Strange Men in the Night

Terri during one of our many trips to Juno Beach

In August of 2007, I was in terrible health. My doctor recommended that I start physical rehab, but start slowly. I wasn’t sure what to do, so Joyce recommended that I practice yoga. I found a little studio in Palm Beach Gardens Florida. It was in an upstairs unit of a business park. It seemed dark and quiet, just what I needed. I walked in and spoke to the instructor, Jamar, who assured me that I’ll be able to go my own pace and flexibility is not a requirement.

I arrived early the next day and strategically placed my mat at the back of the class. The only other person in the studio was Terri. We started a conversation and discovered that we were both there to recover from surgery.

Over the next few months, Terri was my yoga-buddy. It’s good to have a yoga buddy, it insures that you show up instead of slacking off to watch TV. Terri also enjoyed walking on the beach, which was another good exercise for me. We spent a lot of time doing yoga, walking her dog ( Little Bob ) and making fun of Larry, a beach-goer who had a major crush on Terri.

Terri was going through a divorce, which at the time of this writing has yet to be concluded. She was still sharing the house with her husband which meant that she was happy to be out at any time. She would drive 1/2 out to go to dinner, movie, grocery shopping, beach, or even to come to my neighborhood to take Little Bob for  a walk. We became very close friends. It’s good to have someone who you can talk to while going through a major life change.

I had been to Terri’s house a couple of times to help with hauling hay for her horses. For a city slicker like me, her place seemed to be in the middle of nowhere.

Late one night I received a phone call from Terri. She sounded very upset and I could barely understand what she was saying in midst of the crying. One of Terri’s other dogs had died (not Little Bob). She have had this dog for many years, and she found the dog dead in the living room. She wanted to know if I would go help her bury the dog in the yard.

I drove to Terri’s place to find that she had wrapped the dog in a blanket. We moved the dog outside next to the drive way on a patch of grass where one of Terri’s horses had been buried years ago. Terri’s husband Bill was not home and probably would not have helped her anyway.

So the two of us began the task of burying this dog. Terri held a flashlight and I dug the hole. About half way through the digging, Bill’s truck pulls up to the drive way. He sat in the truck 20 feet away and watched for a few seconds. Then he pulled up to the garage, got out of the truck and went inside.

When the hole was completed, we lowered the blanket in, had a moment of silence and I quickly filled the hole and left.

I had never met Bill, and he had never said a word to me. What must be going through his mind as he watched the two of us digging a hole in the yard in the dark?

Later on I found out from Terri that during part of the divorce proceedings, one of Bill’s grievances was that “strange men would show up in the middle of the night”.

I guess that aptly describes me: Strange Man.

Today I thank: Terri, Little Bob, Joe, Mom, Simcha

Urban Golf

Not a bad shot!

Played a round of urban golf with Patrick. Check him out on my 100 people project.

That was a lot of fun. I love my new project. It was a beautiful day, spent with great people.

This was one of those spectacular days that you can’t wait to tell your friends about. I called up Patrick and we met at 2pm on his usual corner. When I got there I met Ben, who wanted to record Patrick for a radio show.

Patrick was not quite ready to start the game as he was still setting up his street photo gallery. Ben and I spent some time getting to know each other. He’ll be on 100peopleproject.com soon.

Patrick dragged a NYC garbage can from the corner down to the end of the lot. We emptied the plastic bag of milk containers and grabbed the clubs stashed behind a wall and were ready to start.

Patrick went first, showing me a few key pointers for proper street golf form. Then it was time for me to hit a few. I kept my head down as instructed and paid attention to the “ball”. After a few minutes of hitting, I shifted my gaze and noticed that a huge crowd of people have assembled to watch. People showed up with cameras to capture the moment, and each time I hit a ball well, the crowd cheered. Some even offered analysis of my swing.

When I was done, Ben joined in to also hit a bag of cartons. Forget journalistic objectivity, this is street golf dammit!

A few kids in the audience asked to play and joined us. The first kid came in and on his third shot, made the basket.

The. Crowd. Went. Wild.

People were calling their friends about the incredible shot, and for a moment this was a big as a hole-in-one at the US Open. Dozens of people shared a joyous moment on a street corner in New York City.

I needed to pinch myself to make sure this wasn’t all a dream.




Today I thank: Patrick, Ben, Terri, WW, LB’s mom

Birthday Present

Snowball from Blue Microphones

Joyce gave me a $100 gift card to the Apple Store for my birthday. I used it to buy a Snowball Microphone from Blue Microphones. I hooked it up today and this is my first attempt at recording music. I’m more of a guitar player than singer so you are just as much a part of this experiment  as I am.
[audio:http://www.chucklin.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/sweetpea2.mp3|titles=Sweet Pea – by Amos Lee]

Can’t believe I already have requests!

Joyce – Cooler than Me

Amy – Rainbow Connection

Alright, this is good, I get to learn more songs and practice the singing.

Thanks!

Also, I built a little website, http://www.taintkicker.com . It’s a site where I can rant about people in the news. Hopefully people find my rants amusing.

Today I thank: Joyce, Jack, Gina, LB, Amy

It’s not easy being green

Its not easy being green
Sorry, reading the lyrics off the internet.

Genny and I were chatting online. We worked together at MOLI.com in Florida and I haven’t seen Genny in a while. Her dad was in the hospital and in bad shape. She’s trying to keep it together but it has been difficult. Our common bond is having to take care of our fathers. As bad as I feel about my own situation, she is 10 years younger than me and life must seem even more unfair.

She shared with me a memory of her father entertaining her when she was a child. He would hide behind the foot of the bed with Kermit the Frog puppet in hand, and sing “It’s Not Easy Being Green” for her lullaby.

My father was not that type. Parenting was a woman’s job. But I think in his way, he loved his children. He just didn’t know how to show it.

Genny, I hope your dad gets better soon. I know this is a poor substitute, and I only had a couple of hours to prepare, but this one is for you.

Today I thank: Genny, Joyce, Anthony, Simcha, Jack



The original version

Butterfly

Babysitting Altan

“Have you heard from Lyvia?” asked Bomee.

No. And now I can’t stop wondering what happened to her. She’s one of the few that are not on facebook although my other non-facebook friends still keep in touch via email. I don’t know what happened to Lyvia. So off I go to my old hotmail account. Among the hundreds of unread messages in my account, I find one from her

RE: c pas très drôle mais cela nécessite diffusion‏

From: lyvia ~ (xxxxx@hotmail.com)

Sent: Thu 2/25/10 12:49 PM

To: chucklin@hotmail.com

Hi Chuck!

I am fine. So happy to see spring back. Winter was rude!

You are back in NYC?!? How are you????!!!!

Big hug!

Lyvia

Tag. I’ve been IT since Feb 25. I’m sorry Lyvia, I must give you a more active email address.

Lyvia, The Butterfly. When I met Lyvia, she was the girlfriend of a close friend of mine, V. To know Lyvia, all you really need is to look at a butterfly. She flutters beautifully, never in a straight line. She stops to admire every flower. She is happy, and she is free. I have so many stories of Lyvia, it’s hard to pick one to put down in this blog. I had quite a few adventures with Lyvia as well. There was a trip to Woodstock, a trip to Montreal, and a trip to lockup. Lyvia taught me to be silly, to dance and sing in the streets without care. She smiled constantly and always had a joke, even though I didn’t always understand them.

There is one story of Lyvia that I always replay in my mind when I think of her. Lyvia was there for me when I was at my lowest point, though she barely knew me at the time.

My life is a constant roller coaster, but in late 2002/early 2003 the coaster plummeted straight down into the abyss. New York was devastated by 9-11 terrorist attack and I sunk my savings into an investment that failed miserably. I was completely broke. I was sharing an apartment with Lyvia’s girlfriend but when I couldn’t pay that anymore, I had to move out. I put everything I needed into a laundry cart and walked out into the cold.

Up to this point V had been the world’s longest lasting couch surfer. She’s been staying on my couch for a couple of years. She saved all the money she earned and now she had a little bit of money for her and Lyvia to have the place to themselves. I was angry that she didn’t offer to reciprocate the favor and sad that my life had spiraled out of control.

I felt like a zombie, unable to muster any emotion or expression. Life was just about going through the motions. I was living in the office which did not have heat at night or the weekend. Often it was so cold that I would sleep in the closet with a space heater.

I refused to speak to V, but Lyvia came to visit me daily. I’m not even sure why she did. She barely knew me. I think she came because she saw a person in pain.

So it goes. Everyday she would buzz the door and I would answer. She would come upstairs, sometimes with coffee in hand. I rarely said anything to her. I accepted the company because rejecting her would take too much effort. Lyvia brought over the Xbox and asked to play HALO. I had left the XBox behind because it was a non-essential item that would have taken too much room in my pushcart. Lyvia made all sorts of strange noises and silly faces. She tried every way to get a rise out of me, but I wasn’t able to respond. I was worried that any facial expression might cause my stone facade to crumble.

Finally one day I decided that I would reward Lyvia for her efforts. As she was leaving, I managed to pull back my lips and give her a weak smile.

Lyvia’s face lit up and with her thick Swiss/French accent said “Good. I see you tomorrow”.

Then the roller coaster started moving up again.

Today I thank: Lyvia, Bomee, Altan

Sevilla

Where's Chuck?

Some time ago I traveled to Spain with Bomee and Laura. We called ourselves The Wandering Fools and made some business cards using a printing kiosk. There wasn’t much of a plan, only to see Spain, to taste the food and to listen to the music.

Our first stop was Sevilla. We rented a small apartment from an agency in a location I would never be able to find on a map today. Each morning I woke up early to explore the city while Bomee and Laura slept in. I didn’t venture too far and each time I would pick one direction and retrace my steps. I would return after a couple of hours just in time to share the bounty I picked up during my morning trek.

Toward the end of our week in Sevilla, I decided to take an extended walk. I didn’t have a map, didn’t speak the language but this time I was determined to venture past my comfort zone. I tried to remember the path, 2 blocks, then right, then 3 block, then a left, then 10 blocks, then, then, I was lost.

Instead of feeling panicked, I felt free. I walked around heading towards whatever looked promising, whatever sounded wonderful and anything that smelled good. I wandered aimlessly and for many hours until all of the sudden, I found myself back in front of the apartment.

Today I finally went to take a walk out of my comfort zone. I got lost. But it felt good. Then I found my way home.

Today I thank: Wonder Woman, Bomee, Laura, Anthony, Jason

View from Chart House, Weehawken, NJ



Got my ball and fish. I drew the Blue Devil once before in a pictogram challenge.

Birthday presents. The Blue Devil returns.
Pavlo, Tom, Ian, Jeff, Jack, David, Darlene, Anthony, Chuck, Brandon, Duke, Keith, Janice, Farook, Rich, TJ, Scott, Ryan, JKim, Mike, Doreen, Louis, Lisette

Hillary C

100 People has moved. Follow it HERE.

Hillary, a friend of Ora’s is a TV/film producer. She came to New York from Massachusetts. Hillary is a big Broadway show fan. I live in the best city in the world and I rarely go to see a Broadway show. She’s also an avid tennis player. That reminds me of another thing I need to do. I live a 1/2 block away from tennis courts. All new things added to my list of to-do’s.

Anyone needs TV/Film production help, contact her at http://www.hillarycutter.com .

Sakura M

100 People has moved. Follow it HERE.

Coney Island Roller Coaster

Sakura M heads the list of my goal of meeting 100 interesting people this summer.

She is a FIT graduated designer who works for Sustainable Furniture www.uhurudesign.com. They combines some of my favorite things: clever design, art, and Coney Island. She gave me some ideas for the new apartment and assured me that wood can be combined with glass without looking strange.

Uhuru uses reclaimed lumber from Coney Island to make their furniture.

New Challenge

Bobo petting my leashed cat, Three. Doctors couldn't save the hand.

This is Amy. We’ve been friend a long time and she’s one of the funniest people I know.

Our birthdays are a couple days apart ( mine on May 2nd and her’s on 4th), so we’ve always been able to remember the approximate date for each other’s birthdays.

Amy and I also share the same physical condition, we were both born without an inside voice. Our combined mental age is around 28, with me being the slightly older one.

This photo was taken in Austin Texas where Amy lives. New York wasn’t big enough for the two of us. That morning I was leaving Austin to continue my drive/adventure across country so we went to Torchy’s for some breakfast burritos.

Today Amy and I have a new challenge: Meet as many interesting people as possible this summer and blog about it. 100 Days, 100 people.

After this photo was taken, I told Amy to order a Dirty Sanchez from Torchy’s menu. She had no idea what that meant but she did anyway. See, that’s how cool she is.

Today I thank:

Amy, Marie, Jason Mraz, Anna, Sterling