Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Eighth Layer of Hell

Dante ain't got nothing on the Tow Pound.

Now when I say "Tow Pound," what images come to mind: Professional wrestler? Bruised phalanges? How about the deepest inferno-pits of Heck? The latter is closer to the truth.

I was in the city yesterday (Naturally, by "the city" I mean New York City. NYC has grown on me exponentially in these past few weeks. Prioir to my triumphant MacArthuresque return to the States, I had only been to NYC about a dozen times. In these three weeks, I have been there about four or five times. Nearly every weekend. Only now am I beginning to understand the allure and the near mythic status that this city holds with many people. It truly is unique. In my humble travelling experience, there is no other city like it. My conclusion is that there is no "center" to NYC. In most cities, people gravitate towards one particular area, like the "old town" for many European cities. NYC does not have that. Every area has its own charm and appeal. A theater person? Times Square. Fashion? SoHo. Food? Little Italy (and everywhere in between). Anyway... what the hell was I writing about before? Let me end this tangent) visiting Jerome in SoHo. I park my car, try to look as fashionable as possible (pretty tough on a tour guide budget, but I think I do alright) and strut my stuff to Jerome's place. We chill, eat, drink, for about an hour and then decide to head out. Let's go back to my beloved automobile which I cherish oh so dearly!
It's sleek and sexy curves.
It's blacker than night paint.
It's slightly vomit perfumed interior (another story for another time).
It's unneccesarily large spoiler.
It's.... it's.... it's not there.

Where the hell is my car? Dude, where the F*CK is my car? It was right here! Right here. Maybe it wasn't. Maybe I parked it down the road. No. Another street. Nope. Alternate dimension. Not likely. Dammit. It got towed.

After a perilous trek through the meanest of the mean streets of NYC, Jerome and I (Jerome acting as the fearless navigator huntsman, quick on the heels of his quarry... I, acting as the wormy spineless sidekick who keeps urging my master, "Mister! Mister! We go back! Dis place haunted.") finally arrived on the West Side (literally) by the piers. We entered into.... The Tow Pound.

Imagine this: A single room painted half blue, half white filled with uncomfortable chairs circa 1982, security cameras everywhere, no clocks, a single broken vending machine, and throngs of pissed off New Yorkers (black, white, latino, asian, rich, poor: a true NY crowd) looking to get their beloved vehicles back. The tellers are behind glass. It didn't strike me as odd at the time, but upon reflection that fact rather intrigues me. If they need to be behind projectile-repellant glass, that means that there was probably a reason to put the glass there in the first place. Who would actually look to harm another precious human life because of their own carelessness?

I would... unless you give me my friggin' car back.

After an eternity of nearly an hour, and piles of a few pages of paperwork, surrounded by the most bloodthirsty friendly people on the planet, I finally was able to retrieve my car. Utterly frustrated, I spent the rest of the night visiting friends and bar hopping across that beloved island. The End.


Monday, October 15, 2007

Good Quote

Get this:

"Acknowledged ignorance is the gateway to knowledge."

I like that.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Future is... ChoiceMail!

Since the last post was lame, I thought of a new one almost immediately. I am going to share with you, dear reader, my invention that I thought of a few years ago. I know that I will never pursue patenting this, and if it eventually does get "invented", you will know that I thought of it first and humanity shall reap the benefits I have sown. That's good enough for me.

So, it's called the "Cellular ChoiceMail." Did he just say "voicemail?" No, I said "ChoiceMail", because I am so damn clever (it's a stupid name and I am working on it, but it kind of makes sense. Want to know how? Turn to page 36! [do you remember those "Choose Your Own Adventure" books? For those of you who missed the greatest thing to happen to literature since Gutenberg, CYOA books had the reader reading along some plot line {usually in some scary location} and then there would suddenly be a decision to make. Something like: "Should Tom and Sally enter the Haunted House or go home in time for TV dinners?" Then, depending on which choice you made, the reader would then turn to the appropriate page {"To enter through the front door, turn to page 18. To enter through the back door, first consult your physician," etc.}. The story would continue based on your decision. Friggin sweet.] Moving on...)

Here's how it works: On your cell phone, there will be a rather large and conspicuous (preferably red) button, easily pressable, located near the top. The user will press and hold that button, and then speak into the phone and record their ChoiceMail answering service. Instead of having that generic "Hello you've reached Matt's cell phone (I've always hated that greeting. "Hey, that's funny... Matt's cell phone sounds just like Matt!" Shut up.) , leave a message after the beep", you could quickly change that to cater to different situations. For example:

You're about to enter a four hour meeting with the budget committee. You want those who call you to know that you are about to enter said meeting. Push the button. Hold the button. Say "Hey it's Matt, I am in a meeting right now. I'll be out in four hours." Release the button. Magic abounds. Then, when Mary McLady calls to talk about your dinner date, she will hear your ChoiceMail, which says you are in a meeting. "Oh, he is not ignoring me. He is just in a meeting. I eagerly await his return telephone call!"

The possibilities are endless!
"Hey it's Matt. I am at the movies right now. Call you when it's over."
"Hey it's Matt. In the bathroom right now. Send reinforcements."
"Hey it's Matt. I'm so high right now. Look at all the pretty colors. Rain is so cool."

And the only time you don't need ChoiceMail is when you are able to answer the phone! Best of all, people will no longer think you are ignoring their phone calls, even if you really are. Is that weird kid from that party last night still calling you? ChoiceMail to the rescue! Just say "Hey it's Karen. I am in Fiji right now tracking pirates. Be back in six months." Simple!

Get your's today!

Blood Sport

Sorry for the lack of blog-posts recently. In all seriousness, I am so bored here that there is not too much to write about. No crazy thoughts have entered my head (fancy that). No random encounters with poetry reciting geriatric Englishman on subways at two in the morning (did I tell you about that one? It's rather self explanatory I think). Nope, just spending my days at home watching my limbs slowly deteriorate from inactivity. Wake up at 11, take a few laps around the kitchen, then basically waste time until the evening. Fascinating and productive... I know. You must be so jealous.

No Matt, dammit, you need to keep sharp! What is there to write about? There has to be something out there that catches your fancy. Hmmm...

What's the deal with obsessive sports fans? You know: those guys who break the flat screen with a well aimed remote control because Joe McMan missed the field goal. I have never understood how people could get so frustrated over something they have absolutely zero influence and zero control over.
Perfect example: Red Sox and Yankees fans. Now, I am not a big sports fan, but I like watching football and baseball. Sure. However, I don't have a "team" per se. Except when I am watching baseball with a Red Sox fan. All of a sudden I ready to carve the "NY" symbol into my forehead with a dirty fountain pen and I am quite willing to take the lives of those around me. Why? Normally I don't care who wins or loses, as it doesn't matter, but having one person say to me "Yo, Yankees suck" gets me so aggravated and frustrated that I want to do violence.

Watching sports is the modern equivalent of gladiatorial games. Not that there is anything wrong with that. I guess my question is why the violent outbursts from the spectators? Hmm... Think about those who you know who are prone to fits of anger while watching sports. Are they prone to fits of anger in other situations in normal life? The first few people I am thinking of (I wouldn't dare name names) definitely are. Interesting, I think.

Chew on that,

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Nearly Stream of Consciousness

Well now, life in the US... not too bad. Things have been going good. I have three meals a day waiting for me in the various compartments of my kitchen. That's a welcome addition life. I get to drive my car again. If you know me well, then you know I am obsessive with driving my car. In a way, it is sort of like the Tanto to my Lone Ranger (wait, was Tanto the horse or the Indian? Dammit, I made a reference that I am too young to get...). There is no feeling comparable to the feeling of driving with the windows down, aviators on, screaming/singing with complete disregard of vocal health and the happiness of others. Invigorating.

That being said, I can't wait to get back to Germany. What I miss most (besides my friends there) is the life. I miss the city life, where I can go out on any day of the week and find something awesome to do at 11:00 at night or 8:00 in the morning. Long Island... well... it kind of sucks. Good place to live or raise a family, sure, but let me tell you: it sort of sucks. Things here (at least my area) are so homogeneous (Read: boring). There is very little diversity, in either people (mainly middle class white) or activities. There isn't that sense of internationalism, the bigger picture, that you find in say, New York City or Munich. Ahhh... Munich...

I like the feeling of vulnerability. While in Europe, the fact that I didn't know the language or the people forced me to be responsible. At home, for what it's worth, things are handed to me on a silver-handled platter. Truly, my head could be filled with fresh steamed broccoli and I could survive here because whatever I need is provided. That's nice to know, but doesn't exactly force me to be sharp. Book smarts can be learned with a bit of patience and determination. Street smarts can only be learned through experience. Somebody can't teach you to be self-sufficient, as it were (over-dramatic, but you know what I mean). You have to go out there and do it, and face the consequences of poor decisions. That's what I miss.

And sometimes-- just sometimes-- the poor decisions are the best decisions.

So what happens after my little adventure called "post-grad life"? I can't get the thought out of my head that even though this is totally crazy (running away to Europe to give tours. of all things), it's not quite crazy enough. Even in Europe, things are pretty easy. I can get by. What if I couldn't? I don't know what I am saying. Mom asked me why I sometimes feel like it is my duty to inflict hardship on myself. In true martyr fashion, I sometimes look to make things more difficult than needs be. Masochism (not the kinky kind). Who knows. My feeling is that I want to be tough (I think I just heard the entire MattyReed blog community collectively pee their pants in laughter). Not Charles Bronson or Chuck Norris tough. Unfortunately, my 160 pounds of pure fury couldn't take out Helen Keller on a good day. No, I want to be unfazed by chaotic circumstances; to abhor panic; to have absoluetly nothing frighten me. Huh. Maybe that's it.

Also, to be completely honest (as I always try to do in this blog) I do have romantic notions (read: delusions) of gallantry. Put me on a grand white steed with a flowing red cape and I'm all set. My guess is that these delusions are a product of too many military history books and movies. Often, I think that if I ever had a past life, I am 100 percent positive that I was once a soldier. I know it. I can't explain it, but I know it. I just feel it sometimes. Sometimes I even fantasize about it. I imagine what would happen if there should ever be a "call to action" as it were. Not even military in nature, but just something that called for action in some respect. I am not sure what that means, but I just want to be ready for it. In order to be ready, I need to be "tough", in my own words. In order to be tough, I need to experience hardship. In order to experience hardship, I need to leave my comfortable surroundings.

Well I'll be damned. I think I finally figured it out.
Leaving Comfort=>Experience=>Toughness=>Preparedness

Let me think about that one,

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Triumphant Return

Yes, yes... I have returned to those good ol' United States here in America. Since my passport expired and I was not quite in the mood to get deported from Germany (though that would be a great story), I chose to come home for a few weeks. Well, I didn't "chose" per se. It was the logical decision to make, but, as you have read, logic isn't always the motivating force in my life decisions. Either way, around mid-November, my travels will begin once again and take me to my next stop: Berlin. (Soon to be followed by Paris, and later Madrid.)

So far, it has been rather relaxing at home. Long days of lying in bed watching the second season of LOST (which, I delightfully forgot to mention, was the show I was watching in bed, in my underwear, when the mime called [see previous post]), trips to Hartford and NYC to visit friends, and cruising down the boulevard, windows down, sunglasses on in my gangsta-mobile.

I realized recently that I had to make the decision as to whether I should continue writing my blog, as it was originally conceived as being simply a way of sharing my travelling experiences with friends, family, etc. But, after some thought I have decided to continue writing here, as I find it rather therapeutic! So, look forward to more blog posts coming your way; chock full of imaginative detritus, random rantings, indulgent tangents, and stupid stories.

Until next time,