An eventful drive to Starbucks.

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Sometimes I have trouble sleeping. I’ll stay up reading obscure articles on my iPhone or making mental lists of my “to-dos” and “faults” or sometimes I’ll just sit and stare at the wall, thinking about all the other things I ought to be doing instead.

Inevitably, those drawn-out nights turn to day with an early morning Starbucks run. The location just down the street from me is – fun fact! – the only SB drive-thru in Boston, although I personally think that SB drive-thru is the biggest hoax ever foisted on humanity. So today, having slept not very much, it’s 5am, and I’m rolling down 1A South in unusually heavy traffic.  Road work or whatever – like, who closes down a whole LANE right before RUSH HOUR, #god# – and I glance in the rearview and there is this SUV just hurtling at me from behind.

“WOOAHHF” Not the most eloquent of epithets, but it was all I could manage as the wind was knocked out of me. A half-empty can of Diet Coke can went flying across the car. My Yaris stalled out.

The driver of the SUV approached me first, a mild-faced twentysomething with a slight Hispanic accent. “I have a big favor to ask you.” He leaned earnestly near my window.

He didn’t have a license, it turned out, his girlfriend was pregnant. I don’t know the penalty for driving without a license, but I’m sure it’s no joke, and (call me racist) I worried for him if he happened to be undocumented. On the other hand, it really seemed like he slammed into me, my insurance deductible is perilously high (as are the points on my license), and I honestly don’t have the financial freedom to give anyone the benefit of the doubt right now.

It made me think of the time before college graduation where an ex-con driving someone else’s Toyota SUV backed into my Hyundai Excel at a stop sign. The damage to my car seemed innocuous, but it turned out that he’d crushed the radiator into the engine, effectively totaling the vehicle.

That time, I did not involve the police at the scene of the accident. This time, thankfully, the choice was made for me. The collision happened right next to a cadre of state troopers, on detail monitoring the aforementioned roadwork. I handed over my license and registration, and a few moments later the other driver was taken out of his car. There was much waving of flashlights, and I could see his passenger frantically making cell phone calls. I checked the weather. It was snowing.

After some time, the police moved us down the street ~~INTO THE STARBUCKS LOT~~ to finish up paperwork. The mild-faced SUV driver, who was suddenly screwed on a level I don’t wish to imagine, stood outside his vehicle, facing the headlights. Our eyes met awkwardly, and I mouthed “I’m sorry” in that weird way I often do when I’m saying something I know won’t be heard. And he nodded, like, it’s ok.

It turned out that he didn’t get arrested, which I felt good about, but the car was towed and then his pregnant girlfriend showed up, all in a tizzy. We stumbled over one another with apologies before I slunk into Starbucks to get my long-awaited dark roast and morning bun. On a whim, I also bought two small cups of Pike Place, for the unlicensed dudes in the SUV. I figured it was a bad start to a really shitty morning for them, and free coffee sometimes can make things feel a little less bleak. At least, I hope.

 

 


Sometimes I think I’m charged with negative ions.

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In what seems like a string of unimaginable coincidences, in the past several weeks I have spent the better part of a month’s salary on not-so-extravagant electronic items, only to have them die at their pulse-driven cores: zero by one by one.

1) Failed 2009 MacBook Pro RAM upgrade: $150 +/- 12 hours of my time

2) Failed 2003 Ford Focus: $850 +/- untold pain and suffering

3) Failed 2011 MacBook Pro (battery? logic board? They’re a little fuzzy on what they’ll be replacing.): $2,200 +/- 36 hours of my time

I thought it was bad when the Focus’ main computer gave out after we’d just ponied up for new brakes and a clutch, so you can forgive me for wanting to crush glass when my brand-new refurb MacBook Pro suddenly stopped charging in the middle of my workday. I mean, I LITERALLY spent two whole days configuring the machine – reinstalling software, repartitioning hard drives, restoring from backups – not exactly the fun time one wants to have on any given Friday. I’ve invested a lot. Which is why I almost strangled the Apple “Genius” at the bar when he said to me, blithely,

“Well, you have 14 days to return it, if you’d like.”

Um, no DUDE, I do NOT want to RETURN the computer. What I WANT is for the computer to WORK.

Which, I think, is exactly what came out of my mouth.

But now, I’m thinking. Does this mean that the computer’s a lemon? Ought I to cut losses, return the beast, and go back to square one? More research? More time? ANOTHER three days spent repartitioning hard drives? Internet, I’m confused. I need help. Please guide me.


(Not) Getting a Cab in Austin: Part 1

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So I just got back from SXSW, which it’s actually difficult for me to type without a hashtag, and I had like, an 85% great time.

Only 85%? But SXSW (#) is supposed to be, like, Geek Mecca! Nirvana for the nerd set! Hipster heaven!

And it was all that – and more! It was awesome like a music festival, minus the sleeping outside and the mud, and it was inspiring like church (if you’re into that sort of thing). Late nights, early mornings, and a wealth of information it’ll take me weeks to sort through. But I can break that other 15% down for you in four simple words: The cabs there? SUCK.

The first day was fine, actually. Totally cool. I went online and ordered a cab for 8:45am, and, at about 9am one showed up. Perfect! That night, I booked a cab for 8:30, just to be safe, and drifted to sleep thinking how convenient the whole thing had been.

At 9:15 the following morning, I was not finding it so very convenient. My friend’s husband, roused from bed by his groggy wife for the purpose of driving me to the convention, was not finding it very convenient either.

I’d called the cab company at 8:45 to inquire as to the status of my cab, and was told, in a slow Texas drawl, that there were no cabs avaliable.

“But I booked online!” I said, my heart rate accelerating. “You HAVE to have a cab for me!” I’d been so nervous about this very thing – the cab just never coming, being late to my first session – and here it was, happening! The power of negative thinking? SHUT UP.

“Ma’am, I don’t know what you want me to do,” answered the dispatcher.

“What do I want you to do? What do I want you to DO?” Practically shrieking, for sure: “I WANT YOU TO GET ME A CAB IS WHAT I WANT YOU TO DO!”

“I am doing my best, ma’am, but there are no cabs available.”

And that’s about when my head exploded. By the time got to the 9:30 session “The State of Social Marketing“, there was a full house and a line out the door for seats. But, bonus, the session I wound up going to instead had mimosas. That didn’t really make up for it, though. I’d really been looking forward to the social marketing session.

TBC dudes –


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.

 


Money doesn’t talk, it whispers.

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The button on my favorite jeans broke today. My only comfortable jeans. The only ones that don’t make me feel fat. And my first instinct was to go out and buy another pair. I mean, they’re just Lucky Brand, not like, Paige Denim or something, so we’re talking about a relatively small investment. Just $99 plus tax for all the glory that comes with a new, well-fitting pair of jeans.

My instinct, as I said, was to just drive down to Newbury Street and grab a pair. We got some new bookings at ECA Productions, and I mean, what am I going to do otherwise? Jeans are a necessity. Right?

I was living pretty high on the hog with Katsumi. We both made good money, so we both pretty much did what we wanted. No groceries but the groceries from Whole Foods, no cat food but the very best. I bought new clothes without a second thought, and, though I love to cook, we dined out more than we dined in. Once, during restaurant week, we went out to Pigalle and spent the equivalent of a month’s car payment on dinner and drinks for two. It was no big deal. Coming from this angle, yes, I mean, of course, just go get the jeans. You need them. Obviously.

So this morning I slung my purse over my shoulder, grabbed my wallet and my shiny new Discover card and headed out the door. But instead of going into the city and hitting the Lucky store, I went to a Goodwill in Somerville and unloaded five boxes of crap from the old apartment. Those days of decadence are long gone, the days of five-course dinners and designer shoes, and even though once upon a time replacement denim may have taken precedent, these days I’m more worried about paying our rent. Like, actually worried.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not complaining. I still sustain some very expensive habits, and it’s hard to rally a pity party around a camp that’s basically burning cash. I live a nice life, I drive a nice car, and, really, I wouldn’t want to change a thing. It’s interesting to see how “needs” turn into “wants”, and how “wants” turn into “luxuries”, and how easily we can slip from one way of being to the next, when we’re given no choice but to do so. I like that I seem to be resilient, in light of things.


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