I’m a NJSS & I Won’t Let it All Go to Shit

Back in 1998, I was running an independent magazine and working for the man waiting tables. I had money coming in, some level of stability, and I was dating a girl who would turn out to be the first one of her kind that I fell in love with.

A few short months later I would be overcome by greed, and found guilty of being a striped collar criminal and pretty soon the job, the magazine, and the girl would disappear into a fond memory of mine that I would look back on and wish I could have had the chance to nurture every day of my life.

I had it all together then, and I just let it slip away.

Three years later I would find myself on the receiving end of a job I was under qualified for, but I had talked my way into it by simply being confident enough and putting on a good show. It afforded me a rock star lifestyle, and I was writing and dancing to music and living with a girl who turned out to be the second one I fell in love with, and my muse for years to come.

By the end of that summer I would learn that neither the job, the inspiration, or the girl lasts forever, especially if you do things in life to sabotage the gifts that you had worked so hard to receive. Years later I would find myself looking back on those events and repeating the notion that I should have appreciated what I had when I had it, instead of reminiscing at all those journal entries I wrote during that time that were bound together by disappointment and remorse.

I had it all together, and then I acted careless with the things in life that really made me happy. I came to long for that happiness for years to come, even after I left that state of mind, and the state I was living in at the time.

It took another 7 years for me to be set-up for success again. In 2008 I had two lucrative sources of income, I was a talented undiscovered nobody, and I was riding high while coming out of the low tide of my life. Through a set of dramatic and matrimonial circumstances, I found an amazing woman who would afterwards go on to be my ultimate lover and my best friend at the same time.

However, because of my own dark addiction and my blatant stupidity and stubbornness, both of those cushy jobs stopped being such a commodity, and started being the catalyst that broke me down. Due to my insecure course of action, the woman who helped me so much who I still adore had gotten so unsure of the power and the strength that brought us together. By the time I was ready to make the ultimate commitment to my ultimate lover, we found ourselves more comfortable as spectators in that ceremony, than participants in the union of the two souls that invited guests come to bear witness to.

I had it all together, but I kept fighting it for a chance at some sort of selfish freedom that now makes me feel isolated and alone.

I’m writing this 8 years later on the 29th day of a month that only comes once in every 4 cycles. I’m starting to look around at my new life in the new city I left some 14 years ago, and I’m starting to see things becoming set up for another possibility day when I can take pride in the fact that I’ve learned from the past, and I’m ready to make the most of the present. I’m beginning to see a pattern in my life where I’m living out when things start to go well, and I don’t want to fuck with that process.

Hopefully now, I can take advantage of this new scenario that so perfectly reminds me of those old scenarios when I had it all together, and maybe this time I will use it as the jumping off point to something great, instead of jumping off into a ditch that I so don’t want to dig myself out of anymore.

I know that this is shaping up to be a what I call a true New Jersey success story, and for me to make that statement a reality, I have to realize that it is something I’ve been working for all my life, and I am accepting of the fact that I deserve it this time around.

This is the first time in awhile I can say that I’m starting to have it all together again, and this is the first time when I can consciously and confidently say that I’ve learned from my mistakes, and this is the first time I can say that I won’t let it all go to shit again.

Making Friends (Or Lack Thereof)

I’ve been in Seattle for about a month now. Each day I seem to fall into a routine of getting up around 7am, making coffee for one, and then feeding my cat who eventually sits in front of the sliding glass door to ask if she could go outside.

Aside from the obvious feline companion I have a few friends up here, but it’s not like I can just call someone at any time of the day or night, and if I needed them, they would be here. Come to think of it, was it ever really like that?

The last year I spent in Los Angeles I had a handful of friends I saw regularly, but I spent the majority amount of my time watching TV, working, eating pizza, and hanging out with a rabbit. I had a purpose. Yes, that’s me and Rocco Valentino “mean muggin” the camera after our routine of morning pets, fresh vegetables, bothering the cat, and a double dose of afternoon carbohydrates when he behaved himself or otherwise looked at me in a certain way. I swear we could communicate with each other. Don’t get me wrong, I love my cat and she truly is my daemon, but even though Rocco was Tasha’s pet, I feel like I miss that bunny more than you could know.

I’ll admit it, I might be a little bit lonely right now. Since I’m a little green up here, I have been spending a lot of my free time alone, with the exception of the gym, the job interviews, and the random things people say to me at the grocery store or the gas station. I’m sure this could be attributed to the fact that I haven’t started work yet, or the fact that this is a new experience for me, and the people that I know who live here are already hung up on their own lives with boyfriends, girlfriends, wives, jobs and kids, five things I do not currently possess in my life. Why can’t life be as simple as it was when I was best friends with a rabbit?

I know I made this decision in my life, and I know I took a leap of faith when I decided that I was going to move out of Southern California, a place that I so desperately wanted to live when I was younger, but I didn’t bomb out, I made a calculated decision based on factors that couldn’t be ignored and the idea that…..wait…. what the purpose of all this again? Oh right….to find a better quality of life for myself.

Have I found it yet? Well, that remains to be seen.

I know how this may come off. I know it seems like I like to reminisce about a time in my life when I had it better than I have it now, but honestly I have it better now than I did a few months ago. I know that sometimes looking back could be the key to moving forward, and maybe for a moment that’s what I’m doing by posting about this. I know living in Hollywood and being best friends with a bunny aren’t really things I should be longing for, but there is a part of me that misses that aspect of my life, even though I truly feel like I made the best decision for my well being.

Sure, my social life hasn’t blossomed quite as instantaneously as I would like, but then again, I haven’t really focused on it. I have been trying to live my life with a sense of urgency and the desire to be unaffected by the thin line I cross when I feel like I’m trying too hard to force something to manifest. Sometimes I think that if I had Rocco next to me, he would totally high-five me after reading that last line cause he gets me. But who “gets me” up here?

I know the girl I used to love may turn out not be who I think she is at all, and I’m ok with that. I know the people I used to know up here may have moved away, or totally forgot about me, and that is no reason to be upset.  But above all, I know the friends I have up here who don’t text me back don’t mean it in a malicious way because I’m sure it has everything to do with the fact that people being busy, is just people being “busy.”

I guess I’m just tired of being a nice person with so much to offer, but with no one to offer it to. I’m sick of having people take advantage of the fact that I’m NOT an asshole, when all I see are assholes reaping the benefits of taking advantage of other people. I guess this is what happens when you become too soft. I guess this is what happens when you hang out more with animals instead of people and can’t seem to cultivate social relationships in a timely manner, but really, I guess this is what happens when you spend the last year or so being best friends with a rabbit.

WTF is Direct Marketing, & Other Things I Learned On My Job Interview

Looking for a job is not an easy task, especially when you haven’t worked in almost a month and your savings is slowly getting depleted due to first and last month’s rent, a couch, and other deposits and things you have to buy when you move to a new city. You want to get a job soon, but not every job is suited for you. I learned pretty quickly about all of this when I went to a “business professional” job interview this week.

I put on my best $99 dark grey Target pants and jacket, paired them with a fitted shirt from Express and a tie that suggested “I’m the right man for this job. ” I figured I’d play the part and go to the interview which was 20 miles south of Seattle and just explore all my options here. Truth is, I felt like a tool.  I love wearing suits, but usually when my wardrobe calls for a shirt, tie and jacket, it means I am going to a wedding or to some fancy event with free booze, not a job interview for a direct marketing firm in Tukwila. By the way, what the fuck is direct marketing?

A long time ago I went on a job interview on September 11th 2001. We all know what happened on that date in history, and my experience that afternoon other than watching a plane make a hard right into One World Trade Center was me driving around with some girl who was randomly stopping at businesses and people’s houses trying to sell paintings out of the back of her car. Wow. So much fun. I found that job on the “old school” Craigslist, which I like to call the want ads in the back of a newspaper.

I didn’t take that job because it was 100% commission based door to door sales. I may sell you drinks at a bar, but I know I’m not a door to door salesman and this job was a gimmick. A scam. A way to get people to work without paying them a salary and even though I’m sure some people are really good at those jobs, I work best in a place where people come to me, not the other way around.

Anyway, back to this week…. I get to the “office” if that’s what you can call it. It’s really a big empty space right off the freeway next door to “Smiley Face Dentistry” with a sign atop the roof that reads “For Lease.” They told me to look for that because I guess they just moved in, but wouldn’t you want to take down that sign by now?

I walk in the front door and there is nice young lady on the phone with a client, a few faux leather chairs and an office space with absolutely no one in it at all. I had my reservations right from the start. I can hear the secretary or “office administrator” on the phone in a heated discussion. She keeps apologizing, and I start to wonder exactly what is happening on the other end of the call, but really all I can think about is how I want to get this interview over with so I can go home and have a drink and eat dinner.

She has me fill out an application, and as I skim through it, I notice a box that reads “Would you be willing to take a drug test.” I immediately check yes, but not because I have nothing to hide, because I know that if I check “No” it probably reads as suspicious and shady and would impede me from being considered for the job. Truth is, I’d probably fail that test if they included marijuana, but the reality is that it’s legal in the state of Washington, and this whole process of moving has been just a little stressful so yeah, I’ve smoked a little pot to help me get through it. BFD.

I turn in my paper and smile at the other applicant sitting next to me, then the receptionist calls out

“Christian, the hiring manager is ready for you.”

I get up and head to the back office, shake the hand of the 2o something year old kid who is interviewing me, and we start the painless process of seeing if we would be a good fit. He says his name is Mike, but all I see on the walls are pictures of some other guy in a suit and a certificate that reads congratulations to “Dan Taylor”.

Mike is from New Jersey so we chat about the Phillies, Flyers, and Eagles, and then we start talking about what skills I have from the world of writing and bartending that I could bring to the world of direct marketing. In the middle of me talking about the Flyers’ lack of scoring and me bullshitting my way through this interview I think to myself “I really should have looked up direct marketing before I left for this interview.”

The next few minutes go well. I act like I think I could do the job, even though the description of said job is very vague as to what is required of me. He tells me that this is a preliminary interview and they will be calling later tonight to set up the second phase of the process. I shake his hand again, say goodbye to the “office assistant” or whatever PC term we use these days to not offend people in that position, and I head outside to my car.

I see a large asian man in a shirt and tie head inside the office after me. He has a strange and humbling look to him, and his hair is styled like a samurai, shaved on the sides,  and pulled up into a pony tail on the top of his head. I thought that was kind of odd. No offense to the Chinese, but what kind of people are they interviewing here?  On the drive home, the wheels start turning in my head as I start to weigh all the factors:

1. No experience necessary
2. Small empty office 20 miles south of the city
3. “Paid training”, but they wouldn’t talk about compensation during the interview
4. I found this lead on Craigslist.

Now, I’m not saying Craigslist is a bad place to look for a job. I’ve been sending out my resume to legitimate bars and restaurants and have gotten some good leads to go on, but as I contemplated taking an office job that I found on a website it started to make me think this was too good to be true. Besides, he asked me in the interview if I like to travel. Only idiots who are trying to upsell you a shitty job ask you in the interview if you “like to travel!” Who doesn’t fucking like to travel?

I see right through that now.

I get home from the interview, rip off my zoot suit and I do a little research on the company. They have a slick looking website, but I realize ANYBODY can make a website look like they know what they’re doing. (case in point, THIS blog)  Their slogan is kind of a joke. I mean it HAS to be:

People. Clients. Customers. We Just Win.

We just win? Win what? More clients, customers and people?!?!  Who wants to win that? This is the most awful sounding contest I’ve ever heard of, but oh wait, it’s not a carnival game, it’s your company’s mission statement. It goes on….

“We are going to be the best sales and marketing firm by “wowing” our Fortune 100 clients with our unparalleled dedication to integrity and providing them with the highest quality results.”

First off, I’ve never heard of Fortune 100 clients before, and I can’t take you seriously when you use the word “wowing” AND put it in quotation marks IN your mission statement.

Their headquarters are in downtown Seattle, yet why did I interview in some lame ass office space 25 minutes south of the city?  I check the FAQ tab, and I find what I was looking for.

(taken directly from their website)
Q: What kind of marketing does RCG do?
A: Great question! Here at RCG we primarily engage in direct marketing. What is direct marketing? It is the selling of a product or service through direct, person-to-person contact.

I finally know what “direct marketing” is and it sounds like door to door sales to me, just like 15 years ago. Why couldn’t they just come out and say that?

I read some testimonials about how the “compensation” they provide is 4 hours of paid training, then the job is 100% commission based. Again, just like 15 years ago. I’ve been here before, and I know it’s not for me. Luckily, I think I caught this one early.

Less than an hour after the interview, I come back from the store to find two missed calls, a message, and an email from RCG telling me they want to discuss the results of my interview. I know what this means. They want me to come back for a second interview where I would imagine another dude in a suit 14 years younger than me will spend 30 to 45 minutes selling me the job, the experience, and go on about how being an associate at RCG means being part of a great “team.”

Yeah, part a great team that gets paid absolutely nothing. No thanks.

Just then I get a text. It’s them. They want me to call and in no way am I ever impressed when a company calls, emails and texts me within an hour about a job I don’t want. It reeks of desperation, like when a guy or girl you are dating doesn’t know how to take a hint. I wait about fifteen minutes then I respond:

“Thanks for the interview today, however I’m not interested in a commission based sales job. Have a great night!”

I think I did the right thing or as close to the right thing for me as possible. The facts just didn’t add up, and I’m too smart to have the wool pulled over my eyes. Yet, I wonder if I was too hasty in denying them a 2nd interview? Was I even right about the company, and if so, will I ever find out if I was? Thing is, I just can’t envision myself driving around in my car trying to sell people on shit I don’t even use, and maybe it’s back to the drawing board, but maybe that’s the best thing for me now. I’m ok with my decision, and then a few minutes later I get a text from RCG.

“Thanks for your input.”

I was right. I knew it. Even though I had no idea what it was, I knew I was never a fan of direct marketing to begin with.  Back to the job search I go….

 

No More Wasted Balconies

When I lived in Los Angeles, I once had a private balcony in my apartment. It was early 2008, my girlfriend and I at the time moved into a big one bedroom in Hollywood, and we split the rent of $1250 a month. I enjoyed having a place to go to that was somewhat quiet and introspective, even if all I could see from my little 40 square foot nook was the 101 freeway and a billboard which constantly changed.

Our cats loved to frolic in the sunshine, and the mischievous one, Jose decided he would frolic himself across the ledge, to the balcony of a neighbor’s apartment. I loved all of it, the privacy, the girl, and the cat, yet I abruptly moved out in November of that year after citing irreconcilable differences with my ex.

0112091105 (Jose and Dapple making out back in 2009)

I was an idiot for many reasons….two of them being that I was slightly addicted to a lifestyle that was detrimental to my relationship and my mental health, the other being that I decided to throw it all away, and if I can be honest here, I regretted it for years to come.

When the dust finally settled, I would eventually move to studio where my ex and I lived for a short while, then to another apartment by myself two years later with a shared balcony walkway where everyone in the building had free reign to just stroll on by. I really liked the apartment, and I stayed there for five years, even though during the last few I would have to dodge my Landlord’s chatty nineteen year old Russian son who loved to talk my ear off about YouTube shit every time he walked by my door. I feel like at some point he was stalking me.

I would walk around my neighborhood  and I would look up and see all these cardboard boxes, satellite dishes, and plastic containers taking up space on the outdoor decks of my neighboring apartment buildings. It totally disgusted me.

Why would someone use their balcony as a storage space, instead of a space for inspiration? Why do old Christmas decorations get to see the sun come up instead of the people living IN the apartment?  Maybe they have been there for years and they had a family and they needed to use that area for their crap, but man, all I could think was what a fucking waste of a balcony. I would have put it to such better use.

I vowed one day that I would never waste such an amazing opportunity if I were ever in the position where I would have a private balcony again. I also vowed I wouldn’t throw away a relationship with a good girl because of my own inadequate fears or the stupid fact that I wasn’t able to grow up and learn to compromise. I’m still waiting to right the wrong of the latter, but the opportunity to take back my balcony finally happened last week.

Before I left L.A. for Seattle, I took a walk around my old neighborhood. I made a left into the alley where I strolled five years prior, and there five years later were the same four balconies I saw full of even more stuff that doesn’t fit inside the four walls those residents call home.

0117161436a

I snapped a picture to remind myself not to let that happen to me.  This is gross.

I don’t have a lot on MY balcony yet. Just a chair and a milk crate I bought from the Home Depot, but I have plans for a table, and an umbrella, and maybe some plants or some astroturf if they even make that anymore.

0215160725_HDR

As I sit here outside on my little deck of insight writing about how I missed this state of mind I remember back to 2008. Even though the relationship didn’t work out, I know I’m glad I’m still best friends with my ex, which is a hard feat to accomplish and I wish her the best living in the old apartment I just left. I think about that time I crawled across the balcony 100 feet in the air to rescue our cat Jose from the neighbors place, and I miss that little dude everyday of my life.

But most of all, I think about how I’m in a good position and now I have the opportunity and the choice to make this balcony a place where great things happen.   It’s quiet and peaceful in this area, and  I am grateful for what God has given me, even though I could use a job, a little more money, and a routine that doesn’t necessarily include me waking up “naturally” at 6 in the morning.

At least when I do wake up, I’ll have a place outside to sit with a picturesque view of the trees and the mountains to inspire, and no 19 year old chatty cathy in sight. And if I lean out just far enough across the railing, I can see the city downtown and the top of the Space Needle.

It would be a crime to waste this balcony, a crime I promised myself I will never be guilty of.

It’s Not a Bad View From Up Here

These last two weeks have been quite a roller coaster. I’m up at 6 in the morning, and I’m going to bed sometime before 11pm. There are no more miles to be driven, and no more searching for the right place to live. There is really nothing that I have to do except consistently look for a job, work on my writing, and wait for my shit to get here tomorrow morning.

Ahh yes. All the shit that I packed into cardboard boxes will arrive 24 hours from now, and perhaps it will make me stay busy for at least another few days, because I’m starting to crave a routine that DOESN’T necessarily make me get up at 5:55am, unless of course I’m getting paid.

I really miss my bed and I miss the option of having more than three button down shirts and two pairs of shoes to wear, and I guess I could go on complaining about how things didn’t go exactly the way I thought they would since I’ve been here but in another way, they could have gone much worse.

I stress out at times when I’m faced with some big changes. I’m sure we all do, but this time things just seem different. I’m somehow able to control the stress and not let it get to me, including that time the other night when I was coming back from Taco Bell and I tripped going up the steps outside my apartment which caused my phone to fall out of my pocket onto the concrete which then cracked the screen on said phone. Normally I would have gotten pissed and angry, but for some reason it actually didn’t bother me that much.

I’m alone in a new city, and even though that can be a refreshing and inspiring vantage point, there is a part of the view from up here that makes me long for the people I said goodbye to back in January who wouldn’t let me pay for a meal or a drink for a week. There is an element to this decision that I knew could be an isolating one, but I still feel like in some way or another, I’m better off alone.

Alone, waiting for my shit to get here knowing that tomorrow the arrival of 25 plus boxes will magically cure the fleeting moments of emptiness that I only allow myself to feel for a few minutes each day I’ve been here.

I could tell you about the hastiness I experienced the night I arrived, or how I said too much information to a potential apartment manager and got denied for a place to live even before I applied, but I feel like I ended up where I needed to be…in more ways than one.

I know it was a risky move to uproot myself at my age with no place to live and pretty much no place to work, but I’ve been able to justify that first part because good things have happened to help improve my state of mind since I’ve been here.  I feel less like a basket case, and more like a pioneer.

Also, I’ve been able to justify that second part because I am writing this from the apartment in my living room which has a couch, wi-fi, and which has a picturesque view to the East side of this enchanted land from my unfurnished balcony.

The third part, that job you may ask? I’m working on it.

Right now I just have to take a little time and settle into a new routine which hopefully doesn’t have me up at 6 in the morning, or has me going to bed before the late night news airs on all three local networks. I have to remember WHY I chose to make this move happen because I’ll be honest…sometimes when I think about where I am at, it scares the living shit out of me.

In the meantime, I’ll just be here, waiting for all my shit to arrive on a smaller truck that could fit on to the narrow street I chose to live. I’ll just be here trying to figure out the answers to the questions I have been asking for the last few weeks, and I’ll just be here looking at the these amazing sunrises that flood the Seattle sky with streaks of red and orange and yellow, if only for a few minutes each morning.

It’s not a bad view from up here.

Picking Up Chicks, With a Six-Year-Old

Sometimes you say something to an adult off the cuff, and when it doesn’t happen, no one really is disappointed.  However, when you casually tell your friend’s six year old son that at some point you’ll take him out to “pick up chicks” at a bar, you better back up those words with actions.

I was at home in New Jersey for the holidays and I stayed a few nights at my friend Robert and Sienna’s house in Haddonfield.  They have two sons, one of whom is a 2 year old who just started to talk, the other is a six year old named Kai who doesn’t know when to stop talking.   I had been spending some time hanging around the house with Robert and Kai watching TV, and in addition to the joking around and the tom foolery we would get into, I told Kai that at some point we would go out to the bar one night for happy hour and to see if there were any single ladies we could meet.

I was half serious with that statement, however a few days before I left, Robert approached me with some informative news.

“Kai would be devastated if he doesn’t get a chance to go out to the bar and pick up chicks with you before you leave.”

Throughout the week, Kai proceeded to do uncharacteristically nice things like offering me a Q-tip when he found out my ear was hurting. Also, he didn’t want his parents to come out with us to the bar.  I totally understood what I had to do next.  I had to go out and try to pick up chicks, with a six year old.

I never had a big brother or a father growing up, so in the back of my mind I knew I had to figure out a way to make this an educational experience as well as a social experiment.  I wish someone had told me when I was younger that sometimes when you meet girls, it doesn’t work out the way you thought, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t still be friends. Therein lied the goal that I set out to accomplish.

I invited my friend Chrissy out with me that afternoon.  I told her ahead of time that my friend’s six year old son would be joining us for an hour at the Pour House in Collingswood, and that I was trying to teach him a life lesson at the same time that I was hoping to not disappoint him. I figured, if he showed up and saw me already having a drink with a girl, it would make it seem as if picking up chicks at a bar was definitely possible. We all know that having confidence is a key factor when picking up girls, although I’d be lying if I said I felt that way every time I attempted to do such a thing.

Chrissy and I were sitting on the same side of a bar table when Robert and Kai entered the restaurant.  As Kai came around the corner and saw us, his eyes lit up as if he just opened a Kylo Ren lightsaber on Christmas day.  He sat down at our table and his dad gave him $20 for dinner, and told him he’d be back in hour.  All of a sudden, there I was with my friend, a vodka and diet coke, and a six year old who started asking all these questions.

“Are you guys on a date?  Can I have a ginger ale?  Did you guys ever make out?”  He asked.

A long time ago, Chrissy and I did make out, but we never formally dated so I tried to explain to him that even though we were never an item, we are still good friends who have kept up with each other the last 15 years, and it’s totally ok to do that.  I tried to change the subject a little bit and I ask Kai what kind of girl he likes, as I pointed out a cute 4 year old in the booth across from us.  Kai took one look at her, and then responded to me in a totally deadpan tone.

“She’s too young for me.”  Kai said.

I was shocked.  Even at my age, 2 years younger is NOT too young for me, but then again perhaps there are some limitations that arise when one of you is six, and the other is only four and isn’t tall enough to ride the ferris wheel.  It was at this point that I started to ask Kai if he would prefer an older woman and suggested he talk to the waitress when she comes back around.

“What do you think of the waitress?”  I asked

“Well, I like her body, but I don’t really like her head.” he said.

Now, I’m not this kid’s father, but I knew there was some sort of way for me to explain to him that there is a nicer way of saying that.  I told him that perhaps a less offensive way to exclaim that he was not attracted to her would be to just say, “She’s not my type.”   After all, I had gotten myself into this situation, and for some reason I felt like it was my responsibility to teach him NOT to be a douchebag when he grows up.  Hopefully, this was a step in the right direction.

We talked for a little bit more about the type of girls he likes, and then I decided to put him on the spot when the waitress came back.  

“Kai, don’t you have anything to say to her?”  I asked

“I’m trying to teach him how to pick up chicks.” I said.

The waitress smiled, and looked over at Kai, and I thought he would have appreciated the set-up, but then something unexpected happened.  Kai started to fill up with tears and almost cry at the table during happy hour.

After the waitress left, I asked him what was the matter, and in between him hiding in his hood, and trying to spit ginger ale at me, he told me that what I said embarrassed him and that he was upset.  I never thought of it from his six year old perspective, because if I were to say the same thing to any of my adult guy friends out at the bar, it would just be a classic case of busting balls.  However, six year olds don’t laugh off embarrassment.  Instead, they get mad and agitated and try to throw a plastic cup of soda at you.

I immediately tried to get him to stop being upset by doing the one thing I know people want to hear when they’re feelings are hurt.

“I’m sorry buddy.  I didn’t mean to embarrass you, and I apologize.”

That’s pretty much all it took.  He eventually calmed down a little bit and ate the other half of his cheeseburger and within fifteen minutes his Mom showed up to get him.  When she came to pick him up, he didn’t immediately want to leave, but I told him I would see him back at his place later on that day and then I told him that this little story might become an article I write so I asked if he would pose with me for a few pictures.

Later that night I was sitting and talking with Robert and I told him what had happened at the bar.  He was astonished that when Kai got upset and embarrassed at the waitress comment, he didn’t throw a tantrum and start crying and freaking out.  Apparently, Kai has a reputation for being a little bit cranky and throwing a fit when things don’t work out the way he wants them too.  Hmmmm, sounds a lot like me when I was a kid.

I’ll always remember the time when I said something off the cuff to a six year old, unaware of the fact that he remembered what I said, and then expected it to happen. I couldn’t disappoint him, so I had to follow through with taking him to the bar, even though in reality I knew we weren’t really going to meet any girls.  That’s not the point.  

The point is, although I tried to teach him a lesson in life, it turns out he taught me one too.  In a childlike and innocent way, he held me accountable for the words I said out loud to him.  I think I needed to be reminded of that.

Being a person who follows through with what they say is a quality I possess and I look for in other people.  It’s a shame that some people in this world lack that standard. I feel we as adults could all benefit from saying what we mean, and meaning what we say.  Perhaps we should call each other out on our bullshit, make each other follow through with our words, and try to act a bit more like a six year old.

 

 

On Avail For Life

I remember this feeling. Waiting to hear if you got the job, or were approved for the car, or will be moving into a new place by the weekend.

However, if I were an actor in Hollywood it would be the equivalent to being on avail for a Super Bowl commercial, so it’s kind of a big deal. Yet, I’m not actually waiting for a job, I’m waiting for a place to live.  Another way of saying that would be that I’m on avail…. for my life

For those who don’t know know the lingo, “on avail” means it’s down to you and one other person for the job. However in this case, it’s just down to me.  No other applicants.  The auditions and callbacks and producer sessions are water under the bridge, and now I just……wait.

I try to be patient, so I just wait.

And I wait, and you wait, and we wait and wait and wait, until we get a call from someone saying it’s all yours. The job, or the place, or the car, regardless of what the fuck it is Congrats! Now you can proceed with the rest of your life!

Pretty big moment to look forward to for someone who gave it all up and crash landed 1100 miles north of the San Fernando Valley.

I feel like I’ve been on avail in Seattle for the last week. It’s probably the only time I will have to go through this I hope, but at this point, it’s out of my hands.

I accept that this is where I’m at, and eventually one day I’ll remember it fondly, but for right now, in this moment, I feel like I’m on avail… for the rest of my life.

The Cat is Out of the Bag, & Into My Car

Last Monday night I received a text from my friend Clover that read…

I hope your first travel day is smooth and awesome. You did it!

I did do it. I think I shocked some people by the fact that I actually DID move to Seattle, however the first travel day was ANYTHING but smooth.

I concocted a plan to use the hatchback of my car as a little travel area for my cat instead of putting her in a carrier. I put a litter box, blankets, food and water in the back, and then I put a piece of plexiglass in between the backseat and the hatchback allowing for an adequate amount of air for her.

Then, I packed up the rest of my car and used the stuff I didn’t send with the movers to keep the plexiglass in place. I’m a Genius! I thought I could drive the whole way without her being uncomfortable, and keeping her seperated from the cockpit of my car where it would be a horrendous disaster if she were to get out.

Problem is, I forgot to factor in the constant variable. The freewill of my cat.

I’m not one block from my apartment in L.A. when I spill a diet coke all over my console while making a K turn. My cat has been yelping the whole time acting as if she is going to die. She’s normally really dramatic, and I expect her to be out of sorts, so I tell her it’ll be ok, right before I scream FUUUCCCCK! at the top of my lungs as “soda lake” starts to overflow onto my lap which now….makes it look like I pissed myself too.

I clean up the diet coke and waste about a quarter of a roll of paper towels in the process.

Ok, not a great start to the trip…but the cat calmed down a little and I shake it off, and get on the freeway heading north.

Next thing that happens is my cat starts to meow, LOUDLY.

I try to tell her to calm down as I merge into the left lane and accelerate to fifty five miles per hour. Then, the yelping and the screaming from the back of the car reaches a level of epic proportions.

At this point, the shrillness and the fear in her meow is becoming evident to me. If she were a human being, she would be screaming at the top of her lungs.

I hear banging and howling and I look back and see her cat paws and her cat head have broken through by the strength of her hind legs as she jumps and tries to break out of the hatchback. On the second jump, she is successful.

She bursts out of the back of the car, through the space between the seat and the plexiglass, and onto all the rest of the stuff I had packed. She is now crawling around in the car, and I’m driving 65 miles per hour in moderate to heavy traffic on the 101 near Universal City.

I couldn’t pull over safely yet, so I call my friend to ask what to do and she tells me to either tape down the plexiglass, or put her in the carrier.

I feel like with the adrenaline running through her veins, the cat would be able to break out of anything now, so I keep driving a little more until I can safely exit the freeway but I think to myself…. maybe she’ll just chill in the car for the whole ride.

She’s not yelping anymore, she’s actually sitting ON her carrier in between the seats which I elected NOT to put her in just because I was trying to be a good Dad and make her feel LESS stressed. I think it had the opposite effect.

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She looks like she is on acid in this picture, and yes, I realize how terribly, terribly dangerous it is to take a selfie while operating a motor vehicle at sixty miles per hour on the freeway, let alone right after a cat breaks out the back of it.

Problem now becomes, she keeps moving around and crawling across the dashboard because there is nowhere for her to sit cause I packed the car thinking that she would be able to take a poop somewhere in Oregon, instead of busting out Alcatraz style somewhere near the Valley.

I know she is gonna hate it, but I gotta put her in that carrier the whole way there.

I finally find an exit past the 405 where I can pull over. As I put together her carrier, Dapple looks at me and then stares in disbelief as I tell her to stay put so I can get the blanket out of the back to put in the carrier to once again, make her more comfortable.

Man, the things I do for this cat. Half the apartments up here want to charge me pet deposit, AND pet rent for her upwards to $40 a month, but I’m getting ahead of myself in the ever NOT so smooth sorted story of how I settled in Seattle.

Back to the cat. I tell her this…

“You’re going to hate the next two days, but it’s the safest way for us to get there.”

With that, I pick her up and top load her into the carrier. Annoyed grunts and meowing ensues. I swear to God, if Dapple had a cell phone at this point in the journey, she would be texting me the letters “FML.”

We made it about 266 miles that day before driving at night became an impossibility.  The whole time Dapple cried and whined. She was definitely pissed, and I couldn’t blame her. I’m sure she was freaked the fuck out. I would be too if I were a cat who hadn’t been in a car or on the freeway for more than five minutes in 13 years, not to mention her being scared from the noise, the unfamiliarity, and the the thought of her not knowing what was going on.

As I walked back from the Jack In The Box with my dinner, something occurred to me.  I hadn’t thought about the fact that maybe I was scared too, and maybe I hadn’t moved cities in thirteen years, and even though I lived in Seattle back in the year 2000, it might be a little unfamiliar to me too.

As I stepped back into my room at the Motel 6 in Santa Nella, I saw my cat sitting on the bed.  She finally looked to be at ease, but it was with a heavy heart that I realized that yes, I did do it. I did make up my mind two months ago to move to Seattle, and I did spend the morning watching the movers take all my shit away in a truck.

Tasha asked if I wanted to take a picture in the apartment before I left, however I said no just moments before I started to cry just a little.

It finally hit me.   I just left Los Angeles….and it was anything BUT a smooth ride.

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