November 2016 Archives

pulp nonfiction

Here and elsewhere, I've often wondered if my neighbors ever hear me. Except for lawn-mowing and maybe two instances of "Goddammit Fredo! Fuck!" a year, I have to think it's never.

I don't have motorcycles, and if I did, I certainly wouldn't remove the baffles like a douche. I don't scream at a wife. My dogs don't bark...or else. I don't have kids waging an unending war to drown one another out. I never fire up a chainsaw or leaf blower or jackhammer or, relevant to this moment, a wood chipper. I just sit in my house in silent suffering, trying to do my job through the Italian Wood Chipper Torture, wondering if my politeness makes them assume this house is empty.

flo weighs in with typical nuance

Flo: you SLIPPED OUT???
Flo: you are a dick!
Flo: jesus christ! what's the worst thing that could have happened????
Flo: you don't have to fuck pittsburgh darcy, you can become FRIENDS???
Flo: oh good grief
Flo: you're an idiot
Flo: you'll punch some dude at a super bowl game but run away like a pussy from a drunk girl.
Flo: omg. how many levels of stupid are there in that story?

great moments in me-dom

Maybe I wanted to apologize. Maybe I just wanted to get laid. For whatever reason, I ventured back to the dive bar to reconnect with red-haired Lucy.

And seriously, read the link or this won't make sense. Go on. I'll wait.

Into the dive bar I ventured, and I immediately saw the red ponytail sitting at the bar. The face, however, was not familiar.

"Was I so drunk that I don't remember what her face looks like after a couple hours of embarrassingly gooey conversation?" I thought. I sat ten stools down and peeked at her once in a while while she talked to some dude. "I seriously do not recognize her, but how many redheads can there be at this bar? I need to drink less. A lot less."

Time passed. Another redhead walked in, still not Lucy. "What the fuck. Did I find the ginger nexus of the universe, here?" It was then that I noticed the lighting. There's not a single source of light in that bar that isn't a red light bulb.

I could not have felt more moronic without actually crapping my pants upon meeting the Queen.

IMG_6674.JPG

slam

Look at your Facebook feed. Ever notice how the inspirational quotes are never posted by your successful friends?

It's my own personal Rogues Gallery of People Who Don't Reach for the Check.

1.jpg

ginger snapped

When Risa and Eddie stood me up, I hopped an Uber to a dive bar that had been recommended to me. There I sat, black cloud over my head, pounding down cheap bourbons. It wasn't long before another customer and the bartender were discussing the Walking Dead. They mocked people who stopped watching because Negan is too gorey.

"Not me. I stopped watching because he bored me shitless," I said.

"He bores you?!" they exclaimed, and then I had to explain that endlessly mugging, monologuing, zero-dimensional cartoon characters do, in fact, kinda bore me.

The other customer's name is Lucy. She's a chain-smoking, red-haired barfly at what was quite correctly billed as a sticky-floored dive bar. We talked Walking Dead for a while, and then we somehow transitioned to transformational grammar. Turns out we're both geeks there, too, and she's got fistfuls of degrees as credentials. Not exactly expecting to meet such a person at this bar, I immediately went Full Dumb Guy.

"Gosh, she's pretty," I thought, right before laying way, way, way too many drunken compliments on her. She didn't seem to mind. She moved over to sit next to me, and the arm touches were coming about once every five minutes. I looked down; yep, I was wearing the Google fleece.

Ever since I started mentoring red-haired Darcy, however, I've had an aversion to redheads. It's like being attracted to someone who looks like your niece. It's not wrong, really, but once you notice it, it's hard to unnotice it. But I gamely soldiered on. Then she blurted out her age. She's the exact same age as Darcy.

"Yeah, that killed it," I said, waving at the bartender. "I'd like to cash out, please."

prescription for what ails me

I decided to drag my mopey ass out of my house, so the other night, I made plans to meet Risa and Eddie at a restaurant. The appointed hour came and went, and to absolutely no one's surprise, Pittsburghers were again no-shows. I'd only taken a $40 Uber to meet them. It's not like I'd walked or something.

"You coming?" I texted Risa from the restaurant 40 hours ago. I've yet to hear back. I cannot emphasize enough how typical this experience has been for me here. Perfectly friendly people, perfectly wasting my life. I tend to think it's them and not me, but it's hard not to question myself. How can everyone possibly be this disdainful of everyone?

I need a new doctor, so I just scoured the Internet for local recommendations. I found this on reddit right away.

My wife has really bad anxiety and is getting really low lows from depression and she's really getting worked up that these doctors either A.) Don't return phone calls, or B.) don't show up. She's getting worried and really wants to get help and somehow in a city this big we can't find ANYONE reliable.
Diagnosis: innocent.

i bore even myself

Listless, I've spent a lot of time watching TV lately. Sometimes I run out to get M&Ms. That's as industrious as I've been getting. Judge away. I deserve your scorn, and it's about to get worse.

I just watched Grease Live!, the live musical that aired last year. It's set in a 1950s American high school with black head football coaches and black Pink Ladies. In other words, a utopian 1950s America that never came close to existing. I'm of three minds about this choice:

  1. Does every pop confection have to be historically accurate? Is color-blind casting not progress?
  2. Somewhere, a white kid who's never heard of Selma now thinks there were black head football coaches in the 50s.
  3. I found these casting choices and the moral questions they raised so distracting, I couldn't concentrate on the damned show.
This was probably for the best.

pulling rugs on shifting sands

What my life needs right now is just a little more uncertainty. Let's see. House chaos? Check. Job chaos? Check. National chaos? Check. No idea where I'll be six months from now? Check. No less than four people trying to steal from me? Check. Retarded dog snoring next to me, always, always, always? Check and mate
.

hear my prayer

Dear invisible mind-reading zombie-Jew in the sky,

Please let this election be over today.

Best,
John

the siren song of the knife drawer

My business's books are often off by a few dollars, but this year they were off $2500. So I spent all day Saturday slavishly reconciling every sale and every expenditure against the checking account. Now they're off by $4500.

Personally, I cannot think of a worse use for a sunny Saturday. If there's anything I hate more than doing math, it's doing math counterproductively.

aha

Risa is my realtor and cigar buddy. It was her inspector that missed 100 grand in repairs. That I'm still speaking to her is a testament to how hard I'm working on making friends.

I just typed four paragraphs about all the things wrong with this house that have led me to having zero confidence in anything but its capacity for draining my bank account, but then I decided no one could possibly be interested. You're welcome. Suffice it to say that Risa stands alone in thinking not only that this house isn't a dumpster fire, but that it's somehow the house of a lifetime. So strong is her desire for this not to be, well, what it is, she easily and immediately dismisses the concerns of multiple contractors who declined to do repairs because they felt success was unattainable .

Yep. I’m tapping out. I broached the subject with Risa yesterday.

Here’s the math. 18 months ago, this house sold for x. Five months ago, it sold for x again. I have put about 13% more into unsexy stuff like realty fees, maintenance and repairs, so naturally, my dearest dream is to recoup as close to (x+13%) as possible. But I’m wary. The house will be listing for the third time in three years. To any buyer, that’s a giant flapping red flag with red glitter and a red spotlight on it. Realistically, I just don’t want to take too big a loss.

“I’m thinking it will go for 180% of x,” Risa said matter-of-factly.

“The fuck are you smoking, there? It’ll be for sale for the third time in two years. No one’s paying that.”

“You’re thinking like you. Look, John, I know you’re in it so you can’t see how great everything is, but that house is going to go for that.”

“It didn’t before, or the time before that. What’s changed?”

And then she rattled off a bunch of stuff like the school district that most definitely hasn’t changed. And this is how I realized that my friend's grip on sanity, if it ever amounted to much, is long vanquished.

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