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Jul. 29th, 2014

I just re-found the photobooth pictures and now I’m severely down. I looked at them and just said, out loud, “Oh yeah, this isn’t a thing anymore.”

Just as well. Couldn’t afford to have a girlfriend right now, anyway.

I would have at least liked to have known that something was wrong.

Hard to believe that was only 3 months ago. Not even. 2 and a half.

Still coping with being unstably poor at age 32, and I'm not okay with it. Hours cut, people telling me I should be grateful, the usual.

I hate the idea that I understand so much more and yet so much less as I grow up. Shouldn't they counterbalance one another?

I'm sorry if I've ignored you these past 3 weeks. I have had a lot of time to do anything but sleep and not eat and look for other jobs and cry and watch all the DVD boxed sets I have saved because they're here. I'll probably get rid of them when I have to.

I come home after a 7-hour shift and still say to myself "I can't buy anything, even food, after 5 days."

How did she come to call me a liar and a manipulator?

I talk like I expect you all to answer these questions for me. Don't. I'll sip my stolen liquor and dream of creative endeavors I can't live up to.

You're all spectacular.

Jul. 21st, 2014

In the wake of everything I know about myself, other people, and the world at large, I feel kind of shitty complaining about my job. My job that everyone else who has ever worked in foodservice is telling me I should get a rib removed to self-fellate, how dare I, that just doesn’t happen.

So I feel bad, a bit, complaining here. Still going to.

When I come into work after the weekend (after being forced to leave at 3:30 when my schedule says 4; no big deal, that; I get the concept of overhead and labor vs. profits, but my endless greed for 34 working hours will not go unpunished.)

And apparently Friday was such a massive shitshow that most of what I have done by 3 PM was undone and left so. And then a service came in the middle of the night to clean the grease baffle filters, they did so against everything else I had cleaned so I had to re-clean all of THAT, because they, in their cleaning process, had splattered hot brown grease all over most of what I clean before I leave. So, imagine doing everything you’re supposed to do before you leave a shift. Now imagine doing that 9 times in 30 minutes because it’s all unusable.

Then imagine a pan of zitti is being thrown out and you take a spoonful of it for yourself because you could’t afford breakfast that morning, and then having wild-steel-blue-eyed faux-Ray Liotta start to walk past, turn his head, freeze on you, and shriek “YOU CAN’T EAT OUR PROFITS!!”
I half-gargle-yell back “what profits? Upstairs made $150 total today!” and defiantly, angrily rammed the too-large spoonful into my mouth.

And superfluously, finally, imagine bending over to pick up two lids that have fallen off a shelf and having a 55-year-old Mexican man with 6 gold teeth grab your hips and dry-hump you in front of everyone, and everyone thinks it’s the funniest thing in the world. You have no real dignity at this point, so you do what comes naturally, and throw whatever you have in your hands in any direction, head to your station and start crying as quietly as you possibly can. But, you know, I’m too sensitive and no fun.

My boss tells me that if I want more hours, I am welcome to take one night shift a week, an extra 3 and one-half hours, but first I have to clock out at exactly 3 PM and clock back in at 5:30. So, you know, just piddle around for 2:30 someplace, just stay away from where you work.

So, I again feel bad complaining. Things could always be worse. They could be better, too, though, and I guess wishing for that is greedy.

Jul. 16th, 2014

I started working where I work in 2012. When I started, my position called for me to work from 8 AM to 3:30 PM, Monday through Friday, later on hockey nights, dishwashing and tending the restrooms, through the most difficult times of the day; morning prep and lunchtime, wherein we could gross $5,000 in a mere 90 minutes. 37.5 hours, a comfortable spot for me to sit in, financially and socially. I am grateful.

March of 2014, under the 7th boss of 9, they cut me from 37.5 to 35, asserting that I can start at 9 and get the same things done, the same amount of work done, and still be ready for the lunch rush. I begrudgingly accept, knowing that it's a little leaner, but not lethally so. This proves to be true. Still not eating out (meaning occasional chicken subs and nice salads), still occasionally subsisting on tuna and ramen noodles.

Yesterday, in July of 2014, they cut me from 35 to a straight 30. 9 AM to 3 PM. 6-hour days. I inform my boss that I can't subsist on this. It's not feasible; it's literally $225 a week and I can't live on that, not alone.

He essentially says "tough luck, and it's not our job to make sure you can eat and sleep."

Today, July of 2014, two cooks are promoted to full-time, 40 hours, and meanwhile I am consistently followed around by my boss and his crazed blue Ray Liotta eyes. "Almost done, almost done, almost done?" It's 2:45. IT'S 2:45. During the end of my now-6-hour shift. Don't pretend to monitor your overhead while making the sure the guy who has had to fight for his 35 hours every time a boss gets fired (6 times) or jumps ship (twice) is on his way out.

I spent my entire workday angry and it oddly made me more efficient. I shrugged at the time (because it was a nice day and I wanted to go home) but I'm seriously concerned now. Maybe this will spurn me on to greater things? Maybe, more likely, I'll just feel bad and look for a second job and never know a true measure of happiness, because I refuse, regularly, the mindset that A) I'm lucky to have this job, and B) I'm lucky to not be working two jobs. They make me so viciously angry that I cannot accept them at my age, I sputter like a balloon emptying. I am told that it gets easier and to "just stay alive" by people I respect and it gets harder and harder to accept, especially when your professional life is garbage AND hanging by a thread.

Oh, and your personal life. Yeah, I know I was seeing a girl in her early 20s who said she loved me and I believed her, but since she dumped me, I STILL have a hard time accepting that it just happened, and just because, and right after a $53 bus ticket I really couldn't afford and will never see again. The Mexicans at work all have the same answer; "get another job." The subtext, of course, is "why wouldn't you have two jobs, do you see the lives we all used to have, you marshmallow gringo, why WOULDN'T you have two jobs, at least, even with no family?"

Who has time to be depressed, or the money to help it along? Celebrities.

Or anyone else my age I know who is not me.

My favorite thing is the attitude of the veterans who say "oh, that's just how it is" and "that's too bad" and my absolute favorite, a nail in my goddamn eye, "it is what it is."

I'd ask "because of what" but their answer would be factory-grade bullshit and I know it. I hate kitchen workers, mostly. The Mexican ones are awesome people who are entertaining, generally good people with personalities and lives and are not these awful fonts of scabby misery I've come to know. Everyone else is a piece of shit. Ratatouille lied to me. I'm sure it did to a lot of people.

Maybe this is the final spur. The bit that says "Dennis, pursue other things, because you literally can't afford to live otherwise unless you find 2 roommates and move out."
I want to believe that I'm that afraid, and ready to go elsewhere. Ready to step into it. Maybe I've been coddled.

God, life's a joke. Everyone forgot to tell it, though.

If we haven't, we should have

I think what I have suddenly learned, in light of having someone break up with me, is that I never cared about me as long as I had someone else who also did. That hasn't happened since 2005, so maybe I just forgot what it looked like, forgot what it was like to say to myself "this person matters more than me, a guy who has lived alone for almost 6 years."

It has been tremendously difficult. "Do I still talk to them? If so, how?" The split seemed amiable, but entirely her decision. But what would I do? Fight it? She made her stance clear, her position firm. But why wouldn't she want me along if she didn't love me the way that I said that I loved her?

She says it was for my own good. Maybe it was. I have no clear idea. She hasn't shared a lot with me since then, except that she still cares for me and she's found a good therapist. That's good. I care about what she's done for herself. But I can't help but wonder...does she feel the same sense of loss and missed opportunity that I do? Does she know how much of myself I hinged on her, and does she hinge any of herself on me, still?

Did I project how much of her I wanted to "help" onto how much I cared for her? Did I want to "fix" her or did I just want to be there regarding how much turmoil she was going through? I lived around insane people so much and I know I can handle abusers and the like. Is she keeping me from a wall of abuse and terror or is she just pushing me away? The former is her explanation; the latter is what I feel because of trust issues on her part.

But then...if I don't like myself, how can I love someone else so small and soft? I liked and loved her way more than I liked or loved me, and yet I feel like it was totally appropriate how much affection I poured onto her. Was she afraid of the committed idea? I have so many questions that I am afraid to ask her. Maybe that's why I have given up on questions to HER about this and have just accepted this as an idea. That she just wants it over.

And I should...respect that? I don't feel as though I should fight it, but she has told me explicitly that she doesn't want me any closer. That's the end of it, right? But she wants me to be friends, still, however distant. This is confusing.

I am going to sit in the lotus position until I tip over sideways.

Jun. 29th, 2014

Vile, to me, how I still have to parse out these feelings. Our relationship was a full two months long. 91 accumulated hours, if my math is correct, spent with one another. I am baffled, because we did so much in that time. Exchanged so many tender words, so many promises. Showered together. Bought one another food and clothes. I just didn't expect it to be so sudden. Or that she believed I wouldn't want to be there to help her when the time(s) would come.

I'm sincerely not trying to characterize it as something I feel was "done to me." But I felt so passive about it as it was happening. Like, "oh, this isn't really happening, and I'm sure once it actually sinks in, I'll react properly." I felt at the time that I was coming from a real place of understanding and compassion. "I need her, I think, but she needs this time and knows what's best for her."

The short-hand is that she's going through a lot right now. Panicky things, things with her father, her housing situation, her family life, her employment, her overall mental health and integrity, all kind of up in the air. And she didn't feel right, as she put it, dragging me through the rat's nest that would be ensuing, encasing, enveloping, etc. Though I promised early I could contend with it, because I had literally my whole life, and assured her endlessly that it would be worth it to me.
I say now that I think, on an intellectual level, that her decision ("our" decision?) to sever it before either of us got in too deep was sound and probably a good thing for both of us in the long run. Good for us before either of us moved closer, or rearranged our lives to make one another more comfortable. (Not that I would have a real problem with that, either, though; nothing's keeping me here.)

Emotionally, I have a lot to go through, still. I was ready to reordain and reorder my life in pursuit of something else, something better, something different and alive. It's been a mere 4 days and I already see myself going back to my old ways; drinking a lot more, eating HORRIBLY on the weekends, only walking because the apartment's getting hotter than the outside on the best days. I'm gonna do my best not to; I just envisioned something better on the horizon and it's already gone.

I think what hurts most about this is that she has shown no online sign of missing me or feeling any differently. I get that she had to cut and run as soon as she could and I know that she's got a lot more than me on her mind. And at my core, of course the endgame is that she's safe and happy and that she gets better at this being alive thing. That's all I would ask of anyone. But she's gone right back to posting about getting high and going on walks and hanging out with her other friends and wanting to be fucked real hard, like she did before she met me. My brain goes to bad places when I read it, like, "neither of our lives were so great before one another, I THOUGHT. But now I just feel like baggage." Probably untrue. LIKELY untrue. Should PROBABLY unfollow her for a little bit.

This was to be our weekend. I had bought a $53 bus ticket to go to Columbus Friday afternoon. Got the time off, made an itinerary, washed my clothes, shaved my beard. Then she basically...no, quite literally...explains that we can't be together via Facebook message and that she's really sorry, it's just too rocky a time. Intellectually: bright, and honest, and good. Emotionally: ...oh. Well.
And now little things around the apartment all remind me of her. I already stashed the photobooth reams from the Warhol museum. I took down the doodle she drew for me while getting high when she visited. The loofah I bought for her so she could shower still hangs in the bathtub. I saw it yesterday and cried a little. I expect that'll keep happening for a time. Things that were "our" things (Wreck-It Ralph, comedian Paul F. Tompkins, Spirited Away) still give me minor anxieties when I see them around. Already too many memories I am not fond of looking at.

Today I am looking for the quick fix. I have a pizza that I am desperately trying not to eat all in one sitting, and I've already had almost an entire pot of strong black coffee. I am reading poems and stories written by comedians. I am trying to get out of my own heart and head, and to simply FEEL less. I still care for Tess on an intimate emotional level and having to suddenly discard that in favor of caring for her just as much but in a different way is far more daunting than I really expected (especially after a mere two months), so today is about stifling, and not feeling as strongly as I have been all weekend.

There's a storm coming. I would like to see that today. 

Feb. 18th, 2014

I did so much yelling and chuckling and attempting to prove that I can feel things other than raw-nerve spite at work today that I sound like wet sand in a blender when I talk.

Work. Work. I guess there’s not much else. Suppose I don’t hate the idea of working 7-10 hours a day, knowing that I do not have to go to another job when I leave, and that it only takes one bus 42 minutes to get me home. I get paid more than minimum wag, which should be higher, and I get more than 35 hours a week, every week. It’s actually one of the reasons I didn’t want to step above dishwashing, and it’s the reason I give everyone when they ask why I wouldn’t. The cooks in this place work a maximum 5 hours a day, and they makes $1.50 more than I do, if they’re lucky. Most of them have other part-time jobs. They also have kids and (in the case of Rodolfo, the supposedly most virile Mexican in the world at 52), several “baby mamis” to take care of. Then again, that OTHER job pays him $900 a week and he’s there 13 hours a day, so…

It sounds like I’m comparing myself to them. I do, almost every day. Not just in terms of what I make, because it is much less than everyone else there (except the poor, beleaguered servers, all of whom I love and whom are, unrelated, either straight women or gay men) and yet my hours are longer, because it’s what I want. It guarantees my tiny paycheck in lieu of an obviously tinier one that would require that I get a second job.

In that respect, I feel I am lucky.

In terms of whom I work with, I feel much less lucky. And I say that only as someone who has to put up with the sexist pirate monsters who populate the kitchen, all of whom touch the servers without asking (Rodolfo actively catcalls) and since I have the most contact with the servers, I hear them complain that they’re not comfortable, that it makes them unhappy and that they feel unsafe. And, sometimes, in their stead, without their express knowledge, I will say to the kitchen staff, “hey, guys, you ever stop and think that maybe what you do to the servers isn’t so great for them to experience? Like, what happens when people touch you when you don’t want them to?” (Not that anyone would; one is a walking psoriasis scab in his late 40s who once licked his lips upon approaching one of the servers and it made her immediately head in the other direction, at which point he approached faster.)

The answers are invariably the same. “Issokay! No big deal!” “Don’t worry about it so much!” “I’m a man, what do you expect?”

So, I’ve given up on that. I now do my best to simply work my way between groping hands and actively, hoarsely and abruptly booing catcalls. One guy (Calvin; I don’t care, he’ll never read this, and if he does, I know what to do) watches girls pass and dry-humps whatever surface is handy. I make loud puking noises and say things like “aaah, GROSS!” It’s gross.

Who cares? It’s a kitchen. That’s actually another thing I am strangely grateful for; I can be as loud and as crass as I need to be as long as I’m not in our one hallway screaming something insane or obscene.

It’s not wall-to-wall grimness. There’s a server named Kia who has real-life Janelle Monae hair and is a terribly sweet but vicious young lady. She’s a dishwasher at HER other job so she’s actually extremely sympathetic toward me and likes that I can still be amiable after doing it 5 days a week. She also only works Mondays, and for 4 hours. One time she came in in sheer black leggings before she changed for work and everyone who was caught staring had plasticware thrown at them. Whatta kid.

I know all kitchens are bully havens and sexist shitpits. Where else can I go? What do I have to look like to answer phones? Would I have to get two jobs at both a pharmacy and a grocery store to make up for what I make now, which isn’t a lot, but more than minimum wage? Do I have a creative bone left in my body from when I thought I did almost 6 years ago? And how would it be applied to the point where I could make money from it?

Anxiety that never sleeps, which may account for something. Or nothing, I’m having a hard time deciding which. Maybe it’s not up to me.

Rob Delaney and John Darnielle have both personally told me that my financial situation and my life as it stands are not permanent, and that it may change sooner than I think, and that my happiness either way is not guaranteed. I should seek some lesson in that, seeing how they’re both formerly addicted people who have managed relatively consistent lives despite those past addictions.

Guess you can’t plan your life. You know what, though? Like to get some of these cavities filled. Like to be able to make my apartment presentable enough for a girl to come over. Like to be able to say, in reference to my job “yeah, it’s full of assholes, but only a few of them make me feel a light-sucking hole of despair in my chest when I hear them talk.”

My letter to the President remains unanswered. I’ll send it again, I have it saved. Maybe I’ll word it differently. Either way, you’re making my mom suffer and I refuse to abide that, Obama.

(Innit weird how now “Obama,” “Nintendo,” and now, as I just learned, “innit” are recognized by spell-check?)

Can I visit some of you in the spring/summer? I’m saving money by eating like I always do and never turning on the heat.


Oct. 17th, 2011

I need assurance right now that I'm not a bad person.


As soon as possible.


Well, in my travels on this here internet, I have come across nothing that inspires this variety of giddy confusion, a sort of baffled, blinking insanity I cannot level in my own head, but tend to enjoy anyway. Nothing like this.


Cat Fancier Association cat show glamour shots. They're all fucking weird and insane in a stupid way. But the selling point? Those names! Nevermind that the cat looks like it somehow has a circumcised head . It's name is FOUNTAINHEAD'S LUST. Some rich objectivist dimwit has a shrunken dungsock of a kitty named FOUNTAINHEAD'S LUST. And he/she shows this thing to other people, and introduces it as that. On purpose.

This one may have blown my mind a little harder:


FURENSICS NECROMANCY? ARE YOU SHITTING ME?? Those aren't names, those are two made-up professions jammed into one title! Those belong on job applications for Deviantart fetish groups and D&D players!

It's a strange, magical place, where self-awareness has dissolved entirely, and it's all such absurd bullshit.

Other names I found while looking at these pictures, which I will type in all-caps because they're all ridiculous enough to do that with.









Don't some of them sound kind of like Japanese ads/movies whose titles have been Babelfished to English? Except Fuzzy Foot's News Flash, which sounds like an actual show a really crazy woman hosts, about her own cat.


This entire journal is now friends-only, through and through. Who knows, there might be some more changes, whenever and however.

I consider this "taking steps."

Thomas Alan Waits Turns 60 Today


I know how to write. I do it well enough. I describe things, I illustrate points. I choose carefully, I choose recklessly. I often don't know what I'm doing. When I do, I still don't feel like I'm doing it right. I'm hopeful. I will create again.
Sounds like the beginning of a completely different kind of post, don't it? That makes sense. But I felt it necessary. You see, I'm having trouble detailing exactly why I love Tom Waits the way I do. Explaining what he sounds like doesn't mean anything to me anymore, either. I want to write, "He just is," and leave it at that. In fact, I'm going to send him a birthday card that says just that.

You just are.

When I think about how to describe what Tom Waits and his music means to me...nothing truly comes through, clear and clean as I'd like. He's the only artist I've ever listened to that has made me feel everything except anger. I've felt negatively while listening to him, but that never had anything to do with the song that was playing.

And I'm writing this, now, this filler while I anticipate a means of describing this man, a means that I am fairly certain is not coming.
I will say that there is no man in the history of my life who has meant so much to me who I haven't met.

Someone could ask me if they wanted. "Dennis," they'd say. "Is there one person in the entirety of the entertainment world who you absolutely love everything about?" (It's not a question I see being asked often, so it just makes sense to make it hypothetical).

I would say, without hesitation or deliberation. "Tom Waits." I would then probably glibly add a few minutes later, "Lemmy Kilimister," but he's affected me in exactly one way, and that's in a very toxic-flame/heart disease sort of way. Nothing to be elaborated on; Lemmy is pure rock godhood and nobody is ever going to be able to tell me different. Neither here nor there.

But my love of Waits is something else. It's...it's madness and magic. It's the feeling of staring at a bare bulb in a heavily carpeted room for 2 straight hours, quietly sipping Johnny Walker Red from a rock glass, waiting for the power to finally go out. The bulb fizzles, sputters and flickers. You decide to turn in before it does. Then you cry a tiny, tiny bit, before downing the glass and rolling up on the mattress on the floor with the one you love most, under two blankets.
And if I keep making those kinds of analogies, I'm going to be awake for a few more hours at least. I would want him to attend my wedding, but I would be afraid of myself stuck in the belief that he would upstage the event itself by being there. Not fair to my bride-to-be, for sure.

Tom Waits is the closest to everything I will probably ever have. Sometimes, I tear up at the idea of him going. I'm glad I'm alive to see him get this far.

My Favorite Waits PicturesCollapse )

Be good, Tom. I'll still be here next year.

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