2008

Stay tuned.

Last night’s dream:

The ‘Rolla has suffered some damage to the front passenger door. I take it to a repair shop. I point out the damage, and ask them how long it will take to fix. The mechanic says an hour.

There’s a diner next door. I walk in and sit at the counter. The waitress is perhaps fifteen, twenty years older than me, and looks good for her age. I order soup and half a sandwich, and ask for a paper. The waitress says, “That’s our only copy,” and points to the other end of the counter.

There sits a very tired-looking man, whose two kids are bouncing around the diner and playing with the jukebox. He looks like he’d wish them away if he could, just so he could read in peace and quiet for just ten minutes. Problem is, aside from wish, he does absolutely nothing to shut his kids up so that I can eat and not-read in peace.

The waitress apologizes for not having an extra paper, and then quietly adds, “And I’m sorry about the noise.” The guy and his kids are there the full miserable, noisy, newspaperless hour. I pay my bill, leave a few bucks as tip and walk out.

I return to the auto repair shop. The mechanic says the car’s ready to go. I pay him and collect my keys. I go to the lot and see my car, parked with the driver’s side facing me. I hop in without bothering to check the passenger door. I buckle up.

The power-lock button on the driver-side door had been broken so long that, even though it’s been fixed, I still reach across to the passenger side to lock the doors. This action is pretty ingrained, so without looking, I lean over and reach for the button. I miss. No big deal, I reach for the button again. Nothing but air. I look up.

The passenger door is missing. Happily, it’s not missing for long—I lean over and see that it’s lying on the ground, handle broken, plastic torn, glass shattered, cloth ripped, and fiberglass dented.

I go back inside and ask the mechanic, “What the hell did you do to my door? Is this a joke? Am I on candid camera or something?”

He doesn’t seem to know what I’m talking about. I lead him outside and show him.

“Oh, that,” he says.

“Yeah, that.”

“So, you… want us to fix it?”

“What do you think?”

“It’ll be another hour.” (Keep in mind, this is a dream.)

I’m pissed off. One of two things is going to happen: either these guys are going to fix my car gratis or they’re going to pay for somebody else to fix it. Either way, I can’t use my car until the repairs are done. I had other plans for the day, but since it’d probably take an hour to have a ride show up or to get a rental, I may as well just wait.

I toss him the keys, and say, “Get to work.”

I walk back towards the diner. I sit at the same seat. Beleaguered Man and his two angels are gone. I tell the waitress the story. She gives me a free piece of cake to cheer me up. I read the paper in peace and quiet. After the hour is up, I walk back to the repair shop.

I go straight to the spot where my car was earlier. The car is still there, the door is not. It’s nowhere in sight.

The mechanic comes out of the shop, and says, “Car’s ready, sir.”

I skip right past flabbergastedness and go straight to the assumption that the mechanic is being malicious, not incompetent.

I say, “Wait here,” and head back to the diner. The waitress greets me. I tell her the situation, and beg her to have somebody cover for her so she can act as a witness for me. She agrees, tells the cook she’ll be right back, and walks out with me.

We go back to the shop. The mechanic is still there, the car is not. It’s not in the parking lot, it’s not in the shop, it’s not up on the hydraulic lift. It’s nowhere.

I yell, “Where the hell is my car?”

The mechanic says, very calmly, “Sir, do you have a problem with our service?”

I say, “I’m done dealing with you. I’ll talk to your boss.”

I storm inside and demand to see the manager. A man comes out and introduces himself as the manager and owner. I brusquely explain what has happened, and cap it with, “Give my car and my money back now or I own this place.”

He says, “Let me check in the back, sir.” As he heads into a back room, I step outside to find my witness.

I don’t see her anywhere. She didn’t come inside the shop, or I would’ve seen her. The mechanic stands where my car had been, just looking at me. I don’t bother asking him where she is.

The only logical possibility is that she went back to the diner. I run over to the diner and step inside. She’s not there.

I ask the cook, “Did she come back?” He shakes his head “no.”

I head back to the shop. I ask the mechanic where she is. He smiles and, very calmly, says, “Who?”

At this point, I woke up. I don’t know where it was going. Did they make her disappear? Was she in on it, whatever “it” was? Was it a prank? Was it incompetence? Was I somehow getting my own car mixed up with someone else’s? Did I rescue the girl (if she needed rescuing) and blow the place up? Who knows. Maybe it’ll resume another night.

Migration.

I have a subconjunctival hæmorrhage in my left eye. I would’ve simply said “broken blood vessel,” but that would’ve deprived me of the opportunity to use the Old English letter “ash” (æ). I don’t know why a blood vessel in my eye burst, but on the off chance that it was from working, I won’t do any more of that ’til next week.

It hasn’t gotten any bigger, but it is moving towards the iris. Hopefully it’ll just have a look at the iris, hop right back into whatever vessel it came from, lock up behind itself and go right back to circulating.

Actual post soon to come.

2 Comments

  1. Anonymous Says:

    That looks painful. By the way, I got into U of Chicago.

    March 25th, 2009 at 7:37 pm
  2. Vincent Viscariello Says:

    It was no more painful than having blood on your skin. And I congratulate you, whoever you are.

    March 25th, 2009 at 7:41 pm

Merry Christmas 2008!

Merry Christmas! It’s currently 75° and a little cloudy, which is to say it feels nothing like Christmas at all. Last year I saw snow, though I had to drive a thousand miles to do so. This year, nada. Oh well. The good news is that there’s been less “gifting” this year, so the family is making some progress on that front.

Sunday night was the annual high-school mini-reunion. It went a little more smoothly this year than usual due to more widespread use of Facebook (easier planning) and going to Golden Corral instead of Buca de Beppo (less expensive). It was good to catch up with folks I normally only see at Christmas, and a few people I haven’t seen since the ten-year reunion, if not longer.

The Planner of the Mini-Reunion told an amusing story. This winter, she and a bunch of friends had occasion to have their pictures taken with Santa. One friend, a lesbian, sat on Santa’s lap…

SANTA: What would you like for Christmas?

LESBIAN FRIEND: I’d like Prop 8 to be repealed [NOTE: Proposition 8 abolished gay marriage in California].

SANTA: Oh… Actually, I supported Prop 8.

Awkward silence ensues.

The Planner then said, “Nice. Santa hates gays.”

I replied, “The man is a Catholic saint. What did you expect?”

I probably should have just shut up.

The next night was Chicago’s ridiculous, must-win comeback victory against Green Bay. Great ending. The Bears block a short field goal attempt as time runs out, forcing overtime. At the coin flip, Green Bay calls “tails,” the ref flips the coin, which bounces off Brian Urlacher’s helmet and then lands “heads.” Bears receive the kickoff, zip down the field, kick the field goal to win the game and stay in the playoff race. Now the Bears “just” need to beat Houston and need either (A) Minnesota to lose to the Giants, or (B) both Dallas and Tampa Bay to lose. It won’t be easy, and it’ll be a disappointment if they fall short, but at least they spoiled Green Bay’s chance to spoil the Bears’ playoff hopes.

The day before the night before Christmas, I found a few leftover Christmas cards at Dad’s house. Feeling a momentary twinge of what I suppose “guilt” feels like due to not getting gifts for anybody, and deciding that a card is a little bit like a gift, I figured I’d mail them to a few buddies I hadn’t seen in a while. Besides, they were free and probably would’ve cluttered the house anyways.

The cards featured Santa and the reindeer relaxing in deck chairs on a cruise ship, being served drinks by a penguin—which is total nonsense because penguins don’t live at the North Pole in real life. The inscription read, “What a wonderful season, what a wonderful reason to send holiday greetings to you.” I wrote “Christmas” in black magic marker over the word “holiday.” It occurred to me that that might offend a particular friend who is a devout evangelical atheist. The thought of her outrage tickled me.

Last night we had Christmas Eve dinner at my aunt’s house. She made lasagna rolls like Gram used to. While everyone else had one or two servings before moving on to cookies, I went back for fourths and fifths of the lasagna. I can get cookies any old time.

There was some discussion about whether my aunt’s lasagna and crescent cookies were as good as my grandmother’s were. The consensus was that no, they weren’t, how could they be? This was Gram’s cooking we were talking about.

Most people would agree that their mothers were better cooks than they are. Therefore, your mother is a better cook than you, your spouse or your children could ever hope to be; your grandmother was a better cook than your mother; your great-grandmother was even better than that, and so on. We can draw two conclusions from this:

1. The human diet is worse now than it has ever been in history, and we are doomed to a future of burnt, cold, overcooked, undercooked, overcooked, dry, soggy, tasteless crap that has too much salt and that moms didn’t even make enough of.

2. Eve was the greatest cook ever.

Off to my Jewish mother’s home for the traditional Christmas dinner of pizza and shrimp. L’chaim.

ONE COMMENT

  1. Loopy..yes me!! Says:

    Pete Rose is mad you snagged his haircut when you were little.

    December 30th, 2008 at 2:42 am

The shame of a noble city.

For the record, I am shocked and appalled that any politician hailing from Chicago could be even remotely linked to any sort of corrupt activity. Rod Blagojevich owes an apology to the entire state of Illinois. But before he does, he should publicly get on his knees and beg for forgiveness from past holders of the governorship he has now sullied—giants such as Otto Kerner, Jr., Dan Walker, and George Ryan (#16627-424).

Chicago must be humiliated to know that one of her sons had stooped so low as to seek filthy, dirty money in exchange for an appointment to the Senate, that august upper chamber of the United States Congress. What must the current Mayor Daley think of him? What must Dan Rostenkowski, whose congressional seat was once held by Blagojevich, think of him? What would Chicago’s long-dead statesmen—Mayor Daley the First, Big Bill Thompson, Alphonse Capone—think of him? He owes them… heck, he owes every voter currently residing in Chicago’s cemeteries a sincere apology and a meaningful act of penance.

But more than anyone else, Barack Obama, the President-Elect himself, deserves an apology from Governor Blagojevich. Surely Mr. Obama knew nothing of these goings-on and, being a trusting soul, had not even the faintest inkling that Blagojevich—a man he’d worked with as a state legislator, a man he’d advised during campaigns and whose support he sought in his own campaigns—would try to sell access to Obama’s old Senate seat. Thank the heavens that we got Barack out of Illinois politics before it could taint him.

Seriously, though, Blagojevich sucks and needs to rot in prison.

A little research reveals that Kerner went to prison in part because he accepted bribes in exchange for placing expressway exits near a particular racetrack in Arlington Heights, Illinois. When I’d drive up to see my aunts, I’d take one of those exits to get to their house. Thanks, Otto! You probably saved me a few hours’ worth of driving time over the last few years.

3 Comments

  1. Asim Abbasi Says:

    Hey, I can’t figure out if you’re being sarcastic about Barack Obama when you said “Surely Mr. Obama knew nothing of these goings-on and, being a trusting soul, had not even the faintest inkling …”

    Asim (Strong Barack Obama supporter)

    December 12th, 2008 at 3:35 pm
  2. Doctor Hmnahmna Says:

    Now we know the real reason you couldn’t get a job in Illinois. You didn’t offer enough to Rod. Gotta pay to play.

    December 18th, 2008 at 10:41 am
  3. Vincent Viscariello Says:

    Asim–

    I can’t figure out if you’re being sarcastic by asking. This probably means we haven’t hung out in too long.

    December 19th, 2008 at 5:39 pm

“Why would someone not want presents?”

In response to a question from the previous post’s comments:

Many moons ago, I became disenchanted with making birthday and Christmas lists. I figured that if I listed the items that I wanted others to give to me, and they listed the items that they wanted other others, including me, to give to them, then it would be most efficient for everyone to go out and get those items for themselves.

Now, being mostly human, I knew perfectly well that “efficiency” was not the point of exchanging gifts. “It’s the thought that counts,” right? But it seemed to me that there wasn’t much thought or sentiment in buying stuff from a list. So I decided to put the would-be list-readers in a position where the thought really would count. I resolved to never again make a birthday or Christmas list. If anyone were to get me a gift, they were going to have to put some real thought into it–to think real hard about me and what I wanted. It was both clever and selfish.

I was pretty proud of myself, but then I realized that to be consistent, I would have to extend my resolution. I resolved to never again read or heed anyone else’s wish lists. (There will inevitably be n exceptions to this rule, where n equals the number of my descendants, plus my wife if I expect her to actually let me have any descendants.) I thought more about the people my gifts were intended for, and I felt better about the gifts I got them. All was well.

Then I grew tired of all the thinking and the gifting. If I want an item and it’s November or December, I don’t want to have to wait until my birthday or Christmas or Hanukkah (my mom’s been Jewish for a while) to see whether I got it. And I don’t want to buy it and have to see the disappointment on a gift-giver’s face when they see that I already have the exact same item. So I just buy the items I want when I want them, and tell everybody not to get me anything. It’s working better and better with each passing holiday.

Besides, the more time and effort that gets spent on gifts means that less time and effort gets spent on what really matters on those special occasions: the appetizers, meal, desserts, and the mere act of showing up to celebrate with others. So now I have a pretty simple policy: no gifts that aren’t food or drink. If you want to give me a gift, buy yourself something you really want, whenever you want, and I’ll reciprocate.

This is certain to be a point of contention ‘twixt myself and future-Missus-V (there isn’t one yet, and if whoever-she-is reads this, things may get all paradoxical-like): I really won’t want to register for any wedding gifts. On that glorious day, all I’ll want is to have my family and friends, and my bride’s family and friends, to show up and cook for me us.

6 COMMENTS

Doctor Hmnahmna Says:
So, what kind of wines do you like? I may work on a bottle of Virginny’s finest for you.
December 2nd, 2008 at 7:51 pm

The Other Mr. V Says:
Mr. V, you seriously have the most outlandish ideas I’ve ever heard, but at least they make logical sense. Good luck on the whole “Future-Missus-V” thing.
December 3rd, 2008 at 9:31 pm

future-Missus-V Says:
To “The Other Mr. V”
Your sarcasm on wishing Mr. V good luck on find his future love, is not appreciated. I know its going to happen. I just do. One day Mr. V will meet me and I will truly be the future-Missus-V.
of course i can still dream can’t I?
December 6th, 2008 at 10:51 pm

Mr. Ugamoogahumbabanoonga Says:
Did you go to James Weldon for middle school?
December 6th, 2008 at 11:23 pm

The Other Mr. V Says:
To “future-Missus-V”
There was absolutely no sarcasm when I wished Mr. V good luck on finding a wife. She’s out there somewhere, they just have to meet. Apparently you yourself think you are to be the one, so good luck to as well.
December 8th, 2008 at 5:57 pm

future-Missus-V Says:
To “The Other Mr.V”

My apologies for doubting your good wishes, but people these days never say things that they actually mean. And many thanks for wishing me good luck on my very plausible marriage to Mr. v. We’ve already met a couple times, but he just has to KNOW that I’m the one.
January 12th, 2009 at 10:30 pm