Jan 10, 2012

Jean Grey is reborn as...

This is Phoenix. She's my new ride.

This is Dexter. He was my old ride. As you know.

Truth be told, though it kind of feels like I'm cheating on Dexter, I think I like Phoenix better. I thought I'd be fine with an automatic transmission, considering how absolutely adamant I was about not learning to drive a manual until I was in my 20s, but manuals are SO much fun to drive. Additionally, my go to car for a very long time was a 2001 Hyundai Accent that survived until my third year of medical school, though I didn't use it for any of my med school time. And it was a manual, and Phoenix is also a Hyundai Accent, albeit a 2010 model with more features, but the response is exactly like my old car only a little punchier. Also, lights and trunk latches and such.

But Dexter was my first. First new car ever, first financing ever, first total loss/gap insurance payoff.

Let me tell you, if you ever finance a car, get frigging gap insurance. I would have been paying a thousand extra dollars on a car I no longer own because a hoodrat burned it down.

Right, the fire... so... new update. Yes, it was in fact arson. Said arson was committed by a 14 year old boy who was attempting to fight the squatters next door for some giant I-don't-give-a-f*** reason, and when they didn't emerge (because they weren't there), he set their house on fire very deliberately, which subsequently spread to everything else.

As a doctor, I feel like I should understand environmental pressures, along with conduct disorder and other things that create this sort of... child. I know the inevitable progression to Antisocial Personality Disorder in adulthood and all sorts of organic biological nonsense. I get it.

Problem being? I don't care. I lack empathy for the unempathetic. Does that make sense? If you are schizophrenic, and the voices tell you that the girl on the subway is the devil threatening humanity and you murder her to save humanity, you certainly need to be locked up and heavily medicated, but to some extent, I understand that you meant well and you have a demonstrable chemical imbalance that is both putting crazy things into your head WHILE giving you a bonus lack of insight into your own condition. It isn't who you are, and before the disease took you in your teens or twenties, you had a whole other person you were before your dopamine levels went tits up. Got it. And I sympathize. I don't want to be on the subway with you, but I sympathize.

The axis II stuff, the personality disorders, it's harder. The person's bastardry is a part of who they are. When you take the schizophrenia away from a schizophrenic, they're a normal person. When you take the antisocial personality disorder away from a person, you're removing a key part of who they are, which is a jerk. When I did my psych rotation, I could deal with crackheads, gang members, and bipolarity but the antisocial personality disorder people were just GARGGGHHH. And the attempts to manipulate into their own worldview, double GARGGGHHH. I can't take it, and for some reason, the same function that allows me to forgive other behavior just doesn't extend to people who are incapable of being able to have a basic sense of empathy.

So I became a pathologist instead of a psychiatrist, because it's very difficult to treat your patients if you hate them.

The hearing was today. My colleagues, who have already been wonderful, made sure I was covered so I could go. I got a call on Friday from first the fire chief, and then the SC equivalent to the DA that started with "We have you listed as the owner of one of the cars that was damaged?" And I was like "Um... that's kind of an understatement", so I told her our side, and she emphasized that she wanted to see us at the hearing, and I forwarded her all the pictures I took of our home and Dexter, which seemed to make her happy. I thought it was just going to be my roommates and I but there were at least 15 victims of this nonsense, including our landlord, who at the end of all this was like "Oh, I owe you guys your security deposits", which was nice.

We can't name names, obviously. A juvenile hearing is a bit like a bail hearing, except no money in kiddie cases, so it's whether he can be under "house arrest" with his parents (no) or stay in juvie (yes). The fact that this was a possibility made me choke on my coffee, but turns out I should have had a little more faith in the state, because even his lawyer didn't put up any kind of a fight to get him out. I never saw him though; he waived his right to be at his hearing, but his parents were there, and refused to look at any of us. He's likely going to be locked up until the trial, and I'm guessing he's not going anywhere after that. The prosecution passed some of my pictures up to the judge.

I feel an odd sense of closure. I'm not sure whether I should blame general perceptions of the government on the media with the idea that if you're under 18, you can torch half a block and go home to your xbox, but I was actually impressed and feel like justice will be served and all without my having to put on Christian Bale's growly voice and patrol the streets. Which is good, because I can't fight for crap.

Friday was a really bad day for me. It started waking up from a nightmare, as many of the nights this last week have, and then I got lost on my new way to work, causing me to be 15 minutes late to lecture despite leaving well in time, had a bunch of stuff go down on complicated cases at work, and then my insurance company called to say my settlement would be minus a thousand dollars and my rental car was up on Wednesday. This was also the day I learned that the fire was arson. Honestly, before that I felt strangely fine. Nightmare ridden and dyspeptic, since doctors are the kings and queens of somatization, but fine. Friday, the combination of the end of the comfort zone of driving around in a rented Chevy Impala and the new information that this was a motivated attack gave me a full dose of rage-a-hol, which was hard to try to keep under wraps, especially with everyone at the hospital being so wonderful.

And it's gotta be confusing to them.
Day 1: Hey colleague! Funny story, my house burned down, still need a roommate?
Day 2: Thanks for the pick up from the airport! Red wine and Incredible Hulk? Hooray! Look at this awesome bed!
Day 3: Wow, coworkers, this support is amazing! How am I doing? Fine. Nope, haven't seen the house.
Day 4: Yup, saw the house. Nah, figured from the pictures nothing was left anyway. I got a computer and can watch Dexter again!
Day 5-6: Springing Dexter from the junkyard! Wow, look how damaged he is!
Day 7-9: Doop doop, surge path, hmm, not so bad! I'm having fun! I feel like I'm getting it this time around!
Day 10: (*&(*&)(*&@(*&(*!! ******* BURNED MY HOUSE DOWN RAWRRRRRRRR

Friday night, I saw female former-roommate for the first time since the fire, and we drank margaritas and her boyfriend gave me the third season of Arrested Development, because he's awesome at gift-giving and likes to demonstrate it. Seeing them helped a lot. Saturday, I decided to turn my misanthropic bend to the positive of using it to intimidate car dealers since the Wednesday of rental car expiration is not a good day to car shop, nor is it ever a good idea to do your shopping on a day that you're desperate.

So I went to a few dealerships, and test drove a few cars. The dealership where I bought Phoenix had a 2009 Nissan Versa with a hatchback and a stick shift, which was kind of my final opportunity to revitalize Dexter and remake him in an image I actually initially wanted, but were too expensive and not available, respectively. It was even black. But the response was a little sluggish and no features, including no auxillary jack, which is a dumb thing that is critically important to me since five minutes without my iphone causes me to cry uncontrollably and chew my elbows.

I had finally settled on Phoenix as "a car I like and I'm tired of dealerships", which had a price on the window that was hilarious, particularly since someone mentioned in front of me having trouble moving it off the lot because no one wants manual transmission anymore. Dealer fail 101. States he "might be able to come down a little on it".

I'm usually a people pleaser. I don't to offend people or have them be mad at me, which to people selling anything, puts me in a sort of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo position (how's that for graphic imagery?). Fortunately, Friday left me in a state of pissed-offery and the fire taught me to spurn strong attachments to any material item, PLUS I hate shopping and was being forced to do this again, so I rode into Saturday with a rampaging chip on my shoulder. Which is a plus if you're buying a car. Which seemed to carry across, such that he was like "So, you're not from Charleston?" since Charleston is billed as a polite city. I pulled the Brooklyn card, neglecting to mention that I lived in high-gentrification Brooklyn for two years and moved there when I was 29 so it gives me absolutely no objective excuse to be an asshole. I can even fake the accent. I can also fake a Caribbean accent, but it's harder to sell people on. And it's not like my home state of California is known for having manners.

I also don't think I was a lot of fun for them. They kept doing that "Excited about getting a new car???" thing, and I was like "Not really."

I also fortunately have the Kelley Blue Book application on my phone. So I'm idly tapping away on it while he's talking (HIGHLY RUDE) about the car's features. Because I'm entering them one by one. So he finishes, and I turn the phone around and slide it over to him because its "excellent" condition for the same car with the same mileage is 1500 dollars less.

I frigging love technology.


Leisa Dreps said...

Your new Phoenix looks pretty awesome. I'm just a bit sad for your old car Dexter. But it's a good thing that you've moved on and loving your new car. I'm happy for you, Ishie!

Fuel Filters said...

This is too long and to my surprise I read it. Damn, I can see the images and the circumstances happening one by one as I go through your blog. I am a fan!

Have you takes writing classes? If not, you should. You'll be great in this field trust me. Write books about medicine or anyhting just please write.

By the way, maybe the circustances is pushing you to buy a new car. Be happy about it.

Chrys F.

Ishie said...

Thanks Chrys. I appreciate it. I do tend toward longwindedness, and I'm always surprised and flattered that people still read what I consider to be the usually relatively inconsequential details of my life.

Dewey Setlak said...

Heeh, if Dexter was alive, he’d probably feel bad about what happened to him, and to your newly-found feelings for Phoenix. But there are times when you need to let go because the only thing that is constant in this world is CHANGE. Good to hear that you have settled down now with your new car, and I hope that you had a great time with her. Belated happy thanksgiving! :)