Ready.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

9pm on a Sunday night: Chris and I came back from our weekly grocery shopping.  I was ready to hide out of sight of anyone that may know me with my scabby injured face and he was probably wondering why I was being such knucklehead.

I just can’t look at people with my face right now.  I can’t take myself seriously at all.

We walked into the store to see an old 90s favorite, Zima, back on the shelves.  Okay! I put that in my cart!  We continued on to find Oreo Cereal that, again, brought back the 90s.  Finally, we picked up a boxed set of the television series, “Becker” starring Ted Danson and (you guessed it) lived on in the 90s.  

Back in the car, Chris was making Instagram videos of his 90s adventure while I was ready to come home and hide like a hermit again for the the remainder of the day that I have as Recovery Day #3.

I am ready to head back to work in the morning and get life going because, frankly, illness doesn’t fit me very well.   I can’t be a sedentary person that stays home all day.  A day is nice, but too many days in a row sucks.  I originally had this weekend scheduled out for a Summer Holiday.  Chris and I were supposed to be in Denver, but low and behold, that didn’t happen.

As I sat around last night, I researched salons and businesses and websites and looked at my own identity and realized its past-due to overhaul the whole image of my logo, my bio, my everything.  We strolled through the store today to see all these 90s artifacts and I, myself, am feeling a bit artifact-y.  Three days away with your thoughts is bound to do that you, I’m sure.  Mostly, summer does that to me.  I know that kids are out of school at this time of the year, but there is something about summer that (even as an adult) brings a lack of seriousness to work and play.

I don’t dress the same for the salon as I do the other nine months.  My work ethic and demand are not the same in the summer as they are the other nine months and I tend to sleep in a bit more and lull around the couch a bit more.  I sneak off for occasional beers during the day more and go for walks and wish for afternoons in the sun and walking around listening to music when the evenings cool down.  During the day, I kind of just want to lay inside and enjoy the air conditioning.

Three days away on recovery has let me think about a few things like health and taking care of myself and my overall general moodiness that people have come to know.  No one made me moody, I choose to be kind of grump mostly because its much more realistic to me than seeing the world through rose-colored glasses.

Summer was always my favorite season as a child.  I enjoyed June and getting to sleep in and swim and eat hot dogs every day.  I liked going to my grandma’s house for days on end and I loved staying up late, binge-watching TV and taking post-swimming pool naps. By July, I generally hated my grandma, my parents, sister or the whole lot and my Dad would pester me as to WHY certain chores were never done on time.  I was not into that. August came and so did my birthday.  My birthday always signals the end of summer.

Laying around these past three days sick at the beginning of summer was a little reminder of yesterday and being a kid.  I got some chores done, watched TV, slept late and have become annoyed as if July has reared its little head in.  In July, I was normally hottest and most uncomfortable due to heat and seasonal allergies.  Some things never change!

I remember waking up with swollen eyes or lips as a kid and not wanting to go out at all and just lay around waiting for my face to feel better.  My dad would pressure me into taking a Benadryl and I would be so drowsy and high that I would fall asleep and forget what the tasks for the day were.

I’m ready for this allergic reaction/cellulitis to go away.  I’m ready for my birthday.  I’m ready to go back to work.

The Weeknd.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Well, today is hot.  It’s 100 degrees outside as I sit on my couch “in recovery” popping more meds and listening to iTunes.  I decided to finally listen to The Weeknd’s latest album “Starboy” all the way through. Ok.  I get it.  He’s young, millennial, tortured, kinda.   He reminds me of Kanye if Kanye sang. I thought Kanye was very very brilliant as a producer, but he’s a terrible narcissist.  I think the Weeknd is talented, but he is incredibly diluted and self-tortured like most of the young people now.  He’s deeply reaching for a Michael Jackson/Prince vibe.  I think one day he’ll wake up and realize that he is not either of those individuals, but I do believe he is a tortured soul like Kanye. What artist isn’t?

When every song is about pills and waking up with a new girl and saying the n-word, I doubt there’s much depth to him until he gets in the studio.  I also doubt that he is not very sociable.  I would think that he is an individual that knows how to social media interact, but cannot communicate: much like these millennials I keep referring to.

I have a client that used to live in Apartment A that tells me not to be so unkind to the millennials because she categorizes me as one, but sadly I fall “this short” (imagine my fingers making the gesture) of the window of time in which she is referring.  Millennials, to me, were born in the 90s and grew up with technology.  I was not born in the 90s and I did not have all the technologically at my finger tips until it was introduced to the world like everyone else in the AOL days.  So I’m very sorry, Julie, but you are wrong.  I am not a millennial.

I find millennials very passive aggressive and very condemning people.  They talk constantly about accepting everyone and want us to be open to everyone’s views, but they are the first ones to pipe up and put you in your place when you begin to explain your views.  They say comments like, “some people think that,” and “some people say that,” “some people“, “some people“.  They never place the possession for fear of offending someone.  Just say who offended you!  Just call them out!  Don’t spare my feelings, millennials, I’m a big boy!

That’s all I hear in the The Weeknd’s lyrics: millennial and passive and diluted. Spoiled.  Entitled.

Besides that, I’m on to my second cup of coffee today and sat calmly while my Greek Yoghurt facial worked its magic on my face.  My face is looking better.  Scabby where the infection was, but no longer swollen.  My eye is a little irritated as the infection has been draining and I am having hope that I may be able to conceal my scarring with makeup by (hopefully) Wednesday.

Tomorrow I have another day off for recovery, but I think I’m gonna mosey on over to the salon to air it out and get some paperwork done and cut Chris’ hair.  My scalp is very tender so he can’t really cut mine yet.  The cellulitis left me incredibly tender so it will be a  week or so before I can touch a brush or comb to my head.  I’ve been wearing a turban the last couple days at home.  It feels good with the pressure on my temples as I battle through the residual pain left from any inflammation.

Yes, this blog post sounds whiny, but keep in mind that I’ve been listening to the Weeknd and he sounds like that to me too.

Perhaps we should turn this music off and find something more soothing or fun.  His pills and random hook-ups are getting to my head and it has already been through enough.

 

Healing.

Friday, 16 June 2017

“Stay off social media” Chris warned me last night.

I rolled my eyes.

“You won’t heal if you are stressed and reading social media stresses people out.  There’s studies about that.”

I rolled my eyes and sighed.

So, earlier this week I had a series of bites on my scalp and face.  Lets give or take twenty of them (YES, TWENTY!).  I knew Saturday something was wrong and by Sunday morning was red and throbbing with a massive headache.  Monday I began to swell, Tuesday my face was so big I looked like I had mumps.

I sat with Anna, my nurse practitioner and showed her my scalp.

“Oh my god!” she exclaimed.  “That looks like cellulitis”.

I’ve heard the word.  I never researched it.

Wow.

Let me tell you something about the world of the smartphone: it’s a scary place.  Wikipedia, WebMD and multiple articles are a pressing and scroll away from making you feel the agony of death sniffing at your neck. It’s a cold sweat reading article titles and category captions.

Cellulitis is a swelling, an infectious one at that.  It can travel rapidly and most often progresses into a staph infection.  That’s scary shit!  If left untreated, it will get into your blood stream and effect your organs.  At such left unattended point, it can turn you septic and you will die.  Yes, you will die if it is severe and untreated.

Something that scared the shit out of me was when I read about cases where cellulitis was on the scalp or face (like mine) and it can lead to head trauma and meningitis.  Holy fucking shit!  If there was ever a time to call the doctor and take every med, it was YESTERDAY!

So, a few days later, here I sit with scabs on my face looking like a Meth head and listening to spoken word albums and trying to avoid stress in an effort to allow my body to heal with the use of many drugs and my Nurse Practitioner’s orders.

Tonight is Shabbat and I would love to murder a drink, but it’s not wise to drink with antibiotics when you’re fighting an infection that could turn life-threatening.  Sparkling water for me and an easy night watching telly with Chris in the living room and maybe playing a board game.

I am rarely ill and rarely scared, but this cellulitis stuff is very scary and it is something that consumed my brain in thought for the last four days.  It takes very little for us as humans to get really ill and take a turn for the worse.  We have to be very careful.

I stress to people alot that I am not a fan of Western medicine, but when the going gets tough, you go to the doctor and you follow orders.  I can holistically balance my life as much as I want, but when it is something that can be potentially life-threatening, trust me: you don’t want to fuck with your health!   You have one go-around.  So listen to your doctor.

I come from a long line of family members that do not always listen to their doctors and it pisses me off because they don’t pipe up and say, “can we try another treatment?” or “is there anything else we can do?” or even, “I don’t like those pills, anything else or can we follow-up in a week/month/xyz time.”  They just don’t listen.

I am not such a person! I will listen.  I will obey and I will always pray and stay home and be a good boy and play cards nicely and rest and drink water and eat healthy probiotics to get better.  There is no reason in acting bad-ass when you’re sick.  Just admit that you need to get better and need help and allow those around you to help you.

I told Chris I was gonna stay home and read and listen to some Rumi and spoken word albums and prayers and chants and read the Zohar and eat pasta or whatever my little heart desires and that’s what I’m doing.  The TV is not on, the phone is on Do No Disturb and I will (soon enough) be back to mouthy, little Josh.

Don’t fuck with your health, friends.  Just don’t.  Listen to your doctor, your nurse practitioner or whoever you choose to see for healing.  They are the professionals.  They don’t want to see you suffer either.

My biggest appreciation to Anna Martinez.  Not only is she Chris’ aunt, she’s one of the most knowledgeable people I know in the medical field.

Now, time to rest.

Bitten.

I think I’m on my third cup of coffee from the percolator.  Yes, we have a percolator at the house now courtesy of Christopher’s nina (godmother).  I had been longing for one, practically pining, for over a year and now we have one.  I officially have one for coffee, one for tea and a Bialetti Espresso Machina for espresso.  No more drip coffee for us!  The funny thing about this all is that about 12 years ago or so I was really into French-pressed coffee and now I can’t imagine going through THAT charade to have a cup of my daily morning elixir.

I keep sipping to about the half-way point and going in and out of naps while I cold compress my right side of my face.  It seems as though a spider has decided Josh Cooley canapés and dinner buffet was in order (I’m estimating about) Saturday.

I remember putting make-up on my for comedy gig (more about that later) and feeling like I really had to conceal some unevenness on my right eyebrow.  At first I thought I burned my eyebrow with hot wax while grooming them, but by Sunday  I was convinced I had been bitten by something.  Yesterday afternoon, my head, my brow, my forehead and eyelid were swelling up pink and irritating me.  I could even feel my ear getting tight.  I told Chris, “this can’t be good.”

This morning I awoke to a reflection of the Elephant Man.  I was off to the Nurse Practitioner and she was gasping at the markings all along my scalp and eyelid.  I’m officially on many steroids, antihistamines, and antibiotics to cut infection fast.

This weekend is Gay Pride in Denver and, of course, I should suffer facial injury a few days before the most superficial event of the fucking calendar year.  I’m beyond annoyed at this moment as I take intervals of icing myself, laying on the couch and hating each fucking moment of slow, but effective healing.

Chris is at work today and I am at home being Roseanne Connor laying about on the couch.  There’s a mess in the kitchen, shopping bags on the couch and me somewhere amongst the rubble trying to keep my own morale up.  This “feeling sorry for [your]self business” is really annoying!  I could be seeing clients or cleaning, but playing a victim on Instagram and Facebook felt better.

This past Saturday prior to swelling (thank God- good timing btw), I performed my first comedy gig in over 16 months.  I was happy to be back on stage with John Bueno and Wade all over again and even though I knew my material was some old and a few new reworkings, I was nervous all over again.  I had plenty of compliments, but in my heart I gave myself a 7/10.  70% is average.  I want a 10/10 each time.  I stuck around and mingled for a few hours and that is where the magic occurred: I wanted back in on the scene.

On the way home, Chris said that the three of us could’ve debuted some new material and yeah, that’s true, but you know what? It was nice to be back!  It was a total re-visit/re-working of the old group.   Almost two years away from each other showed as our cohesiveness was nearly gone.  We have to create a vibe all over again! I desperately need to write and rehearse a bit more and I don’t like being told to do so so I sat quietly in the car until Chris asked me what was wrong.

“I know I could have done better, Chris” I said.

He looked at me an said quite seriously, “I wasn’t talking about you.”

“I’m just glad to be back.”  and that was that. I didn’t want to talk about comedy anymore.  I woke up the next morning to a pounding forehead and eyebrow.  I thought maybe a stress headache… nope.

I had a been bitten, not just by a spider, but by the performing bug all over again.

 

Fly Away.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

It’s raining outside.  The weather reminds me so much of Costa Rica lately.  I have never, in 20 years time, known Pueblo, Colorado to be this rainy.

All the old people that live here will say stupid, basic shit like, “we need the moisture.”  Well, no shit! It’s an agricultural community.  I would figure as much.

There’s always something calming about rain and little bouts of weather that is not predicted.  I had no idea it would be a full-on thunderstorm about an hour ago until the lights flickered off as I sat at home contemplating whether to write or not.

The past couple of months have been really nice.  I have always turned to blogging as a source of comfort to outline my feelings and thoughts and post them publicly for the world to read.  I’m sure people have a opinions,  I’m sure some roll their eyes and think: “What a millennial!“, but the fact is that I like to sit and think and sometimes putting those thoughts to virtual paper make my brain rest and I don’t have the anxiety that ticks inside as I churn problems, interactions and daily musings in my head. Blogging has always had its solace. Blogging has always been here for me. Blogging has never stabbed me in the back like a lot of friends have. When it feels like a blog is becoming a job to keep up with, I often end it and move on for a few months and start a new one.

I went on vacation recently to see my friend in Plano, Texas.  I really love the area there. It’s got amazing weather and it’s super affluent and super corporate with a lot of major brand headquarters stationed there.  The customer service is great, the people are helpful and there is someone of every race, religion and walk of life.  You can eat dinner at normal people hours (by this, I mean 8pm) and see independent movies without having to drive to another city or larger downtown neighborhood.

The past year has been a growing pain of sorts for me as I took a position with the UK-brand Label.m as an educator and brand ambassador.  This position has led me to traveling more, talking to many different people and flying around a lot.  I’ve realized that in all this time I’ve spent in Pueblo, Colorado, that the folks here are not progressive and will, more than likely, never be.  All the old money has to die and the generations after them need to open their mundane, complacent brains and realize that for this small city to survive we have to progress.

I operate my beautiful little salon in our city’s downtown district in a building that was but in 1920.  In 1921, “The Flood of 1921” (legendary flood in Pueblo) tore down the building and it still has water damage in the basement from this nearly century-old natural disaster.  People that are native to Pueblo still talk about the flood like it was yesterday.  A century later, they think it’s sad and still lament its damage.  Holy fuck!  They don’t get over anything here! The flood is only one of many archaic things that drive me fucking bonkers about this town.  Don’t get me started on green chile. 

I remember a few years back when I sat on a board for the betterment of downtown called City-Center Partnership.  Everyone seemed happy to have me there, but no one listened to me.  In fact, I had a lady tell me I was disrespectful and that I didn’t respect the history of the town in front of the whole board.  I became an absentee member, showed up for another meeting and received an email from the board director that seemed aimed at me and left.  He sent the email at 5:30, I resigned from the board at 6:03 and CC’ed all the board members.  “Fuck ’em” I thought.  I still think this.

I’ve always had an affinity to Greta Garbo and her legend.  Movie siren, movie icon through the 20s and 30s and as the war began in Europe and America peeped its little head in, the Hollywood studios became very prejudice towards European actors, actresses, writers, etc and shunned them from working or put them in smaller rolls and contracts.  Greta, being the greatest actress at the time and a staple in LaLaLand famous for her reclusive ways, exited stage left at 36 years old and never returned to Hollywood.

She bought a penthouse in New York City and took trips to Europe twice a year to handle finances, investments and general holiday and spent a couple months in LA with her friends where she drank and sat in boredom at the dinner parties of Hollywood wives and socialites.

I feel alot like Greta a this point in my life.  A man in his thirties that has had monumental success in this once-bustling little city and now I’m longing for more than my city can give me.  I’m tired of making friends here.  I’m tired of the bar scene here and tired of the fakeness of most of the business owners and my acquaintances here.  My clientele is large and very loyal to me.  My handful of friends changes fast and almost seasonally at this point: one minute they love me, one minute they drop me from their books.

All the dinners, all the fundraisers, all the money in the world could no longer make me want to invest much more than I’m willing to here any longer.  So traveling has been a new calling.  Staying in, going to the gym with Christopher and reading books has become enthralling to me.  Someone told me, “oh, Josh, that’s cos you’re getting older.”

No bitch! That’s not it all.

I’m tired of fake people that have no mind or backbone of their own.  I feel like there are lot of those folks living here now.  If they aren’t a fake spineless ladder-climber, then they love to play the victim.  There is a handful of folks seething with integrity left here.

So, I have decided getting on an airplane and seeing non-fake people is where it’s at.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bitter or angry, but I’m tired of playing the class clown to get attention and frankly, I won’t be licking anyone’s asshole anytime soon for a little schmooze or a seat at the table of the Who’s-Who.  I don’t care if they are angry when they read my tweets or hear my comedy or read a Facebook comment ..  I don’t care at all.

This Saturday, I make a return to stand-up comedy in Pueblo after having a 16-month hiatus.  I’m very excited and am drafting my monologue and material.

One of my Label.m co-workers asked me what genre my comedy was.  I said, “comedy”.  He didn’t get it.  I think comedy is comedy.  If you want to know my point-of-view, then it’s “Angry Gay Man who is richer and funnier than you.  You’re fat and poor so ha ha”.

I love satire.  I love a little shock.  In Pueblo, any joke about Mexican food, food stamps and Bud Light could send a mob racing after me, but — oh well — it’s all for the sake of comedy.

If they don’t like me after 16 months, I can always get on a plane and fly away, right?