Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

The exercise of writing New Year's Resolutions always seemed inane to me.   I made them in the past, haphazardly, knowing they were things I had no intention of doing.  For example, one year I vowed to give up sugar,  and since people in my life are still talking to me (if I gave up sugar the withdrawal period would have basically severed all of my friendships), obviously, I didn't follow through with it.  This year, however, I decided to make very different types of resolutions.  Ones that I actually don't anticipate to complete within a year (low expectations mean a low rate of failure).  Some I won't keep--but others will be a work in progress.

1. Floss More:
This is one I won't keep.  

2. Stop Being Self-Conscious:
I don't think I'll get this one either, but unlike the first one, I will actually attempt this.   I waste so much time thinking about myself and what other people think of me.  I worry about how I hold my arms (which I feel is masculine).   I worry that I'm developing a FUPA.  I dissect my face daily in the mirror looking for zits, freckles, and wrinkles (I'm certain that I am prematurely aging and will look like the crypt keeper by 25). I agonize over the body parts I dislike; my stomach, my arms, my man-hands, my flat feet, my big Jew nose, my thunder thighs, the texture of my hair, my height...   But recently I realized, no one else cares.  I don't choose my friends by appearance, and I don't think anyone else does--except maybe Hugh Hefner.  If the worst thing someone can say about me is that I have a FUPA, then I'm doing ok.   Plus, I think (hope) all of these things are worse in my head.

3. Be Nicer to Myself:
As evidenced by #2 (insert poop joke here) I am my own frenemy.   Seriously, if I treated any one else the way I treat myself, I would be featured in a college psychology textbook in the chapter about "sociopaths".  I listen to myself speak and I instantly think, "What an idiotic thing to say," or I assess my life and realize I'm not where I want to be right now with my career and everything else, and I berate myself for being a failure.  When I'm feeling particularly Machiavellian I silently encourage myself to fall on my sword and give up.  I need to just stop it.  Objectively, there are a lot of people who suck way worse than me, but beyond that, there are lots of ways to be a failure.   I think the biggest failure is having no love in your life, and I have a lot of that.   

4. Do Something Every Day That Makes Me Happy:
If everyday is a gift, then I don't want to waste my gift only taking out the garbage and working on spreadsheets ( Unfortunately, I will still have to do both of these things).   But whether it's eating a piece of chocolate just because I want to goddamnit, or singing in the shower to country music and pretending I'm Dolly Parton (which I wouldn't really do...), or even just putting on a prettier bra instead of one that looks like it would be worn by a nun's lesbian aunt, I need to take the time daily to pepper my life with joy.

5. Stop Wasting My Time/Money on Beauty Magazines That Only Make Me Feel Ugly:
Again, I won't do this.   I should for my mental health but I need to know about Kim Kardashian's treatment to make her bowel movements smell like jasmine or Dakota Fanning's (or better yet, Dame Judy Dench's) secret pregnancy.

6. Attend To My Colon Health:
Based on commercials, apparently I should be taking fiber daily or eating that yogurt that makes you poop so I can have champion BM's and impress a fecal analyst (which I am told, everyone should have).  Again, I probably will not do this.

7.  Lose Those Last Five Pounds:
Haha, nope.  If that happened the world would fall off it's axis.

8. Smile More:
Then again, that might invite more creep attention, which I definitely get enough of.   Maybe pass.

9. Watch "Forest Gump"
I've never seen it.  And it's not that I actively don't want to, it's just that I haven't gotten around to it.  I see it TBS (which apparently plays it once a week, almost as much as "Pretty Woman") when I'm flipping channels and it's in the middle and we're already to Lieutenant Dan, or at the end when he (spoiler alert!) makes a shit ton of money from investing in Apple.  

10. Tell People I Love Them:
I don't do this enough.   I assume people know how much they mean to me, but they might not.   I should just tell them, although, this might lead to my life being very similar to an Oprah Reunion Special.

Those are my resolutions.  I definitely encourage you to comment with your resolutions this year--probably you have ones that are way cooler than mine.





 


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Me vs. The Pool Table

Women can be catty and competitive.  This isn't a secret.   Many-a-man has rolled his eyes while his girlfriend/daughter/wife/sister explains that it is important that she is skinnier/prettier/wealthier/more successful than her friends.   Hence the term "frenemy," a friend whom you secretly wish ill.  Men do not have frenemies. They have friends and they have enemies.   Only women, with their stunning ability to multitask, would think to combine the two.

When men compete it isn't the subtle nuances of saying, "I love your dress!" and then talking about how fat she actually looked in it  (it is exhausting to be female, and I'm not even talking about the hair removal).  No, because men have all the subtlety of a gang bang.   Any time men get competitive with each other it boils down to a dick-measuring contest.  Absolutely any time.  Today my coworker was telling me that one of her husband's friends bought a 70 in TV (which is big beyond all reason) just so that it could be bigger than her husband's TV.  And yesterday...

I came to the stunning realization that while my boyfriend is highly-evolved enough to wear matching argyle socks, he is not immune to whipping it out to be measured (figuratively, stay with me).  He bought a pool table.   Let me explain.  His living room is not big enough to comfortably accommodate and pool table if anything else is the room.  So in the middle of his living room is a pool table, and all the rest of his furniture is smashed pathetically up against the wall.   His coffee table had to be chucked to the side, his dining room table has to be sold because it no longer fits, and worst of all, he disrupted a pretty sweet couch and netflix projection set-up that was going on.  Why?!

But here's why he got it.  Because it was only $25.   I'm sure it was so cheap because some pissed off woman made her husband/boyfriend get rid of it so her living room no longer looked like the apt in Big.  Now, he gets the pleasure of bragging to all his friends, "Hey, I got a pool table for twenty-five dollars!"  And all the other men will stare blankly  in jealousy because they don't have a pool table, let alone one for twenty-five dollars.  So, for this simple pleasure, he allowed his life to become an episode of "Everybody Loves Raymond."

I know I sound like a cranky cow.   I honestly don't care that he bought a pool table. I mean, I'm cool and fun and I get that sometimes you want to splurge. It's his apartment, I don't live there, although if I did, the pool table sure as shit wouldn't have made it inside (also, we wouldn't drink wine out of coffee mugs).   Although I cannot resist pointing out to him that he bought a $25 problem.   I just don't get the logic behind the purchase.   But I suppose my boyfriend wouldn't understand why I spend so much on my haircuts.  Same thing.   Same competition.  Although, while I actually know how to style my hair...

Me:  "Do you even play pool?!"
Him:  "I have a feeling I'll be motivated to learn now."

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Look-a-like

Yesterday at our staff Christmas party, which I have to say was pretty bleak (we had a catered lunch for an hour and then the majority of our staff crafted while I watched episodes of "30 Rock" and "The Office" on Netflix) I mentioned to one of my coworkers, that especially since she has died her hair an auburn-y brown she looks even more like Drew Barrymore than she did as a blond.   And this is true.   We started talking about who we look like--and some of my other co-workers had other flattering comparisons, Julianne Moore for example, who even in her forties is hot enough for me to have a girl crush upon.  




In my life I have been told I "look like" 3 people, none of which are flattering:


Monica Lewinsky....


And the psychotic neighbor, Rose, from "Two and Half Men" (seen here with a very dapper Martin Sheen) also, I have been more than once compared to...


Snow White, without question, the homeliest of the Disney Princesses.   And I don't know why, but for some reason people think it's polite and flattering to paint out my near albino-ism, like, "Hey, you could play Snow White!"   I don't tell people they remind me of a bowl of  cottage cheese because of their cellulite.

Later, as I was watching the "Ludichristmas" episode of "30 Rock," which is one of my favorites, my friend said, "Annie, you pretty much are Liz Lemon."   Let's review.  Not Tina Fey.  Not the brilliant, gorgeous, hilarious, successful writer--but her character, Liz Lemon, the neurotic, over-40-and-still-single, food addict, who mentions in more than one episode she has been "sexually rejected" by men in clown college.

As I said, the Christmas party was pretty bleak.    



Friday, December 9, 2011

Things that annoy me about "Pintrest"

In case you don't know about "Pintrest"--it's a virtual pinboard where basically, you can post pictures onto a "board".   For example, you could post potential wedding dresses on a "My Wedding" board.   Or, if you are looking for baking ideas you can post things onto a "deserts to try" board.   Fine.   I personally like to pin pictures of clothing I want to buy when payday comes around.  

Some people, however, like to pin "inspirational" things;  thoughts on why it's awesome to be Christian, ways to motivate yourself to lose weight, or just fun thoughts on friendship.  These people are terrible.   Enjoy some examples of my favorite gag-inducing pins.


You know when else you close your eyes?   When you're about to get stabbed by a home intruder.  Which is what I wish would happen to whoever posted this.



That's nice...because I'm sure they don't want you.




It's not that I even disagree with the sentiment--it's that it is so schmaltzy I can't help but roll my eyes.   This is almost as fun as, "Time flies when Jesus is flying the plane" or "Let Go and Let God."


Why does everyone feel the need to jab people in the face with their religious beliefs?  The fact that I was an ugly kid "makes me a different kind of lady," more empathetic and less shallow, etc.   But I don't need to proclaim that from the rooftops so EVERYONE knows, people know because I am, in fact, more empathetic and less shallow.  If you're really so different because of your faith people will know by how you act--not because you tell them.  Also, why is she in a wedding dress?  Do only Christians get married?  Must you be married to be a good Christian?   Malarkey.


Ugh.  Paging Dr. Freud.  Looks like we have a fairly large Oedipus complex a-brewing.


I'm sorry, I didn't realize that this quote had ANYTHING to do with being skinny.   And I don't understand why being fat prohibits you from being great.   Maya Angelou doesn't have a bikini bod, nor did Sir Winston Churchill, nor does Aretha Franklin.  Are they not great?!   I will never understand why our culture values thinness over talent, compassion, or intelligence.


Is it?   I'm a girl, and when someone hurts me, I use my big-girl words and tell them so.  I'm sorry some ladies (and men) aren't  brave enough to do this, however, I resent the implication that all women cannot stand up for themselves.

Is finding your "Prince Charming," really the only reason you respect yourself enough to not let someone use your body?  In that case, I'd say just strip down and take what you get.


I have to stop now.    My gag reflex is pretty sensative.










Thursday, December 8, 2011

A-dolt

Not to toot my own horn, but there are a lot of things I'm good at; Cranium, convincing people I agree with them while actually making fun of them, finding pictures of cats on the internet, etc.  I am less good at many other things, one of which, is being an adult.

 I often times drink wine with no pants on in my apartment.   My garbage bag leaked some substance that smelled like a diaper full of indian food a few weeks ago, and I got around to cleaning it out from the bottom of the can yesterday, And it smelled rank and I KNEW where it was coming from but chose to ignore it like a Mafia wife ignores her husband's business ventures.  When I take off my clothes I throw them on the floor, which in all fairness, only happens because my hamper is overflowing with nearly a month's worth of backed-up laundry.   A human who would do these things does not seem like an individual capable of interning for a U.S. Senator.  Or graduating Magna Cum Laude.  Or really, these habits don't seem like those of someone who can tie her own shoes.


One of the most paralyzing aspects of being an adult for me, is paying bills.   I don't mean having to earn enough money so as to afford expenses, I mean, physically the act of paying bills.   Tonight, I got home and decided I would sift through the pile of important looking mail items I have hereto been ignoring.   I have ignored them because I get overwhelmed if I handle these items as they come.  I'm terrified I will throw away my insurance bill as junk mail (actually happened) or sign up for a new predatory credit card because it said to on a brightly colored flier.   I need to set aside time, get my computer, checkbook, and cell-phone in front of me, and decipher my mail items as if the fucking Rosetta stone was sent to me by mail every month.  Only then, when I've decided what actually is important, am I able to begin to think about taking necessary action.  P.S. most of my bills are paid online, I only get "reminder" notices in the mail--so this shouldn't be rocket science.  


Tonight was my bill paying night.  And I realized in the middle, I needed more checks--the free ones they give you when you open an account, you know the variety pack with Scooby Doo and buck-hunting scenes, had finally run out.  I tried to reorder online.   I was directed to a 1-800 number because there was some error.  When I called the number I was prompted to press 2 for Spanish and then forced to listen to eight more options--"For a technical problem on the website, press 7.   For account information, press 4"-- none of which even closely matched, "a box popped up when you were trying to order more checks because you have to do menial shit like that now that you're 23."  I was honestly overwhelmed at this point.  By an automated phone call.  There was no customer service option.  I picked something about a lost or stolen debit card and just told the poor customer service rep to transfer me. 


The night did not improve after that call.  Two more seemingly simple tasks went awry and I ended up crying on the phone to my dad while repeating, "I can't. I can't. I can't," between sobs.  Ah, maturity.


I'm pretty convinced I have a mild and rare form of mental retardation that inhibits me from being a responsible adult.   Some people graduate college and within weeks, BAM!, have spaghetti in jars on their kitchen counter.  I forgot to put on deodorant today and noticed when I whiffed myself out in the car.  


So, if any of you twenty-somethings share this rare and mild form of retardation with me, please let me know.   I think we should get a support group going.









Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Great Divide

It never used to matter if you were single and all your friends had boyfriends.  In high school it meant platonic (read: gay) dates to homecoming in a group of couples. In college in meant that while you had to keep your shit together at parties, your friends could get sloppy and expect their boyfriend would take them home safely.  Really, not a huge difference in lifestyle.

In the working world, however, if you're single and your friends are not, there is a great divide.   Single no longer means "not seeing anyone," but instead means not married, living with a significant other, or engaged.   And while your friends will talk about family obligations, that chore their husband won't do, how to keep romance alive after all these years, etc., you will want to talk about last night's episode of Law and Order SVU.  That you watched with you cat.   

Last weekend I attended a baby shower for my coworker.   I don't think I've ever felt more out of place in my life.   I went with Sam, and clearly, she and I were the "single friends".   We bought my coworker a baby gate, the quintessential single gift ("Here, now you can make sure you can keep your baby penned up, especially if I ever come over").  The shower itself was fine, however, I expected booze to be served. Apparently this isn't the practice because the pregnant mother can't drink.  My thoughts?   Buuuut I can.  If I have to spend three hours with twenty women while they squawk about foreskin care and chafed/bloody/leaking nipples, I need alcohol.   And a lot.  It wasn't my decision to gestate a baby, why should I be punished?!   Even with that attitude, as I listened to women planning for future babies or protests of, "We just got married--we're going to wait,"   I realized how completely irrelevant I was to the whole exercise.  And it made me kind of sad.  I did not fit in with these women and their folksy wisdom about how to keep baby shit from squirting out of a diaper. 

This divide has come up time and time again.  Usually ever time I invite my married friends to grab a beer. Some domestic obligation always comes up, and I want to roll my eyes and say, "ok, ok, you have a husband, but I have a cat, and you don't see me dropping everything to go be with her."   The very fact I think this (only briefly!) is pretty conclusive proof I am still a child.  But really,  I'm over my stupid college party days.   But not completely.  I want to be able to dress up and go out and drink and flirt--but I'd also like to be included when the "couples" from work hang out together.   I don't want a baby now (at-fucking-all), but I want to be able to join a conversation about baby names without feeling like a fourth-grader naming her doll.  

Now even after confessing the alienation I feel, I could be very smug and say, "I'm living it up! I'm single! Why would I want to be married--blah!"  The truth is, sadly enough,  I do the same lame things my married friends do with their spouses (read: Law and Order SVU) only I do them alone.   Which really isn't so glamorous--although if someone married asks you, I go to sexy parties every night and sleep with random, attractive men.   


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Wheat and Buckwheat

"We're not wheat, we're buckwheat. When a storm comes along it flattens ripe wheat because it's dry and can't bend with the wind. But ripe buckwheat's got sap in it and it bends. And when the wind has passed, it springs up almost as straight and strong as before...That, my child, is the secret of the survival."


The above is a quote from "Gone with the Wind," (the book not the film) and it popped into my mind today because it summarizes pretty succinctly, the two kinds of people in world.  The wheat and the buckwheat  (although as a rational human being, I do of course recognize there are more than two types of people).  The adapters and the stoics.  As I deal with all the change my job/move/cat adoption (very stressful)/new car/recent breakup/graduation as ushered into my life, I think it would be prudent to figure out if, at my core, I am at all able to deal with it.   Am I wheat or buckwheat?!


The case for me being buckwheat is that I tend to adapt to my environment.  Like a chameleon or a presidential candidate.  For example, when my family visits South Carolina every year, I start talking with a slightly more pronounced southern twang.  More pronounced than the none I currently have.  It's kind of embarrassing.  I'll pepper in some ya'lls and I'm completely unable to stop.  It's a disease.   Also, it occurs to me that I have picked up a phrase from every single guy I've ever dated.  From "whatever else" to "the way of things".     I even still sometimes ironically say, "throw your 'Sorry' in a sack"  (yeah a boyfriend of mine said that, I don't claim to have great taste).  So imitating a speech pattern is very much a way to adapt and fit in with one's environment.  


That being said... The case for me being wheat is that I am slow to accept change.   Even if I can adapt to the environment to fit in (with a VERY convincing southern accent)--It's really hard for me to get behind the "idea of change".  I was that kid who cried everyday after kindergarten.  And that adult who cried everyday after the first few months of work.  My hair has been roughly the same color and style for the past twenty years.   I'm hesitant to switch to blu-ray.  All these things indicate I'm not a "bender".


I know you are sometimes, dear reader, willing to indulge my contemplative side, but at this point, you may be thinking, "wheat and buckwheat?  Bitch, what the fuck are you talking about?!"  Fair point. Let me explain, and if you still think this is just a stupid entry, read the one about me making a birthday cake.  It's very funny.


The quote actually popped into my head during a tortuously long and pointless meeting today at work.  I looked around and thankfully, there were other bored faces, but some of the hardliners were smiling and lapping up the kool-aid like kids at a 7th birthday party (somehow I feel like that's a mixed metaphor and my high school english teacher wouldn't approve).  As I looked into the eyes of some of the people who actually were getting something out of the mindless drivel that was making me want to puncture my eardrums with a ballpoint pen, I thought, "Thank God I haven't been working here long enough to not find this to be stupid."   Because, my ability to find things stupid is one of my best and favorite qualities.  And then I thought more about the ways in which I have adapted and allowed myself to acclimate to my new working environment.  I use jargon.   I can name obscure facts about our organization that are so trivial they wouldn't even make it on a Jeopardy question.     And I wondered, is it smart to bend or noble to break?   Should you cling to your M. O. or should you allow yourself to turn with the world around you (I think it's worth noting that criminals who shift their M. O. 's are less likely to be caught)?  I don't really have an answer, and with so much change being stirred up in my life these past few months, I wonder if I really have shifted and adapted, or if I'm resisting them curmudgeon-ly. 


While I really don't like the image of myself  breaking in the wind, (or the image of myself breaking wind) I have to say, I might be wheat.   I haven't bent enough to embrace some of the "feelier" aspects of my job, and I'm pretty sure 90% of what I say is offensive to at least half of my coworkers. I just try to fit-in enough not to get fired.   And even that is dicey.    I spent the better part of the meeting today making faces and holding in (ok, not holding in) indignant snorts.  This does not bode well.   So even though I'm miserable at dealing with change or getting people to like me, I hope you can at least respect my conviction.  Because otherwise I am just the worst.   I wanted to make a pun to wrap up this admittedly, lack-luster entry in a snappy, pithy way.  Something which vaguely involved gluten and nut allergies and me being wheat and a cashew.  But I couldn't make it work.   So, once again, in a move that would disgrace Mr. Miller, my english teacher.  I'm going to end just like this.  (ta da!)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving

I understand that for a lot of people Thanksgiving opens up a quagmire of dysfunction.  Since this is my first "adult" holiday season, this is my first time hearing coworkers bemoan having to go the "in-laws" or arguing with their own parents about why they would rather not drive three and a half hours just to be home and listen to why they have disgraced the family.  I, annoyingly, love going home.   I do not worry about having to lie about going to church regularly, or pretend that I don't frequent gay-clubs called the "The Eager Beaver" under the the pseudonym, "Bertha" (that's not a real thing I do, but if I did, I wouldn't have to lie about it, which is really all that matters).   The cool thing about my family is that they are very accepting.  We all curse and during a particularly rambunctious game of "Catchphrase," I might have ordered, "Get your shit together!" to my mom and sister.   My sister talked about some of her past brushes with illegal drugs.  We talked politics AND religion.  And to cap off the family togetherness, I consumed roughly an entire bottle of wine over the course of the Thanksgiving meal.

So Thanksgiving for me is an overwhelmingly pleasant experience because I get to be exactly myself.    There are, however, reasons why I find it to be overwhelmingly unpleasant.  Thanksgiving is the gateway to the "holiday season" which for me is about as much fun as lent (my Protestant boyfriend told me Protestants would not understand this reference in the way Catholics do--basically, in the strictest sense, lent is a time to feel guilty and bad about yourself because you are the reason Jesus had to die, you filthy sinner!)

I made the tragic mistake of visiting a shopping mall the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.   I am American, and thus an excellent consumer, and also slightly shallow--which translated into me buying something from Banana Republic within 2 minutes of me walking into the store (It was on sale!)   As I was checking out, the bespectacled store clerk looked at me with such a look of sadness (and it's hard to be sad when you're wearing such a fabulous Banana Republic cashmere sweater!) I asked if he had to work Black Friday.   He sighed and said, "Yes, I'm supposed to work 8am to 5pm, but I'm sure I won't get home until well after seven."   And I said, "Oh wow, that sounds rough," because I am spoiled enough to have an office job where I don't have to do jack shit until Monday at around 9:30am.   And then he told me that he'd already been in the store for twelve hours that day and his knees were starting to buckle.   I looked around at the soccer moms in the store, arms piled with shopping bags, and I realized how this man had suffered.   Isn't Black Friday the worst?  

Leaving the mall, I was assaulted with Christmas carols, and twinkling Christmas lights, and horrifyingly, Mall Santa (in today's times do we really want to hire an old man who volunteered to bobble children on his lap?).   I was struck with a level of rage and disgust I can only equate to times when I think I have ice cream in my freezer but I open the carton and it's only enough for like, half a spoonful.  That intense kind of rage.   The next day, as I was eating my Thanksgiving dinner I thought of this poor man, leaving his family meal, preparing for a day of implacable customers, re-folding piles of mock turtleneck mohair Henley sweaters (that he had just folded ten minutes ago) and fetching size 2's for size 8 women, just to appease their egos.   At that moment, I was so thankful I don't work retail.   Isn't that the true meaning of this holiday?  Being thankful, even when your life is shitty, because there is some poor bastard out there with a shittier life than you?  I think I saw that on a Hallmark card somewhere.  

So, as we get ready to slide into the Christmas abyss of human misery, I just want to remind you, that no matter how much your life sucks, there is always someone out there who had to work Black Friday.   Or if you had to work Black Friday, there is always someone who had to work Black Friday at Walmart. Or if you work Black Friday at Walmart, some people are homeless.

Happy Thanksgiving!  

Friday, November 18, 2011

The "in" crowd

I've said it once, and I'll say it again--no one ever leaves high school.  Unfortunately, no matter how successful or powerful or happy we become; there is still a small part of us that remembers we weren't invited to so and so's party or that we were always picked last for dodge ball.  Or, I guess, that's what I remember of high school, it's possible what you remember is how popular and good-looking you were.   This also can have consequences.  It's the reason why women in their forties feel empowered to dance on tables at bars--they remember how hot they were in high school.  Unfortunately, while it was cute to be an attention whore (or at least tolerated because you were pretty enough) in high school, after a certain age it just gets to be sad (I'm looking at you Kris Jenner).

Today at work, I overheard some co-workers talking about an anti-bullying program we run.   One of my co-workers said, "I hate to mention stuff like this to kids so young, but I always bring up the little boy in fourth grade who killed himself because he was bullied.  I want them to know their actions have consequences."  High school is now starting in middle school and even elementary school.   I also know this because I was teaching a class for 10-12 year old girls, and one of them called her boyfriend "dark chocolate and beef tenderloin."  Go to your room, young lady.  

I still feel like I'm in high school a lot of the time, even though I defiantly declare I am a "grown-ass woman," (because nothing says emotional maturity like stomping your foot and swearing).  I recently have been following the site, "Pintrest," and it basically has the same affect upon me as watching what the popular girls wore in high school.  I see all these trendy pictures of girls in outfits and I covet what they have, and I also delude myself into thinking that a slouchy sweater and leather leggings would be a "good look" for me.   I think insane things like, "maybe I should die my hair red, it looks good on her" and I bemoan the fact that I do not know how to french braid my hair or wear leather to work.    Did I mention I wore sparkly blue eye shadow in middle school? Obviously, I am not immune to peer pressure.

Another, terrible, terrible, thing I do now that reminds me of high school?   I have fixated upon another girl and I am on a desperate quest to prove to myself (and anyone who will listen) how much better I am than her.  I look at her facebook posts and feel compelled to mock them.  Why don't I just delete her from my life and be done with it?  Because that would be a sign of adequate mental health.   I also fixated upon a girl on my cheerleading squad in high school.  Everyone said she was so "nice," but I knew she was actually a venom spewing bitch, and I spent a lot of my time obsessing about how I would expose her true nature.   This didn't work out and she was on prom court, but I heard from a little birdy that she banged an entire fraternity in college, so you know, I'll chalk it up to a win.

Also, I get weird because my coworkers are all "crafty" and "domestic" and they bring in cupcakes shaped like Mt. Rushmore and make canopy beds out of twine and craft glue.   I sometimes forget to buy more toilet paper and use tissues for a few days.  I am not on top of my life.  But the crafty girls are now the popular girls.  And when I move into the next stage of my life, I know there are going to be those "popular" mothers who breastfeed for exactly six months and whose children will know Mandarin Chinese.  I suspect my child will not latch on to my breast and this will make me feel like a bad mother and I will be in playgroup and the other mothers will say, "Annie, really you must breastfeed.  It really even improves your child's IQ" and I will say, "If sucking my tit makes you smart how do you explain my ex boyfriends?"  And there will be shocked silence.   And I will be ostracized.  Some things will never change--I'm just not built for the popular group.  Wasn't in high school--won't be now, in five, ten, or twenty years.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Bah Humbug!

You know how there are tell-tale signs for serial killers; torturing animals, bed wetting, lack of recognition of facial emotions; etc?   Well, for the way people react to my lack of enthusiasm about Christmas you would think "lack of holiday spirit" was  also an indicator.

It's not that I don't like Christmas.  I do.   I love listening to Christmas carols and baking Christmas cookies and watching "Love Actually,"--only I do those things no earlier than the 22nd of December.  News flash people: Christmas is ONE day.  December 25th.    So why are my ears already bleeding from Christmas carols when I try to walk into the Barnes and Noble and buy a memoir about incest?   Why do I see Christmas lights up already?   Thanksgiving hasn't even happened yet, and I don't know about you, but I think that the poor little holiday in which we celebrate stealing land from the Native Americans by eating more in one meal than children in third-world countries get in a week--deserves more than to be bulldozed over on the road to Christmas.

My coworkers are planning a "fun" activity in which we decorate Christmas cookies (like little snowmen and reindeer) for our volunteers the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.  I love baking for Christmas!  With my mom.   A few days before Dec. 25th.  Also it helps when I will get to consume them.   But for my volunteers?  I don't want to give them cookies, and I certainly don't want to waste a day actually making them.  You know what I really want to give my volunteers for Christmas--a wicked case of hemorrhoids--with a note that says, "You've been a pain in my ass.   Now here's a pain in yours." Now of course, my opinion on this makes me unpopular.   And I get a lot of, "but don't you want to spread holiday cheer?"  Not particularly.   Does that make me a bad person?

Also, I hate all the consumerism surrounding Christmas.   I have no problem with kids writing letters to Santa Claus and being so excited they pee a little when they see piles of presents underneath a tree.   I do, however, have a problem with stores opening for Black Friday at 10pm on Thursday night (what says holiday spirit more than cheating your employees out of Thanksgiving dinner with their families?!) and with Black Friday in general and with "iPads" as a stocking stuffer. As far as I'm concerned, the best thing about Black Friday is that it acts as a natural selection process because some dummies always die every year from getting hit by a car after they parked on the highway because outlet mall parking was full.  I do not shop on Black Friday.  Nor do I really "shop".  I buy four gifts, only for my immediate family.  And I love doing it--because I don't go into debt in the process nor do I feel pressured or obligated by some cooperate concocted "Magic of Christmas" bullshit. 


So, ok, you can say I'm a Scrooge because I want a haul a dead tree up 5 flights to my apt., nor will I listen to Christmas carols before advent even starts , nor will I buy my acquaintances/coworkers a half-assed "bargain" gift they will throw away anyway.  I will, however, watch "A Christmas Carol" with my Dad on Christmas Eve.  I will help my mom bake and decorate.  I will attend Midnight Mass, and feel the hope and joy of the newly dawning year.  I will also drink lots of wine.  Isn't that the true meaning of the holidays?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Body Issues and Other Things if You're Male You Probably Don't Want to Read

I know I am around chicks too much.   I know this because I am in the process of applying to Grad Schools, and in the program for which I'm applying there are 74% women and 26% percent men.   And my thought, was not, as you would imagine, "Only 26% percent men,"  it instead was, "Hot damn, that's going to feel like the sausage buffet at Schmidt's!"   There is only ONE man at my office.   The janitor, or as he probably prefers, the facilities manager.   However, one of his main tasks is cleaning the tampons out of the feminine hygiene boxes so it seems like we're just splitting hairs.  

One of the perks of working in an office full of women, is that I never have to feign interest about a football game/UFC Match/Maxim Calendar/E.D. Pill, as I imagine would happen were I conversing with men every morning (which is something I don't do very much, upon further reflection, I doubt they talk about their E.D. at work).  I do however, have to feign interest about babies/Spousal disputes/children in general/periods, so I guess it all evens out.   I generally very much like working with women but one of the things I dislike--all this body image talk.  

Literally every day someone bemoans their fat stomach or flabby thighs (ok, most of the time it's me) but instead of receiving a blank look as I would in a group of males, I am instead fed and encouraged by more  body talk.  It's like, "I will see your cottage cheese ass and raise you a cankle."  I am sick of this.   Mostly because it absolutely helps no one to be encouraged to air their fears of inadequacy.

This weekend, I went out with my friend and even then I could not get away from the same issues that follow me around the water-cooler at work (full disclosure: we do not have a water cooler).  While I was dancing with a real winner in a Kangol Hat, ala L.L. Cool J in 1993, my friend was told by Kangol's friend that he liked her better than me because she was"thick."  He meant this as a compliment. Now while I have to admit my first emotion was blind jealousy and rage (because BOTH of these gentlemen seemed soooo quality), my second was disgust.  Why do men think that's an okay thing to say?   I don't go up to men and say, "I dig your weak pec muscles.  I like that we both have boobs, but mine are still bigger than yours."   Although, I think maybe if I did, that man would probably be flattered, stupidly, so I don't know if I have any more to say on that issue.


"'Why can't we accept the human form as it is?' screams no one." -Tina Fey


Agree.   While I bemoan the expectations of society, I will be the first to take advantage of any mechanism to trick people into thinking I am more attractive. Tina Fey says, "I feel about Photoshop the way some people feel about abortion.  It is appalling and a tragic reflection of the moral decay of our society...unless I need it, in which case, everybody be cool."  I would even go so far as to say you could replace "push-up bras," "spanx," or "extreme waxing," will Photoshop and the same would apply.   I employ one or all of these methods almost every time I get ready for an occasion.  
I often remind myself of the montage scene in "Mrs. Doubtfire,"because I have equal or more trouble than does Robin Williams shaving my legs without nicking them, snapping my bra, putting on my panty-hose, and zipping my dress.   I am the worst at being a woman. 


Thank God I'll hopefully soon be swimming in 26% testosterone.  Giggity.





Friday, November 11, 2011

Love Letters

Recently, I've been thinking of the piece of advice delivered in a commencement speech at M.I.T. by Kurt Vonnegut in 1997,  

"Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements."

 In a hiccup of technicality, however, Vonnegut never delivered this speech, nor did he write these words.  Actually, the speech was originated by Mary Schmich of The Chicago Tribune, on June 1st, 1997, as a imagined musing of what Vonnegut might say, were he to give such an address.   Ah, the power of misinformation, spurred by the internet.   Regardless, the idea of keeping old love letters is something that occurred to me recently, when my mom produced roughly 5 years of written evidence of our daily correspondence. 

  My mom came up to Dayton this week to take me out to dinner.   In the back of the car, she had with her, a large yellow file folder full of probably 100 sheets of paper.   "Do you know what that is, Annie?" she asked me.   "Those are all the emails you've written me since your freshman year of college."   I didn't at the time have any interest in reading the emails, but my mom mentioned some of the highlights; boys I dated, people who annoyed me, homesickness, professors I liked/disliked, fears about graduation, etc.  The past five years of my life piled up in the back seat, there for anyone to leaf through.

So I got to thinking... while I don't have very many "physical" love letters in my possession, I have email folders full of them.  I could open folders up and find impassioned declarations of love, mundane musings about the events of our days, and "cute" inside jokes, the meanings of which I've probably long since forgotten.  It would be like getting a bird's eye view on the past, something so unfamiliar and alien given today's context it might as well be a trip to an alternate reality.  While part of me is very tempted, again as Liz Lemon would say, "to go to there," and read them, at the same time I think it might make more sense to throw them away like old bank statements, or in a more apt metaphor given the way I manage my bank statements, ignore them and pretend they don't exist.

It's not that I'm afraid to stir up old emotions and miss the person. The worst part of breaking up is never missing the person.   That's part of it, but how many people come and go in someone's life?   Breaking up with a significant other is really no different in that sense, than moving to a new city and leaving behind your friends from the old.   It happens.  People move on.   The worst part of breaking up is mourning the imaginary life you will never have with that person.   And that's what reading the old letters will put into focus again--the trips you were going to take, the holidays you would have shared together, the illusive future when it's you two together against the world like some damn Taylor Swift song.   That's the hard part.  It doesn't matter that the future was never going to unfold that way, or that the person didn't have any of the qualities that you attributed to them--what matters is that, for a moment, or in a letter or for the entire course of the relationship, you believed your own lie.



Is it wierd to any one else that in Taylor Swift's love-fantasy she saw herself as a teen mother?   Anyone?

 Because I am very vain, and also because I would like to think I'm infallible like the Pope, I don't know if I have any desire to remember times when I was duped, and because of this, I don't think I have any desire to keep old love letters.   So I don't know if Vonnegut (Schmich) really had a grasp on that. 

Worth pointing out, I frequently gush and get very excited about things and skip 1000 steps, and when they don't pan out--I shudder when I'm reminded by friends or family about the things I said at the time.    For instance, right after college I was confident I would be in D.C., where I have always wanted to live.   I told everyone and swore up and down, that as soon as I graduated Ohio was ancient history and everyone could, "kiss my grits."  Unfortunately, here I am, not even in Columbus, which at least has nice restaurants, but in Dayton whose only claim to fame is that some brothers from here invented a form of transportation that would one day force me to sit in close quarters with creepy old men and pay 7$ for a beer. 

Basically, even when I don't put it in writing, I have enough to remind me of times when I was stupid enough to get my hopes up and be fooled by something that was never going to pan out.   I don't need written documentation, thanks.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The "Shew" in Cashew

As you may or may not know, "Cashew" is a hilarious little acronym I made up (or maybe heard from a comedian somewhere, I don't know) which means half catholic, half jewish.   Now if you had to look at a family portrait, it probably wouldn't take you a very long time to guess which parent is the "Ca" and which is the "Shew".   My Dad looks like a poster diagram of "The Ideal Aryan" I saw at the Holocaust Museum in D.C.   I was in eighth grade and I seriously gasped and grabbed my dad and squealed, "Bob, that looks just like you!"   And it really, really did.  And that's not the first time my dad was mistaken for someone straight out of the "Vaterland" (Fatherland).  When my parents were on their honeymoon in Paris, a Parisian tour guide politely spoke to my father in German, mistaking him for German tourist.  He looks that German--and the French know what Germans look like, because they've beem invaded/occupied by them twice (HA!)  So of course, he is the very stern Catholic, "Ca" Side.

My mother on the other hand, is very much the "Shew."  Even though she wasn't raised with any religion and her family tried desperately to supress the Jewish side of their ancrestry (as if they could, one dinnner with my Grandma and the heaping serving of guilt that comes with dessert lets you KNOW there is some jewish mother in there), the Jewish sorority at Miami University (of Ohio) tried to recruit my mom.  So, as German as my dad looks, that's how Jewish my mom looks.  The only discrepancy is that she has bright blue eyes, but everything else is pretty swarthy on her.  I can thank her for my delightful unibrow that shows up if I let my eyebrows roam wild over my face (I affectionately call it Bert, as in Bert and Ernie, just like Liz Lemon in 30 Rock calls her mustache, Tom, as in Tom Sellick). 



Anyway, last night, while my father had dinner with the "Wendy's Outlaws" (we're not even going to address how wierd it is that a group of middleaged men dub themselves cowboys and celebrate the fact by going out for monthly drinks) my mother came down to Dayton to have dinner with me.   Since I want to warm my mom up to the idea that I will not be bringing men home to her any time soon, I invited Sam to come along with us to Thai 9.

Several things happened at dinner.  But even before that, my mother was in rare form because the entire parking lot was jammed.   "Maybe that guys is walking to his car,"  my mom exclaimed excitedly.   "No mom, that guy is homeless."  I pointed out his oversized coat, beard, and lack of teeth.   I guess my poor suburban mom isn't quite accustomed to "urban life" in Dayton.  After, arguing about whether or not the (obviously) homeless guy was walking to his car or not, we finally found a space and parked.  Once inside the restaurant, my mom was very unhappy because the restaurant was Thai and she "Got sick on Pad Thai so I don't want any of that!"  I informed her there were a plethora of other things on the menu, and finally she warmed to the idea of a simple noodle stir-fry with chicken.

During dinner, conversation flowed, as did Sam and I's rantings about our place of work.  A couple of f-bombs were dropped, and my mother, being awesome, didn't even bat an eyelash.  The waiter, visibly winced a couple times when he was pouring water and Sam and I were waxing eloquent (vulgarly).   Eventually, (and mind you, this stuff only happens to me) the waiter, after being asked how far his tattoo went down (by my mother) pulled up a chair and starting chatting.   He told us he was a police offier and my mom looked at him, bold as brass, and said, "that seems like a terrible job,".   These kinds of things embarass me.   Usually, it's poor form to tell someone what they're decided to do with their life is something you find to be stupid.  Whatever.   Anyway, Mitchell sat down and talked with us for about an hour. At the end, Charisse said, "I was hoping to get a date out of it."   Charisse, you're married, I reminded her.   A look of disgust, "Not for me!   For you (unavailable) or Sam (not interested).   Ah I love the yenta-ing ways of my delightful "Shew" mother.


"Matchmaker, Matchmaker, make me a match.."





Wednesday, November 2, 2011

"This Is Going to Be Your Year"

This year on my birthday, a good friend of our family's pulled me aside during the festivities and said, "Annie, this is going to be your year, before your 24th birthday (Sept. 3rd, 2012) God told me he has something special in store for you--and it's what you've been waiting for."  Now, while it might seem odd to you that our family friend referenced God--it isn't, she's a minister and she has a propensity for talking to God.   Now, you can think what you will about that, but I actually took a great amount of comfort in those words.  This year I'm going to have what I've been waiting for.

I guess the only question left is, "what am I waiting for?"   Well I've certainly been waiting to look like Heidi Klum and I've been waiting to finally figure out what it is I'm supposed to do with my life--merely commenting sarcastically on the lives of those around me cannot be my true calling.   So I've been thinking a lot about what our minister friend said to me, and I still don't have an answer.  I  will tell you, however, that thinking about those words gets me through the days when someone screams lewdly at me from a car window as I leave my lunch break destination or a sixth-grade girl who should be worrying about getting Auntie Anne's pretzels tells me her boyfriend (which Lord knows she shouldn't have) is "beef tenderloin".   Beef-fucking Tenderloin (This will be my year.)

While this seems counter-intuitive, the last time I really felt like it was "my year", was my senior year of High School when I quit the cheerleading team.  I know, it shouldn't be a good thing to quit, but I was so damn proud, I even wrote that in my college-entrance essay.   I think I intended it to come off as witty and original, but I'm sure I just sounded like an insane person with a poor work-ethic.  Surely one of the best qualities in someone is their ability to dig in their heels when things get tough?  But as I wrote on my college entrance essay, the theme of which was something I had done that made me proud, I started out by writing, "I'm a quitter, and that's the thing of which I am most proud."  Literal sentence.   Weirdly, MIT turned me down.

In my essay, I went on to explain, that when I quit the cheerleading team, I realized that I was actually doing something really gutsy, in that I realized it was only to uphold some bizarre notion of who I was supposed to be--and that it was making me miserable.  I also threw in a little "Big Fat Greek Wedding" action, saying I had always wished I was someone who could sit with the popular girls at their lunch table in the elementary school cafetorium, chic with a wonder bread sandwich, instead of being the "smart kid" in the corner reading young adult fiction about the Holocaust and pounding a fluffer-nutter bagel.   Those were not my years.

Since my senior year of high school, however, I've continued to quit a lot of things, one of the most important being that I stopped trying to be popular and blonde (two things I will never be) and instead settled into being the sarcastic asshole with brown hair (brown--why don't we call it yellow-hair instead of blonde? They already have too much going for them, let's level this semantical playing field) and a mouth that would make John McEnroe blush (actual thing I said to my parents at dinner when recounting a girl pointing out her Coach bag to me, "Oooh cool, you have a Coach purse?  What do you want me to do, lick your twat?").

I had a beer with my friend tonight, and she has decided to be a quitter too, and thank God, because really that's the only way I think this will be her year.   But I'm confident it will be.

So, I'm re-reading this, and while it is sort of a departure for me to write about anything but Kardashians or why I can't cook, or my funny thoughts on weird people I meet--(I feel a little bit like getting this personal is like stripping naked in the middle of the shopping mall) I wanted to affirm to myself that this will be my year.   And I think it will "the year" for a lot of other people in my life.  Here's to the quitters--it's our year.  









Tuesday, November 1, 2011

D. I. V. O. R. C. E.

Ok, you get 1,000 points if you recognize the Dolly Parton song title refernece, if you don't, no worries, it just means you're not a middle-aged woman like I am.

So in one of the most shocking bits of news I've ever heard, Kim Kardiashian and that smug-looking no-name dude she married are splitting up!   Now, I am not a huge fan of the Karashians, but this shakes me to my core.  I called my parents (happily married for 33 years) after hearing the news just to make sure their union was in tact--I mean, if Kim Kardashian can't make it work after a mere two months...what can I believe in anymore?!

Just kidding.   I totally called this.  So did everyone else in the world.   Clues?  Well, the E! Special "Kim's Fairytale Wedding," is probably Exhibit A.   Oh, and the fact that there was an E! Special.   But, if you haven't watched it--I envy your ignorance.  I watched it just this weekend in Baltimore, and let me say, I felt significantly stupider afterwards.  But, I also feel like if I were a divorce attourney I would have started making some courting phone calls to the K-dash clan immeadiately after viewing it.

  Highlights include Kim rolling her eyes and saying, "Tots," when her future groom asked if she was excited about getting married.   I can muster up a little more enthusiasm for my morning egg-white sandwhich from Tim Hortons.   Other clues?   The groom's declaration that he felt like a "road block" in the way of Kim's perfect wedding.  Which, I have to say, is very perceptive for a guy who looks like he might get confused following an episode of Law and Order.  Also perceptive, when Kim said she didn't come from "Yee-haw, Minnesota," as did her hubby (which is cute, because assumably that means she got it confused with Alabama, Texas, or Kentucky, all of which are border states) he snapped back, "Four years ago you were folding clothes in the Valley!"  Burn. 

So let me just say this--are we still concerned about the institution of marriage being depreciated by gay couples?   Really?!  I think Kim's ridiculous Princess Jasmine head-piece is about a thousand times more damaging to the sanctity of marriage.  Which is not even to address the deeper issue, that people feel their personal relationships can in anyway be affected by anyone else's--yeah, the fact that Sir Paul got remarried is really messing up my relationships.  C'mon. Although I will say, I spend a lot of time with couples in my life, especially since most of my work friends are married, and I see how this can seem like an indication that nothing lasts anymore.  Oh wait, no it's completely not, because amazingly, none of them have divorced because Senorita Sex-Tape did.  So, while I acknowledge that in writing a blog I am actually bringing yet more attention to this turn of events, can we all just cluck our teeth and say a collective, "we told you so, Kim" because I really just am over pretending to be surprised or distraught about this. 


That head thing looks ok...
But, uh oh, Kim... looks like someone else is wearing your outfit!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Baltimore

Just a special glimpse into my upbringing for all of you.  My father is very much a fan of musicals, thus I was (and am) quite a big fan as well.  One of my most beloved possessions as a child was a compilation CD of Andrew Lloyd Weber musicals--probably explaining why, as a young child, I had a fairly insurmountable crush on the original Phantom of the Opera, Michael Crawford, even though he was never featured in a Tiger Beat Magazine alongside Kirk Cameron.  Anywho, because of this Andrew Lloyd Weber CD, one of my defining thoughts about Baltimore comes from a song called, "Take that Look Off Your Face," from the musical, "Tell Me On A Sunday."  Which is about a woman whose husband is tragically cheating on her.  In the song, a nosy frenemy tells the main character she saw her husband with another woman.  The main character than sings;

"You must be mistaken,
It couldn't have been
You couldn't have seen him yesterday.
He's doing some deal down in Baltimore now,
I hate it when he's away"

So, for this reason, I associate Baltimore with being an alibi for a cheating man.   So, of course, secretly being a fabulous gay man trapped in a straight woman's body, I was very excited to actually go to Baltimore because of this dramatic association.  

Also, returning back to me being a normal human, I was excited because I've never been, heard very exciting things about the harbor, and I love me some crabcakes. 

Well, let me just say this, Baltimore is awesome.  I had one of the best weekends I've had in a while, which was in no way dampened (pun intended--I am a comedian, much in the tradition of Tina Fey)  by the continual spitting/sleet rain or because I had to fly there and I hate flying/

I don't hate flying for the reason normal humans do--I am not scared of it.   I like to sit on a plane and look out the window and revel in how high I am.  What I do not like, is being surrounded by stupid people who smell.  That's why I avoid Applebee's restaurants and amusement parks.   When you fly, however, these people are unavoidable.  By the time I arrived in Baltimore Friday night I had had my fill of people staring blankly at user-friendly signs and asking, "Where is gate C14?" aloud like it was the riddle of the Sphinx instead of a clearly marked destination six feet to the right.  I also, having endured six other people laden, nicotine deficient hours, was ready to shake a human baby until the noise stopped.   Needless to say, when Curt cheerily called and told me he was there to pick me up my response was a full rotation of my head and to snarl that I couldn't discuss logistics with him at until I was able to find some place to basically eat the butt of my cigarette.  

Despite that rough start, Curt took me to dinner Friday night and supplied me with a crab cake the size of my head and a decent amount of gin, so I was happy.  Then on Saturday we actually did impressive Baltimore sight-seeing.

We took the light-rail into the harbour area and went to the National Aquarium, which features huge sharks, an impressive array of turtles, and best of all, frolicking happy little dolphins.   I was like a kid in a candy store, especially in that I pushed the other (children) viewers out of my way frequently and made fish faces at the fish, who I can only assume appreciated my effort to relate to them on their own level.  The aquarium has glass walls and is several stories high, so the view of the harbor from the top is impressive.  


View from the Top!

Ignore the fact that I look like a very simple-minded hunchback.  That's just the camera...

The best part of Baltimore, however, was not the aquarium or the breath-taking view of the harbor.  It was delicious baby cow.   Milk fed baby cow.   Milk fed veal from an a-maz-ing restaurant in little Italy were I was called, "Senorita" or whatever miss is in Italian, and served more San Pellegrino almost instantly after I ran out.   Little Italy in Baltimore is everything you would hope it to be, if all you hope for is lounge-y places and good food, which is basically what I want from a Little Italy.  By the end of the meal, I was feeling so "rich" I almost tried to buy the crown jewels like in that commercial, and by that I mean I did no such thing.

Baltimore, however, is awesome, so if you are a cheating man in need of an alibi, or just traveling, I recommend it highly. 


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Lipstick Lesbian

So as you may know from my previous blog, The Women, I am warming up slowly to the idea of female friendship.   And while I love my work friends and friends from college, I am realizing I probably should be actively seeking female friendships outside of work.  So last night, when I started chatting outside the bar with a woman about my age, smoking a cigarette, I thought I was doing just that.  She seemed really funny and down to earth.  She asked for my phone number and said we should hang out sometime.   I congratulated myself for making a new friend.  She even had a gay guy with her.  I love the gays!    Maybe I would get two new friendships out of this transaction.  Win Win!

Unfortunately, when she texted me later in the evening I realized it was not at all as I had originally thought.    It was, instead, more like another previous blog, I am a weird-people magnet.   The texts she sent me were extremely salacious in nature.  And she informed me, "I am as bi as the day is long," and then went on to say she'd like me to "put on a show" with her while her bi (not gay incidentally) guy friend watched.   Shit.   I felt a combination of disgust at being treated like a piece of meat and deep, deep flattery because she also said I was "fucking gorgeous".  Is that wrong?

To be fair, there were some clues as to the direction this was going.   I just was too stupid to notice them.  For instance, usually female friends don't say things like, "You're so fucking beautiful, we should definitely hang out."  Now had a guy said that to me, I give myself enough credit to know that he was hitting on me.  But from a woman?   I just thought she was being nice...I also might have insinuated something I didn't mean when I replied, "Sure, I'd love to meet some more girlfriends in Dayton!"   Oops.

To my credit, she was wearing high heels instead of Birkenstocks, which really are the only surefire, tell-tale sign of a lesbian encounter.   But, I must ask, how the happy hell does this happen to me?    What vibes am I putting out into the Universe?    I guess it's nice to know I have a backup plan if this "man" thing doesn't work.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Exorcism of Annie Elizabeth

Okay,  I understand that it is the scariest movie of all time.  I understand that it shocked audiences so deeply that they ran screaming out of theatres when it first came out in the 1970s.  I understand that projectile vomit is groudy.   But here's what I don't understand--why is "The Exorcist" so damn funny?  


There must be something wrong with me.  When I went to the Greene for the nine o'clock showing of "The Exorcist" last night--I was actually really nervous to see it.  My whole life I have been avoiding clips of the movie that play in "Bravo's 100 Scariest Movies" and frantically flipping channels when it plays on AMC.   My mom shudders at the mere mention of the film.  She's never seen it, but she speaks about it with a certain reverence, like when people say "He Who Must Not Be Named" in Harry Potter.   "The Exorcist" is the Film Which Must Not Be Seen.  So I was expecting to be afraid, nay, terrified.   I was expecting to be afraid of walking to my car,  have to start sleeping with a cross around my neck, and avoid pea soup for the next seven years.   So imagine my surprise when, compared to the other exorcism films I've seen, this was relatively tame, almost a caricature of itself.

Unfortunately, this sometimes happens with classic film.   An aspect which at the time of the film's release broke barriers and shocked audiences, becomes emulated so frequently as to become a cliche.  This happened to my sister with "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom."  "What's the big deal?  It's like every other action/comedy I've ever seen," she whined.  "I think 'The Mummy' is better."   Ok, so we won't get into why she's an wrong--but I see were she's coming from.   More correctly, ever other action/comedy is like "Indiana Jones" which is why the material seems--just like a feminine hygiene ad would say--not so fresh.

So how do I know I'm a depraved individual?   When poor, little, Regan's head spun all the way around I started laughing.  This was an inappropriate reaction.  I should have been discussed or shocked, but I just thought it was hilarious.  I guffawed at Regan walking backwards down the stairs, blood pouring from her mouth.   She looked like Golem from "Lord of the Rings".  I even snorted a little when she started yelling obscenities.   Am I wrong to think that possessed Regan seems way cooler to hang out with than the little mealy-mouthed pipsqueak she was before?   She's like a hilarious insult comedian.   I want more of the bitch slapping, less of, "I love you, Mother".


Someone needs a chiropractor.

Truly, the only thing that made me gasp was the statue of Mary desecrated.   I'm Catholic.  We don't mess with that shit.   I will say all I want about the church hierarchy, but when I'm in a cathedral, you best believe I'm crossing myself with holy water and genuflecting.  And I don't even want to talk about our Virgin Mother except when I'm saying "Hail Mary's" on my rosary.   I know my limits.
Maybe I've become desensitized because new movies like "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" are so terrifying by comparison, the horror movie that started it all just looks a little lame.   And I had such high expectations.   When I was in D.C. I frequently walked the stairs which are featured in the movie.   One sunny day, as soon as I put my foot on the steps, a storm cloud came in and thunder boomed at exactly the same moment.  I was like, "Ok, Ok, I won't play around with this."   But like so many things are, it was better in my head than in reality.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Faith

I've had a somewhat tempestuous relationship with faith.  Literally and figuratively.   Faith is the name of my first boyfriend's mom who I thought of as a second mother/best friend until she called me a bitch and said I was the worst thing to ever happen to her son.   So that's tempestuous.    But in terms of the concept, faith has always been a bit hard for me to achieve.

When people ask what religion I am, I always hesitate.   I was raised Catholic, but I am probably a "fallen Catholic" to most of the party-line people.   I mean, I suffered through the glares of my father throughout my entire childhood when I dared to move my head away from a direct line to the priest, but I also think the Pope is fallible.  In fact I think he's basically a goofy caricature terrified of sex and trying to eradicate it by spewing bullshit like condoms are useless against aids.   I mean come on, look at the guy's hat and big red shoes.   He's ripe for parody.    And I also think God probably has better things to do than hate gay people and couples who live together before marriage. There are fundamentalist Christians on earth to cover that.   Ok, ok, so you get the point.   I am the worst. But surprisingly to most people, none of that means I don't believe in God, or that I don't want very much to have an active relationship with Him.   But this is something I'm private about.   While I will chat up to a complete stranger about that time a condom (which was given to me as a joke by my sister) fell out of my wallet in the middle of my high-school AP Gov class and everyone saw it, or share any delightful tidbit about my dating mishaps, I don't talk about my religious beliefs.   Like at all.     It's always just been part of my life, there so constant and unwavering I don't worry it's not always apparent--like a phantom limb.  Also, I don't want people to think I'm sitting in judgement or that I'm insane and religious people have a reputation for both.

Lately however, I've dusted off my faith and started relying on it more heavily.   It's really difficult and if I'm being honest here, I'm pretty much equal parts angry and scared.   I'm angry because I have delusions of grandeur, and even though I'm only 23, I thought I would be a much more impressive 23 than I currently am.   This really bothers me.   Sometimes I find myself looking at people and wishing I could have their lives--and my criteria isn't very advanced.   The other day the smiling face on a Hooter's Girl was enough to make me think, "I wonder what it would be like to be her."  My own skin just feels itchy and uncomfortable sometimes.   I'm scared because I've finally realized I'm not in control.   And this is terrifying.   The older I get the more I realize life is a crap shoot, and to a certain extent all you can do is brace yourself.

Here's to hoping I find my faith without losing my edge, because as George Michael says, faith is something you "gotta have".

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Cashew Yoga

I have never taken a yoga class before for this simple reason.  It kind of scares me.   I don't much get into "new age" spirituality, nor do I believe in "listening to my body" while I work out.   If I "listened to my body" I would let it have cookies n' cream ice cream and sit on the couch while watching E! True Hollywood Stories.   Today, however, when I awoke with a pounding migraine (it seriously felt like two sumo wrestlers were boffing in my skull), sore, and stressed beyond all comprehension, I knew something had to give.    I pulled Sam aside at work.   "Can I have a two-minute bitch session?"  I asked her, somewhat aggressively.  Then I told her I was at the point where I was so stressed my body literally was collapsing upon itself like a neutron star.  "All I do is eat and work and sleep,"  I whined.  "And I do way too much of the first two and not nearly enough of the third."  Sam suggested we look into a yoga class that night, "It's a great way to relax and de-stress, and it's also a workout!"  I agreed.   I started to get really excited and felt very smug and proud I was taking this enlightened step to align my body and soul.  

When we walked into the studio we selected that night, however, I started to get a little nervous.   First, there were no mirrors.   How was I going to criticize my awkward body and poor flexibility if I couldn't obsessively compare myself to everyone else in the mirror?   Secondly, it was hot.  I mean, uncomfortably so.    There were space heaters.   This was "hot yoga".  Finally, an older man wearing sandals and with an earring was also taking the class.  Shit. All bad signs.  Sam and I placed our mats in the studios and began to stretch. As Sam and I stretched, a rather portly woman plopped down her mat next to ours.   She looked over at Sam and said, "How long have you been practicing?"   Practicing?  What?  My first thought was, "Well I was baptized as a baby..." and then I realized she didn't mean a practicing Catholic or  a practicing lawyer...she meant how long have you been practicing yoga.  Wow.   Sam replied, "Oh I haven't done yoga in a few years.  I'm kind of a beginner."  The woman looked defiant.   "I've been doing it for five years."  She arched her back and stuck up her chin as she said it.  Obviously quite pleased with herself.  I then, cruelly, thought, "well obviously it doesn't have very effective weight-loss benefits."  Already I was not as accepting and spiritual as this class was going to require.

The class itself went well, apparently all those years of cheerleading and gymnastics had allowed my muscles to stay flexible and strong, at least enough to avoid embarrassment.   Ms. Five Years over there was wheezing like a donkey, while both Sam and I kept up reasonably well.   I felt my stress melting and barely noticed the heat.   I was surprised several times to find myself covered in sweat, because my mind felt focused and calm, not the usual fatigue and dread that accompanied my ordinary workout.  There were a couple odd moments and the Indian words were entirely unnecessary where terms like "abdominals" and "Lunge" would have suited just fine.   Also, this term "practice" came up quite a bit. The instructor informed us, "do as your body tells you, this is YOUR practice, not mine."  Again, suspiciously my body really wanted to be sleeping, face-down and spread eagled instead of contorting.   I listened, politely, but decided to ignore this suggestion.

The weird stuff, didn't really happen until the end of class.   The instructor told us to find our, "icbeivbrhlewvfb" or that's what she might as well have said.  Sam and I exchanged giggly glances with raised eyebrows.    The instructor continued, "That's your place of peace" she said.   Ok, fine.   I laid on my back with my knees up, however, as I glanced around, to my horror, there were people beginning to huddle in the fetal position.  The only time I'm getting into the fetal position in public is if I'm attacked by a bear, and then it will only be so he'll think I'm dead.  However, adults, some of them middle-aged, crouched obediently on their little yoga mats.   Then we were supposed to meditate.   I actually enjoyed the quiet time, but then...there was a gong.  I shit you not.  A gong.  I sat bolt upright (like I assume is normal) and was disturbed to notice no one else shuddered.   Everyone else was in their "happy place" content and unaware.  I tried to relax again on my back. Then the gong rang again.  I waited for instructions.  Nothing.  Finally, on the third gong, came a human voice speaking english.  Needless to say I was relieved.  "Return to a seated position," it said, "but in your own time.  Move slowly.  You may want to  take time in the fetal position, to acknowledge the positive feelings of rebirth."  I pictured a group of sweaty adults bursting through the uterus.  We ended with a "Namaste".    

Sunday, October 2, 2011

"The Leftovers"

I started reading a book today (something I haven't done in a long time. I'll admit it--I was afraid I didn't know how anymore) by one of my favorite all-time fiction writers.   It's called, "The Leftovers" by Tom Perrotta.   The premise is kind of fascinating; what if, the rapture actually happened, but instead of the devout being swept away to heaven, a seemingly random sampling of Jews, Hindus, atheists, gays, and bisexuals disappeared one day into nothingness--and what if you didn't.  What if you suddenly lost a sister or a husband or a child? And what if life didn't drastically change?  What if life was expected to go on as usual--you still needed to fold laundry, take showers, buy groceries, and fix dinner.



I remember several instances in my life where I felt like the world ought to stop.    I remember feeling like  this  when my first love, my first boyfriend, and my first time, seemingly out of the blue, stopped talking to me.   That was over five years ago and I still haven't spoken to him since.   But my world ended for a little while.   That first day, I couldn't eat.  I couldn't concentrate.  All I did was cry and try and will myself not to be alive anymore.   The world didn't grieve with me.  I still had papers to write, homework to do, college applications to fill out, and I still had to pretend to be present in my own goddamn life.   For a while every sunny day seemed like a giant middle finger directed to me.   An intentional mockery of my pain.   But eventually I starting laughing again, I fell in love again, and now thinking about it is only a distant, dull ache, like the memory of a sprained ankle or a broken arm.

I might as well have seen this...

I also felt like the world ought to have ended on 9/11/2001.   I was in seventh grade, brace-faced and awkward, but I still was old enough to feel the whole country's grief upon my shoulders.   The confusion and the sadness was so overwhelming I felt like everything just needed to start over, like a level in a video game.   The feeling returned again in college when one of my best friends died tragically in a car accident.   I sat in the bathtub shortly after I found out, shivering despite the hot water, and balling.   I mourned all the phone calls I would never make to him, the laughs we would never share, and the adulthood I would have to experience without him.  

  I think we all feel like "Leftovers" sometimes.  A small, pathetic minority, left out and desperate, with no real direction or focus.   I feel like that on a small scale every time I look at Facebook pictures.  I scroll through the jubilant tailgate scenes, the snapshots of smiling couples, the adorably goofy baby pictures, and I feel like these people are living out some existence that is just beyond my grasp, like I'm looking at life through a foggy window pane.   I always say I feel like there was some day in first grade that I missed where manuals were given out on how to be a functional human.

Something beyond my fucking comprehension...

I've felt like a "Leftover" lately, and I'm not sure why.  Nothings going wrong, but sometimes I still get that itchy feeling that I'm missing something, or as my sister would say, "Fob-lo," fear of being left out. I haven't written very much this month, because while I wish I could blog about dinners I make (Pumpkin Ravioli most recently) or funny things that happen to me (an old doctor checking me out while I sat with my mom during a pretty serious procedure) when I write all that pours out of me is this.   This terrible, overly honest, outpouring of estrogen.    I only hope that when I write this someone feels the same as me.   Otherwise it's like I'm praying to a God who has forgotten me or as Claire would say, "tits on a bull,".  Translation:   All this blogging would be useless (as tits on a bull).