Of Course, *I’m* The Bastard

I own it, but don’t think I wear that label with pride. If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you probably know my triggers and how to avoid them.

It’s not all that hard. Try to behave like a decent human being, try to be considerate of others, have a bit of integrity…pretty low bar shit.

It’s that try business that both makes these criteria easy and challenging. And a bit forgiving at the same time.

I never said I wasn’t complex – but still, when there’s wiggle room, how hard does one have to try to remain on the wrong side of grumpy old Xtopher?

And if you’re going to put any effort into a relationship with me…how bad at effort do you have to be to end up remaining on that side of me?

Enter – or re-enter in this case – Black Sheep Brother. If you haven’t read about him, try looking for the black story, er, back story. Seriously, I just did and failed.

Long story short, Black Sheep Bro bailed on the family because he needed some time away. This was maybe 2005-ish. I was still with Sacha, so maybe it was even earlier…2002? I know it was – well, never mind. Short story is already long.

I told him at the time – as he was my best friend. Wow, it just occurred to me that this was pre-Silver Fox! Anyway, he told me he needed a break and I warned him to not just disappear, “Do it right”, I told him, “That way re-entry won’t be a bitch. Or impossible.”

Flash forward to now.

Now.

After I acceded to family pressure to reach out to him after he got married, moved to Shittatle and had a kid. Since we both lived in Seattle, reaching out was the obvious choice – just ask my mom and sister! Hehe.

So I did it. That was three hours of my life I’m not getting back. During that talk, he finally told me “the reason” he needed a break. I apostrophenated – Chrisism – that because the reason defied reason. He said he was disappointed that mom hadn’t been more supportive when he got his DUI.

“I expected more from you”, he said she said.

“But your DUI was years ago”, I said.

“No, the other one”, he replied.

I know I failed to hide my reaction to that, but his excuse still smelled like bullshit. “I think that’s a parent’s job to say stuff like that”, I tried.

It all ended with him showing me he had a full deck of victim cards, but at least I tried.

Flash forward to 2013-ish and he’s moved to Texas with his wife and now two kids. To be near his wife’s family.

In their state of bliss, they both take turns drunk dialing me to talk about how awesome they are. The wife trying to back channel a relationship for BSB and his family, for their kids.

Black Sheep Bro slurring out conditions the family must accept in order to be rewarded with the presence of him and his progeny. Your basic shit show. Now, he’s laying out conditions like “As long as I don’t have to be around That Man“, which genuinely confused me. Of course, I asked, got no clarification and eventually started guessing. For my effort, I was rewarded with a “He knows what’s he did” when I guessed he’d been referring to our father.

For the record, I think both of my parents are pretty damn awesome, so he’s partying alone in this Blame Game.

I also pointed out that last time he laid the blame for his abandoning the family at mom’s feet. I also told him that conditional returns were not something I was going to condone.

Apparently, he doesn’t need that kind of negativity in his life. I’m a real buzz kill, I know.

But since then, I’ve not heard boo from him or his wife, even though I’ve been privy to the goings on because mom and his wife are friends on the Facebook. I’ve also managed to deflect suggestions from the family that I reach out to BSB for his fiftieth. That suggestion arose from his wife’s accurately interpreted vaguebooking that his marriage was ending.

I considered myself fortunate to have been able to beg off that chore since I had an outdated number.

Until.

Present day…I get a text from my sis asking if I’d also received a friend request from BSB like her and our youngest brother.

I hadn’t actually. I chalked this up to our last conversation and noted my surprise that he’d not blacked it out. But I also was only manufacturing any offense I presented because over the years I’ve been friended and unfriended by both him and his wife multiple times and received vague attempts at reaching out from Facebook profiles with fake names and no pictures – all claiming to be Black Sheep Bro.

If I wanted to chat with faceless blank profiles, I’d spend my time on Grindr.

But of course, my friend request came in a day or two after everyone else’s. And goddamnit, I wrestled with it – even while entertaining myself that he’d cared enough about me to do something petty like ask for my friendship last.

Me being me, though, I found a way to be actually – and in my mind, rightfully – bothered. I was offended that after all the water under the bridge we’ve had, he just sends a friend request.

That’s all.

No nothing else.

I didn’t know what to do with that. For a while, I leaned toward just accepting it without comment. How passive-aggressive of me. Realistically, I rationalized, this will probably result in him de-friending me yet again, so why not?

But, then around midnight last night, I decided to demand an explanation.

Via Messenger, because two can play the Drunk Dial game – I’m just playing the 2020 version.

Really? Just showing up after all these years and all your vitriol with a “Hey, y’all!”?

You’re not Paula Deen, yo.

Why? Because your wife left you? Now we’re worthy of your attention?

Tell me why you aren’t sticking it where you and I both know I should tell you to. What’s changed? How have you *suddenly* grown? Because all I want when I see this is to groan…I feel bad for you. But not badly enough to sign up for the same BS behaviors you’ve delivered in the past.

And, y’know what? I genuinely felt that he owed me – us, as a family – some goddamned context. To just blithely send out friend requests on the Facebook without it left me vacillating between he felt entitled to our forgiveness and/or that he felt his actions weren’t in need of forgiveness.

Neither option carried any generous feelings with me.

I have to say, his response presented me with a third option that I’d not considered: that he didn’t know how to ask for forgiveness.

In retrospect, it was a fairly obvious option. But the rest of his response left me a little dubious that his rationale wasn’t entitlement all along.

And how would you have me reach out after all these years? I would follow the example you set…if there were one. Yeah I turned to a long lost family relationship in a time of personal adversity. But don’t recall asking you for shit. You’re still the sanctimonious prick aren’t you. And real angry about it apparently. You wanna tee off on someone else just for making an effort? Try a therapist or your ugly cat.

How cute.

Deflection.

Name calling.

Smells like a Trump supporter-level argument to me.

But, to clarify, he’s trying to equate my living in distant parts of the country with his actively departing the family after dropping a blame bomb on mom. Then dad. The reality there, which he’ll not acknowledge since it’s a fact – and we know how Trump Supporter Logic works with facts – is that I still called and took calls from the family. I still came home for holidays.

I was coming to terms with being gay. He was having a mental breakdown in the heart of a well-known river in Egypt.

I think there’s a big difference there.

And he wraps up his indictment argument by shaming me for kicking him while he’s making an effort.

Trying, if you will. And I won’t, as it turns out. If the level of effort he’s willing to put into this after almost two decades is to tap a button that says “Send Friend Request”, then that’s far too little and way too late. Here’s a parting gift for you, Black Sheep Bro, pardon me while I spray liberally.

It makes me sad. And I’m sure it will or could result in awkward family gatherings down the road. But I’ve traveled those roads before, so I know the terrain. One of the things that I said in my texts with my sister was this:

I feel bad for her and dad. Never having been a parent, I can’t imagine how that parental “never give up” thing must feel. Like on one level it’s, “Oh, here we go again” and on the other, “But he’s our son”…so they can’t not sign up for the potential hurt once again. Just in case it pays off this time.

It’s like me and dating, I called it the Lottery of Love.

Maybe this time

I’ve got a good supply of forgiveness. It’s just not endless – even for my brother. If he wants back into my life, it’s not gonna be with spin like saying his relationship with the family is “long lost”.

He abandoned us.

For me, I’ll sprinkle some of my forgiveness on the situation when he’s accountable for his actions. No more “She knows what she did” or “That man” or being offended that I don’t let him piss on my leg yet again while telling me it’s raining.

He’s still my brother, that won’t change. But I’m fine with the present state of our relationship – which he forced upon me – until he does.

If that means I’m the bastard, so be it.

Of Course, *I’m* The Bastard

Dos Peliculas

Here’s the Quarantine Level of procrastination I’ve achieved. I am openly admitting that I can do one thing per day.

Now, don’t think this means I have to decide between showering and eating. I’m factoring those basic activities – that I almost always succeed at on a daily basis, almost – out of the equation. Likewise, involuntary biological functions like breathing and pooping. Although, I had Chipotle today, so let’s put that last one on standby for a bit, eh?

No, these are what you’d call larger scale accomplishments that I’m succeeding at in the singular.

Writing.

Exercising.

Lyfting.

Things that require a chunk of time.

The pisser is that I started the quarantine off with promise.

I exercised consistently every third day for the first month. I took 5+ mile walks around town on my off days. The amount of time I’d put into being at least somewhat physical each day was anywhere from two to four hours, and I felt great. But then I deprioritized exercise – claiming an off week and considering what changes I wanted to put into the routine after my test week. Never went back.

I participated and completed NaNoWriMo’s April writing camp, exceeding the 50k word threshold and getting to within what I’d say is two chapters of completing my first draft on a new novel. I’d easily spend four hours a day considering how uncomfortable my barstools are while tapping out anywhere from 2-5k words each day. I even went into that goal determined to come out of it and go into editing my second non-fiction book, but that has also gone to hell.

I’d drive four days a week, committing to a 10 ride goal and usually spending about four hours, minimum in the car on my drive days. I actually have been focused lately on stretching my driving shifts so I can tweak my week to three days of driving while still achieving my weekly financial goal. That’s been more miss than hit, though. I’ve only hit what would be the revised daily dollar goal twice in the last two weeks. Regardless, though, on days where I actively choose not to write or exercise, I’ll generally make myself drive.

That part isn’t so bad. I’ve finally started making extra principle payments on Angela – the new to me BMW, because cars need names! – and finally bought a router/modem combo so that I can tell Comcast to shove theirs up their ass. If I recall correctly – dicey, I know – they charge either $11 or $14/month to rent theirs. Whichever it is, what I spent on those monthly charges in a year easily amounts to more than I gave Bezos to buy my own. Even if I have to replace my personal modem every year, I’ll save money. However, I’ve had my current Comcast modem for three years. You’d think they’d write it off as paid off at this point.

Bastards.

As a result of this lack of motivation and accomplishment, I’m watching movies that have been buried in my queue for friggin’ ever.

Hardly an accomplishment to offset what I’m not accomplishing. But, here I am – notably dragging you along with me now, dear reader.

Last week I checked two such movies off my list – hence the name of this entry. In Spanish, no less.

The two movies were 2012’s Perks of Being a Wallflower and 2017’s Death of Stalin, both of which I had wanted to see in the theaters when they were out. In each of those instances, I had also failed to motivate myself to accomplishing a simple goal.

I guess in that frame, maybe watching them is an accomplishment to crow about.

Especially Death of Stalin, as it turns out. What an ordeal.

Let me tell you, if you’ve ever felt proud for saving $15 on a movie ticket by not seeing a movie, you know how I feel now. This show had such promise for me. A movie about an actual historical event. During an oppressively and globally sad era, no less. And it was billed as a comedy!

Right up my alley. But then they threw in bonuses like some of my favorite performers – Jason Isaacs, Michael Palin, Steve Buscemi and the now disgraced Jeffrey Tambor – doing experimental acting by playing real life Russian political players but using essentially their native accents. So, you’d think I’d have loved it.

It was so boring.

I was looking forward to something close to Stooge level neurotic bumbling through these real life occurrences as these actors portrayed Stalin’s closest confidants attempting to manage the situation his death created.

No.

Just like quarantine is two months (and counting) of my life I won’t get back, this was two hours of my life I’d like a do over for.

Here’s hoping The Death of Trump is a much better movie – that can’t be made soon enough. Keep popping those hydrochloroquil pills, champ!

Perks of Being a Wallflower, on the other reel, was a delightful surprise of a movie. Ezra Klein, Emma Watson and Logan Lehrman in basically introductory lead roles for the two males and Emma’s first post-Potter Star turn. I was kind of irked at myself for depriving myself of the experience for nearly a decade. It was truly a movie that I could identify with:

An out gay High School character – representing for me the freedom I didn’t have available to myself in HS.

Small town life in the 90s or early aughts.

Unrequited love.

Basic Anywhere, USA HS angst.

A great soundtrack.

Writing that captured a moment but pulled you into the story – at least for me – as more than an observer.

Oh! And actual mix tapes.

Actually, I plan to watch it again – and not just for the procrastination value of that act.

It was a good example of what procrastination can result in – seeing these two films.

On the one hand, I put off something that I’d wanted to do that resulted in a sense of relief at having deprived myself in the moment.

But on the other hand, the way I felt at having missed Perks for so long…well, it’s giving me something to ruminate on concerning my procrastinatorial (Chrisism) ways.

Getting stuck in my head over that oughta kill a few days…

How about you? Are you still posting pics of bread you baked or the Caldona Coffee you’ve made or are you starting to struggle to keep yourself and your discipline away from the couch these days?

Dos Peliculas

TIL #11: Hyperbole

Maybe this isn’t a Today I Learned so much as it is a Today I Figured Something Out. Yet another thing you old bastards have been keeping from me!

Y’know, those little a-ha! moments. They really are fewer and further between than I’d have figured as a know-it-all kid. As a matter of fact, surrounded as I find myself by such stupid Americans, I’m surprised that there isn’t much more fanfare when it does happen.

Note to self: throw mental parade next time this happens, you earned it.

Like that time I finally got why it’s called a blow job. I’d simply been looking at it from the wrong <ahem> perspective.

Those types of a-ha moments. Or in that particular case, “ah-ah-aaaahhh-ha” moments.

Well, today…there I was, underthinking things when another one* hit me.

When I’m in a funk and spiraling downward, my older and wiser (just ask them, they’ll tell you) friends will tell me

It’s not that bad!

and I’ve always considered those to be words of encouragement. But as another deluge of Headlines-turned-Cautionary-Tales washed over me this morning, it hit me.

A-ha!

They must surely have been silently adding a word in order to not give away the surprise.

It’s not (only) that bad!

It’s worse.

Just wait.

Much, much…worse.

It’s funny, too. As I’ve been aging – involuntarily, obviously – I’ve found myself warning younger people. When they say something that I know (now) to be naive, I’ll whisper conspiratorially

Listen, I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but…

I figure it’s safe, knowing that they likely stopped listening to me when I said the word “listen”, because what could I possibly know, right?

On the other hand, sometimes I like to co-opt my old frenemy Dan Savage’s lil chestnut of wisdom and just push people down a little harder when they say something naive

It gets worse

I really like that one, since I think I mentioned people don’t really listen anyway. I just get my lil chuckle either way. Either because I can tell they didn’t listen and heard what they assumed they would hear or they did hear and…that look!

I don’t give away the surprise. I just leave the warning hanging there, sagely. However, when it finally does happen, I then get to say

Don’t say I didn’t warn ya

I’m just kidding. I don’t really do that.

Oops. Look at me…leaving words out, just like the grumpy old man that I am.

That should have said

I’m (mostly) just kidding

I do say those things, but just for fun.

My fun.

But since I’m old people humor me because I might be dangerous, we all get a good – if not awkward – chuckle.

The reality is that I turn my hyperbole on myself.

For.

Instance.

In the last couple weeks, a couple of my original blog buddies have poked their cute little heads back into the WordPress arena. It’s good to see old friends familiar avatars around this dusty old joint again.

In one of their returns – via comments on one of my blog posts and their blogosphere re-entry blog entry – we discussed the states of affair in his life.

Turns out he’s been having one lately. Or at least a low-key dating experience.

Graduated college.

Job searching.

Put on his – and this turn of phrase of his made me jealous because it’s really funny – COVID-15. But it’s ok, he says, because his beau likes him just the way he is.

Funny. When Myrt barfs on the floor, I clean it up. However, today I also learned that when I barf on the floor…I also clean it up.

Luckily, it was imaginary puke.

Anyway, in one of those moments of self-directed wry hyperbole – dryperbole? Chrisism – I thought to myself

Yeah, yeah…we get it – you’ve got a boyfriend

in faux exasperation – because secretly I’m a big emotional schmuck and it makes me happy when people begin relating.

But I went on to have this whole follow up conversation in my head

Some people just keep these things to themselves instead of blabbing them all over town

I said to myself.

For instance,

I said, mentally touching my pearls.

I like to keep these things to myself when I like a boy. I find that as soon as someone finds out they’re my boyfriend – pffft! – they’re gone.

Meh, wudyagundo – in my head I’m both my worst enemy and my best audience. It’s a bit crowded up there.

But I get a good chuckle out of that.

Anyway, if you ever find me letting hyperbole that you think should probably be silent out for a stroll, don’t be offended…try and enjoy it.

Because it’s probably gonna end up being right.

Yeah, I’m Ouisa.

*I’d just like to clarify, the whole blow job a-ha moment was back before the turn of the century…not recently.

TIL #11: Hyperbole

Social Pushback

I’ve been getting a lot and – I must admit – doing plenty of my own.

My new stance – coming optimistically slow – is to call people being stupid out by calling them – get this – “stupid”.

Person, does that make them mad. My stance to that reaction is undelayed.

Don’t get mad, get smart.

Simple, no?

Unsurprisingly, they’d prefer to not.

Sadly, their preference to not be called stupid while putting no consideration forward to behaving thoughtfully or putting forth a little effort, resulting in an informed opinion is not something I’m willing to consider dear or acceptable because “it’s the best they are capable of” any more.

It’s dangerous.

Thursday’s innocent incompetent suggestion that injecting disinfectant into ones body could be effective in treating Coronavirus is a perfect example. I had to resist explaining how lists and conjunctions worked to someone on the Facebook the other day after he floated the idea that what I heard wasn’t what had been said.

My first reaction wasn’t frustration, surprisingly. It was sadness at how pathetic it must be to share a mind with Trump – as this person must, knowing what he meant by his words in contrast to the rest of us, who only knew what he said.

Side note: that injecting disinfectants into the body isn’t such a crazy notion as it may sound – just a good 75-150 years out of date.

Who knew? Certainly not I.

Seriously, click that link and read the story about the historical use of disinfectants as both a potential cure for maladies like plague to pregnancy to not-being-White-ness.

It actually presents an interesting counter argument to people whose defense of Trump as a president and 2020 candidate is based on inanities like “Biden is an accused sexual predator, too!”

I mean, like basic math wouldn’t teach us to cancel out common denominators.

That argument, I think I’ll call The Lysol Rebuttal.

Here’s the deal – and I could have used this yesterday, when I was sadly left to sarcastically call someone stupid:

Someone was admittedly refusing to vote for either mainstream candidate in November because both were sexual predators. They had floated the idea of writing in their own candidate, but not committed to anything past not voting for either Biden or Trump.

Now, I’m fine with anyone choosing to exercise their right to challenge our two-party democracy.

I’m not fine with them thinking that the right time to do so is six months prior to the General. Nor that the right place to effect change is on a Facebook comment thread.

I really can’t believe it took me this long to decide to just call that type of behavior stupid to its stupid face.

But that they were ok leaving Trump in office for the sole reason that they “thought” voting Biden in would amount only to trading one sexual predator for another.

Here’s where The Lysol Rebuttal comes in.

Just like Lysol – let’s actually call it “Lysol” since Lysol actually provided the douche as birth control product but wasn’t actually the brand of disinfectant used as an internal disinfectant in the 1800s – was used as birth control in the 1920s and 30s, we now know how to use it properly for effective results, making it safe to “use”.

Well, Biden is kind of the same way – whether you believe the allegations or they are actually proved to be true. We know how to “use” him safely.

Right now, as I know it, his accuser (Tara Reade – not Reid – but can you believe the friggin’ coincidence?) claims to have filed a report with the Senate police (I think that’s what I read, who knew that was a thing) in ’93 that cannot be located now. She also says she complained to her boss, Biden’s Admin, who cannot not only recall it, says it never happened.

So, we’re kind of in a he said/she said/then another she said “Oh, no she di-in’t said”.

Meanwhile, Reade just now filed a police report in D.C. about the alleged ’93 assault.

Now.

Not when Biden was put on the ’08 Obama ticket.

Now.

Now it’s a significant barrier to his viability as a public servant. Not when he was only a heartbeat away from the presidency – serving as Veep to the first Black man elected to that office.

Now.

In other meanwhiles, we’ve got the currently sitting sexual predator who was elected (by Electoral College malfunction default, not popular vote, mind you) months after a tape of him bragging about his sexual predator prowess was released in 2016.

That was a result of what I call The Yeahbuts.

“Hey, your guy brags about grabbing women by the pussy and that he could shoot someone on the street in the middle of NYC and get away with it because he’s famous.”

“Yeah, but he’s an outsider, he’ll shake things up. Once he’s elected, he’ll act like a President.”

Ok, how come my yeahbut doesn’t work against Trump now?

Yeahbut, none of that happened – his outsider-ness hasn’t made him more effective and he hasn’t behaved presidentially.

Why are we still talking about him as a candidate? He’s proving daily that he’s harmful today.

The argument against is yeahbut Biden was possibly maybe harmful 27 years ago?

The Lysol Rebuttal.

Personally, anyone who chooses what we know is bad today, can’t see that it’s bad for us or enables it because they think both are equally bad and won’t choose?

Stupid.

It’s like being caught in a house fire in L.A. and choosing to die of smoke inhalation because the air outside is smoggy.

I’m not even considering this chosen course of action of mine as something that will make me unpopular – as if I care about popularity. These people are not folks I want to be popular amongst. But I will attempt to at least choose my words carefully enough to separate stupid thoughts and stupid actions from plain old stupidity.

That’s stupid” is not the same as “you’re stupid”.

There is a difference, not that the subjects will notice, I’m confident of that.

Social Pushback

Weird Accumulations

Do you ever look around your home and think to yourself, “I got some weird shit around here”?

No?

Just me?

I really do doubt I’m alone in this. However, as I have begun looking at my place with a more critical eye, things are jumping out at me.

Not a more critical eye…maybe more of a “What if?” eye.

Y’know…what if I died?

Ok, yeah. I’m pretty sure that one is just me. But the end result is I’m cleaning house a bit. A couple of disclaimers first:

  1. My home exists suspended in the moments following Thanos’ snap. Do not judge my inability to keep up with that level of dusting.
  2. I’ve typically been a purger throughout my fagabond (Chrisism) adult life.
  • That being said, aside from clothes I can no longer fit into nor emotionally part with yet, most of my clutter is just minutia. But I think that’s what will make whoever clears out the physical wake of my existence scratch a hole right into their head.
  • In no particular order, here is my crazy:
  • Random Coinage:
  • I have no idea where some of these are from. Whether I brought them home during my travels or picked them up as loose change without realizing I’d been given foreign currency until the CoinStar rejected it. But I’ve got them if I need them.

    Match Books:

    Some of these have moved with me to multiple residences, if not even multiple states. The Ripples matchbook has been to Florida, Texas, back to Cali, Oregon, Washington and then back to Oregon. They are scattered throughout my home. As a matter of fact, I got those Quark matches in Las Vegas at…Quark’s, the restaurant inside Star Trek: The Experience. I bought a box of them back in…2001? There is a book of Quark’s matches in every room.

    Still.

    Wine Corks:

    Because – duh.

    Keys:

    Three of those are currently in use. Two others are for my Key Buddy.

    I have at least three house keys from former residences as well as three more from people’s homes that I used to be either a Key Buddy for or a dog walking pinch hitter for – or both.

    Nuts & Bolts:

    Ok, I keep these around as both objets as well as mementos. But back in 90s LA, we used to have our own version of the 70s Key Parties. We called them Nut & Bolt Parties and that’s all I’m saying about them.

    Fortune Cookie Fortunes:

    I have no explanation. Other than the obvious:

    Ticket Stubs:

    Hey, the memory is going…

    And…honorable mention – which you may have noticed in a few pics above:

    Fingernail Clippers!

    I don’t have a set in every room, but I think the several I have in random jacket pockets hanging in my closet makes my per room average about 2 – and that’s including my car as a “room”.

    So…what crazy shit do you accumulate?

    Weird Accumulations

    ExPat

    Hopefully, this won’t become a Chronicles of ExPat as was the case with Pat the Patriot. But I made this official yesterday morning

    It’s amazing how asking a business who their Registered Agent is can motivate them to make right a bad shituation.

    I’d complained at Pat’s second and the third Spa Days through this outfit’s webpage – since there was no way to directly contact the GM.

    Both times, I got sales people reaching out to me about coming in to drive cars. The second time, I actually fired a warning shot in response, telling the salesperson my struggle and he replied that he’d printed my email and put it in front of the GM.

    Nothing.

    So I complained through the Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection department, thinking that might goose the guy to get involved. Sadly, that only prompted him to push an avalanche of papers – checklists and reports – into the DoJ inbox maintaining Pat’s quality as well as their exhaustive presale due diligence.

    Case closed.

    Until

    Two back-to-back visits later, I get the GM’s email address from my service guy and drop the words lawsuit, overcharged, refund and lost income. Seriously, after a total of 5 weeks in the shop in 6 months, I was missing about $2500 in compensation from Lyft driving. I really thought that would get his attention. It was the largest chunk of what I laid out as about $7700 in what could become my lawsuit against his dealership.

    At the end of the day, who knows what word it was that really prompted him to finally reach out. He claims he never noticed my mention of a lawsuit.

    You can see where the quality performance really starts in this outfit if he’s not capable of reading for retention and picking out little details like that…

    But, here we were, sitting at a table, finally talking. The GM, the new Service Manager and me.

    He spends a lot of time running through his 25 year resume and attesting to the most important thing to him: happy customers.

    I made a lengthy show of calling him either oblivious, stupid or a liar. But our conversation continued.

    In his eagerness to demonstrate his commitment to customer satisfaction, he offered up three paths forward:

    • Let them have another (6th) crack at making Pat whole
    • Refund my extended warranty and repair charges and I can find another service provider to finish easing Pat into their early grave
    • Trade Pat in on a new vehicle
  • Now, you know my grumpy old ass. I countered with a two-point list after telling him Pat was his failure to fix and asking why I should reward him by buying another car from him when this one had been such a disaster.
  • Realizing I’d unwittingly sprung a trap by pointing a conversational arrow at letting them try to fix Pat again, I acquiesced while reminding Hong that there had been an unmentioned fourth option.
  • He promised to get Pat repaired and back on the streets by Friday. The two-day window he’d committed to was perfectly punctuated by the Service Manager’s snapping vertebrae as he reacted to the promise.
  • Great.
  • I take off in my loaner, again…seriously, this was my fourth loaner from them – I hadn’t expected to have a roster of vehicles on my ParkingKitty app when I bought Pat. So I deleted the first couple, but feast your eyes
  • Friday comes around and at lunchtime, I figure I’d best check in before the service guys were off. I message my Service Tech and he replies that the carpet hasn’t dried yet, so they’re going to leave it over the weekend.
  • I ask if they found any other leaks and he says no…then adds
  • The two floor plugs in the back were completely soaked, we resealed them, now the carpet just needs to dry!

  • Pushing down the strangeness of plugs becoming soaked – shouldn’t plugs be made of nonabsorbent material? – water leaking upward through the car’s belly and the desire to ask, “So that’s where the leak was all along?” I failed miserably at managing my sense of helplessness but gathered my thoughts and sent the GM another email. I asked about getting my warranty and prior repairs refunded and then asked about using that credit toward a new vehicle.
  • I was so frustrated and felt completely underwater in this transaction.

    Victimized.

    That’s a tough word – you conjure up images of violence or breaking and entering, not something civilized like transacting a car purchase. But I think it’s a good word. Think back to the financial crisis when people were throwing around terms like “predatory lending”. This was how I felt, like I was the weak prey versus an equal in the transaction.

    Again, I reiterated to him my dis-ease with furthering our professional relationship. A sense that both got worse and evolved into a “who cares, it’s never gonna happen” attitude simultaneously as I researched Pat’s trade in value.

    I was about $3800 upside down on them. I didn’t really see this joker that can’t follow up on an inspection checklist pulling a rabbit out of his hat here.

    Son of a bi…

    He actually did it, dragging me along with him.

    Of course, I sent the email on Friday afternoon and waited about 20 hours for a response, but when it came – well, it didn’t come with half measures.

    And just look at the car.

    It might have been my mention of regretting not going with the Tiguan when I’d been looking. Whatever it was – luck, listening skills (which seemed less likely given his track record with details) – the X3 he put in front of me was definitely speaking my language.

    But it was something he owned at a good enough price to absorb my negative equity into the price of the car. He also took my prior repair and warranty purchase in as a down payment credit.

    All of which means, the deal frigging worked.

    Of course, I made the deal contingent up on Lyft signing off on the car for service. The GM was confident that I’d be getting more lucrative, upgraded rides through LyftLux.

    We’ll see.

    Monday morning, I tootled down to the Lyft Hub for an inspection. They signed right off on it – telling me Portland wasn’t much of a Lux hive, but maybe expect them Friday and Saturday night.

    That tracked.

    But in looking at the Lux ride rates from the driver side, we keep 80% of the drop rate versus 20%. The per mile rate was ~3x more, too, so I am hoping that those special occasion Friday and Saturday night rides come through!

    Regardless, I drove away from my signing meeting thinking, “Welp, this is only gonna cost me one hour of driving more a week than Pat”. As long as I’m able to be driving consistently, an extra hour a week seems pretty manageable…keep your fingers crossed!

    ExPat

    Lemme Fix This For You…

    Here’s a shituation – and you can feel free to call this “being judge-y”. I don’t care, I’m making a point. Personally, I prefer to call this an observation. Since it’s also an accurate observation, people will see it for the indictment that it is.

    Hopefully.

    I was scrolling through the notties on the asocial media this morning whilst being lazy in bed and came across this gem. A real stand out in a bumper crop of guys exemplifying how gays have gone from fabulous to frivolous in just a couple of generations.

    But on Grindr, all you really need to have in order to set yourself apart from that group is a face pic.

    Or a shirt.

    Either way – pretty low bar.

    Here’s the profile:

    This guy needed to be slapped or shaken as a child. Maybe if he’d had a mildly traumatizing childhood, he wouldn’t have grown up to fetishize those things – assuming that when he says “wild” in his profile, he’s talking about kink. And his Instagram confirms he lives in Portland, so I’m assuming kink is a given.

    Actually, there’s just a lot of people here who came to Portland, didn’t get it, can’t afford to leave on a PT barista income and are using kink to just feel something besides their oppressive existential gloom.

    But I’m getting ahead of myself.

    Don’t worry, I’m not going all the way back to the beginning beginning – reading regulars will already know my take on open marriages.

    Synopsis: you’re with the wrong person.

    Everthemess, here’s this guy imploring potential suitors – if you can call them that, since the best case with this guy is missing out completely an orgasm – that they be exciting.

    I’m unreasonably excited that he at least said “please”. Albeit in a totally lazy manner. Thankfully, he didn’t bore me with a pithy “Plz”…there is a difference.

    No, the beginning I’m going back to is actually only as far away as that headline.

    More specifically, the follow up.

    Pls be exciting

    If you follow that up with “Happily married”, I’m left with little choice but to call BS.

    Here…

    Crappily married

    I fixed it.

    Pls be exciting + happily married = you don’t understand the core concept.

    I’m not even going to parse out how the words “fit” and “tummies” don’t actually belong in the same sentence. Well, ok…but I’m only sparing him one thought there:

    This guy put the “moron” in oxymoron.

    I’ve stopped trying to understand the avalanche of people in open relationships. It’s beyond my capabilities to help.

    However, what I’m left with is the shock and amusement that these people think they can do better. I mean, seriously…you trapped tricked one person into a relationship, that already seems like a lot for you. Now you think you deserve random hookups, too?

    I’m just gonna say it, those random hookup? Well, that’s the best you deserved. But this is America, by all means expect more, you Montessori level Stupid American.

    There’s an old saying, “Boring people get bored”. Sweetie, if you need exciting people around to be excited, well…

    At the same time, since I’ve visited the Instagram you linked in your profile, let’s talk about that. You took a trip to Thailand in December with your husband. That certainly seems like what some people would consider a “trip of a lifetime” – not to mention exciting.

    Yet, here you are, hand out for more.

    I hope you don’t mind my saying you are a bit more physically attractive than your spouse.

    Couple years younger, too?

    I’ll go out on a limb and assume he paid for the trip.

    As well as your gym membership to some douche-level gym. You’re not coming across as someone who’d be satisfied with a pedestrian level gym like 24 Hour or LA Fitness.

    So boring, those gyms.

    As I’m assuming your spouse must be. If you’re looking for exciting – I’m assuming it’s not as an escape to all the excitement of your home life.

    But, well…I guess my earlier synopsis covered that. Leaving us to riddle out how you failed to grasp the core concept behind the phrase “happily married”.

    Unless

    Are you defining happiness as having some rube provide you with the foundational levels of Maslow’s pyramid?

    My guess is that’s the elephant in the bedroom. That awkward time of the week (for his sake, I hope getting a little unenthusiastic weekly sex from his future ex is the return on his investment in you) where you’ve gotta “pay rent” to the guy who probably does love you and demonstrates it by making sure your physiological and safety layers are solid.

    Leaving you to shuffle uncomfortably from one foot to the other when confronted with level three. Hoping your asocial media trolling drops someone hot enough exciting in your lap.

    If it happens, I’m sure the three of you (you, your exciting person and your community property divorce settlement) will all be very happy together…until you realize that your top tiers of esteem and self-actualization were just bastardizations of pride and unnecessary levels of physical fitness built of someone else’s projection of love and belonging on to you.

    Then you’ve got to hope your landing from the fall from that top tier isn’t too devastating for you to start over at the third level again.

    Hopefully, that’s an exciting challenge for you, Sugar.

    It’s certainly not exciting at all to observe. It’s depressing as all get out, to be completely honest.

    I’ve lived both sides of the scenario this guy is embracing – well, not the delusional crappily married part, so I guess I started out a little better prepared than him – and you know what? I’ll take my occasional ennui over his absent excitement any day.

    Either you know why, or you don’t. There’s really no explaining it to people who don’t get it – kind of like trying to reason with Trump supporters at this point. If they still support him, it’s absent of reason.

    But I still get out of bed each day hoping there are enough people who understand that not getting it isn’t the first step in the journey; knowing that you probably don’t even know you aren’t getting it is step one.

    Those people are exciting!

    Lemme Fix This For You…

    Unkempt

    Greeters Pressers!

    You could say it’s been a while. In my mind, I’ve already bastardized your assessment of the gap between posts, so be warned.

    It’s been a while since I posted: May 2nd.

    It’s been a while since I went to the gym: three months.

    It’s been a while since my last haircut: November 23rd, 2018.

    That last one is more complex than simple apathy.

    But the hair shituation seems to have bypassed the worst of the grow out aesthetic. The shag over the ears is long enough to tuck behind my ears, but still too short to do whatever it is that it’s supposed to do next. I’ll keep monitoring the progress.

    It’s literally like watching hair grow.

    My mom seems to be making peace with the ‘do, the last time we had lunch she offered the suggestion

    Maybe just get it shaped a little

    Which I agree with, in principle but just hate saying because it sounds so gay.

    Last week my sister and her husband came to town and took me out to dinner, treating me in the manner upon which I’ve become dependent. Hehe.

    She said hello as she moved to hug me and then, mid-hug, says

    It’s not as bad as mom says!

    Which is hilarious because I’m pretty sure that was our sibling version of a compliment. Equally funny, just the comforting reinforcement that my family cares enough to talk about my best being.

    The very next day – sometimes I’m social! – my ex, Rib, came to town on a work layover and his husband met him here. I grabbed a couple bottles of wine on the way over to their hotel and we drank them in the mezzanine of the lobby…from about 10:30 to midnight.

    Like with my sister, it definitely wasn’t a long enough visit, but still a delightfully condensed catch up…starting with

    Oh my gaaaawd, Jesus hair!

    …practically in unison and from across the lobby when they came off the elevator.

    It was kind of enabling, methinks for Rib’s hubster. He quit his job three months ago and has been enjoying his funemployment since. I’ve never seen him unshaven, but last week I got a three week growth showing.

    He doesn’t seem like the long haired type, but if my apathy can motivate others to present a rawer version of themselves…I’m all for it.

    So, there’s the aesthetic update: Jesus Hair.

    Next stop:

    Unkempt

    Murderous Myrtle

    Well, it’s finally happened.

    Myrt has upgraded her nickname from Mistress to Murderous.

    It’s a development that’s only surprising because I’m not dead. I always assumed that in our closed little ecosystem that I would be the only prey available to her.

    But, somehow I woke up to this unexpected sight this morning…

    I had to turn on the lights to determine that Myrtle hadn’t upgraded her recent poop mischief to that infamous “my cat pooped in my shoe” scenario. Then I thought it was dark fluff from the underside of my box spring.

    But, nooooo.

    Apparently, Myrtle is trying to make amends for her litter box antics. It’s just a surprising manifestation, since I live in a fourth floor condo with maybe a 20″ wide Juliet balcony.

    There’s not a lot of room to work there…plus, Myrtle’s not the best hunter. She hasn’t caught the red dot once since I’ve known her.

    Even more concerning is that I left my balcony door open for her while I was out, like I do when it’s nice. But when I got home, it had cooled down, so I closed the doors and put on the heat while I watched a movie before bed.

    I had no idea there was a bird in the unit!

    Then I slept through the entire death match that I imagine happened after I went to bed. I mean, the bird might have been dead when I got home, but not put out for me yet…somehow that seems more disturbing.

    Do you think this more a Santa Myrtle scenario or an escalation of her psychotic behaviors?

    Regardless, this is a cat behavior I surely never thought I’d have to deal with in my urban life!

    But since people often comment on Myrt’s weight and shape, her litter box shitnanigans do make it easier to put her on a diet. I’m basically using food to positively reinforce good kitty bathroom habits, so she’s leaned down quite a bit in the last few weeks.

    Apparently, her new svelteness has allowed her to better keep up with her prey.

    Yup, I just found a way to take the blame for this poor bird’s death. Welcome to my head, people.

    Murderous Myrtle

    Why I’m Single #20

    Oops, I did it again.

    News Flash: I’m apparently needy…

    While out having a little solo misadventure, I gently hit on a guy. I’d just seen a movie and stopped on the way home for a Pallet Jack at Kelly’s Olympian. Really, I was just being nice, offering him a drink.

    He declined, but we made polite conversation as we sat a barstool apart.

    I learned that he’d just moved here two months ago – you know how I love those fresh arrivals – from Arizona. I mentioned my parents are visiting there now, which made him chuckle. When I asked why, he told me that the jokes about snowbirds and basically old people in general are no joke.

    He is still looking for a good fitting job. He’s in his second home since moving up here, the first place just wasn’t a good fit. His housemate at the new place is a much more comfortable fit, personality-wise.

    Anyway, he finished his drink and left. Then he came back a few minutes later and handed me a note and quickly scampered off. It basically said that he wasn’t sure whether I had been flirting with him or not, the dangers of being me. Although we weren’t in a gay bar, so I get his caution. But the note had his number and told me to text him if I had been.

    Because I still got a little game.

    It was way better than that time I used a cheesy pick up line on a guy at The Cuff.

    How does it feel to be the best looking guy in this dump?

    It was a slow night. There was only six people there and the dance bar and patio weren’t even open. Usually, there were a lot more ugly people there.

    Or the time I shamelessly hit on a friend of D-Slice at one of her Free Drink Friday gatherings. I mean, that’s just bad form…hitting on your friend’s friends.

    Isn’t it?

    But we were talking and he had the most beautiful smile. Absolutely radiant!

    It was quite beyond my control.

    Even worse is the time I’m cruising down the street with my top down and see a good looking guy getting into a car, honk, yell “woo-hoo!” and it ends up actually being my neighbor.

    See? That last one was just bad game altogether! But it was like 15 years ago or so.

    So what’s the big deal? What did I do again? Why am I needy?

    (At least what am I needy about now?)

    The first three guys were all FTM trans folk. That last example was my lesbian neighbor.

    I’m sure I’ve inadvertently made passes at even more trans people that went nowhere and they either never mentioned it or I never got to know them well enough to learn that information.

    But what I know about myself is that I want the heart I desire to be attached to the plumbing I recreationally enjoy.

    Hopefully all that says about me is that I’m simply not the Kinsey Six everyone would imagine me to be…worst-case, I’m just a Five. If it makes me out to appear transphobic, well, I would hope it doesn’t.

    But, am I? Are genitals shallow to the degree of being superficial in love? Am I misdefining what I’m looking for in my love life and conflagrating (Made Up Word Alert!) it with a sex life?

    Either way, I’m striking out.

    But at least my pick up game has gotten smoother as we’ve traveled forward in time.

    Why I’m Single #20