Category Archives: Fayetteville


The apartment near me is now empty! Even though it is not libel or slander to state the truth, I’ll refrain from commentary about the previous tenant(s). It’s a relief, even though I know the next tenant(s) could easily surpass that tenant’s curriculum vitae. It still surprises me when stress is relieved, one that is almost subliminal. It’s not that the person was a particular threat per se, other than the one incident when I thought I would have to summon the Bobby Dean demons. It was the unknown of what such a tenant invites, who they attract, and who they have in their circle.

Even though most people won’t understand it, I got triggered AF for a while. I’m not normally prone to that kind of unease. Not just for myself but also for everyone else. I listen to that instinct. My dad, despite his flaws, literally beat that instinct into me.

I love where I live for a lot of reasons. I’ve done more than my share to make it better. It’s an uphill push sometimes, but what isn’t?

I’d like a family of Latinos, someone older, or someone who speaks a different language. Or plays the piano. Someone creative and without the urge to find odd ways to live joyfully. I doubt those checkboxes can be found on most applications for a lease. Plus, no one asked me, even though I am certain I could do a fantastic job of weeding out the crazies. Not just because I identify with the crazies but because my interview questions would be a hell of a lot more interesting.

Being in apartments brings disadvantages; it also brings opportunities, too. People surprise me, especially when they turn out to be interesting and people I’d likely not meet otherwise. Some have reminded me that it’s hard to “judge not” based on first impressions or the people they are related to. All of us have outliers in our families, which probably sounds odd coming from a weirdo like me.

It’s akin to humanity bingo.

It’s dumb to be thankful for the absence of a neighbor.

But I am.

I recognize that tingle in the back of my mind: I feel safer now.

I’m a big, big believer in letting people do their thing, no matter what it is. If people want to set their hair on fire inside, that’s wonderful. If they want to blast music, even when it’s not necessarily joyous for me, that’s okay too. My litmus test is, “Is it safe for everyone else?” Otherwise, bring on the clowns.

Some things are not the like others, though.

Love, X

Miracle Car, Miracle Man

Miracle Car, Miracle Man

I stood outside the convenience store after exiting.

A miracle car pulled up to the curb next to me. I call it a miracle because it was miraculous that it would run. All of its parts were culled from a hundred disparate vehicles. I saw bolts, baling wire, and tape in surprising places. A couple of pieces of the body looked burned. Or to be remnants of an explosion. It wasn’t loud, but it also sounded like special effects as the engine ran.

The picture I used in this description is not the actual car. Taking their picture would have ruined the moment.

A forty-ish man exited the passenger side. He fumbled with two large manilla envelopes.

From inside the car, a woman’s voice asked, “Are you warm enough? Are you sure you don’t want us to drop you somewhere else?”

He smiled as he managed the papers in his hands.

“I’m good. It’s my first day out. I’m not ever going back there. Never. I learned my lesson. Here is just fine.”

The driver was smoking, nodding his head, and laughing in appreciation of the enthusiasm and certainty with which the first man spoke those words.

I admit I lingered at that point, pretending to look for something in the pocket of my driver’s door.

It was obvious he was arriving home, wherever that might be, just out of prison.

The man walked over to the curb near the gas canister storage. A woman wearing only a jacket somehow got out of the car from the rear seat, as neither the door nor the seat seemed to move.

It was interesting that she had asked him if he were warm enough. When I say she was wearing only a jacket, I’m being literal.

She scampered up to him and gave him a huge hug. His face lit up like a sunrise.

“Are you sure we can’t take you somewhere? Anywhere you want to go?” She smiled up at him.

“No, thank you. I’m beyond good right here.”

He hugged her this time, his arms lifting her up in the air a little. She should have been very cold at that point.

She laughed.

I got in my car to leave, wanting to know his story.

He chose wisely, though.

Both for the hugs and for not getting back into the miracle car.

It MUST be fueled by hope as mechanically it’s an impossibility that it runs without suspending the laws of physics.

Maybe, just maybe, he provided the necessary hope.

There was something about the way he said he had learned the lesson that made me believe him.

I hope he’s safe and warm now, a couple of weeks later.

I didn’t know how to write this little story.

There’s no special ending, no words of wisdom.

It’s just a human moment that I was able to witness.

I wish I could hear the tone of his voice more in my daily life.

Love, X

Art Infection

It’s been weeks since I removed all of the long fence art and some of the Gregg Avenue-side decorations.

It warmed my heart to drive in today and note that someone had done a bit of new art themselves.

I’ve infected someone with the idea that the place needs some art and beauty.

And that they are as qualified as anyone to add their own.

It made me happy!

Love, X

Speed Bump :)

I peeked out of the apartment and saw that there was a large spilled UHaul box in the fast lane by the intersection. Someone moving dropped a 75 lb box of really nice expensive clothing without realizing it. My first concern was someone speeding at 70 mph hitting it. I went and picked up the spillage and stuffed it back into the box. Traffic mostly stopped for me as I did so. I dragged the heavy box back over to the side of the road. Unfortunately, as good as the clothing is, it all started at a 36-in waist. Yes, I’m not going to lie. I was tempted to sort it and take some. But 36″ is way too big for me. I’m sure that the people moving had no idea that it fell off or where that might have possibly happened. It won’t last long as the errant passers-by see it. At least no one is going to hit it and do a Dukes of Hazzard. Although it would be an ideal speed bump.

Practical Ghost Advice

First, white sheets are ridiculous. Not only do they stain, but due to their interpretation when worn, in some parts of the country, it might get you into trouble. Ghosts know this. I wonder how many people involuntarily BECAME ghosts due to being a member of one of those ridiculous organizations?

Real ghosts do not wear white.

They also don’t need eyeholes for reasons that should be obvious.

Ghosts travel more in the daytime than at night. They hate that part of their job is to don a sheet and yell “boo!” at night. They prefer to Netflix & Chill like the rest of us.

I captured this one this afternoon on my Blink camera. The ghost is wearing shoes which seems odd.

If it comes back, I have a few questions. Ghosts are notorious for being oblique when you talk to them.

I’ll let y’all know when I find out.

Love, X


401k Bet

Obviously, I’m not a sports fan.

I’m writing as my dubious alter ego, Middle-Aged Superhero. That adds credibility to my following prediction.

But living where I do in Fayetteville, avoiding the enthusiasm and clog of those who are fans is impossible.

Arkansas is going to win the game today against Alabama.

By 10 points.

Don’t bother calling me crazy.

That’s like telling a can of peanuts that it’s nutty.

I’ll probably miss the game, given that I’ll have to fly off and solve an emergent emergency.

If any of y’all are betting people, go ahead and liquidate your 401k and bet big against Alabama. We’re all going to work until we’re eighty anyway, so there’s no real risk.

You’re welcome.


Not The Usual Story

Not The Usual Story

Earlier, I watched as a crew dangerously and hilariously attempted to connect the electrical panel of the newly-constructed house next door to a utility pole. I heard a heated conversation yesterday in which one electrician patiently attempted to explain why they should not do it the easy way. That guy was obviously voted down. They used our apartment parking lot to stage the melee. Since they didn’t trim or remove any of the already dangerous overhanging trees from the property, it was foolhardy at best. (It’s a waste even to connect it there. With the first high winds, that house is going to lose power as the limbs snap off. I should know – I’ve picked up a literal ton of the limbs that have fallen there as they crash down. I feel a bit sorry for whoever buys the house with all those weak and damaged trees towering over it.)

Even though I should not let Güino roam so much, I let him periodically downstairs for short increments. I don’t want anything to happen to him. He’s 14 1/2 years old now. So, I pity him and let him roam a bit. I accept the risk of his possible demise by various causes. He’s insanely happy exploring. The cacophony of the trucks, crashing tree limbs, and the cursing of the workers scared him. I went out to retrieve him and couldn’t find him. The worse scenario filled my brain: he ran away to escape the noise, possibly forever. I waited ten minutes and went back around the area: no Güino. After a few more minutes, I found him sitting behind the loudest and largest truck with the canopy lift. Regardless of the workers, I crouched under the truck on its pedestal supports and managed to get him. One of the workers told me to move away. I was very polite and said, “Given that you’re on private property, undertaking a foolish means of connecting a power supply, I think I will go wherever I might please, sir. If you have a problem with that, keep it to yourself.” He didn’t reply.

When I went out and about, I discovered that I had sent my most prized possession (“the” nail) to the wrong address. It was my mistake. I knew that the address didn’t look like the current one, but I trusted the master list on which I keep everything. The nail might be lost forever. Either way, I had released it back into the universe. I told my sister I was confident it wasn’t lost forever, even though I can’t explain why I believe it.

I was in a weird enough head space anyway, and my anxiety had flared. Between the nail, the cat, and personal thoughts intruding on me, I was already a bit out of sorts.

When I was backing out of a parking spot at Walmart, I waited for a split second for a woman to my right to enter her vehicle and shut the door. I continued to back out, and I heard a weird shout. A man resembling a cowboy stood a couple of feet away from my car, looking very angry. Evidently, he had stepped out between the cars parked the opposite way. I’m assuming the huge red truck with a million accessories was his. I stopped and exited the car as he began his tirade. I didn’t even put my hands up, even though I was certain he would hit me. As he grunted and cursed, I took a step toward him. My eyes teared up, and he saw it. Something recoiled inside him. I saw it in real-time. He shook his head and walked away quickly. Make of that whatever you want to. I didn’t tear up because I was scared; quite the opposite. No matter how stupid this is going to sound, I think I wanted him to hit me.

A friend wrote and told me about the shooting in central Arkansas. I had a conversation about that sort of thing happening in the workplace this morning. One of my co-workers who has another job worked with someone who killed and dismembered his girlfriend. I’d say allegedly, but his track record of anger is well-known.

We all need a hefty dose of hugs and peace.

This is true every day.

Güino is safe. I’ve left the door open, and he’s exited and entered twice more, both times to get a few pets.

I’m safe but not sane.

I’ll keep an eye on the electrical lines as they spark and fail sooner rather than later.

Let’s keep an eye out for people who spark and fail, too.

But let’s also remember how much life has to offer.

Love, X

Already The Past

Already The Past

The headline is I have covid. None of my symptoms have been unmanageable. I, of course, have had every available shot. Not counting the tranquilizer darts at work, the ones they hit me with when I’m overactive. I would like to say I’ve been taking it easy. But that’s not the case. One of my memories on social media this morning is of me standing in the mirror, taking a picture of my huge scar a year ago. One of my principal complaints, other than being alive still, was that I couldn’t take long walks because of the surgery. Unfortunately, my scar has faded. I don’t ever imagine that I’ll forget the anxiety of waiting for my bowels to start working again. It’s one of those things that’s hard to explain to someone who’s never experienced it.

I woke up this morning around 1:00 and decided that today would be the day for an ultra-long walk. It’s been glorious. With no plan in mind, I set out walking, having decided I would walk until I couldn’t anymore. Even if that required an Uber to get back. It’s been a while since I’ve done that. The days are blazing hot, but the mornings are always filled with a light breeze and the dead quiet of early morning Fayetteville. This city is an entirely different place once all the bustle dies down.

Yesterday morning during a decently long walk, two young people came into my sphere. Against my better judgment, I intervened right on the street on Sycamore. A domestic dispute and a baby were involved. I bluffed the young man involved. He seemed to listen to me. But I thought about them on and off the rest of the day. Lord, to be that young again when everything seems to be a life-or-death situation!

After a few miles, I crested the interstate. I stopped only for a minute to watch the scattered vehicles pass under me. It’s a little bit zen to do that at 3:00 in the morning. That was a handful of miles back, and it already seems like yesterday.

I walked along the road that leads to Mount Comfort, remembering the scarcity of that stretch just a few short years ago. At the outset of the walk, I listened to music, but after a couple of dozen songs, I pulled off my headphones and let the night sounds be my melody.

Recently I got the great news that perhaps my dead cousin Jimmy might have a daughter he never knew about. The possibility makes me happy. Both for the daughter in question and the memory of Jimmy. He would have been over the moon to find out he had a daughter. I can’t help but overlap the memories in my mind, remembering the feeling of finding out I had a sister I never knew about for 45 years. It’s just biology, of course. Family is mostly who we choose. I would love to have all the people who died sit with me in a room with food, coffee, and probably a few shots of whiskey. I shared my massive family tree with the potential daughter. I try to imagine what it would be like to go online and see a full history of a family you never knew you had. Just like I try to imagine my cousin Jimmy laughing in that special way he did when something tickled the crap out of him.

I can almost hear it here in the darkness.

The long straight stretch of Deane Street was deceptive. After crossing under the interstate and traversing the 90° turn, I could see the lights far ahead of me at Garland, and they seemed to be closer than they were. It’s a beautiful stretch of road in the darkness. The small lazy crescent moon, the aura of city lights along the cusps of the horizon, and the ear-shattering chirp of September insects. It’s somewhere around 1.5 miles along that straight stretch. That surprised me. Distance, like memory, is deceptive.

I think I will remember this morning for years to come. I hope it won’t be my last ultra-long walk. But I don’t take my stamina for granted anymore. All of us stand as witnesses to people being surprised by the mechanics of their bodies failing.

Regardless, I will have the memory. And that’s what life is mostly about, stripped away of the exciting intervals.

My cat Güino was unimpressed by my long walk. He demanded cat juice upon my return and then seemed to judge me for being absent for several hours.

Love, X

Made Myself Laugh

I pulled into the inconvenience store to gas up the car. It seems to need it every once in awhile.

At one of the businesses nearby, I saw a man taking photos of a really nice deep blue sports car. I don’t know if it was a Jaguar, Toyota Celica, or what because I stink at identifying cars.

After filling the tank, I walked as close as I dared and took my shirt off and started waving it above my head. After a few pictures, the young guy taking the pictures noticed me in the background and realized I was probably in the shots.

I don’t know whether he was about to admonish me or not, so I preempted him my laughing and waving as I walked away.

Yes I put my shirt on.

There’s no need to torture innocent bystanders with my amazing good looks.


Penultimate Battle Regarding The Drug Shed

I waited for a day when I had enough pent-up energy to tackle what I knew would be the worst part of dismantling the drug shed behind my apartment simplex. I wore gloves this time (no, I didn’t on any of the previous battles) and used a regular claw hammer for the destructive part. It was loud as I grunted and hit the remaining support rails and metal with everything I had. It was therapeutic hitting that mess and watching it be reduced to its components. This time I didn’t worry about the noise or how ridiculous I looked – not that I ever do about the latter.

Instead of ants this go-around, it was mosquitoes. Hundreds of them. The torrential avalanche of insecticide I used on the ants after being attacked should have murdered anything crawling or flying back there. Wrong. I looked down at my sweat-soaked arm and saw no fewer than twenty on my right arm. I went inside and rubbed myself with oil. Naturally, I kept forgetting I was oil-soaked and got in on my face and just about everywhere else. Cleaning the bathtub after the shower was one of those things I should have thought out more clearly. There was one large black snake in the pile under the long strips of construction vinyl next to the fence. Just as I was about to reach down and swing it around by the tail and throw it across the fence, it slithered between the rusted chain links and escaped.

I filled about one-third of the dumpster with vinyl and trash; I have to meter out the quantity each time I use it.

I left every piece of metal out that I could. There’s a metal scavenger who frequents my dumpster. I reward his efforts in any way that I can. This year, he’s made a fortune in water heaters and air conditioners. Most of the ones here are from the 1970s.

The stout metal frame covered in rotted wood remains. It taunts me. Given that I made it this far, I’m going to remove every vestige of that horrible shed. Even if it kills me.

I sweated and felt my heart race for a solid hour. Though it fatigued me in one way, it also brought a sense of accomplishment. It’s pretty idiotic to feel happy about doing something that should have been done years ago. And by the people who own the place.

All these cleanup projects I’ve done are a testament to the law of increments.

It’s a good reminder and one I needed today