Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Antihero

It was a long dark stormy night......nah just kidding. It is actually a rather sunny day with a decent weather for January. I'm currently in Barnes and Nobles at Union Square reading a Crossfit magazine while my BF does w.e it is he was doing. I was happy to be back on my workout routine because the weather has disrupted my training to a degree and winter is normally the time I fuck up so i'm doing much better this year. We meet up and leave the store, planning to walk around the city. I then remember that I needed a notepad and we head towards staples. We're about to enter when something grabs my attention and I see a bicyclist in the narrow street pedaling away with an elderly man chasing behind him--no stumbling as if he was just hit or something. The man then falls onto the street and shows no sign of getting up quickly. A quick scan to the left shows a green light as a man in the USPS van cruises slowly down the street. As he closed in I saw his eyes focused ahead of him, his speed still steady and somehow I knew he wouldn't stop. Without hesitation, I close the distance between myself and the fallen man yelling "STOP!" until the driver stopped a few feet from me and fewer from the man on the ground. I ensure the man's ok and help him stand on his feet. As he walks away I remind my bf we need to head to staples and we walk away. The man thanked me but I didn't hear him. it wasn't necessary anyways. No need for thank you's and no need for admiration.......



The Antihero

"So what's going on with ya? How's life?" I look up to face my friend Longia who is sitting across from me. I never asked but I assume he's of middle eastern/indian descent. Before I can answer he gets up to attend a customer .I go back to eating my chicken florentine. As co manager of the diner, my friend invited me to a free lunch. With my current financial situation I see no reason to refuse. I update him with my career life as he returns and he tells me about the current drama in his life. I listen as I hear the depressing story and silently remind myself that many people are in the same boat as me. We also reminisce on our days in the choir as he reminds me of all the times I helped him with his music homework. A more lighthearted moment of my darker memories of my high school. My bill came up to $13 that was paid for by him. I gave the server a $10 tip to pass the blessing.

The next few days are filled with training. One day i'm spending two hours lifting weights, doing pullups, chinups, squats and everything else to get a full body work out. The next day i'm on the boardwalk a few blocks from home running in 10 degree weather for 5 miles. The windy days are the worst because it shortens my breathing and my sweat quickly turns into ice on my hoodie. Worst of all the boardwalk is only a two way so I feel the gust for a good two miles clouding my vision. Eventually I learn to ignore it. At night I lock myself in the room and practice my kicks and punches. Then I pick my up twin sais and practice them as well. I don't drop them as often anymore and flipping is easier now. The chances of me using them are slim but I enjoy the focus and coordination it brings me. If I could I would love to throw these bad boys into a wall or something. 

It's not just physical. I'm focusing more on my observation and concentration ability. Sometimes I walk slow to observe those around me. Anticipating which direction they'll walk in by facial expressions, decline or acceleration in walking speed. For example, a man walking my direction who is looking up with a confused facial expression is likely to make an abrupt 180. I remember how much I love getting into the mindset of another person. Sometimes it feels as if I can read a person's thoughts by subtle movements. Often involuntary reactions like a huge breath, eye roll, smirk or half smile tells me the truth behind the words or at least gives a hint. I know what to say that can either soothe a person, or push them over the edge. Understanding this makes me feel as if i'm manipulative at times. Because of that, I prefer to have a more upfront approach  and encourage others to do the same to even the playing field. Sometimes I wonder if it's a futile attempt because as hard as I mentally will myself to focus on a straightforward approach, my subconscious is still analyzing and determining my moves.

I spend most of my free time on my bed, if i'm not disturbed by my family or friends I daydream about being a private investigator again. Taking a case from an unknown client who needs my help. I drift from driving and doing stakeouts, visiting courthouses for information and----- i'm interrupted by a musical chime which means someone messaged me by text. I sigh but pick up my phone and was surprised to see a text from my friend Ahmed since he normally messages me on this app called Line..... I see......So he decided to go to Egypt after all to visit his family instead of enjoying the weather in Hawaii. He gave me a number to call his parents if I don't hear from him before Valentines day. Gotta respect a guy who's willing to visit family in Cairo where there's a civil war going on. Knowing his mind was made up I made no effort to persuade him and agreed to do what he asked. We have different perspectives but we both agree there are never any guarantee's in life.  Anything can happen. I imagine i'll know his fate in a couple of weeks. Better not waste time. I pick up the "complete idiot's guide to private investigating" and freshen up on my knowledge concerning surveillance, public records and pretexting. I wish I got back into this habit sooner. Admittedly I spent a lot of time sulking about my unemployment but i'm not sure if it was the fear of not getting another shot in this industry or the fact that the tension has risen in the household but I still feel as if i'm losing control of the situation but for whatever reason i'm not bothered by it. I'm not sure if it's because I believe everything will work out for the best or because I am not afraid of losing my home because I already lost it several times. 

These thoughts play back in my head as I try to sleep. I wonder if I others did the same when pursuing this career. I read a novel "detectives don't wear seatbelts" by Cici Mcnair and saw how she successfully lived her dream as a private eye. We even had the same first boss.......bizarre but reading it fueled my desire to continue. I fantasized about how life would be if the licensing laws here were similar to Mississippi. Technically, i'd be legal to work as my own detective. I'd just have to market my clients. Do it craigslist style like on bored to death... Ok i'm thinking nonsense it's time to go bed......

(begin dream)
Somewhere in my slumber I find myself  in college as a new transfer. I can walk, I can breathe and I can think. Somehow I don't remember that I already graduated from John Jay and walk the halls. I see a great mix of people but I get a weird vibe from all of them. They all have the #yolo outlook and appear to be taking it seriously. I could feel the immaturity creeping all around me and was relieved to see it was time for a break. Outside I see a familiar face and ask him to hang out but he looks at me and walks away saying something that appears to be a warning of some sort. Baffled I walk past a long tri cylinder object with a table flipped on it's side. Before I could comprehend what that meant I heard gunshots. Multiple gunshots. I look up and see students on the roof shooting at the students on the ground with those students shooting back. To my left I notice a school yard where the girls were playing an innocent game of soccer that quickly turns into a gun fight. I stay behind cover and observed the faces of those who weren't killed. Pure joy. Seriously? These people were enjoying themselves?. I saw another high school friend who took cover next to me but I had no intention to chat and was out of there. I somehow find myself in a graveyard like setting. I see my high school friend most known for his EMT interests. We then spot someone who resembles a modern day grim reaper creep past us. For some reason he feels obligated to help despite my protests and ends up getting shot twice but managed to live. I catch the grim reaper and see hes' elderly man and I knock him unconscious  (end dream) 

My mom knocks on my door. It's 6:15 am so it's time to get up. My nephews bus arrives in 30 minutes so I turn on the news. Murder, accidents, weather forecast, scandal and additional murders are the main topics. Oh shit it's 6:33. I pull the covers off my nephew and he begins whining asking for more sleep. He eventually gives in and gets dressed as we watch "mike the knight". I hear the bus horn and bring him downstairs, noting that it's gonna be another arctic day. Another 30 min of rest would be great but I was already energized. I flip open my P.I mag and eventually reach the FBI's most wanted page. It would be great to take some of these people down. For instance, you have Noor Aziz Uddin wanted for scamming victims in excess of $50 million through many cyber crime methods. Carlos Enrique Perez-Merlara tricked people out of passwords, and other sensitive information using the old keylogger scam. I'm torn between disgust and intrigued . These guys are currently out of my league but maybe NYPD's most wanted would be easier for me. I have no qualms entertaining that thought as I check out the crime stoppers webpage. To my surprise, they have a huge list of wanted criminals with very tempting rewards for tips that help lead to arrest. That would be fun to pursue that for quick cash but I would think there's a line between helping and interfering with an official investigation. However I can't get the thought out of my head. I remember seeing news coverage concerning the baby hope case, and how crime stoppers state that many people who help with investigations don't claim the money they're owed for whatever the reason. Even the baby hope tipper didn't claim her money which was for a  few grand. Hmmmmmmmmmmm. I have another day of training ahead of me and need to meet my bf in another hour so I dismiss it. However as the day goes on it gets more and more tempting. I'm not sure when i'll be employed again but it wouldn't hurt to make myself useful to the public would it?

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The next step

I return to reality to find myself inside the dojo. My temporary opponent stands in front of me, facing my direction. He's currently in fighting position and I check to make sure I am as well.  I see my sensei from my peripheral on the left. I need to fight soon but my mind drifts back to dreamland. Dreams where i'm financially wealthy, stable career, homelessness is not breathing down my neck and- My thoughts are interrupted as my sensei shouts "HAJIME" and my opponent closes in to punch me. In one sweeping motion I lunge forward with my left and hop as my right punch slams into his head knocking him down. Career fantasies flow through my head again as my opponent stands up. His punch and kicks hits nothing but air as I evade him before knocking him back with a roundhouse kick, spinning backhand, reverse punch, and snap kick combo. I maintained this intensity through my other fights and was rewarded my blackbelt at the end of the promotion exam. I should be happy. I am now able to fight in competitive tournaments and also have a few years left of training until I can begin teaching(of course i'll still be training after). Something I always wanted. However what I really wanted more than anything was something I didn't have for the past 6 months.. My career



The next step 

Now don't get me wrong. I managed to accomplish many goals this year that were important to me. I got to work as a private investigator and confirm that it was a career I was interested in. I also managed to get my drivers license after failing 3 times due to nerves, and managed to get my first degree black belt in Gou Ryu Karate. I'm still in a stable relationship and maintain a healthy balance between the BF, friends and family. However, I still feel anxious about the future and it invades my thoughts on a consistent basis but I do have my reasons.

Until 6 months ago, I was a bloodhound for hire. I normally considered private investigation as hunting for information. I was an amateur but I was hungry and worked tirelessly to feed my hunger. Unfortunately I was separated from my agency because they were unable to keep me on their payroll which put me in a tight position. I was hired quickly by another agency but i'm currently waiting for my next assignment so i'm still technically unemployed which is bad since I really need steady income at this time. Perhaps that's how I found myself in Maryland checking into a hotel at midnight.

After being the last one to arrive to the facility I joined the line taking note of the other people there. I noted about 20-21 people in total for the physical exam. From there the physical began starting with stretches and vertical jump. After that we had run 300 meters under 70 seconds. I was able to do it effortlessly but it sucked knowing I didn't have water for 16 hours prior to that. I was given a 8 oz bottle to get by. It wouldnt give me full energy but I could make it work. The next phase was a series of doing 28 situps in one minute and 24 pushups in a minute. At this point a few people were disqualified. The rest of us moved on to a 1.5 mile run where more people failed to make the cut. At the end of the physical exam I was one out of the 11 people who passed. It helped that I spent a majority of my time training for my black belt exam which was actually 3 times harder than this exam. I was given some time before heading to the next part of the application process so my friend and I returned to the hotel to shower and change into our suits. In addition we let another John Jay student tag along since he didn't have a shower to use. 2 hours later we were in the building getting fingerprinted and photographed and had a one on one with an investigator before being given the next appointment date. With that I was out of Maryland and back in NYC by 8pm.

On the drive back I thought about what i'd do if I got the position. How i'd be able to adjust to living in Maryland. Starting over from scratch would be pretty difficult but also exciting. At the same time, I know better than to put all my eggs in one basket. One way or another I will be back on my feet financially whether it's in NYC, Maryland, Chicago, etc. I spent the past few months allowing my unemployment to stress me out. On top of that, I spent so much time doubting myself and ignoring all of the accomplishments I made when I need to be showing everyone why they need me in their company.  It's gonna take some mental repetition but eventually i'll be the hunter I used to be.

For this christmas as I sit in my room meditating I realize I received a great present this year. My willpower. It could not have come at a better time. Merry Christmas and let the hunt begin..................