Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Life's Little Cruelties

that will be the title of my unwritten masterpiece -- the great american novel that is just aching to escape my guts through the manicured hands that spend countless hours pounding away on this here keyboard. they say there is a novel in each of us. but they say a lot of things. i say a lot of things, too. who should you believe?

Me. (duh.) and i have something to say about the cruel way life has been educating me these past few weeks. i like happy surprises as much as the next gal, but the unhappy ones, not so much. so it's with great sadness that i report on the infiniteness of my own stupidity, which still manages to impress me after all these years. it was Einstein who said, "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

it's good to keep raising the bar, they say. it's good to be good at something, they say. and i say that i can do dumb pretty damn well, as the following examples illustrate.


Situation: the only phone jack in your entire house is, inexplicably, located behind your refrigerator. you are having problems with your DSL connection because the phone company hates you. you need to move your fridge away from the wall and check the connection because having a phone technician visit will cost you $60 for 15 minutes if the tech deems the problem to be your fault (thanks, SBC!). with a few strong jerks, you pull the fridge away from the wall, forgetting that you placed a bottle of red wine atop the fridge, which is where, you know, you've always placed your bottles of red wine. said bottle then falls and shatters into a zillion pieces behind your refrigerator.

Aftermath: at first, you will want to cry, because the thought of cleaning up broken glass, red wine, two years' worth of dog hair and all the other frightful things that reside behind refrigerators is absolutely dreadful. but you do it because you have to. in the process, you try not to vomit from the smell and sight of the mess you're standing in or think about the fact that you ruined a perfectly good towel for something preventable. you also try not to think about what these incredibly dirrrrty, indefinable objects and organisms you're cleaning up really are.

Lesson: when moving a heavy object, make sure to first clear off all surrounding glass bottles that contain alcoholic liquid. otherwise, you will have nothing to drink after your cleanup is complete. and you will need a drink very very badly.


Situation: you are stoked about your weekend jaunt to san francisco, which you have been planning for months. it's just you and your iPod making the journey up the 5 this time and you're excited for the opportunity to listen to your new music at full blast. to prepare, you visit Fry's and buy (what you think) is the adapter that allows you to play the iPod through the car stereo. when you hop into the car and plug your iPod into the adapter and the adapter into the area for the cigarette lighter, you wonder why your iPod doesn't play. after a few minutes of head scratching and technical finessing, you consult the packaging that accompanied your $40 purchase and discover that, in fact, you bought the iPod charger, not adapter.

Aftermath: you slam on the brakes and return home immediately, where you load up a paper bag full of CDs you've heard a million times before, because you cannot stomach a radio appetite of christian rock and country music for 12 hours, which is how long you will spend in the car.

Lesson: pay attention, dipshit. this was almost as bad as the time you went to amoeba and bought the wrong CD two times in a row. or how about that time you accidentally bought decaffeinated coffee and kept drinking it for a week, wondering why the hell it wouldn't keep you awake, before you looked at the label and discovered your error? god, you're lame.


Situation: you think you are a rock star at work. everyone loves you and wants you to come to their parties. you strut around the office like a peacock, thinking you can do no wrong and that you have your job mastered after 8 months. one day, you notice something funny about the financial stats on this webpage your company maintains. they look outdated and this concerns you because you are a good employee who wants a big raise next March. so without hesitation, you sound the alarms and notify the proper people of these seemingly outdated stats, which are, like, so a violation of federal law or something. people around you take you very seriously because of your good reputation and jump on the case immediately, while you secretly begin to imagine all the steak and lobster dinners you'll be having once you get your raise. a day later, someone returns to you with an update on the situation. you quickly switch from your lost-in-reverie face to a concerned-employee one and say, "yes, how is that going?" only to hear "those stats are updated every three months, not monthly like you said."

Aftermath: you suddenly feel very small and dumb. as a reflex, you flash your brilliant smile that's gotten you out of so many jams before but soon realize that will do nothing for you now as you got this bad news over the phone. stumped, you just mumble, "oh, sorry 'bout that. my bad."

Lesson: do your research.


Situation: you're not having a very good day. earlier, you moved your fridge with a jerk and caused a bottle of wine to fall and shatter. it's later that night and you need some wine to calm your frayed nerves. you're at the liquor store with your boyfriend, Momo, who just walked in with coffee from starbucks in a venti cup filled to the brim because he doesn't take it with cream. you are at the counter ready to pay for your bottle when you find yourself fascinated by a music video on the TV that hangs overhead. it's paula abdul's video for "straight up" and you haven't seen it in ages. you find yourself hypnotized by her tap dancing and can't peel your eyes away. but the clerk wants your money, so you extend your debit card and in the process knock over Mo's hot coffee so that it spills all over the clerk, the counter and the conveyer belt that holds other people's groceries.

Aftermath: the clerk hands you a roll of paper towels and you get to work right away mopping up the mess. the clerk is pissed because the coffee landed on his pants, making him look like he peed himself. the other customers are pissed because their groceries are wet. and you're pissed because you made an ass out of yourself in public. and all the while, friggin "straight up" is playing in the background.

Lesson: paula abdul can be fascinating.


i will take my bow now.

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