Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Well, this weekend washed away yet ANOTHER one of my fantasies.

For a long portion of my life, I was a Shane o' Optimism. The kind of guy that lived in a world of chirping birds, rising suns, and the genuine belief that humanity, for the most part, ain't so bad. The Shane o' Optimism fancied himself one day living in a perfect little home (assuming, of course, that Shane o' Optimism had a limitless budget with which to hire perfect little caretakers for his perfect little home -- even an optimistic Shane isn't prepped to mow the yard himself.)

And this life would naturally come complete with a white picket fence, a charming wife, some loving children, and even maybe a little yip dog named Skipper or some such. Therein lies the problem. No white picket fences surround my crummy apartment. My dance card is woefully lacking in elegible bachelorettes. The only children in my life are the neighbor kids who try nightly to barricade my hallway unless we tenants pay something called a "Door Tax." And instead of yippy Skipper, I have neurotic sister kitties who are systematically destroying any possessions that I may otherwise choose to care about.

But this, friends, is no big deal. I was born an only child. I know how to cope. That's why I replaced my optimistic dream with one that's a little more grounded but hopefully just as fun:

If I don't get the house and the wife and kids and the dog, then at the very least I should get to enjoy life as a cantankerous hermitic shut-in whose life's ambition is to scare the neighbor kids. "DOOR TAX?!?!" I can hear myself yelling at them as I shake my cane menacingly, "I'LL SHOW YOU A DOOR TAX!" And I've already got 2 cats; that means I'm only 58 more away from the appropriate level of crazy to ensure that folks walk a wide swath around Creepy Old Man Brown's door.

And my first grand test of the hermitic, isolationist, slightly off-my-rocker lifestyle? This past weekend.

Normally, I spend my Saturdays shopping, eating out, and DJ'ing to a packed dance club until the not-so-wee hours of Sunday. This past weekend, though, Jack Frost had other plans. I'm not afraid of a little ice. But I AM afraid of pratfalling onto my fanny, and those two things tend to happen simultaneously.

Happily, for once I'd paid attention to the weather reports ahead of time. Knowing that an ice storm was hours away, I went out on Friday and picked up some essentials (2 frozen dinners, 1 bag Chips Ahoy, 4 magazines, and a metric ton of Coke Classic.) By the time I woke up on Saturday, the world was already glazed over, cars were sliding down my street, and best of all, my DJ gig was cancelled.

I had the weekend free. I could do anything I wanted... anything but leave my apartment. I was thrilled. It was heaven. How many days I had spent at work daydreaming of an afternoon of sitting around and doing whatever I felt like! Here it was. I was free. I was independent. I was... really, really, really bored.

I turned on the TV. 138 channels at my disposal. Fascinating programming options from around the world. Or so I'm told. I, meanwhile, chose to watch 8 reruns of "Frasier" in a row.

There were projects to sink my teeth into. The cupboards in the kitchen needed a good cleaning. A pile of records begged for alphabetization. And who wouldn't want to get an early start on their taxes?

Me, apparantly, as I wasted the day playing pretend Rock Band on my X-Box. The newly released rival to the Guitar Hero video game features not only plastic guitars, but plastic drums and a plastic microphone to boot. Of course, I can't actually sing a note in pitch to save my life -- unless, that is, I attempt it in the world's weeniest falsetto. You know, the kind of voice you don't pull out in front of friends. Yet I screeched until hoarse, and as of press time, am now the 106th greatest vocalist in the cyberworld. And judging by the thinness of my walls, perhaps I DID satisfy my goal of scaring the neighbor children, albeit in the entirely wrong way.

I thought I'd like being a hermit for a weekend, but I ended up with nightmarish cabin fever. Were it not for my friend Chris braving the ice to come over with a bucket of chicken and a second X-Box controller, I might have lost it entirely. Curse you, reverse psychology -- as soon the ice made it impossible to leave the apartment, leaving was the only thing I wanted to do. So I'm not giving up my flirtation with the shut-in lifestyle quite yet... but let's just say I still steal a glance or two at any white picket fence that comes my way.

Now then, I'm off to leave my hermitic lifestyle for a taco run. Anybody got a buck I can borrow? I don't know if I've got enough to cover the door tax tonight...

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