New Orleans Would Agree If It Ever Came Home

On a cold Sunday night with my van heater blasting and a bit of white wine still seeping from my blood, I don’t feel misplaced. Not in the wrong place. Just alone, lonely, sad, and wanting. Maybe that’s this place.

The thing about travel? They don’t tell you it’s lonely. “An adventure of excitement and eye-opening growth.”

Yes, that’s travel. But it’s lonely, too.

It’s me and my dog, one month in our roadtrip. Atlanta, then Texas, now in New Orleans. Friends—some great friends—we met along the way. Yet still it’s just us— me and my dog.

Last night, out til 5, surrounded by parties, I made two new friends that I’m now gonna see. Interesting people with lives and opinions. Better than that, unique, fun, funny, too.

But now, when it’s late, and my sleep schedule’s fucked, I see why someone would get drunk again. Then it’s tomorrow. Who knows what could happen? Who wouldn’t have fun at a New Orleans club?

That’s not a solution. That’s open containers. Vessels transporting liquid from one place to place. People vibrating where they stand, moving forward only in time. Bleary, wide-eyed blobs drink to replace their cold sweat.

Why has this city not changed since Katrina? Why did my cabbie say there’s really no dif?

If you spend your life dancing, you’ve nothing to celebrate. That’s what this is: just an empty, wet kiss. But not one from your grandma or a dog or a lover. Just tongue from someone who, right now, like you, feels alone. Together will be great for the time that it’s lasting, but morning will come and you’ll have to go home.

Travelog 191023 (Redacted Version)

Start: [Redacted], Pflugerville, TX

End: [Redacted], Pflugerville, TX

Quotent Quotables: 

  • “Even god couldn’t take the Israelites into the promised land. [It means], ‘you can’t get people to do things they don’t want to do.’” -[Redacted]. 

Delicious Delectables: 

  • Made poached & scrambled eggs using my sous vide machine. Delicious!
  • Ate ham & pepperjack & mayo roll-ups. Yum! 

Real Realizations: 

  • Hourly work that’s scheduled every day [redacted] is GREAT. I could do this for 6 months [redacted]! This must be what it’s like to have a job. Except BETTER! 
  • In school, teachers train you to wait until the last minute to do things (because they change the requirements so often). Turns out this is actually GREAT training for the real world [redacted]!
  • When you care about someone (and ask questions accordingly), they think you’re down to earth. 
  • People like people who care about them. If you stay in control and focus on them, you can get anyone to like you. 

[Redacted]

Exciting Events: 

  • Wrote a new recipe for my cookbook.
  • Talked with [redacted] for a while.
    • Smoked a cigarillo together. 
    • Discussed our old highschool passions. 
  • Phone call with [redacted]. 
    • Just joked around a bunch. 
  • Phone call with [redacted]. 
    • Talked about serious stuff. And our [redacted]. 
  • Worked on [redacted] for 5 hours. Made [redacted]. 

Alluring Activities: 

  • Traveling to New Orleans. Seeing [redacted] & his crazy parties.  

Travel Log 191020 (Redacted Version)

Start: [Redacted], Pflugerville, TX

End: [Redacted], Pflugerville, TX

Delicious Delectables: 

  • Lindor Lindt White Chocolate Truffles. ALMOST A WHOLE BAG. 

Quotent Quotables: 

  • “How good it is to have something it’s so hard to say goodbye to.” -Winnie The Pooh 

Real Realizations: 

  • Rules of the game “Freelancer”: 
    • The goal of the game is to win. You win by making the most amount of money in the least amount of time. That metric is called “hourly rate.” Increase it as much as possible. 

Exciting Events: 

  • Walked Smidge when I was all grumpy-like.
  • Performed two user experience tests for [redacted]: one each on [redacted]. 
    • Very fun process! Much more fun than I’d feared. 
  • Video chatted with [redacted] for two hours! 😄  
    • He recently attended a thanksgiving party at which he listed three things he’s grateful for. One of them was me! 
      • He really enjoys being able to sit with me in comfortable silence. Me too. And I want to become even more comfortable with him! 
    • I regaled him with stories of Myschevia and my other recent escapades. More than once, he was surprised; nay, shocked!
  • Bought [redacted] a succulent plant. 
  • [Redacted] returned from the renaissance faire.
    • They [redacted]. No wonder [redacted]! 
  • Walked Smidge again, just after it rained. It was wonderful! 
  • Teased [redacted] a bit. They said it was too much. I apologized. 
    • [Redacted]. 
    • Also, however, [redacted]. 
  • Played Slime Volleyball with [redacted]. Such a fun game. 

Alluring Activities: 

  • [Redacted] review tomorrow. 
  • Call with [redacted] tomorrow to discuss my hourly rate.

It’s Good to be Disliked, A Manifesto.

I probably don’t like you. You’re welcome.* (*: Not sarcastic.)

My fourth-grade classroom restricted its students to bringing identical Valentine’s Day cards for everyone or no cards at all. I found this a problem, as most of my classmates were bland blobs, while a vocal minority were… [people I didn’t like].

Only this year—at age 25—did I finally realize I can choose my friends. Four of my friendships ended this year, and I’m glad they did.

An ex ended our friendship—my first official ending—in July, followed by an old poker buddy in August. I ended one in October—my first initiation—and a different ex ended our friendship on Monday. Every one of these has been a wonderful change, with benefits extending far beyond free time.

It’s common knowledge—and I find it experientially true—that you “can’t please all the people all the time.” Apply that to relationships: Some people won’t like you. Turn that around: You won’t like some people. 

Ending a friendship is therefore an act of integrity. It forwards your values. It makes manifest your soul.

You prioritize your family. You care about your friends. Most people choose a partner to prefer over all others. Having preferences is Good. It’s the foundation of consciousness. 

All my friends have former, now-dead friendships. Most drift apart instead of going out with a bang, but both seem to happen surprisingly often. People grow and change. Friendships die. We can still love what was.

You can hate some people and everything they stand for. You can love with abandon those you prefer. You can express your soul. If someone doesn’t like you, good for them.

We used to make plans.

As a kid, I’d schedule a play date weeks in advance. These days, even when after confirming a reptile festival the day before, I still assume a 50-50 chance my friend bails. When he does, 8am day-of, I’m annoyed. I’m confused. How much is him and how much is changing culture?

I’m not here to tell you, “Something is lost.” It is, but that’s not the point. Instead, it’s simply that some things have changed:

  • We’ve lost certainty and confidence.
  • We’ve gained flexibility and opportunism.
  • We’ve lost reliability and comfort.
  • We’ve gained the more frequent upgrades.
  • We’ve lost security in friendships.
  • We’ve gained the freedom to follow our whims.

If people still lock down plans, I don’t know them. My friends might be outliers, or perhaps the Bay Area’s incessant climbing keeps everyone on the lookout for upgrades. Or maybe this experience is a worldwide phenomenon. Faster communication means more rapidly changing circumstances.

No matter the reason, I must adjust. It’s a tough lesson to learn. Negative punishment can easily become mis-associated. In this case, to self-blame:

  • “What did I do that made him cancel?”

or, worse,

  • “What’s wrong with me that made him cancel?”

I try not to see it in those ways. I try to see it as the new world order. I think that’s accurate, but I’m not sure. Are you? 

Sometimes I write in pictures.

You!
Yes, you!
Look at this guy:
A short, squat gnome
With a big paunched belly
And an erect penis
And neck
This text is here purely for formatting reasons
Born a dewdrop
That jiggled on a leaf,
Slurped up by a ladybug
That hums above the field.
Clouds billow, foretold shocks:
“Don’t hum begrudging agreement.
It’s not what you’ll want tomorrow-
Just what they demand today.”
This text is here purely for formatting reasons
He writes from a place southwest of my sternum
Aflame from rotting friends.
He wants to show you.
Take a look?
Or run.
“Please don’t run.”

Quotent Quotables, Volume 2

I’ve curated a list of recent quotes from my life, along with a challenge: Who said each quote? Me or Not-Me? (Answers at the end; track your responses to see how well you fare!)

  1. “You know that Carly Simon song? It’s about me.”
  2. “Sometimes I feel like I’m always rushing. Then I get some free time and it’s just the worst.”
  3. “When you eliminate the extraneous, all that’s left is you. When you eliminate the you, all that’s left is the Tao.”
  4. “Pickling is so great. They take cucumbers and make them edible!”
  5. “Nexterday. I mean tomorrow.”
  6. “I like spending time with people with low self-esteem—whenever we arrive at a problem, they’re too busy blaming themselves to blame me.”
  7. “I’m a coffee drinker, so cups of tea aren’t my cup of tea.”
  8. “You’re nervous. That’s okay. Just don’t be nervous about being nervous.”
  9. “My computer just told me it has an upgrade it wants to run. Let me guess: it’s going to make the computer run more slowly and not affect how I use it at all.”
  10. “The more I learn about how things work, the more I learn they’re stupid and poorly done.”
  11. “Avocado would be a great Halloween costume for a pregnant woman.”
  12. “With T-Mobile, you get free tacos on Tuesdays, but with Verizon you can make phone calls.”

To protect you from accidentally seeing the answers, please enjoy this anecdote: (Real! Real true! Real true funny!)

Context: A highschool couple eats dinner at Chick-Fil-A. The Girl has painted her face with such vigor that it lacks pores. The guy sports spiky hair, diamond hoop earrings, and flip-flops.

Girl: I don’t find comedy funny.

Guy: You don’t find comedy funny?

Girl: I find it cringe-y. It’s not natural funny. It’s like forced funny. I don’t like comedy movies because they’re not funny. I feel like the only comedy that I actually find funny is, like, White Chicks. Oh my god! We should watch White Chicks together!

 

(Scroll down for the answers)

 

(Keep scrolling)

 

(Who’s a good scroller? You are! Yes, you are!)

 

Those answers you’ve been waiting for:

1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, and 12 are by Yours Truly

Your Score:

0: You know me incredibly well, but prefer self-sabotage.

1-3: Next time, try flipping a coin.

4-6: You did flip a coin.

7-9: Let’s be friends.

10-11: So close and yet so far. Was it the pickling? I bet it was the pickling.

12: Self… is that you? I mean me? Are you… me?