i am joe's middle finger

December 21. 2000


note the book

The Shoes



Lebanon was so beautiful as I was leaving on Wednesday morning. Dad's school had closed for the day because of the snow, so he proposed we go to Mel's Diner, a local greasy spoon. The place is overbearingly tacky, the waitresses all had santa hats on and the clientele consisted of old men with leathery hands, plaid shirts and baseball caps bearing the names of local car dealerships. It was shabby and smokey but unpretentious.

I left around 11 o'clock. As I drove, I half listened to the audio book my Dad had thrust at me as I was about to pull out of the driveway. Then I saw a sign along the road: turnpike closed between exits 23 and 24. What? No, that couldn't be right. They wouldn't close the turnpike, would they?

Oh yes they would. Bastards.

So a drive that normally took me an hour and a half took me nearly 3 and a half hours, most of it spent crawling off the turnpike, crawling onto Route 100 to Route 30 to Route 202 and then back on the turnpike. I hate slow traffic, I should've been mad as hell, but I just felt kind of apathetic and sluggish. I shut off the audio book and put on Eminem in hopes of rousing myself. Blah. Blah. Blah. I got home rather pissed that most of the day was gone.

I did my last bout of shopping on South Street on Wednesday night. Mostly for myself, as it turned out. I got The Shoes. The Shoes were $70. I don't think I've ever spent $70 on shoes, but these were The Shoes. I had to do it. Now I will be the meanest motherfucker to walk the streets of Philadelphia, and I will be three inches taller to boot.


So I worked almost 12 hours at B&N today. I was only supposed to work 7, but I got suckered into covering for someone else. Hey, I asked for it. Besides, it'll be nice to have a paycheck that's more than a hundred bucks every week. I worked until midnight, or at least I was supposed to work until midnight, but I ended staying until almost 1 am. In a goddamn bookstore.

I thought, since I had to be back to work again at 8 am the next morning, they would let me off at 12 instead of staying until 1. Not so. Of course not. M, my eternal asshole manager with a schizophrenic personality, no social skills and a bald head the size of the Houston Astrodome, would not let me. Then, as if to make up for what would be my complete lack of proper sleep that night, as I was leaving, he pressed a chocolate gold coin into my hand.

"For a job well done." he said tonelessly as he wandered away.

Okay, asshole, is there any way I can exchange this stale piece of chocolate for an hour of sleep?

I stumbled into my apartment at 1:30, fired off a quick, incoherent email to John and collapsed in bed.

One Year Ago:
"I thought college would give me the answers to the questions I had been asking all through high school, it in some ways it did, but college also made me ask a whole new set of questions."