the heroes dan and joe, whose names
i probably didn't get right.


even after saturday's u-haul debacle, i still felt this sense of dread hanging over me. i don't know what it was, but i only seem to get it in seattle. maybe it has something to do with my high school flim teacher telling us that every time it rained in a movie, something bad was going to happen. and since, according to a friend, i might just be "living art all the time," i sense this. i sensed it last during my year spent in the central district, but there it was actually warranted, what with the junkies shooting up in our yard, the homeless man sleeping on our porch, and the murders at judkins park and in front of my bank. sadly, returning to work on a monday morning in the ivory tower is the only thing capable of warding off this sense of doom, jumpstarting me back into reality.

i got a haircut on saturday, and i finally understood emily's endless complaints against the gary manuel training salon. first off, yes. i do go to something called a salon because i don't trust john the barber in columbia city whose shop looks like a scene straight out of saw 3. there are other places. there's a place on broadway, and they charge $30. there's rudy's, and i think they charge $20. and there's helmet head in georgetown which charges a whopping $45. i went to gmts because they used to only charge $14, and even though the place was full of young, pretentious hipster bitches, they actually did a decent job most of the time.

since then, they've jacked their prices up to $20 for a cut, and they no longer accept walk-ins. i had to schedule an appointment two weeks in advance. when i get there at 2:40 p.m., ten minutes late because of slow ass busses, the receptionist informs me that they screwed up and put me down for 8:30 a.m. that same morning, but that they can still "accomodate" me. and accomodate me they did, by setting me up with paris, this blonde chick who could easily have been mistaken for ms. hilton herself. it turned out she was from coeur d'alene, liked metal, and raised horses. the kind of stuff bad fiction is made of.

paris had never cut men's hair before, even though she had been there since january, and she didn't know how to use clippers, so her supervisor had to come over four times to show her how to do it. my haircut took an hour and a half. "thanks for being such a good sport," she said. she patted me on the back, the way another blonde i knew, rachel, would, and thanked me for coming in. yes, paris. thank you for sort of cutting my hair.

the u-haul place on rainier was a disaster. there were three lanes and one guy working behind the counter. "why is he helping everyone else and not you?" meagan asked me. because we're no longer living in a society, i guess. meagan was panicking because we told her professor we'd pick up the couch at 5, and it was already ten past. we couldn't call her, either, because meagan had written her own phone number down, instead of her professor's. i got emily on the phone to look up the number in my gmail account. meagan called her and said we would be late.

renting a u-haul is a pain in the ass. u-haul's a powerful entity that can fuck someone over with the littlest thing. first of all, they always (at least in my experience) leave their tanks at half-full. i never questioned this before, but when i finally thought about it, it made perfect sense. they will never leave their stupid trucks at a full tank because then you can't just use up the gas you need. see, they're smart capitalist pricks who try to suck every cent out of you. basically, there's no way for a customer to fill a truck up to half-full. a paying customer is either going to go under or over the mark, and since customers don't want to go under (as this results in a $30 fine, and a minimum charge of $5.95, plus every gallon thereafter), they're obviously going to go over. so, you'll pay for gas you're not going to use.

then, you have the option of getting $14 insurance. if you waive that, you're responsible for any windshield cracks, tire damage, dents, etc. if someone looks at your truck the wrong way, i wouldn't be surprised if they charged you. they make you look over the truck and note any damages on it. if you fail to note any damages, and don't mark the dents or scratches with a stickered x, you're held responsible. according to the clerk, there are fifty pages for the u-haul application. what a horrible business. it's no wonder there was one guy behind the counter, and a big red "help wanted" sign on the window.

then, once we got the couch, the latch got stuck because i opened the rear door of the truck without locking the latch first. we fumbled with it for about twenty minutes, when finally, some guy named dan (i think that was his name) showed up, and fixed it for us. then there was the trouble of getting the giant couch with the hideaway bed up the stairs. i was ready to give up on it when joe (i think that was his name) showed up and gave us a hand. he was muscular and said he did this for a living. but even he was struggling with it. then there was the trouble of getting it through the door. he and my neighbor were able to tilt it through the doorway vertically. the saddest thing was, by the time it was inside, i didn't even want it anymore.

back in the u-haul truck, i backed up and hit some guy's car. luckily, there was no damage and the guy wasn't too pissed off. then i hit something at the gas station. i think it was just the squeegee. again, luckily, there was no damage. but you can imagine how, at that point, i decided i was never going to get a u-haul again.

"he wanted me to know how you liked being back in the city."
"yeah? what'd you say?"
"i didn't know what to tell him. i said that you liked it okay, since you get paid for what you were doing when you were unemployed. and he said, 'what do you mean?' i told him that well, you like to blog, and you get to do that. he said, 'what's his blog about?' i told him it was hard to pin down any one thing you wrote about. i said it's called talking about hard times, and he said that it sounded like a lot of complaining; it sounded like something someone does in high school.' i told him no, that he writes about stuff going on in the world, stuff that matters to a lot of people."

i wanted to tell her she didn't have to waste her time and energy defending me. that yeah, it's not as important was going to med school, or law school, and that i'm really not doing anything of considerable value. it's probably juvenile, and there are probably high school students blogging about the same things, but with a better vocabulary. what does it matter, though? someone's reading, even if it's just my aunt and my cousin. i couldn't be a rockstar or a poet, and i just wanted someone to listen.

that's more than i can ask for.

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