The authentic cool of the elders

Old people are just naturally cool. They give off that uninterested vibe that they’ve seen it all, been there done that, mostly because they have(or are simply too exhausted by what they have seen to show much enthusiasm for whatever trivial stupid thing you’re trying to show them.) They don’t get too passionate because they realize it’s pointless to care or try to make a difference, that life’s too short and there are better things to do with what little time one has. They sometimes don’t respond or pay attention when you talk to them because they either don’t give a shit or can’t hear you. They don’t act very nervous because they don’t feel they have much to lose at this point. They are tired and take frequent naps in a hammock or some such relaxing contraption. They most likely have faced death many times, undergone multiple procedures, been diagnosed with various serious ailments, so they face it all with calm, contemplative composure. They move more slowly and are generally laid back, but are quick witted and charming. When they do show emotion it is usually genuine and appropriate. On the inside there may still be a frightened, wounded child, nervous wreck or sad sack of a soul just the same as that which idles deep in the internal components of your average hot rodding teenager. The difference is that most young people can only try to act cool or look cool. Old people just naturally are cool.

He is a young man,
and young men are passionate.
They must say their say.
But wiser people must decide.
I know you are right.

-from Lawrence of Arabia

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If the dog wouldn’t have stopped to shit he would’ve caught the rabbit

So lately when go I jogging at night I keep almost getting attacked by vicious dogs. There is one particular Arcadia street which I prefer to jog through because of the lovely 60’s era tri-level houses, and because there are unlikely to be gangsters, trashy people drinking in their front yards or any other riff raff milling about.
However I failed to plan for the contingency of roaming unleashed attack dogs. I got chased by this pit bull the other night and it was reminiscent of that scene from Fletch except that I didn’t have a vehicle to flee in. Appeals to cooler heads such as “sit boo boo sit” fell on deaf dog ears. The thing was just unappeasable. At first he just sort of stared at me while maintaining a balance between rabid cujorian barking and an eerie “hound of the baskervilles” sort of growl….all emanating from a creature that from afar had looked about as menacing as the ghost of Spuds Mckenzie.

Then the beast just up and charged me. I had to climb a stucco fence and chill on top of it where the thing couldn’t quite reach me. He just sat there barking like the hounds of hell. I resisted the temptation to taunt the poor creature, and got down the other side of the fence and continued jogging.

I have started encountering these mangy mutts on a nightly basis, which has put me on something of an “orange alert” while jogging. The last time I had jogged at that color code level was when I was in
Florida several years ago, in an area where it would not be uncommon to see alligators while running late at night close to swampy bodies of water(although I never saw one.)

perhaps someone should run for office with the political slogan
“jogs not dogs”
Not me though. I don’t want to run for office(I’d be considered too racist, homophobic and creepy to ever get elected to anything anyway even though I’m not all of those things only one or two.) Rather I just want to run from office. As in, run away from my responsibilities, my obligations and myself in the present just like Rabbit in John Updike’s classic…or maybe Logan from a distopian far flung future embarking on a fast paced futile journey to some non-existent sanctuary.

Run!
Meanwhile…

Acceptance is the Cure

Acceptance is the Cure

I just want someone to accept me
for who I am-
“But you don’t even accept yourself for who you are!”
I accept myself for being someone
who can’t accept who they are.
So I guess I’m looking for an exception,
someone who accepts me for being someone who
accepts themselves for being someone
who can’t accept who they are.

from my book SideQuests

cockpit of despair

Flight From The Senses by Brandon Adamson

Putting on the invisible disguise
in an effort to evade untimely demise
it’s off to navigate the maze of the skies
without a wingman, minus a stewardess,
and the crash lessons of the last
as the only guide,
such is the flight experience on the airline of the times.
turbulence from the moment you lift off the ground
from the up up uppity ups to the dipstick dippity downs-
could someone please turn this plane around?
and head back toward those now distant,
familiar sounds,
but you fear that they no longer exist.
Consulting once again the trusty oracle,
peering into your past, going back even one minute!
always reveals an inexperienced pilot..
talking to yourself on the captain’s radio
from the cockpit of despair “away we go!”
with the empty air of being alone,
the fare you pay to fly on your own.

Time Machine Daydream

brandon adamson dawn batson

Dawn Batson dredged up this photo of me at Harlowe’s from when she came to visit in December of 2006.When I see it, all I can think is “such innocent times.” Dreary to see a photo like this really. I feel like I need to time travel back there to my diet depsi drinking, cream chipped beef on toast eating self and save him from the smirk on his face.

Dear December 29, 2006 Self,

“Young man, you have no sense of what hellish things awaiteth you these next couple years. You’re going to experience whirlwind romances, unconditional love and romantic tumultuity the likes of which you have not yet seen. You will finally win over the girl of your dreams, an astonishing achievement by 2006 standards. But if dreams can come true, then nightmares can too. I know what you’re thinking…but yes you still can and will feel pain from broken heartedness. You will discover there are other ways for relationships to go badly than what you are familiar with. Right now you think it’s so hard to find someone that you love who actually loves you back just as equally. Well, I got news for you, pal, it turns out that’s only the first step! There are so many other variables in the equation, that you are simply not prepared to deal with grasshopper.

If all that were not bad enough, you’re also going to have ultrasounds, CT scans, endless anxiety, and eventual scrotum surgery to deal with that mysterious third testicle you’ve always been worried about in the back of your mind and is probably giving you discomfort at this very moment.

Most of your friends will have gotten married or essentially vanished from the world as you know it, and having blown your own chance you’ll be flying on your own…one of the last to remain, like “Bear” from the 1978 movie “Big Wednesday.” You are going to experience many unpleasantries and suck ass things. You should just immortalize yourself forever in that pose and call it a day. Oh and after breakfast Dawn and Ferraby are going to ask you if you want to come back to L.A. with them for New Years Eve. You should do it because your new years eve is going to blow otherwise. You’re not going to get to makeout with anyone at midnight, and the one girl at the party who wants to is underage and not the one you want.”

the coin of the realm

“That’ll be 8.02”
(I hand the girl at the counter a $10 bill
and she starts to count out 1.98 in change)
“You’re not really going to give me 98 cents change are you?”

Normally I pay for everything with my debit card, but at certain places I only pay cash because I don’t necessarily want them to know who I am. I’ve had people look for me online before after seeing me somewhere…and that’s cool I do that sort of thing too, but I also write about all sorts of nutty exchanges I have with people so you just really never know who reads this stuff and how they’d react. Maintaining anonymity in certain circles(like where I eat) is important to me.

Back in the days when I was a “broke ass ” coins were a hot commodity (even mangled pennies that had been run over to the point of near-unrecognizability were highly sought after.) Anything to get me closer to the short term goal of either a single bag of microwave popcorn or a stick of processed string cheese from 7-eleven.

The only time in recent memory that I made any serious effort to scrounge around for change buried within the meager crevasses of my room was about a month ago, and I was able to muster about $35 worth… which I brought to the Coinstar machine and converted it into cash that I then took to Vegas where it swiftly evaporated into a “Money Mad Martians” slot machine and was completely vaporized within about 20 minutes.

I hate coins. They should just get rid of them altogether. When your skinny jean pockets get too filled with change, it just makes it look like you have a displaced scrotum. Not to mention it sags your pants and causes you to make constant belt notching adjustments to account for the periodic increases and decreases in coin levels throughout the day.

Years ago people saved every penny. Nowadays you find a quarter in your pocket(not a roll of quarters mind you) and it’s “how the the heck did that get in there?” just before you toss it somewhere harmlessly without even bothering to make a wish.

The Virtues of Being a Number

People just don’t seem to understand the name Brandon. By that I mean they literally never can get it right when they hear it. Anytime I go anywhere or do anything where some stranger feels the need to ask me my name and I say “Brandon”….they always come back and mistake it for some other name.

Them“What was that? You said your name was Fred?”
Me“No it’s Brandon actually”
Them“Oh, okay hi Randy”
Me“No, it’s Brandon.”
Them“Oh Brian. I thought you said Fred”
Me“It’s Brandon…

I experience conversations like this multiple times on a daily basis, and I just don’t get it. While I have a fairly soft spoken, “vaguely prepubescent” voice I certainly don’t talk like I have marbles in my mouth and can enunciate with the best of the 1970’s game show hosts or at the very least the level of a veteran mid-tier telemarketer. The name which I am speaking should not even be remotely in doubt.

It’s not as if the name Brandon is so uncommon as to not register in the realm of possibilities of the human psyche when heard. It’s not even one of those weird made-up spellings, insisted upon pronunciations or oddball offshoots of a proper name that parents often use to give their precious child an annoyingly unique name.

“Well hello there Tara (pronounces it like terra)”
“Actually it’s Tara (pronounces it Tar-uh like tar the gooey stuff they use on roads)

“It’s nice to meet you Shana(pronounced Shay-nuh)”
“Despite how it looks my name is really Shana(rhymes with banana)”

In actuality when I was a kid there were very few Brandons(maybe one other one in my whole grade school), and as a child I remember being self conscious that I had such a weird name. It wasn’t until about 5th grade that I finally even met a kid named “Brendan.”

Almost any Brandon from that era can trace the origin of his name to the child character on the show “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father” (in the same way that the once teen idol Jason Priestley character “Brandon Walsh” on 90210 undoubtedly spawned a plethora of progeny born in the early nineties.)

I however was not lucky enough to be named after the boy from “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father” but was instead named for the hero in a sleazy drugstore romance novel called “The Flame and the Flower”…a book my mother had apparently been quite fond of.

Nevertheless, I digress. The one thing that all the people who hear and say my name wrong have in common is that they really have no need to know it at all. It’s simply unnecessary for the level of interactions and transactions that are taking place. It is in fact, completely irrelevant in these situations in any capacity other than to make sure that it matches up with whatever is printed on my debit card.

Most notably this seems to happen at Starbucks, where often my name is repeated several times sometimes even within a single sentence.

“Thank you Fred, I’ll have that right up for you Fred”
“One venti hot chocolate for Fred please”
“okay venti hot chocolate for Brad coming right up”
“I have a venti hot chocolate ready for Brett”

While I have nothing against the friendly and awesome employees, I find the whole thing rather insulting in the sense that it’s just so phony. It’s all just a ploy for a gigantic empire to appear less corporate, more local and personal. If my choice is between being a carefully market-researched target demographic statistically happy customer and anonymous, 3 digit, no-need-for-this-nonsense grumplicious random dude…I’ll take the number every time. We’re all numbers to them any way you look at it.

I won’t say that I’ve quite reached the level of dissatisfaction as say, Michael Douglas in the contemporary classic “Falling Down” in the memorable scene that takes place at the fictitious “Whammy Burger”…

Bill Foster: I’d like some breakfast?
Rick: We stopped serving breakfast.
Bill Foster: I know you stopped serving breakfast Rick, Sheila told me that you… why am I calling you by your first names? I don’t even know you. I still call my boss ‘Mister’ even though I’ve been working with him for seven years, but all of a sudden I walk in here and I’m calling you Rick and Sheila like we’re in some kind of AA meeting and… I don’t want to be your buddy, Rick. I just want a little breakfast?

In fact, one of the only good things about mega corporate outlets like Target and Walmart is that you can shop anonymously without being bothered, pressured or chatted up by employees the way you would be at tiny local boutiques. Good customer service isn’t just about being fake friendly, but rather about reading people and determining how each individual customer would like to be treated.
Some customers like you to remember their name, what they usually get, and ask them if they need help finding “something” every time they happen to accidentally make eye contact with an employee. Other people are in a hurry and would prefer for you to keep the lines moving with minimal interruptions. Still others would rather just be awarded a cloak of invisibility when they enter an establishment, careful not to make eye contact with any busybodies and avoiding personal human interaction at every turn in favor of just getting what they came there for along with possibility of some brilliant idea or sexual fantasy coming to them in the course of a wandering daydream.

Unfortunately, even at a place like Target, I tend to come off as way too weird of a dude to get away with going to the same place more than once and expecting to still be treated like an anonymous face in the lonely crowd…even by some 16 year old Mexican cashier who is busy sexting pictures with spanglish captions to the young men in her life while ringing me up:

“So sorry I forget your name.You want your usual? small diet coke?”
“Yes, please.. and thank you very much. “