August 10

Keeping in touch with people is tough. The urgency lasts for a few weeks or months, you want to make sure everyone’s abreast of your activities and stay involved in theirs. Eventually, normal life starts taking over. People continue to go on trips, interact with others on a daily basis, get busy, get tired, get off the computer – and you do the same. Social networking and instant communication have alleviated the disconnect to a point, if you’re available at the same time as an acquaintance, it’s easy to converse. However, there’s only a certain amount of answers to “what’s new?” before you start blending your own days together and losing the novelty of sharing with someone who will never know.

I knew this day would come – when writing in the blog seems like more work than interesting insight I can bring. I have made excuses – I’m too tired, someone’s leaving tomorrow, have to work out, have to practice, have to read, traveling. Just like my excuses for not going to the gym – I’m eating well enough, I feel fine, Aaron’s not here so nobody will know, have to write in the blog – I am ending them tonight. This really is my last string to stateside, and I don’t manually keep in touch well, because that forces me to be tethered to the computer. Also, it’s enjoyable and allows me to reflect on what’s going on.

This week I make you a promise to write the most exciting story to happen to me so far, an adventure that spans coasts and seas, involves diving into high altitudes and floating in turquoise depths. But for tonight, I promise you nothing except the notes I’ve accumulated recently. It’s a start:

– The puppy is gone. Like all dogs, he went to a large farm in paradise. Unlike most dogs, he did it as a child – and living. He’s finally where he’s going to live his life, up in my hosts’ property in Puerto Plata. In four months, he’s going to be ready for obedience school, where he will learn how to be a vicious guard dog. The dog that pooped in my room and cried like a little girl is going to learn to tear people by the throat? He gets jumpy if you throw a shoe in his direction, but I guess people can change. I’ll see him this weekend when I go up to the farm to milk some cows (maybe slaughter an animal or two), ride horses, and recalibrate (finish this damn book).

– I took the other dog for a walk the other week, just because she doesn’t get out of the apartment much. People here are perfectly fine with scavenging strays walking around the sidewalk, peeing on stuff, drinking stagnant water, and sleeping in parking lots. Once they see a dog with a collar, even the biggest dude in an Ed Hardy shirt yelps like a little girl. The first couple times I actually got scared at their reactions; ‘AYYY COÑO!’, What the! Where did you come from? Did you just jump out of that bush to be scared by that dog? The funny thing is, this dog just would just want affection if it wasn’t on the trail of all the other dogs, completely ignoring the strangers. This place is backwards.

– Just as I was reaching the point of not being mad at the Kindle anymore, I started missing it. I had sent it out for repairs a few weeks ago, and really wanted it back for my reading list. I got it back the other day, which is why I want to finish this book quickly. Next up is The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (have you heard of it?!?!?!?), but after I’ve identified Let The Great World Spin, Infinite Jest, The Rules of Attraction, The Killer Angels, Watership Down, A Short History of Nearly Everything, Catching Fire. Dystopian futures are fantastic reading, so if you have any suggestions, leave them below. I’ll suggest my favorite to you: Fahrenheit 451.

– No matter how long I work at a place – six weeks, six months or a year – there’s always staff turnover. I’ve relegated it to a fact of life, but I’ve never thought about it from a different perspective. I’ve carried a lot of jobs, some at which I got comfortable at and taken over a leadership position of sorts – “Hey, we need one more pizza”, “You first unload the water onto the counter then place it on the appropriate rack. No, wine glasses go back to the bartenders. Stop chewing your hair.”, “Here’s the accounting system. This is how you do my job…” – then left. The perspective of always being myself in a situation prevents me from seeing the other side of the equation, that I’m a blur through most people’s lives. I’ve gone back to a workplace and forgotten names, and I’ve gone back and had blank stares in my direction. I am the one that always leaves, that creates staff turnover, that leaves it up to the next responsible counterperson to move up to shift manager at the pizzeria.

Sometimes, I look forward to having a job for more than a year or two, creating relationships, actually making things happen for myself and a company. Other times, I think that life is all one blur of connections anyways, no matter how fast or slow one moves from place to place. I’m hoping that I run into many of the people that I’ve run into through work and travels, and in my head that chance is not at all small. Every single person has affected my perspective in some way, conciously or sub-conciously. There’s the gay former MDMA and meth addict that answered every question about everything for a summer and a winter, the guy who got fired after wasting my and a lot of others’ time, the boss who taught me that cheating is good in the workplace because things get done faster (like using Google, not taking credit for someone’s work), the anti-social coworker that showed me the meaning of dedication, and the people I work with now who demonstrate how one lives under ‘faith’. Eventually, I will pass from this place onto the next task, and after that I will do so again, but I’m excited for the days when things start coming back around like boomerangs that I tossed into the future years ago. What I’m trying to say is:

Safe journeys, Rachael, David, Robin, Caitlin, Patricia, Mari Pili, Watson III, Cooper, and Liz (keep playing with that yellow seaweed).

– I really want to tell you about last weekend but I can’t ruin the surprise. I have the story all laid out in my head, which is the fun part about writing. The not-fun part is trying to do it and realizing that everything I have in my head is a lot funnier (or more politically correct, or truer, or nicer) in my head than on paper and the sentences just don’t flow. I want this to work though. Now I’m talking it up and have higher expectations. Stop

– Tropical Storm Emily came and went without much more than a lot of rain. The storm was pretty sizeable compared to other rains, but nothing spectacular. Because I have a sweet vantage point from my apartment and as a kid loved snow days and the occasional wind-storm day, I was hoping for some crazy action. It only took a quick reminder that I’m not back in the States excited to hear the thump thump thump of the rain on the window, maybe a power outage where we get to light candles and a fire and stay warm.

Here, tropical storms are a national concern. For every person living in a concrete house in the middle of the city, there are four living out in batays (rice or sugar cane fields) hoping that the new fasteners hold still in the win. Or families in the mountains with a tin roof and dirt floors hoping that the rains don’t come hard and fast enough to dislodge the earth above them. I’m going to address this subject more in the Adjusting, but I no longer want to see a ‘Really Cool Thing’, because it’s not.

Whew, that was easier as I went along but still some work. I’m back in the groove though, you’ll hear from me sooner than later.

Reading: American Theocracy, The Five People You Meet in Heaven

Listening: Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, Derek and the Dominoes

Dominicanismo: Tengo un hambre de cuadrito – “I’m so hungry” “I’m so hungry I have squares in my stomach”….I don’t know, but really, why do Americans pick Horse as the animal to eat, one of the smartest and most loyal to men? We don’t make sense either.

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