1) Cut my nails
2) Buy deodorant
3) Have a drink
4)Take garbage out
1) Cut my nails
2) Buy deodorant
3) Have a drink
4)Take garbage out
Sitting across the aisle from me on my flight from Dallas to Mexico City, Ulysses said to me “You go to Tepoztlan. That’s your place. They have Queso ice cream there.”
I was in.
He told me the metro to take to the bus station and which bus to take where. It would be a couple hours. It was a Sunday morning and it was sunny. It was perfection- warm in the sun, with a hint of a chill on each breeze. It was September of 2015 and the town was straight out of a movie, set in another time.
I find myself so angry today about Brussels. Generally, I can keep world events from effecting my mood, but once or twice a year it all becomes too much and you want to throw your hands up and just walk away. If there was another planet to escape to, I’m sure there would be no seats on the spacebus tomorrow. But, I live here and so I have to listen to music until I feel better. I can’t even imagine the grief of living through this, or the fear after surviving it and trying to carry on like life is the same tomorrow.
One thing I notice about myself is the more I travel, the more I empathize. I suppose that should be obvious but it happens without you noticing. I have been lucky enough to go to a few places overseas in the past two years and it’s given me a lot to reflect on. When I was in Turkey, I met people from Belgium seemingly everyday. We travelled together, sometimes for a day, sometimes something as simple and brief as having breakfast on a hostel rooftop with one another. And you leave, you leave and you remember that you, some huge guy from South India with no connections to Europe whatsoever found great conversation with a young Belgian couple over something as trivial as where the jam on our bread comes from each morning. We smile, we shake hands, and we leave closer to one another, and closer to humanity because we realize we’re all out here to see some things, to learn some things, looking for special moments, seeking personal discoveries, and we all want to have the biggest laughs. Nothing feels the same as knowing that you were so far from home, and you made a friend. Kindred spirits.
I used to devour those British music magazines in the 2000s. Q, Mojo, NME, ate them up and each of them always referred to David Bowie reverentially and most often as the thin white duke. Unquestionably, discovering and exploring his musical catalogue was a damn odyssey in my life and though I couldn’t get into the Berlin stuff, I thought David sang with more soul than most people gave him credit for. Yeah, I just called him DAVID. First time I saw him I think was a video on MTV Classic of Let’s Dance. Young me thought in my little brain “That guy is on drugs.” I was mostly right but when I discovered Changesbowie in high school, it was a wrap. I felt then and now that that album is the single best Greatest Hits album of all time. And please know that I recognize this is a very serious claim.
This one is my favorite Bowie song to play on a jukebox. And an amazing live performance from the man I proudly share my birthday with. (Birthsake?)
This is my favorite Bowie movie moment. With respect to The Prestige, Zoolander, and others, his musical accompaniment to the dance scene in A Knight’s Tale was pure gold. Puts a smile on your ole kisser every time.
For somebody who doesn’t change much and has had one “look” in his life, I still feel like Bowie and I are totally in sync on this anthem. I have sung this in the car countless times and that sax at the end, ooh boy. That’ll do, Bowie, that’ll do.
By far the funniest Bowie ever. He absolutely slayed it in what is one of the funniest tv scenes ever. And the song is actually catchy too!
This one is just one that always comes to mind. So rich with imagery and such a kick ass rock song. The lyrics are below the video and look like a poem, the gray letters on white. Memories of driving in New Jersey and ending the night with this on in my old Toyota.
I boarded the bus, climbed the half-spiral of a staircase to the upper deck and walked straight to the backseat, the long final row of the bus where cool kids hang out in movies about high school. I only wanted to sit there for the leg room, it wasn’t to feel cool or anything. I own a pair of very long legs (jeans length 36”) and due to various knee issues and aches, lately leg room means enough that I won’t pass up on it. I plopped down in the third of the five seats in the row, the one that afforded me the luxury of a twenty-foot path to stretch my legs out into. The bus was supposed to be full and already appeared to be, with the exception of my row. Being a typical 2013 human, I hoped nobody else would show. On cue, two young men appeared out of the top of the staircase and began walking toward me. The pair came upon my outstretched legs and I asked them which pair of seats they wanted – the one to my left or the one to my right? The first guy, a man of about 25 years old who somehow looked noticeably cleaner than me while simultaneously trying to look much scruffier said “Doesn’t matter” in a whisper. I stood up and they went to my right. Clean Scruff took the window seat and his companion – a smaller, even cleaner, more well-built guy of about 22 years sat between the window seat and my leg-friendly throne.
The bus pulled away from the station two minutes later. Individually, each of my knees thanked my brain for allowing them the only seat on the bus where they could be free from the back of a seat trying to crush them into powder thanks to some prickish traveler who would rather keep wrestling their seat further back against my knees than turn around and actually acknowledge that –whoa- there’s another human being in the seat behind me. But of course, my reveling would not last due to the palpable awkwardness created by the empty pair of seats to my left. I could feel the thoughts and looks from my right and Clean Scruff then whispered to Young Ripped, while reasonably assuming that I couldn’t hear him because I had headphones on,
“Ask him to move over. Ask him.”
– “You ask him.”
-“You do it.”
Neither of them ever asked me. I maintained my poker face better than any statue could have, never even twitching or moving 1/1000th of a movement in their direction. I have mastered this by ignoring people at the gym every week. Headphones appear to only serve our ears but in actuality, serve several purposes and hence one of my favorite inventions. I may have even started nodding my head to the *music* that I was suddenly pretending to be listening to. I glanced to my left and saw that the girl in front of the empty pair of seats had not pushed her seat all the way back as yet, a small miracle in today’s travelling world where people seem to think that they are getting more bang for their buck with each extra inch of space secured. (Says the guy who proudly hijacked the leg room seat and would have separated a family of 4 to keep it. Yes, I made that decision preemptively upon sitting) I then thought to myself that if I moved to the open window seat and put my bag on the floor beneath me, I could extend my legs sideways thus giving me my coveted leg room and the pair of weary gents the extra space that they desired. So, magnanimous benefactor that I am, I made the switch. I glanced right and noticed that the two barely moved. I wondered what their game was. Then, Young Ripped moved a full two inches onto the seat I had been in a few minutes earlier. Literally, two to three inches. And Clean Scruff used this extra five centimeters to raise his legs to his window and fall backward, landing his head in Young Ripped’s lap where he proceeded to close his eyes as YR massaged his temples. Not one word was exchanged between them during this switch.
During that massage, I began to suspect this was a very gay couple.
I have been thinking about relationships and observing different ones so I was excited to be sitting next to this gay couple. I couldn’t recall a couple more comfortable with one another than these two were. They projected the security and ease of a couple in their fourth decade of marriage. I was particularly impressed by the terrifically long silences between them which were only broken up by a rare whisper. I tried to guess their back stories. Judging from their tans, they had been at the beach for a good portion of that weekend. They seemed exhausted, not “I’ve done some hard thinking this weekend” exhausted but “I’ve done some hard-drinking this weekend” exhausted. And after slyly observing them for an hour, I began to think that this couple was not only the gayest couple I had seen, they were even perhaps one of the best couples I had seen. They were in sync like the tightest b-boy crew in 1986 Harlem.
What stood out to me was the comfort. Neither of the two seemed to ever care what the other was thinking. Both of them sat there for hours and probably exchanged a grand total of seven minutes of conversation. After YR massaged CS’s head, CS sat up and straightened himself out in his window seat and YR laid his head down on the third seat (while I had been sitting on) and draped his legs out on CS’s lap. CS proceeded to load up Netflix on his Iphone and stick it into the space between the seats in front of them. He then removed a Splitter from his bag. I was blown away. A Splitter is a simple jack you plug into into a headphone jack that allows two people to listen or watch everything at the same time. In my mind, it’s always been one of the most romantic inventions ever. However, I feel like you don’t see this often because it’s very difficult to want to share every second of something with someone. Hence, why people eventually say things like “clingy” or “didn’t give me my space” and the like. When Clean Scruff produced the Splitter, I was intrigued as could be. I had to squint long and hard to figure out what they were watching and sadly, I never could confirm. I recognized the BBC logo during the intro but Alas- ’tis all we shall ever know about that.
While the young gay couple watched what I assume was a comedy (due to sporadic laughter), Clean Scruff began to massage Young Ripped’s ankles and feet which were on his own lap. While he did so, the two kept their eyes on the screen and barely spoke to one another about the lines, the show, the acting, or the massage. I noticed that Clean Scruff laughed twice or more for every one time Young Ripped laugh. However, what was cool was that Young Ripped never felt he had to laugh because Clean Scruff found something funny. He wouldn’t even crack a smile. And likewise, he would bust out with a loud laugh once in a while and CS would sit there stone-faced. It was quite something. Still, they never remarked the usual remarks I hear couples make in that situation “You think that’s funny?” or “What are you laughing at?” etc. These two didn’t seem to put much thought into things like that. It struck me as a very honest, sincere and hassle-free relationship. When they broke out their food, they didn’t overly offer each other a bite but when someone wanted one, he would literally take it from the other’s hand without a word from either. It was the sort of communication without communication that I’ve come to expect from twins and less from a young couple.
A few hours into our journey, they were both sitting upright and they turned to one another and kissed each other. These two men were homosexuals!
Now, growing up, I had no homosexual friends. I didn’t even know any homosexual people. I’ve met a handful in the past few years, all cool people but I hadn’t sat next to a pair of men kissing each other before. If you had asked me to bet on it the previous day, I would have bet I would have felt uneasy. But I didn’t at all. Not even in the slightest. It wasn’t like the sloppy kisses of drunk couples at bars. It wasn’t the performance of an insecure couple who figured that they had to snog. It wasn’t one of those smooches where one person’s driving and the other’s asleep in the passenger seat. It was quick, simple, effortless. And it was the kind of thing that made you think that these two were serious. It was just like the times you’ve seen a man and a woman together and thought they were good for each other – except this time it was me feeling that way about two men for the first time. For Pete’s sake, they reminded of the couple from the movie Up. Yup, the young couple was one of the gayest I had ever seen, no tension, no pretense, no disconnect, like one beat perfectly kept between two sets of headphones. Mazel Tov, boys.
Gay: having or showing a merry, lively mood: gay spirits; gay music.
Synonyms: cheerful, gleeful,
happy, glad, cheery, lighthearted, joyous, joyful, jovial; sunny, lively,
vivacious, sparkling; chipper, playful,jaunty, sprightly, blithe.
Well, if you want to know what happens when you want some tea and put a pot of water on the stove to boil and then leave the room to get your headphones and then plop down in bed and forget about it completely – eventually the loud interspersed banging and beeping permeates the music and convinces you that it’s NOT part of the beat and then you run out and the water’s all evaporated and the bottom of the pot is burnt and you cover the handle with a towel and throw it in the cabinet and go answer the door and tell your neighbours and landlord that you don’t know why the alarm went off but the reason it went off for so long is that you had your headphones on so you could study and you have to because of said neighbour’s loud music and you remind her in front of landlord that her smoke alarm went off at 3am last month and you had to sleepwalk over there and switch it off since she couldn’t reach it and you wondered who bakes at that hour but you make a joke of it like “heh heh lot of false alarms lately, must be going around” and then they start talking about you in Spanish but that’s actually cool because you don’t understand so you say firmly “OK I really have to go study” and politely shut the door and then you draw the curtains closed and pull the telltale pot out of the evidence locker and boil some more water because after all you still want the tea, in fact now more than previously, but this time you watch it like a hawk and then it comes to a boil and then you blog about it while your lemon green tea cools. Fin.
What I’m listening to as I watch the shadows of the steam rising from my much awaited piping hot tea dance up my wall:
“Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” -Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity