Spring Break

Here is an excerpt from my memoir, The Complex Mind Of A Good Kid In A Cruel World”

Who’s Up For A Road Trip!

In Spring 2007, I went on a road trip to Miami with four of my friends. I was totally anxious when we agreed to go on this Spring Break trip. I am not the type of person who likes to go out of his comfort zone. I had barely gotten used to my Houston surroundings and now I was agreeing to go on a road trip with four other people to Miami, Florida.

But it was at this time when I felt like I was slowly coming out of my shell. My social life outside of going to class and attending the social group was basically non-existent. Going on a road trip to Miami felt like a perfect opportunity to expose myself and take risks. Get out of my comfort zone and see what else exists in this place called America.

And so it was agreed that we would rent a car, budget for fuel and motels, and set off on Sunday before the Spring Break week started. Our itinerary would include stops in New Orleans, Orlando, Miami, and on the way back, a brief stop in Alabama.

What’s the worst that could happen?


I Got Drunk On Bourbon Street

We arrived in New Orleans just in time for Mardi Gras. Ahmet, my Turkish friend, knew someone in New Orleans who we met up with to take us Burbon Street (A name which did not disappoint). We hang out at his place for a bit. Just drinking and trying out his hookah. I had no idea those things were flavored! I smoked one that had an orange flavor. It was delicious.

We all headed to Bourbon Street after that. I was basically the baby of the group. I was 20 years old at the time and the drinking age was 21 in New Orleans. (I think it’s kind of ridiculous because America allows 18-year-olds to officially own guns but having a 20-year-old consume alcohol is where you draw the line? Whatever.)

Me being 20 years made getting in bars a bit tricky because bouncers would always ask for ID and me being “Mr Goody Two Shoes” didn’t have a fake ID. This ID Card theme played out in other places along the way. But that didn’t stop me from having fun. There was one spot along Bourbon Street in which I managed to sneak past the bouncer at the entrance by wearing a hoodie and basically camouflaging myself into the club.

Now I knew why I didn’t like going to places like nightclubs in the first place. It was an overload for my senses. A lot of people, loud music, drinks and hot girls. I was really out of my element. There were girls dancing on tables, seductively looking at my camera as I took their picture.

As the night went on, one of my friends brought me a drink. The drink was called a grenade.

A grenade? Yep. That’s what they called it. Imagine a long green transparent hollow cylinder with a grenade looking shape at the end of it. It looked like a weed bong but it was filled with an alcoholic beverage.

It was great. You could taste the liquor in it but it was disguised to be so sweet and so I can’t help myself and just kept drinking. I drank it like it was a soda drink which turned out to be a BIG mistake.

When the blurry vision started, walking a straight line became a problem. Plus, I was SUPER hungry. If I didn’t eat something soon, I was going to pass out.

Luckily, Bourbon Street had some food spots. I found a little food joint along the way and that’s when I realized that I was low on cash. I spotted an ATM close by and went to withdraw money.*

*Pro-Tip: Don’t go to an ATM when you’re NOT sober. What I’m saying is, don’t drink and withdraw. Thank me later.

I don’t remember how much I took out of the ATM. All I know is, I pulled out way TOO much cash because I couldn’t figure out if the machine was giving me the option of $20 or $200.

When I got back to the food joint, I could barely order what I wanted to eat. I was slurring and couldn’t speak well. Probably the effects of the alcohol. I somehow managed to blurt out (or rather point out) that I wanted some Po-Rice with beans (A New Orleans meal).

I was halfway through my meal when I felt some of the food I was eating started to rise up in my throat. I felt like I was going to puke. I don’t think I would have been able to look my friends in the eye if I just puked my meal all over the floor because I couldn’t handle my alcohol. I stopped eating, took a few minutes to regain myself and the feeling of throwing up passed. Unfortunately, so did my appetite. I had barely eaten half of the meal. It was a waste of money and good food.

The next thing I remember is that I’m sitting upstairs at some make shift bar and club. My friends are on the balcony chatting up some girls and I’m sitting on the couch drinking a bottle of water with my camera in my hand. I’m just nodding my head to the music when this gorgeous blonde walks upstairs into the bar. She made everybody turn heads. But it wasn’t because she was attractive. It was because she was wearing NOTHING but a pair of knee high black boots. I am saying that this blonde woman was nude and wearing nothing except for a pair of boots and a couple of Mardi Gras beads around her neck. She had a cigarette in one hand and a drink in her other hand. So I did whatever half drunk young man would do in that situation and I just stared at her boobs from my chair. They were huge and obviously fake. But do you think my half drunk self cared about that? Not in the slightest. I was getting a free nude show and didn’t have a care in the world.

The naked blonde must have been drunk or high because she looked like she was in her own world. Ignoring everyone and just doing her own thing. I taped the whole thing but unfortunately, I lost the video footage and pictures somehow. (Sorry perverts)

My friends and I continued our escapade throughout the night. We went to different spots and bars, threw beads on girls who flashed us their boobs, sat through a swimsuit beauty pageant. I drunkenly made out with a woman which I don’t really remember because I was drunk (duh). We even run into the naked blonde again who was still drunk or high.

Getting close to 12am, we decided to call it a night. We had to leave in the morning for our next location. As we walked through Bourbon Street, girls were yelling on top of terraces. They were teasing with their shirts with some guys on the ground yelling for them to flash their boobs. Some of the drunk ones take their shirts off and beads shoot up to the terraces.

What a party. Welcome to Mardi Gras.


PSA: Thank You For Smoking

Let me take this time to tell you about the time I tried smoking cigarettes. It was an experimental thing. Before we packed and left for Spring break, I had gone into a store on campus and bought a pack of Rothmans cigarettes along with a lighter.

What made me decide to try smoking at this point?

Sheer curiosity.

I never understood the point of smoking. I had read different experiences online from people who were smokers. Some shared good experiences. Some shared bad experiences.

Being the naturally curious person that I was, I researched about smoking. I read about the risks of smoking and even watched Youtube videos on how to smoke. If I felt like I was getting addicted, I would stop at once. The goal of the experiment was to smoke a whole pack and see what the end results were. So I started my cigarette smoking experiment after New Orleans.

So what was my first smoke like? Weird. Bad. Awful. It left a “smoky” taste in my mouth. It wasn’t great. But it wasn’t that awful. Just wanted to see it all the way through.

The experiment keeps going as we continued towards Miami. I was halfway done with my cigarette pack when we were in Orlando. At this point, I didn’t get the point of smoking but I could see where the addiction came from. I did notice my anxiety would go gone down a bit when I lit one up. Some say the nicotine has that effect. I can also say that cigarettes definitely affects your appetite. That taste in your mouth definitely makes you not want to eat a meal. Eating a cheeseburger after you smoked a cigarette just didn’t seem appealing.

My cigarette pack was almost empty by the time we were in Miami. The experiment was over. No more cigarettes for me.

The lesson I got from smoking cigarettes? It makes your mouth taste like shit.


Miami Beach

We finally got to Miami. Ahmet insisted that we play Will Smith’s “Miami” song through the car speakers. It was definitely a cheesy moment but it was a cool cheesy.

Miami. My goodness. Miami was glorious. The weather was great and the girls were very good looking. But Miami was expensive. My goodness. If you want to live near Miami Bank, your bank account better have a lot of 0s in it. The price for fuel at the time in Miami was about $4.20. Back in Texas, it was about $2.50. Huge difference.

The first thing we wanted to do was to go to South Beach. It had to be done. Unfortunately, it was spring break and so EVERYBODY was on the beach. Trying to find a place to settle at the beach was hard. I was not a fan of crowds in the first place so trying to relax at a crowded beach was no challenging.

So we skipped the beach after a couple of minutes and take a little stroll. There were just hot girls everywhere. A lot of expensive cars too. I think I saw two Lamborghini back to back drive down South Beach.

Miami, Beaches, Girls

At one point we all split up and agreed to meet up later. During my walk, I stumbled upon a tattoo parlor. I don’t know if it was the excitement of the whole Miami trip or if there was something in the air but I made very rash decision to walk into the store and get a tattoo.

(PSA: Don’t try to get a tattoo in the spur of the moment. It’s not smart. Ask all girls with tattoos on their lower backs)

When I walked in, I saw this gorgeous lady talking to the tattoo artist about getting a new tattoo. She was wearing jean shorts and an orange top which showed off her stomach. You could have eaten ice cream off that stomach. But let’s not go there right now. The artist told me to look around and he would attend to me soon.

This was a bad idea. I knew it was a bad idea. What the hell was I doing trying to get a tattoo in Miami Beach?? Thankfully, I came to my senses and walked out of there before I made an awful decision.

The whole Miami experience was a bit much for me. A lot things were expensive. The girls were way too pretty and out of my league. It was all kind of superficial for me. Miami was way out of my league. I’m a simple guy and I like simple things.

After our South Beach experience, we left back to Houston. Our Spring Break road trip was a success. It had been a great experience. I wish I could have taken more road trips with my friends. We even spoke about doing one to Las Vegas. Unfortunately, that never came to fruition.

Perhaps, one day, we could all get in touch and do another crazy trip.

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Creatives Are Full Of Themselves

Creatives are full of themselves
Thinking that the art that they birth into the world
can solve the suffering and pain of their fellow man
Thinking that they’re all that and a bag of chips
Not knowing we can see when their egos swell
When the applause goes up and stage lights bloom
But they’re just empty like the rest
Surrounding themselves with others like themselves
Talking creative ideas and creative things
Using their powers to make creative pieces
But outside of their creative bubble
They can’t see what they are
Individuals who think they’re woke
Because they read books and make words dance at will
Thinking they relate to the world and its pain
Trying to use technology to spread messages of love
But they can’t even save themselves
They look at you like an outsider
Someone who doesn’t speak their language in their presence
I see these cliques gather and pay no mind to their surroundings
Comforting themselves as they lay in their own depression
Trying to positive think their way out of the reality
That they constructed themselves
So I say they can go f*ck themselves and their tribe
Because I too have painted my own blood on canvases
Painting living nightmares that haunt my spirit
I too fought demons of depression and loneliness
Taking pills which took away my ability to write
Dreaming of making love to death, and dancing off into eternity
I too am alone, awake at night as the world sleeps like the dead in the grave
But I know the world is cruel as doesn’t deserve my love
Creative are full of themselves
But the world needs more of them
To keep writing pages and letters of love
Creatives maybe be full of themselves
But in them, I can see the glimmer of hope
The spark that is needed for the next generation

I Can’t Write Anymore (Draft)

I can’t write anymore.

It’s not a personal decision I made. It’s just the way I feel. The volume rocker in my head appears to have been turned up to 11 and now the all the voices in my head are louder than ever.

I tried to go for a prescription refill for my medication but I realized I didn’t have the money for it. I’m supposed to be getting my cheque in a week. Until then, I have to deal with this nuisance.

But that’s just a small reason why I don’t have the motivation to write. Two days ago my dog died. It was heartbreaking. I had him for six months. When I brought “Merlin” from the dog shelter back to my apartment, he was so excited.

Now he’s dead. Killed by a dumbass driver in the street. I buried Merlin so afterwards and now my apartment is empty. No life. All shallow. His doggy bowl is the corner with half eaten food which I keep forgetting to throw way.

I keep thinking it’s all going to end well but it never seems to go that way. My motivation meter keeps dwindling.

When I open my computer, I just stare at the blinking cursor, hoping that words appear by themselves…..

 

The Couch (A Short Story)

The apartment looked really clean. He patted himself on the back for doing a great job of cleaning up the apartment by himself. The couch which had been in the living room had been moved outside. All his clothes were packed in the suitcase. His books and other items were in boxes, ready to be moved out. The carpet was surprisingly clean. It was probably because no one was hardly in the living room area.

Everything was great except for the weather. The sun wasn’t playing fair. It was disgustingly humid. You couldn’t walk outside for two minutes without your body breaking out in a sweat. It was summertime. There were times he wished he lived somewhere where the weather was a little more forgiving. Sometimes he contemplated moving to a cooler climate. For now, he only needed to worry about moving to another apartment instead of a whole different continent.

He had asked his (ex) girlfriend if she could help him move his stuff to the new apartment. He hated calling her his “ex-girlfriend”. It wasn’t too long ago since they had ended their relationship.  An “ex” also seemed to be a negative thing. But he and his now ex-girlfriend seemed more like good friends. After all, their break up had been mutual.

Whatever the word “mutual” meant.

They went shopping together, hang out at the movies and did regular stuff friends did. They just weren’t intimate anymore.

His (ex) girlfriend had arrived five minutes after he had finished packing up his last stack of books. She was parked not too far from his apartment block which made it easier to move the last items without walking too much.

Everything was packed and ready to be moved out. But one thing remained: the couch. It was just sitting in the walkway. He hadn’t really thought of a plan on how he was going to get rid of the couch. There was no room for it in his new apartment and he didn’t have a truck to move the damn thing.  Paying money to rent a truck just to move a piece of furniture just seemed like a waste of time. The best thing was to move it to the trash compactor near the entrance of the apartment. But he was living on the 3rd floor of his apartment building and the thought of carrying it down three flights of stairs, especially in humid weather, made him really anxious. He didn’t want to ask for help from the other tenants. Honestly, some of them scared him. Some were loud and obnoxious. They would probably decline to help because of the hot weather.

It was scorching hot and he was feeling tired from the apartment cleanup. He thought of the best way to solve his couch problem: Toss the damn thing over the ledge.

He would just throw the couch over the ledge at the back of the apartment and drag it to the trash compactor. It would be out of sight so no one would give him shit about throwing a piece of furniture from the 3rd floor of a building.

He thought it was a good plan. It would save a lot of time and work. His (ex)girlfriend was skeptical at first but eventually agreed to go along with his plan. He thought she would like the idea because there was no way she was going to help carry the couch down three flights of stairs.

Unfortunately, plans don’t always work out the way you hoped they would.

After positioning the couch at the edge of the ledge and after a count of three, he and his (ex)girlfriend tipped the couch over the ledge and watched it free fall towards the ground. A look of horror appeared on his face as he slowly watched the couch hit the floor and perform a perfect flip over the back fence like a gymnast.

“Dammit!” he muttered to himself.

There was no way he could leave the couch where it was. Someone may have already heard the sound of it crashing down. It would be too suspicious to just walk away and leave it. Some people had already passed by and saw him moving the couch. If he suddenly left and the couch was discovered, they would report him to management. He looked at his (ex) girlfriend and she already knew that they had to go get the couch back over the fence. She didn’t seem enthusiastic about it.

Hopping over the back fence was no issue. He was tall enough to hop the fence. He told his (ex)girlfriend what he wanted to do. The plan was for him to push the couch over the fence while she stood on the other side and tried to pull it over to her side.

It was easier said than done.

Pushing the couch back over the fence was trying to lift a rhino over a wall. The couch itself wasn’t that heavy. The difficult part was trying to push a couch over a fence while he stop on a slippery slop. As he was pushing the couch over, he kept slipping backwards. Needless to say, it was going to take a lot of work to get it done.

The fucking weather wasn’t helping either. The heat made his palms sweaty. His shirt started to look like he had just walked through car wash. He was looking drenched. Thank God it wasn’t raining. That would have made everything ten times harder.

He was drenched in sweat. His muscles ached and he felt like he needed to lie down or else he would pass out. But he decided to give it one more go before taking a rest. This time, the couch went over. His (ex)girlfriend was able to pull it over to the other side. She too was also dripping with sweat. If the couch were alive, she would probably have stabbed it death and watched it slowly die for making do so much manual labor on such a hot day.

After taking a quick rest, he climbed over the fence and they both went back into the apartment and just laid on the floor. They were exhausted. The ceiling fan which was turned up to its highest level, didn’t even seem like it was trying to help even though it. It was like it had made a deal with the weather to not give the occupants any relief from its oscillations.

As they laid on the floor, their sweat soaking into the carpet, he started to think about why they had broken up. He had blamed himself. He figured it was his fault it. He looked at her, all sweaty and worn out. He had been a dick at times in their relationship. Sometimes, he acted like he never really cared. Sometimes a bit selfish. Those seemed like a good list of reasons to end a relationship right?

Maybe. But sometimes he wondered if they was another reason as to why she pulled the plug on the relationship. Was there somebody else? Could they have communicated better and stayed together.

“What’s up?” she asked, after she caught him staring at her.

“Nothing. Just thinking of how sweaty you look.”

She laughed. “Yeah, I need a shower. Never thought moving a couch would take so much time. Hey, at least we won’t have to deal with it again.”

She was right. They wouldn’t have to deal with the couch again. They had done the hard part. They went back downstairs and completed the job they had set out to do. It was far easier moving the couch across the parking lot.  At long last, they brought the couch to the trash compactor, its final resting place.

“I’m starving” she said, as they walked back to the apartment.

“Me too. Let’s stop by a drive thru on the way and get something to eat. After that, I need to take a hot shower”.

She concurred.

His muscles were aching. Especially the ones in his legs. But the thought about never having to move that stupid couch again made him feel a lot better. And he would finally get to relax after all their work.

He did one last sweep of the apartment. He checked to make sure they had everything. He locked up the apartment. He would hand the keys over to the front office once they were done with eating.

As they drove out of the apartment complex one last time, he looked at the old couch lying in the trash compactor.

Moving always sucked. He couldn’t take everything with him so he had to toss some old stuff away. Something about throwing away stuff that you’ve held on to for a long time was depressing. Like telling an old friend good bye and knowing you’ll never see them again. But it had to be done. The old stuff was in the trash and there was nothing he could do about it. They became someone else’s problem. It takes a while but you soon move on to new things.

They got something to eat from the nearest drive thru. They ate in the car, shared stories about the past about things they used to do when they were together. They drove back to his old place one final time and he handed the front office manager the keys to his now old apartment.

He and his (ex) girlfriend were soon back on the road, heading towards their new apartment.

The apartment they had picked out together. The one with the two bedrooms which they would live in for a year. They new apartment where they would buy a new couch and new furniture.

The new apartment where they would eventually mend their relationship and get back together.

The new apartment where he finally took off the “ex” tag and started calling her his girlfriend again.

Chasing Perfection: An Autobiography

I think I want to write a book.

Well I kind of already did (The Complex Mind Of A Good Kid In A Cruel World). It was a first attempt. Short story collection I did in my spare time. Minor mistakes here and there but overall I’m happy I put it out.

So now I want to write a bigger book.

Don’t know if this minor project might succeed. Might quit in the middle and focus on something else.

So, we’ll see if I can get anything started.

Hopefully it works out.

 

 

Writing

No inspiration.

Just a blinking cursor in a white page. I hate that feeling. Trying to express thoughts into words but it feels like there is a dead connection. Like the power going out or internet service getting disrupted.

Days upon days of having thoughts bounce sporadically around my head. Trying to contain them. When I think I have a hold of one, the rest squatter and become lost. It’s like to trying to catch fish in water. Once you get one, the rest run away for fear of having the same fate.

I think I’m losing it sometimes. Low confidence. Lack of motivation. No passion.

What am I doing.

Looking for purpose. Maybe it’s a meaningless search because I may have already found it.

But it doesn’t feel like I’m at the point I want to be.

The journey continues