Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Jump In The Line

Betelguese! Betelguese! Betelguese!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wheel Of Drama

Though the Wheel of Drama spins constantly over at Ric's these days, it now seems it may have finally stopped. Not on the Million Dollar wedge but not on Bankrupt either. It seems we've started emulating another game entirely and like Monopoly, someone just rolled doubles three times in a row.

And you know what that means...

Sunday morning I met up with Ric and the Boys at Islands of Adventure. It was a great day. Hot but not so humid, moderate crowds and lots of energy on my part, it should have been an enjoyable day throughout. But it took only an hour or so before the metaphorical dark clouds started to roll in and ruin things.

Joe and Zach have as tempestuous a relationship as Ric and Gary back in the day. And just like the latter coupling, alcohol is the fuel that feeds the fires.

They were already throwing attitude towards each other after getting off Ripsaw Falls because Zach was pissed that he'd been advised to wear sneakers rather than sandals, but now, due to both Popeye's and Ripsaw Falls, his feet were soaking wet and he was uncomfortable.

Yeah, it's that petty most times.

They made up as we went along making the circuit through the park in the traditional clockwise direction. By 3:00 we'd finished the entire park and went to our usual lunchspot NASCAR Sports Grille in City Walk. Ric kept drinking the Coors Lights he'd been sucking back all day and now the boys joined him with Long Island Iced Teas. They'd finished about three each by 5:00 when I bowed out. Trying to stay sober, drinking only soft drinks while everyone else is getting as drunk as possible can be a bit of a downer. For them and me.

I called later and found out they'd all gone on to the original park and rode Mummy, Simpsons et al. Apparently they stayed 'till closing which I think is about 7:00 now. But things weren't happy at home around 8:00 when I called. They found out Ric's toilet upstairs was leaking and there was a big flood in their bathroom directly below. Ric was bemoaning the potential cost of repairs and the boys were yelling at Ric for allowing this to happen.

Apparently, the stress of all this caused even more arguments to sprout up between Joe and Zach and, according to Zach, Joe started flipping out and screaming. Ric said that he and Zach then locked Joe out of the house but Joe pounded on the door hard enough to crack it and broke a window pane. Zach then instructed Ric to call 911. The sheriffs deputies came over and went to apprehend Joe who by now had been let in by Ric and Zach. He apparently resisted arrest and struck one of the officers. After wrestling with him, cuffing him and booking him, he's now charged with multiple offenses including domestic violence, striking an officer of the law and resisting arrest.

I checked out the county jail inmate website and his mug shot is there, showing him smiling.

So the latest is Zach and Joe are no longer together, Zach already updated his Facebook status to Single. Joe got bailed out by is step-father and I guess he's staying there. Zach is planning on returning to South Dakota in a couple weeks.

As I told a disbelieving Ric, who still is in a cloud of denial, we knew it'd end up like this from the get go. He had no comment.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Almond Joy

Sometimes you feel like a nut
Sometimes you don't
Almond Joy's got nuts
Mounds don't
Sometimes you feel like a nut
Sometimes you don't

Almost two weeks ago, in the midst of my week long bender, while I was re-visiting 7-Eleven yet again to get more beer, the Hispanic guy in line ahead of me handed the Pakistani cashier a note. Neither understood what it said since, from what little the Hispanic guy could speak in English, it was a written request from his English-speaking girl friend, but he was apparently illiterate and the Pakistani guy, though he understood English, apparently knew little of American consumer goods. The cashier showed me the note and asked me if I knew what it was. It looked like it had been scribbled by a kindergartner but was easily legible. It simply said ALMOND JOY in block letters.

For a couple of seconds there, it was like the three blind mice because I was already three sheets to the wind and I was standing there with my second 12-pack of the day in my grip, trying to both maintain balance and now think of what this note said. Then I remembered...the candy bar. I told the cashier what it was and he motioned the patron towards the assortment of candies.

Thinking now about that incident and the famous TV commercial jingle hawking that chocolate covered confection and its brother Mounds, I'm struck by how true it is...

Sometimes you feel like a nut.

Sometimes you don't.

I went to work each day last week. Of course it helped that I really only had to work two of the days. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I was scheduled with the other newbies on the team to attend yet more training. By week's end I felt good about the long term prospects there. There seemed to be no negative consequences to the four day "vacation" from the week before so I thought I'd keep at this 'till at least the next Defarge Crisis, which I hoped would take a while coming so as to allow me to build up a nice, fat Give-A-Fuck Fund. More importantly, I was back on the wagon and it felt good. It's great waking up without a hangover.

But this morning, after getting half dressed to go into work, I metaphorically chose an Almond Joy rather than a Mounds.

I felt like a nut.

So here I am, Monday afternoon when I should have just finished my last break, readying myself for the mad rush out at 5 o'clock, I'm sitting at home in my underwear, quaffing back the second can of a fresh 12-pack of Busch.

And savoring the sweet coconut, chocolate and almonds of a delicious Almond Joy.

Like all sinfully decadent pleasures, I'll enjoy it now...but I'll pay for it later.

Monday, September 20, 2010

I Almost Embarqed Again

Oh what a week it's been...

Last Monday when coming home from work I was feelin' stressed so I stopped to pick up a four pack of tall boys (and a 25-oz Fosters for good measure). But after I'd polished them off I went out and picked up another 2 four packs! Needless to say, I had to call out the next morning.

Then I finished off a 12 pack on Tuesday and repeated the same action the next day, and the next.

Before you know it, I'd taken the rest of the work week out and was really, quite seriously considering calling the whole thing off.

Another Madame Defarge Crisis in less than a month. And this time, the old lady was threatening to hold on tight!

After some hard thought, and an alcohol-free night of sleep, I came to my senses this morning and reported in on time.

Not one person, not even my supervisor, questioned why I'd been out 4 days in a row. (Though I did leave a voicemail message last Friday for my temp agency supervisor stating that I'd been in the hospital.)

My pay will be reflective of only one day worked so this Friday will be a skimpy payday, but that's not a big concern. My big worry is about my sketchy mindset when drinking. I think I hit that stage where my subconscious (read: my disease) wants to create for me a lifestyle whereby I can drink unfettered without such pesky disturbances getting in the way like a job.

Though I've said it a million times, I, once again repeat the mantra: I HAVE to give up drinking. It's seriously messing with my ability to stick to the most fundamental of responsibilities. Damned this disease is insidious!

I'd seek professional help but the clinical, science-based, non-higher-power-crap, programs I think I'd respond to all require insurance, or lots of out-of-pocket coin, neither of which I have.

I'll just have to struggle along dealing with this on my own. As usual, the way it is with everything. I have no one to depend on but me.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Girl (Nugget) Is Mine

The Girl Is Mine
The Doggone Girl Is Mine
I Know She's Mine
Because The Doggone Girl Is Mine

The Girl Is Mine - Michael Jackson

I just put the last payment check in the mail. And as soon as it's cashed and credited to my car loan account, bringing the balance down to zero, then Nugget is mine. All mine!

What a ride (pun intended) it's been...

I got Nugget because I needed to quickly replace the Buick which, as I tell the tale here, met with disaster one cloudbursting day in rural Geneva (not Switzerland...Florida).

She wasn't my first choice, I let the Saturn salesman talk me into her. But with my then horrible credit (it's now a bit improved, thanks in part to this loan) I was easily persuaded. Plus she looked nice (on the outside...I still consider her cheap plastic interior fixtures and stain-prone upholstery sub-par for a 2007) and drove smoothly.

She still looks as new as the day she rolled off the assembly line on the outside (when I deem to get her properly washed and waxed that is, but even between washings she maintains a nice shine). On the now-rare occasions Ric gets in her as a passenger, he remarks how she still has a "new car smell" but since I drive her everyday, I've long ago lost any detection of that on my part.

I worked hard and sometimes sweated it out but I was never late on a single payment throughout these two years. Only two years? Yup. It was apportioned at a standard 3-year rate but I opted out of the overtly expensive and in my opinion worthless sucker options of extended warranty insurance and some other crap add-on that the disreputable credit manager at Saturn (who soon-thereafter mysteriously left her position) pressured me to get "otherwise my loan approval might not go through".

Such threats like that, I later found out, are illegal. When I called the dealership manager out on it, the options were cancelled and the almost $1500 extra debt eliminated. This made payoff of the loan much quicker.

So here I am, Nugget and me. The loan on her and the lien through the probably mob-run lending agency that specializes in bad credit cases...paid off. Her title should be in my hands in a few weeks.

The Saturn dealership where I bought Nugget...gone. Now just an empty building emulating several other former dealerships along 17-92 between Casselberry and Longwood. Victims of this recession. And probably a little bit of their own shenanigans. Remember the Nitrogen Gas scam they offered me? Shit like that in a wary economy equals business death.

As a tribute to my new fully-self-owned property, I present to you a picture of her...

Taken from space!

That's right! On a recent look-see around the 'hood in Google Maps, I noticed they updated the satellite image from the last time I'd checked. Sure enough the caption states it was taken this year sometime. And lo and behold, you can see, in my driveway, Nugget, sitting under the sunny Florida skies, unaware that her photo was being snapped by a camera positioned far, far above, in orbit.

From the stage of the construction work being done on the property to the right and the dried-out patches of lawn, I estimate this to be from around January/February or so. With no job to go to then, I'm likely in the house, drinking, on the computer. Perhaps I'm checking out Google Maps and looking at the then current satellite image of my house, taken while no car was in the drive. Eerie, huh?

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Such A Terrible Despite

"Almost every place I go I see ghosts, but it's not often they seem to possess such a terrible despite."

The above quote is from an excerpt I copied into this SCRAPBOOK post. It was the final sentence in a brief summary of a writer's impression of my hometown of Woonsocket, RI, after she visited that city as part of her research for a vampire novel.

She remarks of how especially evil the atmosphere of Woonsocket feels to her and sums up why she thinks it may be that way.

I bring this up now to equate this with my own gauge of the climate as it relates to my new job. The ghosts seem to possess this place too, and with equally as much vitriolic "terrible despite".

I reported in an earlier post the massive negative remarks I found, even before accepting the assignment, on and how it seemed like there were some really thought-out vents posted on this forum. Many of the comments were/are from current employees, not just the disenchanted/disgruntled separated (IE: likely fired) associates. This seemed/seems odd indeed.

But alas, it is a sign of the economy. People are staying in jobs they hate just to get by since quitting could spell tragedy in this bad job market.

Coworkers here seem totally cowed. Afraid to speak their mind and only the soon-to-be-removed have opinions differing from the unfair, inefficient, ineffective and archaic bureaucracy that is the status quo.

But I'm not intending to rock the boat. I prefer to sit back and soak it all in. Pretend it's one of my cinematic dreams, if you will. Like I metaphored (is that a verb?) for the Chase experience, I'm a spectator in the stands of the Big Top watching the three-ring circus conduct itself before me.

Unlike the "ghosts" that labor to carry their "terrible despite" like Marley burdened with his chains and ledgers, I will just clap happily and with glee as the clowns all fall down.

Down, down, down, to Chinatown.

(If you like mixed metaphors, clap your hands...)

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Another Madame DeFarge Crisis

But, I think, major complications because of it have been averted.

Let me explain...

As you may know, I have quite the history of suddenly, and seemingly without much planning or preparation, choosing to metaphorically raise my fists up to the sky and declare my abject disgust of the "system". This sometimes gets acted upon by me and, usually, with severe consequences.

Case in point, my decision to just give up my Sears job in 2002 after missing my morning bus. It wasn't the bus no-show that specifically caused it, but it was just one more incident piled onto the stack of others. The proverbial "last straw".

Well, somehow, on Monday morning, I found myself in yet another of these situations. I called out "sick" and since I liked the idea of staying home so much, I called out again yesterday. I was having issues with conforming to societal norms and expectations and wanted to rebel against "The Man".

I came to my senses and went in today. I feel better now. I truly like being a cog in the machinery. As I've been quoted before, I know that "my name be Toby" (IE: NOT Kunta Kinte).

These little lapses in my self-esteem, even my concept of my role on this Earth, (ya, sometimes that deep) happen with such frequency, I decided to give the syndrome a name. Madame DeFarge Crisis or simply a Defarge Crisis. It's not named after the character in Dickens' "Tale of Two Cities" but the parody character based on her in Mel Brooks' "History of the World, Part I".

Like her, I get so fed up with the unfairness and hypocrisy, the rich living off the backs of the sweating, straining filthy poor, I occasionally get over-expressive with my knitting needles and hiss out the name of those responsible. (Even if it isn't King Lou-eeeeeehy!)