Thursday, October 15, 2009

on the trigger

Yesterday I left the house for the first time in two days and got a speeding ticket. 75 fucking dollars for going 41 mph in a 25 zone. I didn't even try to argue with him, which is totally unlike me. I haven't gotten a speeding ticket since I was clocked going 107 on the interstate in southern Illinois. That was 10 years ago. It didn't feel like I was going that fast. You'd think that for someone in my position of Not Doing Shit, going even 5 mph would feel incredibly fast. But I'm just really trigger happy lately. To make up for all this NDS, I am in extreme mode whenever I do move. Extreme Consumption, Extreme Velocities, Extreme Moodiness, which includes Extreme Impatience and Extreme Irritability. In other words, my existence lately is Extreme Extended PMS.

This is incredibly unfortunate for Mom & Pop, since our three-day grace period has long expired and it is the coldest Octotber in 22 years. Cold October, Family Time, and NDS is Serious Business's least favorite cocktail.

Now that I am back at home, many tasks I previously did on my own now have to pass the scrutiny of M&P. This includes eating dinner, going to the dentist, replacing broken equipment, and purchasing plane tickets. I was ready to get a flight to Buenos Aires in two weeks, but my parents asked me to stay until Christmas. The compromise was Thanksgiving. But instead of dipping into my Year of Serious Business fund, my father insisted I spend every waking moment compulsively checking his airline for an available flight on which I could use his frequent flier miles.

Just like female condoms, frequent flier miles sound like such a good idea until you try to use them. They sound convenient, more or less under your control, and kind of a no-brainer. But then you see the sad truth: the timing and situation has to be absolutely perfect, and when you finally get it to work, it's just not as good. Between now and January, there are only three days that I can fly out. This wouldn't be such a big deal, but to seal the deal I put a deposit on a Teach English/Learn Spanish course that starts the first week of December. This leaves me in that aggravating position of jockeying for a flight, and hoping that prices don't go up, or pulling the trigger now only to see seats open up later for less or better. I've never worried about shit like this before because I just don't care. I'll pay a little extra to not worry about it, just to have the ticket secured. But once someone else insists I care, and gives me reason to, it just about drives me crazy. Because at the end of the day, I still don't care.

Not being able to take care of these things drives me crazy and exacerbates my parentally-directed bitchiness. It's made even worse because then Pops will call me and say something like, "What do you want to do for dinner tonight? We'll go anywhere you want." Because this means that I will inevitably have a very upset stomach. An appetizer of self-loathing, an entree of hard-boiled love marinated for years in obligation, and finished off with a guilty dessert of vague anxiety is way too extravagant a meal to indulge in every fucking night.

Tonight, I really want some barbecued baby back ribs, though. Oh god. Ribs.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


After living without a television for ten out of the last eleven years, I am suddenly spending a lot of time with a giant one that could crush us all. I stayed away from it for the first week or so, mostly because I didn't know what to do with it. Honestly, I didn't know that the cable box had to be turned on separately. And then I didn't know how to change channels. Then once I got that all figured out, I didn't know what to watch. So I just gave up.

Then one evening my friend Ash told me he was going to teach me how to watch television. He showed me the joys of his Tivo, and forced me to watch one episode of 30 Rock and one episode of the new 90210. I didn't really understand the humor behind 30 Rock, and 90210...well, everyone knows how to watch that. It has gotten much more risque since the Brenda/n Walsh days of my youth.

Although I wasn't too impressed with this foray back into television, I did like the "I'm-doing-something-but-not-really" feeling I got from it. So I started to watch things. Any movie set in New York (about 80 percent of all movies). Cartoons. The Office. When I found myself watching an America's Next Top Model marathon, though, I knew something had to change. So I shut off the television and promptly burned myself by placing two fingers, deliberately, on the coffee burner. I was seeing if it was on.

I really feel much more stupid when I'm at home. Part of it is because my mother doesn't allow me to cook, which means the huge segment of my brain devoted to gathering, preparing, and consuming food has gotten soft. The other part is that my father doesn't allow me to take care of things, like replacing my cell phone which broke last week. Another part is because of increased access to television. And still another part, I really think, is because survival in the suburbs is so much less involved than survival in the city. I no longer plot the seventeen different routes I can take to get somewhere and still pass by the bodega that sells the cheapest cigarettes, miss the hill that gets slick in the rain, get on the A train before it stops running express, and be above ground for the most likely part of the day that my latest crush could call me for drinks. No. Survival is now so bloody likely that I have to drink four cups of coffee a day to keep from falling asleep because so many circuits in my head have stopped blinking.

Until then, I have online dating to distract me. But even that is reaching its limits.