Me: Maybe the reason I can't get a job is because I suck. Maybe I got laid off because I suck. Everyone I know has a job. My friends from grad school are in high-level positions. Maybe I'm just really, really crummy and that's why nobody wants me.
Primo: You do not suck.
Me: Yes I do.
Primo: There's age discrimination and discrimination against women. You should be mad at The Man.
"There were some crazy people at the convention," Primo told me.
No kidding. I've been pointing out to him for a while that some of the Polka Dot legislators do not do his side credit. The one who was pulled over for driving the wrong way on a city street and who, instead of expressing horror at her mistake - she could have killed someone! screamed at the cop, "Do you know who I am?"
Not someone you want on your side.
The Polka Dot spokesman who is known for making hysterical, unsubstantiated accusations about the other side screamed at another party member who suggested that the spokesman should maybe be replaced, given the poor Polka Dot showing in the recent recall election? Who demanded to know if this person really was a party member?
Oh honey, I would have told him. Do you really have to ask that? Do you really think that the opposition wants you gone? You're the opposition's best weapon!
And of course the local activist who put up posters of her ex-husband accusing him of being a rapist. Keep talking, honey. Every word you say is gold for the other side.
"Remember the guy who dumped beer on [that Stripes legislator's] head?" Primo asked.
"Oh yes. I remember."
Primo nodded. "He tried to friend me on facebook. I turned him down."
Primo opened the mail. There was a letter from Seth, the weirdo kid who was supposed to do the website but didn't really do anything and who then got on a flame war on facebook about Polka Dot folks. He was airing Polka Dot laundry in public, which we all know Is Not Done.
Primo rolled his eyes. Opened the letter.
Seth was asking for money for his political action committee.
Keep in mind this kid just graduated from high school. No grass growing under his feet.
Me: I saw that crazy lady Sally posted stuff on your facebook page today.
Primo: I'm mad at her.
Me: I thought you thought she was OK.
Let me back up here and explain what I mean by "crazy lady." She is very active in the Polka Dots and in the recall campaign. I noticed she had been posting on Primo's page. I told him I had heard of her before and wasn't she kind of a nutcase/loose cannon? He defended her, saying she was a strong activist.
That's when I went to the google to refresh my memory.
Actually, to the bing. I am boycotting google.
Anyhow. Yes. She is a crazy lady. Years ago, during a custody battle with her ex husband, she posted signs around town with his photo and the label "Rapist." She wanted people to boycott the ex's business. She accused the ex of stealing a book she had written and taking all the credit for herself.
She accused the judges in her case of malicious interference in her life.
Judges don't like that crap.
They slapped her down hard.
When Primo read what I had sent him, he agreed: She's a crazy lady.
Back to the story.
Primo: She's OK in that she works hard for the cause. But on Tuesday night, at the party for [the Polka Dot candidate for governor, who lost], I was talking to the PDC. She interrupted me.
Primo: No. I mean, I was talking to PDC and she came up and asked to speak to him for a second. I said sure. Then she said, "Privately!"
Me: OK, she's a bitch. You were speaking to someone with influence who could help your campaign and she cut you off.
Primo: Yep. She's asking for a ride to the Polka Dot convention this weekend. She's not coming with me. I've offered a ride to another candidate, but Sally can find her own ride.
Is there such a thing as a good phone call at 2 a.m.?
I don't think so. I have never gotten one.
Last night, my phone rang at 2:30. It was Primo. I thought he was calling to tell me that he was going to be even later than he thought, which was dumb because he has never done that: why would he wake me up just to tell me he wouldn't be home yet?
No. He was calling to tell me that the car had been towed.
Not that I could do anything about it. He had taken the red car. We also have an old Corvair that I have never driven and probably never will drive. The Corvair lives in the garage. Backing a car out of the garage requires navigating the Narrow Straits of DON'T HIT THE HOUSE! DON'T SCRATCH THE CAR!
I am not a good back-outer. If backing out is necessary - if Primo has put the red car in the garage because of expected snow (which just means that we have to shovel twice as much driveway, so I don't get it - I'd rather brush snow off a car than shovel), then he also gets it out of the garage and places it past the Narrow Straits.
1. Two thirty in the morning.
3. in the garage
= I wasn't going to be able to get him.
What I could do is look up information about the city and towing.
Our city has a line item (over a million dollars) on the annual budget showing expected revenue from parking fines and related items, i.e., $125 towing fees and $20 a day storage fees at the lot.
As in, our city plans for parking fees. Parking enforcement's motto is, "Ticket first, ask questions later."
Now, Primo was parked in a tow-away zone. He had parked there at 10:30 p.m. Parking was illegal from 2:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.
That tow truck must have been waiting, lurking. I am guessing that at 2:01 a.m., our car was hooked up and ready to go.
I know, I know. I know Primo should have paid attention. I know he broke the rules. But some rules are stupid. And the purpose of government is not to make money off drivers.
I found the public works website. The impound lot wouldn't be open until 8:00 a.m. You have to show your car title, your insurance, and ID to reclaim the car. And the money. There was no point in Primo trying to get the car now.
He caught a cab and came home. He was cranky. I was cranky, too.
"Aren't you mad at me?" he asked. "Aren't you going to yell?"
I shook my head. "This is dumb tax. We have to pay it occasionally. Go to sleep."
We learned when we went to pick up the car that the zone had turned into no-parking at 2:00 a.m. The ticket had been issued at 2:06 a.m. The car was towed at 2:13 a.m.
If only all government services were this efficient.
Primo went to his mom and dad's this weekend. Got back last night - Christmas Eve. Yesterday morning, he sent me an email:
It must be Festivus here because tonight we had the Airing of the Grievances! After I spent much of the day working (taking apart and cleaning the sofa, doing a couple of loads of laundry, cooking flank steaks) and we had a delicious dinner, my dad finally erupted with criticism of your lack of respect for him and especially for my mom.
So we had a good conversation about it on the way back from the airport.
In no particular order, here are the things Sly complained about.
2. I ate all of something one time when I was at their house - which has been more than two years - that was supposed to be for everyone. We don't know what this food was or if anyone had said, "GD, we are saving that for later." Remember these are the people who don't each lunch.
3. They want a better relationship with me. I am not showing them enough respect. If Primo doesn't facilitate a better relationship between them and me, they will write him out of the will. (Primo snapped to his father that if that's what he wanted, then Primo and I would take care of ourselves and Sly and Doris could take care of themselves and we would have nothing to do with each other.)
Me: Why? Why do they want a better relationship with me?
Primo: I don't know.
Me: Seriously. They don't like me. They didn't want you to marry me. So what's changed? Why do they want me around now?
Primo: I don't know.
Me: Do you think they really want me around?
Primo: No. I think my dad just can't stand it that you don't respect him. You need to acknowledge that he is a superior human being.
Me: What makes him superior?
Primo: He thinks because he's smarter than you are.
Me: I'm not sure he is, but even if he were, that's not a reason to kowtow to someone. Smart is something you're born with. I might as well as acknowledge he's superior for having detached earlobes. You don't respect for qualities you're born with. You get respect for what you do. Is he a nice person? Is he generous? Has he accomplished good things? No.
Primo: He thinks he's superior.
Me: So they don't want a better relationship with me - if they did, they would do something, like email or call me. Your dad just wants me to toe the line. He wants to be the one who is rejecting me, not the other way around.
Primo: That's it.
Me: Screw them.
And then this morning - when I asked if they liked the Christmas cookies that Primo had asked me to send along with him -
Me: Did they like the cookies?
Primo: They said you didn't send enough of them.
Me: That's it? They complained there weren't enough?
Primo: And they didn't like the hazelnut ones.
Me: So they didn't like the cookies and there weren't enough of them.
Primo: Pretty much.
I might be adding to this as I remember more and as Primo and I talk today.
Primo just came home from the election coverage thingie. He is in shock. The Stripes incumbent governor is winning by 9 percentage points with 85% of the vote reported. The networks called the election at 30% of the vote reported, which I have to agree with Primo was irresponsible, especially considering that there were people still voting. The lines at the polls were so long that they had to stay open late.
"It's election fraud!" he said.
But then we looked at the election map online that showed results by county. "The Stripes guy won all those counties? I guess what that means is that people didn't want a recall election."
"Tamika voted for the independent candidate," I told him. She and I had talked about the election after our tennis class tonight.
Primo's jaw dropped. "How could she?"
I shrugged. "That's what she told me. She said she doesn't like either the Stripes or the Polka Dot guy. Says they're both crooks."
"But that just helped the Stripes guy!" he said.
"I don't know," I said. "Hey. I watched that TV station online for over an hour, waiting for you. You never showed up."
"When they called the election at 30%," he said, "it screwed up the coverage. So I never got on."
He opened the fridge and got out the hummus, then got some crackers from the cupboard.
"I didn't get to eat. The other table, with the Stripes people, got a foccacia. But I didn't get anything." He dragged a cracker through the hummus. "So the Stripes people were mostly nice, but this one lady was so stereotypical Stripes: she had bad teeth and lip gloss and she was gloating about [the Polka Dot candidate]."
"That doesn't help the Stripes cause," I said. "For them to have rude people."
"I can't believe it," he said. "Should I take it out on you?"
I punched him lightly in the arm. "Don't you dare. I voted for your guy, remember?* Just so I could have some peace in this house. This is not my fault."
He sighed. "Should I be despondent? Should I withdraw from the race?"
I thought about it. "You're allowed to be sad for a while. You've worked so hard on this. But I think you should run. I do. You might never have another chance."
He nodded. "I can think about it." He hugged me. "I have to go. I have to be with my peeps tonight."
I think tomorrow is going to be a very, very long day. I plan to be out of the house as much as possible. Primo is going to be cranky.
* Did I tell you about this? That I negotiated what was supposed to be a house free of political conversation in exchange for my voting for Primo's guy? Yeah, yeah, yeah. You can tell me how unprincipled I am when you're living with someone from the other side who wants to talk about politics all the time and you do not.
Primo is all excited because the newspaper is doing a story tonight about election watch parties and the Polka Dots want him to be one of the official Polka Dots at the party. Of course they do. Primo is highly unlikely to pour a beer over the head of someone he disagrees with. The Polka Dots don't have to worry about his doing something that will make them look bad.
I eavesdropped on his phone call with the reporter. The reporter was interested this much (two fingers held very closely together) in Primo, but wanted Primo's help in finding a female Hispanic candidate. For diversity in the story, I guess.
Primo will be attending without me. I have a tennis class that I am not going to miss for a stupid political event.
If you've been wondering if having a husband who is holding down a more than full-time job while he is campaigning for a candidate in a recall election and running his own campaign has an impact on said husband's [wxyz] life with his wife, I can tell you that yes, it does.
Campaign = no or almost no [wxyz]
Maybe Primo is just doing the politician thing and fooling around, but I don't think so.
Two weeks before our wedding, my husband's parents called to tell him 1. they weren't coming and 2. he shouldn't marry me. Since then, I have gotten along with them about as well as you might think. PS They died hating me and disinherited my husband. PPS None of this is made up. None of it.
And now, Primo is running for state-level public office. And - it's not fun. For either of us.