After nearly fifteen years wearing glasses, I've finally decided to try contact lenses. My friends have made fun of me for years. But I am slow to adopt change. I was one of those people that thought the internet was a fad. I didn't bother double-clicking that little internet explorer icon until I had a teacher who decided to be savvy and post study guides on SLU's intranet. I don't think I even had an email address until 2003. I like paper letters, I like to seal them with my little wax-embosser stamp of my initials, I like decorating the envelopes with cute designs and depositing them into the big blue USPS box on the corner. I like to make food from scratch. I balance my checkbook the way my mom and grandma did, complete with color-coded highlighting and red-ink checkmarks for checks that have cleared. I'm a dinosaur, and I like it that way.
At this point, another woman comes in the bathroom, surveys the mess I have made with my clothes and kleenex, and asks if I could use some help. I explain that I cannot for the life of me get this damn contact out.
"The other one was so easy," I say through my snot and tears.
"Come here," she says.
I do a backbend onto the bathroom counter to get my face into the light so she can look at my eye. She doesn't see it, but the bathroom is dim. She goes to get Rose, and leaves me to poke around and jump around and motherfuck my way through a few more minutes. When they both return, they pull me out into the hallway where the light is better, leaving my mess behind in the bathroom. Shirley, who sits nearby, comes and joins the party too. So now I am squatting into the position I assume when pooping in the woods (I'm not a giant, but I am taller than these three women, and have to maneuver so they can see into my swollen, scratchy, blood-red eyeball), Lyle, Rose and Shirley are investigating my eyeball, and through my one good eye I notice them all beginning to frown.
"I don't see it," Shirley says.
Rose delivers the final blow. "Its definitely not in there."
"What do you mean, its not in there?" I nearly scream. And Rose - sweet, goodly, devout LDS Rose - is not a woman one yells at. Not unless one wishes to burn in hell for all eternity. Yelling at Rose is akin to stealing a blind man's walking stick, kicking a 3-legged dog, poking a sleeping baby, or any other crime upon the innocent.
"There isn't a contact in your eye, poor thing," she says.
"But I never got it out. I've been poking around in my eye for a half hour and it never came out."
"Well then, it probably never went in, genius," Lyle quips. Because Lyle's a smartass.
They inform me that I need to find the contact, because it will shrivel up and die like a fish out of water. I skip my lunch date with Rose and drive home and find the little piece of shit all curled up like the world's tiniest taco on my bathroom counter. Which explains the fuzzy vision and the reason my left eye was so mysteriously comfortable all day.
That is, until I spent thirty minutes ramming my fingernails into its flesh.
That said, the recent election and passage of Proposition 8 has soured me considerably on the Church. Not the people, mind you, but the Church. Though it was people who contributed $20 million to support a measure denying equal rights to homosexuals. I suppose I just don't understand why a Church would spend so much time and money and effort lobbying to curtail civil rights for other people. Especially when those other people are homosexuals that the LDS Church doesn't want in its membership anyway. Oh, that's not the official tack, of course. The official stance is something along the lines of the bullshit the Catholic Church espouses too: We aren't against homosexuals. We are against homosexual acts. And thus basically condemning any homosexuals who would like to be a part of the church to a life of celibacy, or guilt. And in the case of the LDS church in particular, a life of lies - if you'd like to enter a temple anyway, or make it to the 3rd level of heaven, or ever get to puppetteer your own planet.
The rhetoric flying around was all about how gay marriage threatens families and children. Now, I'm not really sure how allowing homosexuals the right to marry one another will threaten families or children. Gay people already live together, raise children together, live in communities with other non-gay families and children. Are they threatening the other families and children in their communities? If we allow them to legally marry, will they somehow become MORE of a threat to the families and children in their communities? The way I see it, the only thing threatening children is bigotry born of fear and hatred. Energy is cumulative and contagious, and spreading fear and hate only creates more fear and hate.
And why? This is the part I will never understand. Why do these religious people - who assume the name of Jesus in the name of their Church - Jesus who loved EVERYONE, who hung out with the lepers and freaks and outcasts of society, Jesus the kindest new-age radical who ever walked his hemp-clad sandals across the planet - why do they fear homosexuals?
Homosexuality isn't going away, people. EVER. It's been around since ancient Greece (where it was accepted, oh how we've devolved...), and it will be around until we annhialiate our planet into oblivion. It exists in the rest of the animal kingdom as well. It is a natural part of life for all creatures, just as GOD created them. It is not a choice. Just like skin color isn't a choice. It cannot be shushed away or counselled out.
The only choice we should be talking about is the choice to do what is right, the choice to truly love our neighbor, to treat others as we would like to be treated, to do no harm, to make Jesus proud.
I am: going to preface this whole thing by admitting that I am bad at these sorts of lists of prompts to talk about yourself. Because there are a hundred thousand things that I am, but how do I decide what to say? It boils down to being mostly a reflection of the things that are on my mind at the moment I answer the prompts. But, whatever. Now you can have a little glimpse into my world at 9:30 a.m. on a Thursday at work. Hey, maybe I just should have said "long winded."
I think: It is crazy that a lot of people I come into contact with in my daily life are more upset, vocal, and mobilized over gay marriage (case in point: the LDS church has raised over $19m to defeat Prop 8 in California) than they are about the TWO WARS THAT HAVE BEEN RAGING FOR YEARS, IN WHICH TENS OF THOUSANDS OF INNOCENT PEOPLE HAVE DIED, AND CONTINUE TO DIE, EVERY DAY.
I know: very little. I'm fairly sure that all of the beauty and nuance and grace of life comes from a humble acceptance of the fact that I actually know very little. I don't have the answers, I'm not really sure there are any definite answers anyway, and I certainly don't want them even if there are. I enjoy living my way through the questions.
I dislike: "ists" and "isms." Racists/racism. Sexists/sexism. Classists/classism. Bigots. Small minded myopic judgmental assholes. Especially when said small-minded myopic judgmental assholes attempt (and they always do!) to institutionalize and/or control everyone else based upon their values/belief systems/etc. and their misguided notions that their values/belief systems are RIGHT for everyone. Hey assholes, how about you go make yourselves miserable however you see fit, and leave the rest of us alone? How about that?
I fear: more than I should. I wish I could just stop worrying about things I don't have any control over and/or things that haven't yet, and might never, transpire. But, since I can't, and I continue to worry, my main fears can be categorized under the larger umbrella of mediocrity - that I will never really become something that I am proud of (ie, freelance writer, humanitarian, citizen of the world, beholden to noone and nothing with which I disagree, self-sustaining, etc.) and that I will while away my best years working for someone else in a flourescent box at a computer that gives me headaches and ganglion cysts. That life is too short, that I will miss out on the most beautiful pleasures life has to offer like seeing grizzlies feasting on spawning salmon in the middle of nowhere, jumping out of a plane, getting hazy smelling poppies in Asia.... these are all pretty much related fears of never being able to create the kind of life I envision for myself.
I feel: as if I am being looked out for or taken care of by the Universe, or some higher power, or my dead grandma, or something. (Again, I don't purport to know the answers.) I feel abudance in my life, I feel like the things I want and need are coming to me and life is easier for the first time maybe ever. I feel incredibly grateful for these blessings, like I should send a thank you card to the Universe. THANK YOU.
I hear: and then I forget. I am the master of forgetting someone's name a nanosecond after they've said it. I listen to people's stories and dramas and prattling on and sometimes they bring it up again and its like I was never there the first time. This can get me in trouble. I need to work on my listening skills.
I smell: the stench of the Salt Lake before a storm more intensely than everyone I know in this town. Does it really not bother you all? Or are you just faking in order to make the best of it? I mean, as disgusting as that smell is, I can endure it for the mountains and snowboarding and the beauty of this place. It is definitely worth it. But seriously, it triggers my vomit reflex.
I crave: cigarettes. Though I do not smoke them. Anymore. Ok, confession time: I've been an on-and-off closet smoker since high school. Waaaay back in the closet, with the mothballs and the dusty old shoes you forgot you owned. Only my very closest girlfriends knew. Not my fam, not my acquaintances or coworkers, not my ex-boyfriend I dated for 4 years. Nobody. In retrospect, despite how careful I was and how adept I felt I'd become at masking the smell with my post-cig Orbit/Zum Rub/Aveda spray combo, I'm not sure how some of those people didn't know. No matter now, I've quit. I'm on day four without a smoke, and am incredibly proud of myself. It has not been easy. Yesterday was a DARK DAY. I cried more times than I could possibly recount. I pretty much cried all day. I took a bath to try and calm down and do something for myself, and I cried through my entire bath. So lame. But, this is the price I pay for being a fucking idiot and I deserve it. I deserve to suffer after punishing my body for so many years. I feel a bit like I've lost a dear friend though. There is a void, and I'm trying to figure out how to fill it.
I cry: a lot right now, per previous paragraph. I cry when I am angry or frustrated or thwarted in my best efforts. I cry sometimes without really knowing why. I cry when I'm overwhelmed. And I cried when I saw the Tetons for the first time, and I still cry every time I hear Damien Rice's live album. I do not, however, cry very often at movies or commercials or at times when other people are crying. And then I feel like a big insensitive beast.
I usually: am in a good mood; am an optimist; am running late; cook dinner; am nice to people even if I don't like them; curse too frequently; talk too much; could stand to hustle a bit; see the best in others; forget to brush my teeth before bed; forget a lot of things I shouldn't forget.
I wonder: about the kind of person Elise will be as an adult. Some days I wonder if I am fucking her up with every move I make. As a parent, I find it incredibly difficult to see the child that everyone else sees sometimes. I wonder if I'm too hard on her. I wonder if I should be doing more, nagging less, exercise patience more regularly. And then I wonder if it really matters. She has a stable home and a family that loves her and a big goofy dog that snuggles in her bed on weekend mornings. So that's probably enough, right?
I regret: all the times in my life that I've hurt people. Not that I ever try to hurt people, but I know there have been instances when my dumbass decisions have inadvertently hurt people. Otherwise though, I have very few regrets; every single thing I have done in my life thus far has led me to this moment, and I am fuller and happier and enjoying my life more than I ever have before.
I love: to ramble on and attempt to sound poetic and answer questions such as this with something along the lines of, "I love to watch the sunrise over the mountains," or some other such nonsense. But the truth is, I love my daughter and my dog and my family and my close friends and I can't remember the last time I woke up early enough to see the sun rise. I am likely on my way to loving someone new, but will leave it at that for now.
I care: less and less about this silly post now that I've just noticed I have about 45 more prompts to answer. Good lord. Who comes up with this stuff? However, since I've come this far, I'll attempt to remain true to form here. I care about human rights, about treating people with respect and dignity and taking care of people who are less fortunate. Call me a hippie. See if I care. (I don't.) Yes, I am the girl who will always give money to the strangers that ask for it on the train platform. And yes, I do realize they could use my money to buy crack or alcohol. But, here's where we have something I don't care AT ALL about. Because, (1) it is no longer my money, and (2) if I was homeless, I might want to smoke crack or buy a 40 oz. too. And I'd be damn pleased when a nice lady gave me a few bucks and smiled and told me good luck. And then I'd go buy a 40 oz. to numb the pain and monotony that is sleeping on a street, or in a shelter. Every. Single. Day.
I always: dislike superlatives. Sorry. Don't really have an answer for this one because there isn't something I always do. And even if I could think of something I nearly always do, if I commit it to writing you know I'll forget to do it tomorrow and fuck myself completely over.
I am not: prompt. Case in point, I began this post last Thursday morning. It is now Tuesday evening, and I'm attempting to finish this damn thing so I can post something about the ELECTION in which we will replace the moronic administration that has been steering this sinking ship of a country for the last eight years with Captain Obama. Aye Aye Sir!
I remember: three lifetimes ago when I started filling in this flipping tag-your-blogger-friends-thingie. Oh, sorry readers. Things are devolving here, I know.
I sing: a LOT. I sing in the shower, I sing in the car, I sing when I'm cleaning, I sing when I'm working, I sing to music that's playing, I sing when there's no music playing. I love to sing. And it drives Elise absolutely CRAZY. Which makes it even more fun.
I don't always: listen very well. I mentioned this already I think. Because its just that true, it requires mentioning twice. This is one of those flaws about myself that I am painfully aware of, but somehow unable to remedy with any success. I recognize it frequently, and then I think, "Ok, I MUST work on this. I suck at listening. I really appreciate good listeners, so I should try to be better at this for the people I care about in my life." And I really mean it in that moment when I have that discussion with myself. And then life creeps back in and the next time I have an opportunity to be a good listener, I inevitably fuck it up again. Ah well. Can I blame it on my parents?
I write: damn fine essays but can't come up with interesting fiction. Always been that way. It bums me out a bit, but I've come to just accept it. I'm not a fiction commer-upper. Ask me to analyze a work of literature as it relates to some particular historical moment and I'll knock your damn socks off. Ask me to tell you a bedtime story and I'll put you to sleep with my long string of "um......" Because I won't be able to think of anything. I am not necessarily creative by nature. I'm a good commenter. A pundit. I guess I can tell a story if it happened and I was there. But otherwise, it's a big empty hole in my brain where the creative writing should be, and the sad crickets chirrup in echo....echo....echo....
I win: ----Ok, I was going to say I never win anything. I don't. I'm not lucky. I can't remember ever winning anything except once at a weird TV promotion when I won a $50 gift certificate to the grocery store. Which I really needed, actually, because I was 18 and broke and writing bad checks for food so my baby didn't starve. BUT - I interrupt this rambling to report an actual win - BARACK OBAMA has won the election, and will be the 44th President of the United States of America. Now I feel like I've won something. Oh my god.
[Short interlude for sobbing tears of joy.]
I can usually be found:
I am happy:
See, no need to finish. These are all nice little straightforward and true sentences. Now go drink some champagne and toast the ch-ch-ch-changes!
However, I am home for lunch at the moment and downloading 8 months worth of pics off my camera. So, stay tuned for a photo-montage style Ode to Summer 2008, and another installment in the always popular My Neighbor is a Douchebag series (complete with a scanned letter the offending neighbors left for the very non-offensive neighbors who live below them). And perhaps an update on the more specific reason I've been less inclined to post these past few weeks...
Oh, and at Walgreens yesterday an irate tranny threw an irate-tranny-fit at the pharmacist for not selling her a box of syringes. Pit bull in tow (at what point did retailers stop prohibiting non-service animals? Not that I care, but really, have I missed something? Because I'm sure Rascal would love to accompany me into Walgreens rather than wait in the car), "fuck you's" flying around, man-calves and sexually ambiguous tattoos ablazin. Good times! And we all know how much I love those kinds of things.
Mom, my brother Matt and niece Katherine come to visit. Mom entertains us all with her mad-hula-hooping skills in the front yard. We get some photo ops on top of the SLC Library, and later, we all head to Lagoon for my work's "Lagoon Night" party. Much fun was had until Katherine puked up her dinner in the middle of a big crowd of people.
Shortly after the visit from my fam, my best friend Molly came to visit me all the way from Brooklyn, to alleviate my loneliness once Elise left for the summer. Because we had each recently left our boyfriends and were nursing fresh wounds, her mother, who is wonderful, bankrolled a fantastic day and night at Snowbird for us, complete with lobster dinner and lovely bottle of wine at The Aerie, massages, and time spent on the rooftop pool. Where we laid sunbathing in bikinis and watching snowboarders carve out the last few bits of slush left on the mountain on the summer solstice.
Elise left to visit her dad in Colorado in mid-June, so I spent a good deal of the summer months playing single-gal, and trying to figure out what all of my single, child-less friends are talking about when they say they're "so busy..." It was incredibly lonely at first, but then I met this amazing woman named Karan at the dog park, who quickly became my newest, bestest friend.
Before meeting Karan, I spent a lot of time painting and decorating my new house. Picked this nice green and awesome and cheap IKEA curtains for the dining room. The big brown blog would be my dog, who spends hours staring out that window at the neighbor's cat, who sits in a window directly opposite.
Hiking up Millcreek with Karan and five dogs on a hot and sunny afternoon:
Free concerts at the Gallivan on Wednesday nights are still one of my favorite things about SLC. This year I skipped the Roots, but got to see Andrew Bird (pictured), De La Soul, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, and my personal favorite, Neko Case (also pictured, albeit a crappy photo from my cell phone). Plus, the shows I missed I was able to listen to from the comfort of my backyard...
And, because Salt Lake is THE home of the free concert, I was also able to see one my new favorite bands, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, rock the canyon walls on a gorgeous evening up at Snowbird. For free. Oh yes.
Sunset over the western mountains of SLC, from an impromptu pool party my friend Richy took me to. Dogs played fetch in the pool, deliciousness cooked on the barbie, and I realized I wasn't lonely anymore.
August began with another trip home to St. Louis for my best friend Kelcey's wedding. Crazy fun whirlwind of a trip, wherein I got to see loads of people I miss like mad. Including Ariel, my best friend who lives in the UK, and Billy, sweet and silly Billy, one of my favorite friends in St. Louis.
Chelle & Billy reunion:
Elise and Ariel, gettin their Lou on at a Cardinal's baseball game:
At Kelcey & Matt's rehearsal dinner. Or, to be precise, at the cocktail party following the dinner. My bestest girlfriends in the entire world, my special tribe of women whose friendship has never waned in 15 years since we all met in high school. The handsome chap in the center is Matt, the groom.
And finally, Elise returns home after 8 weeks away and my life returns to normal. The minute we walked in the door from the airport she threw down her things and snuggled up with the dog, whom I'm pretty sure she missed more than me:
"I just can't handle the smell in the lobby," I say.
"Oh," he says. "I guess I never noticed."
"Do you work here?" I ask.
"Yeah, for the Commission."
"And you NEVER noticed that it smells like b.o. right here?"
"B.O.? Really?" He's honestly surprised and thoughtful for a moment. "Hmm. Nope, I'm probably just immune."
At which point I realize I don't like this guy. Mainly because he started a conversation with me that required me to breathe the b.o. air rather than the Downy-freshness of my sleeve, and then just rubs it in further by being all nonchalant about this VILE, RANCID LOBBY OF DEATH. Like I'm the crazy one. No guy, maybe the acrid stench of this lobby has burned out all of the cells inside your nose, but I am NOT crazy. It could win "Stinkiest Lobby in the Entire World" contests. That's how damn stinky.
Anyway. So it was that kind of day. But I did get some new and fantastic bras from my neighbor, which was a total score. And - major development - I'm writing this from my home computer (old girl's still chugging along, if a big sluggish), after finally buying the wireless card and bribing the downstairs neighbor with a poster of Salt Lake from the '70's that I found at Sam Weller's (they're pretty cool, and only $5.00!) to come and do the hi-tech savvy stuff that I can never figure out. So now we're all up and running and I am able to really ramble (watchout!) as I look at my view of the Capitol all lit up at night just out the windows behind the monitor. Ahh. Life is nice and calm up here in my little computer room in the little city so far away from the life I used to know...
I don't even know what that means. Sorry. I heard a little Tom Petty on the classic-rock-radio in the copy room this morning and all day now I've been repeating lyrics in conversation as the songs roll through my brain. This is the danger of the copy room. You go in there to make one innocent copy and for three days you're singing Janie's Got a Gun without ever knowing what happened.
And then somehow you find that your life is so incredibly lame that you are taking a few minutes at work to write on your blog, and you're writing about work. Because you are trapped in a terrifying mirrored bubble where work looms omnipresent at all times, stretching into the vast horizon of your bleak, bleak future...
But that's depressing, huh?
What I really came here to write was the ONE interesting thing that happened to me this weekend. Yes, there was really only one noteworty moment in 48+ hours. Because Karan was on a kayak trip that nearly killed her and I don't have any other friends that I actually hang out with in this town. So this is a story about strangers. Go fucking figure.
Saturday I venture out to Lowe's for some paint for the kitchen, hinges for some doors, curtain brackets, etc. It was project weekend, because that's what I do when I have no life. This incredibly dorky, splotchy-faced, bright-eyed young fellow assisted me to the curtain bracket aisle and was really just overly sweet and helpful. When I go to checkout, his checkout line is the shortest, so I get in it. And promptly realize why no one was in that line, despite the two other open registers having lines spilling back into the power drill department. The man and woman in his line - she middle-aged and obese, he late-twenties and moderately attractive, both emanating an unmistakable white-trash aura, despite being clad and accessorized with all the trappings of middle-to-upper class American consumer culture. You know what I mean, yes? The hard-living types who have enough money to dress and purchase and live, superficially at least, like "the rest of us."
Ok, I officially feel like an asshole.
Except not that much, because THEY are the assholes of this story. Not quite mother-son, not quite romantic-duo, these two shared an intimacy, and apparently a fifth of whiskey or ten, that was PALPABLE in the checkout aisle at the home improvement warehouse. As I stand there assessing them, judging them, imagining the trajectories of their lives - for a good three to four minutes, mind you - I realize that all of their purchases have been rung and are in the bags, ready to go. All that remains is for them to PAY FOR THEM AND LEAVE. Which, I suspect due to the fact that they spent the morning, and perhaps the previous evening, drinking copious amounts of whiskey (the smell is the giveaway on this one), was exceedingly difficult for them to accomplish. She's rooting around in her purse for much too long looking for, I can only assume, her wallet. But no, she's actually looking for her phone.
The phone cannot pay for your PVC connectors honey. Get your fucking wallet out already.
This is what I want to say, but do not, because my mother raised me to be good and Catholic and demure and to hold all my rage inside and never ever ever ever let it out.
She pulls out the phone, opens it, looks through a few screens, says to her companion, "Did Tracy ever text you?" He shakes his head negatory. "That bitch needs to get on the horn already! I can't get anything done until she gets on the damn horn. GOD!" Then she starts to cackle. He's cackling. He's undoing and redoing his belt buckle for who the hell knows what reason. She pokes him in the arm, "Are you even listening to me? I don't even know why I ask, you never listen." They're both cracking up. Because apparently this is hilarious.
And the poor Lowe's guy just stands there, not having any idea what is going on or what, if anything, to do about it. He opts for my frequent favorite: the do-nothing-and-hope-things-don't-end-badly-option. He looks at me, I give a faint shrug and small smirk that says I feel for you buddy. And meanwhile the insanity rages on, unabated.
Suddenly, the lights come on.
"Hey, you better find your wallet in there so we can PAY for this stuff! Ha ha ha haaa!" He is not drunk enough that he cannot re-fasten his belt while doubled-over in laughter.
"Shit! I forgot what we were even doing! Haaaaa!!" She roots around in her purse.
And just when I think this little episode couldn't get any more entertaining - frankly I was not expecting much delight in my trip to Lowe's - the Universe, perhaps sensing my recent battle with a gripping personal malaise, offered up a little something to make my fucking day. And yes, I realize it may be a little sick that I take delight in these things, but I don't have a whole hell of a lot going on these days, so just give me this.
After another good minute of purse-rooting, she finds the wallet, and swipes the card. And swipes again. And swipes again. She is doing something wrong.
"Just swipe it one more time and if it doesn't go through I can type the number in," says geeky-sweet Lowe's guy. She goes to swipe. And the drunk guy PUNCHES the Lowe's guy! Right in the ribs that protect his fragile Lowe's-guy heart. And this was no sloppy-drunk-on-a-Saturday-morning little skin grazer. It was a full-on, BRUTAL hit that knocked Lowe's guy backwards at least a meter or more. I think it was probably meant to be playful (in the convoluted consciousness of drunk-man-on-a-Saturday-morning), but was executed with much more fervor than originally intended. If there ever was an original intention.
My mouth is hanging open, I'm sure. Lowe's guy's mouth is hanging open as he regains his posture and shakes it off. And drunk guy, pretty much immediately, says, "I'm sorry man. I don't even know why I did that! Ha!"
"Um-" Lowe's guy doesn't really know what to say. I mean, he's awkward enough to begin with, and shit like this just doesn't help.
"I have Tourette's."
FUCK YOU!" Once again, executed with too much zeal, so now everyone in every aisle has whipped around to see. "Ha ha ha! No, not really man. I'm just kidding. Ha ha ha!"
At this point their transaction has been processed and Lowe's guy is handing them their bags of merch. Drunk Lady is laughing so hard she can't even really function, so Drunk Guy, who is still standing directly across the scanner from Lowe's guy, picks up the bags and yells, "FUCK YOU FUCKFACE!"
And as they walk toward the sliding doors, he turns back around to Lowe's Guy and says, "Gotcha!"
I'm thinking my three devoted readers might be wondering why there have been no new posts lately, and so I offer this hastily-penned explanation: I'm busy. Busy as hell, actually, at the job (yes, I AM posting while at said job, in a futile, desperate grab for a few moments of sanity). Now, I had been bitching about being bored and how lame my job was just weeks ago. So, yes, being busy is a welcome change from the monotony of internet-surfing and intermittent discussions I had been having with myself in an attempt to decide whether or not I should venture into the break-room in search of the one, sad, broken-handled bread knife that I might use to chop off an unnecessary appendage just for something to fucking do.
But oh jesus and mary maybe I should have been careful what I wished for. I'm so buried these days that when I went to the restroom at work this morning I realized I hadn't been in there since last week. Too busy to pee! And while it sure is nice to be needed and appreciated and all that, I have turned into a total space cadet. My brain spins fast and furious for 7.5 hours every day, and the rest of my waking hours are spent in complete mental disarray. So unlike my anal Virgo self, I have found myself in the last 3 days spending way too much time looking for my keys, trying to remember where I've left my flip-flops, re-washing towels (3 times now, apologies to Mother Earth) that I forgot were in the washer until the smell of mildew filtered out from the laundry room, and - to my daughter's constant amusement - looking for glasses that were on my head.
Would love to report something (anything!) else, but sadly my life has taken a turn for the bleak, and its time to get back to work anyway.
By way of introduction to this new and exciting addition, I offer the following, culled from http://www.topdouchebag.com/ (worth a look-see when you're dying to waste a few moments):
what's a douchebag? A person almost completely lacking in social awareness, yet believes they are Casanova defined. Extreme inflated sense of self worth. Commonly seen with popped collars, pink dress shirts or overly tight jeans. [EMPHASIS ADDED]
Now, just because this is the first post in the My Neighbor is a Douchebag segment, by no means is it the first instance of his douchebaggery. It is, however, a lovely representation, and fits quite perfectly with the definition above.
So the neighbor - let's call him Dick (perfect in so many ways), and his common-law wife Jane, live in the other large unit in our 4-plex. It was originally one of those old double-homes, basically a main house (mine), with a townhome attached (theirs) that share a vertical wall. These days both of our basements have been renovated into little garden apartments, making the whole building a 4-plex. Anyway, background really at this point - though the set-up comes into play into many of the other myriad tales I could spin in here. But we'll stick to last Friday.
I'm standing outside, and notice Dick walking down the street with his laptop and some books and papers. (They are both PhD English professors at the University here.) I've noticed him doing this regularly as of late, and supposed he was going to a coffee shop or something. Until I walked down the street myself recently and saw him working on his laptop in the nearby church parking lot. Sitting on the asphalt. No blanket or chair. Just sitting there working away. Curious. So Friday he's walking toward the church and I ask if he goes down there for wireless or something.
"Oh no," he says. "It's just so LOUD in our apartment during rush hour that I can't get any work done."
Now, I would like to point out that while we do live less than a mile from the capitol and downtown, this is a quiet, residential neighborhood. In Salt Lake City. Not the most bustling, cosmopolitan metropolis you've ever visited, by far. And Dick and Jane keep their windows shut and the swamp cooler pumping 24/7, even on the nicest days. So I'm not really sure how the minuscule amount of traffic on 3rd Ave. during "rush hour" can keep his well-oiled PhD brain machine from concentrating. But apparently it is an issue for Dick. (One of many.)
Whatever. That's not even the best part.
I ask how he's faring without his lady around, as Jane is in Chicago for a few weeks working on her book.
"Oh, alright I guess. The cat's depressed. I'm just not enough for him, he misses Jane, and he makes that pretty clear to me."
"Well, at least school's starting up next week," I offer. "What do you teach again?"
Melodramatic groan from Dick. "Renaissance Lit. Shakespeare."
"You're not looking forward to going back?"
"Oh. You don't enjoy teaching?" I ask. I love Renaissance lit, I nearly offer. But don't.
(I continue conversation with a proven douchebag because I am an idiot. But that's a whole other segment.)
"You know," he begins, in his most whiny, lamenting, let-me-attempt-to-explain-something-to-you-pleb tone, and then trails off, formulating either his thoughts or a dumbed-down way to explain said thoughts to me, his degree-less single-mother of a neighbor.
He begins again. Incredibly thoughtful. "You know, it's a lot like being an astrophysicist. You get three months out of the year to work on your groundbreaking theories on the time-space continuum or an analysis of string theory, and then the rest of the year you have to go back to teaching kindergartners how to tell time."
Exactly what "groundbreaking theories" on Renaissance literature he's been working on this summer I didn't dare ask. Because I was sure that if I opened my mouth I'd laugh in his eerily ass-resembling face.
I thought, "Oh, perfect, I'll stop and get a picture and put it on my blog!" So I stop, and it turns out there are people on the porch - a middle-aged couple and what I assume were their two grandchildren. So I ask if I can take a picture of their flowers, and just as they say "Sure," my dog jumps out of the car window and into their front lawn, tearing across their yard, hopping the wrought-iron fence into the neighbors yard, knocking all manner of crap over and generally causing the most enormous ruckus ever. As I run over the side yard to try and corrall him in, he slips past me and back onto their front porch and into their house! Luckily they were exceedingly chill and laughing the entire time, and the grandkids thought it was the coolest thing ever.
But this is what happens when he sees a cat. Or a skateboarder (see previous post). Otherwise he is such a great dog, but oh my god I want to smack his face so hard when he does shit like this. Except then I look at his face and am filled with love for this insanely goofy hairy beast that makes my life a big old floppy dirty crazy adventure. Sigh.
Oh, and check out the flowers - H Street somewhere between 4th & 7th Ave, on the West side of the street. You can't miss 'em.
But sometimes you just have a total SHIT day and no amount of tiny humanesque peanuts will erase it. Like mine, this past Friday. It all began Thursday evening, with an uber-rude text from the ex-boyfriend and a bunch of uber-annoying texts from stereo-stalker (more on this, below). Though it didn't dampen my cheery mood as Thursday night was girls-dinner at my place. ALWAYS good for the soul. --- So, Friday. I get to work and pen an email to the ex asking (as I've asked at least a thousand times over the past four months) for some space and privacy and for him to respect me enough to leave me alone. Receive a nasty email in response, prompting me to, like a dumbass, engage with yet another email in return. What exactly these nasty emails were about, I'm not even sure. I can't bring myself to go back and read them because they're hurtful and awful and I don't want any of that in my life. I do know that I was so upset and confused and pissed off and freaked out that I ended up sending him an email telling him I hated him, and listing off a good fifty or so reasons why, complete with examples of his poor treatment of me throughout the course of our relationship. I think I thought it would make me feel better. But it didn't. It made me feel all of the pain I used to feel when those things happened, and then have to go hide in the bathroom at work and cry and throw up my lunch.
Also, Friday, I was being bombarded with texts from stereo-stalker - this ridiculous guy that I bought a stereo from on Craigslist who I owe $18.00 to. Yes, you read that right: eighteen dollars. And he is HOUNDING me. "I really need that money, can you leave it on your porch?" Um, sorry, you really need eighteen dollars? Dude drives a brand new Audi, just moved to California and lived with his parents for a few months, decided to move back, owns a clothing company (local, sure, but still)... I mean, he's an artist, but I seriously don't think he's a starving artist. Just a STALKER. I told him I thought his fervent attempts to get his money were just a ruse to try and see me again (which he has been attempting since I bought the stereo from him in JUNE). And then he sends a nasty text saying he never wants to see me again but he wants his money, can he come over in an hour? Sorry asshole, it's girls night and no, I'm not making a special trip to the ATM for your fucking $18.00. I responded that he needed to send me his address and I would mail him his money, and after I ignored his next 10 texts about coming over, he finally sent the address. As of today, he hasn't contacted me since. So maybe I finally have one guy that I don't want to talk to who will actually leave me alone.
A smattering of other crap that happened Friday: Secretary at work is leaving, Friday is her last day. I've been assigned one of her attorneys to support in her absence. So I'm thinking Friday I will get my own desk clean and organized and ready to begin working for this attorney on Monday. But apparently she decided that I would report for duty on Friday, because she hadn't done much of anything to prepare for her departure. So I did ALL of his work on Friday, and had all of her disorganized crap dumped on my desk, plus all of my own work. So I'm swamped and trying not to cry all day and was here until 6:30. On a Friday.
So I get home and decide to take the dog for a relaxing walk over to Memory Grove/City Creek. All is well until we're way up in the canyon/creek and Rascal hears some skateboarders on the paved road above us. He tears off up the bank and onto the road to chase them, and I hear them all shouting "Oh, shit! Whoa! Get away dog!" And I'm yelling "STOP!" but they can't hear me and aren't stopping. The bank is too steep for me scramble up, so I have to run all the way back down the creek trail until I can cut over to the road, nearly knock some woman who is meditating off a bridge and into the creek, get up onto the road and these guys still haven't stopped, and are all the way down at the end near where the road goes into the neighborhood (and there is traffic). So I'm screaming for them to stop, lose a flip flop and keep running, and tear the hell out of the bottom of my foot. Finally, they stop and my dog just comes right on back, smiling at me when he gets there, like "Hey, look what I did! I chased those scary rolling men away!"
So at this point I just sit down on the grass and cry.
And then my friend Richy calls and asks if I want to go get dinner. I'm not sure I'm in much of the mood for anything, but knew what I really wanted was a hug, and I wasn't going to get that sitting around my house alone feeling sorry for myself. So we decide on Charlie Chow's, which I did not have high hopes for at all. And it was AWESOME. You get to make your own chinese food! And then they cook it and bring it to your table! And then you get to do it AGAIN! And so we did that a few times, watched the Olympics while we ate and got to see Phelps win his 7th medal. All of which was very exciting for me because I don't have TV and so haven't seen one ounce of the Olympics. And I had a nice big glass of wine and Richy made me laugh and suddenly I realized I felt a hell of a lot better.
And then we took his motorcycle up into the foothills, and some sort of magical mystery mix of wind-in-my-hair and arms around Richy and amazingly gorgeous evening with fall breezes blowing in just sort of cleansed me. We parked and hiked around through the tall grasses under the nearly full moon and saw all of the lights of the city and the outline of the Wasatch and everything was all blue and shimmery and perfect for however long we were up there. At one point he jumped out from behind a tree and scared the living hell out of me and I jumped and screamed and suddenly we were laughing so hard we nearly fell on the ground. And with that, it was a new day. Even at the end of a shit one.
The lights of our fair city, from the foothills above the Aves:
Richy under a full moon.
Watching the clouds roll by...
But that's not really what I came here to write at all, actually. Although I'm not sure what I came to write exactly. I have so many stories from my wedding weekend in St. Louis, and my following wedding weekend in Salt Lake. Three weddings in one week - a record for moi. Has made me a bit glum, actually, as I reflect on the fact that of all the boyfriends I've had, serious and not-so-serious, I have never once come close to feeling like I could marry a one of them. Never. Felt that way for a bit with the most-recent-ex, but upon moving in together quickly realized the trainwreck a marriage would be and thus gave up on the idea entirely. I'm not terrified of being a lonely spinster or any such nonsense they tend to pound into young women's brains in the Utah environs (Don't worry Michelle, you're still young and cute. You don't even look your age. Still young enough to have more children too. - this is the bullshit some co-workers & neighbors said to me after leaving the boyfriend, in an attempt, I suppose, to assuage my sadness. Thanks assholes. But no thanks.), but the whole idea of being that in love with someone, of it being that right, just seems about a thousand light years away. At all three of the weddings I went to, I saw how wildly full of love the grooms were for their brides, how proud to be committing to a life together, how amazingly, soul-wrenchingly happy they were.
And that makes me happy. Happy for these friends of mine, happy that there is more love being made in the world, being poured out into the energetic fabric of our time. As war rages on in Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, Georgia, god knows we need it. So I'm not quite sure from where my personal ennui springs... maybe just that I'd like someone to look at me like that someday.
Correction: I'd like someone that I am crazy about to look at me like that someday, and return his loving gaze in equal measure. Because for christssakes I don't need any more unrequited crazies gazing longingly in my direction, or any more mullet-crowned men's unsolicited advances, or any more weird stalkers. I'm sorry, but just because I made out with you once does not mean I want to talk to you again. I'm not quite sure in this 21st century where all of the confusion lies. I do know that I receive a lot of attention that I do not want. And very little attention that I do.
So perhaps the crazy-cat-lady life awaits me after all. At least I'll get to sit on park benches and poke people with my cane.
Have a great week everybody - I'm sure I'll have stories galore to tell upon my return!
Just wanted to give a little shout out to Lenitech Snow & Skate in Salt Lake City for being awesome. When I went in last weekend to look at boards, the owner and his wife both spent lots of time with me, explaining about the different boards they still have in stock, and asking what I was looking for in a board. When I explained that I just learned to ride last year and that I pretty much sucked until the last few days I was on the mountain (when, out of nowhere, the sky parted, the sun shone down, angelic music filled my ears, and everything just clicked...), they then explained all sorts of stuff for me, measured me to see what length would work, and were just generally really friendly and helpful.
Being the hard-core shredder that I am, I of course fell for the best-looking board. But it just so happened that this O-Matic was perfect, cute but not-too-girly, exactly my size, and just the right amount of give and pop for what I am going to do (ie, not much) on it. When the owner (I wish I could remember his name - sorry guy!) realized I was almost on board (tee hee), he promised to sell me any board in the shop for $200. So that pretty much made my decision right there - a super sweet $400 board for $200? Oh yes I will. And I did.
Look for me tearing up the greens and blues this winter kids! I'll be the girl on this rad board, falling down a lot.
So anyway. No big deal, cute girl pushing her groceries home on a Sunday morning - I just noticed because the cart was clattering over the sidewalk and my dog wanted to run out after her. She saw me on my porch, gave me a smile, I gave her the up-nod, she walks on.
Fast-forward to later that afternoon. I am again outside on the porch, lying on my front-porch-couch (which I LOVE, but that's another story), chatting on the phone. Grocery cart girl walks past my house again, heading back towards the store with her cart, which is not empty, but I can't tell what's in there. [Side Note: My house is on a corner in the Avenues which, for my non-Utah friends, is a part of town nestled in the foothills of the Wasatch, so all of the streets head north and uphill. North of my house, the street becomes pretty steep for about 3 blocks before you get to the grocery store.] So she stops at the corner in front of my house, pulls a pillow and a sleeping bag (??) and her purse out of the grocery cart, and parks the cart in the corner of my front yard. And continues walking up the street, towards the grocery store.
Ok, so where do I begin on the list of things that are a wee bit askew in this scenario? First and most importantly, who just deposits a grocery cart in someone else's front yard? Secondly, this girl is in her mid-twenties, in a very active yoga-type outfit, and very much in great shape. She could easily push that cart up the hill to the grocery store. Especially since she was clearly still heading in the direction of the grocery store. But, what? Is she in too much of a hurry to get to her sleepover? What is she doing with a pillow and huge, down-filled sleeping bag in JULY? It is insanely hot here! Its heat-stroke hot, lose-your-mind hot, crank-up-the-air-conditioner-and-lay-naked-on-top-of-your-covers hot, take-a-cold-shower hot, don't-cook-food-on-the-stove hot. Just watching her tote that down sleeping bag up the street at 3:00 in the fucking hot afternoon nearly made me pass out.
My friend on the phone urges me to go yell at her to get her cart out of my yard. But at this point she has crossed the street, I don't have any shoes on, I don't have a bra on under my threadbare tanktop, and there's no way I'm chasing this girl down all barefoot and jiggly-boobed to confront her about a grocery cart. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt more often than I probably should anyway, so I just figured she'd come back and get it when she had the time or the energy to push it back up to the store.
Monday morning - the grocery cart is still there.
Monday after work - still there.
Tuesday morning - still there, looking lonely. I'm starting to feel bad for the poor thing.
Tuesday after work - yep, still there.
At this point, I begin contemplating pushing the damn thing back to the store myself, except that in the past two weeks I've pushed two other grocery carts that were left in my yard back to the store, and now I just refuse on principle. And I want to see how long it will take anyone other than me to do something about it.
And then Wednesday morning, I leave for work and:
CART LOVE! This made me pretty happy. I mean, not only does the lonely grocery cart get a companion, but the whole thing is just vastly entertaining to me. I mean, who just leaves a grocery cart in someone's front yard? And then, who, while pushing their own cart back to the store, sees that one and thinks, "yeah, ok, this is a good idea, this is what we're doing now I guess," and leaves a second one??? I mean really, what the hell?
I relayed the entire story to my mother, who was OUTRAGED and went on and on saying that's just not ok and you should call Smith's and tell them to do something about this and tell them to come and get their carts! and Who would DO such a thing? I just can't BELIEVE it! And, my favorite: Michelle, are you taking care of the lawn? Is it looking shabby? I mean, if you're not taking care of the yard, then other people will just assume no one cares about the property and that it is ok to leave trash or grocery carts or whatever else they please in your yard!
I frequently ignore my mother's suggestions, and this was no exception. I just wanted to see where this was going, how much longer it would take for anyone to do anything. I just had this feeling that there was more to the cart story. My friend Daniel, who lives in Manhattan, said that pretty soon my carts-in-love would reproduce, that I needed to put up a sign or something, because people are lazy assholes and once they see that other lazy assholes have started a lazy asshole trend, they will follow suit, and that before I knew it I would have a whole colony of grocery carts in the yard. I contemplate making a sign that says "Please take us home" and sticking in or on the carts, but end up screwing around all evening and forgetting.
Thursday morning - both carts still there.
Thursday after work - still chillin in the yard.
Thursday night I need to run to the store, and for probably the first time since I've lived in this house, I decide to drive. Its only four blocks, but I need milk and laundry detergent and other heavy shit that I don't feel like lugging home and its hot as balls outside. I even feel guilty, thinking I should walk and take at least one of the carts back to the store. But I hated to separate them, they looked so happy together. So I'm gone for about 30 minutes, and I get home and find:
LOVE CHILD! Oh yes, the carts-in-love had a little cart baby! I mean come on, how fucking hilarious is this? Not only did a third individual decide to be a lazy ass and leave a third grocery cart in my front yard, but it is even one of those little half-size baby carts!
Its just too perfect.
At this point, I decide to do zero about the cart family because I love them. I'm growing attached. They make me laugh, out loud, every time I pass them. And they look cute. I was going to try and find one of Elise's old baby bonnets and put it on the cart baby this past weekend, but when I came home from work on Friday, the whole family was gone.
It was fun while it lasted anyway.
SaltyChelle begins the chronicling of my new life in Salt Lake City. I moved here in June of 2007 when my boyfriend of four years was transferred for work. Like all good things (though it wasn't really), that came to an end this past April , and now I'm going it alone and feeling pretty good really. Expanding my horizons and my circle of friend in this incredibly gorgeous place. It still takes my breath away sometimes.
As for me, in a nutshell, I'm just your average midwestern girl I guess. I grew up in St. Louis in the private-catholic-school culture of heavy-handed morality and subequent guilt, which, coupled with my too-protective mother led me to teenage years of rebellion, pot, natty light, and a baby who cried her little infant eyes out at my high school graduation and made my boobs leak all over my gown. The parents were super proud.
And now that baby is eleven (JESUS!) and is my favorite part of my life. Usually. Just not when she's being a huge pain in my ass, as happens from time to time. But she really is a fantastic kid, and sometimes I can't believe how well I did raising a baby when I was still a baby. But I did. And then I pat myself on the back and say "good job self!" And I feel good for a minute.
Ok, enough with the introductions for now. Go grab a cocktail and have yourself a time.