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“…I work hard, do a lot of push-ups, a lot of sit-ups, get made fun of, sniff benzodiazepines–” He pushes one nostril closed with a finger.

“–Barry!”

“Hey, you asked. I wouldn’t tell just anybody this, you asked.” He’s pretty drunk. The overly-bent bill of his super-American baseball hat makes his thin horse-face look even thinner. I flick at the hat with my fingers.

“How often do you get your hair cut?”

“Every one-and-a-half-weeks,” he says, taking off the hat to show his ‘do.

“Wow.” The sides of his head are shaved, while the top is a bit longer. He’s got golden-brown hair under that hat, and a tattoo on his chest. And on his side. He shows me both after another beer.

“This is a wolf. And this is a quote from the bible.”

He asks me to dance with him, and I do, feeling it’s my duty as an American citizen. He is an Army man, after all.

He twirls me around a bit, and does some fancy twist with far too many moves for the amount of gin tonics I’ve had.

“Is this what you do, go out on the weekends and dance with girls?”

“I don’t know what a weekend is, anymore. I just have off days. And, no. Not really.”

He spins me again, and once I recover, I ask him more “meaningful” and “deep” questions about his life. About being in the Army. About how he likes Korea. About his hat.

At some point, later, after the dancing, I laugh to myself, thinking about how quickly I’ve become the English teacher who hangs out in the Westerner neighborhood, who drinks on Friday nights and dances with American Army dudes. Typical. Typical. Wonderful.

But it’s more than that. It’s the first moment we saw the group of “Army dudes” walk into the bar, forearm muscles out, baseball caps on. It’s how wrong we were, so quickly. It’s how all people, if you give them the chance, might just be good, interesting people in your life. Even if they wear sleeveless shirts.

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I pressed a fingertip to the condensation-covered window, watched as a droplet formed and fell, sliding down the glass, gathering more water as it went, leaving a streak of clarity in its path. And that’s typically what happens, isn’t it? Like salt water traveling on skin — it must happen to you, too — losing something, even that small, leaves you with something else.

I hadn’t heard from him in a few days. Didn’t know if he was alive or dead. That was me being dramatic, but it was also true. Somewhere out there between here and there was a postcard, full of cramped writing, the few sentences I could write when I wanted to say so much more. I was sitting there by the window thinking about that little card, flying somewhere over the ocean — or maybe it was on a boat, I don’t know, I didn’t know, what do I know about the global postal system? — It’s amazing how much we don’t know.

A few days later the “January Meltdown” stopped and the water turned back into ice and it snowed again, covering the tracks in my front yard almost entirely, leaving only tiny impressions in the snowy expanse. And that’s typically what happens, isn’t it, memories almost completely wiped away by some deciding neurons in our brains that don’t ask us permission. And now I can barely remember her sitting across the table from me, and I have no idea what we talked about for so long so long ago. It’s amazing how much we can’t remember. Time doesn’t go by quickly, we forget it.

I’ve been listening to this one song a lot lately. It has this clicking sound in it, made by those wooden instruments, Google says that they’re called claves. That sound reminds me of you, reminds me of other songs we listened to together. I almost sent you the link, almost told you to listen, hey, listen, you might like this song, but I didn’t. I would have, four months ago, two months ago. Too much time has passed between us now. Too many changes of the seasons, too many new days, too many memories wiped away, filled in with something else.

Now we’re all different people who can’t remember what it was like before — it must happen to you, too. And it doesn’t matter that we all don’t have to wait day by day for a tiny postcard, doesn’t matter that we’re all at each others fingertips. There is still a silence, and it grows, time freezes it over like the water on my window.

1. Gas prices will always go down the minute/hour/day after you fill up your gas tank at the higher price!

2. Guys: Even if you’re ugly, dressing well, being intelligent, and/or having self-confidence will make you attractive.

3. Focus on the good in your life, not the bad. Surround yourself with interesting, happy people and you will become interesting and happy, too!

4. Never say that your life is meaningless. Well, duh! Welcome to reality! Now, shut up and go do something. Anything!

5. Even if you can’t force yourself to be a coffee person, you can still be a cappuccino person! If you can’t do that, try tea.

6. Don’t be an afraid or lazy or weak person – you’ll never become the person you want to be if you’re not brave, strong, and/or a go-getter. Beat what scares you, do what makes you nervous. Become who you want to be!

7. It may suck, but late Summer/early Fall is a beautiful time of year! Don’t forget to examine the world around you (always!) and take in the beauty of it all – quick, before winter hits!

8. A loud voice is not always a wise voice.

9. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Be nice to everyone, talk to everyone, be a citizen of the world! Your life will be better for it, and you’ll know people who know people.

10. Did you just say gnarly?

1. Where’s Monaco? I think it’s by France. Or maybe it’s in France. Or maybe they just speak French there.

2. The next time you see someone you don’t know, go up to them, introduce yourself, and ask them how old they are. Let’s get over this whole my-age-is-my-secret crap!

3. Girls! Why are so many of you so pitifully needy? That’s not attractive, and it makes me hate you a little bit. Stop.

4. Has anyone else ever thought about how weird wisdom teeth are?

5. Why do we name hurricanes? Isn’t that sort of the same as giving a serial killer lots of media attention?

6. When people die, newspapers usually give them a one-liner obituary. A lot of the time it’s something like, “Betty enjoyed knitting.” What will your obituary sentence be?

7.  Are “hipsters” even a thing anymore?

8. Can we all just be honest with each other and talk about how ugly TOMS shoes are?!

9. In novels, there are flat characters and round characters. The same goes for real life. Are you a flat character or a round one?

10.  If someone tells you that they don’t like an idea that you have – even if you think it’s really great – accept it. Move on. They don’t like it! End of story. What are you, an only child?