Monday, December 5, 2011

The Christmas Tree

As Christmas trees go, most people have pretty strong feelings on artificial vs real trees. Our house was a real tree kind of house. Personally, I love real trees, but only AFTER they've been purchased, dragged home, propped into the stand and strung with lights. All the crap you have to do to get to that point is enough to push you to the edge.

In the Giametta house, the tree was typically a 2 day event, and day 1 wasn't pretty. Day 1 involved yelling and untangling and sweating and more yelling, a stream of sap and eight dead bulbs. I was not an active member of day 1, strictly an observer. And still, I cringe when I think about it. Day 2 went better. Someone busted out the Christmas records (ya I said it, Christmas records), the kids were allowed to hand the non-fragile ornaments and generally fewer four letters words found their way into the conversation.

When I got my first apartment I was 19. The place was half a shoebox. It was a two bedroom apartment (which was actually a 1 bedroom apartment with a wall added) and I lived there with three of my closest friends. We didn't have money for toilet paper, much less a Christmas tree so we were all pretty stoked when my mom's care package arrived. Inside was a 3 footer, lights already strung. Also included: 2 dozen homemade ornaments and knitted scarves in our school colors (Go Huskies!). Yes, my mom is Suzy Homemaker.

That year and every year since, I've put up my three foot tree. It takes 2 minutes to assemble, never needs to be watered and carries with it a lot of great memories.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Life Lessons with Lea: On Dating

You'll note I am far behind on my post-per-day quota. I had a crazy first 3 days of December. Mostly they involved bars and friends. And yes that's a valid excuse. You're allowed to say "I didn't get around to doing it because I was drunk" until you're 30.

Ok, so dating. In the ten-ish years I've been dating, I've collected the following half dozen truths. Ten years, and this is all I've got If anyone has anything helpful to add, please let me know.

1. If a man asks for your phone number and then never calls you, he was hit by a bus: It's tragic really, hit by a bus and all. So sad, he seemed like a real nice fella. But death by public transit is the ONLY logical explanation for why he has not called you. Seriously, ladies stop asking you're girlfriends why he didn't call you. He was hit by a bus. Move on.

2. Smiling helps: I know this sound really simple but I swear to God this is an extremely vital component. As it turns out, most of the male population prefer happy women to cranky ones. The man who wants an unhappy woman? You don't want him.

3. If he texts you more than 3 times the day after you give him your number, walk away: If he mentions his mother on the first date, run.

4. Short men feel like they have something to prove.

5. Tall men feel like they have nothing to prove.

6. You either want Brandon or Dylan. You cannot have them both: I don't think anyone reading this is too young to remember the original 90210, but if you are between the ages of 12 and 20 and happen across this blog, this roughly translates to Team Edward or Team Jacob, though it's not an exact parallel. Either you get the bad boy or you get the good guy. It does not matter how dynamic the dude may be. He will never be both mysterious, mischievous and exciting, as well as sweet, considerate and supportive. And at the end of the day you have to pick which one you want. Luckily, this is easier than it sounds because you knew which guy you wanted at the beginning of the day. We're wired at birth to want one more than the other. Don't believe me? Pose the Dylan vs Brandon question the next time you're out with friends. See how long it takes for the yelling to start.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Life Lessons with Lea

My how I'd love to say this blog has gone without a post in oh so long because I've been killing it in California with my super sweet job at Bloggle and a smokin hot social scene that makes those Jersey rats look like shut-ins. Truth is I've just been a bit lax in noting the noteworthy and taking the time to share the meaty bits with y'all. Luckily I've had a recent influx of material, hooray! So kindly stay tuned as I do hereby vow for the entire month of December, I will post EVERY DAY. In the meantime, I've compiled some random suggestions for every day life that I think 9 out of 10 people will find helpful.

1. Don't reload your smartphone gift card while in line at Starbucks. Seriously Jerkwad, it's 7am. No one cares that you have the latest app and a digital wallet. You're standing between me and my coffee. I wil cut you.

2. Locker rooms aren't for cell phones. Who actually wants to sit in a locker room and have a 10 minute conversation about what's for dinner? Apparently a lot of people. Listen ladies, if I'm naked from the waist up, or down for that matter, I don't feel comfortable with you being on the phone. Those things have cameras. Put them away.

3. Asking a woman you just met to "hang out" is not acceptable past a certain age. That age, in my mind, is 25. Look, this isn't a money thing. I'm not saying that I'm expecting Michelin star restaurants and carriage rides but I'm in my late twenties. You need to man up and suggest a specific time, date, and activity you'd like to share with me. Dinner and a movie is really not that complicated.

4. Hugs are underrated. Hugs are awesome. Short of awkward co-worker situations, more is better in the hugging department. With co-workers, you can always substitute with high-fives. High-fives are lawsuit-free hugs in disguise.

5. You should always have a spare package of toilet paper. Pay attention, I said package, not roll. Why people feel so reckless in life they won't even protect their own hineys, literally, is beyond me. It gives me anxiety just thinking about the emergency run to the grocery store. Don't put yourself at that risk.

6. Chocolate and Liquor: Spend the extra money on the good stuff. If your choice is between a 5 pound bar of Hersheys and a handle of Smirnoff or a 5 ounce bar of Godiva and a liter of Grey Goose, go for the latter combination. Joi de vivre aside, you'll feel better in the morning.

7. Mayonnaise and Potato Chips are not good for you. Seems pretty freakin obvious, right? And yet somehow I keep seeing commercials where some fancy chef "hand selects" the "quality ingredients" that go into this garbage and the narrator tells us all how much the company cares about the families who consume their product. I pray to God the general public is not believing this poppycock but if the election of some of our government officials is any indication, people believe a lot of stupid things. Loved ones, please don't be those people.

8. Fanny Packs are not in again. I don't care if you saw Sarah Jessica Parker wearing one in a celebrity trash magazine I don't understand the purpose of. They're not back. Write it down. Not even if you're european.

9. Everyone can make soup. Honestly, boil broth and add vegetables and/or meat. This is not a complicated task. Campbells should be out of business.

10. Never buy cheap shoes. Your body can't afford that mistake, even if it's only rotated into the wardrobe periodically. Also, people are judging you based on them. Seriously.

Monday, September 12, 2011

7 Things I learned at Walmart

Officially, I passed the decade marker in the working world about 6 months ago. I count 15 jobs in ten years. And I can guarantee that I have learned something from each and every one. But the longer I'm employed the more I believe to be true that no job has taught me more than the three years I worked as a cashier at Walmart. Law firm, Fancy pants investment company and Bloggle don't get offended, hear me out.

I was brought up believing the world needs ditches and clean toilettes and gas in their cars just as much as doctors and lawyers and celebrity chefs. We're all just making the world turn and if you're doing your best to provide a service you should hold your head high. But I'll be honest, there was a time when I avoided mention of my Walmart days. When I tell people I worked at Walmart I've noticed something odd happens. For just a split second I can see their expression change and I swear in that moment I know they're searching for a buck tooth or a glass eye or some rare skin disease they hadn't noticed before. Apparently folks don't think too highly of the profession but the truth is that job had a greater influence on me than any other place of employment. I learned more about ambition, dedication and society while working at Walmart than I have learned at any other company since.

If this were a serious blog I'd tell you all about the meltdown of the nuclear family, the failure of our nation's public assistance program and the negligence with which our society dismisses manners and common decency. And I'd throw in some soap box shouting on the strength of Middle Class America and the value of a dollar earned, so you could see both sides. But you'll notice the tone of this blog generally plays on humor so we'll save those topics for another forum.

Therefore, without further ado:

7 Things I Learned While Working at Walmart:

1. If you didn't shit your pants today, today was a good day. One particularly rough day I had a woman come through my line with only a package of Hanes Her Way. When I started to bag the item she stopped me saying "That's ok dear, I don't need a bag. I'm going to go put those on right now" *only slightly lower voice* "I just soiled myself". Can't complain about the snowy drive home after that now can ya?

2. Condoms come in different sizes. I was 16 when I started working at Walmart. I rang up a man one evening, mid 50's, pot belly, overalls, dirt under his fingernails. His order consisted of two packs of condoms. When I told him the total he asked me if he could return them if they didn't fit. He thought it was funny. I did not.
2a. People are really nervous when they buy condoms. Ladies and gentleman, don't be. You're doing the right thing. Truth be told most clerks would applaud you if they thought it would be well-received, so I'll take this moment to salute you, for the many years I wanted to but could not. My most sincere gratitude for your decency and good sense to avoid unwanted diseases and pregnancy. Your saving yourself a lot of grief and hardship. So next time don't hide the condoms between 2 boxes of Cheerios. Place them on the belt loud and proud for all to see.

3. Soap and Cheez-Its don't mix. Apparently if you bag soap with crackers, the crackers will take on the taste of the soap. This is actually somewhat true. I did not know this but apparently EVERY MIDDLE AGED WOMAN IN AMERICA DOES because I couldn't bag a single bar of soap without one of them screaming at me not to bag it with food. I've never been able to look at Cheez-Its the same way. Don't think this is an important thing in life to learn? Do you like the taste of soapy crackers? I didn't think so.

4. Not Everyone is Good at Math. About ten seconds after I started working at Wally World I noticed a convenient factoid where rolled coins are concerned. There are 40 quarters in a roll, 50 dimes, 40 nickels, and 50 pennies. This is helpful to know when you have a 5 year old screaming, a mother asking for a price check, a trucker who needs to know where to unload and a witch behind them all complaining it's taking too long to get her Virginia Slims (oh if only I were making it up). Anyway, the quick math is convenient when you run out of dimes. Grab a five dollar bill , wave down the manager, and get back to what you were doing. Thing is, while training new employees on the register, every time I explained the 40, 50, 40, 50 rule, it didn't matter if they were 16 or 60, they didn't get it. Not one person of the 20 or so I trained was able to deduce $10 from 40 quarters. Average this number across America and it makes more sense why our economy is in the shape it is. Can't average it out? That's ok, hopefully you're pretty.

5. The Holidays Aren't Always Happy: The months of November and December were not a time I looked forward to during my stint in retail. Without fail, customers would storm up with heaping carts, moaning and groaning with every beep of a bar code. Folks, Suzy and Jimmy will not feel more loved with presents especially if you toss them under the tree with a garumf and hold the price tag of Christmas day over their young impressionable heads while you chain smoke Marlboro Ultras. Nor will you be forgiven for sleeping with your sister's husband by presenting her with a bottle of Jean Nate on December 25th, Vanilla Fields maybe, but not Jean Nate. Apparently no one has watched the Charlie Brown Christmas special in the last decade.

6. Doritos and Mountain Dew are a Food Group: I'm not really sure why people insist on purchasing these two products in conjunction with one another, and in such large quantities, but I swear I can count on one hand the number of times someone bought one and not the other. If anyone is still left wondering how we've worked our way into the obesity epidemic, please devote an approximate 20% of the problem to this particular food combination.

7. The Show Must Go On: It doesn't matter what tragedy, inconvenience or mal intent is directed your way, you're still clocked in and there's a job that needs doing. So if you get stuck on the register in front of the door, you'll get snowed on during a blizzard. If someone you've never met before decides to have a psychotic episode over the way you've bagged her shampoo, you'll have to stand there and listen to her rant. If your manager happens to be a middle-aged divorcee who's bitter about her life, jealous of the potential of yours, and not above allowing this backstory to treat you like dirt, well Honey, best to grin and bear it because it's much easier to tune her out than it is to find a summer job three weeks before graduation.

And you know, sometimes the boss buys everyone hocho. And sometimes you come home with a great story about this week's crazies. And sometimes the manager schedule changes. And sometimes it doesn't. And that's ok. Because when you're making your way in the world and you're doing the best you can, and you're pushing yourself toward something better, then none of the other crap really matters. This knowledge has been my strongest ally and my biggest strength in every job I've had since. It's the most important lesson I learned at Walmart. Well, that and don't eat at the snack bar, but that's a conversation for another day.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

My Mailbox

I’d like to start out by apologizing to my mailman (I will not use the gender-neutral “mail-person”. We’ve got actual issues to address and I refuse to waste my energy on modifying every instance of usage from the masculine to the unisex. When I hear things like “person power”, “fire person”, and “human kind”, it makes me angry we’re investing time better spent on figuring out female Viagra. Any sane-minded woman will agree.) Anyway, I’m sorry Mr. Mailman for not clearing my mailbox out more frequently. I do it about a third to half as often as I should, leaving it busting at the hinges and I’m guessing that doesn’t make your life any easier. But because I only make my way to box #702 fortnightly, it makes for an interesting compilation of items, worthy of bloggery. Today’s mail included:

1. My California License (Yay!): When the local grocery store refused to sell me a PBR tall boy because they “couldn’t verify a New York license”, I knew it was time. FYI it took 20 minutes, 2 store managers and a lot of dirty looks before they declined to sell me the damn thing. Wondering why in God’s name I would wait that long for 24 lousy ounces of beer? Ya, me too. Thanks to a lot of Bloggle food and an afternoon involving too much Coors Light and too little sunblock I’m a bit redder and a bit rounder than I’d prefer but it’s not the worst photo of me out there.

2. TIME magazine: In honesty I almost never read the whole thing but I've got a news recipe that mixes TIME, The Daily Show and “TODAY on NBC” (que the peacock and the ding, ding ding) and the result is my consumption of enough information to know what’s going on in the world without losing all faith in mankind (yes women and children and goldfish included, see above for clarification). Also, I really like being THAT girl that starts conversations with “I was reading this article in TIME…” because I’m not as narcissistic as the jackass who has to namedrop The New Yorker but I’m not the moron who’s trying to work People magazine into lunch chat either.

3. Some new ridiculously overpriced catologue that looks like Pottery Barn Kids and Restoration Hardware vomited their overpriced merchandise, painted it burnt sienna and raised the price five thousand percent. Seriously, $68 for a pillow sham? $728 for a tray table? Who is buying this crap?

4. About 14 sale papers: since I more or less shop at Trader Joe’s these are absolutely useless except for one item. I am constantly on the lookout for beer sales. Here’s a tip folks; your typical run-of-the-mill American beer (tap the rockies!) is on a good sale when the cost is fifty cents a beer or less. Which, by the way, is the same price-per-roll you should be paying for toilet paper, the 1,000 sheet kind. Just a couple pearls of wisdom for ya.

5. My Bloggle paycheck. Thanks Bloggle:) Actually it’s just a stub. It’s 2011 if you aren’t on direct deposit, 1999 called. You need to get with the program.

6. Bills: Goodbye Bloggle paycheck:(

7. Flyers from the county: Ok I get like a million mailers that update me on bridge work and drain work and road work. I thought the giant orange triangles were enough to let me know that’s still going on. Here’s a tip crises-level-in-debt California, quit wasting money sending us mailers about roadwork. It’s stupid and wasteful and we live in the year 2011 AND the heart of Silicon Valley. Build a website and call it a day!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Things I Won't Get Around to Doing Next Weekend

As the weekend comes to a close I find myself relaxing for the evening, wrapping up the last few to-do's and planning for the week ahead. Ya, that's a dirty lie. Actually, I'm surveying my apartment for all the crap I didn't do but swore on the life of.. umm... a really nice handbag I own, that I would get around to dealing with. I have no idea how I manage to convince myself that a 48 hour period is ample time for every errand, chore and social engagement (ya I said it, social engagement, do you have a less formal, all encompassing phrase for bars, pools, brunch and... more bars? No? Ok then can it.) If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results than somebody needs to get me a bottle of those happy pills stat because I have the same conversation with myself every seven days... sometimes out-loud. Friday, 5pm: "Ok, I'm gonna hit the gym, head home, shower, get ready and go out". If I'm lucky, 2 of these things actually happen. Saturday involves a variety of lies I tell myself including "I'm going hiking today" or "I'll go check out the library". Also "I'll totally have 4 hours in the morning for volunteering". Typically Saturday consists of waking up 9ish, puttering around with a cup of coffee in one hand for about an hour and a half, another hour or so watching mindless television and deciding on a gym outfit (why this matters, I have no idea. I'm sweating in it, not speed dating). Assuming I do make into workout attire and manage to get myself out the door, I can guarantee you it is now noon, at the earliest. Post-workout takes a minimum of 3 hours because there's MORE puttering, MORE mindless tv, and half a dozen conversations with (sometimes) other people about what's going on for Saturday night. Assuming I practice moderation (negatory) I'm home by 1am and up before noon on Sunday sans hangover (10 percent chance). Sunday is (inaccurately) pegged as errands/laundry/organizing day, mostly because alternate universe me does these things. In the current universe we're in, these things all happened on the same day once. It was 1999 and we had guests coming from out of town.

So it's Sunday night and I've barely scratched the surface of that big bucket-o-things that need doing. Realistically I get that there will always be more to do than time to do it in, unless you're an extremely disinterested (read 'boring') person. But I still feel like a waste of life for not having crossed more off the list, so I've got a new approach. For next weekend, and all the weekends thereafter, I'm going to tally all the things that aren't going to get done. That way, if I do manage to accomplish a sliver of a minority of the items on the list, I'll feel accomplished and not guilty.

Side-note, please don't mind the un-vacuumed carpet, dirty dishes and empty refrigerator should you stop by. Also, I'm gonna need someone to plan Friday and Saturday night and tell me what to wear, and by "tell me what to wear" I mean go to the mall and buy me something to wear. Ahh, I feel less guilty and more accomplished already!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Industrial Revolution Wasn't All Progress

My gym is much like any other shi-shi suburban chain. There's a laser that reads my fingerprint at check in, a wall of super protein mega power bars and a 'roid rage corner I can't for the life of me understand. Sir, your neck and your head share the same circumference. Who is dating that? I'm there (in theory) five days a week and there is a certain pleasure I take in the 60 minutes I'm working out and not thinking about Bloggle or men, or whether my 401k is growing at a healthy rate. But lets be honest, the gym is pointless. Hear me out on this one. I'm assuming we're all smart enough to understand the concept of activity that's multifunctional. For example, biking to work, (which by the way I refuse to do until I can find a stylish Pope-mobile type protective bubble that keeps me from an early death at the hands of California drivers. That column sticking out from the wheel operates these things called "signal lights". Try them sometime.) The point is, we more or less acknowledge that some physical activities are of the 2-bird-1-stone functionality yet we've deluded ourselves into thinking that somehow the "fitness center" of the 21st century provides some superior purpose. I am here to tell you, it does not. Whatever evolved scientific method you think you're obtaining with your monthly dues, let me inform you, you've been misinformed.

I had an epiphany last year back east while taking a toning class called "Smart Bells". It's for stupid people who have too much money. For the record, my east coast gym was more shi-shi, and expensive than my current one and it included a full line of spa services. I loved it. Hypocritical? You bet. So, I'm in the middle of this class involving a flattened kettlebell (cause ya know if you flatten it, it's... smarter) and it hits me. This fancy, new age, total body transformation program is nothing more than farm labor minus the dirt. Now I don't have extensive farming experience but I've done enough to know what hoeing, weeding and shoveling feel like. So instead of being outdoors adding much needed oxygen to our sad deprived urban brains we were inside pantomiming the activity with ridiculous rubber-covered steel, Britney Spears in the background. At the end of the class all we had were sweat-stained (overpriced) Lululemon tank tops. If we'd been outside on the dirt square (farms, they're called farms) we'd at least have lunch to show for it. Not to mention a couple extra bucks after we sold what we couldn't eat.

At the end of the day I'm not saying we should swap out our yoga pants for Carhart coveralls. Personally, I rather like the airconditioning, sauna rooms and flat screen tv's...and I hate bugs (really really hate bugs). I just think it's worth noting the baseline of ridiculous on which these particular establishments are built.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Playground Rules Apply

Malcolm Forbes said "If you have a job without aggravation, you don't have a job". Well folks, I definitely have a job. And while that job is pretty great and I love Bloggle, there are still days I want to run screaming from the building, arms flailing. The details aren't important. Big picture; remember that kid on the playground that didn't play well with others? The one who threw stones and pushed kids off the monkey bars? Well, guess what, he grew up (physically at least), and chances are he, or his sister or cousin or someone else in that rotten family of his, is working in your office, or factory or job site. I know this because he works at my office too. And it doesn't seem right. Seriously buddy? It wasn't bad enough you put sand in my diaper and tripped me during hopscotch? Ya gotta show up at work? At my place of employment? You're not fooling me with that button down shirt. Just because you're not wearing overalls two sizes too big and you've managed to dislodge that index finger from your left nostril does not mean I don't recognize you.

I can't comprehend how King of the Swing Wedgie wriggled his way into my adult life. I don't understand how these people (swing wedgie people of the world) manage to make it past the bacteria infected scabs, through the acne breakouts and out of some character flawed university with a diploma, holding no karmic refute to speak of.

Now, I could stay wallowing in my bath of bitter and angry and grumpy-pants, wondering how life can be this cruel but that lump three feet above my ass occasionally decides to do it's job. It starts as a vague memory of Wedgie Man alone during snack time, meanders into high school fist fights and ends with the email address that gets left off the cocktail hour invite, because answering the question "Who brought that guy?" is infinitely more painful than "Hey, why didn't anyone invite me?". That rare gift Perspective drops some much needed insight into my lap. It's much better to deal with Wedgie Man than to actually be him. That's not to say I don't have a the occasional urge to staple his eyelids to the wall. I may have to put up with his ugly personality, but I don't have to look at it in the mirror every morning. And that makes it a hell of a lot easier to get up and go to work every day.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Love Letters to Retail

I've mentioned I spend a lot more time spending money on stuff these days. Enter inspirations for my Love Letters to Retail. My expectation is that this will be first of a series of short and long-term love affairs. Enjoy...

Dearest Target,
I love you. When I walk through the automatic sliding doors I am immediately flooded with your bright abrasive red marketing, like Communism... but nicer. I love how your clothes always look more expensive than they actually are and when people comment on them I get to say "Why, thank you, Target (which I pronounce "tar-jay"). You have an excellent hair accessory aisle and your clientele is significantly less smelly than at your bastard cousin Walmart's store. You are wonderful, but Target, oh why? Why when I search for single Reases Peanut Butter eggs, are there none? Why do you have giant bins of 6 packs, 12 packs and family sized bags of those delicious treats but not one single wrapped egg? I know you love me for who I am but I'm trying to REDUCE the size of me rear end and you're just not helping me with this. I still love you, I do, but I think we need to spend some time apart, at least until after all of the Easter candy is gone.
Yours Always


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Resolution Check-In

How are we all doing on those New Years resolutions we made 3 months ago? We're just about at the quarter mark so I thought I'd ask. I'm guessing if ten people read this the break down goes something like this: 4 of you are groaning (or cursing me, I dunno maybe a comb of the 2). 3 of you are putting that bag of potato chips down. Relax, I didn't say you rolled it up and put the oversized Chip Clip back on, I'm just saying you put the bag down. 1 of you is trying to remember what the hell your resolution was. 1 of you "doesn't believe in resolutions (code for "too lazy") and 1 of you is jumping up and down with your hand raised, ready to tell me how much weight you've lost, money you've saved and how many old ladies you've helped cross the street. Hey asshole, put your hand down. Nobody likes a bragger. For your entertainment I've listed my own resolutions and their status 90 days in. Feel free to judge/scrutinize/mock as you see fit.

  • Get smaller: "Bloggle" cafes are great but they're not helping my waistline. Thus, I checked out a gym last night. Elderly asian men Zumba-ing, feel free to process that visual
  • Write more: Given my average of one post a month, it's pretty obvious this one's not being met. I'm working on that... obviously.
  • Volunteer: I went to a food pantry in San Jose, ONCE. I spent the morning muttering about kids these days and shaking my head in disapproval. Hey, where I come from teenage boys are volunteering gold mines, eager to do heavy lifting and throw things. Where these scrawny hoodlums came from I have no idea but my grandmother would've been more useful. She would have moved faster too.
  • Read more: I've actually managed to read several books. Want me to recommend one? Too bad. I hate it when people do that and then months later you ask "hey how was that book I recommended?" and no matter what it's an awkward response. Here are all of the possible responses: 1. awkward moment "Ya, ya know I never got around to reading it." 2. "Meh, it was ok" awkward moment comes at the tail end this time. 3. "I did and you know what, it changed my life!" Guess how often number 3 happens. I suppose there could be a 4th option "Yes I did read it and good God was it awful. What is wrong in your psychotic head that you thought I would like that?"
  • Get to know my neighborhood: There's a park 2 blocks away that allows alcohol in the "picnic areas", a Jazzercise studio behind Target, and giant ceramic fruit sculptures next to Caltrain. What more do I need to know?
Hope your New Years Resolutions are more successful than mine have been! (here's where you all comment and tell me it's ok, you're not doing any better)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Shit You Buy When You Have a Car

Let me first say I've noticed that "shit" seems to be appearing in posts fairly frequently, often in the title. Here's the thing, I LOVE the word. There's something about it that makes it so versatile. It's a noun, it's a verb, it can be used to describe a multitude of things. It's succinct and precise and I like to add a distinct stoccato when I say it. I spend a minimum of forty hours a week sidestepping with "stink" "shoot" and "dangit", the Splendas of the curse world. I don't care if it did "come from sugar" it is NOT sugar... and it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

M'kay, back to the topic, shit you buy when you have a car. When you live in the city and you take the big metal germ boxes everywhere, it's a lot easier to talk yourself out of buying a LOT of shit. I don't need a dresser, I've got these lovely Rubbermaid bins. You know what's easy to carry home? PLASTIC! You know what's not? OAK! Art? Umm, frames are not only heavy but awkward to carry and easy to break. It's glass and it has pointy corners. No way that's making it 10 blocks home. Candles, lamps and bookshelves also fall under the "not a snowball's chance in hell is that worth lugging home" category. As a result, my apartments in Boston more or less always looked like I was 1. Just moving in; 2. Just moving out; or 3. Newly adopted to the freegan lifestyle (see if you don't get that reference. It's some crazy hippie shit, but I kind of like that someone's using the shit people throw out for no good reason).

Out here in sunny California walking isn't an option. If you're a die hard cyclist dedicated to keeping your carbon footprint neutral, (common term being "overachiever") than you bike to work. You also wear exceptionally tight shorts. Please stop doing that. The rest of us drive our automobiles all through the town. The magical thing about my car is that it transports not only myself but all of the shit I manage to find while I'm out and about. Suddenly end tables, wine racks, blanket chests, abstract prints and glass serving bowls are making their way into my trunk at an alarming rate. I now have more canned goods, back-stocked conditioner and oversized shelving than any sane single woman should own. Frozen fruit, paper towels and Grey Goose vodka are welcome in Costco size.

Naturally, I look around and wonder "how the hell did all this shit get here?". Six months ago I had 3 mugs, a portable dvd player and a fold-up papasan chair. How did I manage to fill 600 square feet? Don't go staging an intervention, I'm not turning into a hoarder (though apparently I have been watching a little too much cable). The shit that comes through the door is waning and I do take a certain satisfaction in the furnished home that I've created. Friends/family: Come visit me sometime and see for yourself. But, leave your shit at home, I've got enough already.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I'm Not Too Old For This

Things on the west coast have been, we'll say, less than earth shattering, world rocking wild as of late. I like to think the "work hard, play hard" motto is what keeps us all from burning down cubicle walls and shoving our hands in the paper shredder, and yet lately I'm only seeing the "work hard" segment. You can see how this is cause for concern. I'm not entirely sure how I've allowed my social life to fall into such a state of disrepair but I've heard some dirty rumors that it has something to do with getting "older". I don't know a whole lot about this "older" but I don't think I like it. Suddenly my peers are talking about how they "can't go out" because it's a "work night". I'm sorry folks but, much like the sentence "I don't like pizza" I'm unable to understand those words when you string them together in that order. Nor do I understand how "older" applies to anyone with a 2 as the first digit of their age. People in their fifties say they'd kill to be in their twenties again. If this is what they'd commit a class A felony for, I'm pretty sure they'd be pissed. Seriously, when did we get serious?

You know what, I've got an idea, please stop asking what I do for a living. Reserve that for my thirties or, better yet, my eighties. I'd like for people to go back to asking me what I want to be when I grow up. That's a far more interesting question. Furthermore, I don't recall a retirement age from beer pong or an expiration date at the bottom of the Kings rules. And I'm pretty sure there's no maximum age for staying til closing time either. Let's get back to these time honored tried and true traditions. Why would we stray from them? When did Friday night turn into 2 glasses of wine, some appetizers, and everyone turning in at 9 o'clock? What happened to tequila shots and Journey at 2am, cramming in that last swig of whatever's on tap before the bouncer kicks you out? Don't stop belieeeeeeevin!!!!!!!

College graduation wasn't the retirement of stupid fun. Kids aren't either (though they are admittedly a speed bump). Life is short, the road ahead is long, you can sleep when you're dead. Raise a glass for a toast; til our livers give out or we keel over, we're not too old for this!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Real Friends Tell You When You Look Like Shit

I've been on the west coast for a few months now and people out here, and back east, occasionally ask "how's it going?" and I usually give a generic response. The weather is amazing, they've got great burritos, "Bloggle" is pretty awesome blah blah blah. It's all true of course but what I don't tend to mention is there are still a few things missing. So, while I'm working on my career and my tan, I can't say my life is complete. Then again, who can? (Someone who is lying, or on Zoloft, that's who) One of the biggest voids at the moment is a close group of friends. Let me clarify, I have lots of acquaintances. Meeting people wasn't ever something I found particularly hard but the people I define as "friends" are few among the many. A friend is someone you can count on. You can have cocktails with any old acquaintance. You call a friend at 3am to bail your ass out of jail. You catch a ride with an acquaintance. A friend will lay down in traffic for you. Acquaintances might have similar taste in movies or music but a friend knows your deepest darkest secrets. For the love of God, friends reading this please don't comment on those, you know the stories I'm talking about and my mom reads this blog, oh hi Mom, don't worry about that last part.

Someone once told me "Good friends will tell you when you look like shit" meaning an acquaintance will say you look great in the dress you've got on even if it makes your ass look like a bucket of cottage cheese because she doesn't know you well enough to know you're not fishing for compliments when you ask for her opinion. A friend will tell you to take it off and burn it and she'll use the cottage cheese reference not to be cruel but to drive home how bad a choice it was. The point is, a friend is willing to sacrifice her own image to save yours, and that's the way it's supposed to work. (She will also feed you booze until you can't stand and then hold your hair back while you puke but that analogy is slightly harder to analyze. Ask someone else to run the 'friends get you into trouble but they also get you out' scenario. That's not my angle this time around.)

I know it took me a long time to find the friends I have and it's going to take a while to select from the pool of acquaintances a local group that puts up with me long enough to make it to friend status but it's still hard to be without that core circle and I'm getting a little worried... the closest person I can count on for bail lives three thousand miles away.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

No Class Passengers in the First Class Cabin

I ventured back east to spend Christmas with the family last week and while the time at home was great, the transit there and back, not so much. A kind and generous elf was nice enough to transfer miles to my ticket so I could fly first class. Now, I'm not whining about the free upgrade and the convenience didn't go unappreciated but by the last leg of the journey I cared less about the legroom and more about the clientele in the cabin.

West Coast to East Coast: The flight out had the wanna-be hot shot that wouldn't get off his phone. Excuse me sir, but this cabin is in fact NOT a conference room. No one is interested in discussing your profit margins and we certainly do not need to know about forecasts for the next quarter. You're on a plane, it's closed quarters. Have the common courtesy to save it for after we land. We have all been shoved, pushed, bumped, frisked, looked over and shoved some more before making it onto this death box. I've removed my shoes, my watch and my laptop, paid double the price for a lousy cup of coffee and all I really want to do is pass out, hopefully for the duration of this flight. I'd be remiss if I didn't also mention the over-privileged couple in the seat ahead of me and their rat of a dog. Apparently domestic first class was sub-standard and there wasn't enough room for FiFi in the seat underneath. God help us if these people ever encounter a real problem in their self centered lives. Still, I would have billed the trip as a success had it not been for the return.

East Coast to West Coast: Normally, I like the idea of managing to pull off a somewhat current style of fashion. And I was even..almost... just a teensy bit smug and a little bit satisfied, I won't lie, about dancing across the red carpet (it's small but yes they have one) in my newly purchased Cole Haan boots and hopping into that first class seat. Row 1, Seat A. As it turned out, had I donned manure stained Timberlands, a happier traveler I would have been. Then, perhaps the wretch of a woman sitting next to me might have given me a brief once over, caught a whiff of "country air" and dismissed me as a dairy farming lesbian. As it was she took a big ole dumb blond leap to the conclusion that my first class seat and my clothing filed me under the same type of soulless spoiled rotten spawn she must have sprang from. In 3 seconds flat she decided we'd be best friends and I should know and idolize her entire life story. After 45 minutes of her daddy's BMW, her BMW and her foolish sister who married a "poor man" (her EXACT words, repeated ad nauseam) I was ready to take that chilled silverware the stewardess passed me and jam it in my eye socket. She guzzled one too many glasses of wine and passed out in my lap still babbling something about how jealous people were of us. Literally IN MY LAP. I spent the next 3 hours alternating shoving her off me and pretending to be asleep during her intermittent bouts of consciousness when she tried to pick up the conversation where it left off. I've never de-boarded a plane faster.

Back and forth across this country has it's ups and downs. It's always worth the headache but I think for the foreseeable future I'll be out here on the west coast... in a car.