Wednesday, July 06, 2005
  7-2-05: Black Friday
Well, what a Fourth of July weekend it was. Four days, each with a distinctly different feel and adventure.

Friday began pretty low. Monday ended pretty high.

So without further ado, here's the wrapup, beginning with Friday.

Friday morning began early, as I had to catch the 8:15 to New York City with VP and Rules, so that the latter could be a guest on the Mike & The Mad Dog show.

From 9:30 to 10:00, Rules, Mike, and the Dog engaged in what could've quite possibly been the best 30 minutes of radio I've heard in a while. And, yes, I'm biased, but not always for my guy as he can tend to struggle in interviews. He always says the "accurate" and "honest" things, which is refreshing, but he doesn't always say the "right" things. Not this time, though. He was great, the show was great, and Friday was off to a rousing start.

Until 10:05, when the chair of the search committee for a job which I applied for called with not-so-good news. I was not one of their finalists. Now, it didn't surprise me, as that particular institution is fucked up, has had a long history of being fucked up, and the nuts and bolts of the application and interview process was (chime in if you know the words) fucked up.

To his credit, the gentleman was polite and contrite - two qualities that are useful when telling someone "you're not the guy" - but the thing that chapped my ass was the line: "we were looking with someone with a little more experience."

Oh, really? You mean like someone who could get their guy on the #1 sports radio talk show in the country for a half-hour on the Friday morning drive? In the effort of full disclosure, their guy was also on the show. The previous night. From 7:20 to 7:28. When all of three people (me, included) were listening. From what I understand, his segment went over well with insomniacs who were able to get a jump on a solid night's sleep. But I digress.

The news got me steamed. I said a few select F-words (not fun, frolick, french fry, or fungus...) and boarded the train back home to pack and drive in killer traffic back to God's Country, here within for to be known as "Rhode Island" (check!).

As the stop n' go traffic wasn't too bad, I saw something I had never, ever seen before. I figured to have seen a Unicorn singing Sinatra's "Summer Wind" before seeing this.

In the usual gridlock right around Stamford CBD (CBD = city business district and is a term I learned in Australia) (check!), a red Dodge Ram pickup and a black Dodge Durango were playing chicken. The Ram would speed up, thread the needle, and then come to a screeching halt. The Durango would follow.

I thought "wow, these guys are dickheads." My hypothesis was correct. The game continued, until the two of them came within inches of my bumper. The Durango went into the breakdown lane, the pickup was in front of me. And then the Unicorn began the "And guess who sighs his lullabye..." refrain.

The two guys get out of their respective motor vehicles and begin going at it. Not the making out kind of "going at it," rather, the pugilistic going at it. Fisticuffs. A doppleganger. A bruhaha. A tussle. A skirmish. (promotional consideration for this paragraph provided by Roget's Thesaurus)

That was exit 9. I got away from that mess unscathed and continued in the heavy traffic flow. Until exit 14.

The whole process of going 30 miles an hour, then braking, then going, then braking, then going (lather, rinse, repeat) can do a number on your car. Especially mine. I dare not Duquette my automobile by saying that it's in the twilight of its career, but let's be honest. It's a 1992 240 with 170k miles. When I get the oil changed, sometimes it needs a little prune juice and creamed spinach.

So when I saw the fiesta of red brake lights in front of me, as I was traveling 30 mph, I too pressed the brake pedal. And the pedal went to the back of the floorboard. And the car continued at 30 mph. Which is a problem, especially in stop n' go traffic. When stuff like that happens, it becomes stop n' go n' crash ' get out n' exchange information kind of traffic, which isn't good for anyone. Brakes are necessary elements to every car trip.

Luckily - or not, depending on your P.O.V. - this has happened before and I was able to stop the car manually rather than inevitably. And, if you're a fan of irony like me, the last time this had happened was right around this time last year, when I was told on the phone that I was not getting a job. For the sake of my life and the health of my car, when I apply for jobs and have to drive North, I may just hire a limo.

I dunno what the problem is, but I have a team of investigators on the case for me. I replaced the master cylinder last year and it seemed to solve the problem. But the recurrence of the issue has scholars and scientists stunned.

So I pulled off exit 14, parked in a vacant lot and shut the car off. It was 95 degrees and about twenty-to-two in the afternoon. I had just gotten negged from a job. I was sweating in places I didn't know I had. I wanted to go home for a nice, relaxing weekend, but instead, I was stuck in fucking Connecticut because my car had decided it didn't want to work. The "what the fuck are you doing with your life" mechanism kicked into gear.

You should've listened to Mulvoy and stuck with the writing thing out of college. You should've studied abroad. You should've been nicer to your last girlfriend. You shouldn't drink as much. You should exercise more. You should keep in touch with your old college roommates. You should eliminate your credit card debt.

No job. No car. No A/C. No brakes. No progress. Did I piss someone off in an earlier life? Am I coming back as a squirrel next time? If this were a VH1 "Behind the Music" episode, this is where the deep, low melody from the low keys on the piano come on and the narrator begins his "it was at this point, things began to disintegrate and within moments, he was in the lowest form of humanity imaginable...when Behind the Music continues..."

I was stuck with myself for 45 minutes and I was beginning to get on my nerves big-time. But I can't punch me in the face, because it wouldn't help matters. In fact, if I did that, I'd probably get mad at me. And I'd have a bloody nose or something.

All I want to do is get home, grab a bite, and begin to work on a weekend that included me replicating a Frankie and Annette movie on the beach. Beach Blanket Bingo or some shit. I could wear short shorts and do the twist in synch with all the beach bunnies and surfer dudes on the sand. It would be swell, and dare I say, fucking neat-o. (no ducks or squares allowed, you party people)

So there I sat, broken-hearted. My trip ended before it had even started. (some of you who read the walls on bathroom stalls might remember a different second stanza...) And the process of a complete self-inventory had been kickstarted without and flair, pomp, or circumstance. Where that process ended, who knew? I had more important short-term goals, like getting back on the road and not slamming into something.

The car cooled down, the brakes worked again, and I got back on the road to Rhody. Along the way, some friends and confidants phoned in to be good sounding boards. Can't thank youse guys enough.

That night, the defending World Champion Boston Red Sox (check!) lost 15-2. So much for that cheering me up. It would have to wait another day.

And now, so do you. Until later, with the next installment of "Saturday," I remain. One.
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A daily - or every-other-day - account of all there is in my head
that's dying to get out, via my fingers.
(I vow to attack this endeavor with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind.)

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