Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Below I have taken the liberty of listing the things I HAVE been doing lately.
1. Watching snails.
Now, before you judge me, snails are kind and misunderstood creatures of the sea. Their lives are simple. Move slow. Pick up rock. Travel slowly with rock to opposite side of fish tank. Deposit rock in chosen corner. Deliberate yet casual 180 degree turn. Travel across tank for second rock. And so on. It's all about moving things to places, and avoiding salt and French people at all costs. My kind of animal.
2. Watching the movie "House of Wax"
Kind of like watching snails. It's been playing nightly on FX for the last few days, and I love it. It might be one of the worst movies ever made, but the escape from reality is a key factor here. In the real world, Paris Hilton exists. In the movie, Paris Hilton gets impaled through the face with a giant metal pole within the first 30 minutes of screen time. Her total lines in the film? About a dozen (which in my opinion was pushing it). Her death scene? Worth its weight in cinematic gold. I could watch that pole slide through her cranium like a tiny blond watermelon on repeat all evening, and that thought occurred to me simultaneously with the thought that I wished I had TIVO. There was no one in my house while I was watching House of Wax, but I kept uttering "That's hot" to myself and you know what? It never stopped being funny.
3. Scratching my cats with forks.
Turns out, the best cat scratcher is a fork. I discovered this when I finished eating my rice pudding (while watching House of Wax and talking to myself) and my cat Sushi jumped up into my lap. I was about to dump her back onto the floor like the warm hearted care giver that I am, when I accidentally poked her with my fork. She looked at me. "Meow?" (she seemed to say). Poke. Poke. Scratch. Purring! I feel like I discover new uses for kitchenware on a daily basis. I'm ok about sharing this with the general public, because no one ever comes over to my house for dinner... and if anyone was considering it, I hope I put the kibosh on that idea for good. I don't cook. I buy pre-made food, and groom small animals with my utensils.
4. Order things online and then cancel the order before checking out.
I'm poor, but also a compulsive internet shopper. My new system for satisfying my need to shop online and not spend a dime is working out splendidly. I simply go onto the desired website, click "add to cart" to everything and anything that I want, fill in all my information, and then click out of the window before I get to the part that says "complete transaction". Then I pretend I ordered everything, and my short attention span takes care of the rest.
5. Pull random objects out of my cat
Before you jump to conclusions on this one, listen carefully. Sushi (the cat I fork) likes eating things she finds around my apartment. Strings, twisty ties, hair bands, necklaces, and the like. Often times, she will gag on one of these things, and I get the fun filled and exciting job of pulling whatever she has chosen to ingest out of her throat as she runs backwards in a ball of gagging fury. My personal favorite was a 9 inch shoelace that I pulled out of her stomach in one single piece. I call it "fishing for treasure". She calls it "BLERCHHHHHHHHHH!"
6. Sticking labels on things.
And I don't even own and label maker. I'm talking straight up ghetto labeling from the printer, hand cut and hand laminated using multiple pieces of scotch tape. I enjoy labeling all of my things at work, because A) I'm paranoid everyone steals my things when in reality I just lose everything and B) I want to give the illusion of being organized without ever actually having to organize anything. That box has my name on it. The contents of the box is unimportant and probably covered in iodine and hand soap from my "iodine and hand soap accident of 07", but the label makes it look official, and if you try and take it I'm going to come after you with a staple gun. Additional warming: I JUST learned how to use a staple gum and have already stapled my thumb nail to the wall (twice yesterday actually), so don't mess with me.
7. Wandering around aimlessly on Facebook.
For some unknown reason, Facebook is the internet equivalent of a vast and unrelenting desert. I browse around, reading peoples headlines and looking at pictures, but I'm not really paying attention. I don't really care about the save the earth party coming up or the new skydiving alcoholics group being put together... in fact, I could give a flying alcoholic shit. I don't want to know if Jake and Mary are still dating, or if Matt and his brother are in a fight, or if Suzy is pregnant and its the love child of Myspaces founder Tom. It doesn't really matter, we all have our "feeds" going on and on in an endless Wall Street like way (minus the urgency, of course), but for some reason I just keep going back. I keep reading about everyones boring, scatterbrained lives. In a way, I durrive more pleasure from watching the snails move rocks around the tank, but in a way that's ludacris because it's almost EXACTLY the same thing... except the snails don't have photo albums.
8. Spilling things.
2 days ago it was coconut scented shampoo. Yesterday it was paint. 3 seconds ago, it was a glass of lemonade. My legs are cold, and lemony.
Per my friends request, we spent a good part of the lazy day off afternoon at a perfume store, smelling smells. This was the way the idea was proposed to me. "Wanna go to a perfume store and smell some smells?" "Sure."
And with that it was decided. In no time flat we were sitting cross legged on the floor of a department store, with our noses poised above fancy looking bottles shaped like the busts of women, diamonds, tear drops, and everything smelled like flowery grandmothers. Between sneezes, I lifted a bottle of Giorgio Armani Code to my nose and fumbled around for the squirty part. The key word here is fumbled, because in my allergy induced haze I had mistakenly pointed the nozzle directly at my face and gave it a good hard press. In half a second, I had Code covered eyeballs and was rubbing my way into sexy smelling blindness. "Hey! I really like this one! Come smell my eyes!"
In a few minutes I had most of my vision, although a bit hazy, returning to normal. While browsing a side shelf, a square yellow bottle caught my eye. Most likely because it was yellow and larger then the other bottles, hence making it easier for me to see through my Armani tears. I grabbed the bottle and read the label.
No fucking way. I'm sorry. Did I seriously just read that. The most useless, annoying, self indulgent vehicle to ever grace the driveways of new money hicks and ultra right wing republican loony tunes now has a fricking COLOGNE? I had so many questions. Does it smell like regret? Is it made from the tears of baby seals? Does it deplete the O-zone layer and destroy the environment with every squirt? Is the bottle big enough to fit my regret and desperation? Will putting it on help the world understand what a huge douchebag I am? Will you be able to smell how big of a douchebag I am from miles away? Do I have to refill the bottle every 3 minutes? Can I customize the bottle with creepy abbreviations like "HMRLVR" and "FUIRAQ"? GOD I hope so.
Most importantly, I immediately wanted to know how the Hummer Cologne smelled. I picked it up, but paused before bringing the bottle to my nose. Often times, I allow my curiosity to get the best of me. Maybe spraying myself in the face with code was a sign from on high. Do I really want to know exactly what greedy corporate America smells like... and doesn't corporate America stink enough on its own without needing to bottle the stench and market it to the public? Do I want to sniff the round table of advertising decision makers who agreed and shook hands on the notion that the most evil vehicle ever invented needed to also be a fragrance? Do I want the essence of Hummer lingering inside my nostrils and undoubtedly making me dumber just for having partaken in its aroma? Does it have that 'new car' smell?
So I put the bottle down without ever inhaling the contents, and felt instantly glad that I left that entire mess a mystery. Ideally, every bottle of Hummer Cologne ever bottled, packaged, and shipped will go unsold until the day its discontinued. Ideally it will be removed from shelves forever, allowing all the stores that ordered the stuff to repent and scrub the stink of embarrassment off of their reputations. Sadly, if I know anything about people and the world I've lived 22 and 1/2 years in, this will not be the case. Some stupid freedom fry loving idiot will buy cases of the stuff religiously, dousing their cheap collar popped Abercrombie polo shirts in it until it nauseatingly wafts from their every pore.
So thank you, advertising geniuses and corporate jerk offs behind the ever growing Hummer phenomenon. Thank you for allowing the few sane individuals left on this earth the gift of not only being able to see morons and half wits coming from a fricking mile away, but now we can also smell them coming too.
Congratulations. You are now the proud owner of all of my shit. Credit cards, debit cards, cash, pictures, drivers license, IDs, my goddamn social security card, insurance cards, and even my blockbuster card. While I was having a pleasant 55 degree January day (first since 1906, apparently) on the beach in Chicago, you were breaking into Js car and snatching my handmade, pressed leather, limited addition wallet and for some reason, Js phone. Who steals a cell phone... I mean seriously.
I hope you enjoyed your shopping spree at every gas station within walking distance of the beach where I was having a chicken salad sandwich. Good thing I withdrew 80 bucks from an ATM before we went to the beach, in case you needed quicker access to my cash. Sorry the 80 bucks wasn't enough, and you had to make all those time consuming Visa purchases for 53 bucks at 7-eleven. This begs the question, how does anyone spend 53 bucks at a 7-eleven? Did you buy the whole store out of stock? Did you have a craving for 40 air sealed day old bologna sandwiches? Did you buy 50 big gulps? I hope you had petty thief backup, because thats a lot of brain freeze... assuming you have the necessary equipment.
Thanks to you, I spent all day driving (without my license) to the DMV (to get a new license) and to the bank (to figure out exactly how much of my money you spent before I canceled my cards) and hoping I didn't run out of gas (because I officially have no money). In the rain. Because when it rains, it pours.
I hope you used some of my money to buy an umbrella. Because aside from how hard its been raining, I had some pretty vivid dreams about being tall enough to pee on your head, and I believe in the power of wishes. I woke and and wished pretty hard for that one to come true.
Honestly, enjoy it. I hope the fun you had was matched equally by the amount of frustration and helplessness I felt all day yesterday and today. I hope before you ditched my wallet in some gutter or dumpster, you took a good long look at the pressed leather artwork on the back and front. It's a Valcom limited addition. Can you say "good taste"? No of course you can't. Did you happen to come across some photos when you were sifting around in my wallet? Those were baby pictures of my horse, pictures I don't have copies of. More valuable then the cash, cards, wallet, IDs, and even the blockbuster card.
I'm not an "ill wisher" by nature, but I would like it very much if you would fall on a sharpened stick. I hope you get a splinter the size of a banana. I hope you buy a bad hot dog with my money and get food poisoning and barf for a week, and rock and rock in a public bathroom sobbing "I shouldn't have stolen that nice girls wallet, she had such impeccably good taste in pressed leather goods and I know nothing of her pain!"
I believe whole-heartedly in karma. So don't look up, because that's not rain you're feeling streaming down your forehead. Thats pee, coming from the giant version of myself that I concocted to exact my satisfying yet imaginary revenge.
I get the wallet theft thing. But a phone? Thats just weird. Maybe you needed to call 7-eleven to see how late they were open. Because YOU'RE A FUCKING INVALID.
Recently, I lost my job at a place I've been going to every day for 10 years. I lost faith and love in the people who I trusted there and considered my friends. I found closed doors were I used to find welcoming arms. I was thrust out into the snow. That was a week from today, and today I found dissolution where I thought I saw certainty. Without saying too much, Love is the kind of thing that kids dream about. It turns out, its the kind of thing adults dream about too. Dreams and reality are different, which is really what growing up is all about. Learning that the perfect life is a fairy tale, and there is no such thing as getting everything you want. Being an adult is about looking into the face of the truth when its dim and frozen, and being ok with settling for less.
My life as an adult can be summed up. I pay bills. Sometimes on time, sometimes late. I trip and fall, drop things, forget where I'm going and when I have to be there. I'm broke. I know what it feels like to be unemployed. I know what it feels like to be underemployed. I know what it feels like to be unappreciated. I know what it feels like to be uncertain. I know what it feels like to hate myself, and what it feels like to hate other people. I know what it feels like to be scared of trying, petrified of failing, paranoid and worried about looking foolish. I know how unfair it seems when you cant take something back, cant change things, cant make time go backwards and fix mistakes. I know what a broken heart feels like.
It hurts worse then realizing that growing up means nothing other then getting older. Numbers. Experiences. Memories. I know what I did today. What I did last week. Last year. I can smell it on my hands, see it on my face, read it in my words. I'm no more a grown up now then I was when I was 8. The only difference is when I was 8 I could look up into the faces of my parents and my teachers and family and think that everything was going to be ok because they knew everything and one day I would too. Again, the irony lies in the fact that they were looking down at me and thinking about their troubles relationships and overdue bills and miles and miles or broken hearts and lost loves and issues about commitment and self worth and distrust... in reality I was the one who was better off. And at 8 years old, I wasn't even allowed to cross the street by myself.
There are few things that scare me more then organized religion, and fewer things still that manage to frighten the crap out of the very core of be being than the cult phenomenon that is Evangelical Christianity. So being the spiteful Jew that I am, I chose Easter to theorize the obvious connections between this sect of insanity and the end of the world. I mean, what else am I going to do today? All the stores are closed.
A stadium full of Republicans wailing and carrying on about "getting saved by Jesus" is item number two on my top 100 things that are wrong with the world today. In case you're wondering, item number one is a stadium full of Republicans wailing and carrying on about "getting saved by Jesus" without a food court... but as we all know, Evangelical churches recognize the need for large amounts of right wing nut job southerners to indulge in greasy fast food Americana during their religious atonement. Yummy.
Lets say that one day an alien from outer space decides to fly his little Martian ship down to earth to study the human race, and makes the navigational mistake of landing smack in the middle of one of these ceremonial Christian cluster fucks. Do you think Mr Martian is going to stick around while we smack each other in the forehead and proclaim "PRAISE JESUS, YOU'RE SAVED!" to everyone within a hallelujahs swinging distance? No way! He'd zoom out of here so fast he wouldn't even bother stopping at the nearest Texaco for extra rocket fuel and a Slim Jim.
Apparently, George Bush once said "I trust that God speaks through me" to a gathering in Lancaster PA. I hate to be the one who is continuously pointing out the obvious, but if God got high enough on crack one day to find it an amusing enough joke to speak through the monkey lips of George Bush himself, he would (one would assume) not continuously mispronounce words like "Nuclear". Fool me once, shame on....errrr...me.... umm... fool me twice... ehhhh....? Whatever, pass me a banana.
It comforts me to know that the leader of our nation, a widely declared supporter of the Evangelical church, is not only the self proclaimed speaker of the direct words of God, but also chucking us into a war under a belief system where the apocalypse is imminent. Therefore, true to my love of list formation, we will call good old president Bush the number 1 reason why the world is in fact, coming to an end.
Reason number 2: Tom DeLay
Crazy by its dictionary definition, Delay once told the Washington Post that "God is using him to promote a biblical worldview on American politics" and as far as I'm concerned, I've heard just about enough from nut jobs number one and two about God using them as his own personal finger puppets. Tommy boy would also like to "reestablish what he sees as the rightful role of religion in public places...". A total comfort coming from a guy who, previous to being "saved", was an exterminator. I'm sure (in the quiet of his bed late at night) he still refers to himself lovingly as "THE EXTERMINATOR" but this time without any connection to bugs and more so to things like gay people, minorities, and freedom.
Reason number 3: Reverend Jerry Falwell
Most of you recognize this bitter fart as Tinkie Winkie the Teletubbies mortal enemy; because of poor Tinkies purpleness and his compulsive need to carry gorgeous handbags and coo in high pitched fabulousness. Sure, its a free country and any religious figure can openly bash a gay toddler icon, but it might be taking it a bit too far to also believe in dispensationalism (by definition, the belief that after the Antichrist performs a mass slaughter on the Jewish people, the survivors must convert to Christianity). Being a Jew myself AND a supporter of big gay purple Telletubies worldwide, you might understand my strong distaste for the Rev. Because crazy knows no particular boundaries, Falwell has also been quoted as saying that global warming is "Satan's attempt to redirect the churches primary focus from Evangelism to Environmentalism". Damn that Satan, he wants us to focus on restoring our environment? He truly is evil, and his priorities suck.
Reason number 4; Reverend Timothy LaHaye
Aptly referred to as "Reverend Doomsday" by Rolling Stone magazine (I knew there was a reason I keep renewing my subscription, pure genius), Tim is considered by many to be one of the most important and influential leaders in the Christian right, and in his spare time an avid author of novels about the apocalypse, which happens to be his very favorite topic. He believes that Iraq, lead by the Antichrist of course, will engage Israel in a world shattering battle to the end of the world. Epic, huh? LaHaye, along with President Bush and the "Committee to Restore American Values" have honed very specific ideas about gay marriage, stem cell research, abortion, education, and religious freedom; all of which I'm sure by now you could throw out some pretty accurate educated guesses.
I don't know about all of you, but this Easter holiday weekend, I'm feeling pretty safe. After all, everyone is sitting home peacefully eating Easter dinner and looking for little colored eggs in grandmas rosebushes (careful kids, theres thorns!). I mean, even the super insane big wigs are probably taking a break from inventing their personal bible thumping versions of the way we will all soon be burning in eternal hellfire... I mean, everyone needs a vacation from their jobs now and again- even if your job is to be the absolute scariest old white dude since Hitler. So relax everyone, put your feet up and slip those shoes right off. Theres plenty of time to eat some chick Peeps (or at least stick one or two in the microwave for fun) before we are all swallowed up into damnation.
There was a time before things got complicated, this I know. A time before sex and controlled substances, a time before car payments and cable bills, when cookies were cookies and not calories, when sneakers came in Velcro and underwear came in days of the week. It was in this time my earliest memories were formulated, and now driving on the Illinois tollway they slosh around in my head like forgotten floaty toys in the deep end of the pool.
My fondest memory, maybe ever, was from about the age of 5. My family lived in a small apartment in Brooklyn on the west side of Prospect Park. It was a 2 bedroom on the 4th floor, and the view from every window overlooked a courtyard into another building the mirror image of our own. If you squinted your eyes and leaned out you could see into the kitchens of our neighbors, people who we never knew except for the green retro tile design on the floors. When my sister and I trick-or-treated for Halloween we never even left the building, just took the elevator up and down knocking on doors and scoffing at the old lady on the 12th floor that always handed out pennies instead of candy every year. I said hello to the doormen, carried a stuffed elephant named Dumbo who had a feather duct taped to his trunk and would only brush my hair when forced to do so. I was 5 years old, little and clueless about anything of importance in the world I lived in. I only needed to know about ice cream flavors and play dates, these were the criteria for a full and accomplished day.
My father was never really around, so my mom, sister and I were a constant trio. From this fact comes the memory I was talking about earlier. My mom, being the freedom loving 60s child that she was, always gathered us in the large living room that was the center of our apartment. She would roll out the ancient record player she had and slide out a Beatles album, setting it carefully down underneath the needle. We all pushed the sofa and coffee table against the wall, leaving a large open space on the red carpet in the middle of the room. The record began to crackle and when "Cant buy me love" or "I wanna hold your hand" began to blare as loud as the old speakers could muster, we would begin to dance around like possessed women. Completely free and untouched by the burdens of embarrassment or shyness (things you don't learn until middle school). We jumped and rolled and spun around until we needed to slurp water from the tap in the sink and fall down panting onto the cream leather sofa in a giggling heap. Sometimes on these occasions, my sister and I would raid the dress up box and throw on floppy hats, boas, and sequined shoes. My mom would voluntarily dawn plastic necklaces and clip on earings, then one by one we'd form a Congo line, my mom in the front with me attached and her hip and then my little sister holding on to my legs, we'd wind and turn and shake our butts until they were ready to fall off. At the end of the day we were exhausted from the pure exhilaration and joy of it all.
A few weeks ago I payed close to four thousand dollars in taxes. A few weeks before that I decided that I was going to have to start dieting again. A few weeks before that I thought briefly about picking up the phone and reconnecting with my father... It didn't even ring once before I hung up. At some point in my 22 years of life, I grew up and missed it somehow. I got mentally and physically old before I was ready... and now I'm pondering how unfair the natural succession of things can be. We all start out life dancing in the living room, and then somewhere along the line we blink and miss the good stuff without noticing or meaning to change.
So tonight I'm going to fall asleep with a half a tube of Icy Hot rubbed on the parts of my back I can reach, cursing the fact that I have to get up early tomorrow morning to go to the gym before work, and wondering periodically where I'm going to pull grocery money from this month. But when I was driving home this evening and 97.1 the Drive decided to play a Beatles marathon, I had an emotionally significant memory jog that sent me spiraling into a welcomed distraction. As I chucked my half smoked cigarette out the window and belted out the lyrics to "Hard days night", I forgot for a few minutes how badly my back was hurting, and took some comfort in the lasting significance of simpler times.
It's true. Everyone has, has had, or is going to have a weird neighbor in their lifetime. When I was younger it was the lady in apartment 8A who gave out pennies at Halloween and swept the green hallway carpet. When we moved to the suburbs it was the kid who talked about being a train engineer and refused to sleep inside the house. Now that I'm 22 and living on my own in the ghetto of bum fuck Egypt northern Illinois, its the Ronald McDonald guy.
I have lived in this run down excuse for a townhouse complex for almost 3 years now, which is 2 years longer then the cornfield that now resides as my backyard. Although I miss the view of the vacant dog poo filled field that once resided there, the cornfield is growing on me (no pun intended). It is working out to be a welcomed distraction from the fact that without it, the Laidlaw Trucking company lights up my life (and my bedroom) from 5am to 11pm 7 days a week 365 days a year. When there aren't overturned lawn chairs and half inflated kiddie pools filled with leaves and cigarette butts, it's a pretty pleasant place to hang out. But of course, the laws of crazy neighbordom are as follows:
1. No matter where you live, even if its on an ice berg floating in the most frigid, remote part of the entire planet, someone will move in next to you that you cannot stand.
2. This person will, no matter how blunt you are, never get it through their heads that you cannot stand them.
Enter Ronald McDonald. The guy that moved into the apartment next to me, and possibly the whitest person of all time. Now Don't get me wrong, I am as white as they come, but this guy is the poster child for Ginger kids. The day he moved in he rang my doorbell to introduce himself, and when I opened the door I was momentarily blinded by a red afro so crimson and flaming, I was suddenly overcome by the urge to watch Carrot Top do stand up for the first time in my life. I blinked uncontrollably, hoping to my retinas would return to their normal size long enough for me to regain my depth perception and shut the door. Instead, my hesitation must have cued my new neighbor to start in on "Hey I just moved in next door wow you have a cool place it looks like mine but backwards you have cats...?" and with that he invited himself in. So now I'm thinking great, he's not peddling chicken McNuggets like I hoped and hes actually my new neighbor and now he's in my kitchen for some reason.
Being the quick thinker that I am, I somehow managed to reel in my shock long enough to make some awkward small talk about tattoos and electric bills and motion wildly in the direction of the door... a not so subtle herding tactic that works better with people who are socially aware enough to take hints. Not Ronald. Ronald decided that since we had become such great friends since he had made himself at home on the wrong side of our wall, that he would invite me over to watch The Big Lebowski and look at his new poster wall art. Agreeing that "we'd see" was enough to get him out of my house, I was relieved.
Maybe it's the fact that I didn't factor in the proximity to which we live door to door (about 4 inches) or maybe it's the fact that no one else sneaks outside in their PJs to take out the trash at 1am on a Monday, I thought I was safe. Nope. As soon as Ronald heard the squeeeeeeek of my screen door as I crept towards the dumpster like a ninja, he was out on the front lawn in a pair of what looked like blue swim trunks asking me to come in and "see what he'd done with the place". Because I blanked on the "I'm allergic to recessive genetic hair pigment" speech I had been practicing, I found myself inside his apartment and staring at the meticulously black and white color scheme that was his leather chairs and bean bag home decor. He continued to go on and on about the Chinese symbol poster art he had gotten "on sale at bed bath and beyond" until I finally mustered a "Wow, I thought MY apartment made me look single. you win"
And with that, he did not get the hint.
On and on he went, repeatedly trying to usher me upstairs because "the DVD player is up there" and trying to coax me into complimenting his sad single man bachelor pad in the ghetto because of his ability to color code things that are black with things that are not black. All I could do to stifle an "I'm lovin it" (ba da ba ba baaa) was to wander up the stairs which were indeed just like mine, but backwards.
About 20 minutes into the Big Lebowski (and 15 minutes into my incessant efforts and spontaneous mind generated teleportation back into my own apartment with the door locked, I said I was ridiculously tired and had to go to bed. Which was true, I was tired of hearing about his dead father. Ronald MacDonald does not have parents. He's an alien from planet Big Mac and the fact that he was trying to convince me otherwise was an outright lie. I also had not yet seen the Hamburgler around, which made me nervous because I KNOW he's always lurking and I will NOT be a victim of hamburger theft. Period.
So Ignoring Ronald worked for a while, because he stopped asking me when we were going to "finish the movie" after about 3 months. However, thats when Ronald started having parties. Not just any parties. It wasn't a gathering of other pigment less genetic lottery losers, no, it was like gangbang night at the taco bell. Yep, thats right, every single one of mr MacDonalds friends was of the Spanish speaking persuasion, which I thought was amazing, hilarious, and dumbfounding. Watching Ronald blast Reggeton music from the second story of our 1970s townhouse complex and scoot around like he was DJing the Latin Soul awards was funnier then anything I could have ever hoped to fall directly into my living space lap. He looked like he was in the worlds easiest page of "Where's Waldo" for beginners.
The next morning, there were chips and beer cans and paper plates strewn all over our lawn. This happens every time he has a BBQ, which pisses me off almost as much as the fact that I cant sleep over the thumping base sounds of his delusional siestas. So I taped a sign to his door. It read:
"Please clean up our lawn. Unless you are planning on growing a chip and beer tree, all of this shit needs to go in the dumpster. You should also return your assorted lawn chairs to their upright position and put them neatly on your side of the doors. Otherwise I will be forced to hide them in the cornfield, and you don't want that. PS: How come you are the only white person you know? -Your neighbor"
Haven't spoken to him since. It was more or less the same way I got rid of my college roommate, except this time I didn't have to use clam chowder... which is good.... because that was a mess.
"I left the cookies in the oven too long and they burned. Whoops."
"I forgot to do laundry yesterday and now I have no clean socks. Whoops"
"I watched an episode of Laguna Beach. Whoops".
All acceptable, daily whoopses that could happen to anyone. But "I joined a cult by accident. Whoops" does not have the same day to day acceptability factor. And so therefore I feel the need to explain myself. It truly was an accident. I would NEVER join a cult on purpose; I barely tolerate widely accepted and practiced organized religions (and Jesus fish bumper stickers) as it is. I'm way to cynical to be brainwashed. So here's how it happened.
It was during my bi-weekly trip to Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins to get a pint of chocolate Oreo ice cream and an iced coffee, that I came across a stack of pamphlets by the straws that said
"DAHN YOGA: BRAIN RESPIRATION"
And I thought, hmm, Yoga... what a novel Idea! And yoga that teaches you to breathe with your brain? How interesting... I don't think my brain is breathing nearly as much as it should be. And it keeps promising to quit smoking... but it never really does. "Brain" (I say to my brain) "Just because you're smoking ultra lights does not mean you're any closer to quitting." and with that, I convinced my brain to grab a pamphlet and stick it in my ice cream bag. On the way home, between sips of iced coffee, my brain and I decided that maybe yoga would help me get a little more inspired to step up my much needed health kick. I mean, as much as I love Donut holes and Ice cream, it's not exactly a well rounded meal plan. Aside from the fact that Donut holes are round, of course.
So the next day I called the number on the back of the pamphlet and was greeted by an elderly sounding Chinese man, which I was quite pleased with because I desperately wanted to learn yoga from that dude from the karate kid and as far as I was concerned I was just one step closer to realizing that dream. He told me to come in on Sunday for an "assessment" which I thought was a little strange but hey, if little Chinese man needed to asses my unflexible ice cream filled ass before admitting me into his brain breathing program, who was I to argue.
So here's the part of the story where I run into a whole bunch of red flags, and choose to ignore them for whatever reason. Let's count the red flags in this paragraph. I arrive at noon on Sunday which was exactly when Mr. Miyagi told me to be there and no one was there. In fact, the shop was closed and the sign on the door said "Closed on Sundays". Red flag number one. So I was a little confused, but decided to pop into the neighboring Panera Bread for my 3rd cup of coffee of the day and wait it out. Sure enough, 10 minutes after noon I see Mr Miyagi saunter through the parking lot and shuffle with some keys in the door. Was he opening the store on his day off for my assessment? I guess so. Red flag number 2. So I chug the rest of my caramel latte and head over to the Dahn Yoga center for brain respiration, where I was greeted by Mr. Miyagi and handed a large stack of text books. Red flag number 3. These text books, which seemed to be all about opening my mind up to healing powers (red flag number 4) were my reading materials. Right off the bat I had homework??? Not only was my brain not breathing, it was trying to grow hands and smother itself to death. Then Mr Miyagi had me sit down and put my hands on a big square thing that looked like a broken flat screen TV so he could use his computer to "read the color of my aura". Red flag number 5. As far as I'm concerned, computers can barely read the color of their own printer cartridges, let alone my freaking aura. So after the magic computer read that my aura was defiantly orange (and the witty quips about the fact that my living room is painted orange and thus leading to my inner orangeness fell upon def ears), we moved on to the next activity. I was moved to a big room with padded walls (red flag number 6) and told to remove my shoes. Then Mr. Miyagi commanded me to do a series of imposable balancing exercises which would have only been feasible if I had powers of levitation and a 3rd fricking arm, and I became acutely aware of a sneaking suspicion that the exercises were being made up for the little Chinese mans personal amusement. Red flag number 7. After it was confirmed that I was as flexible and balanced as a one eyed hippopotamus with downs syndrome, we moved on to the next section of my assessment. A full body massage. Where it was required by Mr. Miyagi that I be completely naked. Red flag number 8, and maybe the reddest of all flags. What does a naked full body massage have to do with yoga? Nothing. Was I willing to receive one from weird little Chinese man? Ironically yes.
So I paid the 50 bucks entry fee and with that, I was a student of Dahn Yoga. And believe it or not, here is where it starts to get really weird... and outlandishly hilarious.
I went in the following week for what Mr. Miyagi told me was "Orientation", and walked smack into a room full of middle aged women (and one extremely crabby looking old guy) in white robes. I was all of a sudden acutely aware of my gym shorts and black Myspace T-shirt that says "Myspace... Add+ me to your Friends list" on the front. I felt very put out. How come no one told me there was a bathrobe-esk wardrobe requirement? I wanted to do Yoga in a bathrobe too! Of course, I stuck out like a sore thumb and everyone stared at me as I pulled up a blue kindergarten nap time mat and joined the oldie farts in the padded room. I realized right away that no one was going to Add+ me to their friends list when they got home.
A young looking Asian woman walked in and immediately everyone stood and bowed. This is when I realized that I was the only one being "orientated", everyone else was well into the bathrobe program and light years ahead of me in stretchiness and messed up mind washing protocol. I jumped to my feet. Everyone wordlessly gathered in a giant circle and began humming with their eyes closed. "HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM" and a few seconds into this, everyone started rubbing their tummies with both hands. This is the moment in my story where I stifled a giant giggle, and tried not to pee in my gym shorts.
After about 5 minutes of this, with small breaks in the tummy rubbing (and occasional patting) to go around the circle and allow each participant to count to ten out loud for no reason, I was half expecting to hear each person shout out the planet they flew in from, and how many gargolightyears of Torobulons they have in their galaxies. The amount of crazy I was witnessing was way, way beyond matching bathrobes.
After the tummy love, humming, and repetitive counts of ten, we all went back to our mats. It's hard to effectively sum up the following 45 minutes, but I'm fairly sure there was no yoga in it. There was a lot of rolling around on the floor, some kicking at the air, and repeating of words in a language that sounded like what would happen if a Chinese made zombie movie was badly dubbed in Spanglish. Then, for a finale, the lights were dimmed and a basket of little plastic brains were handed out, and once everyone received said brains, they lay down on their backs and placed the brains right above their crotches. Then Mr. Miyagi walked around and soundlessly flipped little switches on the brains, causing them to buzz softly. Then it occurred to me all at once. They were vibrating. They were baseball sized vibrating brains that everyone had perched on top of their crotches during what seemed to be yoga meditation nap time masturbation. At this point, my brain was not only respirating, it was hyperventilating.
I have never put sneakers on and run out of a place so fast since my morning after blackout drinking days in college... which is pretty fast but apparently not fast enough for the old crabby robe dude to catch me on my way out. He scowled at me like I had failed initiation and said "MYSPACE? EH? WHATS THAT?" to which I replied "it's a website, you share pictures and writing and stuff on it." as I was backing out the door, he quipped "Isn't that a little arrogant, having a website all about you and your pictures? What makes you interesting enough to make people want to look at your pictures?" and at this point, It was clearly on. I pushed the door open, chucked my textbooks into the corner and said "What makes you arrogant enough to think anyone wants to watch you masturbate in a bathrobe using a vibrating plastic brain on your balls?"
It took me 5 phone calls and 1 threat of calling the police to get the Dahn Yoga Center to stop charging my credit card. There was a point where the weird shriveled up old receptionist lady who I never met was leaving voicemails on my cell phone 4 and 5 times a day in a language that I don't speak. About a month later I was leafing through a Jane magazine and came across an article about a girl who had escaped from a cult and on the last page there was a section of "up and coming cults to look out for" and guess what was third down on the list. You got it. Dahn Yoga. It even said that someone DIED of DEHYDRATION at one of the centers retreat camps. DEHYDRATION??? I thought we were supposed to be respirating here! I guess I got off easy I suppose. After all, I did get a naked full body massage AND got to witness the sheer brilliance in comedy motion that is a room full of oldie farts masturbating with brain shaped sex toys. The only thing I almost died of is laughter.
So there you have it folks. How I accidentally joined a cult once when I was trying to take yoga classes. Could've happened to anyone. Or... maybe just me.
Having a cold turns pretty much every human being into a useless sack of shit. Case and point; the way I just opened this blog. If I were in a healthier state, I would have taken the time to properly formulate and articulate a less vulgar introductory line... but as it happens, I have one hell of a cold and don't really feel like putting fourth the effort. So "useless sack of shit" it is.
Since I got home from work (roughly 9:30pm) I have been pumping myself full of Sudafed and a steady stream of red wine, which is having the exact opposite effects on my system that I was intending. Hence the reason why it's 1:43 in the morning, and I'm sitting naked in my living room staring at the computer screen. The following statements are a direct result of my previous statements.
Having a cold is the ultimate universal excuse. A few weeks ago, I was at an open mic night in Chicago, where a girl came up on stage to do her 2 song set and before she sang she prefaced her performance with "usually my singing is a lot better, but I have a cold." My initial response was, oh poor thing! A cold on her open mic night performance, what shitty luck! Then, I thought, wait a minute, is that a palatable excuse? I have to admit, there were times in high school where I faked sick to try and somehow excuse my sub par performance on exams or attendance (or falling asleep on my desk during any and all classes involving math and/or numbers). In fact, "having a cold" got me out of a few mishaps in college, up until my teachers grew skeptical of my ever failing immune system, at which time I had to switch to "I have allergies". Then "I have allergies and no medical insurance" excuse was finally laid to a permanent rest after Claritin became available over the counter. But when it comes down to it, having a cold just makes you uncomfortable. Sneezing and coughing and the inability to breath without making choking and spluttering noises is both ridiculously inconvenient to every day chores AND generally very socially unacceptable. Would you want to be the one to sit next to my puffy drippy face on a bus? No. Can I still go to work and get my shit done? Yes. With exuberance and gusto? No. But still, not a good excuse to fail miserably. Really, when all is said and done, colds just make it a little harder then normal to focus... mainly because all of your focus is centered upon feeling very, very bad for yourself. When I started getting this cold, my brain went right into self pity mode. POOR ME! I HAVE A 3 DAY LONG RUNNY NOSE! But then my logical side chimed right in to remind me that things like Cancer last way longer then 3 days, and you cant take Sudafed for that. My logical side can be a real downer, so I try not to bring it to parties.
A cold is a one way ticket to an extended crappy mood, but lucky for me, crappy moods help me build up irrational irritation, which feeds into my ever blackening sense of humor and sarcasm. So in this way, I am thanking the cold fairy for the following rant.
While blowing my nose into a paper towel roll, I decided to make a cup of tea with honey (the second most popular "I'm feeling sorry for myself" culinary masterpiece next to chicken soup) and sit down to flip through a good magazine. Unfortunately, I didn't have any good magazines in the house so I had to read Cosmo. Now, Cosmo magazine might just be the single most anti-women piece of trash on the market today. The magazine claims to be all about women and what women want, but really its nowhere even close. It's completely 100% geared towards turning women into what MEN want them to be. Every article sent me further into a cold induced fury, making me realize that my inner feminist somehow got out of her shackles and was running wildly around in my brain wearing black GI Jane boots and singing Alanis Morissette songs from her Jagged Little Pill album. There are a million examples to choose from, but just for the sake of time I'll choose my personal favorite.
"50 WAYS TO PLEASE YOUR MAN"
This article had the balls to be almost 3 pages long, which was the first thing about it that made me chuckle. Really, the article could have been summed up in 3 short sentences. I will dub them "The 3 F's"
1. Feed him.
2. Flatter him.
3. Fuck him.
Why the article ended up 2 1/2 pages seemed like some serious lack of editing to me, and I have half a mind to write to the editor of Cosmo and complain about the needless amount of reading they are forcing their poor readers to do, when my "3 F's" cliff noted version summed up their entire article in 2 inches of page space. If I were hired as their columnist, I could save the magazine even more space to run adds for cigarettes, perfume, and personal lubricant that heats on contact. Oh the joys of being a woman knows no bounds.
But a liberated and forward thinking womans magazine wouldn't be complete without the quintessential article about how to achieve a "blended orgasm" which honestly just made me think of "blending" which made me think of "blenders" which made me think of "smoothies". And now I wanted a smoothie orgasm, which wasn't at all what the article was about. I skimmed the directions for said smoothie orgasm, which suggested that you follow a series of completely physically imposable steps (unless you are an overachieving contortionist with a powerful drive in the self stimulating department and too much free time). The article also suggested that you "practice on your own before attempting a blended orgasm with your man" and this thought automatically popped into my mind: If the art of achieving the smoothie orgasm is so difficult that you must first practice on your own before attempting it with another human being, chances are neither you nor you blundering neanderthal of a love making partner will be able to stumble anywhere near the correct smoothie making spot to achieve blending. Although if by some Cosmo cosmic force it were to actually happen, I would assume the elusive blended orgasm might be called "Berry Blast". I'd like to patent that idea, before 7-eleven gets their greedy corporate hands on it.
So there you have it. This blog brought to you by the makers of Sudafed, red wine, the Walgreens version of Clairitin (cleverly called Wal-itin), and the chauvinistic idiots who put create Cosmo magazine. I hope I get sued for this, because in court I'll just tell the judge "I had a cold when I wrote it" and thusly winning my freedom.
So basically, all of this free time has gotten me thinking. If left to my own devices, if time is no longer a constraining issue and all of the "unfun" necessary chores of living are taken care of, what does one DO with ones time should it suddenly become bountiful? This question lead me right into the theory that you can really tell a lot about a person by what they do when there is nothing TO do. Following me so far? Allow me to clarify.
Some people chose to improve society. They volunteer, they work for a noteworthy organization, they help a charity or local cause. Some people chose to improve themselves. They go jogging, take a class, learn a skill, or take up a challenging hobby. To all of these people, I commend you. But one of these people... I am not.
It turns out I have little to no interest in working towards bettering society or myself in any literal or figurative shape/form. What I have discovered about myself in the short time I have been blessed with an abundance of hours upon hours of nothingness, is I appreciate nothingness as somethigness. Did that sentence make me seem "unmotivated" to you? This is not the case. I am plenty motivated, just not motivated directionally towards productivity in the original definition of the word. Again, I'm getting very wordy. Allow me to become even wordier.
Websters dictionary supplies a handful of synonyms for the word "productive" including "fruitful", "fertile" and "prolific". I think that even though I have shown complete and utter disregard for using my time in the aforementioned "positive" ways, I have still been extremely prolific AND fruitful. I don't know about fertile. I assume so.
Without further adieu, the title of this blog is "The 7 deadly sins... Loving every minute" and its possible that since up until now I've just been rambling, you've forgotten that I may indeed be working tirelessly to something that resembles a point. The 7 deadly sins are as follows, listed in the very same order as the Pope Gregory the Great in the 16th century AD (except his list was in Latin): Lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride. I'm sure you've all seen the movie "Seven", and if you try and tell me that it didn't deeply disturb and freak the shit out of you, you're a dirty lier and we are no longer friends. But I digress.
Since I have been experimenting with enjoying all the thrills and perks life has to offer without actually making any contributions to society or personal wellness, I have stumbled upon a catch 22 of sorts. Supposedly, the 7 deadly sins are huge and unforgivable character flaws. Here's where I tend to disagree. I have personally partaken in all 7 sins, but haven't felt less like a sinner in my life! Confusing. Lets break it down.
Lust is really one of the more self explanatory of the so called sins, and really can be easily defined as the urge to have sex. You could even go as far as to say it's the act of wanting and/or having excessive amounts of sex. Ok... fabulous, right? I hate to sound obvious here, but what's wrong with excessive sex if its consensual, safe, and for lack of better terminology here, damn good! If you were having some of the most mind blowing sex of your life and you wanted it all the time and thought of close to nothing else, where would the issue lie? Both parties are thoroughly enjoying themselves, engrossed in a mutual respect for their own and their partners body, and discovering new and exciting things about sensation as it relates to closeness and the human experience. Yummy.
The act of over consumption, a very broad idea but I think it more closely hones into the idea of food and eating. Over eating; to be a glutton. The early church leader Thomas Aquinas went as far as to break down the different ways of being a glutton into 6 parts.
1. Eating too soon
2. Eating too expensively
3. Eating too much
4. Eating too eagerly
5. Eating too daintily
6. Eating too fervently
I hate to use an obvious pun, but I'm going to dive right into this one.
Too soon: I think "mealtime" is a ridiculous idea. You shouldn't eat at a pre-set time of day. You should eat when you're hungry. If you have a muffin at 12 noon (like I did today) and then get hungry at 2:00pm and go to Panera Bread for a sandwich and some soup, then you're still fulfilling your basic need to eat. Had I gotten up 3 hours earlier to eat the muffin or waited an extra hour to have the soup, I would have been equally as hungry and maybe slightly crankier and agitated. Lets clarify here- no one wants that.
Too expensively: I went to Ann Arbor Michigan with my very favorite person as of late, for a long weekend a few weeks ago. While we were there, we did nothing but eat out at nice restaurants and sample the glorious food that a swanky Midwestern college town has to offer tourists. Did we spend an extravagant amount of cash of dinner at a steak house one night? Yes we did. Did we have the best fillet and crab/lobster cakes we have ever put in our mouthes? Yes. Was it worth it? You'd have to ask my traveling companion since he paid, but I already know his answer. YES. It was the best food we've ever had. We talked about it all the way home. In fact we still talk about it, and compare it to everything we eat as the pedestal upon which all other foods be judged. As I type this, my mouth is watering. I will most likely be talking about that mean to my grandchildren who will be idly kicking me in my old decrepit ankles wishing id shut up about the damn cakes already. Worth every penny.
Too much: If you eat too much all the time, I can see that as a problem. But if I had 6 of those crab cakes in front of me right now, I'd eat every bite and then lick the plate. No questions asked. You would too. Trust me.
Too eagerly: Same general issue here. If I'm hungry and the food is good, I'm going to be eager. Whats more is, if I cook for someone and they eat my food eagerly, I see it as a compliment.
Too daintily: Firstly, if you're eating "daintily" then either the food sucks or you're not hungry or you're one of those really annoying people who picks at their salad after they complain about the spinach being too dark and the dressing not being on the side and you don't deserve food. Go outside and eat grass.
Too fervently: I'm not even going to get into this one, mainly because I think fervent is too close to eager by definition, and I think ol' Thomas Aquinas was reaching here. Take 5 Tom, you're an overachiever.
People, by nature, are greedy. Now I know this isn't an excuse because people by nature are a lot of negative things, but if you USE greed in a way that doesn't hurt others but betters your quality of life, then I don't see any obtrusive issue. The most common example: Money. If you make a ton of money doing something you enjoy and it doesnt multiply in your bank account at the expense of others, then more power to you. I'm sure Bill Gates started working because, to put it simply, hes a big dork who loves computers. I'm sure it never occurred to him back in the proverbial day that he would become one of the richest men on the planet. But now he is swimming in an obscene amount of cash, he's happy, his employees are happy, and the world has computers. One of which I'm typing this blog on right now. This particular computer is a Mac. But again, digression.
Sometimes I sleep until 2pm on my day off. I freaking love sleep. I have many a friend and acquaintance who does the same thing, and shares my admiration for snoozing. Ask anyone if they like sleeping. If they say no, then you can be pretty sure they are an alien or someone with artificial intelligence and either way, they need to be destroyed. In fact, once I slept through an entire day. I went to bed Saturday night and woke up and it was Monday morning. Yes I did. And no one died because of it.
Here's a tricky one. I almost cant argue in favor of wrath, only because I am a peaceful person by nature. This is hard for me to admit. Not my predilection for peacefulness of course, but my inability to argue in favor of something and play "devils advocate". Wrath is almost never acceptable, although harmless and humerus getting even quips and pranks can be quite satisfying. Here's a great example. When I was in college, my roommate and I had a falling out. To make a boring story short, she decided that we could no longer be friends half way through the year (and we were very close up until this point) because her other friends told her that I would not aid her in her juvenile quest to become popular. My anger for her sudden display of complete shallowness, and my sadness for losing someone who I thought was a great friend lead me to seek a certain revenge. It involved soup. Bare with me. She had once told me that she had been on a cruise with her parents where a clam chowder soup was served that had salmonella (or some other tainted thing) and then entire boat got food poisoning. She went on to say that to this day when she smells clam chowder it makes her want to vomit. This is the kind of story you can't expect to tell a person like me, piss me off, and then not regret it. The day after she told me we couldn't be friends due to my lack of social standings, she came back to our room to find 60 cans of opened clam chowder that had been baking there in the 90 degree dorm heat all through her morning classes. Her face was priceless. She moved out that night, although her friends moved her things and washed all her clothes until they stopped smelling like the chowder cruise of doom. BUT at the end of the day I had my very own room and she got to move into someone else who was going to help her fulfill her goals of living out the college version of the movie "Mean Girls", Lindsay Lohan not included. So everyone wins. No sin there.
I think being jealous and wanting something only serves as motivation to get it. If you want something bad enough, you make it happen for yourself. Envy without action, useless. Envy serving as a stepping stone to turn life into something worth living, completely justifiable. I;m not necessarily talking about material things. More the idea behind possessing. For example, I've always been insanely jealous of people with really nice well done tattoo art. The hours of pain and money involved always slowed my motivation down, but after years of looking at the great body murals of others, I finally started on my own backpiece. Now I don't have to be envious of the tattoos of others, because as Cartman would say, mine's "hella cool".
This is something I am full of, and I make no apologies for this fact at all. I am proud of the work that I do. I'm a great rider, and gifted teacher, and a talented horse person. I'm a good writer, at least sometimes. I am the kind of friend anyone would be lucky to have, and a lover that you would never want to let go if you had. I'm a peace keeper, a comedian, a poet and a thrill seeker. I am proud of the things I've said and done, the people I've touched and loved, and the past and everything in it I cannot and desire not to change. Pride seems like the silliest sin of all, because who in their right mind would have all of this pride and want to swallow it? No one.
Just got home from the dentist... 2 fillings and a whole lot of novacain later, im looking a little stroke victem-ish on the right side. A little lispy, a little drooly... am I turning you on yet?
I used to be a dental receptionist. In fact, it was the first job I ever had. So I am totally used to the sound of the evil tooth drill. It dosnt bother me as much as it gets to some people. Whats more, is I'm used to the attitude that a trip to the dentist can drudge up in a person. Door shoving, coat throwing, foot dragging, sullen faces come in and out of dental offices all day long. People HATE it, and for good reasons. No one looks forward to some strange person sticking their hands into your mouth attached to sharp metal torture impliments and shredding at your gums until they look like pink confetti robbon. Razor like X-rays? Here you go, how about 17 of them. Want some strawberry flavored cleaning paste? How about chocolate? Well, they actually both taste like doodie so it dosnt matter which one you choose. Oh, and I think I might ask you a few questions while I have a good part of my arm down your throat, do your best to answer them... Do you floss regularly? Excuse me what? I cant understand you. Stop gagging, I'm feeling around in your small intestine for cavities.
But I dont mind it. Maybe its because I did spend a good long time as an kid freaking out in the dentist chair and getting it all out of my system. At the age of 4 I had to be straight jacketed into the dentist chair with the whole staff holding me down just so I wouldnt assault the dental assistants. I was a fan of scratching, kicking, and my own person favorite, the finger chomping bite! Seems a bit animalistic to straight jacket me, but having worked with kids after being a dental receptionist, I was lucky no one ever hauled off and back handed me. Damn kids.
So now, on my best behavior, I grit my teeth against the razor X-rays and manage to compliment the assistants earings from underneith the crushing weight of the seemingly concrete filled X-ray proof body bib... I guess in case of unknown pregnancy it keeps the harmful rays from exterminating your baby into fetus dust... or at least prevents it from growing extra heads and flipper fins. But going to the dentist now is very different then it was even a few years ago. For example, I got to watch Caddy Shack on my own personal screen while being drilled on. When I was a kid, the best they would do was hand you one of those stuffed animals packing GIANT chomper teeth, which only sent me into further hysterics as it looked like it was on its way to chewing straight through my terrified little body.
You ALL know what I'm talking about. What WERE those things anyway? Who ever stuck an oversized set of dentures into Kermit the Frogs mouth and said "Yes, this looks like a demon straight from the depths of childhood nightmare hell! Lets give one to every pediatric dentist in the world."
I guess the moral of this blog (oh my god, there is one today) is that life is chalk full of shit that you dont want to do, but you have to. The more we avoid things like the dentist, the more you run into more serious issues down the line. Like all of your teeth rot and fall out of your head and you end up looking like poor mutated kermit, wearing dentures that will undoubtedly scare the neighborhood children out of your back yard ("Get out of my yard, you damn kids! Chomp chomp chomp!"). Might as well just suck it up and put on a happy face. Being bitter and crabby just makes you less tolerable for everyone else involved. And let me tell you, having worked one on one with a dentist, there are special dentist ways of letting you know youre attitude is not appriciated. Said dentist not wearing deoderant for your appointment might be one of them. eww. So smile, open up wide, and say AHHHH.
"Awkward" seems to be the most fitting word when trying to describe myself in middle school years, yet at the same time "awkward" doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of what I was.
I was the kid with the inward turned knees, greasy curly bangs that crookedly hid my eyes, and braces. I was the one who carried a tiny rubber dinosaur in her pocket for good luck and grew my fingernails freakishly long so that I could paint them neon blue. I was the target of all the lunch period pranksters who asked me on dates and ran away laughing, coincidentally also the same boys who farted loudly during history class and blamed it on me.
It wasn't a secret that I was tragically different, but my stubbornly unaware nature kept me from giving up hope. I dawned loudly striped T-shirts, too tight and too short for my boyishly built body, in my own special attempt at bringing sexy back (even though looking back in it simultaneously explaining why sexy left in the first place). I matched my nails to my shirts, and my shirts to my scrunchies in an attempt at drawing attention away from the oil factory that was my head. I was a hero among the lunch room dork table, and in this respect I was not without friends. The "popular" girls teased me mercilessly every day of the week and every 42 minute class period of the day all the way through 8th period, but it was not them I was trying to impress.
Of course, there was a boy. The dark haired, mysteriously quiet boy in the popular crowd who was untouchable to a vast majority of the adolescent female population, let alone me. The one who was so beautiful he was hard to look at but you couldn't look away either, so cool he never had to try, and so effortlessly perfect in my eyes he was the only thing I ever felt resembled saintliness in human form. I would hold my breath walking by him in school, and find a reason to walk by his house (only 5 houses down from mine) almost every day hoping for a glimpse. What made it worse was my mother was friends with his, and my little sister friends with his little sister, so every once in a while they would invite us over to their house to watch a movie or have dinner. On these occasions I washed my hair 3 times in preparation and laid out the perfect outfit the night before, yet every time we were over there he would ignore me, leaving to ride his bike or play basketball with a friend. I was as invisible as my own breasts, at that point.
Ever a tragically clueless optimist, I decided to ask the object of my tireless obsessing to a school dance. I picked up the phone, dialed, hung up. Paced across my room. Walked down the stairs. Walked up the stairs. Dialed the phone. Hung up. 3 hours later, I let it ring. He picked up. I stumbled all over myself, letting my well rehearsed and flawlessly memorized speech go straight to hell, and managed to stutter something closely resembling an epileptic asking someone to a d-d-dance. He politely declined, saying he was going to be going with a group of friends. I was shot down.
The next day at the dance (a social event in middle school I frequented alone sitting in the metal bleachers until I got a leg cramp) my heart broke to see him slow dancing with another girl. A girl who never wore scrunchies and had bracket less smile. Thus began my hatred for the band Boyz 2 Men and my curiosity for why the DJ felt the need to play "I'll Make Love To You" at a 7th grade dance. I was crushed.
I spent the rest of the week hiding from the boy and wallowing in my own shame, ending the following Thursday in the yellow painted bathroom stall at school staring blankly at my friend Jen. "Jen, we're in 7th grade. I just got my period. I don't feel like a woman though." Jen replied "I got mine last year actually, and I didn't feel like one then either."
But I thought still everyone must know, they must see it in me, I must look older and more mature all of a sudden somehow. It was a new bravery boost, and that afternoon my newfound womanhood went to my head a little to quickly.
Everyone lined up to get on the bus to go home, and I became instantaneously aware that standing in line right behind me to climb the bus steps was none other then the boy who was responsible for my broken heart and the sudden onset of my unpreparedness for adult life. My heart was going about a mile a minute, and when I reached up to grab the metal railing of the school bus steps I made the fatal flaw of deciding to give the boy a little show. I was determined to shake and wiggle my non existent bottom up the steps in an attempt at making him realize what he was obviously missing by not dating my seductive boodylicious self. In my enthusiasm, I must have forgotten to factor in the inward turned knees or the 50 pound jansport backpack or a combination of both, because on the 3rd step my ankle decided to abort the mission.
Backwards I went, in a flash of bangs and backpacks and braces I toppled literally heals over head into the boy, taking us both into the concrete driveway below. I ended up lying side by side with him, a world of throbbing pain coming from somewhere on my leg and a stinging embarrassment that was ten thousand times worse. He jumped to his feet and I sat up slowly, watching a little pool of blood gather around my ankle and stain my purple socks.
"You're bleeding." He said.
"Yea, I know." I said.
And with that, he got on the bus.
The bus driver helped me get up, grabbing me a gauze pad from his first aid kit and muddering something in Russian. I sat in the front seat all the way home, sobbing into it.
I have a little scar on my ankle to this day serving as a constant reminder of the day I became a woman, and even though I can now openly laugh about my slowly developed social ability in my youth, theres still a bit of a sting every time I touch it. That which does not kill is makes us stronger, a statement which I now live by, because 10 years after this happened I met the boy again in a restaurant, went to a movie with him, and slept with him the same night.
High five, little lunch room dork table girl. High five.
So I'm walking up and down the aisles, trying to ignore the gaudy hallmark color schemes and chalky "be mine" heart candy displays, and I couldn't help but look around at the scrambling Romeos and Juliettes. Mostly Romeos actually, but when you think about it, the women get their valentines day shopping done before 5:00 the day of, so not a huge surprise there. But it was actually quite the sight. It kind of snuck up on me, and then hit me all at once.
There were old men scooting around in their walkers clutching bouquets and glitter covered cards. There were high school kids in their football jackets picking quarters out of their pants pockets and staring at the rose prices in disbelief. One big burly looking lumberjack guy picked out the most expensive flower assortment in the store, grabbed a handful of "I love you" balloons and sauntered to the checkout line, scratching his beard absent mindedly. A father with 2 small kids bends down and says "Go find something for mommy that's really special" and they jog off to fulfill their important mission.
I got in line with my pizzas, water, kitty litter, and bottle of JD (wants on the list, I improvised that one) and wedged myself in with the love-struck citizens of Jewel Osco. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a young looking Santa Claus guy get in line behind me. I eyed his purchases. Box of chocolates, half dozen roses, and a card. I looked at him and said "Lucky girl". He smiled at me and said "Valentines day is the one day a year I can buy flowers for her and not have to say I'm sorry about anything." I wanted to say yeah you better knock on some wood, the day isn't over yet buddy... but I didn't. Instead I just said "yeah" and turned around again to make sure my purchases hadn't gone over $56 bucks, which is all I had in my wallet.
So while I was heaving my groceries into the back of my car, I told myself that next year I should mark the calendar on February 14th "Don't go grocery shopping day". The entire experience was too overwhelming. I was happy for everyone in there, and sad for me. I mean, even that old guy with the scooty walker and the glitter card is probably going to pop some stiffy pills and get laid tonight. I'll be playing party poker on the Internet and drinking JD straight out of the bottle.
On the drive home I was mulling over all the Jewel love birds and how they have no idea who lucky they are to have someone to spend obscene amounts of cash on today, and I passed the Liberty Tax office. Its tax season, so every year around this time they hire some poor ass hole to stand outside in the blistering cold and snow to wear a ridiculous stature of liberty costume and waving at all the passing cars. Now, I always feel bad for these people, they probably get paid 5 bucks an hour to look like a retarded person on Halloween for hours on end in sub zero weather, waving like the opening ceremony at the special Olympics with a giant shit eating grin on their faces. I'm sure they would all secretly like to burn the Liberty Tax building to the ground, right after repeatedly ass raping the manager who thought up the waving costume idea... but they don't. Every year its the same thing. The same 3 people, rain or shine.
So when I passed the enthusiastically waving statue of liberty guy, I had to fight the urge to flip him off with every ounce of my being. My right hand actually left the steering wheel and the nerve endings in my middle finger began to tingle with the electric energy of a thousand suns. The liberty guy looked me right in the eye, waving spaztically as he realized I was looking right back at him and my hand was poised in the air ready to do the unthinkable. I swallowed hard and forced the other 4 fingers up to form a cross between a very stiff wave and a pimp getting ready to bitch-slap someone. I waved. He smiled. I was very, very relieved.