Wednesday, October 26, 2005
I received my very first speeding ticket! Thank you very much!
I know what you're thinking. If you've ever been in a car with me, you're thinking, "How the hell did that Menace to Pedestrians and Small Animals ever go ten years on the road without a moving violation?" And the answer to that question, my friends, is Dumb Luck. Speed-wise, I drive like a maniac and I'm proud of it. People who drive slower than me are idiots. People who drive faster than me are reckless. I am perfect.
I knew, though, that the crazy mixed-up rules of the road were in conflict with my driving philosophy, and that it was only a matter of time before Johnny Law caught up with me. I always imagined it -- like I imagine so much else in my life -- like a shitty, hacky movie, with a tall police officer in a giant hat and aviator sunglasses slowly ambling up to my car and asking me, in a thick Southern accent, if I had any idea why he'd pulled me over?
But it was not to be. I was caught in the most shameful way a Proud Speeder such as myself could get caught: In a speed trap.
There is no glory in a speed trap. Getting caught in a speed trap doesn't mean you're some sexy Rebel Without a Cause, throwing caution to the wind, driving fast with no place to go and no one to answer to. No, getting caught in a speed trap just means you're unlucky. It means you weren't even necessarily going any faster than anyone else, you just failed to notice that unmarked Crown Victoria parked on the median of I-95. It means you don't even get pulled over by yourself, so that those who pass you by on the side of the road can remark, "Fucking pigs!" at the injustice of such a hot chick in such a hotter car getting nabbed by the popo. No, instead you're pulled over in a group, so that those who pass you by can remark, "Ooh, I better slow down the next time I drive this stretch of road, as they set up speed traps here." Yawn.
And things did not get any better when Officer Mild-n-Polite walked up to my window and informed me that I'd been going 73 in a 55, but he'd only write me up for going 64, because the penalty was less, and please be careful when pulling back out onto the road, and have a nice day. That's so nice! Damnit! I don't want to like you, Mr. Policeman, I want to righteously hate you for cramping my wild and crazy style! I want to tell you that you may have clocked me at 73, but that must have been before I accelerated because I go 73 in my driveway, motherfucker! But no.
So yeah, that was my first speeding ticket. It was boring. It's not even really a story. But I told it to you anyway, because I'm still a little bit proud of getting the ticket, even though I didn't spend the night in the slammer, like I'd always dreamed. Oh well.
Friday, October 21, 2005
To wit, we purchased our first family computer, an Apple IIGS ,when I was in first or second grade, and at the time it was fairly state-of-the-art. Nine years after that, though, the twenty minutes it took to boot up no longer seemed amazing. I don't think my folks really got the concept that we would periodically have to buy updated machines. In retrospect, my first clue should have been the fact that the IIGS was housed in the same room as their 8-track player.
We also got a VCR pretty early on in the VCR timeline. True to form, we got a Betamax, and soon found that there were about 4 movies available for us to rent at the video store, and three of them were in Yugoslavian.
These days I am considered the technology wizard of the family, a distinction based jointly on my age, my ownership of a DVD player, and the fact that I've successfully downloaded music. I do not, however, currently own an iPod, as it seems like they come out with a new one every two weeks and I'm afraid of not having the bestest one, so I'm consequently holding off on buying it until they come out with a model that not only plays audio and video, but projects an interactive, holographic image of Clive Owen into my bedroom.
I have to confess, though, that I have zero patience for attempting to explain technical things to my parents. I find it completely exasperating. I realize that a lot of it has to do with their age, in that they didn't grow up around computers and other digital doohickeys and are just fundamentally unfamiliar with them. I also realize that my own understanding of this stuff would seem pathetic and underdeveloped to the average 9-year-old, but my blood pressure inevitably rises every time my dad calls me and says "how do I make the box disappear?" or my mother inquires just how, exactly, does The Email work? Which is why what occurred last night is so very special in my mind.
So, here's what happened: Based on a sudden and inexplicable desire to have the capability to read The Superficial from my kitchen, I decided that I needed wireless internet access at home. I called Verizon, provider of my DSL, and inquired into what I needed to accomplish this. I was told it was nothing more than a wireless router and network card. Easy peasy.
I gallivanted into Staples last night, purchased said equipment and breezily made my way home, thinking that my ability to read instruction manuals would be all I needed to install the hardware and be on my way to multi-room Googling.
Oh how very wrong I was.
Apparently, one needs a degree in astrophysics (with a minor in transcendental meditation) to install this shit. There are codes. And plugs. And prayers. Sure, the hardware comes with an installation CD, and you pop it in thinking it's going to guide you step by step, but all it really does is quantify why, precisely, you are a moron.
I'm not saying I cried, but two hours into the process, I must say I did feel a little misty. I figured I'd have to call one of those consultant-type people to come to my house and do it for me, (and in my defense, the 'pay someone to do it for you' tendency is also genetic). I felt incredibly stupid and useless, as I am 26 years old and should have a pretty good grasp of this stuff. When I'm sixty and we all live on the moon and I can't figure out how to get the wizzburt to flangit the humptybip, then I'll resort to consultants. But it's not yet the time.
So I called Verizon, fully expecting to be told to either call Linksys, who made the router and network card, (which would have been a reasonable, if annoying, response), or that a technician would have to come to my house, which is a world of shit I do not need.
But incredibly, miraculously, astonishingly, a nice young man answered the phone who not only spoke intelligible English but did what no installation CD could do -- he held my hand through the telephone and made it all okay. It took 45 minutes and was ridiculously complicated, but he was a gentle and caring lover. And when, at the end of our affair, he asked if he had "met my expectations," I replied that he had, in fact, exceeded them. And then we shared a cigarette.
So props to Verizon customer service. I never thought I'd say that, (the word "props" or the praise of a large and seemingly heartless corporation), but it's true. As I wandered around my house with my laptop last night, I felt like Bill Motherfucking Gates, and that, my friends, is quite a feeling.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
You know what else is super great?
Old people. Old people are super great.
You know what I love more than deep-fried candy?
Costumes. I love costumes!
You know what happens when you put all those things together?
That's what happens. And it makes me irrationally happy.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
For the past month, I have been attending Curves, or I prefer to call it, the The Gym For Ladies Who've Almost Given Up, But Not Quite.
Let me preface this whole thing by stating the following: The fact that I have been going to Curves in no way signifies that I will continue going to Curves. So don't ask me if I've lost any weight, or how the exercise is going, or why are you wearing that muumuu, Nina, for I thought you were going to Curves. As evidenced by my "figure," I dislike physical activity in direct proportion to how much I enjoy eating fried cheese. I'm just saying that none of us should get our hopes up, okay? Okay.
Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let me tell you a little bit about the "gym," in case your comparatively skinny ass didn't know.
Curves pretty much works on a twofold philosophy:
- Regular gyms are intimidating for the fat and/or old
- Something is better than nothing
Since I subscribe fully to both facets of that philosophy, I signed myself up. I won't get into what the Curves workout actually entails, but suffice it to say, it is definitely designed with your Aunt Marge in mind.
Everything about the place is gimmicky in a low-key sort of way. There are cartoons on the wall that lament having a big butt! and declare that shopping sure is fun! There's also a weekly trivia question, and if you answer it correctly, you can win a t-shirt that says "exercise with attitude!" Basically, if Cathy went to a gym, she'd go to Curves.
The music is an absolute riot. It's a selection of once-popular songs which are either several years or several decades old, sped up to an aerobically-appropriate beat and, of course, not sung by the artists who made them famous, but rather by studio singers who someone decided approximated the voice of the original crooner. My favorite rendition is of the B-52's "Love Shack," as it never fails to crack my shit up when Not Kate Pierson screams "tiiiiin rooooof!"
But the beauty of Curves is truly the women who go there. The age range is astonishing, with everyone from teenagers to women pushing 70, the majority being in their 40s. The place really isn't intimidating at all, which is good, but if you were trying to get to a level of fitness above, say, basic mobility, you'd look elsewhere.
Therefore, a lot of the attendees aren't that serious about exercising, which pisses me off because I'm fat and I have work to do. There are a lot of women who go there, it seems, just to socialize with their friends while they lazily curl a bicep. I don't know why these bitches need to pay a monthly fee to do this, when they could just go mall-walking instead and finish up the "workout" with a nice cup of coffee from Cinnabon.
My favorite denizen of Curves, though, is a woman I've named Mary Pat. Mary Pat is a hateful, hateful hag, and her constant busybodyness and negative judgment about everything makes the workout go that much faster.
Let me remind you that I do not live in Tokyo. Rather, I live in a relatively small suburban community where it is not uncommon to find that you and the person behind you in line at the supermarket know 37% of the same people. Mary Pat, however, has no problem calling out the names of people she disapproves of, and, so far, she's mentioned 4 people I know pretty well, (and I'm not that social).
Other topics M.P. has been unafraid to broach:
- The surprising number of Jews at her children's Catholic school
- Sex (on several different occasions)
- Incarcerated single mothers
- Chinese dry cleaners
- What an idiot her husband is
She is so damn entertaining, in fact, that when I show up and she's not there, I am sad.
I also really like Heather, the Curves employee who is phenomenally dumb and sweet. She never shuts up, either, and has said a few choice things herself, including:
- "You have really nice handwriting, especially for writing so fast!"
- "I worked out in flip-flops once!"
- "How do you spell 'Celine Dion'?"
- "I've been with my boyfriend for 3 years. He's great, except for that time he cheated on me."
- While the Go-Go's "We've Got the Beat" was playing on the stereo -- "Do you guys mind if I put on something more upbeat?"
The bottom line on Curves, though, is that it truly is the anti-gym, which is why I chose it. There are no locker rooms or showers, so no one can have any of those awkward naked conversations with you, and there are women who come there in street clothes and shuffle around the room "exercising." If I ever get more serious about physical activity, I will have to move on to someplace that contains scary things like men and free weights, but for now, as my mother would say, it's got my molecules moving.