Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Evening run in the 6th Ward

Dust, hot concrete and dirt on the Bayou Trail. The smear of river sits on its bed like a sullen teenager, refusing to budge. Dog-walkers saunter along winding paths, wearing ‘Texans’ t-shirts. Couples stroll together, lethargic, eyes on phones, texting in silence.
Young women bustle by industriously, with short, purposeful strides, in branded neon Lycra and colour-coded headbands. Blonde hair scraped into little ponytails, makeup still bafflingly in place.
I consider if I should feel self-conscious about my second-hand men’s running shorts, my raggy t-shirt, already sticking to my skin, less than a mile in. I decide against it.
Shirtless men spring toward me in effortless silence, feet moving in great ellipses, like Road Runner. Sweat drips from 5 o’clock shadows. Hairless chests gleam. They vanish as quickly as they appear.
Hefty body-builders chug along laboriously, head back, necks merging into shoulders in a continuous slope, like ramps on the freeway. Ragged breath, a gasp for every step. Basketball shorts and chunky shoes, mouths open in distracted agony, dark, glistening Vs pointing down their cotton backs.
I run past a middle-aged woman in black, who strolls alone along the path. No headphones. She looks around her, serene. She wears a pair of fairy wings on her back, ringed with fake fur, black to match her practical cotton walking outfit. ‘I like your wings,’ I say, as I dodge around her. ‘Thanks’, she says. I look back. She smiles at me. ‘Happy Hallowe’en,’ I fire over my shoulder. She looks confused.
Bridge underpass. Everything gets louder. Voices, footsteps, the laborious breathing of somebody behind me. Maybe it’s me. A rhythmic dum-dum, dum-dum, dum-dum from the cars gliding over the concrete joints overhead.
Out again. The acoustic deadens, like a car door slamming. Tanned women in bra tops, stomachs hard and rippling with sweat, pound past, impassive. Compression socks, impossibly long strides. They dart in and out among a pod of children on bikes, who struggle up the little hill to the bridge, heads encased in brightly-coloured helmets. A swarm of exotic, wheeled insects.
Up on the road now, over the bridge, back the other side. A knot of people stands at an information board, which announces the presence of a bat colony under the bridge. Some lean out over the edge of the viewing platform. A woman wrinkles her nose, squints. A man points, looks back at his friends. Looks back in the direction of his outstretched arm, brow furrowed. His companions look dubious.
I pass the retirement home. A suited official is giving a presentation in the dining room. ‘Medicaid’, says the title. ‘Things to know.’ Grey-permed heads are arrayed in rows, like lollipops. The presenter extends an arm, the better to indicate something on the screen with his laser pointer, unaware of the redundancy of the gesture. The overhead light has a greenish tinge. One of the permed figures shifts position on a plastic chair, rubs her lower back, winces slightly. An elderly man gazes out the window, ignoring the presenter. He wears a pastel, short-sleeved shirt, biro clipped in breast pocket, belted chinos hiked halfway up his chest. Square, practical glasses form a windscreen on his face. I catch his eye. He frowns.
Outside, a couple in their fifties, sitting on a park bench. The woman has a wheeled suitcase, the man has a rucksack. They study a map. The woman holds it out in front, elbows on knees, squinting. The man cranes his neck to see. Points at something. His finger collides with the paper, a soft thump, a rustle.
The bail bond office is still open for business. SE HABLA ESPAƑOL. Inside, a man leans across the counter, gesticulating at the clerk. His teenage son is half-turned away from the desk. He is kicking something on the floor, absently. Looks at his shoes.
The skyscrapers gleam silently. Lights go on and off, an animated chequerboard. The sky is red, dappled with pink, cross-hatched with jet trails.

Street lights hum and fizz, in their halos of gnats.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

You Have New Matches!

*Usernames have been changed. The content is real.*

Welcome! You Have New Matches.

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Orion212 answered new questions.

You should message me if:
'You are a feminine, respectful, mature, not too talkative, open-minded woman. You have good listening skills. You are of slender, athletic or curvy but small-waisted build.'

Would it bother you if your boss were a minority, female, or gay?
A: Not really, but maybe
Explanation: 'Some female bosses I had were the worst bosses.'

Would you consider dating someone who has vocalized a strong negative bias towards a certain race of people?
A: It depends on which race.

Do you believe that there exists a statistical correlation between race and intelligence?
A: Yes
Explanation: 'Countless academic studies and history confirm this, so this is what I am relying on.'

Breast implants: more cool than pathetic, or more pathetic than cool?
A: More cool than pathetic

Would you consider being in a relationship with someone who has had homosexual sex?
A: I'm not sure
Explanation: 'I see it as different for men and women.'

Would you consider dating someone that is a little overweight but has a beautiful face?
A: No.

Do you believe that men should be the heads of their household?
A: Yes.

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SomeDude837 answered new questions.

Should evolution and creationism be taught side-by-side in schools?
A: No, evolution has no place in schools.

Is global warming a serious problem?
A: No
Explanation: 'I believe big government and big corporations/banks are the problem.'

Do you consider astrology to be a legitimate science?
A: Yes

In the line 'Wherefore art thou, Romeo?', what does 'wherefore' mean?
A: Where

STALE is to STEAL as 89475 is to...
A: 98547

If 'some men are doctors' and 'some doctors are tall', does it follow that 'some men are tall'?
A: Yes

Are you a genius?
A: Yes
Explanation: 'I have a high IQ and have a low tolerance for ignorance.'

Sunday, 13 October 2013

You Have New Updates!

*All usernames have been changed. The content is real.*

Welcome!
You have new updates: Your matches have updated their profiles.

MrRight4u11 explained his answer publicly
Q: What do you think of strip clubs?
A: They are okay every once in a while.
Explanation: 'They have cheap happy hour drink specials.'

Jussipp88 edited his profile
My self-summary: 'I like the outdoors, hiking, swimming, fishing, beach. It is really weird to type so much so I am going to go to the next section.'

how2b4u11 explained his answer publicly
Q: If you were attending Hogwart's School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, which house would you want to be sorted into?
A: Gryffindor
Explanation: 'pretty standard I know'

8787taco answered a new question
Q: Which of the following could you do without for a month most easily: phone, internet, toothbrush or porn?
A: Toothbrush

TheTron433 edited his profile
I'm really good at: 'Listening and giving (un)healthy advice. That's one of the reasons I'm still alone, I guess.'

SlideFzz22 edited his profile
My self-summary: 'I am a human male in my late 20s and I have all sorts of feelings. I'm a pervert and a weirdo and whatever.'

FKF343 explained his answer publicly
Q: Do you believe a couple should live together before considering marriage?
A: Yes
Explanation: 'Might want to make sure she doesn't transform into the Wolf Man three times a year before you put a ring on that shiznit.'

legendss23 edited his profile
You should message me if: 'You want to hang out, play tour guide, try new things. Look, I don't have it all planned out, and I'm not above playing it by ear, but I'm not in the mood to get jerked around.'

sweetas33 updated his profile
My self-summary: 'To sum it up, me, as a guy who was born in the East and live all over the global, I don't fit into any of your pre existing catalog, I am quiet odd-mix, like the Kong Fu Panda if you have seen that movie.'

Lookin4uu22 updated his profile
I'm really good at:
1. BBQ
2. Travel
3. Hunting
4. Photography
5. Getting alone with kids and animals

Texan8man44 updated his profile
The 6 things I could never do without:
'Friends and family would be my #1 and 2... maybe a laptop and ipod my #3 and 4? Not sure about #5 and 6 because I can do without alot of things.'

RusskiYolo99 updated his profile
'I am Italian and Russian, hazel eyes, very into daily self improvement, there is hardly ever a day wasted in my life, I am living my best life. I don't have any girl friend or kids. I am in showbusiness nad I believe this is my break out year so I am looking for a lady who will add not take away from my life because I value my time. I mainly attracted to brazilian, BLACK and latina due to their full lips, and generous backsides.'

Dude_22 updated his profile
The 6 things I could never do without:
1. Family
2. Friends
3. Doughnuts
4. Pizza

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Dating Fatigue

It’s mid-afternoon in the coffee shop. Double-height ceiling, fans rotating lazily in the lofty gloom. A mezzanine level, ringed with silent customers staring at laptops, papers spread on tables. Highlighter pens, coffee mugs.
Two men lower themselves into director’s chairs around a circular table. One is wearing a pink shirt, open collared, polo-player insignia on the breast. Close-cropped blonde hair, tanned. A heavy, expensive-looking watch hangs slack around his wrist. He turns the chair so that he’s sitting side-on to the table, extends his legs. Well-made leather shoes, crossed at the ankle.
He leans back in his chair, expands to fill it, one arm on each armrest.
The other man is smaller, darker. He faces the table. He has a biro in the breast pocket of his plaid shirt. He leans forward.
‘You still on that dating website, man?’
‘Yeah.’ The blonde man shakes his head. ‘I don’t know, man, I’m getting kinda tired of it.’
‘Oh yeah?’ His friend makes a moue. ‘You’ve met a lot of people on there though, right?’
‘Yeah, but,’ – he shifts his weight, his breath catching – ‘I don’t know.’ He sighs. ‘It’s just hard to get excited about it after a while.’
He takes his sunglasses off his head, polishes them with the corner of his shirt.
‘You don’t want to meet someone any more?’
‘Nah man, it’s not that.’ He looks him in the eye, looks away again. ‘I just want to meet someone, you know, and have, like, an instant connection. I don’t want to have to go on, like, forty dates, to see if there’s chemistry.’
‘Right.’ The other man nods slowly, looking into his coffee mug.
‘And the other thing?’ He leans forward, conspiratorial now. Looks around his shoulder, cranes his neck, scanning the crowd. Turns back. ‘Some of them are pretty crazy, man.’
‘Yeah?’ The other man widens his eyes, makes a face. ‘How so?’
‘Well, they start talking about their problems, and to be honest? I just get irritated.’ A heavy sigh here. He shakes his head as though clearing water out of his ears. ‘The California one? Remember her?’
‘Oh yeah, I remember her. Angela, right? Hey, she was pretty hot, man.’
‘Right. Well, she’s just annoying. She goes on these uneducated rants on Facebook. She texted me five times in a row recently, complaining about how her dad wouldn’t pay for her flight to Houston, because she wants to go to a baby shower, and her mom doesn’t have the money, and her sister is the favourite, and her sister is getting loads of shit from her dad, and it’s not fair.’ He widens his eyes, stares at his friend. Shakes his head slowly.
His friend shakes his head in sympathy. ‘Jeez.’
‘I know, right?’
‘What did you say?’
‘Well, I was like, if you want a plane ticket, get a fucking job.’
The other man laughs. ‘Bet she loved that.’
They both shake their heads in silence.
‘Are you guys still friends on Facebook?’
‘Yeah.’
‘You should delete her, man. She sounds like a pain in the ass.’
‘Oh, she’s a pain in the ass all right. Yeah. Oh,’ – he remembers something, finger in the air – ‘and apparently she’s got a boyfriend now. She puts all over Twitter and Facebook that she’s got a boyfriend. But she’s still contacting me, like, all the time. Like, hey John, how you doin’ tonight? That kind of shit.’
‘Man.’
‘So I’m like, if you have a boyfriend, why are you still talking to me?’
‘I hate Facebook, man.’ He blows air out, cheeks expanded. ‘That’s why I’m not on there.’
‘I know, right. It’s horseshit.’
‘You should delete it.’
‘I know.’