Friday, May 31, 2013

Chicago.

Chicago.

The flight didn't feel that long, although I didn't sleep that well. There was so much rush, life was happening so quickly I felt its silver tendrils slipping through my fingers and before I could hold on, it had slipped away and I was on yet another plane. Making arrangements to be sure my tiny little overlord was serviced while I was away, collecting shopping lists, calling people, making arrangements, writing, so much writing.
It kills me that I write for a living when all I want to do is write, and yet, it sort of makes a kind of weird parallel sense. It's just that not all the writing I do is for me, nor is all the writing I do writing I want to do. I'll write anyway.

The trip seemed shorter and less fraught with complications than usual. The older couple next to me were visiting family in Korea and they were good travelers. We got on well together. The movies on the plane did not suck. The food was barely noticed. I had a layover in Detroit, which seems like probably the best possible way to do Detroit. During my layover I discovered that American food is still overproduced and not very good, that the wine in crappy American restaurants is cheap and not fun to drink, and that time in Detroit runs about an hour longer than time anywhere else in the world. After what seemed like the seven-year layover I finally got on my last plane and happily slept soundly until touchdown in Chicago.

Chicago was a great glittery beast when I flew in, all night and lights winking on and off. I grabbed my bags, found my boy, and headed for  a Greek restaurant, where I discovered I was fully ravenous for and strongly filled with a desire for Greek meat, which I ate happily while chatting with the Boy on my way home. My bed was pillow softness and I slept hard and fast, and actually really well considering.

The next day was all about being jet lagged, with an afternoon phone meeting, lunch with parental units, and television with my dear sweet boy. It was then that I started staring down the barrel of everything that was upcoming. Cross-country road trip, IML, Shibaricon, the Fetish Ball, and some new day-to-day work. The silvery tendrils of life were waving like forgotten ropes in the wind, and I kept reaching out for them, and kept failing to grasp, and still slipping down them, still climbing up them all the same.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Is there a doctor on the plane?

Considering the number of flights I have been on in my time, you think I would have heard this more often. However, I have not ever in fact had my flightor my movie watchinginterrupted by the request for a doctor on the flight.

Leaving Seoul again, the madcap rush packing, which I put off to the last minute. An empty suitcase on my bed stuffed with clothes and gear. The likelihood of which will be more used ends up coming up gear more often then clothes, as I know me, and I hardly ever wear any of the clothing I pack. Yet it seemed silly to bring nothing else with me in the suitcase.

Trains, trains, trains, walking, saying goodbye. The trip felt like it had too many goodbyes and I didn't know how to rectify all of them. Everything keeps changing. Korea changes.

The weather was exceptionally warm before I left, tedious after the ten months of winter we had. I wanted the warm, but I wanted time to enjoy the warm, to bask in it, to glow. Instead I had sweat over packing, and then running down the street to get to the train, sweat in my clothes, smelling like sweat when I got to the airport. The sudden realization that I had no time to eat. Thirteen-hour flights, layovers, all sorts of running.

Over the breakfast table the Author was sitting with me, a last goodbye, a final goodbye, or at least the final in person for a while with me on the other side of the planet.

"Should I get the upgrade for a 100-odd dollars?"

I did pretty well with the flight and in the end I did it anyway. I quoted the cost to the Author.

"That comes out to about thirteen dollars an hour for comfort," he said. Which required a high five.

He walked me to the train, more goodbyes, I didn't cry this time, not like the crying over the Irish that morning.

"I just feel superfluous," I said to the Irish.

"You are always like this just before you fly."

"I am not,"  I cried into his shirt as he tried desperately to flee away to work.

(I am always like this right before I fly, especially when the air is laced with so much uncertainty and my brain is fixated and filled with lassitude.)

"I am not."

"I'm going to miss you. Now shut up and give me a hug and let me get my train."

I'd settled in for a few movies. Having been up since three a.m. it was tempting to sleep but I knew at best it would be napping, and napping would not do it on a thirteen-hour flight. The couple sitting next to me were older, seasoned travelers. We talked for a bit. They asked me about my job. I told them I was a writer. They told me they were visiting children in Korea. I gave them my carbs and they returned the favor with peanuts I could eat.

The flight was overflowing with movies to watch and I chose comedies throughout. I needed giggles. It was during one of these forgetful films that the request for a doctor went off, which included the seat numberwhich happened to be just behind my seat. None of the comedies was Airplane!. Neck craning ensued, and there was certainly drama, but it was almost impossible to tell what was going on. The more seasoned travelers next to me sent an envoy to spy and scope out the situation. I suppose (had I really wanted to know) I could have asked.

After six hours of sleep I woke up in time for one more film before my layover. Transferring in America and not in Chicago was always strange, full of accents and outfits and all manner of Americana that felt just south of home. The pop culture sports fetish bar scene was strange. Travelers who discussed their various exploits over time, the odd person overlooking me in a bar. I wondered what I look like to them, with all my years of Asia riding me. I realized I hadn't slept in ten days. Maybe it was the stress of travel.

I ordered another glass of wine during the layover, I write my blog.

As far as I could tell there was no doctor on the plane.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Someone Needs a Spanking

I decided about a month ago that my life had become all work and no play. I do realize that anyone who reads this thing on a regular will be quite tempted to call bullshit, but the reality is that my shenanigans were taking up less and less of my time, most especially in March. To combat this, I decided to take Quatermain up on his invitation to check out the local quiz night. I went the first time by my lonesome, on a night when I drank, I blogged, I lost my computer, I cried, and I went to sleep. All in all, it was a good time. 

The next time I called up the Irish and had him meet me there. Originally we only intended to have dinner, but then when told that the quiz included a number of comic-book questions, we decided we would play. Considering that it was a team of two (a maximum of five were allowed per team), we did not do that badly, coming in tied for fourth. As a team of two we chose the rather amusing William Moulton Marston Appreciation Society. 

After that, I had a ridiculous weekend, and asked the Irish if he might not want to do it again. This time he agreed and we met, once again, at the local spot that hosted the quiz. This time we were joined by Polka Dots (of Never Have I Ever fame) and were later joined by the Author, whose book once made me miss a train. At the beginning of the game it was just Polka Dots, myself and the Irish and we had to hash out a quick team name. 

"I liked our team name last week," said the Irish. 

"What was that?" asked Polka Dots. He explained and this was quickly rejected. 

"We need something interesting," I piped in. 

"How about The Crimson Tide? The..." This went on into a long string of names I have forgotten and rejected. 

"Someone Needs a Spanking," I finally said to Polka Dots. 

"Oi, that's perfect," she said as she began writing it down, and thus our team was named and ready to play. 

It happened that this particular night Quatermain was calling the quiz. As he read out the names of the variety of quiz teams we sat, amused with ourselves and patiently listened. 

"The Daegoonsquad. The Lesbros." There was a slight pause and it was clear Quatermain had gotten to us. 

"Someone Needs a Spanking...yes they do," he added quietly, which caused riotous fits of laughter between me and Polka Dots, smiles from the Irish, and a polite wink from the stage intended just for us gigglers.

Considering the rag-tag group we had put together we did not do half bad, coming in at third place that night. We won a pitcher of beer, which was appreciated and drunk, and the Irish and I bailed fairly fast as we were tired and wanted desperately to sleep.

I sent out messages next week to everyoneincluding the Author, who had arrived late.

"Let's meet there at 7:30 to get dinner." And so we did. Someone Needs a Spanking continued with the original lineup and we were joined by the Apprentice, who was in town, and the Geisha, the Irish's pretty and polite blue-eyed girlfriend. The Geisha sat out (as our team could only have five) and we launched into yet another quiz. 

The team of the five of us worked very well together, and at the end of the second round we knew the game was ours to loose. We entered into the third round, and managed to stay in our lead, and to our great surprise, won. We split our winnings five ways, with me buying drinks for the announcers, and then agreed to do it one more time. 

Which is where we were last night when we all met up in the bar. The original team: just the Irish, myself, Polka Dots, and the Author. 

"Well, we are the returning champions," said the Author. 

"I'd rather just play for fun. Or have a nap." Said the Irish and he put his head down. 

We ordered some dinner, and got our meals in, got our score sheets, sent up our name and then buckled down for the three rounds. The round categories were: Things with Q, Two Actors, One Film, and Nicknames. 

Q we swept pretty easily, being fairly up on all our Q things we needed to know. At the end of the round we were coming in with the lead and feeling very good about ourselves. Between the Q round and the Actors round there was a beer competition asking us to submit a superhero.

"How about Telepathy Man? He can see ten minutes into the future in Djibouti."

"What?" I asked. The Author was smiling, mighty pleased with himself. 

"In Djibouti. He can only see things ten minutes into the future in that one location in Africa."

"That's pretty obscure." 

We wrote it down on a napkin and sent it up. We at least got a giggle out of it. However we were beaten out by a variety of Kimchi Man.  During the actors round we managed to hold up well, with me failing to know which movie Gary Oldman and Benedict Cumberbatch were in together. And considering that I saw the damn film (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy) I should have known, but somehow it escaped me. We came out of the end of the round in second place and were feeling not quite so good about ourselves. 

Then we had beer challenge number two. The Limbo Contest. 

"Who can limbo?" Polka Dots asked. The Irish put his head back down for another nap, and the Author and Polka Dots had a quick limbo test. 

"I got this," said the Author. 

And got it he did. He limboed like some kind of limbo-god from limbo-mythology, taking that limbo to the floor and asking for more, and out-limboing a pretty limber limbo girl who was trying hard to win a pitcher of beer. 

"And that is the picture of him winning," Polka Dots came back and handed me my camera. All that limbo goodness, caught in action. 



This left us with a pitcher of beer, a point behind in the game and one round to go. 

Sadly, the nickname round started out with rappers. We were seriously worried as none of us had that. However it quickly moved into authors, pen names, and secret names, like Don Diego de La Vera, and we had that. The Lesbros (the team that was beating us out by one point) seemed pretty confident sitting just in front of us. At the end of the round we were pretty sure we were going to wash out. 

We waited for the answers and the roll call. As they rolled the answers we were feeling pretty good, but we could also see that the Lesbros were feeling pretty confident too. They started to roll the team names and we waited, expecting to see ourselves at the bottom of the list. 

And when we didn't come in fifth the excitement built. 

We made it to the top three. 

In fact, the top two. 

In fact, we beat out the Lesbros by about four points to sweep the game and maintain our title two weeks in a row, pulling down a handy sum of 170,000 won for our trouble. It amused. As I thought about it, being on a Bar Pub Quiz team was a lot like being on the Academic Bowl team, but with more alcohol and sex.

"Well, for our last dance, that is a good way to go out." A sentiment we all agreed with. With me out of the country soon, and Author headed back to the states, Someone Needs a Spanking would exist no longer. 

"I'm going to need a new name for my team. Like maybe Little Spanky, or the Spankers Revenge or something," Polka Dots mused. 

I'll be back. And I'll drag the Irish with me, and we shall create a new team. The Spankers shall rise again. 


Someone Needs a Spanking

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Tailspin

I read words I have written before.

I see words from those I have written before.

Before becomes now, and now is too near.

A thousand questions.

And in all of it I just want to be ignored.

To become nothing.

To disappear.

Things are going so well.

They are not going so well.

I'm fine.

I'm broken.

And tomorrow I will wake up and do it all over, and you will all think of how interesting it is that I do so many things and remain whole.

But there are pieces of me breaking off in the tailspin. Random. Unattached.

Lost.

Free.