Nesting

16 Feb

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Psychic Tizzy

28 Dec

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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

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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

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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

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

How John Mayer Ruined My Life: A Love Story

14 Apr

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“L’amour de loin”; love from afar; Medieval Courtly Love; King Arthur and Queen Guinevere love – leave it to the French to create an incredibly seductive yet torturous form of love and sell a bunch of books about it, lulling all of us mere mortals into believing that it’s trendy and fulfilling.

Love from afar is like the croissant; the French pretend that they eat croissants “for breakfast” and that croissants are the key to balanced lifestyles. So then we Americans go to Costco and buy a bunch of croissants and eat ten in one sitting, and we wonder, “Why can’t I see my genitals when I stand naked and look down at my feet?” Spoiler alert: you can’t see your genitals because the French don’t eat croissants for every breakfast. And you also can’t find fulfillment in “love from afar” because you can’t see past the fact that you can’t see your genitals. This all comes down to croissant, really. Are you following?

Alright, I’m being dramatic. I’m not in love. But I do have a crush on someone who doesn’t know I exist. Actually, I believe that somewhere, deep, deep down, John Mayer does know I exist and is just waiting to tell me…that I exist…and that he cares about my existence… (and yes, I am holding my breath for this affirmation, so if I start to turn blue in the face, dial 911 and don’t leave my side until I’m in the hands of a capable medical professional).

I recently attended John Mayer’s Boston concert with my mom. Before the concert, I was an enormous John Mayer fan. I’ve always listened to his music. In fact, his “No Such Thing” music video was one of the first videos I ever saw, after my aunt accidentally left MTV playing on the TV and I snuck in to watch a whole ten seconds of the music video. (Music videos were banned and yet I somehow managed to watch Jerry Springer on all of my sick days? Suspicious parenting, at best.)

A week has passed since the aforementioned Mayer extravaganza, and yet, I still find myself…crushing.

My friends are saying supportive things, like, “Oh, it’s totally normal to be obsessed with a performer after his/her concert! I feel you, girl!”

Like Gluten-free cookies, these friends are sweet; but they’re wrong. This is different.

I’m no fool. I know that concerts do weird things to people.

The first concert I ever went to was the Dave Matthews Band concert. I was ten and everyone around me was high. Some dude spilled beer on my sweatshirt, and I wore it to fifth grade the next day and told my teacher to smell it. Clearly, this concert had me thinking I was a 19-year-old frat boy.

One time, I saw Train in concert, and it started raining, right as they started playing “Drops of Jupiter.” I remember thinking that I’d never forget that moment. I then proceeded to go to the dining hall and eat five pieces of pie. Five pieces. All because of the concert.

When I went to Adele’s concert, I forewent drinking so that I could “soak up every moment.” Who was this girl? Why wasn’t she drinking? She was clearly possessed.

So you see? I know that concerts can cause abnormal behavior. But something in me changed during the John Mayer concert. It wasn’t the two beers I drank, or the fact that I ate some weird Thai food before the show and thought that maybe I’d contracted a parasite…There was a cosmic shifting of my soul, and I know that it was caused by a crushing crush.

I’m not even someone who gets celebrity crushes. Ok, sure, when I was 11, I once spent an entire weekend watching Leonardo DiCaprio’s deleted scenes from Titanic. I was supposed to be studying for a “math final,” but I couldn’t rip myself away from Leo, and so I scored a 74 on the test.

But I’m an adult now and I rarely have tests anymore because grad school is more of a “project-based” type of learning environment…so I’m all good, academically.

I felt swept up by John’s musical talent, his weird, scrunched up facial expressions while playing the guitar, and his ability to play the piano and whistle at the same time. I think I’m letting this celebrity crush continue because the universe is slowly but surely signaling to me that John Mayer and I are meant to be together. Shall I break it down for you (John)? Here’s a list of the whys:

  1. At the concert, John played the song “Why Georgia,” which is my mom’s absolute favorite song. She started screaming and kind of growling, and I briefly felt embarrassed because the gentleman in front of her looked like he might say something, like, “Ma’am, are you choking on a chicken bone?” But then, right at that moment, John started playing “Dear Marie,” which is my favorite song. It was like he was sending me a message, saying, “Don’t worry about the haters. That guy is probably jealous or vegan. You do you, boo.” That’s when I knew that he’d tailored the entire concert to fit my emotional needs. What has your soulmate done for you today?
  2. On a recent evening, I fell into a deep, dark internet hole. I found myself on John’s Twitter account, which is how I found a tweet from him, in which he proclaimed his love for mediocre movies from the late ‘90s, to the early 2000s. He may have been being “ironic” (it’s hard to sense tone over Twitter), but I’m sure this tweet came from a place of truth. Norah Ephron rom-coms spanning the entire ‘90s decade comprise my favorite genre of film, and so I’m sure we’d have a lot to talk about. Maybe he loves Tom Hanks as much as I do? A girl can dream.
  3. In an interview with Ellen DeGeneres, John said that he’s a fan of The Bachelor, but that he can only sit through the season premiere because two hours per week is a lot of “buy-in” time for the average viewer. This is something with which I completely agree. What else could I do with two hours? Let’s see: learn how to ride a moped; research sharks; invest in multiple IKEA lamps and then see which one breaks first; train a pony to deliver me snacks on its back; domesticate a long-haired latte artist. The list continues…I think John and I are on the same page with this one. Give me just one hour of women crying and pretending to eat recreational fruit bowls, and I’ll be forever grateful.
  4. John recently said that the drawing of the woman on one of the the front covers of his new album is “her” – his ideal woman – a combination of past, (hopefully not present), and future lovers:

search for everything

Now, I’m not saying she looks like me, but I’m also not going to argue with the fact that she has long, wavy hair, and I also have long, wavy hair. She also seems to have feathers floating around her head, which either symbolizes her “free spirit” personality, or the fact that she likes chicken. Either way, I’m down.

  1. John is known for getting himself into trouble with the press. While this hasn’t ever happened to me, I did once draw a butt crack on a computer during “computer class” (back when Microsoft Word was like, the futuristic spaceship of its time), and got in trouble with my teacher, after I announced – not very quietly – to my friend, Brandon, that I’d “drawn a butt crack on the computer.” Getting in trouble for spur-of-the-moment self-expression is shocking and upsetting. I’m still trying to get over my reputation as “butt crack girl.” I think we could relate on this level.

So these are the signs from the universe. Now, you might be wondering about the practicalities of it all. It’s sweet of you to worry. Here’s a list of possible concerns and their solutions:

  1. Sure, John is ten-plus-six years older than I. But here’s the thing: after I got busted for drawing that butt crack, I had to mature very quickly. You can’t be a six-year-old “butt crack girl” and look and act like a six-year-old. Even now, guys come up to me in bars and ask me how old I am. This can only mean that I look too old to be in a bar. Which means I’m probably just old enough to be living in Montana with John and his dogs. Plus, it’s not like I can claim I “grew up on John’s music,” because, as I mentioned earlier, I wasn’t allowed to watch his music videos. (Also, Amal and George don’t seem to have any issues.)
  2. “But he’s a world-famous musician! How will you ever get his attention?” It just so happens that I’m going to the Grateful Dead concert at Fenway Park in June, at which John will be playing guitar. Fenway is an intimate, outdoor venue, so when I fly the blimp over Fenway that says, “Dear John, look to your left, no, your other left, by the sausage stand,” he’ll surely see it. I’ll be waiting there for him with a sausage and a soft serve ice cream in a Red Sox souvenir hat because celebrities: they’re just like us – they eat souvenir ice creams!
  3. If the above plan fails, I will just resort to old-fashioned techniques, like moving to Los Angeles and attending hip co-ed parties and hoping to meet him. This approach could go on for years, but there’s something sweet about 70-year-old men raising infants.
  4. “But he’s a womanizer! He’s dated so many famous women! It would never work!” Honestly, if I had as many good-looking ex-boyfriends as John has ex-girlfriends, I’d buy myself a huge molten lava cake, put on some sweats, get a crown, and declare myself Queen of the World. Life moves quickly, and we all have baggage. I know I do. There are literally six Trader Joe’s bags next to me right now, which I’ve yet to unpack and put away. I’m not saying John and I have to be bound together for all time! Please, I’ve got so much living to do. I’m just saying that he has to fall madly in love with me and then can’t feel attracted to any other woman for the rest of time.

Any questions? I think I’ve pretty much covered everything. John is witty, wavy-haired, and creatively talented, which are really all of my requirements.

They say to “write what you know,” but I, clearly, prefer to write about those whom I don’t know, and then hope that they magically discover me.

I’ve also written more about this fantastical love story than I’ve written for any of my final projects and papers that are due in the following weeks…so I guess I lied, and this crush really is impacting me academically.

Bottom line: I need out of this fictitious romance, ASAP. I need a break. It’s been mentally exhausting, knowing that I’m meant to be with someone who’s currently making Japanese-themed music videos to accompany jazz-hybrid music about an *cough cough* ex-pop star girlfriend. He doesn’t have time for me.

So here’s my message for John: you’ve totally ruined this week for me, but I forgive you. Let’s take a break – I think we could both use one. I’ll be at Fenway in June, so let’s go on a date. I think (know) we might be (are, beyond a shadow of a doubt) soulmates. And if you take me on a date and disagree, I’ll give you my souvenir ice cream hat and we’ll call it even.

(Also, I’m moving to LA in the fall, so that’s also totally a possibility. No pressure. Just saying. I’ll be there. Waiting. Just kidding. I don’t wait. But you should. OK. Bye.)

 

 

 

 

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Hacked

19 Mar

doc

A few weeks ago, I got hacked.

Not cyber-hacked. (That was my mother. She started tweeting out messages about Beyoncé’s weight gain…which made sense to me because my mom is in the one-percent of people who really are not Beyoncé fans. But even still – that would have been way harsh.)

I mean “hacked” like Hacksaw Ridge hacked. (No. Just kidding. I don’t. That’s way too aggressive an analogy for what I’m about to describe. I just wanted to sound cinema-fluent and current.)

About a month ago, I went to the dermatological surgeon for a “brief,” “routine” procedure.

“You have a weird mole,” my dermatologist told me. “It’s probably nothing! It’s probably less than nothing! In fact, it’s probably not even there! This has probably all been a dream!”

She’s a nice dermatologist, and she has really nice shoes. But she was dead wrong about this one.

One biopsy later and BOOM: you have “problematic skin cells.” Not cancerous, or even pre-cancerous cells – just “problematic” ones.

The way I see it, problematic cells are like problematic children: if left unattended, they may grow up to be problematic adults – people who don’t recycle, or who start bar fights, or who only talk to their parents when they need money (to be bailed out of jail).

If you remove problematic cells, then you’re at a much lower risk for developing pre-cancer, or cancer. (I’m not suggesting we kill off problematic children. I’m suggesting we nip them in the bud, with a firm talking to, or a good, thorough PowerPoint on recycling.)

As I understood it, I was going to this dermatological surgeon to remove a few “problematic cells.”

THIS IS WHY YOU DON’T TALK IN METAPHORS, PEOPLE!!!

I showed up to the doctor five minutes late, but chipper. It was the Friday of a long weekend! I was home for the weekend! My parents were taking me to Papa Razzi, where the breadsticks are firm and the focaccia bread is moist. So I’d be a few cells fewer…what’s the big deal? What could go wrong?

Would you like to know what the surgeon said to me, as soon as I walked into the “operating room”?

“I’m really sorry about this,” he said. “It’s not going to be pretty.”

What wasn’t going to be pretty?

“It’s a tough area to heal. You’re probably going to have a pretty big scar. Again, I’m sorry.”

The surgeon was preemptively apologizing to me. Save an oral surgery procedure and one rogue colonoscopy, I don’t have much experience with surgery (*knock on wood*). But I knew this was not a good opening line.

I was nervous, and he could tell. As he numbed my leg, I tried to answer his questions about my life and my studies. I tried to tell myself that scars build character and besides, wouldn’t I rather have a scar over “problematic” cells?

The male nurse came in to assist. He was cute. I noticed. My toenails were unpolished and kind of gross-looking. I worried he’d noticed. He probably had.

I’ll spare you the details of this procedure, but let me say this: I am NOT a fan of surgery. I nearly passed out, peed, barfed, and cried, all at the same time. I think the doctor could tell I was about to up and run, because he started asking me if I watched…WAIT FOR IT… The Bachelor.

I must’ve lit up like a Christmas tree, because he looked like he’d struck gold. We talked about this season. I pretended I was too good to “fall into the trap” of the show. (I crossed my fingers underneath my butt because of course I’m not too good to “fall into the trap” – I jump in, every season, head first!)

When all was said and done, they mandated me not to exercise for two weeks (no problem, gentlemen) and to clean my stitches. HA! You think I’m taking that bandage off? Think again!

The day after my “surgery,” my grandmother showed up at my house with a present. Not a stuffed animal, or some soup, but…a “leg condom.”

What is a leg condom? Why does my grandmother have a leg condom? Who coined the term, “leg condom”?

These are all very good questions.

A “leg condom” is a big, plastic stocking that you wear over your leg when you cannot wet it in the shower. It cuts off your circulation with a big rubber-band and makes it impossible to wash from the knee-down. It also creates a safety hazard in the shower because it is very slippery against a porcelain tub.

My grandmother has a leg condom because she, too, had a skin procedure that mandated she keep the area dry.

The term “leg condom” was invented by my grandmother. It was the topic of conversation at at least two family dinner parties that I can recall. And now, it had re-entered my life with a vengeance.

After a long explanation about leg condom usage, and a lot of weird looks from my poor father, we had a cup of tea and my grandmother was on her way.

I received several texts that day, asking how the “L.C.” had worked out in the shower, and if everything had stayed dry. These texts were sent under the assumption that I am someone who showers over a long-weekend. Am I? You’ll never know; a lady never reveals her bi-weekend shower rituals.

Two weeks passed quickly, and I again found myself at my dermatological surgeon’s office. I waited 45-minutes for him to take a snip to my stitches and say, “Looks great! All done!” Couldn’t I have done this myself? I have scissors. I know how to congratulate myself. I’d make a fabulous dermatological surgeon.

I told the doctor that I was to leave on a trip to Guatemala the following morning. He told me to be careful and to avoid any intense activity.

I said, lightheartedly, “Ok, but, it’s not like the scar is going to split open, right?”

“That’s exactly what might happen,” he said, before patting me on the shoulder and walking out.

I panicked to my mother. I told her I’d never be able to pose for leg photographs again. I worried about my leg modeling career. I worried about my potential marathon career. I feared I’d never have an article written about me, titled, “Leg Model Wins Marathon.” I also worried I’d do something rash on my trip to Guatemala, like sky diving or bungee jumping, which would cause my leg to explode and me to be evacuated in a dramatic helicopter scene.

….

And so, we reach the present-day. Guatemala has come and gone, and while I thought my scar would be my biggest health concern during the trip, it was not. Nothing split open or necessitated medical evacuation.

There were, however, some *other* medical issues.

There’s nothing like a little Dengue Fever to distract yourself from an overreaction to a minor skin procedure and its scar.

Did I actually contract Dengue Fever? Of course not. Did I convince myself I had? Of course.

What our group learned in Guatemala is that one day, you’ll feel fine – you’ll sip strawberry daiquiris and eat side lettuce and wonder why Guatemala gets such a bad rap for its food safety because my God, this food is delicious!

The next day, you’ll feel like an army of trolls is trying to make its way out of your insides. You’ll run five minutes down a lakeside trail to use a nearby public restroom because both toilets in the house where you’re staying will be clogged.

You’ll walk back to the house, feeling “off,” but convinced there’s nothing a little oatmeal and some fresh air won’t solve.

You’ll spend your day in the sun, riding on boats between villages, trying to not act sick. You may even eat an entire Hawaiian pizza, just to prove to yourself how totally not sick you feel.

Then, you’ll get home, and you’ll get in bed with a fever. You’ll ache and feel cold and then hot. You’ll notice a petit bug bite on your cheek. You’ll remember that one time your friend was sick with Dengue Fever. You’ll wonder if Guatemala has a Dengue risk. Because you’ll – unfortunately – have Wi-Fi, you’ll Google such questions, and will discover that yes, Guatemala is, in fact, a Dengue country. What harm could a little Dengue research do to a feverish young woman? Much. Much harm.

You’ll read the symptoms for Dengue and decide that you, too, have been stricken by the D. You’ll text your mom and make her panic. You’ll tell your roommate that the incubation period for Dengue is “three to 15 days,” and that you’ll surely be bedridden for the remainder of the trip. She’ll walk in on you wearing a dramatic mosquito net as a veil, and will laugh openly in your face. You’ll consider what to eat for your last supper. You’ll ask her to bring you back a full fish meal, with cake for dessert, from the group dinner you’ll miss. She’ll do so, kindly, and you won’t touch a bit because you, of course, have the Dengue.

The next morning, much to your surprise, you’ll wake up feeling totally fine. You won’t have a fever. You won’t even have a stomach ache. You’ll smell like someone who sweat through a mosquito net all night, but other than that, you’ll be back to normal.

And so, here is my recommendation: if something, such as a big leg scar, makes you feel at-risk and slightly uncomfortable, simply convince yourself you have a far worse issue plaguing you. Act as dramatic as possible and get everyone around you to worry. Do not consider alternative causes for your discomfort. Let your imagination run wild.

That, my friends, is what I call, “getting some perspective.”

 

 

 

 

 

Powdah

8 Jan

powdah

There are some families that are downhill skiing families. You know the types. They all have their own equipment and they all – yes, all – wear those helmets that have fake fur popping out of them, so they look like they have giant manes sticking out of their helmets, when really – BIG SURPRISE, HERE – they are just wearing: HELMET COVERS WITH TUFTS STICKING OUT OF THEM.

ski-tuft

(A photo, for reference.)

They pack sandwiches with delicious red peppers and copious amounts of deli meats in them, and they all sit around in the lodge and eat chips and drink beer and then somehow manage to get back onto the slopes.

They can be overheard saying things like, “Amazing powdah today,” or, “Billy was shredding up Death Rock but said there was gnarly ice on the West side,” or “It was a fat dirt patch but I 375ed my way around it and landed in a righteous patch of moguls.” (They were all talking stocks and comparing their Forbes covers.)

They know the lift operators and the store vendors. Actually, they know everyone on the mountain. For them, walking into the lodge food court is like walking into your own wedding – you know about 75% of the people there, and to everyone you don’t really know or recognize, you give a knowing nod or wink or high-five and say something like, “It’s a great day out there!” or, “She really is a beaut, isn’t she?” (At your wedding, you’d be referring to your bride, but on the slopes, you’re referring – from what I gather – to the mountain.)

If I sound petty or jealous, it’s because I am both petty and jealous. There is nothing I hate more (except for a ton of other things that I hate, like videos of tiny animals doing shit) than not being “in the know” about something. Ironically, I am usually the last to pick up on things, so I essentially live my life in a prolonged state of frustrated anxiety about not knowing the things that I want to know. (Tiny violin for the slow processing, “fringe” girl.)

My family is a cross-country skiing/hiking/snowshoeing/ reading by the fireplace family. My family has never been a real “downhill skiing family,” and it is one of my biggest, darkest insecurities – one that rears its head for one day every winter.

We go downhill skiing once a year. I don’t mean like one week per year – I mean one day (actually, more like one half-day) per year. We don’t own any equipment, and we always spend the days leading up to our trip up north hobbling together mismatched, old snow pants and winter coats. I usually roll up to the mountain looking half like a six-year-old boy and half like a 1980s college kid who decided to “hit the slopes” with her “guy friends” over a long weekend.

We went up north during the days between Christmas and New Year’s, and we dedicated one day to downhill skiing.

Downhill ski families are usually dressed and in the chairlift line by 9am. At 9am on “downhill ski day,” I was undressed and wondering where I’d put my toothpaste and whether or not I had time to clean my retainer. This may not have created a huge delay for us, if we all owned our own equipment…which, if you remember, we do not.

10am rolls around and all five of us – plus my cousin, Julia – have wandered into the ski rental place. But not the main ski rental place at the base of the mountain…no, no, we decided to rent our skis from “the other guys.” As if there weren’t enough ways for us to not fit in, now we were renting less mainstream equipment?? This is like asking your parents for a Bratz doll for Christmas and instead getting a Carlos Santana CD (because Bratz are “trashy,” but Latin American rock fusion music is the gift that keeps on giving).

I don’t care if you rent your skis from Lindsey Vonn herself – renting equipment is chaos. CHAOS.

Mom needs another size because she has “problematic arches”; Lydia has a phobia of skiing and so is trying on hats, to numb her fears with retail therapy; Dad is missing his wallet (spoiler alert: it’s in his snow pants pocket); Cecelia is too short for average sized poles and so now the hipster snow bunny men need to find her child poles; cousin Julia has forgotten her goggles and is wearing a smelly neck warmer that probably has snot on it from 1996; Sophie has an abnormally large head and is trying on a helmet that is squishing her Jimmy Neutron squash harder than a mom of four squeezing a stress ball. (Never mind the fact that the day before, she’d been hit in the head by a giant log that disconnected from a tree during a lovely winter wonderland walk, and so was painfully struggling to maneuver her lumpy, disfigured squash into said helmet.)

The entire rental scene was enough to make anyone throw in the towel and head to the bar (and by “anyone,” I mean me). But press on we did.

Equipment rented, it was time to drive up to the mountain! We approached the mountain entrance, only to be yelled at by a balding man in a neon vest who claimed they were not allowing any more cars to drive up to the base, and that we’d have to park in the overflow parking.

The “overflow parking” was actually a petit field, stuffed to the brim with confusedly wandering kids and huge Escalades (not too dissimilar from a celebrity kid party, I’d imagine).

My dad kept referring to people as “wide loads” and my mom was waving her arms while still inside the vehicle, apparently expecting people – whose backs were turned away from her – to get the memo and make a path for our car. Shockingly, no one cleared a path.

We finally found a parking spot, before realizing that the ever so convenient “overflow parking” was nearly a mile –downhill– from the base.

Holding all of our gear, we trudged our way up an incredibly icy and snow-covered path. I made a few too many highly insensitive comparison jokes about the Trail of Tears, and then – rightly so – nearly got hit by a rogue, slip sliding Escalade that decided it was above all of us and would just casually drive its way up the trail.

We arrived at the base hours later, totally depleted of protein and completely sweat-covered.

In that moment, we were nothing but renters who’d been forced to walk to the mountain because they hadn’t kicked their asses into high enough gear to get to the mountain on time, and everyone knew it. They could smell it on us, like a parent sniffing weed on a nine-year-old. (Invest in some body spray, you nine-year-old newb!)

And I found myself, once again, with so many unanswered questions about downhill skiing, such as:

  • How can you wear those fucking boots without feeling like you’re stuffing your pudgy feet into cement blocks and attempting to run a marathon?
  • Don’t you mind not being able to pee for long periods of time?? What, do you all have the bladders of camels?
  • Aren’t you fucking freezing? What, are your gloves lined with animal flesh? That is sick.
  • Why are your snow pants so skinny legged and streamlined?? Why are mine so fucking puffy and in the way?
  • Why are you forcing your screaming kid to ski? You heard the girl – she doesn’t want to ski! Leave her alone in the lodge with one of the 700 people you happen to know at this mountain, instead of telling her it’ll be “bed without suppah” if she doesn’t get outside right this instant.
  • Back to the peeing question: how do you not emerge from the stall all sweaty and red faced from peeling off layers of tightly fitting athletic apparel? Honestly, my “stall time” is the most exercise I get all day during a ski trip.
  • Why are you letting your kid poke me with his pole? Did you raise him in a barn? Tell him to get the poker out of my back!
  • Why do the French fries cost $10? Are they magic? Will I, too, be a “shreddah” if I shovel them into my gourd?
  • Why are you sitting alone and knitting at a table for six, when there are about ten million people waiting for a seat in this godforsaken food court?! Unless you’re knitting me a fucking neck warmer that won’t ricochet snot back into my face, I suggest you MOOOVE.
  • Why am I here? How did I let them talk me off of the Nordic trails and onto the Alpine mountains of Hell?

***

This particular half-day of skiing cemented my status as a downhill skiing outsider. But, it also ended with me telling my parents I wanted to do a second downhill day. This may have been due to the fact that one of the hipster snow bunny men grazed my hand while I was returning my skis, and I felt a shot of sexualized adrenaline toward him. It could also have been due to the fact that I’d managed to survive the day, without obtaining any more head injuries. Or, it could have been that my original head injury caused me to confuse downhill skiing with things that I actually do love, like my mom’s meatballs and when I wake up and realize that my hair is clean.

Regardless, I was on a skiing high (which is more than I can say for that poor weed newb of a nine-year-old).

The next day, when 9am rolled around, I forced open one eyelid and checked my phone, which told me that it was 9am and 17 degrees outside.

The cross-country trails were beautiful, that day, thanks for asking.

 

 

 

An Onion Experience

15 Dec

onion

I’m going to be frank: I recently got chased and “spoken to” at a fine art museum – the exact name of which I will not mention, to protect the identities of the guilty – for wandering into the museum restaurant’s kitchen.

Am I proud of this? Well, yes and no.

On the one hand, well-behaved women seldom make history. (Which is what I said to my captor.)

On the other hand, misbehaved women are seldom allowed to stay at classy events…so it’s really a toss up. Making history or hors d‘oeuvres and overpriced Chardonnay…HMMM…

My friends and I set out for this classy event with all of the best intentions. My intentions were (in no particular order): dressing up, wine, dancing, wine, and pizza – the same intentions as any other day of the week.

The dressing and the wine and the dancing were all very easy to accomplish. A little too easy, in fact. Despite having waited for an hour in freezing weather to get into this event, things couldn’t have been going any smoother. But, you know what they say: if things are going too well, then it’s time to break and enter!

Well, maybe “break and enter” is a bit strong. It was more of a “wander and then move aside a barrier and then enter,” type of situation.

Mid-dance, I decided I had to use the ladies room. I inspired my friend, Celery (names have not been changed), to also use the bathroom. I am very inspirational, like that.

As we were looking for the bathroom, I saw a doorway with a big, black plastic barrier in front of it.

OH LOOK, A DOOR THAT IS CLEARLY BLOCKED OFF TO CIVILIANS. Could they beg any harder for someone to break through? That door was clearly flirting with me. I mean, if you want me to come inside, at least ask me to go on a date first!

I can’t tell you what made me think I should scoot through the crack in the barrier and enter into a room where I was clearly unwelcome.

Actually, I can. It was the $4 Pinot Grigio from Trader Joe’s. (Quick plug here: excellent wine at a very good price. “Pay rent AND drink like a fish!” That should be Trader Joe’s new slogan.)

Pinot whispered to the imp on my shoulder, “Go, Sophie. That barrier doesn’t apply to you! Sure, it’s tall and plastic and big enough to be a sled for a family of twelve…but what’s stopping you? The law? Your mom? The patriarchy? TAKE DOWN THAT WALL.”

And so, I – along with Celery, who will probably never, ever listen to me again – slithered past the barrier and entered into the restaurant kitchen of this fine establishment.

No one was in there. I was in an empty industrial kitchen, untethered. This is dangerous for a number of reasons.

Celery and I felt like we’d entered into Ellen DeGeneres’ bathroom and were getting to look at all of her soaps and medicine cabinet contents. (I have no idea what Ellen’s bathroom is like…I just love Ellen.)

We noted the deep sink and the very utilitarian faucet. We appreciated the stature of the oven. We looked for snacks. There were none.

BUT WAIT, WHAT IS THIS?

There, in the corner, was a bag of onions.

Apparently, I love onions. I don’t mean like, oh yum, onions are great when they’re caramelized and on a sandwich…I mean, WOW, I love onions so much that I’ll fondle a bag of them that I find in an industrial kitchen, as if I’ve never seen an onion or a mesh sack in my entire life.

As I was fondling the onions, Celery and I noticed a few kitchen staffers standing at the far end of the kitchen. (It was a huge kitchen.)

This was our queue to go! I dropped the onions and started to make my exit, but NOT before deciding to take just one peek into the fridge on the way out because WHY NOT??

And that was the straw that broke the back of this entire Pinot/curiosity-fueled mission.

“Hey, what are you doing in here? HEY!”

I took off like a rocket. Every cross-country running instinct I’d ever had kicked in, and I flew out of there like an advertisement for American Airlines.

It was a foot race. We – Celery, the staffer, and I – were engaged in a full-on foot race.

I buzzed out of the space we’d created between the wall and the barrier, while Celery took the more genteel approach of plowing right on through the barrier and knocking it over. And do you know who got chased and caught by Mr. Fridge? Take a wild guess.

I’d never been chased by a man before. It was kind of like When Harry Met Sally, except it was more like, When Sophie Met a Bag of Onions and Then Got Chased by a Refrigerator Guard – very romantic and highly cardiovascular, but without the New Year’s Eve kiss and marriage. (Although, who knows!) Norah Ephron would have approved.

When Mr. Fridge caught up with me, he started yelling.

“Why were you in the kitchen?” he yelled.

“I was just looking for the bathroom!”

“But you opened the refrigerator! Why did you do this?”

“I was just looking for the bathroom!” I reiterated.

“In the refrigerator??”

“I was being silly! I’m sorry! Where is the bathroom?”

If you’re impressed by my defense skills and critical thinking under pressure, then please, run – don’t walk – to sign up for my defense attorney services. I was clearly born to be a lawyer.

Mr. Fridge was very, very displeased, and I don’t blame him. We came into his house…on the day of his daughter’s wedding…and we (I) fondled his onions.

All joking aside, I do feel bad about this. I shouldn’t have been in that damn kitchen. (And I am apologizing to every kitchen into which I’ve ever walked.)

Mr. Fridge told us we were allowed to stay, but that we had to use the bathroom that was outside of the event room. Not wanting to make any (more) trouble, we followed his instructions, and ended up at the back of an hour-long re-entry line. Manipulation at its finest.

The next day, as I was recounting the events in my mind, I found a video that my friend, Mushroom, had taken of me, post-onion adventure. I was going on and on about the onions: “There were so many of them! Red, yellow, orange – an onion for every occasion! And the fact that this man would dare to interfere with my onion experience is just…well, it’s just baffling.”

I will never see another onion and not remember that evening. I will also never allow my friends to take me out in public without an adult leash. You never know when an onion mood might strike.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Punched.

2 Nov

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I got in a physical fight this weekend.

Just kidding. But I did get punched.

Still kidding. My roommate, Megan, got punched. I just got shoved. And slightly punched.

Getting shoved while dressed like Cruella de Vil was actually on my bucket list, so things are going incredibly well for me.

There are some situations you can’t imagine happening until they actually happen. Like winning an Oscar. Or winning the World Series. Or being on Leonardo DiCaprio’s yacht. (That was fucking awesome, by the way.)

Getting punched by a girl who’s dressed as a devil is one of those experiences.

Let’s back up.

It was a dark and stormy Hallow’s eve. (It wasn’t stormy but I had been drinking a Dark and Stormy.)

We were innocently minding our business and wandering the streets. I was dressed as a Disney villain who tries to kill dogs, and Megan as Harley Quinn, from Suicide Squad.

And that’s when the Devil emerged and said the insult to top all insults: “Wow, Harley Quinn, real original.”

Did we know this girl? No. Were we wearing signs that said, “Please, questions and comments are welcome! Critiques encouraged”? No. Mine had fallen off on the dance floor. I hadn’t fastened it very well.

So, what possessed her to say this about Megan? It’s unclear.

Maybe we look like fighters? I’ve always wondered if I give off a “pit-bull” kind of vibe…and I don’t mean Pitbull the rapper, because obviously I give off a Pitbull the rapper vibe. (Bald and rapping about thongs. That’s me.) I mean pit bulls, like the dogs that belong to big-bellied men who have yellow stains on their white tank tops. (OK back off, I get it – this is a stereotype.)

But that’s not the point.

The point is that we got punched.

I’m not going to lie to you and say we heard that comment and then skipped away like a couple of dainty Julie Andrews impersonators…These are a few of my favorite things! No. We did not do that. Because that is a Christmas song (for some reason) and that shit doesn’t start until after Thanksgiving.

We may have turned around and given a glare. We may have said, “Yeah, because a devil is so original.”

If life were a movie, and if I were a star, this is the part where I’d pause the action and talk directly to the camera. I’d say something cute and mysterious, like, “Now, here’s where things got crazy,” and you’d think you were watching a fun romantic comedy, and you’d probably be like, “OMG, I didn’t know Kate Hudson died her hair brown! She looks awesome!” And then the action would resume and you’d ever so briefly think you were watching the all-female remake of Ghost Busters…only to realize that you were actually watching the all-female remake of Fight Club.

In this version, Megan was Brad Pitt and I was the little insomniac man who just wanted to be included.

My experience with physical combat is minimal, at best. Growing up in a household of girls, we used to slap each other with bras and fight with our words. Not in a cutesy, “let’s have a pillow fight” way (so all you pervs can stop thinking that). Girls can be vicious. But that was really the extent of the viciousness. (Except for that one time I dared my sister to lick dog pee and she did it.)

Besides this, everything I know about violence came from my drivers education course.

In drivers ed class, they tell you not to have road rage – not because it’s unnecessary, or bad for your health, but because some people might carry crossbows in their vehicles and this might not end well for you. Again, crossbows. This was an actual lesson, taught to me by an actual teacher.

No one ever prepares you to defend your choice of Halloween costume because some young women carry emotional crossbows and might come after you in a very real and very physical way.

These girls came at us. It was fast and it was furious. But it was also all in slow motion.

Devil #1 lunged at Megan like a puma, as I watched in horror, while noting her quick footwork and wondering if she was a dancer. In the time it took for me to register what was happening, she’d already thrown a punch.

Megan is an athlete and she is tall…and she could have really Cross Fitted her way out of this situation, let me tell you. But, she is also rational and intelligent, which really boded well for us in this situation. Because if – God forbid – the cops had shown up, whose alibis were they going to believe? The alibis of a Suicide Squad character who’s known for wielding a baseball bat and an evil, dog-killing woman with half a head of grey hair? Or, the girls wearing black dresses and petit, red devil ears?

Things were escalating rapidly. Suddenly, the Devil had company. Five other devils, actually, which really threw into question this girl’s argument about a Harley Quinn costume…

She had five friends, and I was carrying a stuffed Dalmatian and a plastic cigarette holder…

Some of the Devils were ganging up on Megan, so I decided it would be a really good idea to put all of my fight club training to good use.

My internal – and perhaps external, although it was all a blur of adrenaline – dialogue sounded something like this: PUT ME IN, COACH, I’M READY TO PLAY. FLOAT LIKE A BUTTERFLY, STING LIKE A BEE. IMMA JUMP ON YOU LIKE A SPIDER MONKEY. YOU WANT THE TRUTH? YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH. NO ONE CAN MAKE YOU FEEL INFERIOR WITHOUT YOUR CONSENT. THE ONLY THING WE HAVE TO FEAR IS FEAR ITSELF.

I ran into the ring and tried to pry the Devil’s hands off of Megan. It was all very Exorcist-esque. Except I don’t recall a devilish Snooki being in the Exorcist, nor do I recall her shoving and hitting people on Halloween. But then again, I watched most of that movie with my eyes closed, and she’s a mom now, so we can just live and let live.

The Devil karate chopped my arm and my Kate Spade bangle smacked against my wrist bone.

Let me repeat. MY KATE SPADE BANGLE BRUISED MY ARM DURING A PHYSICAL ALTERCATION. If there has ever been a less cool way to procure a bruise, I would really like to know because honestly, I am one step away from being a Stepford wife.

I bounced back from the blunt force trauma. At which point, a cab driver pulled up and asked if we needed a lift.

I have never been so happy to hop in a cab. Actually, it was a Prius and I’m not sure if he was really a cab driver. (We later had to jump out, when we were told it would be a fixed-rate, cash only ride. But it was exciting to make a getaway.)

So that’s that. I was bruised from my own bracelet and Megan had a few bruises but (luckily) no major injuries.

I probably shouldn’t be joking about this. Street fights are not good.

But I will say this: I could never make it on a reality show. I bruise way too easy.

 

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