30 Signs You May Be In Your 30s

 

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Hey Gang!

My least favorite addiction happens to be the clickbait lists found scattered across the Internet (I’m looking at you Buzzfeed…). I can’t help but read them.

“Article”: 15 things that only humans know.

Me: Hmm, I’m human. I bet I can relate to these!

That’s really what it is all about. They give out broad generalities to make you say, “Hey, that’s me!” Don’t get me wrong, I’m not hating on the type of entertainment they’re presenting. If anything, I’m congratulating them with a bit of my own pastiche. What I am saying is I’m not sure if my celebrity husband is Chris Pratt. I always thought of myself as a Ryan Gosling kind of guy but if a Buzzfeed test says I’m going to marry Chris Pratt, I guess I better go look at rings this weekend (I hear he is single! *squeal*).

I thought it would be fun to do something not broad at all. I want to be incredibly specific and use personal experience (my cells have decayed for about 31 years now).

Here is a list of 30 signs you may be in your 30s.

  • You hear any song by UB40 and think, “Hey, that’s pretty good!”
  • You think of dating as being an interviewer. You’ve moved past the phase where you want to hold them and watch the stars float overhead in the moonlit night. You’re now asking them direct and hard questions. You like long walks in the rain? Cool. How is your 401k? Do you have health insurance? What’s your student debt like?
  • You look into the mirror and notice a slightly receding hairline. You pull some hair down to cover it and tell yourself, Man, this bathroom lighting is awful. Better switch to LED bulbs.
  • You look at your growing amount of gray hair and believe you are “pulling it off” but really you look like the creeper who lives in the house down the street that everyone avoids on their morning power walks.
  • 10 p.m. is REALLY pushing your bed time.
  • You find it harder and harder to meet friends for drinks because the usual response is, “I wish I could but the kids really want to go to skyzone tonight. Have a drink for me!”
  • You notice your body is changing but not in that look-at-me-ma-I’m-a-growing-teen kind of way. It’s more so pops and cracks that make you think, That didn’t sound good at all…
  • You get depressed because your favorite restaurant started putting a calorie count next to their menu items.
  • If you have kids, you realize why your parents always said, “I hope you have one just like you.” Because you did and you kind of hate your younger self a.k.a. your current child/part-time hellspawn.
  • You begin “drunk-proofing” yourself. Okay, keys are in my right pocket, phone is in my left pocket with 911 speed dialed at position 1, I.D. and 20 dollars are in my shirt pocket, and I drank 16oz of Pepto-Bismol. Tonight is going to be awesome!
  • Fast forward to the day after you “only had a couple drinks.” You realize you had 4 beers and 2 shots. Someone may have bought a round but you aren’t sure. You also realize that obviously Daenerys Targaryen said “dracarys” and your brain is on fire from a massive hangover. You may have lost your soul from vomiting as well.
  • You get mad at your friend when you ask them what they are doing and they say, “Me and Beth are going to Tanner’s Orchard. Pretty stoked!” What makes this worse is that you are 30% mad because you wanted to hang with the person and have a friend brunch, but you are 70% angry because you weren’t invited and you fucking LOVE orchards (I mean fresh apples? Come on…).
  • You love brunch. Like, a lot. So much so that you may actually go by yourself even though you know they will put you over by the bathrooms at the tiny table or the table on the patio closest to the curb where inevitably someone is smoking and you think, What is this? A Jim Jarmush movie? Who still smokes?
  • You eat one, just one, piece of pizza and you gain 30 pounds. This is directly averse to when you were in your 20s and could eat 4 slices of pizza, 6 hot wings, and 8 beers. You would then be hungry roughly 3 hours later. Never. Gained. A. Pound.
  • You get really into loose-leaf tea and craft beers for some reason. Like, really into them.
  • You realize dating on apps is probably the worst thing on earth but you still have no idea how to hit on someone in public so you walk up to them and whisper, “Swipe right” lightly into their ear.
  • You hear Sade’s “Smooth Operator” and your shoulders gently sway left and right uncontrollably.
  • You begin statements by saying “when I was your age…” without any semblance of irony.
  • People between 18 and 24 look like toddlers playing dress up.
  • You start looking for “practical” cars. They most likely have heated seats, no spoiler, and “get great gas mileage.” Most times people will call it a van but you have to reiterate it is a mid-size SUV.
  • Kombucha becomes part of your diet. You hate it but you hear it’s “so good for you.”
  • Your doctor says, “That’s just part of getting older” way too much for your liking.
  • You’re super worried about when you should start getting a colonoscopy. (Including right now after reading this.)
  • You’re perpetually “hangry” due to only eating things that are supposedly good for you even though they taste like Styrofoam had a love child with cardboard.
  • You read non-fiction and actually enjoy it. Like, you seek it out. You sit down (probably with a glass of that oolong tea you brewed at home with your new tea set from China) and you open the book. You probably read the forward as well.
  • You refuse to date someone who has never heard of All That, Are You Afraid Of The Dark, or Bill and Ted’s Awesome Adventure.
  • Speaking of dating, you have come to the conclusion that people in their 30s who are still single are insane. You then have an existential crisis because YOU’RE in your 30s and still single so you must be crazy and it hurts your soul.
  • You don’t feel “immortal” like you did in your early 20s. This means you probably avoid super dangerous things like walking over sewer grates, getting too much sun (Luckily you wear enough sunscreen you look like the creeper from the Little Baby’s Ice Cream commercials), and you have your own grave plot picked out.
  • You track your steps.
  • You’re perfectly okay with not being okay all the time.
  • You love being in your 30s because you have a decent job and enough life experience to know what you want out of life and who you want in your life because you are awesome and so is your aforementioned life.

 

Until next week, friends!

 

-Chris

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The RV Stalks At Noon

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Hey Gang!

 

I admit that I have an overactive imagination. I can’t help it. I have been creating these overt, elaborate plots of nothingness for no reason. For example, I once went for a walk on a trail in the back woods with some friends. Along the way, we found barrettes, a small pillow, and a blanket. As a precursor to my revelation, this is adjacent to a campground and fishing; well-travelled it is, as Yoda would say (did you read that in his voice? J). What then unraveled in my mind was that there was a serial killer on the loose in the woods, killing people while they sleep and burying them along the trail…and we were next! Completely true story! Not the murders, the imagination.

Another instance is that, on a date,   we sat and made up stories of all the people around us. We sat next to kings and queens, spies, and everything under the sun. It was a fun night and rare that you meet someone who shares that imagination with you. I understand that my imagination is ridiculous but it is fun and makes the mundane seem like a festival. However, it does get to me. I get uber-paranoid because I let my imagination run. For instance, I was driving through town and the car behind me mirrored every turn that I made. It was unnerving because I thought of every Creepypasta and episode of Alfred Hitchcock that was even remotely similar and it made me freak out. I started going faster, and they matched my speed, I slowed down thinking they would go around but nope, they stayed behind me. I finally whipped into my parking lot to see them speed past and into the distant night. I let out a long exhale and contemplated my sanity.

Fast forward to now. I come to work and every day there is an RV camped out in our lot. We share a rather large parking lot with a couple other corporate buildings. This isn’t your average RV; this is the watch-the-back-windows-for-someone-mouthing-“help” type of RV. It has not moved in 2 months and I have to say, it is a bit creepy but it is bringing out my inner sleuth. I have seen a balding man come out of it once and walk up to the building. The next time I saw him place something on the back bumper and then hop in a little S10 with filing cabinets in it and drive away. Below are the theories I have come up with:

  1. He works there and is having an unfortunate circumstance where he cannot afford a house
  2. He may be in the movement of not planting roots.
  3. He is a murderer that is on the move and needs to be mobile to finish his awful deeds
  4. He is using the RV as a kidnap shack in the open because he secretly wants to get caught
  5. It broke down after he was traveling the world, making it by ship from Russia and is too attached to just leave it
  6. He is a member of a secret society that only live in RVs used in ‘80s horror movies
  7. He is Illuminati….
  8. He may or may not be a vampire, which means I am living the real version of Fright Night
  9. He is a meth dealer who used to be a chemistry teacher and now has cancer but this is his way of paying for the bills and not leaving his family in debt (followed closely by his sidekick, Jessie).
  10. I need to get a life.

It’s definitely one of these!

-Chris

Campfire Tales: Mr. Raccoon Has His Day

Hey Gang!

I decided to go with some friends to this beautiful campground close by last year. We drove the 30 minutes or so to the lake where our campsite was. The trek to the location was somewhat far in, about a quarter of a mile. This made it quite difficult to lug all of the equipment to the campsite. I am very much a minimalist. I enjoy having a tent, a sleeping bag, matches, a hatchet, and gumption. All of which failed me, but I will get there later.

My friend brings a multi-tool furniture contraption that is a sink, a stove, a wrack for dishes, and a waste disposal. This, as you can imagine, weighed a ton. It took us around 30 minutes to get everything set up. I put my tent together in no time, situating it near the clearing facing the water. It was beautiful and blue, shimmering with the setting sun. I wanted to watch it each morning as the yellow rays crept over the gentle ebb and flow of the water’s motion.

Chad puts his tent up rather quickly. It is a one-man tent. He has all the bells and whistles: sleeping bag, inflatable mattress, in-tent warmer, three fleece blankets, and three pillows.

“Nice hotel,” I scoffed.

I am man! I went to the woods to chop wood and fish. To scour the land and rough it. The thought of having “amenities” was deplorable. Plus, why the heck would someone need three blankets when it is 80 degrees out?

Juan was unfortunate enough to not have a tent. Chad gave Juan his spare tent, which turned out to look more like a coffin. It was only suitable for lying down. Seven feet long by 2 feet wide by 2 feet high. Perfect for sleeping or practicing being dead, your decision. He put his up with some help and we decided to wander. The day was filled with amazingly uneventfulness. The wood gathered was from a bin near the front for 10 dollars a cord. Most of the time was passed by sitting in silence as the trees swayed and the sounds of nature surrounded us. Nature is beautiful and I love being in it, however, being in a hot forest while bored is not conducive. I walked down some trails, which led to other people’s campsite. We saw each other and the immediate response was, “What the hell are you doing in my woods?” I have no idea why but it feels instinctual to stake claim in wooded areas. “This is my area, that is yours. Keep it that way!”

I eventually find some downed trees and take a stick. You guessed it! Carved wood. I tried to make a spear for fishing. It just sounded right. In the woods, I could only imagine a bigfoot coming out and killing me. Irrational, I know. I admit, I have a flair for looking into paranormal stuff and cryptozoology. Urban legends, folklore, and cyberlore are my favorites as well! (Maybe I should post a few of my favorites…) So, I became obsessed with the fear of possibly seeing a mythical beast. I mean there have been sightings in the area…in the 70s. On top of that, Chad would give little quips about “creepers.” Those people who surprise you or you catch watching you. Basically, a boogeyman in real life. I already have an overactive imagination and had just started reading stuff about the dark net. Not conducive to being in a tent alone.

Night comes and I have freaked myself out. We look up at the stars and they are amazing. Massive out in the woods. I enjoy it but I hear those sounds of the night. Wood creaking and people at campsites in the distance. Guitar carries across the water where a lantern glows. A sound cracks from behind us and we walk over to investigate. Nothing. We go back to the table and talk about nothingness. Another pop followed by thrashing of paper. We shine a light and see a raccoon as big as a medium-sized dog shredding through Juan’s tortilla chips bag. Its eyes glistened a greenish white.

“Hey! Get the hell outta there!” Chad screamed into the night and the little booger ran away. We laughed about it for a while and made sure to secure our food before heading to sleep.

(To be concluded…)

A lot like gravity.

Force

Hey Gang!

I recently had the privilege of being the best man for my closest friend of nearly 15 years. I wanted to share the speech I wrote. I wrote it because it rang true about he and his wife from my point of view. When I was done with it, I wanted to share it with my gang because I think it is really about what we all want at the end of our story. What follows is the original words I used, with errors, I am sure. I hope you enjoy.

*****

Ask any of my friends and they will tell you that I love storytelling in any form. I love reading them in books and telling some of my own. However, my favorite story isn’t my story but I will tell it anyway.

I don’t want to take up all of your time because, ya know, open bar but it is a story about a boy and a girl.

The boy was a bit of a troublemaker some 15 years ago when I first met him. We had our own adventures for a long time. We grew up together.

Eventually, the boy went to college here at ISU. We would talk every once in a while and he told me about these amazing characters who sit around me at this table and in this room now.

However, he would frequently tell me about this girl. He always talked about how funny she was and how she was like his best friend. I remember the first time I talked to the girl, it was over the phone while they were at Goodwill and found a picture that be known as T-bear for years. I knew then that this girl meant a lot to my friend.

Years pass and their friendship grew. Like any good story there were the ups and downs, the will they or won’t they get together moments.

Spoiler alert: they did.

They loved each other but then they fell in love. They were in love across town, they we in love from city to city, and their love spanned hundreds of miles to Georgia.

Like any good story, the boy too a leap by writing a few words on an egg.*

Now, we are here and the boy and girl are together as man and wife.

This isn’t the end of my favorite story however, it is just the end of that first book in a series of books.

Like any good story, there is a moral her. And I believe it is this:

There is a pretty famous book that says “love is patient, love is kind” but I think there is something more here. Robert Frost said he took the road less travelled and it made all the difference.

These two unintentionally took all of the right turns, out of billions of turns, to get to one another.

You can call that fate, or serendipity, or kismet. But I like to think there was something more there. A force that made them naturally drawn together. That had to be in each others’ space, in each others’ orbit.

These two people are together and bound with love. I think the moral of the story is that love is a lot like gravity. It cannot be denied. When it happens, you can’t fight it, you just have to fall.

So please, raise your glass with me as I make a toast. To gravity, to love, and to my two favorite characters.

Cheers!

*****

I hope you enjoyed. I got a lot of thank you afterward. Many told me that they cried during it, which was not my intention. I wanted to get across the idea of love being something that is hard to define, merely experienced.

I hope you have experienced gravity such as this as well.

-Chris

*Author’s Note: The words on the egg is a reference to how he proposed. It was on, or near, their first Easter living together. They were coloring eggs and he showed her the one he was working on that read: “Marry Me?” I know, it sounds too good to be true but that is how it went down. As I said, my favorite story.

Say Anything…

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Hey Gang,

It has been an insanely long amount of time since I posted. A lot has happened in my personal life and professional. I graduated, you may now officially call me Master Chris, and I got a job. Here is the thing that I have learned in a relatively short amount of time.

Lesson: You are youer than you.

You probably recognize this from a quote by Dr. Suess. I know most people wouldn’t quote Dr. Suess in a fashion such as this, but I find that it is true. There is a point when you have to reevaluate the steps you have taken in life, the baby ones and the strides. This can be as simple as what you ate for breakfast (Was that too high in calories?…Great, straight to my butt!) or it can come from a deeper place (Is this the ‘forever’ person?….Am I fit to be a parent?). Either way, there is something that we all have to do when we come to crossroads such as these. I did this as well.

I am working at a relatively easy job, with decent pay. It is actually incredibly relaxed as it is a non-traditional role. However, I must admit that something is missing. One of my favorite musicians died not too long ago. BB King had an amazing record called “The Thrill is Gone”; this is how I feel about this new job at this new point in my life.

I ask myself, “If it is all so new, why does it feel so old.”

I am sure you have experienced this too, dear reader. Maybe even as you are working and reading this. Whatever activity you did today, there may be that feeling of deja vu. This feeling of being lost in the woods and suddenly you see a tree but it gives no solace as you have seen that tree multiple times but you are still lost. You realize you have just been going in circles. Maybe this melancholy harkens to you now or some other time.

It is funny to think about it. In this new role, I watch the person who does my same job work fervently as they get things done, a rigorous pace that is on track to cause hypertension, anxiety, and even death. I try to speak of life and things that follow but they talk about work. To everyone, they speak of work. I know that work is their life but it is a fairly simple role. It is only made difficult because you seek a challenge where none can be had.

I realized not too long ago that I need stimulation on a deeper level. It is much like dating in that way for me. You do a job and you find out it isn’t the right fit for you so you have to have an awkward break-up with them. (“I’m happy working this organization but I feel like we have grown apart.”, “I’m sorry but there’s some employer else…”, “They’re not better than you, just different…they have dental.”)

I have chosen the next step. To get my PhD. It just makes sense for me. I loved teaching, as it was the only thing that made sense to me. It is a far cry from the professional role I am in now that has some esteem to it. I realize now that money is meaningless. Fact: Joy can only increase, due to income, until one reaches $75,000 annual salary. After that, it levels off. I realize that money is meaningless to me. You can’t buy the feeling you get when you see a student finally understand a concept. Work dozens of hours and get those worksheets done, but you have missed the silent beauty of the world. You missed some incredible even in a forrest. You missed watching the sun rise and set on a day that will never return. The inescapable cycle we experience regarding work is the hardest pill for me to swallow.

Say “mirror,mirror on the wall, how can I be happiest and end this living life withdrawal?” I think once you hold that mirror up to yourself and you see the person you are, you are able to say, “This is the person I am trying to be” or “This is the person I hoped I wouldn’t be”. The latter is mine. However, remember that the person in the mirror is tentative, fleeting. Tomorrow is a new day but you are youer than you and that is truer than true.

Being you should be a gift. You are all beautiful. Be organic and be truthful. If something isn’t working, make sure you look in the mirror, as I always do, and be honest with yourself. The person in the mirror waits for directions, it waits to be what you feel you want to be. All you have to do is speak the words and put it to task. A job, a love, a longing, an addiction, anything. Just say it. Say something. Silence kills the thing we want to become, the reflection in the mirror stale if you neglect the nectar of life, which is the true you.

You have to say something to that reflected you.

Say anything…

Campfire Tales Part 2: Creepy-Crawlies and The Scream That Ended The Trip

This was the first time I had ever camped, except in my ninja turtle tent in my bedroom floor as a tot. I feel like that doesn’t count.

I know one thing, the dark is pretty terrifying. Let me clarify, what is in the dark, or the possibility thereof, is terrifying. I use this preface to go on about when our noses started to run. We had no toilet paper, tissues, or paper towels. However, in the darkened exterior of the camp, about 50 yards away, was the public restroom. Ben essentially made fun of me when I proposed we both go look for toilet paper. It didn’t bother me. At least this way, when the three-eyed beast came to eat me, I wouldn’t be alone in its stomach!

I carried my gas lantern as Ben led the way to the outhouse. It was impossibly dark only three feet away from the lantern. This made my mind go to places I didn’t know possible, which is kind of impressive for me, no?

We get to the bathroom and he opens the door. I peek around inside, slowly lifting the lantern up to illuminate the small, dark space, and notice cockroaches all over the bathroom. Ceiling, floor, and walls were covered by long, dark insects. I was blown away from disgust.

“Got it,” Ben says as he takes a roll from the bathroom.

He passes in front of me. Now, the entire time he was in there, all I saw was the left side of his body. As he passes, I see the right side of him…which is now home to about four massive cockroaches. I try to emote but it comes out in stumbles.

“Er.. You..On your back…Cockroach! Dude! Dude!”

Now, there are two versions on what happened next. Ben’s recounting and then the real story.

Ben said it freaked him out that I was yelling. That’s why he jumped.

What really happened:

He had a look of shear horror as he ran into the darkness swatting cockroaches off his back. I was dying laughing at this point. Grossed out and laughing.

He skulks as he is visibly embarrassed. We go back to the fire and blow our running, cold noses as the fire dies out. It is then the cold sets in but above us are stars; billions of stars unlike anything I had ever seen. We stood there looking upwards in the cold for quite a while.

Ben then decided he needed to go back to the truck for something. I thought, “Oh god…I have to be by myself in the dark with a broken lantern (lantern broke, I guess a breeze blew by and knocked it over. I blame karma).”

He went off and I became hyper-aware of my surroundings. My ears perked up and I could hear every insect landing on a leaf from 10 meters away. It was terrifying for no real reason. I felt like I was being watched the entire evening and now, by myself, it was amplified. He finally skulked back but the feeling never left me. We stood there growing colder but still in awe of the heavens above us for a while longer.

That was when we heard the lack of frogs croaking. It was silent. I remarked something to him for a moment, I can’t recall right now, and that is when we heard this blood-curdling scream coming from where we fished not but a few hours ago. We looked at each other in shock. The scream continued and moved up towards us as if it was coming up the hill. We were immobile. It then sounded like it went through the woods, which Ben’s back was to, and then flew over head and away. Its scream drowned out as it flew into the distance.

“So, go to sleep?” I said.

“Umm, yeah,” he quickly retorted.

We dove into the tent and set up the partition between us. We joked about the sound for a bit, calling it a witch, and then went to sleep. The next day, the boredom and monsters finally got to us. We decided to fish one last time in the main river and head home.

I guess that’s how most people camp, right? Fear and boredom?

Stay tuned for my next campfire tale: Mr. Raccoon has his day!

-Chris

Campfire Tales Part 1: Chris, Ben and the Infinite Boredom

Hey Gang!

So, it is getting that time of year where being outdoors becomes a life-goal. I have decided to tell a few stories of literally the only times I have been camping. It is funny, my best friend Ben and I have this saying: We can never be normal. It does not matter how boring the activity we do is, we never have a genuine normal experience. There was one time where we hung out, went to best buy, scoped out chicks with our 17-year-old eyes at the mall, grabbed lunch, and started our way home. Nothing abnormal happened. It was a beautiful sunny day with the windows rolled down and the breeze coming in through the small s10’s windows. Once again, it was completely normal, until a huge yellow jacket flew into the cab at about 55 miles per hour. We swerved and screamed as it landed on us and around us. After what seemed like an hour, the bug flew away and we breathed a sigh of relief, laughed, and yelled “Why?!”

—————————————————————————————————————————————-

These are some more (s’more, get it?!) of our stories that should have been a relaxing or uneventful tale, but took a sharp right. I think it makes for a better story anyway.

We found this great little place off a major lake a few years back. It was great and we wanted to spend the entire weekend camping in my massive tent that is bigger than my dorm room in undergrad. We get there and it is probably a hike of about an eighth of a mile in to where we camp. The walk way is beautiful and green. The path laid flat by lawnmowers. It had a natural elegance to it that I couldn’t put my finger on.

We put the tent up and went for a short hike along a path. We wound around and found a small two-person boat someone had repurposed as a bridge. The earth showed signs of recent flooding. The trees bent over the river in towering ways. It was quite beautiful. Until we got lost. I am not sure how it happened. Maybe it was the boat that threw us off or maybe our imaginations that ran wild when we saw cigarette butts and old, empty beer cans. Whatever it was, we got lost. I guess “lost” is a harsh word. We could see houses about a mile away and we could hear traffic but we could not find a way out of the wooded area or where our campground was. We felt crazy and slightly embarrassed.

“What if this is how we die?” I remember joking but not.

We found our way out as the sun began to set. We went fishing at a little pond about 100 feet downhill from where our tent was. We caught small sunfish most of the day and finally gave up on catching the big ones. We walked back to our tent as the sun set. I don’t really remember what we ate for dinner or anything like that. I do remember one thing….

We were so bored. I mean the bored that sent you into crazy fits. I remember at one point we were gathered around the fire as the pink sky faded into night. It was quiet except for the buzzing of insects and the croaking of frogs. Orange and black alternated around the foliage near the fire. I remember looking up at Ben, as he carved something out of a large branch, and thinking about how much he looks primal. It was all so very primal. I too was carving wood; a wooden shiv because what do you do with empty time.

We grunted and laughed every once in a while. We eventually found out that we each had been creating shivs; his more brilliantly crafted than mine, I admit.

END OF PART 1

A Brief History of Time

Hey Gang!

I feel like it has been some time since I posted. I truly missed writing. My mentor, or former mentor, once told me something I live by.

“Chris, what did you write today?,” he asked.

“Nothing today. I have been crazy busy (excuse…excuse…excuse…),” I said, rambling on.

“You know, that means you are not a writer. At least not today. You must write every day to consider yourself a writer. Tomorrow, be a writer,” he said.

For the first time in quite a while, I am a writer.

I had to stop writing as my schooling was completely consuming my life. I would try to write but it was from darker places. When you have something that is all business, it becomes oppressive. This looming creature that contains you. My school work has consumed me as well as my thesis and teaching, but they were gratifying. I defended my thesis, which makes me the first person in the history of my university to graduate using documentary as thesis. This fact has yet to set in and people praise me but I still have the creature by my side. The oppressive feeling still looms.

I have never been one for office environments and such, so my internship is really my nightmare. The fluorescent lights, artificial and washing. They penetrate everything with their sterile white glow. The dry wall confines seem to close in and claustrophobia becomes my new home.

There the creature looms.

Fast forward months as I complete my defense with its ups and downs. I have a new outlook on everything.

Time is relative.

It seems so long of a time. One hundred hours-worth of time was devoted to editing, shooting, and writing my documentary. It seemed to go so slow, yet so fast at the same time. It was an amazing and nightmarish experience. However, it was an experience.

Time is relative.

The larger the mass of a body, the higher the gravitational pull. The higher the gravity of a body indicates a slowing of time. Time becomes relative to the gravity of each body.

The gravity here is the being, the creature. It slows time and creates a repetitive nature. Every day is exactly the same. It used to be at least. I am now incredibly happy with how things are going. I search for new jobs and the future is uncertain but I feel as if life is just about to begin. Those trials and tribulations are wanted. The vast emptiness of my internship made time relative to the vacuum of nothingness. Time simply stood still. My brain atrophied from excel spreadsheets and closed mindedness.

I regret nothing, however. Isn’t this this story we tell? The bridge to the chorus? The semi-colon of the sentence? The breath between speech? The blink between each sight the eye takes in?

Isn’t this the end of a beginning?

Time is relative to the task but it is fleeting. Time slows but never stops.

Time is relative and I am present.

I am present and look forward but it is prudent now to reflect on this brief history of time.

-Chris

The Inoculation

HEY GANG!

I have been absent recently, for which I apologize. It has been strange, this infection. Maybe a series of them. Not in the typical sense, but in the metaphorical. For the past few months I have been incognito because I have been working on my thesis. The huddles to jump over, just in paperwork, is staggering and daunting. I have been locked up for so long and bogged down with the pressure that I forgot some things about life. About living it and enjoying it. About how to do it.

I was in this tumbling vortex of nothingness. Absent of light. Merely tasks. I truly enjoy graduate school, but after the past few months, I feel suffocated by it. It changed me. Molded me. I didn’t know peace until I was beginning to write this (kudos if you get the Dark Knight Rises reference).

Sometimes, we get infected by something. It attaches to cells and lives in our blood as it propagates.

I was down for a long time. It was strange. My house was in disarray, literally and figuratively. Worst of all I lost the will to write. I consider myself a writer but what happens when a writer does not write?

They cease to be a writer.

Look yourself up in the dictionary. Define yourself and delete it. You are no longer what you were; you are the absence of what you were.

So, call me Absence.

Absence continued to slug its way through life. Working out drifted away. It merely cared for one sweet, tiny Chaweenie named Eleanor Rigby. Absence moved through the motions as the virus of a muted life took hold.

This became even more prevalent when Absence was used as a punching bag for his mentor. A trusted individual who destroyed the white blood cells of gratitude. Absence was troubled by this. Absence drifted away for a long time.

Absence secluded itself and began to think of all the possibilities of anything else but what has occurred. What if it had continued at Habitat for Humanity, What if it had chosen another form of school, another mentor? What if this? What if anything?!

Anger raged in Absence. The virus spread even furthers as it consumed Absence. Every waking moment was devoted to hate, fear, and sadness. Unable to define itself, its motives, or its place in space and time, it began to devolve.

This was until Absence got perspective. It realized that it was no longer going to be affected by the words of another. It was going to strive to get better. He was going to remember what it was like before the viral catharsis of a hypocrite. Before became now and It became he became me.

Absence faded and with this simple blog post I fill the absence with six letters:

W

R

I

T

E

R

This is my inoculation. I will refuse to be torn down by others or anything in this world. As you should say to yourself. I no longer accept the virus of others. That is theirs and theirs alone. Love yourself because you are the only you that will ever exist…but that is another post.

Best regards in your own inoculation,

-Chris

The Ass In The Field

Pinwheel, Mallorca, Metal, Wheel, Wind, Wind Energy

Hey Gang!

I was driving home and listening to music at an unreasonably high volume this weekend. I saw multiple things around me that caught my attention: I saw a woman picking her nose, a flock of geese narrowly miss a semi, and the poor mangled body of an old deer. I saw these things and really took no notice expect if they were funny, sad, or cringe-worthy but there was one thing that stood out so strangely to me that I have been holding on to it for the past few days.

I looked to my right and there was this small farm. A large, gated pasture was on the hill as it sloped down beyond the horizon. The sun was setting and it gave the verdant grass a shimmer that was breathtaking. Patched with white and brown, cows grazed looking in different areas. They all had their backs turned towards one central character: an ass, or donkey for the lay person. The ass stood there completely still. His statuesque nature bewildered me. What was he doing there? Among the sea of cows where they took no notice, what was he to gain from being there?

I went home and began helping my mother with moving. Unfortunately, she fell and broke her arm. I called 911 and they took her to the hospital, which brings me back to the days when hospital visits were an everyday occurrence for me. That same sterile smell, the back hall conversations nurses have that you overhear, the way nurses chew their gum like rabbits chew their cud. It was all so similar, yet different.

I sat with my aunt while my mother wept from pain. I tried to be there for her but she has become so different from the woman who told me not to cry when I get hurt, to be tough. Now she is so fragile and I realize that maybe we are who we pretend to be to others but in our depths that surface when pain and pleasure are at stake are the realities.

I wonder when I will break as my aunt yammers on about her issues. It is a repetitive damning thing to visit with her. It is hell at its finest as she repeats the same story over the past five years: My cousin is in treatment for another breakdown, he has tried [insert highly addictive drug of choice here] and is now unable to control his bipolar, she is having a nervous breakdown because he doesn’t think about her and her feelings, her body aches, she is a godsend, she helps everyone, she is a martyr, she is going to have a seizure, she forgets to have a seizure, she lies, she cons, she is.

Afterwards we come back to the city where I currently am and it is a major ordeal. My mother is high on pain meds and wants to drive, my aunt is upset because I won’t chauffer her around the middle of the state to get my cousin as well as drive her to my mother’s new house. My aunt becomes huffy. My mother cries out in pain, my aunt somehow becomes ill as well. She has an asthma attack and begins to dry heave because a breeze blew, or something of that nature.

I finally get home and Eleanor Rigby, my puppy, has violently chewed on my shoes, Blu-ray of “Funny People” and “Where The Wild Things Are”, and somehow managed to turn the house into a disaster area. I believe I saw a guy from FEMA in my back room but I can’t be sure.

The funny thing about “Funny People” is that it was about people who were funny not being funny. People that are supposed to be one thing but violate our expectations and act like someone other than whom we thought they were: funny people.

I get my mother to lay down and she drifts to sleep. I go to my room as well and begin to drift, but I have a realization. I am an ass, probably in more sense than I mean here. I am not an ass, I am THE ass. The one in the field. I get why he was unnoticed by the cows and didn’t do as the cows do. It was because he realized that they do cow things and he was an ass. However, what is an ass to do when there are no other asses around. What happens when an ass is surrounded by cows?

You stand still.

You stand alone.

You think.

You drift.

You lament.

You realize that you completely and wholly exist but outside of this fenced in yard with all the cows that graze.

You just are.

In the middle of the weres and going-to-bes, you just are.

-Chris