Saturday, November 8, 2008


Today I found a grasshopper on the ground. Half dead for some reason. I found a couple of twigs. I held the grasshopper down with one twig and tore each of its legs off, one by one, with the other. Then I sprayed it down with Off insect repellent and watched it until it's abdomen stopped moving. I haven't done that since I was about 10.

After that I imagined that when I die I'll probably suffer this torture in the afterlife. A giant grasshopper will hold me down and rip my limbs off, one by one, and then spray me with a toxic chemical and watch me as I asphyxiate.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Drunk and close to death

This happened earlier this summer but I decided to post it here anyway, because... surprise, I'm bored.

This past July I was living in Alaska and selling fur coats to tourists. Ed (my business partner) and I had spent a good portion of the evening celebrating our new apartment with libations (we had just left a living situation which was less than ideal). The night progressed as nights like that are wont to do, and after Ed turned in for the night, I decided to go outside for a final cigarette. I wasn't planning on being out there for very long, so even though it was raining and kind of chilly, I was dressed in just a pair of shorts and a T-shirt. After I finished my cigarette, I naturally wanted to go back inside. This being the case, I tried to open the door, only to realize that it had locked automatically after shutting (this apartment had one main entrance to a hallway which opened upon several individual apartments). Since I was a brand new tenant, I of course didn't have my key with me... so there I was, barefoot, in the rain, wearing naught but the bare necessities, locked out and getting cold. I spent about 10 minutes yelling at the top of my lungs, hoping to wake up my partner, but probably succeeded only in waking up half of the block instead.

After looking around and exploring for a bit, trying to figure what to do, I noticed that on the side of a building which was situated right next to my apartment there was a scaffold which went all the way up to the roof. So, I did what any judgment impaired person would do... I decided to climb it to see if it was in any way possible to hop from one rooftop to the other. I could see my kitchen window glowing enticingly from the ground, and I judged that if I could get onto the roof of my apartment building then I would be able to walk right over to the window, open it, and climb inside (the kitchen window was almost perfectly level with the roof, occupying as it was another part of the building which stood a little higher than the surrounding rooftop).

I had been standing outside for about half an hour; I was damp, cold, somewhat inebriated, and everything I touched was wet and slippery. I spent a few more minutes thinking it over and, seeing no other recourse, proceeded to climb the scaffold. When I was about halfway up, several things became apparent to me which weren't obvious from the ground: first, I realized that I was going to have to scale quite a bit more rooftop than I had originally thought in order to get on an even level with my own apartment building. Secondly, the roof of my apartment was several feet lower than the roof of the building which I was climbing, so there would be no easy place to stand from which to jump from one roof to the other (yes, I was seriously planning on jumping from rooftop to rooftop). Finally, the roof I had to climb, which was made of widely corrugated sheet metal, was slanted at about a 45 degree angle... much steeper than I had originally thought. And to top it off, it was installed so that it was corrugated vertically, so there were no easy places to hold on to. There was nothing for it however, so once I reached the top of the scaffolding, I situated myself along a line of bolts which held the roof in place and proceeded to crawl up, very slowly, using those bolts as hand and footholds. About halfway up I was level with the roof of my apartment building, but I saw no easy or readily apparent way to cross. So, I continued on to the top, hoping that I might still be able to jump from there. Boy was I surprised when, upon reaching the apex, the roof didn't continue down the other side in a similar manner, but instead abruptly ended. I peered over the edge and was presented with a 15 foot drop down to another slanted area of rooftop. I couldn't do anything there, so I slowly crawled backwards until I was level with the roof of my apartment building again.

My situation was this: I was about 40 feet up, lying on my stomach at a 45 degree angle, and holding onto a few nuts and bolts. To my immediate left was the flat, wide roof of my apartment building, with about a 4 foot gap separating the two roofs. If I had been wearing shoes, and if it weren't raining, and if it had been daytime, and if I'd been sober, I probably could have balanced on that angle and made the jump. However, being somewhat impaired and standing on a slick, steeply angled piece of wet sheet metal about 40 feet in the air, cold, barefoot and shivering, I was pretty unsteady. I stood up anyway, very slowly, bracing one foot on some of the bolts sticking out of the roof and contemplated my chances. I looked down and imagined myself falling that long, dark drop, bouncing off of the dumpster in the alley below and coming to rest as a broken bag of bones. That's when I realized how shnockered I was, and I backed away from that drop in a small panic. A little to quickly... my foot slipped. I landed face down on the roof and slid backwards, grasping at the short stubs of the bolts. I managed to stop myself when my feet hit the edge of the scaffolding which, luckily, protruded up several inches past the edge of the roof.

My heart was beating pretty rapidly by then, and I just lay there and rested for a while. I could see my kitchen window from where I was perched; so close but still impossible to get to. I yelled again for about ten minutes, hoping once more that Ed would hear, wake up, and go to the window. I had no such luck; he was three sheets to the wind and ensconced in a deep slumber. So, after I recovered from my state of petrification, I climbed down. It took me about three times as long to get down that scaffold as it did to climb up, mainly because I couldn't see where I was putting my feet. I did finally manage to get down to the ground, and when I did, I was so glad to be off of that roof that it didn't suck quite as bad having to wait until morning for Ed to wake up and open the door...

...and although an embarrassing story, it serves in retrospect (safely and with a liberal dash of morbid humor) as a reminder as to how profoundly stupid I've been (and still could be) when drinking.

That wasn't really a 'near death' experience, but I came pretty close to trying that jump, which almost certainly would have resulted in my death.

Now, HERE is a bona-fide near death experience.

The closest I've ever come to actual, undeniable death is about one second away. Back in 1992, I was driving my old beat up car on the local back roads. There are railroad tracks out in those boon docks that cross the oil roads and there are no signals or lights or anything. It's up to the driver to be observant for coming trains. Well, one night I wasn't being observant and I was driving really slowly on the back roads, nursing a quart of beer (oh yeah, I was also depressed about this chick who I was in love with whom I had just found out was getting married) and I crossed one of these railroad tracks. I wasn't paying any attention - you know, basically consumed with misery and drinking my beer, driving really slow, with the radio up really loud, and the dense vegetation apparently blocked the approaching headlight. So, I cross this track and it was just about one entire second after I had cleared them that a train went roaring by behind me. Scared the ever-loving shit out of me, I can tell you that.

I can just read the headlines if I'd have gotten scrubbed by that train... "Local man commits suicide over unrequited love." LOL.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Normal Day at Work

I get to work. I'm a little bit late but it doesn't matter, it's Sunday and it's slow. I go over by the coffee bar with the tablet pc and start ordering stuff. Next thing I know, The Flower Lady shows up. Whoops... damn, I can usually hear her come in as she normally announces herself at full volume as soon as she's one step in the door. She must have snuck up on me intentionally, as usually I can evade her at least until she's ready to walk out the door. So, I'm there listening to her yap about some kind of disease she has that partially paralyzes the left half of her face. This gets my attention and I glance up and see that the right half of her face is sagging, just a little bit. Not much. It looks kind of like she has one eye partially closed. In fact, that's exactly what it is. I dunno if this disease is real, or some ploy to get sympathy so I'll 'pay-roll' some cigarettes for her, but she goes on about how she's just SO BROKE right now... hint hint. I quickly identify with that statement, agreeing that yeah, being broke sucks, I wish I had some money too, hint hint. Well, she drops that subject and moves onto her second favorite topic: The Texas Lottery.

Of course, she's going to win big soon, she just has to find the right ticket (she judges potential winners on the sequential numbering of the ticket in the roll). If the combination of numbers adds up to nine... say, a 63... then it's a winner. Of course, I have witnessed her purchasing several of these 'magic tickets' and haven't seen her win yet, but oh well. I tried to give her some advice once:

--Me behind the counter, The Flower Lady perusing the ticket selection--

Me: You know, if you would buy a bunch of the same tickets instead of one from each game, you'd have a much better chance of winning.

The Flower Lady: (continues to peruse the tickets, oblivious)

Me: You see, there are odds on each ticket (I pull one up and show her the back of a ticket, where the odds are printed). See, the odds on this ticket are 1:3.5. That means that one out of every three and a half tickets is a winner. So, instead of buying ten tickets, one from every game, you should buy ten tickets from a single game and you have a decent chance of winning 3 times.

The Flower Lady: I used to win a lot, I just gotta hit that streak again.

Me: The Texas Lottery is designed to make you lose, you know. There are ways to increase your chances though...

The Flower Lady: I just likes to scratch, thats all. (continues to peruse the tickets, oblivious)

Me: Well, if you'd take my advice, you would win more often, I guarantee it.

She seemed as though she were actively trying to ignore me when I was giving her that advice, as if it were a personal affront. Oh well, far be it from me to tell her how to manage her addiction. So, she comes back a few days later with this story:

The Flower Lady: I tried that, what you said. I spent 200 dollars the other day, all of em on scratch offs, and I didn't win nothin.

Me: You bought 200 tickets, all from the same game, and you didn't win anything?

The Flower Lady: Nothin. I didn't win nothin.

Well, I know she was flat out lying to me. So I advise her that maybe she should lay off the tickets for a while, being that she spent 200 dollars in one day and didn't win anything. She didn't take too kindly to that. I suggested that she should maybe go to an AA meeting, or a meeting for people with a gambling problem. She didn't take too kindly to that either. Maybe it wasn't my place to give such advice, but hell, I have to deal with her begging me for money and smokes on an almost daily basis so it has also become my problem, to a certain extent.

Anyway, back to Today. Eventually she's finished with the coffee bar and she moves to the lottery counter, all the while still yammering away. I hear her over there engaging Adela in the task of helping her find a winner, and I get back to my ordering. Eventually she leaves.

Later I'm pulling shit out from under the desk in the back room, and I find an apple under there. I suddenly have a wonderful idea. 'Watch my magic trick with this apple,' I say to Adela and Ryan as I step out the front door. The parking lot is empty, so I walk out into the middle of it and toss that apple up into the air as hard as I can. As it impacts the asphalt surface of the parking lot, it shatters into several dozen pieces. I whoop with triumph and see Adela and Ryan through the store window, laughing. A guy who was about to go inside stops and claps. I bow, and get to gathering up the apple pieces. This takes me a while, and as I'm finishing up, the guy finishes his transaction and comes back outside. He says to me, 'destruction is the ultimate form of creation'. I consider this for a few seconds, and respond with 'yeah, ain't it cool? Especially considering that all of the atoms which comprise our bodies were forged in the heart of a star long since destroyed in a violent supernova'. He stops and considers this thoughtfully for a few seconds, then smiles and nods and walks off.

Later I'm checking some customers. An attractive black girls comes in. She's not wearing any makeup and is dressed in a green t-shirt, blue jeans, and no shoes... just a pair of socks. Otherwise she is perfectly normal appearing. She stands there in front of the counter, looking at me, smiling and holding a 20 dollar bill. I smile back. She continues to stand there for a few seconds more and then hands me the 20. She smiles some more, so I figure that I should probably say something, so I ask her, 'what can I get for you?' 'Oh,' she says, surprised. 'I want 20 dollars in gas. Just look at me, I'm a drunken wreck. I don't even have any shoes on! I'm so sorry.' All the while she is just smiling the biggest, warmest smile. I laugh and say, 'ok. 20 in gas. Thanks a bunch.' So she pumps her gas and leaves. Weird.

So anyway, later I'm outside smoking a cigarette and another attractive black girl (this must be the day for good looking black chicks) is over by the air machine, wrestling with the hose. She walks towards the store, so I put out my cigarette and go inside and stand behind the counter, ready for whatever she wants. She comes inside and approaches me, laughing. She says 'I was going to ask you if you could help me air up my tire before you went inside, so... sorry, but can you come back outside and help me?' So, I accompany her to her car and inspect her tire for the required pressure. I tell her that it's 44 psi, and to just put 75 cents in the machine. She only has 50 cents, so I give her a quarter. She thanks me profusely. So, I grab the hose, which has to be pulled forcibly out from the machine (it really is kind of a pain in the ass) and instruct her as to it's use. 'Just put the nozzle up to the thing on the tire, yeah that thing there, take the cap off first... ok, just push it up against it hard unti it stops hissing. And then press this handle here and it'll start to air it up. And just let go of the handle now and then (I demonstrate) and an air guage will pop out (it pops out and her pressure is 20 psi) telling you the pressure. Keep filling it until it hits 44 psi'. So, as I'm doing this for her, I'm kneeling down next to her tire and she is kneeling next to me, very close. She is almost leaning against me, as a matter of fact, and her tits are about... 10 inches away from my face. They are big ones and she is wearing a low cut top. She is also kneeling forward, so I have a REALLY good view right down her shirt. I have a hat on with a bill that is covering my face so she can't see my eyes, so I get a nice, long eyefull. Eventually I finish airing up the tire and again, she thanks me profusely. I tell her 'no problemo', and she leaves. All in all a worthy experience.

So, it's the same day, and this guy comes in wearing a shirt that reads 'Sorry girls, I only date supermodels' across the front. He is young and I guess chicks would consider him reasonably attractive, and he has a new Scion parked outside. My first impression is 'spoiled rich college brat'. Adela is checking him, so he gives her money for his gas and he leaves. After he's out the door, Adela turns to me and says 'his shirt should read "sorry girls, I only date boys".' I thought this was fucking hilarious and almost died laughing.

Remember the 'drunken mess'? Well, it's about 3 hours later and in she comes again. As she enters, she announces 'the drunken wreck is back!' I laugh. She asks how much a 24 pack of water is, and I tell her 4.99. I tell her that she doesn't seem drunk to me, and she just laughs again and says 'oops, I guess the drunken wreck should also get a gallon to go with this,' and she gets a gallon of spring water. I tell her that I've seen some drunken wrecks before, and sorry, she just doesn't qualify... but she just smiles really big again, pays, and leaves without offering any further explanation. I was hoping that she would come back a third time so I could really interrogate her on this 'drunken wreck' thing, but I guess 3rd time wasn't a charm. Maybe I'll see her again.

That's about it for today. I could have sworn there was something else from today... if I remember I'll post a new blog.