That Jake Rises

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That Jake has a history of jailbreaks. There was awhile where Katsu and I used to take him out on a leash, and that was really fun until he wriggled out of it and jumped the fence. Katsumi found him three doors down, in a tangle of old bike parts. Then there was the other time when he clawed his way out the window and our friend found him, shivering in the rain, much later on that night. So he’s intrepid. He’s a street cat. He does his thing.

But, I mean, he HADN’T. Not since we got him snipped. So B! and I were pretty surprised to find him on the other side of the window the other morning in the middle of a torrential downpour. Somehow he’d slipped out while B! was taking the garbage downstairs, and he’d been out all night in the most horrible weather. You’d have thought that would teach him a lesson, but tonight, just after I typed that last sentence, he escaped again and burrowed underneath the back porch.

In the meantime, he’s taken to defecating in the bathtub. So there’s that.

This is like a superhero movie where everything turns dark all of a sudden. Like Spiderman 3, but with whiskers and fur. And let me be the first to tell you, if the pissing comes back, I’m ready to get all Sandman on his shit.


If we all did our jobs this well, we’d still be beating our dinner with clubs (part II)

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So B! and I went out to meet some new clients tonight at this cafe on the lower side of Newbury St. For those of you who don’t know, Newbury St. is the Park Avenue of Boston, and the side that I call “lower” is actually “upper” in terms of money spent per square inch – so much so that I actually felt a little squidgy going in. If I’d thought better, I would have brought my Gucci bag. Turns out, I needn’t have worried.

First of all, we walk in, and it’s like, ninety-five degrees and humid. Almost uncomfortably loud. Although the place was half-empty, every available table was covered with dirty dishes, and a single bench provided the only available seating which means we would have had to sit, all four of us, in a row, backs to the wall. Meanwhile, there were three kids behind the counter snapping gum and texting.

Luckily, SEAT seats opened up while I (inexplicably) ordered a hot coffee. “I’ll make you a fresh pot,” said one of the counter kids, just as our clients arrived. I was a bit flustered, having been almost late and kind of sweating in the tropical climate, so, after clearing the trash to a nearby table, I tried to act normal and got right down to business. About twenty minutes later, some other young lad strolls out of the back and decides it’s time to (finally) bus the tables.

“Excuse me – ” says my bride, flagging him down, “She ordered a coffee awhile ago – is that coming?”

“Oh um, I don’t know,” replies the kid, who i now recognize as the one who took my order. An uncomfortable pause ensues, as though he thinks, perhaps, that *I* know where my coffee has gone to. “Did you order it from me? I probably just forgot.”

“Right,” I say. What I think is: “Oh, OK, kid who works in the high-rent district of Back Bay but can’t be bothered to do his job. That’s cool. I mean, not like I paid for it or anything – not like I even WANT it. I’d rather have a Diet Coke, or even a cold glass of ice water. Have you noticed how warm it is in here?” I’m starting to seriously worry about my deodorant.

A beat. “I guess I’ll bring it over then. Hold on.” And he disappears.

“Um, that was weird,” I tell our clients, who are as mystified as I. And we continue talking about their wedding.

Five minutes later dude comes back over with this HOT HOT HOT cup of coffee. “My coworker must have forgotten it,” he says, totally blame-shifting but who am I to say, and pretty much walks away without another word. I mean, the coffee must have been sitting on top of the cappuccino machine, or in front of a heating vent or something. The saucer was SUPER warm.

I look down at my atomic coffee, which, though I smile and compliment, tastes like rustic battery acid and cigarettes.

Ten minutes later, they started blasting hardcore rap. We collectively decided it was time to leave. Another successful mission, by EcA Productions.

PS: For those of you who are interested, “If we all did our jobs this well, we’d still be beating our dinner with clubs (part I)” can be found here


(Not) Getting a Cab in Austin: Part 3

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So when we left off, I’d just spoken with the owner of Yellow Cab Austin, and given him the sensible advice to not make promises he couldn’t keep. That night I had the opportunity, once again, to call upon Yellow Cab for transport – my flight back to Boston was at 9:40 the following morning. And lo! Behold! I was greeted with a recording giving a disclaimer about their dispatch service malfunction! I’d effected real change, it seemed!

Nevertheless, I made my reservation for 6am, and called Lone Star Cab as backup for a pickup at 7.

Me being me, I slept through my alarm. I woke at 7:30 to my phone ringing, with the taxi driver from Lone Star on the other end of the line. This is 7:30am, mind you, which is neither 6 nor 7. “Where are you?” he asked me, in a thickly accented voice. “I can’t find you on the GPS.”

“Um, maybe try a map,” I suggested, not unhelpfully. “I think it’s off Airport Boulevard, but I can’t be sure. I don’t live here.”

“OK, OK, OK,” he interrupted. “I be there soon.”

I got up, brushed my teeth, and set about packing. Half an hour later, as I was finishing off the last of the Diet Coke and smoking the day’s first cigarette, he called back.

“OK, so you are coming off I-35 from downtown, and which way do you turn off the exit?”

I mean, was I  UNCLEAR earlier about the ‘not living here’ thing? “I really don’t know,” I said, “I’ve never been to Austin before in my life. I think you turn right.”

“Right?” His tone was almost accusatory. “You sure it’s not left?”

“What? NO, I’m not sure! I DON’T LIVE HERE. But I think it’s right.” I stubbed out my Camel Light and huffed inside the house.

“OKOKOK, I call you back.”

I hadn’t yet had time to put the empty 2-liter in the trashcan when my phone rang again. But, instead of the cranky cabbie, it was a pleasant audio recording informing me that my cab was approaching. Yellow Cab Austin! My chariot had arrived – and only two and a half hours late!

Lone Star called back one more time, but I didn’t bother answering. It was my last cab ride in Austin. I wanted to enjoy every second.


(Not) Getting a Cab in Austin: Part 2

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7am was foggy in Austin. I noticed when I poked my head out the door to look for the cab that, of course, wasn’t there. I waited the requisite 20 minutes and then put in my phone call.

“We’re very busy,” said the dispatcher. “And we don’t guarantee our arrival time.”

“That’s bullshit,” I replied. “I want to speak to your manager.”

“We don’t guarantee our arrival time,” said the manager. “Plus, it’s foggy outside.”

“My cab yesterday NEVER came! I mean, I just really want to know, is a cab coming, or not?”

“Wait 20 more minutes,” she advised. “Call us back then.”

I think not. I woke up my friend, who woke up her husband, who, kindly, drove me downtown.

Two hours later, I still hadn’t received a call from the cab company, which led me to believe there were still no available cabs. But lo! Across the street! During my cigarette-and-coffee break, I certainly did spy four empties waiting for a fare. And I got SO mad. Once more, I dialed the number for Yellow Cab Austin. After listening to three rounds of their hold message, I was in no mood to dally around with the dispatcher – I got put right to the top. And by “right to the top” I mean “to the owner’s voicemail”.

Voicemail? VOICEMAIL??!! You could have popped me with a pin, I was so puffed up. So I did the only think I could do – I threatened legal action. He called me right back, sure he did, and he was VERY apologetic. “This is entirely our fault,” he admitted, and went on to tell me how they’d had some kind of electrical surge in their system that totally fried their dispatch center.

I put on my best business voice. “Well sir, I appreciate your position and I certainly thank you for calling me back. But I would suggest to you that you simply be transparent with your customers, instead of promising them cabs that won’t ever arrive.”

I mean, I almost felt bad for the guy. One more post, and you’ll see what happens.


Needs an upgrade?

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I’m really in a quandary. I have this broken-ass old iPhone 3G. Yes 3G. I’m probably the last person on the planet to still be using one of these things, and I’ve been planning to upgrade for the better part of 6 months. The home button is sticky. It doesn’t mute ringtones anymore. Last weekend, I dropped it facedown on a granite floor. The pixels are bleeding out and dying. BUT IT STILL TETHERS.

So what do I do? Do I upgrade, and forsake the mobile bliss of the tether? Or do I stick it out until the phone finally kicks it completely? I’d really miss using Facebook on my laptop in my car – you don’t know nirvana until you’ve logged into your bank account while traveling at 80mph in the passenger seat. Comments and thoughts are much appreciated.

 


Is glad she didn’t spend any more time at the bar.

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I heard this thing on the radio the other day about how people drink and drive too frequently, and how a full stomach (and moderation) are the keys to successfully staying under the limit. This occurred to me tonight, sitting barside with my sister sipping a particularly strong vodka cocktail. I was not just hungry, suddenly, but STARVING, and it was nigh on 1am. Predictably, the kitchen had closed, and our route back to her apartment was completely devoid of pizza shops.  “I’ll just make pasta at home,” I told her, and wished her pleasant dreams.

Now, after such a night of merriment, the last thing one wants to encounter is a sobriety checkpoint. Especially when one has an inspection sticker that expired in July. It was on Rte 16, near the gas fields, and I swung an overly enthusiastic right turn into the industrial complex just in time to see a police officer parked on the curb.

He flashed his lights. I rolled down my window.

“Live around here?” he asked, with a knowing grin.

“No,” I confessed, heart pounding in my throat. “It’s just – my inspection sticker is expired.” I smiled what I hoped was a charming smile and tried to act casual.

“Ah, a guilty one!” exclaimed the officer. “I don’t think they’re looking for that. Anyway, you can’t get out this way – it’s all dead end streets. If they give you any trouble, just tell em your brother in law is stationed down the alley here, eh?”

I thanked the kind sir and proceeded through the gauntlet – a flashlight in your face and an uncomfortable exchange of pleasantries wherein you know the other party is trying to smell your breath. A stranger’s face pushed up inside your personal space. I made it through (no surprise, really), and smoked a victory cigarette to celebrate. Then, when I got home, I cracked a High Life and wrote this post. Cheers, weekend – you’ve started out in splendid fashion.

 


Personification: too far.

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Much has been made of my harem pants jumpsuit. I mean, that’s not MY harem pants jumpsuit, it’s just a for example. MY harem pants jumpsuit is black. I’ve gotten quite the response on Facebook to any and all posts mentioning said jumpsuit (really, the ONLY jumpsuit), so I can’t help but feel like people want to know more.

I bought the harem pants jumpsuit with the highest aspirations. I thought I’d be avant garde and wear it with pin-thin stilettos. Maybe add a scarf. I’d look stylish and edgy, it would be awesome.

But oh, Reality.

The harem pants jumpsuit was maybe two sizes too big, to start. Being on the slighter side, I’d anticipated this, but I was entirely unprepared for how quickly the whole thing lost its SHAPE. One day it was a harem pants jumpsuit, the next day it was a swaddle of cloth at my feet. I didn’t let this stop me, though! I abandoned my notion of ever wearing the HJP out of doors, but started sporting it around the house like a second skin. A second, loose, baggy skin.

Last night, as usual, I was wearing the harem pants jumpsuit. It rides mostly as just “pants” these days – the elastic is too far gone to imagine pulling it up to its advertised height – but anyway, while wearing the harem whatever-it-is, I accidentally sliced open my finger with an exacto knife.

“Awww, shit,” I sighed, realizing the colossal annoyance that was about to ensue. “Ah! Shit!” I cried again, as the pain hit.

Wound up spending 3.5 hours in the East Boston ER, during which I read up on Lightroom, mapped out a data structure for my home backup array, and got a very uncomfortable four stitches. Have you ever been injected right in that little nerve that runs between your fingers? No? Anyway, I wouldn’t recommend it.

BUT! The splendor of the whole thing! I wore my harem pants jumpsuit OUT OF THE HOUSE! Granted, it was only to the ER, and the only other people I saw were B!, the doctor, and a very confused nurse, but still! I feel like HJP and I are on a new path together. Maybe I’ll take her to work tomorrow.


Glad it’s not MY job.

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I’ve never understood businesses that put people in funny costumes and trot them around the sidewalk. Liberty Tax? The gentleman dressed up like the statue does nothing to instill my confidence in your tax prep capability. That Chicken Place down the street? The teenage girl outfitted as Big Bird makes me consider revisiting my days as a vegetarian. Unless you are a children’s store, and the subject in question is wearing a giant puppy suit, this notion that costumed mascots create some kind of uptick in business makes no earthly sense to me.

There’s this rug store on my way to work, and I always kind of feel bad for the place. They’re sort of on the outskirts of town, they always have a sign out front advertising “Rug Cleaning!”, and I’m steeling myself for the eventuality that there will one day be a liquidation sale banner hanging in the window. So I’m driving by the other day and there’s this giant box with legs waving at me.

It was a very confused few seconds before I realized that I was looking at a man in a carpet suit. A CARPET SUIT. I mean, really. Take a second to wrap your head around that! Like, someone was actually like, “Come on, Phyllis, let’s get the carpet suit out of the basement. Business is slow, it’s time to make some money.” I’m totally baffled.


I love my therapist.

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So I went out last Friday. Like, OUT out. Out with friends, out to a show, and out some more after that. But I was worried, because I hadn’t been looking forward to it. Not at all. And, while the night turned into something supremely spectacular, I had trouble getting in the groove.

The next day, I was thrashed. Even though my sister was in town for the weekend, even though I’d just had this great night in the city, I couldn’t enjoy myself. I was kind of reminded of that Phish show last winter, where, despite all efforts, worrying about how I wasn’t having a good time totally spoiled my good time.

That Phish show turned out to be kind of a tipping point in my emotional life, and I spent the better part of two months trying to get back on the right side of the tracks. And so I worried – would this be the same? Would this be the beginning of the next slide down?

Then, astonishingly, I got sick. Honest to God, fever and chills, DayQuil-chugging sick.

And I was like, oh, so that was that, then.

My therapist often compares living through depression to being very sick (“sick” in the “traditional” sense, which seems more respectable, somehow), and taking that for what it is. She suggests treating the oncoming clouds as one would the first symptoms of the flu, and knowing, you know, here it comes, it’s gonna suck, but I’ll get through it. The challenge with that, for me, is to stop analyzing my emotions to the point where depression becomes an endgame instead of a passing virus, to where the clouds become fog that settles over my mind for months.

When I mentioned my flat-affected Phish show in session today, my therapist said to me, “If you went to that show with a really bad cold, would you have worried about how you weren’t having a good time? Would you have worried about that, and then thought ‘oh, this is my life, and it’s passing me by’, and ‘I can’t REMEMBER the last time I had fun’ and everything that comes with those types of thoughts?”

And I was like, woman, how are you reading my mind. HOWAREYOUREADINGMYMIND.

“You know, you WOULDN’T.” She said.

I was speechless.


How Not To Spend Your Time: Pt 2

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Last Thursday, I just sucked it up and went to the doctor. I didn’t have high hopes – after the failed mono test of the previous Saturday it seemed anything was possible. Except, like, the opposite of that.

So I hauled over to Eastie, parked a half-mile from the health center, and enjoyed the smell of early-morning secondhand smoke during my stroll down Porter St. It was $170 to get in, with a Nurse Practitioner, no less, so I intended to make the most of things. I read a pleasant book in the waiting room after checking in with a woman who looked like a young Salma Hayek (if Salma Hayek had an 18-inch waist and a 36-inch bust), and, as usual, I was weighed facing toward the irons on the scale. I kind of wish they would ask you first.

My nurse was a hip young man with shoes I adored and glasses I couldn’t help but covet.

“I hate rashes,” he confessed, with a sigh, after I showed him my arms.

“So do I,” I said, scratching absently at my lower back.

Together we spent considerable time looking through a large medical book containing every skin disease known to mankind. There were suppurated lesions, cracked and bleeding flesh, swollen fingers and languishing toes. Eventually we settled on Pityriasis rosea, a mild but mysterious affliction that lasts about a month, has no known cause, and, thus, no known treatment.

“I could prescribe you some steroid cream,” he offered, “but you couldn’t, you know -“

“- put it ALL OVER YOUR BODY.” we finished in unison, as I turned my attention to a particular itchy patch on my upper thigh. “OK, well, I also wanted to ask about getting Chantix – that ‘stop smoking’ pill, or whatever.”

He turned back to his monitor and tabbed over to my medication profile. “You know,” he said, rather sadly, “I really wouldn’t feel comfortable prescribing that for you until you talk to your other treaters. Chantix has some pretty serious side effects.” A valid point, since the newly-introduced Seroquel is giving me such vivid dreams that I occasionally wake up and smell my subconscious burning.

I liked this nurse. He treated me very nicely. I liked his rash book, I liked his sweater, I liked his wedding ring. I wanted to have him over for kebabs. He suggested that I come back in a week to check in, and then asked me, as an afterthought, what kind of insurance I had.

“It’s the shitty kind.” I laughed, and I told him all about the crazy deductible and the problems getting my scripts, and and the huge bill I now owe my therapist. His brown eyes turned sad behind those incredible black-rimmed glasses, although he laughed along with me. I mean, I felt bad for the guy. He clearly wanted to help me, but was absolutely unable to. Like, in any way at all.

At least I’m pretty sure now that I don’t have Scabies. That’s a good thing.


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