Author Archive

Thanksgiving 2022

November 5th, 2022
Thanksgiving 2022

Indians, Pilgrims, Peace, Feasts
Thanksgiving Day Parades, Creative Floats
Thanksgiving Day Speeches, What Are You Thankful For?
Turkey, Turkey Legs, Yams, Stuffing, Corn
Cranberry Sauce, Baked Potatoes, Gravy, Eggnog
Lounging Thursday Evening, With A Full Belly
Great Deals, Shopping, Crowded Malls
The Weekend After Thanksgiving, Cold Leftovers
Christmas Music Plays, Christmas Trees Are Decorated
Christmas Lights Brighten The Night

 
  Written by George Farina: GeorgeFarina.net
 
 
 

Serenity

October 14th, 2022
Serenity: A non-fiction story about the sense of serenity I experience from bike riding.

Serenity

I’ve always enjoyed riding bikes. Though, not until I reached my mid 20’s, purchased a flat bar mountain bike and moved to the city did I become an avid cyclist, did I really look forward to each time I went riding. Much of my life I didn’t have a vehicle. Without a vehicle, I rode almost every day. The more I rode, the more I enjoyed riding.

I rode to the supermarket every couple days. When I finished shopping, I hung some food items from the handle bars, other items I carried in a small duffle bag.

I usually tried to purchase as much food as I could carry. The ride home was very challenging. The more food I purchased, the more challenging the ride, especially if I purchased heavier items like milk or canned foods. Yet, the ride was always a thrill. At the time, I liked challenging myself. I liked the challenge of maneuvering over curbs and through sidewalks while trying to balance a bike overflowing with food items.

I rode to and from work five days a week, about two miles each way. To get to work I had to ride over a couple somewhat steep overpasses.

They were my favorite part of the ride. I began amping myself up to go over the first overpass fifty yards in advance, gradually picking up speed as I approached, waiting until just the right time before pedaling with all my strength, as fast as I could peddle up the overpass.

If my timing was good, my strength and speed peaked just as the overpass peaked. Then, I coasted down the other side.

The second overpass was another fifty yards away, however, required more maneuvering, more power. I didn’t have as much room to pick up speed.

When I arrived at work, I felt great. The adrenalin gained from the ride stayed with me throughout the whole day.

Many locals were also into riding. Some local cyclist hosted monthly group rides. The group rides took riders who attended through different parts of the city. Sometimes those who hosted the rides explained the historical significance of the area we rode through during or before the ride.

When I first arrived in the city. The group rides were somewhat small, maybe thirty or forty people attended each ride. The rides were somewhat slow paced. Pulling up next to another to chat for a few while riding, gave those who were new to the city, a good way to get to know others within the city.

As riding became more popular, some of the group rides grew from thirty to forty riders to many thousands. The larger group rides became known as Critical Mass bike rides, bike rides designed to help others become aware of the environment and benefits of biking.

During Critical Mass rides, many of the streets within the bike route are closed. Large gatherings are held before and after the rides. Participating in monthly Critical Mass bike rides are exciting events.

The city where I moved to was very urban. I’m very urban. The scenery was magnificent. Many times I rode just to view the scenery. Riding through and around downtown was one of my favorite places to ride.

The buildings, homes, condo’s and apartments throughout the downtown area possess a lot of character. A few of the buildings were very old, vintage looking. Others were new, with a modern look.

Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. I’ve always enjoyed looking at Christmas lights. Cities and towns usually have many small neighborhoods with light traffic, neighborhoods where many residents decorate their homes with magnificent displays of Christmas lights.

The scenery while riding always feels surreal, like I’m getting a better view, a view where I see the scenery from different angles, see more of the scenery for a longer period of time.

Slowing while riding over a sidewalk or through a street with slow moving traffic to take a longer look at something wonderful, wonderful scenery, skyscrapers, vintage buildings, unique looking apartment complexes, cool homes, Christmas lights, the bay, the Ocean, beaches, fields, creaks, rivers, or anything else a person enjoys viewing is much easier to do while riding than while driving.

Even without the magnificent scenery, I enjoy riding just as much. I enjoy everything about riding, standing on the pedals, sitting, coasting down hills, pedaling as fast as I could possibly pedal up hills, riding over a flat, only pedaling once I a while.

Riding gives me a sense of serenity, serenity unmatched by just about anything else I’ve ever experienced. If my body permitted, I could ride the same streets day after day, every day, all day and enjoy riding just as much as ever.

 
 

Serenity, Written By George Farina: GeorgeFarina.net

Where The Water Gel’s With The Sand

September 14th, 2022

A lady in her late 20’s walks alone in the Ocean where the water gels with the sand. She’s wearing a summer dress. Her dirty blond hair is long, wavy and moist. A leather shoulder strap purse hangs from her shoulder, moving elegantly with her hips as she walks.

Her hair and dress blow lightly in the warm Ocean breeze. Water flows slowly over her feet. An orange and yellow sky surrounds the sun as it sets deep into the Ocean.

As day turns to dusk, she exits the Ocean, taking a seat upon her laid out towel, looking deep into the sky. Soon thereafter, laying her head to sleep.

The night rapidly grew cold. She curls up to keep warm, tightly pressing her legs against her midsection and breast, pulling her towel over her body, tucking her arms between her thighs.

The next morning the sun begins to warm the cold Ocean air. Shivering, she slowly sits up, running her feet through the dry sand as she warms. A lighter blue sky hovers over the much darker ocean. The waves are larger than the previous night. The sounds are crisper, louder. The air is windier.

Alone, with desperation in her voice, she sings, vocals scream from within. Lyrics filled with despair. Her voice filled with beauty, echoing, mile after mile, harmonious, desperate tones flow from deep within her lungs.

 
 

Written by George Farina: GeorgeFarina.net

Inner City Bus Ride

September 14th, 2022

The thick dark plexiglass windows are riddled with scratches. The bus slows. The bus driver pulls a lever. The double doors swing open just as the bus stops.

A young woman near the front of the bus looks out the window, watching passengers board. An older lady with plenty of shopping bags tries to get a seat by the door. A younger man stands, allowing her to sit. A bright smile lights up her face. She thanks him while taking a seat.

The bus driver pulls the lever, closing the doors. The large diesel engine in the rear revs loudly as the bus slowly exits the bus stop, merging into the street.

The bus is packed. A lady standing in the aisle holds the upper railing, hovering over a youngish man who looks as if he’s her same age. She’s in her lower 30’s. Though, could pass for her mid to late 20’s. She probably lives an interesting life. Perhaps she’s on her way to live up the nightlife.

Her scents are soothing. Her style’s appealing. Her t-shirt lifts a couple inches above her lower belly, showing her ever so slightly chubby tummy, tightening over her decent sized, nicely shaped breasts, as she stretches to hold the railing above.

Her arms are soft. Her muscles are soft as well, smallish, elegantly shaped, showing every once in a while when she strengthens her grip as the bus turns.

Her hair is dark, very thick, wavy, almost curly, though, not quite, moist looking, as if she just got out of the shower, flowing a few inches past her shoulders in the back, surrounding her face in the front.

Her face is alluring, cuteish, somewhat pudgy, with a short round chin. Her nose is smallish. Her lips are pouty. Her eyes are a deep hazel, mesmerizing. She’s calm.

Her hip hugger low waist jeans are stylish, sexy, flowing beautifully downward from her waist, over her defined hips and thighs, her smallish, yet shapely calves, to her low top Adidas sneakers.

The man below her tried giving her a warm smile. A smile in return was denied. He probably knew better. He had to try.

The bus driver announces the name of the next stop over the loudspeaker.

The bus slows. The doors swing open. A woman boards the bus, acknowledging the bus driver as she boards, thinking to herself, “Bus drivers are with the people every day, they’re people’s people.” He’s pre occupied, chatting with a lady who’s sitting in the front seat.

A young man in his mid-20’s was next inline. After paying, he quickly scans the seats, thinking, “Maybe, just maybe, I’ll see a decent looking chick my age sitting by herself.”

No luck. Most seats are filled. Disappointed, he maneuvers to the back of the bus where he snags one of the few empty seats.

The bus driver briefly stops his conversation to speak the name of the next stop over the loudspeaker.

At the next stop, a middle aged lady boards. She works her way towards the back exit, using the upper railing to help keep her balance, carefully zigging in and out and around those standing in the aisle.

A few stops later, she reaches over a couple passengers to pull the wire, requesting a stop.

“Ding, ding.”

The bus driver slows the bus, guiding it to the side of the street into the bus stop. The back doors open. The lady exiting turns her head as she exits, looking towards the bus driver, smiling, thanking him for the ride, just before stepping down to the sidewalk.

She was on her way home from work. Her husband finished work a few hours earlier. He was waiting at the bus stop. The two kiss quickly before making their way home.

An older man and woman sit next to each other. The older man starts talking, in a way, talking to the woman next to him, in a way talking to himself, though, mostly just talking.

“I grew very old, very fast. I grew very slow. People shouldn’t disregard the length of life during their younger years. My body and health deteriorated.

The city was different when I was younger. A Baseball stadium use to occupy the land where the condo complex sits on the other side of the street. Locals were proud of the stadium, passionate, loyal fans of their team.

A small Baseball card shop was located a few blocks away. I use to ride my bike to the shop every Saturday when I got my allowance. I had a card for every player on the team. Every time I purchased a card, the owner gave me a bunch of commons for free. I had a shoebox filled with Baseball cards.

I was as proud of the city and stadium as anyone else. Riding my bike through the streets was one of my favorite past times. The streets were much different than, very narrow, traffic moved much slower, riding was much safer, much more enjoyable.

I use to have a lot of energy. I rode over the sidewalk, hopping curbs, cutting through alleys, cruising through parks. I rode everywhere I could possibly ride. I explored and saw as much as I could possible explore and see.

Much like myself, the stadium grew old, wasn’t maintained, deteriorated. Eventually, the stadium was demolished.

The Baseball card shop closed a few months later. Many other new, very large complexes were built. The condos within the complexes were mostly purchased by investors and foreigners.

Many of the investors weren’t local. The money they earned through rent from locals went to other destinations.

Foreigners mostly used their condos as vacation destinations, leaving many empty condos throughout the city during the offseason, only spending money within the city a few months a year while vacationing.

New jobs weren’t created. The poor, got poorer.

Many of the friends I kept weren’t wealthy. Most moved elsewhere. I lost a lot of friends.

I stayed, paying much more for rent, while earning the same wages. The quality of my life digressed.

Most of the complexes were gated, blocking the alleys previously in their place. Streets were widened.

Many of the places I frequented, closed. Many parks shrunk. The city I live in now is very different from the city I grew up in.”

A few minutes later the man stopped talking. The woman next to him smiled and frowned to herself, thinking about the words he spoke.

Soon thereafter, the bus slows. The driver announces the last stop. The doors fling open. The lady standing in the aisle, holding the upper railing, releases her grip from the railing, and from the man sitting below her, thanking the bus driver for the ride as she exits.

The other passengers exit as well, as does the bus driver, shutting down the diesel engine just before exiting, closing the doors behind him until the next route is scheduled.

 
 

Written by George Farina: GeorgeFarina.net

Aboard A Train

September 14th, 2022

Train tracks sit atop an overpass. Minutes later a train thunders past. Soon thereafter, slowing as it enters a train station.

The train station’s platform overlooks the city. The buildings are tallish, mostly brick, close to each other, without any balconies, urban looking. Pedestrians walk and ride their bikes through the streets below.

The trains double doors slide open. An elderly man riding an electric scooter boards, quickly finding an out of the way opening just as the trains doors slide closed.

Advertisements are sporadically placed throughout the interior of the train.

A guy and gal board the train at the next stop. They’re in their mid-20’s, hiphopish. He’s wearing a bandana, baggy jeans, a new shirt, very bright, oversized, with a length to his thighs, and new sneakers. The tung hangs out. The shoelaces are loose.

Her hair is plentiful and held up. Strands hang down just past her neck, covering part of the back of her neck. She’s wearing a light sweatshirt flowing to her waist, with snug fitting jeans, not to tight, not to loose, comfortable looking, and new sneakers.

They’re all business. Hustling. Each carrying a few bags of M&M’s, quickly offering them to passengers for a dollar. “M&M’s, a Dollar, M&M’s, a dollar”, they speak loudly, each selling a few before opening the doors to the next train car.

Minutes later, the train slows. The lights flicker as it maneuvers through a tunnel.

A man sits alone in the last seat. He’s fast asleep. The flickering lights don’t wake him. He looks as if he’s been out for a while. He looks as if he doesn’t have a place of his own to rest his head.
Just after the train exits the tunnel, a transit worker enters from the previous train car, walking the length of the train, making sure everything’s ok with the passengers.

He pauses as he passes the man sleeping, briefly looking at him, then, keeps walking. He was kind, he didn’t have the heart to tell the man he can’t sleep on the train. He didn’t have the heart to throw him out to the streets.

A few minutes later, the horn sounds, the brakes squeal as the train approaches the next train station. The name of the train station echo’s over the intercom. The doors slide open.

The train reached the last stop. Everyone exits except the man sleeping. He’ll get another hour of sleep during the next train ride.

 
 

Written by George Farina: GeorgeFarina.net

Always Trying To Look Busy

September 14th, 2022

With a thick coat, two pairs of sweat pants, two pairs of socks and gloves as a blanket, the cold morning air wakes her. She’s hidden, mostly out of sight under an overpass.

The street below is lightly traveled. The traffic above is loud, especially from trucks. Nevertheless, the noise doesn’t bother her. She’s been living in the city her whole life. Most nights, by the time she arrives under the overpass, she’s too tired to wake.

Her coat is old and worn out, though warm. The hood’s wrapped tightly around her head.

Slowly, she sits up, pushing herself up with her arms, leaning back against a cold cement post supporting the overpass. Even with the smallest breath, steam flow from her mouth from the cold.

She’s hungry, anxious to get up, yet, the cement slab she slept on was tough on her bones. Her body’s stiff from the cold. She knows the end is near. She feels more and more pain each morning when she wakes. The streets are brutal.

She turns on a small radio, listening to the morning show as she tries to motivate herself to get up.

The host is very controversial. He’s talking about the people who others have fantasized about the most while sleeping.

Different people call into the show, letting him know the people they’ve fantasized about the most.

She laughs to herself, smiling inside as different people tell their stories.

When the show ends, she slowly lifts herself to her feet, making her way to a stop sign just past the overpass.

She stands at the stop sign every morning, holding a small can. Many stop, quickly rolling down their windows to give her spare change. Many of the same people give her change daily.

As the day warms, traffic slows, she walks to a small inexpensive diner, immediately going to the restrooms, letting the water warm to its warmest temperature before washing her face and arms with a little soap and wet paper towels. Soon thereafter, she takes a seat towards the back of the diner, being cautious not to disturb any of the others eating.

Minutes later, she asks the waitress for a cup of coffee and scrambled eggs with toast.

When her breakfast arrives, she drinks and eats very slowly, trying to spend as much time in the warm diner as possible, holding her coffee tightly between her hands, letting the coffee cup warm her hands and body.

Even sitting next to her belongings, she always keeps a close watch over the things she owns. She doesn’t own much. A small AM/FM radio, a bag, a few items of clothes, a purse, a notebook and the papers she writes. She doesn’t have much, yet, the things she owns are very important to her.

The waitresses don’t pay much attention to her. They don’t give her any good deals or extra food. They don’t ask her to leave either.

She’s overjoyed at the opportunity to sit and warm herself daily. At the same time, she feels bad about staying in the diner for extended periods of time, always trying to look busy, writing different thoughts in her notepad while eating.

“Today’s Valentine’s Day. I didn’t even realize until late last night when I picked up a littered newspaper on my way to the overpass.

Valentine’s Day lost the feel of a real holiday to me years ago. The holiday lost the feel of love. Many don’t know what love is, how to express love or feel love. Many don’t know how to receive love. They don’t know how to love.

Having seen the things I’ve seen. The types of things people do to others, the way many treat others, the things man invented, nuclear bombs, the pollution man created, the destructive way of life many live, the way my life turned out, causes me to think of Valentine’s Day as just another day of the year.”

Hours later, she knows she’ll have to leave the diner soon. She fears overstaying her welcome, she fears the possibility of one of the waitresses asking her to leave.

She doesn’t know where she’ll go, thinking, “I could walk to another diner, get something to eat, while waiting inside. Though, if possible, I’d rather do something different.

I could take the bus somewhere. The traffic this morning was slow. Many didn’t want to roll down their windows in the cold. I didn’t get as much money as usual. I’d rather not spend the last of my money.

Maybe I could go to the park. I haven’t been to the park in a while. Maybe they’ve forgotten me.

The weather looks much warmer. Going to the park feels like a good idea.”

Just before leaving, she pulls out her cup of change, leaving the waitress a small tip.

 
 

Written by George Farina: GeorgeFarina.net

Hitching A Ride Aboard A Freight Train

September 14th, 2022

The horn sounds from the Locomotive of an old freight train. Steam fills the air. The large steel wheels begin to turn, slowly the train chugs forward.

Security guards walk alongside the train, walking the length of the train, turning back towards the guard booth as the train picks up speed.

A couple hides in the woods at the far end of the freight yard, watching, waiting.

They spent most of the previous night at a bar on the other side of the woods, flirting, laughing, getting to know each other before making their way through the woods to the freight yard.

As the train reaches the end of the freight yard, at the last possible second, bolt from the woods, through a small field, powering through knee high grass, each holding the other’s hand, laughing, smiling as they run, yelling, “Hurry!, Hurry!” over the noise of the train, pulling each other forward trying to match the speed of the train.

He falls behind as they approach the train, she grabs hold of the railing, leveraging her foot atop the bottom rung of a small ladder attached to a boxcar, pulling herself up as he lifts her from behind. Soon thereafter he grabs hold of the railing, lifting himself onto the same ladder just as the train exits the train yard.

Together, they slide the heavy steel door open just enough to squeeze through the opening, sliding the door closed as soon as they’re inside.

Standing side by side, breathing heavy, looking at the other with sparkling exuberance, she softly hip checks him. He pulls her in close, giving her a warm kiss, then a hug, pressing her head against his chest, holding her body tight against his. A few seconds later, the couple looks around the almost empty boxcar.

Large bags of rice are situated throughout. Individual grains of rice spilt from the bags are spread over the floor. He moves a bunch of bags of rice towards the back corner of the boxcar, positioning them into the shape of a daybed.

When he finished, she grabbed his hand, extending his arm as she pulls him towards the back of the boxcar, together, taking a seat next to each other atop the bags of rice.

He sat in the corner, leaning back against bags of rice stacked a couple rows higher. She sat next to him, curled up as he holds her between his arms. The side of her upper body and head rest against his chest and shoulders as she holds him at the same time.

The train is loud, vibrating as they lay. Neither is bothered by the noise or vibrations. Minutes later they close their eyes, falling asleep in each other’s arms.

 
 

Written by George Farina: GeorgeFarina.net

Old Abandon Brick Building

September 14th, 2022

The bricks are chipped, decayed. They looked like they were laid individually, by individuals, one brick at a time. Little pieces of brick fell to the floor, lay next to the building. Some of the bricks stick out further than others, with slightly different coloring, very faded, yet, even faded, add to the buildings detail, surround the windows and doors, forming small windowsills and entryways.

The back of the building sits alongside an alley, an alley mostly used by local pedestrians to walk or bike back and forth to the stores a couple blocks away.

The alley is thinnish, mostly empty. A few garbage cans and a shopping cart sit towards the sides. Weeds and grass grow through cracks in the asphalt.

The backdoor and surrounding bricks are covered in graffiti. Most of the windows are boarded. The boards are partly rotten.

A few of the upper windows aren’t boarded. Just like the building, they’re decayed, vintage looking, within wooden frames dividing the glass into four sections.

The wooden frames are old, faded and partly rotted. Some of the glass squares within the frames are cracked. They’re loose. They rattle when the wind blows. The windows are two piece windows. The type where the bottom slides up to open, and somewhat large. I’d imagine they let in a lot of natural light.

Even in their tattered condition, they’re soothing to look at, most likely, soothing to look out of, over the alley in the back, over the city in the front.

The front doors show some age, though, in great condition, with stunning detail. They’re large double doors, made of thick wood, most likely oak, carved beautifully in sections, much like the windows, without windows. The oak is stained dark. The door handles are large, metal, bow shaped.

The building’s been abandon for many years. The roof’s most likely leaking. The old wooden plank floors are most likely rotted.
I wonder what happened? Maybe the owner retired, grew old, then naturally passed away, abandoning the building. Not likely. Life’s much to cruel.

He was probably a very hard worker, dedicating much of his life to his business, yet things kept going wrong. Maybe he didn’t have good people around him. Perhaps he was given bad suggestions as to how to run his business. The bills kept piling up, while his income kept lowering.

Perhaps he was older, spent almost his whole life working, saving to open his business. The cost to open many businesses is astronomical. Even after years of saving, he needed to take out a loan.

A few months after he opened his business, a competing business opened in the area, a franchise, providing lower prices. Many locals frequented the competing business.

After years of losing money, doing everything he could to keep his business open, he began defaulting on payments. The bank foreclosed the property, though, didn’t upkeep the building, couldn’t sell the building. The building sat, decaying, wasting away.

Maybe there wasn’t any other competing businesses in the area. Maybe he was crooked, overcharging and treating purchasers with disregard, taking advantage of the lack of competition, selling inadequate items.

The neighborhood is poor, his business practices potentially caused many unwanted financial issues.

Chances are, he really cared, not just about profit, the service he gave purchasers and the quality of the items he sold. The cold hard realities of life kept wearing on him. The bills and lack of income most likely caused him a lot of stress. The stress most likely caused him issues at home. The issues caused the business to close.

 
 

Written by George Farina: GeorgeFarina.net

The Alley Or The Busy City Street?

September 14th, 2022

The ride through the alley is peaceful. I enjoy the scenery. I enjoy having the whole alley to myself. The alley’s almost always empty, with the feel of a scenic route. I don’t have to deal with cars or stop light. There’s an allure to taking the alley, almost like I’m doing something I’m not supposed to, something society frowns upon.

I like to think I’m a people person. I like being around people. I like people around me. There’s always people throughout the city streets. I enjoy curb hopping, views of the city, looking through display windows, stopping at a local windowsill café for a Café con Leche, drinking the coffee while I sit on my bike, watching the hustle and bustle of the city. I like hearing and seeing buses pass. I like the option of taking a bus. I like navigating around the bus stops. The ride is more exhilarating.

Today, I have a sandwich and drink. Finding an out of the way place to eat within the alley is easier. Sitting and eating in the peaceful environment of the alley feels more enjoyable today. I’m not feeling very social. I feel like keeping to myself, eating without anyone around. The privacy of the alley is a benefit.

I think I’ll take the alley. At worst, I could navigate to the city street if I decide I’d rather ride through the city streets.

 
 

Written by George Farina: GeorgeFarina.net

She’s Been Walking All Night

September 14th, 2022

She’s been walking all night, late in the day, mile after mile. The streets don’t end. Hungry, malnourished, the sun beats down, dehydration sets in.

Muscles frail and tight, she lifts her legs with all her might. She’s been used all her life, alone and delirious, she struggles within.

Days turned to dusks. Dusks turned to nights. Nights turned to dawns. Dawns turned to days. Winters to Springs, Springs to Summers. Summers to Falls. Falls to Winters. In rapid succession. Life goes by much quicker on the streets. Yet the pain feels much slower, physically and mentally.

Shivering in the winter. Sweating in the summer. Soaked when rain falls. Dehydrated from the sun. Thankless Thanksgivings. Giftless Christmases. Cement beds to sleep.

The streets turned her much harsher, much quicker. Her health deteriorated much quicker. Many friends came and went. Her family didn’t ever exist.

A bus bench is ahead. A few minutes later, she takes a seat. Late at night, all alone. Her eyes close. Her body slides down the bench to the seat. She falls asleep.

 
 

Written by George Farina: GeorgeFarina.net