Wednesday, March 01, 2006

You've got something on your... oh, nevermind

So Fat Tuesday is rolling on into Ash Wednesday, that day that always leads to awkwardness for distracted Jews such as myself.

You know what happens. Inevitably, you see some friend, and they've got a smudge on their forehead.

And you start off, "Hey, you've got something on your..." and you make that brushing-dirt-off motion across your own head.

That's when you realize it's Ash Wednesday, and the goyim are supposed to be all dirty and that.

"... oh, nevermind."

But yesterday, Fat Tuesday, I was thinking about Mardi Gras. It was just a year ago that I went down to N'Awlins to have one last good fling before the big 3-0, and then came Katrina, and Rita, and the city's own tragedy.

I gave some thought to going back this year, but as with what feels like everything else this year, time just kind of flew past me.

(Am I the only one sitting around going, "Holy crap! It's March???")

I wanted to go back to sort of, not celebrate, but show support for the city. See the places that I had such a great time at last year, and see if everyone was OK.

It sounds like they partied just fine without me, though. I did read about some people complaining about the party going on while people are still homeless and so on. And that's a tough spot.

But it's sort of like post-9/11, you just wonder if life shouldn't go on. It's not like that whole rhetoric of "letting the terrorists win." I mean, when man fights Mother Nature, man inevitably loses. Ask Scott, down in the Antarctic.

Still, I can't help but think the party is the right thing to do. A big F-U to Ma Nature and FEMA and everyone else. A way of saying "This is our city, and screw you if you don't like the way we live in it."

It still makes me sad to think about what everyone must have gone through. I've said it over and over, how nice everyone was, and not just because I was drunk all the time and girls danced with me and showed me their breasts for beads and rubbed noses with me and did crazy shots with me and stuff like that. I mean the people were just good people.

I guess I'm getting sentimental in my old age.

My pal Petey did a great portrait of my dog and my parents' cat for them (it was my Dad's Christmas gift to Mom). It really looked great. (No, Petey doesn't have a Web site. You'll just have to trust me that he's a killer artist.) It's funny, he told me he didn't have as much experience painting pets, but it was something he wanted to get into (he does portraits, primarily). And he's done great work for me, but this one really took the cake - dare I say it's the best one of the bunch as far as being dead-on, photographic, true to life.

He got Morgan especially right - that goofy, happy look, right out of the picture almost in 3D. It really sort of affected me, though.

I was home for the weekend, celebrating my birthday (I'd already gotten most of my gifts, but I got some more cool custom shirts that I'll be afraid to wear). It was the first time I'd gone home and slept in the guest bed since Morgan died, and it didn't feel quite right without him curled up by my side, or waking me up by licking me and jumping on my head.

I guess that guest bed will never feel quite right again, even if it is the world's most comfortable sofa bed.

A lot of sentimentality. We ran into the woman who runs the kennel where Morgan used to stay, and she said how they call the pen he used to stay in "Morgan's" pen. They are thinking of putting up little brass plates on that one and on the regular pen of another frequent guest-dog who recently died.

It's nice to know everyone really loved him. I may have had trouble housebreaking the little bugger, but I guess I did something right. He really brought joy to a lot of people, from the senior citizens at my Mom's late aunt's nursing home to even the people who raise dogs and see dozens every day. Even my Dad, who used to complain every time he had to walk Morgan in the rain, swears he'll never have another pet after losing Shadow and Morgan in the same year.

I don't blame him; as Danny Glover says in the "Lethal Weapon" movies, he's too old for that shit.

So am I. I'll never have another pet, either. Not one I call my own. Maybe someday if I have a wife, she'll have a pet. But Morgan is it for me. I can't take the loss, and he didn't even live with me most of his life.

A tear rolls down my cheek. A lot of sentimentality.

Hey, in the win-one, lose-one category, I dinged another wheel, but not too badly. On the other hand, I got a check for the class-action suit over those wheels!

I'm seriously starting to think of buying a new car, though. My Baby's getting old. Forget the frustration of dinged wheel No. 11, it's gotten to the point where she's starting to creak like bad knees, and I'm getting tired of trying to figure out if each noise is just old age, or an oh-shit-time-to-go-to-the-dealer-and-spend-lots-of-money-I-don't-have moment.

I still miss my first car, and the Cougar made it nearly 10 years. My Baby's only 6, but she's got 150,000 miles on her.

I'm thinking about an SUV - not because I like them or I'm ready to give up on sports cars, but just because I'm tired of flinching and swerving every time I see a pothole or hit a bumpy stretch of road. It may be a necessity, if only for my blood pressure and state of mind.

But those little mini-SUVs are kind of wussy, methinks, I can't afford a big ol' gas-guzzler, and I have this sort of fear the damn thing won't fit in my garage.

Plus, I think I'll be thoroughly traumatized when I trade in my Baby, and my psychological and fiscal states are such that I could really stand to get used to this life without car payments.

And of course, I have one other dilemma: I really like my dealer where I go to get my car fixed. But they don't necessarily have the kinds of cars I want - I'm not sure I want another Mitsubishi, or a Hyundai, or a Chevy. But if I buy somewhere else, I won't ever see them again, and as a regular customer for five-plus years, we've gotten used to each other. Sigh. Everywhere in my life is trauma.

While I'm free-lancing these transitions, I had a horrible thought the other day.

I skipped a couple of weeks of my pills, due to a prescription running out and the idea that my doctor is trying to wean me off them.

And sure enough, a couple of weeks later, I could literally feel the change in me. And to think, I used to be the kind of guy who figured this chemical imbalance stuff was voodoo and depressive moods were something I could man up and tough my way through. But when the pills kicked back in, I swear it was a freakin' relief. Like a real, physical relief.

But I get to wondering about the side effects. See, I used to be moody and depressed and bitchy. And serious.

Now I kind of think I'm crazier than when I started. That's my horrible thought. That I've traded angry and suicidal for just cheerfully, completely fucking nuts.

I mean, the monkey fetish alone is kind of a clue. And I think it's getting worse. I really do.

On the other hand, I am kind of naturally a goof when I'm not depressed, so for now, at least, I'm leaning toward that end of the trade-off. Still, it would be my luck that the cure is worse than the disease, as far as sanity is concerned.


About Fat Tuesday
About Ash Wednesday
And about Mardi Gras (ex post facto)
My Shar-Pei Kennels, where Morgan used to stay, has an ad on this page
Some of Peter Ambush's work, from a recent show
Global Auto Mall, my car dealership
Talking monkeys, since I talk to them

You'll notice, by the way, that I settled for changing my blog DESCRIPTION, rather than the name. If you've ever read the description to begin with.

And hey, I finished my basic locksmithing course! My diploma's in the mail! On to the advanced course, and hopefully more free tools and gizmos and stuff. The key machine is just awesome. Bring on the pick gun!