The Three-Hour Mole

17 Sep

clock

Complete the following sentence: “I recently spent three hours at the dermatologist’s office because…”

… I drunkenly passed out and they didn’t realize for three hours.

… the elevator malfunctioned and we were all stuck in suite 600 for three hours, until a team of firemen could finally – and dramatically – set us free.

… I met my future husband (one of the firemen) and we couldn’t stop staring into each other’s eyes and swapping previously secret childhood stories.

These are the ONLY three scenarios which, in my opinion, would lead to me spending three hours with my dermatologist. Which do you think is correct??

The answer? None of them. NONE of them happened.

I recently spent three hours at the dermatologist’s office because I was getting a tiny mole removed. A. Tiny. Mole.

“It will take ten to 15 minutes,” they said.

“Nothing you haven’t done before,” they said.

“Come at 2pm,” they said.

I’d like to preface this story with a story about my first visit to this particular doctor.

Because I’m a walking freckle with anxiety about my freckles, I decided I needed to find me a good ‘ol dermatologist out here in LA – a place where walking from the parking lot to the grocery store leaves my arms red as a diaper rash. I went on line and did “research,” until I found one who seemed… fine. (My taste in doctors is equally critical to my taste in men.) I booked an appointment for a (summer) Friday, and felt really accomplished and good about myself because I may drink like a fish and eat cake(s) for dinner, but my skin is fucking SAFE.

The day before my appointment, I received a text from an unknown mobile device. Maybe it’s someone who’s going to profess his love to me? I thought. Had I recently met any new romantic prospects? No. But I strongly believe in the Hollywood-promoted notion that random men from your past or present could text you at any moment and totally change your life, so I am always on high alert for that life-changing text.

The text was from my new dermatologist’s secretary. Let’s call her Tiffany. Tiffany was texting to “confirm” my appointment. I was taken aback. On the one hand, this was a very modern touch. On the other, it felt slightly invasive. Were we friends? Was I to refer to her as “gal pal”? Would drinks be the next step?

I responded with a phone call because I’m an old biddy who likes to make sure my new “doctors” aren’t just men in basements. Call me archaic.

Tiffany didn’t answer. I didn’t bother to leave a message, figuring I’d try to call again later, when oh? What was this? A text message.

“Hi, Sophie. Did you call?”

She couldn’t answer my phone call, but she could text me. I felt like I was communicating with a teenage babysitter:

“Ya, totally, I take care of my little brother all the time and I love 2 play w/ kids, c u soon Mrs. Spiers! ”

Strike one.

Tiffany told me free parking could be found in the “Office Depot parking lot, behind the building.” I thought it weird that a respectable doctor’s office would recommend parking illegally at an Office Depot. But nevertheless, I persisted.

I walked into this doctor’s office and was immediately struck by the paintings of naked women with giant breasts. What did these have to do with skin health? Why were they so naked? Why were their breasts so large? I had plenty of time to ponder because the doctor was 30 minutes behind.

Strike two.

Once inside the exam room, I finally saw the tall pile of silicone implants, and was able to put two-and-two together: this particular doctor was also a plastic surgeon.

Two strikes. One strike too few to not return and fight skin cancer.

Flash forward three weeks and I’m coming back to have a tiny mole removed that he told me “looked abnormal, but was probably nothing.” Better to be safe than sorry, he said, seeing how he knew a guy who “thought something was nothing and then died of a melanoma that was in his ass crack, and it wasn’t like he was ever in the sun because he was an accountant.” Okay. Sure.

I hurried to get to my appointment on time and opted to park at a meter because the Office Depot felt far away and besides, this shouldn’t take longer than an hour, anyway.

Once inside, I waited. And I waited. I stared at the large breasted women on the walls, who stared back at me like I was one of them. I felt superior because mine are real. Then I realized I was in a competition with paintings of naked women and decided I’d be better off distracting myself with Instagram.

I was on Instagram for an hour. My vision was going blurry. My throat was dry. I couldn’t remember my own name. (Luckily, my last name is in my Instagram handle, so that at least solved part of the puzzle.)

I sheepishly exited the patient room and approached young, bright Tiffany.

“Um, do you know where in the pecking order I am? Because I’ve been waiting for almost two hours, now.”

She looked at me like I was the first person she’d ever met who wasn’t okay waiting two hours for a doctor.

“Let me check,” she said.

She looked down – probably at nothing more than her empty lunch plate – and then said I was next. The doctor was just doing “something” and then I’d be next. (Screwing a nurse? Making a pot-roast? Planning world domination? We’ll never know.)

I scurried down to my car to add money to my meter. One hour more – that should be enough.

Back to the patient room. Thirty more minutes went by. My phone had dwindled to a mere 25%. I was sweating.

Finally, the doctor came in.

“Okay,” he said. “What are you here for, again?”

At that moment, my brain pictured a sledgehammer coming down on every single one of his precious silicon titties and just spewing juices all over the goddam office.

I told him why I was there. He said he was going to get “paperwork.”

Another 30 minutes went by. I was texting so furiously to my mother that I actually think I dislocated a thumb. She said I should “demand to be seen.” I said that LA is a city so full of people “demanding to be seen,” that the threat literally means nothing.

Nevertheless, I wandered out into the hallway for a second time. I lied and told Tiffany I needed to go and that if the doctor couldn’t see me, I’d need to leave. To me, I sounded firm and annoyed. In reality, I’m sure I sounded like a yoga teacher, calmly making *suggestions* for poses.

Finally, the doctor re-emerged. He sat down, and just when I thought we were getting down to business… he started texting. On his fucking phone.

In my mind, I took my giant sledgehammer and smashed his phone, and then proceeded to smash the damn TV that kept playing videos of nose job success stories.

Then, the doctor told me it was time. What followed was perhaps the most extra medical procedure to ever occur.

In the past, doctors have simply sat me down, shot me up with Novocain, and then removed my tiny ass moles right there in the exam room. But oh no. This doctor needed to take me to a special room, full of wires and tubing and monitors, lay me on a special table, dress himself in head-to-toe scrubs, put on those x-ray glasses, and then take my blood pressure. For a moment, I worried I’d accidentally booked a colonoscopy. (When I realized nothing was going up my butt, I felt a slight sense of relief.)

As he did the procedure, he kept saying, “Mhm. Mhm. Right,” like my tiny-ass mole was telling him some long-ass story about the time it went to Vegas and got a little too drunk and then yelled at everyone and ruined the trip, but didn’t see why it was its fault because everyone was drinking and besides, it was Vegas…

When he was all done, he said everything had gone “well,” which I already fucking knew, seeing how I’d been completely awake for the procedure and had heard him commentate the entire process like a scientific Jerry Remy.

Tiffany booked me a follow-up appointment for two weeks later. I smiled and waved, and then went home to eat a salad alone, in the dark. (It was the lunch I hadn’t had time to eat because I was rushing to my appointment.)

This week, Tiffany texted to confirm my follow-up appointment.

“Hi Elvira,” she said. “Confirming your 1pm appointment for tomorrow.”

It was at that moment I knew I’d rather gamble the results of my mole removal than return to that office.

I hope Elvira made it to her appointment.

 

Advertisements

Niceties

18 Jun

cartoon-2767202_960_720

Today, I called to cancel an appointment with a plumber. Except, instead of saying I needed to “cancel,” I said the following:

“Hi there, I need to postpone this appointment.”

“Sure. May I ask why?”

“I’m going away and won’t be needing this service.”

“So you want to cancel? Or postpone? Those are two different things.”

First of all: rude. Maybe English is my second language? Maybe my three kids won’t stop screaming in the back of the car, so I jumbled my words? Maybe I just ran over a dog and am flustered? Maybe I don’t fucking care?

Except here’s the thing: I do care. I did care. I was trying to be nice. I felt guilty for canceling on this particular plumber and hiring a different one, and didn’t have the heart to tell this man I simply didn’t want him.

But, in trying to be nice and use gentle words like “postpone,” and “rethink,” and “reassess,” I complicated his life. And my life. I wasted his time. I confused him.

This got me thinking: how often do I rely on niceties, when I could – and should – just blurt out the honest truth? It turns out, all the fucking time!

Because I’m a Millennial who’s constantly looking for ways to embrace change and self-improvement, I’ve created a list of such instances.

  1. “Would it be possible…”

“Would.” Conditional tense. Reserved for instances when I feel like I’m overstepping, and so try to lessen the blunt force trauma that I – apparently – assume is inflicted on everyone, anytime I ask for anything.

Niceties and their translations:

  • “Would it be possible to schedule this appointment for tomorrow?”
  • “I’m only free at 2pm tomorrow. Book me for then or I’ll scream.”

 

  • “Would you be willing to scoot down?”
  • “As nice as your ass feels pressed against my ass, and as much as I love when your sweat mixes with my sweat, I need you to move your ass far, far away. To another galaxy, if possible.”

 

  • “Would you mind resending that email?”
  • “Resend that email NOW because you didn’t send the attachment, but instead a slew of letters and numbers that mean absolutely nothing to me.”

 

  • “Would you happen to know anyone who could help me out?”
  • “I don’t feel like driving myself to and from my colonoscopy while under anesthesia. Call your friends. Post to FB. I don’t care, just FIND ME SOMEONE WHO CAN HELP.”
  1. “Thanks so much.”

An expression of gratitude. Used when you feel you’ve been dangerously blunt (for a woman, anyway,) and need to swiftly right your wrongs at the end of an email/text/message.

Niceties and their translations:

  • “May I take my lunch break? Again, thanks so much for my salary.”
  • “I recently started eating avocado toast, and that shit leaves you hungry by 1pm, so I need to eat a salad, or I’ll scream.”

 

  • “Please tell him he can call me on Wednesday at noon. Thanks so much for setting this up.”
  • “This is your job, Karen. I owe you nothing and you owe me everything. Make sure he calls me.”

 

  • “Please keep your dog off my lawn. Thanks so much for hosting that neighborhood potluck, by the way.”
  • “Don’t let your dog shit on my lawn. And P.S., your deviled eggs tasted like bowling balls full of seagull poop.”

 

  • “Please remove me from your call list. Thanks so much.”
  • “I don’t want to update my Google listing so go sit on a tack.”
  1. “Sorry”

Used either a.) When you can’t hear, but don’t want to place blame on the other involved party, or b.) When you’re not sure what to do, so you just start apologizing because everything is probably your fault, anyway.

Niceties and their translations:

  • “Sorry, I’m stuck in a wind tunnel.” *Is sitting in her living room*. “Could you speak up?”
  • “I don’t speak goddamn mouse. Use your vocal chords or I’m hanging up.”

 

  • “I won’t be able to make it tonight. Sorry, let’s plan for next week!”
  • “I bought this giant cookie the other day and I really just want to finish it while bingeing The Crown. Let’s reset for some time in the future when you’re different and I’m different and we genuinely enjoy each other’s company.”

 

  • “I’m sorry, I seem to have forgotten your name. It’s been a crazy few weeks for me!”
  • “Drugs, am I right? Susan. I’m just going to call you Susan.”

 

  • “Truly sorry for this mix-up. Please let me know if you need any other information.”
  • “This wasn’t my fault. Honestly, I’m not sure you’re qualified to do your job. Maybe you should quit?”

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Well, maybe not equal, but certainly opposite. Why, then, do I so often go with the nicety, when I have a translation all suited up and ready? What would be the harm in me speaking my truth? I get yelled at all the time by strangers, and am I sitting over here sobbing? (Yes.)

Some people go through life saying just enough to get what they want and need. Like my grandfather. When he orders at a restaurant, it goes like this:

“Salad. Caesar. IPA. On draft.”

His tone is flat and to-the-point. He doesn’t beg for his food and drink, or ask if it would be acceptable to get extra anchovies on his salad. He just says what he wants. Sure, some waiters look at him like he just slapped them across the face. But really, what’s so wrong with curt, fragmented ordering, spoken with a thickly intimidating New York accent? Do we really need to fluff it up?

My grandmother has a similar approach. Growing up, she taught me to order without asking.

“You don’t need to ask for your food. It’s babyish. You’re at a restaurant and the purpose of a restaurant is to bring you food. Just say what you want. Oh, and don’t just ‘stick with water.’ You’re having a meal. Get a drink.”

She credits her approach to being from Brooklyn, where a good waiter gets in, gets out, and doesn’t ask you where you got your blouse or how you’re enjoying your time in “the Big Apple.” I credit her approach to losing hundreds of dollars to iced tea and Diet Coke expenses.

When it comes down to it, I want to be a Brooklyn waiter. I want to say what I mean, and if people have follow-up questions/concerns, they can ask me. Maybe I’ll answer. Maybe I won’t.

Because why “postpone” when you can CANCEL?

 

 

 

Lock and (No) Key

1 Jun

15568-illustration-of-a-cartoon-padlock-pv

The following three sentences apply to my weekend:

  1. I was locked out of my home this weekend.
  2. I locked myself out of my home this weekend.
  3. This weekend, while wearing furry slippers and indecent clothing, I spastically neglected to leave the front door open, and exited my apartment sans keys or phone.

The above phrases are all true, but one of them is slightly truer than the others. This is a prime example of *tailored messaging*, which is something I learned from a four-year career as a marketing intern. I can’t sew for shit, but tailoring? Tailoring I can do.

In order to lock oneself out of one’s house, several criteria have to fall into – or out of – place.

First, one needs to have doors that lock automatically. Under normal circumstances, these doors would be a fabulous security benefit of paying one’s entire salary in rent costs. But these were not normal circumstances.

Second, one must be excellent at ignoring one’s inner voice. You know, that voice that says, “Maybe don’t go talk to that man dressed as a clown,” or, “You should probably bring your keys outside with you, you know, just in case.” Ignoring this voice takes years of practice and the consistent inability to learn from mistakes.

Third, one must be blessed with a relentless disconnect between one’s brain and one’s body. If you’re the type of person who tries to throw a baseball to the left but always ends up throwing it to the right, then you’re a prime lockout candidate.

Here’s what happened.

The day was Friday. The hour was 2pm. The weekend was Memorial Day.

I was running around, getting ready for the arrival of my sister. I’d bleached my entire apartment from top-to-bottom, which is probably why my brain was fuzzy and demanded I eat hummus in my skivvies immediately.

The hummus I’d just purchased, however, was still in my car. And my car was outside. So I grabbed my car keys, opened my front door, and then – like Tom Brady at the end of the last Super Bowl – neglected to release my doorknob. I pulled the door shut and it locked. I frantically ran to the back door, which was also locked. I reached for my mobile, but my mobile did not reach back. It was still inside, along with my dignity.

I was locked out.

I walked out onto the sidewalk and wondered if now was the time to renounce everything and start walking cross country, à la Forrest Gump. I looked down at my Ugg slippers and decided walking to the Patrol Office would suffice.

The man at the front desk listened to my sob story and said I couldn’t possibly be from Boston because a Boston girl would know how to open a door with a credit card. He was right. I’m from the Boston suburbs, where we only know how to use credit cards to pay locksmiths. I was ill-trained for adulthood.

The patrol officer said she’d send someone to open my door, but that it would take a while. I returned to my stoop and waited.

It’s a funny thing, being stripped down to your skivvies and unable to access the “web.” It really makes you notice your surroundings and think about things.

Like neighbors. Nobody values neighbors anymore. Had I befriended my neighbors, I may have felt comfortable leaving them with keys to my place. Unfortunately for me, I burned that bridge when I punched my wall and yelled, “STOP CLICK-CLACKING THOSE DAMN HEELS,” like a Larry David impersonator. Leaving keys was never an option for me.

Or what about birds? Did you know they’re still singing? Do people even listen to them anymore? Like Miley Cyrus, they’re sounding better with age, and I really think everyone should tune in.

And the flute. I’m not sure why I used to complain about it so much. It’s a fun little instrument. Sure, it gets clogged with spit, but don’t we all? Maybe I’ll start playing it again.

And hot dogs covered in cheese. I never do eat cheese hot dogs, anymore. I used to love them as a kid. When did I lose myself?

And the Olympics. Have those happened yet? Did we win?

And roses. Do people still give each other roses? I’ve never received a rose. Maybe I’m unlovable. Am I unlovable? How can I know?

And my mother. I’m going to start being nicer to my mother.

And that stain on my carpet. I’m finally going to clean that stain on my carpet.

And Vodka gummy bears. Why don’t they sell these in bars?

And Playdoh. Why does it smell like that?

And tiny dogs? With everyone buying tiny dogs, what happens to all the big ones?

And pie. I could really use some pie.

The patrol officer pulled up to the curb and turned down his music. He got out of the car and laughed. At me? With me? Who’s to know?

“You caught me coming from lunch,” he said. “This one’s on me.”

I had no idea paying for entry was even on the table. Don’t I pay enough for those damn self-locking doors?

I thanked the kind sir and ran to my phone. I opened Buzzfeed and typed, “Am I Unlovable?” into the quiz section search bar.

Ahh. Normalcy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spin, Span, Spun

20 Apr

cart-wheel-294360_960_720

I’ve started spinning.

Not discs, but thank you for thinking I’m that cool.

I’ve started attending spin classes.

I want the record to show that I did spin way before Soul Cycle, or Flywheel, or Soaring Spirit Spoke (I made that one up) were a thing – back when all you needed were a pair of sneakers and the willingness to subject your ass to hard, little seats. I spun with the best of them. (That was also the summer I discovered almond butter. It was a fast-paced and exciting time in my life.)

And now, six years later, I am again spinning. But this time, there are eucalyptus towels and free bananas.

Walking into my first LA spin class was like walking into a Scientology meeting, or into The Bachelor house as a contestant. I knew I was about to make myself vulnerable to a cult; I was nervous, but also hoping the experience would change my life; and I was craving wine. (I guess that’s uniquely applicable to The Bachelor analogy, but regardless, it’s a truth I feel like sharing.)

First of all, the class was at 7:45pm. Nighttime. I have a very strict, “No workouts after 6pm” policy (which I began after I once worked out at 7pm and hated it), so I was already skeptical.

Secondly, it turns out that spinning is incredibly rule-bound. There are a lot of rules. And breaking them does not bode well for newcomers.

Allow me to explain.

First rule: Don’t park in the designated lot until the designated time.

I am never early to anything, so the fact that I managed to arrive 25 minutes early to exercise was mind-blowing. The valet did not agree.

“You’re early. Too early for parking.”

“What time do I need to get here?”

“7:25.”

*Sophie looks at watch. It’s 7:17.

“I’ll let it go this time. This time.”

*Sophie and valet stare each other down. Their upper lips twitch from the energy of their power struggle.

Give me a fucking break. What’s going to happen to this lot if I park in it seven minutes early? Will it turn into a pumpkin? Will I turn into a pumpkin? Will we all just be orange and without limbs? Try moving this car, I dare you.

Second rule: Pay for your shit.

After being scolded for my early arrival, I accidentally left my wallet in the car. It turns out that paying for a class isn’t enough to actually allow you to do the class. You also need to pay $2 to rent shoes. Okay, fine, I’m willing. Here’s…nope. Here’s nothing but my charm and the shirt on my back because I left my wallet in the car. (A likely excuse for a vagabond who signed up via ClassPass and not a legit membership.)

They let me go. This time.

Third rule: Know your number.

Upon arrival, the front desk assigned me a bike number, which I promptly forgot. Fifty-one? Thirty-one? Oh well, it’s all the same between sweaty, fitness-conscious friends!

I put on my *cycle shoes* and hobbled my way over to bike 51. Fifty-one? Thirty-one? Who’s to know!

I got busy adjusting the height of my bike, which had clearly been expecting a Redwood tree as a passenger. I was on. Then off. Then on again. Then off again. I broke a sweat just adjusting the seat.

And then a lovely older couple came to join me in the very last row. They thought I was on the wrong bike. No way, friends! I am most certainly on bike 51. (Fifty-one? Thirty-one?) They were friendly and willing to move over. Definitely friendlier than the girl who proceeded to accuse them of being on the wrong bikes. She just kind of stared at them the way you stare at a puppy after shitting the carpet. You made a mistake this time, but I’m willing to forgive you because you’re new.

I couldn’t take it. I had to come clean.

“I think I’m on the wrong bike,” I told the woman at the front desk. She furrowed her brow.

“Let me see what I can do.”

She typed. She calculated. She called a lawyer. She called an accountant. She called Joe Biden. (Joe always knows what to do.) She called her mom.

Could we get this girl onto the right bike? And if so…how?

She looked up, sweaty but relieved. “Looks like you can keep bike 51.”

OH HAPPY DAY.

Was I meant to cry with joy? Put the kibosh on the beginnings of my will?

“Cool, thanks,” I said.

Fourth rule: Don’t quit. Or we’ll find you.

Fitness instructors are meant to be intense and motivational. I get it. And I appreciate it! It takes a certain kind of person to convince many people that you genuinely care for their health and well-being. It’s definitely not a job I could ever do…

“Just quit while you’re ahead, Beth. You look miserable.”

“Shouldn’t you be at home with your kids, Jason?”

“Oh, it’s past 6pm? Didn’t realize. Mind if I open this bottle while you squat, Rose? Actually, just join me, who cares.”

Our instructor was big. And tough. And loud. He wanted us all to push it. He yelled at those who slowed down. He reminded us all of our purpose.

Meanwhile, in row five, seat 51, I was sweating off my last layer of dignity and wondering how loudly I’d have to yell, “FIRE!” to be heard above the roar of the music. (Too loudly. It would’ve upset my nodes.)

He eyed one slacker. Let’s call her, Daisy. He made Daisy pedal, and told the rest of us we could stop. I felt thrown by this cruelty. How embarrassing! How abusive!

(It turns out that it was Daisy’s birthday and she’d taken eleven shots of vodka before class, so he was punishing her. Still punitive, but also kind of funny!)

Fifth rule: Every. Moment. Counts.

Our teacher kept telling us that every. Moment. Counts. You have to give every moment of your day the same amount of intensity. You have to never let up. You have to always be the best you can be.

I have several thoughts.

Every moment counts? That moment I spent today analyzing my two pointer fingers and wondering if one is fatter than the other? I sure hope that doesn’t count. Or those ten seconds I spent in the elevator at work, making bets (with myself) about how long I could stay in an elevator without food and water? Where does that fall on the spectrum?

Always be the best you can be? Sure, I’ll pick up the trash that’s rolling around the parking lot because hello, global warming. However, I reserve the right to give a phat ass stank eye to the valet in said parking lot because hello, it was only seven minutes. This is me, and that is my best offer.

When the class was over, I was drenched. My ass hurt. My face hurt. My fat pointer finger hurt. (Probably from carrying all that extra weight!) I had accidentally touched the sweaty arm of the girl next to me and was kind of grossed out. But I was also inspired.

I don’t really buy into the whole, giving your all at every moment of every day concept, but there’s nothing I love more than being part of a group. And as I looked around at all the drenched faces that were somehow – remarkably – able to keep their makeup intact, despite the journey we’d all endured, I felt like part of a group.

I grabbed a eucalyptus towel for the road.

It turns out, you’re not actually supposed to take the towels with you..but Lord knows I deserved it.

Second Time Around

10 Mar

2000px-Broken_heart.svg

I lost my phone.

I lost my phone, and my phone lost me. We were sick of each other, I guess. Too much time glued at the hip. Too many late nights, early mornings, and long stretches of time in between (and on the toilet).

Where did I go wrong? I’ve been racking my brain for days, trying to figure out what I could have done differently – how I could’ve been better.

Maybe my desperate Yelp searches for nearby, affordable restaurants were to blame?

She’s such a cheap bitch, my phone probably thought, every time I filtered my searches to “$” and ignored anything above “$$.”

Or maybe my indecisive ordering habits were too much to handle?

She wants things quickly, but isn’t willing to spend the extra money. She opens and closes Postmates at least 12 times per day, complaining that the “delivery fee” is too high. What, does she think the food just appears at her fucking door? Childish. 

It’s true. I do this. I just don’t understand why I should pay a $7 fee on a $6 DiGiorno pizza. If I’m going to spend $13 on DiGiorno, I might as well book a trip to Naples. (Italy, not Florida. Although I’d take either.)

Or, maybe my phone was annoyed by my Snapchatting tendencies?

She thinks people actually believe she looks like that. News flash, honey: it’s a ruse! That lighting isn’t accurate and your face is flipped. Also, nobody cares that you’re having “a day.” Unless you’re dead, everyone is having “a day.” You ain’t special.

Harsh.

I’m sure my phone was also fed up with my Instagram aesthetic…

“I’m at the beach and I have tits” is NOT an aesthetic. Try wearing all black and standing in front of street art, and then come talk to me.

And maybe my 6,591 unread emails played a role?

I’m starting to think she can’t even read…that would explain so much.

Then again, it could’ve been the fact that I sometimes take days to respond to texts…

She blames ADD, though she’s never actually been diagnosed. My theory? She can’t read. Moving on.

Or maybe my reliance on Waze was just too much to handle?

She can’t even find her own bedroom without using Waze. It’s unhealthy.

I’ve also wondered if my tempestuous relationship with Siri might be at fault…

She talks to that bitch like she’s Olivia Pope, barking orders at the Gladiators. You’re not a “Fixer,” girlfriend. You make messes, more than you fix them. Let’s quit this charade.  

It was also probably fed up with being…sticky.

You think I like being covered in the gum you left in your purse? Clean up your shit. You ain’t seven anymore.

Regardless of all the rest, I’m sure of one thing: my phone was sick of being dropped.

If she drops me one more time, I swear to God, I will grow legs, jump up on my own two feet, and ram myself into her face.

In fact, I’m sure that’s what clinched the deal. One moment, I was charging a car-full of people for an Uber, and the next, I was running around a gay club, frantically searching for my mobile device.

What happened in between? Where did you go? Why did you leave me?

I’ve searched far and wide. I called my Uber driver from that night and left more than a few messages. I complained to everyone I’ve ever met, hoping that doing so might trigger my memory.

My roommates thought I’d had it at the club. But then again, I hadn’t been responding to their texts. (See the above theory on why I don’t respond to texts.) So perhaps I’d dropped it while exiting the Uber? But wouldn’t I have noticed?

This leads me to my theory: my phone was tired of being dropped, and so it decided to stage a coup. I dropped it, and its past, present, and future flashed before its eyes. The time was then or never.

It grew legs and it left me. It abandoned me. It robbed me of my sanity and my dignity, as well as my ability to communicate during emergencies, or to ask my sister which of the Amy’s frozen dinners is most worth my while.

It should be mentioned that I also lost an expensive earring on this particular evening. I wouldn’t be surprised if the two of them are off clinking glasses in Cuba, sharing a fat cigar and laughing about their Great Escape. I am Alcatraz, and they are Clint Eastwood.

I felt resource-less and vulnerable without my phone. I couldn’t add iHop pancakes to my Snap story. I couldn’t tweet about Trump. I couldn’t Google things like, “Does cold brew coffee make you hallucinate,” on a moment’s notice.

I spent four hours in the Apple store, hundreds of dollars, and hoards of mental energy replacing my old phone.

And do you know what I realized? Despite my repeated declarations of being one of those rare people who “doesn’t need” a phone, the reverse is actually true: I do need my phone. My phone might not need me, but I need it.

I’ll try to be better to this new one – my bank account deserves at least that much. But I haven’t given up hope on what was lost.

To my old phone (and earring), I say: Cuban cigars won’t hold you late at night. Come back to me! I promise I’ll be better, the second time around.

 

 

Nesting

16 Feb

bird-nest-311931_960_720

I am nesting.

I am unemployed and nesting, which basically means I’ve become one of those women you see on TV shows – someone who obsesses over where to put spices in the cabinets and which shade of “off-white” would be best for a nightstand.

The other day, I bought a shower curtain that matches my bathroom tiles perfectly and felt more excited than I’ve felt in weeks. While the public school system led me to believe I lack an “artist’s eye,” my choice of shower curtain would have you thinking I’m the Monet of home décor. The sea green goes perfectly with the navy, which stands out against the grey splotches that accent the curtain, which really give the entire room a defining, “pop!”

Now I need bathroom shelves. Yes, shelves! Shelves will add to the aesthetic and also keep my products from falling into the sink, when I try to apply makeup while texting. Shelves will send the message that I’m practical, but not afraid to reach for what I want. Shelves will demonstrate that I no longer live my life like I’m constantly living in a youth hostel. Everything is riding on these shelves.

As I write this, a handy man named Santos is building my bed upstairs. I, too, was standing upstairs, until I realized I was standing over him and making sure he was placing the bed frames in exactly the spot I’d marked with a piece of toilet paper. I’m now sitting downstairs in a self-imposed “time out” because Santos is kind and doesn’t deserve a bird over his shoulder while he works.

I am nesting.

Before moving to this lovely apartment in LA, I wasn’t much of a nester. My internal dialogue sounded like this: “Let’s let all of this shit stay on the floor until I decide to buy some bins, which will probably look ugly and just add more clutter to my room; so actually, let’s just let this shit stay on the floor because it looks happy there.”

The desire to “nest” must come with age. Or free time. Or drinking less. (Although, I’d argue that building furniture only causes you to drink more.)

I am worried, though.

I’m worried I’ll start baking pies. I fear that one day, I’ll go to the farmer’s market and just happen to pick up some blueberries. I fear I’ll come home and my serendipitous blueberries will just happen to fall into pie crust, which will just happen to line that pie plate I picked up at my local, quaint antique shop. (A quaint antique shop in LA? Reality ends there.) I’m nervous my roommates will come home from work and find me elbows-deep in a vat of blueberries. I’ll be stained in shades of red and blue and passers-by will naturally believe I’ve been attacked by an elbow-loving hyena.

This is the snowball effect. First, you draw an inordinate amount of pleasure from a shower curtain. Then, you consider shelves to be intricately tied to your identity. But it’s the pies that cement your status as Bree Van de Kamp from Desperate Housewives. The nail-in-the-coffin pies.

You start designing recipe cards for your pies, and you hand them out to eager friends who just want to bake like you do. You answer questions about your pies, and field constant suggestions that you get into the baking business. After all, you have a pie-baking gift, and it would be a shame to waste it. Aren’t you so lucky to have found your life’s purpose at such a young age?

You try to fall asleep at night, nestled by your new queen-size bed with the softly upholstered, off-white headboard, but all you can think about are oven temperatures, and crust brands, and homemade blueberries. Didn’t you used to want to be a writer? Didn’t you used to be funny? You’re pretty sure you had goals, but then the pies came into the picture, and now you can’t separate yourself from your pies. You can’t abandon your pies. After all, you brought them into this world; it’s your duty to protect them.

Flash-forward 20 years, and you’re still baking pies. But now, the pies taste a little less sweet. You don’t get nearly as many compliments on them. They’re old news. After all, everyone’s living off of liquid food and holograms. No one needs your pies, and few people actually want them.

You’re in a rut, and no amount of pie or variation of pie contents will change that. You’ve tried everything, believe me. You went all mincemeat for a while. Then came your rhubarb stage. (Every great pie artist has a rhubarb stage.) And now, it’s time for you to rediscover yourself. Not through pies, but through truth.

In a dramatic scene, you toss your pie plate out the window, and it shatters into exactly ten million little pieces. You don’t even bother to clean them up because you’re too busy booking a one-way ticket to someplace exotic, like the Seychelles, or Disney World. You’re going to change. You’re going to dye your hair and get bangs, and you’re going to leave the pies behind. After all, what did they ever give you, besides that tire around your waist and your strong disdain for store-bought blueberries?

On your way to the Seychelles/Disney World, you spot a young woman, getting out of her car. She struggles to unload a set of lovely shelves, and you’re thrown back 20 years. You remember when your shelves showed you the person you could become. You wonder where you put those shelves.

You turn that car around! You race home to your apartment, dig through your attic, and find those shelves. (Thank goodness for your hoarding tendencies.) You look at those shelves, and for the first time in a long time, you feel like writing.

I am nesting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Psychic Tizzy

28 Dec

images

A psychic recently sent me into a tizzy.

A psychic sent me into a tizzy because I made the mistake of thinking a five-dollar palm reading would indicate my shining destiny, and then when it didn’t, I convinced myself I was doomed.

I’ve always wanted to go to a psychic because – although I have a master’s of science – I’m not a logical, “untrue if not proven by science” kind of person. This isn’t to say I don’t believe in evolution and think the world is flat and am unsure if Neil Armstrong isn’t just the best actor of our generation. But, it is to say that I put way too much stock in fortune cookies and do, on occasion, troll tarot card websites.

My mom warned me I shouldn’t go to a psychic. She said I’m not the right “type” of person and am way too impressionable. This may be true. I tend to believe everything anyone says, as if the entire world is “right” and I’m just dying to be on the inside. My sister sometimes says I’d eat shit on a cracker if it had strong nutritional properties and became the “thing to do.” This is kind of a mean thing to say because shit is disgusting. (I’m not saying I wouldn’t consider eating it on a cracker, however. Why shut yourself off from things that could be great?)

While visiting my sister in D.C., we decided it could be fun to go to one of the palm reading establishments that line the streets of Georgetown. Yes, we decided to get our palms read in Georgetown. This is probably equivalent to buying a lottery ticket from a grocery store in some ritzy, suburban Connecticut village and genuinely thinking you’ve purchased a winning ticket. (You’ve not purchased a winning ticket.)

I did a quick Google search and learned about one psychic who came highly recommended (by two people). As we mounted the stairs toward her office, I got really nervous. Narrow staircases tend to do that to me, but this was a different kind of nervous; this was the nervous you feel when you’re about to kiss your tenth grade geometry teacher on the lips and aren’t sure he’ll reciprocate. Never done that? Me neither.

About ten young women were standing outside the psychic’s door, all holding Starbucks cups and carrying shopping bags. Was there another office on this floor that was doing Brazilian waxes? There was no way The Ten Megs could all be waiting for the psychic.

I pushed past Meg One and Meg Two and rang the psychic’s doorbell. She emerged, and – dear Universe, please forgive me – I was thoroughly thrown by her… thoroughly crossed eyes. Yes, she had crossed eyes, and despite their different focuses, I could tell that both eyeballs were already peering deep into my soul.

Apparently, all ten Megs were ahead of me in line, and I’d need to return at 5pm for a thorough reading. But that might be too late for me! So much could happen before 5pm! I’d need to seek counsel elsewhere.

Luckily, there was a second “business” across the street. I wondered if one psychic was more of a Starbucks, while the other was more of a Dunkin Donuts. (What I didn’t consider was that one of the psychics could prove to be the coffee station at a 7/11.)

We walked up another set of narrow stairs and were greeted by the overwhelming smell of cigarette smoke, followed by the annoying bark of the tiniest dog I’d ever seen.

“Do you do readings?” I asked the woman that suddenly appeared at the top of the stairs, like she knew we’d be showing up. She invited us inside to hear about her “deals.”

“Two-twenty for a full tarot reading,” she said. I thought she meant $2.20, so was immediately intrigued. Cecelia – as always – knew better.

“I think we’ll need to think about it and come back later,” Cecelia started to say, clearly hoping I’d take the hint and welcome the “out” she was so clearly trying to provide.

I didn’t.

“What about your $5 palm readings?” I asked. “Could I get one of those?”

The psychic looked disappointed, but she agreed.

“Ask me two questions, and then show me your palm,” she said.

At this point, my hand was kind of shaky and my mouth was dry from all the cigarette smoke. I asked her the two most basic questions a person could ever ask: where my career and love life are going. (I had officially become the 11th Meg.)

Here’s what she said:

  • You can’t make decisions.
  • You’ll have a career, if you focus more.
  • In love, you care about everyone, but no one cares about you.
  • But not to worry, because you’ll be married before age 30 and have two kids: a daughter, who will work in PR, and a son, who will go into politics.

Too out-of-my-element to refuse, I let her read my other palm for the low, low price of an additional $5.

She said:

  • Your third eye is blocked.
  • Very blocked. You go to bed anxious and wake up anxious.
  • You’re not happy with where you are in life, right now.
  • God bless you.

Ten-dollars later, and I’d learned that I’m a mess of a human, with a dirt-caked third eye and no one who cares about me. Luckily, my communication and politically-minded children will be stars. (They’ll probably also be Russian spies, at the rate I’m going.)

I stormed out of the building and ran across the street, into the safe haven of an Anthropologie. I Googled, “How to unblock your third eye.”

I’m supposed to meditate. Been there, done that, am not capable. Apparently, blueberries are really helpful. They’re out of season, but who can put a price on a third eye?! I’ll splurge! Oh look, yoga is also a fix. I’ll have to fit in a session this week. Or, better yet, I’ll head into the dressing room and drop into a couple of Downward Dogs. It also says I’m supposed to “be more knowledgeable.” How the fuck am I to do that? I guess I can sign up for more BBC alerts. “Sungaze”? What am I supposed to do, stare directly into the sun? Yes, I think so. Besides, I’m sure “www.3rdi.com” wouldn’t advise anything dangerous.  

By the time Cecelia caught up to me, I was sitting on a display couch, hunched over my phone, and flushed from the empowerment of fresh research.

She took one look at me and said, “Mom says, ‘I told you so.’”

It’s funny; I’ll listen to everyone except my mother.

I hope my PR daughter and presidential son at least listen to me when I tell them not to visit a psychic.

No Money Mo Problems

11 Oct

money-305364_960_720

You’re sitting in your car. Your power had been out for five days, due to a “clerical error,” so you have no food at your house. Well, you have soup and beans and toast and spaghetti and milk and cereal, but who wants any of that? You want fresh, leafy greens and frozen Brussel sprouts (for some odd reason). You reach into your bag and rummage around for your (brand new) wallet. You find a mangled heap of chargers, a receipt for gum, and a rogue coupon for Claritin D, which you’ll surely never use because when was the last time you did anything good for yourself?

Your heart starts to race as your hand frantically searches for that overstuffed square mass at the bottom of your bag. It must be in there somewhere. You never take your wallet out of your bag. You start removing the bag’s contents, one item at a time. Nothing. Zip. Zilch.

You tip the bag over and make doubly sure you’re not missing anything. Could it be in the side pocket, with the ten mints you’ll never eat and the rogue key that’ll never open anything? Could it be in the pocket of your jean jacket? No, that’s stupid. What is this, the 1950s? “Oh yeah, let me just grab my comb and my boyfriend’s pin, while I’m at it.”

You begin to realize you’re not going to find your wallet – not in your bag, not in your lunchbox, not in your car. It’s gone. You start thinking of the implications of losing said wallet.

Your ID is gone. (Is that really such a bad thing? Your head kind of floated in that picture like an aimless house boat, and your youthful expression isn’t representative of the confident older woman you’ve become.) All of your credit cards are gone. (Why do you even have so many credit cards? How much is that travel perks credit card really doing for you? You’re eternally “so close, very close, just a few more purchases” away from getting a free snack on your next airplane ride. Is it even worth it?)

You can wrap your mind around the credit card losses because those can be cancelled and re-ordered. As can the ID. But let’s reflect on the fact that you – a person who never carries cash – happened to have cash in your wallet today. In fact, you happened to have a $100 bill in your wallet, because some posh friend of yours paid you for an Airbnb with a $100 bill, and you thought to yourself, “Wow, should I even deposit this? It’s so pretty. I kind of just want to wave it around and then keep it tucked in my bra for cocktail party conversations.” So, you neglected to deposit it, thinking you’d save it for a rainy day.

Well guess what, bitch? It doesn’t rain in Los Angeles, and now your posh $100 cocktail conversation piece is probably paying for some teenager’s thongs at Wet Seal. Still feeling posh?

And then there are the little things, like the $20 laundry card, or the key to get into your parking garage, or your Ralph’s discount card. Will you ever save 10 cents on six bottles of Josh again? Oh. Wait. You don’t have money. You can’t even buy one bottle of Josh. How will you get drunk after all of this is over?

As you continue to sit in your car, with the windows tightly shut, you start to feel dizzy. There’s so little oxygen. Everything’s kind of blurry. Where could you have left it? Then it dawns on you; you put it on the floor at lunch, next to your lunchbox…because that’s what you do with valuable things, apparently. You put them on the floor and trust yourself to remember them. Child? Floor. Laptop? Floor. The birthday letter you wrote to the Queen Mum when you were going through your “Queen Mum” phase? Floor. (Just kidding. That’s in a bullet-proof box.)

You should probably go home and start sorting this out. Maybe you’ll send a quick text message to your family texting chain, just to get everyone on the East Coast really worked up and unsettled before bedtime.

“Oh Jesus, Sophie,” says Mom.

“You need an ID to fly to Georgia this weekend,” says your sister.

“What’s #missing?” asks Dad.

“IDIOT,” says other sister.

You arrive at your parking garage and wait dependently for someone else to pull up, so you can free-load off of their garage card. Someone calls you a “bitch” while you’re blocking the entrance, and instead of getting out of the car and insulting her fake tan, you decide to just let it slide; after all, who are you to judge someone with an identity?

Back at home and in the worldly-casual Turkish relaxation pants you wear when you’re trying to look both worldly and relaxed, you go online to renew your license. The website prompts you for a credit card number, and you start cackling because guess what, Massachusetts DMV? YOUR GIRL DOESN’T HAVE A CREDIT CARD. DO YOU ACCEPT CLEAVAGE PHOTOS AS PAYMENT?

At this point, there is only one option: ask your roommate to open the brand new box of yoga equipment her mom sent her for her birthday, so you can lie on a stretch block and moan long, loud moans of grief.

The next day, after a sheepish drive to the office, armed with a printed out confirmation receipt of your new license purchase to serve as your temporary license, you get word from your boss that your wallet has been in the office the entire time. But you swear you checked! But you’ve never been wrong before! But you don’t have a tendency to miss things that are right in front of you, like moldy turkey or an STD-carrying floor hockey player! But you voted in the last election! But you always recycle! But you recently admitted to maybe not being 100-percent atheist!

None of it matters. For 12 hours, you were just floating. And now, you have your identity back.

So go ahead, buy six bottles of Josh. Just don’t put your ten-cent savings on the floor.

 

 

Frenemies

27 Jul

brunch

Humans are, supposedly, learning beings – we learn from experience, and, ideally, don’t repeat what doesn’t/hasn’t worked for us. I say “ideally” because every morning, I smack my head against the overhead compartment of the train and say, in the kind of angry whisper a parent uses to scold their child for throwing mints at the back of someone’s head in a theater, “FUCK.”

Like asking the nice girl at my local coffee shop if she “has any skim milk” (even though I know she does), and like wondering why they don’t just put the skim milk out with the other milk options, and like drinking my bitter coffee and wishing I hadn’t used skim milk, hitting my head is just part of my daily routine. How would I know my day had officially “begun,” without that uncomfortable jolt and ensuing flash of anger?

But still, I wonder: what causes me to make the same mistake, time and time again, even though that mistake causes me physical harm? I’ve worked hard to conjure up every bit of science I’ve ever understood, and have come to a highly scientific conclusion: my brain and my body are frenemies.

A “frenemy” is a “friend” who is also an “enemy.” For example: if pressed, I’d wager that Beyoncé and Adele are frenemies; both women are strong, talented powerhouses who support each other, but who also (secretly) hope the other screams too loudly on a rollercoaster and develops nodes. Millennials and New York City are frenemies; Millennials love the trendy opportunities of NYC but hate living with the possibility of stepping in human feces on their way to work. Ice cream and I are frenemies; I eat it uncontrollably and…no, never mind, there are no downsides to my love of ice cream.

My brain and my body are definitely frenemies. They go to brunch together and talk and laugh, only to return to their respective homes and bitch to their significant others about how the other is fake and arrogant and…getting fat.

“She just thinks she’s so smart,” Body complains to her naked lover, Pedro, as she takes off her makeup and jumps into Warrior Pose. “She makes all of these jokes and just expects everyone to laugh. Well, newsflash, Brain, no one thinks you’re funny.”

“I think she’s kind of funny,” Pedro whispers, only to get a swift kick in the gut from Body.

On the other side of town, in an apartment littered with newspaper articles and anxiety, resides Brain. Brain sits upright in her back-healthy chair and complains to her stable accountant boyfriend, Brian, about Body.

“All she can talk about is her love of kale. Most people try to hide the fact that they love kale, but no, not Body. Body has kale recipes, and kale socks, and kale ‘fun facts.’ Oh, and if she asks one more damn waiter for ‘skim milk’ in her coffee, I’m going to scream! Just drink regular milk, you pretentious bitch!”

“At least she’s proud of her passions,” Brian offers, before Brain gives him the most threatening look a woman could ever give her significant other, and retreats to her office to write an article about him for The New Yorker.

Brain and Body see each other from time to time, but never because they want to, and usually because they feel they have to. They attend each others’ weddings – Brain weds in the Boston Public Library, while Body weds at the tail end of a longer-than-usual jog around Walden Pond – but can’t help but feel twinges of jealousy. Brain wishes she could seem as relaxed as Body on her wedding day, while Body wishes her vows were as eloquent and poetic as Brain’s.

Brain and Brian always seem to be enjoying culturally rich and exciting vacations; Body and Pedro go on vacation and Body blows up like a tick, while Pedro somehow manages to lose weight.

On the other hand, Body and Pedro share the same passions, and are often seen biking on a tandem bike, or hiking together in the woods; sometimes, Brain goes days without seeing Brian because she locks herself in her office to write, while Brian finds comfort in his numbers and figures (and potentially his secretary. Brain often wonders about this, but convinces herself she’s just “overthinking things.”)

They’re so different, and yet, occasionally, Brain finds herself wondering what Body’s up to and if she’s free to grab brunch at that new diner up the street. Yes, Body is free, but she suggests that new smoothie bar down the street because…kale. This annoys Brain, but then again, it was Brain who offered they get together in the first place.

During brunch, they feel themselves falling into the same, draining patterns. Body acts like she invented “the plank,” while Brain makes too many Francophone references to be charming. They wonder why they ever bothered trying in the first place.

And then, like a mother-in-law walking into your bedroom, Heart walks through the door. Heart, with her big, white smile and infectious laugh. Heart, with her genuine desire to “do the right thing” and “be there for others.” Heart, with her perfect relationship and her even more perfect relationship advice. They try to hide, but they can’t; Heart always finds them.

“Hey ladies,” says Heart. “I’m so glad to see you two together. Isn’t it great, the way Friendship can endure both Time and Circumstance? You’re both looking absolutely radiant.”

Brain wonders what she can possibly say to outsmart Heart. Body wonders if she could “accidentally trip” Heart. Both settle for disingenuous smiles and some forced nodding.

Heart goes home and kisses her four children hello, before turning to her husband, Cupid, and saying, “I saw Brain and Body at that new café this morning. Those two are a couple of rank bitches, let me just say.” Cupid nods in solidarity with his wife, before offering her a bouquet of roses and a lifetime of devotion.

Brain and Body stay a little longer at the café that day.

“She thinks she invented kindness,” says Brain.

“I know, right? And what was with her outfit? It’s like she dresses however she wants, without worrying what people will think.”

Brain nods in agreement. Body offers Brain a sip of her smoothie. Brain offers to pay for brunch. They make plans to meet at the same time and place next weekend.

***

Hitting my head hurts, so you’d think my body and my brain would be able to coordinate some kind of plan to avoid the pain. For instance, my body could use an “I statement” to explain to my brain why it doesn’t like being smacked into the overhead compartment: “I don’t like it when you let me hit our head against the overhead compartment because it makes our head hurt,” it could say. Then, my brain could respond thoughtfully, explaining its reasoning: “Sometimes, when it’s early in the morning, I have trouble keeping up with all that you can do. You’re so strong and nimble and tan, and even though you have your faults (like how you can’t do a full split or chin-ups, and how you bloat after soy sauce), you’re still the faster one between the hours of 6am and 1pm.” My brain can be kind of a passive asshole, but would at least be trying, and that would be good enough for my body, who, let’s face it, is nowhere near as quick-witted and sly as my brain. The two would then make up and agree to work together to keep my head safe from harm.

Unless Pixar can somehow inhabit my brain and body to give them unique personalities and voices, I don’t think I’ll be seeing coordination anytime soon. Which really does not bode well for the other areas of my life that remain untrained and uncoordinated.

But then again, if Beyoncé and Adele can make it work, so can I.

 

 

 

 

 

Cramped

9 Jun

footprint-294076_960_720

I get foot cramps.

In case you’ve never had foot cramps, let me break them down for you. “Foot cramps,” also known as “Charley Horses,” are incredibly painful and also kind of embarrassing muscle spasms, which cause your foot to seize up and look like a snarling cat that was just dipped in a bubble bath.

The first foot cramp I ever had left me feeling confused and alone. I was 14. It was a Tuesday eve. I was sitting on the floor of the family room, telling a story about how a tiny bit of pee had escaped my bladder during a cross-country running race. I was laughing. My family was laughing. Cheese was being shared among us. There were also crackers. It was a great night.

AND THEN…my foot cramped.

I’ll never forget the random, searing pain I felt in my left foot as I looked down and saw that it was all…twisted…contorted…and gnarled. It looked like a tree branch, hanging off of one of those really hideous and evil-looking trees that grow in Disney forests (and probably Mar-a-Lago).

I was horrified, and so, I started screaming.

“WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL IS WRONG WITH MY FOOT? IT LOOKS LIKE A WOODCHUCK THAT WAS SHOVED INTO FORMALDEYHYDE WHILE IT WAS STILL CHUCKING WOOD.”

My mother was alarmed, and rightly so! I was experiencing some kind of medical abnormality that would land me as a guest star on Grey’s Anatomy (and maybe even forge a friendship between Shonda and me). Books would be written about this! I’d be considered “one of those people” who have trees for limbs, or who are born with tails! (No offense to these people. If you have a Maple tree growing where your leg should be and a tail growing out of your behind, I’ll still say “hi” to you on the street.)

“Oh,” said Mother, “that’s just a foot cramp. It’ll go away.”

JUST A FOOT CRAMP?? JUST a foot cramp??

I writhed in agony as my sisters watched and laughed at my pain.

Am I sensitive to pain? Who’s to say (except for everyone who’s ever said so). Maybe other people are too insensitive to pain? Have you ever thought about that? Why shouldn’t I use papercuts as an excuse not to walk my dog? Infection is a serious risk.

Anyway. The cramp did subside. And then I ate some cheese and felt better.

That was nearly ten years ago. In the last few weeks, I’ve experienced more foot cramps than I ever thought possible.

Let me paint you a picture…

It’s a Wednesday night. I’m lying in my nice, big bed and I’m sleeping with one leg sprawled across the bed, and the other hanging off the bed. (Try to imagine how this works…you can’t, can you? I sleep like the human pretzel I’m not, which is probably why I get foot cramps. Maybe if I slept like a human pretzel roll, I wouldn’t be dealing with any of this.) I’m dreaming that I’m locked in a hotel and some old lady is chastising me for wearing a dress. Does this mean I feel dominated by the elderly? Am I itching for a vacation? It’s too soon to say. All I know is that mid-old lady lecture, I awake with a surging pain in my left foot.

NOT AGAIN, I think, as I silently whine and try to keep breathing. It takes a while, but the cramp passes, and I fall asleep.

THEN: It’s early on a Saturday morning. I’m sleeping in a bunk bed on Cape Cod. I reek of lobster and Jim Beam and there’s a lifeguard – in uniform – lying next to me.

Just kidding.

I am sleeping in a bunk bed, but I don’t smell of anything other than morning breath and shampoo. And the only things next to me are a bunch of rogue tissues that I must’ve used to blow my nose over the course of the night because I have a virus and an ear infection. I really, really have to pee, and I do a quick cost benefit analysis; either I damage my bladder by holding it for a few more hours, until I feel like it’s an acceptable time to wake up on a weekend, or I exert energy now and climb down from the top bunk. Either option is uncomfortable for me.

I decide to “just do it.” This is a mistake.

As I stretch my foot down to reach the bottom rung of the bunk bed ladder, I feel that familiar twinge of pain – FOOT CRAMP, NOOOOO!!!!

I stand awkwardly on the ladder as my foot spasms and contorts. I try not to wake anyone, but the bed is pretty rickety and I am not graceful without at least a hint of Prosecco in my system, so the entire structure is kind of shaking in the wind, as I shift my weight from left to right and try not to fall (one foot) to my death. My uncle walks by and chuckles, as if he’s not at all surprised by what’s going on.

I finally get my foot to calm the fuck down and am able to dismount the bed. I then make the decision to never, ever let my kids sleep in bunk beds…mostly because I think that physically placing one kid on top of another establishes a very literal hierarchy, and that can leave a kid dropping out of school to “find himself” as a bongo drummer in a traveling street band…but also because I don’t want my children to have foot cramps.

THEN: It’s a peaceful Tuesday afternoon. I just finished a run and am taking a nice, long shower. I decide that summer is coming and I should get used to shaving again. I look at my leg and realize I may have overcommitted; time is running out and the US no longer supports climate efforts, so I need to hurry this shower on up. I extend my leg to get a clean, even shave and BAM: foot cramp. I start yelling over Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic,” which happens to be playing at the very moment that my consciousness begins to float off into the mystic. I think that I see Van’s face projected on my shower wall, before coming to and realizing that Van is not in my shower at all. The foot cramp subsides, and I continue to shave.

So you see? These cramps have been following me. They’re trying to take me down, one foot at a time.

Yesterday, I decided to “proactively deal with my concerns,” and do a little research on foot cramps.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, foot cramps “tend to happen more frequently as we age.”

Please note: as we age.

Who’s this “we” and am I included? I surely can’t be included. I’m not getting older! Just wiser! Those lines around my mouth aren’t wrinkles; they’re “smile lines,” and you can direct any further questions to my grandmother, who assured me as much.

I decide to focus on the second cause: dehydration.

This is something I can wrap my head around. Fluids! I dig them!

I’ve been chugging water nonstop for a few days, and I’ve yet to feel a single cramp. *Knocks on wood and silently tells her foot to stay the fuck in line.*

Drinking so much water, however, makes me have to pee at night, which might not bode well for me, where bunk beds are concerned. So, if you read about a girl who fell off her bunk bed because a foot cramp struck on her way to the bathroom and she suffered horrible injuries, don’t feel too bad – it’s just me.

 

 

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: