Horrible Dream

My morning started off really weird today. First, I woke up from a really bad dream. I was leaving my apartment to go to work, when two police officers came striding towards me, all business, no smiles, and proceeded to tell me that a car had been stolen from the parking lot, and that they had a warrant to search every single apartment, and since legally I couldn’t refuse them, I walked them up the stairs and let them into my home. I offered to go in first and to put the dogs in their kennel, because although small, one of the chihuahuas has a tendency to bite the ankles of unknown people, but the officers said that wouldn’t be necessary and I got the distinct feeling that they suspected if I went in alone that I would try to hide the evidence that implicated me in the grand theft auto charge that was waiting to be filled by the guilty party, which obviously wasn’t me, but of course, having just met me, they didn’t know that I wasn’t the type of person who would steal a car, so they had to treat me the same as everyone else, like a prime suspect in the investigation.

They walked into the apartment, and predictably, the dogs started yapping, but instead of kicking them to the side or give them a whack across the head with a nightstick, one of the police officers, the gentler of the two, picked a dog up in each arm and carried them around with him for the entirety of the search. They kept asking me questions that seemed irrelevant as they scoured every inch of my home, like how many electrical outlets were behind my bed. “Seven, but only two work.” Every answer from me got a suspicious look from them, like I was just confirming again and again why I was the most likely suspect to have stolen the car. I couldn’t take the mundane questioning anymore, so I went outside to get some fresh air and wait for them to finish their pointless investigation of me. I stood pacing for a few minutes, nervous with each passing minute that they were finding something that seemed to solidify the case in their mind, or maybe more likely they were planting evidence, to frame me and close the case. Finally they walked out of my apartment, down the stairs and directly past me, the shorter, burlier, of the two officers hit me hard with his shoulder as he walked past, an intimidation tactic no doubt, but they didn’t pull out the handcuffs, or say anything to me for that matter, so apparently I was free to go about my day.
 
I went back to the apartment to lock up before heading into work, and what I found inside, was haunting. My two little Chihuahuas were nowhere to be found, but along the hall lying on the ground were three German Shepherds, all with matted hair and labored breathing, wheezes coming out visibly in puffs of smoke, polluting the air in the apartment that hung like a dense and putrid fog. Their heads raised all at once, like they sensed my presence entering the door, and that is when they took off running, tearing through the apartment, down the hall and back, with no destination in mind. The third of the dogs, was dressed in a skeleton costume, its head the only thing that looked normal on it. I didn’t know what was happening, if it was some sort of ritual or they were trying to tell me something, but it was just too much to take in at the moment, plus I needed to get to work, so I locked the door and left the strange dogs in my house, and started on my way to work.
 
Somewhere along the way, my car caught on fire, like completely engulfed in flames, and try as I might, I couldn’t open the door, so there was nothing I could do but to scream and wait to die. I woke up before the actual death, so that’s a good sign as far as dreams go, but on my way to work this morning, I could smell gas for a big chunk of my drive, so I’m slightly concerned that my dream was a premonition of things to come, but I guess I’ll just have to keep on living to find out. I’ll let you know how it goes, or else you can read my story in the paper, it will be the one next to the picture of the burning car.

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An Important Thing that I Forgot

I don’t know if it’s Alzheimer’s or Dementia or if this is just something that starts to happen when you turn twenty-seven, but I can tell that I’m getting more forgetful lately or maybe it has been going on a lot longer and I just don’t remember, but either way, something a change needs to be made, because the consequences of my forgetfulness are becoming more severe. Like yesterday for instance, I forgot something that had the potential to impact my life in a very negative way. Yesterday I woke up at 7:30 feeling good, having gotten to sleep in until the time I normally leave for work, because it yesterday, it was my short day at the bank. You see, there comes a Tuesday once a month where I only have to work three hours at my job, solely because I am scheduled to work that coming Saturday and cutting my Tuesday short is just a way to prevent me from getting overtime pay. Short Tuesday is my absolute favorite work day of the month, because it’s almost like another day off; I don’t have to go in until eleven and I get to leave at two, and for the most part, it just flies by, and yesterday was no different. I left the bank a few minutes after two, sped home eager to make the most of my short day, and immediately flipped on both fans in my room, undressed and got into bed. There are few things in life that bring me as much joy as taking a nap in the middle of the day, maybe because that’s when I can be my truest and laziest self, so on a day when the opportunity for one of these sought after snoozes comes about, I do everything I can to make the most of it.

The room was cool and I was buried under my comforter, just waiting for that sweet sleep to overtake me and deliver me to Dreamland where I longed to be, but then a thought popped into my head, and no matter how much I wanted it to go away, it was already planted in my brain and there was nothing I could do to get rid of it. The thought was something that I forgot to do at work, something that might get me fired if I didn’t fix my mistake. Due to not wanting to run the risk of breaching any kind of confidentiality or security confidence, I can’t go into the specific details of what I forgot, but it was something of a very important nature that really could have resulted in me losing my job. Luckily, I remembered, and still had an hour and a half until the bank closed so I could get back there and correct my mistake, however unfortunately, that required me getting out of my comfortable bed, getting dressed, and driving back to work. I texted my supervisor to let her know my mistake and that I was coming up there to do what should have been done an hour earlier, and then I was on my way. I drove about forty five minutes through traffic round trip for a task that took fifteen seconds to do, but it had to be done, and today I still have my job, which is a good thing, it’s just an unfortunate sign of the times to come since I’m already just forgetting really important things. I guess the upside is that at least I probably won’t feel bad for too much longer because I’m bound to forget this incident soon enough.

People I Don’t Trust

When I see certain people driving, I don’t trust them at all, and either speed up quickly to pass them, or if they’re going fast enough I’ll step on the brakes slightly, allowing them to pull further away from me and put even more space between us, because if there’s one thing I’m trying to avoid at all costs, it’s being near that car for any significant amount of time. I know stereotyping is wrong, but when I see these cars, with the doors dented in, a bumper hanging down, or a smashed out taillight, I immediately jump to conclusions about the kind of driver that’s behind the wheel of the car, because I know without a doubt, that this person was involved in a car accident, and that’s something I want no part of. Today on the way to work I was behind one such car, except this one was far more damaged than any I’d ever seen functioning on the road before. If you would have showed me a picture of the car, my first thought would be that whoever was driving the car was now dead. It was that bad. It looked like it had been crushed by a compactor in the junk yard, both ends of the car smashed in. It was a little gold car, and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out how somebody was able to drive it because it literally looked like the entire back of the car was going to fall off at any moment, and the front didn’t look much better. Perhaps even more mysterious is how the wreck happened in the first place, to basically destroy the front and back of the car. I guess the little gold car must have rear ended the car in front of it and the driver behind must have rear ended him, thus smashing both ends of the car, but miraculously not killing the driver.
 
Despite the fact that this driver was obviously at least a little bit lucky in that he survived, I wasn’t going to take any chances around him. There was a lot of traffic so it seemed unlikely if not impossible to pass him, so I did the only other thing in my wheelhouse and slowed down to allow someone else to get in front of me, creating a buffer between me and the, in my mind, out of control, maniacal driver, that way if, like I expected, the back half of his car snapped in half and went rocketing back towards pummeling the car directly behind it, most likely killing the driver, so at least for the moment, I was safe, but who knows who I will encounter on the way home from work. It’s just another one of my overreactions, worrying about people whose cars have obviously been in a car accident and are driving near me, regardless of knowing if said driver was responsible for the wreck. I wish it weren’t so, but that’s just the way my mind is programmed to think, maybe because I myself have never been the driver in a car accident and I’m just biased or if it’s because of the defensive driving class I got sent to one summer in high school that terrified me with image after image of irresponsible drivers gruesome pictures after a wreck, but whatever the reason, that’s just a part of me and as much as I wish that dented cars wouldn’t bother me, I unfortunately don’t foresee any changes happening any time soon. The next time you are driving and you see a car that looks to have recently been in a car wreck, think about me and be grateful that you can go about your commute, completely unbothered and unworried by the sight, and then send me a text with your whereabouts so I can go ahead and avoid that area for the rest of my life.

Surviving the Storm

hurricane-season_980x551In my four years of living in Florida, I was very fortunate in that there were no hurricanes formed during my time there, but with the category 4 storm now passing through Florida, I have been reflecting on the time during my first summer there when I experienced my first tropical storm. I believe it was in late August, the year was 2012, and I was living in Fort Pierce, Florida, a small relatively small town just south of Vero Beach on Florida’s east coast. At the time, I was working as a delivery driver for Marco’s Pizza, which provided me with some good stories that I will share another time. In the week leading up to the storm, a hurricane was headed our way, and having never been subjected to something like that before, I was understandably panicked. All week at work people made fun of me as I asked them a barrage of questions about such natural disasters, such as, how one many people die in hurricanes, and how one might go about not dying in hurricanes. As the storm neared the coast, it was downgraded to a Tropical Storm, and I was relieved, if only for a moment.

I had the day off work, but my wife, who was my girlfriend at the time, did not, because she worked at a school and it was a week day. I woke up the day of, feeling incredibly nervous, afraid and unsure of what the day would hold. I secretly hoped the county would close the schools so Leticia could stay home, which in retrospect would have meant the storm would have gained strength and would have been much worse for everyone involved. I sat in the living room glued to the TV, watching the local news channel’s non-stop coverage of Tropical Storm SomethingorOther, and as it got closer to Fort Pierce, the fact that it wasn’t actually a hurricane wasn’t doing much in the way of easing my nerves. The sky had been dark all morning, but suddenly the rain started, pounding against the walls and windows, and then finally the news I had been dreading appeared on the TV screen; tornadoes were forming from the storm and people who were on the roads and those in mobile homes needed to seek shelter, which wouldn’t have been too big of a deal had I not been living in a mobile home at the time.

The panic really hit me then, as I had nowhere to go. I had to ride out the storm in the mobile home with paper thin walls, either that or get obliterated my a tornado. Leticia was texting me, telling me that she was okay and everyone in the school was in the hallways preparing to put into action the tornado pose, which consists of crouching down on your knees against the wall with your head down and covered by your hands, a pose that seemingly looks like you are surrendering to the storm, but an effective one nonetheless. I did my own version of the pose, lying facedown on the couch, in a room filled with windows, because all of the rooms had windows, and thought about dying, hoping it wouldn’t be too painful. The storm passed and no damage was caused to me or the mobile home, and I was filled with relief having survived my first tropical storm. I hope that everyone in Florida, riding out the hurricane can come away from their storm feeling the same way I did. My thoughts are with you.

Orange Beach to Orlando

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My wife and I left Orange Beach at five in the morning, eager to get our day of travel out of the way so we could relax at our next honeymoon destination for the next week. The first week of our honeymoon on the gulf coast of Alabama was fantastic, but when the day comes for us to leave, neither my new bride or myself like to stick around and waste the day, which is why we found ourselves on the road so early. It was a good plan, but unfortunately we didn’t plan as well the night before and didn’t end up going to bed until well after midnight, so needless to say, we were both pretty tired when we got up, bleary eyed, to hit the road a few hours later. Luckily for my wife, at that time in our relationship I didn’t really trust her to drive since my mom sent me to a defensive driving class when I was fifteen where I was shown pictures and videos of why other drivers cannot be trusted, images that still haunt me to this day, so she could sleep peacefully in the passenger seat while I manned the wheel and tried to figure out where in the world I was going. I finally found the interstate about the time it started to get light outside which meant it took me a lot longer to find than it should have, almost two hours of wasted time mindlessly circling Pensacola as the directions on my iPhone sent me contradicting directions as I got sleepier and sleepier.

By the time I merged onto the interstate I felt rejuvenated, excited to be on the road to Orlando, but a few miles later my eyelids started to droop and no matter what I did to try and wake myself up, munching sunflower seeds, cranking up the music, rolling down the windows, nothing was working and I knew I needed a break or I was one hundred percent going to fall asleep at the wheel. I woke my wife up and told her of the upcoming disaster of me crashing the car and both of us dying if I didn’t get some rest soon, so she convinced me to pull over and she would drive for a little bit while I napped in the passenger seat, a plan I didn’t trust, but not wanting to lose time by stopping at a rest stop for a nap, I eventually agreed and I pulled off at the next exit. We switched seats, and I closed my eyes, ready to get that much needed sleep. I kept my eyes closed as my wife pulled the car out onto the road, but as she increased her speed, merging back onto the interstate, there was no way that I could relax. My eyes flew open, expecting to see us careening directly into the side of an eighteen wheeler that would fall over onto our car and crush me, staining the interstate crimson with my blood for years to come, but to my surprise we were okay, at least for the moment.

I tried to trust my wife as she drove, but my feet wouldn’t cooperate, stomping down on the floorboard to no avail each time I felt she was going too fast or getting too close to another car. I was driving both my wife and myself crazy with my constant flinching and wincing, thinking about every single thing that could go wrong for every car that we passed; it was obvious that I wasn’t going to be able to relax long enough to fall asleep, so a few exits after my wife took over the driving duties, she pulled off of the interstate and into a rest area. As it turns out, it wasn’t that easy to fall asleep in the rest area either, primarily because my mind was racing, thinking about the likelihood of getting murdered while I slept in the car in a strange town. A sign stated that there was armed security at night, which did absolutely nothing for me given it was a few minutes after eight in the morning. I locked the doors and cracked the windows just a crack, because in the big scheme of things, suffocating would be just as impactful on my life as getting murdered. Somehow I fell asleep, but before an hour had passed I had already woken back up. The nap had tricked my mind into thinking that it was well rested, so before it could discover the truth I got back out on the road.

About twenty miles before we arrived in Orlando, the skies opened up and the rain started pouring down onto us so rapidly and hard that the highest setting on the windshield wipers did little in the way of helping me see the road. It’s true that I didn’t trust my wife’s driving and that I had thoughts in the back of my mind about getting murdered at the rest stop, but when I couldn’t see anything around me on that Florida interstate, I really thought there was a good chance that we were going to die. It took us more than an hour to arrive at our destination as we crawled along the interstate, bracing ourselves for impact with cars that we could not see. Miraculously we arrived unharmed and got checked in to our hotel a few hours after our original estimated time of arrival, but at least we had made it and could finally relax. At the time it was not a fun day, but now, looking back four and a half years later I can honestly say that I wouldn’t want to repeat that experience again. It was terrible.

One Reason I’m Opposed to World War 3

As much as I would hate it, it almost seems inevitable that there will be a World War 3, given the egos and irrationality possessed by both presidents of North Korea and the United States of America, and when this happens, it will likely affect me in a very negative way. I have always been opposed to war, but when I turned eighteen, against my beliefs I registered for the selective service, not because I feel the need to defend my country, but rather because it’s the law, and I would much rather take my chances on the slim possibility that a draft is implemented rather than behind bars where my proclivity for sarcasm and eye rolling would likely turn me into the prison punching bag. So at eighteen years old I did what was required of me by law, and I thought that I would never have to think about it again, but then eight years later I started working at Fedex and my chances of getting drafted doubled.

Back when I first registered for the selective service I had a different last name than I do now, so when I began working at Fedex and had to prove that I had in fact registered, I procured all of the necessary paperwork to show that I had changed my name and was still the same person, already registered. I signed some papers and waited in an uncomfortable chair while someone behind a desk typed relentlessly on her keyboard and before I knew it she handed me a paper saying that I had been registered for the selective service, for the second time, which means now if a draft does happen, my social security number is in the system twice, seemingly making it twice as likely that I get selected, and for those of you that know me at all, it is abundantly clear that I’m not at all suited for war.

Can you imagine someone like me on the battlefield defending our country? I have a great respect for the men and women who do that, but I would make a terrible soldier. Let’s just set aside the fact that I’m out of shape, my infinite fears would render me completely useless on the battlefield. When I worked at a grocery store and my job included blowing up balloons for children I would break out in a heavy sweat and start to feel dizzy as I inflated the balloons, afraid that the balloon would pop. When I go to NBA basketball games I wait outside the arena, outside of earshot of the fireworks that go off before the game because I’m terrified of loud noises. Now imagine me surrounded by gunfire, dropping my weapon to the ground, freeing both hands so that I can use them for the more pressing task of covering my ears in hopes of stifling the loud sounds all around me. With the ceaseless shots all around me, chances are I would be willing to take a bullet just to make it stop, so clearly being drafted would not be beneficial to me or the well being of our country. Let’s just hope it doesn’t come to that because clearly I’m not cut out to be a soldier.

The Gigantic Flying Cockroach

It was like the start of a typical horror movie, my wife and I sitting in our living room late at night, she watching something on TV while I read a book, just a regular Thursday night, but then it wasn’t. We heard a noise outside our door, very faintly, but loud enough to rouse our interests. We looked at each other then towards the door and as if on cue, something hit the door, sending the dogs into a barking frenzy and my wife and I into a state of worry. Since we’ve moved in, someone tried to kick in our neighbor’s door one night, so my mind immediately went to the extreme, jumping to the conclusion that this was now happening to us, so like any tough guy I went to the door to confront whomever the intruder could be, bringing along with me my forty ounce stainless steel water bottle as if that would serve as some kind of protective weapon. I looked out the keyhole but saw nothing and gradually our minds were eased and we almost forgot about the incident entirely, that is until it came time to take the dogs out to use the bathroom before bed. Concerned that maybe someone was lurking outside waiting to attack, my wife asked me to accompany her outside and like the chivalrous gentleman that I am, I begrudgingly agreed.

She opened the door to go outside and immediately a cockroach the size of a tennis ball flew up off the ground and began emitting a disgusting sound somewhere between clicking and whirring. My wife immediately shut the door, however the dogs had already run out before her so they on their leash were trapped outside with the monster. She opened the door quickly to let them back inside and then the debate began as we tried to figure out what we were going to do. The dogs have peed on our carpet before, so I was all for letting happen again if it meant we wouldn’t have to go outside and face the gigantic flying cockroach, but my wife wasn’t having it, suggesting instead that I use the broom to reach from the doorway and smash the bug, but given the size of this thing I wasn’t convinced it would do any real damage but would instead just anger it further so I declined. We spent an embarrassing amount of time trying to come up with a solution to our problem, when finally, my wife, the voice of reason, decided that we should hit it with something which in effect would make it fly away.

She stood with the door cracked, hoping not to draw any unwanted attention from the creature before she made her move, reached her arm back and hurled a little piece of dog food toward the roach, which she missed completely as it sailed overhead straight into the neighbor’s door. She shut the door quickly in case they came to see what had hit their door, and initially she felt bad about it, but after thinking it through further we decided that maybe it was a good thing to happen, that perhaps the neighbors would open the door and the largest insect in the world would go into their apartment, either that or they would scare it away. The minutes ticked by and still nothing happened, so we had to once again jump on the proactive side of getting rid of this thing. With the door once again opened a crack, my wife aimed a squirt bottle of water through the opening and fired a single shot, which unlike the piece of dog food, hit the intended target. This enraged the cockroach which quickly began flying around the landing outside of our apartment making that terribly disturbing sound again, probably swearing in its own language that it would have its revenge on us. I wish I could tell you that I realized how ridiculous all of this was and I decided to step up and be a man, walking right over to the insect and killing it without fear, but unfortunately I haven’t changed. We put the dogs to bed, and took them out first thing this morning when the cockroach had left its security post outside our door, so it all worked out okay, and hopefully I’ll never see that gigantic flying cockroach ever again.