Yeah, this was a pretty weird week. The sudden coalescing of the Democratic party process around Joe Biden, and Elizabeth Warren dropping out of the race… well, I’m glad things are getting settled, at least. Warren isn’t going anywhere, she’ll be doing good work in whatever position she ends up holding. I like Biden just fine. Yeah, not happy about the old white guy thing (and Biden, Sanders and Trump are all too old) but we’ll work with what we have for now. High hopes for a VP candidate – Abrams might be best, leaving Harris for the Attorney General job.
I had a phone interview last week – I didn’t think it went that well, although who knows. I am finding out that when I ask about telecommuting, the interviewer (usually a recruiter) gets very worried, no matter how much I assure them that the availability isn’t a dealbreaker, just a nice-to-have. So I think I need to just stop talking about that for a while.
I do get panicky, but I have to remind myself that I’ve only been actively in the job search for about five weeks, and I am getting a lot of response. And I’m in no financial danger. Except of course with the coronavirus stuff, I suppose we’re all in danger, financial and otherwise. Oy. Not sure what to do about that.
Spent a good chunk of the week providing what support I could to my friend whose father passed away last weekend (just two months after her mother passed away). This included facetiming with her to help pick out a burial outfit, and coordinating with a different friend of hers to get keys to her apartment, which she wasn’t going to be able to get back to before the funeral. (Logistics here: friend lives here in New York City. Parents lived in South Jersey, an hour or so away. She now has this house to deal with and was there all week. Funeral was in Shamokin, PA, her parents’s home town, way far away from everything.)
Thursday morning, I picked up the rental car, then headed over to her apartment to facetime with her and pick up some clothes and stuff that she’d need for the funeral. That all went swimmingly (with her apologizing profusely for making me go through her closets), and I watered a couple of plants and did a sniff test on the trashcans, then headed out to go back home and pick up my own suitcase and head out to central PA.
And within 60 seconds of pulling out of the parking space, got in a car accident. BAM! It was mostly my fault, too. I was in the correct lane, but pulled over kind of to the right because of a weird traffic pattern, then turned left without looking behind me. And a NYC garbage truck had decided to try to pass me on the left. Completely took off my left front fender.
As you can see, the garbage truck was unaffected.
So I pulled over to the side and we all got out and the sanitation guy was really nice and pointed out that no one was hurt and he’d call his supervisor and the city would deal with it all. And that’s pretty much what happened, except I guess that someone else called the accident in, because we got not only the Sanitation Department guys, but ambulances (!!!) and eventually the cops. I felt like the world’s biggest idiot, but it all went fine, actually. I filled out the accident form in the glove compartment (since C and I got in a car accident in Sicily back in 2008, we now know that if you get in an accident while driving a rental car, there’s a form in the glove compartment you fill out right then and there). I called C, I called Avis, everyone called everyone else. This all took about an hour and 45 minutes – luckily it was a beautiful day to stand outside. Everybody was chill, everyone was nice, no one was accusatory.
Except for the one remaining flappy part of the missing fender, which could have been a problem, the car was drivable, so once all the paperwork was done, I just drove back to Avis, said shamefacedly, “Hi, I broke your car, can I have another one?” And they gave me one, can you believe it? (a cute little red Kia Soul) Projected postlude: my Amex card comes with rental car insurance, and I’ve filed a claim with them. With luck, I’ll come out of this with no financial obligation, just shame.
Anyway… so now I’m like two, three hours behind schedule, but it’s not that big a deal. I picked up lunch and snacks at the 7-11, got my suitcase and headed out on the road. The drive to Danville, PA (where the hotel was) was uneventful, took about 3 hours – mostly into the sunset, since I was heading west, but I got there before it was dark. Got my friend her stuff and we had dinner at the hotel restaurant with another friend of hers. (She had relatives who’d wanted her to join them at some other restaurant a few towns over, but she was shaky enough that she didn’t want to drive.)
After sleep and cleanup, we repeated the process with breakfast, then the two of them headed out to Shamokin. I had to change into my suit and check out and stuff, did that, then did the same. It was a very traditional funeral: viewing (closed casket), quick walk down the street to the church, funeral mass, drive to the cemetery for burial, lunch afterward. The Ukranian Catholic ceremony was more formal and severe than most of what I’m used to (almost everything was intoned, for instance), but it really wasn’t that bad. During the burial, it was cold and snowing wetly, but they’d put up a canopy, it was fine. And lunch was very nice. I got to meet some really nice relatives I’d been hearing about for years.
Of course my thoughts went to my own mother. We didn’t have any kind of funeral for her, just dealt with the body (cremation) and packed up her stuff. I wondered what a funeral for mom would have looked like – even though she grew up very Catholic, she wasn’t religious at all for most of her life and I’m 99% sure she would have thought a funeral was ridiculous. (Not that a funeral is ridiculous – I thought this funeral was lovely and appropriate – but not for my mom.) We still will probably have an ash-spreading ceremony at some point.
Drive home was in crappy weather, and the last hour was in darkness and rain and through New York City and it was so bad you really had to just watch the headlights in front of you and the (not always there) painted lane guides. And having been in an accident in bright frikkin’ sunlight just the day before, I was on edge. But it was fine. It took me 15 minutes or so to find a parking space once I got home, but it was fairly close, and I got home just in time for dinner. And brought the car back to Avis the next morning, none the worse for wear.
I’ll be going down on Thursday this week with my friend to her parents’ house to help with projects and to pack up stuff, much like I did with my own parents. Nice to do something concretely helpful, particularly since I’m unemployed and have a low-level “you’re useless” feeling going on all the time. Shut up, stupid feeling, I am not.
Media consumption: we did finish “The Good Place”, which I thought was lovely. Working through “The Handmaid’s Tale” Season 3, which is excellent as always, except it’s absurd that they just haven’t killed June yet with all the shenanigans she’s pulled.
We watched “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” on Saturday, liked it a lot. I agree with my film reviewer friends that a major flaw is that the protagonist is this guy (not Mr. Rogers) that we don’t have a lot of reason to care about, but Tom Hanks’s performance is lovely. Then last night, we watched this new Spenser movie with Mark Walberg. It felt like just a two-hour tv cop show, but was entertaining. Very hypermasculine, lots of fistfights. Winston Duke is in it and is adorable, and Alan Arkin is very funny. There’s one scene where Spenser is attacked by a dog, and this led to me having a nightmare last night where I was being attacked by Bailey, Elizabeth Warren’s dog, and no one in the room seemed to notice or care. What does that mean? Probably means I need to lay off the nightcaps.