The last warm day, but I keep saying that, don’t I. A good day! But stupid.
Stupid thing #1: contractor problems. Need someone to fix the garage roof. It’s flat. It leaks. It’s a long story I don’t want to get into, since it probably reflects poorly on me, and we can’t have that. But I’ve been trying to get someone to fix the thing for less than a billion dollars all summer. Step One: call the contractor. Tell them what you want: a rubber roof. Okay? I know what the cost of materials is, and I know it’s not a huge job. I know they have to make money. I have a baseline figure in mind based on an estimate that involved hacking off the previous foam insulation, which was a labor-intensive job. Every. Single. Contractor has responded by coming over, showing enthusiasm for the work, listening to my suggestions, and then either telling me he doesn’t want to do it, or quoting a price higher than the first guy.
The last person I called was enthusiastic, and proposed a cost-effect solution: putting down a roll of shingle-like material, sealing it up, and hey presto. He also said rubber was an option. Good to know we live in a rubber-option world. He made a great show of the company’s fine work, showing me a book of testimonials, pictures of all the things they did, and I could not have cared less, but it was important to him. Well, I called him back today, after a week, and he said “remind me again what it was . . . oh, right. Well, I was talking to some guys in the office, and one of them suggested a green roof.”
“A green roof. You’d have to replace all the concrete, and that’s kinda spendy, about four thou, but then you’d put down a sealed roof and a drainage system and then sod on top of that.”
SOD? FOR THE LOVE OF MIKE, SOD? DID I ASK YOU TO MAKE MY ROOF AS GREEN AS IRELAND? This was going on in my head. I tamped it down and asked about that rolled roof.
“Yeah well, I couldn’t really do that in good conscience, because I couldn’t warranty it.”
The rubber roof?
“Same deal there.”
Wasted a week of my time.
End result: back to the first original bid. Begging on my hands and knees.
Stupid thing #2: Tried to find the credit card that came in the mail the other day. I could tell it was a credit card because it didn’t have anything on the envelope that said HEY, IT’S A CREDIT CARD, which makes it stand apart from every other item of mail you get, which means it’s a credit card. Great disguise. Anyway, I activated it with the phone. Yes, you can do that with the internet. Explain how that would be easier. The number of finger motions required is surely greater for the internet, and you have to sit there and look at the screen. Please. So I activated the card, and signed it, and put it on my desk because I wasn’t carrying my wallet at the time.
My wallet, I should note, is the culprit for a spate of card replacement: the Amex and two bank cards and the work ID all got chipped or cracked because the wallet has conformed to the shape of my fundament, subjecting the cards to stress. The ideal solution would be to dump the wallet for something else that resides in the front pocket and doesn’t bend. With a money clip.
Please, please don’t write “what’s folding money?” in the comments. No, hold on: DO. PLEASE. Because it’s always funny when someone indicates how far ahead they are by feigning ignorance of the existence of something so utterly ubiquitous you have to be stunningly incurious not to wonder about its purpose or history. I never understood why people thought that was clever.
Anyway. I went to the bank to deposit a check. I know that sounds terribly 20th century, but I don’t mind going to the bank. It’s a beautiful building. There’s something . . . civic about a great bank, the simple action of depositing a check, the little interchange with the friendly teller. I can never count on myself to put money into an ATM; it seems counterintuitive. When I slide it across the teller I know it’s going to be deposited. Silly, I know, but it’s one of my few tics. (Few! Hah!) (HAH!) (Seriously, stop, I’m killin’ me.) A nice fellow offered to help me replace my card on the spot, and to be frank I would have preferred to do it over the phone - but he seemed to need something to do, and I could get a card on the spot.
“How’s your day going?” he asked. I said it was fine, and asked about his. It had been eventful: the protestors from the Occupy MN encampment down the street were on a roving tour of yelling at the banks, so they stopped by Wells Fargo and chanted in the lobby for ten minutes, then left.
“What did they want?” I asked.
“I couldn’t quite tell,” he said.
As he made up my card we chatted about the building; he’d only been here two months. He’d been with a big freight company for ten years, handing supply-chain logistics for their repair-parts division, but he’d been “packaged out,” as he put it in that bloodless terminology, when the company looked to cut jobs, and landed on older guys making a good salary. His wife worked for this bank; his kid worked for this bank. So, what the heck.
He gave me my card. I was happy. Then I realized that my press card had fallen out of my pocket. I’d just gotten a new one the day before. Not my week for cards. Back to the office: $25 charge, because I’d lost one before. When?
There’s no statute of limitations on that? Apparently not.
That’s it. Now to finish the novel. I know I said that last night; didn’t happen. I got the characters up to the front door of the suspect, and stopped. There’s three ways to do this: Hollywood, Novelistic, Realistic.
Hollywood means a dramatic confrontation with gunfire. Advantage: thrilling! Disadvantage: you know, it’s been done.
Novelistic: Same as above, but lots of expository dialogue. “Sure, I killed her. But I had my reasons! See, it goes back to summer camp -”
“Hold on, summer camp? Were you responsible for the bodies at the bottom of Lake Misdirection?”
“Yeah, but you didn’t know that because you thought I was in Canada at the time when I was really at camp. That was my double you saw in Toronto. I’d say you wasted time going up there to investigate, but it chewed up a couple of chapters, didn’t it.”
Advantage: ties everything up and provides closure. Disadvantage: bears no resemblance to reality.
Realistic: suspect asserts innocence with confusion and anger, goes downtown, confesses. Advantage: realistic. Disadvantage: incredible let down.
I’m going with realistic. Sort of. There’s some novelistical (disclaimer: not a word) touches in it, but it’s low-key in a horribly sad way.
Tomorrow: the Neon of Uruguay! Really. For now, a small Black and White entry. See you around!