Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Writing Between the Lines

By Pauly
Los Angeles, CA

Writing is simple except when you really have to do it.

I keep going back and forth and back and forth and back again with a series of pages that never seem to want to manifest itself into an actual manuscript. Meaningless words on virtual paper. "It's not writing, it's typing." Screaming into the void. Little pixels of images that resemble words, but they're not actual words until someone else reads them. I know they're there, hidden somewhere in a maze of other useless shit on my hard drive like four or five fail attempts at treatments and a Frank Zappa bootleg from 1973.

If the words get written (on a laptop), but no one sees them, does they exist? Furthermore, all those unwritten pages inside your head... is that just an imaginary room where words and broken sentences hang out like a green room of a talk show? Even if you have an internal library inside your head, does it make you content enough to know it's there? Or must you put this spectacle on display? Or keep it locked away in the prison sector of your mind, where it's time to rehabilitate those incarcerated morbid feelings and dreadful memories that give you anxiety and make you want to puke.

Bukowski humped a government job working in a Los Angeles post office for many years of futility. He excessively drank and cranked out angst-ridden poetry when he was not on the clock. He quit his "day job" when he found a patron, a wealthy fan, who was generous enough to fund drinking/writing sessions so long as he didn't waste precious time punching a clock.

Bukowski supposedly worked at a post office branch in my neighborhood in the DMZ between Beverly Hills and Culver City. I squeezed through the door to Bukwoski's post office. Two women rushed out... whithout seeing me at all. One brushed up against me and another ricocheted off my arm. I guess I had evoked my powers of invisibility again. I forget that whenever I'm in public I have to actively think... be physical... otherwise I retain my powers of invisibility and random people walk right into me. Happens more than you think. Except dogs and little children. They can see right through me. They know I don't have much of a soul leftover after it was shredded to pieces by the cosmic vultures from Nevada.

I never understood how people can get angry by walking into me. Into me. Me. It's not like I wasn't paying attention and smacked right into them. Them. To which I deserve a bit of scorn. But in that instance, I'm a wispy apparition. They both walked into me. I'm barely connected to this terrestrial Earth. Why the fuck did I go to the post office anyway?

Fifteen. I counted. Fifteen people stood snaked around the lobby in front of me. Actually sixteen if you count the schmuck who tried to cut the line in front of me. Guess I forgot to turn off my special powers. Was I still invisible? Or was that jackoff trying to shoot an angle? Like I didn't notice he was trying to sneak in front of me.

Only two clerks. Fifteen people. Mostly angry. Mostly old. Mostly bored out of their tits. I was prepared... with a plethora of emails to read on my CrackBerry and not one but two podcasts queued up on my iPod. I was ready to hole up for a few hours. I counted the people a third time. I failed in an attempt to determine how long it could take to get to the front of the line. With two clerks serving us... that means it would really only take seven or eight people before I really my chance at the front of the line. Does that math work?

Why is it that my postal transactions take under 30 seconds (and I hook up everyone behind me by keeping it short and simple), while everyone in front of me has a complex transaction that includes shipping hazardous materials to a remote Greek Island? Or worse, someone is trying to pick up a special package and the clerk disappears into the bowls of the post office searching for that package that was obviously lost, but since they're government employees, they snuck out and went across the street to Starbucks before ducking back inside ten minutes later and returning to tell the beleaguered customer that they should check back tomorrow..

The person behind me had zero respect for personal space. Yeah, it bothered me. I guess he liked smelling my shoulder blade. I tried to rock back and forth and put my hands on my hips so that my sharp elbows would poke out like little spikes. I caught him twice with a jab... and he retreated a pace or two before slowly returning to the uncomfortable neutral zone.

I never understood why people in lines get upset about standing in line. It's a line... and by definition, you're going to be waiting a while, yet they make it worse by passive-aggressively complaining about it. Body language is easy to read. Sheeple do not hide their contempt very well. The malcontents aggressively sigh and shift their posture every six fucking seconds. I go on line tilt not because of a long line... but because of the idiots standing in line who complain about said line. Yeah, bureaucracy doesn't matter to me as much as the masses reacting to the extreme processing delays.

I should have gotten really drunk before I went to the post office. Next time. Next. Time.


  1. Over the holiday I went to the post office and waited in a similar line.

    After waiting for a few minutes a person came in behind me with a disabled teenaged child. This child had a disability that caused her to make strange noises and blurt out words.

    Everyone else waited in total silence and pretended nothing was happening. Nobody would acknowledge the awkward hilarity that was going on. Nobody laughed, because nothing was funny. But that fact alone made the entire situation hilarious. All it would have taken was two like-minded people catching eyes and the equilibrium of the situation would have been shattered.

    It was magnificent.

  2. I once heard a guy yell at the TSA in the boston airport, "This is no way to run a line!" I don't know where he was from, but it ran like every other line I've ever been in.