So, How’s Your Monday?

You’d think I’d know a good sign or minor omen when I saw one.

Not this guy, nope.

When I woke up at 3 AM in a manner that caused Myrtle to not just jump off the bed, but land outside the bedroom…that’s not a sign, right?

That the cause of my sudden consciousness was that I’d dreamed I had been bitten by a snake while sleeping in my actual bed wasn’t a symbol, right?

In the dream, the snake had latched onto the outside/pinky edge of my hand and was not letting go. It was also making eye contact with me in my dream whilst doing so. After what seemed like a minute in my dream, I reacted…by shaking my hand until the snake was flung clear of the bed.

Or so I thought.

But I was distracted from checking by Myrtle crash landing in the living room, so I forgot about the snake as my brain woke up.

I called out for Myrtle as I realized my hand still ached where the dream snake had bitten me and wondered if Myrtle had been the actual perpetrator. That would explain why she wasn’t answering my call – like she ever does.

Then I felt something scrabble up my neck and into my hair. I shook my head and loosely ran a hand through it to free it of any critters that had become entangled in my mane.

Realizing my error, I jumped out of bed, flipped on the light and then flung back the sheets in search of any blood sucking little predators.

Nothing.

Heart pounding and semi wide awake, I turned to go to the bathroom. And then a snake…of hair flipped forward on my face.

Now, wide awake and fortunately still needing to use the bathroom, I answered nature’s call. I tried unsuccessfully to calm my nerves while washing my hands, examining the one for what I hoped would remain phantom injuries as I did so.

Failing at a return to normal breathing, I stopped at the freezer on my way back to bed and took a shot of ice cold tequila right out of the bottle.

Might not help, couldn’t hurt that much.

After a little tossing, I hear Myrt looking for a new place to sleep. She’s trying to open the drawers on my dresser to nest for the night. When I finally grow too frustrated listening to her to focus on my own sleep, I get up and shoo her under the bed.

She’d succeeded in opening two of the eight drawers, but she’s happiest in the third tier, explaining why she hadn’t gone silent.

But as long as I was up…I fed Myrtle her breakfast so she wouldn’t wake me too early.

And took a second shot, to be sure I’d not be awake too early.

Worked like a charm.

I woke at 8, thinking I’d like to sleep more, but knowing the daylight would fight me. Hardly a surprise, given the dawn I saw breaking through the windows when I fed Myrt.

So, I got up. Only to be rewarded by this.

I hate that cat.

Sometimes…I swear I added that in my mind as I typed.

Seriously, I know dinner was late because I didn’t get home til 8 from mom and dad’s…but it was Father’s Day! Cut me some slack. You’re really gonna eat breakfast when you aren’t hungry just because I put it out? And then puke it up while I sleep?!?

What a loathsome creature.

I clean up Myrtle’s un-eating and brush my teeth. Rib had been texting me about a cappuccino machine he thought he’d talk his hubby into getting – the exact machine he already has, but with an integrated milk frother, which is so him – so I was painfully aware of my lack of coffee or energy drinks in the house. Throwing on a hat and sneakers, I’m off because obviously, a trip to Nossa Familia was in order.

You can barely tell I’ve had a rough night and soon to be rougher morning. I arrive on the sidewalk to this.

Just come the fuck on.

I’ve had these tires about a month.

Luckily, I wasn’t planning on driving. I stomp to the cafe, telling Rib I had dibs on their old machine as I went along. When I arrive, I order and the barista asked if I want to use my free drink that I always forget about.

Yes! Yes…but add the $5 back as tip!

If Monday has it in for me, at least I can try to get in good with Karma by tipping well.

Worth it.

I go back home, water the Silver Fox’s plants, grab his mail and then steal his Dyson handheld to go vacuum my car while I try out the compressor that came as a GWP with Angela.

Worked like a charm – only took about 5 minutes, too! Now to shower and run up to Les Schwab to see if they can patch up or replace the tire they sold me. Hopefully, they can resist the urge to tell me I should replace all 4 tires again – which I fell for last time. Since these have less than 4K miles on them, hopefully my x-drive suspension won’t notice that one tire has 0 miles on it.

Gawd.

I hope that $5 tip worked. I don’t want to spend $250 on a new tire, let alone another thousand on all 4…wish me luck.

So, how is your Monday treating you?

So, How’s Your Monday?

Victory!

Hopefully the title didn’t turn you off – thinking, “Great, here he goes about protests again”.

If it did, psych!

Things had gotten entirely too heavy around here – as in most corners of the country – these days. Time to lighten it up…with a Comcast update!

It’s been a little over a week since my new modem/router combo unit arrived. Initially, I was concerned as to whether or not I’d be able to successfully install the new device without the help of a twenty-something.

I’m intrepid, though, so after a thorough social media and email blitz in what might have been my last visit to the interwebs, I took the plunge and pulled the plug.

Literally.

My main concern was getting my Sonos and AppleTV connected to the new device, which was pretty easy.

Two plugs, two holes.

Unlike the old router, which had four.

Then I connected the router to the Comcast coax cable and plugged it in. After the lights did their thing, I opened up the Sonos app and got Aimee Mann Radio back into business.

It worked!

Then I got around to cleaning out the literal and figurative debris. This is what I pulled out from behind my console:

And this is the after:

Much cleaner. Something I’m not embarrassed to have seen sitting by my TV. In the first picture, you can see the giant old modem/router as well as a cable box – which I think I took advantage of having three times, max.

You see, when I have to switch inputs to watch cable, I’m likely not going to do it. The most difficult part of the endeavor was remembering what “input” each of the different devices was on. I actually made a cheat sheet on my Notes app because I knew I’d forget.

Anyway, I went about my afternoon and then later, settled in for some TV with dinner.

It worked!

I was on a roll.

The next day, though, when I went to do some work on my laptop…no internet.

Fine, fine, fine…I whip out the old instructions and start the troubleshooting. I hadn’t initially downloaded Arris’ app as the instructions had recommended. Having gone through everything in the instructions again with no change in results, I decided I needed to.

Sure enough, after registering my device, it helpfully displayed a graphic showing that I had no internet. After a few minutes of staring at that like it was a hieroglyph, I started poking around for answers. I knew that I had logged the change in equipment – in an easier than expected manner – with Comcast the prior day. But for whatever reason, the juice wasn’t going to Internet.

WiFi – check.

Devices – check.

Internet – no bueno.

It was really mind boggling, trying to figure out why WiFi devices like my phone and speakers were tethered to the new device and functioning, but my laptop and iPad – which are also running off WiFi – wouldn’t connect to the internet.

For whatever reason, I was getting a password request on any site I tried to open. Putting in the password for the new router didn’t work, either.

Redoubling my effort to stare intently at the pop up box asking for a password left me with a new question.

What the hell is a WPA2?!?

That was the password being requested.

Changing gears to stare with intent at the Arris app, it finally jumped out at me.

Friggin’ fine print.

There was a masked password under a bold heading that I’d initially skimmed past because it didn’t say “WPA2” over it. But on my third or seventieth glance, there it was in a tiny light gray font…

Plugged that bad boy into the pop up box on my laptop and badda-boom, badda-bing…porn!

Joking.

In the app, I was also easily able to change my WiFi network’s name to something less generic so I could find it. Since my balcony faces the back of a hotel…I tailored my network accordingly:

The only thing left was to call Comcast and adjust my package and billing.

Because it took three attempts before I successfully managed to talk to a person, I added a Comcast contact to my address book. I had to. Having realized after the first two callbacks I set up that my phone sends all calls who aren’t in my contacts to voicemail, I really had no other choice.

It’s not like I was gonna remember how to reset that feature any time soon.

But, after a 44 minute convo with an employee who was both chipper and helpful, I walked away from the call with a bill that had gone from a $120/month 75mbps internet and cable bundle (to get the best pricing) to a stand alone 100mbps internet only service for $35/fucking month ($55/month after the first year).

What a damn racket.

When I was dependent upon them for equipment, bundled packages were the only option. And each piece of equipment costs to “rent” each month. My old modem was $14/month. The modem I bought was $91 on Amazon.

91/14=6.5

So I was paying for my old modem about twice a year.

For about four years.

I should change their contact name to Fucking Criminals.

Now, I’m thinking I should start a pool on how long it takes me to actually return the equipment to their drop off. I’ve been twice in the last week, but both times there has been a crazy line outside the store due to social distancing protocols.

With just one associate working the line.

So I grumpy old left.

Plus, I just realized this morning that I hadn’t thrown my Comcast remote into the box…oops. Looks like being an old grump saved me having to wait in that mess twice!

Victory!

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

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

Pro-Tip

I was having socially distant beers with Filipina Fox recently – we were drinking in the park, surrounded camouflaged by homeless people milling about. She took the opportunity to ask my opinion on something that had been bugging her lately.

Food Delivery Apps.

“Easy”, I said. “Don’t.”

But, she explained her conflict – she is a more than competent cook, by the way – of wanting to support local business and be lazy convenience. But when she orders delivery, she gets mad that the restaurant has to pay a commission to the app, effectively removing the support she wants to provide. Plus, delivery drivers need the income, too.

I totally get that. All that.

However, working in banking as she does, specifically in a capacity where local, small businesses are her clients, she has seen the documentation of sales and expense restaurants incur as part of app based delivery services. The examples I’ve seen point toward that app portion of the fees being about 35% of the order value…and in food, that’s pretty much more than a restaurant’s profit margin. She wanted my opinion since when my Lyft Life gets a little too peopley or if there’s just no ride demand, she knows that I’ll flip on Postmates as an alternative.

Frankly, I really enjoy my untethered, non-professional gig jobs. The flexibility to work when I want, do what I want, yada-yada-yada…with no boss or corporate overlord to worry about. As an added bonus, both options allow me to flex a muscle I took for granted when I walked away from my retail career in disgust – namely: being in service to people.

Still, that a friend was demonstrating this level of hand-wringing worrying about how her actions impacted others made my little gig worker self feel appreciated in a way that most of my actual past bosses failed at.

Yet there I was, telling her to fuck worrying about me and my gig working ilk.

Why?

I was mad at Postmates, obviously.

Well, mad might be overselling it. But Postmates, I have observed in my last few attempts to customer them, has either been doing some shady shit or at least allowing it to happen. Since the reason for my disgust with retail was precisely that shady type of shit being allowed to fester versus holding people accountable to ethical standards…well, this observation bothered me.

So, I told the Filipina Fox my story.

The last few times I’ve ordered Postmates for my self, I’ve abandoned my order and found alternative forms of sustenance because I saw that Postmates wasn’t just making money on both ends, like apps do. They seemed to be actively price gouging.

Case in point:

I went to order from a local Chinese restaurant and found my favorite comfort food – Chef’s Special Fried Rice, which has shrimp, beef and chicken in it! – and added it to my order for $13.95. I thought that seemed kind of high, recalling that it was under $10 when I stumbled in there back in the good, old pre-COVID days and ordered at the bar, had a Heineken while I waited and left for under $20 with tip.

Then again, maybe I misremembered that since I’d had a few beers prior to walking in.

But then-then again, it is super yummy, so even at $13.95…worth it. So, I ordered it anyway. But just to make myself miserable, I googled Republic Cafe’s menu and, well…screw you, Uncle Bob.

Here’s why all that bothers me:

First, it seems to only happen with independent restaurants. When I’ve needed a Chipotle fix, those prices seem consistent with my prior in-restaurant orders. So, again, this is impacting small, local businesses.

Sidebar: I have noticed while driving, when I have to order and pay for something for a customer with my pre-paid Postmates card, that there are variations between what the app tells me the total should be and reality at national restaurants, but I don’t know what the customer is actually charged, so can’t definitively say that this doesn’t also happen with chain restaurants, too. But this sets up point number two pretty nicely.

Second, who knows whether this is a self-defense decision by the restaurant or something Postmates mandates. Regardless, even in the best case, the commission they are getting is off a higher priced menu, so they’re at least getting more for their 35% cut. If the best case here is that the restaurant is jacking their prices up 30% plus in order to offset the cost of selling through apps, well…that mitigates my friend’s concern, right?

Apps are still charging crazy delivery fees to the customer. Their other customer. Usually somewhere in the $3-5 range. So, on top of the $4-5 they would make on my $13.95 order from the restaurant, they add another $4-5 from the customer.

So, they’re making around $10 on each $15 order placed.

And I know, they promote restaurants with free or reduced delivery, too. I have no idea how that works out for the restaurants versus the apps. But on the flip side of that, for every order under $15, Postmates racks on a “small cart fee” of $2 to the customer, so…they’re making money somewhere or wheres – I don’t feel bad for them.

Like Filipina Fox, I feel a little bad for some of the businesses. But mostly, I feel mad that the customer is getting abused the way they are. The end result being that I will make decisions kind of like what she has been opting to do, which is just put on my big boy pants and walk down to the restaurant and pick up my own damn food.

No, really…I have to put on pants. Quarantine dress code and all means I’m probably sitting around in sweats versus dressed to go out. And sweats are not ok for going to pick up to-go food…it’s not like I’m getting on a plane, for Pete’s sake.

But, that’s a whole other rant.

Pro-Tip

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

I Am

Therefore, I am bothered.

For the last five weeks, if not longer, I’ve been mainly stuck at home. Outside of FaceTime, Messenger and Zoom and the Virtual Happy Hours they provide, my main source of socialization is Mistress Myrtle.

So I’ve been listening to a lot of Pandora and Spotify.

Since I’m a broke ass ho’, I have the free versions – which means I hear ads.

Side note: I don’t feel bad about not being a paid subscriber – I’m assuming they make more marketing to me than they would off of my – what…$30 annual subscription?

Anyway, I’ve been hearing this ad since day one of lockdown

And I’m really all for it, just like the freeway reader boards that have no congestion or accidents to report, so now they read

Stay Home, Save Lives

Fine.

I’m good with all that. Because we need to hear it, obviously.

That last one…goddamn, that’s hilarious.

But what I’m not fine with is them not making sense.

This ad I’ve been hearing listening to all this time, makes a great point. Up to a point

Here’s the deal, the ad states that:

  1. If we don’t stay home, as many as 1.4% of Oregonians could die
  2. The average Oregonian knows six hundred people
  3. That means five people I know could die from Miley Cyrus Coronavirus
  • Ok, well…first, I think 1.4% is on the low side, outside of math.
  • Second, I’ve got a list of at least five people that could please up and do my world a favor.
  • Third – and I think this is most important:
  • Five is not 1.4% of 600, so…what gives?
  • It’s 8.4, which I’d actually be really sad about even if it was rounded down to 8.
  • Every time that damn ad comes on I just want to call someone and demand an explanation. But, since I need to run to the Rx and it’s pouring outside, I’m dumping this complaint here and hope that helps it stop making me crazy.
  • I mean, seriously…if I wanted half-assed information, there’s FaceBook and Fox News.
  • But since I’m now at the point where I’ve muted someone on FaceBook for 30 days to see if that makes me less nuts than trying to talk sense to stupid Americans like her – maybe that’s another blog, we’ll see – or if I just have to unfriend her remains to be seen.
  • Maybe it just means I have to subscribe to a Pandora or Spotify…
  • I Am

    Does This K Make Me Look Fat?

    I’d forgotten about this…achievement with everything else going on.

    Maybe that means I’m losing my competitive edge not being around other people. One thing I’ve noticed, having indulged in video chats with family and friends lately – ok, sure…I call them Virtual Happy Hours, but let’s call that Social Distancing Lubrication – is that we have to wait our turn to talk.

    Tech limitations being what they are – or maybe my laptop is old – the speaker/microphone tend to be something of a one trick pony. If you’re talking, you can’t hear, so if you want an actual conversation, you have to actually stop and listen.

    Bad news for these people who say they can do both, all they’re gonna be “hearing” while they talk over someone else is themselves.

    Perhaps that’s truly their deep-seeded happy place. Maybe now is when they’ll realize it. Or maybe they will realize it and come out of this better – actual – conversationalists.

    For my part, someone bothers to set up a VHH and then pulls that with me, I’ll turn the screen toward my sink and let them watch me drink wine and wash dishes while they conversationally masturbate.

    Now…what was I talking about?

    Oh, yes. Competitive edge.

    Soon after I started driving with Lyft last summer, I became aware of the fact that Lyft was a sponsor for Portland’s MLS team, the Timbers.

    It’s kind of a big deal around here.

    I noticed this when they ran a story on their blog about sending a featured driver to the match as a form of recognition. That sounded cool. I have actually never been to a match – they are harder to get into than Elton John’s post-Oscar party and I can easily drink better expensive beer elsewhere, so…<shrug emoji>

    But this sounded kinda like just my type of goofy fun.

    Then I read the present featured driver had 5000 rides and a 5-star rating.

    Ok, well, it seemed like I was gonna be logging a few miles before I got to his level. Plus, I’m aware that I can come off as quite a unit when I get going about something, so wasn’t expecting to maintain a 5-star rating long.

    Don’t even talk to me about that 98% Acceptance Rate. Sore subject…

    But, now you see the “K” I was referring to in the post title.

    It really only took about 7 months, and that’s driving ~25 hours a week. Of course, I should have hit it a couple weeks earlier…thanks, Coronavirus.

    An unexpected perk – and another way Lyft builds in recognition in their be-your-own-boss work environment is to award swag when you hit milestones. However, since my swag threshold kinda peaks at “sticker”, I didn’t pay much attention to this accomplishment/reward. My experience is that branded merch is pretty schlocky, so I tune it out.

    Not that I was ever a smoker, but remember those jackets you could redeem your “points” for from cigarette brands like Marlboro or Camel? Yeah, that’s the image I have of employer branded clothing.

    So, when I checked my PO Box yesterday and found a key to a package locker, I was completely surprised.

    Even more surprised at how surprised I was that I forgot something like this.

    I don’t know why that would have surprised me at all.

    But it was a cute little experience, taking this package home and being surprised again and again and again at the level of care they seemed to put into sending me this little moment of recognition in a fairly anonymous work environment.

    Seriously, that’s the inside of the lid. There was a note that was printed in a hand-written font by someone with an easy to make dirty name – think “Mulva” or “Bipple” – so I didn’t put that on blast here. The jacket itself was wrapped in a silver tissue with a 1K sticker holding it closed.

    Really, all this for a jacket I won’t wear?”

    But the last surprise – ok, second to last – was that I found the damn thing to be not only my style, but tastefully done, too!

    Nothing too garish. A current tech fabric style.

    Nice.

    Oh, and that last surprise?

    It fit.

    I asked for a Large, aspirationally. I’ll reluctantly admit that I’ve been apathetically resigned to XL lately, and they just do not fit my frame well.

    Luckily, iSolation has provided me with no excuses to procrastinate exercise lately, so my Large closet is getting less of a stretch lately, and this fit. Well, the arms are almost too short, which is normal for my gangly assed frame.

    So, call this grumpy old man pleasantly surprised.

    Plus, Myrt got something out of it, too.

    For all those times dinner was late because I was driving…

    Now, if I ever get back to driving, I can work on those Timbers tickets!

    Does This K Make Me Look Fat?

    We Need A Flood

    You’d think a little forced iSolation would be just the thing to keep an old grump like me happy. Or at least quiet.

    But, no. Even in the end times, I can find something to kvetch about.

    Ok, ok…somethings.

    At least I had to put more effort into it this time than simply opening the Facebook like the last time I aired out a good ire here on WordPress.

    This time, I had to go all the way to Gross Out to write off the chances for humanity.

    Hey, I heard there was a wine sale.

    I had to get up and go out, anyway. The Silver Fox had snuck back into town to clean out his remaining supplies and thought he’d forgotten a bag on the counter. Turns out, he’d forgotten to pack the bag, which gave us both a good chuckle.

    He’d lured me out by innocently mentioning crackers – not knowing I’d been craving them. For my efforts, I Kramer-ed said crackers and tipped myself his pesto.

    So, now in addition to wine, I needed some cheese. Don’t worry, mom…I was also out of broccoli and salad kits and had those on my list, too.

    As if the disappointment of arriving and seeing no wine sale signs wasn’t enough, the other shoppers were apparently willing to bend over backward to drive my regret home.

    It all started out so promising, too. They had set up a DeCon station outside for people to wipe down their carts before beginning. Even though there was a cute guy there doing just that, I grabbed my cart by the horns and went right in without lingering.

    I think I already mentioned how easy it is to screw up DeCon, so I make my concessions for cleanliness and accept the risk of going out during a pandemic. Also, I made a mental note to observe this guy shopping. Sure enough, no gloves and no wipes inside.

    But he put on a good show of Pandemic Correctness and was easy enough on the old peepers.

    Aside from the DeCon set up outside, I was impressed that Gross Out was taking Social Distancing seriously and had laid down directional arrows to make aisles one-way. That effort reduced the amount of passing traffic in the aisles, making it easier to have a 6 foot space between shoppers.

    Or should have.

    Fucking idiots.

    Like, if they put some effort into their cluelessness, they could reach the level of disdain I generally have for the garden variety stupid Americans our country churns out…folks who aren’t really dumb, just oblivious.

    As I’ve observed on many occasions in the past, though,

    There is no bar so low that an American can’t climb under it.

    That needs to be on the Statue of Liberty. New Colossus can find a new home.

    Fine.

    New Colossus can stay, but I should at least get billboards for my slogan.

    Or needlepoint pillows…

    Anyway, the jokers I was shopping with were ignorantly pointing their carts whichever direction they pleased, arrows be damned. Then they were standing around talking.

    With the people in their shopping group. I looked at them like, “Can’t you talk in the car on the way home?” Or at least talk and walk?

    No.

    For the solo shoppers randomly careening through the market, I considered offering them the opportunity to lick me in order to truly avail themselves to my available germs, but decided against it.

    I did allow myself a couple opportunities to glare at oncoming shoppers and then look pointedly at the nearest floor arrow before getting out of the way of some of my fellow shoppers.

    That’s when it hit me.

    These people oblivious to the establishment’s efforts to protect their customers (from themselves, as it turns out) were the same customers that were wearing gloves and masks. I even saw one person wearing protective goggles.

    I knew goggle-guy was just a stupid American and not a weird Portland denizen because they weren’t ski goggles.

    Surely, these numbskulls weren’t all symptomatic and venturing out. No, they knew. Like some kind of Hillbilly Scout Troop had taught them to prepare for people dumber than themselves.

    So, there I was, suddenly feeling vulnerable to all these people who protected themselves from others with the same uncommon sense as their own.

    That’s when I thought a plague from a vengeful god wasn’t enough. We needed a flood.

    These yahoos might be able to hoard handiwipes and masks, but let’s see how long their lawn chair flotilla protects them from raging floodwaters.

    Actually, I’d probably be taking gulps – at least of wine – if a flood came. I bought enough groceries for 10 days – although I’m not sure how my wine stock will hold out – so I don’t have to venture back too soon. By the way, that’s about 10x what I normally buy when I go to the store…

    I also bought myself a little dessert treat, since I’d been craving chocolate cake lately.

    If I learned anything from Zombieland, it’s to enjoy the little pleasures – preferably one with a long shelf life. Sadly, the $5 bottle of wine I bought was one of the tastiest red blends I’ve had in a while…regretting not picking up a couple more.

    And just to end on a fun note, here’s a little quarantine meme for yas.

    We Need A Flood

    Forget Winter

    reality is coming.

    I woke up at about 4:30 this morning, which is my old normal. Lately, though, I’ve been nailing the whole “sleep through the night” thing. As I tried to talk myself out of tossing and turning, hoping instead to just fall back asleep until my alarm went off when it was time to move my car, I let my mind wander:

    • I should get up and pee
    • There’s some really funny COVID memes going around right now
    • Maybe I should just go move my car now…
    • Is that cigarette smoke?
    • Maybe I should fast today
    • I can’t wait to take a shower, I feel really gross after not showering yesterd – oooh, maybe I should work on some Quarantine Dreads!
    • Where’s Myrtle?

    I finally decided to get up and pee, turning on the light briefly to make sure Myrt hadn’t “mined” my route to the toilet with any little surprises.

    All clear.

    As I answered Nature’s call, I chuckled at the “told ya sos” my friends would give me for being awake at this hour. Yesterday evening I had posted a question to my Facebook peeps as to whether or not 6:20 was too early to turn in on a Saturday night. I’d had a full day of doing nothing* and thought maybe it was time to finish my wine, take a half a gummy and hit reset.

    Reliably, my wise and enabling friends let me know it was ok to turn in early, while cautioning that I’d be awake at 2:00 if I did.

    Well, surprise! Surprise! SURPRISE…I ended up staying up, having two more glasses of wine, forgoing the gummy and going to bed at 11:00. Hence, sleeping til 4:30 instead of 2:30.

    Anyway, as I was washing my hands, I decided that it was cigarette smoke I’d been smelling and tried to suppress my frustration at people breaking our association rules, since it would only serve to further wake me up.

    I failed.

    I congratulated myself as I lay in bed seething – at least I hadn’t gone out onto my patio and glared around, looking for the smoker.

    Instead, I was laying in bed wondering if this was it, now. Civilization’s collapse. At the end of one week of forced isolation, the community rulebook was essentially toilet paper.

    Then I reminded myself that we hadn’t actually made it a full week before our selfish and entitled behaviors started seeping out. Not that they had very far to seep.

    I mean, the hoarding that started a couple weeks back is a fine example of people’s selfishness.

    The fact that we’ve spent the last two weeks educating stupid Americans adults on proper hand washing is, likewise, a fine example of how people believe “rules” are for other people.

    But what stuck in my head was the fat fuck jogger I’d encountered the other day. I’d been doing my morning drive routine, feeling good that 80% of my riders had been healthcare professionals and that I’d helped return them to the front lines for the day. Suddenly, I was skidding to a halt in an intersection – don’t worry, mom, skidding was hyperbole…I’d only been going 20 MPH – to avoid hitting this jogger.

    He had leapt from the sidewalk to the crosswalk without looking or even breaking his stride. I’d seen him on the far side of the side street sidewalk as I drove across the opposite crosswalk, entering the intersection. I had anticipated that with his slowing to look both ways before crossing the street when he reached the corner, that I’d likely be exiting the intersection by the time he was ready to cross.

    Nope.

    As if this fat fuck jogger was the last person on the planet, he just Usain Bolt-ed into the crosswalk. I was actually kind of surprised that he hadn’t collapsed onto the asphalt after shattering his tibia running off the curb like that…like I said, fat.

    Anyway, I did what I think any reasonably nice driver would do as I slammed on my brakes – I gave him a palms up over my steering wheel. For his part, he gave me a single finger salute as he continued to try run at a pace suggesting he was urgently trying to catch the physique that had – at one time – fit into his running attire.

    Good luck, pal. That fit body has quite a head start on fat you.

    As I resumed my right of way, I thought to myself how odd it was that he’d gotten so out of shape and now he was expecting people to yield to his fitness pursuits. I mean, really…it’s not like a healthy body was just waiting for him on the other side of the crosswalk. He could certainly have waited his turn.

    That thought was still percolating as I realized this yahoo had actually turned to run parallel to me so that he could continue flipping me off.

    All while righteously not making eye contact with me. I’m pretty sure someone mathematically inclined could actually come up with a formula to quantify the inverse relationship of the level of wrong-ness an action was compared to the length of time one postured themselves as the wronged party afterward.

    Suffice to say, this guy was still acting like the injured party a half block later. Maybe he’d been hoping I’d run him over and put him out of his misery and was mad that I’d managed to miss.

    But thinking on my fat fuck jogger friend had led me back to my second seemingly random thought of the morning: COVID memes.

    There’s some pretty amusing observational memes going around. Things like:

    We’re only three weeks away from knowing everyone’s natural hair color.

    Or these little gems:

    There was one that I failed to grab and can’t find now that I’m bummed about. It was a split screen with a caption that said something like “Quarantine 2020” and the split was a before and after pic. The before was a Barbie doll, all glammed up and looking Barbie-sexy while the after pic was the same pic photoshopped with a little Jabba effect because with the gyms closed and social distancing being trendy, all the gays will do is sit at home and binge eat while binge-watching Real Housewives of Anywhere and RuPaul’s Drag Race.

    Like I said, it was pretty funny, especially since it was from a gay meme account and you know what gym bunnies the 20-30 year old gays can be. I do appreciate self-aware humor.

    Another that stuck with me was:

    You know COVID-19 is serious when gay men start having sex with their boyfriends again.

    That’s funny and sad at the same time. The important thing here is that – knowing my attitude regarding open relationships – I didn’t throw my phone when I saw that meme.

    And because sometimes all you need for a funny moment is a good flipping of the script,

    Because some of us lived through the 80s and 90s and are less shocked by the GOP’s shenanigans. Now we gays have loads of time on our hands to watch straight people react to the ongoing Trump administration nonsense, our only task: popping popcorn.

    Anyhoo…before I knew it, my alarm was going off and it was time to go move my car onto the street. On Saturdays, I usually park in the lot down the block because there’s not a lot of demand on Lyft, so $7 for all day is a far better deal than $2/hour from 8:00 until I head out to drive in the evening. Since I was contemplating bed at 6-ish last night, having not even showered for the day yet, I didn’t drive.

    Obviously.

    And since street parking is free until 1:00 p.m. on Sundays, I’ll usually pay for a couple hours and then drive in the afternoon.

    Anyway, I moved Angela out to the street, wondering if I was the only person in Portland still paying for parking.

    Wondering if I was also wrong about the cigarette smoke after checking my weather app

    And knowing that the potential fast was off after finding an energy drink and some pistachios tucked into the side pocket of Angela’s door. Also knowing Quarantine Dreads were off because I’m taking The ‘Phew to the airport this afternoon so he can fly home and see his parents, just to be sure we do our part for carrying Coronavirus from the city to rural Oregon. Hehe. But, yeah…I’ll have to shower for that.

    Most rewarding, as I was exiting the building, some neighbor I’ve never seen before was exiting to walk a dog that I’ve also never seen before…smoking a fucking cigarette.

    I coughed dramatically in the foyer after he didn’t hold the door for me and decided I was gonna tell on him. It’ll make me sound batshit crazy, too

    Um, yeah. There’s a guy I’ve never seen before and I don’t know what unit he’s in, but he was smoking inside!

    …but I’m not gonna let that stop me! There’s only 18 units in my building and less than half are occupied full time, I’m sure some industrious someone can figure it out.

    Naturally, my morning ends with me coming back to my unit to Myrtle sitting in the bedroom door with an expression that said both, “Where have you been?” and

    Someone shit on the floor.

    at the same time.

    Maybe I’ll let Myrtle fast today – or at least while I sip my energy drink…

    *to be fair, I had done a mini workout at home and cleaned the condo…so the day wasn’t spent entirely in Sofa City.

    Forget Winter