new rant. read and reply as you will.
at my age, when conversations turn stagnant – and most do – as awkward silences stretch into uncomfortable ones, people will inevitably reach for the safe conversational gambit to keep the evening afloat: the wife and kids.
“so how is [insert spouse’s name here] doing?” or, if s/he is at the party, “how old is [insert child’s name here] now? S/He must be getting pretty big now.”
and the conversation moves into that Place Where Single Folk Dare Not Tread. or at least, if they do, the Single Folk Get Bloody Bored.
since most of my friends and coworkers have children, or at least spouses or significant others, for them there’s always fodder for smalltalk and chitchat about what exactly the wee ones are up to, comparing this pregnancy with the last, recommending a brand of breast pump or a pediatrician. but not me.
since i’m single, and have no girlfriend, and am usually at the party alone, when the conversational spotlight turns on me, and the how’s-the-wife-and/or-kids question is posed, it’s instead about one of two things: my cats and my car.
people ask me about my cats as if they were somehow as significant to me as actual children. they fully expect me to share funny anecdotes about how they’re getting so big! and i always have to clean up their room, they never do as they’re told, little scamps!
i know a conversation is dead, or on its last legs – or that i need to go to the bar and order another drink – when people are talking about their pets. i sometimes comply with such requests to “tell me about your kitties” but i usually refrain. i find conversations about cat hairballs and scratching posts, or hearing about someone else’s dog’s bowel movements and health issues about as entertaining and interesting as cleaning out my cats’ litter box. it’s something i endure because, at some point in my life, i was indoctrinated into the Cult of the Cat People, though i refuse to become a full, cat sweater knitting, member. people find out you have cats and, oddly, want to see pictures. they want to know how old they are and if you celebrate their birthdays. these are the Cat Cultists that freak me out a little, and make me a little uncomfortable to be associated with – sort of like Catholics and Jesuits.
no, don’t ask me about my cats. you’ll get my standard response that they’re still alive, and that i know this because the food disappears from one place, and the poop appears in another.
other people, usually those not already indoctrinated into the Cat Cult, are keen on asking after my car’s health, again, as if it were the fruit of my loins.
i drive a mini cooper, which, while there are more of them on the roads every day, are still an uncommon, or at least unusual vehicle for someone like me to drive. when i bought mine it was, and is still today two years later, the first of its kind many people have seen. i get stopped in parking lots and stop lights by people waving and yelling “what kinda car izzat?”
not that i don’t like the attention – i do. my previous modes of transport were less than unique in their day, and had little in the way of personality, save the small flourishes i added myself. driving a fun car, while it has yet to help me get laid (a fact a large number of people would find astonishing), at least makes my commutes a little less tedious, and makes road trips enjoyable.
but to ask after my mini in the same vein of conversation people reserve to talk about what percentile height and weight their umpteen month old is, and what the pediatrician said about formula versus breast milk… it baffles me. and it’s not that these are all minivan or SUV drivers, looking to live vicariously for a moment through the single guy, who can afford to drive a fun car without concern for how many baby seats it will hold (the mini can actually accomodate two in the back seat, and has the latch system already built in for easy installation). no, they ask as a courtesy, simply to include me in what they know is a painfully tedious social ritual, then move the searchlight of conversation elsewhere, often before i have a chance to roll my eyes and speak.
“it gets me from place to place,” i say. or “it’s still fun to drive.” bla bla bla. conversational background noise ensues, and someone brings up his child’s knack for sticking things up her nose, and the night tumbles onward. it would be the same if i said “oh, she just turned two. we had a birthday cake, candles and everything. i’ll send you the pictures when i get home!” they don’t care. they’re dead inside anyway, biding their time until the signal is given to call it a night, or preoccupied with how much the babysitter will demand upon their arrival home.
sometimes i actually envy them. they have the love of their lives. they have passed on their genes and know what it is they’re living for. however, one thing i often say when someone brings up the topic of my car that i never hear when people talk about their kids:
“you should get one for yourself.”
good news. the doctor says i’m not dead.
ginnie, this one’s for you.
i know it’s a little early to start making resolutions, but in my own way, my tradition of not actually making new years resolutions still holds – these are, if anything, new year’s eve determinations. or guidelines. plans, maybe. but not resolutions.
virginia tells me that i need to update my “blog” more often, or else it’s pointless to have such a thing. that, and i should make it so people can respond to these “minirants”, instead of just to the features
so, next year, i’ll maybe try to keep this blog updated more often. and, if i ever get around to learning enough sql and php to rebuild the back-end for this site from scratch – something i’ve been meaning to do for a while – i’ll add a full threaded reply system, too.
as for the current year, not yet quite over, at least as of this writing, not for several hours yet anyway, i think i’m doing okay. i’ve gotten a lot done on my home improvement plans. things i made plans to get done within five years of owning my house – and if get them all done by july, i’ll have made my self-imposed five year deadline.
i’ve painted, filled the house with comfy furniture, and put music in all the rooms that matter. when i turn up the new, electronic, programmable thermostat, there’s a heating system that can actually get the house warm. there’s hardwood on the floors now, which is very nice, and tile and updated fixtures in one of the bathrooms (the other is always at the top of my project list, but keeps slipping because i actually have to use that bathroom every day) but more importantly there are already plans in the works to install a monitored security system, put new shingles on the roof (after removing the two layers of shingles up there now, and revamping the whole roof’s structure to meet current-as-of-twenty-years-ago building codes), and, last of the major outward-facing improvements, pressure washing and painting the exterior of the house.
maybe most telling of all, despite the work i’ve done and am planning to do to my humble abode, is that today i actually bought a fire extinguisher. i’ve never had one before, though i’ve always seen the need; somehow it never seemed a priority.
and i got a good one, not just a dinky one-handed model i could use to maybe put out a flare-up in the kitchen. the one i brought home from the hardware store is an important step up, and might actually come in useful in a real fire. professional-grade, approved by the coast guard and fire marchall – though i have no idea what that means, other than that it’s bigger and more expensive than the other ones.
i got to thinking about it on the way back from running errands – i feel like i might actually give a damn if my house burned to the ground. sure, i’d save myself, and make sure the cats got out safely, but there’s never been a lot in my house that i couldn’t replace, or that i couldn’t live without. i haven’t got a lot that i’m sentimental about, or that’s unique in all the world. until recently.
so, i’m taking some pride in the place i live, and making it a better, more comfortable place for me to live in. not, mind you, just so i can sell it, though all the physical improvements should help in that eventuality – if i can manage to get all of my neighbors to move out first. i’ve lived here five years, and i’m just now getting the feeling like i kinda like it here, and i’m going to stay.
and my plans for the new year don’t end with my nesting instincts and my physical surroundings. i’ve decided to start actually taking care of myself next year, too. 2005 is the year i turn 30, after all, so i might as well start.
so, for that to get properly underway, i’ve got an appointment next week to get a physical and all kinds of blood tests, and pee in this cup tests, and open wide and say ah tests, and i’m going to stick this in your ear tests. i haven’t had a physical, in the turn your head and cough sense of the word, since before i went to college, so i’m probably overdue to have my tires rotated and the oil changed. i fully intend to get poked, prodded, pricked, and possibly punched, in the pursuit of a full working knowledge of my state of health. i know i’m about 30 pounds overweight, or that i could at least stand to lose that much, but i don’t know much of anything about my cholesterol or blood sugar or blood pressure or much of anything else for that matter. what’s the healthiest way for me to get rid of those 30 pounds? is the numbness and weird tingling in my hand carpal tunnel, or is it vitamin deficiency? or maybe just poor circulation because i’m a lazy fatass that never gets any exercise.
so next year’s going to be a full and productive one, if my plans all come to fruition. maybe it will be enough to distract me, for a little while at least, from the fact that my life is a completely emotionless wasteland, and that i’m a terminal loser with no love life and no prospects.
i am, as ever, optimistic.
somehow, the simplest act of automotive maintenance – like replacing a blown headlight bulb – can really get the testosterone flowing. strange, how on the way home from the auto parts store, in whose parking lot the actual bulb replacement took place, i was driving faster, more aggressively. i suddenly realized what i was doing and i hesitate to say this, but i kinda liked the feeling.
it’s not like i changed my own oil or rotated the tires myself; there was no grease under my fingernails when i was done. those are both time-consuming and messy operations that, in a pinch, i could probably perform, but i feel my time and effort are better spent on other manly pursuits.
Jesus was a liberal Jew who was nailed to a tree for pissing off the conservative, religious fundamentalist authorities.
the election results confirm my long held belief that
okay. time to heal, you slack-jawed yokels.
if you don’t vote, you have no right to bitch.
for four years.
actually, i’m in favor of revoking the protections under the first amendment (and, hell, why not all of them?) for those “citizens” who, for whatever reason, didn’t vote.
sorry, sir. you didn’t vote in the last election. your free speech has been revoked.
don’t like it? good thing i’m not on the ballot.
welcome to the blog wasteland.
i know this site isn’t updated nearly as frequently as it should be, but i’m a busy person. live with it. or without it. i know the only people that read this site are Google’s indexing robot and my mother, so it’s no skin off my ass if this site were to simply vanish.
however, i just got out of a “lunch ‘n’ learn” session at work about the new and exciting marketing opportunities and community-building possibilities of blogs.
god, i hate that word. not that there’s a better one. sigh.
which all reminds me that i’ve been “blogging” since before it was a word, and now that everyone else is doing it, i’ve fallen off the wagon. such is my life. i was country when country wasn’t cool.
not that i was ever country.
saw the day after tomorrow today. interesting film.
a bit preachy, but the effects were on the spectacular side, as promised. global-scale storms are difficult to visualize, and even harder to communicate to film via CG, but the filmmakers managed it.
what they failed to do, however, is create believable wolves. yes, they can create a storm surge so tall the statue of liberty looks like she’s wading in the harbor up to her neck, and tornadoes that demolish los angeles in an afternoon, and an incredibly believable snowed-in manhattan skyline. that, i think is where the hubris set in.
hey, they said, we don’t need finicky real wolves. they need to be fed, after all. we can simulate them.
you go to such effect-driven films to suspend your disbelief for a while, sure, but when they take the care to use real chunks of ice (i suppose, or else the 20-second throwaway hailstorm scene was the best effects in the movie) why not use real wolves for the two minutes where three of the main characters were finally in believable peril?
and, at just over two hours long, parts of the day after tomorrow dragged into next week, while it could have used an additional hour just to tie up loose ends. or just finish the ending. as it stands, the movie is a very long beginning, some middle, and the credits.
in every disaster movie, in the end there must come some kind of salvation – where the leads are all saved from the forces of nature by some extraordinary means. or else the moving-forward, rising-from-the-ashes message of hope. in the end of this movie, there is the humble “my fellow americans” moment. however, the dire peril of the previous 120 minutes simply evaporates. poof. deus ex screenwriter. sorry, we can’t make this movie into the epic it really wants to be; we’ve run out of time.
either that, or the world was saved when, suddenly, the animator suffered a fatal heart attack.