Category Archives: Fail

5 Socially Unacceptable Things to Do at a Party

I haven’t written lately because the past two weeks have been pretty lackluster. Since I hurt my ankle, my day usually goes something like this:

  • Wake up
  • Work
  • Watch Veronica Mars
  • Look for some jobs to apply to
  • Wallow in self-pity
  • Paint nails
  • More Veronica Mars
  • Go to sleep
These activities are punctuated by shuffling back and forth to the kitchen to switch ice packs and, occasionally but infrequently, to eat. Showers and eating have become fairly optional. On an exciting day, I’ll move from my bed to the living room couch, although this puts me farther from the bathroom. It’s a tragic and self-perpetuating cycle; the more I stay in bed, the more I wallow, and the more I wallow, the less I want to leave. Also, all that Veronica Mars has been seeping into my dreamspace and making me paranoid. I wake up every morning feeling awfully suspicious of everything around me.
So really, the only thing I have to show for the past two weeks is crackpot dreams and my new and improved nail art skillz, and while I could write about that, it’s been done.
By the way, it’s impossible to take attractive photos of
your own hands. But crossword puzzles, yeah!
On the bright side, L & K have been doing their best to get me out of the house. Saturday was a Big Day because they convinced me to go to two different parties. Unfortunately, I was apparently not fit to be taken out in public by the second party. Due to my newfound geriatric tendencies, I was tired and boring. Furthermore, I had been hoping to impress KS’s summer roommate replacement, CS, with her first post-college, East Coast, white people party and was pretty cranky that this particular party seemed determined to be decidedly average. All this combined into the perfect storm of social unacceptability as I morphed into the most awkward party guest since the Great Harvard Debacle of 2008 (story for another day). The only silver lining was that L was pretty complicit in most of my bad behavior, so at least I wasn’t the only one.
5 Socially Unacceptable Things to Do at a Party:
1. Get in a debate about the differences between plaid, gingham, check and buffalo check. Any topic that requires you to fire up Wikipedia during a kegger is probably a topic best avoided. Spoiler: gingham is a fabric, not a pattern. Buffalo check does not exist on Wikipedia and ergo I deny its existence in real life.
 
2. Whine about the music selection, try to commandeer the iPod and then fail. I got really tired of hearing Robyn that night. At one point, I marched up to the speakers, took control of of the iPod and… only succeeded in finding more Robyn. I gave up and put on “Dancing On My Own,” even though it had already been played at least 5 times. Then L complained loudly about how many times she heard that song already.
3. Within earshot of the party host, complain about the amount, quality or variety of alcohol. The endless Robyn playlist might have gone over better if they hadn’t run out of beer around 12:30. L and I were unimpressed, especially as the low-key barbecue we’d visited in the afternoon had a better selection and supply of alcohol. Several conversations went like this:
L: I wish I had another beer.
Matt IV: If this were my party, this would be the point where I’d send someone to find more alcohol.
A: Just sayin’, all of our parties have hard liquor.
L: Oh wow, we’re listening to this Robyn song again. And everyone’s dancing to it for some reason.
A: Maybe you would be, too, if you were drunk.
L: But I’m not.
A: Nope.
L: Wow, this party really cleared out fast.
A: That’s what happens when you run out of alcohol.
Unfortunately, the party had cleared out immediately following the lack of alcohol, so I’m pretty sure a party host heard at least one of those conversations over the lack of people around. Which officially makes me a bitch.
4. Criticize someone’s baking skills. In my defense, I wasn’t trying to criticize someone’s baking skills. I made a badly-timed observation that was misinterpreted as an insult. After all the beer was gone, there was nothing left to consume but a cake some guy made.
Party Goer: Man, this cake is awesome.
Party Host: Yeah, Joe made it!
Party Goer: I mean, it’s totally from a box. No cake is this moist without some artificial additives in it. I mean it’s really good! But it’s definitely Duncan Hines or something. Definitely from a box.
Party Host: I mean, yeah, but he like doctored it up and stuff! And he made the icing from scratch!!
A: Yeah, I doubt it. This icing is definitely from a mix or something.
Party Host: No it’s not!
A: I think it is.
Party Host: What do you know, anyway!?
L: Actually she makes wedding cakes.
Party Host: Oh.
Longest Pause in the world
Party Host: But it’s totally from scratch!
5. Harass the neighbors. After we left, K discovered her metro card was missing. I remembered seeing one on the bathroom floor and went back to get it. The door was locked. I rang the bell seven or so times before realizing that I was actually at the virtually identical rowhouse next door to the party house. Oops. I ran away in shame and L had to go retrieve the metro card. My only hope is that the Ke$ha dance party on the back porch would have woken up the neighbors long before me. Meanwhile, the rest of us got harassed by some cockroaches and a clown.
 
So there you have it. K & L can’t take me anywhere. Only two weeks of infirmity and I may have to become a recluse. I’m officially the worst party guest ever.

In Defense of Pants*

*I mean trousers, Irish and Brits


Nowadays, I hate wearing pants. But for many of my formative years, I wore them exclusively. Because I played the cello in school, it was dangerous to try anything else (except overalls. There was definitely a tragic overall phase circa age 11). I’m not sure I even owned any dresses. 
Around the time I was 16, I finally quit playing in my high school orchestra because it was extraordinarily terrible. As a result, I rediscovered the wonderful world of skirts. A few years later, I realized dresses were even better because you only had to pick out one article of clothing! This trend of laziness progressed to alarming heights during college, where any of my friends can tell you that I spent most of my time in my underwear, only clothing myself to go to work or class. Adulthood has been more pants-filled, probably necessitated by my coed living situation and having a full-time job, but I still hate wearing pants, shopping for pants and spending money on pants so much that I currently own a single pair of jeans. One pair of jeans! By comparison, a quick survey of my closet tells me I own almost two dozen dresses.
Part of the problem is that I can never find any jeans that fit properly, so when I finally find a decent pair, I will wear them until they disintegrate. I had to do away with my last pair of jeans when the patches I’d sewn in got holes in them, and in the month and a half it took me to find a new pair of acceptable jeans, I managed to destroy my backup pair so badly that they are no longer my backup pair.
My current model is slightly too large, so that they only really fit for the first 10 minutes after washing. After that, gravity takes its hold. Today, I was wearing my one pair of jeans and noticed this problem and since I was working from home, decided to throw them in the wash. I was already downstairs, so I took them off and started the washing machine. On my way back upstairs there was a knock on the door. It was the UPS man. I panicked and did what any normal person would do. I ran away.
Unfortunately, this was a terrible plan because I’d been standing two feet in front of the giant window in my front door in my underwear, and he clearly knew I was home. Also bad: I have been working from home for the past two weeks, so the UPS man knows me by name now. And K keeps ordering shoes online, so the UPS man will continue to see me on a regular basis. He called out for me to open the door, and all I could do was awkwardly shout for him to wait outside whilst I rummaged through K’s laundry until I found some shorts. It was bad.
So the moral of the story is, no matter how much you hate pants, you should probably wear some, even if it’s in your own house. And also probably buy more than one pair. And K should stop ordering shoes online.

Judging a Book By Its Cover: Part 2

You may remember that last Thursday was Teen Lit Day, and as a celebration, I finally started reading an abandoned book from my childhood, The Changeover: A Supernatural Romance by Margaret Mahy. Where we last left off, I’d read the first chapter and was pretty skeptical. Our Heroine had just had some sort of premonition and was trying to convince her mom that this guy who reads romance novels is a witch. I said the book was not badly written, and at the time, I was not lying.
Well, I finished the book yesterday, and I’m here to give you a full recap. Let me start by saying that at no point during this entire novel does anyone glow:

Now that we’ve cleared that up, I feel compelled to say that if this book and I had a relationship,* it would be my abusive ex. I thought that if I stayed with it long enough, I could fix it, and there were moments where I really thought I would. But in the end I realized that this book was bad for me, and there was nothing I could do about it. I was a worse person, too, for being with this book–I shouted at it, verbally abused it, even threw it down and paced around the room in anger sometimes, but I kept going back to it, holding on to the hope that our relationship would get better. It didn’t.

There were so many things wrong with this book, it’s hard to know where to begin, but I’m going to limit my review of this book to two parts: The Supernatural and The Romance. Know now that this is going to be spoilertastic, hopefully so no one ever feels the need to read this book again. Seriously, it’s that bad. I was going to mail this to my sister when I finished so she could read it, but now I’m not going to because I love her too much.

The Supernatural
Let’s start with the plot, shall we? This is the “supernatural” story line, which theoretically should be the focus of the story but is actually just an afterthought designed to get the two characters together. I came to this book with an open mind; supernatural books aren’t really my thing, but I’ve never really tried to read them so I didn’t want to judge. Besides, I really like some supernatural-adjacent things, like Doctor Who or Harry Potter or Runaways. So I do believe that it’s possible to write a supernatural-genre book that I would like. But this was just not one of them.

This was the basic plot: Our Heroine, Laura, picks up her stupidly-named brother, Jacko, from day care. On their way to visit their useless, oblivious mom at her job, they pass some normally boarded up store and now it’s all colorful and friendly. They go inside even though it says on the doors that it’s only open Thursday afternoons and no sort of reputable business operates like that. The man who runs the shop is creepy and old and smells like rotting peppermint, but instead of leaving immediately they stick around and the man puts an indelible stamp on Jacko that he uses to suck out his life-force. Jacko gets really sick and so Laura goes to Sorry who’s a complete asshole (but we’ll get there), but eventually he and his witchy mother and grandmother say they can help. Unfortunately they must not be very good witches, because the only thing they can think to do is turn Laura into a witch (this is the “Changeover”) and then have her approach the Bad Guy wearing dark glasses so he doesn’t know she’s a witch. That is seriously their plan. Anyone who’s ever read anything knows that a plan that relies heavily on dark glasses is absolutely not going to work, except that it does this time. Nothing goes wrong in the plan. Also, Sorry was really concerned about the Changeover, but nothing bad came of that either. Laura’s all happy and peaceful now that she’s a witch, and can even accept the fact that her father left her and her family because he loves his new wife more than her. I’M SO SURE.

My primary problem with the plot is that it was just too easy. There are no twists and turns. Maybe I’ve been reading too much Patrick Ness, but this plot was unpredictably predictable. It was like Mahy wrote the romance parts of this book, then sneezed and the plot appeared all scattered and uninteresting. And holey. There were so many story lines in this book that she hinted at and then completely abandoned. My favorite is that in addition to hyping up the Changeover as super terrible and dangerous (it wasn’t that bad), Sorry keeps telling Laura that his mother and grandmother have some hidden agenda for turning her into a witch. She needs to find out if there’s another way to save her brother without the Changeover. So Laura asks one of them “Do you have a secret agenda? Is there another way?” And she’s like, “I totes have a secret agenda, and there’s no other way.” And that’s the end of that. No further discussion of secret agenda or alternate solutions.

In addition to the plot being dumb, the pacing was just really bad. For instance, this book is about 260 pages long, and Jacko makes his miracle recovery on like page 200. So what do we read about for the next 25% of the book? Not much. In general this book is long stretches of romantic interlude punctuated by the actual plot. I’m all for romance, but this just didn’t make any sense. You don’t flirt with a guy for like 30 pages while you’re brother is off dying somewhere. Which brings us to…

The Romance
There’s an episode of Doctor Who where an alien learns everything it knows about human interaction by reading Agatha Christie novels, and so goes around murdering everyone like it’s And Then There Were None. I think Sorry learned everything he knows from reading romance novels, because he acts like a romance novel archetype: Sexually-harassing, condescending asshole with a tortured past (disclaimer: I’ve only read one romance novel in my life but I’m assuming they’re all the same). She’s all “My brother’s cursed! I need your help because you’re a witch!” and he’s all “I’m an asshole! I’m going to touch your boobs now, but it’s ok because I stammer and had a troubled childhood and am tortured and shit.” “Cool! I see absolutely nothing wrong with that,” says Our Heroine.

He’s also like all the bad parts of the Twilight men mashed up together: Jacob’s overconfidence and overt sexuality plus Edward’s insane stalking skills. There were so many disturbing things about Sorry’s character, but this one may be the worst:

The photographed woman, naked, and smooth as satin, reclined, smiling at Laura just as she smiled at Sorry, but the glance meant something different. To Laura, it was the smile of a sister, not a siren. Pinned to the corner of the poster over the woman’s head was the small photograph she had observed with curiosity nearly twenty-four hours earlier… [she stepped] in between islands of homework to study the photograph. She was staring at herself — made grainy with enlargement –as if a detail had been selected from the the background of some other photograph and blown up beyond the capacity of the image to hold a clear outline… Laura, looking from her own picture to that of the naked goddess extending herself languorously to the left, sighed and shook her head.

INAPPROPRIATE REACTION, LAURA. This is where you run from the room and straight to the police to get a restraining order. Instead, she stays there, to see Sorry standing in the door watching her, and instead of apologizing for being a perv, he’s like, “sorry the picture’s blurry. you wouldn’t stop moving while I was pretending to take a picture of something else with you in the corner.” Then he goes over to her and fondles her. Further proof he’s a sexual deviant:

“It’s too personal, really… like standing in the dark and looking in at someone’s window.”
“But that’s quite an interesting thing to do,” he said. “And harmless, as long as people don’t know you’re there.”

I guess he and Laura deserve each other because, she is kind of a creeper too.

He kissed her very gently. It reminded Laura of the soft but heavy kisses Jacko used to give when he was just learning to kiss, and found it very disturbing, for it seemed as if he kissed her for Jacko in the past, himself in the present and for another unknown child somewhere in the future.

Omg what? Ew. That is not how it’s supposed to work, Laura. The romance part of this book is so disturbing. And it is 90% of the book. I kept hoping Sorry would have some kind of transformative moment, but he didn’t. He took the poster down at the end, but only because Laura asked him to, not because he realizes how creepy it was.

This book was just… ugh. For a book that bills itself as a romance, I wanted to vomit on it several times. In the words of Cher Horowizt, “And like, we’re expected to swoon? I don’t think so!”

*Thanks to Forever Young Adult for making me see all books it terms of human relationships now.

Poop in a Bag

Our household is… special. Even though we’re all American, we still manage to mess up an astounding number of American things, particularly when it comes to speaking English.

This morning started out with a typical round of miscommunication at the Family Compound.

A: I think I made too much porridge.
L: Hah. Porridge. What are you, one of the three little bears?
A: There weren’t three little bears.
L: Oh you’re right. Those were just bears. It was the pigs that were little. They didn’t have any porridge. They just got their houses blown up.

You see, my father is Irish and so I grew up saying certain words funny–mostly things you would say around the house like, basil (bah-sil), porridge, and worst of all, dressing gown.

I believe you would erroneously call this a “robe.” However, if you are willing to part with $225 to buy it for me, you may call it whatever you like.

Whenever I say “Dressing Gown” the other people in the room affect a posh British accent and say things like, “Oh nooooo I’ve dropped my dressing goooown on the floooor! I must have some poooorridge and tea and then pop something in the boot of the caaaar!”

Everyone in the house has their moments, to varying degrees of frequency. KS is harder to make fun of, because, being Taiwanese, he mostly just skips over the unnecessary articles of English, and I can’t really fault someone for that kind of efficiency. K is plenty easy to ridicule, being from Connecticut, but her language skills are fine and so not pertinent to this discussion. Far and away, L has it the worse.

L grew up in Southern California, so in some ways, she’s the most American of us all. However, she also grew up in an Argentine household–both her parents are immigrants–so she missed out on several parts of American culture growing up. This is most obvious when it comes to idioms, either when she tries to translate them from Spanish or completely doesn’t understand them in English. Sometimes her comical mistranslations will make it into our vocab, like my new favorite phrase, “My eye is filling up faster than my stomach!” Sometimes we just make fun of her. But things got a lot worse when she started at her company two years ago. As far as I can tell, this company was founded on acronyms and jargonny cliches (to her credit, I had never heard half the phrases they used either). She spent the first year being perpetually confused by this new language, often with hilarious results. There was the time, for instance, after googling “out of pocket,” she couldn’t decide if it meant “unavailable” or “crazy,” as her boss either meant “You won’t be able to reach me because I will be becoming unavailable or alternately, insane.” To no one’s surprise, L suffered much mockery from us and from her coworkers because of instances like this.

Tired of being everyone’s linguistic punching bag, about a year ago she decided she was just going to play along and pretend like she knew what all the idioms meant. It was a solid strategy that worked well until one day, she was listening to a story from K about how her  high school graduation was postponed because of a bomb threat:

K: Yeah so we had to wait several hours because of this supposed bomb, but it turned out to just be poop in a bag.
L: So what was it?
K: It was poop in a bag.
L: Yeah no I know, but like what was the bomb?
K: It was a bag… full of poop…

L had made the critical error of assuming something was an idiom that is not. And we proceeded to mock her for it for the next several months.

In the process though, we discovered that L was a genius. Poop in a bag is actually a brilliant, useful phrase that needs to be incorporated into the English language immediately. 

poop in a bag (n). an idiom expressing the sentiment that an occurrence, object, or person previously noted to be important or consequential turns out to be overblown or insignificant.

My boss kept making a big deal about this TPS report I had to do, but it turned out to be poop in a bag.

James Franco is supposed to be awesome, but I guess it’s just poop in a bag. I mean, did you see the Oscars?

Strikes in France are poop in a bag.

Clearly now you can see that poop in a bag needs to be a phrase. If you are having trouble using it properly, please feel free to contact me for help or test it out in the comments. Get everyone you know to use this phrase. Because let me tell you: unlike fetch, poop in a bag is SO happening.

Epic Road Trip

Worst Rest Area Ever.
As I write this, I’m on a bus to New York, pulling out of the worst rest area on the New Jersey Turnpike—James Fenimore Cooper. I know it’s the worst one not because I can’t imagine there’s anything worse, but because I’ve been to all of the other ones. This is a route I know well because since moving to DC, I’ve spent a lot of time on buses or in cars traveling the east coast to NY or CT, and let me tell you, no matter what James Fenimore Cooper may have done in history (no really, what did he do? I’ve looked it up like seven times now and always promptly forget. The only thing I know about him is that I read a really douchey quote from him once en route to CT), he does not deserve this legacy. Pretty much every other rest area at least merits a Starbucks. Our friend James, however, gets little more than a Burger King, a shitty convenience store, and a Cinnabon that’s almost always closed by the time we roll into the rest stop around 10pm. In fact, the only thing noteworthy about James Fenimore Cooper is that it’s located the exact distance between DC and New York that I have to pee really badly, and so no matter how much I’d like to avoid it, I almost invariable end up stopping there.

Thanks to a very memorable trip two years ago–one of the first times I traveled this NY to DC route, in fact–the New Jersey Turnpike holds a special place in my heart. Unfortunately, that place is heavily diseased, probably with a clot or something. I hate the New Jersey Turnpike, y’all. And this is the epic story explaining why.

Sometime at the end of college, K, L and I decided we were all going to move in together (not a very original idea, as we’d been doing that for four years already) after graduation down in DC. We needed a place to live, however, and so K and I Craigslisted it up and found some suitable places to sublet for the summer while we figured out what the hell we were doing with our lives. K and I prepared to drive down to DC to check them out. L wasn’t available to come (don’t remember but she probably had cool places to be), but we needed to drop off our soon-to-be-former roommate KLin in NY on the way so she could move out some stuff at her sister’s. I usually play DJ on road trips, so I loaded up an iPod with the challenge of finding music that all three of us could tolerate, and we headed out in K’s Chevy Malibu.

The first half of the trip went splendidly. We left Boston singing along to my playlist of mostly Britney Spears (so much that K pretty much refused to listen to Britney Spears for the next year; if our three musical tastes were laid out in a Venn diagram, the mutual overlap would be alarmingly small), laughed, missed all the traffic, and had a generally awesome time. And then the amazing happened. We got to KLin’s sisters apartment, where we were staying for the night, and there was a parking space. Directly in front of the door. In Manhattan. At night time. When people tend to park their cars. When we had a trunk full of KLin’s shit to unload. It was like the traffic Gods shone down upon us, bestowing us with golden car karma.

The next morning, we had to drop KLin off at the bus on the other end of Manhattan so she could go back to Boston. We were almost there when a voice from the back seat cried “SHIT I forgot my phone we have to go back!” Unfortunately, we had no idea how to do that. Our Mapquest instructions did not tell us how to go back to get an abandoned phone, and without said phone, we had no GPS. K, if you’ll remember, has the worst sense of direction in the world, and we had to navigate our way back with our wits alone. But miraculously, we did not get lost. And even more amazingly, there was no one else on the road, and we didn’t hit a single red light. I will forever associate New York with driving down an empty street, watching the lights change to green for us one right after another. I’m guessing no one else in the world will share this association with me, except maybe K. This was turning into the Best. Roadtrip. Ever.

However, the universe noticed that we were enjoying far more than our share of good car karma, and our luck was about to change.

Phone in hand, we tried again to drop KLin off at the bus in Chinatown. But this time, something went awry. We took a wrong turn, and suddenly we were on the Brooklyn Bridge. This, we knew was bad, and we manage to turn around and get back on in the other direction. But as soon was we got back to Manhattan, we didn’t know where we were. We asked KLin to turn on her iPhone and tell us where we were. While stopped at a stoplight just off the Brooklyn Bridge, the following conversation actually happened:

Me: KLin, are we go north or south?
KLin: We’re stationary.
K: KLin that is not helpful. Can you see where we need to turn?
KLin: Yeah. You need to take a left at the yellow road.
K: KLin, is the road actually yellow?
KLin: Oh, I guess not. No.

Somehow we made it to the bus stop; I must have commandeered the iPhone from KLin. After we dropped her off, we got back en route and made our way to the New Jersey Turnpike. We pulled into the first rest area (Alexander Hamilton!) to grab some necessary breakfast items and then continued on our way.

Just outside of Delaware, disaster struck. I needed to pee, and while I was whining, K spilled Starbucks all over her pants. I use the term pants loosely, because they were actually ill-fitting, vaguely transparent pajama shorts. She pulled over to the shoulder to mop up the mess, and while we were driving back onto the Turnpike, the oil light came on. The car instantly stopped accelerating. We pulled back onto the shoulder and turned on the emergency lights. We checked the oil, and it was really, really low. I called my dad to see how long we needed to wait before adding more oil (you don’t, apparently), but as I was on the phone, I notice a large, black puddle seeping from under the car.  This was very, very bad.

We called AAA. Fun fact: AAA cannot tow off the New Jersey Turnpike.  Only special companies can tow you off the New Jersey Turnpike. They tow you just off the Turnpike, where a AAA towing company can pick you up and tow you to a mechanic. We finally got in touch with the New Jersey Turnpike Towing People, and they said someone would be there in twenty minutes. Which was a lie.

Meanwhile, I still really had to pee. I would have gone into the woods next to us, except that there was a sharp drop off from the side of the road that also looked like it was covered in poison ivy. The worst part? We were exactly one mile from the last rest area of the New Jersey Turnpike, Clara Barton. I know this, because we were stopped directly in front of the sign declaring it so. That sign taunted me in my misery for a full hour before the tow truck guy showed up.

Do not go here. There is nothing for you.

We got towed to a parking lot in a place called Carneys Point, New Jersey. After securing a bathroom, we figured out our next strategy. Terrified we would be forced to spend the night somewhere called Carneys Point, we had to do something. Apparently, K’s AAA membership covered 100 miles towing. As it happened, we were exactly 112 miles from DC. We decided our best option was to get towed to a mechanic in DC. K’s family friend gave us the name of a taxi mechanic, and we had a plan.

An hour or so later, our second tow truck showed up. As they were not prepared to drive us the 112 miles to DC right then, we got taken to a mechanic in the next town over, Penns Grove, where we were to wait for another indefinite period of time. Defeated, and with nothing better to do, we sat on a bench outside and stared into space for about three hours. Then, the owner of the mechanic shop was finally ready to tow us to DC. Since we no longer had a car, we had to sit in the cab of the tow truck with this man, who was exactly like Rooster Cogburn in True Grit, except not remotely as cool. In fact, the only way he was like him was his tendency to ramble incoherently about his past wives and lifestyles.

For the next four hours (traffic was really bad), we got to hear Mr. Cogburn’s life story. I no longer remember all the details, but I do know that he’d had three wives. I think one marriage ended in infidelity, another one ended during his period of experimentation and drug use during the 80s. Then he got into drag racing, which he still does. His car was featured on some drag racing TV show. K left most of the conversing up to me, but luckily, I think Mr. Cogburn could carry on a conversation with a corpse. We covered gear boxes, suspension, and pretty much anything I could think of from a dozen seasons of Top Gear; at one point, he called his friend and had me chat on the phone to him about NASCAR, despite the fact that I never have nor will be a NASCAR fan. It was a very long and bizarre four hours.

Finally, we made it to the taxi mechanic in DC. K’s family friend (who does not drive a taxi, but rather the same model of car that most taxis are made from) met us there. We said goodbye to Mr. Cogburn.  We got all the necessities out of the car. Unfortunately, one of these necessities was a bottle of wine, which I dropped on the concrete floor and shattered everywhere. The mechanic took a look underneath the car and knew right away what was wrong with it.

Whomever had previously changed the oil had installed the wrong size oil filter. The filter had been getting looser and looser, until one day, in a burst of pressure caused from the acceleration back onto the New Jersey Turnpike, the oil filter had fallen out. With it went all the oil. With no oil to lubricate the engine, friction between the cylinders and the pistons cause the engine to overheat, the pistons to expand, and the engine to seize up. In short, the car was quite dead.

Family Friend took us to dinner and dropped us off at our friends house in Columbia Heights. We went to look at our first apartment, and decided to take it then and there. We then spent the rest of the weekend depressed and defeated. We went to the movies and saw the next thing playing, which was Angels and Demons. It was not very good.

We took the Chinatown bus back to NY, and then another Chinatown bus back to Boston. I tried to convince K that at least this would all make a good story one day, but she was not convinced.