Have Patience

I hear that phrase way too often. I think in a previous incarnation or life, I was a Formula 1 racer. That guy that hated being considerate in traffic, or in a super market, that was me, years ago. That guy that fumes, “Next time I have to go to Louisiana, I’m taking the long way around Houston!”

Earlier this year, I was in a part of the state that I thought was made just for me. I know, it wasn’t, but my inner narcissist would tell you, indeed, it was. I’m not saying that I adore Crockett, or I love the land around Bryan and College Station, or that Hill Country between San Antonio and DFW isn’t where I can find sanctuary for my inner bonfire of rage. I’m just saying when I need to relax, I often make it to there to chill out and relax.

By relax, I mean, drive there and pretty much, not stop the car. Just zoom around along the main thoroughfares and act like an Italian in his sports car. I guess there are some stereotypes which do make it along the decades. The only thing I’m missing is the hot young blonde Parisian that is supposed to be traveling with me. That or the Schnauzer.

I really enjoy those parts of my new home state. It’s a great little place next to a great little place next to a great little place that makes wonderful pork sandwiches or bacon-wrapped jalapeƱo poppers. It’s the small things in life that make you not want to commit yourself to the actual task of murdering people around you. Although I watched the movie, God Bless America…and I had to say that I have had dreams and fantasies of ripping Kanye West apart like a pit bull against a sheep while Kim watched and stupidly cheered the bloodshed, no matter who was bleeding. When I decide to go, I might be out like Frank.

So I’m enjoying life and everything is sunshine and roses and I shit rainbows and even my old friends from the liberal literary world are accepting me as a leading satirist on the right…

So two months ago, we headed back to Jourdanton and I realized just how much I can’t stand South Texas. Well, we didn’t go far. Kenedy, Karnes City, those places, they aren’t exactly civilization, either. I’m not one for one-horse towns and sadly I keep getting routed to these places that Anthony Bourdain would tell you are hell.

I tried, people, I tried to like some of the restaurants here. I think that I should just get a stack of Marie Calendar dishes for the freezer and be happy we have a half-Wally World here. Finding somewhere to eat that didn’t have ass-quality service, that would be nice. I don’t mean that the waitress has to have gigantic breasts trying to smother us all at the table. I mean she has to check up on us every five to ten minutes to see how we are doing and how quick she wants her tip.

It’s not rocket science.

And I know that the people that are working and living in South Texas, act primarily like poor rich kids, who have never had a challenge a day in their life that they couldn’t buy the solution to the puzzle. I get it. This area is filled with assholes and douchebags. I also read the word, Douchebag, as ‘single father’.

I shouldn’t have to wait longer than five minutes for an ice-cold beer in a mug. Unless I’m at PJ’s and I see their amateur brewing equipment off to the side, I’m not expecting the waitress to know much about beers and why it took her so damn long to return to my table. I expect a lot.

Like the challenge for a woman to wait to be married for the birth of her second child. I ask too much, down here, it seems. It’s like asking for a little more Parm for your nachos, people just look at you like you’re from another planet or something…

For Anyone Who Says They Can’t Find a Job

I’m sitting in the lobby of a hotel. Due to an agreement with work, I can’t really specify where I am and who for. I have a tendency to speak my mind about a variety of subjects that I might or might not know much about. From a corporate standpoint, it’s fine, I guess–if your vocabulary includes Political Correctness or Diversity.

You know exactly how I feel about such things.

So I need my laundry cleaned. It’s usually once a hitch where I can’t hold out any longer and I need to have it done. I usually find a laundromat or a local place to do it myself. It’s a nice practice to type while your clothing gathers suds.

Not so much where I am. Let me say that I am a city guy. I don’t really like to club or to have all the citystink that goes with urban areas. But what I have issues with is one-hotel towns in the patch that feel they are entitled to my silver.

I don’t appreciate shitty food at high prices. I don’t like local trollops that want to have my warm spray in their hoo-hoo for the sake of future paternity suits. I don’t like Chamber’s of Commerce which want to jack the prices up on travelers needs.

Let me just state that I do like 24 hour laundromats. I do like police that don’t overstep their bounds and invalidate their oaths. I do like having services being available. I’m not even asking for Romanian hookers.

But when we don’t have the most basic of needs, because the hotel coin laundry has been busted since your second born was walking, it makes you upset. I was here last year, and they didn’t have coin laundry.

What they do have, is an exclusive (excessive) service. For twenty dollars a load, you can have them clean and fold it for you (I always laugh when I hear someone try to impress me with folding services). Thanks to the new uniforms of my work, it’s usually three onesies and you add your soap. So I hand in my sea bag, estimating three loads of laundry.

I am pissed to be out more than forty for laundry. This is bollocks. This one-horse town pisses me off because no cellular service is better than one or two bars of reception. The community laundromat is across town and we aren’t allowed to drive the van ourselves to do store visits or get basic necessities or do laundry runs. Plus it doesn’t open until later, cutting into valuable sleep time.

As I’m contemplating this, furious at how incapable I am at doing simple things on my schedule. I’m also pissed at the level of give-a-shit the clerk has. He has no salesmanship. He has no courtesy. He’s a pimply, skinny, liberal, and his contempt for those that need his assistance is noteworthy here. And on the corporate line.

The clerk is counting change while I’m waiting to be helped. He isn’t acknowledging me. He isn’t asking me to be patient. The counter bell is two inches from my hand, and I’m fighting an aneurysm to not snatch it and beat it until the dinger rings against his medulla oblongata with a fountain of blood only Dexter could love.

Such violent thoughts.

So as I avert my eyes and avoid confrontation. Three more days and I’m down to one outfit. I can’t skimp. I need to get these washed. I give him my name and room number and sulk.

Until I changed out my Samsung for my new Apple product, I had a number of a woman who was not romantically interested in me, but wanted to friendzone me. She lived here in this one-horse town. Our last conversation being one that made me happy to be in the friend-zone.

And I guess I could interchange one for another or another. Anytime I’m south of I-37 my geographic snobbery kicks it up a notch. It doens’t matter if I’m in Laredo or Encinal or Three Rivers or Jourdanton. South of the I-37 border and you see me reaching for ear buds to down out the tejano.

I think about calling FZ-lady and seeing if she’d like to earn forty dollars. Then I think about it again. The possibility of sex is really low, the overhanging cloud of her moodiness is a constant. Sounds like this hotel earns my sixty dollars by default.

Searching for Americana, at Harmony’s Whimsy

So last month’s big surprise to me was that some people will lie to get what they want. Long story short, I got over it. And just because I can say I forgive her, it doesn’t mean that today’s ‘friend request’ on social networking will be answered by anything but a resounding, “no.”

On with it, and we are.

I’m Bruce Lombardo, and I’d like to tell you a little about me. I grew up in Central Illinois. I attended a Methodist religious environment. My parents are blue collar and we were close to Decatur, Illinois. After I graduated WLHS by the skin of my teeth, I served the nation in the USN.

Fast forward to 2011, and I’m moving back to Texas. I served close to where I lay my head at night. I struggle at first, ignoring the economy based around energy services. My family forgives me as long as I can figure a way out of this spot in life.

Once I go into the energy services, I discover exactly why I moved to Texas. I spent sixteen years out of the military in the state of Illinois, seeing only small increases in wages and sharp increases in cost of living. Here, I triple what I made in my home state easily.

This last month, I’ve tried to do what I can to gather myself economically from a poorly-thought out vacation. Finally I feel like my feet are on the ground properly. I had one last piece of work left from Illinois and when I saw that it wasn’t going to cut it, I felt like, “okay, it’s time to live your life, Bruce.”

And I feel like I am. While I’m working 140 hours or more in a two-week period, when I’m away from work I feel like I actually have an existence, which many friends envy. I have the nomadic lifestyle going on, town-to-town, hotel-to-hotel, then back on days off. I thank YHWH/God every time I get the chance to wake up.

What I am missing from my life is the romantic companionship, and I haven’t had anything serious for almost seven years. Even that was poorly thought-out and implemented. Now mind you, for ten years of my life, I dated two of the nicest women who are with someone else now–that’s how life works. The void of expectancy in their absence has me figuring out finally, that I won’t get that level of relationship, if I keep looking for them. I realized that I wasn’t going to find anyone worth keeping if I tried any degree to find her, myself. Those ‘special ones’ are never around when you’re randy or needy. It takes a special catalyst to generate that element in your life.

By that token, I wasn’t going to live the same life my parents have romantically and emotionally. They met and were married in four months, still married-in-love after four decades. To my knowledge, my father, before his forced retirement, only had a handful of nights not sleeping in his own bed next to his wife.

I’m not slated for that to happen in my youth. My twenties were spent like many people’s teen years and thirties were spent trying to figure out how to get blood from a rose (Illinois, again). As it is, I’m happily looking at another seven months and I turn forty.

Forty. Only in number and name does that actually hit me. I don’t have any kids which have sprouted horribly fast in front of me or in my absence. I don’t have nearly as many pains as others my age, but they are there (and will probably get worse if I gain more weight). That’s really the only thing I want to do is drop my size. My current lifestyle isn’t going to do anything for me but show me the tastiest barbecue joints before my John Candyism. So as much as I like what I do, some modification needs to be made. but forty. How in the hell did I resign sixteen years to mainly living with my parents and finally outside of Peoria, Illinois?

No, no. Let’s not diagram this. I don’t need Madden stepping in my head with Frank Caliendo doing the best impersonation ever on how I was comfortable having that life. In fact, while I really do miss some folks from my previous life, I don’t see myself flying up or driving up to see them on occasion sans family illness.

From my previous life, the only thing I want is another Schnauzer. Two, actually. Furry little bastards is what they really are. Opinionated furry little things that train you as an owner to behave ‘like this’ so they have a place to sleep at night. I shouldn’t put my wish list on here like this, but I don’t see you people writing my blogs.

Where does this put me?

I’m thinking as much as I honor and love my parents, I’m not living their life. I’m not going to have their life. I have to put my own feet in motion and have no expectations. And while I am far from home, I must say, that I’ve never felt more comfortable in my life. Things are in harmony when I glance around to see my progress.

Like those innocent moments where you can hear the music to your favorite song or piece starting. As I edit on book three further, I feel at times the music in my life, the anacrusis is right *there* under the mathematic theory of the clock. You can hear it when you are embraced by what is taking place. You can see the pieces in motion, falling into place.

That’s how this last ten days has felt. From stillness I have momentum.

Searching for Americana amid Tolerance

I think I should probably, suffice to say, just hire a lawyer on retainer. His or her job will be to accompany me and immediately distract me before I say anything. I say this, because I realize that some people believe in unicorns and other people believe in what politicians tell them. Some people just don’t want to have to think about certain things, and thus, are shocked to find out you might actually make them uncomfortable with a conversation they haven ‘t considerd.

I recently went on vacation and doing this, flew a friend of mine from Illinois. I brought her to Port Aransas so she could enjoy the Texas sun for the first time. I felt like I was doing a great thing. This is Texas, do you smell the energy and hospitality services? That’s what we do down here for industry!

Going to a CVS or HEB and she’s just in awe at the lack of taxation on regular perishables. The product on the shelf is $4.09? It comes out at the register, $4.09. Mind you, this was the first time she had been outside of the communist holdings of Illinois, in her life. And for that, I think she’s gonna be forever grateful.

The highway system here brings just as much surprise. We have a special lane for pulling a u-turn on most 4-lane roads. In Illinois, you are pulled over for getting lost and fined. Or riding around a cloverleaf on the interstate. She could ride passenger in my Civic and hit the u-turn lanes in the underpasses and keep on going, enjoy a Whataburger or authentic Mexican food (with an authentic trip to a shitter suddenly penciled in her next hour’s agenda…), etc. “Is that a store I have a vested interest in? Lemme turn around next block and we will zoom by.”

But on her way down here, some statements were made on her part that reminded me so much of home. Not that I have friends with Tourette’s or anything, but being from Peoria, you hear a lot of N-bombs. I’m not from Peoria, I just lived in the area for a little over four years. Long enough to get used to it. I lived in two slums of Peoria before I moved out to Deer Creek; one of my locations was adjacent to Richard Pryor Avenue.

My friends in Texas think I’m some sort of Boss Hog racist because when I am drinking I skip slurring and just start stating fact. This is where my lawyer would step in and just end the conversation.

But I don’t have a friend that is a lawyer. So I usually will find a bourbon. Or a wonderful craft beer. Anyone who looks down on you from their perspective that doesn’t drink, should be entitled to vicious punches to their head. I drink because life isn’t fun all the time, but I found a way to moderate my intake of various liquids. And after you’ve beaten them in the skull, you have a conversation like this.

“You’re a Christian, oh, I was raised a Christian. I stopped declaring that I was a Christian and just started informing people that hated me that I could be a bigot and hypocrite as well. Don’t judge me, asshole.”

I’m not a racist. I am a bigot. There’s a huge difference. Racist means you’re unwilling to part with certain ideas because of how someone is born. Bigot means that you proudly have ideas about some people because of their affiliations or stances.

Some liberal and loony left thinkers think that just because they rebuke the idea or ideology that many others have, it entitles them to a higher perception and self-absorption in the world… “How can you be into religion, the Holy Bible was written by man. Marriage comes from other places in earth’s history than the Bible.” Let me approach you with something: I don’t give a shit about atheists or satanists. You’re selfish and I will applaud your demise just as you will mine. Capiche? President Obama (mom-jeans) feels that same way, hateful to WASP Christians. So, you’re keeping great company.

I will stop trying to win over strangers. Their approval of my life and choices means as much to me, as what it was last week that I ate, that might have caused me to enjoy a good shit. I don’t have to hold myself to any particular standards. Neither do you.

I say this because, modern culture is a fresh cow patty, covered in the flies of antiquity but without the gravitas of a fart joke. I’m an asshole because I listen to my style of music or talk radio and can perfectly eschew popular culture’s idea of good music or talk. Wanting to discuss global warming or healthcare with me will get you treated like a sober prick. Your stories suck, nobody cares that you go around the world trying to kiss ass. There is no “ass kissing high score,” please find another hobby.

I will not say that Bill Maher or Nicki Minaj have ever had a valid thought that warranted others to pontificate their perspective. Kanye West is amazing for being a lubricant to screwing anglos across the world over. The vast majority of things they have shared with the world in their bodies of work are no more revealing about how disdain travels between classes and other common segregations of today. What upsets me the most is that they are considered relevant, and their thoughts are championed by more people than I would care to count.

I am not advocating that these people don’t like the fact I’m a conservative that drinks Larceny bourbon, but I would love to be in Kanye’s presence when he has a mind bomb and nobody else steps up to call that talentless fuck to the floor properly. I would even dare risk getting beaten up by him. But if I won in that contest, I would have his beaten face as every social media profile avatar and I would probably hire a college kid to be actively posing as myself all over the web.

But I’m the asshole. Apparently, looking at Saturday Evening Post’s from decades past and wanting a Norman Rockwell landscape across the fruited plain, that’s just unattainable and undesirable anymore. Can’t have an English-speaking dream for all citizens…I can’t even pick up a newspaper anymore without wanting to set fire to a journalist for integrity’s sake. And mind you, I can’t read a paper without it being a slap in the face that I’m broke and only afford one or two vacations a year. While a piece of shit president, his ugly fucking twat wife, their undeserving kids, and her curdled-cheese pretty mother, take vacations at the drop of a hat. Shame on me for getting a $137/night stay at a condo, I should have tried to hit the $8300/night stay in South Texas…

Speaking on tolerance, I tried to listen to a mainstream music station over last week. My eye twitched while driving that whole stretch of road, all thirty-plus miles of it. I’m there thinking, “Christ, we need AT&T to build that tower out here.” I say that because I just watched The Secret. If you ask God, Yhwh, some relevant deity, for a specific thing, it happens. I am also hoping the words, “diversity” and “tolerance” disappear from all of your vocabularies. You’re human beings, you are entitled by your Creator to have valid thoughts and opinions. You’re not forced to subscribe to a mentality that you don’t feel represents you. Despite the fact that most humans will never know freedom, people running around and screaming for tolerance are really just trying to silence the lot of you.

All last week, I was hoping that Air Force One would fall out of the sky on the Ka’aba and cure many ills of this world in one fell swoop. I don’t ask to win the lottery, just to be able to drink and not suffer a kidney or liver disease. Drink healthy in vast amounts, that camels would admire my capacity for fluid, and shut up about Wednesdays.

And for those of you that are interested, I did finish my first rough draft of Book Three. It is in the editing stages at the moment. I’m looking to do some serious work to it and it will be pubbed when I am ready to do so. I am happy with the amount of world it allows me to explore from the events that happened in it’s 400+ pages. And I hope a lot of you folks enjoy it, enough to recommend to your friends.

Cliche’s happen

So I was thinking about my job not too long ago. And how I prepared myself for it many moons ago and when I was a younger man. Now I wasn’t the smartest then, nor am I now…but I knew when good things were afoot and when the Sword of Damocles was above your head.

I’ve been fired more times than you can count on one hand. Someone like that is either, not suited for the job they are working in, or they are a radio personality. I’ve never cashed a check from a radio station or media giant. You can guess why I was fired. Hint: My mouth gets me into trouble in states that are blue.

So when I was recently promoted to a new position (not a real promotion, mind you), I was informed that at some point I will need to speak to M (names are initialed for a reason). M will be wanting to use me to start writing policy on chemical operators.

My response then and now is, can we just use the MSDS for guidelines on how to handle things? I would think that just the simple act of READING THE INSTRUCTIONS should be a fine enough deterrent to venture to aberrant behavior while under DOT law. Apparently not, as I’m still necessary to new policy being written.

I figure that in a right-to-work state, such as Texas, an employer shouldn’t really need to write policy just to fire shitty employees. In the handbook they give you in the first week of work, there should be a clause written in which simply states: If you are unable to use common sense in this vocation and you repeatedly screw up, we should be able to fire you without paying your unemployment. Please treat this employment like you would treat something you treasure and enjoy.

I figure in all honesty, work will not be on my blog for any reason because the reasons they were here to begin with were that I was popping up on google before they were. Kinda makes me want to go and re-edit my two published novels and see if they sell better. I guess next time I won’t be all Hemmingway’d out of my gourd when I try to edit.

Segway: I’m at a bar, trying to remain perpendicular to the floor. I’m aided by the barstool. And my ipad is waiting for me to punch in a respelling of the word ‘the’. Instead I take the last swig of scotch and promptly fall on the floor. Maybe I can rethink choices from here while the shitty techno music vibrates my skull on the tile.

Back…

Work sends me anywhere we decide to make an agreement. My crew is lucky enough to have a lot of work, and that I am thankful for. And I am also thankful for my parents for not forcing me off video games into cold-turkey land. I should say that many times I sat in front of the television (old school bulb-television Magnavox) playing some pixelated piece of shit, has prepared me for this job.

I’ll explain.

I work as a chemical operations supervisor. Which means out of all the people in my crew, it initially falls on me to train people should they have to use chemicals. I have to tell them common sense items because they don’t read the MSDS. “Wear your apron. Get your glasses on. Don’t refill your four ounce bottle of lube with this, it will cause a rash in the involved parties.”

So whenever we get something new to play with, I have to talk to people at my chem warehouse and see what they think of it. “Oh it smells. Oh, this stuff pours slow. Don’t let sunlight hit it for a month, it loses 60% of it’s potency and separates.” Usually they give me a good heads up on what I’m about to read.

Then it gets loaded onto my vehicle and I’m off.

Most of those years playing racing games on my computer or game console have prepared me for this. Jam the music and keep it within the yellow and white lines. After about six months, you develop tastes for talk radio. After a year you’re on iTunes looking for an audiobook from an author you want to keep up with. Your reptile brain (the instinctive one) takes over on long stretches. It’s important to keep your consciousness awake on any trip over an hour, otherwise you’re going to be too distracted trying to find a distraction to keep the tires between the ditches.

I will be the first person to say, calling your boss with a rolled-over tractor and trailer is not something you want to do at 5 am. I think I would rather tell mom and dad that I got a toothless, one-legged hooker pregnant on a layover in Kansas City at a Travel America center than call my boss and describe to him the circumstances of my termination. I will also add to this, that if you can find or rent out a chipper-shredder, you might not have to call your parents about Cinnamon Junior.

So on the road and just driving defensively is the name of the game. At the moment, I’m running loads for five hours just from the warehouse. So let the instinctive brain take over and don’t overthink things. My right foot naturally is flush with the floorboard with the accelerator smushed between them. That’s how I roll, Brotha.

I get to my jobsite. If I’m not quickly applying Monkey Butt powder to my ass in a skiddo can, then whatever the doctor gave me worked. But soon after I paraded the load and chemical information to my engineer, it’s time to push a different set of dexterity-based challenges to me. Once I figure out how the forklift handles, I get my truck unloaded and do what I can to satisfy other needs on the site. Unless your needs involve a chemical tote or my flatbed, you should call someone else.

Sometimes my boss gives me a time limit, just like video games. Or I get word that my tractor isn’t going to be used for hauling chemicals, so I get a number and among three yards to explore I have to find a matching tractor. I’ll find the tractor but there isn’t a key and my life turns into some shitty Squeenix RPG and I have to do a real-life key-hunt quest and puzzle.

on a bright note, I’ve never had to push a crate around to finish a job with multiple jumps

So I could say that the things you enjoy at a younger age, you will probably still find enjoyment out of them at an older age. You like to answer phones? You might be a receptionist or security guard. Like to blow up people that hate us? You might serve active military. Enjoy driving way too much and you’ll drive around a crappy Lake Decatur just because it doesn’t feel like the rest of Central Illinois.

I hope you enjoyed this post and if you have questions or comments, leave some love here or in my inbox. Everyone, have a great March.

Dragging my Feet

So with everything where I am, starting to warm up, you think I’d be doing something outside, right? The temperatures are routinely in the seventies here, hardly a reason to put on the baby oil. But it’s still a full month before spring hits.

Springtime for the rest of the nation is akin to hooded sweatshirts and gym memberships. Tennis shoes and running shoes are purchased in aplumb. People tell cabin fever to basically fuck itself. I’m all for this. Too much inside time for me will keep me not-tan.

I rolled my ankle in October of last year. I tried running on it a little bit…boy that can really cause some pains I never knew about. I think I’ll pedal places…who am I kidding?

I just now hit a thousand miles on my new Civic. Man, that car is a joy to drive. I was thinking about a Subaru but I occasionally can’t afford such things like rate hikes due to speeding tickets. I don’t want to press that. So I at least am saving ten percent of my wages. The Civic suits me pretty well.

My book…yeah…note the title? I’ll be on it, as soon as I get off here. I promise. Start asking me when you see me if I’m done yet. My alpha readers are liking it and if there’s anything to be said, the edits will be better than Election Weekend…

Waiting for the laughter to end. Okay, I’m out. I’ll talk to you people in a few, maybe a few weeks, maybe a few months…who knows. Be well. Unless you’re in favor of Mohommed. Then get sick, don’t wash your hands, bathe in infected waters, call yourself a knucklehead.

Stop Living in the 90’s, Bruce

As much as I hate to think it too much, I have a fetish of going into the “then and now” items of the internet. The things I really enjoyed back in the day, there is part of me that wants those people to create a product again, decades later, that retains their freshness and zeal to life.

Music usually is the largest culprit of these. My hard copy music collection is a bunch of other items from the late 90’s and 2000’s, with maybe a good debut disk and some followups, hoping they “don’t suck.”

The offender that usually gets me noting the time, though…movies. imdb.com, I find myself looking at actors and actresses and going on hyperlinked bunny trails trying to find some piece of work that is watchable and enjoying myself while on the web. Tonight, I found myself on James O’Barr (The Crow) and then ‘oh shit, look-at-the-time.

Okay, I have work to do. It’s time to listen to some Demanufacture from Fear Factory…