Notes on a new life: Toolbox
Call me Ishmael. I’m a whale of a pain in your ass.
That’s what I’m thinking while the zygote in the next room clad in his Virginia Tech T-shirt and fashionably-distressed khaki shorts looks over Brandon’s old particle-board desk. We put it on craigslist for $25 – and now the kid is looking at it under a jeweler’s loop.
“How old is it,” he asks. I don’t know how old the damn thing is. I’ve known Brandon10 years, and he’s had it that long. It’s safe to assume most of the furniture in Brandon’s apartment could be described as pre-Etruscan.
Ishmael is tiptoeing through a cavern of boxes because Brandon and I are both in various stages of moving. I’ve been crashing on the couch for more than a week after driving up from Florida. My suitcase is vomiting black T-shirts and denim next to the stack of bedding I fold up every day so the room has some semblance of order.
Occasionally, Ishmael will touch something, ask how much it is, and then how old it is. What the hell do I look like? Antiques Roadshow?
When I was looking for places to rent, the lady who chose me to move into her house said she liked me because I seemed laid back. Which I am. But now that I’m home wheeling and dealing while Brandon is at work – lucky duck -- I see what she means.
The desk is $25 for crying out loud. And the guy is acting like I’m asking for a testicle. What makes matters worse is that I can tell this is the kind of douche who will pay that much for a Grey Goose martini on U Street Saturday night.
Plus, I’m still thinking about the little incident in the parking garage. He refused to park on the street outside the condo and put his flashers on. So, I let him into the parking garage. Where he immediately drove into another car, bashing the shit out of it. Then, he checks out his own car, and walks off as if nothing happened. Bad karma. Bad karma everywhere. This is not the yoga way. I kind of wave my hands in front of my face to divert any bad energy. He looks at me as if I'm the one with the problem.
After an hour of my life I’ll never get back, Ishmael decides he’ll take the desk. But he needs a tool to take it apart to fit into his car. I think of about a dozen tool jokes in my head, but am proud of myself when I manage to keep them all between my ears. Then he asks if he can take Brandon’s screwdriver to put the desk back together when he gets home. Is he crazy? No, I tell him. You can’t. Brandon needs that. Jeebus.
Happy our little interlude is almost over, I help Ishmael haul the desk out of the condo, down the hall, into the elevator, and into his shiny new Honda SUV paid for by the folks. We get everything squared away and he goes to get into his SUV.
Then he turns, seems to think about something, and without a word pulls the screwdriver out of his pocket. That’s right. He almost stole the screwdriver I told him he couldn’t take. Why he gave it a second thought, I have no idea. I didn’t see him take it. He could have gotten away with it.
He hands it to me. I take it.
“Thanks,” I say, and walk away.