I don’t know which part of you decided that I needed my day to be interrupted by a deep, documentary-narrator-class voice reciting “Grace Metalious” to me, and saying nothing more when I wait to hear where this is going. But, thanks. That’s made this day so very much more something or other than it would have otherwise been.
[ Translated from the gestures, modal dialogues, and inarticulate howls of boundless rage at my iPod Touch. ]
Me: OK, iTunes, resume.
iTunes: Happy to!
Me: Resume my podcast.
iTunes: I didn’t know you had a podcast!
Me: Don’t ever talk like an online nerd. Resume the podcast I was listening to.
iTunes: Happy to!
Me: Resume it now.
iTunes: Resume what now?
Me: That’s Grandiloquence. Three guys take turns pronouncing a word they only know from reading, and then get into a big argument about who’s least wrong. They’re doing their 40th-episode super-spectacular on ‘synecdoche’.
iTunes: What’s that word?
iTunes: How do you pronounce it?
Me: Almost certainly wrong. That’s why I want to hear the podcast.
So it was an ordinary enough dream. Mundane, even. I’d had a long time after work going around to different Target-class stores buying things like you sometimes need but don’t ever find interesting. And then I got home, where I was living with my parents, in the house that was more or less my father’s parents’ home only with way more hills and religious statuary than it ever had. There, I was met by my father, who was practically rocking on his feet and giggling at how wrong I was in thinking I was going inside and unpacking. Well, why not? I finally got out of him that we had to go off and see someone, and, all right. That’s a thing that happens. But I insisted I needed, at least, to go to the bathroom first and my father was insisting no, no time for that, but he wouldn’t tell me who it was we were going to meet.
Anyway, if I know three things, then one of those things is that if I dream that I have to go to the bathroom then I should wake up and go to the bathroom. And by then it was late enough in the morning it wasn’t really worth going back to bed to see how things turned out. And yet the fire of curiosity has been lit.
So. Would whoever it was that it was so all-fired important my parents and I go off and meet the other dream-morning please drop me a comment, and let me know who you are, and what it was we had to see you about? Thank you for your consideration.
But who am I to dispute clear messages from the dream world? Anyway apparently sometime in the near future I’m going to be stuck driving from building to building across the west side of town looking frantically for the one place that has the laundry chute to the basement. Now, I know what you’re thinking, and of course I have checked. The laundry chute to the basement is still in the bathroom. Well, and the other half is in the basement. I guess there’s more parts between the two, but they’re not ordinarily accessible. I shouldn’t have to go to the west side of town for this. If I find myself there I should bring my dirty clothes back home and bring them upstairs so I can toss them down to the basement efficiently.
I don’t know about you but for me the Christmas run-up isn’t really started right until I’ve spent a couple hours trying to peel the price sticker off the back of books. This is impossible to do, because those stickers adhere to the book cover by means of a polymerized black hole and they’ll weld in place, and the binding is the most powerful right over the book’s price. You can kind of scrape off the bookstore’s name and the sku number and department information, and kind of scrape off enough of the sticker so as to make it a little tricky to read the price, but mostly you leave the book looking like the cover was victim of a focused tactical assault by a team of miniature badgers.
Still, it’s all worth it to make it a tiny bit harder for the recipient to know what the price of the book is, as long as the recipient has never actually looked at books and noticed that the price is given in somewhere between twelve and eighty-four places on the cover. But it’s the thought that counts, and if you know what the thought is, please let me know because I’d kind of like to stop doing all this but I don’t dare.
Obviously, I have to apologize first to the President of the United States In My Dreams for my stunning inability to just deliver a birthday cake to him. But in defense of my failure I want to note:
- This whole cake-delivery responsibility was thrust on me at the last possible minute, and during a time when I didn’t have a car so I was wholly dependent on the bus situation.
- There wasn’t even a real container for the cake, but I had to hold it on a couple paper plates with tin foil kind of hanging somewhere near the cake vicinity.
- The bus driver, who was shockingly like Gilbert Gottfried in most ways, was not as helpful or as sympathetic as should be expected in these cases.
- While the bus was clearly labelled as one going to Singapore’s Jurong East Bus Interchange it instead let me off in a large and poorly-signed college building in the middle of downtown.
- I might have made quicker progress but was saddled with that hideously-smelling blanket which obviously had to be dealt with before any other chores could be tended, and I was apparently the only person in the city who could even be in the same room as it.
- The blanket, contaminated I believe by you-know-who, possibly by being vomited upon to the point of stomach acids coming out, I would have happily dumped in a trunk or a storage bin or such if anyone had been willing to help in any way, but again, campus security and the omnipresent Gottfriedesque bus driver were totally useless.
- The cake was one of those ten-by-fourteen homemade things cut in half and turned upside-down for frosting anyway, so it wouldn’t stay level and it just looked horrible. Cutting a ten-by-fourteen homemade cake in half after baking has never worked, and can we please stop pretending it does? Also who puts a cake upside-down to frost it? How is that even supposed to work in theory?
- And I might have managed yet if somebody had bothered to tell me where the President even was before sending me off to deliver a poor cake from him.
So in short, I’m sorry, everyone who was disappointed, but I can not and will not take exclusive blame for the fiasco.
Disaster’s struck the worldwide headquarters for the Major Obstacles League. The main standings computer, tracking who it is has shown the best work in standing exactly in the right spot to block as many more people as possible, has suffered what’s described as a “severe malfunction” because of all the explosions and the memory tapes falling into a black hole that way. They were “just about” to make their first backup since November of 1893.
A couple of individual accomplishments — like Daniel Stoever’s legendary December 17, 2003, standing just outside a men’s room in concourse C of O’Hare airport, which managed to make it impossible to enter or exit the bathroom, or to fit between his luggage cloud and the wall, or get onto the moving sidewalk, reading carefully a billboard ad in which IBM promised to someday make more computer things for over 25 minutes — will be remembered, of course. But for the normal obstacle, the struggle for recognition begins again.
At least, it will begin again soon, when the early lead is probably be the guy standing outside the new computer room’s door and not noticing everyone coughing to be let in, because he’s very busy … he’s not even texting, he just has the phone in his hand … what, checking the time? For this long?
He’s good, whoever this is. You can definitely see his experience in standing exactly where the escalator lets people onto the floor, in his not even guessing that everyone trying to get his attention so he moves might mean him.