5.22.2016

Just Sharing

Sometimes I don't have anyone else to tell.

I was watching an episode of Law and Order and they mentioned the name of a fictional bar called "Jangle's" and I misheard it as "genitals". Probably, to certain therapists, that means something, but, besides all of that, well, it's a pretty fucking great name for a bar. You heard it here first.

"I'm thirsty, let's head to Genitals!". If you want this idea, you can have it (send me cash!). You could also go for "Jenny Tall's". Probably more likely to get past the red tape, that name.

In other mildly amusing ideas.

I once decided upon the following as the best band name ever while living in New York:

Prince Playing Purple Rain In Its Entirety In A Warehouse In Bushwick

Like:

Two guys run into each other on the street.

Dude 1: 
Hey. What's up.

Dude 2:
Not much. Chillin'. You know of anything cool going on tonight?

Dude 1:
Yeah. I'm going to go see a show with my friends.

Dude 2:
Who's playing?

Dude 1:
I'm gonna go see Prince Playing Purple Rain In Its Entirely In A Warehouse In Bushwick.

Dude 2:
Holy shit, that sounds fucking amazing. Prince! Is the Revolution going to be there too? I've never seen him live. "I Would Die 4 U" is one of the best songs of all time.

Dude 1:
Great fucking song, yeah. But, no. It's not actually Prince playing.

Dude 2:
What?

Dude 1:
No, see, Prince Playing Purple Rain In Its Entirety In A Warehouse In Bushwick is the name of the band.

Dude 2:
So it's not Prince?

Dude 1:
No. It's this dude Aaron playing kazoo through a wah-wah pedal along to famous presidential addresses in front of a TV playing octogenarian porn.

Dude 2:
Hmm. Sounds intense. Does he do Prince covers too?

Dude 1:
Nope.

Dude 2:
Uh. Have fun?

Dude 1:
Yeah. Thanks.

Dude 2:
See you around.

Dude 1:
Peace.

I guess now that Prince is dead, my new band will be called A Reunited Talk Talk Playing Laughing Stock In Its Entirety For The First Time Ever At A House Party In Bed-Stuy. I hope I didn't just jinx Mark Hollis.

I'm not that much of a narcissistic asshole. I just sometimes feel like I don't particularly matter to anyone and wonder what I'm doing wrong. More than total release, I'm looking for total connection.

I do love all of you who have had the patience to continue reading my writing as I have bottomed out as a human being. I know that sounds melodramatic, but the scariest thing about my life over the past few years is that I can't remember any of it. Nothing has touched me. I guess I'm a permanent malcontent, and can't even really, to a certain extent, trust my perceptions of the present and the past and the future, but, fuck, there were, at least, at certain times, people to hug, and, to my credit, for what it's worth, I really do miss, unselfishly, the possibility of affecting the lives of others in a positive manner. I know I can be that person again. I just don't see the way forward right now. Hence the self-obsession. Or maybe it's the other way around. We'll see.

I feel like a gear spinning freely.

EDIT:
And this over-obsession with age is, well, it's a lot of things, but part of it is that I really had figured that I would know better by now. Sure, it could be capitalism circa 2016, it could be the decisions I've made, it could be that I'm somehow too in love with new experiences to ever commit to anything, but I never knew that adulthood could be as drifting as this, that everything I've done and experienced until now would not necessarily move me towards anything more certain, more stable. I guess, welcome to life, huh? But maybe it's just me? There must be more to it than managing contingency? Certainly, I look at other people and it seems to be that way.

Thanks.

New and good:


Older and good and pertinent:

5.14.2016

Untrained Eye

I feel like if I try and explain away whatever was bad about that last post, whatever's good about it will go away too. Don't take things too literally. Don't ask me which things are which.

I'll never be a good writer if you always believe me.

5.11.2016

Desire Is God

Here's the thing. I'm 35. It's not old, but it's also, like, like, I dunno, it's also like. I really want to be free from want. And I can't be. It's spring again, finally. It's fucking May and only on the last few days has the weather really broken. And the spring breeze is a siren song leading me nowhere. And someplace else. A someplace that doesn't exist that I ignore at my peril.

It kills me.

That breeze.

I really want to be done with desire. I want to leave it all to the kids, or whatever. It kills me.

I want to settle down. I'm so sick of wanting everything. I want to set my feet on every square foot of the universe, want to meet every life in it. I want to kiss babies and make cats purr and massage the ears of every dog who would look upon me with expectant eyes. I want squirrels to not face me with trepidation while guarding their acorns like mothers.

I want to kiss everyone, to bite lower lips and let our noses compete for orientation and heal the fundamental lack.

My desire is unfulfillable.

But avoiding it hasn't brought me peace.

So what's next?

I don't know.

This phase of my life is over.

I've complained plenty about Providence. There's plenty to complain about.

For instance, it's a city with thousands of Italian-Americans who walk is if their balls precede their hips by a thousand feet. And yet I can't get a good slice of pizza.

But what really kills me: the empty streets at night.

I feel like George Willard. Or Franco Interlenghi as Moraldo in I Vitelloni.

It's an odd city to live in as an adult because it's a place that, by leaving, one becomes an adult.

Instead.

All I can do is bear passive, mute witness to the frustrated dreams of beautiful people. I can never really live here, only observe.

And I need to live, so desperately.

I need to excrete, need to cultivate the formation of liquids that encase the flesh in olfactory reminiscence.

I need to fuck.

I need to kiss the oil-stained pavements drenched in yellowing light as if the perpetuation of human existence depended on it.

I need to tongue curb cuts.

I need to take baseball bats to all of the shop windows that evoke peace piecemeal, one pane at a time.

There's something wrong. About shop windows through which one can see garments that promise a glorious nightlife never to arrive. And the store lights are off.

The girls who flirt with me who won't join in the journey.

The quest.

For whatever is left of god.

I want to pick you up by whatever is between your legs and throw you through that shop window so that I can eat those garments alive.

I want you to be beside me as the glass breaks, as the mannequins stand ready to be denuded and raped.

I want to kill, but only that which cannot die.

And I want to write better than this. Only I have to go answer the door and take delivery of another sad calzone.

Yeah. That's really how this ends.

Again.

5.04.2016

Still Crazy After All These Years

This is one of those personal memories that matters to nobody but the recaller.

In college I only knew one person as crazy for techno as I was. He was obsessed with a certain Derrick May mix CD and he turned me on to it and we both listened to it constantly around the year 2000 or so. It was his mission in life to collect every single record on said mix. The holy grail was, well, a copy of the track below. It was virtually impossible to find. This is still internet 1.0 era, mind. Anyways, he added this particular record to his wantlist on an old site that no longer exists called Groovetech. Probably more as an ironic recognition of the fact that he would never own a copy than anything else.

One day, we're hanging out and he finds out that the record is available. "You want a copy"? Of course I did. Ten bucks later, the holy grail of techno is on the way. Of course, he got a copy too. I loved the record just as much as he, but I hadn't been chasing it for half a decade like he had been. So it didn't seem that impressive at first.

Subsequently, it was.

I now had a copy of possibly the best techno record ever made. One that never, ever leaves my heart or my soul.

I hate to talk money, but, man, it's now an $80 record used. Used.

Serendipity on my side for once. But fuck all of that.

Just listen. Dope. Dope. Dope!

The techno ideal, to me, at least, is to finally leave the language of formal music towards communicating at the level of pure sound. This is that. Yes.

5.01.2016

Pay In Cash

In my darkest moments, I settle on one particular thought: that the restaurant industry exists proves that the Left doesn't.

Yes. Too reductive.

And really, only applicable in the USA. Well, not "only", but it's worse here.

Tips are emotional blackmail. Sexual harassment is common. I'm a guy, so I have it easy. Not that sexual harassment is easy, well, ever, but, assuming we are talking circles of hell, well, if you get sexually harassed at a job where you get paid a wage or a salary, you get paid for the time up to and including the moment when that harassment happens. When you work for tips, you have to decide whether it's worth standing up for yourself, which means risking losing compensation for labor you have already performed. There's more. Maybe I'll get to it. I mean.

OK.

I've been trying and failing to write something substantial about my time in restaurants for a while now. There's something addictive about them. Sadly, what's addictive, is, well, the sadness. I've never met so many brilliant people for whom, seemingly, there is so little use. It's amazing, really. There's this odd repository of witty, passionate, intellectual, compassionate people who have decided, for whatever reason, to sacrifice themselves to you. So that you may persist in being less.

But that's for another day.

Let's try this instead.

Here's how I get paid.

The way in which restaurants handle money is always sketchy. Always.

Here's how the place I am at does it as of now.

When you choose to pay, I bring you a check. That check, of course, is a list of all of the items I have served you, their prices, and the total cost of those items, including tax. This is the amount you are expected to pay. Obvious, so far. I won't even go into what happens when you don't pay. It doesn't happen often, and it doesn't happen for malicious reasons often, either. But it does. I've worked at places where I've had to pay. But we won't go there now. Or maybe, we will.

At the bar I worked in last year, if you started a tab and left without paying, it was my responsibility to pay the house back. So, if your tab was $100, and I made $120 in tips, well, I would walk with $20. Which is why I took your card, and why I never let that happen. But I was one of the lucky ones. Yes. If you walk out on a tab, not only are you not compensating me for your labor, but you are actually, literally, negating the compensation of others.

I'm not in the situation now. And, as I said, it didn't actually happen to me. I took your card. Just understand that that is a possibility. And while we're at it, I'll say that, although I have never worked at one, there are restaurants that... Sorry. You know, right, that whenever you pay via debit or credit card, the business has to pay a fee. There are some restaurants that take that money out of the server's or bartender's tips. So that person is actually paying, well, probably only a small amount, yes, but, nevertheless, paying to let you use your card.

I've never worked in a place like that. Just know that those places do exist.

Here's how my place works. 

At the end of the night, I add up my credit card sales, my credit card tips, and my cash sales. 

If the cash sales are equal to the credit card tips, I take all the cash home. If the cash sales are higher than the credit card tips, then I owe the house money. Money that's not mine because that money is not from tips. That's fine.

It gets tricker if my credit tips are higher than my cash sales. In the case, the house owes me money. That money is the difference between my cash sales and my credit tips.

An example. I do, let's say, $1,000 in sales. $900 in credit sales and $100 in cash sales. I earn 20% tips on this particular night, which means that I receive $180 in credit card tips on my $900 in credit card sales. Since I did $100 in cash sales, I get to keep that $100 and the house owes me $80. Fair enough. Of course, since those $180 in credit card sales are declared automatically to the IRS, they take their cut. I don't get to see all of that $80. Fine. Taxes. We all pay them. I guess I could be a bit, well, the more cash, the easier to hide the money from the taxman. But I'm moral and let's assume I am too. I digress.

But I said it would get tricky, and here's where it does.

In the restaurant industry, we tip one another at the end of the night.

Rationally, it makes sense. If I am waiting tables, and you are bartending, you pour the drinks I need to take to my tables. You work for tips, I work for tips. You are making me drinks. I should pay you, and I do. I accept this. How could I wait tables successfully if I couldn't bring drinks to my tables? How could you bartend successfully if you were not going to get paid for making those drinks, especially if making those drinks takes away time you could be spending helping customers who are ready and willing to compensate you for your efforts?

So I tip you out.

And other people, too.

At my particular restaurant, on a weekend night, I tip the bartender and the host.

Now let's go back to the end of the night. Credit cards versus cash.

Let's say, for fun, that I do $1,000 in sales and get my 20% and therefore earn $200 in tips. Here's the catch. It's all credit cards. So I have $200 in credit card tips. None of which I will walk home with, and none of which I can hide from the IRS. Blah. I don't want to hide anything from the IRS. I want them to know everything.

Everything, though?

Since the credit card records are official, the IRS knows I have made $200. Except, well, I haven't. The total amount of my tips that I tip to other employees varies from restaurant to restaurant, but, in the present case at least, the percentage is close to, amusingly enough, 20%. So, hmm, what's 20% of $200? $40. So the actual money I have made is $160, with the other of the $40 going to others. Except that's not how the accounting works. I was tipped $200, and that's what I have to declare. Even if $40 is getting paid to someone else.

Stated clearly: I am paying taxes on income I don't actually receive. But only on my credit card tips. Since cash tips are reported voluntarily, cash gives me the chance to lie, which I don't do. But cash also give me the chance to report the money I am actually taking home, as opposed to the amount I am paid. which is not the same.

Does this seem like a big deal to you? Are you outraged? Probably not.

This is why I'm having a hard time really writing about the industry.

Until I figure it out, until I can write the words that make your feet hurt as much as mine, all I'll say is, pay in cash.

4.17.2016

Only Normal People Want To Be Weird

And please quote me on that.

Because I am right.

I don't have any tattoos or a trendy haircut or anything.

I wish I could actually fit in, figure it all out.

Because I was born alienated. It's not an affectation.

There's a million prospective accountants running away from their fate and I am jealous.

Here I am, thirty-five years old, intelligent, no career prospects, no romantic prospects, no home-ownership prospects, no nothing-prospects, and instead of going to bed early, trying to do something, trying to be something, I am obsessing.

I had superlative SAT scores, a year's worth of AP college credits, time at CTY, everything, and yet, here I am, resume-less, degree-less, career-less, future-less, everything-less, trying to figure out why the chord change that occurs at around 1:35 in this track is a thousand levels above my intelligence.

And all I want is for you to be, just for a moment, obsessed too. I am alright with being alone, but not alright with being unique. I hope you get it, even in your solitude, a solitude that I hope is not as permanent as mine.