Monday, January 9, 2012

Adventures with D&T

Mr. Magoo
Growing up my family didn't have a car so we walked everywhere.  To school.  To church.  To the grocery store.  There we would load up on stuff and walk down the avenue arms full of bags.  Because of this my father's nickname was Bagman or sometimes Billy Bags.  This embarrassed me so I pretended  he ran numbers for the mob.

As a result I never learned  "car things"  like that there's a defrost button or a release on the shift lever, or a NEUTRAL.  Who knew it wasn't necessary to keep a rag under the seat to wipe the steam off the windshield?  Or that you have to push the release button in when shifting from park to drive so as not to strip the transmission?  And WTF is neutral even for anyway?

Once upon a time, my driving teacher instructed me to get into the left hand lane in order to make a left  turn.  I promptly complied crossing the yellow line and moving into the lane of oncoming traffic because... you guessed it.... IT WAS ON THE LEFT HAND SIDE. 

Yeah.  I'm THAT person.

Anyway, recently I started making deposits (for S&H) at our local bank.  Each time I'd drive there, park, go inside, visit the teller, chat, make the deposit, say  "have a nice day" and leave.  The parking situation is really tight though and some days I'd drive around and around before a spot opened up.  Other days I'd  park blocks away and walk  or sometimes just leave and come back later.  So...did I mention that the bank has a drive through window? 

One day, not much different than other days,  I thought,  I suppose I could use the drive through."  Brilliant, that.
Convenient Drive Through Window that I Never Thought to Use

So I drove up, the teller greeted me, I popped the deposit in the drawer, got my receipt, said  "have a nice day" and drove off quite proudly.   The only blip was that I accidentally "tapped" the car in front of me because, you know,  I lifted my foot off the brake while leaning out the window.  WHATever.  That's what bumpers are for.

Later after several successes it was evident that now I'm cooking with gas and it's time to try transacting at a DIFFERENT bank.  Confidently I rolled up ready for business and the first thing I see is this:
Intergalactic Tube Thingy
No worries though.  I'd just watched the guy in front of me.  Seemed simple enough.

Teller:  Hi may I help you?
Me:  (hitting the red CALL button) I need to make a deposit.
Teller:  O.K. go ahead.

So I put the deposit in the tube and wait.  And wait.  And wait.  A full 15 minutes.   In that time I managed to text some friends, play with the heat, listen to the radio and watch 3 other cars pull in, make transactions and leave.  Initially I assumed  the teller was helping them and would get back to me but as this didn't happen I began to get irritated.   I'd been there WAY before those other cars and she hadn't even sucked my deposit up the damn tube yet. Boy was I  HOT.   I decided to give her a piece of my mind and glaringly looked over at her, when I, for the first time, noticed a green SEND button. Right next to the red CALL button.  Right on the bottom of the intergalactic tube thingy.  Which I'd never pressed.  Hell, I didn't even know there wasSEND button.

Me: (sheepishly pressing the red CALL button)  Ah, should I send up my deposit?
Teller:  (in exasperation)  Well YEAH.

Yikes.  So I pushed the SEND button, whoosh up went my deposit and the rest went swimmingly.

You'd of thunk at this point I knew everything there was to know about how to do drive through banking but you'd of thunk wrong because the NEXT time I used a multi-service drive through I again waited for 15 minutes because the teller never said "Hi may I help you," (like they always do INSIDE the bank) and I thought it'd be rude to push the green SEND button to give her my deposit before she was ready.  Eventually I realized no such indication would be forthcoming (I'm quick like that) so I pushed the red CALL button and asked her if I should send up my deposit. And once more, a completely flummoxed teller said with much annoyance, "Well YEAH."

Additionally I thought that the communication between me and the teller was like a walkie talkie so I pressed the red CALL button and held it every time I replied.  Who knew that once the teller turned the MICROPHONE on she could hear me regardless?

Me:  (pushing red CALL button upon which a buzzer sounds inside the bank) Are you ready for my deposit?
Teller: Well YEAH.
Me: (pushing red CALL button thereby causing buzzer to buzz AGAIN) O.K.
Teller:  Here you go.  Have a nice day. (thinking to herself - now get the hell out of here)
Me: (pushing red CALL button, making buzzer sound one last time)  You too.
Teller: (in her head) Oh dear Lord, thank God she's gone.

Yeah.  I'm THAT person.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Obsessions of the Mind

Lizzie, a friend of mine, told me this story.....

Over the weekend, I went to see the movie War Horse with my wife and some friends.  What a heart wrenching movie.  If you go, bring tissues.  Animals are so much better than people.  Loyal.  Faithful.  Loving.  Go see it.  Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that when we got home from the theater and for the rest of the damn night I just could not stop thinking about that horse.  Brushing my teeth. Lying in bed.  Drifting off to sleep.  There it was.  The horse.  The next day at breakfast I said to my wife, "I can't stop thinking about that horse.  Are you thinking about that horse?"  My wife looked at me calmly.   "No," she said.

That happens to me all the time.  It doesn't happen to Sunshine and Happiness.  I'd still be thinking about that horse because I  have a  sticky brain.  Thoughts get stuck.  Images get stuck.  Ideas get stuck.  Feelings get stuck.  And for me it can be mighty difficult to get them unstuck.  Also for me, the things that get stuck tend to be things I'd rather forget about.  The incredible horror this world and human beings can dish out.  All of the things I am afraid of.   How I can't seem to stop ending sentences with prepositions. 

The other day I was flipping through the hundreds of cable channels that we now have and haven't yet cancelled and upon what do I land? I see the movie Untraceable on the cable guide and click on it.  Now if you're not familiar with it, the premise of this movie is one in which a serial killer who knows people (who are both curious and drawn to the dark side of things), will log onto an "untraceable" website where he conducts violent and painful murders LIVE via the internet.  The higher the number of hits his website gets, the more people who log on, the quicker and more violently the victim dies.  Not quite The Princess Bride.

Now I'd read about this movie and had successfully avoided it for 3 years.  It has notoriously gruesome murders graphically rendered.  Additionally, the movie's conceit that individuals, knowing that they're anonymous and unaccountable, will purposefully log onto a sight called "killwithme" in order to watch a  human being die is not the kind of idea that needs to be "stuck" in my head.  Talk about snowballing down into the dark and twisty.  Everything I fear about myself and human beings in general and our capacity for evil, apathy and darkness is front and center in this film.  And here I am in real life, watching this movie to be entertained.  So I KNEW, I was AWARE that the morally right, emotionally healthy, SMART thing to do (for me) would have been to turn off the TV or at least changed the channel.  But you know what I did.  I continued to watch.  I became captive to a horrific, stomach churning, disturbing murder scene and just like the anonymous folks depicted in the film, I couldn't look away.  Talk about meta.

And afterward I was sick and disgusted with myself for my self-destructiveness because then you know what happened?  As consequence for my behavior and for making a bad choice, the sticky brain thing happened.  I continued to see the murder scene as I walked the dogs.  I saw it lying in my bed.  I dreamt of it and woke up with it in my brain.  I'm thinking of it now as I type.  And I feel sick each and every time I replay it.  The only good thing (sort of) is that my brain doesn't seem to be able to become desensitized to this crap.  I'm horrified every time.  So right now because I hurt I will avoid any and all media of this, novels, video sites, movies.  Until I dip my toe in the water (flip through the cable channels and land on, oh, say SAW VII) and the obsession begins again. 

I used to do this with alcohol.  I would drink self destructively.  I would start, know it was a bad idea, unhealthy, hurtful, possibly fatal and I would do it anyway.  People would advise me to stop and I would say, OK but just one more.  Then I would get sick, disgustingly sick and swear off the stuff and avoid it like the plague.  Until I felt better.  And then I would do it all over again.  The more I fed the obsession to drink, the more I drank.

I think I'd better stop feeding this one.  I'm sure It's A Wonderful Life must be on one of those hundreds of channels somewhere.