I woke up in a strange place

By Marc Heiden, since 1997.
See also: a novel about a monkey.

September 12, 2005

I'm away for a while, and I completely forget how this thing works. What sort of words go here? What do I write about? When I'm trying to remember what's on my mind, where do I look?

I have a new computer, which is nice. It's an iBook. 14+ years of PC usage make this feel like a pretty transgressive act. It's like being in a new and unfamiliar place, actually, not as overwhelming as Japan but more than Texas. I'm fairly astonished by how well this thing works. It's just really very pleasant. I guess I sort of lost perspective on how certain stupid shit is not inherent to computing, but merely to Microsoft. I had to get a new iPod after the theft as well. It's nice that its battery works as long as it says it does and it's cool that the iPod gets along fine with my computer, but this click-wheel stuff is for the birds. I liked my third-generation iPod with its four buttons up top and touch-sensitive scroll circle at the bottom. This is probably the point at which I should acknowledge that Hurricane Katrina happened.

I still ain't got no job and the Texas experiment is going to be replaced with a Japan sequel if this goes on much longer. I like being able to buy veggie burgers at the grocery store and watch football on the television but I also like getting paid. I wouldn't put it on a top ten list or anything, but getting paid is pretty awesome. If you've never tried it, you should. I know how big this webpage is among hoboes so I do feel like I'm tipping off my readership to something they might enjoy.

It remains to be seen how catastrophic my old computer's hard drive failure was. After a couple days' worth of combing my online galleries for replacements and giving the corrupted files a Photoshop massage, I wound up losing about 90 snaps from Japan and 4 from Russia. Not awful, really, although it did mean the loss of my entire unpublished "Monkeys operating vehicles they are not licensed to operate, in summer" series. I really had to put myself at risk to get those photos, but it's my own fault for not getting them online by now. I haven't gone through my massive set of text documents, of course. God forbid I should lose any of them:

I'm always on the train platform before 7:00 am, and if you've seen any CTA Transit Guides (read: propaganda), you know that these trains along the Orange Line (read: now that it is old, it is rotten, mushy, gross, smooshed, and sour) are supposed to arrive every 3-4 minutes. This is only the first in an innocence-shattering serious of vicious lies that the CTA cheerfully propagates. Because the hard-working CTA workers cannot be denied their right to have a 20 minute coffee break every 5 minutes, trains are regularly circa 15 minutes apart, though they have been known to be twice that late on many mornings. When this train finally does arrive, I and other passengers are led to the Howard Street station like lambs to the slaughter. This is where the Linden-Howard train line is run from, a line so vicious and brutal that the CTA hasn't even given it a cute nickname.

Here one can see such wondrous sights in the morning as three transvestites on their way back from a night out, or the occasional spontaneous combustion.

Apparently I didn't lose any of the articles I wrote for the high school paper, so that's a relief.

Nobody can say that I haven't been using my unemployment wisely, though, because I have totally achieved 'regular' status at the convenient store beyond the shadow of a reasonable doubt. It strikes me sometimes that I have to walk five whole minutes to get there, and they would never stand for that in Japan. But that's all right. If the bill comes to 99 cents, I hand over a dollar and leave, and if the bill comes to 96 cents, I get a nickel back. That's how you know you're down with the guy at the convenience store. Life does have its rewards.

I woke up in a strange place is the work of Marc Heiden, born in 1978, author of two books (Chicago, Hiroshima) and some plays, and an occasional photographer.

Often discussed:

Antarctica, Beelzetron, Books, Chicago, College, Communism, Food, Internet, Japan, Manute Bol, Monkeys and Apes, North Korea, Oregon Trail, Outer Space, Panda Porn, Politics, RabbiTech, Shakespeare, Sports, Texas.


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Written by Marc Heiden, 1997-2011.