Archive for June, 2012

Swimming across the Sea of Spam

I’ve been having some trouble squeezing out a new post. My inspiration has been  floating  in the toilet begging to be either resurrected or flushed. The external has been messing with the internal.

The heat: “I’m too hot to be creative”

The Squirrel from hell returned for the final stand-off. Huge, desperate,  belligerent and not leaving any time soon, I was forced to hire a mercenary to deal with the situation.

Last and most disturbing are my dealings with craigslist. Advertising for a roommate through this resource requires constant spam alert. Evil scammers and internet con artists lurk behind each message. I’ve developed my own internal, intuitive spam filter so it’s become rare that I respond to one of these but last week I failed. I gave out my address, phone number and email to one of these assholes of the universe. I felt like I got slimed and became paranoid about all the worst case scenarios.

For those of you that have not read my “About” page, this blog is supposed to be about traveling, making friends and TRUSTING IN STRANGERS” therefore it is rather contrary for me to be writing about this fear of craigslist roommate candidates. Sadly, where money is concerned there is a lot of twisted undermining trustworthy. On a positive note, nothing bad has happened from last weeks safety breach and now I feel more the expert advertiser. That’s right! Take off those dark sunglasses and look me in the eye for no one’s getting past my radar if not pure of heart and sane of mind!

As I hack my way through this weekly field of the false, there are a few sure fire red flags.  Firstly, if the person just spits out  the question “Is the room still available?” without a greeting, introduction or farewell, they are immediately disqualified for being impolite. If they ask questions about things that are clearly stated in the ad, they will never enter the fortress!

The most common scam  is the person that is dying to move in and send money from overseas without meeting in person. The profile is almost always a 28 year old woman and usually includes an oddly sexy picture, as if I’m looking for a date rather than roommate.  When someone includes the statement that they have never been convicted of a crime or incarcerated I have to wonder….

The final faux pas is the “good Christian” claim. I have nothing against Christians- you know, some of my best friends are… 🙂 but when they feel the need to advertise this fact,  selling themselves as wholesome, it reminds me of the guys asking for money  at traffic lights with signs that say “Homeless Veteran……God Bless!”  Will the real homeless veteran and good Christian please stand up?!

One more thing. My over all crabbiness has made me especially unpleasant  while driving a car. It’s true that evil toads have often sprung from my mouth when others drive how I perceive to be stupid. The truth is,  I just don’t like when anyone gets in my way. It’s a flaw. So yesterday, I decided to try something new. On the way to work, because I was so grateful to be working, I told myself I could not say anything bad about anyone, no matter what they did during this 4 mile journey. Instead of : fuck you, motherfucker , ass wipe, douche bag, jag bag etc. I said ” I love you. And I love YOU, and you too…” I even kind of sang it out loud. Sure, it was flavored with sarcasm but still, it made me smile and laugh at the sheer silliness of it all. I might have even declared my love for a real live craigslist scammer!

The Squirrel saga

One cold autumn day

a few years ago

while working a sale

in a big factory building:

A baby squirrel wandered down the long dark hallway, shivering, into the light of our space and whimpered “Help me” in squirrel speak. Our eight eyes stared back in shock. It came right up to us.  I bent down cautiously and it let me touch!  It started to try to climb up our legs to get warm. We squealed, giggled and jumped around with a mix of apprehension and delight but we knew we had to get the creature outside again. Luring it into a paper bag with ease, we took it out to the alley and let it loose but it wouldn’t leave  and started to scramble up our legs again. It was kind of heartbreaking and we didn’t know what to do.  Then, a sympathetic woman watching from her yard, offered to make a little nest with a box and newspaper. We gave it a granola bar and reluctantly went back inside.

I left for the day but a little while later got a call that the squirrel had come back into the building crying at the feet of Marcel. He decided to take it home and made a cozy nest with his winter hat for the critter. He called it something like “Nurgh” which he said was the sound it made incessantly . We got lots of emails with pictures to document bringing up baby squirrel.  Marcel fostered Nurgh into teenage squirrel years until one day it heard the call of the wild and disappeared.

Before this happened I had never seen a baby squirrel.  I suppose they are protected by mom in the nest and out of sight until ready to take on the cold world. I was really charmed by the whole thing and felt a special affection towards squirrels for a long time until last week when one decided to set up house in the wall of my kitchen: “Scratch, scratch,scrape, scrape, chew, chew, etc. etc. All this ruckus surely in preparation for babies. Then there was the grim potential of electrical wires chewed resulting in sparks and flames. Suddenly, not so charming to have a litter of fury tailed rodents burning down my house! Off with their heads!  Just kidding but really, this is NOT the Unmet Friend.

After a few days of various techniques of squirrel repelling comprised of : WD40, cayenne pepper, leaving nuts as bait while dusting the roof with flour to see what kind of paw prints and in what direction they cometh, and finally a compressor that shoots a blast of scary air into a hole in the wall. Today, there is silence. No crunch and munch. Yay!  Despite the annoyance, I  enjoyed hanging out on my roof this week.  It’s a glorious top of the world experience and I’m  even planning a Sangria party up there with my roommate sometime this summer.