Dear Blog/Blog Readers,
I’m sorry that it’s been nearly two months since last we spoke! I’ve made some changes in my life that have taken up a great deal of my time (and my words). As terrible as I am at keeping my life in balance, my recent freelance writing pursuits have pushed the Brantley Blog right out of my mind.
I will do my best to sum up the past 51 days in a series of short impressions and updates. In this post, I’ll only deal with non-freelance writing stuff (that’s a whole ‘nother post!).
Disneyland Avenger’s Half-Marathon
I just started training for the Avenger’s Half-Marathon in Disneyland. Months and months ago I was too broke to buy new running shoes, so naturally, I pretended like my old shoes were just fine. Boom. Plantar Fasciitis. I can’t seem to kick the arch pain in my right foot. It doesn’t bother me when I’m running, but I have to stand for hours on end at work and that’s when it really acts up. I’m pretty nervous about my training now. I don’t want to exacerbate the injury, but I have to go on living my life (AKA running my miles)! Plane tickets are booked. Trips to San Fransisco and the Redwood forests are planned. After this half (which is in November), I’ve got another full marathon in January.
How Not to Make New Friends
Making new friends at work is making me realize that my people skills are weird. There are definitely some bizarre things that I shouldn’t have said to people who don’t know me that well.
Example 1: Someone brings up that a co-worker doesn’t get to see his daughter because the baby momma is “a bitch.” In an effort to lighten the mood, I pondered aloud the possibility that the baby momma truly is a “bitch” and that the daughter is a dog-human hybrid monstrosity that the co-worker father can’t bear the sight of. It didn’t so much lighten the mood as bring the conversation to a screeching halt and fill the bar with silence for what felt like a few hours.
Example 2: I was walking quickly to my car after work because the distance between the restaurant and my car in the parking garage is 100% not-air conditioned. I passed two female co-workers. One of which joked that I snuck up on her and I joked back that she should be more vigilante because it’s a big scary world full of dangerous people. I said this to her in a parking garage…in the middle of the night. Why? Why would I say that?
The Great New Radio Station Sucks
There’s a new radio station in Orlando! It plays solely alternative music, which is a dumb, moving target industry term that effectively means “weird stuff that doesn’t suck yet still finds its way onto pop and rock radio stations.” Think an Imagine Dragons station on Pandora.
They kicked off their existence with 10,000 songs in a row with no commercials, which was thrilling because they play The Black Keys, Bastille, Arctic Monkeys, The Strokes, Imagine Dragons, and quirkier weirder stuff.
Their cardinal sin is that they are still a radio station. Anyone finding themselves iPod-less/CD-less/Spotify-less and doomed to listen only to what the radio has to offer can attest: There is a music industry belief that people can only handle a few new songs at a time or else _________ (fill in your own dire consequence here. Mine would probably read “the public might realize that there are millions of music options and that the radio is an outdated tool for discovering worthwhile songs,” but “the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man will destroy New York City,” would be an interesting fit too). This belief has infiltrated my beloved alternative radio station and we are currently engaged in the following frustrating yet inevitable exchange:
Radio: Oh you like the Arctic Monkeys?
Brantley: Yeah, they’re pretty good.
Radio: Okay, then we will play them twice an hour or maybe just every time you get in your car and tune in.
Brantley: But won’t that make me hate them?
Radio: You like The Black Keys too, right?
Brantley: Yeah, but you didn’t answer my last question.
Radio: Okay, then we will alternate almost exclusively between the Arctic Monkeys and The Black Keys on our station since we know that those are bands that you like.
Brantley: But that will make me hate both of them.
Radio: Shhh!!! We’re playing “Fever!”
Brantley: Look, there are tons of bands that I like and even more bands that I would like, but haven’t heard of yet. You guys have a captive audience in this guy right here. Maybe just give me the illusion of respect and use your position to promote interesting new music that people might really fall in love with.
Radio: Okay fine. We will throw in Cage the Elephant, but for every one time that we play them, we are going to have to play “Rude” by Magic thrice.
Brantley: I’m going to listen to an audiobook instead.
Also this radio station needs to change their batteries because they come through staticky just about everywhere in the city. I’m pretty sure they were being overpowered by some dick with an FM transmitter listening to The Police the other night.
Margaritas Are An Art
In an attempt to occasionally order something other than beer, I’ve discovered crappy margaritas at numerous bars. I don’t know how to make them myself, but I don’t feel like they should be so hard. My girlfriend makes an orange juice heavy margarita that is tangy and delicious. Rocco’s Tacos (which is in my opinion, heaven on earth) makes tasty margaritas that are simultaneous smooth and crisp by some feat of sorcery.
I’ve noticed that ordering a margarita occasionally raises eyebrows. I’m not sure if it’s a “girl” drink or just an uncreative way to choke down liquor. Either way, I don’t care. Margaritas bring back fond Taco Memories for me, and Nacho Nostalgia.
Maybe my love of margaritas is heavily influenced by this little Brantley Trivia tidbit (and this will shock regular readers of the blog): I’ve never had too much tequila. I’ve never puked or suffered a tequila hangover. I don’t know how I’ve accomplished this, but I think that some credit goes to the booze-sponginess of Mexican food which seems to absorb 2-3 drinks in terms of alcohol tolerance.
Remove the Nuts Before Jacking It Up
I helped a co-worker change a flat tire in the parking garage after we left the bar last night. It was surprisingly not all that bad. My worst memory of changing a flat tire involved me jacking the car up before removing the lug nuts. The wheel spun as I manhandled it with the tire iron. Frustration ensued. Also it was hot, as it always is all the time everywhere in Florida. Don’t get a flat down here.
My Anti-Drug is: Non-Existent
Many of my co-workers express enthusiasm for smoking pot. After smoking a select few times early in college, I quit to pursue a job that I was certain would require drug testing. Though I did get the job and they never tested me, I still abstained. I just didn’t miss it that much. I’m a junk food fanatic with motivation problems. I’m practically stoned 24/7 by sheer virtue of my personality.
That being said, people ask if I smoke and I tell them no. Being an illegal hobby, they sometimes want to know why as if I’m on the verge of calling the cops. I honestly don’t have a good answer. I just don’t smoke. I don’t care if other people do. I just don’t. I’ve got allergies and I’m not interested in putting smoke in my lungs (which don’t even seem that fond of air). I’m either convincingly uninterested or off-puttingly strange enough that they don’t bother trying to peer pressure me into joining them when they light up.
Smells Like Twenty-Something Despair
Our restaurant plays a boring, elevator music playlist of only about a dozen songs. All day. Everyday. On repeat. They have a muzak version of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Every time it plays, a little piece of me dies inside and I fear that I will soon be no more than a shell of a human being, a dried up husk with a soul made of dust.