“Think anyone will ever be as interesting as him?” the bartender asks in Spanish.
Legrand raises his eyebrows as an action-packed montage flashes through various James Bond-like exploits in far-flung places.
“It’s hard to say,” he finally responds, also in Spanish.
Back when Goldsmith’s character was rocketed to the Red Planet earlier this year, Heineken’s U.S. marketing chief Nuno Teles told Mashable that he imagined the iconic campaign’s transition as akin to a superhero franchise reboot. The marketing team even sought out some of the creators behind the James Bond films for advice.
“Why do you change something that is working? Because we can do better. Because we know that we have a way to evolve,” Teles said in an interview at the time.
Appearance-wise, the new spokesman isn’t much of a departure from the character Goldsmith perfected though Legrand is 36 years his junior.
But whereas Goldsmith’s worldly antics tended to avoid muddying his immaculate tux, Legrand’s iteration is meant to be more of a MacGyver type who lives in the moment rather than reminiscing on past glory.
“In this first glimpse, he shares hints of being a resourceful, rough and tumble guy, who remains a jack-of-all-trades hero that one would expect from the man bearing this infamous title,” a Dos Equis spokesperson said in a statement.
The description fits the profile Dos Equis had in mind at the time of Goldsmith’s send-off. The brand said it was looking for a more modern take on the mascot someone who wouldn’t seem out of place on social media, for example.
“Jonathan as the ‘Most Interesting Man’ is always looking back,” Teles said. “He’s always referring to what he did in the past. We believe there’s space to be more relevant for current consumers as well as new customers.”
While market research showed interest in the campaign remained steady throughout Goldsmith’s tenure, the reboot seems to be geared towards younger customers.
Dos Equis hopes the new character will help it continue to expand its customer base in order to maintain its status as the fastest growing beer brand in the United States.
Dos Equis’s long-running “Most Interesting Man in the World” campaign proved more successful than its creators had ever dreamt when it debuted a decade ago. The success propelled the then-low profile beer brand into a household name.
The brand will reveal more about its new leading man in a commercial set to air late next month in conjunction with its sponsorship of the College Football Playoff.
A handy guide to answering the age-old question “Is the bartender flirting with me?” went viral on social media this week, and we’re here for it.
Titled “Why the Female Cashier Is Being Nice to You” and offering two possible answers (either “She is uncontrollably sexually attracted to you” or “Because that’s literally her fucking job you cretin”), the entire pie chart was filled in to mark the latter answer at 100%.
Exeter’s Beer Cellar shared the photo alongside a message asking men to please stop trying to kiss their female bartenders’ hands.
This is definitely our favourite sign in the bar. Also if dudes could stop trying to kiss our female bartender’s hands that would be great. pic.twitter.com/C1Lf8KNe1Q
“[As a woman,] you’re obviously pressured to give A+ customer service, and loads of people would interpret common hospitality as romantic interest,” Charlotte Mullin, the sign’s designer, told Mashable. “I wanted to make it clear that female staff are nice to you because they have to be! And, of course, most of us are decent human beings and would be nice to you anyway, but in no way does this mean we’re dying for your dick.”
That pressure to give “A+ customer service” is partially because bartenders and wait staff rely on earning tips from customers. This kind of harassment is just one more reason to get rid of tipping altogether.
On May 15, State Senator Samuel D. Thompson, representing New Jersey’s 12th District, introduced Senate Bill No. 3190, designating another New Jersey emblem. At the time, the Garden State had a state dance (the square dance), a state animal (horse), a state fish (brook trout), a state flower (common meadow violet), a state bird (Eastern goldfinch), a state fruit (highbush blueberry), a state tree (red oak), state colors (buff and Jersey blue), and even a state bug (honey bee). What New Jersey didn’t have was a state germ.
Thompson proposed Streptomyces griseus.
New Jersey wasn’t the first state to make such a proposal.
In 2010, Wisconsin proposed Lactococcus lactis, which is used in the manufacture of Colby, Cheddar, and Monterey Jack cheeses, as its state germ. Legislators dropped the proposal the following year.
In 2013, Oregon became the first state to have a state germ after it passed legislation naming Saccharomyces cerevisia, a microbe commonly known as brewer’s yeast, which is used to make beer.
It’s easy to understand why Wisconsin would pick a microbe related to cheese and Oregon would pick one related to beer. (Oregon is a consistent national leader in craft beers). But why Streptomyces griseus in New Jersey?
The streptomyces story begins about a hundred years ago.
In 1916, Selman Waksman, a professor of microbiology and biochemistry at Rutgers University, isolated Streptomyces griseus from New Jersey soil. The reason he was interested in streptomyces was that the microbe was remarkable in its ability to survive under difficult environmental conditions, out-competing other bacteria. Streptomyces, as it turns out, makes a substance that can kill other bacteria—a substance that would later become enormously useful.
In 1943, Albert Schatz, along with Waksman, isolated the bacteria-killing substance, calling it streptomycin. To their surprise, they found that streptomycin killed Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which causes tuberculosis. Waksman became the first person to use the term antibiotic, even though the discovery of streptomycin followed those of sulfa drugs and penicillin. Streptomycin was, however, the first antibiotic to treat tuberculosis and the first antibiotic to be discovered on American soil. (Sulfa drugs had been discovered in Germany and penicillin in England.)
In 1947, an article in The New York Times stated that streptomycin would “save more lives than were lost in both World Wars.” It didn’t take long for the Times prophecy to come true. Within 10 years of streptomycin’s release, the mortality rate from tuberculosis fell to nine deaths per 100,000 in 1955 from 194 deaths per 100,000 in 1900. Millions of lives were saved.
In 1952, Waksman was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of streptomycin. Unfortunately, the Nobel panel unfairly ignored Schatz’s contribution. Schatz sued both Waksman and Rutgers University, eventually reaching a financial settlement as well as entitlement to “legal and scientific credit as co-discover of streptomycin.”
Selman Waksman was buried in the Crowell Cemetery in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. On his tombstone is engraved Selman Abraham Waksman, Scientist, Born July 22, 1888, Died August 16, 1973. The tombstone also includes a reference to his Nobel-winning discovery: “The earth will open and bring forth salvation” (Isaiah 45:8).
It was New Jersey’s soil, New Jersey’s researchers, and a New Jersey pharmaceutical company that provided humankind with the first weapon in the fight against one of the world’s deadliest diseases. Streptomyces griseus clearly deserves its rightful place as New Jersey’s first state germ.
After a $530 million cyber heist jeopardized their chances of getting paid, a cryptocurrency-themed Japanese pop group called Virtual Currency Girls announced that it’s staying loyal to its brand and refusing to be paid in regular money.
The girl group first made waves earlier this month just for the sheer fact that it exists. Each one of the eight Virtual Currency Girls represents a different cryptocurrency, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and Cardano.
Onstage, the group wears a uniform of maid dresses and personalized “lucha libre”-style masks, each with a different currency’s symbol. Its debut single “The Moon and Virtual Currencies and Me” reminds listeners to check their password strength and be wary of fraud. Clearly, these ladies are passionate about online banking.
A top-to-bottom crypto-pop group has never existed before, so how the Virtual Currency Girls will fare business-wise is still yet to be seen. According to the Verge, the band was actually started by the entertainment company Cinderella Academy as a tool to educate the public about cryptocurrencies.
Japan passed laws last April that recognize bitcoin as legal tender, and cryptocurrency trade in the country reportedly accounts for around half of global trade volume. The group takes payment for its concert tickets, merchandise, and other products through cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum and uses a cryptocurrency account to receive payments.
While what sounds like an IRL-Ocean’s11 scenario was playing out at its bank, the group’s management apparently offered to compensate the Virtual Currency Girls in yen for the time being. But the girls are sticking to their investing guns.
We’ve all experienced the struggle of trying to be creative on demand, only to be paralyzed by a major brain block.
You know how it goes. You sit down at your desk, ready to brainstorm some sweet ideas.
“I can do this,” you say to yourself. “I’m a smart person. This will be a piece of cake.”
You have everything you need at your desk. You’re good! You’re high energy!
You need a big idea? Yeah! You have big ideas all the time!
Like … uh…
GIFs from “Big Hero 6.”
When you’re stuck for ideas, it might feel like you’ve hit a wall. Everyone’s been in this position at some point or another, and we’ve all heard the standard “fixes” for this brain blockage things to stimulate your brain like taking a walk, talking to a friend, or keeping a journal.
But … what if those things don’t work for you?
Here are six weird, scientifically backed, ways to get your creative brain juices flowing again:
1. Work on your project at whatever time of day is usually your least productive.
Feel most alert early in the morning? You might want to wait ’til the late afternoon before trying to draft the next chapter in your novel.
Photo via iStock.
In a 2011 experiment, participants were consistently more insightful at non-optimal times of the day compared to optimal ones.
It turns out that while being bright-eyed and bushy-tailed might be good for analytical tasks like logic puzzles or math, that highly focused energy can crowd out the eureka moments. But if you try writing that chapter at a time that doesn’t feel optimal for you, you might find new solutions and possibilities come more easily.
2. Take a walk in a cemetery or think about death. No, seriously.
Trying to write a song and the lyrics just aren’t coming? One weird way to force yourself to be more creative might be to think about death.
Many different studies like this one about humor and this one about creative expression have suggested that, under the right conditions, indulging our morbid sides might help unlock new ideas.
There are some caveats to this advice: For example, the humor study found that this only worked if participants were subconsciously shown morbid stuff, and the results of the creative expression study kind of fall apart if participants dwelled a little to much on their own mortality.
But if you’re already in a creative rut, why not try doodling the reaper man, walking through a cemetery, or even just changing to your favorite “The Walking Dead” computer background? Who knows, a little subconscious morbidity might just help you find the inspiration for the muse you’ve been looking for.
3. Try turning off the lights and working in the dark.
If you need to come up with an elegant solution to a complicated coding problem, for example, it might be time to draw those shades and embrace the darkness like you’re a vampire, or Batman.
We all want to be Batman. Photo via iStock.
Darkness increases freedom from constraints, which in turn promotes creativity.” That’s according to two researchers in Germany who were studying employee creativity.
Turning the lights down low gives a greater sense of freedom and reduced inhibition, which can increase creativity and help us come up with new workarounds or solutions for whatever we’re stuck on.
(By the way, if you regularly work in a dark environment, consider getting a screen dimmer, like f.lux, to reduce eyestrain.)
4. You know that co-worker or relative you never agree with? Show them where you’re stuck.
If you’ve got to pitch an idea to your boss and it’s just not coming, don’t just reach out to your friends for help, because in this case your worst enemy might also be your creativity’s best ally.
Craig, your exaggerated hand movements are getting problematic. Photo via iStock.
It might seem like every single office brainstorm starts with the phrase, “There are no bad ideas,” but if you need something truly innovative, you should be seeking out dissent, not agreement.
“Dissent, debate, and competing views have positive value, stimulating divergent and creative thought,” says one study from 2004.
Having to defend your ideas is not only a quick and easy way to expose any flaws in your thinking, but also helps bring up new viewpoints or snags you may not have considered before. If all your office buddy and you are doing is agreeing with each other, you’re just listening to your own echoes and getting nowhere.
5. Take a few minutes to stir up some nostalgia by trawling through your old Facebook photos.
If all your paintings are starting to seem tired or you’re stuck on the opening paragraph of your next essay, you might be able to jolt your creative muscle with a little nostalgia.
Like, remember that time we had actual physical photo albums? Photo via iStock.
In 2013, researchers in Hong Kong found that by asking study participants to remember nostalgic events, they could stimulate the participant’s creative juices.
“Results showed that participants who were primed with nostalgic experience demonstrated higher creativity,” said their paper.
So if you’re feeling stuck, go ahead and open up those old pictures from college, try to ignore how awful your fashion sense was, and try to remember what that one professor’s name was. It might just make your next painting a new Picasso or your essay an A-minus at least.
6. This last suggestion is the best one have a drink.
Stuck on what to make your next YouTube video about? Can’t figure out the perfect angle for the big pitch you need to deliver this week? I’m not advocating drinking at work or to excess (drink responsibly), but it turns out that being slightly tipsycan help people come up with more creative ideas.
Alcohol decreases focus, which is bad for analytical or intensive tasks but freeing for creative ones. Just don’t take it too far alcohol also makes it harder to weed out the bad ideas from the good ones! So brainstorm with a beer, sure, but it’s still probably best you make any big decisions sober. The world doesn’t need more “social experiment” videos.
Creativity is weird, but we can learn how to summon it.
We’re still learning how the brain comes up with ideas, so take all these tips with a grain of salt. Creativity isn’t as simple as the old left-brain = logic, right brain = emotion idea, for example. It’s more like a conversation between many different parts of your brain.
And, of course, creativity only takes you so far if you’re not also willing to work on it.
But if you’re banging your head on a desk, despair not. Your brain is full of ideas, you’ve just got to unlock them. Maybe these tips can help.
Women in the beer industry say they are the victims of “horrific” sexism, including being groped at events, abused on social media and belittled in their jobs. They explain why they are fighting for change.
Pictures of scantily-clad women and risqué names have long been used as a ploy by savvy brewers to entice punters to buy their beer.
But times have changed, bringing with it a backlash against the likes of ales called Top Totty and Dizzy Blonde.
Five years on, the battle against misogynist marketing is still being fought – as recently as October, an Irish brewery came under fire for its tagline “Dublin Blonde goes down easy”.
Wild Card’s head brewer Jaega Wise has since called for a ban on such branding, telling the Brewers’ Congress: “This would quite quickly stop breweries deciding to have branding with boobs if they were actively banned from competitions.”
But the problem’s roots go far deeper than packaging.
Beer writer Melissa Cole said one of the “most horrific” experiences of her 20-year career was being groped at an industry event.
“We were in conversation and he just reached out and grabbed my boob. When I said ‘what are you doing?’ he went ‘Oh, I’m a silly old man’ and ran off,” she recalled.
“I’d just gone freelance and was just coming to the attention of the beer world and commissioning editors, and it felt like a terrifying thing to kick up a fuss.”
The incident happened a decade ago but a few years later, she saw him again at an event. To her horror, he made a joke about it – “Melissa knows I’m a boob man anyway”.
“I was shaking with anger and shame that I didn’t stand up to him back then,” she said.
Ms Cole’s experience is one of the more shocking examples of mistreatment in the beer world and thankfully, such reports are rare.
Yet women in the industry say they are regularly having to defend themselves against a litany of sexist behaviour.
Jan Rogers, director of Marble Beers in Manchester, says she is regularly picked apart for the way she runs her business.
One “patronising” comment made on social media referred to her simply as the “the lady owner”, she said.
“I [joined] Twitter and I came off right away, I just couldn’t cope with it. I went and looked for abuse and it came up, it’s vile.
“It’s easier for people to see Marble as quirky and wonky and say ‘that’s a woman doing that’.”
Carla Prats Bernabeu said she is often questioned by customers at the craft beer bar in London where she holds tasting events.
She said when she starts the sessions by asking how much attendees know about beer, she is invariably met with “probably more than you do”.
“This is my job and not because I’m a woman do I know less,” she said.
It is somewhat ironic that people assume women are less knowledgeable about beer given that traditionally, they produced it.
“Beer was food, and food preparation was the domain of females,” said alcohol historian and author Jane Peyton.
“[But] by the mid-20th Century, beer had been assigned a gender and that gender was male.”
Women have also historically worked behind the bar as a means of enticing male customers – a stereotype perhaps strengthened by popular TV barmaids played by the likes of Julie Goodyear and Barbara Windsor.
“Women working in pubs has always been an attraction for men to look at and talk to,” Ms Peyton explained.
“I know of an old-fashioned brewery which owns pubs where the CEO hires women to work in the pubs because male customers prefer it.
“They can converse with the women, have a flirt and chat them up. If this is harmless fun then it can be a jolly experience for both parties.
“If it is sexual harassment or vulgar or demeaning comments are aimed at the woman, then it is a problem.”
Ms Rogers says she remembers working in a bar and being told to “dress up nice and get your skirt up shorter”.
Luckily, she added, “things have changed”.
But Ed Bedington, editor of the pub industry trade publication Morning Advertiser, believes an “underbelly of misogyny” still lurks.
“It’s a shame because as an industry we would benefit hugely from having more female involvement,” he added.
At its last conference, the Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) passed a motion to ensure venues selected for its Pub of the Year awards “avoid causing offence to any sections of society”.
Its national director Abigail Newton added that the group “abhors any type of discrimination”.
But Ms Cole wants UK beer bosses to follow the example set by the Brewers Association, which has ruled award-winning beers with offensive names in the United States will not be read out at ceremonies.
Former bar manager Steph Shuttleworth, who was “horrified” to learn her breasts had been the topic of conversation between volunteers at a beer festival, said Camra should fund training and outreach.
“With their budget, they could run campaigns on ending sexism or trying to further fund groups like Women on Tap,” she added.
Women on Tap was the brainchild of Rachel Auty, who wanted to showcase females in the industry.
She hosted an event in May in Harrogate in North Yorkshire, followed by a week-long “celebration” in Manchester in November.
“I was coming across more breweries with beer brewed by a woman or where there was a strong female influence,” she said.
“Not only were more women drinking beer but there were a lot of women behind the scenes and I wondered how many people actually realised that.
“It’s about changing the perception that the beer industry is a man’s world.”
For Ms Cole, such events are key to improving the state of the beer industry.
“There’s more visible women and we have a tendency to support each other. There’s a real sense of sisterhood.”
One of my best friends is an English supermodel named Layla*. Shes a stunning force of a girl, and a professional model at that, whose exotic face has graced the cover of over 10magazines in the USA and hundreds throughout Japan and Europe.
Her eyes are the color of faded denim, and she has jet-black hair that falls perfectly in line with the dramatic curve of her waist.
Layla could snag any f*ckboy she wanted. She’s dated the surfer boy with abs. She’s dated the up-and-coming narcissistic actor with the recurring role on that TV show we’re all obsessed with. She’s dated the banker wanker who spends half the year in Hong Kong. She’s dated the elusive, bad boy rock star who does drugs, but who cares because he plays the guitar?
She goes through men like I go bottles of $12 wine.
But nothing ever sticks for Layla. My friend Mel* used to bitch to me about it all the time. “F*ck. If Layla can’t snag a dude, there’s no hope for me. She’s rich. She’s beautiful. She’s funny, and that tramp is smart too!” Shed lament to me over drinks, always with her fourth Marlboro Light of the hour in hand.
Shed end every conversation regarding Layla with an I guess were all just f*cked.
What she didn’t realize is that Layla was bored with the money. She was bored with the gorgeous physiques. She was bored of the glittery falseness of fame. She just wanted someone she could talk to.
Hence why she decided to go on a blind date.
Her blind date was with a guy who, according to his Instagram account, appeared to have serious acne, an extra 10 to 15 pounds of unnecessary weight and wiry beard. His name was Blaine*.
She wasn’t exactly thrilled about the date, but she was so deeply disenchanted with all the men she had met in the past year that she figured WHY THE F*CK NOT? What’s another bad date?
The moment she set foot into the cool East London bar to meet Blaine, she knew she had made a sour mistake. The bar was way too pretentious, pseudo-hipster for her liking, and just the sight of the f*ckboys and f*ckgirls trying to be ironic in their $500 ripped designer denim sipping their locally crafted beer made her want to vomit.
And just when Layla was sure things couldn’t get any worse, she took in the sight of unfortunate-looking Blaine. He was clad in a nerdy button-down shirt, and his oversized black rim glasses looked comical on his oily wide-set face.
“You must be Layla! Layla, want a whiskey!? You seem like a whiskey girl!”
Layla couldn’t stop her lips from twisting into a tiny curve of a smile. Whiskey was her favorite drink of all time. Whiskey was her soul. She was tired of every stupid idiot boy presenting her with an overpriced bottle of champagne like it was some sort of trophy. She hated champagne.
“I will have two glasses of your finest whiskey, neat please,” Blaine said, pulling out a Cuban cigar. You like cigars? He looked Layla dead in the eye.
Most boys just ogled at her famously long legs. She wasn’t used to eye contact, and it was a wildly unexpected turn on.
Before she could even think about it, the words, “F*ck yes” were spilling out of her red lipstick-adorned mouth.
Layla and Blaine stepped out onto sidewalk, whiskey and cigar in hand. The air was gorgeously mild with a light drizzle, the kind so soft that it doesn’t make you wet, just makes your skin feel dewy and hydrated.
They sat on the edge of the sidewalk and instantly started talking. It all started with a heated and passionate debate about memoirs vs. fiction books. Layla preferred memoirs (“You might as well tell me your dreams!”), and Blaine preferred fiction (“The imagination has no limits!”). They talked politics (thank God they were both raging liberals and vehement supporters of marriage equality).
And just when the sky was turning from deep charcoal to smoldering black and the tiny array of stars began to scatter across the Great British sky, Layla found herself opening up to Blaine.
Before she knew it, she was stamping out her cigar and telling him things she never told anyone, like how her father was sick and how his pain was so palpable that it felt like she had a heavy weight holding court in heart all of the time.
Blaine listened. He told her he understood because he lost his mother when he was eight.
Laylas hand softly touched his leg. He was suddenly the sexiest man alive.
As his hand met hers, she felt a jolt of electricity surge through her entire body. Her body was begging for him, and she could feel herself pining for his like a drug.
What was happening? She had dated all of the most coveted, handsome men in London, yet she was overcome with acute sexual fantasies over 5’6 bearded dude with a spare tire.
“Take me home with you, Layla boldly declared, talking a stealth sip of her whiskey.
The next morning, over our traditional girls Sunday pub lunch, Layla showed up 15 minutes late in leather leggings and massive Chanel sunglasses. Her hair was tossed into a disheveled knot above her head. The moment we laid eyes on her, we all smirked. She reeked of a one-night stand.
“Oh whatever,” Layla said gracelessly, plopping her slight frame onto the pub bench. “I had the best sex of my entire life last night.”
“With thatbloke, Blaine?” Ray* asked, her brown eyes widening. “The one who looked like Zach Galifianakis?”
“Yes. She reached into the bread basket and put a healthy dollop of butter onto the bun. She was ravenous in that post sex way.
“So what was so good?” I pressed.
“It’s the weirdest thing, she began, taking a bite of her bread. At first, I didn’t think he was cute at ALL. But we had a six-hour incredible conversation that led to the best f*ck ever.”
Blaine had started out as entirely unattractive to Layla. But when they started talking, he became undeniably cute. And as their conversation deepened, cute became handsome and handsome became sexy and sexy became handsome and cute and sexy.
It sounds so simple. Conversation is what drew Layla to him. Conversation is what turned the Zach Galifianakis look-a-like into Ian Somerhalder. Conversation is what had allowed Blaine to stimulate Laylas brain before he could stimulate her body.
Conversation is the sexiest foreplay, the perfect prelude to sex, the fiery banter that gets you heated, the stimulation of the mind that transmits to the body.
Conversation is a give and take. Just like sex itself. And the best give and takes — the best conversations — lead to the best sex.
Pornhub predicts that searches for leprechaun porn will increase some 8,000 percent, based on last years numbers. In fact, there’s a whole slew of St. Patty’s-related search terms that promise to skyrocket over the holiday.
Pornhub, if you didnt know, provides a page called “Pornhub Insights” that offers a dizzying array of statistical information about people who… enjoytheir site. They even posted a survey asking who people would be voting for in the next presidential election. It turns that if porn viewers had their way, Bernie Sanders would be the next commander-in-chief, barely edging out the second most popular choice, “nobody.”
It’s important to remember that while 8,000 percent sounds like a huge increase, there probably aren’t millions of people pleasuring themselves to leprechaun lovemaking today. If, for instance, there are only five people searching for leprechaun videos on an average day, an 8,000 percent spike would only bump that number up to 400. Pretty puny when compared to terms like “lesbian” and “teen,” Pornhub’s top two searches from last year.
Those hoping to throw a leprechaun porn viewing party (meaning humans watching leprechaun-themed porn, not a bunch of leprechauns getting together to watch porn, which admittedly sounds amazing) are going to be a little disappointed. Pornhub only offers 9 videos in that category, 7 of which are just clips from the Leprechaun film series, not even including the first one, with Jennifer Aniston.
If you really need some St. Patty’s Day action, your best bet might just be to go out to the pubs with a “Kiss Me I’m Irish” shirt, have a few pints of Guinness, and hope for the best. You never knowyou might just get lucky.
I think it was sometime around midnight, but it’s hard to tell because we had been driving for the entire day. I stood barefoot in my driveway, holding a plastic cup of seashells that we had collected together at the beach barely 12 hours before. I watched your taillights turn the corner as you pulled into the night and out of my life. That cup sat on my kitchen counter for months — a subtle reminder of a time that I sometimes wanted to remember, but mostly I couldn’t forget. I threw it away when I moved out of the apartment that you, had, once upon a time, sporadically made into your home.
There’s a common theme in the leaving. There’s always a car. Maybe it’s because escaping on foot is never quick enough. Or maybe the pounding of the pavement hurts after a while, and everyone seems to have shin splints, or knee problems, or bad backs. Maybe because it’s hard to carry the weight of what you’re doing alone, and it’s easier if you toss your problems in the trunk with the bags of clothes you’ve been meaning to take to Goodwill for 3 months, and that old pair of sneakers, and the dirty picnic blanket, and those 4 empty beer cans. The trunk is meant for the leftovers of your life that can be dealt with later, when it’s more convenient.
The first time someone left, there was so much fire and rage I could feel the would-be arsonist inside of them burst into flame and set my house on fire from 30 miles away. An atomic bomb of a person, I tried to diffuse the situation only to set it off. They moved out of state, blaming me. I can’t be around you anymore. I can’t drive by your house. I can’t know I’m near you. The embers of this one still burn. They catch me by surprise and cut deep — like I’m standing outside a bar, drunk off life, when a stranger burns me with a cigarette. Pressing, pressing it into my skin until I’m scarred. They know they’re doing it, they just don’t care. That is how it felt – how it continues to feel – with the first one. I see a ‘94 Dodge Spirit and it feels like I’m about to spontaneously combust.
After that, it became such a pattern I thought there was something wrong with me.
I can still remember the night you told me she was pregnant, the shadows dancing across your dashboard. I don’t remember if I slammed the door, but I know I wanted to.
I can still remember the night I picked you up, cinnamon whiskey on your tongue. I kissed your bloody lips and bruised knuckles, only to drop you off at your car the next morning, so you could go back home and fix what you had broken.
I can still remember the half-awake 5am, standing on the street. You had to make a 3 hour drive on no sleep. 3,000 miles and two coasts later, there was not enough left of me to make you want to come back.
I can still remember driving out to see the stars and holding you in the dark. You told me you had bought a ring and that it wasn’t for me. The next week we did the same thing, but there were no secrets, there were no stars. When I dropped you off it was raining too hard for me to see the front porch of the house that held the ring. You told me it would hurt us both too much if you kissed me goodbye.
A collection of numbers grew in my phone that would go straight to voicemail, blue texts that would turn green within minutes. And somewhere along this line, everything changed. The walls I put up grew bigger, the habits I formed more destructive. I had grown tired of investing everything I had in other people; I was worn out and emotionally exhausted from trying my hardest to not only be a good person, but to see the good in people who had clearly not been worth my time.
I started to create relationships with people, out of friendship or boredom or genuine feelings. Then when they became too serious I would get scared and feel the need to retreat into a car or a bottle or anything that would help me feel like I was escaping the situation. Bars and road trips became a solace. I had been drinking and I had been driving since 16, those were familiar habits. Comforting. Easy patterns to fall into. Confronting my fears was terrifying, uncharted territory.
As the fears grew, I understood why everyone left me before: it’s easier to disappear. It’s easier to say goodbye, or to go without saying anything at all, than it is to give in to what you might really want.
So I started leaving.
I can still remember you falling asleep on my chest, but waking up to find you on the bathroom floor. I helped you back to bed sometime in the early morning. You had offered to take me, but we were both still so drunk that I crept out the door and drove myself to the airport.
I can still remember your voice echoing through the speakers of my car, saying I was selfish; all you wanted to do was take care of me. Your words were a punch in my already twisting gut. I yelled at you, even though I never yell. I could barely see through my tears as I kept going over the hill.
I can still remember the reflections from the puddles outside the hotel. I don’t know why they stand out in my mind as much as shutting the door in your face does, but I had to drive through another state, try passing through the seasons, in an attempt to outrace my thoughts.
I can still remember the night you confronted me about leaving: the first person to bring it to the surface. You had whispered you loved me, the first time in any recent memory I had heard those words, and I waited for you to ask me to stay, because I would have, for you. Instead, you said: “go”.
I am thinking about leaving again.
Being the one to leave doesn’t hurt any less, but it’s a different kind of hurt. There isn’t the surprise of being left behind, and I can only blame myself for the pain. It is my fault that I am causing the endings. It is my fault that I am doing this to another person and to myself. There is no second-guessing what I could have done wrong, or if things could have gone differently. It doesn’t matter if my number is blocked or if my messages go unanswered, because I know that I am the one with all of the fault.
And when I leave I can blanket myself with those feelings, wrap them around me like a sweater and wear them to all my new destinations. I can put them in the back of my closet and bring them out when I need to feel warm again. I can pack them away to take to Goodwill and leave them in my trunk for a few more months, letting them collect dust with too many empty beer cans and the suitcases of things I have already packed to bring to my next life.
Leaving is scary, but staying is scarier.
Or maybe the scariest thing of all is not knowing what you want.