Wednesday, September 01, 2004

“I can't help myself! I have no control over this, this evil thing inside of me!”

The Movie: M, 1931 (Fritz Lang and Thea von Harbou, screenwriters; Fritz Lang, dir.)
Who says it: Peter Lorre as Hans Beckert, a murderer of children
The context: A vigilante gang has chased down Beckert and stages a trial that will sentence him to death.
How to use it: All-purpose excuse. Understand, though: it doesn’t work for Beckert in the movie, and it probably won’t work for you.

All my belongings are gone from Apartment 1 at 314 N. Genesee. I think new tenants are even moving in today. Petros, one of the building managers, said to me yesterday, "Wow, it must be pretty emotional, leaving after so long here." When I stopped to think about it, I realized that I'd lived at that address longer than I've ever lived anywhere as an adult -- four years and eleven months. I only spent eight years in Virginia Beach, which I consider my hometown.

But growing up in a military family teaches you not to get too attached to places. As everyone knows, I'll cry about almost anything -- TV commercials, lost dogs, unexpected kindnesses. Yesterday, though, I shed not one tear for that old apartment. It's just a building. Everything that made it a home is coming with me, in one form or another.

Today's quotation was inspired by an infuriating voice mail message from my insurance company yesterday, in which a higher-ranking official made some meaningless, feeble excuse for the fact that the adjuster failed to identify the key item that needed to be repaired on my car -- the transmission -- even though I'd given them this information before they even looked at the car. This has pushed repairs back by at least two weeks, and what I don't know is whether this is two additional weeks, or two weeks out of the three that have already passed.

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