Vacation is Coming



In three weeks, I will finally be going on a vacation. I know what you are saying: “George, you work two jobs, how can you swing a whole week off?”

The answer is easy: just don’t give a shit.

I need some time to myself. Some time to re-evaluate my little life. Been so wrapped up in making money and taking care of family business that I have completely lost touch with what I really want. I’m not one to avoid introspection, but for some reason, despite my best efforts, I have lost touch with the things that matter to me.

I know the biggest reason for this is my work schedule. For those who don’t know, allow me to explain.

Since September 2008, I have had two jobs. My full time job is with a car dealership. I work there from 45-65 hours a week. They provide full healthcare, 401k, dental, etc. The job is very stable despite the climate out there in the car business. I may bitch about this job alot. I may complain about my co-workers and their lack of interest in anything other than sports and naked women, but it’s a good job. I’m the lynch-pin of the dealership and I love that responsibility. I don’t think I get recognized enough for what I do here, but that is a subject for another blog.

Since September, I joined up at a call center. The original plan was to have this job part time to help offset the cost of oil for the winter since it was looking very scary. Then oil went way down….and thats when I made the mistake of looking at my 401k. Just like everybody else out there, I was seeing diminishing returns. So my friends talked me into joining them at this call center. The calls come in, you take the call, fill out the order, upsell what you can and thats it. Easy right? Easy, but nerve racking. The problem with the part time is I am required to do 20 hours a week there to maintain my part time status.

So lets do the math: on a slow week, I am doing a minimum of 65 hours and on a busy week, I’m doing 85.  Thats eighty five hours of work that leaves very little time for a social life, working out or even vital little things…like sleeping!  Let’s not even get started on spare time to work on a painting, go hiking. The best I can do is a nice long drive along the coast between shifts….

I have been justifying this self torture for one reason: I’m not seeing anyone. Since I’m not dating, might as well make as much money as possible. The rebuttal to my position is: “Well, if you didn’t work so much, maybe you WOULD meet someone.” It’s a never ending cycle. I’ve also come to realize that my position, working my ass off because I have nobody in my life, is the passive position. And if I keep taking this position, a non participatory role in my own dating life, crap like what just happened to me will keep happening and I’ll forever be heartbroken and miserable.

Oh, thats right….I never told you about the last month and half of stupidity that re-entered my life. I guess I never wrote about it because I felt like I had been used. Another redhead pulled the wool over my eyes. Thats not exactly true. She didn’t pull the wool over my eyes so much as I did it myself. Just wanted to believe everything she said was true. But no, it was a lie, just like before. Oh yeah, there was a before to this story too, which is why I should have seen how it would all end. But sadly, my heart dove in face first and ran merrily away without me. Now he’s broken, shattered really. And no, I won’t go into detail. Would rather keep it vague and not name names.

But if I didn’t work so much, if I had some kind of a life, maybe I could have seen her coming a mile away and told her to go to hell like I should have rather than going along with things simply out of conveniance. And conveniance is never a reason to start a relationship with someone.

So thats why I need this vacation. I need it so I can step outside of myself and my life. I need new priorities and new objectives. And most of all, need a new plan for my little life. I need to be a better friend to those who care about me. I need to be true to myself and stop compromising so much of my life. And I need to make myself available, so when she finally does walk into my life, I won’t be so busy that I hardly notice her and miss the chance of a lifetime.

Vacation is coming and with it comes a lot of change. I think I’m ready.

Casual Sex or Clean Up in the Shoe Department


If I saw you, I wouldn’t be able to look you in the eye today.

I had a sex dream about you last night. There’s no way to be coy about it. No way to make it seem like something else. This wasn’t a cute romantic dream about holding hands, cuddled on the couch, watching movies with the occasional kissing and snuggling.


This wasn’t that at all.

The dream began innocently enough. We were walking through the mall, talking about some new job you had. Apparently, in my dream, you can’t hold down a job and this was your latest career. I don’t remember the details but I think it had something to do with quality control at a university someplace, which really doesn’t make any sense. I mean seriously, what does “Quality Control” at a university really mean? I think my dream version of you is just making shit up…

As often happens in a dream, the scenery changed abruptly. First we had been walking through the food court area of the mall. Emo kids where strewn about everywhere, wearing their latest pre-fab uniforms from Hot Topic. Is it really emo and punk to hang out at the mall? Really? And why do you all look the same? Maybe it’s a product of getting old and being an old punk rocker, but kids these days, the ones who pretend to be so punk, they all look the same. Same skinny jeans, same ill-fitting shirts, same “Hot Topic” tags. I seriously cannot understand the concept of that store. Punk, at it’s core was and has always been a DIY experience and yet, if you want your musical and political statements pre-printed for you, here’s a store with all the essentials. For Fifty bucks, you too can look like a punk rocker or an emo kid! Way to go kids! Way to dumb it down even further…

Yeah, I do rant like that in my dreams too… J

But I digress…we were walking through the food court and suddenly we were at the entrance of JC Penney. You took my hand and smiled at me. For the first time, I noticed you were wearing a tight fitting t shirt that accentuated your frame rather lovingly. You caught me looking and poked me in the stomach.

“Come on,” you said. “We have to hurry. I have church in the morning.”

I smiled at you, thoroughly confused by this statement.

You pulled my hand and lead me through JC Penney. I was completely puzzled…even in my dreams, I’m absolutely clueless. You lead me through to the mens shoe department. Did you know that JC Penney has a new feature in their shoe department? I guess this must be standard in all their new stores. Apparently, they all have a secret door in the back that opens up right into my bedroom. I wasn’t aware of this new feature until you opened the door and dragged me through.

Surprisingly, I had remembered to make my bed and tidy up my room before I left for the day. In the dream, I must have more free time.

You wrapped your arms around me and kissed me. For a moment, I was melting. The world froze and I could feel the heat of your body against mine, the taste of your lips, your tongue. You pulled back suddenly. A devilish grin came across your face.

“You are too gentle.”

With that, I felt your foot scoop around the back of my legs, taking my feet out from under me and I crashed backwards onto the bed.

That’s when you pounced.

What transpired from there, I humbly must leave to your imagination. I can say that there was a whirlwind of activity, involving positions of all imaginings and even a few that were against the laws of nature and a few that I’m sure were illegal in several states. In the end, the bed was broken, the tv had a bed post through it, all the paintings on the walls were askew, the mattress was on the floor and you and I…you and I were in a broken sweaty heap on the floor. I was gasping for breath and you were giggling at me, half covered in one of my old t shirts. How did you find my old Cure Tour t shirt? I thought that was lost 20 years ago? I snuggled in with you and for a moment, for one quiet moment, I felt content.

You poked me in the belly again, teasing me about my weight.

“I have to go” you said “and you have to wake up.”

Thats when I heard my alarm.

For a few brief moments, in those milliseconds between sleep and smashing my alarm button, I could still feel the smoothness of your skin, the brush of your hair across my face and neck, the taste of you on my lips. Then you were gone. The illusion was broken and I woke up alone in my room. I looked towards the door to my bedroom half expecting to see the hustle and bustle of a JC Penney shoe department but I was disapointed to just see the hallway, my cat wandering towards me, demanding some attention.

I spent today wondering if I should tell you. How much is too much sharing when it comes to friends?. I know I’m only a friend. But part of me wants something more and I’m not sure how to reconcile that.

The dream was intense, playful and extremely x rated. There were things you did that I would never have expected from you. If I told you, would you have a good laugh with me about? Would we kid each other about positions we should have tried in the dream then just carry on as we always have? Would you recoil in horror or would you jokingly admit to having something of a similar dream? Would you be able to forgive my imaginations lack of discretion? Do you feel the same way? Or am I alone in this, deluded by my own overactive and undersexed libido? I’m happy being your friend, but is that all there is? I know it was only a dream and I know where my boundaries are, but part of me can’t wait to go to bed tonite and go shoe shopping again….

Moments of Joy and Other Sublime Silliness


I have been feeling way too adult lately.

Deadlines. Meetings. Quotas. Bills. Taxes. Registration of my new car. Spring cleaning looming on the horizon.

It’s all been adding up to a whole heck of a lot of stress thats been bearing down on me for the last two weeks. I need a reason to be happy.  Surfing the blogs the other day, I came across the beautiful Miss Shepherds entry and felt a little inspiration. My mind started it’s own list of natural highs and moments that bring me joy.

1. Walking along the beach on a warm night, my toes sinking into the wet sand, the waves around my ankles.

2. Lying on the sand on a summer night, listening to the beat of the waves.

3. Making an elaborate meal for my friends when they are down.

4. Planning and cooking a huge meal for an event (Thanksgiving) and having it all come together perfectly.

5. Sinking into the couch on a cold day, wrapped in a warm blanket with a huge mug of coffee and a stack of dvd’s.

6.  Stealing a few minutes on my break to drive down to the beach and watch the waves for awhile and let my mind decompress a little from the stresses of the day.

7. Planning a road trip with my fellow ‘road warriors’ to see the bands we love.

8. Having a total geek moment and walk into a comic books store and talking all things X Men and Dark Knight and all things in between with fellow recovering geeky nerds like myself. Once in awhile, the nerd has to be let out!

9. Walking through the toy section at Walmart and seeing all the neat and highly detailed toys, secretly wishing I was a little kid again….

10. Picking up a book I haven’t read in a long time and falling into it’s pages like putting on an old sweater: comfy and warm.

11. Losing 8 hours of my life wrapped up in a video game. I realize some would see this as a waste, but sometimes getting lost in a little fantasy land is what my brain needs. And before you say “Go read a book”, I do read darnit and nothing compares to seeing your character run through that fantasyland and directing the action yourself. Don’t hate. 🙂

12. Having some song from the 80’s pop on the radio that I haven’t heard in a long time causing me to dance joyously. Melt With You and Rock Lobster are two songs that always make me giddy.

13. Having the lead singer dedicate her next song to me. I always get a little weak in the knees when that happens.

14. Being a dj and playing the music I love and actually having listeners. I truly miss this. When I was a dj at Keene State, I loved knowing people were listening.

15. Music Geek moment: going into a record store and ending up in a conversation with a total stranger about whether Trent Reznor sold out, or if the latest Ani Difranco album rocked or sucked or who was on tour and what shows we have been to, etc, etc, ad infinitum.

16. The smell of fresh brewed coffee.

17. The smell of my kitchen when I have been cooking up a storm.

18. The smile of a stranger who caught me glancing their way.

19. Playing with my camera and photographing the little things in my life.

20. Giving and recieving a hug when I least expect but when it was most needed.

21. When my rockstar friend tells me I’m one of her favorite photographers. I’m humbled that anyone would consider me a ‘photographer’, but for that to come from my friend who has been through professional photshoots for magazines and her own promotional work, I think I must have blushed three shades of red. Makes me want to take photography a little more seriously….

22. A moment of silence with friends. Not an uncomfrotable silence, but a sort of silent soldarity where there is nothing to say and we are content and comfortable with each others company and don’t have to fill each moment with talk.

23. Seeing a band for the first time, the thrill of hearing new music and a new voice.

24. The smell of laundry fresh from the dryer.

25. A clean house.

26. Getting in my car, loading up on music or books on cd, hot cup of coffee in hand, picking a direction and just going. No destination, no cares, no worries. Just me and the car driving as far away as possible.

27. The experience of a ‘destination’ restaurant. Picking a cuisine or restaurant from a review either online or on a Foodnetwork/Phantom Gourmet/Travel Channel reccomendation and going for their signature experience. I have a list a mile long of everything from greasy spoons to haute cuisine that I want to experience. Anyone up for a little road trip???

28. Sucking out a flush or a straight on the river and cleaning out my friends at the poker table when I was sure I had made a mistake by going all-in on Jack/Ace suited. Yup, I play way too much poker…..

29. Waking up to find my cat nuzzled into the crook of my arm.

30. Las Vegas! I loved that town when I visited in 1999 and been dying to go back ever since. I felt like a kid in a candystore there! A very adult candystore, but nonetheless….

31. Holding hands with someone for the first time, that fumbling of fingers and palms, finding how your hands fit together.

32. A first kiss, melting into each other for the first time.

33. The unspoken dialogue of eyes and movement, knowing someone so well that you know what they are thinking without ever speaking a word.

34. Hugs that linger and last too long, conveying more in that moment than words can capture.

35. WordPress Geek: Checking my stats and seeing what people are reading…I do this all the time. Makes me smile to see what people like.

36. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate.

37. Going to a wine tasting and being suprised by some obscure shiraz,  merlot or pinot noir that I had never heard of.

38. Catching up with an old friend and laughing about how much time has passed and how old we are getting.

39. Realizing how much your friends and family really care about you.

40. Successfully writing out 5 more moments of joy than Pam. (Couldn’t resist putting a little competitive spin on this)

The Only Thing I Read in the Local Paper (A Bit of a Rant)

The Portsmouth Herald is a friggin joke.

There, I said it and I’m not taking it back. Pardon me while I go on a rant here.

I don’t care how many ‘awards’ they win, their news coverage is atrocious. I like a good hard news lead in. Thats what captures my attention. A good solid headline to grab hold and make you want to buy it. I’m a big believer in the all but forgotten integrity of the printed word, the news reporters out there investigating real news, solid stories that grip your imagination and inform you not only on the big headline, but the minutiae of the story. I used to read the paper every day…but never the local paper.

The Portsmouth Herald has been a joke for years now. I can’t count how many times it has let me down. No lie and I’m definitely not making this up, their idea of news has verged on tabloid / Access Hollywood style. Lots of flash that quickly runs out of gas. Who cares if some consenting adults are having sex parties at their private residence? Did you really need to do an investigative report on them and name them on the cover of your newspaper? What kind of Puritan shaming was that? And on a day when we had major flooding in this state, your choice for a headline was a cat stuck in a tree?? Really? That was the hot button topic of the news room? And anytime anyone local does anything, you seem to think it’s front page news! On a day when the US reported the hugest job loss report in ages, your cover story was a human interest bio on a mentally challenged man who was finally getting his first job?

Sidenote: I have nothing against the mentally challenged individual, he’s actually a really great kid and everyone who lives here knows the guy, and yes, as a community, I’m sure we are all proud of his accomplishments. That aside, how is that a front page story when SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much more is going on in the world??? HOW???????

So on princicpal, I refuse to spend a dime on their paper. But what I will do is check out their web page. For such a total wreck of a newspaper, their website is quite well designed and thought out. The emphasis again is less on hard news and more on human interest, dining, local music, theater, arts and opinions and that I can handle because when I’m on the web, I can surf past the BS, find the stories and articles I want and not feel like I got ripped off for 75 cents.

One of my favorite articles caught my attention a few years ago and I have been a fan ever since. Single On The Seacoast is Heather Mackenzies view on the dating scene here in the lovely state of NH. Her opinions are witty and her attitude is quite jaded and thats probably why I love her writing. She always finds a way to sumarize everything thats wrong with dating, self image and attitudes and put a hopeful spin on it. I like that. Finding a small shimmering bit of hope at the bottom of the dating well. She gives me a little hope that maybe it’s not all as bad as I think. Maybe there is a way out of this dating hell I’ve been in for so long.

So despite all my protestations, despite my rant about the lack of “hard news” in the Portsmouth Herald and in spite of myself, I’m  going to a news website for the one thing I hate about the actual newspaper: FLUFF. Human interest, editorial, columnist FLUFF. And I love it. I go back each week for her latest article…..

Guess I’m getting soft in my old age…. 🙂

Here’s a link to her latest article:


Ok, why is my whole site in italics and bold print???? What the hell is going on? And every time I try to contact support, I get a message that they are closed….. help!!!!!!!!

Not really a blog or Damn! I work way too much….

I was looking at my page today and I realized I haven’t written in a few weeks. I have alot to say and so much on my mind, but down time to get my thoughts into some sort of coherent state has been a rare commodity of late. So bear with me while I try to find a way to collect myself and the randomness in my life and start writing again. Not to throw a pity party for myself her, but this is just a quick list of some of the life silliness:

1. Working 12 hour days almost every day and no days off for 3 weeks now. They say someone is coming to join the company who can cover my job during my days off. This magical person has yet to appear….

2. The Gym. Ok, this one is well within my control, I know, but I spend almost 2 hours a day there now. I’m on a mission to get rid of the Buddha Belly. 🙂

3. Family health issues. I’m sure we can all relate….

4. Dating life is non-existant. This is probably my own fault and it’s a gripe I’ve had for quite awhile. There are several amazing women in my life who I’m proud to call friends and I wouldn’t give any of that up for the worl. But but but! There is that thing missing from my life, that deeper connection, I truly miss that. And due to all the other things going on, I am probably oblivious if someone is even remotely interested in me. So please, if you are reading this, hit me over the head with something…bring me back to reality… 🙂

Soon, I plan on writing some more once I catch my breath a little. I have stories of new music that has entered my life, trials and tribulations of the gym and nights out with friends that should be enough for a couple hundred blog entries alone…but until then, take care my friends…I’ll be back soon.

Doom or You THINK I would have noticed sooner….

Something was wrong. I’m not sure when I became aware of it, but yesterday, I felt out of sorts.

On my way to work, I drove right past the dealership and didn’t realize until I was all the way into downtown Portsmouth that I should have been at work. Quickly turning around, I accidentally ran a red light (no, I wasn’t distracted by a red head, that’s another blog) and narrowly avoided running into a UPS truck, parked out in the middle of the road instead of off to the side as they should be.

I had decided to wear my trenchcoat to work since it was light and the weather was absolutely beautiful outside. At almost 70 degrees, this was a gift of early spring weather. The windows were open and White Zombie’s “More Human Than Human” was thumping on the stereo. I felt good about myself, relaxed, almost optimistic. Several people I passed by honked their horns and waved. I didn’t recognize these people, but I smiled and waved anyway. So rare that someone is just waving to say hi or honking hello, usually the waving is of a middle finger and the honking means “FUCK OFF!”

I got to work and sat for a minute, letting the final beats of White Zombie finish up. I opened the door and saw what all the waving was about: the bottom half of my coat had been shut in the door. My nice black trenchcoat was caked with mud and soaking wet. Frustrated, I hung the coat up in my office and called the drycleaner to get a price on a cleaning.

The next few hours, nothing went right. From printing the wrong forms to being tossed 15 projects all at once and being told they all needed to be done “Now-ish”, nothing seemed to be going right. I take all the pictures of out inventory for the various websites we report to and yesterday, it was truck photo day. I lined up a bunch of trucks and managed to get through 5 of them before disaster struck.

As I attempted to leap into the last truck, my right foot slipped on the running board sending me careening backwards into the door which, like a springloaded trap, swung out and rebounded , smacking me in the back of the head. Falling to the ground in defeat, I just sat there laughing as a concerned coworker came running up to see if I was alright. That’s when it started to rain.

Back safely in my office, more minor mishaps were plaguing me. On several occasions, I forgot how to spell my own name and twice I assigned a title to the wrong person. Frustration doesn’t even begin to describe my mood. I walked across the street to get a salad from McDonalds. After waiting in line behind the one person who was apparently unaware of what was on the menu at any McDonalds (I can only assume that she had crawled out of a bunker somewhere where her only contact with the outside world was a ham radio with no access to news or any entertainment of any kind for the past 60 years) I got up and ordered my Santa Fe salad thingy and made it back to my office. I ate a few bites from the top before digging deeper into the salad and discovering wilted, rotting lettuce at the bottom.

I ran back and got a new salad and even got a promise from the manager that the next one was free. As I walked out the front door of the McDonalds, I found the one, solitary piece of unmelted snow on the sidewalk. I felt my feet go out from under me. As I sprawled across the parking lot, I watched my salad, now free of its bag, launch into the air like some bizarre UFO and hit a parked car, spilling it’s contents all over the back window. The manager came running out to help me up. My clothes were now slightly soaked from the steady rain that had been falling. After retrieving my third salad, I went back to my office and prayed for 8pm to roll around. I just wanted to go home, nothing else, nothing fancy, no more surprises, just please, let me go home.

Eight o’clock came around and I darted to my car. Finally, I could end this day. But first, I had to stop off at Wal-Mart to get some necessities. Kitty litter was needed as well as bottled water and air freshener. As I walked up and down the long aisles, aimlessly searching for air freshener, the unthinkable happened: I got lost. No, seriously…I was lost. I had no idea which way was the exit and actually stood confused for about 20 minutes, trying to find my way out. It all went wrong when I wandered into the sporting good section looking for some new hiking gear. No sooner than I had spied the multi-tool that I wanted to buy than I made a wrong turn and found myself staring at the gun section. I didn’t think this was legal anymore, but there they were: bebe guns and various other rifles all on display in a glass case with nobody around to keep an eye on the potentially lethal merchandise. Boxes of ammo of all kinds from bebes to buck shot sat in small boxes behind the glass counter top. Next to the display were bows of all sizes and arrows of varying degrees of lethality.

In my mind, I pictured some deranged idiot wandering into the store unarmed and finding this little cubby hole of weaponry in the back corner of the store, arming themselves and proceeding to wreck lethal havoc on the other shoppers going about their normal shopping. Slightly unnerved by this lack of security, I turned around and….where the hell was I? Why can’t I see the exit?

I turned up one aisle thinking it was the right way. It looked promising, there were the dvds and there were the toys….then, I was stuck in the car department…what the hell? I backtracked again and found myself at that same counter. Had I wandered into a time warp? Determined to get out, I decided to cut diagonally across the store and despite some minor diversions (Hanes plain t shirts on sale!) I made it out.

Getting home was rather easy. No almost missed traffic accidents, no deer wandering into the road, no hailstorms. Collapsing into bed when I finally got home, one thought came across my mind: how in the hell did this day become so fucked up and confusing? A conflagration of factors had come together to just completely mess with me but what had started it all? What event had set in motion this perfect storm of oddities and accidents?

I kicked off my sneakers, stretching out my toes and feet, feeling the coolness of the air for the first time all day. I stood up and unbuckled my belt while I looked for my ‘house pants’ and I de-trousered myself, I looked down and there was the reason. There was the explanation. I knew something had to start the day off wrong and there was the proof. The one thing had set in motion the minor tragedies of my day:

I had put my underwear on backwards.

Dealing with Overseas Customer Service or Please, come up with more original names!

When I was a kid, I collected comic books. In the storage room of my house, carefully inserted in plastic sleeves and in numerical and alphabetical order, I have boxes and boxes of comics. If it was published between 1975 and 1995, I probably have it or had it at one time in those boxes, carefully preserved and accrueing value. At times, I have sold some of these comics, mainly to make room but more for the need of money at one time or another. The summer before I went to school in England, I spent almost every sunday at my own table at a flea market, selling off duplicate copies of some of my more treasured pieces in my collection. I made $1000 just from those! I was a a happy guy! So, along with this collection, I have an encyclopedic knowledge of the history and characters of the Marvel and DC universes.

So today, one of the first things I had to do at work was call GM for an in-service date for a 2007 Grand Prix that I was stocking into our system. I call these companies every day to get in-service dates so we can know if we do any work to the vehicles, we can claim it under the factory warranty. During the week, I know that if I call during business hours, I will almost always get an American call center, but on the weekends, I know it’s a crap shoot. One of the common practices of the foreign call centers is the “Anglosized Name Change”. We have all encountered this. Someone with an obviously thick Indian accent saying “Thank you for calling chevrolet, dees ees ‘Bob Smeeth’, How may I assist you?”. I will never understand this practice, I know it’s to put the caller at ease, that they are talking to someone who will understand and be able to address their concerns, but come on? why the fake name? Just tell it like it is and move on. We are all in on this particular joke.

Anyway, so here is the conversation I just had:

“Hello, This is Reed Richards, How may I assist you?”

“I’m sorry, what was your name again??”

“Reed Richards.”

“From the Fantastic Four??”


“How are Sue, Johnny and Ben doing today?”

“I’m sorry sir, this is Chevrolet is there something I can help you with?”

This is when I realized that my geekiness had just made me an asshole. Here is this poor guy, just trying to do his job and I’m calling out for naming himself after a superhero. I suddenly felt like Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons, eagerly correcting and scolding those around me who were clueless to the history of my past comic book obsession. Resigned to my prickishness, I allowed him to walk me through his entire script rather than explain that I have called a million times and all I want is the in-service date.

Yes, we buy lots of these at auction.

No, really? an open re-call? I’ll get right on that.

No, thank YOU for getting me that in-service date.

Humbled, I hung up the phone and started doing some real work, hoping I don’t offend anyone else today…….

Bad Food experience

I wrote this silliness this afternoon while being bored at work. It was for a forum about dining and tipping that I read when there is nothing to do. Now I ran restaurants a good chunk of my life and take pride in the fact that I tip well when I’m dining out even when service is not that great. This experience was by far one of the worst ever. So I have never stiffed someone on a tip, until the other day.

I plan on blogging about this on my myspace blog, but I had to share this on this thread: I stiffed someone the other day, for the first time ever. I feel horrible about it, but feel I was totally justified.

For starters, I made my first mistake when I walked in: instead of going to the bar, I took a table. I had a book with me and wanted to read a little. It was late morning and the place was busy. The crowd was shifting from late breakfast to the lunch crowd. I skimmed the menu, found an omellette to my liking, and put the menu down and started reading my book. This is so unlike me, but I lost track of time and after about 20 minutes I realized a waitress had not come to my table yet. I looked around and saw the woman who wore the name on her shirt that I remembered was supposed to be my waitress sitting at a table chatting with someone. I waved to her and she took no notice (women never notice me, story of my life…).

I got up and walked to the front of the restaurant. I was greeted by the same smiling woman who had seated me.

“Hi, I’ve been sitting there for 20 minutes and my waitress hasn’t come to take my order.”

“Oh, we’ll send someone right over.”

I smiled “thank you”.

I plopped back down at my table and picked up my book again, peering over the edge of my book at my gabbing waitress at the table across the room.

Five more minutes, still no waitress. Now I was frsutrated. I walked to the front again and saw the smily girl.

“Excuse me, but I have to be at work in an hour or so. I don’t mind hanging out here, but I would really like to get my order in and the waitress has still not come to my table”

“oh don’t worry, I’m sure she’s just busy” she said with a smile.

“I don’t think so…” I pointed her across the room at the table where my waitress sat, still gabbing.

“Oh, I’m so sorry, I’ll get her right over to you” and she hurried off.

I sat back down at my table, closing my book. Despite my betteer judgement, I decided to stay…I really wanted this omellete. I looked across the room and saw the gabbing waitress, after being alerted to my existence, finally getting up and trudged across the room to my table.

“Sorry we are so busy, what can I get for ya?” she asked, not making eye contact.

I laughed. “Um, well the restaurant is busy, but you were sitting over there chatting for the past 20 minutes”

She looked at me coldly. I guess I didn’t impress her by calling her out on a lie.

I ordered my chili and cheese taco omellette and without a word, she stormed off. Soon afterward, she stomped back to plop a glass of water on my table, spilling it slightly then storming off to sit and gab with her friend again. All I could do was laugh at this point. This woman, by far, had no idea how to serve customers. I watched as orders came up for other tables she was *serving*, and I use that term loosely and they were all having the same frustration. Finally, my omellete came up and to my amazement, she was actually up moving around when it came up and promptly brought it over. Of course, this one saving grace was spoiled by the fact that she literally dropped the plate in front of me, splattering my shirt with bits of chili and without a word, went away again.

The omellete was amazing: folded 3 egg fluffy omellet stuffed with steak and bean chili and jack cheese with shreds of crispy taco shells mixed in,folded over and on top was fresh tomatoes, cheese and little shredded lettuce. And next to this monstrosity was a heaping pile of homefries. I was in heart attack heaven!! The food was absolutely incredible. But, as my water ran out, the waitress would walk right by me and purposely ignore me or my pleas for a bit more water. Finally, I walked over to the waitress station myself, grabbed a pitcher of water and hauled it back to my table. A couple in a booth near me started laughing and showed me their pitcher: they had done the same thing.

I leaned in conspiratorily and whispered “They should make this place self serve and be done with it.”

They smiled and nodded in agreement.

After managing to get through most of my omelette, I decided to take the rest to work with me and have for dinner that nite. I went to the restroom to wash my hands and clean off the little splatters of chili that were now decorating my shirt and came back to an empty table. My plate with my leftovers, my drink glass and my pitcher were all gone. Curious, I walked over to the waitress.

“Did you clean my table?”

“well, weren’t you done?”

“Yes, but I expect you must have wrapped up my leftovers, correct?”

“How was I supposed to know you wanted them?” she said with a smile, first time she had smiled the whole time I was there.

“Maybe if you were doing your job, you would have known the answer to that” I snapped and walked to the front again where the little manager was sitting, still with the same plastered smile she had when I first got there.

I explained to her what had just happened. She apologized profusely, still with the same grin on her face and offered to only charge me for half my meal, which to me was fair since I had thoroughly enjoyed the food and I had actually eaten a little more than half.

I went back to my table and the surly girl came stomping up with my bill which had been amended to show my new price: $4 even. I reached into my wallet and as fate would have it, there were 4 one dollar bills in there. Usually, I pay everything on my debit/credit card and use the cash for silly things like tolls or whatever. For the first time in my life, I put the bill on the table with the exact amount of money. Then I started searching my pockets. I new if I looked long enough, I would find what I was looking for and sure enough, in the little change pocket was a stray penny. I placed that on top of the bill, grabbed my book and walked out. On my way out, I heard something that completely made my day:

“F*ck you!” came the voice of the surly waitress as I headed to the door.

I turned and smiled. “have a nice day”.

Punk Sell Out

I would not have believed this if someone had told me about it. I had to hear it for myself.

We always worry about our heroes selling out. Nothing disturbs me more than seeing an aging former star, musician, etc, out hawking some god-awful product or service or whatever. For some reason, I feel a certain amount of empathy for these poor former stars who just want their name back in the spotlight, any spotlight.

But what I heard today completely caught me off guard.

I listen to WTKK occassionally, not because I’m into right wing doctrine, but because I like hearing what the other side has to say. It keeps me balanced to hear all sides. And to be honest, Jay Severin (spelling) actually makes me laugh. He is the right wing version of Henry Rollins in the way he speaks and it cracks me up. So on my break today, as I was racing to Loco’s for my burrito, an ad came on. At first, I wasn’t sure I understood what was being said. I knew I recognized the voice but I couldn’t connect to whom it belonged to.

Then the first half of the pitch ended and the voice over came over a little louder : “Hi, I’m Steve Jones calling you about Virgin Atlantic.”

I apologize now for anyone that was behind me as I slammed on my breaks in front of the Rusty Hammer and pulled over. I could not believe my ears. Steve Jones. STEVE F****** JONES!!! For those who don’t know, Steve Jones was one of the Sex Pistols. Now I know, Johnny Rotten is now a self promoting parody of himself and the image of Sid Vicious was bought and sold ages ago. But Steve Jones has always been a rock of no sell out punk rock attitude. The only thing I had ever seen him do a commercial for was an anti drug commercial in the 90’s about Sid dying and making a crack about the glamour of heroin.

Yet here he was, doing a promotional ad for Virgin Atlantic. I know the Sex Pistols as a group will do anything for money. Hell, their reunion tour a few years ago was all about the money. When asked why they agreed to get back together and do a tour, Johnny said, quite bluntly, “because of the money”.

And a few months ago, the whole band had given a collective middle finger to the entire music business by refusing to show up for their rock n roll hall of fame induction. (something, by the way, I think the Clash should have done too) I had laughed at that. Such a purile gesture but so punk rock. Gave me hope that they still remembered where they came from.

I couldn’t help but wonder who this ad was geared towards. I mean, this was afternoon drive time on a conservative talk radio station. Who listening besides me would even know who Steve Jones was? And by having an old punk rocker doing an ad on their station, what were they trying to say? Were they trying to equate conservative talk radio with the punk rock movement? Somehow, I doubt it was as deep as that. The only thing I can think is that maybe, just maybe, someone in the control pulled the wrong ad.

As I sat on the side of road in front of the Hammer, I could feel my stomach in knots. I know I should not be surprised seeing one of my heroes selling out. Happens all the time, to people far more famous than Steve Jones. But for some reason, this felt like a sucker punch. In my mind, I saw an old poster I used to have. I had it on my door at the first apartment I lived in at Keene State College : PUNK IS DEAD! It was meant as an ironic statement on the state of punk rock music in the late 80’s, right before its huge re-emergence in the 90’s. But for once, I saw that poster and I thought, maybe, punk is dead.

The real, old fashioned, f the establishment punk is gone, replaced by a slicker marketing campaign that makes all the tattoos and weird clothes and hair appear normal and venerable old grandfathers of the punk rock movement are wheeled out to give it some legitimacy.

So whats next? We have Steve Jones for Virgin Atlantic, how about we get Chrissie Hynde for shampoo commercials? Elvis Costello for contact lenses? Siouxsie Sioux for nair? Exene Cervenka for tylenol? Deborah Harry for Paxil?

I shudder to think about the possibilities……