Thursday, June 29, 2006

Pointless Poetry

When joy knew where to find me, I had a beautiful girl in future's glow
Her radiance quelled the stresses unexpected and self imposed
Not once I took for granted such a dream, oh fortune's dream
And knowing my own future gave the means for her release

When joy knew where to find me, I had cared and given all
My heart drove all my actions and I cared not for myself
Now destitute and helpless I must turn to pointless cries
Though muted and unheard my passion, barely echoed, dies.

When joy knew where to find me I would be the loving arms
To which the tearful ran and found their solace without harm
I can't deny my closure nor can anyone rely
Upon those arms that once could bring such comfort for a cry

When joy knew where to find me, I was good to those I loved
Now I can't see the hurt I've sent amongst their hapless selves
I tell my friends I'm sorry but they don't believe my thoughts
And all I did was anger friends in whom their love I sought

Sunday, June 25, 2006

I Hate Restaurants

Here we are in the local overfranchised restaurant, with the overzealous and overworked server that feigns enthusiasm in the interest of a hefty tip. Here we go...

- Why does every server of mine end up knowing a group from another table personally, and park their ass in their booth when all I want is more water? If I chirp up a verbal request, then I'm an ass for breaking up the emotional reunion.

- Have you ever asked a busboy for anything other than napkins or water? They freeze up quicker than a Gateway computer. Good lord, come on Julio, KETCHUP - el bottle rojo - don't be afraid.

- I hate toddlers. Yeah they suck the most. They run down the aisle and walk up to your table like it's some type of cute restaurant-sponsored form of entertainment. I'm eating, you ankle biter, take your drool and your disgusting bib and go back to the fat mother from which you sprouted. When I'm eating an overpriced dinner I don't want to see a drooling, babbling doofus staring up at me.

- These mandatory fun chains of restaurants need to turn down the dial a bit. I'm not in the mood for fun. I once went into a TGI Fridays after a 15 hour drive and was recommended to smile. I'll show you a vertical smile, Tiffany, now go fetch my fucking burger. I could have just as readily gone to Denny's and have been miserable with poor souls that wander the aisles there.

- At fancier places, after finishing my whole dinner, I've gotten the spunky 21 year old guy who'll then say "good job!" upon seeing my clean plate. Good job. Thanks for your approval. Is this mimbo on the board of directors for the National Clean Plate Club? Can I please join? Shut up and kiss someone else's ass.

- I love when female waitresses write the total on the check and put that adorable smiley face at the bottom. That's another 5 bucks tip. Damn, she smiley-faced me. Who's got a fin?

- More good luck - I'll come in with a girl or something, with nobody in the whole place but one other group - a group of 14 people celebrating someone's car being repainted or whatever. Where do I get seated? Right next door. Can't wait to listen to the roars of laughter, to hear about Aunt Edna's colon, and whether or not the baby made poo poo.

- I've had many occasions where a female friend would be paying for the dinner, but the server puts the check in front of me.

- WELL then there's the birthday crap. Oh do these people look miserable singing that stupid birthday crap to some selfish patron who just wants some free flan and a little attention. That's fine, let's take the entire waitstaff out of their routine so they can ambivalently sing a trite little chorus to a fat guy turning 30.

- Who decided that putting up a "wacky" stop sign or similar road sign on a wall would constitute enhanced deliciousness and a commensurate increase in fun?

- Can restaurants just put "Men" on the men's room door, and "Women" on the women's room door? Outback pulls this crap with "blokes" and "sheilas" instead of something sensible. For shit's sake, we need to pee, we don't need to be playing Wordy Gurdy with the labelling on the bathroom doors. I've literally walked into the wrong bathroom in several places that actually had nothing but artwork on the doors to designate the gender. What's with the obscure emblem obsession? When you open the restaurant, is there a sign that says "Open" or a sign with a picture of a clown with diarrhea? Clarity, please - bathroom moments are not times for decryption on the fly.

- I hate valet parking. I don't want people driving my car, as beaten up as it may be. Plus I feel compelled to clean it up a bit before they jump in and park it in some rotting gravel alley. Letting a stranger jump in and drive it alludes to my sense of privacy and domain, and for most of us, our car is an extension of our house. How many strangers do we just leave in our house? It feels very intrusive and always bothers me as they drive away.

- Seafood restaurants always have the tackiest decor. Swanky or not, they always have the stupid steering wheel thing (for ships), and a couple life preservers hung up somewhere. Then there are the taxidermist-mounted trophy fish hanging above each window; seeing their blank expressions is about as appetizing as a foul-smelling wheelchair. Some places still have the live lobster tank. Do people still select the lobster they want to eat? That's sadistic.
Has Red Lobster ever aired a commercial that didn't include the word "scampi"?

- More seafood restaurant stuff. What the hell is with this phrase "catch of the day"? Like the chef took a rod and reel and zipped out to grab us all a big fat salmon for today's "catch". How about "cheapest fish of the day"? Or "the fish we need to unload today"? And why are these places littered with maps of various lakes and waterways? And the 19th century photos of ships? Just stop it. It's funny how seafood places need to be purposely harsh in its decor, with hastily assembled wooden floors and walls. Yes, whoopdee doo, I feel like I'm on a great clipper ship. Yar matey.

- Steak places. Stop trying to convince us that we're in an old western saloon. We're not cowboys, we aren't asking you to rustle up some grub. How about dropping the harsh old west concept?

- I hate having to sit near old people when they eat, it's like watching an iguana eat a mealworm. They always order some type of sloppy mushy crap, then it's positively digusting watching them shove it into their toothless pie holes. Bleck.

- Restaurant servers have a tough job, I admire them all, I just hate when the wrong ones get into the business.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Finding True Friends

It's inevitable that people around us will have tough stretches of misfortune and everyone is prone to this phenomenon, be it due to astrological factors or simple coincidence. People can just be themselves, maintain their credo and outlook on everything, and things might still collapse around them. The amazing thing is I see this unavoidable period (which we all face) as a cleansing - a cathartic, yet painful ratification of who really is a friend and who had simply been lingering in the fringe for fragmentary, self-serving purposes. True friends will help you through the bad times, yell and scream, but always stick around, rather than those that might further the scars and seek further self-gratification from rubbing salt in wounds rather than making an occasional sacrifice.

It's very easy to be fooled into thinking that people truly care about you, but a bad period in one's life will cleanse all the imitators from the list, and ironically it's a good thing. Much like a forest fire, it's a terrible thing but necessary and a part of nature's cycle and propensity to cleanse itself. Nobody should want a stretch of hard times to be a required device for validating who true friends might be. If there are other means to this end, may they present themselves to us all, rather than letting misfortune rear its ugly head. Many will tell you to be selfish and look toward yourself, and those are the inherently selfish ones. Those that would rather further the hurt to prove a selfish maxim, rather than sacrifice some potential bitter self-gratification in the interest of pure emotional support and loyalty.

Losing "friends" that lingered in a fringe of convenience or self-interest is a diffifult process to endure, but ultimately it gives us the intangible wisdom to learn how to identify character in future relationships and avoid the bad apples that might have snuck past our previously uneducated guard. It's been said that we can count our true friends on one hand, and even if we were four fingered cartoon characters, that axiom would remain accurate and one to remember.