Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Three [Day Weekend] is the Magic Number, Pt. 1

This Memorial Day weekend marked the one-year anniversary of my college graduation. A year ago yesterday, I was standing in front of Philips Gym slightly hungover and unshowered, but still looking okay in the dress I bought specifically for graduation and incredibly high-heeled shoes that I have never once worn again. It was my brother Mike's birthday and he was none too pleased with the fact that he was turning nineteen in the middle of Ohio, in the middle of a crowd of Oberlin kids and their smelly parents, in the middle of the conferring of the fourth honorary degree.

If you asked that girl to tell you everything she knew about otegenesis imperfecta, she would've give you that eyebrow look and walked away. However, a year later, I can talk about osteogenesis imperfecta until the cows come home.

The bowlegged, short-armed, malformed cows.

POETIC NOSTALGIA INTERRUPTION: I have just learned, courtesy of Perez over at PerezHilton.com, that David Beckham will be at the Adidas store in SoHo tomorrow afternoon. This is incredibly important. This is mere blocks from where I work. What does one wear to meet David Beckham? Or, rather, what does one wear to ogle him on the street in a crowd of bitchy girls and catty queens, all wielding tiny dogs? Or, most importantly, what does one wear to prevent her ovaries from flying out of her womb and bouncing out of her office, down the street, and into David Beckham's face, like a pair of twenty-five cent SuperBalls?

David Beckham! I'll have your babies! I long to give you another son with a cartoony name! Please! Let's have a little baby named Hubcap! Whisk me off to London and I'll bear you twin bundles of joy! We'll can them Scuba and Eratosthenes!

Watch your bony back, Posh. I'll snap you like toothpick.

But back to the business at hand, which was boring memories that were going to somehow segue into everything I did this weekend, possibly through discussion of the weather. Let's all agree that we're better off for not having had to either write or read that, and move along.

After work on Friday (my last full Friday until Labor Day; if the publishing industry is good for anything, it's summer hours) I spent a night with Kai and company touring the Irish-named bars of the greater Yorktown/Mahopac metropolitan area. For a piece of land no bigger than ten square miles, we have a shocking number of completely interchangeable Irish-style pubs, by which I mean a bar that has an Irishy name, may or may not have Guinness on tap, and is invariably painted green on the inside with a few homey wood accents. In fact, since I've been home, the only bars I've been to have been this style: Finnigan's, Flanagan's, Cunningham's, Dooley Mac's, James Joyce.

The true unifying factor is less the feigned sense of Irishness and more the number of striped polo shirts and tribal armband tattoos visible in the crowd. On Friday night at Flanagan's/Cunningham's, a classic rock radio station had sent a couple of promotions people to give out beer glasses and t-shirts. They set up a huge sound system to, I erroneously assumed, broadcast their station. Instead, they played a CD that had about five songs on it, interspliced with two or three WPDH commercials. With combination of the music (More than a Feeling, followed by Rebel Yell, followed by that Audioslave song, followed by Tom Petty, followed by More than a Feeling, followed by Rebel Yell...) and the indistinguishable guys in their indistinguishable Hollister polos with their indisitingishable tribal tattoos passing by like a conveyer belt of ducks in a carnival shooting gallery, you couldn't entirely convince me that I wasn't repeating the same twenty minutes of my life over and over and over again.

However, I saw not one, but two rainbows on the way into that bar. Whether or not they're an indicator of anything great, which, come on, two rainbows should be, I think they may have had something to with the fact that I didn't kill a single person on Friday night, as well as with my successful reading of almost an entire short story in the middle of Flanagan's/Cunningham's/McBar's patio.

On Saturday, Kai and I returned to the outlet shopping compound upstate to return some things, but more importantly to buy a twenty-two dollar pair of Pumas that are not only silver, but gold and red in addition. I can't convey how much is going on on my feet right now. There are leaping red cats embroidered on gold vinyl which is stitched on top of silver mesh, which is anchored to some kinda weird hi-tech rubber stuff, and if I'm not careful I get stuck in a loop staring at my feet, wondering just who the hell thought these shoes were a good idea, and moreover, how I was so lucky to find them.

While they're not winning any prizes for subtlety or sophistication, they are definitely the most eerily quiet sneakers I've ever worn. I creep myself out with how little noise I make in these shoes. But, y'know, all the better to sneak up on Posh Spice and make off (out?) with her husband.

David Beckham! Please! Let's make an adorable little British, soccer-playing baby and call him Eggo Waffle! Let's have a rosy-cheeked little boy named Vacuum!

[Weekend update part two later. Mostly so I can post the pictures I forgot to e-mail myself.]

Friday, May 27, 2005

In Memoriam

So I got my iPod to turn on, then gently nudged my computer to recognize it, then ever so sweetly encouraged iTunes to open, and then pretty please with sugar on topped it to update. But even after two reformattings the little fucker still thinks it's holding all the music it originally had on it, so I can only update it to a certain point. Less than half its storage is available because the other half is taken up by the memory of my old music collection.

This is not the time for my iPod to become sentimental. I will not abide nostalgic machinery. I left it home all day yesterday; why didn't it eat a carton of ice cream, flip through some old yearbooks and have a good cry then?

It is Memorial Day weekend, though, and maybe I'm the one being insensitive. I have Monday off, which is great even if I'm quite positive I'll spend it doing laundry. I know that this probably doesn't jive with the intentions of the holiday but I just can't watch the Yorktown Heights Memorial Day parade. I can't do it. It's the funniest, saddest spectacle in the state (if not the country or possibly the world) and I just don't think I've got the gumption.

My town isn't big, but it isn't small either. For as long as I can remember Yorktown's had this conception of itself as a cozy farming hamlet. This is clearly and dissonantly at odds with the reality that it's filled with five boroughs overflow and enough Gotti-alikes to make our CVS the biggest seller of DEP gel on the East coast. We have a 4-H and a "Grange Fair" every year, but only two working farms. Our high school football team is the Cornhuskers, but the closest they've ever come to anything farmish, like a cow, is their oversize Armani Exchange leather jackets. We may have been a slow country town at some point, but what we are now is a town that's grown beyond its ability to provide entertainment or culture for its residents. Yorktown consistently refuses to expand its downtown on the dated view that one Starbucks and a Friendly's is enough to entertain its small population.

In reality, town (by which I mean the eighth of a mile between a Texaco and the pharmacy) on Friday nights resembles Dawn of the Dead. The sidwalks are clogged with pre-learner's permit kids who've got nothing better to do than shuffle up and down, blankly staring at each passing car and sucking down java chip frappucinos with big whipped cream brains on top. It's not their fault, though. Yorktown grew in population, but "town" hasn't changed in thirty years.

Anyway, my point is the Memorial Day parade is the bizarre intersection of old Yorktown versus new Yorktown. With no institutions or clubs or organizations to join, the parade has become this desperate attempt to fill up the street in honor of our veterans. Every year it seems they cast the net a little wider. Sure, there's the fire truck honking down the street, the volunteer ambulance corps, the police cruiser representing the cops. But then there's the dwindling number of living Elks, two ancient Ladies Auxiliary members, and maybe three actual veterans who hobble down the street, arthritic heels chased closely by a thundering herd of girl and boy scouts.

The beginning, military-related portion of the parade lasts about forty seconds, but the procession of girl scouts and boy scouts must last half an hour. Every motley troop of Tiger Cubs, every Cadet, every Eagle Scout, every Brownie plods miserably down the street like murderers to the gallows. I was a girl scout. I know how it goes. You line up by the Highway Department building at the crack of dawn and wait forever for your chance at six minutes of parading, which will only terminate at the track where you will have to suffer two hours of speechifying from the town supervisor and Msgr. Brennan. Who's a jerk.

After the last pack of boy scouts passes, squinting at the sun with their fingers up their noses (in solemn tribute to those lost in the Revolutionary War) and their neckerchiefs all sweaty and cockeyed, comes the high school marching band. In actuality, this is the first and last time all year the marching band will march. They will have rehearsed walking and playing their instruments exactly once before this very moment, probably during math class, probably right outside your window while you're supposed to be taking notes on logic proofs, probably right where you can watch them lap the parking lot and accidentally smash each other in the neck with their trombone slides.

They are not good.

But they are in high school and have cars, and can escape the parade early to get pie at Grandma's, or a bagel at the Daily Bagel, which actually isn't even there anymore now that CVS needed to expand and took most of it over, and the rest of the space was turned into Super Eastern Chinese takeout. It's everyone else who has to hang out and swelter through the speeches, the 7-gun salute, the multidemoninational prayers over a crowd that is 97% Irish or Italian Catholic, 99% sick of listening, and 100% sweating so much their underwear is damp. But everyone stays, bound by the fact that they can't leave because everyone will judge them mercilessly unless they're removing a shrieking baby and, besides, they're sure someone double parked their car into the corner of the 7-11 lot anyway.

There'll be a run on slurpees afterwards and local politicians will use the single annual gathering of Yorktowners to campaign, some adamantly preaching from the "NO CHILI'S!!" platform while other daring dissidents disseminate literature about the dangerous bacteria count of Sparkle Lake.

Tom Rippolon of Mildred E. Strang Middle School's TV studio will film the parade as it goes by. The wind will ripple his Willie Nelson braids. Public Access star Glendora will stand on the sidewalk in her American flag straw boater, waving her American flags, and afterwards she will go home to record her muttering impressions of the event into her camcorder. This will be spliced with images of squirrels eating the animal crackers she dyed with food coloring specifically for their enjoyment. Then she will film the television showing a Jimmy Stewart movie and offer you her commentary. Then she will read a suit she filed with the Yorktown courts, word for word.

Eventually, the show will fade out mid-sentence.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

iPodd Man Out

My broken iPod is ruining my life. The only electronic functions it's able to carry out are clicking and getting really hot, yet it manages to exert far more control over my happiness than I do. Between that stupid hunk of white plastic and the dumb whale of a photocopier, my day to day existence is completely ruled by inept machinery. It's like I'm astrologically cursed. I was born under the sign of Burnt-out Lightbulb with a rising Frozen Computer, and Jupiter begins its transit through Suspicious Car Rattle this week. With Mercury in Dead MP3 Player, celestial fireworks are in store!

Your lucky numbers are 1, 7, 35 and 68.

Without my iPod I can't sleep on the train anymore. It was my only defense against the chorus of horrible body noises produced by my less inhibited commuters, but now that my ears are debudded I bear witness to every snork, hawk, honk, burp, toot, glug and wheeze. It's not the volume of the noises that keeps me awake, but rather my own preoccupation with them. I know I'd be better off if I could just slip into unconsciousness (or, on photocopying days, death) and pass the hour asleep, but as soon as I close my eyes I feel that whole loss of sight/heightened hearing effect and every single repulsive noise sounds that much louder, and that much wetter, and that much more contagious, and worse still I can't see where the perpetrator is sitting so I can't prove that it isn't the woman I'm crammed next to.

You try to fall asleep when you've convinced yourself that there's a leaking nostril three inches from your face, its labored sniffs barely containing a glistening bulb of mucus whose trajectory to the train floor includes a brief pitstop on your cheek.

But it doesn't end with the train. After a brief respite in the wonderfully loud subway and on the comfortingly deafening street, I get to enjoy eight full hours of cubicle bliss. My office is devoid of human interaction and the resulting silence is ideal for gross noise distribution. My iPodless ears now pick up every granola-chewing second of my co-worker's breakfast. I can hear the toilet paper roll being spun furiously in the bathroom in response to an urgent situation I experienced every drop of.

Your lucky love matches are those born under Tech Support Hotline, and your lucky color for the week is Blue Screen Error.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

You Want I Should Break-a You Face?

So, that article linked below (and, what the hell, once more right here. It's not every day yours truly's in a newspaper, so why not put it up on the old electronic fridge?) is the reason I've been a-bloggin' at odd hours. I wrote the piece on Monday and had to edit it on Tuesday, exercises that occupied my daily allotment of work-shirking and duty-skirting. If I can parlay this into some kind of high paying career, I should really send Britney Spears a thank you note. She's a bubbling font of blog fodder and op-ed material. I tip my proverbial hat.

Lest I teeter too long at the dizzying height of newspaper writing's bottom rung, it should be noted that I am composing this in between photocopying chapters of the same manuscript I was photocopying last week. The only indication that any time has passed at all is the slowly dwindling pile of remaining chapters and the newly dead fluorescent tubes directly above the copier. The gray bleakness of my work day is no longer strictly metaphorical.

I literally photocopy in the darkest recess of my entire office.

But, on the bright side, it is a beautiful 42-degree spring morning. A fine, cold rain is cheerily falling from the ominously black clouds. My iPod is delightfully broken. Instead of music, I got to listen to a fascinating, hour-long conversation this morning on the train between fifty-year-old women exploring the depth of their love for American Idol finalist Bo Bice. I hummed along to the musical stylings of my seat-partner's sleep apnea and gazed at the beautiful scenery--namely, Sing-Sing prison, home of the first execution by electric chair.

Oh, what a beautiful mornin'! Oh, what a beautiful day!

I got a beautiful feelin' someone put a hit out on me. I've been getting strange phone calls since yesterday from blocked IDs. Twice someone left a message; once a man named "Tony" said I didn't have to "pick him up", because "Bob" would "drive him home" and the second time "Joe" from a "tree service" said "Tony" told him to get in contact with me about "scheduling an appointment" to "take a look at that tree." He also went on to say that he was trying to reach "Kathy Cabella," and that if I'm not her, he hopes I "have a nice day."

I see one black sedan following me today and my ass is headed to Canada before you can say who said ketchup-flavored chips were allowed? "Tony" sent "Joe" to "check out my tree?" Sure. And Jimmy Hoffa's just been in the bathroom for a while. I don't know who I pissed off, but unless I wanna be "sleeping with the fishes," or "wearing cement shoes," or "bleeding from a head wound," I'm thinking that maybe I should just pack up and seek asylum north of the border. The exchange rate's in my favor and I like flannel.

Should I disappear, know that I loved you all dearly. But Britney most of all.

Who's Famous?

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Short Verses, Sweet Songs

American Idol just ended. So help me god, if Carrie Underwood wins this competition, I will wage an unholy war against cellphone wielding pre-adolescents. There will be hell to pay. My vengeance will be consuming; I will feed on anger and quench my thirst with the blood of pop-country crossover fans.

I don't know what voodoo Fox Broadcasting works, but I shouldn't be so emotionally invested in artists whose music I will never, ever listen to again. Even though the finale's tomorrow, I've still got four more weeks of Britney and Kevin: Chaotic to ease my transition into television showlessness.

Not that I should care so deeply about Britney's behind-the-scenes either, you hear me, UPN witches?

Kevin: She's gonna leave me for Brad Pitt. (extended fart noise.)

The torment! The torment! His broken heart, right there on the night-vision screen. His insecurities laid out in his colonic imitations.

Britney: It's all about the magic in the kiss. If you don't have the kiss, it's nothing.

Poetry! Poetry at every turn! The golden words that fall from her tongue! I collect them like apples from the Tree of Wisdom. I place them in the basket of my heart, but o! O! I cannot bite!

Monday, May 23, 2005

A "Dear John" Fan Letter

Dear Chuck Palahniuk,

I don't want you to take this as a personal attack. Think of it more along the lines of an intervention; we all love you very much, and this is for your own good.

I recently spent twenty-four dollars and ninety-five cents of my hard earned money on your most recent "novel," Haunted. Being that it said "a novel" right there on the cover, I was pretty much expecting a story, probably divided into chapters for ease of reference and bathroom breaks, but nonetheless a cohesive whole.

Twenty-four short stories and a bunch of craptastic poems does not a novel make, Chuck. It makes a literary magazine. And that is a path I do not wish to tread ever again in my life.

Now, Chuck, I know you have your detractors and I just want to let you know that I'm not jumping on the hate-on-the-Fight-Club-guy bandwagon. I'll go out on a limb here and say that, once, I loved you. I did. Three chapters into Choke and I fell head over heels. Reading your books made me feel like the only third-grade girl in a group of boys, proving her mettle by poking the dead bird under the monkey bars with a stick. I loved the fact that I loved you and could never recommend you to my mother.

It was more than just your dark side, though. There was something true underneath it, Chuck, there was a real humanity to your work that made all the shit and the sex and the puking and the punching and the impacted bowels worth it.

What happened? What happened to you that made you write Haunted? Did you have a stroke? Did you dictate this "novel" to someone through an elaborate system of blinks and head bobs? Did it get screwed up in the translation? Did you throw darts at frames in a John Waters movie for inspiration? Did you use only a dirty magnetic poetry kit to write this piece of shit?

This book took away that great tomboy-with-the-big-kids feel, and replaced it with a stuck-in-a-lab-group-with-the-two-weirdos sentiment. Haunted was two-hundred some odd pages of choosing between watching one kid eat his boogers, and the other make pictures out of his dandruff.

It's not a good feeling, Chuck. It's not good.

Sincerely,
Katharine M. Cacace

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Cigarettes, Nursing Uniforms and Phone Cards!

I just got back from the Portchester flea market. I went with my dad, the both of us in search of fine quality, five dollar leather goods. We each left with two belts. This was technically a mission accomplished, but I was still a smidge disappointed. Usually a flea market affords me the opportunity to exchange an incredibly minor portion of my discretionary income for ridiculous kitsch. And while I can't begrudge Portchester its light up Virgins of Guadalupe, or its off-price, off-the-truck designer jeans, or its "Fleece Blanket and Hunting Knife!!!!" emporia, I didn't find anything sufficently stupid to buy. Not one religious statue, not a single belt buckle (though the "I (Heart) Square Dancing" buckle almost became a birthday present for Brad) seemed worth it.

There was one announcement I heard that made the trip worthwhile: Come over to the (somthing mumbley something garble) booth! We may not have DVDs or fancy jewelry, but we are the best for cigarettes, nurses uniforms, and telephone calling cards!

I'm rounding out the afternoon with a couple of chili dogs and a few quality hours of Comedy Central. If I can't fill the void in my soul with glass hummingbird statues and fiber-optic paintings of the Tappan Zee bridge, then I'll sure as hell feed it with a hot dog smothered in chili straight from the can.

The past couple of days have been strange; both good and bad, and sneezy to boot. I was "sick" on Thursday to attend Kai's graduation, and then sick on Friday because of seasonal allergies.

Seasonal allergies, fellas. That's right, take a number.

Kai's pinning ceremony was surprisingly great. I only say surprisingly because graduations tend to be about as interesting as four hours of reading the phonebook. The only things keeping me awake during my graduation were the awkwardness of sitting next to an ex-friend and thread of walking accross the stage with drool stains on my dress. Well, those, and the fire alarm that went off halfway through the "M"s. Every graduation I've been to has been about that boring, so I wasn't expecting much from Kai's ceremony. I was just hoping I'd stay awake through the speeches to do all of the necessary polite clapping. At least at my own graduation I could suffer through the rest of the alphabet writing myself into my own teen movie--watching every boy I had a crush on cross stage in what might be the very. Last. Time. I'd ever see him. Sniff. Ever.

Kai's pinning ceremony was contrary to all of my expectations. Unlike my graduation, there were no hour long musings on apartheid, no presentation of honorary degrees. There were just two quick and heartfelt speeches, the wonderfully painful vocal stylings of a graduating student, the presentation of pins, and the recitation of the "nurses pledge" before we were on our way to the party. One of Kai's classmates was hosting a dinner for some of the nursing graduates and their families.

I can only assume it's a tendency of the nursing profession to attract friendly, compassionate and genuinely nice people, but Kai's classmates were exceptionally so. All of the nurses Kai introduced me to (as well as their spouses) were some of the best people I've met since I've been living back at home. I had a great time with all of them, and I'm glad to know that they're the kind of people doing the job that they'll be doing; I'm thankful that if I'm ever in the position to be pooping in a bedpan, the people taking care of me probably won't be thinking any less of me.

Clorox's wet dream
Clorox's wet dream.

Nurse in Wonderland
Nurse in Wonderland. I forgot to change the setting on my camera, so let's just say this is from my Blue Period.

Now smile!  Smile!  Look pretty, this is for your AUNT!
Classic family function.

Graduations are kind of heartbreaking, even when they're not mine. Seeing all the weepy speeches and semi-inebriated declarations of everlasting friendship reminded me once again that, yes, it's been an entire year since I graduated from college. A whole year. Though I can't say this year's been as exciting as any of the twenty-one before it, at least it'll make for a good place to put a commercial break in my episode of Before They Were Stars.

Friday, May 20, 2005

I Was Missing in Action

I was out sick for the past two days, once for actual illness reasons and once for graduation ceremony attending reasons. Hence, little blogging was done. I know, I've left you high, I've left you dry.

I promise a special weekend post or two to make up for my absence. I've even got pictures to post.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

It's Time to Play the Music

I was really about to do some work, really, I was all ready, with an armful of paper to photocopy, all gung-ho about duplicating seven hundred pages until I realized that no one had turned on the copier this morning, and the thing takes as long to warm up as it does for global climate change to occur, and so I turned it on, but then I was just standing around staring at the machine and looking conspicuously unproductive, so I absolutely had to sit back down and start typing something, so, y'know, here I am.

It's a sad truth that I'm shirking my duties in order to appear productive. It's sadder yet that an old Buick of a photocopier decides how my day will go. It can't copy more than one page at a time. It's olive green. It has no less than seventeen places where a sheet of paper can be jammed, yet invisible to the human eye. Still, it has more authority over my schedule than me, my boss, or the general beating of the great corporate heart.

I swear to god, I'm going to destroy it with my stapler. I'm going to punch it until my knuckles bleed. I know it's passe after Office Space to hate on office machines, but I don't think I've ever met a person, object, or situation as enraging as this photocopier.

If this were The Muppet Show, and if I were the guest star, and if all of the objects on my desk suddenly opened their camoflauged eyes and it became apparent that the textbooks and manilla folders and scissors and Kleenex box were not only sentient but also itching to sing, and, after some witty banter, if we launched into a great Vaudeville-style call and response number (maybe "Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better?"), then the copy machine would be the downer baritone who growls something grumpy right in the middle of the song.

But this isn't The Muppet Show. If it were, the copier would get a WAH-WAAAAAAH on a muted trumpet, and my desk and I would jump right back into our rollicking melody. Instead, my little bitch of a tape dispenser watches me with stony contempt as I individually feed pages to the photocopier and mouth FUCK YOU FUCK YOU FUCK YOU YOU FUCKER I CANNOT BELIEVE YOU DID THIS AGAIN when it eats them.

Speaking of muppets on camera, I spent an hour last night watching Britney's tell-all, behind the scenes TV show. Scratch that. More accurately: I spent an hour last night spelunking Britney's nasal passages. Since my friend Brit has yet to master the finer points of zooming and the show was subsequently filled with intense facial close-ups, I can give an unqualified thumbs up to her oral hygiene.

People seem pretty eager to trash Britney after last night's show outed her from the dumb closet. But what did we expect, folks? She's a country girl with a G.E.D and a couple of albums about kissing boys under her belt. Did we truly believe somewhere, deep down, that she and Kevin sat at home baking souffle and reading Leaves of Grass to each other? At least she's nice to the people she works with; she seems geniunely chummy with everyone, from her pleasantly Dratch-a-like personal assistant to her backup dancers.

I'll own that it was a smidge creepy to hear her offer Mr. Federline the option of staying in and "fucking all day" instead of touring London, but, y'know, it was rainy out.

The most important thing to keep in mind about Britney and Kevin: Chaotic is that it has to be regarded properly to be enjoyed. Think of it as a six-part, slo-mo trainwreck, provided the train had been carrying a convoy of southern drag queens-- a couple awkward jolts, a smash, and a giant, confusing, smoky plume of glitter, MAC cosmetics, hair extensions, half-naked men.

And an Ouch, y'all! or two.

But now, following Britney and Kevin: Chaotic, we'd like to return you to your regularly scheduled programming, Kathy: Near Comatose. Stay tuned as she duplicates the next three hundred pages!

One. At. A. Time.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Pssst.

Anonymous, all I can do is think about you. I'm infatuated with your translucent eyes, your fine, fine hair. Anonymous, your name slips silently through my lips as I try to sleep, yet think only thoughts of your ghostly ways. Anonymous, I love you.

All I've been doing for the past few days is reading the anonymous confessions thread on the Oberlin LiveJournal. Five thousand burning admissions later, it's been continued over here.

It's fascinating because I know some of the people being discussed. It's fascinating because I hold out hope I'll find my name attached to a horrifically romantic excretion of love. It's fascinating in its sheer number of posts, and it's fascinating that so many people have jumped at the chance to confess something they never would've uttered had their name been attached to it.

But what's most fascinating is that people only want tell a secret about one of two things:

1. Love.
2. Flatulence.

It seems these are the great taboos left in our society. Unrequited attraction for another, and stinking up your roommate's territory. Ninety percent of that thread is:

Dear _____, I love you so much I can't control it. Seeing the back of your neck in philosophy class makes my heart quiver and my loins also quiver, but more so, and in a less metaphorical way. Please, please, please turn around one of these days and say hi. I love you, philosphy girl.

follwed by:

That one time after dinner I wasn't trying to blow you off I just really had to fart and I didn't want to do it in front of you and now I think you think I hate you, but I don't. It's my bowels I hate.

In the spirit of coming clean, I'll freely admit the following:

1. I am wearing stupid pants today. I know this, I have come to terms with this, and I hope it will convince me to finally do laundry.
2. Someone just called me at work who had a good telephone voice, and I googled him to see if he was cute.
3. I will not buy something from the vending machine if someone else is looking. It embarasses me, and I don't know why.

I recommend everyone reading 'fess up to something in the comments section. You don't have to sign it, of course. Do it anonymously. I'll even make encouraging comments* about how much I admire your candor.


*By which I mean snarky retorts.

Monday, May 16, 2005

I Don't Care Too Much For Money

I started my morning thinking I was dying, but enter the afternoon comfortable in the knowledge that I'm just a dirty capitalist.

Yesterday I woke up and noticed my arm was really sore. I was pretty positive it wasn't my rigorous power-lifting routine that had my muscles a-burnin'. I took it easy cleaning my room, using only my fully functional right arm to bulldoze my dirty clothes into a chain of disgusting Rockies. I figured I'd probably slept on it funny and decided it would have to feel better tomorrow.

I woke up again this morning with a lessened but still persistent ache in my left arm. I was now slightly worried. Ever since my mom and I used to watch Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, I've been pretty convinced that I'm silently dying of something that is consuming my insides and that whatever that something is will one day be made manifest in a spectacular spray of pus or vomit or fever blisters. Sure, our medicine is more advanced than the frontier science of Dr. Quinn's days, but it won't do any good. I'll have three weeks to live, and I'll spend them laughing half-heartedly at Ellen and trying figure out how best to convey on paper the way I want my hair styled in my coffin.

Anyway, my arm still hurt.

I got to work and read a huge article in the NY Times that was indirectly about class differences, conveyed through three people's experiences with having a heart attack. The old pain-in-the-arm, shortness-of-breath, you-can-never-eat-salt-again heart attack.

Between nine and eleven this morning, I was fully convinced that my heart was about to give out.

I investigated my arm thoroughly. If not a heart attack, it surely had to be some sort of osteosarcoma. [...a manuscript regarding which is sitting on my desk as I type.] It had to be one or the other. I checked for telltale swelling. I was pretty sure the veins in my left arm were too blue until I compared them to my right arm and couldn't find any difference.

When noon hit and I had yet to start sweating profusely, experience chest pain, or slip quietly into sweet dark oblivion, I went back through everything I could've possibly done to make my arm hurt. Sunday...nothing big. Saturday...just a trip to the outlet mall.

Check. I've shopped myself into injury.

It's my bag-carrying arm. The sheer weight of the purchases I dragged around Woodbury Commons outlet mall was so significant I caused myself physical damage. Not that I don't have a job to pay for this stuff, and I don't buy clothes all that often, and I owned about three t-shirts and one pair of jeans that didn't reveal my X-rated parts to passersby, but I really bought a lot. A lot.

Kai and I originally intended to go to the scrubs store to purchase a white uniform for her pinning ceremony, marking her official passage into RN-itude. From the uniform store it was just a hop, skip and a jump to the outlet mall, and from there it was impossible not to buy a twelve dollar skirt! Or three ten dollar shirts! Or the Puma bag I've wanted for three years, or these jeans that are really, really on sale, or these earrings, or everything I could get my hands on in my size at the American Apparel outlet!

At the end of the night, Kai and I found ourselves in the parking lot of the crazy diner rifling through our bags to find a single $2.90 head scarf. It took a good five minutes of searching to find it, and all the while I muttered, "Kai, this is bad...this is really wrong. This...this is not okay. This is...I forgot I bought this! I love this! But...man, this is really wrong."

In my defense, everything I bought was on sale. I got an entire spring wardrobe for what some people spend on a single pair of pants. But still, my inner hungry materialist is at war with my inner crunchy hippie.

"You get paid on Friday! Buy the shirt!" says the materialist.
"You just bought a shirt," says the hippie.
"Not this shirt, though," says the materialist.
"You only donated a hundred dollars to tsunami victims, but you can spend twice that in one day on floppy skirts and tank tops with cowboy boots on them?" says the hippie.
"You don't have a boyfriend," says the materialist.

What does that have to do with anything?! I interject. Lest someone notice I'm talking to myself in the middle of the Gap, I keep it down.

"Money can't buy love!" says the hippie, thrilled at the chance to use that line.
"...but it can buy a skirt!" says the materialist.

That bitch always wins.

If she weren't so imaginary, and my punching arm weren't so sore, she'd really get it.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Duck and Cover

On the eve of Friday the 13th, the Henry Hudson parkway collapsed and a train bridge from New York to New Jersey caught fire and burned for three hours.

This (bedeviled!) morning on my walk to work, I tripped over shards of a shattered mirror. Two blocks later I crossed 6th Avenue just after a shiny black hearse sped past me, headed northward.

This does not bode well.

I wore my secondhand, schoolbus yellowAvon Lake sweatshirt today in hopes that the sense of security gleaned from passing off my pajamas as "casual Friday" wear would counteract the doom I detect coming down the pipeline. If not towards me personally, then at least towards the greater metropolitan area. It's Friday the 13th and I saw a hearse so a building's going to topple, or something, and whether or not it lands on my train or on my car or on my head I want to be wearing this sweatshirt when it happens.

[This is the part where I entertain a small paranoid fantasy that a building will actually fall down today, and someone will tip off the feds to my all too prophetic blog post, and I will be brought to some bunker for questioning, probably underground, probably slightly damp and I'll be wishing I had a coat, and someone will play back a surveillance tape on a TV bolted to a wall, hospital-style, and you will clearly be able to pick out a girl of my stature in a bright yellow shirt fleeing a building just before the camera goes all fuzzy. It wasn't me, I'll swear, I was at work! It's some horrible coincidence! I swear, I swear, there are other yellow sweatshirts in the world! Some kind of taser/chair/pen-to-the-neck fight ensues and I escape, but then have to spend the rest of my life checking into Motel 6s under assumed names in service of finding my Doppelganger. And then I remember that I don't live in a Murakami novel and that maybe, instead of reading tonight, I should, y'know, go out.]

The last couple of days have been strange. A FedEx disaster on Tuesday threatened to deny me my Weezer show on Wednesday but didn't succeed. The show was great, our tickets were, for some reason, in the VIP section (reason numero uno why scalping is fan-friggin'-tastic) and I have never in my life enjoyed watching a crowd so much. The audience was easily 75% male (and two-thirds of that were total lookers--I was like a hypoglycemic in the candy aisle) and 100% passionate about the band. There was fist-pumping, lyric-screaming, friend-hugging, and Rivers-loving as far as the eye could see. Dorky guys on all sides were shrieking orgasmically and throwing that weird Weezer gang sign.

I had no idea that Weezer's male fans were so devoted. These guys were not watching a show, they were worshipping at the Temple de Cuomo. I'm developing a theory about this strange, reciprocal, chicken-or-the-egg? relationship between the band and these guy fans, whereby the band writes some songs about being nerdy and wanting to be a rock star, which nerdy guys listen to and make bonafide rock stars out of the nerdy band, who then writes some more songs about being nerdy and being a rock star, which maybe three albums into their career aren't so great, and the nerdy fans still line up around the block and love them because they want to see themselves on the stage, because the band is them, and they are the band, and they want to be nerds who want to be rock stars who actually become rock stars instead of being just nerds. Or something. There's also something uniquely tragic and poetic and forgivable about Weezers albums of late being not so hot, but that's a different can of worms and, frankly, I don't have the stamina.

The show was great, light-up "w" and all. I think that's what I'm saying.

Kai and I got back really late afterwards. I got about ninety minutes of sleep before I had to get up, slap on my least stained business suit (the blazer of which was converted from 'indie rock ironic' at the Weezer concert to 'corporate casual' via Febreze and a pair of matching slacks) and head to the train station. I brilliantly, ingeniously, and ever so suavely scheduled a job interview for five o'clock yesterday.

Five o'clock. So, y'know, just in case the show the night before wasn't enough to kill me, I had an additional eight hours of Health Informatics excitement to guarantee yawning through another rehashing of my favorite books and computer skills. Genius.

I originally intended on writing about the job interview, but thought the better of it when I remembered it was Friday the 13th and roads are collapsing, bridges are burning, and broken mirrors decorated my path to work. I also entertained another brief paranoid delusion in which I would be googled, then rejected, then depressed, then unproductive, and then fired from my current job due to my extreme unproductivity. I'd have to move to Ohio but I wouldn't be able to get a job. I'd give my resume to every bookstore, coffeeshop and bar around, but no one would call. I'd end up working at the Denny's near Oberlin, serving hashbrowns ("Would you like those smothered and covered?") to current students who leave me pity tips because they recall once being in a fiction workshop with me.

The interview went okay. That's what I think I was trying to say. Let's just leave it with the fun fact that I saw Project Runway winner Jay McCarroll on the street in midtown yesterday just before I went. I love him dearly.

It's almost lunch and I'm trying to anticipate all of the things Friday the 13th could possibly cause to go wrong: salmonella, nasty burn on the roof of my mouth, silently choking to death while trying to Heimlich myself on a chair as my co-workers type and fax just feet away. If you happen to see my bluish body on the news accompanied by phrases like "unconscionable inaction" or "senseless tragedy," know that I was just another victim of the unluckiest day of the year.

Watch your backs, kiddos, and wear your helmets. Buckle up, look both ways, and use a condom lest you concieve some kind of horror-movie-premise child. Chew your food thirty-two times. Tie your shoes.

(And use those toiletseat protectors when you go to the bathroom, even if they just soak up all the pee on the seat the second you put them down and you're just sitting on uriney paper. You never know.)





[FRIDAY THE 13th STRIKES AGAIN: I lost this entire entry. I had to compose it again from memory. If you see anything lacking, rest assured that the original was Pulitzer Prize caliber.]

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Fear not, my little ones...

Eventually, I will post something today.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Pencils Down

It's time for final exams. Everyone in the world seems to be churning out their seven-to-ten pagers and sharpening their number twos except for me. This is the first time since I was six that we're on the brink of summer and I don't have a single test to take, or portfolio to compile, or essay to write about a book I had yet to crack open.

Most valuable lesson learned during high school English exams: turns out that, actually, you can completely judge a book by its cover--to the tune of a 5 on the AP exam.

I kind of miss sitting in the hot high school gym with my pencil and back-up pencil and back-up back-up pencil, watching a teacher descend the endlessly long row of desks with an armful of sealed exam booklets which you MAY NOT TURN OVER UNTIL THE EXAM HAS STARTED. DO NOT TURN YOUR BOOKLET OVER. DO NO--THAT'S IT, MIKE, YOU'RE OUT. OUT. GET--I DON'T CARE IF YOUR FATHER'S A LAWYER, YOU'RE OUT OF HERE.

There was something exciting about (pre-college) final exams. Besides the fact that two hours and a hundred multiple-choice questions were all that stood between you and the shimmering oasis of summer vacation, it was obsessive-compulsively satisfying to see an entire year quantified in a blue booklet.

I also think that for many of today's godless youth, taking final exams is the closest they will every come to the sacrament of holy orders. A nun may turn her eyes heavenward and rapturously wed Christ, but there is no leap of faith greater than an unprepared senior diving into a calculus exam with a sign of the cross and a quick prayer that that big "s"-looking thing just means "subtract." There is no subjugation of the self to divine will comparable to the truant who trusts that God will not lead his 500 words on "To Kill a Mockingbird" astray and embarks on a timed essay jaunt through the pros and cons of hunting small game.

Not that I was ever so radically underprepared for a test. I usually had my notes highlighted, my review sheets filled in, and my intranstive Italian verbs committed to memory. But when it came to my Chemistry final there did come a point when, in the middle of the exam, I turned my academic fate over to some kind of higher power and began indescriminately filling in bubbles. I didn't understand the subject from day one, and actually occupied my class time learning to write "I hate chemistry" with my non-dominant hand. Despite the fact that I'd studied the periodic table to the point where its afterimage glowed a ghostly green on the backs of my eyelids when I closed them, and despite the more metaphysical fact that God, if he even exists, probably didn't give one fluffy white poop about my Chemistry grade, I remember listening to the scratching pencils, the whirring fans, the teachers hissing expulsion threats through their teeth and thinking: "Okay, um, now You take over."

I think I actually got an eighty-something on that exam. (And accordingly: praise the Lord.)

So, I guess what I'm saying is good luck to everyone dealing with final exams. You'll do fine. Just remember that a squared plus b squared equals c squared, and, when in doubt, just talk about "manifest destiny." That gets 'em every time.

Besides, it won't be long until your final exams resemble mine:

1. Which dressing does the loud old lady in the other cubicle ask for every day when she orders a salad for delivery?
(a) ranch
(b) thousand island
(c) ITALIAN CREEAMY! No, not Italian. ITALIAN CREEEEEAMY!!

2. How many times can you remember that same old lady calling the maintenence department to report that something is "sticky"?
(a) never
(b) at least four
(c) two, because that one other time she was calling about how someone plugged up the toilet, just plugged it all up, all kinda paper and feces in there, it's disgusting, someone better get up here and fix it.

3. Circle the only sentence spoken to you since your boss went on vacation:
(a) Hi, how are you?
(b) We're going out to lunch, would you like to come? Don't worry, it's on us.
(c) What's the hell's the matter with this copier?

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Yeah I'm FREEEE

It's nearly lunchtime and I've passed the time between work assignments today by compulsively refreshing my FedEx tracking page. My Weezer tickets were sent to me overnight express and, aside from the fact that it's fascinating how I can see exactly where my package has been (somehow Evanston, Illinois makes a good stopover between Phoenix, Arizona and my sweaty little hands), I'm still a little worried that they won't get here in time. I've comissioned my brother to sleep on the couch today instead of sleeping upstairs so he can sign for the package when it arrives.

The day you have to pay your sibling to sleep well into the afternoon in a slightly different location is the day you know the world is going right to hell. In a handbasket.

I'm trying not to dwell on the large-ish amount of money I spent on these tickets. It'll be worth every penny, but until I'm standing around, beer in hand, rocking out to "No One Else" like it's 1995, I can't help but lament the loss of my hard-earned dollars.

In order to make myself feel better, I decided once again to turn to my old friend CraigsList. In the For Sale section, which I usually skip in lieu of the more scandalous Missed Connections or Casual Encounters, I noticed the Free bulletin board. Eager to see what I could get by investing only a click (and perhaps my winning smile), I bit.

The good people of New York (read: crazies now fully uninhibited by the anonymity of the World Wide Web) have the following to offer:

- FREE AUTOGRAPH from VICTORIA'S SECRET MODEL
So, basically, a woman with boobs will sign her name! And it won't cost you a single red cent!

- men shoes size 8
The entire item description reads "great shoes."

- Stuff out on curb
Free! Everything on the curb is absolutely free! Come and git yer gravel, cigarette butts, earthworms, crushed Miller Lite boxes, rained-on advertising circulars, and squirrel entrails! It's all free! Just look down!

On Sunday, someone offered:
Small Tan HAMSTER!

But, sadly, on Monday all that was left of poor Mr. Sniffles was:
FREE HAMSTER STUFF!!

- FREE ADMISSION
"Okay...it was me. I peed in the coffee maker. I'm sorry."

- Packing peanuts anyone???
Nope, just happy to see you.

- 50 lbs. of sand
"Free. Please bring own transportation. Location: Jones Beach."

- fake coral for saltwater tank
Yeah, you think you'll make an impression with your fake coral you got off CraigsList, but lemme tell you, you cheapskate, we'll know.

We'll know.

- Bag of old porn on VHS
I swear to God, the ad goes on to state: "I'm ashamed to admit how much porn I have on VHS (about 30 or so tapes)."

We're not talking sandwich bag. We're not talking K-Mart bag. A whole Hefty garbage bag full of VHS porn? For free? This guy'll have 'em lined up around the block.

[Though there may be a significant emotional costs associated with having to travel to Long Island, let yourself in the front door with the key under the mat so you don't wake up his mom--who's elderly and napping during Dr. Phil, and just wants her son to be a good boy, you know, meet a nice girl, one with the gazongas that aren't so big like the ones on those girls on the posters she continually takes down and swears were destroyed in freak dusting accidents--and descending into his basement to collect your sticky bag full of booty.]

- 11 RECEIVING BLANKETS FOR NEWBORNS** MOST OF THEM ARE HARDLY EVEN USED
"Seriously, down here at the baby farm it's catch and release, catch and release. Barely a speck of placenta on this treasure trove of gently used receiving blankets."

And then there's my favorite, my very favorite, which I have not edited one word of:

- EXOTIC CHAMELEON BARTER
"Hi. Looking to swap my 1 year old Ambanja Chamelon (captive bred) housing lights and all for a Blackberry 7750."

So, money may not buy you love. However, if CraigsList proves anything, it's that money can, at the very least, buy hygiene, live pets, and that precious modicum of sanity between "thrifty" and "crazy hobo."

Monday, May 09, 2005

Ooo-wee-oooh

Though the MIT bash failed to produce a single interdimensional gate crasher, the secrets of time travel were indeed revealed to me this weekend. My knowledge is limited, in that I haven't figure out yet how to travel into the future or to a traveler-specified point in the past. My experience of time travel has been more akin to the wormhole theory, wherein the time traveler hops into some kind of space-time mail chute and gets indiscriminately delivered to a point in the past.

I can't stop the Holocaust and I can't deliver penecillin to Plague victims, but I have found a surefire route back to what I believe was 1985. The exact year may be a bit off, but I can promise you that I was, for sure, in Reagan-era America this weekend.

If you want proof, you're more than welcome to try it yourself. Hop on the next plane, train, boat, or bus headed towards the University of Connecticut. Though it's nothing like the flashing lights and roaring wind of science fiction movies, somewhere around the border of the school's campus you will slip quietly into the mid-eighties.

I was there on Saturday to help my brother move out of his room. Sitting in the lobby waiting for him to return his key, I was keenly aware that I was no longer in the third millenium. The air was thick with Dude!s and Lame!s and toootallys, which aroused my suspicion but couldn't prove that I had traveled roughly twenty years into the past.

I recieved my confirmation while desperately searching for a newspaper to verify the date (their newspaper racks were suspiciously empty...). A boy walked past the bench where I was sitting with his hair expertly moussed, his khaki shorts belted to his waist, his leather loafers on his sockless feet, and the collar of his pink polo shirt flipped jauntily up to his jaw.

As if to answer any further doubts that this truly was not just the year 1985 but, worse, a teen movie in 1985, a scrawny Billy-Idol-style New Wave kid almost bumped into the prep on the way out the door. As the little punk took off down the sidewalk as fast as his Vans could take him, the prep shot a disdainful look toward the kid's tight black jeans.

Hauling my brother's stuff down the hall and into the elevator, I very nearly knocked over a tiny goth girl--wearing a New Order t-shirt.

The last time it was 1985 I was three years old. Having barely mastered drinking out of a lidless cup, I didn't devote much energy to absorbing the fashion aesthetic of the era. This time around I embrace it. I cuffed my jeans, popped the collar of my coat, slapped on some big ol' sunglasses, and made my hair as large as my scalp could handle.

The sad part is that "eighties retro Kathy" was nearly indistinguishable from "regular 2005 Kathy."

After loading the car with my brothers shit and eating a comfortable lunch, we left 1985 behind for the summer--though I think we somehow got stuck in 1994 on the way home, because I can't stop listening to Weezer and enjoy their first two albums so much at the moment that I just bought two scalped tickets to their concert on Wednesday for a little more than twice their face value.

C'est la vie, at least if I am stuck in the mid-nineties I'll be able to put to use the baby barettes sitting all over my room from the last 1994.




[A special good luck to Kai who is, right as we speak, preparing to take her final final of nursing school.]

Friday, May 06, 2005

Who Got the Keys to the DeLorean?

Dear Ashley,

I'm not sure if you remember me, but we attended Mohansic Elementary school together. You didn't like me very much in kindergarten, though I was never quite sure why. Did you hate my lisp? Were you envious of my neon alphabet dress? I may never know the root of your malice.

But, Ashley, I never forgot the way you told the playground aide that I kicked Shanna in the head on purpose when you and everyone else knows you sacrificed her (She was your friend! Shame on you!) to one of your schemes to make my life cruddy. Everyone saw you plant her behind me as I flipped off the monkey bars.

I was a six-year-old gleefully hanging upside down, Ashley. The last things I expected to see as I dismounted were the tears of a classmate and you dragging the aide over to me, an evil grin from ear to ear. I was also more than a little clumsy; even if I had seen Shanna standing behind me, I very much doubt that I could've avoided planting my Reebok in her face.

I want you to know that every time I think of the playground I think of Shanna's poor head, and my unjust time on the curb.

My sentence on the metaphorical curb of life is up, Ashley.

Science once again trumps injustice! If all goes as planned at the Time Traveler's Convention this Saturday, residents of the future will be placing the secrets to successful time travel in my eager grasp in less than forty-eight hours. Fingerprinting, DNA evidence, and now time travel to right the wrongs of the past.

I'm comin' for ya, Ashley.

I'm gonna be on that playground, right behind you.

And I'm gonna give you the wedgie of a lifetime.


Watch your back,
Kathy

Thursday, May 05, 2005

XXX Porno Slut Boy Toy 4U

The promise of sampling the new oatmeal I bought last night is the sole reason I'm at work. The fact that my desire to face the day relies on hot instant cereal is a fact I'm choosing to ignore for the time being, or at least interpret as a delightful, childlike enjoyment of life's simplest gifts.

It's Thursday and I'm still not quite over wanting to fake sick for a day. Every morning this week as my alarm sounds its final warning call I've thought, "Hey, you've got sick days left. Stay home. At home, there's leftover pizza and The Ellen Show. At work, there's a folder full of pictures of diseased feet for you log. Call in sick."

Once you're awake at five o'clock in the morning, though, it's hard to justify not rolling over, not pulling on some pants, not slapping on your sunglasses and heading to the train station. I did. And, true to the rewards laid out in the old addage, this early bird caught the worm. [If "caught the worm" is interpreted as "secured the best available open seat on the entire train because it was next to an incapacitatingly cute boy, asleep, with his head against the window."]

Thank God the boy was asleep, because if he had been conscious he may have been less than wowed with the way I shoved a business man out of the way in order to claim the seat. It's rare that I see another pesky whippersnapper on the 6:46 a.m. express; I was not about to let an elderly financier thwart my divine right. The natural order dictates that I belong next to all handsome gentlemen of appropriate age on the MetroNorth.

It's not that any conversation took place. He was asleep with his iPod on and I was asleep with my iPod on. Even without the barriers of unconsciousness and hearing impairment, it's nearly impossible to get a stranger talking in the wee hours of dawn. But then again, my fervor to sit near him wasn't about actually meeting him. For all I know he could've been a rapist, or a complete cretin, or seventeen. It's just nice to go to sleep next to an attractive stranger, thinking that maybe all the old married people who walk by marvel at the gorgeous couple you crazy kids make.

At least then you could claim the fog of nostalgia for their own youthful indiscretions is the reason they spill their coffee on you, as opposed to pure malevolence.

As usual, I woke up when the conductor announced the second to last stop. The boy didn't wake up until we were well into the tunnels leading to Grand Central, when the train is all dark and, dare I say it, romantic.

It's a shame that fetish sites on the Internet aren't more varied. How many resources are there for men who like women's feet? Or boobs? Or butts? How many places can you go to see women with vegetables, men in uniform, or couples copulating in animal suits? The spectrum of sensual desires sated by the World Wide Web is nowhere near as diverse as is commonly believed. I mean, think every fetish you've ever heard of. I challenge anyone to name more than, say, fifty--and I bet they all have at least ten different websites availiable (with a valid credit card) for your erotic consumption.

Those of us on the real fringes have little to work with. For example, there's no site intended for girls who have a bottomless passion for tired-looking boys who ruffle their own hair like a little kid.

To be fair, I can't say that I've checked--but only because I'm at work. I'm willing to bet that the exhaustive research I plan to undertake won't turn up a thing. What are we to do, the people who want nothing more than to have our hearts break over and over as we watch a scruffy guy in a second-hand blazer mess up his shaggy hair like he's seven, and being awake is too much of a burden to even deal with?

If only chicks with dicks really did it for me.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Oh. My. God. Becky.

Last night, in celebration of Kai's very last nursing school clinical and my regular paychecks (let's keep on the bright side of my continued tenure at my current company, eh?), we decided to really cut loose, really let our hair down, really show the world that we're young and fun and still lustful for life despite all its lemon-dispensing.

We went for an almost early-bird dinner at Chili's. Girls gone wild! Girls gone wild! I'll have the buffalo chicken salad, please! Girls gone wild!

Somewhere between noticing the margarita oh-so-invitingly named "El Nino" ("It's like an eight dollar strawberry Gulf Stream coursing down your throat and out your urethra!") and the arrival of our Classic Nachos, a couple of girls were seated in the booth next to us. They couldn't have been older than sixteen. Upon sitting, both girls immediately shed their clothing down to tank tops, reapplied their lip gloss, and propped their manicured, flip-flopped feet up on the booth in a way I was shocked their pelvis-crackingly tight jeans permitted.

I kind of loved them, even though I could peripherally see one girl's toes wiggling all come-hither on the seat throughout my entire entree. They succeeded in shit-talking all of their mutual friends, including their waitress, before even ordering their drinks. When their friend the waitress returned with their iced teas, Toes connived her into talking to a looker over at the bar on her behalf. "It's just," she explained loudly while adjusting her boobs, "I'm way too shy to go over there."

"Now go tell him you have a really hot shy friend sitting in your section, and I'll be standing by the bathrooms, and then you come and get me, and then I'll take over. Got it?"

I didn't see how the love connection panned out. My salad proved kind of distracting, and besides, a big wall between the dining room and bar thwarted any attempts to eavesdrop on Toes McWallflower. She returned to her booth looking bored at best, so I can only assume that nothing notable happened. Their appetizers alone turned these girls into raving shriek factories; if anything fantastic or tragic had happened, it would've been broadcast like the evening news.

Then the soccer team invaded. Twelve sporty girls still wearing their knee socks annexed the three booths surrounding Toes and friend, who seemed to be acquainted with and disdainful of all of them. The soccer team sent a goodwill envoy to Toes' table, and after a few minutes of negotiations and small talk an armistice appeared to have been reached between the subtly warring factions.

Then Toes rolled her eyes at the soccer girl as she returned to her booth, and the latter unabashedly whispered about the former to every teammate within earshot.

So much for the promise of the great Pax Chilis Adolecentana.

Amidst our obvious, Jane Goodall style observation of both groups, Kai and I realized we were in the presence of both ends of the high school popularity continuum, the yin and the yang, the slut and the jocky prepster. Rave versus American Eagle. Thong versus "boyshort." Sneaks-into-clubs versus organizes-the-dance. "Want a beej?" versus "I was gonna wait until marriage, but I really love you, and it's prom night."

I was envious of both the sporty girls and the slutty girls when I was in high school. They were equally popular, but I could never decide whether I'd rather be at the Gap after school modeling khakis for the captain of the lacrosse team, or sneaking cigarettes and making out in the woods with a nineteen year old sophomore. I still can't quite decide (though my heart kind of leans toward the too much mousse, not enough clothing hussies), but watching their skirmish over territory in a chain Mexican restaurant makes me glad I'm neither them, nor me, at age 16 any more. I just don't have the energy. I'm too tired for every meal, every trip to the mall, every excursion outside my bedroom to be a battle.

I'll leave you with one of three fortunes I got in one single fortune cookie over the weekend. With three fortunes packed inside one cookie I was convinced that there had to be some kind of cosmic truth in there somewhere, but I'll leave it to you to decide. The fortunes progressed from banal (something about my journey) to untrue (something about my kind nature) to outright absurd:

Maybe, one day you will walk on the moon.

Weep Softly For Me

I have to go to a meeting.
On workflow distribution.

Bear with me, ladies and gents, there will be a blog today--but only after I go to this meeting, lose consciousness from the suffocating boredom, and come to again.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

This Coffee's BITTER

First and foremost, it is extremely important that everyone head over to McSweeney's. Why? Because today's short imagined monologue was written by yours truly. Just scroll down past their announcements and it's right there on the front page.

As I've already mentioned to some, I'm aware that I may have taken liberties with the gender of Mr. and Mrs. Spears' dog. However, the monologue just wouldn't have been funny if it was a female and I refuse to let heteronormative paradigms of gender identity stand in the way of humor.

On to new business.

I came very, very close to calling in sick today. After my prospective new employer effectively pulled the plug on the cotton-candy machine of my dreams, I just didn't feel like getting up this morning. I easily could've stayed in bed until dark thinking up metaphors even worse than cotton-candy machine of my dreams (in fact, I'd started: derailed my rollercoaster of hope, pulled the wings off my butterfly of ambition, stole the very last piece of my Juicy Fruit of happiness, etc.).

I'd like to say that as the sun rose and daylight filtered through the poppy tree outside my window I came to realize that yes, opportunity will dawn for me, and I arose brightly from my bed with the vim and vigor of a child.

In actuality, the reasons I'm at work right now were totally inane: my alarm had gone off, I really had to pee, I'd bothered to put two new albums on my iPod, and I had ten fingers worth of pink nailpolish to peel off. It's also No Boss Tuesday, which promised me seven hours of uninterrupted wallowing, job-hunting, and wallowing.

It's incredible how fast my brain managed to take the perfectly polite phrase "We've decided to go with someone else; would you like us to keep your resume on file for future opportunities?" and mutate it, ninja-turtle-style, into the most gruesome, drooling, six-eyed ogre hybrid of my every insecurity. Soon after the ill-fated phone call, I was convinced the Human Resources representative had actually told me they'd chosen a much slimmer, more attractive candidate who'd graduated magna cum laude from an Ivy League institution. Additionally, she said, her name is Alessandra, her hair was as shiny as a new penny, her breath was like a summer breeze off a field of wild mint, and her dad is Salman Rushdie. So, Kathy, would you like us to shred your resume and use the bits to stuff the chaise lounge we're having built for Alessandra's cubicle? Or would you rather we post it as reading material in what we, over here in the world of successful publishing, call the "Stall of Shame" in the High-Level-Editors-ONLY bathroom?

That's what the HR lady said. I heard her.

After that she cackled diabolically and stabbed a curly-haired, bespectacled voodoo doll over and over again with a red pen. Then she screamed "HAVE FUN WITH THAT BOOK ALL ABOUT SEPSIS, SUCKAAAAAA!!!" and slammed down the phone. Then she called back and said, "Oh, wait, I'm sorry, there's been a mistake. I accidentally got my resumes messed up. You actually got the job! I apologize."

"Really," I managed to sputter through my sobs, "you mean it?"

"Psych! You're still a loser! SMELL YA LATER, TURDFACE!!" she shrieked, and hung up.

I swear, that's how it went. Their hiring policies are really brutal.

I managed not to cry in front of anyone, which is more of a pewter lining than a silver one--but I'll take what I can get today. I was feeling kind of emotional on the train on the way home and got up out of my seat to go stand by the door. If I was gonna cry on public transportation, the worst of all places to cry, I was at least going to do it nearest the exit.

I managed to navigate the narrow aisle blurry-eyed; so blurry-eyed, in fact, that I thought the woman already standing in the vestibule was doing tai chi. I wiped my eyes, replaced my actress-on-a-bender, tear-hiding sunglasses, and looked back at her. The bitch was definitely doing tai chi.

Yesterday was not the day to be staging demonstrations of radical, uncontainable individualism around me. Midway between the squat-'n-poop move and the drop-it-like-it's-hot stretches I was so tempted to kick her square in the ass I actually had to stand on my own foot to keep it from flying toward her posterior.

I didn't get my job; she can't tai chi in the middle of a train. I didn't get my job; she can't be a big fucking hippie. I didn't get my job; she is not allowed to loll her head around like someone ripped the neck-brace off a car accident victim, and then look around for approval. I didn't get my job; she is not allowed to take up all the prime standing room with her extended limbs, flagrantly being happy with herself, so happy she saw nothing wrong with performing a weird private exercise routine right in the middle of my misery.

The moral of the story, folks, is that when faced with crippling depression, a surefire way to take your mind off your sadness is to supplant it with unfair, blind rage.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Too Sad To Blog

I didn't get the job.

Too sad to come up with anything good to say today; mostly, I'm working on not crying in front of the editor I don't like. Looking at new job prospects too.

How about this? Or maybe this? This is also a distinct possibility.

Sorry. Back tomorrow.
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