Thursday, July 14, 2005

Toys in the Attic

Sometimes, I simply must dump out the files in the old head. None of these merit their own column, but until I write about them, I won’t have enough storage space up there to think of anything new. I’d work harder at trying to create a single cohesive entry, but I made a bad choice and have to conserve my energy for the night ahead. Disgusting anecdote to follow:

I had an early dinner tonight. Some sort of pre-made grocery store salad. I offered it to Daughter first, who turned up her nose at it. I sat down and ate about half of it right out of the small container, thinking “This really isn’t very tasty, but I could use the vegetables”. Only after my indifferent palate finally sent up a sluggish message along the lines of This Is No Longer Food! did I finally look at the “Sell By” date.

And screamed.

I feel fine so far. Still, I have no reason to hope my stomach will let this stand, no pun intended. We’ll be orienting the TV so I can glimpse it from the bathroom.

And now, on to the random Head Nuggets.

1. Like many females in Los Angeles, my dog is exceptionally attractive, has a strange relationship with food, and is hugely stupid. However, I am excited to tell you about an event which happened a few nights ago. She barked to be let out. I let her out and watched her trot purposefully toward the dog run, only to get to the edge of the yard, turn and trot equally purposefully back to the house. After a second, the hedge where she had turned started to wiggle a bit, and a skunk walked out, tail in high readiness. I am hesitant to give it a name, but I think the dog might have actually…learned something.

Or she remembered that she hadn’t eaten a roll of toilet paper yet that day.

2.I don’t want to brag or anything, but I am staggeringly powerful. I can be sitting in the kitchen and think “Daughter hasn’t played with those finger puppets in ages. I can probably safely give them away.” Within a minute, Daughter will walk from the living room [where she was attempting to put earrings on the cat] into her room and bring down the finger puppets. She will strew them all over her room and insist on bringing one to sit next to her at dinner. My power, though, is not long-lasting: she will play with the formerly forgotten toy only until I take the bag of outgrown toys to the homeless shelter, thereby assuring us the finger puppets will be with us for another six months, until I make the run again.

3.I had a clothes dryer issue this week. Long story short: the dryer produced air, but not hot air. The odds were good that the dryer was already walking towards the light, being as it came with the house and the people who owned the house before me specialized in buying the cheapest appliances on Earth, preferably with dents. I could bring in the appliance guy, and find out for sixty-five dollars that the dryer was dead. Or I could just assume it was dead and put that money towards buying another one, but be forever haunted by whether I let it go too soon. But what is too soon? The dryer is at least eight years old, maybe much older, and appears to have been manufactured in Tajikistan. Was I being some mindless consuming machine to think about owning a dryer which had English words on it? Or was I being shortsighted and just setting myself up for a year of small yet expensive repairs before I finally pulled the plug, as it were?

I worried this bone for three days before finally having the guy come today. The thermometer had broken, which is expensive, but still slightly less than replacement. As luck would have it, the repairman was from the former USSR, and thus, familiar with my dryer. He did seem impressed, though, to see one of them not serving a collective apartment block back in the old country. Apparently, with just a little tinkering, I could get the dryer to let me know when it was done drying our clothes by playing the “Internationale”.

4.When I was 16, and drove my new (to me) car away from the house for the first time, I felt a pure shot of freedom directly to the brain stem. I’m lucky I didn’t keel over. No more waiting for someone to drive me, no accounting for mindless activities, no having to find consensus with my mother over the radio selection. In that Honda, it was Planet Quinn, sister, and all hail the Queen!

Two decades on, I planned all of today around “I refuse to get into that (expletive deleted) thing”. Daughter and I did all sorts of silly things around the house, biked to our errands, and never once did I hear the sound of an engine starting under my feet. I feel some adult version of the teenager’s giddy exhilaration at having gotten away from the thing which constrains me, tempered with an adult’s sober knowledge that unless I plan to convert to Amish or move to a city with an effective public transportation system, I’m back in that car soon.

Don’t even get me started on the “freedom” of the cell phone. I’m off to eat a few Alka-Seltzer right out of the bottle and hope my show has very few food commercials. See you soon.


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