Thursday, June 30, 2005

S'WOOD--In my life, there have been about four or five instances where everyone in the world but me felt that congratulations were in order. My high school graduation. Getting my first job. Buying my first car. Making sure my girlfriend didn't run screaming when she saw me with my shirt off. And now buying a home.

I suppose congratulations are in some sort of order. I mean, maybe a trained monkey could have done half as well as I did signing my life away during closing yesterday, but I doubt it. What I heard and what was said didn't always add up to the same thing:
My attorney: Now this is your tax increment form. It means you'll have an eschrow account to the tune of x dollars a year, which will cushion you from any windfalls the government throws your way.
My head: Tax...dollars...goverment.
Attorney: Understand?
Me: Taxes bad. Equity good. Where I sign?
Then, of course, there's packing up the old place (already a subject upon which I've touched to yea length). There's also the matter of the previous owner coming and going to get her riding mower, potted plant collection and various kinds of facial soap out of what's supposed to be my place. Then there's the nasty carpet stains left over, about which I had to call in professionals:
Carpet cleaner: So this stain here is either cat urine or a hairball. Been sitting a while. Nasty. You've got to get these stains cleaned immediately, not months later.
Me: (Bristling) It's not my cat. I just moved in.
Cleaner: Yeah, okay. Now over here, it looks like somebody never wiped their feet. Really dirty. This is what we call the Slob-With-Kids carpet job.
Me: I told you, I just moved in.
Cleaner: Okay, okay. Now here, looks like the previous owner tried to mix a Bloody Mary while lying down in bed.
Me: (pause) How much is this going to cost me?
All of these were obstacles I overcome--turns out the paperwork was the easy part. Tomorrow is the final move, but for the past twenty hours or so, I've been residing in my new digs. Cleaned carpets, space, central air and a balcony big enough to camp out on. Mission, as they say, all but accomplished.

So what's to be proudest about?

I'm blogging on my kitchen floor.

Tomorrow I'll try blogging in my guest bedroom. Then the balcony. Then the roof, and then my garage (where I can now keep my toolbox, where it belongs, rather than next to a pile of dirty laundry). Take it from me, folks: you can't get it any better than this.

So here's a big thank you to all the people who made this possible. They are:

1) Me.
2) Lowlife neighbors who drove me out of my low-rent lifestyle.
3) My realtor and attorney.
4) Me again.
5) Dad and DVM, who doublechecked the place and remembered to look for loose floorboards and other lemon-esque details that tend to escape my notice.

Now then, if someone can figure out how this new lifestyle is possible without having to go to work every day, come get me. I'll be the guy on the kitchen floor, with no furniture.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

If I were a poet, I'd write an ode to this stinking hellhole I'm leaving behind. If I were an artist, I'd draw a picture of me hauling ass out the parking lot. If I had friends, I'd invite them all over to tear it up one last time in a completely gutted living room. If I were a musician, I'd hook up the most obnoxious guitar I could find to the loudest amp in the city and blast out all the windows. If I were tough, I'd knock on the doors of the people who've irritated me the most and shove them in the chest, driving them back into their apartments and reminding them of their drab and useless lives.

I am, however, none of those things.

I am a blogger. A mild-mannered, kept-to-himself-kind-of-guy blogger. And we bloggers are long on outrage, but short on physical voice.

So this is how I get my comeuppance:

"So long, buttwipes."

Give the local reprobates time. Years from now they'll stumble onto it while doing online research over how to consolidate welfare accounts and find the nearest AA meeting. My scorn will do nothing but eat away at what little self respect they've managed to convince themselves that they have.

Closing in 65 minutes. Oh yeah.

Friday, June 03, 2005

School's out, sucka...

I bounded out the door today like a glob of oil out of my frying pan. First day of summer, dig it. What to do? How to celebrate first and foremost? A trip to the Lake? A volleyball game? A cocktail party and in-depth discussion of Sartre's principals in an increasingly meritocratic society?

Library. Get book. Read book.

God, how pathetic. No life. Not until 7 p.m. or so, when I can get properly pissed. But I wasn't going to let this lack of social activity get me down. Never have. Never will.

So as I left the building, I saw some of my old fogey colleagues milling about. Poor saps, I thought, they probably have to go back to their families, be responsible adults. Their lives are over. How pathetic.

So I figured I'd throw some of my gleaning health and bright disposition in their collective faces. I rollicked past them, putting a spring in my step, throwing back my shoulders, doing a bit of the John Travolta hustle from Saturday Night Fever, taking the trouble to leap ahead a few times, if only to revel in my agile, powerful physique.

Then I slipped and plummeted, badly scraping my knees, uttering a "Fuuuuuckinhell! as I fell, like, I might add, the Mighty Oak. Whatever savoir faire I'd been exhibiting was now running out of me in so many open wounds.

They were all about me right away. "Hey, son, are you okay?"

"Yeah, yeah, fine." I started limping towards the security of my car and the flask I'd stashed away.

"You got to be careful. I always am. Last week, during my tennis game, I really threw my knee out..." The middle-aged father of four with no hair and rippling calves brushed the gravel off my shoulders and wiped the tears from my eyes. "It's played hell with my bench pressing, too."

"I had a bout with a stretched hamspring during my judo tournament," a fifty-something librarian responded. "But then I started a new yoga method, and it really seemed to help."

"No, I'm fine. Really." I kept protesting, shoving the concerned hands away and avoiding invitations to a game of squash behind the football field that afternoon.

Karma, it seems, is not without a sense of humor.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Some journalism instructor I am. Today's top story all over the Fourth Estate: Deep Throat is finally revealed, and I tell everyone not to think about it right now, we've got a really important test to take. Hearst would throttle me alive.

Don't bother looking to me for links and what not: just pick up any newspaper in the country. The news is out: FBI Agent Mark Felt, who denied numerous times that he was Deep Throat (once even in his memoirs, published in 1978), was the cigarette-smoking guy in the underground parking garage.

The Tribune's lead: The world's most famous anonymous news source outed himself Tuesday.

The New York Times: Deep Throat, the mystery man who reigned as Washington's best-kept secret source for more than 30 years, was not just any shadowy, cigarette-smoking tipster in a raincoat. He was the No. 2 official of the F.B.I., W. Mark Felt, who helped The Washington Post unravel the Watergate scandal and the presidency of Richard M. Nixon, a feat that he lived to see disclosed on Tuesday, frail but smiling at 91.

From the Washington Post: For three decades, former FBI official W. Mark Felt lived with one of the greatest secrets in journalism history.

And from my afternoon class: "Everyone put away those newspapers and take out a Number Two pencil. These scan trons aren't going to finish themselves, people."

Just great. Now, when Felt does die (Woodward's stipulation for giving up his identity), he'll haunt me but good.

Ben Bradlee on the Post's confirmation of DT's identity