My New Year’s Resolution: I Am Not Making Any List

Last Year I had a list;
a long list, a looooooong, long list.

I had a plan, a mile high all the way to the Brooklyn Bridge;
I dreamed about it,
I wrote about it and I virtually lived it
until it all went down the drain like soap water;
not the ideas but the dots on the list.

I put them all down in a cleaned, nice looking piece of paper and
one by one I intended to cross them over
but I didn’t.

I curved a pumpkin and put it in a mixer,
I made waves of promises,
sands of charts and sheaf of wheat,
blueprints of rocks
paraphernalia of my own desire
but I never crossed them over.

I envisioned stuff and made my homework,
I danced at my own tunes and rummaged the great Gods.
I dreamed big and big I did,
I did it and did it all that
I was going to do this and shuffle that
I was going to ride the boardwalks,
hang from the chandelier,
drink water from a spoon,
kick some ass and survive.
I was going to be God and miracles I expected
I was going to heaven for Christ sake
but I didn’t.

I didn’t because it got interrupted like always,
it got derailed in a exclamation point;
it got interrupted, thrown in the basket like a cartoon in heat,
discarded like a piece of garbage,
and poof,
it hit the roof.

It smelled like cinnamon and
it was thick like a twig,
slick like a stick;
it went down before the roasters were up and up before I could sneeze
but I was not discouraged.
I was not broken,
I was not saddened;
I did not get lost or wandered off in the park.
I kept cool and took a sabbatical,
unexpected it was but vibrant and much needed brake,
it gave me.

So this year, I decided not to have one;
I am not making any plans.
I am stopping the madness and am not having a list!
Dog, pig, turkey, potato or any shape or structure it will land,
I decided not to write one down or
dream about one but
to sense one.

I decided to have a pallid pretend list,
vintage checkerboard and crossword puzzles, and
check them down as they come in bundles or whatever way they feel like;
and I will just follow along masqueraded like a mermaid.

It will not be totally vain but a self-indulging atlas with cardball and all.

In 2009 my friend you will be a year older, so what?!
It will not be a headache but a beach, a footnote, the price of a tag.
It will not be a nuisance but a beacon,
a semicolon, a talent of your own trait.
There will be skies of unpredictiveness, hoist of debris,
mountains to toss, pedals to totter but
don’t falter, just keep going;
don’t load whatever into the truck, just wave it off,
keep moving and say thank you.

Don’t be just a man or just a woman,
be a good man and a good woman,
be a better person.
Don’t preach your better sermon, preach your superior sermon;
don’t wait for the sky to fall but reach for the sky – as rhetoric it may sound,
go get it;
don’t bring in the clouds, cross over,
grin;
don’t cry a river,
do what your life content and life desire.
Be yourself and let it pour;
don’t ever stop, just keep going;
Challenge yourself
don’t make any list but
the list!

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No, she didn’t!

What an insolent little thing. The gall of this girl! Is she genuine?

I went to a Walgreens store to buy some spirits for the holiday when I got stuck in a line longer then route 66. It stretched a mile long all the way to South Dakota, and was flaunted by colorful individuals who converged to the store in search of a good bottle to cheer their jolly souls.

There were two lively gentlemen to my back who were eager to get to the front so bad that they were capable of trampling or devour everyone in line if it would facilitate their journey; and in front of me were a mother and her daughter. The girl all tattooed up – she had one in her shoulder, one in her lower back and another in her neck – hearing nose bound and foul designer nails longer then a train, spent her time on the phone – who she was galloping with I have no idea but the immense phone barking really got my tail going.

We must have spent at least a good twenty minutes in line and she was conversing non-stop without interruption. The thing that elevated my temperature the most, it was not in view of the fact that she was whispering but breaking the sound barrier. I felt like taping her mouth off with a big tape or put her on time out; whatever had to be done to shut her up, I was willing to do.

It was not like she was performing in her living room before a live audience or that I objected to her being on the phone; she needed to understand that she was in a public place and by that it meant, she needed to be mindful of the rest of us. She needed to be judicious of those surrounding her and being in such close proximity, it became exceptionally relevant. Perhaps, miss manners had not delineated the rules but I doubt it. If you don’t have it, you don’t; it is simple as that.

She took some time off, long enough to babble with this guy who appeared to be the store Manager. He popped out of nowhere pimping himself to the girl’s mother and was all smiles as he begun making conversation with her.

They came across like two long time friends, two dogs in heat. She did not seem lost either as she begun to counter back, hitting him with an all friendly exchange. He threw a line and she responded; she threw and he responded.

By the looks of things, he looked like he was having a grand o’l time and for a minute there, I thought the guy who appeared to be in his late twenties (but who knows! Now a days you can’t tell, for all I know he could be in his early twenties) was going after the daughter until I noticed he was gunning for the mother instead. How clever, nice going man!

He was being fresh and it was such virile taunting taking place that an animated chick in-fight between the mother and the daughter broke out unexpectedly. It was nasty and classless but entertaining nonetheless!  Apparently, the daughter was not so keen on the mother’s happy go lucky act that she demanded she stop flirting. Hum..!

“Whatchdoin? I saw ya… you fresh and all. Why dontcha ya stop?” “I ain’t doing nothing”, the mother responded. Yeah, she was not doing anything alright but the guy looked a litttttle toooo cozy for her comfort but a great cougar she was on her way.

The unflattering wrangle put an end to the heat dance. It was not the most pleasurable thing to watch, particularly how she insensately talked to her mother (my mother would have smacked me) but it was lovely to witness the event none-the-less. Oh, it was not like she was concerned about her mother. Not!, She was just being vicious.

It was not like the girl stopped chatting; she did not take her “hears” off the phone or abstained from digging the imposter store manager wanna be while snapping at her mother. (We learned later that the dude was not the manager but he worked at the store, on the other side and just stopped by for what? Could not hear his raison d’être.). She was being feisty and injected herself into the conversation full force with a conundrum smile and would not stop quiver until she got her prayers answered. She was in a mission after all, one could argue; she wanted to know if he could get her a job but how serious was she being about it, that seemed to be the million-dollar question.

“How old are you”, he asked her.

“Eighteen”, she said.

“I am sorry but there is nothing I can do for you. You must be 21 to work here.”, he replied.

“Not even on the other side since it does not sell liquor?”, the mother intercepted.

“It doesn’t matter. You see, we hold liquor license and although, they are two different places but operate as one”. He explained to her in his macho suffix that even I believed him.

“I do not have any cashier job right now unless you want to work as stock person, something that I am pretty sure you are not interested.” Before he was allowed to finish his sentence, he already knew the answer that she would not be interested in the stock job. Hum…!

“Oh no, not stock person; no way”, she responded in a jiffy. Bingo, she did not flinch; she did not wish the stock, just like he predicted. She wanted the “prestige” clerk job.

No she didn’t?! Did I hear her right; she just rejected a job offer? She just indicated that she would not work as a stock person? She really believes that she has choices, options in this economy! Ok, whatever!

Yes, she did and I heard her right. Without missing a beat, without removing herself from the phone, without even giving it a thought, she did say it for the world to hear and her not to notice that even if she was offered, she would not be taking the job because it “ain’t good enough for me”.

How dare her, how dare her? Did she know that many successful “big” people learned their ropes the hard way; they paid their dues before they reached the mountaintop? Many begun small and made it big; many had to scrap walls to make it big; many had to pick up cotton to make it big. They started at the bottom and worked their way up. Christiane Amanpour, CNN Chief International Correspondent begun as a desk assistant on the Foreign Desk; P. Diddy started as an intern at New York’s Uptown Record; Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic begun selling records he made, out of the boot of his car to retail outlets in London, to name a few.

What rattled me the most was not her or her dim membrane; it was the mother’s who I thought was more interested in flaunting her “in heat” glands then polish her daughter’s lack of tact. She did not even scold, suggest or make her see that she does not have much to pick from in today’s market; she should have shown her the ropes and make her spot the truth. She needed to bestow some value on her daughter and could take the opportunity to do so but failed miserably.

I wish I knew how the show ended and what happened to the “job application” script but I don’t. You see, it was my turn to pay and out of the door I was.

walgreens5

Bazooka Joe and his GANG (No, ME), a Christmas party

I was at company’s Christmas party this past Thursday – yeah, they make it a Thursday thing to tamper us from globetrotting, as if it was ever a deterrent for excessive intake of the good stuff – when I saw one of the newbie’s and his wife having a grand o’l time. For a person who has only been in the company for three months, he handled it well. He did not miss a beat including dressing up for the occasion. I went as me.

Super Heroes, was the theme of this year’s shindig. There were customs of every types, shapes and forms for the world to see. It was mostly capes and masks but the one that captivated me the most was this dude dressed up as Wonder Woman. He looked gorgeous; well his make up was to die for but since he was an average size guy, he came across like a beautiful grapefruit drag queen but a very shy drag queen.

After cruising around the hall with other colleague dudes, I found the Wonder Woman tucked in a corner with his legs wide open (where are your manners lady!) begging for mercy out of that well tailored suit and high hills pump. I could tell he was hurting. It ain’t easy being a woman. We are used to not breathing. So, I am thinking he was probably a guest of one of the employee’s, otherwise, he would have been jumping around like one true honest to God Super Hero or on his way out up to one of the offices – couches, that’s what we don’t lack. There is one in almost every office in the building.

As I made conversation with him – we only made small talks beforehand; I called him Nacho Libre foosball dude because really, I don’t recall his name, even though we work in the same department three doors down and for the same boss but in different sides of the corridor. (Ok, I don’t really get to mingle a lot with my coworkers other then IMing them, so there. We are too busy producing).

The party was held at the office. It is a huge building with enough space to hold a football game. Come afternoon, they tacked away all the superfluous furniture and installed one majestic ambulatory event with dancers hanging from the ceiling – last year we had a lion, off course he was in a cage, I swear – lights, camera and a nightclub was born. Last year’s was big; this year’s half of the budget went to worthwhile causes which I am totally for.  It did not matter, great time we had.

I detected that Nacho Libre foosball dude was overly ecstatic, dancing his ass off while proudly shooting off his work stories to his wife and me. He came across like he was experiencing his very first company bash as questions begun to flow. Lovely! I have been to millions and have stories.

We were instructed to take all the gadgets and personal belongings home and not to venture off the venue during the festivities. For all sense and purpose, they were not looking for things to wonder away. (shuhh, the main objective was to stop unauthorized “gift exchanges” of the third kind; do you know what I mean?!).

I noticed the joy in his eyes and could not help but add more to his enthusiasm. I told him to wait for the gift. “What do you mean, the gift?”, he asked.  I replied, “the gift, the one’s that they give you at the end of the year and you grin eternally, well at least for six months until something interesting replaces it and you stop talking about it kind of thing”. “Oh that one” (no, not the John McCain type). “Yes that one”, I replied. He grabbed his wife, pulled her off the high chair – we were sitting on these high bar chairs and tables – and run to the dance floor. They danced their feet off and by the time they came back to the table, he only asked for one thing: when. I had no idea but I believed it to be right before Christmas and since the day is just upon us, I am thinking it had to be somewhere before the week was over.

I must confess that the foosball dude was not the only one counting on the “gift”. C’mon, I was salivating; my tongue stretched out to the max all they way to the North Pole. I was counting on it to be my miracle busboy; I was looking for to put it in my refrigerator, my safe and my receipts. I was undeniably counting on it. I was not only counting on it but I was planning to marry it. I planned to swim with it, sketch it, rubber stamped it and make a soup out of it. I had it all mapped out, all lined up, all dreamed up. I knew where it was moving to and where it was going, who was going to drive it and how it was going to be put to service. I just knew it and smelled it, and reached my hand to grab it.

The news was out and the jumping foosball dude was ecstatic. If you must know, the reason for his nacho libre moniker is because he dressed up as Jack Black’s character in the movie.

That was Thursday. Came Friday morning, the emails begun to roll. I saw them, one by one, one after another. They summed us by our last names and in alphabetical order. ‘If your last name starts with so through so, please come grab your gift right now. We are across the street in the red brick building number, second floor. Follow the Holiday signs.’

They kept rolling every 20 minutes or so and around 2:00PM, it came to a halt; the very last email was received. All was not lost however. There was a semi colon to the episode. If you failed to pick it on Friday, no worries, you can still do it on Monday. Ok, I could still do it on Monday so, I breathe. I could still do it on Monday. Santa Claus was still going to deliver.

Right away, my hands quivering, I began to work my magic. I became Libre Nacho ecstatic; fireworks euphoric. I jetted an email to the dudetes at the office to schedule time to pick up the memento on Monday. I even attached a LOL Internet slang thinking that they would be amused. The handkerchief was being handed to me and I could not wait.

Laugh on me it was however; handkerchief, I would need.

Another email arrived and it wasn’t cute! Apparently, the girls were still at the office and responded to me pronto. I opened it pronto too and jubilant about the pronto response.

I thought all were roses but surprise, surprise; it was not to be, at least not this time. All came to a squelching halt as one very potent simple liner was delivered. I am sorry but this year’s holiday gift was for employees only. Just like that blunt. Poof on my face! No gift this year; I was not going to be vaccinated this year! I was not going to drink the Kool-Aid this year because I am not part of the franchise but a borrowed server. Hint, hint freelancer.

I had the marriage certificate taken out already and was on my way to the courthouse but the judge put a break on it. He claimed it to be due to current fever ravaging the country. I swallowed the seed and waited for the tree to grow up through my head.

I was saddened and mumbled my way all through Saturday afternoon as I could not contain my disappointment. The knot was so constricted that I was blowing bubbles.

I was driving out of the mall and still faltering about the tragic episode of the year when I popped one of the bubble gums I had picked from the party in my mouth. Bazooka bubble gums, they used to be so hard since when they became so malleable?

I don’t know what potion the gum possessed, if you ever had Bazooka gums you know that they always roll up mini comic strip stories. Coincidence or not and at point I realized, the only thing I know is that the little piece of paper literately put the whole “bazooka” ordeal into perspective and spoke to me. It literarily, spelled in diminutive red letters, told me to get a grip, to get a life, to not cry over spilled milk. Honesty, I am not bluffing. It reads, ‘Visit Bazookajoe.com To collect cool stuff. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Better yet, don’t sweat at all.’

I know the gift was not mine to begin with so, why was I even attempting to bed it? The answer lies with the Freudian theory (Classical conditioning: learning that involves the association or substitution of a new behaviour or response with a stimulus. Present a hungry dog with food and it will salivate. Classical conditioning occurs if you ring a bell each time you present the food; eventually, the ringing of the bell will be enough to produce salivation. The dog has been conditioned to salivate at the sound of the bell.) I had been given the pill and was looking for it again, that’s simple. I have not spoken neither sent an email, remember I don’t know his name, to Nacho Libre foosball dude so, I have no idea what his thoughts are since he is also another borrowed freelancer.  From what I heard, it was one awesome gift.

bazooka