Tuesday, October 31, 2006

What's on my daylight savings mind

Just a few things on my mind on this gorgeous, sunny, 60-degree Halloween in the world’s greatest city:

Parallel Parking: Have you seen the commercial for the new Lexus with automatic parallel parking? Holy crap! What a great and scary concept. But, I dunno, seems kinda like cheating. When I got my license (many, many moons ago) you had to do 2 specific things to get it beyond general good driving and that was a 3-point turn and parallel parking. If you couldn’t do both, you didn’t pass. It’s actually a bragging rite with some people, being able to squeeze your car into a spot that is no bigger then a phone booth. I know as I talk to people the more rural the area you’re from the less important parallel parking becomes. Where I live, it will always be a part of life; there just aren’t enough wide streets or enough off-street parking. I had a kid I work with say they were going to get rid of parallel parking in Boston. I laugh as I’ve heard that before. I asked, are they going to widen every street in the city to allow for head parking? Maybe tear down all the houses and businesses that are currently built basically up to the curb? So maybe Lexus is on to something. I just hope it has a safety feature that realizes when the person jaywalking across the street between the parked cars and your parallel parking ass is behind you or I smell a lot of lawsuits cooking

Crossing guards: Now before anyone jumps on me I realize this is a necessary and thankless job. Most of these people volunteer their time to make sure kids can safely across busy streets on their way to school and for this I commend them. BUT, there are certain crossing guards that jump over their responsibilities and think they are traffic cops. Not content to simply cross school kids they start crossing the elderly, able-bodied adults and just about anyone needing to cross the street. Even worse, they start directing traffic. You stop, you, go, you, slow down. It’s pretty funny actually. Traffic jammed up for miles while soccer mom’s and dad’s decide how the flow of traffic should go. As you can probably tell, I have one of these screwing up my morning commute big time.

Daylight Savings Time: I don’t understand and I probably don’t want to. I don’t get why some parts of the country set their clocks back and others don’t. Why some individual States don’t do it. All I know is it is now pitch dark by the time I leave work and whilst I have no plans to do anything that requires daylight, it’s simply depressing. I remember as kids our parents told us daylight savings time was so it would be dark for when we went trick or treating so that’s what I’m sticking with.

Happy Halloween everyone!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The decline of western civilization

I always wondered if I’d recognize what’s wrong with the word if I saw it. The other day I stared it right in the face; Abercrombie & Fitch. This company once legendary as supplier of top end outdoor gear has become a showcase for what society has become; image is everything, thin is in, and beautiful people are better then non-beautiful people. OK, it’s not as bad as I let on, but cripes, did I feel out of place.

I needed to go to A & F to pick up a gift card for someone obviously younger then me. So I set off to the Burlington (MA) Mall to get it done. At first I thought it was closed for renovations as all the display windows were covered by something resembling storm shutters. However I realized the rumbling electronica music I was hearing was not from the mall sound system but coming from A & F. So, I warily step into the open doors and the music is, frankly, deafening. I’m not being some old prude when I say this as I have attended concerts and been to clubs that would make your ears bleed. But, for a retail store, it was ridiculous. So, I proceed to find a register and sales associate to get my gift card and get the fuck out of there. Well, apparently you need to be a size 1 to work there as a woman and have wavy hair and abs as a guy. The first 2 I encountered couldn’t even look up from their convo to acknowledge my fat ass. So, I wandered aimlessly until I found a counter with someone working (another size 1 apparently). I waited 5 minutes for her to fold 2 pair of pants into a bag and cash out the young couple in front of me. I tell her I need a gift card for $100. She says “what?” over the din of the afore mentioned music. So I repeat, I need a gift card for $100. And she says “oh, sure a gift card, for how much”. I roll my eyes and say, um, $100? Now I am instructed to pick out a gift card. My choices are to hot women, a guy and girl kissing, what appeared to be 2 guys about to kiss, etc. So I pick one and hand it to her and she asks “so, how much do you want the gift card for”?

There is no moral to this story. The place simply made me feel old, fat, and out of place. So, pretty much it was reality. I guess more then anything it bothered me that it so flew in the face of the “rules of retail” yet is one of the most successful clothing retailers on the planet. You simply don’t cover your display windows, don’t play music so loud you need to repeat yourself constantly, and you don’t ignore customers and remain successful. Yet, A & F not only flourishes but also has become a pop culture icon. Maybe I’m just plain getting old and out of touch, well, actually I am and I’m not sure it bothers me

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

On the road again

Notes and observations from my recent travels around this great land of ours:

  • Cars with bumper stickers, signs, or license plates that remind us they are far more important then everyone else on the road so while driving near them take more caution then you usually do (i.e. “baby on board”, motorcycles are everywhere”. “MD (doctor’s license plate))
  • In New England it’s hard to find any gas station on any stretch of well driven road that does NOT have a Dunkin Donuts inside including many that are side by side each other and less then a ¼ mile from a real full service Dunkins. For me, this is a good thing tho a little scary.
  • Climbing and/or passing lanes are a scary concept. For those (like me for the most part) who rarely travel highways outside major metropolitan areas, this means usually having to pass a slower moving car by accelerating into the lane of traffic coming to opposite way and passing on the left then getting back in your lane before a car coming the other way smashes you to oblivion. I know people living further from the city this is fairly common but still scares the crap out of my ass
  • A slow moving vehicle pulling out on a highway in front of you going 45 MPH only to then try and let you pass. Um, why didn’t you just let me go by you originally? Jackass
  • Anyone who doesn’t have exact change for a $1.00 or $.50 toll or anyone who stops to ask the toll taker directions with 8000 cars with the exact change behind them all pissed off
  • Cops who wait a ½ mile from when a road opens from 1 to 3 lanes just to get the people suffering behind someone going 35 mph for the past mile who finally have a chance to let loose and make up lost time (did I mention I have 3 speeding tickets in my life, all in NH and all on the same stretch of road? And yes, I’ve finally caught on)
  • That despite having “climate control” when I turn on the heat on a day when it’s a little chilly and there’s no happy medium between too hot and too cold
  • In the same vein, that if the sun is shining, even if its in the upper 40’s my car is still hot as hell
  • Small, sometimes uninviting looking places along the road to eat usually not only kick ass food wise on chain restaurants but typically you get a slice of local flavor you wouldn’t get elsewhere

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Schadenfreude...god bless you

Schadenfreude-The dictionary definition of this German word is satisfaction or pleasure felt at someone else's misfortune. We all know common examples of this. You rejoice in George W. Bush falling on his face politically rather then worrying about the thing he fell on his face about. You cheer more loudly for the Yankee’s being knocked out of the playoffs then you did for the Red Sox winning the World Series. You smile contentedly at Mel Gibson’s indiscretions rather then thinking back to the pleasure his movies have brought you. It is a very common occurrence. People are jealous by their very nature of those they perceive as doing better then them and feeling they don’t deserve it as much as you do. But schadenfreude occurs on a regular basis in all our lives more then we realize.

Let’s face it, we’ve all had a friend who had a job where they made a lot more then we did and certainly couldn’t have worked as hard as us. When you hear they got downsized you are there for them but you have that tiny little smirk in your subconscious. For me a lot of times it was, as I got older, at the gym, looking at some kid trying to lift a certain amount of weight and failing. This brought me more joy then the actuality of my own dwindling strength. Maybe it’s the person who’s always wanted to get married and pretending to be happy for their friend that is getting married only to feel a little better when things fall apart and your friend is once again just as lonely and miserable as you are.

So, what does this have to do with me? Well, I think I’m pretty atypical in my bouts of minor schadenfreude. Mine typically has to do with, what else, women. I suffer from the 2 most common guy forms

1) Duckyitis- this was made famous by Ducky in “Pretty in Pink”. It’s when you have a friend you have a crush of some sort on and your whole time you’ve known them you felt they were missing the best thing for them; you! You feign happiness for them when they are seeing someone even thought you KNOW it won’t last (coz they’re not good enough for him/her) and when they break up you’re supportive and hate seeing your friend sad but that small ray of hope that maybe this time he/she will see the light is like a fist pump inside your heart

2) You’ll never do better then me- This is more along the lines when someone you dated and still like and get along with starts seeing someone else or is trying to move on and nothing works and you’re happy that they are just as miserable as you tho on the outside you’re sympathetic and caring. Again, the prevailing thought is maybe, just maybe, he/she will come running back to me this time!

I guess I wanna know if this makes me a bad person? Am I the only one who thinks like this? Should I always be 100% happy for people and never be self-serving and selfish if only in my head? Maybe it’s not schadenfreude but it’s close cousins jealousy and envy.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Reading is Fun...damental!!

I been in more fights then I can remember, won some, lost some. I’ve competed in power lifting competition. I played football, drink beer out of a can, eat red meat, have a bad haircut and watch wrestling. Judge me how you want from the above description but you need to know me to know one of my greatest passions; reading. Yes, I love to read. I rarely go anywhere without a book, have been known to stay up until the wee morning hours to finish a book, and spend an afternoon in Barnes & Noble without getting bored. Yes people, you don’t have to be a certain type to enjoy reading, you just have to have a love for letting words and your imagination take you some place that is not your own mundane life.

I have a lot of friends that think I read too much, that say they hate reading, and say they don’t have time to read. BULLSHIT! Everyone can find time to read. My sister with 3 kids and a job finds time. My friend with 2 jobs finds time. The bottom line is you find time for TV, you can find time for reading. Or, if you’re like me, you do them both at the same time. The bottom line is reading is relaxing, reading improves your vocabulary, and reading can take you to place you’ve never been. The problem most people have is finding what they like. A book that drags for you right off the bat is probably going to be a struggle to finish, if you finish at all. So, because I like you guys, I’m going to give you some helpful hints.

1) Choose a genre you like and stick to it. Mystery, suspense, science fiction, fantasy, non-fiction, true crime. Whatever works for you. My sister has her doctorate and splits her time between suspense, non-fiction, and trashy romance novels. The bottom line is to read
2) Find something that moves along for you. If someone recommends Steven King and its like reading quicksand, dump it for something that moves faster for you. A truly riveting read will fly by
3) Choose an author that has a recurring character or cast. I truly love series and won’t read anything out of order if I can avoid it. Most popular suspense and mystery writers have recurring characters.
4) Set aside time everyday to read. A half hour before bed, while eating your lunch, at the gym, or taking a bath
5) If you liked a particular movie or TV show, find the original source book. You may like it even more. The Black Dahlia, still in theatres, is a much better read then watch

So, here are some recommendations from me. I read mostly suspense and mystery so that’s what these are:
The Alex Cross series by James Patterson- Set in Washington DC it follows the adventures of a DC detective and psychologist who is a master profiler. The movies Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider are based off these books. Patterson is a super fast read.
The Lincoln Rhyme books by Jeffrey Deaver- Set in NYC it follows the story of a forensic expert and former NYC cop who also happens to be quadriplegic. Good reading for CSI fans. The movie the Bone Collector is based on the book of the same name
The Myron Bolitar series by Harlan Coben- Set in New Jersey the books are a great combination of humor, sports, and hard-boiled mystery.
The Kenzie and Genarro series by Dennis Lehane- Best known for Mystic River this series by Lehane featured Boston private detectives based in and around Dorchester, Southie and the like. Gone Baby Gone is being filmed by Ben Affleck as we speak.

Just remember, reading is fundamental!!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Pissing the Night Away

Let’s see what’s pissing me off today:

1) People who won’t get off their cell phone to even show the slightest bit of common courtesy to people around them (the cashier, the salesperson etc). They are close brethren to the people whose calls are way more important for your time. “I need to take this call, I’ll be right back”. Yea, right, and since you’re so much more important then me, I’ll be waiting

2) The jackass whose phone goes off in the movie theatre even tho it’s not just common fuckin sense but they actually ASK you to silence your phone at the beginning of the movie

3) People who force you to have to put up signs that you should never have to put up. I.e. “please don’t spit in fountain”, “please don’t curb your dog here”.

4) Anyone wearing those stupid plastic clog things straight out of Nantucket. Ewww

5) The dippy, dumbass chick from Quebec in the convertible in front of me in the fast lane on the Jersey Turnpike going 55 MPH and swerving in and out of the lane because she’s blabbing away on her cell when I’m anxious to get to where I’m going

6) Anyone working at any kind of service job who just plain doesn’t speak English at all. If I hired someone to work at my pizza place I would make sure they at least understood the words “pizza”, “slice”, and “pepperoni”

7) That the people who work the desk at a hotel/motel etc cannot convey to housekeeping when someone is checking out that day. If checkout time is 10:00 A.M. don’t coming knocking at my door at 8:30 A.M. repeatedly saying “hoooousssekeeping” when you know damned well I’m leaving in 90 minutes at the longest. AND if they clean the rooms so early, why is it you can’t check in until 3:00 P.M.?

8) When you opt to sit outside at a restaurant on a cool but nice night and the outdoor heating makes it more oppressive then sitting inside in August with no air conditioning. In Houston. Talk about ruining the ambience

9) When I travel and (this has happened 3 times now) people on hearing my accent and realizing I’m from out of town ask if I’m town for the race. As in auto race. As in NASCAR! I’m like, listen to my accent rufus, do you think a born and bred Bostonian is traveling south for a car race? Dear lord!

10) When I’m eating out and oder drinks then have the server back 2 minutes later looking for an order. I haven’t even had a sip of my drink. Then after constant pestering, place my appetizer order then have them come back 2 minutes later looking for the food order! The idea of an appetizer is to get and finish it before the meal. Come back when I’m done simpleton. The worst is when I’m only half way through my appetizer and the freakin meal comes!! OK, I’m a business man and trust me I understand the concept of turnover, BUT when the server is simply going from your table to shitting around with his coworkers, then it’s just wrong!

OK, just hadda get that off my chest!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Skeletons in the Closet

As an avid reader of suspense novels and watcher of movies I was looking at my own life in those terms recently. In almost every suspense novel, mystery novel, etc and nearly every movie of every genre, the protagonist always has that fatal flaw of skeletons in their closet that come out to cause distress in their lives. This "luggage" is usually central to the plot in same way, sort, or fashion. I was racking my brain to come up with something, anything, but nope, I have no luggage.Oh, I have a few things I've done I've regretted (a DUI when I was 21, a couple of nights in protective custody) and some family issues mostly revolving around depression (and one major tragedy as a result) but I personally don't have any serious baggage waiting to come bite me in the ass at a most inopportune time. No ex-wife, no children out of wedlock (that I know of...bada bing haha), no restaining orders, no psycho ex-girlfriend's, no ex-girlfriend's who think I'm a psycho, no juvenile records that have been expunged, hell, I never even been fingerprinted. I have no past addictions (no alcohol comments please), I've never changed my name, have no distance relatives who were notorious criminals, me and my friend's never accidentally killed someone on summer vacation, covered it up and made a pact we'd take to the grave. None of that.My question is, is this something to be proud of or embarrassed about? I mean, should I be proud that should that special someone come along, I got nothing to hide, nothing to come creeping from out of the past to throw my world into turmoil. I'm kind of clean as the driven snow and as baggage free as it gets. On the other hand, is it a testament my life in that I've taken so few chances and lived such a safe and boring life that I've never been in situation to have this baggage? Has my life been that boring and uneventful? Have I been so guarded against commitment and closeness that my closet only has dress clothes, shoes, and extra sheets but not a skeleton in sight? AND...Does this make the opposite sex feel more or less secure about you (OK, what's wrong with this guy..Well, except the obvious lack of looks and sex appeal ha). So that poses the question of the day; should I do something controversial, insidious, or otherwise out of character to advance my fortunes or simply remain boring, no risk taking, skeleton-free Rich?Author's Note: Please keep in mind I don't consider children baggage in any way (tho they are good for carrying baggage haha) and it was simply lumped in with the rest of this ridiculous concept of a blog to accentuate the pathetic state of my life. Thank you come again

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Musical Question

Musicals are those strange worlds where at the drop of the hat people go from speaking and moving normally to singing and dancing to express their feelings. Everyone’s seen Grease, Singing in the Rain, Chicago, the Music Man, the Wizard of Oz, or more recently, High School Musical. Did you ever stop to notice the bit players tho? You know, the ones who have little to do with the main characters but join in the singing and dancing because they are obligate to do so, it’s the law of Musical Land. So, it got me to thinking, what if life WAS a musical??

I think it would be aggravating as hell. I mean, sure, if it’s you singing out and all those around you are joining in the singing and dancing that’s pretty cool. But when you have to join in and you’re simply not in the mood, it’s got to suck! Let’s say you’re running late to work. You speed all the way there, get to the parking lot and as soon as you get out…bang, a musical number breaks out. Now you spend 10 minutes dancing on the hood of your car using your briefcase as an impromptu prop in a large production number. When it ends you rush in to your waiting boss with an explanation and he’s like, “well, that’s the 3rd musical this week”. Or you wake up and have 2 large black coffees and a bran muffin and a musical breaks out. You’re doing cartwheels, splits and back flips all the time just trying to hold your mud. Or you’re having a casual swim at the Y and a musical breaks out forcing you in to a Busby Berkley-like giant 50 person synchronized swimming number. These are all real and grave possibilities if life was a musical.

I think in some ways, all those aggravations aside, maybe the world would be a better place. Gang fights become giant dance routines. Heartache is handled with a song and not tears. Most of all, just by being nearby, your singing, dancing, and acrobatic skills increase exponentially if only for a short period of time. Well, we’ll probably never know…oh crrap, the guy I work with who’s having house issues just broke out into song…better limber up!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A mind is a terrible thing to waste...

So, once again I think I'm losing my mind. I don't know what's up but I just keep forgetting and missing things. Yesterday I once again blew off a doctor's appointment as I totally forgot about it (granted it was a follow up on an issue that's been resolved but still…) and worse still I've been thinking I'm on vacation next week (as in Sept. 22-26) when in fact I'm off THIS weekend. And have no plans. And with this late planning probably won't be able to make plans. Oh my goodness!!

It's funny, and those that been to my place may or may not agree, but I'm actually quite organized. I'm not sure what's up. I have a Palm Pilot that I keep my whole life in but for the past 6 months seems I only check it after missing something. The doctor thing is only partly my fault as I've asked numerous times for them to switch the reminder calls to my cell, as I simply don't check my home phone messages. I guess because my life has kind of been on this repetitive treadmill I just don't stop to think ahead like I once did.

I hate to start thinking of the "D" word again but I really am out of synch lately. I have been squandering the time I have being lazy or simply not being home as being home alone makes my feel sorry for myself. As a result I probably been drinking too much, seeing too many movies, spending too much time at Barnes and Noble and way too much time eating bad food. I just hate being home alone too long. I leave my house at 8:15 a.m. every day and don't get home until after 8:00 pm and eat etc its 9:30. It kinda sucks but again it keeps me occupied.

On top of all that I feel like I have been chained to work. It's hard as we been busy but as I woke Saturdays and we have so many employees for a small business trying to get time off is a hassle, as you have to plan months in advance. I'm going to Cincinnati for the Pat's game in 2 weeks and I'm literally flying in Sunday morning for a 4:00 game and leaving Monday. I get frustrated as after 18 years I guess I feel I'm owed more in the priority department on days off but that's the reality of retail

So, now I need to decide do I work or do I take the time off and do nothing really? I can do some work around my place I'm sure. I could also bank the days in case something comes up in November or something or get paid for them in January. I'm hoping when my boss gets back from his vacation tomorrow I can switch to next weekend. Not that I have plans, but now knowing I have it off I can at least scramble to make some.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Fool me once...

Nobody likes being played for a fool or an idiot. It’s one of the worst feelings in the world to know you’re being fooled, lied to, played, or any other way you want to put it and knowing you are. You have a person dead to rights and yet they still proceed to go along with their deception. It’s just humiliating and if you’re like me, I’m sure you just sit back and take it until the point you can’t take it anymore. My dad used to always say, “you may as well tell me the truth because you can’t lie to me. There’s no story you can make up I haven’t heard or haven’t done myself”. I feel that way now. I certainly don’t know everything but I’m fairly streetwise and a good judge of character. Be straight up with me and let us both live with the consequences rather then lying and making us both look like fools.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

To Have Loved and Lost.....?

I implore you right now not to read this blog. It’s self-indulgent, self-loathing, and really, written just for me. It’s a far cry from my usual crap but it’s something I simply need to write down.

My name is Rich I’m 40 years old and live in Cambridge, MA. I’m from a strong, solid Irish Catholic family and have a solid if boring job. By all accounts I’m a fairly stable, normal guy. The kind of guy you’d strike up a conversation in a bar with. Oh, did I mention, I lived almost 39 years and had never been in love? For real, not even close. It’s kind of like Andy from the 40 Year Old Virgin (well, except the virgin part). Oh, I’ve had a few crushes and even a couple of semi-long relationships, but none of it was ever love. It’s not like I didn’t want to fall in love just after it didn’t happen I kind of stopped trying. Because of events in my life the past decade I actually thought better of letting anyone get too close. I figure why go through the hurt and anguish at this point? Never being in love means never having your heart broken. Well, a funny thing happened on the way to 40…

We met quite by chance online and started talking every night. Not some singles service or online dating, just met and hit it off. We talked every night although rarely about anything more then friend stuff. Somewhere along the line I fell in love with her. I felt foolish, in love with someone I never actually met. But I was smitten. I started to realize that maybe the feelings were mutual so we started vague conversations about getting together. Now, what I haven’t told you to this point is the fact she was 16 years my junior and lived 6 states away. Still, dauntless on our efforts, we managed to pick a date and I went to meet her.

I won’t say it was love at first sight (since I was already there haha) but the chemistry was very apparent. We followed up with 2 quick trips up here. I was honestly having the time of my life. I felt alive, felt goofy, was saying and doing goofy things and I really liked it. As she was leaving she told me she really liked what we had but was not ready for a committed relationship of any sort long distance or otherwise. I agreed and in my head I thought that was perfect. My friend’s all joked I was living a rock star life. A young, pretty girl I saw once a month with no commitment. What could be better? They couldn’t of been more wrong. When she got home from that trip, she said something to me I’d never heard before…”I think I love you”. To even more of my surprise, I heard a strangely familiar voice, my own, saying “I love you too”. My 39-year loveless streak was at an end.

I’d like to pause here to talk about love. Love is used in so many ways it can be confusing. You can love your mom, love your dog, and love the chicken picatta at your favorite Italian restaurant. If you believe popular culture, love hurts, love stinks, love is a battlefield, love is a many splendor thing, and love means never having to say your sorry and all you need is love. So what is love? I’m probably the wrong man to ask having only experienced it once and previous to that, everything I knew about it was what I saw in movies and read in books. So, to me, love is that feeling you get for someone when every second you’re apart is agony, the feeling your heart is going to pound out of you chest whenever you see the one you love, you can’t be in the same room with them and keep you eyes off of them, you can’t be near them without longing to make contact with them, a minute apart is eternity and 50 years together is too short. That’s how I see love and that’s the state of in love I was in!

Now that’s out of the way…I’m not going to get into too many details but from probably September until November to call it an emotional roller coaster would be an understatement. I’ll take the brunt of it as I thought the idea of an open relationship would be fine. Well, it wasn’t, not even close. For the first time in my life I was madly jealous. It wasn’t just jealousy, it was disappointment. For the first time ever, I wanted to do the things I had only thought of doing; sending random gifts, writing love letters, I even took a stab at bad poems. None of it got a reaction even close to what I expected or wanted. Again, that’s my fault. Not everyone acts or reacts to things the same…but god it was frustrating. It started to pre-occupy my thoughts. Seeing her was one thing. I can only think of one time when we were together that things were ever strange. It was the long times apart that I really got jealous, maybe even paranoid. I was in a bad state of mind to the point my friend’s and family was starting to worry. I was in a quandary as I kept doing and saying the things she said she really liked and wished more guys would do but after doing or saying them, I felt…let down.

Things really hit the fan in November. I will not get into specifics, but I was hurt more then I ever knew I could be, at least short of death of someone close. I was devastated, angry, heart broken and other words I can’t begin to describe. I was hurt so bad I was in tears. By the terms of our relationship what happened should have been ok, but it just WASN’T! I really should have just ended it right there. I really wanted to. I guess I was so in love at that point she could have done anything and I would have forgiven her. I think she felt bad, she said she did, so we moved on. I guess I never really fully healed from that. We were actually quite blissful right through Christmas and spent an awesome New Year together. We were in a total state of euphoria for about a week after, and then the walls came tumbling down.

Something just clicked in her head. We were talking about seeing each other sooner then later when BOOM. She said it was too much. We were moving too fast (she was probably right), she was too young to start getting serious (again probably right) and a bunch of other things. I felt like someone had pulled the rug out from under me. In a week we went from seeing each other more to once a month was too much. This was really the beginning of the end. February was brutal, particularly Valentines Day (I should have stuck with my hatred of that fake Holiday). We saw each other 2 more times and again, something changed with her although not necessarily something I said or did but I was lumped in. I really lost it and made a regrettable phone call. I was drunk and wounded and it was stupid. We took a small break, and then made up but it was pretty much a done deal by then. She went away for 2 weeks but promised we get together when she was back.

At this point it finally sunk in it was over. I didn’t want it to be. I was starting to feel like that person everyone knows grasping desperately to something that wasn’t there, just didn’t exist any more. I said I’d wait until she got back. You know, absence make the heart blah, blah, blah. Well needless to say, I was disappointed as usual. I really get my hopes worked up sometimes. It was just…nothing there when she got back. Out of the blue one night she says lets get together next weekend. I say sure. Now, for whatever reason people underestimate me. I knew her idea was to get together to see if we could just be friends, no kissing, etc. and as she was going to be visiting her friend the next week she wanted our status cemented before then. I pretty much suspected this but I’m a believer in chemistry, so who knows. The drive there was emotional because of this situation as well as impending disaster occurring back home which I didn’t know about until 3/4 the way there. I was a wreck by the time I got there. I was greeted with a hug…and that’s all. I felt my heart being ripped out of my chest. To quote the great Harry Chapin “now another man mighta been angry, now another man mighta been hurt” but I swallowed by pride and sorrow because at that point I needed a friend. It was an oddly fun yet uncomfortable time. Some of it was so natural and seemed normal and was obvious there was still chemistry, but some of it was just awkward. I let my frustration show a few times. We talked before I left. She admitted about planning on not kissing me etc. and I was a little pissed. I mean, I'm adult, we're trying to re-establish something, I should have been given a choice. I told her if friends are what she wants to be, that’s what we’ll be. Once again it was my voice, but I have no idea who actually said this. We left it with a long hug and a platonic kiss on the cheek. I also realized I was still madly in love with her and likely always would be The ride home was rough with me reflecting on what I woulda, coulda, shoulda done. The bottom line is I followed my heart for once in my life and it simply wasn’t enough. I still loved her, proabably will for a longgggg time.

We’ve spoken since about us a little. I really do consider her a great friend but sometimes going through what we (or I) went through, sometimes being friends again isn’t an option. She thinks we can see each other again just as friends. I don’t think I can. I can’t be with her without staring at her, wanting to touch her, wanted to kiss her. She doesn’t believe me but when I look at her, I see the most beautiful woman I have ever known. I just don’t know that I can go back. I still love her, so I guess I have to let her go.

So, in the long run, was it worth it? Hell yeah it was. I had some great times. To me the highs of my time with her far outweighed the lows while I think for her it was the opposite. I learned some valuable lessons about myself, what I’m capable of, and relationships in general:
  • I learned you don’t have to run away from love and that whilst heart wrenching, it’s a pretty wonderful thing
  • That I’m capable of being the giving, caring, romantic guy I’ve always seen myself as but never let anyone see it
  • To what lengths I’d go to not lose something precious to me. From lowering my moral stand, taking hurt I’d never take from anyone else, to dragging a common friend into the fray when I had no right doing so as her loyalties could only be in one place.
  • That while age and distance can certainly make a relationship harder, it’s really being 2 people of the same mind that determines whether something works or not
  • That there is a give and take to every situation and nothing is ever black and white but shade of gray.

I guess when Shakespeare penned “better to have loved and lost then never have loved at all” he knew of what he spoke. While I hate losing what I had even for a short time I’ll treasure that time forever. I feel confident now that someone else will come along, maybe I’ll even fall in love again, but that would still mean settling for second best. I’ve always said people who settle are simply fooling themselves. I guess I’ll be fooling myself.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The 5% Solution

So, this weekend (August 12-13) is the annual Tax Free Holiday in MA. It’s something done in many States throughout the union that regularly charge sales tax on most non-essential (food, clothing) retail items. For one weekend a year, you can buy any item up to $2,500 (with some exclusions http://www.dor.state.ma.us/rul_reg/tir/TIR_06_13.htm) tax-free. In the great State of Massachusetts that means a savings of an additional 5%! Wow. This is the 4th year I believe and it’s been an unbelievable success for retailers throughout the State. People plan purchases around this weekend for weeks in advance, I mean, it is an additional 5% off. Who wouldn’t want to save 5%?

OK, you’ve probably figured this is going somewhere as obviously the level of cynicism above was far below my normal level. I’m mystified by the popularity of this event. I mean, I’m in retail, and have been my whole adult life. People are so fascinated with numbers and huge savings it’s not even funny. If you run a sale, it has to be “x%” off everything or people think they’re getting ripped off. People fall for those jack up your price and then give 20% off gimmicks all the time. People are just plain fascinated with “huge savings”. To a person, if we have a sale, they ALL ask what percent off it is. Not dollars saved but percent off. Even if you’re regular price is the lowest in the world, if it’s not 20% lower when on sale, you’re a rip-off. That said, people go crazy making big purchases to save the 5% sales tax. If we had a sale and said 5% off everything in the store, people would laugh their asses off at us. In fact, if we had double the sales tax off, 10% off all purchases, people would still laugh. Yet, come this Saturday, they will be in lining up to make major purchases. What a Country!

So, why the phenomenon? Why go out of your way to save 5%? Most places aren’t offering any savings on top of that? So why does 5% savings get people off their asses? Simple. Because it’s 5% they are taking from the State, not the store. It’s a chance to “stick it to the man”. People love that. If give liberals, conservatives, Democrats, Republicans, old, young, rich, poor and everyone in between a chance to say “bite me State of Massachusetts, you ain’t getting my 5%”!! It’s kinda like the 60’s and 70’s protests against except conformity…except in a really lame way. The whole thing is a giant ploy by the State to keep dollars in MA and out of tax-fee NH. They are convincing you that while you pay sales tax 363 days a year and your neighboring State doesn’t, for one weekend a year, you’re on equal ground.

So, lets get out there and buy people, get those refrigerators, air conditioners, and ice skates (please). Help pay my salary while giving the finger to the State. Making it Massachusetts means Keeping it in Massachusetts!! Man, PT Barnum was right. There is a sucker born…

Friday, July 28, 2006

A Pirate Looks at 40

Ok, I admit it, as much as I said I didn't care, turning 40 was starting to get to me. My attitude most of the summer has been piss poor. It was mostly because for the first time in a while, I thought I had little to look forward to this summer. As usual, I was wrong. July ended up being a rather memorable month.

I'm sure most of you have heard of the infamous junkfood trip me and Marc made on July 1st. In a nutshell, after weeks of talk, we drove to CT for the sole purpose of sampling some of the famous and little known roadside hot dog/burger/drive-ins that dot the CT landscape. It was a ridiculous, preposterous, and gut bustingly funny day. After about the 3rd of 6 stops, we simply couldn't stop laughing about the whole concept of what we were doing. The picture of the trip was of course me and the now famous 2 foot plus hot dog.

My actual birthday came and went without much hoopla. A cake with the family. That weekend my man Higgs was in town from OH. He, myself and his wife were supposed to go out drinking BUT Lisa didn't make the call as she went out the night before and was somehow still hungover at 7:00 PM. Amateurs. Sheesh. Anyways, it was boys night out. We had an OK dinner at Franks and proceeded to the Bar (from here in on Spirit will be referred to as the Bar) where Brian informed me he didn't wanna close the bar tonight. Haha. Fat chance of that. It was pretty dead as it was the Saturday after the Holiday but gave us a chance to play random goofy 80's songs on the jukebox and catch up. After a while of trading stories Brian informed me he was married with kids and didn't have any more good stories. My friends Daga, Dani, and Sippy showed up (fairly cocked already may I add) and we proceeded to laugh until, yes, last call. Was a fun time all and all. The thing that sucks is whenever me and Brian get together its a great time, but, it makes me realize how much it sucks he lives so far away.

July 15th was the date of my 40th birthday get together. It's funny how it grew to the size it was. My sister katy asked me about 6 months ago what I wanted to do for my 40th. I basically said whatever, just no surprises and no hall party. I told her if I had my druthers I'd like to just tell a few people and all hang out at the Bar on July 8th. She agreed that would be fun. Now if you know Katy there was no way it was going to be that simple. First, she informed me we were changing the date to July 15th and not July 8th as too many people would be away. Sound logic although it flew in the face of my original concept. She then asked me for friend's e-mail addresses and I started to realize this could be getting big.

The week of the party is one of the busiest weeks of the year at work so the week flew by. All week people were asking me how the party planning was coming. I said ask Katy. It's my party, I'm doing no planning!! I was actually starting to get nervous. Hell, I didn't even go out the night before (well, me, Marc and Paul D did go to Revere Beach and hit both Kelly's and Bianchi's Pizza). I got home from work and relaxed for a bit until I got the call (more of an order) from Katy to get my ass down there. Well, I started sweating buckets literally to the point nearly everyone mentioned it. It was reminiscent of Albert Brooks in Broadcast News (obscure reference). It finally stopped around the time most people showed up. I was really taken back by how many people showed up. Sometimes you start thinking all your friends and drifting away and then something like this restores your faith. I'm not going to do a blow by blow account of the night as most of you were there but here were some highlights for me:
  • The day before the party mom telling me she hopes no one gets out of hand and then asking me if people still get drunk in bars. She's so cute
  • The sign outside the Bar reading "Happy 40th Rich"
  • Brian the manager greeting me with a bucket of Miller Lite
  • Brian handing me an envelope addressed to Rich Miller (an inside joke) and thanking me for the crowd. I said, don't thank me, thank THEM
  • The whole bar singing Happy Birthday and making a short speech (I was coerced into it...ok, not coerced to forcefully)
  • Jerry trying to avoid being near the cake for the singing but mom telling him she wasn't leaving until he came up there
  • Mom sayin to Brian "so this is Rich's home away from home" and Brian defending me saying I'm not there that much and her responding "typical bartender covering for his customers" haha
  • Kevin M speaking some foreign language after drinking 30 Summer Ales
  • The small pool we had going as to what time Pete K would make his grand entrance
  • The lack of Pete K's grand entrance as he walked in quietly like it was just another bar

There was a lot more but that's what jumps to mind. It was nice to see so many people from so many different parts of my life all in one room. Family, old friends, new friends, and everyone in between. Thanks to Katy for all the planning and Katy, Jenny and all the rest who got there early and arranged all the food etc. Brian and the staff at the Bar were awesome (and from what he told me last week, very well taken care of by all you big tippers ;-)I had the time of my life 'tho I regret the lack of time I could spend with each person there. I kind of felt like what it must be like when you get married and everyone is there because of you and you just don't have the chance to spend as much quality time with each and everyone of them as you can. I do regret the shots at the end and getting a little fuzzy and the ill planned trip to Cambridge Common but what the hell. You're only 40 once. See you all in 10 years!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Recent Musings

Some recent observations traveling to Fenway Park via the "T" on a hot summer night:

  • Rule #1 you're taught when riding the subway is LET THE PEOPLE OFF FIRST!! It's such a simple little thing yet ignorant assholes love to shove there way on the second the doors slide open paying no mind to children, the elderly, handicapped, or worst of all, me
  • Hot weather=spaghetti straps, spaghetti straps=smiles
  • What's with the ginormous back packs? I mean, unless you're in school, how much shit can you actually carry with you? I saw a guy with a back pack so big I thought for sure he stole it from an expedition to climb Mount Everest.
  • Personal hygiene is something everyone should consider before riding the subway...More so if its 92 degrees at 8:30 pm...Much more so if the air conditioning could be busted...phew
  • I have no problems with panhandlers in theory, but let's get some creativity involved. I mean, shaking a cup with change in it to the tune of a nearby boombox hardly counts towards working for your money.
  • The sheer number of people leaving the ball game in the 2nd and 3rd innings is astounding. I know some people are bringing their kids to a night game but, sheesh, at the cost of a Sox game, bring them to a day game.
  • You know it's hot when you're sitting in an air conditioned bar at 9:30 at night and you're dripping with sweat as badly as people sitting in the park
  • Only in Boston can news on the Yankees losing get nearly as many cheers as the Sox winning

Now I don't wanna go off on a rant...

  • At what point in a mans life does he stop wearing his pants on, above, or below his hips and start wearing them around his armpits?
  • People will flock to anything free or perceived as free. If you hang a sign that says "free ass kickings" people will queue up at 6:00 a.m. to be first in line
  • By and large if someone calls you from a bar drunk and tells you to meet them there its typically going to be a long ass night
  • I actually had my shirt off in public this weekend (public meaning surrounded by family and friend) and realize I truly am the whitest white man on Gods green Earth
  • Why is the price of self serve and full sever gas basically the same now and why do we still go self serve rather then let someone else pump it
  • Am I the only person who has a car in decent shape, low mileage that cannot even go in for an oil change without the bill climbing into the multi-hundred-dollar range?
  • The only thing worse then the actual heat is people complaining about the heat and all the stupid clich├ęs. "Its not the heat, its the humidity", "you'll appreciate this weather in February", etc. And worse, the people who think they are the only one that is hot "god, I am so hot". Like, Im not!!! I have a personal air conditioner that I vent up my ass that keeps me cool while youre sweating you ass off!!!!
  • Bagging is a lost art form. I leave Target with 16 bags for 12 items. I literally thought my condo was gonna be over-run with errant Target bags. When I go to the supermarket its not "paper or plastic" its please, just use the fewest friggin bags. I was thinking of knitting myself a sweater from all my Target bags but decided white isnt my color
  • Dog people scare me. I actually saw a guy in a department store with his dog leashed to a shopping cart and being pushed around the store. I mean, theres clearly a sign that says no pets in the store but apparently those rules just dont count. A girl I work with brings a dog with her to work. Um, ok, why? Can we all bring our pets? Worse, her dog was abused as a puppy and tends to snap at kids. Yup, dogs biting customers is a good way to run a business
  • On the same note, for those of us in non-smoking States doesn't it seem so weird now thinking back to people smoking in public places? Shopping with butts hanging out of their mouths? Smoking at ballgames? Smoking on PLANES?!?! I remember my boss's wife smoking in the store and when she quit putting a no smoking sign up. Now, I cant even fathom someone smoking indoors anywhere anymore.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The Golden Wedgies

I feel I just haven’t been raging against stupid people enough recenty so figured it was time to catch up. I’m announcing the first recipients or the Rich O Golden Wedgie Awards. For the uninitiated, a wedgie is a form of torture and humiliation usually dispensed on teenage boys by bullies or as part of a “welcoming” ritual. The procedure is usually grasping one by the back of their underpants and pulling with great force and velocity pulling said underwear into ones “anal cleft” causing great pain, discomfort and yes, humiliation. Naturally it works best if the person is wearing briefs or “tighty whiteys” as boxers simply don’t give the same effect. For the purpose of these awards, neither men nor women shall be spared from my wrath. Many of you insane enough to have been reading my crap for the last couple of years will recognize some of these repeat offenders. That said, on to the Wedgies:

  • The guy who pulls out in front of you from a side street in such a great hurry then proceeds to drive at 15 mph
  • The guy who shaves or wants to have a convo NAKED at the gym (OK, he’ll need to put on underwear before the wedgie)
  • The person with the obnoxious ring tone on their cell with the volume all the way up
  • The person talking on their cell phone at the gym
  • Just about anyone using the “walkie talkie feature on his or her phone. Or anyone who “chirps”
  • Anyone who walks around 24/7 with their bluetooth headset on (are you seeing a trend here)
  • The person at work who makes 50 redundant and ridiculous cell phone calls a day to their significant other that usually consists of “so, whatcha doin”
  • People wearing headphones trying to have a conversation then keep saying “what” or “huh”?
  • Same people who take them off to ask a question, get an answer, put the headphones back on, take them off, etc
  • The rhetorical question kings (hot enough for ya)
  • The guy who tell the same joke EVERYTIME you see him
  • Cyclists who think they are cars and can ride down the middle of the street. That is of course until the get to a red light which they feel they have the right to run
  • The girl with the tongue ring who thinks anyone want to see it between her front teeth all day long
  • The kettle/pot/black guy. You know, he’s fat but points out how fat people are or he’s bald and points out how bald people are
  • The person in line in front of me using their debit card for a $3.00 purchase
  • The person who is outraged that a dive doesn’t accept credit cards
  • The person who walks around with NO money on them and always wants you to front them until they get to an ATM
  • Anyone who brings their dog into a store with them
  • The person who gets decked out head to toe in their favorite teams gear and then proceed to pay no attention to the game
  • All stupid people
  • People who basically piss me off

I could go on and on but I guess I should get some work done. Trust me, there will be a part 2.