“I couldn't live a week without a private library
- indeed, I'd part with all my furniture and squat and sleep on the floor
before I'd let go of the 1500 or so books I possess.” ― H.P. Lovecraft

Whistling In The Graveyard: October 15, 2006

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Argh.

So finally I get to part 2. It would have been here sooner but due to having the flu I got a little behind on this week's comic strip, which may be up by the time you read this.

Yes, Photoshop has taken quite a hold on my life and I hope it reflects in my work, but once I get going at it I tend to block everything else out.

Anyhow, The day before leaving for the wedding I spent at my Mom's as I did the whole week before it. This meant I didn't get my laundry done, didn't get one of my prescriptions picked up (as I was leaving town before they opened and coming back after they closed) and I didn't get packed.

I did mention that I hadn't been sleeping hardly at all didn't I?

Well Mom gets home at about 7 and I tear ass into town, get to the pharmacy and my doctor's office hadn't yet called in the prescription I'd asked them to call in two days earlier. I like my doctor, but his office staff sucks balls. The pharmacist, however was way cool and hooked me up with six days worth of pills, for free, to get me through the trip. Get the pills, get home, throw the laundry in, get a shower, get the laundry into the dryer, wait a few hours for it to actually dry the damn clothes (it's a 1960's model, as is the washer) and as soon as the dryer is done I collapse.

That was at about 6 AM.

Mom calls to wake me up at 7 AM.

I throw a random assortment of clothing into a beat up old army bag and I'm out the door by 7:30. I drive from my place to Mom's (taking about 12 minutes to make the 20 minute drive) and we're on the road by 8.

It's a five hour drive from here to Harrisonburg and I spent most of it in the back of the car trying to sleep, but I never could sleep in a moving vehicle so no help there. We get there at, well, I don't really know. I presume it was five hours later, but by that point most of my brain had shut down.

Now apparently Mom's plans consisted of driving south till I saw something I recognized because I'd been there twice, once a few months ago and once two years ago when Brian lived in a totally different house. Mom had directions, but they were from Brian's Mom, whom I also love, but who can't give directions to save her life. For example, the directions said “Get off the interstate at exit 20”. By my estimate, exit 20 was two or three states away. We were looking for 220 or something like that.

It was an important distinction.

But we managed to get off the interstate and I was trying to navigate by what little I remember of the area, but with little success. Ever ride with someone that asks for your navigation advice only so they can do the exact opposite of everything you tell them? Yeah. So we just drove in circles till I saw the tuxedo shop where we went on my last visit to, well, pick out tuxedos.

I had my eye on these sweet purple ones, cause it would be cool if we all looked like the Joker (they really were cooler than they sound) but Brian decided to go traditional black with brown ties and vests. They look pretty sweet.

Not as sweet as Joker tuxes, but still, they were nice.

I'll post pics or links to pics just as soon as someone sends me either one.

I have got to get a working digital camera. Every time I go somewhere people take pics for me and swear they're going to email them to me for use on the blog, but do they?

No, they just complain about how I don't post enough...

Anyhow, I see the tux shop, I see Brian's car, or what I think is his car. It was a black Volkswagen Jetta with a license plate that began with JFK. My memory isn't great, but the JFK stuck and I figured “How many black Volkswagen Jettas can there be in Harrisonburg with a license plate beginning with JFK?”

Quite a few it turns out.

But even though Mom said we were meeting Brian at the tux shop and that he was already there and I SAW the goddamn tux shop I still had to talk her into turning around and going BACK to the fucking place that she told me we'd been looking for.

Anyway, it wasn't Brian's car. It was then that Mom informed me that we were actually looking for the Hardees near where Brian works and we'll be going to the tux shop from there even though SHE JUST GOT DONE TELLING ME that we were meeting Brian at the goddamn, motherfucking tux shop.

So in the middle of Mom trying to convince me that we were at the wrong tux shop they hand me my tux (validation like that doesn't come often kids) and as I was trying it on people started showing up.

Everything after that is a blur. I remember getting to Hardees, having a burger and being led to Andrea's place where I could finally sleep.

And that sleep was goooooooood.

I woke up in time for dinner, discovering that I'd missed out on some form of manual labor or another while unconscious, and we all headed to the restaurant where we met up with all the parents. See, this part worked out beautifully. All the groomsmen, myself included, stayed at Andrea's and all Brian's family and my Mom and Grandma D all stayed at a hotel. Seeing as how Brian and Andrea (well Andrea anyways) chose homecoming week for nearby James Madison College as the wedding date. The nearest hotel with enough vacancies was nearly a half an hour away.

This was good for a few reasons. First, it gave me a break from my Mom. I love my Mom, but well, we all know how good they are at cranking up the stress level don't we? Especially after the trip I just described.

Second, it gave Mom and Grandma D time to hang out away from home and have a little fun. We decided to bring Grandma along to cheer her up a little as she's been kinda down since her last fall and dislocating her shoulder and all.

Yeah, I know I haven't really brought the funny yet.

It's coming.

I just have to set the stage first.

But the best thing about the parents being a half an hour away is that I spent minimal time with Reverend Chuck. As I've stated before, Chuck is way into the whole Christianity thing now and will bring it up at the drop of a hat. I mean, I haven't seen it, but I'm sure there's a “Dear Lord, please forgive us miserable, worthless, stinking sinners for allowing this hat to drop” prayer.

I also have no doubt that Chuck has it memorized.

One of his big things now is he likes to pray, LOUDLY, before meals in public areas of restaurants. Now, prayer under any circumstances makes me very uncomfortable. Add to this being in a place where the people around you were not expecting to hear prayer and that makes it far worse. But I just grit my teeth and make it through because I don't want my godless heathenery to derail any of the wedding plans.

I know several of you have said that I should just tell him that I believe differently and I'm made uncomfortable by all of this, and I appreciate your advice, but you don't unsderstand. To someone caught up in the fervor like Chuck now is there's only one answer you can give on the God issue. That is "Yes! Halleluja, I love God! And not just any old God, but YOUR God!" Anything else is seen as a challenge. If you make it known that you're not a Christian (or a Christian of a different denomination which is only marginally better) then it becomes thier mission in life to help you (not MAKE you, but HELP you till you give in) to accept Jesus Christ as your lord and Savior. Saying you're anything other than what the person you're talking to is doesn't fly. It's like saying what they are isn't good enough for you and you're a bad person for being such a nonconformist dick.

Which makes it kinda difficult to be a nonconformist dick like me.

Beyond all that though day one went pretty well.

This brings us to the rehearsal, but that will have to wait a day or two. See, Brian and Andrea are having a reception up here for all the people that couldn't make it down there and they're having it tomorrow.

Now, they're not having it till 3 PM, but my family, as usual, have found a way to make me wake up at 10 AM to make it there.

I know, 10 AM sounds late till you realize that it's now 6:50 and I still need to get a shower.

Tune in tomorrow, or next week (or month) for the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner story and after that (maybe next year sometime) the story of the actual wedding and possibly the breakfast the day after.

Now I'm going to bed. I need rest as, yet again, I will be required to enter a church tomorrow and that allways makes me itch something fierce.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

So about a year ago Brian gets engaged.

To a woman.

An ACTUAL woman.

We checked.

I mean, we met her. We didn't give her a physical or anything.

But like I was saying, it wasn't too long after we met Andrea that they got engaged and shortly after that I was asked to be the best man.

I didn't think about it too much till about a month before.

Then I realized that I would have to give a toast.

I'd been a best man three times before, but I'd never given a toast. I'd intended to, but at the first two weddings I never had everyone in the reception room at the same time and the third wedding was very informal and it just would have seemed out of place.

Besides, that third wedding was my brother's wedding and I didn't want to fuck things up because in some cultures the best man (or failing that the next male sibling, which was also me) would then have to marry (or be responsible for) the bride.

You're familiar with her. She's the one I call 'Der Fuhrer'.

Yeah, fuck a whole bunch of that.

I mean, I don't know a lot about her wierd-ass foriegner culture, but I know my kinda luck...

So I'd been mulling over what I was going to say in the toast the whole week before the wedding. Problem is, I was driving out to my Mom's every day to help out my Grandma. Grandma actually doesn't need much help, she just likes to have someone in the house ever since she fell three months ago and dislocated her shoulder.

You heard me. Dislocated her shoulder. She actually popped it out the front, which the doctors said was unusual and very painful though Grandma acted like it didn't hurt. She just gritted her teeth and got through it. Those of us that know her thought know that for her to show that much meant it hurt a whole fucking lot. They gave her a minimal sedative ('Twilight Sleep' I believe they called it) and put it back in. Apart from needing to be given a pint of blood because the massive bruising took so much blood out of her system, she seemed fine. Just had to stay in the rehab place for a couple weeks.

And she'll be 98 the end of this month.

That shit had happened to me and you'd still be hearing about it.

Anyhow, helping Grandma out is no problem, in fact, I like spending time with her as she's the one relative that comes the closest to understanding me. What was problematic was that I had to be out there by 8:30 AM every day. Now I've never been a morning person, always preferring to go to bed at dawn than wake at it, but since starting on my regimen of Phentermine (doctor prescribed) my sleep is dictated by the drugs and the drugs alone. Phentermine is a great drug if you need to lose weight. I've lost about 35 lbs since I started on it (only 15 more till I can get my surgery done kids!), but it does play merry hell with any kind of sleep scheduling. So I didn't sleep a lot that week.

On top of that, the week before some stupid bitch hit me in the Kroger parking lot. Fortunately I was driving my sister's car at the time and not my Bad-assmobile, but it still isn't any fun. It was about two in the afternoon (I usually like to do my shopping after midnight) and I was rounding the end of the row of parked cars. I was going maybe 5 miles an hour as there were pedestrians around and I hear a honk. Since I was already riding the brake and honking horns in a parking lot usually mean 'stop' I pressed the brake. I'm not sure if I had completely stopped or not, but a black SUV (presumably the one who honked) struck the front quarter pannel of the car and ran it's bumper clear to the middle of my driver's side door.

She looked down at me (as our windows were now parallel to one another) and said:

“It's your fault. You hit ME.”

Emphasis on the 'me'.

Yeah.

So I, being trapped in the car, say to her: “We need to exchange information.”

Stupid Bitch: “I need to get out of here, I'm going to be late for work.”

Me: “All the same, we need to exchange information and maybe call the police.”

I wasn't sure about calling the police as it was on Kroger property and the police have limited involvement in parking lot stuff. I know this because I was hit in the same parking lot 5, almost 6 years ago. The bitch of it is, I wasn't moving then either (I was actually in fucking PARK that time) and I was told that it was my fault on that occasion too. What's really funny is that I was in my car that time and the other guy's car was (from an insurance/repair standpoint) totaled whereas my car, built in the 70's when they still built goddamn cars, got only a quarter-inch scratch on the rear bumper

That scratch still bothers me.

Stupid Bitch: “Back up your car, I'm going to be late for work.”

Me: “I don't know if that's a good idea.” (I'm being polite at this point because hell, as far as I knew maybe it was my fault. I was a little dazed and feeling a little stupid.)

So against my better judgment (YES, I have better judgment. I just usually go against it) I back the car up, deftly catching my rear view mirror as it fell from between the cars. She jumps out, stamps down the rubber on her running board, declares that there's no damage to her car and gets back in her SUV assault-vehicle, I assume to get her insurance info.

She drives away.

Since I was digging in the glove compartment for the info of the car I was driving I never had a chance to get the license plate of her car.

But this is where the story gets really good.

Several witnesses came over to me in the wake of the stupid bitch leaving and said how she was driving like an asshole even before she hit me and I shouldn't have let her go. I explained that I didn't let her go, she just left. This is known as “Fleeing the scene of an accident” and if it was done on a public street as opposed to a private parking lot it would have been a crime. But it wasn't a public street and I had no way of knowing who the hell she was.

But one of the witnesses did.

Stupid bitch had a sticker on the back of her SUV deathmobile WITH THE NAME OF THE PLACE WHERE SHE WORKS.

That's right. The job she was so worried about being late for was the thing that was going to nail her ass.

It seems that the stupid bitch works at, well, let's just say she works somewhere where one could reasonably assume she should know better than to leave the scene of an accident. This is also a place that might very well fire her stupid bitch ass over this.

Keep yer fingers crossed.

Vengeful? Me? Maybe a tad...

So the witness that saw the sticker lets me call the police on her cellphone. I don't own a cellphone and I dread the day when I'll have no choice other than getting one, but I can rant about that later. The cop shows up, I tell him the story as I have here and he calls the stupid bitch at work and gets her insurance info for me. Now if that isn't a legal slam-dunk I don't know what is.

And of course, I can hear her voice coming from the cop's cellphone: “Well I don't know what he's telling you, but he hit ME.”

Anyhow, though the damage is minor (the biggest part of it being the missing mirror) I spent quite a bit of time on the phone with her insurance company that week. As you might well imagine, the woman at the insurance office has “an entirely different story”, but I'd think that the fleeing the scene of the accident should be the fucking trump card here. If it's not then I may well move to another freaking country as this one is far more broken than I care for.

So very little sleep, lots of driving, a car accident (minor though it was) and haggling with insurance agents. And that's the week leading up to the wedding trip.

Stay tuned for the next chapter...