Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Summer.... OF HORRORS

Let's start off by saying if you are eating anything right now, finish it up before you continue reading.

So the weekend before last, I cleaned the kitchen and the bathroom very thoroughly. This has been satisfying. Like Martha Stewart came through and spring-cleaned everything with Q-tips. So clean that Doretta would feel comfortable walking barefoot, or at least with socks, on the floors.

Now it's been hot around here. I don't know if anyone noticed. So hot that on weekends, when I'm away from my air-conditioned work environs, I can't even work up the mental functioning to leave the house. Washing the dishes is an exertion that drenches my face and back with sweat. The towels in the bathroom were hot hanging on the rack. The kitchen counter tiles were hot. The walls were hot. The money in my wallet was hot. So not a lot of cleaning went on this weekend. A lot of taking baths with ice cubes went on, but not a lot of cleaning.

One of the things I cleaned over a week ago was the garbage can. It's one of those flip-top jobs, with a foot pedal that opens the lid. I cleaned the inside, the outside, the hard plastic liner; you could have eaten off this garbage can.

This Monday morning, I'm heading off to work and I go to chuck something out when I notice there's crap all over the inside of the lid. "What the hell," I think, "how did I manage to get rice all over the inside of the lid?"

Do any of you know where this is heading? Can you guess? There were maggots all over the inside of the garbage lid.

I guess it's been so hot, I've been hosting a garbage crock-pot in my kitchen. A primordial soup to nurture fetid new life into being.

I didn't have time to deal with it then, as I had to leave for work. So, despite feeling like I wanted to throw the can into a swimming pool of bleach, I shut the lid and when to work.

I thought about maggots all day. Specifically, how I was going to deal with them. Derek suggested throwing the whole thing out and I briefly considered it. When I got home, I got the gloves on (thank Christ for rubber gloves), surrounded myself with a large stack of paper towels and armed myself with a spray bottle of cleaner.

The maggots resisted being wiped from the metal surface. They rolled around between the paper towel and the metal and wiggled at me and wormed their way into the rolled over metal at the edge of the lid. But my spray and I persisted, soaking their secret crevices with noxious fluid and then sponging them up as they fled their hidey holes ("Like Al-Qaeda," my dad said). Some of the stragglers were so difficult to pick up with the paper towel, that I just started popping them with my rubber-gloved thumb. They made a satisfying explosion under my thumb.

Next time, the maggots should check with the tiny ant community before settling in my house.

Chez Volvo

Last night my Volvo had a sleepover with the other Volvos at the repair shop. I'm going to pick it up this afternoon. It'll probably be cranky with a candy hangover, but at least it will have a new exhaust system.

Maybe it's just cause LA is car kind of place, but I feel more at home in my car than I do in my actual home. Partly it's because it's been driven a lot by all members of my family, so it feels homey. And partly because it's the one thing that I brought with me when I came here that I can climb inside. Maybe it also has something to do with how many times it's been towed (twice) here, and how many times ticketed (uh, maybe seven times?) in the scant two years--almost to the day--that it's been with me machetteing through the wilds of LA. I worry about the car. I feel bad for not washing it more often. I think about it when it's not around.

Or maybe it's just that without it, it's very difficult to pick up some more milk and stop by the post office. And that sometimes the only way you have to express yourself in Los Angeles is to step on the gas.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Reclaiming: House, Temperature

In Possible Metaphor For Life news, I've discovered the only real way to deal with the heat (specifically: hot apartment) is to give in to it.

Put on the lightest clothes you own, put on some rubber flipflops and rubber gloves and SCRUB THE CRAP out of the bathroom. Really. Swiffer WetJet the mildew off the 10-foot ceiling while standing on the edge of the tub. That's right, up near the ceiling where the heat gathers. Take down the old shower curtain. Rub circles on the mirror while admiring your sweatstains. Take the rubber gloves off occasionally to rinse them out (from the pooling sweat). Sweat it up, drink some water and dive right in there with the Ajax Bleach.

Hey, while you're at it, do the kitchen too. Why not. Unplug the microwave, walk it over to the sink, scrub it. Ditto the blender base, the toaster. Yank the stove out from the wall and push it back and forth across the floor until all the dirt under it is accessible and therefore gone. Make a vinegar and baking sode concoction in the bottom of the garbage can. Pull the shelves and rug away from the wall, wash down the space where the wall meets the floor, where all the ants came from in the winter. Let it dry and then caulk the motherfucker until your wrist shakes from the exertion. Haul out bags and bags of food and whatever else your departed roommate left behind. Rejoice at the extra cabinet space. Let sweat run off your nose. Create a new world order of clean.

You'll be so busy feeling righteous, you won't feel tired. You'll be so knee-deep in dirt, you won't notice all the sweat. You'll be so fired up from the path of undirt you have blazed, the rays from the sun will feel tepid in comparison. Eschew A/C and gym memberships. You don't need them because you have a DIRTY HOUSE.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Spectacular Fumble

And for our next classroom hijinx update: Today the teacher I TA for was announcing something to the class and accidentally said "And I know how to give head." He quickly amended his comment to: "I know how to get a head count." And then he kept talking, obviously hoping no one had noticed.

I thought about not pointing it out, and then I pointed it out. You can't let being professional get in the way of laughing really hard at something like that.

Kind of like how last week when I was working at the Student Production Office, someone called me to ask where to buy pasties in the city. "Pasties? Uh, what are pasties?" says my mouth, even while my brain is thinking, "He can't mean PASTIES, can he?" and "Perhaps this is another one of these culture gap things where Americans call something mundane and non-titty-related 'pasties'?" Then he explained what he meant and I laughed a little and then he was a little snooty and later got flabbergasted because I didn't know where to buy them. Not my fault: I buy mine in bulk from Costco.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Clauses in Your Honesty Policy

Yesterday a student in the class I'm TAing gave her explanation as to why she didn't show up for a morning session she had said she would show up to as: "I got really, really drunk last night?"

Come on, people! Would it kill you to make some plausible lies once in a while? Creativity ain't just for writing poems, you know.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Rockets, Red Glare

I was working until nine or so at school tonight and when I started hearing booming noises in the distance, it took me a while to realise it was fireworks and that I was missing them. I finished up my work and headed back to the car, feeling kind of sorry for myself that I had made no plans to watch the fireworks, even while their rolling booms ricocheted off the buildings around me. Then I tried to figure out where they were; maybe I could catch the edge of them over the trees.

Turns out they were everywhere. Driving north, I saw a bunch over Hollywood. Then I caught sight of some in the rearview. Then some to the east, over downtown, like huge moving flowers. As I drove up the 101, fireworks exploded off of a highway overpass as I went under it, and further up, from a sideyard to spill out onto the road. Driving up the one block of Normal street between Hoover and Virgil (the street of ridiculousity, the street where there is a 40% chance of someone darting out in front of my car and an 85% chance I'll have to squeeze past a double-parked car every time I drive up it) people were setting up fireworks in the middle of the road while cars lined up, trying to drive down it.

Explosions came from every direction. A woman stood in the middle of the street twirling fire as an audience of children watched. Coloured lights would flare up in the distance, like temporary city lights, and then disappear into the black-on-black smoggy night air. Walking back to the apartment, I stood on the sidewalk while the machine-gun sprays of sparkles subsided from a burning box.

I can hear little pops off in the distance right now. And sirens.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Too Much Hotness

Things about hot weather in Los Angeles:

1) Causes insanity. Or the feeling of burgeoning insanity,
2) Causes me to be unable to eat or sleep (see #1),
3) Causes me to wish I was at work all the time, because it's very air-conditioned at all 4 of my jobs, especially the subterranean film vault job (see #1),
4) Just thinking about going for a run makes my legs buckle (see #1),
5) My feet are constantly filthy. From flip-flops? Does anyone else have this problem (see #1), and
6) It's fun:
a) people have barbeques,
b) you can throw water balloons at people and that can count as doing them a favour,
c) having all the windows in the house open all the time makes me feel more part of the neighbourhood,
d) going to watch movies feels doubly justified because of the dual escape of storytime and a/c,
e) you can drive with all the windows down wearing sunglasses and blaring music on the freeway, and
f) you can subsist on sugar water.