Art Felt Beyond The Eyes Of The Creator

Originally Posted 29 August 2012

 

I have been talking alot with my friend at the club about her being a dancer. Amy has me very curious because she is totally deaf. Being deaf is all she has known since she explained to me that she was born deaf. We communicate mainly with ASL and writing things down, she always comments that I can just talk to her because she is a fine lip reader. Even so, I feel alot is lost in translation. Amy remains the most interesting person I talk with at the club. Due to her so called “disability” and my ASL knowledge our boss sees to it that she spends 90% of the night dancing on my bar (a stage on one side and bar on the opposite) and out of the stage rotation for the most part. Which is great for her I think because her “fans” always know where to find her.

 

I have been informally interviewing Amy for quite a while now, it’s regular conversations but there are specific things I like to talk about with her. First is the fact that she is a dancer (stripper) in a full nude club. Now, I have been “talking” with Amy for over 6 months now as well as watching how well she dances to her music choices. She has always told me she dances based on “feeling” the music. When she feels the music she can close her eyes and “hear” the music, which she says is more like seeing the music in her head. Taking my hearing for granted, I understand being able to feel the music in my body but I am very sure our interpretations of what we feel are very different. I have the luxury of being able to hear music and feel music. Amy told me once, while laughing at me, that being able to hear the music is actually a burden for me because my brain has become lazy and doesn’t actually know what it is feeling. Makes sense in many ways. The club is so damn loud that I wear hearing protection to drown out the “noise”, yet I still hear everything clearly, just at a much lower volume.

 

She is also a proclaimed self-taught artist. She is very interesting to listen to when she explains her art to me as she sees it. She considers her art to fall into the category of abstract because she interprets what she is feeling as well as seeing. As discussed, feeling the impact of something for her is much different than it is for me. I can relate in a way, being color blind I see the world much different than most see it. There is something in her art that makes a person, me at least, want to reach out and touch it. Sounds bizarre, but it is what I was compelled to do more than once.

 

She, like many artists, has a complex definition of “abstract art” in a way that it isn’t realistic yet it is. Yet even though she calls her work abstract to a point, she actually always has a subject in mind when she paints. She takes a figure, an object, or landscape and simplifies it, then exaggerates it, and then stylize it all in some way. She yells me that she is not trying to imitate things she sees, but to uses these things as a jumping off point. The colors, lines, and forms are more important than the actual details of the actual subject matter. She just wants to give a sense or a feel for the subjects she paints rather than an exact replication. Throughout our conversations I have collected that her art has no intentional beginnings in any subject and is really non-representational.

 

She seems to be blessed with a natural interest in the visual world. Others, like myself, can only try to cultivate this sense by paying attention to their surroundings. Seeing our environment is easy if we take off the headphones, put down our book, turn off the television and just look at our world to see everything we were missing. Her and I have this in common, as a people watcher I am often amazed at the joy I experience by just looking. Amy takes it a few steps further than most because she sees things differently than I do, she has no sense of “sound” to help identify or clarify something that may be happening around her. On the flip side, I would have to guess that because I can hear these things that my senses are not as sharp. Never hearing a single sound in her life, I wondered if when she was in the womb of her mother how silent that must have been. I would like to think that the heartbeat of her mother gave her comfort in ways I can’t even begin to imagine.

 

She told me the next time I look at painting, or any kind of art to not begin by searching for some identifiable object from my world. Instead, try to enter her world and the world created by it. Relax and let your eye leisurely wander over the painting’s surface. Let your heart and mind react to its colors, shapes, and textures. Knowing that I react differently to colors than her, I still react. Let yourself be drawn into the illusion of its spaces, the action of its lines, the mood of its atmosphere. Now step back and look at the painting from a distance. What is it’s impact as you approach it? Amazing advice. I tried it, more than once on the same piece of art and I reacted differently each time. She is smart way beyond the 19 years she has been on this Earth. I have learned much from her, maybe I can see and hear the things in my world a little differently now.

The Funny Thing About Fantasies

Originally Posted 16 August 2012

 

In my life it would seem that I am considered a “jack of all trades” where I know just about enough about certain things to be dangerous. How does the saying go? Jack of all trades and master of none or something to that extent. My knowledge, mostly, has come from necessity rather than want. As a man, a father, a husband, a home owner, an employee, and even as a friend, I find myself doing things a skilled, trained, licensed, or certified person would be doing. There is one exception, and that is that I am cheap. As I mentioned, when it comes to maintenance, repairs, or installations I know just enough to be dangerous. I may not be the best, but I always try to do my best. Perhaps that is my actual down fall, free or not, I care.

 

It doesn’t help that my boss knows what I am capable of either. For that matter, either one of my bosses because I have done remodeling, maintenance, repairs, and installations at both of my places of employment. It is always a nice interruption to the daily grind I suppose. Since first thing Monday morning I have been impersonating a plumber at my day job. The quotes for the work needing to be done ranged from $3500.00 all the way to $5900.00 so that was going to happen. Then, my boss got the brainchild of an idea that I would be a great candidate to do the work. I did, however, go reluctantly and I was reminded that the tasks at hand clearly fell under the description of “other duties” which of course don’t actually have a definition. So be it because it gets me the hell out of the office and warehouse for a few days. The project, in reality, was very simple, tapping into an existing water line and make two new connections in two separate locations from the exterior of the same building. After 3 days and one morning I was done. And if I don’t say myself, it looks pretty damn good. Nobody will ever be able to tell it was a complete amateur job. But, that is not what this story is actually about. I felt the need to prime the story with a little background so the second part could actually make some realm of sense. All week long we have been in the high 90’s with 80% or better in humidity. In plain English, it was so hot I could cook stuff in my shorts. Needless to say, when the day was done, I smelled like a farm animal because of being out in the sun and heat all day. Did wonders for my tan since I had 3 days going topless.

 

Monday being the first day of my plumbing experience had given me a funk so bad that I had a hard time being where I was because I was trying to figure out what that smell was. It was me, plain and simple. When I arrived at the club I figured I could splash on a little cologne and I would be okay. Nope, it had zero effect on the pungency. A few of the dancers got very offended by my funk and asked if I could go home and fix it. Fix it? That’s funny. Plus, I was not diving the 45 minutes each way, it wasn’t happening. Then my boss came up to me and said to follow her. So I did. She had asked if I had a change of clothes and if so to get them and meet her in her office. So I did, I got them and returned to her office. I then followed her into the dancer’s locker room. A rather large area, but can accommodate about 175 people at once at any given time. Which is good because we have 350 or more dancers and female employees at the club at any given time. She made an announcement to everyone in the locker room that there was a male employee present. Nobody even batted an eye. Then my boss left, but not before instructing me to shower, get dressed, and get to work. I am thinking to myself at this point that I am in a place where many men would kill to be. Granted, I see everyone one of these dancers naked at least 3 times a night already, but for some reason it was different in a private group setting. I spotted a dancer I know real good, I would even consider her to be my friend. I walked over to her and asked if she had soap, shampoo, and a towel she wouldn’t mind me using. She graciously accommodated my requests and handed me everything with a huge smile, a bit sinister if you ask me.

 

I parked my butt on the bench in front of the showers to get undressed. Its a big shower, can accommodate 35 people each with a shower head to themselves. There were a few dancers in the shower already, in various stages of their own shower, some washing, some rinsing their hair, and the dancer directly in front of me, a mere 4 feet away, was shaving herself bare. I found myself undressing real slow, keeping an eye on my surroundings. Others would walk by, tell me hi, see if I need anything or any help. I even got a high five from one I barely even knew and she stated that “now its a party up in dis bitch”. Really? Was my presence going to make it a party? If I were a single man under some different conditions, then perhaps, but not today. I was good with being a literal peeping tom, which when it is all boiled down, is what I was. Nobody seemed to mind, nobody seemed to actually care if I was there, but I can’t help but think to myself that the dancers in the shower were putting on a bit of a show. How? There seemed to be an awful lot of them facing away from me while bending over with straight legs, spending a long time washing themselves knowing I was watching them. Little things, probably just my overactive imagination. Oh yea, finish getting undressed and get in the shower.

 

Completely naked I joined 13 dancers already there. I heard “don’t be shy come down here by us” and similar things. So, I did. Right smack in the middle of 13 completely naked dancers showering with me. By this point I had put my mind in another place and another time so I could just focus on getting clean and staying out of harms way. It was the longest 20 minute shower I think I have ever had! I stepped out of the shower, dried off, and returned to the bench. I couldn’t help feeling as if I had eyes on me, maybe it was just wishful thinking on my part. What made it worse was one of the dancers who seems like she is always doing a private show just for me on my bar sits next to me, she is still naked and wet and started talking with me as I was getting dressed. She told me she had memories now, not her imagination, which she will use to make her extra wet the next time she is dancing on my bar. I thought to myself, am I flattered or afraid. In the end, I am a little of both.

 

I left that locker room a “new” person. Although nothing sexual happened I was left with a very satisfied feeling. I know the story is probably a bit disappointing to most, especially those thinking I was leading into some kind of a shower orgy with strippers story. Sorry, it happened the way it happened. I value too many things to toss it out the window for a little action on the side. After getting off work, I went home, showered again, and got into bed with my wife, where I held her hand for the remainder of the night, it was nice. After some reflection, my wife and I discussed my shower at work. I know other people, some I am related to, that would have kept the whole thing a secret from their spouse. But, that is not how we operate. Since then, being at the club is different. I have dancers screwing with me now, some have the impression I don’t like girls. It doesn’t really matter what they think or say, I know where I stand. I think I got to fulfill a portion of a fantasy that many men would have loved to be in the middle of. I good with the way this has all worked out. Some have said that I missed out on an opportunity of a lifetime and it will never be something that I will ever have a chance at ever again. Maybe so, maybe not. I am left with an intact marriage and a wife who trusts me in life as well as to bartend in a club which features full nude dancers. I think I have the good end of that deal.

Back To The Bar, Afterthoughts From Florida

Originally Posted 07 August 2012

 

My first night back at work was Monday night. I had mixed feelings about going back to work at the club, unfortunately its sorta complicated. It was easy to go back to my day job Monday morning, probably because it is so scheduled, routine, and really laid back. So, it was easy to jump right back in and as I found out I didn’t actually miss too much and I didn’t have too much to catch up to bring it all current again. Working at the club is a bit different, I wasn’t ready to get back into all the drama just yet. Ten days away was nice but another week would have made it better. Its not just all the dramatics, its also the time I put in every night. We did hire new bartenders a while back, three, and they are all trained for the most part now so they don’t need much babysitting any longer. I talked with my boss and told her that I don’t want to work the weekends anymore and I only want to work 6-10 during the week. She kinda gave me a grin and a nod. Why? Because I would go from working 60 hours at my part time job down to around 24 or so, it would cut my hours basically in half. She told me I would miss the money, she is right I would me the 3K a month, but I am willing to overlook it. If something doesn’t change real soon I will be forced to quit altogether because my body just can’t take the abuse any more.

 

I know, sounds like a bunch of whining, but my vacation gave me an opportunity to put some things into perspective from a great distance. I had time to do a great deal of thinking while I was driving. Driving is the perfect opportunity for me to sort thoughts and put things into perspective. So, what did I think about. Well, the big one was about not liking to have to work 2 jobs to make the ends meet and be able to save money. I work alot of hours, and for what, just the money. Money does make the world go ’round, well, at least in my world. Not everyone agrees with it, but the nuts and bolts of it is that in order to have things or do things one needs money. My part time job has provided things and opportunities that I don’t think would have otherwise been available to me or my family. One major thing this job has done was allowed us to have our dream house built and a 30 year mortgage paid off in just under 3 years, which wasn’t a small feat by no means. It has gave me the opportunity to pay off vehicles. It gave me the opportunity to pay cash for a brand new Goldwing. It gave me the luxury of hunting down a Hummer H1 to buy, just so I could say I had one. Hell, for the most part, it paid for the Disney vacation we just got back from. It was nice to throw down cash and be done with it. It was nice not having to say no to my wife and kids because something wasn’t in the budget while on vacation. We did alot and we saw alot on this vacation and I wasn’t worried one bit about over doing it and being strapped for cash when the bills came do. No, I am not bragging, just explaining what the income from this job has provided for myself and my family. I like having money to do things or buy things, it is a great feeling not piling it on one or more credit cards. However, I have socked away more than I have spent, you do the math. I want to be my wife and I to be fully retired by age 50, that is 6 years for me and 12 for my wife. I want our toys bought and paid for, I don’t want any more monthly bills except for utilities. We live pretty much debt free now and after we retire I want to be able to keep it that way. I will have tuition for my middle daughter here in 2 years, and my son in another 7 years. Both are taken care of right now. My daughter wants to go to Texas A & M to become a veterinarian and my son, undecided on a school, just knows he wants to be a structural scientist (which is way too hard to explain, so you will need to Google it).

 

In the end, I have been able to do in 3 1/2 years what many cannot do in an entire lifetime. And yes, I am proud of myself. I am a good saver because I spent way too many years being poor living paycheck to paycheck surviving on ramen noodles every night and always having to tell my family no because we could not afford it. I really hated having to lie to bill collectors and always risking losing something because the payment was late. Perhaps I am looking at this the wrong way entirely. Maybe its my day job that I need to ditch and just press on bartending for the next 6 years, maybe that is the actual answer. Is there actually an answer? Am I wasting my time looking for something that doesn’t actually exist? All I know is this whole floating through life grabbing up stuff while it is available is starting to show its wear and tear on my body.

 

One of the amazing things I saw while in Florida was the large amount of out of state plates on vehicles. We saw plates from 28 other states, Canada, and various places in Mexico. I started wondering what all of them were doing in Florida. Were they “ALL” there on vacation. Were some relocating? Oddly enough while we were in the parks I had a hard time not people watching, I did it alot. I also spent a fair share of time while in close quarters in the lines listened to the conversations going on around me. It seemed at times that my family was the only ones speaking English. Disney World definitely was the point of convergence for world wide vacationers. My family and I blend in real well with the Florida natives, until we talk I guess, the Texas accent would give us away every time. By the time my trip was over and I was looking at Florida thru my rear view mirror, I found myself wondering why people flock to move to Florida. In my own eyes I couldn’t really find a reason for me to move there personally. Other than the humidity there wasn’t much difference in the weather. Hot is hot wherever a person lives in the south. Gas prices were all but identical to where I live. The housing market and prices were similar also. The major difference, the turn off for me, especially in the greater Orlando area was all the tourists. People I talked with, travelers like myself and also residents mentioned that there is a large quantity of tourists year round, not seasonal like I thought. Don’t get me wrong, Florida is beautiful. I especially liked Daytona, it was kind of a sleepy city. I don’t ever see myself as being one of those people who dream of moving to Florida after retirement. Then again, anything could happen.

 

Daytona Beach was an excellent place to people watch. My daughter suffers from the same thing I do, she like to people watch too. Maybe we both have overactive imaginations because together we just have way too much fun doing it. We watched this one man, mid 50ish if I had to guess and this young girl, 18 or 19 at best, joking and goofing off out on the beach. No big deal, my daughter and I are doing it all the time. We had commented how much fun this girl and her dad were having on their day at the beach. We had both commented that my daughter would be dead if she wore the bikini this girl was wearing because it showed more than it covered. I had more lint in my pocket than she was wearing as a bikini. My lint could have made 4 of the bikinis she was wearing with some left over. He had the “stereotypical” 50ish year old dad body. He had the beer gut, the receding hair line, the droopy bathing suit, and so on. But, damn he was tan, like 80’s porn star tan. After a few hours we became bored with them and shifted our attention the the 4 boys building a house size sand castle. Also a fun watch. But then the dad and daughter caught my daughter’s attention again. She was going on…..Dad…..Dad……Dad……Dad…..look over there as she pointed with a look of shock, horror, and disgust on her face. What could be so bad I wondered. Well, lets put this as mildly as I can, they were “making out” in an extreme manner. There was enough groping and grinding to make a passer byer blush while he looked repeated to assure himself he was seeing what he was. It was pretty steamy. It was like watching an episode of “Real Sex” on HBO. We came to the conclusion they probably weren’t related. But then again, what do we know anyway.

 

The places we visited in Florida were not restricted to any particular age group, race, religion, sexuality, or language. It was a bit bizarre but at the same time it gave me an opportunity to see what people from all over the world do for vacation. I used to think a vacation was a “state of mind”, probably because I have never taken an actual vacation before, imagine, me, a vacation virgin. Well, now that I have had my first I can only think what we will do on our next vacation. My family expressed the idea that we need to have a week long vacation every year, if not two. Not a bad idea. I guess it sums alot up for me at this point, keep my bartending job so we can afford future bad ass vacations. Do retired people take vacations? Maybe it would be best to stop my bitching, the work I do is easy as a bartender. In reality the dancers make 80% of the money I get to take home. They perform for cash and I get a portion of the funds they receive, not a bad deal actually. One day this “life” as a bartender will be only a memory that I probably won’t talk about, I am looking forward to it.