Februaries Are Always Bad / 28 February 1998

One time in high school I was talking to Stephani Pierce (I won’t explain who she is in the hopes that the lack of a modifying explanation will trick you into thinking that she’s famous [like how this guy I work with went to school with Serena Altschuul, if that’s how you spell it and I hope it is because having two U’s together like that really boosts her sex appeal and newsworthiness by like 25%] and also people who have missing letters in their name [e.g., Where’s that second “e”?] make you think of famous people, or rather they make me think they’re a famous supermodel [like there’s another kind, like a struggling supermodel who has to slum it on the covers of engineering or chemistry magazines] whom I recognize but can’t put a name to) and I was commenting, idly, that February was about to begin, probably to remind her to say “rabbit rabbit” which is my one big superstition (that you need to say “rabbit rabbit” the first thing each month, before you say anything else, or you’ll be fuckola’d for that month), or rather the one superstition that’s been easy enough for me to remember and cling to, and Stephani was like: “Oh no! February! February’s bad!” And I said, “Why? What’s happening in 2?” and I never referred to months by their number like that, certainly not in high school, and in fact the idea never even occurred to me before right now, but what is the point of writing if you can’t pep up your personal history a little? So Stephani just looked at me, aghast, like I was insane, and said: “You know, it’s February. Februaries [sic] are always bad.” And I said something like What Are You Talking About and she threw hands in the air, rolled eyes, harrumphed, etc. and maybe even stormed off. No further explanation, but I’ve had it in my head since then that, indeed, Februarys are bad. Bad things happen in them and they’re basically a gauntlet that the year throws down to see if you’ve got the personal mettle to make it all the way to the work xmas party (more on that another time). Now perhaps this is a self-fulfilling prophecy but my motto is any prophecy that can be fulfilled is a worthy prophecy and if you can fulfill it yourself, then you’re a pretty potent and respectable individual. Februarys are mercifully short, I think Stephani may have said. They’re curtailed to 28 or 29 days as a kind of last-minute mercy.

So I write this as the 27th creeps into the 28th and I feel like I’ve almost made it. I moved from an urban hellpit to a suburban wasteland this February and I’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop (since I’m not sure what that little expression means I may well be using it incorrectly). I’ve hardly ventured out of my little apartment (or what I like to call “my one smallish room that allows me to eat, watch cable TV, do the dishes, piss, and sculpt computerized 3-D virtual models of famous saints [and in that case I think using the word “famous” is more OK that with the supermodel example earlier, simply because there really are a lot of saints out there that no one’s ever heard of, or that have fallen out of general use {a good example is Saint Sammy, patron saint of pulse tone telephones}] without ever leaving my bed”) except to go to work, so Mountain View seems like a tame, controllable enough town, at least from inside a shaky, dirty, glass-filled, duct-taped Honda. Basically what February has been about is buying a lot of things and putting them somewhere and looking at them. An abridged list follows:

  1. Steel, government-issue desk
  2. Exorcist-vomit-green chair
  3. Two lamps, both featuring a healthy dose of chrome
  4. Two bookcases, unfortunately assembled by yours truly which means that together they can withstand the weight of only one book, or maybe two if one of them is The House on Mango Street or like Heart of Darkness
  5. A big old G3 computer that now takes care of my dental hygeine and light housekeeping
  6. A Brita water filtration pitcher and help me out here folks: What demographical stereotype do these things belong in? I want to say they’re like the halogen floor lamps that every Gen-X’er has, but I think they might be for the slightly older Gen-X’ers, those with maybe more disposable income, or maybe they’re just called yuppies still…? Anyone?
  7. My landlord tried to stick me with one of those low-water-use showerheads since she’s footing the water bill but I went right out to Target and got this showerhead called “The Rainmaker” or “Hard Water” or “Deep Impact” or “Deep Rising” or “Apres Moi, Le Deluge” or something which guaranteed the maximum water expulsion allowed by California law (I’m paraphrasing slightly) and which on the package showed a young, nubile, nude-from-the-lower-nape-up woman smiling orgasmically as a young man in a white suit used the Heimlich maneuver to pump the last dregs of water from her lungs and stomach. “That,” I said, “is the showerhead for me.” So I quickly rushed home and installed it and stripped down and hopped in and cranked it full blast and watched in delight as the showerhead instantly choked the drain and filled the shower with water up to my waist in a matter of seconds, its incessant progress suddenly halted when the shower door gave way, exploding out into the bathroom, sending shards of translucent glass into the sink and the commode and soon enough I came tumbling after, covered in gaping lacerations, half-blind by a knocked-loose retina, but really, really clean and happy.
  8. a paper towel holder

And also I got a little knit cap for one dollar at Walgreen’s and I’m wearing it right now and I don’t care if it does make my head look big and round and goofy … in my mind’s eye I look like some New York hood cracking his knuckles as he waits to rough some guy up in an alleyway.

There are no alleyways in Mountain View.

And speaking of Stephani Pierce, I hadn’t seen her since 1991 and then heard that she was going to be at a holiday party this past December that I, too, would be attending, and I was a little nervous because I always get nervous when seeing people I haven’t seen in awhile, esp. these days because I don’t think I’ve really improved in the intervening years and I’d hate for anyone to be disappointed, you know, but then she burst into this holiday party and I knew right away that she, at least, was exactly the same, and I think in her case that that’s a good thing, that some people you don’t want to stay the same and in fact you plead to higher powers that maybe they change entirely, but I was glad to see that Stephani was the same because the same suited her just fine and it made me feel a whole lot better about life in general to know that she was still out there.

Joshua Green Allen

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