Sunday, November 7, 2010

I walked in the door and immediately went for the bottle

It was sitting on the kitchen counter. I poured the rest of its contents into one of the glasses, sat down on my couch, flipped on the TV, and smiled.

It had been a good night and I was in the mood for a nightcap of surprisingly delicious Spanish white wine.

I examined my right hand. Earlier in the evening I had cut my thumb and index finger. The blood wouldn't stop oozing and I began to worry that I'd be spending the evening at the ER instead of with her. She calmly grabbed gauze and bandaids from her purse and then helped me wrap my fingers in toilet paper. A minute later the bleeding stop. We finished cooking dinner, crisis averted.

I got up from the couch and grabbed a cupcake from the fridge. She'd baked them earlier in the day and had left me with a container full. She texted me a few minutes later. I expected this-she'd done so after our last two dates.

I told her I liked her a lot. She said the same thing. We said goodnight. I finished the last gulp of wine, curled up on my couch and drifted off to sleep with a smile on my face.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Carnival

I was feeling flaccid. No energy, no motivation. My Saturday of shopping was thrown completely out the window. I sat around my apartment completely apathetic to the world. I didn't even have the motivation to return a text from a friend about an Oktoberfest celebration taking place locally. When I did call him I was surprised to hear that it continued into the evening.

When we got their we were greeted with a carnival-like atmosphere. Spinning ferris wheels, rows of games, vendors hawking fried foods of all varieties, and of course beer. I felt my apathy melt away. Reserved Matt became Kid Matt. I giddily skipped across the grounds to where one of my friends stood. My energy surprised him. "I thought you were going to jump into my arms and I was going to have to catch you" he exclaimed. Ha, I laughed.

We quickly sought out the indulgences that are so important at a carnival. We sampled the cuisine-funnel cakes, starchy pretzels, cinnamon roasted pecans and of course sweet Oktoberfest beer. We played the games and acted like we had hit the jackpot when we won prizes of goldfish and stuffed animals. Some of us road the rides.

There was laughter. There was chicken dancing. There were posed pictures with the stuffed animals. As midnight rolled around the Oompah band finished up its last song and my friends and I began walking back to the cars. The top of my shirt had a thin layer of powdered sugar on it and my mouth tasted like cinnamon. In the car ride back I dozed, gripping a beer stein firmly with my right hand. I know that you can't ever go back and become a kid again. Their will be parts of your adult life that are always there, mixing with your kid joys. But sometimes the remixes are a hell of a lot of fun.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Fighter

I am the fighter
Anger building up inside me
I throw punches wildly
At any and everything
Haymakers that hit nothing
I am left exhausted
Frustrated
And wondering
Why my punches don't land
Why those that do are
At things that mean nothing
The prize is still out there
The knockout is still to come
Focus and it will be mine
Firm up my stance
Jab carefully
Punch relentlessly 
Hit the targets that matter
Never give up
Because I am the fighter

Sunday, September 19, 2010

I run

I run in the hot night
So much on my mind
But this clears it
My ankles ache
My legs are sore
The night is hot
But I run
I need the comforting shoulder of a friend
But this will do
This will focus me
I will manage
I will run

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Fall

Ever since I graduated, summer has not held that same revered place in my heart that it did when I was a kid. When you're a kid summer=no school, so it's the favored of all the seasons. When school is out of the equation and you work a job year round, you begin to rank your seasons based on other factors.

I realized early on in my adult life that I loved the fall. It's a combination of the temperature getting cooler, the leaves changing, football season, and Thanksgiving (which has become my favorite holiday). Normally fall can't get here soon enough. D.C. summers do not agree with me, and I probably loose 10 pounds just in sweat.

This year I have wanted to hold on to summer. Which is weird, because it's been a pretty up and down time for me. I think I've wanted to hold on to it because I don't want time to move forward. In fact I've wanted time to move backward quite a few times. One of my new, pointless fears is of getting older and not having anything to show for it. The fact that an entire season has passed so quickly scares me, and makes me worry that before I know it next summer will be here in a blink of an eye and I'll be wondering what happened to it.

I also think that despite of myself, that I've really enjoyed this summer. Technically beginning in the spring, I've gone on a number of trips, both short and long. I've discovered things about myself. While feeling like I was living a life-in-limbo, I somehow managed to do a bunch of fun things. And I don't really know what the fall holds.

I walked outside yesterday. I was greeted by a cool breeze and a fresh smell. Ahh, it feels like fall I thought. And most of my fears evaporated. I don't know what the fall holds. I don't have a clue what I'm doing sometimes. But all I can continue doing is trying to live life and improve myself. If I think about the big picture I'll get overwhelmed, but if I focus on the little moments of life and try to enjoy those I think I'll be ok.

I'll enjoy it like years past. I'll take it one day at a time. I'll live fall.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I just hung up the phone.

I just hung up the phone.

I had called my friend to see how he and his pregnant wife were doing. He surprised me by telling me that they were actually inducing tomorrow and that the baby would likely be born Friday.

As we ended the call, a realization dawned on me.

Next time I speak with you, you'll be a father I told him.

Yeah, he said with a mixture of happiness and apprehension.

He's the first of my friends to have a child.

This day seemed so far off when he told me 9 months ago. I still can't believe that most of my friends are married. Their weddings seem like just yesterday. And now they're having kids.

I just hung up the phone and I realize how quickly life moves.

I'm so happy for him. Yet I'm scared too. (An odd emotion considering I'm not the one having the kid.) Life moves too quickly. I have to figure out how to enjoy the stages before they disappear. Before my friends move on.

I know I will. Good friends don't ditch you when they get married. They don't forget about you when they have kids. Things just change. And I think I'm getting used to that.

I just hung up the phone and I'm just happy to have friends who's joys I can share in.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Why I don't believe in Ghosts

I don't believe in ghosts I tell people. And for one simple, logical reason.

When I was five my family moved to Richmond. My parents had a house built a ways away in the county. You had to go 5 minutes down the road to reach a four way intersection with a stop sign.

And I lived their comfortably for most of my childhood until I graduated from college and eventually found a job in the D.C. area.

I believe I was still in college when my parents told me a story. An old, unclaimed graveyard discovered while the property was being developed. An undertaker discretely dispatched to the property to remove the remains.

And my parents never said a word to either me or my sister until we were old enough to not be seriously creeped out.

Think about this. Let this sink in. I lived in a house built over top a graveyard. Perhaps my bedroom was over the hollowed ground that once housed remains.

If their are ghosts, they would have haunted the fuck out of me and my family. Seriously, they would have seriously fucked us up. Televisions turning on for no reason. Objects flying through the air. Marks appearing on our bodies while we slept. If their is any reason to haunt the living shit out of a family its when they build a fucking house over top your place of rest.

So that's why I don't believe in ghosts.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Like Butterflies Amidst the Bright Lights

The moths look like butterflies
Amidst the bright lights
The massive crowds awe me
The green field makes me smile with its plushness
So many things to appreciate

When I remember
Will I look back
With regret?
Nostalgia?
Longing?
To take it all in
I must gaze all around
I must close my eyes
I must inhale

My friend
You have been there for me
And we have shared great times
Which is why I gladly share this moment with you
I look around and smile
And the moths look like butterflies
Amidst the bright lights

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Elusive feelings

I went out to dinner and drinks with some friends last night. And I realized about midway through that I had completely forgotten about the parts of life that were stressing me out. And even the realization that I had forgotten about those things (and therefore was remembering those things) didn't bother me one bit. I was in a carefree zone. A zone I don't get to that much.

I have a really fun weekend planned for this weekend. And I have another really fun weekend planned the next weekend. And then I go skydiving the next weekend. So why can't I bring myself to be happy more often? I try to make these things make me happy. I tell my self that I have a good life. That I have much to be happy about. So why can't I fucking feel it? You elude me.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Shopping Cart: A Tale of Mystery and Suspense

Amidst the old brick buildings and the acorn trees lies a shopping cart.

The cart showed up outside my Arlington apartment complex about a month ago. Over the next few weeks, no one laid claim to the cart. In fact, it stayed in almost the exact spot, straddling the asphalt parking lot and the stone walkway to the complex.

"Harmless enough," I thought. Possibly used by a homeless person to shuttle his/her belongings along, and then discarded when a better cargo carrying device was discovered? A college student who thought it would be funny to steal something? Someone who didn't want to carry their groceries, and figured they'd just "borrow" a shopping cart?

As I pulled in to my apartment complex this evening I noticed the familiar sight of the shopping cart. I parked my car in an open space by the large dumpster that's used by my complex, and began unpacking my weekend. A glint of metal and plastic caught my eye and I glanced over at the dumpster.

"What is this?," I thought. A closer examination revealed a shocking discovery.

TWO MORE SHOPPING CARTS.

You know when the small town sheriff arrives at the horrifying conclusion that all the dead bodies showing up recently aren't just random one time crimes?

"We have a serial killer on our hands!," says the sheriff to the awaiting media.

"We have a serial shopping cart stealer!," I said to no one in particular.

A feeling of revulsion followed by careful thought followed.

"Our shopping cart stealer has progressed," I reasoned. His first victim was left upright and standing. His second and third were maliciously discarded at the base of the dumpster. Ohh how casual our serial shopping cart stealer is with the carts he takes! Woah to the clerks and night managers at Safeway and Giant who will never see their precious shopping carts again. Woah to the shoppers as they carry their groceries by hand, instead of with the convenience of the cart.

Our shopping cart stealer has shown that he is not afraid to rack up a body count. When will the next cart appear? Only he knows.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Ten year reunion

Ten years has given me lasting friendships that I count as my most valuable possessions. Ten years has given me a career that despite being difficult shows that I can rock with people. Ten years has given me confidence. Ten years has given me heartbreak. Ten years has been up and down.

A lot has changed in ten years. But sometimes I still feel like the shy, self conscious kid who kept his head down, tried to figure out where he fit in and just wanted high school to end. Have I changed? Have I changed enough? Was it me, or was it them?

I just hope that I can stay grounded with any memories or emotions that being around these people evokes. I hope that I'll run into at least one person who I can have a real conversation with. I hope I can keep my current life in perspective.
 
.......................................................................................

Why am I going? Because, honestly, what do I have to loose?

I'm about to go skydiving for a second time. I roll the dice, with death being a small but possible chance, and immense joy being the greater chance and reward.

With my reunion, the dice may be loaded, the odds may be against me, but what do I have to loose? One Saturday night spent in Richmond? Not the worst thing in the world.

Perspective man, perspective. More than optimism, more than a fake smile, more than dressy clothing, if I can keep things in perspective, I'll be golden.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Ambivalence and Contentment in Arlington

Hunter S. Thompson wrote Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs and alcohol. I am writing this blog post under the influence of allergy medication and Diet Coke.

Thompson's cocktail made him write crazy pieces of prose. They blurred the line between fiction and reality. He took tripped out road trips, drank copious amounts of alcohol (while handling firearms) and founded Gonzo journalism.

My cocktail is making me sleepy and is dulling my mind. I will spend the rest of my afternoon watching episodes of the West Wing, reading, and putting together a DVD rack. Actually, I will tell myself that I will put together the DVD rack, but it will not actually happen. There-the lines between fiction and reality have been appropriately blurred.

That is all.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Bachelor Cooking with Matt

It's time for another edition of Bachelor cooking. Well, another as in first edition of Bachelor cooking. Three years ago I attempted Salmon in a Pouch. Now I attempt something a bit more challenging...Chicken Parmesan.

Here's a recipe I pulled off of Cooks.com.

4-6 chicken breasts
Italian dressing for marinating chicken
2 cups bread crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan
garlic powder
salt and pepper
mozzarella cheese
spaghetti sauce
oil with 3 tbls. butter

I will not be following this recipe.

First step. Locate leftover store bought precooked chicken breast. Marvel at how well the chicken was properly breaded by a worker on an assembly line.

Second step. Apply cheese. Hmm, I don't have mozzarella or Parmesan. A slice of Swiss will have to do.

It's time to prepare the next and some might say the most important ingredient, The Sauce. This will take some time to prepare properly.

Prepared. Carefully coat both chicken breasts. And now it's time to cook this sucker.

Ohh, fumble. Go back ten spaces. Do not pass Go, do not collect 200 dollars. Grab a sponge.

The final product.

Technique: 1/4 stars
Presentation: 1/4 stars
Resourcefulness: 3/4
Taste: 4/4 stars
Final grade: Only the last category matters in Bachelor Cooking...so 4 stars. Booyakasha! Well done.

This has been another edition of Bachelor Cooking with Matt. Next week, Matt prepares a wild mushroom risotto.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Grandmother

My grandmother has always had health problems. Various conditions since she was a child. As she grows older, the conditions multiply. My grandfather is in perfect health, with a sharp mind to boot. Other family members always talk about how his father had lived to 100, and we fully expect him to do the same.

...

My grandfather had died suddenly. My family and I head to NC for the funeral. When we get to the church my grandmother declares that she wants her grandson to be the one to escort her into the service. I am 17 or 18 and I of course agree. We slowly walk out to the pew at the front of the church and sit down. My grandfather's coffin is in front of us. She is sad, but has a certain degree of composure, and strength. Strength that I don't expect to see in that old woman.

...

It is her 90th birthday celebration. Alzheimer's has stripped her of many of her memories, and she seems...old. Deep wrinkles, clothing slightly eschew, smeared lipstick. I have to leave the room, as tears come into my eyes. I compose myself, and we have a wonderful dinner and birthday celebration with her. She tells us stories multiple times, she misidentifies people, but...she smiles, she makes jokes, and she talks about wanting to do this again when she turns 100. I hand my camera to another family member, and ask them to take a photo of my grandmother and me. I am proud of her.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Feeling

While talking with a friend last night, Walt Whitman came up.

And this got me thinking about poetry and life.

Sometimes, life can't be broken apart by science and engineering. Sometimes it's more poetry.

I think there are two types of people in this world. Those who want to know the ins and outs of everything, and those who are more interested in how it makes them feel.

For some people, the end is not what matters, it's the why. That the clock tells time isn't as important as what makes up that clock.

For me though, it's not the why, as much as it is the emotion behind things.

When you look at a sunset, do you think about the science behind it? Or do you let the sun's fading rays wash over you, and breath a sigh of relief that the day is done?

I don't think the world can be fit into neat little boxes or stanzas.

In Dead Poets Society, Mr. Keating told the students to tear out the pages that attempted to deconstruct poetry. And that's such a crucial scene.

Because poetry is about passion. Poetry is about emotion. Life is poetry.

And maybe we miss things when we try to deconstruct it.

Life is meant to be lived. Live is about the feeling.

Old/Young

Your new haircut makes you look 17, said our accountant. Not too long ago I'd get offended when someone said I looked young. Now...this old man takes it as a compliment.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The highlight of my day

Being an Account Executive is a delicate balancing act. I have to represent the client to my coworkers, and I have to represent my coworkers to the client. Sometimes this means I'm at odds with people, but I feel like I really do try to look out for them.

I did a little finagling today that helped out a coworker. This coworker proceeded to come to my desk, repeatedly thank me, and loudly proclaim that I was the best ever. A few minutes later he presented me with an orange popsicle from his "secret stash." Dude, you don't even know what a huge pickup-me-up that was. Small gestures can mean a lot some times. That was the highlight of my day.

In a Metal mood

I've been listening to a lot of Metal recently. The last few days it's specifically been Metallica. I must have an anthem for my mood, and the mix of anger, defiance and steady, harsh beats tracks with my feelings and gives a purpose to my feelings.

Nothing else brings me up like their version of Turn the Page. The Spanish guitars at the beginning of Battery sooth my soul before they launch into fast paced rhythmic beats that make me bob my head while I work.

Pick me up Metallica. Let me rock out. Let me feel free. Let their be emotion, but let their also be purpose.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Summer

Summer: Hey.

Me: Hey Summer, how's it going?

Summer: Going good. So...you remember Winter?

Me: Please don't remind me. I never want to see snow again.

Summer: Yeah, about that...you do know that Winter's little show is forcing me to step up my game. I'm going to have to bring some inclement weather myself.

Me: Yeah...I kind of expected that. So a heatwave or two this summer?

Summer: Something like that. I'm letting August have the whole summer.

Me: But...

Summer: 100 degree weather all the time. Hot, humid, and hazy! Prepare yourself!

Me: This isn't fair...

Summer: And you think you'll be able to escape the heat during the evening? You won't! It won't dip below 85. I promise you!

Me: Summer, have you been drinking? What the hell?

Summer: Code red days till September! You'll be sucking ozone through a straw!

Me: DAMNIT SUMMER!

Summer: And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers.

Me: Summer, stop this! You've clearly lost it. Now you're just quoting Pulp Fiction. I mean the Bible...I mean Pulp Fiction and the Bible.

Summer: The weather will be biblical! Droughts! Dust storms! Lightning!

Me: I'm signing off. I don't need this right now.