Saturday, May 01, 2004

Tuesday night....

Sky K. : Hey Guillermo, a bunch of us are going down to Rocky Point this Saturday. Do you want to come?

Me: Yes. Yes I do.

Right now...

I'm debating whether or not to try to get some sleep before we all leave early tomorrow morning. I could always nap in the car. But then I'll miss out on the inevitable highway antics. Although, considering how Sky drives, dying in my sleep doesn't sound so bad.

I would think I'd find it unsettling to wake up and realize that I'm dead. Ah, well, if that's the worst that happens...

Let's see, what to bring. Ah, here's the Mexico checklist:


Wait, I have to modify this list. It fails to take into account my Mexican heritage. We'll just cross off sunscreen...and replace it with lots of identification. Driver's license, birth certificate, social security card, picture of me with the Animaniacs at Six Flags...that should do it.

I have no intention of being detained at the border for longer than necessary. The border guards may already be aware of my previous record of smuggling fruit into California, along with my partner-in-crime Brian Y.

I shouldn't have much difficulty. Me English be good enough for sho to get by.

Which brings us to:

#10. Little Guillermo Discovers That He Is Different

This event also took place on the school bus. I don't even remember much about that day. There was little to distinguish it from any other trip to school (unlike the time our bus got into an accident and I got to ride in an ambulance even though I wasn't hurt).

Maybe I was just talking louder than usual.

A boy sitting in front of me peered over the back of his seat and looked at me. "Man," he said. "You talk like you're white!" He sounded surprised and disgusted, as if I'd sold out my culture.

I think I just looked at him and didn't say anything. Talk like I'm white? What does that mean?

My elementary school and middle school both had a fair mix of ethnicities, with "black", "brown", and "white" in roughly equal proportions.

"Oh!" I had realized, "This is 'ignorance'. I've read about this sort of thing." I felt bad. Not bad for me, but for him. If he thought I was "supposed" to behave a certain way, then he must have also believed that he was "supposed" to behave a certain way.

I doubted that he had ever thought about why.

After that incident, I adopted several different styles of speech. I had already had a way to speak with adults, a way to speak with my close friends (which was most like my natural speech). Then I developed a way to speak with other groups; essentially mimicking their own.

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

It was several years later that I read To Kill A Mockingbird. I was entranced by the chapter in which Calpurnia takes Scout and Jem to her church. After the service, the children ask Calpurnia why she changes the way she talks when she is around other black people.

I could certainly relate.

Hmm...not much point in going to sleep now, is there? I'm going to go find my copy of To Kill A Mockingbird.

Final Instructions

By the way, don't anticipate any exciting stories upon my return. What happens in Mexico stays in Mexico.

Crossing the Mexican border back into the United States is like a baptism; the sweet air of freedom washing away the lingering, pungent odor of stale beer, street-tacos, and new shame.

Adios, space cowboy...

Oh, and if today is Monday and I'm still not back, send a search party. Or, as we say in Mexico, a search fiesta.

Friday, April 30, 2004

Miss Petunia made a remark concerning The Play List.

I thought, "Play List? What is she talking...oh!"

The poor list had been pushed so far down on my sidebar that I had forgotten its existence.

"Out of sight, out of mind" is going to be carved on my tombstone.

Time to lay some of them to rest.

#5: Little Guillermo Breaks Into His Own House (Unsuccessfully)

When I was in the seventh grade, my mother had insisted that I learn to play some sort of instrument. My school, Gililland, offered an orchestra class, so I was enrolled in that.

All of us kids had to play something. My older brother Miguel played the bass, I played the violin, and Donaldo played the cello. Barbara ended up in band somehow and played (and can still play) an assortment of wind instruments.

Luis used to always carry around a guitar when he was younger. His latest musical aspiration was to play the drums. My theory is that he just wanted to hit things with sticks.

I hated the violin. I enjoy violin music, but the noises I would produce did not fall under this definition.

I was proud when I would finally master a song (usually much later than everyone else in the class) but it wasn't enough to keep me motivated.

I also disliked lugging around the violin case. Except on concert days when I would have to dress up. Then I would pretend there was a tommy-gun inside and I would strut around loudly demanding that everyone pay up their "protection" money.

Eh...right. One morning my siblings and I trudged to our bus stop; up the block and around the corner. I stood there waiting for a minute before I realized that I was without the tortured-cat-audio-simulator that I called a violin. I ran back to my house, my backpack thudding against my back.

I crossed the front lawn and tugged at the door knob. No-go, the door was locked. I don't have time for this! The bus is going to leave without me! I'll just slide this window open and climb in the way I always do when I'm locked out.

I pressed my palms against the glass. isn't sliding. Could it be locked? Maybe it's stuck. I'll try a little harder...

Then the window imploded. I was bathed in a rain of sparkling slivers.

My left hand was the only part of me that actually made it inside my house that morning.

I stood there trying to figure out what to do next. I wasn't in very much pain, but there seemed to be an awful lot of blood gushing out of my left hand. My right hand and arm had fared better, with only little, trickling cuts.

This left hand had me worried, though.

I certainly couldn't get into my house now. I wanted to call my mom at work, but I wasn't even sure if I had the number. The neighbors that I knew were also at work.

I was certain that the school bus had already came and went, but it was my only option. I walked slowly up the street, my arms out mummy-like so that I wouldn't get my blood on my clothes.

I turned the corner and was almost surprised to see the bus waiting for me. I was only almost surprised because after what had just happened nothing would probably surprise me for a while.

I could sense the driver's irritation as I continued my deliberate walk towards the bus. The doors folded open as I approached. I stuck my head around the side and asked, "Excuse me, do you have a first-aid kit or something?" I could feel the driver narrow her eyes even through her giant 80's sunglasses.


I held out my bloody arms in apology.

The bus took me to school. The nurse cleaned me up. My mother was called. She came and picked me up and took me to the doctor.

It was fun. The doctor gave me a shot so that I wasn't able to feel my hand at all.
I watched intently as he sewed up the worst of it, which turned out to be my ring finger. The rest of my cuts required little more than adhesive bandages.

It was an interesting experience, and not without benefits. I got to miss a day of school. I got cool stitches to gross out my friends.

But the best part, by far, was having a doctor's note that said I didn't have to play the violin for three whole weeks.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Some notes I jotted down over the past week:

Art's greatest virtue is that it inevitably leads to self-betrayal.

On life: What's not to enjoy? Maybe the weather, but that's about the only thing that is as serious as it should be.

A writer becomes successful when he learns to sit down long enough.

Being interesting doesn't pay the bills.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Drugs Never Hurt Nobody

A mosquito bit me on the inside of my elbow, right on a vein. I have a red welt that looks like a track-mark now. Great, now I look like a heroin addict.

My only solace comes from fantasizing that the dastardly mosquito tapped directly into an artery, swelled up like an annoying little balloon, and then exploded into a billion mosquit-bits.

Let that be a lesson to the rest of you! You want my blood, you're gonna get everything that comes with it!

While the mosquitos are trying to figure out exactly what that statement means, I'll swat them with my army boot. It's the perfect plan.

Will Breaks It Down

I went to a baby shower last Saturday. It was for a friend from work. Her name is Michelle. We had been hired at the same time and gone through all of our training together. She had quickly become much better at the job than I, but we still remained friends.

The baby shower was set for a couple hours after work ended on Saturday. So, of course, after I got out of work I rushed down to Target to pick up a gift. Michelle had set up one of those gift registrys so that everyone would know what she wanted.

I thought it was a great idea; save me a lot of trouble.

There was a little computer kiosk in the Target store. I approached it, followed the prompts on the screen and then selected "Print List." Then I waited.

And waited.

Nothing was happening. I looked around helplessly. I wondered if I had managed to break it somehow.

I was planning to just make a run for it when the machine spat out a piece of paper. I snatched it up. Success! I turned to set out on my shopping adventure when I heard another page print out. I started to grab that one but stopped when yet another page printed out.

And another. And another. And another.

Now I was sure I had broken it.

The machine churned out quite a stack of papers before it stopped. I slowly gathered them up, then inched away, making sure no employees were watching me.

The list was cumbersome, but helpful. I found this pretty sweet bottle-warmer thingy. It was more than I had been planning on spending, but hey, a kid's gotta have a warm bottle.

A lot of my fellow employees and a few supervisors were at the baby shower. The handful of males (myself included) huddled around the television playing HALO and exchanging confused glances whenever a bout of high-pitched squealing erupted over a tiny outfit with matching booties.

When my gift was unwrapped (very easily, since I can't wrap a present to save my life), one of the supervisors joked, "Dang, you can't afford that, I know you guys are broke!"

It wasn't directed towards me since I hadn't revealed that the gift was from me.

Today at work, we were talking about the shower and someone brought up the subject. She thought it had been out of line for our supervisor to make that comment about my gift. I explained that I hadn't been offended by the remark.

"I'm pretty sure she was just joking," I said. "And besides, I'm poor, not broke. There is a difference."

"Break it down for us, Will," Michelle said, laughing.

I laughed, too. "Anybody can be broke. You just have to spend all of your money. You can have your house, your car, your cell phone, your clothes, all that, and still be broke. A millionaire can become broke.

I'm poor. I have my car, my cell phone, and my clothes, but they're lower quality. But, I have enough in my savings to quit this job right now and be fine for about three months, because I'm not broke."

Well, I may not be broke, but at least I can still break it down.

A Bottomless Vessel Of Iron To Hold Flesh and Bone

This ring sure is stuck on my finger. It was sitting here by the computer, all big and black and coppery, so I put it on. On the band it says, "Anything Goes." I'll have to find out who this belongs to.

If I can get it off of my finger.

Good night.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

I am weary. I am only mentioning this because it is only 3:30.

Three-thirty last night I was making plans to meet Donovan at Salazar Bros. down the street.

Four am found the two of us sitting on the curb by the restaurant, Donovan tearing into a carne asada burrito and myself sipping horchata from a giant styrofoam.

We talked. We enjoyed our food and drink and the cool weather. We discussed our outing to the bar the other night and my difficulty with the bathrooms there.

In the bathrooms, all the urinals have small video screens above them. You can watch television while you urinate. It reminded me of something out of the movie Spaceballs: "I told you never to use this screen!"

I found myself unable to welcome this sudden leap in urinal technology. I was afraid to watch and urinate at the same time. You know what happens to people who always watch tv when they eat? They get hungry whenever a tv is turned on.

I didn't want to become used to urinating in front of the television. Imagine the difficulties that would cause. I would probably get kicked out my house and out of every electronics store in the city.

I watched Romeo and Juliet tonight. The one directed by Baz Luhrmann. Er, I'm sorry, the official title is William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.

I doubt I'm the first person to point out that in this case, putting the author's name in the title seems unneccessary. I think it might have been to distinguish it from the one made in 1968.

We kids had a vinyl record-ization of the movie. We would listen to it on our record player and find much amusement in playing it at 78 rpm speed so that everyone would sound like chipmunks. Well, The Chipmunks. Real chipmunks don't talk like that at all.

It is four o'clock. My time is up. I'll edit this in the morning. Hooray for free-writing.

By the way, the fake words in the last post were "Mai" and "Canadian".

Monday, April 26, 2004

I went to Sugar Daddy's last night. It's a bar in Scottsdale.

Ah, Scottsdale. It's a magical land, where mixed drinks and fake breasts rival each other in costliness and lack of substance.

I had a pretty good time there, overall.

I'd never been to that bar before. It was fun being in a new place with old friends. We sat and talked and lounged and drank and smoked and laughed. All of this conjuctive activity was a strain on my sleep-deprived body.

I zombied over to the bar and ordered a Red Bull (energy drink) mixed with Jack Daniel's (whiskey that shares the bottom-shelf with the likes of Jim Beam and Canadian Mist).

Ol' Goldstein had me try one when I was visiting him in Cali and I found the drink quite delightful, if not bio-chemically very confusing.

The bartender handed me what appeared to be a glass full of ice and then charged me roughly the cost of a six-pack of Kiltlifter and a 40 of Mickey's.

I was pissed.

I sulked back to the group with my pitiful drink. I took a sip. Yup, it tasted just like a glass of ice.

I tried to nurse my drink. Even taking the meagerest of sips at a time, I finished it in a little under six seconds.

I resisted the urge to shake my fist at the heavens and shout "Fool me once, Scottsdale..."

I set my glass of ice down and went back to lounging. I was doing well. We all were, in fact. Donovan, Alan, Matt, Mai, Lauren, Dan M, Eric, were all snugly nestled on pillows in the pseudo-couch corner. It would have made a great picture.

Someone else thought so, too. A lady with a Polaroid camera appeared out of the shadows and asked if we would all like our picture taken. One of us asked, "Well, how much is it?"

"Five bucks," she answered.

I guess I was still mirfed about my crappy expensive drink because I bolted upright. "Five bucks?!" I shouted. But I can see these assholes for free!"

Mai and Lauren immediately began pelting me with pillows so I didn't see Picture-Lady's reaction. I uncovered my face in time to see her storm off around the corner.

I guess she took my joke as well as I took the bartender's.

*Bonus Points for finding the words in this post that aren't real!