Here’s the weirdest moment from this Easter (i.e., the best Easter ever). Mind you, the night ended with Fuckin’ Jeff and I eating meatloaf and edamame at an absent Mike Brown’s house while we gave loose commentary over a slideshow based around an encyclopedic slide collection I picked up from the library. It was a moment that never would have happened if Mike Brown wasn’t in Europe. (Otherwise, he’d have dominated in the front room with his favorite video game, Skyrim). I’m not kidding when I say I have a slide of everything. Pick a topic, I’ve got it. Very strange. But here’s the weirdest thing that happened on Easter:
I was with my dad at a random coffee shop. The fact that my family puts any weight into Easter is kind of bizarre, especially when considering my dad is Palestinian-Muslim. By the way, he’s very concerned with me. I have longish hair, a super shitty mustache, play in punk rock bands and write for publications that support all of that. Back when I was a weed dealer and making a good amount of money, none of that mattered. Now that I’m more concerned with earnestly putting words on paper (a habit that leaves me barely capable of bringing in enough money to stay fed, chronically broke and apparently in danger of ever becoming anything), my lifestyle is less okay. It’s a constant struggle between us. You see, cool dads hate watching their kids struggle, and judging by my dad’s response to the bullshit I deal with on a general basis, he must be super cool.
So we go get coffee. Out of the blue, he’s all, “I’ve been thinking about things. A lot of things. And I’ve been saving up–just in case something happens to me.”
‘Okay,’ I thought.
“I’ve been saving up,” he repeats, “just in case something happens. I want to make sure that you’re taken care of.” He paused. Dads love pausing. “I don’t know how much money I’ll have, but whatever it is, I’ll probably leave it in a trust, most likely in your little sister’s name. She would be a good administrator.”
“Okay” I said.
“I’m not going to leave it to you in a lump sum,” he said, “but I’ll make sure you get a certain amount every month.”
He paused again, this time in afterthought.
Why he said that was fairly indicative of what he assumes my lifestyle to be. I couldn’t help but ask a simple question.
“So you want me to ask my little sister for a cash allowance every month?”
He smiled before shuddering. You can’t make this shit up. My dad looked at me honestly and said, “I’m concerned about you on a long term basis. I don’t think I’m going to let you access it until you’re sixty.”
“Dad, what makes you think I’ll make it to sixty?” I asked with genuine interest.
“Why would you question that?” he responded with genuine confusion.
I thought about my lack of health insurance, shoulder that pops out at the command, previously broken spine, gnarly scars all over my scalp, freshly broken nose, overall shaky nerves, inability to find a job that supports me, country that hates me and an incredibly depleted savings account.
I summed it up succinctly with a, “Well Dad, the way things are going…”
“Most of your injuries were superficial,” he said, apparently convinced by his own tone.
“Dad. Do you remember the X-Rays?”
I reminded him of that time I had to learn how to walk again, which somehow didn’t impress him. My dad is the coolest.
Later on, my youngest sister and I talked about the whole thing. Apparently both my parents had brought it up to her a number of times, and she was worried about the responsibility they were forcing upon her. Maybe I’d care or something. Some people care when it comes to money, no matter how much, but greed has a lineage of its own and I’m far from a descendent, despite a perceivable desperation.
The thing is, my family isn’t worried about me for any specific thing, outside of being a lovable loser, but my father, who isn’t rich, does want to keep me alive as long as he can regardless of how miserable it makes me. They like me. Sure, they’d like me more as a Henry Miller-esque philosopher who had a full-time job, a wife and a picket fence, but they’ll take me as I am. Against his better wishes, my dad has decided to embrace the concept of the latter never becoming a reality, accepting me as this weird embodiment of something he’ll never understand.
And that makes me love him.
The fact that he wouldn’t have approved of a 2 A.M. alcohol-fueled artisan slideshow is completely irrelevant. I can’t wait to ask my little sister for a cash advance! The fucked up part is, I’ll probably never get the chance.
BEST EASTER EVER
Fucked up shit sometimes happens, and fucked up shit happens to me often. This fashion week was a weird one. Milk Studios tried to turn me into some odd celebrity, one that basically did what he wanted and didn’t give a fuck. Such is who I must appear as, and to a fair extent, they’re completely right on. That’s all well and good, minus one simple but unavoidable fact–I care too much. While everybody came up to me to tell me how great of a job I was doing, I was basically self-destructing inside, feeling some crazy pressure to keep people happy while not so secretly falling apart. It had little to do with actual fashion week as much as my own personal demons, and I can’t lie, it sucked hardcore. Finding yourself compulsively crying in a corner and calling your ex-girlfriend just to hear a voice of reason from someone who loves you is a fucked up thing, and one I wish I never had to experience. What can I say though, other than do what it takes to stay alive.
The end of the last night has been spent in exhausted merriment, with people dancing to James Brown, EDM bands I’ve never heard of and Michael Jackson. We all drank the rest of the beer and tried to talk about things other than how hard we’d worked, celebrating, escaping and ultimately enjoying each other’s company. Here’s the deal–I don’t know what I did in the past, present and future to deserve to be around these people, otherwise known as my friends, but whatever it was, I’m lucky to have accidentally done it. They all love me, and the fucked up part about that is how much I need that love. Where do I go next? Do I leave New York again, head to New Orleans, return home to Salt Lake, stay here, stay alive, don’t stay alive, continue in which direction? I’m not sure yet.
I know only one thing right now, looking at the world through this fuzzy lens. I need love, and I need to recognize it when I have it.
On Writer’s Block: I imagine it’s different for everybody, but at the same time it’s something that everybody goes through. Writer’s block is associated with writing, but only a fool would believe that it’s a writing related thing. Writing is an expression—the block of expression is something felt by anybody who explores is capable of exploring expression, and probably something that hits people who refuse to express. Where it comes from, where it goes, nobody really knows. But it exists as we do, and the block itself says much about who we are.
I haven’t written much lately. I can’t talk. Something’s happened.
Cuba was really intense for me, for so many reasons. I put an unimaginable amount of effort into it, starting in January of 2011 when I first had the inspiration to go there. A whole debacle involving visas and restrictions prevented me from going last year, and to be honest, the only reason I moved to New York involved the disappointment of being barred from that country. Oh, and I guess there was that girl I was (and might still be) running from. That’s beside the point. I worked so hard to get there, didn’t give up, wrote a fucking awesome speech, delivered it, killed it, made an international impression, learned a lot, traveled, the whole nine yards. For lack of a better phrase, I pulled it off.
And then I came back numb.
It’s weird, I can’t wrap my head around it, but for some reason I feel like giving up. Something about watching a country try, actually fucking try, and deal with the shit they have to deal with (thanks to countries like my own) made me feel like anything I can do to change the world is pointless, utterly pointless. Perhaps I’m a failure. I’ve always been very existential, and I recognize that you reap what you sow. But what does that mean? Where does the hopelessness stem from?
After the last time I got back from Paris, I passed out in some girl’s bed, woke up, looked at her golden hair sprawled across a pillow, instantly got a Leonard Cohen song stuck in my head and suddenly recognized I was trapped in a Henry Miller novel. When describing my feelings to a friend, they expressed that I was really stuck in a Mike Abu novel. If that’s the case, I’m stuck in a super fucked up book.
Digressions are the sign of writer’s block. There is no structure, no point, just rambling, word after word for no reason. My life has become an endless series of digressions, and it leads me to wonder if I’m broken for good?
Time will tell I guess. Bear with me. I can’t promise to try at this point, but I’ll try to try.