The Old School

school

I spent my middle school years wearing white polo shirts tucked into dress pants – prayers three times a day, service at the church every first Friday. It’s a routine I only came to know once my parents suddenly decided to pull me away from Piscataway’s public school system and plop me down in a private Catholic school for a few years. Nowadays, they’re (my folks, that is) as devout as ever, and I’m a tad less so, but there’s a lot of good tied into that old school building. The more I think of it, the more I appreciate exactly how good those years were.

Of course, everyone yearns for their childhood to some extend. Hope you’ll indulge me a little here.

The grade system in the school was a bit odd – it was a K to 8th institution with a grand total of one class per grade. That meant that if you started school there in Kindergarten, it wouldn’t be bizarre to go through your middle school graduation ceremony with a majority of the other toddlers you were bopping around with. Couple that with a small class size (I only had about thirteen kids in my graduating class) and you have a number of groups of kids forced by right of proximity to forge a relationship pretty close to family. There were no cliques, there were no factions – just little people constantly in extended interaction, unknowingly making some of the best friendships they might ever hope for.

I don’t talk to many people from there anymore. I don’t think my case is too different from the others.

But ask me if I have any stories left over from that time, and you’d keep me talking for days. I’d be able to quote countless games of football on hard parking lot asphalt. Countless shitty inside jokes that would find themselves repeated and circulated into oblivion. The time we all took a field trip to a shrine and collectively got a stomach bug from drinking the “holy water”. Playing baseball with tennis rackets because our gym equipment was utter shit. Being part of a weird little family, at least for a little while.

The school closed a while back.

Catholic and private schools really aren’t doing so great around where I am, so the story’s rather common. The doors shut from an inability to keep the place running sufficiently. Now the place operates as a…hell, I’m not even sure what it is, anymore. I see people going in there to use the old gym for community basketball games, and the smaller rooms being used for pre-k sessions. But I’m not even sure when and if the other rooms are even still in use. It’s hard not to hope sometimes that I’ll sneak in there one day and find the old desks still in place – marked up in pencil, familiar handwriting and all.

It’s odd walking by places, knowing they’re not what they were. Buried somewhere underneath is the memory. The old routine. The page from the scrapbook. The simplest of things.

 

Advertisements
The Old School

A Bit About Work

sweerve

Alright. Still riding the “post as frequently as I can” wave – just getting a little better at defining my rough schedule for this thing. Weekends are a bit busier for me, so I think I’ll keep my posts primarily rolling out during the week – see how that goes for me.

It’s 12:08 AM at the time of me writing this, on a beautiful 18th of July afternoon. I went a little too hard on a punching bag workout, and I feel like I’m going to barf.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

To get some meager pocket money, I work at a supermarket as a cashier. It’s not the only thing I have going on – I’m taking classes over at Rutgers, working on my own writing projects, writing for this blog, trying to snag internships, taking photos to post on my Instagram, playing Pokemon Go with everyone else, and KILLING it in Rocket League. But for the time being, scanning groceries is my job.

It’s what I do to be able to afford car payments, being out and about with friends, and alcohol, and I definitely don’t think it’s HARD WORK. And I’ve had a lot of time to think about that last statement.

Don’t get me wrong, I feel tired after a long shift. My legs ache from being on my feet for hours on end, my voice gets hoarse from repeating the same canned phrases over and over, and let me tell you -the dull *BEEP* of the scanners in the store are starting to bleed into the space between waking and sleeping – all Tell-Tale Heart like. But work for me boils down to lifting bags, cans, and boxes of foodstuff over a terminal scanner and shuffling it on down the line. It’s mindless drone work that, often, sort of gets relegated to the control of my peripheral mind while I’m making conversation with some of my regulars. It’s not challenging – so I’ve got no reason to complain about it like a lot of the people who work there tend to.

I think the main source of my ire for my part-time job is the slice of pie that my shifts there represent. Really, I’m not entirely miffed by any particular thing that happens while I’m wearing my shirt and apron. If customers are assholes, I never see them again. If the day gets hectic, that’s fine – it’s over soon enough. If management tries to flex, I’ve got no pride banked on my position with them, so they’ve got nothing over me. All in all, I think it’s just the time factor that tends to get to me sometimes. Six and a half hours per shift is a decent chunk of my day where I could be doing literally anything else. I could be working on more blog posts, signing up for more internships, working on my book, spending time with my friends – that’s what gets to me. The fact that my need to have pocket money takes resources out of the pool of time I need to actualize what I want.

But the beauty of that is that – reasoning notwithstanding – that’s STILL A MINOR GRIPE. The reality stands that this job is by no means who I am, nor does it altogether prevent me from actualizing what that is. And I wish that a lot of my co-workers could see that for for themselves. There are so many young twenty-somethings that work there, even a few thirty-somethings that are so weighed down by that logo-ed shirt they don for a few hours a few days of the week. It’s as if the experience is stunting them somehow – that the store is some kind of retail purgatory that’s got them in its grip, refusing to let them go. But there isn’t any shame in fulfilling necessity – as long as you don’t lose sight of the things ahead you’re really working towards.

To all my disgruntled retail drones out there – don’t forget that the uniform you hate so much isn’t the only outfit in that closet of yours. Do what you have to do to get comfortable, but don’t you EVER lose yourself along the way. Stay focused. Stay inspired. Get out there and make something.

You’ve got the time.

 

A Bit About Work

The Metropolis

fiddlerontheground

It’s one of the nicknames that the city of Montreal can call its own. But for me, at least, the nickname and the place don’t make an immediate connection. I’m from the glorious tristate – where you find your way to the best known places by moving along the chain links of stopover towns, one after the next. “Metropolis” means bustle – its the body formed by the layer of skyscraper tops that doesn’t seem to notice the man slinging hotdogs at the corner. It’s the audible heartbeat of a city without silence – every moment punctuated by pulses that sound different than the last. It’s New York in all of its simultaneously sleek and grimy splendor. It’s something I know.

But Montreal is not New York.

I mean sure, if someone flew you over blindfolded, struck you deaf to block out the French, hid all the obvious signs of nationality, and spun you around three times for good measure, I’m sure there are a decent number of places in the city that are almost indistinguishable from the stretches in midtown. That’s one of the things that I love about the urban environment, after all – the almost-always-present sense of familiarity, despite place, despite space, despite time of day. But there’s something about Montreal that’s just unique, and I wish I could verbalize it for you. It’s this sense of magic that boils up inside me when I step over the street that divides Old Montreal from the rest of the city – leaving the asphalt and sidewalk for cobblestone corridors.

There’s something about the Old Town – something about the Old Port that agh I just…

You emerge from the sprawl – from a place where the name “Metropolis” makes sense – and the first thing that strikes you is the narrow. Not the narrow _____, just the narrow of it all. Cars can’t come here – there are posts holding them at bay, jutting from the smooth stones, making sure that the space is safe for the people milling back and forth in the collective shadows of old taverns, shops, the looming church. Progress has and hasn’t happened here – it has sort of bled into the pages, but frozen halfway – caught in the space between, the pause – like the buildings, like the people, like you. You’re lost.

And then, you step out into the air. You’re at the port. The ships have pulled away.

The sun is setting.

The Metropolis

After binge-watching a certain blogger…

watchingthetrains

I’ve been on an absolute Casey Neistat binge on YouTube lately. It’s downright shameful. I was never much for vloggers in general – the idea of living life constantly at the end of a camera always conjured up notions of blatant personas and dis-ingenuousness to me. But it’s hard to look at a guy like Casey and call him false towards his audience. I really enjoy the borderline voyeuristic dip into the life of someone as driven and inspiring as he is.

One particular video – don’t ask me to tell you which one, they’re all starting to blur together –  had him talking about his transition into everyday uploads as opposed to one every month or so, and how the swap helped him not only gain the following that he has now, but gave him a better idea of his voice as a content creator. Essentially, the takeaway was that his main excuse for only producing content on a monthly or even more spaced out timeframe was that he wanted the finished products to be perfect – but that mentality really just served to keep him from pumping out more.

And I don’t know, hearing it put that way just really made sense to me.

I’ve got a few not-quite-half written novels sitting on the backburner that is my hard drive, shoved off into virtual corners because I felt a little iffy about how they were coming along. I could put it some way that excuses me more, but hell, that’s really all it boils down to. I got a little worried, and dropped them in a bin, and now they’re not done. If I wasn’t so damn concerned, I could at least have some finished drafts to work off of – maybe even a finished project with my name on the cover.

So maybe it’s time for a change.

I know my track record’s not the best with this blog. At the very best, it’s little more than an online folder for me to dump my thoughts, recordings, and creative work – hoping it catches the eye of someone out there. But maybe if I really start pulling weight – posting content as frequently and consistently as I can – I’ll find a clearer voice somewhere in the muddled mess of ideas I’ve got swimming around in this skull of mine.

It is right around 1 AM, on July 13, 2016. The domain name on this blog renews in two days, on the fifteenth.

Time to put in work.

 

After binge-watching a certain blogger…

[AudioCoffee] Hourglass

 

Grainfall –

it hits bottom with

the sound of a thousand shards of

breaking glass, of

a million subway trains and

the coffee spilled when wheel bumps

track.

Non-harmonies

made harmonious as the age passes.

Deafening waves

crashing on a sandless beach.

Finality

visualized, just

be careful you’re not

swept

along.

[AudioCoffee] Hourglass