Category Archives: Loves

Things we are loving right now.

Day 5 and 6


Hi gang, I know I’m slacking a little bit, but other adventures got in the way of posting to my challenge. ¬†Here’s the last two days combined (again).

I’m going to take a break from the Ron tale today. I’m finding myself trying to recreate a screenplay, and feel I’m not describing enough detail for the medium. Not to mention I’m falling into that present tense thing and it’s not moving the story to my liking. I’ll revisit the tale soon.

You know I gave up stewarding automobiles about eleven years ago? Well, I did. Shortly thereafter I got busted drunk on a moped, really putting nails in that particular coffin. So, I’m a lover of public transportation. Trains top my list, and you will find me walking an extra 6 blocks to take the light rail. The expense of taking the train depends on the day. Yes, indeed a jaunt to downtown from my present live sitch costs $2.25. However, one must take into consideration the unseen cost of having to bum cigarettes to other would be passengers as I wait for the train. I’ve stopped bumming now, as the average expense adds somewhere around an additional dollar to my trip. Now, some of you are like,”Max what are you doing still smoking at your age?” To this I must reference the importance of vice.

A peculiar thing happens when you refuse someone a smoke at the train platform. Here’s a generic rundown of the events:

Hey (brother, man, dude) can I (have, buy, bum) a cigarette?
Me: No, I’m not going to give you a cigarette.
Mooch: You fucking faggot, (insert generic insult based on my appearance)

Really, it’s like that. Bro to Fucking Faggot. Usually right after I turn the mooch down. Insert 0-60 analogy here. I ignore any further conversation. Mind you, I’m normally swirling various other thoughts in my head, and genuinely distracted by my own thoughts, but generally I’m barraged with fighting words to which I never respond. Watching the transformation of a human wanting that nic fix from casual to combatant I’ve begun to enjoy. In fact, I find the switch fascinating, and it has become a study. Of course, I don’t always deny, and in fact more often than not I’ll relent to giving a ciggie away. But the transformation has become so interesting that I’ve started to plan to arrive at the platform smoking.

Yesterday, at Union Station, I had a moment between the Boulder bus and my train. I lit up at the proscribed distance, and watched the liminal citizens transfer in between buses and trains. I heard a young man begin his appeal for one of my smokes behind me, and without turning I interrupted his appeal with the standard “No, I’m not going to give you a cigarette.” Keeping the standard response consistent is one of the controls within my study. This kid went livid, and quickly. I never saw his face, but I did catch a glimpse of his attractive and now embarrassed girlfriend. But he couldn’t stop yelling at me, even as he walked away. He was a marvel of entitlement. He even called my sunglasses faggoty. Mind you, the frames are pink, and I know a lot of queer folk who cannot pull them off as well as I do.

A few weeks ago, I was inhaling death at the local stop, and a teenager made an appeal for one of my cigarettes. I removed my earbuds to hear it. He said he couldn’t get his own because he was 17. I nodded in that annoying active listening style, said no, and put my earbuds back in. What was interesting about this was he kept looking to call me into a fight. He was mutely (to my ears) posturing and peacocking about ten feet from me. I easily had 20 pounds on this kid, and at least 4 inches in height, but you probably know I’m not in the business of beating children. The interesting thing about this instance was he had a friend who joined in throwing fighting words at me. I just barely noticed, as I was truly listening to music, and I ended the convo by looking away. When I looked back, these twerps were still barking something, though inaudible to me. I just raised my eyebrows and stared up at the mountains. They retreated to the other side of the platform.

So, that’s my somewhat cruel hobby. Waiting for the train I’ve loaned my cell phone to strangers, given away rolling papers, napkins, and exchanged friendly conversation, but definitely the amount of entertainment that refusing to bum cigarettes to strangers provides demands that I continue the practice.

It further interests me the smoker culture surrounding bumming smokes. As though there’s this brotherhood surrounding the addiction, and asking entitles one to a dose of smoky death. In all instances I refuse to give up a smoke, the party was clearly going to take the cigarette and stroll off in his own dopamine dose. In my mind that’s not the purpose of bumming a cigarette. Indeed, the use of the peace pipe, chanunpa, among the Lakota and relative tribes served the purpose of bringing all those who imbibed into a state of equals, flushed as participants would be with dopamine and feelings of goodwill. At this time two or more people can deconstruct ideas and incidents in a way people who don’t smoke may never get. Beyond the obvious shared addiction, sharing a smoke levels the classes. The drug part of it eases people into a state of comfort, the step away part always lends perspective, and when this is a shared experience the solipsistic is overcome.

Days 2 and 3 (unedited)

Okay. It’s day two. here we go.

The cordyceps fungus infects silkworms, and drives them mad. Ron wears his silk gloves with a little sense of irony. They are torn and overused, and he cannot wait to receive his replacement pair. The state of his gloves has forced him into hiding. He runs out of food the day before his replacements arrive.

They’re made in Hong Kong by a man, who, at Ron’s request, never directly touches the gloves. Every stitch in every seam has been pulled through with forceps. The glovemaker wears gloves of the same nature as he makes the gloves for Ron. The silk has never been handled by human hands

On the day the gloves arrive, Ron sits on his building’s stoop, hands under armpits. To the UPS man who delivers them, Ron appears homeless and insane.

“Open the package,” Ron says to the man in brown.
“We’re really not supposed to do that.”
“Open it, please.”

When the UPS man relents, keying the tape atop the box, Ron dives into the box removing the silk bag. He removes the gloves from the bag, and leaves the delivery man holding the box.

Three blocks walk from Ron’s apartment building a seedy bar welcomes Ron. Ginny’s Tavern has the kind of history that would otherwise keep Ron from frequenting it. Its convenience to Ron outweighs the possible side effects of drinking at a one hundred year old bar. He nods at Harry, adorned in his clich√© old bartender getup, complete with the sleeve garter.

“It’s been a minute, Ron.”
“Long enough to require special treatment, Harry.”

The wizened bartender takes the silk handkerchief that Ron produces from a disheveled coat’s pocket; Harry gingerly avoids any direct contact with the silk gloves on Ron’s hands. Hanky in hand, Harry retreats to the room behind the bar, and returns to the bar holding a bottle containing clear liquid that has been marked with an R. Harry places the bottle on yet another handkerchief on the bar. Ron removes his gloves and puts them in their bag. He produces a rocks glass from his jacket, places it next to the bottle.

Ron holds the bottle in his hand. He can just barely make out the spirit of the potato vodka. Not a hint of weirdness. Maybe an evaporated lover’s quarrel in the “nose” of it. A young man peeling potatoes. Spurned. Innocent.

“Thanks, Harry,” Ron intones as he pours,”This is the good stuff.”

Ron takes the whole pour down his gullet at once, closes his eyes to feel the heat of the stuff infuse his body. His left hand falls slow motion to his handkerchief booze picnic, placing the glass lightly atop the handkerchief.

As the warmth of the sauce takes hold of him, not even the gentle murmurings of the potato peeler can whisper to him. The dull quiet numbness overcomes Ron like a rash. It has been a couple of weeks since Ron emerged from his apartment, and nothing hurts so good as a trip to Ginny’s. The buzz gets Ron for a moment and his right hand touches the ancient hard wood bar. He has forgotten his condition.

Ron has experienced this feeling before. For someone not afflicted with Ron’s condition, it’s like jerking awake after falling down the stairs in a dream. Ginny’s Tavern, to Ron’s perception, appears to hold all the colors and fiigures of the building’s one hundred years, and its history is a cacophony of drink orders and confessions. Ron knows the history of thhe bar, both bby research and by his affliction. He knows his favorite barstool, and reflexively looks to catch a glimpse of
Janey Crystals, who frequented this bar seventy years before this moment, and he catches her figure like a wisp of smoke before he remembers himself, lifts his hand, and shakes the moment from his head as a dog might dry its self.

Day One

On deciding to challenge myself to 30 days of at least two pages of writing:

Working title: Transforming the Mundane

There was this moment when, by virtue (probably) of my wanting a drastic change in my life, I lost my house and job. I had about 200 bucks. I think that there was a sense of relief, as the question “how am I going to extricate myself from this situation?” was definitely at the forefront of my thoughts and had been for some time.

I ran into Nina last night, and I was honest about needing some work, and that I wasn’t sure what the next thing was. She advised that I stop thinking and start knowing the next thing is coming.

I’ve been kept alive by doing some landscaping and hanging art, but fall is here, and I’m definitely low on the totem pole at the art installation company. And I’m not great at the art thing just yet.

At the club last night, a young woman joined me sitting on a couch. I was pleasantly entertained, and wore a pleasant smile. So, appearing harmless at that moment, the lady engaged me in some banter. She had a pleasant face, and the fuller figure of a woman who probably had a desk job and a somewhat sedentary lifestyle.

“I’m on a first date,” she confided as though I were making a guest appearance in her dream, and giving some context to her forthrightness.
“Oh? Going well?”
“Yes, I think so.”
“Where is he?”
“In the bathroom.”

I felt as though she was prompting me to approve of the date, so I stayed sitting by her until her date returned from the bathroom. I deepened my smile, and gave a nod of assent. He had kind eyes, and showed genuine interest in my new friend. Task completed, I joined ‘Berto near the bar.

I wasn’t feeling being social last night. My hesitance partially motivated by needing a night off drinking. Yes, if you go to a bar, you end up having a drink. My friends were playing their monthly DJ night at DaDa Art Bar.

‘Berto and I biked to the venue. As usual, a route from our place to downtown was discussed. We discussed any direct route that avoided traffic while simultaneously being very direct to our destination. I returned home that night via the Cripple Creek trail, passing only one homeless person, and one other bicyclist who had no lights.

The last two years of my life rebirthed me. When faced with the death of my laptop, and the obvious fact that I had not been working enough, not charging enough, and probably drinking too much for 2 years. In fact, Asheville, North Carolina, other than housing my son, had not agreed with my evolution. That is, until the town ousted me into the arms of the open road. Johnny had gone trimming in California the year before, and despite his asthma, he was returniing again this year to give himself that infusion of cash. Needing a new computer as badly as someone like me, I said yes and began this journey. Goal: perhaps to develop a different kind of travel show, make some cash, and adventure through the country. I stopped in Nashville to visit Davey, jumped a plane and flew into Denver.

Once I arrived in Denver, I met with everyone from my life before Asheville. Lovers, patrons, friends, siblings.

Okay, I’ve just taken a break to read the “news” from the Apple iOS news app. Super disappointing. Celebrities in tristes or bikinis graced the supposed personalized news feed. You don’t know me very well, do you?