Consider this my obligatory pet post for 2012.
This week has been the week of doing stupid things. Luckily, I haven't screwed up anything at work (that I know of) but since it's only Wednesday, it's still a distinct possibility.
The last couple of days, my problems have been car related. That's not entirely true, because they're mostly stupidity related, but my car seems to be taking the brunt of it lately. It all began when I got tired of paying someone 70 bucks to put my snow tires on the rims in the fall, and another 70 to take them off in the spring, so I uttered the immortal words of the dumbass*, and bought an extra set of rims. This worked well for 1.5 seasons, and I was feeling pretty good about it until last week when I tried to take the snows off and somehow managed to break off one of the wheel studs with my Bruce Banner-like strength. So instead of paying someone 70 bucks to change the tires, I paid them $120 to fix a busted stud. On the plus side, I just figured out what the name of my new country band is going to be.
So that sort of sets the stage for this week's car idiocy. Right now, for instance, my car smells like someone boiled hazelnuts and old socks in a vat of sour milk and then dumped the whole mess in my car. Of course, you'd have to replace the word "someone" with the word "I" because I'm the idiot that attempted to balance a twenty-four-ounce cup of hazelnut cream coffee on the armrest of the open driver's-side door while trying to reach across the seat and grab my backpack. The cup fell over, hit my knee, and exploded. The top flew off and extremely hot coffee poured down my leg, into my shoe and basically filled up the driver's side floor pan with the other 20 ounces that hadn't been absorbed by my clothes. So that was the start of my Monday. I uttered a few choice words and cranked the windows part-way down, figuring it would help it to evaporate. In retrospect, I think all I did was help it go bad faster.
Since I get to work so early, it was just me and the security cameras. Because I park right in front of the door, I was able to run inside and get to my desk before anyone had a chance to see me and ask if I had pissed myself. As luck would have it, I was wearing a pair of dark brown khakis instead of the white corduroy bell-bottoms that I usually wear on Mondays, so I didn't have to worry about how it looked when it dried. I smelled like hazelnuts the rest of the day, but I suppose I've smelled like worse things.
After lunch, I decided to go for a walk because it was beautiful outside. As I left the building and the sun hit my face, I remembered what my wife said about always wearing my sunglasses to protect my albino rabbit eyes, so like a good little husband I walked over to my car to get them. Unfortunately, I have a habit of locking the car with the remote after I park, and I had done that as I left the car that morning. Also unfortunately, my keys were sitting on my desk upstairs.
So I did what anyone would do -- I reached into the open window, popped the lock, and opened the door.
So here's something I didn't know about this car that I've owned since 2008. It has some kind of half-assed, piece-of-shit, stops-absolutely-no-one factory alarm system, and if you unlock the car in this way, the fucking horn starts beeping in very loud, very insistent one-second intervals. Since it was high noon at the OK corral, there were about a dozen people either coming or going, and my car was parked literally 25 feet from the front door of the building. Another thing about this car I didn't know until just then? The only way to make this hellish noise stop is to either completely destroy the car with high explosives, or produce the ignition key/remote, which was sitting on my desk two floors and three security checkpoints from where I was currently standing.
I ran upstairs as fast as I possibly could, grabbed my keys from my desk, ran back downstairs to the car and jumped in. I slammed the door, jammed the key into the ignition and...the horn didn't stop.
I took the key out and pushed the panic button repeatedly and still nothing. At this point it had been beeping for five solid minutes, but to me it felt like five hours. I even started the car and that didn't stop it. By this time there was a small crowd forming to watch the show, so I did the only thing I could think of -- I put the car in gear and drove it away, horn blaring.
Why yes, I did steal my own car, thank you for asking.
About a mile up the road I pulled over and sat there with the horn beeping, barely able to form a coherent thought. Yes, I still looked like an idiot, but at least I didn't have people staring at me. (If an idiot sets off his car alarm and there's nobody around to hear it, is he still an idiot?) I finally just mashed all the buttons on the remote like I was playing an X-Box game I didn't understand and it stopped. (After a little analysis and a trip to the owner's manual, it turns out the magic button is the one labeled "unlock" which you have to push and hold in, even if your door is already unlocked. WTF.)
After a few minutes of sitting there enjoying the blessed silence, I drove back to the parking lot. Someone had taken my spot near the door, but that was fine by me. I just drove right past it and parked on the other side of the lot, pretending like nothing had happened. Then I ninja-walked my hazelnut-smelling ass in the side door when nobody was looking and finished out my day. It's a good thing I'm taking tomorrow off.
Wish me luck.
*I can do it myself and save a buttload of money.
Since I spend about two hours a day on the road, I see a lot of vehicles with those stick figure family decals on the back. For some reason, those things annoy me. I mean, don't get me wrong, I know you're happy you have a big family you're proud of, and have a need to share it with the world, and I have to admit that those stickers are marginally better than the Jesus fish stickers, but here's the deal: I don't care how many kids you have, and I don't care how many animals you have, and I don't care what your hobbies are, I just want you to get the fuck out of the passing lane if you're going to go 55.
Most of the time, the stickers just make me judge you, because I know that if you have ten cat stickers on the back of your car, your co-workers are eating cat hair and trace amounts of feces every time you bring cookies to the bake sale.
Full disclosure: I actually just bought a geeky sticker for my car on Amazon. I didn't get it yet, but supposedly it shipped so I should have it soon. I'll post a picture when it shows up so you can all bust my balls.
I've never posted about one of my dreams before, because I figure it's like posting about your pets -- nobody wants to read it. Most of the time, when you're trying to tell someone about a dream you had it ends up just sounding like you're a little insane. You know what I'm talking about. Everyone has a friend who springs one of these on you at one time or another:
"We were cruising down the highway in some kind of armored car, and you were singing a Katy Perry song at the top of your lungs, except it wasn't a song she's recorded yet, but I still could tell it was one of hers, you know? And suddenly Simon Cowell pulled up next to us in the bat-mobile and he held up a sign that said, "I will make you a star" except he was looking at me not you, and then I'm standing in the hallway at school, right? But it wasn't really like school. It was more like the dairy aisle at Price Chopper, and all I could smell was sour milk, but I couldn't remember where my locker was until all this milk started pouring out of locker number 45 and I remembered that I brought my pocket cow to school that day. I was just about to let him loose and call Matt Damon to mop up the hallway when my alarm went off and I woke up."
Keep in mind, the only reason I'm even sharing this is because I woke up laughing, and when my wife asked me what was so funny, I had to answer, "I was dreaming that Kid Rock and his girlfriend had kidnapped my sister's baby."
So apparently I was babysitting my nephew, and I had taken him to the mall. Keep in mind, I've never watched either of my sister's kids, because she lives in another state and she probably wouldn't trust me to watch their dog. I can't say I blame her because I'm sure I'd do something like forget him on the roof of the car at the gas station, or in a shopping cart in the Lowe's parking lot. In my dream, he could speak in coherent sentences even though he's only two. We were having some spirited conversations about why he couldn't go the Footlocker and check out the new running shoes, and it was really starting to creep me out because on some level, I knew it wasn't normal. The mall we were in happened to be in Tower City in downtown Cleveland. I have no idea why, since we have plenty of perfectly serviceable malls right here in New York.
I wanted to look at one of those new light wave cameras, and for some reason the mall was full of places that sold them. I took my eye off the kid for a second and I looked back just in time to see Kid Rock and his girlfriend scoop him up and start running. I started running after them, but it was useless because Kid Rock is one fast son of a bitch. He must have quit smoking. No, actually that's a lie. It wasn't that Kid Rock is really fast or anything, but here's something weird about all my dreams:
Sometimes I can fly, but I can never run. I don't know why this is. If I need to run, either toward something or away from it, I invariably become some sort of shambling idiot. I'm either running like the hunchback of Notre Dame when he needs to take an emergency crap, or it feels like I'm running through the shallow end of a swimming pool that has been filled with lime jello. Both of them are horrible, but at least with the first one I can cover some ground.
Anyway, after Kid Rock got away, I had no idea what to do, so I sat down on a bench and went over my options. I could look for my nephew, or I could look for my nephew and compare pricing on cameras at the same time and kill two birds with one stone. So I decided on doing that second thing, because hey - I still wanted a camera. So here's where it gets weird. When I came out of one store, OKSeriously was there. I don't know why. Maybe because she doesn't blog anymore she has all this free time to hang out at the dream-mall.
"What's up?" she asked me, probably noticing the panicked look in my eyes. And also my camera brochure.
"Kid Rock and his girlfriend took my sister's baby," I said, rather calmly, considering the circumstances. "I really need to find him or she's gonna be extremely pissed when she gets back."
"Oh man," she said. "You shoulda stayed away from Kid Rock. He's a baby stealer." I was a little irritated at her because obviously he was a fucking baby stealer -- I knew that now. However, being the kind soul that she is, she agreed to help me find him, so I couldn't get too mad at her. She looked like she was into it, too, almost as if last week's baby hunt at the mall got canceled at the last minute, and this was going to be her only chance until next season. "You look upstairs, I'll look downstairs and we'll meet back here in 30 minutes," she said. "I'll text you if I find him." Then she took off.
I walked upstairs, and Kid Rock was nowhere to be found. I did stop and look at a really nice blue lightwave camera, but it was $800 and the salesman was kind of a dick because he kept telling me I was going to have to pay a premium because nobody had them yet. I knew there was like ten different places in the mall carrying them, so I didn't argue, I just left. I got back on point after that, and only stopped at one other store as I was searching and found one for list price. It was the best I could do.
A little while later, my phone buzzed and I had a text message from OKS. All it said was, "I got him. Meet me at the entrance to the RTA." So I went down the giant-ass escalator and saw OKS in the distance, holding my nephew in one hand and a Mexi-Melt from Taco Bell in the other. I never felt so much relief in my life.
When I got close enough, though, I could tell something was wrong. She said, "See? Got 'im!" and then turned him toward me. Except it wasn't him. She had the wrong baby.
"It's the wrong baby!" I said, instantly panicking again. "Where did you get that one?"
"I got him off some lady," she said.
"What? You just randomly stole some woman's baby?" I asked, incredulously.
"No, it wasn't random," she said, defensively. "She looked like someone who would be Kid Rock's girlfriend." She finished the Mexi-Melt and crumpled up the wrapper, tucking into the waistband of the baby's pants.
"Well, it's not him," I said, as something else dawned on me. "Ummm....where's that lady now?"
"Oh, don't worry, she's fine. She got on the Rapid right after I sent you that text," she said, then continued. "What if you just give your sister this one instead? She probably wouldn't even notice."
"It's not like we're in a sitcom and he's a goldfish or a hamster, for god's sake," I said. "I'm pretty sure she'd notice." She held up the baby again, and raised her eyebrows questioningly. "You sure? It looks like a pretty good one."
I was out of options and I knew it. "OK, it's worth a shot," I said. "Can you help me get him back to the car?"
"Yeah, no problem," she replied as we got on the escalator for the ride up to ground level. "And stay away from Kid Rock from now on, because he will steal a baby like it's his job."
She thought about that for a second, then said, "Me too, apparently."
"Yeah, you had good intentions though."
"That's true," she said, reconsidering. "I mean, it's not like I plan on doing it all the time or anything."
I agreed, and held the door open for her. "Maybe that could be your new go-to line to prove your loyalty to your friends. When they ask you if you'd take a bullet for them, you could say, "No, but I would totally steal a baby for you."
"I would, too," she said. "All my friends know it."
"Hey, check out this camera I bought," I said, as we walked to the car. "It's pretty sweet."
And then I woke up and made this: