Friday, March 31, 2006

State of Mine

I’ve been told that age is just a state of mind. I’ve don’t believe this; I’ve never said it and I really don’t care for people who do say it. It’s one of those hokum statements that people just say.

They may as well say instead, “EnGarde” then pull out a rubber cutlass in my defense.

Fifty is older. It isn’t old.

“She’s seeing some older guy.” Someone who has credit cards but never uses them. Someone who has grey hair or no hair. Someone who has yellow toe nails. Someone who has his eyebrows trimmed and nose hairs waxed. He has a daughter her age.

“She’s seeing some old guy”. He’ll be dead in a couple of years and she’ll be rich. He has grandchildren.

My toenails have not started to yellow. I’ve been pulling rogue hairs off my left ear since I was in my late twenties. At forty, I had about six grey hairs; now I have about twenty and like those six, they’re up there somewhere but to see them you really have to look. Thanks to Special K, the paunchiness is being managed. Last month I had my emergency back up bloat pants taken in two inches. I have four to go and as God is my witness, those treadmills in the health club in my building will get to know me better beginning, um, er, soon, then those 32” ‘s which have been mothballed for a year and half will see the light of day again. (I am not the first drunk to give up likker for chocolate and salt).

“Did you hear about Heather, she’s seeing some older guy.”

Couldn’t be me. I have an eighteen year old daughter. Now, in theory, I suppose, I could be seeing an eighteen year old girl, but in theory, I suppose, I could also have no conscience and in theory, I suppose, I could be a complete (not just a partial) moral degenerate.

So, give three cheers for outward appearances and a huzzah for a conscience.

But boo/hiss for this state of mind.

Paunchiness is a choice. Staunchness is not.

I turned fifty last year and in a few weeks, I’ll turn fifty one. This state of my mind is precarious, not for lack of a better word, but as one word for starters. The state of my mind has reached a goal it never sought to achieve. All a sudden, I have discovered authoritativeness. This is not to be confused with “control freak”. Control freakiness comes at all stages and ages. Authoritativeness is similar in this sense only: I now know what to do in most situations that crop up, situations that repeat themselves, situations I have experienced through trial and error and today I know intuitively what to do.

What fifty-one year old authoritativeness is not is the desire or willingness to pass it along. Although I may have a surefire solution for many mundane problems, if I see or know of someone younger about ready to encounter the problem or is in the midst of trying to solve the problem, I don’t barf out the solution. At best, I’ll offer up, “Yup. Shit happens.”

Shit happens but you are not on your own. You who do not intuitively know how to deal with it will have to work it out on your own. I could tell you how I, when trying to regain firm footing after hitting a similar stumbling block, righted myself, but would you (oh youth) listen?

Fifty. Life is a party. At fifty you arrive late, unnoticed. You leave early, unnoticed. And you wonder why you bothered to leave the house to begin

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


These Arab men in their pressed dishdashas stalk the malls like ghosts, talking into their remote mobile microphones. They pile their headgear atop their laced Muslim beanies flipping one corner over the other creating what they call "The Cobra"--which it does sort of resemble, a Cobra flaring its head; the Cobra ghutra--the "rag" as they say pejoratively in "rag head" also reminds me of a cowboy hat with a pinched brim pulled down a bit over the forehead.

These are not the Mall rats of western culture. They are not young men, that is to say, they are not Dudes scoping and a hoping for Babes. They are men in their thirties, forties, fifties, wandering without direction through malls--chatting into their mouthpieces.

I'm told they meet their potential paramours in this fashion--not face to face, but at least in the same building. I'm told that they follow their veiled objects of the heart at a distance pitching woo while appearing to be conversing with an invisible friend, or God or both.

It must be nice. Seriously. This Muslim mating dance taking place well beyond the age I was when the little things left me swollen as all the sensible blood drained into the equator.

What used to do it for me? A glimpse of a bra strap. Shoulder blades. Sweaters. Long necks. Tiny hands. A giggle.

What does it for me now? This is a family blog, sa? Can I say, "For starters, a rent one get the second at half the price China doll special and a 50 mg blue diamond shaped pill."

Monday, March 20, 2006

A Baby's First Stagger

I have a daughter I'll refer to as "J" .

I didn't meet her until she was sixteen. She is now eighteen and attending a film school.

At present, she is on spring break--her first university spring break. Springbreak: a time of many groundbreaking experiences.

I am not part of "J" 's inner circle. I am not even Pluto. I am more like that planet we sometimes read about on a slow news day; a mysterious yet unremarkably lifeless orb and that seems to keep getting discovered every two or three years. The astronomers who keep announcing the find tell us it may be a planet or it may be comet, a stray asteroid, a cold, dark, unknowable spaced out chunk of atoms caught in the sun's gravitational field. I spin around J from a great great distance--just some guy who jammed up her Mom a long time ago.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Indian Iron Rice Bowls

Sitting within the inner circle is a big desk in a big office--more sought after than a beautiful young wife. In the office there is a telephone that rings through only when someone behind a bigger desk calls. The sultan rarely shows his face in public.

Sitting behind a smaller desk in a smaller office on the other side of the door is the sultan's secretary.

Secretaries for the managers round here are men, usually from India and although it may seem to the other employees that the secretary has a lowly, thankless job, one needs only to look at the history of eunuchs in this region to understand that the ball-less sometimes dickless guard to the royal chamber does more than dress the ruler, wax his helmet or polish his sword. He has the attention of the ruler and it is the eunuch's job to relay messages; when he is not bending over he is bending the bosses ear with rumours, whispers, innuendo, words that may be all smoke and no fire but words that could potentially cost someone his job.

The eunuch where I work is a Keralite Christian Indian whose name is either Thomas, Joseph or George. All of the eunuch's throughout the Arabian Gulf are either Thomas, Joseph or George.

T. J. or G. is a trusted man servant, a monkey in a suit who has a death grip on his iron rice bowl. T. J. G.'s rice bowl has been turned to iron because he is well trained and nobody under any circumstances can get past him to see the sultan's face.

I ride the bus to work with T.,J., or G. I sit behind him. I watch him as closely as he listens to others. He shuffles his morning paper faking disinterest, but I can see his ears fidget and bend like a cats tuning into new sounds. If a man on the bus has a complaint about his job, his benefits, salary, even about something non-job related, the eunuch tunes in and takes notes

You might not be paranoid when you first deplane on your first gig teaching in the Gulf, but if you aren't paranoid within the first year, you're either naive or thick

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Tick tick tick

Each morning I leave the flat at 6:50, ride the lift to the lobby, "Salam Alaikum" the Bengali watchman then take a sharp right into the building's convenience store, The Oasis. It's all so heartbreakingly familiar. Beefy hot dogs on roller grills have been spinning all night and their ballpark aroma wafts through the mini-aisles of the salty, chocolaty, cigarettes on display condom palace. I by-pass the litres of Pepsi and pick up the Gulf News.

A Flipper clerk uses a scanner to ring up the paper, as thick as a Sunday paper back home. All of the clerks are Flippers and they have cute Filippini nicknames on their polo shirts "Boy Boy" "Romi" "Sonny" "Tonti".
"Yes sir" "No sir" "Good morning sir."

America's first imperialistic adventure was in the Philippines. We helped the Flippers get rid of the Spanish a little over a century ago. We called the locals Gugus. When the Spanish left, the Gugus said, "Thank you sir; you can go home now." The US said "You're welcome" then sent gunboats up the rivers to incinerate non-compliant villages. We had gunboats. They had knives. That was in the late 1890s. The US left in the late 1990s.

Each morning I walk across the parking lot with my ten pounds of newspaper heading straight for a garbage can where I throw out 3/5 of it--all tabloid magazine sized ad inserts for Free Hold properties. The Emirates is the European Miami. Tired Old European bones are buying up retirement condos here by the thousands. Do Buy. Dubai. Everything is for sale in the Emirates. Everything?Evvvv-er-y-thing! Har hardy har har.

On the bus to work I thumb through the same stories I read the day before and the day before that and all the day befores on and on and on. The world east of the Nile ,west of Hawaiian Island is made up of a lot of poor people. I've been poor. Dirt Dog poor. But never THAT poor. Naked babies bawling in the street watching the tanks roll by. Ancient faces of village women humping drinking water from the wells back to the rubble left after the earthquakes or the floods or the civil wars. Rifles. Lots and lots of rifles. Some places a woman gets off lucky with verbal abuse--her husband might set her on fire and he probably will get away with it.

White guys can't be blamed for it all, but somehow the editorials hint that they should be-over and over again and again and again.

Okay. I suppose it's true to some extent. But white guys didn't scheme up the Hindu caste system now did they?

Nearly everyday I read about a maid leaping head long onto the concrete in a compound from a fifth floor roof--it's not the best way out, but it is a final act of defiance and there is freedom in the abyss.

I read the paper each day and pity the Palestinians. Raise a glass to the worker bees who are just hoping to get through each day with their arms and legs in the same place at night where they were in the morning.

You want to not march to the devil's beat? Stop beating on the devil's drum!

Sometimes a hot dog is more than a hot dog. At the altar of the Seven Eleven, the compliant come and make their sacrifices.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

I've Lost My I.D.

How am I supposed to get about without being able to identify who I am? I've spent 50 years looking for it. I have looked everywhere for it. In bushes. In deserts. In prairies. Oceans. Rivers. Up mountains. Down in the valleys. Humping a backpack through mudslides. Exhausting a lifetime a visitation rights to couch space in Raymond Allen's immaculate bachelor flat.

Waiting out hurricanes. Being stranded in a cornfield in India during monsoons with wife one who actually laughed in the face of indecision for the first time during the course of our run.

"The Eiffel Tower the Taj Mahal were mine to see on clearer days. "

I've had bunches and oodles of bunches of womenses help me look.

With money in the bank. Or flat on my back. Flat on their backs--

"over, under, sideways, down. Long ways, short ways. . ."

They usually gave up helping me look for my ID when it became clear to them that unless they snuck out the back do' under the pretense of going to the 7 -Elebben for a six pack while they could still afford one, they'd eventually lose their IDs too.

I've even searched on every imagineable planet of the mind, blackhole of the soul, nova of the ego and misbegotten moon of rational thinking.

I've tried disguises. Long hair. Short hair. In uniform. A dude with a lot of friends all around the world. A freak of nature without a single friend anywhere.

Didn’t find it in the suburbs. Inner cities. On the streets of every major city in the world I can think of where I thought I might find my ID. I turn 51 next month.

Fifty Fucking One!

Fucked out. Drugged out. Boozed out. Shouted out. Burned out.

Complained about. Dreamed of. Forgotten about. Substituted for. Spoken of.

Convinced of and believing in nothing but willing to give it a try as there isn't much left on the buffet table of feebleminded design.

There are a few IDs I haven't tried and won't.

For example, I could grow a beard, gain fifty pounds, walk with a cane and become an elegant gay middle aged scholar but the only problem with this ID is that A. If I wanted to be a scholar, I would have endured two more years of pretense and cheap white wine and gotten a PhD in lit.

Then there’s B.I would sooner develop a taste for canned spinach than put a cock in my mouth and frankly speaking--although I am eternally grateful for having experienced receiving uncountable, blissful BJs--one of life's (if not life's) greatest "Wow", I can’t for the life of me figure out why anyone--man or woman--would put a dripping man noodle in their mouths. We pee out of that thing for Christ sakes.

Anywhozzits. I distress.

I could be a homeless guy.

Lose weight. Grow lots of hair. Walk the streets of a major US megapolis muttering to myself while I pick up empty aluminum cans. Sleep under bridges--But I have never been a work outdoors type. Can't take up the homeless trade without a taste for outdoors. It goes with the trade.

What's left? Two things come to mind.

Tennis and Heroin. Yin. Yang.

Does recreational opiate abuse mix with tennis? Don’t know. Need to find out.

Why put off regular exercise another day? Why make it last minute?

Why wait until I get my very own cancer to become addicted to morphine? Why make it very last minute?

I wish I had bigger feet. If I had bigger feet, I could find a new spot where I haven't drilled a bullet through the skin and bone.