Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Simply Having A Wonderful Xmas Time

Ho! Ho! Ho!
Take That, Brain!

By last Friday I had just about had it with Mr Brain's shenanigans.

So far the score was Mr Brain: Several, Stevie: Nil.

There was the car key fiasco, in which I turned the house and all my clothing inside out in an ultimately futile search for the spare keys to the Fabulous Steviemobile over the course of two weeks because when I had reached for them they weren't on the hook I always put them on, forcing me to pay an absolutely usurous 140 bux for a new key and a "clicker", only to have the bloody thing turn up on a hook on the opposite side of the basement stairs! That's right: when I was frantically searching the collection of hooks on the right hand wall, the keys I was looking for were behind my bleeping head! I only found them because I hang packs of batteries on that left-hand wall hook, and had occasion to add another pack to the collection hanging there. Even then I didn't recognise the bloody key fob until I picked it up to move it! This represents an epic level of perfidy by the sardonic Mr Brain: complete visual discombobulation in the pursuit of sticking it to yours truly1. Thank you Mr Brain.

There was the Medical Spending Account debacle, in which I managed to forget about re-upping for this rather round-about way of making medical expenses tax free2. I only had three bleeping months to fill in the form! Merci bien, monsieur Braine!

There were a couple of "forget the train ticket and have to go home, making yourself late for work and losing the nice parking spot to a tardy git in an Osamamobile" episodes, far too tedious to detail here. A couple of near death experiences while attempting to chlorinate the pool while listening to Mrs Stevie rant about something irrelevant when I pulled the lid off the chlorine tablet bucket while inhaling, triggering a World War One Trench Warfare Hazard moment. There was the moment of discovery when I fed my hand into my miniature router while it was spinning down from 30 000 rpm.

You get the picture.

So on Friday, I was asked out to lunch with a pack of former colleagues. A hard-drinking, hard-playing, hard-swearing bunch, I had discontinued their company for some years on account of not being able to withstand the lifestyle they kept up. And the men were almost as bad as the women. However, what with one thing and another I had just about had it up to somewhere quite high and was ready for a bit of down-time, so I accepted and we decamped to a local boozer.

Now the others decided to have lunch, but I had already been suffering the onslaught of the day's slings and arrows, so I elected to forgo food and lunch on Southern Comfort instead. I had a large lunch, and an even larger dessert over the course of the afternoon (I was in no mood to return to work that day). Mr Brain kept trying to insert a voice of 'reason" but as I've said before, nothing good ever came of folowing the instructions of the voices in my head so I ignored it and went about killing some of the mutinous brain cells that had been working so assiduously against my best interests all year. I think I did rather well, and I staggered out of the pub at about 5 pm to begin my homeward commute, during which I would sober up.

Now Southern Comfort is almost pure alcohol, and it3 has a peculiar property that it will scavenge water from the drinker's body like nobody's business. Dehydration, as anyone knows, is the primary cause of hangovers, so it is imperative to add as much water to one's system before, during and after consuming the beverage as one can to avoid the after-effects. Unfortunately, Mr Brain had been at work and prevented me acting proactively in this regard. I seem to remember drinking a pint of water during the afternoon, between pub trivia sessions, but I needed to rehydrate tootsweet if I was to avoid toxic fallout. I boarded my train and straightway knocked back one of the two pint bottles of water I had with me.

A sad mistake.

Southern Comfort4 has a second property, in that if you have some in your stomach and you pour water on it you immediately get a massive alcohol hit, and go from being soberish to demonstrably unsober in an eyeblink. The journey from Flatbush Avenue to Jamaica was almost psychadelic, and just outside the station itself the rocking of the train and the random seesawing of my vision finally achieved criticallity and I became aware that I needed to visit the bathroom at once. I lurched up the car, maintaining my upright stance in a World Gone Mad by grabbing seat-backs, luggage rails and passengers, until I was at the door to the lavatory.

Which was locked owing to some idiot being inside.

I retired to the vestibule, heaving softly in time to the rocking of the train, with a view to being able to stick my head out of the open door should the bathroom not become available in time (I calculated I had about 15-20 seconds before matters were taken from my control). The train, obeying some law of comedic timing ground to a halt.

Just when I thought I would be decorating the rather informative posters set on either side of the vestibule with my lunch, the door to the lavatory opened and I was able to rush inside. No sooner had I applied the lock5 than some fool began hammering on the door demanding entry. I made to reply, but couldn't owing to the miracle of anti-peristalsis. Eyes watering as my diaphragm attempted to climb up my throat, I reflected how lucky it was for the person outside, now howling in distress, that I had had nothing but water to eat that day. In a matter of a couple of minutes I was done and had cleaned up the area. What a different scene would have greeted the gibbering loon on the other side of the door had I gone with my original urge to try the Shepherd's Pie.

Not only did I feel much better, apart from the distinct feeling I had just gargled with battery acid, but I was again able to see straight and walk straight. Probably still legally drunk, but not visibly so any more. Bonus!

I opened the lavatory door and was face to face with a demon from hell. Face white, eyes bulging and haunted, fists bruised blue, I took it all in and leapt to an intuitive conclusion: he was upset about something. I drew a deep breath of the cool air coming from the open train doors and blew it out as I stepped past him, whereupon he went green, cried "Arrrrggggleugh" and dashed for the commode. From this I deduced two things: a) he had been unwisely over-indulging in the Christmas Spirit and 2) I probably should suck half a dozen Altoids before I spoke with Mrs Stevie.

I love Christmas.

  1. Interestingly, since I got the new clicker, the original spare one doesn't seem to be working. No doubt there is an unpublished rule at Hyundai about not having three remote door lock devices active at any one time for my driving convenience
  2. You set up an account in which you place money deducted from your salary. The money comes off before taxes. Sounds great? Don't forget that this is America where nothing fiscal can be simple. I believe it's in the Constitution somwhere. You have to guess how much money you will need. That much gets deducted by year's end. You claim it back by (of course) filling in forms which have to be approved by someone. If you don't use it all, you lose the balance. No carry-overs. I forget why this is better than simply making medical expenses tax free at source
  3. Along with Pernod
  4. Along with Pernod
  5. I find I prefer the contemplative atmosphere of total aloneness at these times

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