Saturday, July 28, 2007

Proverbs 16:18

For the most part I try and maintain a humble attitude. I once worked with a guy who was really egotistical, not only was it annoying, but everybody made jokes behind his back. This is reason enough to guard against pride. I have two exceptions to the rule though. I openly and unashamedly brag about my blog and my parallel parking. (If you think my blog is good, well I parallel park even better.)
This evening I headed over to Brian's house for Brifest and when I pulled up I noticed a parking spot in front of the house, some would say too small, I knew better.
Actually this story could begin several months ago when I headed over to Brian's house for another gathering. That time I also noticed a tight spot in front of his house, added bonus the one car was a classic car. Let me tell you, I parked perfectly. I come by my pride honestly because I really do have a knack for parallel parking. I went inside, ready to bask in the heady glory that such a park deserved. I made a mental note not to mention my park, it would be sweeter if somebody else pointed out my mastery and I could act nonchalant. Unfortunately the evening wore on and the subject never came up. I finally realized I would have to do the regrettable but necessary step of drawing attention to my genius.
I mentioned my park to Rochelle, she had heard rumours (re. me bragging) but had never seen proof of my skills. She went out to take a look, but the one car was gone leaving a huge space behind my car, which now was parked stupidly close to the car in front. I groaned and Brian came over to see what was wrong. I told him and he said, "Oh yeah, I saw your parking job. It was nothing special; look at how small your car is, it's easy to parallel park that thing."
I pulled up today in the rental car, a large sedan. Not only was this spot tighter than even I would normally dare I could prove once and for all that it wasn't the car, it was me that was the source of the great parking jobs. A thought momentarily crossed my mind, "the space isn't physically big enough for this car." I immediately shrugged such foolishness off as I considered the last laugh that I would have over Brian.
I made my approach backing in until I knew there was absolutely no space left behind. Switching to drive I pulled in ahead managing to get about half of the hood of my car behind the car in front, the other half was still in the street. I put it in to reverse, now realizing that I had the attention of my friends who were milling about on the front lawn. I turned the radio off, wanting no distractions, and looked back, it was far tighter than I had expected. Beads of sweat gathered as I considered how much space I had, it was tight, very tight. Brian came over, he wasn't smiling or laughing. He just told me, "You'd better stop and let Janine move her car, you're literally touching both the car in front and behind." I saw that he wasn't joking, I also saw some angry looking faces looking at me. It wasn't hard to guess whose cars I was touching. If looks could kill I wouldn't be writing this blog right now, that's for sure. Janine moved her car, I humbly pulled over to the curb, grateful that at the very least, I had brought the great pacifiers, beer and ice cream.
Normally I'm not very good at reading people's emotions but it wasn't hard this evening to realize that the one girl in particular was not very happy with me. She thought very highly of her Tiburon and not so highly of my parking. I tried to smooth the situation over by making self deprecating jokes. My extraordinary wit (OK, three exceptions) never failed to win anyone over yet... Well, that would have been a true statement yesterday.
I guess I can take solace in the fact that I still write kick-ass blogs.

Pride goes before destruction,
a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Silver Lining

Somehow I just can't seem to shake this nasty cold that I've got. It sucks because it seems a little better and then all of a sudden it's worse again. Last night I was coughing non stop until the wee hours. It sucked but I can see two benefits to my sickness. The first is that my coughing this morning inspired my roommate to write a great story.
Secondly, I was finally able to get a hold of my insurance company. It's been a real hassle that wasn't helped by the fact that I work during the day. They're giving me more than I expected for my car, it's going to be towed away tomorrow. I got a rental so everything is OK.
Or so I thought. This evening I was taking the plates off my poor little car and I actually felt myself getting a little bit emotional. I like that car more than I thought. It's too nice a car to be sent away to the wreckers. Now I have the problem of finding a new car in the next few days. (My insurance is willing to give me a rental car for five days) It just feels like high stakes gambling. Am I buying a lemon? Who's to know. I just want a cheap car that's fairly reliable; like the one that's being towed away tomorrow.
This blog is mediocre at best. Ironically my absolute favourite blog is the one I wrote about selling my last vehicle. Here it is, to make up for this lousy blog.

Monday, July 16, 2007

On Writing and Fishing (for compliments)

This morning I was thinking that this blog would be about my joyous experience with Alberta Health. A lot of people complain about the state of health care these days. Now as a young and healthy individual perhaps I am not in a good position to comment, but I think that Canada's system is relatively amazing. There aren't too many places in the world that can offer such high quality care for such a trifling amount.
I definitely don't think that the monthly sums are too much to pay, although I would like it if they actually sent me a bill so I could pay instead of having my balance add up without my knowledge.
Aware that they wouldn't forgive or forget my debt, I finally called up Alberta Health to let them know that I was willing to pay if they were willing to send me my bill. After waiting on hold for nearly half an hour listening to the worst sort of elevator music, I finally managed to speak with someone. We had a little difficulty figuring out what address I was under, I've had three since moving here although none received any sort of bill. In any case after a fair amount of work on my part, the $500 bill is on it's way. The question I have is how long would my bill have added up for before they finally tracked me down?
However, I actually changed my mind about the subject of the blog I want to write. I was reading another Bill Bryson book, Neither Here Nor There, and I was reminded of something else that I would like to do with my life. It occurred to me when Bryson was describing how he went into a bookstore and rearranged the books to his advantage. I then thought that it must be such a cool thing to be able to go into a store and and see a book that you wrote for sale.
The problem of my becoming an author is twofold. One, is I don't know for sure whether I have the talent. I am always swinging between two extremes, extremely proud or extremely doubtful of my abilities. Right now I think that I'm mediocre at best, likely because I feel this blog is long and boring. Other times I know that I'm probably good for five or six bestsellers before I succumb to the alcoholism that accompanies genius. A few years later I'll write one more book describing my courageous return to sobriety making it into Oprah's Book Club and earning myself a brief but lucrative career as a guest on daytime TV talk shows. I will then fade into obscurity, hopefully in time for my thirtieth birthday. If I really go far I have the hot celebrity wife and subsequent tawdry divorce.
The second problem is the one of self motivation. Heck I can't even be bothered to finish this blo

Saturday, July 14, 2007

No Official Title, Just an Extraordinary Blog.

Yesterday afternoon all three of my roommates took off for a weekend bicycle trip in Revelstoke. A part of me wanted to go, but the other part was content knowing that I wouldn't be spending 5 hours in a car with Calvin's incessant monologue about bikes. The other bonus was that I would have the house to myself for the entire weekend. I like roommates but the knowledge that I would have the house to myself was quite heady and I had to lie down for a bit.
Later I woke up to a house empty of people but full of possibility. I could, if I were so inclined, shower until all the hot water was gone, play obnoxious music loudly, even on repeat if I were feeling particularly devilish, make a huge mess in the kitchen, melt records in the oven, have people come over... Actually as you can maybe tell by my list, there isn't much difference in levels of freedom between my house with or without roommates, the important thing for this blog is that I sure felt like a teenager who just received his driver's license, a new world of possibilities just opened up. But perhaps a better analogy would be a dog that finally escaped the yard but know has so much freedom that he ends up too scared to do anything but stay in the front yard.
I checked my email, nothing there, so after messing around some more on the computer I headed out onto the deck to read a book, a little disappointed that nobody took my up on my admittedly casual beer drinking invitation. I have a few books that I would like to read but somehow I found myself picking up Notes From a Small Island, a Bill Bryson book that I've already read.
Bill Bryson has to be one of my favourite authors, with his dry humour, his sarcasm, his obscure but fascinating tidbits of information and his effective, and sometimes liberal use of cursing. I like to recommend his books to people but I get nervous in case people realize that my writing style is pretty much just a ripoff of his.
I read the following excerpt last night on my front porch, and found myself laughing out loud. Bill is traveling round England and spends a miserable rainy evening in a quiet town. Heading back to his hotel a car comes by splashing him. He return to his hotel in ill temper to find that he is locked out and soaking wet.

There were two doorbells, and I tried them both but without response. I tried my room key in the door and of course it didn't work. I tried the bells again, leaning on them both for many minutes and growing increasingly angry. When this elicited no satisfaction, I banged on the glass door with the flat of my hand, then with a fist and finally with a stout boot and a touch of frenzy. I believe I may also have filled the quiet streets with shouting.
Eventually the proprietor appeared at the top of some basement stairs, looking surprised. 'I'm so sorry, sir.' he said mildly as he unlocked the door and let me in. 'Have you been out there long?'
Well, I blush to think at how I ranted at the poor man. I used immoderate language. I sounded like Graham Taylor before they led him off and took away his warm-up suit. I accused him and his fellow townspeople of appalling shortages of intelligence and charm. I told him that I had just passed the dreariest evening of my life in this God-forsaken hell-hole of a resort, that I had been soaked to the skin by a carful of young men who between them were ten IQ points short of a moron, that I had walked a mile in wet clothes, and had now spent nearly half an hour shivering in the cold because I had been locked out of my own hotel at nine o'clock in the fucking evening.
'May I remind you,' I went on in a shrill voice 'that two hours ago you said goodbye to me, watched me go out the door and disappear down the street. Did you think I wasn't coming back? That I would sleep in a park and return for my things in the morning? Or is it merely that you are a total imbecile? Please tell me because I would very much like to know.'
The proprietor flinchingly soaked up my abuse, and responded with fluttering hands and a flood of apologies. He offered me a tray of tea and sandwiches, to dry and press my wet clothes, to escort me to my room and turn on my radiator personally. He did everything but fall to my feet and beg me to run him through with a sabre. He positively implored me to let him bring me something warming on a tray.
'I don't want anything but to go to my room and count the minutes until I get out of this fucking dump!' I shouted, perhaps a trifle theatrically but to good effect, and stalked up the stairs to the first floor where I plodded about heatedly in the corridor for some minutes and realized that I didn't have the faintest idea which was my room. There was no number on the key.
I returned to the reception area, now once more in semi-darkness and put my head by the basement door. 'Excuse me, " I said in a small voice, "could you please tell me what room I'm in?'
'Number 27, sir.' came a voice from the darkness.
I stood quite some time without moving. 'Thank you' I said.
'It's quite all right, sir,' came the voice. 'Have a good night.'

I continued reading while thinking about writing this blog. I had intended on writing it last night but my neighbours invited my over to watch Waiting for Guffman so I postponed the blog. I think the blog suffered for it, but ultimately I had a better time and certainly laughed more.