Tuesday, August 30, 2005

will this be on the test?

I got my driver's license right after I turned 17, and I had a perfect driving record for the next eight years. I got hit a couple times but neither one was my fault, and both times the insurance company paid for the rental that I had to drive while my car was being fixed. Then in grad school I did the white-knuckled drive during a snowstorm to class one night. I made it to the parking lot and as I pulled into a space, I scraped against the car next to me (yes, ironic that I made it through the snow and then hit a car in the indoor parking lot). I got out and looked to see if there was damage. I didn't really see any but I left a note anyway, because it seemed like the right thing to do. The owner of the car called me; she turned out to be a professor, and she praised me up and down for leaving a note and told me that I restored her faith in humanity. Then she put in some ridiculous claim and my insurance went up. A lot. So much for being a nice person.

Okay, so there was that...technically an accident, but not REALLY. Then a few months after that, I got pulled over for the first time...no ticket. About a year later, I got pulled over again...my first ticket. Then came the day not long ago when I picked up sheet music for Mark and got pulled over for making an illegal U-turn AND got a fine for not having renewed my registration.

When it's all in one paragraph, maybe it starts to sound like a lot. But it's really not...it all took place over three years, following my aforementioned eight years of driving sainthood.

But guess what? Five offenses in three years apparently mean that you have to go to DRIVER RETRAINING SCHOOL. I kid you not. I got the notice when I got home from the Cape last week. And if I don't do it, they'll suspend my license. I'm sorry, WHAT? Isn't that more appropriate for...I don't know, NOT ME?

So today I called to sign up and pay my $100 for the honor and glory of spending eight hours on a Saturday learning how to signal and stop for pedestrians. I'm already picturing walking into the Welcome Back Kotter classroom and crying silently in the corner while the mean kids in the back throw stuff at me.

When the woman was done signing me up, she asked me if I had any questions, and just to further perpetuate my new role as a deadbeat, I asked if there was a test at the end. I'm imagining my learning permit test all over again. And my actual license test was really easy...the guy made me do a three-point turn and then asked where my dad and I were going for lunch. How many feet do you stay back from a school bus? And I still can't parallel park!

"There's a 10-question true or false test at the end," she told me.

True or false? How about, if I don't pass this test, I won't be able to drive to work and I'll lose my job: TRUE.

Dave reminded me today that I backed into his car once, after fully acknowleding that it was there and then promptly forgetting. (So much for driving sainthood, come to think of it.) He had a big dent the exact size and shape of my spare tire on his passenger door. Luckily he didn't sue me or anything, or else I would've had to go to driver retraining sleepaway camp or something.

Monday, August 29, 2005


In my effort to keep my blog semi-anonymous, I eventually took the advice to stop posting pictures of me or containing me (thank you, counsel). So you'll have to take my word on this: the hair is short now, people. I've participated in the wonderfulness that is Locks of Love a few times, but this time I had to go much shorter than normal in order to have the required ten inches. (Who gets to open all those envelopes containing severed ponytails, I wonder?) I've known my hairdresser since I was a kid, and she was sort of freaking out as she was cutting it. "Oh Red, this is SO SHORT. This is SO DIFFERENT for you." When your hairdresser is panicking, that's never a great sign. But it would've been pointless to cut off eight inches and have to waste it just so I could not look like a soccer mom for the next month, right?

So for now, the hair is above the shoulders. Well above it. My shoulders haven't been so visible to the world since I was born (or since the last time I wore my hair back, which was yesterday and every day before it, pretty much). But anyway. It's for a good cause, and my hair will grow back fast like the weed that it is. (Right?)

Saturday, August 27, 2005

the vomit reference is important to the integrity of the story...not unlike Katie Holmes' nudity in "The Gift"

According to my doctor, I have a parasite. Mexico tried to kill me. "Their standards of cleanliness are different," he told me. "You just never know what you could be dealing with." Oh God, don't tell this to a girl who keeps a bottle of 409 in pretty much every room of her home, who was one of the first to start enthusiastically using "swif" as a real verb. Don't tell me anything else about how no one south of the border washes their hands, just tell me I'll feel better soon. Apparently my cheap vacation wanted me to pay a little more than I anticipated.

And, PARASITE? What a way to put it. Way more dramatic than FLU. Nothing like the threat of a little bodily invasion to make you want to drive off a cliff. Of course, it's provided me with hours of amusement, as I've been going around telling my loved ones, "Red's not here anymore...the parasite is here now" in my best Tony-from-The-Shining voice.

When the obvious was suggested to me (toast, tea, rice), I countered that I might as well just eat waffle cones all day because it doesn't matter, I'm just going to throw up anyway. Billy promptly asked me if I'd seen Starved, that new show on FX, that I might really like it. Point taken.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

"Swear? Swear on our relationship?" and other reasons why I love Laguna Beach

I now wholeheartedly believe that everyone in America should have MTV cameras following them around during their senior year of high school, because it makes for FREAKIN' GREAT TELEVISION. There's this one girl? Who, like, doesn't totally trust her boyfriend? And so she asks him pretty much every day if he's lying to her about something? "Are you lying?" No. "Swear?" Yes. "Swear on our relationship?" Yes. This is officially my new way of asking questions of my friends.

Now, think about it...if there'd been a camera following you and YOUR friends during your senior year of high school, they would've gotten some pretty good stuff. I'd get into it, but I'm a little high schooled out from my playlist entry from last week. Okay, fine, I've already walked into it...

So you have a crush on your best friend's boyfriend, well actually, you've had a bit of a crush on him from the time he moved to town in eighth grade and he walked into your science class and Mr. Martinson put him in your lab group and that night you wrote in your diary, "I have a crush on the new boy. He's from Buffalo." OK but now you're back in high school and your best friend is dating him. So best friend decides she hates all of you preppy assholes and wants to work at a ghetto fabric store in the next town with high school dropouts, and you try to sympathize with her working class aspirations but of course it's just pushing you and her alienated boyfriend closer together, so you both listen to too much appropriately gut-wrenching music in your bedrooms and you didn't so much as hug him until after best friend broke up with him but she accused you of sleeping with him even though you wouldn't do that until much later, and then she said she was a lesbian even though right after that she started dating that kid Eric. Meanwhile there's all your wacky friends like Rob who lives around the corner and makes you laugh until you can't breathe and he's got a thing for Alison who follows Phish around and smokes up almost every day in her bedroom because her mom doesn't have a sense of smell. And there's Kevin who makes extra money working at the supermarket and lies around with you contemplating relationships and he says he'll never, ever, ever understand what girls want and he's probably married with four kids now. And there's Katie who is dealing with a stalker ex-boyfriend who wrote "my love for you always and forever is as deep as the deep blue sea" or some such shit in his senior quote and now he won't leave her alone. And there's Tara who walks that very thin line between being delightfully candid and totally pretentious and then Jane Pratt writes a book about her.

I'm sure your senior year story reads with different names and only slightly different scenarios. Come on, that's good TV, right?

Swear? Swear on our relationship?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


So I get down the Cape and notice that, in the dining room, there's a plate sitting in one of those plate display holders, because apparently when you hit a certain age you decide plates are worth displaying. Then I look closer and see that it's a dinner plate from Dirty Dancing.

Me: Mom, why do you have a plate from Dirty Dancing?
Mom: What? Oh.
Me: Do they sell these?
Mom: [pause] Well, no.
Me: Why do you have it?
Mom: [You really have to know my mom to appreciate this next part.] Well, you know, Red...sometimes you just pick things up along the way in life.
Me: Thank you, Plato. Did you steal a plate from Dirty Dancing?
Mom: No! Well, not exactly.
Me: You stole a plate!
Mom: You see, what happened is that Hoodlum Waiter...
Me: Oh dear God. [Hoodlum Waiter is a friend from Dirty Dancing with whom I have playdates while I'm there, but he also has this weird bond with my mom.] You realize that no good can come from a story that starts with, "what happened is that Hoodlum Waiter..."
Mom: That's true. But he knew I always really liked those plates...
Me: Mom!
Mom: I thought he told you we did it!
Me: I thought you guys were KIDDING.
Mom: No.
Me: You stole a plate from a restaurant, basically.
Mom: Yup.
Me: How did you get it out of the dining room?
Mom: It wasn't easy! But Hoodlum Waiter wrapped it...
Me: Oh dear GOD.
Mom: Yeah, you can pretty much figure out the rest.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

what made me laugh all weekend

Me: I just remember the feeling of UTTER JOY when you'd open a present you really, really wanted when you were a kid.
Mark: Yeah, totally.
Me: Like when I'd open a new Cabbage Patch Kid, I would almost start crying.
Mark: That's nothing. When I was eight my parents gave me the Star Wars Dagobah playset and I was so excited that I passed out.

Friday, August 19, 2005

high school playlist

I love all those random people that make all those random mixes on iTunes. I was always the mix tape maker of my friends in high school and college, so it's nice to see others with the same compulsion. Plus all those 90s mixes make it so easy to go from living in the present moment to being so completely wrapped up in nostalgia that you sit there clicking around, listening to different song clips, and when your phone rings you yell into it, "Oh my GOD do you remember PM Dawn?"

So anyway, here's my high school playlist. I only have a few freshman and sophomore year songs, and then move right into junior and senior year songs, because they were much more musically memorable (say that five times fast). Anyway, this will soon be followed by my college playlist...and hopefully in a couple years, a 20s playlist. No small feat.

Birdhouse in Your Soul - They Might Be Giants
Possibly the most important song of my high school years, because it introduced me to TMBG and also to life beyond Top 40 radio. I remember the exact moment that I heard it, sitting on the floor with my friends in Alison's living room, knowing my life had changed. I think I was 14.

Spending My Time - Roxette
Roxette's Joyride and TMBG's Apollo 18 were the first CDs I ever bought. This song was my anthem for my crush on Peter, whom I adored freshman year summer. And still do, but in a different way.

Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover - Sophie B. Hawkins
I remember my dad picked the cassette single off the floor and that title really got a reaction out of him, and I was all, "Dad, jeez, what's the problem?" I think he knew then that there was nothing left to do but hope for the best.

Silent All These Years - Tori Amos
Ahh, Tori. I knew every breath on her first several albums and adored her. This song kicked it off.

Freak Me - Silk
Ha ha. HA HA HA. Even when I was 14 I knew this was a horrendous sex song. It was in the same place on the charts for several weeks and so they played it at around the same time every night on the radio and it was when I'd be taking a shower, and I remember blasting it and singing along as I washed my hair. (My poor parents.) Plus I read an interview with Joey Lawrence in Sassy where he said that it was his favorite song and I thought that was really funny. (By the way, if you also read Sassy and remember Margie, you should read this.)

November Rain - Guns 'N Roses
Right?!? The video! Oooh, what HAPPENED? I always felt like Axl loved her SO MUCH that he just squeezed the life right out of her. Plus that girl knocked that other girl off the bar stool with one hand and that was cool.

Smells like Teen Spirit - Nirvana
Naturally. This was a milestone song for anyone who went to high school in the early 90s, regardless of whether you were really into them or not. Recently I was watching something on VH1 where all the 80s metal guys were talking about how thrown off they were when the world started transitioning to the grunge phase, and I was thinking about how big and important it felt at the time, certainly not like just the latest phase. I think it was the perfect time to go to high school; I missed the hair bands and made it out just before boy bands made their comeback.

Jeremy - Pearl Jam
Which song to pick? I went with this one mostly because it was my first introduction to Pearl Jam and also the one with the deeply memorable video, not because of the ending but because of all of Eddie's faces. Oh God, I loved Eddie Vedder so much and STILL DO. I can't even talk about it, I'm getting dizzy.

Round Here - Counting Crows
Good camp memories.

Cryin' - Aerosmith
Oh, man...like everyone else, I loved it for the video. I probably watched it 100 times. I loved, loved Alicia Silverstone and her clothes and her attitude and her hair and everything.

No Rain - Blind Melon
I never completely loved this song, but I have such a happy association with it, from around the beginning of my junior year. I can't even put my finger on it, but it was just good stuff.

Big Empty - Stone Temple Pilots
This was a driving around with friends song, back when driving anywhere was awesome just because you could.

Hunger Strike - Temple of the Dog
More Eddie goodness. OHMYGOD, I'm listening to it right now and I can't even deal, he is the sexiest man on the PLANET, I don't care how much saying that dates me.

Leaving Las Vegas - Sheryl Crow
I'm not sure why I liked this one so much, but I just remember loving it. I also remember that if I started playing it when I left my house, the line "take this loser hand and make it win" was on by the time I pulled into Justin's driveway.

Big Star - Letters to Cleo
Loved them, loved this song, total senior year stuff.

Gepetto - Belly
See above.

Add it Up - Violent Femmes
Justin made a mix tape for me around the time that we were going from being best friends to being in love but not yet telling each other how we felt, so the tape was so charged up it was ridiculous. Anyway, this was the first song on it. (In retrospect, could his feelings, however dysfunctional, have been any clearer?) It was also the song Ethan Hawke sang to Winona Ryder in Reality Bites when he was all mad and jealous that she was dating Ben Stiller. ("Have I stepped over some line in the sands of coolness with you?")

Good - Better than Ezra
Just that nostalgic-emotional-graduation feeling of thinking you're totally separating from most of the people that you've been so close with for so long. And you are. Thankfully when you're 17 you're scared but also convinced there are bigger and better things out there for you. And there are.

Violet - Hole
Ha ha ha. I was trying to figure out which song from Live Through This needed to be on this list; I loved that album. I was tempted to put on I Think That I Would Die, for the title alone.

Terrible Lie - Nine Inch Nails
Oh Trent, with a name like that you should've been playing lacrosse. And getting to third base with Kelsey.

Hand in my Pocket - Alanis Morissette
I realized during my senior year summer that Alanis made good eating disorder music. For whatever reason I remember especially liking the lines "I'm sick but I'm pretty" and "I'm tired but I'm working," like I was spending eleven hours a day crunching numbers and supporting a family of six or something, and not putting in 25 leisurely hours a week at a bookstore in a strip mall. (The tired part probably resonated with me because I was only eating that sugar-free Jell-O at the time.)

Master and Servant - Depeche Mode
I remember Peter made me a Depeche Mode mix and I was like, WHAT IS THIS?

Stay - Lisa Loeb
This one was also from Reality Bites, which was clearly a big movie for me around this time. "Vicky just figured something out, something wonderful...Evian is naive spelled backwards!" Yeah, I can still quote the thing to death. And it forever impacted how my peoples and I dance to My Sharona. Anyway, I just thought this song was so great and meaningful, and I loved the stream-of-consciousness of it because it was how I was trying to write at the time, "I have so much to say that I...and this other thing, and I don't know, you just...", like emotional ADD.

Punk Rock Girl - Dead Milkmen
I loved this song! "We went to a shopping mall and laughed at all the shoppers." I remember playing it over and over and over on Justin's and my radio show at the school station on Thursday nights, 7-9. It was the perfect time slot except for the fact that I missed My So-Called Life.

Live Forever - Oasis
Another sentimental favorite. I almost put "Maybe you're the same as me, we see things they'll never see, you and I are gonna live forever" in my senior quote, but instead I quoted St. Elmo's Fire: "Nothing mattered but the moment we were in." Cheeeeese, but at least it wasn't Silk.

There may be a jillion that I forgot. What are some of yours?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

no mas tequila, por favor...OK, uno mas

I could say a lot of things about Mexico, but a picture is worth a thousand words. Have you ever stayed in a hotel room with an in-room liquor dispenser? If not, you must be an upstanding member of society. The funny thing is that it was one of the things I was most excited about for this trip and, of course, we didn't use it once. The drinks were free everywhere, and we couldn't rationalize doing a shot out of a water glass in our hotel room. (We also had a fridge full of Corona and instead drank all the bottled water to stay hydrated. Ha, we're senior citizens.)

But getting back to the in-room liquor dispenser (that's how I started most of my sentences over the past few days). How freakin' great is it? I'll be honest, I was a tiny bit disappointed because I was expecting this spout emerging from the wall producing vast quanities of anonymous grain alcohol, and I was going to fill random things in our hotel room with the booze just to teach them a lesson about making it too easy in the spring break capital of the world. It was comforting to know that they were at least pushing the old familiar Jose, but what's up with Home Run rum, or whatever the hell that stuff is? That's not okay!

Anyway, we had a great time. What else can I say? You know how it goes in Mexico.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

reheated groomsman

The Bride is back from her honeymoon and wants to fix me up with the Best Man. She didn't tell either of us this before the wedding, and at the blessed event he actually picked up Jen. (Shocker, I know.) While Bride was away for two weeks eating grapes or whatever she was doing, Jen and Best Man went on an uneventful first and last date. Nice guy, no connection, no big deal. But it does sort of make me not want to date the guy myself, as you can imagine. However, this, I was not expecting:

Me: I'm not sure I can date Jen's leftovers.
Bride: Well, I MARRIED your leftovers.


Me: Umm...
Bride: Well, I DID.
Me: Well, I mean...I never really DATED Groom.
Bride: No, because you wouldn't even agree to go out with him ONCE.
Me: Well...
Bride: You hated him as soon as he opened his mouth.

She's laughing, unfazed, apparently finding this hilarious. I should point out that this is the FIRST time she's had a sense of humor about this stuff. For a year and a half now it's been more like, "You were the catalyst for our love!" and hokey shit like that.

Bride: Yeah, I was telling someone that lame line that he gave you, remember how he said...
Me: Yeah yeah I remember.
Bride: ...and how you called me and you were like, "Listen to what this total loser said to me!"
Me: I definitely would have chosen my words more carefully if I'd known you were going to marry him.
Bride: It's okay. I tease him about it all the time.

All the time? Suddenly Groom's inexplicable loathing of me doesn't seem so inexplicable.

Bride: So anyway, Groom was the one who brought it up. He said, "What do you think about Red and Best Man?"
Me: Oh.
Bride: We talked about it a lot, actually! See, he's sort of shy but YOU could bring him out of his shell.
Me: Uh-huh.
Bride: Plus his family lives far away so you guys could spend the holidays with your family!
Me: Holidays?
Bride: We figured it all out! We even gave you kids.

This is maybe a good time to mention that I don't really want to be fixed up with anyone, particularly not someone with whom I already have imaginary children.

Also? The new sunscreen doesn't work. What's that about?

Monday, August 08, 2005


I'm back from a great weekend on the Cape with the family, Melissa, Joe, Kelsey, and Trent. I'm working this week to pay for mi vacacion that I'm leaving for on Friday. And today, this:

Mark: Hey.
Me: Well, I got your freakin' sheet music.
Mark: What happened?
Me: I got pulled over by the Ritzington police for making an illegal U-turn.
Mark: Really?
Me: I'm next to the field where the American Revolution started and I got pulled over for making a U-turn.
Mark: That sucks.
Me: Not just that. It turns out my registration is expired. I JUST sent my check to the registry but it's late. I swear I've NEVER been late with that before. So this cop tells me I can't drive my car.
Mark: No way.
Me: Yeah. He tells me, "Well, technically I should have you towed, but you can leave it behind that church over there and get someone to come get you."
Mark: So where are you now?
Me: Behind the church!
Mark: I'm sure he left already. Just go.
Me: You think?
Mark: Yes.
Me: What if he's waiting for me?
Mark: He's not. Just inch out.
Me: What if he sees me trying to leave?
Mark: You're not a fucking prisoner. Tell him you were confused.
Me: Confused about what "don't drive your car" means?
Mark: I'm sure he's gone. Are you checking?
Me: Yes, I'm inching out. This is a strange situation.
Mark: Do you see him?
Me: No, but it was an unmarked car. He could be anywhere!
Mark: I'm sure he's not waiting for you.
Me: You don't know about policemen in small towns. Okay, I don't see him.
Mark: Okay, then go.
Me: I'm going.
Mark: You're fine.
Me: Now I'm on the run from the law.
Mark: You're a felon. I shouldn't even be talking to you.
Me: You're involved in this too, Thelma. I never would've been in Ritzington if I wasn't picking up your sheet music.
Mark: I don't know anything about that. Who is this?
Me: I'm a dangerous criminal.
Mark: I'm hanging up.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

first base

Do you remember when your social life was basically all about finding a place to make out?

Before you go jumping to conclusions, I should say that I didn't have sex in high school (which will allow me to be appropriately outraged when I find out my kids are). And it wasn't like I dated a ton. I'm not sure who did, actually. In high school it seemed like you either had a boyfriend or a girlfriend or a crush and that was it. You didn't just have a random dinner date with the guy across the row in math class. Nobody was thinking, "Well sure, she's nice, but I kind of want to keep my options open." There was a great, dramatic simplicity there...if you liked each other, you were a couple, and there you were. Sharing a locker was the equivalent of a marriage license. God, in sixth grade I "dated" a guy that I didn't actually go on dates with. If you're young enough, the label itself is sufficient. (I broke up with him during computer class by telling his friend to tell him that I was moving on. No reason to be tied down at 11, right?)

Driving through my hometown recently, I was realizing how many parking lots my first boyfriend and I had been kicked out of by the town police (who were so bored they would pull up next to you if you idled in front of your friend's house for too long). I know, it sounds so tacky, but we were kids! We all have gearshift scars. The crappy couch in your semi-finished basement only worked for awhile, until parents or younger siblings came bulldozing down for some made-up reason, and then you had to act like you were really watching The State.

I have a friend (you know who you are) who apparently thinks he was born the ladies man that he is now, and claims to not recall any of these awkward teenage hijinks. But you guys do, right? Right?