a good high five…..but in the crotch. Only thing is, Bastian was so stealth and P-Nut was so unsuspecting that when Bastian DID punch him in the nuts, I think it caught him off guard. Probably because P-Nut was preoccupied trying to connect to the restaurant’s Wi-Fi.

Bastian’s fist made it’s way towards P-Nut’s crotch, and then Nut let out a resounding grunt of pain and fear. Perhaps it was silly, but me and Parr started cracking up anyway. Looking back now, I’m pretty sure it was my fault that Nut’s nuts got punched. Sorry about that dude, but it was really funny in the moment.

After that debacle, I heard Chad scolding Bastian in the sternest most father-like tone I’ve ever heard come out of his mouth. Bastian was in time out, and so were P-Nut’s nuts. After dinner and the ball punching fiasco, a few pictures were taken, and we all headed back to Gary and Desiree’s for a few after dinner drinks before Tasha and I headed back to our hotel for the night.

Saturday, July 11th, 2015

The morning of the wedding was upon us. Tasha and I were invited to Chad and Mary’s snooty swim club in the afternoon so we headed over there to tan ourselves a little bit before the wedding. I felt pretty important being a guest at a swim club. Tasha, Mary and I were laying out, and Bastian was too….in his own way on the concrete next to the pool.

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We laid there for an hour or so soaking up the sun and chatting about the night before. I started having this feeling like it was all coming to an end. Not the world, and not my life, but this whole experience of going my best friend’s weddings was about to be over. I don’t know how I feel about that.

On one hand, I’m extremely happy for Chad, P-Nut, Parr and Gary that they were able to find someone to share their life with. On the other hand, it kind of makes me look at myself and wonder, where did I go wrong? Maybe I didn’t do anything “wrong” but perhaps maybe my path is different. I’ve prided myself on being independent most of my life, although the truth is, I don’t know if I like it anymore.

Two months ago, I was dating a girl and had delusions of grandeur for a total of six days before I fucked it up. Before her, there was the heroin addict I met off of Ok Cupid. (That didn’t last very long.) Now, the date that I bring to this event, the last of my best friend’s weddings has a boyfriend back in Los Angeles. What am I doing wrong, and why hasn’t it worked out for me the way I want it to? Just then something pulled me out of my deep depressio thoughts as Bastian called out to me from the pool.

Hey Christian, my nipples are starting to grow!” he yells from the deep end.

“That’s great buddy! Good job!” I reply.

I mean honestly, what else can you say to a statement like that?

Tasha and I left the pool and headed to the nearest Wawa/CVS to pick up a gift card for Gary and Des, and a light lunch to eat before we got back to the hotel and got ready for the wedding.

As we got into the elevator, we said hello to Desiree’s Dad and his wife who were staying a few rooms down from us. It would be only an hour later when I would see them again. I was outside the hotel just minutes before we were to leave as Desiree’s Dad would drive by in his truck and yell out the window to me as I was taking a selfie…

“You look great!” He said from the moving car.

I laughed a bit at my own self indulgence, but I still posted that picture on Instagram, and went back up to the hotel to see if Tasha was ready to go.

We arrived at wedding a little bit early. Almost too early since no one else was there, and Gary was still in his street clothes. A few minutes later I saw the guests starting to arrive and we went into the backyard for the ceremony.

We all grabbed a foldable fan and a drink before the wedding began, and I was able to catch up with Josh Borden who I hadn’t seen since way back in the 1990s when Stone Temple Pilots were still a band and Lane Staley of Alice In Chains hadn’t died yet. I would hear those tunes every morning when Josh used to pick up me and Gary for school my junior year before I had my license. I remember many mornings when that white Ford Tempo would pull up to my house, then roll over to Gary’s place, then head in the opposite direction from Cherokee High School to some place like Laurel Lanes or the Denny’s on Rt. 70 which is now called the Marlton Diner. I miss those days.

We took a seat in the backyard as the ceremony began. Gary, Parr and Chad were dressed in matching lavender suits and stood on the stone landing and watched as Gary’s beautiful bride was escorted down the stairs and onto the alter by her father. Desiree was smiling, bright and full of joy as she made her way to Gary. You could tell this was a moment she had been waiting for, for a long time. There was this air of love and confidence in the backyard that afternoon, one that had been set in motion ten years prior when they met.

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As Chad began to minister the wedding, I got caught up in reminiscing a little bit in my own mind. Gary has always been a solid guy. He’s perhaps one of the smartest people I know. I’ve been in debates with him over countless hours back when we used to hang out on his back porch when his parents lived in Marlton, and I’ve been engaged in some spectacular and life changing events with him that I have never shared with anyone. Like that one time New Year’s Eve 1998 when I rented a hotel room, and in the middle of celebrating the new year, I puked up all my Captain Morgan. It was Gary who remained sober and told me it was gonna be ok as he cleaned up my mess and pleaded with me to aim for the toilet instead of the sink in the bathroom.

With one simple act in 1999, Gary helped me through a a difficult time and gave me a reason to look forward to the future at a point in my life when all I could do was dwell on the past and hope that it didn’t break me down anymore. What he did changed my life forever, and even though you the reader might not understand what I mean or what exactly happened, I know HE knows what I’m referring to, and that’s all that matters. For that and for many other reasons, I’m grateful. In some way it started me on a journey that got me to start writing, brought me out to Seattle, Vegas, then California, and gave me the confidence I needed to put the past in the past and move on with my life.

Gary is one of those guys that is strong minded and stands his ground and believes in what he believes in and doesn’t get influenced from the outside. I respect that about him, and lately I’ve wished that I could find a little more of the assurance he peels off so effortlessly in his life, in MY life. I love him like a brother. I love all my friends like brothers, but Gary is the one who challenged me the most when I was growing up. I’ll always remember that. I’ve never been more happy for him than on this Saturday afternoon in July.

In the middle of me catching feelings for the past, I looked up at Gary and Desiree who were staring into each other’s eyes and listening to Chad’s speech about making a commitment to their higher selves. Then Chad grabs the rings and hold them over his head. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but there was something strange about the way Chad was standing. He stood there, feet planted firmly on the ground and arms stretched towards heaven, holding the wedding rings over his head in dramatic fashion like some superhero about to have them blessed by God.

All I could imagine when I saw Chad was the Masters of the Universe, specifically when Adam would change into He-Man by pointing the sword over his head and belting out the phrase “By the power of Greyskull, I have the power!!” I looked back at Steve who was sitting behind me.

“Please tell me you got a picture of that.” I asked.

“I didn’t, but I’m sure someone got one.” He replied.

And here it is….

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A few seconds later by the power of Greyskull…..I mean by the power vested in Chad by the state of New Jersey, Gary and Desiree were officially husband and wife.

After the ceremony we made our way up to the deck to grab a drink and chill out before we headed over to Desiree’s Mom’s place for the reception. I saw Gary’s parents headed towards me and I wasn’t sure if they would recognize me, until Mrs. Butcher put that all to rest by hitting me over the head with one of the folding fans from the wedding.

“I remember you. You’re the troublemaker.” She said as I smiled and said hello.

Then I really thought about what she just said.

Mrs. Butcher was right. It’s not like I was a scourge on society, or set someone’s house on fire, or peer pressured Gary into doing something he didn’t want to do. I just don’t think I was a good friend some times. Granted, I had my own issues going on but that isn’t an excuse for not valuing the friendships and relationships I had back then. After I left in 2000, it took me another four or five years to fully get it. I’m one of those people that makes an impression on your life, but my problem back then was that I didn’t care if it came off as a positive impression or a negative one.

I guess what Mrs. Butcher said to me that afternoon resonated with me. I know I can’t go back and change anything I did, but at least I can try and make things right now by honoring my best friends and hoping to recreate the happiest day of their lives by writing this blog. Maybe it will lead to something bigger. Maybe no one really gives a shit at all, but in the end, I have to try and paint a different picture and I’d like to think that at the end of this story, someone somewhere will look back on these words and smile, especially during the rehearsal dinner with all the ball punching that was going on.

Tasha and I drove with the top down to the reception that took place in another backyard just a short drive from the backyard where the wedding took place.

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While Tasha found where we were sitting, I found the bar and we all sat down at table 7 which was right up against something I hadn’t seen in like 12 years… an above ground pool.

All the troublemakers were at one table. There was me and Tasha in our matching wedding outfits that we didn’t plan on matching. Parr was “on beer” and Nicola was “on water” but this time for a different reason than being hungover. Steve was commenting about some dude who didn’t know how to put his collar down over his neck tie, and Mary was drinking some wine while Chad was waxing philosophical, and of course P-Nut was again trying to connect to the Wi-Fi. To my right was Heather and Josh Borden who unfortunately ended up listening to Halin talk for most of, if not ALL of the reception.

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0711151802a <— checking for Wi-Fi

The appetizers and the dinner were spectacular. Mac and cheese, salmon, mini burgers, they had it all. Of course, after we all had eaten it was time for the Maid of Honor and Best Man speeches. I remember Parr’s speech fondly, as I’m sure everyone else there that afternoon did too. Every Christmas Eve, Gary’s dad would read ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas, but he would change the words in the poem to fit what happened in the family that year. I always thought that was a great tradition, and I also thought it was a great idea for Parr to deliver his speech in the same fashion. I don’t remember all of the speech, but P-Nut recorded it. The one line that got me and everyone else laughing so hard that afternoon went something like this…

“Des got a job, and makes lots of money. Gary, what can I say. You’ll always be funny.”

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Now it was time for dancing and more drinking. The drinking was always going to be a success and the dancing part of the night started out really well. Gary and Des had sent out invitations and asked for all of us to put one song request on the RSVP so when we got to this point of the night, we would be able to ask the deejay to play our song. However, the deejay, was actually a giant touch screen i-Pod on the side of the dance floor with thousands of songs in it. After a few songs played, they got to the song I picked out a few months back. It’s called “Pay No Mind” by Madeon.

To me, it’s like the perfect summer wedding song. When that first beat hit, all of the young adults (meaning me and my friends) were out there dancing and picking up change. I had changed my shoes and put on my Nike Air Max for this particular reason. Ever try dancing in $100 Steve Madden dress shoes you’ve only worn for three hours since the beginning of the day? Yeah, it doesn’t feel good on your feet.  Regardless, this song will always remind me of that moment in time.

“I’m always going to associate this song with Gary’s wedding.” Parr said to me.

The drinks were flowing, the music was kicking, and next up was the Beastie Boys to which everyone who was still on the dance floor was really into, except the “young” young adults (meaning not me and my friends) For some ungodly reason, they would veto “Shake Your Rump” and put on some stupid gangster rap song in it’s place.

How are you going to bump the Beastie Boys for some crappy rap song? Who the hell plays rap at a wedding anyway? Do these tweens not know that without that song they just skipped that this crap song probably wouldn’t exist? Dejected, we all left the dance floor immediately and headed to the bar where I saw Desiree’s dad sitting down in utter confusion.

“I liked that Beastie Boys song.” He exclaimed.

I think we all did, and I think we all learned a lesson from this musical wedding experience which is don’t give control of the music to people who weren’t alive before 1994. No offense, but that generation does NOT know good music at all. At one point they put on country. Travis fucking Tritt??!?! Come on! They may know how to Snapchat and Periscope better than me, but please, stay away from the giant I-Pod at weddings. It’s out of your league, millennials.

As the night started to wind down, I got my chance to hear a couple more songs I wanted to and danced with Mary and Tasha on the dance floor to Daft Punk, that stupid Chris Brown song that was featured in the wedding episode of the Office, and a few other hits like Hung Up by Madonna. By the end of the night, I was a drunk and sweaty mess, as I should be in the summer in July in South Jersey at a backyard wedding.

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I had hit the proverbial wall meaning I wasn’t able to drink anymore, nor was I able to be in a social setting for fear of falling down, saying something stupid, or just generally embarrassing myself. Tasha took me up to the deck to say goodbye to whomever was in ear shot, which turned out to be Chad swimming in the pool.

“We’re gonna go.” Tasha said to Gary. “Christian is too drunk.”

“Too drunk for what?” Gary asked.

It was a legitimate question, but I know I was just… too drunk for life. Tasha got into the drivers seat of the ‘Stang, I put the top down and we drove back to our hotel, but of course, not before we stopped at a Wawa for some late night snacks.

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The next afternoon we gathered up our stuff, checked out of the Hotel ML and were headed up to New York to meet up with my friend Mark for dinner, but before that, we stopped at Parr and Nicola’s to say goodbye.

When are you gonna write the blog?” Parr asked.

“Probably in a few months. I’m gonna miss it.” I replied.

And I mean that. I started this blog back in April and since then I’ve been subject to some praise for what I wrote, and some controversy for how I wrote it. I have offended the small minded people that I knew would get upset, but I’ve put smiles on the faces of others who I guess needed to be reminded of how special their day was to me. I’ve branched out and I’ve started writing other blogs, but this is kind of the one that started it all. So the question remains, what happens next? This blog is definitely about my friends getting married, the ridiculous and wonderful things that have happened along the way, but there is a story within the story of how and why Tasha and I have gone to every one of these weddings together, but will never get married to each other.

We met back in June of 2007, some 8 years ago and since that day she has been a driving force in my life. Sure, things are not the way they used to be, and there probably won’t be any more weddings for us to go to together, but it still makes for a good story, within the story. Will we ever sell our TV show? Who the fuck knows. At this point, I don’t really care about that. I just want her to be happy and I want us to continue to remain friends for the rest of my life.

I was honored to be a guest at Gary and Desiree’s wedding, and I was happy to finally see one of my best friends find someone who compliments him perfectly. He definitely deserves it, and I wish them all the best moving forward, even though I know they don’t need it. They have a strong bond, one that is very clear and obvious if you know them.

I know how to appreciate my friends now in a way that I don’t think I could when I was younger. Through all these weddings, receptions, and rehearsal dinners, I’ve been lucky enough to share them with some of the most amazing people I’ve been fortunate enough to know for years and who I grew up with. I don’t know when I’m going to meet someone special or if I’m even going to get married, but believe me, everyone of these people will be there to celebrate with me, and I sure hope someone writes a blog about it.

What are you going to write next?” Parr asked.

“Maybe after this I’ll write like a wedding awards blog.” I replied.

“What are you going to call it?” He asked

The Weddie Awards.” I say. “What else?

Ha! The Weddies! Like the Dundies from the Office.” he says.

Tasha and I said goodbye to Parr and Nicola, got into our car and headed north on the New Jersey Turnpike.

“You need money for tolls?” Tasha asked.

“Baby, I got EZ-Pass!” I reply. 

 

Thanks for reading.  -CM

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Waiting a Long Time to Fall Down

I’ve been holding it in all summer long. With every day that goes by I think to myself something will eventually break and I can be what I used to know as happy again if only for a moment. Coincidentally with every day I wake up I think to myself maybe it will be cooler today and I won’t have to on the air conditioning at 10am. Then yesterday, the Summer was officially over, and something miraculous happened. I fell down.

On to the floor of my kitchen I slid which hasn’t been cleaned since the Spring. I sat there trying to hold back my emotions while taking a drag of my cigarette thinking in some way that it will make it easier for me to deal with the fact that I am crying my eyes out at 3pm on a Wednesday because of some trigger I planted in my brain years ago. My heavy heart was sinking my proverbial ship, and there I sat on the linoleum floor trying not to take deep breaths with tears running down my face, breaking down the static in my head as Counting Crows played in the background.

It doesn’t get much worse than this.

Ironically, that was the thought that was coming into my head just at the same time that those were the lyrics coming out of my speakers. Coincidence? Probably not. I know better.

But, if I knew better then why am I laying on the ground feeling all the pent up emotions that I have pushed away for three months while I try to decide if it’s going to hurt too much to stand up and get a paper towel to dry my eyes? Why do I keep putting myself in harms way and expect things to get better when the past has taught me that they won’t? And why does this incessant heat wave always seem to coincide with how I’m feeling? I’m trapped inside my apartment and I have never wanted it to be 60 degrees and raining more than I did yesterday.

I felt lost and alone because I don’t know what to do with my life anymore and everyone seems to go away. I felt empty and tired because I hadn’t eaten much since Sunday and I hadn’t slept much either. I felt battered and emotionally beaten because I had been my own worst enemy for far too long these past three months. I had been praying for weeks and asking for an answer to come, and apparently as it turns out, I had been waiting a long time only to fall down.

Maybe that’s what I needed. Maybe I needed another mental breakdown to happen on the floor of my kitchen because that’s where I learn the most about myself. Maybe it will get better from here because as far as I can see through my own fears, this is pretty much the saddest, most pathetic 45 minutes I’ve ever spent in my own body which was now slouched against the refrigerator staring at my kitchen cabinets which need to be painted.

I was texting my only friend who would listen things like “I don’t want to live like this anymore.” & “It’s been harder on me than I’ve let on” and I think I do that because it’s the absolute truth and I hope it will set me free, and I do it so I don’t feel like I’m going through this alone even though my cat wouldn’t even come close to me as I called out to her in between my gasping for air.

These are the moments that I don’t want anyone to know about. These are the moments when I eventually look back and say that was when my life changed forever, and these are the moments when I want to keep things to myself, but everything in my brain is telling me the only way to get through this time is to stop hiding behind your pride, be honest with yourself, get the fuck up off the ground, and write about it.

So here we are.

listening to:

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Goodbye My Best Friend

My best friend is leaving today. He’s only going back to the Valley where he lives now, but he doesn’t drive a car so it’s hard for him to get around. He also doesn’t speak English, so calling each other is out of the question, and of course we can’t text each other if he doesn’t understand language or how to type, so for the most part all communication with him must be made through an intermediary, his owner.

That’s right, my best friend is a rabbit. This all came about a few years ago when my then roommate got a small bunny as a pet and came to live with me and my cat. At first, we kept the bunny in a cage in the kitchen, with limited time out for good behavior. However, within a week or so, we set up a baby gate along one wall of my living room and made a little playpen for the bunny to eat, work, and play in. He doesn’t really work per se, but the amount of effort he puts into chewing cardboard boxes and baseboards, and re-arranging the stuff in his playpen is a feat in of itself. He would eventually live there, not paying rent for the next two years, until my roommate and her bunny moved out last December.

I went through a classic case of depression last winter when he left, and I don’t know if I’ve ever fully recovered. Don’t get me wrong, I know depression is a serious thing and I’m not trying to mock people who are really suffering in the world, but a part of me was really attached to that bunny. When he and my roommate moved out, not only did I become quite despondent living on my own, but my bills went up, my rent doubled, and it was just like all of a sudden I woke up one day and he was gone.

I looked forward to seeing him when I got lonely and depressed because he gave me the one thing I truly needed when I feel that way, which is unconditional love and understanding. This is why we have pets. They give us both of those things in return for a place to stay and they make it easy to love them back.

Over the past 9 months since my roommate left, I’ve kind of had to learn how to be social again and go out and meet real people, or call the “human” friends of mine I have in my phone. I gotta be honest, it’s not as easy as hanging out with a rabbit in your living room and it’s definitely twice as expensive.

The longer I have stayed in Los Angeles, I’ve seen my friends meet their future spouse, get married, have kids, and eventually move away. When I moved here 12 years ago, I had two of my best friends from high school living less than two blocks away from me. We all hung out and went to the beach during the day, and hit up bars like Star Shoes at night on our endless summer vacation. I was 27, had goals and a twinkle in my eye, and life was just like the proverbial pamphlet in my mind that I imagined they gave me when I moved to Southern California. The sun was always shining, there was always a new cool spot to check out, and I had a great group of really good people living in Hollywood here with me to experience it.

Then one day I wake up, it’s 2009 I’m now 33, my eyes are red and tired, and the only way I can see all of my friends again is to get on a plane back to Jersey and go to one of their weddings. I knew that this was going to happen. Growing into an adult and making adult decisions takes years, but I just figured by THAT time I would have found someone to love and we’d make adult decisions and go to these weddings together and everything will be right in the world.  Isn’t that how it’s supposed to work out?

Truth is, in that time I did find someone to love. We have been to all my friend’s weddings together, and we were a couple for many years, but her and I are NOT together anymore. Sure, we still love each other, but more like friends, and less like lovers. However, when she brought that rabbit to my life in the fall of 2013 and we lived here for two years under the same roof, I have to admit…I fell in love again….with the bunny.

Because it was time, she moved out last winter. I felt the immediate monetary loss, but when she took the rabbit with her,(which I knew was going to happen since it’s her bunny) I felt the emotional loss. I miss that bunny every day he isn’t here. Luckily for me though, she goes out of town and I get to bunny sit for a couple weeks every other month. I look forward to when he comes to visit, and on the mornings when he has to leave, a part of me gets a little depressed.

I know it may be strange to be best friends with a three year old bunny, but Rocco and I have a strong bond. He is a rabbit, and according to the Chinese zodiac, I was born in the year of the rabbit. We both have similar character traits like loving carbohydrates, getting into trouble, having to have things a specific way, and sometimes being a stubborn jerk in the process. I love him and accept him for who he is, and I don’t try to change him. We make for good friends. He’s always happy to see me when I get home, and when my cat goes into his cage to drink out of his water dish, he sometimes bullies her, but trust me, she deserves to get bullied. I love my cat, don’t get me wrong, but she is a girl, and Rocco is a dude.  It’s just different.  We’re like bros. He is a “man’s man”….or in this case, a man’s bunny.

It’s been difficult for me to find good people to call a friend in the past few years, and I’ll be the first one to admit, it’s probably 65% my fault for not trying. I know they’re out there, and I know they are just a call or text away and I’m grateful for that, but when someone is there everyday, and then suddenly they’re not, it just…..sucks.

I guess when Rocco has to go home after his mini vacation at my place, all these old feelings of losing someone start to come up and this time, I find myself writing a blog about the idea of dealing with loss. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it.

In France they say “La Vie Change”, just like the song I am listening to. It means Life changes. It means my friend now has two kids and is living in Haddonfield NJ, instead of no kids and living in Hollywood. It means some friends are 3000 miles away and I have to make new ones, even if they can never compare to that rabbit in my living room. It means my ex girlfriend who I lived with for three years after we broke up, now has a new boyfriend and I’m still single and sometimes I feel weird about that.

I know life is constantly in a state of change, but just knowing that doesn’t prepare me for what it’s like to live it once it happens. That part is up to me, and if you couldn’t tell already, I’m managing, but I’ll be honest, I wish some things didn’t change.

I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the feeling of losing something or someone in life. It’s tough having to go on without them.  I lost a pet in 2011 and it devastated me and my roommate, but out of that horrific time came Rocco Valentino.  I really miss those times when I first moved to L.A. and my friends and I explored the city and ate at Swingers and made out with chicks at The Roost, but people grow up and make decisions based on what they want in life.  I’m happy for them, and maybe even a little envious because I’m still making decisions and I don’t always know what I want.

I know I’m a culmination of every person I have met, and every experience that didn’t kill me in the process.  I’m part married guy, part ex-girlfriend, and part cat-rabbit because my animal instincts say I’ve been here before, and I know I’ll be ok.  I have my moments where it all goes to shit, but there will always be someone for me to talk to, or someone who will listen, or some one who runs into the kitchen when they hear the cupboard close and does a happy dance at my feet to get some form of a cracker or chip out of me.  I know I’ll figure it out because I have best friends, even though one of them peed on the kitchen floor the other day.

Now if I could just figure out that someone to love.

myspacestarduster

Love of the Loveless

Ahhh, to be 29 years old again.  This one is from June of 2005.  I think I had just broken up with someone, somewhere and I was drinking my nights away and writing my thoughts down in HTML format.  Thanks to all my new followers and the people who pay attention. New stuff up next week, in the meantime this is “Love of the Loveless.”

(originally posted June 29th, 2005)

http://www.myspace.com/*starduster

This is the life I lead now….crossing fingers and wiping brows. It gets warm in my apartment even though the nighttime air blows in the window crisp and cool. I have no time to waste anymore and I’m feeling like a basket case lately.

The last fortnight I have been supplying my brain with televised scenes and video-taped dreams. I’m not sorry for being such a recluse and keeping to myself lately. This is what I go through a few times a year and I keep myself busy by drinking fermented grape juice and distilled vodka occasionally while I don’t dare answer my phone or venture much outside of my neighborhood.

If it weren’t for my meowing friend at my feet and the reflection I see every day I wouldn’t know that I was alive with feeling. I smiled twice today and I spoke less than four sentences to anyone who would listen. I’m pretty fucking proud of that fact too.

I know that the road is long and uphill, but I don’t want to give up just before I get there. I’ve never been in one place this long in the past five years and I’m starting to lose my spirit. I hear that voice inside my head say “don’t give up, you’re almost there,” …and I like it when I give myself something to live for.

These California girls are all the same. Loveless and longing for a reason to take something for granted. They can be my best friend or they can be my worst enemy, but either way they’re still a mystery that eludes me on a daily basis. Everyone wants to take you out except me. There’s something to be said about that.

Please describe yourself and make sure not to leave out important facts like “sometimes I like to be by myself and not say hello to anyone,” because that makes more sense to me than someone who is in a genuine good mood every day of their life.

Clues are too cool for the kids. I thought I told you that before.

So here I am in disgust and happenstance sitting in a chair I got for free, wishing that no one in the world is anything like me because I’d die if I knew I wasn’t an original bastard anymore.

I’m in love with the loveless.

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Gary & Desiree (Part 1)

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Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

I’m sitting at Gladstone’s in Terminal 3 at LAX. Tasha and I are having our breakfast before noon which consisted of an extra large beer, a double bloody mary, an order of shrimp cocktail, and an iceberg wedge salad. We’re about to get on a plane to fly to Newark, NJ to rent a car so we can drive to Maple Shade, NJ to attend the wedding of Gary and Desiree, the last of my best friends from high school to get married. I guess technically, I’m the last of my best friends to get married, but I have a long way to go considering I’m still single and I love to attend weddings with my ex-girlfriend.

I spot some big black guy behind us who is wearing sunglasses talking on his cell phone, and looking a lot like Suge Knight, if Suge Knight wasn’t rotting in some jail cell in Los Angeles right now.

“That’s not Suge Knight.” Tasha says.

“I know.” I replied

“Looks like a guy I used to date.”  Tasha states

Hmmm…I didn’t know Tasha banged some famous black music producer before we dated.

“He wasn’t that famous.” She says. “What time does our flight leave?”

We finish up our carbohydrate free breakfast and make our way over to the gate to board the plane. I had been looking forward to Gary’s wedding for a few months now. Things in L.A. had been extremely tense lately, and Tasha and I had been taking meeting after meeting with a manager who may want to sign us as writers and make our TV show. He manages two pretty big name clients. One of them is an Oscar winner, and the other one stars in that FOX show Empire. We had just taken a week to rewrite our script to make it more edgy and controversial, and we e-mailed it to him the day before we left.

Writing and re-writing that script almost kills our friendship every time. I don’t know what’s going to happen with it, but I sure hope we can eventually reap the benefits of two and a half years of hard work and sacrifice at some point in our professional lives. Anyway, back to the story…

I had booked the flight with my Virgin America Visa card, mainly because I get points, the credit card is cool looking, and it came with a free companion ticket (to use at a later time and not THIS particular trip, of course)

Now, I particularly enjoy flying Virgin because they have TVs in the seat backs and you can basically sit there and watch movies, shows, or whatever for the duration of the 5 and half hour flight to the east coast. I’ve never flown into Newark before. Normally I’d fly into Philly since it’s closer, but thanks to some plane issue, Virgin had to take away that city as a hub, so here we are about to get on the plane to fly into North Jersey when an announcement comes over the loudspeaker.

“We would like to invite our passengers who need assistance and those flying with children to board the flight.”

Why do they get to go first? I understand the people in wheel chairs who need help, but kids? They’re smaller than regular people and shouldn’t have any issues getting into a plane. Now if it’s a newborn, I guess that would require extra time and attention. As I see a newborn board the plane, I immediately hope that baby doesn’t sit near me.

“We would now like to invite our first class passengers to board the flight.”

Great, Richie Riches get to board the flight before the rest of us laymen. We’re in row 13, so at this point we probably won’t be able to board for another ten minutes. I hate boarding the plane with a bunch of other people. They’re usually slow and have a lot of carry-on baggage that they can’t seem to make fit into the overhead compartment. At this point I’m cursing the boarding process when I hear another announcement.

“At this point we would like to invite our Virgin America Visa card holders to board the flight.”

Holy shit, this card DOES have perks! I didn’t know we get to board the flight before anybody else. Suddenly I feel special and important like business class or that baby who boarded before us. We get up, I pull the card out of my pocket and with a big smile on my face, I flash it to the ticket taker as the rest of the people in line to board who don’t have Virgin America Visa cards look at us with airline contempt.

We board the plane with ease, and settle into our six hour flight back East, then I hear incessant crying. Of course, the newborn is sitting right behind us. Time to put on the headphones and order a drink.

I got drunk on the plane ride there. We were somewhere over Colorado when I started to feel the effects of a double bloody mary and two double vodka and diet cokes on the flight. It’s a funny feeling to be drunk at 30,000 feet and not realize how drunk you are until you stand up to go to the bathroom over the Rocky Mountains and it’s even funnier when you look over at your friend sitting next to you who just spilled beer on her cleavage.

“Nice one, drunkie.” I say to Tasha.

Remembering that I eventually have to pick up my rental car at the airport and drive one hour to south Jersey, I stop drinking, go back to watching my shows and maybe even fall asleep for a few minutes.

At 8:35pm, we land in Newark Liberty International. At the same time, the landing appears to have been too much for the baby sitting behind us because it started to smell real quickly  like a dirty diaper in the cabin. After the ten minutes it takes for the other 12 rows to get their luggage together, we finally exit the plane and head to the baggage claim.

We grab our luggage, take the tram to the rental car station and I go to claim my car. When I went to make the reservation two months ago, every car I chose was close to $600 for the week, except for one. Seeing that I was taking a trip to New Jersey in July, and that I don’t mind saving some money, I decided to opt for the only car that was simultaneously less expensive, and fit the profile of someone like me driving in New Jersey in mid summer.

“Your car is located in space 42.” says the rental car guy.

And with that, Tasha and I exit the rental car place, and get into our silver 2014 Mustang convertible, and drive the 45 minutes south on the New Jersey Turnpike to exit 4.

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There are still these things called toll roads in New Jersey, so when we exit the turnpike, I have to check the ticket to see how much money this short drive costs me. Only problem is, the only two lanes open are for those who have EZ-Pass which allows you to breeze through the exits and they bill you later. I don’t know which one to go to, so I drive up to the only window that has a human being inside of it. There to meet me is a big black woman named Gertrude who I hope will take my money and then send us on our way.

“Hi, where do I pay this toll?”  I ask Gertrude as I hand her my ticket and a ten dollar bill.

She looks at my car, then she says to me in an East coast tone that totally reminds me that I’m back in Jersey.

“Baby, you got EZ-Pass!”

“I do? Sweet!” I reply.

We drive off into the night towards the Hotel ML which will now be our home for the next four days.

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

Tasha and I woke up at like 6am. There is no way to get used to the jet lag that you suffer when flying from the west coast to the east coast, and there is almost no way to combat the constipation that comes with flying on an airplane for six hours either. I was suffering from both, but we somehow made our way to the gym and then headed to Macy’s to pick up a little wedding outfit.

The Moorestown Mall Macy’s sucked. I couldn’t find a shirt I liked, so to kill a little more time before we met Parr for lunch, we headed to the Cherry Hill Macy’s where I found what I was looking for in ten minutes. It took Tasha an extraordinary amount of time to pick out a dress, so we were a little late when we left the second Macy’s and headed to Honeygrow.

Parr meets us at the door and we all go in and order our salads. Honeygrow is like that place Saladworks, but on steroids. You stand in front of computer and pretty much create your own salad with whatever many vegetables, cheeses, or meats you want. I figured we’d start the trip out with healthy options because if I know my friends, the next three days will be good times, shit talking and overindulging in gratuitous amounts of food and alcohol.

We’re eating our lunch and catching up with each other. We talk about Nicola being preggers, P-Nut complaining about Tom Brady and “Deflategate,” and Gary having a son which I didn’t realize he had until just a few months ago. I remember this story that happened in Vegas last year at Parr’s bachelor party, so I begin to tell it to Tasha who was definitely not in Vegas at the time that it happened. I didn’t get more than ten words into it when she gets up from the table and goes to get a drink refill.

“Where is she going?” I asked Parr.

“Hey, I’m in the middle of telling you a story.” I said to Tasha who was five feet away.

“Oh, I thought you were telling Parr.” She replied.

I think the plane ride might have affected Tasha’s brain. Did she not remember a minute ago when I started the story with “So this one time at Parr’s bachelor party weekend in Vegas…

“Why would I need to tell Parr, he was there when it happened!” I say.

We all start cracking up and this lunch is turning out to be a great start to the weekend. Later that night I had a dinner to attend with the boys, and Tasha had a date with Mary and the bride to be, Destiny…I mean Desiree.

Tasha and I head over to my Mom’s place to say hello before “the big rain storm” happens which eventually didn’t happen until much later than expected that night. I pull up in the Mustang and honk my horn and she comes out. She excited to see me, and I’m even more excited to take her for a ride in the convertible.

“I’ve never ridden in a convertible before!” She says.

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My mom is such a cute old lady, and there was something cool about me taking her for her first ride in a rag top. We drive over to Wegman’s in the ‘Stang. My mom is getting a kick out of it and we head into the store so she can get a few things, and I can go over to Dick’s sporting goods and search for Eagles or Flyers gear that I can’t get in Los Angeles. Of course, since neither one of those sports are in season right now, they have nothing except Phillies gear, and they stink so I won’t be purchasing anything at all.

Tasha and I talk with my Mom a bit, and then we head back to the hotel around 3pm to get ready for the night. However, before we go I take Tasha on a driving tour of the places I used to live and work in South Jersey.

First, we stop off at my old apartment near Conestoga road, where I lived when I was 18 and where I got tattooed in my kitchen while my old roommate smoked a lot of pot in the living where he also slept. This was also the site of where I endured my first stalker, a 13 year old Bulgarian girl who lived in the complex and who would randomly knock on my door to hang out. I don’t know how it works in Bulgaria, but an 18 year old hanging out with a 13 year old is kind of weird. I wonder whatever happened to her?

Next, we drive past the T.G.I Friday’s where I used to work until I got fired in 1999, and the AMC theater where I had my first french kiss back in 1991 while I was watching the movie The Naked Gun with Beth Piotrowski. I wonder what ever happened to her.

Finally, we arrive at the featured destination of the afternoon, the Vineyards in Marlton where I lived from 1987 until 1994. I show Tasha the tennis courts where I used to skateboard until I got yelled at by the groundskeeper, and then I show her the window to my old bedroom which was inadvertently broken by a guy named Ian Thompson one morning when he, Parr, Bezanis, and a few other dudes cut school and came over to my place at 9am in the morning. This was back when no one had cell phones so the only way to wake someone up was to throw a rock at their window. In hindsight, I think Ian may have thrown that rock a little too hard. Speaking of Ian, no one knows what ever happened to him.

“And that’s where I lost my virginity.” I say to Tasha as I point to 4 Medoc Court.

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I had some really good times when I lived there. Looking back now, I never really wanted to uproot myself and move to Marlton in the first place, but A. I was only 12 so it wasn’t my decision and B. I’m glad it happened because I met some really great people like Chad and Parr and P-Nut and Gary who I’ve been best friends with for over twenty years. I don’t know if many people can say that about their adolescence, but it’s something I hold in high regard.

Tasha and I then took a walk to the creek behind my old neighborhood and I showed her where me, Chad, Nut, and Ryan Barbarics thought we saw the Jersey Devil in the woods, and where I used to fish for sunnies off the storm drain.

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I love where I grew up.  I wasn’t the smartest kid, the most athletic, or the most successful, but I wouldn’t want to go back and do anything differently. Sure, there were some times when things didn’t really seem to work out, and I wouldn’t want to re-live those experiences, but a part of me knows that I needed to go through them at that time in my life, and I had a great supporting cast to help me through it. Speaking of which, it was now time to head back to the hotel and get ready for the night.

The boys were all meeting at Rodizio grill in Voorhees, and the girls were going out to Distrito in Moorestown, so Tasha and I headed over to Chad and Mary’s so I could drop her off, pick up Chad, and head to dinner.

We pull into Chad and Mary’s driveway with EDM blasting in the background, until I remember we’re in a residential neighborhood and I should probably turn it down. I was back home in March for a court case and I had to spend a weekend here while I got my shit taken care of and I stayed with Chad, Mary, and their two sons Bastian and Asher. Asher is a baby, so he didn’t really remember that I was there before, but Bastian certainly knew I was coming over.

The last time I was here, I got really drunk with Mary one night and kept chasing Bastian around the house trying to pull his pants down. I know it was probably annoying to him, but we used to do the same thing to his Dad back in the day. At one point back in March, Bastian ran up the stairs to avoid my hi-jinks and then shouted down to me.

“Christian, you are so DRUNK!”

This time when I got there, he appeared to have no fear whatsoever as he ran up to me and basically pleaded with me to pants him again. It was then that I realized he was wearing a bunch of pairs of shorts like Martin in that episode of the Simpsons when Bart and Lisa get a pool.

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“Go ahead, do your worst.” He said.

“You’re wearing multiple pairs of pants dude, that’s cheating.” I replied.

Ever try reasoning with a 6 year old? It doesn’t work, however I went to pants him anyway, but he tied those pants really damn tight. There was no way they were coming off. Chad and I said goodbye to Tasha and Mary and we jumped in the ‘Stang and headed out for dinner.

Rodizio Grill is one of those places where you sit down and they come by with all sorts of meats and they give you a red and green button to either say more meat, or please stop feeding us, there is no way I can fit another piece of steak, chicken, or turkey in my belly. I park the car, and then we head inside to the bar to grab a drink.

Dave and Parr meet us there in a few minutes, followed by Steve and then finally, Gary. I immediately notice we are all wearing some version of a button down shirt and jeans, such is life in your late thirtes. Some of us went plaid, some of us went solid. Regardless, I say hello to everyone and after a another drink at the bar which Chad does not partake in being that he is currently on the wagon, we head over to our table for dinner.

Our waitress comes up to us and explains the deal of how it works at Rodizio. She’s pretty cute, but I’m here for the meat. We all order another round of drinks, head to the salad bar for an appetizer, and then the meat carvers start coming out. There’s short rib, filet mignon, turkey wrapped in bacon, pork chop, flat iron steak, chicken breast. The list goes on.

So many meats have come our way in the last thirty minutes that I don’t want it to stop, except when they brought out the chicken hearts. I’m all for trying new things, but I got to be honest, the chicken heart was pretty gross.

“Is the chicken heart going in the blog?” Parr asked me.

“Yeah, the chicken heart is going in the blog.” I reply.

It’s kind of funny when everyone knows I’m going to write a blog about what’s happening in the moment. The prior eight weddings I went to were before I posted the never a groom blog, so no one knew it was going to happen. This time though I was prepared as I took a little book with me to write down some moments that I did not want to forget happened, and one of them was about to happen.

I lost count of how many wines I had that night, but it was like close to four glasses. I guess when you get a little drunk, you start to listen to your friends and you take their silly suggestions seriously.

We turned the wooden button over to the red side so the meat would stop coming out. We were stuffed. The waitress came back over to the table, and it had been suggested I should ask her out. Maybe not even suggested, I think it’s just kind of a running joke thing that guys say to each other. She WAS really cute though but she’s a server at Rodizio grill in Voorhees, New Jersey, and I live in in L.A. This probably isn’t going to get very far.

“Do you guys want some dessert?” The waitress asks us.

“We’ll take a look at the menu.” Chad says.

“Great. I’ll be right back.” She says and then leaves the table.

“Dude, get her number.” Parr says to me.

Now, I know it’s all in good fun, and I know that I’ll probably never see her again, but there is a part of me that didn’t care and maybe just wanted the ego boost for one night. Plus, I do things when I’m inebriated that I wouldn’t do when I’m sober. I find out her name was Natasha, and I mention that my we have a friend who’s name is just Tasha, without the “Na.” She seems friendly enough and I thought to myself, maybe I’ll just invite her out to the bar next door that we’re probably going to go to and she’ll have a drink or two with us and it’ll be entertaining. But, maybe she has a boyfriend, or maybe she has a girlfriend? Maybe I’ll make out with her and I won’t ever see her again after tonight. Either way, I man up and I say to Natasha…

“So my friend Gary is getting married in two days and we were going to head over to Iron Hill next door for a drink. You want to meet us after your shift?”

“I love Iron Hill!”  She exclaims. “I know some people who work there. Here take my number.” She says.

I put Natasha’s number into my phone. Then something dawns on me. I wonder how old she is. I mean, she looks young, but people nowadays do look really young and then turn out to be in their mid to late twenties. After all, I certainly don’t look like I’m about to turn forty and I still sometimes get carded for alcohol when I’m clean shaven, but I have to ask just to make sure she’s at least 21 years old because otherwise, I’m going to feel a little weird about the whole situation, like me and the Bulgarian chick from back in the day.

“How old are you?” I ask with the slightest bit of concern.

Wait for it….

“I’m eighteen.” She says while clearing a plate. “I’ll be right back with your check.”

I think there was a few moments of silence at the table after she said that. On one hand, I don’t think she’s going to be able to drink with us. On the other hand, I kind of feel like a stud because I’m 39 and just got a phone number from a bird who wasn’t even alive the year I graduated high school. I guess it’s bitter sweet.  Finally, Steve breaks the silence at the table.

“That’s DEFINITELY going in the blog.”

We head next door to Iron Hill and order a few drinks. P-Nut meets us there, and there’s  this talk between everyone about going to a strip club that night, but Gary really isn’t the strip club type, however after a half hour of drinking whiskey and pontificating about life with the boys, my phone rings.

“Hey, what’s going on?” I ask Tasha.

She goes on to tell me that she just got a call from the manager we had been meeting with the last month and he loved our script and wants to meet with us when we get back to L.A. She also tells me that she didn’t know who it was at first so she hung up on him, then called him back. Then she adds this gem of a statement at the end of the conversation.

“Are you going to meet us at the strip club?”

I guess when your Bride to be gets influenced by drunk Tasha and drunk Mary who have been sucking down many margaritas, you sometimes end up going to a strip club in Philly at 11pm through no fault or plan of your own.

Dave was leaving town, even though we pleaded with him to stay for the wedding. Parr and Steve didn’t go go cause they had work the next day, but you bet me, Chad, Gary and P-Nut were going. After all, the girls were on their way there in an Uber by themselves. We can’t just leave them there at the strip joint in the dim lighting and lack of clothing. I was pretty drunk, but luckily, Chad and P-Nut were both on the wagon so we had two designated drivers. It had rained in the three hours since we went to dinner, but it was clear now, and the top was down on the Mustang as we piled in the car and headed over the bridge to the Penthouse Club.

There’s not much I can say about the strip club, other than it was a pretty basic strip club experience aside from the motorcycle on stage, my jack and diets costing me eight dollars, and I was going to buy Gary a dance, but there is something weird about buying your friend a lap dance when his fiancée is sitting right next to you. Not to mention the ATM fee is twenty freakin’ dollars. I love Gary, but I figure I should put that money into something he and Desiree could both use, like a gift card.

We had a lot of fun that night. Chad and Mary left first, and P-Nut would have to drive me and Tasha back to Jersey shortly thereafter, but not before I illegally snapped a photo of Tasha “paying off” the dancer on stage.

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After the obligatory stop at a Wawa, and dropping off P-Nut, we got back to the hotel sometime after 1am, and fell right asleep.  Tomorrow was the “not rehearsal dinner” and Saturday was the wedding. We needed our rest if we were going to make it through the next few days.

Part 2: Wednesday, September 30th

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The Hanged Man

I woke up to rain on my bedroom window this morning.  I liked that.  It reminded me of a time in my life when I wasn’t quite sure what to do next.  In fact, I’m still in that same place now, and when I read this old blog from 2006, I figured this one fits my mood today.

(Originally posted March 11th, 2006)

http://www.myspace.com/*starduster

There are days when I feel wonderful, without being able to attribute that feeling to any real event. Of course, my rational mind searches for a reason for my happiness, but if I count the number of times when I do things against my will or better judgment, it becomes obvious that logic and reason do not always apply in this world.

There are times when I feel good about myself after I do something for someone else, but in reality, I only remember how that good deed made me feel, and sometimes this is what helps me sleep at night. There are times when I’m wide awake and I catch myself thinking about shit that isn’t going to get fixed and I tell myself to stop thinking.

I start to fall into a state of sleep but something I heard today jerks me back into a stagnant state of waking consciousness and I find myself wishing my brain had an on/off switch.

There are days like these when I forget I moved to California for the nice weather, and instead I’m irritable and cold no matter how many coffees I put away.

I’m chilly in this moment of life cause I feel I’ve been at a crossroad for awhile and I’m still thinking about which way I’m choosing to go instead of just closing my eyes and walking where I feel I was meant to be.

This is the position I’m in now…meditating and hanging upside-down with nothing to say and everything keeping me from making a choice.

Still, there’s subtle pleasure in that for me, so tonight I’m blanketing myself with indecision and irrational thoughts….but at least I’ll get some rest because I always sleep well when it’s cold and raining.

At least I got that.

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self-induced heart attack

It was almost ten years ago when I posted this blog on MySpace and I remember EXACTLY what it is about.  I had a huge panic attack the night before I wrote this.  Maybe it seemed so much more intense because I was high when it happened? I don’t know, I thought I was going to die.  I really did. I was going through a tough time, things were pretty messed up in my life, and of course instead of dying, I woke up the next day.

(Originally posted Friday, December 09, 2005)

http://www.myspace.com/*starduster

I’ve read somewhere that our mind is so powerful that in optimum conditions we could create a self-induced heart attack. We could literally convince ourselves that we were going to die and then systematically create a blueprint for that exact fate to have happen. I’ll be the first one to admit that sometimes my mind gets a little out of control as I find myself dwelling on subjects and waves of thought that could be considered taboo or self defeating. In a slight way, I found myself in a mental state of shock and depression this week. I went psychologically crazy and I’ll admit that it was a struggle for me just to stay alive in the moment.

I started thinking about how I wasn’t ready for this to happen to me, and how humiliated I would have been if after I passed my mom came out to California to claim my things and sort through my belongings only to find embarrassing images and videos littering my apartment and my computer.

I entertained the thought that perhaps I had been careless with my life up until this point and I had wasted my talents on physical gratification that has now turned into numbing habit. This isn’t the life I wanted to lead anymore, and when I looked at myself in the mirror I saw someone who had an awakening at the exact moment in life when it would benefit him to the fullest.

I saw myself getting rid of the major opinions that don’t agree with me anymore, and I watched as I shed my skin one more time this year to make room for all the good things that are headed my way next year.

I saw myself getting a grip on the reality I created up until this point, and believing in myself one more time and bargaining with the powers that be in exchange for one more opportunity to turn this self-induced heart attack into another chance to right the wrong.

I saw myself in the mirror the next morning, terribly tired and a little broken with dark circles around my eyes, but I smiled anyway because at least I was alive to see my reflection one more time….and for that, I’m grateful.

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This is NOT “Pumpkin Spice” Weather

The last few mornings have started out the same way this week. I wake up on an inflatable mattress in my living room, I look over at the clock and I see that it is barely 9am. Then I roll over on my back and I look up at God and I wonder “at what time in the next few minutes will I start to uncharacteristically sweat today?”

Now I know what you must be thinking. Why Christian, would you be sleeping on a $35 Coleman blow up mattress when you have a perfectly comfortable six hundred dollar Sealy posture pedic queen size bed in your bedroom to sleep on? The answer is simple. There is no air conditioning in my bedroom, and we’re in the middle of a horrendous heat wave in L.A. and there is nothing I can do to change it.

Literally, there is nothing I can do other than set the A/C to 72 during the day, and 76 at night. Now, I know 76 degrees seems pretty comfortable, but when it’s 8:53 in the morning and I’ve made coffee and taken out the trash, and I’ve already started to prematurely drip of perspiration during those short 16 steps to the garbage chute, I’m turning the air conditioner on because it’s only going to get hotter today if it’s almost 80 degrees by 9am.

Time check: 9:13 am, 81 degrees Fahenheit. Yuck.

I figure I’ll head to the grocery store to stock up on some cooling products like watermelon and Gatorade because I know I’m going to need to hydrate and keep myself liqui-fied if I’m going to make it through this awful, awful day.

Now, I’m sure there are some of you who would kill to live in California and perhaps my complaining is falling on deaf ears. I get it. It’s normally really nice here almost every day, but these past few weeks have be excruciatingly difficult to endure. Lets not forget, this part of SoCal is pretty much a desert, followed by 20-25 miles of a tropical oasis called Los Angeles. Then the ocean.

End of Oasis.

So now, my whole schedule has to change just because of the fact that it might reach 100 degrees in “paradise” today.

I can’t walk to the gym because by the time I get there I’m too hot and tired to work out. If I do attempt to push myself during my elliptical training, then I’m faced with the daunting task of walking the mile back home in hotter temperatures than when I started. I don’t sleep very well in this weather, so I’m irritable, tired, and I feel like someone is slowly drying me out from the inside with one of those shammies you use on your car after you wash it. This weather is just sucking all the life-water out of my body.
So I make what I think is a great decision to head to Ralph’s for some liquid contraband, followed by what turns out to be a terrible decision, which is deciding to walk there.

It’s hot. With each step I feel my the muscles in my legs losing irrigation and I wonder if I’ll even make it to the grocery store without shriveling up and dying on the way there. With the sun beating down on my head and my body, I can’t even appreciate the fact that I might be getting a little tan on this walk to the store because I start to realize that the UV rays are so strong today that they may just bypass my epidermis and head straight for my blood stream, boiling it and me over onto Hollywood boulevard.

I see the Ralph’s a couple blocks ahead, and by some grace of God I make it there only to realize this trip is going to cost me an additional ten cents because I didn’t bring my eco-friendly reusable shopping bag. Oh well I think, that dime I found last night on the floor of my apartment will make up for this.

I walk into the store and I am greeted by a waft of cool air to my face, and the sounds of commerce in background soundtracked perfectly by the self checkout lane. I head to the produce section and pick up a personal watermelon which is on sale this week for $2.99 each. I grab one of those, and few bottles of electrolytes, and then I remember that tub of delicious hot salsa I had last week and I think to myself, perhaps I should pick up some dip and chips because maybe the only way to combat the heat outside, is to make my body just as hot inside? Does that even work? I think I’m going to find out.

I head to the self checkout, but before I make it there I see this one item that is just glaring at me from the seasonal aisle. There it is in all it’s mid-to late year glory, making a mockery of everything that has been going on outside in the 100 degrees of hell that I call my life. I can’t even believe that I see those two words on ANY label of ANY product at ANY time in this store. “Pumpkin Spice.”

Pumpkin fucking spice? Are you kidding me? This is NOT pumpkin spice weather outside! I don’t want to see anything relating to the Fall if I could buy an egg, crack it on the blacktop outside in the parking lot, and have breakfast ready for me in 90 seconds. You want me to buy pumpkin spice cupcakes? Give me a fucking break.

I know what happens next. I look around the store and suddenly I see bags of trick or treat candy falling off the shelves, just waiting to melt on the way back to the car. I see bottles of beer with their seasonal orange labels that advertise how they crushed up pumpkin seeds and filtered their hops and barely through them only to make the BEST pumpkin spice beer there is. It’ll all starts hitting me at once.

I’ll get home and I’ll turn on the TV and I’ll start seeing those ads for Halloween Horror nights at Six Flags, and those pop-up costume shops will start appearing in strip malls all over the Southland where old Blockbuster Videos used to be. It’s all so premature but that won’t stop Starbucks from jamming Pumpkin spice lattes down my throat, even though we all know they taste like shit!

It’s pushing 101 outside, yet everywhere I look advertisers are trying to tell me to think that it’s a cool 72 degrees and I should be wearing long-sleeves and getting my non-existent kids ready to go back to school. I’m not buying it. It’s only the beginning of September and there are almost three weeks until the Autumn equinox. It’s still goddamn summer outside and technically inside too, otherwise I wouldn’t need the air conditioning on from 8:45 in the morning to 11:57 at night!

Even though I’m a little bit pissy, slightly uncomfortable, and extremely edgy, I pick up the box of pumpkin spice cupcakes because A. I know they’re probably really good, and B. they are the last box left. I have a decision to make, and I make it in about 18 seconds. I know it doesn’t feel like Fall outside. I know there are no leaves on the ground, nor is there any rain in sight. California has two seasons: Summer, and the other one. That other one could easily mean, rain, snow, sleet, gloom, heat, wind or tranquility, at any time of the year with no rhyme or reason as to WHY. Is this the product of El Nino, or is it the feminine version La Nina? I don’t even fucking know.  What I do know is that I’m about to trick my body into thinking it’s Fall by purchasing my first pumpkin spice product of the year.

Regrettably, I grab the last container of seasonal cupcakes and I head to the self checkout. I purchase a bag for ten cents, and I proceed to buy my share of fruit, Gatorade, and an item that I don’t feel should be on the shelf right now, but I understand marketing and in some ways I’m a slave to it too. They got me.

It may be hot as hell outside, but when I’m eating these cupcakes in my 74 degree living room in a few minutes, I’m just going to take a bite and close my eyes and pretend like it’s cool and crisp outside and I’m back in New Jersey in the 1980s where right around this time every year I was getting ready for school and I would put away my shorts and t-shirts, and replace them with jeans and three quarter sleeve raglands. It’ll be good, I tell myself. It will feel like it’s really Fall, maybe. After all, football starts tonight, and that is one element of Autumn which I wouldn’t mind if it comes any earlier. Go Eagles!

I put my items in my paper bag, put on my sunglasses, and check my phone.

It reads: 99°F,  (feels like 97)

Oh ok. I’ll be fine then because it only “feels like” 97 degrees, and that temperature is so much more cooler than 99. Thank God for sarcasm. It’s the only thing aside from Thursday Night Football and these cupcakes that is going to help me get through this heat wave.

Man, how I miss sleeping in my own bed. Maybe next week.

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I Will Never Fail Drama

The other day I cooked two chicken breasts for lunch. I had a salad all prepared and I was ready to garnish it with some cheese, some cucumbers and some free range fowl. I wanted to save one of the chickens for later, so I cut one up and started to put it in a tupperware container. As I did this, the tupperware starts to fall with the freshly seasoned chicken in it. To the ground, and onto the floor it went…. White meat face down on the linoleum. Fuck. My. Life.

There on the floor was my $3.00 chicken breast, my meal for tomorrow, and my dignity. I saw what was happening before it happened and I just couldn’t stop it. I looked down at the ruined chicken which was now spread across my semi-dirty kitchen floor and it angered me. It made me irritated and disgruntled, and then…I freaked out.

I grabbed the tupperware container and threw it against the window. It bounced back and hit me in the jaw. Oh the irony. It’s not enough that my lunch was ruined, but now I was literally slapped in the face by my own polyethylene frustration. At this point I had enough of throwing plastic against the wall so I threw a small frying pan instead. It hit the glass, made a resounding crash, and the window shattered into a hundred pieces which flew all over the kitchen counter top, and possibly into the salad I was about to eat for lunch.

I was pissed, I was annoyed, but in some strange way, I was also relieved. After I spent the next 20 minutes picking out shards of glass from my sink and windowsill, I sat down and started to eat what was left of my salad. I didn’t get very far for fear of there being sharp glass hiding in with my romaine lettuce, blue cheese, and bacon salad, topped with the Olive Garden’s signature Italian dressing. I ate some of the chicken, threw the rest of the salad away, and I reflected on what just happened.

As the summer heat wafted into my apartment through my newly found air space, I stared at the huge hole in my window for a moment, then I went and found some cardboard to cover it up. I hadn’t broken anything in years. Way back when I was a kid I used to punch holes in the walls when I got frustrated, but I’m an adult now, and I don’t do things like that when I get upset….or so I thought. I’ve been pretty much aggravated with my life this summer. I haven’t gotten what I wanted, I’m still annoyed with where I’m at, and I guess a shattered window in my kitchen perfectly represents my soul….broken and scattered into many pieces.

God, I’m so dramatic, I know this. In the words of Joey Cape, “I will never fail drama.” It will always be one of my best subjects in life. Sometimes it makes for good stories and it fuels the fire I have inside of me and I can wield it like a superhero. Other times, it sucks me in and I allow it to make me bitter and hateful, but I’m getting past that now.

I think about that window a lot, and I think about what it represents to me. Why did I do something so destructive just because some chicken fell on the floor? Was it the chicken, or the cheap IKEA plastic container I was trying to put it in. No, it was neither. As much as I tried to blame the awkward set-up of my cutting board being so close to the refrigerator door, that wasn’t it at all.

I lost it. I fucking took my frustrations out on an inanimate object and I take responsibility for it all. I broke a window in my apartment and I don’t really care that I did it because a part of me felt better after it had happened. The dissatisfaction with my life had been building up all summer and it actually felt good to break something. It happens. I remember looking at the window right after I broke it and I thought to myself… Man, you’re probably not getting your security deposit back now.

Look, I know I have a long way to go until I can look back on this time in my life and realize I’ve learned something from it, but I’m a better person for having gone through this. When it comes down to it, I didn’t get drunk and then drive somewhere only to crash my car. I didn’t yell at some unsuspecting person on the street who didn’t deserve it, and I didn’t self destruct to the point where I regret the actions that brought me to where I am.

I’m never going to look at that window and be pissed at what happened. I don’t regret it. Maybe a part of me thinks it was therapeutic for me to do that. From now on, I’m going to remember not to overreact when stupid things happen, cause I know more stupid things are going to happen in my life. I’m going to remember to make sure the surface I put my tupperware on is flat and has no way of falling to the ground, and I’m going to think about new ways to let my melodramatic tragedies turn into a text book comedy because when it comes down to it, I only have two other windows in my place and just like my spirit, I need for them to remain unbroken.

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Breaking Up With Yourself

I broke up with someone recently. He was a bit too reckless and he started to do things that undermined everything I have been working for. No, I’m not talking about a gay lover, I’m talking about myself.

Sometime early this summer, I fell into a trap and I had been treading water ever since. The problem started back in June when the girl I had been dating for a week cut things off, coupled with the fact that this project I had been working on the last few years almost was about to happen, but then eventually it stalled and has gone nowhere. (again) I just felt like things were never going to work out in my professional life, let alone my dating life. I was alone, broke, and all out of inspiration. I figured, what’s the point to all of this? Why doesn’t it seem to ever work out the way I want it to, especially when I sacrificed so much these last two years?

Now, I’m sure we’ve all had moments like this is life, but this time instead of getting a drink with a friend, bitching about life for a day or two and then getting back on the proverbial horse, I allowed that thought to consume me and take me down a dark spiral pretty much all summer. I started drinking more, I stopped working out as much, and I started making a string of bad decisions. You know, the ones you make at 10pm on a Tuesday and are still dealing with at 6am on a Thursday when you haven’t gotten to sleep yet? Those are the ones that really hurt.

I was torturing myself, and I fell back into old patterns of self inflicted pain and suffering. I didn’t care anymore. I would allow my laundry to pile up along with all the dishes in the sink. I would smoke cigarettes in the house because it was 95 degrees outside and just the thought of opening the door to the outside world was too much for me to comprehend. I would eat nothing for two days, then gorge myself on pizza and fast food because it was easier than eating healthy. I felt like shit, because that’s how I wanted to feel.

I had been looking for something to pull me out of this rut since late June. I figured, a good lead on a job, some unexpected money, or a trip away would help me to clarify what it is that I am doing here. I even contemplated leaving L.A. for good and I put into motion the plans to do that, although I needed to rely on someone else to help me, so I contacted two of my ex girlfriends who don’t live here.  Both told me they would help me out, but when it came down to “I’m about to book a flight to Wherever, USA”neither one of them gave me the confidence I needed to pull the trigger.

One of them text me last week and told me she was in town for one night and we should meet up. I said that would be a good idea and she said she would text me later. Then….I never heard from her. Did she make the whole story up? Was she even in Los Angeles at all? Did her plane crash and will I never see her again….Oh no, there she is on Instagram going to some fucking wedding back in Ohio. Guess she’s not dead. She wasn’t really known for telling the truth a lot when I dated her, but I mean, what kind of a game is that? And by the way….if it is some silly game you’re playing with my emotions, I’m too fucking old to play it anymore, so grow the fuck up or get out of my life. Say what you mean, and mean what you say. It’s that fucking simple.

My best friend has been trying to help me, and she has been going through a tough time herself. We used to live together, but she moved out back in December and I’ve been on my own since then. It scared me to be on my own because I know my past and I know what traps I fall into when I live by myself and I have too much time on my hands. So here we are.

Last night, something changed in me. I have been bunny-sitting my best friends’s rabbit and through their antics, he and my cat have really helped me this past week and have made me smile, even when I wanted to cry. I started drinking a bottle of wine around 6pm, and about an hour later I found myself texting my guy to see if he was around. I didn’t get a response….until 9pm.

Now, I could have easily called him, gone out, picked up my shit and I would not be here writing this blog entry at all. I’d probably be washing my face for a third time trying to get the blemishes off, and I’d probably be cursing myself for not getting to sleep again, and wasting away this holiday weekend jerking off or staring at the TV or computer screen until my eyes dried out.

I just thought to myself, I can’t put these animals through what we would have gone through if I had picked up the phone and text him back. I could have put myself through it, I know this because I’ve done it so many times this summer, but this time, I just felt like I had a responsibility to that rabbit and that cat to stay sober. I would feel absolutely awful if at 8am on Labor Day morning I was sitting on the floor of my living room full of doubt and regret, and they ran up to me wondering what the fuck I have been doing and why the fuck I haven’t played with them in two days. I just couldn’t do it to them, and in some way, I knew I couldn’t do it to myself either.

It’s Labor Day morning around 11am and I spent last night eating pizza and hanging with my attractive female neighbor and winning money from online poker. I haven’t smoked in my apartment in three days and it’s starting to smell like a Bed Bath & Beyond instead of the bathroom at some trashy gas station on the I-15 North. I’d say I had a good night, and perhaps I won this battle. But I know there will be more tests.

There’s going to be more opportunities for me to win, and even more for me to fail. The rabbit is sitting under the table looking out the window, the cat is meowing because she always has something to say, and I’m about to go to the gym after I made myself some steak and eggs for breakfast. I still don’t know what the next few weeks will bring, but at least I’ll be of sound mind and body to take all that it has to offer.

My ex girlfriends aren’t going to save me. I realize that. I had to save me from myself… and to do that, I needed to break up with this alternate reality version of me because he has spent far too much time freeloading, infiltrating, and sucking out my life this summer.   I can’t be with someone like that anymore.  He had no focus, was going off the deep end, and when it comes down to it, I know I’m better than that.    

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