Bondi Beach, Sydney, NSW c. 2002

Fri, 12 Aug 2005 10:47 AM (GMT+0000)

I'm a pretty complacent person, especially at five in the morning. That is in the general case. This has been no ordinary run-of-the-mill couple of weeks, though. I tried go to bed early tonight and was foiled this time not by my chronic insomnia but the shrill clatter of the worst four-dollar phone in the ignominious history of corded tone-dialed phones. I fell back to sleep cranky and irritable, amazingly managing to break the insomniac cycle for at least a few days, but in such a tweaked state even dreams reflect the darker misanthropic undercurrents of my overinflated hyperintellectual egotism. If you're acutely sensitive to extreme concentrations of vitriol, or you aren't quite ready to be exposed to my dark and dangerous underbelly, perhaps it's best to move along now.

To put it mildly, things are not sunshine and fucking roses this August. Many things are not going my way, and I hate it when I don't get my way. There is only one person whose phone call I wanted to take past one AM this morning and it was not the habitual drunk driver who did not have an actual emergency for me to help her deal with at the time. I did not want to receive that phone call once. I especially did not want to receive it four fucking times in machine-gun succession. She knows damn well several vital pieces of information which in her very likely inebriated state she simply chose to ignore. Number one, she knows how ear-splittingy loud the piece of shit green phone is in my bedroom. And that's on the low setting. Two, she knows that if I don't answer it this late, I'm not going to answer it. Three, and especially important, is that I can't fucking stand it when she drives drunk. Not that I make specific exception for her.

I don't think I know any people who can sit as high on the horse as I can when it comes to the matter of drunk driving. I have been drunk twice or possibly three times in my entire life and two of those times I had no idea I was even drinking alcohol until well after the fact. The first time, I was not even 16, so there was no chance of me getting behind the wheel. The second time I was in the Bahamas on Andros island. I don't think there are more than twenty cars on the whole island, and even if you managed to find one, there isn't even anywhere to go. The third and likely final time, I suspect that the third of a bottle of coconut rum I had diluted in a liter of Pepsi over the course of three hours was not enough to get me (with my hyperactive metabolism) particularly wasted, even despite the fact that I could not have had any kind of tolerance whatsoever. After we bought the bottle, the keys remained on my end table for the remainder of the night. I ended up taking care of the person who shall remain nameless who was trying to show me what a good time I was missing all these years. We sure had fun, didn't we?

There have been one or two cases when I have gotten behind the wheel when it probably hasn't been the best idea. In these cases, I probably should have gotten some sleep first. I have nodded off exactly once, waking up twenty feet from the rear bumper of the minivan in front of me on I-380 in broad daylight on an uncrowded sunny afternoon. After that dose of adrenaline, you can bet I was wide-fucking awake for the rest of that drive. Every other time I've known that when it's no longer physically possible to keep my eyelids open, I can just pull over and get some rest. That, too, has only ever happened once. And when I'm not bombed out of my skull, I can make an intelligent decision about when it's time to tap out.

I don't give a flying fuck how inconvenient or expensive it is to find alternate means of transportation when you're planning on going out for a night of drinking. If you can't make it happen, then don't fucking drink. Believe me, your night is going to be a hell of a lot cheaper, especially when you live in a town like NYC. There is no God damn excuse for you to endanger my life or the lives of the people I care about because of your own self-centered inconsideration. You are a menace on the road when you are drunk. You are physically incapable of the reacting to things the way you are required to. This is a scientifically tested and accepted theory. You are not special or immune to the immutable physical laws of this world. Get off the road, psycho.

The DUI laws in this fucking country have no balls. If you get caught drunk behind the wheel, your ass needs to go to jail for a long time. Hell, if you get caught just having marijuana, even if you're stone cold sober, you're exposed to more jail time than for DUI, even if you've already lost your license three fucking times for it. Fat chance of those laws ever changing. No small percentage of the people responsible for making them, all the way from the Idiot-in-Chief on down, have DUI charges on their own fucking records. How do you lobby someone to criminalize himself?

I don't want to hear any bullshit excuses about this one from anyone. If you plan on replying to this post to argue, you better put on three to four good layers of asbestos to prepare yourself for my response. I am rather inflexible on the matter of drunk driving.

So the phone starts ringing just as I think I'm hitting some good REM action (at least something good has been going on because I wake up with a raging hard-on). One set of six rings (God damnit). Two sets of six rings (why the fuck did I set my voicemail to pick up so late). Three sets of six rings (I know exactly who you are, now, and bitch you're going to have to die). Four ever-fucking sets of six rings and I'm bloodbath-boiling mad, tossing fitfully in a heavy layer of hot summer humid sweat. Those fucking crickets! I'm still in a half-daze despite the practical air-raid-fire-bombing I have just survived and the damn cricket chirps, simultaneously attenuated and superposed on the sound of my thirty-inch fan, are sounding way too much like the annoying-ass alarm on my Crackberry. This is not going to be a good night.

I woke up what is probably about forty-five minutes ago, now, after verbally castrating the pimply-faced imaginary tech support rep that for some reason I was calling about some obscure hardware problem. I've got this old trashy machine that I've been using for my multimedia PC, and to say it's not working right now is a mildly infuriating misrepresentation of what's actually going on. It works intermittently. I suspect the traces got a little fried when I watched the power lines outside my house get hit by lightning a few weeks ago. This was enough to cycle the power in my house and apparently fry a good fraction of the components of this PC, but apparently not enough to trigger my surge protectors, or at least blow the transformer off the pole to give me a little bit of entertainment for my trouble. So at the moment, the fucking thing soft-resets itself at random intervals, which appear to grow shorter the hotter the thing is running. But I digress.

So I'm on this tech support call, which you can imagine for someone with as intimate a knowledge of computers as I have doesn't happen unless I'm dealing with a real fuckaroo of a problem. I have done the prerequisite troubleshooting for an extremely bizarre piece of hardware (from my current semi-lucid waking perspective of it), and now I'm out of my depth. I have made the call to this specific manufacturer to get some very specific information that I can best obtain straight from the source. There is of course another very unstable catalyst in the brew being stirred by this arrogant tech who has had the misfortune to catch my raging ass in the rotation - I used to do tech support. I know more about this kid's job than he does.

I'm fairly docile at this point. I need something, and I know I'll have a better chance of getting it if I try to let the kid do his job first before putting him on the fast backpedal. Unfortunately, he's asking the wrong questions, including all the ones that from his obvious semi-competent perspective the dumb customer isn't likely to realize are deeply insulting. I have already pinpointed the problem in a specific chip connected to this aforementioned bizarre apparatus with at least one ribbon cable and some device that is apparently sensitive to atmospheric pressure. Those details aren't important. What is important is that this kid has the audacity or at least ineptitude to ask me questions that reveal that he doesn't actually believe me that this particular chip actually exists in the configuration I'm trying to describe to him. I start getting angry.

"Calm down, sir," he condescends. If there is a single phrase you can say to someone who is already agitated that can possibly inflame the situation any more, I am not aware of it. And he could not have said it in a more irritating tone or proceeded more lazily in his troubleshooting steps. It's a dream, so hyperbole is the rule.

I fucking lose it. I wish I could remember my speech, but it's now been about an hour. Suffice to say, again in typical dream hyperbole, that it was the ultimate in self-righteous indignation. Think Bill Pullman's Independence Day speech, complete with John Williams soundtrack and everything and you're starting to get the idea. I didn't cut this kid off at the legs, I cut him off at the balls. It was extremely satisfying to know that this call was being recorded for posterity, CYA, and "quality service." It was virtually orgasmic to imagine copies of this tirade being made and distributed among his coworkers, leaking to their friends, and eventually snowballing into a Jib-Jab-scale Internet phenomenon, redefining the Zeitgeist.

Rage is so somnifugous. Our other dark emotions can rob us of precious sleep in other ways, but only rage and fear are in so in-your-face that you can be sure why it is that you're back at the keyboard in time to watch the sun rise. These are the emotions that really get the adrenaline flowing.

I want to start cataloguing my dreams, because I find them fascinating when I can remember them. You really have to grab them as you're waking up, though, or you'll lose them forever. There are precious few moments when you can actually dialogue with your subconscious. Sometimes I'm afraid to go in there...


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