Can’t stop the madness…
Category Archives: Writing
This is a SPECTACULAR Craigslist ad in all ways, shapes and forms! If you have the time, I encourage you to read all the way through, but I direct your attention to Paragraph 3 in particular.
Proofread before hitting OK, folks…PROOF BEFORE HITTING OK…
My foot step into the first room made a hollow noise against the centuries-old wooden floor. Instinctively I fold my arms tight across the chest, for some reason feeling very invasive in this person’s – persons? – home.
To the left, the estate sale organizers had created a three-tier shelving with boxes full of “chinch”: sewing bobbins, Christmas cards, crochet needles, rope. Before dismissing them all I land upon a box labeled, “Stationary” and proceed to shuffle through its contents.
The organizers want $8.00 for the whole box, but I decide I only want these particular parchments.
The next room I enter is full of blankets, handmade all, crocheted or quilted by the same woman who sent correspondence on Little Stinker paper. This is where I experience The Clocker. She’s the person (usually a she, sorry but it’s true!) who follows you around to see what you value so she can grab it under you. Her joy at these events is not in finding something that resonates with her, but in finding something that she took away from someone who admired it. Psycho, right? Well, she starts by placing her hand on a pile of needlepoint napkins.
“Aren’t these gorgeous?” she asks. Her hand strokes the top one, a very nicely stitched sunflower design, as her eyes widen for my response.
I give her my best, “Meh” and continue forward.
She tries another play beside the stack of boxes. “Are those cigar boxes? Ooh, I want to see one.”
I turn and find she’s right behind me, violating all personal space rules. I appease her by lifting the stack of boxes with one hand, then placing them in front of her. Before she gets a chance to play “Do you like this one?” again, I swipe out the large box from the stack and keep it moving.
My friend finds me playing with a set of binoculars. “Have you had a chance to check out the books yet?”
I adjust the focus in my left eye to stare in the room across from me. “Nope.”
She nods with that nod of, you need to check it out.
I put down the binoculars, cross into the room I was spying into for a bit before I journeyed towards the reading room. As I pass through the corridor, I notice The Clocker has found the binoculars and is busy pretending to use them.
The reading room is where I meet the gentleman of the house. Yellowed corrugated tubes line a segment of a wall. Maps. Large shipping trunks fill the center of the room; my friend’s haggling on the blue and brass one. There are measuring tools, a surveyor’s scope, and medallions from all over. A well-traveled man, the highlights of his years being the early 20th century.
My eyes circle up to the bookshelves and I observe a mixture of children’s classics, encyclopaedia, a book on house keeping, and then rows upon rows of engineering-based books. Titles like, “Metals,” “Measurements,” one simply “Engineering.” My friend happens to pass behind me, “He was into digging. You should see the big tools in the garage.” I shall.
As I skim the shelves, I put together a story of a small-town boy with an incredibly busy mind. He marries his high school sweetheart and takes right off to the oil fields, working his way from entry level to lead engineer before he’s in his 20s. He’d be gone for months, sailing the world on large frigates, learning new techniques, putting his own to practice, every once in a while sending Lulubelle (my name for the needlepointer) a gift in exchange for a letter. They were a couple that used the power of written word to keep it together, and they managed to live a long and productive life.
I smile at my happy little made-up-on-the-spot tale, then remember to pull the books I want before The Clocker finds me again.
Let’s go ahead and assess this damage.
Left foot meets right foot and I bow forward. Already I feel a pull in my lower back. Continue to weigh my torso so that my arms sink along the side of my legs, hands planting onto the floor. Definitely a strain. One more measure: bend the elbows to sink deep into the back leg stretch, ass high in the air. I freeze at the sensation of a red hot poker blade dragging itself from top of thigh to the center of my lower back.
That’s not a strain, ladies and gentleman, that’s a muscle tear.
With that I lower to the ground, fan my legs, and extend a stretch to the right then gingerly to the left. The damage is officially from the right waist to the back of the right ankle. I’m an expert at fucking up my body.
I harness Bobby to include Bear’s Texas A&M dog tag (to signal we’re friendlies in the OSU/OU territory) and with bottled water in hand, we head down the street.
Middle America is quiet at 11:13 am CST. Cloudy and breezy, a welcome after a bitch of a heat wave over the weekend. The neighborhood I’m staying in is quaint, provencal, and proudly maintained. Every house a little story, every yard an expression of self-worth. The large diesel commercial trucks parked in the driveways likely cost more than the houses. I imagine the person who drives that truck to work is enjoying a few days, maybe hours, of respite before he takes off, back to the fields.
What are the wives of roughnecks like? By garden alone, you can tell she’s a proud Oklahoma woman, growing rosemary, sage, cactus, purple-tipped sawgrass. Nothing exotic; a botanical expression of Midwest culture – familiar, comfortable, native. As we continue down the street I note the various license plates representing nations: Cherokee. Choctaw. Osage. Texas.
A man in a wide-brimmed straw hat driving a black beat up F-150 offers us a wave of greeting as we turn down on 25th street. Bobby’s being serenaded by the local dog community, all stir-crazy that the little black boy bops freely down the middle of the street while they tug helplessly on their chains.
My skin warms as the approaching noon sun lifts centerward, and I start to feel my hip slip. Now I’m very concentrated on the intensity of this injury: the tear in the muscle interferes with my ability to comfortably propel forward; it feels as if my hip is slipping out of position. The spirit is always willing, but today, we’ll cut this walk short.
Bob and I turn up onto the main road back to our street and we are eyed by a very bothered, obese Jack Russell terrier. She frightens me as she tears across the busy street to defend her home from an unsuspecting Bobby. She nipped at him lightly, but Bob took it as a greeting, wagging his tail with delight. Her owner soon recovered her and we had a short but comforting exchange – all is fine, Bobby’s fine, I hope she’s okay.
We are welcomed back to our street by a cacophony of curious dogs, and I enjoy watching Roberto Tiberius promenade down the center of the street, panting towards his subjects, one black paw after another trotting towards his familiar truck and house.
Meanwhile, I actualize the severity of my damage and decide to stay here in the land of the roughnecks until I’m fully healed.
Yes folks, this is happening. I’m hittin’ the road starting this week!
Where to Von? I honestly don’t know. I’ve got gas, I’ve got maps, I’ve got information and communication technologies, and I have
a badge-wearing wingman to help drive and navigate.
Why are you doing this Von? Life-wise, I need some sparkly fresh brand new so I can feel the wow again. Creatively speaking, my writing is uninspired largely because I’ve deprived myself of Befindlichkeit, which is a big pretty German word for self-discovery. Discovery is tangible – what you experience with your senses within current time/space – but self-discovery requires a more metaphysical…event, let’s put it. I’m gonna position myself in physical places I’ve never been before, connect cosmically with what or whoever has a cosmic charge, and throw myself into uncertainty, allowing reactions to happen in whichever plane of existence that happens.
And no, I am not using any drug, natural or manufactured, in order to encourage these events forward. Clean and sober and open-minded. That’s how this is going down!
I will regularly post to this blog, at least to let you know I haven’t been slaughtered. Since I’ll be working off of WordPress for Android, my posts might be more Instagrammy than verbose; I’m sure you’ll understand. :)
I will tell you I’m not doing the Atlantic seaboard or New England; I’ve done that drive four times in the past ten years. Something fresh and new means in the guts of Merica! Maybe even up to oohhhhh Caaaannaaaddaaaahhhhhhh
This is Von Simeon, signing off, and leaving you with a sweet song to remember me by…
“You know what my dad calls this place?”
I look above and around the chinch hanging on the walls and between tables, leveling my eyes at the sight of wooden peg games on each table top. A myriad of names pop in my mind.
She laughs as she says it, “Honkey Bucket.”
I’m careful not to laugh too loud. “I will never UNknow that! Let your dad know I’m gonna use it.”
We’re both being sensible; eating as much meat product as possible. While she does the ham-bacon-sausage trifecta, I go for grilled catfish ‘n’ eggs. We discuss the benefits of packing food vs. stopping to eat where we go. “My plan is to save every dollar towards gas.” “Me too.” I tell her about hurricane sandwiches, where you take the whole loaf of bread out of the bag, dress with nonperishable, processed foods, then return all of it back into the bag, the idea being, you can survive a hurricane landfall with this bag ‘o’ food. Yes, the butts are their own sandwich, or you can give them to the dog.
I reach for my phone. “Let’s talk route.” As Google Maps activates, I watch her watch our server pour water into her glass. Just as I think, ‘ooh, there’s a side spigot on that pitcher,” she says, “Umm. That was Sprite.” I want to laugh, but the server’s expression indicates she’s kicking herself internally. “It’s okay,” we both say, and the server explains, “I just got here. Haven’t had my coffee. I’ll get you another cup.” She says, “I totally understand,” as the server whisks off.
I felt compelled to admit I’ve never been a server. Either I was the manager or I was in the kitchen. “Hard to hit the floor when you’re not ready,” I assume. She’s the opposite; she prefers service positions. “Yeah, but sometimes once you’re talking to people it wakes you up.” I nod. That’s why I was never on the floor. I hated dealing with people, but I loved telling them to go fuck themselves. That’s when I realize, this person is good for me. I need someone who is naturally friendly and compassionate who I have no sexual attraction to. We can compliment each other without complicating each other.
I swipe the screen to enter an address somewhere in the American Midwest. The blue ball indicating our current location shrinks as the image expands upward, displaying the green penis of Florida and the expanse of North America above it.
In an act of complete abandon, a huge leap of faith on my protective part, I position the screen towards her. “Pick our route.”
She tightens her face to scrutinize the options. “We’re taking our time?”
I’m amused as she rubs her chin, clearly putting much study to the North America map.
“Either 20 or 40 but west for sure.” I have done the Florida to New York drive too many times, sorry Atlantic seaboard. I want to see some new shit. I hope she wants to see the Grand Canyon.
She points to Louisiana, a certain city I’ve never hung out in, just driven through. “I can talk to her about staying the night.”
“That’s cool. Definitely save on getting a hotel. But we need that confirmed before we leave.”
She nods assuredly, “Oh that’s fine.”
“She needs to be cool with us showing up at 3 in the morning with a dog.”
“Oh that’s fine.”
The paranoid part of me is screaming, but I let her rock out. I have to do this; I have to resolve my crisis of faith, and it starts with trusting this person.
Neither one of us has the will to clean our plates. Maybe if we had smoked prior to brunch, but, oh well.
I lift our ticket from the center of the table. “Honkey Bucket’s on me.”
There should be more people out here than there is.
No matter, as the rental chariot of the day, one Ford Fiesta, slides into a parking space in front of Paradise Grill. Immediately the smell of salt rushes up my nose and through my skull, making the center of my scalp tingle.
Bob unloads, overexcited to be out of the house and in a public place. His black nose busies nudging bush branches as I and my proven co-captain journey towards the deck.
Bummer. The grill is closed.
We find my favorite two Adirondack chairs vacant over to the right. She pulls out her pack of smokes while I wrangle my dog to at least try to stay in the vicinity. I let go of his lead and let him visit with the people making the short climb up the side wall to reach the deck we’re on. Cloudy night makes the full moon a full smear up and to the left of us. The Gulf of Mexico lap lap laps in quick tempo as the tide shifts out. The water is a soft grey, perfectly reflecting the clouds above it, creating a silvery soft vortex opened only to us three, a portal of infinite possibility.
I sigh. “I wanted to do something to commemorate this day, but the grill is closed.” I smack my own forehead. “We drove right past that Circle K. I coulda stopped and picked up some beers before we made it down!” I stay looking at her. In her amiable style, she says, “No worries,” and I assume it’s because we still have a whole ‘nother cigarette to burn. I shimmy forward on my long seat and straighten up to announce, “Come on. Before we get comfortable. Everyone back to the car.”
The Circle K has a long faced woman working the counter tonight. This is such an important day, a successful day; today I got rid of that last bit of trash. Consciously amending my sobriety clause, I wind past the salty snacks and to the double door coolers.
We’re doing it. We’re gonna have an alcoholic beverage, because that’s what you do when you succeed; you raise a glass and you let yourself be giddy. My eyes scan the options and I frown. No Dos Equis.
There it is.
“If you’re gonna fall off the wagon, do it with Sam,” I proclaim as I lift the sixer off its shelf. That’s when I notice the wine case. Shoot! I saunter over and see it’s the bring-a-bottle-to-a-dinner-party variety. I figure one cannot go wrong with a Chateau St Michelle Riesling if it’s already chilled in the case. She grabs the bottle while I return the stock. “I think it’s a cork. Yeah, it’s a cork,” she says fiddling with the top. “We’re gonna need a bottle opener.”
“No we’re not, we still have the tool bag.” The tool bag. One of the things I told her to keep up with when we loaded the car. ‘Be familiar with this bag; it’s going on our trip.’ She pointed out I was missing needle-nosed pliers. Add to travel list.
“We have a flat head screwdriver and a hammer.” Over the top of the bottle she’s holding, I mimic the screwdriver in my left, the hammer in my right, and one focused hit to the head. “Bottle opener.”
Although we should probably add a corkscrew bottle opener to the tool bag. Add to travel list.
The twenty dollar bill in my wallet turned out to be a ten dollar bill, so back to the original plan. We head back to the beach; this time, over to the long bench overlooking the south part of the deck. The tide had carried out some more. I use my key chain opener to serve our beers. We toast to our great day, clink necks, and enjoy the deep amber…
[NOTE: Got big news for you, but why just blurt it out when I can make it a three-part reveal? :P Here's an attempt at flash NON-fiction...]
“The thing is, it’s been a long time since I traveled with anyone across the country. Thirty two states I’ve done completely on my own. But when I did have someone I could travel with, it was nice. I liked the company. That’s why I’m putting it out there; I need a wingman. A travel buddy. I figured since you’ve been trying to get out of town for awhile and you really don’t care where you’re going, as long as it’s outside Florida, I should give you a try, you know, see if you can really hang the way I need you to hang.”
She nods with understanding, then cranes her neck.
“You see, I have severe trust issues, like, SEVERE. I’m always the go-to person, the rely on person, the one who has to start and end the fights, you know…”
“The Protector type.”
“I can see that about you.”
“Well, I’m a practical person.”
Her order arrives but she’s not touching it. I float my left hand over her tray and insist, nonverbally, she start, but she waves me off, nonverbally saying, I can wait.
“You have to understand when I’m out on my own, I do whatever I want. I engage whoever I want. I plan to be in a state of constant discovery. If not discovering new places and scenery, then discovering how far over the edge can I push someone.”
Now that was a deliberate line because I want to see her reaction. Instead, she offers this:
“I can tell you’re the kind of person who does things within reason.”
“And if you can reason an action, you’ll do it.”
“Also yes. And I need you to go along with it, see? Something’s going down, I give you an instruction, there’s no time for discussion, you do it, you’re in, you’re out. Just like that.”
“Like, if I call your phone, you NEED to pick it up.”
“Right, because if we’re travelling together, what other reason can there be for you to call?”
“Exactly! And if I’m on the other end and I say, ‘go to the car, get the tire iron, bring it to me now!’ you gotta do it.”
Her face turns up, and she makes a half snarl, half sneeze expression to her right side.
“I’d come back with like, seven tire irons because I wouldn’t know which one you’d prefer.”
Left fist into right cupped hand signaled confidence in this proselyte possible progeny.
“Right! And if I only need one, you throw the rest!”
She stands and mimics one crazed urban ninja, tossing tire irons like shurikens.
My order is delivered to the table. The tattoo-sleeved, dark-haired, bearded fella would have been flirtable had I not caught the flatness of his ass.
I part my meal, she divvies hers, and we share plates across the table…