Tag Archives: writing

Aimless Driving In Wisconsin

One of my most tried and true stress-relievers is to charge up my iPod, gas up my car, buy a fresh pack of cigarettes, pick a direction, and drive. No particular destination, just away. It’s insanely expensive, it runs the car even more into the ground than my daily driving does, and the chain smoking probably isn’t the best for my health, but hey, it’s the best way for me to learn every Rihanna song in my library word for word. That, and it gives you time to think. Time to think about anything and everything. Sports. Jobs. What cutesy thing you should text next to the girl you’re into. Family. Friends. What the best way is to forget that girl. The course of your life. The mistakes you’ve made. How great you’re life could have been if you hadn’t been a dumbass and instead of listening to what your friends and family told you was your best option, you just did what the fuck you wanted to do and felt like was the right choice. And lest we not forget the immemorially bittersweet and hauntingly sublime task of remembering the girl because hey, sometimes you’ll meet people in your life that make you realize that Snoop Dogg was wrong, and that bitches ARE shit. Oh, and, of course, my new favorite hobby of trying to figure out the best and most creative Saw like way of killing Gotye, like he would have to delete his ex off of his Facebook friend list in order to live or something like that, or forcing him to put some fucking clothes on because he is NOT good looking enough to be naked in a music video. But I digress.

Set Blasters to “Kill That Whiny Bitch”

 

The best time to drive-think, I’ve found, is the middle of the night. Unless you’re on a major Interstate, you’ll see maybe four other cars every hour, the stoplights switch to flashing yellow, and you finally get a chance to start living in a Thompsonian manner and drive as fast as you damn well please down the empty streets because the cops that are out give less than one full fuck about you. It’s the emptiness of the road, I think, that really gives you the ability to completely tune out what’s happening around you and just dive into the previously unexplored depths of your head. It allows you to get away from the mindlessness of shitty TV and Internet memes. It allows you to sit there and slow down and actually try to figure out this miraculous little game of “Let’s See How Little We Can Fuck This Up” that we colloquially refer to as life. It allows you to light your fifth cigarette in forty-five minutes, driving at sixty miles-an-hour, weaving in and out of your lane and only be phased by the fact that your voice is almost as gravely as the shoulder that you’re barely holding onto.

But recently I feel I’ve reached a new horizon. I’ve turned down a different road. A road that’s not so easily navigated. Or at the very least the road is transforming into something horribly regrettable. The timers of the stoplights don’t work, so instead of flashing yellows I get solid reds at every intersection. Six beady little LED pieces of shit telling me I can’t keep going, that I need to stop, regardless of the fact that there isn’t another conscious human being within 5 miles of my position. The city has stopped picking up the road-kill, so when you drive over the same road every day for a week, you get to see the stages of decay, from the fresh carcass still intact, legs of the deer still looking as if they’re galloping, to the bloating fly-infested cesspool that forms as the legs straighten out under the influence of rigamortis, and finally ending in the depressing pile of hair, leather, and venison jerky with a center of black and goopy organ nougat.

Even the car itself has started to haunt me. This was the car I learned to drive in. This was the car that’s seen thousands of cigarettes, hundreds of spliffs, a half-dozen blunts and a Crave Case or two. This was the car that saw everything from first dates and kisses to last dates and breakups. This was the car that has the unfortunate experience of seeing me get my first handjob. Hell, with the amount of manual stimulation and fellatio that has gone down (haha, get it?) in that car, I think it’s probably best that we do part ways (I know it’s not romantic, but we were all in high school at one point. As for all that stuff that’s happened after I graduated high school, I really have no excuse). Not even the coolest and most compatible of women have ever stayed with me this long after seeing my penis.

But I know it’s not the car. It’s not the road. It’s not those bastard stoplights. It’s me. It’s my life and my choices and my situation that are getting all fucked up. It’s at the point that I can’t even bring myself to lie about it and tell everybody the same old throw-away, pre-packaged lines that I dole out whenever I don’t want to put the weight of my problems on other people. I can’t even muster up the breath to say, “I’m fine,” or, “Everybody has shit in their lives,” if it’s someone I can’t bring myself to lie to. Now when I drive, it’s like there’s this overload of stuff to think about. It’s too much to be able to sort out and think about in my head as the car ticks over 170,000 miles. How am I supposed to pay 25 grand in student loans making $9.25 and hour? How can I ever make it in the world as some type of writer if I let the shit in my life debilitate me to the point that this is the first thing I’ve written for my pathetic fucking blog in four months? How am I supposed to tell the girl that’s currently fucking me that I really don’t want anything remotely serious to develop out of this? And then the realization that, due to work and sleep and booze and drugs, I haven’t actually seen or talked to that girl in like, two weeks, so I guess she knows I’m not looking for anything and now I’m back to just masturbating. Then there’s the fact that I’ve finally come to the conclusion that moving back home after graduation was the worst possible decision that I could have ever made in my life, as it has pretty much destroyed any chance of a positive relationship between me and my family. And on top of that, slowly my friends have started to move away or get real jobs and have their own lives and issues that they need to deal with, not to mention that I’ve got to deal with being cut out of people’s lives that I actually, genuinely gave a shit about. And then there’s the fact that I kind of want to start going back to my therapist to try and figure out what the fuck is wrong with me and why I constantly feel this more or less even, steady, slow-burn depression and relatively large anxiety issues, but I can’t bring myself to do it because of the resentment that I feel toward him ever since he called this whole shitty downward spiral fall that I’m in the midst of, all the way down to what set it off in the first place. Then there’s the question of whether or not I’m going to get around to the whole quitting smoking thing, and then there’s wondering exactly how far back I’m going to continue to push the line that separates the drugs that I’ve done from those that I’m not comfortable with taking yet. And then there’s the fact that for whatever reason, I’ve got this habit of being really shitty at letting things go, and I have a tendency to, even years later, rip previously healed wounds back open just for shits and giggles to try and remember why it hurt so much, just to find out that if you do such things, all those horrible events in your past, all your wrong choices and bad decisions and unfortunate circumstances and years of being treated seemingly unfairly still fucking hurts, so that when you start to think about life too much, it starts to become overwhelming, and you end up doing more harm than good for yourself. And on top of all of that, I start to wonder why the fuck I know every single word to “Call Me Maybe” and actually got legitimately mad at work the other day when my coworker changed the radio station as soon as it came on.

A couple of weeks ago, one of the blogs that I follow, AdamsDaugther came back from a bit of a hiatus (I don’t care that your blog is kind of girly at times, I like girly stuff. Like Gilmore Girls, Andre champagne, your blog, and Nutz Over Chocolate Luna Bars). She had a post about how she was coming off of a rough patch in her life and decided to rededicate herself to blogging (and cooking). And, with the exception of her using The Notebook as the source of her revelation (Sorry, I like girly stuff, but I made a promise to myself long, long ago that the only time I would ever watch The Notebook would be if I found myself in the position that watching it would help me get laid), I realized I needed to do something, too. I need to get back to doing what I love, to what I want to do with my life. I need to get back to writing and making these amazing connections between seemingly unrelated aspects of life. I need to get back to bringing everyone a little bit of Panda insight. I need to get back to reveling in the awesome things that happen to me, and publicly crucifying those who wrong me. There have been too many boozed out shenanigans and too much regrettable sex in strange places and too many drugged up adventures that have taught me too many little-known rules of life to just keep them to myself. I haven’t spent all my money on bad decisions to just remember them. I need to tell them.

These are fucking delicious.

And it makes complete sense for me to do so. Even though I maintain that, in some ways, I needed a break from reality to post up inside my head, it’s time to get back to being me. Even though this road has been littered with those now-dried up and blowing in the breeze deer carcasses, they’ll eventually be gone. They’ll fix that fucking stoplight on 124th and Capitol to actually match up with the green lights on the road so you can drive from Peawaukee to downtown Milwaukee without stopping once. The rest-stop outside of Johnson Creek won’t have a car just creepily chilling in the parking lot with nobody in it. I’ll drive around Wisconsin at four in the morning and not have to wonder about whether the car coming toward me is a drunk driver or just another fuck-up like me, driving aimlessly to try and drive all the shit and demons from their head. There will be a time that I’ll stay out until five in the morning and drive home as the sun rises into the lavender-indigo sky as I speed past the unfortunate lot of my service industry brethren who are chosen to open the places of employ head off to work propped up by no less than 500 mg of caffeine, and the phosphene-like death throes of the LSD I took earlier that night streak across my perception as the drugs slowly meet their demise in my well-overworked liver, and I’ll realize that, no matter how badly I manage to fuck it up, no matter how much bullshit I’ll have to deal with on account of others, no matter how many people or stoplights continually tell me what I can’t fucking do, and no matter how many times I willingly let people hurt me with the vein hope that they’ll truly realize what they’re doing to me and my psyche and change their mind, maybe my life is way too damn interesting and beautiful to not write about.

Take it easy,

-Panda

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Let’s All Go To The Mall

I should really consider myself lucky.  I mean, I was driving around in a car that had a tire with a fairly big puncture hole.  For a while instead of just replacing it, I just kept the air compressor in my back seat and filled the thing up every couple of weeks.  It worked out fairly well, but I knew that I would need to get the tire replaced before winter rolled around.  So this last weekend I went to the Sears Autocare Center (Hey, if I want to to pretend to be a man I have to do manly shit like go to Sears).  They told me it would be a little over an hour to complete the work on my car, and that they would give me a call when the work was completed.  So, instead of sitting around in the waiting room of the service shop, I decided to walk across the parking lot and go to the mall that was right there.

Walking into the mall was, for lack of a better phrase, a fucking trip.  I haven’t really been in a mall for anything other than new glasses or over-priced Apple shit in probably close to five years.  I have forgotten how strange these places can be.  And strange is really the only thing you can call a mall, because the mall is the only place in the world that people will set aside a couple of hours for, and then within twenty minutes of starting the day the only thing they want to do is just get the fuck out of there.

The first thing that I wanted to do was to find a restroom.  Like any mall, I figured that they would be in the food court (they were).  But the restrooms are the least of the interesting aspects of this endeavor.   The food court was a pathetic excuse for a source of nourishment.  I mean, there wasn’t a single dollar menu in the entire place.  Not that I’m a big fan of the kind of food that comes from the kind of place that has a dollar menu, but it seems to me that dollar menus are perfectly suited for malls.  The food is usually something that you can usually eat on the go, small enough for you to finish by the time you get into the next store, and makes you shit about 45 minutes later, bringing you back to the food court where it all began.  But as if that’s not enough for me to hate the food courts at the mall, I looked around at the other options for food.  It’s astonishing how every mall has literally the same exact shitty food that the next one does.  Of course everyone knows about Auntie Anne’s Pretzels and CinnaBonn.  But when you dig deeper, you will find the Rocky Rococo, the Arby’s, the place that serves steak (who the fuck says, “You know, I could really go for a steak.  Let’s go to the mall.  No, it’s cool, it’s 6:00 PM, they usually clean up the food court around 5:30ish.  So basically, as long as you don’t eat near the Sbarro the floors won’t be sticky and it doesn’t stink as much because there aren’t any babies because the mom’s all had to drop them off the babysitter because Valium usually can’t last all day normally, let alone a full day at the mall.”), and of course that less-than-trustworthy stir-fry place (You want me to eat Chinese food?  Fine, as long as it isn’t prepared by 17-year-old girls from the suburbs who can’t even pronounce General Tso’s Chicken correctly).  Literally every mall has those same exact places.  And literally the same exact people go to those same places in every mall:  5% mall employees who are on their break in the middle of a double shift, 20% kids on dates who don’t know what a real date is, 20% single mothers, and 55% disgusting slobs.

Food court aside, there is another very disturbing aspect of malls in general.  This particular phenomenon is visible everywhere, but at the mall, it shines.  I’m talking, of course, about weird people.  Not the some-guy-writing-a-blog-pretending-to-be-a-panda-so-he-can-feel-like-he’s-being-a-productive-member-of-society-but-knows-he-isn’t weird, but the start-a-conversation-with-a-complete-stranger-but-not-actually-be-looking-them-in-the-eye weird.  I mean, you’ve got the people who go to the mall to do nothing but walk in fucking circles, you’ve got the people who act like they know you and try to start a conversation with you when you’re standing in line (please, people who do this, stop frontin’), you’ve got the people who walk around and try to stop you when you’re going about your day and minding your own business to get you to take a survey, and then you got the people who sit.  They don’t really do anything.  They just sit.  I’m pretty sure they’re there 24/7, because I’ve never seen any of them get up or actually partake in the process of sitting down.   Maybe it’s just a ruse by the people who own the mall to say, “We have seating in case you need to sit down for a moment, rest, wait to meet up with your family, or to wait and figure out if the food court meal you ate a half-hour ago is coming out early or if it’s just a fart,” and then they just have some old folks come in and sit.  They probably don’t even pay them (well, maybe they give them the leftover food from the food court, which would explain why the bathrooms at the mall always smell like shit, even in the morning before anyone even uses them).  And of course you can’t ask them to move, they’re old.  They’ve got the walkers and those fucking big-ass-cover-half-your-face sunglasses to prove it.

But all of that pales in comparison to my biggest issue with the mall and human society: how and why the hell do humans find the mall to be fun?  I mean, everyone from teenagers to old folks go to the mall to waste their Saturdays and their “sick” days, and spend hours and hours there.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I used to think the mall was awesome.  I would try to transform almost any social outing with friends into a day at the mall.  But that wasn’t because I thought it was fun, it’s because, as a panda, I had never seen anything like this place in my life.  I mean, you humans just have a giant building with all these different stores that have absolutely nothing in common with each other and a bunch of kiosks that are filled with second-rate, made-in-China shit, and in the winter, every fucking year, you people pay some fatass to sit in a red suit in the middle of the mall and have your children sit in his lap as he whispers sweet nothings into their ears (“Oh, I bet you’ve been a bad girl”).  I mean, just look at what a trip to the mall looks like normally.  For the most part, you park your car a quarter-mile away from the closest set of doors, walk into the mall, try to not make eye contact with the poor people at the shoe shine booth, walk half the length of the mall to find an up escalator, walk to where the store is supposed to be, remember it’s on the first floor, go to the first floor, get stuck behind a group of slow walking dumbass teenage boys who think that they’re hot shit as they walk out of Spencer’s Gifts in their TapOut shirts and exposed plaid boxers (even though everyone in the mall knows their not because no matter how many times they say, “she looks like this one chick I nailed,” you know they’ve probably never even touched a breast and the most sexually advanced situation they’ve ever been in was just last week when they first tried masturbating in the shower), then you get to the store you wanted to go to, but it’s crowded, so you grab the one thing you need and sit in line for 20 minutes and then book it to your car.  And you humans find this shit fun.

Fun?  Screw that.  If we could live in a place without a single Hot Topic, I feel the world might be a better place.  And to be honest, how has Yankee Candle not been busted yet?  A chain store that stays afloat selling nothing but candles?  Please, that shit has to be a front for some kind of shenanigans.  “LOOK AT THIS KIOSK.  A GREEN BAY PACKERS CELL PHONE CASE FOR $20? FUCK YEAH!”  Fuck no.  I’m not saying you all shouldn’t go to the mall, but I’m just saying you should all stop pretending that you want to, because we all know it sucks.

Take it easy,

-Panda


I Hate Lettuce

Did you ever notice how people think we’re stupid?  Not the kind of stupid like “I failed all my schooling so I had to join the army” stupid, I’m talking the “Oh, I like shiny things” stupid.  I mean, everyone is always telling you the obvious things but making them seem profound.  Everyone is trying to the most insignificant things seem important.  I’m talking about nutritional-facts-on-bottled-water level of bullshit here.  There are examples of this garbage everywhere you look.

Take for example whenever you are looking to get a new or used car.  The salesperson usually goes on and talks about this and that and specifications of exactly how many liters the engine is and how many horsepower it is as if I’m about to haul around an entire Amish village but don’t have enough reins to use actual horses.  But then they also bring up something I find interesting: power windows and power steering.  Really?  Now, I remember in the old car we had when I was growing up there being the hand-crank variety of windows, but I never remember being all that upset that I had to take five seconds out of my day to do so.  And with power steering (for those of you who don’t know what power steering is, it’s the reason for the difference in effort that you have to exert between turning the wheel with the car on and off (This means that you can eat your Big Mac even while turning, as long as your good at the whole palming the wheel things (But speaking of eating in the car, have you seen the size of cupholders in new cars?  They are fucking insane.  And they even have those flip down things with the soft-ish rubber/plastic things that hold smaller drink cups in place, but even those are way too big for normal people containers likes cans and 20-ounce bottles.  It’s as if the car companies are telling us that the smallest soda we should ever drink while driving a car is 68 ounces (It’s a Toyota, you know they were probably like, “I know it’s too big, but Americans will just get bigger cups to fill them anyways, so don’t sweat it.”))).  But really, they literally don’t even make cars without power steering anymore.  It’s ancient technology.  It’s like a rotary phone or a television dial or children’s toys that you actually had to push around by hand before the kids these days just got fucking lazy and can sit on the couch while they dick around with the remote for their fire truck trying to find a way to get it to drive over their sister.

And it’s not just the used car salespeople either, but even our teachers.  I’ve taken a couple fiction writing classes at Marquette, and I did fairly well in those classes.  But one thing that irks me is what my teachers have told me about my writing.  They say overall it was pretty good, and with a little bit of revision it might be called excellent.  However, every fucking time I use the word, “gunna,” they tell me that I’ve spelled it wrong.  Apparently, it’s spelled, “gonna.”  Gunna/gonna is a contraction of the phrase, “going to.”  That being said, it’s not actually a fucking word.  It doesn’t exist.  It’s a colloquial contraction used by people to get rid of an extra syllable that we clearly don’t have time to enunciate because we have yet to finish our fucking 68-ounce diet Coke (it’s not that I drink diet soda because I think it’s healthier, or better for my teeth, but it’s because when I drink 68 ounces of regular soda I get a stomach ache, and if I get a stomach ache, I can’t digest the bamboo properly) (And of course by, “68 ounces,” I really mean 27 ounces, because you need to put a shit ton of ice into it, as if the soda doesn’t already come out of the tap cold (Why does soda taste better from the tap than from cans or bottles?)).

But all of that really isn’t all that bad.  I could deal with it, but only if there was just one teeny-weeny itsy-bitsy concession from the world:  Stop making lettuce out to be this magical wonderfood that should be looked at as if it makes any meal so much more delicious and nutritious.  Yeah, I’m sure that club sandwich with a pound various cured meat product and three types of cheese is going to help you slim down that FUPA.   And everyone has eaten at Subway, so you all know that you have to tell them, “just a little bit of lettuce,” just so you can actually have good shit on it.  My issue with lettuce is two-fold really.  Number one is that it sucks. The shit doesn’t hold a candle to bamboo.   It’s just a crispy, green, leafy thing that doesn’t taste like anything, let alone anything good.  (I mean, yeah, we all put it on our sandwiches and burgers and whatnot, but when was the last time that you were actually like, “You know what, I really could go for some lettuce?”  (It’s not like you’re making dinner and you realize you don’t have lettuce and you run to the store because there is just no way that you could eat dinner without it (Even when you’re having BLTs, how many of you would just be like, “Fuck it, I’ll just have the bacon and tomato sandwich?”)))  And number two is that people call food that is really nothing more than lettuce by all these pseudonyms in order to make it out to be something that isn’t lettuce and doesn’t suck.  Cabbage?  I don’t like gross, waxy lettuce.  Cole Slaw?  I don’t like gross, waxy lettuce with a bunch of mayo.  “The dish is served on a bed of crisp romaine.”  That’s cool, I still don’t like lettuce.  “Sir, we’ve got a wonderful baby arugula salad today.”  Goddamnit, I don’t like baby lettuce either.  “And our house salad is carrots, cucumber and mixed greens/spring greens/summer greens/fall greens.”  Fuck you, I said I don’t like lettuce/lettuce/lettuce/lettuce.

And to think that these are only three different examples of the dishonesty and deception that are so rampant in this world today.  I mean, yeah, maybe they are just trying to earn an honest dollar, but then again, fuck ‘em.  They don’t need to lie to me.  So, Panda Cubs, as you go through the world today/tomorrow/forever, don’t let yourself get lied to.  Man up.  Woman up.  And most importantly, get yourself some.

Take it easy,

-Panda