Alphabet Soup: Y is for Yeah…

This segment titled Alphabet Soup: The alphabet according to someone with very little shame and a lot of time on her hands was inspired by blogger Mandy Wallace and the Writers of Kern A to Z challenge. Enjoy!

Happy Friday, readers!

I know I’ve been a bit AWOL recently, I’m trying to get better! The road to recovery is long and arduous, but I’ll do it for you guys. Because I love you.

Y is for Yeah

This week I ended up at an impromptu hangout with the wife, a friend of ours, and a Frenchman who is here visiting. The wife and I were out book buying and figured we’d be sociable because, why not? When we get to the place, we find that the Frenchman is wasted, our friend is soberly feeling uncomfortable, AND they’ve got an almost catatonic Brit in tow. Having just written it down it sounds like the beginning of a terrible joke, which it was and wasn’t.

The atmosphere was relaxed as it can only be when you’re somewhere doing something you’ve done many times before, spending time with people who are already familiar to you. That is, until you came to the Brit, staring off into space. Saying absolutely nothing. At some point we all tried to make conversation with him, but it was too painful.

“So, how are you liking the island?”

“Yeah, fine.”

I nod, look around for inspiration.

“Is it your first time here?”

“Yeah…”

“And you’re here by yourself?”

“Yeah…”

“Wow, how was your flight?”

“Yeah…okay.”

I looked around. Eyes wide and pleading, hoping someone would rescue me. And rescue me they did, because thankfully my friends are only dicks sometimes. As the night wore on, he managed to scare off a girl my friend had gotten to talk to him. He told a lady she couldn’t bring her child into the bar. Which granted, you’re really not meant to have children in bars, but also you probably shouldn’t be telling people what to do when they’re hanging out with the bar’s owner. This was followed by him coming up to us and saying he couldn’t find his money and so we had to buy him more beer. Yeah….

By the time our friend and her Frenchman ditched us, leaving us stranded with a demanding and wildly plastered Brit, the wife and I were ready to call it quits. We were figuring out how to get out of the situation when he waved us over and introduced us to a couple he was talking to. It turns out, they were really, really cool people. Funny, smart, charming, we had a blast just chatting with them about everything and nothing. The Brit left at some point, leaving behind him a wake of “Who was that guy?” and “He was so odd”.

It was one of those chance encounters that leave you feeling energized and happy because you realize connecting with people doesn’t have to be that hard. All you need is a little luck, the willingness to try, and a wasted Brit to quicken the pace.

Photo Post: England

Look at that, hanging out on a Tuesday and it feels so good!

As promised here are a few pictures from my trip. I figured I’d already shown you quite a few pictures from Scotland, so I started the photographic journey with England.

The Calder Piece was really interesting. It wasn’t at all what I expected, but it was still excellent. Entrancing is the word I’d use to describe it. Here’s what the Tate Museum says about the performance I went to:

Earle Brown was a major force in contemporary music and the American avant-garde since the 1950s and the creator of open form, a style of musical construction greatly indebted to the works of Alexander Calder.

In 1963, Brown and Calder embarked on a musical collaboration, for which Calder made Chef d’orchestre, where four percussionists are ‘conducted’ by the mobile. Some 100 percussion instruments are employed in a performance where the movement of the sculpture is read by the percussionists, responding to the varying configuration of its elements.

As well as functioning as conductor, the musicians actually play the mobile, making each performance both visually and musically unique. It was not until 1966 that the work was finished and Calder Piece was first performed at the Théâtre de l’Atelier in Paris, early in 1967.

Calder Piece is one of kind and Earle Brown insisted that the music must never be independent of Chef d’orchestre. This major revival of a work not played for over 30 years is its UK premiere, performed by the percussion ensemble of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in collaboration with Gramophone Award-winning conductor Richard Bernas.

 

There you have it, readers! I realized I didn’t take as many pictures as I should’ve. For example, I have no pictures with Liverpool guy. What’s that about? Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this brief journey through (some of) my trip memories. Stay tuned because the week of posts continues!

Have a good one!

Alphabet Soup: K is for Kiss

This segment titled Alphabet Soup: The alphabet according to someone with very little shame and a lot of time on her hands was inspired by blogger Mandy Wallace and the Writers of Kern A to Z challenge. Enjoy!

Hello, readers! I had my share of weird, unexpected, frustrating, beautiful moments during my trip. This is one that stands out in my memory.

K is for Kiss

I met a guy in Liverpool. It was unexpectedly amazing.

We’d actually met online, months before my trip. Here was a guy who was cute and funny and who I had things in common with, but we barely talked. A few messages here and there. We made plans to meet up when I was in England, actually the only reason I stopped in Liverpool was to hang out with him. When the time came for me to actually head down, I was nervous because it felt like we hadn’t spoken enough for me to take a whole detour just to see him.

I got to Liverpool on a Thursday, we went out that same night. He was late, which gave me more than enough time to wonder if we’d have a good time, whether there would be chemistry, if he’d show at all. My landlady told me to make him pay for everything, whether it was a date or not. Was it a date? “Thanks landlady, now I don’t even know what to call the outing”.

He did show up. He looked nice, smelled better. The combination of his smile and his accent and his nearness was enough to give me a buzz before I started drinking. He’d made reservations to a great restaurant. He was sweet and attentive and leaving because he had to work the next day. The ride home had been occupied with funny conversation and an inner monologue of “To kiss or not to kiss, that is the question”. I decided not to kiss him. He had to go and we still had the rest of the weekend, was what I told myself.

Friday found us drinking at a Circus themed bar. He still smelled good. He was still funny and charming and smart. We were on the clock though, public transport ended early which meant an early (ish) night for us. It was a good night. I felt instant chemistry with this guy who was quick to smile and wasn’t afraid to laugh at himself and the world. This guy who, as I got on the bus told me “call me if anything happens with the bus, I’ll get you a taxi.” I thought it was sweet then, it still seems sweet now. He’d said he was feeling the onset of a cold. Jokes were made about kissing and illnesses. About how illnesses ruin plans of kissing. We laughed.

Saturday felt like the day. The lights were dimmed at the Circus bar, where we found ourselves yet again after a brief stint at the Tate Liverpool museum and a dinner of Fish and Chips. He was warm and sitting close to me. We were drinking cider and talking about pretty much everything. Sex and kinks and past relationships. The couple in the booth next to us spent the night listening in on our conversation, while trying hard to pretend they weren’t. He kept talking in spite the fact that people were listening in, which I liked.

He was dying. Soldiering on, trying not to sniffle, but dying. We hugged as I got on the bus. I remember my hand on his neck and a small feeling of surprise. Partly because hugging him felt like the most natural thing in the world, partly because stopping felt like a disappointment. Saturday was not the day.

I woke up unnaturally early on Sunday. My train was due to leave at 8am and he was coming to pick me up to take me to the station. He was still sick. We parked, he took out my suitcase. We hugged again. He was so close. I told him I still wanted to kiss him. He reminded me that I would get sick. “Yeah, but I still want to kiss you”. “Well, what’s stopping you?”

And my hand went to his neck. And I kissed him. And I remember being surprised by how soft he was, his beard, his lips, his hair. He tasted like candy and I wondered what it was. It ended and I thought, “worth it”. I gave him another quick hug and walked away without looking back because looking back would’ve meant staying just to kiss him a bit longer.

In the end I didn’t get sick. I left and I enjoyed the rest of my trip. But I kept thinking about that one quick kiss, like one of those moments whose full potential goes unexploited. It just rests in your memory, like a pulsing seed waiting for the next chance to bloom.

Have you ever felt that, readers? A moment that ends before it’s ready to? Tell me about it. And, as always, stay cool.

Alphabet Soup: I is for Intoxicated

This segment titled Alphabet Soup: The alphabet according to someone with very little shame and a lot of time on her hands was inspired by blogger Mandy Wallace and the Writers of Kern A to Z challenge. Enjoy!

Hello everybody!

I’m still relaxing in Port Logan, listening to the waves and missing my best friend. (My name is Flagrant Codependece, at your service) The weather has been forgiving, even if the cold hasn’t. All part of leaving the tropics as Winter approaches, I suppose.  Halloween is tomorrow and I’m fairly excited. My Halloween plans in Scotland fell through, but I still have hopes of things working out tomorrow. There is still talk of pumpkin carving and possibly a Star Wars marathon. We’ll see! I predict high levels of intoxication, either way.

I is for Intoxication

It’s no secret that I drink a lot. I’ve often said here I have a very strong relationship with alcohol, which is true. A good beer shared with people you enjoy can turn your whole day around. But my love affair with beer and alcohol goes beyond just wanting to get intoxicated. There’s a sweet spot when you’re drinking, at least for me, where your body feels good and you feel relaxed and for a little bit the whole world seems better than it did a few minutes ago.

Being there means anything can happen, some of my best adventures and memories have started out in that happy place. Like the time we all decided to take an impromptu road trip, just because we could. Like that time we were drinking at the beach one night and decided to jump into the water in our underwear, mostly because it was right there. Like that time I ran into high school friends and the sweet spot turned into drunkenness, but we had a hilarious time getting there. 

I know I’m romanticizing alcohol and intoxication. I know alcohol has terrible long term effects on your body and that when people get intoxicated they have a tendency to do astronomically stupid things. However, that’s true of so many things. This week I read somewhere that eating too much bacon and red meat can cause cancer. Too much sugar means Diabetes and blindness. Smoking means murdering your lungs. Too much of anything is bad for you, guys. We all do things that are bad for us, but make us happy. Drinking is that bad thing for me.

Honestly, there is nothing that makes me happier than getting a drink with friends. Having a beer with someone I’m getting to know. Sitting down for dinner with a glass of wine and having great conversation. Just like smoking, drinking can be a highly social experience. For me it’s meant meeting new people, feeling new things, and finding myself in the position to do things that weren’t possible hours before.

Plus, you know, it’s delicious.

Go out and have a drink tonight. Or two. Meet someone new, get in touch with old friends. It’ll (probably) be fine, I promise.

Until next time, readers!

Alphabet Soup: G is for Guest

Evening, readers!

This is my second post today. No it’s not Christmas, just craziness. I owed you a post from Wednesday, which was the one I posted earlier today. This one is our usual Alphabet Soup.

G is for guest so I asked the author of The Lemming Transcript, and my best friend, to write a guest post because I love her and so should you. For serial. If I were lost in a deserted island and could only bring one thing, it’d be her. As I’ve said before, one of the hardest things about this trip has been the fact that I couldn’t bring her with me. Instead, I’ve had her write up something for us and, a bit selfishly, for myself because I thoroughly enjoy reading her. I hope you do too.

G is for Guest

September 15: Of idle hands and playthings.

This is what happens when your best friend leaves; you lose the little sanity you have left.

It’s a reggae band. Reggae. I promised the bass player I would show up tomorrow. Decision-making skills aside, this has been an eventful night.

I don’t usually do this so blatantly, but here is a rundown:

Thursday, you know what that means, free film (and parking) in the Architecture department. Today they played Barbarella, now I can rate it and cross it off my Netflix queue, five stars. Jane Fonda was a babe. Today is different. I am going alone with no plans of drinking or partying afterwards, no sneaky hookups or kind-of-close buddies to divvy my time with. I told my mother I was coming home early, not to worry. And then I got there.

The last guy I dated is waiting in front of the door to the amphitheater, high. Confused, I say hello, and give him a kiss on the cheek as is custom. He tries to hug me as I peel away, and now we’re caught in this uncomfortable half-hug/half-what-the-fuck-is-this embrace. Just no.

Movie plays. While it develops, he asks me very loudly what the song on the soundtrack is every time a new song comes on. I don’t know any of them. He gets comfortable and decides to lean on my shoulder while he snoozes. On my shoulder. Mine. I don’t cuddle. What even is life?

Movie ends. We leave, he’s hungry and people have texted me to stay and drink. Fine, I eat with him and hang out for a little bit. Things have calmed down, now we talk about films and TV shows and music, and I feel oddly comfortable, almost like I used to before we smoked apples together.

Basket shows up, a buddy/friend/loverperson. He walks me to my car to leave my jacket, we change bars on the way back. We run into Val, we talk until she’s too high to talk anymore. She gives me an in at her volunteer job and she leaves. Basket gets me beer.

Denise tells me she is on her way to Rio, to wait for her. I do and she shows and she gets me a beer, and we split from Basket and we go to a reggae show in Taller. We walk in with beers from another spot. There are roughly six people in the crowd, none of them dancing. We’re dangerously close to a very attractive bearded guy with glasses, my kind, older with flecks of gray coming in at the temples. Denise goes to the bathroom and Drunk Guy stumbles his way to my personal space. I don’t want a drunk-guy-beer, so I smiled and said thank you and moved. He proceeded to kick me out of the place I was standing so he could talk to Hot Bearded Guy. Hot Bearded Guy asked me where I got my glasses; we talked about prescriptions for a good 20 minutes. I didn’t realize he was hitting on me. He left when I turned around.

Denise and I moved bars back to El Bori. The reggae band shows up, they tell us they’re playing in my hometown tomorrow. I’m more excited at the sound of my city’s name coming out of this gorgeous but dreadlocked creature than I am of the gig itself. Reggae all sounds the same to me, so I say yeah, and then I hear the conversation again in my head. I agreed to show up at their show, and knowing myself, I will show up. Shit.

Two guys from California and I talk about cellos. One guy not from California thanks Marx, for never doing hard drugs. I ask him why Marx and he says because he’s no god.

On the way to the car, two gay guys ask me when the train starts back up again, it’s 5am. I ask them which train station they’re getting off in, they say Sagrado. I offer to drop them off there. I walk back to my car with two strangers, and run over an entire sidewalk because they have closed the parking I am in. I drop them off, and then drive home. My mother has waited up.

This is what happens when your best friend leaves.

There’s something about aging that makes departures seemingly definite. Even if there are all too severe return dates and you’ve memorized them, it’s this subconscious recognition that the arrival will prove you different. There’s dust on their shoulder, their shirt is no longer crisp the way you remember it. Has your nose always been crooked? It’s been four years of this.

What do you do when all that you lurve jumps on a plane in the opposite direction? I never knew such flagrant codependence. Conversations seem pointless if I have nobody to make a face to to express my true feelings about it. Why, no, I do not think multiple choice exams with both an option for all above are correct and another for none are correct should be legal.

Why, yes, you make a good case out of your incompetence.

What do you do? There is no disconnect, this is the 21st century and we are millennials, what do you do when there’s only absence? When it’s not just her frame that is missing within all this, when it’s a balance that is being messed with? In the face of it all, it can only do to occupy your fingers with trivialities. The act of creation isn’t much without the cycle of sharing, but it can sometimes benefit from a lack of distraction. Destitute manufacture patching up the unraveling fabric of your time, no longer engaged in the tragic retellings of our past travels in a desperate attempt to relive them together. It would’ve been so much better with you there. My hands take to the needle to weave new stories of ephemeral love and everlasting loss, new levels of understanding abound, another quilt to cover ourselves up with in the cold when you come back. We’ll drink toasted marshmallow hot chocolates. The effervescence of our early 20’s quickly fizzling away, little truth bubbles sticking to the side of the glass when it doesn’t feel like you’ve gone yet, but you know better. The unspoken promises we’ve made with the other every time we felt found shaking in their boots with anticipation.

Will you be the same then? Will I?

No, this is what happens when your best friend leaves.

Everything keeps going the way it would, some say the way it should. Nothing stops. Things feel slightly different, like moving everything in your room two inches to the right, it all looks identical, but you will miss every time you drop your keys on your nightstand.

And, this is what you do. You write, affix lips to wound and hope you’re strong enough to gouge the other dry. You write new endings, different ones, to the things you’ve always done in the same way, you empty yourself out on stacks of paper to anchor down the other side, the one she used to fill, and you hope you both still read the same way, left to right, when you’re back.

This is how you mind the gap, making bridges out of worries of the breaks, crossing them to seal the spaces in between. You go to reggae shows to drown your sorrows, and you ignore the fact that maybe the reason you’re crying is not your impending loneliness, it’s the fact that all these people have dreadlocks, it smells like coconut oil in here, and I swear this band has been playing the same song for hours.

No, this is what you do, this is how you mind the gap: you tell her to have a nice trip and you mean it.

This is a journal, to help me through.

Rangent: I’ve Had the (Most Awkward) Time of My Life

A new week has begun, ending what was arguably one of the most awkward weekends in my life. Mind you, it wasn’t that I was being awkward, rather that I ended up in situation after situation that was. Lemme tell you.

On Saturday, my best friend and I were meant to be having a packing party at her place so she can get everything together for her upcoming trip. We’re both traveling for long periods, outfit planning is essential. It always is, but you know what I mean. Instead we ended up hanging out with a trio of guys whose idea of drinking together was watching a movie. In the dark. In Silence. With a beer in hand. Heap on that the internal issues that were happening in the group and you get a fairly awkward situation.

On Sunday, even though we stalled and procrastinated, we went to an ex-coworker’s baby shower. Attending baby showers is baffling to me, until I realize I’m 23 years old and that’s what people are doing at my age. Having babies, buying cars, settling down. And I’m over here just hoping no one asks me to hold a baby or talks about how of course I’ll have one some day.

No, I won’t, you hear me!? No. I. Won’t.

Back to the baby shower though, it was as cute and awkward as you’d expect it to be when you’re the expecting mom’s only two female friends at the party. Made worse by the fact that, of course, the brodude leading the games decided that we were the ones who JUST HAD to play. This lead to about five minutes of him begging and telling us he wasn’t going to beg. When that didn’t work, he sulked and expressed it by making unnecessary comments all night long. There was a long period of truly terrible jokes. I’m sparing you the details because I have no desire to relive it.

Thankfully, mom and dad were really nice and happy for us to be there. So, the weird was mitigated by nice, friendly people. Pregnant people, but that shouldn’t be held against them.

These are the times when it pays to have a stable, solid relationship with your best friend. That way the crazy and, at times uncomfortable, events around you become funny and bearable. And that’s true of a lot of things in life, having good friends who get your humor and the faces you make and that moment when you’re over everything. It means, at the very least, that someone will laugh at your jokes, respond in kind with a face of their own, and save you from murdering a few dozen people.

At the end of the day, that relationship is the one that keeps you happy and sane. It’s not about being the same people, but rather about having the same alcohol minded priorities and lack of shame.

So, buy your friends a beer. Get them some candy. Buy them a puppy. And say, “Hey! You’re a buttface, but you’re my buttface.” It’s something everyone needs to hear once in a while.

Happy Monday, readers. Until next time, here’s a weird video.