Sunday, September 29, 2013

Balance

I recently stopped in to pay a hotel bill from a year ago.  In the lakeside northern Wisconsin town I grew up in, I was able to establish credit with a locally owned and operated franchise, God bless 'em ... and G-bless and huge thanks to property manager, Lisa, AHS Class of '85, who greenlighted the account.

Whenever I'm 'up north' now, traveling solo, to visit family and collect myself (or old belongings and record albums (!) that I wish to keep) ... I have a welcome place to stay that doesn't have to be my old bedroom.  I'm able to stay a spell and pay later, without any kind of restrictions, hassles, room, key or damage "deposits", or even having a zero account (folio) balance.  It's like an honor system, pay as you go thing, and nothing could suit my needs more aptly.

I was 'home' last year at exactly this time, and took advantage of the hospitality ... Then, over the course of 2013, I set up digs overseas, lived and worked in New York, forged a new path and wrestled with SEO ... and did not keep up my end of the tacit arrangement with the local hotel.  I returned to New York at some point during this past summer, to numerous mailed invoices from the hotel, and entreaties from poor Lisa, usually scrawled in red pen, "You NEED to pay this!" ... "Please pay IMMEDIATELY!" ... "This is 340 days past due!!!"

Now despite what you may or may not have heard, read, searched, found, discovered or lazily and ignorantly swallowed about me after typing your search query - not only am I not a "criminal", "thief" or "scammer", but I'm also not a lowlife or a deadbeat.

I'm BUSY, and have been POOR most of my working, adult life!  But this does not mean I'm unwilling or even unable to pay you.

So I paid up the hotel bill from 2012 ... and not once did anyone trash talk, threaten, insult or talk nonsense about "theft (of services)" or any other "charges"; or furiously type in an email, or publicly post anywhere online, that Jeff Glovsky is a "criminal", "scammer", "thief", "schemer" or "scumbag".

Photo(s) by Jglo
Such offensive, false and defamatory language was eschewed in this case, by a person who knew me (or at least knew of me, having actually met me once or twice in high school) - and knew better, professionally, than to carry on like an asshole.

For this, I am grateful, and offer back the greatest respect.  This particular hotel franchise, and its parent, will always have my business.  To those other businesses and services, and people, to whom my business and my person might somehow be unwanted, good riddance and good luck with yourselves.

You're not needed.

("O-kay", I hear you shrugging ... the second syllable going up a couple octaves in your nonchalance.  I don't really give a shit either, just so you know.  Couldn't care less.) 

Now on the other hand, if you're a business owner -- like me, a professional, breadwinner, family  man --  and your earning power, livelihood and reputation have been attacked and/or destroyed by ... well, someone like me:  feeling aggrieved, slighted, inconvenienced, insulted and raring to poke a fat finger back, and/or spit, in your eye ... and you've been so maligned ... why not tell me about it?  Why don't we join forces?

I want to know what you've been through.  I want to hear the way "AlanP"'s anonymous "yelping" has all but ground your business to a halt; how "quixotic"'s frustration with her life and day has wound up on your hotel doorstep, so that you've had to end up dealing with her and reading all about your alleged 'negligence', 'dishonesty' and 'crap service' for the next however many years you remain in business after the internet is told to "BEWARE!!!" of you.

I invite you to share your story, and name the real names of your most rude, overbearing, obnoxious and entitled-feeling guests and customers.  In the interest of fair play, and of course, "freedom of speech", this time has come.

"Tipping Point", ©Jeff Glovsky

Friday, September 20, 2013

September... Auf Deutsch

I've begun reading, just for shits and giggles (as they say in the old country), Extrem Laut und Unglaublich Nah - which is Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close ... auf Deutsch.
Now the fact that I can't speak, read or fully comprehend Deutsch without a dictionary, or a drunk companion, does not deter me.  I am giving it the college try!   I started at the beginning of this summer.  I am already on page six.  I've found that if I skip around to the English bits -- words that I recognize, like "New York City" ... "Money Can't Buy Me Love" ... "Stephen Hawking" -- the pages turn faster.

Der Herbst, autumn -- in fact, life in general -- is all about the pages turning.  I approach fifty ... My parents, still living, are in their eighties.  My brother, still stuck in the '80's, is forty (Just kidding about my brother ... He isn't really forty!).

We're OLD, dude.  Alten S├Ącke!  And yet, though I still might rage (or flail) against the "machine" and show petulant, (sort of) tongue-in-cheek truculence toward Facebook and "its" generation, I still dig sounds I know Gen Y finds interesting ... can get up when I fall still, and have all my hair.

Beyond this, I have begun doing the same thing Gen Y is all doing:  putting my "work" out there ... unabashedly, shamelessly tiring you with it - my writing and imperfect photographs ... Words & Images, Random Poetix and Faction by Jeff Glovsky.

The key difference between me -- that is, my own generation, so aptly (nondescriptly) labeled X -- and the Facebook / Gen Y crowd -- the so-called millennials -- is that I leave the house.  While Gen Y hides behind its computers and smart phones and mixers and apps, I enjoy nothing more than walking, live music, fresh air and potential ... while still creating, doing, being, like Y does ...

It's not entirely Y's fault, though - the fear and feeling of What's the Point? that it has.  Gob-smacked with the Great Recession and trying to feed itself and excel in the worst economy in 80 years ... with guns creating daily havoc and so many jobs out there not worth the pennies (or "experience") they insultingly offer ... the running for the comforts of (mom's) home and "man caves" -- not to mention the support and opprobrium of vast "communities" of global strangers -- can be sweetly tempting ... in the same way I loved lying on my bed or sofa, "channel surfing" and talking to friends on my land line back in the day ... I get it.  I get the urge, almost the need, to stay home.

What I don't understand, and never will, is the eschewing of normal, everyday, whole life functioning.  Millennials seem to have collectively blown off driver's licenses, cars, homes, careers, marriages, children ... adulthood.  Intellectual curiosity ... anything with the faintest whiff of active participation.  They are a musical bunch, to be sure - capable of passively (aggressively) tuning out; but give them an instrument, or a book, it will languish untouched - unless it's an i-Something.  If it's a shimmering, vibrant keyboard graphic, or wildly animated guitar or drum kit ... That, they will pick up and click on, to "play"!

But I'm lumping now ... painting with broad strokes.  Like a racist or homophobe, I'm lazily generalizing.  Like every alter Furz (old fart) gone beyond 40, I'm trying to root for my own generation, and the certainties of the world I knew when I made the rules up while going along, and the paradigm shifted for my demographic.

I am over.

As the torch becomes past ... and the leaves of youth fade and fall like sex around my ankles, I can only watch, helplessly mixing metaphors ... hiding away inside a new world I wasn't born into, and don't (yet ;) fully comprehend.
Photo(s) by Jglo - 'Enchantment'
"Verzauberung (Enchantment)", ©Jeff Glovsky

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

"Celebrating" 9/11

A dozen years ago already.  Almost last century.

And I remember the sirens.

New York is, has always been, a hot bed of decibels.  Among other gruesome sounds and noises, sirens forever going off ... but on this date twelve years ago, as I sat on the Upper West Side near Lincoln Center, literally miles away from "Ground Zero", they weren't just hitting-and-running through my consciousness.  They were becoming embedded.

As the 9am hour began that day, on September 11th, 2001, the sirens kept coming and going off -- police cars, fire trucks and ambulances -- and coming from all sides:  from uptown, downtown, east and west ...

A cacophony, full arsenal, of howling sirens that crisp, blue morning, as I finished my bagel and sat wasting time, told me something substantial, and amiss, was occurring.

I was freelancing then (as I still freelance), but not working steadily.  One of my regular clients was an audio visual company installed with an office on the 106th floor of the World Trade Center, in the North Tower.  When that tower collapsed -- taking with it the office (where I'd arrived for a job just two days earlier) ... as well as the renowned Windows on The World restaurant and several friends and colleagues -- I was back home, having my every suspicion confirmed.  The sirens were right:  something massive was happening.

"Views on Freedom", ©Jeff Glovsky
A dozen years later.  Older.  Unwiser.

I think of the years in between with regret; of the lack of substantial forward movement career-wise, creatively, living-wise ... conjugally.  Businesses and a marriage failing, friends (and colleagues) come and gone ...

I think, twelve years later, of every nook and corner of the 106th and 107th floors of the North Tower, which my client, the in-house AV company, serviced ... and what I might've been doing just before 9am if I'd worked that day (and not two days earlier):  Sitting, sipping coffee, reading a newspaper, maybe doing a crossword ... waiting for the day's first meeting to begin, so I could unmute a podium microphone (then go back to my crossword!); then truly gruesome, hot decibel noise:  explosions, heat, fires, bewilderment, panic ... Where would I have run to die?

Knowing myself, I probably would not have piled into a crowded, dark and smoke-filled stairwell to begin a slow-motion descent from the 106th floor; or I certainly would have been loathe to do so, and likely remained put, trying to wait things out ('Let's see what happens').

As certainly, I would not have run and plunged for oxygen.  No matter how fresh air seemed to be evaporating, throwing myself out a window from the 106th floor wouldn't have crossed my mind as an option:  if the stairwell was unpalatable, trying to take flight, to this day, remains inconceivable.

Now possibly (also knowing myself) ... I might have been downstairs already, out on the street - buying coffee or a newspaper, or using a payphone, when American Airlines Flight 11 crashed in, at roughly 500 miles per hour ... but really, who knows?

John F. Puckett did not have time to think things through.  Neither did Christine Olender, and 1,358 others above the 92nd floor.  I wouldn't have either.  Who does?  Who would?

All I know for certain is that I'm still here ... my flailing life, (e)strange(d), beautiful wife ... friends, family, my dreams and prayers.  And in the 'Big Picture' scheme of things, that's what I celebrate each September 11th - and the other 364 days also.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Syrias-ly?


Yes, it's personal.

War-like, with screaming calls to battle ("YOU ARE A F*#!ING CRIMINAL!") and overreaching shock and awe tactics, designed to get all Hiroshima ... which sadly (for everyone involved, and too many who were not at all), has achieved its intended effect over the past three years.

I have lost.  Copiously, tangibly.  And to this day, I continue to be abused and bullied by certain fools who believe it's their right or their calling, or it's somehow okay, because Hey, it's "out there", online, so it must be okay ... and must be true!

You don't mind, do you (Scumbag), if I pile on and harass, make demands of your ass and get all hateful?  You deserve it!  You must be used to it, right?

I'll just post a little bit too ... slander, libel ... add a few non-facts after the fact.  Use CAPITAL LETTERS - because like the rest of the internet, I'm PISSED OFF!!  Entitled, self-righteous, anonymous (though you'll always know very well who I am) ... and I'll do this, unless you meet every demand I decide to make!

You own the apartment - I'm your guest, in your property.  But I'll fight you!  Create problems, invent them ... talk nonsense, "yelp" bullshit and CALL YOU NAMES because I'm a misery.  Plus I feel inconvenienced.  

Plus, I read online somewhere that you deserve what I am fully prepared, and have cleared up my life and calendar, to give you.  Or give someone; "Jeff"'s not even your real name!  All criminals use aliases!  Jeff Glovsky's a crook, right?  You rip people off!  I'll make it certain that your clients and customers -- whom I'm not involved with, don't know and have no business ever being in contact with -- all know this ... so that reasonable dealings and communications, resolvable problems which might arise and/or potentially smooth and successful transactions with them -- developed and nurtured from a place of trust -- remain elusive to you, your family, business(es) and livelihoods.

... ?
But about your apartment - I lost your key and locked myself out.  So??  I won't cover the cost of the locksmith and the replacement key.  Of course not!  I'll CALL THE POLICE if you try to deduct the cost of the locksmith and the replacement key from the security deposit I argued about giving you.

I'd like to pay for the apartment in full the day I arrive, please.

Wait ... Why is this not possible?!?

Okay.  So if you can't just hold the apartment in limbo, turning away other potential tenants and hoping I actually show up in a couple of months ... then how about I send you $25, $50 in good faith?  Obviously, I won't pay anything else up front.  And I've got a friend in town who can visit the apartment and see it for me (just to make sure it exists).  When will you be in town?  If not, I'd like to do a walk-through when I arrive, before paying - Again, just to make sure your apartment exists and I'm not being SCAMMED!!!!!!

... Then, depending on what you have inside and the overall condition of things, I'll offer you what I think is an appropriate security deposit for myself, my two pets and my three children (but really, it's just me who will be staying in your apartment ... just as we discussed.  But we're all well-trained and well behaved.).

Jeff!  I've been trying to reach you.  You don't pick up your phone, and you won't let me text you?!?!?? I just called your wife and parents (I found them online), to see if they could help me contact you ...

Anyway, I'm 'checking out' of your apartment in ten days from now ... just as we discussed.  I want to make sure you're there when I leave, to get my security deposit back.  My flight is at 6am.  Probably leaving the apartment around 3:30 ... Make sure you're there, or I'll CALL THE POLICE again (Scumbag)!

Actually, such tenants -- such human beings -- from the belching, eruptive bowels of hell, have been relatively infrequent ... yet it's a tragic fact, to which I can and will attest, endlessly - that such obnoxiousness, stemming from fear and fueled by ignorance, does exist.

Because in 2010, things were made personal.  The sovereign state of my personal name and reputation was invaded -- raped, violated, left to die by the side of the information superhighway -- and as a result, everybody ended up losing battles.

Now, going forward, it's the ones who keep coming ashore with faulty intelligence -- the lazy and dangerously misinformed, who launch and re-launch the same attacks, the same Hiroshimas, September 11ths and Syrian gas nightmares ... perpetually offensive because they think there's no defense -- who are going to end up not winning the war.



Friday, September 6, 2013

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Labor, No Love Lost

(or, Square Peg in a Round World)


I'm ill-fitting, and self-absorbed.

Most of my writing is in the first person, and I'd never heard of Paula Deen until last month.  Even in my salad days -- or more accurately, my bacon cheeseburger (medium rare), profiterole sundae days (and late night, bad life music nights) -- I couldn't care less about popular culture.

Knee-jerkingly antipathetic toward anything "mainstream", I pointedly avoided the sardonics of "Seinfeld" ... the cloying, warm fuzziness of "Friends" ... the bilious pomposities of Rosie and Oprah, the horse jocularities of Ed and Jay Leno ...

Of course, Ed McMahon was with Johnny Carson - I stopped having time for that guy too, when he hosted the OscarsBilly Crystal, Tom Hanks, Whoopi Goldberg, forget it.  And Robin Williams ended up going the same route:  essentially abandoning all that shtick about "drugs and people passing out" ... betraying his essence, reigning himself in and joining the cloying and warm, fuzzy "mainstream".

When Howard Stern became a judge on "America's Got Talent", all bets were off.  That, more than anything, put a nail in the coffin of what I perceived to be my 'youth':  rebellious, obnoxious, enigmatic ... Outside looking in, but not wanting to be in.

My early work life, not a whole lot different.  The fake camaraderie and/or seeming pointlessness of the American "air-conditioned nightmare", as Henry Miller put it (and as it perfectly describes too many of the office work wheels I've been a cog in) provided a woefully bumpy labor ride as a young adult ... and working in restaurants, I would either stare wistfully at a couple's table, assessing their body language, watching them smile and behave with each other and wishing I had someone to do the same with;

or wistfully stare at the asses of waitresses - blithely ignoring all other needs.

I've lost jobs and had businesses fail, often through nobody's fault but mine.  I've been labeled inappropriate, apathetic, inefficient, off my game, "superior to superiors", inferior to what's needed, beyond what's acceptable ... and, almost as ludicrous as the suggestion of (I guess) arrogance or condescension in the superiority comment above, I've been called unclean.

Now as you might imagine, of all of these, the complaint about my personal hygiene stinks the most.  Then again, it was probably the most head-scratching and off the mark, in terms of not only my work ethic and job performance, but also (as anyone who knows me will attest), my person.

Simply put, I am clean.  You're welcome to smell me.  I lift up my arms, with my shirt off, and dance; I blow in your face my hot, sweet-smelling breath ... I trust you'll inspect the long middle fingernails thrust with insouciance deep into your eyeballs.  And lick me.

By all means, you can lick me.

I'm clean.

This is what ricocheted through my brain, the day I got sent home from the lakeside restaurant where I used to wash dishes -- an early foray into underemployment -- and where, just a few hours earlier, Big Katy (Boss Lady) had reprimanded me that day about not chopping up some lettuce correctly.

"Make sure you really chop it!" said she ... pushing another fingerful from the salad bar into her mouth.  "This way, the customers can really get at it!"

She left the dining area then -- and me, in my filthy dishwashing apron, standing there with a head of lettuce which she'd lobbed my way like a softball pitch, after peeling a leaf off and blowing her nose with it -- and a few hours later, I get sent home because I'm "unclean"!

This is how people roll, of course.  The dirtiest, weakest, sickest links are always the quickest to point and think, "Do (and say) unto others ... "

And thus they do ... when they fit well.

Happy Labor Day!
"Night Work", ©Jeff Glovsky