Tag Archive for 'middle east'

Is a turkey fucking sandwich too much to ask for?

Up until about 24 hours ago, if you asked me what VP was, I would have told you that VP is this cheap and awesome deli/health food store with Spartan but functional dining accommodations and a staff comprised mostly of cheerful stoney punk Middle Eastern kids rocking Neurosis t-shirts .

And if for some reason, you needed more reassurance before dining there, I would have added that the food and service are flawless and the place is always clean.

If there was one thing in this whole wide unpredictable and fucked up world that I could count on, it was that VP always made a mean turkey sandwich.

But things started to get weird the second-to-last time I was there. The Plimsouls ?Million Miles Away? came on the radio and this emaciated Hot Topic-clad alternateen white chick behind the counter felt the need let everybody in the room know how much she just looooooved the Pixies.

Sorry, kid. Wrong band. Opposite end of the decade really. And they sound nothing at all alike, but whatever. So she?s like 12 years old, a new addition trying to prove herself to the all male, ?bro-down,? VP sandwich-making team, and doesn?t know the difference, but at least she?s trying, albeit a little to hard.

But then, as I?m perusing the ?soup of the day? selections, Hot Topic starts shoving celery in the food processor and announcing how she sick is, how swollen her glands are, how she can?t breath, to the other members of the crew, to the patrons, to anybody that?ll listen. This is before she wipes her runny nose on the sleeve of her black ?Green Day? hoodie and coughs ten times into her celery and snot covered hand.

Watcha makin? there kiddo? Sounds yummy!

But the sexy doesn?t stop there.

After that a LOUD CHEWER sits down next to me and ruins what?s left of my appetite as a I inspect with paranoid eyes my turkey sandwich for germs I can?t possibly see. Of course I eat it b/c I?m starving, but my stomach twists with each bite as I wonder how soon I?ll be infected with whatever Hot Topic has. Thankfully it never comes.

So yesterday. I asked for chili. Word on the street said ?bees knees.? There wasn?t enough for a cup, but that doesn?t stop the pasty, pock-faced skinny boy new hire from honoring my request. Instead of telling me they?re out or making more, he scoops the crust off the bottom of the steam pan and hands it to me anyway, ?on the house.?

Thanks dude! Just what I wanted, some chunks of burnt black chili to tempt my stomach for that sandwich I?ll order but never get (I?m getting ahead of myself?)

So I order my standard turkey on wheat: lettuce, tomato, mustard, light mayo, avocado, sprouts and Swiss. As I wait for it, a frantic, nervous, frosty-spike-haired sweaty dude in a tank top asks to share my table. I oblige.

I can feel him staring at me as I read my book and that?s kind of annoying, but then he starts to CHEW HIS SALAD SO FUCKING LOUD, every bite all drawn out and dramatic, like a fucking cow. I glance up just to see if my ears are playing tricks on me and he?s chomping shamelessly, mouth wide open, staring back at me with an equally dumb, cowish look that tells me he wouldn?t mind if I snatched an already half-masticated bit of his salad off his tongue for a taste test.

I pass, and attempt to go back to my book, but my concentration is strangled by the slopping of his mouth. Thankfully the loud chewer clears his plate in less than 5 minutes and sweetly leaves his trash on the table (I can only assume to remind me of what an incredible salad I missed out on).

My turkey on wheat finally comes and it?s a ?wrap? not a sandwich. Whatever, no big deal. Mr. Skin behind the counter tells me to keep the wrap as, like the burnt chile, it?s ‘on the house.’ Post gifting me the wrap, Mr. Skin then promises to finally make me the turkey sandwich I originally ordered.

I take a seat, wait for another 15 minutes, stomach growling. Now the replacement sandwich comes and this one?s wrong too! No tomato. No avocado. No mustard. No mayo. No sprouts. WTF?!

So as I?m gnawing through my dry toast and naked meat sandwich my eyes wander to the staff, to the other customers waiting, and I start to wonder why nobody shopping or eating at a health food ever store looks healthy. Everybody looks like they have xeroderma pigmentos, they?re at the end of a meth bender, prepping for a Proactiv audition or on their way home from their 100th collagen party, myself included.

I look like shit. I?m white and skinny and fat and puffy and blind to boot.

So WTF?! I?m thinking. Why did I even start eating here in the first place? It?s not like VP?s healthy factor has done me any good?

And then there’s THIS GUY…
This amazing lunatic (to rip and misdirect a famous Twain quote originally intended to describe Varanasi, India) ?is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend and looks twice as old as all of them put together’ and check out what his diet consists of?)


Now I could have easily looked past the Plimsouls/Pixies mix-up, the sneezing, snot-wiping, loud chewing, the risk of infection, the gratis helping of shit chile and the first failed wrap.

But seriously VP, I counted on you.

I needed you to deliver one thing.

And no, it?s not just meat and bread and cheese.

To me it?s much more than that.

It?s the pleasure of relief that washes over me with every bite I take, the comfort of knowing that something — ANYTHING, even the quality of a sandwich, can be relied upon.

Your turkey sandwich, forever it seemed, represented a microscopic constant in the chaos of an infinite system.

And for all the joy something so simple can bring, I ask you VP:


So tomorrow it’s In N? Out for lunch where I?m going to wash down that double-double and animal-style fries with a 40 oz. of St. Ides and smoke unfiltered Camels until I black out.

Who’s with me?

She reads palms. I read the paper.

Before I begin, please do realize that I am acutely aware of how the following passage, when objectively analyzed by anyone with an IQ over 110, is riddled with contradiction. Getting to know oneself never gets old, and as the years go by, many times we discover that we are in possession of the traits we despise the most.

Now back to the bees wax:

When I heard there was going to be a psychic at Katie’s aunt’s 70th bday party I was annoyed to say the least.

I tend to despise “psychics,” oracles or soothsayers of any kind and disregard astrology as wanna-be deep small talk hippie drivel that engages the uninteresting with its ability to make one feel special.

I live in the real world where we have science and there are rules and shit’s interesting enough that I don’t have guess as to how moon phases might play into my psychology. I know I’m fucked up and I can tell you why and it has nothing to do with waves or moons or cycles or stars or when my parents conceived me, (but boy was I a “surprise.”)

I loathe mystical pseudo sciences and anything hippie-related in general. There are better ways to change the course of the planet than dressing like Janis Joplin, throwing up and couple of bunny ears and stage diving a Hilary Clinton appearance to preemptively protest a nonsexist war on Iran.

You want to stop a future war? Start reading about the past and learning from it. Start listening to each other instead of the Grateful Dead.

Rather than hang out on the couch at your parent’s place in Malibu this summer, have mommy and daddy send your trustafarian ass out to the Middle East you claim to know so much about.

And I know this concept might sound a little to “groovy” itself, but I am a firm believer in DIALOGUE. It has saved my life on many occasions (although it is not always an option: See “Two-Way Mirror.“)

It is knowledge that will save us if we are to be saved. (not implying an afterlife here.)

So get off your ass and go somewhere. See what’s up. Make shit happen or shut the fuck up and go bang it out at the drum circle.

Nothing opened my eyes more than to how shit can get done in little simple ways than sipping tea and listening to music in a mud brick store/house/hut in central Turkey last fall with Muslim men who the American press would have me believe hated me (Below’s a shot of the official listening party for ?The Haunting? my latest ?single’)

getting drunk with a TURKISH professor and a KURDISH hookah bar owner (what cable news would call “bitter enemies” of each other) in a bar in Seljuk,

and all this while the country itself was on the edge of a revolution after President Ghul was elected. Nearly ran into him at the Ramadan festival while I was there (literally). Here’s a blurry picture I took:

I went in debt to go over and learned some lessons I’ll take with me to the end. And yes I know, Turkey isn’t exactly Khartoum, but don’t worry I plan to go. As soon as I have the dough I’m going to roll from the Cairo to Kathmandu and I suggest you do the same.

Anyway, all of this anti-hippy shiz being said, I easily turn into something that resembles a hippy when I drink just the wrong amount of red wine or sake or take certain types of drugs. (See ALIA NEED IS TRUTH - FLATMATE SEARCH PART 2 ? DECEPTION AND REVENGE for a clip of my bongo playing).

And I also received a “non-verbal” message from a friend of mine who’s some large percentage American Indian.

We were standing in her kitchen across the room from each other. She was putting away dishes and I was looking at a magazine, and though her mouth wasn’t moving I could hear, very clearly, her voice in my head. I don’t remember what the message was (something mundane. I wrote it down somewhere) but after receiving it, I repeated what I heard back to her and she said without hesitation (and with her mouth), “I always knew you were able to receive, I just didn’t know if you were ready for it.”

“Receive?” Fuck you. I don’t want any part of it. I’m fine with the gang of voices already fighting for control of my head on a daily basis.

My friend then very calmly explained that she began hearing voices in around age 15 and was suicidal until her grandmother sat her down and began to teach her the ways of telepathic communication. I freaked the fuck out, left the party, didn’t sleep for a week and pretty much chose to erase the whole incident from my mind until last two Sundays ago when I put my palm in a stranger’s hand who was being paid weak American dollars to “read” it.

The “psychic” arrives, charts in hand, smiling soft, serenity in her clear blue eyes, looking like she came straight from picking up a her month’s supply of fresh Nag Champa at the Venice Beach boardwalk.

She’s pale, I’m guessing Irish, has bobbed reddish hair and carries with her the faint scent of aromatherapy. She’s rocking a blue silk, kimono-style dress, biker boots, and, as a head band, she’s wearing a redsilk Japanese-patterned sleep mask.

At first I’m thinking it’s a function-related look, that she’s going to put the sleep mask on each of us so we can be hypnotized, or find a meditative state easier, or at the very least she’s going to surprise us with a pi?ata.

She never does.

She just wears the sleep mask as a headband or maybe she siestas between “readings” in the car. Who knows.

Anyway, I watched other partygoers go first, all of them sweet, polite, less critical and more sane than me. She takes their palm and reads their chart straight off a pre-printed sheet. So lame.

And every time she came even within 100 psychic yards of being right, the truth was right there for the room to see in the face of the person being read, be it a smile, squint, grimace, whatever. People love to hear about themselves and your expressions are a cheat sheet.

So I?m thinking 20 minutes of research on the web and I couldn’t be robbing people blind at birthday parties on my days off, but then I remember I don?t have any days off.

So it?s my turn and I’m ready to fuck with her.

I meet with her away from the party in a small bedroom. I’m the new guy at the party anyway and I?d rather not have the hypothesized contents of my soul read in front of a crowd.

She takes my palm and I steady a dead gaze out the window toward the neighbor’s house and let her do her thing. She asks my name. I tell her. I can feel her watching my face, so I turn my head away even more and let my face fall to an even dumber stare. I barely blink. I’m half asleep. “She will get nothing” the mantra loops in my head and I grin (on the inside.)

And she nails me.

First she tells me that I’m an artist and that my creativity is not focused on one type of art, but that I work in multiple mediums. (Maybe it was the guitar fingers and the paint splatter on my hand). Whatever.

She tells me I struggle with following any previously existing societal path. That I make my own rules for life and follow them, that in any normal 9-5 job situation, I feel like a caged animal. (a year ago I quit screenwriting after optioning a couple of scripts, started deejaying and writing short stories/working on my novel again) as I could no longer work a day job. This site would never have existed had I not decided the day after last year’s Coachella ended to change the course of my life).

She tells me I?m depressive, that my biggest struggle is not letting it take me over completely, (true and true) but my depression fuels my creativity (true), that my work is most important to me (true), that I am a pioneer (um… don’t know about that but I do have a very real fear that if my novel is ever actually published I will be assassinated for insulting, for all the right reasons, the type of people that judge and insult others as a way of life and murder regularly in reaction to acts of disrespect toward their own beliefs).

She went on to tell me that I am capable of maintaining relationships, but they are secondary to my work (true), that I prefer and need my solitude (true) that I travel often, including many short trips, if only to relieve myself of the boredom of staying in the same place for any amount of time (true).

She tells me money is coming and will never be an issue (hasn’t come yet) that even though, in the past, I may have worried about making rent, the money always comes somehow, that I always receive it in the nick of time. (This reality of this is way to crazy).

Just the day before, the day after Alia, the girl who was supposed to move into our extra room bailed on us, leaving Jackets and I down $1,000, I sold my Roland JP-8000 on Craigslist to make up for the lost dough, which wouldn’t be odd if I hadn’t already been up on Craigslist for a lifetime before that, never receiving one legitimate offer.

When my last computer ate shit last year, somebody emailed me out of the blue and bought my old URL (never having advertised that it was for sale in the first place and never having had any previous offers to buy) which bought the machine I’m typing on now.

I needed to pay the medical bills after getting hit by an uninsured driver, got in another car crash five minutes after pulling my newly-repaired car out of the garage and paid the bills with the $15,000 I received. Now some might call this unlucky, but when you’re broke, you call it blessed.

And this has been going on for years. It’s fucking crazy.

So back to the psychic: She’s slowing down now and good timing because I’m realizing my poker face has slipped to “what the fuck?” look.

“A request for the psychic DJ?” I ask. She obliges and I ask her when and how I will die: the year, the month, the day, the hour.

I catch a hint of fear and she tells me she doesn’t know. I tell her she’s supposed to. She says it’s unethical to tell me. I tell her it’s unethical not to. I can do a whole lot more for the world if I know how much time I have left.

But she doesn’t tell me.

What a fucking gyp.