Saturday, March 26, 2016

My Social Life in America (Or: You Can Run, But You Can't Hide)

Somebody asked about my social life in America. 

I'll just go ahead and let this video of Valentines Day 2016 speak for itself:  

To sum up, my father has been suffering from Parkinson's since around the turn of the Millenium, and now, at age 75, has pretty much lost the ability to walk. He is married to a woman 20 years his junior, but she burned out very quickly with becoming a caregiver, in addition to having a drinking problem, so this led to him being placed in an assisted living facility. 

He moved into the assisted living place last August, right about the time I started this job, and it's sort of like an all-inclusive hotel for old people, rather than a hospital, so he actually kind of likes it.  (The food is actually very good, and he improved notably when taken off the diet of ice cream and bologna sandwiches that his wife was giving him.) 

The activities that they arrange tend to be a bit depressing, though. 

(That video is actually from a different place, a rehab hospital that he was in due to a urinary tract infection, but the general flavor of them is not much different.) 

So I've been making the 9-hour drive to visit him every month, during every 3-day weekend that I had. (You get a lot of those in America, if not much else vacation time.) The other weekends have consisted mainly of hikes in the national parks and trails around here and obsessively writing porn thrillers to get my income up. 

 (Get one FREE here on Amazon for the next couple days. A pretty good little thriller if I do say so myself. With Russian girls!)

The most exciting weekend I've had recently 

 My father gets $2200 a month in Social Security, but otherwise blew all his money; the rent at the assisted living place is $2600 a month and he has various other expenses such as medication which mean my brother and I are paying between $300 - $500 a month each for him.

So basically, here in my birth country, I have less of a social life even than when I was in Saudi. 

Vodakberg? No, this was in the parking lot of my apartment.
I did take a vacation this month, a trip to the Dominican Republic with the Girlfriend. (I have offered to bring her here on a fiance visa, but she is also kind of a full-time caregiver for her mother. More on that later. I also send her $100 a month following the current devastation of the Russian economy.) 

 Let's see, other than that?  I went to a city a couple hours away after Christmas to visit this girl, who I used to know in Vodkaberg. 

But that's about it.

In fact, some of my female colleagues are not unattractive (especially if you don't compare them to teenage Russian girls) and several of them have expressed enough interest in me that I could probably ask them out. But they're all single moms, and I really dread the idea of adding any more stress to my life.

Bars? Clubs? Drinking? Drugs?

Give me a fucking break. A shot of Nyquil before bed at 10:00pm, that's  my jam. 

Every national park needs a good recreation of Golgotha
So that's the more-than-a-little-depressing state of X. You'd think I'd be seriously depressed or angry, or both, but in fact I feel pretty calm and resigned. 

Quite frankly, at age 46, it seems like my Just Desserts. You can run but you can't hide. 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

TEFLpocolypse 2016: Maybe is the New Yes

I can be even less specific than usual about my current job, but it involves teaching people from the Middle East and I am employed by a government contractor. It's an okay job, with small classes and a supportive management, albeit in a kind of boring smaller town in the southern US.

This is back behind my apartment

(Recall that I am here to help out with my father, who has moved into an assisted living place, before you make a comment like "DUDE YOU SHOULD BE SMASHING PUSSY BACK IN VODKABERG!")
Southern gothic abandoned concrete mill

Contractor, of course, means you work on contracts. But the contract, in this case, is between the company and government bodes in the Middle East. I, myself, am employed on an "at-will employment agreement" which can be ended at ANY TIME by either side with no notice.

The contract between the company and the Middle Eastern government was originally a two-year one; it ends in September of 2016. The two upper-management doofuses from the company came to visit the program and try to discuss the future of this job.

Will the program continue? we asked. Many of the teachers are quite anxious; there are a lot of single mothers working here, believe it or not, and pretty much everybody re-located to be here.  Some middle-management people were laid off recently, and about 50 percent of the students have gone home while none have arrived.

The answer was: well, yeah, probably. Maybe.

View from my parking lot

We asked if and when we could get a firm answer on that.

They hemmed and  hawed and said, well, there are a lot of layers there, budgets have to be agreed on, there were a lot of variables in the world situation right now. US regulations means they have to offer the contract for competition for a certain amount of time, too.

So when could we get a definite answer?

Well, probably by August, although it wasn't impossible that there would be a budget deadlock that would lead to a month-to-month "bridge contract" until the final decision.

So basically, the job could end at any time?

Well, yeah, pretty much.

But they sort of laughed that off. That's the 21st century job market, they said.

Old car junkyard of the soul
Now I've always lived like that, in my jobs; I'm renting month-to-month, no lease, here in America too. I could leave in 5 minutes without much trouble. I'd be relieved, probably.

But that's just me.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Travel Epic Fail (Or: Authentic Cultural Experience)

"Guy bored with his office job quits it to go abroad, where he finds great adventure and success and gets laid a lot."

God damn that story bores the SHIT out of me.

It's usually more like this anyway: "Guy who is already successful socially and financially goes abroad, where he continues to be successful socially and financially."


I want to hear about the disasters.

With that in mind, here's one.

Back in 1994 I took a journey across Eurasia that included a few weeks in Morocco, which was pretty much my first experience with a third-world country. (And at that time, it was VERY third world.)

My own trip was fairly disastrous, with a lot of illnesses, but the nice thing about the world: somebody's always got it worse than you.

I spent a week in Essaouira, a beautiful old walled city that was something of a hippie / stoner / backpacker hangout. Hanging out in the cafes there, I met quite a few.

Source: Wikipedia

There were these two English kids there. Both hollow-eyed and living on weak tea and toast.

Some of the Irish backpackers referred to them as "the public school Johnnies" as reference to their well-off backgrounds. (Apprently public schools in Britain are actually very private and exclusive. Go figure.)

These two guys had finished high school and decided to take the Grand Tour of Africa, what was called "overlanding" in those days; and what's more, they wanted to Help Humanity and Have an Authentic Cultural Experience. They decided they were going to buy a Land Rover and fill it with first aid supplies to distribute to charity groups as they drove down from Morocco to South Africa.

So apparently they had crashed the Land Rover on day two, driving between Barcelona and the Gibralter. One fell asleep while driving and it went off the road and rolled over. It was completely totalled, but neither of them were hurt much.

Undaunted, they crossed over into Morocco by ferry, although all their first aid stuff was held up at customs. While waiting for it in Tangiers, they both contracted dysentery, and it was serious enough that they were hospitalized.

After they got out they decided to come to Essaouira to recuperate. Both still couldn't take solid food, as mentioned, and one said he had shit the bed in his sleep the previous night. They had paid some exorbitant levy / tax / bribe to get their first aid stuff out of customs, and hired a delivery company to send it to Essaoira; of course, it all just got stolen.

They were trying to decide to what to do next when I left for Marrakesh.

Sadly there was no internet in those days for me to find out what happened to them. They might well have found love, adventure and success in Africa for all I know.

Friday, March 04, 2016

The First 1000 Words of My Book About My Childhood

People ask me if I intend to write any more books; the answer is, well yeah, but maybe not about English Teacher X. My porn writing is much more profitable; remember I'm helping pay for my dad's assisted living now.

However, my porn writing has sort of morphed into "erotic thrillers" and I might be sharing some of those with you readers soon. (I have an idea for one about an English teacher who starts fucking the wife of a Russian billionaire, with predictably dangerous results.)

I did intend to write another memoir, about my childhood / teen years, and I wrote about 10,000 words of it. Maybe I'll get back to it ... but  maybe I won't.

Anyway, here are the first 1000 or so words of it.


My first memory is falling in dog shit outside the family house.

I must have been 3 or 4. It was in the suburbs of a large Midwestern city. Out on our lawn, which I remember as being bright green under a bright blue sky, somebody, I believe a neighbor about my same age, pushed me and I fell into dog shit.

This disgusted me so much that I vomited.

My second memory is of walking through a long drainage tunnel under a street near that house. I couldn’t have been older than 5. I don’t suppose it could have been longer than, say, a hundred feet, maybe shorter, but as a 4 or 5 year old child it seemed like an immensely adventurous thing to do. My brother – a year and half younger than I am – and I hatched and completed the idea in secret. I remember giggling as we stomped through the slurping mud in the darkness and how we cheered when the light appeared on the other end of the tunnel.

Kids got less supervision in those days.

I also have a memory of going to pre-school and a kid scribbling all over a picture I was drawing, and wondering why people were so fucking annoying.

I remember almost hanging myself in the playground across the street from the house we lived in. I was playing with some ropes – I liked playing with ropes, probably inspired by Spider Man – and I got it wrapped around my neck and a pole on a jungle gym and my feet slipped for a moment, leaving me strangling in mid-air.

I found my foothold and got out of that one okay, though.

I don’t remember it but I’m told that I disliked pre-school so much that at age 4 I went outside and tied my mother’s car – a Ford Pinto – up with a rope, wrapping it through the door handles and wheels with complex knots.

I wouldn’t say I was a difficult child so much as I was just an odd child.

We moved to a small-town in the south when I was five.

I started kindergarten, and I remember a formative event. I wrote and drew my own little comic book, and I was eager to debut it at show-and-tell. But it was Easter, and there was an Easter egg hunt. It was only supposed to end after everybody had found two of the plastic eggs, which I suppose had plastic treats in them of some sort. I found mine and put them in my box and started asking the teacher when we could do show-and-tell.

But there was this stupid kid, and he couldn’t find his second egg. Apparently the teacher had lost track of it, also, because she couldn’t locate it either. The kid was in hysterical tears, of course.

Idiot! I thought. Who cares about some stupid egg? We’ve got show-and-tell coming, where we can look at my comic book! Where I can express my brilliance!

I kept bugging the teacher about it. Finally she told me to stop bothering her and sit down, that we had to find the lost egg.

Crushed, I put my comic book in my box and sat quietly while the rest of the class ran around like morons looking for the stupid plastic egg.

Finally it must have been sorted. An egg was found and given to the stupid kid.

Then we had show-and-tell, and the teacher asked me if I wanted to show my comic book.

I just shook my head, blinking back tears.