on ghosting

i met meghan via tinder and it turned out we knew a whole bunch of people in common. her ex, for example. but that was fine because it was just a date, and even though we went outside to make out, it wasn’t really a thing, you know? we just had lust. and a couple of drinks to rid ourselves of the inhibitions. so when i was like, ‘wanna go outside and make out?’ she was like, ‘sure.’ and that was that. we did the same thing a week later in park slope, and it was fine.

life mostly seems fine to white dudes.

so anyway when i was a kid i was apparently translucent. which, i dunno, various sunburns throughout the years would seem to confirm. so i was a ghost. and i’m still the whitest.

but i had to ghost on meghan from tinder because she liked me, and as casper it’s in the script. i’m one of those people who pretends to have values, but doesn’t actually live by any of them nearly enough. a hypocrite. granted, i don’t think most people are any better, but i really want to be. i really do. i think that would be just great.  i just want to be 75% great.

i don’t think that’s too much to ask.

god came up and said what kind of shoes do you want? and i said air jordans, and god said that’s good.

and those air jordans are coming tomorrow.

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sometimes i think i never woke up

i had this dream last night where i was looking for new hiking boots to climb a 29,000 foot mountain in new hampshire. just a day trip. all of my friends were crashing at my place before we headed out for the climb, and i needed to get rid of a dresser, so i put it into the back of my truck and headed to union square in new york, because that’s the obvious place to get shoes. so i went into one place, and everything was in disarray, and i felt bad because i hadn’t put socks on to try on shoes, but this sales guy only had two pairs for me to look at, and i felt less bad because i wasn’t going to try on either. i told him ‘look, we’re climbing a mountain today, these aren’t going to cut it,’ and he was like, ‘they just might.’ and i left. i put the dresser on the side of the road and parked and went to a little plaza, which was really more like downtown brooklyn now that i think about it, and anyway. anyway. it was almost 10 AM, and i was stressing about how to make this trip work if i didn’t have hiking boots, so i go into this one spot, which is kind of like a mini-mall, and i’m looking for a ‘shoe emporium’ sign because it was advertised outside. and i’m doing this big U, following the path of the mini-mall, and as i come around there’s this restaurant and michael jordan is sitting there having coffee and shooting the breeze with the regulars. anyhow, somehow he knows i’m looking for shoes so we chat for a bit, and he’s like ‘try up the road, and i’m like ‘thanks, michael jordan.’ so i head out to check up the road, but then i wake up.

and i really wonder if i find shoes in that dream. i really wonder what the top of that mountain looks like.

dreams are weird.

i fell and hit my head a year and a half ago and almost died, and i look at the world now, and sometimes i think i never woke up.

the rise and fall of the roman republic, a memoir

I finally came clean to my mom. It was after a friend and I spent the afternoon tripping out on mushrooms. I’m not going to pretend I had any sort of revelation that hadn’t already been simmering in my guts for years, but it was just time to say it. “I’m suicidal.”

She said what moms all over the world would say, the good ones anyway. “Oh, honey.”

There is nothing wrong with mental illness. But it does have to be dealt with. For quite some time I went to a doctor in NY, and he gave me benzos and an SSRI. I never took the latter, but I used to former to mask alcoholism. If you’ve gotta take a customer out to dinner, it’s generally not great if you have the shakes. Benzos were the solution.

Last year, a friend came to stay with me at my apartment in NY. He and I had always spoken really candidly about our various problems. We toured Vancouver Island together, after all, so there was plenty of time to chat. He’s a great guy, even though he, too, is an asshole.

When he was my guest last year, though, I said, “I’m quitting drinking when I’m out of benzos.” I was unemployed and uninsured by then, so I was on my last scrip. I pointed to the pills, probably 20-25 or so, on my desk. There are three left now. There have been three left for a long time.

Yesterday I went to Gloucester, and a friend and I walked along the beach and sat on logs and watched the colors change as the mushrooms set in. I carried a bag with my lunch the whole time, and it became a running joke that I was just a normal dude with a plastic bag, because things are funny when you’re on mushrooms. It was a beautiful windy day, so we decided to lay down on the rocks, and because there were bugs everywhere that was funny, too. When we started to come down, we walked along a ridge of stones, plowed there by the city to protect against the storm-surge from the previous day’s Nor’easter. We slid and fell a lot. I gave my friend’s dog my sandwich, and the apple I’d brought along was too mealy to enjoy so I threw it into the sea.

There are a whole lot of things that are really beautiful in the world. You included.

god bless america

donald trump gave a press conference today. it’s his first since the time over the summer when he was like, ‘yo russia, hack that bitch woman who i hate because i’m a misogynist,’ and russia was like, ‘dude we already did, chill,’ and trump went on to fucking win the goddamn election because this is all a computer simulation and the 12-year-old who’s got the wheel is just beginning puberty so buckle the fuck up motherfuckers, because before you know it jennie isn’t going to want to dance with him at the eighth-grade semi-formal dance, and then what? then you fucking know what, don’t give me that. 12-year-old jesus is going to say ‘fuck this game, i’ve been playing long enough maybe jennie will love me NOW’ and then he’ll bomb someone because That Will Show Them, and we’ll all die and jennie won’t be impressed and your mother only loves you because she has nothing better to do. and then the world will be destroyed but it’s possible — just — that we’re in a multiverse, or we’re the figments of someone’s imagination, and just what if the end isn’t the end. if we clamor for the afterlife for long enough, do we get a participation trophy?

probably not but it’s fun to think about. and the main reason it’s fun to think about is because all of the war and pestilence that my country is about to unleash is really way too much of a bummer for me to grasp. on our own citizens, on people around the world. i don’t know. how do you apologize to everyone at once for something you didn’t even do? i’m pretty good at apologizing. i’ve done it for most of my adult life, because being a fuck up who’s not out on the street requires it. but for this? i don’t even know. any apology i could make would be bullshit. so no. no. i’m not sorry. i’m horrified. this is the most disgusting thing i’ve ever seen.

i don’t currently have a job because i’m super depressed and i don’t really feel like looking and i’ve got a tiny bit of savings and a credit card so ‘weeeeeeeeee motherfucker, let’s see how far down this hole i can go,’ and so today i watched president barack obama’s farewell speech, which is available to stream on fine internet properties such as the youtube, etc., and i just i dunno. i mean, i love the guy. just seems like a fundamentally decent dude. and people are gonna be like, ‘oh well he droned motherfuckers,’ and i’m like, ‘no shit, dude. no shit.’ because yeah. no shit. no shit, dude. in this country, though, you’ve only got two choices. i picked obama twice and i’d pick him again and again and again if i could. it’s been said a lot, but it bears repeating: we didn’t know how good we had it.

obama said this, he said: ‘ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,’ and i know somebody out there is gonna say, “AKCTCSHSSHUALLY JFK SAID THAT” and you’re right but i don’t give a shit. obama said it better. he spent the last ten minutes of his time with us imploring us to get involved.

which is kind of a weird thing. we take it for granted, but for lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of people, you can’t just get involved. you can’t just say, ‘fuck it i’m gonna call this person on my lunch break because i’m animated and their job depends on my support.’ you can’t fucking do that most places. you really fucking can’t. stop pretending that what we have here is at all guaranteed. stop pretending that your contrarianism, your privileged above-it-all-ness is something anyone in the opposition gives a fuck about protecting. they don’t. if there’s one thing this election has taught me, it’s that barry was right. democracy is fragile. this is no-fucking-around time.

(probably always has been, but i’m still learning)

the bible tells us a lot about trials and tribulations. job, jesus — the whole lot of them pretty much just suffered and died, and then people were like ‘that’s cool,’ and then other people were like ‘same,’ and then jesus and job got book deals and whatever. and that’s fine. that’s good. but the message of determinism is the message of freedom, and it suggests that we are bound to find our way out of this. and that if we don’t, that it’s better to die trying. it’s better to fail at finding freedom than to win at anything else.

marblehead

my parents were baby-boomers, so that helps explain things. other than that, they were fairly normal. my mom, granted, spent most of my childhood pretending to be four years younger than she actually is, but whatever, grown-ups are weird. source: i’m a grown-up now.

i went to marblehead today to help a man do work on his computer. he’d said over the phone that he needed help with formatting in microsoft office, so i figured he had the tiniest bit of knowledge about it, but no. nope. not this time. which isn’t to talk unnecessary smack. the guy seemed perfectly fine, an environmental lawyer who was now going to be [redacted] in his retirement. probably accomplished more than we’ll ever get the chance to, if i’m being honest. which i can’t quite be sure of these days anymore.

so i clicked and dragged icons to the desktop, recommended he never use internet explorer again, showed him how to double-space shit on word. all in all, it was tremendously boring work, but i felt, for a little while at least, helpful.

“you could probably google the library and see if they have classes available,” i said. “or just call them.” he and i had been discussing the merits of phone calls versus text messages briefly, and i hadn’t wanted to get into it.

“is there a trash barrel,” i said, coffee cup in hand.

“yes, it’s downstairs in the kitchen as you make your way out.”

it’s kind of weird interacting with socially awkward people who don’t know how to use computers and it’s even more weird when you’re teaching them how to right click, but anyway, it was especially weird to be like, “uh, okay, thanks [redacted]!” from the landing because dude wouldn’t show me to the door. and made a bad joke about his dog that doesn’t really bear repeating. and had just given me $40, which, okay, i guess that’s the value of a right click and running malwarebytes these days.

the world is so terribly fucked.

thoughts before coffee

Doris says, “Use your head, c’mon, Tom.”

I say, “I know how to clean a vase. This would be much faster without two people doing it.”

Doris is my boss for the moment. I don’t really need the job, but I’m bored and some of my favorite people on earth work there (and have worked there for years), and so I’m like, “Okay, Doris. What do you want done?”

And she cleans a vase like one would clean a vase, and I’m like, “Oh, wow. Thanks.”

I do not hide my sarcasm.

Doris is a crazy person, but she has the virtues of 1) being incredibly talented, 2) commanding respect, and 3) sometimes earning that respect. Most of her employees are lifers. She is probably the worst boss I’ve ever had. But I do know that she’ll always hire me. I don’t really know why. She hired me in high school when I was just trying to earn enough money for a bit of weed and some cigarettes, and maybe an ice cream for my high school sweetheart. She’s hired me every time I’ve asked since. When my dad died, and it was the day of the wake and we were all just fucked up and trying to deal — when I called her and said, “Holy fuck, I need some funeral shit, I don’t even know what, and the service is in two hours,” she put that shit together and got it to the service well before it was due.

There’s probably something to be said about loyalty and all that. Hell, I almost quit yesterday, but I didn’t. In the meantime, I’d rather have coffee.

Dear White Friend

(The below was not written by the proprietor of this blog. It needs to be read.)

Dear White Friend,

It is important that you understand what I am feeling as a thirty-two year old Black man now that Donald Trump has been elected President, with specific regard to race. It is important not only because you care for me, but because you need to protect and fight for me and for all others who lack the camouflage of white skin. Otherwise– and I mean this without hyperbole– we are the walking dead. And you, by your silence, ignorance and passivity, will be killing us.

I am more scared than I’ve ever been in my life. I am broken. There is a feeling when someone says or does something with racial animus to me. It is a trembling, a quaking pain that is unbelievably pervasive, as though all the water molecules in my body were suddenly replaced by that person’s pulsating hatred. At this moment, and for a long time in the future, it will feel like that but more, that the very air around me has done it, the atmosphere itself hates me for no decent reason. There is already a fear as a Black man, an extreme adrenaline rush, when a cop pulls behind me on the road. The entire country has just pulled behind me with their lights flashing.

I want to express to you the absolutely defeated feeling I have. I want you to know the sorrow that comes with having a revitalized and powerful White Supremacist element in this country, my country. I want you to know that the “not all Whites” excuses are irrelevant and actually harmful when the truth is that the strong majority of Whites were willing to vote for a man who has both spoken and acted in ways that are deeply bigoted and violent. I want you to think of the racially violent acts now committed daily by people with his name on their lips. I want you to think about what it feels like to me that so many of my fellow Americans hate me, and that I have no idea why. That I have no clue as to what we ever did to deserve this. And that they are excited and empowered to do more harm to me now than ever before during my lifetime.

I also need you to know how furious and hurt I am that life goes on as normal. Not just that the media and entertainment are already working so hard to normalize what cannot humanely become normal, but that people are walking on the street, having conversations, petting dogs and cats, anything beyond being sick and screaming over how this all must feel for me, for non-White people. I cannot believe it when I see someone look okay. This election was an act of terrorism. That is how I feel. Terrorized by White America. And it is an ongoing act of terrorism, as these White smiles I see only remind me that they are camouflaged against the brunt of it, that I am the target, and that they’ve never had skin in this game like I do.

I want to be optimistic, I really do, but honestly I don’t believe that White people will do the work necessary to save this country. And I lay the burden of saving America on White people because of this: In the ‘50s and ‘60s White Supremacy was static, stable, complacent. The appetite for Black and Brown blood in the streets was limited because it was bitterly shocking. Now, however, White Supremacy is ascendant. There is an active thirst for that blood. My blood. My blood in the streets will be met with celebration. And I don’t think that there are enough White people good enough to be strong enough to protect me and fight for me. I really don’t.

It will take a whole lot more than a safety pin. You will have to pick apart the very fabric of your understanding of race, examine the threads of your beliefs and separate even the tiniest fibers of prejudice you may see. Headscarf make you scared? You’ve ripped her faith away and humiliated her. Poor English language skills annoy you? You’ve made the doctor miss the symptoms of a lymphoma. Black man make your heart rate rise? You’ve shot him in the back as he ran away. Work at this. Diligently destroy the impure fibers, and when you can honestly say that you have, then you can re-weave. But this is only step one.

Step two is to make sure that every White person you know is actively doing the same thing. If they are not, if they refuse or dismiss the imperative, then you must literally disown them. Otherwise you are agreeing with them, you are complicit in their beliefs, and you are killing me.

Step three, resist and undermine in any way you can possibly devise the systems of White Supremacy as well as misogyny as they exist now and as the incoming administration advances them. And always, no matter the situation, confront racism and misogyny immediately and directly. I’m talking about friends, family, strangers, always, anywhere, anytime. There is no scale to racism and misogyny. They are never minor, never casual, always inestimably consequential. They are always a massive threat to humanity.

One last note, remember that Black and Brown people don’t owe you explanations to basic questions. The moment you as a White person comes asking some basic thing, I know you don’t really care because you’re too lazy to do the legwork and figure it out. We’ve literally written books so that you can understand. Think hard before you ask me to speak, be completely stumped, because I am tired and you need to respect me. And another thing, I do not owe you thanks. It is to be expected that you would fight for my safety, as I would yours. So do not go telling non-White people about how great you are for being an ally. Being an ally simply brings you to the level of basic human decency. You should be ashamed if you’re bragging about that.

I’m not going to thank you for reading this yet, because I am not sure what you will do in the future. I hope that my love for you has been well-placed all these years, and that you’ll prove it by listening to, trying to understand, and then acting on what I’m saying. And if you can’t, it is time our relationship ends. If you hear me and believe my words to be worth hearing, please do pass this along to those who would like to hear it and to those who would rather not.

Love,

CF Edley III

P.S. This letter leaves out so much, I know. I have focused on White Supremacy. There’s a whole other interlocking letter regarding misogyny to be written. I haven’t even mentioned Climate Change, or any real policy issues. Believe me, it is not for not caring. There are interpenetrating universes of immense suffering. I am devastated. I hope that you are too.