I'm a guy. And I have black hair. Well not really because it is slowly turning grey. I suppose TheNotquiteBlackhairedGuy doesn't have quite the same ring to it, does it? I write the blog EverythingSucks.blog as well as dabble in some freelance writing.
Anytime I walk outside I’m greeted by a clan of cats. I never know how many cats are actually around — sometimes I see like two or three, other times ten or more — but they’re all over the damn place. We have so many stray cats lurking around our house that I can’t even recall what they’ve been named. Supposedly we have names for some of them — like Militia, Sean, Pumpkin, Shira, Bibbers Jr. and so on — but I can’t ever remember who is who. They’re all feral cats and have a general bland grey color, they all look similar, and they’re all about the same size: scrawny. These cats are everywhere. I can’t even drive up our driveway without having three cats lazily lying in front of my car. Some of them don’t even move as I drive up to them, forcing me to get out of my car and shoo them away before parking. It’s a nightmare of felines.
It’s not my fault or my wife’s fault either. The main problem here is our stupid-ass neighbor, some lady by the name of Lori that I’ve simply been calling “The Cat Lady” for obvious reasons. These cats are all her problem and she’s getting all the blame for it. You might remember her from this post. I was sitting outside one night trying to be at peace with the universe and she kept annoying me by calling to her cats. Totally killing my vibe. That was The Cat Lady, and this post is about her too.
She’s one of those people that you’re not sure how they even survived as long as they did. She seems so damn ignorant and clueless that I’m surprised someone like her made it to their middle ages. I don’t know her history (and don’t care to either), but I find it difficult to believe she ever graduated high school or did anything in life. She seems so naive and clueless and acts like an eight or ten-year-old most of the times. She doesn’t have a car, rides her bike to the local dollar store, and seems oblivious to nearly everything in the world. Her entire life consists of feeding the damn cats, begging us for money to feed the cats, and talking about the cats. If I stop being so harsh and critical I should have some sympathy for her, but I’m a cold-hearted bastard and she (and her strays) just annoys the fuck out of me 97% of the time.
What bothers me the most about her is her total cluelessness to how populations and food chains work. She’s fucking oblivious. I know she loves the stray cats and doesn’t want them to starve — which is noble — but this is where her knowledge stops. A few years ago our neighborhood used to only have a few strays and she fed them like the kind-hearted soul she is and housed them in her garage. Fun fact (and a fact that she wasn’t and still isn’t aware of): when you feed strays, there is no pressure against them reproducing! The couple of strays had a few litters of kittens, turning into like ten cats, and then they reproduced, increasing the amount of cats needlessly wandering around our house. She gave some of them away but kept feeding the rest, and they kept reproducing like you’d expect them to do. So now we have a legit army of cats lurking around the house just wondering who will feed them next.
I don’t know if this makes me smart, or her stupid, but this seems like such an obvious conclusion to a problem that should’ve been evident from the start. You feed two cats, they’ll turn into ten, and so on, until you’re dishing out literal hundreds of dollars to feed the entire family until their population meets the capacity of their available food supply. It’s how the world works and is why I discouraged my wife feeding them out of sympathy. Sure, you’re trying to help a few cats, but that will only spiral out of control until you’re feeding an indefinite about of cats until they run out of food and the population can’t support itself.
Apparently Cat Lady’s boyfriend laid down the law yesterday and forced her to stop feeding them. Luckily I wasn’t home at the time, but she came over crying asking my wife if she could feed them. Well, this is your problem lady, but whatever. So now, today, when going outside, I was greeted with the entire extended family of cats lurking around our house. It’s like they could smell the food and knew who would be feeding them for the next week or so. Fuck me, fuck my life, fuck everything. These cats are smart, probably smarter than the lady feeding them, and they knew where the food was.
Look, I love cats and don’t like to see them suffer or starve, especially when cute kittens are involved, but damn if it isn’t frustrating to see them constantly reproducing, begging for food anytime you walk outside, or casually lying in the driveway when you come home from work. The worst part is that I don’t see any obvious way out of this problem that’s been created by our neighbor. We can’t foot the bill to get all the females spayed or the males neutered, and we surely don’t want to pay $20 per cat to give them to a shelter (not sure if that’s true, but it’s what The Cat Lady said), but they keep lurking around and shitting in the yard. There is no easy way out. The cats are here, they’re ever-present, and it seems like something we just have to deal with. Stray cats fucking suck.
It’s another one of these posts where I feel like a sellout. Let me explain. I strolled home on Friday with a case a beer to cap off the end of a shitty day. Not just a singular shitty day either because Friday was my last day of work before a three-week vacation. Not that I don’t mind not working, it’s that work is kinda what I do and gives me some semblance of routine and progress, something to be distracted by, and without work I just feel lost. I’ve already written a few posts about that (although I’m too lazy to find and link them now) so I won’t get into it any further.
Anyways, on WordPress, I somehow drunkenly stumbled upon something called “WordAds” or something like that. It said I could run ads on my blog and get paid for it. Huh. Even though I was drunk I still had a healthy bit of skepticism — you need a ton of viewers for any real income — and assumed I wouldn’t actually make anything notable. But why not? I thought. I was more curious about how much “WordAds” would pay me than anything else.
This blog doesn’t get a ton of view in the grand scheme of things. Somehow I cracked 2,000 views in the month of May and even though that is something I can be proud of I’m well aware that this isn’t really notable at all compared with other blogs. Running ads on my paltry blog might provide me with like $0.50 a month, although I’m just guessing and have no idea what the real number will be. I’m just aware that it won’t be anything to note. Either way I’m curious as to how much cash 2,000 views a month can provide. Consider it a science experiment of sorts.
Making money was never my prime motivator for blogging because it seems like the wrong way to do anything. I always put passion or “having something to say” above “making money” so don’t actually care about trying to turn this place into a cash machine. It’s a hobby, a way to get myself to write, to get myself to do something, but damn would it be nice to get paid to blog. Make a living out of doing what you enjoy doing (sort of!) and not have to work for someone else. I think it’s the dream most if not all of us want, and is probably the prime reason behind the success of shitty MLM schemes. “Make money doing what you want to do! Be your own boss!”
Not that this is how the world really works. To get paid, you must provide a service of value to people, and one thing I’ve learned reading the random economics book here and there is that the market, any market, is stupidly efficient. There are no get-rich-quick schemes that work because someone before you has already figured it out and jumped into the game. It reminds me of when I thought about selling vape juice during the early stages of the pandemic — there was demand and a market but I dragged my feet — but after a month or so most vape shops had already perfected an online ordering system and totally grabbed the market again. For my birthday my wife bought me six vape pods and I thought I could be a capitalist and sell half of them to my work buddies. Ya know, totally scalp them because they’re all desperate for new pods. I sold two of them for $20 while the two cost her on average $16: I made a $4 profit on this sale. Fuck. That’s not getting rich quick at all.
Blogging is even worse. Once again, how the hell does anyone think they’re going to make money by writing and posting shit on the internet? Well, some do, but it’s a very small percentage. How many bloggers are actually providing a service to anyone? Creating interesting and enlightening content? Is there a market we’re all desperately trying to sell something to? Not many, and It surely isn’t myself or this blog. Anyone looking to make quick money should turn away from blogging and just go find a job. Work for someone else, grab a paycheck, and save as much as you can. I think this is why I never understood the “blog for money” persona: why did you pick this as a way to make money?! Fuck. At the very best it’s a hard thing to do, and at the very worst it’s nearly an impossible time sink to eventually make money.
So I feel like a cheap sellout now. I checked this blog a few days ago and saw “Duck Duck Go” ads plastered all over the place. One of my motivators for having a WordPress Premium Plan (or whatever) is that your site is ad free. Free WordPress plans plop up ads wherever they want which adds a tacky feel to it all. I also like to be in control, knowing that my page is displayed as formatted and no one is going to plop their bullshit ads in the middle of my rants. And I do all of this a few years ago only to run ads on my own to make money. Jeremy, please go fuck off, you’re not understanding how this is supposed to work. But eh, like I said, I’m more curious than anything about how much I could actually make. I know it’ll be useless and pointless, but let’s try it out. If it doesn’t provide a damn thing (like I think), I’ll cancel the ads. Artistic integrity over everything else, but damn would be it be cool to make a living off of writing.
Everyone who has a slightly racist uncle/parent/grandparent on Facebook is probably familiar with this image format and caption: some patriotic image with words like, “If you don’t like [random bullshit patriotic gesture] than you can get the hell out!” Respecting the flag, respecting our ‘customs,’ respecting our language (lol), and so on. It’s always about respecting something. I did a little work to find a representative example of one. Here ya go:
On this 4th of July, in the year of Satan 2020, I’ve been finding myself reflecting on the state of America. Do I hate the place? No. Do I hate what we’ve become? Yes. Do I think we have much more potential that we can live up to? Yes. Am I ashamed to be an American — sometimes yes and sometimes no — but I’m still an American and I feel like my opinion on the state of the country as important as any other citizens. Which is where my issue with silly memes like these begin.
Pictures like these and the others shared by your slightly-racist family members have a ton of implications to them. In the case on the one above, I find it strange that ‘democrats’ are grouped in along with ‘illegals’ which says a whole lot. To be a democrat you’re probably a citizen of the US, and grouping them with ‘illegals’ seems really silly. It’s basically saying that democrats are the same tier of American as illegal aliens which is a totally bullshit statement. Immigrants are a strange inclusion too because I assume they mean ‘legal immigrants’ because if they were illegal they’d be, well, the ‘illegals’ mentioned above. Meaning that being a citizen of the US who is also an immigrant makes them somehow ‘less American’ than the second-, third-, or fourth-generation Americans like most of us probably are.
What really bothers me here is the ownership of America that conservative like to claim. Like America doesn’t mean different things to different people and that they’re somehow the holders of the American Flame and Spirit. It doesn’t matter if you’re a citizen, if you’re not a conservative citizen somehow your view of America is flawed in some way. Like you just don’t get it, maaaaan. And fuck that viewpoint because I’m a goddamn American like any other flag-waving, gun-toting cousin-fucker in the middle of bumfuck nowhere, and my love for America is worth as much as theirs.
I’m also not a fan of the “fixed America” viewpoint that conservative love to stand behind. The image above (and all Facebook-Uncle-images really) seem to view America as something concrete. Like there are fixed customs, beliefs, and traditions that you need to respect and that any change to them is somehow Unamerican. I sometimes think this is the main conservative viewpoint: change is bad. America is basically perfect — the big-dick swingin’ country that controls the entire damn world — and any flaws that America does have are blown out of proportion. There is no need to move forward because America is something already perfect and moving forward is an insult to it. In short, why fix what isn’t broken?
It seems liberals like to view America as non-perfect, in need of some serious love and care and progress to become what America should be. I’m one of them and my view of America is a work-in-progress towards the ideals written down in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. You know: all men are created equal; life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness; and so on. We all know what it means to be American — that you have a fair chance in the world to live up to your potential, that people aren’t biased against based on anything besides their merits, and that justice will be served against those that break those tenets — but any liberal realizes that all of that is a farce. America, to get to where we are today, had to do a ton of work, a ton of fighting, and America was nowhere near perfect in the late 1700s. In fact, the original America was ass-backwards from what was written down in the Declaration and the Constitution.
This conservative idea of what America is is flawed from the start because the ‘ideal America’ they envision is one that has been changed for the better numerous times since the signing of the Constitution. Hell, the Constitution even acknowledges that it must be fluid to keep with changing times, hence the amendment process. From the start, the founding fathers knew that change would have to occur, and change has occurred. Hell, the 19th Amendment — the document that gave women the right to vote — hasn’t even been around for 100 years! 18 year-olds couldn’t vote until 1971, and before the Civil Right Movement employers could openly discriminate against people by their skin color. Income taxes weren’t even a thing until 1909 and Social Security (a thing conservatives love to ramble about liberals ‘threatening’) wasn’t a thing until the 1930s, curiously passed by the raging and filthy liberal Franklin Roosevelt. And you can’t forget the Big One here: slavery. Slavery was totally legal until the 1860s. Think about it, the right to own other people as property was totally legal 160 years ago, and does anyone really think slavery is part of the ‘ideal America?’ My point here is that the America we all know and love — and the America that conservatives love to view as something fixed, sacred, and perfect — has been changing all the damn time.
I feel like the founding fathers had the right idea about freedom and liberty but just couldn’t pull it off at the time. As we progress as a society we find new freedoms that people do not have. Think of the most recent legalization of gay marriage; I don’t think the founders could’ve even thought about extending freedom to gays back in 1790 simply because it was the 1790s. We’ve come a long way since then, and trying to keep anything fixed in terms of a ‘real America’ seems stupid and useless from the start and misses the entire point of what America — the ideal America — should be.
So those are my thoughts on America this 4th of July. I love America despite being a progressive. I love the ideals that we were founded upon, but don’t think we’ve lived up to our potential yet. We don’t have the society free from bias and hate that the founders had envisioned. We’re closer than we were 100 years ago — women can vote and kids don’t have to work 15 hours in a factory — but with the Black Lives Matter protests, racism, and the rise of right-wing fascism we seem further away from the ideal America than we did ten years ago. American has been and always will be a work in progress with the path paved by dissenters and people who fight for what is right despite the popular views or dominant social trends of their times. Sometimes I feel like America is shit, like it’s going down the drain, like it’s all falling apart, but America is something I want to fight for. I’m goddamn proud to be an American.
Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics every whenever I get around to it.
Today is my fourth day sober. It’s nothing to celebrate, but after the past month it kinda is. Before this recent streak, I had been drunk for nearly three weeks. Not perpetually drunk but just drinking everyday. The worst days were those where I pounded down 15 or 18 beers (although it’s hard to count after that many drinks) and the best days were those where I “only” had six. It was a mess and my life was a blur.
Only one day out of those three weeks did I stay sober. Somehow, during all the haze, I called the airport and scheduled a flight lesson to become current with flying again (three landings in the past 90 days). The night before that I didn’t drink because one thing I’ve learned is that you don’t want to fly a plane hungover; you get hot, you sweat, you get airsick, and everything is generally awful and uncomfortable. Add in the anxiety of an instructor judging your skills the entire flight and it’s a recipe for disaster.
The flight went okay, by the way. He was impressed with my professional flying skills, until my first landing that is. I bounced the plane three damn times and it was embarrassing like nothing else. Here you are trying to show an instructor that you’re good to fly and you bounce the plane a few hundred feet down the runway. Yikes. I vaguely remember trying to get the plane under control while muttering to my instructor over the intercom, “God…..damnit. Jeez…Man…” as we hit the ground, went back up, hit the ground again, went back up, until the plane finally decided to land.
I told my therapist about my total two-week binge (it was only two-weeks at the time) fearing she’d shit all over me and tell me to get the hell out of her office. How I’ve fallen, how much progress I’ve pissed away since the start of the year. Remember the “drink once a week” goal from January? Whoops. Surprisingly she almost seemed supportive of it, mostly worried that I was drinking to cope. “No,” I said, “I don’t know why I’ve been drinking so much. I’ve been in a good mood and I’m not depressed or anything. It just seems like something to do I guess.” She kinda smiled and said something along the lines of, “Well, sometimes you need to do whatever works, and if you’re mood has been good…” That sounds really bad but it wasn’t worded that strongly; she didn’t seem to be encouraging me to drink. Like she was acknowledging that maybe there was some reason for it all and that maybe I had to abuse my body until I felt I was done with it or something. What she said felt very cryptic.
And damn if there doesn’t seem to be some good to it all. In the final week of my binge I was starting to feel pretty worn down. Just tired and exhausted and burned out all the time and feeling like I should take a break for a bit. Not for my mental health (because I wasn’t suffering from depression/anxiety issues for some reason) but for my physical health. Anyone who has drank that much should know what I’m talking about here. That ever-present exhaustion with life that comes with drinking all the time.
I also realized that I wasn’t taking sleeping pills every night either. I used to have issues with sleeping, but during my binge I wasn’t taking many pills to sleep. Sure, I’d stay up until 5 a.m. but I’d go to sleep “naturally” (minus the alcohol, of course) without the need for Benadryls or Alka-Seltzer Night Time — Lemon Flavor. In my three-week binge totally abusing alcohol I somehow stopped taking sleeping meds like I had been doing the past three or four months. Is this progress?
And towards the end of my binge I realized I wasn’t even drinking coffee when I woke up like I usually did. Sure, I’d try to drink my usual three or four cups of coffee, but when you’re hungover, jittery, anxious, hot, sweaty, and nauseous the last thing your body really wants or needs is caffeine. I’d make my coffee, drink maybe half of it, and head off to work. As before, is this progress?
I decided I’d just stop consuming caffeine and sleeping meds during the final days of my drinking binge. The sleeping pills were mostly gone, but I was still weary of the dreaded caffeine withdrawal, most terrifying of the symptoms being the headaches. Caffeine headaches aren’t like any other kind of headaches, and luckily I can’t explain why they’re different because I weened myself off coffee this time. Sunday, I had two cups, and Monday I had singular cup of coffee, just enough to ward off the headaches. But Tuesday, my first sober day with alcohol, was also my first day with zero caffeine. I was mildly hungover and sleepy and really wanted a cup of coffee, but stayed strong and felt okay the entire day.
I did have a Coke from Chick-Fil-A today but that’s like, what 90 mg of the stuff at most? That’s not going to do anything and my main goal was to not require like hundreds of milligrams of the drug to function during the day which I’m glad to say I’m succeeding at.
It really makes me notice how much I’ve been forcing my body to do what I want it to do by using drugs. Can’t sleep and want to sleep? Benadryl/Alka-Seltzer. Wake up groggy and nonfunctioning (probably due to the Benadryl at 3 a.m.): caffeine! Hundreds of milligrams of caffeine! Can’t sleep because of the caffeine? Benadryl! And repeat this over and over. By not taking either of these drugs that seem to lead to the other, it’s like I’ve broken the cycle and don’t need them anymore. I feel worn out and tired at the end of the day and it’s a healthy and natural exhaustion; my body is ready to sleep and does so easily. Amazingly, I even wake up and not feel dead either! Who would’ve guessed! Sure I still need my nicotine to get going, but it’s tons better than needing nicotine and caffeine to wake up.
It’s strange that by abusing alcohol for three weeks I’ve somehow came to this random idea to not drink caffeine or take sleeping pills every night. I doubt this is what the therapist was hoping I’d do, but I still feel like I’ve made some positive life choices by abusing alcohol for three weeks. I’m not saying that if you want to stop drinking coffee or needing pills to sleep you should go on a three-week drinking binge (any week-long drinking binge isn’t smart for any reason) but I’m rather surprised that’s what it took to get me where I am. I’ll take any minimal form of progress I can and try to be happy with it.
So there we were waiting in line at the Verizon store immediately in front of some pregnant lady who was bitching on the phone to someone about her plight.
“I have an online order and I have to wait in line? What kind of shit is that? I’m thirty-two weeks pregnant and I have to stand here in this heat? Even if I have an online order? Yes, yes it’s bullshit? Total bullshit. Uh uh. Exactly. Yes, yes I might call and make a complaint about this…”
And while I was sitting cross-legged on the pavement I glanced up at my wife and took a massive pull from my vape. She met my eyes and we exchanged mutual looks. “Really?” We both asked without words. “Is this type of person really behind us?” A few subtle eye rolls, frowns, and glances up at the sky both communicated that we were on the same page here; we had a Karen behind us and we were both miserable because of it.
I said to my wife, “Wow, I wish I had my phone right now. I have some really good inspiration for a blog post. Lot’s of good ideas going on in my mind right now.” She smiled, knowing I have a blog called Everything Sucks where I bitch about random facets of life. She knew exactly what my “inspiration” was all about while Karen had no idea I was shitting all over her.
My Goddamn Phone…
This all has quite a backstory starting years ago. I’m cheap as fuck. I love to make things last. I’m a DIYer at heart. I like fixing things. I love learning new things. And one of the most difficult and cost-effective ways to utilize these traits is with cell phones. These bad boys, totally new, can run you near $1,000 (especially if you’re one of those Apple fanbois) and to me it’s imperative that you do all you can do to make them last as long as possible. Take care of them and repair them. To me, the longer you can make a shitty, old phone last the longer you can postpone buying a really expensive new one, and the more money you can save. Every month with an old phone is a month you don’t have to pay for a new one.
One of the first things that wear out with phones is the battery, and this is simply due to the chemistry and physics of how lithium-ion batteries work. Years ago you could actually buy and replace a phone’s battery, but now most phones have a permanent internal battery that you can’t easily access. This naturally limits your phone’s life to a few years at most before it doesn’t hold jack-shit for charge. The first fact of owning an old phone is the battery degradation and you must face that fact eventually.
So to breathe some new life into my old Samsung S7 I set about changing the battery a few months ago. I had to remove the back glass cover and tear a bunch of internal components out to get to it, but holy fuck, I did it. I was successful. I changed the S7’s internal battery giving my 2.5 year old phone a new life. Sure I busted the rear glass in the process, but it worked and I was proud of myself and proud of my new-found phone-fixing abilities.
Hell, I even replaced the cracked rear glass cover a month ago which was surprisingly easy. I was getting good at this whole phone repair business.
A few weeks ago at work I busted the front screen of my phone. I don’t even know how it happened either. I put my phone into my pocket, went up into the airplane, and started pushing cans around to unload it. When we had some downtime I took my phone out and the screen was cracked. How the hell did that happen? I had no idea. Anyways, since I had such major success changing my phone’s battery and rear panel, I started to think about how difficult it would be to change the busted front glass screen as well. Amazon had replacement glasses for only $15, so I bought one and set about replacing it.
You can find a lot of useful information on the Amazon reviews of a product, and the glass replacement was no different. Strangely, most of the reviews said something like, “DO NOT TRY THIS REPAIR ON YOUR OWN, YOU WILL BREAK YOUR PHONE! This is a repair that should only be undertaken by those who know what their doing!” Yeah, whatever, who gives a shit. I’m a pro: I know what I’m doing.
So, Friday. I’m sure you can see where this story is going. I finally attempted to change my phone’s busted glass screen and totally fucked it up and bricked my phone in the process. Apparently (and like the Amazon reviews warned) the screen digitizer — the thing that actually is your phone screen — is placed like right upon the glass cover. I didn’t really realize this so totally pried the screen — along with the very important digitizer — up from the rest of the phone, cutting and tearing the hardware ribbon that connected it to the rest of the phone. I turned the phone on and there was nothing on the whatever-grey-thing that’s underneath the digitizer.
And Onto Verizon…
It was about 3:30 p.m. on Friday when all of this went down and I needed to have a phone. I use the damn thing so much for work and leisure and stocks and writing that I couldn’t possibly go without one. A quick Google search said our local Verizon store closed at 5 p.m. meaning we’d have to get the fuck out of the house quickly to get a new phone. You know, before the weekend. Before everything was closed. Before I’d be out of a phone for three days wondering what the hell to do with my hands in the meantime.
The Verizon store had a line outside of it (thanks to COVID) about 5 people long. I didn’t know how long this would take, but we had 40 minutes before the store closed. Everyone in the line seemed cool, patiently waiting their turn to go shop or pick up their internet orders or whatever. I sat on the pavement cross-legged and tried to look like a peaceful and wise Buddhist monk as we all fucking waited to be served.
Then Karen showed up. She walked right to the door of the store — right past the 6 or 7 of people clearly waiting in line — and tried to open the door. It was locked and she seemed pissed. I wasn’t paying much attention at the time because she was just some pregnant women trying to shop at Verizon and wasn’t a total Karen yet, but she soon made her name known. Some employee came out and talked to her, and she said something about her internet order that she needed to pick up, and was directed to the back of the line, right behind my wife and I. She promptly called someone and started bitching about the entire situation and how terrible and bullshit it was for her. As stated before, here was a thirty-two week pregnant lady who had to stand outside of a store for her internet order, and why couldn’t they just service her first? Because she was thirty-two weeks pregnant and hot and miserable and everything. And hell, her two-year old was sitting in the car with it running because she needed AC and she didn’t have AC because she had to stand outside the store waiting. It was total bullshit to her — some massive offense against her and her trials and struggles of being pregnant — and the company should be ashamed of itself.
Look, I try to be understandable to anyone and the shit they’re going through, but the instant someone seems entitled to something, any sympathy I have instantly disappears. Like, poof, gone, fuck you. Yes, I know being pregnant in June probably isn’t comfortable at all, but with all the bitching and appearing like you’re some fucking queen that needs to be catered to, please kindly fuck off.
I also have a zero patience for anyone bitching about problems that they caused themselves. It’s like if I woke up hungover and complained about it; well, I think maybe I had something to do with my misery so why bitch about it? Or my goddamn phone: yes, I tore it apart and fucked it up, but I wasn’t complaining about it like it was some random chance event that happened to me. A tree didn’t fall on my phone and break it. God had nothing to do with it. It was my fault so how could I bitch about it? But this lady was totally complaining that her toddler was in the car with the AC going wasting her gas? For fuck sake, take her out, shut the car off, and let her wait in line with you! Or her bitching about being thirty two weeks pregnant? Once again, I think she might’ve had something to do with getting pregnant (unless she’s Mother Mary #2), so bitching about it seems so…pointless, I guess? Like fuck, Verizon didn’t get you pregnant, and maybe you should’ve known that getting knocked-up in fall/winter of 2019 would mean that you’d be in your final trimester in the fucking hot and humid months of June/July/August. It should be known and accepted. And COVID? Fuck, we’re all waiting in line and no one is happy about it, but what else are we supposed to do? We’re all in the same goddamn boat waiting in line outside of Verizon on a hot and humid day and only she seemed like it was some affront to her humanity or her condition or something.
Not that I was in a good mood myself either. Everything in my life was going wrong. Any step I took to fix something somehow backfired. Hence the phone. I tried to save money by fixing it, and ended up breaking the fuck out of it because I didn’t know what I was doing. We had just gotten our car back from the dealership only to have it fuck up again on the way to work. Nothing was going right, and all I wanted was something to go right. I was at Verizon to fix a problem I had caused for myself and the entire trip was like some insult to my ability to actually fix my phone and have something actually work out. I’d soon be out about $600 because I fucked up. I needed some goddamn positivity and had about zero patience to deal with anything negative, especially some random lady bitching about her life behind me in the line. I was waiting for her to say something to us — anything — and was ready to blurt out a blatantly honest, “Look, I have enough bad shit going on in my life right now and I don’t need anymore negativity. Sorry.”
Eventually after about ten or fifteen minutes Verizon got their shit together, talked to her, found her order, and hauled it out to her. She kinda acted nice, said “thank you,” and waddled her thirty-two week pregnant ass back to her car, running with the AC on, with her two-year old desperately trying to undo her carseat’s belts and fasteners. I felt kinda bad for the kids — the two-year-old and the unborn one — because she seemed like a total bitch of a mom. Like one that will fuck their kids up in some unrepairable way in the next few decades. Hell, the kids might even end up just like their mom; another couple of Karens to haunt Gen A or Gen B kids (or whatever comes after Gen Z) as they wait outside stores during a pandemic. The cycle repeats, something about the Wheel Weaves and the Wheel Wills or something. I don’t know.
Everyone glanced at everyone else in line, all kinda silently agreeing that “Wow, glad that bitch is gone. Geez.” and there seemed to be a thin form of comradery as we all waited in line and finally got rid of our Karen. Then everyone went back to their phones, conversations, and I continued to sit and vape, trying to play the part of the enlightened Buddhist monk outside Verizon on a Friday. Accepting of the universe and taking each moment as it came and went.
George Floyd, the martyr in the recent round of protests against police brutality, was murdered May 25, 2020 (on Memorial Day), about exactly a month ago.
Conspiracy theorist always seem to get about the first 5% of things right before the next 95% of “facts” go totally off the damn rails. It doesn’t take a detective to realize that social media — and nearly all forms of media — are totally dominated by a fuckton of right-wing cultists spewing total bullshit about whatever topic is available to be bitched about. COVID, Black Lives Matter, vaccines, Trump, etc. But the 5% they’re right on, the first 5% that might be the jumping off point for some total craziness, goes something like this, “People listen way too much to the media. People believe whatever their told!” (The typo is surprisingly fitting here. Also pointing to the fact that they have their own forms of media that they blindly follow, i.e. a random dude on YouTube.) After that the craziness really ensues.
But fuck if they’re not right for that initial 5%. Not that the rest of their shit is right — COVID is a hoax, etc. — but the foundation seems true enough. As stated, George Floyd was murdered by police on May 25, 2020. And it’s hard to gauge, but as the protests around his murder really kicked off in late-May/early-June, America seemed to totally forget about COVID entirely. We’ve given up, decided it wasn’t anything to worry about, that we’ve beaten it, and we’ve decided to move on.
I partially blame the media, along with the 5% factual shit from above, for totally misleading the population, not on purpose but because that’s what they do for money/ratings. And I also blame the population for being so damn dumb that they only consider what is being reported as important, usually one big topic at a time. The world is a complex place and just because media doesn’t report on shit doesn’t mean it’s not occurring. Remember the Australian wildfires? Did those ever go out or did the media stop reporting on it as COVID ramped up? Remember the Brazilian rainforest being wrecked for farmland? Did we win that battle or did the media go silent? And was COVID conquered simply because the news pivoted to stories about protests and riots? You’d think so if you’ve only checked out Facebook or other social media. Everyone seems to be hopelessly fixed on the zeitgeist of the day/week and blindly follows it, whatever the media decides is important enough to report on at the time. I’m guilty of this myself, having written two posts about racism in the past week. As a blogger I feel I need to chase around “relevancy” in whatever form it takes, but somehow COVID has been lurking in my mind for awhile. Is it really over or did we just move the fuck on and decide we don’t want to worry about it anymore?
It’s obviously the latter: not that many people seem to be aware of it if it’s not constantly reported on. I had a COVID test about a month ago and was off of work for over a week until I got my results back. They were negative and I went back to work to find a slightly altered workplace. No one was wearing masks anymore and it seemed as soon as June 1st rolled around people stopped caring. The gas station I frequent for beer used to have a sign saying something like “A FACE MASK/BANDANA IS REQUIRED TO ENTER THE STORE” which disappeared when June rolled around. Another gas station, in the bumfuck redneck town of Winnebago, Illinois, had a sign on the door stating they required facemasks for all customers. I didn’t have mine so cautiously opened the door to gauge the reaction of people inside; no one had a mask on and didn’t seem to give a damn that I also didn’t have a mask on. No one gave a shit wherever I went after May ended. So I also didn’t give a shit which is probably the wrong thing to do.
“WHO GIVES A SHIT?! It’s an RPG boys, story doesn’t matter; it’s all about the action. Now let’s get down to business…”
-Videogamedunkey in his “Dunk Souls” video upon skipping the introductory cutscene and all the context of the game it offers. I’ve found myself blurting out “WHO GIVES A SHIT? STORY DOESN’T MATTER,” in regards to COVID recently.
I think in May our governor J.B. Pritzker tried to keep Illinois shutdown until July. He was then promptly sued because you know, rights and stuff — peoples rights to shop without a mask or work or something — and the court ruled in their favor. I still don’t know the details but it seemed Illinois would open up somewhat in June. Outdoor seating at restaurants, limited people in stores, with the stores opening at least among other things.
As a quick side note, I’ve realized that tagging these posts with “Pritzker Sucks” seems to rake in the views even though I support the guy. I won’t shit on him here because I think he’s done a good job taking COVID seriously, but I’m still going to tag this post with a “Pritzker Sucks” just to rake in those conservative views, and maybe anger some when they realize I like the guy and his handling of COVID. So yes, ironically, Fuck Pritzker. And Fuck Trump while we’re at it, but unironically this time. Thanks for reading right-wingers.
Social media has, along with the media, pivoted pretty strongly to being about riots. My knowledge of the news usually comes from trolling the front page of Reddit — anything newsworthy enough is usually upvoted enough to make it to the front page — or seeing the hyped-up dramatic shit I see on social media like Facebook. It’s pretty obvious, but in this environment COVID has all but disappeared. And it exits your consciousness where you’re not even aware that’s it’s still an issue. Luckily, gaps in the reporting still appear. I follow a chemist on Facebook and her main goal over the past few months appears to be to scream about COVID and how it’s still a threat. This doesn’t get reported but you know when a scientist/chemist is still screaming about something sciency, it’s still a problem. And even on Reddit the occasional post, like this following chart from r/dataisbeautiful, obviously show that COVID cases are still on the rise, especially in southern and western states. Let’s also not disregard the occasional r/news or r/worldnews posts with headlines like, “[State Name] has reported its highest single-day cases of COVID-19 with [number] reported on [date/day of the week].”
COVID seems different as well because it’s a biological threat. Consider the Australian wildfires as an example; sure, even if the media doesn’t report on them they’re still raging, but this isn’t a direct threat to anyone in the United States or the rest of the world. In this case, ignorance is bliss and pretending like it’s not happening doesn’t really have a negative effect on the world. I think most news stories are like this — sure Trump conjured up a new stupid Twitter post to toss the media off his trail and allow the public to forget his last stupid Twitter post — but I doubt this has much an effect on anything. COVID? COVID, being a goddamn virus, doesn’t give a shit that it isn’t at the forefront of American knowledge because it’s going to do whatever the fuck it wants to do. In short, ignoring COVID — unlike ignoring Trump’s Twitter feed/the media’s reporting on it — will not benefit anyone. In fact it’ll only make the problem worse. As more people stop thinking that it’s a threat, the more that will let their guard down, and the more that will be infected. And they’ll go on to affect everyone else that’s let their guard down. And so on.
I find it strange that Americans have all but given up fighting COVID or being concerned about it. Shops, stores, and restaurants are opening back up. People are going back to work. States are opening up. Testing is still shit. But hey, it’s June, it’s summer, and people can’t wait to get out and live their lives that have been on hold for a few months. And holy hell is everyone ready to take off the masks that they claim they unironically Can’t Breathe in. We’re just going to ignore the climbing COVID numbers and pretend like nothing is happening. It’s the classic American way: close your eyes, plug your ears, and scream “La la la!” at the top of your lungs. Everything is fine. No, really. It’s fine.
Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics every whenever I get around to it.
Well, today is sadly June 22 and I’m officially thirty-four years old. I suppose this isn’t quite true until 9:50 a.m. but still, close enough. I’m thirty-four, and what does all of this even mean?
Probably nothing but I still can’t shake the dirty feeling that overtakes you when turning a year older, especially while in your thirties. It’s a mix of emotions that is hard to really process and make sense of. I feel old, but in a strange and unclear way. Not like old-old where I’m going to die soon and not old where I know it’s well past time to work on my goals and dreams. No, it’s like an intermediate old where you know time is running out and it’s about time to get working on your dreams and goals because it’s about past time when you can actually do these things. Over this time it’s time to settle down and find comfort in your life, relax, and reap the seeds you’ve sowed in your teens and twenties. But what if, like me, you haven’t sown any seeds? What if you’re still cruising through life at the ripe age in the mid-thirties still not knowing what you want to actually do in life? What if you’re so misguided that you still feel mentally like a damn teenager where the world still doesn’t make sense? At the cusp of my thirty-fourth birthday this is how I feel: like someone who should have everything figured out but who feels as dumb and clueless as they did nearly twenty years ago.
It’s hard to not shit all over yourself during times of reflection like these. They naturally led your mind to the thought of, “What have I accomplished? What does my life mean?” and I regretfully come up with nothing notable to mention. Thirty-four. Say it again. I’ve had thirty-four years to figure out what the hell my life means, what I want to do, and haven’t came to anything notable. Halfway to thirty-four? Seventeen. Still as clueless as I am now, but still somehow younger, naive, and more full of potential that I still haven’t realized. Fuck, halfway during my current life I was seventeen: Fuck. I don’t know how to even process that. It seems so long ago but yet still so familiar because I’m still the same person really. I feel just as I did halfway through my life years ago: still clueless, still lost, but with some hope that the future might clear something up for me. Protip: It Didn’t. I won’t. Time doesn’t clear shit up for anyone. If you’re in your teens and twenties and vibing with what I’m writing, you’re in for some shit. You’re just like me. You’ll never figure it out, you’ll never know what you want to do. And you better find solace in this fact wherever you can.
I project forward to when sixty-eight years old: the point that I’m halfway towards. I remember being twenty and projecting forwards to forty. There was still plenty of time between forty and the probable end of my life so it wasn’t a big deal. But now being halfway to sixty-eight? Doesn’t the average American male die at seventy-four? Seriously, I’m likely halfway through my life and haven’t accomplished a damn thing really. Fuck. This is scary. Halfway. I’m here. This is it. Time to clear shit up and get my stuff in order. Finish the race on a strong note.
Let’s also not forget that my lifestyle will probably kill me well before I reach seventy, and sometimes I’m worried I’ll die before I’m fifty or fourty. And how do you deal with that fact that you could be 80% finished with your life at thirty-four years old?
As much as I love self-hatred, I still can’t get over some aspect of loving myself. I still think I have something to offer the world — that I’m special in some way — and that I haven’t realized how to channel it yet. It’s a struggle of how to view yourself that I can’t fully explain. I just can’t get over the fact that, yes, I might have something special and meaningful to offer the world and I just can’t seem to realize it and capitalize on it. Like I have all the talents needed to make something of my life but just can’t seem to put it all together into something useful. Like I’ve squandered any gifts that have been given to me and after thirty-four years I still can’t realize how to use the gifts that are somehow inherently what makes me, Jeremy, unique and special.
It leads to a feeling of uselessness: if I haven’t discovered this in thirty-four years, why would I learn it in the next year? The next five? The next ten? Or even the next thirty-four years when I’m likely to be near the end of my life? My life seems to be a mess of squandering anything good given to me in some twisted form of self-destruction. I could’ve been an airline pilot by now had I made the right choices. Hell, I could’ve been anything by now had I made the right choices. But what am I? Some blogger dude who works at UPS, still struggling and floundering to do something notable in the face of total failure that can’t seem to be proud of anything he has accomplished. Today is my thirty-fourth birthday, and it’s going to be a bland day indeed. Another day, another orbit around the sun, and another year of not doing a goddamn thing to further myself. Another day and year to squander my gifts. So, cheers, here’s to another year on the planet Earth…
This is the second part to this post. At the end of that post I said something like, “My main racist crime?: I don’t use checkout lines with black people as the cashier. Like subconsciously.”
That’s kinda a lie really. It was a clickbaity end to my last post, honestly, and I feel kinda bad about it in retrospect. I’m not nearly that twisted of a person — claiming to be against racism while not using any checkout lines staffed by African Americans — and my own reality is much more blurry than that. Let me explain a bit.
Everything else being equal, I’ve noticed I choose white cashiers over blacks, with the key phrase here being everything being equal. Obviously if a black person has no one in their line and some white person has three people in their line, I’d choose the black person. It makes sense. I’m pragmatic as hell and I think this is how everyone should be; if all races are equal (as I believe) you shouldn’t even use race as a deciding factor to which goddamn checkout line you use. White or black doesn’t matter because I just want to get the fuck out of Walmart as quickly as possible. Simply choose who has the shortest line and get the hell out of there! I’ve taken solace in my coldness in choosing checkout lanes but I’ve noticed something strange when these two hypothetical lines are equal in length. Whose line do I choose: the African-American cashier or the White cashier? Surprisingly, this is when my latent racisms really popped into view. I’d pick the white cashier over the black cashier for reasons that didn’t seem really clear to me. And I never even really thought about it; it was just something that happened. Something about the white cashier seemed more ‘familiar’ to me or something. But once I realized this the question then turned into “Why am I this way?”
When I realized this I was kinda shocked. Like I said, I try to be pragmatic as possible — which line has the shortest wait because I really don’t give a shit who checks me out — but I found it strange that race would somehow be taken into account in absence of anything else. And it’s a quiet, subtle thing that’s hard to really notice or process because you’re not aware that it’s happening, especially when you view yourself as not racist or anything, but yet, here was this tendency to pick a cashier with a skin color closer to myself. It’s kinda scary when you realize your brain works this way.
The way my brain works goes something along the lines of “familiarity”: white people seem more “like me” culturally and socially than others with a different skin color which is totally bullshit but how it feels in the moment. That’s my natural tendency, like it’s harder to ‘understand’ the cashier if they’re a different race then you are. Once again, total bullshit, but this is what my mind does. It’s strange to realize this almost naturally naturally occurs. It’s something deeply ingrained and something you naturally do without questioning it, with zero ill-will against anyone involved. It’s just how your brain seems to work.
And racism in this form is a natural thing I think: it’s a holdover from our caveman days like everything else we suffer from. Here in 2020 with all of the fancy technological achievements we have, we are still hopelessly biological cavemen hindered by all the shitty evolutionary holdovers we have from the good ole days. You know, shit like social approval, success, being accepted by the group, etc. and this is one of them. I have zero references here but we are a hopelessly tribal species where our brains inherently group people into those that are with us and against us. I think this doesn’t need much evidence really because whenever I see someone with a Trump flag in their yard I instantly count them as “one of Them” while someone with a Bernie sticker on their car is “one of Us.” Us vs. Them always. It doesn’t stop there either. Football teams, the Bears/Packers rivalry, Republicans/Democrats, Liberals/Conservatives, and so on. We cut up teams based upon silly shit all the time and it’s no surprise that separate teams — subconsciously and unknowingly — in terms of race as well. White/Blacks. White/Mexicans. Americans/Immigrants. White/Arabic. White/Asian. Those similar to us and those dissimilar to use; those of the opposing tribe. Those not totally against us but those who aren’t exactly like us. A different team and a different tribe. An old evolutionary holdover that doesn’t make much sense currently but something that we’re all susceptible to because we’re all hopelessly prehistoric cavemen in a hopelessly complex world.
After realizing this tendency, it’s natural to wonder how you can even solve the problem. There is no easy way forward because you’re so hopelessly biased. But it’s freeing in a way to realize how you are, and this simple realization gives you a way forward despite any clear answers to your questions. After I realized this strange trait about myself — even with no answer to why I was this way — I could move forward. Just knowing my tendencies allowed me to counteract them consciously. Now, all things being equal at shitty Walmart, I make a conscious effort to change my ways and pick an African cashier over a White cashier. I don’t have any great success stories about this because with such a subtle problem it’s hard to see any clear benefits to changing your ways, but there are a few side notes. Black people don’t seem to judge the fuck out of my alcohol purchases the way old White women do, and they seem to be much more open and honest about how shitty their lives are. Everyone working at Walmart seems to hate their lives, and it’s only the White people that seem to try to put a cover of dignity over how they feel. I seem to have found some honesty that doesn’t exist with the White cashiers always acting and lying about how they really feel, and even if the African cashier is rude as fuck it seems to come from a genuine place of frustration that the White’s don’t seem to have. You can’t help but appreciate this honestly. This almost seems like stereotyping in the reverse, or still grouping individuals into groups, but still. I think I’m growing as a person in this way.
So as my Facebook friend suggested, and as I took it in a way totally unintended, I’ve been self-reflecting on racism and have stumbled upon the fact that I am an unknowing racist, albeit in a totally undramatic way. And tying this back with my prior post about “subtle racism” I think this is a fitting conclusion to the post. The problem with racism is that it doesn’t fly directly into your face as racism — it’s quiet comments from family members/friends and in the tendencies we all hold even if we aren’t aware of them — and this makes racism hard to combat. While we’re all willing to shout down Nazis on the corner of the street, it’s much more difficult to shout down your racist neighbor who talks about “those people.” It hides in the shadows. It isn’t obvious. And if there’s one thing I’ve realized, it’s so quiet that it might reside within yourself as a tiny and unnoticeable form that you might not even notice that you harbor the demon. Search within yourself. We’re all equal, and ask yourself if you really might be the problem you’ve been fighting all along.
Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics every whenever I get around to it.
This is a topic I’ve been mulling over writing about for over a year now and it simply hasn’t come together, until now that is. I’ve been inspired to write this post because of some random video a friend of mine from high school shared on Facebook of all places. As much as I bitch about Facebook it’s nice to see someone pull through with a post that is heartfelt, meaningful, and gets your mind thinking a bit.
So about that video. She posted a five-minute long video that was just her talking. This person doesn’t fuck around on social media and if she posted a five-minute long video of her talking I knew something was being said and I wasn’t disappointed. She hit the current situation (the protests, Black Lives Matter, the police, racism, #AlLlIvEsMaTtEr, etc.) clearly, directly, and it definitely hit hard.
To sum it all up, she said something about self-reflecting about the beliefs we all hold. Easy, right? I’m not racist at all so there isn’t much to reflect upon. She also said the stupidly deep line that went something like, “It isn’t our black friends that need to solve racism; that is up to us to solve, because we are the problem.” Obviously not all white people are the issue and the ‘we’ is a generalization of the white race, but racism is inherently a problem with non-black people by definition. Well, I’ve never thought about it that way before; until now I’ve viewed the recent protests as a conflict between the cops and blacks — I’m not black or a cop so what can I do about any of it? But regarding systemic racism and me being a white person? Maybe I do have a part in it after all. Maybe I am part of the problem? Maybe I am part of the solution.
But I’m not racist, at least as far as I know. But here at this blog I try to remain as open and honest as I’m able and have been wondering if I’m part of the problem after all. One thing I’ve noticed about racism is that it’s really subtle; it isn’t people in the streets chanting that they hate ‘niggers’ or anything. It’s much more quiet and repressed than that.
Subtle Racism in the World…
I recall a conversation in college about PC culture. Political correctness if you’re unaware of the term. The question was this: does PC culture help eliminate racism/hate or not? Most of the class seemed to agree, thinking that if it was taboo to call blacks ‘niggers’ or gays ‘faggots’ that it would somehow solve the problem. If everyone is too scared to say the words in public, it’s like the problem doesn’t really exist. It never has room to grow into full-fledged hatred. I was one of the few dissenters, arguing that eliminating language or making it unacceptable didn’t remove the true feelings behind the thoughts; people will feel what they feel even if they can’t put it into words. To me PC culture was an utter failure because while it dissuaded people from being vocal about their feelings, those feelings still existed, and to me it felt like a ticking time bomb.
Racism still exists in subtle forms, and I really think this might be due to our heavy PC culture in the past few decades. I think of my dad and how any black man walking along the street is “looking to buy drugs,” or whatever. Not like any African American can actually enjoy a walk or anything: they’re always assumed to be up to something shady. Or the fabled, “He’s one of the good ones,” when a white person has one as their friend. As if blacks have to prove they’re “one of the goods ones:” implying that they’re bad or flawed by default. There are a few other examples about Mexicans being lazy or criminals, but I don’t have any specifics to add here. Once again, racism isn’t white people calling blacks ‘niggers’ or anything; it’s much more subtle than that and we overlook most of this closeted racism.
I suppose my worry with this subtle, quiet racism is that given the correct environment (basically our current environment…) racism like this can grow and fester like a disease. Sure, people can’t say the n-word due to political correctness, but what if it becomes the norm? What if hatred to other races becomes acceptable and even desired by the dominant social trends of the day? Then it becomes cool to call blacks slurs, to hate openly instead of hiding it within. It becomes public, a sort of demon that no one can stop, and this is the Real Racism — like 1930s German Racism — that I find so damn terrifying even if it doesn’t currently exist. I’m sure a large portion of the population feels these quiet but repressed feelings of hate where there’s only some fragile, poorly-fortified damn stopping these feelings from spilling over into the mainstream. And this damn is us quiet, timid, well-meaning people of the world.
My Facebook friend’s main point in her video seemed to be about correcting your fellow humans about subtly racist comments and actions that your quietly-racist uncle/dad likes to randomly spout out. Show that you’re not accepting of any form of subtle hate. Make a stand. Say something. Don’t make it okay. Sure, someone who blurts out, “That’s gay,” I would correct, but this seems obvious and easy enough to implement and only requires courage to actually speak up. But with self-reflection I began wondering if I had some subtle form of racism that I wasn’t aware of. And here’s where we get to the old blog post that I’ve never gotten around to writing: Yes, I’m prejudiced. Yes, I’m biased. And it’s in a way I’m not even fully understand. It’s also in a totally undramatic and seemingly harmless way that sounds stupid and pointless to write anything about. My main racist crime?: I don’t use checkout lines with black people as the cashier. Like subconsciously. Bear with me in this silliness; I’ll post thesecond part before the weekend is over. I promise.
Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics every whenever I get around to it.
This is an impromptu continuation of this post and is a post I didn’t think a continuation was necessary for. But, life happens, you’re aware of that. Shit happens, plans change, things go to hell, etc. And I don’t know why I ever expect anything to work out as planned. A friend of mine likes to expect the worst because then you’ll either be prepared or pleasantly surprised; I think she might be onto something. Damn me for being optimistic…
The plan today was to drive the twenty miles to nearby Belvidere, Illinois (a shithole I despise going to for any reason) to pick my shitty Ford Focus EV up from the dealership. It was fixed, or more precisely as they said, “We’ve fixed everything that could be wrong with it, *implied shrug over the phone*, so you can pick it up tomorrow.” We drove there, I paid the $427 for the repairs, and walk to car in the parking lot. I start it and everything looks alright beside the twenty-one mile range left on the car; they didn’t even bother to charge the thing! It’s about fifteen miles to our house so to be safe I planned to charge it on the way home. “Looks like I’m stopping at the park on the way,” I texted my wife. (A park five miles from out house sports two EV chargers.) Whatever. I’d make it work.
About halfway home on East State Street (the busiest damn street in Rockford: a big three lane road in both directions) the car popped the infamous”Stop Safely Now” warning. I was stopped at a traffic light — in the middle lane nonetheless — so there wasn’t much choice of where to stop safely. The car wouldn’t let me drive it anywhere else so I sat there in heavy traffic stranded in the middle of the tree lanes.
Luckily, I trained for emergencies while learning to fly and feel confident in my ability to not panic and deal with the situation, so frustratedly turned on the emergency flashers and sighed. Here I am, I am safe, and what do I do now? Kinda checked the right and left lanes of traffic and wondered what the hell my options were. Call a tow truck? Push the car to the side when traffic cleared? Who the hell knew. Either way I was pissed and stuck in the middle of the road with a dead car.
I tried the typical “shut-if-off-and-turn-it-back-on” trick that is standard for troubleshooting anything and luckily IT worked. I waited until traffic was clear to the right and zipped into a parking lot. Old Chicago if you’re really curious. I probably should’ve went in and had a few beers to really think about this issues.
I pulled out my phone and called the dealership and one of the ladies at the desk answered. “How can I help you?” she asked.
“Yeah, can I talk to someone in the maintenance department?”
“Sure, is this involving an appointment or an issue with your vehicle?”
“Well, I picked my car up twenty minutes ago and it died on me halfway home…”
“Oh…I’ll transfer you then.”
Luckily Mike, the guy who gave me my keys twenty minutes earlier, answered the transfer. This was also a fun conversation.
“Hello, this is Mike, how can I help you?”
“Hey, this is Jeremy, the guy who just picked up the Ford Focus like twenty minutes ago. Uh, I made it about halfway home and it popped another “Stop Safely Now” warning in the middle of State Street and I couldn’t move the car at all. Luckily, I shut the car off and turned it on and it allowed me to drive but I mean I don’t want it to happen again where I need to have it towed. Should I just drop it back off to you guys?”
“Hmm…so it wouldn’t let you drive it at all?”
“No, not until I restarted it.”
“Yeah, it could do that again, huh?”
“Yeah, I have no idea what caused it. It seemed really random.”
“Well, that’s not normal. I’d say bring it back in and I’ll have a technician look at in on Monday.”
Since range wasn’t an issue anymore (because who gives a fuck if they get an EV with a dead battery) I drove like a maniac back to the dealership. I parked the car, sulked into the place, and handed my key back to them. Chris, the guy who fixed my car a few other times, seemed genuinely upset that I hauled it back twenty minutes after I had picked it up. That dude knew what he was doing; how about he fixes my car this time? Andy, the guy who handled my shit this time, apparently didn’t know what the fuck he was doing.
On the ride home with my wife, I received a call from the dealership. Already? I thought. It was one of the desk girls again asking how the service was that I received. Was everything okay with the car? So it was very satisfying to just monotone-plop out a reply of “Yeah, actually the car just died like thirty minutes ago and I dropped it back off. So, yeah…” Her reply went something like, “Oh! Well…we’ll get in touch with the service department and talk with them.” Yeah. Fuck you guys.
So now it’s a wait until Monday to hear anything about it, at the very least. It could take longer, who knows. Obviously, my entire weekend is shot now because this was the singular positive thing I was looking forward to to jumpstart my life. I’d get my car back, it’d be fixed, and I could get on with the other issues in my life, move onto bigger and more difficult things if you will. Maybe start flying again. Nope! Fuck you, Jeremy: life fucks you again. Que The Big Lebowski: “You see what happens?! You see what happens, Larry?! See what happens? This is what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass, Larry!”
That rant wasn’t very much called for, but, still. I don’t even know. I keep thinking this entire car purchase years ago was a mistake. Some flawed thought of me trying to move into the future and be part of the leading wave of brave electric car owners. Those who walk the path before others comfortably take it up. I envision us as the covered-wagon folks traveling to California in search of gold in the 1800s. Pioneers and such leading all others. Taking risks. Being brave. Etc. I remember as a kid in like 1996 telling my grandmother that I’d own an electric car because they didn’t pollute as much, and when I bought the car I kinda remembered that moment. Yeah, I actually accomplished one of those wild childhood dreams somehow. I did it: I was an electric car owner for real! Wow!
But now? Mistake. The damn thing was a mistake. I bought the cheapest piece of shit EV — a compliance car by Ford, let’s recall the popular acronym Found On Road Dead — and I was paying out of the ass in repairs. But don’t EVs not have any moving parts? What wears out? What can wear out? Why is it so hard to repair them? That was my initial thought but this thing has been repaired more than the damn 1998 Cavalier I owned for more than a decade. Why? How? Wasn’t I doing the right thing? Wasn’t I saving so much money in gas? Wasn’t I cutting down on carbon emissions? Maybe, but at what cost to my own bank account and well-being? Maybe it’s just easier and cheaper to drive a shitty gas car and deal with the problems and upkeep with that.
So I’m feeling pretty beaten down again and heavily drinking because I really don’t care anymore. Give me some chemicals to futilely pick me up. It’s going to be another one of those weekends I can already tell…
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