Thursday, January 31, 2008

More car anecdotes

We here at freestyle blogging are dedicated to bringing only the finest, ripest, and most ridiculous stories of Robert John Falconer's life. Indeed, the challenge is not in the finding, it's in the sifting, as there are just so many ridiculous occurrences to choose from.

Today, for instance, I was driving along in my car as I sometimes do. Like in my previous story, it is very significant to this event that it was snowing. Scene:

The visibility is poor. The snow is less to blame than my completely ineffective windshield wipers, whose utter failure at wiping and propensity towards loud squeaking present a windshield wiping sin so foul that it would no doubt receive the death penalty if tried by a jury of it's peers.

It is late morning, and I am rushing to drop something off at a friend's house. Of the last twenty-four hours, I spent eight of them studying for a test that I am taking right after dropping this off. I also got about six hours sleep in the process. As a result, i'm more than a little crazy-eyed.

With visibility as it is, I see the street i'm looking for just a fraction delayed, and, without thinking, enter the turn. Ordinarily this would be about as remarkable as the autonomic process of blinking (which is to say, not very) as I am going all twenty-five miles an hour. Except, at this point, we should all recall with a gasp that it is, and has been, snowing.

My car (never being the type of automobile that dabbles in critical thought) obliges with my command and swings itself into the turn. Then, it keeps swinging. I end up completely sideways with my back tires up on the curb. Remarkably, I have hit nothing, and so I calmly turn and drive off.

Now, this street I just turned off of was a major thoroughfare, and I know that multiple people just saw me spin my car a complete ninety degrees. Just down the street is my friend's house, and so it is only a matter of some feet before I park. As I am getting ready to get out, I see out of the corner of my eyes a van pull up.

The driver waits until our eyes meet. He is an older gentlemen. I can see the dignified crinkles outlining his world-weary eyes. Once eye contact has been firmly established, he shakes his head back and forth. Crisply. A total of four times, all while mouthing the word "no" in the strongest tones of disapproval i've ever seen anyone mouth anything. Shoot, I didn't even know a tone could be mouthed.

I then proceed to die of laughter, content that the event had been stamped, sealed, and perfectly concluded.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Today I Dragged A Traffic Cone for Miles

No, seriously.

In front of our apartment, where we all park, there was a mysterious traffic cone. It blocked approximately 1/2 of a parking space, was the only traffic cone within sight, and had no apparent function.

Now, after a few days of this, I just accepted it's presence. Like a suddenly grown third arm, it's existence was strange for only a time before I started bringing scissors with me to cut a third hole before trying on clothes. Interestingly, it also seemed like no one wanted to remove it, despite the fact that it took up valuable parking space. It looked like an official sort of cone. What if it was there for a reason??

Enter the present, this morning, with twenty degree weather and four fresh inches of snow on the ground. I sigh upon seeing this, as the crucial five minutes required to wipe off the snow on my car will ruin my carefully timed departure. Knowing this, I wipe only the front and back window and take off like a giant, motorized snowball, determined to keep to my schedule. I have the route from my apartment to school mapped so precisely, it's nothing short of scientific, and I hate to have my fine instrumentation ruined by unexpected variables.

All this is quite important to note, as it explains what happens next. Driving along the familiar roads, I notice a scraping noise that intermittently sounds from beneath my car. For the first few minutes, I figure it is just some residual ice breaking off from the bottom. After a while, I start to get suspicious. I notice people reacting somewhat strangely as I pass them. And the noise isn't stopping as it should if it were just ice.

Finally, just as I am thinking I should stop and see what in the world is going on down there, a car pulls alongside me. At first, I am annoyed, because I am trying to change lanes in order to pull over and he is blocking me. Eventually I look at the driver, and see that the man is gesturing to the undercarriage of my car and saying something. I give him the "yeah, i'm on it" expression, and we arrive at a stop light. He pulls alongside me, rolls down his window, and, in a near impenetrable accent, says something like "You have a crone under your car! A crone!"

I have an old, cranky lady under my car?? No, clearly not. Let me pull over and end this silly affair once and for all! Wait a minute. Is that...the cone from outside our apartment?? Oh my. I DID park behind it last night and, when the snow fall obscured it, I simply drove forward over it. I then proceeded to drive with it trapped beneath my car (kind of remarkable, really) for over a mile.

It is still there on Howard street, at the corner of McCormic Blvd. I saw it on the way back, and felt a twang of guilt/pity.

Also, I felt a certain satisfaction. Too many cones without purpose get away with their crimes. This one didn't. This one experienced vigilante justice in the realist way possible: by being dragged by a car for miles.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

School Restarts: A selection of images

1) Hey girl that I am attracted to in a purely physical and shallow way! Wait, what's that? You just answered your cell-phone with the phrase "holla at yer girl" and then proceeded to talk about how your boyfriend is "soo craazy"?

Drat. Even liberal application of pretending gel can't allow me to continue to be attracted to you.

2) Books purchased. Put in trunk. Keys in ignition. Realization:

The costs of these books alone are half of what I need to buy a scooter. You are such a jerk, higher education.

3) Why do people feel the need to throw things in urinals? Seriously, people.

4) I would tell you that it is rude to attempt to listen to your iPod in the back of the class, oh most clever of active slackers, but judging by the determined look on your face i'm relatively certain those iPod buds are fused to your ears.

No doubt it was some sort of tragic accident, and my bringing it up would only cause further anguish.

5) As much as I enjoy peeing on such an impressive assortment of things: what the crap? Does someone come in to the bathroom with a large bag of random crap, lock the door behind them, and then one by one toss it's content into the urinals with a solemn, self-satisfied look on their face? Perhaps while whispering "you never have loved me, mother"?

Friday, January 11, 2008

INTRODUCING: Five Scientifically Backed Reasons I'm Sometimes, Possibly, In The Right Lighting, Awesome

Or FSBRISPITRLA for short.

1) My last name wins. Falconer? I mean, come on. You are going to disagree, scoff at, and generally ridicule the rest of this list, but who can contest such a mighty last name?

2) I practice Capoeira (somewhat)regularly. This means I am prone to doing impressive stunts out of nowhere - an intrinsically awesome thing.

3) I use successive double negatives to buy time when asked tricky or poignant personal questions. Like:

"Well, i'm not, not embarrassed about making a list of five reasons why i'm awesome."

4) I believe in, and actively practice, Phrenology. This is actually not awesome, and is oft the subject of well deserved mockery.

5) When I was a kid, I use to walk around all the time with a bicycle helmet even though I didn't know how to ride a bicycle (I didn't learn until I was 9 or 10). This is also not awesome, but I just remembered it, and seriously five items in a list is too demanding.

Tune in next weekmonthdayrandompost for Five Reasons Why Everyone Who Is NOT Backed By Science Says I'm NOT Awesome. Or, again, FREEWANBBSSINA for short.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Reminiscing about the good ole' times

I've never been able to recall much from my early life. Occasionally a topic will come up, and I will receive a snap shot, blurred and rehashed. I fancy that I can see the huge hill upon which our creaky house sat, basking in the harsh North Carolinian (Carolineian?) sun. A flash of my best friend when I was eight, both of us rolling around with bike helmets despite being no where near bikes. Because that's just what you did.

But still, never have I felt connected to my past. When I truly try to think about it, I am only left with a vague impression of being lost. Say what you will about the psychological and sociological relevance of being raised the youngest of four boys - it doesn't change the fact that, up until my mid to late teens, I was entirely adrift.

Now, on one hand I know this is somewhat normal. Who knows who they are when they are thirteen? It is a fundamentally awkward period, where the body and mind need to simply stretch their limbs and aren't so concerned with what those limbs hit. On that inevitably other hand, however, I feel robbed, cheated. Almost as if someone has stolen from me the chance to have a developmentally helpful childhood and left me only with these ambiguous flashes and this vague gnawing void.

I did foolish things for no reason. Porno was not supporting the degradation of women and giving into a baser nature, it was a curiosity. Spending hours and hours playing video games was not unhealthy, it was my escape and savior. Nearly failing out of school was not an action I regretted or planned, it was just the knee-jerk impulse of a mind more full of flotsam than purpose.

Indeed, there wouldn't be a Robbie to type this blog post if it weren't for a few key figures providing crucial life lines. My comrade Orion on The Candy Coating is one, my older brother Brent another. Perhaps the biggest was my best friend danio - a man so filled with virtue that he seemed to ooze it from his pores as a normal man would sweat. Though many years my senior, he had the goodness of heart and the perspicacity of spirit not to see the weaning fop that I was but the conscientiously noble being that I, like each of us, had the potential to be. If not for these folks, ladies and gentlemen, I simply wouldn't exist.

So it is with this background and this frame of reference that I shiver for today's upcoming generation. I am only twenty years old, but already I feel the guilt of passing to their still fragile shoulders the weight of a such a heavy, twisted world. Sometimes I wish that I were a Titan incarnate, that I could merely spread my arms and shelter them from a world entirely concerned with their exploitation and assimilation.

It is no idle cause. No fundraiser created by an unknown charitable group. This is as real as it gets: Junior youth are dying. Mentally decaying, spiritually oppressed, physically poisoned - they are being slaughtered every single day and it just about breaks me in two when I consider the scope of it all.

For Bahai's, we can turn to the Junior Youth Animator courses, a series of courses designed to arm junior youth of every creed and background to grapple with such a monstrous world. But this is not enough. Everyday I live and breathe on this earth I search for at least one child, one youth that I can help in the way that danio helped me. It's not even a matter of kindness. I have to do so, I must save at least one. To do otherwise would be to betray the trust I have been given, and to usurp the second chance that life, despite my unworthiness, has seen fit to bestow on me.

As real as it gets. Youth and junior youth are not the future, they are the now. They are not promising, they are promise fulfilled. But they are also lost, like I was. No quarter a day is required, no monetary grant can assuage this debt. All that is required - all that is needed - is for each of us to open up on our islands of stability a tiny plot for them to call their own. With such a simple act we are ensuring the future, yes, but we are also insuring ourselves. The call is clear, the need apparent. To sit idle is to fail, while the mere act of arising is to achieve the most complete and perfect of victories: the victory of giving life.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Oh, Racism.

I've seen things. Not that I am some gray-beard, capable of defeating any potential objections by merely referencing my years. But by this assertion of ocular experience, you should apprehend the mildly somber tone of my intended discourse.

In the Baha'i Faith, racism is described as America's most challenging issue. This makes sense to me, as racism is not based in logic. There are no proofs one can assemble, no flow charts to be constructed in Powerpoint. Racism is inimical to logic; Anathema to reason.

Certainly there are the obvious examples. Tattered remnants of the KKK that appear like so much flotsam on documentaries. The "N word" thrown about with an accompanying quantity of spittle. But what really bothers me about racism in America are it's subtle manifestations.

I went to an affluent, upper-middle class highschool, and one only had to walk down the hall for a few seconds to hear some racial slur said in jest.

In jest. Ingested. Injustice.

It is more than ignorance, though ignorance is a part. It is more than hate, though hate is present. It is a fundamental misapprehension of the unity of humans, as distasteful to the sensibilities as shouting is to the ear. What a perverse, inverted world we inhabit that we who were born of the same substance choose to differentiate ourselves based on so paltry a thing as skin color.

The subtle things. Jokes about mexicans. Cracks about blacks. The same thrown the other way and rinse, lather, repeat until all is red, red, red. And all to what? Raise ourselves? It doesn't take a genius to realize that there is a difference between raising oneself and lowering others.

Racism really is everywhere, because everywhere there is a lack of appreciation of unity. But the worst are we who occasionally dip into it, like the employee who wins awards by day and steals from the place he works by night. Not quite a full fledged thief but not a character of virtuosity either. It seems to me that we who have freedom have a great burden when it comes to using it. And if there is one thing worse than a thief, it's a hypocritical one.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Originally posted on Can it get any sweeter?

The other day I was cheerfully ambushed on the street by a young person representing the Green Peace organization. She started by saying "You look like you care about the environment!" Once I got over the momentary annoyance necessarily inflicted by the manipulative nature of this line, I proceeded to engage in a wonderful discussion (she spoke while I nodded sagely) about Green Peace, which then lead to an even more wonderful discussion about Politics and
the Baha'i Faith.

At the basic level, Baha'is are completely non-active in politics. By this is not just meant mere refraining from partisanships, but rather a complete detachment from political involvement. This was brought up in the context of the aforementioned ambush because eventually I informed her that, as a Baha'i, I really couldn't join Green Peace due to it's inherent political ties.

And thus we have reached the stark white bone of the issue. I know that many people are somewhat confused by this aspect of the Baha'i Faith. I also know that it is easy to confuse this policy with apathy and a lack of caring. So, here are the facts!

Baha'u'llah prophet-founder of the Baha'i Faith, wrote: "The remedy the world needeth in its present-day afflictions can never be the same as that which a subsequent age may require. Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in, and center your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements." So, this rules out the apathy theory, as Baha'is are specifically told to be concerned.

Having established our concernedness, we are lead to the next point (you know, secondly): Why Baha'is can't be politically involved. For the answer, we can look to Shogi-Effendi, the Guardian of the Faith: "Fully aware of the repeated statements...that universality is of God,
Baha'is in every land are ready, nay anxious, to associate themselves by word and deed with any association of men which, after careful scrutiny, they feel satisfied is free from every tinge of partisanship and politics and is wholly devoted to the interests of all mankind.

And this leads us to our conclusion. It is not that the intent of politics is not also shared by
Baha'is; most people want to change the world for the better. But to associate with one specific group is to almost inherently exclude another group. Most politics (even the well-intentioned ones) are fundamentally devisive. Instead, how much better to focus our attentions on the unification of humankind as a whole, and to work in accord with all people to reach this aim.

Oh, and, of course,Baha'is can vote.