Sunday, February 26, 2006


Which conversation happened between Elusive Jen and I, and which one happened during the first ten minutes of Grey's Anatomy?

Scenario #1:
Girl: What?
Other Girl: Nothing.
Girl: So I slept with him again. So I'm a big whore. I'm a big whore who can't get enough.

Scenario #2:
Girl: Good luck with your date.
Other Girl: Good luck with your sex.
Both, in unison: Thanks!

cutting to the chase: reviewing trailers

Lonesome Jim: Seems to have the same basic premise of Garden State, but with Casey Affleck, who is like Ben without the money and tanning booth. In other words, I like him. And I'll see any movie that contains the warning: "Be careful, because when you point a finger at somebody else, you're pointing three at yourself and a thumb at the sky."

Marie Antoinette: I can't decide if this will be bad (Kirsten Dunst) or good (Jason Schwartzman).

Firewall: This movie was specifically designed for my mother, who should have been medicated years ago for her obsession with Harrison Ford. She also loves any book, movie, or TV show that has to do was espionage, terrorism, or heists. When the warning about violence comes on before 24, I've heard her yell, "Violence! YES!"

Date Movie: The only thing worse than some of these movies the first time around is a parody of them that doesn't appear to be remotely funny. And P.S. jackasses, the parody of The Ring in Scary Movie was STILL SCARY, so thanks for that.

Film Geek: I'll need to see this.

Illusion: And maybe this.

Basic Instinct 2: Sad.

The Break-Up: Jennifer Aniston is a good straight man in Movies Like This. I can't explain it, but she just plays normal really well; I'd want her to play my girlfriend in a movie, too. The scene in the kitchen solidifies my massive crush on Vince Vaughn. Anyway, this movie could be good, or not. I clearly feel strongly about it.

Failure to Launch: Where would Matthew McConaughey's career be without all these please-fix-this-man movies to star in? He was at his best as Wooderson... can I get an amen?

Poseidon: I hate when people say, "Oh, blah-bitty-blah? Yeah, I liked it the first time when it was called whoozy-whazit! HA HA!" The person making this joke is inevitably lame. But I can't help it... I can't contain it... I apologize ahead of time... I liked this movie the first time around when it was called Titanic. (And by "liked" I mean, saw it, almost cried myself into a nervous breakdown, and then tried to regain my pride by mocking it.)

The Da Vinci Code: It'd be funny if the movie was like the book, and everyone became completely obsessed with it for two days and then forgot about it.

Lady in the Water: Leave it to M. Night Shyamalan to write a movie for his kids that still looks creepy. I like how they're calling it a bedtime story, though, and I'll see anything that Paul Giamatti is in. Speaking of M., how funny was that scene in Signs at the end of the movie when we finally see the alien, and it looked like it was wearing a $19.99 alien Halloween costume from Target?

Stay Alive: This could have been the next House of Wax, if only they'd thought to cast Paris Hilton. Who am I kidding, nothing will ever live up to that genius.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

know your audience

The phone rings, and my caller ID says Big Brother. I thought he just watched; didn't realize he also called.

Me: Hello?
Her: Hi, I'm So-and-so calling from Big Brothers Big Sisters...


Her: ...and we're calling to ask you...

No, seriously, the only time that I'm not with or thinking about kids is when I'm sleeping. I'm sorry, but I'd sooner volunteer to do your books.

Her: ...if you have any clothing that you could donate.
Me: Oh yeah, I do, actually. Do you need adult clothing?
Her: Anything you have. We're doing pick-ups on Monday.
Me: Okay, great.

She verifies my address, and then, although I know I'll regret this:

Me: It's funny, you come up on caller ID as Big Brother.
Her: Excuse me?
Me: No, you just... my caller ID said Big Brother and I thought it was kind of funny.
Her: [silence]
Me: Like, Big Brother is watching?
Her: [silence]
Me: Right, so, Monday?

Thursday, February 23, 2006

tag, I'm it

I was tagged by Grumpy Frump, which is great timing because I have a bad case of blogger's block.

What were you doing 10 years ago?
When I was little, I wrote a diary entry about what I thought it would be like to be in "colledge first grade." Once I got there I learned that it's actually called being a freshman in college. Anyway, that's what I was doing ten years ago.

What were you doing one year ago?
Pretty much what I'm doing now: Working, hanging out with my peoples, cupcake tenting, and deriving immense satisfaction from reruns of I Love the 80s on VH1.

Five snacks you enjoy:
1. Mini eggs.
2. Great.
3. Now, yet again,
4. I can't get them
5. out of my mind.

Five songs you know all the words to:
OK, I'm putting the iPod on random and picking the first five songs that I know by heart. This has the potential to be fairly embarrassing.
1. The Dangling Conversation by Simon and Garfunkel. I like this song, but I sort of hate the people in it. Somehow the two of them can't make their relationship work, even though they're clearly freakin' made for each other. "You read your Emily Dickinson, and I my Robert Frost," and yet you're incompatible? If I found two people who both enjoyed sitting around reading those poets, I'd force them to marry each other. I'd force them together the way Petey forced those two poor saps together on the log on Fat Camp.
2. Spin the Bottle by the Juliana Hatfield 3. Very high school song, from a very high school movie (Reality Bites), and I first heard about Juliana in a very high school way (Sassy magazine, R.I.P.).
3. I Don't Want to Wait by Paula Cole. Yes, the Dawson's Creek song. I knew my iPod would betray me. I used to annoy Mark by singing the beginning, the "doo doo doo doo" part whenever I thought he was being melodramatic.
4. Past the Mission by Tori Amos. No comment, really; what dysfunctional teenage girl didn't like Tori Amos?
5. The Lady is a Tramp by Ella Fitzgerald. I've always liked this song: "Social circles spin too fast for me; my hobohemia is the place to be. I get too hungry for dinner at eight, I like the theater but never come late, I never bother with people I hate..."

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:
1. I suddenly feel like I've answered these questions before.
2. I'd get all the movie channels and never leave the house.
3. First I'd have to buy a house.
4. I'd buy a Ford Escape hybrid.
5. I'd quit my second job permanently, take a year off of my regular job, and travel everywhere.

Five bad habits:
1. Procrastination
2. Biting my nails
3. Chewing pen caps into OBLIVION
4. Not answering my cell phone, ever
5. I think Michael Ian Black is a little overly snarky. What do you think? (Can you tell I Love the 80s is on as I'm writing this?)

Five things you enjoy doing:
1. Being with my family and friends
2. Car dancing
3. Living room dancing
4. Reading
5. Buying products

Five things you would never wear:
1. A class ring
2. A top hat
3. The Scream mask
4. A dead monkey
5. A bonnet (Insert the picture of me in first grade dressed as a colonial person for Colonial Day at school, which involved more coloring in pictures of Thanksgiving food than killing Native Americans.)

Five favorite toys/games:
1. Moods, but no one will play it with me.
2. Taboo
3. The running game that came with the old school Nintendo. Remember the mat?
4. Drink whenever Carrie Bradshaw makes you embarrassed to be a woman.
5. The fast money round on Family Feud. I would LOVE to be on this show, but I know I'd be mean to my family. I wouldn't be like, "Good answer, sweetie!" when the question was, "Name a famous John" and some dumbass relative of mine ruined everything with, "Uhhh... John... son and Johnson? Yeah! Johnson and Johnson! Baby powder!" No, I wouldn't be patient; this is my moment on the Feud, people. I'd be like Monica on the Friends episode where they bet their apartment playing that trivia game: "RACHEL! USE YOUR HEAD!"

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

girl power

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not exactly a girly girl. But I'm also not one to necessarily dislike girly girls; I definitely have friends who rock their girliness. It's just not my thing.

The one girly thing that I can't get on board with is showers. No, hello, I bathe. I'm the product queen, remember? That actually flies in the face of my anti-girliness, but that's beside the point. I'm talking about wedding and baby showers.

It's a touchy subject, because almost every woman has one or both at some point. And it's further touchy because I'm single, so not liking these events gives the impression of bitterness. It's a fair assumption, but you'll have to take me on my word that that's not it.

Once I went to a baby shower for a friend who was extremely sensitive about how big she was getting. However unwarranted her concerns (you're not fat; you're growing a person!), she was upset about it. I walked into her shower and was handed a piece of ribbon by her mother; if mine was closest to matching the mom-to-be's actual circumference, I'd win a prize. What, making her cry?

At the last wedding shower that I went to, everyone wrote down marital advice for the bride on little pieces of paper that she read as she unwrapped presents. Grown women gave advice like, "Remember, if you want him to do X, tell him Y!" and giggled knowingly like co-conspirators in man-taming. God knows that I believe in seeing the humor in anything you can, but comments like that makes me feel alienated from my own gender. I don't know who these people are involved with, but I've never been in a relationship with anyone with whom I had to play games in order to communicate, and I never want to be.

So, my new thing is that I only go to showers for friends. And by friend I don't mean someone I work with that I've never seen beyond the parking lot, or an acquaintance that I haven't talked to in four years. If I'm invited to a non-friend shower, I'll send my regrets and a great gift. Can't really complain about that, right? And I certainly don't share my anti-shower sentiments with them; I save that for you.

And now to contradict everything that I just said about not being girly, here's an incredibly girly story. Feel free to stop reading now if it'll girl you out too much; trust me, it's my story and it tends to over-girlify me. (It may also be enough personal information to appease the always-entertaining Jaek, who thinks I'm dead inside.)

I know Connecticut from college, and my relationship with her has changed since she met her fiancee. That's usually what happens, to an extent, but she went from being a woman who was scared of never meeting someone to being a woman who was sort of self-righteous and condescending once she did. Recently we went a couple months without talking and she sent a long email telling me she feels that I'm not interested in our friendship. It's hard to justify that argument when neither of us were really making an effort, but, okay, it must have been bothering her if she decided to bring it up. So I apologized and we talked about it and then I asked if she wanted to make plans to get together (even though, despite our conversation, I just didn't really want to). And I added, "You can bring Fiancee if you want; you know I really like him," which I do. She replied, "Well, you can't have him." I know she was trying to be funny, but still... ugh.

This is just one example of how she and I communicate lately. I usually judge a friendship by how I feel after spending time with the person: Do I more often leave their company saying, "Gee, I love so-and-so," or, "Gee, why didn't I stay home and watch Ashley Parker Angel neglect his newborn son on There and Back?" If I start thinking the latter more often, there's a problem (a huge problem, actually, because that also happens to be a terrible show). And that's how I feel with Connecticut. Friend-dumping is a delicate thing and I don't take it lightly. I adore my friends and I'm truly blessed to have some really good ones, and if I were to find that I'd been a bad, negligent friend to any of them it would devastate me. But I'm also not willing to tug around dead weight, that is, put time and effort into a friendship with someone who hasn't done anything but annoy, insult, and guilt trip me in a long time.

Long story short, I RSVPed no to her shower, and may do the same to her wedding. And I know that, on some level, there'll be hell to pay; we have mutuals who will say mean, uninformed things about my decision. But I'm not sure I care. Well, obviously I still do care because I think about it and I'm writing about it; any of my friends know how much this has gotten under my skin. I'm just not sure that I should care.

As I get older (ahem, closer to 30), I just find that I'm less and less capable of bullshit. It's not that I'm trying to send a message by not going; it's literally that I don't want to waste my time being around people who don't make me happy anymore. I don't settle when it comes to relationships and every so often I'm reminded that I shouldn't settle when it comes to friendships, either. Of course, these words are easy to type and a little harder to live.

Monday, February 20, 2006

how you know your waiter is good

Me: Wow. I'm not sure why, but I kind of love him.
Heterosexual Guy Friend: Me too.
Me: Seriously?
HGF: Is that weird?
Me: No.
HGF: Good.
Me: Maybe a little bit weird.
HGF: Yeah, maybe a little bit.

Sunday, February 19, 2006


1977. First words spoken about me, by a doctor, immediately following my entrance into the world: "Look at the shoulders on this kid, he's going to play football. Oh, it's a girl!"

1978. I say my first words, "mama" and "dada," not because they're the people who feed me, but because they're early emerging consonant sounds paired with vowels, which are basically formed by opening your mouth and making noise. My apologies to parents everywhere.

1979. My parents decide to start trying for another kid, and are told by the doctor that my mom would have to spend her entire pregnancy in the hospital, because I almost killed her in utero. (Was this the same doctor who thought I was a boy? Maybe get a second opinion.) They decide not to have anymore children, thus placing all of their expectations on my man shoulders.

1980. I have a little panda toy on wheels that I push around everywhere. I distinctly remember fantasizing about being able to climb down into it and have it open up into a place much like the house that I live in, only without anyone else there. Years later I realize that I was wishing for my own apartment as a toddler.

1981. When my dad pours himself a beer, he lets me drink the foam off the top, which I enjoy. It was probably just a convenient way for him to get rid of the head. I wonder what child protective services would've had to say about that.

1982. I wonder where babies come from, but I'm too nervous to ask because I intuitively know it's dirty. In the meantime I continue rubbing Barbie and Ken together until they both start to chafe.

1983. I get a project done before everyone else in my class and am told that I'm "the star of first grade." As a reward I get to hold the Bus #10 sign at dismissal. I almost pass out from happiness.

1984. I keep a short-lived food journal, and on January 20th report that my breakfast consisted of waffles, orange juice, and "starwberry yougert," which I proudly, however misinformed-ly, note underneath as containing "no calories!" I was SEVEN. And the day before I wrote down that I had tuna fish and Fritos for dinner. Was anyone watching me?

1985. I am absent on the day that we learn how to do cursive capital Js, which is inconvenient because my last name starts with one. My Js will continue to look a little off until that summer, when I decide to adopt the J from the Julio Inglesias record in my grandmother's living room. For the next several years, my Latin-influenced Js are quite dramatically big and swirly.

1986. I live in the perfect neighborhood for a kid: one of my best friends lives across the street and one of them lives a street away; both are named Katie. The rest of the street is filled with kids from school to play with, with all of us having dinnertime as our curfew. Garbage Pail Kids, scratch and sniff stickers and charm necklaces are our currency. The only one who doesn't play with us is this kid Stephen who always goes right home after school, despite living in The Funnest Neighborhood Ever. I'll know him peripherally until the end of high school, and always wonder what his deal was.

1987. I turn ten, which feels anticlimactic, as all my friends are about to turn eleven. This will continue to vex me until many of them start turning thirty.

1988. I become a godmother to my newborn cousin Chris. I will spend the next 18 years imparting my wisdom, which he will ignore.

1989. I am going to marry Joey McIntyre. You know this because of the giant pin bearing his face that's affixed to my jean jacket, and the poster of him over my hamper, and the interview with him in Big Bopper that's ripped out and thumbtacked to my bulletin board.

1990. While my friends and I amuse ourselves with terrorizing and being terrorized by neighborhood boys during sleepovers, I hear that someone in my class is having sex and am shocked. I search their face for signs of it and don't find any, but am sure that they now possess a new sense of maturity and worldliness. In reality, they probably possess chlamydia.

1991. I start high school and retire my hypercolor t-shirt.

1992. They Might Be Giants are my favorite band, and they come to play in my high school auditorium. I am paralyzed with joy.

1993. I spend lots of time at Newbury Comics, wear big black boots, and almost always have some crappy faded plaid shirt tied around my waist. If you're not one of my friends or Eddie Vedder then shut up because you don't know anything.

1994. I've taken all of the English classes at my high school, so I start doing an independent study on Freud because that means I can recycle a paper that I wrote for my psychology class the previous year. My laziness is mistaken for ambition, and is actually rewarded when the teacher overseeing my independent study writes a recommendation letter for me to the college that I want to go to, praising my non-existent initiative and work ethic.

1995. At graduation, my mom takes a picture of my then-boyfriend Justin getting his diploma. Six years later I'll meet Steve and it will turn out that he had been at my high school graduation because he was dating a girl in my class. I found the picture of Justin from that day, and there's Steve standing in the background. I will continue to check this picture whenever I start dating someone to see if they're in there, too.

1996. I start consuming solid food again after having spent the better part of the previous year eating sugar-free Jell-O, break off my "engagement" to Justin, and discover that the guys down the hall from me have an extra room in their suite that they've basically made into an opium den. I like college.

1997. I turn twenty the night that Live ER premieres. There's a picture of me watching it, either riveted or high, on the floor of my dorm room with two of my friends. I guess it's a rockin' birthday when there's a picture of you watching television.

1998. I go on my first real spring break WOOOOOO!!! trip and have fun, but am secretly glad that I'm graduating soon so I won't be doing it again.

1999. First real job, first apartment, first bloodcurdling scream after seeing a mouse run under my bedroom door and into my closet.

2000. I have my first and last gin and tonic at a wedding where the bartender informs us that he is only allowed to make drinks that contain two or less ingredients. Despite never having had a G&T, it's the first thing that comes to mind. Well, right after, "That's freakin' ridiculous." I was not yet a wine drinker and wasn't able to stomach beer, since at that point I still associated it not as a beverage but as the sticky stuff all over my bathroom floor in college (I lived with boys, remember).

2001. The little stick tells me that I'm pregnant. I panic, and then sort of accept it. When I find out I'm not, I'm actually surprised. Then I throw up. (If I had been knocked up, there's a good chance I would've been married with a kindergartener right now. But let's not go there.)

2002. I move into a new place with a living room that has a mirrored wall.

2003. I start writing a blog. The world begins anew.

2004. I finish graduate school. I neglected to mention starting but, needless to say, the finishing was the most important part.

2005. I make the unfortunate discovery that the only thing worse than John Mayer is James Blunt.

2006. I find an unopened Nature Valley granola bar in my bag that's smashed beyond all recognition. I throw it away, feeling wasteful, but really, I'm just not going to eat that.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

small candy, big obsession

It's official... from now until April 16th, CVS is enemy territory. Cadbury mini eggs are on the shelves. Cadbury mini eggs, my sugar shell-coated nemesis. When I was in Sunday School, they never told me that someday Easter would come down to simply this: my favorite candy on the planet, taunting me from its perfect purple bag of goodness for two months out of the year.

My friend planned an intervention for me once. One year he decided that the way to deal with this was not to avoid the mini eggs entirely, which only led to thinking about them everyday, knowing they were out there. He decided the solution was to bring a bag into our home and just enjoy it and get it out of my system. It was a pure, simple, optimistic plan, and it didn't work. I wanted to eat the whole thing, so I made him parcel it out to me daily and hide it from me and not tell me where it was NO MATTER WHAT and that if I started going through this things he was to call campus security immediately and give them permission to taser me.

Ahh, mini eggs. Not to be confused with Cadbury creme eggs. Remember the commercials for them with the bunny pretending to be a chicken? I was so confused by that when I was little. I thought it was a real egg, and why would you want to freakin' eat that? I asked my mom what the deal was and she told me it was for adults, which was another way of saying, not for you. So for awhile I thought that adults must like raw eggs dipped in chocolate and hatched by creepy bunny-chickens. Yet another reason that adults made no sense.

flower girl

Here are my other two cents about Valentine's Day. By now most men are onto the fact that sending flowers to her place of business is a move that will pay for itself several times over. Despite the fact that it's ultimately not a gesture that really attests to your love or anything like that... when I was at Shrinkage, this woman had an complete jerk of a boyfriend who yelled at her at the Christmas party and always sent the biggest bouquet, presumably the "I'm Wicked Sorry Baby" arrangement.

But when it comes to flowers, step it up and send them to her at work on some random day, and it will pay for itself a thousand times over. Trust me, this will make your life better. Do it now, in fact. Go on, I'll wait here. Actually, do it in a few days, otherwise it will seem like you're trying to make up for her being the only flowerless girl in the cube farm on V-Day. Do it on some Tuesday in March. Then come back here for more advice on the ladies. And try to imagine that that last sentence came out much more Barry White-ish than I was able to type it.

Damn, I'm good. I'd make some needy, overanalytical woman very happy.

You know what's funny, though? There's even a loophole when it comes to sending flowers to a woman at work, and I, of course, somehow managed to live it. It was several years ago and I had just started dating this guy and I wasn't completely sure how I felt about things yet; not in a bad way, just in a new way. I did end up liking him a lot and dating him for awhile. But he sent me flowers at work on a random day, which forces you to suddenly come up with the exact right response to "WHO sent you THESE?!" Turns out that "oh, just a friend" sounds too coy and "oh, just this guy" makes you sound like a whore. It's like being forced to wear a sign that says, "Hey, random coworker that I've never really talked about anything much with besides that latest brochure copy and the weather! You're standing right here at my desk staring at the damn flowers, so why don't you ask me who I just started sleeping with!"

Maybe I'll send some to myself at work and then yell that at the top of my lungs. That'd probably be worse than drinking the powdered apple cider mix, huh?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

candy hearts

Let's have a look into the highlights of my stash and see what the kids are giving for valentines these days, shall we?

Puns are still big. There's a lion telling you You're a Top Cat. A basketball player thinks You're a Slam Dunk. Newsflash: Little Kids Still Like Craptastic Humor! (One of my favorite Onion headlines was Study Shows Babies Are Dumb.)

I received one with a cartoon girl that I can only assume is a prostitute. She looks like Barbie's ho bag cousin. "Have a stylin' Valentine's Day!"

Another prostitute, with slightly less make-up and sans fuck me heels, which is nice considering she's probably supposed to be under ten years old. "Show your style, Valentine."

Hot Wheels! You know this kid forgot about his valentine cards until last night and his dad had some of these leftover from 1985. "Start revvin' your engine--it's Valentine's Day!" I love how even at five years old, boys are Such Boys.

"Love the Nerd You're With" with a box of nerds. Junior high is gonna be tough for this kid.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Who would've thought they had staying power? "It's so easy being green on Valentine's Day." Yeah, not catchy. But I still remember the idiotic "heroes on a halfshell... turtle power!" so I guess they can get away with anything.

The female Incredible with long, rubbery fingers. "If it's not much of a stretch, will you be my Valentine?" But I'm thinking this girl's sentiment isn't exactly genuine, since she put her name in both the to and from slot.

One of them gave me a Wonka cherry-yum-diddly fun dip. What?

So, that's what Valentine's Day is looking like from the kindergarten front these days. Idolizing whores, dredging up the worst cartoon icons from twenty years ago, and giving out candy that sounds like it needs an NC-17 rating. Sounds about right.

Monday, February 13, 2006

snow day

The Blizzard of 2006... call now for the commemorative plates! Next month it'll be Oh, Um, The Other Blizzard of 2006. And then in April, The Blizzard of This One Really Just Hit Boston Because You Guys Have The Worst Freakin' Snow Luck on the Planet, But Great Lobster You Guys, Really.

I just don't feel like it can truly be a blizzard when everything is up and running the very next day. That's a snowstorm. A blizzard is when cars are stuck on the highway and people can't leave work and taxi drivers are delivering babies and Bing Crosby is somewhere in the background, providing a soundtrack for it all. Regardless of how much we're getting, we know the weatherpeople are taking it seriously when they're all in sweaters. It's a snow emergency, get me my J. Crew! There's no time for cuff links, for the love of God, DON'T YOU SEE? THE SNOW IS FALLING!

We used to pull that kind of ridiculousness in college; whenever there was a big storm, we'd all be at the dining hall in our pajamas. Why? Our clothes were indoors, as they were every other day of the year, and whatever kind of weather we were having didn't really make dressing oneself anymore difficult. And yet there we were, snow day after snow day, filling up mugs with hot chocolate and half-dressed like crazy people. Maybe it's a regional thing. I don't imagine that students at UCLA didn't fully dress themselves during a heavy rainstorm, as a way of somehow paying homage to the rain.

Yeah, New Englanders are a little bit insane. The weather does something to us. But it really makes us appreciate those eleven minutes of spring all the more.

Friday, February 10, 2006

still sick, and no less inappropriate

Coworker: I can't believe you drank that powdered apple cider mix.
Me: If there was a powdered version of you that I could make into a hot drink right now, I'd probably drink that too.
Coworker: Would that be like ashes?
Me: Well, no. I wouldn't take you out of your urn. That would be disrespectful.
Coworker: And probably not very tasty.
Another Coworker: What the hell are you guys talking about?

Monday, February 06, 2006

I got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell

So, I seem to be on the tail end of some form of the flu. Not entirely surprising, given what I do for a living, but still kind of weird considering that I don't even get colds that often. There's those couple requisite days of rehydration after a tropical vacation, mostly because of too little sleep and too much of everything else, but other than that, I'm just not a cold-getter.

I would've blogged over the weekend, but I was having difficulty with being anything but horizontal, and thus may have also been challenged to write much more than "need more juice" and "gummy stars rainbow hiccup." Yeah, decided to spare you all that. Anyway, as it turns out, this is how you know you're sick, even when you're A Person Who Doesn't Get Sick:

1. When you mix up your pronouns. Yesterday, I said several variations on, "They... she... I mean, he said..." and "I thought that she was going to go with him... I mean, that you were going to go with her."
2. When you can't explain what the hell your problem is. I was clearly wheezing but announced to anyone who was interested that my coughs were going into my brain.
3. When you're not so much sleeping as hallucinating. When I'm sick and trying to sleep, it's like I become the project manager of all these imaginary dream jobs, because I'm dreaming that I need to get some kind of extremely pressing work done, and I keep waking up worrying that I'm not done yet, and I'm actually pretty stressed about accomplishing these imaginary tasks, and then in my half-awake state I tell myself, "Hey, don't worry, it'll all get done! Oh wait, these are all make-believe problems. Go back to SLEEP." This is your brain on cough medicine.
4. When you suddenly don't care that it's Superbowl Sunday... oh, no wait, I never care that it's Superbowl Sunday. The only good thing about Superbowl Sunday is the apps, none of which I could eat this time around because the only thing that looked good to me was orange juice, and also the fact that it means we're that much closer to baseball season. (Ryan was cute, though: "I have a question about all the backs. So there's quarterbacks and Hasselbacks and running backs...")

The other thing that I realized is that your temperature doesn't matter unless you're a kid. Okay, maybe it matters if you're really really sick and in the hospital, but when you're just sick in a normal way and your mom asks you if you have a temperature, you realize that the whole point of having a temperature is for it to be high enough for her to let you stay home from school ("Please, please, let it be in the hundreds, let it be in the hundreds... 100.6! Yes! I'm SICK! I'm going to watch The Price is Right! Have fun in earth science, suckas!"). Once you reach a certain age those numbers just don't have the same significance.

Friday, February 03, 2006

turn it up

Let's discuss something serious, shall we? I don't think that Janet Jackson is always singing "oh, you nasty boys"; sometimes it's a distinct "ode to nasty boys." This theory of mine is not well received around these parts. Nor was my thinking that it was time to rock the cash bar, or that when it comes to Billie Jean, you should be careful what you do because a life becomes of you. But I stand behind my Janet theory, even though it's caused me to be called Ye Olde Red and subjected to questioning about how much Keats I actually read in college and how it irrevocably tainted my brain.

Whatever she's babbling about, it's impossible not to car dance when it comes on. It's one of the select few songs that you can't even stop rocking out to when you pass another driver and you want to appear reasonable. I sort of hate it when strangers in the next lane catch me singing about Tommy and Gina, but when it comes to Ms. Jackson if you're nasty, well, I just can't contain that.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

ambivalence at first sight

A friend was telling me how she got an instant message from a random acquaintance from college that she doesn't really like that much, and, naturally, a little bit of e-awkwardness ensued. This reminded me of one of my favorite random acquaintance stories from a few years ago.

You know how it goes sometimes: You meet some person, and they're fine, and they're suddenly in your life in some way and you kind of want to like them because they're nice enough and you can't think of A Major Reason not to, forgetting, of course, that you don't really need A Major Reason. You find yourself saying, "Well, there's nothing wrong with them." You forget that while you'll lose a date's number if you don't feel anything, you'll somehow make yourself feel bad for not feeling anything with a potential friend. Suddenly I forget that all of my friends, different though they may be, are people that I instantly liked, if not adored. You need friend chemistry, there's just no way around it. And I felt zip with Random.

She was a classmate of mine in grad school. She always wanted to hang out, and to make matters worse she was new to the city and didn't know many people and so I felt extra guilty about being vague and put-offish about making plans. I tried to keep it to school-related stuff but she kept asking me to go to dinner. And then I told myself, "Well, for God's sake, I can have a meal with the girl." So I called for back-up in the form of Elusive Jen. I did a bad sell job. I think it went something like: "So I have to go out with this girl from school that I don't really like and her roommate is coming too and it might be terrible so would you come with me?" She came. You would too. If it ends up being fun, then great, and if not then it's comedy after the fact and fodder during the drinks that you go out for after you ditch the losers.

I'm sounding like a terrible person right now, I know. Stay with me for a minute.

Unsurprisingly, we ended up with comedy after the fact. The dinner was a bit of a blur: Her roommate was like a 80-year-old humorless man in a 24-year-old woman's body, who told stupid stories about brief encounters with obscure celebrities. It was funny that it came off so badly because both Elusive and I enjoy a good obscure celebrity story, but it just didn't work; instead of seeing the funny, roommate was boastful about the encounters, as though accidentally brushing against Chris O'Donnell's elbow is something to dangle over the heads of those who have had no such elbow-on-elbow contact. The other thing is that she was the kind of person who, after some harmless, not-even-especially-funny comment was thrown out, she'd stare right at you and say, "What do you mean?" as though her command of the language was so literal that she would need you to translate idioms for her. And then there was Random, who acted so nervous around me that it made me uncomfortable. When her roommate went to sit next to me, Random glared at her and then roommate jumped up and said, "Oh, I'm really sorry, I didn't mean to sit between you." Elusive's eyebrows went up. The weird vibe continued. Later on in the ladies Elusive said, delicately, "Any chance she thinks you two are on a date?" I wasn't entirely sure. And I'm not a fan of dating without knowing it.

Anyway, I attributed that experience to her nightmare roommate, for the most part, and continued to see Random for occasional post-class lunches and study sessions, and continued not really liking her, but still feeling somewhat guilty about it. Then one night I was driving her home from class and she was telling me some story about her parents. She referred to them as Mommy and Daddy. Not even, "my Mommy and Daddy," not that that would've been acceptable. No, she just said, "Mommy and Daddy." Like, "Well, Mommy said..." Dear God.

Then she told me about the guy that her sister was dating, and how it was going to be a big problem because he's not Jewish. "AND he's black." I asked her if that was a problem. She replied, "Well, YEAH," as though I was right there with her on the twisted little Southern plantation in her head. I was actually kind of relieved. Now I had a reason not to like her. Mommy, Daddy, AND racist? Score!

Elusive brings it up now and then, especially when I'm talking her into coming with me somewhere and she says, "Oh yeah, like that night with those two people. Who the hell were they?" My thoughts exactly. What the world needs is more people trusting their initial instinct toward a person when it pushes them in the direction of blind hatred.