Archive for November, 2019

Be Basic

I was walking up the steps to the metro yesterday humming. Whenever I walk up steps I hum. Humming is my way of tricking myself into believing that I do not hate steps. I realized I was humming Jingle Bells.

Ha, I thought. Merry Christmas.

Shortly after I realized that I was humming Jingle Bells, I realized that some other guy had realized it too. And then he rolled his eyes at me.

And to that man, I say, merry Christmas, asshole. Ho ho ho and get bent.

There’s nothing you disgruntled hipsters like to do more than judge others. And your favorite subject are the holidays. And tis indeed the season for Thanksgiving and for Christmas and for you pedantic assholes to start warming up your windpipes to didact upon us your intimate knowledge with all things outrage-worthy. Plus it gives you the chance to judge the rest of us.

Yes, we know. Pilgrims bad. Yes, we know. Black Friday boo. Yes, we know. Genocide. Yes, we know. Turkey murder. We know. Christmas and consumerism. Yes, we know. Columbus was a prick.  

We know. Despite the fact that you wait all year long to spread your knowledge in your nasally little hipster voices, let me just tell you: we already know. Whenever someone feels the need to educate the rest of us on why we shouldn’t celebrate Christmas too early or why we should hate Thanksgiving, we assume you are a frustrated little hipster who writes bad poetry on a typewriter and kills cats in your mom’s basement.

To the rest of you, my fellow basic people, celebrate and get excited for the holidays on your own schedule. If you want to hang your stockings on October 1st, then do it. If you want to wear a sweater with a turkey on it, then do it. If you want to buy scented candles and have an ankle tattoo and surround yourself with inspirational quotes, then do it. Be basic. And merry f***ing Christmas and happy Arbor Day.

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Mother Goose Says Goodbye

On Monday afternoon, I got a Facebook call from my sister at 1 pm. A call from the U.S. on a non-preassigned call day (Sun and Thurs) instantly sends red flags flying through my mind. It was 7 am in Philadelphia. It was a Facebook call. It was someone who usually doesn’t call me. Something was wrong. I didn’t want to pick it up. But I did.

I was right. And a minute later I was hearing that my grandmom had died. The news wasn’t a complete shock. In our weekly conversations my dad had been laying down small comments, she’s getting pretty frail, she’s not doing too great, she was a bit out of it, I think it’s getting close. She wasn’t bedridden, but getting around the house, to the bathroom, to the kitchen, was a two person affair. Travel anywhere was hinged majorly on factors that most of us take for granted. Every day was an operation involving oxygen, medicine, taking vitals, shots. My aunt is a registered nurse and provided care 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, without which she may quite well have gone a number of years ago.

So when my sister said the words, it wasn’t a massive shock, but it was a punch to the gut anyway. There’s a difference between a theoretical bad condition and the very real fact that you’re never going to see someone again. I got on the tram, sat down, opened my Murakami book and propped it on my lap. It and I sat just like that for the 43 minutes to my stop. I was dazed and unable to speak.

I decided to deal with this like a man’s man, a hard man, and so I popped into the grocery store and bought 450 Koruna (20ish bucks) worth of candy, junk food, and carbohydrates, and I made a B line for my pajamas.

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Thoughts at the Store

It’s 4 pm on a Thursday. Busy. People are rushing around the grocery store at the corner. It’s old people day, so they’re everywhere, clogging up the aisles and keeping me from the bread and coffee.

In the aisle there are four or five massive pallets that are taller than me and wider than a refrigerator. The guy is stocking things on the shelves. Another two men are bringing out another wide pallet and they’re grumbling and shouting at people who get in the way. It must be sad that the pallet is about four feet wide, which leaves about three inches on either side to squeeze past. When a little girl drops a mag of M&Ms in front of the pallet, the man shouts at her so hard that his neck tattoo reddens.

My local store has some interesting tendencies. While there are four teams of men stocking goods onto shelves, they are doing so at the busiest time of day. They also stock around 12 or so – obviously, lunch rush. And as they are doing that, two people are working the checkout. Last week when all of the self-service checkout stations crashed and 130 people instantly needed a cashier, they added another one woman.

Additionally, when something is good you can almost guarantee that they will change it. Cheese pizza, fish sticks, ricotta cheese, and cookies. All very good. All changed within a year. I think once they figure out that something is good and people like it, they get rid of it out of some kind of schadenfreude. For this reason I am buying every bag of these hash browns that I can find. For these too shall disappear.

I buy my potatoes and pay at the self checkout. My bill is 502 Koruna, which means that I have to enter my PIN code. Anything under 500 Koruna and I don’t need to enter my PIN. I have paranoid fantasies about some guy stealing my ATM card and hitting the town, 499 Koruna at a time.

I don’t know if these things are “Czech” or if they are universal or if I’m just paranoid and weird. Maybe I have a weird persecution complex. But probably not. Besides, when everyone’s out to get you paranoia’s just good thinking.

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That Guy

In my never-ending quest to remain out of a motorized scooter until they become chic, I went for a jog this Saturday afternoon. Normally I am a bit hesitant to run as I typically prefer working out at home. I have found that 30 minutes of running can aggravate the joints in the lower part of my body for a week. Part of the joys of getting old, I guess.

Anyway, part of the plan was to take in the last hurrah of the fall colors as it was November 2nd, October was in the books, and in a week or so the weather will be cold. So I wanted to enjoy the autumn while it was still here. 

My local park did not disappoint. The leaves were golden and everywhere. And so were the children. As there was some local Halloween festival happening in the park, the place was jammed with kids and their parents. They were dressed up and carrying around pumpkins that I knew were to be filled with candy and, I really hoped, not fruit. In any event, the paths were clogged up, so I took to the forest trails.

I’ll admit that this was my first time running a forest trail. As I did my ten-minute jog followed by a one minute walk break I realized something interesting. One, I wasn’t exhausted, and two, my knees and back didn’t hurt. My minute of walking over I embarked upon another ten-minute jog. Halfway through that one I realized that I wasn’t praying for death as I usually was at this point.

My joy was mixed with mild consternation.

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