Is This Real Life?

I have recently been asking that question to myself, because life has been really, really good, to say the least. Those moments where it seems like (almost) everything is going your way. Someone loves you and that person lets you love them back. Isn’t that what we’re all chasing after in life?

Then there are other moments of stupidity where you legitimately wonder how you ended up in the predicament you are in. I find myself asking the same question, albeit in a completely different context – “Is this real life? Did I just lose my girlfriend’s Christmas gift IN her apartment?”

Yes, sadly that really happened. I lost my girlfriend’s Christmas gift.

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I told her that if she found it, she didn’t have to wait for me to wrap it, and that I accidentally gave it to her. But neither of us has found it and this is turning into a really early version of a bad easter egg hunt.

You would think that placing such a precious piece in one place would be the safest bet, but you’d be wrong. I probably should have had it in my pocket the whole weekend, never allowing myself to be separated from it. Even better would be to place it in a briefcase under lock and key while handcuffing it to my wrist, like in those old mob movies. Hell, I kept better track of my cell phone this weekend than her gift! What is this world coming to? (More on that later…)

Ordinarily, I don’t lose things. I’ve never lost a wallet, misplaced money, lost a cell phone, or lost keys. I think the only things I’ve lost during the course of the last five years are a shower scrubber and two chapsticks. Sidebar: I’ve also completely finished two chapsticks in the last five years. #winning

But the real reason I fret over losing her gift is imagining what it would be like to lose her engagement ring. I can only imagine what it feel like losing the single most expensive piece of jewelry a man will [probably] ever purchase in his lifetime for the [hopefully] only woman in his life.

I am blessed beyond measure and even as non-materialistic as I might like to imagine myself to be, I am still quite prone to the pitfalls of the [commercial] spirit of the season. Losing that gift has helped me to truly discover that gifts really don’t matter as much as being with the one(s) you love.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Being Poor Sucks

Whoever tells you that it’s your lot in life to be poor obviously hasn’t been poor in their lifetime.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit” does not mean it is a blessing to be poor. I can’t stand that poor misinterpretation of scripture.

Being poor sucks. Not having enough to get by is a painful place to be. Being hindered and having opportunity deferred because of a lack of finances is a terrible thing.

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Poverty is evil that plagues so much of the world. Money is not the root of all evil, the love of money is the root of evil. Money in the hands of the righteous is a useful tool and an agent of change. Money doesn’t solve all problems, but it sure helps prevent certain things that were never meant to be problems.

Wealth creation is not just for the present, its for the future. Sure, I can’t take it with me nor all the stuff that was purchased through the wealth, but I can leave it to someone in my passing. Every dollar and penny will be allocated in some way to a benefactor(s). I will give the next generation a platform to stand upon. My ceiling WILL be their floor and they will rise and perpetuate that new cycle.

Tow trucks part I

So, I had a couple recent run-ins with tow trucks…  This is just something I threw together to express the sum of those two nights.  I hope you enjoy it more than I did those two nights.

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Tow trucks are evil and so are the people that pilot these beasts of the streets in search of unsuspecting victims.  This is especially true if you are the victim of carelessly parking in densely populated metropolitan areas.

Parking enforecement, meter-maids, tow trucks: that about runs the gamut of the all that is evil in the eyes of motorists desperate for a parking space.  You come out of a restaurant with your friends feeling satisfied that your belly is full or out of a movie theater marveling at awesome CGI special effects, or even a heartfelt romantic comedy with your sweetie.  You’re laughing and having a good time and it’s the perfect way to end an evening or a night out.

Finally it’s time to part ways as you turn and realize that your car is not where you left it.  Your eyes widen with fear as you approach the place where your car once was and no longer is.  You ask yourself if you walked down the wrong street accidently, but you’re positive that you are in fact in the right place.  Next, you notice that there is no broken glass.  No sign of a break-in.  No sign of forced entry.  You then look up at the signs for where you parked.  If only I read the stupid signs closer!  This wash of stupidity floods your being and the blood rushes out of your head and maybe you feel a bit lightheaded.  The realization sets in heavy… you’ve been towed.  This is just what I needed…

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Most of us don’t have a couple hundred dollars to light on fire, flush down the toilet, run through a paper shredder, or give to a complete stranger.  You know it’s going to cost you, but just how much is unknown.  Money is going to be REALLY tight this month…

What is also unknown, is where exactly your car is and maybe even how you’re going to get there if all your buddies have already bounced.  Oh, snap…

After you’ve called the impound yard, you end up at the impound yard via your very good friend (hopefully, and not in a taxi wasting more money) you’ve basically arrived at a prison for cars.  Wrought iron gates, chain link, and concrete greet you in a cold, heartless, and unforgiving stare.  It’s an emotionless place that sucks the life out of you the second you lay eyes on it and approach.  You even feel less human.  Maybe you’re a nice person in daily life, but this place drains any shred of happiness and joy out of you.  You’re heart may even feel black with anger.  You’re not especially polite with the attendant at the desk who routinely deals with good-people-turned-nasty, who made parking mistakes and are being severely fined and punished for innocent forgetfulness in most cases.

You sign the paper work and begrudgingly hand over the money that you wish you could have kept instead of feeding the evil tow-truck monsters and appeasing the indulgences of parking meter-readers.  I feel as if they just reached in my pocket and stole the money.

They take you to your car and it looks so sad sitting there amidst the other cars who more closely resemble tatted and hardened inmates that have done their time and are maybe at the end of the line on death row.  You see the lifers; broken down wrecks who are mere shells of their former selves.  The impound yard is a prison for cars and it’s a sad, sad place.  I can’t wait to get out of this place.

You open the door and start the engine to liberate your baby.  Once inside you verbally promise that you’re never going to let anything bad happen to her ever again.  Your heart rate slows down and you regain your composure, but you can’t shake how you’ve made such a stupid mistake and how such a seemingly tiny mistake can cost you so much.  Your drive home calms you down eventually and you have a story to tell… or not to tell if you’re THAT embarrassed of making such an error.

You arrive home safely in the confines of YOUR garage in YOUR yard and the sound of the silent engine marks bedtime for your baby.

Downtown’s Secret Garden

Nestled in the Arts District surrounded by warehouses and cloistered in a little back-alley is a quaint little sandwich shoppe that also serves up a damn good cup of brew. During the afternoon, it is a place of sanctuary and solitude. Benches and tables shaded by umbrellas in the valley of brick and mortar buildings of the old downtown. Birds perch on old painted-over wroght iron and old mismatched fence pickets serve as decor over the red-brick backdrop.

The floor is of well worn brick with small garden flowers bordering the edges. The kind you might find in your grandmother’s backyard. It’s inviting and more than welcoming. Ivy and other vine succulents traverse and ascend up much of the brick wall behind my back. Where are they climbing to?

Strings of white lights run back and forth across the alley-way, dangling and swaying gently in the wind. I can only imagine what this place must be like after dark as I imagine the little white bulbs to be like fireflies on a warm summer night. Flickering and floating about the darkness of the night sky. They paint the night with the light that they shine. It truly feels divine.

Daily Dose Cafe might be as she calls it, a secret garden.

 

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…but words will never hurt me

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. 

Total bullshit.

Words last forever!  All words have a landing place.  Maybe their words don’t hurt you, but your words may hurt someone else.

If we are receptive to words they can impact us deeply.  Think back to a parent, teacher, mentor, friend, or other family member who has spoken something to you that was such an encouragement that you could define it as a ‘turning point’ in your life.  Those words will never be forgotten.  Those words get you through the toughest times because their words found a landing place in your heart.

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Now, think back to a parent, teacher, friend, or other person who has spoken something to you that cut deep into your heart and made an impression that you could not shake.  Maybe they made fun of your size.  Maybe they made fun of your complexion.  Maybe they compared you to a sibling or your friends in terms of achievement.  Maybe they shot down your dreams saying things like, “That’ll never work”, or “There’s no way you can do that.”  These words crippled us and caused us great emotional and even psychological pain and distress.

Words have power.  They are not easily forgotten.  Even long after they are spoken, they echo throughout eternity.

Plenty of fish in the sea?

Yes, there are TONS of fish in the sea, but would you really date a fish?

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No, there really aren’t that many women in your dating pool.  Seriously, there aren’t.  Why am I making such an outlandish statement?

“John, do you really know how many people there are on the earth and how many of them are of the opposite gender?”

“No, but there’s a lot.  Do you know how many of them you will NEVER meet; who live on different continents; and who speak a language other than yours as their primary language?  How many of them live in closed coutries?  IE: Cuba or North Korea?  How many of them are outside of your age range?  I’ve easily knocked out a whole bunch of ‘options’ that are not realistic.

Let’s take the U.S. as an example.  You live in 1 of 50 states.  California is one of the most densely populated states in the country and metropolitan cities don’t make finding a suitable mate simple.  Why do you think that there’s online dating?  There is no way you can meet as many people as possible face-to-face without the help of the interwebs.

Religion, culture, location, age, current career, socioeconomic status, kids or no kids in the present or future, past personal history, family history, and the list goes on are the filters that we use to establish suitable criteria for a potential mate.

In no way am I arguing for “The One”, but you don’t have as many quality choices that you think you do.  Finding a quality match is a daunting task and the people that I’ve met and encountered are mostly doubtful about finding someone of substance.  It’s pretty even in terms of both single men and women that feel this way.  They’ve basically given up or are sitting waiting.

Oh, and no one seems to be helping each other out either.  The internet has largely isolated people in their efforts and quests of finding a mate.  The problem is that you don’t know anyone of datable quality.  The answer used to be, “Oh, let me introduce you to so-and-so.  I think you two would really hit it off.”  Whether or not the two actually hit-it-off is less important.  Fewer people are introducing single folks to each others’ friend circles than ever.  Today the problem of not finding a quality mate is met with the response of, “Have you tried online dating?”  The answer and burden of effort is thrown back to the single person as if they were not exerting enough effort or trying hard enough.  At the subconscious level, you’re telling that single that you’re not willing to help them in their search by offering up your highest quality friendships to them AND you’re telling them to go and handle it on their own.

We need each other.  Facebook friends, IG, and Twitter followers are not quality community.  If we can’t even take the time and effort to introduce our single friends to other single friends, then it must really mean that we don’t care that much and would rather leave them to the much larger more intimidating pool of daters on the internet.

Online dating is an entirely different story altogether with it’s own particular set of caveats and idiosyncrasies, social norms, and pitfalls.

The outdoors is so big

Actually, I just feel really small when I’m out and about in nature.  That’s very comforting.  It means I don’t have control over very much.  It also means I don’t have to have control over very much.  I don’t have to go very far to realize how big nature is and how small I am in comparison to it.  I am merely a speck in the great wonder that is the created world.  I have the opportunity to behold its beauty, live, and play in it.  The best part about nature is that it is incompatible with technology.  My phone is useless when I’m far enough away from it all.  Disconnected from distractions and connected to the Creator of it all.  The hum-drum and fast pace of life fade away as the sunset fades out over the horizon.

Fresh air in your lungs.
The hot sun bearing down on you.
The cool breeze against your skin.
Sweat dripping down your brow.

Get away… but please keep reading my blog.  =P
But seriously, get out there and take a deep breath of fresh air once in a while.
Recharge.