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2007-07-20 - 3:58 p.m.

My truck, when idling, goes up and down and up and down. After I've been driving fast, on the highway, when it idles next (at a light, say), it idles really low, like it wants to stall. And there's a clicking noise, coming from just behind the dashboard. When I first heard it, I thought a fan or something was hitting a piece of cardboard. But when it whacked on the dashboard, I realized it was on the other side of the cab, from the engine. I wish there were courses somewehre, where you took a month out of your life and did nothing but apprentice in a mechanic's shop. I don't want to do it for the rest of my life or for even more than a little part of my life. But, for sure, I'd like to at least know how to talk about the noises and spits and starts that come with automobiles. Click, whang, rut rut rut, boom. The Queen of England was a mechanic in World War II. I learned that from a movie.

Fact: I don't think I know how to listen to complaining. I'm OK with thirty seconds of it or a quick recap, but the really bitter complaining that goes on for five or ten minutes, going over the same ground, villifying the same three people, I just don't know how to listen to it. My girlfriend does it sometimes. I think maybe she's been trying to tone it down, but it still comes up every two weeks or so. Last night, when she was drunk and I was tired, it was all about her ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend and how they're visiting and she doesn't think she'll be able to see them. And I understand it (although I can't help but think she needs to get over it, for her own sake, because it's been long enough), but fact is, this anger she's got is putting a major cramp in my style, if you know what I'm saying. Maybe I'm being petty and selfish, but every time these two are even mentioned, the conversation turns sour, the clouds roll in, and there goes the next two hours. I just wish I knew how to not get all coiled up inside when I can see her getting worked up.

In an effort to sandwich something more serious with two less-serious things (idling-fourth gear-idling?), there's this: the song "Black Like Me" on Spoon's new album is the fucking greatest. It makes me happy, and for that, it's the fucking greatest.

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