21 November 2014

[21] nighttime in the rainy city

Nighttime in the rainy city: the buses only come every half an hour, and the signboards for the express buses say things like 6:44 am or Monday 6:10 am for the next scheduled arrival. 

Instead of waiting, I walk through the drizzle. I skirt the big puddle that collects on a central corner when it rains hard. No matter how accustomed we are supposed to be to rain in Gone West, the drainage is never good enough. There is a car coming through the puddle, and I think it's going to splash me, but the light turns amber and it stops just before the spray gets to me.

Everything is yellow lights reflecting on wet pavement, except the white lights of the gas station and the neon outside the strip club. 

I am tempted to walk all the way home, but there is a long expanse of bridge in between that I don't want to walk alone this late. 

Instead, I wait for the bus in a bus stop with a homeless woman on one set of seats and a cardboard pizza box on the other. A few minutes in, a city worker in a vest comes by and asks if the pizza box is mine. When I say no, he picks it up and throws it away. 

The bus that comes says "Garage" on the light up board on the front, but when it stops, there are people on it, the little board by the door starts with the right number, and the driver calls out the number I need. 

20 November 2014

[20] lift

I was walking to the post office the other day when I saw a guy in a motorized wheelchair who could not get up enough momentum to make off the street and onto the sidewalk in a place where an old road and weird angle made the approach particularly steep. 

I had my hands full, but I stopped and tried to find a solid piece on the back of the chair where I could help push. 

I was useless.

There was a couple coming the other way, past middle-aged and a little bedraggled. It's a common corner for people who are house-less, and they probably were. 

The man motioned me out of the way and physically lifted the chair onto the sidewalk, motor and all. 

19 November 2014

[19] upgrade

Does anyone really understand how a hard drive works? I don't. I like to imagine it as a little cd in there, whirring away, writing information in little arcs that are not contiguous, and then when you defragment the disc, it re-writes all the information as one long spiral. 

But I have no idea, really.

This is relevant only because I bought a new computer that has flash memory, which apparently never needs defragmenting.

I know. The immediate reaction of all concerned is, "Aren't you broke? How did you afford a new computer?" and the answer is that, at some point, not having a functional computer was costing me more than using some of the money in my work account that I've been saving for taxes, and replenishing it when I get paid for the Major Work Event I just did.

It took me half an hour to boot up my old computer this morning. I stepped away for a second before it was fully functional (it was at the try to open a program, computer freezes, walk away to get a glass of water, come back, computer is still frozen stage), and it restarted itself, meaning another half hour of waiting.

I have to make a living, guys. This can't go on.

Besides corrupting all my files and refusing to allow quicktime to exist and crashing every time I opened an adobe document longer than five pages (i.e. all the time) and being so slow and freezy that I wanted to throw it sometimes, my old computer also had a non-functional shift key on the left side. I was forced to use only my right hand to capitalize things. Which is unfortunate, because that is my golf elbow/nerve problems hand. My ring and pinky fingers have been numb for weeks. 

It also didn't help that the enter key was dying. I had to hit it hard, repeatedly, with the same golf elbowed hand. 

So I bought a new computer. 

This, right here? This typing that I am doing right now? This is delightful. 

I am having to re-train my brain to use both shift keys, though. Right now I somehow have started using the left shift key for letters typed with my left hand and the right shift key for letters typed with my right hand. (I think I may have been using only the left shift key before it broke, to spare my tingling right hand fingers?)

18 November 2014

[18] utensils

Whenever my roommate happens to be home while I am preparing my sweet potato for microwaving, he shudders to see me holding the potato cupped in my hand while I stab at it with a knife so the steam can escape. 

My real problem, though, is not the knife. It takes so little pressure to puncture a sweet potato that even if the knife slips - and it has - I do not damage my hand.

No, the real danger is the cheese grater. 

I used to grate a hole in the knuckle on my right thumb every time I grated cheese onto a salad, which was every day the first time I lived in Gone West. I finally figured out how to hold the cheese so as not to grate the knuckle on my right thumb sometime after this post, so approximately 3-4 years after I bought that cheese grater. I have a permanent scar on the knuckle of my right thumb from years of grating off the skin.

I mostly manage not to grate a hole in the knuckle of my right hand these days, but I did it yesterday. It's been bothering me all day.

Tonight I used a different cheese grater because my usual one was dirty and, now that I live in a place where the prior roommate left without taking her stuff, there are four cheese graters at my disposal. Somehow, I managed to well and truly slice open the base of my thumb with a grater that is sharpened in both directions - i.e., I can push the cheese across it and then pull it back, grating in both directions.

It's fine-ish. I managed to salvage the flap of skin that I grated, and it's protecting my flesh right now. 

I need to watch out for the kitchen utensils, though.

PS. It is 10:35 pm, and someone in the apartment below me is practicing the electric guitar. Not cool, neighbor. Not cool.

17 November 2014

[17] suit

I am forbidden to shop, my sister tells me. (I can't afford it anyway.)

But there was a niche in my clothing that needed to be filled. Despite the fact that I have a job that requires the wearing of professional attire on a daily basis, there is a difference between professional and professional, if you know what I mean.

Maybe you don't know what I mean. 

What I mean is this: I wear dresses most days, and when the occasion calls for it, I put on a jacket over my dress and ta-dah! Professional.

This is significantly different from wearing an entire suit.

Back when I used to wear full suits, they were mostly trouser suits, I think (although maybe I only ever really owned one or two?). Now I am not a trouser fan. Now I am a skirt girl.

So there was a significant gap there: no full suits (except one whose trouser hems have fallen out, rendering it too long. I need to hem them or get them hemmed).

In between, I moved a number of times, and in the process I got rid of a lot of clothes. Some of the things I got rid of were the shells that I used to wear under suit jackets before I discovered dresses. They were mostly a little small, it seemed, because I gained some weight (see: stress, heartache). I am not one of those people who is going to keep too-small clothes on the chance that they someday fit again.

Only now I have lost some weight (see: stress, heartache), and I could have used those shells. 

But! They are gone. And I had rewards certificates for b@n@n@ repub1ic, so I got myself a black skirt that alllllmost matches my suit jacket, and a shell in a neutral color. In total, they cost me $5, thanks to sales and discounts and rewards. 

Now I can walk confidently into the situations that really do require a full suit. I am hoping and expecting that there will be a number of them, soon, and I am ready.

16 November 2014

[16] the cold

Last night, I had one of those nights where my feet just never got warm. I don't know how this is possible, because theoretically the blood flowing through my body and into my feet should be warm, and I was covered with one synthetic comforter, one down comforter, one down throw, one fleece throw, and one cotton blanket from Ethiopia. Also, I was wearing wool socks. 

I woke up in the middle of the night with freezing feet - so cold they were painful - and I had to pee. I laid there for a minute deciding whether it was worth getting up, getting colder, and trying to find my flax seed pillow that I heat to warm up my feet. I decided that it was.

That is how I ended up flailing around my apartment at 4:28 am. 

I finally found the flax seed pillow after a round of looking, giving up and going to the bathroom, and then, as I got back into bed, thinking of one more place it could be. I stood blearily freezing in front of the microwave for three minutes while it heated. 

My feet were cold again by morning. Sometimes I do not understand how the human body works.

My mom and dad were confused about how it can possibly be so cold in my apartment, and the answer is that Gone West is unprepared for temperatures below freezing, and so the apartment has individual electric heaters in each room. It has been down to 25 degrees at night, lately, and we have yet to turn the heat on in any room but the bedrooms and the heated bathroom floor. We just leave the rest at whatever temperature it gets from using the stove, heat drifting up from downstairs, and the sun, should it appear, warming it through the windows. 

I only turn the heat on in my bedroom when I am here, and when I go to bed, it goes off again. Thus, when the temperature drops into the 20s, it gets cold in here.

15 November 2014

[15] home

In September, when I was living with the K.s again, for approximately the third stint this year, a friend texted me and asked if I was still looking for a place to live. I was, but I didn't really answer right away, because I wanted to live alone, and I assumed he was asking for a friend, and the thought of meeting someone's friend and then not liking the person and having to say no and alienating a friend of mine was not very pleasant.

The next day, J. pestered me some more, and it turned out that he had broken up with his girlfriend and moved into a new place, and the roommate in his new place, who had lived there for six years, found out that she was pregnant right after J. moved in. She decided to move in with her boyfriend, leaving J. alone in the apartment. 

I went over to see the place, and I was instantly charmed. The apartment is the upper floor of a house near where I lived for the summer. The floor is wood and the walls are painted real colors. There are big windows (the ones in my bedroom face south). There are two huge closets off my room, each with its own little diamond-shaped window. The kitchen feels like you are standing at the front of a ship, with windows on three sides of the sink. The bathroom has built-in drawers and cupboards, and also a clawfoot tub. There is a glass door at the top of the stairs. Sold.

I moved in at the end of September. Thanks to the Major Work Event, I am still not fully unpacked. There are empty boxes in the hallway and the kitchen. 

Thanks to being broke, I have not purchased some things that would really help fill the place up. I could really use a rug for my bedroom, to keep the heat in. 

But it's coming along. 

It is lovely to wake up in the same cozy bed every day, and to know that it is my bed, and I will get to wake up in that same bed for the foreseeable future. I don't ever want to move again.