A Brief Transcription of a Phone Call Where for the First Time a Middle Aged White Man Complains to his Wife of Being Marginalized

“No, you’re not,”

“But I mean it’s like nobody wants to hear my voice, my perspective. I’m a dad to a daughter, a husband, raised by a single mom, we’re all in this together and I matter too dammit.”

“Mmhmm,”

“…”

“Honey, you’ve had the whole of history to be ‘heard’ exclusively. You’re voice doesn’t need to be heard right now, move on.”

36

…that silence made me feel isolated, watched. How did I get this way anyway, so separated from anyone else, where does that come from? now it all starts to sink in, the quietude of space. I’m an asshole.

“Jesus is Just Alright,” by the Moody Blues plays overhead from the drop off parking area of the casino. The Beachside Resort and Casino.

My wife and I were blazed as fuck, I mean tore up, when we walked out to meet our shuttle driver for the satellite hotel, who was waiting to take us back down the main strip. His name was Stan, Stan the man, “Ok here we geaux folks,” the music is drowned out as the double doors to the van shut, the brakes squeeze, sqwoosh, and we head out. Stan is a nice guy, a good ‘ole fashioned kind of gay, never realized it, kept repressing it, for the longest time until he had a daughter, with his ex wife, Sherry. moved out, got divorced. Now he drives the Beachside shuttle at nights and waits tables at a breakfast diner down the strip. It’s not exactly a gay Haven out here, so it’s kind of a lonely existence if it weren’t for his daughter, which is exactly why he has no regrets.  

 

We’re here celebrating my 36th. We got a whole day before the kids meet us, so we’re doing it right, just like the old days, smokin’, drinkin’, fuckin’, we plan on being the seediest couple in the motel tonight, we won’t be.  

 

Terry Ann catches a ride with Stan the man, she sits in the way back, in the shadows, with her thirteen y/o granddaughter, who sits, mortified, looking bored like a real sweetheart, “ch’ya ri ight, chhh’ this little sweetheart right here won’t do her chores, won’t do her homework, and I know she’s stealin’ my rum.”

She isn’t.

 

Anyway Terry Ann tells us we’re a real sweet couple, she starts talking us up, like she done any night a young couple is in town, plenty of em pass through, that’s all this town is anyway, passers through, drunks, lovers, sunsetters, and Terry Ann.

 

Moxie doesn’t like Terry Ann, well she doesn’t not like her, she just kinda can’t stand being around her, it’s a constant reminder of how her mother left her, and her daddy, who’d been leaving both of them since she can remember.

 

Terry Ann’d been following booze all her life. Grew up about an hour south of Coeur d’Alene Idaho, followed her first drunk husband to Spokane, settled down, got beat, had her only daughter. After the last time she got beat she took her daughter and left, continued on to the coast. “Hey, we drove through Coeur d’Alene once on our way to Montana.” Her daughter did about the same as she did, married a drunk and an abuser, though she was smart, “‘cause he was native.” When her daughter left Terry Ann took in Moxie and they been doin’ the best they could ever since.

 

“Did’ya get to spin the wheel?” she said under a half buried smile. She knows we spun the wheel, they all spin the wheel.

Stan the Man sure was being quiet, and that silence made me feel isolated, watched. How did I get this way anyway, so separated from anyone else, where does that come from? now it all starts to sink in, the quietude of space. I’m an asshole. How will Moxie remember this interaction? probably not much in the long term, but it’ll probably be thrown in with the other late night shuttle ride conversations, people being fake, distant, polite, but acting like they’re on some kind of pedestal, what makes me better than them? cause I live in a bigger town, cause I have other addictions that I think are ‘better’. Goddamn I’m an asshole. now this karma shit starts to hangover my head, like ‘cause I’m responsible for contributing to Moxie’s fucked up outlook on life, and furthering her alienation from people. Aren’t we all just furthering our alienation from people. We pull up to the motel, the brakes squeeze and Stan opens the door at the same time the shuttle comes to a stop. Thank cod. we stand up and I, trying to make up for my previous self, turn to Terry Ann and Moxie and say, “Well it was real nice to meet you,” and shake her hand. But that doesn’t do anything to make me feel better, because that’s exactly it, I was trying to make myself feel better.

 

We get into the motel room and my wife disappears to put on her new bra and panties she bought just for tonight. in order to get myself in the mood I turn on reruns of Seinfeld,

 

Kramer: I still don’t understand what the problem is having her in the building.

Jerry: Let me explain something to you. You see, you’re not normal. You’re a great guy, I love you, but – – you’re a pod.

 

“Oh. My. God. this is disgusting, I can’t believe it! There is a stain in my new panties!”

“Do you think someone tried them on and…”

“That’s gross.”

“Could you go look at them?” sure enough slug trail down the crotch.

“That’s like a dude trying on underwear and starting to jerk it and like precumming in them and putting them back. Ooh maybe that’s what happened…”

“Maybe,”

“Cause women aren’t perverts right? if it was a woman then people need to know, we can’t just have everyone thinking that only guys are perverts that precum in the dressing room at a department store and put the underwear back on a shelf… Where’s my phone?”

“Oh, I can’t believe it!”

 

“I,” Seinfeld continues, “on the other hand am a human being, I sometimes feel awkward, uncomfortable, even inhibited in certain situations with the other human beings…”

 

“Terry Ann and Moxie were really sweet,” I say distractedly. “I can’t believe I forgot to introduce us.”

“Who the fuck is Terry Ann and Moxie?”

“From the shuttle,”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, they never even said their names. And plus she was drunk.”

“But sweet.”

“Whatever.”

The Guardian

The Guardian summarizes the conflicted, straining mind by way of an interesting allegory.

When I finally got to the top of the mountain I asked the Guardian, “how is it that you see everything, but it is so hard to see you?” The Guardian said to me, “it’s much like trying to take a shit while distracted; you know it has to come, but because you have no focus you sit, and you sit and finally you get tired of waiting, and so you push and strain, push and pinch trying harder and harder, but still nothing, no shit. So you start to get frustrated and think, ‘no shit will ever come.’ So you push some more until finally now your stomach is upset and it’s hurting and now you sit in pain because of all the strain. Writhing back and forth you struggle, until after some time, finally, shit. But it is not a quality shit, it is a bad kind of shit and so you finally finish and now your stomach remains hurting. There has been no relief. It is in this way that it is hard to see me; too much strain, not enough patience and focus.”

Dear Seattle

Hey listen I know I chose to have kids and join the ranks of parents that, let’s face it, we are all still trying to rebel against, the parents we’re still pretending that we won’t become.

But could you go ahead a do me a favor? Could you at least not act like every time I see you in the city it’s my big trip in from the suburbs. My big trip, like I’m some kind of grade schooler with my sack lunch or some shit.

Listen Next time we run into eachother keep in mind: I have kids; they smell and act like vagrants, they try to eat all my stuff like the worst roommate, and they spit when they prattle incoherently like the neighborhood convenience store attendant. So really it’s not too far off from big city living.

Thanks,

Dan

Future NPR Copy

“There came a time when I had to realize there were two of me out there.”

Thad Sandstrom is a student at Seattle University, he says the other ‘him’ is his Internet Identity.

“I don’t know I guess I just like the internet me better,” he says while he scrolls through his most frequented sites, introducing me to the communities he’s joined. But Thad had something else up his sleeve.

“I’m quiting reality.”

“You’re quiting reality?”

“Yes.”

“How? How does one quit reality?”

“I don’t know I mean I guess I’m like going to take a vacation or something,”

Thad’s friends say he hasn’t always been the most motivated guy,

“Not this, no, nothing like this.”

“I don’t know how he’ll quit, but if there’s anyone who could it would be Thad.”

-I’m Gregory Daniels. That was about one year ago, we recently tried to catch up with Thad, but according to his friends he melted into the couch with his VR set strapped to his head, after masterbating over 500 times to VR porn.

“Hmmhmm, well that’s interesting. Thanks Gregory. Coming up next we have…

Follow the Leader

Our fearless leader made a decision today. We all sat around in the office as he paced back and forth. Most of us kept our heads down, clacking away at the keyboard, as he ruminated over the decision. It was clear that it would have an effect on the office for years to come, and so really there was only one man for the job. We all waited anxiously, just happy that we didn’t have to come to a conclusion. He debated with the office manager, but sent her away (with her tail between her legs). Eventually he informed everyone that the fire extinguisher would go on the wall near the kitchenette, in a convenient spot, yet out of the way so nobody acidentally knocks into it. We were all relieved. It was the right decision.

When the fire extinguisher technician came in to install the extinguisher, Mary the office manager walked him to the spot. She said very loud and proud, Gary -he’s the president of the company- decided the extinguisher should go there, pointing to the spot.

Gary slept like a baby. We all did. I’m just glad I don’t have to make the decisions around here. I mean that’s why they get paid the big bucks. Maybe one day, I could see myself taking on the responsibility, (and cashing in the paycheck) but for now I’m just happy to follow the leader. Ba’aah.