Monday, May 24, 2004


I am 29-years-old.
I am 29-years-old.
I am 29-years-old.

No matter how many times I say it, I cannot get used to the idea. It's just a number, people say, it means nothing if you are young at heart. But right now, my heart, which indeed feels young, also feels perplexed.
How did this happen to me, I wonder? How did all these years slip away like, a famous singer once said, a thief in the night? Heck, I'm still intimidated by adults. I find myself feeling insecure amongst other late twenty-something. That shouldn't happen to a 29-year-old--I am one of them, if not, in some cases, their elder.

Now when someone asks me how old I am, I respond meekishly as if I was my age was a mistake or as if I had just been pulled over and a policeman asked me if I knew how fast I was going. The number always comes with an explanation of sorts.

This newest birthday (which was yesterday) frightens me. I am suddenly aware of all the degrees not hanging on my wall. I take notice of the family I do not yet have. I look out the window and do not see the station wagon I, as a twelve-year-old, dreamt of owning.

Every time I read an article in a magazine or a newspaper, I take notice of the subject's age. If they are too young to be a celebrity or a successful writer or a musician, etc, I cannot help but feel a tinge of jealousy. If they are older then me, I feel slightly justified. Perhaps I, too, am a late bloomer.

I now think of taking more chances; moving away, meeting interesting people, making a movie. Or I wonder whether it is time to start incorporating the P word into my vocabulary ("practical" was always the scariest of words). Should I accept the corporate job? Should I begin accumulating a more mature wardrobe?

It's unfortunate that all these thoughts roam around in my head after I have just found out that close relative of mine has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. I cannot imagine the frustration of living a full life only to begin forgetting it. Sometimes the only thing we have to comfort ourselves are the memories. I know that on this post-birthday, I reminisce about the years past and the hopes I cherished for the future. I am trying to maintain that hope, I am trying to conjure the unadulterated anticipation. And I can do that somewhat, only because I have a point of reference in the past. This said relative reportedly only has a minor case which will inevitably take a turn for the worse. Such is the nature of this degrading disease. While it won't take your health, it will take your name, identity, history, thoughts, dreams...

As I look into the mirror, I see a "man (try saying that without snickering)" of 29 years. While I know where I've been, or more appropriately, where I haven't been, I have no idea where I'm going. I don't have a stable life, a consistent job in an office...I don't have a family yet or a station wagon. Every morning that I wake, I look for the meaning that most people my age are searching for. The Big Picture. Our destiny. What we were put here for. Looking towards that sort of uncertainly is stressful and exciting, scary and exhilarating. I am feeling around in the dark, looking for the proverbial light switch and it's promising illumination.

My relative, on the other hand, probably yearns for that sort of uncertainty. I know my name. She does not. I remember my golden-filled summers but she doesn't. I look through the photo albums and recall the scents that enveloped me at those respective times. She cannot do the same, even if the picture proves that she had been there with me.

With every year that I encounter, I am progressively conscious of our time, our precious time. What shall I do with it? Better yet, do I have a choice? After all, my suffering relative has none. All she wants is to remember what was and I feel selfish wondering what could be. It will happen, I tell myself, and hopefully it will be for the best. She, in her infinite wisdom acquired with age, would say, I should be patient and hopeful. Time has many wonderful gifts for us, I imagine her prophesising. But now things are different. She can't comfort me with the reassurance she gained by raising a wonderful family, by being a valiant wife, by going through the hardship of an awful war.

She is just trying to remember her name.

Friday, May 21, 2004


I so need a job.


I don't really need a job. I just need the money.


When people say 'I have an insane heaping pile of resumes to go through,' they mean 'I have an insane heaping pile of resumes to throw away in the trash.'


I'm totally grinding my teeth during the night.


Happiness is a fair-weather friend. Disappointment, on the other hand, will always be around.


Ultimately, will I be saving anyone's life today?


I am tired of saying things that people want to hear.


Maybe I don't need coffee...maybe coffee needs me.


Tommorrow will be different.

Friday, May 14, 2004


When I was a child, my sister would always say to me, Arye, cats are for throwing, and then she would mercilessly throw our very large cat at me. Now this cat was no ordinary cat. Our mischievous feline was 476 lbs. of lazy, furry flesh. Mom would constantly feed it better than she had fed us. Bongo, as we named our cat after the less intelligent character on Heathcliff (the cartoon), ate sushi, steak, caviar, and Fettuccine Alfredo. We, on the other hand, had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day. Three times a day. Nothing else was served in the Dworken house ever. When friends would ask if I got tired of PB&J, I would say back, I didn't know that there was anything else to eat in this world.

Then on a sunny summer day, upon returning home from school, I spotted a broken down car sitting in front of our home. It seemed as if the passengers in this car must have been important because of the tinted windows. My father always said, son, if you see a car with 'dem tinted windows, that means 'dem important people in the car. It turns out that Father was right because out of this busted stretch Chevy emerged Santa Claus, Richard Nixon, Superman and Stephen Hawkins.

"Who let Hawkins drive" shouted Nixon.
"Sorry. About. That," said Hawkins in his creepy robotic voice.

I had recently been practicing my French, which I found out years later was really Portuguese. I greeted my new best friends.
"You are right on time for Peanut Butter and Jelly," I said in my French/Portuguese.
"Wonderful," said Santa.
I then whispered in Superman's ear that Santa wasn't invited because I was Jewish and that since I didn't believe in him, he would have to wait in the car.
"No problem," said Superman.

Just then my sister, whose nickname was Leather Slipper, came home.
"What's going on here?" asked Leather Slipper.
"Just some friends coming over," I responded in my French/Portuguese.
"Does mom know you're having guests over? She won't be happy because she hasn't cleaned the house."
"Sacrea Bleu," this was French. I was sure of it. I had heard my French janitor say it when he spilled acid on my teacher. We had two weeks off from school because of this incident. During this time I flew to Jupiter and established the first colony there.

I walked into my house with Superman, Nixon and Hawkins (Santa waited in the car--I insisted) and heard loud banging emanating from the back.
"What's. That. Noise?" Hawkins asked.
"That's dad," said Leather Slipper. "He's f****ing building this mother****ing treehouse. ****, I said to him, we're too old for that ****." Leather Slipper liked to use colorful words all the time.
"Oh," said Nixon.

Just then Mom came down the stairs and spotted me with my guests.
"What in blazes is going on here, Arye?" She screamed.
"Mom, not in front of the guests, please," I said sternly in my French/Portuguese.
"We can come back another time," said Superman.
"No, it's ****in' ok," said Slipper. "I'll handle the old lady."
"Could we have PB&J in the treehouse?" I asked.
"No," Mom said. "We have no more bread. I fed it all to Bongo."

Sunday, May 09, 2004


He sat there wondering where she was, what she was doing. Was she eating dinner? Was she watching TV, flipping the channels as she had normally done because she claimed that there was nothing really on TV anymore? Was she wearing sweatpants and a vintage T-shirt? He loved it when she wore that outfit because in his head he secretly wished that everyone would dress like that wherever they went. To work. To a party. To the supermarket. This would have to be acceptable because she had found this outfit comfortable and he wished that she would be comfortable at all times even if it meant designating a new dress code for the world.

He turned the channel (because he too found that nothing was on) and saw that commercial that they had together found annoying. Oh God, she would say, this commercial is so annoying. And he would say, yeah, it is.

His chest hurt from smoking too much. Truthfully, he had nothing else to do and smoking made him feel less lonely. He wasn't sure just did. She once said that he should probably stop smoking. She suggested that when he turned 30, he should finally give up the filthy habit. He laughed and agreed that 30 sounded like a good age. He liked the fact that someone cared about his well being. It gave him a slight case of the chills. Walking down the streets, he had always noticed the impersonal nature of this city. When someone changed that by showing concern, it was like a drug.

He shut the TV off and put on the stereo. The CD he decided to play reminded him of her. Truthfully, most of the music he played nowadays reminded him of her. Beforehand, the words had always seemed irrelevant but now he found himself combing them for personal allusions as if they had been written for him. About him. About him and her, actually. It was silly but he couldn't help but feel the songwriter has seen the two of them together and then, suddenly inspired, picked up his or her guitar and wrote a song.

He looked over at the clock and noticed how early it was and how desperately he wanted it to be later. Since he had not seen her, time had this tendency to move as if the clocks' arm were weighed down by concrete. The only thing he had planned for tonight was to go to bed. How odd, he thought. When she was around, I could stay up for hours. They only went to sleep when their eyes could no longer stay open. When he promised himself that he would meet her in his dreams.

He wondered what she was doing. Where she was. He was jealous of the people around her. He wanted to be a picture on her wall, a book in her bookshelf. It didn't seem fair--her being there and his being here.

Was she sitting on the couch? Was she thinking of him? Did she wonder where he was and what he had eaten for dinner? He wondered what she was wondering.

He turned the stereo louder and lit another cigarette.

Thursday, May 06, 2004


Please. It's been a rough day.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004


Ezra writes:

"To answer your blog question - I read it avidly."

Arye answers:

Well, Ezra, I'm pretty sure that it's not a question but I appreciate it nevertheless. It is quite sweet of you to write in and I love hearing from BBS readers.
Oh...but wait. Am I being dumb? Was that indeed a question as in "I read it avidly?" If that is the case, then the answer is, yes. You should read it avidly because I want you to have as much sincerity in your life as possible. It's low in carbs and high in protein.

Frustrated asks:

"Dear Bring Back Sincerity Man,

Last week I asked The Strokes to be my friendster. And they declined me.
Why? I mean, my smile is just as goofy's as Drew Barrymore's. Besides, dont
they have to oblige their fans who spent over $15 on an album where one can
barely hear them - a cacophony of muffled voices? I want to be their
friendster. Is it impolite to send a message and ask them why they refused
my online love? Could this somewhat be related to the fact that I wrote
"ABBA's greatest hits" in my profile's favorite music box? Please help as I
can't get a Casablancas testimonial without first winning their friendstership.

Frustrated in the Upper West Side"

Arye answers:

Frustrated, the first problem with your question is that you spent 15 dollars on a Strokes CD. Golly! What's it like over there in Rich Land? And when can you take me out for dinner? How about every night this week?
Two words, Frustrated: "Down" and "load." Ya' see, you'll be 15 dollars richer and then you won't feel that Fabrizio owes you a testimonial. See how simple it is. Besides, everyone know how exclusive the Strokes Friendster membership is. Heck, I heard Jake Gyllenhall was even rejected.
Also; fret not. You are not alone. I am still waiting for Winona Ryder to call me and propose my hand in marriage and she has yet to do so. That, my friend, is so uncool.

Ms. Smith asks:

"Dear BBS,

I think the Darkness sucks my cuddly bare white tush. But everyone else
seems to adore them and in hopes that this doesnt turn into an episode of
Bad News Bears, I'd like to share in my friends' infatuation and admiration
for those feisty brit-whores. I want in on the tribe. If I play their CD, of
what sounds like alley cats getting raped over and over again, enough times
while I'm soundly sleeping - will I start liking them? Sorta subliminal
messaging for rock lovers?


A Smiths & Pixies Fan"

Arye answers:

So I tried finding pics of your cuddly white tush online but I only found Paris Hilton's. Whatever. I'll take what I can get.

And "alley cats getting raped"....?!?! Exactly what are your hobbies, Smith? I've got the ASPCA on speed-dial and I won't hesitate to use it.

Moreover, Ms. Smith asks:

"Where you looking for something a bit more mainstream, like "what is your
favorite memory?"

Arye answers:

Good question. My favorite memory is when I was a child and I beat my sister at a game of Memory. Fifteen years later and she's still asking for a rematch.

Mike asks:

"Why is my dry cleaner so unfriendly?"

Arye answers:

Mike, keep this in mind: you're dropping your pants off. You're not dating them.

But seriously, I've been using the same dry cleaner for five years and the most I can get out of them is the word "starch?" Which I always say no to because God knows how I try to avoid pasta.

I had some other questions submitted but I can't find them so if you would be so kind, BBS reader, send them over to me again.