Minus 30 and Counting

"For all the points of a compass there is only one direction and time is its only measure."

Thursday, July 28

Breaking The 4th Wall

Hello All,

First of, I'm sorry about completely not posting for like months. Things have been good and bad of recent. Life has many ups and downs and sometimes those take you away from some of the things you enjoy most - this private life I have with all of you being one of them. Other times it draws you closer as is the case with my other life away from Nobody.

I have joined a writing group locally near where I live. It's a group of people that all wish to do the same thing I do, guilt each other into writing. Which, so far has worked well for me. These people are a solid cast of writers and have help me craft a story to a level I never thought I could reach. It's really pushing me to do a lot more than I was before. That being said, it's made even thinking about blogging a distant memory.

The upside is that I've managed to tie many of the pieces I've written here into a much larger story. Joe Nobody has always been a brain dumb for me. A structured rambling seen through the eyes of a man just past 30 and well past hope. It's a voice I have learned to build through these posts and I doubt it will go away easily.

That being said don't give up on me. I will still be here posting. It might be somewhat of a different format for a time, but I don't plan on going anywhere. Perhaps I could post portions of the story I've been working out so that you all have a chance to see what you've helped me craft.

For that I thank you all. This is not goodbye. If anything, it's a reminder that I have others out there that enjoy what I write. I should never forget that. None of us should.

Again, thank you. Please check back and feel free to send me an email. In fact, two of my more loyal readers are responsibly for me writing this piece here. Who knows what they could talk me into if they put their minds to it.

Your man behind the apple,
Joe Nobody

Tuesday, April 26

Techno-fool

The hardest thing about being smarter than everyone else is being smarter than everyone else. While you’re trying to explain to them how simple something is, how relatively easy it is to understand, how if they would simply listen and think, they would understand. The looks they give you. The distant glaze that goes over their eyes as they try to act like they understand, but fail to even comprehend. The conversation always goes the same way for Non-Descript.

“Can you do this?” he’s asked in some serious manner with a tone that is meant to imply understanding, yet states the opposite.

“Yes. I can do this. It’s simple really. It’ll just take some time,” Non-Descript tries to assure him – tries to make him feel comfortable but not too comfortable. Too comfortable implies he’s being lazy and should be working harder. Instead, he goes for just comfortable enough to think it can get done, but only by him and only after a certain amount of time. Non-Descript tries for this, but rarely succeeds.

“Explain this to me,” the Techno-fool asks. He always asks. Why does he always have to ask? Why can’t he just not ask?

“I don’t really understand all of this,” it almost sounds harmless coming out of Techno-fool’s ignorant mouth. A mouth that has never had to strip cat-5 with its teeth. A mouth that has never had to hold a Sharper Image pen light in its grip as he followed the caution-orange fiber-optic cable through the roofing. A mouth that has never wetted the tip of a brush just before it dipped its curled hair into the paint and then brushed the perfect finger in a single stroke.

Non-Descript explains. Techno-fool turns off his brain, removes it, checks for scratches, buffs out any of the spots with the cuff of his shirt and then puts it back in his head forgetting to turn it on. Non-Descript explain in the simplest of terms, usually through more common, mundane examples. He always keeps it simple.

“Think of it like the difference between Fed-Ex and the US Postal Service. Both show up to the same address, but the first gets there faster with better security. The second shows up with everything else, junk included,” the mail example usually works. Non-Descript has found that if you can find a real world example no matter how loosely connected to the high level technical concept you’re trying to explain, you’re usually in the clear. The problem is that sometimes people take the example too far. Techno-fool is not the exception that proves the rule.

“I don’t think we should be sending this information outside of the office. I don’t care how secure it is. This all needs to stay internal,” the Techno-fool states.

“It all stays inside the office. Nothing leaves,” Non-Descript tries to explain.

“But you just said it was like Fed-Ex,” the techno-fool retorts, proudly.

“Yes, but it never leaves the building,” Non-Descript knows he’s written a check his metaphor can’t cash.

“So, it’s like Fed-Ex, but only in this building?” this is asked in such a way as not to understand, but to trap Non-Descript in some sort of elaborate lie he must be telling to swindle this poor luddite out of thousands of dollars of computer equipment.

“Kind of.”

“I don’t know,” Techno-fool proclaims. “It sounds to me like you don’t really have a full grasp on this. I think we’re going to have to wait on the upgrade until you can get me some actual numbers. Now if you’ll excuse me…”

Vanishing Line

Non-Descript Indian Guy searched his vanishing line, but forever was not there. Trailing the horizon with a finger and a feather, he watched clouds unravel behind his touch. The burning amber sun seared across his eyes like cataracts. He could feel the warmth of its touch upon his face. It seemed to burn his fingers as he reached out and formed its light.

Below the clouds, Non-Descript Indian Guy found his forever. Resting exhausted from the hunt, fresh blood still drying on her long, tan arms, she stared up at him. Surprised by his presence, she eyed him with the hunger of a predator. From the blood that trailed from her cheek, he could see she had had her fill. Yet, those eyes told him of a thirst that would never diminish. She saw him, visible, naked – a fawn before her, begging for slaughter. He could see forever in those eyes and it consumed him.

Monday, April 25

Fighting Age

I don't remember much about my father. What I do remember doesn't often go well. Raised a momma's boy, never really worried me much. There were enough of us on the playground. We'd stick together, watch our each others back and learn when to run. It was the one thing we had in common. Well, I'm sure there were other things, but back then how mom raised us was what tied us all together. Mom had taught us how to live and dad was never around to tell her it was just going to make us weak.

I firmly believe that I will go my whole life without ever throwing a punch. I never would have believed it if someone had told me when I was a kid that I'd never be in a fight. I would have laughed. Kids fight. Period. That's just the way things work. However, here I am. Well beyond any acceptable age for dukin’ it out. If I throw a punch now, there's a lot more behind it than just a pissed of little kid. There's a lot more at stake. If I was hesitant to through a punch back then, I'll likely never even raise my fist now.

Yet, somehow I feel more firm in who I am and what I believe. I have less problem telling a person that they're full of shit if I think they are. I worry less about my ass getting kicked and more about being wrong. If I know I'm right, which doesn't mean I am, just that I think I am, I'm fine with confronting most situations. However, I not stupid. I stay out of anything that's going to get me shot, stabbed or labeled a racist.

I got really sick this morning. Not the throwing up sort of sick, though. My head was pounding. The light from the curtains felt like fire burning in my eyes. I couldn't even really stand up without losing my balance. My nose was dry and my lungs were tight. My head was hot, but my body was cold. My muscles felt torn and my bones rubbed against each other in way that hurts just to think about. Getting up to take aspirin was a debate that I had for a good fifteen minutes. The pain of getting up was not worth the possibility of the pain going away in an hour or so. Still, I got up, drank some rust flavored water, took some aspirin and then went back to bed. Three hours later, I was fine. A little under the weather, but nothing out of the ordinary. I realized later, I just had a case of the Old. My Grandmother has it all the time. It sucks. She tells me it sucks. I believe her. Looking at her you couldn't help not believe her. Shit.

Wednesday, April 20

Server Beast

Non-Descript Indian guy moves through the building with purpose and poise. Eyes ahead, neck straight and with the slightest shuffle in his walk, he appears to be heading somewhere important. In one motion he pulls the plastic card attached to his belt by an extendable metal cord, swipes the card in a well displayed card reader mounted on the wall next to a door, turns the handle of the door, opening it and releases the card from his fingers like a magician. The card disappears with a recoiled snap, appearing instantly next to his belt.

Inside the server room, the noise coats him. Countless tiny fans wurring away their days bring the noise level to a dull roar. The room is white, except for the tall black server cases that line the middle of the room. Walking down the row of servers, Non-Descript Indian Guy sees the tiny green lights blinking at him. Thankful for his presence, they tell him of their busy days and how well everything is going.

However, just towards the end of the row, one server is not so talkative. Two red eyes look back at him, angry. Opening the case, Non-Descript tries to soothe the savage beast, but finds the task much harder than he at first suspected.

Suddenly, there's a pounding on the door to the server room. The pounding says that a person wants his attention and that they've tried knocking and it failed to be heard. He walks to the door, and opens it, only slightly, fearing someone might see the nakedness of this room.

"E-mail’s not working," some employee tells Non-Descript Indian Guy. Non-Descript never bothered to learn his name. All he knows is that the man's body is too out of shape and his face to round to be of any real use to an artist.

"Yes," Non-Descript Indian Guy tells this man. "I know. I'm working on it now."

"You should tell everyone," the man says. "They're kind of freaking out."

"What would you suggest I do?" Non-Descript asks. "Send out and email?"

With that, Non-Descript lets the heavy metal door close, secure in the knowledge that this random employee could never enter this sanctum. Not to mention that next time, this man would be less likely to pound on the server room door when there was a problem.

Looking back and the glowing red eyes, Non-Descript Indian Guy saw an image form in his head. A giant robot, built from quantum strings and dark matter. The hero, a dark skinned man wielding a long curved knife, looks up at the Techno-Demon in mild amusement. The flowing silks fall around the man like a maiden's hair. His chest, exposed, reveals powerful muscles underneath the exotic fabric. Yet, what draws your eyes is not the build of the man or even the gigantic robot he faces. What pulls you in is the look in the man's eye - joy.

With that thought safely locked away, Non-Descript Indian Guy sits down to slay this more mundane beast before anyone else can come pounding on his world.

Monday, April 11

Story of Your Life

When writing the story of your life, how do you end it?

Conclusions are best left at the endings of things. Rarely, do they fit in the middle. Waking every morning. Showering. Drying yourself off with that same towel another day too long. Forever, looking in the mirror disgusted at the mass of flesh you turned into. Driving to work uninspired in your destination. Sitting through the day, turned off. Hiding. Not even trying to escape, because you already vacant. Regretting the drive home. The hours of TV. Then lying in bed as she sleeps next to you. Waiting for your life to have a conclusion.

Not to end. This is not a suicide plea. Though, just as with divorce, at least in suicide someone does something. I’m simply looking for a conclusion. Something to signify an arc, a story. A story of my life. What has happened? Why has it happened? What have I become because of it?

With conclusion comes meaning, but more importantly catharsis. That deep breath you let go of at the end of the movie. The one you didn't know you were holding. The one that takes all the emotions you were feeling and lets them wash over you. That moment that lets you feel. Catharsis.

With no conclusion, I can have no catharsis. I'm left, holding my breathe, waiting to feel.

When writing the story of your life, how do you end it?

Thursday, March 31

Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gansta

Six years ago, I went for an interview I never thought I deserved to even have. The perfect job. The dream job.

Sitting in my car waiting for the interview to start, I listened to this song. Over and Over again. I needed to find my center. I needed to find a place where I could be someone I wasn't. Someone who wasn't afraid. Someone who could smile without throwing up. Someone who could impress.

Well, I got the job and from there started a whirlwind carrier that took me to London and Japan. Movies were made, songs written and sport celebrities gave me "props". It was unbelievable. Making money, seeing the world and effortlessly doing a job.

But in that six year, things changed. At the height of my career, everything began to slip apart. The bosses left the company, leaving the employees to fend for themselves. Half the staff was laid off and those few who were left felt empty.

We tried to rebuild, to pick up the pieces. We still are, but it's not working. We're "bleeding" staff as they leave to other companies. Other companies ran by ex-employees. People you counted as friends turn their backs and show their loyalties. Yet, somehow we feel like the bad guys. Those few left standing -- survivor's guilt.

We fight amongst ourselves, wild kids lost on an island. No adults. No order. We devour our spirits within this office park. Nothing feels good anymore. Nothing seems to work. There is no center to find, no matter how many times I replay this song.

Saturday, March 5

Good Day

Tummy full, feet still a little cold and dogs parking outside. This Saturday was well placed in the week - a week of build up to Friday that culminated in a presentation that climaxed in pretty display of pictures and talking heads. It was Friday, not it's Saturday.

The wife watched Sex in the City season on in the living room, preparing for a trip to New York that we shouldn't be taking but will anyway. Dinner was good. It's amazing how much Boston Market tastes like Thanksgiving.

It's nice when she in a good mood. When Joe can walk through the house and not feel he's about to be tossed a live bomb that's going to explode even before he tries to catch it. It's nice to just be able to sit and read and type and not worry about what she's thinking. About what he should be doing. About second guessing his words, his actions, his life.

Sometimes, his head will clear and he'll see what's happening. His heart gives up and his brain takes over. He can't spend his days trying to make her happy. He can't run after her everything she gets frustrated about the dogs or the refrigerator or the computer or the crap she left in the hallway or the laundry that still hasn't been done or the dishes that never get clean or any of the millions of other things that make her not happy. He can't spend his days trying to fix these things. They are just not going to go away.

So, instead, he sits in his office and types to nobody. When she's not in a "nice" way she thinks he's being a cold dick. Granted, she's never told him this with words. Again, Joe reads the mind of his wife and tries to act accordingly. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes she looks at him like he's crazy when he explains to her his choices and why he made them. Sometimes he thinks she's right.

Now is good though. Now he can write to nobody, even though he thought he really didn't have anything to say. He can work things out in his head and then go back to her happy and ready for anything.

Today was a good day.

Monday, February 28

No Good Deed...

The room smells of mildew. The tangy smell of old water saturating the carpet. Instantly Joe thought of old bread and bad fruit. Though the carpet glowed with cleanness, the smell revealed an unseen contamination festering underneath his bare feet. The damp carpet had ruined his socks, but as long as he didn’t stand in one place for too long, his feet would not get soaked.

Only after opening every window and turning the fan on did the air begin to thin and breathing returned to a secondary thought. The cold air filled the house and found it’s way into every room clogging the halls with the smell of rain.

The rain had not stopped in two months. Sometimes it would slow down to only a dull mist, something you might not even notice. Other times, like now, it would fill the air with such density you could swim up to the clouds themselves.

There would be times when he would be watching TV as the lights dimmed and flickered and a car would drive by in front of the house. The car’s tires across the soaked blacktop sounded just like what Joe imagined a tidal wave would sound like as it destroyed the houses a block over. He could imagine the shattering of homes as the water ripped fences and cars and trees up off the ground and began throwing them back down on top of the houses.

The silence of the empty house unnerved Joe. Ever since he came to this place, he always felt like he was being watched. Joe wondered if the old man from the other night was out there, watching him in this rain. Was he standing on the back porch looking through the glass? He could imagine the man’s face, twisted and distorted through the thick moisture of condensation on the glass. The old man always seemed to be around at just the wrong times. Joe knew what the man wanted. He knew the man wanted to be with his wife. He knew it from the first moment he looked into the old man’s eyes. But for some reason, he didn’t kill Joe. Lord knows he had plenty of chances. Come to think of it, he didn’t even have to kill Joe. He could have just turned him into the police, or worse reveal Joe’s secrets buried in the backyard – at least the ones that were his. That would have been enough.

Somehow, as Joe sat on his damp carpet, he had remained alive. He knew of no good reason why he was allowed to remain with her or why the old man hadn’t dragged him out to the dead rose garden to make another mound. But here he was just the same and he wasn’t going to let anything stand in the way of it.

When Joe’s wife had come home from a horrible night of work, Joe made her dinner. It wasn’t much, but it was more than normal and she thanked him for it. As she complained about her job and the people she had to work with, Joe hoped that he was buying his right to life one good deed at a time.

Tuesday, February 22

The Man With Three Backpacks

A Monday spent on the couch as the rain pours down and the dogs bark in the backyard and the life slips slowly through the pours of Joe's body. A day spent where he is always about to start something, but never does. Thinking through the many tasks, burdens and responsibilities of his life hoping that one will inspire to move him from his lethargy.

Five hours of 24, four episodes of Enterprise, the two-part I-Robot episodes on American Chopper and a poorly acted 15 minutes of the Ashley Simpson show made up his day. As always, he worships heavily at the throne of Tivo. Only twice did he rise off the couch. Once was to surf for porn in some vain hope it would somehow mobilize him - get his juices flowing and back to work on his life. But as is always the case with vices, they only serve themselves and never those who are slaves to them.

The second time Joe rose from the couch was to investigate the strange man who had come to the door. The man was wearing three backpacks. His pants were a shaggy green with shirt to match. Hair seemed the sort of disheveled homeless chic he was used to back when he lived in the city. The man walked like his foot had fallen asleep and he had one hand locked against his body, holding something.

He rang the doorbell. He didn't push the button, like most people do. Instead, he rang the little brass bell by the door. The one only kids ring because they think it's fun. Joe could see all this from the couch. The blinds looking out the front window where barely opened. The man could likely not see in at all, but Joe had a good shot of all of this. He lied there motionless as the man bounced back and fourth on his asleep and not asleep feet.

In a very short amount of time, the man turned and walked away. Joe got up and peeked out of the blinds, but he was gone. He ran softly to the kitchen and through the door into the garage. Peering through the slits in the garage door, he looked for the disheveled man, but could no longer see him. He stood there for sometime in the cold garage, looking out through the cracks. Finally, he gave up, went back to the couch.

Now, it's almost one in the morning and Joe knows he should go to bed. His wife is already there and he does have to work tomorrow. He knows he should do these things. But he also knows he won't. What he is going to do has still to be decided by his imagination.