Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Unemployment is better with air-conditioning

Last summer when I was unemployed in this apartment, I didn't know that I could have signed up for unemployment, and so didn't. And so did not spend ANY extra money whatsoever while looking for work. That meant: Not buying a window-unit AC. A huge mistake. July/August/September are obnoxiously humid in Jersey. Not quite as bad as Texas, but bad. (Only one or two 100-degree days up here, as opposed to Texas, but still...PLENTY of 85-plus humid days, which are almost as nasty.) So, with no AC, I used the oppressive heat as an excuse to lie around all day on the couch like a slug, inwardly whining, "It's too hot to put on clothes and go find a job!" And, for real, while putting on long pants wasn't really a huge problem, blow-drying my hair actually WAS, as silly as that sounds. The heat from the dryer, in my hot apartment, would immediately wilt my hair. And then cause me to sweat so much that the makeup I'd be trying to apply for job interviews wouldn't stay on! So I looked like shit, and then got depressed and had to go lie down on the couch again!;p

As I wrote on this blog in early July, this year I figured out how to get unemployment checks, and so I immediately bought a cheap $100 AC on sale before it got too hot. ("This year, I'm doing things differently!") Well, even after my nice landlord (who lives downstairs) surprised me by carrying the too-heavy-for-me-to-lift thing upstairs for me after I'd let it sit at the foot of the stairs in the shopping cart for a while, I then just let the box sit outside my door for the past 2 or 3 weeks. I had written him a note expressing great thanks for his kindness. And his wife had replied something along the lines of, "Just let us know when we can install it." Maybe I felt guilty because it was beyond me how to install a window AC, even though I should be an independent woman. Maybe I didn't want to bother them any more than I felt I already had. I also think I felt like they probably thought I was a weirdo---since being unemployed 2 months ago (except random work one or two days a week), I've hardly gone anywhere. To buy groceries every couple of weeks when I ran out of toilet paper. Maybe out briefly at 9 or 10pm before the convenience store closed to buy beer. So I was paranoid: "They think I'm a weird freak who never leaves the house! They hate me! They don't want me here!" (Note: These kind people had already voluntarily asked if I needed a ride to the airport at Christmas, and took me there. Why was I doubting them??)

Well, today, the downstairs buzzer rang at 8:30am. Though I hadn't washed my hair in 2 days and looked like shit, I was halfway hoping for a package, so I threw on a pair of unwashed shorts (too hot to do laundry) and started to rush downstairs. My landlord was already there at the door. Just the meter-man to let in. With the brief adrenalin rush, I suddenly felt talky: "Hi, A. How's it going?" My landlord responded perfectly pleasantly, so I got up the courage to ask for my favor: "C. [his wife] said you might be able to install my air conditioner for me. I wasn't going to ask, since the weather hasn't been that bad, but this week it's been so hot and humid..." A.: "Sure thing. Just give me a minute." Me: "Oh, no rush. Whenever you have the time."

Ten minutes later, he was upstairs with his tools! We chatted pleasantly about the weather, about where they had their window units placed downstairs, about how he was wondering how I managed to stand the heat without AC, etc. A half-hour later, all done! He apparently doesn't think I'm a weird freak after all! :)

And lemme tell ya: Lying around on the couch today was a LOT better with the AC! :) Though... now I can't use "no AC" as an excuse for lying around on the couch any more!

This reminds me of the house I lived in for 6 years in Austin right before moving up here. It was an older house, built in the 1930s or so, with 4 rooms (plus kitchen and bath). And all it had were 2 window AC units, no central air. One unit, serving the dining/living room areas was pretty strong and cooled those areas sufficiently. But the AC in the study, where I spent a lot of time on the computer, was very weak. The backs of my knees would literally sweat as I sat there, and I'd have to turn off my desk damp because even the heat from that one bulb felt oppressive. And there was NO AC in the bedroom, and no air ever reached the bathroom, so again, the blow-drying/makeup/getting dressed problem. Finally, after living there for 4 years, I got up the nerve to ask my landlord, who had always been nothing but nice, if I could possibly have a window unit added in the bedroom... His reply? "Why don't I just go ahead and add central air?" Um...OK!! And he didn't even raise the rent!

All this should be a lesson to me: Ask and ye shall receive--when the person is kind! I think I'd had it drilled into my head as a kid that I was "spoiled" and, later, as a woman by lovers, that I was "needy." I never got very much from either parents or lovers, but...I believed them! Those fuckers all brainwashed me into thinking I wasn't deserving of anything, that I was a whiner for asking...even asking for fucking air-conditioning!! :) (For some reason, AC has always been a big issue in my life. I will never forget living in the sweltering Dallas/Fort Worth summers as a kid. My mom would get home from work at 4:30pm. Her rule for turning on the AC earlier in the day: If the thermostat hit 86 INSIDE the house, THEN I could turn it on. If it hadn't hit 86 yet, I could still turn it on at 3pm. So SHE was nice and cool by the time she got home! And when she went to bed at 10pm, the AC was shut off. So SHE was still cool when she went to sleep. I, having no school, would stay up 'til 1am or 2am...while the house got hotter and hotter, and the backs of my knees sweatier and sweatier. It was awful.)

So, long story short: A big THANKS, two landlords, for helping to break the awful "not receiving" spell! :)

p.s. Just thinking about temperatures in general: It's said that people often feel depressed during long, gray winter months. NOT ME. The NYC/Jersey area, where I've spent my past 3 winters, has radiators. And the steam heat is both very warm and cheap (usually the building pays for it; I've never had to pay a heating bill up here). Plus, these buildings up here are appropriately insulated. That last house I rented in Austin, despite central heat, was drafty and cold as hell, and the gas heating bills each month astronomical ($200-$300, for being cold!). So, if the home is insulated properly, I wouldn't care if I spent 5 months a year with snow outside. It's invigorating to me to get out of bed in the morning and bundle up to go outside! Just as the crisp fall is invigorating. Whereas nearly 5 months of 85-100 degree temperatures, as in Texas (June through October), is horribly, wiltingly depressing to me.

It's been interesting living for the past nearly-3 years in a different, Northern clime. I've learned: I very much like seasonal variations, especially the fall and winter, but everything only up to 80 degrees. Above 80 = NASTY. HATE. CAN DO COMPLETELY WITHOUT. (Perhaps it is my German genes. Can't explain it otherwise, since I've, 'til now, lived all of my life in Texas and should have been acclimated by age 41, when I left.) My nightmare locations, though I haven't lived there: LA and Miami, where it's primarily always 80. And San Fran, where I have lived, where it's continuously primarily 55-65. (SF is the only place where I've craved more, more, more of the sun.)

Monday, July 27, 2009

"I was with my sister."

I love Lindsay, but the below exchange had me cracking up (and feeling not so needy and crazy) -- especially the "Who is this person?"/"I'm your girlfriend!" part! :)

---------------------------------------------


Lindsay Lohan’s Early Morning Temper Tantrum on Samantha Ronson’s Stoop
July 27th, 2009 / Author: Mary Beth Quirk

One of the toughest parts about fame/infamy? Having the paparazzi around as witnesses to film you waiting on your girlfriend Samantha Ronson’s stoop for two hours and the subsequent tearful tantrum that follows at 5 a.m. Yes, Lindsay Lohan, we’re looking at you. TMZ has posted a video with audio so clear at times it sounds like LiLo was wearing a mic as she tearfully demands of Sam, “Where were you?!?” as she arrives home in the wee hours over the weekend. For her part, the DJ is confused as to who the mystery girl hanging out on her doorstep with Lindsay is. Some interesting exchanges follow:

Lindsay: Samantha where were you? You lost it, what’s wrong with you? [Sam walks to her door, as Lindsay squeals to the other girl] Stop! Stop!

Sam: Who is this person?

Lindsay: [clearly confused crying] I’m your girlfriend!

Sam: No, who’s this other person here?

Lindsay: You know her…

Sam: Then why were you yelling at her to stop?

Lindsay: Because she was trying to touch me[?]. Where were you?!?

Sam: This one has to go.

Lindsay: Don’t talk to my friend like that, Samantha [still crying].

Sam: She’s on my property, I don’t know her, I want her out. it’s that simple.

[some unintelligible talking]

Lindsay: Where were you? Where were you? Where were you? Where were you? Where were you?

Sam: I was with my sister.

Lindsay: You’re lying!

Sam: Yeah, I’m lying.

[The random girl then leaves, as Samantha suggests she call a cab. The couple finally go into the house, as Lindsay says something about a phone that’s mostly unintelligible, as she walks in and slams the door.]

-------------------------------------

p.s. Lest y'all think LL's crazy... Sam's known as a pick-up artist. And...who stays out 'til 5 am WITH THEIR SISTER?

Birthday Butt






My nephew (the clowny-clown to the right) is 4 years old today; a Leo, like me. (Note the CROCS! He's been obsessed with those things for 2 years now!)

In the other picture: My brother is somewhere out there watching the World Cup!

I miss being around them.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Gates: Racism, or Belligerent Black Man?

http://www.nypost.com/seven/07212009/news/nationalnews/charges_dropped_against_harvard_professo_180544.htm

Harvard professor Henry "Skip" Gates (who is black) got home from a trip and couldn't open the front door of his rental house. He went around back, got in, then went around front to try to force open the stuck front door, with the help of his cabbie (also black). Someone in the neighborhood called the cops and reported a possible break-in. The cops showed up. All hell then broke loose, thanks to Gates.

(1) Gates had only begun renting the home "recently," according to news reports. So... is it so nutty that a concerned neighbor would report seeing a strange person trying to force open a door in the neighborhood?

(2) Kudos to the cops for showing up so quickly and checking out the situation. (Having lived in lower-income neighborhoods for most of my life, I never received the same courtesy the times that I called about a disturbance. But it would have been nice.)

(3) When the police showed up -- 2 white cops and a black cop -- Gates asked, upon being asked for an ID: "Why, because I'm a black man?" (No, DUDE, it's because you're not known in this neighborhood and you're trying to bust down a door. It looks bad.)

(4) Once Gates produced an ID, he apparently then yelled at the cop, "This is what happens to black men in America!" etc. etc. and continued to argue. The cop then arrested him for disorderly conduct.

For any black people reading, lemme tell ya a little story about the police. We "middle-class white folk" were brought up to respect the police. Right or wrong, you just respect the police and answer their questions and do what they say. End of story. You don't argue with them or act like an asshole or pretend you're special or "discriminated against." Yes, the police are often assholes themselves. But in the few situations that you have to deal with them, you shut up and put up with it.

Let me give you a personal example. When I lived in Austin, maybe 2002, I was lying alone on my couch watching TV at 2 or 3 in the morning. Suddenly, a loud, scary BANG-BANG-BANG on my door. Several police officers were there, saying they'd had a complaint about a domestic disturbance and about a dog barking. Now... If I were an "ANGRY BLACK MAN," possibly I should have jumped up and gone all ballistic and yelled, "This is what happens to black men in America!" Instead, I looked at the officers at the door like they were crazy, and told them calmly and realistically that I lived alone and that I had no dog. And did they want to come inside and look around? They peered inside, then realized that I obviously wasn't the source of any "domestic disturbance" or "dog barking," then went away.

END OF STORY.

Did I freak out and put on a show: "I'm a proud lesbian! I have a Master's Degree! How DARE you!" No, I di'int.

It ain't a black or white thing. It's a "respect for the law" thing that you should have been taught as a kid (unless, that is, you were raised in a black family that stupidly taught you that if you did something wrong and got busted for it, it was because everyone non-black was racist). Gates threw a belligerent fit, thinking he was above the guys that came to check out the situation. He should have just showed his ID and shut the fuck up. I don't blame the cops one bit for hauling him in after his idiotic, "I'm a black man and you're racist" outburst.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Is there anybody better looking?




Well, maybe her...


transformations


...The yellow rose will turn to cinder
and New York City will fall in
before we are done...

Leo horoscope for week of July 23

Did life feel meaningless last week? Was your destiny a random sequence of events shepherding you to a series of different nowheres? Even worse, were you convinced that human beings are toxic scum? If so, Leo, get ready for your mood to shift drastically. The whims of fate are mutating. Soon, a source of curses may be a fount of blessings. Enticing leads will rise up out of the midst of boredom. Human beings will fascinate and teach you, and every day will bring new signs to draw you deeper into delicious mysteries.

---------------

Yes. Yes. Yes. OK, I'm ready. Good. Good. Yay. YES PLEASE, SOON PLEASE!

Something's got to give. The energy is really, really mucked up. And, honestly, I don't know what to do about it..........

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

No Grace

What a name, Grace. I didn't even name her. My apartment neighbors in 2000 found her (she found them) and named her.

I can't believe that she's not here. I've been thinking about going back home and being around my family and friends again, about having all of my books and personal belongings again, about having a car again. And every time I get on that train of thought, I always picture Gracie with me again, like she's something that I left behind and can get back.

I don't like Texas weather. I don't like Texas politics. I don't like how Texas looks. Yet I'm going crazy up here by myself.

When I was a kid, my dad was in the Air Force and so we moved all the time. I didn't form attachments. I actually liked moving around and the concept of a "fresh start" each time.

I lived in Austin for 23 years, though, after age 18. I do have some "attachments" there.

WHAT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO??? Wait it out here in New Jersey/NYC? Pissing away $1500 per month in rent for a place I'd be paying $800 for in Texas? I never thought about or cared about money before I got here. I always had enough to get by, and to buy a few extras. But for the past 2 years that I've been up here, I've been, for the most part, poor as shit. I want, not necessarily a flat-screen TV, but a TV manufactured post-2000. I want a computer that's not 10 years old, as mine is. I want some fucking new clothes. I want an iPod to play my music on. That's not being shallow, that's just base-level ACCOUTREMENTS, goddammit.

I can't stand being 43 and having to scrape by. "Scraping by" was somewhat interesting up until age 35, maybe, while I experimented with my life, but now it's just horrible and distressing and depressing. And pissing away $1500 a month in rent is just insane.

(Gee, but NYC is so pretty... And I love the Fall, and the snow...)

I'm so angry and confused and torn right now.

Right now, here is what I'm living: Unemployed in a part of the country that I like greatly but that I have no living connection to. Missing the dead cat that I won't ever have again. Missing the 2008-2009 reincarnation of a woman from a 20-year-old poetry class that I won't ever have again.

Everything is all murky and loveless and fucked up.

Friday, July 17, 2009

No More Tears

I gotta get back on track. For real.

I moved to NYC in February 2007. Despite all the roommate problems and job problems and the incredible stress of being in a new huge city, I don't think I cried ONCE between February 2007 and November 2008. Nearly two years. The latter date is when I first started communicating long-distance with Sandra.

I am sick of this crying bullshit. Constantly. I've been in contact with Sandra off and on for the past 9 months now, and I've been crying constantly. It's not funny or dramatic or special or anything. It's just wasteful. A waste of tears and emotion. A drain on the energy I very much need to make my way here in NYC, and find a fucking job.

I've been so into the Internet since 2000 that I have taken these cyber-people seriously. First Julie, for a long, way-too-long time. Now Sandra, falling into the exact same pattern, despite the fact that we actually knew each other in person years ago. All of it is such utter, depressing, phony bullshit.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

"Chain of Fools," Carola-style



Whoa, Carola!

I was just looking for a YouTube version of Julie London singing "Perfidia." Found nothing to post. Then... I came instead, accidentally, across this Finnish singer, Carola Stanestskjold, doing the same song in '65. An OK version, not spectacular, so I started browsing through other YouTube songs of hers...

And found this OTT 1969 unexpectedly kinky, surprising version of "Chain of Fools."

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Rock of Ages




Rock of Ages website.

Walking to work today, I passed the theater where this godawful show is playing! "Featuring the music of Styx! Journey! Boston! REO Speedwagon! Pat Benatar! Night Ranger!..." et al. OK, I'm sure it's a fun show, but to me the names of those bands just conjure up a time period when I thought I would NEVER be able to find any pop music that I liked or connect with many other people over what music we liked...

I graduated high school in 1983, when the bands above were all the rage. (I can't remember what our class song was exactly, but it was something by Styx.) I'm proud to say that I never bought an album by any of them! (Well, one by Journey, but that was EARLY JOURNEY, not stupid '80s Journey!)

In the DFW area where I lived at the time, there were only Top 40, Country, and Album Rock stations. Punk had already broken in the States by then, and New Wave was about to -- and I'd read about both -- but...how I was supposed to hear it? Nothing on the radio, and I lived 45 minutes away from the nearest record store. (Not that record stores in Fort Worth malls would have carried anything British or startling.) So I listened to my Beatles, and Kiss, and the Knack (the most "modern" band I was able to find)...and suffered through most of the stuff on the radio while my classmates were busy ROCKIN' OUT! (I remember being at a pizza place one time and trying to find songs to play on the jukebox...there was NOTHING I wanted to play!)

Then, sloooooowly, after some hits by New Wave-y Americans like the Cars and Gary Neuman and Blondie and The Go-Gos started making their way onto the Top 40 stations, the format began to open up a bit for the Brits: The Police. Culture Club. Eurythmics. U2 (only after their 3rd album, "War"). Squeeze. The Vapors. The Clash. And one album rock station started a Sunday-night show after midnight, "Rock 'n' Roll Alternative," which was on for only a couple of hours, but played the newest stuff from England... My record collection started to fill out at last! There was new stuff coming out that I loved and got off on, that reflected exactly how I thought and felt...

Come to think of it, the same goes for late-night talk-shows: In the early '80s, there was just Carson. I hated him. I hated Ed McMahon. I hated stupid guests like the retarded-looking Buddy Rich. (For some reason, I remember seeing Buddy Rich on Carson CONSTANTLY! I hardly ever watched the show, but every time I did...there he was!) I hated all the dumb old-guy guffawing at borscht-belt jokes. From reading, I KNEW that Carson was a very big deal, yet... I didn't find him funny or interesting in the least. Occasionally, I would watch an entire show or two, just to try to MAKE myself discover what it was that made him so popular...I never, ever got it.

And then...LETTERMAN! The Top Ten List. Stupid Human Tricks. Monkey-Cam. Freaky staff members like Larry "Bud" Melman and Chris Elliot who appeared on-camera. Not sucking up to guests. All of that kind of thing is the norm today on late-night shows (Conan and Craig Ferguson are just off-shoots of what Dave initiated over 25 years ago), but at the time, it was completely bizarre and revolutionarily hilarious. I couldn't believe how happy I was at what I was finally seeing on the screen.

To stretch a point, I guess that New York City is just now doing for me what New Wave/Letterman did for me 25 years ago: Finally making me feel at home mentally in my own culture! When one is disgruntled, there exists partly the superior feeling of "I just know better than everyone else! They're just not on my wave-length." But then there's also the niggling, depressing idea that..."Maybe it's just ME! I'll NEVER be happy!"

After 2-and-a-half years in the NYC area, I can safely say that the city makes me happy. 95% of the time. Maybe not always ECSTATICALLY happy, since I'm still looking for permanent work and I haven't found a mate or a group of friends... But happy in a content sort of way.

Today, for instance: I got up around 1pm (my shift at my temp job is 3:30pm - midnight, several days a week). Goofed around the house. Caught the bus at 3pm. Was in Times Square (where I work) by 3:20pm. Had time for a smoke and watching the tourists before going 30 flights up to my office in one of NYC's most well-known buildings. The building's so tall and the windows so large, you can see both the East River AND the Hudson from my desk. (And my co-workers are sane and down-to-earth and nice to work with.) For dinner at 8, I walked across the street to a 24-hour deli, which was nearly deserted at that hour. Had the whole seating area upstairs to myself while I ate my salad and chicken and watched passers-by through the window. Once back outside, had another smoke and watched more tourists and gawked at more city lights. At the end of the evening, because it was midnight, the company paid for a car to take me home. I was home in 17 minutes. I didn't even feel like I'd BEEN "at work."

Everything about today/tonight made me content. Like first listening to the Eurythmics made me content. Like first watching Letterman made me content. So I suppose the lesson, for me at least, has been: "I was RIGHT to be dissatisfied! I just had to LOOK and LISTEN and WAIT a bit..."

Sunday, July 05, 2009

More Terence Trent (listen)

Also from "The Hardline According to Terence Trent D'Arby." 1987.


Disturbing Michael Jackson dream

The past couple of days I'd heard in passing on the news that the drug Diprivan was found in Michael Jackson's home. It's an intravenous drug used in operating rooms to sedate patients for surgery (and which can cause cardiac arrest if not used properly or monitored properly). A former nurse of MJ's was interviewed saying that he'd begged her for the drug because he couldn't sleep, but that she'd refused him.

For some reason, the idea that he would be asking for such a drug horrified me. He was THAT miserable. He had insomnia to such a degree that he was begging for a surgical knock-out drug.

This afternoon, hours before heading out to the fireworks, I was napping and had a very, very heavy dream (both physically and psychologically): I was reading my personal e-mails, and had 3 from Michael Jackson. He was explaining to me that he'd used Diprivan 3 times [specifically 3 times] before, and that it had helped him then. And that he hadn't had any idea that he was going to die from it.

I woke up with two lines imprinted in my head, as if from a poem, opening with:

"the dripdripdrip of deprivation"

and ending with:

"tosleeptosleeptosleeptosleeptosleepperchancetod..."

With the punctuation exactly like that. Exactly like that, the number of "to sleep"s and the last "d" cut off.

I'm not a huge Michael Jackson fan. I followed him, like everyone else of my generation, through "Off the Wall" and "Thriller" and "Bad" and then, like most others, lost track of him musically and then just caught whatever scandals were erupting... But this dream, and its very specific lines, really disturbed me.

Diprivan has to be administered through an IV = the "dripdripdrip." "Deprivation" = "sleep deprivation"? the constant "dripdripdrip" of emotional deprivation, creating as water does ultimately, a grand canyon?

The phrase "To sleep perchance to dream" I knew, as an English major, from Hamlet's famous soliloquy:

"To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them. To die, to sleep—
No more—and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to. 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep—
To sleep—perchance to dream. Ay, there's the rub!
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause...."

Fuck! Sleep vs. Death. Life vs. Death. "To be or not to be." And the fucking ending of the line that the dream gave me: "...tosleeptosleepperchancetod..." Yeah, I woke up knowing "to sleep perchance to DREAM." But this cut-off line, with its missing letters at the end, insinuated also that the finish was "to die." (And the cutting off of the word also indicated a sudden stoppage.) And the last 3 letters of the line, "tod," spell the German word for "die."

Now, I know I posted something here a couple of months ago about being depressed about the loss of my job, my cat, etc., and that no one cared, boo hoo, and that I was going to wait until after seeing the grand 4th of July fireworks on the Hudson, and after that, what did I have to live for, really... JESUS! Things are much, much better for me now! I'm not EVEN thinking along those lines personally. BUT...

I must say I'm very curious: What in the heck am I doing receiving dream e-mails and lines of death poetry from Michael Jackson of all people??????????

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Fireworks and Kvetching

A shot of the massive Hudson River fireworks show tonight, looking toward Manhattan from Weehawken.



A gallery of more shots from Weehawken and Jersey City.

The display started at 9:20pm. I can't tell you how relaxing it was to leave my house at 9:18 and stroll casually down to the river! The police had blocked off the roads starting at around 6pm, but people had been, according to the news reports I saw on TV, "camping out" along the river's edge since 9 this morning to get a good spot! That's just nutty! Though I departed for the big show with only 2 minutes to spare, I was able to see just fine.

There were 10s of thousands of people stretched all along the road that runs along the cliff overlooking the river (though loosely packed, with plenty of room to walk around). Most everyone in a relaxed, happy mood...except for the dog next to me that snarled and almost bit the faces off a pack of obnoxious 15-year-old boys who were taunting it! (Yikes.)

Aside from the near-face-mauling, all was pleasant. I got a few chills while watching. People "oohed" and "aahed" and applauded throughout the show, and at the end a brief chant of "USA! USA!" went up, which made me smile. (At the brief tingle of jingoism that ran through me at hearing it; then, later, 'cause the majority of the crowd were either tourists or illegals who had walked over from Union City, which is the next city inland from Weehawken.)

Afterwards, I strolled back home and stopped on my corner to snap some shots of the one traffic cop trying futilely to control the throngs of both people heading back inland and cars heading back to NYC. A neighbor-lady came out on her porch and started kvetching about the cop: "That man does not know what he is doing! I was watching him from upstairs. He must not be from Weehawken. He doesn't know this road. Where's he from? [to me] Can you read that patch? He must be from the Sheriff's department. [he was, according to his shirt-patch] I called the police earlier and asked who they had out here. They sent both Weehawken officers and the Sheriff's department. People from the Sheriff's department do NOT know these streets..." Whew! Luckily, some friends of hers walked up and were able to commiserate with her more appropriately, since I really didn't know what to say and wasn't satisfying her with my non-committal responses of "Well, there haven't been fireworks on the Hudson in 9 years. He didn't know what to expect..." (To which she responded: "He should have KNOWN what to expect!" etc.)

Her kvetching reminded me of something that I really do like about this part of the country: the kvetching. I myself would kvetch back in Texas about any number of things that weren't being done properly, only back home it's called "bitching" and is greatly frowned upon. You're not "laid back" and "easy going" if you bitch (you're just a bitch). Traits that I think Texans and Southerners pride themselves on and that I think are greatly overrated. Texans can be very smart and driven, sure, but they like to present themselves publicly as NOT being so. Whereas people up here are just think-y/talk-y as hell and don't care if they seem uptight in the process of letting their feeling be known! :)

I find that to be much psychologically healthier, actually. At least for me. For instance, I would always get shit back in Texas for, say, honking when the car in front of me wouldn't move when the light turned green. Or for getting pissed when the person in the car in front of me at the bank drive-thru wouldn't have their stuff ready by the time their car got to the window. To me, it was just common courtesy that the laggards were lacking; they weren't thinking about the people behind them. To my fellow Texans, I was the one being rude! That was just nuts! I'm very glad to be in a logical place where PEOPLE HONK WHEN THE SLOW-POKE IN FRONT OF THEM DOESN'T PAY ATTENTION TO THE LIGHT! :)

Friday, July 03, 2009

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The Evil Geniuses of Pathmark



Today was the big day when I deposited a couple of unemployment checks and finally had enough extra to "splurge" on a $99 window-unit air conditioner on sale at the local Pathmark supermarket.

Those suckers are heavy, and I have no car here, so my brilliant plan for getting it home was just to leave it in a shopping cart and wheel it on home. All was well, and I was wheeling along merrily...until I got to the edge of the market parking lot. SCREECH! My cart came to a grinding halt (almost tipping over in the process). Puzzled, I checked all the wheels. Everything was fine and in movable order. So I backed the cart up a little and gave it a mighty shove forward. SCREECH!

"GodDAMMIT!" I screeched back.

There were other carts sitting around out there, so I struggled to lift the damn window unit and shift it over to another cart. Then got started on my (now only semi) merry way again... SCREECH! I started cursing at the top of my lungs again, which is when a helpful guy sitting around came over and explained, "They've got some sort of magnetic strip in the parking lot. Once you pass a certain point, the carts stop moving." Huh? Nooooooo.

I had a brilliant idea: "What if I force the cart a few yards down, onto the sidewalk? Maybe the strips will stop working once you get past a certain point." So the guy and I started heaving and hauling the cart and air-conditioner to what we thought might be a safe spot. And the mofo cart STILL wouldn't move!

Those evil geniuses! They really came up with a great way to keep people from stealing their carts!

I never could figure out how exactly the strips worked, but... they sure did. So I had to wheel the air conditioner back inside the store. Get some checkout guys to watch it for me. Walk back home and get own my little two-wheeled cart. Walk back to the store. Maneuver the friggin' window unit back home.

It was HOTTTTTT today (85-ish) and by the time I finally made it home, my face was bright red, my makeup completely melted off, my hair plastered with sweat. By this time it was only 30 minutes until I had to be at work, but I couldn't go out looking like that! So I sat in front of my fan with an ice-tray, desperately trying to cool off. I finally had to say "fuck it" and get on the bus looking like a sweaty mess!

I live on the second floor, and that AC is still in my cart at the bottom of the stairs. I looked at it when I got home and decided not to even mess with it again today. (I was kind of hoping my strong landlord downstairs would have noticed it sitting there and carried it up for me by the time I got home. Nope. Can't wait to haul that thing up tomorrow and try to get it installed in the window!)

I must say: I felt kind of like a monkey in the jungle today, trying to figure out how to get ants out of an ant-heap, or coconuts out of a tree. All the stupid little things you have to try when you don't have simple conveniences (like a car, and a man!) to help you!