Tag Archives: sarcasm

tell me twice.

by Ed Williams

My car is in the shop which means I get to use Daryl’s car for the day. My first task is making sure he gets to school by 8:00 am. I literally throw together some clothes to wear. I grab an army green pair of sweats with last years living room paint all over them and a ripped waist-band. Hardly awake, I manage to grab a “Jakes Bar” tee shirt in the dark. I don’t have time to shower and barely shove a wet toothbrush down my throat. I manage to wrestle with a pair of white athletic socks I stepped on lying on the floor and locate my brown dress shoes near the front door.

As I stumble down the outside stairs I catch my reflection in the glass-doored entrance to our building of condos. My hair has been pushed into some unnatural sculpture resembling a cross between a 50’s beehive and a Billy Idol video. My glasses are somewhat askew, and at the risk of sounding politically incorrect, I look like a refugee that’s washed up on the shore of some country that’s going to turn me away. This is not good.

As we’re driving to his school, Daryl proceeds to tell me about a dream he had last night that included some obnoxious tipping for a relative who was dressed as a waiter (server) providing us with a half a glass of Coke (no alcohol.) Can this day get much worse?

As we pull up to the school Daryl sees another teacher and blurts,”Oh look! Miss Carol got her hair cut! It looks great.” At which point I slink deeper down into my seat and quip, “Please don’t introduce me to anyone this morning. I look like shit.” To which my Husband retorts, “Oh don’t worry. You don’t have to tell me twice.”

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#exquisite taste?

I’m a social media whore. Bam! It’s out there!

As if anyone would question those statements. When I run into people at parties, at the supermarket, even on the street, I hear, “I love your Posts! They make me laugh, cry, or just get pissed and unfriend people. ”

I know how to blog, post, InstaGram, tweet, I can pin like there’s no tomorrow, and I even tried that Snapchat for about a week until I discovered those … um graphic images don’t always just “disappear.”

I enjoy checking my social media stats, seeing how many views, visitors, and followers I get. I’m not sure if it’s a need, or an unhealthy obsession, but I do it. I grew up in an environment where everything was charted, graphed, and counted by numbers. Get over it.

To me, Twitter seems to be the most difficult for me to integrate. I use it to follow politicians, the occasional sports figure, and many of my favorite soap opera stars. I like diversity.

Imagine my pleasant surprise when I discovered that I have a new follower on Twitter! I’m not so sure I’m crazy about this one though…

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can I get a witness?

I’ve always had this personal fear that someday, somehow, some WAY, I’m going to be found out as a fake. A fraud. I believe it comes from some inner insecurity that maybe I’m just not good enough.

I think we must all go through that at one time or another. At least, that’s what I’m hoping. I’d hate to think it was only me. It isn’t just me. Right? Emoticon wink.

I’ve been in the process of a true personal evolution (as opposed to a false one). I’m not completely sure if it came from a latent New Years resolution, or perhaps some misguided third times the charm mid life crisis, but it’s here. And I’m a little frightened.

I am fast approaching 58 (does my age make the mid life crisis a mute point?), and I’ve come to the realization that I want to do something I actually like… make that LOVE, for this autumn season of my world. The interesting part (I say interesting because ridiculous sounds too negative) is that I’m not quite sure what it is I actually WANT to do?

Again, I’m guessing (make that desperately hoping) that some of YOU struggle with this as well. If not, well, then consider this yet another coming out story.

One of the problems I have is that I still believe that I’m a spry 18 year old on the inside. It’s when I pass those God awful mirror reflections where my Dad seems to make his appearance (God rest his soul) and I refuse to admit that man is me. Did I just use the word God twice in a sentence? Would that be considered a double negative to an atheist? Do I capitalize atheist? I digress. Squirrel!

Anyway…

I’m looking to change what I do “for a living?” That being challenging enough, I have what I THINK is loads of talent that I just don’t know how to channel into a way that makes sense. A way that I would feel is authentic. To me. To you. And also, a way that would make money.

So I continue to deal with the notion that any day now, I’m going to wake up to finger pointing whisperers who are laughing at how inadequate I am. At how silly I look out here struggling to find “my sense of self.” I hear snickers of “he can’t do that, he’s past his prime,” and “how immature to think he can just drop his current financial freedom (herein known as living paycheck to paycheck) to actually “pursue a dream.” “What a phony. What a fraud.”

I’m not looking for reassurance, I assure you. At least, not from you. I’m searching for reassurance from me. I want to bust out of the closet AGAIN, to become who I’m meant to be. Isn’t that what we all want? Don’t we all want to be authentic? To be true to ourselves? Don’t we all hide pieces of us that we sort of hold back on for fear of ridicule, or laughter. Like tripping in the cafeteria at 9th grade lunch.

I’m overwhelmed with paths I want to take at this point in my life. But I’m going to find one. One that works. It may not be that great American novel, but it will be MY journey. Maybe that’s what I’m so afraid of. I’ve always had a direction. A goal. A destination ahead. The path of always being in control. Always certain.

It’s so scary for a control freak like me. To enjoy the process now. To continue to listen to my heart (maybe I’m not a fraud after all), to go with the flow (I hate cliches), to make a plan (let’s be somewhat realistic here), and to live in the moment.

I’m fortunate that I have a husband who continuously supports me (some say support, some say blind love. Potato. Potahto.) And I DO get such lovely feedback from the social media community (is there a name for that in the urban dictionary?) So here goes.

Wish me luck.

Not sure why I chose this photo.
Maybe I’m shocked because I need a manicure.

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Do I Smell Like Vomit?

It’s sometimes difficult having conversations with a husband whose job it is to deal with special needs kids at a privately funded residential institution on a daily basis. He likes his job and it’s challenges with bodily fluids, but he doesn’t call me Special Ed for nothing. Wait… Is that considered a double-negative? Speaking of double negatives…

It’s all a dream.

The other day I came home from my own (frustratingly people oriented) job in sales, to Daryl in the kitchen re-stacking the dishwasher that I painstakingly arranged (some would say threw in there haphazardly) earlier in the day before my shift. As is common with homosexual men, he tore off his floral apron, we immediately licked our lips, lit patchouli smelling candles, stripped each other of our clothing, turned on our Bluetooth house trance music, our tower fan, and proceeded to sip our pink cosmopolitans while falling sexually to our knees. Oh wait… that was a dream I had last night.

In real life, we smiled, pecked, and hugged each other, grateful to be at home in our little world. As I pulled away and turned to get changed from my suit and tie, Daryl asks me a little too nonchalantly, “Do I smell like vomit?” Now, I know these words are usually restricted for those couples with infants, toddlers and outdoor pets that eat rodents, so I turned around while still grasping my necktie a bit to tightly. My look must have startled Daryl into a quick addendum, “I think I washed most of it out with water and paper towels at work, but I don’t think I need to change my shirt. What do YOU think?”

“What’s wrong with the way I stack things in the dishwasher?” I shot back with love filled darts behind my eyelids ready to strike.

He looks at me… then back at the open dishwasher, and quickly grabs a soup spoon before it escapes the conversation like a teen with a persistent parent. “Look at this! It still has peanut butter on it! You have to rinse things first.” He half sighs, half snorts in frustration.

“I just don’t get why they call them dishwashers then. It’s false advertising,” I shot back. “and I enjoy eating peanut butter out of the jar on occasion. Rinsing it would be such a chore. Whats the big deal?”

“… and HOW do you think water is supposed to get to this bowl when it’s blocked by another bowl?” Daryl asks, looking again into the mis-stacked puzzle of dishware, flatware, assorted cocktail glasses and a large cheese grater.

“Water jets,” I smirked as I bobbled my head from side to side, “HOT propulsion water jets.”

“No and no” he admonished like he’s some sort of physics expert.

I pivoted around and I stomped (as much as a carpeted floor will let one stomp) into the bedroom to change while Daryl continued to clink and clank his way through my jumbled mess in the Maytag, trying to make sense of it all.

Not so long ago…

What’s interesting about this situation is that when Daryl and I moved in together 9 or so years ago, living in (yet another) sin, the man didn’t understand the power of chores. I believe he thought that dust covered tables were great for leaving handwritten notes, or hearts, or those pesky XOX’s. Making a bed was something one only did in hospitals, and even then, only when a patient left or died. And trash was only taken out if it smelled. Really smelled.

Don’t get me wrong, the man wasn’t a slob so to speak, but the man was… Well, a man.

Thank God, I turned him into a woman. Wait… that sounds sexist. Thank God I turned him into a good housewife. Whew! He even once bellowed during a particularly verbal disagreement over laundry once that HE was turning into ME. Surely a fate worse than… worse than… mixing colors with whites! Wait… does that have racial undertones?

Hope.

As I was taking my socks off, Daryl came in to the bedroom holding two full glasses of our best Pinot Noir, hands me one and says, “All forgiven?” I smiled, threw my arms around his chunky chocolate neck and said “Absolutely! Now go change your shirt. You smell like vomit.”

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Daryl and Ed’s Excellent Adventure.

I’m just tired of “the gay thing,” I blurted bluntly to Daryl on the drive home from Philadelphia’s Gay Pride Event earlier in June… “I just want to hang out with regular people for awhile… straight people. I just wanna watch a Phillies game, Wheel of Fortune, and The Bachelorette. I just want a Miller-Lite in a bottle. I’m worn out with Dykes on Bikes, drag queens, twinks, and tattoos. I feel like Rainbow Brite shit all over the city. I’m too old for this stuff.” He looked at me like one of those Sarah Mclachlan dogs on the commercial and whined, “but I’ve never been to New York City’s Pride Parade and I’d really enjoy going.” I’d seen the parade myself several years ago, and must admit it truly IS quite the event.

Daryl and I grew up in a time and environment where it just wasn’t cool to be gay. We weren’t bullied per say, but sometimes joked about, made fun of, or full out ostracized it certain social situations when we were younger, we could have never imagined a world, or at least a major city, that shuts down as thousands upon thousands of people from all age groups, walks of life, and ethnicities come together to celebrate personal Pride. Being PROUD of who, what, and where we are in life and seeing as how Daryl and I had come out much later in our own lives, we DID have a little catching up and celebrating to do.

NYC or bust. (Does anyone even say “or bust” anymore?)

I had booked a small Hilton Garden Inn on the border of SoHo and Tribeca just below Canal Street in Manhattan for a couple of nights so we could make a city-style romantic weekend getaway in addition to getting Daryl his gay Pride fix. I love hanging out in the city, any city, always have… there are energies that exist like no other. The vast diversity of the people, the visual, aural, and emotional “turmoil” is a huge turn on for me.

I am Julie, your cruise director.

I’m not exactly sure how I got the job, but I tend to do the planning for (some call it over planning) vacations, weekend getaways, day trips, and evening local jaunts. Maybe it’s because it’s instinctive to me, or perhaps I have this need to… what’s it called… control things. I honestly don’t know where this accusation originated, but apparently I make lists, research hotels, neighborhoods, diners, restaurants, entertainment venues, what will be worn when, and clean bathroom facilities whenever we decide to go somewhere. Go figure.

I HAVE mellowed with age, although I still insist that we arrive ANYwhere six to seven hours in advance. Airports scare me. I’m continuously afraid I’ll be late so I arrive for my flight the day before. Job interviews? Hours ahead of time. I end up drinking extra cups of coffee then have to pee so bad during the interview, that I blow it. The only reason Daryl and I even got together over nine years ago was because I was a half a day early for our first date and we had more time to see if we clicked.

Anyway, we arrived in New York way before our room was ready (you can tell when the desk check and the baggage handler roll their eyes at each other when they THINK you’re not looking) and decided to venture into the Tribeca neighborhood on a gloriously sunny New York day.

It didn’t take long.

It was still before noon. We were hungry. We skipped any sort of breakfast (woofing a large banana down on the New Jersey Turnpike does not qualify. Oh… you thought I meant the fruit?) because I couldn’t wait to get on the road (or as I spin it, “We have to avoid traffic.”) I thought for sure we could locate some cute little bistro with red and white checked tablecloths overlooking one of the rivers. You know… one of those places you see in the movies. I researched it earlier via Yelp. Maybe a place to grab an organic salad, soup, some warm pita bread, and a sparking mimosa would be perfect. We rounded the corner of Warren street off of West Broadway and heard “Get Up (I feel like a sex machine)” by James Brown pulsing out of an open door under a large weather worn sign with neon-formed letters that read “Raccoon Lodge.” We looked at each other and immediately knew we wanted a piece of this place. I poked my head inside to see a petite young lady in a tight ponytail cleaning up the bar while bobbing her head. “Are you open?” I inquired, to which she immediately welcomed us in.

The place was dark. It took a minute or two for my eyes to adjust, but the dank, stale beer smell indicated to me that we had stumbled onto a local watering hole that I’m sure had been stumbled OUT of on many occasions. “Hey guys! I’m Cindi with an ‘i,’ what can I get you?” Daryl and I grabbed a pair of metal-based torn-plastic-seated bar stools and dragged them across the hardwood floor echoing the emptiness of the place. We awkwardly swiveled into position to a well worn bar that hadn’t seen a lick of paint or varnish in decades. The out-of-place digital jukebox machine continuing on with a song by Kansas, Daryl and I ordered a pair of Heinekens. Cindi with an I plopped the sweating bottles in front of us with one hand, while slicing limes with the other. She was young and perky… sort of. Of course EVERYone is young and perky to me now. I usually gauge my age using police officers. I remember when I was younger they were figures of authority. I mean, they still are, but they’re so young now. They all look like they’re twelve and wouldn’t be able to save my life unless they checked with their Mom first.

I digress, again.

As Cindi with an i continued slicing citrus for future cocktails, I gulped some iced cold beer and surveyed the interior of the Raccoon Lodge (not a raccoon in sight.). Memorabilia everywhere, with photos, banners, NYFD and NYPD patches haphazardly taped, stabbed, and stapled into the wall behind the bar. Not a blank space to be found as I studied photos of smiling men, arms around each other, cigars in mouths, cars and boats and frosty mugs of beer as backgrounds. There was an unusually large Moose Head hanging on a wall toward the restrooms in the back directly over an old elevator door that had long been painted over and was obviously no longer in service. A lonely pool table sat in the middle of the hall with cues resting atop it’s well-worn fading green felt, cigarette burns dotting it’s side from a time when cigarette smoke was a decadent part of the tavern culture. As a Christopher Cross song snuck its place into the jukebox lineup I asked Cindi if she chose the music herself. She shrugged while hand drying glasses and stated that it was a satellite station that is chosen at random. “I don’t really hear it!” she yelled from other side of the bar.

As soon as she worked her way closer to us I asked her about the memory-made conglomeration on the wall. “It’s many of the locals. We’re a few blocks from Ground Zero. This bar was one of the first in the area that remained open after that day in September. The responders and construction workers always came here after working at the site. Some would bring photos of friends lost, we’d put them up, and then they’d drink shots to those in remembrance.” I studied the faces in the photos a little more intently as Cindi asked if we needed another beer.

I could tell Daryl was enjoying the music as he continued to suck on his cold brew, and I asked him if he was getting hungry. I nodded to the perky ponytailed blond with tattoos and piercings everywhere to bring us a couple more beers and asked her if she had any suggestions for lunch. She pulled out her iPhone and suggested a pizza joint a few blocks away. “I’m from Brooklyn, so I don’t really know what is good around here,” she giggled as if making fun of us while we pretended not to look like the gay tourists we were. “Are you guys a couple?” she inquired. Daryl rolled his eyes as I blurted, “Yeah, a couple of nuts… or actually four nuts if you’re counting.” Cindi politely grinned while most likely just hoping that we’d tip well. I asked her if she was part of a couple. She replied with attitude that she was on again off again on again now off again.

Cinnamon for breakfast.

I asked Daryl once more if he was ready to go explore the area and find a place to eat as I noticed him eyeing a dusty Ms. Pacman machine in a forgotten corner of the Lodge. “Lets do a shot!,” as his eyes lit up, “Fireballs please!” he motioned to our bartender. We asked Cindi if she wanted to be a part of this self-inspired brunch of shots before noon, but she gracefully declined stating that she has spent too many late nights sleeping on a worn couch in the grungy basement of the Lodge because she liked to have too much fun. Daryl and I toasted Cindi with an i, New York City, Gay Pride, Marriage, 9/11, the jukebox, and each other as we swallowed what I consider cinnamon breath freshener.

We slammed our shot glasses down on the bar a little too hard, apologizing for slamming them as we left, tipping well, and singing along with a Cher song from the juke as we burst out onto Warren Street hearing our own laughter being swallowed up in the noise, the confusion and the amazing sunshine of New York City.

We headed toward Ground Zero…
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Boxers or Briefs?

I remember when I was much younger, I always looked at the underwear models in the Sears catalog. Male and female. In that order. They never looked uncomfortable in their skin with hand on hip one foot in front of the other on a bland background set. Maybe that was the attraction? Maybe not. I used to strain my young eyes to see if I could spot a nipple poking through a bra or spy a penile “shadow” that was foolishly missed by an hurried editor. There actually was one edition that supposedly had a well built white gentleman in boxer shorts who apparently was um… outside the box. I found the “offending photo” and chalked it up to some sort of weird misprint.

Back then there were perhaps a page or two of women in white bras and panties. Occasionally a cream and a black set would stand out. The men’s underwear page had “tighty whities” and boxers only. The models were also very pale. Never ethnic.

It’s different today.

Underwear comes in 2 inch thick catalogues now. Mailed in public with no brown paper wrap and coupons. Pages upon pages of color-filled, fun-loving, gorgeous models in every conceivable pose with little left to the imagination. I’ve even seen full on interracial families sitting around campfires, playing volleyball, having picnics in their underwear while grilling meat. Women in the Victorias Secret Catalog (was there ever really a secret?) in heaven inspired winged poses strutting through pages as if to dare me to think them not Godly with a chartreuse thong shoved into their crack. Men in “International Male” flaunting “undergear” with packages wider than tall. When did it become gear?

Why so angry?

Underwear models for the most part, always seem a little pouty to me. It’s as if they are thinking to themselves, “I have this flawless body, and I HAVE to share it with you so that I can make that car payment on my BMW M4 Convertible this month. Sigh. I’m bored.” Sometimes they look angry as well. Maybe they’re hungry.

The man in the mirror.

Sometimes I look in the mirror by accident and see myself in my glam Fruit of the Loom underwear. It’s usually a passing glance in a rush to put a smoothie in the blender while I search madly for a matching pair of socks. Not so taught, a little too pasty, and still trying to figure out where these age spots are coming from.

I think I need a catalog of my own. Something that I can relate to. Something real. Perhaps a page or two of tanned middle aged folks sitting at a swim up bar sipping margaritas in tasteful, practical undergarments. Maybe there IS a catalogue or a web site dedicated to my body and age type? I looked (googled, not ogled).

This is what I got:

Underwear of the Middle-Ages
Underwear with built in diapers
“Male-enhancement” garments
Wife swapping for men over 50

Sigh. Maybe I’ll just go commando.

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Less is more. More or less.

So yeah… I’ve been fairly consistent in my personal weight loss plan, or as I lovingly refer to it – “my healthy friggin’ lifestyle change.” It hasn’t been too difficult really. Two steady months of treadmill treading, park-walking while dodging bees and dog crap, and mindful (is cardboard a gmo?) caloric menu planning. I’ve lost 20 pounds. I didn’t think I was THAT out of shape (in all fairness, a pear is a shape). Im thrilled. I’m happy that I can once again tie my shoes in straight-on knots without some sort of convoluted out-of-breath body twisting. I can also now cut my toenails in the shapes they are meant to be in so that they don’t slice Daryl in the middle of the night, and most importantly… I can now see my d*ck when I pee.

I believe the first few months of any self imposed habit change are easy really. Daryl and I quit smoking several years ago, and neither of us lost an arm, a temper, or any friends that we like for that matter. We have it in us. Scheduling, determination, and willpower come easily to get initial results. It’s the continuing on and maintaining that evolution in the long term that separates the wheat from the chaff, the peanut butter from the jelly, the boys from the men.

Day 76 and counting…

Yesterday morning as he was hurrying out the door for work, Daryl says to me (in reality, he always seems to phrase it more like a thrown out jeopardy question,) “we ARE supposed to go to the gym tonight, right?” Now this gives me so many options out at this point. I can answer with, “Well, no. I’m too tired. I didn’t really sleep well last night. I kept having nightmares that I was actually eating clowns (cannibal or craving carvel cake? You decide.) which were holding odd-shaped colored balloon animals that were clashing with the clowns shoes.” That would have been reason enough, or I could have told him that I wasn’t up for it because I was depressed that my prescription for my anti-depressants had expired and exercising just wasn’t on my bucket list today. Or better yet, I can confuse him with one of my personal schedules that use words like conflict, house cleaning, or that I have to find a certain spice for a new recipe I’m researching and I won’t have time to go to the gym. I like to make up spice names to throw him off track. Who doesn’t need to have cardomomgerania?

Apparently he thinks I didn’t hear him the first time, so he repeats the question while muttering something about being late. I sheepishly answered, “Sure, I’ll look forward to it” with all the enthusiasm I can muster after one sip of coffee. I’m thinking that I could always feign I wasn’t awake enough to make rational choices at that time of day.

Work gets in the way.

Work was slow today. I had three customers all day. Its Tuesday. It’s summer. It’s graduations, vacations, and the implosion of Delaware interstate 495. People just aren’t into furniture buying right now. I get it. I’ve been doing this commissioned job long enough to know it comes in cycles. What I wasn’t prepared for was that at the end of my long shift, I felt the need to reward Daryl and I for our healthy lifestyle determination. To hell with earning a paycheck today! To hell with healthy living! Let’s go shopping! For me. For clothes that aren’t baggy and a smaller belt.

I could hardly wait to text Daryl that I had opted out of exercise in favor of vodka drinks and Tuscan fries at one of our favorite watering holes outside of Media. That in-depth highly paraphrased “textversation” went sort of like this:

Ed: “Hey babe! Let’s not go to the gym tonight. Let’s go have drinks and food at LaPorta and then let’s go clothes shopping at Penneys at Granite Run Mall.
Daryl: “ok”
Ed: “That’s it? That easily you want to drop the gym for vodka and a few snacks? You have no willpower at all do you? Why do I even try?”
Daryl: “Is this a test again?”
Ed: “What? Whatever are you talking about? (damn, he knows)”
Daryl: “In that case, I’m thrilled that you decided that we could forgo healthy living to go shopping at Penneys with my Associate discount card. I love it when you make all of our decisions! (All sort of condescending emoticons with kissing hearts and grinning teeth… Blah blah blah)”

Shopping requires stamina. Relationships require stamina. And vodka.

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