on a thursday evening a little over a week ago, i got into my car, intending to drive home. alas, the parking brake cable had come loose, so the brakes wouldn’t disengage. i had to leave it where it sat and take a cab home. cost me 46 freaking bucks. the next day i got it towed to the toyota dealership and rented a car. my mr2 had other brake-related problems which i had postponed dealing with, so it was time to get those fixed, too. i drove a gray 2006 chevy impala for a week.
i didn’t like it at first. so plain and boring, just like every other car on the road. and it doesn’t have anything like the vim and vigor of my tiny supercharged mr2, which can nimbly whizz around the usual couch-potato-mobiles. and it consumes almost twice as much gas.
over the course of the week, it grew on me. for one thing, it’s so new. the dashboard and console are covered with thousands of blue and red lights. it has a compass in the dash that tells you which direction you’re driving, which is a big help for directionally-challenged retards such as myself. it has an external thermometer, which i found far more useful than i thought it would be. i’d discover that it was around 33 degrees near my house, then i’d drive just five or six miles, far enough to get into the populated part of nashville, and the temperature would be up to 45. i had no idea you could see such extreme temperature variations in such a short stretch of space. if you start the car when it’s cold out, it prints “ICE POSSIBLE, DRIVE CAREFULLY” on the led display in front of the steering wheel. cute. and the ride is a lot smoother than my mr2, which has more of a sports-car-like suspension.
i got my mr2 back on saturday. driving it for the first time in a week was more of a shock than driving the impala for the first time.
i’ve owned my mr2 for 16 years now. i bought it new on saint patrick’s day, 1990. i still love it, but i’m starting to think i need to get something else to drive day-to-day.
one thing i get right: i am very open to teasing and criticism. that wasn’t true until recently for me. at work on friday, a guy said something truly horrible to me. but it was after he’d spent months convincing me that he’s on my side, so i was fine with it. i didn’t even have an urge to respond in kind. being open to criticism has taught me that yes, other people are totally aware of my crap, no matter how well i think i’ve got it all hidden.
one thing i get wrong: far too many people annoy me to distraction. still, despite my best efforts to reform and see things from their point of view. i still can’t abide loudmouths, grating quirks, obliviousness, insensitivity, power struggles. the other day at the climbing gym i was having a conversation with jim about this girl we both know, and i went into a long tirade about various things she does that drive me nuts. at the end of it he said “really? she does that? when?” it’s never possible to be entirely sure that jim isn’t being dense on purpose, either to screw with your head or teach you some sort of lesson. but the practical upshot is that he either didn’t notice all those things that were driving me nuts, or he was easily able to tune them out. dammit.
i am kind of embarrassed to admit that i have been going through a major front 242 kick lately. good lord are those guys ever a bunch of insecure poseurs. typical front 242 lyrics: “look out baby, you better stay FAR away from me, because i am a BADASS. i will totally FUCK YOUR SHIT UP, bitch.” this is one of dozens of bands that, if i were to encounter them for the first time today, they wouldn’t have a chance in hell with me. but i’ve been listening to them since the late eighties. front by front is as much a part of me as my right arm. and the music, if you can ignore the immature lyrics, is tight and driven. it reminds me that anger is a great motivator.
even now, despite being a lot more controlled and taciturn than i used to be, i can’t imagine getting hard things done without a certain amount of anger. a large part of being successful at my job wasn’t just doing good work, it was overcoming red tape and institutionalized shoddy practices. more than once, i had to send a clear message: i AM going to do this, whether it hurts your widdle feewings or not. there are those who find an excuse and those who find a way. i know which team i want to be on. is it possible to make omelettes without breaking eggs? i am not enough in tune with other people’s coping mechanisms to know.
i am the sum of a bunch of train-wreck-sized mistakes and accidents. sometimes i think it’s the right thing to unravel them all and achieve some level of normalcy. other times i think that, if i succeed at such a thing, there will be nothing left of me.