April 23, 2007
Text, Lies & Videotape
I've hit a personal record. And not in a nerdy-cool, I-saw-69-movies-last-year kind of way.
Last month I had received 84 text messages on my trusty little Nokia.
My plan with T-Mobile only covers 50. The overages were not pretty to look at on paper. The dollar sign on my last statement taunted me, laughing at me as if to say, "Those friends of yours? They must hate the sound of your voice."
One morning I finally sucked it up, calling my carrier to request an upgrade in my service. My text allowance has now quadrupled for a mere $4.99 a month.
Before the upgrade, I had found it annoying, having friends send messages to my phone several times a day to communicate a plethora of trivialities. A sampling:
a) The new Maroon 5 sounds like Hall and Oates merged with Simply Red!
b) OMG, watch Tori Spelling's new reality show. Sooo good.
c) Ali Larter's waiting in line at Pinkberry and looks pissed.
d) Happy Hump Day.
But then I appreciated the gesture, the effort taken while punching in all those buttons to let me know I had crossed someone's mind.
And then I realized how much of a de-evolution in human communication this proved to be. First, it was e-mailing. Then came instant-messaging. Now, texting has consumed a good portion of our daily lives. No longer can we grace each other with the sound of our own voices. If you ask me, texting compensates for the fact that most of us, especially those darn kids nowadays, lack the proper communication skills necessary for face-to-face interaction with our human brethren. Canceling dinner plans with a friend and need to bypass her disappointment? Type away and send! Trying to avoid feedback after that first date with the cute guy you met last weekend? Message him an I'm-just-not-that-into-you smiley face. Copping out has never been easier.
Another reason for altering my plan was to accommodate the texting habits of my future roommate, fellow BU alum/Lost fanatic/party partner-in-crime, Matt.
Yes, after nearly four years of living in the area usually known as Beverly Hills Adjacent, I am heading further west (well, 3 miles at least), just past Century City, to the nicer hood of 90024.
What does this change in address mean exactly?
1. My car insurance premium goes down; I pay less.
2. My commute to work will extend from nine minutes to fifteen (still, a rarity in LA).
3. I will be blessed with triple the closet space in a bigger bedroom.
4. I can no longer rely on my anonymous neighbor for a free wireless Internet signal.
Moving ain't no easy feat for sure. I'm sure there's a laundry list of items I've overlooked that will come back to bite me on the ass come Saturday morning.
Moving can also mean getting acquainted with the intricacies of Craigslist in order to get rid of crap you no longer need. And that's what I did this past weekend.
If you post it (Kitchen Table and Chairs! $40!), they will come.
I am a consumer; I own a lot of shit.
Knowing that I own a media library rivaling that of any Blockbuster Video or Barnes and Noble, I prepared well in advance to get all of my DVDs, CDs and books packed away in boxes weeks before the big day. I had closets to clean out, old shirts to donate to Goodwill, CDs to sell back to Amoeba in Hollywood.
But little did I know, before my TiVo, before my DVD obsession, how many videotapes I had accumulated since discovering in the early 90s how to fully utitlize a VCR. Apparently, growing up, I liked to record broadcast television premieres of mediocre movies. Who remembers that Danny Glover-Martin Short gem from 1991, Pure Luck? How about that heavily-edited CBS broadcast of Parenthood? Actually, the latter is about to be released on a special edition disc, and I may not be able to resist revisiting that hilarious blackout/"giant ear cleaner" scene.
I recorded movies as if that glowing red "REC" light were my own private lifeforce; if it didn't shine bright, my chances of living to see the next TV Guide were weak. Videotape after videotape would eventually stack up in my parents' entertainment center, each Maxell label meticulously printed in pencil for the purpose of recycling and erasing any easily forgotten flick. I was also a fan of keeping a record of final episodes of the shows I loved and cherished.
Last Monday, after clinking champagne glasses with Adam Brody, Rob Reiner, and JC Chasez at the red carpet premiere afterparty for Anonymous Content's In the Land of Women, I came home to a living room in disarray. My apartment had turned into a labrynth of Office Depot cardboard boxes and giant Tupperware storage bins. I expected the dust bunnies from every nook and cranny to fuse together to form one giant dirt monstrosity and smother me in what little sleep I've been getting (thanks to the anxiousness that's included in the whole, New-Chapter-of-My-Life package).
Next is reserving a U-Haul truck on which I can load up my entire life and drive it four miles through the city without plowing down pedestrians and rear-ending Brentwood housewives on the way to their Pilates appointments. Obviously I can't afford to hire professionals. Instead, I prefer to chain up my closest (read: willing) friends and whip them into submission as they lug my bookcases and dresser up and down flights of stairs.
And then there's the deposit I hope to get back from my landlord in some form or another. True, the carpets have seen lots foot traffic. Yes, the walls have gotten scratched and bruised. And of course, I'll have to paint the wall in my bedroom back to its original color (remember that shade of red I bought four years ago, Estate Vineyard?). This Hollywood executive assistant needs all the cash he can scrounge up to lay in (relative) luxury.
I just want to get it over with. I just want this week to pass. I just want someone to condemn Alberto Gonzalez to "serve at the pleasure" of a coked-out crossdresser named Melinda DooMuch. Not a lot to ask, no?
Deep breaths, I remind myself. Deep breaths.
Bags packed. Rent check ready. Doors wide open.
Listening to and loving "Umbrella" by Rihanna and Jay-Z,
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