What If…

A few days ago I was eating breakfast at my parents house in the 253 (Tacoma, WA area) before I got in my car and headed back to the Portland, Oregon. My dad, he is a republican and has this tendency to bring up conversations that you don’t want to really be part of. He also has an issue with people playing sports, in America, not standing for the national anthem so let me write a few things down, in no particular order, before I get onto the topic of way I started this post in the first place.

The first time the National Anthem was played at a public sports event was during the 1918 World Series held by the Major League Baseball. According to a quick Google search Major League Baseball was established in 1869. So not taking the mouths into account, just doing basic math, that’s 49 years without singing or even standing for the National Anthem. It was only sang by the military two years prior in 1916 under the order of President Woodrow Wilson.

Jackie Robinson, the first black athlete of the MLB didn’t play under the MLB until the year 1947. So doing basic math again, that’s 29 years that we sang the National Anthem before black dudes were able to play on the same field as white dudes. On a side note, the Negro National League was established in 1920, so that was 27 years before he was allowed to go over there.

By reading an article from ESPN, it sounds to me like the National Anthem stuck around because of the fact that it drew a larger crowd. So if you’re like me you’re asking yourself is it because people liked it, singing a song that made people feel unified; or is it because the MLB wanted more money due to ticket sales?

Since I’m doing this, the NFL was founded in 1920 in the state of Ohio.

Onto another point which will lead into my main point…

I’m part of a group on Facebook where all its members listen to the same podcast out of Seattle. Most of these members are from the Seattle area, and by the Seattle area I’m talking about a 50 mile radius around the city of. Some of the other members used to live Washington but since then moved away to other states such as Nebraska, like I used to; Iowa, Arkansas, Oregon, California, Arizona, Nevada, so on and so forth. The ongoing motto of the podcast is to ‘stay positive’ and we all seem to not only joke around and have fun, but show support for other members regardless of political or religious differences, and this environment creates very few arguments.

A few days ago, one of the most known members of this group shared an article from Sports Illustrated about how Michael Bennett of the Seattle Seahawks did not stand for the National Anthem. This post has generated 67 comments over the span of 3 days, many of those comments having subcomments. I even have a few comments on said post, and even though I was not trying to fight with anyone; it just…there was a reason to even though I think I stayed pretty neutral.

So let’s jump back, or forward, to eating breakfast at my parents house, I got into a discussion with my dad; my family always yells at one another even if we are not fighting. From the conversation I found out that my parents also have arguments with my dad’s sister-in-law; the wife of one of his two brothers, or two of his three nephew’s; the three sons of one of my dads five sisters. I found this out just based on hearing my mom say, “Just shut up Bill, you’re talking to a brick wall; it’s just going to be like talking to Dan or Becky.”

These family members are from Nebraska and never lived outside of the Midwest, they never lived in parts of the country that tend to be more democratic based on population size and how different one person is than the other and the idea that you have to learn how to coexist on a rock that is floating, in a pattern, though space.

My dad thinks that our current President, Donald Trump, is a fucking idiot; well hey, I do too! Even though he is a republican he is more moderate than he may think, he is not one of those 33% that live in the Midwest and thinks everything Donald Trump does is a gift from God.

At one point during the fight I got my dad to say, even though he kinda disagreed with me, “Yes, he has that right, and I will fight for that right,” my dad used to be a Marine, “But I still think it is disrespectful. But you’re right Daniel, I would not want to live in a country that forced its citizen to sit or stand.”

My mom thought me and my dad were fighting, but no, we were just yelling at one another. We didn’t really start fighting until he asked me, “Why did he sit, what was his reasoning?”

I quickly, without a thought, replied by saying, “He sat due to something that he thinks is a injustice, the mistreatment of black people.”

From there the conversation kinda ended, I kept saying “Okay,” at one point just to avoid a fight.

I get my use of metaphors from my dad and for whatever fucking reason he was comparing black people to tigers saying, “You’re right, police need to be better but at the same time I can’t really blame them; when you deal with tigers attacking people everyday and then you find a tiger you’re going to be on edge expecting it to attack you.”

This is kinda where I zoned out and started saying, “Okay.”

My mom ended the conversation when I said, “God dammit dad, he didn’t approach a tiger, he approached a god damn domesticated house cat who told the officer that he was getting his wallet out of his back pocket; and he fucking got shot!”

So with the idea of this posting on Facebook and the conversation that I just had with my dad, on top of the conversation that I had last week I ended up with a thought in my head as I was driving south on I-5.

“What if I didn’t stand for the National Anthem? Would it be assumed that I can’t because I’m in a wheelchair? How would they know that I was choosing not to stand, is it just because they assume that I can’t? What if I wanted to raise awareness because people who are physically disabled have a extremely difficult time finding employment. What if? Would people even be talking about it?”

We have laws in place, I know this, a place of employment can not legally discriminate against me, but you know what? It happens! Do a large majority of people believe me when I tell them that finding a job when you’re physically disabled is extremely difficult? No.

All of the discrimination is unintentional, it’s not like the hiring manager is going around and telling me I’m less then a human because I’m in a wheelchair.

But guess what employers? We feel that way even though you don’t have any intention of doing so, and maybe you do, maybe you are an asshole; but there are ways around that law, some of you know this and you are an asshole, some of you just say no based on this or that but either way you still make handicapped people feel pretty god damn useless.

So because of the idea that I can’t speak on your perspective, lets throw myself under the buss.

In high school, even though I could walk at the time, I was still disabled; my disability is not going away. Unless they come out with a cure, which they were supposed to happen ten years ago. Regardless I was in a wheelchair at that time and my education was based on the field of science and technology, engineering to be more specific.

During my sophomore year of high school I took a drafting class, that as you would expect started out using things like pencils, paper, table, t-squares, triangles, scales, eraser shields, so on and so forth. That then moved into AutoCAD. In my junior year I moved high schools and more or less ended up taking the same class with a different name. For my senior year of high school I could not take the same class over again, so I more or less ended up being a teachers assistant in the same class that I took the year prior.

At one point I got yelled at by my teacher saying, “You’re supposed to be helping these kids, not doing their work for them.” I’m sorry, most of these kids were taking this class because, “It’s an easy A man,” and when you’re trying to explain to a kid to type ‘@34.25<270’ and they act like you’re talking a foreign language it’s easy to just be like “Here, I’ll show you,” but then you get trapped in a moment of, “I’ll just do it for you, because I don’t want to get pissed because you can’t.”

After graduation I went to college and obtained my Associates in Mechanical Engineering Design. I spent two and a half years in a land of…taking my son to daycare, going to school where I studied mechanical blueprints, trig, geometry, physics; for 8 hours a day, picking my kid up from daycare, and then being yelled at my his mom.

I have extensive knowledge in blueprint design, I can’t necessarily tell you how to build a bridge that is supposed to hold 100 tons, and I might have to brush up if you ask me, “If I have a truck that weights 2,000 pounds and is going 40 miles per hour up a hill with friction and a 35% incline and I’m towing a 2,000 pound boat how much will it slow me down and how long will it take for me to get to the top of the hill that is in another 50 feet.”

After that I started a job that was not an engineering type job, but was related in the field of such and gave me experience in the manufacturing/production environment. I held onto that job for 5 years before I was transferred to Seattle and realized that the drive was too much and I could not do it anymore.

While I was employed at that job I went to school…again, got my second Associates in Machining and Manufacturing Technologies, my main goal of getting that degree was to become a CNC Programmer, but then you got the idea that the vast majority of employers will not hire a CNC programmer if said person was not a CNC operator beforehand. That was the beginning of my downfall with that company, I more or less started a job that I could not physically do at the speed that they were asking, and they kept asking me to speed up so much that I got into this mode of doing stupid shit, scraping parts, and asking a ton of questions that I already knew.

And my walking has became worse since that point in time, so while I may not be able to run the machine I can tell you how to setup the machine, load the program, set the Z, set the offset, how to takedown, and I can even tell you what N76G01Z-0.625F1 means.

But does that matter to employers? No. Because my job as a CNC operator was a failure, why? I don’t know if they care. On paper they see this, they don’t care if I know how to program the part being made, the history tells them differently. And I don’t want a job in CNC anything, I’ve done that before, don’t want to do it again.

I’d rather produce a 3D model based on a customers 2D blueprint and hand it to the machinist and say, “Make this shit.”

Then you got the idea that people make assumptions. And that is the downside of being in a wheelchair. You don’t know what I can or can not do, and it’s illegal for you to even ask.

Part of me blames America too, where the fuck do you get the idea that I’m going to sue your company because I fell down or whatever? Oh yea, people do that; but I’m not an asshole. Do you know that? If you give me a job and I stand up with the idea that I might fall over and I do fall over, that is on me, it’s my fault. Now, I’ll sue you if you made me stand up, but if I could do the job without standing up, and I make the personal decision to stand up; I’m not going to sue you because I made the choice to and fell down.

But does it happen? Yes, people sue people over stupid shit all the time. Look at out president, cough cough.

The thing that pisses me off about that is…the negative stereotype plays a lot into your assumption. And while you sit there making assumptions about things that you don’t know or even understand; I’m sitting here being depressed day in and day out because you’re not the only one making those assumptions, everyone else is too. While you sit there I’m taking money out of your pocket, and sure you could sit there and say, “You fucking lazy bastard, stop taking my tax money,” but that’s your fault, it’s your fault that your paying me just to live.

It’s not like I’m not trying to find a job, it’s that all you fuckers make assumption that…you can’t legally make, but can you? And do you? You can make up reasons not to hire someone, sometimes you don’t even need to make shit up. There are a lot, a lot of jobs that I can’t physically do, I get that, but I’m not trying to apply as a patrol officer either.

You’re legally supposed to provide accommodations, but that is a slippery slope and I don’t think people understand that. A chair, fine, if you have to spend $20 on a chair so I can sit, fine you figure I can make that money back within X amount of time. But if you assume, and what happens when you assume? You make an ass out of you and me. When you assume that you need to spend more then it costs to employ me, you wont employ me. And we come back to the negative stereotype that surrounds people in wheelchairs.

Do you know me? Do you know what I can do? Oh that’s right, you can’t ask.

After that job I was giving an under the job table helping my dad. At that time my father was the senior design engineer at a company in Nebraska, and that is why I moved back to Nebraska in the first place. My dad did not know how to use Solidworks, but he knew that I did, he also knew my educational background; based upon that he gave me a job that I could do from home, a job that I could start at three in the afternoon and do until four in the morning if I wanted to.

I talked about this in a previous post, but to summarize it I moved back to Nebraska to take a job at said company. My dad only took the job because they promised to give me a job. By the time I moved back the government shutdown was in high gear, the job never happened, and every time my dad mentioned my name to his boss, he boss would straight up walk away and act like I didn’t exist.

And that is why my dad quit his job and moved back to Washington State to take his old job.

But when he moved we had reason to stay, so we more or less end up staying in Nebraska for another three years. During that time I was lucky and found a job, that hired me after saying that they wouldn’t.

When I started working there I’ve heard a few times that I did a good job and they were happy that they gave me a job, which to be honest only made me feel like I was negatively stereotyped during my initial interview.

I kept that job for a year and a half before I was laid off due to a loss in customer base. During my employment there I ended up turning 2D blueprints into 3D models and then doing the reverse.

I spent my life focused on this, mainly because I knew I had to get a job that I could do from a desk. But the vast majority of the time, these people have worked on the floor for several years. Can I work on the production floor? Then we get back to my first job. Can I work on the floor? Yea, depending on the job. Do you assume that I can work on the floor? Most manufacturing jobs would make you assume that I can’t. Sadly, a lot of them are set up that way and they don’t even bother to ask if they could provide reasonable accommodations unless I have a golden penis that cums one hundred dollar bills.

After I got laid off from my last job…we were planning on moving to Oregon the year before, and due to her job and my job, the decision to stay in Nebraska was made about two weeks prior to me finding out that I was laid off.

So I found myself staying in Nebraska for another year without a job. At this point, I knew from previous occasions how hard it was to find a job. What do I do? I call social security to go back onto disability, and that, that was the most stressful month of my life. I didn’t know if I was going to receive money again by the time my rent was due. I didn’t get any word from anyone about anything. I just sat there worried until money popped into my account without any notification.

I was trying to find a job. Under the rules of Social Security I can work part time for under X amount of money per month, in gross pay, and Social Security still gives me something.

But are you aware how hard it is to find a job, yet alone a part time job when people assume you can’t physically do the job that you’re applying for?

I lived in Lincoln, NE at the time so let assume that there are 250,000 jobs and at the time the unemployment rate was 4.8%, so by doing simple math 12,000 jobs. If you figure that half of those jobs are part-time that take your 12,000 down to 6,000. Then you take into account that I can’t work fast food, I can’t stock shelf’s, I have no customer experience experience, what can I do? That takes the number 6,000 down to about 600. Then you got to account for all the people that can either physically do shit or have better qualifications.

Do you know how much Social Security Disability pays? Do you even care? I assume it’s different for everyone. Let’s assume that you have a full time job that pays you $11.87 an hour, sounds good right, a gross pay of $1,900 a mouth; not great, but that is livable for most poor people; and fuck, there are a lot of poor people in this country. If your monthly gross is $1,900 your take home pay is roughly $1,463; that goes to say that every other Friday you’re taking home $731.50.

Now take that number and instead of getting it every 15 days, you get it every 30 days. How the fuck are you supposed to live on that? Now of days a good 95% of the apartments charge rent over $731.50, so I can’t even pay rent; much less car insurance, car payment, gas for said car, cell phone; what do you expect me to do, get a land line…it’s 2017 people.

So, I need a job, I want a job, do you know how depressing it is to sit here and eat food, go to the store, play Fallout 4, or write a 3,365+ word blog post? I want to feel like I’m contributing to society somehow. Not only that, but fuck, I don’t want to live with my fiances parents either.

That’s easy Dan, change career paths. It’s not that easy! What the hell do I do? My life is surrounded around the idea of engineering, and yes; there are more things I can learn, but still. It’s not like I’m going to take a job that I can’t even do.

So if I was in the situation where millions of people could witness me sit down for the national anthem is it okay just because you assume that I can’t stand? If I made the choice to sit would you know that I’m sitting based on the fact that I’m already sitting and you assume that I can’t stand?

If I wanted to use that as a vehicle to raise awareness to an issue that I deem is an injustice would people even be talking about it?

I used this metaphor once, and I’m going to use it again. That’s the problem Colin Kaepernick is dealing with; it’s like he used a 1998 Toyota Super as a vehicle to raise awareness about how cars don’t get enough gas mileage, and the vehicle worked; it made people all around the country talk. But a year later people are still fighting over the type of vehicle that he used and instead of getting engineers involved to figure out how to reduce gas mileage you got a bunch of people arguing about muscle cars, SUVs, trucks, vans; and why that vehicle is better. Everyone, or most, forgot what the fucking issue was about.

So if I sit during the National Anthem would people care? Would they make an issue about it?

Disabled people, in 1990 the A.D.A. was formed and did a lot to protect us, but does it do enough? There are ways to get around it, and employers use them all the time rather they intend to or not. Discrimination against disabled people happens everyday, might even happen right in front of your face; and you don’t even know.

Perspective; when is the last time you saw someone and thought, “I wonder what their life is like, and if I was faced with the same issues could I overcome it?”

I’ll end this post by asking a very basic question. In this country we have the 1st amendment; that being said we have the freedom to sit or stand for the flag and that same freedom grantees that no one is going to force you do to what they think you should do. Some people might say, “Yea, well standing for the flag is a sign of respect.” You know what, you’re right; but at the same time exercising your right to make a choice on the matter, is also a sign of respect.

Sit or stand, I don’t care, do whatever makes you happy; but think about what you’re saying before you say, “That’s disrespectful.” Is it?

You have that freedom, is it not respect to choose either of the two based on the fact that “they” gave you the freedom do make that choice?

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Moving to Oregon!!!

(I’m writing this a few days after I posted this. There are a lot of grammar, spelling or incorrect words in this post; I do not feel like editing it right now…so just know, if you don’t, that I’m not that stupid, I just suck at editing my self before I hit post)

A few days ago I remembered doing something and a few minutes later I attempted to make a funny post about said memory. At the beginning of my relationship with my now fiance I took her on a last minute date to Mt. Rainier. While that was running thought my head I had a thought that hopefully would seem funny to those outside of The Midwest, or Nebraska.

I more or less posted:

Hey, Shannon remember that time I took you on a last minute date/adventure to Mt. Rainier? It was fun wasn’t it? Mr. Fox hanging out next to the car, the bathrooms were berried under snow (in the summer) and then after we got home I realized I could of got in for free.

We had lunch in the paradise parking lot and the entire time there was a gray fox sitting right next to my car starring at us. We didn’t feed it, but we wanted to; he or she was kinda cute just sitting ten feet away from my front door watching us eat in a non-violent manner.

And there is the issue that I can get into a national park for free based on the fact that I’m disabled.

What am I supposed to do in this state? Take you somewhere and be like, “This hill is the largest hill in this state and its peak is 20 feet high.” Or take you to a body of water and be like, “Hey look, it’s a body of water, I’m pretty sure its deepest point is less than 100 feet; and look, you can even see land on every side”.

So that was my attempt to make fun of my own state, the state I was born in but was away for for 15 years.

On another topic I went to go get gas today and had another thought which I will talk about more below, but based on that I had the idea to write top top reasons I’m excited to move to Oregon.

These are not in any particular order, but I tried to put the most important shit upfront, however they are all important to me and towards to end of the list I found myself asking if this was more important then that.

1. I’ll be closer to my kid

As some of you might know; my kid was born in 2003, around the summer of 2005 I was booted out of the house and moved back in with my parents. After that I got to see my kid every other weekend.

Shortly after I moved out, like right after…and I have a post called Restless Night if you care to read more about that.

Now…if you read that post you might already know. She spent no time jumping from boy to boy. Nine mouths later they were married. He was in the military; and if you know anything about Washington State…Ft. Lewis.

Anyhow because of said marriage my son spent the last ten years, starting at the age of 3, maybe 4 moving all over the country. Then his step-father got a job in Seattle, out of the military.

So now my kid is back in the state where he was born and when I move to the northern edge of Oregon I’ll be a 21 hour drive closer. So I’m looking forward to that, my son says he is too. We both suck at coming up with things to say, so our phone conversations are very little. Not because I don’t care about my kid, but due to awkward silence. And if I ask him questions or say something I still get “Okay,” “No,” “Yea,” “Cool,” so on and so forth, like where do I go from there

But being with him in person is different, he will talk your ear off…which I did at that age too.

I’m just hoping that his mom will let him come live me Shannon and I for 30 days during his summer break.

2. I’ll be closer to my friends.

This…I might not need to explain this either. If you dig into my blog there is plenty of information to tell you what I’m about to summarize.

When I was a kid in Nebraska, I was picked on…more so than most kids, yes we were kids, yes that what kids do…but 30 people every day. Then I moved to Washington State and that pretty much stopped.

I became more popular that I could have ever imagined. My soon to be best man at my wedding…I’ve known him since 1998, the year I moved there; granted he only hung out with me because he thought my sister was hot, but after he got to know me he stuck to me like adhesive.

My other friend, he sucks at giving speeches; he will not be making any speeches at my wedding. I’ve known him since 1998 too.

My friends in Washington…what else can I say.

3.  I’ll be closer to my family

Now, my dad has five sisters and had 2 brothers, 1 remaining; regardless of that it has spawned a huge family who mostly reside in Nebraska, a few in Iowa. But I don’t think of them as…people who are close to me, mainly due to religious and political difference which I might mention later on it this post.

I moved back to Nebraska a year after my father moved back to Nebraska. He offered me a job in Nebraska a year prior. If you know anything about my blog, you know my stance on how difficult it is for people with disabilities to find a job.

As much as I didn’t want to leave the state of Washington, I saw it as a foot in the door to the engineering field. In which I have two college degrees that focus of the line of work. After talking to my now fiance, she moved to Nebraska with me in the same hopes that I would walk into that door.

Which never happened. At that time the government had a shut down of manufacturing, and the company my dad worked for got all to most of its contracts though the U.S. government. And his boss, whenever you mentioned something to him that he didn’t want to talk about he would just act like the situation was not there.

So I lived in Nebraska hoping for a job that I never got. On a positive note I found a job similar to that and was employed for 19 months until I was laid off due to a loss in customers base.

Around that time my father received a call from his old boss (they really liked my dad and were sad to see him go). After a, “You sure you don’t want your job back,” conversation on the phone; he quit his job in Nebraska based on several factors, one of them being that his boss promised to hire me but acted like I didn’t exist, and moved back to Washington to take his old job.

So being able to drive up to the Tacoma area for holidays or just because would be awesome.

This last Christmas I stayed in Nebraska, mainly because neither I nor my parents could afford to fly me out. I was sitting at a dinner table with my fiance, 3 of my dad’s sisters, my closet cousin, and a few other family members. The men were in the family room watching a Seahawks game, which was great for me; and the women were all hanging out in the kitchen talking about whatever.

As I’m sitting there talking to my Aunt Sandy and Aunt Diana I hear them say, “Oh my God Daniel, you look, act, and talk just like Billy (my dad). That makes me feel good.

There are things me and my dad disagree on, him being a republican and me being a democrat; which I’ll speak about later, but I have always been closer to my father than my mother. Mainly because my dad, as much as he doesn’t want me to fuck up, realizes that sometimes I won’t learn if I don’t. As my mom…she tries to stop me from doing anything that she deems dangerous, like you know, driving to Taco Bell or going outside when she thinks I will fall.

4.  Mountains, ocean, and trees.

Before I knew that I was going to move back to Nebraska I had a coworker, who I ate lunch with and also knew that I was from Nebraska. He would ask me some of the dumbest shit ever, which was funny as hell and stupid as fuck, but he is still a friend, not a close friend, but someone I still talk to and would hang out with.

“Do black people live in Nebraska?” May I mention that he was black. To which my smartass response was, “Do white people live in Baltimore?” which is uneducated on my part, I never been to Maryland other then a field trip in middle school. But…I think you can understand what I was trying to get at.

“Do people in Nebraska listen to anything besides country music?” Another smartass reply came from such, “I don’t know man, do people in Seattle listen to anything other than Nirvana, Alice in Chains, and Soundgarden?”

“Are there any trees in Nebraska?” This honestly made me look at him and think, “What the fuck man.” “Yes, there are.” But after being back here for about 4 years now…I can understand when you take The Evergreen State and try to compare it to Nebraska, that’s like trying to compare me to a seven foot tall NBA player. Yes, we are both human beings, but there are very distinct difference the two.

I don’t know if I need to say anymore. Oregon has mountains, Nebraska does not. Oregon in on a the coast of the Pacific Ocean, Nebraska is not anywhere close to either ocean. And trees…Oregon is a giant ass forest with cities built in the middle, I’m so used to the Pacific Northwest type forest that when you take me to a plot of land in Nebraska and say, “This is a forest,” I can’t help but laugh at you.

5.  Different climate

Keep in mind when I reference Oregon I’m talking about the low land portion of Portland, not the eastern side or up in the mountains.

So in Nebraska, there are actually four seasons; Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. In western Oregon there are only two; Rain and Summer.

In Nebraska it easier to distinguish the four season than it is in Oregon.

As far as Nebraska goes the winters average a temperature from 10-25, and it can get as low as -10. It’s common to see 6 to 12 inches of snow more then two times in a three month period. Spring starts to get warmer, all the trees that have no leaves start to grow leave again, the grass starts to turn back into a green from a brown. The average temperature can be anywhere for 30 to 70, and I love When it’s hot in the spring, reminds me of Washington summers.

Summer here, the average temperature is anywhere for 80-110, and there is no ocean, so there is so much humidity it the air that it feels like you’re in a 90 degree sauna with a 120 degree heat lamp that you can’t escape from. Then you get into the fall which is more or less the reverse of spring. Leaves die, your grass turns brown, its starting to get colder outside.

Oregon has four seasons too, but they are “closer together” than what you would experience in the Midwest. Winter might be anywhere from 15-30 degrees, but it’s raining. Spring might be anywhere form 40-70, and it might be raining then too. Summer is the best, and I think I’ve explained that already, it might rain; but for those 90 days, I love that, when it’s not raining the weather is fantastic. Then you get back into the fall which again is the same as spring, for the most part.

And let me say one thing about the rain: The rain in Oregon ain’t that bad. People associate it with Seattle, but it ain’t as bad as you might think. When someone says,” Oh yea, it will start raining on Monday and won’t stop until Saturday.” That sounds bad, but it’s not. Rain here is like standing under high pressure shower head for an hour compared to standing under a low pressure sprinkler for a week.

Rain might sprinkle on us for a week, but it dumps on you for an hour.

And humidity…come on man. If you’re in the Midwest picture a 90 degree day in the spring, take out the gusts of wind you get and then imagine that in August.

6.  Jack in the Box.

Some people hate the food at Jack in the Box, which I don’t understand, but whatever, people are allowed to feel anyway they want.

But…Breakfast at 6pm or dinner at 5am, need I say more? And a large menu with a lot of options.

Nebraska does not have a Jack in the Box, and it makes me sad. I have to drive 110 miles over to Kansas City, Kansas just to have Jack in the Box. Every time I’m up in that area one of the things I make a point to do, which might be more than once, is eat at Jack in the Box.

7.  Weed is legal

I could talk for hours about the legalization of marijuana, but I won’t…if you agree with me you know everything I’m going to say; and if you don’t you won’t care anyways. Both times in college I has to take an English class, both of them had the topic of a persuasive essay either 5,000 words or a 15 minute speech, both of those time I wrote about exactly that: The legalization of Marijuana.

Now, I’ve been away for so long that I’m not keeping up with the laws in said state. And when I left I didn’t live in Oregon anyhow.

Do you know how good it feels to say, “I was one of the many who voted to legalize relational marijuana in Washington,” when you live in one of the few states that does not even allow medicinal marijuana.

Say what you what, but Washington as well as Colorado showed a decease in violence, and traffic fatalities with a large, and I mean large, increase in state revenue that goes back to the states infrastructure.

And I’m pretty sure Oregon, all all the other state that passed it since 2012 will follow suit.

8.  I don’t have to pump my gas.

So my fiance’s my was out here to visit and while my fiance was at work I was driving around town from place to place to do some stuff with her mom, who is 50 something… I’m guessing, when we pulled up to a gas pump to get gas I asked, “Do you mind pumping the gas?” And She said, “I don’t know how to.”

After thinking about it for a few seconds it made sense to me, and I’m not trying to say she is less of a person because of it.

Do you know how many jobs are created in Oregon because of that? It’s against the law to pump your own gas. So that’s cool, but good luck getting gas at two in the morning. You might just have to cross the river and go to Vancouver, WA if you need gas at 2am.

As far as I go, I just got a new car, a car with the gas tank on the passenger side. And as time goes on its getting more difficult for me to walk. Yea, I know, there is a disabled button on gas pumps, but not many people use them and that being said the employees inside of the store are not used to it; every time I pushed it, nothing happened.

When I had a car with the gas pump on the drivers side, it was much easier for me to pump my own gas, but now I got to add the task of walking around the vehicle just to do it, then I got to walk back afterwards.

It’ll just be great to roll up to a gas station, I might have to wait in line, but I don’t have to get out of my car; I can either say “Fill it up,” or “Twenty bucks,” and it will be done for me.

9.  More democratic.

A few days ago I caught myself thinking, “Do republicans view Washington and Oregon the same way democrats view Texas?”

On a separate occasion I went to the movies with my fiance and one of the characters said, something along the lines of, “This is a small village, people don’t have that many issues do deal with.” And in the middle of the movie that got me to thinking about how smaller towns tend to be republican while larger ones tend to be more democratic.

And yes, there are republicans in Oregon; there are democrats in Nebraska. Lincoln and Omaha are the two largest cities in Nebraska, and that being said there are more democrats and more moderate republicans who understand that there are a lot of people here that deserve the same rights as everyone else, they all have different religions and backgrounds.

But you get outside of Lincoln or Omaha into smaller towns you tend to find people who think it’s okay to force people to be a certain religion, it’s okay to force kids to say the Pledge of Allegiance at school, it’s okay to deny a couple the right to marriage because of a religion that is not supposed to hold any legality and that everyone who doesn’t speak English should fucking get the fuck out; all of these make you think, “What the fuck is your problem.”

Now Oregon, specifically the Portland area is the same as Western Washington; as far as cities go. A bunch of cities all jam packed next to one another with very large and very diverse groups of people. And the republicans there, are surprisingly moderate. They might consider themselves to be financially republican but socially democratic.

I’ve heard a quote from a comedy special on Netflix where Trevor Noah said something along the lines of, “There are so many people in this world, once you start to travel from state to state, even country to country you start to understand how insignificant you are.”

I don’t know about you but I’d rather live somewhere where people allow you to live your life how you deem fit as long as you’re not being violent versus someone who is close minded and thinks everyone should be just like him or her.

10. Less religious.

I don’t know what I can say about this. I’d rather live somewhere where people don’t think your a violent people who kills children and drinks their blood just because you’re an Atheist.

Due to previous research I can tell you that – these stats might have changed – Mississippi is 7% Atheist, Nebraska is 14%, while Oregon and Washington are up in the 24 to 25% range.

I don’t care what you believe, you can believe in a giant lumberjack who has a blue Ox for all I care, but the moment that you try to effect my life, the education in schools, or the freedom that is in the first amendment, that is when I have a problem.

11.  Ikea, Fred Meyer, and others.

Fred Meyer is great, I don’t really know what to say; I miss it. It’s like going to a smaller bet better version of Walmart.

12.  More handicapped accessibility.

People here think that shit is handicapped accessible; but it’s not. Yea sure, I can get from here to there, but it’s not as easy. I mean like I can get around in a wheelchair, but it’s like the Midwest has this idea of…

“If we have to legally do it, I guess we will; but that’s as far as it goes. If you can get in and out of the store we fulfilled our legal responsibility. If you can get out of the door on the side of the building because a fire is blocking the door that you can enter, that ain’t our fault. And well if you cant get down to the street via a curb-cut, well that’s not our fault either; go over there and then come back this way. We don’t care about how easy it is, all we need to check off of our list is rather it can be done.”

I don’t expect to climb Mt. Hood in my wheelchair, but Oregon has a better idea of, “You’re here and you need to get there; you can go this way or that way.”

And if you’re from the Midwest and think I’m talking out of my ass, go borrow a wheelchair and live in in for 30 days. I grantee you smaller towns are not as accessible as bigger cities. And I’m sorry but, Lincoln ain’t as big as you think it is.

And keep in mind I’m very active, which is a weird adverb to relate to someone in a wheelchair. But I’m not just some dude that lives at home and doesn’t go anywhere, just because we can go over there and do this does not mean we don’t what to go over there and do that.

I’m just saying, larger populated areas seem to have a better grasp of said topic.

13.  Thrift Shopping

A few days ago I was listening to Seattle Rock Day on KISW and Maclemore’s Thrift Shop started playing, which was odd for that station; but made sense in the context. And that got me to thinking about how happy I would be to go thrift shopping in the PNW.

Thrift shopping in Nebraska is like going into a hoarders house and finding nothing that you want and then when you do find something that you think would be $3.99 you find out that they want $19.99 for a crumbled up piece of paper.

Portland and Seattle area thrift shops just have a much better selection, you can actually find what you want, and they don’t charge a ungodly amount of money for something that should be half of that price.

Everyone out here sales their shit, they don’t donate it. And when the sale it they thing it’s perfectly okay to ask for 75 to 100% of the price that they bought it for five years ago.

I Have A Problem

Okay, so… did you know that much as cell phone companies claim to have 3G connection country wide, it’s not true! I would imagine that most people don’t drive 1,600 miles from the Pacific Northwest to the Midwest. It’s not something I do all the time, but I got to image that I did it more than most. I drove or rode back or forth from Tacoma, Washington to Lincoln, Nebraska more than a few times.

And here in a few months I will be, once again, driving from Lincoln, Nebraska to Portland, Oregon. Not as long of a drive, but still; only shaves off about 2 or 3 hours, depending on you drive and how often you stop.

So, I got fuck tons of music. Then…I got a new car. Call me weird if you want but considering my music collection and the fact that I have a 160GB iPod. The first thing I notice in a vehicle, other than the fact of rather my wheelchair can fit in the trunk or not, is the radio and rather I can plug my iPod into my cars radio via a USB port. And my car’s stereo has other function such as Bluetooth, Stitcher, Pandora, so on and so forth.

But when you’re in the middle of fucking Wyoming or Montana, good luck listening to anything that uses the internet. And yes, I know, this is not 1995 where the capability of that didn’t even exist.

I can plug my iPod into my car, and it shows me the artist, album, song title, and album artwork; based on the information I plug into iTunes. Which is fucking awesome, the only problem is that system has a limit of 10,000 songs! So that is 8,000 songs that don’t go onto my iPod.

So this is where my problem is…

I made playlists, a few of them, all with more then 200 songs. I did this so I could put a song that I like on a playlist that can go into my car, without exceeding the song limit. So if all 6 or 7 playlists consist of 2,000 songs; that gives me another 8,000. From there I just pick a few of my favorite full length albums, which is more than a few, and dump them on my iPod until I’m close to that limit.

Sounds awesome right?

So I made a playlist of rap or R&B, a few song in are the following songs; from the same album: Akon – Tired of Runnin’ and Akon – Smack That. So, iTunes has a sound check feature, which is supposed to level out all the songs to the same volume…but guess what? That shit does not work like they claim.

When you play the album all of the songs are fairly equal in volume and sound check doesn’t really seem to have an effect as long as you’re playing an album in its entirety. However, when you have a playlist consisting of 1,500 songs, the volume equalization , that is supposed to make your life easier just makes it harder.

If I go to the album and play ‘Tired of Runnin’ before or after ‘Smack That’ both songs are give or take the same volume, to the point that if you’re driving your car you don’t have to worry about reaching for the volume control.

But if I go into the playlist and play both of those songs (same album mind you) both songs are drastically different. It bothers the fuck out of me.Then you also got 700 other songs on that playlist that might be different volumes.

Honestly the only solution I have is to remove all of my songs from iTunes and turn off sound check, adding one album at a time spending the next year making sure album 1A is equal to 2A, 3A, 4A then matching A to B. Just hoping that album 3J is equal to 9Z.

So I guess that’s what I’m going to be doing.

I highly doubt that anyone will have an easier solution, to my method – that might not even work – but I’m taking a shot, if you’re reading this and you’re like, “Hey, do this,” let me know.

There is No Picture

You know what? This is more or less a post where I can talk out loud. So here it goes…

So I grew up in Nebraska and many years before we moved to Washington State my sister and I would go to one of my aunt’s house. My Aunt Cathy who laid in bed all fucking day, and I do mean all day! She would sometimes eat dinner in there too.

At that time she was married to some guy named Pat. I don’t remember much about him but I do remember that he was a tall white dude with a full beard that was a grayish black. Many yeas later I came to find out that he was also an alcoholic.

For the most part when my sister and I went over there for unsupervised daycare I was usually stuck playing Lego’s and watching the old version of Scooby Doo. This pretty much went on until my dad’s sister’s kid’s would come home from school.

My dad has/had 2 brothers and 5 sisters. His sister Joyce has a son named John, John was always at Cathy’s house, so much so that I thought John was one of Cathy’s kids. When school got out I would expect Matt and John to come home, while they were both related they were not brothers. She also had two other sons and one daughter, they were older and must of lived elsewhere because I didn’t see them a lot.

Matt, John, and Jason were pretty much the ones who watched me while their mom/aunt stayed in bed all day.

Without going into more then I plan on, one of her kids is named Ed. And Many years later after being in another state for 15 years as well as forming my own opinions I came to the conclusion that some family members can be so stupid and judgmental that you grow to a point were you don’t want to be around them, and when you’re at the family BBQ at the cabin with 30 other family member’s…you see each other, but no one wants to talk to the other.

When we moved out to Washington State my sister was looking to fit in among her peers and that being so she turned to marijuana. I was still the kid who thought that marijuana would open the gates of hell.

Fast forward to the end of high school, like a year after I graduated (2003); I became a stoner who was slowly turning into an liberal atheist and she turned into the religious republican that still has some amount of Washington State progressiveness to her. For those of you who know Washington State, she now lives up where the Sandpeople do, Spokane. And we used to live 50 miles south of Seattle. Vast change in climate as well as religious and political outlook.

As religious as my sister is, and as religious as I’m not; we don’t seem to fight about it. She still has that idea that, someone can be who they are regardless, as long as you don’t try to force your lifestyle upon me…

My cousin Ed on the other hand, he turned into the stereotype of why I hate Nebraska. He is super religious and acts as if he hates everyone who doesn’t see things his way.

A few nights ago I’m laying in bed staring at my phone, looking at Facebook. As republican as she is, she shared a video that most democrats share. It was about ‘The Wall’ that fucking our dumdass of a fucktard president thinks is a great idea. The video went into several aspects of why a wall between borders would be a waste of money just for a sense of security that is more of less a feeling of false security.

I was shocked, happy, and curious that my sister shared this video so what do I do? I go deeper into that post to read the comments. Right away I see something that I don’t want to see but feel gravitated to look at.

There my cousin is saying, “Let’s protect our country first then reform our schools by putting God back where he belongs! Without a safe country, what good are schools?” The next comment is from my sister who has spent time in Mexico and as part of a church group built houses for those who could not afford to do so on their own accord. She said something that also caught me by surprise, “A wall is not the anwser.”

And me being me I focused on God, so I stick my head into a converstaion that I should not be part of and said, “Oh my… him…okay…” and in a sarcastic understanding behind it I continue with, “Because forcing religion upon an entire country of people is a great idea. Fascism never sounded so good.”

I more or less stayed out of the conversation that came afterwards, mainly because I left the comment at four in the morning and I was sleeping. More or less the conversation was: My cousin telling me that I was mad at God, my sister calling him out because he is an asshole even though he may not see it, my sister telling my cousin that she agreed with me, she loves illegal immigrants who work hard to get here, even thought they shouldn’t be, she loves both of us and doesn’t want family to fight, and then she called me out for stirring the pot and being just as bad but on the other end of the seesaw.

So what to I do? Comment with, “I‘m just saying that if you’re okay with the Bible being in school, you must be okay with the Quran, or the teachings of evolution…if you’re not, that my friend is not what religious freedom is. If you think it is you need to get a plane ticket to the Washington D.C. and go to the Capitol building, report back to me what the first amendment is.”

I don’t know if there is any point to this post. I just, every time I look at Facebook I just get really sad and makes me wonder, “When will these people wake the fuck up and say to themselves…who the fuck did I vote for?”

Even republicans can’t be this dumb. Like…what the fuck dude, you guys voted for someone who acts like a kid when someone on a TV show makes fun of him, and you thought that would have been an okay thing to do?

Let’s not mention the few things he did in the last few days that can or will have bad outcomes.

 

 

I Wish

It was 11:57 at night after looking back up at my TV/computer monitor that was sitting on the post game screen of Madden 17.

Last night I was having an excellent time playing Madden 17 and I’m currently on a nine game winning streak, and that’s only because some dude playing as the New England Patriots thought that going for it on 4th down was the smartest idea he ever had.

I can’t act like this kid wasn’t lucky, he was, he just kept doing stupid shit. He was so lucky that he was winning by two points, not two possessions, two points in the fourth quarter. when there was thirty seconds left in the forth quarter and he could of won by doing nothing…he had the smartest idea ever.

He passed the ball to one of my players who intercepted it in field goal range…and me being the type that doesn’t do stupid shit, I slowly made it 1, 2 ,6, or 7 yards up the field, I wasn’t trying to get a touchdown.

With four seconds left on the clock I win the game 19 to 18.

So the fact that I have 97 wins and 64 loses is because no one seems to understand that they take risks that make me shake my head at the TV and say, “Are you fucking stupid?”

Maybe I take the game too seriously, it’s just a video game right? I’ve been thinking about that. When it’s a close game my heart beats super fast, I have not felt that since I was a kid in elementary school who used to be able to run.

If I’m winning I feel rather good about it, and if I’m losing I’m the type of guy who wants to take his controller outside and pour lighter fluid on it while I watch it burn in the driveway.

So yea, maybe I do take it too far…maybe it just gets my heart going which…for someone in a wheelchair…

Anyhow I get done with a game and I think, “I can fucking go to the store.” My fiance is currently in Oregon seeing her family. So I got the house to myself as I continued that thought with, “No one is stopping me.”

The store by my house used to be open 24 hours, but now they close at midnight. So after looking that up on my phone I said out loud, “But Hyvee is open all fucking night.”

Then I looked up from my phone and saw a bottle of whiskey that I’ve been drinking most of the night and out loud I said, “Nope, I’m not fucking going now.” I then continued the idea in my head thinking: If I get a DUI tonight…that would be the worst thing ever. I can’t really afford car insurance now, I don’t need it to go up by getting SR-22, I can’t afford a lawyer, I don’t want to call my dad and tell his that he has to fund the fact that I fucked up, which he might not do anyhow. I need to go to the airport in X amount of days, what if I don’t have a car. I’m about to move to Oregon, what if I don’t have a car. What if I get a parole officer who says, “You can’t leave the state of Nebraska.”

And if I do end up in court…I don’t want my disability to become a question of rather I can even drive. A lawyer will use anything to win, fuck if it’s irrelevant to the case…they don’t know any better, and when my disability effects everybody differently it’s hard to scientifically predict what might happen just because someone else was effected that way.

So, “Nope, I don’t need trash bags that bad, I can wait until tomorrow.”

Unfortunately one of my best friends in Washington is on 1 year of house arrest with work release and 2 more years of probation due to his second DUI that almost killed him and totaled his SUV when it flipped over and ran into a tree. My other friend, no matter how stupid he might be…is still my friend who thinks that if he goes driving drunk he will never get caught, even thought he already did.

I just remember looking at my half empty bottle of whiskey thinking, “I wish more of my friends thought this way.”

This is My Fuck You

And I hope you hear it.

To quote Peter Griffin may I say, “You know what grinds my gears? You America, fuck you.”

I’ve been pretty depressed the last few weeks and I do a fairly decent job at hiding it, mainly because…it’s my life and I have to get used to it, it’s what I know.

Over the past few months I’ve managed to gain a lot of resentment towards my past employer. They didn’t fire me, I was laid off. And yes, if I step into their shoes, and I could actually trust them…if you’re running out of money, you get rid of non-important assets, unfortunately sometimes that can be a human being that is relying on that job to live in a house.

I can’t just jump to another job like a lot of people seem to do. I don’t think people truly understand how hard it is for those of us with a mental and/or physical disability to find a job.

I can’t run, jump, skip, or walk. And that right there my friends takes about 90% of entry-level jobs and throws them out the 90 story window. And then…when I do get a job interview I’m often negatively stereotyped, even though no one claims to do such a thing.

So this is my place as a white American saying, “Yes, discrimination in America still exists, and don’t try to tell me it doesn’t.”

So, for those of us who have a disability and are “unemployable” we have the government that gives us money to live, sounds good right? Yes, but no. SSDI pays more than SSI and even then a full time job paying minimum wage pays me more than they do. Even then a job gives my life meaning, a lot of you who have jobs are thinking, “Oh man, I would love to sit at home and do nothing.” Do you know how depressing it is to stay home and do nothing? It’s good for a few days and all, but if you don’t have a job and feel as if you’re not needed to contribute to society it’s actually rather depressing.

People tend to fall in love with me, even with this set back I tend to have an amazing personality that most people tend to be attracted to once they see it. I’m amazed that I’m not more depressed than I am.

So I live off of disability…I don’t want to…I want to have a job. Many would say, “Get off your ass and go get a fucking job.” So, give me a fucking job ass fucking hole. I want a goddamn job dude, and then when I go try to get a job…

I sit there staring at the digital job board and as I’m scrolling thought it and as I sit there I honestly think to myself, “Well I can’t do that job.” As 20 jobs are going up the screen I might find one that makes me think, “Yea I might be able to do that job with reasonable accommodation,” then as I’m reading the description for the next job I’m back to, “Well I can’t do that job either.”

Then after applying to 30 jobs I might be lucky enough to get a job interview. But when the hiring manager says my name I can always see them thinking, “Oh fuck, he’s in a wheelchair.” They do there thing, they give me an interview and claim reasonable accommodations but never call me back and then when I do call back I’m stuck with the famous excuses, “Don’t call us, if we wanted to give you a job we would have called you,” or “We don’t think you have enough experience to do this job.” Well you know what motherfucker, it’s hard to get experience when no one gives it to you.

Then you got those employers who are extremely honest and say, “We don’t feel as if you could perform this job.” You don’t fucking know me! You don’t know what I can or can’t do. And reasonable accommodation is a very slippery slope that most people just don’t understand.

If a employer has to spend $50 on a chair, okay fine. But if they feel as if they need to spend $1,800 dollars just for me to do a job that pays me $1,600, that’s a loss of $200. Then when they feel as if they might end up in court based on a work place injury, that might not ever happen….they just don’t want to deal with that.

So I get the short end of the stick…again…and I’m fucking tired of it. Many people, that frankly don’t know always say, “Don’t give up,” But that’s easy to say when you don’t see what I see. And you know what, you can claim that you understand, but unless you too have a disability you don’t fucking get it.

That’s like me telling some black dude, “Yea, I understand what it’s like to be pulled over by a cop based on my skin color.” I don’t, and it’s not right for me to act like I do.

I’m not trying out for the NFL you assholes, I would not apply for a job if I didn’t think I could do it. But when I apply for 300 jobs and only get 7 interviews and they all say no…

I’m fucking tired of it. And I don’t know if this will even make you understand my situation.

Then you got those employers who say, “This guy has two college degrees, if we hire him he will want a lot of money.” Don’t assume motherfucker, you don’t know that I’m moving to Oregon soon. You don’t know that I’m just looking for a part time job that pays me under a certain amount.  If you have a question…fucking ask.

And Donald fucking asshat Trump is not going to make it any easier for those of us with disabilities to find a job.

You don’t want me to live on government assistance, neither do I…they don’t even give me enough to pay rent + utilities, forget about food, car payment, and car insurance. But you won’t give me a goddamn job, so it’s your fault that your paying taxes to give me money that allows me to live in a subsidized house.

And Oregon…public housing there is a goddamn apartment in the middle of the ghetto where I got to worry about being robbed at gunpoint. So I’m expecting a $400 rent increase by the time I get to a state closer to my immediate family, my son, pretty much every friend I have, and my fiance’s family actually lives in Oregon.

So to you employers that assume, and a lot of you do, and yes I understand (Well I don’t) but that is a $1,600+ assumption you’re making. Person B is better than person A. Yes, alright. But person A is fucking tired of you being the 200th person that didn’t even give him a chance. So to you that assume without knowing anything about what I can or can not do…Fuck you, it’s your fault that I’m living on government assistance.

Whoa Man, Did You See That Man!

Blast

I’m in the mood to tell you a story, a story that once happened to me; it might not be a gripping story, but a story nonetheless.  And it lets me practice using words to describe a story that makes the reader feel like he or she is there. One morning I was bored, so I was re-reading my own blog and I came to two different conclusions: When I’m typing something for awhile I’m bound to make an error in spelling and/or grammar, which sucks. And my stories, some of them are kind of entertaining, I hope; I was there, you weren’t…so your perspective is not the same as mine.

As most of you know by now a video came came out, Fallout 4…I like to play it, and spend a lot of time doing so, So much that I have yet to beat it or even take advantage of the DLC’s. I’ve downloaded Nuka-Cola the day it came out, have I played it yet? No. Why? Because I’m too worried about making sure all my settlements are built up.

I more or less spend too much time doing all the extra shit, not playing the main story line.

Anyhow this game has a system of scraping junk that you can turn into building material. One of the many things that you can scrap is a board game, a board game called Blast Radius. And this is where the idea of this story came from.

This actually happened to me, just because the video game reminded me of it, didn’t mean I’m making it up.

At the time in my life, if you read my other posts you might know some of this already, if you haven’t…Matt Hasselbeck was still a quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks and I lived in a town called Puyallup. My friend Marcus lived with me, he had a girlfriend; the two of them were popular and liked parties, because of this it was not uncommon to walk into my apartment and see twenty people walking around talking to one another even though two people lived there.

Marcus was…I don’t know if you would call him Mexican, because he wasn’t. He was born in America with a mom who has German roots and a father who he never met…from what I was told he was a guy from Mexico.  This gave Marcus that dark skin look as he stood around five feet six inches and was about two hundred pounds. He had six piecing in his face, more often then not those holes were taken up by alternative looking jewelry. Something that you could buy at Hot Topic, seven to eight years ago before the store became all “preppy hippsterish”

Two in each ear, the one in back being a larger gage then the one in the front. One in his tongue and one in that spot above your chin but under you mouth, he often liked to wear a curved piece of sliver jewelry in that piecing. Something that came out of his face and came to a point as it made a U shape as it ended under his chin.

He would often rock a mohawk too…which was not that often in all reality, but when he did his hair was dyed some unnatural color, such as blue and the mohawk was held up a foot over his hear with Elmer’s glue as it was separated into several spikes that were all perpendicular from the top of his head.

His girlfriend on the other hand, his girlfriend at the time was pretty cute. She was bigger then most girls that Marcus went after in the past. Which shocked me. She was not fat by any means, at least not according to most people. One day we were having a conversation and I said, “You got to love them, who cares if they look like they were in Playboy; you’re not trying to make other men look at her and be jealous of you, you’re trying to be happy.” Marcus somehow got into the idea that a chick standing at five foot three and weighting 150 pounds was fat. “Who cares if she has a stomach, all girls do; you shouldn’t be asking yourself if he thinks she is hot, you should be asking yourself if she makes you happy.”

She was about five foot two and came in at about one hundred and forty pounds with blond hair and blue eyes, which I found super attractive until she started trying to change the rules in my house and…Marcus was “pussy-whipped,” so anything she said was how it was. I just moved out shorty after.

My best friend Eric still lived in the same house around the block from my parents, but I was now in an apartment with a roommate. He hung out at our house a lot of the time.

Eric was your typical white boy with a drinking problem. Eric stood around five foot eight and at the time weighted about one hundred and thirty pounds. There was nothing too special about him, just picture a white dude with brown hair and blue eyes.

My other friend, from pretty much the entire time that I lived in Washington, was this guy named Dmitry. Dmitry worked out a lot and was the typical strong dude that all the women wanted to sleep with, and according to what I’ve heard from a few women he is not that tiny either. Dmitry moved to America from Lithuania, USSR at the time, in the early 90’s. His first English word(s) were, “Shut up,” which I find funny when he told me he started school and the teacher would be telling him to do something and all he did was say, “Shut up.” 

He even thought me how to say, “Bitch ass,” in Russian, which was great when you’re a kid in ninth grade.

Dmitry is about five foot eleven and one hundred eighty pounds with enough arm muscles that you would assume he can pull a car with a rope. He has blue eyes and blond hair, but now a days shaves it all off making him bald. Every now and then rocking a goatee, which is weird because it comes out red. He is also that one friend, that one friend that smokes pot every two hours on the hour.

Which I feel bad for…the second time I smoked pot was his first time smoking pot, which is another different story if I remember to write it. A year later you came to find out that he would smoke the same about of pot in 30 days ad it took me to smoke is 365 days.

My apartment manager, Marilyn, lived right next to me, she had a grand-son named Ryan who also hung out at out apartment more often then not. Ryan was the youngest of us, he was super skinny at one hundred and fifteen pounds with long brown hair, down to his shoulders. He loved rock music for the eighties and at the same time loved music that was in the same genre as Slipknot, Mudvayne, or Trivum.

He often looked like he was in a mid 90’s grunge music video. Which to be honest didn’t fall too far out of reality when you stop and think that Seattle was just a 50 mile drive north of us.

It was a rainy night, like most nights in Western Washington. I had the downstairs apartment. There were four apartments per building, and these apartment were built in the early sixties so the kitchen was practically the same size as the family room. If you went into the family room you would get to the back door. This door went out onto a massive patio that was more or less blocked off from anything.

The patio was a good twelve feet long and thirty feet wide, this is where we had a pool table and a ton of plastic chairs for all the smokers, which was 90% of most parties we had. When you went outside at looked straight you saw a hill, you were on the bottom of that hill, so that was blockage. There was also a wooden fence separating my backyard from Marilyn’s backyard, the fence went from the apartment to the hill, witch was only about twenty-five feet. Opposite of that, on the other side of the lawn was another wooden fence, this one only went from the side of the apartment to the end of the patio before getting to another hill that dropped about five feet into the parking lot.

Because of the fact that I was one the first floor the balcony of the apart above me, that was the same size, covered my entire patio. So even if it was raining, we were not it in.

That night we had about seven people in the family room smoking pot or drinking beer, seven people outside playing pool, smoking cigarettes, and drinking beer. Emily on the computer being a YouTube/music DJ. Ryan, Dmitry, Eric, and I were sitting on the kitchen floor drinking beer and passing around a glass bong because Eric got the ingenious idea to play quarters.

Dmitry is one of my only friends that like Heineken, I’ll drink it and all; but like most of my friends I stuck with PBR, Rainier, MGD, Budwiser, Blue Moon, or even Icehouse.

We’re sitting there bouncing quarters against the kitchen floor trying to get it to land in the glass cup of beer. Rap music is being played, rap music from the early 2000’s, every now and then being switched to heavy metal upon Ryan’s request or country upon Eric’s request, but no one at the party was happy when country came on. Every now and then Donavin would run inside to play some Flogging Molly.

I was exhaling pot smoke, Eric was drinking his beer, and Ryan was talking about ghosts as Dmitry stood up to go get another beer. As he stood up he and took a short walk to the refrigerator he also bent down to grab his empty beer bottle that he sat on the edge of the counter.

After grabbing a new beer Marcus pops in to yell, “Hey Dema grab me a beer.” As he swung around with a beer in each hand he also hits the empty beer bottle with his arm which sends it flying towards the middle of the kitchen, where no one was sitting.

Because of the material that was tiled on the bottom of my kitchen floor there was almost no traction if you were to slide a glass bottle from side to side.

At this point in the night I was feeling pretty good, and say weird shit; it gets my point across, but…it still sounds weird because I either start talking and forget what I’m talking about as I turn it into a short story about Rainbows being different colors or I can’t find the word I’m looking for so I substitute it with something else.

I’m was now blowing smoke out as I’m watching this empty beer bottle fly thought the air in slow motion as the music being played is going at regular speed.

The bottle speeds up and crashes into the ground and upon impact shards of green glass slide each way and some of them even slide out direction. To someone else it just looked like a glass breaking and sliding all over the floor.

I’m sitting there as all my friends stand up and look like a major catastrophic event just took place and they all look at me, still sitting on the floor looking at the wall like I just made some type of profound scientific discovery. As I say “Woah man, did you see that fucking blast radius.”

And of course they laughed at me before Eric sad, “I love you man.”