Back in the saddle again

I think that two days off in a row is one of the greatest inventions even created. One day is not enough but three would have been too many so yesterday I returned to daily grind.

I was feeling pretty down. The weather was shitty and I drank too much during my days off so I think I was feeling a bit of the depressive qualities of alcohol. I didn’t want to work. I wanted to just lay in bed all day but I knew I had to try.

Having a job that forces you to smile is the best thing in the world for someone with major depression.  It was a slow night. I still wasn’t fully back in the game so it wasn’t terrible lucrative for me but it was what I needed. I’m back at it again tonight. Still not happy with the weather but I know that there is nothing better that I could be doing. I will be returning to writing at some point but for now… this is it.

Tonight is the night

After sleeping most of the afternoon, recharging my batteries in preparation for the most impossible of endurance tasks, I reach for my favorite energy drink of hops and barley knowing that it may be the only thing that will sustain me during this marathon mission of sitting still.

This summer has clearly seen a decrease in the amount of time I have spent writing. I guess that is understandable. I have been busy but lack of free time is not really my excuse. Technically, all my time is free and I probably have more of it during the summer than I do during the winter. I just can’t stop moving. When I do, I fall asleep. I’ve been trying to write every day but I never seem to get anywhere.

Tonight I will try again. TIme has a way of condensing and solidifying my thoughts so rather than writing about every mundane detail my hope it that I can highlight some key experiences and their relevant conclusions. Rather that one long disjointed post my plan is to write a few shorter posts that get right to the point. The thought gives me a bit of a chuckle but let’s see how it goes.

I’m not ready

I had this absolutely awe inspiring transformative day on Tuesday. This day came on the heels of an incredibly fun, thought provoking weekend. I couldn’t wait to get home and write about it but as soon as I walked in the door I recieved a phone call from a friend who wanted to discuss disturbing hallucinations, emotional outbursts and horse ballet. Obviously, that was more important.

It also made it clear to me that my life has become a little too humdrum so instead of writing about my recent enlightenment I decided to go out and see what the rest of the world is up to on a Tuesday night. There are secret lives of fascinating people going on everywhere, even on a Tuesday.

Perhaps it’s all just too much for me. I can’t stop thinking. I can’t stop writing and rewriting Tuesday’s blog post in my head. It’s brilliant. It’s wonderful. It’s poetic… and really, really long. Actually, it’s kind of confusing and disjointed.  I can’t remember ever being so simultaneously excited and apprehensive to write anything in my life. I’m sure that I have but at the moment I am completely consumed by this present quandary.

And it is exhausting. All I want to do is sleep. I don’t want to see anyone, talk to anyone or do anything. I just want to be left alone to do nothing. I guess I need more time for my thoughts to either solidify or dissolve away. So today I wait for the future in which I can meet my past with rested eyes.

Express trip to right now

Today is Monday, the start of a new work-week for most people. For me, everyday is the start of a new life. For me, every day is the same. Every day is a day to reflect on the past, move forward into the future, all the while remaining in the present.

Writing affords me the to opportunity to do all those things. Today I am moving. Today I have energy. Today I am aware of all the things I have to do and I am bloody fucking overwhelmed. Today you get my to-do list.

  • I still need to fix the drip in my bathtub. My last attempt did not do the job. I’m still recycling the wasted water but it’s not a long term solution.
  • I need to quite my delivery jobs. It’s time and I need to recycle that time into other things. This will also allow me to sell my van.
  • I need to design and order business cards. It seems like a stupid thing but without them even I don’t take myself seriously.
  • I need to write my creditors and let them know that I am breaking up with them. This seems like an important thing that I should have taken care of a long time ago but it has had a hard time making it to the top of the to-do pile.
  • I also need to file my property tax refund. The fact that I haven’t done that is just stupid.
  • The state also owes me medicare premium reimbursement for the entire year. I really need to figure out what is going on with that.
  • I still need to close my bank account and open an account with a credit union. I’ve been waiting for my federal tax refund to do that but who knows when that will show up.
  • I have a concept for a DJ night that I have wanted to do for forever. The idea has finally gelled and I think it can work. I just need to write up a proposal and get the ball moving.
  • I seriously need to replace my phone. The screen has been cracked and the camera not working for six months. I have it insured, I just need to make the call to get it replaced.
  • While I’m at that I also need to get my stove and washing machine fixed or replaced.
  • And I’ve got some medical problems that I need looked at. I’ve got a sliver in my thumb that has been bothering me for months and my prosthetic eye is about two years overdue for replacement. I could also use to see the dentist.
  • And while on the subject of health I really need to spend more time stretching. My muscles have been been getting a lot stronger but I haven’t been taking the time to keep them loose and it’s starting to cause problems.
  • I need to find more time for my friends. I know that this is the “year of me” but it seems somehow pointless without anyone to share it with.

Sadly, even with all of that to do it looks like the only things I may accomplish today is laundry and the dishes. Hopefully tomorrow I can mow the lawn.

And fuck…

I still need to eat.

Post number 100

NOTE: This is my 100th blog post. I’ve known this day was coming for some time and have thought quite a bit about how to make it special. I wanted to do some sort of reflective piece discussing my goals and where I am on my path to obtaining them. Let’s just say that that goal, like all my other goals, isn’t following any prescribed timeline. So this post is nothing special for being number 100 although it is number 100 which is kind of cool in and of itself.  

I feel like I have some catching up to do. After taking 10 days off from driving pedicab to spend time with my daugher and focus on the benifit show I have gone back to it full force. Since last Thursday I have clocked in 46 hours driving pedicab. On top of that I spent 8 hours today delivering City Pages. That is an hour longer than it should have taken me but I was moving a bit slower having had only three and a half hours of sleep last night. My only day off was Monday and I wasn’t feeling very social. Writing is a social act for me so I hope you can understand why I haven’t written in a while.

I recall writing not too long ago about worrying that the pedicab thing might cause me to make too much money. That has not proven to be the case this past week. I actually did alright last Thursday and last night but Friday through Sunday was a downward spiral. Sunday I actually lost money. I’m sure that the company would have cut me a break on rent if I had asked for it but I’m not going to do that unless I have to. I look at this as a business and I’m in it for the long haul. Some days are going to be better than others and some days I may lose money. The important thing is that company I lease from are able to stay in business because they allow me to have a job that I can do, is meaningful and moves my life forward. Money is secondary at best.

After having a not so hot Friday night I was really tempted to take Saturday off. The weather was really kind of shitty which added to my difficulty getting in the mood. I went into The Depot for breakfast with coffee and a screwdriver. In came a group of cyclists that stopped by for a shot on their way to Tour de Fat. They were already half in the bag which is really where I wanted to be. If I wasn’t driving pedicab, that is exactly where I would have been.

I still went to Tour de Fat on my pedicab. Since it’s a biking event there weren’t many opportunities to get rides but I did get one.  It was a mother, her toddler and her friend who had come into town from Chicago to support her while her infant son was in the hospital with some serious medical problems. Along with them came a stroller, an umbrella and a couple big bags. It took an hour before they were ready to leave the bar then I drove them to the liquor store and pharmacy before bringing them back to the apartment. It was the type of service that could easily have warranted a hundred dollar tip but I refuse to be about the money. They paid me what it took for them to feel good – just like anyone else. I was just thrilled to be part of their experience. I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to be part of that moment.

I know that some of the pedicab drivers that are upset because I do some things for less money than they would and that by doing so I somehow cheapen the profession. I also take care of obnoxious drunks that other people don’t want to deal with. I also spent half an hour helping one of the cashiers at our favorite downtown convenience stores find an ATM so he could deposit money even though he didn’t have any money to give me. I also gave a ride to a homeless woman, clear across town, during bar close, because she had no idea where she was and needed to get to the shelter. I have no idea if any of this makes good business sense but it’s the human thing to do. I just feel lucky that I have the ability to do something about it. Still, at the end of the season I’m pretty convinced that I will have made as much money as anyone.

This weekend though, where I didn’t make very much, my thoughts were on how much I saved. If I hadn’t been driving pedicab and having wonderful, meaningful experiences, I would have been out drinking and spending money. I’m not saying that wouldn’t have been wonderful and meaningful as well but the economics would have been different. Hmmm… that’s got me thinking about drunk economics. I mean Freakonomics is already taken but maybe I could write a book called Drunkonomics.

I don’t know, I’m a pretty cheap drunk these days. Since I’ve been driving pedicab I’m not drinking as much, I’ve lost weight and my metabolism has changed to the point where it doesn’t really take that much to get me drunk. After working Sunday I decided to do an experiment and see if I could bar hop home without getting shit-faced wasted. I fucking love science!

Well the experiment was pretty much over after two bars and three drinks but I was still committed to seeing it through so I grabbed my self some White Castle and kept going. I don’t know why but as long as I’ve been a vegetarian I still crave shitty fast food sometimes. Okay, maybe being drunk had something to do with it, but still… gross.

Next I hit The Otter for some Karaoke. I requested to sing “Use Me” by Bill Withers but had finished my beer and whiskey before they called my name – probably a good thing.

From there I had my choice of bars to hit but I knew that it would be a good idea to put some distance on my bike before drinking any more. Jimmy’s seemed like a good call and it did wind up being a good time. Oh yeah, there was kind of a side experiment going on to see if I could get drunk enough to hook up with a random stranger. I was totally there but apparently not everyone was running the same experiment so I moved on. I had one more stop before I had to head home.

I did wind up getting picked up at the last bar. I can’t really say how that went south but I have a feeling it had something to do with drunkommunication. Anyway, I wound up back at the bar and biking home. I made it home just fine. I was pretty wiped out from the weekend but I was home safe… except I didn’t have my keys to get in the house. FUCK! I had them when I unlocked my bike.  Where could they be?

I tore through all my bags and pockets until I was convinced that I didn’t have them. I contemplated breaking into my own house. I contemplated calling the police because I was concerned for my safety. Crazy, disabled, drunk people shouldn’t be left outside alone at night… but then I realized that we are all the time and that I really was on my own.

I knew that my keys had to be somewhere between my house that the bar which was three and a half miles away. Chances were that I dropped them when I unlocked my bike so I headed back to the bar. I made it to the bar but couldn’t find my keys. I collapsed on the stoop feeling completely defeated when the staff started filtering out of the bar.

The bartender asked me, “What’s wrong J?”

“I can’t find my keys.”

He looked around the bike rakes and picked something up and said, “Are these them?”

“Yes, yes, yes. Oh thank you soooo much!”, and I gave him a big hug.

Feeling all energized I made it back home although I really was still running on fumes and swerving all over the road.

Oh well.

All’s well that ends well, right? Okay, so maybe drunken pub crawls can’t be part of my lifestyle these days. I’m also concerned that getting drunk is not a solution to lack of sex but that is why we run experiments. I’m still convinced that science holds the answer.

Still waiting

I got three out of four major things done today but we will still have to wait for my next blog post. I hope it’s good.  I think it will have something to do with sex.

For love or money

I miss you, blog. Sometimes it feels like you are my only friend. Obviously you are not, but you are always there when I need you – can’t say that about anybody else in my life. Of course all of my other friends are real people with real lives and you have no life other than the one I give you. Perhaps one day you will grow up and have a life of your own, but for now, you are all mine and I need to write.

My pedicab gig got cut short today as a result of the weather. Around four o’clock today it started down pouring,  a tornado watch was issued and more thunderstorms with forty mile an hour winds were expected. I thought that I could wait it out but the company was concerned about my safety and the safety of the cab.

I didn’t feel like I was in any position to argue, plus I remembered the tornado that tore through my neighborhood on this weekend two years ago. As it turned out there were no tornadoes and the winds that would have sent a pedicab sailing down the road all by itself never materialized. Still, it was a good call to come pick me up – you never know with Minnesota weather.

Back at the station I was talking to Colin, the 22 year old owner of the Pedicab company. The conversation started with me informing him that I would be in Chicago next weekend for a wedding and not working. He elated that this was one of the benefits of the job – you get to work when you want to. That is totally one of the things that makes this job work for me. There are very few jobs that I can actually do and I am very pleased to discover that pedicab is one of them.

I think the people who run the company are really pleased with me. I think that they appreciate that I am not just in if for the money but that I really enjoy what I do. Of course they also want me to make money and routinely remind me that I could make a lot of money doing this. In our conversation, Colin informed me that if I worked consistently, I could be making $1,000 a week.

Okay, even if you could do that every week of the year, which you can’t in Minneapolis, that would amount to $52,000 a year which I don’t consider a lot of money. After expenses and taxes it would be much less – probably $20,000 less. That still might seem like a lot of money to a 22 year old but to someone with a house and a family, it’s really not that much money.

When I was 30 I was making $80,000 a year and it didn’t seem like a lot. I think it has more to do with lifestyle than money. If you love what you do, then money doesn’t matter; if you hate what you do, money is all that matters. One caveat to that statement is that it doesn’t apply if you don’t have enough money to survive. Personally, I don’t understand how that can happen in a country as rich as ours but it does. Discussion of that will have to wait for another day.

I think Colin was curious as to why I would leave a job making 80K with full benefits to become a pedicab driver. His assumption, which was a good assumption, was that I didn’t want to do that kind of work. There may be some truth to that, but the way I see it: I loved my job, it just wasn’t the job for me. I believe that I wound up with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia because I was not being true to myself. I don’t want other people with disabilities to feel that they are to blame for their situation but in my case, getting to take personal responsibility, is what allows me to move forward.

I could see the gears turning in his head. I know it must be confusing how someone who doesn’t have the strength to handle a desk job can haul 400 pounds of beer filled art and music lovers around Northeast Minneapolis for 13 hours. It’s confusing to everyone; it’s confusing to me but it is the reality.

It was a long road to get here and I can do a lot more than I used to but I still can’t do a desk job. I can do amazing things if I am driven by love and passion but very little if I am driven by money. I’m not going to make $52,ooo a year driving pedicab;  I’m still hoping to make about $6,000. But thanks to social security (money paid by you and me) and the value that I have found in kindness, I can make that work.

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