Monthly Archives: September 2008

Physical Exhaustion

There’s something compelling, for me, about physical exhaustion. To drive oneself straight to the point where if you do not rest, you understand that damage will start occurring. When you’re just starting to do something, you are still thinking about the real world, about something other than the activity at hand. But eventually, the act gains momentum, and you cannot think of anything outside of it. It’s a very interesting sensation, when the entire world is reduced to you, your body, and the motion.

I walk. If there’s anything I have that is close to a superpower, it is that I can walk for a very, very long time. People rarely comment on it as a positive thing, it’s usually “Aaron… let’s take a bus or a taxi or something, why are you still walking?” or “Aaron, stop, we need to rest.”, but there it is. So when my mom asked me if I wanted to do a marathon with her, I immediately took a shine to the idea.

So, with luck and persistence, she and I will run a marathon together. It’ll be fun to get into shape, and we’ll get to spend some time together.

Oh, and I had so much personal life crap happen that I had to start over on the pushups. I did a new exhaustion test and started on Week One, Level 3. It’s worked out so far, I’m concentrating this time on slow, all the way to the floor pushups. I’m also using the same charts to do crunches. Should be an interesting winter.

Scenes from a Life : The Secret

I was at DIYStories and was inspired to tell this one, but I thought it would be fun to expand it a little here.

Being somewhat socially dysfunctional in High School, and being friends with many other social retards, my dating life was… incestuous. Everyone ended up dating someone’s ex, mostly because you didn’t have to introduce yourself, and since they were previously dating your friends, you were probably on the same social strata.

I’d like to talk about Jill. Jill was a redhead, skinny, gorgeous, alabaster skin. Daniel dated her in junior high school. She was his first… well, his first most everything, to hear him tell it. Their breakup was messy, and much later, when he and I had kind of drifted apart, she kind of found a place in my heart.

Chris was my best friend. Very, very close. We spend, for most of Junior High and, really for most of High School, in constant contact. We went to the mall, we hung out, we were friends seven days a week.

And then his dad hit him. It wasn’t the first time, I don’t really know if it was the last. But it was significant, and suddenly, we were living together. My parents took him in and he lived in our house for a lot of our Senior Year.

So one day, the three of us… Jill, Chris, and I, went hiking. I don’t even remember how it started, I don’t remember who instigated it, but I do remember it was like a dream come true.
We got in Jill’s car, and drove up to Sedona, and so began one of the most fun days I’ve ever had. We got lost, we got wet, we were broke, we were young, and we were getting along famously. After a long day of hiking, laughing, eating, and stolen glimpses of strawberry-print panties (!), we were driving home. Jill at the wheel, me in the passenger seat, Chris snoring in the back. You could have cut the hormones with a knife.

Jill leans over, looking back at Chris to make sure he’s asleep.

My hardon could have bent steel.

She grabs my hand.


She says, “I have a secret…”

I might have orgasmed RIGHT AT THAT MOMENT.

She looks me in the eye….

I’m trembling.

“I’m going to kiss Chris tonight.”

If I were thinking clearly, I would have thrown myself out of the car. But I was _that_ disarmed. It was such an unexpected thing for her to say, I think my brain shut off. Maybe I lost control of my bowels. Who knows. I kind of blacked out. I know we got home. I know the two of them got together.

And here’s the other thing I know.

I know that on Monday, Jill ran over to talk to me as soon as Chris was gone.

I know that she told me I needed to go wash the blanket on my couch.

I know that she looked like she had seen something confusing.

I know that she had a new secret.

She bent close to my ear.

She whispered it so quietly.

“Chris is a premature ejaculator”

Scenes from a Life : That Hot Rod Lincoln

Sergio was a bit of an enigma. There was a persistent rumor going around that he was an undercover cop who was brought on to make drug arrests on the shift. I always dismissed this, because I figured that cops had much more important things to do than stop Wal-Mart employees from hoovering meth, like having sex with prostitutes and giving parking tickets. He styled himself as a pretty typical Southwest Phoenix hispanic. Part drug dealer, part lothario, but in reality he was an overnight worker at Wal-mart and had a kid with his live in girlfriend who he babysat all day.

One night, on first break, he was walking out to his car with two gallon jugs of water in his hands, and I asked him what he was doing. “Going to go pop my trunk, somebody talkin’ shit” he said, I corrected that I was talking about the water jugs. He told me that his car had started leaking coolant pretty badly the other day and that he had to fill it up essentially every time he wanted to drive it. He had tried a couple bottles of stop leak, but it was obvious to me that no amount of pepper or aluminum was going to fix what the problem was. While he fiddled around in the trunk with something, I reached down into the guts of the Lincoln and felt the telltale signs of a freeze plug having bit the farm. Not sure why, but it felt like it had corroded. He nodded his head and then thanked me, squealing out of the parking lot off to do whatever corrections he felt necessary to his reputation.

The next time we worked together, end of shift saw him doing the duckwalk out with even more bottles of water, and he waved me over, and asked me if I would replace the freeze plug for him. I told him I’d see what I could do. Little did I realize that he meant… right now. We drove off to his place where he disappeared inside to wake his son up. The four or five year old toddled, bleary eyed out into the carport to deliver me a couple “scoobies”, Sergio’s pet name for a bottle of beer. I poked around in the guts of his car for a bit, pretty much coming to the conclusion there was no way I could get a proper freeze plug installed without removing the front suspension. I figured one of those emergency/STOP branded temporary freeze plugs would do it, so we filled up a couple more jugs, put the kid back in his room, and wandered out into the big world a bit drunker.

When we arrived at the parts store, it was immediately obvious that Sergio had worked here at some point. Everyone knew him, he walked up and started chatting up the girl behind the counter. We wandered out with the $3 part in hand and headed over to the 7-11 to pick up some more beer. I was kind of bleary eyed and blinking in the sun at this point, I hadn’t been up this late in months. And that’s when… the hoochie shows up.

Like a form of ghetto spontaneous parthenogenesis, Sergio’s presence could cause skanky women to ooze out of previously unseen cracks in reality. We were standing out front with a case of beer and suddenly this girl shows up. Full of 2001 style sexy. Low slung jeans exposing her stretch mark covered belly, tank top which reads “baby girl” in pink sparkle. Enough eye makeup to make RuPaul cluck in judgment. And he just turns to her and goes “Hey, you remember me from that party?” – Not five minutes later, she’s in the Lincoln with us, headed back to his house, while the two of them exchange wild memories of this party they were at.

His kid continued to bring me beers on a semiregular basis as I drove the old freeze plug into the block and installed the emergency replacement, all the while listening to the sounds of cheap bedsprings being fatigued and telltale moans of exertion. I finished up the job and drank a victory beer while playing Xbox with the toddler. Serj returned from the back room showered and wearing little more than boxer shorts.

On the car ride home, he admitted that he was at no such party, he wasn’t even sure what the girls name was, even now. He had to call her “baby girl” the whole time.

I finally got home, drunk, hot, tired, greasy, and laid down next to my dog to sleep.

Celibate Good Times, Come On

I’ve had this King of the Hill scene stuck in my head for a while.

Bill Dauterive: So, how long you been celibate?
Monk: Three years.
Bill Dauterive: Oh. The fourth year’s the hardest.

It’s a funny scene. It’s a good line. But most of all – It’s a lie. The fourth year isn’t the hardest. The fifth isn’t the hardest. It’s all easy. Every year of celibacy is easier and easier. It’s a slide down a greased razor blade, the path of least resistance. Every day you become a little less attached to the idea of yourself as a sexual entity. In comparison to the stress and effort of dating, seeking, romance, talking, the ups and downs of romantic life? Not fucking is cake.

You know what is hard? Getting back into the game. I never really even understood the game the first time, and then I dropped out for eight years. I’m still operating under the “let’s pass notes in homeroom and maybe make out at the football game” rules and clearly, that doesn’t work now. I don’t even know where homeroom is anymore.

I know where it isn’t… Craigslist. That’s just some dark, horrid shit.


Continued from Novacaine.

Remember when you held me tight
And you kissed me all through the night
Think of all that we’ve been through
Breaking up is hard to do – Neil Sedaka ‘Breaking Up is Hard to Do’

I remember getting back to the house, but I don’t really remember getting in bed. That’s probably because of the beer. I don’t remember taking off my clothes, and the reason for that becomes obvious as soon as I pull back the sheets. I unbutton my wrinkled clothes and start to kick them out from under the covers, savor the blank slate feeling of a good drunk night. But as sleep fades from my head, the creeping flavor of… I don’t know what. Burned cat shit? Road tar and asparagus? … starts crawling up my throat and coating my tongue. I stare at the ceiling. I should shower. I should brush my teeth. I should get a real job. I should have a drivers license. I should have married her when I had the chance. There’s the old magic. The doubts of the day begin to pile up and I heave off the bed like it’s going to do any good.

I immediately stub my toe on something blurry and heavy. More careful this time, I start again and pick my way toward the sink. ‘The maid died.’ That’s what I tell people. It used to be funny, I’m not sure why. Now they just stare. I wipe my face and stare at my bloodshot eyes in the mirror. Looking good. Looking good. I step on something sharp and I’m off balance again. Staggering around in the mess, I start to play back my evening. The barking dogs, the flashing lights… I pick up my toothbrush and get to work on those pearly whites. The kids in the park. Lola… I pick an errant glob out of the corner of one eye. I’m having a hard time remembering it all straight. Then it flashes. The envelope. Panic spreads up and down me. Toothpaste foam drips out of my mouth, and I bound around naked, searching. The toothbrush drops from my mouth and lands in a dirty bowl as I frantically pat my clothes down for the envelope.

All I really have in this world is that I know people. I connect them. And when people set up a tail to follow you around, and give you an envelope, they want you to connect them with somebody else. When they don’t come say ‘hello’, there are implications. When they drive around American cars and pull spooky shit while you’re eating, there are two specific implications. There’s an implied payment for success, and implied punishment for failure. I should have come straight home and checked it out. I shouldn’t have been drinking at noon. I shouldn’t have been blasted by dinner. I should have waited out the tail and not let them punk me like this. I shouldn’t have lost this envelope.

*knock knock*

There’s not an expletive strong enough for this situation.

*knock knock*

You don’t want your prospective employers to think you’ve goofed up before you even had a proper sit down. If you do, they’ll usually just deal out the punishment now and find some other loser to do the job. I grab the .25 from under my bed and stick it in the back of my underwear, walking toward the door.

I grab the door knob and yank hard. I’m just hoping at this point that the underpants and surprise will let me roll over anybody who might be out there. The cold wedge of steel in my buttcrack is the center of my universe, my hand floating above the grip. Looking casual there, champ. I catch the yellow stain on the front flap. Feeling fit and ready to go.

My brain is prepped for bad news, so it takes a while to cycle through all the worst case scenarios. Cop, FBI, drug dealer, wannabe, has been, vato, meth fiend, and my heart is fluttering so fast I can watch the door opening one degree at a time. This time it’s Special Agent Ortega. This time it’s an enforcer for the Angelos. This time it’s a man with a dirty needle full of drain cleaner, ready to stick me as punishment for some past crime. This time it’s… my aunt.

She smiles at me, looking down at my dirty underpants and gives a little chuckle. She has an envelope in her hand – The envelope.

“Robert, you left this up in my mailbox last night, with a note that said to give it to you when you woke up.”

Always thinking, I am.

“You look like hell young man. Can I come in?”

“No, it’s a mess in here… The maid died.”

She just stares.

Her smile is still there, but I realize it’s not at me, it’s about me. It’s over me and through me. It’s about all of this, the room, the underwear, the gun warming slowly in the small of my back. Mortified, I grab the envelope in her hand and maybe she can hear the “thanks” over the door slamming in her face. My embarassment colors over the panic and I sit down on the edge of the bed, staring down at my bad decisions.

I tear the envelope open and dump it out on the bed.

The Core

My eyes don’t care for the unblemished apple, but adore the worm at its core.

I look at Abraham Lincoln, fifty feet tall, beatific. Sainted. Beautiful. And while my mind tells me I should be in awe of it, that I should feel some connection there, to all of the people who have come and stood at his feet and stared in awe at his gaze. To link me to all Americans, whose union is more perfect because of the work this man did. This legendary figure, forged in dire years. That I should feel something amazing, some altered state of grace. Instead, I can only stare at the mud daubers who have taken up residence in his pants leg. At the water damaged wall to the left, natural ellipsis to the Gettysburg Address so beautifully carved on the adjacent wall. At the missing, broken, shoddily repaired tiles across the roof. I should be reading the second inaugural address on the right, a powerful and beautiful speech, rendered in powerful type, bigger than life. But all I can see is the view out toward the mall. The construction, the brown grass, the greasy roadies kicking trash around out front.

Jason is trying to point it out to me, the beauty, the mystical, the legendary. The place where the President does his press conferences, where the inauguration takes place. The place where dead presidents are laid in state. But all I can see is the way the hand rail doesn’t match up in the middle, the wavy gap underneath the $300 a foot floor molding. The beautiful, inlaid door with the missing hinge pins. The yellowed electrical outlet plastic. The duct tape adhesive on the grimy strike plate. The stains on the carpet in the State Dining Room. The bad glazing on the windows. Jason is pointing out where the President walks down from the residence, places where amazing men had amazing meetings. And all I see is the cheap fabric hotglued over thermostats to hide them.

I wonder why I am this way. I wonder why my eyes can’t see the beautiful without seeing the blemish. Why, when it comes down to it, there’s no difference for me.