About me

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As defined by my occupation, I am a computer technician. I also love life and have a restless curiosity about new things. I am constantly amazed by the insight and creativity of others.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Looking forward while looking back

I'm sitting outside with my iPad thinking back on all that has happened in this very short period of time, now known forever as the year 2013 and looking back on it, I'd have to call this one a win.

Oh sure, there was the usual shit that happens: Work related stuff, too much month left at the end of the money, the various personal demons that I fight on a daily basis, as well as a few medical issues, and the aggravation of having to move, rather abruptly to another place. On balance though, I came out ahead.

  The best thing to happen this year was that I found a whole new group of wonderful and supportive friends, while the same time, deepening my ties to the few that are closest to me. The severely damaged relationship with my ex is slowly but surely being repaired, and even though we are no longer "together" we have rediscovered the friendship that we had more than 20 years ago. Being pushed together by circumstances has enabled both of us to relearn the value of working together to our mutual benefit.

It was a year if discovery and exploration as well. Rather than merely stumbling from day to day, in order to just "get by", I have begun to try to expand my horizons, pushing at the boundaries of my limited comfort zone. It started back in June, when with the encouragement of my lovely friend Ferns, I began going to the gym in the hope of not only becoming stronger and healthier, but enhancing my self image as well. Although this last month has made it impossible to get more than a couple of scattered workouts in, I should be able to get back into it as my work schedule eases up a bit.

I have also taken a renewed interest in photography, something I haven't done in many years, as well as started writing a bit. Not only did I start this blog (something I would not have even considered a year ago) but even entered (and WON in September) the Flash in the Pen short story contest. I intend to keep at it too as I find it easier to summon the courage to express myself.

Overall, 2013 has left me a little more centered, confident, and feeling more in control of my life than. I have felt in a very long time. I was able to stand toe to toe with my personal demons and mostly came out on top, and even though there are still a number of challenges ahead, and a couple of dark clouds looming on the horizon, (things I don't wish to mention here) I think that I am in a much better position to deal with them now than I was a year ago.

To all of you who have come into my life, both new and old, thank you so much for being there, and while I may not express it often enough, you do mean a lot to me and I wish only the best for you. May we all have a wonderful 2014

Sunday, December 29, 2013

How socks get lost!... Captured on video!

Instead of doing apartment cleaning, cooking, and other mundane stuff, I spent the day having fun with a new stop motion app that I got for my iPad... I love stuff like this. Granted, I'll never be another Cecil B DeMille, but it kept me out of trouble for the day.

Have you ever wondered how socks just disappear?.. This is how it happens! I think that the same thing happens to car keys too!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Paradise Postponed: Losing faith but gaining freedom

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. I John 2, 15-17

The World... I remember when it was evil. Not the planet, or the people that live on it, but the age itself. At one time, I saw everything around me as the culmination of six thousand years of Satanic misrule that would soon be replaced by the glorious "Kingdom of God", where the righteous would rule with the returned Messiah and the poor, stumbling, and misguided inhabitants of this dying world would be liberated and guided into a new and enlightened way. 

From my mid twenties, until I was forty years old, I labored in a cult that held tightly to this conviction and believed that it would come to pass within our lifetimes. Practically everything I did was predicated on this belief and it would effect every aspect of my life.

Even after the church's original founder died, and a new administration took over, I was inclined to continue to follow its precepts. After all, by now, my entire reality and social fabric had been woven from its cloth. This is not to say I didn't have my doubts. I have always been a skeptic at heart but tried my best to fight against doubt, calling it a tool of the devil, because I wanted to believe, with all my heart, that it was true. I loved the security of "knowing" the "true" meaning of life, and threw myself with enthusiasm into spreading the "Good News" of the "Wonderful World Tomorrow"

My life centered around weekly Sabbath services, and bible studies, as well as many hours of personal prayer, study, and meditation. I chose to forgo such things as education, career, plans for retirement, and tried to put as much distance between myself and "worldly" relationships as I could. Instead, I formed relationships that were almost exclusively within the church. They became my true spiritual family, and the very thought of a partnership, or even a casual date, with a non-member was completely unthinkable. I chose instead, to use the first fruits of my labors to advance the cause of righteousness while eschewing most of those things that I considered to be worldly, and therefore sinful. I had willingly confined myself to a cloistered existence where every thought and action was to be filtered through this church and it's interpretation of scripture. Closing myself off from the rest of society, I became a slave of Christ, and I would spend many a year, flailing away with countless amounts of both time and treasure in order to prove myself worthy. However, it was not to last.

The beginning of the end started over a seemingly minor point: The age of the earth. The church taught that the book of Genesis was literally true. (Although they modified that slightly, later on) From their point of view, God had used 7 literal days in which to create the universe and as much as I tried to tell myself it was so, my rational, and skeptical mind eventually HAD to prove it one way or the other. For the first time, I began to look into science and it's relationship to faith in order to try to figure out what was true. The more I studied, the more convinced I became that we'd had it wrong but any attempt to get answers to my questions within the group were rebuffed. Now, with my curiosity piqued, I began to delve into the other tenants that I had held so dear to put them to a similar test. In addition, the church itself had begun to evolve in its beliefs which only further convinced me that I had been wrong all this time. Eventually, I was suspended from the church as a non believer and was finally forced to leave the group all together.

I began to study earnestly and in time, the light of rational thought began to seep in to my mind and I began to think outside of that tiny theocratic box I had been confined to for so long. Dogma was replaced by reason, and the arrogance of absolute certainty by the humility of genuine doubt and questioning. Yet in spite of throwing off the shackles of doctrine, and the precepts of a dead faith, I continued to struggle for more than another decade with these things, while in a marriage to another former cult member that would eventually fail as well.

It's only been in the past three years or so, since I have been completely on my own, that a true awakening has come. For the first time ever, I feel completely free. I am no longer putting off the things of life in order to wait for a paradise that is not coming. I no longer look for signs of the end, but rather for sign posts that point the way to the future. The thick veil of irrationality has been rent asunder and I have broken the chains of ideology. I have been liberated!

As exciting as freedom is, it is also scary. The questions of immortality, the reason for my existence, and the very important question of why things happen the way they do, are all lost upon me now, as I suppose they are for most. I feel as though the many years spent in the church have left me socially maladjusted and intellectually stunted, and there are times when I miss that way of life terribly. There are also those times, when I feel lost and so eternally lonely that I can't even begin to find the words to describe it. Yet in spite of the loneliness, and ambiguity, I would much rather grope uncertainly in the light of reality that walk with assurance through the darkness of superstition.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Abstract: Signature of a Madman

Someone just laughingly suggested I call this one "Signature of a Madman"... OK, I guess that works :-D

Friday, November 22, 2013

Photographic Evidence

Back in the day, (high school) I loved dabbling with photography. I would wander around with my borrowed Yashica 360, looking for interesting things to shoot. Then it was off to the darkroom (there was one in my school I could use) to see what I'd come up with. I worked almost exclusively in black and white because it was a LOT easier and cheaper to develop in black and white than color. I've also always liked that moody, “Movie Noir” look of monochrome.

That was then. This is now. A few months ago, a dear friend and I had a short twitter conversation about photography and it reignited my interest. So MUCH so, that I decided to trade my 45 pistol for a Canon DSLR and I'm glad I did. Here are the first couple of things I did with it.... Turns out that I'd rather shoot pictures than people.

I called this one "light Beer"... heh

This was my first attempt at "Light Painting" FUN!

There's a bit of a learning curve here, and I'm sure I'll get better at it as time goes om. The main thing is that I'm having fun with it.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Bright and Shining Star

It happened quite unexpectedly. A chance encounter, a quick word or two, and suddenly there was a spark. Something caught her interest and drew her attention. What began as polite greetings and clever banter evolved into conversations and gentle flirts, which in turn became probing questions and the tentative touching of minds. In the initial excitement of that first contact, we discovered fresh new perspectives and found sweetness, until finally, somewhere in the tangle of thoughts and intentions, there came a connection that caused that tiny spark to flicker into a small but steady flame.

At first, nobody but us even noticed that small glint of light, sparkling just above the horizon. It was only after they saw her attention being gradually drawn away that anyone would start to take note and look in my direction. As we reached out for each other, we found common ground and slowly but surely, that small flame would grow ever hotter and brighter. Unwrapping each other like precious gifts, we marveled at what we found within. It was a wondrous time of exploration, where with each new interaction came a fascinating new discovery and we reveled in each others' company.

In the course of time, that which had started out as a tiny spark had finally blossomed into a bright and shining star that held us tightly in it's orbit. We rejoiced in it's light, while it's radiant power fed our hopes and dreams. It was wonderful, lovely, and perfect... It felt like it would last forever.

But stars don't live forever. Some explode in flaming cataclysm, destroying everything around them, while others just grow cold and dark as they quietly burn themselves out, all alone in the night.

I barely noticed that first pinpoint of light, just above the horizon. Even as it grew, stronger and brighter, I paid little heed to it. It was only after her attention had begun to be drawn toward this new, and ever brightening beacon that I really became aware of it, while the same time, I could see our own light starting to dim. The rush of time and the press of events had taken their toll. Our well trodden paths had become ruts, and what was once thought of as new and clever, now seemed like pedantic prattle... Hollow echos from an empty room. Familiarity had bred, if not exactly contempt, at least indifference and I watched with increasing consternation and sadness as the distance between us grew. In spite of all efforts, our flame was dying, even as she was slowly but surely, being drawn into a new orbit. The inevitable happened. Our fire was extinguished... The light had gone out, and as I took a last look back, I saw that a new bright and shining star that had arisen in my place.

It's a time of quiet now. It is time to reconsider, to grow and rethink, and I am content to wait here quietly, until that next unexpected chance encounter and the sudden spark that could happen.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Working Late

It's a little past midnight, and I've been on the road for more than thirteen long, frustrating hours. It's been a typical frantic day and now I'm completely exhausted. After finishing up my last call here, in this big box retail store, I just want to go home, get something to eat and go to bed. I grab my tool kit, along with an armload of used parts and head toward the door.

Sure enough, before I get too far, one of the night crew's customer service agents, flutters up to me. like a little pixie, and with a bright, shiny grin, and in a chipper little voice she says: “You like tired!”. I can already feel where this is headed. “I am”, I mumble in affirmation, as I shuffle past. Sure enough, she falls into step beside me, and asks: “Well, can I ask you something?”. I stop, while inwardly rolling my eyes reply, “Sure, what's up?”. With far too much enthusiasm for the late hour she squeaks out, “It's lane eleven... It's not working. We tried everything and I was going to call it in tomorrow, but we really NEED that lane open right now!”. I put everything down on a counter top and turn around to go back to check, but I can already plainly see that lane eleven is in use. I am watching as a cashier laconically slides items across in scanner, into shopping bags. Just as I begin to point out the obvious fact that the lane is operational, she quickly stammers out, “Well, it wasn't working before. I can shut it down so you can take a look at it.” Trying not to show my irritation, I tell her that I'd check it out, when I come back tomorrow if it stops working again. At that, I turn back around, pick up my stuff, and continue my trudge toward the front door.

I didn't get very much further before one of the cashiers scuttles up to me and practically shouts, “BOY, am I glad to see YOU! What about lane 45? That's why I thought you were here! That lady over there says it's running too slowly!”. Now my irritation is starting to show. “Look, I've been I've been at it since this morning, and the lane is up and running... I will look at it when I come back in the morning”. Still not satisfied, she turns directly to whining: “What am I supposed to say to this customer?... She's getting upset”. Without missing a beat, I turn to her and say, with a grin,” Tell her that suicide is always an option... See you tomorrow.” With a startled gasp of laughter, she rubs me gently on the back and assures me that she'll relay that message while telling me that"Don't worry about it. This lady is a regular pain in the ass, every time she comes in here anyway".

While quickening my pace in order to avoid further delay, I lose control of one of my boxes, sending a motherboard skittering across the floor. A kindly older gentlemen collects if for me and as I put my things down to put it back in the box, he asks me,"Do you do side work? I stay down here during the winter and can use a good computer guy."I quickly wave him off while explaining, "Uh, no sir, I don't. I have more than enough to keep me busy during the day... Thanks for your help." After another moment or two of pleasantries, I bid him goodby and continue on my way.

I almost make it to the exit, when I run into the assistant manager coming back from break. She seems genuinely surprised to see me and exclaims, in an excitement tinged voice, “WOW!, you're here late, tonight!... Let me ask you something...”

Sunday, October 27, 2013


There are two definitions of the word "asylum" that come immediately to my mind:

asylum - a shelter from danger or hardship
asylum - a hospital for mentally unbalanced persons

In a few weeks, my apartment is destined to become one, or perhaps both of those things because, due to financial and other considerations, my ex will be moving back in with me for a time. To be certain, this is neither a reconciliation, nor a (re)marriage of convenience, but rather a backup plan that was to be used in the event all else failed. Unfortunately, all else has failed.

When we parted, some three and a half years ago, we thought it would be for the best if we each go our separate ways while maintaining a friendship. We figured that we would offer mutual assistance and make the parting as amicable as we could. After all, why throw away a 20 plus year relationship because the marriage failed.

Of course, things didn't work out quite that way. (Do they ever?) While I was able to make a fairly clean break, after a period of intense emotional turmoil, it hasn't worked out so well for her. She has since been diagnosed with Bipolar disorder as well as Complex PTSD, both of which are long standing issues from her distant past, that have become debilitating due to being left undiagnosed and untreated for such a long time. In addition, there is the battle against alcohol abuse that we both fight on a daily basis, and finally, she suffered back and knee injuries, after being physically assaulted in 2011, leaving her physically, as well as mentally partially disabled. She is doing her best to overcome some terrible circumstances in order to regain her independence, however she still needs my help... A LOT. We are waiting for her to get disability benefits so she can get back to living on her own, but it's taking forever and we have had to hire a lawyer to help us. We are hoping for a positive outcome by year's end.

I will confess to being a little nervous about doing this. Even though she is doing very well with medication, and counseling, and we have known each other for over 20 years, there are still the memories of how it ended the last time. There are also the outstanding issues that broke us up to begin with, and perhaps a bit of left over hurt. (We have been trying our best to tread softly around those things) Not only that, but we will be moving into a new and more expensive apartment in order to make enough room for both of us, and that alone will be kind of a big thing.

In spite of being somewhat anxious, I think I'm doing the right thing. It's one thing to talk about “being there” for someone, and another thing to actually “BE” there when they are running out of options. Let's face it, friendship is easy when things are going well, but the true test of any relationship happens when things go wrong, and even though I am making myself vulnerable by opening my door, she is likewise making herself vulnerable by trusting that her time with me will be peaceful, and secure.

We have been talking things through and even though neither of us thinks that this is an ideal solution, we are both willing to try to make it work. Only time will tell if we've made the right choice.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The day I almost went sailing... or... Down to the sea in Schtick

I'm trying to add new things to my life, so when I was offered an opportunity by my ex, who lives on a 27 foot sailboat to learn how to sail, I jumped at the chance. Well, it was really more of a half-hearted hop, but I said OK, and was eventually even able to work up a bit of enthusiasm for it. Of course, my ex knows nothing about sailing either, (she only lives there) but has a friend who was perfectly willing to teach us, so we all decided to make a day of it.

Now, when I use the expression “learned to sail” I'm using it very loosely. There was indeed a boat with sails on it, a teacher guy who was more than willing to show us what to do, and two eager students, but any resemblance to the actual unfurling of sails, wind and spray in the face, or hoisting the mizzen mast and the doing of other such nautical stuff, stops right there. That's not to say that I didn't enjoy myself, or that I didn't learn anything, it just didn't happen as planned

When I arrived at the marina early that afternoon, my ex and Rick our instructor, were already there preparing for the day. Apparently, there's a bit of prep work that needs to be done before heading out. It's not like jumping into the car to go to the store. You have to DO stuff first. Preparation seems to entail a lot of tugging and pulling on ropes and cables “securing” stuff, and saying “Mmm Hmm” a lot. There's also a fair amount of profanity involved as boats also appear to have a lot of tight, dark and wet places that are full of sharp and pointy things. I can now understand why sailors have a reputation for swearing like, well... sailors.

Among the things checked was the “bilge pump”. As it turns out, a boat really needs one of these because, as Rick so seriously intoned, “All boats leak”, and as I watched water pouring out of a hole in the back, I could see that this boat is a particularly good example of that. I've heard boats described as “Holes in the water that you fill with money”, and now I can better understand the analogy. If the bilge pump should ever stop working, nature which abhors a vacuum, will proceed to quickly fill that hole up for you, leaving behind nothing BUT water... Really bad if you want to go sailing, and even worse if you happen to live in said former hole in the water.

… And all this time, I thought that a bilge pump was just for when you flushed the toilet and that was what removed the physical evidence. Little did I know that the “Head” is nothing more that a bucket with a toilet seat on it and (so I was told) the one who filled it up, was the one who had to empty it (A process that I'll not describe here) Needless to say, this was one lottery that I refused to win... I held out all afternoon!

As is turned out, we never did get the chance to go because Rick cancelled the whole thing. He said it was because “the engine won't stay running”, and I was like, “Huh?... wha?” It's possible that I might have been missing something here but I thought that the main thing about sailing was, you know... wind. If you need a motor, what are sails for? Maybe the object is to drive out into the bay and hoist the sails so you can say “HEY everybody... LOOK! I've got a SAILBOAT!”. Anyway, I didn't bother asking because I didn't want him to go all Captain Hook on me or something, because by now, he was chest deep in possibly gator infested waters (Well, that's what the sign said) trying to fix the engine.

Here is where more of that sailor type swearing comes in. I've worked on cars for years and I know that when you drop a tool, or part, it falls down and rolls underneath to the furthest, and dirtiest place that it can, but at least, your can crawl under and get it. Not so in the water, if you drop something there, that son of a bitch is gone and you ain't never gonna see it again. The only thing left to do is to drive down to the marine store (no engine, remember?) and get a new bolt, or tool, or whole new framis, or whatever the fuck that thing was. Not only that, but by the time you get back, you know that goddamn alligator is liable to be around there somewhere. By now, he looked about ready to take swearing to a whole new level. I thought he might confront the Almighty directly. I could have just seen him looking up to heaven, in quivering rage, with raised fists and screaming “Bring it motherfucker!!! Show me what you got!!!, but since yelling, swearing and parts fetching was not only too much work, it was also potentially very expensive. We decided to get beer and food instead.

So now, with the motor now declared temporarily dead, we just sort of hung out, and enjoyed each other's company on a really nice day. It didn't bother me at all that we never left the dock. It was a beautiful day, the company was good, there was beer and food, and I didn't have to shit in a bucket.

This puts me in mind of a similar thing that happened a long time ago. It was the time that I went “flying” with my uncle. Only this was up north, where I stood out in teeth chattering cold all day while he swore, and struggled to bring his recalcitrant Cessna 195 to life. (Sailors and Pilots seem to possess the same basic blasphemous vocabulary) By the time he was finally able to coax the plane out of it's winter coma, the weather had become even colder, and there was a storm coming in so we called it a day... And, as everyone knows: “It's better to be on the ground, wishing you were in the air, than in the air, wishing you were on the ground.” (I read that somewhere)

That last bit had nothing to do with sailing, did it? Anyway, we will try heading out again as soon as the engine is running. He said by next weekend, although I think that's about as likely as seeing Jesus in boxing gloves.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Quiet Carnage

I was cleaning my apartment over the weekend and could hardy believe how bad the place had gotten in just a little over a week. Considering my work schedule, in combination with general laziness, it's little wonder that the place went from a reasonably comfortable living space to total wreckage. All it takes is a little neglect or lack of focus, and before you know it, you turn around and the place is almost uninhabitable.

It's the same with life. It's easy to fall into a pattern of neglect and complacency until one day, you take a long hard look, and you can clearly see the carnage. All of those things left undone, opportunities missed, wrong turns, failure to plan properly and time wasted... probably that most of all. It takes years to get that way, and it happens quietly, with the rot slowly and insidiously settling in almost unnoticed. Initiative, imagination, and creativity can dissipate over time, leaving dreams and plans in hollow ruins, while papering them over with the false and brittle facade of contentment.

The realization may come slowly, like the morning sun burning through fog, or it may fall suddenly, with sleep depriving ferocity, like some dark epiphany in the middle of the night. No matter how it manifests itself, be it a still small voice or clap of thunder, it is a message that must be acted upon.

I have had my moment of enlightenment and in a sense, it's one reason for this blog. It is tacit acknowledgment that things are not as they should be and it's time to move in a different direction. By putting things down in writing and in plain sight, It becomes a daily reminder to myself to move forward. In addition, a blog will help me to develop my writing ability, and give me the chance to explore a different way of communicating, while hopefully opening the door to new interactions.

I am trying to incorporate new and different ideas into my daily life in order to jump start creativity and initiative while at the same time, trying to break some of those bad habits that I have allowed to linger and cause damage. I am also slowly but surely attempting to do new things that will stretch the very limited boundaries of my comfort zone.

John F. Kennedy once said: “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”

It is time to start looking to the future again.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Friend Zone

I think you know how it goes. There's a special someone that you've been crushing on for like, EVER. We're talking here, about a someone who is smart, funny, has a great personality, and sexy as hell to boot. Not only that, but there's actual communication between you. You can banter back and forth, make each other laugh, share inside jokes and secrets, and may even flirt a little bit from time to time. Still, no matter how close you become, it never manages to get past that platonic phase. Deep down, you know that the two of you will never be more than "just" friends. You may even consult with your besties about your unrequited love but all they can do it look at you, with pity in their eyes, and announce in death's own voice; “Whoa, dude... You've been FRIEND ZONED!” (Cue the scary music)

What to do? I mean, it's a disaster, right?... Or is it? Could it be that rather than being the end of something, it could be the start of something else? I personally think it can. Let me explain.

I've been there. I've been “friend zoned” a few times now and I'm OK with it. Being just friends might not have all the fun and thrills of a romantic encounter, but now I have the chance at something that to me is just as substantive and perhaps longer lasting.

When I start to crush on someone, I do so for a reason. She is attractive to me and has qualities that I want to be around. She is someone that I can look up to for her mind, personality, cleverness, and just overall wonderfulness. I love hearing from her, and enjoy spending time with her. Even though she doesn't see me through romantic eyes, I still enjoy doing those little things that can make her day a little brighter or picking her up when she's feeling a bit down. I love it when I can make her smile, laugh, or just feel a little more special than she did before.

So, you may be wondering, what's in it for me? A lot! First of all, having an amazing friend makes me feel better about who I am. (I know, sounds selfish, right?) Her very presence in my life makes it brighter. Having this very special, crush worthy friend, who appreciates me for who I am, values my input, and cares enough to share her thoughts and time with me, makes me feel better, smarter, sexier, and more clever than I really am and I revel in it.

Secondly, I can learn from her. I see those admirable traits, that I find so lovely, and I find myself wanting to become more like that myself. In addition, I am drinking in different ideas and perspectives, and learning new ways of interacting with the world. Over time, I believe that my relationship with her will make both of our lives, a richer, and more varied experience.

I have been friend zoned by several marvelous women over the years and I have discovered that, as much as I may have wanted it, I didn't need to have a romantic relationship in order to care deeply and I came away with what I hope will be warm and loving friendships that will last for a long time.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Life Noir

It's a little before sunset as I pull up to my apartment in a driving rain. Despite the torrent, the afternoon remains oppressively hot, but the soaking I get on the way to my front door leaves me somewhat more refreshed. I shiver slightly upon entering the cool darkness of my place but I'm not ready to slip out of my wet clothes just yet. I find the novelty of actually being cold quite refreshing. After fumbling in the semi-darkness for a moment or two, I walk over to the sliding glass door, (the only “window” in the place) reach behind the vertical blinds and open it wide so I can hear the rain. I love listening to the rain. I find it to be a very comforting sound that never fails to ease my jangled nerves and believe me, after a day like this one, I could use a whole hurricane.

I'm not going to bother with the lights yet either. Like the sound of the rain, I find that the darkness helps to tamp down the free floating anxiety that follows me throughout the day and I take comfort in having the only source of illumination being the late afternoon light that splashes itself, like a brilliant puddle in the gloom, across a section of floor and the edge of the coffee table.

Walking to the refrigerator, I can sense, rather than see or hear the cat that scurries beneath my feet. Doubtless, it's looking for food. The parrot's cage is also quiet for the moment. (Another benefit, albeit temporary, of the darkness) After slapping a dollop of canned food into the cat's dish, I reach into the fridge to grab a beer. I pull out a bottle of mineral water instead. As I'm already feeling exhausted and sullen, I don't want to darken my mood any further. The water feels great going down, and my parched and overheated insides feel as wonderfully cool as the rest of me. I just stand there quietly, looking, listening, and thinking.

It was only a few years ago that I was in a completely different place. I was a married homeowner, and with my loving wife, we did all those future building things that couples do. It had taken years to get there, but we'd done it. I really thought it would go on for a lifetime. However, the crash, when it came, was complete and simply swept it all away. I'm not assigning blame here. We were both at fault... I don't know, maybe neither of us were at fault. Maybe, shit just happens that pushes people apart. I really can't say. It seems so long ago that it's almost as if it was a dream.

Now, I feel like I'm like a character in one of those 40s detective movies. You know the ones... I'm the disheveled, slightly seedy looking older single guy, working alone, and often at night, who passes like a phantom through the lives of others. From my dingy, one room apartment, on the wrong side of the tracks, I ply my trade with moderate skill, but I more than make up for any lack with grim determination and a thick veneer of cynicism, built up over a lifetime of seeing too much and having too little power to do anything about it.

I even have a Femme Fatale, of sorts in the form of my ex-wife. She is a sweet, loving, kindly, but very troubled woman who's life always seems to be hanging by threads... Threads that lay upon me like the chains on Jacob Marley's ghost. Not quite together, and not quite apart, we live parallel lives, with all the difficulties and frustrations of married life but without any of the sweetness, cuddles, and loving kindness that goes with it. It is a claustrophobic and off-balance existence where the bright pastel colors of life have been replaced by the dull gray of existence.

So now, here in the new abnormal, I throw myself into the mundane. I busy myself with whatever tasks are immediately at hand in order to avoid thinking about the past, or worrying about the future. I push on fitfully with eyes wide shut, focused on the present, while searching for whatever bright and shiny moments I may find along the way. I intend to make the most of it until I run out of moments.

The rain has stopped now, and the bird cage is resonating with the sounds hunger and impatience, and I suddenly find it needful to move on with the evening. There will be more than enough to keep my busy. I think I'll have that beer now.