Saturday, September 12, 2009
I have somewhere to be in exactly 54 minutes. It is a 23 minute drive from here. I will wait until I have exactly 23 minutes to be there. Then, and only then, will I walk out the door.
I will probably be late.
Instead of leaving early and leaving myself extra time to find this place (a new branch of my friend's gym), I will leave at the last possible moment. I'll fill every available second with things less pressing. I'll check my e-mail. Then I'll check it again. Then I'll check Facebook. Then Twitter. Then back to e-mail.
In this case, I mean, I'm writing this.
My race-out-the-door tardiness always catches up with me. I've been feeling a little tense lately, and a friend suggested I check out a massage school in Charlotte. On Fridays, they hold student clinics. You can get a hour long massage (of wildly unpredictable quality) for $25. I signed up.
Problem is, I didn't really know where to go. I should have. I was off all day yesterday, but instead of taking two minutes to figure out exactly where the clinic was, I ballparked it. Then, I waited.
Fifteen minutes before my appointment, I finally stopped what I was doing (nothing) and set off. I was wrong about the location. I made a wrong turn. My appointment time came and went. I found myself in a business park, on the phone with the place, trying to get them to guide me in.
I finally made it, fifteen minutes late. I was a bit frazzled. I sweat a little when I miss appointments. I was going to need that massage.
"We can't take you back," said the guy at the counter. If you're ten minutes past your time, you're out of luck. No massage for me. That didn't do much to help me de-stress.
I've now got exactly ten minutes before I'm supposed to leave. Let's see if I can make it out the door. But first, let me check my e-mail.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Anyway, after today, that address (it starts with "freejimtraficant") is no longer really relevant, since Jim Traficant will be freed from a federal prison sometime today. Jimbo, the former congressman from my former district in Ohio was sentenced to prison seven years ago on corruption charges. He was kicked out of congress as well, after saying stuff like this:
Now he's getting out, and the sideshow begins:
- In 2002, the minor league Mahoning Valley Scrappers held Jim Traficant Night. Those wearing a toupee or those who could prove that they were the son of a truck driver got in free. Turns out, the team wanted to do the same thing for Jimbo's release. Not so much.
- A Youngstown TV station promised to deliver Jim's first letter to the media since his trip to prison. In fact, they said it was his first contact with the media in seven years. Then the story aired. Was it a revealing first-hand look at his time behind bars? No. Traficant rambled on about some book he's writing about high school football.
- There will be a Jim Traficant Appreciation Dinner, which the former congressman is not expected to attend. It's $20-a-plate, and according to the Youngstown Vindicator, "all party goers are invited to dress Jimbo-style. But if you don’t own skinny ties, bell-bottom pants and denim suits — all Traficant trademark clothes — the dress is casual."
- Some guy paints Traficant-related art. One shows him as a UFO. Yeah, you can buy one if you want.
My actual contact with Traficant has been nil, except for the one time he visited my high school and I asked him a question about NAFTA and he got all pissed off. His response wasn't like this, but it was close:
I ended up with the e-mail address on a lark; I didn't want something like jeremy3952, so I just typed in random stuff, and freejimtraficant was the first one that stuck. And it's stuck ever since. I have a bunch of Traficant campaign paraphernalia, thanks to my dad, who stopped by the campaign office one night and picked up pins, t-shirts and yard signs. That, of course, was the year that Jimbo ran from prison.
I'll be watching today to see what happens. Jim's not expected to talk to the media. But if he does, beam me up.