both of them involving masturbation
Monday, November 4 2002
My task today was to drive down to Brooklyn in my pickup truck (this time without Sally) to pick up another load of stuff. I left at a little past noon and had the most hassle-free drive into New York I've yet experienced. There was only the lowest detectable amount of gridlock on the FDR Drive, and this was restricted to Triboro Bridge traffic. Then, as if to confirm divine providence in this endeavor, I found a parking space directly in front of my brownstone and it was big enough for me to get into easily, even in my monster truck.
I had time to kill before heading back to Hurley, but the question was: how? There was so little left in the apartment that there were only two forms of entertainment, both of them involving masturbation. One was to take a bath, the other was to take a nap. There was no television, no internet, no telephone, and not even any reading material except a volume of Harry Potter that Gretchen is going to sell and the latest issue of Poets and Writers Magazine. So I took a bath and then I slept until after dark.
I walked down bustling 7th Avenue and bought some switch plates at the hardware store near the corner of second street. For dinner, I had a slice of chicken and pepper pizza at the Big Pizza Café. A couple young black boys were there making a big production out of their pizza order, asking what everything cost before saying that was what they wanted. The only oregano was at my table, so one of them came to take it. He asked first if this was okay, but I was so spaced out I didn't immediately respond and he felt compelled to ask again. It took me a moment to figure out that he wasn't asking if it he could sit with me, not that he would have to in this empty place. Regarding his taking of the oregano, I said, "Sure, go ahead."
Among the things I was taking from the apartment on this trip was the WiFi installation I'd put on the roof during the summer. Unfortunately, though, I'd left absolutely no tools to work with. I was forced to use a computer card slot cover (a narrow strip of steel) both as a screwdriver (for removing wire clamps) and as a knife (for cutting through wire ties). Using this makeshift multi-purpose tool probably tripled the amount of time the decommissioning took, but still it didn't take very long. I was particularly surprised how quickly I was able to take down all the wire I'd run on the outside of the building.
When I got down to the ground, I found a flashlight, a knife, and a pair of pliers in the glove compartment of my truck. I was amused to note the brandname of the flashlight, which had been bought by the truck's former owner: Eveready. Why would anyone buy a flashlight from a battery company? That's like buying an Exxon automobile or a Hudson Gas & Power lightbulb. It's not in the interests of these people to make their products energy-efficient.
The bulk of my load this time was a set of dining room chairs. They are a more rarified form of matter than books, so consequently my load was light. I also carried two precious repositories of information, Gretchen's computer (an AMD K6 400 MHz) and my main machine (an AMD Athlon XP 1700). It would have been a bad thing had my truck overturned and been engulfed in flames. Most of my stuff is backed up on the internet, but Gretchen's stuff is all backed up on my computer.
I pulled into the Plattekill Service Area on the Thruway and began gassing up my truck, a little shocked by the expensive price of the gasoline (I think the cheapest grade cost something like $1.67 per gallon). Then I made a startling observation. At this same gas station, in the row of pumps closest to the Thruway, the price was a good fifteen cents per gallon cheaper. This was the price being advertised to weary travelers. If they made the mistake, as I was making, of getting their gas at the pumps furthest from the Thruway, they were going to have to pay more. This seemed like a shady business practice to me, but perhaps in this new, deregulated world we live in it's perfectly legal.
For reasons related both to desperation and entertainment, I find myself listening to Christian radio stations while driving through the radio desert stretching from the Palisades all the way up to New Paltz. Most of what one hears on these stations is music, and, as with all Christian music, there is no question about the message. It's presented in the most direct language possible, but using all the muddied jargon of Christianity, terns that have no meaning or resonance for me whatsoever. It's funny that this language is used in evangelizing as well as in preaching to the faithful, since to a soul as lost as mine, they might as well be evangelizing in Greek. As for the faithful, the people who find this music non-ironically entertaining or otherwise helpful in their lives, and there must be plenty of them, they must be an entirely different breed from me or any of the people I know.
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