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Monday, 24 July
A Million Little Boring-Ass Pieces

I don't generally talk about it a lot, but some of my tens of readers might not know that prior to being married to the wife . . . I was married to an entirely different wife.

And I'm not going to talk about it here, either. I could lie and say that there isn't a fat story there, but frankly, I don't want to fucking get into it for a lot of reasons. Suffice it to say that it was a terrible debacle that only the very young are capable of managing to stumble into, and I've long since made a sort of acidulated peace with, if that makes sense, and it doesn't.

Anyway. So I was previously married, and then suddenly, I wasn't, and so I had to rather quickly find a new place to live. My criteria were not terribly strict: Since I was poor, it had to be cheap. Since I was lazy and I think I mentioned poor, it had to be close by. And finally, since I was unencumbered by things like dignity, it had to be humiliating.

I found my dream apartment in one day. It was a refurbished utility room. I remember entering this sarcophagus (that's Greek for "flesh-eater"!), gazing upon its single 18" x 24" window with a grand view of a dumpster, noting its convenient proximity to the laundry room next door, and saying without hesitation, "I'll take it. Yes. This is where I want to die."

To describe this apartment as "small" is to heroically inflate its actual status. "Lilliputian" might be a better adjective. It was heated (quite adequately) by a sole wall-mounted little heating coil with a fan. The fridge was a diminutive little dormish thing, suitable for my half-racks of beer and my several condiments, suitable for being ignored by me as I heated up can after can of chili on my astounding little three-burner stove. Three! It had two in the front and one in the back, because . . . fuck you, you get three burners. It's the weirdest stove I've ever seen.

It probably says something about my state of mind that, during the year that I lived there, I never once bothered to lock the front door (right by the dumpsters!), even when I went to bed. Hey, hoboes and CHUDS! You should come in here, take my nothing, and then eat my legs!

The bathroom, at the end of a short hall which was clearly constructed after a wall kick-out, featured a sliding-door shower that required one to climb into the toilet before entering. Well, that does inspire one to get clean.

In my desperate state, I developed alarming habits. I started to smoke. Well, let me rephrase that: I started to smoke with real enthusiasm. Perhaps if I die, God will give me a stove with four burners, I thought. But being an atheist, this wasn't carrying me along too well. So, giving up on that pud known as Our Lord, I turned 180 degrees and embraced His polar opposite: AOL.

Sensitive readers might want to go shoot heroin now instead of reading the following.

I spent three years on AOL. I spent most of those years haunting the trivia forums, where, as far as I know, hosted trivia games still take place. These games were, during this dubious period, literally the most important things that I could look forward to. And do realize that this was in an age when, back in the day, I was paying by the minute for the great opportunity to enjoy the fruits of AOL. (Figuratively speaking, you jerks.) There I was, ruinously single, in a ridiculous oubliette of an apartment, working retail, and coughing up $100+ monthly bills to AOL that I could ill afford. (I know anecdotally of some shut-ins who spectacularly bankrupted themselves during the by-the-minute years of internet billing who routinely racked up monthly bills upwards of $500. In fact, some of them were fellow trivia players who would do nothing but fuck around on AOL for entire days at a time. And also some of them for whom the phrase "fuck around" was not entirely--or remotely--figurative.)

One night, a neighbor's cat entered my little window and perched himself on my lap, which nearly caused me to cry.

On another night, while pouncing on my keyboard to enter trivia answers in some damn AOL game, I was suddenly siezed by a violent sneeze. I turned my head to the side, kitchen-ward, and ACHOOED mightily. The cigarette that was in my mouth described a gorgeous parabola from my lips directly into the kitchen sink, which was ten or so feet away. SSSSSSS! I heard the butt die unheralded in my noisome sink full of chili-stained dishes.

You're getting weepy over garbage cats, I thought, and you don't do anything except play trivia games on AOL, which, I think, is the Romper Room of the Internet. And now you just spat your comet-like cigarette into your kitchen sink from a distance. And not much of a distance.

That month, a friend of mine from college quite kindly got me an audition. I went (and got it). I moved into a newer place--still a studio, but yet someplace that I didn't have to scale Mount Crapper to enter the shower. A couple months later, I met an intriguing woman. She would--after a few other relatively unappalling apartments--become my wife.

You feel so stilled sometimes. Paralyzed. The world is tensed and waiting. Eppur si muove.


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Comments

Skot, your writing fills me with admiration. The best thing about the Internet, for me, is being able to read blogs such as yours. Of course I'm seething with jealousy, too, but you know that's what other bloggers tend to be like.
Thanks,
Jane

Comment number: 007828   Posted by: Jane on July 25, 2006 08:31 AM from IP: 66.11.80.229

CHUDS....man, that brings back memories. Not good ones like you have, but memories of CHUD living downstairs...ack.

Comment number: 007831   Posted by: Edward on July 25, 2006 05:15 PM from IP: 208.36.122.222

Skot, love your work. You never disappoint.

Comment number: 007832   Posted by: Carolyn on July 25, 2006 08:59 PM from IP: 202.12.233.21

I hope that you had the decency to move away from Idaho during your tragic urban period. To have lived with garbage cats and a three burner stove in Moscow Idaho is too pathetic to contemplate.

Comment number: 007833   Posted by: lala on July 25, 2006 11:21 PM from IP: 70.143.91.145

I found this entry alarmingly uplifting. Which probably speaks more of my condition than yours. I am in fact sitting at the computer in my pajamas at 7:30 at night. I look to you for hope. Which is scary.

Comment number: 007842   Posted by: Amanda on July 27, 2006 05:38 PM from IP: 75.31.237.1

I thought it was "e pur se muove."

Comment number: 007867   Posted by: Kate on July 31, 2006 10:55 PM from IP: 70.132.3.212

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