February 12, 1999

I was able to apprehend a job at a local radio station when I was in High School.  I have to admit that I felt it was one of the coolest jobs a kid could have.  It didn’t pay much, and believe it or not, it required more responsibilities and checks than most HS kids have in jobs.  I stayed in radio for roughly 4 years on and off.  I still think it is one of the coolest, underpaid jobs in the world.  Here is a taste of a normal day observation back at KRAE/ KRRR; run by the iconic Tom Bauman.  

Tom reminded me of the cigarette smoking man on the X-files.  He was a strict mystery clouded by smoke.  His daughter Brenda, one of the main DJ’s,  was my favorite person at the station.  She loved my thrift store clothes, that reminded her of her youth.  Occasionally she would inform her listening audience on my daily attire.

For a few years, the KRAE family, was my second family.  I miss those old days, on the radio.   I loved that Tom wanted me on his crew.  I watched as the initial take overs of small stations were usurped by larger broadcasting conglomerates, infiltrating one of the oldest local stations in the region.

My how times have changed.  Please enjoy this short relic of the past.

P.S.  Yes, I worked at a place that still played records On-Air, and our commercials were recorded on to 8 track cassettes.  “Digital” was still in it’s infancy.

 

Silently I sit on a broken stool, in a puke green shag carpeted corner.  I hesitate while the stench of stale cigarettes pervades the room.

The addicted man behind the other door, lights a new one, once again.

I am burning out as he hungrily inhales his Cancer.

Music.  Good time oldies are playing and melting together as sweepers play in between every two songs.

Dan Rather will soon give his daily report.

The phone rings at just the wrong moment, yet the lady at the control board opens a sandwich bag full of fresh slices of orange.  She drips juice down her chin, and my stomach growls.

There is a consistent whir of reel to reel carts playing KRAE commercials.

The lady eating oranges says it is my turn to play.

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Titus

In the autumn of my domesticity, he waddled his tubby body into my yard.  Closely followed behind, came his parents.  I was able to easily see the origins of his over weight form.

Titus, despite his size was only four years old.  His clothes were meant for a husky seven year old.  Clearly a product of a fast food generation.

He came sweetly to me.  A precious and sensitive child oaf.  Chubby and gregarious, fascinated by dinosaurs and dump trucks.

Blonde tubby towhead, bright blue eyes and smile that could power a lighthouse.  Titus could be king at charming adults when his mood was right.  At other times, however, Titus was very irritable.  These brash swings in temperament could be linked to a constant consumption of sugar and processed foods.

Solid attitudes toward health were far from priority for this family of three, living in a 500 square foot converted garage.   Despite their eating habits, the house was well maintained and clean, cluttered only with Titus’ growing collection of happy meal toys  and matchbox cars.

Reflections of the emotional stress of Titus’ parents is evident in his overall physicality.  Pounds of fat to protect this child from his mothers need to constantly be drinking. A sensitive attitude perpetuated by his fathers fear of homosexuality, and a need to hide behind layers of smoke.  Daily toking to detached from this unplanned life.

The only escape for Daddy is going out with friends; Mommy’s is the taste of wine on her lips, all day long.  Titus retreats into a world of Walt Disney fantasy, and dinosaur discovery.

Though this child is oafish, he is far from dim witted; remembering the names and correct pronunciations of prehistoric animals is Titus’ specialty.  At times correcting his tipsy mother as they share time playing before he goes down for his morning nap.

Titus’ mother, Sarah, is a college graduate with a degree in Literature. She is a wonderful conversationalist and a very friendly neighbor.  She would occasionally stop by and leave me and my partner at the time, little gifts and treats.   Cookies, herbs from her garden and cards of appreciation.  We would commiserate over our failing relationships.

Sarah wasn’t shy about her alcoholism.  She was well aware of it, all this despite her college education; which temporarily led to a phase of speed use that landed her in jail.  Later she became a Warden in the same institution she was once confined in.  This woman, this mother, drives while drinking as Titus sits in his car seat.

One day, while Sarah grabs the phone, as she unloads her car; she asks if I will get Titus out of his seat.  He sees me move his mothers 64oz Super Gulp out of the way.

“Don’t drink my mommy’s juice!  It’s her juice!”  Titus declares.

I lift the lid, and take a whiff.  Mommy’s “juice” is Pink Zinfandel, most likely from the economy sized box of wine in her fridge.  I shudder at disbelief and spoke not a word about it to anyone except my tyrant boyfriend.

This added fuel to his fire, one that thrives off the faults and failures of others.  To him, these were poor, fat, unhappy boarder line white trash neighbors.  Still, neither of them knew, how harsh his criticisms were behind closed doors.

Titus’ father is as domesticated an Oregonian redneck can get.  Rather than hang out with his “old lady” and kid, Sy would usually be out fishing; golfing, drinking at the bar, or clam baking in his tool shed.  This is the life of discontent fathers  in the land of suburbia.

The whole neighborhood had a veil over it, so it seemed to me.  No one was happy with their lives, but they would attempt to keep their yards looking nice.  If you ever got the opportunity to be invited in, the discontent was palpable.  Sadly, I had no room to judge because everything was falling apart on my own end.

 

Pain is a Place

She is soulful and silently chiding this estrangement.  Echoes ring inside her mind with aching pains she refuses to hide.

Losing Self, to Inner Peace.

Crawling from light into a place where warmth is first.  Catching a glimpse of shadows that please the mind.

We were simple once.

Conversations build elation, a mirage painted like a mural upon a crumbling wall.

What is this for?

Commotion, corruption; what is the difference?  Nothing more than a few letters.

Meanings lost upon the wind, patterns blown into the breeze.  Wild hearts seek a master, someone to tame their wiles, their reckless ways.

A child seeks the mother he never had.

We wrestle alone and pile upon word after word, leaving nothing but marks and bruises, barriers and walls.  Everything is lost in translation.   Everything.

“Who are these friends of yours?”  She says this with trepidation; she knows the place they hold.  They are the life within you; the death within her.

She is counting hour upon hour.  The slightest itch, creates a sore.  Bleeding never did cure the ill.  Bleeding never won a heart.

Loyalties and Royalties, another space filling another void that did not ask to be filled.

He never asks to listen anymore.

She thinks you’re afraid to hear the words between the lines.  You want to leave, to roam, and be free.  But these strings have been tied, waiting behind  each, a pair of scissors ready to take care of problems.

Flying from one wrong end to another, basing the same old ideas off the same old feeling.  Always using the same distinctions to discuss old conversations.  Tears can be recycled like yesterdays newspaper.

“No one will understand you, and those who say they do, are only acting.”

You are breathing verbiage that stinks.

“This word is defined the way I choose!”  says The Law.

Who gave anyone the right to change, to alter definitions?

“Hidden between the lines.” She says, “Creeping between the lines.”

WAKE UP!

Eat, sleep, dream, and fry your brains on anything.  Feel the circulation creep into the dark spaces, the dank places, the cold recess’ inside.

You have them.

“They hurt.” She says.

“They kill.” She says.

She isn’t me,today, yet anyone acquainted with pain will know this Place.

 

My dog is NOT an Alcoholic

I just peer pressured my dog into drinking some PBR.

Everyone else’s dog in the mountains does it.  Why won’t mine?

At first it occurred to me that maybe it was a snobbery thing.  For, she likes coffee.  But only REALLY good coffee.  She also seems to prefer independent roasters and free trade blends made under a fresh drip.

So I thought, sure, like me, if beer she was to drink; firstly IT WOULD NOT be PBR.  No, her palate would prefer a Guinness or a heady local Amber.

Instead, presented to her bowl, were the contents of a Silver, Red, White and Blue can.

Small tastes were consumed from my fingers as I sat urging her to give in to the fizzy beverage.  I tap tap tapped my fingers in the brew, and rubbed some in her mouth, forcing my fingers past her teeth.

She has a look of vague discontent interest.

I start bribing her, “Come on, just try it!  We will go for a WALK, if you just drink some of this.”

Her eyebrows waiver, questioning my context of the word “walk” as I eagerly and almost maniacally point to the beer bowl.  She leans in, interested, perhaps thinking the substance has magically changed.  But, no.  Just the same old PBR.

I repeat more frantically, and encouragingly.  I emphasize the word “IF” she drinks it.

She snorts at the bowl, and walks away.

I change strategy, I tell her she only needs to take one lap, which would be nothing anyway because she has a hard time keeping water in her mouth.  I am assuming she knows what “one lap” means.. One more time, nicer, more sincere.

I realize, I am acting evil, and my dog is like Jesus with some magical willpower to deny my evil machinations.

That Guy

Over the years, I take to notebook and write humor or sketch comedy, in order to process my observations and emotional pains.  I have been constantly reaffirmed in repetitive mental cycles, and actions; especially when it comes to my ability to try and function in a relationship.

I have the type of mind that fixates on certain things that make me uncomfortable.  The more I fixate, the further I want to run away from the fixation.  A very  Dolittlian “push-me-pull-you” situation.  

People are funny like that, and I am no exception.  So, to humor you, through my dysfunction, I bring you this short sketch that I wrote sixteen years ago.  I think it’s funny because, I still struggle (almost two decades later) with the same intimacy emotional issue, I was dealing with then.

Silly Human, when will you learn?

And now, I present you with “That Guy.”

 

That Guy

Lisa and Brian are set up by their mutual friend, Megan.  Lisa and Megan are on the phone, “pre-date.”

Lisa:  Megan, he sounds really great!  It sounds like we have a lot of the same interests, and I totally trust your judgement in the looks department.

Megan: Oh, you are just going to fall in love with him!  I’m sure of it!  So, where are you two going for dinner?

Lisa:  I didn’t tell you?  Ohmygosh… we both LOVE the same restaurant, Luigi’s!  So, that choice was a no brainer.

Megan:  Oh, you are going to have the best date!  I am so excited for you!  It looks like it’s getting around that time, I should let you go get ready.

Lisa: Good idea!  Talk to you later?

Megan: Yes!  Call me as soon as you get in!

Brian is at Lisa’s door at 5:30, on the dot.  Flowers in hand, he looks very presentable and gentleman-like.

(door-bell)

Lisa:  (opens door) Hey, you must be Brian!

Brian: (speaks at the same time)  Hey, I am Brian!  (they giggle) I brought you these.

Lisa: Tigerlillies!  Those are my favorite flower!  How did you know?

Brian: I guessed.

Lisa:  Let me put these in water, and then we can go.  Megan told me quite a bit about you Brian, I think we are going to have a wonderful time!

(In the car, driving to dinner)

Brian: Yeah, me too.  Wow, we really do have a lot in common.

Lisa:  It’s awesome that you love snorkeling, too!

Now we focus on Lisa’s internal dialog.

Lisa:  Oh man, Megan was right!  We do get along great… and he is SO CUTE!

Brian:  I am planning a group trip in August…

Brian switches to a new lane, and neglects to turn his signal off.  Lisa notices quickly but doesn’t say anything.

Lisa: Okay, he just switched lanes, and his signal is still on…. it doesn’t look like he is going to go over any further.  I wonder why he doesn’t notice his signal is still blinking.  Hmmm, maybe it’s just because he talking to me right now.  Or maybe he is just really focused on the road and our conversation… he must not hear that annoying click-click sound.  It’s cool, though, right?  I mean it’s probably to early to tell, but what if he is THE ONE?  He has so much ambition, and energy…

Brian: So have you ever been the Cayman Islands?

Lisa: No, but good snorkeling, huh?

Brian: Oh just beautiful!  I also love to go to….

Lisa: It’s STILL going.  Click-Click, Click-CLICK.  How could anyone ignore that?  He must be distracted.  Even though he is driving, he is looking at me a lot… and smiling.  I should just tell him it’s on.  It’s not a big deal.

Lisa: HeyBrian, sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt you, but your signal is on.

Brian: Oh, hey, would you look at that.  So I am pretty excited for Luigi’s.  (turns off the signal.)

Lisa: Me too.  It’s been a while since I was there last.

Lisa: I really can’t believe out of all the restaurants in the area, that we love the same one.  He really is pretty great.

Brian proceeds to make another turn, his signal stays on.

Brian:  Have you ever had the Luigi’s Special?

Lisa: No, I usually stick to the lasagnas… what is it?

Brian:  It’s a sampler pasta dish.

Lisa:  This guy is really not in-tune with his signals.  He has a great personality, good looks; but he is THAT GUY!  I hate THAT GUY, especially when I am behind him in traffic.  THAT GUY who ignores that his blinker just keeps blinking, even though he isn’t changing lanes, or making a turn.  CLICK-CLICK, CLICK-CLICK. …. Maybe I am over reacting. Am I over reacting?

Lisa is becoming visibly aggitated.

Lisa: Brian, can you please turn off your turn signal?

Brian:  I’m sorry, I didn’t even realize it was on again.

Brian makes yet another turn, signal is on, the car is silent but for the CLICK-CLICKING.

Lisa:  Is he deaf?  I can’t believe this is happening the entire way on a 15 minute car ride… IT’S STILL GOING.  What if he never turns it off?  Constant click-clicking.  Imagine our future family road trips across America, state after state, highway after bywaylane change after lane change: those blinkers slowly blinking until 

Lisa:  (blurts out loud)  I don’t think we should see each other any more!

Brian: Excuse me, but what?

Lisa: I think you should just take me home.

Brian: But I thought we were having a good time. I thought we were getting along?

Lisa: We were.  I was was… Listen, I think you are  really nice guy… but you are also “THAT GUY.”

Brian: What do you mean, “THAT GUY”?

Lisa is visibly flustered, and starting to react with panic.

Lisa: You know… you know… “THAT GUY”!  THAT GUY  WHO DOESN’T TURN OFF HIS TURN SIGNAL AFTER HE CHANGES LANES-GUY.  I MEAN, EVEN NOW, YOUR SIGNAL IS ON!

Brian:  I’m sorry, I had no idea it was such a big deal.  I mean, sure every now and again I forget to turn it off… but really, you don’t even want to finish the date?  I promise, I will be more aware of the signal.  I won’t do it again.

Brian proceeds to make another lane change while talking… yet again leaving the signal on.  Lisa waits, her patience obviously slipping away.  She shifts uncomfortably in her seat, staring obviously at the offending turn signal knob.

Lisa:  Here we go again… even after he promises he wouldn’t let it go like that.  Is he fucking with my head right now?  Is this some stupid test?

Lisa waits, she sighs loudly, her face wrought in disgust.  She sighs again.

Lisa:  You are doing it, AGAIN.  See, I told you.  You are “THAT GUY”!

Brian:  What?!?  No!  That’s not fair.. you didn’t give me any time.

Lisa: (getting dramatic now) There was an ample thirty seconds, there… half a minute!  It only takes a second to turn it off.   I really need you just to pull over right now… You know, Brian, this really pains me.  You really do seem like a wonderful, sweet, attractive man.  However, I really can’t handle being in a car with THAT GUY who won’t take a second to make sure his turn signal is off, when he isn’t turning or changing lanes.  If there is one thing in the world that REALLY gets my goat, it’s THAT GUY.  So please, just pull over and put me out of misery.  Right now I need the stability that my transportation will not blink, or CLICK-CLICK unless it is turning or changing lanes, or pulled over with the hazards on…. and it appears to me that right now, Public Transportation holds that stability for me.  Good-bye.

Lisa gets out of the car and walks to a near by Bus Station.  Brian looks at a loss.

Brian:  Okay???

Lisa gets home and rings Megan up on the phone.

Megan: Hey, what’s up?  It’s early, what are you doing home?

Lisa: It didn’t work out.  The date started out nice enough…

Megan:  But…?

Lisa:  But he is THAT GUY who never turns his signal off after changing lanes.

Megan: Oh, Lisa!  I am so sorry!  I didn’t know…

Lisa:  I know!  Why does it seem like all the GOOD ONES are either married, gay, or THAT GUY?

In 2005, Lisa learned she has a condition called Misophonia, that causes her to be triggered into agitation by certain sounds.  She is currently an active member of Misophonics Anonymous.  In 2012 she launched the worlds first dating site geared toward pairing Misophonic people together, who suffer with compatible triggers.  A passionate en-devour, built in hope of helping others find intimacy as they cope with their sensitive condition.   A year later she met Dan, a 34 year old Misophonic engineer from Indiana.  He developed a turn signal system that automatically shuts off immediately after a turn or a lane change.    Lisa and Dan, love to road trip across America, and they are expecting their first child in February 2017.  Lisa says, she hopes her children are born without the burden of Misophonia, but if they are, she will love them anyway and help them with the hurdles the condition imposes.  

 

 

 

Harsh Reality

Life is not like the movies.

Even if you dye your hair pink and feel death permeating from the beach, where you look at crab shells masticated by sand mites; and you pause to reflect on the symmetry of the sunset.

It may remind you of some movie where the heroine shouts about her love to the sky, and moments later her lover appears.  This looks, so much like that scene.

But even if I yelled, right now; no one would show up, and the only people who would hear me would be the family, over yonder, taking part in a clam bake.

Even at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter how the setting sun reflects off the ocean.

I am the movie, I am the cinematography, I am the director… and it appears the cast and scenes seem to have a mind of their own.

We will each internally edit the scene according to our disposition and desire to keep certain elements sacred.

Later, we will screen our selective memories on those most close or dear… Hoping to satiate some neglected space in the Soul.

 

 

Letters of Annoyance.

Dear Bag in a Tree;

Hey YOU, Bag in a Tree, blowing obnoxiously in the midnight wind.  You have been annoying the shit out of me for the last four months.  Enough is ENOUGH!!

I know, I know; when you finally deteriorate some other, NEWER, MORE ANNOYING breed of bag will take your place.

Could you please just leave me alone for tonight? If you do, I promise  I will refrain from lighting the whole goddamn tree on fire.

Signed-  The lady on the other side of the window

 

Dear Guy Working on the Light Pole,

Hey there, Guy Working on the Light Pole.  I really appreciate your service to our electrical grid and all, but FUCK YOU for staring inside my bathroom window while I was taking a shit.  Your job is to fix the goddamn power line, and it would behoove you to keep your eyes on the job and OUT of my bathroom.

Sincerely~ Mr. Shitz  Apt 3D

 

Dear Crazy Raking Neighbor Lady;

I’m not sure if you noticed, but alleyways are always a mess.   The wind blows trash here from Indonesia.  It’s nice that you want to keep YOUR section of the alley clean; but if you’re going to go so far as to RAKE the ROAD, maybe you should go so far as to clean the WHOLE block of alley you live on.

Thanks,  Your Confused Yet Observant AlleyWay Neighbor

 

Dear Nasty Cashier Lady;

Did you ever think that maybe your job sucks because your attitude sucks?  Get over it and put a goddamn smile on your sourpuss face.  Shopping is stressful enough without a GRAND FINALE- such as your condescending flair, in the check out line.  Here is a tip; CHECK YOURSELF.

-Anonymous Coward

 

Dear Little Old Person in the Car Ahead of Me;

I know you’re old and value what you have left of your independence, but, Dude… You can’t even see over the steering wheel!!  Your “freedom of mobility” is compromising the safety of others.

Now listen, I respect  your wisdom as an elder, but at this point in time you seem to show bad judgement when it comes to operating heavy machinery.  Due to this issue alone,  I suggest you immediately surrender your license and bribe a legally licensed grand kid to cart you around.

-Concerned Citizen/ Defensive Driver