All in All I’m Probably Just Another Brick in The Wall

I'm the brick on the 3rd from top row, right where the K intersects.

In 1994, I was 18 and really into Pink Floyd.  Meddle, Animals, Wish You Were Here, The Wall—I loved them all.  Their songs were elegant, harmonic distillations of my disgust with the world.

Everyone was wrong.  Everyone was a brick in the wall.  No one knew why they were living.  They went to work, ate, drank, married, reproduced because they had been told to do so by the machine.  I had integrity (or at least as much integrity as someone can have while his parents pay rent and stock the refrigerator).  I would never be another brick in the wall.  No one would welcome me into any machine.

When I heard about their concert at Mile High Stadium in June, I made sure I had a ticket.  It would be the summer’s climax.

The day of the concert was a typically beautiful Colorado summer day—dry heat, sun with a little cloud-cover, a late afternoon sprinkle to cool things off.  Before heading down from Boulder, my friends and I ate some mushrooms.  To ensure the full experience of Pink Floyd’s insouciance, I ate a quarter ounce.

I had never been to a stadium show.  It didn’t seem like the best place to experience a concert, but I had faith in the Floyd to maintain their integrity.  Tickets were $80 after all.  How could an $80 show be bad?

My friends and I tailgated before the show, bringing a keg of beer to ease us into our mushroom trips.  Everything was going great until I entered the stadium.  The large spaces, the massive crowds of very brick-like characters, the hawking of t-shirts, the concession stands selling overpriced Coors and cheese-whizzed nachos.  I became immediately disturbed.  Then I found my seat.  It was on the first level, in the last row next to the exit.  Because the seat was deep under the first balcony, I had only a partial view of stage (apparently a large inflated pig came out of the top of the stage, but I didn’t see anything).  Florescent lights flickered overhead.  I couldn’t smoke weed because cops stood next to me throughout the show. Continue reading “All in All I’m Probably Just Another Brick in The Wall”

Who or What Owns You?

Who buys and sells you? Image via Steamboat Pilot

Which of the following people or things dictates your actions and choices.  Check all that apply.  Answer honestly.

  1. Your mother
  2. Your father
  3. Your step-mother
  4. Your step-father
  5. Your sibling(s)
  6. Your extended family
  7. Your girlfriend or boyfriend
  8. Your husband or wife
  9. Your ex-girlfriend(s) or ex-boyfriend(s)
  10. Your ex-husband(s) or ex-wife/wives
  11. Your job
  12. Your boss
  13. Your coworkers
  14. Your unemployment Continue reading “Who or What Owns You?”

Make 2011 The Most Processive Year Ever!

What are your resolutions? Image via The Onion.

Yiddish:  Mentsch tracht, Gott lacht.
English:  Man plans, God laughs.

On Christmas day, I left for Florida to hang out with my family for a week.  It’s something I’ve done for the past 20 years.  My dad and stepmom’s side of the family congregates at a place called Longboat Key on the mid-western gulf coast.  Days are typically spent hanging by the pool, eating, going to the beach, eating, playing with my cousins’ kids and eating some more.

The hub of activity is a couple vacation condominiums my aunt and uncle own.  My dad usually books me a condo in the same complex.  This year was no different except that my girlfriend was joining me.

The condos in the complex are all bright and sunny duplexes, filled with tacky overstuffed floral print couches.  There are vases filled with plastic flowers for ambience.  It’s upper-middle-class vacation property chic—not decor you’d live with all year, but clean and comfortable for a week.

We picked up the keys for our unit, 580CW, the night we arrived.  My aunt and uncle offered to drop us off at the unit.  We wended through the parking lots, but 580CW was nowhere to be found.  Finally, I got out a map that the management included with the keys.  Written in a Sharpie pen was the outline of 580CW.  It was not in the main complex, but on the road directly outside of it, Companion Way (CW).  Strange, but not immediately alarming.

We drove out of the complex onto Companion Way and after a couple passes found the unit.  It was a converted trailer.  Strange, but no biggie.  I’ve lived in trailer parks before.  They can be nice.  Really.

We entered the linoleum-floored trailer and were immediately assaulted by the smell of cleaning solvent and damp, cigarette-permeated upholstery.  This was disconcerting at first, but our alarm was mitigated by fatigue.  We had been traveling all day and the preceding days were spent making sure everything was cool before we left.  We were too tired to complain and after all we were there because of my father’s generosity.  I felt it a bit ungracious to refuse free accommodations.

We got into the bedroom and plopped down on the bed.  To call the bed a pillow-top mattress is like calling Mt. Everest a speed-bump.  It had a foot or so of cushion, presumably covering springs deep below the surface.  Sleeping on our sides put our bodies into a V-shape where our hips sunk into the mattress and legs and torso projected upward.  The same thing happened lying on our backs or stomachs—our pelvises sank while our heads and feet were sent vertical.  The bed’s comfort made moving to the cold linoleum floor seemed like a viable option.

These physical contortions were exacerbated by sheets that smelled like an ashtray doused with a Glade air-freshener.  Continue reading “Make 2011 The Most Processive Year Ever!”

We Are All Going to Die!

Watch video for perspective.

Sometimes we find ourselves doing, and enjoying, things that totally oppose our sense of aesthetic congruity.  For me, this happens every Tuesday at spin class.  Once a week I enter a glass-enclosed studio where 20-or-so of us pedal stationary bikes, showering sweat, while our instructor Elgin, a fun, femmy, tall and lean, dreadlocked dude, pushes us to exhaustion as top 40 music—Lady Gaga, Kate Perry, Rihanna (music I fortunately hear at no other time)—blares in the background.  It’s the human equivalent of a hamster wheel.  Lots of exertion and movement in a completely artificial environment.

The class is broken up into several portions that include hills, sprints, breakaways and flats.  Last night I felt good.  I was able to exert myself harder than normal.  This hamster pushed the wheel really fast. Continue reading “We Are All Going to Die!”

Enlightened Complaining

Chris was the company clown at a mail-order bike shop I worked at.  Unlike the clownery he perpetrated on other employees of the company, the clownery he directed at me was evil-clownery, like the time he put bike grease under my desk.  Even though my legs glided easily under the desk, his prank ruined my pants.
He also like to insult me, calling me a baby and other names related to the fact I was the youngest salesperson there.  In truth, I think Chris was duking it out with me for the title of most socially irrelevant person in the company.  He wanted to make sure I won.
Continue reading “Enlightened Complaining”