Thursday, July 14, 2011

Har Har Har

New strategy: when things go wrong, just laugh it off. It's a work in progress, to say the least. But I'm trying to acknowledge that maybe my plan has nothing to do (or little to do, I don't want to surrender all control) with the plan that exists for my life.

I said--publicly and everything--that today would be the day I would sign a lease. Without question.

It's 6:30pm (after office hours) and I'm sitting in Barnes & Noble mooching off the internet yet again because I still do not have an apartment. (Ignore the fact that I would have to mooch internet even if I did have a place since install takes anywhere from 2-13 weeks, depending on how motivated the company is.)

I went to a showing this morning. I was 6 minutes later and the realtor had left. So I called her and she told me to disturb the current tenant, which disturbed me because I wanted to be able to move in right that second, not wait for someone to move out first. He isn't leaving until the end of the month, which would leave me in motels for 2 more weeks. No thank you. It was also hard to see the apartment underneath all of this kid's junk. Siiigh.

So I went to my backup apartment complex. I looked at 3 apartments there. An older 1 bedroom, an updated 1 bedroom, and an updated studio. The older 1 bedroom is a third floor apartment with appliances from the 70s, which I don't trust to cook my food well because they didn't in my other apartments. The older apartment--the cheapest of the three--was $685 a month. Which is just an awful lot of money for an apartment far from work that isn't anything remarkable. And that doesn't include any utilities. I looked at a $700/month apartment, but that was utilities included and it was less than a mile from the zoo. (That was the dank basement, though, so ended up not being worth it, either.) Well, I was filling out the application and then it just started to sink into my gut that I didn't want to pay that much money to be unhappy and with a commute. If it had been $550/month, it probably would have been worth it, old appliances and all. The updated studio was about the same, and would've had me had it had a full-size oven. I stepped outside to make a phone call for advice--was I just being too whiny about my money and my expectations? I was counseled to give the search another go so I walked away.

I drove around the neighborhoods I want to be in looking for "For Rent" signs (and irritating everyone driving behind me). I found some, made lots of phone calls, but only had one answer. And he met me 30 minutes later.

That little break gave me time to go to Pink Berry for lunch. Pink Berry was my first experience with the frozen yogurt thing and it really made me love it. The first time I tried it was in New York City and I think I went four times in the 48 hours that followed. I've been using it as a lunch option pretty frequently. I'm not completely sure what that says about my health at this moment, but whatever. I also picked up an application because Pink Berry is close to the zoo and open until 11pm, which means they could potentially hire part-timers for the late shifts.

I meandered back to the apartment and it was a studio. With a mini-freaking-oven. Also a gas space heater in the wall, which made me very nervous, in part because the apartment smelled a little like gas. In a good neighborhood, though, and a less ridiculous price tag ($575). Considering it.

You know those mini ovens though? Why do they make those? WHY. I hate them. The apartment I last lived in was chosen over another--much nicer--apartment because it had a full-size oven and the other apartment--with hardwood floors and granite counters, for the same price and just across the street--had a mini oven. No one wants a mini oven! They aren't usable because real bakeware does not fit in them. They're an ornament of a stove. "Yes, I have a complete kitchen, but it's only for show." If you can't fit a full-size oven in, the space is not big enough to be a kitchen. Rethink it.

While driving around, I saw a great place! With windows! 3 blocks from the zoo! What a delight! I stopped my car to read the sign. $1000/month. I just started laughing and drove on.

Maybe I should write a book. Supplemental income would be excellent.

Here's another fun story about my day. I decided to call off the apartment driving when I couldn't stop yawning and when it started to pour rain, making it hard to see signs and dangerous to stop suddenly to write down a phone number. It was really, really raining, to the point where it was hard to see even with my wipers going full speed (doesn't it always look like they're going to fly off at any second when they go that fast?). I pulled over on a residential street to wait it out, since usually these torrential downpours last 15-20 minutes. Well, 20 minutes later it wasn't really stopping and there was no break in the cloud cover so I decided I better just head home (the Barnes & Noble). Shortly after, I had one of the scariest moments of my life.

No joke.

I'm driving along and all of the sudden traffic slows to almost a stop. I'm a little annoyed, but no big deal, I'm not in a hurry. Then I see that we're slowed because the road is flooding and everyone is merging to the hide side of the road to stay out of the water as much as possible. I can't really see ahead of me very far, but the water is probably a foot deep. My car is very low to the ground and I know cars will quit working when the water level gets too high. I can't see how deep the water gets in front of us. What I can see is the road next to my road--there's a barrier and I'm slightly higher--has water so deep that it's up the doors of SUVs. That would be halfway up the door of my car. Off in the distance on that road I see a man with a lower car pushing his car through this pond because it has stalled.

I couldn't believe that cars were wading through water that deep. I imagine they had no choice and were surprised when the water got that deep. I certainly was. It was like watching a car try to swim. And, like I said, I couldn't see how deep the water was getting in front of me. It got really deep, and cars were switching lanes to stay at the highest point possible, but it didn't last very long on my road. I made it through--asking my car to please please make it--and onto the highway, where I remained terrified I'd hit another low point.

I saw the highway going the other way almost stopped and I knew it was because of cars dealing with a flooded area. Yeesh.

It's moments like that that scare me. And make me realize how by myself I am here. I don't want to say "alone" because that's not what I am, but if something where to happen I am by myself. For example, if my car were to stall in 2 feet of water on the highway. And that creepy man from the other night? Scary, but people are defeatable. (Google says that is not a word, sub: "able to be defeated.") But mother nature isn't. If it's going to rain, it will rain; if it's going to flood, it will flood. And you get to sit there and watch it happen.

In first grade I had three fears so great that I still remember them: tornadoes, volcanoes, and the sun exploding when it dies.

I think tornadoes stemmed from watching "Twister."  I remember drawing tornadoes all the time and I remember knowing the classifications of tornadoes. They scared me and I loved them. I was also pretty confident they only occurred in the midwest, which soothed me, but it might be one of the reasons I still never want to live there.

I don't know when volcanoes became a fear, but they were up there on the list. I remember learning I was surrounded my volcanoes and it had me in such a panic. I never wanted to be near an eruption. Never in my life did I want it to happen.

And then the sun! Books said I had millions--or billions?--of years before it died, but how could anyone know for sure?! Couldn't a sun die a sudden, unexpected death like anything else? Did we really know what millions of years was going to be like? What if it went by really fast? Remembering this seems kind of funny, because I do remember thinking millions of years was a long, long time and I would be safely dead and unaware of the sun by then. But dying and being old seemed so far ahead, too, that the time frames seemed like they could overlap. It's also weird to assure yourself as a second grader that you'll be dead before it happens, so you shouldn't be scared. But I remember drawing the sun and thinking about the flames coming off of it. I gave one drawing to my first/second grade teacher (I had her both years). It was done in highlighter.

And then there was the episode of "The Twilight Zone" where the sun was coming closer and closer to Earth, but then it was a dream and really Earth was moving away from the sun. What if it happens!

To be clear, I'm not actually scared of this sun thing anymore, since I now am more positive I will not be alive for its death. And likely the human species won't be alive for it. So I'm good there.

Tornadoes, though. Still pretty freaky. I saw tornado damage for the first time in my life while driving about the country and every time I would pass obvious damage I would get that fluttery feeling in my chest that accompanies real fear.

Moving on. This is so long. I feel like so many of my posts are so long. But at least it means you have something that will take awhile to get through when you need to waste time. I hate trying to waste time with something that ends up taking me three minutes. Then it's already time to think of something else to do.

I would like to state that I have been in Barnes & Noble for the majority of my day for the last five-ish days (no concept of time right now) and have only bought one thing. And it was tea. And it was $1.90. The level of self-restraint should astound you. Because it astounds me. I keep thinking about this stupid motel cost and thinking how great my life would be if I could spend $65 a day on books instead of a bed. The idea makes my heart flutter because of the sheer joy of it.

Cajun festival is this weekend!!! I'm so excited! So so so excited! I hope non-Cajuns are allowed. I'm worried I'll get there and everyone will be speaking Cajun French and looking at me funny. I might get to eat raccoon! By the way, I found a Junior League cookbook that actually had a recipe for raccoon. Could not believe it.

I'm going to end this now, because it's so long. And I still need to get a room for the night.


  1. A few years ago in Unadilla, NY, intense flooding took place during a horrendous rain. Two truckers were driving their trucks along I-88, and they came upon a place where it looked like a foot of water was running over the highway, so each of them proceeded. In reality, the highway had washed out, and that foot of water was thirty feet of water. To my knowledge, neither body was ever found. Never drive through flood water over a road.

  2. I don't like that sun dying thing either. But thinking about it further, our sun is supposedly a third-generation star or something like that, with the first two iterations having exploded and ejecting all sorts of stuff out which coalesced into our solar system.

    I think the thought of our sun and solar system dying makes me feel that I'm really done too and maybe even lived for nothing, but our atoms will still be around, and maybe a fourth sun will crunch itself together, and and some wild new star system with planets will mash itself into existence, and we can be a part of that.

    So, we got that going for us, which is nice.

  3. I just wrote a huge comment in response and then my backspace key went back a page and deleted it all. What crap.

    Anyway, here goes again.

    When I was driving through the water all I could think was the warning to never drive through water if you can't tell how deep it is. I only went forward because the cars ahead of me were making it through and I thought if I stayed put the water would just get deeper and make everything much worse. I'm glad it happened, though, because it alerted me to how quickly and easily flooding can happen here. It had only been raining for 20 minutes! And it rains every day! So now I know to be careful and to be on the lookout.

    As far as the atoms still existing thing, that's something that comforts me a lot. I think a lot of people use religion to deal with their fear of mortality, but physics, chemistry and biology have helped me with mine more than anything else. I don't mind the idea of decaying in the ground and nurturing the soil and trees and from trees herbivores and from there other, larger animals. And after that, no matter can be destroyed in a closed system, only changed. The universe is a closed system (presumably) and so every bit of me now will change but never stop existing. And all I really am is space dust. I'm okay with that, too.