Tag Archives: new

Eat fresh, baby

Sometimes I have no idea what I’m going to eat. I like to cook for myself, and ideally, I’d be preparing all of my meals in the house. But I go through these spells, they can last for days or even weeks at a time, where any motivation I have to plan ahead and go to the grocery store just evaporates. I wind up jumping from meal to meal, forever stuck in the moment, nothing in the house to satiate my unstoppable hunger, no choice but to go out and buy something fast, something quick.


I had Subway for lunch. It’s fine. I like Subway. But it’s just like, I don’t know, I go to Subway, I stand in line and wait for them to make my sandwich. There’s nothing about the process of getting a sandwich at Subway that really speaks to me anymore. That same feeling I get when I open up the refrigerator and see that there’s nothing inside is almost identical to what I experience as I wait on line for the Subway people to make my sandwich.

The Subway people at the Subway by my house are all foreigners, and whenever I go there, I can’t shake the feeling that they’re all kind of judging me, all of us, anybody who goes to Subway to eat Subway. I imagine them going home and saying stuff like, “These Americans, these idiots, lining up every day to eat this … this stuff … this whatever it is,” having a good laugh at the idea of selling us these five dollar foot longs.

I only say this because one time I was waiting on line for a sandwich and I saw one of the employees run outside. He came back later with a bunch of takeout from an ethnic restaurant. They work in a Subway, and they don’t eat Subway? I thought, man, that food looks good, much better than this sandwich that I was about to eat. But I was already invested in this line. It took me quite a while to make that conscious decision, to get out of the house, to make that walk down the block. Changing plans now that I was already this deep, well, it just wasn’t going to happen. I had to be content with the knowledge that these Subway employees might at least get some pleasure out of their food. I wonder if they ever eat Subway, or is just strictly business for them, a vehicle to make money and nothing else.

When I went to Subway today, there was a guy my age behind the counter. He was clearly new, because every time he tried to do something, he did it really cautiously. Like he carefully chose his words, asked people the same question multiple times. Every time he started an action, the manager would yell at him in a different language and take over, telling him to start doing something else. He’d start doing another task, and the process would repeat itself as he was continuously chased from job to job.

It was beyond uncomfortable, the way the boss didn’t really have any sort of awareness of how loud she was barking at this poor guy. She had originally started to make my sandwich when she caught him improperly placing the toppings on a sandwich further down the line. She relieved him of duty and sent him to finish setting up my order.

He kind of just looked at me, wide eyed, totally confused, “Uh … did you want this toasted?” And he made it halfway through spreading the tuna before the manager swooped back in to show him the correct way to put out individual slices of cheese.

As a different employee rung me up and swiped my credit card, I heard more screaming behind me, followed by an, “I’m sorry he’s so slow!” to a customer to my left. This guy was beyond patient, “No, it’s OK, everybody’s got to learn, right? I was the same way on my first day, very careful, making sure everything was perfect.”

And the manager just kind of glared, almost visibly insulted that the customer hadn’t sided with her, shared the contempt for this employee that couldn’t work fast enough. I could picture her thinking to herself, “Oh yeah? You think that makes it OK? It’s not OK. That guy’s not your boss. I’m your boss.”

I got home, the sandwich, whatever, it’s a Subway sandwich. I almost wished that I could just teleport it directly inside my stomach, to save me the ten minutes or so I’d actually have to spend chewing, swallowing. All of that yelling before, all for a sandwich, something way too basic to get so bent out of shape over.

New furniture

I’d been meaning to get a new couch for a while now. Not that there was anything necessarily wrong with my old couch. It was perfectly comfortable. But it’s been through a lot, a few moves, more than a fair share of spills and accidents. My dog came of age with this couch, meaning that a couple of times I’d walk into living room only to find that he’d torn open the fabric and strewn all of the stuffing across the floor.

I did my best to collect all of that cotton and put it back in the cushion, to sew it all up. And it was fine, from a practical standpoint, it was usable. But the lines from my repair job were an eyesore. Also, it used to have an electric chord that would make it vibrate, there was a seat heater I think. I never got to use any of those features because my dog chewed through the wires almost immediately after I got it.

So I made up my mind that it was time for something else. Only, making that decision is a lot different than actually executing a plan, picking out a couch, figuring out how you’re going to pay for that couch, how to get if from the furniture store to my living room. And what was I supposed to do about the old couch? Is it one of those things where I just have to drag it to the curb and wait for it to disappear?

I figured that before I just tossed the couch outside, it wouldn’t hurt to see if I couldn’t make a little money. It had to be worth something. I mean, yeah, it looked kind of beat up, but it was comfortable. It was clean. Maybe a hundred bucks? I took a photo and put it on craigslist for a hundred and fifty, hoping they’d try to bargain me down to a hundred.

I’d act out a little bit of reservation, “Jeez, I don’t know …” making all of these pained facial expressions before I’d cave, “All right … I guess I could do a hundred.” And then I thought, man, maybe I should have put two hundred and have them bargain me down to one fifty. But the ad was already posted, and someone emailed me back immediately.

It was two guys that had just moved to the neighborhood, they stopped by later in the afternoon to check it out. “We’ll take it,” they told me after patting it, sitting on it, bouncing up and down a little. That was way too easy, almost no negotiation involved at all, I totally should have at least tried for two hundred.

But a deal was a deal and they had the couch out of my place by evening. Wow, I thought, that was so easy. I basically went from being overwhelmed with having no idea as to how I’d go about starting this process to standing right here in my living room, no couch at all. This place looked a lot bigger with no furniture, and dusty, I guess I should try and use the Swiffer over this way every once in a while.

Then I wanted to watch some TV before going to bed, but without a couch, I tried using one of the kitchen chairs, a hard-backed solid wood piece. It was so uncomfortable. I gave up after half an hour or so, telling myself I’d watch on the laptop in my bedroom, but I fell asleep as soon as I hit the mattress.

The next day I had to work, so I couldn’t go couch shopping, and it was the same deal the day after that. Finally I had a day off and I went to the furniture store, everything was like a thousand dollars, fifteen hundred dollars. Sure, they had some stuff for a lot cheaper, but everything felt not right, like if I had spent four hundred dollars on a basic model, it would have been a downgrade from what I was using before, albeit a brand new downgrade.

I turned to craigslist, and after weeks of nothing, I found an ad for my old couch. I called up the guys, they said they liked it, but it wasn’t really meshing with their apartment. I told them I’d be glad to take it back, but they wouldn’t budge from the advertised two hundred dollar price tag. I met with them for like an hour, my best defense amounting to me standing around saying, “Really? Come on. Seriously? Two hundred? Come on.” But they were good, I caved. I paid up.

After I handed them the cash, I was like, “Can one of you guys help me carry this thing outside?” And they were like, “Yeah, man, we’ll help you get this back to your old place if you want also, we’ve got a truck. What do you think, twenty-five bucks sound good to you?” And I didn’t know what to do, they got me again, I thought about saying, “Really? For real?” again, but whatever, I just wanted to watch some TV, so I took out thirty dollars. Neither of them had a five to give me change.

Fresh power chords, pointy toothpicks, brand new shirts with the tags still on

I love it when you buy a new phone or a new laptop or keyboard and they always come with a new cord or a new charger. It’s always perfectly wrapped, the chord looped around itself in a way that’s impossible to replicate with your bare hands. After it’s worn and used a couple of times you might try and see if you can get it back in that shape, but never, it’s not happening, and then you try to untangle it again and somehow there’s a knot now, like how did it get there? It just kind of tied itself out of nowhere.

power chord

And that feeling, man, fresh power chord. In a week it’s not going to be white anymore, it’s not going to feel like it does now, it’s going to be slick, slippery, there’ll be like scuff marks on it, even though you don’t remember scuffing it on anything. Why can’t it feel brand new for a little longer? What’s going on in the air or by the wall that makes this thing degrade in quality almost overnight?

It’s like when you’re at a restaurant and right in the middle of the table there’s a toothpick dispenser, and all of the toothpicks are individually wrapped. And, I don’t know about all of you, but toothpicks don’t work for me. The idea of stabbing the space in between my teeth with a sharpened pointy little stick, no thanks, I’ll stick to floss picks. But there they are, so of course I’m going to dispense a few, play around with them in my hands, take them out of the wrappers. And these things are perfect, pristine, it’s exactly how I imagine a toothpick to be when I’m thinking about toothpicks. I touch the end and it’s the definition of pointy. But that’s it. You touch it once, it does something to the point, you touch it again, it’s not so pointy anymore.

And then you start chewing on it and rolling it around in your fingers and now you’ve got like individual wood fibers or whatever, it’s on your clothes, there are pieces of it in your mouth, and you look down at the tables and you’ve already done it three or four times, and so you try to push it all to one side, so that way when the waitress drops off your food, she doesn’t make this huge effort to wipe down the table, all of those toothpicks, and look, you did it to the straw wrapper also, all of the straw wrappers everywhere.

This is all reminding me of clothing, like when you buy a brand new shirt at the mall, and I’m not talking about anything fancy, not necessarily. It’s just a regular t-shirt, a simple short-sleeved button down maybe, and everything’s comfortable, you get out of the shower, you throw on your new shirt, you leave the house. Maybe like ten minutes after you’re out the front door you notice it, that little itch right on your side, right above the belt line.

It’s a small itch at first, maybe you’re not even totally conscious of what’s going on, but eventually, you find yourself scratching this same spot over and over again, and it’s not working, maybe it’s getting worse from all of the excessive itching. And so your brain takes over, all right, now you’ve got my attention, what seems to be the problem?

And it’s a tag. Why would they put a tag there? Why would they put a tag anywhere on a shirt? It’s the most annoying sensation. I remember being a little kid and actually being afraid of certain pieces of clothing, knowing that, once my mom laid out an outfit for me, that was it, I’d be condemned to a whole day of not being able to sit still, totally uncomfortable, please get this tag to stop making my life miserable.

And some shirts, it’s even worse. They put this really long tag on top of that tag, and it’s a little fabric pouch, it’s got a long hard strip in there. What is this, anti-theft technology? How do they deactivate it after purchase? Why am I carrying this thing out of the store with no alarms going off? And it’s always out of the house when I figure out the problem. Because, in the house would be too convenient, I’d get a pair of scissors, problem would be solved.

No, this is going to drive me crazy all day, I’ll start playing with the tag, seeing if I can’t rip it out with my hands, knowing that I’m probably going to damage the shirt, trying to set it out of my mind, not doing a good job of setting it out of my mind. Now I’m playing with it unconsciously and, yep, now I’ve done it. Maybe I haven’t ruined the shirt like ruined it, ruined it, but it’s definitely stretched out a little, like if you’re wearing it and you’re looking at it you’ll think, what they hell? Why is this little spot so stretched out?

Like when you’re playing basketball at your parents’ house, and yeah they have a ball, and yeah, they’ve got a pump, so everything should be OK, but that ball, nobody really plays basketball here that much, not anymore, not since everybody moved out. There’s a little bubble, something, it’s a lump. It’s like the shape of the basketball is just slightly, almost imperceptibly lumped on just this one side. But what are you going to do, complain? You’re just shooting around with your brothers. But every once in a while you’ve got possession, you go to make a move but the ball dribbles right on that lump, just enough so that it bounces maybe an inch or two to the left. Your younger brother takes advantage, steals the ball and scores. What are you going to do, you’re going to say something? I guess it’s his disadvantage also. But come on, there’s no way that would have happened if we just had a regular ball, no lumps, no tiny little bumps sending everything just a little off, just totally ruining an otherwise nice game of basketball.