I’m so full of mischief and fun, so vibrant, so full of life! It’s little wonder that wherever I go, complete strangers come up to me and say, for instance, “Forgive me, but the positive energy you exude is such that I just had to ask if you’d consider allowing me to bask in your glow for a moment or two.” Depending on my schedule, I will often say, “Why not?” or, if I am feeling puckish, even “Knock yourself out!”
Only yesterday, when I had my appointment at the Genius Bar of the Apple Store in the Grove, where swing crooners croon from dusk to dawn, and glamorous women shop for stylish attire in impractical footwear — but am I complaining? — the eyes of the scraggly-goateed hipster at whom I snarled about my appointment having been for two o’clock, and here it was 2:21 and my, uh, issue hadn’t yet been addressed brightened. “We’re short-handed today,” he said. I have never been seen on time at the Genius Bar of the Apple Store in the Grove, and it’s always because they’re short-handed, but do you suppose I allowed that to attenuate my high spirits? Guess again!
I proceeded up to Trader Joe’s, where I bought hash brown patties, sun-dried tomatoes, linguine, and a black bean burrito for my co-inhabitant of the GBP. I noted with delight that they’ve changed the sign above the (purportedly) fast checkout lane to 12 Items or Fewer [as opposed to Less], and I didn’t allow my buoyant spirits to deflate even a little bit as the cashier saw fit to schmooze up a storm with everyone in front of me, and to bag the purchases of those who couldn’t be troubled to do so themselves, who stood there batting their eyelashes and looking helpless as he scanned the items they’d selected. I dislike such people slightly less than those who, on escalators and moving sidewalks, just stand there, impeding the progress of go-getters such as I. Which isn’t to suggest that I don’t love everyone, and believe that there are no strangers, but only friends I haven’t made yet.
As he rang up my own purchases, I eagerly tossed them into the yellow canvas bag I’d brought from home because I’m ecologically minded. I hoped that others were noting that it’s entirely possible to bag your own groceries, as one must in the United Kingdom. But just as I was approaching a nearly euphoric state of smugness, I discovered that my UK debit card didn’t seem to be working. I swiped it no fewer than three times while others in line grumbled. The cashier, with whom I’d been intent on not schmoozing, asked if I’d be willing to try it as a credit, rather than debit, purchase, and I said I would, and it worked, and all was right with the world!
Then it was south a couple of blocks, to the posh new hardware store on La Brea, where I discovered to my horror that staples for the new staple gun with which I intend to affix to bulletin boards, telephone poles, and the odd passer-by the gorgeous postcard I designed to advertise my tutoring services are remarkably expensive, and I without a job! The ones I chose were apparently $3.79, but when I got to the cash register (at which there was no line, and no schmoozing), the young woman tried to charge me $5.29, including tax, and I demurred, and wound up leaving without the staples. There’s such a thing as principle, pal!
Still buoyant, I traipsed around Park La Brea taping, stapling (the staple gun didn’t arrive empty), and tacking my postcard to the bulletin boards and walls of the 18 12-story towers. I marveled at the beauty of the day — 73 degrees Fahrenheit, blue sky, gentle breeze — and at my inability to derive much pleasure from it, for what I’ve been full of lately hasn’t been mischief and fun, as I puckishly, self-mockingly, pretended at the beginning, but dread and despair. On getting home I thought yet again, as I’ve thought so often lately, of diving from my bedroom window, 10 stories from the ground, palliatively. But the important thing is that once again I somehow found a way not to.