Issue #157 – “Fool’s Errands” – September 28th, 2009

-Someone recently asked me what I do in my free time. Laughing, I responded, “What free time?” But, secretly, I knew the answer – running errands. There are days, in fact, when I spend more time running errands than doing actual work. What happened to the lazy days of our youth? When I was a teenager, an afternoon was not complete unless I played at least four hours of NHL ‘94 on Genesis. In college, studying slowly began to compete for attention with napping and drinking games involving a quarter, ping pong ball, or pledge. In my twenties, I finally acquiesced and got a CVS card. And now, at thirty, the fucking dry cleaner knows me by name. Some are admittedly frivolous, others seemingly crucial, but no matter what I do these days, I feel like I’m running fool’s errands.

-I get some of my button-down shirts dry cleaned and others laundered. But the dry cleaner always seems to return my shirts hanging in no particular order. At least separate the laundered shirts from the dry cleaned shirts so I can continue to pretend it actually makes a difference.

-This being Los Angeles, a lot of the people I encounter while I run errands speak Spanish. I’m conversant in Spanish, so I can chat for at least a minute or two. But for some reason, I always feel extremely self-conscious using the words “hola,” “por favor,” or “gracias” with a Spanish speaker. I fear it makes me look like those are the only words I know.

-To me, the epitome of a quick errand is getting out of the car, doing my business, and then returning to the car while the same song is playing on the radio.

-I must not have noticed when I bought it at the drugstore recently, but apparently Right Guard has subtly changed the scent of the deodorant I’ve been wearing for over a decade. It’s honestly the weirdest thing ever when I smell myself. I feel like another man is following me around all the time.

-I live in a very residential area, so when I return from running errands, I drive pretty slowly on the blocks leading to my apartment. But if God forbid the driver ahead of me pauses for a moment to find an address, I will peel around him at highly unsafe speeds while ruing the loss of twelve nanoseconds of my day.

-Thankfully, though, many of the errands that plagued us in days of yore can now be completely outsourced to the Internet. I do my grocery shopping online and have the food delivered each week. I usually buy my deodorant from rather than trudge to an actual CVS. And as an Amazon Prime member, I can order copious amounts of unnecessary shit that arrives at my door within 24 hours. Even tasks that don’t involve going anywhere – like making dinner reservations – can be done with the click of a mouse. But I must admit, when I request a reservation via OpenTable and they have my exact time available, I’m both suspicious that the restaurant might not be up to snuff and concerned that my reservation will not be recorded. I guess some things are just better done in person…even in Spanish.

-As always, here are some random things I’ve been ruminating about lately…

-Attempting to rotate your mattress by yourself is possibly one of the most depressing – and dangerous – parts of being single.

-I probably shouldn’t be eating a “meal replacement bar” for dessert.

-There are few situations more awkward then picking your buddy up in a cab and having to sit there idling with a surly cabbie while you wait for your stupid fucking friend to get his act together and come outside.

-When I call my dad with a dilemma and explain to him the problem, if he doesn’t know how to respond he’ll just ask, “Why?” like a little kid after everything I say.

-I just got my first Save the Date notice for 2010. My buddy is getting married in Vegas. I’ve only been to bachelor parties in Vegas, never a wedding. So, I’m just gonna treat it like a bachelor party and see what happens.

-I don’t think all these brawls in baseball are the result of headhunting and retaliation by pitchers. I think everyone is just bored. This is the most anticlimactic season in history. I bet even the players are watching football in the clubhouse.

-Do you ever wonder what goes on at the gym when you don’t go for a month?

-As much as I dreaded turning thirty this summer, I’m now really looking forward to turning thirty-three. Why? That’s when my driver’s license expires and I can retake my picture. I really screwed the pooch last time around. Seriously, the DMV camera is not supposed to add forty pounds.

-Although I’ll be in some college towns on my stand-up tour this fall, I won’t be playing any actual colleges. I’m both disappointed and relieved. Disappointed that there are probably no kegstands in my immediate future. But relieved that I won’t have to spend another minute explaining to some snot-nosed frat boy that Beirut and beer pong are not the same fucking thing.

-And, finally, this is one of my favorite times of year – the new television season is upon us. As many of you know, I’m a huge TV buff and follow over twenty shows religiously. I love the conversation that ensues when I meet another television addict. Them: “Oh my God, how can you not watch Dexter or Mad Men?” Me: “Oh my God, how could you not watch Californication or Friday Night Lights?” Eventually we agree to disagree but not before vehemently arguing over whose DVR settings are more overloaded (damn you, Mondays!). In fact, I get just as self-conscious around other TV aficionados as I do around Spanish speakers. When someone asks me what my favorite program is, I never merely say, “House,” “Lost,” or “Chuck.” I fear it makes me look like those are the only shows I watch. Fuck me.