Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Last Straw

That's it. That's the last straw. --Milton

I'm blowin' town, folks. Va mousse. Adios. Gone daddy gone, the love is most certainly gone. The desire to close up shop in LA and head north for P-town has been building over time, but today I received the little kick in the ass that I needed to really be sure. And it happened in the oddest of ways in the most unlikeliest of places.

So I'm at the Trader Joe's. Just walked in with my two bright red Trader Joe's reusable shopping bags. I select the perfect bunch of bananas, place them in my cart on top of the bags and proceed to the cucumbers. Now I had made the mistake a day earlier of buying zucchini instead of cucumber so I was going to be very careful to make sure I didn't confuse the two again. I marveled at the size of the thing and knew I could never be fooled again. Both are phallic vegetables I should find emasculating for their sheer size, but the cucumber is still in a league of its own. But I digress. Now I'm over by the carrots, and after a brief inner debate, I decided to go with them. I turn around to toss the little orange buggers in with their fellow produce pals, but am startled to find that my cart has vanished! But I don't panic. I frequently misplace my shopping cart the Joe's as it's always necessary to find a spot for it off to the side, on the banks of the rapid river of people. I look all around the produce section, but it's nowhere to be found. No cart, no bags, no organic fruits and vegetables. So I wait. Surely, no one would steal a person's cart for the sake of a couple reusable grocery bags, right? An innocent mistake must gave been made and the responsible-but-not-guilty party will return soon, blushing but with no permanent damage done. You would fuckin' think so, wouldn't you. After a minute or so of standing there with nothing to show for myself but a bag of baby carrots (a much more fitting phallus as it turned out), I decide it's time for some street justice. No justice, no peace! I take a hard-looking lap around the store but find no viable suspects. Clearly, I'm dealing with a professional sack burglar. But I still don't really believe it. This could not be happening. Who does this? Who steals a person's shopping cart in the time it takes them to walk to a shelf and ponder the pairing of shrimp and carrots(probably not a natural fit, but I'm into carrots lately)? Seriously? I walk outside, looking to get some air if not some perspective. I mentally retrace my steps and actions to make sure I'm not going to be laughing at myself in a few minutes. It's such a cheap, despicable, petty crime against humanity that I can't fathom that it's actually happening. I walk back in, having done the emotional equivalent of rubbing my eyes after seeing a ghost. No relief to come, my friends. Nothing but the plain, shitty truth.

Someone stole my motherfucking environmentally-conscious shopping bags right out from under my nose (Cue a joke about liberals from Adam or a hippy joke from Conrad).

I've had it with this dump! (We got no food, we got no jobs, our pets' heads are fallin' off!!) I am so sick and tired of this congested, petty, soul-sickened city. I gotta get out before I go postal. Of course, it begs the question, What, you don't think this could have happened to you in Portland? The answer is no, I really don't.

I quit.

P.S. Personal neuroses about these reusable grocery bags. I always feel awkward about cross-branding with them. My bags are (excuse me, were) from Trader Joe's, but sometimes I need something from Whole Foods or Ralph's. I know it's ridiculous to feel awkward about taking bags from one store for use in another. It's all for the same good cause, right? It's not like the checkers own stock in the company (do they?) or are entrenched in a bitter rivalry with the other stores. I know all this, but yet it still feels weird to me, like grocery bag bigamy. Oh well, I guess the good news is I don't have to deal with that turmoil at the moment.

Gimme a break, I never do this...


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Out to Lunch

I'm a brown-bagger by nature. It saves money, sure, but really I think I prefer bringing my lunch from home because it saves me from having to make the agonizing decision about where to go out for lunch and the nutritional value of what I might order when I get there. To most, this is not a difficult decision, if it's a decision at all. Some amble out to their car and see where it takes them, Taco Bell, Whole Foods, what have you. I have never been blessed with the gift of such frivolity. Also, I don't like to lose too much time on the commute to and from a lunch spot. I find that time better spent reading crap on the internet I haven't been able to really look at yet that day (fantasy baseball). Good God, I am a fucking dork if there ever was one. For these reasons, my lunch hour, most of the time, is spent right here at my desk.

However, as the bitter Southern California winter turns to the blooming of spring(a net change of 7 degrees), I've found it less tolerable to sit under fluorescent lights for 8 or more hours of a beautiful, warm day without feeling the sun on my skin for even a brief spell. If I walk out at six as the sun is on its way out, I feel I've lost the day almost as much as if I had slept through it. Another negative is that as things get busier here at work, the chances of actually getting to enjoy my lunch with any degree of leisure or peace declines by the day. Into the wild, I say!

Today marks Day Four of my new lunch routine. The building adjacent to mine has a two metal picnic tables with umbrellas out front and, oddly enough, no one ever seems to use them so I have been taking my lunch down the stairs, out the front door, and across the narrowest path of our parking lot to sit in front of the Raytheon building. I angle myself in such a way as to absorb as much of the sunshine as possible and I eat and read. Call it my own personal Finer Things Club. I can't imagine a better book for such an occasion than the inaugural selection. A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle. It's quite the escapist pleasure. However, if you catch me bringing a lavender sac he to lunch, feel free to slap the shit out of me. I'll be asking for it.

The funny thing is how much of an escape my little trip is even before I've opened the book. These two picnic tables are no more than 100 feet from the front door of our building, which sees considerable traffic, especially at lunch. There is a wall separating the two parking lots of my building and Raytheon, but it's a mere three feet short. Yet, despite being barely at the limit of lip-reading distance from my building, no one ever seems to notice me as they come and go. That little bush-lined wall may as well be ten feet high for the amount of separation and anonymity it grants me. Another parking lot, another world. And thank God for that.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Bettin' Man

--In an effort to make this blog interesting, I have decided to "make it interesting." I have issued a bet, a challenge if you will, to Joe to take me on, blog-for-blog. Don't Mind Me vs. The Year of Joe in a retirement match! Loser deletes his blog and does not create a new one. How will the winner of this bet be determined you ask? Why fantasy baseball, of course! You see, Joe was making some bold statements about how incredible his pitching staff was and how he would bet on his staff against any other in our league. So really he's the one who initiated the bet, I'm just stepping up to the plate with the stakes. He hasn't replied yet but I've never known Two-and-O Joe to run from a fight. A topless woman, yes, but never a fight.

--On that note, I know this is a little late (though not too late), but here it is, my 2nd annual major league baseball picks:

AL West: Angels
AL Central: Tigers
AL East: Blue Jays (CRAZY!)
AL Wild Card: Indians

NL West: Diamondbacks
NL Central: Brewers
NL East: Mets
NL Wild Card: Rockies

ALDS: Angels over Indians, Tigers over Blue Jays
NLDS: Rockies over Brewers, Mets over Diamondbacks

ALCS: Tigers over Angels
NLCS: Mets over Rockies

World Series: Mets over Tigers

2008 World Champion New York Mets! Write it down.

--Couple other bets going on as well....On a daily level, a coworker has bet me that I can't go the entire day without speaking in some sort of voice or accent that is not my own. This will be tough because once I get working and I'm focused on something because it's an unconscious thing for me. The Russian accent just comes out on its own. Personally, I think it makes for a boring day just talking and acting normal, but, hey, I love a challenge.

--The other bet is on a larger scale. Last night my dad was telling me how once I got married, I would inevitably gain weight. I told him I will do no such thing and that we should put it to a bet. So on my 1.5 year anniversary, we will compare my weight and body fat percentage against the same measurements taken on or around my wedding day. This could be the easiest bet I've ever entered into. In order to keep it interesting, I might issue a side challenge to myself to lower the b.f. percentage by a few points. The only thing we need to figure out are the stakes. Any suggestions?

--Ya know what I feel like doing today? Watching great sitcoms like Cheers, Seinfeld, and Spin City. All day long. There would be pizza involved too. Then, at night, I'd take in a baseball game.

But, alas, pushing paper under fluorescent lights will have to do.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

--Someday I will fly First Class. Not as some status symbol of wealth or sophistication, just as an escape from that person that I always seem to get seated behind. I'm talking about the person who fully reclines their seat from the first to last allowable instant of the flight, and, as if it weren't enough to lay themselves in my lap, rams their body against the seat as if it were malfunctioning and was actually supposed to fully recline so that they can sleep as if they were in a bed. Who cares if it means I have to become an involuntary contortionist to carry out such luxurious leisures as reading a book or sipping water. One of these days, I'm going to hit back, slamming my weight into the back of that fucking seat like a football player pushing a tackling sled. Okay, I probably won't.

--Is there anything more rude or disrespectful than piling a man's missed work not in his inbox, but on his damn chair? I think not. I can't wait for M. to go out of town for a couple of days. Her chair and desk are going to look like a fucking landfill when she gets back. There should be a rule against this, but there's not. At least an unwritten rule anyway.

--Isn't it interesting how elections always seem to inject certain buzzwords into our common dialogue, often for no clear reason? I don't think I heard the word "surrogate" more than twice in my life until this election began. Now I hear it more than "vote."