Thursday, September 29, 2005

his boy Elroy

Condo meeting the other night. There should've been a two drink minimum. I hadn't met the guy who was hosting before, but I'm always curious to see the other apartments in the complex because we all have the exact same layout. Keep this in mind when I tell you that Mr. Silk Shirt and Jeans took me on a tour of his place and proceeded to trash everything that was there originally: He got rid of the "God awful" bleached hardwood floor, which is still all over my downstairs. He gutted the "terrible" kitchen; I've done no such gutting. He got rid of "that horrible thing" in the doorway between the kitchen and living room; I affectionately refer to my odd countertop extension as the peninsula. But he was kind of one of those people who thinks they've made the place hip and modern, but it's really just a robot maid away from being the Jetson house. Clusters of tiny silver lights suspended from the ceiling by thread-like wires that look like they belong on the inside of a control panel sure say home to me, after all. Then he moved onto the artwork.

"These are all original Bowies," he said, with that mixture of casualness and pride that only a guy in a silk shirt and jeans can muster.

Bowies? I'm probably going to regret this coming out of my mouth, but, "David?"

Turns out, I'm right. Then he points to a ginormous one over the fireplace, all bright red except for a big blue-green circle in the middle. "That one, too. That's his eyeball."

I tried to smile. Of course it's not a Monet or a picture of little girls running through a field of wheat. No, it's David Bowie's eyeball enlarged 10,000 times, because I live in a freakin' funhouse.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

it's okay to hate a toddler, right?

My new neighbors apparently have 37 kids. The mom warned me when they were moving in: "We REALLY have kids." I wasn't sure how to interpret this. Was she thinking I wouldn't believe her? Have there been incidents of her fabricating offspring in the past? Apparently she was just trying to tell me that they're kind of loud. They do run around like lunatics, but I'm used to being around kids so it doesn't faze me. No, it's other things that faze me and make me quiver with hate. So I'm about to drive off and their youngest, she's probably barely three, was rolling around on the trunk of their car like she's Daisy Duke. In an effort to be able to see where she is and thus not run her over, I said to her, "Sweetie, I'm going to pull out, so can you go stand on the grass for a minute?" She looks at me and replies, "No, because this is my car." My thoughts went like this: 1) That was a good sentence for a three-year-old. 2) What an uppity bitch. 3) You can't think a three-year-old is an uppity bitch. 4) Seriously though, what an obnoxious little tatertot.

So, we'll see how the newbies work out. As long as they don't walk up to my open window and start randomly talking to me, like some other neighborhood gems, then we're good.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

lost and found

You're all going to be really proud. Actually, you probably won't care. Ha, either way, you're reading this so you're mine and it doesn't matter if you care or not. What was Steve's line in his first and only blog entry? "Right now I own you because I'm doing the thinking for you"? Yeah, something like that. His delivery was better, I'm sure. Dating him was the only time I've ever had to play the straight man.

Anyway, I finally have a TV show that I'm going to watch every week! I made the strategic decision to become a fan of Lost. Conveniently, before the second season premiere tonight they had an hour long recap of the first season. It was actually the perfect way to watch a suspenseful show, because it was all the good stuff cut together, and when something happened they'd explain it all immediately, but if I'd watched the whole season it would've taken weeks to get all the answers.

Actually, maybe I'll just wait and watch the second season recap in a year before the third season premiere. Hmmm.

I also watched The Office and liked that, too! It's an exciting new TV world for me! It's motivating me to get DVR already. (Or is it a DVR? Subscribe to DVR? I don't even know. I feel like my mom when she calls her portable music device her "pod.")

Except once again customer service monkeys stand between me and technology. I had to get a new modem over the weekend because my old one died and when I called Comcast to hook me back up and I asked the guy about DVR, he very snootily replied that he works for the COMPUTER division of Comcast and that every customer service person couldn't possibly know EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING. Jeez, apparently.

And then I said, "Well, I didn't mean to IMPLY that you should..." at which point my dad, who was under my computer desk installing the modem, looked up at me in disbelief as if to say, "Are you seriously fighting with the Comcast guy that you JUST got on the phone with?"

Anyway, Lost is scary. I don't usually like things that are scary, creepy, whatever. I don't like those ads for that new show about aliens: "Mommy, you smell different." UGH! That's because she's a fucking ALIEN DEMON BEAST WOMAN who is going to suck your brain out through a straw and then the forensics team will come in and take pictures and shake their heads and go back to headquarters and look at the cells under microscopes which they somehow can see perfectly even though all their offices are practically pitch black in order to create a more intense lighting environment for dramatic reaction shots!

OK, so clearly Jen has made me watch CSI a few times lately, and I HATE THAT SHOW. This is how she ropes me in: "...and we can cook dinner and make that CD and watch CSI and have ice cream and you're pretty." OK, not a direct quote, but you get the jist. Mind tricks, people. And then just plain bullying: She puts it on and goes, "Oh, we don't have to watch it if you don't have to," so I reach over and change the channel. Then she changes it back. Then I change it. Then I cry a little because I know she could beat me up. She's been working out a lot lately.

Anyway, after one episode of CSI I had a dream that I killed a bunch of people and someone else was blamed for it and I went to look at real estate, and while I was walking through this empty house with Jennifer Love Hewitt, I realized that I was going to have to turn myself in and how much that was going to suck. Does this suggest something disturbing about me? I mean, beyond the dream acquaintance with the Party of Five she-devil.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

on People Who Respond to the Question "How Are You?" Literally

I'm a pretty freakin' nice person. I'm not one of those big-eyed, big-toothed, salesperson types who offers a chirpy "How ARE you?" that sounds like it should be served on top of waffles when they really mean, "I happen to be walking by you and can't very well just IGNORE you, can I?"

No, I'm pretty freakin' sincere. Right? I care. If you're my friend, and you call me and I say, "how are you?", I want to know. If you're a friend of a friend that I met once at some random place and I thought your name started with a P instead of a B, and you call me and I say, "how are you?", I want to know. If you're reading my blog, and you somehow get my number and you call me and I say, "how are you?", I'm simultaneously calling the police on my cell, but that's beside the point.

But there are times when "how are you?" does not warrant much of a response. When you're at work and you're walking by a colleague and you say, "Hi John, how are you?" The correct response is any of the following:

"Good, Red, how are you?"
"Good thanks, and you?"
"Fine, you?"
"Doing OK, thanks."

The correct response does NOT begin with "well..." It especially does NOT begin with a big sigh and then a "well..." It also does not begin with "actually...," "let's put it this way...," or "to be honest..."

You get my point. But there's a guy at the Place I Work who does not understand the rules. The first time I experienced his rambling and apparent lack of social cues, it was only the second time I ever met him. We were passing briefly in the hall and I quickly said, "Hi, What's-His-Name, how are you?" The encounter lasted just long enough for a "good," "fine," or an "OK." Maybe even an opportunity for him to inquire the same of me and for me to reply quickly. But no. I got the "well..." And not just the "well," but the "well, Red..." He welled me AND named me, and I immediately knew I was in it for the long haul.

You can imagine my horror when he walked into my office the other day and started talking. What the hell could I do? I could've been stuck there all day. I wished for Supergirl to breeze in, thinking the two of them might be a match made in heaven: He loves to talk, and she LOVES EVERYTHING! What could be better?

But no, I was alone. For the most part, if you wander into my office and I'm not busy and your overall presence doesn't make me want to die, I'm all for seeing you. But it's just not that simple with this guy. So eventually I did that mostly-stare-at-my-laptop-screen-and-say-"uh-huh"-a-lot until he went away. Yes, it's shitty. But what can you do? I hate ramblers, especially when they make you feel like you don't even need to be there. They just want to talk, and talking to oneself is still considered socially unacceptable in most circles. I'm casting my vote for making it A-OK, if only to help unload people like this from my life.

Monday, September 12, 2005

life lessons from driver's ed

It was a combination of Clerks ("I'm not even supposed to be here today!") and The Breakfast Club ("You just bought yourself another Saturday! Instead of coming to prison, you'll come here!"). It was a preview of my life if I don't change my hoodlum, law-breaking, illegal U-turning ways. It was eight and a half hours of sitting at a table in a small room on a beautiful day, filling out endless reproachful questionnaires intended to determine why I'm such a leech on civilized society. I will now be driving like a little old lady for the rest of my life.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

to sum(mer) up

Ugh, I hate puns. Why did I just do that? There's nothing less funny than puns, is there? Same goes for and-THEN-I-accidentally-said-the-wrong-thing stories. I was at a wedding this summer where we got talking about waitressing and this crazy-looking girl started telling this story about how one time she was telling the specials to an old couple and instead of saying scrod, she said scrotum. Har har. It's like Everybody Loves Raymond humor. And who says the word scrotum, anyway? How does that slip out?

Um...anyway. So, I'm ready for fall. As soon as school starts back up, I'm ready for long sleeves and sleeping with the windows open. As soon as Bath and Body Works is ready with their fall candles, I'm ready too. So in an effort to hurry things along (pumpkins! foliage! cider!), here's What I Did on My Summer Vacation (imagine it written in second-grader scrawl):

- Spent LOTS of time on the Cape: 4th of July with the family, where I watched my cousins ingest a lot of meat and women; a fun waffle cone weekend with Melissa and Joe; and several days of parasite recovery, during which I lost weight but not my mojo.

- Spent my usual week at Dirty Dancing. Dealt with Hoodlum Waiter's friend who climbed on top of a gazebo and wouldn't come down and gave the event its own theme song by whispering the lyrics to "Such Great Heights," which was actually a little creepy, now that I think about it.

- Saw the following movies: Wedding Crashers, Must Love Dogs, 13 Going on 30, and Under the Tuscan Sun. I know, how girly of me. I loved them all. I saw Wedding Crashers twice because it was freakin' hilarious. ("Yeah, it could've been the soft mattress. Or the midnight rape.")

- Survived several weddings, including the Bride's. Attempted to squelch panic at the fact that my Safety Friend is now married. But lost any remaining respect for her when, while discussing Connecticut's upcoming wedding, she said, "I mean, I don't want HER to wear a strapless dress because I wore a strapless dress, you know?"

- Went to Mexico with Jenico. Pantalones optional, mojitos required.

- Pulled off Jen's surprise birthday party, with out-of-state guests to boot!

- Started planning the parents' 30th anniversary party with Dorie, who talks like this: "Yeah, I totally think that...RYAN, THAT WAS A VERY BAD THING YOU JUST DID! GO SIT ON THE STAIRS!...think that it's a great idea if we..."

- Went to lots of Sox games...and we have one more tonight (which we are going into four games up from the Yankees...and my dad text-messaged me "CU 2nite @ 6" which scared me until he told me that he has a program that turns his English into teenager IM-speak) and one more in October...the last one of the regular season, and against GUESS WHO!

- Mourned the trade of Swing and a Miss Bellhorn. Just kidding! Have fun with him, New York!

- Made more Yankees jabs in one blog entry than in the past year.

- Read some good books.

- Cut my HAIR. Phew.

And here's my summery playlist:

Magic - Cars
Steppin' Out - Joe Jackson
Love Will Come Through - Travis
You're Beautiful - James Blunt
Hot Child in the City - Bay City Rollers
Everybody's Changing - Keane
Electrical Storm - U2
Sparks - Coldplay
Love You Madly - Cake
The One I Love - David Gray
Brighter than Sunshine - Aqualung

Considering I'm kicking off fall at Bad Driver School, this season will have to work pretty hard to live up to the summer. Get your ass in gear, autumn.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

for better or for worse

Every so often I find myself as a date at a wedding where I don't know anyone. It's sort of entertaining to be a fly on the wall of other people's lives. Look, there are people you never would've met, who have their own friends and spouses and parents and jokes! It's like a TV show because everyone is a character: Mother of the Bride in the Glittery Pants Suit, Grandfather of the Groom Who Makes a Vaguely Incoherent but Touching Speech About How the Bride and Groom Have Been Given a Garden of Eden.

Mark's friend, the groom, is a guy who I sorta-kinda knew in college. He used to date a girl who lived on my floor and I'd had a few conversations with him over the years. If I'd ever run into him at a reunion or a bar or something, we would've had the "Oh, yeah! How are you?" moment and then after the job-marriage-where-are-you-living-now catch-up game, would've promptly forgotten the other one existed. Very nice guy, but you know how it is with Totally Random Acquaintances. I never imagined I'd see this Totally Random Acquaintance almost shaking with emotion as he kissed his new wife during their first dance; I found myself wishing I'd at least had lunch with the guy a few times before I was allowed to witness such an intimate moment.

(And more hazards of attending a life event of a Totally Random Acquaintance: About a week ago, I said to Mark, "So how long have Groom and Liz been dating now, anyway?" He said, "Liz? You mean Sarah?" Oh, God. "Who's Sarah?" "The BRIDE." "Oh. He's not marrying Liz So-and-so?" "Um, NO, they broke up in college." "Oh." Silence. "Well, I'm sure he and Sarah will be really happy together.")

We were seated at one of the college tables. We realized we were old when they took the alumni picture for the quarterly (third time this summer I've posed for the quarterly picture) and realized we were the oldest alumni there. Neither of us had had that experience before—there's always someone there who's a little older and drunker and bitter about life to make you feel young and vibrant and sober. And we weren't older by decades or anything, thankfully—Mark is 29 and I'm 27 (fine, I'll be 28 in less than a month), and these guys were in their early 20s. But it does make a difference.

One girl at the table had just turned 23 and her boyfriend Steve was the best man. (It occurred to me that I was also at a summer wedding when I was 23 and my boyfriend Steve was the best man, but that's really neither here nor there.) I was telling her that her boyfriend seemed really nice and did a great job with his speech (having been her, I know she'd heard him practice it 1,000 times), and she started telling me about how his ex-girlfriend used to be her friend but now they don't speak because when she asked her if it was okay if she went out with him, her friend was like OK but then just dropped out of her life and then she put this away message up on IM, right? And then the girl totally IMed her because she thought they had broken up but they hadn't, but the other girl was only with him for ten months and this one had been with him for over a year so whatever, she already beat her.

"Yeah," Mark said. "A year is more than ten months. You totally win." God, does he sometimes just say stuff so that I can blog it later?

"Yeah, I win!" she reiterates triumphantly.

Maybe being the oldest ones at the college table isn't so bad after all.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

could you walk a little faster, my GOD

I had a Tylenol PM dream last night that I was walking around Central Park and I kept getting into fights with these packs of girls. Then I realized that I was walking like I drive, cutting in front of them like a lunatic. Maybe that's what all Boston drivers should have to do...spend a day walking like they drive and see how well it works out. I think they even knocked me down at one point. Clearly, you don't want to mess with New York girls when you come from the land of wicked good chowda.

I think I won't be telling this story during share time at driver retraining school.