Last Night

When hubby came home last night, self was having a rest on the sofa, and watching a movie called “The Prince and Me”, with Julia Stiles. Self did not even get up, as she usually does, but continued to lie on the sofa.

Message (unspoken) to hubby was: I am tired. Do not disturb.

Whereupon hubby began to suggest that self was too hasty in okay-ing repair on car’s timing chain. “Did you get a second opinion?” the man suddenly wanted to know.

Ah, no, actually, self did not.

“Why didn’t you call the Nissan dealership?” hubby wanted to know.

Well, that is a very. Very. Good. Question. Which self was in no mood to contemplate last night.

(Quarter going to hell in a handbasket. Good thing self didn’t say anything to hubby about the parking ticket. Or the lost electric toothbrush. Or the fact that she is so absolutely intense about her writing. At the moment. Which is a very rare thing. Too bad this rare moment had to coincide with the start of class at xxxx community college)

This morning, self decides that she needs to tone down her excellent ambition. Do wife-ly things, like water the lawn (If ONLY we could put the sprinklers on a timing system, self suggests to hubby. Which idea hubby vigorously rejects, for he says the sprinklers are out of whack, and even with a timer lawn would still have bare spots, blah blah blah. Okey-dokey, so self guesses that hubby would like her to water by hand. Hopefully, none of self’s students know where she lives or one look at the lawn and they might lose all respect for her)

Okey-dokey! Last Sunday afternoon, self was picking up a rental car from the San Francisco Airport, and the rental counters were clogged with people. It was as if all the airlines had gotten together and decided to deposit their passengers in San Francisco at the same time. Rental counter personnel were going crazy. Self stood in line for an hour. She passed the time by chatting on her cell with cousin in Virginia, who, as usual, was cooking. Cousin informed self that she is on quite a reading kick.

“I read the book you recommended,” cousin told self. “It’s quite interesting!”

“Which book was that?” self inquired.

“You know! YOU recommended it to me! The one about the arranged marriage?” cousin explained.

“Oh, Arranged Marriage! By Chitra Divakaruni!” self exclaimed. And wondered why half the people in line then turned to stare. Must have been the words “Arranged Marriage.” Self shook her head calmly at her fellow-sufferers, as if to say: “No, it is not I who have engaged in an arranged marriage. Don’t get the wrong idea.”

Anyhoo, by the time self reached the front of the line, the rental counter people were in hysterics.

“What kind of car do you want?” they practically yelled at her.

“Economy,” self said.

“None available. We can give you a mini-van.”

“No! I can’t drive a mini-van!”

“But it’ll be the same price as a compact!”

“But I don’t know how to park! I am very bad at parking! And I have never driven a mini-van in my life!” (Not true: self has driven a mini-van. And crashed it into a brick wall while she was backing up. Self saw no need to impart this information to Dollar Rent-a-Car, however)

“All right! You’ll have to wait an hour!”

“My, you’re busy today!” self ventured.

“Flight was delayed an hour, and then it was like a train of falling dominos.”

“Oh, I see,” self said calmly, and then inquired, “Where do I go while waiting?”

“You can go anywhere you like.”

“But is someone going to inform me that my car has arrived?”

(Barking) “Yes!”

“So how will you find me?”

“I am going to shout, at the top of my lungs, MARIANNE!!! All right???”

Okey-dokey! Self decided she’d better get out of there fast. And she found a little coffee shop selling coffee and potato chips, and began to snack. Snack, snack, snack. And after one hour, she heard “MARIANNE!!! MARIANNE!!! MARIANNE!!!” And self jumped up, upsetting her coffee, squeaking, “I’m here! I’m here! I’m here!”

And she got a silver car, and after a few errands, drove home.

Hubby was peacefully browsing the web. He didn’t even look up when self came in. But he did inquire: “So you got your car?” Which was, like, really a stupid question, because how else did he think self would make it home from the San Francisco Airport?

Stay tuned, dear blog reader, stay tuned.

End of Day Report: 24 September 2007 and A (Very Short) Excerpt from a Short Story

Self is alive. That is a good thing.

(Self, you idiot. Why would you not be alive? Is there anyone of your acquaintance who is not alive? But, once again, I digress)

Here are some not-so-good things that happened to self today:

    Mike from repair shop called and said that he thinks the problem with self’s car is the timing chain; it needs to be replaced. And the bill for the labor alone, he’s pretty sure, will be “at least $1,400.” “But, can you give me the total including parts,” self insisted. “$2,000” was Mike’s succinct reply. Self is amazed, simply amazed that after receiving this information, she was still able to conduct a class at xxxx community college.
    Dentist called: she would like to see self tomorrow. This, as loyal blog readers know, is not a good thing. Especially since self left her electric toothbrush behind in Marriott at Sherman Oaks, and has had to resort to manual brushing, which does not have the sonic “boom” effect of her trusty Sonicare (Similar model costs $139.99 at Costco, self has decided to put off this expense for the moment — that is, until she has finished paying off car repair) which is supposed to dislodge food particles from hard-to-reach crevices of self’s mouth. Self realizes she is straying into “gross” territory. Self will hold her tongue now.
    Self, after circling college parking lot at least 20 times in a fruitless search for parking, decided that it would be better to get a parking ticket than to be late for her first class of the quarter. Self was still late, and yes, she also received a parking ticket.

Here are some good things about today:

    Self does not have to teach a 6 PM class on Ethnic Literature, as class was cancelled due to low (Read: 2) enrollment.
    Hubby had to work today. Which meant self could switch channels from ESPN. So she watched, in this order: “The Lake House”, with Sandy Bullock and Keanu Reeves; Oprah, a special on Bipolar Disorder; Jerry Springer, where self was able to watch someone in a white wedding dress getting completely banged up in fistfight with her fiancé’s other girlfriend; and Paula Deen on Food Network.

Self pulls out one of her old stories (one that she never succeeded in getting published) and decides to share it with loyal blog readers. See, she was going to quote from “A Shinagawa Monkey,” but decided that Dear Haruki has enough people tooting his horn for him. Whereas, self has no one except self. So self might as well toot her horn for herself as much as possible. Even if it does strike some readers as obnoxious.

Let’s see, the last time self posted excerpt from this story (“Dumaguete”) was several months ago. So loyal blog readers will have forgotten all about how it began. Self will present brief re-cap below:

This story focuses on a nine-year-old boy traveling with his mother. And the mother, who is in all likelihood suffering from bipolar disorder (undiagnosed, hence self’s interest in Oprah today), keeps forgetting that she is with her son, and keeps running off here and there, leaving son anguished and panicky and feeling abandoned, and by the way the mother doesn’t even bother telling her husband where she is going, and so no one knows where the nine-year-old and his mother are, and the boy is homesick and wants to see his father. So, this is the situation:

Will I ever see him again, Carlos asked, and to his horror tears began to well up in his eyes, though just a little.

Of course you will, his mother said, patting his back. Her hand was cool. He could feel the imprint of coolness on the back of his t-shirt.

Of course you will, his mother said, looking intently into his eyes. He was again caught in that gaze, that green-eyed gaze that seemed to speak of nothing so much as time and sadness. He didn’t know why his mother should have the green eyes, when all his classmates’ mothers had brown; why she didn’t seem to love his father and threatened to leave him after every argument.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

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