Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Dear Diary: Tangential Rants of My Inner Mindscape

April 15, 2012

Dear Diary:

Sunday, April 15th in the Year of Our Lord 2012.  The day began like any other, which is to say after a great night’s sleep brought upon by a combination of the bosom-like comfort of my Sealy pillow top mattress and the confidence-inspiring Old World craftsmanship of my Broyhill bed.  (Broyhill…sleep easy.)

After leaping from the bed in what can only be described as a perfect dismount, I gave myself a stretch (a.k.a. a mornin’ yawnin’) and used the FIOS remote to fire up my Vizio television.  (Vizio…you’re welcome, America.)  Whilst I leaned against my Bowflex Treadclimber (Bowflex, right-sizing America since…whenever they started making products).  I’m not an historian) something disturbing caught my eye.  My hands were peeling to the point that it looked as though the skin had been stitched together by an old blind woman…or a young, sighted woman who was really bad at stitching.  How could these hands, which were entrusted not only with bringing my innermost thoughts to the wanting masses, but also with delivering relaxing massages to the overworked muscles of young women everywhere.  (Damion McCloud; he’ll rub you up…Still working on my tagline.)

In an effort to bring my rough, calloused hands in line with the strong, healthy skin that covered the rest of my marble-like physique, I went into the master bath and applied some Vaseline Men extra strength lotion.  (Vaseline Men…it doesn’t have to be awkward.)  Though the lotion did not instantaneously revitalize my ravaged hands, in fact, it seemed as though it only made it mad, it did leave a musky scent reminiscent of Drakkar Noir by Guy Laroche.  (Drakkar Noir…yeah, we’re still around; don’t act like you don’t know it.)

Concerned that the mutant-like scaly-ness would spread to the rest of my body, turning me into a creature that only a mother, or Cher’s character in “Mask” (Not to be confused with “The Mask”, which was a hilarious Jim Carrey vehicle that brought laughter and Cameron Diaz to the world, “Mask” was a heart-warming tale that showed the world that true beauty comes from within.
“I thought that was ‘Moonstruck’.” 
“No, ‘Moonstruck’ taught the world that you can’t force love.” 
“I thought that was ‘The Beatles’. 
“No, they taught the world that you can’t buy love, which was later taught by the movie ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’.  Thank you, Patrick Dempsey.”
“You know, I don’t know why you choose to engage the voices in your head, but since you do, I’ve always viewed ‘Loverboy’ as more representative of Dempsey’s early catalog.”
“The one you keep calling ‘Mystic Pizza’”.
“Ahhh…Why didn’t you just say, ‘Mystic Pizza’?”
“Because the movie’s called, ‘Loverboy’.”
“But you know I call it ‘Mystic Pizza’…Could’ve saved us both a lot of heartache.”
“Not talking to yourself would have the same impact.”
“You’d miss me.”)  Where was I?  Oh yes, scaly-ness.

I decided to get a professional opinion.  Since all of the ladies (and high school seniors) at the makeup counters were busy, I decided to consult a dermatologist.

“What brings you here?” the dermatologist asked.
“These!” I screamed as I pulled my hands from my pockets in dramatic fashion.  “What IS this???”
“When did you start working out on the Treadclimber?”
“A few weeks ago.”
“Do you clean the bar that you hold onto after every use?”
“So, you think this could be the result of some sort of bacterial or fungal contamination?”
“Could be.  Of course, I could be wrong.”
“Do you think I should buy moisturizing gloves?”
“That would be only slightly less concerning than your intending to buy full-bodied mannequins for ‘The Duke Room’…slightly less.”
“Then, what do you recommend?”
“I don’t know!”
“What the hell kinda dermatologist are you?!?”
“You realize this entire conversation is happening inside your head, right?”
“Yes, I do.”
“You really need to get out of your head, get into your car, and – don’t.”
“Don’t what?”
“Don’t go off on a Billy Ocean-inspired tangent that moves into Billy Idol, onto ‘White Wedding’ and ends in ‘Eyes without a Face’.”
“Fine, but, for the record, it would’ve ended in ‘Flesh for Fantasy’...”

After applying some more lotion, I took my dermatologist’s advice and called a friend to see if she was interested in catching a movie before I had to head to my Great Aunt’s house for an early dinner and some fellowship.

“What do you want?”
“Are you mad at me?”
‘About WHAT?”
“You’re STILL mad about THAT?  Look, we were doing a re-enactment of ‘Empire Strikes Back’, we were at the tauntaun scene, and you were the only one who had a big dog…and a small child.  I am not going to apologize for my dedication to cinematic authenticity.”
“He still has nightmares resulting from being placed inside of his best friend who he had just watched being sliced open!”
“Well, that I will apologize for…In all fairness though, I had to play Darth Vader and Lando Calrissian.  You know how hot it was wearing a wig under that helmet?  You don’t hear me complaining.”
“You loved it…”
“Of course, I did.  I got to play the greatest voice in cinematic history AND a character brought to life by Billy Dee Williams…He was in ‘Mahogany’.”
“Don’t what?”
“Don’t go into a tangential rant starting with Diana Ross, moving to Diane Carroll, which takes you to Diane Cannon, invokes Dionne Warwick, and ends with you singing ‘That’s What Friends Are For’.”
“Am I that predictable?”
“Would seem so.”
“Fine.  Well, if we’re not going to do anything.  I’m gonna ride the Trainer, then head down to Petersburg for supper (a.k.a. ‘Who eats dinner this early?’)”

With two hours to kill before I had to leave, I changed into my workout attire, logged into the ifit website, hopped onto my stationary, and downloaded a course around the Eiffel Tower.  This was a course mapped by another user who then shared it with whoever wanted to experience Paris through her eyes.  Within the first few minutes, something became readily apparent: the Eiffel Tower is in a much better neighborhood than Seattle’s Space Needle.  (Editor’s Note:  Both maps were created by the same woman.  She appears to have an obsession with large-scale phallic symbols.  Of course, I could be wrong.  Sometimes, a banana is just a banana.  The fact that both courses were in the shape of a banana, however, leads me to believe I am onto something.)  For those of you have never been to the Space Needle, let’s just say the neighborhood made me nervous, and I was 3,000 miles away in Richmond, VA.  Sorry, I mean North Chesterfield…sounds a lot more pretentious than it looks. The nearly 15-mile trek through The City of Lights took me past many beautifully architected buildings styled in the traditional Parisian way (i.e. as though they were looking down their noses at me).  I made my way through back streets; occasionally screaming, because the route planner had me going the wrong way down one-way streets (near-death can be scary…even virtual near-death).  As I rode up the Champs-Élysées towards the Arc de Triomphe, one recurring thought…kept…recurring: “When was the last time France experienced a triumph?  When they re-launched Renault?  (Drive the Change???  As long as “The Change” isn’t a car made by Renault, I agree with you.

Once I was done with my trip, I grabbed a quick shower, got dressed, and headed for scenic Dinwiddie.  Having never driven from my house to my Aunt’s place, I entered the address into my Garmin GPS.  (Garmin…We’ll get ya there.)  The system began performing calculations based on distance, known speed limits, and traffic alerts to determine an Estimated Time of Arrival.  Like many GPS users presented with this information, I responded with a definitive, “I can beat that.”

I backed “Shakira” out of the garage, went up the driveway, and headed towards 288.  My first opportunity to make up time was on the backroads between my house and 288.  It was risky, because it required “lone-wolf speeding” (i.e. a single car driving excessively, but not recklessly).  I maneuvered through the corners, mindful of possible speed traps.  When I hit 288, the roads were clear…too clear.  Only a minimal amount of time could made up here.  Fortunately, I-95 provided better coverage, which allowed for “pack speeding” (i.e. three or more cars acting as one).  The key to “pack speeding” is that the cars in the pack had to trust the leader to drive at a measured pace.  Disapproval of the leader was shown either by closing in as if to say “move along or move over”, or holding back as if to say “you have no discipline; you’re on your own”.

We unexpectedly hit a slow patch of traffic.  There’s nothing like the sight of brake lights and a wobbling rear end combined with the sound of screeching tires to grab your attention.  Especially, when there’s a car quickly filling up your rearview mirror.  Literally a million thoughts went through my head.  “List ‘em.”

“You said, ‘literally a million thoughts went through my head’.  If it’s literal, list them.”
“What’s the braking distance of a 2010 Camaro?”
“How new are her tires?”
“What’s the reaction time of the person behind me?”
“Four…Wait, that doesn’t count. Three…”
(several minutes later) “Am I wearing clean underwear?”
“Two thousand, forty-eight…”
“…The woman behind me is kinda cute; wonder if she’s single.”
“Seven hundred twenty thousand, two hundred, thirty-one…”
“…Did I leave the air conditioning on?”
“Nine hundred eighty-six thousand, four hundred six…”
“…Are my “art” videos and magazines located in a place that says, ‘I don’t want kids to find this, but I’m not ashamed…I really do read the articles’?”
“One million…I’m impressed.”
“…And I almost missed the turn off to I-85.”

“Shakira” let out a roar as I executed a perfectly legal passing maneuver around a fully-loaded car hauler.  Not legal in the United States, but legal.

I turned off of I-85 onto the
Squirrel Level Road
exit, and headed left toward food and fellowship.  The speed limit dropped to 35 miles per hour.  I stared in frustration at the clock and estimated arrival time readout.  “How am I supposed to make up time at this speed?”  Fortunately, the good men and women of Dinwiddie County saw fit to raise the speed limit to 45 after a short stretch.  No sooner did my spirits start to rise than was I greeted with a message I had never before seen on a speed limit sign: “End of Speed Limit 45”.

“End of Speed Limit 45?!?  What does that even mean?  Should I return to 35, increase to 55, or use my best judgment?”  I stared at my GPS for assistance.  It offered no suggestions.  It was as though she knew I was trying to disprove her initial estimate and was taking it personally.  “Typical,” I thought to myself.  If my many years of knowing, studying, shopping with, and angering women had taught me anything, it was that if you want to best a woman, you employ another woman and put them in competition with one another.  Since my GPS was not integrated into “Shakira”, they were two separate women.  “You can beat her initial estimate, can’t you, baby?”  Shakira growled her confirmation as I pushed her through the turns and over the hills, hugging the road like a new mother hugs her first born…and her last born…but not the middle child.  (Oh, no, that would be too much to ask.  Middle children live off of the physical leftovers and emotional hand-me-downs no longer suitable for the favored siblings.  Where was I?)

As “Jill” announced the decreasing distance, I continued to push “Shakira” towards our destination.  (Yes, “our”, it’s a team effort.)  As I pulled in, I was greeted by a relative.  I was so happy to see family, and that I did not drive into the side of the house, that I forgot to see what time I arrived. 

‘What’s that?”
“I thought you said something.”
“No.  Let’s eat.”
“Food’s not here yet.”
“What’d you say?”
“Come again?”

The food, though late, was still early enough in the day to be called “supper” (Supper…It was good enough for Jesus.) but not late enough to be called “dinner”.  After much food, fellowship, and packing of leftovers (for dinner later that night), it was time to leave.  I said my goodbyes, gave my hugs, and got into the car for the return trip.  I pushed “Go Home” on the main screen.  Again, after much calculation, she displayed an Estimated Time of Arrival.

“I can beat that…”

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