“Maybe this is how it starts” you think to yourself, as you wait at the passenger arrival gate at PDX. This isn’t the first time you have had this thought, and you have even been close to being right before. You look at the faces of all the other people there: the gruff, hardened, emotionless middle aged man. The white family who has signs made for whomever they’re waiting for. The young black girl, she’s wearing a knit hat and coat maybe a little too large for the November weather. You love her the most, she’s also wearing headphones that may or may not be plugged in to anything, and a headset microphone in front of her mouth which reminds you of Janet Jackson’s Rhythm 1814. Your suspicion that she may be high-functioning autistic is reinforced when she lets out a loud squeal of pure glee when she sees who is probably her brother coming out of the doors, only then does she tear off the headphones. Continue reading Arrivals
The leaves rustle, in the morning there’s a chill in the air, shopping bags start becoming aggressively seasonal, and I suddenly crave every pastry near me within a ten block radius. It’s fall, jerks! And I have never embraced my dadbod more: it is the daddest of bods. Wait is that appropriation?
The text from the guy comes at work while I am lifting a pastry up to my mouth in the break room at work. I consider telling my coworkers that this is my first cheese danish. It is, in fact, my third pastry, but really I only count it as my second because I had the first one before I clocked in. I look at my phone, log into social media, bury my face in the screen. I really don’t appreciate the stares they’re giving me, I can practically hear their whispers to each other as they giggle at the crumbs in my beard, their-
I lift my head. Oh. The break room is actually empty. Ahem. Continue reading The One
We’re hard at work on Episode 2 of This Ends Badly! It’s titled “From Bad to Worse” and people familiar with the classic 2014 post The Date With Myself will recognize a particular sequence.
In the meantime, please enjoy this short, “How To Get Ready for a Date”! Thanks to Colt Schafer and Hannah Brady for their help making this.
I wake up much later than the alarm clock says I should. I sit up in the bed, the sheet falls away. I take in the room: decent sized, comfy queen bed, there is a vintage bike mounted up high on one wall. Maybe it’s not vintage maybe it’s just dusty? Anyway. There are books and comic books high on the other wall. The light through the window is high and hitting the floor, it’s almost noon here. There is no one else in the bed, I slept alone, but then a memory comes fast and sneakily: a perfect morning almost two years ago, not this bed, when I had flown in overnight and got under the covers. I kissed the back of his neck repeatedly; he made a soft, pleased murmur in his half-sleep every time I kissed it, his neck always got so so bristly in between haircuts. I shake my head, literally swat the memory away. Ugh, that again? And then another even more disorienting thought: Wait, where am I?
Oh. That’s right! I’m in New York. Continue reading The New Yorker
The flight is bumpy, the flight is turbulent, the flight is a flight designed to turn my knuckles white.
It touches down in Albuquerque at midnight. My hometown airport is almost deserted except for a few huddled families. I realize for a small self-pitying moment that no one has ever met me inside an airport. I roll my eyes and call a Lyft to take me to my dad’s place. He volunteered to pick me up at midnight. I politely declined but was secretly horrified: what the fuck, dad? You are 83. You are not picking me up at the airport at midnight. Continue reading Up, Up, and Away
I feel it the minute I get off the plane: the air itself is different. It’s warmer, drier, thicker, if the air was a tortilla chip it would be stone ground. I leave the terminal, look for my rideshare. I glance across the airport at the Theme Building, the midcentury UFO-with-landing-gear, whose restaurant closed a few months after I left this city in 2013. It’s then that the chorus swells with the noises I rarely hear in Portland: the car horns raise their frantic duck voices in harmony, I hear the nearby lilt of a family speaking Spanish and I smile. I’m in Los Angeles. I am home.
Los Angeles is everything people say it is. LA is shallow, LA is awful traffic, LA is that guy on Tinder you matches with you and never, ever replies. LA is a city of broken dreams and loosely made promises. Los Angeles is an acquired taste, if you like the taste of garbage. LA is that spoiled child that falls down and looks around to see if anyone is watching before starting to cry.
What I mean to say is: I love every inch of LA. Continue reading Homecoming
You are afraid of the sound of your own heart.
You whispered this over dinner, a secret you had only told a few men in your life. You would wake suddenly when your head was sideways on the pillow, you would hike with your headphones in and rip them out when, in between songs, the timpani of your pulse would pound in your ears. It’s not the sound, you explained to him, it’s the fear of it suddenly stopping. You’re afraid you will hear the moment your heart just stops.
You explain this to him, you drop it like a cat dropping a dead bird at his feet. This is what you do, you play the clown so often you may as well have a red foam nose. Maybe he laughs. Maybe he nods solemnly, understanding completely. This beautiful bearded one tilts his head, his lips purse. It is not you, you say to yourself, and offer to get him another beer when you get up. “I’m not good at giving compliments” he says later, handing you the most beautiful red flag you have ever seen. This cruelty is a kindness. Continue reading Ray of Light