Archive for January, 2012
The devil pants make it to mid-thigh before they get stuck like a spoon in day old oatmeal. I sigh and cast a glance at my old pants, which are in a heap on the bench. I long for the comfort of their worn elastic waistband and well-earned, homemade ass-pouch. I strip the devil pants off my thigh and throw them on the ground. Two other pairs of pants wait in the corner, zippers grinning in wide, mocking sneers.
If there is an activity that elicits my wrath more being in a dressing room, then it is being in a dressing room trying on pants. I am a card-carrying member of the Chubby People’s Club, having scored high marks in the areas of donut consumption and midnight snacks. Furthermore, my thesis, Butter, it’s not just for bread anymore,’ was very well-received in fat circles.
So, I’m moving down the street towards my flat after an exam on Developing African States. It’s more of a shuffle, actually. Since the exam has gone well I have decided a treat is in order and I am toting a bag of reward goodies. As I come to a crossroads near my flat, a man a few yards ahead of me is trying to start his car. The engine clicks, struggling to turn over without any luck.
At this sound, I halt, turn and shoot down the other street, away from the car. The sky gets darker and my will to get home for an afternoon of celebratory gluttony strengthens. I hook a support finger through the plastic loops of my grocery bag and push into a turtle-ish third gear. As I “speed up” the car’s engine finally catches and starts. There is no moment of realization and I am not surprised. I know exactly why I didn’t pass by the car; I fully expected it to explode.
Part of the everyday fun of being neurotic and obsessive is the comfort that comes with doing a wallet check. This is typically a two-second pat on the wallet that confirms its presence and ensures that someone has not relieved you of its burdensome weight.
As I sit on the metro on the second leg of my daily commute (walk to metro, metro to tram, tram to work), I perform the first of ten to twelve daily wallet checks. When its absence is confirmed, my sweat glands signal a Code Red
The Code Red is downgraded to Code Black for one reason – I realize that it has not been stolen. I recall leaving it in my other pants, along with all my cash and my transport card. I use Code Black for when I must ride public transport without a ticket or transport card. To be caught without a ticket means a 1000Kč fine, which is about fifty dollars. The ticket inspectors, who we shall identify collectively as Honza, are a notoriously malevolent and mean-spirited group of subhuman. Honza sits on the bottom rung of the public servant hierarchy and he is ruthless and ornery, like an old man who’s just accidentally gotten a hysterectomy.
I won’t lie to you, I don’t look good. As I write this my physical and mental conditions have deteriorated past what is considered acceptable of a bipedal mammal. Well, one that doesn’t groom a friend and then dine on the grub worm, anyway.
I am losing moments. I have ingested nothing green in the last two days, but I have green stains on my shirt. There’s a layer of coffee on my tongue that has sent the U.S. biological weapons department to DEFCON 3. I woke myself this morning by muttering sociolinguistics theories in my sleep. Evidently, Asleep Me knows more on the subject that Awake Me.
I am bad-tempered and I have enjoyed a sort of solitary confinement on trams by asking random people about U.S. foreign policy. Level of frantic misery – Robin Williams 1986 + Morrissey 1985.
For you see, it is finals week.
The next item on my list reads Forrest Gump Runs. I enter it into YouTube and, dissatisfied with the results, enter a few variations—Forrest runs, run Forrest run, and Forrest and Bubba, Forrest Bubba run jungle Vietnam. The last variation produces the clip that I desire. I click it, sit back and sip on my water-glass full of Gambrinus. When Forrest storms through that jungle with Bubba in his arms, well there isn’t a dry eye in the room.
Thankfully I am alone, the cat having already left in disgust.
We have now entered the Sadness stage of our viewing selection.
“OK, good job,” I am writing in my oops-book. “So, which conditional is that?”
Student A says, “First one.”
“Right and what time period does it refer to?”
About thirty seconds later, Student A says, “The First conditional is for future actions dependent on the result of another future action or event, where there is a reasonable possibility of the conditions for the action being satisfied.”
“Wow, great. So, how about the second conditional?”
Student B chimes in, “The contrary-to-fact present conditional, often referred to as the second conditional is used to refer to a current state or event that is known to be false or improbable.”
I am amazed, especially since Student B has recently used the term charkekeyal instead of table. “Yes, wow, that was…wow, remarkably well stated.” I gather myself and look around the room. “Third conditional?”
When Student C uses the word protasis and the phrase subject-verb inversion, I smell that something is afoot. Well that, and every single person in the room, except for me, is staring into their desks.
I approach Student A and peer onto his desk where he is scanning a website called Englishgrammar.com on what is called a “Smartphone.”
“Mystery solved,” I say. Detective Colombo, I am not.
“Ten,” I say.
“OK, ten bags of popcorn. Are you having a party?”
“Would you go to a party where there was only popcorn?” I ask.
“No, I would not.” She beeps through the popcorn and I stuff the bags into my backpack.
There are so many things people do when they are having trouble being creative, writing or even coming up with an idea for work. They eat blueberries, drink red wine, watch a movie, eat peanut brittle or go swimming. Others go jogging, smoke hash or play squash. A thousand people have poetically summed up the struggles of writing when the words are being stubborn. I can simply add this – it sucks gopher ass.
This is a case study on (cleverly disguised) subject X and his acute struggle with jetlag. The symptoms, analysis, diagnosis, and prognosis are based on Wikipedia’s (genuflect) jetlag page.
According to Wikipedia, symptoms of jetlag include headache, fatigue, irregular sleep patterns, insomnia, disorientation, grogginess, irritability, mild depression, constipation and, just for fun, diarrhea.
X starts his day at 2:17 a.m., having woken to a headache that would put down Hunter S Thompson. In one hand X is holding a sandwich and in the other, a mobile phone. There is an indecipherable half-written message on the phone and the ingredients of the sandwich have spilled onto his lap. After unsuccessfully trying to rebuild his sandwich or fall back to sleep, X goes to the shower and weeps when he sees that he is showering wearing a sock.
Scenario: In order to repay readers for following my blog and to celebrate reaching 10,000 views, I decided to let you folks choose ten shots for me to do in one night. In a moment both exhilarating and terrifying, you did choose ten shots with joyful abandon. Thus, I had to go through with this. I am a genius.
Setting: The Horne (see Leonard Says Buy My Book)
Characters: Me, Christopher Galeone, Julia Galeone, Dan and Gabby Luongo, others, Tracy the bartender and thirty soon-to-be-annoyed bar patrons.
Modus Operandi: I compiled the list of ten and added a last-minute eleventh shot, just for luck. We did each one shot for 1,000 views. For this reason, we added an eleventh for the views over 10,000.
What follows is the rundown of the evening via each shot.