September 2015 Archives

shut in

I haven't left my house in a week, hence the lack of posts. Zero material.

Hold on while I go to Wal-Mart. The things I do for you people.

beautiful girls

Have you ever dated a physically beautiful person, and over time, you couldn't even see the beauty anymore because the rest of the relationship was utter crap? I have. And in a metaphorical way, I am again.

My house in Metamuville is the beautiful girl in question. I just found myself gazing across Puget Sound at the sun rising over the Cascade mountains, an undeniably beautiful sight that I'm keenly aware few get to see every morning. Yet all I could think was "Man, screw this place."

More and more lately, I find myself recalling when I spent a year putting off a breakup. For tax purposes, I stalled for an entire year. Trapping myself so unnaturally, I grew to hate her far more than she deserved. She could say merely "I'm going to get coffee," and my reaction would be What a stupid, shallow slag.

Well, I'm in that place again. And I often think of two pieces of advice I got about that woman a decade ago.

  • Dorkass: "And you think this is healthy for you?"
  • Allie: "Can you tell me one reason you're with her, other than 'she's pretty?'"

sweet dreams are made of this

My dreams about choking millennial designers with a bike chain are getting more intense.

I suppose if I wanted to really hurt them, it would be more fitting to tie them up in a usability lab, prop their eyelids open, and force them to watch someone try to perform everyday tasks with their design. As a bonus, they would learn about the existence of usability labs.

decrepitude

Two months ago, I tore up my elbow. One month ago, I gave up and saw my doctor about it.

"How did you injure it?" he said, nose in his notes.

"I was unloading a 300 pound grill from the back of a truck."

He glared at me, then went back to his notes. "Diagnosis: stupidity. Acute."

"Oh no," I said. "That's chronic."

That night, I tore my Achilles tendon. I imagined going back to the doctor and explaining that I was dancing with my dog Fredo when I felt a horrible pop in my heel.

"Diagnosis: whiteness. Acute."

And I would again correct him.

the week in entitlement, part iii

Puck Glazowski and I haven't seen one another in years. Defying stereotypes of hulking former hockey players, he's an incredibly sweet guy. Courteous, sensitive, and he remember things that strangers said years ago even when they're not hot women.

I don't know how he does it.

He called me the other day. He just got a job at my alma mater. "If you need anything, anything at all, just give me a ring. I'll set you up. Tickets anywhere, any game, any sport." Wow! The ticket offer is amazing in itself, but I am not accustomed to people thinking about me if I am not actively writing their name on a check. I was touched and bowled over by this offer, out of the blue, from a guy I've smoked cigars with twice in 10 years. What a kind man. What an amazing bro. I felt a warmth toward my fellow man that I do not often feel.

Two hours later, I was cold-called by a stranger. Puck's friend. He's in Seattle now, works in the tech industry, is having trouble finding work, and do I have anything?

Lack of faith in humanity: restored.

the week in entitlement, part ii

Monday I was in an online meeting when there was a knock at my door. The dogs went batshit. In order to avoid said batshit during said meetings, I had placed a sign at eye level by the door.

doorsign.JPG

It has been marvelously effective, especially with missionaires, who, now disappeared, at one time interrupted me 2-3x per year. (Apparently Jesus thinks I'm a huge "get.") I figured that FedEx needed a signature, so I waded through the barking dogs to the door. Wearing my headset and trying to keep the dogs at bay, I was greeted by an old asshat extending his hand to shake mine. No introduction, no apology, just “Here’s my hand. Touch it!” Wanting whoever-he-was to die a swift, horrible death, I did not accept the handshake, so things got awkward fast. He then explained that he’s my neighbor two doors down and he wants to fish; can he please use my beach stairs?

That’s Metamuville to me. After 13 years of ignoring me, my neighbor introduces himself by 1) ignoring my sign, 2) popping in unannounced, 3) wrecking my business meeting, and 4) getting into my personal space 5) to ask a ridiculously presumptuous favor that 6) he could make unnecessary by driving a mere mile.

"Sure, go right ahead! And while you're here...I'm planning on taking an enormous dump tomorrow at 5am. Is it okay if I use your bathroom?" I replied in my imagination later, two hours too late.

paying the dirt tax

Is it unkind of me to look forward to my friend's wife dying? Before you judge me, hear me out.

Dirt and Kiki visited last week, with an asterisk. Any plans* with Kiki require that infernal asterisk.

She is the most astonishingly self-centered person I have ever met. She starts conversations with strangers while you're in the middle of answering a question she asked. She will also call someone while you're talking. When you're on the receiving end of her calls, you will often say "Hello?" and then have to listen to her prattle to someone else for several minutes before she even acknowledges that you answered the call. I hang up when she does that. She pointedly tells me that I'm being rude.

If we go someplace together, she will propose car-pooling, then make me wait in the car as she runs errands. When I visited them in November, she did not think to leave for the airport, an hour away, until after I landed and called. (Irritated, I took a cab. Her delight was unconcealed.) While there, I said I had no interest in the Mall of America, but she insisted that I really, really, really needed to see it. Once we were there, she and her daughter vaporized into the temporary Barbie World, leaving me to drink alone in a bar, getting progressively angrier.

No matter how firm they seem, any plans with Kiki are provisional. She makes firm plans with everyone so that in any given moment, she can opt for what sounds best to her. They were here for a week. She told me they were staying here. They stayed one night, which is fine, but of course she reserved the right to spend any other night here, too. I cleared the week, then spent it alone, watching groceries spoil.

A typical Kiki moment follows.
IMG_4565.PNG
This is how I found out she was canceling the noon lunch I was just finishing preparing.

the world's nicest pissing match

My business is increasingly reliant on the fantastic programmer Amy found. He's based in London, and somehow his cheerful Englishness blends perfectly with my company's unrepentently coarse Americanishness.

Relative to the rest of our misfits, he is ridiculously underpaid. One month he earned $800 for completely saving a $200,000 project. Contrast that with a designer who (that same month) we paid $2000 to create a logo that failed to meet our simple requirements and that I replaced with something I made in 10 minutes in Microsoft Paint. Appalled at the inequity, I told the dev to bill us triple. He politely declined. "Ever so grateful, though."

As his contributions have gained in importance, I grow more and more disgusted by how underpaid he is. This may be a cultural difference, but I really don't care. The man deserves more money. I feel nauseated every time I pay some single-celled bumblefuck more than I do him. And so last month I made a secret lump-sum bonus payment through his agency. Politely decline that.

And he hasn't billed me for any of his time since. Without comment, of course. That would be rude.

Summary of the culture clash to date:

Englishman: "Ever so grateful, but I could not possibly."

American: "YOU WILL TAKE THE MONEY, MOTHERFUCKER!"

the modern day record for repulsiveness

I've been absent largely because in the last five days, I've struck out with three women who had previously expressed an interest in me.

I shall now pause so that you, too, may reflect on just how pathetic that is.

This is a latter-day record. What a scathing indictment of my personality. Nowadays, getting to know me causes women to lose interest. I've tried being myself. I guess it's time to try being someone else. Maybe Clooney.

intimates

Hot woman: "Whoa. How are you not fucked up?"

Me: "Shit. I mean...I'm not?"

I really need to learn to not answer questions about my childhood honestly.

school's in 'til summer!

With each year that passes since the baby boom of 2005, September becomes a more and more joyous occasion for my friends.

"When does your shrill, insatiable food-monster go to prison?" they excitedly ask one another, panting with anticipation. (Actual quote may vary. I'm going from memory.) "Mine disappears on Monday. I. Cannot. Wait!"

I'm happy for them. God knows I empathize with wanting to get away from their kids. But September means something else entirely for me: the return of the school bus parade on Metamuville Road. 10 miles long and only two lanes wide, Metamuville Road has only occasional passing zones. Combine that with a remorseless parade of old farts who refuse to pass a school bus under any circumstances, and you have a succession of heart attacks in my car. While moss forms on my tires, I unsilently blame my parent-friends for my plight. Are their kids on that bus? No. No, they are not. It is not reasonable for me to resent my friends. But fuck them anyway. I've stopped 9 times in the last quarter-mile.

Which brings us to these public service announcements:

  • Kids! Have you heard of bloody bus stops? There once was a time when we all congregated at the end of a driveway and made the world stop only once for us instead of the aforementioned 9 times. I know you're super-special angel blossoms and all, but really, you can text your friends while standing next to them.

  • Metamuville old farts! THIS IS WRITTEN IN ALL CAPS BECAUSE I KNOW HOW MUCH YOU LIKE THEM. IT IS NOT ILLEGAL TO PASS A SCHOOL BUS UNDER ALL CIRCUMSTANCES. I CANNOT EMPHASIZE THIS ENOUGH. IF THE LIGHTS AREN'T BLINKING AND THEY'RE DRIVING 15 IN A PASSING ZONE, YOU CAN PASS THEM.
But they will not. They will continue creep single-file behind that school bus, in a passing zone, speeding up only to tell me how dangerous it is to legally pass seven cars at once.


the shadow knows

There's been a dark shadow lurking, unflushable, in the bottom of my toilet for days, nearly out of sight. I have not been anxious to fish it out, but I have marveled at its resilience. Finally, quite reluctantly, I donned a rubber glove and reached for it.

It was a penny.

First thought: thank christ.

Every subsequent thought: sure, it probably fell out of my pocket, but I'm far more intrigued by the notions that

  1. some asshat may have thrown a penny into my toilet, or
  2. I ate a penny.
Yep. It's been a slow week.

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