The intensely overstimulated, middle-aged (not so young) American

Facial Animation System “Alfred” (Wiki commons)

Just having my mornings where I don’t have to jump from the bed to the shower and can put on whatever clothes I left by the bed the night before and lie on the sofa awhile waking up, doing whatever, doing my damnedest not to think about work but whatever else I can focus on like my wife, the news, some music, or nothing at all.

I got out of the car in the work parking garage but stopped and thought I must look ridiculous in my brown corduroys and pink polo, my docksider shoes, the Swäbisch sweater I got for the spring beer festival in Germany last year…and I considered it but didn’t care, it was my Freak Moment, this life, and I shouldered by backpack and headed down the stairs, and the first person I saw didn’t even notice me, or my sweater.

My second contract is ramping up now, squaring me off at full time. And for the first time in a while I felt real terror today, the volume of acronyms and content, the tech-speak, my other client IM-ing me and the Skype link not working, the audio, and when I got to my car and back onto the freeway I decided to stop for a six-pack at the Whole Foods, a baguette, a new pack of incense ($41 total), and when I got home I went up the road for Charlotte and though it was raining I didn’t do anything about it, I just let it hit me, it felt good to be in something organic, the wetness on my face…to stand there and listen to all the different sounds the rain made hitting the fabric on my jacket or slapping the soggy, muddy grass…the bigger drops plopping off the trees collecting there, critical mass…and beyond the rain sounds, a bird chirping, a far-off jet sound cutting through, the sound of it bending, lowering, landing or rising, about to hit something…replaced by the sound of a siren, the bus brakes squealing, Charlotte getting off, stepping around the puddles, kissing her so hard my lips went numb.

Categories: parenting, prose, technology

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33 replies

  1. I admire any man that pulls off a pink polo.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. In 1986 I stood in line outside a Sound Warehouse to get Metallica to sign my copy of Master of Puppets. One of the guys I went with was wearing a pink Polo with the collar turned up. Everyone else had hair halfway down the back their denim jackets. Some dude said to my friend, “Wham isn’t here today, man,” but it wasn’t direct, it was kind of tossed over the shoulder, and other than a couple of weird looks, it wasn’t a big deal that we didn’t look like everyone else, like people who wished they were in the band but weren’t. I don’t remember what I was wearing, I just remember Jamie’s pink Polo with the collar turned up.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Wow! Master had just come out then hadn’t it? That’s fantastic! I had a friend Brian Gnat with terrible, TERRIBLE acne (like oozing out of his face, you wanted to wipe it acne) and we used to drive around in his pickup listening to that album and in the fall, when people raked their leaves into piles by the curbs, we’d drive right through the leaves so they went everywhere and Metallica was the soundtrack to all that. And we probably did other things I don’t remember. But that pink polo at a Metallica event, that’s a bold move. I like the Wham comment. OP corduroy shorts and feathered hair, baby. Good times. Thanks for reading. That bud’s for you, there.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Just reread your post and wished I’d used the word “freak.” That’s what metal heads were called down here at that time… freaks. You had your jocks, your preps, and your freaks, just to name a few.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m going to email you a song now I like by the band the Notwist. For what it’s worth.

        Liked by 1 person

      • There, “sent.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • If you want, we can play it at the same time and stand in the SE corner of your house facing NW


      • Can’t. Walking the dogs now. I can pull up my compass app and kind of face NW for a sec, though, while trying not to get their leashes tangled up.


      • Alright well so much for that. I’ll Outlook you. Say hi to the dogs and so forth.


      • I did like the song. Listened while we rounded the soccer field and the playground. It wasn’t what I was expecting but I liked it. Will check it out again on the morning commute, if not during the night when I wake up and can’t go back to sleep because I’m seeing that creepy picture of Alfred, up there. You know, in the 80s, we used to walk around with big ass boom boxes playing our music. That was a thing to do back then. ‘Member?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Of course, LL Cool J style. Thanks for listening to the tune! That’s a nice album, very “2003.” An odd time. So was 86 I guess. I was a fan of that Garage Days tape by them. I actually heard a song from Ride the Lightning on our local classic rock station back then, which is funny to think. They were ahead of their time, that radio station. Night-night, Fred. Don’t let the droids bite.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I love how we have soundtracks/albums that coorespond with the phases of our lives.


      • Totally, just need to pay attention and listen!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Looks like I’m not the only one that zoomed in on the pink polo from this packed collection of images and moments in your overstimulated day.

    Last time I had a pink polo (to match my pink OP shorts), I was in Junior High. Thanks for reminding us that some things never go out of style, and even if they do… who cares!

    Liked by 1 person

    • No way, I am not buying the pink OP shorts thing. I did like their color schemes though. I was in deep envy of the kids who had OP and Ralph Lauren (and Izod) as we couldn’t afford that, so much. Those class lines get defined pretty quick. But I argued this new shirt wasn’t really pink as much as salmon, though my 9-year-old insisted otherwise.
      Are you east coast, midwest or early morning west coast riser? Or robot? Thanks for recently following my blog and reading, and commenting Gabe. Happy Friday to you! Almost time to bust out the spring madras and the khakis. Bill

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Gotta relate to a few points. For one, which six-pack did you buy? I’m sure the baguette and incense didn’t cost $36, so I’m guessing something nice. Ballast Point? I’m not even sure where in the world you live, so I guess that’d help me guess.

    For another, the coming of spring-like weather has been surreal and humanizing / realifying at the same time (there must be a better word than the one I just made up). We’ve been constantly overcast, a light drizzle, constant slickness on the asphalt and grass. With the start of track season, we’ve had some nice opportunities for surreality. A fast-paced, three-mile run culminated by just sitting in the damp grass, breathing, watching the wispy clouds move at a suprrisingly fast rate, focusing on your breathing. Another day, after a particularly hard workout, we simply lay on our backs and focused on our breathing, In-two-three-four, Out-two-three-four, for something like five minutes (which felt like an eternity). I just stared straight up at the sky and felt as if in a dream.

    Surreal and keeping you rooted in something “organic,” as you say, something real and something outside of the fluorescent lights and white boards and cubicles and whatnot.

    Thanks for the post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Justin — it’s funny you ask about that Whole Foods tab because after posting this, I realized it wasn’t even a six-pack but a four-pack (Fort George Cavatica Stout, about $11.50) but also a bomber of Evil Twin Imperial American Wheat IPA (and that was $10). I was splurging, I felt I needed to celebrate myself. But the incense was about $12 for 20 sticks, which is nuts, but it’s REALLY GOOD INCENSE. So I wondered if the cashier over-charged me.
      That’s good to hear, your connection with breathing and sky-meditation and so forth. That goes a long way, remarkable. Nature therapy, it is. Thanks for reading, and telling me thanks. No, THANK YOU. Bill

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Your threads really demanded a photo, so I have a feeling my imagination is making more of it than it needs. For one thing, I don’t know what a Swäbisch sweater looks like. I’m thinking Johnny Depp in “Ed Wood.”


  6. Could you add one more f to my ‘of’ please?
    Darn, I liked the Ed Wood image …

    Liked by 1 person

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