5 Small Occupying Moments of our Week (03/19 - 03/26)
For those who haven’t seen Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, go check it out. It was filmed over the course of twelve years and lends new meaning to the phrase “boy, time sure flies.” Pun intended.
To the critics who complained that the movie was boring: so fucking what? Some of my best memories are completely mundane. April 2009. Osaka, Japan. Jennie falls asleep on my shoulder while we’re riding the subway. We weren’t in a hurry, so I didn’t wake her when we arrived at our station. We rode the same line back and forth for an hour and a half.
Sometimes, I wish I could remember what I was thinking about in those moments. How did I feel? What observations did I make about the people around me? What did Jennie and I talk and laugh about afterwards?
Why doesn’t anyone capture these moments before they slip away?
That’s how this series was born. An experiment. A weekly log of small insignificant thoughts, observations and moments which occupied us for a little while.
1. Small Dogs
They call a Chihuahua and Dachshund hybrid a Chiweenie. I Googled it. I also Googled: “how much chocolate does it take to kill a dog?” Because this week, I seriously contemplated lobbing a piece of Lindt 99% dark chocolate into one particular backyard.
The yard in question lies along my jogging route and belongs to the most loathsome creature I’ve ever met. As a rule, I dislike small barky dogs. I also startle easily. Because this Chiweenie is usually hidden behind a wooden fence, it never fails to scare the living wits out of me.
Last week was the final straw. I finally had proof that this little shit had it out for me. On my Friday run, I saw the biker ahead of me whiz past the yard, followed by a jogging couple. Not a peep from behind the fence.
It was waiting for me.
2. Dave Chappelle walking away from $50 million
In 2005, comedian Dave Chappelle walked away from a successful show on Comedy Central and a $50 million contract. First, he fled to South Africa and just hung out for a few months. Went to the mall, did normal things. Then he retreated to his farm in Ohio, where he would remain for the next decade.
I was reminded of this story after watching Chappelle’s two Netflix specials this week as well as this moving interview with Maya Angelou.
I understood his reasons perfectly. Sometimes we all gotta learn what we can and can’t live with. But that doesn’t mean that doing what’s right can’t be an ordeal, that you can't second guess yourself at every turn. Rich or poor, young or old, we’re all in the same struggle of making sense of our lives - and we can only do it one fold at a time.
3. Midnight in Fatburger
During the 17 month immigration process, you could’ve gauged the state of my depression by the number of pizza boxes and takeout containers lying around my apartment. My low was probably finishing two family-size boxes of Chips Ahoy chocolate chip cookies (the chewy kind) in a single sitting in the dead of a Toronto winter. No, I didn’t have milk.
For a variety of reasons, last week wasn’t great. So I found myself dragging Jennie to Fatburger at 11pm. I ordered a turkey burger (I don’t eat beef), onion rings, and an extra order of fries (also for me) while Jennie looked on disapprovingly. As we waited under the fluorescent lighting, our clothes soaking in the smell of burning flesh, I opened up my Goodbudget app and logged my purchase under Eating Out & Entertainment. $15. In the comments I wrote,“Fatburger, you fat fuck.”
On our way out, we passed a man parking his car in the plaza parking lot. He took one look at us and said, “you folks look exhausted.” Jennie smiled. I kept walking.
4. EntertainmenT Hospitals
The other day, I called a hospital within my insurance provider network to find a new primary care physician. Here's how the conversation went:
Me: Hi there, I'm looking to become a new patient with Dr. XYZ. Is she accepting new patients right now?
Admin: Why yes, of course! What part of the entertainment industry are you from?
Me: Huh? Oh, I'm not in the entertainment industry.
Admin: Oh, sorry, but we only cover those who are part of the entertainment industry...
Me: Well, I got your information off of my provider network.
Admin: There's nothing we can do. Sorry about that.
What makes people in the entertainment business so special?
5. Venice Beach STing
My office is in Venice Beach. Sometime last week, I was walking back to our office with a colleague from coffee, when we saw a swarm of police officers and cars surrounding an RV that doubled as an mobile recycling service for the homeless.
I quickly walked past as my colleague was trying to get a ton of photos of the neighborhood disturbance; as we got to a door some guy in a bulletproof vest walked up to us and completely unprompted, started telling us everything.
Random police officer: Yeah, you’re okay. Just completed a sting. We just busted people trying to sell dope to our undercover guys.
Me: Oh, well, thanks, I guess.
Random police officer: Yeah, they were selling dope. There’s been a lot of auto-thefts in this area but now we’ve got the culprits. And we’re taking away their kids too.
He smiles, proud of himself. I didn’t say anything.
Random police officer: Well, uh, you’re good to go.
First of all, what was he bragging about? Second, why was he divulging this information to me? Nobody asked him. Finally, why did everyone in my office seem to take such visceral pleasure from this incident?