notes from a man who spends too much time playing video games

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This is where you stick random tidbits of information about yourself.

A Few Points Shy of the High Score
Monday, December 29, 2003  
Christmas was awful.

And I mean "awful" in the truest sense of the word.

Simply thinking of the details turns my stomach.

I don't even know where to begin.....

I'm hoping to write about it this week, get some of it down on paper. Pick through the wreckage. Figure out how things got so terrible so quickly.

I spoke with my brother today. He told me things only got worse after I left. He and my father nearly came to blows. My mother cried, etc.

Like I said, it was a bad one. As bad as they come.

I'm so angry and sad and bitterly disappointed. What I find most humiliating of all is that I actually used vacation days for this....

What horseshit.

What utter fucking horseshit.

4:08 PM

Thursday, December 18, 2003  
Can't say enough good things about Return of the King.

I'm in awe.

Trample old ladies, knock down children--do whatever you have to do to see it.

9:03 AM

Tuesday, December 16, 2003  
Absurdly busy these days. I can't afford to feel unmotivated just now, but for some reason I am. I just can't seem to get things started this week....

It's an admittedly odd week--full of starts and stops, strange errands, strange comings and goings, etc. And last minute Christmas shopping, too. I'm mostly finished. It was surprisingly painless this year (thank you, Amazon) with the exception of trying to find something for my mother. She's the one with the highest expectations--the one most difficult to please. I bought her a Dr. Phil calendar yesterday, which I'm beginning to think was a terrible mistake.

Joelle's birthday is tomorrow. I'm leaving town tonight, heading upstate so I can spend tomorrow with her (calling in sick; office Christmas party is tomorrow, which I'm not unhappy to miss). I'll take her to see Return of the King, then we'll meet up with some of her friends later for dinner at a Thai restaurant.

Feeling the tiniest bit ill. Galvin phoned earlier to report that he'd survived some sort of vicious death flu yesterday. Praying I don't have anything remotely similar to what he had.... Please, not now.

3:04 PM

Wednesday, December 10, 2003  
Girl gets on the F train this morning. She's 25-30ish. Fairly well dressed. Expensive-looking scarf. Train is crowded. She takes out a compact and begins brushing makeup onto her face. Foundation or blush or something--I don't know the difference. And she does it with vigor. For some reason seeing women put makeup on on the subway always pisses me off. Grates on my nerves. Makes me feel like saying, Don't you have an ounce of self-consciousness in your body?

Sometimes a little self-consciousness can be good for a person.

Once the girl finishes with the foundation, she goes to work on her eyes, doing the eyeliner. It's an elaborate process, too, requiring skilled flicks of the wrist. The F was rocketing through the tunnels, jerking passengers from side to side, but this woman somehow maintained her balance and put on eyeliner at the same time.

I kept hoping she'd poke her eye out.

After the eyes, it was the lips. After the lips, it was her hair. She patted her hair, fussing with each strand.

The train is always full by the time it reaches lower Manhattan. At Second Avenue, a small Chinese woman got on. The makeup girl, having finished her makeup, was standing in the middle of the subway door, and the Chinese woman was trying to squeeze around her.

"...scuse me," the Chinese woman said. She was very old. Feeble.

The girl didn't move.

"...Scuse me, I try to get by..."

"WHERE THE HELL WOULD YOU LIKE ME TO GO?" the makeup girl shouted.

"...I try to get over there," the old woman said, pointing towards the empty spaces near me.

"THERE'S NO PLACE TO GO," makeup girl said. "CAN'T YOU SEE?"

Still the old woman tried to move past her.


"...I need to get on..." The old woman tried to move around her the other way.


The old woman silently moved past the makeup girl, then stood close to me. I looked at the woman and thought, *Don't worry, I will protect you. You are safe with me.*

"FUCKING MORON. JESUS!" the makeup girl said, looking in the other direction now.

"," the old woman said.

A few more things were muttered, but that was the end of their interaction.

I don't like seeing things like this, don't enjoy it. It brings my own anger up to the surface, my own primal rage that I'm always convinced is tucked away in a safe place inside me. (It's not.)

I wanted to call the makeup girl a loud-mouthed cunt.

A fat, ugly bitch.

I wanted to lean in close and whisper in her ear, "Why don't you get off this train? No one likes you. No one...."

I wanted to do something. Make a gesture of some kind. Make the old woman feel safe again.

I did nothing. I stepped off at my usual stop and walked down 23rd street, my legs still buzzing from the adrenaline.

An incident like this--all this drama so early in the morning--can color your whole day.

4:27 PM

Tuesday, December 09, 2003  
Snowed in over the weekend. The windows in my apartment look out over a fairly large section of south Brooklyn, and even a bit of Staten Island. I can see the Verrazano Bridge. When it snows, I spend the afternoon sitting at my window drinking hot coffee or eating soup, looking out at the cars creeping along the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, people shoveling sidewalks, kids tossing snowballs.

That sight makes me so happy sometimes I could fucking weep.

Really I could.

I love the hush that falls over New York, the way the snow muffles everything.

Joelle and I braved the elements just once, making our way over to a nearby restaurant, the freezing snow turning our faces and ears red, the strong winds pushing us around. We reached the restaurant and stamped the snow off our boots, peeled off our jackets and gloves. I had a cheeseburger.

For some reason, food tastes better during snow storms. Especially cheeseburgers.

It was one of the best goddamn cheeseburgers I've ever had. Joelle took a bite, and she agreed that it was fantastic.

A few years back, on a blustery winter day near the skating rink in Central Park, I ate a hot dog. It was one of those awful hot dogs, sold from a cart, plucked from a pot of yellowish water.

It cost one dollar.

It was unbelievably good. To this day, I still think about that hot dog from time to time. I doubt I'll ever forget that hot dog.

4:06 PM

Wednesday, December 03, 2003  
My parents sold the house. It's gone.... The new owner is some young guy. Low-slung bluejeans. Ballcap. Cigarette.

He lives in my old house now.

The asshole.

He moved some of his stuff into the garage over the weekend. He owns a samurai sword. No kidding. I watched him from the living room window, giving him the evil eye the whole time.

Sunday was my last day in the house. I kept waiting to feel something--a sense of loss, or maybe a little anger. Nothing. I felt nothing.

I showered and thought, Well, this is the last time I'll ever shower in this house. I shaved and thought, This is the last time I'll shave here.

I looked at my reflection in the old bathroom mirror, looked at the way my face is aging.

I meant to take some photos, but I just didn't feel like it. Kept thinking, What's the point? Pictures of boxes. Empty rooms.

The hell with it.

As I drove away Sunday afternoon, I took one last look at the house. The gray sky overhead. The curtain-less windows. The snow in the frontyard.

My heart was frustratingly empty. I got a little mad at myself. I peeped the horn and some crows took off from a nearby tree.

Who knows--maybe I'll feel whatever it is I'm supposed to feel in a few days, or weeks. Experience something dramatic, big, tangible. As it stands, the general state of unrest in my family seems to be taking a slyer, subtler toll on me. Here's a list of boneheaded things I've done in the past couple weeks:

1. Ordered lunch, couldn't finish it all, decided to bring it home with me. Instead of bringing it home, I left it sitting on my desk in my office. Found it the next morning, reeking.

2. Found an exploded beer in my freezer last week. I chill beer in the freezer on occasion (the local market only sells room temperature 12 packs), have been doing so for years and never once have I done this before. I cleaned up the frozen beer foam, cursing myself out, promising to never make such a jackass mistake again.

3. Next morning: another exploded beer. I could only laugh at my jackass folly. I must have moved one to the freezer late the previous night, then completely forgotten about it. Once again I set to work cleaning up the frozen foam, wondering where in the hell my head is at these days.

Maybe my subconscious is trying to tell me something--trying to communicate with me via exploded beers and forgotten lunches.

4:09 PM

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