Geese Revisited

I don’t think most people know how interesting geese are. I think this is because geese are not fun to look at, necessarily. They are not new, or exciting, or exotic. They blend in with trees, and crows, and other innocuous surroundings. If you can force yourself to stare at geese though, I guarantee you will have questions, as Amber and I have found. For example, you’ll see maybe five out of fifty geese in a field or at a lake take off. Why just the five? What did the five know that the other forty-five don’t? Or maybe you’ll see one goose off by himself. What the hell is that guy doing? What happened to him? I was initially not going to look up geese on the internet. I wanted my blindness to keep me amused to their behaviors. But then their behaviors got weirder, and I decided I had to know what was happening. So, like any sane person who wants to know about something, I Googled it to get to the Wikipedia page. (I am name-dropping here so that the reader is aware of how potentially incredible my sources may be.)

The geese are specifically Canadian geese, with some giant Canadian geese mixed in. When these birds hatch, they are immediately able to walk, swim, and find food; they also look like yellow ostriches and not really in a cute way. Canadian geese are monogamous and their kind do not usually end in divorce. If one goose dies, the living goose will find another mate, though. During the three-ish weeks it takes for their eggs to hatch, Canadian geese (both of the parents) will go, what can only be called, bat-shit crazy on anyone who happens to get too close to the eggs. This includes humans, who are often attacked by geese, because geese, by all accounts, don’t really give a damn.

Geese are assholes. That is a subjective sentence, but here are some objective facts: geese like to live in populated areas, much more than they like to live in the wild; geese feed on grass, but have been known to steal things out of trash cans; geese have elevated stress levels during their winter migration, and are thus more likely to hiss at you before biting you; and if you live in Denver and see a goose, it either hates you, or is a new permanent resident who will abuse the hell out of the fact that no one can hunt it and it can shit wherever it wants to.

It turns out that lots of people eat goose meat as a protein, and some residents in Canada even seem to be upset that their government will not legally allow them to sell goose meat. It’s a tough world, but in these times I like to remind myself that geese shit literally everywhere. I walk to work every day and see cars from the morning covered in it, and trails I walk on force me to watch my every step. It seems like I am joking, but there are several sidewalks I frequent that are literally covered in goose poop. The somewhat good thing about geese is that they eat mostly grass and whatever they find floating around in the lake. (I recently learned that ducks will swim in circles in order to stir up whatever is beneath them so that they can eat it; geese do not do this though, and I’m not sure how they get to the crap at the bottom of bodies of water.) Since geese don’t eat anything of real substance, their poop mostly just resembles someone’s lawn when it has just been irrigated. It also smells almost the same way, though this could just be some sort of psychological memory trigger, since goose shit has generally followed summer irrigation though my youth up until now.

Male geese cannot fly after they have mated. They shed their flying feathers (whatever the hell those are) and do not regain them until about the time when their offspring can first fly. This is perhaps nature’s own way of preventing deadbeat fathers and bastard children, at least in the goose world. Also involved in the goose world is the very real threat of child death to salt water. “Moderate to high salinity concentrations without fresh water results in slower development, growth, and saline-induced mortality,” Wikipedia informs me. And if you’re now thinking Damn, way to answer almost all of my goose questions, but, what makes a group of geese fly off, man? The answer is simple: no one knows.

That is the greatest mystery about geese: we don’t know why they fly in a V formation, or who gets to choose the “flock.” (Flock is here in quotes because although some geese may fly off for a few hours, the main collection of these birds always seems to remain together, come the end of the day. The real “flock” does not seem to consist of the generally seen five or so birds, but rather, of tens to hundreds of geese.)
The geese I see do not seem to just be tourists anymore. As I have written about before (sadly), the geese seem to have permanently taken up housing in Denver. In the same article that mentioned this, (I’m not citing things; this is a comedy opinion piece that you can either read or not – I’m sorry, that sounds harsh, just please don’t take things too seriously, I’ll include the video at the end) I was told that geese are mostly a burden because of their poop. A local Denver woman “volunteers” – because they totally want to do it – her dogs (two golden retrievers) to scare off the geese of pretty much any given location.
Needless to say, the goose nazi has not made it to southwest Littleton.
Walking passed the birds, I couldn’t help but think of people, and what we would’ve done under the same circumstances. I was saddened to come to the conclusion that we would probably destroy all the ice, harvest everything at the bottom of the lake for food to sell, and profit off of lake-side communities (like the Concordia Assisted-living Home which already exists on the lake); and that’s only if you’re one of the lucky geese, the other 99% will just have to find somewhere else to live.
{That got real pretty quick. Good thing we aren’t geese.}

The main thing to take away from the goose is that it’s an individual creature; it will fuck you up regardless of how large you are, and it will take over whichever parks it feels are the best to be at, and it will empty its bowels wherever and whenever it feels appropriate.

During the winter, the lake I walk past every day freezes over, mostly. There is a large, perfectly circular pool , however, which remains unfrozen. It is here that the geese now congregate. Being that it is the only open source of water on the lake right now, it is also where the ducks and seagulls gather as well. Clement Park, and the lake it encompasses have become barren and cold, except for the pool which remains in the middle. Here, all birds come together to bathe, eat, and hang out. It is quite a sight to see, as this gathering does not happen any other time of year. For the rest of the year, the birds will make cliques far apart from each other, keeping to their own kind. But during the worst, coldest parts of winter, all of the birds will come together here. It’s a beautiful thing, and means more than I’d care to blatantly write down.

Metaphors aside, I do hope some of these geese get the fuck out after winter though, because there is actually goose crap everywhere I step.

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Why I Am Not Worried About 2018

It’s not so much that I am not worried about 2018, just that I am choosing not to lose my head about it. So much of the time spent in 2017 I feel (and especially now, in December, when everyone is doing a yearly recap) has been spent on complaining about how bad 2017 is (and now was). And now, as news stories emerge about the coming 2018, almost all of them are doing their best at attempting to explain why we should all be shaking where we stand, or why the next year will be incredible.

I can understand why this might be. Media outlets make their money on taking a story and making it interesting, and a story like this – while not particularly interesting – does not have to be facts driven, and thus can be “spun” in whichever way the author would like. If a journalist should happen to oppose the coming of the new year because they believed it would obviously end in nuclear warfare, they could easily express their view in an opinion piece called “2018 is Coming and Everyone is Freaking Out,” or something like that, etc, etc.

2017 was in no way a great year, or even a good one. But compared to the rest of human history, even within the last decade, it was not such an awful year as many like to make out. The idea of the last year being an especially terrible one is something that is completely corporate and artificial in nature. For example, a left-leaning Vanity Fair article by a T.A. Frank, entitled “5 Nightmarish Headaches Trump Faces in 2018,” lists things like “Democrats [being] less open to deal making” and “Robert Mueller [sticking] around” as being some of the top issues which are sure to make the next year horrible for anyone involved in any way. While it’s fair that partisanship and an FBI head bent on proving collusion between the president and Russia must be a huge headache, I would not say those are even close to being the toughest things for the president to have to juggle next year. They are catchy themes, though. (Just for the record, I believe the inevitable proof of Russia collusion will probably happen a bit further down the line.)

In contrast, both the ridiculously conservative John Ziegler and Rush Limbaugh think that 2018 will be an incredible year because of Trump. They mostly site financial gain and job employment as an overall bonus. While both of these points are [mostly] true, one cannot deny the fact that this has been a horrific year for most people living south of Colorado; massive storms in Texas, The Virgin Islands, Florida, and Puerto Rico, plus raging, unseasonal fires in Southern California have made this year one that is probably not so great for many. This is not to mention the families who’ve been affected by the several tragedies to have swept through the country this year, from the Las Vegas shooting to the Muslim travel ban.

I am taking joy in the fact that the Miriam-Webster Dictionary is watching the word doggo in 2018. Aside from that, I am choosing to accept that things are cyclical. History repeats itself and I don’t have the time or the patience to be bothered about being bothered about current events. I care enough, I think. What I have learned in 2017 is that there are people at every time in history who have been as upset as people seem to be now, and I do not want to be one of them. If one does not want to believe that 2017 has happened before in America, I suggest looking into 1972. I say this not just because of Watergate, but because of arguing, of childish insults between political professionals, of a massive slew of scandals involving famous people, and of extreme partisanship. I think that both sides are generally – as a rule of thumb – absurd, inaccurate, predictable, and thoughtless. Their arguments have been made before. Their arguments are also paid for. Fox News needs to be right-leaning because that is what their viewers and listeners want, and so on and so forth. Anyone who chooses to pick a side exclusively is setting themselves up for the same things over and over: the left will take things too seriously and the right will be too insensitive, rinse and repeat.

The point I am trying to get at is that 2018 is just another year. Instead of getting mad at T. Swift for Tweeting that she had a good year, let’s all decide to just chill the fuck out. Not everything needs to be a political statement. Let’s just watch football this year (and that’s coming from someone who genuinely thinks that the NFL is legitimately comparable to the gladiators of Rome). Let’s read more news about things that don’t matter, like National Geographic, or stupid essays like this (but the non-political ones – this is it for a while, I promise). And for fuck’s sake, let’s not give a shit when we can’t watch the stupid president attempt to play sports which he claimed he had no time to play in the first place.

Mainly this year, let’s not be assholes. Let’s be more accepting and less prone to labeling everything. We should try to not act like the world is going to explode tomorrow; it’s not great, but maybe things have been worse. And even if things haven’t been worse, let’s make an effort not to fixate on that. Things at least could be worse. Right?

Right?

Merry Christmas (I Don’t Wanna Fight Tonight), etc.

Listen to this first, if you have time?

I spent the Christmas of 2015 drunk and alone. I remember waking up and mixing my bourbon into the eggnog before grandma could come over. I spent the day quiet. I didn’t feel like talking at dinner. I was alone and I was depressed. I was, however, still talking to Amber. Amber and I worked together at a Payless a ways from my house. We had established between each other our interest in punk music, and that was enough for me to decide I needed to bother her.

I don’t quite remember if I said much on the day itself, though I remember Amber having to heavily console me over the fact that Christmas just happens, and even though it sucks it’s just a day. In a nice way, she was telling me that I was really letting out a lot of information, and probably being more dramatic than I needed to be. I took the hint; we asked each other what we got for presents, and I remember even just that making me feel better.

 

I am an only child. But, you have not killed anyone; you don’t seem like a psycho you might say to yourself, and you are correct: I have not killed anyone and I personally consider empathy to be the greatest virtue. I did not have the same Christmas’s that my friends seemed to enjoy, however. My earliest memory of the holiday is of waking up too early, just after my parents had happened to go to sleep, and finding all of my presents under the tree; among them was the Scooby Doo stuffed animal that I had specifically wanted. I immediately ran to it and was quickly caught by my dad coming down the stairs. “Woah! Santa already came! We’ve gotta wait for everyone else (just mom) to get into the presents, though,” and he put me back to bed. When I woke up in a couple of hours, I found the most amazing list of presents I could imagine.  Everything I had asked for and then some.

Being an only child on Christmas has its downsides, though. I got a video game system and didn’t have anyone to play with, I got a skateboard and didn’t have anyone to ride with, and I’d get a movie and have no one to watch it with. To make things worse, my dad was then absent for a few of my childhood Christmas’s, and I now feel a compulsion to try and make the day as joyful as I can for everyone else, with no regard for myself. It is this mindset that has established my anxiety, my distrustfulness, and my need to try and make as many people happy as possible – this time of year at least, I feel as though my seasonal depression eases up in the summer when there are no major holidays. It is also this mindset that has ruined this holiday for me, from being alone as a child, to feeling guilty for trying to not be alone – it has just always been a shitty day for me.

 

 

Shortly after the Christmas of 2015, I began hanging out with Amber, a lot. We began dating within a few months, and kept becoming closer and spending more time together, until I had completely fallen in love. As the 2016 holiday season neared, I feared the worst: Was my anxiety and depression going to resurface? Was I going to end up drunk and alone again? Would I be able to devote my time to all those who cared about me, equally? I assumed I would let someone down, and as the 25th grew closer, I knew I would let everyone down. For most of December I became short, needy, irritable, and broken. I lost my head in the bullshit that is American consumerism. I felt as though my just-above-minimum-wage job would cover the expenses for shit I wanted to buy everyone – fancy beers for the guy roommates, fancy wine for the girl roommate, a record for my best friend, art supplies for my girlfriend – and when I was wrong, I couldn’t handle it. I got into arguments with everyone. If a friend would invite me to lunch, my response would be “Is money everything to you? What is wrong with you?” When they’d explain that they just wanted to hang out with me, and would even cover my meal, I would become even more internally upset. I can do this on my own. I can do this on my own! I can’t do this on my own.

But then, something strange happened. Christmas day rolled around and I didn’t want to jump out of a window. The opposite, even. I remember waking up next to Amber and being excited for the holiday. Staring into her eyes as we woke up together, I was excited in the same way I was when I was little. Everything was ahead of me for the day, I wanted to make her happy and I knew I was going to at least come pretty close. Not because of the presents, but because of the thought. I genuinely couldn’t afford to buy much of anything, and so all of my presents had to rely upon the basis of knowing her intimately, of remembering our favorite moments together. What I got her specifically does not matter, but the fact that I made her feel loved, and that she made me feel loved is what matters.

The loud, and sometimes white-trash-tending roommates we lived with at the time would be gone for the entire day, and probably the night, too. We were free to be ourselves, to eat what we wanted and drink what we wanted, watch what we wanted and say what we wanted. It was that moment of having our own, complete space together, knowing that our only jobs at the moment was to make the other person happy that made everything so incredibly nostalgic, freeing, and reassuring. Amber and I had seldom had these moments together, when it was only her and I in a space that we were allowed to call ours. I had never in my life been in a place that I had worked together with someone for, experiencing it being filled with love and care and acceptance. It was a feeling that people live for it keeps them alive. I know that it is now on my list of reasons to be alive – not just for Amber, but for what we will build together. For the spaces which we will make ours. Places that will be closed off to the world, and even if they did see it, would never understand what they were looking at, because it was not their world. Every person makes his place in life, and this is mine, with Amber.

 

And now, as Christmas 2017 draws near, I only know more and more that a space with her is all I want in life. To be with her, and watch her do so many things, and help her when our heads are awful, and to feel like I will never, ever be alone again.

I know that my neurosis far outstretches hers, but she takes care of me any way. And I know that I am going to get better with her. We are going to grow together, and live more together, and become something even better than we are now. I know that our lives aren’t destined for mediocrity in this, or any suburb.

 

So merry Christmas to anyone who is struggling, to those who need it most, and to those that have not yet found out what they are waiting for. In 2017, it is easy for posts like this to go by the wayside, or for strangers to assume that this is something else manufactured, but it is not. From someone who has found a true home in someone who is my confidant, my best friend, my help at all times, and the love of my life, I wish anyone who can manage to read through all of this a very merry Christmas.

And I love you, Amber. Merry Christmas.

 

I’m Sorry, Mr. Bukowski

While walking around the lake again today, (yes, the lake that is in the town which I claim to hate so much. I cannot completely rationalize why I do not fix my car and get out of here instead of always walking around the lake, but I do know that it can be damn comforting sometimes, proving that maybe I don’t hate this place as much as I claim. But, yes, I do) I realized something that makes me somewhat sad: I cannot handle the work of Charles Bukowski. Yeah, I’m 23 and a dropout and a millennial, so I understand that, theoretically, he should be some sort of patron saint for me. Today I began listening to Ham on Rye and was almost immediately turned off. Bukowski begins the novel (which is pretty obviously just his real life) by recounting his first memories; the first is of his coming into consciousness underneath a table. The author recounts being entranced by the table and its cloth, but not by the humans in the room. Charles then remembers his parents fighting, and his grandmother being in the room, who he callously punches in the face. This is all objectively funny, but knowing that it thrust into existence a man who would quickly begin to loathe life and all that it has to offer is just too much for me at this time.

I’m depressed, sure. Socially anxious? Sign me up. But to suggest that even Bukowski was absolutely hopeless directly after birth is not only tragic beyond entertaining, it’s also just wrong.

On Writing was the first work I read by Bukowski, and in all honesty, all I can say I have finished by him. The book is a collection of mostly letters to editors and publishers and what some may consider friends. The book is endlessly funny, and I laughed while reading a book more than I can remember in the last few years.

 

Today at the park I walked passed someone who I had been in class with this semester. This was a class that I had dropped out of, and so I found the sight of him interesting. He is a late 20-something who ​was in the military, was injured, and was now looking for his next step in life. I really do wish this guy – I can’t remember his name at the moment – luck. Not because ‘the world is a hard place’ or anything like that, but because this guy has the most intimidating military in the world under his belt as a reference and is still not progressing much further than I am, it seems. I hate to say it, but I don’t think that Clement Park will in the future be regarded as a breeding ground for genius.

A note to the reader: I misspelled genius on the first try.

 

My attraction to Charles Bukowski is the same one that I have for many artists: the act of taking something mundane and making it interesting. It’s what all of my favorite artists can do so well – David Sedaris, Marc Maron, Joseph Fink, Jeffrey Cranor, Max Bemis, etc. The thing my personal favorites do, opposed to Bukowski, is pull themselves out of their darkest states. That is where the real comedy resides. I’m not trying to put a label on Bukowski, (not that it would ever matter) but the works he writes are closer to tragedy than anything else. To simply dismiss one’s potential as a life of misery is a truly foolish act. This makes my struggle with Bukowski one that is too close to home sometimes, as I too, can often feel hopeless. So the catch twenty-two becomes that I resonate with this hopelessness which makes me feel better, but then I know that I don’t want to feel hopeless because it makes me feel worse.

So, I am sorry to the late Mr. Charles Bukowski, and to the baby-boomers who based their ideals upon the Beats generation, and I am sorry to the countless college students my age who think that ‘YOLO’ might be a serious lifestyle, because that sucks. If I can walk around some stupid, old-person ridden, goose-shit strewn puddle and be constantly amazed at how transformative the act of going outside can be, I am positive that so many, like Mr. Bukowski, have sold themselves short.

People are meant to struggle, and to have things to deal with, and to not be okay all of the time. It’s so trite and kitsch, but if that shit didn’t happen life wouldn’t be worth living. It is often a struggle for me to not break down every day, but I know (and I’d argue that deep down Bukowski knew) that there is a reason behind the bullshit. And even if there isn’t, you hope that there is so that you can try and be a more empathetic, compassionate, understanding human being.

 

As I’m writing this, my roommate’s dog is letting out the most annoying fucking bark I swear to God you have ever heard.

Kid up front

Round body. Not fat, not spherical. Just round. Head would probably look less small if body weren’t so round.

Pony tail. No glasses, why would there be glasses?

Dresses like 2001. Middle school 2001.

“25 is when the brain stops uh, producing. Just producing. Uh. And decays?”

Left hand on right side, right hand writing.

Notes are probably just own thoughts though.

Just own thoughts.

Maybe not, maybe they’re someone else’s thoughts.

Red shoes, green shirt, blue backpack. Still quantitative.

Bic pen. Bic? I think maybe the Bic says the most.

What an uncomfortable pen.

Cares about knowledge but not writing comfortability.

To each their own.

Nothing

I don't know what it is about nothingness that's so exhilirating for me. To know that there is nothing in sight – no Walmarts or hotels, or bad drivers causing rush hour. There's also nothing blocking my view. Nothing needlessly clouding my mind with its message to buy something, eat something, follow a street, etc. I can do whatever I want, and that includes nothing. That especially includes nothing. I can rest in the nothingness and do nothing and think nothing, and it's weightless. It is freedom, because in a way, freedom is nothingness, isn't it?

Savor

The air is calming. You’re with me, but also the people around me don’t make me as anxious as they do everywhere else. Things are moving a bit fast than usual, but slower than usual in an all-too carefully crafted together atmosphere. The lights are dim, but not dark, it makes the colors stand out more. You are there with me and then he is there. The music is perfect. The resonance, the energy, the skill, it’s more than could ever be expected. You smile and sway and I’m happy. There are more songs and more energy and it is loud and it is fantastic. You’re still smiling and I’m happy. They finish, we leave, we stop at a gas station for snacks and we’re tired, but I’m happy.

Savor