Have had an utterly shit weekend, all things considered—and the gift just keeps on giving today.
It started with my corporate game Friday night. None of the guys on the team responded or came so I had to dig up a bunch of subs just so we could have a game. One of my friends, who monitors a soccer email group, sent out an email for me saying I needed subs and a goalie. Several guys responded, including one guy who was the first to get to the field house. He was an older player and I could tell right off the bat he wasn’t very good (just generally not very coordinated, kind of awkward and flail-y). Angela (my friend) was also asking guys at the field house if they wanted to play and quite a few said yes. So we had a team and lots of subs, which was obviously good. Older Guy asks me “do you actually need subs?” I thought he was asking if I needed HIM, like if we didn’t really need him, he could leave or do something else or whatever. I shrugged and said “well, we did—we are pretty full right now though” and he starts yelling at me, saying “why did you send out that email then? I thought you needed players, I came a long way for this!” Like, back the fuck UP. I don’t care how far away you came, that’s on you. I said “Angela sent out the email and a lot of people responded but they didn’t show up until just before the game and she knew I was still worried, so she recruited even more players.” He’s like “well, do you need me or not?” I said “what do YOU want to do? Do you want to play? THEN PLAY. No one’s kicking you out! And get off my case!” I really wanted to say “you are not good enough to cop this kind of attitude and the pickup community is small—you <b>will</b> be remembered if you act obnoxiously.” It really upset me at the beginning of the game—dude, I don’t even know you, calm down. I absolutely detest it when older men act like that. After the game (he wasn’t terrible but he was far and away the weakest and slowest player out there) he tried to make nice with me but man, never again. If he responds to another mass email seeking subs, I’m ignoring it.
So then Saturday after my classes, I was walking through Harlem on my way back to my apartment, and going up Frederick Douglass Boulevard. FDB was really blossomed in the past 5 years or so—tons of great new restaurants and lounges, all different types. I text Ryan “hey, it’s a gorgeous day—wanna meet for lunch?” So we decide to meet at 116 and FDB. I get there and Ryan comes up to me—he says he was waiting for me and a guy came up to him, coming on to him, and was asking him to get a drink. Ryan said he was waiting for a friend and the guy said bring your friend, I’ll buy them a drink as well. Said he was in town for a wedding and he hated to drink alone. Ryan said to me we don’t have to if you’d rather not but I thought, why not? We all sit down together and the guy was staring at me, absolutely hung on my every word. But he said he was gay and I thought he was trying to impress Ryan and pick him up. The guy orders another round of drinks and then Ryan and I decide why not, we’ll eat here. It seemed like a good conversation. Then the guy goes over to the waitress and when he comes back, he’s slipping a receipt into his pocket—trying to look like he was being discreet but I sensed he wanted me to notice. Then the food arrives and a few minutes later he wants to go out front for a cigarette and asks Ryan to join him.
I wait FOREVER for them to come back—at least 15-20 minutes. Finally Ryan comes back—alone. He says the guy told him he had paid for the bill with his “corporate card” but he had to meet his “weed dealer” and asked Ryan to pay for our portions, in cash. He asked for $70 and Ryan immediately balked. Ryan said oh no, you ordered those rounds of drinks, not us. We’ll pay for our food and that’s it. Ryan said he would give him $40 but he didn’t have cash—the guy said there’s an ATM machine a few blocks away. (This, I think, is when I might have figured it out [I say might because someone tried to scam me like this once and as soon as they mentioned the phrase ”ATM machine” something clicked and it felt wrong somehow. Like, you should not be directing me to an ATM]. But Ryan had a lot of information to process, I don’t blame him for not picking up on this.) The guy was talkingtalkingtalking the entire way, Ryan gets him $40 and the guy says he’ll be right back.
I sat there, processing this, and said “What do we do now?” Ryan said he’ll be back and I thought about it. I said “Ryan, I don’t think he’s going to come back—that’s a pretty egregious etiquette breach, asking for cash like that, even if he did foot the bill. I think he might be embarrassed.” Then it occurred to me if he doesn’t come back, he might’ve stiffed the waitress so I call her over and ask if he tipped her. She looks startled and says: he didn’t pay the bill at all.
Ryan and I sit there, stunned. The waitress is very concerned and asks us what’s the deal, and we explain to her what happened. She goes to get the manager and I tell Ryan the fairest thing would be for them to take off his portion and we just pay for our meals, but we shouldn’t count on that. Manager comes, we tell her everything and she decides to take off one round of drinks and his meal. The bill comes to $70-something and I put on a whopping tip (on the original amount, not the adjusted total) which the waitress had to clarify “are you sure?” I said you’ve been so helpful and I’m not going to stiff you on the service you provided to him, even if he is a thief, that’s not your fault. We went to police to file a report but the guy to whom we spoke was utterly unhelpful (if polite) and was very discouraging, saying the guy hadn’t used force, it wasn’t a crime, a judge wouldn’t do anything. I said who cares about a judge? We know we’re not going to see Ryan’s money again—but what about informing the community that a scammer is running around? The cop was saying to Ryan, well you gave him that money, he didn’t actually rob you. I said--then why did you go after the squeegee guys in the '90s? Why do you go after the costumed people in Times Square? It’s not a crime to ask for a tip—why would you come down hard on them but you don’t care about scammers who actually lie? It's a quality of life issue, which is exactly what the broken windows theory is designed to address--that little crimes turn into bigger ones. In the end the cop refused to do anything so as we walked out I loudly remarked about how he didn’t want to do his job, even though crime is so low they have nothing else to do except escort 12 year old boys in handcuffs (which we saw when we first entered). Hey, I might as well use white privilege (I knew the cop wouldn’t come down on me for that remark) for good.
Then yesterday. Here’s the context: I went away for Thanksgiving and as usual, Michael fed the babies. When I came back I noticed Tatia was hardly moving—for two days (Monday and Tuesday) she literally barely stirred from my pillow. I had to shove food under her nose to get her to eat anything. Very concerned, I made an appointment at the vet for her. My current vet is on Lex and 94th—they’re great but they’re expensive, $97 per visit. I first took the babies there in fall of ’13 and it was obviously a bit of a hit, especially because they were recommending blood tests for Tatia ($200+) and tooth extraction (much more $$$). At that time I flat-out could not afford that, whatsoever. (I'm doing better now but this is still ending up to be quite a lot for me.)
So since then I haven’t taken them back for a checkup, thinking hey, they’re indoor cats, it’s not like they’ll get hit by a car. So anyway, as this past week progressed, Tatia was doing better—moving around, climbing into my lap. But I kept the appointment, which was yesterday. They did a regular checkup and then recommended blood work and a fluid injection (she was dehydrated). I nixed the fluid injection (the least important thing—she wasn't terribly dehydrated) but okayed the blood work, so the bill was $327 (checkup, bloodwork, plus 2 cans of AD, a special super-fattening and irresistible wet food for cats who have gone off their food).
The vet called today. Lambkin has kidney disease and a bladder infection, so I have to bring her in tomorrow for an antibiotic. Plus they wanted to “do a culture” on her to make sure they were getting her the right antibiotic (the one tomorrow is a general one—she needs one pretty badly). The culture is $160, plus $50 for the first antibiotic. I thought about it and decided to go ahead and get the culture (that was optional--the doctor was very respectful of my financial concerns--but recommended). In for a penny, in for a metric fuckton, right?
The kicker is—I have insurance for them. But it’s contingent upon their receiving a yearly checkup, so they have a baseline of health for the animal. Which I skipped last year, because I couldn’t afford it. (And I’d forgotten about that insurance requirement.) My options are not good—I can either ask the vet to back me up if I say I took Tatia for her annual exam which they might refuse (and which they would be entirely in the right to do so. That’s a lot to ask). Or I throw myself on the mercy of my insurance company, and I don’t expect them to give in. (Although if they do I’ll just go ahead and cancel her policy—not out of spite but I might as well save myself that monthly expense.) $500+ in one week for Tatia. Plus the restaurant thing. Jesus.
WHAT YE FUCK, UNIVERSE?!
But at least Lambkin is doing better. She's eating, she's moving around, she's cuddling, and she's doing one of my favorite stunts--when I'm in bed but awake (like when I first wake up, or first lie down), she loves to walk over to the pillow and stand with front and back paws on opposite sides of my face, essentially straddling my face. What kills me is how she pulls this off--she kind of looks around, like she's considering something, like hmm, what to do, what to do, decisions, decisions. Meanwhile her BELLY FULL OF FUR is hanging right in my face, smothering me. And Tatia just pretends she doesn't even notice. This sadistic game of hers is how I know she's doing a little better. When your elderly cat stops trying to kill you, that's when you know they're in trouble.