Tag Archives: Cigar Shop

I Should Have Known Better- The Beatles

Well here I am a day later. Last night I was on fire, I wrote over 1,800 words, which technically would allow me to take off today and tomorrow since the quota is at least 500 words. But here I am again. I heard from Brandon who hoped I would visit the shop occasionally. I wished him luck with his future endeavors in the behavioral sciences division of Hartz Mountain. Coming from where he is now, it should be a walk in the park. Never heard from Israel again which is fine by me. I talked to someone who knows him and she agreed that he is a big mouthed idiot.

Harpy called last night and I have to say, talking to him on the phone made me feel like Hillary Clinton testifying the other day in Congress. This time I did express my hope that any comments he would have should be directed to the comment box below. He is the only commenter that has his own avatar. Annemarie and myself have avatars generated by Word Press, and speaking for myself, I don’t like it one bit, no sir. Harpy did have some valid points and I’ll try to correct one or two of them.

The cigar shop still exists. My helping them out in exchange for cigars no longer exists. The characters in the entries regarding the cigar shop are not Jewish. In fact I think they are Franciscans or quite possibly Dominicans. Definitely not Capuchin though. No fucking way would you find me working for those monks or monkeys. It was an interesting talk with Harpy. He suggested that the Dominicans always stick together. Or maybe he said Franciscans. He mentioned that living in his Franciscan neighborhood for 8 years he is still seen as an interloper.

And being a white guy he is the face of their changing neighborhood, a neighborhood that was once all filled with the same type of people from the same place. And before that it was filled with another type of people from another place. Harpy mentioned that he barely gets a ‘thank you’ for his daily purchases. Perhaps they are hoping that rudeness and a lack of courtesy would dissuade other white faces to move into those pre-war apartments in Washington Heights. “Oh we’re not moving there. People don’t cover their mouths when they cough. No thank you.”

I remembered in Weehawken, at Theresita Liquors around the block from where I lived the proprietor would be so happy to see me and chatty when I went in to buy my Guinness and once the transaction was completed, the shopkeeper would immediately stop talking to me before I even finished putting my money in my wallet. I was happy when he sold his business to Hector, a really nice and sexy guy.

Bill and I talked about what happened with the cigar shop and he could not understand how I could put up with the communication or lack thereof. It did give me something to write about, I replied. I told him what Harpy said about the Dominicans (or Franciscans) and I thought with some people with Caribbean backgrounds that I knew, they always seemed to have rotten things to say about Dominicans. I told Bill how I worked with a young woman who had a Puerto Rican background and how she joked to me that her and her friends always referred to Dominicans as ‘Dumb in a Can’. I told her that certain racist white groups would be happy to see such divisiveness among Latin people, divisiveness that would prevent them from ever achieving any progress and keep them ‘beneath’ white people.

I hoped she got my point, it was years ago and it should have sunken in by now. For today, I’m glad that in my life there won’t be any chest thumping 28 year old little big man trying to be an alpha male by virtue of a loud voice and closed mind.
Such a young age for such an old man.

PS- as a final severing of any connections with the cigar shop, I removed the Square app from my phone. I took it off a little while ago. You would think that having access to their bank accounts and charges being made at the cigar shop would be something to end right away. But no, they did not do a thing. With one last glance at purchases it was an easy removal and freed up space on my phone.

Cul-de-sacs is watching.

Tony Alamo and his christianist bullshit in the garbage bin.

Tony Alamo and his christianist bullshit in the garbage bin.


I Should Have Known

So my helping out the cigar shop is over. Well maybe it isn’t but I do have pride so basically it’s over. It was humorous. Brandon at the cigar shop called me last night and we talked about the situation. I surrendered my key on Tuesday night as Shlomo had instructed. It was actually Israel’s key, but since Shlomo is his partner I figured I should listen to Shlomo. Well Israel didn’t like the fact that I gave his partner Shlomo the key. Since I wasn’t going to be in on Wednesday as they would have liked, I thought the new guy, Moishe was going to need it anyhow.

Still it left me without knowing where I stood. Yesterday when I returned from New York City I stopped by the cigar shop. There was Moishe with a friend just sitting there. I asked for Shlomo and Moishe told me I just missed him by a half hour. I asked him if he was going to be working today since I usually help out on Thursday and Moishe said he was. So I walked away, figuring it was over. Brandon, being the one most capable of the incredibly rare skill of communicating, was who I called later on.

And Brandon claimed that he did not know anything. Where Moishe told me I just missed Shlomo, Brandon told me that Shlomo had flown to Tel Aviv at noon on Wednesday afternoon. Brandon said he would talk to Israel and Israel should call me later last night. I was up until 12:30, no phone call from Israel. Since there was no text from Shlomo, no phone call from Israel and nothing from Brandon (even less from Moishe) I was happy to sleep late until 9:00. Still bloody cold outside, I was also happy to stay in. It was better than sitting in a cigar shop wearing my coat and hat with very little heat like I did on Tuesday.

Despite the cold I did go outdoors and had a walk around Hoboken. A short volunteer trip at the bibliothèque and then I walked to the Guitar Bar and chatted with Mr. Wonderful Jim Mastro. I went to the post office for Jim and stopped by Hoboken Cigars located across the street from the post office. Some of the workers seemed to recognize me from helping out at the cigar shop, but I just stepped in and got a quick smoke before heading out. I took a photo of Hoboken Cigars and posted it to my Facebook page. A patron from Facebook said it was a great shop and I agreed.

Israel saw it and chimed in, ‘Enjoy it my friend’. I commented in return that I did while waiting for a phone call which never came. I walked up the street, past the cigar shop where to my surprise was Shlomo. He did not go to Tel Aviv after all. He motioned for me to come in but as I was smoking a cigar I dared not. After all just like there is no fighting in the war room, there is no smoking in the cigar shop. He came out in the cold and wanted to know what was going on.

I mentioned that I heard he was in Tel Aviv. He said he wasn’t- which to my untrained eye, seemed obvious. He asked if Israel called me and I said he hadn’t. He didn’t know what to say. I did not mention that on the phone call last night Brandon sort of offered me the night shift and weekends to help out. I told him I would think about it but with the lack of communication that they have shown, it seemed doubtful. It’s too bad since Brandon is a nice guy.

After talking with Shlomo on the street, I came home after running errands, made dinner and after that the phone rang. It was Israel. He seemed upset. He asked what was going on and I proceeded to let him know. How nonexistent communication causes problems and obviously there are problems since no one communicates. I pointed out the example of a week or so ago, they called me in and I went, thinking it was the usual 9 to 5 thing. It was the rare occasion that Shlomo, Israel and Brandon were in the same room, plus a roller. They were off to a wedding expo.

Cigar rollers are a thing that goes on at receptions these days. They got their stuff together and left. At 5:00 I texted Brandon asking what was going on. He responded they were at the wedding expo and would be there for a few more hours. I was upset which I think would be understandable. No one said when they would be back, and perhaps I was foolish to think they’d be back at 5:00 or maybe 6:00. I also mentioned that their filing system looks like it was created by Helen Keller to which Israel suggested that I work for Helen Keller then. I had to tell him Helen Keller was dead.

I explained that all I wanted them to do was buy an accordion file and I would index and file all their paperwork and invoices. This was something I suggested to Shlomo several times and was ignored just as many times. I thought about getting them one for Hanukah but figured that they would be better off doing it themselves. Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, teach that man how to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime, unless he doesn’t like fish.

It started getting heated. Israel seems to be a bully and had no problem interrupting me as I spoke but if I interrupted him, then he would be greatly upset. Apparently he is quite used to getting his way. How very Netanyahu. It ended with me wishing him good luck, hoping nothing happened with the cigar shop, which being a Zionist- took it as a threat when there was no threat. I explained that I’ve been in Hoboken for 30 years. I know the people, I have a pretty good idea how they act and I also know people in city hall. He took that as a threat as well.

He went off about how he found out I was smoking in the store, when I wasn’t. I explained that I was the one, out of Shlomo and Brandon and myself- that did not smoke in the store. But he got a phone call that said I did smoke in the store and I remember that day very well. It was a few weeks ago, Brandon was in when I came in, just passing through. A salesman stopped by and blessed the store with some new cigars and so I clipped one so I could smoke it later.

But someone walking by saw me with the unlit cigar in my hand or in my mouth so therefore even though it was not lit, it was said I was smoking. Israel took the word of strangers over someone who handles his money, his stock and his store itself. I showed loyalty to someone who had no loyalty to me. If I was a thief there were plenty of opportunities for me to clean them out. But I am not a thief, I’m a good guy. It is basically his loss overall.

Believe me, I can do damage. But I won’t do damage. It is not my style, and it’s wrong. I’m not that vindictive.

So the cigar shop is over, with Israel saying that he was not letting me go, that it seems to have been my choice. He also said that he heard that I had gone on an interview and that I would leave them in the lurch should I get a real job. That wouldn’t be me. In fact during that interview, the cigar shop was discussed and the interviewer mentioned that it would be alright if I would have to give the cigar shop two weeks notice, which is what I would have done. Israel said that he had gotten burned like that before and just knew I would do the same thing since I am just like those other people. And I did not bring up the contraband, for which Bill thinks would be a good reason not to be there should the state department visit and ask about certain Habanos.

An hour later-
I just got back from the cigar shop, picking up my barter for the two days I did work this week. Shlomo and Brandon were there. Shlomo commented about how bad Israel is with communicating and I wasn’t about to let Shlomo off the hook. I told him he is even worse than Israel with communication, how I could be working with him for an hour, then all of a sudden he just gets up and walks away, not to be seen for hours or until the next day, at least not by me.

I told them how Shlomo and Moishe sat there on Tuesday for 7 hours in the basement smoking and not saying anything to me. No ‘John this is Moishe, he’ll be helping us out.’ I shut Shlomo down with this, calling him on his own hypocrisy. Shlomo did mention that both Israel and Brandon would be leaving the cigar shop, onto other things and Brandon didn’t disagree. I told them I doubted that I would be going back there again and they hoped that wasn’t the case, that they might still need me from time to time.

I explained that I do have pride and after dealing with that Zionist hoodlum himself, Israel, I couldn’t really see myself working for him again. They both replied, ‘Oh but he’s never around and not going to be.’ I wonder if Israel knew about that. If he did why would he be so upset when he had his quite irate phone call earlier with me. I figure if someone was leaving a company or business, they would more than likely not give a shit. Or perhaps it’s just that miscommunication is better than no communication at all.

A subtle memory- The only person who I mentioned the interview to at the cigar shop was Brandon. It was after the fact and I told him in passing. I was taken aback when Israel brought up the interview and told both Brandon and Shlomo outside the shop how surprised to hear Israel mention it. Shlomo was as usual dumbfounded and Brandon was immediately in denial, and suggested that it was Shlomo. I pointed at Shlomo while talking to Brandon and said “Shlomo didn’t know. You were the only one that I told.”

Those lights

Those lights

I walked home feeling like George Costanza.
Army of Me

I Should Be Allowed to Think

It is fucking cold out today. I know its January and this is how it’s supposed to be. It was 19 degrees most of the day, perhaps hitting 22 degrees which actually felt nice. Then the wind blows in off of the river and there is nothing you can do but quicken your pace. Now it is 18 degrees and I am not going out again. And like when it is very hot outside and the brain fries and poor decisions and answers are forthcoming, it’s very much the same when it’s below freezing. No time to talk, just get the hell out of my way. I decided not to go to the supermarket and picked up some Chinese food.

I rarely eat Chinese food, but I know it’s a hot meal and at a good price. Of course I got the chicken and broccoli and forgot to request brown rice until it was too late. So white it is, or was. I hurried on home and found neighbor Frank from the second floor moving recyclables. They had really piled up and it seems like our handyman Robert is missing or not doing that job anymore. I helped Frank as much as I could and wound up putting my dinner in with the recyclables.

It took a second or two before I realized I was not holding my food anymore. Like I wrote, it’s so cold that I can’t think straight (though I never really could anyhow). I found my food and after moving and kicking a few things to the curb I bid Frank a good night and climbed the stairs to the fifth floor. It was dark in the apartment, Bill is not home yet. I got the layers of clothes off and put the food in a bowl once I got settled in. And then I promptly devoured the chicken and broccoli and white rice.

The day was spent at the cigar shop. I was running low on cigars and Shlomo did ask yesterday if I could come in for a little while. I had no problem with that, but did not anticipate sitting in the cigar shop next to a mostly ineffective space heater and still wearing my coat, over a suit jacket, over a turtleneck sweater. Shlomo was there as well, spending most of the day in the cellar with a shady guy named Moishe. He had two eyes by the way, though an eye patch would have made a difference somehow.

I chatted with Juan online. He’s going to a wedding with his boyfriend and was asking questions about these trousers going with that jacket. I did what I could and tried to steer him in the right direction. I think it worked. He wants to look nice, it’s his roommate’s brother’s wedding. I finally got myself a haircut from my barber Tony. I did that last night. Glad I did though I asked for a trim and he went way beyond a trim. I really felt the lack of hair today whenever the wind would blow in my direction.
1.22.2013 Hoboken Sky 001
1.22.2013 Hoboken Sky 002
Time Is On My Side

I Shall Not Be Moved

No bibliothèque today. No, today I am at the cigar shop. Apparently Shlomo, Israel and Brandon had a meeting. I wasn’t privy to it, but still I was requested to come in. The only one in today was Shlomo and he’s gone already. I expect to be out of here in about 3 and a half hours. That should be fine, and will be fine as long as Shlomo stays away. I know it’s his shop but his lack of communication skills are better served if he is away. Plus there is no reason for the both of us to be here at the same time.

Where yesterday was cold and damp with a lot of rain, today it’s merely cold. But it’s a dry cold. I was thinking about various people that I came across in my life and figure that sooner or later everyone Google’s their name and by writing a little bit about them here, perhaps Google will lead them to this here blog and perhaps open a line of communication. Either that or it is a chance to tweak Norton Reamer’s nipple and that is always fun to do. I write that with the intention of being figurative since I have never tweaked Norton Reamer’s nipples, nor if I am sure if he even has them.

Then there are the two ghosts that don’t seem to exist anymore, or at least very good at avoiding me, Jim Carley and John Nesselt. Two geezers that I went to high school with 30 years ago, and even attended the bloody 20th anniversary reunion with the hope that they would be there. They weren’t and despite intermittent searches on Facebook and whatnot, they seem to have fallen off the planet or at least, very good Luddites. I do hope they are well and happy.

Bill Carson is another name from the past. He is someone I greatly liked, and I was always happy to help him out whenever I could. He tried to get me to where he was when he left the investment bank that was started by Ashish Sanghrajka. It would have been nice but they couldn’t fit it in the budget and it’s just as well since the company he jumped to doesn’t seem to exist anymore. His wife, Laurie’s charity is still up, so that’s a good sign that all is well in Carson land.

Errol Stewart, guitarist for Fetchin’ Bones and the guy who got me into Murdoch Magazines all those years ago. He was a good guy and we even jammed at one point, making a tape called Driving in Arabia. The tape is long gone, eaten by magnets or swept away in Sandy’s wake.

And Darrell Holloway. Well I know what happened to him. He pops up in various emails and there is also a Facebook page featuring his nom de porn. I’ve suggested poses and made a few references to our mutual past which went without a reply which led me to believe that this was not Darrell Holloway at all but a reasonable facsimile thereof.

Look what I got!

Look what I got!

A spy in the apartment of love.

A spy in the apartment of love.

The Beautiful Ones

I See You- Mika

It’s been one of those days again. It’s ten days into this new year and already I’ve had a few of those days. Last night I wound up closing the cigar shop, I was there for 12 hours and I will be getting a nice box of Davidoff cigars for my trouble. I just hope those cigars aren’t as bitter as I have heard them to be. Time will tell I suppose. I have a feeling they won’t be Davidoff per se, but rather the AVO Special Toro which I think will suit me just fine. AVO is owned by Davidoff, for those wandering the shopping mall.

I am glad I was able to help them out, they needed someone they could trust on such short notice and it turned out that that someone was me. And once again since I had nothing else to do I didn’t mind. I wish I had known it would be so long but it worked out. Today I got a text from Shlomo, asking once again. Of course I asked if he had the promised cigars and Shlomo said they were on their way. Not from Davidoff but from another distributor from Pennsylvania.

So as Shlomo requested I went in again. He wasn’t around but I figured out why he needed me there. Apparently he ordered a fish tank and he was not going to be around to sign for it. And neither Israel nor Brandon would be available. It fell to me to sign for it and it’s a good thing I stayed up all night practicing my signature. Sure I could have signed anything, I could have even written an ‘X’ next to the X on the page but no, I wanted my name to be legible, I mean what would the GZA have to say about that?

And it was a fairly large tank, thankfully not filled with water, but rather Styrofoam peanuts which are annoying as hell. So I signed and directed them to where the fish tank should go. I’m not sure if they will keep the fish tank in the cigar shop or not. I guess they will or else they would have had it delivered to wherever it is that it is supposed to go. Then again as much as I like Shlomo, Israel and Brandon, communication is not their strong point. Maybe it is in Hebrew or Yiddish but English- not so much.

Shlomo showed up soon after the delivery which made me think he was sitting in his BMW watching the whole thing take place. I thought I would be there by myself for the day but Shlomo came and sat and watched Homeland on his computer while I watched Bob’s Burgers on my tablet. After an hour or so it seemed that Shlomo wasn’t going anywhere and I realized there was no need for me to be there. So I split and did some spelunking on the Palisades.

Looking for an answer, trying to find a sign. Then I saw those city lights, and honey I was blind.
Karma Police

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

It is the Saturday before Christmas, and it is pretty cold out. The temperatures have dropped considerably and the winds are whipping, strong enough to push this 200 pound meat across the street on occasion. I enjoyed it but in the back of my head I couldn’t help but think of possible debris flying and hitting me or someone near me. So getting inside was soon to be of utmost importance. It’s been like this all day and it shows no sign of letting up anytime soon. Now that I am safely ensconced in our apartment I am safe and warm.

Bill came home this morning after driving to Atlantic City last night. He got into bed as I was getting out of bed. Donning his eye mask and noise canceling headphones he was soon off to sleep as I puttered about taking the drying clothes off the shower rack and putting them in the kitchen on the other racks so that I might take a shower. After that with coffee made I had a nice breakfast. Whatever had crawled up my nose activating my allergies had left leaving me feeling quite alright thank you. I was soon getting myself together to head outside.

I decided to walk up to the Burlington Coat Factory outlet here in Hoboken. It’s at the edge of Hoboken and on foot it’s a little out of the way so I wound my way through the backstreets, walking through the construction site underneath the viaduct and hopping a short fence. And to my surprise the outlet was closed. Closed for good it seems. I should have checked before leaving and walking so far but now I saw for myself. It was a disappointment as I headed home with the wind at my back, empty handed.

I chatted with a neighbor from a few doors down the street. I saw the U-Haul truck outside and asked if they were moving out. The chap told me that they were moving back in, they fled with most of their possessions early in November, fleeing the effects of Hurricane Sandy. He was happy to be back and I was glad to welcome him back to the neighborhood. Lots of hustle and bustle on the block this afternoon and Mr. L’s was quite busy with guys getting their hair cut or sitting and waiting for their turn in the chair.

Then I got a text from Shlomo. He asked if I could come in for a few hours today. I said OK, when. He said today. I had to text him again and say ‘what time?’. 1:00 was the time and checking my humidor and seeing replenishment in order I agreed. I was there at 1:00 exactly and soon Shlomo was on his way, wherever it was he was going. A Santa-Con was happening in Hoboken. It happened in Manhattan and Brooklyn last week, a chance for twenty somethings to don Santa and Elf outfits and get piss drunk.

Today was Hoboken’s turn and the cigar shop was busy. Good sales on my own and I saw that Shlomo left me with about five singles in the drawer. Most people do use credit cards, but not all. I made a sign saying I would be back in 15 minutes and attempted to get out to the bank with $100.00 in my pocket. Of course every time I attempted to head out, more people came in. Thankfully they all used their credit cards and after a little while I was able to head out. And as I headed back, there was Shlomo- 30 seconds ahead of me.

There were more sales, and more drunken twenty somethings lingering. I was able to get a nice assortment of cigars before heading out, making Shlomo was set as I was heading home. And that’s that. I thought I’d need to go to the supermarket but there was no real need, nothing that couldn’t wait until tomorrow. Things are up and happening and most people are in a good mood, which is nice.

Tomorrow is Sunday and I won’t be posting of course. Not so sure about Monday or Christmas Day. We shall see how it all turns out then, won’t we?

All the best to you and yours for this holiday season.

Worst Talk Show Ever.

Worst Talk Show Ever.

it's for you...

it’s for you…

Santa cons

Santa cons

Getting Ready For Christmas Day

I Saw Her Standing There

I like Shlomo, he seems like a nice guy. Somewhat intelligent, but he occasionally suffers from a frozen scrotum, causing his nuts to become numb. Late night text request to come in and open this morning which I responded to positively. Not a problem and a stop at the bibliotheque was in order as well. Just a drop off and exchange and soon I was in the cigar shop with a coffee and a bagel. After about an hour the phone rings, a guy telling me that he asked me about a certain cigar, the Zino Platinum Chubby Especial something or other.

I tell the caller that I was not the one he was talking to, but I would see what I could do. The caller mentioned that whomever he spoke to would be checking his other store. I remarked that I didn’t think there was another store, in fact I asked if he was calling the correct cigar store. He said he was and mentioned the store by name which was easy to do since I answered the phone stating the cigar store’s name. I didn’t know what else to tell the guy and let the phone call peter out.

About a half hour Shlomo calls telling me that someone will be calling about the Zino Platinum Chubby Especial thing. I tell Shlomo that someone did call and I told him we didn’t have what he was asking for. It turned out Shlomo was the guy who was spoken to and Shlomo did tell the guy he would look at the other store, a store I had no idea existed. And Shlomo seems annoyed by the fact that I answered truthfully to the inquisitive caller. I eventually found the phone number of the caller and texted Shlomo, also suggesting that he might want to leave a note, or a text message or a phone message so I might know what a caller is actually calling about.

Shlomo is a bit slo-mo when it comes to communication. I attribute it to the frozen scroto.

Whether or not he got the text I won’t know since I responded to a request and sent some photos that he asked that I take of some items in the cigar shop. Three days later he says he still did not get them despite my emailing them as well as texting. I’m sure he received them, it’s just that his scrotum has gotten so cold. I will find out eventually one of these days.

Now I am listening to the Strokes, just got off the phone with a recruiter named Cesar who just kept whispering and calling me a bitch. I protested to no avail and felt compelled to respond to every whisper.

I look out the window at passerby and usually catching them staring right at me. I return the stare which makes them very uncomfortable and they generally quicken their pace.

Last night, I was up later that I had hoped, watching Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula. Stylish and gruesome and I know why they had Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder in the leads, but I wish they hadn’t.

I also watched Double Indemnity baby. Yeah it was good, real good. I didn’t expect to see Fred MacMurray playing such a heel but there he was opposite Barbara Stanwyck and Edward G Robinson baby. Everyone smoking up a storm and not trusting anyone else. Barbara Stanwyck made a lot of movies and they’re always on TCM baby. That’s about all I got for you baby. Sure baby, sure. Yeah, I love you too baby.

So it goes.

Not the 'thing' but a close relation.

Not the ‘thing’ but a close relation.

I Saw God Today

A divided day, half spent at the bibliothèque and the other half at the cigar shop. Both are volunteer gigs, one gives me free cigars, the other gives me time. I put various items on the shelves in the bibliothèque , mainly DVD’s, CD’s and Blue Rays. After that I made my way to the cigar shop where Shlomo was anxiously waiting on my arrival. Once again Shlomo had other places to be, so it was up to me to open the shop and run it. I don’t mind that the carrot at the end of the stick is a cigar.

Brandon stopped by after Shlomo hit the road and blessed me with a cigar that a salesman had dropped off last night. I’ll smoke it and if I like it it might be picked up by the cigar shop. I’m not the only one who was blessed so once all the reviews are in, a decision should be made. Brandon split after a few minutes and I set about cleaning up and doing some data entry on the computer, holding the clipped and unlit cigar in my hand or my jaw. Since the board of health stopped by, smoking is verboten in the cigar shop.

I occasionally have a puff though and when I do, I don my overcoat and stand in front of the cigar shop next to a politically incorrect native American wooden statue that a lot of cigar stores used to have. But there was no time this morning for that and I sat chomping on an unlit stogie. Shlomo came back and we moved a few items around. Then my cellphone rang. It was Israel, one of Shlomo’s partners in cigars. Israel was quite irate, in fact I think furious would be the best word to use.

Israel was yelling into my cell phone, asking who was smoking in the shop this morning. I told Israel that there was no one smoking in the shop. I explained that if I would be smoking I would be right outside the shop, and if I needed to come back in I would leave my cigar on the wooden indigenous person outside. It turned out that someone from the board of health (or a twenty something tenant) was probably walking by and saw me with an unlit cigar in my mouth and figured it was lit and I was smoking. Which of course I wasn’t.

But the board of health (or a twenty something tenant) saw what they wanted to see and complained about nothing. It’s bullshit and these guys who are trying to open a legitimate business here in downtrodden Hoboken have the full weight and heft of the obese direction of the board of health. Perhaps they’re looking for a greased palm, perhaps they are actually doing their job however haphazardly. Shop Local Help Rebuild Hoboken say the signs on a lot of stores in town, and on the other hand you have foolhardy zealots seeing things that aren’t there and causing a lot of stress and commotion when it’s not needed.
Ode to Billie Joe

I Wish I Were In Love Again

Monday again and the day before a day off for me. The day trip Bill and I had planned to take to Bala Cynwyd has been postponed yet again. We just couldn’t be arsed actually.

It was another day at work, and today’s cast of characters were Marcus just back from a cigar festival in the Dominican Republic, Calvin back from a weekend off and the Bradley.

The Palindrome only made an appearance to pick up food he bought yesterday and left in the fridge. Not much to say from his side and according to Calvin it seems the Palindrome’s days, or rather- hours, are ending soon. He was only supposed to be hired for the holidays and those holidays are long gone.

That’s the fact of the matter, not because the Palindrome turned into a little old Italian woman, dressed all in black, but because his time is up. And like the Palindrome said over and over again, he doesn’t need this job, he has a real job at a major hotel in midtown.

It was a beautiful day today, when I checked the thermometer outside of the cigar shack, it read 57°. It wasn’t spring but it felt like it and no, there was no greenery to smell. For some, the winter of their discontent continues.

Now the temperature has dropped considerably and it’s windy and chilly in the low 30’s. I was invited to an art opening at Maxwells tonight that Rand is a part of, but it’s late, it’s cold and I have an interview tomorrow.

An interview I don’t have much faith in, but still I will attend. I will go to the building, show my ID and then be ushered into a reception area to fill out an application with information directly lifted from the resume I sent them. I don’t even recall what the interview was for actually.

I’m sure they will tell me, but having just written that, I think it might be just another recruiter meeting, checking me out to see if I’m fit enough to send out on interviews.

I never heard from the woman I met last week. Then again I have never heard from my cousin who I asked for help last year. It’s fine with me. The company that my cousin works for has been a major target of the Wiki leaks thing so it might be a good idea that I’m not there.

It’s also a good thing I suppose that I never finished filling out my online application for Borders books since I heard they were staving off bankruptcy and when I woke up this morning, I heard on the radio that their stock was trading for $0.25 a share. That can’t be good.

And I will more than likely visit Hyman in the hospital, that is if he’s still there. Bill went over the weekend and met Hyman’s nephew while visiting. I will pick the newspapers for Hyman and stay for a little while.

It’s going to be a busy day off.

I Whistle A Happy Tune

10:00PM and all is well. Surprisingly it has been a good day. No time spent at the hospital since I had to go to work, but Bill was in contact with Hyman Gross who they were keeping for one more night. I spoke to Bill a few times today since I ordered some flowers and a teddy bear to be delivered today.

In the past I always had problems getting whatever it was I ordered to Bill’s office, so I decided to be proactive and had them delivered today so they would be on his desk Monday morning for that Valentine’s Day thing. And it was cheaper too.

So I kept calling asking if anything arrived and finally they were properly delivered. I don’t know why I was in such a good mood today, but I didn’t question it, I merely accepted it. I wasn’t exactly whistling a happy tune all day but nothing really bothered me.

It was like a fresh pair of eyes looking at the world. A fresh pair of eyes, still using the same corrective lenses. It was me and Calvin most of the day, with Der Fred coming in, in the late afternoon. Calvin and I got along fine. It was like I mentioned to Pedro last night on the phone.

I get anxious before going to work but once I’m there, everything is generally manageable. And by the way, I thought about taking a Xanax this morning but forgot about it, remembering when I had started walking to the bus terminal. It was fairly busy today as well.

Quite a few women buying cigars and accessories for their husbands and boyfriends and whomever. And even Keith Olbermann came into the store today. He was basically trying to be unnoticed but I noticed him. Calvin had mentioned a few times in the past that Keith Olbermann would come into the store from time to time, and since Calvin waited on him then, I figured Calvin should wait on him now.

That meant interrupting Calvin’s lunchtime smoke, and for once he didn’t mind. No dirty looks. I even told Keith Olbermann that it was good to see him, he was missed and shook his hand. No big fanfare, all quite self-contained.

He is going to be on Current TV in a few months, and I did not tell him that where I live, there is no Current TV available. Unless it gets picked up by Cablevision, I’m sure I will hear all about it.

An interesting thing happened as well today, with a different customer. She was buying a pen for her husband and wanted to see various pens. I showed her, since it is my job and she liked this one and that one but wasn’t sure about either.

I showed her another pen and she said it looked kind of gay. I mentioned that I was gay and it didn’t look gay to me at all. That made her very embarrassed and after a while she decided she wanted to think about the pens and left the store a bit flustered. I loved it.

So that’s about it. Nothing else to report. Bill is still at rehearsal, should be home by midnight. I have to work tomorrow, as well as Sunday and Monday. I don’t mind (at least right now I don’t) it’s something to do.

For those playing at home, or merely trainspotting, the past couple of weeks have been titled using songs sung by Frank Sinatra. Just mainly from a list from Wikipedia. Tonight’s title, I Whistle A Happy Tune was also mentioned tonight, in regards to my good mood and I only noticed the song title was next in the list of Sinatra songs after I had written tonight’s entry.

True story!

I Tried

Back to work for me today after a very nice day off. Yesterday Bill and I decided to go to the movies. There is a Clearview Cinema complex here in Hoboken and neither one of us had ever been there before. So we decided to check it out.

Bill was off to the gym and I was local. I went out and got some bagels since it was a day off and the Sunday paper. I texted Julio to see if they wanted bagels and he replied that they did and hoped for some warm bagels.

As luck would have it, the bagels were fresh out of the oven. I got the papers and headed home, stopping off on the third floor and saw Julio and Stine as well as Superboy. He’s such a charming little boy and can play me like a fiddle. He knows what buttons to push, what looks to give to get my attention or to get his way.

I was there long enough before I noticed how hungry I was getting. All I had was a cup of coffee and needed some food. Plus I had my own bagels to eat as I watched Stine eat her bagel and Superboy eat his bagel buttons. I eventually came upstairs and had my own breakfast.

I heard from Bill after eating, he was going to meet me at the movie theater and will have the tickets. I farted around for a while before heading out and walking up to the cinemas. It was a beautiful day, in the 40° range which when compared to the past few weeks felt positively spring-like.

I walked into the theater and they were expecting me, giving me the go ahead that Bill was upstairs with the tickets waiting for me. As I approached the second floor I heard Bill talking to someone about how unhappy I am with the job in the cigar shop.

I was hoping that it might have been someone from Clearview Cinema but it was Nicole, our former neighbor. She had just seen The King’s Speech which we were going to see. Nicole is such a sweet woman, nice to see her.

She and Mike split up after they moved away and between me and you, she was the catch, despite what Deborah their downstairs neighbor had to say. She’s in Chatham now and happy to be there I suppose.

Bill and I both enjoyed the movie. Very good and highly entertaining and if you have a sense of the history that the movie takes place in, it makes it that much more engrossing. And top notch acting of course. Funny and touching overall. Recommended.

Bill and I both enjoyed the movie theater too and will more than likely go there again, especially if you go in the afternoon when the seats are $9.50. We came home, Bill took a nap and I had something to eat. The Super Bowl was on somewhere but not here.

Bill was not interested and I certainly wasn’t either. I watched some Lawn Hors d’œuvre SUV. Bill awoke and started rehearsing lines for a play that opens next week. I watched All That Jazz after Lawn Hors d’œuvre SUV, but switched over to see the halftime show, with the Black Eyed Peas.

Now the Black Eyed Peas aren’t my type of music, but then again, I’m not their target audience. They were enjoyable, great stage set up and presentation. Then it was back to the song and dance of Bob Fosse as played by Roy Schneider and featuring actual footage of open heart surgery.

I’d rather write about all that jazz rather than how dreadful it was working with the Bradley. He is truly the golden child of Marcus and Calvin. That’s fine with me. Not much was said between the Bradley and me. Der Fred also came in today.

I like Der Fred, but every day he remarks how he can’t understand how I can work there, polishing the same shelves and mirrors day after day. It’s easy for him to say that since he doesn’t need this job, it’s only a part time thing and he’s in it for the cheap cigar discount. And I told him that quite tersely which seemed to have gotten my point across.

Already I dread working tomorrow. The Bradley opening up and Calvin will be closing the store with me. Oh it’s going to be a long day. I sent out several emails for jobs that were listed online, resume attached. No response. No response from that really ‘good’ interview I had almost 2 weeks ago.

Glad I took hope off life support.

I Thought About You

I am so glad to be back at home in Hoboken. After Thursday night’s meeting/hang out with Marcus and Calvin I was resolved to play the game on their level. With most every new customer that came into the cigar shop I gave them a hearty hello and welcomed them to the good life. Really. I said that.

It was the Bradley and myself and of course, the Bradley is the golden child. Marcus and Calvin are sporting wood for the one who traveled up from North Carolina, leaving a cigar shop there to live with his cousin in Astoria and work as a menial sales associate selling cigars in midtown Manhattan.

Yes the Bradley has the experience and the fact that he is not from the tri-state area means that he does not have that metropolitan attitude. That comes in handy I suppose when you’re in the cigar shop but anywhere else, on the street wouldn’t help matters much.

The Bradley was in one of his moody moods, not really saying much which led me to believe that he probably snorted another Xanax before he came in. I take my Xanax as prescribed, my dosage is 0.5. I think the Bradley’s dosage is 2.0 and he prefers the nasal method.

Well he told me that he snorts his Xanax. Maybe he lies, maybe he doesn’t. I just know what he told me. So with my new attitude I once again tried to engage the Bradley in conversation and once again it was like pulling teeth from a hen’s beak.

I was probably obnoxious with my happy to be here attitude but I didn’t care. I was too busy polishing glass surfaces over and over again, removing items from a shelf and wiping off fingerprints, and using the Windex on the glass shelves, both top and bottom as well as the mirrored wall behind the shelves.

Occasionally I would go into the man cave and empty ashtrays and make small talk with the mostly small minds. Der Fred came in early, the assistant hotel manager who works part time and doesn’t need the job, he just loves cigars that much. So many times in a day he mentions that he doesn’t know how I do it.

It, being the fact that I spend a good part of 10 hours a day wiping and cleaning different items and shelves. He cannot understand how I do it day after day for measly pay. I don’t know how I do it either, and I am starting to feel like Sisyphus, only without a rock, it’s cleaning extremely expensive pens.

I am proud to say that I ignored Marcus and Calvin’s advice to have a drink before heading into work. After the Bradley left, it was me and Der Fred which is actually a palindrome. Der Fred is certainly a chatty Kathy, never really shuts up but it was fine with me after dealing with the Bradley and his non-communication shtick.

But now I am home all that is behind me. Bill is a few feet away from me. He picked up Hyman Gross from a nursing home for elderly Jewish folk in East Harlem and got him to Hoboken. Hyman seems to be OK and happy to be back in Hoboken.

He’s such a frail sort that until the snow and ice goes away that he’ll probably be housebound until the spring comes. And Bill is pretty tired, it’s been a long day for him. I’m grateful that he stayed up for me to come home.

Tomorrow is Sunday and it’s most unlikely that I’ll write. Planning on a Bala Cynwyd kind of day.

Expensive pens!

Oh yeah, one more thing. In January 2011, I had 2,003 visits to this here blog.
Here are the top 5 cities:
New York- 255
London- 49
Washington- 48
Bala Cynwyd (!)- 32
Arcata- 31

Thanks to all who read and an extra special thanks to the illiterates who just look at the pictures.

I Think of You

Dreary Friday, but a day off so it’s not so bad. My mind keeps going back to last night, the tête à tête with Marcus and Calvin. I had about 2 glasses in what I presumed to be nice scotch. 2 glasses (and not rocks glasses, about ¼ of a cordial glass) and I was feeling somewhat loopy.

The third glass set me straight so to speak. One of the things that I remembered this afternoon was the fact that Marcus and Calvin saw how passionate I was in my defense and attributed it to the scotch. They were both further gone than I was and mentioned that it might be a good idea if I came into work after having a drink.

An interesting scenario and one that I have no intention of pursuing. I’m not even sure if I should mention the fact that my riding on Karma Transit, got me home about 30 minutes after I left them in the man cave.

I do have to have a new game plan if I am to play the game and I will not be dealing with Marcus until Monday and I won’t be dealing with Calvin until Tuesday. I have to admit that while I was anxious to attend this tête à tête, I didn’t know what would be brought up.

I still have no idea what cigar it was that they had given me to smoke, all I can remember was that it was mediocre. I’m pretty sure I do not share the mindset of Mickey Blue Eyes and Hot Sauce as Raymond was fond of calling them.

The concept of someone enjoying a cigar differently than the way they enjoy their cigars is totally anathema to them, even though they seem to acknowledge, or at least Calvin acknowledges that no two people see the same thing the same way. In that case for them the movie Rashomon would be a letdown since it had too many conflicting points of view.

But play the game I must, and when someone asks me how things are I will simply accentuate the positive and just lie lie lie. Overall though it was a good meeting, much needed and something that probably should have done last summer or early fall.

The guilt trip was excellent I might add. Never had I been on the receiving end in an employment situation. So today was just getting through all that. Most everything I watched on TV was lackluster from the Daily Show and Colbert Report to Community and the Office.

I had hoped for something funny to laugh at but everything seemed to be off the mark, or it could have likely been me that was wide of the mark. I have been out and about today, mailed a package to dear Billie in Washington DC who finally landed a job after being out of work for such a long time. He was unemployed before I was and was still searching after I started selling cigars and fine writing instruments.

I’m more than likely in for the evening but having written that, I am reminded I have shirts to pick up at the dry cleaners. Sigh.

I Sing the Songs

Well there I was, on the platform waiting for a train downtown. I had just gotten out of a 2 hour meeting, or rather get together with Marcus and Calvin. It was scheduled the other day under the pretense that it will be a re-acquaintance with cigars and scotch.

I agreed to it then and today when the day came I was anxious. I was tempted to slip out of it via a lie and consulted Bill who smartly advised that I ‘play the game’. So I decided to play the game. It started out in a manner of guessing which cigar was which.

Calvin removed the cigar bands and gave Marcus and I each a cigar to smoke. As usual I could not taste the notes that some people taste, I couldn’t even tell if my cigar had a Cameroon wrapper or not. These things don’t usually concern me. Marcus had a bum cigar which he had Calvin replace with another cigar.

After some cigar talk the conversation came around to how disappointed they were in me. Actually Marcus saying that and Calvin nodding his approval after a few drinks. They guy they hired in June of last year was not the same guy they were talking to right then.

Marcus expressed how he felt I was the perfect fit for this good life he envisioned, and how I had let them down. I had no right to feel burnt out. I explained that it was the holiday season, the steady onslaught of customers, most of them decent folk, others seemingly the spawn of some creature from the netherworlds.

I also explained that I had people like Raymond and Sean whispering in my ear, (mainly Raymond, Sean playing the role of Little Raymond) saying that Marcus does this, and Calvin does that and they are not to be trusted. That didn’t matter.

Marcus brought up two examples of my less than exemplary instances, dredging up how I was upset with Mister Lee who had pushed aside some poor soul on crutches just so he could clip his Cuban cigar, and my indignant reaction to his less than human behavior.

Apparently Mister Lee had done nothing wrong and by reacting the way that I did, it was my wrongdoing that upset Marcus. And the other instance was when a big fat lawyer came in and was just plain rude. I’m supposed to take all that shit and allow bad behavior to continue like that since they spend lots of money.

When I defended myself, my passion came through and that was what they wanted. That was what they saw when I was unemployed and desperate to get a job, any job. They wanted my passion my enthusiasm and use that to sell cigars and big ticket items which is what they will get I suppose.

Until something comes in, until my ship comes in, I will play the game. I will collect a paycheck and I will ‘own the store’, making it ‘John’s house’.

After two hours of that I was out the door, turning down Marcus’ offer of cab fare home and opting for the subway and bus combo which karmically worked out nicely since the subway came in a minute after I arrived on the platform and I was the next to last person on the bus to Hoboken.

To Marcus and Calvin this job is their life. A life that is under attack what with the NY City council voting to ban smoking in parks, beaches and public areas like Times Square. I know there are things out there which will constitute and define my life, but selling cigars is probably not one of those things.

I will have a different attitude when I go back to work on Saturday though. What that attitude is, remains to be seen.

Life on Mars?

I See Your Face Before Me

It’s now Tuesday. I did not get fired from work. Instead Sean who can now be called Ryan Ramos got the axe. Ryan was a good guy, but 20 years old and full of piss and vinegar and shit and testosterone and puppy dogs tails.

They caught him on camera being off the floor for almost two hours in the past week. He was getting paid of course and that is what upset Calvin and Marcus.

Calvin took me aside and asked how I was doing. I answered truthfully that I was burned out, retail is a drag. He was surprised to hear that and I also told him that most days I come to work I can’t help but feel that it was going to be my last day.

Apparently I was not the only who felt this way, a general malaise had settled on the staff at the shop. I felt better getting that off my chest and the day did not seem so bad after that. I knew Ryan was getting the ax and when Ryan called before he came in, asking me if I knew what was going on, I had to lie.

I knew and could not say a thing. A life lesson had to be learned and I was no student teacher like Karen Valentine in Room 222. The rest of the day went at a steady and strange pace, strange since someone had just gotten fired.

Marcus is a sommelier and had scheduled a class in the back room, after the man cave had been cleared out and the regulars sent elsewhere. Marcus had also taken me aside, asking me what I was doing after work on Thursday night.

I told him I had no plans and he mentioned he wanted me to stay and have a cigar and some scotch with him and Calvin and talk. He expressed concern since he felt he was responsible for my working at the cigar shop.

Apparently he remembered that I had sent him my resume in February of last year and he had finally offered me a job in May. I didn’t apply for the job, but he made the offer. It was nice to know and I agreed to stay for a cigar and some scotch on Thursday night which was fine since I am off on Friday, as well as being off tomorrow.

And tonight a major storm approaches from the west, what is being touted as an ice storm, six inches have been predicted. That will be my day off, and I guess it will be mainly spent indoors.

Another thing that I told Calvin was the fact that the days off here and there are getting to me, to have two days off in a row is so much desirable. A schedule like most of the working stiffs would be ideal.

I can’t expect to get Saturday and Sunday off but perhaps something can be done like a Tuesday and Wednesday off, at least that’s the impression that I got from Calvin.

Strange days indeed. Most peculiar mama, whoa!

I accidentally deleted Kat Charas’ subscription to this blog and was surprised that after all these years, her email doesn’t exist anymore. Come in Kat Charas, your time is up.

I See It Now

I have got to get out of the hellhole cigar shop as soon as possible. A job cleaning toilets seems more preferable to dealing with an enabling general manager and a half drunk assistant manager. The half drunk manager who’s catch phrase is ‘exactly’ followed by a few seconds of nervous laughter.

I don’t know why but for some reason I thought he was intelligent. He’s not. It all started yesterday. That was partially my fault. Fred said to me that he thought Sean always goofs off and doesn’t do very much besides that.

On the phone in the office, never around when you need him and when he is around, if you ask him to do something it’s all attitude. Ah, the life and mindset of a 20 year old. Stupid me, after dealing with someone like Juan, who was 20 years old when we started hanging out, figured that Sean is probably savvy like that.


I was off by a mile. Sean confronted Fred, using almost the exact words. When I saw Sean on Sunday I asked him why did he say that? Didn’t he realize that he had the power of knowing who says what about him, but that doesn’t mean he has to act upon it?

No, the 20 year old did not realize that and raised his voice saying that if anyone talks smack about him, they will get smacked in the mouth. Needless to say the day was spent avoiding Sean, with Fred nipping at my heels since I am basically the only one who listens to him speak.

The day couldn’t end soon enough and it didn’t. My weekly phone call to Annemarie probably sounded like a drag to her. The bemoaning of my work situation would have sounded maudlin to just about anyone.

Came back to work after lunch, a Ma & Pa special reminiscent of Sunday evenings at Maxwells back in the day. It hadn’t changed, Sean just as petulant as ever and Fred nip nip nipping at my heels. I did make it home to Bill’s loving arms and no pizza. That wasn’t so bad.

Slept OK, Bill was out at 6:00 this morning and I stayed in bed as long as I could, getting out of bed around 8:15. Got myself together, showered, shaved (been a few days since I shaved and the beard was coming in white!), breakfast and coffee while scanning job listings and sending out resumes and greetings to various recruiters.

Took half a tab of Xanax before heading out. A stop at the post office to drop off my brother in law Rex’s birthday present and then I ran into Rand on the street. His beard is coming in nicely. It matched the hair on his head, not offering a John Bolton look.

After that I was waiting at the usual bus stop, looking for that elusive 126 bus. Made it into the shop, the Bradley was talking to a customer as I walked by and said ‘Morning gents’ and got my coat and bag off. Marcus was in the shop and Calvin was around somewhere.

The neighbors have been complaining about cigar smoke and so some environmental company were in to clean vents and make sure fans were working. Let’s face it, it’s only a matter of time until the back room is closed. I enjoy smoking, but it’s unpopular and the neighbors are complaining several times a week.

A few times when I go into the back room to tidy things up as 10 or 12 cigar smokers are puffing away the smoke is so thick that it feels like I too am smoking a cigar. I mention it to Calvin but he just plays into his drunken denial. And Marcus’ attitude is the neighbors didn’t complain directly to the store, instead going to security so therefore since they did not follow protocol, there is no problem.

Crisis? What crisis?

So the Bradley and a customer are talking as I polish items over and over again, day by day. Cleaning mirrors and glass shelves. Making sure item numbers are visible so picking up and looking for the number would be easier.

The phone rings and the Bradley answers it. “John Ozed? Yes hold on.” The Bradley tells me I have a call, so I stop what I am doing and put the items I was working with away. I walk over to phone and the Bradley gives it to me. No one on the phone, just a dial tone. The Bradley and his prank. I look him dead in the eye and tell him to never do that again.

As I went back to what I was doing, as well as cleaning the store so the cleaning woman has an easy time when she comes in I mention to the Bradley that working there is hard enough and I do not need his shit.

Another thing, on Friday I was told to clear off a shelf on Sunday before I left so a vent could be accessed. Calvin knew about it. What does he do? On Saturday, Calvin has Sean and Fred clean up that shelf, straighten up the cigars boxes and whatnot, just so they could be taken down by me on Sunday night.

Today Calvin tells me that Fred is no longer allowed to ring up sales, having messed up this weekend. Then Calvin went back to the office and stare at the camera recordings with a bottle of Molson in front of him. Seeing notes that he wrote while doing so, I noticed he had times that Sean was in the lounge, in the office, wherever.

He had me written down too, but my time seemed to be only once and it was for eight minutes which can’t be too bad. And if they bring it up I will say it was my break. You work 8 hours, you are entitled to two 15 minute breaks. In any event, I have to get the hell out of there as soon as possible.

Like I said, I will clean toilets. I have a new toothbrush just for the occasion.
I’d even consider Bala Cynwyd.

taking out the garbage since the cleaning woman who knew where it goes on Friday, forgot where it supposed to go on Monday

I Never Knew

It’s Friday night! I’m happy about it, thrilled actually. I am off tomorrow and I think the last time I was off on a Saturday was Christmas day. And what am I going to do tonight? Nothing at all. I am home after yet another 10 hour shift.

Last night I came home, Bill was meeting up with his friend Fred who used to go out with not just Margaret but also Lisa, Rand’s wife. We found that juicy tidbit out in July when Lisa was surprised and perhaps even horrified to see Fred.

Bill and I never got to the bottom of that, getting Lisa’s side of the story, nor have we heard Fred’s side. But that was almost 20 years ago so who really cares anyway? So Bill was out, I came home and had time to myself which involved some navel gazing and of course I was quite sullen.

Nothing to do with much of anything really, just quiet and morose. Bill came home and tried to cheer me up but there I was playing the ‘saddo’ role. He went to bed and I stayed up a little while watching Spartacus on cable.

Not the Kubrick movie but the cable show. I don’t think I have ever seen anything as violent as that. And a quite stylized violence at that. One of the customers told me about the show and since he’s a decent bloke I thought it would be alright to see.

And it was not just over the top, it was off with his head. In slow motion and blood, lots of blood. And Romans telling each other to eat shit a lot. I couldn’t be arsed to watch the whole thing and I’m sure I didn’t miss much at all, though it was nice to see Lucy Lawless working again.

Slept ok and it was off to work again this morning. Calvin was in today and did not bring up the emails I sent. Marcus was interviewing a woman for a full time position at the cigar shop leading me to think my days are numbered.

I was thinking that anyhow when Calvin mentioned that I had come in last place with my sales over the holiday season, my 50k sales. It really wouldn’t bother me too much if I was let go, it would free me up to go on interviews if and when they arrive.

That is if the interview I had this past week comes in. It would be nice but not holding my breath. Got to keep on, keepin’ on. Apparently the official line is they’re going to get rid of Fred the part timer. He doesn’t really need the job, he’s a manager of sorts at a big Manhattan hotel and only works at the shop for a discount on cigars.

That’s the official line to which I was not privy to. I still have my suspicions mixed with a despairing hope. Bill just came back from rehearsal and smarmy Bill Maher is on TV.

That’s about all I have to say right now. If I have more to say later I will write, but for now, that’s it.

I Loved Her

Oh it snowed and snowed last night. Not a million inches, but maybe a foot or so. I had difficulty going to sleep since I went to bed a little bit earlier than usual and remedied the situation by getting out of bed and popping a melatonin tablet which seemed to have done the trick.

I also watched a good part of David Cronenberg’s The Fly which while good has dated somewhat. I remember seeing it in a theater in Secaucus with Chaz and maybe Steve Saporito perhaps under the influence of lysergic or psilocybin. Good times.

As usual Bill was up before me and wasn’t sure if he was going to go to work. I wasn’t sure if I was going to work myself. The news was on and all reports were saying that if you didn’t have to go to work, if it wasn’t an emergency, stay home.

And NJ Transit buses were said to be suspended. Even though Calvin was not going to work today, he was taking his kid to school, I sent him an email letting him know what was up. I figured since he’s the assistant manager, he should be kept abreast of what was going on.

I guess since he was off today, he would not be answering any emails since 12 hours later, no response from him. He was probably too busy to respond, since the NYC schools were all closed due to the snow.

Bill made it to Washington Street with no problem and let me know he was on the bus. Apparently bus service had been restored. I got myself together and basically wore the same suit I wore yesterday. That’s something I never do, wear the same suit twice in one week, but lately I just don’t care. Who am I trying to impress?

I made it to the bus stop after walking in the streets and sidewalks and got on my usual bus which was on time. The bus filled up rather fast and it was soon standing room only. Most of the twenty somethings on the bus were too busy playing with their crackberries and their iPhones to listen to the bus driver asking them to move to the back and make room for other people trying to get on the bus.

Other than that, the ride was uneventful. The bus terminal wasn’t crowded, most people heeded the advice and stayed home. I got to the cigar store on time and was disappointed to see Marcus in the shop.

The Bradley was working with me, he texted me earlier letting me know it would be him and me basically. Fred the part timer was not coming in having phoned in sick. I didn’t mind, even though it meant I would be a prisoner in the cigar shop most of the day.

No escape for lunch, no visit to the internet café. Marcus eventually left and after the Bradley had his lunch, I was able to get a Shepard’s pie which I greatly enjoyed. Perfect rib sticking meal for a day like today.

The day progressed oh so slowly and the Bradley and I had a few laughs throughout the afternoon. The Bradley left around 7:00 and I had the store to myself which was alright if it weren’t for the last 3 customers who were just obnoxious.

I also kept getting the stupidest customers today which seemed to be par for the course. Now I’m home, and quite happy to be here. One more day of work and then I’m off on Saturday which is when another snowstorm is expected. I don’t care, I thought most of the snow fall was quite beautiful.

Bill heading off to work

Snowy rooftops

I Love You

Well there was a snow storm when I left the apartment this morning and there is a snow storm right now, 12 hours later. I enjoyed it more in the evening and hope that a million inches of snow falls. And two million inches of snow to fall upon Bala Cynwyd since they seem to be lacking in cheerfulness and snow angels, among other things.

In between snow storms it rained, it sleeted and snowed a bit with high whipping winds and slush everywhere. Still no word from the Susquehanna Investment Group, wanker bankers they seem to be, but their phallus fallacies are not my immediate concern.

Slept OK last night, no great shakes. Bill was up and out around 5:30, hitting the gym and all that. I stayed in bed until 8:15, finally getting out of bed, making coffee, cereal and jumping into the shower. I neglected to mention yesterday how I had gotten a phone call from an agency that I’ve been signed up with for about five years.

They had an offer, to start on Thursday, a temp to perm job for a hedge fund. I mentioned that I was working already but in retail and looking to get out. The woman who called, named Emily understood my reluctance to leave something permanent (and hellish) to go to something that was merely a temporary job.

And I gave the line that I wanted to give some sort of notice to Marcus and Calvin since they’re just so bitchin’. Of course, if I was offered really good gig, I would leave the cigar shop in an instant and never return unlike Raymond who was at the shop again. I mentioned to him that I see him more now than I did when he was working there.

It was a sluggish day today, not much in sales although Calvin had done a few thousand more than me, and I didn’t even reach a thousand. Oh boo hoo. I went to the Moon Rock Diner again for lunch and finished last week’s New Yorker and started this week’s issue.

Then a walk to the internet café where I checked email and updated my Facebook status. Not much to report on either front but that was alright.

It was Calvin and Sean for the second half of the day, Calvin being out tomorrow made it seem like a vacation of sorts. Nature does not abhor this vacuum. And it continues to snow outside, crazy winds whipping about.

It would be nice to have a snow day tomorrow but it seems to be unlikely. Plus with Calvin being out tomorrow who really cares? It should be an easy day. Marcus was in Florida on Monday and Tuesday and has been having difficulty getting back to the New York metropolitan area and with all the snow falling now, who knows if he’ll make it in tomorrow? He could still be in Bimini.

Both Jersey City and Union City are hidden by the snow storm and that’s how I like it, at least right now I do.

A million inches. That’s all I ask for. Perhaps in a million years.

And Bill is feeling a bit under the weather.

I Love Paris

A day off. And it’s been a productive day again. Slept fairly well last night, had dreams that I remember. One dream featured my mother and it was a nice feeling to see her again. That dream either involved or preceded a dream that involved a varsity jacket that had NUTS written on the back.

I’m not sure if that meant a scrotum or in fact something to do with the state of mind. Then at some point after that I had an itchy palm which to superstitious folk (which I am sometimes) means that I will be coming into some money.

I eventually woke up around the usual time to the sound of Barry White singing ‘You’re My First, My Last, My Everything’ which I took to be a good omen since Barry White and I were both born on September 12.

Bill took the day off since he was feeling exhausted and in need of a rest. I puttered about as usual making some coffee, pouring some cereal and showering and shaving. I had time to get myself ready to head out, and Bill eventually got out of bed to offer his support once again.

I got it together and though I couldn’t find the suit that I wanted to wear (superstition again) I did find another suit that did the job just as well. I wore a belt instead of the braces I usually wear. I thought the braces would have been a bit much, a bit overreaching for a job interview, even though it was for an investment institution.

I thought it would be best to dress like I was in an office support position rather than dressing like an investment banker. Braces make people think ‘stock broker’ or ‘investment banker’ so for an administrative position a belt was in order.

There was a slight snow storm outside as I walked to the Path train, heading to the World Trade Center stop. Of course I was crazy early so I decided to stop by Century 21 and looked at some clothes to kill some time. I still was early after that, but only five minutes early.

I made it to the building and checked in with security. A phone call was made to the woman I was supposed to meet, Shirley. Unfortunately Shirley was unavailable and her voice mail was reached. I of course panicked a bit, but thankfully, having had half a tablet of Xanax it wasn’t so bad.

I hung around for a few minutes until the security guard called me back, Shirley contacted him and I was granted access to the 14th floor. On the 14th floor was a security guard who escorted me to the 12th floor, where I was shown to a conference room overlooking the Hudson River.

It was an impressive sight, a snowstorm was going on and I saw various boats and tug boats going up and down the river. I was tempted to take a photograph of the view but decided against it. This was a serious job I was after and no artsy shenanigans were to be had.

Shirley came in and we seemed to hit it off quite nicely. They need to fill this job which is basically a job that I have done for the past 10 years and did an exceptional job I might add. After a few minutes with Shirley, I met Nelson, who if I get the job, I would be working with.

All around it was a 45 minute interview. Thanks to the Xanax I don’t think I had any scent of desperation on me. Shirley and I talked some more, she showed me the offices as she walked me to the door. I think it was a good sign, for why would they show someone the office to someone who had no chance for the position?

It had basically stopped snowing as I headed back to the Path train, and I stopped in Century 21 and picked up some nice cufflinks as a present for Bill. Back in Hoboken, the Path from Hoboken to the World Trade Center is about a 15 minute ride.

I stopped by the Guitar Bar and picked up some cigars that I had shipped last week. Calvin had something in the order which made me think that was why he was being relatively kind for the past few days.

When I give Calvin the cigars tomorrow when I return, I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes back to being a dick again. But that’s then and not now so as far as I’m concerned the cigar shop simply does not exist for me. It would be nice to get a Monday through Friday job again. I liked the people I met today and I hope they liked me.

Also talked with Harpy for a bit as well as a nice talk with my dear friend Billie in DC today. Billie’s still looking for a job, he’s been out of work longer than I have. I wish him the very best in the world, he’s my chocolate sister and I love him very much.

I Love My Wife

Well it was back to work for me today, much like yesterday. But I didn’t write yesterday and it felt like a day off creatively. Woke up this morning to a temperature outside of 6°.

Yesterday was better than Saturday. No Calvin in the house, just the Bradley who wasn’t brain dead yesterday and Sean.

And it was a fun day, not so bad at all. It went by rather quickly. I had lunch with Bill and Margaret. Margaret is an old friend of Bill’s and could have been the woman Bill married if Bill wasn’t gay. She’s a reverend doctor who lives in Atlanta with her husband Laurent.

Bill and I attended their wedding in 2005. While I waited for Bill and Margaret it felt like back in the day when I would wait for my brother Frank to show up and pick me up so we could go to Maxwells together.

Frank is always terribly late and I always would give him the benefit of the doubt, thinking that perhaps that night would be the night that he would be on time. But he wouldn’t be on time and I would wait getting stressed out and tied up in knots.

Bill and Margaret weren’t as late as Frank would be, but still I would have a flashback to that familiar anxiety of 29 years ago. The three of us, Bill, Margaret and I went to the Moon Rock diner, which is now officially my favorite diner, at least in midtown.

Not for the ambience or the cuisine, it’s basic diner fare but because it’s never crowded when I go and I can sit in a booth and do some reading as I wait for my food. And it was a nice time, catching up under the watchful eye of the clock. The Bradley and Sean were cool if I was a little late in returning to the cigar shop.

I’m almost always on time anyhow, so perhaps a grace period of 30 minutes would make up for all the times that I wasn’t late. The rest of the day went smoothly. The Bradley and I started at the same time and to decide when to close I thought we would use a coin toss and when I asked the Bradley if he wanted to close, he said we should toss a coin.

I had the coin, he called heads and it came up tails. That meant I was able to leave about 10 minutes before he did. I made it home and Bill greeted me at the door with slices of pizza from Grimaldi’s. The Jets/Steelers game was on and Bill was into it. Me, not so much.

I did have a new wireless antenna for the old Rand-enstein computer. And of course I couldn’t work it out by myself, I needed Bill’s expertise in putting it all together. And he did after a while, while I sulked about reading and chatting on the phone.

Bill figured it out after an hour and sadly for Bill, the Jets lost the game. I didn’t provide much support or solace. I sort of mocked the whole scenario which in hindsight was cruel. I apologized for it today and Bill said it didn’t matter, asking me to imagine how he would he would be if the Jets won.

He had a point. He would have been bouncing off the walls. So perhaps it’s better this way. Plus there’s always next year. Or the year after that.

I’m off tomorrow and an interview is scheduled for the morning. Any good thoughts and vibrations are welcome and would certainly be appreciated not just by me but by Bill as well.

I Like to Lead When I Dance

Today was a day from hell. Not THE day from hell, but hellish nonetheless. It started out with me in bed, around 8:00 wondering why Bill was still in bed. Wasn’t he supposed to be at work? I nudged him and asked him why he was still here and he responded that it was Saturday.

This is how my life is. I have no idea what day it is most of the time. When people tell me to have a good weekend it takes a lot of strength not to pop them in the mouth no matter how good their intentions may be.

I made arrangements to meet up with Rand in the 20 degree chill to hand off a Netgear adapter. He lent it to me a while back and the one he had is broken, so he needed his back. That was no problem and Rand offered to wait with me for the 10:30 bus which as usual would arrive after the 10:50 bus.

Every fucking Saturday this happens. I know if I got to the bus stop after 10:30, the 10:30 bus would show up and I would miss it. Rand was kind enough to stay long enough before I sent him off just in time for him to suggest that he was going to take off anyway.

And of course since the bus was late or missing there were more people, standing room only after a few stops. I sat on a 2 person bench, made enough room for someone to sit next to me, but they wouldn’t. So I made the most of it and spread out while people stood all around me. I made the effort, they refused it, and so I got comfortable.

Got to the cigar shop a bit late, but I phoned ahead letting them know that I would be late. Brain dead answered the phone trying to be clever and passed along the word that I would be late and in by noon. And thanks to the careless planning, there were 3 full timers and Sean.

Me, Brain dead and Calvin. Calvin took off on Tuesday to see Prince and since he didn’t want to miss a day of work, made himself useless. Instead of a laid back day if laid back is the proper phrase, it was generally uptight.

No need to have a boss around today, but there he was. Things didn’t go well at all. I wanted to take lunch at 4:00 but Sean who agreed to take lunch at 3:00 decided to take lunch at 4:00 since Calvin figured it might get very busy. It wasn’t busy at all.

Jeez I can’t stand working there. Had a brief chat with Annemarie, the usual chat of how I hate working where I am working. She’s doing fine by the way, all things considered like her car being broken into the other morning.

Brain dead left at 7:30 and Calvin should have left as well but a customer came in with homemade wine and Calvin couldn’t resist, plus Calvin planned on staying later and having a cigar before heading home to wife and kid. One of the customers asked if he could play his iPod and so it was listening to someone else’s music most of the day.

Dreadful for me, good for the customer and ignored by most everyone else. It made a slow afternoon even slower. Music can help things go faster and smoother at least for me and when its music I am not particularly in the mood for, I am in hell.

Don’t get me started about jazz since I generally abhor it. Maybe if it’s performed live I might enjoy it, but generally it’s a bore. And guess what’s usually played at the store?

I also got some bitter news from Harpy but I won’t write about it here but my thoughts are in his generally direction, not for him but for his lady love.

And I neglected to mention that I heard from Casey Chasm yesterday. He’s doing OK, Madam Chasm is pregnant with their second child and Casey will be in Afghanistan later this year.

Love and good wishes to all concerned and especially Bill who greeted me with open arms when I came home like he said he was going to do.

This was written last night but I could not post due to server problems in Bala Cynwyd.

and since today is Sunday, I will not be posting later.

I Like the Sunrise

Just got home from day one of a four day stint working in the cigar shop. It was an interesting day to say the least. First thing, which happens to be the latest thing, Keith Olbermann’s last show was tonight. All of a sudden, at the end of the show he announced that it is no more.

I found out when I checked my email a few minutes ago from the LA Times and the New York Times. No explanation given. Perhaps over the weekend, or at least next week, if ever. It will be explained at some point, that’s for sure.

Back at the cigar shop, all seemed well. Today was payday and Calvin was extra nice, wanting for me to buy a box of cigars and ship them to Hoboken. He would like to buy some cigars and ship them with mine.

So he buttered me up, I relented and made him pay for shipping. It’s cheaper to buy cigars in New York and ship them to New Jersey since interstate commerce cannot be taxed. I save a ton of money doing so.

After getting all that together, I received a phone call from the guy who called me earlier in the week. An interview has been set up for next Tuesday. There’s an online application I have to fill out which I haven’t checked yet and I will once I am done writing this here blog entry tonight. I’m trying to not let my hope get out of control.

The day proceeded as it often does, slowly and the man cave back room was filled with smoke. Calvin had his two hour lunch and I manned the front of the store while he smoked in the back room. I don’t mind Calvin taking a two hour lunch. He usually comes back happy and he’s out of my hair during that time.

Another phone call, from someone who had come across my resume online. The called, named Mike noted that I had sales experience on the resume, 7.5 months of sales experience selling cigars. Mike asked if I was interested in becoming a stock broker and I told him that I was not interested. That call ended quite quickly.

I had a good lunch at what is becoming my favorite diner, the Moon Rock, next to what used to be A&R Studios, then Le Bar Bat and now it’s Providence. The food is good, they seat me in a booth where I can sit and read and there is hardly anyone there when I am there.

After that it was a 15 minute visit at the internet computer bank nestled in the back of Universal News. The new guy, Fred was in when I returned from lunch and he was helping Calvin unpack boxes that had just come in. A long day finally came to an end. Fred left a few minutes early so he could catch a train home and I closed up the shop.

Uneventful rides home, and now here I sit, Bill a few feet behind me and Bill Maher and company (including Rachel Maddow who has no idea what happened with Keith Olbermann) pour forth from the television. Another day of work tomorrow, day 2.

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

Another long day. Another half a tablet of Xanax. It wasn’t snowing or raining today at least. It was a balmy 40 degree something or other. Once again I dragged myself out of bed and got myself together, taking my sweet time which still got me to work on time, if not a little earlier.

It was Calvin and Marcus. Marcus was well enough to come in and Calvin recovered from the Prince concert he attended with the missus. My dear friend Lovely Rita was there and I would love to hear what she had to say about it. Her opinion is important to me. Most everyone else, I really don’t care.

It was a long day for me. Just me and Calvin and though he had his usual 2 hour lunch leaving me alone mostly it was difficult to get through the day. I didn’t have a chance to go outside today until about 4:30 which is when I went to Universal News which has internet access, $2.00 for 10 minutes.

Those 10 minutes allow me to check and delete email, and see if any jobs that I applied to lately have gotten back to me. Mostly they hadn’t. I sent an email to the guy I spoke to yesterday, stating that I didn’t want to be a bother but I was trying to set up my schedule for tomorrow which is a day off for me. No response so a few hours later I called and left a voicemail saying the same thing basically.

No response then either. I started falling into despondency, thinking that I had so much hope for this slim chance of a new job and it felt like the slim chance was getting slimmer and slimmer. I mentioned it to Bill and he felt that contacting this guy two times seemed desperate. But I was desperate. I am desperate. I really want to be out of the cigar shop as soon as possible.

Calvin had punished me somewhat this afternoon. Last Friday he mentioned to me, to tell everyone that we need to do a comprehensive inventory and order some cigars that we need. And I did mention it to my co-workers and nothing was done.

Today, Calvin came up to me and told me Marcus had chewed him out about this and so it was up to me to do this comprehensive inventory. One catch though and I had to tell Calvin, I don’t know how to do a comprehensive inventory.

He gave me a quick rundown on what to do and I was in the humidor for over an hour, not doing sales, just counting boxes, which accounted for Calvin doing about $2,250 in sales and me having sales of about $300.00. Of course I will be talked to about how my sales are quite low.

It certainly not the same cigar shop when I started in June 2010. Ron is gone as is Dave. That’s Don and Raymond for those playing at home.

Now I am home, Bill just loaded my computer with all the latest Microsoft products that he got via work for about $20.00. I’m happy with it and thanked Bill for his work. That’s it for now, I’m tired.

this picture was taken with the camera resting on top of my head.

I Hear a Rhapsody

And it was back to work for me today. And I went reluctantly. I took 2 melatonin tablets last night and had a really restful sleep, including a dream where I was planning on traveling to Africa, and was worried about Somali pirates even though I wasn’t going anywhere near Somalia.

I got up this morning, made some coffee and went back to sleep for a few more minutes. It was pouring rain and sleeting outside with ice covering sidewalks making walking somewhat difficult and slow. I took my time, getting ready before I headed out into all that mess. Coffee and cereal after a shower and a shave. Soon I was out in the slosh, walking carefully up to Washington Street.

I walked by Mr. L’s. They took Tony off of Tuesdays so now he only cuts hair on Monday and Saturday. According to Tony it was all orchestrated by his son Nick, but I think Nick is trying to ease Tony out ever since he fell a few months ago and hasn’t completely recovered. In any event, the day where I have to find a different barber will be somewhere down the line.

I waited in the rain for the bus, carrying Bill’s boots in a plastic bag. For some reason he’d forgotten the boots and was going to need them tonight. I didn’t mind bringing them in for Bill. He’s been so great, so supportive for me, how could I not help him out? It’s love baby. Nothing but love love love.

As I waited for Bill to come down from his office I got a phone call. It was a 330 area code and it was in response to a resume I had sent out earlier. The office was in Colorado but the job was downtown for a position I feel I am uniquely suited for.

The phone call was brief but it went well and I told the caller that I would be available on Thursday for an interview if that would be possible. I am off on Thursday and I hope I can set something up tomorrow.

I got to the cigar shop a little late but not caring about it. I was bound to be late what with the weather and all. Marcus was out sick and so it was me and the Bradley. Calvin was out today since he and his wife were going to see Prince, deciding to do so after my glowing review last month.

It was a weird day. Yesterday the back room man cave was shut down due to a ventilation problem and it hadn’t been corrected yet. The HVAC people were supposed to be in around 8:30 this morning, they didn’t arrive until 12:30. And the second cash register was broken down due to a power strip problem.

Not much money was made today. The regulars stayed away in droves, the ones who did show up were quite upset with the fact that they couldn’t smoke their cigars in the man cave, walking out dejected. It made for a long day. I wound up working with Sean and the Bradley and we all got along fine.

I forgot to write about the bus ride in this morning. I was sitting behind Linda Weinstein who was using the bus as her office, making arrangements and planning Ray’s memorial service, scheduled for the first weekend in February. “Ray’s a bigger pain in the ass now that he’s dead than he was when he was alive!”

I thought about offering her my resume but thought again and decided not to.