Monday, October 17, 2016

Mourning The Guy Before 25

When you reach quarter life you go through a grieving process. In the process, you give yourself a moment or even an entire day to say goodbye to the person you were before your 25th birthday. As adulthood kicks in, you think to yourself that it's time to put on a new pair of pants than the one you had before. The kid you used to be is dead and it's time for you to walk the earth as a full adult.

I didn't realize this until now, but I needed to give myself a moment to mourn and say goodbye to the Roque I was before turning 25. That young boy I used to know was gone the moment I reached quarter life. I've occupied my life with some many things to keep me busy that I never sat down and accepted that a part of me was gone. I needed a day and night of mourning.

During the weekend, I sat down on the floor with back up against the foot of the bed. I pulled out a box full of old magazine/newspaper articles, short stories, and favorite blog entries that I've written that were published, and a few unpublished pieces. I looked at some of these things laughing and remembering about what I was doing when I wrote those stories. I also remember people talking to me after those stories were published.

I took some old clothes out of my closet and filled it with new clothes because I wanted to look older. Then finally at night, I sat down at the foot of the bed again, turned on Spotify, drank red wine, and secretly cried away the younger me. I gave myself a day to mourn and say goodbye to my younger self. I know there is still going to be a part of him inside me, but it's time to fully accept the life and experiences of adulthood to the fullest.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Picky Blonde Pizza Customer

In all my years of living, I've never encountered a person who was so picky about a $1 piece of pizza until three days ago.

I stopped by Two Bros, the best one dollar pizza in the world to grab a snack. In my opinion, one plain slice of cheese pizza from that joint will have you satisfied throughout the day. For a college student like me who has a history of skipping breakfast and sometimes lunch, I count on this place to give me a good slice. I always get the big slice because my slim built body puts guilt on the pizza people into giving me the bigger slice.

It's the old saying "That man needs some meat on his bones."

I went to the Two Bros. on West 4th St. near the A train, which always serve good slices in my opinion. Standing in front of me in line was this tall blonde wearing sunglasses. She was talking to her best friend about some nonsense going on uptown regarding her friends, and her boyfriend. I blacked out that the conversation because I was hungry, and it sounded boring. She ordered a pepporoni and a plain cheese slice. The servers gave her the pizza, and she froze for a moment.

"Can you give me a different cheese slice?" she asked the server. I quickly froze along with everyone else. Never in my life did I hear someone wanted a $1 slice exchanged for a different one.

"It's the same as the rest of them," said the server.

"I know," she began, "but this one looks kind of weird. I don't know. It's something about the way the cheese is just liquid like, and moving around a little bit."

Her description of why she didn't want the pizza was so insane,  I had to roll my eyes a few times. I, myself, am a picky person, but I would never read a slice of pizza from head to toe. The guy behind me quickly jumped ahead and paid for that slice.

"What would you expect from a $1 dollar pizza?"

"There are many other slices," she excused.

I don't know what the eight people standing behind me in that shop were thinking, but I was certainly someone who was thinking this whole incident was ridiculous. The server gave her a different slice and she walked away.

"Everyone hates me right now," she giggled on her way.

Now that's what I call a picky blonde pizza customer.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Seagulls Were Eyeballing My Gyro

There truly is a reason why most people don't eat on the piers alone anymore.

For the first time in my life, I ordered a lamb gyro from one of those stands outside near campus. There is a five dollar student special. I can get a gyro and a free soda. Feeling spontaneous that day, I decided to have a lamb gyro, which was something I never ate before.

I took a bite out of that gyro and felt in absolute heaven. The lamb was cooked right and the tzatziki sauce gave it a lovable flavor that you couldn't help but to keeping bites of it. Feeling like I was in humble heaven, I decided to go sit down by the pier and enjoy much lunch.

Sadly, it didn't go as planned.

Fifteen minutes after sitting down alone, I was accompanied by a seagull who landed on the rail after flying in a circle for quite a while. He stared at me and my gyro like a cartoon character for a considerable amount of time. I knew what he wanted and I wasn't giving it to him. I continued taking bites out of my gyro, trying to ignore him. The plan didn't go well for another seagull landed beside it. Two later became four.

By the fourth seagull, I was already wrapping up my gyro, and power walking away from them before the fifth one was even halfway close to landing on the rail.

I was afraid that in any minute, a team of seagulls would fly down, and reenact that scene from the movie Finding Nemo with the seagulls on the rocks. You could imagine how crazy life would've gotten on that dock if it happened.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

"Game of Thrones" Fandom Popped Up In The Subway

A day doesn't go buy when I don't hear a single person bragging about something that happened in the Game of Thrones franchise. Whether it's the A Song of Fire & Ice book series or the TV show itself, someone around the world is mentioning this show at least twice, maybe a hundred times a day. What's more funny is that no matter where you are, the fans of the franchise are hiding amongst us. You never know when they will pop out until one person pulls out one of the novels from the series.

I would count T-shirts, but I don't think the average person would yank a person's Game of Thrones t-shirt, bragging about how much they love the shirt. My point is you never know where the fans are. I had that moment last night on the subway.

I was riding uptown to get home from a busy day of class and work. I just finished a gig with the Time Out New York team, handing out free copies of the Wednesday issue, which is something we do every Wednesday. While I was too busy reading the new issue and excited to get the official guide of the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival, this seemingly 20-something woman sat down two seats away from me.

There was this guy sitting between us in the three seat section of the New York City subway. He was skinny enough for me to see that the woman was carrying a book. I'm a nosy reader. Whether I'm reading a book of my own or not, I still look towards my side to see which book is the other person is reading. So I looked over, I saw that she was reading A Feast for Crows, the second book in the series.

I gave a smirk, for I was amused that I discovered another Game of Thrones, but I wasn't as vocal as the next person that occupied that middle seat. When the man sitting between us, got up and left the train, a random female that was sitting across from run, ran to our side, and took that seat.

They were discussing all these theories by Tyrion, Nickolai, Emilia, Sophie, Aidan, to name a few. They even predicted what the next book will be about, and whether George R.R. Martin will write prequels to the book. And if that was the case, HBO should turn the prequels into a TV show, which will possibly end up receiving more ratings than the actual show.

I looked around the subway. There were at least eight to ten people looking straight towards them. They were so into the conversation that it dawned to me that they were fans of the show too. I was waiting for the moment when one of them just jump out of their seats, stand on top of them, and give their commentary about the show. They didn't and the ladies kept talking.

This was a conversation that lasted at least twenty minutes or more. I say more because by the time I got off my train, they were still talking. I felt a little bad I couldn't chime in the conversation. I'm currently reading the first book and I never watched the TV show. I'm the type of person where I want to read the books before I watch their media adaptations.

I made that mistake bouncing back and forth in my childhood where I would read a Harry Potter book, and then I watch the film adaptation of the next book because I wanted to keep up.

The Game of Thrones fandom is truly everywhere, and you never know where they're going to pop up.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Stop Bringing Up Your Boyfriends! I Just Want To Talk!

I just love it when gay men do this. They believe that just because you're starting a conversation for the first time with a new person, they assume that they are flirting with you. Here you are, the casual single person who is all about meeting new people at casual events, and just want to make them comfortable. It's understandable that meeting new people can be nerve wrecking, but it doesn't have to be if a not so bad looking stranger wants to talk to you. But just because you believe the person is casually talking, you have to bring up the fact that you have a boyfriend.

There is no problem bringing up that you have a problem, but based on the way gay men are relentlessly mentioning it to every stranger they stumble upon, it's becoming ridiculous.

For single people, there are times and places where we are not looking for a lover. It's not a day to day job to find the man of your dreams. There are days when we just want to meet someone and have a casual conversation. After all, it's weird being in a room full of people you don't know. We're just easing out the nervousness by actually talking to someone.

We want to know how you are. What you're doing hanging out at this spot? What kind of martini are you drinking? What are you things you do or into, casually speaking?

Some of us are not looking for lovers. We just want to talk.

Sadly, we have to deal with the instant conversation ender. You meet someone at places like a nightclub or restaurant. You're casually talking to them, just trying to make them comfortable, and not make them seem nervous because you're a new person to them, and they don't know what to say. Instantly, they bring up a story about their partner. Either, they're waiting for their boyfriend to come to the spot, or they're mentioning a previous conversation he and his boyfriend had the other day.

The instant killer in wanting you to walk away from this person. Obviously, they thought you were trying to get hitched or something with them, and they felt the need to shut it down instantly before you kept talking. I personally never understand that as a current single man. It takes time for me to want to be interested in someone. I just like having casual conversations with people. So I find it weird when people mention their partners like that.

So out of rebellion, I'll say this to the casual person. Please stop mentioning your boyfriends. I'm not proposing to you. I just want to talk about football or martinis.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Do New Yorkers Truly Mean It When They Say "I'm Sorry?"

Coming from the eyes of someone who wasn't born and raised, I can't help but to think in some occasions, New York City is the most common place for people to not mean their apology, or actually mean it. After all, when you step on someone's foot on the train because you are trying to get in, you better apologize or else you're going to get yelled at. New York City's attitude is off the charts. They will blow up in your face or say something smart without giving a damn.

Being a Southern man, we respond to that attitude differently, but that's another blog story.

I'm just saying that there are cases when someone from up here and apologizes to me, and I can read through their face that they didn't mean anything. One time on campus, I was sitting at a table in the cafeteria studying for an upcoming test. My textbooks occupied half the table, which I was more than willing to move if someone wanted to sit there. That wasn't the case in this moment.

Instead, a couple power walked to my table, kicked two tables near me that collided with my body, and sat down together. Their bodies hit the desk so hard, three of my papers fell. When the girl said she was sorry she did it with a large smirk. I instantly knew she didn't mean it. She wanted to grab those seats and knock the papers down. As long as her and her boyfriend got to sit down, she didn't give a damn if she was violating space or knocking something over.

Another time, the family that lives above my apartment knocked on my door to see if they looked out my window. Two days prior, their daughter dropped their keys out their window, and they assumed it fell onto my balcony. I tried explaining to the mother that her daughter and I checked that balcony from both ends. I walked out the window and walked the balcony myself to look for it.

She insisted on coming in and see for herself to change the locks. For me, I was uncomfortable because I had a guest over, and we just finished having "alone time." I didn't want just anyone coming in. I'm very uncomfortable having a random stranger just come in and come out.

But instead, I let her in. The whole time she's saying "I'm sorry" for pushing me to let her in. And she kept saying it on her way out the door. In the midst of all this, I couldn't help but to read the way she was saying it. I instantly knew that she didn't mean her apologies. She truly wanted to come in and see for herself, and she didn't care if I was uncomfortable or not.

These are just one of the many examples I can use as to how I see how New Yorkers truly don't mean it when they say "I'm sorry." I'm surprised no one has created a magazine column dedicated to this.

Either way, I can't help but wonder about this when it comes to New Yorkers? Do they truly mean it when they say "I'm sorry?"

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Largest Slice For The Skinny Guy

It's very interesting how people treat you when they serve, especially when they see how small you look. It reminds me of my family. I come from a Southern family in New Orleans, Louisiana. If any of my family members thought someone was too skinny, they would force feed you until it looks like there are meat on your bones.

"Just because you don't go to the gym doesn't mean you should look like one," my uncle once said.

I have no choice, but to embrace my slim built body. On my father's side, there is this family gene that the men are always skinny. From my uncle to grandfather, cousins, all of us men are naturally skinny. The only exception is my father because he lays concrete. If he wasn't doing that, I'm sure he would be skinny just like us.

The other day, I was visiting my favorite $1 pizza place Two Bros. I accidentally skipped breakfast again and I was really starving. I stood in line, which was gone in a few seconds. I asked for a slice and the female that served me pulled a removed a slice from the pie that was fresh out of the oven. It was a small piece, but it was a stable size for me. I would've eaten it and still got full. The female employee thought differently.

Before I could grab the plastic plate, she pulled it back and took a look at my bed from head to toe. She had to tip toe over the counter to see my body. She immediately put the slice back with the pie, cut off the biggest slice, and handed it to me. I was instantly shocked because I didn't know she was going to do something like that.

I was about to open my mouth, but I couldn't once she said "You need more meat on your bones."

I took the slice and walked away without asking questions. I know what she meant and accepted the slice she gave me. I laughed on my way to work, for it continues to be funny when stuff like this happens to my a slim built man.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

When My Body Cleanse Responded To Junk Food

Everyone cheats on their cleanse and I had to cheat in the most dramatic way.

During the end January this year, I decided to take go through a detox and a cleanse. Due to the holidays, I found myself eating junk food and drinking nothing but gin & tonics. I was in a good creative space and I couldn't help but to get going. That's the one thing about being an artist. You sacrifice something in order to let the creativity flow.

In my case, it was my food intake.

I went through he cleanse for three weeks straight and it was quite the process. I drank nothing but cucumber lemon water along with bottled coconut water. I ate lots of fruit and vegetables. I bought meat from the healthiest side of New York City. Matter of fact, every meal I had was balanced. There was no junk food in my system for weeks.

That all changed one evening.

I was meeting with my colleagues in Tribeca to discuss this play we were writing for my college's theater program. I slept most of the morning and afternoon. By the time evening came, I was very hungry. I left my apartment without grabbing a snack and took the train downtown. There was no time to waste. I had to make it to the meeting on time.

I made the decision to cheat on my cleanse by getting a $1 pizza from Two Bros on West 4th St. When it comes to $1 pizzas in the Big Apple, I always count on Two Bros to give me a large slice. And they did. I arrived there and they gave me the largest slice on the rack.

The minute I ate that slice my body wanted to kill me. My body didn't have junk food in it's body for quite a while. So it was in a state of shock when that slice of cheese pizza entered my system. It began to churn like a wheel. It was screaming like a little girl, metaphorically speaking. I found myself in the middle of the village grabbing my stomach like I was about to throw up or have a meltdown.

A woman walked over to me asking me if I was alright, for I grabbed onto a light pole and was staring down at the concrete. I explained to her that I was cleansing and I just had a slice of pizza. She instantly understood what I meant.

"Just walk it out," she said. "I'm a detox girl myself. Believe me, I know what you're going through. Just walk it out."

You can always count on a health nut to be somewhere in the city. So that's what I did. I walked it out while drinking coconut water in between. My body cleanses sure has interesting ways in responding to unhealthy things.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

A Public Meltdown Because You Missed Your Train

Don't get me wrong. I get upset when I miss my subway every once in a while. You managed to get down the subway and swipe yourself in. You check the monitor to find out that you train literally arrived two seconds. You fight through the crowd of people that are going upstairs while you're going downstairs. Once you finally made it down, the subway doors are already closing.

Of course, you'd be disappointed after all the blood, sweat, and tears you spent trying to get downstairs. But this day to day thing that can happen to anyone never drove me to having a dramatic public meltdown. That was the case for this one guy.

I was getting off my train ride to the Bronx, which felt like forever. Then again, everyone feels that way during rush hour. Its that two hour time period from five to seven where everyone is getting off from work, and trying to get where they need to go, whether its home or to their second job. It's a mad house to the point where I'm surprised they're not doing it like how they're doing it in Japan.

So for me, getting off the train after an hour in rush hour felt like heaven, and that I didn't die from suffocation. New Yorkers don't give a damn who they're squeezing. All they're thinking about is getting to what they need to go.

I made up the stairs when this older man about to go downstairs. I knew he wasn't going to make it because the time I got up, the doors were already closing. The man heard the doors closed and he erupted in front of everyone.

He shouted the word "FUCK" so loudly and for so long, his voice echoed across the entire station. He got down on his knees in between, letting all of his frustration out. I jumped like a scared frog, for I was three feet away from him, and was not expecting that to happen out of nowhere.

Everyone around looked at him like he was crazy, he didn't matter. He let it out and kept it moving. So did we.

The struggle is real, even when it comes to simple things like missing your train.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Olive Oil Sacrificed For A Oatmeal Raisin Cookie

Don't you just love it when accidents happen because you want too much of a good thing in whatever moment you're having?

One evening, I was leaving campus after going to my last class for the day. The sun was down and the night filled the sky. I don't know about you, but whenever it's night time, my body begins to immediately shut down. Now that it knows the night is arriving and feels it in the air, it signals me that I should get home quickly.

Due to that, I didn't feel like cooking. I was ready to order takeout near my apartment and head inside. Sadly, I was broke and had raw food in my apartment ready to cook. So I walked into a nearby Whole Foods to get a bottle of olive oil that I need to start cooking.

Luckily, there was a Whole Foods two blocks away in the TriBeCa area. I walked inside and found the olive oil. I was on my way out towards the end of the checkout immediately after getting up. It was after five and I wanted to avoid the major rush hour down at the subway. I turned a corner and temptation was officially triggered.

I entered the aisle that sell baked goods. There were cinnamon rolls, bread, sugar cookies, etc. My eyes first glared at a jumbo sized glazed donut until my eye gazed upon it's next door neighbor; oatmeal raisin cookies.

My legs began to shake and my mouth watered to the point where I was almost drooling. Anyone who knows me know that oatmeal raisin are my all time favorite cookies. I can eat them forever. I stared at the glass, knowing I haven't had a oatmeal raisin in four month.

So what did I do? I grabbed a cookie and fucking bought it.

I made it outside and headed uptown to the nearby subway. I couldn't try waiting to eat it when I got back to my apartment. The smell was coming out of the brown paper bag. My stomach was growling, begging me to have it. It took me twenty steps away from Whole Foods before I decided to eat it.

I went into the bag to try and grab the cookie, but my arm got caught in my backpack's one sleeve strap. The coat wasn't making it easier. I adjusted myself here and there, but I grabbed the cookie. Sadly, the olive oil had to be sacrificed.

I grabbed the cookie, but the entire Whole Foods bag fell off my finger tips. It landed on the concrete so hard, you heard the glass crack in the bag. I picked the bag back up. The bottle part ended up being smashed. I would've saved it, but the oil was already leaking. I had no choice but to throw it away, or else it would've been leaking on the way.

Ain't it funny how something gets sacrificed because you wanted too much of a good thing?

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Since When Do You Close Early?

There comes a time in a person's busy life when you just don't feel like cooking. You know that day. You've been working your butt off for so long that you just feel like ordering takeout. It can be either Chinese or the nearby fast food chicken spot. In my case, it was Kennedy Fried Chicken. But here is my question.

Since when the hell do they close early?

One night, I was on my way home with a large backpack around my shoulders. If I had to describe how busy my day was, you would be wondering how in the world am I still alive. Long story short, I was exhausted. My body was ready to go into my apartment and pass out on the hallway floor. So guarantee that I wasn't thinking about cooking anything.

It was 7pm and the first thing on my mind was ordering takeout. I was craving fried chicken. In my neighborhood, the first thing that you think of is Kennedy Fried Chicken. So on the way home, that was the first place I was thinking of. No matter how late of the night it is, I always count on this place to give me some quick food.

Sadly, on that very night, I walk up the hill to the restaurant to find that it was closed. No warnings or early notices. Just everything locked up and sealed away. I checked the time on my cell phone and saw that it was thirty minutes after 7. This place never closed up around that time.

All I know is when I saw that, I wanted to erupt like a volcano. All I wanted was some Kennedy fried chicken and just lounge in my apartment with takeout. I didn't with Kennedy. In the end, it was with Chinese food, which was located at the other side of my apartment.  The littlest things you want is sometimes hard to get.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

When Did "Borrow" Became The New "Have?"

A few weeks ago, I was talking about movies with friends at a nearby coffee shop. The two of us loves movies, and can go on and on about the various genres that are familiar to us. My friend is a fan of action movies while I love romantic comedies. He told me that romance films never really touched him as a person. I found that interesting because a lot of girlfriends tell me how he is a true gentleman to them, as if he lives and breathe romance.

Still, I gave him a few romantic comedy films he should try out. One of them happened to be on what I call my "cinema shelf." He asked me if he could "borrow" the movie. I agreed and gave him the DVD. It's been weeks since he never gave it back. I asked him what's taking it so long to return the movie. He responded simply saying "I thought you were making me have it."

Another time, I had a classmate in my Shakespeare class who asked me if she could use one of my pens. It was a perfectly detailed gel pen that costs me a lot of money for one pack. It didn't really matter the cost because as a writer, I care about the quality of a good pen. How are you going to write good stuff if the pen feels weird in your hand.

She liked the pen so much that she asked me if she could borrow it. Not only did she say borrow, she specifically said "You don't mind if I borrow your pen...for life."

That one quote struck and caused me to nearly curse a few people out regarding the word itself. I don't know when in the world did this happen in life, but I don't like it. It twists my brain and leaves me in a state of confusion. I grew up understanding the two words "borrow" and "have"differently. They both have different meanings.

When it comes to borrowing there is an expectation that whatever you're borrowing will be returning. It's like renting. You can't have it forever and you need to return it soon. That is my view on borrow. If you ask a person if you can have it, you're requesting that you keep the item forever with no strings attached. No one is expecting you to return it. It's yours forever.

How did "borrow" become the new "have?" I don't understand.

When you want to borrow something from me my expectation is that you will return it to me. I don't care if it's a pen, a DVD, or a book. You borrow it, you return it. Now if you tell me on the other hand that you want to have something of mine to have, and I accept, then it's yours. I know it's not borrowed and it's yours forever.

I don't know about you, but I cannot support this theory that "borrow" has become the new "have." I know trends change, but this is crazy. I can't think of "borrow" and "have" in the same category.