Sunday, August 22, 2004

Time for Another Obsession

Well, I think that not working might bring out the worse in me. Because now, I have plenty of time to focus on developing obsessions. And I've got lots of time to work on each one of them. Which might be a good thing if my obsession was world peace or a cure for cancer, but of course, my world is too filled up with unimportant things to worry about larger causes.

I've had my share of quirky obsessions in the past I admit. Like when I was 18 and in Spain and one of my college dorm friends bought a PEZ dispenser and it set off some kind of chemical imbalance in my head that made me decide that I had to have every PEZ dispenser out there. I eventually accumulated more than 130 of them (at almost $4 Canadian, you do the math on how much money I wasted on that little hobby) and they stood like a silent army on two shelves of my bookcase, freaking out any gentleman caller who might decide to spend the night at my apartment.

Sweetie Pie laughed and laughed at me when we first started dating and he saw the PEZ. Of course, when I decided to move to Dallas and sold some of the more valued PEZ dispensers for 500 percent or 2,000 percent of what I'd paid for them, eventually selling about 20 of them on eBay for more than US$500, he was laughing a lot less. He never admitted that they were a smarter investment than stock despite my gleeful smart-alecky comments that they were, but I was content knowing that he silently tipped his baseball cap at my wisdom and foresightedness.

The PEZ have since moved to a more permanent place in a box in our attic, just accruing value over the next few years for the pieces that are currently worthless. I think that twenty, thirty years down the line, I will be able to trade in the 100 or so left for a yacht or a Colorado cottage.

And so that obsession passed.

I also have a matchbook collection that I figure with the smoking ban spreading across the country and probably around the world over the next ten years or so will be worth a small fortune. I wouldn't be surprised if the Smithsonian called me one day, looking for relics of the days smokers actually had some kind of freedom. My grandfather started the collection back in the 30s and my mom took in over in the 60s, so many of the pieces are quite old. And with my father and his friends giving me pieces from all over the world, I probably have more than 5,000 matchbooks now, making our house almost uninsurable, I'm sure, and a definite fire hazard.

Now, my latest obsession, beside this blog, of course, is mystery shopping. I love the thrill of it, and since I'm unemployed, I particularly appreciate that someone is willing to feed me for free just for tattling on bad service. Today, I accepted an assignment with a Chuck E. Cheese's knock off, that ends up was in what Sweetie Pie considered to be a very sketchy neighborhood. In exchange for eating a terrible greasy pizza and being the only white people in the room, I get reimbursed the entire $15 of the meal plus I made six dollars! But Sweetie Pie didn't share my exitement. And now, as we both enjoy a horrible case of heartburn and drove my little SUV home without its tires or rims, I can understand why he wasn't so thrilled.

Of course, I'm kidding, no one actually stole my tires. The little time that we spent in there inhaling our pizza while the liquor store next door was being robbed didn't give thieves enough time to steal any part of my vehicle.

But here's the best part of the mystery shopping. On Tuesday, I get to hit three different grocery stores that will reimburse me up to $15 each in food. That means that I can do this week's shopping for absolutely free, just because I'm willing to drive to three different stores in less than a 20 mile radius.

Who ever said the American dream was dead. Sigh... Definitely not this little grateful Canadian, let me tell you.



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