Thursday, August 31, 2006
I don't mean to be all random or whatever, but jumping Jesus on a pogo stick! Is this man not The. Single. Most. Creeeeeeeeepiest. Guy. You. Have. Ever. Seen. In. The. History. Of. Ever???
Yes. The answer is yes.
I am sorry the JBR story remains a mystery and her killer/father/brother/neighbor/stalker remains at large, but I am not one bit sorry this man has been called out and identified.
It's not like nothing good has come out of this "debacle." I think it's safe to say that Mr. Karr should NOT be working with children here or in Thailand or anywhere, and if that's the only outcome of This Week In Media Frenzy?
We're still in a better place than we were.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Oh, hey! Hiya! Did I say whore? Whoopsie! La la laaaaa...and welcome to another episode of Stories Of My Life That Seemed Like They Were Over And Yet Bear An Eerie Resemblance To Stories Of My Life That Are Happening Right Now.
Or something. I’ll need to work on that title. In the meantime, won’t you come with me? Back in time to say...about ten years ago?
The date: early spring of 1996.
The setting: Junior year of college.
The occasion: The first time I get myself into a situation wherein I make the worst first impression possible on my boyfriend’s parents.
When I first saw David across a crowded cafeteria, I knew I wanted to meet him. He was reading some textbook intently, and had not noticed me enter the room. I would later learn that short of a naked peg-legged pirate in a tutu jazz dancing on his head, David would not notice anything while he was reading. And perhaps not even then.
I strategically seated myself at a table next to his, and surrounded myself with chatty friends. I figured eventually the man would have to look up and notice me and be dazzled. At one point, he did look up and did make eye contact with me, but he did not seem dazzled. He simply went back to reading. And then slowly my friends had to leave to go to class. And the cafeteria emptied. And then I was alone at my table, next to David, alone at his table. And I felt like a loser, because when he finally -- deliberately -- looked up at me, it was evident that all my friends had abandoned me.
“Must have been something I said,” I offered. He laughed. We started talking. We learned a little about our respective classes and schedules, which facilitated our “running into” each other very often over the next two weeks. We eventually agreed to go on something of a date. Except...
...except even though it definitely felt like a date, there were a couple minor problems. Namely, that I was seeing someone and he was seeing someone. And neither of us had ended those other relationships yet.
Now, I am not using "yet" lightly. Both of us were at the tail end of our respective relationships already.
I had been with my boyfriend for a little over three months. It had been rocky from the start, and we’d sort of broken up at least once – possibly twice – in that time. He was an awesome guy and dating him was fun. But that was it. I never saw him as “the one.” And so, following my first “date” with David, I ended my other relationship.
David’s situation was a little more complicated.
He had been dating his girlfriend for four years. At the time, she was living on a campus two hours away. Theirs, too, had been a rocky relationship, and it had been on a loooooong downswing. They saw each other rarely (much of the time they were doing the long-distance thing), and he was convinced she’d cheated on him at least once. And so while they’d been together for four years, he also never thought she was “the one.” He had simply been putting off the break-up that they both knew was coming.
Following our first date, David made the four-hour, round-trip trek upstate to have the conversation with her in person. I understood that it was sad but civil, and in the end? She understood completely and wasn't at all surprised. He felt tremendous relief.
Anyway, once our respective “issues” were resolved, we were free to start seeing each other as often as possible. Which turned into every day, and/or every evening. God, I remember we spent a lot of time making out in his car. (We didn’t really have any choice or any privacy at the time as we were both living at home.) We had just clicked, instantly, and wanted to be with each other all the time. It was amazing.
So amazing, in fact, that we were reluctant to introduce each other to our respective families because, well, they would probably think our infatuation was crazy. How could we be so serious about each other after so short a period of time?
Oh, but we were.
Not even a month after our first date, we had spring break. Coincidentally, David’s parents had planned a vacation for that week, and so, over a game of trivia, he invited me to stay with him. Meaning we had his parents' whole house to ourselves.
The week was very memorable. The east coast had been pummeled by snowstorms all year, and so even though it was March, our spring break was frozen over. While it snowed and snowed, David and I spent almost a full week holed up, building fires, watching rented movies, cooking meals, listening to music, taking full advantage of our privacy (ahem), and essentially using his parents’ home to Play House. It was fun, and it felt so right.
One night, David had acquired a bottle of Dom Perignon for the express purpose of celebrating "us." We sat on the floor of his parents’ living room. He told me he loved me. I told him I loved him. We talked about marriage, as though it were inevitable.
In fact, it was.
HOWEVER. *cue doom music*
The other side of the story is the one from David’s parents’ perspective.
To them, their eldest son had been quite a handful through all of his Teen Angst years. He had only recently started to hunker down and take his future a little more seriously. He’d decided to finish his degree, and save money while doing so by living at home. His parents thought that a good sign. Finally, their relationship wasn’t as strained as it once was.
Equally pleasing was the fact that David had a real, long-term girlfriend. They loved her, and they loved that David was serious about her. They thought she’d been a good influence on him. They thought that David would be marrying her.
They did not know that David never planned on marrying her. They had no idea that the relationship had been unraveling for months and months. They didn’t ask, of course, because they didn’t want to pry. (Plus, that was sort of Dave’s family’s policy: Don’t talk about it. Whatever it is will eventually go away.) And they didn’t have a precedent of being particularly involved in Dave’s personal life.
Actually, I think the closest they'd ever gotten to really knowing David was in getting to know his girlfriend.
His girlfriend. The one he'd been with all through college. NOT the one he was apparently having sex with in their home while they were on vacation.
Yeah, so. While they were away, Dave's parents called to check in on Dave and the house. Routine. And that is when Dave decided to casually mention that I’d been “visiting.” As though it were no big deal.
To Dave, it was no big deal. To THEM, however, they were being slapped upside the head with a new reality.
WHAM – No, I’m not with that girl you have grown so close to anymore.
WHAM – No, I didn’t bother to mention that to you.
WHAM – I’m already seeing someone else.
WHAM – I’m not only seeing her, but she’s spending a great deal of time in YOUR HOUSE.
They weren't pleased, but didn't know what to say, I think. I don't know exactly. Dave didn't want to talk about it.
The day his parents arrived home from their vacation, I had class. Afterwards, Dave and I went to his parents’ home to go through our introductions properly.
I thought it would go fine. Parents usually liked me, and I was pretty confident in my credentials as a person and girlfriend. Plus, I figured they didn't really know how much time I'd spent at their house. Maybe I'd just stopped by. I didn't think details had been discussed. I had no idea...
When I went up to David’s room, I noticed that it had been cleaned. Not just straightened up, but thoroughly cleaned. Vacuumed. And the trash – which um, included some rather incriminating evidence regarding ours not being a platonic relationship – had been taken out. And the bed was made and the sheets – um, again – had been changed. I thought Dave had done a very good job of ensuring we’d at least been somewhat discreet...until a wave of horror rushed over me and I realized.
Dave hadn’t cleaned his room. His mother had.
No need for details to be exchanged, then.
When we made our brief introductions his father didn’t even get up from his chair. He simply turned the corner of the newspaper down a bit and said hello. Then he resumed reading. Dave’s mother was polite but stiff and clearly uncomfortable. She informed me that my mother had called their home and left a message on their answering machine, asking if I was there and to please call her.
It was not the first meeting I had hoped it would be. We didn’t stay long.
For the next few weeks, Dave and his parents engaged in the cold-shoulder, silent-treatment game. He started spending increasingly more time at my house with my parents, where he was welcomed without question. Eventually, he started spending the night. And then he just sort of moved in.
It wasn’t until mid-May that his parents finally asked us to dinner and the ice began to melt. Things were practically thawed by the time we were engaged a couple weeks later.
* * * * *
What’s that? The point? You’d like me to make one? Oh. Well, let me try.
In part for good reason in part for absolutely no good reason at all, David’s parents met me in the worst light.
When I piece it together now, I get it. Dave had suddenly ended a significant, long-term relationship and started seeing someone new. He’d cut off a girl after four years without so much as a warning to his parents, despite their having believed she would be their daughter-in-law.
And who was I? I was probably just the next girl in a long stream of them...despite that they’d thought the stream had run its course. If their son could just up and end his last relationship, what likelihood was there that he was serious about me?
Now add to the situation that I seemed -- probably -- sluttish and brazen. I mean, I was young, and had not been with David long before I was evidently sleeping with him. In their home. And, from the looks of it, unabashedly. Even my parents knew I’d been staying there.
What kind of girl does that? They probably wondered. Among other things.
And you know, under the circumstances, it was maybe a fair question. But it’s one I deserved to be asked.
Because my side of the story made sense to me, too. I met and formed an instant and intense connection with David. I knew about his ex-girlfriend, and understood why and how it ended. I wasn’t stupid or careless or naive. Or sluttish or brazen.
And sure, maybe they were not ideal circumstances under which to meet – but I figured we were all adults. I thought if there was a real problem we could address it and move on, or else just laugh at the turn of events and move on. I assumed David (and by proxy, I) would be given the benefit of the doubt, as my parents had always given me.
(Uh, even when some young man seemed to have moved into their home without much in the way of explanation.)
Hmmm. Does that sound like a point to you?
No, not to me, either.
Let me try again.
* * * * * *
Dave's parents met me in a horrible light. Not unlike the circumstances under which I met Ish's parents.
And so I have found myself again in a situation where I'm the bad guy. Girl. Sort of. I mean, my side really is totally defensible, but -- let's face it -- it's not hard to see the other side, either. You know, the side where I'm sluttish and brazen and morally questionable (plus probably a slew of other names since we're all grown-ups now and this isn't college and "house" isn't a game).
And even though I think things could work themselves out this time much better than the first, I also think it's worth noting this case of history repeating.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
I want to point out that somewhere in the world, someone wanted to find a documentary about cheese.
And then, well, I don't know why someone would want a picture of a panty liner or how it is that I've become the Internet's first source on all that is Pirate Booty, but whatever.
Mostly, I am entertained by the person -- some lovely Aussie in Sydney -- who stopped by looking for poems about booty calls. It really just makes me infinitely happy.
And perhaps a little inspired.
Horny and alone.
Could try my luck at the bar...
Nah, I'll just call you.
I encourage you all to add your own Booty Call verses (in comments or via email). I will post them all. Hopefully, we will make that person in Sydney very, very happy.
There once was a man who was tiring,
But his loins it did seem they were firing,
So he picked up the line,
And called Adeline,
Her services well worth aquiring.
* * *
The Haiku adventures of 70's pick up line guy:
What's your sign baby?
Can I get fries with that shake?
Yes, I'm serious
You must be tired
You know you have been running
through my mind all day
Baby, your daddy
must have been a terrorist
'cause you are the bomb
* * *
You're not the kind of girl I'd take home to mom,
So I dumped you and dated Cindy instead.
But now I'm lonely because Cindy has moved on,
And you are the kind of girl I'd take to bed.
* * *
happy momma to three writes:
Once booty calls
involved a dial tone
and a phone line
Now it's 5 minutes
and some KY
* * *
There once was a boy with a case
of the most hideous, butt-ugly face
so he got on the net
where he surely could get
someone slutty and desperate on Myspace.
Proud, I tell you.
I have clearly made my mark on the Internet. I have made an impact.
I know this, of course, not by all of you wonderful invisible internet people. Not by your fabulous feedback and commentary. Not by the satisfaction I get from telling you about the mundane details of times I embarrass myself.
I know that I have made a difference on the Internet -- and the world -- by how and when She Walks comes up in people's Internet searches.
I will admit, I am endlessly entertained by how people end up on this blog. (I am also endlessly entertained by what people search for in general.)
I don't mean to sound judgmental, but if MY breasts were growing at such an alarming rate that I could no longer walk? I might skip the step of using GOOGLE and perusing BLOGS and go straight to the doctor's office.
But maybe that's just me.
Now, these make a little more sense:
I see these search results -- results that led people right here -- and think I am most definitely serving my fellow humankind.
Note: for those who have inquired - I use StatCounter. It's pretty robust for a free offering.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
I finally registered the domain "She Just Walks Around With It" dotcom. As in, you can now go to: www.shejustwalksaroundwithit.com and that will take you to this here blogspot address.
In my world, it's easier to remember. Especially because according to my keyword analysis, most people search for "she just walks around with it." So I thought it made sense.
And it only took me like, two years to do!
Last night, PinkJaime and I met for a drink after work because we hadn't seen each other in a while and we had some celebrating to do. Primarily because she has found herself -- after six weeks of exhaustive hunting -- a new place to live. And not only that, but it happens to be five blocks from my apartment. Yippeee!
On the other hand, we had to reel in our celebration a bit because Ish and I had an appointment to go meet with some gym people. Because, see, my company is offering us some special corporate rate right now and it's occurred to me that maybe if I actually GO to a gym, I might get into better shape. And possibly I'd be more likely to go to this gym because it is literally on my way to work. But I'm also a bit wary of this gym because it's very Rah!Rah!Rah! and gym-like, which I find intimidating since I'm, you know, neither.
But this why I thought getting a drink before touring a gym made perfect sense.
PinkJaime and I also thought it made sense for us to go to a bar near the gym (that's how most people plan their nights, right? Where's there a bar closest to the gym?), which is when I remembered that there's kind of a fancy place nearby. Not that I wanted to spend too much money, but one drink and maybe one appetizer wouldn't be too bad, right?
(Well, right. And I will say, that was the best-tasting $10 spring roll I've ever had.)
But as we were getting ready to leave, we noticed that more and more upscale-y dressed folks were gathering at the table next to us. And then some guy who looked like a real photographer started snapping shots, and next thing I know, former SF Mayor, Willie Brown appears.
I couldn't figure out who all was there with him. It was a smallish group of about 10 or 12, and a couple faces looked familiar, but I couldn't identify them. (Possibly random SF assembly people or somesuch.)
Regardless, I thought it was cool they were there, two feet away from us. And so I wanted to do something about it. Except I had no idea what.
I knew I couldn't just walk up to Mr. Brown and say hello, since the last time I tried to speak to someone moderately well known, I pretty much sounded like a lunatic. Plus the only thing that came into my head to say to Willie was either about this HILARIOUS story involving him without his knowing it, or about how much I've grown to detest his early-morning radio show on Air America SO MUCH that I flat-out refuse to listen to it anymore.
And I thought maybe those wouldn't be ideal ice-breakers. Hmmm.
So then I tried to talk Jaime into getting her picture taken with him, but she would have none of it. (As she pointed out later, she'd only had one drink. A couple more and she would've gladly posed.)
Left with no other alternative, and a pressing date at the gym, I did the only thing I could think of.
I took a quick sneak picture of the back of the former mayor's head, while Jaime tried to duck out of the shot.
Having previewed the picture, Jaime was horrified that I'd even consider posting it online. I assured her, however, that no one would be paying attention to her since really the shot is all about capturing the great Willie Brown anyway.
At least I can rest assured that I didn't miss my career calling as a paparazzo.
Monday, August 21, 2006
No, no. Seriously. The narrator sounds like cheap wedding cake frosting, the brides' tempers are far less concerning than their tackiness, and by the time the episode is over, you sort of hope the featured couple is already divorced.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
I will admit that I am not the most tech-savvy person you will ever meet. I am not always a tech-slouch (e.g., I knew enough to get this super amazingly awesome new-fangled MacBook), but mostly I'll go and do things like select my new cell phone based exclusively on the technological fact that it comes in pink. You may have also noticed that it took me about a year-and-a-half to get my blog redesigned, and that was with the help of three separate professionals. My stereo blinks 12:00 at me. (Some might attribute this fact to laziness rather than lack of technical know-how, but that might be splitting hairs.) Even my apartment radiator seems to require more technical expertise than I possess, despite its having been built circa 8 B.C.
But the point is, even if my tech savviness is questionable, I am not a complete and utter dumbass. I mean, yes, I have my (obvious) limitations...but I can, overall, for the most part, in a very general sense, get around technology okay.
Or so I tell myself. And then I go and have a run-in with Microsoft that makes me think maybe? Maybe I do not know anything.
When I decided I should start extricating all facets of my life from my old laptop (a Sony Vaio running Windows XP, for those of you who are keeping score), I decided I should also probably try and delete a whole lot of stuff and clean up the computer and make it inhabitable for the next owner*, should there be one. I thought also I should do things like ensure the thing is free of viruses and spyware and maybe also "optimized."
Now, right. I don't know what "optimizing" something actually involves, but I feel pretty confident that when something is "optimized," is it made "better" than it was before. (And I guess cool tech folks couldn't very well call the process "betterizing," huh?) I also feel pretty confident that I couldn't tell an optimized hard drive from a non-optimized ("sub-better") hard drive if my life depended on it.
But whatever. Because while I was rummaging through the bowels of my six-year-old laptop performing random acts of optimization, my computer propositioned me.
Would you like to defragment your hard drive now?
Hmmm. Again, I have no idea what defragging** one's hard drive really means or why one would want to do it, but I DO know one thing for sure: when Windows*** propositions you, it's not very good at taking "no" for an answer.
[So if you want to know where my tech-savvy really comes into play, it's in decoding the subtext of Windows prompts.
In the world of Microsoft, any question that begins with "Would you like to..." is code for "you'd better." i.e.:
"Hey, User. We spent a ton of money building this application so that you don't have to worry your pretty little head over it. Hush now, don't fret. You don't really want to hit Cancel. Deep down, you know that you don't have any preference that we haven't pre-determined for you... and that the only reason you are thinking about clicking Cancel is because you want to feel like you're the one in control. But, User, what would you do with that control? Do you even know? Do you really want to fight with us about this every time you try and use this application "your" way? Of course you don't. Just click on Okay and let the Wizard take over. Shhhhh."
Yes, I have learned not to argue with Windows and its "Would you like to..." ways. The few times I got uppity and said "no, I would NOT like to" I paid the price. I still don't know where my iTunes application actually lives.
And while I'm on the subject of decoding Windows prompts, I believe that when Windows asks, "Are you SURE you'd like to..." it is actually laughing at you. Sort of along the lines of saying:
"Haha. You are SO going to fuck yourself royally if you do that. What could you possibly be thinking? LOL. No, no, fine. You go ahead. I dare you. I'm actually kind of interested in seeing how you react. I'm betting you'll start crying in under ten minutes. Seriously. I'm ready when you are, just hit OK..."]
All this boils down to is that I said yes. I went and I clicked OK. OK, Windows, defrag the shit out of my laptop. Work your magic! I thought. And I was proud because I was doing something that sounded technical and right and proper and like it would totally betterize my machine.
And then when I was provided with a status message, I realized I still don't understand a single goddamned thing about Windows or Microsoft or maybe anything. I mean, here's how I thought it should go:
It says Red = fragmented files
Okay! So then I think that since we are DE-fragmenting the drive, we must be going after the red files. We DO NOT WANT red files. Thus:
Red = bad
And! I continue to assign my simplified pink-phone logic here and determine that if red is bad, I must want LESS RED in order to optimize my hard drive:
Defrag = less red
This all makes lots of sense.
And then I noticed that my version of "sense" and Microsoft's version are not so much in alignment.
Does that look like my computer will be betterized to you? Or do you ALSO notice that there...um...seems to be more red in the "after" bar?
*God. Isn't moving from one computer to another a LOT like moving? Except, um, lighter?
**I have been around enough tech folk in my life to know it is called "defragging." I can use the knitting term "hank" in context, too. Doesn't mean I know what the fuck either of them really means.
Friday, August 18, 2006
Reprimanding me and my family for not getting the cats spayed early enough is understandable -- I hear your fury and frustration and I apolgoize. This story and your comments serve as very good reminders of WHY it is so important to spay and neuter your pets as early as possible (and we have ever since).
However, I cannot go back and change what happened almost a decade ago.
The cats were and have always been an active part of our family, and this has not been easy for anyone. That is WHY we are trying to find -- through every means possible, including this blog -- a good home for the cats INSTEAD of handing them off to a shelter.
The cats are currently living with my youngest sister until other arrangements can be made.
AND, now that I am armed with a non-broken camera, you will continue to be subjected to Things I Find Notable About My Mornings.
The BART station where I emerge every morning has an issue with pigeons. This isn't really surprising (or notable – I'll get to the notable later) seeing as I live in a city, and every city has an issue with pigeons. However, I live in the Bay Area. And while I do not know the ins and outs of how our Bay Area goes about their pigeon problem-solving, I am damn certain that "but we must be humane" is a central factor.
You know how we are around here.
So one method of trying to get pigeons to stop landing where they (and their poop) are not wanted, is what I will call the Plastic Stick method. Somewhere out there, some plastics manufacturer is making a fortune (and laughing all the way to the bank) by providing strips of clear plastic sticks that, um, stick up.
And everywhere you go, another strip of plastic sticks is being attached to a rooftop and stair ledge and guardrail and such. The theory, we may surmise, is that birds don't want to perch on plastic sticks.
It makes sense, doesn't it? I know I probably still have scars on my feet from the few times I accidentally stepped on Legos as a kid, so I agree – upright plasticy things? Not comfortable to land on.
However, the theory seems to have a hole in it. Literally.
Whether because of some Darwinian principle or, you know, simply because birds can SEE, many pigeons don't seem to find the plastic sticks as anything more than an inconvenience.
"I see those plastic sticks along the edge of the roof," a pigeon may say, "so I will not land on the part of the roof that has those sticks. I will perch on the part of the roof NEXT to the sticks."
And that would explain why every morning I awake to pigeons hanging out NOT on the ledge of my fire escape where my landlord has attached the plastic sticks, but on the STAIRS of the fire escape, which are stick-free.
But ho! Apparently, the BART people got wise to the crafty birds, too. And then they had to devise a MORE CLEVER plan than sticks, while still being humane.
And you know what they came up with? Because we're all technical and innovative here in the Bay Area?
(Actually, you would not believe me if I told you and didn't have pictures in support of my claim. In fact, I did not believe it myself until I put 2 + 2 together and realized how completely crazy the world has gone.)
Did you read that?
Attached with I-don't-know-what, perched high above the station, above where the pigeons most love to congregate, "they" (oooh, and I would LOVE to know who "they" are, because I will bet you a million dollars that "strapping speakers to concrete walls re: frightening pigeons" was never part of "they"'re original job description) have placed speakers.
Speakers. That emit loud, scary BIRD SOUNDS.
The first time you emerge from your BART car and take the escalator up into daylight, and your eyes aren't all the way open and you are daydreaming about your first sip of coffee and trudging through the Morning Commute Motions, let me tell you. Hearing WILD BIRD CALLS is not something you expect. Nor is it something your caffeine-deprived brain has the capacity to process.
I suspect most people do what I did when they first hear these bird calls. They think, "That is one DAMN LOUD BIRD." And then they move along.
But some mornings? Some mornings I am a little more awake (by which I mean bitter and ready to be pissed off) than others, and it was on one such morning that I realized something about the DAMN LOUD BIRD calls was not quite right.
"What the fuck kind of bird is making THAT racket?" I think. "Are we suddenly in the JUNGLE? Do I need to keep my eyes peeled for malaria-carrying mosquitoes and the occasional anaconda surfacing from under the stairwell? OF COURSE NOT because IT IS FREEZING HERE and also gray and concrete and HOW STUPID ARE YOU, JUNGLE BIRDS? The fog-frosted TUNDRA OF SAN FRANCISCO IS NO PLACE FOR YOU!" And I shake my head and feel bad for the stupid birds who, like so many midwestern tourists, did not bother to check the weather reports for this part of Northern California before leaving for their vacation.
So. On that morning, as the escalator brought me to the top of the landing and I realized the bird sounds were getting louder and louder – so loud that I half-expected an entire flock of exotic fowl to be prancing around the BART station like they owned it – I saw that there were no birds anywhere at all.
Well, except for the pigeons.
And that is when I then realized that someone was actually piping in the sounds of big, scary, jungle birds to frighten the pigeons away.
You don't want to be hanging out here, pigeons! Heed the warning of the jungle birds! EEEEP! SQUAWK! They are coming to get you!!!
Or um. Actually, I have no idea what the bird calls mean. Do they mean, "We are coming to eat you"? Or do they mean, "FLY AWAY! DANGER IS NEAR!"?
I do not know. I am not fluent in bird.
However. It doesn't matter what the message is, because it is not working. Not only can the pigeons see, but they can also hear and feel and sense, and they know. They KNOW that no dumbass jungle bird would be stupid enough to fly all the way to San Francisco. Or that, on the remote off-chance that some exotic bird DID choose to come to this city, it sure as hell wouldn't be to hang out in the FROZE ASS BART STATION.
Perhaps the jungle birds would like to fly around with the parrots in the Castro. Or poop on some upscale cars in the Marina. Or dive-bomb the Frisbee players in the Park. Or get a little nesting action in on the rooftop of some Pac Heights palace.
But scream and yell and carry on in a BART station? Please. City pigeons are no fools, they know the speakers are bullshit (even if most commuters don't)...
...and they are not afraid.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
My whole family was perplexed. We didn’t know a damn thing about cats, as all of us had been dog people. My dad grew up with dogs. My mom grew up with dogs. Accordingly, my sisters and I grew up with dogs.
(I will save my dog stories for another time.)
Why would we need a cat? We had dogs and neighborhood kids and a bird and a fish pond and mayhem enough in our zoo of a house. What would a cat add except more hair? Besides, we-the-non-cat-havers thought, aren’t cats like, aloof?
But Sam insisted and Jiminy Kitten came into our lives and changed it forever. Because we all quickly learned how sweet and personable and loving and funny and friggin’ adorable cats can be. And how EASY they are to take care of compared to dogs, especially if they are outdoor cats. (It should be noted that now that we’re grown-ups, all three of us have cats and both my sisters have dogs.)
So a year later, we got another one. Thinking all cats must be the same. All cats must, we suspected, be just as easy to take care of as Jiminy.
Tinkerbell was not, however, quite as charming as our first love. She was tiny and demanding and not so much fond of people. We were okay, but we weren’t huntable and therefore just not that interesting to her.
And so it goes with some cats.
But another key thing we learned from Tinkerbell (and we learned it the hard way) is that cats can get pregnant a LOT YOUNGER than dogs can. We discovered Tink was preggo just months after we took her into our home.
When she had her litter, we worked very hard to find them all homes with our friends and families. But no matter how hard we tried, we couldn’t help but keep two of her kittens. (And when I say “couldn’t help but keep” I mean it; we could NOT find anyone willing to take them. Phantom and Ripper seemed destined to remain in the family forever, not because they aren't good cats but because, um, they are maybe not the most attractive cats you have ever seen. And they are a bit, um, chatty.)
So there we were – my parents in their farm house running a zoo. Three dogs and four cats, with two girls still living at home. And yet before any of us had time to contemplate how crazy THAT seemed, or that if Tink got pregnant so quickly after we got her home that maybe we should get ALL of the girls fixed…
…all of them got pregnant. Tinkerbell, Phantom, and Ripper. All pregnant at the same time. All giving birth at the same time. Meaning that my once-anti-cat family went from having Jiminy one year, to having a house fiilled with TWENTY ONE cats the next. Even the dogs were afraid to go anywhere near the rooms that housed all the kittens, and we didn’t blame them. It was a bit overwhelming.
When this round of kittens was old enough, we didn’t even bother trying to find homes for them ourselves (we had learned our lesson). Instead, we worked out a deal with a very reputable pet shop in a very upscale part of Connecticut, and not only did all the kittens find very good homes to go to, they found them within one day.
For years, then, my parents continued to be the zoo keepers, and it was all pretty okay. But times change.
Soon after my parents moved to New Hampshire with their cats and (by then) two dogs, Jiminy was struck by a car.
(It was night, and he darted out in front of the car at the last minute; the young driver couldn’t avoid him. She felt awful. Her mother was in the car with her, and when they knocked on my parents’ door to give them the news, she was sobbing. At least, we learned, it was instant, and had most likely been painless for Jiminy. The same could not be said for the poor girl.)
And then not even a year later, Tinkerbell just disappeared into the woods.
Which left my parents with Phantom and Ripper – the only two pets my parents had never voluntarily taken on in the first place.
And over the years, as all of us grew older, throughout my mom's illness and after her death, after the other two dogs passed, after my dad left the house he'd shared with my mom and Sam and moved to a smaller place just for himself, Phantom and Ripper remained part of the family. They even grew closer to my dad (almost protectively), ignoring that he had been the most staunchly anti-cat of all of us.
Now that my father, too, has passed away, we don’t know what to do with them. (It’s so sad on so many levels I can’t even talk about it. I’m crying as I write this.) It’s just that…
Healy has a house, but in addition to her full-time job and year-old son, she also has two cats and a sick dog who requires physical therapy. Samantha lives in a small apartment in Connecticut and is overrun with her own cat and her own dog, and can’t reasonably take on two more. And I live in a small apartment in San Francisco that is completely overrun with my two cats. (I tried living in a small apartment – hell, I tried living in a big apartment – with four cats once and it was just damn awful.)
So we don’t know what to do. The two cats who -- for better and worse -- remained at my parents' sides, now desperately need a home.
They have grown up with each other and shouldn’t be separated. They are also outdoor cats and have been their whole lives. They are sweet and dutiful and chatty and good. And if you happen to know of anyone, anywhere in the country, who could provide them with a good home, please email me as soon as possible.
Anyway, starting tomorrow I'll be back to posting every day (with weekends being wildcards).
Thanks for your patience. And also, thank you SO MUCH for the hysterical comments regarding the condom rack at Walgreens.
Friday, August 11, 2006
Thursday, August 10, 2006
In the meantime, I leave you with this. It is a picture of a napkin set that Ish bought for me because, as he said, "they are just so you; I couldn't not."
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Lately, thankfully, the shuttle driver has taken to driving larger-sized vehicles that tend to accommodate everyone.
Last week, as I was getting on the shuttle getting ready to head home for the weekend, I was doing my best to be a Good Commuter. I got on the shuttle quickly, I scootched into the back as nimbly as possible, given my size and ass and approximate three cubic feet of baggage. (By which I mean actual, tangible baggage and not emotional crap. Because three cubic feet? That would barely be big enough to function as my emotional baggage's ID tag.)
Anyway, so I'm working on my scootch and thinking I'm being a good commuter when WHAM! I bang my forehead into the mini-tv bolted to the roof of the shuttle. Hard, too. My head literally ricocheted off the damn thing. No one laughed or anything, but I had clearly come close to knocking myself unconscious and I did NOT feel ashamed in putting my hand on my forming bruise and saying, "OW!" aloud.
Then last night on the shuttle I noticed a VERY HELPFUL CLUE. One that perhaps should have been slapped on the monitors on the shuttle we used LAST WEEK so as to help poor people such as myself -- the ones who have some issues with breezy elegance -- AVOID FOREHEAD RICOCHETING.
Where were you LAST WEEK, oh helpful sticker?
*Though not directly. It actually just takes me to BART. Which takes me to the bus. Which THEN takes me home.
Monday, August 07, 2006
Not that I don’t believe in the idea or anything.
[Uh, on the contrary. One day when I was in college, I walked into the very unglamorous cafeteria and saw an attractive man across the crowded room. I determined right then and there that I had to meet him. We were married a few years later.]
[And we all know how well that turned out.]
So right. We agreed to meet at 8:30 p.m. at a place near where we both lived. I’d only been there one other time, on what was quite possibly the worst date of my life.
For those of you who were with me last summer, saying “quite possibly the worst date of my life” is going some. Aside from the man who liked to tell people he was from the future and the bad kisser and the man who giggled incessantly and the man who was forgot to mention he was still living with his girlfriend at the time and the man who bit, there was one guy who was just incredibly boring.
Now, at first when I realized he was boring I thought it wouldn't be so bad. Because boring is easy to fend off and isn't, you know, biting. But after a while, after I kept trying to end the date with Mr. Boring politely, he was getting to be problematic. He sort of wouldn't let the date end in any kind of polite way.
“I would like to go somewhere else, now, and you don’t have to come with me,” I actually said. And he actually said, "Oh, that's okay. I'll come with you."
Eventually, out of ideas for what to do or how to handle the situation myself, I called in back-ups. Back-ups. And yet even after my FRIENDS joined us on our "date," he still wouldn’t go away. “I am going to go home soon,” I offered, “You can stay out if you’d like.” “No, I can go with you, walk you back,” he’d replied. And my non-confrontational self didn't have it in my to say, "WHY DO YOU THINK I WANT YOU KNOWING WHERE I LIVE?" Instead, what with friends and drinks and having had enough of dating altogether, I eventually DID just leave.
And didn’t so much mention it to him.
Anyway, despite having fled it a week or so earlier, I still liked the bar. It wasn't the bar's fault. So when I had to pick a place to meet another date – the this-is-the-last-time-because-I-cannot-take-this-anymore date – it sprang to mind.
Then on that Saturday night, as I approached the bar from my direction, I noticed a man coming in the opposite direction and I started to wonder if maybe the bar was cursed.
The guy was dressed super casually and listening to an iPod. He didn’t really seem like the guy I was supposed to meet, and I hoped it wasn’t. He was kind of hidden beneath a hooded sweatshirt and the part of his face I could make out didn’t resemble the guy who’d sent me his picture. When we crossed paths we exchanged brief glances, but then he kept right on walking and I was relieved.
I entered the bar, stopping one step in to look around and see if the man from the picture was there, and not some hoodie-clad thuggish guy.
Except a moment later, the door opened behind me and the man from the street entered. He took the hood off his head and the earphones out of his ears, and we realized simultaneously that we were each other. He was visibly disappointed. I probably was, too.
He just appeared...different from what I expected. I was pleased that he wasn’t “goofy” looking, which I was sorta half-expecting given the expression he’d had in his picture. But his face and neck were thinner and more drawn than I am generally attracted to. Plus he looked kind of sad. And with the sweatshirt giving him a thuggish look, I was very thrown.
It was not the look I expected from a Stanford MBA.
Anyway, we got a table and he took my drink order and I told him I’d like a gin and soda – it was my new summer drink – and he went to the bar. I sat, wondering if I had made the cardinal mistake. It was 8:30 on a Saturday night and this was my date? The two minutes we'd known each other weren't boding well.
He brought our drinks to the table and we engaged in painful small talk.
What is the matter with us? I wondered. He is smart and witty and...and socially adept, right? You can’t do what he does for a living and not be, right? So what if the physical chemistry isn’t setting the table ablaze? I’m still fun. He should be fun. Why is this so awful?
We’d endured about 15 minutes of small talk, when we came to the end of our drinks. A critical juncture.
He asked if we should get another drink. I don’t think he asked if I would like another drink; I think he asked if we should get another drink. He may as well have asked, “Hey, ah, do we want to keep this up?”
I thought about it and weighed the possibilities. It wasn’t going well. We had the whole night ahead of us, and if we ended the date right there, we could salvage most of the evening. I really didn't want to end up on another bitch-and-ditch date.
On the other hand, it just seemed ridculous. On paper, we had so much in common. Certainly there was something we could discuss. Why be defeatist?
“Sure.” I said.
And so we found ourselves with two more drinks, still searching for something to discuss.
How about current events, huh?
"So um..." he probably started. “I read something interesting on [important but not mainstream political blog] today about...”
And finally, I started to smile. Because not only did I know the blog -- which I figured he'd appreciate and maybe be impressed by alone -- but I could go a step further.
And because I also figured I had nothing to lose (the conversation couldn’t get worse, certainly) I interjected with it.
“Um, I’ve had [an intimate relationship] with [author of the blog you just mentioned].”
(And THAT, my friends, is how to change the course of a date.)
Oh, he was caught a little off-guard, sure. But he was also clearly bemused by the idea...and by my sharing it. All of a sudden, we knew a lot about each other. Common um, “affinity” for the same writer holds lots of implications, you know?
Basically, I hadn’t just broken the ice, I had smashed it to bits. And thank goodness. Because from there, we couldn’t stop talking. There was simply too much to say and we couldn’t get it out fast enough.
Who else do you read?...What did you think about...?...Have you [been intimate] with any other journalists I should know about (ha, ha)?...I write, too...Oh, where?...How does that work?...Humor is completely based on economy of words....I know exactly what you mean...Yeah, separated...
A few hours later, we had barely come up for air what with SO MUCH TALKING. Seriously. Talking.
But, well, okay. Eventually the conversation stalled when we found our way to a kiss. Still, right up till that moment, I had no inkling that we’d have any chemistry at all. There had been no sparks other than conversationally.
Mmmm. But the kiss. It changed everything.
Even though we resumed talking and talking and talking anyway.
* * * * *
Sadly, the next morning was rather unpleasant.
No, he hadn't spent the night or anything like that. It was just that I didn’t want to think one night of unexpected chemistry and sensational conversation meant anything. I’d been on too many dates with too many men to think that a perfectly incredible evening would be anything but just that.
I was hardening. I had learned not to expect phone calls, and to only half-expect an email. An email wherein he’d possibly request another date, but would be just as likely to inform me that aliens had abducted his dog and under the circumstances wouldn’t be able to ever see me again. Because I’m great, but you know. Aliens.
And so I awoke trying to ignore any voice of hopefulness. And then found the worst email in my inbox ever.
The man I had run out on a couple weeks before had posted his experience online, but with a rather – as you might imagine – unfriendly bent. An aware IIF found the post and brought it to my attention and I recoiled in horror as I read about Me-As-Date. His story was mean-spirited and bitter and painted me as something atrocious and ugly and boring and fat and horrible. And even though I knew he must have been fueled by sour grapes, it was still awful. I felt guilty for having treated him badly, but also like the least desirable person on the planet.
That morning I cried a lot. I felt tired and sad and the crush of hopelessness. My summer of dating had turned out to be one great big disappointment after another, and I couldn’t do it anymore. I mean, to wake up after one of the nicest nights out I’d had in months...
…and realize there was no reason to think I’d ever even hear from the guy who’d made it possible again? It left me empty.
I wanted to believe myself good and worthy company. I wanted to think that a night full of fun and laughs and repartee would be enough to warrant more of the same. But it never was. And why?
Why was it so hard? Where does it say that a second date is to be avoided at all costs? Because, honestly, I could not understand. Isn’t something good worth pursuing, even if you don’t know how it will go? Even if you aren’t sure. Even if there’s no guarantees?
Don’t you get another drink?
Mabye no, you don't.
It was early in the afternoon, not yet twelve hours from when we’d said goodbye, when my phone rang and it was him. Saying hi. Saying thank you. Saying it was fun, let’s do it again. Saying how about this evening?
And just like that, I remembered why I’d ever bothered in the first place. Why I kept trying. Why I’d put myself out there again and again. And then again. Why you do get another drink and you do tell your truth about your life and sometimes someone, someones, will find it boring but all that will dissolve when you find the one who doesn’t. Instead of rolling his eyes at you he listens and is engaged and cares and gets excited to tell you his story and then you’re so busy out-storying each other you hardly notice that it’s a year later because you still – still – haven’t come up for air.
Happy anniversary, Ish.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
...is all I'm saying.
And thanks to Tyra's brilliant suggestion, Sherlock The Space Cat has gotten in on the action.
He looks like he'd be perfect for Evil School Marm, don't you think?
(okay, I swear I'm done with this game now.)
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
[15 minutes later]
HA! I look like something out of a clay-mation movie. I'm Evil School Marm!
"Where's your homework, young man?!?!?"
Oooooh! Now I'm vying for a role in Lord of the Rings! Look! i'm a...um...thing! Like an imp-y thing! An elv-y thing! A THING! That I MADE! On my computer!!!
Oh! Oh! And look! I can be all VOGUE except also POP and incredibly famous for like 15 whole minutes!
And then there's this silly feature, where it takes pictures of me just looking like... me. (And what fun is THAT?)
(Ignore my holding my hands against my face so as to avoid excessive chins...)
La la laaaaaaaa...mmmmmmm...maaaaaaaac......
On a fun note, I got to test drive a Saturn Sky roadster and it was awesome and cool. The car felt amazing to drive and made me nostalgic for owning a car (a convertible, as it was) of my own again. I found it especially amusing that the gentlemen who reviewed my license before letting me drive away from the hotel in a brand-new vehicle seemed not to care that it was:
a) out of state
b) not my current name (not that he asked)
c) illegal, seeing as it expired in July of 2003
Yippee! (Also, let’s give a shout-out to GM, for having the presence of mind to bring cars to a female-centric event.)
On a personal note, I would also like to draw your attention to a few bloggers I failed to mention in my one re-cap. There’s Brit, who is a very cool person (and now real-life friends with both Whinger and P) and um, whose arm I apparently took to stroking sometime after my third glass of wine. (For reasons still unclear to me.)
Likewise, at the cocktail table I was entertained by Stacy and Kris and their brazen ways.
I also had a smash hanging out late-night with Jenny, as I mentioned, and also with the woman I kept referring to as Heather Graham. We shared amazingly intimate details about each other’s lives as though it were perfectly normal. Because it felt like it was.
I feel like I need to get off my chest the biggest issue I had with the conference (which is similar in part to Whinger’s POV on the subject).
I THOUGHT my issue was with the Mommy Bloggers. And I thought this because there were a lot of them in the house, and many of them seemed to know one another and have quite a well-developed network that was amazing to witness but – I felt – impossible to infiltrate.
I felt like they were the event celebrities.
I felt left out.
Like, something big and huge and important was going on with “that” group and I didn’t know about it before-hand and I didn’t (couldn’t) prepare for it and just basically felt like I was forced into observer mode.
And that sort of made me bitter.
And then there was the conference itself, perhaps unintentionally focusing on the mommies. Like, giving us a bib (and a few other kid-centric things) as part of our swag and having a couple sponsors totally miss the mark as far as knowing who I am, how I live my life, and why I blog.
Meaning that when I left the conference, I left having felt a little ignored. Like maybe I wasn’t an important attendee because I was not a mommy.
Well, I feel better now.
For one thing, I am not the only one who felt the conference was skewed and who took issue with the swag. (I was not the only one who wanted to smack the Janes upside their heads, either. Phew.)
But more importantly, I didn’t like feeling like the mommyblogging group itself contributed to my disappointment, so I put it out there. I posted on a blog about it, and got back an awesome reply that makes SO MUCH sense.
Liz, writer, professional, mother, superstar and owner of Mom-101 offered the following:
“…maybe there were just two disparate groups at the conference - those there to meet new friends and discover new blogs; and those there to cement online relationships they've had for months or years. I can see where it would suck to be in the former group with a whole bunch of women in the latter.”
I assumed everyone would be there for the former without giving any consideration for the latter. And that had nothing whatsoever to do with the unifying theme (“mommyblogging”) as it did with a big ole’ network of people finally getting to meet each other.
So all’s well that ends well.
And here’s the picture of me meeting Dooce – me, trying to smile while looking at Whinger like just make the camera work already! and Heather smiling politely about Crazy.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Except um, the way I mean it, it would have to be upside down.
You get the idea, right?
Anyway, as I was trying to remember the name for this thing I started laughing at myself* because I remembered that once, I thought** I would be good at chemistry.
I was a junior in high school then, and the first test of the year in my honors*** chemistry class was about properly naming all the equipment that we would be using in the chemistry field. You know, beakers and burners and "de-ionized water" and such.
[See above, where I properly identified the "meniscus."]
[Uh, though I will tell you right now that that is the last time I properly named anything in chemistry ever again. Ever.]
This is all not the point though.
The point is that my ass-to-leg ratio makes me look like a walking upside-down decanter and this is not the preferred look for events such as...
...well, I suppose events such as ever, if you really want to be honest about it. But in particular this is not the preferred look for when we want to actually really be somewhat breezily elegant and look nice for a special meeting at work or a dinner party or, say, meeting Ish's parents for dinner at the fanciest restaurant in San Francisco. For example.
Thus, my question is this: can I lose 73 pounds in 11 days?
*In my head, not aloud in my private space at work. We try not to let on to our coworkers that we are completely insane. Shhhhhh.
**I thought this based on sound research; namely, that I was good at biology. Surely chemistry would be no different. It is all about memorization, I figured. HAHAHAHAHA.
***Because if you are going to perform miserably, you may as well perform miserably with honors.