Tag Archives: toothbrush

You call this a haunting?

Yes, I’m having trouble putting a lot of what’s happening out of my head, but I can’t let them know that they’re on to me. I figure, just chill out, pretend like nothing’s happening, as long as they can’t get a reaction out of me, maybe they’ll leave me alone.

Maybe they’ll go away. It was like, when I moved in, yes, I was pretty freaked out. It wasn’t anything in particular, it was just a general sense of dread, that same feeling I’d get when I was a little kid, I’d have to go get something in the basement and, regardless of the time of day or who else was in the house, I’d hit the lights and take those first few steps, I could feel it, that tingling on my back, like something was behind me, something grabbing out for me, just an inch or so away.

And so I used to run, sprint up the steps, but that didn’t do anything. Regardless of how quick I made that trip, it always felt so close, right behind me. Whatever was down there, it probably wasn’t anywhere, it had to have been in my head. So as I got older, I forced myself to stop running. No, the feeling of panic, like I was right about to be dragged backward, it never went away, but it never actually came true either. And so I told myself, whatever that feeling is, I’ve just got to go about doing what I’m doing as if it isn’t there.

That’s exactly what it was like the first time I was alone by myself in this new place, always right behind me, like a breath hitting the back of my neck, but not really, almost imperceptibly. Almost immediately things started to happen, my toothbrush wouldn’t be where I’d left it, maybe it was like two inches to the left, or on the other side of the sink.

Just pick it up and brush your teeth, I told myself, don’t let whatever’s in here get the best of you. That was the idea anyway, if there was some sort of a presence or spirit, and jeez, it sounds ridiculous when I write it out, but just don’t acknowledge it. Is it watching me? Why else would it move the toothbrush if not to get a rise out of me.

Like I could pick it up, I wanted to scratch my head curiously, maybe even look around suspiciously. I could call out, “Hello? Is someone in here? Did somebody move my toothbrush?” But that’s just validating whatever’s going on, it’s saying, out loud, hi, my name is Rob, and I’m acknowledging that I’m starting to get really scared of what’s going on here. I hope this is as spooky as things are going to get.

But it’s persistent. I ignored the toothbrush. I started picking it up off the floor, one day it was missing completely, I opened up the toilet seat and there it was, floating in the water. I didn’t bat an eye. I got out a pair of rubber gloves, threw it out, and opened up a new one.

You think I’m going to lose my shit over a disposable toothbrush? I don’t care, I’ll use a new toothbrush every day. And yes, toothpaste all over the mirror, that’s a little bit more aggressive, definitely harder to ignore. But what are my options, really? Do I want to directly engage this thing? No, I just clean it off, yeah, tiptoeing around it is starting to take up more and more of my day.

So it’s like, I don’t have to clean up the toothpaste, no, it’s almost better if I don’t, right? I’m giving it less stuff to throw in my way every day. I can kind of see my reflection, and it’s not gross, I mean, it’s minty, it smells nice. And yeah, if I’m watching TV and the channel changes abruptly while I’m watching it, or if my alarm clock always goes off at three in the morning, yes, I have to deal with that, but you’re crazy if you think you’ll get any more of a reaction than  me hitting the channel down button or shutting off the late-night beep, beep, beep.

I’ll keep this up as long as you want, all right, because I’m not afraid of this, whatever it is. It’s nothing. There’s nothing there. And that’s why I’m not afraid, OK, it’s not going to kill me, right? I mean, those bruises on my legs when I wake up, that’s not a huge deal. People get bruises. And that shadow behind the door, go ahead, keep looking this way buddy. I’m not getting up to investigate. I can’t fall asleep, no, but I can pretend to be asleep. I can’t not be afraid, but I can pretend to not be afraid. And eventually it’s got to move on, because isn’t this a little boring? Huh? You’re going to spend every day haunting me when it’s clearly not messing with me at all? Doesn’t that get a little old? Don’t you want to maybe find someone who will at least visibly be bothered by such cliché tricks? Because I’m not going anywhere, all right, I almost feel bad for you, because it’s just so lame, just go do something else, OK, as far as spirits or ghosts go, you’re a total loser.

I’m frugal

My SonicCare toothbrush doesn’t hold a charge anymore, but I don’t want to buy a new one. It was hard enough spending a hundred and forty dollars on one toothbrush, but two? That’s insane. That’s not happening. So brushing my teeth has become such a chore. I hit the button, it buzzes for like fifteen seconds, and then I have to plug it into the charger and wait something like four hours for another fifteen seconds. Right? That’s a lot of time just to brush my teeth. And those fifteen seconds are getting shorter every day, each time just a fraction of a second less charge.

What can I say? I’m frugal. I bought this messenger bag three years ago, and one of the straps doesn’t work at all. I say it doesn’t work, but you know, it’s just old. It’s an old bag. Still, when I bought it, I kept getting all of these unexpected compliments, like, “Hey Rob, that’s a really sharp messenger bag,” stuff like that, which wasn’t even my intention, I think I just bought it because it was the first one that I saw when I went looking for a messenger bag.

That strap I was talking about earlier actually fell off, but I replaced it with part of an old belt I had lying around. People kept telling me, “Rob, you’ve got to get rid of that old belt, it’s disgusting.” But look who’s laughing now? Me. Because I saved that belt, it was exactly the type of thin material I needed to help strap down that second side of my messenger bag.

But it didn’t really sew correctly. I mean, my sewing abilities are fine. It’s just that, I’ll never buy a real sewing kit. I’ve been to about six hotels over the course of my life, and you know what that means, right? Six travel-sized sewing kits. Why spend money on stuff when you don’t have to?

The only thing is, six mini-sewing kits, while it’s a lot of string, it’s not a lot of plain black string. They always give you a little bit of every color. The first things that I sewed, like holes in the armpits of my t-shirts, stuff like that, it was great to be able to use black thread. But by now, for that messenger bag, I think I only had a choice between turquoise or pink.

Do you know how hard it is to really sew an old piece of belt onto a canvas bag with hotel thread? It’s not easy. But nothing in life is easy. Like brushing your teeth. Sometimes if I don’t have four hours to wait for my battery to charge up, I’ll just use the SonicCare as a regular toothbrush, like actually manually brushing it back and forth across my teeth. Tell me about it, it’s humiliating. Especially considering the fact that I haven’t changed the toothbrush heads in over a year. Those things are such a scam. Shouldn’t it be around the cost of just another regular toothbrush? Like come on, I already spent one hundred and forty dollars on your device. Now I have to fork over twenty-five ninety-nine once every four months just to keep this thing new?

And explaining to everybody what’s going on with my messenger bag, like sometimes I’d just like to be able to leave the house without people handing me spare change, or saying, “Hey Rob, when are you going to get a new bag?” or, “Hey mister, you dropped a shoe out of your bag. You should really get that strap thing fixed.”

It’s not even a strap at this point. But I’m still laughing last, at everybody who called me crazy along the way, “Throw this away, waste more money on that,” it’s like, who’s the sucker spending sixty dollars a year on belts? Not me. And not anybody I know. And actually, I have no idea how much belts cost, because I haven’t bought one in forever. And also, I wouldn’t have anybody to ask, my breath has been so bad since my SonicCare stopped working, nobody lets me get a full sentence out without running away. And so, what, I’m out of touch? Or everybody else is out of touch. Either it’s me or it’s everybody else. One or the other.

Robots are better than people

Robots are much better than people. Robots don’t get mad if you take that last slice of pie, even if they were saving it, even though they put it on a plate, wrapped the whole plate in plastic wrap, put it not in the fridge, but in the microwave, because they were going to eat it soon, and they wrote out a really long note, a note that said, “Please do not eat this slice of pie. I’m saving it. Also, don’t use the microwave. I’m just putting it in here because I didn’t want to leave it out and attract bugs. Please, please do not touch this pie. My mom drove all the way out to a pie shop at the end of Long Island to get it for me, it’s my favorite, and I’m really looking forward to eating it,” because robots don’t have feelings. You program them to do or say this or that, but if you change your mind later on, you just program them to do or say something else. Plus, when have you ever seen a robot write out a stupid long note like that? If a robot tried to grab a pen and paper, one, their giant metal hands would probably crush the pen, getting ink everywhere, and two, even if they somehow successfully calibrated the necessary pressure to effectively grip the pen without all of that exploding, there’s no way they’d then be able to apply that same gentle pressure from pen to paper without some sort of a ballpoint malfunction. Also, what kind of a robot doesn’t at least have some sort of a printer attachment installed, however rudimentary, like those little receipt printers at department stores? You’re telling me whoever designed a robot sophisticated enough to craft out a whole boring message about pie wouldn’t at least have thought to include one of those little printers? Unlikely. And besides, robots don’t even eat strawberry rhubarb pie. They don’t eat pie at all. Or anything. They just eat electricity, maybe some diesel and grease.

Robots are much better than other people. They don’t constantly come out of their bedrooms at two o’clock in the morning, “Yes, I can still hear the TV. Well lower it again. Look, I don’t care if the game play isn’t as immersive with the volume down that low, I have to get up for work in four hours, so for the last time, just lower the volume, go to sleep, Jesus,” over and over again, the same speech they gave at one o’clock in the morning, the same whiney complaint they’re going to come out and do at three o’clock in the morning. No, because robots don’t sleep at all. And they clean up for you instead of asking you to “clean up after yourself for a change!” They might have little vacuuming robots attached to their feet – no, instead of feet they’ll have vacuuming robots as their feet, those are their feet, so wherever they go they leave two trails of noticeably cleaner tracks behind them.

Robots are entirely preferable to all people, to all human beings. They’re never coming out of the house next door, knocking on your door, telling you, “Listen buddy, I don’t know how you keep getting into our encrypted Wi-Fi network, but you’ve got to stop stealing our Internet. Just pay for your own Internet. It’s like thirty bucks a month. Seriously, you’re mooching our Internet, you’re pirating gigs and gigs of media. You know I get calls sometimes from the cable company? They’re like, ‘stop illegally downloading all of these movies.’ I don’t know what to do. Just … you know, you’re smart enough to hack my router, why don’t you get a job doing computers? Come on man, just get out of the house once in a while. You look like shit. Seriously, no more Internet. I’ll call the cops,” every other week, they never call the cops, finally after months of toothless threats, banging on your door at eight in the morning, showing you a warrant, confiscating your computer, your hard drives. Robots don’t care. They’ve got built in Wi-Fi. Robots are like walking Internet hotspots. And what do they care about thirty dollars a month? Robots have no sense of money, of currency, of personal wealth. Robots love to share. Robots aren’t so judgmental.

Given the choice between robots and people, I’ll always choose robots. Robots are never like, “Come on, stop using my toothbrush! That’s great that you’re not grossed out by germs, and no, I don’t want to hear another speech about personal micro-biomes, just stop using my goddamn toothbrush!” Because, one, robots don’t have to brush their teeth, and two, if they did, they wouldn’t spend a hundred and forty dollars on a super fancy toothbrush and leave it out in the bathroom, all, look, enjoy the view, but never touch, and don’t even think about using it, because of course I’m going to use it, because, what are you crazy? And they won’t laugh at the personal micro-biome thing, because they’ll know that you’re going to want as many germs in your mouth as possible. If they had mouths. If they had teeth. But robots don’t have teeth. Just gears and circuits and microprocessors and motherboards.