Thursday, June 19, 2014

THE SHRUGGLE IS REAL

Lord oh lord it's been a while. Normally when I haven't written it's because I have massive writers block but lately I have been insanely busy:

 a)trying to find a job so I can continue to have the necessary funds to bid on California Raisins memorabilia while slightly drunk on a Saturday night alone

b)Working with this awful rich racist white lady who now runs our board. As enjoyable as being told that our website is "too frou-frou" (read:GAY), it's really demoralizing.

So please send me good vibes so I can find a new job I at least can tolerate an in return I will bless you with more of my bargain-bin New Girl-esque jokes.

XOXO

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

LOL SMILEY FACE



I am absolutely disastrous when it comes to 98% of relationships, flirting, and general romance shenanigans. But if I know one thing, I know how to do a very good text. I’m great at texting because I’m the kind of person who three days after a confrontation will think of a really good comeback in the shower alone. And feel very self-satisfied for the rest of the day. This makes me designed to text. I’m born with an inherent lag. So these tips are designed not really to “get” someone into you, but basically charm them into seeing you in person so you can wear 50 layers of makeup and maybe trick them into kissing you (with tongue if you’re #blessed).
·       
  Don’t ever have your first text to someone be “what’s up”. This is the kiss of death to a new friendship/relationship. If you really want to know “what’s up”, I’ll tell you the truth. I am sitting in my Nutella-stained oversized Colorado Science Fair t-shirt watching videos of babies dance to Beyonce. And no I’m not going to tell you that because I want you to think I am cool and hot. So I will say something lame like “oh nothing, just washing my face with the blood of sacrificed virgins, you??” You have to give the person something to work with. Otherwise they don’t know how to respond.


Appreciate the work that went into the text you receive. And don’t ever just respond with “lol” or “haha” HAHA FUCKER? HA? HA? Yeah god-damn right haha because I just served you the motherfucking Dorothy Parker of Fuckin texts and your response is HAHA. Okay. Just go die already.


One word answers. When I get one word replies I freak out and start reevaluating whether I should pursue this person (romantically or friend-wise). Maybe they’re so stupid they only know one-syllable words. Maybe our first born child won’t get into the right preschool because their IQ is so low from your dumb genes. How the hell is Beatrice Jr. going to get in Princeton now?  

  
Don’t bust out the emoticons. Until at least 3 days. I use to truly hate emoticons because I thought they were a shallow representation of human emotion. But then I taught ESL and realized my students thought I was always angry because I didn’t end every sentence with a smiley-face. So emoticons can be helpful for breaking tension.  
 “I’m pregnant.”
“¯\_()_/¯”    

Tell me something I don’t know. It’s sunny? Gee I had no idea (actually I didn’t. I was binge-watching episodes of Antiques Roadshow and refreshing twitter for two hours). I advise most people to pick an interesting topic to start a conversation. I’d love to hear all about the research you’ve done on Victorian words for STDs.
         
There are no rules. Do you wanna text someone the day after the first date? Go for it. Who cares. If they don’t respond, you’ll find out sooner rather than later that they’re not into you or don’t know how to use a QWERTY keyboard. 
     
If you’re busy, let the person know. A casual “hey I’m super swamped but I’d love to talk again soon” is a good way to prevent someone committing hari-kari over the anxiety of wondering why you didn’t respond. Unless you genuinely are still really struggling with the QWERTY keyboard.
    
But then again, you know, whatevs dude. You don’t “owe” anyone a text. This is advice I should adhere to more often. Many a time have I either a) texted someone when I really don’t like them or b)lost my mind trying to illicit a response from someone. I guess I’m not COOL.      

      No unsolicited dick pics. But I am very open to someone sending me celebrity dick pics so we can laugh at them together. Just warn me so I can tell my priest to stop reading over my shoulder. Look up “Tony Danza naked”. You will not be disappointed.  
        
You could call someone. Haha just kidding talking is for losers.     

      These rules are basically bullshit. You do you.


Monday, June 2, 2014

All ye faithful




As I child I fancied myself a bit of a martyr. Ten years old, I was chubby, too round and baby-faced to be considered an adult, too tall and too old to be considered cute.

It was a big year for me. I had just moved back to America from Eastern Europe and was having a bit of a hard time fitting in again. I spent a lot of time reading historical fiction, playing with paper dolls and watching Antiques Roadshow.  I had a bowl-cut mullet that I got when my hair grew out awkwardly from an ill-chosen haircut. I had just started wearing glasses, much to my great pleasure. Surprisingly, no one was impressed with my homemade medieval page costume I wore to school for a project and my recorder version of “parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme”. It would be a stretch to say I was cool. I moped an awful 
lot, stuck in my overblown imagination, imagining myself a tragic heroine in my own story.  

My little sister initially had a bumpy reintegration into American culture. A six year old who did not take kindly to “no” she at first threw screaming tantrums at the reality she would now have to wear a seatbelt in the car, and that she could no longer traipse around the neighborhood alone at all hours of the day. But after a few months, and realizing her options for tv  had expanded threefold (we didn’t have cable, but all the channels were in ENGLISH in America), she settled in pretty well.

My mother brought my sister and me weekly to a small nearby Methodist church. The presence of the three of us brought the average age of attendee to 70.  There were only a few families with young kids, which meant that casting the Christmas play each year was always a bit of a stretch.

Our Sunday school teachers gathered us around to tell us our parts. They were two sweet middle-aged women who loved children.  “Alright kids, we’ve been talking about The Christmas Story, and now we’ll be putting it on Christmas Eve!”  I pictured myself a bit of an actress. I personally spent a lot of time on my tiny tape recorder creating a serial soap opera about an Italian Mafia family called “The Spaghettis”. I played all the parts. I also insisted in reading aloud in weird voices when we had to read in class. This did not endear me to my classmates, surprisingly.

“Now all of the older girls will play the angels, and the two littlest girls will play the Sheep and the Cow!”  I was pleased. I’d get to wear a dramatic robe and wings. I could make-up a lot of scenarios with that get-up.  Maggie and one other young girl would be the animals. Maggie jumped up excitedly. “I get to be an angel!!” 

“Oh no honey, you can be the lamb! It’s a very important part!” Maggie’s eyes turned dark. She was in that age where little girls turn into femme-monsters, incapable of wearing anything that doesn't scream infantile-disney-princess. She was not having it. She sat down defiantly “No, I will not be a sheep. I will be an angel.” The two teachers, distraught and too sweet to start conflict looked at each other and agreed to let her be an angel. 

“Well we still need some animals, or it won’t be a real manger…does anyone want to play the sheep?”  An awkward silence. All of us were girls, and I was the oldest. None of us wanted to dress as a sheep, especially when the cow was played by a four year old. 

I felt this overwhelming pressure to volunteer myself. I didn't want to. I hated the idea of all the girls as beautiful angels while I was in a sheepskin. But I also saw myself as the suffering heroine. Making the best with the lot she has been given. Thriving midst calamity. A winner against the odds.

“I’ll do it.” I said, my voice wavering just a little. “Oh great, then everything is good!” The teacher said.
Christmas eve. I am wearing a long black velvet skirt and lilac shirt attached to a cardigan. American Girl collection, thanks for asking. Backstage I change into my sheep costume. I am incredibly nauseous and nervous. I throw the sheep costume over black tights. The costume is way too short, and my butt is completely visible if I bend over even a bit. “Just watch out, okay?” my mother says, pulling it down over my chubby thighs.  

Backstage, everyone begins to sing “Oh come all ye faithful.” Maggie and the girls are in their angel costumes, preening and waiting impatiently lined up to make their debut. They look beautiful. I look over at the four year old in the cow costume, she smiles at me. At least I’m not alone. Actually, maybe this is one time I WANT to be alone. 

We all start walking out. A tear goes down my face. I feel stupid. Stupid, fat and uncool. Which is accurate. We go up stage and as the last refrain finishes, I sit down, trying desperately to cover my butt. I am Joan of Arc. I am St. Catherine. I am Mary Magdalene. I am a fat ten year old in the sheep costume of a 5-year old.

This is my crowning moment. I am certainly the center of attention, for who could miss the sheep bigger than most of the angels. We all stand up and sing “Away in a Manger.” I wish I were away somewhere else.   
But I survive. I am told by several old ladies that I was cute. My parents commend me for volunteering to be the sheep. Once again I can feel full of myself again. I don’t think much of dressing as the sheep afterwards. I go onwards to my next ill-thought out plan, unscathed by embarrassment that might wreck a lesser child.  


I was immune to my own weirdness. Ten is an important year for a lot of children. It’s when the veil of invincibility disappears and we start to feel wildly self-conscious about all of our choices. I think it was the last year I thought of myself in a context where I was a hero, as delusional as that may be for an overgrown sheep. I made the choice that day to just not care. I have to remind myself in moments of doubt that I’m still that fat kid in a tiny sheep costume.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The lady ordered rotolo

Hello, welcome to Pantalon de Canard. We're so glad to help you and I'll be your server today. Ma'am, let me grab that chair for you. Alright, easy does it, yup yup, okay *breathing heavily* yikes, well at least I'm getting my workout today! Phew! Boy, someone gave up on their new years resolution already. Alright, you all settled in?  

Here is our menu. Do you know how to read? Haha, just kidding, I bet you do. Can you? Because if you can it would be awesome if you could read it to me, as I am *technically* illiterate. Haha. No. That wasn't a joke. What are our appetizers? Please help me, I can't get fired again.

Our specials? Glad you asked, since I don't have to read those. We have pan seared scallops with a cream sauce, and are also offering a leg of lamb with some green things around it. Believe me, this is real green stuff. I'm not exaggerating. Wish it was the real green stuff. Right haha. What? You know..that good-good. KALE. It's really good for cleansing your system. All the systems really. Bodily, socio-political, you name it. Since eating kale I feel so much less heavy, and have also discovered I must have an allergy to nuts. I also may have an allergy to handles of gin. And this is science. I saw a Dr.Oz episode on it. I've been watching a lot of that since my stupid roommate canceled our cable because I "don't pay it."

No, I actually didn't pay it, I just feel like air-quotes really make my point.  

Your orders? Jesus, you in a hurry or something? Alright, I GET IT. Okay, one salad without pine nuts, the tuna, and the Alfredo. Got it, I don't even need to write it down. Which is lucky, considering the whole  *literacy* thing. What red would I recommend? Definitely a dark colored one. I hear they are really good. I used to not like wine, but when I got out of jail, it kept me real relaxed and my friend took me to a wine festival. It was classy as hell. There's a lotta options out there let me tell ya.

Hi everything good? Anything I can get? I'm glad you're happy. Mind if I pull up a chair? My girlfriend just dumped me. I wish I could say it's the first time I've been dumped via LinkedIn, but let's hope it's the last. Want to endorse me for management skills? Where is your food? Wow man, give a guy a chance to GRIEVE for a minute.

Alright, here is for the lady and the gentlePLUM, ha ha. Bon appetit.  Oh you said no pine-nuts? Well I asked for people to come to my DJ set, but sometimes you end up playing dubstep remixes of Lawrence Welk to an empty room.

Anything I can get you? The correct order? Umm, well that;s your opinion whether this is correct or not. If you'd like, I'll get the mananger, sure. Hold on! Incoming call. Oh shit, it's my girlfriend. "Hey Babe. Babebabeababe. I'm sorry. I swear that is the last time I sell your stuff for video games. It was for an umm, research project, okay? Honey?" Damn, bad connection.  

Please stop using that tone with me sir. You come off as really rude and that's just something I can't stand for.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A modest proposal (or why I can read grocery aisle tabloids in peace)

“There are children starving you know.” That classic refrain from mothers just trying to get you to wash down your plate of chicken nuggets with a glass of milk. And why does it work on us? Because more than feeling guilty, we don’t want to seem like we don’t care. 

It’s pretty much the same mentality you encounter anytime there is a major celebrity story in the news. This week every news outlet was consumed with JAY-Z vs. SOLANGE KNOWLES in perhaps the world’s greatest elevator fight. Maybe the only elevator fight. But with the deluge of 5000 conspiracy theories (Was it actually Blue Ivy on stilts fighting her father? Had Jay-Z cheated on Beyonce with a wizard from the Illuminati???) also comes the smug, self-righteous posts/articles/memes reminding people that “hey there is real news out there!!!!” PEOPLE ARE DYING.

They’re right. People are dying. The same news cycle that’s been covering the elevator fight also contains stories like the massive mining disaster in Soma Turkey. Hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by militant Islamist terrorists. Ukraine falls into further disarray. These are all serious stories that have impact globally and locally. In this age of free information we are inundated with stories, which is fantastic in that it opens up a whole world to everyone. But with so much information, how do we prioritize what to publicize and what to ignore? Some choices are easy. Just please, please god just ignore every story about Gwyneth Paltrow. Ignore sports (you can fight me on this one, but you know it’s true.) I agree that we need to be watching and listening to stories from all around the world. It’s good to open up your perspective. It’s good to hear stories outside of our small bubble.

What I find offensive is, is that a lot of people find it thoroughly impossible to read puff-piece stories and BIG NEWS. BIG NEWS includes wars, murder, corruption, change, all the good stuff.  I can simultaneously read about a heroic cat and about Syrian rebel wins in Aleppo. I don’t think that makes me stupid. I think that makes me a capable human being who can balance the sublime and the shallow, the dark and the ridiculous in equal measure. And frankly sometimes I need it. I always think of that scene in Sullivan’s Travels when the film director who has been trying to make this masterpiece of cinema that will reflect the lives of “real” people, discovers that what people want in hard times, are simple pleasures, comedy. I cannot constantly consume stories that illustrate how awful humans are. It’s not like something lighthearted makes me forget that, it just gives me balance. 

And who decides what stories are “important”?? During the Miley Cyrus VMA performance coverage I will be the first to admit it was a BIT MUCH. At the same time, among the million puff-piece article decrying “won’t anyone think about the children??” there were some really great and thoughtful conversations going on about it in the context ofgender, race, sexuality and pop music. I don’t think those conversations are worthless. But those thoughtful perspectives maybe don’t get as much coverage. The same thing happens with “important” stories though. Who is covering the girls in Nigeria? How are we framing the story? A NY Times article can be just as thoughtless and perpetuate stereotypes as any badly written TMZ story. You can quote me on that one.  

What I do wish for? More balance. Not just in story coverage, but who tells them. We don’t have to give up the things that are easy, and honestly I think we have a certain responsibility to learn more about what’s going on globally and locally. Pop culture is important, and so are politics, so are a lot of things (but not sports). I don’t think that’s too hard for anyone to fathom.


And yes I have been trolling Beyonce’s Instagram. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

5 stages

The 5 stages of being bored at work 

Denial and Isolation: Why can't I work on this project anymore? God it's quiet in this office. No one will notice if I'm not working.

Anger: I am paid so poorly here. Also, I forgot to eat lunch, so I ate a pop-tart and drank a Diet Coke. Initially that made me feel better till NOW. Now I'm just in a post-sugar rush depression.

Bargaining: really when you think about it, looking up Daniel Day Lewis's career on IMDB is relatively pertinent. I COULD be reading The Huff Post

Depression: Damn it I'm reading Huff post. "What happens when this pug meets a baby duck will change your life."

Acceptance: You know what? It did change my life. Now gotta delete my browser history.


The 5 stages of shopping at H&M 

Denial and Isolation: I have some time to kill, I'm just going to look around.

Anger: Why would I need a pair of red lame leggings? This is ridiculous. No one values quality or timelessness anymore.

Bargaining: Only 10 dollars you say?

Depression: I really don't need these.

Acceptance: Well since I'm buying these leggings I might as well buy this totally useless necklace of an eagle for a dollar.

The 5 stages of me and that piece of cake in my fridge 

Denial and Isolation: I'm not hungry at all.

Anger: WHY DID I BUY THAT CAKE? It could go bad!

Bargaining: There are children dying...somewhere.

Depression: I bet those kids would want me to enjoy this cake.

Acceptance: *muffled sounds of me singing "Brass in Pocket" by the Pretenders while my mouth is full of cake*.


Sunday, May 4, 2014

My kingdom for a cheeseburger

Today a small group of individuals on the bus are comparing their relative experiences in prison. A wiry young woman with roots showing from poorly dyed hair and a rat-like face, with big searching eyes; puts it pretty succinctly; “Prison sucks.” A man in construction work gear, legs spread out on two seats, nods in agreement.

The woman sitting across from them disagrees. “Yeah prison sucks sometimes, but I didn’t mind it that much.” She rides the same bus I do most mornings. She has dirty blonde hair and red skin. Her face is hard, and she permanently has half-lidded eyes that give her a sleepy look. It’s hard to tell how old she is. She could be anywhere between 35-50 years old. She’s always really nervous the bus driver isn’t going to remember her stop. She finds a way to casually mention her Xanax intake in nearly every statement she makes. This morning she has a single cigarette in her hands, half partially smoked already.  She drops it on the wet floor and swears to herself. She picks it up, blows on it, and puts it in her shirt pocket.
She starts telling the other two about a cousin of hers who is in prison on murder and drug charges. The woman had attempted to murder her boyfriend. “I woulda tried to murder him too!” The blonde woman quips. She cavalierly mentions about how this boyfriend raped his girlfriend, and also her at one point. I’m a little taken aback at how casual this whole conversation. It’s on a shitty little public bus filled with people. I feel like I’m intruding.

Once the blonde woman gets started on prison, she can’t stop talking. “I used to purposely get put in the hole!” she says, somewhat proudly.  The rat-faced woman and the construction man both visibly disagree. “Fuck that, I’d never go in the whole. That was the worst shit of my life.” The rat-faced woman says. 
“Oh I don’t mind it that much. I hate people.” The blonde says. “I didn’t have anything to look at but that outlet.” The rat-faced woman says “if I was you, I woulda home-aloned the shit out of that! Start a fire.” They all laugh.

One time in the visitor area someone had a McDonald’s bag with a burger and fries. “I was sick of all those bologna sandwiches”. The other two agree; the bologna sandwiches in prison suck. She grabbed the bag and ran running back to her room and ate the entire thing in two bites. The guards came running after her and dragged her away. “I made sure to burp really loudly so everybody could hear.” All the prisoners laughed. 
She seems pretty proud of this. “They put me in the hole for that. It was worth it.”

The three of them laugh over the story. The blonde woman continues to talk about all the pills she’s on now, prescribed by her doctor. “They had me on a whole lot of Xanax in prison but I don’t get it no more.” She says, matter-of-factly. She can’t remember what she takes now, but it’s “a lot.”
The other two seem sort of unsure what to say, but not bothered by any of this. I think the rat-faced woman has a crush on the construction worker. She’s always asking about his girlfriend. The three of them are really bonding today. 

I don’t know why but it makes me lonely.

I love being at airports and people-watching, thinking about all the adventures and covert affairs probably going on.  That couple holding hands? “Long-lost lovers reunited. That man in a suit? Definitely a spy. But I genuinely am scared to find out why anyone ever is riding the bus.

The other day I was waiting in the teeny Fredericksburg Greyhound waiting room, where three middle-aged  men were having a conversation on the merits of homemade wine. It sounds pretty good the way they talk about it. Later it is completely quiet. One of the men turns to me, but is addressing the whole room. “I miss my mom.” He says in his almost indecipherable Virginia accent. “I had to kick in the door, she had her head in an oven.” I nod. “My mama said, ‘I tried to call your brothers and sister but they was all out in the club’.” He laughs. He offers me a half eaten meat pie. I decline politely.  My bus comes. I leave without saying anything. He comes out and asks if I have a boyfriend. I do. “He must be very proud of you.” He says.

I feel like I spend a lot of time hearing sad and weird stories on buses, more than anywhere else I’ve been.  They’re a lost space. Economical, uncomfortable, too close to people to pretend you’re alone.  I desperately try to exist in a bubble, but find myself always unwillingly dragged into conversations. Which explains why I got to hear all about a young man who traveled 3 days by bus to go to Denver to “celebrate the holiday.” In case I was confused, the holiday in question was 4/20.   Riding the bus from the Asian side of Istanbul to Taksim, my friends and I with our requisite “bus beer” giggling, exhilarated, talking loudly while old women stare angrily.

 It’s not always funny. I’ve been harassed and groped in buses all over the world (I’m very cosmopolitan that way). Sometimes it’s painfully uncomfortable. A girl once silently sobbed behind me on a bus from Philly to DC, just-dumped by a boyfriend. It’s a strange little space.


Buses are an equalizer in the sense that there is no first class, no designation that we all aren’t broke and riding together with the overwhelming smells of home-cooked meals and unwashed bodies. Maybe it’s that present-anonymity that allows people to confess all these things to complete strangers. Most times, you’re sure you won’t see these people ever again. Planes are still too tied to excitement and big-life changes to have that same feeling. Buses are for everyday. Buses are the thing you wait impatiently for. And once you are on, you cannot wait to get off. We’ve shared too much.