DRAMA!

maybe it will at least entertain you.

ATTENTION! ATTENTION! We have reports that pamie actually changed a litter box and brought the old trashbag of used kitty litter all the way down to the dumpster. Rumors of a clean kitchen have been dispelled. But we have confirmed a cleaning of a litter box. The apartment has not imploded. I repeat, the apartment has not imploded. Thank you.

I do find it interesting that there are heated debates and ongoing discussions concerning banners and donation buttons (which I feel are two different things) going on in other journal forums, but here it’s strangely quiet. By this I’m assuming that you either do not care, encourage Squishy’s profit, or are venting about it elsewhere.

Not that I’m complaining. But a couple of people have contacted me with their concerns, and I hope I set their minds at ease. If you’re sitting around with similar questions, don’t be afraid to ask me.

So, there’s that drama, with the whole new website.

There’s also this drama, with Eric on his business trip.

I will tell you where Eric is, but if I tell you, you have to promise not to laugh. Okay, you don’t have to promise anything, but try and be a good sport about it. No, it’s just… I have a hard time saying this without breaking into giggles.

You may have figured out by now from the old forum that Eric works for Apple. He deals with sales. Periodically they announce new product lines and things, like the huge Cube announcement.

Oh, I’ll stop stalling.

Eric is at iCamp.

How fucking funny is that? Seriously. “iCamp.” And people are always like, “You can’t what?” And I have to say, “iCamp. Little ‘I,’ big ‘C,’ ‘amp.'”

And then I watch them try to not laugh.

Eric and I aren’t really too good at the whole Corporate America thing. Sometimes it’s painfully obvious that we are two performer-types who have day jobs. We crack jokes at the wrong times, wiggle through meetings, and take vacation days to audition or perform.

But this is a whole new level of Corporate America for sweet Eric. He’s now surrounded by hundreds of Apple people, and they are all very excited about this new eight-inch computer and he’s appreciative of the technology, but that’s about it. There is nothing worse than knowing that you’re about to spend twelve hours in meeting rooms listening to sales pitches, taking notes, and not able to leave.

So, for the first time ever, Sunday afternoon I watched Eric get angry about going on a trip. He packed with spite. He burned CDs with a sneer. He stomped and sighed and flailed around.

“I don’t want to go to iCamp,” he whined.

Y’all, as much as I wanted to laugh at that, I just couldn’t and still be a good girlfriend.

Because it’s easier, and because I’m less prone to giggling about it, I just call it Fat Camp.

Eric took his grumpy plane and called me later that night. “I hate it here,” he grumbled. “I want to come home. I miss you.”

stee offered this advice: “You know, it’s just like real camp. Of course he’s going to be all whining and complaining, telling you he misses you and wants to come home. It’s camp. You just tell him that in three days he’s going to meet some kid from Maryland and they’ll make a popsicle stick house together and then he’ll be having so much fun he won’t want to come home.”

So when Eric called last night to say that things have gotten better and he’s been going to all of his classes and it’s not too unbearable, I had to laugh.

“How’s the car?” he asked.

“OH! OH! I had just forgotten how angry I was, until you asked me!”

“Sorry.”

“I’m so angry!”

No, really. I can’t believe this. I’ve never really been so shocked by customer service in my life. It’s one thing to have the insurance woman laugh at you when you ask if you’re ever going to see your reimbursement check. It’s a completely different thing to have a mechanic tell you that you’re an idiot.

I pulled into the mechanic garage yesterday afternoon. I passed by the sign that says “AC Service” and parked. There was a long line of cars. The man in front of me turned and said, “I think you’ll be waiting for a while.”

“I’m just going to ask them a question.”

I walked up to the man under the hood. He wasn’t the man who fixed the car two weeks ago.

 

[scripty]

PAMIE
Excuse me. I took my car here about two weeks ago to get AC service and now it’s not working again.

MECHANIC
What did you bring it here for in the first place?

PAMIE
Well, just like now, it was only blowing hot air. They put Freon in and now it’s just blowing hot air again.

MECHANIC
Well, you’ve got a leak. We could put more Freon in, but it’s just going to run out again.

PAMIE
Well, when I took it here the last time, I asked if there was a leak, because I had just put more Freon in at the end of last summer and I thought it was odd that it would be out of Freon so soon.

MECHANIC
It’s because you have a leak.

PAMIE
But the guy said I didn’t have a leak and then charged me two hundred dollars for Freon.

MECHANIC
You have a leak.

PAMIE
Yes, I can see that now. But will you guys take care of it, since I already spent the money and your guy said there wasn’t a leak?

MECHANIC
No. You need to take the car to a real mechanic.

PAMIE
Excuse me?

“MECHANIC”
This isn’t a place you take your car for AC repair. All we do is Freon. We don’t know how to fix ACs.

PAMIE
But that sign says “AC Service” right there. I’m reading it now. We’re standing next to it.

“MECHANIC”
Look. I don’t know why you’d ever take your car here. I’ve been working on cars for fifteen years, and I’d never take my car here for AC service.

PAMIE
What?

“MECHANIC”
I’d never take my car here. You need to go to a real mechanic and have him fix the AC and then have them fill it with Freon. Don’t take it to more than one place. And damn, don’t take the car here at all.

PAMIE
I… uh… well, I… can you recommend a mechanic?

“MECHANIC”
Any place other than here. A real mechanic. Someone that knows how to fix cars. And then have them do the Freon in case anything else is wrong. Don’t ever take your car here.

PAMIE
So, I’m just out two hundred dollars?

“MECHANIC”
You should have taken your car to a mechanic in the first place for repair.

PAMIE
That’s what I thought I was doing.

“MECHANIC”
Go find a real garage to take your car.

[/scripty]

 

I walked back in a bit of a daze. I was covered in sweat, and I was angry. The man in front of me in line saw my expression.

“What’d he say?”

“Apparently, I’m an idiot.”

“What?”

“He says it’s all my fault the car still doesn’t work because I never should have taken my car to their shop in the first place. They don’t fix cars here, you see.”

“He said that?”

“You might want to take your car somewhere else.”

He opened the car door for me, as I think I was just babbling in an angry rant.

“How am I the idiot when they’ve got a sign that says ‘AC Service’?” It says it right there! It’s right there! It’s my fault that the car still doesn’t work? They said I didn’t have a leak and now I do and I’ve just got to put more money down?”

“Wow. I’m sorry.”

“I just wasted two hundred dollars for nothing. NOTHING! To be told that I’m a moron for thinking a garage was a place where they fixed cars!”

“You have a good afternoon.”

“Yeah, you too.”

And here’s what really bugs me about the whole thing: I just spent two hundred dollars to be told that I was the one with the problem. No, that’s not what really bugs me. Here’s what really bugs me: I’m going to have to go through this Austin summer without AC.

It’s unbearable, people.

Every day hits 100 degrees. It’s been like that for over two weeks. The heat and the humidity are so bad that sometimes you just have to cry to deal with it. Mexico isn’t this hot right now. New Orleans isn’t this hot right now. And when you get into my car after a full day of it sitting in my office’s parking lot– it’s easily 115 in there. Probably more. I don’t know. Hot is hot after a certain point.

The sweat begins almost immediately. I have the windows down, but I’m stuck in afternoon traffic. It takes about forty minutes to get home from where I work. My face sweats. My hair sticks to my cheek. Beads of sweat drip from under my bra to my stomach. The back of my shirt is stuck to my spine, like I’ve been leaning against a wet sponge. Sweat rolls down my shins. My feet are steaming.

My throat is so dry I can hardly talk. I try making phone calls to keep myself from thinking about the hell, but because I take the outskirts of Austin to avoid the hour-long traffic jam, there are parts where the phone cuts out, and I’m alone in hell. My speakers don’t work so well, and I’m at the mercy of bad radio. Not that I can enjoy it. Any sort of grooving causes a dizzying feeling.

And yesterday, on my way to the mechanic, it was so hot that my eyes were burning. My sunglasses had fogged up, and I put them on top of my head for a second as I sat at a red light.

The next thing I knew a car honked. I yanked open my eyes. I had fallen asleep, and rolled into the intersection.

I was very lucky that the light had turned green. The heat is so bad your body retaliates by slipping into mini-comas.

And now, after all of that, I guess the two hundred dollars was worth not driving in that heat for two weeks, but now I just want to cry. I don’t want to spend the money on fixing my car. But I know that I really have no other choice, unless I get a new car, which will cost even more money, probably.

I’m trying to save money to get to Los Angeles, and I keep having to spend it on things to live here. It’s very frustrating.

And how is it my fault that the mechanic told me that there wasn’t a leak and there was? There’s no sign in front of this garage that says, “We suck. Go somewhere else.” I’d like to make one.

The closest I have is to tell you to never go to the garage on East Oltorf by the 24-hour carwash.

(The 24-hour carwash is also a running joke. Whenever we pass it at three in the morning, there’s always just one group of guys or one guy washing a car. Just washing his car in the middle of the night…)

 
[scripty]

ERIC
Who washes their car at three in the morning?

PAMIE
Murderers.

ERIC
Getting rid of the blood.

PAMIE
Exactly.
[/scripty]
 

We always pass that car wash late at night and yell, “Murderers!” It’s what we do. It’s how we have fun. That and threatening to make each other sleep at Herpeton Exotic Pets, the Scariest Place on Earth. At night there’s a low light coming from inside, and all you can see are the unattended cages of creepy, semi-poisionous creatures.

So, I sit here at work, trying to figure out how to leave just a bit early, just to get a jumpstart on traffic, so that my afternoon commute might be under the thirty-minute range instead of the forty-to-fifty minute hell where I think about all of the things that I’d rather be doing than melting in the heat.

You start hallucinating from the heat at some point. “The Care Bears were here!”

No, like, I just want to quit my job so I don’t have to go outside anymore. I’ve thought about asking for later hours so I don’t have to leave until the sun has set a bit. It doesn’t cool off around here until after nine, and the only hours that you’re experiencing maybe 76 degrees are between three in the morning and five in the morning.

Every other time is a damn nightmare.

I guess I should get the car looked at first. Find out how much it’s going to be to fix before I just throw my hands up and give up.

“I wish I had learned how to drive your car,” I said to Eric last night.

“How many times have I offered to teach you to drive that stick?”

“I know. I know. Hundreds.”

“And you only did it that once.”

“And you’ve got AC and a CD player.”

I’m really kidding myself on that one. Yes, Eric has a CD player. I’m one of the three people I know that doesn’t have one in my car. But Eric only half-way has AC. When he has the AC on and we’re driving out of the parking lot or slowing down for a stop light, the car will stall. It stalls out if the AC is on and the car is slowing to a halt. I don’t know why, but it’s very jarring and uncomfortable. If you’re on the highway, the AC is just fine, but once you try and slow the car, it all goes to hell. I’d be terrified to drive that thing with the jerky stop problem, and I’d just be convinced I was killing the car.

“I don’t ever want to drive your car.”

“Why?”

“Because you love that car. If I ever put a nick or scratch, or if I hurt the transmission or stripped a gear or caught it on fire or whatever, I’d feel horrible for the rest of my life.”

“No, don’t be scared of that car.”

“You love that car.”

“I know. I need to get over my love of that car. It keeps breaking.”

“Yes.”

“And I don’t want you scared to drive it. I love you more than the car.”

“You’re drunk.”

“A little.”

“What is that camp doing to you?”

“Whee!”

I just want to get out of this heat. I can’t believe how hot it is. Really. Seriously.

It’s making me terribly whiny.

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