Wednesday, January 31, 2007

I May Be All Germy, But That Resident Probably Had a Worse Day Than Me

Nurse: Your doctor has a resident with him today. Is that okay?
Me: Sure, that's fine.

Resident: Hi, I'm Dr. Whocaresington.
Me: Hi.
Resident: So what brings you in today?
Me: [bad sore throat since Sunday, chills, generally out of it, think I might have strep]
Resident: [looks in my throat, ears, listens to me breathe, etc.] Okay, well, you don't appear to have any signs of strep throat.
Me: Oh, okay.
Resident: I'd keep up what you're doing with the Tylenol and Vitamin C. But I'll have your doctor come in and follow up in a second.

My Doctor: Hi Red.
Me: Hi.
My Doctor: So what's going on?
Me: [bad sore throat since Sunday, chills, generally out of it, think I might have strep]
My Doctor: [looks in my throat, ears, listens to me breathe, etc., then turns to Resident] You didn't see the white spots on her left tonsil?

I died a thousand deaths for the poor bastard. We've all been there, in some way.

Resident: Oh. No, I didn't.

My doctor takes out a strep kit, swipes me, and then we wait for a line to appear or not. Modern medicine, I'm telling you! The last time I got tested for strep I'm pretty sure they had to call me from the lab the next day. I almost comment that it's like a pregnancy test, but realize just in time that that sounds a little whorish.

The line shows up. My doctor turns to Resident. "She DOES have strep. Why don't you take another look?"

Aww. Poor guy. Well, we know at least one doctor in the world who's going to be damn sure he checks your throat twice next time, right? Maybe he'll diagnose everyone with strep for awhile just to be on the safe side.

Now I'm armed with my trusty supply of azithromycin, which has already helped me feel less partially lobotomized and like my throat isn't a vacation spot for a colony of furious, revenge-seeking bees. I'm almost glad it turned out to be something, because I was afraid that I was a 29-year-old sleeping twelve hours a day and crying over a cold. At least now I know I was a 29-year-old sleeping twelve hours a day and crying over a BAD cold. To make matters worse, I don't even have a sexy cold voice. I sound like someone shoved a rag down the back of my throat and said, "Now see if you can talk, biotch."

Before I left, my doctor mentioned that the antibiotics could change the effectiveness of birth control pills and that while I'm on the strep meds I should use other contraceptive methods. Thanks for the advice, but when you're so phlegmy that you wake up to a wet pillow, and all night long you're adjusting it to find the side that's the least damp*, contraception is just not your most pressing concern.

*You really didn't need to know that, did you? That's the risk you take by ambling into the Tent, my friend.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

I Love Other People's Problems

I woke up feeling like a diluted version of myself. Headache, sore throat, chills. Vitamin C, Tylenol, cinnamon toast. And Cruel Intentions on FX! Score. The first time I saw it I was in college: Florida, spring break, drunk. No idea why we went to the movies, but I loved every minute of it. I still maintain that this movie had some oddly redeeming qualities and just preceded the wave of entirely pointless teen movies that started coming out in the late 90s, right after Scream (which is another one I will defend). I just love all things unapologetically campy. It's why Fergalicious and Smack That are on my iPod, why my parties always have themes, why I hate truly scary movies but love trashy horror movies.

You'd think I was going to be discussing other campified things, but no. I'm all over the place today. I went out with my family this morning, then came back home and put my pajamas back on. I didn't do any laundry or wash my sheets, which is a scandalous turn of events on a Sunday for me. So in lieu of a weekend update I'm just going to post something I wrote last week (at work! I'm deviant now, like all of you).

I love advice columns. They remind me of the quizzes you'd take in girly magazines as a kid: If your boyfriend [of course no one I knew had ever had a boyfriend yet] wants to go to the football game but you want to go shopping with the girls, would you a) ditch the girls and go to the game - you want your man to be happy, b) pout until you get your way - if he really loves you he'll know what you want, or c) cheerily suggest each doing your own thing and then meet up later. The options may as well have been a) be a doormat, b) be a passive-aggressive hobag, or c) be normal.

Anyway. Here's a bunch of people with problems who didn't write to me but whom I'm hijacking and forcing my opinions on. You're all welcome.

Dear Red,
Two of my good friends are engaged, and the wedding is planned for later this year. They are genuinely satisfied with and committed to each other, and I want to see both of them happy. Problem is, I've been smitten by the bride-to-be ever since I met her. At the time, I was in another relationship, but by the time that ended, her relationship with my buddy had blossomed. As the wedding date approaches, I can't help feeling like I need to say something before all opportunity fades. I know I should just get over her, but even after dating others, my mind's eye comes back to her. To top it all off, they want me to be the best man. I feel increasingly dishonest by omission, but I don't want to sabotage two meaningful friendships. Should I tell her? Should I tell anyone? Or should I do what I've done for the last few years and just keep my mouth shut?
-Not-Quite-Best Man

Dear Not,
Don't do anything. You'd just lose your friend and embarrass his fiancee. And you probably only like her so much because you can't have her. (I took Psych 101.)

Dear Red,
Something has been eating away at me and I don't know what to do. I am an executive at a large company. About a decade ago, when I was just getting started, I became acquainted with a manager at this company who seemed interested in taking me under his wing. He was a terrific mentor, and I owe much of my current success to the knowledge and insight he passed along to me in those early years. He was also married with children. I was young, attractive, and single. As we grew closer, I became aware that he was separated and seeking a divorce. You can probably guess that eventually our relationship became sexual. This lasted a few months, and then he broke it off. I knew it was not right at the time, but I was naive and inexperienced, and I really believed he was in the midst of a divorce (not that that's any excuse). Now I am older, wiser, married to a wonderful man, and have a child. I still work at this company, as does my former mentor, but we don't see each other much. I am plagued with guilt about this past relationship! Our affair was a profound betrayal of his wife and family (by the way, he never did get divorced) and I can't believe we did that to them. I don't regret meeting him, but I deeply regret our affair. What I can do?

Dear Guilty,
What is there to do? You learned from your mistake and moved on. The guilt should be his.

Dear Red,
I got married two years ago, when I was 19 and my husband was 25. I have never been happier, and am very much in love. However, when people find out I'm married, they respond in ways that I can't help but find insulting and hurtful. I have had bewildered looks, comments insinuating that I am naive, and reminders that "statistics show" young marriages tend not to last. My own mother, who had a short-lived marriage at my age, has hinted several times that I would be better off not married and that my marriage is temporary. A few weeks ago, I met a girl my age who, upon finding out I was married, responded with a sympathetic, "I bet you must have been scared!" as though I was some sort of medieval child bride. I have even been asked if I got married due to an unexpected pregnancy! How do I handle these comments?
-Not a Child Bride

Dear No Child Left Behind,
If you were my daughter I'd be concerned about you getting married that young, but who are these randoms saying rude shit to you? I'd stick with something like, "I don't know about that; I'm pretty happy with my decision." Beyond that, my client has no further comment.

Dear Red,
This year, my wife is dragging me to the home of some friends of hers to celebrate the new year. The problem is that they are total teetotalers, and to me, a day (much less New Year's Eve) without a drink is no day at all! Would it be rude if I took a nice bottle of French wine (OK, maybe two)? And would a corkscrew and proper glasses be pushing it?

Dear Jakeman,
I had to google teetotalers. I guess it wouldn't hurt to ask them if you can bring booze; just because they abstain doesn't mean they're necessarily opposed to being around it, right? If they seem uncomfortable, back off. It does strike me as odd to have a party on New Year's Eve if you don't drink or serve alcohol, but at the end of the day it's their home and you have to respect their comfort level. And since "a day without a drink is no day at all," on your way to pick up snacks for their party maybe stop by an AA meeting.

Dear Red,
My husband and I have been close friends with another couple since college. We were both recently in the bridal party for their wedding. After an engagement party, four bridal showers, a couples shower, and the wedding (we brought gifts for each) my husband and I have been set back financially due to the gift-giving extravaganzas. Now, the weekend that they have returned from their honeymoon, they are throwing a birthday party for their dog! My husband and I feel like we have been picked up, turned upside down, and shaken until everything we have has fallen out of our pockets. It seems like we have been taken advantage of in our relationship even before the wedding madness began (vacations, etc.). In addition, the wife recently inherited a large amount of money. My husband and I are nowhere near that kind of financial stability and lead a modest lifestyle. I would hate to end a close relationship that we have had for almost a decade, but to continue in this way is really putting a dent in our pocketbook.
-Gifted Out

Dear Gifted,
Four bridal showers? And what the hell is a couples shower? It should be mandatory that two tacky people can't marry each other, because then they have no idea how bad they both are and they just unleash their tackiness into the universe. If you've really been taken advantage of by them, by all means reevaluate the friendship. Unfortunately cheapsters have a way of making you feel cheap for standing your ground, but once you've felt screwed a few times you just have to. Double-check any bills you split and give them the benefit of the doubt; maybe they're more clueless than conniving. As for the party, go if it will be fun. Bring a bone for the dog and call it a day.

Dear Red,
I have a problem that often leaves me frustrated and angry at myself: I am very bad at small talk. It's amazing to me how people can slip in and out of frivolous talk (though I know it serves a socially useful purpose) with seeming ease. No matter how hard I try, I feel that I say the wrong thing or something inappropriate. What concerns me most, however, is that I'll soon be entering the work world, and the ability to make light conversation is paramount in business relationships. Do you have any suggestions?

Dear JS,
When I find myself in a situation like this I usually just ask them about themselves, like how it's going with whatever thing they've been up to or the person they're dating or something like that. People can talk about themselves forever (as evident by the ubiquitousness of blogs, present company included). Also, I wouldn't be too hard on yourself for being nervous. They're probably a little nervous too and not even noticing your nervousness.

Dear Red,
I am a college freshman at a large university. My roommate is a Texan, and one who seems dedicated to proving the proposition that everything is bigger (and more irritating) in Texas. His personality has been a source of much conflict on my floor, and I generally regard him as a disagreeable person with whom I associate simply because of our room assignment. The problem is that one of my female friends is both extraordinarily attractive and a close confidante. Unfortunately, my roommate wants to meet this friend solely on the basis of her good looks. For months, I have dodged his questions of "when am I going to meet ------ ?" However, it's becoming hard to keep this up. Should I bite the bullet and introduce my good friend to this blight on Texan statehood?
-College Boy

Dear College,
Just don't introduce them. You don't owe him anything. Or if it's been an elaborate song and dance to keep them from running into each other, do it but warn your friend beforehand. We have self-congratulatory "Texans" up here too, but we call them Yankees fans.

Dear Red,
My boss is a woman and she doesn't wear underwear. She is 35 and pretty and she is having an affair with a man who has two children and a wife. We have meetings and she wears slit dresses that are distracting. She lets everyone know her private life. What should we workers do? Look away or watch the whole thing?

Dear Kbent,
Look away. And stay away.

Dear Red,
What is the best way to turn someone down when asked for your phone number? In some instances, lying and claiming to be involved is not an option, such as when asked out by an acquaintance who is aware that you are available. What's the best response, without being rude?
-Just wondering

Dear Just,
"I've just been so busy these days, I really don't have much time to go out. Hey, how's work been going? So-and-so told me about your new job..."

Dear Red,
I have a long-distance boyfriend of three months. I've only seen him three times and I'm beginning to dislike him. However, he constantly phones me and sent me a $75 Christmas present. Should I send him a Christmas present or would this encourage him even more? I want to break up with him.

Dear Desperately,
Break up with him!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

But Seriously, What The Hell Was Up With the Plane?

Woman: Dorie McDorington's office.
Me: Hi, it's Red, is Dorie available?
Woman: Just a second.
Dorie: Hi.
Me: I love that you have someone whose job is to answer your damn phone.
Dorie: Did you get my message?
Me: Yeah, what's up?
Dorie: Can I come over tonight on my way home?
Me: Yeah, sure. You actually have free time?
Dorie: Kind of. I got in from LA yesterday.
Me: Oh yeah, didn't you leave obscenely early?
Dorie: Yeah, I got picked up at quarter of five. Then I had meetings all day and then I was supposed to get the red eye at 10 so that I could get home in time to have breakfast with the kids. But then the flight was delayed because there was a lot of blood on the plane.
Me: Uh, what?
Dorie: Yeah, they came on and said that they had to clean it up. And then they came back on and said that there was too much blood to clean up and they had to call a carpet cleaning company.
Me: They said all this on the loudspeaker?
Dorie: Then they came back on again and said that there was so much blood that the carpet cleaning company said they'd have to replace the carpet and that we just needed to get a new plane. And I thought that seemed like a good idea.
Me: Um, YEAH. So when did you even get home?
Dorie: Around nine. I just missed the kids.
Me: Did you just crash?
Dorie: No, I slept for an hour and a half and then went for a run.
Me: You're like the opposite of me. I'd have given my kids up for adoption and slept for twenty hours.
Dorie: That was Plan B, trust me.

Monday, January 22, 2007

How Online Dating Continues to Not Be For the Faint of Heart or Slow Email Repliers

Me: I just got a mean email from a Match guy.
Keith: What?
Me: He wrote an email last week and I didn't write back. And he just wrote, "I don't know what I could've said in a few sentences to cancel me out so fast, but 'c'lest la vie, c'est la guerre.' Anyway, could you please let people know in the future? Guys are human too, and it hurts to be kept hanging like that. Thanks. Mike"
Keith: Yikes. It's a little presumptuous to think that his email requires a return contact, and you get scolded if you take too long.
Me: "Dear Mike, I was just paralyzed with fear over the intensity of my feelings. I've been a frothing mess since your original email. Please have dinner with me! Your wife"
Keith: You need to send that.
Me: Ha, you think?
Keith: Someone needs to sanction him, what with his wild accusatory emails and his "I said hi to you, now you have to love me" expectations.
Me: Maybe you should call him for me.
Keith: "Mike, I'm calling on behalf of your ex-budding-love interest. Can you settle down? She's not saying it's over, but things have to change."
Me: I just noticed the subject title: "OK, so you changed your mind."
Keith: From what to what?
Me: Maybe we could try counseling. I just hate for this to be it.
Keith: Not when you've both invested so much. Why throw it all away?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

What Just Happened: 1/21

On Friday I went home and watched the news because a kid from my high school killed another kid in the boys' room that morning. There's just no way to put that nicely, is there? So all day I learned from various news sources that my hometown is "a quiet suburb west of Boston where you would never expect to see this kind of violence." I originally wrote more about this, but then I decided that I just didn't want to get into it. I'm a little shaken up by it and I can't fathom how everything changed in an instant for both of those families. Needless to say the quiet suburb is still reeling.

Anyway. I don't have any suitable transition lines, so... that night I met up with Mardi and some of her lovely coworkers for margaritas at, well, Margaritas, fittingly enough. We're very literal around these parts. Mardi was talking about my blog and one of them pulled it up on his Blackberry and started quoting me, of COURSE from the horrific "I'm single and that's okay" entry, which is now safely tucked away as a draft. Public mocking seems like reason enough to keep from getting too serious in the Tent, right? Don't cry out loud, Red.

On Saturday I went to look at some random properties with my parents, who are considering "downsizing" to a condo that has more square footage and hip amenities than their current home. One of these places had a gorgeous pool room, full bar and adjoining media room with giant screen. I fantasized about the parties I'd throw there, but of course the kicker is that it'd be my parents' place so of course I was plotting ragers that would never happen. Oh, the humanity.

After that I met Steve for lunch, during which I tried to appeal to his manly football instincts to help me appreciate the sport. He's an absolute maniac, addicted to the NFL network, and has tried on many occasions to get me into it, his line of reasoning always being that I love baseball so loving football can't be far behind. I would actually like very much to enjoy football as much as I do baseball, but I just can't get psyched for it. I periodically threaten to come over and watch a game with him sometime, but this is the sort of response I get from him: "No, because I know what that would be like. 'Who's that guy in the striped hat?' 'What guy?' 'That guy.' 'In the STANDS?' 'Yeah. Do I know him? Is he on Grey's Anatomy?'" Of course, he does my voice high and squeaky while his voice is totally normal and exasperated with my incessant girliness.

A few years ago during the snow bowl, it seemed like the game was over and he went downstairs to get his laundry. I was still sitting on the couch and there was some weird ruling based on the angle of Tom Brady's wrist, or something. I yelled, "Something's happening!" He came running back upstairs. "What? What?" It went to commercial and he whipped around to face me, expectant and frantic. I was so football-ignorant, it must have been like trying to communicate with Lassie.

Me: I... I don't know! The game's not over!
Him: What happened? What did they say?
Me: Something about his arm.
Him: Whose arm? Brady's arm?
Me: Yes! It was a snap. Or it wasn't. I don't know! Everything's different now! I'm sorry! It will be back on soon! [And then I probably buried my face in my hands.]

Saturday night I was supposed to go out for Work Friend's birthday, but she and her friends were going to a strip club and I wasn't really into it. I prefer men who grind up against me for free. So I bailed on that and instead went to Crowley's with Mardi and Carly. We somehow got talking about Carly's affinity for drawing dirty pictures and then made her show us on cocktail napkins. I wrote "Later?" on one of the dirtier ones and then said something about how if Mardi gave it to someone (as straightfaced and over-the-top tacky as possible, like with a raised eyebrow and a wink) that I'd buy all her drinks for the year. Then we entered serious discussions wherein a preliminary contract was drawn up detailing the terms, at which point I started to waffle since a whole year of booze could get pricey. Negotitations were fierce but ultimately incomplete. We were getting ready to leave and Mardi had the finished napkin pictures folded in front of her. Then, before any of us knew what was happening, the bartender, Trevor, reached over, scooped up the napkins, and threw them away. Mardi, Carly and I simultaneously gasped and leaned forward like three idiots in slow motion. Trevor had no idea what he'd done but immediately fished them out of the trash. "What is it, you guys? The napkins? You want the napkins back?" He opened the dirtiest of them and said, "Heh. Later."

After that we went to the Tree, where I had grilled cheese and Diet Coke. Then I was in bed by midnight and slept for eleven hours. I'm such a party girl, I can't even tell you.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Another Opportunity to Educate the Young Squandered in Favor of Mocking Them

Work Friend: Look at [Kid]. He's totally standing there playing with his nipples.
Me: Wow, things are getting pretty K-I-N-K-Y around here.
Another Kid: What?
Work Friend: She said things are getting pretty silly around here! Whee!

Me: I just learned from that when kids say "You're not the boss of me," they're really just trying to express themselves and you should prompt them to say something more constructive like "I'd like a choice," and that can be a substitute for all the mean things they really want to say.
Work Friend: That's some cutting-edge research. Remember we have [Yet Another Kid]'s meeting tomorrow.
Me: I'd like a choice.

The CNN headlines can be so funny. Today one of them was "Six Annoying Things Kids Say and How to Respond." I was hoping the annoying things would be things like "Mommy, I'm cold" or "Daddy, you promised you'd quit."

Instead it gave advice about what to tell your kids if they're nagging you for crap. "I want the ring pop! IWANTITIWANTITIWANTIT!" One of the neutral responses it suggested was "It's nice to want things." I plan to use this all the time, in every possible scenario. Consider its power: When said to a despised coworker who requires something of you, you can just imagine the defeated look you'd get in return... and waitasecond, what's that suddenly in your possession? Ah yes, it's THE UPPER HAND. Or how about using it at the end of a date with someone you don't want to see again? And in a different context, were it delivered with a small, evil smile and an unblinking stare, I imagine it could be pretty terrifying.

Bottom line? Possibilities for my new catchphrase: endless!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

My Two Cents

50 Cent (he lets me call him Fitty) and I were interviewed in the current issue of Elle. Turns out we have a lot in common.

Elle: Who was your first crush from pop culture?
Me: Luke Skywalker. He was cute and smart and scrappy. Much better than that cocky Han.
50: The mother from The Cosby Show - Phylicia Rashad - was gorgeous to me.
Me: And how about how sexed up she was? Always had one eyebrow cocked and saying something dirty to Cliff. She was all woman.

Elle: Who was your first love?
Me: His name was Drew. We were in kindergarten together. He was cute.
50: My grandmother. I think that for all male children, their first love is their female guardian.
Me: Oh. Well, if you're going to be serious about it... I guess my grandfather. You're so wise, Fitty. Can I call you Half Dollar?
Me: Two Quarters?

Elle: Tell me about your first sexual experience.
Me: It was actually with a girl named Natasha. I bet his was too!
50: I had sex for the first time when I was 12 years old with a grown-ass woman.
Elle: How grown-ass was she?
Me: My follow-up question exactly, Elle.
50: Like, grown-up. Like 22. She wasn't really attractive.
Me: You know that's her claim to fame! Not cool, Five Dimes.
Elle: Still, how did you manage that at 12?
50: Oh man. She managed that. I was a big 12-year-old, though, 160 pounds. I had no idea what I was doing, but I was ready.
Me: Ew.

Elle: How many women have you said "I love you" to?
Me: A bunch.
50: I've said it three times.
Me: You're a rock. You are an island.

Elle: How do you handle a situation where a woman tells you she loves you, and you don't share the sentiment?
Me: "Oh, um... thank you! You're nice."
50: I'll be like, "Stop playing," or "You buggin'."
Me: I think I need to change my answer, big time.

Elle: If you had to spend the rest of your life as a woman, who would you be?
Me: If I had to?
50: Oprah Winfrey. She started out with black women's views but has been catering to middle-aged white American women for so long that she's become one herself.
Me: Yeah. [whistles, looks around uncomfortably]

Elle: Tell me about the worst date you've ever had.
Me: I've had dates with guys I'd rather not have spent a few hours with, but I haven't really had any horrible dates, funny enough. But saying that guarantees me a few, right?
50: I didn't have a lot of money at the time, so I called a cab and gave the guy money to take us to a movie and be back in two hours - so I'd be able to to drop her off at home. He didn't show up until an hour after the movie got out. We were just standing outside the theater.
Me: Way to make the best of it, Romeo. Why didn't you take her to the candy shop and let her lick the lollipop? Also, you write disgusting songs.

Elle: Do you have any feminine traits?
Me: Several.
50: No, not very many.

Elle: So you're not a shoe hound?
Me: No.
50: I didn't know that was a feminine trait. I have a lot - a LOT - about 300 pairs. But women are different. They'll wear the shoes twice a year, and they spend more. Women's shoes never actually go out of style. If they're cute shoes, they're cute shoes.
Me: Holy crap. 300? You ARE a woman.

Elle: Your company released a porn video called Groupie Love. If you're performing, somebody's got to corral them. Do you have your own HR person for groupies?
Me: Yes, yes I do.
50: Nah, it's usually just someone in the entourage.

Elle: Is there one particular trait to look for?
Me: Baseball players.
50: Big bottoms.

Elle: The lyrics to the song "Groupie Love" would suggest that you've had sex with the same woman twice but not realized you'd been with her before. Did this really happen?
Me: No, I always remember the honeys I've bagged.
50: No. Unless it happened under circumstances I wouldn't remember because some type of freak situation went on.
Me: I need more information.

Elle: How are you with names?
Me: Good. I make an effort.
50: I'm good. If you're meeting with people who are giving you millions of dollars, it's good to remember their names.
Me: You stud.

Elle: How many groupies can you handle at one time?
Me: More than you can even imagine.
50: You want groupies? I can handle the same amount that you can. How many can you handle?
Elle: I'm good for two and a half, maybe three at once.
50: Two and a half, three? You THINK you can handle it.
Me: Do you guys want to be alone?

Monday, January 15, 2007

A Few of My Favorite Things

In case you're interested, here's a place where I plan to talk about crap that I like. The dating blog was fun but was starting to feel a little Carrie Bradshaw-esque, which is the exact opposite of what I intended ("And I couldn't help but wonder..."). So this is my new side project. And by "project" I mean "another website I'll update sporadically."

Anyway, like I said, it's all stuff that I'm into (that's not vague at all, right?), which means a lot of product discussion will inevitably ensue, but there'll be other stuff too. Check it out, if you're so inclined. There's a new link for it over in the sidebar, too.

Also, Greg, thanks for including me in your sacred realm of recommendations!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

If You Don't Have a Plan, You're Planning to Fail. Or Something.

Me: I accidentally dialed 911 from my office today.
Kate: Oh no! Was it the 911 button or you dialed it?
Me: No button! A purposeful dial.
Kate: What happened?
Me: I'm thinking that, 1) I dialed 9 to call out, hit the 1, thought I didn't and then hit it again, and then the call I was trying to make didn't go through because of the extra 1 and I hung up, or 2) it was a thinly-veiled cry for help. In any case, this is how my place of employment deals with it. Over the loudspeaker: "Would Red McRederson please call the main office?" Hello, maybe I'm bleeding.
Kate: Oh my God, what if you were there collapsed in a heap and you COULDN'T CALL THE MAIN OFFICE on account of the no-breathing?
Me: I called the receptionist and she said, "Red, are you okay?" and I said, "Yes, why?" and she said, "Because you called 911," and I said, "No way! Well, everything's fine." Meanwhile that's what I HAVE to say because the kidnapper has an AK-47 to my throat. Wait, is an AK-47 a gun or a plane?
Kate: A 747 is a plane.
Me: One time I saw this Lifetime movie where they set it up early that the mom was lactose intolerant, right? They had her son offer her some of his milk and she said, "Honey, you know mommy can't drink milk." So you know this is coming into play later. So then her ex-boyfriend is stalking her, and in the final scene he's got her in the kitchen with a gun to her head and her husband calls downstairs to see if she's okay. She says, "I'm fine, just getting a glass of milk." Stalker thinks everything is fine, but a few minutes later, BAM! Knocked down by the husband, because he KNOWS BETTER!
Kate: Niiiiiiice. Can you imagine what it's like to live with a person so paranoid that they actually figure out that code?
Me: My plan is that if I'm ever in that situation, I will reply that I'm getting a bowl of potatoes covered in cheese and a cup of coffee. And a banana.
Kate: And I'll come a-runnin' with a frying pan to do some whackin'.
Me: But you know whoever I say it to will be like, "That's a weird craving," and go back to sleep.
Kate: I'll be like, ''Oh my God, Red got knocked up."
Me: With my luck I'd be like, "That's okay, I'm just getting a glass of [accidentally insert ex-boyfriend's name here]" and then everyone in my house is shot to death. My movie title would be An Unfortunately Timed Freudian Slip: The Red McRederson Story.
Kate: Lifetime movies are the best.
Me: What will your code be so I know if I should take out your kidnapper? "I'm just looking for my Red Sox hat"?
Kate: "Can't talk! Eating a big juicy steak!"
Me: I'm glad we have a plan.
Kate: It's good to think ahead.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Ode to 06

1. What did you do in 2006 that you'd never done before?
This is like being on a date and having the guy ask you something like, "So, what do you do for fun?" Fun? What is this fun of which you speak? But actually, fun ran rampant in 2006. I went to Yankee Stadium, started writing a novel, country line danced, finally tried scotch, joined a gym so expensive that membership should include someone to go for you, experienced the heartbreak of Johnny Damon in pinstripes, was given a Wonka cherry-yum-diddly-fun dip by one of my students, discovered the delightful West Newton trifecta of debauchery (The Cherry Tree, Crowley's and Paddy's), found out that my TV has free karaoke, bought a car, drove it to Niagara Falls, was told the Dirtiest Story I've Ever Heard in My Entire Life at my godmother's retirement party, got yelled at via Friendster by a high school acquaintance, learned that Nick Lachey is emerging from the shadows of his past, saw the wonder that is House of Carters and MTV's Fat Camp, drank $150 wine courtesy of Crazy Neighbor, played psychological games with my other neighbor, spent many a summer night at Fenway pondering what my coming-up-to-bat song would be (maybe Code Red by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince?), screamed bloody murder when Ronald McDonald walked into my office at work and asked to borrow a pen, uncovered the wonder of Chipotle, threw a couple parties, and found out that Janet Jackson is really singing "oh you nasty boys," not "ode to nasty boys."

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions?
Yes! Also, I don't think I made any.

3. What countries did you visit?
Just Canada. Whee! On this trip I learned many things, such as the fact that Northern Canada is so underpopulated that it's basically lawless. In other words, start loading the car because I want to meet some cannibals. (Because underpopulation means no access to food other than human flesh, right?)

4. What would you like to have in 2007 that you lacked in 2006?

5. What dates from 2006 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
April 25, my dad's knee surgery. July 21, Olivia's birthday.

6. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I made some great new friends. I also let go of a few people that had been weighing me down (I know, how Dr. Phil of me, but it's easier to float along without dead weight).

7. What was your biggest failure?
Putting energy into people who didn't deserve it. But at the end of the day, it's all a learning experience. Chalk it up and move on.

8. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I had the flu. It was during the Superbowl. I was not able to eat any chips and/or dip.

9. What was the best thing you bought?
My car.

10. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Yours, baby.

11. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Carrie Bradshaw in every rerun of Sex and the City.

12. Where did most of your money go?
Condo fee, bills, Sephora.

13. What song will always remind you of 2006?
SexyBack... YEAH!

14. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) Happier or sadder? Happier
b) Thinner or fatter? About the same
c) Richer or poorer? Richer

15. What do you wish you'd done more of?

16. What do you wish you'd done less of?
I could be responsible and say going out, but it's always a good time.

17. How did you spend Christmas?
With my mom, dad, the Dories, and Kate. It was perfect, except for Humor-Free Bonnie, of course.

18. Did you fall in love in 2006?
No. But loving myself is the greatest love of all.

19. How many one-night stands?
A couple.

20. What was your favorite TV program?
The Office.

21. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Nah. This cowgirl's a lover, not a fighter.

22. What was the best book you read?
Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain. Mark had been trying to get me to read it forever and I was surprised by how much I liked it.

23. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Jenny Lewis and Rilo Kiley.

24. What did you want and get?
A lovely brown leather jewelry box from Red Envelope and lots of make-up.

25. What did you want and not get?
A vacation.

26. What was your favorite film of this year?
Spanglish. I'm not sure if it came out in 06, but I saw it in 06.

27. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I went to the Cheesecake Factory with the Jens (Party and Elusive) and turned 29.

28. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
An obscenely lucrative book deal. Actually finishing a book would be a good place to start. Nice to know I'm in it for the art, huh?

29. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2005?
Um... casual?

30. What kept you sane?
My family and friends, as always.

31. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Jason Varitek, as always.

32. What political issue stirred you the most?
The war.

33. Who did you miss?
I'll admit it: When all is said and done, I miss Bonnie. (Her response would be, "What's that supposed to mean? Is that funny?")

34. Who is the best new person you met?
Kate, Mardi, Sarah, Keith, Darren and Miss Peach. And Olivia. I really scored this year in terms of newbies.

35. Tell us some valuable life lessons you learned in 2006.
Surround yourself with people who feel like home and are a positive force in your life.
Be pickier than you think you need to be when it comes to dates, friends, and sushi restaurants.
If someone/something repeatedly seems like too much trouble, it probably is.
And Baz, who knew you'd come through: "Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself, either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's."

36. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
"Grey Goose got your girl feeling loose
Now I'm wishing that I didn't wear these shoes
It's like everytime I get up on the dude
Paparazzi put my business in the news."

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Now Batting

Friday night I had a date, and we were going to go to Margaritas but the wait was ridiculous, so we walked across the street to the Skellig instead. It's your run of the mill Boston-area Irish pub, complete with drunk fools having a going away party and sitting right next to us. Whenever one of them would crash into our table, making our beers wobble precariously, the rest of them would yell, "Leave those poor people alone! They're just trying to eat their dinner! You're scaring them!" and either screech with laughter or slur apologies. Come on, people, I was on a first freakin' date. If that beer had ended up in my lap, I would've killed first and asked questions later.

Then at one point our waitress came over and said, "The drunk people are picking up your tab. So what do you say, another round?" We thanked them (it WAS a classy move from people I had dismissed as decidedly unclassy) and escaped to the bar to finish our beers.

The guy was nice enough. He was eight years older than me, which wouldn't necessarily be a big deal, but I just wasn't really into him. Some of my family from Jersey (aunt, uncle, and two cousins) were coming into town that night and would be staying at my apartment for the weekend, so I used that as my excuse to end the evening a little early, even though Favorite Cousin reported that they were still a few hours away at that point.

Date and I walked to the parking lot and I did the preemptive don't-kiss-me one-armed hug, waited until he drove away, and then got out of my car and went back to Margaritas, where some friends of mine were at the bar drinking Coronas and waiting for a table. (Jeez, sometimes life is like 90210. "Oh gawd, you guys, I'm across the street on the most boring date. I'll ditch him and meet you at the Peach Pit!") They ended up coming back to my apartment for more beers, which I was trying to pawn off because I'm still overstocked. (At my Halloween party I ran out of alcohol somewhere around midnight, so for New Year's Eve I overbought and encouraged friends to overbring. Luckily, Favorite Cousin is a senior in college and a frat boy, so he was happy to take the surplus off my hands.)

Anyway, once we were back at my place I went up to the guest room to make sure it was pulled together for my aunt and uncle. And there, on the window, was a bat. A small one, not a big Dracula nightmare, but still. I must have screamed, although I don't remember screaming, because suddenly Keith ran up the stairs to find out who was murdering me. I hid behind him saying helpful things like, "Okay, open the door. NO, BE CAREFUL! Okay, try it. But slowly. IT'S RIGHT THERE! DO YOU SEE IT? IT'SRIGHTTHERE!" He suggested I get a bucket and while I was wandering around downstairs lamenting my lack of a bucket, Favorite Cousin called.

Me: There's a bat in my guest room!
FC: Oh, awesome! It'll be like Tommy Boy.

I never even saw that movie, but my thought is that if you have a bat in your home, it's best to have someone coming into your home who thinks it's no big deal and is happy to take care of it. Which is what they did. My aunt saw the thing twitching on the floor and pronounced it "so cute!" They caught him in an empty box, put him on my patio, and basically created a delightful bat condo for him. Cousin/Godson, whom you might remember from epic advetures such as this, went outside the next day and took pictures of it with his phone. I suggested, oh I don't know, KILLING THE SON OF A BITCH and was immediately shot down. So now, in the sitcom that is my life, I have a kooky bat for a next door neighbor. The bat is my Kramer.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Stare Down

My latest pet peeve is people with staring problems. I wonder if Seinfeld ever did a show about them... I remember the close talkers, the low talkers, but never the starers.

In my experience, a person with a staring problem is almost always a random person who is on the fringes of your life for some tangential reason, like you work with them but not everyday. They say something to you, you have a conversation, then you wrap it up with something like, "Okay, sounds good. So we'll touch base on Thursday." (Incidentally, does anyone ever "touch base" anyplace other than work? I'm glad we don't use euphemisms like this in our regular lives. I'd never know where I was going or what I was doing if my friends started suggesting I keep something on my radar screen or take this offline. I feel like every time we throw around one of these phrases at work we're really saying, "Fuck, I don't know right now. I'm tired.")

So anyway, you and This Person You Don't Even Really Know That Well decide to touch base on Thursday in order to leverage your marketplace potential and exponentially increase your ROI (or, in the case of my job, figure out what the hell is wrong with a particular kid and whether or not Hector Flores is involved). And it's always during an innocuous moment like this that it turns out that This Person You Don't Even Really Know That Well turns out to have a staring probem. You smile, are about to look away and resume your life, and they just stand there looking at you. It doesn't go on for very long, but it's like every second that ticks by is infused with the awkwardness of a thousand blind dates. Witness the end of an exchange today between myself and a colleague whose bases I only touch occasionally:

Her: Just let me know when you have a chance to evaluate Little Timmy and I'll see if there's any data I can give you to support yada yada.
Me: Okay, great. I think I'll do it this week, so I'll catch up with you and we can talk.
Her: Great.

And this is the time for the smile, the ubiquitous "okay, thanks!", and that's just about all that I have for you today, my friend. But the starer isn't done with you yet. Oh, no. Not even close.

Her: [stares, smiling]

Three seconds pass. Maybe the longest three seconds of my life.

And she's not even the only one! Work Friend was out recently and had a substitute in for her. And what do you know, that substitute also had the affliction.

Me: You can't go to conferences anymore. Or get sick. Or take a personal day.
WF: Why, what happened?
Me: Your substitute had a staring problem.
WF: Really? You mean like That Other Teacher?
Me: Yes! I'd look back at her and she'd still be staring!
WF: Wow. It's like they're following you.

There are only a few things you can do in this situation, and none of them feel particularly great.

1) You stare back, also smiling, until they look away. This is like playing with fire, though. You two sad, grinning fools could be there all day.
2) You look away and pretend you don't notice them still staring and smiling. But of course, how can you not notice someone staring and smiling at you? If we were at a bar I'd be expecting you to have bought me a drink by now.
3) You call them on it. "Was there anything else?" But this would somehow come out bitchier than intended, and it would only confuse the starer, because they don't realize they have a staring problem.
4) You employ the magic of redundancy, which is usually my strategy. Repeat some variation of your last line to them, like you weren't done talking: "Okay, great. Wonderful." Seriously, I sometimes whip out adjectives I haven't used in years when I'm in a situation like this. "Terrif!"
5) You immediately launch into an impromptu game of who blinks first. If they blink first, ha ha, los-er. If you do, whatever, something was probably just in your eye.

Lend me your wisdom, peoples. Is appropriate social timing too much to ask of your colleagues?

Monday, January 01, 2007


Last year I had a craptastic New Year's Eve. I didn't want to go out, but I did, and I ended up sitting in a club for hours waiting for a friend to finish making out with someone because we were sharing a cab home. That night I decided three things: 1) I'm getting too old for this, 2) I'm no longer going out on New Year's Eve, and 3) I'll always arrange my own transportation.

God, aren't clubs the worst? They're filled with the most generic people, all of whom are either screaming the lyrics to Baby Got Back or sobbing in the bathroom. I swear, when you're waiting for a stall you hear "I thought he liked me!" more than "Do you know what time it is?" I think I went to one club last year and this year I'm aiming for zero.

So these are my words of wisdom from this New Year's Eve: 1) Stay in, but invite your friends over. Just good friends, so you don't have to maintain a party. I could've worn my pjs and none of them would have cared. In fact, I think they're surprised when I don't, 2) Be careful if you're using Grey Goose to make your New Signature Cocktail, because that stuff goes down ridiculously easy which means no one can taste the alcohol and you'll end up accidentally obliterating a couple of your friends, and 3) If you're making a New Signature Cocktail that No One Can Taste the Alcohol In, make a pitcher ahead of time. Because if you're an inefficient bartender like I am, it takes you ten minutes to make each drink, and by the time you're finished with the last one, the first person is ready for another and it's an endless cycle of mindfuckery.

Earlier today I was talking to a guy I hope to start sleeping with dating very casually and he was saying that it sounds like my night was more fun than his. But it wasn't fun because of jello shots or random hookups, it was fun because of my awesome friends. Thanks, guys. It was a great way to end/start the year.

Oh, weekend update, I forgot: Friday night I babysat for Dorie's kiddos, Saturday night I was a wingwoman (I took one for the team so Mardi could live the dream, but it was no biggie; the guy's friend was perfectly nice and my girl has wingwomaned for me before), and Sunday was the aforementioned good time. And by the way, start checking out my dating blog again. I have a few new stories.

Happy new year, kids! Here's hoping it's your best one yet.