Four Conclusions

1. Yes, he really is an idiot.
A couple of conclusions I have reached this year: I will only call him Mr. Bush rather than use the title to which he has been elected because I feel that combining his name and that title together is an insult to every other President that has ever been President, and I include Richard Nixon. Reagan, I must admit, even though he was foul and short-sighted and mean-spirited and sort of retarded, was still a better leader than Mr. Bush. At least he could assemble a cogent thought into a complete sentence without fucking it up.
I had heard from people in the world of politics that we shouldn’t assume Mr. Bush is an idiot because, after all, they argued, you can’t become President of the United States and be an idiot. My belief is that Mr. Bush is the exception to that rule and that he is, undoubtedly, an idiot.
Now, immediately following his re-election, there was a trend to label those that voted for him idiots as well. After all, he had done absolutely nothing right, could not speak well, alienated our country to the rest of the world, despoiled the environment, ruined the military, sank us farther into debt than anyone ever had ever and was an arrogant, smart-mouthed cheat who had plunged us into an unwinnable war under invalid circumstances (at best) and had based his campaign on “more of the same.” Who, but an idiot, would vote for such a man? Plus, calling those constituents idiots would not endear them to our supposedly better side where unicorns joined hands with elves, dancing under rainbows of same-sex marriages and fat-free chocolate donuts.


But… they’re idiots. If you voted for George W. Bush for re-election, you are an idiot. I can find no excuse for your behavior other than idiocy or retardation or temporary insanity. So I’ll lean toward the least offensive of those terms and label you an idiot. This is something I would tell my friends as we stood around bitching about the state of the nation and since you are also a friend of sorts and, I have to assume, you did not vote for the man then I feel perfectly comfortable voicing that opinion as if it were a fact.
2. There will be much good art made in the next four years.
Anger spurs two things well; comedy and art. John Cleese probably best personifies the first, his Basil Fawlty was nothing but a ball of anger all the time, and I believe he once said that for him, Monty Python was only funny as long as he was angry about something.
Art, too, can spring from anger. Oh, sure, so can violence and mayhem and bloodshed, but let’s hope we get more art than war — not that the U.S. government is in the habit of financially supporting art, since they seem to want to spend all my tax money (and then some) on making war with countries that never attacked us directly, but whatever. How am I supposed to fight that?
Is it time for a revolution, yet? Can we rise up indignantly and put those people in their places yet? Or no? I’m not much of a revolutionary, generally. Lately, I’ve been accused of being heterophobic and Christianophobic and, lumping it all together, misanthropic. At times, I have been all three at once, admittedly. I mean, we all have our bad days, do we not, and we all occasionally hate all of mankind all at once and we all (or most of us) recover fairly quickly and recognize the inherent fallacy in all humans, even (or especially?) the Pope.
Anyway, I look forward to some really great and inspiring and angry art in the coming years. Painting and sculpture and performance and music and, you know, the whole gamut of creativity. I’m really looking forward to the whole angry architecture movement, I think big angry buildings would be awesome.
3. All cellular service providers suck.
I have never heard the following phrase uttered by anyone of my acquaintance: “I totally love my cellular phone. (Company name) is excellent! Their customer service is friendly, helpful and knowledgeable, the phone always works no matter where I am and the rate I pay is fair and affordable!”
I used to use Sprint but after three very bad customer service experiences, one involving me going to a Sprint service center and being told I had to go over to a wall phone and call another service center directly and stand there on hold for 20 minutes and then be told… that I needed to go to another service center entirely — that was the proverbial straw. Their service was fine, their phones were fine, I was paying too much for too little and I hate, hate, hated dealing with them in any capacity.
Now I use Cingular. I was using AT&T but they got bought, and I thought that was a good thing because… AT&T sucked. Coverage was uniformly awful in San Francisco, again with the sucky customer service and trying to talk to a real human being was nearly impossible. I chose them mainly because they carried the phone I wanted, but I was never very happy with them as a company. So I was hopeful that Cingular would be better.
They aren’t. Cingular sucks too! What are the odds? So I went into Cingular thinking — because they told me this — that I was now a Cingular customer having been an AT&T customer, but then I found out that wasn’t true at all. If I wanted to be a Cingular customer, I would have to move my service from AT&T (which, I would like to point out, didn’t exist anymore) onto Cingular, choose a new plan, get a new phone and be treated like a brand new customer all over again.
But then I was told at one store that there’d be a charge to bring my service over, even though technically I was already using Cingular’s network. Another store told me there’d be no service charge, but they only had certain phones and not the one I wanted.
So I went online and ordered the phone I wanted, only to discover once I started using it that the interface was horrible, the buttons were too small for my fat fingers and there was no way to send email with an attachment that I could discover. It insisted on send MMS instead.
So I went back to the Cingular store because they have a 30-day trade-in guaranty on all their phones — and was told that because I bought it online, they couldn’t take it back. I would have to call and get an authorization number and send it back to them that way. “But,” I logically (and pointlessly) reasoned to the store manager, “this is a Cingular phone. This is a Cingular store. I am a Cingular customer. Why can’t you simply take the phone back, send it wherever you need to send it, save me the hassle, make me a happy camper and replace it like your company promised?”
What I got was an unsympathetic shrug. That was that.
So I called the online service and they gave me the address in New Mexico where I had to send my phone — and I was then informed that I couldn’t receive a replacement until they had their phone back, even though I had already paid for that phone and it was technically mine, not theirs. But whatever, by that point I was numbed to the whole process and did as they wanted.
So next, if you can believe this, they still wouldn’t give me a replacement phone for 10 business days because that’s how long it takes to get returned phones into the system. This is the same system which wouldn’t allow me to take my phone back to a store in the first place, which would have meant they would have their precious phone back anyway and I would be able to start using my cellular service again!
Ten days later I phoned in to confirm (they would not call me, by the way, to let me know the phone was there, it was up to me to keep calling them back and then be shifted from customer service to sales to returns — each time giving them my cell phone number, date of birth and last-four of my Social Security number to prove I was really me, the guy without a phone or a way to access their network in the first place) and lo and behold, they had received my phone 7 days before just like I told them! What a coincidence!
Now, could I at last replace my phone and start using their god damned stupid horrible backwards asinine cellular network?
No, I could not. Their computers were down so they couldn’t order a new phone to be sent out. Well, could they then credit my account back for the cost of the original phone and I would just go into a Cingular store and get another phone? Well, yes I could do that — if I cancelled my existing account, thereby losing my cell phone number, and opened a completely new account with the same service and a new phone.
Yes, you read that correctly. Cingular could not allow me to go into a Cingular store as a Cingular customer and get a new phone, even though my account shows that my old phone has been returned and I don’t have a phone to use.
So I asked about closing the account to just get this whole hellish business done and over with and… guess what? Because I had started service on December 24th and it was now January 29th, I was no longer within the 30-day trial window and they’d assess me a $150 early termination fee even though their systems already show I returned the phone on the 21st and I don’t have a phone and cannot use a phone and I intend to go into a store to re-start the account I am well and truly fucked over by Cingular Wireless.
Welcome to Brazil, where the terrorists have already won.
4. There is no such thing as privacy.
My boyfriend told me the other day that he doesn’t visit lancearthur.com because he recognizes it as my “private space.” Which is inherently silly and completely ludicrous.
It makes sense, in a way. See, he and I are not very good communicators. I realize this almost daily, but especially after I have left my weekly visit to my therapist and discussed with her this, that and the other thing, among them the good and bad things I feel about my relationship with him, how things are, how we are, satisfaction and dissatisfaction and somewhere in between. And her usual comment is, “And did you tell him about how you felt?”
And my usual answer is, “No,” which would be followed with, “Of course not,” but I think that goes without saying and I’d rather avoid her lowered brow look of discontent that I’m not really making any progress in this area.
My boyfriend is extremely understanding of my fucked-up romantic nature. I think. Being that we never talk about it, I can only assume that he is extremely understanding of it based on the fact that he rarely, if ever, complains that I am not romantic enough for him. We’ve been together nearly a year now (I know! Me, too! I never thought it would last, frankly, but I’m awfully happy it has) and I’m still learning things about him, mostly because it rarely occurs to me to ask some questions and others I’m a little bit afraid of venturing into.
For example: Ex-boyfriends. Do I really want to go there? No, I do not. I don’t want to hear a comparison of my personality quirks and short-comings when compared to someone else he was with. Besides, the fact that he’s no longer with them and he’s with me is, I think, evidence enough that I’m doing something right. Of course it would be grand to be doing everything right and live in a perfect relationship, but as my therapist relishes saying, “And what’s it like in your fantasy world of perfect relationships?”
Privacy was pretty much over when the Web came around as far as I’m concerned. What haven’t I told you about myself, and my unusual personal habits and threadbare belief structure and highly self-involved view of the world?
Of course, what I want to write here is something I could not tell him to his face but I feel free to publish in public on the Web — now how screwed up is that? Partly, I want to see how long it takes to get back to him, because everyone that I know that he knows would eventually read this. We’re like that. We share ourselves through our words and pictures, but not in person.
But I’m at a point in the relationship with him that I can’t actually think of anything that I’d write here that I wouldn’t also tell him. The things I don’t want to tell him, or can’t, are the things I don’t want to say out loud or write down. Personal fears too dear to enunciate. Superficial and stupid things too trivial to worry about, but which continually crop up because I am still not very confident about myself on a variety of subjects, most of them dealing with intimacy of all sorts and body issues left over from years of self hatred, or at least self not like very much at all, really.
I’ve never told anyone I loved them (in that way) and I was trying to figure out how to do it. You know, do I build it up and warn him that something awesome and incredible is coming and get him all worked up and excited and then, instead of a new jacket or something, I just tell him that I love him and his reaction’s a big “yeah, and…?” Or just try to slip it in at an opportune moment so the “yeah, and…?” is a given, like we both know that already, what ev’s.
I snuck it in, but I don’t think he registered it. I used it as a preamble to a comment about his smoker’s breath. “I love you but, damn, we have got to do something about that,” and then his response was, “And yours smells like onions.”
It’s a bit disheartening to know that my love is oniony.

February 1, 2005

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