Getting lost in the sauce isn’t such a bad thing when you’re all-too familiar with said sauce. I see it as a way of getting away from the hapless happenings of everyday. It’s better to reflect when you’re not stuck in the past, because that’s when you can move on.
Recently, I got into a bit of trouble that ended up drastically changing the status quo that I was accustomed to. A cruel arrangement of dominoes fell, and before you know it, I was sent away to another post as part of the bucket list of punishments I was handed.
Settling into my new setting, I found that the accommodations were less that desirable. The housing quarters I was placed in had an unreliable AC system, the treadmill in the gym read in kilometers instead of miles (I get it, the metric system is superior, fuck off Brits), and the bathrooms were always clogged. Good grief, people, is it that hard to wipe your ass properly?
The bed I had was a glorified concrete slab, figuratively speaking. Literally speaking, it was the worst mattress I ever slept on (imagine sleeping outside Newark Penn Station, but 0.5 times worse… that math shouldn’t be too confusing). However, I was already used to sleeping under the worst of circumstances. You see, I dormed at Rutgers, went to Fort Benning for basic training, and had a white roommate once. And no, I’m not racist, but if you know, you know.
“I tire of this nonsense. Can you believe that harmless shenanigans could warrant such outlandish repercussions,” I said as I poured myself a cup of coffee.
“Bro, the FUCK did you just say?”
My friend was right. I came off as pretentious trying to imitate the lead from The Grand Budapest Hotel, but I couldn’t help myself. That movie was great.
“Man listen, whatever you said, it doesn’t matter, because there’s no WiFi.”
My heart dropped, just a little.
“Nah you lying dawg. Stop fucking around.”
“I’m being serious. Try to log in. The password is Aruba123.”
Sure enough, I connected to the router, but not the Internet. And that’s when the realization that I would spend my tenure at this desolate wasteland with no access to the outside world hit me. Rolling with these punches was getting harder. That’s why it’s important to download porn, people. PornHub Premium is the future.
One could say I’m being a drama queen, and it’s just 10 days. But oh buddy, trust me when I tell you this: when you become one with the insufferable, unrelenting digital age, then taking that means away warps your perceptions of time as you know it. 10 days becomes 240 hours, and 240 hours becomes 14,400 minutes. I can only imagine how many seconds that is.
So how did I get through these times of duress? I’m glad you asked.
( I know you didn’t ask, for fucks sake. Don’t you roll your judgmental eyes at me. Just go with it.)
Arnold Sylvester With The Weights
What if I told you that the gymnasium is the one place I used to dread the most? Back in the day, I’d rather walk into my high school physics class when we were on the chapter about velocity, or have a drinking contest with my father. The outcome for both of those events were miserable failures (once again, fuck you dad).
Well, everything has changed. I now love the gym! Hooray for fitness!
In this instance, the gym was closer than ever, with it being a minute’s walking distance from the slums I was egregiously tossed into. Even though it wasn’t state-of-the-art machinery, it was good enough to get a pump in. So I just trained.
It felt amazing. I wasn’t looking like a burlap sack filled with potatoes anymore. Evolving yourself to the best shape of your life, and not looking back, makes you indomitable. I felt like Rocky during his training montage in Rocky IV. You know, the one where they humorously intercut him training in the snow, with footage of that roided-up motherfucker Ivan Drago training with the most sophisticated athletic technology of that generation. What a hack that guy was.
Moving on from symbolic Cold War analogies, the worst part of this routine was the lack of protein, but I’d just eat more meat (pause) to make up for the protein shakes I didn’t have. The gains were express-delivered with 2 day shipping throughout these days.
I also ran too, but I dedicated an entire post to the fiendish act of running, so I don’t think I need to be redundant here.
Oldies and Goodies
What better time to expand your knowledge of Hollywood than when you’re disposed of and forgotten about? There I go being a drama queen again.
With no WiFi, I had to get creative to avoid insanity from boredom. Luckily, the shreds of ingenuity that inhibit my being anticipated this wicked development, and I brought my laptop and hard drive as an added measure of entertainment. Years ago, when I first acquired this 2 Terabyte hard drive, I stockpiled hundreds of pirated movies and TV shows on the device in case I would ever need it. I send my thanks to 18 year old me for holding it down with the classics.
I also send my 18 year old self harsh words for having such a shitty taste in pop culture. My god, what a fool. Wait until he discovers Tarantino has other movies besides Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill.
I’m a man that comes from research, but without the proper resources to conduct said research, I had to take chances on films I’ve never seen before, hoping that I wouldn’t watch 90 minutes of monotonous garbage. Looking at you, Spring Breakers.
On a strong recommendation, I chanced upon the lawyer flick My Cousin Vinny. However, this one is funny as shit. Like, Joe Pesci can really act a fool when he wants to, or a mafioso that ends up getting clipped by the third act. Either way, Joe Pesci still gets props for his sense of humor. Yes, we think you’re funny.
Oh, and one of my faves, Machete, was rewatched. That film is so cartoonish, yet it’s a fucking blast. The lead is a Mexican physically and metaphorically fighting state corruption in Texas. That could be a rap lyric in a way.
Who needs everlasting Netflix, and forgettable Hulu, when you have thousands of dollars worth of illegally downloaded movies, accessible with just a laptop and power source? I probably shouldn’t have said that out loud, but it’s alright; I’m used to trouble.
The Shakes and Shit
The Internet is like a drug: once you get cut off, you’ll begin experiencing withdrawals, and it’ll eat you up alive if you don’t control it. Luckily for me, I tend to stare into oblivion and think about random shit all the time, and it’s a splendid way to cope with this plight. I recommend a clear sky at the peak of twilight.
The stars always seem to pop out more when you’re in an unlikely setting, and even more so when it’s an ironic one. Whether it be a Puerto Rican in the middle of Antarctica, a Harvard University graduate in Rikers Island, or a recovering alcoholic at Bar SixtyFive, the universe always throws you a bone with the views when you don’t belong.
Well, an exception could be made for the Harvard graduate. That is, IF he turns out to be a crook on Wall Street after all.
Looking to those beautifully dead lights in the night sky, one finds it easy to recount the trials and tribulations it took to get to that point in time. Stargazing really is what you make it, and just thinking about the possibilities in store make living this charming life worth it.
Also, sleeping on these Tempurpedic rejects has given me the unwitting capacity to dream again. I’m talking fleshed-out noir stories that mix both my rugged past, with my convoluted present. It could also be the melatonin I’d been given during my stay at West Bubbafuck, but I’ll just chalk it up to incredible stress and shitty sleeping patterns.
The mechanism of a dream, I could never pin down. Sometimes, I’d dream about specific romantic encounters, with exaggerated details, that would span just 1 day in dreamworld. Other times, I would relive my entire childhood in a prolonged sequence the likes of Birdman cinematography. The more unfortunate events of my youth would frequent this dreamspace, but it was insightful, tragically eloquent, and much needed.
These perpetual blotches of reality and fantasy, they give you something to look forward to. They unlock the imagination without you moving a muscle. It draws from the constant thoughts running circles in your head, and autopilots a feature film so intimate, you can’t help but to crave for more. But then, just like the Internet, the dreams can also become a drug of sorts, intangible as it may be. So I don’t crave it as much anymore, for fear of losing my sanity.
Be as it may, I haven’t dreamt this much since I was on cocaine, so I’m grateful for that, at least.
I’m kidding, obviously (about the cocaine, of course).
A Pen Without Ink
Before this stint, I’d been self-diagnosed with the imaginative disease widely recognized as “writer’s block”. Not being remotely close to being an established author, someone in my position can still experience this lapse in writing often. Shit, I may still have it right now, and this whole blog post is ashy, but that’s for you to decide, and for me to accept.
This venture into isolation has taken away most immediate forms of entertainment, and it has taught me a couple things. For one, I should probably download more movies, but for another, it has taught me patience. And with patience, comes better results.
I look back on these 10 days, and I’m happy they happened. It may be insignificant compared to what’s to come, but in this moment, as I write this, it means everything.
Everyone has a story to tell, and every story has a signature appeal. Some love reading about botanists in Italy, while others enjoy a rather shrewd detective story. Some look for solace in the perspective of others, while others need that slight spark of motivation. Regardless, the writing medium can benefit from difference, and I don’t mind putting my 2 cents in. Inflation probably has that valued much lower, but it’s a tough economy we find ourselves in.
It doesn’t matter though, because those 2 cents, are MY 2 cents, and because of that, they’re priceless.