Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Missed Connections

For reasons no doctor has been able to explain to me yet, I have had inability to sit and work for more than 10 minutes at a time over the last nearly month. I come down with essentially the symptoms of the Pepto Bismol Song and cannot stay in a non-horizontal and upright position without feeling like I'm going to die...

When I cannot think and cannot stay sitting at my desk, I'm forced to occupy myself with mindless things. I've re-watched some great movies in the last couple of weeks (Manhattan, Best Years of our Lives, Blazing Saddles, The Muppet Movie...UHF) as well as occupied my mind with craigslist missed connections.

I had a period of time when I read them religiously, living vicariously, until one hit too close to home. This week, however, with the emergence of a new similar site, I've been drawn back to craigslist's tales of two ships crossing in the night. (There must be a better metaphor for those...)

I'm left to wonder if these ever work. I'd never do it myself, though it is tempting. I certainly have had days when I cannot keep my eyes off someone on the subway, or have changed the book I'm reading because of a cute girl across from me (and my fear of her judging me by my book's cover), and have never had the guts to open my mouth to talk to any of these girls, but I don't think the internet is the way to give myself a voice. (By which I mean a voice towards these women, not a voice in general. I mean, have you READ this blog?!)

I still love to live through the stories I read and to piece together the lives of both the person posting and the catalyst; I am, after all, a storyteller. I'd love to hear a success story; the hopeless romantic in me wants to believe that if there's a silent connection that happens before either party can speak, they will both end up looking for the other and find one another, but I don't actually believe it.

And yet, I still hope to find someone who noticed me -- the kid in the khakis and the gray fleece...or jeans and the brown zip-up...or whatever it is I wear now. (Note to self: I miss my khakis. I'm wearing them this week...all week...)

Still the best craigslist story I've ever heard, and since I don't remember the specific people only it was someone at school whom I spoke to a few times Freshman year before he graduated and I have NO idea who it is:
He was looking to get rid of his dresser. She responded to the ad. She picked up the dresser. They ended up together.

And now you should all be happy I cannot come up with a pun based on the word 'armoire.'

Monday, April 14, 2008

Living in Black and White

I like to walk. A lot. Those of you who know me, know that this is an understatement. Maybe it's because after years of knee problems, I like walking because I know I can do it -- especially after essentially learning how to walk twice in the 2000-01 school year. (Once when I was in a cast for 4 weeks (to try to avoid surgery) and all my muscle atrophies and once after surgery. (The cast didn't so much do what it was supposed to...))

But in the last 18 months, I've become a huge fan of walking during night. I even have pre-mapped out routes depending on what time I go (in order to maximize safety).

With old jazz recordings buzzing into my ears, the island of Manhattan becomes a black-and-white, smoky, basement jazz club. Oscar Peterson playing "It Ain't Necessarily So" or Duke Ellington's "Mood Indigo" or "Prelude to a Kiss," I feel as though I belong in Woody Allen's Manhattan, complete with voice-over. (And is there anybody you can think of whose inner-monologue would be most like Woody Allen other than me? I certainly can't!) (I highly recommend that everyone watch the opening sequence of this film, which is one of my favorite 3-and-a-half minutes in cinema history.)

As I walk down a hill with the wind blowing against me, I can't help but think of myself as a human anachronism, born 40 or 50 years too late. I feel like I belong in that basement jazz club with a cigar and a scotch, kickin' back listening to Miles.

But I guess I'll stick with my late-night walks, MP3s, and chocolate chip cookies I inevitably treat myself to.

I like living in Black-and-White, though.

And did I mention that I like to walk? Like...a lot?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Washing of the Water

There are, to date, four songs that will usually bring me to tears, and always cause me to water up. One of them is Washing of the Water by Peter Gabriel.

I'm not the biggest Peter Gabriel fan -- though I do enjoy that 16-minute live version of "In Your Eyes" (who doesn't?!)-- but I love this song. I first heard it on the Hyannis Sound CD 110. The men of The Sound sing it beautifully and slowly, and the vocal quality is fantastic.

Peter Gabriel is, well, not so much an amazing singer. His voice is raspy, and especially in this song, he can't hit all of the notes. it's real, though. It's human. His voice has a character all its own, and it adds to the pain of the song.

The lyrics are absolutely beautiful. In the live versions I've heard, he skips the first verse, but without further ado, the lyrics (and a youtube video so you can hear the song for yourself.)


River, river carry me on
Living river carry me on
River, river carry me on
To the place where I come from

So deep, so wide, will you take me on your back for a ride
If I should fall, would you swallow me deep inside

River, show me how to float
I feel like Im sinking down
Thought that I could get along
But here in this water
My feet wont touch the ground
I need something to turn myself around

Going away, away towards the sea
River deep, can you lift up and carry me
Oh roll on though the heartland
til the sun has left the sky
River, river carry me high
til the washing of the water make it all alright
Let your waters reach me like she reached me tonight

Letting go, its so hard
The way its hurting now
To get this love untied
So tough to stay with thing
cause if I follow through
I face what I denied
I get those hooks out of me
And I take out the hooks that I sunk deep in your side
Kill that fear of emptiness, loneliness I hide

River, oh river, river running deep
Bring me something that will let me get to sleep
In the washing of the water will you take it all away
Bring me something to take this pain away


Saturday, April 12, 2008

Thunder Storm

I've mentioned before that I still have my irrational six-year-old fear of thunder and lightening. I've mentioned it in the context of fireworks, but not in and of itself...

Right now, it's thundering...loudly. The alleyway outside my bedroom window causes reverberation. Plus I'm on the top floor, so there are nothing above me to buffer the sound from directly overhead as well as through the window.

I'm curled up in a little ball in the corner of my bed with my teddy bear. I don't know why thunder still does this to me. I'm 22 and only comforted by my teddy bear...

Where would I be without him.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Subway Reading

I love to read on the subway. I never have a book with me, but I'm never short on reading material. That's right: I'm that guy who's peering over shoulders to read the man to my left's Wall Street Journal or the woman to my right's romance novel, and yes, the person in front of me's New York Post. (I'll never buy it for myself, or even take it when it's given out for free, but I do need my weekly fix of Page Six! And subway reading provides that for me!)

I know it's not polite to peer over someone's shoulder and read off of whatever it is they're reading themselves, but there's something strangely satisfying about it. I've discussed before about my love of being a story-teller, making up the stories of the people around me (as all story-tellers do...), and figuring out the woman sitting directly below me and her Sudoku puzzle, or the middle-aged man and his book of short stories helps to create a better picture.

I am very careful about what I read on the subway, knowing that there's a good chance that there's another person like me on my subway car, trying to fill in his own story. I'm sure the truth is more exciting than the blasé persona I pretend to have while reading a book about baseball statistics, versus the short-story book with the effeminate cover that I still have two stories to read that I would rather be reading. (I guess that's also why I wear sunglasses in clouds when I'm teary; I know how easy it is to really read people and I don't want to be read.)

I don't understand why people will pull back their newspapers or books when they realize someone is reading the headlines on the other side. These are probably the same people who talk loudly in public on cell phones and get offended when someone chimes in with a response to them because they really thought they were in a private space. (My favorite of these is when I'm in an elevator with one other person and that person decides to use his/her cell phone as if I'm not there...wow do I wish I hadn't heard some of those conversations...)

And in honor of reading over someone's shoulder on the subway -- that is to say, the page is inevitably turned with you still only halfway down, I'm going to cut this entry off before you get to read the genius ending annec......

Seasonal Depression

I swear, I am the only person for whom seasonal depression means that on the first nice day of the year, it takes every ounce of strength to get out of bed.

Today was that day.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

My Baseball Glove

I got a new baseball glove on Monday. It's my first new glove. Yes, I, a 22-year-old baseball fanatic, has never had a baseball glove that was bought especially for me. I don't even really remember my first baseball glove, though I feel I should; it's a rite of passage that (almost) every little boy goes through. His dad gives him a glove and then teaches him to catch -- with both hands on your glove, throwing hand assisting the glove hand in keeping it closed. The dad rolls grounders to his son and teaches him to put his glove all the way to the ground. He teaches his son how to take the ball out of his glove and throw to first base. It seems every father's dream is for his son to either play the position he played as a kid, or to be a pitcher.

I remember my dad teaching me to throw, and I remember the glove -- a black glove whose model number started with an 'x', but I don't remember how I got it. But I had quite the arm for a 7 year old. (My arm still ain't bad for a non-athlete...) I barely remember my little-league days. I only remember select games: the game I went 5-for-5; the time I was playing left-field (and I was a bad outfielder then) and made a really nice catch (or as nice as a 7-year-old makes a catch look...) and the crowd (parents) didn't realize who it was because, well, I'd never made a nice catch in my life...

But here I am, now, 22, with my first glove that I can really call my own. I play softball 7 or 8 Fridays in the summer, but otherwise, this glove probably won't get much use, and that's okay. Because it isn't the glove that I love to have and use, it's what the glove signifies and symbolizes. It's me back to childhood. It's me re-joining the baseball community.

But more than anything, it's me having a new glove. And if you ask me, that's pretty cool.