Random Encounters – Priorities

Interacting with random Bloomsburg Townees is always an interesting experience. These moments typically occur in a few seconds, but they are definitely worth sharing.


Close your eyes for a moment.

Focus.

If you listen closely you can hear the air currents swooshing with the flow of traffic. A low of active machinery rests in the background. Pistons firing, while engines madly churn with raw horse power. Your heart jumps at the piercing screech of a sudden stop, at the obnoxious honking of a horn, and the whining scream of a modified muffler. Without looking you can picture the black sedans, red SUVs, and gray mini-vans endlessly streaming through the road.

My apartment overlooks a busy four-way intersection. The scene above describes my current reality. Watching traffic drive by can be incredibly mesmerizing. This day I left my window open to let in the autumn breeze. Down below two women attempting to cross.

Jodi: “Should we go now?”

Vanessa: “No, not yet.”

Few seconds pass.

Jodi: “Okay, what about now?” Continue reading

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Stolen Pizza

*Squawk* “Your order is almost ready!” *Squawk*

“Yippie! Did you hear that Barry! The pizza is almost ready!”

“Mm”

Cecelia only orders from Domino’s because they have the annoying online pizza trackers with the sounds. Her favorite order tracker is the tropical theme with the squawking parrot. After breaking up, Cecelia and I decided to stay friends. We made a tradition out of ordering a strange combination of toppings and cheeses on a large pizza from Domino’s. Sure, it’s expensive, but that’s where the emergency credit card Cecelia’s parents left her comes in handy. When your hungry everything is an emergency.

“Cece why do you like that parrot so much? He’s pissing me off.”

“I don’t know haha. Don’t judge me!”

Too late. Wayyy too late.

*Squawk* Your pizza is here! *Squawk*

YES finally!

Cece’s cell rang short after. A brief exchange later she hung up and stared at me. Continue reading

Rough edges

“Mom where are you going?”

13-year-old me felt serious separation anxiety when it came to Mom. Seventh grade sucked and we relocated back to Brooklyn so my sister could start school earlier.

“I’ll be right back. Your Aunt Rein will watch you.”

Noooooooooooooo!

“MOM! NO! Why Aunt Rein?” I whined loudly in protest.

Mom turned in her office chair to look at me before defensively asking, “What’s wrong with Aunt Rein?”

More like what isn’t wrong with her! She’s mean, she makes fun of me, she yells a lot, she has an attitude, and she scares me.

“I don’t like her! She’s mean!”

Mom paused a moment to think. I knew she agreed with me. I saw it in her conflicted facial movements.

“Patrick don’t be like that. She’s just……. rough around the edges.”

WHAT!

This sugar-coated euphemism throw me into a bigger temper tantrum.

“MOOOOOM! No! Rough around the edges?! She’s rough around the whole perimeter!!!”

Basic geometry at work – Barry

Hot chocolate

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A low chitter-chatter of socialization hummed throughout the hallways. The outside windows of the second-floor social lounge showed me a handful of people gathering in excitement. Pretty unusual for a Monday night.

I wonder what’s going on there? Doesn’t matter. Need to do homework.

Curiosity superseded responsibility, so I cautiously entered the social lounge. Packets of facial cleansers, moisturizers, and cucumbers neatly dotted every round table. An orange sampler box of herbal tea filled the window sill.

Karen greeted me immediately, “Hey! Glad you could make it!”

“Hi! What’s going on here?”

“It’s a spa night!”

Oh jeez. I’m in the wrong place.

Karen continued, “Do you want to try a face mask?” Continue reading

Struggle

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Everyone struggles from time to time. My current struggle is self-inflicted. Pursing a path of self-improvement creates a widening gap with the people in my current social circle. As I redefine my values, I start notice the strings of certain relationships begin to strain. They long for the person I was, and increasingly feel alienated by the stranger I’m becoming.

Drifting away from relationships is never easy, especially with nostalgia creating a sturdy mental anchor. Strong tides of loneliness hit occasionally. They signal the ushering of a new season. During the worst hurricanes I repeat the following: Focus on the lighthouse and you will escape the fog.

May your ship survive every storm – Barry

Mr. Nice Guy

Irony.

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Photo by Peter Forster on Unsplash

Not goldie.

Not platinum-y.

Not stainless steely.

Not Iron Man.

Irony.

I find it ironic that the people say, “I’m a nice person” are usually not. Oh, not at all. Genuinely nice people never feel the need to self-identify. There’s no official membership card that says, “licensed and certified to practice niceness”.

Story Time

A few days ago, I mentioned possibly selling my desktop and monitor for money. I changed my mind last minute and decided to give the computer to my brother. My brother arrives in the late afternoon to pick up the monitor. Sudden he recalls something urgent and yells, “I gotta buy something! I’ll be right back!”

Okay. Weirdo.

Fifteen minutes stroll by and my brother reappears in my living room. He stands there awkwardly staring at me in silence. At this point I feel something is up.

What do you do?

He must of heard my thought because he suddenly blurted, “I bought a computer monitor.”

*Insert momentary silence*

You did what?!

“Why the f-, WHY? Why would you buy a computer another monitor?!”

His face twirled with guilt, “You said you were going to sell it!”

I shut my eyes to avoid fully erupting.

Shit, I did say that. But that still doesn’t make any fucking sense! Why would I give you a desktop and no monitor!

I mentally repositioned myself after inhaling a deep breath, “Listen, you could have just asked me if I was going to sell the monitor. That was a really stupid of you to just run out and buy one.”

I didn’t want to make my brother feel too bad about his stupid decision so I offered a solution, “Look we can see if we can return this stupid thing tomorrow.”

Tomorrow

I google Arcus Bros phone number and wait for an answer.

Arcus Bro: Hello?

Me: Hi, I just had a quick question.

Arcus Bro: Go ahead.

Me: What is your return policy?

Arcus Bro: What’s the problem?

Me: No problem, my brother bought a monitor and didn’t realize we already have on-

Arcus Bro: Listen NO REFUNDS, I’m a pretty nice guy but business is business! *click*

Me: Wait I had another ques, that bastard hung up on me!

Oh yeah totally a nice guy – Barry

Dissecting “Try”

“Do or do not. There is no try.”

Picture of Master Yoda

The wise Master Yoda delivered this advice to young Luke Skywalker over 30 years ago. Since then the quote has been recycled a billion times. As a kid I understood it was good advice, but why was it good advice? Don’t you need to “try” before you can “do” anything?

Now examining this quote further reveals a deeper message. To “try” means to put forth effort. To “do” means to put forth effort until you reach a result. Yoda basically says work until you produce something or don’t work at all. It places all the emphasis on execution. He is telling Luke to commit to training until something comes of it.

Wow. So much great wisdom in a memorable and succinct quote. All of us have areas of our life where we need to stop trying and start doing. Put forth that effort until something happens. Be persistent in your pursuits. Transform your trade with ruthless tenacity.

Most importantly remember:

“Do or do not. There is no try.” – Barry

Random Encounters – Tricks are for Kids?

Interacting with random Bloomsburg Townees is always an interesting experience. These moments typically occur in a few seconds, but they are definitely worth sharing.


Every year in September the Bloomsburg Fair rolls into town.

Image of the Bloomsburg Fair

Fun times

My mom, brother, two sisters and I stopped by to bask in the fair festivities. The allure of assorted fried foods could by smelt just outside the entrance gates to the fair. My sisters hopped and bounced excitedly as my mom paid for our tickets. The Bloomsburg Fair experience was new for everyone except me. Wiggling thorough the swarms of people gathered at the fairgrounds always raises my anxiety level to ten.

Our group participated in all the fair traditions: Curiously observing the showcase farm animals, riding the many amusement attractions, and reducing our life expectancies with dangerously delicious fried food. If you make it to the fair Bessinger’s Apple Dumplings with Ice Cream is a MUST. After overindulging and overspending I decided to head home.

Well that was fun!

I took Leonard street to walk back to my apartment. I walked two blocks before stumbling upon a trio of young boys were pushing a rack of Bloomsburg t-shirts. The oldest of them looked close to 11.

Look at that! A couple of young business men haha.

Still progressing slowly in their direction, I overheard their business strategy:

Kid 1: “How are we going to sell these shirts?”

Kid 2: “Say we’re raising money for breast cancer.”

Kid 3: “Don’t be stupid. That’ll never work! Say we’re raising money for Nana’s breast cancer.”

Kid 1 and Kid 2: “That’s a great idea!”

Oh. My. God! Did I just?…. Those kids!……. What!

Those little hustlers! I didn’t know whether to be appalled or impressed.

Damn kids! – Barry

How to Lose Friends and Interrupt People: Chapter 3

In the last two chapters in this guide I share fundamental strategies for losing friends. To get the best results apply these principles in everyday life. If uncertain takes a grip of you take a moment and ask the following question, “What would Barry do?” This simple question will help you to become more anti-social with repeated practice.

This section pivots into techniques for infuriating people. A seasoned anti-socialite knows that the best way to lose friends is not to make any. This philosophy is apparent in the following principle: Continue reading

A Barry Fly Scene

After fighting with procrastination, I finally arrive to a decision. I will start writing now. My computer is fired up and a blank page of Microsoft Word is open. Nothing can stop me now.

So, what do we want to write about today? Hmmm…

While brainstorming ideas my eye catches a teeny little fly dancing in the air around me. The impulse to get up and kill the critter is suppressed immediately.

Just ignore him, we still don’t have an idea for today. Continue reading

Questions for the First Secret Society Meeting

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As many of you know, I recently became the newest member of a secret society (The Initiation). A few weeks of gone by since I’ve heard anything for them. My paperwork must be in the processing stages. Before becoming a full fledged secret organization member I have some questions for the first meeting:

  • Is there a new member orientation?
  • Do we get training manuals?
  • Are there membership fees?
  • Do we get cool uniforms or just robes?
  • Also, where can I buy a robe?
  • If no robes, can we get matching t-shirts? We could secretly match.
  • How secret is this secret organization? Can I put it on my resume? Can I induct friends? Do I get bonus points for recruiting more people? Wait, why are we secret?
  • Why do tiny sandwiches have toothpicks in them? Can we get rid of the toothpicks? Do people still use toothpicks? Toothpicks are kinda nasty and accidentally prick myself all the time.
  • Okay, last question: Do we get cool nicknames? Can I be “Spicy blue” or something like that?

I’m not picky, but “Spicy blue” is a pretty cool nickname. – Barry

Relationship Placeholder

No one would call me a relationship expert. In fact, no one would call me. Despite this, there is one piece of advice of relationship advice I feel confident giving:

Don’t be a placeholder.

Barry, what in the world do you mean?

A placeholder is an object that is occupies a space until something better can replace it. It is a temporary solution. A relationship placeholder is the same thing, but with a person. The relationship is condemned to fail because there is no emotional investment at stake.

I would never be a placeholder for someone else.

Chronic loneliness can drive people into these types of relationships reluctantly. It is easy to justify being in this arrangement too. The three pseudo relationships I’ve fallen into were filled with thoughts like: Maybe this will actually work out, she’ll see how great I am eventually, we’re so good for each other. Although I reassured myself with these thoughts while never fully believing them.

Okayyy, I still don’t see what the big deal is.

A relationship where you serve as a placeholder will erode your self-esteem and self-respect over time. In the beginning every will thing feel fine. You may even think, being a placeholder is better than being alone! The problems won’t arise until your partner stops fulfilling your needs. In my case, it has always led blatant emotional manipulation. If you decided to stick it out like I did you will accumulate resentment, bitterness, low self-worth, anger and eventually loneliness. The loneliness comes when you refuse to be used any longer. Luckily, loneliness is the better option.

Don’t be a placeholder – Barry

Trash Can Carla

Warm streams of water jetted out the showerhead on my filthy bare body. Purification by water, also known as “showering”, cleansed both skin and soul. Isn’t it strange how simple experiences can feel so enlightening?

This is heaven!

Ten minutes goes by before I force myself out of the purification chamber, also known as a “shower stall”, before grabbing my drying apparatus. I partially dried myself then transformed the towel into makeshift skirt to hide my junk. While leaving the Men’s restroom I formulated my day plans.

Okay, just need to head back to my dorm. Maybe sleep some more, do homework, take a nap, finish up a season of How I Met Your Mother, sleep some more. Yeah, that sounds like a solid Sunday plan.

My shower shoes squeaked loudly as I waddled back to dorm. I was six feet away from my door when- Continue reading

The Underlying Layer

Emotional intelligence grants us access to a hidden layer of the world around us. Humans use logic, but are creatures of great emotion. Understanding the role of emotions allows for better navigation through life. This increased awareness comes with side effects also.

Increased Emotional Stimulus

Greater emotional intelligence leads to high sensitivity to the emotional states of others. You will start noticing things that previously went unnoticed. When meeting new people, I immediately get a sense of what their insecurities are. Without thinking I begin dissecting the true nature of people’s relationships. I can see their stored resentments or unfulfilled needs. My personal experiences with codependency have me wired to avoid anyone who exhibits traits of a manipulator. This additional stimulus can be overwhelming at times.

Frustration

The temptation to meddle in the lives of others grows once you exposed to the true nature of human relationships. One can drive themselves crazy watching others fumble with their emotional problems. Just remember that unsolicited interference will not help others. People must struggle before they can learn.

Solution? Acceptance

The only way to tame these side effects is through acceptance. Accept other people for their strengths and struggles. Do not try to force your opinions or good ideas on them. Avoid falling into that “I know what’s best” mindset. Let them be and educate by example.

I love you – Barry