Sunday, August 26, 2007

Just to clarify

A friend of mine pointed out that it probably isn't a great idea to discuss my post-divorce dating options on the blog before actually getting divorced. This is a point well made and hereby taken; I'll cut it out.

I do hope it's been clear to everybody that my point hasn't been that I've been trying to figure out what my post-divorce dating options are -- I realized the other day, upon someone's suggesting that I draw up a "specifications document" for the benefit of matchmakers (that, by the way, is consultant-slash-programmer humor), that not only do I have no idea what I would say when asked to describe what kind of woman I'd want to date, but I don't even want to think about it.

But I think it's pretty funny -- if, that is, you're the kind of person whose disposition is to laugh at the foibles of human nature rather than to curse them -- that other people are already very interested, albeit for a rather wide variety of reasons, in my post-divorce dating prospects even though I myself am not. So, as is my wont, I've been sharing my amusement on the blog...but I think in retrospect that, while this particular human foible certainly needs to be laughed at, somebody else besides me needs to take the lead for now. So, we'll consider that subject dropped for the time being.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Update on the state of the emotions

Very, very depressed. Divorce sucks.

I suspect my lawyer wants me to shut up now and not say any more.

Shutting up.

"Americans, Famous Worldwide as Linguists" Dept

So you guys reading this next little vignette are going to think I'm bragging about how well I speak Russian. But if y'all were Russian, and we were sitting around the dinner table, and I told the story the way it happened (which is to say, with the conversation given verbatim in the original Russian), you'd know without being told what's truly funny about it.

I found out about a new Russian grocery store the other day and went to check it out. I found it without any trouble and went in, and looked around a bit. I figured I'd pick up some khalvá (I can't really describe it but it's made from sunflower seeds), which Duane and Desiree love; but I didn't see it.

About this time the owner comes out of the office, so I just ask him:

"Khalvá yest?" That is, "Do you have any khalvá?"

"Yes," he answers (but in Russian), "over there."

I look to where I think he's pointing on the shelves across the room, without realizing he's actually pointing at the counter right in front of him; but eventually we get it straightened out. But there are actually two different brands of khalvá, both at exactly the same price.

"Which one's better?"

He looks at me with an air of being mildly offended. "Everything I sell is good."

I chuckle and pick one of them at random. I start to take out my wallet, and he explains that I don't pay him there; we have to go to the cash register at the front. "Ah, I see," I say, and we march over to the cash register and take up our respective posts.

"How much do I owe you?"

"Three dollars and twenty kopecks," meaning $3.20 (you run into this idiom occasionally here in the U.S. with Russian immigrants, kopecks being a small part of a ruble the way cents are a small part of a dollar).

I pay him, and as he's making the change he asks me -- this is all still in Russian, of course -- "So, what country are you from?"

I chuckle because I figure he's teasing me. "Ya Amerikányets" -- "I'm an American."

He looks me in the eye without the slightest trace of a smile and says, "Nyet, éto ni právda -- Amerikántsi ni tak khoroshó govoryát po-rússkiy. Otkudá vwi?"

Which means, "Oh, no, you're not -- no American speaks Russian as well as you do. Where are you from?"

Now, I would be really flattered by this, except that I know what's truly hilarious about it -- I don't really speak very good Russian. My Russian is probably at most sixth-grade level. But it's so taken for granted by everybody else in the world that Americans can't be bothered to speak anything but English, that even my halting Russian was "too good to be American" (at least, good enough for him to tease me by pretending I couldn't be American and speak Russian like that).

Well, I convinced him (or he pretended to be convinced), over the next two or three back-and-forth exchanges, that I really was American. And at that point, even though we had been speaking happily in Russian up until then, he switched over to a very painful, careful, deeply accented and halting English, much worse than even my Russian -- and insisted on speaking English the rest of the conversation. For, after all, everybody knows there's no point in speaking anything but English to Americans... ;-)

"I Don't Give a @#$#" Gesture of the Day Dept

While sitting in rush hour traffic in the main lanes of the Southwest Expressway, I look over at the Hight Occupancy Vehicle lane, in which only carpoolers with at least two people in the car are allowed, on penalty of hefty fines plus the resentment of the rest of us sitting in rush hour traffic in the main lanes. And there, tooling past me at a happy 60 mph or so, is a vehicle carrying nobody but the driver.

Now of course this happens occasionally, when people decide to try to sneak through and hope they don't get noticed. But this guy, I thought, was pretty likely to get noticed...

...since he was riding a motorcycle.

You guys wanna guess as to whether or not he was wearin' a helmet?

Vulture Tactic of the Day

I think -- and I'm not joking at all -- that there's somebody who keeps an eye on the divorce courts and populates a mailing list with the names on the newly filed briefs.

I had completely forgotten that, maybe three years ago, I signed up for something called -- I think because Kasia was briefly interested in it and asked me to join. But I never used it again and, as I say, had completely forgotten I was a member.

Then my wife filed for divorce.

And suddenly my Hotmail inbox is full of invites from "Kim" and "Monica" and "Jenny" and "Gwen" and -- somewhat disturbingly, in context -- "Paul," all of whom want to be my hi5 "friend." I go look 'em up and they are consistently (except, to be fair, in the case of "Paul," who provided no information about himself at all) explaining what kind of girl they are and what kind of man they are looking for. And on the right-hand side of the browser, the ads are all ads for singles services, with pictures of cute girls.

I don't think it can possibly be a coincidence.

Something of an annoyance, too. Though I have to admit that "Jenny" is pretty cute... ;-) That is purely a joke; from her picture she looks to be about twenty years younger than I and from her message she sounds about fifty years more immature.

I like the descriptions of "body type" in the profiles in those ads, by the way. "Slim." Okay. "Curvy." (Euphemism for "chubby," one wonders?) "Athletic." (Euphemism for "I have small breasts"?)

Man, I don't know anything about being single...[sigh] Except, I do know this: I don't have to do any of this dating crap until I bloody well want to. Thank God.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Is the Princess dating a mind-reader?

Kasia called a couple of days ago very excited and very pleased with me, because:

1. Although she doesn't read the block much, Sanjaya David apparently does. (In passing: top o' the mornin' to you, David. And, nice hair, by the way.)

Having ensured that the next call I get from Kasia may very well be, um, excited, but most certainly will not be pleased, I now proceed with the rest of my explanation:

2. From David's reading of the blog, Kasia has somehow come to the realization that I intend, if I can manage it, to get another car into Dessie's and the kids' hands, which, since the Princess is the only with a driver's license, pretty much leaves no doubt about whose hand will spend most of the time gripping the steering wheel.

Now this is very impressive because I don't remember mentioning that fact on the blog, and I just went back and re-read the post-divorce-announcement posts and I swear it isn't there. So apparently my daughter is dating a psychic?

And, um, is that a good thing? These days you don't want your daughter to be going out with a young Mel Gibson wannabe, given the fact that Mel's not-quite-sane turn in the Lethal Weapon movies turns out to have been better casting than acting. (Mel Gibson appears in this post as a mind-reading psychic courtesy of the crappy movie What Women Want, a point I feel I have make explicit as a courtesy to my long-suffering readers, because I don't personally know anybody other than myself who was silly enough to waste the two hours on that flick and therefore can't expect you guys to catch the allusion on your own.)

P.S. David's actually a very nice young man, as far as I can tell; so I find myself relieved by my daughter's taste. I haven't yet felt the need to actually take out my horsewhip and carry it around ostentatiously in his presence.

Having now ensured that the second call from Kasia will also not be a pleased call, I think I'll go to bed.

What is it about Pachelbel's Canon...

...that makes it such a great basis for do-it-YourTubeSelf pieces? Maybe this one isn't great to those of you who haven't been the parents of small children yet, but for those of us who survived the "Fifty Ways To Postpone Bedtime" years, this is delightful.

I think I got this from Jonah Goldberg? Forgot to save the link. My apologies.

Flashback: The Peril rocks the Canon, albeit vicariously.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Messed up on that last update

I shouldn't blog about the divorce in the wee hours. (I forgot that my car was parked in the surface lot until it was 11:00 and everybody else had gone home and the lot was locked; so I perforce spent the night in the office trying to sleep stretched across four small cushion-equipped filing cabinets placed end to end. That was not terribly successful so I passed some of the time blogging...but mental sharpness was running low.)

At any rate, I was appalled just now when I followed a comment back to that post and saw the following sentence, which I'm sure nobody would take the way I meant it:

"'s not like my marriage was a source of joy to me..."

This was actually meant along the same lines as the later paragraph in which I said:

But, you know, I wasn't very successful as a husband -- it's gonna be rather hard for me not to feel like, if my friends want to set me up with this lady friend or that lady friend, they must not think too highly of the lady in question. Intellectually I know that's not how they see it, but that's how it feels. Sort of like Groucho Marx not wanting to belong to any club that would be willing to have him as a member.
That is, the main reason my marriage has not been a source of joy to me, is my own dissatisfaction with the poor showing I've made as a husband; and considering that Dessie's divorcing me, the marriage has obviously been even less of a source of joy to her than to me. But in the light of day I've realized that that sentence will inevitably be taken, in its context, to mean, "I'm glad to have gotten away from that [bad word]," which was not its intent. My sincere apologies to Dessie (should she read this, which I seriously doubt) for my carelessness in composition.