Monthly Archives: March 2011

I Shall Not Be Moved

It’s a drizzly and cold Thursday in the spring, March 31, 2011 to be exact. I woke up and heard the rain as well as some mechanical sounds somewhere in the neighborhood. I did not want to wake up and get out of bed, but still that is exactly what I did. I wasn’t too happy about it but something had to be done.

I stepped into the shower after I set up the coffee maker and poured some cereal into a bowl. 5 minutes later I was drying off and hearing the coffee maker beep, alerting me that the coffee was ready. I shuffled about, getting dressed, checking emails and sending out resumes.

When I was growing up in Lodi, I remember seeing a movie starring William Hurt & Sigourney Weaver, Eyewitness. William Hurt played a smart guy who was happy to be a janitor at night and I thought at that time that being a smart guy while doing menial tasks was good enough for me. It sort of still is, but it’s now almost 30 years later and I’m working retail which is pretty much menial in itself.

It was cold and drizzly when I headed out, and the mechanical sounds I heard were of a tree being chopped down outside the nearby public school. Don’t know why they were doing it, it has been going on around Hoboken on and off the past half year. I didn’t stick around to see the damage done.

I enjoyed a cigar and walked up to the bus stop, talking to Bill on the phone as I stayed far away enough from the bus stop so as not to offend my fellow passengers. I’m probably known as the cigar guy around Hoboken these days. And I probably smell of cigars which I think is fine since that generally means no one will sit next to me on the bus if they don’t have to.

On the bus, instead of looking at the gray gray town of Hoboken through the bus window I read instead Keith Richards autobiography which is actually really good and a lot of fun. I’m sure he used a ghost writer, a very good ghost writer since it flows so easily and it’s quite descriptive, reading about growing up in Dartford, Kent in the 1950’s.

But instead of listening to the Rolling Stones, I listened to the Pet Shop Boys as I walked through the bus terminal. The day was OK at the cigar shack. Marcus was back from his vacation in the Dominican Republic and I hadn’t seen Calvin since Sunday.

It wasn’t that busy but for the first time in a week or two, the man cave was filled, mainly with new people. It was too cold and rainy to go outside and smoke cigars so they stayed in the cigar shack. It was an amiable group, most of the guy fascinated by a young woman who sat there telling her tales of Harlem while smoking cigarillos.

Once again I inadvertently had the top sales and once again it was all in the luck of the draw. In this instance, I merely answered the phone and took a phone order. The store as usual, slowed to a crawl, leaving Thomas and myself not that busy.

A customer or two came in but nothing major. I left the shop a little earlier, 5 minutes earlier and since the weather outside was crap, I took a subway which pulled into the station minutes after I descended the stairs.

That enabled me to catch a bus ride home with Hyman Gross who seemed happy to see me. I was glad to see him.

Snow is expected tomorrow but I am hoping that is just a cruel April Fool’s Day joke.

I Shall Be Released

Back in the shack. It’s Wednesday. Bill woke me up with a kiss goodbye this morning and oh how I was not so receptive to it. I think I muttered ‘leave me alone’ before he left.

We joked about it later, how if something happened I would be interviewed and I would say tearily, “My last words to him were ‘leave me alone’. Then he got hit by a bus on the 42nd floor of his building.”

I woke up to the last notes of the Beatles singing All My Loving which I took to be a good sign. I got out of bed at 7:45 and went to the bathroom before deciding that it was way too early so after I did my business I went back to bed, only to get out of bed about a half hour later.

I got it together enough and headed out the door, enjoying a cigar and waiting for the bus. It was a cool spring morning which was nice. No rain and not too cold. I rode the bus to the terminal, reading the New Yorker from last week, all about the Japan earthquake and tsunami.

I got to the cigar shack building and farted around outside until it was time to go in. I was in and out of the cigar shack a few times today. Marcus and Calvin were out and left the cigar shack to Thomas, the Bradley and myself.

It was once again a day of laughter, though not as laid back as it was last Saturday. At one point as I was going through a revolving door and elderly woman was leaving as I was entering. The guy before her was in a hurry and pushed the door hard causing the door to hit her arm.

She turned and started yelling at me and cursing me. I yelled back to her that it wasn’t me, it was the guy before her, and then I called her an old bag. Yes, an old bag is what I called her. It could have been worse and she probably didn’t hear me.

I was able to enjoy a cigar in the man cave and since I was alone I was able to elevate my leg and read the rest of the New Yorker. Elevating the leg helped stretch it and I was not as uncomfortable as I was before I did that.

Now it’s almost 8:00, with just Thomas and I in the shop. Sales were good so far and that will probably be about it for the day. None of the regulars came in today, in fact one of my favorites, Gil Martinez up and left for San Francisco.

Too bad (but good for him), he was a real nice guy. He got a better job offer and since his wife was from the Bay area, he felt it was time to make that leap, which is braver than anything I would do.

No, I’d rather stay in the tri-state area and call old women stuck in revolving doors, old bags. I wrote all of the above in about 20 minutes. Not bad, eh?

The last hour crawled and once again I had top sales. All in the luck of the draw. Whoever answers the phone or gets the next person walking through the door can make a big sale.

Me? I answered the phone. I did not expect to do $2400.00 in sales, with both Thomas and the Bradley being better salesmen than me. That’s all it is, luck. Shark-like behavior can do the job as well and Thomas is proving himself to be quite an able shark.

I Really Don’t Want To Know

Today is Tuesday which means yesterday was Monday and tomorrow is Wednesday. And it was another day off for me. The next day off will be Sunday and the following Sunday I will be expected at the cigar shack to work inventory at the unholy hour of 7:00AM. But that’s then and not now so I am trying not to think about that.

Lately I have been getting messages from former customers at the cigar shack, asking me how I’m doing. They’re not coming to the cigar shack anymore, instead going to different cigar shops in Manhattan that have lounges. When I had that slurred meeting with Marcus & Calvin, I mentioned the name of one of the cigar shops, calling them our competition.

Marcus was adamant in saying that such and such a place was not our competition. No of course it wouldn’t be if you consider yourself the tobacco equivalent of Hermes or Louis Vuitton. Of course those are actual stores not a boutique that is shoe horned in between a pricey store to buy boots and belts and an eyeglass shop.

Today was a decent day, I did some laundry, ran some errands. A trip to the bibliothèque was in order, returning DVD’s. Last night I watched Annie Hall. I saw that in the cinema, at the Century Theater with my sister.

We made it a point back then to see Woody Allen movies together, starting with Sleeper, Love and Death, Annie Hall, Interiors and Manhattan. Manhattan we saw at the dollar theaters, possibly in Ridgefield Park or Leonia.

We’d travel for a cheap movie. I remember getting weepy at the end of Manhattan when Mariel Hemingway was telling Woody Allen to remember she was only going away for 6 months.

Annie Hall was great to watch last night and I was glad they included the subtitles, showing what Annie and Alvy were thinking when they were having wine on the terrace of Annie’s overpriced ($400.00!) apartment in midtown. With a terrace.

Harpy called in the last 20 minutes so the Los Angeles scenes were not seen, no Alvy crashing his car in the parking lot, no driving through plutonium and no play based on Annie and Alvy’s relationship. Still it was good to hear from Harpy, he calls so infrequently these days.

Bill came home from his writer’s workshop and he helped me out with my leg which had been causing me some discomfort the past couple of days. He helped me stretch it out somewhat as I lay on the floor, Bill holding my foot as my leg was fully extended and helped pull it back to me. It helped quite a bit, and so did the ibuprofen.

I slept really well last night and woke up early enough this morning to catch the Today show which I turned on before stepping into the shower. I need a shave, haven’t shaved since last week and the hair that is popping up is white. If I don’t do something I run the risk of looking like that idiot John Bolton.

The resumes continue going out and I received a call back an hour or so ago while I was in the supermarket. I completed the call once outside with the sounds of buses and other traffic going by. It seemed to have gone well and a meeting is scheduled on Friday morning.

I should be attending that before heading into the cigar shop that day. I also spoke with Casey Chasm who commented last night, mentioning that his phone was destroyed in training. It was a nice brief chat, Mrs. Chasm is due to deliver another child in May and then Casey is off to Afghanistan. I’m sure he’ll be alright.

New Order – Fine Time

I Need Your Loving Everyday

A long slow lazy day has been had and it actually still goes on. Yesterday was spent at the cigar shack, working alongside Calvin and it wasn’t so bad but it certain wasn’t the hijinks that occurred on Saturday with Thomas and The Bradley.

Still, it wasn’t so bad working with Calvin. I lead most of the day in sales, ahead of him by almost $1000.00 before the day was half over. Still he rallied, admirably and soon passed me by about $3000.00. For a Sunday those are excellent numbers.

I also dominated the music. No jazz thank you very much. I got to the shop before Calvin and started the day with the best of the Ronettes after walking up the avenue and picking up breakfast listening to Public Image Limited. After the Ronettes came a smattering of songs by Johnny Cash, followed by Marianne Faithfull and her magnificent album, Strange Weather.

I asked Calvin what he thought about Marianne Faithfull and he felt it was too mellow so I followed that with Ray Charles’ Greatest Hits.

One of the semi-regular irregulars came in, Pollen Zones. Pollen Zones came in the day before and sat by himself in the backroom. I never much cared for Pollen Zones. He was more friendly with Raymond and Sean, one time shaking both of their hands, and when I offered mine, he sneered.

Yesterday when he came in I said ‘Hey Pollen Zones, how’s it going?’ to which he ignored me. I remarked, loud enough for Pollen Zones to hear, ‘Well good for you. I’m happy for ya.’ And walked away.

He’s no longer waited on hand and foot and he must have left sullenly but I didn’t care since I was probably with more conversant people rather than mediocre friends of Bill W.

Since it was just Calvin and I working that meant lunch was to be eaten in the cigar shack. I ran out and got some fast food since Whole Foods is too crowded on weekends. I came back and ate and enjoyed a nice aged cigar while finishing up Suze Rotolo’s A Freewheelin’ Time.

Seems she was friends with Bob after the break up, perhaps he realized that since she knew him before he became ‘Bob Dylan’ and was there when he became ‘Bob Dylan’ she could always be a trusted confidant.

It’s a shame she passed on a few weeks ago, she seemed like she would have been an interesting person to have meet. Who knows? She could have just as well have been a customer at Farfetched.

Today was mainly about errands around Hoboken, dropping off my shirts and picking up Bill’s dry cleaning. And a trip to the grocery store where I ran into Linda, a sweet woman who used to work at the supermarket but retired a year or so ago. I could barely keep up since I had only one cup of coffee in my system and I was coming down fast.

Luckily she saw someone else that she knew so while she was distracted I said good bye and continued shopping before heading home to make a late breakfast.

So mainly it’s been that kind of day. I watched Shameless last night and though I enjoyed it I was a bit whelmed by the ending. And I could not get into Mildred Pierce at all, but then again I didn’t try very hard.

Too much of a showy soap opera for my tastes. I think I saw a spoof of it on the Carol Burnett show way back in the 1970’s. I preferred that.

I Need Your Love Tonight

Letting the days go by. Today is Saturday. Once again, I find myself at the cigar shack, working with Thomas and The Bradley. Both are quite humorous, intentionally so. It’s a clear cold spring day.

I waited for the bus for about 35 minutes this morning, leaving the apartment early to catch the formerly reliable 10:15 bus. It was a no show, leaving me and a few others to wait in the cold for the soon to be standing room only 10:30 bus.

Hyman Gross got on at the next stop, having taken a taxi from his apartment to the bus stop. We sat next to each other and chatted a bit. I had planned to walk up the avenue so I could get something to eat, but as time became shorter and shorter and with the bus getting more and more crowded it was best that I take the subway.

I left Hyman on the bus as I descended the stairs. I listened to Public Image Limited, Album which I guess should be renamed Download since the cassette was called Cassette and the CD was called Compact Disc.

No one is on top of that one, but then again the label that had released the original versions is more than likely nonexistent. Goodbye, Virgin.

It brought me back to 1986, hearing the album in Jersey City when Steve Saporito lived above Chaz Charas with my former roommate William Charas. Late night after Maxwells. I have no idea how I got home after that but I do recall listening to the record. John Lydon with Ginger Baker and Steve Vai.

I’ve been here in the cigar shack for 90 minutes and it seems a lot longer. Bill is driving to Atlantic City tonight, Hyman’s worried since a lot of buses are being pulled over after a string of bus accidents in the past 2 weeks.

I reassured Hyman that Bill’s paperwork was in order and that Bill inspects the bus before it leave the depot, from top to bottom and if there was anything wrong with the bus, then Bill would likely balk at driving that particular bus. I’m going to lunch in a few minutes.

It’s almost 3:30. Already did my usual Saturday afternoon phone call with Annemarie at 3:00. And there was a flurry of activity in the store sales wise.

And one of the former regulars, the one they call Nelson (to his face) stopped by more than likely to report how poorly things are since someone like him doesn’t come here anymore. I didn’t even notice when he left, cipher that he is.

And the day is now over and I am home. Bill is in Hell’s Kitchen as of one minute ago. I could have sworn he was driving to Atlantic City. When I last checked he was in Clifton. I’m sure I will find out eventually.

The rest of the day at work wasn’t so bad. In fact there were a lot of laughs at everyone’s expense. How smoothly everything goes when the meddlesome management isn’t around.

That’s about it. I’m tired. Tried some stretching that my sister recommended since the past few days I’ve been having a problem with the back of my leg. I also took some Ibuprofen which helped with the inflammation.

One more day of work tomorrow (mit Calvin) and then off two days in a row. And tomorrow is a shorter day and also a day off from writing so I guess I will see you all on Monday.

Hopefully there will be something to write about. But who knows, really?


Hyman Gross

I Need You So

Surprisingly enough it’s been a pretty good day. My spirits, though not soaring have not exactly been in the doldrums either. Right now I am in the cigar shack and it hasn’t been such a bad today.

I woke up in a good mood too after having some sleep. I’ll admit the paranoia I felt last night was cut off by half a tablet of Xanax which enabled a very good night’s rest. And my mood is somewhat elevated, enough so that I am playing Billie Holiday on my iPod.

And yes, I got myself a new iPod and been spending a good amount of time trying to fill it with songs from three different hard drives. Or maybe four different hard drives.

The store has been somewhat busy today even though the last of the regular irregulars has stopped coming in. Perhaps they are unwell or perhaps they’re spending their time and money across town at the competition which Marcus claims is not our competition.

And it’s also a vacation of sorts since Marcus is not in today and is also out next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I’m off Monday & Tuesday myself so I will take what I can get somehow. Still no word from Calvin about leaving early the other night.

For a manager he’s really not that on top of things, at least not like other managers I have worked with in the past, and I also include that idiot Brian Celler of Q Prime, a management company run by that douche bag supreme who tried to pull a power trip on me back in the day.

I called his bluff and he showed that he really was (& probably still is) a pussy after all. Even after all these years I can still remember what an utter prick he was, trying to intimidate me. I guess the record that Metallica was working on at the time was named after what usually goes down Brian Celler’s gullet.

Billie Holiday still plays, a customer’s Blackberry keeps ringing after the customer left it behind. I answered it once and won’t answer it again. It’s here waiting to be picked up. I have no use for it, no need to call ‘finders keepers’.

An hour and fifteen minutes left in my time at the cigar shack today and here I am filling that time by writing this night’s entry in this here blog. I’ll probably walk on down to the bus terminal, but what will I listen to? Something fast moving, something with a beat.

In any event it won’t be known until I get home and post this entry since I have no idea whatsoever what it will be. Oh, and that’s alright with me. Bill is at a play tonight, observing, not acting so he probably won’t be home when I get home.

No word on yesterday’s meeting. No word from Donald the K from a few weeks ago, but I did write a funny cover letter this morning. They asked for a rock and roll cover letter and that is what I will copy later on and paste for your reading pleasure. (Can’t find it)

Because I am all about making you feel pleasure when I write. When I dream, well that is a whole ‘nother ball of wax. Ciao for now Cisco.

So I pressed my luck, (came in second in sales today by the way) and after balancing the registers and the ash and the credit receipts, I left the cigar shack at 9:24. I hopped on the subway and wound up in the bus terminal in time to catch Hyman Gross at the gate and ride the bus back to Hoboken with him.

It’s always a pleasure to see Hyman. Bill is still at the play or maybe on his way home. And here I sit, waiting for his smiling face to come through the door.

I Need Someone to Lean On

Wow. Just had a nap, went longer than I expected but it was well deserved since I was up earlier than usual this morning. I could probably sleep some more, perhaps through the whole night but now that I am up, I am up. And it’s been a crazy day today.

Last night wasn’t so bad. There was the visit to Maxwells where I did not spin after all but I did see David Byrne and Fred Armisen play with Ira, Georgia & James. It was crazy late when I got home and a little bit buzzed.

And I was still able to get up early than I usually do. It was about 7:00 which is probably de rigueur for most of y’all. For me it’s the start of the last hour of sleep. I got up, made some coffee and poured some cereal.

As I was drying myself off, the lights went out. I wasn’t sure if it was just our apartment or the whole building or the whole town, but it was just us. I dried myself off and put on some clothes and walked down to the basement and flipped the circuit breaker.

I wasn’t sure if it took since Bill was long gone and there was no one I could have called to see if the lights were back on. So I climbed the five flights of steps and was happy to see the lights back on. The coffee that was being made was stopped so I hit the start button and then proceeded to get dressed.

The coffee making was completed and I had a cup of what was quite mediocre coffee. I had no time to start over again as I had to go catch an 8:00 bus, 2.5 hours earlier than I usually do. At that hour there is a bus every five minutes guaranteeing that the buses would not be too crowded.

I was soon in the bus terminal and walked through the cold with a thousand other commuters. I was soon in front of 1700 Broadway, a building I had worked in 25 years ago for Friedman Alpren and Green (F.A.G.).

The building used to also house ABKCO as well as the Screen Actors Guild, now it houses George Soros foundation. I met with a woman with Daisy and had a nice talk with her, the interview lasting about 20 minutes. It was a struggle to promote myself, I mentioned that I was intelligent, that I often think out of the box and also that I was an artist. (!)

An artist that sees most things in an off center way. When asked what I expect from the company, I mentioned that I would like to support the people I would be working with and if asked for some ideas I would likely have something to contribute. I think it went well but I really couldn’t tell with the lack of caffeine in my system.

I stood outside the building and called Bill when I saw a fairly regular customer to the cigar shack walking in my direction. He’s a drinker and I turned and faced the building, holding the cellphone to my ear and hoping the fairly regular customer would be a bit hung over and not notice me at all. And he did not.

Bill gave me a pep talk as well as some advice with regards to the jobs that I had in the past. How things that seemed great between the interview and before the actual start of the job, turned into something else once I started. I explained that I did like working for Putnam Lovell and if it weren’t for Zelcah Farsijani I would have probably stayed on.

And with Wolff Olins, I was overwhelmed and when I found the memo stating that my job actually needed 2 people, and that they weren’t going to have 2 people working my desk like they had suggested to themselves I knew it was time to go.

And with BIO-IB, I would have stayed there but things went south as the company went under. It was good advice and I paid heed. I rode the bus back to Hoboken, 2 hours after riding into the city. I picked up some bagels, got the paper and stopped off at the bibliothèque and picked up the Keith Richards autobiography which I doubt I would have time to read the whole thing since I am still in the middle of Suze Rotolo’s book and the latest issue of the New Yorker came in.

I did get some things done in the apartment, and headed out once again to run some errands. Saw Martin Kelly at CVS, and headed to the supermarket for some other items.

While in the supermarket I got some text messages from Ron and Dave (Don & Raymond- former cigar shack employees). Ron asking me if I was still working at the shack since there was a posting on Craigslist showing that the cigar shack is looking for both full & part time positions.

Then Dave texted me asking me if I was alright. I got paranoid and that basically became the rest of my afternoon. To which I took a half a Xanax which made me drowsy and prompted a nap for 2 hours. Now I’m better, still groggy but not paranoid.

Bill is home and we just watched Community which is likely my favorite show on TV. I love Abed. Now I guess I have some dinner.

I Miss You

It’s been a crappy day weather wise. Rain, sleet, hail and snow all accompanied by strong winds. I woke up this morning cursing. Not because of the weather but rather because I have to get up even earlier tomorrow since I have an appointment at 9:00 and I do not want to be late.

I didn’t realize how bad it was outside until I was actually outside. After my coffee, no cereal since I was low on milk, I started off to the bus stop with a stop at the bibliothèque to drop off Toy Story 3. I had never seen Toy Story 1 or 2 but since I heard so many good things about part 3 I thought I would check it out.

It was certainly heavier than I anticipated. The scene where the toys are facing certain destruction and they eventually all stop fighting it and accept what seems to be inevitable (death) was amazingly heavy. But things turn out for the best and the final scene with the boy, (now a young man) getting in his car and driving away, the gasp/sob from him is what really tugs the heartstrings.

I didn’t get a chance to watch the movie with Bill but if I get the DVD again, I will make sure Bill watches it with me. The walk to the bus stop was slippery but I made it and was able to wait for the 10:30 bus and enjoy the remnants of last night’s cigar.

The city was a mess of course and instead of hanging around the outside of the building which houses the cigar shack, I actually went inside and killed some time. Enough minutes passed and once again I was in the custody of the cigar shack.

Calvin recovered from his illness and was working with the Bradley, Marcus lurking about. Big event tonight at a big pricey cigar bar in the sky, I wasn’t sure if I was invited so I didn’t plan on going there. Ira, Georgia & James were playing a benefit for Japan and Glenn from the Feelies was making an appearance and I planned on going to that to lend some support and spin some discs or an iPod.

Since we had a full staff today I was able to go out for lunch and despite the weather being so crappy, I was glad to be out and about. Since there was the big cigar event going on, Calvin and the Bradley left the shop early.

And soon after they left it oddly got quite busy. I handled it admirably on my own. Luckily the customers weren’t the usual douchebags that sometimes come in, instead these people were calm, patient and understanding. And 2 of them had things that needed to be wrapped and I was able to do so under their scrutiny.

After that 30 minute flurry of busyness, things had slowed down quite a bit and only one customer came in for the last hour. I chatted with Jimmy Seltzer for a little while puffing on a cigar. He was thinking of driving out to the Hamptons tonight but after talking earlier with a customer who said the roads were freezing up, I convinced Jimmy Seltzer that it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to drive all the way out there.

Plus he had an important meeting in the early afternoon tomorrow and he was also flying off to Europe with his wife tomorrow night. He didn’t need the stress and the treachery of icy roads.

I texted Calvin, asking if everything evened out cash wise with the registers tonight, would it be alright if I left at 9:15. It is now a few hours later and still no word from Calvin who is more than likely on the nod at the big cigar event. I hoped to get him pre-nod.

It’s just as well since the registers did not even out but I figured it out and corrected it and left the cigar shack at 9:27. I was able to catch the bus and saw Hyman Gross who was more than happy to see me. He said I looked good and told me to have Bill take my picture.

I’m glad to be off tomorrow and also glad that I am able to help out Ira Georgia & James and the people of Japan.

per Hyman's request, photo by Bill.

And rest in peace, Elizabeth Taylor. Thank you for the work you had done for people with HIV/AIDS.

I Met Her Today

It was a relatively OK day today. Slept well last night, as did the non-snoring Bill. I can’t say I am getting used to this stay until 9:30 nonsense, but I’m getting paid and it is not saving the cigar shack owners any money so that’s fine with me.

I had an interesting dream last night which featured my dear friend RoDa, but I don’t really recall what it was about over 12 hours later but the dream probably came about since he was interviewed online for the latest AOL venture, Hoboken Patch.

Basically any town in the US can have an AOL Patch page so it’s really no big thing but obviously it registered in my unconscious mind. Hail Xenu indeed! I did not want to get out of bed as usual but I got it together. Bill was gone a few hours already, his back improved over the previous 24 hours.

I did catch the Daily Show this morning, its part of my routine lately. I watch the Colbert Report at 11:30 and catch the Daily Show in the morning so I could watch the 11:00 bad news. I paddled around the apartment, shower, coffee, breakfast then it was out on the street.

I walked to the bus stop, initially listening to Joy Division which I found too heavy so I decided for some lighter fare, and played Squeeze instead. Squeeze were such a great band and fun to sing along with. Rand & I could do a good impersonation of Difford and Tilbrook, Rand covering Glenn Tilbrook and me handling Chris Difford, much like Difford & Tilbrook sounded a bit like Lennon & McCartney. Just like them!

I stopped into Hoboken Daily News where Andy & his brother were quite happy. Andy shook my hand telling me that the 7 Eleven directly across the street from the newsstand was going out of business in six weeks.

I replied I was happy for them but still it wasn’t good to see people lose their jobs, to which Andy pointed to the ceiling and said it was all because of the guy upstairs. I guess the guy who rents an apartment above the Hoboken Daily News has a say in matters such as this.

I waited for the bus listening to Squeeze when suddenly I got a pat on the back, more like a shove. I was ready to throw down when I saw it was Rand. Very good to see my old pal. Been a few weeks. He was looking good and looked like he lost weight. He said he didn’t but I think ol’ Rand was being modest.

We had a nice talk while I waited for the bus and puffed on a cigar. Soon though the bus arrived and I had to get on board though I would have rather spent more time with Rand.

I called Bill once I was in the vicinity of the cigar shack and killed sometime hanging around outside, before heading in with a minute to spare. Calvin phoned in sick so Marcus was there running things while Thomas was trying to be busy.

With Calvin out, that meant that both Thomas and I would be stuck in the cigar shack all day. Every silver lining has its cloud I guess. It wasn’t that bad, and I had a nice cigar on my lunch hour. It wasn’t as peaceful and quiet as I would have hoped but still it was relatively enjoyable.

I’m currently reading A Freewheelin’ Time by Suze Rotolo and it’s a fun read. Suze just passed away a few weeks ago but she does have some interesting things to say about her time with Bob Dylan. Have to return it to the bibliothèque soon.

not my bus

I like this one. Rand does not. Says his eyes are magnified with his spectacles on.

His choice.

I Love You Because

Monday for me, Monday for you. It could be worse but I don’t see how. The mantra pops up once again, ‘at least you have a job’. Xanax helps with that. I was feeling a bit anxious last night so I had half a tablet and this morning I had the other half before I went in. It certainly helped last night.

I watched Toy Story 3 yesterday, and like a lot of people I got chocked up at the end. It was a sweet movie, I guess it doesn’t matter that I never saw the first two parts.

After that some dinner, a light supper and then the finale of Big Love. I had caught up on all the episodes and still I was greatly surprised by who it ended. Did not see that one coming at all. After that shocker came Shameless which I really enjoy even though a few people I’ve met said that the UK version of Shameless makes the US version look like it was on the Disney channel, but that’s fine with me.

Bill had come home in a good mood and we had a few good laughs. He was soon off to bed and I stayed up watching whatever it is that I can’t remember right now. It wasn’t Kill Bill Vol. 1 since I watched that the night before on cable, with commercials and toned down violence and no swearing.

In any event I was up at 8:00 this morning wondering why Bill was still in bed. Well apparently he messed up his back and really couldn’t get out of bed. That threw me off my game for a bit this morning but still I got it together. And I must say I looked good. Nice navy pinstripe, 2 button, a pink shirt with a white collar and French cuffs, and a pink striped tie.

When I kissed Bill goodbye he remarked how good I looked so I left the apartment floating on that compliment as well as half a Xanax. The walk to the bus stop was drizzly but I refrained from using the umbrella.

Since the weather was a bit wet I opted for the subway once I got into the bus terminal. I still had time to kill so I just wandered around in the drizzle before I headed into work. It was the Bradley and Marcus in the cigar shack when I arrived.

Calvin was late, apparently he was ill. Still he managed to get it together somewhat and came in about 45 minutes later. It wasn’t such a bad day after all. Calvin was not really around, Marcus left the shop and the Bradley was somewhat agreeable to work with.

Calvin seemed to take my suggestion to heart and laid low, out of sight. He even left early once I convinced him that it would be best, since he has a major event going on Wednesday night. Maybe he will stay home and conserve his energy.

Other than that there was nothing much else to write about. Jimmy Seltzer came by and hung out for a while, smoking cigars in the man cave. I sat with him for a little while, puffing on a cigar and then running off to help the rare customer that comes in after 7:00PM.

We were having a good chat when I realized that it was after 9:00 and I had to close up. Jimmy Seltzer hit the road and I did the usual thing of closing the store at an extra slow momentum.

Still after that I made it to the bus terminal in good time, thanks to James Brown, Sly & the Family Stone, Aretha Franklin and Marvin Gaye.

I Love Only One Girl

And now I find myself at home on a Saturday night. I’m a bit hungry, haven’t eaten since 3:30 this afternoon and now it is 10:35. It has been a long day. Last night I stayed up until 1:00 watching a repeat of Letterman, and then finally going to bed.

It was still warm out so the window was open allowing me to hear the garbage trucks doing their thing as well as some drunken young adults yelling to each other up and down the street. Despite that I was able to fall asleep and sleep soundly.

I woke up around 8:30 this morning. Bill was coming back from the bus depot after driving to and from Atlantic City. He did have an incident on the bus, a young hoodlum smoked a cigarette on the bus which is a definite no no. Bill was livid when he called me last night.

He had the police involved with the young smoking hoodlum and the police did nothing which pissed Bill off even more. There was nothing that I could say or do to calm him down as he was in the Atlantic City bus depot and you know I did try to make the situation a little bit better.

I did see Bill for a few minutes this morning and he gave me a chocolate donut. We chatted as I was about to head out the door. Since he was outside already I asked him if it was warm enough to wear just a suit jacket and he said it was.

I headed out and by the time I got to Bloomfield Street I realized that I wouldn’t be warm enough, especially after the sun went down. I turned around and headed home. I tried calling Bill and got his voice mail. I got back to my building and hit the buzzer and then just headed up the stairs.

When I got to the 5th floor, the door opened and there was Bill. ‘Oh there you are…’ I said to which Bill replied quite angrily that he was in the bathroom. I had to mention that I was joking when I said ‘Oh there you are..’ and I was.

I merely said it the way I would have said it to Alexander, playing a game of peek a boo. I grabbed a coat and headed back down the stairs again, texting Bill a message of reassurance that I was only joking. No response. That was fine by me.

I made it to the bus terminal and walked up the avenue to the cigar shack. Lots of gay men in Hell’s Kitchen, more than usual which made me think they were in town for the bacchanal, the Black Party. Never much interested in that myself, no leather queen me.

The cigar shack was manned by the Bradley and Thomas. And it was a long slow day. I did run into a PBS host who graciously gave me a nice cigar from Havana which I will enjoy in just a few minutes.

Not much else to report. Tonight was the super full moon which left me somewhat whelmed. It just wasn’t as big as I had hoped.

That’s what she said.

Day off tomorrow. No work, no writing.

I Just Can’t Make It By Myself

I just got back from a nice supper with Julio, Stine and Superboy, Alexander. Quite nice, mainly appetizers that Stine made. She’s a great cook, and I eat just about anything she makes including artichoke spread which was super tasty and went well on bread.

Some chickpeas and some meat balls with a nice tomato sauce. And since I was there Alexander was compelled to put on a show and didn’t eat his food. Lots of running around and showing me his latest toys. I asked him how old he was and he told me 3, which I guess is OK since his birthday is next month and there was no reason to split hairs.

It was a nice visit after a day of running around. I paid a visit to see my friend Corey who I used to work with back in the 1990’s when I worked in the music business. Corey worked for a cartage company when I first met him. A cartage company is or was a company that rented out machines or instruments to various studios and sessions.

We hit it off and I eventually left the studio business and he went into the studio business working for Sony Studios with our mutual friend Miriam. And somehow we all wound up working at Arista Records in Suzanne Savage’s A&R Administration department, Corey worked in the legal field and we shared a space.

Now Corey is working for one of the last major labels which could vanish at any moment. I recommend he hang in there since things are still so dire out there in the real world. He’s also a grandfather, at the age of 40. It was a weird tale that he told and he still finds himself scratching his head at what happened. Not my story to tell but he is making the best of an interesting situation.

And then I wandered around midtown Manhattan for a spell, enough time spent to get color in my face which Julio remarked upon when he saw me.

Right now I am a bit distracted by Van Morrison. Specifically Moondance. I was planning on uploading a burned copy of that as well as Tupelo Honey but both come up with no titles, no info just the length of the song. It happens every now and then when I get burned CD’s from Arcata and I obsess over trying to figure out what song is what.

I don’t have that iPhone program (or an iPhone/Smartphone) where you just check a few seconds and with a few minutes you get the info that you might need. I’ve been using Amazon to check the track listing but now I find I can’t put the songs in the order that they were released in.

Still I am grateful for the songs and will figure out what is what eventually. I would probably be more proactive if it weren’t for the bottle of wine that Julio and I finished off. I am so not a drinker these days, it really doesn’t take much which is a good thing. All I want to do now is sleep.

And sleep I will- eventually, with the windows open a bit since the temperature was in the 70 degree range today. Back to work tomorrow and off again on Sunday. The head cheeses aren’t expected in this weekend so chances are I will not see Marcus or Calvin but there is always the outside chance.

I was a bit grumpy yesterday, mainly since it was jazz all day, but still I had the best sales of the staff, including the shark known as Calvin.

A real estate agent's photo.

I came thisclose to wearing the same thing.

Bill is off to Atlantic City, first time driving since January. He was a bit anxious since there has been a few bus accidents in the past week. I did my best to reassure him that he would be alright.

I Just Can’t Help Believing

It’s Saint Patrick’s Day! And it has been one of the worst days ever, at least for me working at the cigar shack. And it was a day of listening to jazz. Dissonant discordant jazz played at such a volume it would have produced a headache if it weren’t for the Xanax that I felt obligated to myself to take before I left this morning.

And considering the day that I had it was the right choice to make. “Look ma, No blood!”

Last night I was so bitter, so twisted that I swore I wasn’t going to wear green on the day of the wearing of the green. Bill was up and out when I got out of bed. He did kiss me goodbye as I slept and I asked him what time it was and he replied that it was 6:30. That gave me 2 hours to try to get back to the sleep that I had been in.

Actually an hour and a half since my alarm clock kept going off and I of course kept hitting that snooze button. I did get out eventually, the morning show was on, made coffee, poured cereal and stepped into the shower.

Oh how my ass dragged. I did not want to go in today. I knew it would be the return of Calvin and that was something I did not want to deal with. Bill called me from Stacks, after he had gone to an audition and was back from it and enjoying some pancakes while I had my cold cereal. Thems the breaks I suppose.

He came out and waited with me for the bus, trying to bolster my nonexistent spirits. Of course I was obstinate which I regretted once we parted ways, a kiss at the bus stop. And the bus was filled within a stop or two, young people heading to the parade, along with firemen in their dress blues.

It was a nice morning so I decided to forgo the subway and walked up to the cigar shack. That is something I think I will do more and more weather permitting. Made it into the cigar shack with a minute to spare instead of the five minutes early I used to come in on. And it was jazz hell.

It usually is when Calvin is in, but it turns out Thomas is quite the jazz queer (thanks Ann Boyles for that term) and so it was jazz jazz jazz all day and I figured out, I really loathe jazz. Never has any music slowed down the day for than jazz.

After Calvin left, after saying ‘exactly’ and nervously laughing after almost every inane comment that spills from his shark like mouth, I thought I would be able to put the jazz away and play something else, something that would speed things up.

I thought about some Stax, I thought about the Beatles and opted for Scritti Politti. Not too heavy, quite melodic and witty lyrics. The new guy, Thomas immediately made a comment about the music being ‘New Age’.

What a polished prank engine he is turning out to be. No matter how much you polish a prank engine, no matter how you might dress up the prank engine in bespoke shoes and clothes, it is still a prank engine. I gave up and let him continue. Thomas the prank engine made a concession and played the Beatles, which I suppose was supposed to be a favor. Hey Jude, Let It Be, Yesterday. You know, the songs that never ever get played, never get thought of when playing the Beatles.

And those were the only Beatle songs he had. I went and turned it off and put on Scritti Politti again and once it got past the 30 second intro, I think dumb ass Thomas realized it wasn’t New Age after all, considering that in the final chorus Green from Scritti Politti sings the titles of the songs on the first Run DMC album. Yeah, that’s New Age.

Dumb Ass Thomas split and I set about closing up the shop. I counted the money and counted over and over, making sure everything was sure as shit and also killing time. All the presidents on the bills are facing the same way and if I needed to kill some more time I probably would have put the bills in sequential order.

I waited 20 minutes until it was 9:30 and clocked out. I saw Sean who is putting in a good word for me at the shop where he is working and gave him a cigar that a customer gave me. I plugged in my iPod and played a reggae mix that I made almost 20 years ago that the neck bone known as Kevin McBean used to enjoy.

It was deep heavy reggae, almost dub wise as I negotiated the drunks on the avenue congregating outside various pubs and bars. No Guinness for me, no St. Patrick’s Day fun.

I hustled and surprisingly I was able to make the bus and was the last person on before it pulled out. No drunks as far as I could tell. Now I am home, happy to be here and would rather never ever set foot in that dog forsaken cigar shack.


Bill headed in my direction

I wore green after all as well as my late cousin Jackie's Chesterfield

Angela, the woman who cleans everything after I cleaned it for 6 hours previously

A St. Patrick's Day concession

A St. Pats cake Bill bought for us. It remains uneaten.

I Hear A Sweet Voice Calling

Wednesday again, at where else but the cigar shack. It seems my days are numbered. Part of the letter I had written was regards to bank deposits that I usually make, but on 2 days that I did not make the deposits, it was reported that the deposits were off.

And that was part of the letter which I had read and had to sign in front of super assistant manager Calvin. Today I heard from Thomas who had actually made those deposits in my stead, and he said that the deposits were fine, the bank clerk initially miscounted the money.

Still I am the one who was blamed for the shortfall. Another letter goes into my file and I suppose that at a certain point those letters will be used to get rid of me.

Yesterday I got an application for another shop. Sean, former employee hooked me up and on lunch today I filled it out. It might be for less money, but it would not have this aggravation, the shenanigans that ensue and the incredibly retarded management that goes on here in the cigar shack.

I even met with the manager of the new place who asked me a few questions and said he would forward the application to the hiring manager. Nothing else seems to be happening.

I sent my resume into the bibliothèque once again, no word from them. No world from Donald the K either. I can’t sit around and wait and I obviously can’t stay at the cigar shack since I can’t help but feel that they got it in for me.

Gone is the concept of doing the right thing and giving two weeks notice. No, I think if I get another job, I will simply quit. It’s not like the management Wallenda’s of Marcus & Calvin would give me notice anyhow. Especially not after their hijinks.

Tonight I will more than likely be done with my work at 9:10 and I will have to stay here until 9:30. No more bus rides with Hyman and more importantly, no getting home by 10:00. I am just so sick and tired of this place.

And the new guy, the Boy Wonder Thomas left early since he was feeling ill. The Bradley is staying until 8:00 in case it gets busy, and it’s pointless since after 7:00 this cigar shop and the surrounding area is like a cemetery.

He’ll pick up and extra hour of overtime since I am obviously too incompetent to manage the cigar shack on my own. I’d much rather he leave, and right now he’s somewhere in the area, taking a tobacconist test, something they will have me do at some point down the line, and of course it’s something I certainly do not want to do.

Almost at 500 words right now so maybe I should end here and continue at home. I could write about the supposed boycott that is occurring, former regulars are now at the competition, which Marcus claims is not the competition despite the fact that our once loyal customers are going there and not here and writing about it all on Facebook.

525. Now I am home. It’s 10:34. It did not make any difference at all whether or not I left at 9:10. I was done with my work at 9:10 but from the memo yesterday I am scheduled to work until 9:30 so I had to stay until 9:30.

I clocked out on the computer with the slow clock which read 9:29 so I punched in again and waited until it actually read 9:30.

Prior to 9:00 though, one of my favorite customers came in, a nice guy named Jimmy Seltzer. He always comes in later and is so well regarded by most everyone he gets special permission to sit and have a smoke without other people around.

We usually have good chats and tonight I told him about this here blog. He pulled it up on his iPhone and read some of it, and actually enjoyed it, or at least said it was well written.

It was a nice boost or bandage to my shattered ego.


I Gotta Know

Back to work for me today and I was reprimanded soon after I came in. Thanks to the inept management and with my less than satisfactory training I messed up. I could not reconcile the credit card machine and the register.

I did try a few times but I eventually gave up due to mental fatigue. They also did not appreciate the fact that I’ve been leaving the cigar shack at 9:15 instead of 9:30. Hundreds of times I’ve closed the registers and reconciled both machine and register with no problems, but once or twice and I get into big trouble.

They claim they have scheduled me to work until 9:30 ‘to execute proper and accurate closing procedure. The extra ½ hr. is meant to give you enough time to close the cash drawer and accurately count the night’s deposit.’

So even though 99% of the time it goes smoothly and I have completed the day’s work by 9:10 now I will have to stay there for another 20 minutes and do what? Clean the glass and windows that have been cleaned throughout the day over and over, and then cleaned again by the cleaning woman?

Apparently I will have to find something to do. So no more bus riding with Hyman Gross on the way home. And leave it to me, I left tonight at 9:15 out of habit. Totally forgot the reprimand and the memo. Everything matched up anyhow. I might hear something about it tomorrow, or somewhere down the line.

Marcus and Calvin are two of a kind, with Marcus holding the leash and Calvin barking when commanded. A situation like this could have been handled in a much better manner, that is if there were competent managers running the show, but there isn’t. It’s just Calvin & Marcus. Marcus & Calvin.

I guess despite Calvin behaving like he’s a friend, he’s not. Despite him always asking if I think is this one gay. Is that one gay? Do I think Mike is gay? How about Jason? Nelson? Or any of the former regular customers who no longer frequent the cigar shack?

For a married man with a kid Calvin focuses more on gay life than I do and I’m gay. That’s why it doesn’t bother me that much (it does but I have to get over it) when Calvin poaches customers, or any other underhanded tactics he uses. He’s married with a kid and has a family to support on the hourly wages of a cigar sales clerk.

It can’t be easy. It’s not easy for me, but I do not have the same onus, and also I have Bill who keeps telling me he has my back and I know that he does.

So yeah, this is the place where a week or so ago, I erroneously wrote that I felt I was fitting in, accepting the situation that I find in from of me.

And like the conversation with Lovely Rita on the phone some time back, ‘You work retail, you really start to really hate people. And it’s not just the customers that you hate. It’s the people you work with, it’s the people you work for, it’s the people you see on the street, the people you ride the subway with, and the people you ride the bus with.’

I used to think of myself as a people person. Not so much these days.

It reminds me of that Arianna Sabatoni or known back then as Felicia of the McMann & Tate company, when Calvin and Marcus drunkenly told me how disappointed they were when they found out I was not the same person they interviewed in May of last year, Arianna said the same thing a week or so after I started.

Of course, a chick prone to riding the rails, a boozer that sneaks drinks and a dandy in love with himself aren’t really the best people to judge other people’s lives, wouldn’t you say?

I Got Stung

A day off for me. And yesterday was a day off for you. You didn’t have to read this blog. Of course you never HAVE to, I mean, it is nice that you do and I’m grateful for it. As far as I know you or someone might have been to this here blog and read SOMETHING yesterday. That’s fine.

Today has been gray and chilly. Not exactly welcoming to go outside. Plus after having to deal with people at work in the world of retail, dealing with people on my day off does not appeal to me.

I think I got the hour that I lost with the daylight savings thing. It was well deserved. Yesterday I worked with Calvin and it was alright. Not much to report on that front. The day did go fast but that was probably because the body was saying that it was 4:00 but looking at the clocks it was now 5:00.

It was an agreeable illusion, but with five days in a row of working at the cigar shack, I was pretty much toast at the end of the day. So today was mainly about recharging my batteries.

And speaking of batteries, last night I decided to listen to some Madonna as I headed from the cigar shack to the bus terminal. I heard maybe 2.5 songs before the iPod crapped out. I originally got the iPod from Bill in 2005 and in 2006 I’m pretty sure I got it replaced since it crapped out then.

I was working for Wolff Olins or McMann & Tate and wound up at the Apple Store on Prince Street. I remember having just purchased Bob Dylan’s Modern Times and soon after that the 2005 iPod crashed. The girl at the Smart Bar in the Apple Store made a remark about Dylan burning out just like my iPod.

I’m pretty sure I wound up getting a new iPod. I’ve had it for a few years now and it has served me well, but now I think it is about to shuffle off its mortal coil. I do have a back up courtesy of Julio & Stine from a few years ago, so it’s not the end of the world, but it only holds so many songs.

I’m going to save my money and get a 160GB iPod to replace the 30GB. I blame it all on Madonna. I mean, I should have known better.

And like I wrote on Facebook, if that is the only thing I have to complain about, then I really don’t have anything to complain about. Not with what is going on in the world today.

The news from Japan keeps getting worse and worse. The nuclear power plants are exploding or melting down. Bad news indeed. Hopefully it will get the US to rethink its policy on nuclear energy.

Kaddafi’s killing the Libyan rebels, Saudi Arabia has sent in troops to Bahrain, Wisconsin and Michigan have been going through labor troubles and I’m complaining about my iPod? Oh boo hoo. Woe is me. And I know the same thing could be applied to my employment situation.

Lots of people are still out of work and at least I still have a job so why complain? It’s true, things could be better managed at the cigar shack and despite some nibbles elsewhere I should be happy with what I got.

‘Easier said than done’ he wrote.

The world continues to spin on its axis, albeit a little more wobbly than it was before the earthquake. I’ve been catching up with Big Love on HBO. A very good show, great acting all around. If you’ve never seen it, it’s worth watching on DVD.

You know who you are.

that's my Bill

I Got Lucky

Another day at the cigar shack and here I am getting an early start on writing. Not much else to do. I did the right thing this morning and did a Xanax before I came in. It’s felt great and there has been no need to desire to punch anyone in the face.

I slept well last night, thanks to some jazzy cigarettes. Watched Bill Maher last night and it was more annoying than anything. Bill did make it home and I got the hug I was looking for and then proceeded o tell him about the day that I had.

He was tired but understanding and listened to every word which was exactly what I needed. The we watched part of The Laughing Policeman before Bill went to bed. I stayed up and watched footage of the disaster in Japan, which to me looked like animation. Just a mass of mud and sea water sweeping trucks and cars away with just a wave of Mother Nature’s hand.

And the day today was not as bad as it was yesterday. The boys seem to be on their best behavior but then again I seem to be on Xanax. Things will slow down considerably in 20 minutes when the man cave shuts down. That wouldn’t be so bad after all. And that is definitely the Xanax talking.

Still the occasional asshole wanders in but thanks to the Xanax, its water down a duck’s back. Tomorrow I will be working with the Poacher Calvin. Now we are listening to Prince Sign of the Times. We listened to Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions. And also Billie Holiday’s Greatest Hits which is what the Boy Wonder Thomas requested the past few days and I remembered to bring it in for him.

He’s going to borrow it so I guess he will burn himself his own copy. Sorry Lady Day, but you know how it is. And the Boy Wonder Thomas messed up a few times today. I don’t know if it was pride but something prevented him from asking for help, leaving me to clean up the messes after he had left.

I like the Boy Wonder Thomas, he’s a nice guy, has a good sense of humor and seems to be a born salesman. I don’t know how he does it but he’s been number one or at least number two in sales.

Where in February I was told my numbers were impressive, now my numbers are anemic and pathetic. I expect to hear something about it sooner or later. And the Xanax this morning was definitely a good idea, though by the end of the day it wore off somewhat.

I didn’t have the homicidal urges that I had yesterday but still there was a modicum of frustration to deal with and that was mainly the Boy Wonder Thomas’ mistakes, making me leave the cigar shack about 20 minutes later than I would have.

Street Fighting Man, Gimme Shelter, Satisfaction, The Last Time and Jumping Jack Flash got me to the bus terminal in 18 minutes, no frantic stomping thanks to the Xanax. Now I am home, I am happy and I am not writing tomorrow, but I am working with the poacher. Have a good Sunday.

I Got A Feeling In My Body

Once again, I am writing this at work. The camera will see me at the computer, but since I am not online per se, it really shouldn’t matter. I could always say I am sharpening my typing skills. So far no typos either which is out of the ordinary.

It’s been an interesting day to say the least. First off it was Calvin free (‘exactly’), but nervous laughter happens to most everyone sometimes and I’ve noticed the Thomas does it too. Bill does it as well but of course with Bill, I find it endearing.

And the day started with waking up to the terrible news of the earthquake off the coast of Japan. 8.9! Crazy. Not so much levity on the Today show, they were somewhat solemn. But the footage was intense. Houses, trucks and cars being swept away by the tsunami, like so many toys strewn across a floor.

Hundreds missing, perhaps swept out to sea. I couldn’t help but think that the time will come soon enough for an earthquake to strike this tri-state area. And of course that was on my mind most of the morning.

Waiting for the bus, keeping an eye on the birds since I heard that they will all take off, animals will start behaving strangely right before an earthquake. I waited for the Hoboken Daily News building to start swaying. And then it was a ride through the Lincoln Tunnel where I was sure it was going to collapse.

Then a walk through the bus terminal, followed by the subway where I was sure I was going to be in the real life version of the movie of the week from the 1970’s, where an earthquake struck Manhattan leaving passengers in the tunnels and for some reason they had to get across the East River, to Brooklyn.

I would be playing the Karen Valentine part, or the troubled boy with a junkie dog. Or more than likely, Karen Valentine playing the junkie dog.

When I got to the building I called Bill as is my wont, and he told me not to kill anyone at the cigar shack. And I hadn’t thought about that as I stood outside the glass towers that house the cigar shack. But it threw me off and I didn’t recognize Bill trying to cheer me up.

I am so not a morning person, but I would probably be more of a better morning person if I had a better job. But here I am stuck in a cigar shack and not liking it. I used to think it would be the best job since I do enjoy cigars, and maybe it is at other cigar shops, just not this one.

I apologized a few times to Bill, for being such a neurotic bitch and he accepted, in fact he knows it comes with the territory. He loves me despite the fact that a lot of the time I do not love myself. Make that most of the time.

And Bill has been good at greeting me at the door when I come home, offering hugs, taking my bag off my shoulder. Tonight when I need it most, for real since I feel like I am thisclose to breaking down, he’s not around. And I suppose that’s alright since with the mood I am in, I wouldn’t want to see me either.

I did run into Hyman Gross on the bus once more. He tried to cheer me up after I stomped my way down the avenue in 16 minutes 30 seconds from the cigar shop to the bus terminal. Listened to the Sex Pistols, from Holidays in the Sun to halfway through God Save the Queen.

By the time I saw Hyman I was still in no mood despite his efforts. On the bus Hyman chatted up a young woman with a pillow that had I Love You embroidered on it. I avoided eye contact with everyone and did not pay attention to their conversation. I was probably the best for all concerned.

I do need a hug, or rather I did need a hug, but the moment has passed and now I am home, alone.

I Forgot To Remember To Forget

You know, I think it was last week when I wrote how I thought I was settling into my position as sales monkey at the cigar shack? How I felt I was fitting in? How I was resigned to my fate since nothing else seemed to be happening?

Well FUCK ALL THAT SHIT. It’s a good thing I took a Xanax today. No clear reason to, but it turned out to be absolutely necessary. Storms were approaching and I wanted to be prepared for whatever. Also opted to be as mellow as I could be, take the edge off of things.

Blah blah blah, the usual coffee in the morning, cereal, email, resumes sent out and smoking a cigar at the bus stop. A cigar that I started the night before. An absolute no no according to the pussy rules of smoking cigars.

Fuck that. Punk rock style. I don’t need their rules to enjoy my smokes. Fuck using a wooden match or a torch lighter. Fuck using a cutter. I will use whatever I damn well please. Let these nellies get their panties all in a bunch. I don’t give a shit.

I made it into the cigar shack on time once again. There was Calvin and Thomas at the counter, Marcus hovering above the computer in the office. I set about doing my thing, keeping to myself. Thomas has already started doing my tasks which was a bit off putting.

The Bradley is no longer the golden child. Now it is Thomas, who is a nice guy and can actually communicate and doesn’t seem to snort Xanax tablets. Everything seemed to be going nicely though and we all were getting along.

One of the usual customers came in. Let’s call him Nick. Nick usually comes in at the end of the day and he’s so well regarded he’s allowed to sit and smoke in the man cave after it has been shut for the day. And since I’m usually the one who closes, Nick and I have enjoyed some nice chats and generally seem to enjoy each other’s company.

Calvin is an empty shirt, prone to saying ‘exactly’ over and over again and nervously laughing after everything that falls out of Calvin’s mouth. So Nick came in, and I greeted him, expressing surprise that he was earlier than usual.

I took Nick’s bag and placed it on a chair so he would have his usual spot to sit and started to escort him into the humidor when in swoops Calvin and basically takes Nick away from me. Nick sometimes buys a few boxes of cigars, sometimes just a few sticks.

I could never tell, but here comes Calvin who hijacks my customer and winds up selling Nick some items that totaled almost $300.00, leaving me to do absolutely nothing. It really pissed me off and I realized once again I have to get out of this hell hole of a shop.

A hell hole where they quite a corporate handbook which no one has ever really seen. I’ve given up on my cousins helping me out jobwise. Perhaps I’m unqualified for any positions, perhaps there aren’t any positions, perhaps they’ve forgotten. I’ve never asked them for anything before and I doubt if I ever will again.

I’ve learned my lessons. I have got to get out of this place as soon as possible and will take a part time job if that’s my only alternative. Not going to be easy but it will sure beat having to listen to some asshole saying ‘exactly’ dozens of times throughout the day.
For Calvin’s birthday.

The Megan Marshack look is coming back.

I Feel That I’ve Known You Forever

And it was back to work for me today. Woke up feeling a bit depressed about that but still I gathered whatever wits I had and set about starting the day. Shuffled into the kitchen, made coffee, poured cereal and then hopped into the shower.

A shave was also needed since I hadn’t shaved in a few days and whatever hairs that used to come in reddish were now coming in a whiter shade of pale. Some coffee and cereal and soon I was getting into my suit and tie while checking emails and sending out resumes, which also brought me down somewhat.

I was headed on the street to the bibliothèque and dropped off a Madonna CD, Ray of Light as well as the DVD of Louis CK , Hilarious. Bill and I watched Louis CK last night and it was raunchy and funny.

I listened to the audio rather than watching the video and it reminded me of being driven home by my neighbor, Barbara Williams from Harcourt Brace & Jovanovich and listening to a Steve Martin comedy album on 8 track. Some visual bits were left to the imagination, like the balloon animals and perhaps the arrow through the head.

Barbara and I grew up together and worked together for a few months. I was closer to Barbara’s little brother Scott than I was to Barbara, but I did have a bit of a crush on her though she was usually indifferent to me and also a year older than me.

Bill went to bed after Louis CK and I created a playlist for Madonna on my iPod. I’ve been infatuated with the Madonna song Ray of Light lately and that brings back a memory of living at 127 Jane Street with William and as I climbed the stairs I could hear Ray of Light being played loudly.

I timed it perfectly that I walked through the door just as Ms. Ciccone sins, ‘And I feel, like I just got home.. .’

And I played the Madonna playlist today. Just some of my favorite songs by Madge. Borderline, Lucky Star, Into the Groove, Express Yourself were just a few. It didn’t seem to bother anyone really and it was perverse for me to play them. Guilty pleasures etc.

The work day wasn’t so bad, it was Calvin and the Bradley mainly with Marcus flitting in and out throughout the day.

Strange things just happened. As I’ve been writing tonight, I kept getting frozen out of Microsoft word. I would have to force the program closed and then save it and then reopen it. After a restart everything seems OK now. But my train of thought has left the station.

My Friend My Friend came in today. Always good to see him. He’s basically a good guy, smart as well. We chatted for a few minutes, longer than we had in the past couple of weeks. He’s busy, I’m busy, but still it was good to connect with him. He also reads this here blog every now and then, perhaps the only customer to the cigar shack that knows about this here blog.

That’s about it. Not much more to write. Feels like a Monday, but it’s only a Friday. Funny how that happens. Once again I am out of step with everyone else. Marching to the beat of a broken down drum machine, which I like since the sounds that come out of it are so crazy.

Good crazy, not Bala Cynwyd crazy. You know how it goes. And that’s the way that it goes. Downhill. Cause you got the best of me.

06 Qu’ran

I Feel So Bad

Rave on, rave on and tell me/Tell me not to be lonely/Tell me you’re the only one for me… That Buddy Holly song just popped into my head. It was quite nice and I thought I would share it with you. It was another day off and tomorrow is day one of 5 days straight.

I’ve been trying not to think about it, but when I have a cigar, I’d remember. Then I realize that I’m at home, not at work and therefore I have nothing to worry about. I try not to think about work when I’m not there and I don’t even want to talk about it, even with Bill. So why am I writing about it then? There are no easy answers so it’s probably best to move on.

Last night I didn’t do much of anything. There was nothing worth watching on TV, 557 channels and nothing on. The high point of the night was probably the Colbert Report. And it was good. MY schedule now is that I watch the 11:00 news then the Colbert Report at 11:30.

After that I watched a documentary on PBS about James Taylor and Carole King and the Troubadour club in Hollywood. It was good enough to play in the background. I’ve worked with both Carole King and James Taylor in the past and found them both very nice, down to earth people.

So much so I remember James Taylor berating me for smoking Gauloises saying that he used to smoke them and had to give them up since they would have ruined his smooth voice. Me, I wasn’t singing so I didn’t care, and nowadays Gauloises are impossible to get here in the United States of America.

With Carole King, I mentioned that I had seen her daughter Louise Goffin perform the week before. I stopped midway through when Russ Kunkle, Danny Kortchmar and Leland Sklar were jamming on stage, some basic blues number.

Today was another sunny and cold day. I was awoken by the street being torn up outside of my building. I cursed as I got out of bed, after figuring out that a comforter makes for a very poor sound reducer. Some coffee needed to be made as well as removing the clothes hanging up in the bathroom so I could take a shower.

Once again I was soon headed to Washington Street, getting the paper and some bagels. Also another trip to the supermarket was needed. A sale on Raisin Bran, 2 for $4.00 got me to stock up for the end times. One wants to be regular when being taken away by the rapture or when Mayan hijinks that are supposed to ensue.

I also called my brother Frank and chatted with him for a while, called Connie down the shore and left a voice mail message and also spoke with Jane up in Woodstock for almost an hour despite having a loud hum for the duration of the call.

But it’s always nice to hear from friends and I hope to see Jane soon and also hear back from Connie, who I hope is alright. And now Bill is home, loud hums from the street out front makes it sound like they’re still working on whatever it is that they’re working on. It’s not affecting us, not at this moment.

And the second part of the Troubadour/James Taylor & Carole King continues. I’m explaining who’s who to Bill and he’s taking it all in. It promises to be a nice quiet night at home once again and you know that can’t be bad.

I Don’t Want To

A day off and it’s been a good one. Yesterday I worked with Calvin and it wasn’t so bad, and though I wrote the other day that I felt I was accepting of the retail situation, I’m not so accepting after all. I am still trying to get out of the habitrail called retail.

Calvin was alright to work with, he was in before I was and at the end of the day I was the one to leave first which rarely happens.

I came home and watched the Fantastic Mr. Fox again on cable and I love the movie. It’s just so sweet and quick. Oh that Wes Anderson, he can do no wrong. Though the Darjeeling Limited left me wanting, most everything else has been superb. After the Fantastic Mr. Fox, I watched Shameless.

Shameless was so damn good last night. It’s really one of the best shows on I’ve never seen the British version, but this one is top notch. And the return of Chloe Webb was a surprise. Showtime has the best shows on TV lately. Nurse Jackie is returning in a few weeks as is the United States of Tara.

I don’t watch Tara that often but it is very good and I do enjoy Nurse Jackie a lot. And then there is Weeds and The Big C. It’s all very good, adult television. After Shameless I watched Southland which Bill & I both like a lot.

Bill had the foresight to record the episodes and it has been worth it. We watched the show when it was on broadcast television and skipped a season but now we watch it regularly. It helps to be a fan of the great Regina King and the other actors are almost as good. We love Regina King.

And then it was bedtime for me. Slept really well and vaguely remember Bill kissing me good bye once again. He was up crazy early though I do believe the sun was up already. I got up at my usual time and made some coffee before jumping in the shower.

After a couple of cups I was on the streets, dropping off shirts to be laundered, getting the paper and some bagels. I also made time to swing by Mr. L’s where I got a much needed haircut. It’s been growing quite thick and unmanageable. Tony was available, only in 2 days a week.

The TV was playing Mutiny on the Bounty, the one starring Clark Gable and Charles Laughton. The other barber Nick was there, Tony’s son. They didn’t know that Mutiny on the Bounty was a real story. They did know it was remade a few times.

I mentioned the Marlon Brando version and Nick said there was one with Humphrey Bogart. I corrected him and told him that was the Caine Mutiny, with Bogart as Captain Queeg. I never saw that movie, but I knew of it from my mother comparing my father to Captain Queeg a few times when I was growing up. It was on TCM the other week, and I saw a bit of it but figured it would make more sense if I watched it from the beginning.

I had a lot of laundry to do today and it was done, now it’s hanging on racks and in the bathroom. Miss one week of laundry, then pow! Too much laundry!

Bill is off doing theater things and I look forward to some quiet time, just sitting around and watching TV. I am off again tomorrow, then its five days straight.

Another reason to get out of retail- Crap scheduling.

Bessie Banks – Go Now

I Don’t Wanna Be Tied

So here I am at work in the cigar shack. Took a while to get in here thanks to Hoboken having it’s annual Fake Patrick’s Day. Hundreds of twenty somethings roaming around the streets looking for parties, looking for bars, looking for booze and beer.

I shouldn’t be surprised but I was sort of. It seems to get more and more crowded each year, and perhaps it gets younger each year. Bill was up before me this morning and I struggled to remain asleep but with little or no luck.

Eventually I was in the shower and getting ready for work after coffee and cereal. Bill sat on the couch watching the reporter from channel 4 report from Washington Street, where I would soon be waiting.

A stop at the bibliotheque and soon I was at 5th and Washington waiting for the 10:30 bus. Throngs of youths walking up and down the boulevard in varying shades of green. By 10:50 I figured out that there would be no 10:30 bus. I called Bill and he suggested that I take the Path train in so I started in that direction.

When I got to 3rd Street I decided to hedge my bets and wait for the bus there. Plenty of people in green standing around plotting and planning their next or maybe even their first moves. Pipe and drum corps walked past me as the bus eventually showed up.

I asked the bus driver what happened to the 10:30 bus, after all it was now 11:00. He had no idea and said maybe it was late. I grumbled and took a seat. The pipe and drum corps got on the bus after the bus stop (an illegal move), and didn’t pay for their ride to the start of the Fake Patrick’s Day parade.

Some idiot got on the bus and immediately started trying to save seats. He placed his leather jacket next to me and wouldn’t allow an older woman to sit next to him. I picked up his leather jacket and threw it back at him, inviting the older woman to sit next to me.

The people the idiot was saving seats for eventually got on and weaseled their way to their seats. The mother of two boys showed the boys where to sit while the idiot shouted out their names. The mother did not want to have anything to do with the idiot seat saver.

As soon as she handed off the kids she plugged into her iPod and after that chatted incessantly into her phone. I did my best to ignore the situation and instead focused on the kid sitting behind me singing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

I did call the cigar shop and let the Bradley know that I would be late. He answered the phone like an automaton and without any emotion took the message. Now I am in the cigar shack, it’s a beautiful day outside which means hardly anyone is coming into the shop.

It was supposed to rain today but the storm has passed early. Now it’s almost spring like and I too plan on heading out to enjoy the day. That means I will have to figure out when and where to have lunch, if I decide to eat something. It is so slow though. Not much happening in sales.

I was recently reminded of the first or at least one of the first Fake Patrick’s Days in Hoboken, 1991. I was off from work at the video store and wound up going down the shore to Manahawkin with Chaz and Kathe, William Charas, perhaps Steve Saporito and of course Ann B Davis who was going out with or soon to be going out with a gent named Maurice.

I think Connie met us down there. I was relatively impoverished at the time and did my best to not spend any money since I had no money to spend. It was an over night trip and I felt out of place mostly even though I was amongst friends, and Ann B Davis was always quick to judge.

It was a blur of a weekend with lots of jazzy cigarettes and I was back in Hoboken the next day, in the last weeks of living with Kevin Crud and not knowing what was going to happen come Mother’s Day 1991.

that Bill

I Didn’t Make It On Playing Guitar

So now we find ourselves at Friday. How did we get here, and why now you might ask? I have no idea. I’m just here. And today was back to work for me after being off yesterday. And yesterday was the day I was going to call my friends, Connie and Jane.

Jane is upstate near Woodstock and Connie is down the Jersey Shore. Both made it to the party in July but I haven’t seen either since then. I don’t recall even speaking with either of them on the phone. I know I should call. And I was going to do it yesterday. Now I am looking at Monday, or maybe Tuesday.

And the chance that if I call that I would actually speak with Connie or Jane is 50/50. Connie is sometimes ill, too ill to answer the phone and Jane, well she’s in Woodstock and it’s all in the timing. It’s all in the timing with both of them.

Today it was back to work and it wasn’t any big thing. Am I settling into the job? Am I getting used to it? I haven’t had the anxiety that I usually do, sometimes prompting me to pop a Xanax before I head in and occasionally a Xanax the night before is in order. But lately there has been no need which probably brings a sigh of relief to some of you out there.

This morning started with Bill lovingly kissing me goodbye for the day and me lying in bed trying to remain asleep. It worked up to a point, and then I realized that I needed to get out of bed and get to work. Shower, shave, breakfast and coffee, checking email as I got suited up and eventually heading out the door.

A bright and sunny day on the cold side was what I faced when I headed outside, passing the third floor and hearing Alexander and a playmate running wild while Stine and her guest laughed. I was tempted to knock on the door and play but no, the adult world awaited me.

A walk to the bus stop as I enjoyed a cigar, early enough to see the 10:15 bus go on by. The 10:30 bus showed up as it should have and I rode watching the bus fill up with commuters. A quick walk through the bus terminal to the subway where I heard voices singing, the same crew listed in the latest issue of New York as being one of the best groups underground in the MTA. They were unseen on another platform and I recognized them from the plucking of an upright bass.

Eventually I was outside the building which houses the cigar shack. A brief call with Bill filled with laughs and soon I was inside the shop. It was Calvin and Thomas today and we made for a pretty good team. A few laughs made the time go by faster, no question about that.

It was fairly busy as well which definitely moved the hands on the clock. After 10 hours, I was back on the subway, walking through the bus terminal once again. Ran into Hyman Gross and opted to take the later bus and wait with Hyman. It was good to see him again.

Lately when neither Bill nor I see Hyman we always worry. But Hyman was in good spirits, talking about his Lasik surgery to deal with the gout. It seemed to have worked according to Hyman but left him with tinnitus.

He was worried about that and I did my best to reassure him, telling him that sometimes I too get that ringing in the ears, more than likely from going to so many rock and roll shows and not using protection for the ears.

I Can’t Stop Loving You

Writing on a full stomach and much earlier than usual. A day off today for me and it’s been somewhat busy and cold. Last night, came home and wrote what could be the dullest entry ever. It was just going through the motions mainly. Today, or hopefully tonight will be different. No guarantees.

Can’t type for shit though. By the time you get to read this it’s been cleaned up and edited, but vowels and consonants are not making the transition from the brain to the fingers. In fact almost every sentence has had at least one typo in it. What’s the dealie yo?

So last night I just wrote while the Ed Show went on behind me. Bill was in bed, still not feeling 100% and with the last few performances of Ankhst going on the next three days (Sunday might not go on), he wanted to get as much rest as possible which meant that he was in bed watching movies on his iPad.

I typed and typed and listened to the news from Wisconsin and Libya. Bill eventually came out and kissed me good night before turning in. I stayed up. The night before I watched Date Night starring Steve Carrell and Tina Fey. It was alright. The outtakes at the end of the movie were funnier than the whole thing. It did have its moments though but I would hold off on recommending it, unless there was absolutely nothing else on.

I was soon fast asleep next to Bill last night. He’s been doing well in not snoring and I’m grateful. He’s been wearing a mouth guard and he was wearing it the other night when he started snoring. I nudged him to let him know he was rattling the windows and he grunted and put on his sleep apnea mask.

It was easier to do that than it would be to make adjustments to the mouth guard. This morning Bill was kissing me goodbye while I slept, telling me that I looked adorable. I just grunted and wanted to keep on sleeping. Of course I appreciate it now, 12 hours later.

I got up and got myself together on my own time. Went out for the paper and some bagels as well as some grocery shopping. After breakfast I decided to do what I planned to do, which was go to Chelsea and check out some galleries.

Before I headed out, Bill called, worried since I didn’t call him while waiting for the bus or before heading into the cigar shack. He didn’t know I had the day off and was relieved to hear that nothing was the matter and everything was alright.

I walked over to the Path train and rode to 14th Street. A brisk walk to Chelsea, through the meat packing district where they don’t pack meat anymore. The main reason I went to Chelsea was to check out a show on 19th Street but I figured it was too late and it was. The show had closed a week or so ago.

It was a lackluster day for art. Nothing inspiring, nothing fun really. It wasn’t that crowded though and I did not mind that. I wound up walking from 14th Street to the bus terminal at 42nd Street. As long as I kept moving I didn’t get cold.

A ride on the bus back to Hoboken and soon I was home making myself a dinner. Bill is in the play again tonight and I have nothing much to do. I don’t really mind. It’s back to work for me tomorrow and I’m not sweating it.