Sunday, November 12, 2006


Michael is driving his girlfriend Adelphia back from a party in Redondo Beach:
A: Wait -- you’re going the wrong direction. Make a left here.
M: Left? That takes us south.
A: No, that’s the way to go.
M: If we wanna head to San Diego.
A: I’m telling you.
M: That you wanna go to Mexico?
A: Michael.
M: Adelphia. I think we should make a right.
A: Well, I know we should make a left.
M: Okay…
Michael turns the car around, starts humming a tune.
A: What are you humming?
M: Ay ay ay ay… canta y no llores! Porque cantando se allegran--
A: Michael!


There’s this Italian restaurant in my neighborhood which I discovered has good food… and awful service. Not that they’re slow; they’re too quick. Quick to get their customers outta there. Maybe they were closing soon, so they were anxious to get their day’s work done. Who knows. Had they said something to that effect beforehand, I wouldn’t have sat down and felt rushed the entire meal. Instead, they hesitated to provide us grated cheese or more water when we asked, but were hovering like flies to remove dishes and condiments from the table right under our noses. So damn annoying. That’s when I warned my friend I was about to make this dinner a painful experience for the wait staff. I ate my entrée very very very slowly… one tiny bite at a time… no, no, I’d tell the waiter, I’m not done; I’m still eating this… nibble nibble nibble…


While continuing to drive Adelphia in the direction she wanted, Michael starts humming a new, indiscriminant tune.
M: Doo doo doo doo doo…
A: Y’know, none of these streets we’re passing seem familiar…
M: Dee dee dee di dee…
A: What are you humming? Is this another joke about Mexico?
M: Da da da da dah…
A: Okay, okay, I think we’re going the wrong way.
M: Doo dee doo dee dahhhh…
A: Fine. And… *sigh* you were right.
Michael stops humming, smiles and starts to turn the car back around.
A: But you don't have to drive so hurky-jerky... turkey jerky.


Early yesterday morning, my downstairs neighbor woke me up to the sound of him pounding so damn loud, again, as he was refurbishing his apartment or building a giantic mousetrap, who the hell knows. I stomped on the floor, which he could definitely hear, but the construction didn’t stop. When I finally got out of bed, groggy, fighting a cold and desperately in need of sleep, I stepped out my apartment on my walkway to look down and see him moving furniture outside, still making a ruckus. He saw me and just said, “Hey, I had to do this.”

A minute later he took cover as he was pelted from above by my leftover Chinese firecrackers. Pop! “Seven…” Pop! “in the” Pop! “morning” Pop! “on a” Pop! “fucking” Pop! “Saturday?!” I had to do that, too.

As I continued to bomb that schmuck, he said, “Hey Mikey, next time, don’t stomp on the floor, just knock on my door and talk to me.” I was too tired to remark that I shouldn’t have to get out of bed to point out his lack of common courtesy. And what happened later would confirm that it wouldn’t matter if I did.

In the afternoon, I came back to my building and saw all his furniture was back inside his apartment and it was quiet, but the lights were on. Obviously, he was home, but done for the day demolishing the place. I rang his doorbell to find out when he planned on starting tomorrow, then tell him no, please keep it quiet til at least 9AM on the weekend. But he wouldn’t come to the door. First he ignored me. Then he said who is it, whattaya want? Then he shouted go away. Wouldn’t answer, wouldn’t acknowledge me, nothing. I kept ringing his doorbell, knocking on the door; I wanted his attention the way he had gotten mine. He yelled, “What the fuck are you bothering me for? I’m sleeping, motherfucker!” In the afternoon. Like I was trying to do at a reasonable hour, before the sun was even up. Well, he just summoned The Incredible Jerk.

I went upstairs to my place and repeatedly bounced rubber balls against the radiator, knowing that would resonate downstairs. For a good hour, I did the trampoline dance, flouncing myself onto the floor as I blasted my stereo. And I don’t mean fun catchy rock-n-roll; I tried to find the kinda stuff that no one would like: Obscure heavy metal bands, some old Yiddish folk music only my grandparents understood, Blind Willie Johnson -- he sounds like Froggy from the Little Rascals thrown in a cuisinart.

Maybe all that was excessive, but it kept that schmuck below me from sleeping. The next day he was too tired to tear apart his apartment, and I got a good night’s rest. I’m tellin’ ya: never try to out-jerk the Jerk.


As Michael whips the car around in the direction Adelphia recognizes as the right way…
A: Why do you gotta peel out like that?
M: Oh, sorry. You don’t like the smell of burning rubber?
A: No, that I love. But it’s the sound of squealing tires that really turns me on.
M: I thought so. That’s why I do it.
A: And I’m gonna call you “Screech” from now on.
M: “Screech”?
A: Yeah. Like you do whenever you make a turn.
M: I thought it was after that kid from “Saved by the Bell”.
A: Oh, yeah. Him too.
M: Does that mean you wanna make a sex tape with me?
A: *shrugs* Okay.


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