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Three Things Regarding Today

September 23, 2003 - 4:18 p.m.

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Last Five Entries:
The Party's Over
July 11, 2004
The Next Day
My Nervous Breakdown
True Confessions: My Life as a Female Impersonator
March 15, 2004
Bite Me
February 29, 2004



Reaching Self-Consciousness

The first thing I did today was go over to Hoover's house. I had to finish a bankruptcy petition to file today, and the software for it is on his computer.

Hoover has a temp come over sometimes to do secretarial work. We'll call her Mandy Pepperidge. She's a physically attractive young woman, but that's of no consequence to Hoover, since he's married. And since Hoover works out of his home, and his wife is home most of the time, the fact of the temp is of no consequence to his wife. She was of no consequence to me either, but for different reasons. My brain quickly tunes out attractive women. All attractive women I've ever met are either married (or in a committed relationship with a man resembling marriage), or gay. I know that there are some attractive women out there who are single, and heterosexual, but those women are all holding out for a better-looking man than I. It therefore does absolutely no good for me to notice attractive women, so my brain tunes them out.

Mandy also talks a mile a minute, has energy that keeps her in almost constant motion (stand up, walk somewhere, sit down, stand up, motion with arms, repeat every minute), and can cycle through every human emotion in ten seconds. I don't know why I find these qualities charming, but I do. And on the occasions that I've found myself working at Hoover's house while she's working, I've had fun talking to her.

But again, of course, I tune out the attractiveness part because nothing's ever going anywhere for me.

A couple of weeks ago, Hoover and I were chatting while waiting for late clients to show up for appointments. I don't remember why Mandy's name came up, but it did for some reason, and Hoover told me something about her that made me give her a second thought. She's an actress. She's temping to get by financially between professional acting jobs.

Some men are turned on by a particular chest size, or shape of rear end, or hair color. For me, it's actressing. Why, I don't know, but I like the actresses. Musicians and writers are great too, but for me, actresses just top everyone else.

My attention thus caught, I revealed to Hoover that I have a soft spot for actresses. To which he replied, hey, she's single, ask her out. He then said to figure out some cases on which I need "help," and he'd have her work with me so I can get to know her better.

Hoover isn't my closest friend, but there are many times at which I think that he must be my coolest friend. You know, whenever I've talked to some of my closer friends about things like how unattractive I often feel, I usually receive reassurances about what a great man I would be to some woman. Many of my female friends assure me that I am attractive- but these female friends are usually either married or gay. While I've always appreciated the sentiment, I've never been greatly uplifted by the knowledge that I'm found most attractive by married and gay women. But when Hoover steps up to the plate and says, "I'll set you up with someone," that's more than a statement, that's a statement with the backing of action. When a friend sets up another friend with someone he knows, he's putting is credibility on the line for his friend.

I had to decline him on his specific offer. She's his employee, even if only part time, so that gives me bad vibes about enlisting his actual help. But merely by offerning, he has implied it is within the realm of possibility that I could actually date Mandy. And thus I became determined to make it so.

So now we're up to today, when I went to Hoover's house to do some work. Mandy arrived shortly after I did. Now, instead of tuning out the attractive woman, I was focused. And you know what?

I didn't say more than ten words to her.

When I assumed she was unavailable, I could talk to her easily. Now that I think she's available, I can't talk to her.

What the fuck is wrong with me?

I'm Just a Simple Cave Man, and Your Talking Box Frightens Me

The Bankruptcy Court has gone entirely to electronic filing of cases. The things I can do on the internet include playing interactive games, downloading pornography, creating simple web sites, finding maps to anywhere, and ordering as many DVDs as my credit card can handle. The things about which I have no clue on the internet- how to send a bankruptcy petition from point A to point B.

While the court demands that all petitions be filed electronically, there is a Matlock rule in place. (Or if you weren't a Matlock fan, but you watched Phil Hartman on Saturday Night Live, you could understand this as the Cave Man Lawyer rule.) The Matlock rule allows me to file a conventional paper petition if I make a sworn written statement that I do not have the technology available to send the petition over the internet.

Of course I have the technology available, I just don't know how to use it. But I covered myself. A few days ago I called about the court's training class for the electronic filing system, and the next class isn't until next month. I then specifically asked the training clerk if, in the meantime, I could file by paper, and she said yes. But the thing about a court clerk's is this. Some court clerks are very knowledgable and helpful, and others are assholes. There was a possibility that I could show up today and get an asshole, who wouldn't want to do the work of processing my paper petition, and would refuse to accept it and hide behind the electronic filing rule. And that would be a pain and a hassle for me since I have to drive ninety minutes to this court, and I was not going to leave open the possibility that I would have to leave an asshole clerk and come back another day for a good clerk.

So to use the Matlock rule, I dressed like Matlock. Actually, I did one worse. Matlock wears that loose, pale blue, 70s fashion country bumpkin lawyer suit. To file my petition, I wore a flannel shirt. I looked pretty damn country today. And I exaggerated my accent. I have a bit of a Southern Virginia accent, an accent which you don't hear in northeast Virginia in the D.C. metro area. So I laid the accent on thick.

And the first thing the clerk asked me when I tried to file the petition was, "Can't your software file this electronically?" And I put up my arms in desperation and replied, in my slowest, thickest Southern drawl, "I just don't know how to do it yet. I know I got to do it in this here big city court, but I can't get into the class yet."

Realizing with what she was dealing, the clerk proceeded to process the petition. (She actually turned out to be one of the good, helpful clerks.) The irony is, she couldn't finish processing it while I waited there- her computer system went down.

A Big Misunderstanding

I falsely accused a waiter of trying to rip me off. After filing the petition in the court, I was hungry. I think I was made hungrier by the fact that I had been walking around Alexandria all day, looking for the court and not remembering where it was. Sure, I've been there before, but my brain doesn't remember places. So I was hungry and walking back through Old Towne to my car when I smelled Chinese food, and it was too much for me.

Even though Alexandra wasn't in Isabel's path (like I was), it got hit by the hurricane a lot harder. There was a lot of power loss that way, and Olde Town had waist-level flooding. The good news, though, is all the shops looked okay to me today, and didn't appear to have been seriously damaged.

So I went in to the Chinese restaurant. The waiter was a guy whose English was limited to food. I ordered some spicy Mongolian pork and egg rolls (though I eventually received spring rolls, and there's a big difference and egg rolls are better- but that's a diversion from the story).

So then he asked me what I wanted to drink. Most of my life, I have been addicted to soda. I have an awful sweet tooth. But in the past six months or so, I've gone almost soda-free, instead drinking coffee, tea, and (gasp) water. I've also lost ten pounds, which I attribute to cutting out the sodas, and that's left me about eight pounds away from my target, which is cool. Given my new soda-free lifestyle, and the fact that I had ordered a spicy lunch, I ordered water.

When I asked for water, the waiter asked me if I wanted bottled water. I said no, just pour me some water. He said again that he could get me bottled water. I again said no, and asked why he couldn't just pour me some water. Then he asked me again if I'd prefer bottled water. I asked if he was going to charge me for this bottled water. He said yes, and I said no thank you, why can't you just get me regular water?

My tone was getting argumentative, because I wasn't about to pay for bottled water. He was getting flustered. He turned to ask the person who, I assume, was the manager, and they had an exchange in Chinese.

I don't understand Chinese, but at the same time that they started talking, a stored away factoid resurfaced in my brain. I recalled that, after the hurricane and the flood, that the water processing plants in the D.C. area were having problems and that tap water had been declared unsafe to drink. So the waiter wasn't trying to rip me off, he was trying to keep me from getting sick and dying.

So he turned back around to me to tell me he couldn't give me tap water, and I apologized to him and explained that I didn't live in the area and I had forgotten about the unsafe tap water. He smiled because I finally got it, and he asked me again if I wanted a bottled water. To which I replied that if I were paying for it, I'd rather have a Coke.

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