Monday, September 03, 2007

Remember When, Sortof

I am not at the point where I sit here and I am looking at other people who are on the TV and talking about growing up, and I am thinking hey I did that too. I went no where for all my various talents, so what the hell happened. The cameras put to bed, the quill broken, the pots and pans are cold, and all those other fantasies have been all but forgotten. For the last ten years I have tried hard to make a living, doing work, the kind of work that I thought I was never going to do. I was destined to be known if not famous, no more infamous, and reclusive. Writing scathing and cynical reviews of society from my obscure locations,, only appearing occasionally to collect on the royalties that would support my secluded lifestyle.

I met who I thought would be my soul mate, and sh e is in many ways. However I believe that in my attempt to be a regular joe, I have actually lead us down a path of hardship that I should not have. In my attempt to heal from too many years of living in a fog of drugs and alcohol, I think I lost sight of what I was before I started down that storied path. I didn't go to college, maybe that is the magic quality that will change the way I am dealt with. At this point I am trying to get jobs that when I grew up people like me held. I don't remember the maintenance guy at school, or at the apartment complex having a degree. I don't remember the cook having a degree, but it seems now that they must, because as I try to get work as a guy that is approaching middle age, where I should be looking at doing some work like that, I am turned away. What self respecting twenty year old would want to work in the capacities that I have made myself available for. When I was twenty I could find work as easy as spitting on the ground. I went into a restaurant and I said I needed a job and they asked if I could cook, and I said yes, and they hired me, that day. There was no fill this form out, and we will call you if we need you, or a hour of interview to be told that they have to talk to someone else to determine if they can hire me. Further, the ones that really kill me are the ones that say, yea I think you will work, let me call you back later, and they never do. In fact I even had one potential employer that would not take my calls, dam that caller ID. When I grew up I took dish washing jobs because I needed money to buy pot and lsd and beer, so when I got done working I could forget that I worked for an asshole who paid me half of what I thought I was worth. Still he never asked me if I had been convicted of a felony, however he might have asked me if I had ever been in jail, and if I had, he might ask why, and really no matter what I said, I think I would have still gotten the job. But I never had been in jail, and I would look at him and say "no, I have never been arrested, or in jail," like I was offended that he would have even asked. While at the same time, I was thinking that this guy probably had just gotten out prison, or the navy, they were about the same when I grew up. Back then I didn't have to go outside to smoke a cigarette. Instead I went to the back of the kitchen and lit up. I went to the back of the kitchen, not to protect the other kitchen help, or to protect the food, but because a cigarette break was an excuse to sit down for a minute. Very often we worked with cooks who did smoke on the line, and I once worked with a coo who smoked cigars while he cooked. This was the guy that hired me. He stood about 5'9" and weighed about 360 lbs, not all muscle. I think at some point he used to be more muscle, but judging from the tattoos that was when he was in the navy. To this guy the grease trap was an ashtray, as was anything that resembled stew. No one ever complained that I knew of, but I am not certain they would have dared. This was a little diner, where the cooks looked out over the booths, and the customers could see the cooks working, sweat dripping from their brows. Not the most sanitary conditions, but we saw the same people night after night, and we were always busy, so we must have been doing something right. I can tell you what we were doing right, the food was good. I remember being honored to go with the cook to the market to buy fresh ingredients for the restaurant. I also thought this guy was an asshole who used to yell at everyone, and generally make everyone feel like shit. He swore like a sailor, but that is because that is what he was. He was mean to the staff, and should have been brought up on all sorts of sexual harassment and DOL abuses, but the mayor of the city ate there, and no one was going to do anything.

Somewhere the quality of the food went to hell. I went to the very same place a few years ago, and the food was the same shit served by every other supplier driven restaurant around. The old guy was dead and very few of the patrons even knew who he was. At this point I won't even go out to a restaurant because they have all turned to two types. They either are some type of corporate theme place, or they are the soulless remnants of a grill house. Lately I have heard of a few places that are trying to use local sources and do real food, but they charge prices that are only for the snobbish environmentalist. You know those degree holding environmentalist that seem to think that they are saving the world from people and the corporations. Just once I would like to find a dive that had the seedy atmosphere that I remember from when I was traveling the back roads of the north east and finding dark dives that had real food, that was suspect perhaps, but good.

I grew up in a little farm town, a blink town, with the famous name of Hastings, NY. When I was in high school, I got up and rode the bus to school, because if I drove my car, I would have gotten busted for driving without a license. I rode the bus to school, because I wanted to go to town. Once at school I would hang out waiting until I thought the town had woke up, and then I would take off from school with one or two other guys, and sometimes a few of the "bad" girls and head into town to find someone with a bong. We would hang out with the bad dudes, the guys and their girls that either had already dropped out of school, or have been out of school long enough that it didn't matter. Some of them were in various stages of either running from the cops, or just paroled. We would smoke a few bongs or as much as we felt we could afford, and then we would look for someone to take us to some place else, or we would do something. I could never hang out too long in any place, I think I suffered from ADHD or whatever they are calling it. I didn't really have a short attention span, it is just that I couldn't sit around doing nothing all day. I had to do something, even if it were wrong. I wrote a lot back then, and this gave me a special status with all the people I hung out with. Yea I should have gone to college, yea I should have stayed in school, but fuck that, I can't change the past.

What I don't get is where I lost that fuck it attitude. When did I become pastoral? I am now sitting here, and I am no where, no one, just thinking that hey, I had some fun and now I have to pay for that. Then I turn on the TV and I see these fucking idiots on the TV who may have a college degree, but besides a piece of paper, and some connections, they have nothing on me. I can't even get a job to support myself and my wife. I should be able to by now write for a living, and for some stupid reason it hasn't happened yet. I didn't want to make myself a hoar, maybe I should have.

I wanted some type of service, I wanted someone to come along and say hey that shit you write needs to be published. I wanted someone to tell me they were going to take care of me, and that I could go on living my rock-n-roll lifestyle while they took care of the bills. That didn't happen, maybe it was because I never made myself available to them that do such things. Whatever the reasons, I got married to a wonderful woman who has helped me to see other things, but I don't know how that will pay our bills.

I have always been an environmental evangelist, but I got caught in the cross fire, and tired of the snobs and the thought of being a purist. Well that's my rant for today, and I have no idea where the hell I was going, or how I got to where I am, but maybe now I will know a little more of why I am what I am. I doubt it, but if I say it enough times even I might believe it.


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