““I love you darling” she squeals.
That’s the extent of her English,
but she might actually mean it.
I guess he should have seen it the first time
they met in her mischievous glances.
It’s too cliché, everyone talks about overseas romances.
Even cliché-r when they say “C’mon, France is the city of love.”
He knows no French and can only say “oui.”
She says “marry me.”
“I’d love to be a citizen.”
“You can speak English. I’ll speak French.”
“Behind the counter, baguettes with golden crusts stand like soldiers,
In the back, floating in the air, staining her shoes, clutching her hair: ivory dust.
A man approaches her, asks her number, brushes flour from her shoulders.
Perhaps the pastries have made him bolder?”—
Boulangerie - Chicco Chou
So I wrote this when I saw some guy hit on Tiff in the bakery. He seemed so excited to meet a fellow American that he returned after a few minutes to ask if she wanted to see the sights in Paris with him. He gave her his email address. Dude was 50.
First and foremost I’d like to give a nice, big “fuck you” to whoever picked my pocket today. And not a gentle “fuck you” but the rough, rapey kind where your asshole feels like some convicts ran a train on you; the kind where you can’t walk straight for days; the kind where you shit blood for a week. You are a waste of space; your mom should’ve aborted you; the only reason you exist is to cause other people suffering and misery; I hope you continue stealing only to one day realize that you are an empty shell of a person, you are not satisfied with the material things in life, and you have a hole in your heart that you finally attempt to fill with a bullet. I hope that bullet misses and you have to spend the rest of your miserable life realizing that not only did you fail at life, but you failed at failing life.
So here’s what happened. Woke up, had breakfast with some roomies, then rode the metro to meet up Tiff, got to meet her coworkers, ate lunch, walked around Paris (seriously around) and fell in love with it even more, went to Notre Dame and it was beautiful, walked to an ice cream shop to buy an cone and realized my wallet was gone. The only thing that sustains my faith in humanity is the two nice hostelers bought me a beer and shared their own pickpocket stories, the nice helpful policemen, and especially Tiffany who was here with me through it all, walked with me everywhere, bought me dinner, held my hand, and gave me a hug.
They’re both convinced
that a surge of passion bound them together.
Such certainty is beautiful,
but uncertainty is more beautiful still.
Since they’d just met, they’re sure
that there’d been nothing between them.
But on the streets, staircases, hallways…
perhaps they’ve passed by each other a million times?
I want to ask them
whether they remember…
a moment face to face
in some revolving door?
perhaps an “excuse me” muttered in a crowd?
a curt “wrong number” caught in the receiver?
but I know the answer:
No, they don’t remember.
They’d be amazed to hear
that Chance has been toying with them
now for years.
Not quite ready yet
to transform into their Destiny,
it pushed them close, drove them apart,
it barred their path,
stifled a laugh,
then leapt aside.
There were signs and signals,
even if illegible.
Perhaps three years ago
or just last Tuesday
a certain leaf fluttered
from one shoulder to another?
Something was dropped and then picked up.
Who knows, maybe a ball that vanished
into childhood’s thicket?
There were doorknobs and doorbells
where one touch had covered another
Suitcases checked and standing side by side.
One night. perhaps, the same dream,
grown hazy upon awakening.
is only a sequel, after all,
and the book of events
is never more than half open.
day 1: leaving on a jet plane, don't know when i'll be back again
As guys we’re expected to fit our daily lives in a 3x4 piece of leather. And now I’m here at LAX with nothing in my pockets and everything on my back. Traveling is weird. I think I like the idea of traveling, more than the act of traveling. It sounds so romantic on paper: leaving your past behind, going somewhere new and exciting, jumping into the abyss, simplifying your life, cutting out all the excess, taking only what you need, trusting that distance doesn’t weaken or cheapen your relationships. Pretty damn amazing. But I hate traveling: lugging around a fifty pound bag, abandoning the ones you love, cramming yourself into a scratchy chair that reclines three degrees for twelve hours, breathing recycled air. Oh god. I think the worst part of it is deciding what to wear for the flight. Sweats? Flip flops? Jeans? Shoes? Do I want to be comfortable or look good? Can I do both? I don’t want to look like a slob, but then again, I’m probably going to be sleeping the whole time so I would prefer that my balls and ass didn’t sweat. Well here I am at Gate 121 wearing Chuck Taylors, blue sweat pants (with pockets! Actually it’s kind of strange. I hate carrying stuff in my pockets, but whenever I wear basketball shorts or sweats I always wish they had pockets. I guess I’d rather have something that constantly pulls down my pants than hold stuff in my hands.), my green Dance Marathon shirt, and a Quiksilver trucker hat. I have my 65 liter Gregory pack to my left and small daypack to my right. Everything that I think I might want or need is on me. I’m such a homebody. I think it’s the idea of having something to return to every night. There’s less pressure, more security, more stability, less responsibility. Well, there’s no turning back now. I guess I’ll see you on the other side of the pond. Shoot me an email, I miss you already.
I’m going to take a picture of and eat a Big Mac combo in every country I go to. Why? Because I’m a freakin’ American damnit! Yea, I’m loud! I’m ignorant of your culture! I’ll speak to you in English really loudly and slowly and use huge hand gestures so you’ll understand me better! Whatup Europe?
Oh, baby with your pretty face
Drop a tear in my wineglass
Look at those big eyes
See what you mean to me
Sweet cakes and milkshakes
I am a delusion angel
I am a fantasy parade
I want you to know what I think
Don’t want you to guess anymore
You have no idea where I came from
We have no idea where we’re going
Launched in life
Like branches in the river
Caught in the current
I’ll carry you. You’ll carry me
That’s how it could be
Don’t you know me?
Don’t you know me by now?”—Before Sunrise
Not many people buy diamonds more than once every few years; it isn’t hard to avoid conflict gems, which fund continuing violence around Africa. How hard is it for the conscientious consumer to avoid conflict electronics? Impossible, perhaps, because anything with a capacitor is suspect….
The other day I found myself in a Panera Bread, wondering how, in the post-Atkins world, a place so bread-centric could be so crowded. And then I thought of GOB Bluth, during the brainstorming session where he and Tobias were trying to come up with a good business idea, saying, “People love to carbo-load.”
As much as that was intended as a joke… maybe GOB knew what the American people really want. For every lettuce-wrapped burger that’s added to a fast food menu, there’s a Domino’s pasta-filled bread bowl. For every salad that’s ordered in this country, there’s a decent chance the word “taco” preceded it.
So, in the tradition of my 11 Most Profound Quotes in Simpsons History list, I decided to mine the genius of George Oscar Bluth II, the undisputed king of “Arrested Development”… and share some of his (not caged) wisdom about life, love, responsibility, parenting and geologists. Come on!
On father-son relationships.
GOB: "Well, I will tell you this, Michael. I don’t have a son—" Narrator: He does. GOB: "But if I ever do, I’m either going to take him to the cabin in the woods, or I’m going to promise to take him and then not take him. But the one thing that I will never do is not tell him that I’m taking him to a cabin in the woods, and then not take him!” Narrator: "GOB was growing up."
Of course, once GOB finally admitted that Steve Holt was his son, he really did everything in his power to avoid him. Which is kind of like not telling him that he’s taking him to a cabin in the woods and then not taking him.
But GOB’s more of a do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do kind of guy. All of the characters on “Arrested Development” are, including Michael. Especially Michael. (Which is part of what made him such a good central character for the show. Shows hit the next level when the audience starts to realize the straight man is actually just as insane as the other characters. For references, see Seinfeld, Jerry.)
On finding women to date.
Narrator: "GOB had been a pageant judge for years." GOB: "You can’t believe what it does for your sex life." Michael: "I don’t want to hear it." GOB: "I don’t want to say it. First place chick is hot, but has an attitude, doesn’t date magicians. Second place is someone weird usually, like a Chinese girl or a geologist. But third place, although a little bit plain, has super low self-esteem. So I step in and, uh, lay her crown upon my sweet head.”
I love that, in GOB’s mind, a woman who’s weird is either Chinese or a geologist. (That’s especially strange for me because, in the past five years, I actually dated both. Yep, a geologist. And you know what? She was one of the weirder girls I ever dated. Again, GOB’s joke-of-a-line is spot-on.)
Michael: "Well, I’m just different than you, GOB. You know, I’m not going to, you know, siphon gas out of some girl’s car like you used to in high school just so you can show up and say, ‘Car troubles?’ GOB: ”It’s called ‘taking advantage.’ It’s what gets you ahead in life.”
Knowing GOB’s not-so-veiled sleazy side, I’m sure this siphoning gas move was just one of his many, many dirty tricks. Sorry— illusions.
Michael: "GOB, you’re going to burn through this money and have nothing, all right? ‘You give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a night. If you teach a man to fish…’" GOB: ”He’ll want to use your yacht, and I don’t want this thing smelling like fish.”
He hasn’t quite mastered the principles of charity yet. (He also doesn’t quite get the Ten Commandments — when he tries to quote one, it comes out as “Thou shalt protect thy father, and honor no one above him unless it beith me, thy sweet Lord.”)
On the give-and-take of relationships.
GOB: "I’ve got this Christian girlfriend now, and she’s trying to get me to be a better man and reconnect with my son. And I’m trying to get her to renounce God and [bleep] me. And I just want to prove to her that I’m worth it.”
I think, at some point early on, every budding relationship has some form of this moment. Especially if you’re in a budding relationship with your nephew’s extremely religious, bell-shaped ex-girlfriend who recently came in third in a beauty pageant.
GOB: "I should be in charge. I’m the older brother." Michael: "Do you even want to be in charge?" GOB: ”No… but I’d like to be asked!”
I think we’ve all been in this place — having our jealous side kick in and make us really want something we don’t want (if only to say “no” to it). It’s like on “Seinfeld” when George wanted the guys from the carpet cleaning cult to recruit him, but they wouldn’t. Or when you’re at a strip club and the broken down, 1963-born stripper sizes you up and passes you by without even asking you to buy a dance.
On dating an much older woman.
Lucille Austero:"What you did to me at lunch today — you were ashamed to be with me." GOB: ”No! I was ashamed to be SEEN with you. I like being with you.”
The way he says this, you can tell he genuinely believes that’s a legitimate, viable, placating thing to tell the woman he’s dating. It’s a real shame it’s not — because it sure would save a lot of people a lot of excuses.
On dating a much younger woman.
GOB: "Excuse me. Look. I blew it, okay? But I bought a yearbook ad from you, doesn’t that mean anything anymore?”
I like this jab at the relativity of what’s important at different points in life. I remember sitting in student council meetings having bloodbaths of arguments over whether or not we should add a tug-of-war to the school’s annual Spirit Week. Seriously.
On overcoming fear.
GOB (after punching Buster in the stomach as he goes down a slide): "Now,when you do this without getting punched in the chest, you’ll have more fun.” Buster: "Thanks, brother."
It’s like “The Simpsons” scenario where an eagle starts pecking Moe in the face so he begs him to attach somewhere else… the eagle goes for the groin… and Moe quickly asks him to go back to pecking the face.
On absolute truth.
GOB: "A young neighborhood tough by the name of Steve Holt’s gonna be here any minute." Michael: "Your son." GOB: "According to him." Michael: "And a DNA test." GOB: ”I hear the jury’s still out on science.”
If you watch the right TV shows — mostly on networks owned by the same people who greenlit “Arrested Development” — you just might find some corroboration for that idea.
GOB: "My God, what is this feeling?" Michael: "Well, you know the-the feeling that you’re… that you’re feeling is-is what many of us call ‘a feeling.’" GOB: "But it’s not like envy, or even hungry." Michael: "Could it be love?" GOB: ”I know what an erection feels like, Michael. No, it’s the opposite. It’s… it’s like my heart is getting hard.”
Until he finally got a heart boner, the only feelings GOB knew were envy, hungry and an erection. He’s not the world’s deepest man. And this is, quite simply, one of the funniest exchanges ever on “Arrested Development”.