Select Moments.

Brief encounters with the opposite sex.

e-mail

you.

i’m writing this cause i’ve been drinking, which means i’m either feeling honest or feeling creative, not both. how have you been? i can answer for you. you’ve been good, great even. you’ve been learning to breathe again, learning to see again. you’re meeting new people. you ran into a new friend at the bookstore the other day, you were both in fiction for reasons of nostalgia. were you looking at kerouac to think of me? maybe looking at green to not think of me. when you hugged your new friend, your fingertips shocked, even though there wasn’t a carpet underneath you. you both noticed, but neither mentioned it beyond a look away from one another’s eyes, which is always a closer look than any amount of eye contact. you made plans for some coffee soon, he mentioned inviting the whole group, probably as to not freak you out, you were relieved at the notion, but also disappointed. his lack of courage reminds you of me. i’m listening to weezer on a mix i made for no one. it gives me false confidence, because how could ‘el scorcho’ not? do you remember when i sang ‘island in the sun’ at that karaoke bar in brooklyn last winter? you told me it was dumb to pick a summer song in a winter, but when you said dumb, you said it with a smile, you said it like you were proud to have me as your own, even if i was a dummy. you dropped your phone in a slush puddle that night, and i found rice at a foreign deli for you to stick it in. it didn’t work, but you appreciated the thought. you always appreciated the thought, but after a while, there needs to be more than a thought. my breath smelled like whiskey that night, and you kissed me after i smoked two cigarettes, even though you hate the taste. my breath smells like whiskey tonight, and i, again, have had two cigarettes, but you’re not here to kiss me. my breath smelled like whiskey the 25th of april as well, and you kissed me after i had two of her cigarettes. how do you like sleeping on a bed i’ve never slept on? can something feel empty if it was never filled? i wrote a new poem. i don’t think it’s good:

christmas lights are louder in july

we don’t take them down week after week

in hopes the messiah is born again

we have room in our backyard

for a virgin birth

and a baptismal too

drown with me

so i can see what the jesus star

looks like from the sky

i stopped seeing that girl i met in chicago. she told me she’s back together with her boyfriend. she stopped smoking. i hope you found the book you were looking for at the bookstore. i hope i’m feeling creative, not honest, so i never send this e-mail. have a good coffee date.

me.

Warm.

I drunkenly ash another cigarette. Marlboro Red. Nothing fancy. I don’t even think it’s to be cool at this point. I think it’s because I’m cold. I am just so damn cold. My skin, my head, my heart, and I guess my lungs. I’m not addicted though, really. It just happens sometimes. I had a pack in the back of my seat in my shitty car. I never thought it would get to this point. I’m wearing a denim vest with pins of bands I’m semi interested in smoking a cigarette talking about the Utah Jazz in New York in the winter. Not Manhattan either. That’s the assumption that I too often allow. Just New York. The rest of it. It’s a whole other being. I don’t like any of it and I love all of it. I present my case that the Jazz and the Spurs almost developed a rivalry because of the playoffs two years ago but how it was lost because of the dissipated Jazz team and the Spurs being remarkably out of their league regardless and my friend agrees and asks if I want to go inside for another shot. I ignore him and start talking about the Spurs staying an elite team despite age and constant public disbelief and how the Jazz will be lost for years because they’re building around the presumed mediocrity of Trey Burke. He says that the Jazz have better jerseys. I don’t know if I agree with him or not. Then we hear the DJ play a J. Dilla song we both love inside and he asks me again if I wanna go in for another shot. Sure. Why not. Don’t we all just want another shot? I’m in upstate New York at age 24 wondering what happened to the dreams of being a world traveler. Also an archeologist. California was where I learned what a dream was. I was 8 years old walking through a canyon envisioning fantasies of being 24 walking through a canyon. I suppose I wasn’t imagining more than what was actually going on other than being tall and maybe having to tame a lion. Oh, and obviously the discovery of an unidentified dinosaur bone. I can identify with an unidentified dinosaur bone. It has a lot of potential to be something great, but it hasn’t been found. Then when it is found, it turns out to just be some bone to a t-rex. Underwhelming. Just like me. I go inside and take the shot. It’s Jameson I think. I don’t care. I’ve never been partial to liquor so I don’t know anything about it. I like that the taste of the liquor washed out the taste of that mostly unwanted cigarette. I hate this bar. Not always though. Tonight I do. The DJ ended his set and now some man is standing in the corner with an acoustic guitar and an amp and microphone and covering a lot of songs that are deeply meaningful to me very poorly. Right now it’s ‘Surf Wax America’ by Weezer. I moved to Colorado for 3 months and listened to this song a lot for no reason. A lot. Almost every day. Then at the local bar I’d put it on the Jukebox and get way too excited to hear a song in a public setting that I just listened to in a private setting about two hours before. There’s this weirdly exciting feeling about hearing a song that you love in public. I think maybe it has to do with our immense love for having an identity. If we hear a song that we love with other people around, then it’s like these other people are getting to see a little bit of who you are without you having to even talk to them. That’s what it feels like, anyway. Just another way to try and reach our ultimate goal of identity nirvana; being outwardly known without having to know anyone. It’s why we worship celebrities, because we connect with them and know them without ever having to meet them. We idolize the concept of being praised for being you, without you ever being truly exposed. I think. I don’t really know. Maybe some celebrities aren’t on that quest and just like singing or acting. I was in Colorado to do this snowboarding piece for ESPN2 which was fairly exciting conceptually but turned out to be horribly depressing because it’s the snow and snowboarding and I don’t care for snowboarding and I hate snow and I couldn’t connect with anyone because I didn’t smoke weed or snowboard but more importantly didn’t smoke weed. I made a good amount of money but it didn’t really go anywhere so after a brief introspective trip back to California I just came back to New York. I went to San Francisco first to visit an old friend named Caroline Hutching. It was good because it was warm and we went across the bridge to a Warriors game (who were actually playing the Jazz) and then ate a lot, mostly Del Taco and In-N-Out, and had three intense life changing moments together. Two of them I don’t think I’ll ever mention again. We were both drunk one night and had just got back to her apartment from being at some really hip bar where we listened to ‘Roses’ by Outkast three times in a row just to yell CAROLINE with Andre 3000 over and over again to relive the nostalgia of being in middle school fabricating the thought that someone famous with cool sunglasses was singing a song about you. We got some Sierra Nevada and put ‘The River’ by Bruce Springsteen on her record player because we both had ‘Hungry Heart’ stuck in our heads. We screamed the entire song together and played it about six times, each time a little louder. Her downstairs neighbor came up and knocked on the door and said we needed to turn it down because it was 3:45 in the morning and he was trying to fall asleep. He also said he loves the Boss and wouldn’t have requested it to be lowered if had been ‘Born To Run’, in which I drunkenly commented that ‘Born To Run’ is overrated, and he started laughing and said being overrated only exists because something is so good that pretentious people needed a fake word to be synonymous with too known. I thought about that for a while and mostly agreed because ‘Stairway To Heaven’ isn’t an overrated song and The Beatles aren’t an overrated band. I then retracted my statement about ‘Born To Run’ and cited pretentiousness for my reasoning. We invited him to come in for a while and have some drinks and he excitedly accepted the offer, which in retrospect was kind of an odd thing for him to do because he had only come to the door because he was complaining about trying to sleep, but when you’re drunk, unexpected new company is like a pot of gold. For the next four hours we took turns picking songs on vinyls to play; ‘Oh, Sweet Nuthin’ by The Velvet Underground, ‘Virginia’ by David Bazan, The Light by Common, ‘In Between Days’ by The Cure and then ‘Hungry Heart’ again after we each took another shot of some cheap tequila we found stashed away. We left that record on and we lit some candles and we slow danced together when ‘The River’ came on, and when I say slow dance what I mean is that we swayed back and forth with our hands on each others shoulders and when Bruce started singing the second verse, which I find really lyrically awkward, because he says the line “But lately there ain’t been much work on account of the economy”, which is just poorly phrased and an awful choice of words, Caroline leaned over and kissed my cheek. Neighbor Dave said goodbye to us and told Caroline they should hang out some time and she said yes and closed the door and then walked over to me and told me that she was really happy I came to California. I said I was too and she told me that the day before I got there she found out she had a really bad cancer. She started crying and I held her for a long time passed the sun coming up. She didn’t think she was going to make it, and she told me that I had to promise to not linger in limbo, and I asked what she meant, and she said she knew that I was moving around doing minor work without passion. She told me to follow my dreams and stop being so lukewarm. She told me to pray more. It was all very cheesy but it was ok because I think things that are cheesy follow under the same logic as neighbor Dave’s concept of overrated, cheesy is just often real heartfelt things that cynics just want to be bitter about because they probably have a fear they’ll never get to the point of that cheesy sentiment. We were still pretty drunk though, so we put on Hey! Arnold on Netflix and fell asleep on the couch together. Caroline died six months later. I haven’t followed her advice. I’m still coasting.

I had band practice last night but I didn’t go, on account of I don’t want to do it anymore. I played guitar in some Black Keys rip off band but I can’t really play guitar at all and I don’t support creating mediocre things passionately, although that seems to be my life, so I stopped doing it. I wasn’t the lead guitarist so it’s not a huge loss for them. Things are at a weird place because last summer I wrote a play and it did really well locally and I kind of was thinking that it was going to be picked up by some place bigger and I turned down a few big opportunities relying on that, but it didn’t pan out. It’s called ‘Elevator Music’ and it was about a woman who falls in love with a black elevator operator in the sixties. It was well received but not everything that is received well get’s recognized. I think we call celebrities ‘stars’ because there are an infinite amount of people who can do what they do and probably do it better, but they just happen to be the ones we see, just like the stars in the sky. Some stars just won’t ever be seen, no matter how hot and bright they are. The universe has too many metaphors lined up. I’m drinking tonight because when I get drunk I stop remembering to check my phone which means it will die which means I will be cut off from my bandmates and ex-girlfriend. Breaking up is kind of synonymous to leaving a band. When you leave a band, there was a definitive reason, but it’s not always good. Someone replaces you and has a high likelihood of doing what you do much better than you. You act like you never liked the band but really you go on their Facebook and check to see what their new music is like on a daily basis. I am in the stage of the break up where I don’t know how to process anything, so I just don’t quite feel anything about it. Her name is Ellory. We dated for two years and now it’s just done. Someone completely known is now just a stranger. One time I was in Los Angeles at McDonald’s and I saw Harrison Ford ordering a Big Mac. Indiana Jones was ordering fast food. He was someone to me, a specific someone. He was the hero who wore the hat, who was afraid of snakes, who Papa and I would watch on his small bedroom TV when I was a kid, who had a whip and kissed pretty blonde girls. This man was not that man. He dropped his receipt and picked it up to throw it away. I watched Indiana Jones pick up some trash and throw it away. Conceptually, that makes sense because Indiana Jones was a professor of history so he was into preservation, but still, they’d never show him picking up trash in the movies. This experience is kind of like how I view Ellory now. She’s out of the element that I know her in. She’s a stranger picking up trash instead of a hero with a whip. I’m really drunk now. I know this because I’m talking to a girl I don’t know (indication 1) about 9/11 being a set up (indication 2.) I should go home. I’ve got a lot of nothing to do. I go to tip the bartender and a picture of Ellory falls out of my wallet. This is weird because I didn’t realize I was ever a character in a 1950’s sitcom who carried around a picture of his ‘girl’ around in his wallet. It’s an older wallet that I only ever used 5 times because it was a christmas present and I hate breaking new things in but I also hate not using something I was given. She gave it to me with a picture of her in it. I never realized this. It was from one night we went out in the city and she wore this mint green dress that had a cut out in the back that showed a small fraction of her back tattoo and many of the freckles the sun had caused that summer. The picture of her was at our friends apartment after we we had all gotten back from barhopping. She was at the piano drunkenly playing ‘Baby Britain’ by Elliott Smith trembling the line ‘for someone half as smart, you’d be a work of art’ while I ignored the possible subconscious drunken sentiment behind this song choice because I was staring at her right shoulder due to the fact that the dress had slipped off a little bit revealing her skin in this romantic intimate manner. I took a picture of her at the piano with her camera. This is that picture. I stuff it in my pocket and go get in the cab waiting and close my eyes to slip into the probable death trap of the unconscious memory zone. I wake up to ‘Bitches Ain’t Shit’ by Dr. Dre blaring in my ear which means I’m busy today and I have to get up. Abrasive hip-hop is the alarm that works to get me up. I am immensely hung over. My head feels like the guy on the cover of the VHS for the film ‘Scanners.’ What do I have to do today? What is today? Saturday…a wedding. I have to drive an hour and a half to film a wedding today. Because that’s where my illustrious film career has brought me. Caroline would be so proud. I hate working weddings when I’m single because then it’s depressing and I feel like I will never receive that type of love and I take advantage of the open bars in a negative manner. The drive to the venue is long and filled with traffic and my iPod receiver is broken and listening to my iPhone isn’t loud enough so I just have the radio and my memory of the last wedding I attended. I was with Ellory and it was a month ago. It was one of her friends from college and it was outside and beautiful and real well done and invoked nostalgia as you were there which is a really tough aesthetic to accomplish and it was just great and genuine and awful. I sat holding hands with her during the ceremony listening to the pastor try to make personal a sermon that is generic about a couple he doesn’t know. He did alright. My ex-girlfriend looked radiant and the tears that were flowing down her face were so real and perfect that I thought they were going to turn into small little diamonds as they streamed off of her face. I just wasn’t feeling the same thing as her, or seemingly anyone there. All the green grass seemed duller to me than it did to everyone else. The white dress seemed more vanilla, the candles seemed too dim. I watched Ellory dance crazily to ‘Firework’ by Katy Perry and I realized in that moment something was happening. I began to feel this severe detachment from her. I felt like she was Noah in the opening scene from ‘Muppets From Space’ and I was Gonzo and she was just closing me out while the near earth-ending flood was rising. All night I was having an internal battle between the fight for love and the fight to be away from it all, and the fight was on par with an Auburn-Georgia game in terms of heightened passions to defeat the other. There was something about a marriage that I had begun to not want that evening and I needed Ellory to know that. So I broke up with her that night and we drove home together the next morning and for the whole car ride we only had an old Relient K cd and a mix that had both Frank Sinatra and Dizzee Rascal on it. So we sat in silence. As I dropped her off she sat for a few minutes and looked at me and said “You don’t know how to handle something working out over time. You need quicker results. You don’t want a waiting period where something could go wrong. You’d rather make it go wrong before it goes wrong without you deciding for it to. I love you and I know you know this is wrong.” Then she got out of the car and walked away and she looked more beautiful then I’ve ever seen her look. She looked so poised and calm and ready. I don’t know ready for what, but she looked ready, and it made her look beautiful. So as I drive away from her house in this memory, I pull up to the wedding venue in reality. It’s a Catholic church. I’m already dreading the immense amount of ceremony that is going to take place and more importantly dreading the immense amount of times I’m going to have to move the camera up and down and up and down because Catholics have to stand and kneel and sit and repeat about 80 times an hour in a given service. It goes just as long as expected and the groom is apparently a member of a bagpipe “band” because there are men in kilts everywhere prepping for the opening of the reception, which turns out to be a 30 minute bagpipe song, which leads me to have my first Jack & Coke of the night. The DJ is playing a slew of songs that haven’t been relevant for 40 years until he finally puts on Katy Perry which leads me to my second Jack & Coke of the night. Maybe she was right about me. Maybe I just am impatient in the nervous type of way. When I was in 4th grade I quit Tae Kwon Do and skipped going to the moving up ceremony because I assumed I wouldn’t be able to break the board and get the next belt. My impatient pessimism has been a long time forming. This was different though. The thing about Tae Kwon Do, is that I really couldn’t break the board. I knew I wasn’t able to, because I didn’t care to try practicing how to do it. It was destined to fail. Ellory and I weren’t. She would lay on my shoulder and we’d listen to music and discuss the nostalgia we felt and talk about deliberating songs to be nostalgic for us in the future. We’d put on Manchester Orchestra and Cat Power and Lou Reed and know that one day we’d be nostalgic about when she’d lay on my shoulder and we listened to it. Those moments were’t just love, they were warm love. They were warm like the coffee that is left at the bottom of the pot when you made enough for three cups but only made two and left the pot on. They were warm like the lights with the creme colored lampshades that feel partly like the yellows in a Coen Brother’s film and partly like your Grandmother’s living room with the elaborate oil painting that was a retirement gift and the old fishtanks that seem to be a whole separate world of their own. They were warm like when I would touch her skin when she was asleep and she would smile because her body could recognize and distinguish my touch. This wasn’t destined to fail. But I made sure it did anyway. I have to leave the bar to go film the best man’s speech and for some reason I start tearing up at his sentimental stories that I have no attachment to whatsoever. I get to talking to the cousin of the Bride because I saw he had a Miami Heat keychain and I ask about what he thinks about acquiring Greg Oden this season and he mutters something about how he doesn’t know what I’m talking about but Lebron is awesome so I get annoyed that he’s fabricating his fandom for a team but then I realize that’s just what a Heat fan is anyway. I keep talking to him anyway, though, because I’m done filming and I have a room at the hotel so I just figured I’d stick around. We get to talking about relationships and he starts telling me about how his girlfriend of four years just broke up with him because she had feelings for someone else and how he’s still fighting to get her back and then we take a shot of Jameson and he slaps my back and says something along the lines of “You’re alright buddy” and then I start talking about Ellory. He understandably gets confused as to why we broke up and I just describe it by saying “It’s like everyone is telling me how pretty the colors are and I see in black and white.” He looks at me for a second and he starts to tear up. He then says two things that truly floor me back to back. First he says “Fight to see the color. Vision doesn’t come with your eyes closed.” I got chills and had this weird feeling like regret and nausea and frostbite mixed into one. Then he followed this statement with “Do you want to do some mescaline with me?” To which I had the same reaction but for much different reasons. I said yes. An hour later everything is wild. The dance floor and everyone on it looks like a Picasso painting. Nothing seems 3-D anymore and every color is the most beautiful color I’ve ever seen. I walk (crawl?) over to the DJ booth and start yelling at him to play ‘Hungry Heart’ and he says maybe in a little and I start screaming at him to play it now or I will let my alligator loose on him and he abides. I am alone on the dance floor and I am screaming the words to ‘Hungry Heart’ and I see Caroline come over to me in a pumpkin carriage and she says to go to the bathroom and stay there. I tell her I miss her everyday and she rubs my face with her hands and asks me why I give up so much. I have to lay low because there are bats above my head flying by and then I start crying and tell her that I don’t know. Then the Bride’s cousin is carrying me up some stairs and I realize I’ve been asleep in the bathroom for hours and he says to remember to fight for the color. Then he kisses my head which was intrusive but acceptable timing-wise and sobriety-wise. I wake up the next day and grab my wallet and that picture of Ellory falls out. That picture is warm. As I’m driving home Lou Reed comes on the radio and I get this feeling of nostalgia. Nostalgia and longing for a love that I threw away. I don’t want to push away what I think may one day push me away anymore. I think I know what Caroline meant when she said not to coast. When I was fifteen Caroline and I failed US History by three and five points, respectively. We went to the professor and asked if we could do something to fix it. He told us we had two options; We could take a summer class with him and do all the work and shoot for a higher grade, or he would give us a 65 and pass us. Caroline took the class and I took the passing grade. At the end of the summer she got her test grades back and she failed a bunch of them but saw that she somehow got a B in the class. She got a B because she tried and failed, but more importantly tried. I got a D because I asked if I could get a D. I want to try for Ellory. I don’t want to be scared to fail. I want to try and if I fail then I fail, but at least I failed with a try, not passed with a 65. I want her back, I want her warmth, I want her nostalgia. She looked so beautiful and ready the day we broke up, and I don’t think it was because she was ready to accept us breaking up, but I think that it’s because she was ready to accept me back before I knew that’s what I wanted. I think Caroline taught me what love was that night in San Francisco, and now I’ll try it out on Ellory on this night in New York. Things aren’t so black and white with your eyes open.

-Austin Abbott

(Source: womenvsaustin)

Anonymous asked: Is your collection of short stories available yet???

Not yet. Soon. Excited about it. Apologies for the wait. Thanks for caring, though.

I am putting together an e-book of five original short stories. This is the cover and the back cover and the titles of the stories. It will be available December 25th. Thank you.

-Austin Abbott

skel-et-al asked: I believe you are absolutely wonderful and intriguing. And I wholeheartedly agree, love does tear you apart. I laughed and cried internally through reading your story, thinking about how similar I felt. It made me laugh how much you wanted a pretty girl. It makes me laugh thinking about how I would be so angry if a guy blatantly lied to me like that, but smiled thinking about how cute it was how much you cared. I hope your life is wonderful and your heart is still in one piece. Love, Katherine.

Katherine, thank you so much. Don’t tell me anymore nice things or I’ll probably fall in love with you.

Anonymous asked: You write so beautifully. You're such a real, unique person and I respect that a lot. Never change Austy

Hey thanks so much. That means a lot.

Blending.

"Oh my God, you HAVE to do it." The girl saying this is about 5’6" and blonde and has these icy blue eyes and is drinking Shock Top wheat IPA and is wearing a shirt with some Japanese writing that doesn’t look corny and is wearing a ring that has a penny shaped oddly on top of it. She is one of the top 30 prettiest girls I’ve ever seen in my life and top 15 prettiest girls I’ve ever seen in my twenties. Her shoes look purposefully expensive, not accidentally expensive. I like that on occasion. This is the 3rd time I’ve met her. She’s laughed at all the funny things I’ve said each time and rubbed my shoulder when I was talking about my break up, so consequently I’ve probably fallen in love with her. She is currently trying to convince me to go through with an idea I suggested while 38% drunk. Joy Division is her favorite band so naturally I lied and claimed that they are one of my favorites as well and that my next tattoo is going to be ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’. When I saw how much she enjoyed this notion, I told her I was thinking about doing it tonight. This leads back to her exclaiming that I have to do it. I don’t really want to do this. I enjoy Joy Division and I do love that song but I would feel guilty having a permanent marking on my body representing a band I only have a minor interest in. I’ve got to stop trying to be a chameleon, blending into the walls of the pretty girls wherever I go. It’s just become difficult since I think I realized that I don’t have a niche and I don’t fit into a specific archetype. I think I missed a year of life in my pre-teens when you’re supposed to form who you are. I always remember feeling slightly excluded from absolutely everyone. Although that is in fact a stereotypical goth mindset, I even felt excluded from the goth kids in middle school. I didn’t like metal past Linkin Park and I was wearing American Eagle to try to fit in with the preppier kids who found me funny but didn’t share my interests. I would act out and try to be funny and showy but I did not remotely belong to the drama kids. I disagreed with their hair and mostly they were unfunny. I didn’t like sports so that took away 95% of ice breaker opportunities. Also I hated Pokemon and all anime so that took away a lot of friendship and discussion opportunities as well. I even felt excluded from the teachers. I remember a specific instance where a teacher I had was talking about The Phantom Menace when it came out and he was saying something about it being so far in the future so they couldn’t do this one storyline another teacher was suggesting, and I laughed and told him that was wrong because Star Wars takes place in the past and he said it doesn’t and I quoted the first line of text from every film; ‘A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away’, to him and he looked quite flustered and walked away. Just always excluded. I didn’t drink in high school except for one time in the summer after tenth grade, I played beer pong and was pretty good, and then played flip cup and was pretty good, and then I just drank some more and I was pretty good at that, and then I was quite drunk and as my once friends were trying to walk me home I tried to run inside one of my neighbors houses to say hello, but they quickly stopped me, so I ventured inside my own home finally and my mom was still awake and I had a brief conversation with her asking if we were going to church in the morning, which was me trying to seem natural, but looking back was quite out of place considering there wasn’t a Sunday that we didn’t go to church since my first Sunday on the earth, then I went to my room and stripped down to my underwear and tried typing on my computer but fell off my chair and found it quite funny, then I called my ex girlfriend, then I went to sleep. But I mean all of that was only out of spite for that ex girlfriend who drank the weekend before, so other than that rarity of a night, not drinking in high school removed me from all the parties which meant I lost a lot of connection and inside jokes. When I graduated and went to school in the city I felt more removed than ever. I look at the city as the same type of system as a camera. The camera adds ten pounds, so if you’re fat, then you’re going to look even fatter. I feel like the city adds ten, umm, degrees? Yes, I’ll go with degrees, ten degrees of isolation. So if you’re already isolated, you will feel exponentially more isolated. I mean on occasion I could hold a conversation in a film class about Godard’s direct influence on Gondry or talk in Political Sociology to the smart older students about how America has gained the badge of being a ‘Nation’ because of the weight of American pop culture on the rest of the world, but mostly I didn’t talk. Moving to Portland was healthy. Although I think that’s where my blending started. I got into a 5 month relationship based on a conversation about the Trailblazers at a basement party where there was too much Dinosaur Jr. playing and not enough liquor. Her name is Grace and she was a wonderful figure in my life who I fell deeply in love with and kind of feel like we never actually met. When she broke up with me, and I drove away from her long driveway, I glanced in the rearview mirror and saw her shoulder length light brown hair being lifted up and put into a ponytail to reveal the tattoo of her deceased aunt’s initials. I looked back at the road and in a way felt like those initials were hers and she was just a figure I once knew who passed away and there wasn’t anything I could do about it, and that it was okay because that’s how life works. I don’t know why I loved her. There wasn’t any moment that triggered a deep connection, or something that would make a good scene in a script, we just got to know each other and went to Trailblazers games together and sometimes tried to write songs for our fictional band. Maybe I fell in love with the comfort and normalcy of the whole thing. It was just nice and sweet. I don’t think that was okay with her. I think she wanted me to cut to her core, and I just couldn’t do that, because I don’t think I wanted to break past being nice and comfortable. It’s like a collectable vinyl. It’s a beautiful thing to look at, and it’s worth so much unopened and mint. To hear the music though, to hear what truly makes the physical images as beautiful as they are, the heart and soul of the thing, you have to open it up. You have to ruin it. You have to strip it of it’s face value. So it’s a battle for you, what’s more beautiful, something pretty to look at, or something with heart? I guess for me it was something pretty. That’s why I’m ok with having let that go, it remains something that was just nice, and I can lock it away in my memory untainted. I stayed in Portland for a few more months working for a newspaper and writing a short film. I filmed it. It turned out ok. That depressed me a lot. I think my relationship with the film is how Grace felt towards me. I was what she asked for, but nothing more. Mediocrity is a sad thing when put into perspective. It’s much more sad than something that is awful. Sure, conceptually, I would rather be a mediocre boyfriend than an awful one. At the same time though, maybe I was more damaging as someone mediocre. Just not trying, not showing her how much worth she truly had. I have a problem misrepresenting value, I think. When I was 22 and still living at home I accidentally fell in love with a high school senior. We would go on late night walks and talk about exes and Weezer and how Spongebob is both overrated and underrated. We never kissed or held hands, sometimes we would awkwardly hug. We would talk and talk and talk and then when she went away to college I realized I loved her very much and had never told her. I think she was upset that I never did. We stopped talking. I see her on Facebook now, she has a boyfriend who looks less interesting than her standards but she smiles very genuinely in all her pictures, so I suppose that’s good. I think maybe I didn’t realize the value of her to me. I think I regret not realizing that. I quit my job in Portland and went to Florida to make a documentary about a Hardcore punk band. I remember walking around a desolate town with the bassist and him expressing to me how much impact they had on that town from all the shows they had previously played there. He told me how they would break up fights and play outside for the younger kids who couldn’t get into the shows. I learned that the hardcore community is very much based around being able to connect with the bands. All conversations that I overheard between these hardcore kids would be about what guitarist is in what new band and touring with who and going to what drummer’s friends bar and so on and so forth. They are addicted to intimacy and connection to the bands. Hardcore there is all about high fiving the idols, rather than bowing down. That’s kind of a beautiful thing. It’s a relationship I was envious of. To be so close to the ones you admire, and the ones you admire be genuinely great and helpful to the other areas of your life. That’s how a loving relationship should be. Like a lot of relationships though, this band had to end. They were on the string of their last shows and this was a secret. I watched them walk into this bar they were playing at with such a lack of care of what happened. I watched from the back because I didn’t want to be punched in the face by the overweight kids who were wearing Simpson’s shirts unironically moshing and throwing fists. Standing in the back proved to be a mistake because there was an older heavyset woman smoking a Paul Mall and drinking her 6th Corona talking to me thinking I was in the band, telling me how much her son loved "us" and how she loved what "we" were doing in the community. I took the compliments for the band and walked away after removing her hand from my upper thigh. I ventured toward the front by the bar because I saw a pretty blonde girl. As I got closer I realized two things, she was not pretty, she was near flawless, and she would never be interested in me in a million years. She was wearing a cut up "Asking Alexandria" t-shirt and it revealed her black lace bandeau bra. She had a tattoo of a pentagram on her ribcage and had cut up acid wash short shorts and black vans. I too was wearing black vans. I realized I needed to somewhat blend, so I ran out to the van and put on my Iggy Pop shirt because that was the closest thing I had to anything anyone in that room would appreciate. I walked back in trying to look angry and slightly emotionally lost. I must be a good actor of sorts because when I stood next to her she said hi, and I asked her if she’d like a drink, and then someone threw a stool across the bar and shattered a mirror and everyone cheered and then she said yes to the drink. I couldn’t say anything to her. This was for two reasons. We had nothing in common, and the band playing was SO loud and so aggressive and she was quite into it and I was adamantly against whatever this noise was. I watched her as she watched this band. She seemed sexually involved with the music. It was weird and kind of sexy. I then told her I played bass in a hardcore band. This was a lie. If I had said the true version of this fact it would have been that I played bass in a christian worship band in 7th grade. She bought the lie quite easily, however, and we ended up kissing for 25 minutes. I didn’t love her. Not even a little. I couldn’t even trick myself into finding a way to love her. I left Florida longing for a relationship with a woman like Nice hardcore bands have with their fat fans. I traveled for a while, stayed in Chicago for a few months. I think I only fell in love once, and it was because it was with a girl singer who I explored the city with for an entire night and she covered Ballad of Big Nothing by Elliott Smith very Eloquently on a rooftop overlooking the skyline. We had some drinks and held hands and kissed the next two nights. She told me then that her and her ex boyfriend were getting back together and she was sorry but she believed that I played a very significant role in her life. So that sucked. Since then I moved back to New York. I’m doing some freelance video work and also writing a play about that high school senior. I made some friends through wall blending. This leads me back to my 3rd meeting with Joy Division girl, Anna. After these two shots that taste like Big Red gum she convinces me to go get my tattoo. We’ve been texting a lot more this last week so I am excited at least to take the walk to the tattoo parlor with her. She understands me pretty well, and not in that forced type of way, where you find the most connectable scenario in your life and explain it knowing the person will understand you completely and magically connect, but in a very real way. Also she loves Annie Hall. We walk down these crowded Brooklyn streets looking for the nearest tattoo parlor and we step closer and closer. Our hands keep grazing and each time seems less accidental and more sober. We find a place unfortunately and I fully commit to this plan and sit down to get the ink that will hopefully help make Anna more Permanent. "Love Will Tear Us Apart." This has been true so far in life. Sometimes it’s a lack of fiery love, or not making love known, but it’s always love at the root of tearing each one apart. It’s finished. Anna is freaking out. "I LOVE IT! AH!" She exclaims. "Really? I like it a lot. The guy did good." I calmly reply, holding back my enjoyment with her enjoyment, and suppressing my immediate regret. Maybe love won’t tear Anna and I apart. Maybe love will put us together. She takes out her camera. "I need to take a picture of this, John is going to love it. He’s the biggest Joy Division fan I know. He got me into them." I hold out my arm to let her take the picture. "Oh, that’s cool. Is John a friend of yours?" "No, he’s my boyfriend." Love will tear us apart.

Airports.

There isn’t any music. I was walking from Terminal C to Terminal A when I realized this. A huge array of worldly languages spouting out flight information, while static filled intercom speakers yell out various numbers and names and babies are crying and graduated football players are talking too loudly on their phones and Hispanic middle aged women are trying to figure out why they can’t get on the plane they don’t have a ticket to, but there is a complete absence of music. I wander from shop to shop during my layover in Atlanta questioning if I should purchase a certain magazine just because January Jones is on the cover. I end up avoiding the excess four dollars and ninety-five cents. I’m trying to cook up as much of a mysterious wanderer image as I possibly can. About fifteen minutes later, I realize this is quite the lost cause, because no one in these terminals is native, so an outsider signifies no danger or sex appeal, because every person here is an outsider. The only person who questions my destination is a heavyset, older, black woman who works at the airport. She reminds me of Della Reese. I always first assume that any southern, older, kind, heavyset, black woman I come across is probably an angel, or at least divine in some way. The terminals within airports are the most stressful, least sexy place probably in the world. (Not counting war zones in third world countries.) Everyone is running and tired and usually poorly dressed with a tone of anger to their voices. The worst of people’s voices come out, too. Southerner’s accents become so thick their drool may just be BBQ sauce. Foreigners are four hundred and fifty-three times harder to understand and six hundred and seventy-two times more frazzled. Anyone from the northeast is suddenly in the mob, and kids just sound flat out stupid. That’s why I don’t speak. I walk passed a Sam Adams bar and I’m pretty close to going in, but I realize my flight starts boarding in seventeen minutes and I don’t want to end up in a conversation while having to rush to finish a pretty good beer I can’t usually find in Wal-Mart. There is no music. I’m not even listening to music I realize. I’m listening to a podcast of an angry NBA analyst comment on the significance of Wallace going to the soon to be Brooklyn Nets. I don’t know. For some reason I’m still trying to look mysterious. That image goes away every time I pass someone who looks like someone I went to middle school with, which is just about every guy my age I pass. So I probably look more homeless than anything, venturing up close to people, and opening my mouth, and then abruptly walking away, trying to put my mysterious façade back on my face. I don’t know. I know I should abort the mission but I don’t. I have this weird feeling towards women in airports. I met Brittany in an airport. Not in a completely romantic way, we had a mutual friend and were friends on Facebook, but had never actually met. We were both on our way to our mutual friends wedding in Florida, and I saw her in the terminal. She truly was an outsider. She had this deep, intellectual sadness to her business casual being. I had never seen someone look so natural and comfortable and genuine in being someone who didn’t remotely belong. I introduced myself to her and I tripped over a very frazzled Indian man’s camouflage Jansport. The last time we were in an airport together was when she was moving to Seattle two years and three months later.  I said, “Goodbye, I hope you know how much this hurts and how much I love you.” And she said, as stepping away from my last embrace, “I know. Can you send me that video of the bear waving to camera we were talking about when you get a chance?” And then she flew out of my life and into the city that produces the coffee I just drank on the previous plane. That ride was awful. It was almost too comedic that I had to sit next to the only really, really fat guy on the whole plane. As he sweat and snored, I thought about Brittany. Which is why I’m confused on how to act towards women in airports. I’m back and forth on whether I’m in love with every woman I come across, or in loathe with them. Probably both. Or neither. I don’t know. This airport is too big. There are too many statues and too many tourists. Not like Disneyworld tourists, but life tourists. People just walking around curiously mumbling nonsensical concerns and facts about the city they’re wandering through, maybe they just wander until they become the statues that reside in the airport. I know that seems far-fetched, but at the same time, it doesn’t really. It really seems time appropriate that “Road to Nowhere” by Talking Heads came on my iPod as I begin to wonder about where the moving statues were going. I wonder if anyone wonders where I’m going. I wonder if anyone looks over and see my as a synonymous traveler in step with the rest of the herd, or if they look at me as an outsider, in a negative manner. I wonder if they think I don’t belong and that I shouldn’t belong. I guess that logic applies much farther than just an airport though. I wonder if I’m an outsider in life too. It’s been suggested one way or another. Whenever a girl decides she doesn’t want to love me anymore, it’s because I’m too removed. I’m not an active participant in the world of reality. I’m too far away. I don’t know how to get in, if that’s true. It reminds me of when I was ten years old, and I was in the Chicago O’Hare International Airport, I was with my Mom and my Sister, who four at the time. We were in a frantic rush to get to the airport, and then my mom started freaking out and I looked over to see my Sister was missing. We both went into a minor craze and moments later we looked over to see she had wandered through security to another part of the airport. We ran over to get her, but we were stopped and had to go through a separate secured entrance far away to get to where she was. My Sister was crying and slamming on the glass in between us and we couldn’t get to her, and more importantly, she couldn’t get to us. She could see us, and was close to us, but she wasn’t with us, there was a wall between us. That’s how I feel I guess. I’m just walking around and all of a sudden I’m divided from the people I love and no matter how close I am, and how hard I try, I can’t be with them. I don’t know what to do to change this. I don’t want to be removed. I miss Brittany usually and being in this airport is making it much worse. I don’t know how I became so removed at the end. What confused me is that I felt like she was drifting away, not me. I felt like I was becoming more open and ready and prepared and more in love than ever. But she claimed the opposite. I didn’t know what to do. I’d never loved like that. I’m probably still in shock about it. Every time I’m here I watch strangers make connections and bond. I never get that. No one ever reaches out to me. Granted I don’t reach out to anyone myself, but I mean for as often as I see it happen, I imagine that someone would reach out to me at some point. One time, I think I was about fifteen, maybe younger; I was in an airport, and Marla Maples, an ex-wife of Donald Trump, walked by my family and I. We just kind of watched her the way people watch minor celebrities walk by them. We saw her boarding pass fall out of her purse and I ran over and grabbed it and jogged over and handed it to her. She excessively thanked me and called me an angel and went on her way. That was one of the only, if not the only, bonding experiences I’ve had on a plane or in an airport. Actually no. One time, I was sitting next to the actor Tommy Davidson on a plane and he told me my sister was a really cute baby. I said thank you. My only bonding comes from interactions with minor celebrities. I don’t know what that says about me. The process between waiting at your gate and getting on the plane, and the plane taking off seems like a near eternity. My phone is always almost dead, so I can’t scroll through Facebook or Twitter to read things I have minor or no concern for. I look around examining middle-aged women’s twill skirts and overweight men’s unbuttoned Hawaiian shirts. I see these beautiful twin girls sit down six seats away from me. I wonder if they’ll get seated next to me. Hopefully not. They look about my age so they’d probably start some sort of conversation and I’m too sad for substance less banter. They’d probably ask me what I’m listening to and it’d probably end up being Katy Perry and I’d seem unoriginal and uninteresting. Now I’m nervous about what to listen to. Flying alone leaves me too much time to think about things I shouldn’t. Brittany and I played a game where we’d improvise a conversation and we’d have to guess who the other person was trying to be based on the context clues of the conversation. I never lost except one time where I couldn’t figure out she was being Britney Spears and only using references from the last three years. Smart move. We presumably looked very odd, but frankly I’d rather look odd than look lonely and sad. It used to seem like an attractive concept, but not anymore. It’s too easy and genuine now. It’d be nice to go back to pretending about it. The twins didn’t sit next to me. I’m in front of a captain who flies planes and a snowboarder. I know this because they’re sharing their life stories within five minutes of boarding the plane. I’m just sipping coke and eating complimentary pretzels. There’s a little girl in front of me holding a stuffed animal that looks to be replicating a Jack Russell puppy. I wish it were mine. It’s so warm and cute and can’t betray me or hurt me. I don’t want to continue this thought. I’ll end up sounding psychotic. The woman next to me asks me where I’m going and I tell her Miami and her husband makes some bitter comment about LeBron and she tells me to ignore him because he’s from Cleveland and still upset and I tell them it’s ok because I don’t like the heat and then apologize to her husband because I’m a Lakers fan and we just traded to get Ramon Sessions from the Cavs and he’s doing us well. Her husband snickers and they tell me about a house they’re building in Miami and they seem genuinely excited and enthralled to listen about the music video I’m going down there to film. We get off the plane and go our separate ways and I know I’ll never see them again. However, I have this overwhelming sense of confidence and comfort that we’ll always know each other. Now that bond is what I always want out of life. I want to know someone, and I want them to know me. I miss knowing Brittany. I wish she felt like she could have known me. Maybe, what I fear most, is that she did in fact know me, and she just decided she didn’t want to anymore. I guess that’s ok though. Some people don’t want that bond with other people I suppose. As I fly through the skies and wander the ground as an outsider, I’ll take comfort that some people building a house in Miami care to know me, and were able to. Maybe that glass wall is breaking down and I can step back into reality with full awareness that I’m there. I hope so. I just saw Ryan Stiles for “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” grab a bag from baggage claim. We didn’t speak. I avoided an interaction with a minor celebrity. That’s a good sign, I think. I don’t know. I just realized that there’s music playing in the baggage claim. 

Karaoke.

I really like karaoke. Like, a lot. A sickening amount. I bought some karaoke game for my playstation 2 to have in my apartment. I live alone. I play it a lot. I don’t even have to be drunk. In fact, I prefer not to be. I do great impressions and if I’m at all affected by alcohol I’ll lose my focus and control. I’m a karaoke jedi. This is a huge problem. There is nothing attractive about this. There’s of course the deeper level that bloggers and hip semi attractive presumed lesbians find very charming and endearing about it. The whole irony of taking an over appreciated song that the mass culture adores and butchering it and stripping it down to it’s naked core to reveal to the bar that this song is nothing but a clown that is meant to be laughed at, that was created, formed and welded by a corporation specifically to lack substance and to make money, while destroying art and artists. They go on stage in their ripped up shirts and expensive shots with disposable cameras and laugh their way through ‘California’ by Phantom Planet or ‘Roxanne’ by The Police. They choose these songs very carefully, played out songs by acceptable bands, that way they can mock the popularity, but still go back to their tables and talk about the importance of their minor works and why these songs ruined them yada yada yada. They are looking at the wrong, very wrong. Karaoke is not something that should be taken at a deeper level, it is something that should be performed and appreciated for the surface level, and that is where it stands out in American culture. There is a beauty to the surface on this one. It is taking something that the the mass populous can recognize, and letting you have your take on it. It gives the everyman a moment to be Bruce Springsteen, the timid girl the chance to be Christina Aguilera. That is where the analysis stops. It is an escape from reality, whiteout ever leaching reality. It is standing up and declaring, “I am not Steve Perry from Journey, but for 4 minutes and 11 seconds I’m going to sing one of his songs, because I know the words and so do you.” I have a hard time connecting with people. I mostly don’t speak. I work at a newspaper based out of Portland, but I’m not a Trailblazers fan (Although I put them in the top 5 potential teams I would bandwagon on if the Lakers were to disband.) I’ve lived here for 2 years now. I had a girlfriend when I moved here, but then she broke up with me. I’ve seen pictures of her girlfriend now. She seems happy. I’m more handsome. And a guy. But what do I know? I met a girl at a work party, Tracy, about 7 months ago. She’s really friendly and has a nice raspy voice and a good collection of Tom Wolfe books that I’ve never read but have lied many times to her about. She’s the first girl I’ve dated that I don’t think I love, which naturally makes me think I love her more than anyone I’ve ever met. I have a date with her tomorrow. Next week I’m going away for the weekend with her and her parents. I’m not her ‘boyfriend’ though. It’s a weird thing for me, I’m very obsessed with titles and labels and specificity. But to be honest I think I’m more obsessed with the opposite sex being interested in me so the fact that she doesn’t like titles and labels and specificity trumps my prior obsession. Her dad is a retired Marine and is a current member of the tea party and is very confused where I came from if my father is too a retired Marine but I voted for Obama. He claims he sees a socialist living inside of me and I thank him every time.  Tracy and I were drunk one time at a party and she rested her head on my lap and she told me that she wrote a poem about me, a song about me, made a painting inspired by me and started a book about our love. I got very nervous and so excited I wanted to run through a wall, (she’s not very openly expressive), and I calmly asked her if I could see any of them, and then she passed out. I had to take her to the emergency room and she had to get her stomach pumped. When I brought up the things she mentioned, she lied and said she had no idea what I was talking about, so naturally I tried to her drunk again, but she vowed to stop drinking. Damn her. Damn her sobriety. I stay in this relationship based on the idea of some objects and words I’ve never seen or read, only heard about through my drunken kind of girlfriend. The proof of love only exists in a wine filled notion. It’s like the Human Project in ‘Children of Men.’ I’m going through the end of the world and war to find something that only has been slightly rumored to be true and real by a few people, except the fate of mankind doesn’t depend on our relationship, and I’m not nearly as handsome or rugged as Clive Owen. I have trouble connecting with Tracy, which is problematic considering I’m mostly positive I’m in love with her. I went to a Karaoke bar with her and a few friends and she got furious when I did ‘Livin On A Prayer’ by Bon Jovi over ‘Mr. Brightside’ by The Killers. She claimed I lost artistic merit in her eyes. Well she was drinking a Corona (she has allowed herself beer as of late) and I was drinking Sierra Nevada, so she loses beertistic merit in my eyes. She misses the point of karaoke. Just like everyone else like her. Why would I pick a shitty killers song? Because their other stuff is better than Bon Jovi’s popular stuff? That doesn’t make karaokical sense. I’m going to sing the song that makes people sing along and makes me feel like a failed rock star. That makes me connect. Everyone can song along to ‘Livin On A Prayer’ and everyone will. That makes me connect. I never connect to anyone, but when I have 70 people singing along loudly and cheering me on, I am connecting to humanity. They don’t cheer on the pretentious songs, they cheer on the songs they’ve already heard 6 times that night, and that’s the beauty of it. You don’t look edgy by picking a still popular song by a band who has a great b-sides album, but you DO look human by picking a song from the eighties that everyone knows. I want to look human to the other humans. Tracy doesn’t want me to look human. I think I’m going to stop seeing her. I need titles. I need labels. I need specificity. I need someone to duet with me on ‘Picture’ by Sheryl Crow & Kid Rock, not on ‘Anyone Else But You’ by The Moldy Peaches. Tracy isn’t that person. I’ll find her. As a wise man once belted, “Don’t Stop Believing.”