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14 November 2009

false starts

How've you been? I've been remarkably shitty lately. I've sat down to write a lot lately on here, but I've always chickened out before posting and cleared everything I had written. I'll have a lot to say on what I'll look back on as my Scumbag Period eventually, and I'll post it here when the time is right because that's what I do, but for now I just don't have it in me. Suffice to say for now that I've been less than the man I aspire to be, and I'm paying for it.

Apropos of nothing, I've been poring over some other false starts (dating back just a bit more than 2 years) and while I can't really remember why I abandoned some of these (others are more obvious) I'm compelled today to put these out there and delete them from draft, just for the heck of it. Also, someone told me I could make breaks now in Blogger, so I figured this was a fun way to try that. A bunch of stuff you won't care about, below the break! [EDIT: that shit isn't going to work for me unless I really retool this template, which is ghastly old.  I'm not doing that today, or anytime soon.]


I joke a lot with the kids I teach about the "smell of fear" in the SAT test room. I ask them how many of them have pets, and how many of them have ever been to the vet's office with their pet. And how many of them know that very distinct smell in the vet's waiting room. "That's fear," I tell them, "and if you concentrate very hard in the SAT room you'll faintly smell the same smell."

It's a joke, but there's truth to it. I know that now, because I put on a hoodie and rolled incognito into New Utrecht High School here in Brooklyn this past Saturday. I took the test with a bunch of high school kids. I got the same itchy scalp that I've always gotten when it's hot and dry and I'm nervous, I struggled to grip my #2 pencil through the palm sweat, and I sniffed the air curiously, trying to distinguish that old familiar smell.

As I waited for the test to begin, the girls in front of me bragged loudly to each other, acutely aware of the fact that people were listening, about how drunk they had been on Halloween, and the weekend before Halloween, and like omg, every weekend this whole school year.


is it too much to
ask for a
up in this biatch?

[I have to assume this was a great idea for a haiku that I never even saw through to completion]


I had a few drinks last night during a surprisingly competitive Boom Blox session.

Conversation during and after brunch this morning slowly but surely made its way past the events and odors of the night before and into the the nature of the work Rob does in physics. Dark matter, dark energy, the accelerating expansion of the universe, etc. Real make-you-feel-small kinda shit.


I was in a half-empty subway car the other day doing my best to stare as straightly ahead as I usually do without the aid of earbuds to smother startling sounds, trying to keep my eyes to myself as an agitated man on my left cursed not softly to himself, as a young mother across from me decided to wait until she could get off the train to quiet her shrieking progeny.

A man with a mean looking limp boarded the train and hobbled over to the seat next to me and sat down a little too hard, favoring his sore right leg over a graceful landing. Because he bumped me, I broke my staring contest with the floor to smile and nod acceptance to the hurried apology I felt coming. He was wearing jeans and a flannel work shirt, and I noticed what looked like a hospital bracelet poking out from under his sleeve.


I put on the 3rd disc in the Springsteen Live 1975-85 collection on tonight. When I was a kid, I had that one (and only that one) on cassette. I found it in the attic of the church rectory, which I had helped to clean out one day for some reason I can't remember when I was in my first or second year of high school. I had a CD player then, of course, but my Walkman was still more convenient when I was asked to vacuum the house or weed the back patio, or when I wanted to be antisocial. I listened to that tape a lot.

The tracklisting was slightly different than it is on the CD version. On the tape, The River was the 3rd song. It's the first on the CD, which I think is better. On the

I've had to bite my tongue a couple times in the past few weeks when someone

[and then it just stops, but I have to assume this was about how rankled I get when someone trashtalks The Boss.]

1 comment:

  1. My throat got all closed up just reading about the SAT.