2009, i think:
it is thursday, and i'm alive. i am not an idealist- i am not poor and doing what i love, paving the path of truth and righteousness. today is my day off from 9-5 drudgery. there are many ways in which i could make the most, so many i cannot choose one.
our washing line, in the block of flats where we live with an assortment of toothless simpletons, young strugglers and strange middle-aged men who appear to be home all day, has pegged to it a large pair of black nylon women's underwear. they are unclaimed for who knows how long, waving in the breeze.
it reminds me of the last biscuit on the plate, the one everyone feels too greedy to claim.
very late 2008: not a little bitter and twisted, but it cracks me up.
she gets home and the house smells like gas again but when she goes to the oven there is no gas leaking from the stovetop.
she has had this horrible day with phonecalls, phonecalls, codeine and tampons and write-your-own referall letters.
everyone is asking questions she doesn't have the answers to, and pride demands she not drop the ball, so she calls them all back and she juggles and juggles (funny when her schizophrenic ex demanded she learn to juggle, how resistant she was; what she might have pointed out is that it's hard enough to juggle your multiple personalities, you cunt, hard enough without involving inanimate objects (avoiding an obvious joke about balls), and quite frankly, juggling is just another way in which you find yourself to be superior to me).
the juggling of their demands and her time and the several orders she wants to place on bookfinder.com for books by bret easton ellis, one short stories and another a relatively recent novel she had actually owned for almost 2 years until she finally picked it up to read it, and promptly left it on a train, not far enough into it yet to identify what she had read on the blurb at the back of another of ellis' novels.
so. she got home and the house smelled like gas but apparently there just was no gas to be found.
her and her partner had thought their gas problem had come to an end, unlike the electricity problem which happily had just begun- a bill significantly larger than either one had expected, her partner saying "I don't use a lot of electricity" emphasising the "I" in such a way that it almost seemed to her as though she was accused of something as heinous as leaving all their electrical appliances running at one time, as though perhaps she had been giving it away, as though she lived such a greedy, consumer driven lifestyle that it never even registered with her that one might wish to conserve electricity, conserve anything at all; energy, petrol, environments, whales...
she couldn't be sure whether her partner's comment was driven by a desire to save the planet or save the wallet, itself a recycled object.
she couldn't be sure which of these 2 possibilities offended her more, but certainly she was offended; that is, of course, assuming that there was undue emphasis on the "I" in the original sentence, an assertion highly contested by her partner when questioned, both parties defensive but unavoidably drawn into the argument purely upon it's merits of uselessness, irrelevance and misdirection of underlying unaddressed frustration, a pimple that should no be touched except she could. not. help. herself.
so here it was, a gas problem, back on the to-do list excepting the fact (or perhaps accepting it) that it had never really been fixed in the first place: a boy dressed to look like a man who called his boss before he did anything, masquerading as a plumber, had come over quite soon after she and her partner had moved in and hit the stove top with things like a wrench and a screwdriver, lit the hot plates more than 50 times (not an exaggeration) and pronounced the problem related to them, the new residents of this rundown flat, and their so-accused inability to turn off the knobs, as though this was something either her or her partner might struggle with, as though they had been born without opposable thumbs, as though they would not have thought of this already at some point, as though he had done all he could; hit it with things and then blame them.
the gas continued to leak for roughly 3 weeks after this loud, insultingly ineffectual visit, a fact both she and her partner noticed and spoke about, before the gas stopped for no apparent reason, disappearing from pop culture, and thus their tiny little goldfish memories.
the best way, always, to knock something from the to-do list was to stop noticing how much of a problem it was. it was in this way that the toilet had been flushed with a bucket that was once an office garbage bin for almost 2 months before anything was done, but that is another story for another time.
she stood just inside the flat and smelled the gas. her first act was to take the 5 steps from front door to stove, groceries still in her hands, and bend to sniff the stovetop, trying simulaneously to listen for the hiss of gas, checking (guiltily, even now) the knobs were turned off, even though she knew they would be, even though part of her knew that neither of them was dumb enough to leave a gas tap on.
despite what the plumber said.