I stayed for a drink at the bar after my happy hour shift on Thursday. It was nice. Got toasty. Talked to a guy who was from California and has been living in New York for a few months now for grad school. He is Filipino. I am too. Not really but it’s something I always tell Filipino’s when I meet them. Why? Because they always believe me at first and when I smile and say just kidding it’s a great icebreaker. Then I tell then I’m only half which is also not true. Anyway this guy also has a boyfriend, for two years now, who is still in California. He told me he was on the verge of asking for an open relationship. That old story again. So I sat on my stool at the end of the bar and we did some more harmless flirting. I let him know that when I was in a relationship I had asked to open it up a few times. That it didn’t quite work out. That the ideology or rather my own idealism and perspective on the possibilities of a modern relationship didn’t quite match up with the reality of the relationship I was in. He asked if I lived in the neighborhood. I said I did. He admitted that that excited him. I thought that was presumptuous but I must admit that when he told me he lived alone I felt my own tinge of excitement. He left a little before I wanted the conversation to end, which I will gladly take over someone staying longer than you want them to. I gave him my number and I stayed long enough to finish my third drink but before I did leave he had already text me. Said he was getting pizza if I’d like to join him. I wanted to chat a bit with the other bartenders so I respectfully declined. Let him know it sounded nice but it would have to be some other night. Told him to let me know what the boyfriend said. I always used to hate when guys I was flirting with brought up the fact that I had a boyfriend. That kind of shit cuts right through the magic of coquetry. I think that’s why I did it. I don’t have a boyfriend now and I don’t want one. And I sure as hell don’t want drama with someone else’s boyfriend. For now anyway. I just want to finish my drink.
I meant to write about the short story collection I have sitting in a file on my computer. Eleven short shorts ready for self-publication. Why is it not up on amazon yet? Well its not exactly 100% ready. I still have to whip up a copyright page. And a call-to-action page for the end. Something that directs people back to this blog I guess. Something that let’s everyone know I’m still doing my thing. I also still don’t have a book cover. I’m pretty sure that’s what I’m really dragging my feet on. Against the advice of many experts on ebook cover art, I am forgoing paying for a professional cover. I’m going to do it myself. Luckily I’ve been known to draw from time to time. I have sketches upon sketches of possible cover art. Birds mostly, and other feathered creatures. The title story is about birds so I figure it makes sense. To be really honest, the cover I know I want is burned into my imagination. I just haven’t drawn it out yet. I think I just don’t want to fuck it up. Another part of me though, is saying, don’t take it so seriously, it’s just your debut short story collection.
The guy I’ve been hanging out with lately asked me what I would be doing on Valentine’s Day. I told him that I would be working till eleven and attending my friend’s party afterward. He said he would be going to two friends’ parties that night. We left it at that. That I’m even writing about it surprises me.
After a much needed hiatus from the fucking night life, I went back to the bar last night. To work that is. It was like I never left. Today I work happy hour. There’s a blizzard outside. I think I will clean. It will be nice. Wipe down the old bar. Polish up some glasses. Cut some fresh limes. Get lime juice in cuts I don’t know I have. That’s what opening up a bar is all about. That, and my happy hour regulars. It will be so good to see those guys. Even if it’s just their snowmen replicas.
Some time last week I sent a small collection of short stories off to an editor I found on craigslist. His post was written in the first person, it sounded friendly, like there was an actual human-being back there somewhere. His web page though was very professional and straight forward. And the guy had a twitter account so I knew I could trust him. He got back to me promptly, said he liked my stuff, which I was happy to hear, but more importantly it seemed like he and I were on the same page about what kind of edits were necessary in the document. And with a virtual handshake via PayPal we went about our business, he with a thirteen page document that he could get through in a few days, and me with, well a blank slate, a whole new collection to work on.
He emailed me last night with the track edits that he’d made. He said he enjoyed working on my collection. That makes me happy. I told myself to eat dinner before I opened up the document. It probably wouldn’t be good to check that on an empty stomach. So I whipped myself up three eggs over easy, roasted potatoes, avocado on the side, two flour tortillas and buttered toast with strawberry jam and coffee with cream and sugar to boot. Even with the coffee I pretty much knocked out after that. I’d had a long day already. I woke up refreshed at around five something in the morning, and decided ok, time to check my email. Wi-fi was down. So I restarted my computer and went out into the kitchen to restart the router and it wasn’t there. Ok. This is not a battle for 5:30 in the morning. I tried to go back to sleep but I mainly just lay there. Then my roomate finally woke up. I swear I could pinpoint the moment when he went outside to check the router himself. I heard a confused grunt in the kitchen then footsteps walking away and back. When I got back out of bed to get some water the router was back in its place.
So here I am with internet connection and I still haven’t checked those track changes. Guess I should do that.
I was talking to my cousin the other day. She’s a few years older than me, works hard, has four awesome kids, one of which is already doing her thing in college. I’m happy for her and the life that she lives. And as many vibrant young parents will do in conversation, she made sure to let me know that I am lucky to have the life that I live. That I could live where ever I want and still for no reason at all, pick up, take off and live in some other amazing city. She said she’d do the same thing if she didn’t have certain obligations. She wanted me to know that she loved her own life, she just had to be present for it at all times. She looked at me and said, “So sometimes you come out and say, hey everyone this is me, here I am, and other times you disappear for a while until you’re ready to come back out. That’s ok. You can do that. That’s who you are.” And the conversation went on. We talked about work. And the kids. And mental illness if you really want to get into it. We were standing there in my mom’s kitchen casually talking over birthday cake and coronas and I just felt like, man, my cousin gets me. She just clocked me so nonchalantly about my tendency to drop off the face of the Earth. Which is what I do. The evidence is right here in this blog. Just look at the post dates. Sporadic as shit. So I disappear. Shy away. Close my eyes and hope no one can see me. That’s ok. That’s my life. What do I do when I disappear? Well I’m sure I’m not going to tell you but lets just say its mostly all up in my head. I get lost in there. It becomes a maze that I have to figure my way out of. Sometimes it takes me months, sometimes days, and sometimes just a few seconds while you and I are sitting in front of each other and talking. But I always find my way back. Come back to. Reappear. Right now there are a lot of tunnels all around me, flickers of light shine around the corners of darkened paths. I’m smug as hell about it. I’m not there yet but I sure am ready to come out and play. And its going to be fun. I hope you’re ready.
Damn this is seriously the third paragraph I’ve started this morning. The first you’ll see of course. And the only if I can’t figure out how to weave in the first two I just discarded. One was about sleeping in. The other was about the job I left in December. But this one. This one is going to be about the scraping I hear outside. It cuts into the soft familiarity of vehicles gliding along slush. Thank you Sir, yes you the one that does all the Sup’s work for him. Thank you for shoveling the snow. It’s dark outside and my curtains are black. I want to go out there. I want to sit in a busy part of the city and breath in the busy. No matter how cold. No matter that I’m not really a part of it.