It's not about the house.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Who Pooped in the Peanut Butter?

This post isn't about poop in the peanut butter at all. I just used that phrase in conversation the other day and have been looking ever since for an excuse to use it here. Couldn't think of one, and then remembered that gratuitous poop references are not exactly unheard of here at The House and I, so there you go.

Part of the reason I haven’t written much these days is that life hasn’t been handing me any decent punchlines. By which I don’t mean to imply that I’m depressed or anything, it’s just that those magically absurd moments I usually use to zing a piece back home just haven't happened. I’ll give you an example:

The hated Chuck (TFT) has been leaking power steering fluid. For a couple months now. I can’t afford to get him fixed – and I figure the worst that happens if his power steering blows for good is that I get a complete upper body workout every time I run out for a quart of milk – so I’ve just been tossing bottles down his gullet in a quixotic attempt to silence that infernal squealing.

Huh. Maybe I would make a good mother, after all. Except when the kid squeals you can't whack it on the dashboard and tell it this is why you never wanted it in the first place. So maybe not.

It isn't as bad as it sounds. I only go through about a bottle a week, and I think they're only like a pint or so a piece. Hang on, I'll check... nope: a cup and a half. See? That's even better (oh, and the Stop Leak brand doesn’t, by the way, in case you’re wondering). Plus I don’t even pour it in there all at once. I pour a little at a time, just enough to stop the screaming, and only on the days I plan to actually drive. Because a cup and a half a week is still a cup and a half a week, and I don't want to end up with a poisonous lake of the viscous stuff in my driveway (such as it is) come spring. Because who needs to explain a thing like that to the owners of dogs and children that visit in the summertime and run around my yard?

So instead, every single time I start my car I have to pop the hood and pour some fluid in. Got some on my glove the other day, too. Now it’s all over the dashboard, window, radio controls – you’d be surprised how many things a person can manage to touch with a single finger in a single five-minute car ride. Not to mention, on the subsequent mile-long walk in freezing weather, one's eyes and ears. And, yes okay, runny nose.

I’ve got it all down to a science now. I mete out a wee bit in the morning, drive Chuck (TFT) to the parking area, and let him piddle most of it out on public property all day while I walk and ride to work, and then ride and walk back to him again. By the time we’re driving home at the end of the day, he’s almost piddled out, and we start the whole thing over in the morning.

I know this sounds terribly unvironmental (yup, I made it up), and although if you gave me a few minutes I'm sure I could come up with a bunch of ways to excuse my behavior, I just won't. Because the fact is: I don’t care. There came a point ages ago when the whole notion of environmentalism became a rich man's game, a socially acceptable way of judging other people -- especially uneducated people who can't afford things -- and that's why it's a game that I refuse to play. Well, that, plus the lazy and cold-hearted thing. Screw polar bears!

(I will point out, however, in case it might make anyone else feel better, that I have never once, in my entire life, used air conditioning inside my home.) (Technically, that isn't true. There was that one sludge-pit apartment in South Boston. But that was just one room, for just one summer.) (And the window unit was a gift; it wasn't my idea.) (Plus the reason it was a gift is that we really, truly, honestly couldn’t breathe.) (Which may have been just because it was, you know, South Boston.) (But I digress…)

Meanwhile, I have never been the most particular about keeping my car clean to begin with, and now the inside of the truck is a veritable graveyard of spent STP bottles. Every morning I have to crawl around the back and shake them until I find one that has something in it. And you might think this would be a good time for me to go ahead and throw the old ones out, but … nah.

The worst is when I’m driving along and a rogue empty decides to pop up and say hello to my feet. I don’t know if the little buggers get cold or if the empty Dunkin’ Donuts bags and Baked Lay’s wrappers are just dreary company, but it happens all the time. And although I’ve been fortunate so far to have not yet had the experience of coming sole to bottle when I’m reaching for the brake, it’s not what I’d call exactly fun to grope around under the steering wheel while simultaneously trying to maneuver over a bridge and into rotary traffic. It’s like trying to change into your pyjamas while you're still brushing your teeth, only with much better odds of injuring someone besides yourself in the process.

What? You don’t you do that? It's only me, then? Huh…

Anyway, so here is where the punchline should come in. Here’s where I ought to tell you that today I actually did get in an accident, or that something else equally afunny happened. I finally cleaned Chuck (TFT), say, and when I did I found enough loose change in there to fix the problem. Or our mechanic friend George came by and did it for nothing, in exchange for me promising to never mention his name on this blog again. Or I heard on the news that it wasn’t poop in the peanut butter after all, but rather a massive case of power-steering-fluid poisoning, and that they’re this close to zeroing in on the source. But none of those things happened.

With this, then -- along with myriad other ho-hum and punchless lines that I've been living -- I've just been carrying on my rank routine and waiting for some sort of shoe to drop that might make the whole thing at least marginally entertaining to someone besides me. Or including me, for that matter. But so far, as Yukon Cornelius used to say: nuttin'.

Except for the poop in the peanut butter thing. That shit was pretty rich.

1 comment:

su said...

Sorry dear I had to tag you on my blog.