April 2015 Archives

old math

I was playing with a retirement calculator. You type in when you expect to retire, your saving plans, how long you plan to live, and your anticipated living expenses in retirement. It doesn't take long for you to intensely resent your future self. What a goldbricking mooch. So I cut him off.

"Screw Old John," I muttered as I massaged the numbers until I got something attainable. "If he lives past 82, he's on his own."

From Cheryl Strayed's (so far) insipid memoir Wild:

"I got an abortion and learned how to make dehydrated tuna flakes and turkey jerky"

shower thought

The San Francisco 49ers desperately need to name their cheerleading squad the Gold-Diggers.

butt stuff

My being back in Metamuville is horrible for this site. No social interaction = happy John = crap content.

In Pittsburgh, I instantly had multiple circles of friends that in several ways crushed my 20+ year circle here. I was about to allow that my Seattle friends are predominantly parents and therefore less accessible, but then I remembered Stephanie in Pittsburgh saying "Let's go out for an adult evening! We'll get a babysitter."

Specifically, I remember thinking, "I have never heard that sentence in my life."

People in Pittsburgh were curious about why I would consider leaving Seattle for a city with no ocean, no mountains, worse weather, worse jobs, and—unbefuckinglievably—fewer days of sun. And I was never really able to explain it to their satisfaction. No matter what angle I used to explain the social repression here, no matter how many colorful metaphors I found for Seattle people having their heads intractably shoved up their own asses, they were confused.

"But you're such a nice guy!" I heard more than once.

"Immaterial. I am not the problem there."

Once, I was chatting with a pastor (something that would never happen in Seattle) who'd befriended me (also something that would never happen in Seattle. I'll stop saying that, but you should mentally place it after every phrase that follows). He was explaining his faith, and I was explaining my lack of same. It was all very cordial, and we genuinely liked one another—despite his not understanding where I think good and evil come from and my not understanding why he thinks they come from an invisible, mind-reading zombie-Jew in the sky. We had a spirited conversation, and soon it drifted into football, food, and Seattle.

"What's the racial situation there?" asked the pastor, a black man.

I considered the question. I thought about d'Andre's assessment that in Seattle, even the brothers are whiney white guys. I thought about the squabbles I've had with young Seattle blacks who'd corrected me on what white people think and feel. I thought about how I had an integrated circle of friends the moment I set foot in Pittsburgh, and how I'd felt the sudden shock of missing that more than I'd even known. But how to explain all this to the pastor?

"Well, I'll tell you one thing," I said. "This conversation would never happen there."

"Why's that?"

"Because white and blacks ignore one another like they do everyone else. Because this level of trust between strangers does not happen there. Hell, this level of trust between friends seldom happens there. But mostly, it's because no one cares. People aren't remotely curious about things not up their own butt. To ask that sort of question, you have to think outside the butt."

And yes, I told that whole story just to share my perfected metaphor.


upsell this

I cut it close, but I arrived at the theatre five minutes before my movie's start time. My local theatre long ago got rid of their kiosk, making interaction with humans an unwelcome cost of admission. Now they've upped their obnoxious game.

"Purchase tickets at the concession stand," read the sign in the booth.

I was greeted, of course, by a long line. One eye on my watch, I squirmed as I watched each customer get the hard sell. The long, hard sell. The staff managed to fritter away 10 of my minutes. By the time the elderly woman in front of me was paying for her comically large bucket of popcorn, I was steaming. Waste my money, waste my heart, but do not waste my time.

She took her sweet time getting out of line, so I tried to expedite things. "Medium unbuttered popcorn," I said to the employee who'd gotten everyone else's popcorn. She nodded and did nothing. Another eternity passed. Finally, the old woman left, and I put my M&Ms on the counter.

"Would you like to upgrade to a large for only 75 cents more?" chirped the employee.

It was all I could do not to lunge at her. I closed my eyes.

"Yes. In fact, make it a small. You talked me out of it."

"Uh, okay. You can combine that with—"

"No."

"—a large soft drink for—"

"No."

"only $1.25 more."

"Still no."

"And if you add your candy—"

I grabbed my candy and put it back on the shelf. "You're really good at the upsell," I observed. "Let's move this along."

"Do you have a Regal card?"

"No, and I don't want one."

"Do you want one?"

"No, I still don't. I want to see the beginning of my goddamned movie."

We stared at each other, and I realized I wasn't going to enjoy the movie. I began my 30 minute drive back home.

You know that guy at the car dealership who you have to talk to, even if you're paying cash, about financing and undercoating and warranty extensions? You know that desperate, trapped-animal feeling?

I was preparing to take the dogs to the park, and that half-assed idiot savant Fredo was waking the neighbors with his customary shrill yipping. Vibrating, he poised behind my tailgate, ready to leap into the car.

"I wonder if this moron is moron enough to fall for a hand-fake?" I thought. So I pantomimed opening the tailgate.

Pow. Faceplant into the back of the car.

highlight of my day

For work, I'm building a web site with someone else's content. I just let the following sentence slide. Why? Because it delights me.

"Jesus knows deeply our competitors."
And it's because of that sort of gem that my postings here have been subpar lately. I knocked out 312 hours in March. Among other revelations, I discovered that I'm not 28 anymore.

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