Rumbling my way amidst a few earthquakes this past month throughout Southern California, I didn’t mind the tumblers so much as the one that jolted me out of bed.After all (if I may speak broadly on behalf of Los Angelinos), we’re generally accustomed to the occasional ground quiver now and again and tend to pay little attention to anything that doesn’t shatter glassware. But woken abruptly by a seismic tremor as I watched all the Mardi Gras beads on a closet door flap willy-nilly to their own New Orleans rhythm? Well (and no offense to my deceased black kitty of course, who crossed my path a million times), this particular quake seemed to bode a bad omen…
Sure, there might be aftershocks, but if “THE BIG ONE” hits, most of us are relatively prepared. In fact, I for one, have TWO kinds of peanut butter (Creamy and Extra Crunchy) as well as an emergency can of Van Camp’s “Beanee Weenee” to trade to fellow survivors (God knows I don’t eat chicken hot dogs, but I failed to properly read the label when I bought it); plus toilet paper, water and a back-up bottle of vodka!But miffed at the interruption of my beauty sleep, I pleaded to my swaying bat cave “I’m still on hiatus!!!” as the Earth quietly settled itself.
>>><<<Now, as well as one can be prepared for natural disasters, I must say that I was decidedly NOT EQUIPPED to watch an episode of a reality show on cable called “Hoarders”.
DEAR GOD!!!!!!Sure, I’d seen a few clips here and there before (which perfunctorily inspired me to take out my recyclables!); but attempting to watch this particular episode, I seriously thought I was going to blow chunks…
And with lightning speed in my bat cave, I barreled into the kitchen to take out a bag of the usual trash. Granted, it wasn’t brimming over the edge or anything, but still, I had to get it out of my home!And settling in for another five minutes of the show, watching in horror as the owner was apparently sleeping on top of pizza boxes, I bolted out of the room and rushed one (of two) recyclable containers to the proper bin (every speck of paper and cardboard, including crossword puzzles and empty rolls from Bounty paper towels)!
Feeling significantly better about the cleanliness of my home, I believe I made it through all of three more minutes of “Hoarders” until a drawer of used diapers were revealed, as well as human excrement atop a non-flushing toilet.And like THAT, I was DONE!!!!!!!!!
Barreling once again into my kitchen to discard the other half a bag of more recyclables (aluminum and plastics); I was horrified to discover some gunky brown seepage on the floor. (WTF???)With all diet 7-Up cans hurriedly tossed in the bin outside, I surveyed the situation, trying to maintain a level head. After all, I rinse out everything, and when the heck did I ever have anything sticky and goopy that could have formed such a horrendously thick oozing caramelized puddle?
But donning my “Barney Fife” cap (Google him, kids), I ascertained that in the throes of one of our recent earthquakes, a tiny plastic container of God-knows-what from God-knows-when had toppled over in my pantry, splattering its guts all over the inside of the laver door and was drizzling down the wood like some sort of prehistoric ectoplasmic residue.And with the “Hoarders” marathon still blaring on the television in the other room, I immediately took to task to scrub down everything with Mr. Clean Magic Erasers until every single tile was sanitized.
Ironically (as we Southern Californians are supposed to maintain our Earthquake kits), I peered into my pantry to see just how many of my canned foodstuffs might have been affected. Most of them looked untouched (the spillage occurred on a lower shelf), and walking back to the TV, I observed a woman hoarding chickens, who had eggs all over her “home” (some of which were half-hatched), whilst various species of vermin scurried about her “kitchen”…Now, while I said I was “DONE” before, NO!!! This time, I was OFFICIALLY DONE!!!
Whether or not the foodstuffs deserved it -- frankly, I didn’t give a crap (no pun intended!) about the shelf life of corn nibblets in the moment -- as EVERYTHING had to go! Jell-O pudding packs with a layer of dust on the boxes? Toss! Canned refried beans I’ve kept for over two years? Toss! A tin of water chestnuts? (Seriously, water chestnuts??? In just what delusional decade did I plan to buy a wok and learn how to stir-fry???) Toss!And lugging approximately four plastic bags of unopened inedible food out of the house (hey, full tin cans are heavy, and I wasn’t about to open and release any potential flesh-eating bacterial spores in my home!), I finally felt at ease.
>>><<<OK, sure, my stay-up-late and wake-up-early elderly Eastern European (?) neighbors who leave their front door open when it’s warm outside may suspect me of dismembering a corpse in the middle of the night. (I have to walk past their apartment on the way to the gated trash bins.)
And yes, perhaps I could have chosen NOT to wear a t-shirt usually reserved for at-home hair coloring which happens to have multitudes of permanent blood red stains dripping down the neck, sleeves, shoulders and back…But in my defense, must I constantly witness my neighbor standing outside at all hours, who randomly sweeps the sidewalk shirtless??? EEK! (Dude, spend a dollar or two, and treat your lovely wife by turning on your air conditioning once in a while!)
>>><<<Whether or not my neighbors might deign me an axe murderer, and whether or not any more aftershocks would rock my world, I was still on shaky ground.
Despite the fact that approximately 23 million Americans are unemployed, the EDD (Unemployment Department) had once again selected me for a delightful telephone interview regarding my residual checks. I’d been notified in advance that I’d be called between 1 and 3pm yesterday, so having spent the weekend placing all of my paperwork on the coffin table for quick reference when the landline rang, I knew I would be prepared for anything.And contacting me at 2:45pm (thanks for being so prompt!) I sat patiently through all the questions, confirming FOUR times, that I’d not received a check until September 13th, as residuals are sent to the Union, and thus may take months for me to ever see them. “So, SPE cut you a check on June 23, but you didn’t get it until when?”
Oh, for the love of God… What am I, the FIRST Actor in Hollywood EVER??? YEESH!“Well, since you haven’t filled out the forms for that week yet” (withheld from me during my inquisition) Rodney informed me (after a few minutes of telephone muzak while he conferred with his supervisor); “you’ll probably be OK. I just need to confirm your story with the payroll company” he added, with all due bureaucratic empathy.
“Probably???”Well, that’s a fat load of comfort, thank you very much!
>>><<<Meanwhile, I’m mostly looking ahead to going back to work on Monday.
I have no idea what to expect from our new Director for the first three episodes (whom I’ve heard can be a bit, um, volatile), but my fingers are crossed that the earth will stop shaking beneath me.Wish me luck!!!
With enormous gratitude and appreciation for my summer vacation,~Back-to-the-grind P