Tag Archives: Bullshit

Talking about the weather

Every time I find myself in a discussion about the weather, it’s not even like two sentences back and forth when this awareness clicks in my head. Shit, I think, I can’t believe I’m talking about the weather again. And chances are, I’m the one that started the conversation. It’s like, when I’m presented with another human being, there’s something inside of me that does whatever it can to avoid even a quarter of a second from slipping by without a steady stream of words coming out of my mouth.


And so I don’t even realize it, I’m just like, “Wow, can you believe how cold it is outside?” It’s such a cheap trick, because once the topic of weather is introduced, it’s a guaranteed minute and a half to two minutes of pure automatic banter. You don’t have to worry about any awkward pauses or having to think of anything especially clever to say.

No, you make a comment about the weather. Then you wait for whoever you’re talking with to respond, usually it’s something like, “I know, right?” All right you’re both on the same page, you’re both amazed that it’s actually this cold out, even though it’s February. “But the snow! I think we’re getting more snow next week!”

That was me, adding another layer to the veneer of dialogue. I don’t even know where I got that from. I probably just made it up. That’s one thing that I’ve become painfully aware of. Considering all of the nonsense weather related chit-chats I’ve been guilty of initiating, you’d think I’d at least have a dedicated tab in my browser open to some sort of a weather web site, if not several weather related smartphone apps.

But there’s nothing. I never check the weather. You don’t need to. First of all, most of the forecasts are very loose predictions. Anybody remember those three-to-thirty inches of snow we were supposed to get last week? Sure, the science is there to give a prediction of what the weather might look like ten, seven, five days from now, but unless it’s a three-day forecast, it’s probably not going to come true.

Then we finally get to that three-day window, and say something of interest is actually on its way to our area, that’s when everybody starts talking about it. My mom will tell me about snow, or I’ll be in line at CVS and I’ll see everybody in the store buying their weight in rock salt. Again, at this point I could flip open my phone and see what’s what, but why bother? It’s obvious that everybody else has done most of the research on my behalf.

It’s the weather, it just happens. Sometimes it’s raining, most of the time it’s not raining. Unless you live in Seattle, or Ireland, but I don’t, so I don’t even know where my umbrella is unless it’s actually pouring outside and I have to take my dog for a walk.

So you’d think that, considering my awareness of how ridiculous it is to talk about the weather, I wouldn’t be that guy that’s always pulling meteorological half-truths out of his ass. I don’t know why I do it. I’m looking back at my post history here on this blog, and it’s disgusting, at least twice a month I write something about how hot the summer is or how cold the winter is. It’s like I can’t even stand the idea of pause in between blog posts, so I just start babbling away about the temperature, precipitation, or lack thereof.

I’m the guy that makes fun of anybody that dares to ask me, “Cold enough for ya?” on a really cold day, but then I go ahead and ask everybody that I meet for the rest of the season, “Hey, cold enough for ya? Huh? It’s winter. It’s wintertime. It’s cold.” And what if it wasn’t cold? What if this winter were a really warm one?

“Oh man!” I’d talk and babble, “You call this a winter? It’s so warm out! I wish it were colder. I really like snow! I heard something that we’re supposed to get a blizzard in three weeks. Maybe. I think there’s like a one percent chance. I’d better get some rock salt. Do you have enough rock salt? You better get to CVS, I think they’re going to sell out. There’s never enough rock salt. Is the heat on in here? I’m freezing.”

I’d better update the resume

Every once in a while I’ll get this urge, something like, you what Rob? You’ve got to turn it all around. What are you doing here, waiting tables, writing nonsense on this blog? You’re losing it, man, you’ve still got time to make something of yourself, of your life. You’ve just got to get out there, you’ve got to get hungry. Are you hungry Rob? You better start looking, come on man, making some opportunities. You better update the old resume.


And then I get a physical reaction in my stomach, shit, my resume. Where is my resume? I look in the documents folder, scroll down to R. There are a few files, resume.docx, resume(1).docx, down the line, all multiple files that I’ve saved with the same title. Every time I do it, I’m not really changing anything, a date here, some made-up achievement over there, I click save and my computer tells me, “Rob, a file named resume already exists. Do you want me to save this anyway?” and I’m like, “Yes, computer, just save it, just save all of them, just push them under the rug, OK, stop judging me computer, I know, all right, I’m well aware of how many resume files I have, that they’re all basically identical, minor variations of the same baloney document.”

What am I doing in the documents folder anyway? It’s much easier to just head to my email outbox, just find the last time I’ve sent out a resume, that’s got to be the most updated version. March? Really? Yikes. I guess I’d better take a look and see what I’ve got to work with.

OK, everything seems … basically the same really. I’ve just to change all of the 2013s to 2014s and … and what? This is terrible. This is just a really, really bad resume. I can feel whatever it was that motivated me to find this resume in the first place start to die down a little. Like, maybe I’m not doing so bad, sure, I’m getting a little sick of the same-old, same-old, but it’s not that bad, not really, not worth going through all of this … this resume stuff.

Because man, college was a long time ago. And yeah, the Peace Corps, that was something substantial, that a pretty big shot of adrenaline to the heart of my resume. At least, it was back in 2011 when I got back. I think it’s started to look a little dated again. I can already see the interview in my head, “So Rob, what have you been up to for the past two and a half years?”

Ha. That’s funny. This resume would never lead to an actual interview. Even if I did manage to spruce it up. What would I do with it? I’d send it out. Where would I send it to? To a bunch of random email addresses that I found on the Internet. I’m sure that ten thousand other people aren’t doing the same exact thing. I’m sure that whatever’s inside of my resume will be just the thing that gets my name out there, prompts someone in charge of hiring to reach out and get in touch with me.

And for real, where am I going to send this thing to? What am I looking to do exactly? I browse all of the listings on craigslist and I’m left with even more questions. What are all of these companies searching for in an employee? You know, besides being a motivated, eager, self-starting go-getter who works great both independently and as part of a team.

Why is five years experience “a must” for a job that starts at less than thirty thousand a year? Why is everything on this job listing either “a must” or “a plus?” Ability to finish projects is a must! Knowledge of Microsoft Office is a must! Being open to work through the weekends is a plus!

I can’t even look anymore. You know, I guess my job isn’t that bad right now. Sure, I don’t want to do it forever, but man, I can’t make sense of craigslist anymore, everything’s blending together, all of these duties and responsibilities, nothing’s really explained, why do so many hiring managers write out their job postings IN ALL CAPS!!!!!! WHAT KIND OF PERSON WOULD I BE WORKING FOR THAT SEEKS EMPLOYMENT ON THE INTERNET WRITING LIKE THIS?????

And here I am, I’m just making fun of everything, I don’t have a current resume, I don’t think I’d be able to put one together, not really, not with out blatantly making stuff up, even more than the stuff that’s already on there. No, my job’s not that terrible. I have a pretty flexible schedule. I go to work and I’m running on autopilot.

Maybe I’ll go to grad school. That could beef up the resume. That could be something. Maybe I could make up that I already went to grad school and put that on my resume. I mean, it’s not like they’re going to ask to see my diploma, right?

Intermediate to Intermediate-Advanced Wines: An Introductory Course to Bottle Service

I’ve been working at the same restaurant for maybe six months or so. I’ve written about wine before, how I didn’t know anything about wine, and then about how I had to pretend like I knew a lot about wine to get my current gig. But I’m experienced now. Everything’s different. I’ve soaked up so much wine knowledge.

Well, that’s not really true. I’ve soaked up some knowledge. A little bit. And it hasn’t really been a soaking, like a sponge. It’s more like if you imagine me to be a piece of wood, and if you kept that piece of wood submerged in a barrel of wine for six months, you’d take it out, and it definitely wouldn’t be soaked with wine, but there’d be a stain, at least the wine made some impact on the wood.

And that’s what I’m like. I’m stained with wine knowledge. But only slightly. I’ve said this before, but most people who want a glass of wine don’t really care about what wine they’re drinking. “Give me a glass of red,” or “I’ll have some Pinot,” whatever that means. But every once in a while I’ll have some customers that sit down and really start mulling over our wine list. When this happens it’s my cue to stand up a little straighter and do my best to pretend like I know what I’m talking about.

At this point, you should know that if you’re sitting at one of my tables and looking past the wines that we sell by the glass, you already know more about wine than I do. In fact, asking me a question is only going to prompt me to make something up, to sound convincing, and so I’ll be doing you a disservice, doing the wine a disservice, because I’ll say whatever garbage I concoct with the utmost confidence.

Worst-case scenario, I’ll get called out on my mistake, which is easy enough to correct. I just start using my really contrite voice, contrite but equally confident, “I’m so sorry sir/ma’am. I don’t know why I said that. I apologize for my mistake.” Best-case scenario, look, I like wine and everything, but seriously, who is going to go to a restaurant, order a bottle of wine, and then call out the waiter for not knowing what he’s talking about?

One time I had this couple ordering by the bottle. I always get nervous because somebody might order the wine based on the location, like “We’ll take a bottle of the Russian River Valley,” and I’ll try to lean down and squint to where the customer is looking, without appearing too obvious, and I’ll say, “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear what you said. Can you repeat that?” and then after they repeat it I’ll say, “Excellent choice,” before running to the kitchen with my own menu, hoping that I can piece together what they were trying to get at.

Anyway, at this table ordering the bottles, the guy kept asking me way too many questions. “What vintage is this Cabernet?” and I seriously had no clue. But I didn’t want to be like, “Let me check that out for you sir,” because then he would have lost all confidence in my knowledge of wines. Which, to be fair, if he had any confidence in my wine knowledge, it was totally unwarranted, and as a paying customer, he should have access to whatever information he wants to know.

“2008,” I told him, totally pulling a random number out of my ass. Come on. The guy’s sitting there with a menu of our wines. Don’t you have an iPhone? Just do a quick two-minute Google search and you can probably find volumes written about whatever bottles we have. It’s like when a tourist asks me for directions to some landmark in the city, I just want to be like, “Don’t you have a phone? Just look it up. What do you think I’m out visiting the Statue of Liberty every weekend?”

I have a firm policy against writing the phrase, “But I digress,” but that’s exactly how I would have started this paragraph if that firm policy weren’t in place. The guy wound up ordering that 2008 bottle of wine. Shit. I hoped he didn’t order that bottle specifically because of the year. I went to the wine closet, found the bottle he was looking for. 2009. Huh. That’s pretty close actually, not bad for just making up a random number. I brought the bottle to the table, showed it off. Should I have said something? About that whole 2008/2009 thing? Maybe. But I didn’t. Not right away anyway. I opened it for him, he didn’t object. About halfway through the meal I went over to see how everything was going and I said, “Huh, I thought that was a 2008. We must have received a new vintage.” The guy nodded. He probably knew I was full of shit.

I’ll conclude with another random wine anecdote. If I’m doing bottle service, I always pour only the first glass, and then I leave my customers alone. A lot of the other waiters and waitresses will be constantly refilling their guests’ glasses, almost after every sip. If I’m ever called out on this I just say, “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t want you to feel rushed.” But really I just hate pouring the wine, because there’s always that little drip down the side of the bottle, and a lot of the time I forget to carry around an extra linen, and so, what, I’m going to just let it get on the table? Maybe stain their clothes? No, just have at it, because I’m not coming back. Cheers.

My words of wisdom

I periodically give myself these pep talks. I do it in writing. I’ll get on the computer, open up a new Word document, and I’ll start typing, like, “You can do it Rob, you’ve got what it takes,” type of nonsense. Most of the time it doesn’t do anything. Usually it’s more of a physical exercise, a warm up for my fingers. Once I really get going, well then I’m going. I just use the whole motivational approach to at least try and get myself to say something positive, even if I’m totally faking it.

But once in a while, amidst all of the cliché phrases and platitudes that I’ll be mechanically typing out to myself like a crazy person, something will click, like maybe I’ll look at one of those cliché phrases from a slightly different perspective, and while I didn’t really expect anything to come out of it, I’ll feel slightly motivated. I’ll also be really impressed, by my apparent ability to just come up with amateur philosophy out of nowhere.

But then there’s the opposite also. The other day I was trying to pump myself up, I was telling myself, “Rob, listen, the hardest part is just getting started. Once you get going, you’re good.” And I was going with it. It made me feel good. It made me think that, maybe I’m a lot better than I give myself credit for. Maybe it’s just a matter of getting off the Internet, getting away from any distractions, stop reading the newspaper, stop trying to play and sing The Darkness songs on my guitar. It’s not happening.

And so there was some motivational magic in there somewhere. Every time I found myself with four hours to write, four hours might turn into three hours without a word written, without having pried myself successfully away from the Internet. And I’d say to myself, “Rob, remember, just get started, just go for it.” And it would work. Instead of wasting another two hours before maniacally trying to get everything done during those last sixty seconds, I’d start typing.

But after a while the magic wears off. You say the same thing over and over again, you stop thinking about what the words actually mean, you stop finding those new perspectives that provided that change in attitude, and then you’re just wasting huge amounts of time on the Internet again.

Then the other day I was back at the motivational exercises again, I was trying unsuccessfully to get myself going, to inspire myself, something. But, and this is often the case too, if I’m not in the greatest mood, I might start out saying like, “You can do it!” but my bad attitude laced consciousness will hijack control of my fingers, and I’ll start writing everything negative, how this isn’t working out and how that isn’t coming together.

Luckily this only lasted for like a couple of paragraphs or so. I caught myself. I thought, what, I’m just going to sit here and complain about myself, to myself? And so I pushed the positive thinking again, I pushed some bullshit positive phrases out. And somehow my fingers started typing up something along the lines of, “Look Rob, it’s easy to start something. It’s really simple to just begin a project. The hard part is finishing them up. The difficult part is the successful execution of an entire plan before moving on to the next.”

And for some reason this really resonated with me. I thought, yeah, that’s it, I’ve just got to go back and tie up all the loose ends, finish up the last paragraphs on all of these blog posts that I always just start writing up without ever ending. And then from here on out, I’ll make sure that I go all the way with my ideas, try not to let myself get distracted with a new idea before an old idea is complete.

And it was the same way. This provided me with a couple weeks worth of inspiration, motivation, whatever you want to call it, positive energy. I was moving. And it was all thanks to me kind of dwelling on these words of the pseudo wisdom that I cooked up.

But as those words are starting to wear off, and I’m finding myself just back to the abscesses of my mind, thinking about where I’m going to turn next, I realized the inherent contradiction in all of this, about how I got so excited thinking that all I needed to do was to get started and then getting equally pumped up thinking about how all I needed to do was to finish everything up. So now I just feel kind of like, huh, all I need to remember is that the hard part is starting, and also, that the hard part is finishing. I have to start and I also have to finish. That doesn’t sound like advice at all. Definitely nothing close to philosophy. What kind of games am I playing with myself here? Should I really be writing to myself in the third person every day? Isn’t this all a little crazy?

Let’s go Mets! Let’s go Mets! M – E – T – S Mets, Mets, Mets!

I barely follow sports at all. Whenever something big happens, like one of the local teams makes it all of the way, or some new superstar moves to town, I always make sure that I know just enough about what’s going on so that I can join in on any potential conversations with friends or coworkers. I’m pretty good at faking any conversation. One time I talked to this guy about the TV show Breaking Bad for like four hours, and I had never even seen a single episode. He didn’t know that. I feel like, when people talk about stuff that they’re interested in, most of the time they’re only concerned about presenting their own ideas without any obstruction. And I’m the perfect guy to have that type of chit-chat with. I’m not going to be like, “I hate Breaking Bad,” I’ll be like, “I know right!” Validation, enthusiasm, direct eye contact. I’m really good at pulling just enough tiny fragments of pseudo-information out of my ass and presenting them as mirrors of the first person’s point of view.

But anyway, sports. Even though I couldn’t tell you exactly what’s going on right now, I’m still invested just enough that if push came to shove, I’d be able to pick a side and join allegiance against any enemy fans. Since New York has two of every major sports team, this means picking a favorite across the board. And I have one of each. And it’s totally arbitrary. Well, maybe just a level up from arbitrary, because at this point, I’ve been a “fan” of each team for my whole life, so if anything, there’s a whole history based on what was once an arbitrary decision. So that has to count for something, right?

I definitely hate the Yankees. I’m not sure why, really, but the hate is real. So I have a Mets t-shirt. I’ll wear it around. It’s a cool shirt. I like the Mets’ logo and their colors. I love Mr. Met. But I’ll always find that whenever I’m walking around outside with my Mets shirt on, at least one or two complete strangers will feel the need to shout out something to me like, “Let’s go Mets!” as we cross paths. And I’m always way too late on the interaction to say anything back. I’m taken by surprise every time.

I really don’t get it. I live in Queens. Everybody’s wearing a Mets shirt. Is this person walking around screaming out, “Let’s go Mets!” to every single fan that he passes by? And it never comes out exactly, “Let’s go Mets!” it’s more like, “sco METS!” the first two words combined, said really low, and then Mets almost screamed, but not actually screamed, but by comparison, because the “sco” was said so low.

What are these people all about? What’s your angle? They look out at the world and they see things that confirm everything they already believe in. So it makes them happy to see themselves reflected back at them in the outside world. If you really need this type of a boost all the time, I guess a popular local sports team is a pretty good way to get your fix. Look at that bus! Mets logo! Yes! Guy with a Mets hat! All right! Another Mets shirt! Sco METS! I’m at Citi Field! Hell yeah!

I’m just walking around, head in the clouds, and by the time I’ve realized what’s even gone down, I’m just like standing there, turning around in circles, not even sure if the person who said it is still near me, or even which one of these people would have said it in the first place.

What am I supposed to do? I always wonder what I would say in response if I actually caught the comment as it happened in real time. Let’s say I see this guy approaching me, and I know he’s going to do it, he just has that look in his eye, and sure enough, like a foot in front of me, he says, “sco METS!” And I just stop. And I put up my hand for a high-five. And I say back to him, “All right! Mets! Wahoo!” Would he return my high-five? I’d be going out on a limb there. But then again, this guy already went out on a limb by saying something to me. And seeing as how I never ever respond, like I said, not because I’m rude, but just because the whole “sco METS” to random strangers things is always something I’m never expecting, I’m constantly leaving people hanging.

But I don’t really want that high-five to be reciprocated. Smack! Now we’re bros. Want to go grab a beer and watch the game? Uh, sure, I guess. That guy would find out in about ten minutes about how much I know about the Mets. Actually, that’s not true. I spent the first paragraph of this piece writing about how great I am at bullshitting about stuff that I don’t know anything about. And so I would be forced to sit there through the whole game, just nodding at all the right points, “I know right!” every single time. And it would be awful. Where was I going in the first place? Why did I drink so much beer?

One time I was looking for a job and feeling so down on my luck because nothing was going right and nobody was responding to my resume and I wasn’t getting any interviews. I’m walking around with my hands in my pockets and my head hung low and I see this lady with a duffel bag. The duffel bag was emblazoned with a corporate logo. So I stop right in front of her and scream out, “sco Goldman SACHS!” And she took a huge sidestep and tripped on the person next to us trying to get away from me as fast as she could. Come on lady! What the hell! Just give me a job at Goldman! I’m a fan! I swear!