Sunday, September 9, 2007

Acting out miseries

Story time.

Once upon a time there was a handsome, charming young prince named Al Dimond. He was also a 1337 h4x00r who had r00t on all j00r b0x3n (even that old Apple //e in your attic under the Christmas ornaments). And wise, too. He never committed massive fuck-ups that ruined his day, no, nothing like that, and when stuff went wrong he just took it in stride. He knew his way around the city, for Pete's sake (Pete was his neighbor, who frequently called him to ask for directions).

Then he tried to move into his new apartment; after all, he was paying the rent. And he realized that he was neither handsome, charming, a prince, 1337, nor wise. Here I quote the Coen brothers:

I only mention it because sometimes there's a man. I won't say a hero, 'cause... what's a hero? Sometimes there's a man. And I'm talkin' about the Dude here — the Dude from Los Angeles. Sometimes, there's a man, well... he's the man for his time and place. He fits right in there. And that's the Dude. The Dude, from Los Angeles.

Hear that? The Dude, from Los Angeles. Not Al, from Chicago. The Dude, from Los Angeles. Al does not fit right in there. And he's certainly not the man for his time and place. He's more like the man for ancient civilization in the mountains of South America.

But... ah, Hell, I done introduced it enough. A list of things that went wrong yesterday (not to mention all the stuff that went wrong last week), in order of when I discovered them:

- We showed up right on time to the building with all of our stuff but the wrong amount of money for the security deposit. Dan and I had talked. He was going to call the management and ask them what the amount was supposed to be, because they hadn't yet given us a copy of the contract yet and we didn't remember it (there's a lot to remember). But then apparently he decided that he knew what it was and didn't call to ask. So my dad and I went around trying to find a BOA branch so I could get a cashier's check; it took an hour but it was OK, we were just an hour behind.

- Manager gave us the key. The one key. Two-bedroom place, two tenants, one key.

- The apartment was not very clean. Dust and gunk on the floors, radiators, counters and all bathroom surfaces from renovation. We spent a few hours cleaning, and have a few hours more still to go, just to make it generally clean and livable.

- Water does not flow from the kitchen sink. Light fixtures in the kitchen and front hall don't work. They're all new, so I would guess they haven't been connected yet. It was the 8th, and we started paying rent for the 1st.

- We left, we came back. The one key did not work in the outer doors of the apartment, giving us access only when the security guard was on duty.

- I caused lots of friction between myself and my mom. First, I'm OK with things going wrong, but I'm too proud for my own good and it bothers me when other people are there to see it. Especially my parents. I feel like I know my limitations in general, and that I should be able to get along just fine in life with those limitations. Maybe I'll have to take my time on some things, and I'll never do some things that other people find very important, but that's OK; I can be happy if I can control my situation and make sure I don't let things get too complicated. My parents seem to expect me to learn and improve from all my mistakes, which I think is totally unnecessary; I'll learn and improve on the stuff that affects me every day and I can't avoid, and the stuff that comes up occasionally, I'll live with some occasional fuck-ups. I don't take suggestions for improvement on my weak points well for this reason. The other thing that I don't handle well is when I make a logical argument and it's ignored, dismissed for no apparent reason, or people act like I'm being a jerk for pointing out facts and the conclusions that can be trivially derived from them. My mom is the queen of this. We are incapable of communicating when we disagree about anything because neither of us can handle the other's style of arguing. It's like at that Dennis Kucinich QA session I saw last Presidential cycle, where Kucinich took a few questions/arguments from a hard-core right-winger and they were practically speaking different languages, each unable to directly address the other's points.

- Perhaps related to this, I've often found that when I feel I'm doing things right my mom doesn't get it, or perhaps slightly disapproves. My mom loves the view from my apartment and the nice renovated stuff. It feels like a bad omen.

- I was planning to ride my bike out to meet Heather by the "Lincoln Square" arch on Lincoln in Lincoln Square. I forgot to bring my backpack, which had my bike lock in it.

- I started riding my bike anyhow, just because I like to ride my bike. I forgot to check after transporting it that the chain was still attached. It wasn't. Usually the pedals just spin when that happens. But for me the chain got messed up in a way that I can't even comprehend.

- I had a car down there, so I drove towards the meeting spot. For some reason I thought Clark was close to Lincoln and parked on Clark. Clark is a mile and a half from Lincoln that far north. I walked all of that.

But some good things went down, too:

- The people working the phones for AT&T are really friendly and helpful. Every time I've had to call them for any reason they've done a great job. If only their computer systems were as good.

- For all that I bitch about them, my parents are ridiculously helpful and patient, and between the two of them they can do just about anything well.

- I got to the meeting point and did actually catch Heather this time. Just before she was about to leave because I was so late. But not quite.

- German festival in Lincoln Square. Loud, happy drunk people singing and chanting along to songs. We did not know how they knew all the words and when to say them, but were right there in the middle of the crowd surrounded by all that energy.

- My dad got tickets to the US-Brazil soccer match today at Soldier Field! Woooo!



Anonymous said...

"So, in conclusion, I think I need to hit the speedwork hard, and never get a cell phone ever...

I got to the meeting point and did actually catch Heather this time. Just before she was about to leave because I was so late. But not quite."

You should totally get a cell phone. Even if you keep the battery in another pocket so no one can call you, in situations like this you can call and say "hay, im late bcuz my bike chain is all messed i have the car and am walking towards u now give me 20 mins."

and she'll be like


Megan said...

Welcome to Chicago! I linked to your site through Danielle, and am catching up with your Chicago adventures. Congrats on the Pumpkin run - you are quite fast (read: I am jealous). Are you doing the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving? We will be down there hopefully running (I am rehabbing a back injury that flared up this week) but I checked out your pictures so if I see you, I will say hi. By the way, Chicago is my home/only town I have ever lived in - I know it will treat your right. Just makes sure you have the right jacket this winter!

Al Dimond said...

First, whoever wrote the first comment here, whenever that was, that was totally awesome. NOT ENOUGH MINERALS. Bril. Aaron, was that you?

And I don't know about the Turkey Trot. It's a 5k I think, and my 5k season is !!extremely over!! after my race this coming Saturday. It would be pretty meaningless to declare the season over and then race two weeks later. Maybe I could show up and run it but do something silly like wear a big turkey costume but do it in a way that emphasizes the incongruity in how urban society portrays farming (as this topic is quite apropos on Thanksgiving, 'eh?)