A Day in the Life

Today it was a flick (Shaun of the Dead) which I already can’t remember whether I watched on a 13” TV or an IMAX movie screen; a new answering machine (mostly to silence the carps of friends who claim to always be calling me); a surprisingly engrossing presidential debate about which everyone agrees a) Kerry kicked some major booty, and b) it ain’t going to change a damn thing come November 2; and both the Giants and Astros in the thick of a wild-card race, unfortunately against each other. I still didn’t clean the house, though – damn. That’s got to happen soon or an EPA team is going to show up in haz-mat suits and start stringing up yellow tape around this place.

Other current grievances in my life:

1)      The liquor store owner who every! single! motherfucking! time! I run in for smokes or a Coke asks me if I’m going to give my dinner to him, laughs endlessly to himself about this Wildean display of wit, and then makes my change in slow-motion. Honestly, I’d get out of the store faster if a rhododendron was waiting on me.

2)      The guy who plays accordion on the corner for small change. I don’t hate him because he can’t play a note, or because whenever he misses a note he squnches up his face as if it were a highly unusual mistake for him, or because he has a nasty habit of lunging in my path just when I’m trying to beat my way past him so I can go watch cobwebs grow on the Korean store owner. Nah, I hate him because he’s a living reminder that I should finish off that goddam piece about Pennies from Heaven, the Dennis Potter miniseries that contains a homeless and flagrantly untalented accordion-player who makes life miserable for the protagonist. Thanks, God! Be sure to throw plenty of other spectral reminders of my procrastination at me!

3)      The end of the project. It was an exercise in tedium by the end, all hollow exchanges with the local merchants and showing up late to face my coworkers’ skeptical glances and quietly sarcastic remarks, then sitting in my office surfing the Net and wishing I could just close the damn door, smoke a cigarette, and take a long peaceful nap. At least the whole thing gave me a steady income, a reason to shave every other day, and the chance to hang out with about half a dozen smart and funny people. When I dropped in for the last time on Tuesday to pick up the new computer I received as a bonus (this very one I’m typing on, in fact – thanks, Judy!), the place was distressingly empty of people and activity. Even the work stations had been broken down, leaving a large expanse of carpet dotted with little islands of debris, one of which was topped by the picture of David Brent I’d hung on my door about a week into the project. Agh, what the hell, everything has to end. But now it’s back to finding a job and the even larger question of finding a direction in life, a task that I’ve already proven myself incapable of over the years. And here I have to fail at it again?

4)      My shitty-ass pool game. Coming off last season, when my team made the semifinals for the first time, we were on our best roll for a couple of years. Then came Monday night, when the match came down to a tie-breaking 15th game, played by me and a guy named Bob who himself resembled a human cue-ball. I played just fine until I got to the eight-ball, lining myself up for a practically straight in if somewhat long shot into the corner pocket. It’s a shot I make 95 out of 100 tries, but of course when I leaned over the table this time the table seemed to elongate into a boundless green ocean – it was like that shot in Vertigo when Jimmy Stewart looks down into the alley and Hitchcock does that weird zoom-in/dolly-back thing – and instead of pulling back up and walking around the table I foolishly relied on sense-memory and clanked the ball against the end rail about two inches from the pocket. Somewhere I lost my fire for the game, and I probably ought to quit the team at least for a while until I see if it’s coming back again, but I can imagine the scene when I do. My team thrives on drama as it is, and the idea of undergoing a combined encounter-group and Eugene O’Neill play all staged as a riotous drinking bout is a bit more than I can handle right now.

So welcome to my world, people. It’s yours for a song.

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