Posts tagged ‘observation’


If You Try Sometime…

by mdjb

“Well, you know,” I reminded her, “One of the prime facets of due diligence is you have to understand the custom obtaining in the target’s home jurisdiction.”
“Mmmm,” she agreed in an ostensibly distracted way as if to let me know she did not enjoy being advised in regard to the job she was paid to do. She knew her stuff, and I knew that she knew by the way she skimmed two blood-red fingernails down the side of her wineglass while keeping it perfectly balanced with the rest.
The Stones were playing on the piped-in system but sounding somewhere off in the distance. Low and not at all antagonistic.
No, you can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometime, you just might find
Apropos, I thought, but said to her, “Now, there’s a chestnut you don’t hear every day.”
Fully aware of every detail going on around us, she remarked, “We live it, though, don’t we?”
In a black sheath, one I would suppose had never before been worn, and her hair familiarly swept up, she was an enchantress—the embodiment of the lyrics’ character. And I was her footloose man.
“Ah, here he is,” she said as an elderly man in a tux came up beside us. “I take it you and Mr. James have already met.” He appeared too old to be in this or any business and looked uncomfortable dressed formally—probably more at home on the beach in Acapulco with a cuba in one hand and some young coqueta on the other arm, enjoying the perqs of seniority.
We had not.
“Oh my dear,” he said, raising her hand to kiss it, “Are you bleeding?” He took out his handkerchief, wiped her fingers, and added, “Ah no, it is merely the cherry wine.”
I heard his slight Mexican accent and tried to equate it with his English sounding name, wondering at the same time how she had missed the flecks of red as she was so on top of things. There was a disconnect floating over this reception. Everybody had an agenda including the victims. Due diligence indeed!
She was practiced at the art of deception
I was aware she was playing us off against each other, and though I had it over him in fresh-faced youth, his wealth and prestige would win every prize, which he would retain only for safekeeping until it was to be delivered over. I hoped at least I was considered a more enjoyable fuck, and though I knew from my morning mirror that as yet there were no hairs sprouting from my ears, I found I had involuntarily brushed a finger over my right lobe as if in anticipation of their growth.
I considered it time to bow out to halve her amusement. I mouthed the words, “Will I see you Monday night?” and she patted her breast. I could not be certain if that was a yes or meant “Let me check my calendar,” but coinciding with her smile found it easy enough to interpret as the former.


When I Was Young

by mdjb

Once, when I was young and immortal, I was cruel and immoral. I walked an endless highway. I was infatuated with what I was capable of doing. It did not bother me to see someone with tears. Well, it didn’t bother me much.
When I was green, I laughed more of the time and saw humor in misfortune because I did not know enough to realize one day misfortune would visit me.
When I erred I denied it. When I succeeded, I gloated. I became bloated with my own complacency. I carried the laurel wreath long after it had dried and withered and revisited my past glory as if it were something fresh and new. I fully expected those around me awaited something from me which was fresh and new and I tried to pass off the stale remnants as such. No one ever accused me of begging for compliments, though if they had, it might have awakened me.
Once, when I was sleeping safely in the past, my tomorrows lacked the urgency I feel in them today.
When tomorrows were countless, I thought I would always have my friends and that I would have acquaintances for almost as long. Now the future feels like a finite possibility and probability lessens. There are days I walk alone.
When the days began to grow shorter, my attention was drawn to jesting matters. I played a waiting game, for there was no necessity to rush to checkmate. There were options aplenty and if none appealed there was the option to create more, a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy, if you will, but self-fulfillment is a well bound to run dry. The days grew shorter and now I feel the loss of hours, not merely moments. The scales measuring the past against the future have been tipped in favor of the former.
Once, when I did not state these inevitabilities, I believed they could be staved. Now, no longer young, I walk the road I paved.


Getting the Gist

by mdjb

Oh, the worst thing in the world, if you are an egotist like me, is to enjoy a little gossiping and then to overhear only part of a conversation in which your name is mentioned, or a description of someone or their activities is given and you see yourself in the words you hear.

It is so frustrating to only hear part of the conversation.

Now if you could come to grips with the fact that the world does not revolve around you and that everyone is not playing a part in your dream, you could probably put the dialogue in perspective, consider the source, apply to it its relatively insignificant value and move on with the business of your day, but of course when things are otherwise, you realize immediately that the gossip fate has directed to your radar surely comprises a plot to overthrow your influence which may be considerable and to usurp your power which is never enough in any case.

As you walk from assignment to assignment or only from the water cooler to the rest room your curiosity leads you past the people with whom you are least copacetic because you know they have nothing else to do all day but speak badly of you and of course as you glide nonchalantly by they always are. It’s as if they know you are listening so they only allow you to pick up the gist without the evidence.

Your only safe option is to avoid all conversation in which you have not been invited to take part. Sit at your desk and try to win that solitaire game on your computer. If you play a few times and you can’t beat your best score, call the horoscope line or look in the newspaper and see what’s playing at the theater near where you live. Call in sick tomorrow and go see a movie. When you come in the next day talk about what you’ve seen to a coworker and let your enthusiastic review be overheard even though you were not supposed to be enjoying a movie. You were supposed to be home in bed. It doesn’t matter. You know none of them ever believe you when you call in sick anyway.

If all else fails, pinch yourself so you wake up and this awful dream ends and these nasty characters all fade away. Start with a fresh cast and for pity’s sake keep in mind everyone’s livelihood everywhere depends on judging you scathingly.

Have a nice day.


Before I Was Born

by mdjb

Before I was born, the world was a vastly different place. This is not to say my being born changed it, but I was born right around the mid-point of the twentieth century and the second half of that century was more technologically advanced than any era in history up until then.

I was born into the atomic age. The era of cold war and computers, television and space exploration, teenagers as a phenomenon and rock and roll, gadgetry and equal rights and terrorism and everyone capable of having their fifteen minutes of fame; all of these exploded on the scene during that period and before I was born many of these were considered in the realm of science fiction and imagination. The if-onlies of the first half of the century became yesterday’s news by the end of the second millennium.

Before I was born, people worked hard just to break even and people worked at careers and not too long before I was born an American president assured everyone that if they worked for most of their lives, when they got to their golden years they could enjoy a leisure that would make the time truly feel golden, so that the world I was born into held a promise and possibility most of my ancestors could not count on. By the end of the century that assurance was dwindling, but now people are being urged to provide the promise for themselves and being given leverage to do so.

That old world, which did not feel like an old world to the people around when I was born, is now historical in tone. Before I was born, for the most part, the recording of the times was done on film of black and white. Two great wars that involved most of the world were fought in the first half of the twentieth century. All the memories of the first are in black and white and much of the second is also.

We landed on the moon in 1969 and sent machinery much further into space later on, but it must be remembered man only learned how to fly heavier than air machinery in the beginning of the century. Automobiles which are a ubiquitous sight only came about in the 1900s. The Twentieth Century probably witnessed about a third of the inventions and achievements we take for granted in our daily lives. I was born at the mid-point and the acceleration of progress since that point is almost incredible. Things that became part of the human landscape in the first half of the century were phenomenal and many past great minds foresaw their coming, but if seers were able to describe in exact detail what has come about since my birth, they might have been burned as witches. Who could have predicted something like a pocket computer to wirelessly transmit messages, in a past century, or could even offer a reason for the need to invent such an object?

Before I was born, a millionaire was a rare bird and by dint of his achievement became a historical personage. Today they are “a dime a dozen.”

When I sit and daydream, I think I would have liked to be living in the world that existed before I was born. Since that time we have come closer to the possibility of actually going back there. We have cloned animals and may soon clone humans, now if we can conquer the time travel problem that would be the neatest trick of all.