Like a boss

I was buying yarn, no wait, I had finished buying yarn (oh, you’re a busy knitter, said the yarn lady, I like to see that) and was paying the lady at the dry cleaners… no wait, I was at the dry cleaners, but had not yet been to the yarn store, after which I returned to the dry cleaners to pay because I forgot the first time, nor had I been to the bank yet — so this was the first visit to the dry cleaners, before I went to the bank and to the yarn store, and before I returned to the dry cleaners to pay, my phone rang and I answered it and my mother in law said, hi mig, we have a big problem (invoking images in my mind of things leaking and smoldering etc.), the nurse’s outside door won’t close.
At this point let me interject for clarity that it’s one of those doors I first encountered in Austria, which you can open normally, in a door-like way, or if you turn (a) different handle(s) just tilt in, like if you want to air out the room.
Ah, I said, did she tilt and open at the same time?
I think so, said my mother in law.
So I finished my errands, going to the bank and the yarn store and the catfood store (because I got them food the day before yesterday, when I was at the hardware store getting light bulbs for my inlaws and super glue to fix a camera filter I had dropped, causing it to pop out of its mount but not break, but the hardware store didn’t have the food they like and they hated the food the hardware store did have so much that only one ate it and another ignored it and the third meowed at me plantively), where it took me forever to find cat milk, then went home and unloaded and gathered tools I thought might help (screwdrivers, a length of pipe to use as a fulcrum, and a big rubber hammer as comic relief) and drove over to fix their door.
But first I had to fix my car engine, which made a funny noise when I started it. I fixed it by turning my car off and back on again.
Noise was gone. Success!
Yeah so I drove over with my mask on and my mother in law and the nurse (who was cooking lunch, because my mother in law treats her more as someone to help with everything than someone to look after her husband) were both happy to see me. My father in law, a former mechanic who built the house, was watching TV and I sort of snuck around because I didn’t need him helping. I looked at the door, and my mother in law looked at me looking at the door, while the nurse made lunch, and then I looked at a healthy door to figure out how it was supposed to work, and went back and forth a couple times.
Then I went downstairs where we quietly got another tool (big chisel, to use as a lever because the door was too heavy for my screwdrivers) out of the furnace room, quietly because father in law thinks they lost the key to that room because we don’t want him in there fixing anything. Then I went back up and mother in law, father in law and nurse watched me trying to fix the door. We figured out what had to be done (metal hinge thing had to go back into metal hinge thing receptacle) so I asked the nurse to stick it back in when I lifted the door, which I did by sort of grabbing the door with one hand on the inside and one hand on the outside because my original lever/fulcrum idea wasn’t working, and manhandled it up and she stuck it in and boom, fixed, like a boss.
They were all happy, and I explained to the nurse, tilt or open but never both at the same time and drove home and took cardboard to the dump. Leaving the dump again, a guy with an SUV pulling a horse trailer (full of garbage I assume) couldn’t get in the in gate as I was getting out the out gate, I suppose because he had forgotten his key card, and got out of his truck and walked back to the car behind him, totally in my way and not even checking to see if, like, there was an oncoming car he might be blocking, and finally turned around and saw me and gave me a dirty look and I gave him a dirty look back, then he walked over to the other car, I suppose to ask to borrow that person’s key card (good thing for him he didn’t ask to borrow mine, I would have said no and felt good about it) and as soon as there was space I drove past, thinking, use the right tool for the job, moron who takes garbage to the dump in a horse trailer, ignoring my attempt to fix a door (like a boss, let me reiterate) with a chisel, a pipe and two screwdrivers.
Now if you’ll excuse me gotta bake some bread (which has been rising way too long cause of unexpected errands).

How nice

Wake up.
It’s later than you think.
You have home office.
Wife has let you sleep.
How nice!
Check whether phone has charged over night or just sat there on the end of its charger cable like a horse led to water but not drinking.
100%
How nice!
You have to bake bread. When will you do that?
Think about when.
Start thinking about the nature of time.
Other job sends you 14 texts to correct.
Correct for a while.
Take a shower.
Make schnitzel.
Eat lunch.
Go to in-laws to arrange pills for the coming week.
Set up bird feeder while you’re there.
Then fetch two more bird feeders from the attic and set them up.
No not there on that bush, they should be on the other bush.
No the first bush after all. Are they too high?
Should they be lower?
Maybe that’s okay.
Go home and work some more while wife gets fall grave decorations for the grave.
Start bread.
Wife comes home and wants pumpkin pie.
Isn’t bread enough?
Bread isn’t enough.
Look up various pumpkin pie recipes to confirm your theory that you lack ingredients while wife is picking pumpkin in back yard.
Wife refutes theory.
Bake pie.
Bread is photogenic, post picture to Instagram.
Pie crust shrinks a little, wrong flour maybe. No Instagram for you.
Write blog post.
Go to bed. Soon. Soonish. As soon as the purring cat gets off your face.

Tinnitus hack

My tinnitus sounded like screaming mice yesterday.
My wife and I went for a hike in the woods before it rained and only got a little lost.
I ate a slice of bread when we got home.
Hey, that’s moldy, said my wife.
I spit it out but had already swallowed some.
It was whole-grain bread I had baked; it was sort of grayish anyway so the mold didn’t stand out.
I had a bad stomach ache. I don’t know if it was bc of the mold, but that’s my guess. It felt like all the other times I’ve poisoned myself.
I slept on the sofa in case it was not the mold but rather something contagious.
The cats liked that.
Today I feel better.
My wife cooked borscht, with a beet from our garden. It was good.
It’s a gray old day outside.

The seven things successful people don’t want you to know!

  1. 3:50 AM give up, go take pee, look at clock, wonder if you’ll get back to sleep before alarm goes off
  2. 5:00 AM wife shakes you, says “your alarm” which would be unnecessary, since you’ve been awake since 3:50, except you can no longer hear the first couple higher-pitched cycles of the alarm so, ok. You turn it off and get up.
  3. Let in cats. Feed cats. Close 2 doors so sensitive cat is isolated from the less-sensitive cats and can eat in peace. Turn on coffee machine. Open windows to air out downstairs.
  4. Go check the trap line. It’s still dark. One dish of beer has a few slugs. On the way to the other 2 dishes over by the echinacea a slug somehow gets into your Birkenstock. You do the “A slug got into my Birkenstock” dance but he holds fast so you take off the sandal and flick him into one of the beer traps, kerplunk. A dozen or so of his buddies are in there too.
  5. That’s fewer than usual lately, maybe you’re making headway. Maybe they’re hunkered down waiting for the hot weather to pass. Maybe they’re on the tomatoes.
  6. You’ll never know cause you have to go eat breakfast (slice of rye bread, butter, ham, Greek yogurt with blueberries + honey)
  7. One cat wants out. No not that door the other door. Then another cat wants out, but not the door the first cat went out, the other door.
  8. You tiptoe around while you do all this so your wife can sleep.
  9. But she gets up to make sure you don’t forget to throw lettuce and blueberries out the window for the tortoise.
  10. Throughout all this you have the idea of distance in your head. Maybe you had a dream. Distance between galaxies is the same as distance inside atoms, between the nucleus and the electrons, it’s mostly empty space, you think. And yet we find each other.

A cat licked my wife’s dish

It was my first day of freedom following the expiration of my quarantine. The others still had a day or two to go.
We were sitting on the terrace chatting after eating noodle soup for dinner.
We were talking about dreams.
We talked about dream architecture. I mentioned my theory that houses in dreams represent aspects of our minds. Generously, no one mentioned that everything in our dreams represent aspects of our minds. Everyone described houses and other buildings they had dreamed of.

Houses I have dreamed of: repeated dream of standing on the street looking at a suburban single-storey green house in which a family has been murdered. Repeated dream of (imaginary) sex club in Seattle that, the last time I dreamed of it, had gone out of business. One-time dream of a friend’s house in which I was fighting a stranger to the death and he Would.Not.Die. no matter what I did, including stabbing him in the jugular with a shard of glass; a frustratingly thin stream of blood sprayed out.

Alpha went inside to talk to someone on the phone.
A cat took that opportunity to lick our soup bowls clean.
I told Gamma that, regarding the shirt-shopping nightmare I had described earlier (two understocked shirt shops that overlapped such that one could not tell where one shop ended and the other began, nor even where the real entrances were, and which carried no really nice shirts, just mostly factory rejects or oddly-styled and funnily-sized strange-fitting shirts with unusual or ugly patterns that I did not want) that I had yesterday been thinking about Uferlosigkeit and Grenzenlosigkeit (and wondering whether there was a significant difference between the two). (Something that is uferlos is unbounded, and grenzenlos would mean without borders).
Inside the house, Alpha said something that sounded as if she were wrapping up her conversation, so I carried the soup bowls into the kitchen and put them into the dishwasher so the cat wouldn’t get in trouble; but it turned out she was not done with her conversation after all.
Gamma asked me how my first day out of quarantine had gone. I said I had forgotten how to drive. When I took my car into the dealer for a check up, I had drifted too close to the shoulder, for example, and was not paying as much attention as I should have. And while at the dealer waiting for my car, I looked at Humans of New York on Instagram and the stories made me cry. I imagined an apprentice mechanic asking the mechanic, Gee did someone give Mr. Living his bill already?
That’s all I did today. Plus a little work. Plus I went grocery shopping and the cashier had to remind me to enter my PIN code.
I was going to take a walk but it’s too nice in the hammock now.
I’ll take a walk tomorrow.
I didn’t gain weight in quarantine (actually I lost a little) but my belly is fatter, which I guess means muscle mass is down.
Washing dishes, taking walks. Life is an endless struggle against entropy.

Things I learned this week

1. One thing you don’t want to hear yourself say while measuring chili powder into a marinade for kebabs you are making is, “oops”. We subscribe to weekly pre-measured recipe boxes from an organic farm in Vienna and I realized today that the spices sometimes are delivered in larger quantities than recipes require, which can result in pepper spray-levels of capsicum released into the air when you toss the mix into a hot frying pan.

2. When everyone in your house has been quarantined and is waiting for the results of their COVID-19 test, the kind thing to do in this situation is explain to them that you, and now they, are all coughing because you just pepper sprayed them, and then go open windows.

3. The test takes much longer when it is being done on you than when you are watching someone else being tested. Time is relative. 30 seconds is not such a long time when someone else has a probe up their nostril, but a very long time when it’s your nostril.

4. When the health office calls you after waiting 3 days and tells you your test is negative, that’s a very good feeling.

So my wife found my sunglasses

Like many people, I have no idea what is going on right now; all I know is, my wife found my sunglasses in the trunk of her car.
I mean, like many people, I have no idea what is going on right now. Like very few people, all I know is, my wife found my sunglasses. Even now, after you have read this, very few people know she found my sunglasses, because let’s be honest, I check my stats, very few people read this. So, no matter what I write here, very few people will ever know it.
Unless, like, I write something lots of people already know, or something lots of people will find out about somewhere else. What I’m saying is, if a lot of people know something, it’s not because they read it here.
Ok start over:
Like many people, I have no idea what is going on right now.
Things are very confusing.
Chaotic. No one is following rules of procedure because this is all new. Or new-ish. Like, we haven’t seen anything like this since 1918, or 1938, or 1968, etc.
Lots of people out of work. Lots of people sick. Lots of people getting their heads cracked by police. Crazy man nominally “in charge”.
And lots of billionaires making money hand over fist.
That is because billionaires are clowns, by and large.
A Russian I once got really fucking drunk with at a vodka bar (never drink vodka with a Russian. Or a Pole for that matter.) with divided people into clowns and cucumbers. Cucumbers follow rules, clowns do not. So you’re going to find a higher proportion of clowns among billionaires than among the general population. (“Clowns and cucumbers” strikes me as how a sociopath might describe sociopaths vs non-sociopaths). Anyway, he said that was a Russian expression, clowns vs. cucumbers.
So, I imagine you become a billionaire by bending rules or making up your own (or by inheriting a billion dollars). Therefore, it comes as no surprise that billionaires might thrive in a rule-light environment such as that we are currently experiencing.
And if you’re kinda suffering, it might be because you are not a sociopath.
BUT: this unruly situation also might be a great opportunity to make up new rules. For us to make up new rules. Lots of people know this already, right? I’m stating the obvious? But yeah, still: it’s sad and scary out there, but lots of people – LOTS of people – are in the streets, making new rules as we speak.
They had a Black Lives Matter demonstration in VIENNA yesterday, they expected a few thousand, and 50,000 showed up. In the rain.
One can debate the wisdom of holding such a large gathering during a pandemic, but that’s an impressive number.
Maybe something good is happening.
Usually, when I think that, I’m wrong.
But maybe I’m right this time.
Maybe I’m wrong.
I have no idea.