Monthly Archives: September 2010

I Want to Stand Forever

Life above the trees. On the fifth floor where Bill and I live, we are above the tree line on our block. No worries about branches coming through. It’s quite windy out so there’s always the threat of dead or weakened branches falling down and clobbering someone.

I had lunch today outdoors at my usual spot on Central Park West, eying the trees above me. It wasn’t raining and it wasn’t too windy but still a few people have been killed in the park by falling branches.

It was a weird day. Didn’t start out that way of course. I was anxious. Calvin was out yesterday and it wasn’t so bad. Today he would be back. I made it to work on time, determined to be ‘cheerful’. I walked into the store, surprised to hear Roots Reggae being played.

I walked by Calvin and said ‘good morning’, walked by Marcus and said ‘hello’. I asked about the music and apparently Martino Basher is a reggae fan and used some of his dough and recorded a reggae CD. It was horribly produced. I would have rated it a ‘D’.

The day was weird in the sense that the other day I was accused of being too silent while working, today it was Calvin playing the role of the mute guy. He wasn’t talking to me. That was fine.

Marcus asked me to fill an order that came in. I filled out the order, the total coming to over $1000.00. As I completed the order I asked Marcus if I should put his name on the sale. He said no. I did the work, I should get the commission. Plus being the general manager, Marcus doesn’t get a commission.

I did my best today, not caring about the commission and wound up selling over $5000.00 worth of goods. Left Calvin in the dust, though it wasn’t my intention and I didn’t care. A couple of rich, drunken Russians came in and dropped a bundle, as did a snooty couple from Barcelona.

Calvin sulked. Sean eventually came in, bringing the energy that a 20 year old young man has. I’m enjoying our relationship since we’ve agreed upon our common enemy. Calvin spent some time later in the afternoon rearranging the schedule since now there is a replacement for Raymond.

Some bloke named Bradley. When Calvin came back out he was quite chatty. Sean hipped me to the fact that Calvin likes to drink and after a few under his belt his whole mood changed and asked me what I thought about Marton Basher’s reggae debacle.

I explained that it was so badly produced and played him If DJ Was Your Trade, a Blood and Fire Records compilation. Deep, heavy dub from the 1970’s. Calvin said he loved it and was really getting into it. I also mentioned that Mick Hucknall from Simply Red loved Dub so much that he co-created a label to release these platters again.

And soon after that Calvin went home, leaving Sean & I to mind the store. It was a fast 2.5 hours. And a walk from the cigar shop to the bus terminal, from Sunshine Superman to Cherchez La Femme to I Feel Love, taking me 18 minutes, 32 seconds.

Not my best time, but somewhat leisurely, if 2 minutes can be counted as leisure.

I also stopped by and saw Julio & Stine. Stine made some meat sauce and had extra. She feels I am getting too thin and Julio commented that my suit looked big on me. I am happy and will reheat the meat sauce tomorrow since now it’s too late.

I Throw My Toys Around

So tired again. Been a long day but not such a bad day. Calvin was out and that made all the difference. He wasn’t missed. Not by me, not by Don and not by Sean.

Things went smoothly and I did not have to listen to his crap jazz all day long. I did not have to listen to his nervous laugh after almost every goddamned thing he says. Oh how a punch in the throat is called for when that nervous laugh is heard.

And it didn’t rain today. I had a nice breakfast, some coffee and as part of my morning routine, sent out resumes. Macy’s? Unloading trucks for the holidays? Sure, why not? Selling books at Borders? OK! I also went back on my rule not to use Craigslist to look for jobs.

The job that I left after 2 days in February despite Sally Maurice’s freakout, well they’re still looking to fill that position. Makes me feel good to know that I left a bad job at the right time, before I signed anything.

Perhaps it’s a good thing that I’m working a shitty job, since when I started this shitty job I was out of work for so long that I wasn’t prepared mentally, at least not 100%, to go back to work. Now, I feel like I’m ready for anything.

Bill has been incredibly supportive. I can only hope I can be the same for him if and when he needs support.

Still I am tired. As the work day wound down I found myself getting despondent with the fact that I’ll be working with Calvin the next two days, in fact it will be just me and him on one of those days.

Lately I close the store by myself. I have my system, my flow. When Calvin is around I can’t do those things, like put the receipts in an envelope. That has to be done at 9:00, not 8:50 as I sometimes do.

Doesn’t make sense since if there is another sale in those 10 minutes, the other receipts will be put in the envelope anyhow. It’s ridiculous.

But I did contact some cousins of mine with regards to finding new employment. Cousins from both sides of the family. I’ve never asked any family for help in getting a job but times are different and it’s best to throw everything at the proverbial wall and see if anything sticks.

And so the family wall is also brought in.

Even applying to see if I can find work with the USO, but nothing is in the NYC area. Plenty of volunteer opportunities, but I need to get paid. Something has to give. Plenty of resumes out there. Holiday season approaches.

I know I’m not alone in all of this. Lot’s of people are out of work still. If I can find something different, I’d gladly let those unemployed people take my job at the cigar shop, but I would give them a word of advice beforehand.

Like don’t trust Calvin. At all.

from where I sit

I Hope You’re Happy Now

Well today was a fucked up day, and it didn’t have to be. Calvin assumes the lead character, named after vaginal slang. It started out alright. Decided not to rely on the Xanax and started off the day slowly. It was drizzly out again but I was lucky enough that it stopped once I headed out to the bus stop.

Enjoyed a nice cigar while I waited and kept my distance from the sensitive people. Rode the bus in, stared out the window. Got to the bus terminal, and hopped onto the subway, listening to Pylon, Chomp.

Ran an errand when I got off the subway, making me about 5 minutes late. No worries I figured since I am always early. There was Calvin busy filling in a phone order. I got myself together and opened my register.

Calvin had a project for me. He wants me to connect with a store nearby which specializes in shaving accoutrements. Something about having a shave and a cigar. Something that I’d really rather not do.

I did know that Sean knew the guy who ran the shop and started to say that Sean was tight with the guy, when Calvin shut me down saying ‘Sean is stupid. Sean is a part timer.’ Wow. Here is the manager (really the assistant manager, too busy sniffing Marcus’ butt to actually become the manager) putting down a co-worker, calling him stupid. Nice managerial style.

It was off-putting to say the least, enough so that I mainly kept quiet. Raymond mentioned that Calvin always talked shit about people when they weren’t around, and here was Calvin now asking if I was going to be like Don Birch.

Quiet and doing my job, not joshing around like I usually do. I’m sure he calls me ‘the homo’ when I’m not around. He asked if I was alright and I said I had heard from the US State department twice yesterday.

I did.

I applied for 2 government positions and they replied that they received my resume. It was quiet after that, Calvin raking in the big commissions. You can bet that he does not make a 1/3 of 1% commission. I windexed glass.

I’m out of the commission competition business. I just don’t care. It was loud crap jazz music all day at the shop. I made it to lunch and told Bill what was going on in the shop. He was surprised to say the least. Before I went back to work, I took a Xanax.

Sean was in by that time. I eventually told him what Calvin said. That caused Sean to keep making jokes about how stupid he is. Every little mistake that he made, he blamed it on being stupid.

Calvin stole a customer from me. Right from under my nose. I rang up some pricey cigars and Calvin added a lighter to the bill, removing my name and putting his name in my place. I took refuge with Sean in the humidor.

Marcus made it back to the shop in the late afternoon. Apparently, the shop next door was complaining about the smell of cigar smoke. So some technicians came in to check the air while Marcus smoked a cigar in the back room and Calvin rimmed his ass.

They were going to the Carnegie Club to have cigars afterward and who knows what else. Sean and I closed the shop, friends again, now that we have a common enemy. Calvin. Starts with a ‘C’.

My Ernie

His Bert

I Almost Had A Weakness

Here is a recap of sorts. Had off yesterday, Sunday. Had a dream before waking up, where I was in Lodi, in the house that I grew up in, or more likely in the backyard with the family dog, Bojo. Bojo was not really himself.

Looked like the beagle terrier mutt that he was but he was happy and without of of the neuroses that the actual Bojo had. He was pleasant to be around, like a dog you see on TV. That’s how I woke up.

Yesterday was the day off. Laundry done and not much else. Just farted around. I went out for a bit but it was drizzly and decided to come home after returning The Lovely Bones DVD to the bibliothèque. It was not the laugh riot that I expected.

Actually I was not expecting any laughs, I knew what was going to happen and I wasn’t much in the mood for child rape and murder. Call me old fashioned. I actually rented it since the score was by Brian Eno but most of the songs were songs that I already had.

From what I gathered, the last song in the movie was a piece from 1973 and updated for the movie, but I didn’t get that far and figured the movie would be on cable eventually. I watched Boardwalk Empire but feel I enjoy it more when Bill is watching it with me, and he wasn’t home.

He was home in time to watch Mad Men, but didn’t see the whole thing, going to bed midway through. I eventually joined him around 12:30 and tossed and turned for an hour. Couldn’t fall asleep.

Couldn’t help but think of other jobs that I had. When I go on interviews, no matter what I usually freeze at the end, when they ask me if I have any questions for them. ‘Do I look fat in this?’, turns out to be not such a good question.

Nor is asking if their gender reassignment was an easy process to go through. I did come up with some valid questions, such as, ‘How many people are in the firm?’ ‘How many people will I be supporting?’ And my favorite, ‘What’s for lunch?’

Bill was out again this morning earlier than I was. It was pouring rain outside, which made for good sleeping in weather. I bargained with myself and got 15 extra minutes. Got up listening to Ben E. King singing ‘Stand By Me’.

I took that to be a good sign as I walked to the shower after making some coffee and pouring out a bowl of cereal. When I walked back in the bedroom, the Fabs were singing All You Need is Love. Another good sign I hoped.

Soon I was out the door, happy that it wasn’t raining just then. Everything was wet. Onto the bus and out into the terminal, down the stairs and onto the subway platform where a guy was playing I Me Mine. Not your every day Beatles song you hear busking.

I gave him a buck and hopped onto the train. When I got off at my stop, it was pouring out. No place to hang around before heading in, so I went in. The usual characters, the usual paranoia.

And since it was raining I had to spend my time indoors, in the cigar shop, which wasn’t so bad after all. I had my nose buried in a book but was drawn into a conversation about the state of pop music today.

It was agreed that hip hop doesn’t have much of a shelf life.

yesterday's me

I Wish I Were Blind

Another splendid day. Things just keep getting better and better. Makes all the whining about the job seem pointless. Bill was on his way home when I woke up so there was no good morning kiss when I woke up.

I showered and had coffee. Not enough milk for cereal, but no worries. Love love love cools down a cup of hot coffee enough. A shower, some email and then Bill walked through the door with more love and bagels too.

A nice walk to the bus stop, sunny morning pleasant enough. The loveliest bunch of commuters on the bus, some wearing my favorite sports team t shirts and jerseys, god bless those New York Yankees.

In Manhattan, a walk up the avenue, handsome and good looking people eating brunch. Even the homeless people looked fabulous. Cute little dogs pooping and pissing wherever they want was adorable. I stopped by the farmers market again, buying cookies which I decided once again to keep to myself, not sharing with my co-workers.

They just give so much, but I decided to hide them away. It was Don and Sean again. Don was in good spirits really and Sean was suffering from a hangover. He had gone out with Raymond and a few other people last night and being 20 years old and quite stupid, was suffering from a hangover.

He spent the day as expected, staring into space and doing as little as possible. I tried to engage him, get him to do things to help pass the time but he was incredibly reluctant to do anything.

He did ask me to pick up cigarettes for him in NJ since they’re half as much money and bring them into the city, but there was no incentive to do it. And I think he’s a little turd. Carrying packs of Newport 100’s as a mule just wasn’t going to cut it.

Don and I did have a laugh about the fact that about 25 years ago, the only people that smoked 100’s were women. Now it’s all thugs and thug wannabes. Of course it was a different world 25 years ago, and better in one sense that Sean wasn’t born yet.

A chat with Annemarie was brief with unease on both sides. It was upsetting on my end and so much so, that though I decided not to have a Xanax since neither Calvin or Marcus were in, I took one. Took the edge off of things once again, but then again I had to deal with Sean.

The 19 year old that he’s fooling around with was hanging around the store, keeping her invalid boyfriend company before he sent her away, opting to fall asleep in the back room. For some reason I continued to try to engage Sean, suggesting that he do things, take a walk around the block, get some fresh air and even suggesting that he leave work early, claiming sickness.

No, staring into space was the thing to do in his case, perhaps praying to the god who’s rosary beads are tattooed on his forearm. Praying and perhaps complaining about how bored he is certainly didn’t pass the time.

Calvin and his wife and kid stopped by the store, on their way to a jazz concert in nearby. Subjecting a child to jazz just sounds so cruel. Don was too busy being invisible and once he left at 7:30 I did my best to stay away from Sean as much as possible.

Stayed in the backroom while he looked at his shoes in the front of the store. Counted the money in the safe a few times as well, and put all the presidents faces in the same order.

It’s humorous, Sean is trying to get a job at Coach, the high end whatever store. He asked me a week or so ago if he could put me down as a reference. I agreed, willing to help.

Lately, I wonder what I would say if I get a call for a reference. Perhaps I could say I was an adviser to him by court order for a shoplifting charge. Sure it’s a lie, but then again so are parts of this entry.

I blame it all, on those nights on Broadway.
And no entry tomorrow.

I Don’t Care

Oh it was quite a lovely day. The sun came up and Bill kissed me goodbye once again. He was looking quite nice in his work attire. From out of nowhere a puppy dog came running in and licked his face, then an hour later that same puppy dog ran in and licked me awake before vanishing into thin air.

I made some excellent coffee and fixed myself a bowl of Lucky Charms before stepping into the shower. It was a wonderful shower, one of the best ever. I think in the history of indoor plumbing, you would be hard pressed to have a shower as utterly fantastic as the one that I had this morning.

I dried my hair and got into some clean underwear and sat and had some coffee and ate my frosted moons and marshmallow clovers and read the bible. Such a good book it is. Read some emails after that and watched the Today show where Al Roker and Barbara Corcoran talked about some really fabulous real estate throughout the country.

Property that is exquisite and that I hope to own someday. It was uncanny, how did they know I desired a mansion in Greenwich, CT with a man made pond so near the horse stables? Uncanny. I soon donned my gray flannel suit and headed out to the bus stop.

A foggy day to start out with, but the sun promised to come out and shine shine shine. And it did. I walked to the subway, smiling at my fellow riders and got off at my stop. I was early so I sat in the shadow of a skyscraper and talked to Bill for a few minutes on the phone.

Soon I was skipping over to the cigar shop, greeting Don who was behind the register. Marcus and Calvin were in the middle of an interview with a amiable young man and the next interview, another amiable young man paced around the shop waiting for his turn at bat. Young amiable man exited and the second took his place.

I rang up sales with Don and the day was progressing nicely. About 45 minutes later the second interviewee left and Marcus and Calvin hunkered down in the the office while Don and I competed for that 1/3 of 1% commission.

Things were progressing nicely when Calvin came out and told me to go to the humidor and do the work that Sean was supposed to do yesterday. That took me out of the running for the commissions, allowing Calvin who more than likely gets more than 1/3 of 1% commission to get whatever I would have earned, but at a lesser rate.

So I was off the floor doing a part timer’s job (Sean will be in tomorrow, probably too busy cleaning his nails with an exacto knife to to the job himself) So Calvin decided to move me off the floor. I didn’t care really. I even told Don that the 1/3 of 1% commission is bullshit and didn’t care for it anymore.

I was able to head out for lunch allowing Calvin to take his 2.5 hour lunch/smoke a cigar/have a drink break. I spoke with Bill again but he was rushed since he was trying to leave his job early so he could drive to Atlantic City again.

I made it back to work and went back into the humidor. Where I usually pick out most of the music in the store I decided to let Calvin have his way and listen to that dead music, that jazz. He left the shop about an hour after Don and finally I played some music made in the past 5 years by living people.

I left the store, not caring about much at all, and now here I am, caring even less.

I’ve Seen the Saucers

Man I really don’t want to write tonight. Not much to write about. Work, blah blah blah. Bill sleeps in the next room. The TV is on, Keith Olbermann bellowing. Sent a few more resumes out today.

Was able to leave the cigar shop and have an hour to myself, sitting on a bench by the park. It’s always the same isn’t it? Right now I sit, listening and posting videos from Scritti Politti on Facebook.

Occasionally my day focused on the job I used to have at Putnam Lovell as well as Bio-IB. Putnam Lovell because it was really a good job before it went south. I inadvertently got out of there at the right time.

They were trying to get rid of me, but I actually left and wound up at Wolff Olins for 9 months. In those 9 months at Wolff Olins, I did get to see Scritti Politti live at the Bowery Ballroom.

That was splendid and foolish me, I should have stayed a little while longer at the show to shake Green Garstide’s hand. Or at least polish Rhodri Marsden’s eyeglasses. But I had too much too drink, too much of that black beer. Still however skewed my memories might be, I do recall having a good time.

Thinking about Bio-IB was mainly since the United Nations is in session and all the figureheads are in town on the east side. That was generally a good time, hectic with streets blocked off but interesting and somewhat exciting all the same.

I did get in touch with Greg Stevens a week or so ago, asking if he had any employment leads. He didn’t but told me Vivek had started working at a new company I sent Vivek a text message wishing him well and fishing for a job offer. No response from him.

I guess the scheme of selling boxes preloaded with movies to Asian Indian hotel and motel owners along the east coast fell by the wayside. Haven’t heard from Harpy lately. I blew up at him when I was feeling vulnerable and the next day apologized for it.

Oh well, perhaps he’s doing his William Holden imitation. Where is his Stephanie Powers when he needs her? Maybe he’s doing a Marie Provost act instead since William Holden was too butch and Harpy could have probably filled Marie Provost’s shoes better.

Oh how the past haunts me. Much more than the present I might add.

I received $100.00 from Google as a way of saying thanks for using Ad Sense on this here blog. But I don’t use Ad Sense so the $100.00 card is worthless, unless I am in dire need of a bookmark. Actually it’s no good since it expired on September 3rd.

So a bookmark it is. It was supposed to help me attract more of the visitors that I really want: loyal visitors who keep coming back. And according to Google Analytics, I do have some loyal visitors. Mainly in New York but on the other side of the country as well.

They keep coming back for some reason. They never write though. They’re just numbers I guess. That’s right, you are just a number. Don’t take it personally, even though it might be odd.

I Don’t Know What to Do with My Life

Well here it is Tuesday forme, Wednesday for you. Not much I can do about it. Not much I can do about anything. I’m in the same boat as a lot of people and as far as I can tell, we are all pretty much miserable.

At least I have Xanax to get me through the day. Others use booze, heroin, whatever may be handy.

The latest twist in the saga of working retail, is that next month, I’ll probably have to participate in Monday Night Football. Not playing it, not watching it, just having to be in the store while the game goes on.

And if there is any one sport that I don’t like, it’s football. I already plan on having a good book to read and I’ll likely be writing at the cigar shop and posting it when I get home, which should be sometime around 2:00 in the morning.

I certainly wasn’t asked, but the new schedule is out and one of those games is on my late shift. I’m not happy about but who the fuck cares? I have a job don’t I? So shut up and stop complaining.

Still I continue to look elsewhere for work, hopefully getting out before the holiday rush, but no one is hiring. No word from CVS, Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts. And no word from that guy Ian who offered me a job last month.

Perhaps he’s a flake. He did say I should hear something mid- September or by the end of the month and that is rapidly approaching.

Work was the usual stupid nonsense. Redundant? Perhaps. The ride to work was more of the banal. Sat there at the bus stop as the 10:15AM rolled past me, opting for the 10:30 bis instead. It wasn’t a crowded bus, still some familiar faces got on.

No Angie Baby, but the tattooed guy from the summer walked on board. His birth date is tattooed in a digital manner and it surprisingly matched the small tea cup saucers embedded in his earlobes.

I got off the subway with about 25 minutes to spare and just sat on a bench across from the cigar shop. The Xanax had kicked in so I didn’t really care much. It was Marcus, Calvin and Don with Sean coming in after school.

Some of the regulars floated in and out of the cigar shop and stationed themselves in the back room. Since Don was on the shift, I was able to leave the shop for my lunch hour for the first time in days. It really made a difference, to be able just to go outside instead of looking at the same four walls I would be stuck with for ten hours.

I wandered over to yet another bench by the park, had a cigar and read some of the New Yorker. I miss having a camera. I have a cellphone camera, but it’s definitely not the same thing.

I left the shop, around 9:13 tonight and to my surprise it was pouring out. I never see the weather outside. Still I plugged in the second half of the Buzzcocks, A Different Kind of Tension. Mainly heard I Don’t Know What to Do with My Life, Money, Hollow Inside, and A Different Kind of Tension.

By the time I got to the bus terminal, I Believe came on and since that is a 7 minute song, I’ll round the time to 17 minutes and 15 seconds. Probably would have been shorter, but it was raining after all.

That’s about all I have to write about. Bill is sore after training with a physical trainer.

I Am the Cosmos

Written at work. 25 minutes to go. Xanax seems to help. Had to increase the dosage from half a tab to a whole tab. I’m working solo. Just counted the safe surreptitiously.

Usually one person mans the front and whomever counts the safe is safely hidden in the back. Well being the only person I did the counting with an ear for the chime that rings whenever someone breaks through the electric eye.

Last night I had a talk with Ray, a friend of Pedro’s I’ve known Ray for a while and though we’re not as close as he and Pedro, we do look out for each other.

Now written back in Hoboken.

Ray was a bit of a runaround back in the day but lately he’s been posting very positive messages on his Facebook page. Probably since he’s settled down since he now has a daughter that he may have seen some light causing the philosophical change of life.

I sent him a message the other day, asking him about his job. Turns out he’s been working at a boutique hotel in midtown. We spoke last night at midnight. He mentioned that there was a management takeover and some heads rolled.

He got my hopes up saying that there maybe a front desk position or a position taking reservations. It was a good talk and I hung up and went to bed feeling somewhat optimistic. Slept rather well too. No dreams that I can remember, but I haven’t had cannabis freed reams in a while.

Ahh the joys of self medicating. Bill was up and out by 6:00AM, leaving me to sleep until 8:30 when I eventually stirred. It wasn’t the usual 8:00 today and it hasn’t been for a week or so. I try to get as much sleep for myself lately.

Nice breakfast, the usual- coffee and cereal after a nice shower. Some time spent checking emails, drinking coffee and finishing up a cigar that I had started last night. It was so good that I even smoked it walking to the bus stop.

And since I wasn’t done with it, I let the early bus go by and waited for the second bus. I’ve written before that I haven’t been reading much at all on the bus headed into the city and I just zone out, staring out the window wondering how long Troy Towers will be precariously located on the side of the Palisades.

A trip through the Lincoln Tunnel, depositing me at the bus terminal where I walked through to the subway, taking routes that irrational people take. To my luck whether good or bad, the train was approaching the station as I stepped onto the platform and soon enough I was back in front of the store.

It was Marcus, Calvin and myself. I would be working with Calvin, effectively making me a prisoner of the store for an entire 10 hours. Due to their ineptitude I am not able to leave for my hour to myself. So I sat in the backroom, trying to bury my nose in a book.

Unfortunately the closet case opera singer came in with some of his buddies (who don’t know that the chubby old money dowager empress is in the closet) swishing his way about despite a false front of machismo. He has a son, he can’t be in the closet!

Still it’s not my place to out someone from their ample sized walk in closet. The day mainly passed by without incident. Calvin split at 7:30 and I was there, solo until 9-ish. My friend My friend stopped by and it was good to see him.

Perhaps the only bright spot in a dismal day.

I Like It Like That

It’s been an intense 48 hours. And I had off from work but still work, or the concept of work, specifically the cigar shop crept into my life. As you may read what I have written in the past, I’m not happy working at the cigar shop.

It’s certainly taken it’s toll. I know, you’re reading this and probably thinking, ‘what a whiner’. And maybe it is whining. But I’m despondent. Despairing even.

At the cocktail party at Rand and Lisa’s where I of course explained how unhappy I’ve been working at the cigar shop, telling them about the bomb scares, how I feel I am working in a target zone, they were sympathetic.

I even discussed with Lois’ husband Fred, working at the supermarket.. He makes even less than I do now, and feels the spot is managed by assholes. So basically it was not suggested that I work there. Lisa works at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken and told me she would keep an eye out for me if something popped up.

A few vodka tonics and everything was fine. Came home and went to sleep. But when I woke up, the last dreams I had were concerning work, leaving me to wake up feeling there was no escape from the cigar shop, even when I am sleeping.

It certainly tainted the rest of my day.

Things did get a little better later on when I was in the supermarket buying milk. I heard a voice behind me telling me that I should buy the organic milk. I ignored the voice at first and when it was repeated I turned around and saw it was Ira Kaplan.

It was good to see him. I hadn’t seen him since before the holidays last year. I asked him how Yo La Tengo were doing and he mentioned that they were about to go on a tour of South America. I asked if they needed a roadie and he said they didn’t, and in any event it would involve a lot of hard work.

But, it was good to see Ira. I asked about Georgia and he said she was doing well. I always liked Ira, I never had any problems with him. Plus he always got my jokes, no matter how obscure they might have been.

Singing ‘Papa John Creach’ to the tune of Madonna’s Papa Don’t Preach is what springs to mind. We were having such a nice chat that I even followed him to the check out even though I wasn’t done with my shopping.

I came home and did some job searching which caused more despair. Bill was napping and before he napped I suggested that maybe we could take a walk around Hoboken when he woke up. He said maybe and when he woke up he told me he had to go to a meeting in the city, so no walk for us.

That left me with the blues. I watched Zombieland which was alright. It had a few surprises, and some pretty stupid plot points. I still think Jesse Eisenberg reminds me of a younger Ira Kaplan, but that may be residue from Adventureland which Yo La Tengo did the music for.

I made myself a nice dinner for the first time in weeks, penne, pesto and chicken again and enjoyed it greatly. Even posted it on Facebook which some friends liked.

After dinner, as I wallowed in my blues and despair, I got a phone call from Bill. He was on the bus and asked if I needed anything from the store. I told him if he was going to the store sure, but no special trips for me.

He asked if I wanted a pizza and I said I just ate. It turned out that he ordered one already. It was funny since when I was growing up, on Sundays my family would have dinner at 2PM on a Sunday afternoon, then in the evening we’d have pizza, and I was thinking about that earlier in the day.

I told Bill, that I would more than likely find room for some pizza. And I certainly did when he came home and the delivery arrived shortly thereafter.

I took half a Xanax before Bill called and after that phone call, came the call from hell. Really. It was Harpy.

“Why do you always have penne, pesto and chicken? Why do you think you work in a target zone? LADY CAPS LOCK said you wrote ‘Fuck retail’ on your Linked In status. Why do you sound so bitter?”

Oh my gods. Here was one of the most bitter cantankerous people on the planet complaining about me being bitter. I couldn’t take it. Any good feeling I had from talking with Bill on the phone had dissipated listening to Harpy who didn’t even sound like he was half in the bag, not even two sheets to the wind.

I couldn’t take it and let him know. I usually just let him prattle on, but here was the second person in a few days not being very sympathetic when I really needed some sympathy. It was almost like my father used to say- ‘If you’re looking for sympathy, it’s in the dictionary next to syphilis.’

I got off the phone with Harpy after angrily telling him to go fuck himself. Then I went to Linked In and saw my status saying ‘Between jobs, between worlds’ something I wrote soon after I lost the last job. I couldn’t resist and called Harpy up saying that “LADY CAPS LOCK is a fucking idiot and so are you for believing her!”

Of course I don’t think they’re idiots, but I was hurt and felt kicked and picked on when I was really at a low point. The other half of Xanax was then inserted into my mouth. But it couldn’t act fast enough, since I watched Boardwalk Empire and could not get into it because of the anger I was feeling.

Totally forgot about Mad Men (perhaps too close to home since I was still quite mad) and we watched Freaks and Geeks. Bill was off to bed and I stayed up stewing until the other half a tab kicked in. I went to sleep, telling Bill in his sleep apnea mask that I loved him so much.

And I do.

He’s been there for me lately when it seems no one else is. And that is one aspect of love, that I love. My mantra is shot to hell by the way. Saying ‘at least you have a job’ really means nothing when death sometimes seems like the only viable option.

And no I wouldn’t do that. It’s a selfish act and I am not selfish. Nor would I hurt those people in my life that really and truly care for me. I’ll keep running for the shelter of mother’s little helper.

Today was a bit better. I woke up to find a message on my computer screen- “Happy 10th Anniversary Baby!! I love you very very much! Ya d’oh!” Yes, today is our 10th anniversary. I thought it was tomorrow, but tomorrow is the anniversary of my father’s death.

I sent Bill a message in return, “I love you, oh yes I do. From the morning to the evening, Oh I do, so love you. Happy 10TH Anniversary my Sweetheart. Ya big!”

I did see Stine with Alexander briefly. They were coming in as I was going out. He’s been playing ‘shy’ with just about everyone and he did it with me. I asked Alexander for a kiss and he turned his cheek to me. Stine says that he doesn’t kiss anyone lately, but will turn his face for a peck on the cheek. He’s so much like his father in that regard.

I ran some errands and cooked some eggs for breakfast and read the paper. Dropped off the Big Star compilation at the bibliothèque as well as Zombieland. I did pound the pavement in Hoboken. Went to CVS, Rite Aid, Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts, applying for work in each store. Of course, each store told me to go online and fill out the application.

I feel if I’m going to be miserable working retail, I might as well be miserable close to home. The 40k salary that I was pursuing is fading fast from view, so working for 8 or 9 dollars an hour seems the way to go.

And I did get a haircut today. My barber, Tony is still out with a broken arms and I had his replacement Dora cut my hair. She cut a mole on the back of my neck, didn’t trim my eyebrows, nose or ear hair nor did she try to cut the gray hairs out of my goatee.

She did find the time midway through cutting my hair to reply to a message on her blackberry. And it was about a 20 minute haircut, where Tony would have me in his chair for 45 minutes.

I won’t be seeing her again and intend to tell Tony’s son Nick about it. Guys on death row would probably avoid having their last hair cuts from her as well. She was horrible and I would have preferred getting my hair cut from Benjamin Barker.

I want to live with Bill, surrounded by Morning Glories.

I’m the Man

Well I am writing this on a Sunday though I will post it for Saturday. Once again I woke up in a positive mood which was surprising. I said out loud, ‘positive positive positive’ with the hope that by saying that I would be able to maintain the mood throughout the day. It was a noble effort.

I showered and had some coffee and cereal and was getting ready when Bill walked through the door. I didn’t think I would see him until today (Sunday) but there he was with bagels in the bag. Unfortunately I didn’t have time for a bagel.

I headed out the door to the bus stop, stopping by the library dropping off some CD’s that I had taken out. I lit up a cigar that I started the night before and waited for the bus, staying far enough away from other people waiting for the bus, but still there was one woman who started fanning the imaginary smoke from her face.

I was about 30 feet away from her and it was breezy but all it takes is the power of suggestion. Seeing someone with a cigar immediately puts up the ‘I’m offended’ attitude. I didn’t care and she walked away, missing the bus that she was waiting for.

The bus ride was as usual, uneventful. A walk up the avenue to the store, avoiding the subway since it runs on quite an erratic schedule, stopping by the farmer’s market to buy some organic chocolate chip cookies. I usually share them with my co-workers, but I decided to be selfish.

I was working with Sean after all and Sean does as little as possible and therefore wouldn’t earn any cookies from me. Don Birch split as Soon as Sean came in. I did talk with Don Birch about My Friend, My Friend the other day and according to Don, whatever was said was squashed and forgotten.

Sean and his 20 year old thuggish indignation was the only one with a problem with it. A problem that was not his to begin with. It was just me and Sean and Sean almost immediately sat in the humidor not doing anything at all.

It promised to be a long day and it certainly was. Another day where I was being held prisoner against my will, not having the chance to leave for my lunch hour due to the horrid managerial ways of the cigar shop.

I had a late lunch and did smoke a cigar, talking to 2 customers who were rather intelligent, which is rare when compared to the usual carbon based life forms that frequent the shop. But my lunch ended, and it was back to standing behind the counter while Sean cleaned his fingernails with an exacto knife, when he wasn’t staring into space.

He’s trying to get a job at Coach and asked if he could put me down as a reference. I said sure, but if they call, I don’t what I would say. I could build him up and get him out of my life (I defriended him on Facebook as well), or I can tell the truth and say that he’s a do nothing, know nothing type and continue to have to deal with him.

One of Calvin’s friends came into the shop near closing, buying a few cigars. He almost bought some overpriced cufflinks, but was a bit shocked to find that the discount that Calvin arranged for him was only 10%.

He mentioned that he would have to have a talk with Calvin about that next time he sees Calvin. This scumbag has a ton of money, yet feels he is being slighted. What an asshole.

The store closed and Sean was on his way somewhere. I didn’t care enough to ask. I made it to the bus terminal listening to Public Enemy which was a mistake since I found it irritating rather than inspiring my swift pace. I did make it to the bus on time and sat near the front.

I was getting off the bus to go to Rand & Lisa’s for a cocktail party. I didn’t really want to go but since I said I would, I was committed.

As the bus approached my stop, I decided to roll a cigarette. A heavyset woman sitting diagonally immediately saw what I was doing and stared at me, wearing her Mickey and Minnie Mouse blouse. I stared right back at her, not breaking my gaze when she asked if I had a problem.

I said, that I didn’t have a problem and wondered why she was fascinated with what I was doing. She said I was staring at her first and that was a lie. I can always tell when someone is looking at me.

I said ‘Well Mickey, you seemed interested in what I was doing so I just decided to find something to look at around you.’ ‘I’m not Mickey.’ ‘OK Minnie Mouse, it’s the same thing.’ She muttered under her breath and I said ‘Yeah yeah yeah, you’re boring me.’ She pulled out her cellphone to call someone and I took her picture.

I walked over to Rand and Lisa’s after that where Lois and Fred were seated on the couch. I settled in and had a vodka tonic and wound up having a better time that I had anticipated. Good to have good friends around like that to take my mind off my problems.

Feeling good today, no hangover to speak of. About to go out for the papers at 1:30 in the afternoon. That’s about it. I was supposed to have dinner with Bill and his friend Theresa, but she backed out, so a Sunday in Hoboken and only Hoboken is good enough for me.

I’ll Work For Your Love

Man am I tired. It’s been a long day and the last two hours I was on my own. It was fairly busy too. Thanks to Calvin’s inept scheduling and Marcus refusing to get someone to help out for a few days until we get on our feet, it was a monstrous day.

Raymond would have worked with Don and myself today but since he was let go last Friday, it was down to Don and me.

I really don’t know how much longer I can take working at the cigar shop. I’m exhausted all the time, the hours suck, the pay sucks and trying to get 1/3 of 1% commission is ridiculous. And I don’t like who I am becoming.

I resent a lot of customers and hold a lot of people in contempt. I had some words with a customer about taxes. Some idiot saying that taxes were so high due to pension plans. I mentioned that taxes were needed to maintain roads and for education. He scoffed at that and I said in turn that I didn’t really give a shit if the roads fall apart since I don’t drive.

Even though I was unemployed and broke most of the time, I was happier then than I am now. Really, if any other job offer came through I would more than likely jump at it. I’d even work for the Susquehanna Investment Group if they would ask. I’d even hawk Sally Maurice’s Cafe Press items if there was an offer.

I’m miserable, Don Birch is miserable and even Sean is miserable and he’s 20 years old and knows nothing. And Marcus and Calvin, ineptly playing the role of management have not a clue.

My mind is so scrambled right now. When I was closing the shop, at 9:05 there was a knock on the door. Now I was instructed to never let anyone in the shop when it was closed and I don’t let anyone in the shop.

Many a time as I stand there counting money, some knucklehead pleads with me to let them in to buy a cigar. They tell me through the door they know what they want and it wouldn’t take a minute. But no. Once the store is closed it stays closed until I leave.

Tonight, I’m there counting money, about a thousand dollars in front of me. There’s a knock on the door. I look up.

It’s a woman. She says she’s a neighbor of the store. She’s smiling as she says it. I stand where I was and ask what can I do for her. She says she needs help. I ask why. What’s wrong? She says forget it and walks away.

I never saw her before and truth be told I don’t pay attention to most of the neighbors. Some neighbors I do know and speak with on occasion, but I never saw this one before. Perhaps she saw the money in front of me and wanted to get to know the cash better.

Anyway, she certainly didn’t look distressed. I didn’t pay it no mind and when she walked away, all I could do was laugh. When I left the store, I didn’t see her at all. There were a lot of police officers around since there was yet another bomb scare in the area and any one of them could have helped her if she needed assistance.

I also heard from Calvin who was calling in to see if everything was alright. He sounded a bit drunk. His drawl gets thicker when he drinks. He said that Marcus had gone by the shop and said it looked closed.

That was bullshit.

I was in a hurry answering the phone since I abandoned 3 customers in the humidor to answer his drunk dialing. I did try to call him back on my cellphone but he probably saw my area code and decided not to take the call. I didn’t leave a message.

Tomorrow it’s work again for me. I’m working with Sean. Don Birch is playing the Hebraic card once again and leaving as soon as I get in. So that means I have to do most of the work since Sean is usually staring into space or dealing with baby mama drama on the phone, or any of the other chicks that he’s currently trying to fuck.

Please, if there are any leads for work, preferably and 9 to 5 job, Monday through Friday I would appreciate hearing about it.

I’ll Never Fall In Love Again

Well now it’s Thursday. First off, I was able to take a shower. And it was good. It really is a good way to wake up, and with a cup of coffee, what could be better?

I know there are some things that could be better, but I’m not getting into that right now. Plus it’s been a long while since I woke up in that way that I might not be able to recognize what exactly is going on under the covers.

But this morning wasn’t so bad, and of course I went to work with a feeling of dread. I also caught the earlier bus. I must try for the 10:30 bus. I stood there at the bus stop and felt, ‘Better get it over with’ and got on board. And it was a crowded bus.

So I must make an effort to wait for the next bus next time. I did make it to the bibliothèque before the bus where I picked up some items that were being held for me.

A Big Star compilation that I requested earlier in the summer (actually requested April 21) came in and I am presently uploading it as I write this. It’s a 4 CD set and seems to have quite a lot on it. I also got a copy of Joe Jackson’s first album, Look Sharp since a line from Happy Loving Couples floats through my mind from time to time.

And also got a DVD of Zombieland which looks like it could be fun to watch. From Netflix I got A Single Man, which is Tom Ford’s first directing effort. I heard it was good and I also know that that isn’t going to be that much fun to watch.

I got to the store and it was just me and Calvin for a good part of the day, with Sean joining us when he got out of his classes for the day. I wonder if I was as narcissistic at 20 as Sean is. I doubt it. Then again I came from an intelligent family and had some highly intelligent friends around me.

I had a late lunch at 3:45 which was fine by me. I sat on a bench near the park and happily puffed away on a cigar as the humidity rose since a major storm was on it’s way. I read the New Yorker, finally all caught up on the issues.

Came back and found that Don Birch will be leaving early on Saturday since he’s getting in touch with his Hebraic roots. It’s Yom Kippur and he’s decided to observe it. But I think it’s his girlfriend whispering in his ear telling him to take the day off.

So when I get in, he will be leaving. And it will be just me and Kid Narcissus. It should be a nightmare. But I could be happily wrong and it could work out fine.

Tonight it was just me and Kid Narcissus and although it was awkward at first it ended well. The new schedule is out and as per my request, I have October 2 off which is the date that Rand has set for his birthday party.

Rand”s turning 50 this year and it’s a milestone. I’m looking forward to it. I have to go to work the next day but it shouldn’t be so bad.

And tonight, once again I made it from the cigar shop to the bus terminal courtesy of David Bowie and the Earthling album. The first three tracks lasted 16 minutes and 12 seconds.

It’s probably a good thing that I walk alone since it could be difficult for someone to keep up with me.

I Can’t Go For That

Home again. Been quite a stressful day. Started out with me not sleeping as well as I did the night before. Why was that? Perhaps it was a foreboding with regards to the day I was about to have.

Bill had taken half a day from work so he could be here for PSE&G’s visit. Then it turned into a full day since he wasn’t feeling so well. I stepped into the shower and found the water to be cold. Yes, I woke up this morning with the cold water.

Seemed easy enough to fix that and I lay on the cold ceramic tile of the kitchen floor and tried to light the pilot in the hot water heater. 90 minutes later I gave up and was able to rinse my hair and wash my face with some lukewarm water I had put on the stove.

The stove is working just fine by the way.

Bill still sleeping in the bed as I went out the door headed for the bus. Discombobulated despite a few cups of coffee, and inadvertently got on the 10:15 bus when I really wanted the 10:30 bus. No worries I thought as I got on and sat in a seat and stared out the window, as the bus headed into the city.

Did not listen to any music at all, which usually gets me psyched for work. Really, it sometimes works. But not today. Couldn’t find anything appropriate to listen to despite having thousands of songs on my iPod.

Made it into the shop and Don Birch asked if I had gotten a haircut. I explained that I didn’t, it was actually hair gel since I was unable to wash my hair this morning. It was an arduous day at best. My friend, My friend stopped by earlier than usual and was a bit upset that I wrote what Sean had said.

I reminded My friend, My friend that Sean is a know nothing 20 year old father of a 3 year old child and doesn’t know much at all about anything. Still My friend, My friend was upset and felt maybe it would be good if he never came to the store again.

That certainly was not my intention, and tried to let him know that I look forward to seeing him when he comes in and that Sean is an idiot. It was busy enough in the store and it was just me and Don. Sean made a brief appearance, in and out and invisible. Perhaps someone was looking for him for some child support.

I was outside briefly for lunch before heading back, not wanting to leave Don Birch in the lurch. The day moved on. Most people are back from their summer vacations so it was fairly busy, and busy once again at 5:00 when most folk get off from work.

Don is unhappy and looking to get out, I am unhappy and looking to get out and Sean is trying to get a job at another cigar store.

The store closed at the right time, Don heading out early to catch a train to Long Island and see his honey. I headed out and finally listened to some more David Bowie on the iPod and I charged my way through the tourists and the dawdlers on the avenue.

16 minutes, 41 seconds with David Bowie and Queen singing Under Pressure when I walked into the bus terminal, which just about summed up my day.

The latest on the hot water heater. It may be a chimney problem, or the vent from the heater into the chimney. We have hot water right now and the windows are open just in case. The earliest someone can check out the chimney is next Wednesday.

Hope. Boy, was that soon dashed.

I Have Not Been to Oxford Town

Last night was a mellow night. Bill was off at the start of the season, up in Harlem for the Monday night reading series. I was home, watching TV and checking the stove every now and then. No smell of gas in the apartment, proving that Julio was right.

Bill came home midway through Weeds and we both watched the Big C which we both like. More Laura Linney and the doctor and the neighbor. Everyone else…we’ll call you. Weeds was alright. It’s fallen off somewhat.

Off to bed for Bill after that, I stayed up once again to watch whatever was on. Went to bed soon after that and slept well. A deep sleep. Bill was up before me as usual and kissed me goodbye. For once I didn’t have the ‘why the hell is he talking to me right now’ thought in my head.

I woke up an hour or so later, and surprisingly in a good mood. I even said out loud, ‘Be Positive’. I puttered about, took a shower which I couldn’t do yesterday with no hot water. Today there was lukewarm water since Bill took a shower before me. He never does that, he showers at the gym.

It didn’t matter, I still got clean and soon had a bowl of cereal and a cup of coffee. Ran some errands as I headed to the bus, a suit at the dry cleaners and a dropping off of a bad Nicholas Cage movie at the bibliothèque.

Missed the 10:15 bus but I didn’t care, I still had time enough to wait for the 10:30 bus. Got to work on time and it was dreadful. Raymond who whined a lot was missed and not just by me.

Customers have decided to stay away. They didn’t really care much for the store to begin with and Raymond was a factor in their coming in. I came in for some criticism with regards to a customer who was a bit belligerent at first, asking if the back room was open for cigar smoking.

As I was explaining to him that it was he cut me off and asked me to explain it to him, so I said ‘I am trying to explain that to you.’ Marcus heard that and felt I was being rude. Later Calvin mentioned that when I ask people if they are in our database, I sound like a robot and I should change that.

We’re supposed to ask if the customer wants to be in the database to keep track of their cigar purchases (a lot of people forget) and also to inform them of whatever events may be going on at the store in the future. Mainly so Marcus can post his blog to unwilling participants.

Unlike this blog which looks so tasty and tempting at first…

Calvin left around 7:30 leaving Sean and myself to man the store. I like Sean but he’s 20 years old and most of you know what that means. Thinks he knows it all and is unwilling to hear anything different or new. My friend my friend came by, all sweaty after hitting the gym.

He was apologetic about belittling the intelligence of Don Birch’s girlfriend and Sean thought that was too much, calling him a disgusting pervert once my friend my friend left.

Sean was too busy today trying to figure out if he should buy some new clothes, like $1000.00 worth of new clothes from the Banana Repulsive. Never mind that he has a 3 year old son that he doesn’t support, looking fly is what’s important here.

I made it from the cigar shop listening to David Bowie in 16 minutes, 46 seconds.

This chap sat on the bench next to mine at lunch, also smoking a cigar.

Positive me.

I Forgot More Than You’ll Ever Know

Well it’s a Monday and I am off of work today. I was able to arrange it a few weeks ago. Off yesterday for my birthday and today, just in case I had to recover from something. But I didn’t have anything to recover from.

Saturday night came home from the cigar shop and posted. Bill was out and came home sometime after midnight. He said he wanted to come home for my birthday, and he did. Walking through the door with a big bag with a gift wrapped box inside.

I opened the card first and found an iTunes gift card inside. Then I opened the box and found three very nice monogrammed shirts. Really beautiful. Can’t wait to wear the, only wish it was for an office job, and not for the cigar shop.

Still I look forward to wearing them in the cooler weather. They’re all contrasting collar & cuffs and if it gets cooler I won;t have to worry about sweating through them. It was incredibly nice of Bill. We stayed up and talked and watched whatever was on TV.

Around 2:00 I decided to go to bed and walked into the kitchen. I smelled gas and asked Bill if he did too. He said he did. With the explosion out in San Bruno, CA the other day we decided to call PSE&G and let them know about the smell of gas.

They said they would send someone out within an hour. I went to bed and Bill dealt with the PSE&G guy who turned off the gas at 3:00AM.

Woke up and took a shower on Sunday morning not realizing that that was the last of the water in the hot water heater. Bill and I went out for breakfast at Stacks, the pancake house. It was quite crowded with a line of people waiting for tables stretching out into the sidewalk.

We opted to eat at the counter where I met Anthony Cohen who is the owner and Judy who is the hostess. Both know Bill fairly well since he’s taken to eating there when he comes home from his bus driving duties.

It was a great and filling breakfast, better than anything I could have whipped up for myself. A walk to the supermarket for some items with Bill. We sort of had plans to go to the Whitney Museum to see an installation but the weather was dreary and I was still tired and didn’t want to have to head into the city.

Bill was probably a bit disappointed since it was his idea, but when we came home, he was interested in going back to sleep. I stayed awake and watched TV, saw the first half of Up In The Air.

A few hours later, Calvin calls, first wishing me a happy birthday, then asking where the envelope was for the DVD of the Sugar Ray Leonard fights from Friday night. I told him to check the drawers in the back room. Calvin thanked me and since he never called back, I can only guess that he found the disc.

I woke Bill up a little after 4:00PM, getting him up so that we could go to the Hoboken Museum instead. We looked out the window and saw it was drizzling, but when we got to the street it was teeming. We climbed back up the 4 flights of stairs and Bill went into the bedroom to study the lines for a play he is working on.

He’s actually playing Allen Ginsburg. Yes that Allen Ginsburg. And they know that Ginsburg was not a Puerto Rican man of color.

Around 7:00 we headed out to Arthur’s steakhouse, our spot of choice for celebratory dinners. We sat in the front instead of the backroom which I liked since there are no TV sets in the front room.

Came back and watched True Blood and Mad Men. True Blood had some twists and a few cliffhangers, but over all it merely left me whelmed. They will be back for a season four, since the show’s creator, Alan Ball came on and said so at the end of the season finale.

Mad Men was enjoyable and Bill went off to bed shortly thereafter. I stayed up for a while watching TV and thanking everyone who sent me birthday greetings on Facebook.

Woke up and tried to take a shower, forgetting that there was no hot water. It bummed me out and set the tone for the rest of the day.

I really have to thank Bill for everything that he’s done. He’s really good for me and it’s strange to say, but I’d really be lost without him in my life. He really is my rock. He says I do the same for him but I don’t really see it.

He drives me up the freaking wall most of the time when he’s here but when he’s not here, I miss him terribly.

I had some coffee and looked online at the job listings and there is still nothing out there, adding more to my mood. Plus the low key fun I had with Bill yesterday made me miss it and Bill that much more.

I called the landlord and told him about the gas leak and PSE&G. I also left him a message yesterday about it, but he said he didn’t get it. This is the downside to having an absentee landlord.

I texted Julio about taking a shower in his apartment tomorrow morning which got a quick response. He called and asked what happened. I gave him the lowdown and he said that if was slow at work he’d see what he could do.

Julio came by around 7:00 tonight and was going to hook up the pipes so at least I would have hot water since the concept of me showering in his bathroom was too strange for him to contemplate.

He figured out that it was the pilot lights that had gone out and re- it them. There was no explosion, no blackened faces with singed eyebrows. I keep checking every now and then, lighting a cigar and hoping for the best.

When I called this morning, the landlord said he would have his handyman give me a call. The not so handy man called about a half hour ago, nine hours after the landlord told him to call. PSE&G is still scheduled to come by on Wednesday morning, between 8:00AM and 12:00PM.

Bill arranged to take the first half of the day off and I will be here until 10:10 or so. I called the landlord to tell him just that, and that Julio fixed everything once again.

I did watch the second half of Up In The Air and though it’s a good movie, still it’s a bummer. Watching people lose their jobs, it’s not the laugh riot I had hoped for.

I also listened to some the new Arcade Fire CD which Annemarie burned for me and it’s quite good. I recommend it. And I also recommend the Blushing Roulettes and Nick Drake, with once again, special thanks to Anne and her wonderful brownies.

My Boo.

I Threw It All Away

Handwritten in the afternoon.
Well it’s a stressful day and not necessarily because of 9/11. Raymond, a co-worker was fired yesterday and several times today I had to explain ‘What happened to Raymond?’ I am sitting in what is not exactly my comfort zone on a bench by the park, a block or so above where I usually sit.

But it’s my lunch hour and I am glad to be out of the store, if only for 60 minutes. Having a Knucklehead Millennium Toro, a top shelf cigar, almost $30.00 but not really enjoying it much. Tourists walk by talking on their cellphones in different languages. From what I gather, I think I heard French, Hindi and German.

I could use a laugh but none seem forthcoming. Half a Xanax seems to be working it’s way into my bloodstream, so I guess it’s doing it’s job. Having to stay late at the cigar shop last night didn’t or doesn’t help my mood today.

Right now I am across the street from the Society for Ethical Culture, where this seed for this blog was planted 5 years ago next month. Writing seems to have helped my mood but it could actually be the Xanax.

Back to the Cigar Shop in 15 minutes. What else can I say? Not much. Perhaps there will be a response to my semi-desperate request on Facebook, ‘Tell me something good. Really. Please.’ awaiting me.

Better Things by the Kinks plays in my head. I love the song but sometimes it bums me out.

I’m sure the writing is helping my mood. I’ll credit half to Xanax and half to actually writing. I have to pee so I had better get back to the cigar shop.

Now written at home. I peed at the store. I thought I had written more word that what is actually there, but happy my handwriting is still somewhat legible.

The rest of the day went by at an easy pace. The only response to my asking to hear something good came from Andrea, a friend in Asbury Park who quoted Rufus and Chaka Khan, which is what I hoped no one would respond with.

Texted Raymond who said that he started out the day upset but things had gotten better. He also thinks his being fired was a big mistake, but he’s not going to sweat it. I texted back, that the only direction he has to go is up from where he is now. Didn’t say it was going to be easy.

The majority of the customers I had this afternoon were nice enough, just one or two assholes total. If those assholes decided to write an email to Geneva, so be it. I don’t really care.

A quick jaunt down the avenue after work, listening to a playlist I made of favorite David Bowie songs, from Heroes through Queen Bitch, Without You, and Always Crashing in the Same Car, a total of 16 minutes, 10 seconds. Hallo Spaceboy came on when I was strolling through the bus terminal, so I don’t count it.

Came home, bills in the mailbox. No big deal. Now I’m happily distracted by Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

Also happy to not being out drinking. Took me a while to recover from last weekend’s drinking at Maxwells. Had a good time but bouncing back was not easy.

I’m very happy to have the next two days off as I requested. I doubt if I’ll be writing tomorrow, but who knows. A day off from the cigar shop and perhaps writing. Makes for a good 48th birthday.

Smell ya later.

If Dogs Run Free

Well it’s a Friday night and here I am in the cigar shop. Thought I would be leaving early tonight but it seems like that is not going to happen. We’re not playing with a full deck, understaffed as it were. Raymond got the ax this morning.

Apparently the complaint from a customer about being rude was all about him. According to Calvin, Raymond tried to throw me under a bus. But with all the video cameras here in the shop, Marcus and Calvin deduced that that I was the one actually helping the customer and it was Raymond who came off badly with the customer.

The customer who thought he was treated badly did not mail a letter to headquarters in New England but instead wrote a letter to the ultimate headquarters in Geneva. Now with Raymond being on probation since June, this was the final straw. The straw that broke the camel’s back.

Raymond did help throw together an evening of classic boxing and since he’s no longer here I am taking his place which is quite funny since I know barely nothing about boxing that isn’t considered homoerotic. Joyce Carol Oates knows more about boxing than I do.

So I’m just standing around while the guys smoke and drink in the back. Outside the shop it’s Fashion Week and it sounds like a disco. Loud music and girls in fuck me pumps, looking like harlots. Which happens to be the shoes that harlots wear so it works out quite nicely for them I suppose.

I’m rushing through this, trying to get 500 words under my belt. It sucks what happened to Raymond, but what really sucks if what Calvin said is true that Raymond tried to get me fired. I can’t believe it, but right now, What Is Love playing,outside which I always associate with Saturday Night Live.

I did see Mos Def walking through trying to look invisible. It looks like I won’t get home until after midnight, since I also have to clean up this mess after the boxing match. It shouldn’t be too bad since there aren’t that many guys.

Most of the guys who said they were coming were Raymond’s Friends and now that he’s gone, he probably called up and said not to go. C’est la vie. Less mess.

I did over $2500.00 in sales, Calvin did $2300.00. Not bad, but it was very busy for us two.

I have less than 100 words to write. It’s loud outside the shop, sounds like 2 competing DJ’s going at it. Heard Bizarre Love Triangle by New Order and a bunch of other stuff thrown on top of that.

My second cousin Kerry is into fashion night and I suggested stopping by the store if she’s in the area but she’s downtown I believe and in any event I might be in the back of the store smoking a cigar if she shows up. I won’t be able to hear her above the din.

And that’’s over 500 words. Watched two halves of a Sugar Ray Leonard boxing match. One with Tommy Hearns and the other with Kulale from Uganda. After that, Calvin said I can get the food cleaned up and I could go home. Quite happy about that, for now I am home.

Writing this on Bill’s Mac since my computer is behaving quite strangely.
Now I’m back on my computer.

My new hair style

I’ll Remember You

It started out as a good day off. Slept until 9:00 which was quite nice. Didn’t have much to do really. Had some breakfast, took a shower basically.

Some errands to run and also a trip into Manhattan to go to Macy’s and exchange the Star Trek cufflinks that I bought for Bill for his birthday in June. Basically they had fallen apart, at least one of them did.

I Krazy Glued it back together and wrote an irate email to Macy’s customer service about it. To my surprise a customer service representative called me back and arranged for an exchange despite the fact that I didn’t have the original box or the receipt.

So I headed into the city in the early afternoon and wandered around Macy’s, getting different directions to the executive offices from most every salesperson and security guard that I asked. Finally found the offices and spoke to the woman I was supposed to speak to.

She arranged for me to go to the men’s accessories area and speak with Wellington who was able to find a different pair, not the exact same cufflinks that I originally purchased. Still satisfactory since it was still Star Trek.

Then it was the Path train back to Hoboken. Went to the bibliothèque and returned the Andy Warhol biography. It basically ended shortly after Andy was shot in 1968, after the move to Union Square.

Just a brief mention of the 1970’s and his death in 1987 after routine gall bladder surgery.

Picked up 2012, the Roland Emmerich / John Cusack disaster movie about the end of the world. A lot of fun to watch, short on character development since basically a lot of people die throughout the movie.

I loved watching disaster flicks when I was a kid and saw almost all of them when they came out. And I do like the current batch from Roland Emmerich, however dumb they might be. I’m just glad I didn’t pay to see this in the theater. It’s certainly corny as hell.

I stopped by Mr. L’s barbershop by my house. I noticed in the Hoboken Reporter they were looking for a barber/stylist. I wondered what happened and noticed that my barber hasn’t been around. I spoke to Nick his son and he told me that his father had fallen off a ladder while tending to his grapevine.

Missed the last step and took a tumble, breaking his arm. I guess Tony isn’t coming back, since they have a help wanted sign in the window. If only I had known this when I had the idea of becoming a barber earlier this year in my unemployment days.

I would have graduated from the school by now. But then again, I didn’t want to know how to do make up or dye women’s hair, I merely wanted to be a barber.

In an unrelated employment news, I came home and found an email from Raymond asking me to call him at 9:00, when he gets out of work. That can’t be good and I can’t get any info from him until then. I can’t help but wonder if it was anything I did.

Just what I needed on my day off, some work related stress. Maybe it was something that someone else did and he just wants to gossip. Regardless it’s still unnerving and I resent Raymond a bit for this intrusion into my day off.

I just returned from the bibliothèque and dropped off 2012. It was a fast 2 hours to watch and didn’t have enough time to pick up something fun to watch.

Now I have an hour to kill until I call Raymond with whatever news he might have to say. Can’t help but think, I’m in trouble. I’ll fill you all in, once I know.

And now I know. It seems on August 27, some guy came into the store wanting to buy vanilla flavored cigars. We don’t sell flavored cigars and I told him so. Well he thought I was just rude and wrote to the corporate headquarters, complaining about me, describing me.

So maybe I am in trouble, but it’s no big deal. I certainly don’t have the back up that I used to have when I worked for Susan and Lois at Farfetched. No I have a ego maniacal asswipe named Marcus, upset that we’ve only sold one ticket to a cigar dinner at the Grand Havana Room. The ticket is $250.00 and you get a few free cigars as well as a steak.

Even if I had the cash to spend on that, I wouldn’t go. And no one has the cash to spend on that sort of thing. Morale is sinking fast at the store, what with most everyone looking to get out as soon as possible.

From yesterday

I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine

Ugh what a day it’s been today. It started out OK I guess. Nothing really bad happened but at work, that’s where it went down. The day started with me and Don Birch and Raymond and it was alright.

Then Don Birch announced he was leaving early for Rosh Hashanha. He’s not really a practitioner of Judaism, but I think it was his girlfriend whispering in his ear to take off. Marcus was out of the shop as was Calvin, so Don was basically allowed to play the religious holiday card without any interference from management.

That sort of left Raymond and myself alone in the shop, waiting for Sean to come in. Being 20 years old, Sean does very little and isn’t very dependable. Raymond suggested that I stay in the shop for my lunch and that was something that I certainly did not want to do.

I work a 10 hour shift and I do enjoy having an hour to myself out of the shop. When I started it was recommended that I stay in and mix with the customers but that’s not my thing and I don’t like some of the customers that sometimes hang out in the back room all afternoon.

Plus cellphone use is discouraged and I do like to talk to Bill and other friends on my lunch hour.

So I whined a bit and Raymond didn’t like it. I never wrote this before but I will now. Raymond whines all the fucking time. Whine whine whine. And complains constantly. So much so that when I talked about it to Billie in DC back in June, Billie told me that Raymond should be avoided at any cost.

But that isn’t a possibility since it’s a small store and we all interact. Sean did show up and it was slow enough that I left the building for lunch and walked to one of my usual benches by the park to enjoy a cigar.

As luck would have it, the cigar started to fall apart as I smoked it. I decided to head back to the shop and get a new one, which meant that I did have most of my lunch hour in the shop. And as expected I didn’t care for the other customers in the back room.

Pretentious college students this time who actually were putting down the cigar shop and praising the competition across town.

After lunch and it was a cold front between Raymond and myself. He eventually came around, after I talked to Sean about how fed up I am with Raymond’s whining, all the time. Maybe Sean talked to Raymond because Raymond was soon quite apologetic.

After that it was smooth sailing. I stood at my perch in the shop when an older gent came in. I of course offered to help him. In the humidor when I was suggesting cigars I recognized his voice. It was Bill Moyers, formerly of PBS, now retired.

We chatted for a bit and I showed him the cigars that Bill Paley Jr just came out with. Bill Paley Jr is the son of William Paley who started the Columbia Broadcasting System. I told Bill Moyers about this blog, told him the story of how Lewis Lapham got me started.

He was somewhat interested in this blog and asked for the address. I told him I would give him the address, hopefully buying sometime to come up with a more polished piece than this one. It truly was the highpoint of the day and I certainly hope to meet him again.

Forget the day, it was the highpoint of the week. He was much more entertaining and interesting than Steve Winwood.

I and I

I neglected to mention that while working at the cigar shop what may have been an apparition of Rand & Lisa appeared while I was in the humidor. I saw them just for a second and when I finally emerged from the humidor they were gone.

I also spoke to Bill as I ambled my way down to the Path train and enjoying a cigar. He was planning on stopping by the cigar shop to surprise me. The surprise would have been on him since I would have been gone, having left Calvin to close up the shop.

It was a good thing I called and thwarted his surprise visit.

Last night we watched Broadcast News we started to watch This is England which is a good movie, a bit disturbing though. It was too heavy after the wit and banter of Broadcast News. We wound up watching a repeat of Laura Linney in the Big C, then Bill went to bed and I stayed up a little while longer.

Had an interesting dream which concerned me being on Route 875 (which does not exist). Also in the dream was a Nicholas Lattanzio who I once worked with and with the benefit of 32 years of hindsight, turns out I had a little crush on him.

I vaguely knew him when he was in a grade above me in elementary school, and it turned out we both started work on the same day at Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, in the college book department.

He was taken under the wing of Dave Manzo, professional Newport smoker and failed bowler and became fast friends with John Carroll who was quite a funny and intelligent guy who thought I was an idiot. Guess he wasn’t so intelligent after all.

It was a strange dream. No Maria Scarano, Debbie Pless or Paul Rigby sightings in the dream either.

Slept really well and woke up refreshed somewhat. Occasionally the pit in my stomach flares up, bringing back memories of having to go back to school. Perhaps it’s because there’s a school on the corner from my building which brings back that feeling of dread, but it’s more than likely because it is September.

Bill kissed me goodbye once again and I soon roused myself and got into the shower after setting up a bowl of cereal and making some coffee. I usually wait for the 10:30 bus but I caught the earlier bus because it stopped and I didn’t flag it down.

It was the 10:30 driver anyhow and I got on the bus. I was early again for work and sat in the shadow of a skyscraper and killed time. Talked to Bill on the phone for a quick minute before I headed into the cigar shop.

Calvin, Don Birch and Raymond were my co-workers for the day, Marcus making yet another hasty exit. Calvin made a joke or two about my attitude yesterday, mentioning that it was because I had to work on a holiday when it was actually because I had to wake up so goddamned early.

The day progressed nicely mainly because it was a good staff to work with. A quick walk down from the cigar shop to the bus terminal, sans earphones.

I left them at home this morning and though it wasn’t so bad I’d still rather hear Devo ‘Q: Are We Not Men? A: We are Devo!’ than listen to the inanities of people. But even that wasn’t so bad. I did make sure that I will have the headphones tomorrow.

Not going through that again. That sinking feeling.

I Am A Lonesome Hobo

It’s Labor Day. I used to have off on Labor Day but not any more. Insert ‘At least you have a job mantra’ here. Yes yes, at least I have a job. But oh so tired.

Had to get up earlier than usual since the buses were running on a Sunday schedule and I was scheduled to be at the cigar shop at 9:30. Bill was coming in as I was going out and repeated the mantra which didn’t do me any good.

He was home for the day whereas I was going to work. Early. The 9:00 bus would have gotten me to the bus terminal at 9:25. So I had to catch an 8:00 bus which dropped me off at around 8:20.

Decided to have some sort of breakfast in midtown Manhattan. Thought about the Cosmic Diner which used to be at 58th Street and Broadway, now it’s at 53rd and Eight Avenue. I looked at the menu and decided not to pay $7.00 for bacon and eggs.

Instead I walked another block and got a bacon and egg sandwich with a coffee for about $4.00. Still after that I had about 45 minutes to kill. Hardly anyone on the streets besides tourists.

I got to the cigar shop about 15 minutes early and took off my sneakers (it’s a casual day) and put on my dress shoes that I leave at the store for the weekend shifts.

I opened the store before Calvin and Don Birch made it in. Calvin is accustomed to working on holidays that everyone has off and was happy go lucky. He gently mocked my pessimistic attitude which was more in regards to being there so early, not so much the holiday since I had known about it for about a week already.

This part of the day crawled. It was quite slow, not much business going on. No bomb scares, no sanitation depot fires. Just ennui.

I did get a very nice cigar from Jorge Padron, of Padron Cigars. He’s in town for a special dinner tomorrow night and was kind enough to give me a 1926 Anniversario cigar which is quite good and a bit expensive, but free is good.

It was an early day nonetheless. The store was closing at 6:00 and I had an early lunch at 1:00. I called Annemarie who was busy making brownies and burning CD’s for some reason. Or making CD’s and burning brownies.

I came back from lunch, and found that I had all the difficult and pissy customers. Really irritating people who didn’t spend much money. As luck would have it, the next couple of hours flew by, not very fast but fast enough.

Calvin closed the store which allowed me to leave a little bit after 6:00. The sun was still out as I lit up a cigar and opted to walk to the Path train figuring the Lincoln Tunnel would be pack with cars all coming home from the Labor day weekend.

The Path wasn’t too crowded as I thought and listened to The Name of This Band is Talking Heads. The car did fill up by the time we got to Christopher Street and I buried my nose in the Andy Warhol biography.

When I was back in Hoboken I phoned Bill and suggested we order a pizza from Napoli’s since Grimaldi’s have fallen out of favor with us. And we just devoured it. It was quite good.

Now we’re watching Broadcast News which Bill had never seen before. It’s still a good movie and it holds up for me after repeated viewings.

I Have Been in You

Well this is different. It’s a Sunday and I am writing but not about Sunday. About Saturday actually. I planned to write last night, but was sidetracked by Rand’s requests that I join him and Lisa for a drink. He wasn’t taking no for an answer.

I mentioned money and the lack thereof, the need to eat something before eating and he responded that he would pick up the tab. I mentioned the need to write, and the fact that I had to deal with people all day and the thought of hanging out, not so much with my friends, but surrounded by people didn’t appeal to me.

With a final : ) Good night, the guilt was cast and I decided to make an appearance at least. But that was the end of a day filled with oddness.

I rode the bus in as I usually do and since it was a Saturday I walked from the bus terminal to the cigar shop. Stopped in a deli and got an egg sandwich. Made it to the shop early enough to enjoy the egg sandwich and started work soon after that.

It’s a holiday weekend and it did not promise to be busy. Harpy stopped by for a few minutes to my surprise. It was good to see him and I introduced him to Raymond and Sean. Don Birch met him earlier when Harpy came in before I arrived, telling him that I would be in by 11:30.

After about 2 hours we received word that we will have to evacuate the building. A suspicious package was found outside the building. Raymond, Don Birch and Sean got the 2 regulars who were in the back room and got them out.

I locked up the store and we went outside. Hundreds of customers from the nearby stores and the employees were gathered out in the street, and Raymond, Don Birch, Sean and I stood and proceeded to light up.

It turned out the suspicious package was just an empty box and we were allowed to go back in. A few members of the security team came by to thank us for cooperating with the evacuation, one of them telling me that the box was directly on the other side of the wall, which meant if it was an actual bomb we would have been blown to bits.

That was slightly unnerving.

About an hour later I went out to lunch where I found it was quite smoky outside. Most people on the street were looking westward so I did too. I could bare see buildings a block a few blocks away. Sirens going off in the distance.

I made my way to my usual bench by the park and called up Bill who had just gotten home a few hours before. Unfortunately I woke him up from his nap. I asked him if there was anything on the TV but there wasn’t, but he could see the smoke from the bedroom window in Hoboken.

He told me he would call if he heard anything and I went back to reading Mojo magazine. Bill texted a little while later telling me that it was a fire at the New York City Sanitation building by the river. It seemed to be under control as I headed back to the cigar shop.

It wasn’t that busy like I mentioned earlier. Raymond, Don Birch and Sean all did their best to get along without the usual sniping and ball busting that occurs. Don Birch left early leaving the three of us to manage the store for a very long two and a half hours.

I’ve certainly gotten better at closing the store, now taking me about 10 minutes to do the task. I was soon out on the street headed to the bus terminal listening to the Dame’s Station to Station, Golden Years and half of TVC 15, making the hike in about 17 minutes give or take a few seconds.

As I approached the gate I think I saw Abby, the thorn in my side from a few years ago. He fancied himself an Asian Indian playboy, leasing flashy cars, now downgraded to being kicked off the bus since he and his girlfriend did not have tickets and thought they could pay cash, which you can’t do anymore.

I got off the bus at 12th Street and headed towards Maxwells. I expected Rand & Lisa to be on their way but there they were, with Lois by the jukebox. Quite crowded for a sold out show in the back and the look on my face probably registered uncomfortableness as well as being tired.

Lisa gave up the seat she had stolen at the bar and I sat for a Guinness. I thought about eating when I saw a bar pie go by. I saw the guy next to me at the bar eating a pizza and asked him how it was, since I was thinking about ordering one.

He turned and told me that he was enjoying it, but had his fill and offered me the rest of his plate, about 3 slices. How could I resist? I said yes and he slid the plate over. I, in turn offered to buy him a beer which he gladly accepted and which Rand would not allow me to pay for.

Many laughs ensued after that, the gent next to me headed into the back to see the show. Todd stopped by and shook my hand, thanking me for the thank you note I sent. He was happily hectic dealing with the crowd.

I stepped out for a quick smoke, having a mini cigar which I put out before I went in earlier. I talked to Ken the big bouncer outside and wound up giving him the very nice cigar in my pocket. We talked last week about cigars and since I had this freebie I figured I would give it to him.

He was grateful and I headed back in for more pints and laughs. I also threw some money in the jukebox, thinking that if we were going to listen to loud music it might as well be music that we all knew and liked.

Played Jump in the Fire by Nilsson for Lois as well as Wrong ‘Em Boyo by the Clash. Rand remarked at how London Calling was considered so punk and daring when it came out 30 years ago (!) and now today it sounds like a simple rock and roll record.

We soon got the bill which Rand picked up, generously tipping the bartenders, both named Heather. Said good night to Ken the big bouncer as we left and crossed the street against the light.

There was a bloke at the corner waiting for the light to change and he eventually passed us on the sidewalk, telling us that he was Canadian, which was why he waited for the light to change. We promptly joked with him, gently mocking the Canadians, saying ‘eh’ a lot.

His name was Seth and we all introduced ourselves, me saying my name was Pierre Trudeau and pointing to Rand and introducing him as my wife Margaret. He was only in town for a few more days he explained as we parted ways.

We walked Lois home and then saw a guy pissing outside of an apartment building while his girlfriend stood watch. He was mocked by us for his absolute rudeness. A nice parting of ways by Rand and Lisa and myself, me coming home around 1:15.

Too tired, and a little drunk to write, so I decided to do it today which by now, I have done. Off today, back to work tomorrow. Most every other store is closed for the Labor Day holiday, but not the cigar shop.

Lois, a Heather, Rand & me. Photo by Lisa

I Just Don’t Know What to Do With Myself

Oh, it’s Friday again for most. A holiday weekend at that. For me it’s something like a Thursday but I have off on Sunday. Working on Saturday and the Labor Day holiday. The mantra is tired. I am tired.

Last night I was tired enough to go to bed before midnight. At 12:30 I was in front of the computer. At 1:15 I was in bed again. Finally got something resembling sleep, or a reasonable facsimile thereof. At 6:00 I was awake again, with a headache. A dehydration headache.

I got up and had some water and tried to go back to sleep. A little while after that I was searching for aspirin in my shoulder bag. Finally after some more water I closed my eyes again, but the die was cast. There was no going back to the reasonable facsimile despite my best efforts.

I got out of bed around 8:30 and went to the shower. If there was any day to not go into work, this would have been it. But I got it together and prepared for my day. Pretty cranky too. Bill was not going in, and driving to Atlantic City this afternoon.

Around 10:00 I was headed to the bus stop, letting the 10:15 bus go by, instead waiting on the 10:30 bus. Hurricane Earl was not coming after all and it was humid out. Rain was expected at some time during the day, but here it is over 12 hours later and nary a drop to be found.

At work I was early enough to sit in the backroom at the cigar shop to get my head together. I had enough time to call up Bill for some affirmative action and also to remind him to close all the windows before he left, since rain was expected and to be careful driving, for the same reason.

Sean was in the corner over hearing my call and mocked me after I told Bill that I loved him. I had no patience for Sean and laced into him, telling him to shut the fuck up, I had no time for his bullshit and that he was jealous since he had no one on the phone that he could say that he loved.

With little sleep and another day of standing around for 9 hours I certainly wasn’t going to let this mosquito get away with his shit. It shut him down, but still I felt bad an apologized for snapping at him a little while later.

He didn’t care much about what I said and cared even less about the apology, which was heartfelt. He’s 20 years old, so you know what I mean. Let him go to Clifton NJ to pledge a John Jay College fraternity.

Marcus was lurking about being the bugaboo that he strives to be, but after a few little conniptions, Napoleon left the shop and was gone for the day. That left Raymond, Calvin and myself. The day went along on an even keel.

It was fairly busy which kept the mind and body occupied. And the backroom was packed with men and cigar smoke most of the afternoon. Calvin split at 7:30 and Raymond and myself made the best of the remaining 90 minutes, ordering dinner and eating it in shifts.

Thanks to David Bowie and the Lodger album, I made it from the shop to the bus terminal in 17 minutes, 19 seconds. From Red Sails to Repetition.

Yesterday was 16 minutes, 33 seconds courtesy of Oh What A World to Movies of Myself by Rufus Wainwright’ s Want One.

The night before was via the Rolling Stones- Tumbling’ Dice, Rufus Wainwright- Beautiful Child, Talking Heads- Pulled Up the Roots and Medium Medium- Hungry, So Angry in 17 minutes, 8 seconds.

Modern Man In Search of ...

I’m In You

September? It’s not my favorite month. It should be, but it’s the cruelest month for me. It always meant the end of summer, the return to school. Maybe for 24 hours it’s good but those 24 hours are generally fleeting.

Today being the second day of September was especially heinous. I found my co-workers to be irritating. Generally they are OK, but today I found them especially annoying.

Don Birch picking on Raymond. Raymond stealing a customer from right under my nose. Sean being a really annoying 20 year old.

He cornered me and asked me something that he could only ask me about. Seems that he was at his college, talking to some chicks when a guy came up to him and asked him if he wanted to go out. To Sean’s credit, he didn’t flip out.

To me he was obviously stressed. His question? ‘Do I look gay?’

I asked him if I looked gay and he said no. I said that to make a point that gay people come in all shapes, sizes and colors. He seemed somewhat reassured by the fact that he didn’t look gay. I told him he was probably desirable to men and women, but that only confused him further.

I do have to give credit to the guy who walked up to him. That took guts. He was lucky Sean was rather cool headed. Sexually threatened, but he handled it well. The guy should be more careful in who he approaches for a date.

The next time he approaches some guy with whatever line he used on Sean, it might end badly. This is what happens on the campus of John Jay College.

So dealing with those three, Sean, Raymond and Don Birch, was a bit of an onus. Really it wore me down. Lunch was good, time away from the cigar shop. Sitting on a bench by the park and me, happily puffing away on a good cigar.

When I came back it was worse than ever. The day just would not end fast enough. I had the misfortune of having to deal with what seemed to be the daughter of the Bride of Wildenstein. Boob job, face job, lip job. Wanted to buy cigars that women smoke.

It was left to me to escort her into the humidor and show her the cigars that most women buy for themselves. She teetered on her high heels as she talked on her crackberry, asking me if we sold hookahs. I told her we didn’t and she asked how much hookahs cost.

I told her I didn’t know, we don’t sell hookahs. We especially would not sell hookahs to women that looked like hookers. I wrote down two addresses where she might get a hookah. One was at 9th Avenue and 50th Street.

She asked if that was on the west side. She didn’t know she was already on the west side. Then she asked if it was safe for someone dressed like her. She had a scarf and I told her maybe if she covered herself up she should be alright.

So she did that and on her way out asked where she might best find a taxi. She didn’t say it as well as I wrote it but she was out of the store shortly after.

I did my best to avoid Sean and Raymond, just tired of listening to the two of them. I hid in the backroom, counting the safe, then making sure all the faces on the currency were in the same direction. I would have probably put the bills in numerical order if I had the time.

Bald head, bopping in the seat in front of me.