Monthly Archives: September 2011

I abound, or maybe, rebound?

So this is how it works. I don’t have the ego for a blog.

I can’t understand why anyone besides me would find me even remotely interesting.

But I keep doing this ’cause my Mr. Narcissism takes up the slack. Most of the time he’s what fuels me so I can write something as silly as a blog about me.

I mean, c’mon, right?

My Mr. Narcissism’s the guy at the party who’s way too loud, way too drunk, way too out there. He bustles energetically into the room, shouldering through everybody upsetting drinks and  apologizing apologetically. He’s the guy you glom onto who sets himself up in the middle of the room and makes himself the center of attention even though eyes are rolling and heads and bodies are turning away, muttering sadly.

And even though he knows he’s probably spent, my Mr. Narcissism remains unfazed. For awhile, at least. He continues on droolingly, slatheringly, and drunkenly screaming EVERYBODY WANTS TO HEAR MY STORY, RIGHT??? while he’s gyrating wildly and dancing stupidly, until he passes out on the kitchen floor and I have to cover him up with a blanket.

Heaving a big sigh of relief, I look around blinking in the daylight and think and I say to myself that’s cool. Nobody’s really interested in my crap anyway, so in a way it’s a release, a slipping of the leash.

But just when I’m thinking about sneaking away and leaving all my bloggy friends behind he wakes up and my Mr. Narcissism winks at me and licks his lips and croaks- dude, let’s have a Bloody Mary.

And I’m right back in it.

Scary shit.

This is a concern- 8 degrees will tip and roll a loaded trailer.

Miss Carol won’t even watch it.

Remind me again what it is that I’m doing?

Intermission.

Go get popcorn and cokes and use the restroom, people.

I don’t know where this blog is going anymore and I’m not sure if I’m not gonna kill oceandoggy.com. Perhaps and maybe it’s the rampantly falling barometric pressure or the constant whateverness that’s been poking and prodding me lately, but my lovely narcissism just doesn’t seem to be enough to keep pushing this boulder up that mountain.

Too much is going on and I feel swirled.

So. I think I’m just gonna take a deep breath and dive down and see where I surface.

I’m lost.

Camaraderie.

A funny thing has happened on the way to my CDL.

I’ve been befriended by my truckmates. I mean, who’d a thunk it? Certainly not me.

Derek, Michael, and Haner have become my friends. To those of you who’ve been keeping up with this, and believe you me I feel your pain, Derek is the opinionated black vet, Michael is one of the two Twee? or Twi? guys, and Haner is the sadly conflicted Iraqi war runner and gunner.

Over the last coupla weeks while we’ve been driving together I’ve listened to them and their life-stories and found out that Derek, at 41, longs for the stability and companionship of marriage, that Michael is planning to send for his wife in Ghana just as soon as he starts trucking- hoping that they can make a life of it on the road, and that Haner, for all his brashness and bravado, is just a bewildered kid trying to sort shit out.

I’ve also witnessed and been caught up in a weird kinda tribal group think thing. Men, by nature, are competitive (duh?) so it was no surprise to see a hierarchy forming after the first day or two as those of us who were catching on to the double clutch pump compared our progress to Michael who was really struggling with just shifting gears.

We were at first supportive (I spent several break periods with Michael explaining the shift pattern and the use of gas and clutch- he’d never driven anything but an automatic transmission) and then almost gleefully dismissive as Michael continued grinding gears winding up in neutral with the diesel howling or simply stalling the truck.

We took comfort in the fact that we were better than him. That by his failing we were passing. That there was the us and then there was the him.

Then on Friday, a curious thing happened. Michael had a breakthrough and kinda figured it all out. Sure, he was still grinding the gears and dumping the clutch but he was moving through the shift pattern and was even driving the truck in a raw kinda way. It was cool to watch. But what was even cooler was the immediate flood of genuine support from all of us. Join us we seemed to be saying, become one of us. I almost teared up but I can’t ’cause I’m a guy.

Instead it made me realize how much I’ve changed in the last seven weeks. Whereas, I once was the self-imposed outsider clutching my aloofness and aloneness and not really wanting to mesh with these guys, nor wondering how or where or why I might fit in with them, now I’m finding myself caring about them and actually wanting to keep in touch with them when this is done and we all strike out in our wildly different directions like exploding fireworks. I’m hoping that they all find good trucking jobs and happy endings to their lives and I almost think I’ll miss them.

Jeebus.

It’s like I’m becoming a chick.

C’mon.

Dudes. Can we talk? I said, walking into my Me Only Room with them loping in after me.

It was after dinner, after the dinner that Miss Carol had told me about her walk on the beach with Cutter and Tug. I’d had to work so she’d gotten (gotten? really?) home early enough to do my chore and I’d thought she’d been kidding.

I sat and asked them to sit.

Tug panted and gazed around wonderingly and Cutter cocked his head to one side pondering.

So. Dudes, I said, what happened?

What happened with what? Cutter said and Tug grunted and panted.

Don’t play me, I said. Miss Carol told me all about you guys being spooked by a little dog catching a frisbee.

Oh that. Cutter said, slumping to a laying-down. Tug stared at the ceiling.

So what happened? I said. It was a little runt of a dog, right? Why’d you spook?

Cutter sat back up and said, it was it’s short little legs.

And Tug said, and it barked. A LOT.

I rubbed my face and said, so a sawed-off teeny little dog playing frisbee freaked you guys so bad you had to walk the beach rubbing up against Miss Carol like little girls?

They both sat nervously until Cutter hissed- it had TINY little legs.

And Tug whispered, it barked. A LOT.

I laughed.

You guys suck, I said.

I’m a Star?

Today was a weirdly interesting day in tractor-trailerin’ land.

Instead of cutting us loose to rumble dangerously amongst an unsuspecting public, we were kept in the yard because the school was having a commercial shot to bolster the already sold out seats.

The commercial dudes and dudette needed motion as a backdrop for the voice-over, a kinda lumbering ballet of behemoths slowly moving to and fro. And guess who was hand-picked to lumber the star behemoth?

Yeah, baby.

That’s me rolling the big dog back and forth over and over again across 100 yards of scarred concrete busting my acting chops while the camera rolled. At each pass I’m running through my repertoire- sad, plaintive, happy, sorrowful, hopeful- for the camera. Sometimes I even waved.

Anyway.

Being a star is harder than I thought. I sure was glad when the director finally called CUT and I could stop the to-ing and fro-ing and exhaustedly climb down from my truck cab and embrace my new reality.

‘Cause ya know what? Life is different now.

Now that I’m a big star, I’m not the who that I thought I was- I’m a somehow subtlety changed somebody, and even though the mantle of stardom rests lightly on my broad shoulders, I’m finding myself viewing others differently. It’s, like, the little people seem clutching and needy and maybe just a little bit distasteful. And all the sudden, I’m keening for stuff like no green M&M’s in my bowl, and having the crusts cut off my sandwiches, and I’m screaming for my beer to be chilled to 34 degrees.

I mean, I’m still me, so none of that’s a bad thing, right?

a visit from the goon squad

I’m not sure what the visit was or is, nor do I know what, or who, the goon squad is or was.

It doesn’t matter. What a ride.

This is one of the very best books I’ve ever read that I never understood. I’m not really sure where it was going or if it ever got there but I really fucking loved this book.

Loosely told from the disparate views of the people involved, it’s basically the story of a strangely gifted musician who flashes early and then fades from view and then suddenly, at the end, bursts back into view in a scene so well written that you’ll be reliving that one concert, that one event, that one song, that changed your life, the one that you’ll never forget.

a visit from the goon squad is oddly told. It’s one of the strangest novels I’ve ever read. With the narrative constantly changing viewpoint and story timeline it’s a little like Google Earth-ing the intertwined lives of the characters as they move through the story. Click here and Sasha is pulled into focus talking about her petty theft problem. Click there and Benny is telling a story about Scotty. Click that place, and Dolly (who used to be Le Doll) is discussing her downfall and her need to raise her strange little daughter differently.

At times you feel lost.

But then, the author, Jennifer Egan, takes the whole wriggling open-ended, kinda-confusing, beautifully written mish mash, and artfully knits it together- forging understanding, in a chapter that can only be called golden. Or maybe insanely interpretive. Or maybe whatever. Trust me, if you ever read the book you’ll know which chapter I’m talking about as soon as you get to it and through it.

Chillingly, refreshingly, wonderful I’m still not sure what it was I read. Think of the sharpness of glacial springs. Think of the breathtaking clarity of tropical waters. Think of a freshness beyond fresh.

That’s a visit from the goon squad. And that’s Jennifer Egan and that’s why I want to have her baby.