Friday, September 26, 2014

Swiss Cheese.

            A week has passed and I’ve survived it. That in and of itself is a miracle. But what just happened is truly a remarkable experience. Something I’m sure we’ve all went through at one time or another. You see, while being ill for the past two days I’ve simply lost track of time. It happens to all of us in one form or another. But in this case, it is truly at tragedy of comedic performance.
            As stated, I’ve been ill. I’ve had a one hundred and one degree temperature off and on for over twenty-four hours and I’ve been fighting the good fight with all sorts of over the counter medicine. Including the liquid-green-death known as Nyquil. So, in the late afternoon of today, Friday, September 26, 2014 when I went to bed between four and five pm. I figured I’d be free and clear to work on Saturday.
            This was a good plan, that is until I woke up and looked at my alarm clock it read 6:30. I figured I was late and I rushed through the house trying to pack up all my belongings for a days work. Two BC powders down my throat, glass of water, morning meds, daily bills, part time clothes, phone, and various other sundries needed for getting through the day. It wasn’t until I left the house that I realized my family wasn’t there. As I rode to work I marveled at how light it was outside and how little traffic there was.
            Once at work I went through my normal routine. Only stopping to text my wife that I hoped she was okay and that she had had a good night. After all my start up work was finished I checked my phone and I had a message from my betrothed it said “Call Me.” So I did.
            She was at a restaurant with a friend with our daughter, I was at work and she informed me it was Friday night. I denied that fact and insisted it was Saturday morning. She was adamant about the time of day and which day of the week it was, so much so that I had to remove the phone from my ear and check. She was right. I was twelve hours early in my work day. All because I didn’t have the where with all to check my phone when I woke up.
            This is why I like military time. It’s easier for me to understand. Everything is on a twenty-four hour scale and when I look at the time it tells me whether it is am or pm just by the first numbers on the clock.
            Of course all of this could have been avoided if I’d been a bit more diligent in my morning routine, but tell me, when you wake up, are you as diligent as you are before you go to bed? I’m sure each and every one of us have woken up late in the evening from a nap or early on a weekend morning and felt we were late for something just because of the anticipation we put upon ourselves.
            Thankfully, with my swiss cheese brain and down to earth mate I’m covered for now. But what happens when I don’t have that lightning rod of a mate around? Will I be the guy walking around haphazardly looking for things that aren’t there? Will I be directionless? Hell, will I even remember to put my pants on before stepping out onto my porch for all the world to see? Am I to become the crazy asshole on the block where kids and neighbors cross the street just to avoid going near the place where the long haired, wild eyed, freak lives?
            I guess so. After all, I am nothing but a product of my own imagination and environment.  When the day comes where I have no checks and balances, I’m sure I’ll be in the care of some sort of professional service with people who are trained to deal with the likes of me. If they can’t, well, then they weren’t so prepared were they.

Have a great week.

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Broken Week

            Once again I find myself at the end of a long week, sitting on my porch and contemplating my life. What gives? I don’t know, I really don’t. It’s been a crazy week here. I’ve dealt with broken phones, broken animatronics, broken trains, and broken people. Yup, that seems to be my week in a nutshell. Broken.
            I’m like a magnet for broken things. It’s not like I sought this position out, it just happened. Like the sun rising or setting, or the law of gravity. All very hard to explain but all have to be accepted in the course of our lives. So if you’ll bear with me while I sort out the broken week in my head and on the page this diatribe of my life will all be exposed.
            In the not too distant past I received a phone call from a friend telling me his wife had passed away after a long bout of cancer. To be honest, they were both my friends. I’ve known them both for over ten years and I saw them at least twice a month for several hours each meeting. They were volunteers for me at the museum. Both very passionate about trains and engaging with the general public, especially the children who expressed interest in trains.
            I was sadden but not surprised by this news, but somehow, I was shocked even with the knowledge she’d been sick for quite some time. I just figured I’d always have time to see her, talk to her and she would overcome her illness. Stupid me I suppose. Life is a terminal illness and even though our expiration date isn’t tattooed on our skin for anyone to see, it’s there nonetheless.
            Like a good friend, I attended the viewing. I barely made it through the painful event. I don’t like them, never have. The person in the casket rarely looks the way they did in life and even though I have a cornucopia of happy memories, the permanency of the situation only brings to mind the things I wish I could have said to them. Or things I wanted to teach them, experience with them and things that I could have learned from them. Those regrets disappear in the last fading breath when no one is looking or listening. She was a good person who lived a good life and fought the good fight only to lose. Leaving behind an army of family and friends who pretty much feel the same way.
            The army who screams for closure and answers. Only to be answered with silence. Sometimes in that silence we hear the voice of reason. Most times, we don’t. I’ve only heard that voice once. Was it my conscious? God? The Ghost of the dead? I can’t answer honestly. I just know that I received peace when the voice showed up and whispered to me the answers to all my questions. Hell, maybe it was my ID speaking reason for one brief moment… Nah, I’m not that deep or in touch with myself.
            So, yeah, her death fucked me up pretty good for more than the fair share of the week. Then life started to take over as if to say…”Snap out of it you stupid Polak! You have a life and responsibilities.” And just to prove that point, in one day, I had a train break down and an animatronic figure its sixty year old internal linkage has suffered enough metal fatigue to warrant it to stop working.
            The train, easily fixed… just need to order parts. The sixty year old linkage, easy fabrication job. That’s when I realized the linkage that wore out was older than my now dead friend and her surviving husband. Nothing lasts forever, I just wish I could have fixed her as easily as I fixed the animatronic figure. But, I’m not a doctor, humans aren’t made of metal, cloth, cardboard and Styrofoam. Nope, we’re flesh, blood and bone with complex systems that require billions of cells to keep changing and moving. Cells with menial yet important tasks that keep us upright… then again, sometimes those cells decide to pull a Sarah Palin and go rogue. They turn on the body and decide they want to replicate and grown in crazy ass ways that make doctors across the world scratch their heads in collective unity and rich at the same time.
            Sometimes, especially at times like this, I question the intelligence of our creator. And if some ass out there says “Oh, he did that so others could appreciate their lives more.” I say to them “That’s more cruel than the torture suffered by anyone during anytime during the course of human history.” I’m serious… think about it for a minute… let’s say you have two dogs… you  abuse the shit out of one in front of the other just so that the one who is not abused is more thankful he’s not abused? What sort of mentality is that? Also, why the hell aren’t you behind bars… You shitheel.
            But I digress.
            My phone… Yeah, my five year old phone. The third phone of my life… it somehow got knocked off my bedstand in the middle of the night and the screen cracked. I thought about upgrading but then I’d have to change my unlimited data plan that I’m grandfathered in. So I spent the coin on the insurance premium and got a free upgrade without having to change plans. This also got me thinking about my dead friend and her husband. After all, he is still young, older than me but still young enough to eventually date again. Not now or even this year. But eventually he may meet a woman and want to spend time with her. After all, we are social creatures and desire the company of friends and the intimacy of others. So, if he can get an emotional replacement when he is ready, why shouldn’t he. After all, as Mr. Jefferson said “Life is for the living.”
            So yeah, it’s been a broken week with all paths leading back to the same destination. Death and Life. Two things that go hand in hand and no matter what we do, we die and leave behind in people a void that will eventually have to be repaired or filled. Right now, I don’t want either. I just want to get to a point where all I remember are the good times running trains, explaining cigars, motorcycles and how horror stories are one of the purest forms of storytelling about good versus evil man has ever created. All the while listening to valid differing opinions with an open mind from a woman who I respected and loved and her loving husband who is now without his life partner.

            Have a great week.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Reading Aloud

            A few months ago, at my primary job, I was called into a meeting whose topic was horror stories. You see, here in my adopted town, each year we have a celebration known as “The Ghost Walk”. People come from all over to walk through Old Towne and hear ghost stories dating as far back as the revolutionary war. It’s a lot of fun for people of all ages. However; some folks in our community have expressed opinions that the watered down, stale stories are getting quite old.
            The outcome of these opinions was to develop a two night event where local writers would read an original ghost story. These stories were to be geared toward an adult audience. The meeting was a bit… tense. Not because of the other members there but because I have a strong view of how this sort of thing should be handled. When I expressed my opinions and told the others that I wanted to bring in a pal of mine to help raise awareness and use his connections to the local horror community I was met with a brick wall of negativity.
            I explained how getting known genre writers involved would be advantageous to promoting this free public event. How the horror fan base works and the following that some writers have. These words fell on deaf ears.
            When I left the meeting, after endless moments of discussion about vetting writers and their stories and how to locate up and coming writers, I had an idea. An idea for a story and an idea on how to bring in my friend to assist.
            I wrote the story and called my pal. Now, first off, the stories are basically flash fiction and have to be about ghosts. If you ever read any of my fiction then you know I usually have a strange take on the subject matter. The story I wrote has the same feel as all my other tales. Meaning, you don’t know what it is you’re getting into at first. My pal, he was a wealth of knowledge and offered a great many ideas. We set up a meeting, talked things over and then shared our ideas with the powers that be.
            That’s when I got frustrated and pretty much walked away from the whole project. But, I was not dissuaded enough to forget about my story and the submission. Nope, I wrote it and submitted it. When I got an email that told me I had been selected as a reader I was a bit surprised but I also felt a bit of vindication.
            This week I received another email giving me the date and time for my reading. My first public reading at an event that as of this writing has not been advertised. So, maybe I’ll be reading this tale to an empty room. Or, maybe the room will be filled with just writers who will pick apart my tale. Or, the room could be filled with friends, family and strangers. Any of those situations are fine with me. I’m not afraid to stand in front of people and talk. I am concerned about goofing up the words I’ve written though.
            What I mean to say is, I can speak in public easily. Reading in public is a completely different beast. It’s not scary so much as it is a pain in the ass to track the words and make sure your brain doesn’t skip over what is written. I suppose I should practice. Maybe even try to memorize the words over the next month. Nah, that’s not really my style. I’m a fly by the seat of your pants kind of guy.
            Lastly, if you’re interested in coming out to the readings then by all means feel free to do so. Come watch yours truly either make an utter ass of himself or succeed in something he’s never done before. The readings will take place on October 18th at the back of the Portsmouth Arts and Cultural Center starting at seven pm.
            I hope to see you there.

            Have a great week.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Redacted Explanation

            Fall is officially here. How do I know this? Simple, football is on television and the kids are back in school, also, not so importantly to some, the election season is upon us in all its evil, gory, mud slinging and pooh flinging glory.
            A few days ago I posted my weekly blog. It wasn’t a great blog, nor was it a bad blog. To be truthful, it was a blog about a conversation I had with someone I’ve known for about twenty years. It was a very informative conversation and I followed it up with a letter from one of our founding fathers to another founding father.
            The subject of the blog was about our government and their actions towards the people of our country. After I wrote it, posted it and then shared the link on my facebook page and twitter page, I also included a link on my cousin’s page and asked for his opinion. (I rarely do this, but I trust him and I value his opinion.) His response was a bit disturbing. He said “It looks redacted.”
            I quickly opened my blog site and was shocked to see that the blog did look redacted. I then opened up my tools and saw the body of the text was in perfect form. I then checked my formatting on the blog site, it was fine, and then I opened up my word file and saw that my formatting was as normal as it always is. I had no choice, I deleted the blog from the web.
            If I were a paranoid person, I’d say someone didn’t like what I wrote or that my site had been hacked. But I’m not that paranoid… But I’m not stupid either. It’s hard for me to believe that a guy like me, who only has twenty-four registered followers and only a bit under twenty-four thousand site hits is a threat to anyone. Or, that my words have deep impact in any bunker of any government agency anywhere. I understand that I am a small fish in a small pond and I’m comfortable with that. In truth, while getting large royalty checks in the mail, having to have an unlisted number and a super-private email along with separate social media sites sounds somewhat attractive, I just don’t think I’m up for that type of life. A life living under a microscope, a life that brings new friends every day and in some cases people who have ill will towards you. Hell, I have enough people who hold bad thoughts towards me as it is and I’m just a nobody with a small blog and a few short stories published. In truth, my truth, I’m don’t feel as if I’m a great writer in the style of the men and women I grew up reading.
            So what happened?
            I don’t know.
            And I’m not going to question it too much. I’m not going to try and investigate it nor am I going to complain about it. What I am doing is letting you, my dear readers know, Yes, I posted a blog last week, but something went wrong and now in response to the “error” I’m posting this blog instead. A blog of explanation without any true answers. I hope you don’t mind.

            Have a great week.