Archive for the ‘happiness’ Tag

From Russia House, With flubb   5 comments

207977215_ed94bb97cb1On Thursday night I went to Russia House with a girl I met recently. I tried out some dark Russian beer, and chatted about life. Before I left, I saw my ex-girlfriend downstairs sitting with a group of people at a table. When I saw her, her face was animated and she was obviously talking about something of importance. It looked like she was at the tail-end of a campaign speech, or in the middle of proving a major point. Either way, I walked over, and waved at her. In her peripheral vision, she noticed me, but she looked shocked. Actually she looked exposed, but I don’t know why.
“What are you doing here?” she said.
“I can’t even tell you right now.” I said with a smile.
“We’ll talk later.” She said somewhat abruptly.
I left, and ended up partying in Dupont for the rest of the night. But the next day, her statement knocked around my skull like a loose screw in a car engine. We don’t talk. We don’t even gchat. I’ve probably received one unsolicited call from her in the last two years. Why would she talk to me after running into me at the Russia house? Her expression weirded me out a bit. She almost seemed frightened to see me.
This made me think about the nature of things people say, and what they mean. We are so tied up with the way we communicate; people act weird around people they like, most women are afraid of the men they love, but an interesting stranger is always a good bet eh?
This is on my mind for a little bit on Friday night as well. Its cold and I don’t want to stay home. Staying home alone on a Friday night reminds me of too many past relationships. Too many winters were I had someone warm to keep me happy as bitter cold raged outside.
Earlier in the evening, I had another awkward moment.
I was near Howard University, eating a chicken sandwich. For most of the day I’ve felt light-headed, and the sandwich isn’t helping. I’m sitting there, watching a re-run of Smart Guy on a flat screen a few feet away, and my phone buzzes. It’s a text message from a girl I know, Q.
We were supposed to go to a bar for some early drinks, but I guess the cold killed that plan. The text reads:
Why don’t you come to my house. I have Gin, but no Tonic.
.This request seems reasonable, because its God awful cold outside. But moments after I arrive at the house, I realize a few things were off.  The first thing she asked me was if I’d been to the house before. I said no (her roommate is a friend of mine). The second thing that happened was said roommate, D, came home roughly eight minutes after I arrived. When he saw me in the kitchen drinking a gin and ginger ale with his roommate, I could see he didn’t expect me to be there.
As time passed, I didn’t even feel like I was there. They talked amongst themselves about little things; a missing sponge, some smoky chicken that was cooked a few days back; getting drunk on a Thursday, typical stuff.

It was almost voyeuristic, watching the cute yet intimate interaction of roommates on a Friday evening. Occasionally I tried to say a few things, but I didn’t think I had much to contribute. I started to wonder if I was intruding in some way. Even though I was invited into the house I felt as if I had strolled in of my own accord, loud and insistent, violating space.

My social intuition told me to leave (by now I’m sure D assumed I was trying to hookup with his roommate, but later I’d find out he didn’t even care) but the cold kept me inside. I popped out my laptop at some point and diddled on the internet.
D started watching the Jim Lehrer news hour and Q started using her laptop. I was a few feet away, sitting in the kitchen.  Then I also realized I’d never seen Q in a calm social setting before. I had only seen her at wild parties, where we gave each other drunken hellos and sprinkled random statements over the moment like beer foam.

The evening progressed into a strange dialogue that made me feel as if I was spiraling into and old yet  familiar place. Even though we chatted about normal things; something wasn’t clicking. Whatever good intentions had brought me to the house, it was backfiring fast. Conversation lagged, and I tried a little harder to make things work. This didn’t work;she look bored and a little frustrated. With all my life experience, for a little while I fell back into a childish naiveté. I wanted to know where the dark cloud came from, what was happening and why the early evening was quickly slipping into darkness. This didn’t happen, and I sensed it was time to leave.

“I have to meet someone else pretty soon.” she said.

I nodded. I felt this was an indirect (albeit polite) way to say it was time for me to go. This didn’t bother me. As adults when we are in socially awkward situations, we don’t have to talk about them, we just nicely tell the person to leave. Problem solved.

I started putting my winter gear on. I was still curious about what happened. I paused in the doorway for a moment as I headed out. (Like I said, childish naiveté). Like a young psychologist, I wanted to know what was happening. Was it bad energy? Body language? Something else? I asked her. So I said, “I feel awkward. Is something wrong? If so, please tell me. I’m very curious.”
She stood up for a moment, and sighed.
“You are a cool and interesting and all that, but maybe I’m just not a nice person.” She replied. I paused for a second. I would have scratched my head but I had my gloves and a hat on.

I didn’t really know what this meant. I’m not sure if anyone has ever told me something like  that. I thought she was cool, the statement made things a little more fuzzy. I thought she was a nice person. We were supposed to hang out at a bar. I think it was the house. Something about being there made things weird. Bloody cold weather!

As I turned to leave, I felt slightly worried. I wondered if my friend thought I was trying to hook up with his roommate, and what the subsequent fallout would be. As I walked down some cold dark steps towards the street I heard her voice behind me. “ Have a good night.” She said.
I walked towards Georgia avenue, heading back home. In my mind I wondered, “what just happened?”
I wasn’t upset, because I know that some groups of people just can’t communicate. They are like fire and ice. Oil and water. We must have been like that.
I thought about how happily D and Q had chatted to each other. It was like watching a sitcom, minus the Prague laughter. I thought of my living situation. My house is quiet, and my roommates are all but invisible. There is no happy morning greeting, no laughs about a missing sponge or a smoky pot, no outings on a Friday night. The house like many in DC; large, empty and cold. Every now and then I might hear laughter upstairs, or the sound of a television from a room downstairs. Sometimes, there are breaks in the silent moments. I might play some music, or I’ll hear the blare of a siren outside. If it’s windy, the shutters will rustle. My space heater hums. When my micro fridge resets itself, I hear a little clink. That’s about it.
Maybe at D’s house I had stepped into that little comfort space that people normally don’t see. That intimate side of people who live together, only seen by the clock on the wall. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to see it. Maybe that caused the cloud.

*  *  *
I go home and drop asleep for a few hours. When I wake up, there is a text message on my phone.
Its from a friend, Liz. My roommates and I are going to Wonderland, the text reads. I see it as a good sign. I head to wonderland, doing a light jog in the freezing weather to the metro station. I have a six minute wait at the train station. When I reach the bar, as usual its packed. I go upstairs and grab a drink. I’m still mulling over a few things in my head. I’m worried that I’ve somehow put a dark smear on my relationship with two people I thought were cool, and I keep thinking about what my ex-girlfriend said at Russia House.
.Its possible she saw the girl behind me and felt awkward, or maybe one of the guys at the table was her boyfriend and she didn’t want him to see me, I dunno. But something about what she said seemed rushed, and dismissive. I wondered why she looked so surprised to see me. I do live in DC after all.
.I grab a beer and stand watching the crowd. Tonight is not a night for dancing. The makeup of the crowd is a little odd. Mostly guys and girls with short hair cuts dressed like guys. It dawns on me that it’s a gay night.
The lesbian couples are semi-obvious. For the most part there is one girl dressed like a guy, then a cute (more “standard looking”) girl dancing with her. On nights like these, I feel as if I’m doing something fundamentally wrong. These women are happily making out, hooking up and going out. A girl who dresses like a man can get laid, but a guy who is simply a guy has to fight and cajole and twist things around to even get a half decent hello.
I feel like leaving, but Liz sends me a  text. (They actually went to Local 16 on U street). We are coming to the Wonderland now.
I chill for a bit and the music gets better. Somewhere on stage, a person hits the light switch, and the entire dancing area is cast into shadow. On cue, people start making out. A tall mocha-looking guy is making out with a short brunette beside me. On stage, a girl dressed like Andre 3000 is making out with another girl while they dance. More girls are kissing girls, and couples are kissing each other. I feel empty watching these people embrace. I would leave, but it’s so cold outside, and all I have is my quiet room to go to.
The DJ starts playing some reggae music, and I amuse myself by singing along. A scruffy looking guy comes over and hands me a flyer. “This is my party, we’ll be playing a lot of 70’s reggae music. You should check it out.” He says. I smile and say “Respect.” But I can’t bear to tell him I don’t really like 70’s reggae music. I find it depressing.
Liz and her two roommates arrive. They are both gay. It fits the theme of the night. They dance energetically to the music and disappear into the folds of the crowd. I see a girl come upstairs. I recognize her as Anna. There was a night last year she was all over me then gave me her number. I saw her the next day at a house party and she pretended not to know me. She is with her boyfriend. He looks like John Heder.
Guys in the bar are working hard to get laid, but I see that most of them will go home alone. We are such awkward creatures; we go to tiny spaces to consume chemicals that dull our senses, then stand in close proximity to other people to get a sense of community.
Freaky.
At some point, someone touches me. It’s a girl I recognize. She says a quick hello and disappears. A part of me wants to dance with Liz, but she’s betrothed to someone else, so I leave her alone. Her roommate is dancing very intimately with her, but he’s gay, so that’s cool.
After standing by the water cooler for ten minutes, I decide to bounce. I tell Liz goodbye and head downstairs. I see my friend. “I could really use a cup of tea.” I say to her. She lives a block away. “I have a long walk ahead.”She opens her mouth and makes the sound you hear when someone is feeling sad on 70’s Tv: “Whaap, whaap, whaaaaap.”
“You don’t have any tea?” I ask her.  She nods no. “No coffee?” she nods no again.
I realize she thinks I’m asking her to come over to her place using tea as a bogus excuse. “Hey its not like that, I’m just cold.” I say to her.
“Whaap whaap whaaap.” She says again. “I’m going to find my friend upstairs.” She says, and walks away without saying goodbye.
Whatever, I tell myself.
These things don’t sting me anymore. I don’t think people are inherently mean, confused or bad. I just think that as you grow older you care a lot less about things. Everyday you hear that people die, get shot, are raped, murdered, starving, bankrupt, homeless and ill. Can you really spend time caring about a negative statement? A random run-in? Or even think about someone you once loved? Probably not.
All you want on a cold night is someone to snuggle with. Someone to wake up naked with and smile at in the morning while you make tea and eat waffles after morning sex.
I walk back home, and surprisingly its not as cold. The wind has stopped and the blocks go by in a blur.  A few weeks ago on a night like this I would feel as if I wanted to escape, as if the events around me were a representation of who I was, but I know this isn’t true. Its just one of those Friday nights, when you have a few drinks, listen to a little music, and think about life.
Then you go home, crawl into bed and sleep.

Life 4 Inches at a Time [PreBday Thawts]   Leave a comment

Today is Wednesday, March 19, 2008.
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Last year on this very day, I was in Barcelona, probably sipping on a cafe con leche. I spent my 25th birthday in Europe, far away from almost everything and everyone I knew.
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Today, I’m sitting in my room, staring blankly at my computer screen. Naturally, this leads one to reflect. I’m not sure what to speak about honestly, but I feel like with any blog a person needs to say something before they usher themselves into another age bracket?Maybe I could talk about love, growth, the economy or probably Global Warming. Who knows. I have no poignant thoughts on the brain of late.
Maybe I’ll blog about nothing in particular, and write a little poem that reflects my state of mind.
One thing I realize about this blog thing, its pretty challenging at times. This thing is supposed to be a sort of online diary, a forum where anyone can hop onto your page and read what you’ve been up to. Much of what I’ve been up to, I don’t want to say.Maybe I’m too shy, or a little too reserved when I think of who might be reading these blogs. Does it really matter if I say whatever is on my mind? The most hits i’ve received in a day are 120. Can my life really be affected if an extra 120 people know a few tidbits about someone they will probably never meet?

Who knows.

I’ve toyed with the idea of writing another blog, the one were I can REALLY speak my mind. Rant if you will. Talk about my life’s frustrations, things that are approaching that sometimes keep me awake, disturbing adult behavior, unrequited love, the works.

But who knows. These aren’t things someone really has to focus on are they? We are in the age where people can find out almost anything if they search hard enough. I’m just doing people a favor, and putting it out there before the masses come calling.

I can say without reservation that in my life so far I have seen some pretty ugly things. The dark side of human nature, people and events. I try to ignore these things, but I realize that when some really f-ed up stuff happens to you, it can really sit with you for a LONG time. This sometimes makes me desire to be “normal”. But what is normal anyway? I don’t think anyone is normal. Half of my relationships are destroyed by the hangups my exes have over their former boyfriends. Do the wrong thing, you become that guy, and you are gone. Caput.

Everyone has their frame centralized based on what happened to them in their life, good or bad. Who is normal? The chick with the eating disorder because she hates herself or the guy who does lines to forget about his friend that killed himself? What is normal?

Each time I hear about people dying on the news I feel nothing. Worse, when people close to me have died and I don’t know how to react. How can I? We are in this weird, desensitized world where no one generally thinks past how far they can tolerate discomfort.

I’ve also seen some amazing things. I’ve traveled, I’ve met beautiful people I care and love. I’ve seen one of the better sides of humanity, the value of family, good friendships, and priceless moments. I’ve sat on a beach in Hawaii, staring at the sunset, realizing how big the world is. I’ve heard my father tell me he loves me, looked a hurricane directly in the eye and dodged a few near death incidents. I’ve had broken bones, and a broken heart. Christ, I still have a broken heart. I’ve lived eh?

Even though i’m sitting in my room, alone and in my underwear typing this, I have to be thankful.

Yesterday I was walking home. I was feeling like a huge cloud was over my head. This happens to everyone in a major city if you don’t have that many people to interact with. Its almost like everyone is a mannequin, and you are walking by everyone in slow motion. You don’t hear any voices because you have your headphones on, drowning out the world. You don’t see any smiles, or looking into anyone’s eyes. You walk straigth ahead, like society’s runway model, unaware of anything in the periphery, all you see is that walkway that leads to the photographers.

I was feeling like this. I had just returned from walking around aimlessly for a few hours. About fifty feet in front of me, I saw a man struggling to push his wheelchair up a small ramp that lead to the sidewalk. A passerby helped him and when the man regained control of his chair, I walked past. This man–I have no idea what ailment he had–could only push the wheelchair forwards a few inches at a time. His head rested awkwardly on his chest, and he was twitching. Even so, his eyes seeemed much brighter than mine. I, the person in full control of my faculties had darker eyes.

Immediately I felt ashamed of myself. I felt the need to cry surge within me as I wondered about what I was truly thankful for. What is wrong with you? I said to myself. Even if there isn’t much going on right now, you can walk, you can talk, if you get lucky, you can get laid. You aren’t living life four inches at a time.

This emotional charge has probably lead me in a spiral of thinking about the past. I’ve been in a few car accidents, and I’ve suffered some major injuries in my lifetime. These leave me in a fluctuating state of pain, which I find annoying, but i’m not crippled. Even though I tend to limp every now and then, I can still run if I need to, and walk a few miles every other day or so.

Whoever reads this, I might dismiss this as meaningless in a day or so. Regardless of that fact, it is all i can think about right now. The time your inner voice in the loudest, is when you have nothing to say, and no one to say anything to you. Add a Spring Break time period to that, and you have a regular existential birth about to happen.

Who knows what life means. So what if I was in Barcelona last year, and this year i’ll probably be sitting in some Cafe in DC somewhere. I’m not unhappy to be alive. I don’t really have that much to complain about. I’ve realized as I get older that a few things happen:

(a) you see the bad side of people you love, and you can choose to hate them, or get over it.
(b) you will experience the death of someone close to you, sooner or later. No one escapes.
(c) you will fail a few times at things you believe you could NEVER lose at. Life teaches all.
(d) you will have at least one or two major regrets. Things you can never change. Ever.
(e) you will have the choice to call someone to say hello, or tell them you love them, but you won’t.
(f) you will either decide to focus on your career as the focus of your life, or take your own steps towards what your life will be. Either way, its fueled by the notion of death at the end of the road.
(g) you will have lots of fun if you so choose.
(h) you will realize your own meaning of life and death, sooner or later.
(i) you will be challenged to change a bad habit you have, or you will lose people very precious to you if you don’t.
(j) you will realize the words of your peers when you were a child make perfect sense.
(k) you will fear having children of your own someday.
(l) you will have a moment where you can completely change your life, or stay where you are, knowing it will keep you trapped for years to come.
(m) next year, you’ll realize these things all over again. :p

Okay that’s not some comprehensive list, but its MY list… and you are reading MY blog…so there! :p

Anyways, lately I’ve been like “screw it”. I’ll tell my thoughts within reason. I’ve been hesitant at times to write because I think certain people might read my blog, but hey, I’m not that important. I get comments from random people in different countries. The people closest to me refuse to read my blog, so I’m safe. I’m still trying to get my sister to read one of my 76 posts.

So ladies and gents, so ends the rant. Maybe there wasn’t much point to this. Tomorrow i’ll go back to my usual witty re-telling of whatever I do on my birthday. Hopefully it will involve women, drugs and alcohol.

Peace

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