#540 – Eavesdrop Today…

…on the bus, in line for lunch, or on the street.  What do people say?  What do they really sound like?

Lately, it’s been all about Christmas which makes sense considering it’s right around the corner now.  People talking about where they’re going, who they’re seeing, what they got them, when they’re celebrating it, and why they aren’t looking forward to it.  Which I find pretty funny considering how many people complain about the Christmas season and can’t wait for it to finally be over and done with.With so many people who complain about it, it’s interesting how the holiday season has managed to survive the way that it has for all these years.  In fact, it seems to get worse with every passing.  Personally, I chalk it up to social obligation.  Nobody wants to be seen as a Scrooge (me excluded), so they go along with all the hoopla of this yuletide disaster which means other people follow suit as well.Of course, there are those that really do enjoy Christmas but those people are freaks or are insane and shan’t be included in this completely biased opinion piece.

Behind the Random: I don’t celebrate Christmas unless it is a mandatory obligation that I can’t get out of without repercussions, such as a staff party or family dinner.  My feelings for this season are so passionately negative that they border on complete and total hatred.  For a while, I was one of those people who would get all huffy and puffy when someone wished me a Merry Christmas, to which I would retort “I don’t celebrate Christmas.” but as I got older, I realized that I was just looking like an asshat so instead I merely nod.  People accuse me of being a Grinch, which is hardly the case since I have no problem with people celebrating it, no matter how ridiculous I find the idea, I would just rather not be included in the festivities which would make me more of a Scrooge than anything else.  To which I say, “Bah humbug, I’ll take it.”

#155 – That Person Your Mother Always Warned You About

They’ll take away everything that makes you important and strip it away, leaving you with nothing but a husk.  Users who will abuse you before leaving you to die on the side of the road.  Selfish bloated wastes of skin who only care about what they can get from you.

There are leeches hidden within the bustling masses, always looking for a new meal to latch themselves onto and grow fat off of their victims hard work.  Many of them are quite blatant about their efforts, using a powerful and aggressive personality to emotionally bludgeon their prey into submission.  Others are more sinister though, slithering their way into lives and creating the illusion of someone their victim can’t live without.  Both are cancers that need to be cut out of a person’s life before they do irreparable damage.

My mom always warned about these kind of people.  Always question a persons true motives and never trust anyone who is too friendly when you meet them.  Everyone has an agenda and not all of them have your best interests at heart.  It’s advice that has served me well through my life so far, though sometimes I failed to heed those words when I should have and listened when I shouldn’t have.

Behind the Random: I have trust issues with people.  For a while, I believed that everyone was out to get me but eventually I realized it was only about half of them.  There aren’t many people I trust much and none I trust completely.

Interestingly, my mother always warned me about redheads and how they were evil.  So naturally, my first long-term girlfriend was a redhead.  Turns out my mom was mostly right.

#116 – You Get to be Any Singer You Choose…

…and sing one song in a live concert.

If I could take the place of any singer for just one song, there’s only one that I could possibly replace; Weird Al Yankovic.  The trouble is picking a song to do since I’m such a huge fan of most of his work.  Do I go with the popular and well known Amish Paradise or White and Nerdy?  Do I do some classic Al like Fat or Another One Rides the Bus?  Maybe bust out the accordion and give them Polka Your Eyes Out or Angry White Boy Polka?

It occurs to me though that there’s one song that really stands out for me.  It’s almost a credo more than anything else.  It’s not his best song, by far, but it’s certainly words to live by; Dare to be Stupid.

Behind the Random: I’m a pretty smart guy who is known to do some dumb things from time to time.  I actually have a saying, “If I wasn’t a genius, I would have died of stupidity a long time ago.”  However, I think every now and then you need to do something stupid.  It keeps you grounded.  I’ve seen what happens to people who become so obsessed with appearing smart, afraid to make any kind of mental misstep.  I’ve been there.  Didn’t care for it.  Did not get the t-shirt.  Now I’m not so concerned with people thinking me the fool, usually.

#468 – Life in a Snowbound Cabin

A page from a makeshift journal found in a cabin after the spring thaw:

Day 27

Phil died last night.  I listened to him take his final breath in the cold darkness.  It was so surreal.  The way the air in his throat and lungs rattled, like a can of spray paint.  It’s going to haunt me for the rest of my life, I think.  Not sure how long that will be at this point though.

When the others went, I was asleep so when I woke up the next day it was like they’d just drifted off, never to open their eyes again.  Now I know the truth and it horrifies me down to my cold sore bones.  Is that what I have to look forward to?

There’s only three of us left.  Nobody said anything as we dealt with Phil’s body.  It’s getting easier now, dealing with the guilt with what we need to do.  Poor Phil though, he didn’t deserve this.  He didn’t even want to come on the trip and now he’s gone.  I just hope it’s enough to survive.  How long until someone finds us?

Erin is starting to act a little weird.  Talking under her breath and not letting anyone near her.  I think the cabin is starting to get to her.  I think Li and I should do something about it before it’s too late.  Lock her up in the bathroom or something.  For her own good.  Just to be safe.  We need to be safe.

I miss Phil.

There was one body found, hanging by the neck in the attic by apparent suicide.  There were no indication that anyone else was in the cabin the entire winter.

Behind the Random: Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to become completely isolated from everyone.  I wonder how I could take it.  I claim to be a loner, but deep down I still want to be around people.  Loneliness is a demon I wrestle with on a pretty constant basis, so I don’t think it would take long for me to crack, even with all the books, movies, and video games I could pre-occupy myself with.

#512 – Imagine You Were Unable to Speak for a Year…

…What would you do to communicate, and what impact would it have on your relationships?  What would you be saving up to say at the end of the year?

Honestly, I don’t think anyone would really notice a difference.  I’m not much of a talker, though someone might realize that I haven’t tossed out a glib remark or witty jab after a couple of months.  I’m more valued for my listening skills and willingness to help out when needed than my advice anyways.  If anything, it would relieve my wife since I wouldn’t be able to argue with her over the silly things we argue over.

I would probably rely a lot more on my phone to send texts or write messages to people.  The inability to talk isn’t that big of a hurdle to overcome unless you need to call out to someone that the killer is right behind them and they should watch out!  It wouldn’t affect my day to day life all that much, especially with technology advanced to the point it’s at.  Voice recognition systems would be a pain in the ass but then when aren’t they?

When that year was up though?  My mouth would become a verbal volcano as all the smartass retorts built up over the last 365 days all rushed to get out.  I’m sure they would come out so fast that they would merge to create bizarre sentences never heard by any human before.  I would probably need a nap by the time I was done.

Behind the Random: One of my greatest fears is losing the ability to see.  Sight is the sense I use the most in my day to day life as well as my hobbies.  Without it, I lose movies, books, video games, drawing, and writing (though that one is correctable after learning braille but I’d rather not have to learn that, thanks…).  I would much rather wake up tomorrow mute than blind…

#511 – Identify a Powerful and Significant Personal Experience…

…from your past.  Then change the setting, and write a story in which your narrator encounters the experience.

I checked my bag for what felt like the hundredth time that day.  Everything was just as I’d left it the last time I opened it, but I couldn’t help but feel a little bit nervous.  Mathias was at the stable, getting the wagon ready for the long trip ahead of us.  As I waited for him to arrive, I paced the small room that had been my sanctuary for most of my life.

Part of me was in disbelief that I was about to embark on such a huge adventure.  I know to some it wouldn’t seem that important.  People leave the town all the time, seeking out jobs in the bigger cities, but I had barely left my comfortable space for most of my life.  Occasionally, I would go with my pa to the city to sell his wares but that was different since I knew I was always coming back.  This time, I wouldn’t be or at least not for a long, long time.

I found myself back at my bag, fingers on the lip.  I resisted the urge to open it again, knowing that nothing will have changed.  I didn’t own much, so there was little worry about forgetting something important. My few clothes were folded and tightly bound within the burlap.  My books and papers were all stacked and wrapped in leather to protect them. My two well used pens and oil carefully separated and packaged.  I touched the wolf tooth that hung from my neck, my good luck charm, and let out a soft sigh as if to draw bravery from it.

So lost in thought was I that the soft rapping on my door was like the thundering sounds of a runaway moose, startling me.  I smoothed back my hair and composed myself before answering the door.  Mathias stood ready, wearing his leathers and hood.  “Are you ready?  We should leave soon while we still have plenty of light.”

I wanted to say no, but so much had already been invested into this trip.  No more second thoughts, I told myself, this is what I wanted.  I nod as I picked up my bag, “Ready when you are, my friend.” I reply.  As I follow Mathias out, I take one last look at the empty room, only a small bed to take up its space.

Goodbye old life, I think to myself as I close the door for the last time, hello future.

Behind the Random: I had lived in my hometown for nearly 30 years of my life.  I don’t care to travel, so aside from the odd trip to the big city, I don’t get out much.  The thought of leaving almost never occurred to me.  However, after a bad break up and a dark depression, the opportunity for a change of scenery presented itself when some friends of mine decided to move out of town and invited me along.  I jumped at the chance and several months later, I found myself packed up in a U-Haul and leaving my comfortable life behind for the unknown.

#379 – What is Your Shrink Really Thinking…

…when you tell him about your day, your life, your hopes, your fears?

Eggs.

Can’t forget to pick up eggs after work.  Ellen’ll kill me if I come home without eggs.  “How many times do I have to tell you?” She’ll say to me with that look.  At least once, I suppose.  Heh.  What else should I pick up?  We still have half a jug of milk.  Cheese slices?  Sure, why not.  I think Brian used the last of them for his lunch.

I wonder how Brian did on his test today.  He crammed pretty hard last night.  I don’t know how many times I’ve told him not to leave studying for the last minute but that boy just will not listen.  Why can’t he be more like his sister?  Alison was always studying.  No wonder she got that free ride to university.

She hasn’t called in a while.  Probably a good thing, since that means she doesn’t need money.  I should send her a message after this session, check in and see how things are between her and Patrick.  He’s a good kid, but a little flaky.  I think she could do better.  Do a lot worse too.  Maybe I’m just being overprotective…

Oh yeah, we need to call Dillon Security about that camera.  I should tell Marcy to schedule a maintenance check.  Damn thing hasn’t been working right since that Christmas party last week.  I told Ian not to throw that football inside the office, but no one listens to me.  Just me listening to everybody else.

Oh, is he still going on?  I should probably look interested.  Give a nod or two.  “And how does that make you feel?” Alright, where was I?  Oh right, Ian.  That ignoramus.  The guy makes Dr. Phil seem like a professional.  What a joke.  No wonder half his patients end up institutionalized…

Oh look, the hour is up.  About time.  Just in time to get a drink before my next session.  I’ll go over the notes later.  Always good for a sleep aid.

Now, what was I supposed to get at the store?

Behind the Random: I lead a pretty uneventful life at the moment so I can only imagine how bored an outside observer would be hearing about my life up to date.  Between work, household chores, watching kids, trying to make time with the wife, and sleep, there’s barely enough time to do these prompts let alone get into any sort of shenanigans.  Which is alright, since shenanigans can get expensive, but it doesn’t make for the best stories.

And on that note, we are less than 50 away from the end of the book.  Woo!