Khublai Khan (Kublai Kan)

originally published on, 23 june 2012

To give you an idea of how bored I am, I was just sitting on the floor of my room Shazam’ing songs I was playing myself.

It’s raining outside.  It’s dismal.  I’m bored.  Should I start drinking the beers in my parents’ fridge?  Should I make a tomato salad with oil and vinegar and honey so when they get back they think “My, what a good son we have”?  Or should I sit in my room listening to Tego Calderon on my low-end smartphone, alternating between reading The Picture of Dorian Grey and wondering what it would be like to fall off the roof.

These are rhetorical questions.  I’m not looking for an answer.  Plus, only five people read this blog so I know I won’t get an answer.  The only thing I want from my friends is to tell me how jacked I’m getting and how when you’re 28 and don’t have a career job it’s because you’re “taking the path less trodden” or because “you’re destined for something great.”  When obviously it’s really just because I’m lazy and because….OK more importantly: is “trodden” a word?

The rain has stopped.  Maybe it’s getting sunny.  It’s 5:32pm which means we have about another four hours of light until it gets dark.  This is monumental.  Of course now the days are only getting shorter, but you’d have to be a real pessimist to let that ruin your July in Seattle.

My friend Natalie is drinking tequila.  I wish I was drinking tequila but mostly I wish I wasn’t hanging out by myself.  I didn’t work today.  Hopefully I will work Sunday and Monday and Tuesday and pretty much every day for the rest of my life until I get married and go on my honeymoon to Kauai.  Because I like Hawaii now.  I used to think it sucked.  But that was before I had ever been there…

Weekend Thoughts

1) I’m happy to report I’m getting better at holding babies. Babies can sense when you feel uncomfortable holding them. I am now able to (usually) hold my sister’s twins without them immediately bursting into tears.

2) I just started reading Carry On, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse.  It’s already one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. P.G. Wodehouse had a 70 year literary career. Seventy years! I wonder if Roald Dahl got much of his style from him. Their writing seems similar. I dare say that Wodehouse’s dialogue is better, though, if that’s even possible.

3) I saw Cory Kennedy skating down Ravenna today, the most famous pro skateboarder to ever come out of the Seattle area (aka Snohomish).  I said, “Cory Kennedy,” and he gave me a smile like, Why are you talking to me.

4) Whole Foods on Roosevelt is my new go-to place to work. Imagine a coffee shop that’s not a coffee shop all but a grocery store. Such is the situation at Whole Foods. They have a sitting area with internet, but instead of just being able to only get coffee you can get a La Croix, or a yogurt, or a block of brie, or a 12-pound bag of bulk chocolates. Why would anyone go anywhere else?

5) Went surfing this weekend at Crescent. Waves were tiny but the water was clear and cold and I’ve never felt so alive. I felt like a seal. I felt like an orca. I wanted to paddle across to Vancouver Island and live with the mountain lions and never come back.

6) I like the coconut La Croix flavor.

7) If you’re not eating plain cream-top yogurt at least once every other day there’s something wrong with you.

Friday (Thursday)

Whole Foods on a lonely Wednesday night. It’s 8:18pm Pacific Daylight Time. It’s raining outside and has been raining all day. Yesterday was nice, though. Yesterday was heavenly. Yesterday we smoked cigarettes and stood and looked at Doug’s brand new 1981 Mercedes Benz. We drank margaritas and lived the high life, and it didn’t matter that it was raining, because we were together, young, and in charge of our destinies.

But that was yesterday.

After work today I interpreted and it went OK. There were scores of words I didn’t know, and my brain felt kind of fried. It’s always a strange thing, interpreting. You’re let in on the most intimate side of people’s lives. You see and hear things you would normally never see and hear. You learn cool words like “debride” and “Barrett’s esophagus,” and sometimes you even know what these words mean. Otherwise you don’t and you tell the doctor.

“Doctor, I have no idea what this means, do you want me to look it up?”

“Excuse me?”

“Please let me look it up, doctor. Please.”

Nevertheless, I consider myself a semi-competent interpreter. I feel I retain the feel of what the person has said in addition to providing a (usually) accurate interpretation of what they said. This “feel,” cannot be more important, because when you interpret you’re not just interpreting the words. There’s so much more to language than that. So much more.

After interpreting I walked home along Greenlake and popped my last General snus. I’m going off the General, mostly because it’s expensive. I don’t need expensive habits right now. I don’t need habits. I need everything to be random, and willy-nilly. When I leave the house I want it to be like walking into a snow-storm, where I can’t even seen four feet in front of me. Because I’d take comfort in that. I’d take comfort in not being able to see even six inches in front of me. I’d go back to my apartment and crawl underneath the covers. I’d turn my alarm off. And when I woke up a few weeks later it’d be spring, and I’d be free. I always want to be free.

My apartment was quiet. My roommate’s gone. Nothing to do. I probably shouldn’t talk about my life anymore because when I talk about my life my writing always takes on the same tone, a cheap Knausgaard imitation that just sounds life me crying. This must be rectified. This must.

I don’t really have anything to say. I just wanted to type. It’s 8:28pm now at Whole Foods in Ravenna. I’ve typed almost 500 words in 10 minutes, and four of them are good. But which four? Which four?

My dinner tonight consisted of two burritos. Tomorrow’s Friday (Thursday).

Tuesdays With Luna


It’s so nice to get out of Bogota. To be in Manizales. To be playing with a golden lab named Luna who’s obsessed with a bottle. To not sleep on my air mattress in my apartment that has nothing and worry about whether my neighbors are going to come home at 2am and start blasting shitty music. To be tranquilo. To be in the hills. To maybe drink coffee. To maybe not drink coffee. To make homemade pizza last night that sort of turned out and was semi-delicious but also had crust that was the relative consistency of a hockey puck. To travel. To get on a plane. To eat torta de milo. To drink the shittiest aeropress I’ve ever had in my life by a guy who’s probably never had good coffee.

My friend Natalia and I went to a coffee shop yesterday called La Vieja Escuela. Actually, you know what? I don’t want to talk bad about the cafe. Who cares. It was coffee. There are better things to talk about. Like Luna. Luna is a golden lab. She spends all day enclosed on a balcony because her owners are afraid that if they let her out she’ll maim other dogs. Luna has probably never hurt anything except the plastic bottles she likes to chew on. They let her out once a day in the evening. She goes crazy. She has the time of her life. She smiles and pants. She doesn’t think, “Ohhhhh boo hoo I only get to be outside for a half hour so I’m going to mope around.” She doesn’t resent the people who keep her caged on the balcony all day. She forgives and forgets rapidly. She loves them because they give her food. I want to be like Luna (except for being enclosed on a balcony).

I’m not going to be in Colombia much longer. I’m going to wander once again. I’m trusting my instinct. I’m sick of trusting my instinct. Or rather, I’m sick of not trusting my instinct. Of not trusting my instinct every minute of every day. Of taking breaks. Sometimes I make decisions and I think to myself, “This is not the right thing. You’re not trusting your instinct.” But then I do it anyway! It’s like Sam Harris says in his book Lying, “We often behave in ways that are guaranteed to make us unhappy.” Like the other night when we went to the club with those girls in Galerias. Like when I got my stupid apartment. Like when I smoke cigarettes. Like when I eat shitty food. There’s this little voice that says, “Mark, this is stupid….” and then I do it anyway. I’m sure we all struggle with this. Or rather, I’m sure there are people who don’t struggle with it. There are people who are ultra-disciplined and then there are people who aren’t disciplined at all. There are people who’ve ignored their little voice for so long it doesn’t even speak to them anymore. And there’s people whose voice is a crazy person.

I’m going to make some eggs now. Some delicious eggs with onion and mozzarella cheese and a yellow pepper. Luna is next to me. She’s panting. She’s smiling. She’s wagging her tail. She’s slightly overweight. Luna does not want you to pet her. She only wants to play with the bottle. Anytime you try to pet her she either bites your hand or lunges at the bottle.

After I make eggs I might eat some more of the pizza. I’m going to do laundry. I want to go to a cafe and work on an article I’m going to submit to the New York Times (the New York Times is unique in that anyone can submit; of course, not anyone can get published). It’s about my friend Leider and social classes in Bogota. I don’t even want to write about it. I’m only writing about it because I think that’s what real writers write about. Social issues and shit like that. But I know what I really want to write about. I want to write about going to cafes. I want to write about the guy yesterday who gave me the coffee to smell, as if it was some excquisite harvest that couldn’t be found anywhere else, perfectly roasted, even though the first thing I thought when I smelled it was, “Geeze, that is bad coffee. This is going to be bad.” And sure enough it was. My friend Natalia liked it. I liked the cake. And I like playing with Luna. And making eggs.