I’ve got maybe five minutes.

If I get up I’ll go to the shower and get my clothes on. I’ll brush my teeth and do my hair. I’ll eat my breakfast and go to work. I’ll go to my desk and start my work. I’ll open my calendar and check my emails. I’ll pick the project to start with. I’ll do that. If it’s short enough, I’ll start another. I’ll then go to the coffee counter and take a five or a ten, depending on who’s there. If no one’s there, maybe I’ll listen to a song.

I’ll do more reports. Brett will stop by at sometime and check in. I’ll do some more reports. I’ll make some calls. I’ll give what I can to the complaining Sue will do. I’ll listen to Oz about his family. I’ll watch the clock until lunch. I’ll go to the sandwich shop. I’ll get the Reuben and swiss. I’ll get potato chips, chipotle, if I’m feeling adventurous.

I’ll get an espresso from the cute coffee girl by reception and shoot it before I head upstairs. I’ll pick a new project or finish anything that’s not done. I’ll do that without interruption from the outside world and finish at 5:00pm, which will be enough time for 2 1/2- 3 podcasts.

I’ll drive home. I’ll take the extremely long residential street route to avoid having to sit in traffic for the first leg. If it’s Wed-Fri, I’ll go to the gym for an hour before getting onto the freeway. If I’m really wanting not to sit it terrible traffic, I’ll go anyway. I’ll sit in the sauna and listen to another podcast, one more hopeful or relaxing.

I’ll go sit in traffic and make it home no later than 8:00pm. If I didn’t make anything yesterday or over the weekend, I’ll microwave something or wrap a bunch of veggies in a GF tortilla with hummus. I’ll do the dishes and any cleaning that needs to be done, including laundry. I’ll go take a shower if I didn’t get up in five minutes. I’ll watch something on my laptop or read and fall asleep.

I will get up in five minutes.

This is my moment right now. Before everything. I’ll lay here and in this space have a moment to reflect on anything I please, which is usually that I have nothing I’d be pleased to reflect on. I’ll spend the rest of the four minutes battling a depression. The alarm will go off. I’ll get up out of habit. A force will take me over and I’ll think nothing of my own accord, that isn’t habitual and put there by routine, until my five minutes tomorrow.

I’ve got maybe three minutes.

I wish some sort of inspiration would strike me here. I wish these three minutes would bring about some transformation or epiphany. I don’t know what about. I don’t know what I’d like to realize. I don’t know what I’d like to change or if change has anything to do with it. I’m dead and somewhere inside deep down I’m screaming and tearing my throat up to roar at the top of my lungs, but it’s pretty far down inside me and I’m not really paying attention. Some part of me is screaming, constantly I think, but I’m never listening.

I’ve got two minutes.

I wish I’d listen. That’s what I’ve been wanting out of this moment every morning! I just want to hear the yelling.

I’ve got one minute.

If I could hear the yelling, it would wake me up and reveal what it is I’m waiting for or wanting.

The alarm goes off.

I get up and take a shower.


It’s midnight. I’ve got maybe an hour before they arrive and I’ve already finished the draft. Sitting back in my chair with the computer blazing its white light into my exhausted eyes, I reach for the pills and remember I don’t take pills anymore. It’s just a coffee. I feel pretty much how I felt at 6:00 this morning. I don’t need sleep when I work like this. I need to get it done. I need them to be here now so we can move on with things, but I’ve got an hour. I remind myself I should appreciate a break every now and then.

I get a scarf. I don’t need the scarf. It’s cold. I don’t need the scarf though. I just want it. I know as I’m reaching for it that my neck will feel safer if it is wrapped up. I’ll feel more invulnerable, though a little itchier and warmer than I’d like to be. I’ll be sweating. I hate sweating. I do it all the time, but I hate it all the same.

I break out on the street. It’s quiet for 12:00. It’s the winter. It’s still quiet for twelve. I wonder if I’m always this contrary in my perceptions, if I notice the incongruence of things this often, or if it’s just that I’m off the pills. I’m being contrary by asking. I let the question go and breathe in on a four count. Hold for seven. Wait, is it supposed to be seven then four? Damn it. Contrary again. Release. Eight count.

I think to how Nietzsche said something about walking being the best way to think. I think how far I am from having read any Nietzsche, getting further every day. Maybe someday I won’t remember any philosophy. Maybe I’ll be a potato like everyone else. Maybe I’ll lose my mind. Then I won’t need any Nietzsche.

If this doesn’t go right I’m fucked. Not in the way that I care about it at all. I don’t know if I care about anything anymore. Or ever really did. Or if caring’s just a fraud we believe in long enough to have convinced ourselves it’s real. I mean that I’m gonna have to do everything over again if this goes wrong.

If this goes wrong, having my credentials slipped will be the least of my worries. The Feds. Guantanamo maybe. Eh… a stretch. A really unlikely one, too. You’d be surprised how mundane the Feds are though. They show up for almost anything. Like bored dweebs showing up to conventions they’re secretly obsessed with who now get to splurge a handful of years’ worth of pent up excitement with other people who are passionate about it for other reasons, or are just there because they’re trying to lay the hot girl in the elf costume. I don’t know where these analogies are coming from. Or the Nietzsche.

I’m going to go back on the pills.

The Feds drive by me. No, dumbass, those aren’t the Feds. They have no idea what you’re doing. Yet. Fucking breathe.

I think of Tam and Dale. They walked straight into a brick wall of red tape at the start of my time with The Leaflet. Leftist idiots. You’re not only supposed to contain the amount of information you report on to protect your sources. You mainly do it for yourself. They don’t tell you about that noble aspect in school.

Newsflash: they don’t tell you anything in school.

Except for Nietzsche.

I hear my own footsteps and remember why I went for a walk. This. I like this. I like being. I like walking. I like cold. I like street. No. I don’t like streets. I like hard, flat pavement. I like something I can walk on that I won’t be making a single noise if I land my feet the right way. I like landing my feet that way. Like laying a smooth, textured spread over and over. Wax on, wax off.

I like how I feel like I’m floating. Like I’m residing in that silent place between my feet and the pavement. Me and the pavement are one space in a continuum of existence that stretches on everywhere forever. I’m flying. I walk so I can fly. That’s why I do this.

I’m sweating a lot. I like sweating. I don’t like sweating? Why did I ever say that? Oh. I don’t like itchy, scarf sweating. Ooo, but don’t the protection around the jugular make an oxygen based biology feel at ease. The source of life.

When was the last time I saw the sun?

I remember Iraq. Fucking Iraq. I don’t have an opinion on war. Clarify that. I pull out a little notebook I carry around in my back pocket. Yes, a notebook. Not a notepad app in my phone. I don’t have my phone on me right now. Maybe so the Feds have a harder time tracking me. Maybe because it’s 12:00 and I haven’t had any pills in 3 weeks and 4 days. Maybe I just leave my phone inside sometimes. I don’t really know who I am right now, so I couldn’t tell you.

“It’s my job to not have an opinion.” I meant to write “I DON’T HAVE AN OPINION ABOUT WAR,” in all caps like that.

I don’t think anyone’s going to believe I don’t have opinions about war. I think I might be a terrorist sometimes when I see the news on the trials sometimes. Especially some of the YouTubers that is. Alternative media is quite convincing. Much more intelligent than the campy, daytime soap opera that is major network media. I’d believe I was a terrorist too if all I knew about me came from some of those kids on the internet. Granted some of them are quite old.

Fuck. I’m not a kid at all anymore if I think those kids are kids. They are kids. The internet kids. If you’re on the internet. You’re a kid. Don’t worry. I’ll die off with my dinosaurs soon enough. Maybe tonight.

I’ve stopped walking and I’m looking at what I wrote at the top margin in my notebook. It’s a link I never ended up looking up. Another cold lead.

It’s my job to not have an opinion but I definitely burned in Iraq. If I could have written whatever I wanted, I would have written about the goddamn sunburn. Michigan kid learned his lesson there.

If I hadn’t gotten a third degree from not wearing anything but a beater for four days I would have kept being a writer, and would remember a lot more Nietzsche right now probably. So thankfully that went a different way.

I look at my watch and realize I have enough time to catch a sight of the water if I take the shorter way back. I quicken my step. I’m putting the notebook in my pocket where it lives and rarely escapes wondering how I got to the point where I edit the impulse to write something down so quickly and so totally that entirely different statement than that intended ends up on the page without me even noticing until its already fully down. How did I get so double-minded?

I breathe in, two, three…seven. Hold, two, three, four. Release, two, three…eight.

You might be thinking this meditation shit is related to how crazy I sound. Feds and pills and all that. Most people have some idiotic repulsion to meditative practices. Left over from our Bible-thumping I think. Not that there’s anything wrong with the Bible. But that the thumping people did with it smashed about everything outside of a tiny Bible-sized box that those people feared would get people to stop believing in what they themselves believed in. We don’t believe in anything. We’re inducted into thought patterns. Belief means you don’t fully know something and that you’re inclined the space that’s left unconcluded must be X (the thing believed in.)

This is backed up by the fact that a certain sort of business-savvy, “practical” mindset is threatened by and scoffs at meditation. It thinks meditation is contrary to its own set of values, thus has the power to overturn it, so has to dismiss it with anger or ridicule. I can’t tell you how many strange looks I’ve gotten breathing on a train, or closing my eyes momentarily before eating a meal.

Truth is, I think it’s stranger to not.

The water is nice. I decided rightly by coming here. I did not used to wonder whether decisions I made were right or not. I see the ripples in the black ink, cracking the reflections of the lamps into lightning bolt shapes. I ponder at its beauty. I’m falling into the deep dark. I have miles to go before I sleep.

The engine starting behind me as I turn from the river walk gives me a feeling a freedom. I’m leaving. If all goes well, I’m leaving tonight.

I’m leaving my apartment, everything in it. Not that I have much. I’ll leave my laptop even. It’s unsafe to bring. Or maybe I just don’t want it anymore.

I see the first people I’ve seen since I left my porch, since…the last time I saw daylight probably. Three days ago? Yesterday? I shell up when I work. I did my work, and I did it well. Now I can walk and feel the open air and move around. Move out of the country if need be. But if I need to work, sometimes I need to not do anything or go anywhere. This was one of those times. It was exactly three weeks ago that I went to work at cracking the code. I finished my bottle a couple days early, and the day I could get a refill as per the prescription was the day I started working. I hadn’t left the house long enough to go to the pharmacy since. Except for the one walk to the corner store. A milk and a bag of white bread. I’d forgotten I even needed pills until I returned and had been working already for three hours.

Three hours I know because three hours is how I eventually ended up getting through the code. In Iraq, they had teams. They had training. Franks, my main contact, a private, had been programming in the first days of personal computers and decided a career change would do him well. From NASA to the Navy. The boy next to him, his superior technically, had only a degree.

I didn’t have any of that. I did this alone. Now the bored and boring FBI will find out what I’ve done in between jack off sessions in their cubicles or whatever in a week at the most. Their jack off sessions that is. That’s a joke though. I’d be surprised if any of the pensive sort of Feds on work like this have character enough to jack off. I may be a has been on the most-wanted market, but that doesn’t leave me enough cred for the work to have been flagged as anything special.

It’s when they come tonight and what they do after that will tell.

It’s all in the pudding.

I get back to my porch and I feel the mind calm and quiet instantly. No thoughts at all as I enter my blank and black abode.

I left my keys on the table next to the open computer and my phone. I didn’t just unlock the door as I entered? No, I didn’t.

Jesus, I need to stay off those fucking pills.

It’s ten minutes until they get here. I pour a glass of water and sit on the porch. It might be my last ten minutes in the States. My last ten minutes home, able to drink the tap water and read the street signs and see numbers I recognize and historical names that trigger some culturally held significance. I don’t think I’ll mind being a terrorist, if that’s what they end up calling me. I don’t feel very aware of “they” anymore at all. I used to care only about the sort of things I’d end up reading about myself, or hearing proliferated on YouTube. I think the trials dug that out of me though. I spent hours on the internet back then. Trying to defend myself. Thinking I was doing research, thinking seeing the things people were saying about me would better help me decide what to say up on the stand to avoid conviction.

It did. Not how I planned it. I was so bored by the end of it, after going through all the stages of grief and all the emotions I think a human being can feel, that I hardly cared at the end of the trial. I answered blankly, straight and honest, with no intention of convincing anyone of anything, just of getting it over with because I was done after the months and months of trial of talking about something that really wasn’t that big a crime in the first place. High ranking military officials in a scandal isn’t a scandal anymore. It’s assumed operations. We expect its going on and don’t care. That utters been milked.

It helped I think. The lawyers said they saw a breath of empathy come out of the jury. I was the only one expressing the same level of boredom and get me out of here that they felt.

Feel the cold wind and the cold water. Their softness. They’re coming. I know that van’s them. Only people as serious about themselves as these people are would drive a van like that.

You’d drive a van like that too if you had to wonder if everyone you met was working for the other side.

I grab my duffle bag and the flash drive and head off my porch. They open the door on the side of the van. It’s the Feds. No, it’s not the Feds. They haven’t leaked anything yet. There’s nothing to leak. They haven’t attacked anything yet. These aren’t weapons codes, there’s nothing to attack using them.

I know if I get in this van I’m not coming back. I know if they take the drive and leave me that they’ve decided to go with the route that isn’t as volatile, thus doesn’t require putting me into hiding.

If I see someone’s hand come out I go free and continue life all the same tomorrow. See the sun again. Go look for work.

If I don’t, I’ll step into the dark of the van and into another world.

Neither option is familiar. Neither is strange.

I fucking hate Nietzsche.



I remember this feeling, I had just moved to New Mexico with my mom and sister. From California. I did not want to be there. But that’s not the feeling I’m talking about.

We had gotten this new computer and it advertised (this was a new thing at the time,) CD and DVD burning. I thought, by the wording of it, that we would be able to burn all the movies we wanted to. I had already garnered a decent collection of my own movies, but now?! I’d be rolling in them. Burning, for those who are not in the know, means/meant copying. It got popular when Napster…the first big time music downloading/pirating program came out. I’m not a historian, maybe it was immediately that CDs could be copied onto your computer, and then burned onto a new, blank disc. ANYHOW. Burning CDs had already gotten to be all the rage, but burning DVDs…I felt like I had cracked a treasure chest no one knew about.

We went to Hasting’s in Santa Fe. One of the only places in town, along with the Panda Express, my fourteen year old self liked. I had a love for rental places (movie rental that is…another dead industry) as most people did. Hasting’s was only in the midwest, or at least wasn’t in California, and I’d been with my family in Colorado, and it’s combination sales/rentals was epic to me.

So we’re in a town I hate. There’s almost nothing I like at all about my life or the area. I go from being a moderately content kid to only having movies and a few other enjoyments to latch onto in the middle of a sea of young depression. I was pissed at my mom, the only person in the world I had all the way trusted until the move. I didn’t even have a 7-11 around to indulge in my Slurpee escape. But we got. a DVD. burner.

My mom takes us to Hasting’s. She tells us we won’t splurge immediately. We’re going to take this slow. We’ve got a pack of 30 or so blank DVDs at home. We have three movies to pick that we’d like to burn. I can’t remember if it was three each, or three altogether, but I remember I got The Count of Monte Cristo and a movie that had a good nudity or sex scene in it because this was well before I’d gotten into a porn habit or had my own screen.

We get home. And it doesn’t. work.

We misunderstood.

We read and reread. I call my tech savvy friends, my mom calls hers. We find out that you can only burn movie files already on your computer. Put there by uploading them from your camera that can upload to a computer, or that you buy (I don’t think that even existed yet, purchasing movie files.) You can’t rip a movie from a DVD. Rip means upload.

I. am. struck. down.

I think I immediately skipped over wallowing about the treasure chest disappearing to the underlying depression of being in New Mexico. Everything was brown. The land. The buildings. The people.

I’m from green. I wanted green. I’m from a predominantly white suburb of California. I felt estranged. Forget where I’m from, WHY IS EVERY BUILDING BROWN?!? DO YOU KNOW HOW INSANE THAT UNIFORMITY OF COLOR CAN DRIVE A PERSON> THE LAND IS ALREADY BROWN.

I guess I wanted my movie haven more than ever, a place to ignore where I wasn’t at in my heart for a place I’d known as home since as long as I could remember: cinema.

But it wasn’t meant to be.

And it was all a simple misunderstanding.



It’s not the same thing as having false expectations, or just expectations in general. It’s a brand of expectation that I experience to this day. Literally today I went through similar “oh-no-we-can-burn-but-not-rip” fucking PANIC anxiety, depression, etc. We have the capability to do something with what we already have, but we are failing at extracting what we wish and then turning it into something of our own.

I can’t have what I want, right now, in the way that I want it. I may not get to have it at all. And I thought I could.

I’ve heard a couple times in the last few months about millennials and how “we” are a generation of entitlement. It spiked a little during the election, especially from the winning side, about how the losing side has been whining too much, but it was also just something that people were commenting on via Facebook and the news.

I watched a video made by Adam…something, who does a great series called “Adam Ruins Everything.” He did a lengthier speech, not part of the series, about generations. His beautiful point was this: they don’t exist.

To draw a line somewhere, and somewhere else, and call the in-between a definable group of people is, well, hogwash. And it can be largely seen in the fact that EVERY generation gets talked about being lazy, narcissistic whiners who are driving everything to hell. Why? Because the people doing the defining are the generation before, who are going to talk a lot of shit about young people, because that’s what old people do, speaking in stereotype. “Kids these days.”

Expectation and entitlement are similar, but they are also entirely different.

What I’m talking about here is somewhere in-between and completely neither.

I, and my family, misunderstood what we had, and expected something ipso facto from that wrong understanding.

This OFTEN happens to me with technology. I was getting all kinds of proud of myself the other night for finding instructions on how to change my cell phone’s code to get it to do something the provider wants to make you pay to be able to do. All of the several sites and apps I was looking at made it appear SEAMLESSLY easy. But an hour and a half later I was throwing my hands up and finally starting to watch a movie I’d missed most of and enjoy my time with my temporary roommate. No Monte Cristo for me. “Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.”


I’m talking about a feeling of expectation that is more than expectation. It’s thinking you’re all set up and then realizing you’re not.

Sometimes there’s a quick, or lengthy, or multi-layered detour that is the actual path to getting what you want that you now discover you have to take to get it. Sometimes there is no path to getting it. Sometimes you realize the path isn’t worth the payoff. Sometimes you’re happy it didn’t work out. The brick wall in your way makes you realize it was the wrong road anyway, and you’re not going to go around the wall, you’re just going to turn around.

It is strange that I complete a structure of desired objects, outcomes, whatever, in my head before they materialize, pretty much every day of my life. Sometimes every moment of my life. I feel a strict tension in my stomach and chest sometimes, a lesser ability to breath, because of this sense of having to fight life to get it to go my way.

It’s strange because what I’m fighting is my own mind, my own heart, my own thing that says, “IT MUST GO THIS WAY.”

Sometimes I imagine I’m pretty chill. Sometimes I am pretty chill. It’s something people point out about me often.

But, if you really knew me, you’d know I trip the G out. (That G doesn’t actually stand for anything.) Constantly. I’m often in somewhere up in my own grill analyzing, or just aware of, whether or not things are going my way, and how much so.

And other times I completely forget all that.


Something didn’t go my way today. It’s another day.

Something is going to not go my way tomorrow. It’s another day.

Actually, nothing–no going, no way–is ever mine. I didn’t build this place. I only live here.

I can always burn, what I’m able to rip is up to the cosmos. And in that, even what I make isn’t of my own doing.


I don’t know if writing does anything. I sure like it though.