This is not for you.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Random Stuff (or killing time at the UCEW)

*I recently began going to the gym again in an effort to reclaim what I can of my lung capacity since I've quit the cigs. One of the things that bothers me about the gym are the "Cardio Kings." These are the people who run/walk/step-machine/elliptical-machine for what seems like weeks at a time. There's one lady who hasn't been off a treadmill since I joined the gym last week. I drove by at night and this bitch was in there by herself, running on the treadmill by candlelight. I brought Cheryl with me the other day and discovered something frightening: she's one of them. After doing some weights, she went to run. She ran for like an hour. It was ridiculous. As we walked to the car, she says: "I didn't run as much as I wanted to." I nearly puked.

*Started reading "ordinary People" by Judith Guest yesterday. I've never seen the movie. The book, thus far, is OK; nothing earth-shattering. Any opinions?

*Denise Gravatt says she quit smoking. I'm posting this info so she can be held accountable.

*I like FAU's campus during the summer, though I suspect this is just because there's less people around. Also: I think the new College of Nursing building will very soon threaten to engulf the entire campus. The thing is fucking gimundous.

*I got the mom coming in town on Friday. I'll be sure to keep a sober ear tuned-in so I can replicate on this blog the hilarious things she'll randomly say, e.g.: "Scotty, honey, why don't you buy [insert household item you would never buy at the Dollar Store, like toilet paper] at the Dollar Store?" She'll also probably do 4,975 loads of laundry for no apparent reason. She will also, I predict, manage to insert a night-light into every possible outlet in our apartment. This woman is addicted to night-lights. But she's mom, so you love her anyway and just make fun of her on the blog.

*Got a phone call from my step-brother Chris's probation officer. We weren't home, so she left a message. I called back and said the following, pretty much verbatim: "Hi, this is Scott. I'm returning your call. You probably called about Christopher Walters. I haven't seen him for a few weeks. He charged a bunch of porn to my cable account and he's no longer living here. If you need any help finding him, call me back, I'm more than willing to help." I can't believe I'm fielding phone calls from a PO. I hope she calls back.

*Jessica Simpson is way too hot for Nick Lachey.

*How fantastic is it that Kevin and Britney will have their own reality series? Perhaps the only thing better than them having the show, is that it is on UPN. This is a can't miss hit.

*Will someone please find me a job?

*The last ever episode of "Everybody Loves Raymond" is on tonight--thank God. If you've missed any, the show can be seen at pretty much anytime of the day on several networks, thanks to syndication. Why can't they bring back "Growing Pains" or "Family Ties"?

*Someone at the Legion has enlisted me to compose a letter of rebuttal to his motorcycle gang about the fact that they complained to him--via email-- that he wears shorts when they ride and, not only is this a safety issue, but it also erodes the gang's camaraderie because the rest of them wear blue jeans. I accepted the task because it's bound to be hilarious. If I turn up missing anytime soon, please contact the American Legion Riders, Delray chapter.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Errata (2)

It seems to me that blogging is like nearly everything in life: just showing up is 80% of the battle. So here I am showing up for the second day in a row.

Sometimes (rarely) Cheryl will ask me how work was at the gatehouse. Usually it's really boring and I spend most of the time reading, writing or watching tv. Other times it's not so boring and I spend time helping old men with broken arms re-situate themselves in their favorite reclining chairs while a portion of their scrotum hangs out (See previous post about Home Healthcare.)But also a lot of my time there is taken up by having completely meaningless exchanges with some of the residents of the community. At these times it occurs to me that not only am I an "Entry Attendant" (please note the fact that anything resembling security is absent from not only the job's title but also the job's description) (please also note that "Entry Attendant" seems like a euphemism for a porn star) but I am also a kind of surrogate friend: someone to "shoot the shit" with. What's interesting is that it isn't only old and lonely people who see me this way. There's this one guy who's probably about my age; he's definitely between 25 and 30. All this guy seems to do is workout and drive around. (He once told me, and this is verbatim: "All I do is workout and drive around. I don't care. That's what I like to do.") It also seems that the other thing he likes to do is engage me in meaningless conversations, such as:

Guy: How's it goin?
Me: Oh, it's really exciting here. [For whatever reason, I'm very ironic and dry with this guy and he doesn't get it at all, which kind of makes it better.]
Guy: That sucks. I just got done working out.
Me: It looks like it. [This is the other thing I do with this guy: say things that come off as possibly homosexual. I do this because you can tell he's one of these guys who gets very squeamish and uncomfortable with borderline homosexual comments and people and thus it is a way to insure that my exchanges with him are very short.]
Guy: [while flexing triceps of arm that is on steering wheel] Yeah, I guess so. I got a question for you.
Me: OK?
Guy: Do you know where any good clubs are? To meet chicks?
Me: I only party in South Beach. Lauderdale's for hacks. [And of course I haven't been in SB for like 4 years and I certainly never "partied" there. And calling Fort Lauderdale just "Lauderdale" apparently signifies you're really cool and hip and with it.]
Guy: That's what I hear. What clubs you go to down there?
Me: Wherever it's hot. [What the fuck does this even mean? Guess what: doesn't matter because he seems to know what it means.]
Guy: I hear ya.

Then he pulls away. Conversations like this happen 2 to 3 times a shift with this guy because all he does is drive around. What's great is that I change my persona at will with this guy and he either doesn't care or doesn't even notice. Awesome. So like sometimes I'll say things like: "After work I'm going home and helping out my wife with this wreath she's making for our front door. Do you know if I can find any pine cones around here?" or "After work I'm going to my Salsa dance lesson. It's a blast."

The best exchanges are with older residents who feel that we in the gatehouse are in fact there for some type of traditional security purpose. This happened Monday:

Resident: [After hinking horn to get my attention b/c I was reading.] There's some kids playing soccer in the parking lot behind Building A.
Me: Really?
Resident: Yes.
Me: OK.
Resident: Don't you think the ball will hit a car?
Me: Maybe. Depends how good they are.
Resident: You should go tell them to stop.
Me: I'm not authorized to leave the gatehouse.
Resident: Why not? I thought you were security. What kind of security guard can't leave the front gate?
Me: Actually, I'm an "Entry Attendant" not a "Security Guard." [I do the air quotes around the job titles to show they are actual titles.]
Resident: So what exactly do you do?
Me: I let people in.
Resident: So who can I call? This needs to be taken care of.
Me: [Laughingly and shoulder-shruggingly] The police?
Resident: [Squints eyes at me. Pulls away.]

This was a worthless read. I apologize.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Errata

It's been a while since my last post and the feeling of starting to compose this is very similar to the way(s) I feel when sitting down to work on my thesis or begin writing an essay for one of my classes (when I used to have to do that.) It's a feeling best characterized as: hope this goes well, but it will probably end up being only about as half as good as I want it to be and I may lose interest quickly and abandon the whole thing.

For those of you who don't know yet: I've quit the cigs! Yes, it's true; I have been cigarette-free for over 2 weeks now. For the most part I went cold-turkey, except for the first 2 1/2 days when I was trying to chew tobacco to take the edge off. It worked, but I also realized I hate chewing tobacco or, as I knew it in high school, "dip." Dipping is really a fucking gross habit and it hurt my tender and pink gums. But it did help get me through a tough stage in the no-smoking campaign. I have to say that quitting wasn't as hard as I anticipated it would be. And here's the funny thing: it was actually easier not to smoke when I was drinking beers and whacking down shots of whiskey. Strange. My lungs feel a whole lot better and the smoker's cough I've had for about 3 years is gone. That's right: smoker's cough for 3 years. Appetizing and attractive, I know.

Pamela sent me an email suggesting that I answer the surveys on her blog [this is where I would insert a link to her blog if I knew how]. But it seems the surveys concern things that have been said to those you've dated and/or broken up with or just avoided even going out with. My experience in this arena is thin, considering I haven't "dated" someone since I was 17 (9 years ago). And when I was doing that--dating--I was in high school and I was a meathead football player and bully and all-around asshole (some of these things have changed) and really mean. I won't repeat some of things I said and did at that time. But what I will do is the "annoy" list and "happy" list.

10 things or (mostly) people that annoy me (in no particular order):

1. Everyone over the age of 60 at any given time in any given Publix in South Florida.
2. Men who can grow a nice and full beard. (This is more of a jealousy issue.)
3. People who talk to their pets in a baby voice. (I sort of get talking to them, sort of, but why the baby voice?)
4. People over the age of 20 who use "party" as a verb. What's even more annoying about this is that I caught myself doing this a while ago, which led me to realize I think it's annoying.
5. People who say any version of the following: "I do read. I read the newspaper every day."
6. Traffic lights, especially when they are red.
7. The fact that in my car the a.c. only works when it's on level 3 0r 4 and must therefore always be basically blasting on me.
8. People who call you and you miss their call and then, because you were in the bathroom or washing your face, you call them back within 2 or 3 minutes of their call and then you get their voice mail. (See: Gravatt, Denise.)
9. Anything my step-brother Chris does or says. He's 31 and is a total fucking loser. As an aside, here's a list of the porn movies he ordered at obscure times when he was mooching off of Cheryl and me and which we found out about after he'd left us and which we had to pay for: "Amateur Angels 16", "Stripper Bowl 05", "Venus Bikini 2", "Amateur Angels 14" and "Tropical Isle Girls." This guy is a serious scumbag. I'm not making this up.
10. Men who put blonde highlights in their hair. (I find this amazingly attractive when women do it.)
Bonus: The men who honk their horns at Cheryl when she jogs. Is it really worth it? (I mention this not because I'm offended or jealous or whatever about the honking, but rather because it really does "scare the shit" out of her.)

10 things or people that make me happy:

1. A good book or poem. Or even a great sentence or line of poetry.
2. Certain members of my family. (Of course I won't name them: they know who they are.)
3. Reading the Cleveland Browns homepage.
4. A cold Bud Light.
5. Sex.
6. Watching any of the following tv shows no matter how many times I've seen them: "Family Guy", "Seinfeld", "The Simpsons", "Roseanne", "Saved by the Bell" (excluding "The New Class and "The College Years"), "Curb Your Enthusiasm", "Growing up Gotti" (if you haven't seen it, it is gloriously bad and therefore fantastic), any "Real World/Road Rules Challenge." Please try to refrain from passing judgement on me because of this list. I have horrible taste in music, movies and tv and I'm fully aware of this fact. As Pamela once pointed out on Badawi's blog: I am a guy who likes the movie "The Cutting Edge."
7. Doing crossword puzzles with my in-laws.
8. Waking up without an alarm clock.
9. Text messaging Cheryl funny and/or cruelly ironic tidbits about people sitting around the bar while she's behind the bar working. (This is purely selfish amusement, but damn does it put a smile on my face.)
10. Beating my friend Paul at darts. (Also purely selfish amusement b/c it happens 97 out of 100 times we play.)
Bonus: Hearing one of my classes collectively laugh at one of my pop culture refrences.

It occurs to me that these lists of 10 will only ever make me realize that there are thousands of things that annoy me and an equal amount of things that make me happy.

Since this is the first blog back in almost a month, I'll sign-off with a few random things:

*I've never been a huge fan of "Everybody Loves Raymond" and I'm still not, but I happened to catch an episode at work on Monday night and it occured to me that Patricia Heaton is hot.
*If you haven't, you must read Chuck Klosterman's book of essays entitled "Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs" (a low culture manifesto). It's really funny and I think that's all he meant it to be, but I read some reviews and some people seemed angry at him and the book because they took it seriously.
*The cigarette I miss having the most: the first one of the day with a cup of coffee. Very cliche, but also very true.
*I can't decide which is better for cardio: elliptical machines or steppers. (A side note: I joined a gym here for $20.00 down and $10.00 a month w/out a contract. Are you kidding me?)
*Remy Bezet may be the cutest kid ever.
*I've seriously been considering teaching high school because of the benefits. This is depressing to me for 2 reasons. 1) I'm considering teaching high school. 2) I'm starting to make decisions based on things like benefits.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

"Saved by the Bell"--Lost Episode #215

Oddly enough, it seems that some distant relative of mine was an uncredited producer on "Saved by the Bell" for the show's entire history, including "The College Years" and "Wedding in Las Vegas." You might note the past tense when introducing the relative: he is now deceased. Lucky me though: in his will he left me several lost episodes. His lawyer explained that these lost episodes had been kept under extremely tight-wraps by my relative and were the main (and only) reason he went uncredited throughout his tenure with the series.

I thought it selfish of me to keep this a secret, especially when the lawyer suggested I do just that: keep the episodes a secret. What follows is a brief summary of lost episode #215. (I should also note that 90% of the lost episodes are from the Bayside High School years and therefore the most familiar years of the show.)

Starts Off With: Zack and Screech are in Zack's room plotting out ways to manipulate Kelly into asking Zack to the Sadie Hawkins-themed dance. Zack puts forward several options, all of which include somehow hoodwinking Slater into making an ass of himself publicly so Kelly can't even imagine asking him to the dance because of Slater now being seen as a hapless buffoon because of the public humiliation. It is revealed that this task is more difficult than the usual manipulate-Kelly's-emotions-by-humiliating-Slater situation because Slater's popularity (which ebbs and flows in relation to Zack's own popularity ) is at its zenith, seeing as it's wrestling season and a huge showdown with Valley is just around the corner. Slater must match-up against the hated Neidick, who, as it turns out, in a subplot, is also scheming to get Kelly to ask him to the dance as well. Neidick figures that if he beats Slater and gets Kelly to ask him to the dance, he'll become the most popular boy at both Valley and Bayside.

Zack and Screech finally decide to rig-up the sink in the boy's bathroom so when Slater washes his hands the water will spray out and wet the front of his pants, making it look like he pissed himself, which in turn will show Kelly that Slater is nothing more than an incontinent meathead who is not to be trusted at a public venue, especially a dance. (Kelly Kapowski being the kind of girl who values a urine-free old-fashioned kind of time at dances.)

Meanwhile, it is revealed that Jessie has begun a cycle of steroids so that, if need be, she can physically force Slater to the dance with her and also so that just in case Slater loses his match to Neidick, Jessie can avenge the loss by kicking the hell out of Neidick at The Max, and thus causing him serious public ridicule. Jessie is shown in a sort of montage doing the following: injecting the 'roids just above her left buttock; doing push-ups and sit-ups at a nearly maniacal rate; pinning up pictures of Salter and Neidick as inspiration; bench-pressing; punching a heavy-bag; getting a very intense and irritated look in her eyes; more maniacal push-ups and sit-ups.

Lisa Turtle is shopping for her dress. She, as usual, will be forced to spend the dance with Screech as her date because that is "Saved by the Bell"'s cruel irony.

Mr. Belding spends the early portion of the show encouraging Slater at wrestling practice to "Beat Valley!" really bad because he, Mr. Belding, needs to win his annual bet with Valley's principal. (In a rather anomalous subplot that really goes nowhere, we see that Richard Belding is slowly beginning to unravel emotionally because it's really Zack who runs Bayside and Belding just can't seem to understand or accept this fact.)

In the Middle: By drawing on Screech's intimate knowledge of plumbing and water currents, he and Zack successfully rig-up the faucet to spray Slater in the groin area. Rather ingeniously, Screech has designed a remote electrical apparatus to trigger the water-spraying on Slater at just the right moment. He'll know just the right moment because Zack has arranged it so that he, Zack, will be in the lavatory at the same time as Slater and will cough very loudly when Slater is at the sink.

When the moment arrives, the entire gang is at their lockers just hanging around and making fun of Belding's hair. Slater announces he's got to go to the bathroom. Zack looks at Screech, who nearly blows the whole thing by over-zealously winking and giving a thumbs-up to Zack, and then follows Slater.

Jessie is flexing her forearm muscles and trying to explain to Lisa the possible reasons for all of the new acne on her, Jessie's, face. Lisa is suggesting several routes of treatment. Lisa prefers a chemical peel, though it's out of Jessie's price-range. Kelly is looking very pretty and innocent and also sexy and alluring, all at the same time. She watches heart-torn as Zack and Slater walk-away. Kelly is visibly fretting about who to ask to the dance. When Kelly voices this conundrum, Jessie's eyes take on the same intense and irritated look as before. The decision is: if Slater beats Neidick, she'll ask Slater. If not, then Zack gets the nod.

Jessie runs away screaming towards the weight room where we see another montage of training and steroid-induced rage that is even more intense and irritated than before.

Lisa and Kelly just shrug their shoulders, assuming Jessie's breakdown was because of the acne breakout just before the dance. Screech is seen listening intently for Zack's cough, which arrives. The apparatus is activated and moments later, Slater emerges from the restroom apparently having pissed himself. Kelly is nearly aghast with befuddlement and Lisa stares blankly, the event not really registering.

Zack chimes in about Slater probably being afraid of Neidick and the match with Valley. Screech almost blows the whole thing by muttering something to Zack about it probably not being Slater's fear of Neidick & co. but rather because of the way the sink was rigged-up to spout water on Slater's groin area so as to appear that he peed himself. No one pays any attention to him because he's Screech and mumbling in his Screech-like voice.

Slater says something along the lines of "shut-up preppie." Kelly, fearing a similar scene at the Sade-Hawkins themed dance, immediately asks Zack to the dance. Zack looks at the camera and shrugs his shoulders in the blithely cool way. Zack and Kelly depart together. Lisa is telling Slater about how he could, if wanted to and with her help, turn the wet-spot into a fashion statement. Screech is still holding the apparatus and no one is paying any attention to him.

Cut to: Belding in his office throwing darts at a picture of Zack.

At The End: Jessie is in what is presumably the girl's locker room at Bayside looking intense and irritated. She is applying Bayside school-colored (silver and maroon) paint to her face as if preparing for some tribal warfare. Her acne now turning cystic and her rage growing.

Slater is squared-up with Neidick on the mat. Belding is pensive. The Valley principal is glaring at Belding from across the gymnasium, which is about the size of a large kitchen and completely unrealistic looking. Zack and Kelly are each extremely good-looking as they hold hands and watch Slater grapple with Neidick. Zack jokes that at least Slater's wrestling uniform is dry.

Slater pins Neidick. As this happens Jessie comes tear-asking out of locker room with her face contorted in intensity and irritation and looking tribal. The acne now basically visibly throbbing under the war paint. She, for a moment, looks confused at the scene. (It seems she though Neidick would win and she would rush out here and beat the shit out Neidick and restore Bayside's pride, while then also making Slater swoon for her when she asked him to the dance.) Jessie then goes after Valley's principal for apparently no reason. But as she's throwing body-shots into the Valley principal and kneeing him in the groin, the camera pans over to Belding who's looking satisfied and glum. He's also holding what is immediately recognizable as the steroids Jessie's been injecting. Belding smiles and looks over at Zack who is making-out with Kelly.

Cut to: Screech and Lisa at The Max, discussing on how to exactly approach raising the money for Jessie's bail.

The End.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Birthday Cards or Phone Calls? (Also a message for Scott G.(though the message for Scott G. doesn't have anything to do with birthday cards))

This is the time of the year when it seems about 60-70% of the people I know and actually speak to on a kind of regular basis have their birthdays. I am, admittedly, not a very reliable person in terms of sending birthday cards or really cards for any kind of situation that is worthy of card-sending. (Card-worthy days are growing exponentially, I'd think you agree.)

So really what's better: receiving a card or a phone call on your birthday?

Here's why I question this:

There's a certain type of person (and I'm not thinking of any one particular person as this typology is rather common, in my experience) who is a serial card-sender. No matter the occasion, you can be sure a card will arrive within two or three days before or after the card-worthy event or day or occasion. The problem I have with this is that I imagine this kind of person viewing the greeting card-sending experience as a chore or job. When the card-sending has become automatic, I think it loses any value; it's an empty sign. Also here we must consider that these cards contain rather stock phrases and also they are often signed by one person representing a whole family or couple. (I've done this with Cheryl before--signed both of our names--and I always think that the receiver of the card will think that Cheryl didn't want to be bothered with the signing and then I feel kind of scummy, or vice versa.)

Whereas it seems that a phone call on the specific day shows that an individual is currently thinking in some way about you and has decided to take the time to place a phone call and chat. They have made a decision to make you a priority, even if it is for two or three minutes.

Then again, you might be thinking "Well isn't it the same situation when someone goes to a store, selects the card and then takes the time to actually send the card?" And to this I'd have to respond: yes and no. If this is done a few days in advance and the card is sent and then forgotten about by the sender what you (the receiver) have become, essentially, is a chore, something to be crossed-off a "To-Do-List." It becomes an "I'm glad that's over" kind of thing.

The two-pronged approach (card and phone call) is of course the best, but how often does this occur? I'm even a fan of the "Just wanted to call and see if you got the card I sent" type of phone call, which may occur a day or two after the card-worthy occasion.

I don't send cards. Sometimes I don't even call. I'm not saying I'm an example of how these situations can or should be handled. Mostly, I'm just really bored.

Scott G.--I tried to give Ash Wednesday by Ethan Hawke a go, but I don't think it's going to happen. It just wasn't doing it for me on the word-to-word, sentence-to-sentence level. It seems that he may be able to tell a fine story, but the characters were awful familiar and the writing just didn't smack of the freshness I like in fiction. I will admit I only made it about 60 pages in. Is this not enough time? Can the reading of Hawke's novel somehow be redeemed?

I will say I whole-heartedly agree with you on I [heart] Huckabees. It is was a great, great movie. Did you know Jason Schwartzman (sp?) is Talia Shire's son in real-life? Weird.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

That Weird Sad and Sort of Empty Feeling You Sometimes Get When You Finish A Book

Just Yesterday I finished David Foster Wallace's novel Infinite Jest. It was the third time I've read it since first buying it 1999 and this go-round was definitely the most enjoyable. I implore people to read this beast: it's one of those books you can get pretty involved with because it isn't exactly your linear narrative kind of journey and a good portion of DFW's prose is simply fantastic. I also would love to have someone (at least one person) to talk to about it that isn't just a faceless name on a message board.

A few things about IJ:
-it takes place sometime in the near future, maybe like starting around 2002 (it was first published in '96) and ending in 2011, though as readers these years aren't made explicitly clear because time has been subsidized and each year is named after the highest-bidding corporation. Most of the novel's "action" takes place in the Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment. (A funny side note--whichever company's product is selected for a particular year is then placed in the Statue of Liberty's hand for the entire year.) Two of my other favorite "years": Year of the Whopper and Year of the Perdue Wonderchicken.
-the main focus of the novel is divided between two, I guess, camps. 1) is the Enfield Tennis Academy--a private school for (obviously) gifted tennis players that was started by James O. Incandenza and is now maintained by his widow Avril and her "brother" Charles. The whole Incandenza family kind of functions as the main character(s). They are all basically really fucked-up in ways that are sad and very funny, but also not cliched or trite. After seeing The Royal Tannanbaums(sp?) I would definitely say Wes Anderson read IJ--some of the parallels are a bit too similar. (And this isn't to say that W.A. is a hack or rip-off artist, because I think he and his films are great. I'm using T.R.T. as an example because I know many of you have seen it and liked it and I'm envisioning the allusion as a sort of carrot dangling out there.) So anyways, I won't go into too much detail about them because it appears to be one of the situations where you can't say just one or two things about a character without having it feel reductive, i.e. you wouldn't call Leopold Bloom just and "Ad. man" and feel as if you sufficiently explained his character. And then 2) The Ennet House Drug and Alcohol Recovery House (sic), which is obviously ripe with other fucked-up characters, including Don Gatley, who would be the like main character of this part of the novel. Also here is Joelle van Dyne the Prettiest Girl Of All Time (P.G.O.A.T.) who must wear a veil because she is so "perfect" or is it that her face has been hideously and improbably deformed by being doused with acid?
-The novel is seemingly chaos in terms of structure--it often seems to jump around with no apparent reason. One definitely needs to be a fan a Keats's "Negative Capability."
-Major issues of aloneness, communication, addiction, how we entertain ourselves and to what extent are dealt with. At the center of the novel is the film "Infinite Jest" made by James O. Incandenza that is reportedly so entertaining once one views it their only need/want is to continue viewing the "entertainment" until you eventually expire in a pile/pool of your own waste.
Some other tidbits to hopefully get you reading:
-A band of Wheelchair Assassins from Quebec are involved ("The last noise you hear is the squeak.")
-Most of New England no longer exists because it is being used as a massive trash-dump. The trash is transported by huge catapults.
-The good 'ol U.S. of A. has been joined with Canada and Mexico to form the Organization of North American Nations, whose president is one Johnny Gentle (the first President to swing his microphone around by its cord at his inauguration--he was formerly a lounge singer.)

I could keep going.

Anywho-
After I finished I got that weird empty/sad feeling like a friend had been staying with me for a while and we were having a great, great time and then he suddenly left. I hate that feeling. Other books that have done that:
Ulysses
Great Expectations
Bleak House
Motherless Brooklyn
House of Leaves
Choke
Atonement
Geek Love
There are of course more, but off the top of my head those are the ones I came up with.

What books have done that to you?


Sunday, April 03, 2005

Perhaps Home Healthcare Is In My Future

As some of you may know, I am gainfully employed part-time at a certain structure wherein I allow residents and visitors of other structures to enter. A mechanical arm is involved. There are also buttons.

Yesterday, as my customary 7am-3pm shift was ending, a Mr. X phoned and explained that he had found in himself in a rather compromised or difficult pickle. It seems a day or two prior he had somehow managed to break his left arm--he never provided or even alluded to an explanation of how this occurred--and now he found himself "falling out of [his] chair" and "unable to get up." Mr. X was asking if whether it might be possible if I could phone a neighbor and solicit their assistance in possibly repositioning him, Mr. X, in his chair, as his left arm was broken or fractured and he was unable to summon the strength or balance to right himself. He informed me that his front door was "unlocked" and that the good Samaritan could just "walk right in."

He called me "Scotty." But he said it in such a way that you could tell he was one of those older guys who added a "y" or "ie" to everyone's name. I found myself suprisingly comfortable with him referring to me as "Scotty" even though pretty much no one does at all, save my mom. And this isn't to say I'm averse to being called that, it simply doesn't happen.

I agreed to phone a neighbor. This is in itself turned out to be a mini sort of problem or speed bump to what was now becoming a verified mission because I couldn't for the fucking life of me discern what kind of numerical jumps the addresses made. The process took critical minutes to accomplish.

My attempts at soliciting a neighbor's help bore no fruit.

Mr. X phoned back and was noticeably more distressed than before. He was nearly pleading but it wasn't a whiney poor-me type of near-pleading. It was more of a I-can't-believe-this-shit-has-happened-and-here-I-am-being-forced-to-surrender-myself-to-the-hopefully-goodwill-of-basically-strangers type of near-pleading. It had a befuddled and also confident quality that rather impressed me. I could sense he was in a genuine bitch of a situation.

He reacted poorly to my news that there were no neighbors or otherwise kind-hearted strangers who might assist him immediately. The words "fuck" and "shit" and "horseshit" were involved in his response.

During this second phone exchange I found myself playing a 911-operator-ish role: I was calm and assuring; positive; cavalier, even. I was soothingly confident about the fact that I knew this situation would be handled in an appropriate and timely fashion. He appeared to be put at ease with my rhetoric. We ended the second phone exchange upbeat and positive-thinking.

As I placed the phone's receiver back into the cradle, Jared B. pulled in to relieve me and begin his own 8 hour stint as an Entry Attendant.

I quickly decided that I would be the kind-hearted neighbor/Samaritan/stranger and go over to Mr. X's place of residence and help him out of his jam. My interaction with him up to this point had resulted in my being marginally emotionally invested in his plight from a strictly human-to-human perspective. My karma is also currently in severe disrepair and I figured it couldn't hurt that situation.

It had been raining on and off for the better part of the early afternoon. This has nothing to do with anything.

I told Jared that I would "fill him in later" and departed for Mr. X's residence.

I arrived perhaps a minute later. I walked up to his front door and opened it. I called out: "Mr. X? It's Scott from the front gate. I'm here to help." And of course he had a small and extremely active pug who yipped and scratched at my legs immediately. The pug didn't stop the entire time.

Up to this point I had never once seen Mr. X.

Words used by Mr. X to describe his dog: "bastard"; "son-of-a-bitch"; "little fucking bastard"; "goddamn dog." He also said at some point during the ordeal: "Kick that little bastard in his fucking ribs." I refrained from kicking the pug.

So here's what I see: Mr. X slumped and sort of scrunched forward in a reclining chair with both of his feet on the floor; his ass was on the part of the chair that normally has feet resting on it when fully-inclined. He had nearly slid to the floor. His was wearing a white terrycloth robe with some kind of insignia on the left hand side where insignias usually are. The robe's belt or tie-able sash had failed him and his naked chest and rather large gut were hanging out. He was also wearing your classic "whitey-tighties." Also hanging out was a portion of his scrotum that included his right nut! He was either wholly unaware of this or just didn't give a shit. I didn't mention it to him. There was an inordinate amount of the pug's hair on the wood floor.

My task was then to somehow reposition him in the recliner, which was your basic faux-leather or pleather kind of chair. Variables that complicated this task:
-Mr. X's size.
-The pug's insistent and relentless jumping and scratching at my legs.
-The exposed portion of scrotum that included his right nut. It seems, at least for me, that an exposed nut of an old man is kind of like a car wreck: you can't not look. Plus it sort of jiggled or swayed throughout the entire process of repositioning.
-Mr. X was unable to really assist me in any way. Though his feet were on the floor, they were scabbed and bruised and distended in the way old men's legs get: replete with open soars and basically just really, really sore looking and pretty much functionless.
-His left arm was in a cast up to about the middle of his bicep and throbbing with pain. Therefore I could only attempt to lift or reposition him by placing my right hand underneath his right armpit and like shoving him up.
-Whenever I tried to do this his left side would slump farther down.

After trying to get him in place in this manner for a few minutes, we both realized something else had to happen. I suggested that perhaps it would be best if I could put both of my hands underneath each of his armpits and then, in a burst, shove him up so that his whole body moved up together. He reluctantly agreed.

I now had to be extremely cautious of not contacting the right nut because I was in front of him, squared-up. The right nut dangled slightly inside the exposed portion of sac each time I lifted him this way, I imagined. This entire situation was now becoming a fucking car wreck of its own.

I managed to get him repositioned to his satisfaction after a few gruff shoves in the abovementioned manner. We then had the following exchange:
Me: "OK. That just about does it. Anything else?"
X: "Just one more thing Scotty. Do you see that bottle right there? That's my piss-bottle and I need to be able to reach it. Can you place it over here on this table?"
Me: "Yeah, sure." [Can you believe this?]
X: "Thanks Scotty. On the table there there's some money. Take some money."
Me: "No, that's OK. Don't worry about it."
X: "You're not gonna do this for free take some goddamn money."
Me: "OK. There's two singles here, I'll take these."
X: "Thank you Scotty."
Me: "No problem."

I leave and call Jared to explain the situation. His suggestion was to go home and "drink that memory away."