Monday, June 29, 2009

Night terrors.

"Oh my Gawd," I muttered to myself, gasping for breath as I stood barefoot at the urinal. "What am I going to do? I can't go back to bed." I shrugged off my indecision, letting the elastic waistband of my boxer shorts SNAP back against my already burgeoning belly. "I'll just have to sleep on the floor."

Unconscious prospective lover? Roommate mid-coitus? No, no, nothing as cinematically collegiate as that. It was the intrusion of an owl that prompted me to leap groggily from my lofted bed, nearly six precarious feet to the ground. "AN OWL?!" Well, yes, I suppose that's not one many RA's have heard, wouldn't be too far from the reels of a young adult comedy. But this wasn't a prank of questionable amicability, a tale my roommate and I would later share as co-hosts relaying our origins. This was between my slumbering self and I.

Shrieks of terror rang through the upstairs level of my family home at least once a week throughout the duration of my high school career. Once my Dad even found me perched on top of my headboard, shrinking against the wall, far away from the imagined terror crawling over my bed. I believe it was a swarm of spiders that night, like many. Beats me why I didn't just flee my room as I would my third week in college. It'd happened often enough that my Mom refused to get out of bed for fear she would be bowled over, flung down the stairs. I don't begrudge her, though. I'm sure she would have rushed to comfort me had I been in the single digits like most children plagued by night terrors.

In hindsight, this was a clear case of puberty induced repression. As presidential inauguration follows election, the nocturnal outbursts trailed the appearance of my first real crush, across the aisle in US History. Even through a mouthful of braces he had the most beautiful smile I had ever seen. This was certainly something my quaint conservative upbringing had not prepared me for. Thus, like many closet cases before me, I slammed the door on logic and hid it behind a heavy mental armoire called denial. But even the thickest oak couldn't contain the volume of my subconscious' lungs, the reverberations of my proverbial fists.

Thankfully I tended to yip and yelp only of insects and creatures and wasn't in danger of outing myself during the night; but that didn't make it any less embarrassing a revelation to my first college roommate. Odds were against making it through the semester shriek-free; so, naturally I took to a regimen of Tylenol PM. And naturally, it became ineffectual quickly.

By the grace of Gawd or grain alcohol, my roommate snoozed straight through my harrowing escape from the bird of prey. Waking up to find me on the floor may have inspired some questions, but the haze had been broken by the time I returned from the bathroom to find nothing but pillows above my tangled sheets. His ignorance didn't last much longer, though. By the middle of the second month I had hurtled from my loft again, this time proceeding to clutch my knee and scream, "OW! I BROKE MY LEG! I THINK I BROKE MY LEG!" "What?!" He peered down at me through bleary eyes, legitimately concerned. "Nah," I replied. "Go back to bed."

I'm just as casual about my sexuality now, but the night terrors still tend to pop up every couple months or so. While infrequent, they've morphed into a response to stress in general. Stress and horror films. There was a period of abundance last spring when my friend was on a kick of watching Discovery Channel's paranormal recounts in "A Haunting." After too many televised visions of demons I had to place a personal moratorium on mainlining fear. Without cable, myself, I've managed to keep my distance...Until recently.

My office-mates and I have the good fortune of being allowed TVs at work and one of the two with whom I share my square happened to stumble across the show a couple months back and soon it had made it's way into our daily viewing routine. As it's now become more of a quirk and less of a debilitation, my roommate encourages this appetite, hopeful I'll run screaming out of my room, YANK open the front door, and shout for her until movement in the downstairs apartment drags me to the surface...Again.

After a few weeks of continually uneventful nights, I left her alone for a long weekend of creepy silence and headed home to visit my family, sleep in my childhood bed. The mattress has been replaced, a dead treadmill stands wedged between one side and the wall, and opposite that is an ever-growing pile of the unwanted vestiges of my youngest sister's own childhood. "Oh. My. GAWD." My suitcase fell softly, anticlimactically against the carpeted floor. "If this doesn't inspire a night terror..."


"I don't know what will."


"They're EVERYWHERE!"

That may have been a bit of an exaggeration, but that one in the closet took me by surprise. Maybe it was more the segregation than the thought that those porcelain bitches with their life-like eyes had me surrounded; because I sailed through the weekend on a cloud of dreams. Well, one of them was a bit darker than the other, something to do with Stevie Nicks and I fleeing from a band of supernatural rapists. No screaming though. I'll take that both as a sign of emotional progress and a reaffirmation of my decision to spend $40.00 on that Fleetwood Mac 2009 Tour T.

Friday, June 26, 2009

People who cry when celebrities die.

You might be able to sing their songs
You might have watched their films all along
You may even know the middle names of their adopted kin
But when they've gone from being to been
Keep in mind
You didn't actually know them.
Just a taste, that is, of my Pop/Country breakthrough, destined to inspire auralgasms across the globe. Of course, as with any delicious social commentary, there will be dissenters. "Horrifically insensitive! He's a human being! And a music legend, no less. How dare you attempt Billboard success at the expense of your dearly departed ilk."

But they'll be missing the point, those bleeding hearts. I may have no boundaries, but I'm not without a soul, a rapacious capitalist. In fact, Michael Jackson's death just happens to be the catalyst. My acerbic critique has nothing to do with the Gloved One's character (which is not without suspect) and everything to do with the torrent of displaced emotion celebrity tragedies often illicit.

I may not identify, but I'm not questioning the authenticity of the grief plaguing those mourners crawling over his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, unleashing a torrent of tears. But what I want to know is where were those sorrow sponges when Prop 8 was passed and again when it was upheld? If they can set aside their differences to gather together, pay tribute, and harmonize on his Number Ones, why haven't they been flooding the streets in a gesture of support for the Iranian people? We broke free of England, braved the rough seas of the Atlantic, saturated that same body of water with tea, showered the Redcoats with musket balls, and that's just the tiniest tip of our country's birth, hundreds of years before we fought for the array of civil rights even my generation has taken for granted. Ah, yes. There it is. Apathy. It's not as pandemic as obesity or the Swine Flu, sorry, H1N1; but it has definitely become synonymous with "American."

Note the past tense, though. "Has" taken, "has" become. Thanks in large part to the efforts of Moveon.org, Obama secured the greatest turn out of young voters in generations. Many of those heartsick for MJ may have held aloft picket signs and poster board alongside the hordes of protesters, nationwide, outraged by Prop 8. And now with the proliferation of Twitter we can rise up instantly, virtually as well as rally a physical congregation.

It's doubtful the superficial vein pulsing through our culture will be drained anytime soon, but there is hope that us Young Things, pretty or not, are realizing the power of our combined voice. Whether it be for bewildering lament or social change, we will be heard.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

No secrets in sandals.

I’m not talking about exposing your hair-drenched toes and gnarled, yellow nails to the world. I wouldn’t know about that. My little nuggets are more like nibble-able beacons of human symmetry. Just sayin’. No, I’m finally giving shoes their due, the respect they deserve for providing an ethereal ignorance with their all-inclusive coverage of our foot skin.

If you’ve ever seen “Arrested Development” (dear Gawd, you should all answer “duh” to this inquiry) or had the misfortune of living with the sloppy pile of human quirks my current roommate and I both endured, a year apart back in college, then you are aware of the concept of the “never nude.” Regardless, it’s in the name. These nut sacks can’t – well – they can’t expose their nut sacks. Ever. I’m not quite a nudist, but this hang up certainly isn’t in my closet.

Tobias F√ľnke had his cut offs; my former roommate went into the shower wearing one outfit and came back out of the bathroom in another. Myself, I am down to my boxer briefs as soon as I get the door locked, my shoes off, and my bag on the floor. SNAP! WOOSH! KAZAAM! Belt – pants – shirt. There’s really no onomatopoeia when removing the latter.

I like to be stylish. I understand the importance of fashion to human expression. My clothes may be tight and I might favor tank tops, but the tease, the illusion of what’s underneath is still an erotic cog in the romantic game. My nearly nude tendency is not of a non-conformist or sexual origin. I just like to feel free.

Free to roll around, free to stretch, free to dig my toes into the ground, the carpet, against my own skin. As I spend at least eight hours a day inside a windowless office, I gulp up the opportunity of a shoeless existence. Yes, dear corporate readers, I get to wear flip-flops to work. Every day. It’s totally acceptable. Watching all of us file in, you’d think we were en route to Honors English or Advanced Algebra, not buckling down to pull in a couple million dollars for a media conglomerate.

Never in my outspoken life did I think I would be earning my first post-undergraduate income from anything potentially deemed as “The System.” But here I am, workin’ for “The Man” and he encourages a well-rounded existence, provides glorious benefits, AND allows me to continue paying only $2.50 at Old Navy for shoes. Alas, as Rome once fell, Utopia demands a high upkeep.

Now’s where you get your vengeful chuckles, drones – victims of an iron fist. I made my way to the bathroom, yesterday, a permanent smile on my face as I relished what tends to be my laziest day of the week. Fri – day – fri – day – flip – flop – flip – flop – rubber – against – skin. “Gawd I have it great,” I’m usually thinking, not wanting to forget my good fortune.

The smile continued as I stood there at the urinal, doin’ my thang. The dull beam remained as the door clicked open behind me. Just as quickly came the scratch of metal on metal as it swung back shut. And there he was, planting his wide stance just inches from my own leg. “Ah – ” I thought. “What?” My bladder is about as shy as a VH1 reality star and I could care less if anyone gets a glimpse of my wiener; but when you’re the only two people in a reasonably large restroom, is there really a need to select the urinal directly parallel to mine?

Never one to be known for keeping emotions from surfacing on my face, my eyes met my lips midway as they curled upwards, perplexed. “Oh – ” I began to shrug, internally, but my nonchalance was quickly splashed away by the spray of urine ricocheting out of the neighboring urinal and against the top of my exposed foot. “– NO!”

Oh, yes. Any observant standing pee-er should have long ago learned to master the vertical toilet. If your stream is too strong, it’s going to resist containment. It’s science, man. It’s NATURE. It’s not what I expected to be in for when I skipped socking my feet that morning.

I’m not as enlightened as you may think. I’ve had my encounters with renegade waste, just like the rest of you. But it’s one thing if it’s YOUR vigilante fluid. {shakes head} I know what you’re thinking, what’s inspiring those guttural snickers I foreshadowed. “That’s what he gets for wearing sandals.”

Accepted. Would I have laced up that morning, those golden sprinkles would have gone unnoticed atop the weathered, fluorescent canvas of my Chucks. Lesson learned, folks. But while I had to fight the urge to turn to the culprit, mouth hanging in disgust, in disbelief, to rush to the sink and plunk my foot down in the basin, dousing it in soap and scrubbing away the already invisible microbes, I would do it all over again. I will do it all over again.

Here’s hoping that's the last time anyone relieves themselves on me without my consent, but while touting the virtues of protective layering, I stand strong for the barely clothed. After mastering the single knot it doesn’t take much to stroll through life in tennies and don’t get me started on loafers. But for us tenacious toe exhibitors, who strive for balance in “no shoes, no shirt, no service” world, an increasingly dangerous, disease-ridden place, each sandal-clad day is a worthy adventure.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Translation - No pimps allowed.

Or at least that's what I infered from "...no gater style shoes...no bright colored suits...no neck, or face tattoos, fur coats, or sports attire...no large jewelry and no mouth jewelry...no sunglasses or "Bluetooth"...no cigar smoking, urban labels, or camouflage." Thinly veiled, Decibel. Thinly veiled.


Middle America may love to pump urban flair through their ear buds, in their Fords, on their dance floors, but they sure as HECK don't wanna look at it as they bob their heads. Eesh, Milwaukee.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Behind blank eyes.



This is my brain on hold.

And I don't even speak French. Not yet, anyway. That's next, after mastering these ladies dance moves and this libertine's magnetism. Unless the language is key...Hmm...ce qui dites-vous?