Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Vignette City 33.

*** ‘Vignette City’ is an ongoing project of daily writing and urban photography ***

There are too many photos on my phone. My phone is all locked up now. I can’t do anything with it because I am out of storage. I know it is because of the photos because everything was fine this morning, but then I went out on a house-call and the lady said that the place was haunted, but they all say that.

I started burning my sage and I put the crystals out, but then I saw one of them. It looked like a little girl in a grimy white dress.

“Hey there,” I said very slowly as I very slowly pulled my phone out and thumbed open the camera, “How are you doing there sweetheart?”

And I snapped a whole blast of pictures of her, but she was gone in the blink of an eye.

“Did you say something?” The lady asked, coming back into the room.

“Nope,” I said, because the thing is that if her place really is haunted then it is way out of my league. So I did my thing and said my mantras and then after the lady paid me I said I was going to be out of town for awhile so if a follow-up was needed she’d have to call somebody else.

I was halfway home before I looked down at my photo on the passenger seat and I saw the little girl’s face pressed right up against the screen. I could see her blinking and watching me.

And that freaked the shit out of me.

I flipped the phone over until I found street parking outside my place. I cut the engine and I very delicately lifted up the phone, but she was gone. Just my regular lock screen. So real quick I unlocked it and went into my photos and there she was. There were about a dozen pictures of her there in the lady’s house, but she was moving in all of them, moving in unison in each of them; she was looking at me again.

I selected them all super fast with the tip of my finger, and then deleted them all.

Just for good measure I went into my deleted folder and deleted them all again.

But I was crawling into bed just now, I plugged my phone in and I switched off the lights and I was just drifting off when I noticed the grimy white rectangle of light flickering on my ceiling. Very slowly I picked up the phone and I very carefully tilted the screen toward me and there she was again, watching me from inside the screen.

“I deleted you!” I yelled at her.

But she didn’t say anything. She just watched me.

When she finally disappeared somewhere behind the time and date on the lock screen I went back in and double checked, but yeah, the photos were gone. But then I went and looked at the memory in my phone and the photo library is taking up almost all the room on my phone. I can’t even do anything with it. Nothing will open, nothing will run. It’s like the whole phone is dead now, with just that awful little ghost girl wandering around inside it now.


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Vignette City 32.

*** ‘Vignette City’ is an ongoing project of daily writing and urban photography ***

It’s all just a cost and benefit analysis with me. I’m not the kind of chump who wants to spend all of his free time trying to get rich quick day-trading on his phone on his smoke break. Sure you can swap penny stocks and maybe catch a winning hand every once in awhile, but is that any way to spend your life? After all, money is money, but you should enjoy your smoke break. That’s what it’s for. Everybody is so concerned about the benefits that they forget to figure in the cost of the costs. Just doesn’t make sense.

But I follow the markets and I read the news. I keep my ear to the ground and I like to think that I can break fast off the block when I see a good thing coming around the turn. Everybody was all about gold a few years ago. Gold, sure, it's pretty, I get that, but is that a good reason to build an economic system around it? If you’re one of those people who thinks that the whole world economic paradigm is going to come crashing down like the Leaning Tower of Pisa is going to any day now, well then what makes you think anybody is going to want a bunch of gold at that point when we are all living like Mad Max or whatever we end up doing? Do you know how much a bar of gold weighs? What are you going to do with that when you get to Thunder Dome? I mean, I guess you could use it to beat a guy to death, but still, it is an unwieldy weapon, and you can’t eat it or anything. That is a fact and you can take it to the bank; gold has almost no caloric value.

See, I am a long term thinker that way.

That’s why about two years ago I put all my money into jellyfish.

You didn’t see that coming, did you? That’s because I see the whole board.

Jellyfish sales are seasonal because of their breeding and migration patterns and certain times of the year you just can’t get certain kinds of jellyfish and it is all just supply and demand at that point, because your run-of-the-mill jellyfish seller - especially the online ones - only go on collection trips a couple of times a year. But then I come along and guess what? I have exactly the jellyfish you want, at exactly the time when no one else has it. Do you know how much a jellyfish goes for???

Well it turns out that it can vary a lot. I learned that the hard way. Going rate for a Moon jellyfish is only about 30 bucks, but that is when they are available. And I am the guy who has them when they are NOT available. I sold one the other day for $300! Just one. I double bagged it, dropped it in a cooler and handed it off to the good old USPS.

See, I play the big game.

Now I may have lost some capital early on when I was just a guy with a bunch of dead Moon jellyfish in his guest bathroom, but once I bought that old motel and had 34 bathrooms, well then things started to really get going. I figure that this year I may even make enough just off the jellyfish to cover the property tax on the motel.

Next year though, that is going to the big time for me. Next year I’m going to tell my boss where he can stick his day trading advice. Next year will be my cover spread on Medusozoa Magazine because right now in the motel pool I have two Portuguese man-of-war … men-of-war? Man-of-wars? I don’t know. But I know one of them is a girl man-of-war and one of them is a boy-man-of-war and once they start doing their thing - however it is they do that - then it will be big time.

Big time for me.


Monday, April 24, 2017

Vignette City 31.

*** ‘Vignette City’ is an ongoing project of daily writing and urban photography ***

It only takes about 45 minutes for the Streetcar to complete a full loop. A little more during rush hour. I like in most in the off times though. I like it on a rainy Sunday afternoon, nearer to dusk so that most of the people have all retreated home, but not yet so dark that I can’t make out the faces of people we rumble past on the street. 

I like to right in one of the backward facing seats so that I can look people in the eye as the Streetcar rumbles away from them. This has gotten me in trouble a few times before because I’ll rumble by and look right at a person on the street, really look at them, right in the eye and very directly and very obviously, I’ll study them and make no secret about it, but people don’t like to be looked at this way, it violates something. There is a decorum I guess, against really looking at each other. 

People don’t like to be seen. 

But then - only once or twice - I will be doing this and then I will feel the Streetcar lurch and grind down to a stop as we slide up to a platform. Then that person who just a moment ago I had mastery over, they step right inside the Streetcar with me and now they are in control because whereas before I’d been judging them, now they get to judge me. They get to see me and how lonely I must be just spending my time riding a loop around a wet city all by myself. They have all the moral high ground now because I violated them by seeing them, but now they are seeing me and though not once has any one of them ever said anything to me, once there was a man, very fat and with a thin worm of a mustache perched on the edge of his lower lip, who walked all the way to the very back of the Streetcar and looked right at me, right into me, as we clanked along. He was short and ugly and something about living his whole life like that had pushed him past the place where he cared anymore, so he was a little bit haughty now and having this power over me now made him exuberant in his anger. He had crawled over whatever shame he’d felt walking down the street seeing me see him, and he had emerged with an advantage over me. To me credit, I think, I hadn’t looked away. I’d met his gaze head on. I was not intimidated, but I was apologetic. I’m sorry, I tried to say with the meek angle of my shoulders and the down-turned edges of my mouth. I’m sorry that I saw you for what you are; a sad, insecure person, but I know your shame, I am that way too.

However effectively I communicated all that, I’ll never know. He got off the Streetcar a few stops later. I completed the rest of the loop and got off outside of my apartment building. 

I still look at people, still look at them just as closely, but I’ve gotten more careful, which just means I’ve grown more cunning.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Just another terribly stressful day of grad school. Man, my life is hard. . #gradschoolproblems

It's fricken gorgeous right now. It was raining this morning. At one point around noon is was both sunny and raining. I do not understand the weather here.

Vignette City 30.

*** ‘Vignette City’ is an ongoing project of daily writing and urban photography ***

To my credit, I think, I knew something new was up once that fact was made plain to me when the credit card company called and told me something might be up. They asked if I had gone SCUBA diving and I told them that I hadn’t been SCUBA diving in years. I felt that was the appropriate answer because they asked, “Have you been SCUBA diving?” and the only answer to that question is “Yes,” because I have been and I wasn’t going to lie about it. People had seen me.

But what they meant to ask was, “Have you been SCUBA diving recently?” to which I would have said, “No.”

They followed up. Asked for my information. I told them that I wanted their information because they called me. They told me it didn’t work like that. I told them I would call them back. They said fine. I hung up. I called them back. I waited on hold. On hold. Onhold. onholdonholdonholdonholdinahellisholdworldofholdingonhold. I regretted having hung up.

I didn’t always feel this way. Or think this way. Or feel this way at all. All staccato chittery like a Chinese-made robot devil squirrel. Not even jittery, but like some constant, resonant jitter. Some super string of eleventh dimensional jit stretching out from one end of the universe all the way back around it. I feel anxious, is what I’m saying. 

Finally someone picked up and I verified my information.

But that’s when things got complicated because after the hanging up happened, they had called my secondary phone number on file. “I don’t have a secondary phone number. This is my only phone number.” When they called my secondary phone number, I answered. “No I did not.” Secondary Me told them that not only had the credit card been stolen, but the primary phone as well. “Well none of that is true.” The Secondary Me had verified my information and a new card was being issued to Secondary Me at my new address. “I don’t have a new address!” And now Primary Me - that’s Me - had been reported to the authorities. “I am going to explain this using very small words,” I said, “I am me.” They told me to expect to get a call from said authorities and that this conversation is being recorded, but then right after telling me they were recording, they hung up. What was the point of telling me? And are they still recording? And if so, what are they getting out of that?