Day 188: The Man and the Burden of Expectations; ‘Someday’

PaintingSo yesterday I posted about the past weekend and in that post I mentioned bartending at work and put a picture of me behind the bar, but of course sans face reveal. I thought it was kind of funny how some people reacted to that. Some people wondered if that was me and others joked I must have lost it at the casino. Hahah. When I first started ManVsLoneliness it was almost entirely and purely just personal writings, you know ‘how my day was’ and ‘what am I doing/where’ kind of stuff and because of that there were actually a lot more pictures of myself or of my friends and they were all blurred. I didn’t really have much of an audience back then so either a) there was no one to wonder about it or b) no one cared but either way, as MvL began to evolve and I began to explore different topics and write outside of the scope of my self, I gathered more readers but was also departing a bit more from writing about myself and therefore posting pictures of myself. I guess this is the first time in a long while a picture has gone up, so newer readers must have been surprised. Hahah.

My decision to withhold any sort of personal information (name, face, identity really) was not a decision based on the people I would maybe be able to connect with here. It was actually based on the people I already knew. I decided when I started MvL that I would keep it a secret from friends and family so I had to maintain my anonymity on here. You see I was starting with two very big endeavors. I was planning on dedicating myself to a FriendsVegaswhole year of not desperately trying to be in a relationship and I was planning on writing about it. Two things I had never really done before in the past. The last thing I needed was to make it known to everyone who knew me what I was planning and having them constantly checking in on me or holding me to some expectation/standard. I wanted to this be completely and wholly my own thing. Whether it succeeded or failed it was up to me to decide and to see it through or not to see it through to the bitter end. I also felt that with no familiar eyes prying just yet, I could get much more open and frank and really dig into wounds with more depth with less self-consciousness. There were no egos here to stroke, no reputations to protect, no one else to consider. Not that I’ve gone and written some crazy scathing attacks on the people in my life.

reactions yay cheering cheer cheerleaderI’ve always approached many of the projects and obstacles in my life the same as I have with MvL. I don’t want anyone to know or tell anyone what I’m planning on doing or currently doing or trying to do. I will ride the wave, overcome if I can overcome, succumb if I must succumb, achieve if I may achieve, and then let others know. It’s the same with like, New Year’s resolutions or career ambitions or dreams or goals. I’ve always believed in you know, ‘don’t say, do‘. Do I want my friends and family to know if I am unhappy with my job? Do I want to burden them with the knowledge of my search and dead ends? No. I would rather proudly announce when I’ve found myself a new opportunity and when I plan on moving on. Yes, there is definitely an air of pride in that. I’d much rather give people reasons to celebrate with me than to commiserate. I’d like people to look at me and go ‘oh wow look at how much he’s done or look at what he’s accomplished’ without thinking about how many times I might have fallen before. I’m actually a very private person in the sense of my ambitions or hopes or plans when it comes to the Man personally, but Man in MvL has to be much more open and expressive because well, that’s how this platform works best. I hate to say it, but I also don’t really like to tell people I know my goals or plans because I feel like most times, people expect you to fail. And that’s one expectation I do not desire to fill.

So far, I’ve been completely happy with my decision, and I really don’t plan on changing the course. I enjoy the air of anonymity, living in mystery. It’s been fun on here because of how I get to see people view me as a writer, what voice I seem to have. Older, from a different country, I enjoy when people either try to guess my information or, when some isfunny smile memes mask reveal revealed, are surprised by it. As I write and continue to grow and improve, I am encouraged by the words of people who have no real personal connection or attachment to me to precede their opinions. I am a member of an equal community of talented and incredible writers and creators. I’ve also enjoyed what it has done for my real-world side as well. My friends and family have begun to notice the length of time now that I have been single and are beginning to wonder. They look at me differently. My friends are starting to ask ‘so how’s the love life’ or ‘so have you been looking around yet or…’ as if they have no idea what other option there possible could be. My family has humorously begun the stereotypical ‘who can we set him up with’ quest, and when they ask my cousins if they have friends or ask their adult friends if they have kids who they can introduce me to, I just laugh and can say with full honesty and intention that I have no need, no desire, that I am actually happy where I am.

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Hey if you want to let everyone know your plans or goals, DCSuitby all means let them. Forbes even write an article right after the New Year that one of the best ways to help ensure you achieve your 2017 resolutions is to make sure everyone you know, knows what they are. I completely understand the benefits and purposes of having that support circle who can help keep you accountable, inspired, and encouraged. It just doesn’t work for me. I actually become way too pressured. I like surprising people. ‘Hey look what I did!’

That’s why I still have every intention of at the end of the year, just letting everyone know what I’ve been working on. Let them see, come into this world that I’ve been creating day by day, post by post, word by word. And yes, I’ll even stop blocking out pictures. Hahah. Oh yes, the post-year MvL still has a lot of plans and projects and surprises in store for everyone. Now of course I can’t say anything right now, but someday.

Day 188

Man: 157 Loneliness: 31

Day 180: The Man and the Latin Lesson; ‘Crossing’

It was around January 10th in 49BC that Julius Caesar, then just a general in the Roman army, led his legion of Roman soldiers across the Rubicon River and into Italy from then-Cisalpine Gaul. Caesar was on a mission: to centralize government and authority away from the Roman Senate and establish an empire under his rule. He knew that entering Italy without disbanding his army was an immediate and irreversible act of war, and that he and all those under his command would be declared enemies of the state. There would be no turning back. It was this sense of firm resolution and unwavering purpose that turned him into a hero in the eyes of Roman citizens even as he marched towards their capital intent on taking over by any means possible. He had no sooner appeared on the banks of the river before he issued the order to cross. With little hesitation and swift action he caught the Roman Senate off-guard and many of them fled Rome in fear.

It was here that Caesar supposedly uttered the now-famous phrase ‘alea iacta est’ or in English ‘the die has been cast’. To this day both phrases, Latin and English, and even the act itself, ‘crossing the Rubicon’ have held the connotation of ‘passing the point of no return’.

Look, I get it, and I’m not exactly proud of myself for biting the bait, but WordPress has been pretty damn ‘hit you over the head’ with its deliberate word choices for the New Year. Gone, crossing, clearly they want us in some reflective mood. Well fine, you win. I’ll bite, it’s just too damn juicy to pass up.

We all have our Rubicons to cross. Some decisions are too important, too significant, to Tom-ford-the-Riverchip away at little by little. There are times when we must gather the courage and the resoluteness of will to ‘cross the point of no return’ and force ourselves to face the results of our actions. We all now stand at the shores of these rivers. They lead to many places and their currents and depths are all different. Some we will ford with little to no trouble, others will batter us to the ground and wear at our legs and soak us to the bones. At the end of the year we look back and reflect, appreciate our accomplishments, lament our defeats, lick our wounds and move on. We reflect and think of what we’ve done, what we could’ve done, and what we haven’t done. But now it is the new year so we look forward. We think of all the obstacles we anticipate meeting along the way. I don’t know what it will be for you.

I know for me, as I’ve mentioned, I will be facing a lot of relationships with new light. I will be closing a chapter of a past relationship and moving on. I will be working on redefining the relationship I have with my friends. My family. As I also approach my second year in this company (first in this current position) I will be faced with the decision of what I want to do professionally. I want to look and feel and think at my very best.

I think when it comes to me, my biggest problem is resolve. I’ve become hyper-acutely aware of all these areas of my life that I could be working on. It was easier in the past to distract myself with friends and with new relationships, but because I’ve been giving myself this time and opportunity every day to just sit down with my thoughts and see them written out, I’ve come to realize how much I get to very excitedly work on over this year. So great, I’ve been granted this new level of self-awareness. I see all the paths of life I’ve maybe not seen or not really considered before. I’m at the shore but I don’t have that push, that wall closing in behind me, to get me to cross.

Some things will need a bit of a softer, more subtle hand. I can’t just present myself to my friends like ‘be deep or get left behind!’ I can gradually shift more responsibility and accountability on them, while letting myself gradually explore new interests and passions with other people and giving myself more time to either myself or to new groups.

But I wonder what, if any, and where, and when, I’ll find myself at that moment of ‘now or never’. Crossing the Rubicon isn’t about waiting for the right time or the right moment. It’s about having the resolution and force of will to put yourself in a position where there is no choice but to move forward and pursue. When Caesar crossed the Rubicon he was declared a traitor and an enemy. Had he stumbled or wavered, his enemies would have seen weakness, organized, attacked, and overwhelmed him. But because he never stopped once he crossed, his enemies fled.

I got a lot of hopes and plans for this year. I don’t know how many of them I’ll be able to achieve but I know it’ll be none if I can’t work on the resolution to not only see things to the end but to commit to beginning. Less thought, more action seems like a death sentence for a writer. But I’d rather write to you with a story of a great experience than with predictions and plans. Hey I you know, did things in 2016. I got my feet wet. I went out and did me. But now…I want to know what it feels like to have water up to your chest.

Day 180

Man: 149 Loneliness: 31

Day 117: The Man and the Plunge-50,000 Leagues Under the Sea; ‘Giant’

nanowrimo

I first heard of NaNoWriMo in high school. A friend of mine mentioned she was going to take on this seemingly insane endeavor of writing 50,000 words in a single month. I was always into writing and I had submitted a few short stories to our school’s literary magazine but they were short little things and they had taken me months to write. Let’s face it, I’m an easily distracted procrastinator. It would have been a terrible and unrealistic task for me but I rooted for her and watched her go. Excitement, eagerness, and anticipation in the beginning, a bit of skepticism around the mid, and by the end we were eating consolation sundaes at the mall and we never mentioned the phrase ‘word count’ again.

nano-blockFor those of you who may not know what NaNoWriMo is, it is short for National Novel Writing Month. It is a collective writing event internationally held during the month of November as a catalyst to help all those aspiring and professional writers who have always believed there was a novel inside of them that they just needed the right kick in the pants to get out. The average word count of a novel is 50,000 words so the challenge is for writers to write 50,000 words in the time between Nov 1st and Nov 30th. In case you’re wondering, that’s about 1600 words a day. The online community gathers on their official website to offer encouragement, share their successes, but most importantly find inspiration and support when the task begins to wear on them. Very few people have ever sat down and devoted themselves to so many words in such little time. A few notable novels have been published as a result of NaNoWriMo efforts. A personal favorite of mine is Water for Elephants, which was then turned into a fantastic period piece movie with Christoph Waltz, Reese Witherspoon, and the sparkly Twilight guy. For those crazy enough and hungry enough, it’s a fun project and could be a significant undertaking.

Ever since then the paths of myself and the 50,000 word count never crossed. I dated, went to college, became a teacher, got a new career, and I don’t think I’ve ever gotten even close to that many words. Until now. The average word count of my posts borders around 1200. At 117 days, a conservative estimate would be I’ve written around 140,000 words since I began ManVsLoneliness. While they have all been loosely organized around my experiment, they have all for the most part been separate individual collections of thoughts. Minus a few series on the importance of setting routines, meditation, gratitude, etc, I’ve never tried to organize these posts into any sort of cohesive arrangement or towards any particular goal or purpose.

Starting on Tuesday, Nov 1st, I plan on trying my hand at NaNoWriMo. I’ve had some time now to get into the habit of naturally writing that much each day and I feel I’d like to try and organize my thoughts into something that could benefit others and create a compelling narrative and perspective. I’ll be foregoing the daily prompts for the entirety of the month and instead each day’s post will be my progress for that day. 1600 words or so towards what could maybe be the story of Man and Beautiful that I’ve been trying to work over myself anyways. nano-comicThe premise of what I’d like to write centers around my history with Beautiful and, to a lesser extent, all my previous relationships. What I’ve learned from them all, what they’ve meant. I used to think that the story of Beautiful and I was something unique, that we felt love and I felt longing on a level that few would ever understand or experience. It was that uniqueness that drove me and also made me feel like I couldn’t possibly find another. Writing will help me see the story as it relates to everyone else. What was once something I obsessively clung to for its uniqueness is now what I want to tap into to touch on a universal desire for love and universal pain of loss that we all feel in our lives.

I also want to talk about the expectations and templates we create for ourselves that inform our relationships. Whether its from literature or TV or films or music or our families and friends, we all have certain stereotypes of what we believe love should be like and I want to see how this affects us, for better or for worse. I want to talk about the myths of love. My chapters will be centered around those commonly held beliefs, how they’ve manifested in my relationships, and how they are either harmful or actually beneficial. Myths like the ‘meet-cute story’ that all good loves have. Or the myth of soulmates or love at first sight. Myths about love and sex and intimacy and trust. I’d like to ask you all for a little assistance in this. If you believe there are certain fundamental beliefs that we share about love or relationships that would be worth discussing or investigating, please share them with me so that I might be able to dedicate some portions to it. The societal pressures and beliefs of love, the personal results, and the use or harm of holding these. That’s the focus of my novel. Lots of personal anecdotes, and hopefully some important lessons too.

nano-shieldIf any of you are interested please check out the website. If you are crazy enough to try, let me know and I’d love to create a circle of support and encouragement. Or if you just want to watch a man’s descent into madness, sit back and enjoy. This will be a giant undertaking but I think there’s a story here that’s worth sharing and this fire is just hot enough and just big enough to fit comfortably under my butt. Hahah. I have one more day to rest before I begin!

 

Day 117

Man: 96 Loneliness: 21

Day 114: The Man and the Bellowing Sorrows; ‘Smoke’

Work Crazy.gif

Finally an opportunity when things have relatively calmed down. It has been a hell of a week which has been quite the shame considering how great the past weekend was.


Got a chance to watch The Accountant with Ben Affleck and Anna Kendrick. Great movie. I don’t know why the critics panned it so much. I feel somehow somewhere along the line, perhaps around the Giglii era, Ben Affleck turned into critic and box office poison. He has since proven himself again. The Town was great, Argo proved his abilities as an actor, producer, and director. Yet everyone was so eager to see him fail as Batman that I cannot really get a sense of where people are in terms of Ben Affleck anymore. I was always a fan and Anna Kendrick, though she pretty much plays the exact same person in every one of her films, still plays it well and convincingly and she’s just so damn beautiful. There was an entire subplot with JK Simmons and Cynthia Addai-Robinson that, though interesting, provided very little to the actual story. But the character was compelling and the intrigue was captivating. Highly recommended.


Saturday my friends and I got to go to Six Flags Fright Fest. The day was perfect for it. Fright Fest.jpgOvercast, slightly misty with sporadic rain, and 50°. The rain was moving through southern Jersey heading north so by the time we got there it had pretty much cleared up, but the weather did exactly what I hoped it would. The cold and rain kept most people away from the park so as soon as we were in it was nonstop rides. The shortest lines I’ve ever experienced and that made the cold so worth it. Plus, it’s crazy to feel the wind just freeze your teeth off as you’re screaming down a long drop. I’m a ride junkie so it was great but I was most proud of my one friend K, who hates rides. Something about Saturday just lit something in him though and he was on most of the rides with us. Some only I got on because everyone was too nervous to try. Joker was a solo ride because no one else wanted to try it. If you haven’t seen the ride or know anything about it, it’s a free-rotating and spinning rollercoaster ride. It goes straight up like an elevator and goes along the track with the carts suspended over the railing and Joker Ride.jpgspinning off. Green Lantern was fun and I love the gimmick of standing to ride. Superman you ride on your stomach. Batman the track is above you so your feet are hanging off. I love rides that are beyond your standard car and track. Having said that, the BEST ride experience of Fright Fest was after sundown, in pitch darkness, seeing nothing in front of you and going down an INTENSE drop at 70mph on El Toro. The frights of Fright Fest were okay, predictable, and the haunted mazes were unfortunately an extra cost, but just being able to do roller coasters in pitch darkness was entirely worth it. That and the hot cocoa and churros. Six Flags churros are the best.


Sunday was a thrill as well. I met my cousin in the city to try an escape room experience and take her to a bar in the Lower East Side that has some great drink and oyster specials all day on Sundays. I’ve done escape game before and I love them. Open ended puzzles, usually some great theatric elements (our had secret panels coming out of fireplaces and Mission Escape.pngsecret doors that opened to other rooms and chessboards that lit up when you placed pieces in certain places), wonderful opportunity to be working with friends or even strangers in small groups, and themes that to be honest, I could take it or leave it. The ones that are too over the top or try too hard actually turn me off to it, but just enough to create ambiance are fine. The one we went to was called The Hydeout, where we had to investigate what happened to Dr. Jekyll and how it relates to the mysterious killer Mr. Hyde. It was my cousin’s first time trying it and she admitted it was a bit out of her comfort zone, but I was so happy that she was willing to try it and I think the level of difficulty, the intricacy of the puzzles, the friendliness of the staff and our group, made for a great first experience and I think she sincerely enjoyed it. Afterwards I took her to The Essex, a restaurant in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. It used to be an old warehouse which gives it a great setting with high windows and a second floor loft. Unfortunately a rather…rowdy….birthday party was going on literally right next to us but as soon as they left it quieted down and we were able to have conversations without yelling over each other. The drinks were great (and half off on Sunday) and the oysters were only $1 each. Essex.jpgFresh, good flesh and flavor, enough saltiness, great pairing for the night. Actually almost missed my bus because we spent so much time talking and drinking! I’ve been really looking forward to these opportunities to spend time with my cousin since I never got to really know her whenever I would visit the Philippines. We talked about relationships and life decisions and all these wonderful engaging complicated topics. Always fun to stretch the mind that way. Feel bad though because I know it can be exhausting as well. Maybe next time I’ll talk to her about the weather. Hahah.


It really is such a shame then that as fun and exciting as the weekend was, this week has been complete and utter trash. A new update that we were supposed to give people time to prepare for and teach them how to handle was sprung on the company on Monday Dwight.gifmorning and suddenly it was mayhem and chaos. People are emailing, messaging, texting, everyone has no idea what’s happening and our responsibility within our team is to disperse the information as quickly as possible. While my team, who were consultants longer than I was and who know more of the agents out in the field, were handling the smaller requests and one on one messages through our FB@Work program, I was the medium between the actual programming team and IT desk and the area stores. I had to talk to our program director and my manager. When our support desk didn’t know what to do, I was the one who spoke to them and coached them through the updates and how to fix it and what to tell people so that they were armed and equipped to help everyone who was calling and emailing in. But this put me way far behind the front line. I was far removed from where people could see who was giving them information so my boss was wondering where I was, asking why I wasn’t helping, at the same time that I was coordinating with our entire support staff and answering the questions of my team members because they weren’t aware of the changes. I was the one who, at the end of the day, had to give a report of my activities because no one could see me posting on Facebook or responding on emails. It was my work pride that took a little bit of a hit when everyone else was getting shout outs and thank yous and special head-eskmentions for how wonderful they were and how on top of things they were. My colleagues are not ones to easily give credit to others (you don’t get far in sales by giving other people your commission, now do you) and I am not one to ever seek or expect recognition. I trust enough in meritocracy that a good job should be recognized as such. I’m not the type to ‘blow smoke’ up someone’s ass nor am I the type to particularly enjoy the sensation of it being blown up mine. I’ll praise a job deserving praise and I’ll accept praise for a job well done, but I can’t ever support anything else as more than superfluous. Yet here I was dealing with the stresses and demands as I should but watching the ones I armed getting credit. It just hurts the motivation and incentive sometimes, vain as it may sound.

On the bright side it’s almost the weekend, and next week I am on the road, getting to enjoy the traveler life again, staying in my favorite hotels, and I even organized my schedule so that I am working my down the shore so I can spend next weekend in Atlantic City by myself. I have a favorite late night Chinese restaurant that has real authentic dishes for delivery like oxtail noodle soup and salt and pepper squid and jellyfish, the hotel I always stay at is giving me a free night and half off their buffet, Philips Seafood does happy hour drinks and oysters all day Sunday, and I’ll spend some time gambling and maybe catch an IMAX film. Next week it’ll be about me and the road and my work and my writing. No reports, no checking in, and the immediate benefit of my efforts will be leaving a store better than it was when I first walked in.

But on a lighter, more humorous note, let’s talk about the origin of the phrase ‘to blow smoke up someone’s ass’, shall we?!


In the late 1700s ‘blowing smoke up your ass’ more than just a figurative expression for meaningless praise to ‘inflate’ your ego. It was an actual medically accredited method of Smoke Ass.jpgresuscitation, particularly among drowning victims. Much as how nowadays you are expected to know the location of an AED in your office or home, the people of the 1700s were expected to know where smoke bellows were found hung along the routes of popular waterways and by bridges such as in London and along the River Thames. To use the device, a tube was inserted into the victim’s rectum which was connected to a bellow and fumigator to create smoke and push it up into the victim. The nicotine was thought to be an accelerant that would speed up heartbeat, thus reviving circulation. The smoke was also thought to be able to warm and dry the victim’s insides, removing excess water. This practice was so prevalent that the Royale Humane Society offered the equivalent of $750 to anyone who successfully revived a victim through this method. Much like how we nowadays tell those who are administering CPR to sing Staying Alive by the BeeGees to remember rhythm, in 1774 the Royal Humane Society released this little ditty to help remind people what to do for drowning victims when administering the smoke enema.

Tobacco glister, breathe and bleed.

Keep warm and rub till you succeed.

And spare no pains for what you do;

May one day be repaid to you.

In fact, smoke enemas became so popular as form of treatment that its use spread to more than just drowning victims. Smoke enemas were used to treat headaches, hernias, and abdominal cramps. One of the earliest and most popular examples of a smoke enema successfully resuscitating someone was when a young man’s wife had nearly drowned and was unconscious. Without the proper bellow and tube, the husband took a lit tobacco pipe, shoved the stem into his wife’s rectum, covered the other end with his mouth, and blew as forcefully as he could. His wife regained consciousness, though I can’t help but think maybe it was really from the sensation of burning hot tobacco embers being blown literally up her ass.

It wasn’t until the early 20th century when tobacco was found to be harmful to the cardiac system that the practice of ‘blowing smoke’ up someone’s ass was finally considered more harmful than helpful and the expression stayed in the figurative sense. Personally, I’m glad for that.

Day 114

Man: 93 Loneliness: 21

Day 65: The Man and the Work Invasion

Invasion.jpg

Not to sound too melodramatic, but my workplace is being invaded by hostile forces and they threaten my very peaceful existence.

I know I’ve mentioned before that the travel is beginning to take a toll on me with work and how relieved I am that we are looking to hire more people in my department so I can spend more time at home. But I didn’t know that meant that they had already found someone and that she starts…wait, what…yesterday?!

Yep. My boss failed to mention that the new hire, a former manager of one of our travel agencies, was already here. Did I greet this news with elation and gratitude? Was I overcome with feelings of relief and joy? No. I very quickly realized that what I was looking at was the main threat to my otherwise agreeable arrangements.

When I’m on the road it is certainly very difficult to maintain some semblance of a normal routine. I lack the rigidity and uniformity that allows me to thrive on consistency and rely Passenger.gifon expectations for the next day. I don’t get to go to practice as often as I’d like, I spend more time eating and drinking out, my sleep pattern is shot, and I am often isolated for long stretches of time in the afternoon and evening. But on the bright side…I am often isolated for long stretches of time in the afternoon and evening. It’s a tough life but for someone who needs to be alone in order to recharge it can be…very Zen. And it gives me plenty of time to reflect on the day and formulate my writing better.

What I wanted in a new addition was someone to assume some of the burden and load of travel, but assume that mantle on their own. I was not anticipating that my boss would decide that she would still need to shadow me in this respect. I had no guidance when I started. There was no mentor, no book, no protocol. I walked into stores very unassuming and timid but have learned to command with my presence, share my knowledge, and establish urgency and necessity in their compliance. So what if I choose to reward myself for driving the distances and spending the long hours and repeating the same lessons over and over with you know…say…a work day that ends at 4 and an afternoon movie. It was one of the pleasures of setting your own schedule and traveling of your own accord with very little overhead.

But next week I find myself mentor, guide, and chauffeur for our new hire. I am to pick her up from our headquarters and transport us from here to Connecticut to Boston Airport, fly buffalous to Buffalo, then continue to drive us from Buffalo to Amherst and then Syracuse and then back. Along the way I am now responsible for showing her the ropes, shuffling her from store to store to hotel to airport to store to store to hotel to store to store to hotel to store to home, and bringing her…oh lordy…to dinner. We’re going to Buffalo. BUFFALO, NY. Do you know what’s in Buffalo? Yeah, that’s right. BUFFALO WINGS. As in, Anchor Bar, the origin of the buffalo wing. I wanted to go there. I recommended it. I requested it. ‘You know there are better and classier places in Niagara Falls to go to. I’m a foodie.’

God I hate that word. I don’t use it, by the way. I would never refer to myself as one.

‘Okay…uh…what do you recommend.’

‘Oh I usually eat at the Hard Rock Cafe or the Planet Hollywood.’

…sorry….what…

I wanted less travel. Not group travel! Oh god. What do I do. I’ll be very British about it. I’ll grin and bear it. Chin up old chap and all that. All because of the promise that after this, she’ll be ready to go on her own, I’ll be on my own, and everything will return to normal only with less travel. But if she starts staying in stores longer than I do…she’s gonna make me look bad.


Now that we’ve tackled the foreign invasion, let’s talk about the homefront.

Do you know what I do when I’m at headquarters?

I’ll admit it. Nothing. Hahah. I call consultants when they need help. I answer emails to work-aloneput out fires. My boss has me do some reports, check in with some stores, do a few Skype sessions. Otherwise I’m at the company bar or playing arcade games or walking around or writing. My most productive writing has always been during work! Since I work on a laptop I get to be highly mobile and move around the building. My boss is used to this and knows this so she never really quite knows just what all my busy work amounts to. Hey, being on the road is tough. The rare times I am grounded are a luxury.

As we are not traveling as of yet, I find my solitude threatened by her constant presence. She ‘shadows’ me as I furtively try to write in secret. She observes how I spend most of my Go Away.giftime in our leisure deck. She laughs and smiles and says she finds it amusing and refreshing but I do not know this woman. I do not know what she is thinking. I do not know if she is threatening this arrangement. It doesn’t help that she doesn’t have a laptop or phone yet. That would at least tie her to her desk. But what would it say if I’m not right there as well. Should I be concerned that she is able to relate more easily and readily with my boss. Whereas I could only casually ask about how her son is doing and how school is, they are sharing mother stories of girlfriends and high school shenanigans and the difference between the eldest and the youngest. We are creatures admittedly of consistency and habit and change does not come easy and this is certainly the biggest change in my work so far.

I know how I sound right now. I’m not proud of it. I don’t like having a new coworker. I don’t like not having the distinction of being ‘the only person in my department’ as I would often half-complain half-brag to friends and family. I don’t want a travel companion from work (don’t get me wrong I’d loooove a travel companion in my personal life). I don’t want people to find out how good I’ve got it back at headquarters. She threatens all these things. But if I’m not too harsh, she does represent a lightening of the travel load. She represents the possibility of the same amount of work being done by two people and thus less for both. But god I hope my boss doesn’t see how much free time we have.

It’s okay. I got this. I can handle this. I’ll train her, she’ll go on her way, I’ll go back on mine. I can do this.

Day 65

Man: 48 Lonelines: 17

WAIT WHAT?! SHE’S HIRING A THIRD PERSON IN TWO WEEKS?!

 

 

Day 64: The Man and that Thing in His Eye; ‘Twinkle’

Beautiful liked to tell me that one of the major things that initially attracted her to me and was always so alluring was the passion I had for the things I loved. I can recall so many nights spent sharing stories and dreams and plans and hopes and how vividly it all came to me and the excitement in my voice, my eyes, my hands as I shared with her. I think there was something so natural about that relationship. She enjoyed watching me, being carried away with my wild dreams and gestures. I enjoyed being watched, feeling her gaze on me as I indulged in my hopes. A storyteller is only a storyteller if he has an audience, and the best way to his heart is to give him your eyes and ears.

I am normally a very reserved person. I prefer to observe and absorb as much as I can in large amounts until it becomes unbearable and I literally burst with stories. It is a common misconception to believe that the loudest and the most outgoing of us are the ones with the best stories to tell. I’m sure that plenty do and are, but you should never discount what the watchful and observant gaze can tell you. I am so much more occupied with capturing stories than telling them that I am sure to never run out.

There is constantly this ongoing battle within me between the one who watches and the one who shares. My hands were meant to wave wildly in the air with grand gestures mirroring the grandiosity of my verbosity. My voice was meant to rise and fall and inflect Jeremy.gifwith such passion and immediate transformation. Often times my fingers stumble over themselves trying to capture the words as they form in my mind. I can hear and see whole thoughts and images so vividly in my mind that I could so easily paint for you and transport you but the process of thought to hand to keyboard is oft times so much harder for me than thought to voice. I have finished all of this and right now my hands are actually just trying to recall everything I’ve already said in my mind. This is why I tell stories and not poetry. I could never figure out how to distill so much emotion and energy and wild fervor into the restrained fiery tempest of poetry. Instead I find that so many words fly in and out of my head that the fact I am able to restrict myself at all is a feat.

The thing of it is I also know that I secretly (or not so secretly) crave an audience. I am not content to be an unheard or undiscovered voice. I crave specifically that physical interaction. I love a live audience. I want to feed off of live laughter or gasps or cries. It isn’t just a coincidence that Beautiful felt that way when I spoke. I am, without ego or vanity or pride, aware of the effect of empassioned speech. I never feel as confident or as self-assured as when I am in the throes of sharing something I love. I spoke before of theeye-roll power of humor in attraction and how I was aware of that too and how it characterized my interactions with women. Even more so than that is the way I feel when I get a chance to speak about my passions. This is so much more than lazy, uninteresting, uninteractive self-centered speak. This is a way of engaging both people because when you speak with that enthusiasm and energy even listening becomes a more active experience. You listen with your eyes and your ears and your mind. You watch as I move from point to point, my arms flying with direct purpose translating thought to physical motion. You see every micro-expression as my eyes light or my brows furrow and how my mouth races to catch up with my thoughts. You hear the love and action in my voice. There is pleading and yearning and hope and despair whenever I need to invoke it. I find the best ways to connect to you, to move you, to transport you. I want what I see in my mind to be as vivid in yours.

Give me an opportunity to speak to you about food, about drink, about movies, literature, video games, martial arts, and I guarantee you will never see me as confident, smooth, articulate, and/or eloquent. Let me regale you with my stories. Let me strut with raw power and command across the stage of your mind. Let me undress you with my words as I wrap tantalizing, tempting, teasing words with my tongue. Let me move you and inspire you and sell you on my dreams. I wear my prose like a fine well-tailored suit and my speech could get me onto any red carpet.

The thing of it is though, for me, this is a very deep and personal relationship. It is a connection of words and thoughts and mind that…I choose not to want to share with everybody. The audience I crave is…an audience, really, of one. While I feel my most confident when I speak, I also find something incredibly attractive in someone who listens with such rapt attention and care. I don’t want some doting mindless audience of ‘yes’ bobbleheads. I want that one person who sees how significant it is to share. She would be the best, most engaging audience. I will feel inspired to keep talking and more importantly take words to action because of how much of me she sees and hears and believes. I miss and so incredibly desire that feeling again of being someone’s center of attention when I share. Someone who finds my hopes and dreams attractive not because of what they are but because of what they make me.

I never lost that twinkle in my eye. I just hope that someone will see it again.

Day 64

Man: 47 Loneliness: 17

Day 53 Supplemental: The Man and Daily Prompt; ‘ Miniature’

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One of the hardest parts of transitioning from being in a relationship to being single again is realizing how much bigger your world has become.

When you are single your world is only as big as you know it to be. It comprises of your experiences, emotions, lessons, people, places, etc. With nothing else to put into perspective you find that you fit within your world in a comfortable way. You are not a big fish or a small fish and your pond is neither big nor small. You are simply a fish in what you believe is the only pond and you fit. Your proportions are equal to everyone else and you are contented to simply swim from one border to the next with plenty enough to discover and explore.

But when you find someone and embark on a relationship, you have to realize that you are not only dating that person and learning more about them, but you are also dating and learning about their world. See she is not just another fish in your pond. She is a fish from a whole different pond, and now your waters flow directly together. In the blink of an eye, you are exposed to double the amount of space.

This is okay, however, because as a part of a pair you are now also double the entity, and therefore able to handle it all and remain in the same proportion. She brings with her her own set of realities, expectations, experiences, and stories. You contribute yours. Her interests can become yours and yours can become hers. You are suddenly exposed to brand new people, places, and things. Your pond has gotten wider and deeper and the two of you exhaust your little fins racing from one end to the other.

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Unfortunately not all relationships last forever, and sometimes two fish who seem to have swum together forever may find at one point that their streams will lead to different waters. The problem here is that, while she may be gone, the world she left behind isn’t. Your pond has permanently been touched by her presence. You will always now be aware of how much deeper and wider everything has become. Whereas before we may have been comfortable in our world and our size within it, we now find ourselves feeling much smaller in a world that feels much bigger.

I never knew about bouldering before I started dating Beautiful again. I never considered skydiving or hiking or any of the other many things she introduced me to. And I know I did the same for her, introducing my own interests and worlds. I find myself now realizing just how much more there is than what I knew. She may not be here anymore to be by my side as I learn and grow and experience but I don’t need her. We don’t need another to feel equal enough to the world we inhabit. Beyond simply just continuing to explore the things she introduced me to I find I am now more curious and inquisitive and exploring things neither she nor I had done before. Archery for one. More travel another. Even relationships have become new things for me as I deepen my relationships with my friends and family on a level I only once ever thought to reserve for someone I was dating.

Pond.gifSee there is only so much we as individuals can ever hope to explore and accomplish in one given life. The most inquisitive and explorative of us will find frustration at our limits and resent the infinity we cannot be a part of. The complacent and comfortable will become resigned to their borders and never develop their own incentive to grow beyond. The only way to really experience as much of the world as we can is to allow others to come and make their ponds part of ours. Whether or not they remain with us to explore it is an entirely different matter. Even heartbreak and loss needs to be experienced in our lives.

We can spend our time angry at those who left us. Allow ourselves to be consumed with anger and disappointment at those who have left us behind with this vast and violent rapid. We can dwell on those who built up false promises and hopes and threw us in unfamiliar waters.

Or we could recoil in insecurity and self-doubt. We could continue to feel small and insignificant in the face of the new world, the world of being alone where you once were not. Find a comfortable reef to hide away in as the world continues on without us because we feel incomplete or not large enough to take on the new challenges and stories that await our fish.

MiniatureOr we could grow bigger on our own. Consume. If our world has become larger than we must grow to meet it. Consume everything. Experiences. Stories. Knowledge. Love. If you ever played that computer game where you start off as a tiny fish and as you eat more and more you grow larger and larger until you can take over the entire pond you know exactly what I mean. Our worlds need to grow and we need to grow with it. People come and pour more water and we cannot just content ourselves to be small or hope to find someone else to make us bigger. We must do it ourselves. We must consume with energy and enthusiasm and the most powerful feeling of being entitled to grow.

You have to remember, have to realize, your pond can always get bigger. There will always be ways whether you choose to or not to have the borders of your world stretched and reshaped. You can always get bigger. You can consume and meet the same pace as your world. But even when the person who made your world bigger leaves and you feel less than equal to the world, you have to remember, you never actually shrunk. You have always been the size you are. You don’t get smaller. You get bigger. When you are left alone, you are not smaller than the person you were before. Your world is bigger, and at the very least, you are the same size fish you were before you met her. Which means you better get out there and consume everything you can. No one deserves to feel like a miniature of themselves in a life-size model of their world.

Day 52: The Man and the Triumphant Return, Post-Retreat

It is a strange feeling to be back. I actually got home late last night and with no real time to transition from the retreat world to the real world, I find myself on the road again already, traveling in eastern PA for the week. I am writing as much for the benefit of the blog and my own personal reflection as I am to record the immense amount of knowledge and wisdom I have gained over the past three days for future reference. I hope also that what I have experienced and learned I can share with others who might also benefit from it.

Eagle Village.jpgThe shift in mentality, physicality, activity, and awareness is almost jarring. For the past three days I’ve been completely unplugged. Not isolated or removed, just unplugged. The location was actually gorgeous. In Southbury, CT the school rented a couple cabins. We still had shelter and light and running water but we consciously chose to leave all our technology in our cars, locked away, to use sparingly if at all. I personally chose to go on a complete withdrawal from it all to ground myself again. There is a purposefulness that is wonderfully fulfilling and totally absorbing when you choose to focus your entire day on only a few certain tasks. Not that there aren’t ways to capture that sensation in our everyday lives, but imagine having a full day devoted to only the things you choose to do. To get up early because you want to feel the sun rising on your face during morning meditation. To fill your lungs with cool air and feel the wet morning dew on the grass as you begin your practice. Sharing a breakfast with people who are fully committed to the same goals and values and motivations as you are. Feeding off of that energy, that vitality. To rush back to the hot sun and be completely oblivious to how the hours melt away as you practice. We would take sporadic little breaks to cool down, drink some water, have some fruit, and we’d be back immediately, wanting to learn more, enjoying and valuing every moment as an opportunity to learn and improve and grow. A full day of personal, physical, and mental growth. We practiced until the sun would set and then, as a group, would find a local restaurant to have dinner together. At the school back home, there is a protocol of Interiorinstructors, assistants, and students. And even within the students, there is of course a ranking of seniority among the higher and lower belts. But on a retreat we wear no uniforms, bear no distinctions, and within respectable reason of course, honor no separation. It is only here that I can have a beer with an instructor or play pool with some of the assistants. It is here, learning something completely different and unique to the retreat experience, that seniors and juniors find themselves on equal footing and able to learn, practice, and spar on equal grounds. At night those of us who have not yet tired of the day’s lessons will find some private secluded areas to continue our practice, share knowledge and advice, and prepare for the next day.

I did not once think of Beautiful or of relationships or loneliness when I felt at all times surrounded by such engaging company. My body was too busy to feel lethargic and sad. My mind was too excited to wander into distracting thoughts. I find the first day back too numbing. It is busy but it is unfulfilling. I think a retreat is always a wonderful idea and it doesn’t necessarily need to be for martial arts. You can retreat within your own home to write, to sing, to draw, to feel, or to not feel. What I have come to realize is that the effectiveness of a retreat is not measured during its own time, but in the time after. Can you capture that feeling of peaceful and serene purpose and carry it with you back in the real world. Can each retreat slowly find its way into your daily heart until you feel it in every waking moment. That is the Zen. So the first goal, above retaining what was learned and practicing it physically, is to retain what was felt mentally and recreate it in every new morning. That is where I start my post-retreat journey.

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This week will be dedicated to sharing the lessons I learned from my weekend. During the retreat we focused on two new aspects of the martial arts practice that are not normally taught in the regular curriculum of the school. The first was Yin Meditation, a form of deep relaxation and stretching meditation much like yoga that focuses on benefitting the internal organs, emotions, health, flexibility, and relaxation. We learned and practiced various poses meant to stimulate certain organs and emotions and I will share the poses, how to do them, and how they relate to the very deep and complex world of Chinese philosophy and meditation. I am currently beginning a 100 day challenge of Yin meditation to see how my body and mind change from the regular practice of these poses for specific purposes. I will also share the martial aspect of the retreat, where I am very happy to say I was able to learn a new skill that has always been on my ‘must-learn’ list. I am a huge weapons enthusiast and I love being able to practice as many of the traditional Chinese weapons as I can and over this weekend we learned the double broadsword. Oh yes, that’s right you martial arts fans and nerds out there, we learned how to wield not one but two of the Chinese daos, considered among the family of traditional weapons of kung fu as the ‘General of All Weapons’. I am particularly keen to share my experience and insight into this practice not as it pertains directly, as I do not think I am neither qualified nor equipped to even begin to explain or illustrate the principles, but I am excited to share my insight as to how weapons apply to martial arts philosophy and how that can apply to the nature of relationships as well.

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Oh yes, I’m back, I’m energized, I’m inspired, I have a goal and a reason and a purpose, and I cannot wait to share.

Day 52

Man: 36 Loneliness: 16

Day 48: The Man and the Retreat

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I’m going to have to go on a very brief hiatus over the weekend and will be back on Tuesday.

If I could I would type and write until I wore my fingers down to the knuckle. Writing in this blog daily has done incredible things to help me sort my emotions, move beyond the initial hurt, and remain hopeful for growth and change.

Recently I have not really thought much about the events and people involved that brought me to this point. I have been too busy looking forward and enjoying this new creative drive. It has been amazing to witness the ease with which so many words now pour from my fingers. When I started I was so out of practice that simply trying to find a message was difficult enough!

But this journey is two-fold. I have been working on taking care of my mind and sharpening the sense of my writing, observation, and reflection. It is equally important to take care of my body. To remind myself that a little sweat and a little struggle can do a whole lot of good. To feel the sun on my skin and feel the natural breeze, not the one from the office vents.

It has definitely been difficult to find a way to adapt and negotiate my way around the craziness of my work schedule. Being on the road 90% of the time nowadays I do not have the luxury of familiar surroundings and routines to keep me balanced and in check. When I am finally back home on the weekends I am so consumed with the desire to spend time with family and friends, share stories, catch up, indulge, that I lack the incentive and motivation to do otherwise.

At least Pokemon Go has me walking to hatch those eggs. And I am fortunate that almost every hotel I stay at during my travels has some form of make-do minimalistic ‘fitness center’ that I can spend an hour in each night. But it does not replace where my body craves to spend its energy and effort. An elliptical does not speak to the blood that flows through me. For that, it has been, and will always be, my martial arts.

I have been studying and practicing martial arts for the past 19 years. I spent 12 of them at one school studying ba gua zhang and I’ve spent the past three at the school I am currently in learning a system that teaches a combination of eight traditional styles (kung fu, kung soo, ba gua, yudo, tai chi, aikido, the eight fundamental weapons, and kendo separately).

Jackie Chan.gifLike many Asian kids, I grew up watching Jackie Chan films. He was the one who inspired me to start learning kung fu. My father, who studied in the Philippines, was happy to help me find an authentic school that would teach me true martial arts, vetted by practicality, philosophy, and authenticity. I was ecstatic when we found my first school, then a small group that simply rented a space from a dance studio and taught authentic ba gua zhang, an internal style of kung fu (a la Avatar: The Last Airbender). I studied there for 16 years, progressing from the children’s classes to the adult, only stopping when I had to go to college and could no longer attend regularly.Aang.gif
During my 4 year hiatus I continued to practice what forms I could remember if just to retain the muscle memory and the flexibility and strength. After college I went through a particularly difficult time relationship and identity-wise, and what helped bring me back to center was my martial arts. I sought a new school and a new teacher and found the school where I am currently. My background helped me to rise fast and my hunger after being starved for so long of new material and techniques propelled me forward.

Before I began this new job I was attending practice four nights a week and every Sunday. I would then go with a friend I made at the school into the city and continue with more practitioners in Chinatown.

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This is in fact a picture of the school where I now practice.

Martial arts has provided me with more than just a more dynamic and useful way of keeping in shape. Yes I have had to use it on occasion in the past and yes it has prepared me to be able to protect myself and those around me. But more so than that it has always provided me with a moral and philosophical foundation to living. True martial arts begins in the mind. It begins in the way you think. It has provided me with discipline, sincerity, benevolence, and bravery. Through my studies I began regularly practicing meditation. Developed a more level head. A keener sense of awareness. I admit my old school was a bit too traditionalist and isolationist. My new school is much more open and interested in other styles and schools. Through them I have been able to become a more active member of a community I did not know even existed. A community of truly dedicated and committed martial artists practicing mindful, authentic kung fu. I have been able to meet and practice with some incredibly gifted martial artists. I have developed friendships and relationships that center around one key fundamental interest and it has allowed all of us to improve with our continued interactions.

Both schools have had a regular tradition of taking one long weekend in the summer to take a retreat and focus solely on practice. It has been a yearly occurrence I have made sure never to miss, negotiating work, play, family, friends, and relationships around four days in August.

That is where I will be this weekend until Tuesday. That is what I am currently, in between paragraphs, packing for. Just the essentials. A toothbrush, toothpaste, contact case and solution, soap and shampoo, and clothes for changing out of each day. No cell phone, no laptop, and therefore, no blogging.

This retreat is as much about the physical aspect of martial arts as it is about the mental. We will spend time meditating, practicing, practicing, and then meditating. It is a true retreat from over-stimulation and indulgence. The most authentic and traditional form of practice we can recreate. A temporary but all-encompassing immersion in the art. I don’t know yet what we will be focusing on but I am excited to learn and spend more time with my kung fu brothers and sisters.

I am looking forward to this yearly opportunity once more. I cannot wait for us to hire more people in my department so that I can spend less time on the road and therefore more time at home and at my second home, the school. My body has sorely missed the sensation of struggle and growth. My body and mind are ready, eager, and willing.

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Too bad DailyPost doesn’t give previews of the next days’ prompts though. I hope I don’t miss anything good!

See you all on the other side of the weekend. Until then, take care, and don’t forget about me!

Day 48

Man: 32 Loneliness: 16

Day 47: The Man and the Fortuitous Madness; ‘Moon’

I’m not kidding, I sent this email to my friends two days ago. When I saw that the prompt was ‘moon’ I thought, how fortuitous, I could show you all what madness you would be in for if you were ever unfortunate enough to have to take a vacation with me.

Please note, this is just what I write for a simple, TWO NIGHT THREE DAY trip to the POCONOS. Last year we did five days in Vegas and I wrote a novel. 

But I’ll tell you what, no one can argue that my friends aren’t prepared when we go on trips together.

So without further ado, the email I sent my friends to prepare them for our vacation next week.

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Hello lovely people,

In a little more than a week we will be on our second annual Little ‘Un. Congratulations on achieving this milestone in consistency and travel.

As a reminder, we will be away from Saturday, August 27th, to Monday, August 29th in the beautiful Poconos Mountain area in eastern Pennsylvania.

Prepare for a weekend of excitement! Intrigue! And perhaps even….MURDER! Or maybe just some good food, good drinks, and good company. You know, whatevs.

Of course before we embark on this most epic of journeys, it would be most prudent to prepare properly, please.

Proposed Itinerary

Saturday, August 27th

We shall all congregate at the house of [name removed] on Saturday no later than 10am. This will provide us with ample time to go to Total Wine to procure our alcoholic purchases and, I recommend, have lunch together at Green Papaya to discuss preparations.

Upon completion we will begin our trek to East Stroudsburg, PA. Estimated travel time will be an hour and a half with a cruising altitude of…zero feet. We anticipate good weather and a smooth ride but your captain does advise that you have your seat belt on at all times.

We will unload our noble vessel of all our earthly belongings and begin claiming rooms at the house. We will also take inventory of the supplies provided by the house kitchen (as all meals will be prepared in-house) and once we are comfortable and confident in our selection, we will begin the task of grocery shopping for the duration of our stay.

Dinner on the first night will be expertly prepared and provided by none other than our dynamic duo, [name removed]!

Our nightly entertainment for the first night will be a visit to Mount Airy Casino Resort, a lively, upscale casino resort 11 miles from Camelback Mountain on the Pocono Plateau. May the odds be ever in your favor!

Sunday, August 28th

A hearty and filling breakfast will be provided by the Korean Culinary Conquistador, [name removed]!

I would recommend that breakfast be scheduled and provided at 10am.

Sunday is our day of outdoor adventure and fun!

I would direct you to this site, which lists all of the outdoor activities at our disposal at the Skytop Lodge, the premier family and conference resort in the Poconos. Located only half an hour away from our temporary palace activities INCLUDE, but are NOT LIMITED TO, archery tag, a treetop course, lawn bowling, hiking, paintball, and clay shooting! Spots fill up fast so I recommend we discuss and book as soon as possible. Our gated community also has its own park and canoe/kayak lake as well.

This is the most transient of elements in our trip, completely open to customization and recommendations. Please let your server provider know if you have any requests.

After a full day of physical activity what better way to relax and reenergize than with an overly complicated and prepared meal by your very own humble author.

Night’s activities will include games, drinking, drinking games, and games of drinking, and when drunk enough, completely violating the community’s ridiculous ‘quiet time’ rules and howling drunkenly at the moon.

Monday, August 29th

We will prepare for the long road home with a meal by Iron Chef Taiwanese, [name removed]!

Afterwards I think a visit to the Pocono Bazaar on the way home would be a fun side-trip. Who knows what strange and unique wares we’ll find and ultimately not buy?!

Is what I’d say if it weren’t for the fact that Pocono Bazaar is closed on Mondays! So…iono…we’ll figure it out. We will endure. We will remain calm and carry on. God we better do something though. Maybe local back home? Get on this, guys.

What to Bring

Now that you have all been made aware of the activities and itinerary, let’s discuss provisions!

Please remember that the house DOES NOT PROVIDE LINEN SERVICE. Therefore you will be required to bring your own linens, towels, etc.

Apart from daily attire, please bring something for our casino night and active wear for our day of adventure.

Along that note, for those of you so inclined, please remember to bring bug spray and sunscreen. Brown don’t burn, baby.

For our game night, I will bring a deck of cards and Spot It. If you request any other board games from me, please let me know. Otherwise if you would like to bring any, please feel free to do so.

Money

The cost of the accommodations is $726 to be divided by five, which is $145/person. I have already charged this amount to my card so you would need to pay that to me either in cash or, if you prefer by check, I would need it asap, to make sure it is in my account before this month’s billing statement.

At the beginning of the trip I will have a full tank of gas, and at the end when I refuel we will split the cost of fuel plus any tolls incurred.

Aside from this, please bring enough in your budget to account for casino night, any activities we decide to book on Sunday, and the cost of your groceries as well as any provisions we purchase as a group (such as water).

Speaking of which…

Food

As you know, one of the more interesting and exciting twists to this year’s trip is that all of our meals will be in-house. You are free to do whatever you choose for your allotted meal, picking any dishes from any cuisine or preparation. We will have a full kitchen and outdoor grill at our disposal. Please bear in mind that while we will go grocery shopping in PA, if your dishes require any unique or particularly difficult to find or highly specific ingredients or instruments, you will need to bring these along with you. Or if you need only a specific amount of an ingredient that you happen to already have, by all means to help you control cost feel free to bring it. There’s plenty of space in the car to accommodate for Kitchen Stadium.

Weather

It is still summer and therefore hot weather wear is highly recommended. However we are in the mountains and in very shaded wood areas so bring layers.

Additional Information

Attached you will also find the house rules provided by our lovely hosts.

Well there you have it. The wild ramblings of a man with too much time on his hands and too many things to concern himself with when traveling. I hope you found it as amusing and useful as I did, and not just overbearing. Hahah. 

I really am excited for this trip though. It’ll be great to be out in the woods to clear my head, spend some time with friends, and I love the opportunity to cook and gamble and drink and everything else we’ll be doing. 

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Day 47

Man: 31 Loneliness: 16