I once worked with a feng shui writer who told me that once she got past trying to explain to someone why they needed to bury a metal barbell beneath a ficus plant facing a mirror in the northeast corner of their potting shed (inscrutable doesn't even begin to describe classical feng shui; it's like calculus with ottomans), the most basic function of feng shui is to banish minor annoyances. The shelf you always bang your head on, the medicine cabinet that always dumps your dental floss in the toilet, the clutter that raises your blood pressure just a fraction of a notch, but day after day will whittle away your sanity as surely as dial-up.

So none of this means anything except I have a basketball in the trunk of my car. When I hit the brakes it goes WHUMP! When I hit the gas it goes WHUMP! When I turn a corner or drive down some chunk of rough road it sounds like a little rodeo is taking place in my trunk. It's come to the point where every time I roll up to a stop sign I flinch a little bit on the inside, anticipating the whump, and approximately thirteen weeks of these little flinches have so far taken at least 2.3 minutes off my life span. I don't know if there'll come a time when I'll want those 2.3 minutes, or if they'll mercifully curtail a prolonged, agonizing end, but I do know it's time to take THE GODDAMNED BASKETBALL OUT OF MY TRUNK.