Saturday, June 19, 2010

Choose Your Weapon. Carefully.

Last night I entered my bedroom to find an enormous, hairy centipede hanging on the wall next to my bed.  

It's amazing how you notice these things, even though it's 1 a.m. and you're absolutely fuzzy with the desire to fall between your cool sheets and bid adieu to the world for at least six hours .... but you do. You walk in and stop so short in your tracks that, in an appropriately sound-mixed world, there would be a record scratch to accompany it.

So I did what any normal person would.  I thought, "Guess I'm not sleeping in here tonight!"

Then I re-grouped, because I'm 31 and have lived alone long enough to know that nobody's coming to my rescue for anything, least of all bugs. And I'm not about to give up my pillow-top queen to anything that's not making me breakfast in the morning.

The plan of attack was this: spray it, but have a shoe in hand just in case. What I always forget is to also have a wad of toilet paper handy (or a whole roll, depending on the size and general ickyness of the bug). Because you shouldn't take your eyes off the thing, even for an instant, even if it appears to be dying or dead. They're like killers in slasher movies, coming to life as soon as your back is turned and crawling off to nurse their wounds before the next sneak attack.

Let me say this, though. I hate picking up dead centipedes. Why? Because they've usually kicked off a leg or two or fifty, and I just can't handle it. Tonight I killed a smaller one, and on the way to flush it, I just kept shouting, "WHY!? Oh, really, WHY?!"

As soon as I sprayed the one in my bedroom, it promptly jumped off the wall, landed with a soft thunk on my nightstand, and disappeared. It was like a gross David Blaine. Strike that -- it was like David Blaine.

I dropped a couple effen-heimers and began spraying the nightstand liberally, trying to flush it out or finish it off, whatever meant I could sleep soundly. That's when I realized that the whole endeavor would probably be going better if I'd actually grabbed the insecticide and not the foaming bathroom cleanser.

Back to the drawing board, jackass. I did kill a cockroach once with shoe spray in Japan, but in my defense, I had no way of reading what was on the can in that situation. No such excuses here. It's these kind of tactical errors that can make or break a wartime campaign, and I wasn't sure I'd get a second shot.

After a quick switcheroo I returned, this time brandishing something that would destroy the bug rather than leave it squeaky clean. The damn thing was clinging to the wall again, which I was surprisingly happy about. If there's one thing I don't need, it's a lurker.

Long story short, I finished the dirty deed, put on my pajamas, and slept like a baby. I actually dropped off amazingly fast. But I'm thinking the fumes might have had something to do with that.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

But Do You Do Drywall?

There's a humongous, professionally printed banner hanging on the side of a construction/design business on my bus ride home. It lists the "handyman services" that the business provides, and the list goes as follows (with one task they seem particularly emphatic about including): Carpentry, painting, drywall, framing, fences, tile, decks, and drywall.

Maybe they put it on there twice because they're REALLY good at it, but it has taken nearly every ounce of restraint in my body NOT to call them up and ask if they do drywall.

It reminds me of the "5 D's" of dodgeball: Dodge, dip, duck, dive, and ... dodge. 

Once again, a big thank you to the lazy editors of the world. You do amuse me so!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Can I Get a What What?

Last week, my afternoon bus failed to show up. At all. Not just late, just ... non-existent. While this circumstance is one of the few things in life that get me worked up enough to be super pissed off, my transportation abandonment did leave me stranded on Hennepin and 7th with the hands-down craziest man I've ever had the pleasure (or displeasure, depending on if you're a glass half empty person) to meet.

If you can call it "meet."

I call it "bombardment," since he joined me in the bus shelter and simply began spewing forth a stream of words that lasted the next ten minutes, without any reply from me. I don't know how to fully convey how weird it was to have someone talking AT me that long WITHOUT PAUSE and not have uttered a single word in response.

His rant was largely unintelligible, mainly due to poor enunciation but also (and I think I'm probably correct in this assumption, though it does seem to be wearing thin) a result of some form of mental illness. He didn't appear to be "on" anything, but then again, I'm not familiar with all the different types of drugs whose side effect is logorrhea. 

From what I could gather, he was (or used to be) a musician of some sort, who used to (or still does, in his head) live down South, and who was 50 years old (although, according to him, nobody ever believes that.)

My problem was twofold. First, nobody else was around, either to rescue me from the situation or to witness the one-sided conversation.  

Second, I didn't have a tape recorder. I have never wished so hard in my life that I had a discreet recording device stashed somewhere on my person. Because as soon as he said something completely awesome and hilarious, and I would think, "I'm going to remember that!" ... he would continue on to say something even more fantastical and splendiferous, and I would immediately forget what he just uttered.  

But two phrases in particular stuck, and I'm going to write them now, without explanation (because I'm still not totally sure what the context was) for your eternal enjoyment.

1.  "I'm bout to lay down something so cold, they ain't even put it on the market yet!"
2.  (while pointing at his eyeball) "They ain't invented anyone blacker than me!"

In the end, though he wasn't threatening in any way, he had been invading my personal space for far too long. I hopped on the next bus that happened by, but not before he asked me for my number.

At least that's what I think he said. I can't be sure.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Shut Up, Fran!

So the other day, I found myself trash-talking my GPS unit.

Well, not trash-talking exactly, but at least being unnecessarily belligerent. 

I call her Fran, largely because I think this is a pretty good name for the British voice that I chose to say, more than any other word in her vocabulary, "Recalculating." She tells me where to turn, of course, and where to exit, and tells me when we've reached the destination that I punched in earlier. But because I'm stubborn, and because I've already spent several years navigating on my own, thank you, with the help of Google Maps and an almost desperate exercise of my memorization skills, Fran spends most of her time alerting me to the fact that I have NOT taken the route she recommended.

For some reason, I'm unable to rebel politely. When she tells me to drive in a direction that I know is just a little bit longer or could potentially be more difficult than my tried-and-true alternate route, I typically respond with "Make me!" When she continues to calmly repeat her troubleshooting phrase "Recalculating," I bite back with "Go to hell, Fran!"

The thing is, I love Fran. I've only had her for about two months, and I deeply regret not buying her years ago. I feel about her the same way I do about my insulated snow pants: if only we'd met each other earlier, life would have been so much more delightful. I don't want to overstate the significance of the confidence that comes with this tiny device, but let's just say if I'd had one when I first moved here, I might be running this city by now.

I have noticed, however, that I'm becoming lazier. Mentally, I mean. I no longer have to pore over and print out maps online, rehearsing the route and return route in my head, before leaving the house. I don't even have to remember street names or addresses, or guess what time I'll be arriving, or run internet searches for the nearest Chinese buffet to whatever road I'm currently on.  

Fran tells me all this, sometimes on the fly. It's her job. It's what I pay her for. And my anxiety at finding new places has nose-dived to the point where I don't really need the details of the trip until just moments before I step into my car. Yet I feel a little less sharp and capable because of it.

Maybe that's why I'm occasionally annoyed with Fran. I don't want to depend on her. But am I willing to be a bit less self-sufficient in exchange for the freedom of driving into Uptown, a place which (for no discernible reason) has previously been my own personal Bermuda Triangle of navigational screwups, with reckless abandon? Yes, I am. 

Thank you, Fran. It's a good trade. When I think about snapping at you in the future, perhaps I'll recalculate.