Scrolling through ad after ad for roommates with the single description, “we are young professionals.” WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? Are you vegetarians? Do you have cats? A chore-wheel? Is there a compost??
I paid two months of COBRA premiums with my winnings from Cash Cab, since I no longer had a job and was able to do things like be on a game show at two in the afternoon on a Monday.
Kai (not his real name) didn’t think much of the United States but he lived here because it gave him freedom from his parents who otherwise might object to his constant whoremongering and general slothfulness. His father was (is) a government official who couldn’t fully flaunt his fortune since it would make his corruption a bit too obvious, and I suppose that cramped standard of living—spending a million dollars on a single piece of furniture instead of a private jet—was too limiting for Kai.
A friend of mine sent me a job posting for a university library in Astana, Kazakhstan as a joke. My initial reaction was, “Too weird, even for me.” I was feeling ready to move on from my current job in Vancouver and I had always wanted to work internationally but I didn’t know anything about Kazakhstan.
When I was 13, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract, and from that point on nearly all of my major life choices have been made with it in mind, including picking a college major that would result in a job with health insurance.
It was a bad week on the heels of a bad month. If you are reading this in real time I hardly have to tell you about it, but in case you aren’t: Gaza, Ukraine, Ebola, Michael Brown, Robin Williams, Ferguson, Ferguson, Ferguson—what am I missing? Probably a lot. Anyway, there was all of this, and then suddenly the lamp situation in my dining room became untenable.
I have been known to joke (repeatedly, like a dad who’s come across his favorite pun) that when you cross the border into California you are issued your choice of the following: hiking boots, a surfboard, or climbing shoes. When I moved to California two years ago I picked the third option and never looked back. It’s gotten expensive.
At this point, it is becoming evident that there is something about the way police officers are trained in this country, or about the culture that seems to pervade police departments, that needs to change. We can speculate about why this is so (or argue whether it is so). Greg Howard at Deadspin has smart things to say about the militarization of police forces (when you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail). I have a lot of ideas about the general stratification of society along race and class lines, and how that plays out in policymaking, law enforcement, and perceptions of poor, minority neighborhoods. But whatever the causes, it is safe to say that black men dying unnecessarily at the hands of police is a problem, and one society cannot quickly fix. So perhaps we should consider some sort of temporary solution.
If you were to have looked at my calendar yesterday you would have noticed a 90-minute lunchtime meeting titled “Important Meeting.”
Winston is due for more sessions.
She said this with a smile.
Do you want to buy a package?
I was flustered. I didn’t want to buy a package. I didn’t want to be spending thousands of dollars on another round of physical therapy for my five-pound Pomeranian.
Sure, uhh, How many sessions do we usually buy?
Let me take a look here … six.
I asked how much that would be.
One thousand, fifty.
She paused. I nodded.
Great. I’ll run it through.
She said this with a smile, a smile that made me wonder if she thought she’d said “Free.”
We call our little guy, Winston, our Problem Child, our Money Pit. As a puppy he broke his leg roughhousing with my brother. Seven grand later he’d undergone emergency surgery, had metal plates implanted into his leg, and was healing in a hard cast. During this time he also suffered from seizures, and despite the money we spent and the vets we visited, we never figured out why. He grew out of the seizures.