Tuesday, March 31, 2009

If there is one donut on the sidewalk and Theo eats it, how many donuts are on the sidewalk?

Yesterday at work somebody tried to pay for a $56 session by handing me three twenties, a five and a single. I looked in my drawer to see if I had a ten dollar bill to give as change, but all I had was a five and three singles.

"I'm sorry, all I have is a five and three singles." I say to the nice man.
"That's ok. Just give me back my five." He says.
"... What?"
"I thought you might have a ten, but you don't, so just give me my five and your five."
I look down at the money in my hands. "Um... but... that's not right. I will still have three twenties. That's not enough change."
He cocks his head to his left shoulder and studies me for a moment. "Yes it is."
"No, no, it can't be. I'll still have three twenties."
"Right, but you'll have given me correct change."
I look down at the money again. A line is starting to form behind the nice man waiting for his change. I spread the bills across my desk. Three twenties, a five and a single, plus the five from my cash drawer. Seventy-one dollars. If I give him five back, that's .... what is that? I put my five back in my drawer and start over. The line is growing restless. I can hear people tapping their feet impatiently, sighing heavily, coughing. My palms begin to sweat. I take a deep breath. Three twenties, a five and a single. Sixty-six dollars. Take away his five. Now I have sixty-one. I take the five from my drawer and put it with his five. I still have sixty-one dollars in front of me. How could I still have sixty-one dollars?

"Just pretend I gave you sixty-one instead of sixty-six." he says, trying to be helpful.
My vision starts to go black around the edges and I can hear my own pulse. I laugh, nervously. "I don't understand. I ... um .... sixty-six minus five is sixty-one minus five is - " I CAN'T REMEMBER WHAT SIXTY-ONE MINUS FIVE IS. 
"It is?"
"That's the correct change."
"Then why do I still have three twenties?" I'm pretty sure the look on my face is what Michael would call 'Valley Girl Vacant'.
"Would you like me to just pay with a credit card?" Sweet, kind, patient man.
"No! No. I can figure this out." I grab a pen and write down 61 - 5 =
I got nothin'.      
61 - 5 =
61 - 5 =
And then I count on my fingers for the answer. 
61 - 5 = 56. 
I stare at the equation. I look at the bills on my desk. There are three twenties and a single. Sixty-one dollars. There should only be fifty-six dollars. WHY ARE THERE STILL SIXTY-ONE DOLLARS?

I don't know what that sweet man thought of me, but he should get a special place in heaven for being so patient. Ultimately I figured it out, but it took him and two other people to explain to me HOW MAKING CHANGE WORKS. There is a reason I am an actor and not, say, a veterinarian. Can you imagine me with a scalpel and my nerves, trying to perform surgery on some poor animal? You'd bring your dog in to be neutered and you'd get him back with a second butt hole.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

You call that food, cretin??

That white spot on his nose? It's kitty litter.

In an ongoing effort to shave down our expenses, I started buying chicken livers from the butcher for a dollar a pound, to use as dog treats. The "all-natural" fancy-shmancy dog treats we usually buy are $7 a pound, so I thought I'd found a great bargain. Of course, I have to cook the livers myself, but it's for the dogs. I save money and feed them real food instead of processed crap. Totally worth it. Now, you might think that chicken liver is gross, but I'll have you know that to any dog with half a brain, chicken liver is manna from heaven.

The first day I came home with the livers I was so excited that I cooked the slimy little things right away. And because I was feeling generous, and excited about my new bargain dog food, and proud of myself for actually cooking, I decided to give Valentine and Theo each a WHOLE liver instead of just the bite-sized pieces I planned to dole out as rewards. 

Valentine, good little bitch that she is, gobbled hers right up. But Theo? Theo, the dog who fishes from the litter box on a near daily basis? The dog who eats Valentine's poo AS IT'S COMING OUT OF HER BUTT? The dog who, while running down the street, will crane his head around and scarf up a huge pile of dried out poop without pausing to sniff it first? Theo wouldn't even take the liver from my hand. I had to put it in his dish so he could poke at it with his nose, prodding it until it flipped over, huffing and snuffling and snarfling at it. And then? Because apparently he still wasn't sure, he peeled his lips back and using just his frontmost teeth took a tiny, tentative bite as if to say, "I'll try this because you clearly went to so much trouble and I wouldn't want to offend you. But please take note, mere human. This is only a courtesy bite."


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Donna Reed? Don't think so.

Instead of going to my high school's planned Disneyland Grad Night after graduation, my best friends and I rented a cabin in Mammoth, CA for a week. It cost the same amount of money as the Disney Grad Night, only instead of one lame chaperoned night at Disney it was seven days of uninterrupted-by-parents fun. Don't worry, we were all very well behaved. Disappointingly well behaved. In fact, we got up early every day and participated in G-rated activities like sledding and sight-seeing and hiking and we were in bed by nine every night, exhausted by all the wholesome fun. Seriously. The thing that sticks out in my mind the most about that trip is all the times George lectured me on how I was "worse than Peggy Bundy" and that he would "feel sorry for any man who would end up married to Tricia." He was mad (with good reason, I'll admit) because every night after dinner, I curled up on the sofa with bon bons and watched t.v. while he washed the dishes. Come to think of it, any time there were any chores to be done in the cabin, you could find me watching t.v. and eating bon bons while George did the chores.

For as long as Mike and I have been together, people have teased us that he's a better housewife than I am. Especially after we moved to New York and Mike's work hours dropped from 80+ a week to 20 a week and he suddenly, without being asked, took over all the domestic duties. He did all of our laundry, all the grocery shopping, he'd wake me up in the mornings with coffee and breakfast, he'd fix my lunch every day, and when I got home from work there was always a clean apartment, happy dogs and a hot dinner waiting. It was heavenly.

This past autumn, Mike's work load shot back up to 50 - 60 hours a week and I floundered, not sure how to take care of myself. Suddenly I had to fix my own coffee and clean the apartment and wash the clothes? What was I to do? I'm too embarrassed to say how long we went without clean socks and underpants. Such a vast quantity of pet hair accumulated in the apartment from my failure to vacuum, that we often found ourselves cuddling a mound of fur-shed that we'd mistaken for a live animal. And since I'm not a cook, I decided an acceptable dinner was a bag of carrots and some sliced cheese. In my defense, it takes a lot of effort to spend my days sleeping until noon and then laying around on the couch in my jammies while I eat yet another pint of Ben & Jerry's. But I'm not complaining.

When Mike started school full time in January, it occurred to me that maybe I ought to be taking care of him for once. I liked the idea and told him eagerly, "I'm going to get up with you every morning! At six! And make your breakfast!" And he patted me on the head and said, "Sure baby. Whatever you say." And then I continued sleeping late every morning, making him fend for himself in the gray hours of dawn. I wanted to get up, I really did. I wanted to fix his breakfast and his coffee the way he used to do for me, but our bed was just too comfy. It called to me and I had to answer. With my face in the pillow and the covers pulled up to my ears. But by mid-February, I started to get the hang of it. And you know what? I really love it. I love getting up at six and making his coffee, fixing his breakfast and packing his lunch. I love keeping the apartment clean and taking the dogs to the dog park at 9 a.m. I love that my days are longer and fuller and more productive. It's actually fun to take off my jammies and shower and eat vegetables instead of ice cream. Who'd have thunk it?

Last night Mike had to work late and I waited up for him, so we didn't get to bed until after midnight, and then we both overslept by thirty minutes, which meant I ran out of time to pack his lunch.

"It's 7:08. I have seven minutes to make your lunch. All we have is tuna fish and I don't think I can make tuna in seven minutes." I said, clearing our breakfast dishes from the table.
"Don't worry about it." He shrugged as he started bundling up.
"I should've gone to the store yesterday. If we had lunch meat I could throw together a sandwich in seven minutes."
"Really, baby. Don't worry about it."
"But what will you eat for lunch?"
"I'll buy something at school."
"But I feel like a failure!"
He put his hand on my shoulder, looked gravely into my face and said, "Take the pressure off, Pumpkin." And if he hadn't started to grin right then, and if that grin hadn't turned into a teasing little smirk, I'd have thought he was trying to comfort me when he added, "Domesticity is very new for you."

Monday, March 23, 2009

Eclair, anyone?

The other night I was invited to a pot-luck dinner party. I'm pretty shy, so I was a little nervous about going because, since Mike had to work, the only person I'd know at the party would be the hostess. When I arrived, I was greeted by a sign on her front door which read: "Let Yourself In!", so I did. I found all the party guests in the kitchen, gripping their bellies in laughter, captivated by a story being told by a pretty red-head. 

"... and I guess they were pretty drunk or whatever," she was saying, "and he missed, and she was all, 'GO AHEAD, I LIKE IT IN MY BUTT'!"
People were laughing so hard they had tears streaming down their faces.
"Wait! It gets better!" Her cheeks were pink with excitement. "Because then, they were totally going at it, and suddenly, SHE POOPS ALL OVER HIM!" That's when she noticed me hovering by the door, a tray of chocolate eclairs in my arms. 
"Oh my goodness, honey! I am so sorry. You must think I'm awful for telling such a story!" She looked genuinely embarrassed.
"Actually," I grinned, "I think I just fell in love with you."

Friday, March 20, 2009

To talk rapidly in a foolish or purposeless way.

There's this girl I know named Lana. She's a nice girl, very friendly, smart, talented. I met her through a friend and I liked her from the start. We exchanged email addresses and we've recently started hanging out.

The first couple of times we got together, we met up for coffee and our time was limited by the fact that I inevitably had another commitment that day, leaving us with only an hour or two to chat. I liked her so much that I invited her to a little gathering at my apartment with a few other friends. I baked cookies and served tea and coffee and it was really very lovely. Or at least it should have been.

You know that character on TV, the woman who can talk and talk and talk and talk and she won't notice if the person she's talking to is asleep, has left the room, or is dead? That's Lana. Every time anyone else tries to talk, she talks right over them. She's like a loud lawn mower and we are blades of grass. I don't think the girl breathes because that day she came over? I waited for her to take a breath so I could at least squeeze in an "Mmm hmm" and I never could. She told every single story she'd ever told me over coffee and when she got through those she told stories about hangnails and splinters and the time her cat hid under her bed. She told stories that ended in, "I'm not sure why I told you that, but it reminds me of this one time when..." and then she'd launch into another tale so boring I wanted to saw my ears off with a pair of rusty nail scissors. It would have been less painful than listening to her talk.

The get-together started at two and was supposed to end at five. I had made plans to meet Adam in Queens by seven. At 5:15 I started to fidget. My other guests were also beginning to fidget. At 5:25 I walked out of the room to answer a phone call and Lana, still talking, rolled her eyes in my direction as if she couldn't believe how rude I was being. At 5:45 I took my dogs for a walk. At 6:15 I cleared all the dishes and washed them. At 6:30 I cleaned up the living room. At 7:00, after I noticed that Joe had fallen asleep on my couch and Lana STILL hadn't shut up, I resigned myself to a life of endless one-way chatter and gave myself a pedicure. 

At 7:15 my friend Shannon left the room to use the bathroom (she couldn't politely excuse herself because there wasn't room in Lana's endless spewing of nonsensical words and boring stories to say even, "I have to pee, I'll be right back,") and when she did, I followed her and cornered her in the kitchen.

"WHY WON'T LANA SHUT UP?" I was more than a little freaked out by then.
"Dude. I don't know. She's awful. I'm starving. I've gotta get out of here."
"Yes! Please! Leave! I can't take it anymore! Take everyone with you!"
Shannon had a point. "Maybe if you just gather up your stuff she'll get the hint?"
"Right. Because she got the hint so well when you cleaned your living room and trimmed your toenails."

But Shannon tried. She really tried and I could see that and it meant a lot. However, Lana did not get the hint. Everyone else, thanks to Shannon's cue, gathered up their things and made their way to the front door while I watched, in abject horror, as Lana followed them to the door and then stood in front of it, her body blocking the exit like a shield, so she could keep on talking. And talking. And talking. For another thirty minutes.

Then I thought, Hey! Maybe if I leave too, Lana will surely have to go! So I put on my coat and shoes and hat and gloves and reached around her, my hand grazing her behind, and opened the front door. She gave no indication of being aware that she might be in my way, but kept on talking. She did, however, grab her things and follow us out the door, and for that at least I was relieved. My plans with Adam might be ruined, but now I could spend the rest of my night in peace.

The group of us left my apartment building and everyone went their separate ways. Except Lana. Dear Lana. Lana stood next to me talking. And talking. I didn't actually have anywhere to go now, it was too late to go to Queens, but I didn't want her to follow me back into my building, so I walked to the drugstore. Maybe, I thought, I could at least get some errands done. Lana came with me. She followed me through the drugstore, in every aisle, yapping while I purchased toothpaste and floss. She followed me to the super market, chattering in the dairy aisle, the shampoo aisle, the coffee aisle, jabbering in line at the cashier. She followed me to the laundry mat and babbled while I picked up Michael's freshly pressed shirts. She followed me all the way back to my apartment where, my throat sore from disuse, I was about to open my mouth to tell her I wasn't letting her back inside my apartment when she said:

"Anyway, I've got about a million things to do tonight. I'd love to keep talking but I've really gotta go!" and then she dashed off down the street.

Have you ever dated someone you didn't really like, who you hadn't broken up with yet because you felt sorry for them because they were kind of a douchey loser? And just when you think you can't stand it anymore, when you think you'd rather have all your fingernails pulled out than spend ONE MORE NIGHT EATING DINNER WITH THIS CREEP, he says he's leaving you because he just doesn't think you're right for him? And you think to yourself, No! No! I was supposed to leave you!

That's how I felt, standing on my stoop, my arms overloaded with shopping bags and pressed shirts. NO, LANA, NO. I WAS SUPPOSED TO LEAVE YOU.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What IS the goal?

Me: If I put this pear in your lunch, will you eat it?

Him: It'll squish my sandwich.

Me: Your sandwich is going to get squished anyway.

Him: You're right. I need a sandwich-shaped box.

Me: You don't need a sandwich-shaped box.

Him: They make them.

Me: You don't need a sandwich-shaped box.

Him: YES I DO.

Me: I had a paper-bag lunch every day for thirteen years, my sandwiches were always squished, I survived.

Him: Is survival really the goal here?

Monday, March 16, 2009

All Things Considered

There aren't enough pretty words to describe how comforting it was to be with my family this past week. Between the cousins, the aunts and uncles, my siblings and my parents, it was a four day love-fest. Jacob's wake was a joyful party with over two hundred guests. He would have loved it. Everyone laughed and drank and ate and told funny Jake-stories and there were lots of bear hugs. The kind of hugs that last so long they make Sibley cringe. There was some crying, but mostly people laughed. I hope that is how my family celebrates me when I'm gone. And I hope Sibley is uncomfortable. (Hi Sibley!)

In addition to all the hugging, eating, story telling and sneaking-of-sips-of-cheap-brandy, I spent several hours pouring over old family photos, flooding my little head with memories. I finished reading A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius and It Sucked and Then I cried, and then I read Super In The City and The Nanny Diaries. (Thanks, plane flights!) Oh! Also thanks to the plane flights, I visited not only Seattle and Los Angeles, but the Twin Cities, Phoenix, San Francisco and Charlotte, North Carolina. Not that I got to see much. But still. Except for the night Kitty told ghost stories and I had to sleep with all the lights on, I slept better than I had since March 6th. And when I arrived home, I was buried in love once again. Mike had filled each room of our tiny apartment with antique roses and orange lilies (my favorite). Thank God for my wonderful family.

Last night I dreamt about Jake. He was young - a teenager - healthy, gorgeous and laughing. He wanted to play hide-and-seek with me and so we played and we laughed and I couldn't get over how happy he looked. May he always be happy and laughing, wherever he is.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Radio Silent

On Friday, March 6, 2009, my beloved cousin Jacob died of a heart attack. He was 32.

Jacob loved scuba diving. He loved music. He loved to sing karaoke and laugh and drink beer. He had recently become obsessed with an album by a singer named Alice Smith. Jacob was a romantic. He had an infectious smile. He was one of the older cousins who always treated me as if I was his equal, even though I was a little kid with pigtails and glasses. Once I was old enough to be his equal, he made me feel like I was his favorite person in the world. He had a way of making people feel like that. It was the way he listened when you talked, the way he looked in your eyes, the way he asked questions and the way he carved out time for you, no matter what else he was doing. He always said 'I love you' before hanging up the phone but never in that way that so many people say it - rushed and forced by habit. When Jake said it he said it because he wanted you to know how much he loved you. He wanted you to know how important you are. He wanted to make sure you'd heard him.

"I love you Trish."
"I love you too."

I am devastated. I am furious. I am in denial. I am confused. I am heartbroken.

Tomorrow at 4:00 a.m. I will leave my husband sleeping in our warm white bed and I will make my way across the country. As the sun is coming up, as the plane makes it's ascent, I will play the game I played as a child, searching the clouds for the faces of my dead. (Will I see him there?) I will land in Seattle at 1:23 p.m. - that time specifically chosen because in my family, that string of numbers - 123 - means "I love you". Once in Seattle, I will put my arms around the people Jake left behind and tell them how much I love them, how important they are.

I will not be posting for a while. I will be quiet. I will be thinking. I will be remembering. I will be with my family. I will be trying to heal.

Thank you for your love and support. Please pray for my family. We have suffered a terrible and unfair loss. The world is a darker place in Jake's absence.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Beloved Jacob

I don't know what to say. This photo was on your facebook page. I liked it.

I'm kind of mad at you right now, but it's not your fault. I wonder where you are. I hope you're with your mama. But I bet she's mad at you too. 

It was too soon, Jake. We were supposed to have more time. I didn't get a chance to return your last phone call. I didn't save the message. My heart is breaking and you're the only person I want to call. You said I could always call you, whenever I needed anything, I'm so mad at you I can't stop crying. 

You have this song on your myspace page, it's by Everlast, he says: 

There's a darkness in my soul, it's unbearable.
Lovers come and go, right now I need a friend.

Where are you? I can't believe you're gone. Who knew you were so breakable?

Mustang Smelly

Sometimes when something goes wrong, like when my bathroom ceiling collapses on me while I'm in the shower, or when cockroaches are climbing the walls of the hallways in my apartment building, or when it's 20 degrees for the eightieth day in a row, I get really frustrated and I think to myself, THIS WOULD NEVER HAPPEN IN LOS ANGELES. But the fact is that things go wrong wherever we live and sometimes it helps to remember that life is never perfect anywhere.

When Los Angeles was home, there was a brief period of time during which Mike owned two cars. He had purchased a truck to replace his red Mustang convertible (which he wanted to replace because while a red Mustang convertible seemed like a good idea when we bought it, it really just drained us of money and caused lots of near brain explosions) and until he sold the Mustang, he had both to deal with. Before he sold her (we called the Mustang Ginger and so she was a 'her') he spent several days washing her and waxing her, he shampooed her carpets and oiled her leather interior, he detailed that car like a car has never been detailed. She was absolutely gorgeous when he was done, so gorgeous that I wanted to go for a ride right then and there but he would not drive her. He wanted her to stay pristine while he was showing her. And so Ginger sat alone, perfect and un-touched, in front of our sunny little bungalow.

A few days later I came home from work to a very, very unhappy husband. In the middle of the night, someone had broken into the truck and stolen all of Michael's tools and all of his work equipment. Several thousand dollars worth of equipment. And then they had stolen the spare clicker to the Mustang, which he'd thought would be safe in the truck's glove compartment. Not the keys, mind you. The keys were in our house. Just the clicker that unlocked the doors. The good news was that Ginger was still parked right where we'd left her. The bad news was that someone had made her their party lounge for the night. Burger King food wrappers littered her interior. An over-turned cup of soda was stuck to the drivers seat, dried coca-cola sticky on the leather. Cigarette butts and used matches overflowed from the ashtray and littered the carpet. The leather seats were pocked with burn marks. A ratty, filthy blanket was draped across the front passenger seat and the seat was pushed all the way back so someone could sleep on it comfortably. The battery was dead, apparently because they'd left the inside lights on all night. And the crowning achievement? The icing on the filthy cake? The back seat carpets were soaked in urine.

Do you know what I said when Mike showed me the ruined car? I said: THIS WOULD NEVER HAPPEN IN THE VALLEY.

Thursday, March 05, 2009


Him: Is Valentine in the bed?

Me: No...

Him: Oh. I thought that was her head.

Me: That's my knee.

Him: ... You should probably shave.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Meth is bad. MmmKuey?

Public transit used to terrify me. When I first moved to NYC, I was terrified to ride the subways after dark. And the busses? I was afraid to ride those during the day. In Los Angeles public transit is scary. It's filthy, it's unpredictable, it's full of barefooted people with vomit down their shirts who foam at the mouth while they talk to the empty seat next to them. I thought it would be that way in Manhattan too.

I'd only been in the city for about a week when I found myself needing to ride the subway after dark. It was ten p.m., pouring rain and there were no cabs anywhere, so I held my breath and prayed to God that I would make it home alive. I laugh when I think of that now because riding the subway and the busses has become so commonplace. They are clean (generally), they are reliable (usually) and the crazies keep to themselves (mostly).

A few weeks ago I left Adam's apartment a little later than usual. I usually leave his place around eleven or eleven-thirty, but this particular Sunday I didn't make it out his door until midnight. I didn't think anything of it - I've taken the train home after midnight a hundred times. Though, when I got to the train platform, I started to feel a little uneasy. The train was at the station, it's doors open, and every single car I walked past was empty. It's unusual to be the only person anywhere in New York, so I chalked my nervous feelings up to that. I'm just not used to being alone, I told myself. I found the middle car, the one that always has a conductor in it, and I sat down. I felt safer knowing there was a conductor just a few feet away from me, even if we were separated by a steel door. Just as the train was about to pull out, a man slipped through the closing doors. Despite the twenty degree weather, he was wearing sandals, jeans and a t-shirt. Instead of sitting down, he started pacing back and forth through the car, shaking his hands at his sides as if flinging water from them, shaking his head back and forth as if saying an adamant 'no'. And then he stopped, right in front of me.

"Excuse me, miss. Can you tell me how to get to Manhattan?" He was terribly underweight, his skin jaundiced, his cheeks pocked and hollow, his teeth - those that were left - rotting. His eyes looked like lit flames in his skull. He was standing too close to me. He was clearly very, very agitated.

I looked him right in his eyes because I'd recently read that you're less likely to be raped if you make eye contact with your assailant. Apparently, if they think you'll be able to pick them out of a line-up, they won't bother with you. But I wondered if that was the right protocol for possible knife-wielding maniacs.

"Just stay on this train. This is a Manhattan bound train." I said, trying to sound casual.
"Thank you, Ma'am. Would you happen to have a tobacco product? A cigarette? I prefer menthol. Menthol cigarettes."
"No, I'm sorry. I don't smoke."
"That's all right, miss. Thank you." And then he resumed his furious pacing.

Thirty seconds later he was standing in front of me again.

"Excuse me, Miss. Can you tell me how to get to Manhattan?"
I paused. I looked in his eyes. He seemed to have no recollection of having just asked me that exact question.
"This is a Manhattan bound train. You're on the right track."
"Thank you, Ma'am. Would you happen to have a tobacco product? A cigarette? I prefer menthol. Menthol cigarettes."
Seriously? Did we not just go over this?
"I'm sorry. I don't smoke."
"That's all right, miss. Thank you." And he resumed pacing.

Thirty seconds later: "Excuse me, Miss. Can you tell me how to get to Manhattan?"
"You're headed there now."
"Thank you, Ma'am. Would you happen to have a tobacco product? A cigarette? I prefer menthol. Menthol cigarettes."
At this point, I was smothering a laugh. "I'm sorry. I don't smoke."
"That's all right, miss. Thank you."

When we hit the first stop I got off, walked over to the next car and got back on. Not because I was scared, but because I didn't think I'd be able to give him straight answers anymore.
"Do you happen to have a tobacco product? A cigarette?"
"No, sorry. The little green men stole them."
"Can you tell me how to get to Manhattan?"

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Rich Bitch

One lovely morning in the Spring of 2006, Valentine and I were out for our morning walk when a girl driving a silver Lexus SUV pulled up next to me on the street. She was about my age, salon-pefect hair, teeth so white and straight they couldn't be natural, acrylic french tips, fake tits, the whole deal. She was laughing as she rolled down her tinted window, the scent of some nauseating but probably absurdly expensive perfume wafting out, and then she yelled at me, "Don't forget to pick up your dog shit!" Perhaps she is trying to do her civil duty by reminding me to curb my dog, I thought. But could she not see that I was, in fact, holding a bag full of dog shit? In the hand closest to her car? A car which costs more money than I earn in a year? Was it not perfectly clear that my dog was being curbed? The look on her face was smug, self-satisfied, better-than-thou. And when I noticed her friends, four perfect carbon-copies seated around her, giggling behind their acrylic nails and Tiffany bracelets, I realized, they don't care if I pick up after my dog. They're yelling at me because they find it amusing. They're laughing at me, not with me. They remind me of those hateful cheerleader girls from high school who would come up to me, their glossy lips pinched into nasty little smiles, and say things like, "Cute sweater. Where'd you get it? Target?" and then skip off, giggling with their identical bleached blonde friends.

So I laughed and yelled back, "No fucking problem!" and threw my open bag of dog shit at her perfectly detailed and sparkling gas guzzler. Horror crossed her face as the reeking brown mass slammed into the side of her car and dribbled towards her shimmering, thousand dollar rims. AND I FELT SO MUCH BETTER.

Seems like Penny's dead after all.

Serious bummer.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Feet. Or as my brother calls them: Ugly, long-palmed hands with freakishly deformed useless fingers.

Michael gives me a pedicure on the day before our wedding.
I am obsessed with feet. Not in a weird, I-want-to-watch-you-have-your-feet-spanked-with-a-pickle-and-then-wrapped-in-rye-toast-while-an-80-year-old-man-sucks-mayonnaise-off-your-toes kind of way, but in a I-can't-stop-myself-from-staring-whenever-I-see-people's-feet kind of way. I happen to have been born into a family of beautiful footed people. I love my own feet and consider them one of my most attractive features. I was careful to marry a man with beautiful feet, to ensure that I would have babies with beautiful feet. Sometimes, when I'm thinking about my husband's ex-girlfriends and ex-wives, I wonder, "Did she have pretty feet? I bet her feet weren't as pretty as mine." Whenever I meet someone with unfortunate looking feet, I feel a pang of sadness for them. What a terrible thing, I think, to go through life with ugly feet. 

In the spring when it's warm out and people begin wearing sandals and such, I find myself staring at feet in the subway. I stare at the feet around me as I walk the city streets. I can't help myself. I find that most of the people who wear foot-exposing shoes are taking pretty good care of their feet. While I appreciate the well-pedicured feet, what I really love are the freak-feet. Freak-feet are like train-wrecks. You don't want to look, BUT YOU HAVE TO. 

I thrill when I discover the woman who apparently thinks it's pretty to grow her toenails out three inches and paint them gold. It's all I can do to keep from gagging as I fumble for my camera-phone to try to snap a photo before she walks away. And then there are those people who pay their pedicurist to french manicure their toes, which, in my opinion, just makes them look as if they have really long toenails. True, they are clean looking long toenails, but still long toenails. I can't figure out why someone would pay to have their toenails cut and filed and then painted to look as if they had not been cut and filed. I cannot comprehend this but I can't stop looking at it either. And then, there are my favorites: Monkey Feet. 

There seem to be a lot of Monkey Footed people running around Earth. In case you aren't sure what I'm talking about, Monkey Feet are very long feet with VERY long curling toes. Toes that are more like short fingers than actual toes. Often, the big toe is an inch or so from the second toe (which is always longer than the big toe) and looks as if it is opposable, as if it is really a thumb on the foot. And that long second toe could surely be used for grabbing and grasping. Even when Monkey Feet are well-pedicured, they are wonderfully freakish. They look as if they were built specifically for climbing trees, which is odd because as human beings we really don't have occasion to climb trees with our feet. I suppose this is a trait left over from evolution? One last link to our cousins, the beautiful and graceful chimpanzees?

I have fantasies about these feet. If they were mine, I would not stuff them into pointy shoes and go about life as any regular person. If they were mine, I would make much better use of them than that. I would keep them uncovered. I would run about bare-footed and wild. I would climb trees and dangle from boughs. I would grow my toenails out three inches, but not for vanity's sake. No, no. For necessity. Survival. I would need three-inch toenails for faster climbing and for warding off predators. With these magnificent feet I would break away from society and become one with Mother Earth. I would live amongst the beasts and hunt for my food, using my powerful feet as tools, my toenails as weapons. I would become Jungle Girl. I would dance in the moonlight, naked, howling at the stars, more alive than ever before. I would be truly free.

But alas, I was not born with Monkey Feet. My little dainty feet and snub toes have decided my fate. There will be no wild jungle for me. No frolicking in moonlit fields. No naked dancing. Instead, I have been fated to a life time of pedicures and pointy shoes. But at least my feet are pretty.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

More embarrassing than getting tea-bagged by a bronze bull.

I recently started going back through some of my old posts and oh man. Most of that crap is the rantings of an angsty teenager. Except I wasn't a teenager when I wrote it. Um, hi! EMBARRASSING.

I'd really like this website to be full of writing I can be proud of, whether the stories are funny or touching or sad or pointless, I don't want to be embarrassed by them. Ever since I made this realization about Growing The Fuck Up, I have really been trying to focus on the positive aspects of my life and that includes getting rid of all the self-pitying junk I've posted here in the past. Also, I think it's time I start taking myself a little less seriously. So, I'm going through all the old crap, deleting posts that are unsalvageable, and rewriting posts that I think can move from the Little Whiny Bitch category into the Could Possibly Make For An Interesting Story category. I've been at this for four and a half hours today (it's the weekend, give me a break) and so far I've made it through August 7, 2007. I've got a lot of work ahead of me.

This is where I will encourage you to take a look at some of the posts I've rewritten. I have yet to master the task of turning painful situations into funny stories, but I think I've been able to turn them from full-fledged pity parties into stories that are actually readable. If you have a minute to check them out, I'd love your thoughts. Some good examples of rewritten posts are here, here, here, and here,  although I started at the beginning and have rewritten nearly everything I've ever posted, if only to get rid of the obnoxious over-use of the word 'like', exclamation points, ellipses and my apparent inability to know when to turn off the caps lock key. 

Thanks for putting up with me you guys. It means a lot.