The other night I was standing in line at the post office, waiting to pick up a package. A woman wearing baggy pants, a deeply creased face, and bright red lips shuffled up behind me. She tapped me on the shoulder.
“Is that for text?” she asked, gesturing toward the iPod in my hand.
“Oh no, it’s an iPod,” I explained. Then, to clarify: “It’s for, uh, music.”
She squinted at me. “You got your earphones in?”
“Yep!” I said brightly.
“You better watch out, you’re gonna brainwash yourself,” she muttered.
Thanks for the tip?
It’s been cold in Santa Barbara. I know, I know. “Boo hoo,” you’re thinking, snowbound. But while there is no snow here, granted, Monday it was stormy and blustery and the last couple of nights it got down to 34 degrees. I finally resorted to turning the heat on.*
The heat in our house comes from a ancient gas unit that lives under the floor of the living room. The warm air rises up through a vent near the far wall of the room, next to the drafty, boarded-up fireplace.** That’s all we get in the house, is this one vent. Needless to say, this is a highly efficient heating system, provided you are standing directly on top of it.
You cannot actually stand on the vent, because the metal grate is kind of flimsy, and besides, it would only be a matter of seconds before the soles of your footwear started to melt. So you have to kind of straddle the vent, legs akimbo, and balance there with your arm braced against the wall. There is, unfortunately, room for only one person on the vent at any given time. Which means that on Monday night the beau and I got to revive one of our most cherished and sacred winter traditions: vying for vent space.
Vent space invariably causes us to revert to second grade.
“Get off of my vent,” I say.
“This is my vent,” he insists.
“Yeah? Well, I was here first,” I whine.
“Oh yeah, well your mom called, she said to GET OFF MY VENT,” he demands.
“My mom doesn’t even know your phone number!” I shout.*** A brief struggle ensues.
Which is all well and good, because by this point I’ve usually reached the maximum length of time one can tolerate hovering over the vent before one’s clothes feel like they are on the verge of bursting into flames. “Ow ow ow ow ow,” I say, hopping over to the couch, where it’s always drastically colder.
You don’t stay warm for long after an interlude with the heating vent. Luckily, the hot/cold cycle roughly corresponds to football broadcasts: one and a half minutes of play, five minutes of commercials. So I can watch football from the vent where it’s toasty, then retreat to the couch to cool down during the commercial break, which I spend intermittently shouting at the television screen (“WHO BUYS SOMEONE A LEXUS FOR CHRISTMAS??”) and silently cursing the fact that we are actually watching a live broadcast instead of just DVR’ing the damn thing.
At the very least, this cold weather has put me in the mood for the holidays. Ah, holidays. I love this time of year, despite the stress of gift shopping and the running to the post office and the persistent chill and the mock fighting over the heater.****
I keep thinking we should feel more stressed out about the wedding planning. It seems like that is what everyone talks about: oh, the stress and the hair-tearing and the sobbing on the floor. I realize that we are still have a great deal of time left; distance makes the heart fonder and all. I also realize that if you were to talk to me seven months from now I might be singing a different song. Like a song that sounds like sobbing, while lying on the floor.
But here’s the thing: I am actively trying to avoid that. I don’t want the last several weeks before the wedding to be one long blur of sleeplessness and worry and tears. There is a two-pronged system at work, here: perspective and planning. Planning is obvious. Deep in my blackest of hearts I am a tried-and-true procrastinator, and I know that not falling into that trap will save me a lot of heartache at the end. But the perspective is just as important, too. What I mean by this is giving a matter attention that is proportionate to its actual importance. Is the color of the tablecloths one of the memories I will hold dear in the coming years? No? OK then, just pick the cheapest option and forget about it.
I want to research a wedding item, make a decision, move on. And repeat that ’til all of it’s done. That can’t be so hard, can it?
I’m tagging this post “things I might regret saying later.” And I’m coming back to it later, when I have some months of perspective under my belt. Just you watch. We’ll see then. We’ll see.
* Every year I see how long I can hold out. I did fairly well; last year I wussed out in November.
** Our house is about to fall down, pretty much. Next big earthquake, boom. I will be under a pile of rubble for sure.
*** Actually, I’m pretty sure she has it written down somewhere.
**** This is actually really fun. You should try it sometime. With your own heater.