Monday, January 15, 2007

I learned something new a few days ago: Circuit City carries Advil.

It’s right there by the checkout counters, along with the candy racks and soda coolers, at the nearby box store. Simple, travel-sized containers of the stuff.

My guess was that so many people get so stressed over the holidays (this actually happened on Dec. 30, but I didn’t get around to writing about it until now) that people were actually willing to make impulse buys of a painkiller. It’s obvious how they sell the soda and candy. Parents go through the line with kids, or even adults buy the snacks for themselves — if you’re dropping hundreds of dollars for a VCR, what’s a buck-fifty for a snack?

But it was hilarious to imagine people making the same calculation about Advil. “Okay, I’ve got the digital camera for Marc, and the Dead Man’s Chest DVD for Laurie — MAX, STOP KICKING RILEY! — but the guy here said that Flaming Crusade thing Greg asked for isn’t for sale yet, and I still need to go to the mall for Chuck’s family’s presents and then CostCo for the month’s groceries… ooh, an Advil sounds good right now.”

Anyways, I bought some. This had nothing to do with how stressful the weekend before New Year’s was for me, though (at least, I don’t think so). No, it’s just because I didn’t have any of the stuff.

After all, this is only the second time I’ve lived on my own (college doesn't really count) and the first time was a brief stay in a fully-furnished house. So the first couple months in my apartment were punctuated by buying a whole lot of minor-but-necessary stuff. Cleaning supplies, cooking utensils, stamps, etc. Purchases like that have diminished over time, but every so often one pops up. And I had noticed about a month or so ago that I didn’t have anything like aspirin, but it was never worth making a special trip, so that day at Circuit City is when this happened to pop.

And as is apparent by now, that post I'd planned to write (introspection with a dose of a Douglas Adams) is not coming. Oh well. Holidays are stressful for a lot of people, I understand, and it turned out that way for me. But whatever-it-was is resolved right now, or at least noticeably closer to being resolved, or at least easier to ignore.
An annoying thing about living within walking distance of work is that it's almost impossible to shave any more time off my trip there. If I'm in a rush for some hypothetical reason or want to spend less time than usual outside or something... tough.

Over the weekend it snowed, but right now it's just raining. Freezing rain. It might look pretty as a glistening pristine crust over a backyard, but it forces people to fumble with umbrellas through their mittens, test the resilience of car windows as they hammer solid sheets of ice off instead of just brushing snow away, and say "Hey God, I was asking for some powder snow to keep the ski areas from filing for bankruptcy and ruining the local economy, and maybe even get outdoors once or twice this winter myself. I know you think this is funny, but fuck off!"

The point is, I walked to work this morning like usual, and it's not like I got soaking wet, but it was still a pain. And I'm not going straight back to my apartment after work, so I wanted to have my car with me. So after lunch, I drove back to the office instead of walking. Which meant getting out the scraper.

In a rational evaluation of my needs and time demands and stuff, it's dumb to complain. After all, living close to work is living close to work. But who's rational 24/7? All I know is, scraping ice and snow off a car was 10 times more annoying than usual when I could think to myself "I could be halfway there by now" before I had even got the front windows done.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Personal pet peeves #34: people who use the word "literally" for emphasis.

I tried to write about this a while ago, but couldn't think of an actual example. At a meeting last night, though, I was given one: discussing two different furnace models for a town building, someone said that the more expensive model was bigger "and literally beefier."

Literally beefier? Wow, a protein-packed furnace? Wouldn't that smell? Not to mention it wouldn't last very long.