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Try kale

Monday 8/26/19

Yesterday I walked three miles, ran nine, climbed the Bunker Hill Monument ten times. This morning I composed a 1500 word essay about jazz regarding two historically important Christmas concerts. I need to write two books in four months, which is why I am working so hard to write pieces now that I can sell later in the year so I don't have to try and do them while I'm doing the books. On Saturday I wrote a 2600 word piece on time's dimensionality and the radio. The day before that I wrote a 1600 word piece on jazz and Halloween. The day before that I invented a new form of fiction via a 2100 word story. I also saw Pillow Talk at the Brattle yesterday. Very funny, smart. I should add that when I say I saw a film, I'm usually re-seeing the film. Not always, but often.

An incident inside the Monument encapsulated our "please, please, please view me as a victim at all costs" mentality of this putrescent age. Sometimes when I am climbing someone will get huffy that I wish to pass them. I am exceedingly polite. I want no trouble. I have enough trouble in my life. The one reason I climb is so that I don't have a heart attack because of all of the trouble that is already in my life. It takes me a little less than six minutes to go up and down one time. I'm pretty good at it by now. Yesterday I was even on the phone for 1/3 of the time I was climbing. I don't even think the person I was talking to knew. Sometimes, coming down, you get stuck behind someone who is going to take fifteen minutes to reach the bottom, who eats up all of the space, takes both sides of the stairwell.

I'm not going to wait fifteen minutes to ride behind your caboose to reach the bottom. I politely say "excuse me," I thank them for letting me pass as I do so. No attitude in my voice. I'm just trying to get something done without hassle. Sometimes, because they are sufficiently crazy, people will be obnoxious to me over this. One person recently tried to trip me. That's great. Trip someone on stone stairs and break their neck because you're offended that someone else is not the human-couch that you are.

What those people often do not realize is that they're going to be seeing me a minute or two later as I make my way back up. Funny how quiet people get then, or how they can't look me in the eye. The guy who tried to trip me tried to bump me, which was just dumb, because, of course, I knocked him on his ass with my shoulder. I enjoyed that, to be honest. Recently, a man said to his son, "He's a bad person, that's how bad people act. He's selfish." You know...the guy then does this awkward laugh. Totally weak guy, unsure of himself, and I guess he wants to prove something to his kid? I'm standing right there. I did nothing to this man, and even gave his kid a "thanks, buddy," as I slipped by. So, I did a spot-on impersonation of the man's laugh--which made his own kid laugh at him--and said, "I merely politely asked you to let me pass. The entirety of the stair is not yours to arrogate, your pace is glacial, and maybe pick better battles going forward."

Yesterday there was nothing. There were few people in the Monument. Hardly anyone to pass. Totally without incident. But, apparently not. Because as I'm nearing the bottom on climb seven, a park ranger--about thirty-years-old--is coming up the stairs, which these potatoes never do, not even to get the trash out of there. He's on the side I am on, obviously to head me off, confront me, something. He's already out of breath. Kind of sad. He says, "how are you today, sir?" I say, "fine, you?", and pass him. I hit the bottom, turn around to climb again, and this guy, practically wheezing now, is coming back down, because he's just there to accost me. I am here every day, but this genius is too dim to recognize me, even though you'd think being observant would be like your main task at historical sites at which you are a ranger. Bombs and all. Terrorists. Shootings. He starts saying the word "sir" a lot. "Sir, it's busy in here today, sir, and sir, and sir, people, sir, need to be careful who they pass, sir." Incompetent. Wasn't busy in the slightest. I say, "great, I always am," and he responds with, "we want to keep you safe, sir." What the hell. I ask him if he's just started and if that's why he's so officious. He was already breathing through his mouth, but now his mouth opens even further, and he tries to say the word "officious" back to me for clarification. Apparently one need not pass a fitness test nor a basic English exam to become a park ranger.

So what must have happened was someone, for the sheer sake of it, because they probably bitch about fifty things a day and had just come from a Starbucks where they gave the manager a migraine, wanted attention and decided to make something up and tattle over nothing I actually did to a park ranger. Pretty much the only people I passed were people who had stopped, who had their backs against the wall, who would not be moving for a while. Let me explain how this works. There is enough room for two lanes of traffic. When you're coming down, if no one is going up on the other side, you can pass. That's unoccupied space. Of course, some people are like "the whole thing, everything, is mine, that's what a giant, entitled asshole I am, completely unaware or caring that anyone else but me exists." There are landings, for instance, and people rest on those. What a sick society we live in. People inventing things that never happened to them, just so they can have attention and feel better about all of their deficiencies. This is what you do with your time? Jesus Christ. Go for a jog. Read Proust. Masturbate. Call your mother. Try kale. Give birding a shot. Educate your kids. Make a new friend.

Yesterday marked 1190 days without a drink. A lot of days I've been climbing two, three, five times. Last Sunday I wanted to set a personal best and climb sixteen straight times. I climbed ten times, and I was just soaked. I didn't want to wreck my phone. My shorts were completely wet. I came home, changed, and I felt like I had failed and felt bad about myself, so I went back and climbed six more times. A record for most climbs in a day, but the most consecutive climbs record remains at fifteen. But it's August. Five climbs in July or August is like eight climbs in October. The weekend before that I climbed ten times straight on back-to-back days.

Thelma Ritter was excellent in Pillow Talk. She always is. Also Tony Randall. He's the funniest person in the film, Niles Crane before Niles Crane. Emma texted me about Frasier yesterday. She really loves it. She asked me who my favorite character was. We tend to have the same answers to these things, so I was not surprised at all when she said hers was Niles because he is mine, too, though that show got pretty bad in its later seasons, with none of the quality that was consistently present in the early ones. The musical sequence at the bar in Pillow Talk is the best scene, when the singer selects her song to reference Rock Hudson's lies, and they share that moment together as he leaves. Very funny moment, and sufficiently off-the-cuff in feeling that I bet it was ad-libbed. It's gestural, not spoken.


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