|12/14/2001 I started the Chatter section on July 27, 2000 when I noticed that the rest of my site was sometimes getting cluttered with lots of text. I'm a talkative guy, after all! So now I talk about my life here, instead of all over the place. Originally this was one huge section, but in December of 2001 it simply became too large to remain as one page, and I broke it into dated sections, as you can see. >PM|
A gray morning, a light mist falling.
The day when only a miserable few have to work.
A sprinkling of cars speeding up the highways toward Boston, the traffic thickening as the city approaches. A little red Honda rolling along as best it can. A BMW speeding up behind, pulling within three feet of the Honda's rear bumper, hugging it, threatening it. But I'm not in a good mood today, not at allso I sit tight. The BMW swings angrily to the right without signaling, shoots by, and again without signaling pulls in front.
But all is not well in BMW-land. There's more on the road than one irritating little red Honda. And our plucky-wealthy speed-demon gnashes his capped and polished teeth as more cars dare to block his triumphal progress.
Putt-putt-putt, along puffs the little Honda as quickly as it can. Up behind the magnificent BMW it comes. Ten feet away. Eight feet. Five feet. Closer. Three feet. Closer. But the BMW has nowhere to gothere's traffic in every lane ahead of him. There is an impulse to gnash capped teeth.
I feel like smiling, so I smile a Mona Lisa smile.
As you can see, Mr. BMW is caught in quite the dilemma. The maniac behind him has turned the tables; the tailgater is himself tailgated. In this situation a man with courage would start tapping on the brakes, harder and harder, until the pursuer either backed off in fear or rammed him. The tailgater would be entirely at fault, legally.
There's just one problem: a new BMW costs perhaps sixty thousand dollars. Maybe more.
Whereas a beaten-up old 1988 Honda is worth exactly...nothing. Nothing at all.
Nonetheless, it possesses a certain amount of kinetic energy which cannot be ignored when it is 30 inches behind your sixty thousand dollar investment in penis surrogates at 80 miles per hour. The impact would be nothing that even the highly skilled technicians of the Bavarian Motor Works would care to handle.
I am a gently smiling statue, Buddha-like, enjoying the ride.
We won't discuss things like spinal cords, necks, vertebrae, etc. Nor the obvious lack of deep pockets by owners of 1988 red Hondas.
An opening appears in the middle lane. Vaunted German technology takes the BMW into it flawlessly; poetry in motion. Moments later, again without signaling, it pulls into the right lane. We are well and truly separated. Our pas a deux is at an end.
The excitement over, I maintain a safe and reasonable distance behind the car ahead of me. As I pass by Mr. BMW, I cannot help but glance over at him. He is perhaps in his fifties, well-dressed, a bit jowly, the image of the successful executive. As he scowls and casts an angry eye cautiously in my direction, I cannot help but feel my smile merge into a sneer.
The highway splits, and the cars go in opposite directions.
* * *
Okay, I don't normally do things like that. But I was in a particularly bad mood, and here's why.
I never thought I'd be in a position to buy a house. Or not for a long time, anyway. Whoops! Stupid me. It turns out that I should have looked into it long ago, because at my salary it was at least theoretically possibleeven years ago!
Teri and I really want to get a house, of course; our rent isn't too high, but there are all sorts of good reasons to own rather than rent. Ideally we'd move a lot closer to the city, so I wouldn't be driving for 3-4 hours a day, but beggars can't be chosers. So we decided that we'd probably have to buy a house in Woonsocket, build up some equity, and move to a better place in four or five years.
But the market is awful right now. Houses are insanely expensive, and sell the day they go on the marketusually for far more than the asking price!
No. I thought I could talk about this, but I can't. Not yet. I'll just say that this weekend we found a house we really liked, made an offer higher than the asking price, and still didn't get it because some bastards offered 30% down. May the house fall in and kill them!
I don't think we'll ever get a house, and it will be damn hardprobably impossibleto bring myself to pay more (probably a lot more) for some other house that will probably have far less room and be much uglier.
The only other thing I can say is that we offered the maximum we could possibly afford, so at least we don't have that regret hanging over us. But I really don't think we'll be able to get a house for years, and I can't tell you how angry and upset that makes me. The American Dream is a f--king nightmare today.
I was going to write a whole huge treatise about office water coolers, but I'm not really in the mood. Besides, someone would no doubt call it another "humidifier" piece.
Basically I've been grossed out over the years watching idiots touching their bottles to the nozzles of water coolers. I've seen lipstick on the nozzles of those things, for god's sake! I once read an article that said that the bacteria count on water cooler nozzles was higher than in most people's toilets, and I believe it.
Personally I get bottles with extra-wide mouths, and use the tepid/hot water nozzle instead of the cold one (which people with bottles use). I fill the bottle part-way, and tilt it in the office freezer overnight. The next morning I can fill the bottle with tepid water and the result is a huge wedge of ice in the bottleit works out nicely.
A few days ago I watched some idiot positively jam his bottle onto the water cooler nozzle, which inspired me to imagine a TV sketch about that...some poor office peon is waiting for the microwave, and first sees someone accidentally touch the nozzle with their bottle. Then someone else jams theirs in, and later someone (probably with huge cold sores and eating limburger cheese) sucks directly from the nozzle. Finally someone constipated uses the nozzle for a quick enema. Okay, that last bit probably wouldn't make it on TV. :)
He's the most amazing baby...such a cute little boy. He's been making various variations on "mumumuma" and "mememema" sounds, and in the last few days has been going "dadadada" sometimes as well. He can stand up quite well leaning against something, and can now stay sitting up with great confidence. It's simply astonishing how quickly he progresses! He can almost-crawl backwards as of this morning, too. Another thing he's been doing lately is picking up Cheerios and eating them. We're still waiting for those top two teeth to come throughhe's been teething badly, which is hard on all of usbut other than that he's simply wonderful. I can't tell you how happy he makes me, in fact.
That's enough gushing for today, I suppose!
Can anyone guess what writer I was thinking of when I wrote the first section? Email me with your guess!
[email protected] Copyright 2002 by Peter Maranci. Revised: May 30, 2002. version 1.1