Friday. 9.9.11 1:30 am
There's an old country song by called "Waiting on a woman" that just about every man of any age can relate to. In it, an old guy laments to a young guy about how much time men spend in the very same precarious situation the two protagonists found themselves: waiting on a woman. Some of my earliest memories consists of visions of my younger self clutching my mother's shopping bag in one of those mid-level outlet stores like JCPenny, making like Karl Malone and impatiently posting up against a wall, waiting for her to finish so we could go home. Outside of monitoring walled clocks like they were Gitmo detainees and I the guard, the thing I did mostly to pass time was observing those around me. Back then, I swore to myself that once I reached adulthood, never again would I spend my free time in some department store waiting on a woman to finish shopping.
Two decades later and I can only be half-pleased with myself. I kept my word when it came to not waiting in department stores, but I'm 23 and still waiting on a woman. Or more specifically, my kid sister, who in a department store next door to the coffeeshop I'm waiting in. And just like twenty years ago, I'm passing the time by watching the people around me.
A couple in scrubs is studying at the table directly across from the loveseat I'm stuck in. The guy, who both looks and sounds to Pakistani to me, explains some theory that's way over my head to the girl accompanying him. The two of them are seated on the same side of the table, peering over what I assume from my vantage point to be a text book. In one motion, he flips the page of their book and casually raises his hand toward her face and pushes loose strands of blonde hair out from in front of her green eyes. I watch her look up at him thankfully before turning back to the book and asking a question.
Sitting down at the table beside the couple are middle aged men having a discussion about picking up other men later in the afternoon. It wasn't until one of them said the name "Houshmanzadeh" that I realized they were discussing fantasy football and not the more interesting same-sex orgy party I assumed they were planning. It was during my disappointment over the lost opportunity to eavesdrop on the logistics of an orgy planing that I first noticed the couple had made their way out of the cafe. The table was empty only briefly before I saw him walk in.
I knew it was coming, but it was still unnerving to watch him walk in and see her follow shortly after. He led her to that same table the couple sat at just moments before but didn't look my way. She didn't see me.
I watched him -- this man of in his forties who looked to be in his thirties and moved as though he were sixty, get up to order their drinks.
He looked like shit. What had once been fine threads of ebon were now an assortment of white, black, and gray. It was as if someone had clawed a checkerboard into a black satin sheet. Those stone colored eyes that encouraged me as a youth and terrified me as an adolescent had grown weary -- deep concaves had formed around them as his eyes were baggier than a WuTang concert.
I watched him, staring at her, not looking at anything.
They made small talk. He brought up work, she brought up going back to school. He mentioned her mother, she mentioned her studies. He spoke of a doctor. she sighed. Sensing a shift in her mood, he excused himself from the table and took a step back from his seat.
With her hand clasped firmly to a glass of tea, we both watched her dip her finger into the lip of the cup in the universal test. Once she placed the cup back down,
he casually raised his hand toward her face and pushed loose strands of red hair out from in front of her gray eyes. I watch her turn look up as if to say thank you, but all three of us knew that wasn't possible.
I wondered if he blamed himself.
I wondered if he blamed me.
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Monday. 8.22.11 4:02 pm
"Honestly, what did he expect? It’s his own fault,’ Specs says to no one in particular, although she’s sitting directly beside me. The two of us, along with eight or nine other law students, are working on a group assignment on a early January afternoon.
“Seriously,” Calvin agrees. “It’s not like he was going to Columbia Law or a top tier school. He wasn’t even going to a 2nd tier school.. if you’re going to a shitty school, don’t expect your job prospects to be anything but shit when you graduate.”
“Hey, check this part out – this is definitely my favorite part of the story,” Specs, glancing up from her computer to make sure everyone was paying her their attention, cleared her throat and adjusted her computer before continuing:
“It’s a prestige thing,” he says. “I’m an attorney. All of my friends see me as a person they look up to. They understand I’m in a lot of debt, but I’ve done something they feel they could never do and the respect and admiration is important.”
“I like how he says “all my friends look up to me,” as if going to some random bad law school is something to be proud of—“
I slammed my laptop shut as memories of events and people in my past pushed their way to to the forefront of my psyche. I thought of my neighbor and old football teammate DeShawn who went from honors student to drug dealer after his big sister was killed not to far from our neighborhood. I thought of Eddie’s mom being pimped on a street corner by his father. I thought of long walks with my own mother that ended before we hit the crossroads where the drug dealers did their dirt every night. I thought of eating ramen noodles on a daily basis for just about a year because my mom couldn’t afford anything else. I thought food stamps and welfare and the Salvation Army and how none of these people would ever relate to any of that shit. These people, reacting to me slamming my laptop, were all staring at me.
I cleared my throat. “It is where I come from. In fact, it’s a big deal just going to college in the first place. Someone embarking on any extended endeavour to further their education past the 12th grade or community college is a big fucking deal in many places – so just who the fuck are you to pass judgement on that?”
Or, atleast, that’s the speech I came up a few hours later as I walked home in the cold Cambridge snow. In reality, I said nothing and it still eats at me to this day that I didn’t speak up. Not saying anything that afternoon is my biggest regret of my 1st year at Harvard Law School and that’s saying a lot.
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Friday. 7.22.11 1:32 am
Tuesday. 7.19.11 7:48 pm
I come home from work each evening and crawl into bed.
I turn off my phone, turn off my computer, turn on the television, and watch episode after episode of scrubs. I'm on episode 64(in about 14 days), should hit 70 by the time the evening is through.
Anyway, this nightly ritual is starting to affect what little social life I have. A few minutes ago I texted a woman I was supposed to take out to dinner tonight to let her know I was too tired from work to go out. The truth is that not only does the thought of leaving my home for anything or anyone (outside of family emergency) fatigues me, but the notion of socializing in any manner seems draining.
And I keep having these disturbing dreams... more on them later.
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No more 2 AM entries, Jon.
Friday. 7.15.11 1:11 pm
I had this habit of following clouds during football practice. Between drills, during water breaks, pretty much whenever there was a pause in the action, you'd catch me, and many others, with our oversized helmets tilted all the way back and our eyes monitoring the skies. Waiting.
The thing about Texas that many know but few appreciate is just how discomforting the summer climate can be. Not only does the heat threaten to strangle you every time you step onto the field, but the 105 degree weather (40 celcius) conspires with the sun to melt your eyeballs with how bright it gets.
The good days are the cloudy ones because every once in a while, a cloud will go all Mr. Picollo on the sun and like he did for Gohan vs Nappa. And for a few glorifying seconds the world is a better place. No more strangulation, no more blinding light, no more being baked alive on a grassy field with 50 other combatants waiting to take your head off.
my life is in need of a cloud right about now.
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Who knew trying to get over Zanzi would be so hard?
Thursday. 7.7.11 12:13 pm
"Well, I'd probably just go back to New York.. it's such a great city. There's so much to do there."
"Like what?" I ask.
"Well, you know.. everything!"
"Anything and everything!"
"Well.. shopping, I guess. I mean, I can find plenty to do there since I'm from the city. I'm a native New Yorken."
"I beg your pardon?"
"I'm from there. I'm a native New Yorken."
"uh.. do you mean New Yorker?"
"Oh.. well, yeah. You only knew that because you read books a lot of books."
"There? It looks hideous," she says to me.
"Yeah, but it's a great thai restaurant... Don't tell me you're the type to judge a book by its cover."
"Of course you can! I mean, if a place looks bad then the food is probably bad too."
"There used to be a really good coffee shop over there," I point to the lot across the street. "Joe Momma's coffee house."
"Joe Mommas? That's a stupid name."
".. No it isn't. Joe is another word for coffee."
".. I bet a Mexican came up with that."
"Because, Jon, everyone knows that coffee comes from Mexico.. mexicans use
their mexican beans to make it then ship it over here."
".... Lets play the quiet game."
Moving on from Zanzipal has been more difficult than I imagined. The other fish in the sea just don't seem that tasty anymore.
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