The Unbearable Banishment: The flotsam and jetsam of 2010

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The flotsam and jetsam of 2010

Here are some leftover nuggets from 2010. I stole this idea from The Beatles. It's like the medley at the end of Abbey Road whereby they took a bunch of half-finished songs, mashed them all together and created an epic.

* * *

I see this ad and many more just like it in the subways almost every day. Cell phone providers boast that their networks are so powerful that you needn't ever be without the internet.

The premise of these ads is always the same; a guy or gal in a remote, bucolic setting, surrounded by nature, with their faces buried in a laptop or cell phone. They are seemingly oblivious to the beauty around them. Pardon me for judging, but if you're on vacation in the vast wilderness and you simply cannot tear yourself away from the internet, you are a LOSER. That's what these ads say to me: "Our products will turn you into a needy LOSER."

* * *

This morning I woke up in the bathroom. I didn't know how I got there. Did I get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom or did I wake up because the alarm went off? I was standing there completely flummoxed! I tiptoed back into the bedroom to check the clock and, sure enough, the alarm had gone off. It was 5:18 a.m. I had no memory of turning it off, getting out of bed and walking into the bathroom.

I use to have to smoke a ton of weed to achieve this state. I'm happy that it requires less effort.

* * *

9-Year Old Daughter has a friend in school whose father passed away last week while shoveling snow. He wasn't that old but he was pretty overweight, which was probably a contributing factor. You read about stuff like this in the paper all the time. Someone is missing in a flood. A fatality from a fire. A traffic accident claims a life. You turn the page and check the box scores. But when something like this happens to someone you sort-of know, you see the aftermath. What goes on after everyone else is on to something else. It makes you realize how fragile life is. All that guy wanted to do was clear the driveway and it cost him his life.

* * *

The best reason to quit smoking:

I did not Photoshop that image. Cigarettes in New York City cost $11.00 per pack.

When I was smoking, we bought our cigarettes for 50 cents a pack at the Bi-Lo Gas Station on Pearl Road right behind the Junior High School. Marlboro Lights. I started smoking because, to be perfectly honest, it make me look pretty damn suave. I looked like a poor man's James Bond. (Substitute the Austin Martin for a brown Chrysler Newport and the martini-shaken-not-stirred for a pop top Pabst Blue Ribbon.) Then, whoops!, I got addicted and smelled bad. So I quit. It's a good thing. I couldn't afford the habit now.

* * *

I work in Soho in a building that use be a printing plant. Lots of buildings down here that were purposed for heavy industry have been converted to living and office space. Because they're not traditional skyscrapers and more factory-like, it occasionally takes a while for the heat to kick on in the winter. This is my colleague:

She looks like something out of a cruel scene that Charles Dickens dreamed up.


Anonymous daisyfae said...

i needed a laugh tonight quite desperately - and you delivered multiples. yes. you gave me multiples. now, go smoke a cigarette, Mr. Bond, and consider your next conquest...

January 4, 2011 at 8:26 PM  
Anonymous Rob said...

One of the questions they asked me at cardiac rehab this past summer/fall was, "Do you own a snowblower?" They were serious as, forgive the pun, a heart attack. Apparently many of their clients succumb during the first heavy snowfall of the winter. Despite my personal level of fitness, it was not without some trepidation that I first gripped my snow shovel this winter.

BTW, I do have a snowblower, but it's not self propelled and one could ostensibly have a(nother) heart attack lugging that thing about.

January 4, 2011 at 8:47 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Daisy: I'd like to go smoke something alright, but that's from another lifetime.

Rob: The accident has struck fear into the heart of my little suburbia. The wives don't want their husbands anywhere near a snow shovel. That poor guy had a few kids!

January 4, 2011 at 8:58 PM  
Blogger Eryl said...

Poor kids.

January 4, 2011 at 10:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When you woke up in the bathroom, did you find yourself covered in tattoos?

January 5, 2011 at 1:10 AM  
Anonymous Sid said...

In Malaysia they put pics of cancer patients and deformed babies on the backs of cigarrette packets. I thought THAT was a bit harsh and I'm not entirely sure if it is effective at stopping folks. Apparently buying cigarrettes there is still pretty cheap though.

January 5, 2011 at 2:46 AM  
Blogger lani said...

I guess we just thank God for life. When stuff like this (your daughter's friends dad)happens, it just hits home that life is a gift. ANd you appreciate those you love around you

January 5, 2011 at 5:24 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Eryl: That's what everyone is worried about. How do the kids deal?

kykn: No, but some wiseguy wrote "I wear panties" across my forehead in permanent marker.

Sid: They're started to post graphic warning here in the U.S. as well, but I think it's a waste of time. Tobacco is a tough addiction. Looking at scary photos won't do a damn thing.

Iani: Welcome! I gave the daughters and extra dose of sugar when I got home. It really does make you take notice.

January 5, 2011 at 6:07 AM  
Blogger Ms Scarlet said...

All offices are freezin' cos men always whack the air conditioning up. Ask any woman and she will tell you this.

January 5, 2011 at 7:13 AM  
Blogger Sausage said...

Even in NYC we saw tons of other visitors and their bairns all hunched over some type of electronic device, I just wanted to slap the bastards and say "Look up there it's a friggin huge cathedral. Moron"
Cheers, Sausage...

January 5, 2011 at 7:38 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Scarlet: We like it cold. It matches the blood in our veins. Heh.

Sausage: It's a slippery slope! I catch myself doing it and get mad. What's wrong with me?! Our next generation is doomed because they think it's normal behavior.

January 5, 2011 at 8:21 AM  
Blogger Pat said...

A lovely patchwork quilt of a post. Thank you:)
BTW I don't know if you know a fellow American
but his post on Monday was about your favourite book (I think) and his son. He's a lawyer incidentally.

January 5, 2011 at 10:40 AM  
Anonymous nursemyra said...

I think cigarettes cost about $16.00 a packet here in Oz

January 6, 2011 at 4:17 AM  
Blogger CiCi said...

"I use to have to smoke a ton of weed to achieve this state. I'm happy that it requires less effort" sounds like a giant step forward to me. Ha.
I like how you took a moment to mention the way people usually look at a story about someone dying suddenly leaving children and wife to fend for themselves. Sort of knowing the person who passed on at least puts us in touch with each other. I feel sorry for the wife and kids and I know your daughter will be watching how things change for her friend.

January 6, 2011 at 7:40 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Pat: Thanks for the link. It makes me wonder about the tens of thousands of interesting posts out there that I know nothing about.

Nurse: Smoking. It's a rich man's game.

TB: You simply can't "feel" for every tragic story you read or you would drive yourself mad. But it was a good reality check, for sure.

January 6, 2011 at 7:47 AM  
Blogger Kono said...

At 11 bucks a pack i would switch to weed, wait i already did, well i'd smoke more weed or less cuz the shit today is real good. Time travelling is fun.

January 6, 2011 at 8:29 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

kono: Weed today is astonishingly powerful! When I was in high school, we used to go out on a Friday and smoke 5-8 joints before the night was over. If I did that today, I'd require hospitalization! In addition to having a higher THC count, it's proportionately more expensive. I think the last time I bought an ounce it was $20 bucks or something like that. How much is an oz today? I have no idea.

January 6, 2011 at 9:10 AM  
Blogger Ellie said...

Definitely an epic medley. Made me chuckle. And speak outloud: "You know cigarettes are $11 in NYC?" The Man responds unimpressed, "not so different from London." It's what I get for not paying attention to the exchange rate. ;-)

January 6, 2011 at 3:03 PM  

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