Thursday, February 26, 2009

You Look Marvelous

One of the parents at Judah's preschool likes to greet me in a very strange way. She says "You look tiiiired". I always find it kind of strange when people say that to someone who isn't really a close friend. If a close friend told me that, I'd probably say "Yeah, no shit Sherlock, I've got an infant at home and a preschooler who wakes up crying at 2am every night." But because this is someone I barely know, I have to be civilized and show some restraint by saying something far less biting. Something like "oh well, ya know, the baby" and shrug it off. But yeah, I don't like the idea of looking like a worn-out shell of my former, more vibrant and energetic self.

The more I think about it, the more I can't really understand why someone would even venture to say "you look tired". It's akin to saying "you're looking old these days", or maybe "you're really looking like you're getting out of shape." Years ago, a co-worker once told me "You look tired", when it wasn't the day after one of my partying binges or a night after frolicking in my bachelorhood, so I thought I should be looking fairly bright-eyed. I took offense to the remark, so I said "thanks!" The co-worker was caught of guard and said "oh sorry, I didn't mean it like that." Which brings me back to the point. Why would anyone, unless you're good friends, make a remark that you look tired?

Lily told me that this parent at the preschool told her she looked tired too, and it started to become clear: That's this parent's way of connecting, of making conversation. Well the next morning, I ran into her and she said "you look tiiiired", and I did the same old "well... ho hum" routine. And she actually came back and told me that her daughter had been waking up in the middle of the night crying every night. And she said "See? I have the bags under my eyes now." I wasn't gonna say anything about the bags, but next time I see her I'll have to say "You look tiiiired" and see what she does. I'll probably get slapped.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I Fought the Law

I'm convinced that living in a car town like Los Angeles, two things will happen to you eventually: 1. You'll be involved in a wreck. 2. You'll get a traffic ticket. During my first year here, I was able to get both of those eventualities out of the way. I neglected to consider the possibility of multiples of either. And now I've had the pleasure of getting more than one ticket.

You may or may not know this, depending on how well you paid attention to the written material for obtaining a driver's license, but those little double yellow lines on the road? Don't cross 'em. There are a few circumstances where you may cross them, but it's usually a good idea not to. Because you might pull the crossing of the double yellow line maneuver, and subsequently have officer friendly pull up next to you and tell you that he's pulling you over. Which is what happened to me back in December.

There are several websites out there that will help you fight all sorts of traffic tickets. Do not use this one. I did, and I paid my $25 donation so that I could receive "personal attention" to my case. All I got was repeated e-mailings from said website reminding me to pay my donation, or that my deadline was fast approaching, or e-mails that I sent to his address bouncing back to me. The deadline has passed and I'm still getting e-mails reminding me to pay. Sheesh.

The single most important bit of information that I was able to glean from the website (or any of the websites that I found on the subject) was that you should never ever just pay the fine. In California there's this little process called "Trial by Declaration" whereby you say you want such a trial, you submit a couple forms with maps if you choose, and you never have to step into a courtroom. You should always contest the ticket, even if it's something as simple as writing "NOT GUILTY" on a sheet of paper. By going down the Trial by Declaration path, you are forcing the officer who gave the ticket to write up their own recount of the events leading to the ticket. If they don't file a report, you win. Plain and simple. If they do file and you lose, you can always go to a regular trial. Or you can pay the fine and get a point on your driving record and pay higher car insurance bills, etc. But who wants to do that?

So I did the Trial by Declaration thing. I included a bunch of maps from different angles showing what went down. Still, I wasn't very optimistic that I'd win. A few weeks passed, and I was getting the feeling that my car insurance bill was about to get a lot more painful. I received a letter in the mail from the Los Angeles County Clerk, i.e. The Law, and I knew this was it. I tore open the letter while chanting "please be good news please be good news please be good news..." and I scanned the letter for the words. NOT GUILTY with a check box next to it. Yes! I jumped up and down with the letter in my hand chanting "NOT GUILTY! NOT GUILTY! NOT GUILTY!" Judah got up from eating lunch and pointed and laughed. Lily didn't know what to make of it. At the time you're reading this, I'm still jumping around in the entry way of my house chanting "NOT GUILTY! NOT GUILTY! NOT GUILTY!"

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Blue Jean

Recently I've noticed something going on with several pairs of my pants: The right leg knee area is getting worn much faster than the left. Lily pointed it out on my favorite pair of black pants. The area has a worn gray circle right below where my knee is. No such gray circle on the left. And then I noticed the same thing on a pair of what I like to call "leisure pants" that I wear around the house. Call them sweats if you want, but they're more styley than that. Anyway, the leisure pants have a hole in the right knee area where the black "non-leisure" pants are gray.

I finally figured out what was causing the extra wear: Every time I bend down to the boy's level to do whatever - help brush his teeth, put on his sunscreen, etc - I'm kneeling on that right knee. Now I'm trying my best to kneel on the left, but old habits die hard, so I figured it's time to buy a new pair of pants.

Lately I've been into buying proper trousers rather than going with jeans all the time. I especially like the "old man" style that's become more readily available through skater-wear shops like Volcom. The "old man" thing helps because I'm fitting that description more and more these days, plus when I get really old it won't look like I made some major wardrobe switch. But seeing's how my one and only pair of jeans sports a threadbare look in the ass section (not that the ladies probably mind that too much), I thought I'd try to replenish the jean supply. That supply being one pair.

So off to H&M I went and by the luck of the gods I was able to find a nice pair that looks sorta modern and actually fits. And when I arrived home, I found a box delivered on my doorstep with to: my name and from: the name of my best friend from high school. I opened the box and there was a card that said "Here are the new jeans I told you about at the reunion. Hope they fit!" I don't remember having any such conversation, but I also drank a reunion's worth of beers there, so there ya go. Lily demanded I try them on immediately, and they fit perfectly! Two pairs of jeans in one day. My right knee will never be the same again.