Facial Hair Removal Horror Stories

People are generally surprised when I claim to be a tiny amount Persian because I’m pale and always have a soy latte in hand. At which point I show them my faint handlebar mustache. But really, the only bodily characteristic that confirms the presence of a small amount of Persian blood is the speed and veracity at which my facial hair grows. Unfortunately, I am not a man so my facial hair inspires slight revulsion instead of deep respect and fear.  You would think I would have a favored method for removing it by now as a 23 year old, but this is not true. I have no loyalty to hair removal procedures because so far, they have all resulted in mediocre eyebrows and pain.

My face during facial hair removal.

My face during facial hair removal.

I wish I could just allow the monolithic caterpillars on my face to continue to grow into a majestic unibrow butterfly. I wish I just could accept Frida Kahlo as my style icon and move on. And, to be honest, there are days when I enjoy my hairy wolf face. Like when the sunlight streams into my room, dappled by swaying trees, and hits my mustache, soul patch, and unibrow juuust right so as to produce a very attractive effect. And I think to myself, “Wow, I should really just be highlighting these features instead of getting them ripped out of my face every few weeks!” Alas, the sun is not so kind most days so instead, I find ways to rid myself of this extra hair. And don’t worry, I don’t waste my waxed/plucked facial hair; I donate it to the Justin Bieber Facial Hair Relief Fund. I urge you to do the same.

Justin Bieber Facial Hair Relief Fund #neverforget

Justin Bieber Facial Hair Relief Fund #neverforget

Annnyway, after months of leaving my facial hair alone besides the occasional use of tweezers, I decided it was time to turn to the professionals again. I went to a threading salon where I was promised a pain-free experience that was better than waxing. Yeah, no. There is not such thing as painless hair removal. I sat in the chair as the nice lady methodically used friction to remove my face hairs and I proceeded to sweat everywhere  because of the pain. I’m sure my eyes were watering too but I can’t remember because I have mostly blocked out the memory.

After the threading session, I had shaped eyebrows, a sweaty dress, and an unwavering desire to never get my eyebrows threaded again.

However, a few weeks later, I realized my eyebrows were out of control. I was a human sheepdog. I couldn’t see right and my parents were getting worried.  I decided to go back to the waxing salon where I also previously had told myself I would never return.

This was a mistake because, for the second time, I had actual skin ripped off instead of hair.

I Snapchatted this to all of my friends.

I Snapchatted this to all of my friends.

I thought that maybe it was just a fluke or something when this happened the first time. Nope. I’m just sensitive to wax and get lightning scars but not in a cool Harry Potter way or in a way that would discern me as a truly committed SD Chargers fan – no, just an unsightly scar. I religiously put vitamin E on it in the hopes that it would help heal it with its magical science powers. It did heal the outside scar, but the emotional scars have yet to heal.

I hope we can all learn something from my terrible grooming mishaps: just accept the lady stache.

- M

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10 Things to Avoid During Thanksgiving

Louis C.K., the sage of our time.

Louis C.K., the sage of our time.

Here are ten things to avoid during Thanksgiving, the first holiday that sets the tone for all other impending holidays. DO IT RIGHT OR NOT AT ALL.

 

1) DON’T drink before embarking on the adventure that is a new recipe. 

Put the wine glass DOWN. I have learned the hard way: just because it’s a holiday doesn’t mean that the Food Network gods have suddenly graced you with culinary gifts. You still have to read the directions like a literate adult and if you have wine in your bloodstream, the ability to read is quickly ripped away like so many appetites upon viewing turkey gizzards.

Case in point: Last year, I tried making a pumpkin pie. I put in baking soda when the recipe called for baking flour… This resulted in an absolutely heinous salty pumpkin cake and also a salty discharge from my tear ducts.

Obviously not a picture of the horrible monstrosity I created. It was truly the Frankenstein of holiday desserts.

Obviously not a picture of the horrible monstrosity I created. It was truly the Frankenstein of holiday desserts.

2) DON’T make homemade cranberry sauce. 

That’s cute and all, but guys, can we all just agree that that canned stuff is AMAZING and King of All Things Cranberry & Delicious? Just because it comes out in the form of a gelatinous cranberry can does not mean it is not both mighty and majestic. It even has ridges to show you where to cut each serving.

Me: “How helpful you are, Canned Cranberry! With your evenly-spaced ridges and Jello-like consistency, I can never go wrong.”

Canned Cranberry: “You’re welcome.”

Mmmmm.

Mmmmm. Can.

3) DON’T exercise. 

Are you serious? That’s what New Year’s resolutions are for, dummy! Why start a habit now when your Old Year’s resolution should be to become a giant sea cow? Actually, sea cows are too healthy – they eat marine vegetation. Try for something larger, like a planet. Become a planet. Mercury, maybe?

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4) DON’T spend three-hundred hours blessing the food. 

WHAT IS THIS, DAY 1 OF THE PILGRIMS LANDING ON AMERICA?* Please, for the love of all things holy and unholy, this is not the time to list all six million saints in the Catholic canon. Take the time to say your thanks, give the sky a thumbs up, pat your friends and family on the head, and then eat! If you do spend three-hundred hours on something, make sure it is spent being grateful for Kimye and realizing what is truly important in this world: the existence of North West.

Calm down, everyone.

Calm down, everyone. The saints will still be here tomorrow.

5) DON’T eat at all except for dinner. 

I play a game every year called how-hungry-can-I-get-before-I-pass-out and this year is no different. Time to fast. It’s like a trendy juice cleanse except the juice is air.

I do love a good painted cheese.

I do love a good painted cheese.

6) DON’T send a mass Thanksgiving text. 

If you could opt-out of mass texts, then maaaaybe it would make them slightly more tolerable. But inevitably, your phone buzzes nonstop with the tangential side conversations mass texts tend to cultivate: “Who is 454-444-0456 number?” Just send a personal text or tweet. And by tweet, I mean, send a message to your loved ones by carrier pigeon.

7) DON’T talk about Black Friday or lament about the holiday season.

WE KNOW. WE ALL LIVE ON PLANET EARTH IN A CITY CALLED OBVIOUSTOWN, USA.

Black Friday Logic.

Black Friday Logic.

8) DON’T talk politics.

Uncle Bob, put down the butter knife and channel your political enthusiasm into aggressively washing the dishes or something.

“We. Are. Trying. To. Have. A. Nice. Day,” said hosts and hostesses through gritted teeth all throughout the land.

9) DON’T be ignorant of American history. 

You guys, Thanksgiving can hardly be boiled down to a bunch of white people high-fiving the native population.

10) DON’T be a cynical killjoy.

Wait a second…

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- M

* I am aware that Thanksgiving was not Day 1 of Pilgrims landing on America.

I’m White Hot… in the Insurance Industry

My biggest fan! But seriously, Flo, stop sending my resume to HR - I'm not interested.

My biggest fan! But seriously, Flo, stop sending my resume to HR – I’m not interested.

Maybe they’ve heard through the grapevine that I really like Progressive commercials, maybe they know that I deeply appreciate and am grateful for medical insurance, or maybe they just want a drone to carry out their paperwork – whatever the reason, insurance companies are pursuing me incessantly. Seriously, it’s like some sort of Renaissance-era courting ritual. I’m surprised they haven’t just gone straight to my father for my hand in insurance-marriage. Or written me a ballad. Or gifted me with expensive jewelry while making grand platitudes about my beauty and wit.

"Girl, you iz fine!"

“Girl, you iz fine!”

No, instead of the *proper* method of going about courting me, they’re e-mailing me. Sometimes, multiple times. They keep telling me I’d be great for their “team”. I’m prettttttttyyyyy sure they’ve misunderstood my resume and have no clue what they’d be in for if they hired me. Hypothetically, I’d be a great asset in terms of my ability to communicate like a human – I’m literate and can sometimes participate in small talk without gagging. Retail has also afforded me some vague knowledge of “customer service”.

The recruiters for these companies probably have a good laugh over my statements on my profile that describe my desired job as “writer” and send me a recruitment e-mail half out of pity and half out of genuine interest in hiring me. They know I will be poor and living among the plebes and probably feel like some sort of hero offering me an insurance position.

I know I shouldn’t be complaining because, as we all know from the news, the job market is dismal and we’re all going to die horrible deaths. It’s not that I’m too good to work for an insurance company though, it’s that I actually think that maybe there’s a chance I could write for a living and do what I like instead of shilling life coverage plans? I don’t know, maybe I’m taking crazy pills…

Who knew The Matrix would be so relevant to my life?? I choose the Red Pill! I want to know how far the rabbit hole goes. LET’S ALICE IN WONDERLAND IT UP, GUYS. 

- M

Wisdom Teeth and Other Dental Hijinks

If there’s one thing I would like to avoid in this life, it’s getting surgery. Well, unless I end up living in Beverly Hills and decide that elective rhinoplasty would boost my writing career (because duh!). I guess wisdom teeth surgery is “elective” in that I “elect” to get them out now while I am under the magical umbrella of parental insurance for two more months before I am thrust in the savage world of DIY dentistry… or until I get a job with dental coverage. Anyway, my wisdom teeth have been slowly but surely moving in. And not only that, but there is one in particular that aches with an increasing intensity every single day.

It’s weird because usually I’m complaining about my knees… but now, as I get older, I slowly experience pain in places I would never have even dreamed about!

Ah, but really, I am looking forward to getting these little monsters out.

Not all things dental are bad but when teeth come up in a conversation, more often than not, it is part of a terrifying tale. A drunk girl once came up to me during a party and started babbling at me. I had time to respond a few times in the midst of her stream-of-consciousness  remarks. Apparently, those few seconds were enough time for her to appraise my teeth situation. She suddenly interrupted the already erratic rhythm of our conversation to compliment me: “Your teeth are so pretty and straight! I can tell you’ve had braces.” I replied in the affirmative, thanked her, and thought that that would be the end of it.

But, no.

She went on to say that she, too, had braces but in her living room with her aunt doing the procedure who, she assured me, was not a dentist. It seriously sounded like some backwards medieval level stuff . I just stood there slack-jawed and eyes wide open – not sure of how to react or what to say. Luckily, the girl in question scampered away after this to find the next recipient of her dental horror story.

The teeth are located in the abdomen.

The teeth are located in the abdomen.

Her description of braces was a far cry from what I dreamed about as a kid. I remember coveting every boy and girl for their metal-enhanced mouths in elementary school. I resolved that I, too, would have a mostly synthetic mouth and rubber bands that changed according to my whims.

I was a pretty frumpy elementary school student but even I knew the style potential of braces in the midst of my frump. Braces were like permanent jewelry for your teeth! Ah, yes. My naivete would be shown years later when I actually had them.

I had those fun Invisalign braces (which, by the way, totally not invisible) for the top teeth but my bottom teeth had the traditional metal kind. Man, not that fun!

image (4)

1) Getting hit in the mouth – instant, profuse bloodshed.

2) Popcorn – why did I even try? Seriously bad decision-making.

3) Getting the wires tightened – the wires were like taut guitar strings, except they were in your mouth and instead of music, they made your entire oral cavity quake in fear and pain.

So, in conclusion, I am not looking forward to this next dental adventure. I am looking forward to what sort of fun painkillers they will give me though!*

- M

* In a non-recreational, responsible sense. Of course.

Impending Birthdays and Immanuel Kant

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Every birthday, I resolve to make the coming year better than the last. But then, sometimes, there are periods of time where I flat out lose my mind and make terrible decisions that fly in the face of my goals and reject all notions of human reason (and decency). Enlightenment thinkers  are probably disgusted by me and my flagrant disregard for objectivity and logical reason.

Kant: "I Kant even look at you."

“I Kant even look at you.”

(Note to self: restrict self from making Philosophy 101 puns after midnight because they are extra horrible.)

Being a certain age is like going on a blind date. Except that you slowly bury your date throughout the year before the next birthday brutally murders it. And this happens up until the day you keel over. This year, 22 will be laid to rest and rising from its ashes, 23 will arrive. It was good enough for Michael Jordan so it’s good enough for me.

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I’m sure 23 is significant if I think of it in terms of what my (hoped for) lifespan of a million years a solid century is: two years from a quarter-century,  seven years from 30… I could go on but math.

Anyway, like I started off saying in the beginning before my brain got sidetracked by Immanuel Kant and Michael Jordan, I like to avoid the stupid things I did the year before. Here are things that happened when I was 22 that were #notsogreat decisions or choices:

  • running (a lot) when I have terrible knees (Me, while running: Wow, this is excruciatingly painful. It feels like an angry mercenary militia is actively waging war inside of my knees. I bet I will be in 1208234o6795422x this much pain in thirty years…. oh well, moar running!!!!)
  • not flossing (Me, while at the dentist: The dentist looks quite disgusted with the state of my gums, I really should floss. Really. No, stop laughing!! Humor is not allowed in my serious inner monologues about flossing. I WILL FLOSS. Maybe. Probably not though, because ugh, it takes forever.)
  • wearing high heels without strategic band-aid placement
  • buying Groupons (Me, when buying said Groupon: I will for sure use this coupon before it expires. I will definitely drive thirty minutes out of my way to get this wax treatment. Why wouldn’t I?)
  • impulse buying (Me, at Target: I only need a new sweater so I can replace the one with hole- IS THAT AN OMBRE DR- OH MY GOD JEWELRY SALE- AND OWLS, OWL EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE!!!)
  • getting upsold at Starbucks without realizing it (Me, at the time: Wow, that lady was just awful nice. Awful nice. I’m paying…. what?! That seems higher th- oh my god. It’s because I just agreed to an extra shot of espresso. I will pick up my coffee from the bar very aggressively while thanking the barista for a job well done and leaving  a tip to show my displeasure and disapproval of her witchcraft.) 
  • whiskey (This seems like a good idea.)
  •  vodka (This seems like a good idea.)
  • drinking alcohol with a phone or communication device in hand (This text seems like a good idea.)
  • getting separated from my friends without a phone, ID, or money (This seems like a terrible idea, too bad I have no device to rectify the situation.)
  • dropping my phone face down on some concrete (Me at the time: Well, now every time I make a call I will get glass splinters in my face – maybe it will work as exfoliation too??!!)

To good decisions!

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- Daughter

No, I Can’t Help You, M’am, My Hands are Full of Broken Glass

I really thought that customers couldn’t reach a new low but they prove time and time again that, yes, they can lower the bar ever lower. There is no limit for debauched customers.

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For example, two days ago, someone pooped on the floor. Actually. Pooped. On. The. Floor. I’m extremely hard to gross out so I got some bleach poured it over the area in question and donned a hazmat-like suit (no, just gloves actually) and cleaned it. It wasn’t the way I wanted to start off my day but you know what, things can’t really get worse after that, can it?

OR SO I THOUGHT.

I’m going about my day, doing my assigned tasks and a coworker tells me that there’s a wine spill. Okay, no problem. Someone breaks a regularly bottle of wine probably once a week. I walk over to the wine department, expecting a small wine puddle but instead see a huge spill and broken glass eeeeverywhere. I saw a couple of customers by the spill but they skittered away once they saw me. Didn’t apologize or anything. That’s fine. Whatever. FOR SHAME, HUMANITY. FOR SHAME.

THEN, as I am very obviously cleaning up a spill (literally, I was in the middle of a sea of wine and glass) and handling broken glass, a customer asked if I could help her. I didn’t even try to veil my absolute disgust at this woman as I turned around and said, “Actually, I can’t help you right now because I’m cleaning up broken glass that I don’t want other people to step on.” She says, “That’s fine, I’ll just ask my question as you work.” She then proceeds to ask an extremely specific, detailed question that I do not have the answer to, so I put down the shattered glass and get a coworker. But really, REALLY? I understand that the customer is important but COME ON, BROKEN/SHATTERED GLASS IS IN MY HANDS, do I really look like I’m in any position to assist you? Unless you are planning on buying broken glass, then I can’t help you.

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Thank goodness for amazing coworkers! They’re all I have in this (retail) world.

- Daughter

Being Sick as a Child vs Being Sick as an Adult

I’m sick and man, it’s not as sweet as it used to be.

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Pros of being sick as a child:

1) The world practically stops to take care of you.

2) Massive amounts of television is watched and nobody can say anything because you’re a  tiny human that feels sick.

3) You skip school.

4) You get to lie in bed all day and not feel guilty.

5) You go back to school and people are so happy that you’re back.

 

Pros of being sick as an adult:

1) You can… drive yourself to the doctor?

Cons of being sick as a child:

1) Can’t think of any.

 

Cons of being sick as an adult:

1) Literally, nobody cares besides passing “How are you feeling” texts that are sent out of social obligations like some sort of Rousseauian social contract.

2) The world does not stop even if you do.

3) You still have to go to work and school if you are not bleeding on people or otherwise outwardly showing signs of near death.

4) You have to cook for yourself when you’re sick and that means thinking.

5) Staying in bed makes you feel guilty.

6) People hate you because they know you are the transporter of sick germs.

Good thing for sleep, there’s always sleep.

- Daughter

Morning Routine: Expectations v. Reality

Every night before I go to bed, I try to pick out an outfit that has the possibility of being adorable. Usually, it’s dress and often, it is accessorized with strategically-placed jewelry, headbands, etc. However, my optimism the night before is never matched by my morning state.

Grumpy-Cat

I wake up bleary-eyed and scraggly-tailed (the exact opposition of “bright-eyed and bushy-tailed”) and completely throw out the outfit because ultimately, I decide putting on that outfit requires too much of me. I seriously wish I could have someone dress me, Marie Antoinette style where each of my minions have a certain item of clothing they must put on/take off. Life would be easier. I would just try to avoid the end fate of having my head cut off.

Marie-Antoinette-Queen-of-France-1782

I digress.

This reluctance to put together outfits gets worse during the colder seasons because it takes all of my strength to strip off my warm sleeping clothes to change into whatever heinous, ill-conceived outfit I thought up in a fit of delirium the night before.

I wait to get changed until the last second but, eventually, real life dictates that I put on clothes that do not qualify as sleepwear. But I do my damnedest to get as close to I can to pajamas and toe that line like a true rebel. (But not like a French revolutionary because I’m Marie Antoinette.)

Clothes that I do choose in the morning include, but are not limited to:

  • leggings (they may not be pants but my legs can’t tell the difference)
  • scarves (it’s like having a blanket perma-snuggling your neck)
  • worn-in, possibly stained, shirt
  • messy side bun that looks like the vestiges of my parasitic twin I partially absorbed in the womb
  • grandma underwear (because, comfort)
  • shoes that have seen better, shinier days
  • clownish make-up because of the poor lighting in my room that makes the brightest of red lipsticks look natural and right

Also, the earlier in the day I get up, the worse I tend to look, feel, and act. So, Tuesdays and Thursdays, when I unfortunately must get up in the pre-dawn hours, I tend to take the path of least resistance in the morning – aka, lazy dress.

I’m not even sorry.

- Daughter

 

Driving in LA

This past weekend, I helped a friend move into her apartment in LA. I was mentally unprepared for the concentration and sheer determination it took to complete this task. When we loaded up my (Dad’s) truck, I played a dangerous game of furniture Tetris but managed to stuff four chairs, a desk, and two mattresses in the bed of the pick-up. Then I did some magical knots with bungee cords and secured everything down to a reasonable level of stability.

After the road trips to and from Philly, I felt pretty confident in my packing and bungee-ing ability. And, as far as I know, I didn’t kill anybody with errant, flying furniture so mission accomplished on that front.

However, there were various problems with this driving situation despite the successes.

My two other pals each filled her car with what wouldn’t fit in the truck. We planned a route with the lowest amount of ominous red chunks of traffic and since I could not really see to either side of me or out the back window, we decided on a caravan formation where I would be in the middle.

I don’t know if you’ve tried to keep three cars together on the 405, but it is nigh impossible. And futile. And frustrating. And anxiety-inducing.


Seriously though, even going at disgustingly slow speed, it was hard to annoy other drivers enough to leave our little line of cars. I’m pretty sure most drivers didn’t want to drive behind me anyway because I probably looked like a traffic accident waiting to happen but people loved to cut me off in the front. Which is their right as an American citizen. As an American, it is your right – nay – your duty to annoy and harass other drivers as you feel fit.

I think the most terrifying aspect of the entire ordeal was merging because I was relying on other people’s instincts to move out of the way and sheer luck. I basically kept a pleading look on my face the entire time I was on the road and hoped people understood that I couldn’t see anything. I also put my blinker on and looked to the sides for a full thirty seconds before I took the dive into another lane.

But, let’s be real, nobody cares or cared. They were just trying to go on their merry way and far away from what probably looked to them like a roving furniture store.

 

Alas, I did make it to the apartment in one piece. But not before panicking multiple times and having to give myself a pep talk. You can do this. You’re amazing. You’re in a truck, people respect you. Look how high you are compared to everyone else. You are elevated to the status of Queen and nobody – NOBODY – will take your throne. You will guide your people with a gentle hand but a harsh word. You are the Supreme Ruler of All the Land. 

Unrelated: all of LA hates me.

- Daughter

That Moment When the Dullest Tool in Shed in Class Interrupts the Dude with the PhD

Disclaimer: I don’t think people who have a doctoral degree are better than plebes or anything, this particular student (who is an older, Dad-ish-aged guy) just kills me.

Can I post this surreptitiously in class?

Can I post this surreptitiously in class?

I try to call upon Buddha and Jesus and Mohammad (sometimes I need all three, okay?) to calm myself and center my chi (?) but…THIS GUY. I didn’t pay money to listen to his inane drivel (“inane drivel” is also how I describe my blog coincidentally) when there’s a person with 20 years of teaching experience and stories and PhD-ness in front of me giving a great lecture. A lecture that I need to hear so I know what will be on the tests. So, I, and everyone else, can pass the class. SO DO NOT INTERRUPT HIM CONSTANTLY TO SAY THESE THINGS:

“I think Confucianism goes real good with Buddhism.”

“Well, the Mongols are basically terrorists. They strike fear in MY heart, that’s for sure. *laughter that extends for too long*”

NO. STOP.

There is no hand-raising. There are no thoughtful contributions. This person only shouts out baaaarely related information that are mostly his personal reaction to historical events that we cover and causes a class-wide epidemic of second-hand embarrassment.

The professor, clearly the consummate professional, is always able to turn around this person’s (who, for our purposes today, shall be christened, “Jim”) comments into something relevant while also steering the conversation back to his actual lesson.

Just so you know, Jim, when the professor asks a question, unless he says the words, “Does anybody know…,” IT DOES NOT WARRANT A RESPONSE. There is such a thing as a rhetorical question.

But he will never understand. And so I will continue to close my eyes in pure frustration when, for the sixth time in ten minutes, this student interjects with ignorant or silly comments.

Here’s more things he’s said:

Professor: “But there are also controversies surrounding the Ming Dynasty. For example, there onc-”

Jim: “Well, in my mind, I think that-”

Me, in my head while cringing in real life: Please, please. This time, Professor, just shut him down. Just say no. Just ignore him. Just tell him to raise his hand.

—-

Professor: “Taizu had a positive impact on China but he was also considered a tyrant.”

Jim: “THAT’S RIGHT HE WAS!!!!!!!! HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!”

Me: *SWEAR WORDS* Why is he laughing???? What? 

—-

Ohhhhhhh Jim.

For the record, I had a guy in his 80′s take a class at my “fancy” college and HE WAS AMAZING. So intelligent, so smart. So friendly. So respectful. JIM, GET ON HIS LEVEL.

- Daughter

Going to Bed Before 6:30 pm is Not Shameful

Okay, it totally is. Color me SHAMED.

So, I planned my schedule beautifully after the first couple weeks of scheduling errors with school/work/internship that resulted in: 1) not doing homework, 2) not exercising, and 3) not sleeping. Now that I have all the problems ironed out, I thought I’d be good to go. However, I didn’t take into account the tiredness factor.

For example, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I wake up around 5:30am to briefly run a brush or other hair-styling implement through my hair and unceremoniously slather my face in some make-up. Then, I stuff myself full of oatmeal and coffee and bust out of the house like I’m running from the police to get to school. It is not without regret that I leave the house in such a hurry because I always forget some not-essential-but-nice-to-have item like sunglasses. As much as I like my cornea and other eye parts to be burned to a crisp, I only like to do so on certain days. And the days I don’t feel like getting a third degree burn on my eyes are always, always the days I forget to bring my shades. Instead of shaded bliss, I sit in my car screaming like Gollum: “THE LIGHT, IT BURNS USSSS!!!!”

Yeah, so I’m not as detail-oriented as I hoped and dreamed I would be despite my amazing ability to schedule things would seem to suggest. In fact, here’s a list of other things I have forgotten when I needed them:

1) food

2) wallet

3) laptop cord

4) dignity

5) a sense of direction

6) GPS

7) phone

8) money

GET IT TOGETHER, SELF.

My dad told me to cut back on my social activities because I’m a bit behind in school due to my poor scheduling abilities and un-detail-orientedness. CUT BACK MY SOCIAL ACTIVITIES? Do you know how many times I have had this conversation in the last three weeks, Father?

Friend: “Hey, wanna hang out?”

Me: “Yes, but I have to go to bed.”

Friend: “….um, it’s 7pm.”

Me: “Yep.”

This happened last night. A friend called me to hang out and it was 5:30pm or so and surprise, I was in my pajamas, reading, and barely keeping my eyes open. She asked if I could hang out and I said no because it was almost my bedtime. And then, I waited another hour before going to sleep for real so I didn’t have to hit a new low of going to sleep before 6pm. 6:30 is much more respectable, you see.

I was briefly woken up by happy sounds coming from the living room – purposely, I assumed. In my head I thought, WHO DISTURBS MY SLUMBER???!!!! but in real life, I walked up to my door and slammed it shut. And then I proceeded to sleep until 6am. Was it sleep or was I in a coma? The world may never know.

I didn’t MEAN to sleep for twelve hours straight but sometimes, half a day of sleep does the body good. I know sleeping too much is bad for you but I was practically dancing around in the morning light this morning. And, let me tell you, that NEVER happens.

I’m not a morning person. And let’s be real, not even the sun is a morning person. I wake up when it’s still dark out because the sun’s like, “Nah, bro, this is too early. I’ll rise like in an hour.”

Excuse me, I’m off to nap.

- Daughter

“A Single Person’s Options Are Extensive” – Manners, Part 2

In case you have a short term memory problem: this week, we continue our lesson in etiquette. This particular list is dedicated to the horrible situation you may find yourself in during your lifetime: singlehood. The first five steps were just the beginning. Things get real today, guys. Buckle up.

6. Enter politics by becoming visible in a local organization, helping candidates, and possibly laying the groundwork for running for office yourself, whether it’s for the local school board or the United States Senate.

7. Read more and keep yourself better informed so that your conversation takes on added sparkle. 

8. Seek psychological counseling, if you need it. 

9. Become an expert at something, whether it’s Chinese export porcelain or ice skating, chess or gardening or playing the options market. 

10. Make new friends of both sexes, which should be easy because of all the new facets of your life you are busily polishing. People will want to be around you.

- Daughter

“A Single Person’s Options Are Extensive” – Manners, Part 1

This is the sub-heading to my new favorite book I found while rummaging around an abandoned bookcase upstairs. Instead of finding some awesome Wiccan spells I could cast on customers at work, I found some pretty standard parenting books and old college biology textbooks. Yawn. Then, suddenly, MAGIC. I found magic – no, not the aforementioned Wiccan kind – rather, the magic that can only be held in a book.

The particular brand of magic I am so recently enamored with can be found in The Amy Vanderbilt Complete Book of Etiquette: A Guide to Contemporary Living revised and expanded by Letitia Baldrige (1978).

Yeah, 1978 isn’t so long ago so the advice is often pretty applicable to our contemporary life. HOWEVER, there are some truly outdated things in this baby… probably because the first edition was written in 1952 and not much seems to have changed for the people who write these things in that time. There’s a chapter on what to do if you meet the POPE. BECAUSE YOU NEVER KNOW, OKAY? 

I have taken it upon myself to include excerpts here from Chapter Six: The Single Life which I shall comment upon via poorly drawn comics. This particular list I bring you today has the subheading: “A Single Person’s Options Are Extensive.” I will publish the remaining ten bullet points the book has outlined (let’s be real, you’re gunna need ALL those bullet points if you suddenly find yourself single, poor, and confused) over the next two posts.

All that is italicized below are actual words from a real book.

And, let me remind you, the advice below is only to be followed if you are single. If you are married or coupled up in any way, disregard and continue on with your slovenly ways.

1. Get a job. For some women, this is the most important option of all, and preparation should begin at once. It is also one of the most difficult to accomplish quickly.

2. Increase your volunteer work. Either move into new areas or intensify your efforts in your present field. 

3. Travel, trying new places rather than going to familiar old places.

4. Further your education by taking courses you always wanted to, but never had time for. A great many museums have evening lecture series.

5. Follow an intensive physical-improvement plan, which should involve a health (diet and exercise) and good looks (more exercise, new hair style and make-up, plastic surgery, and so on). 


Thanks, Amy. You’re a doll.

- Daughter

How to Kill Your Phone, RIP Geronimo

Much to the dismay of my parents, I shattered the glass on my phone on Saturday night. Not on purpose as they seem to insinuate constantly, rather, it dropped out of my wallet case and straight, face-down onto hard concrete.

I am a widow of an iPhone 3. I feel bad that I’m already secretly looking forward to getting some hotter, younger thing but I totally am. I’m like the Mrs. Robinson of smartphones. Except I’m not. I’m still very sad that I broke my old phone. It’s gone through three years of college with me and I successfully kept it intact all those years.

My phone didn’t have a name but I am calling it Geronimo retroactively because of its fondness for free-falling from very high heights.  It also makes me feel better when I think that my little phone yelled “GERONIMO” as it fell instead of falling terrified and silent to its demise. I totally dropped the proverbial ball – and the proverbial phone – on this one.

This is how my phone broke in case you ever want to commit first degree phoneslaughter.

1) Have fun in a place with a lot of concrete and hard surfaces. Check.

2) Make sure your phone is unsecured in the wallet case it is housed in so that when you open it, it will fly out in a demonic fashion. Check.

 

3) Open your wallet case to retrieve your ID and ideally, do this in a way that ensures your phone will fall face-down into the cold embrace of the street whose love is so great for your phone that it will shatter its very being. Check.

 

4) Do not immediately look at the damage but rather, look at the nice, uncracked side of your phone. Check.

 

5) Pick up your phone and cry a little bit. And by a little bit, I mean, A LOT. Check.

 

6) Congratulations, you broke your phone! Now rethink your entire life and sit and meditate on the materialism of the world. After this meditation, go out and spend most of your paycheck on a new phone and vow to never ever ever ever take the case off ever. Check. Well, that’s in progress.

- Daughter

I Abhor Doctors

I am not sure if I have complained about this on the blog or not before because sometimes, I lose track of what things I have or have not complained about on here. Anyway, my knee. My right knee. It hurts. A lot, guys. 

As much as my dad tells me to “rub some dirt on it,” it is not getting better and now my knee hurts AND has dirt on it. My knee hurts when I walk. When I dance. When I wear heels. When I sit. When I stand. When I work out. And just moving in general is a painful life fact. I can practically hear my dad screaming, “JUST WAIT TIL YOU’RE MY AGE.”

And that’s just it, I’m not 543234820481 years old. No offense, Dad. You’re young and all… You can twerk with the best of them. 

Annnnywho, I went to the doctor a few weeks ago and explained to him how much pain I was in and how I couldn’t run. I also told him that walking, ellipticaling, and biking were extremely painful. 

This is what the doctor told me to do: walk, elliptical, and bike. Cool, so you’re not listening. PUT ON YOUR LISTENING EARS, DOCTOR. MAYBE I SHOULD JUST RUN, TOO, WHILE I’M AT IT?

Oh wait, he told me to do that too. When I asked him if I could run the 10k I signed up for: “Yeah, sure, you’re 22. Why not?” 

What.

This isn’t the first time a doctor hasn’t taken me seriously. 

When I was elbowed in the face during a soccer game, I knew I had broken my nose. I was bleeding everywhere like a scene out of Texas Chainsaw Massacre except it was worse because the massacre was happening on my FACE. I was like a living, breathing Picasso painting. Come to think of it, I probably shouldn’t have gone to the doctor’s office but instead, cruised to the nearest museum to be admired by visitors. Despite my face’s asymmetrical appearance, I was told with great confidence that my nose was not broken.

And, then, the next day, a different doctor took two seconds to look at my face and said, “Your nose is broken and you are going to have surgery tomorrow.” 

And then, when I was having crazy calf muscle pain, a doctor laughed at me and said it was just shin splints. He said I was fine. One MRI later and, BAM, double shin stress fractures. 

I also was very sick during college for a period and my hair was falling out, I had trouble getting out of bed, and generally sucked at being a human and not some sort of sea slug intent on doing nothing but sleeping. Instead of having me tested for things, the doctor made me take 7 iron pills a day “for energy.” One blood test later: BAM, CELIAC DISEASE.

So, in summary, I have an intense dislike, distrust and inherent hatred for doctors and their kin. Also, my knee hurts. Also, I hope I get a full-time job with really good health insurance. 

Whoa, so this post got really ranty about doctors. It was supposed to be about my pathetic attempt at fitness while injured. Oh well, it needed to come out. 

- Daughter 

 

You Stay Classy, Customers

Usually, customers are so-so in the personality department. Most go about their business without much pomp and circumstance, are tight-lipped at checkout despite your efforts of fake cheerfulness, and leave with a terse, “Thank you.” I don’t mind these people even though it honestly hurts my feelings a tiny but when people don’t respond to my award-winning smile and personality (my parents can vouch for this). Then, there are customers who want to start a fight or believe that you personally chose to make their life hard.

Customer: “Excuse me, this is really expensive. Is this the real price?”

Me, in my head: “No, we put fake prices out just to mess with customers’ heads. It keeps them on their toes, you know?”

Me, in real life: “Yes.”

Customer: “WHAT A RIPOFF! THIS IS HORRIBLE. WHAT??!!! I AM NEVER COMING HERE TO BUY DECORATIVE GOURDS AGAIN!”

Me, in my head: “Can I get that in writing?”

Me, in real life: “I am sorry.”

This week, however, customers have been on the extreme ends of the personality spectrum: mean and heinous creatures from the gaping maw of hell or sweet angels God/Allah/the Universe/Buddha himself blessed me with for my retail happiness and fulfillment.

A few nights ago, we were closing up shop when I found a wine bottle that was 1/3 empty. I looked around and chuckled. Surely, this is a hallucination. Maybe this is a return. There is no way that a customer legitimately got wasted in the store. 

I took the bottle to my supervisor and said, “Lookie what I found!”

She told me she was actually looking for the bottle because she found a glass of wine sitting on one of the tables the day before.

So, let me lay this out for you in case you are not sure why this is so amazing and impressive.

A customer made the conscious decision to open a bottle of wine with no plans of paying for it and then, in the midst of this decision, also decided it was too uncouth to drink straight from the bottle. Naturally, this customer decided it would be classier and better in general if he/she could procure a wine glass from which he/she would casually sip their stolen wine.

And this actually happened. Completely unnoticed by store employees. Yeah, we’re basically a bar now I guess.

The thing is, I wasn’t – and am not – mad. I’m more impressed than anything else. I guess we were shorthanded or reeeeally unobservant that day.

You go, Drunk Customer!

- Daughter

That Moment When You are in Retail and an Acquaintance is Studying to be a Pediatric Oncologist

I see a lot of people I sorta-kinda know at my job. I generally cower in the back until he/she leaves, or, if I know there’s a good chance he or she will remember me, I will say hi and exchange pleasantries like a human being. Anyway, I was tirelessly trying to please customers (hmm.. debatable) when I recognized a face in line. I knew it was the mom of an elementary school friend. We had found our own friend groups in middle school and high school and our friendship faded out. But I was curious to see where she was in her like.

I asked the mother of said childhood chum how she was doing and she told me that her daughter was studying to become a pediatric oncologist. Yes, a pediatric oncologist. So, she’ll be treating babies with cancer.

She looked at me after she said this and said, “And what are you doing with your life these days?”

I looked down at my red apron that had my name scribbled across with a little heart at the end for added creativity points and answered, “Well, working… And then finishing school this semester.”

“Oh, and what do you plan to do after?”

“Be a writer.”

“Good luck with that!”

My self-esteem, already on shaky ground, plummeted with that comment. Okay, so maybe I won’t be a pediatric oncologist, and that’s fine. I’m very happy just slinging around price guns and filtering through customers’ inane questions until I’m a famous writer writer who at least pulls in enough money to pay the bills and allow myself to eat kale.

And you know, retail isn’t that bad. It has definitely changed how I view humanity. Some people know that you are a human and treat you like one and other people see your little apron and impose Customer Law which allows them to be a jerk. I have very little patience for Customer Law and usually reciprocate with Manager Law which is when I call a manager to deal with the person because I literally cannot say anything without being fired.

Retail Robin is probably one of my favorite memes in existence just because of its sheer applicability to my life:

retail robin 1

rr 2

rr 3

rr 4

rr 5

Lesson of the day: avoid people always.

- Daughter

I am the Pompeii of Emotions

I got off a particular medicine and now I’m like a tiny kitten who knows nothing and will probably be crushed by the world as Atlas slowly takes the burden off his shoulders and thrusts it onto mine (my tiny kitten shoulders, mind you). That’s how I’ve been feeling lately.

It’s very inconvenient being on the verge of extreme emotions and I’m hoping that in time, it will even out and I will be back to being myself. Because right now, it’s like a volcano inside. Now I understand how the people of Pompeii feel. Too soon??? I feel like jokes about Pompeii will always be too soon. Sorry to the people of Pompeii. I bet you guys know how to make a mean s’more… oh… too soon, too soon.

So, I’m basically an especially temperamental three-year-old who expresses her emotions through tears, tantrums, and racing thoughts. I’m sorry to all who are around me, I swear it’s not me! I mean, it IS me but it’s not me. You know? It’s those voices. And those tricksy hobbits. We don’t like tricksy hobbits, do we? No, they steal the precious. 

That Lord of the Rings reference went on longer than I had planned for. Sorry.

Anyway, I thought that I would give everybody what they have been asking for*: pictures to explain my feelings and thoughts in any typical thirty-second period.

- Daughter

* I made this up. Nobody asked. Except those tricksy hobitses.

Tutor Fail or, I Can’t Teach Yo’ Kids Nothing

I applied for a tutor position several weeks ago and man, did I FAIL. I claimed I was an expert at AP English and of course, I had to prove my excellency in some way so they sent me a little quiz. If I scored a 9/10, yay, I iz a tutor! If I scored lower – back to the drawing board, sonny.

I wasn’t worried about this quiz at all. I had AP English on LOCK four years ago – what was stopping me from being an AP English genius now that I’ve gone through four years of college? I must be about the same intellectual level as Shakespeare by now! 

Well, I scored a 6/10.

Hello Darkness, my old friend.

I think I scored so low because I went through a miniature panic attack with each question. And also because I have trouble focusing in general. I’m horrible finishing books, for example, and finishing – well, anything. I also get caught up in long tangential discussions… but I digress.

As soon as I saw a long passage in front I me during the tutor quiz, a small voice starting screaming obscenities (like “gosh darnit” or “oh poo,” Mom) because man, it was a Friday night! What was I doing answering questions about Shakespeare? Do I really want to help some angsty teen get into Harvard? No, I don’t. If I couldn’t get into Harvard, nobody else should get in. It’s only fair.

But I kept at it. Sort of. I tried. Really, I tried.

And I failed. I got a D.

And, that’s not even the worst part, guys. When I didn’t pass this stupid quiz to be a tutor, I immediately e-mailed the lady who invited me to take the quiz and begged her to let me try again. Literally. Begged.

smart i swaerNo response.

Apparently, capital-letter-ridden e-mails and desperation are not qualities they are looking for in tutors at this time.

That’s fine. I’m going to go not finish that book I’ve been meaning to finish but can’t because I have trouble both starting and finishing things. Such is my life.

- Daughter

Job Applications Make Me Weird(er)

I’ve been halfheartedly sending out job applications as of late. Not with my full heart because, well, I don’t think employers necessarily want somebody who can’t work for another four months because she’s in school. I mean, I might be wrong about that but I’m preeeetty sure I’m right. Nonetheless, I’ve been applying to jobs like it’s my job.

I do not space out these applications; I binge-apply to every company I vaguely approve of as a long-term option in a time window from 1am-4am. It is in this three-hour period that the genius flows through me and I think up the most wonderful cover letters and resume ideas.

So, there I was the other night, happily applying to jobs at two in the morning when suddenly, I read one of the job application requirements a bit closer: “send a handwritten letter about optimism to such-and-such in San Francisco”. Oh, man. This is going to be soo good. I tried to be very sincere in my letter and came up with what I thought was a great symbol for what optimism was to me in my life: my bedazzled cast.

This is not a photo, it’s actually a drawing. I know it’s hard to tell because of my art skillz.

I wrote about the time period in college when three out of four of my limbs were broken simultaneously and somehow threaded in optimism in there. And, you know what? I sure was optimistic. I survived looking like a Transformer for three months. And I think what got me through it were those rhinestones shining into my eyes every time I walked outside. How can you be sad when your arm is a veritable Claire’s store*? How can you be down when a little piece of the sun is permanently affixed to you? How can you be depressed when God himself never created something so beautiful as what you created on your arm? Answer: you can’t.

Or at least, that’s what I argued in my letter. Now that I think about it, I should have added a tiny rhinestone to my letter. Oh well, I did think to include a picture of my cast with all of its bedazzles with the caption: “This is what optimism looks like”. Honestly, I think there is a pretty small chance that I will snag this job in SF but somewhere in that city, the editor-and-chief of that publication will chuckle to himself as he is blinded by the picture of my cast.

NOBODY CAN TAKE AWAY MY SPARKLE.

- Daughter

* Because this is a reference Dad won’t get: Claire’s is a store that shills cheap jewelry to gullible preteens, such as myself… ten years ago.

CA Road Trip, Part III

Day 3.

Wedding day! I felt like *I* was getting married that day. I was nervous and anxious the entire day. My friends and I woke up and hung out at the hotel for a while until it was time to get ready. I started the process around 2.5 hours before we had to leave – and guess what – we still almost didn’t make it to the shuttle on time.

I was putting on my eyeshadow by very slowly dragging it across my eyelid and then pausing to admire the effect like a proud show pony. Normally I’m very haphazard with my makeup because I don’t have the time or patience to make myself into some sort of sparkly princess on the daily. Anyway, back to the make up process. It was slow. Layer by layer I attempted to re-create what nature had not given me – symmetry and interesting features. With a little help from well-placed (mmm debatable) color and lines, I produced some sort of semi-attractive look and gave myself a pat on the back.

When it came down to getting on the dress, things went downhill fast. The zipper would NOT go up. I stood around half-dressed while my friends tried to fix the broken zipper. I was worried that I was going to wear a trash bag or various wrappers from the gluten free snacks I had consumed earlier on in the day. Not fitting into your dress despite four people tugging and pulling on you and your garment does not make you feel good about yourself.  I briefly felt like Miss Piggy of the Muppets in that hotel room. My friends told me that it was the zipper and not me that caused such a chaotic dress process which made me feel slightly better. Luckily, they were able to get the zipper fixed enough to get it to zip up and I wore the heck out of that dress – if I do say so myself. I never plan on wearing it again.

How I felt.

How I felt.

Thank you to my sister who went into my digital sketchbook and added this pleasant surprise.

Thank you to my sister who went into my digital sketchbook and added this pleasant surprise after apparently seeing the Miss Piggy drawing.

When we arrived at the wedding venue, I started to feel extremely anxious and nervous again.  In part, I was nervous because I was about to witness my friend get married at the ripe old age of 22. It made me think about my life decisions and how much all of my friends and I have grown up. It also inspired a set of panicky questions I asked myself internally. Wasn’t this kind of thing supposed to happen at some undetermined point in the future? Isn’t growing up supposed to be a gradual process and not this wham-bam-thank-you-m’am series of events it has turned out to be? AM I SUPPOSED TO BE MARRIED RIGHT NOW? BECAUSE – LOL – NO. 

As soon as I sat down for the ceremony, my eyes took this as a cue to fill up with water and I was on the verge on starting some serious waterworks rivaling the Bellagio fountain in Las Vegas. I had to give myself a pep talk in order to not cry:

Michelle, you spent over two hours putting on makeup. Crying right now? Seriously? Do you even realize how much eyeliner and mascara you’re wearing right now? Things are going to get reeeal messy and unflattering if you add water to all that black liquid eyeliner. I know you want to cry but you are only allowed to tear up. Those tears SHALL NOT PASS from the outer confines of your eye. 

While I did tear up, I avoided crying all over myself. And let’s be real, if I cried as much as I wanted to, people would just shake their heads and judge me and think to themselves: Poor girl, she only has her cats, that’s why she’s crying so much.

Because this was a high school friend’s wedding, there were quite a few friends from high school present at the wedding. I don’t know if you guys enjoy keeping in touch with everybody you’ve ever met in your life, but I do not. Some of my high school friends, I realized after some reflection, are just not people I want in my life for various reasons. So, naturally, I deleted them off Facebook. Now, it’s not like these people and I were besties from the start so I thought they wouldn’t notice or care. If I had known the bitterness and acrid comments I received at the wedding from former friends, I probably would have thought harder about de-friending people. (JUST KIDDING, NO REGRETS.)

Upon seeing one “friend”:

This was my reaction:

In my head, I went to my Manners Book voice and said to myself: This is not the time nor the place, Michelle. Be a classy woman. And then I smiled and moved on to greet the next person.

I felt a little weirded out and slightly annoyed by my interaction with some of these people but luckily, there was champagne inside and I helped myself to a glass.

After I had finished the champagne, a waiter came to our table and left two full bottles of wine. Well, isn’t that convenient. I poured myself another glass.

After imbibing and eating, all of the guests were invited downstairs to the dance floor. There, the father-daughter and mother-son dances set me on the path to tears again. But, even with wine in my system, I managed to keep it together.

Then, the bouquet toss happened. I tried to position myself in a place where I thought the bouquet wouldn’t go. Of course, it came straight at me and I sidestepped to avoid it. This is what happened:

After successfully avoiding the bouquet, my friends and I got down with our bad selves on the dance floor. Nothing can convince you to dance more than the suggestive power of alcohol.

- Daughter

CA Road Trip, Part II

Day 2.

My friends and I left our friend’s house in the afternoon. Despite agreements otherwise to wake up at 9am, we woke up at 8am (I COULD HAVE USED THAT EXTRA HOUR WE AGREED ON, LADIES) on the dot and bustled around. Just kidding! All the other girls got up but I rolled around in bed for a while complaining about my lack of sleep before slowly – ever so slowly – inching my way to the bathroom to transform my face from Scary Alien Face to Normal Human Face.

I always feel like a banana slug in the mornings. And when I feel like a banana slug, I don’t want to move. I just want to sit and stew in my own filth. However, obligations lit the necessary fire under my butt to get me going; we had to pick up a friend from the airport.

Both my friend and I ended up getting to the airport very early and I spent my time and money filling up on StarButts drinks I didn’t need and shouldn’t have consumed. The acid from the copious amounts of coffee I was consuming probably burned multiple holes throughout my digestive tract, but it did its job: I was awake still. Awake and in need of a fire department to put out the burning in my intestines and esophagus.

After retrieving my friend from the airport, we drove to the hotel. In one of the fastest changes in history, I whipped on my bathing suit and jumped into the pool. I was gross from the car and going into the pool seemed ideal after being stuck in an enclosed space all day. Sadly, the pool was more of a puddle. That must be how Shamu feels – a whale in a small puddle. I feel you, Shamu. Nonetheless, I made the most of it by splashing around and yelling loudly at my friends. Much like Shamu does (?).

Pretty sure I scared the other people who were at the pool away. There were about 5 or 6 people in the pool when I got there but ten minutes later, I was alone with my friends – who both chose to not wear their suits and judge coldly from the safety of land.

They attempted to take photos of me when I repeatedly beached myself and made whale noises but alas, I was too quick for their slow reaction times. Who knew whales were capable of such stealth? Shamu, you feel me?

So, after a certain amount of time of being a beached whale, we returned to the hotel room where we decided to go to downtown Sacramento to eat dinner.

I expected the Capitol of California to be a bustling hub of activity with politicians arguing in the streets and the CA Republic flag flying proudly from every building. What I did not expect was a total ghost town where I was convinced – CONVINCED – that there was some sort of underground level where all the cool people went. It probably worked out for the best that there was no underground meeting of cool people because I wouldn’t know what to do with myself in such a situation except dance or twerk.

Anyway, we went back to the hotel and lounged before falling asleep. Slightly more bored and disappointed for having visited our Capitol and without so much as one CA-themed song playing in our heads.

- Daughter

CA Road Trip, Part I

In case you haven’t noticed, a lot of my posts lately have been in a series format. Apparently, I am constantly going on trips to everywhere. (This is news to me? Yes.) I drove to Sacramento this past weekend for a friend’s wedding. I totally thought it was in San Francisco and went out of my way to tell people it was there, but it wasn’t. I was simply confused. When I get stressed out by travel plans I usually get confused. It must be the panic that seeps into my common sense and colors everything I do with a tint of insanity and confusion. My dad will never let me live this down but I don’t really feel that bad about my major geography mistake because, well, I know I will be watching my dad with the utmost vigilance waiting for him to make an error of some kind. (I won’t be waiting for too long.)

So, the road trip. I can tell you this, you do not know if you are friends with somebody until you travel with him or her. I was apprehensive going on this car trip because I was worried my two friends and I would start off as pals but end up with a Capulet-Montague feud on our hands. Luckily, we are all still friends and going strong!  Nobody died!

Part of our getting-along success was due to our creation of a safe word. This safe word was to be used when any of us were verging on an argument or other heated interaction. It was “seabass”. Of course, it was completely abused:

Friend 1: “So, I was talking to so-and-so the other day and…”

Me: “SEEEEEEEABASS!!!!!!!!!!!”

We took a route that was supposed to take around 8 hours. However, a friend – who, ironically, was asleep during the “scenic” part – advised us to go up a certain way along the coast because it was prettier than the direct route. Well, yes, she had that part right – it was gorgeous. The trees and mountains juxtaposed with the coastline was a beautiful sight to see. It made me feel like I was in a music video. The kind of music video that ends with a car careening off a narrow mountain road into the rocks and sea below. Sort of like an updated ending to the original Grimm brothers retelling of The Little Mermaid where Ariel falls into the sea and dies instead of the Disneyfied version where she bags the man and a nice gang of servants and a cool house. I digress.

I could have lived without the hairpin turns and the motorcyclists weaving in and out of lanes like it was their job though on this scenic route. I hate motorcyclists. Conditionally, that is. I hate the ones that are a few inches from crashing into you just because they want to get wherever they are going NOW – no, not even now – YESTERDAY.  Who goes into the oncoming lane around a blind curve to get ahead of me? MOTORCYCLISTS. Who almost rams into me after deciding they didn’t want to pass me yet? MOTORCYCLISTS. Who killed JFK? MOTORCYCLISTS.

My artistic re-interpretation of the scenic route. Not shown: almost driving off cliffs and kamikaze motorcyclists.

Anyway, we stopped here and there along the way and played lots of throwback CDs. We didn’t notice somehow that 11 hours had elapsed when we finally arrived at a friend’s house for the night. I don’t know how we added on those three extra hours. It must have been driving up and down the mountain roads at 10 mph. But that still doesn’t explain how it took that much time. My theory is that we passed through some sort of other dimension and when we came back into our dimension, time had passed. I watched a show on PBS about it – I can’t explain it to you plebeians though – it’s all very complex and science-y.

The 11 hours went by pretty fast, I have to say. A lot of it was taken up by dancing and blasting music. These were my go-to moves:

Everybody else on the road:

There were many parts of Day 1 where my friends and I made casual educational references that sort of made me proud. For example, we noticed that the terrifying bridges we crossed were all built in the early 30′s (not super confidence-inspiring driving over bridges that are 80 years old, however) which maybe were Public Works projects during the Great Depression (?). And, as we passed through the Salinas Valley, I remembered that East of Eden was set there. I pat myself on the back when I remembered that one – you done good, California education system! I haz a smart. I just don’t know California geography. Whatever.

- Daughter

 

Reflections: Backpacking, Day 4

This is the last post of the backpacking series because, well, as far as I can remember, things pretty much ended the fourth day because we went home after unless I have amnesia or the memory of a goldfish – both of which are distinct possibilities, but I digress.

Day 4.

I woke up after crying myself to sleep the night before because my knee was twice its normal size and I had hypothesized the worst because after many years of brushing off injuries and pain during my spotty college athletic career, I’ve realized that intense pain usually means something is horribly, horribly wrong. However, when I woke up that morning, I could bend my knee which was a big step compared to the day before.

My friend and I traipsed through the campground and then went to the town center to rent some kayaks and wetsuits. I was mistaken for a 16-year-old when we signed the contract for the kayaks, however.

*Employee looks at my friend*: “Are you over 18?”

Friend: “Yep.”

Employee: “Great, please sign here.”

*Employee looks at me*

*I go to sign the contract*

*Employee brusquely takes away contract*

Employee: “Okay, let’s have your guardian sign this.”

Now, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt here and recognize that my no-makeup-side-braid-hoodie-with-the-hood-up-and-windbreaker-with-the-hood-up look was very 12-year-old-esque. This didn’t stop me from being offended at the time though.

Me: “I AM 22 YEARS OLD, OKAY? I CAN SIGN.”

After proving my oldness, we slipped into our wets- hahaha. No, there was no “slipping” going on when we put our wetsuits on. The wetsuit was probably at least one size too small so I had to redistribute my fat by sucking in and then very strategically stuff myself into the wetsuit like a sausage in sausage casing. Oh it fit, alright. Sure, I was being chocked by the neck section of the wetsuit but on the bright side, the tightness of the suit acted as a kind of human-sized brace for my knee. Despite this, limping was (and is still!) my main mode of locomotion.

Finally, after I figured out how to bend my body in the wetsuit and get into the kayak without getting choked into unconsciousness, my friend and I paddled out and saw many sights almost worth mentioning: garibaldi fish, leopard sharks, a dead seal, a live seal, and many birds.

The leopard sharks in particular were fun to see. We paddled above them and each took a turn out of the kayak in the water with the snorkel gear to swim above them. However, one of my phobias is open ocean water where the depth is of an undetermined measurement and I can’t see the bottom. And my friend wasn’t too happy about being alone outside of the kayak in the open water either. Really, we snorkeled for thirty seconds each and then declared that the sharks had scattered so we needed to get back in the kayak. But I totally tell people I snorkeled with sharks because that sounds cooler than what actually happened.

I’m very interested in skewed realities, you see. Something my parents are quick to point out. Not that I have parents. This “Dad” that keeps writing blog posts just fills my psychological need for a father figure so my brain has created this curmudgeonly creature as a coping mechanism.

Just kidding, my dad is a real person. His two front teeth, however. Hm. Their realness is debatable.

 

- Daughter

Reflections: Backpacking, Day 3

Ah yes, where was I?

Day 3.

I woke up and immediately felt that there was something wrong. The fibers of my being tingled with the anticipation of horror. And I would not be disappointed. Well, I was disappointed but not for lack of horror. As I rubbed my eyes in the wee hours of the morning, I caught errant food wrappers blowing in the wind. Hm, those food wrappers look very familiar. 

I walked out of my friend’s tent that I had been sleeping in (from the night before when I was too terrified of the bison and the Three Horsemen of the Apocalypse traipsing through camp) and saw that my backpack appeared askew and suspiciously empty.

It took a few seconds of basic deductive skills but then I realized what had happened and ran to my backpack to confirm my suspicions.

Yep. All of my food: gone.

THOSE DAMN FOXES. I had thought they were so adorable and cute the day before but now I wanted to make nice little fox muffs out of them.

I don’t know if I have mentioned this before but I am a high-maintenance eater through a poor grab-bag of genetics that happened when I was conceived – THANKS MOM AND DAD. I am allergic to gluten and dairy and thus, mostly subsist on dairy-free and gluten-free items made by hippies. It also tends to double as bird food. And, as was the case during this backpacking trip, fox food. The point is, my special diet (or “funny diet” as my friend puts it) is expensive. I lost twenty dollars worth of food in one go. My wallet just made a sad face when I typed that out.

The foxes ate well, I can assure you. They went into my bag with their muddy little paws and just ran off with the entire bag of food. Yeah, I hear all you backpacking experts yelling at me, “ROOOOOKIE MISTAKE!! AHAHAHA YOU DESERVED IT, DUMMY.”

Well, at the other campsite, I tied my food away from where I was sleeping in a tree. In my sleepless delirium and bison-induced terror, I had forgotten to put my food into a safe area. Or, as we all saw that morning, into the FOOD LOCKERS on the other side of the campsite. Ah, well. Because I would starve otherwise, I had to make the entire camping group trek to the airport again so I could get a few things to tide me over. The whole time I was swearing about those stupid foxes and their stupid scavenging ways.

Then, a little later, I remembered how cute foxes are and got less mad. They were just doing their job of being sneaky little foxes and my gluten-free food probably fed a newborn fox. So, good job me!!!!! I fed foxes. I hope they got poisoned and die.

JUST KIDDING. I love animals. They’re probably fine, guys. Let’s get back to who was truly affected here: ME.

We made it to the airport restaurant at which point I ate something that tripped one of my allergy wires and immediately felt ill. Unfortunately, on the trail, there is no room for whining so I ate 45132434 TUMS and carried on. Plus, I knew I could come back and whine on my blog.

Finally, we arrived at our final campsite after 32 ish miles of mountain hiking and I set up my tent. My knee had ballooned to three times its normal size and I had to have my friend act as my crutch. Other people on the island seemed concerned that I was limping around like an injured prey animal but I waved them off. Secretly, I was crying inside because I was in so much pain. I couldn’t bend my knee so I got some help putting up my tent and went inside to rest. I decided that my food would only be safe if I slept with it in my pillow. WRONG. I should have just gone back to my wisdom of Day 1 and tied it in a tree.

During the night, a single fox came up to the tent. I was asleep and then I heard slow, shuffling feet coming close to me. I opened my eyes and saw a small shape outside of  my tent and immediately grabbed my flashlight; it was a stupid fox!! And when I shined my flashlight at it, it looked at me like, “LOLWUT?” I had to hiss at it to make it go away. (I’m not sure why that was my instinctive anti-fox noise, it just came out.) However, a few minutes later, it was back and this time I yelled at it and it scampered off. Then, I set my flashlight up so it would partly illuminate the area outside my tent. I thought this would be a deterrent. And it was! For foxes, anyway.

Not more than twenty or so minutes of drifting into a light sleep, I heard a mewing noise. My ears pricked up because any cat-like sound attracts my attention. I shined my flashlight and a deer was just walking through the campsite and looked as if it were on its way to my tent. So I shooed it away. DAMN, NATURE, GET AWAY.

Have I mentioned how nice it is to be in a place where the wildest animal I have to deal with is my father?

- Daughter

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