Category Archives: Stories from the crypt of life

Stories from the crypt of life

My mentor died…

I think we all have a mentor whom we follow from the shadows and try to steal a little part of his genius to outline our actions. My mentor died today and one of my dreams just died with him. Ever since I’ve read my first book written by G.G. Marquez, I wanted to see him in person; that didn’t necessarily mean to meet him and talk to him or ask him endless questions about writing. I just wanted to see that he exists as a human being, that such a genius is my contemporary and not some alien or imaginary friend I made up.

I was eighteen back then and every year that dream was on my birthday wish list. Now, twelve years later, I realize that following your dreams actually means struggling for them not just waiting around and hoping that maybe next year will be the year, thinking that they will wait for you forever. Dreams have life sometimes and although we know it, we never really realize that life ends at some point.

I used to devour his books and by the time I was finished, the urge to write something was so strong that I would grab anything handy to write on. That’s how, many napkin-thoughts came to life and later on became stories. To this day, my purse doesn’t leave the house without one of his books in it; it’s like my very own already written notebook which I take everywhere. He wasn’t just a Nobel Prize winner to me, or a famous journalist and novelist, he was like my imaginary friend whom I could talk to and would be there just by browsing some pages.

Erendira (The Incredible and Sad Tale of Innocent Erendira and Her Heartless Grandmother ) used to be one of my best friends, the ninety years old journalist from  Memories of My Melancholy Whores gave me a new meaning for the word romance and of course One Hundred Years of Solitude just played insanely with my brain, feeding it and expanding its views. But the one that left a scar on my soul and mind was by far, Living to Tell the Tale, because Marquez wasn’t just a writer anymore, he was also a man with a story of his own.

The bottom line is: follow your dreams because they sometimes die.

Rest in peace, Gabo. Thank you for making my literary journey such an incredible one.

Stories from the crypt of life

I love dead people

I love dead people. They are quiet and you can always depend on them to wait for you in the same place. They never complain and with a little imagination they give extremely good advice having only your consciousness to guide them. They never have any issues and the beautiful thing about dead people that you don’t have to look them in the eyes when you tell them your deepest secrets or mistakes. They will never judge you unlike the living kind, they will always agree with you and with any kind of behavior that you expose around them; you have the freedom to be yourself. The dead have only one story, concise and organized, where you could never get lost in or get tired guessing what their next move would be.

I love to hate living humans. They are so easy to understand when they submit themselves as being complicated. They have only themselves to love above all and they don’t manage to do even that single thing. Humans are easy to judge, model, torment, pleasure, love, hate, hit, scream at or ignore but they are always hard to talk to. Humans are funny. They think they are this superior being who can rule and conquer all, but their souls don’t belong to them but to the organized, emptied of the complicated secrets and mistakes, story  they leave behind. And then they become the dead.

But you know what? The dead could never kiss your forehead when you go to bed, the dead could never give you their shoulder to cry on. The dead will never hold your hand or make you mad. So maybe, just maybe the ones living are better that way and because of a twisted and unworthy world that we all have to share, they could in fact leave us a story worth telling.

Raising Ephia to become my friend, Stories from the crypt of life

A story about happiness

Once upon a time there was a friendly, joyful dwarf. And this particular dwarf lived in the hollow of an old magical tree. A long time ago the tree gave the dwarf a magic book that could fulfill his every wish. The dwarf was very excited and for a long time he brought happiness to himself and the loved ones around him with the book’s help. But one day, his neighbor, the hedgehog came to his tree house to borrow the book. The dwarf was so kind and pure at heart that gave it to him, so the hedgehog grabbed the book and disappeared. Many days have passed and the hedgehog didn’t come to return the dwarf’s book. After having past nine days the dwarf decided to go to the hedgehog’s den. He knocked at the door and the hedgehog’s wife answered and asked him if she can be of any help. The dwarf told her his story. She started crying saying that the hedgehog disappeared many nights before but left his magic book behind. The dwarf happily took his book back and started his journey back home, but when he got there he discovered the book lost its sparkle and magic powers. He tried in any way possible to give its beauty back but all seemed in vain.

You cannot borrow happiness. It mirrors itself into the past and hides into the future. If you are wondering what happened to the dwarf, the only thing I know for sure is that for a long time, each morning the dwarf woke up to polish his once magic book into the rays of the sun hoping that he will get it to spark again.

Stories from the crypt of life

Why do we need people?

Sometimes I ask myself just that: “Why do we need people around us?” It may seem like a stupid and illogical question, giving that there are at least one million possible answers to that… so that we won’t be alone, so that we won’t take joy in random things by ourselves, so that we have what to be happy about, so that we have someone to blame, so that we don’t go insane…And still, why?

There are also many reasons to run away from humanity… we hate people more then we love them, we chase them more then we invite them in, we curse them more then applauding them, we bury them feeling more relived then we feel when we give birth, or we are simply bad mouthing them just because they are different then us.

There are many people around me that accuse me of dreaming too much and advise me to take it all as it comes; so I ask these people: Why do they hang out around me? Do they need me? Do they like me? Do they have some selfish reason to get to know me? Most likely the reason that I still think like a “child” as they call it, is because I have embraced my human condition that I am destined to die at some point from the moment I was born, so I really want to take advantage of my time here. And if I am to die at some point why not try to understand and dream about what life can give me?

Sounds complicated and illogical just like my question isn’t it? Today my answer would be: because we are just like them; maybe tomorrow I’ll change my mind or maybe I’ll forgive my accusers for not thinking that they can’t live forever so they should do something else besides gossiping and corporate jobs, and just maybe, maybe I will pity them less.

 

Stories from the crypt of life

How to have an orgasm in less than ten minutes?

I usually don’t enjoy writing about sex, but what happened in front of my eyes tonight is worth telling the story. I have this pass to a health club that has almost everything: swimming pools, gym, dance classes and also a spa or as the Italians call it “zona del benessere”. In there you can find the sauna, Turkish baths and high-pressure water jets as well as a hydro massage pool.

Tonight in particular I was feeling low so instead of driving my body insane with the countless laps in the swimming pool, I decided to relax and go have a hydro massage and then hit the sauna and read. And this is the part where things got spicy.

The hydro massage pool is pretty big and it can fit almost 30 people so us four that were in there were feeling comfortable and undisturbed. My pool neighbors were an old lady, eyes closed and hairy armpits, two men in their 30’s who had what seemed to be an interesting conversation and a beautiful woman, about 37 years old, eyes half-closed and her face didn’t say anything in particular. I, as any deranged person would do, gave them names and characters to play and in my mind I was maneuvering them like puppets, just because I tend to get bored in these places giving that you don’t do anything, just sit and  stare at the walls or bubbles like an idiot.

After five minutes they all played several roles in my head and they already had fights, children and divorces on their hands, when I noticed the beautiful woman trying to re-position herself in a more then obvious and aggressive way, like when you try on a pair of jeans that you know it won’t fit but you want to do it any way and everybody is watching you jump up and down like a crippled rabbit. While I was watching her, in less than thirty seconds she stopped completely and shut her eyes again. I thought “Ok, she has bubbling issues!” and moved on with my imaginary play that now had a cast of nine people, the four neighbors weren’t enough anymore.

Suffice to say that I was getting bored and just about ready to hit the sauna thinking that ten minutes of bubbles are enough, when something else caught my eye and this time the eyes of my neighbors too. The beautiful woman’s face started to contort in ways I cannot describe but I can refer some porn sites for you to get the picture of what I’m saying. The old lady almost dropped her jaw when she understood what she was dealing with and stood up, shook her wrinkles and her armpit hair and appeared to be very angry while walking towards the door. Myself and the other two men couldn’t get out of there faster just because laughter menaced to explode from our throats. On my way to the sauna I was thinking why women complain about not having an orgasm every time they have sex when there are some that don’t even need a sexual encounter for it. So, yes, I am proud to say that tonight I have watched a woman have an orgasm in less than ten minutes. I have to cross that out from my to-do list. Question: Does this make me a voyeur?

Florence, a city like no other..., Stories from the crypt of life

My first job in an Italian office

When I moved here I, like any unfortunate bastard who wants to change his life out of nowhere, began to search for a job. Back home I was a lazy, working from home translator and occasionally, when I felt like it, worked in human resources, the rest of the time just travelling in my car, stopping for coffee wherever and writing frantically about everything. With some connections and a little begging (because that’s how they mostly do it here) I managed to get myself a job in human resources and my responsibilities were a little vague at first.

My first day at the job I was really nervous and I tried to please everyone so I introduced myself like a normal human being and awaited for the same response. Little did I know that they already hated me without even knowing me just because I was the new girl, 20 years younger than anybody in the office and of course very enthusiastic. They showed me around and pointed out several times that day that the spoken Italian language is not the same as the Italian I had learned from my books, so they pretended not to understand what I was saying most of the time.

The next day was the beginning of the end of my world as a normal working girl. They showed me some programs I had to use, so simple that even a two year old could operate, and gave me a three month deadline on something I could have done in a week. I was a little dazzled at first and in my stupidity I thought that if I could do a great job, faster than they said, I will be more popular. I was dead wrong, because after one week when I presented my work they just erased it without even looking at it, reasoning that nothing can be done well in such a short period of time. I almost burst into tears and realized that I didn’t copy any of my work so I had to start all over again. I was stunned and also naive because I’ve tried to educate them to get things done faster and better failing every time and being more hated by the minute.

So, after three months of struggling and lots of nights despairing on my husband’s shoulder, I’ve decided to try and do it their way. That day, I’ve asked about Internet connection, thinking that if I have to just sit there for hours I might as well do some browsing and some chatting. They looked at me like a little kid looks at his parents when they try to give him the talk about the birds and the bees. I understood then that they were a lost cause and that the only way to stay sane is to join them completely. I finally managed to get an Internet connection and started to mingle with the other four employees.

If I should draw a working day in that particular office I would put our secretary as the main event and character. She was amazing at doing nothing and complaining all the time that she has to work so hard and such long hours. She only worked from 9 pm until 1 pm so her hours were hectic indeed. You couldn’t start a working day without having a coffee first and then you had to plan out your day until it was 10 pm and a coffee break was in order. You finally started your day at about 11 pm and by that time hunger came crawling to your stomach so you had to take a break to eat something or as the secretary put it referring to our boss: „He treats us like slaves; does he want us to starve?” She quickly noticed I’m good at doing a lot of stuff so she started to make me do copies of things or printing randomly their work keeping me occupied for an hour and rambling that I am a computer wizard just for opening my email page. These people called the technician even when the printer was unplugged because they didn’t bother to search for the problem. By the time it was 1 pm I was already bored to death and I couldn’t wait for the lazy, crazy, always on a diet (although she weighted like 80 pounds) woman to go home so I can finally start working in peace.

In just five short months I was doing almost everyone’s job except answering the phone and started to question their presence there. I had already done my work for almost half a year in advance and although it seemed impossible for me to comprehend, every Italian office I visited was working following these specific steps. So why ask yourself if you are a lazy person when you should just try working in an Italian office and find out just how lazy and relaxed can you be.

Stories from the crypt of life

An every day corporate story

This is a story that my friend, a corporate girl, told me a while back. Let me give you a preview into a typical bad day and implicitly how to hate yourself on that day without even trying:
 
1. If you are a working, busy girl, your alarm clock failed you in the morning and you wake up an hour late refreshed and well rested until you gaze at the time and jump out of bed, stumbling into the sheets and bumping your head into the corner of the door.
 
2. If you are not working then you are already tired when you wake up from being lazy  every day, so your day will most certainly be a crappy one (that is what the employed people want to think and because they are a majority I will agree with them).
 
3. After 3 cups of coffee and no result in making your brain think, you give up and join the second floor or any floor’s “bitches” who are bragging about their new dog, fiancee, lover, sense of style and so on (you are a corporate girl if you didn’t realize that yet). You listen to them quietly as you smoke your fingers off, and occasionally you nod and smile thinking about how your self esteem got lower just because you are standing there.
 
4.  You love lunch time (your alone time), so you can’t wait to get there, but just when you leave your desk you see that the alpha male colleague, that howls with his eyes every time he sees you, stands firmly between you and the exit door. You think of a quick get-away and remember that you can take the other way to the stairs so you almost fall running towards the escape route when one of the “bitches” next to your cubical screams your name and wants you to wait for her. She wants to share her “whatever” experience over lunch.
 
5. Your stomach is full, your brain is awake, your fingers are working that keyboard like crazy and of course the system shuts down. You turn your head and see madness around you. Tones of cigarettes and lighters  are flashing in the air  in the hands of their possessors that are trying to get to the door to take advantage of the unplanned break. You would do the same, but the alpha male colleague is already standing in front of you trying to make “charming” conversation.
 
6. Finally your working day is finished. You say your polite goodbyes to every guy/girl behind their cubical and head towards the subway station.  Every bad memory of the day seems to fade away as you sit down and the subway carries you home while you glance into the phone to see what’s new on Facebook. But wait, it’s suppose to be a bad day so you receive a notification that says to check out the latest photos your ex posted. Your inner monster doesn’t resist the temptation, so you open the folder and of course he is on a round trip to Europe with his new too-skinny girlfriend (by the way you should lose some pounds, this is the only reason you are still alone).
 
7. You get home and just want to relax, drink some wine, forget all about this day but the phone rings and some friend you haven’t seen in ages convinces you to catch up and hang out in some pub; so you get dressed and run quickly to the place thinking maybe this could be fun. She is waiting by the bar and kisses you loudly on the cheek. She is the worst memory of yourself in college but that’s why you love her so much. She starts dragging you to the table and whispers in your ear she has a guy waiting to meet you (“a perfect guy for you” she says). It’s too late to protest and you almost faint when your eyes stop on the face of the alpha male colleague that stands up, reaches for your hand and smiles: “It seems to be faith.”
 
8. Needless to say that after two hours with that guy and 15 minutes trying to avoid his goodbye kiss, you are laying in bed thinking how can you get a medical leave from work for the whole year or at least until he is gone. You stand in the cold, on your balcony, with a lighted cigarette in your hands and wonder why are you doing this to your life,  to yourself. So slowly an awful thought comes to you: “Am I a corporate bitch?”. You shiver at the image of the answer and because  of the cold so you get in bed trying to think happy thoughts.
 
9. It’s almost midnight and you still can’t sleep so you turn on the T v and grab a bag of chips and some left over cookies from the other night (fuck losing weight, you had a bad day). You fall asleep with cookie crumbs on your cheek  and you dream about forgetting to set the alarm clock for the next day (your subconscious is telling you the truth, you did forgot ). You wake up at 5 AM, sweating and heavy breathing because of this repeating nightmare, set the alarm clock and go back to sleep. Before any new dreams come and take you away, a whispered voice asks you: “How many bad days do you need before you understand you are becoming a corporate b…ch?”   
 
Stories from the crypt of life

Memories that never come back

We live too fast, we think too fast, we love too fast and most of the times we die too fast…our memories can’t keep up the pace…we run away from them and we die without them…our memories could keep us alive but they never seem to catch up… maybe they waste too much time in traffic or maybe the traffic lights on the lane they take are always red… life pushes us in roundabouts and memories get lost on narrow streets with no corners or endings… and after all that running, you catch a red light… you sit quietly in your car and you remember you had memories… all of a sudden everything makes sense… you can see your first kiss and the way it runs towards you, the smile of a child who you once passed by, your first cigarette, a bench in a park that once caressed your loneliness, friends who made you happy, the lonely nights spent meditating, a puppy that once wiggled its tail when it saw you, the faces of those dear to you, the stories told by your grandparents, a sunrise on the beach, the happiness of your childhood…but wait…the green light is on… out of nowhere horns break your eardrums so you set yourself in motion… the memories get frightened and chase after you… they don’t want to lose you again… you forget  about them and keep running… weak and tired they start to turn back … they will play in a park until you decide to catch a red light again…