Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Too Many Words for Twitter

I have an irrational set of expectations for other people and I often have to remind myself that these random individuals with whom I cross paths have both a) their own expectations and b) a total ignorance of my peculiar set of rules. This expresses it self frequently on mass transit, which I have now used daily for more than seven years, a fact which is nigh unthinkable in the vast metropolis of Los Angeles, as well as a constant reminder to me that I have escaped the ritualistic Car Culture of my city and its inherent rudeness.*

(*I am often asked why I never use my blinker when changing lanes on the freeways and it is because, as soon as one signals intent, the nearest driver in the intended lane will attempt to block any and all attempts at movement, by speeding up/slowing down/honking horns/spitting. It's a Darwinian culture of Fuck You-ness that I've never encountered anywhere else.)

I find myself grumbling at others. The folks who sit across from me on the train--thereby inhibiting my leg room, which must be substantial for my comfort because I'm a tall drink of water--when there are other seats available nearby that would be more apt for them an me. The people on the subway who stand right in front of the doors so they can be first off at Union Station, but who also refuse to move--even the slightest--when I am trying to board. I liken these offenders to people who christen a pristine row of theater seats by sitting on the end, making others crawl over them. And the worst, those who stand on the left side of the escalator/people mover, when the right is for standing and the left is for walking.

All of these things annoy the living ish out of me. To my mind, they are unwritten rules of behavior, of accommodation to your fellow man/woman. However, if you think about it, my expectations are borne of my own frame of reference and have no relation to that of others, like back-to-back spins on the roulette wheel. Sure, I'd like to think we're all in this together, it takes a village and all that hunky dorey crap, but the truth is, it's every man/woman for themself.

This is called The Gap. The space between our own expectations and the reality of others. It's what you fill that gap with that determines the success or failure of any relationship, as well as one's own sanity. If you fill that gap with patience and understanding, then ta-da! life is good. If you (I) fill it with "get your stupid elbow off my arm-rest!" the days can be long and frustrating.

I guess what I'm saying is you should do what I say and we won't have a problem.

Actually, here's my advice: Mind the Gap.


Here's another rule I've recently learned. Say you're visiting friends out of town. Say this hypothetical town is Chicago. And you go to one of their favorite restaurants. Say it's called The Publican. You do not--DO NOT--want to mention, even in passing, how very much you enjoy the experience and you especially do not want to compliment a single dish--say it's the Country Rib--no matter how delicious and savory and downright otherworldly the dish might be, because every single time these "friends" of yours return to said Publican restaurant in Chicago and order themselves a Country Rib or three, they will mercilessly and gleefully taunt you with tweets, texts, pictures and this will be especially hurtful if all you've eaten that day is a hot dog at the turn and a frozen pizza.

I hate you all.


My cat is a genius. Normally, I'd never write that sentence since I'm an adult male and enjoy my standing as such, but this kind of blew my mind. Unlike the dog, whose most fervent desire is to stay indoors, preferably within licking distance of at least one of the three humans in the house, the kitty wants to go tomcatting outside as often as possible. Due to the fact that our house is close to the mountains and we have an open field nearby, we restrict her playtime to daylight hours, lest she be eaten by the coyotes which sometimes sneak into the tract for food.

To aid our ability to find her at nightfall, she has a collar with a bell (and her info). A few days ago, she lost the collar on her adventures (it's a breakaway deal so she doesn't hang herself by it). So, all day Saturday, she whined at the back door since we wouldn't let her out without a collar. We procured a replacement on Sunday and duly allowed her back into the wild, from which she returned a couple hours later with the lost collar in her mouth.

She screeched to get our attention, pointedly dropped it on the kitchen floor and stomped right back outside.


I'd like to recommend a book to you all. It's "Let the Great World Spin" by Colum McCann. You New Yorkers will especially like it. The setting is 1974 and the common thread running through the novel is the famous tightrope walk between the Twin Towers by Philippe Petit, immortalized in the excellent documentary "Man on Wire." It's basically a love letter to NYC and a metaphor for 9/11. It's exquisite. The prose is so smooth and velvety. Just a wonderful experience.


We're fine. Great, in fact. How are y'all?

Mind the Gap.