Friday, October 27, 2006

Stuff and Things

• since the big car purchase, my life has been consumed by this strange new concept called “budgeting.” i guess i didn’t know how good i had it pre-monthly car payment. plus, my car insurance has more than doubled from what i paid for the crapmobile. i fancy my fabulousity so it’s difficult for me to accept that i must downsize my bourgeois lifestyle. but having reliable wheels is a bigger must in los angeles so i’m more than happy to eat my car’s interior if times get really desperate. it’s leather and i eat beef, so it must be ok.

• work is slow lately. it’s standard cycle-of-business stuff that affects everyone, not just me. freelance work is also minimal. when things get this slow i’m prone to engaging in a bit of online shopping, but i can’t. see above.

• the toe has been healing beautifully (thank you for your prayers). though it’s not healing quickly enough, as i still cannot wear closed-toe shoes. the one time i attempted it, earlier this week, caused an intense discomfort that turned into throbbing pain by midday. this means no sneakers and, conversely, no gym, and no heels at work. i’m pretty much wearing the same pair of sandals night and day. they could use a good disinfecting.

• Mo turned 30 this month (and whined far less about it than i did). i was having such a great time at his birthday party that i forgot to take photos of it for posting. but rest assured it produced an admirable turnout of beautiful people who enjoyed themselves immensely and didn’t trash my house too horribly.

• halloween. bah-humbug. i’ve never really been one to stuff myself into uncomfortable costumes and put on rash-inducing makeup, even as a candy-craving kid. and now as an adult living in west hollywood, i scoff at the gaggle of cars and drag queens that congest my neighborhood each year for the parade.

• living room beautification is now complete. old furniture sold quickly on craigslist and was replaced by more comfortable seating and a larger coffee table; the walls were painted a fabulous Cabbage Green and then adorned with new art and shelving; i even updated my vacuum with a far superior one made especially for pet hair. it looks great.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Road Ahead

i knew we were reaching the end of the metaphoric road. the signs were clear – reduced dependability, moodiness, dread at every interaction, the groans of discomfort that accompanied even the mildest request. each day together felt like it could be our last, saturated with the chronic anxiety: “will we make it? and what happens if we don’t?” i feared for the future, which exceedingly looked dim, hopeless and unavoidably real.

and at that final moment when the wheels stopped turning, i felt no sorrow. only a strange calm as i sat motionless and looking ahead, parked somewhere near fairfax and pico. sunday night, 10 p.m., hearing the death knell ring from afar. i put my forehead on the steering wheel and studied the dashboard, mileage: 165,955. i stepped outside and looked up at the sign: street sweeping monday morning. i would get a ticket.

Mo pulled up beside me in his ride, Juice wagging her happy tail in the backseat. i slide in back with my pup who cheers me with a face licking. “well?” he asks. “that hunk of shit is dead and i’m not dropping another penny on fixing it. they can tow it to the junkyard for all i care. i’m buying a new car tomorrow.”

and that’s what i did. i bought a car. this car. the very next day, i walked alone into a dealership after work, test-drove the car, spoke with the sales dudes, wrote a big check with an unsteady hand, and bang, i drove off in my new ride.

it’s a volkswagen jetta, in case you couldn’t tell. i went with a jetta because no one else in my generation drives one. actually, i chose it because it wasn’t a soulless, nondescript car like the civic or corolla, and american cars, of course, are uniformly out of the question.

but the truth is i had been researching the jetta for about a month and had pretty much decided it would be my next car. great reviews all around and cute to boot. i love me a good european engine and given that i couldn’t afford the luxury mercedes of my dreams, the still german and cozy jetta, which is small enough to park in hollywood and zippy enough to take to SF for the weekend, worked on every level.

it was used, very gently, a 2005 edition with just 20,000 well-maintained miles, bought from enterprise, which sells its cars after renting them. inspected, certified, still under manufacturer warranty with roadside assistance, financed through my work’s credit union for a no-haggle price well below blue book.

i felt mighty proud of myself as i drove off the lot, my eyes slightly misty at the thought of my conquest (and upcoming monthly payments). i had driven into adulthood finally with this, my first real car purchase, after years of enduring my parents’ hand-me-downs. i thought of the dead saab, lonely in the junkyard after 16 years of service to my mom and then me. yeah, whatever, i bought a friggin car!

my chariot is semi-loaded – charcoal grey with a grey leather interior, 6-CD changer, dual airbags, lojack, power everything, automatic 4WD, 2.5L gasoline engine, 5 cylinders and a bunch of other technical things i can’t comprehend. (who the hell knows what “tiptronic” is?) but best of all, it still has new car smell, baby.

driving is brand new. i had a joker grin the entire drive to work this morning, smiling dumbly at other jetta owners. this is the first car i’ve had with a CD player and nice sound system. (Mo has taken to singing “mr. roboto” around me – just like in the commercial.) this is the first time i’m the one volunteering to drive. this is the first time i haven’t been worried about taking my car on a freeway. this is the first time i won’t mind sitting in LA traffic. this is the first time i'm taking the long way home.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

My Right Foot

having an ingrown toenail pretty much tops the list of ridiculous ailments. it’s one of those things that should be endured instead of admitted to, like an STD. it’s quite silly and i would have thought nothing of it if it didn’t hurt so damn bad. but it hurts really fucking bad, bad, bad and bad.

it’s like the hand of g-d is electrocuting me at the toe, flooding my entire nervous system with pain when even the smallest amount of pressure is applied to my toe. walking makes me very unhappy lately. it’s so difficult that i’ve thought of attaching a pillow to my mouth for biting.

the nails on both my fingers and toes are something bionic – they grow super fast and stay super strong (an unfortunate contrast to my hair, which grows an inch each year and is damaged from years of processing). mom and sister also have these crazy growth nails, much to the envy of our brittle-nailed female relatives. the dang things are also sharp as hell, causing accidental scratches galore. i’ve always considered them my secret weapon in a catfight. they can really cut a bitch up.

point is that when the big toe on my right foot started to bother me on monday, it was just a negligible pinch at the corner. on tuesday, it became red and swollen. by wednesday it was throbbing and purple, and when i finally saw the doctor on thursday the fucker was black and crusty with puss and blood. gangrene seemed on the horizon. amputation would surely follow.

“wow, that’s really infected,” said the doc when i removed my band-aid to unveil my toe.
“it really hurts, doctor. please fix it. but whatever you do, don’t touch it!! please don’t touch it!!”

i was near hyperventilation as he put on his latex gloves and approached my toe to give it a squeeze. my foot began to jerk wildly. i held my leg down at the shin as he poked around to my chorus of “ow! ow! ow!”

“you’re going to need to see a specialist.” i got the feeling he was beginning to hate me and just wanted to make me someone else’s problem. i tried to toughen up, shake free of the crybaby i had (suddenly?) become.

“can you put me under to do your exam? you can remove the nail while i sleep and send me on my way.”

sadly, it wasn’t that simple. the swelling needed to subside before the open-toe surgery, scheduled for soon, which means i have to consume antibiotics for a few days before the specialist can remove the nail. doc sent me on my way with a 10-day supply of Keflex, some weak-ass painkillers and a cane.

being dehabilitated by an ingrown toenail is embarrassing enough, but the cane is the cherry on top of the shit sundae. it’s not even a cool wooden cane i could rock like a pimp, it’s an aluminum orthopedic cane with a foam handle built for grandpas.

problem is it helps; my gimpy, limpy ass needs it. for some authenticity i’ve decided to wrap my ankle in an ace bandage and tell people who ask that i fractured my foot rock climbing. to make matters worse, this is the week when all the painting has been going on in my living room, meaning the room is a minefield of paintbrushes, buckets, scattered trash and a big ladder, with all the furniture pushed together in the center. this leaves me cranky as hell, frustrated as fuck. it just makes me want to use the cane for pure evil.

but i can only use it on myself, as i’m the one to blame. it’s as though my body is poisoning itself with itself. perhaps it’s karmic retribution for not fasting on yom kippur this year, for not even taking the day off of work like a dutiful jew. maybe g-d is pissed at me.

i’m fucking sorry, Man.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Box of Cute