Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Short Cuts

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

I have an odd assignment today, so I have only a few moments every once in a while to write. I don't have a chunk of time to write, so I'm just going to pop into this post at different times and write briefly about what pops into my head.

I began a two week assignment on Monday, which is broken into 12 individual assignments. I never have more than 2 in a day and these are spread out over a two week period. Nicky and I are both working for Otis, and a slew of our other friends are also on this project. None of us expect to get any semblance of sleep, but it's good practice for the WSOP coming up at the end of the month. I get rusty when I don't cover tournaments, so this is like Spring Training for me... shaking out the cobwebs.

* * * * *

My first day back was brutal. I have to admit that I prefer being a hired thug working mostly for myself. The freelance world is grueling in its own right, but just when I start to reconsider my chosen profession, I get a stark reminder that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Since I own my own business, I never have a day off. Even when I'm on vacation, I'm either working on something and if I'm not, I'm worrying about work. Alas, I can never break free of these shackles. However, I do set my own schedule and I'm able to work three hours one day and 13 the next... if I so choose.

That's not the case with my current assignment. Due to the fickle nature of poker tournaments -- you never know when it's going to end. When they go quick, it's the easiest job in the world. When tournaments stretch on for hours and hours on end, you start to get pissy and cranky due to sleep deprivation because you realize that for every hour the event continues, your hourly wage decreases.

I'm been fortunate so far. But my first day back, I had to cover two different events with one guaranteed to run to sunrise. Not only was I rusty, but I was also not used to working that much for someone else. I was definitely out of work shape, which might have something to do with the fact that I'm actually a few pounds over my preferred fighting weight. I usually diligently work out in April and May, eat healthy, and shed the Winter blubber in order to prepare for a summer of hell in Las Vegas. This year has been different mostly due to coping with stress surrounding a few personal issues (non-blogworthy, sorry folks) and trying to preserve my sanity during the home stretch of Lost Vegas. In short, I've been eating extremely unhealthy and barely exercising. You don't wanna see my tox screen.

* * * * *

My landlord knows how to piss people off. The apartment across the way has been vacant since the end of March when the lawyer bailed in the middle of the night. Of course, the day that Nicky and I both start working odd hours (sleeping mostly in the late mornings and early afternoons), our landlord decides to have work done on that apartment. He never fixes a goddamed thing in our flat, but he needs to make sure the other apartment is pristine in order for him to rent it out.

Alas, the last two mornings have been hell. We're actually sleeping on the futon in my office because the room is much darker and less sunlight comes in which makes it easier to sleep during the day. We start out in our bedroom, but when it gets too hot, I migrate into the office, sleep there for an hour and after I get up, Nicky takes my spot until it's time for her to get up. That would work in theory except that the office shares a wall with the apartment where all the fucking construction is going on. Even earplug don't work. We are forced with two options -- sleep in the hot room with lots of light or sleep in the cooler, dark room with the sounds of wallpaper scratching.

* * * * *

I have been an early morning regular at the coffee shop. Sometimes I throw them a curve ball and order a burger at 6:30am because that's what I'm craving. However, whenever I come in after noon (once every ten days), they quickly assume that I want a burger. It happened yesterday. I walked in and before I could take my seat, one of the waiters was already scribbling down a ticket for me.

"Swiss Burger, right? No lettuce, no tomato."

He knows me too well.

Today, Nicky and I wandered into the coffee shop around 2pm. I was a total zombie at the time. They must have thought that I was really fucking wasted on pills and probably blazed a doobie before I wandered inside. Usually, that's the case, but today, I was just frazzled due to sleep deprivation (fucking landlord's hiring of illegals to sand paper the apartment nextdoor) and because I'm on mega-tilt due to some bureaucratic bullshit where an error in judgment could cost me $1,425. Yeah, I'm not thrilled and that bit of anxiety has attributed to the insomnia, along with the construction, and serious lack of sleep due to working late nights. In short, I was a total zombie when I stumbled into the coffee shop, barely able to speak.

I conjured up enough words to tell the cooks that I wanted breakfast at 2pm. Scrambled eggs with cheese. Sourdough toast with butter. Hashbrowns... extra crisp. And two spicy Italian sausages. I wolfed it down in five minutes before Nicky could take two bites of her veggieburger.

I went home and passed out for two hours. My afternoon nap was just as much sleep as I had gotten the previous night. I had a dream that I was smoking weed with Philip K. Dick in a suburban parking lot somewhere. He was telling me a story about how aliens actually caused the huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. When I woke up, I had a huge craving for ice cream.

Some people think that dreams are when we zap ourselves into alternate realities. So if that theory is correct, then I was actually smoking dope with one of my favorite authors.

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