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Loner.

I’ve always been a bit of a loner. Not to sound cocky, but I like me and I like spending time alone. When I was in kindergarten, Mrs. Mosher wrote on my report card, “John seems to be a bit of a loner.” I don’t know what gave her that idea. Perhaps it was that time that I was sitting on the two-person rocking thing alone, minding my own business, when this girl Charlotte came up and sat on the other side, wanting to rock. I yelled at her “Leave me alone” and jumped down hard on my side, essentially flinging her off the toy and running to Mrs. Mosher crying. Come to think of it, Mrs. Mosher also told my mother that I was probably mentally retarded. I guess I didn’t fit in with her philosophy, “No child is essentially different from any other child.” Ah, the fine memories of kindergarten. And no, I don’t believe that I am mentally retarded. I’m just odd.

Anyways, I have dreams of retiring to the desert, 75 miles from any other civilization, living in an open air home, solar powered, with a very deep drilled well for water and a kick-ass satellite internet connection. Human interaction would be kept to when I drove into the nearest town to get whatever groceries I couldn’t grow. I wouldn’t live like a bum or anything, I would just be devoid of the irritations I find in the general public.

And this is where you ask yourself, “But what about Earl?” That’s a good question, thank you for asking.

Earl is really the only person I’ve ever let into my “alone space”. It’s kind of hard to explain, but when Earl and I are together, I still consider myself “alone”. Now this is not to be confused with “lonely”, because I’m never lonely when I’m alone. So in my little desert dream, Earl is right there along with me doing the solar powered thing. I guess Earl is the only person that has ever been able to co-exist with me in my own little world. He allows me to engage my loner tendencies from time to time. I can’t think of any other person, outside of my immediate family (they ‘get’ me, for the most part), that has really tried to understand my little world. I’m a lucky guy to find someone that comes into my space so easily.

Green Thumb. Literally.

I hate it when things go wrong with the house. Now I don’t fall over in an emotional heap if a sink leaks, but I find it to be a pain in the ass. I did not inherent any home improvement skills from my family. None. Nada. I can fake it with the best of them and I can pass when it comes to geeky things (wiring up phones, electrical, etc.) but I’m not a big fan of fixing plumbing or moving walls or anything like that.

Last night as Earl and I were getting ready for bed, I attempted to flush the toilet. The chain in the tank came off the little plunger thingee, making the handle absolutely useless because it wasn’t connected to anything. Jiggling the handle wouldn’t help even though I tried.

I sighed.

I rolled my eyes.

Then I took the cover off the toilet tank and tried to put the damn thing back together. One of the most frustrating things about this whole scenario is that this is a new house (well about 9 years old), these things aren’t suppose to happen! Plus, someone (that would be me) has been on a domestic kick this week and put those blue and white tablet things in the toilet so that it would be sparkling clean and minty fresh at all times.

The blue tablet covered the toilet guts in blue slime.

So after messing with it for about 90 seconds, I cried defeat and enlisted the help of Earl. After some struggling and cussing, we fixed it, but not before we were covered with blue slime from elbow to finger tips.

I got most of it to wash off. My fingertips are still stained green (the blue faded, I guess) and I feel like a big slob. Earl’s hands match mine, except I think he got the stuff under his fingernails because he washed his hair this morning and of course that cleans your fingernails. I tried raking some shampoo through my beard this morning for the same result but to no avail.

At least my hands smell minty fresh.

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Click.

That ‘click’ you just heard is millions of people turning off American Idol for good. They’ve all said so, right on the American Idol official message boards. Audience favorite, Constantine Maroulis, was voted off this evening. Teenage girls are crying across America as I type. They’ve lost this generation’s David Cassidy. The world as they know it has ended.

Quite frankly, I don’t think Constantine was that great of a singer. But he was a good performer, and whatever he lacked in pitch he made up for it in stage presence. You can’t deny that he is much more deserving to be on the stage than that “Mound of Bad Sound”, Scott Savol. Heck, I’d welcome back Mikalah Gordon in a minute just to get rid of Scott Savol. I find him to be truly awful. His lack of pitch is most unnerving. He always looks like he’s sleeping his way through performances. When he gets criticism, I get the feeling that he’d like to be going postal and downing a few people. I picture Scott Savol is on his way down Ruben Studdard boulevard. He’ll win this god awful competition, sweat his way through a couple of numbers and then retire on the money he gets from suing everyone around him.

I told Earl I was done with the show because it’s become such a travesty. I mean, Paula Abdul was sober this week, for pity’s sake! How boring is that?

So I said “I’m done”. I probably lied.

One Ringy Dingy.

While I was cleaning today, I was doing a bit of daydreaming, and have decided that I am going to combine my old radio talents with my new telecommunications talents.

I’m going to be a voice that introduces you to voice mail hell.

I want to start recording voice mail system messages for companies. My voice sounds different than most traditional “Mr. Voice” type voices. I won’t scare the pants off you. I won’t sound threatening. I’ll gleefully tell you to press 0 for operator or en español marque trés.

Of course, I can be no replacement for the “Mrs. Telephone” voice that is heard a couple million times a day, nationwide. Her name was Jane Barbe. She passed away from cancer in 2003. Here’s a sample of her work.

Yeah, I could do that too. 🙂

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Litter Trained.

I’ve had a recently surge in my domestication over the past 24 hours. I don’t know what’s come over me, but I can no longer tolerate sticking to the kitchen floor while I walk across it or betting on the dust bunnies as we play “Win At The Races” in the computer room.

I suddenly care about these things again.

I have to admit it, I can be lazy. I have a notorious habit of dropping papers and other fine gadgetry where I happen to be standing. “Where’s the title to the Impala?” “Why, it’s right here, next to the iced tea in the ‘fridge, of course.” I think I might I get really crazy and try filing this week!

I don’t know what spurred this interest in happy homemaking. It could be that I went to Wal*Mart last night (a shocker within itself), and faster than Endora can cast a spell, I was suddenly very excited that Wal*Mart carries bags of peeled and cut carrots that zip lock shut! It was like whoosh! “I need to buy these carrots!” Imagine how positively giddy I was when I bought lunch meat from the deli counter and the bags there did the same thing!

It’s like I found a twin and said “Super Domestic Powers, Activate!”

Before going to bed last night, I set the table for breakfast, even though I was the only one home. Before going to work, I set the table for supper. And here it is, my hard earned lunch hour, and I’ve hustled laundry from the washer to the dryer so I can make room for Earl’s suitcase full of dirty clothes! In the middle of the day, no less! Unbelievable.

I have this sudden urge to clean all the toilets. I don’t know why.

Let’s see how long this trend lasts. I hope it’s long enough to get this house clean! It’s time to shape up up up!

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Regret.

I believe in living life to the fullest. Get out there, go balls to the wall and do something, experience all this world has to offer. Enrich yourself. Be it good or bad, just do it.

It’s very rare that I have a regret in life. I’ve left well paying jobs and taken minimum wage gigs. I’ve moved from relatively nice digs to somewhat seedy neighborhoods in the past. Have I ever had a regret about doing it? No. I just dust myself off and move on.

I regret something I did tonight. Or rather, something I didn’t do. I was walking into a local Army-Navy store picking up some new duds. It’s an old Ames store with a little entrance way you’d find on most older department stores. You know, the place populated with a few stray flyers, a wandering shopping cart and some assorted bubblegum machines. There was a man and woman with their son waiting for the brief rain/snow shower to stop before going out to their car. They were your stereotypical white trash family… greasy hair, kid with a dirty face, dad’s gut hanging out under a tattered jacket. As I was walking towards the store, I could see the young boy was fooling around with the gumball machine. The mother was relatively freaking out about it. She was yelling so loud, I could hear here through the closed doors, over the sound of rain and everything.

Then she opened hand slapped the boy across the face. Not once, but twice. Whack. Smack.

The boy just turned away and continued doing whatever he was doing that she found so horribly wrong. He didn’t cry. But he looked very sad. She went back to screaming at the top of her smoke damaged lungs.

It took every ounce in my being not to say something to those parents. It took every ounce of my soul to refrain from saying to the mother, “Hey fuckface, knock it off, he’s a young boy.” It took every ounce of dignity for me not to haul off and slug the woman. I’ve never hit a woman (or anyone for that matter) in my life and she wasn’t worth ruining my record. But I should have done something. I should have said something. I should have called someone. And I regret that I didn’t do anything.

Whomever you are, young man, know that I’ll pray a little harder for you tonight. And whomever you are, you beast of parents, know that I have my eye out for you and your kind.

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Convenient Work.

I imagine the job of a convenience store clerk must be quite interesting. Granted, it’s not really glamorous unless you’re big on posing for the security camera. Oh, there’s the chance that the place will be held up, you’ll survive and get interviewed by the television news team “he pointed his gun, right at me! And I saved the customer!” But in reality, it’s not that glamorous.

But I bet it’s interesting.

For example, just a few moments ago I went to the Byrne Dairy dressed as a lesbian. It wasn’t on purpose, mind you, but I threw on a pair of workout pants, a “wife beater” t-shirt and some faux birkenstocks and went and picked up a bottle of milk. All I was missing was a mullet. Looking back on it all, I should have probably driven the Jeep to complete the whole ensemble, but when you’re having a milk and lottery ticket crisis, you don’t really have time to think these things through.

Convenience store clerks must see all sorts of get-ups on their customers. There’s the yuppy straight out of 1985 picking up whatever his wife phoned into his office. There’s the boozer picking up his 32-oz cans of Schlitz or something equally romantic. The college student picking up his Big Gulp for his upcoming all nighter. The soccer mom, kids in tow, letting them pick out ice cream cones to shut them the hell up while they’re riding in the back of the mini van.

All these slices of Joe Public must be wearing some interesting outfits.

Back in my single, bar disc-jockey days, I used to stop at the local Nice ‘n Easy in my slut pants. These gems were ripped out from the crotch all the way to the knees in all the right places, my decency being preserved by a suggestion of underwear. That must have given the clerk an eyeful on a few occasions.

I’m sure there’s people that go in the middle of the night, when no one is looking mind you, to buy some Ho-Ho’s, Ding Dings or to carry on their affair with Little Debbie. They can’t sleep due to lack of chocolate, so they throw on whatever is lying close to the bed and head down to the local Wawa or whatever. Hair standing straight up. Dragon breath. Eyes glazed over. “More empty calories, more empty calories.”

The only patron I wouldn’t want to see as a convenience store clerk was one with a ski mask. I think that might make me nervous. Unless it’s the yuppy on his way to Killington.

Fun and Games.

Earl and I are at his step-brother Rick’s house enjoying a lovely Sunday morning. I’m surfing the internet courtesy of the neighbors’ internet connection. Silly fools. I’ve already browsed their Windows XP machine. It was quite easy to do. I could lock them out of their internet connection if I wanted to. But I won’t. Again, I stress the importance of reading the manual of your wireless router that your cable or telephone company gave you as part of a promotion. There’s crackers out there that are not as nice as me that can do some serious damage to your computer and network.

Last night Rick and Helen has a little get together at their house. We joined in the fun, playing Pictionary and Trivial Pursuit. Earl and I spanked the crowd playing the 90’s version of Trivial Pursuit. They were all teenagers during the 90s. We were living it. It made me feel kind of old, but only for a moment. But overall, great food and great fun.

I’m leaving Earl here when I head home. He has business meetings in Wilmington, Del. Monday and Tuesday and there’s no sense in him going home just to fly back down, so he’s going to hang out with his family and I’ll be driving home alone in the Acura. I’ll be a little lonely on the drive, but driving the new car will sort of make up for it.

Cruisin’

Today I took a bit of the afternoon off to get to know my Acura better. I made a couple of important discoveries.

  1. My new car is sweet. It has a confident feel on the road. It’s fast. I love it.
  2. There’s a fraternity among Jeep Wrangler drivers. You wave at each other. Among Acura RSX drivers, you race each other.
  3. I can still bang through all six like an 18-year old. I’m talking about the gears of course.
  4. My patience for other driver ignorance has dwindled considerably in 24 hours. Considering it was about zero to begin with, let’s just say that I’m discovering all new facets of ‘road irritability’.
  5. Every chipmunk, bird, duck and rock within a 1/2 mile radius of my position is trying to pound, poop on or get run over by my new car.
  6. The old rule of “If the driver wears a hat, they’re an idiot” still pretty much applies.
  7. Patching a chip in a windshield does not erase a mark completely. It leaves a perma-bug in your field of vision.
  8. 100 MPH while doing 69 is fun. (And of course I’m referring to NY Route 69 here in Upstate N.Y. you silly fools.

Welcome to the Family.

Earl and I welcomed the newest member to our family today. We picked up my 2005 Acura RSX Type-S. She is fast, she is sporty, she’s hot looking and she is fun to drive. We got to Crest Acura in Syracuse shortly before 6:00, and there she was, sitting by the door to the showroom, our salesman polishing her up.

Absolutely gorgeous!

We exchanged pleasantries with our salesman Chad and then Earl waded through the paperwork while I sat by watching the ritual and drooling slightly. We sailed through the paperwork and then Chad introduced us to our new car.

Unbelievably gorgeous!

The intercom pages booming in and out of the showroom were a constant reminder that my mom works next store at Crest Cadillac. Now I know where I got my radio tendencies from. After Chad showed us the ins and outs of the car, we decided to take her for a little welcome ride before coming back to the dealership to pick up Mom for supper. While riding around the streets of Syracuse, I decided that I needed to do a little fast driving so I took the Acura up on I-690, looped around the north side of the city on I-481 and the came back downtown via I-81. Just before the Thruway on I-81 (one of my favorite stretches of highway to drive when I was a teen, by the way, mostly because it was constantly under construction), a tractor trailer several car lengths in front of us decided to throw a rock at my new car.

I ducked. I then yelled a “holy fscking shit” and felt my heart sink into my stomach. The rock took a small chunk out of the windshield.

Pissed beyond belief, Earl and I headed back to Acura. Actually, Earl laughed and said the car was officially christened (I was hoping for something a little more pleasant to christen it, if you know what I mean. You see, the day after we bought the Impala in ’01, a wayward duck decided to head for the car, hit the hood and left a small dent. The duck did a somersault and continued his trek. I wanted to make him into a soup.

Anyways, Earl headed into the showroom to tell the salesman about our ‘fun’, while I headed into the Cadillac showroom to talk to Mom and the sales manager, and her friend, Jamie. The fine folks at Crest bent over backwards to help us arrange a windshield repair, setting up the guy to come out tomorrow around 2:30. I made a quick call to my boss to get tomorrow afternoon off, so I’m headed off to Syracuse tomorrow afternoon to get the windshield fixed.

The car is a beauty. She drives just like I dreamed she would. I’ll be sharing pictures, repaired windshield and all, tomorrow.