"If writers possess a common temperament, it's that they tend to be shy egomaniacs; publicity is the spotlight they suffer for the recognition they crave." Gail Caldwell, from her book "Let's Take The Long Way Around"

"To look life in the face, always to look life in the face and to know it for what it is. At last to know it, to love it for what it is, and then, to put it away. . .always the years. Always the love. Always the hours." From the movie "The Hours", based on the book of the same name by Michael Cunningham

"Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly." Baz Luhrman, "Everybody's Free (to wear sunscreen)"

"A writer can do nothing for men more necessary, satisfying, than just simply to reveal to them the infinite possibility of their own souls." Walt Whitman

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant or talented?’ Actually, who are you not to be?” Marianne Williamson

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Ghetto Girl

I am irritated.  I am tired.  Christmas in retail is finally over except for the after holiday rush of returns and customers in need of electronic device support at a store that does not specialize in electronics.  Have you noticed that the more advanced electronics get, the smaller the instruction manual is that comes with the device?  When I bought my smartphone - my first one ever - it included the equivalent of a double-sided quarter-folded piece of glossy paper.  I get more instructions when I buy a box of hair color.  And it doesn't help that most of my customers still think they are in the age where you just plug in the nice shiny box with the knobs and the picture appears.

So after another long day of dealing with someone else's emergency after another, I come home to this dismal dwelling we call home, this apartment that we have come to dislike so much (thank you, higher power, for finding us a house to rent on the street where we used to live), I walk into the kitchen to see that one whole side of the counter has been cleared; there is paint or drywall or something above and under the top cabinet and as I look around I see that everything that used to be in that cabinet is on the other 2 countertops, cluttering up the entire kitchen. 

You see, we just discovered a few days ago that our kitchen had a giant leak from outside that had started to mold over.  Yeah, nice.

Maintenance got right on it, and I understand that they had to empty the cabinet, but does the management staff realize what an inconvenience this is?  I'm not Martha Stewart or Marion Cunningham but maybe I would have liked to have come home and cook dinner, as I do on many occasion.  As it was, I could barely access the microwave, cringing as I am forced to pile things on the electric stove top (what if somehow, something made it turn on and the kitchen burned down?)

Well, at least there's the toaster, set up nicely in the tiny dining room with the mugs and the plates as though one would enjoy her morning coffee with a slice of toast and jam; but no, the toaster doesn't work either because the electricity to the outlet has been turned off to prevent electrocution of the nice maintenance men.  So, having experienced this phenomenon once before in this apartment, I am forced to move the toaster to some nonexistent space in the kitchen because I know it will work plugged in there.  And are the dishes in the dishwasher clean or dirty?  I can't tell because they are all wet but have a vague sense of being not clean.

Yes, I know that Mom will no doubt remind me of the time we - well actually, she and Direll and Julie and Matthew (I was in the college dorms by then) - used to make meals nightly in the motel room using an electric frying pan for cooking and a cooler for the perishables.  She will say it with a laugh, the way people laugh about mishaps and missteps years later ("someday we'll laugh about this"), and with a certain degree of pride at her ingenuity.  I'll grant her that.  Whatever the situation, Mom made it work.

But I don't want to be reminded of those times.  I don't want to remember the ghetto lifestyle that is part of me.  It's the part that has made me strong, a survivor, but I don't need that anymore.  I am, after all, my grandmother's granddaughter:  elegant, artistic, well-mannered and proper; never a hair out of place is how my husband describes her.  I deserve to have nice things and live in a nice place.  I am the one who pays attention to the last detail, who picks precisely the right gift for the right person, who adds the finishing touches to the small but carefully orchestrated get together.  There is a difference between kalamata and black olives, and certainly one can appreciate the baked bried en croute, but why is it the guests always go for the chili and velveeta slow cooker dip instead?  And don't get me started on the wine.  Suffice it to say that it does not count if it comes in a box.

I am tired.  I have used up this post for venting and ranting and now I am spent.  All I really want is some kind of gesture on the part of this apartment management company acknowledging our inconvenience.  Of course, we don't want mold poisoning, but just because it's Taco Tuesday doesn't mean I automatically head for the drive-thru.  Sometimes I actually make tacos with homemade shells (thanks, Mom!).  Maybe they will consider this when it comes time to reconcile our broken lease.  One can hope.  In the meantime, once I have resisted the urge to go to Starbucks instead of digging my way to the coffee grinder and maker in the morning, I guess I'll have to consider what fine fast food establishment our dinner will come from tomorrow night.  Any suggestions?

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