Saturday, December 20, 2008

In John We Trust

Last weekend my computer had a bad case of brain freeze. I made an appointment to see a genius, the world's best job title, at the Apple store.

Two hours later, Marlon-the-Genius told me in effect that I should start planning my Mac's funeral as the hard drive could not be mounted. (Yes, I know. Animal husbandry comes to mind here.) He told me that I would have to buy a new hard drive for $350 which may or may not work, and gave me business cards for two companies that retrieve data.

The first company offered to attempt this death-defying feat for $500-$2500, depending on how much data there was. The second came in only slightly cheaper.

I've been working on two manuscripts, one for over ten years, the other for nearly two. Both went down with the ship because I hadn't backed them up.

I was devastated, but tried to be philosophical about my loss. Maybe God was punishing me for crimes A, B or C which I may have inadvertently committed. Or maybe the message was that I was not supposed to write those particular books. I believe in an orderly universe. Therefore, there must be a reason.

It can't be as simple as "shit happens." Not if you're me, anyway.

After brooding for several days (between visits to Flip's computer when the jonesing got too bad,) it occurred to me that I should get a second opinion.

I made an appointment at a different Apple store and today took my computer to John-the-Genius, who totally lived up to his title. He downloaded my manuscripts onto a disk which is sitting on my desk like a beating heart, and he solved my hard drive problem.

He said the malfunction was a fluke. It wasn't anything I did, nor could it have been prevented.

Shit happens.

It isn't lost on me that I spent a week agonizing over some lost writing when Flip is losing so much more to Alzheimer's.

The engaged couple ahead of me had met at the Genius Bar several months ago. John remembered them. I wondered if he was going to officiate at their wedding after fixing their laptops.

He made a few adjustments and gave me back my life.

Nerd that I am, my life is in my computer. I had a near-death experience and lived to tell about it.

I feel as if Christmas came early this year.

"Oh come let us adore him, John-the-Lord."

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Bandism for Dummies

Flip is recording today.

"I have an idea for the vocals," he said.

"Hiring me?" I squealed.


"Well, you can try out," he said.

"But, but, I know the leader. I'm with the band. Won't that get me in?"

"I'm sorry, Miss, you'll have to audition like everyone else."

"What 'everyone else' are you talking about?" I asked.

"They will come," he said. "You will see."

"And YOU will see that I am the best of all. Plus, I live here. Doesn't geography count?"

Long pause.

"What are you going to call your band?' I asked.

"How about Flip and the Flipettes?"

"Ewwww." Extending crossed fingers to ward off vampires. "I will not be a Flipette. In case you hadn't noticed, we're way past the 50's."

"Flip and the Flipette?" Hopefully.


Longer pause.

"It sucks, ok?"

Even longer pause.

"You could call it 'Susan, back-ups by Flip.'"

He looked at me in disgust, and maybe a wee bit of admiration for my chutzpah.

"Or just 'SUSAN' like Cher and Charo. And Madonna." I was on a roll.

Flip shook his head in disbelief, eyes turned upward just like my mother used to do. Great. He's channeling my mother who was born with a silver cross in her back.

Bless her heart.

I lived in the South for years. My favorite Southernism is "all y'all" used as a possessive pronoun as in "Do these be all y'all's horses?"

But I am also especially fond of "Bless her heart" as piously employed by Southern ladies immediately after trashing other Southern ladies, as in "Mah neighbor is a no-good ho' slut who lacks the brains of a head o' cabbage, bless her heart."

You can say anything about anyone as long as you follow it with "bless her heart." Like crossing yourself at the door to a church. Or warding off vampires with garlic. Those three little words are your insurance policy, your hall pass, your get-out-of-jail-free card.

Without them you could appear mean, and nobody wants that.

So I need to prepare my audition number and a great outfit. Yes, I know it's a recording session, but a great outfit would be a terrific morale booster.

First I need to lay down some rules:

'Less he be hirin' me, he be singin' the Blues all by his lonesome. In the rain. Uh huh. Uh huh. Ain't no way in. Ain't no way in. Ain't NO WAY in.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


This treasure appeared on Craig's List:

craigslist > new york >
Date: 2008-11-06, 4:01AM EST

I have a huge bathroom.

I am a female in my mid 60's and I am looking for a room mate. Times are tight and I need some extra money.
I am willing to rent out my bathroom in my 1 bedroom east village home.

My bathroom is large. You can easily put a twin air mattress in there. I only ask that when I need to use the bathroom, you or your air mattress are not in it.

I do ask that when you are in the apartment, you confine yourself to the bathroom. I do not feel comfortable with a stranger walking around my living room. This might change as I get to know you better.

You may have guest over as long as they are confined to the bathroom as well. This might seem a bit odd but please remember the rent is $400 and the bathroom is large.

* cats are OK - purrr
* it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

PostingID: 907788944

Monday, December 08, 2008

Upscale Panhandling

In the last few months, someone new has become a part of the neighborhood landscape. She has set up shop on the corner by my bank and loudly claims to be collecting money to keep homeless children off the street. As there is no sign or literature or even a collection box with a logo, we are expected to take on faith that she is in fact an angel of mercy and donate large chunks of money to her humanitarian cause.

She is persistent enough to have gotten through an MBA program in entrepreneurship with perhaps a minor in street fighting.

If you decline to empty your wallet into her hands, she assails you with insults referencing your selfishness and uncaring nature and assures you that because of your stinginess, The Homeless Children will remain on the streets until they are old and decrepit. Unless of course, they die first. Which is likely.

I do not believe that she is a homeless person as she appears to be clean and reasonably well-dressed. She is extremely aggressive. Relentless. Indefatigable. You might be impressed with her zeal if there were any indication that she actually represents anyone but herself, but there is not.

Yet she persists.

An entrepreneur must possess innovativeness and flexibility. Financial expertise. Strategy. Managerial autonomy. She must be equipped to recognize opportunity and to develop a business plan in order to be positioned for success in this challenging economy.

I drop dollars into the Salvation Army buckets and help the Christmas begging nuns because I recognize their causes. I also give money on occasion to panhandlers just because they need it. I appreciate their honesty. People in need are welcome to any help I am able to offer.

However, I will not be bullied and shamed into mindlessly giving to someone who is unabashedly running a scam. Insulting me is most definitely not the way to my heart, or my wallet. I have been verbally assaulted by this unpleasant young woman so often that today I almost told her, "I won't give you money because I don't like you."

I also refuse to cross the street to avoid her. She will not run me off my preferred route and I cannot run her out of town on a rail, so we engage in our daily stand-off.

Suffice to say, no holiday cheer is being generated between us.