i don’t like phone calls

What people don’t know or if they already know, don’t seem to fully get: i don’t like phone calls. Not any. Well, okay, let me explain that a little bit: i don’t like unsolicited phone calls. I prefer phone calls treated as if they were emails: i want to know the subject beforehand. I want to know what i’m getting into before i get on the phone. It’s like reading a book without glancing at the back or inside cover, watching a movie without seeing the trailer or given a blurb of what’s (or who’s! lol) about to go down.

I don’t like phone calls because they tend to be too long—anything more than five minutes i don’t believe is necessary. (I have this same rule when it comes to meetings. Yes, plugging my ReWork review right now. Sue me.) The only time i don’t mind ’em, well, i can tolerate ’em, is when they’re from my job because then i know 99.5% of the time they will be work-related: a user is calling to complain, or a coworker has a quick question about something i just worked on or i know a fix for. That’s fine. There’s a long-standing subject already, even if it’s not always the same, giving me a general idea of what i’m getting into.

Caveat and/or loophole: these rules don’t really matter when it comes to my mother, father or grandma calling me, and if my brother actually has a phone, he’s on there, too, along with a significant other by default: usually if they’re calling, something is important or dire, which the latter i hope is rarely ever the case. If mother calls, depending on the time of the day, i worry right away, even if not full-blown panic, because i never know if it’s something tragic or bad that’s happened. Take for instance two years ago when i had just met my brother for some drinks, like literally within 30 seconds of saying, “Wattup,” mom called, shocking us with the news that our cousin was shot—it wound up killing him, the third person i knew that year to be murdered senselessly. These types of phone calls are dreadful. Don’t wish them upon anyone.

The uber positive or happy, ecstatic, i just won Powerball, or the utterly devastating, tragic phone calls are the categories that call for vocal communication—the emotions and urgency are needed. Everything in the middle can be sent via digitally printed missives—shoot, send me a telegram (do they still do those?).

Back to the unsolicited calls: when friends or frat bros or unknown numbers call me, i am prone to not pick up unless i know with certainty what the conversation will be about. If said number or person calls back-to-back, then i’ll pick up. I hope they send a text after the first call, however.

Phone calls get in the way of my multitasking: being on the phone ties my hands and mind up. I have to give said person pretty much my full attention. This reminds me of the scene in The Social Network when a lawyer asks Zuckerberg if he deserves Zuckerberg’s full attention, whereby Zuckerberg honestly answers, “No,” and only because he doesn’t want to “perjure himself.”

Another loophole is with a lover—no, wait. More than that: a potential girlfriend or someone i’m heavily digging—she gotta be heavy, man! (Lol.) The whole courting or whatever on the phone is cool—but i definitely am not for the high school-esque two or three hour or longer conversations. Not on the phone at least. Skype or OoVoo is a different story. I can still do other things at the same time. It all comes back to multitasking!

And you know what, ringing phones make my skin crawl; it irks the shit outta me. This reaction has to come from somewhere deep-rooted, probably because while growing up in my house my mother hated em, so i grew to despise them, too. The fact that once we got caller id i was wont to not pick up anything that wasn’t for me, so the phone would ring incessantly—i’d let the voicemail or answering machine get it. I guess that has managed to stick along for the ride into today’s realm. Definitely. Possible remedy for this? Google Voice transcription of voicemails is great, but, i don’t really use my GVoice number so it’s kind of a wash on that front. Oh, well.

So yeah. That’s it in a nutshell.

Safe bet when attempting to contact me: email, Twitter DM, Facebook private message or wall post, text message, anything other than a phone call. It’ll save time and be faster. Plus, it’ll lower the chances of me being in a dour mood while we converse.

You know who you are if you’re exempt from all of this, though. This post isn’t for you—but those who don’t know. Lol!

stream of consciousness #0009: music is god’s daddy & mommy

There is a train of thought that is constantly chugging along the great mental metal of minds too great to fail.

That was the thought pattern behind the Titanic—right? Or, was that off since it wasn’t a train, but a large ship atop water, the icy depths of death soon awaiting its foolish passengers believing they could tackle the grandest of behemoths that are the oceans of the earth?

Foolish pride is not pitied. Or, it shouldn’t be. The hamartia of the engineers and architects, the media and the politicians, the crewmembers and the passengers, was tragic on scales more epic than even the Ancient Greeks. Hyperbolic? Possibly. It’s my go-to tactic with gab.

Anyway, the point of all of this is that there exists constantly moving from coast to coast—east to north, north to west, west to south, back and around again—trains without any crews or passengers. Merely trains of synaptic ghosts floating around houses and shacks of greater and lesser minds, alike. That is the great design and infallible construction of the human mind: we are all equal, just not the same. The individual is cut from the same cloth, only varying colors, and possible a little thicker or thinner at some points, as the next individual. However, the slight differences create the most profundity: it is what makes us unique, each of us, including twins—regardless of their categorical typing—that we should lionize.

Classical and jazz music are two bastions of beauty, two sonic means allowed us pity bags of flesh—to take from Rob Plath, mentor and professor—a couplet that should be celebrated. Instead, it is usually only stumbled upon randomly or drunkenly or ideally both with some apprehension until the time in the recepients’ lives are ready to receive. That could be as an infant or as a senior whose life is tapering off to the unknown abyss. Either way, adopting, embracing—loving!—this pair is the true great achievement perennial of one’s life. Truly. I believe it. Yup.

Don’t take my word for it. Go out to Nawlins, listen to some real lives, to some real stories, to some real soul—to jazz. Hit up an orchestra. Download the 99 Darkest Pieces of Classical Music album from Amazon.com—i think it’s like $5, digital download. Hell, i’ll WeTransfer or upload it to my ftp. Dive into the depths of the might-as-well-be ancient music of the last five centuries, it has lasted this long for a reason.

Music is more important than words, is god’s mother and father, daddy & mommy. Music lasts when paper is destroyed. All tongues can create angels and devils at first breath. All fingers cannot craft understood words.

If anyone is looking for God, buy a mirror or a tape recorder. Look into that shit. Smile. Enjoy what you see—it’s reflected eternity, beauty nodding. Speak and replay the words or sounds impregnated in your mind and birthed from your mouth. Give them names. Rename them. Be your own creation truth, crafted in the image of myths.

stream of consciousness #0015: inspiration is random on-purpose

Inspired by words from another who’ve i’ve never met physically—an online comraderie twittering—writing about a muse never encountered by either of us for she passed away years prior, this is a piece about the purpose of inspiration coming at us sideways in the dark holding a flashlight for the gloomy eyes to see hope.

Hopeful for enlightenment, we grope, not quite blind yet possessing almost atrophied optics, around murky caverns searching for an outlet. Almost at wit’s end, we hear a shout as a whisper miles in the distance, hope is still upon is; adrenal gland awakens, legs press on, fingers do the talking—touch a sensation mental more than physical, who needs nutrients to continue?

Continuing with labored breath, the scant whisper evolves, bellowing emotions reach eardrums yearning for companionship. Where must the world end, where is the finish line? Is the journey truly more important than the destination final?

Chains sway behind and below, the walls are now ceilings the floor trapdoors; hopping from crevice to precipice, plateau to cloud; nine rings of torment hover below seven levels of happy hellish memories, all hung together by sinew of the minds lost, not quite strong enough, not almost weak enough to give up, in the middle they laid down, holding up mere apathy at the end. Those on the outskirts soon tasted dewy moisture from the rays of sun lighting dreams
gathered on the way.

Death begats remnants of lives lived, conversations carried, penstrokes fueled by sadness, the sands of time cupped with hands, seeping out slowly, dripping saliva instead of saving—loneliness not an option, only so much solitude one can take; let it all go, scythe swings, fall below.

With digital archives perpetual—until the bunny ceases to beat drums, glasses break, blind we now know, why it continued forward, spinning, never diagonal with any destination in tow—we cease to live finite, able to sow seeds plentiful over pipeways, our pipedreams flood slow, gushing those wanting more, drowning all others able to swim, fighting down- and upstream, they go, go, go.

stream of consciousness #0013: all i do

For years my tears carried screams muffled by showered water, “I am not my father. I am not him.” I hated my given for years, not changing till i met poetry, spoken words from a friend familiar. Even still, i refuse to use my sur; i see little equity in it, this name more reminder of ancestral tarnish and pain, fatherly shadows, nothing to build upon.

I’ve embraced a duality of innumerable voices bouncing around: pain & joy, happiness & sullen ways, morose visions holding sunshine thoughts. It’s unsettling at times if allowed to creep, spill over and to be soaked up paper towel like.

All i do in life has a center mass, that of filling silos with corn husks, fodder and sustenance for my future offspring. I shall not break the convenant with my 13-year-old self: i am not and will not be him. It’s not out of hate; it’s out of love. I cannot throw away what the DNA coupling of my mother and father bestowed upon me. It’d be a waste. There’s a purpose(s) for each of us, but figuring it out takes time, takes courage, an understanding of why & how. I’m sketching out my plans, coloring by Roman numeral: a mixture of alphabetic & numeric symbols.

Before their questions are uttered, i wanna put a tome of answers on the table: ‘Because’ the title. As a youngster i was given my favorite book, one i know sowed a life-long quest and actions: The Big Book of Tell Me Why. From then it was clear to me all the answers about life were in a book. It prepared me for not talking, to not asking people first, but seeking out the answers myself.

I earned an honorary doctorate via absence, distance learning almost like experiencing sex through abstinence. All my figures of fatherhood were remote: i collected card collectibles of Black men, light & dark skinned athletes, musicians, names unlike mine—slaveowner & African; no grandfathers, one passed two years before my birth, so i believed my middle name was only shared with a long dead King, and a crackhead for an uncle; the other taught me a language i no longer speak, abuses & neglect perpetuated didn’t begin with me. Where was my paternal Northstar?

Vocally uttered words have less meaning to me than printed married characters: empty truths, promises broken bounced along my eardrums when eyes pored over kept secrets. Words heard are mere dust and ashes; words seen are written with blood. All i ask for is never to be lied to; at least not cut deeply. But then, who’s to know how far the knife will plunge?

Never wanting that for my progeny, this vow of a promise to them is unwavering. All my knowledge and experiences shall be at their disposal from jump, syphoned or guzzled, heated up and devoured, or laid on a shelf collecting dust till readiness. I only want there to be a direct line, a number brightly emblazoned & hung above, fluorescent light guiding 24/7.

The Big Book never had unpublished answers: how to deal with a sick parent; why must a teenager be a father figure to a young brother when a parent isn’t dead? Where to go for school? How to tie a tie? What the hell is being a man?

My mother is prone to say a lot these days, “I gave up my life for you and your brother.” She’s just being dramatic as usual, yet, hyperbolic statements and sentiments come from somewhere. I’m already a decade older than the age she had me—8 yrs older than my pops—and i couldn’t, wouldn’t want to imagine having to raise a child right now. Especially not alone.

Life is cyclical, and i want to break mine Staind-like; if not, nothing short of failure is my life. So, for them, all i do is theirs.

Stream of Conscious #0010: Sitting cross-legged in public—on the floor

The comings and goings of hundreds of legs all with destinations unknown to those unattached is a remarkable spectacle to behold.

Copping a squat in the busiest or lonliest of places in public on the floor is a pastime, an act saved for the comfortable, uncaring or tired. Falling into all three types, not sure which came first, its genesis of accepted and looking-forward-to practice stems from high school years within hallways nuturing behavior peculiar to Murrow students. We were mainstream-counter-culture, bohemian-esque, college-prepped youngsters personified—encouraged, policy allowed us these privileges.

The stares and tilted heads become less pronounced amidst a swarming throng for most are tunnel visioned from the floor to ahead or above eluding fellow go-getters, straphangers or vagabonds alike, hoping to catch a bus, trolley, train or taxi. Who has time to notice cracks in Western seating conventions or coffee stains on newspapers discarded beneath fiends without homes?

The only yoga position attempted for fear of losing feeling in extremeties, the blood-pumping tapers off depending on pretzel-bending, for limber legs are atrophied through sporadic feats of athleticism these days. Contortionist miming saved for primal activities or tribal awakening through sonic rhythms.

Returning to the vantage point of seven-years-old with the mental acumen of a score future, writing about such spontaneously is an interesting feat, the forwards and backwards, sideways and meandering thoughts, elusion and capturing of synaptic vapors divine like—visions of Artemis hidden in wait.

As passersby quickly glance, allusions of Medusa flicker past mind’s eye, wondering with an internal smirk, what it’d be like to possess such powers mythical, the uncanny ability to render those daring enough immoble, mute, caught in a second—their last—of voluntary and conscious action: a Polaroid.

What would they think? Would they question why? Would they regret their decision, their choice to look? If, why? It’s a big book entitled with the most curious of words, one given to as a child, jumpstarting a life-long, destinationless journey of mental nomadness.

The interrobang is boisterously inquisitive. It’s a most beloved symbol. A most warming scratchmark signifying many emotions at once. A cornucopia in a single glyph, it speaks volumes yet possesses no mouth, only an elegance causing its voyeurs to react, to wonder, to stare.

Thoughts while sitting in public on the floor cross-legged in the morning bustling with humans fellow off to destinations unknown to those observing.

Steam of Consciousness 0001: skin and bones

I’ve been measuring my life in coffee beans, motivating self to accomplish feats via caffeine. Daily do i roast myself for toasting to light and several sugars, rarely experiencing more than daily mundanity.

Every time i listen to a new artist, an old song, view a blank canvas, i look for the driving force, a catalyst of a whisper to start maneuvering past the current stage of my life—onto the next precipice, hopefully more than a plateau, more like a spring board to freedom, to the liberty of death, hoping life is the next train, never express, but locally taking its time to sight see.

We’re all just skin and bones at the end and the beginning of each day, of each week, of each second, of each year, of each painstaking detail of our lives: sooner or later we realize we must scrutinize and dream up our own biographies, our own Dr. Parnassus-esque phantasmagoria: or else, we’ll be bored; and there’s nothing worse than boredom, for how else will our souls remain limber, if they do not run the gamut, rocking and throwing down gauntlets?

Betting is saved for a sane man—one, and i’ll be hard-fought with this stance, who is ready to gamble with already scarce resources and commodities. And, when i say man, of course i am shortening it for mankind, for all humans, man and woman, all other genders throughout our vast homosapien spectrum—more and more shades are identified and accepted through the time continuum.

The musicality of the great artists is not what makes such great: but the speaking of their words, their sounds, their gestures and gyrations when experienced live, that articulate to a person’s essence, to their souls, if one is wont to believe in such. It is more than aural, more of a combination—a Last Supper with the various (and we have more than five) senses—from the carnal touch, to the indelible smells of chalk dust wafting from scholarly lyrics.

I’m attempting to write five times as long as i suggested in a previous post—it should have been published yesterday—one regarding stream of consciousness: the relief, the dropping, the loosening of the guards of guilt, of conscience thoughts, allowing the pleasure-seeking thoughts to consume; the evil dreams, the heavenly nightmares, to overtake and to frolic, to run free, to play baseball with the pope, striking out, lashing out, real good times—all of life, essentially.

This is the vanguard post of ones i believe i will try to write often, but more importantly, i will post them as is, with only tweaks to pitiful grammar or the ocassional pesky misspelling. Constantly attempting to show the face of my style of writing, the inner sanctums of my “disaster” of a mind beautiful, this will fit in-line with my about page, with its cousin posts. I believe i set out with the goal in WriteOrDie: 800 words in 20 minutes, normal mode, slightly leaning to the left side of “hard” regulations. I am not yet ready for Kamikaze mode. One day.

We all gotta work our way up (or down) to different gradations of comfort. Comfort levels are the trappings of life—they can make or break us, keep us ushering forward or pushing down a sliding mountain covered with buttery goodness; it’ll be an exhausting, fun time either way.

Forever is never, but never is forever if never attempted. Nothing can ever “feel this good again,” warns Grohl, and i agree. Once experienced, even if vaguely remembered mentally, our bodies and other senses have elephant-like memories. Some essence of us will forever know that this is not new, only different. Isn’t that mentioned in the Bible?: there’s nothing new under the sun? I believe it reads so in Ecclesiastes—the only book i like in that tome. Lots of goodness there, especially my favorite subject: vanity. “Vanity of vanities; all is vanity” so teaches the Teacher. Hell, i’m still wondering where i will be able to put a vanitas on my body—i’m running out of real estate.

Speaking of real estate: the real estate of the mind is not ephemeral, cannot run out of land to plant seeds, to grow trees and harvest fruits nor vegetables: that’s a fallacy, one that’s forever perpetuated by our failing educational system. It’s unwritten but continuously pushed with overt zeal to keep most people down, in line, in-sync with the rest of the clan. It’s a real-life Matrix: we are all batteries to be put in the backs of the machine, of the societal monsters hiding in plain sight.

The cure, the way to unstrap self from the package of perennial Energizer is to pick up, open and peruse, absorb and regurgitate books upon books upon books. Do so until your eyes are forever altered, forever diminished, made to become dependent—and this is the only time i will condone such a practice—on glasses. Try it.