Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Lusty and Clear from the Goatherd's Throat

So I joined iTunes and started downloading songs at the rate of 99¢ each; though in a rare show of restraint I've only downloaded six songs so far. The experience is somewhat marred by my rickety 45.5k dialup service, which makes pre-listening a time-consuming chore when the sample plays for three second then takes thirty seconds or more to buffer, but I have nevertheless been having a hell of a blast looking up artists and albums. They have every Ella Fitzgerald album known to man, not to mention the entire oeuvre of Maria Callas, and absolute scads of soundtracks to some wonderfully obscure films and plays. I haven't branched out into the unknown yet, having only downloaded songs I knew from movies or artists with whom I'm quite familiar. My favorite download so far is "The Lonely Goatherd" from The Sound of Music (you remember, the song with the marionettes), which always makes me get up and dance.

I've noticed lately that there are a number of songs floating around in my CD collection that never fail to lift my spirits. Maria Callas' "Dunq'io son" from The Barber of Seville, Sheryl Lee Ralph's "Long As I'm Here With You" from Thoroughly Modern Millie, or Murray Gold's "Queer As Folk Theme" from the British Queer as Folk soundtrack. I'm thinking I should put together a compilation CD of all my Happy Songs and use it as an antidepressent.

Speaking of antidepressants, my coworker BB gave me a little box of homeopathic pastilles called "Blues Drops." They're made of gold and cocoa, among other things, which strike me as a winning combination. I've been popping them for the last couple of days, and while I don't know if it's the Blues Drops or the Lonely Goatherd or the grace of God that's keeping me happy, I have to admit that I'm in a pretty damned good mood. Things that would ordinarily piss me off no end are flying right under the radar, accepted and passed over.

For example, over the weekend, I got a notice in the mail that Miss Marjorie, my late Volvo, had been wrecked by an unliscensed driver and subsequently towed away to a lien-sale garage in Antioch. I'd sold this car to a friend of my sister, and have the bill-of-sale to prove it; but the "friend" (who actually got the car running with one replacement part) didn't register the car in his own name, so I am still legally responsible for the car. As I perused the Notice of Stored Vehicle that was sent by the Antioch police, I noted that the new tires I'd bought a few months before unloading the car had apparently been replaced with old tires, as the report states that the front left was bald and the right rear was flat with bent rims.

But the tires are a side-issue. What remains is that I am still the owner of record and can either fork over about $600 to get Miss Marjorie back, fork over $200 to get the lien-sale garage to put the poor old darling out of her misery with a decent burial, or fork over nothing right now and allow the garage to sort out the true ownership and take the chance that it might still be me. So I will just cough up the smaller amount of cash and have it over with (though in the meantime, my sister has been alerted to the situation and will be tearing her "friend" a new asshole while trying to extract the $200 from him).

Then on Sunday Miss Jane's brakes went into critical meltdown, and I had to take her in yesterday to get them replaced. I knew this would cost something, since brakes are not one of those cheapie things, and because the grinding noise (which was so intense that it rattled the windows) sounded like the rotors and calipers damaging each other, rather than just the shoes wearing thin. But I wasn't prepared for it to cost $540. And it wasn't even partially covered by my warranty. I didn't even have the money for this, and had to put it on my credit-card... putting my load right up to the limit, and it's going to start charging interest in April and I am going to be paying out the nose for the rest of my life if I don't manage to transfer the balance elsewhere.

On top of this, according to the guy at the dealer service department, the Ford Focus is particularly liable to brake replacement, since it's front-wheel drive (he considers me lucky to have gotten to twenty thousand miles on the original brakes, mostly they wear out at fifteen thousand), and furthermore the Focus brake parts are unusually expensive. This was the first I had ever heard about front-wheel drive or potential brake problems, it had never even occurred to me to ask such a thing when I bought Miss Jane last year... but it's typical of the evil corporate mindset currently infesting the American industrial sector that someone would build a car that is liable to brake problems and then make the brakes extra costly. So I can look forward to a nice pricey ding to my account every fifteen thousand to twenty thousand miles. YAY!

At any rate, with both of these expensive automotive fiascoes hanging around in my life, I find it odd that I just can't muster up any anger. I find it unfortunate that my already shaky financial situation has been dealt this unhealthy blow, perhaps even mildly vexatious, but I'm not getting worked up about it in any way. I just don't care... or, more exactly, I don't mind. I'm just too cheerful right now for this to upset me.

I'm also having a hard time getting worked up about three or four other things in my life, and all the awful things and people happening on the world scene (Bush's war, Bush's marriage amendment, Bush's asshole corporate raider cabinet, etc). I wonder if I simply hit saturation point with my upsets and irritations, fears and anger, and the whole mechanism just blew out? Or if perhaps my Depression has wandered off? Or the joy of being able to step out of bed and walk all the way across the room on bare carpet has lifted me out of my doldrums? Or if God has done for me something I couldn't do for myself? Or if these Blues Drops really are a miracle cure? Or maybe it's just the Lonely Goatherd ("Happy are they, le-di-o, le-di-li-o"), the best 99¢ I've spent in years.

I hope you're as happy as I am, today... if not more so!

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