Never mind New Year’s resolutions to make myself a better person in 2007. Maybe the don’ts are more important than the do’s.
For instance, I won’t buy a new car. Detroit and Tokyo can make it on their own. Our 1990 Geo Prizm has 196,000 miles on it, purrs like a kitten, and gets good mileage. The money my friends blow on one or two months’ worth of payments or leases is what I spend in a whole year to keep the Prizm on the road.
I won’t sell my house, move to Bakersfield, and retire off the windfall. What, and be bored sitting on the porch of a $50,000 charmer watching the drug dealers drive by?
Or Hawaii. Sue and I sitting on the lanai watching another sunset — not a friend, foe, or family member within 2,500 miles, and wondering what’s going on in crazy Santa Barbara?
I won’t go to LAX (unless I absolutely have to). In the entire gulag of global airports, this has got to be one of the worst. At least they feed cattle while they’re waiting to be treated like cattle. In a few weeks I’ll be seeing a relative off on an international flight. She’ll be in a wheelchair. We must arrive three hours early but can we have a meal with her or even sit down while we’re waiting? No, because she won’t be leaving from the Tom Bradley International Terminal, which does have restaurants, lousy as they are, before going through security.
Nor will we be allowed to assist her on the long trek through the LAX labyrinth to the gate. This is an airport without a heart and 60 million victims a year abandon hope and pass through its gates. But help of sorts is on the way. LAX promises streamlined security, valet parking, wireless access years after even rinky-dink terminals have offered it, mega-lounges for “premium passengers” at Bradley, a drive-through station where you can get a boarding pass and check your bags, etc. I’ll believe it when I see it. On our trip to New Orleans this week, we’ll be skipping from good ol’ Santa Barbara Airport to Phoenix to the Big Easy. Forget LAX.
I won’t go to Los Angeles (unless I have to). If I wanted to get caught in a drive-by shooting I’d pick a place with better air quality and valet parking.
I won’t shop and Sue can’t make me. If I wanted to follow a woman around I’d rather do it at a singles bar (where I don’t want to go either, unless Sue’s with me).
I won’t change jobs. Look, once in 46 years is more than enough for me. If I ever leave The Independent, I’ll just sit on the couch in the garage, read Proust, and watch Sue polish the Prizm, which belonged to her late brother and for which we have special feelings.
I won’t exercise (unless Sue drags me along on one of her forced marches up the hills around our house. If exercise is so beneficial why don’t I see other guys in the neighborhood out there puffing up the heights? No, they’re home watching football).
I won’t buy another TV. I used to be satisfied with one 21-inch set without a remote. Now two people living in a cottage own six TVs, the latest a 46-inch flat screen LCD high-def with TiVo. We subscribe to everything Cox will put onscreen. My monthly bill is 50 percent more than my first mortgage, taxes, and insurance in Goleta. I will say that the technology is amazing. The 46-incher really makes the commercials look great. The picture quality is so sharp that I can tell when Rachael Ray needs to wash her hair.
I won’t buy another computer. So what if my computer dates to the Clinton administration? Circuit City already has so much of my money it should offer us Champagne, a private lounge, butler, and private parking when we arrive. I have enough gigabytes to gag me. I don’t need to play games or try to contact little green men in space. All I want to do is to write my columns and send emails to my brother in Indianapolis without attracting spam in Cyrillic characters, or from Nigerian con-men or scammers pretending to be my bank, eBay, or PayPal.
I won’t stay up past midnight any more while Sue watches Rachael Ray on the Food Network. If I have to see someone whipping up “delish” 30-minute meals, I want it to be in my own kitchen, and sometime before midnight, please.
Barney can be reached at 805-962-1156 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He writes a Tuesday online column for The Independent, a print column on Thursdays and an online Barney’s Weekend Picks on Fridays.