Sunday, September 28, 2008

It's been a GRAND week, hasn't it?

So, after a long and annoying week at work, everything ended with a bang. On Friday, my car started to overheat on the highway and I had to get towed to the shop. Turns out my radiator decided to crap out. That's how it goes sometimes, you know? Eh, I'll figure something out. I have a rental car for the time being.

Peace kids,

Monday, September 22, 2008

Infinity Beneath the Bulbs

This takes place towards the beginning of the story. Maybe not quite the beginning, but definitely close to it. If you've ever been on a street corner early in the morning, you'll probably understand the world that exists in that particular space and time, and how it sharply contrasts the same place during the day. I plan on Francis being an important figure in the story, but not a big player. We will see how that turns out.

Francis stood beneath the streetlight. Staring out at the great nothing, eyes vacant as if his soul had stepped out of his body and was wandering through infinity. The only sign there was any life in him at all was when he puffed out a thick cloud of gray smoke from the cigarette hanging between his lips. You couldn't help but wonder where his mind was. It had to be somewhere beautiful. Somewhere lush and green and without the pain and pollution and noise of the city. Or maybe he was right there beside himself. Taking in the beauty within the ugliness beneath that street lamp. Always there, on the corner of Cambrian and Montauk.

It was five o'clock in the morning on a Wednesday. We were heading out to the coffee shop he and his sister ran. The corner was the halfway mark. Or close to it, at the very least. It was January and it was dark and cold, and only the cigarettes and flasks of Maker's to keep us warm beneath piled on sweatshirts and old jean jackets.

Sometimes we would stand there in the silence for what seemed like hours. Sometimes he would only pause for a moment. Now he stood, watching the darkness beyond the streetlight's reach. I was startled a bit when he spoke.

"So, I've been thinking..."

All I could do was stare for a second. Wondering if he was going to finish his thought or if he was waiting for me to coax it out of him.

"I'm thinking of leaving this place. This city, I mean. Going somewhere...Fuck, I don't know. Somewhere not." His sentence ending in a finite manner. It seemed like it should have been inquisitively searching for a finishing word.

"Somewhere not what?" I thought it a valid question. After all, anywhere you went was something.

"Shit man, I don't know. Just somewhere not. Not here. Not civilized. Not lost. How the fuck should I know. Just go nowhere, you know?"

I thought for a moment that this was how buddy movies started. One friend suggests they leave and go on an adventure and they see the world and find someplace new or find that what they were really missing was right there in front of them all along. For a few seconds, I thought of Antoinette, then shook it off. But, I knew he would never ask me. Normally, I would be the first to leave and the first he'd ask, I know, but this time was different. This was him saying he needed some time just to himself. Away from everything. EVERYthing.

"I mean, this is all just me talking out of my ass, you know? But, that's for now. I'm gonna have to take off one day soon. I can tell."

"I know what you mean. We've all got something to find. Sometimes you have to search just to figure out what it is you're searching for. Then, and this is the fucked up part, you have to go search AGAIN for what it is you really are searching for." I think it was the whiskey going on autopilot.

"Promise me now, you'll look after my sister and the shop for me." It was a statement, but on the cusp of being a demand. It was something up to me. Something he knew was coming, more than his departure. I agreed. How could I not? He was one of my best friends. I had known him for most of my adult life and I knew that no matter what, we would be until the day we died.

Although I would think about the conversation often, it wouldn't be until just after he was gone that I would realize the sentence did not end with the words "until I get back."

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Philosophical Insurgents

Let's start by saying this is a work of fiction. The characters do not actulally exist, though pieces of them are based on the people I know and pieces are based on how I view the world, people I've met, and how I think it should be. On that note, I should also tell you this is not the beginning of the story. Perhaps it is the beginning of the second act, I'm not sure yet. It is the introduction to the character Antoinette, who may or may not be a "love interest" for the narrator. If there is a love interest at all, so far I think she would make the best, though it is not a love story in the least. It is a journey. The journey we all have to make as pint glass philosophers with high ideals in the idealessness of society in modern America. The occaisional venture into sexual odyssey. Over-caffenated. Sometimes even violent, this is a book of first impressions. I want the story to be viewed by the reader as if they are the new face in the group. The narrator is a mutual friend extending an inviting hand and introducing the characters involved. It is the story of you and I, yet we are not part of it. Fictitious reality.

"The usual?" That voice was so sweet. And the looks she'd give along with it could tear a man in half. The poor sap ordering his morning latte had no idea, but I knew the reality behind those words. Those lips. Those eyes. She despised everything about jokers like him.

Seeing her as a barista always seemed so awkward, yet strangely appropriate. Selling coffee and bagels, yet she couldn't stand the flavor of either. I take that back, she only hated bagels plain or with cream cheese. She did love the shop's aroma, though. That's what she told me, anyway. She loved what it meant. What it stood for. "An uncomfortable drink for uncomfortable silence", she'd call it. Perfect for those morning afters with someone you didn't know or hadn't planned to. Before you say your only good-byes.

We had a lot of those, the two of us. Perhaps it was the many we had shared that caused her to share that view with me.

Sweet, sweet Antoinette. Such a strange name for a 21st century American girl. Still, it was her name. Named for her father's mother, she had told me once. We had both been well under the influence and properly preparing for one of those morning afters we would look back on so fondly. She wore it proudly. Never going by any other name, nor allowing anyone to call her any sort of shortened pseudonym. She was Antoinette. No more, no less.

Most days, that was where you would find her. Behind that bar serving steaming paper cups and soft, fresh-baked wheels of bread. Always in those black V-cut sweaters, just barely showing a birds wing on her right breast in a brilliant blue that seemed more like actual feathers than ink. Or maybe it was just strategic placement. Like the way her auburn hair perfectly framed her face, or the way her eyes seemed more like emerald lakes than mechanisms for mind control.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Thoughts of a Philosophical Insurgent; Prologue

As the next leg of my journey through life begins, I look to the past to see what I had, wanted, what my goals were and what they will be. So, I have decided to document the path I walk. In this case, I write about the beginning, the decision to walk that path. This will not be the main focus of this blog, this site. It will simply be part of it, as this blog is actually a piece of it. One is all, all is one.

And so, I present to you my journey's prologue.

When reading the books of Kerouac, Ginsberg, Hemmingway, and the likes of the beat generation, it takes a degree of focus, time to sit and take in the lines, the words, the pacing, the view of the world displayed from each writer's point of view. I think of those people, the so-called "speed readers" who read a book a week, not caring what kind of book it is. There are books I can read in a week, but they are more in the vein of watching a movie to kill some time. Books that are important, that truly encapsulate the term, the meaning of "literature" take a bit longer. Books that you can embrace with your soul must be taken in. In time.

Perhaps it's the fact I read books that are actually good. My refusal to consider mediocrity as the best that things can be. Because it can be better. Being "all right" is not good. And it's not worth my time, nor is it worth yours.

Perhaps it is that America has come to settle on what it can get now, without searching for something better. There was a time when we would search. We would wander the country, the continent, the world. Searching. Seeking what we know is out there, waiting for us. And it is still out there, waiting.

So, what do we have here close to us? Community college with affordable tuition? A church regularly attended by complete strangers we call acquaintances? A steady job with steady pay that feeds no passion in our souls?

What is out there? Waiting? School that is more expensive that truly teaches the trace that ignites the love, the passion within your soul. A belief in one's self. An acceptance for one's actions, good or bad, and not laying the blame or giving the credit to "god". A career worth working for that makes a morning person out of the most nocturnal of us.

And so, I wander. In a metaphysical sense, at least. Through the astral planes and time, beyond the physical restraints of the wellness of being. To a time when I would not be alone, but many like me existed. Those who refused to accept that banality of the normal life. Jumping trains. Working short term jobs to get them to their next destination.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sorry about the lack of posting

So, this is a new blog and I'm sure I don't have any "regular" readers. After all, this is only my 5th post on this. Pretty soon I'll get a .com .net .org site and make it all "official" and such. Maybe have a buddy make a cooler layout with different pages and such. Then I'll have the movie/comic/music/cartoon reviews, social commentary, rants, and pointless swearing pouring out of me.

Until then, welcome to the newness that is Touch Free Braille.
Eric Gentlemen

The great undiscovering

Staring through a few layers of glass at various angles, I see small trees and the open sky bright and pastel blue. Upon further inspection, the view shifts to the lightpost peaking over the tree tops, the concrete parking lot and its sparse cars of myself and my coworkers, and a skeletal sky scraper. The words "under construction" come to mind as being the words that should first come to mind. The dual layer glass casts reflections of construction cranes and "efficiency" apartments blaring in the technocolor contrast of urban decay and development.

So, where does that leave us? We have reached "the future", but it is not the future science fiction books and films of the past - or perhaps they are of "the present" - promised us. Where are the flying cars? The stilted homes high in the atmosphere? Where is the day-to-day deep space travel? Hell, we haven't even tapped into solar energy yet.

What happened to the worlds of the past? The elegance and honor between swordsmen, knights, and samurai? The grittiness of the Old West gunslingers? We have been tamed. Caged. Dishonored. Evolved. Civilized. For the human race, the human species, the human animal, the words are synonomous.

We keep producing works of fiction about the Old West, feudal Japan and Europe, and galaxies far, far away. We keep hoping that one day we will set foot on worlds beyond the stars. Getting more and more curious about the universe at large as our own world, our city, our own comfort zone grows consistently smaller. Expansionism shrinks the world. We want the future the past promised us. We were lied to. On the outside, we accepted this lie. On the inside, however, we still look to the stars. We still watch films of times of old filled with violence, chivalry, honor, and lawlessness. Somewhere along the way, we let "civilization" become our cage. Cities became our zoos. Our prisons.

And yet, would we be able to survive in the wilds between city-prisons? How many of us could live off the land now that we have been domesticated? Would we be able to survive as feral humans? After domesticating ourselves, we realized we still want to be part of the wilderness. The deepseeded instinct to survive, to stand on our own, to rise against that which would oppose us. We are our own worst enemy, without a doubt.

Perhaps, one day we will abandon this world for a new wilderness. When are cities become one. When cities become city. When borders cease to exist simply because there is no longer space to divide. As we realize just how small our little world really is. How insignificant. Perhaps then we will search the skies of infinite black for another world with blue skies.

One day. When the future becomes the present. When the past becomes the future. When space and time become obsolete. We will search. We will find. We will once again take up the role of explorers. The role we once held here in our own little world when it still seemed so big. New. Undiscovered.