Monthly Archives: June 2010

I’m All Over It

What a beautiful day it has been. Simply splendid. Nice weather, not humid, an occasional breeze.

I slept soundly last night. Bill didn’t. When we left East LA last night it was cool and breezy and the comment was made about having the windows open while we slept. I was hesitant, figuring it that it still might be too hot.

But when I finally went to bed, Bill had the air conditioner on. I decided to turn it off and open the window. I don’t know if the open window prevented Bill from a good night’s sleep, but I think it helped me. I suppose we’ll continue the experiment tonight and see how that goes.

I was up hours after Bill left, and after breakfast and showering I dropped off a suit at the Cary’s Dry Cleaners and went to the bibliothèque. On the way I spoke to Pedro who got back from South Beach the other day.

He had a blast and recommended that I visit there some day. Unlikely, but I did not say no.

In the bibliothèque, Diane the librarian, remembered a DVD she recommended the other day, Role Models starring Paul Rudd. So I picked that up.

But my main thing was the fact that a book about the Beatles, You Never Give Me Your Money by Peter Doggett finally came in. It was released earlier this month and for once BCCLS did not say it was too new, like the message I got when I requested Iggy & the Stooges Raw Power remaster. And I requested it from the Hoboken bibliothèque.

So far so good with regards to the Beatle book. The prologue was all about 8 December 1980, how Paul was shocked, George wouldn’t answer the phone and Ringo was drunk. Cynthia Lennon was staying with Maureen Cox, Ringo’s ex when she got the call.

John’s Aunt Mimi was in bed drifting in and out of sleep, listening to the BBC World Service and not know if she was dreaming or not when she heard about John’s brutal murder. That was the prologue, not I’m in chapter one, where Brian Epstein has died and the Fabs are starting up Apple Corps. The book promises to be full of Apple juice and so far I’ve been entertained.

I sat by the river and read, smoking a cigar. The sweet Karen Kuhl stopped by for a minute. She’s playing the Pier 13 show tomorrow night, but I won’t be able to make it since it ends at 10:00 and I won’t be getting to Hoboken after work until 10:00.

She’s also unsure if she could make the party in 12 days (!), and that’s too bad since I had hoped she’d sing a song or two from the Gutbank days. She’s unsure like I said so who knows? She just might. Then Karen split and Rand pulled up on his bike, and we had a nice chat as well.

It was almost like a talk show, I’m on a bench and a few friends stop by for a chat. Simple premise. It could be done I suppose. I’d be willing to do it on Public Access, even in the winter and in the rain.

It would be a surreal affair and with me being me, I don’t see how it could be any other way.

I always wanted to have a talk show. I remember way back, growing up and sitting in mounds of snow with Donna Foglio and playing talk show. I wanted to be Mike Douglas and she was a reluctant Totie Fields.

A Beautiful Day in Hoboken

(I’m Always Touched By Your) Presence Dear

Well it’s later than I anticipated. It’s almost 11:30 here. I just got back from having dinner with Bill and his friend Lawrence and Lawrence’s boyfriend Joe. Lawrence used to live in Hoboken and now he and his boyfriend live in Secaucus.

I remembered Lawrence vaguely from 20 years ago when I worked at a local video store. He has an out of the ordinary surname so that would stick out in my mind.

Lawrence suggested East LA, one of his old haunts when he lived here and Bill not knowing any better agreed. It’s not my favorite spot. The food is edible, the service is horrible and the music is way too loud. It’s also owned by the dickhead former Mayor of Hoboken.

I enjoy going out to dinner and having a conversation, but going to East LA, one doesn’t go for conversation. It could be the food, the margaritas, not the ambiance.

I hustled to get out of work on time to make it to dinner at 8:00, not taking into consideration that many people with no taste would be going there on a Tuesday night, causing us to wait for a table for 4.

The host told us 20 minutes and when the 20 minutes passed, Joe went and asked. The host said he told us 30 to 40 minutes, but just then a table opened up.

We ordered 3 Corona’s and a margarita. Bill got the last Corona. A faux Mexican restaurant with no Corona. I had a Heineken.

After about 45 minutes the wait thing finally decided to take our orders. I had to check Bill’s menu since my menu had smudges on the price list. Still I put on a smiling face and engaged in conversation which was mainly trying to be heard above Good Life, by Inner City. A 12” club record I played about 23 years ago.

A group of 20 somethings threw food at each other landing on our table. It was Bill’s birthday and I did my best to have a good time. I could barely hear Lawrence or Joe but I think I laughed and smiled at the appropriate moments.

Despite all the noise and the lousy service it was good to spend time with Bill and his friends. There was no birthday cake to celebrate Bill’s birthday though. That was a drag. Arthur’s would have been a better spot to go, but I wasn’t making any decisions. I was along for the ride.

I grinned and bared it. I think Bill, Lawrence and Joe would have been content to stay there longer than we did if I didn’t mention that I needed to go grocery shopping at 11:00 to buy things for breakfast. Perhaps Lawrence and Joe thought I was a stick in the mud.

It’s more than likely that I will go to the actual Eastern Los Angeles before I go to East LA again.

It was a long day for me and I was hoping for a nice time with friends of Bill’s, not anticipating being horse from shouting while trying to have a conversation.

Now Bill is asleep in bed, and here I am, finally home and writing. I ‘m glad Bill had a happy birthday.

Lawrence & Joe


El Stiffo & the Birthday boy

I’m Affected

Notes from today. On the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) then a transfer in Jamaica to Far Rockaway. A woman sits across from me eating an ice cream cone with a spoon.

Last night before heading out to watch the fireworks, I watched True Blood. Bill phoned midway through causing me to miss some plot points. No worries I think, I will just catch the west coast broadcast later on.

And I do. And Bill calls once again at almost the exact same part of the show. So I will have to catch it some other time, perhaps when Annemarie is within the vicinity.

I got a phone call before True Blood from Rand. He and Lisa & Lois and Fred were going to have a cocktail and then go see the fireworks. I tell Rand my plan. Watch True Blood, go drop off a birthday card to Bill’s office and a note to my cousin Joe at the Post Office, and then watch the fireworks on Pier A.

Rand gently mocks me, for wanting to ‘watch my shows’.

As I headed over to the Post Office, sans iPod, I overhear a male couple returning from the Gay Pride parade talking about me, saying ‘Yeah, he is.’ I smile.

Train kept a rollin’ en route to Jamaica.

The fireworks were nice, would have been nicer if Bill was around, but he was driving a bus back to Wallington. Rand & Lisa and Lois & Fred watched the fireworks from Stevens Point. Difficulty sleeping last night.

Awake at 2:15 after going to bed at 12:15. Got up when Bill came home. Of course he’s out cold, minutes after his head hits the pillow. I think I finally feel asleep around 2:30. Luckily I didn’t have to wake up early.

While waiting to buy tickets for the LIRR, I get a phone call from Calvin. He had forgotten I was out on Long Island to take a certification test to sell cigars and tobacco related products in New York State. He arranged the whole thing for today a few weeks ago.

Thanks to train schedules and Bill’s planning (I love him for that) I am an hour early. I sit in the shade of a first story garage underneath an office building and smoke a cigar. I go inside the air conditioned building and sit and wait in a class room that also serves as a conference room for a lawyer that shares the office space.

The class is supposed to start at 2:00. At 2:10 I am the only one there. 10 minutes later 2 guys come in, gas jockeys, one of them wearing a BP polo shirt.

We watch a videotape of Linda McKenna teaching a room full of actors how to ask for ID when someone who looks under the age of 25 tries to buy tobacco. What to say, what not to say, how to handle the situation when a teenager needs his nicotine fix and has the potential to get cranky.

I remember buying smokes for my parents, Marlboro for mom, Kent for dad with no questions asked at Gallo’s drugstore. But there were no laws then regarding the sale of tobacco to minors then.

The class itself was directed by Ralph, an amiable older bloke with a passable toupee on his head. It was over in 90 minutes. Ralph pointed out the contradictions from the VHS tape and the Power Point presentation.

Immigrations cards are/are not valid forms of ID.

At the Lawrence trains station waiting for the train back to Jamaica to transfer to a train to Penn Station.

At 4:30 the town siren goes off.

At 4:44 the train arrives and I am once again leaving Long Island, heading towards Manhattan.

It’s Bill’s birthday tomorrow!

I’m Lucky

Happy Gay Pride day to my people and my friends & family who are gay friendly. I didn’t make it to the Gay Pride march in Manhattan. Too hot and I’m on my feet all day at work.

The last thing I wanted to do was stand around some more on a day off. It was 95º Fahrenheit today. And Bill was driving to Atlantic City and I wouldn’t want to go without him. I suppose that’s the consequence of not having many gay friends around here.

I know Andy, Chaz’ friend is there, but he’s probably with his boyfriend and I wouldn’t want to be the third wheel, plus they’re going to the dance afterward, and I wouldn’t want to do that.

And it’s HOT.

I sat by the river this afternoon sans guitar and read the New Yorker and finished off Uncut. I gazed across the Hudson River and saw what I guessed to be revelers after the parade and sorting it out, on where to go next.

That was me and Bill on some previous parades. I couldn’t help but think of the Pride festivities that I had attended. I remember walking through the parade on my way to buy records at St. Mark’s Sounds and buying a pink triangle button with a peace sign in the pink. Lost it as time passed, but still I remember it.

Back then even though I was gay, I didn’t have much to do with the scene as it were mainly since the scene didn’t have anything to do with me.

I remember one night before Gay Pride day being at the Dugout on Christopher Street and seeing Billie being slapped by Joey, Jet’s obnoxious last boyfriend. It was the last we saw of Joey, that’s for sure. No great loss.

Another year, or maybe the same year, walking after the parade through the West Village with Billie and Gracie, another DC friend. We walked up some street and saw some revelers on a fire escape wearing Patsy Cline masks.

For some reason I was compelled to yell out ‘Free Patsy Cline’ which Billie and Gracie also yelled with me and we laughed as we strolled up the streets.

Another year, going with Julio & Patrick Morrissey. As soon as we got there Morrissey was off somewhere else. It didn’t matter since Julio and I were both tripping. Another time, where I went solo and sat by the pier smoking joints with a bunch of nice lesbians while the menfolk were quite standoffish and catty.

There was the time when Bill and I volunteered to herd the parade people from start to finish. We picked the religious groups. No one else wanted to work with them and I soon found out why.

Bill was a member of the congregation at Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) and he wound up with them during the parade. I was with a whiny bunch, different denominations.

The Radical Faeries ahead of the reformed Jews who were ahead of the Catholic groups. The Catholics were whining about their place in line. I couldn’t get them to move fast enough, too many gaps in the parade which slowed the already long parade.

I abandoned my post by the time we passed 37th Street and Fifth Avenue.

I caught up with Bill at 23rd Street and was basically a wreck. One of the congregants of MCC slapped a ‘God Made Me Queer’ sticker on my shirt and I barked at him to leave me the fuck alone.

I don’t know what was more offensive, the God mention or the use of the word Queer, which some gay guys like to use. But not me. He sped away frightened by my overheated temper and Bill told me the young man’s mother passed away a few weeks before.

I didn’t know that of course.

Another time Bill and I marched with the church he goes to now. A nice group, no stickers involved. Just handing out balloons throughout the parade route. It’s a lot of marching, a lot of stopping and starting all in the hot sun.

Friends have said they had seen me & Bill in the parade and shouted and yelled but in the din we couldn’t hear them.

There was also the time in 2003 when Bill and I exchanged some vows of some kind in Grand Army Plaza by the Plaza hotel. Kate Pierson from the B-52s serenaded Bill and myself as well as the other same sex couples who got some what hitched.

Sarah Fortner made a lovely painting from the event which was witnessed by Rand & Lisa and Julio & Stine. So I do have good memories of the parade and today was about revisiting those memories.

HAPPY PRIDE TO YOU AND YOURS!

I’m going to watch True Blood and then watch the fireworks from Pier A after I drop Bill’s birthday card at the post office.



god's angry jazz hands


I’m A Loser

A lazy Saturday, just as I planned. It worked out well. I didn’t sleep well last night even though I was incredibly tired, so I’ve been napping on and off throughout the afternoon. Usually 10 minutes does the job.

I took the guitar out and sat by the river for an hour this afternoon. I met up with Rand & Lisa on my way there and had a nice talk with Lisa while Rand talked on his phone with his father most of the time.

It was a nice day, not too humid but not much of a breeze by the river either. I played Instant Karma, Shame Shame Shame, and (Love is Like a) Heatwave. It wasn’t too crowded today and I didn’t see anyone I knew once Rand & Lisa headed into the city.

I did get tired though and came home and took another cat nap. Now there are a few rain drops on the kitchen. I picked up Gosford Park, hoping that Bill will enjoy it.

Presently watching one of the Beatles Anthology DVD’s, and right now they’re showing the Shea Stadium concerts in 1965.

Of course I’ve seen it a few times, but never noticed how the girls in the audience were going berserk. Screaming and crying. I’ve read somewhere in the past that most of the seats from the Beatles concerts would be soaked afterward. August 1965.

I was two about to turn three the next month. Now on the Anthology DVD is the Beatles meeting Elvis Presley. A Rashomon of sorts, since they all have different stories and memories from the meeting.

Bill came home and we had Napoli’s pizza and we decided to order pizza from them for the upcoming party. We were going to have Grimaldi’s pizza but they don’t open until later and this place is right down Washington Street from Maxwells. And the pizza was very good, so that’s been decided.

We watched Gosford Park, or at least half of it. Bill was getting tired and I believe he is driving a bus tomorrow. Not to Atlantic City though. I really don’t know where.

Once again, I have no plans for tomorrow. Not going to the Gay Pride parade. I stand around enough during the week and with the heat. Oy. Can’t really say what I’ll do.

More of nothing sounds fine.

Maybe a local bike ride. That would depend on the weather. It’s quite warm out now. What rain there was dried up hours ago. Bill asleep. He’s in deep sleep within minutes of his head hitting the pillow. I might go to bed soon myself.

I was more tired yesterday evening than I am now, but after not sleeping well I hope to make up for it tonight. So that’s my plan for the rest of the night. Hope yours was fun or was fun, wherever you are.

Haven’t checked the location stats lately on this here blog. Perhaps I’ll do this after I post.

I’m A Lonely Petunia (In An Onion Patch)

Oh my, what a day this has been. It started out OK, I slept in a bit since I was working the late shift. I was able to relax and start the day at an easy pace. It wasn’t as hot out as it was yesterday and that was a plus.

I soon found myself walking up to Washington Street where I waited for the bus opposite Hoboken Daily News. Got on the bus. Another advantage of going into work later is that there are less people on the bus.

Still plenty of traffic at the tunnel though, but like yesterday I had a competent bus driver who knew to aim for the middle tunnel and avoided a lot of congestion headed into the right tunnel. I soon found myself on the A train, making it on board just before the doors closed.

The strap on my Eagle Creek bag broke, just days after getting it back from Inwood NY where they fixed the zipper. Totally threw my body English off.

Bill phoned to tell me his supervisor had just been let go from the law firm. That was unnerving for the both of us. They’ve been letting people go every few months and I hoped this wasn’t that again. And I was worried of course for Bill’s standing at the firm.

He’s OK which brought some relief.

I had a few minutes but decided to head into the cigar shop. It was Marcus and Raymond, both telling me that I just missed something. Apparently they banned a customer who was caught on tape cramming something into the door after the store was closed.

It was a goofy thing or so I thought.

Little did I know the situation was going to go swiftly downhill. Raymond came in a few minutes later and soon he was in the office with Marcus and Calvin, door closed. I did whatever it was I do in the morning.

Marcus had me counting boxes in the humidor which is when Calvin and Raymond slipped out. Apparently Raymond messed up on something and though he owned up to it, they don’t trust him anymore, taking away his key and not allowing him to close the store anymore.

They also took his vacation days away. He’s on probation. Having written that I realize that I think Raymond might have had someone in the store after closing. The person bought something and since the register was closed, he took the money and put it away.

Later on, that someone crammed something in the store door. Of course I could be wrong and this is my deductive reasoning. Law & Order is on right now and Bill’s watching it so that could be the impetus for my detective skills.

So that hung over the store all day. Yesterday it was a lot of laughs and good times with Sean and Don Birch and Calvin & Raymond. Today it was all about the pall. Raymond also organized a cigar dinner which he is now dis-invited to.

He told me these things in bits and pieces while mumbling. He told me he left a note about the money and he also sold more things that Calvin and I did today. He sold $2,000 worth of items where Calvin & I made just under $1,000 a piece.

On July 1, I will get a key to the shop and also be closing as well.

It was a long, long, long day. I’m glad it’s over. I have no plans for the weekend and I have no plans on making any.

Maybe I won’t write. It depends once again on what happens I suppose.

Lot’s of slow sausages on the street tonight, and having to carry my bag instead of slung it over my shoulder, made my hustle from the shop to the bus terminal last 21.9 minutes.

I’m a King Bee

Here we are at the end of another day. Not such a bad day either. First off I slept really well, probably from not sleeping so well the night before and being exhausted towards the end of my shift yesterday at the cigar shop.

I decided to avoid the theater crowd on Eighth Avenue and opted to walk down Ninth Avenue which turned out to be a bit of a mistake or a misstep. Hell’s Kitchen is almost as Gay as Chelsea and I did not take into account the sidewalk cafes set atop narrow sidewalks.

Won’t be making that mistake again.

I usually walk with a purposeful gait and the strolling couples, headed for dinner slowed me down considerably. Still I made the bus I needed to make with no look of NJ suburbanite panic on my face.

I woke up the morning around 7:45 and set about doing my thing. I didn’t have to go in until 11:30 so that was nice. I needed bread so I went grocery shopping around 8:30. Nice that the store was relatively empty and I was home by 8:45.

Had some more coffee and got my suit ready to wear. Yes, I’ve been wearing a suit to work but no tie and I generally drape the suit jacket over my forearm, looking a bit dashing, feeling like Jean Paul Belmondo and showing off my braces.

I swear I’ve been loosing weight since I’ve started work and the pants aren’t as tight around the waist as they used to be. And the neck size of my shirts aren’t as snug either, so I don’t think I look like my late cousin Jackie. No between meal snacks, lot’s of water and standing around for 9 hours a day seems to do the trick. Pedro even mentioned the weight loss the other day.

The day flew by as opposed to yesterday which was crawl crawl crawl. Had a cigar for lunch today and I was going to go outside and smoke it but it was even more humid outside than it was in the humidor. And it rained for about 3 minutes.

I decided to come inside and sit in the backroom with the cigar smoking men. It was a full house, all of them watching the World Cup and kvetching. Some closet cases too from what I gathered. I’m out at work once again, everyone seems cool about it.

But there’s a certain customer who my co-workers think is gay and deep in the closet despite being an opera singer. He doesn’t ping on my gaydar but I probably ping on his and he might resent my being out or perhaps fears my being out will out him.

Sometimes during the day a customer will leave and Sean or Raymond or Don Birch will ask if I think that person is gay. One guy left the store and they asked and I said ‘Flame on!’ and called him Johnny Storm.

It was pretty much a good day. Calvin headed out at 7:30 and mentioned that he saw I was scheduled to come in at 9:30 tomorrow morning. He asked if I would rather come in 11:30. I said yes. Closing the store is one thing and coming in to open the next day can be so difficult.

We received our schedules for July and the majority of the days are the late shift. I’m fine with that. Raymond asked if I would miss hanging out with my friends, and I said no, since I really didn’t hang out with my friends much in the past year or so. An occasional evening here and there, but overall I usually just hang out at home.

So I guess it’s getting better all the time.

16.8 minutes from the cigar shop to the bus terminal tonight.

I’m a Greedy Man

Ugh. So tired. How many times have I written that as an intro to an entry? Can I get a Bala Cynwyd auditor here? And maybe some choice Cafe Press items to peruse and perhaps purchase? I had a day off yesterday and this retail schedule is wrecking havoc with my body clock.

Today was arduous. Just very slow. I opened the store today, not by myself since they still haven’t trusted me with a key. It was me and Don Birch.

I stood outside for a few minutes knocking on the window trying to get his attention in the humidor. He finally looked up when I decided to call the store.

It was a slow start but in the afternoon the back room was thick with cigar smoke as about 12 guys sat around watching the World Cup. Raymond and Sean made it in for the 11:30 shift.

We make for a good crew. We can obviously handle things on our own. Calvin had off and we guessed that Marcus took the day off to make ready his wedding plans on July 11. No one from the store is invited and everyone is happy not to be invited.

A comment was passed on my music, specifically a track by Tricky, ‘Pumpkin’. It was said it sounded like music from an opium den. I guess that was supposed to be a bad thing.

Before my official lunch, I ate my turkey sandwich and for my official lunch went out and sat in one of my usual benches by the park, had a cigar and read the May 3 edition of the New Yorker.

It’s a very long article about a custody battle, murder and the trial that followed in Queens involving Russian immigrants from an obscure Jewish sect. It’s very involving and engrossing and so far I’ve been reading it for the past 4 days. Or maybe 3 days, my body clock being out of whack.

Back in time to relax amidst the cigar smoke in the back room. After that, the afternoon crawled yet again. In fact the last hour was so slow. Too much watching the clock on the wall.

I did not sleep well at all last night. I did sleep but had an angry dream with me being kidnapped to Orlando, Florida by my parents. My father oddly quiet, my mother passive. My brothers and their wives were there as was my sister and her husband.

None of their kids were there. I yelled at my mother that I wasn’t supposed to be there since I just started a new job and couldn’t afford to be there.

To my dismay the only way to get out of Orlando was to try to get the one called Ann B. Davis to pick me up at the airport and that was like pulling teeth. The one called Ann B. Davis more than likely came up since Connie and I talked about her in the phone conversation we had earlier in the afternoon.

Just saw Chaz for a few minutes. He had a collection of clippings as well as Pride Magazine which has the photo of Bill and myself. It turns out Bill got a copy and scanned it to me this afternoon and now it’s my profile picture as well as Bill’s on Facebook.

In case you’re not in Facebook, here it is. 2 more days of work, then I am off for the weekend.

I’m a Flirt

I love being Chris Frantz Facebook friend. I sent him a message earlier today, saying that I love the Beatles, but Remain in Light is my favorite album of all time.

He replied that he too loves the Beatles and went so far as to say that if there were no Beatles, there would be no Remain in Light. What a nice guy.

I also found out via a mutual friend of Chaz and me, Dave McKenzie, that Chaz encountered the geriatric accountant/sex worker on Friday. Same spiel, same general location.

I am enjoying my day off from work today. Did laundry, ran some errands, bought some groceries. Also played guitar for the first time in 4 weeks and to my surprise I sounded good.

I am thinking of playing by the river today. That didn’t work out since it started to rain a bit. Glad to know I can still play All My Loving and Shame Shame Shame though.

Had a nice phone conversation with Connie, who sounded happy & healthy. Her sister Jennifer is going through some rough times though, so good thoughts and vibes should be sent to her in Oxnard Shores.

Connie is excited about the party in a few weeks. Going to be here before I know it. Pasta, salad and pizza is the menu. Perhaps someone can make some cakes. And by someone I mean a few people. Chocolate is preferred, of course. My sister in law Elaine used to make a nice pistachio cake.

I did visit the bibliothèque today. I do miss going there. They liked my new haircut. I picked up Donnie Darko from the bibliothèque today as well as a CD set of Ella Fitzgerald. Also ran into the Patrick Murphy there. I guess he’s living in Hoboken.

I had plans to meet up with Chaz today but he was ankled to his apartment waiting for PSE&G to arrive. As far as I know he’s still waiting there in the dark. And he is. I just got a text from him, saying they’ll be there by 11:00, which is just crazy in my book.

Looking out the window I can see dark clouds on the horizon. It’s supposed to rain tonight. I guess the drops that fell earlier when I was headed to the Pier A area were just a preview.

With my new ever changing schedule at work I easily lose track of whatever day it is. Today is Tuesday. Took me all day to figure that out.

I guess I’ll watch Donnie Darko tonight while uploading Ella Fitzgerald. Nothing else to do. I could watch my clothes dry on the racks and hanging in the bathroom.

I already have my suit ready for tomorrow. It’s supposed to be another scorcher. Not looking forward to the heat. The 9:30 to 7:30 shift tomorrow, with Raymond, Sean and Don Birch, Marcus in for the first half of the day. It should be an interesting day again.

The New York State legislature raised the cigar tax from 46% to 75%, which is better than raising it to 90%. We’ll see what happens next. I have no clue obviously but still I am a bit nervous being the last hire for the shop.

And now the rain falls steadily on Hoboken streets and rooftops.

Peter Gabriel – The Power Of The Heart

I’m a Boy

I am now back home. Tonight after work, I was listening to Born Under Punches, Cross-eyed and Painless & The Great Curve by Talking Heads, from Remain in Light tonight, and it got me to the bus terminal in 17 minutes. I should walk on the east side of the street, where there seems to be less people.

Songs with a good beat really gets my momentum going. And I side step the pedestrians as I charge my way down the avenue to the bus terminal.

Today was the late shift. Before I headed in, I got my hair cut at Mr. L’s, where my barber Tony was ready for me. I was his first customer at 8:00. He’d been there since 5:45, mopping the floor, opening the barber shop at 7:00.

I got it cut very short, with a light fade. My hair grows thick and it’s been so hot lately I couldn’t take it. It made for difficult sleeping. Freshly shorn of my locks, I came home and had some more coffee before donning my suit and heading out.

I also applied sunblock on my face since it was quite bright outside. Stood in the shade waiting for the bus next to some woman headed off to yoga. Read the New Yorker on the way and soon I was in the bus terminal.

Pedro called as I was descending the stairs and I told him I would call him back. Once again I was early and sat in the shade of a nearby skyscraper when I climbed the escalator from the subway. Called Pedro back who told me of his really fun time at Summerstage and the skate circle.

I wished I could have been there, but this is my lot in life lately. It was a brief talk as we were both heading into work. Pedro remarked yesterday when we were hanging out that it looked like I lost weight. I think he’s right, I do think I lost some weight.

It was Calvin and Don Birch in the store. After listening to what Raymond had to say last night, I was wary but didn’t show my cards. Played it close to the vest. Jazz was playing of course when I walked in, but it was Thelonious Monk playing Duke Ellington so that wasn’t so bad.

When it ended Calvin asked that I put something on. So I put on some Cole Porter stuff on my iPod.

The day progressed in it’s regular manner. Today being the first day of Summer, meant that it was the longest day. It didn’t necessarily feel that way since we were somewhat busy. Of course there was a glitch in the way the day was going.

Last week I was entered into the computer system and able to make sales. But no one told me about how to make sales my own, therefore getting the large share of a commission on items that I sell. The other day I made some big sales but since I opened the register, my name was the default for sales.

Today I didn’t open the register and when I sold a pen for $340.00 I didn’t get the sale. Instead it went to Calvin. I was upset with that but kept my displeasure under wraps. Calvin went out for a little while and I complained to Don Birch.

When Calvin came back I went out for a short walk. I tried to call Bill but got his voice mail at work. Then I remembered that he was taking half a day at work and called his cellphone. I dialed and whomever answered said the name of a restaurant. I called again and was hung up on, adding to my frustration.

I decided to give it one last shot and finally Bill answered, telling me he was driving his friend Tom home. That made me think that he had Tom answer the phone and thinking he was being funny, answered the phone the way he did, saying it was a restaurant.

It was a brief call with Bill and I once again internalized my frustration.

I came back to the cigar shop and Calvin mentioned he was going to make things right and deleted the transaction and reentered it, making me the seller of the $340.00 pen. I thanked Calvin for doing the right thing.

Calvin soon went home and it was me and Don Birch. A few customers came in, including one guy who was the personal assistant to one of the stars in Grown Ups, a comedy that is being released this Friday. Nice guy, very friendly and bought about $350.00 worth of cigars from me.

I made sure the sale was in my name this time.

Not sad

I’m a Boy I’m a Girl

Well it was my first Sunday working at the cigar shop. I once again made it in on time. Sundays are a shorter workday, the back room is closed at 5:00 and we close the door at 7:00. Today was certainly interesting.

It was Raymond and Sean and I. Sean was 45 minutes late. He’s 19 years old and a part timer, so for him it’s no big deal. We thought it would be busy today but it wasn’t. Yesterday was busier, people shopping for their Father’s Day gifts.

Fortunately no wives came in complaining about their husbands chopping off fingers. There were some last minute shoppers, feeling the pressure. I just told them what to buy and they bought.

I did miss out on a commission since I couldn’t find a $400.00 box of cigars. Dave found the box and so he got the commission. It bothered me a little bit, but all I can do was get over it.

I got a text from Pedro. He was thinking about stopping by. I didn’t dissuade him from doing so. About an hour later, he comes walking in. Big hugs. He liked the shop, met Raymond and Sean and bought a cigar.

I thought it would be cool to hang out in the back room but the Yankee game was on as well as a few guys watching it. We decided to head out towards the park to smoke cigars. It was stifling outside. Worse than I imagined. Just sitting on my usual bench was overwhelmingly hot.

We sat and talked about our lives. A conversation that we certainly could not have sitting in the back room. He has stress at home and his mother is not doing well, been fading since his father passed away in December.

I told him my stories about the shop the drama that keeps getting revealed to me with each passing day. Lunch was almost over and we walked towards the shop, Pedro headed towards Summerstage and me back to work.

The afternoon crawled quite a bit, not much in sales. Tomorrow the NY State legislature will vote on whether or not to increase the sales tax on cigars from 46% to 90%. I may be screwed after all.

The work day finally ended after I had a talk with Raymond and Sean about the use of Fag and Homo and saying something is ‘Gay’ like it’s a bad thing. This is what I have to work with. They were cool about it though and I think I got through to them.

I also heard from Raymond that Calvin uses Homo a lot and not when talking about Sapiens.

He also tried to get Don Birch and Raymond to complain about the play lists I made for the store so they wouldn’t be played and we would have to listen to his favorite, dreadful Jazz music which is just horribly boring.

I like Jazz, but only when it’s performed live.

According to Raymond, Calvin is two faced. So much for bringing life into the store. Mournful, doleful tones of muted trumpets is so blasé.

I left the store, the sun was still up and I decided to walk to the Path train and enjoy a cigar. As I crossed 57th Street at Broadway, I noticed an older woman walking a few steps behind me. I thought she might need help so I unplugged the Rolling Stones from my iPod and offered my ear.

She mentioned how busy the street was with the cars and how I looked like someone she used to know. She told me her story about how she studied accounting and offered to do my taxes in her apartment on west 57th Street. Her name was Jill.

I said thanks and she gave me her card, mentioning that she also does oral and penetration. I did not do a double take just kept walking down Broadway. Is she a former working girl? Are times that tough that geriatrics are turning tricks on Broadway?

Quite disconcerting. I texted it to Facebook as well as Pedro who asked if I asked if she does anal.

After that it was uneventful and I rode the Path train reading Uncut magazine’s account of David Bowie recording and touring for Station to Station which is probably my favorite album by the Dame.

Walking down Washington Street I passed the Patrick Murphy who asked if I was the same John O’Toole who wrote to the Daily News. I replied that yes it was me and he proffered his hand to shake.

I have to say, Patrick looks good and relatively healthy. I harbor no bad feeling towards him since he never did anything bad to me, but did to other people I know, and when I was down on my luck 20 years ago, he would give me $5.00 to put the chairs up at Maxwells when the evening was ending.

(I’m a) Road Runner

The day we kidnapped Barry Manilow was quite an eventful day. Wait. That’s not it. That’s another story, yet to happen.

Here I am writing again even though I was thinking of not writing. But that’s what thinking gets you. 500 words or more, a tour or more likely, skimming the surface of my consciousness. Am I shallow enough for you?

Let’s see, this player is on random.

Had what might have been an interesting dream last night. I was in Empire Coffee and Jeff the guy who I was friendly with behind the counter forgot my name. I might have called him Eric. There was also another guy helping me with my order when Jeff/Eric faded into the wallpaper.

In real life, Jeff lives around the block from me, his kitchen windows are a few floors down, opposite mine. I told him, my apartment had Christmas lights in the window year round. His reaction was to wonder what type of person has Christmas lights year round.

Me. I am that type of person. They change colors and give off a nice glow and also makes it difficult to see past the lights, giving me some privacy when I parade my not so private parts. A shame, a 20 something young man questioning something like year round Christmas lights.

I guess he’s never had an Ann Boyles in his life.

Work today, the late shift. A hot day before Father’s Day which meant some extra sales, for those errant kids who needed to buy something quick for dear old Dad. Also some wives who don’t know anything in particular, asking for a box of cigars when they mean a humidor.

And a cigar cutter which they worried about their husbands losing a finger in it. I told one particular wife that her husband losing a digit would be unlikely. All he would have to do is not put his finger in the cutter.

Dumb. As. Wood. And I certainly don’t mean to disparage wood.

I have cut down on smoking cigarettes, but I was outside having a smoke and some tourist bloke walked up to me with a dollar in his hand asking to buy a smoke from me.

I showed him my roll ups and he said that was fine and gave him two for the price of one. I usually give them away when someone asks but this bloke had a buck in his hand and with this economic climate, I couldn’t afford not to take the buck.

For lunch I had an excellent Padron 1926 Anniversario #9 cigar. Quite nice, and one of the best cigars I’ve ever had. I smoked near the park and on the bench next to me was a guy playing a pocket trumpet which was cool to listen to. I gave him the buck that I made from selling cigarettes.

I was going to smoke in the back room, but there were two old geezers who made me uncomfortable, plus Marcus was there and I really wouldn’t be able to relax with him hanging around. Lunch with the boss? No thanks.

And with Marcus around it made what should have been a relaxing day, a bit tense. Not that anything was really happening that could be considered bad behavior, just that he’s the boss and usually not in on the weekend.

Besides Marcus, it was Raymond, Don Birch and Sean. I am the oldest store employee here. The usual sniping between the three of them went on, but Raymond seemed a bit down. He eats a lot of crap and today he had the blues.

When Sean and Don Birch left, it was just Raymond and me and I’ve been schooling him on the Beatles. We played Please Please Me, With the Beatles, A Hard Days Night and most of Beatles for Sale over the past couple of days.

I get a weird vibe from Raymond, like he’s wrestling with something deep, but I could be wrong. He just might be overworked. I do enjoy working with him the most though.

Tonight after work I made it from the shop to the bus terminal in 16 minutes which was a better time than last night.

Padron Anniversario 1926 #9 CPW


And New York State is voting on increasing the tax on cigars from 46% to 90%. If it passes, I am screwed

I’m Coming Down

Written the night before as I am working the late shift again. It was an interesting day again. I opened the store after having Wednesday off.

Don Birch had opened at 9:00, a half hour before me. Marcus came in after me. It was a little bit busy, but when Raymond showed up at 11:30, there wasn’t enough busyness to go around. I took lunch at 1:00, Marcus was soon off for the afternoon going wherever it is that he goes.

I said I would see him tomorrow and he replied that he might be back. He says that often enough and never comes back. I had a decent cigar after eating lunch but felt a bit of a chill as I sat on a bench by the park.

I decided to head in when the cigar extinguished itself and finished it in the back room. No World Cup on the flat screen, but rather boring old golf. Fifteen minutes later I was back at work behind the counter.

Raymond mentioned that with Calvin off today and Marcus away from the office I could have easily relaxed for a few more minutes instead of rushing to finish the cigar. I didn’t mind. The afternoon crawled a bit and I thought I might have been getting sick.

Mind over matter I said to myself and had a banana shortly afterward. I did feel better after the banana. I eat a banana almost every day that I work. Sean, the part time employee was a bit late coming in and Raymond, Don Birch and Sean almost immediately fell into sniping at each other.

I wisely stayed above the fray. When Calvin and Marcus are out, they do something called Round Two, which is basically a chance to sit in the back room and have a small cigar and relax. It was Raymond and myself in the back room when Don Birch who was supposed to watch the counter, decided to go to the lavatory while Sean maintained the humidor.

Raymond was a bit upset at that and went to the counter when Marcus came back, surprising everyone. Don Birch had left the lav and told me Marcus had returned. My timing was perfect as I was also talking to a customer in the back room when Marcus came in with some representatives.

No one was caught sitting down, least of all, me. My three co-workers stood around the counter and continued sniping at each other while Marcus and company sat and smoked and drank in the back room.

I didn’t feel comfortable hanging around the counter so I opted to check the inventory in the humidor. Eventually Marcus’ fiance came in and a few minutes later Marcus and company with the fiance headed out and the three co-workers continued sniping.

This is how it is at the Cigar Shop. It will more than likely be repeated on Saturday when it will be the four of us again. This time Marcus and Calvin will definitely be away. And we can dress casually. Not because Marcus and Calvin won’t be around but on weekends we can dress in a nice shirt and trousers.

Tonight, I made it from the shop where I work to the bus terminal in 17.8 minutes, thanks to Beck.
I may not write tomorrow since it’s been so ling since I’ve taken a day off from writing. Still, if something happens then I more than likely will write. But if not, then I won’t.

I might be hanging out with Walt Turske.

I’m a Wicked One

Walking to the Path train Tuesday night after work, I walked through Times Square. I know it’s a tourist trap but I’m usually plugged into my iPod and smoking a cigar so people generally stay away from me.

And it’s the quickest route to the Path train, what with the pedestrian plazas that have been created in Times Square. The plazas north and south of Times Square are generally empty and people stay on the sidewalk.

I came up with a completely off the top of my head statistic, that for every 20 tourists, there are 4 to 5 people trying to convince them to head over to the comedy clubs. I don’t know the success rate of getting out of towners into these places to pay a cover charge with a 2 drink minimum.

The people who are trying to get the tourists in are usually young comics performing this duty so that they could get a spot in the evening’s show.

I also noticed a few young American women in head scarves. They are what I guess to be, recent converts to Islam. Why would a woman what to commit to a life of subjugation? I also realized that it was my awakening to Islam, that convinced me that religion, all religion is truly absurd.

I knew of a woman years ago, a friend of a friend who converted to Judaism. And her name wasn’t Judy so that really didn’t make sense. Why do such intelligent people decide to believe in an iron age sky god?

True, it is their lives to live and not my business and I usually keep my thoughts to myself, but I decided to take this opportunity to state my case.

I myself was raised catholic and thought I’d see god in a sun beam peering through the clouds, not really thinking it was just a sun beam peering through the clouds. In Paramus Catholic, my high school we had to do research and write a paper about different religions.

I was given Lutheranism to research and found myself agreeing with what Martin Luther had to say. That started my drift away from catholicism. I eventually became an agnostic, doubting the existence of a god.

Then when 9/11 occurred, that sealed it. I was an atheist. The crime, the violence done in some idiot god’s name, by the even more idiotic followers was just disgusting and I realized that religion just drags down the human race, and prevents it’s growth.

Growing up, basic questions that I asked could not be answered. Questions like, ‘if a group of people live good lives and treat each other well, why would they go to hell if they didn’t do anything wrong and never heard about Jesus or Mohammad or whatever?’

It’s such a racket and Karl Marx was right when he wrote, ‘Religion is the opiate of the masses’. In the 1980’s I amended that in a fanzine that I used to contribute to, and wrote, ‘Mass is the opiate of religion’.

Perhaps someone else wrote that before I did, but I don’t know or didn’t know about it.

I’m a Believer

Off today. And so far no rain. It is supposed to rain tonight. Have a few things to do, some running around, so in a little while I will be heading out to get a start on it. Need one or two new shirts for work and maybe a pair of shoes that are good for standing around in for 9 hours.

Last night had some nice dreams, mainly about making new friends. One dream involved me driving around Washington Heights, Harpy territory. Narrow streets in what seemed to be a Mini Cooper. That dream was like a conclusion that happened on the other side of the George Washington Bridge in Fort Lee.

Another dream took place in an airport where I made friends with a woman sitting next to me at a bar. Then I was on a bus, more than likely driven by Bill and I talked to my Uncle Joseph about the new friend.

The last dream involved me talking to a very big man, almost a giant, who was very sensitive and didn’t have many friends. That last dream seemed to take place in Hoboken on Pier A, and I brought the giant friend into a function at what a cross between the W Hotel and the Saddle Brook VFW.

Yesterday at work, after I was entered into the system I checked my name and in doing so I found my cousin Randall who now lives in Ronkokoma on Long Island. I hadn’t seen Randall in 35 years or so and couldn’t find any reason to get back in touch with him.

His info was last updated in 2002. I much preferred my cousins from my mother’s side of the family to my father’s side. And hopefully I will be seeing some of the good cousins next month at the party. The party which is causing me some anxiety.

I’ve already asked some people for help. Some friends are helping set up, another friend is making salad. Yesterday the song that kept playing in my head was Ringo Starr’s You’re Sixteen. Right now it’s Chicago, Just You & Me. I prefer Ringo of course.

Part of my running around involved going into the city and also the Newport Mall in Jersey City. Instead I’ve only made it to the Burlington Coat Factory where I bought 2 new dress shirts for work, on sale.

Now I have to go to the Post Office and drop off a package to be repaired by Eagle Creek. Zipper broke on my bag and it has a lifetime warranty. It’s being shipped to Inwood which is on Long Island.

I also have to go to Inwood at 2:00 on the 28th to take a class in being a tobacconist. According to Don Birch, it’s mainly things that I know already. In a bad neighborhood. And then it’s back to work after that.

So it’s been a good day. Despite the overcast clouds which have largely disappeared, I enjoyed walking around Hoboken. Back to work tomorrow, next day off is Tuesday.

And then I have the last weekend in June off. Would be nice to go to the beach, but I doubt that will happen, unless you, dear reader shows up on Saturday morning in a car ready to drive down to Sandy Hook.

I’d be willing to help pay for gas. And if not Sandy Hook, Monmouth Beach will do.

Now I am off to pick up Bill’s laundry and dry cleaning which includes some of my shirts. So I guess it’s our dry cleaning and laundry.

Ah, the civil unioned life. Quite civil.


Ace of Spades

So tired, but it’s a good tired if there is such a thing. I wrote this last night as a start, a way to remember what to write about. “Raymond likes the Beatles.” That’s as far as I got. But it’s true.

Raymond likes the Beatles. He reminds me of Rocky, the guy who used to run the loading dock at Wanker Banker, only without the lying and the cocaine abuse. When the store quieted down, after Calvin left we played Rubber Soul and he insisted on hearing In My Life twice. I didn’t mind.

Yesterday I also sent an email to Greg Stevens, from the old job. I just wrote that if he had any cigar smoking clients, to send them my way. He called back and wished me well, then had a question for me. It seems his printer was out of paper and he didn’t know how to load the paper in.

I told him, most printers have a tray and he looked but couldn’t find it. I asked him what model it was, thinking I could look it up online and figure it out, but he didn’t know that either, having tried to find an instruction manual and failing at that.

Poor Greg, so lost.

He was going to have to wait until his wife’s assistant came in today to put paper in his printer. Last night I worked the late shift which is why I posted yesterday morning. I came home and Bill was waiting for me.

It was awfully hot in the apartment and that was because the windows weren’t open. Bill was comfortable in the warmth, I was distressed. He claims because he’s Puerto Rican warm temperatures are no big thing. I just walked to each window, opening them and saying, ‘Oh my god it’s so hot in here’.

He went to bed a little while after that and I was in bed by 11:45. I’m pretty sure I was asleep by midnight. Woke up Bill was gone. He kissed me goodbye but I don’t remember it. An Eskimo kiss was involved as well. I more than likely growled.

Made my way onto the bus, stuck in traffic outside the Lincoln Tunnel next to a guy who kept trying to look at photographs in the New Yorker I was reading. I did not oblige. Subway ride uptown, not enough time to chill out in the shade of a skyscraper.

I was opening the store with Marcus. It went well. I am officially in the computer system. Counted monies and then had a quick cigarillo with Marcus in the back room. Slow start of the day and around 11:30 Don rolled in.

He was described to me once as Lurch and I can see why. He’s really an introvert. Raymond called him a hippie the other night but I don’t see it. I did meet Don’s girlfriend the other night when we closed. Seemed to me like she was in the 60, but maybe I was just tired.

Anyway I’ll call the one that Calvin calls Lurch, Don Birch. A pun if you will about either the John Birch Society (of which our Don is not a member of) or being as stiff as a tree. It’s up to you.

It was mentioned that I should spend my lunch hour in the back room with the customers and have a cigar with them. I’m reluctant to do that. I work a 10 hour day and have an hour for lunch. I would like to spend that 1 hour away from the cigar shop rather than spend the entire 10 hours within the same four walls.

I did spend some time with the customers yesterday, and some of them were surprised to see me. I explained once again that I do enjoy being outside in the world on occasion, whereas they choose to spend their time away from the world, secluded in the back room smoking cigars.

I like sitting on a bench by Central Park, smoking cigars.


Bill had Grimaldi’s pizza waiting for me when I came home. Nice.

Appel Indirect

Getting ready to work the late shift again. Had some interesting dreams last night, specifically a dream where I was in Manhattan, around 57th Street.

I was at a bar which resembled the Carnegie Club, but it was a gay bar and instead of being behind Carnegie Hall it was right next door. I had some books or magazines and needed to get home but something kept me where I was.

I left and walked towards 6th Avenue, and soon I found myself in a taxi driven by a chatty and obliging driver who dropped me off near the bar I mentioned before. I got out of the cab and walked around a bit, when I realized I left the flip flops I was wearing in the cab.

I went to a store across the street from the bar and found some European merchants who sold me a pair for $3.99. Then I headed to the bar but I couldn’t find the entrance since there was a lot of scaffolding erected.

That’s when I woke up to the sound of Hungry Like the Wolf by Duran Duran. Not my favorite song or band, but it certainly got me out of bed. Overcast day. I watched True Blood last night.

So much happening. A very fast hour. Nice butt on Eric. But I’m not an ass man, man. In started to watch Treme afterward when my old friend and former roommate Kevin called.

It was a fun talk almost 90 minutes. A wide range of subjects were touched on, friends, alcoholism, drugs, family, movies, Maxwells, bad choices and of course, art. Kevin is one of the best artists I know and it’s good to see he is still at it out there in Pennsylvania.

I am now friends with him on Facebook (which he recently reluctantly joined) and MySpace. My MySpace page was covered in cobwebs since I hardly ever go there. It was funny to find he’s friends with my sister in law Elaine’s nephew, John.

I made two new play lists for the store, one of Maria Callas with a smattering of Kiri Te Kanawa and another list of Django Reinhardt. Last week when I played the very long play list, when some opera came up Marcus was greatly impressed with it and I tried to find some more.

Unfortunately I had maybe two other songs which went into Malcolm McLaren’s Madam Butterfly. Last week I also raised some eyebrows when The Bird & the Bee’s song, Fucking Boyfriend came up.

You’d think that a room full of men smoking cigars wouldn’t have any problem with Inara George singing, ‘would you be my fucking boyfriend’, but they did. No one complained outright but a few comments were made so in order not to ruffle these sensitive feathers, I deleted it.

That as well as Bodies by the Sex Pistols.

It’s an overcast, muggy day and they’ve been saying that it might rain later on. For once they may be right. I’m wearing a suit that I don’t think I’ve worn in about 6 years. I wonder why that is.

I’m sure I’ll find out. I’ll be working later on and notice a tear or something that will remind me, just why this suit has been hanging in the closet. Better the suit than me I suppose.

Have a good day. I hope to.

Aatavu Chanda

There is drama. There is always drama. Whether or not the drama stems from the overweight woman sitting a few feet from your desk or the guy who runs the restaurant where you do bookkeeping or if you work for the Susquehanna Investment Group, there is drama no matter where you work.

And there is drama in the cigar shop. I can’t say I am participant in the drama, just some bloke sitting in the cheap seats. Raymond has filled me in on the drama from his point of view, how I have to watch what Marcus and Calvin are up to, especially with the hours I work.

The law is if you work over 40 hours you get paid time and a half. If you’re a resident of New York State, you have to work 44 hours. Since I live in Hoboken, therefore out of state, it’s 40 hours. I figure that if the payroll is done via ADP or Paychex, those companies know the law and I should be paid accordingly.

Of course I won’t know what happens until I get my paycheck on the 21st. I did tell Calvin yesterday about the fact that I was on time and waiting outside the shop when he was 15 minutes late. I don’t want to be marked as late when I was actually on time.

He said he was going to send a note about that. He also didn’t think I was working that day, which is strange since he’s the one who makes the schedule.

Calvin went home last night at the end of his shift, complaining of a scratchy throat. I was supposed to work with Calvin, Don and Sean who is a part timer. I was on time again this morning and after signing in, Sean came up to me to tell me that Calvin called in sick.

So it was just me, Don and Sean. Don is warming up to me, but he’s basically an introvert. Sean is a 19 year old father, crazy cute and studying Criminal Justice at John Jay College which is a block or two away from the shop.

It was certainly laid back today and it probably would not have been if Calvin made it in. Things got done, at a more relaxed pace. The day started out slow enough, we had the World Cup on in the cigar lounge but no one showed up to watch.

In fact, Sean and I smoked cigars during lunch while the US & UK soccer teams met with a tie score, 1-1. The cigar I smoked was a Padron 1964 Annivarsario Exclusivo, It was probably the best cigar I ever smoked.

It was cool hanging out with Sean. He’s a hip hop kid and pretty funny. I played the playlist I made the other day and Neil Young’s Harvest Moon came on. He started making jokes about hillbilly music once he heard the harmonica. I don’t think he ever hear or heard of Neil Young until today.

Midway through the cigar I had to get up and use the bathroom and when I got up, I felt a little dizzy from the cigar. In fact when I went back to work after lunch, I was pretty much buzzed.

Sean’s drama is that he does a lot of work at the shop, the walk in humidor is his domain and he’s quite knowledgeable about cigars as well. But with all his work, he doesn’t get a commission since he’s a part time worker. I would give him a reduced commission for all that he does. He had Don’s ear, but no sympathy from Don.

But that’s how this cigar shop operates. No official 15 minute breaks for an 8 hour shift, no sitting down on the job. It’s not like Farfetched with a stool to sit on for a minute or two while you work. Life was surely easier when I was unemployed and only had my own drama to deal with.

But here I am in the thick of it. A broke ass bloke in the cheap seats watching the drama unfold. Thanks to Led Zeppelin I walked down to the bus terminal in about 15 minutes. When Rock & Roll started I was inside headed to the gate with minutes to spare.

I noticed fingerprints on the glass partitions and felt a compulsion to clean them like I do at the shop. I resisted and read an issue of the New Yorker from a few weeks ago.

Apparently I can write after working the late shift, but once again I won’t post until tomorrow.

And now it’s tomorrow. Just got back from a walk around Hoboken. Ran into Juan Melli, super nice guy, does PR for City Hall here in Hoboken. They closed off Sinatra Drive like they used to in the 1980’s. Quite nice, not too crowded.

I was bemoaning the fact that they don’t close the drive along the river anymore, but here it was, the first day they had it closed to traffic until 6:00 PM. It’s where I met Juan who was riding his bike. Had a nice chat with him about the state of affairs in Hoboken and the sticky politics and a certain blogger who’s a creep.

It started with just a few drops when he headed north and I went south, and now it’s steadily raining. Bill is napping and I have to wake him up in a minute. He drove to Atlantic City on Friday and Saturday night and today is the first time I’ve seen him since Friday morning.

Looking forward to watching the season premiere of True Blood tonight, and I have to record it for my sister who will be here in less that a month. That’s about all I have to say for last night and today.

The obligatory Empire State Building shot



Sinatra Drive/River Road- closed to traffic


Near where I work


Some items I sell


Napping Bill


Photo by Juan Melli

Oh yeah, before all the drama I bought some bus tickets from a machine in the bus terminal. When I reached in for the tickets I found 2 Sacagawea dollar coins. Not bad at all.

About A Boy

Well it’s later in the day right now. I am home from work. It was an interesting day.

The guy who got fired the other day, the guy I was being groomed to replace, Harold, showed up today. But stayed only in the doorway, like a vampire waiting to be invited in. He’s persona non grata in the cigar shop.

The word from the corporate office in New England, he can’t be banned from the shop. The shop is in a public space and apparently the law says he can go where he pleases. Why someone who had a nasty falling out from his place of employment want to hang out there escapes me.

I just got home a little while ago from working the late shift. It wasn’t so bad. I worked with Raymond who is fun to work with and has the scoop on how things are run. We closed the shop together and he let me count the money and smoke a small cigar (which was very good) in the cigar lounge.

I am drifting away from smoking the larger ring gauge cigars and going back to smaller gauges. The fact that that I’ve been ridiculed about the La Flor Dominicana cigars I’ve enjoyed might have a factor in that decision.

La Flor Dominicana is the third most popular brand in the US, but according to my co-workers, it’s like smoking cardboard. And I have to agree since I’ve been turned onto other, more expensive cigars and they really are better.

The clientele was nicer than yesterday, fun guys who come in and hang out. One of them is a photographer and he just put out such a good vibe. He didn’t smoke any cigars, just hung out in the front with Calvin, Raymond and myself.

Just got a call from Bill, he’s safely arrived in Atlantic City which is one less thing to worry about. He’s doing the trip again tomorrow night, so that means I won’t see him until Sunday, since I’m working the late shift again tomorrow.

Closing with Calvin so I don’t think I’ll be able to smoke a small cigar and count money, like I did this evening with Raymond.

I also stopped by the supermarket this evening before I came home. Had to buy some bread and milk and other foodstuffs. It truly is the supermarket of the damned. Nothing that I bought was on sale which was a drag.

Tomorrow and Sunday rain is expected. I usually get a cigar from the store at lunch and then go out and sit by the park and give a review when I get back. It actually helps when novice cigar smokers come in and I am able to tell the customer about what I smoked previously and how good it was.

Since it might rain I might just smoke it in the cigar lounge with the customers. But wait! The weather report was just on and they said it will probably not rain. In fact it will only rain on Sunday.

Sunday, which is my day off.

I wrote this on Friday night so I won’t be writing on Saturday, but I will be posting it then.

Woke up to Love Shack on the radio. Nice.

About You

It’s the morning. I’ve finally had a good night’s sleep. Oh it was so good. Did not want to wake up but if I didn’t I would be in a coma or dead, so this is a more pleasant experience for all concerned.

Once again I am writing this in the morning, before I head out to work. I’m working the 11:30 to 9:30 shift. It’s the second time for me. Did it last week, which right now with half a cup of coffee seems so long ago.

It was just Calvin & myself last time, tonight it will be with Calvin and Raymond. I am a bit surprised by the fact that we don’t get paid on the 15th and 30th like other companies. I was hoping for the 15th, but I found out yesterday it is the 7th and the 21st.

That’s not going to be easy since I am skint right now. Bills have been paid so I’m responsible on that tip. It’s not going to be an easy week, but I’ll get by somehow. I’m sure they mentioned this fact when I was interviewed but it was a heady day and it really didn’t sink in.

Not that I could have done anything about it.

I’m wearing the same suit that I wore yesterday, I’ve never done that before actually. I aired it out last night but who is going to notice the smell of cigars on a suit in a cigar shop? Perhaps on the bus or in the subway but that could be used to my advantage and perhaps no one will sit next to me.

Right now, the Today show is on, an interview with Gary Coleman’s parents. They feel so hurt, but didn’t they rip off the money he made from Different Strokes? And now they’re religious people, saying they hope for a proper burial so that Gary Coleman’s spirit can find peace.

Coleman’s father mentioned that they’ve been involved with 4 religions and how a burial is needed for that wandering ghost. Superstitious people.

Bill and I watched the news about an empty lot in Sheepshead Bay where the residents are flipping out about a proposed mosque. More superstitious people claiming that their god is better than the other god.

The Muslims tried to make peace and open a dialogue but the Sheepshead people just got angrier and more upset.

Also last night while Bill and I were watching the news and once again I mentioned that when I go before him, have me cremated and throw the urn into the Hudson River. Bill said he would keep a small vial of my ashes to wear around his neck. I told him I thought that was gross, but I would be dead so it really wouldn’t matter.

Just got an email from the President, asking me to stand with him for clean energy. Didn’t he advocate some coal mining a few months ago? And also some drilling off shore?

I know things have changed since the ever growing catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, but I think the push for clean energy should have started a while ago instead of closing the barn door once the horse has left. I did sign the petition but refused to donate any money to him.

Not that I could anyhow. This Gay TM is closed.

Just made my lunch for today, turkey sandwich on whole wheat with lettuce and mayo. That’s about it for today. I’m sure I’ll have something to write about tonight, or about tonight. But depending on how I feel I might just write tomorrow morning.

Bill is off to Atlantic City tonight and tomorrow, driving the bus. That means I won’t see him until Sunday, since we will just miss each other tomorrow. I’ll be heading off to work and he’ll be coming home. 2 ships that pass in the morning. And I’m off on Sunday and it’s supposed to rain.

getting ready

About Her

Since I didn’t sleep well on Tuesday night I figured I would sleep well on Wednesday night. Nope that wasn’t the case despite melatonin. It wasn’t an especially tiring day but I was busy enough. I didn’t even nap during the day. I stayed up until 12:20 and went to bed.

It was stuffy since it was raining and the windows were closed in the bedroom. I lay in bed and listened to Bill start to snore. I told him about 4 times that he was snoring. He’s not supposed to snore since he wears a mouth guard which adjusts his jaw to allow his soft palate to do something and keep his airway open.

Or something like that.

I followed my advice and got out of bed around 1:30 and sat in front of the computer and posted my insomnia on Facebook. I did eventually go back to bed and slept alright. Of course the melatonin kicked in at some point making it difficult to wake up.

But wake up I did and did my thing. Developing a routine lately and was at the bus stop a little after 8:00 this morning. The bus was like a sauna, much warmer than it was outside and there wasn’t many people riding at that point.

I asked the bus driver if she could turn the air conditioner on and she said it was on. I think she actually had both the heater and the air conditioner on.

Subway ride uptown, spent some time in the shade of a nearby hotel talking to Bill on the phone. Got to the shop at 9:25, no lights on. 9:30 is when I’m supposed to start. I stand outside the store until 9:45 when Calvin shows up saying he didn’t think I was working the early shift.

I did my best to ignore that and punched in 15 minutes late. I will have to tell Calvin that I don’t want to be marked as late tomorrow when I was actually on time and it was he who was late. According to Raymond I should tell Calvin that and he would understand and make amends to my hours to reflect that I was on time.

This will all change when I get a key to let myself in. Until then I am still the newbie.

Visiting the cigar shop, there are arrogant customers on occasion, and quite timid browsers. That’s just 2 of the usual customers that sometimes wander into the cigar shop.

My attitude is ‘if you have money and you’re rich, well good for you’. I hope they got their money fair and square or even if it was inherited, that’s fine. It’s just that, one guy comes in, dressed very nicely, asking for a specific cigar.

I’m more than happy to oblige, it’s my job. I explain what I know about certain cigars, and make recommendations. He asks for one cigar and decides to buy a box. He says he’s going on a friend’s 150 foot yacht and I can only guess he doesn’t want to come empty handed.

The cigars he wants are in tubes and cost over $400.00. There’s another box which is the same type of cigar, just not in tubes. And it has 5 more cigars. He gets indignant and thinks he’s getting a lesser quality cigar since he’s paying less.

I have to explain while he gets all huffy. Then because he’s buying cigars and lives in the apartments above the store, asks if he gets a discount since he lives upstairs, then demands a free cigar cutter.

People like this aren’t the norm and we do get a fair number of monied cigar smokers who don’t mind paying for 4 or 5 cigars the price I would have paid for a box. I’ve met a few of these guys and they’re good blokes.

But there’s one in every tax bracket I suppose.

Then there is the timid browser who walks in. They’re greeted with whatever salutation the time of day dictates. They shrink and barely mutter a word in return, which is fine. They just try to be as invisible as possible and obviously lack social skills.

It reminds of of Stingy and the Autistic Manfred. Raised to think the world is your enemy, and everyone is out to get you. I just don’t know how these people get through life.

Tomorrow and Saturday I work the late shift. I’ll try to post beforehand since I’ll be too tired to do so after work, but there are no guarantees.

47 years old and still getting pimples.

About Face

Updated 9:32PM
Well today is the day off. Next one is Sunday. Last night was a quiet night. Just spent time chilling out. Watched TV of course. Bill came home close to the end of the finale of Nurse Jackie.

He had major drama at work and proceeded to tell me all about it. I paused the DVR as he explained what happened in great detail. Quite an interesting story, but it’s his story and not mine. He went to bed soon after that and I stayed up and watched the Simpsons.

Then I went to bed and did not have an easy night of sleep. The weather has cooled considerably so the windows were open, allowing me to hear the smashing of bottles that were being picked up for recycling. The dreams I had were strange, and maybe a bit violent. I did sleep for about 8 hours though and that was OK.

Felt a bit unmoored, not knowing what to do. I knew enough to have breakfast after I showered. Caught the Daily Show and the Colbert Report, both of which I hardly ever watch anymore. I did have tickets for the Colbert Report taping last night but had to return them since I wasn’t able to go, being employed and all.

I started a playlist for the shop and headed out with about 50 songs on the list. I went to T-Mobile since I’ve been having problems with my sending of pictures to Facebook, to my email, and even to my cellphone.

I was on the phone with T-Mobile the past two days and followed their instructions, including if all else fails, go to a T-Mobile store. So I went to the one on Washington Street. I dealt with Laura who talked with an Eastern European accent.

She mentioned that I might need a new SIM card and she wouldn’t charge me for it. I was surprised that she would even consider charging me for the SIM card since the phone is relatively new, having only gotten it in December.

I mentioned that the customer service on the phone never mentioned it and as I said that she cut me off. She kept doing that, I guess she was expecting me to shut up. I don’t do that, I keep talking about what I was saying.

She’s been doing this for six years she said so she knew all about these types of things. She also mentioned that she had a smart phone and never had the type of problem, including losing a network immediately after a phone call.

The new SIM card seemed to have done the trick. I thanked her in what I thought was her original language, Russian- спасибо! She smirked and said she was Albanian but knew what I meant. She certainly wasn’t a charming salesperson like I try to be at the cigar shop.

I walked over to the Guitar Bar and saw Mister Wonderful, Jim Mastro. He asked me how the job was going and I told him despite some initial feeling of confusion and a general not knowing what the hell I was doing, it was getting a lot better.

He asked if I was getting psyched for the party next month and for a minute I didn’t know what he was talking about. Then I figured it out. He mentioned that his daughters Lily and Ruby were working on a set list. I headed out of there since Jim was dealing with a customer who was playing a bass quite loudly for my ears.

Walked back up to Washington Street and started taking cellphone pics of various flowers, just to see if the camera was working. Decided to walk up to Eleventh Street and listened to the playlist on the iPod. Sounded fine to me.

Headed to the supermarket to get some groceries and cash in a rain check from April before it expired. When I came home and looked over the receipt which seemed a bit odd and it was off. They over charged me and I called up the store who told me to come back for the refund.

Ran into Julio who was running home on his lunch hour and chatted for a few minutes before it started to rain. Dropped off and picked up some dry cleaning for Bill and myself. Came home and added a lot more songs to the playlist which runs from pop, R&B, some hip hop and even opera and rock and roll.

At last count it’s 12 hours long and has 176 songs in it. I hope it goes over well. And if it doesn’t I will try not to take it personally like I used to at Farfetched.

Back to work tomorrow, early shift, then Friday and Saturday I get the late shift. Off on Sunday, for which I hope will have good weather.

Update: I had a letter to the Editor published in the NY Daily News again on June 2, a reaction to a letter regarding Memorial Day.

They also serve II
Hoboken, N.J.: It’s a shame that what seemed to be Voicer Bill Lynch’s heartfelt sentiment regarding Memorial Day was cheapened by his politicizing and liberal-bashing. Liberals have fought and died for this country. And the ACLU will defend his civil liberties should they become endangered.

Action Time Vision

Well I’ve been home now for abut 45 minutes. I think I’ve turned a corner. Not as morose or as despairing as I had been the previous couple of days. It wasn’t an easy transition but I think it’s nearly over.

The weather has been very cooperative and today was the second day in a row where I wore my suit to work, not scrambling to find a place to change from street clothes into a suit. I hope it lasts but I know, summer is around the corner.

The guys I work with are good guys it seems, though the guy I was replacing was fired yesterday. He was supposed to be working until the first of August. But apparently when he was supposed to be working the weekend and Calvin wasn’t going to be around, he would call in sick, or have something come up.

That took it’s toll on his co-workers and Marcus and Calvin decided to do something about it. They asked him to resign but he wouldn’t so they fired him. I liked Harold. He was a good looking guy with washboard abs, but he also liked himself a lot.

Too much ego said Calvin. Calvin also mentioned that he thought Harold had a few sugar daddies on the side. A handsome muscular model living in Chelsea is bound to have a few sugar daddies if he so desired.

So that leaves a core group of 5 workers. Calvin, Raymond, Don, Ryan and me with Marcus managing the two Manhattan stores. I actually prefer this store to the store I frequented which was around the corner from Wanker Banker.

Calvin allows me to pick the music and the co-workers seem to like my choices. Some Latin jazz, some Woody Allen music. Today I opened the store with a Brian Eno playlist which was about an hour’s worth of music.

Not so much ambient stuff but some of his more interesting fare. James Brown was in the mix today as was The Bird & the Bee. And Raphael Saddiq. I sort of took over the music choices on the second day. The day started with just me and Don.

It takes a while for Don to warm up, at least to me. For about 2 hours it was the two of us and hardly anything was said. That made for a slow 2 hours, but he liked the Eno stuff I was playing, saying that it sounded like Pink Floyd.

No, I didn’t throttle him.

Calvin showed up at 11:30, scheduled to work the late shift. I worked the late shift yesterday with Calvin and found that working the late shift one night and opening the next day is no easy task, at least not yet.

Once Calvin showed up things got easier, and it being lunch time it meant customers started drifting in. For lunch, a turkey sandwich at what seems to be my usual spot near the park. And of course Calvin recommended a cigar, a Tatuaje robusto which was really good.

It’s great to spend time outside in the open air, just looking at people. I did have a good chat with Don, who said I shouldn’t be overwhelmed by the situation of starting a new job. It was good to hear, and also good to see that Don eventually thaws out.

I’ve been having some problems with sending photos from my cellphone. The pics are usually sent to Facebook but haven’t been showing up there. I thought it was a Facebook problem but it is actually a T-Mobile problem so a visit to the local T-Mobile store is in order tomorrow, my day off.

Have a few things planned for tomorrow, and the number one plan is sleeping late. It’s actually number one on my list.

a lunch time view

I also had gotten tickets for the Colbert Report tonight, but had to give them up since I’m working!

Abzug

Updated @ 11:00PM
Puttering around. Late shift today. First time. I doubt if I would be able to write enough and still get a good night’s sleep so I am going at it right now.

Before 9:00 AM. I will be working from 11:30 to 9:30 today. And I guess I would probably be getting home around 11:00 tonight. I just checked an email, I forgot I signed up for tickets for the Colbert Report tomorrow and I regretfully had to cancel.

And tomorrow I am working the 9:30 to 7:30 shift. It would have been fun to do but oh well. I am employed now.

Last night I saw Bill in a play at Theater for the New City, Tiger Tiger. I took the Path train in and got off at 14th Street.

I wasn’t sure if the theater was on First or Second Avenue so I called Google 411. It’s an automated service which was useless. They could not understand the word ‘theater’, but then again a lot of people can’t either.

I gave up and used T-Mobile’s service which had a human being who told me it was on First Avenue. I walked down Fourth Avenue and strolled by where Farfetched used to be.

Still a dark hole of a store which is the intention for the goth set. I guess they’re doing well. It was a trip of sorts walking through the East Village since I hadn’t been there in a while. It was energizing.

I had a bag of clothes that Bill had forgotten, as well as some of his head shots. I made my way to the back of the theater where I met the rest of the cast, Bill and five women.

The play was a bit unnerving. It was an almost full house and the subject matter involved Bill being a child molester. Sufficiently creepy.

Some of the audience thought it was funny though I really don’t see how it would be intended to be humorous. The acting was well done though, with some tech things overpowering the lines being said.

After the show I helped Bill get his things together and carried them home while Bill went to the cast party. Took the Path train from Ninth Street and after a wait of a quarter hour I was headed back to Hoboken.

Deserted streets at 10:30 on a Sunday night. Home by 11:00, Bill was home about 45 minutes later. We talked about the play and soon he was in bed, I stayed up a little while later, exchanging messages with a Facebook friend is Los Angeles, whom I’ve never met but reminded me that I am more than my job.

He has a few other friends that are rejoining the workforce and that it’s difficult for them too. Touching that someone who I only know online is concerned for my well being. How fortunate am I to have people like this in my life, both physically and online?

Now it’s getting close to the time I should start moving. It’s cool enough for me to take Bill’s suggestion and go to work, wearing the suit, with a towel and some extra t-shirts.

Have a good day.

Update:
Todays guests at the shop, Al Sharpton, A skank with boobs falling out complaining about how cigars smell and then asking for a job, a Mama’s boy, 2 Rwandan diplomats.

The guy I was supposed to be replacing by August was fired today. That speeds up whatever processes I might have been involved in (which could be a good thing).

Across the Universe

It’s been an up and down kind of 24 hours. Like I may have written earlier in the past week, when I am on my own I find myself in despair. And once again it happened last night, a little after midnight. Just crunching some numbers and found myself a bit upset.

I chatted with an online friend who like my other friends and family was extremely supportive. I also sent out a few applications for work, a little closer to home. Still I went to bed with a heavy heart.

I thought about doing something dishonest and then decided not to, which was good. The dishonest thing would have the potential to bite me on the ass. The reward for being honest was the fact that I wouldn’t be looking over my shoulder all the time.

Bill was asleep while I was going crazy and I soon joined him in our air conditioned bedroom. Surprisingly I slept well.

I woke up and still had the blues and while I showered Bill came in to use the loo. When I came out we talked. I explained the way I was feeling, the fear that I have. I am making less money than before, and that stressed me out.

It’s more money than unemployment but once again I find myself gazing longingly at the past, thinking that at such and such a job, I was making this much. Bill, my rock, reminded me that I will be making a commission which if I play the game right, will help make up for the lower pay.

It’s all about the hustle.

Why is it that other people believe in me a lot more than I believe in me? I am so fucking lucky to have family and friends who are there for me. Some people don’t have that.

Bill sat there and listened as I talked, as I cried. I would love to have a Monday through Friday job, a 9 to 5 job which is what I’ve had for the past 20 years but it’s not that world anymore. And I have to wrap myself around that fact.

I also have to stop looking backwards. My life is not the same as it once was. I won’t be able to take a week off when my sister is in town like I have all the previous years when she came to visit, and now that I can’t I get upset thinking about it.

I was lucky to be able to get 3 days off at least. And that first day Bill arranged for me to take photographs of his band when they rehearse. And also it’s the day before the party so there will be all that running around. It will be catered, pasta and salad. Cash bar.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Bill was great, so understanding, so supportive. A great big hug and his reassurance that he’s here for me. He asked if I wanted to go out for breakfast and I said we could get some bagels and come home but he wouldn’t hear of it. I also expressed that I was upset that our neighbors Mike & Nicole had to move away. I know they had to do it, it’s all for the best, but there’s been so much change in my life this week.

I couldn’t even buy the paper this morning as a way to avoid the bad news that keeps coming through.

So we walked over to Stacks Pancake House and had a very nice breakfast. It was good timing since when we were leaving there was quite a line for breakfast. After that we walked to the supermarket where I bought food for lunch at work.

Got to save money and bring my own lunch in, but more importantly, I have to bring the lunch with me when I head off to work and not leave it behind.

Tonight I am off to the Theater for the New City to see Bill in a play. He plays a child molester. Very creepy and I’m glad he’s not a method actor. I wanted to talk to him about what has been going on in my head after the play, but he wouldn’t hear of it.

I don’t know if I could have lasted that long anyhow. Once I talk about what is going on in my head, it starts the process. I suppose it’s true, admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery. Like I said it’s been a rough 24 hours but I have to take things day by day, if not hour by hour, minute by minute.

And I am so grateful that Bill is there for me. I love him so very much.
A halfhearted smile, but a smile nonetheless.

If anyone has any suggestions on how to deal with the retail world, and working for a commission, I would really like to hear about it.

I work in one of these buildings.