Friday, October 31, 2008

Sexy Lady, Part Doo

About a month and a half ago, I bought a car, a 1996 Chrysler Concorde wih a 3.5 liter V-6 out of a 1997 Dodge Intrepid, which was the same car except for a different nose and tail and a non-premium interior.

I walked on to the lot where the local body shop displayed bargain-basement cars that they bought at auction to supplement their apparently meager income as an actual body shop. This baby caught my eye like a well-dressed hooker at Hunt's Point. Sleek, black and very, very sexy. Smooth, rich leather interior, computer-controlled everything, big, fat, road-gripped tires mounted on sparkly alloy rims. Mmmmmmm. So, I picked her up. And, like a hooker from Hunt's Point might do, she's been bleeding me dry every since. What's worse is, no amount of polishing up will change the simple fact that she is an absolute whore.

Every lightbulb over the last month has blown out and been replaced. The cruise control stopped working, but it's working now, so troubleshooting is impossible. It even had a component failure, a Manifold Tuning Solenoid, that the dealer said "should never fail. Never seen one fail. Never replaced one. Pretty strange." But wait, there's more.

Changed the spark plugs with premium Bosch Platinums. Changed the wires. Replaced the ignition coil and the two upper oxygen sensors (there are four!!! on this bitch) and cleaned the throttle bodies. Replaced hard and soft hoses, removed and cleaned the Powertrain Control Module (the computer that controls the engine,) the Body Computer. Spent $1400 replacing all three catalytic convertors, $350 replacing the lower O2 sensors and another $657 getting ripped off by another mechanic for "troubleshooting." And I STILL have a Check Engine light on the dash which means, you guessed it, I CAN'T HAVE THE CAR INSPECTED.

I am an idiot. For $3500, I could have easily bought a Honda that would have lasted me ten more years. But, at the time I bought this car, I didn' have $3500. I had $1000: that's what I had. So, in six weeks, I've spect $600 a week on repairs.

Now, the above doesn't address the late-shifting tranny (no, this has nothing to do with my gay piece from yesterday) or the squeaky noise coming from the driver's side front wheel. And it only occured to me today to check the parking brake which ALSO DOESN'T WORK which means, you guessed it, I CAN'T HAVE THE CAR INSPECTED.

Garsh. Still, I love her. She kicks me when I'm down, takes my retirement money and still, I can't set fire to her. Wait just a minute . . . sounds a little like my taste in womyns. Ha, ha. LOL.

It's because I don't want to lose in this competition between me and the car fates. Oddly, I get my Honda back in about two weeks and this will be a non-issue, sort of, except, what the hell do I do with it? Can't sell a car you can't inspect. Sigh. I should be a Good Jew and pretend I know nothing about things mechanical. That really would be best.

I Said No!

Life is not all it's cracked up to be. God closes one door, opens another and then, savagely, slams it on your fingers. Lookit: it's the human condition, blah, blah, blah, frittering away time with busy work, just like this column, as if anything at all mattered. Even "tragedy" is mundane when viewed through the lens of indifference that's borne of commonality. I'll give you a personal example.

I was officially divorced on October 15. This was the culmination of two years of pure torture from, wait for it, my crazy ex-wife, who is either an OSCAR(tm)-winning class performer or really is suffering from BPD. I, and my psychiatrist, believe the latter to be true. Okay, so she's a nut. I get no satisfaction from that, in fact, I am doing everyhting I can in my last thirty days in what's now "her" house, though it was bought with entirely my money, to stay far, far away. The tragedy in this is that she is either unwilling or unable to see how unneccesary this all was. My kid has suffered from this and will continue to as my ex sees my daughter as property. This is a tragedy. From the reader's point of view, it's more like, "So what? You don't have cancer." Yes, that's true, I don't. Would my having cancer qualify me for a high enough TQ* (*Tragedy Quotient?) If so, maybe the fact that I owned a business that used highly-carconigenic plastics for 22 years, am a smoker and spend too much time in the sun will tip the scales for you.

"It's all in how you look at it," say my doctor as she deftly cashes my check. That's true, too, but how I look at it is that I have no house, no child, no where to live, no one to be close to, not much of a career future, no family and, at the moment, a limp penis. Hey, you'd have one, too, if you were in this notch in the patent-leather belt of time.

"Snap out of it," quoted my special friend lo these many years ago, now, when I was totally beside myself with anxiety and stupidity. Wait, wait - there's the real tragedy: I brought this all on myself.

What an idiot! I should have figured this out before just now, huh? If I screwed it up, I should be able to unscrew it, right? Maybe, maybe it's possible after all . . .

POSTSCRIPT: I know I'm off my game, not having written anything for more than a month, but I tried to abandon my muse and that was clearly a mistake. All-in-all, I am a fool. But, I'm not dead. So. That's a start.

Shame, Shame

For shame. Shame on me for not uttering a peep here for more than a month. Thant's not like me at all.

I was writing to my gay friend Bob, who, we'll call Tim in order to protect his identity. Now Tim is really, really gay. I worked and socialized with gay men for more than twenty years as the music business is rife with 'em. He's the furthest thing from a straight-acting gay man without being a total queen. And let me simplify things for you stupid homophobes: although gay men and gay women are both "gay," it's typical and customary for homosexual men to be referred to en masse as "gay" and gay women to be referred to as "lesbian." Okay?

So, like I was saying, Bob, er, Tim, I mean, is really gay. To top it off, he's a nudist. Now, I'm a casual nudist and it's not a sexual thing entirely but a feeling of sensual freedom. But he belongs to clubs and even a nude bowling team. Truthfully, that's something I'd really like to see. Anyhow, he was telling me about the nude, gay party he went to last weekend. I queried him (ha ha) as to how he could stand it in such dry, chilly weather to which he replied that a bar full of men provides plenty of body heat. Yuck - sorry, but hairy butts are just not my thing. I told him that I thought it must have looked like a walnut and vienna sausage festival. I await his reply, hopefully with pictures.

No, I'm not gay, or bi-curious or any of that. In fact, what I think is commonly misunderstood is that there's the sexual aspect of gay-ness and then there's a cultural aspect. What's true abbout me is that I relate strongly to that aspect. Let me say again, I'm not a fag, excuse me, gay. But I do relate to the (true) elements of the stereotype rather perfectly, except for the penis-rubbing part. I like to cook, clean, sew, design, be creative, garden, decorate (though I'm bad at it,) be outrageous and melancholy, love fashion, dahling, and I even work in a gay industry, cosmetics, fragrance and personal care. And I love David Sedaris. But I'm not gay. I swear.

Gay culture is very specific and different from straight-man social culture. I don't love sports and drinking beer, though that's not to say that gay men don't drink beer. It's just that they drink better beer, preferably imported from Belgium. Yums! I do believe in picking up my underwear and putting it in the hamper and in coordinating my sock colors. I buff my nails to a healthy shine and I don't even pretend to begin to understand the concept of a monster truck rally.

So, gay men and straight men don't particularly travel in the same social-leisure circles. Suits me. I can cherry-pick the dirt-dishing AND take care of the dirty dishes. So what's the problem that non-gays have with gays, anyhow?

Jealousy, I'd say.