They say you can never go Home...

Soldiers of Sparta were allowed to return home after lost battles, only if carried dead upon their shields. I'm convinced this is a more practical and time-saving way to go about it.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Three Depresso Items and A Moment Of Zen

1) Next(h)ell: I am a Power User. Or rather, that is what the tatooed and disaffected youths at my local Nextel store would like me to believe. I am now Power Using the hell out of my fourth phone. It's been four months since I first purchased Phone Number One and embarked upon this Very Special Relationship; one, I'll wager, resembles the kind of relationship Lizzy Borden had with her parents. I average one phone per month. I'm like, the J-Lo of Cell Phone Ownership, people. Although, two of the three deaths have been caused partially by me. Phone Number One, I threw in a fit of rage, having just lost my umpteenth important call in spitting distance of a cell tower. The second was purely accidental: I was demonstrating how my new phone didn't ring unless I banged it a few times against a table. My party trick failed that one time, and my colour LED screen dramatically exsanguinated itself on the table. I plead involuntary phoneslaughter. But whatever; none of that really depresses me. But, Power User? I beg your pardon...

2) Decaf Mocha Depresso, please: Saturday night, and it's my turn to order at Starbucks, and before I could spit out the first phoneme of my order, the woman behind the counter, having eyed me as I made my deliberate approach to the register, cuts me off; looks at me with increasingly concerned-looking crinkles around her soft brown eyes: "Oh, honey, it's OKAY. You can RELAX here. Don't worry about a THING." Severely confused, and not a little bit pissed, I begin to form a response. But no! Doe Eyed Cashier gently places a finger against her ample lips and shushes me gently and yet, excessively long. Like, "shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh",
as if I were a crying, constipated baby. I stop trying to talk, absolutely fascinated. She continues, "Baby, I understand exactly. I'm obsessive-compulsive too. You don't have to explain. Mary understands e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g."

Mary, apparently, did not however understand how badly I needed a Cafe Americano at that very moment. And since when does knowing EXACTLY what you want when you're up at bat at the 'Bucks, constitute Mental Disorder? I mean, should I have instead stared vacantly at the "menu" and after several infuriating "um's", ordered an impossibly customised drink? Get off the Klonipin, Mary! Live Life the way it was meant to be lived--one coffee shy of Total Public Meltdown!

3) My Job Title: I just checked the side of this blog, and it reminds me that I'm supposed to be pretending to dabble in Sales and Marketing. Which is odd, because with all the Drama I've had to be dealing with, my Job Title should probably read Child Psychologist. Which is odd, you know, because I just checked my paystub, and I am NOT pulling in Psychologist-style bucks. Which means, I am seriously infantalizing my dealers. Or they are playing me Beyond Belief. I'm going to start bringing wet wipes with me when I visit them, and the first thing I will ask them, as I proffer the diaper-pink box leaking Baby Powder Smell, is "Wipe now, or later?"

*Sigh* But there has been one silver-lined cloud in the drama storm of my day, and I think today, it's this picture. How cute does little Yasser look in his little onesie?

Sunday, October 17, 2004


I suppose I was dumped last week, and I feel like utter crap about it still.

I say dumped with a sort of uncertainty, because it was not altogether dissimilar to giving one’s Notice by abandoning one’s job. That is to say specifically, my phone calls began to go unreturned. I have concluded, after about a week of several calls a day (a point of huge embarrassment for me) that you can’t really make anyone return calls. And therefore, the act of not returning them becomes, in essence, a message. That message is, in fact, the universal one for Bugger Off.

I feel a bit like my heart has been tread on, and finding I am dwelling a lot of how things went down, and how I’ve contributed. The sheer ridiculousness of these feelings DO register, in an academic, super-conscious sort of way. What I mean is, this wasn’t even a relationship, technically. It had been two months, a handful of dates, the exact number of which I could count on one hand, a large number of hours logged on a cell phone, and a single exploratory kiss. There really is no sense in feeling this way, as nothing is owed and (as I am told by several people) there is no social obligation otherwise requiring one to give notice of quitting said relationship.

But why the hell is this the case?

Why isn't it considered normal just to pick up the phone when it rings and say something to the effect of It's Not Going To Work? Make something up, for God Sake.

I wonder whether it's due to our culture of drive-thru and disposable everything, that people feel perfectly entitled to throw people away without even a bullshit email or a conversation or a phone call that attempts to address the breaking up, as feeble or as misguided or as judicious as it may be. Pretending you Died or simply ignoring someone to end the relationship is so tremendously low-class in my book.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Another Reason Why the Swedish Are So Incredibly Awesome

A recent letter from Volvo:

Temple Terrace, FL XXXXX-XXXX

Dear Zeke,

We hope you were not affected by the recent disaster in your area, but if you were, please accept our sympathy and concern.

Volvo understands that you may experience temporary financial problems due to conditions beyond your control. We are available to help if you need it. We can offer payment extensions allowing you to defer your next one or two monthly payments. While an extension will allow you to defer a monthly payment until a later date, interest may continue to accrue on the deferred payments if you executed a simple interest contract with us. If you need assistance, please call our Customer Service Center at this toll-free number:



We truly appreciate your business and want you to know that we are here to assist you.


Your Friends at Volvo Car Finance.

MY Friends at Volvo. My Friends. At Volvo.

*Sigh.* I love my Volvo, and I love it even more with the thought in mind that one or more brilliant Swedes are concerned with my possible plight. It's like having a guardian angel or something.
I think mine shall be named Per.

Hmm. Well, okay--technically, the writer or this letter is likely holed up in a US subsidiary in NJ with bad lighting and terrible ventilation, rather than a sleek office building that I had imagined, awash with halogen lighting and overlooking the North Sea. But no matter. It's the thought that counts, which undoubtedly came straight from Göteborg.

I must say; it's a damn nice feeling, the idea that someone in Europe is thinking of some silly Floridians battered about by four hurricanes, and their ability make a payment on their Swedish Taurus. Especially in light of all else that's going on in this World.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Puppy Love

I just came home from studying at The Starbucks.

I walked into the house and the Nervous Beagle was curled up on the couch (which is, unoficially, verboten). Still in her prone, somnambulatory state, she thumped her tail in greeting as I walked into the family room.

I tiptoed to the kitchen, open the fridge and grabbed some pepperoni for the lonely stroll over to my side of the Compound. On my way out, I fed her a slice, Communion-wafer style. She opened her eyes to eat it, and gazed back at me in ecstatic surprise, as if I had just proposed to her or something.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

A Round-About story concerning John Kerry.

Recently, my dear Mother has been gently prodding me to talk to my brother.

The subject of this talk did not, in fact, have anything to do with his seeming inability to manage money (a tragic design flaw that my parents, time and again, feel obligated to shield him from) as evidenced by a recent Bill of Collection left for public inspection on the kitchen table.

It did not have anything to do with his newly-found predilection for poker and/or other forms of gambling played until the wee hours of the morning, either.

It had to do with the fact that my little brother accepted an invitation to see John Kerry in Tampa, extended to him by a (somewhat) recent ex-priest.

To say that I, and my siblings, have been raised as Catholic, is an understatement equal in magnitude of saying that Bhopal, India experienced a few inconveniences during the Union Carbide gas leak of 1984. I don't wish to exaggerate (but seeing as I have already done so, and quite cavalierly), I expect that there is enough religious paraphernalia in this house, stashed away in drawers or otherwise prominently hung on the wall, to exert its own (albeit infinitesimal) gravitational force.

This ex-priest has somehow taken a vague liking to my younger brother (who, let it be known, is in all respects legally, a grown adult). He leaves him excessively large tips when he frequents his Restaurant, always in the company of a few other young men. He seems like an overly nice person, if not somewhat lonely.

This has set off alarm bells for Mom, and while I can start to understand her concerns about his motives, I find it more interesting to cogitate on what it is that is so frightening to her. If, indeed, this ex-priest is hitting on my brother, can she really believe that human sexuality is so fluid so as to change my brother's preferences through overtipping and a ticket to see a presidential candidate? Or could he be kidnapped and forced to become a brainwashed member of the "alternative" Catholic parish down the street?

I suppose anything is possible--even the eventuality where monkeys fly, pell-mell, out of my rear-end. But I highly, highly doubt it.

In all honesty, I ultimately forgot to sit down and have a talk with my ADULT younger brother about the items listed on my mom's Agenda--the dangers of date-rape drugs, the concept that people may want more from one than simply one's own sparkling personality, and of course, the danger of wanton Democratic Party-ness.

However, due to my miscarriage of Older Brother Responsibility, he went. To see John Kerry. And apparently, he met him, shook his hand, and got his picture taken with him by whatever photographic team that Senator Kerry takes with him these days. He says that Senator Kerry is "really cool" and that he wishes that he had more time to talk with him.

More time to talk with him.

I am astounded. And when I ask what they've talked about, he's rather vague, but I think it had something to do with involuntary military service. (That, or possibly legalised gambling.)

My historically politically-apathetic little bro is charged with patriotic duty for the first time.

I'm not sure what will work up my parents more; the knowledge that he attended, or the fact that my brother's vote is pretty much decided for at this point.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Counting Sheep

This business of liking someone a lot seems like it shouldn’t be as romanticized as it is—in books and in movies, etc. Rather, it should be a diagnosis included in the DSM-IV, as it feels quite a bit more like a mental affliction.

The mind is worn down to the nubs, with scenarios and seemingly hysteric if/then questions. (What are the implications if she does this? What should I do then? Then what will that mean? What if she runs?) The scenarios seem endless; therefore so do the number of questions.

Logic, my usual Friend through more rational times, has seemingly gone dormant in the face of this rather arctic mélange of emotions and misread signals.

I’m wondering now how badly I’ve screwed this up.

I’m wondering how exactly I’ve gone about doing it.

I wonder how many miles it will take for triage-type visits

And what kinds of words it will take to show that I’m Serious.

In the meantime, I shall be perfecting my skills at insomnia.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Date 4

Recently, a young lady (who I am trying to coerce into liking me) invited me to attend an Engagement Party. One of the recipients for whom this shindig was intended was her long-time friend from High School. I got the distinct impression that this party was more for the parents, who were Rotarians with thriving social networks, but also quite vocal in their opinion that this engagement was very long in the coming. This sentiment, and the resulting falderal resulting in this expansive party, was the source of some irritation for this young lady’s friend. However, like most Italians I have met, adding food and liberally applying drink usually lubricates these things to the point of being really enjoyable. And such was the case here.

My Date felt a bit awkward, I think, knowing very few people there and quite possibly feeling a bit anxious with the added pressure of my presence. However, I proposed we sit down and eat some dinner, and so we did. Shortly thereafter, two energetic, elderly, married couples joined us.

What immediately followed was a rousing discussion about one of the elderly ladies' medical history.

She was telling us that she (and her husband) became rigid vegetarians due to a very bad hot dog she had ingested at some point approximately three years ago. It was so horrible, she related, because here insides were so clogged up and she couldn’t do anything for a time. Until! something finally broke and she made number two that was “the consistency of water.” The resulting diarrhoea eventually “blew out a few feet of her colon.” Seriously. That's a direct quote.

We were treated to a quick yet graphic description of what that looked like (coiled out like Italian Sausage) and the resulting effects (which I will magnanimously spare you from at this point).

Yes, this was terribly bad timing and not to mention gross, but did I stop, mid-bite, while mowing through my lasagna? Well, yes, I did, but only so I could concentrate on not aspirating it while I restrained my laughter in a fit of heaving shoulders.

My lovely date did not even miss a beat. She was completely composed and actually engaged this woman in a conversational tactic which gently switched the topic from gastrointestinal distress, to a more mundane topic (which in this case, was her pets). I marveled at her ability to remain composed. But then again, I’m immature and love Potty Humor. So maybe it was easier than I thought.

The new discussion thread began with a narrative introduction of her two dogs; one of whom I could swear she said was named Kinky. (It could have been Kiki, but I think the former sounds eminently more interesting.) Then she immediately related that the German Shepard on the adjacent property had taken a liking to one of her little poodles. And by taking a liking, I mean had apparently been trying to hump the little poodle every chance it could. “You know,” she said “it sounds really bad, but he doesn’t like the Black One. He always wants to hump the Blonde one!”

I certainly appreciated her candidness in the matter, but found I disagreed fundamentally with her Alsatian’s rather singular taste in women.