Friday, May 30, 2008

Slow It Down Some, Have Some Space

So Sara Larson and I now have something else in common, other than both being part-time models* and having breasts the size of Gummi Bears. We've both been kicked to the curb on May 28. While Sara was solemnly packing up her g-strings at George Clooney's house**, I was celebrating my Second Annual Scramiversary, aka Mopestock '08.

I can't vouch for what happened in the Clooneyverse but my own breakup (again, two years ago...not that I dwell on things) wasn't anticipated, appearing out of nowhere like a gremlin on an airplane wing. My former boyfriend and I had--cue the Alanis--spent the evening at a wedding shower, the kind of event that's only entertaining for the couple involved since they're the sole participants in party games like "Guess My Middle Name" or "What Do You Mean You Slept With Phillip?". Everyone else just stands around making mindless conversation about the relative humidity, slopping grocery store sheet cake onto monogrammed paper plates and wondering when it's polite to leave.

We were the second couple to cut out. We drove home, changed clothes, and were standing at our respective sinks getting ready for bed. There was nothing remarkable at all about the evening until he started talking.

"I'm not sure this is working," he said, staring at my reflection in the mirror.

I had been brushing my teeth, a nightly ritual that included liberally coating my mouth with Aquafresh froth and pretending to be a rabid animal. I whirled around, wiping my face on the sleeve of my oversized "World's Greatest Grandma" sleep shirt. "What? The rabies thing? Because I can stop. Or maybe simulate some other foam-based illness".

He shook his head. Cleared his throat. Straightened a hand towel on the rack. "Us. We're not working".

I couldn't have been more surprised if he'd told me that Osama Bin Laden had been living behind the water heater. I had no idea there were problems. That there were issues. That we "weren't working", whatever the hell that means.

The conversation that followed is a blur. For someone who regularly walks out of a movie quoting chunks of onscreen conversation or who can hear a song once and chime in on the chorus by the second verse, it's odd that the most devastating discussion of my life didn't cling to my memory. Maybe it was a survival mechanism. Or maybe it's because it was less of a dialogue and more a collection of clips from the Massive Asshole Magnetic Poetry Kit ("It's for the best", "We've grown apart", "Please don't set my house on fire") and my contribution, a series of agonized noises and liberal conjugations of the word "douche".

That was it. Roll the credits on the previous seven years. I spent a larger percentage of my life with him than I'd spent with anything, save for my stuffed dinosaur and crushing disappointment. And it was over.

He went to bed. I slept on the floor in the bathroom, crumpled where he left me like an empty Diet Dew can he'd chucked toward the trashcan. At some point during the night he did cover me with a blanket, the one gesture that kept me from peeing on his toothbrush.

I woke up before dawn, examined the tile creases on my cheeks, and haphazardly grabbed enough clothing from my closet to get me through the weekend. I drove home--to my parents' place--where I knew they'd let me wail and throw things and my mom would tell me that I was the cutest even when my unwashed, sofa-sculpted hair made me look like a horned owl. My dad would tell me I was better off without him, that I shouldn't give my heart to a man who tucks in his t-shirts. Also, they would give me Xanax.
__________

He said the breakup was because we'd been having problems but the real problem--I later learned--was another woman, a dried-up creature who looks like beef jerky with hair. She was over-tanned, under-educated and her default expression made her look like she just ate bad shellfish. Worst of all, her nasty Lady Clairol-ed head was resting peacefully on my former pillow before my first prescription pills had even worn off.

Twice-divorced goblin for the win.

Of all of the people he had to leave me for, I hated that it was her. I'd met her on several occasions and never liked her, mainly because she had a fondness for touching him in front of me and and--when she troubled herself to talk to me-- she used the same slow, moderated speech pattern that one may use to communicate with Charlie Gordon or conservatives.

They're still dating and it's still a suckfest to see them together. Inevitably, I picture them having sex and it always makes me think of plunging a toilet.

Despite looting my love life, she still finds it necessary to taunt me, as recently as the other day when she pointed out that she saw my car parked outside my "little shoe store" when she was "on her way home". Home. To his house. Where my mountain bike and crock pot and memories still live.

Her bitchcraft no longer bothers me. REALLY. She has him, yes, but I still have collagen and a functional uterus.

Someone told me that it takes three years to recover from a seven year relationship. That may be true. Two have gone by and I'm not entirely Over It but I've MapQuested how to get there. Another two and I hope to have forgotten his high school mascot and favorite breakfast food but I'll probably never stop hoping that she gets an anal fissure or alopecia or any number of skin allergies.

Or that one day, he'll do this same thing--this "we're not working" thing--to her.

* My sole modeling gig was in a commercial for the Fertile Turtle maternity shop when I was five. I didn't get any offers after that but I'm trying to get back to my toddler weight.
** Confidential to George Clooney: Call me. I think you are very handsome.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Cameraphone Treasures, Vol. 1

Nor would I want to be, since this car was in the Hardee's* parking lot--wedged between a UPS truck and a puddle of vomit--where a traffic officer was affixing a wheel lock to the right front tire. I have a number of questions regarding the scenario, but I'm sure the Monster Thickburger is somehow involved.

Because "Thou Shalt Not Waste Your Deer" is the unspoken eleventh commandment. My reaction to this book, in three acts:
Act 1: Antlercraft?
Act 2: Antlercraft.
Act 3: Antlercraft!

I blame the decline of the property on Alyssa Milano's Season 5 arrival. I can only imagine the brackish hipster stew in the swimming pool. Also, what the fuck ever happened to Grant Show? He used to be the hottest thing in worn flannel and work boots this side of the Indigo Girls.

Blood and milk, you say? Where do you have to go to be soiled by that particular duo? Other than Neverland Ranch.

Aaaand that just happened.

*Check local listings. Hardee's is the nom de food of Carl's Jr.

UPDATE: Deutlich, this still remains the most disturbing personalized plate I've ever seen.

"I teach kids"? Maybe. "I touch kids"? Equally possible. "Itch kids"? Only if their children have chronic impetigo.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Peru(ined)

I have never gone camping before. I considered it once but my enthusiasm for sleeping in the woods was left huddled in the corner after one drippy nose-and-Dramamine filled viewing of The Blair Witch Project. And that's fine. My idea of Roughing It means opening the fauxhogany entertainment center in a hotel room to reveal a teevee sans-Spectravision. If I can't peruse the skinema selection, checking for cleverly named flicks like Grinding Nemo or Lawrence of A Labia, then I may as well be laying in a pile of leaves. I also get stabby if there's not a bidet.

Regardless, in August my sister Runtie and I will be going to Peru for ten days with our uncle to trek the Inca Trail, visit Machu Picchu, and--after learning how many Peruvian foods are made of cow hearts--experience dramatic weight loss. "Why the fuck"--you may be asking yourself--"Did you sign up for this?" Because I'm a dorkchop. I have a fascination with ancient civs*--especially Pre-Columbian joints. I have a subscription to Archaeology magazine and pore over each photo of battered clay pieces like it's pottery porn**. Seeing Machu Picchu has been on my lifelist for a while, along with things like "have sex again***" and "bring dinosaurs back to life".

But still.

Can I stand ten days of trek? I have one broken toilet, but at least I have a toilet. I shower twice a day and constantly trim my, um, personal topiary. I'm terrified that by the time we touch down on American soil, it'll look like I have ZZ Top in a scissor lock.

Yesterday Runtie & I met our uncle at REI to buy "gear", which is the technical term for "sleeping bag that costs more than a liver transplant". It should be noted that our uncle holds a black belt in BadAssery. He has motorcycled across South America (like Che Guevara without the hipster cred), bagged peaks in Nepal, and summited Mount McKinley, an accomplishment that I didn't fully appreciate until I actually saw the mountain, which looms above Denali National Park like Stay-Puft over Manhattan. Needless to say, I tend to believe him when he says I can't just carry a mini-backpack shaped like Snoopy's head.

We started with the packs, strapping each bulky polyester beast to our backs like a waterproof Siamese twin. I immediately named mine Chang. On the trip, the porters will lug the heavy stuff but we'll still be responsible for our necessities, like extra clothing, water, and a portable DVD player with 174 miles of extension cord.

"Does it have to be so freaking big?" Runtie asked, leaning forward as our uncle dropped thirty pounds of weight in the pack.

The sales associate, Fether, who wore an earnest expression and "Sweet Baby James" hair said "Yes, it does. But you'll be on vacation, doing it for fun." She winced as he tightened a strap across her chest that mashed her boobs like uncooked biscuits. "Consider the homeless. They use a pack to carry their lives with them."

"Like turtles!" Runtie said.

"Also, they get shopping carts," I interjected. My uncle poked me in the knee pit with a hiking pole. Hard.

As I debated which insanely pricey pack would be roomy enough for Pigpen and I to live in after I spent my rent on camping gear, I overheard Fether and my uncle whispering. "Spill it to the rest of the class," I said.

"Fether asked whether we'd be carrying our own waste, which we will be."

I nodded. "Yeah, sure. Pocket our Snickers wrappers and all that".

The two of them exchanged a look.

"And, um, paper cups and stuff too. We'll recycle those," I added, throwing out the eco bit even though my sole concession to nature is eating only Organic Cheetos.

"Girls, you'll have to pick up your own waste. Your human waste."

Um. This is not a requirement if you vacation in, say, Myrtle Beach. There it's totally cool if you drop a deuce**** under the Apache Pier, so long as you cover it up with sand. Like a cat.

"You'll also need to collect any feminine hygiene products", Fether added, because Runtie and I must look ubermenstrual.

"Hell. No." Runtie said, shrugging off her pack. "If I get my period in Peru, I'll give myself a hysterectomy".

"Don't worry," I promised. "She'll totally bag up her ovaries."
__________

We left the store, littered my car with giant bags like we'd just looted Whoville, and crossed the street to an Italian-ish restaurant. Our uncle, of course, wanted to discuss the trip.

"We need to make a list of goals," he began between bites of a soggy "I Can't Believe It's Not Bruschetta" bread mattress. "It's unacceptable to start a journey without knowing what you'd like to accomplish before the end of it. I'll start. We need to be safe. We'll increase our understanding of other cultures. Next?"

"We'll come back with hot ass legs," Runtie added.

"We won't contract intestinal parasites," I suggested.

"We won't poop!", we said together, the Constipation Chorus.

Our uncle asked for the check.

* I may or may not own a tee that says "I Dig Archaeology".
** Because of my affinity for dusty old shit, feel free to draw your own conclusions regarding my dating history.
*** With another person.
**** My other fave euphemism? Sending the Ewoks back to Endor.

Monday, May 26, 2008

File Under: Done, Git Er

My friend Tommy* and I went hiking yesterday and stumbled upon the quite-possibly-illegitimate child of Larry the Cable Guy. Or maybe it's just the Muppet Babies version of Larry himself.

*Yes, he is my only friend.

Friday, May 23, 2008

You Call Him Doctor Jones!

So the Gym Crush and I just watched all three Indiana Jones flicks* back to back to back, sitting on the sofa long enough to sink between the cushions into the Kingdom of Lost Change and Cheeto Dust. Between the end of the Kate Capshaw-ian disaster of Temple of Doom and the beginning of The Last Crusade, we had the following conversation:

Him: So, um, are you going to talk through this next one too?
Me: No. I swear I'll only give relevant cultural commentary.
The Last Crusade DVD: [plays opening credits]
Me: [snickering]
Him: [question mark]
Me: Her name...[titter] is....[snort] Alison Doody!
Him: [staring at me]
Me:
[choking on chunks of laughter]
Him: [staring at the television]
Me: DOODY!
Him: [staring longingly at the front door]


Aaaand...scene.

I now have a weekend's worth of tickets for Indiana Jones and the Campbell's Soup for One.

I rule.

*Guess who rocked an Indy J tee during the flickage, proving that I am a True Fan and also that I recently shopped at dELiA's.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Spoilers!

It Has Emphysema
Clicky for a big 'un.
I couldn't be less surprised to learn that three generations of Wonkas were offed by diabetes.

Thank you, Wikipedia, for allowing me to cram my head with enough worthless tidbits to ensure that my own obit will include the phrase "skull explosion". In lieu of my photo, there will be a tasteful black and white illustration of Adam Bomb from the first series of Garbage Pail Kids.

Sigh. I need another hobby, one that doesn't include a "Search" button. Or chronological lists of notable deaths.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Gymboree

OK, so two Fridays ago (Nine-o de Mayo! Yo soy bilingual!) I saw my Gym Crush at, um, the Gym while I was snuggling with my current boyfriend, the bench press. We talked briefly while I imagined his head encircled by the word "dreamy" and considered paint-penning the words "Dr. & Mrs. Gym Crush" on my Trapper Keeper, before he popped his earbuds in and started his actual workout. I was wrapping up my own attempts at exercise, which mainly consists of asking strangers if they're satisfied with their current footwear and seeing how far I can reach into the vending machines.*

I scaled the stairs to the cardio room and scanned the pink 60 point titles on the available vagazines, trying to find one without a cover story about yeast infections. I settled on a recent issue of Ladies' Home Journal, the one with Sally Field and an article about losing 10 pounds in 10 minutes** and climbed onto the elliptical machine. I was debating between programs called "Gluteal 1" and "Gluteal 2" when I saw him walk in. I waved--a goofy exaggerated gesture that would've been perfect if I was a minor-league mascot--but for some reason, he walked over and talked to me while I excitedly showered him with sweat and spittle for the duration of Gluteal 1.

We made our way outside together and stood in the parking lot, trading trivia about our lives until the entire place was deserted save for a man sleeping in his car and a drifter on a bike, who spent the better part of an hour weaving the same wobbly path on the sidewalk, muttering to himself about Jesus.***

He finally dismissed himself after I'd recounted my entire childhood, including the part where I used to strike out at tee-ball. I, of course, raced home to immediately deconstruct the entire conversation, recounting it to Pigpen as he gnawed on my left arm.

Things I Learned About Him Include:

  • He is a proponent of CrossFit, a redonkulous athletic regimen whose daily workouts are named for dead people, quite possibly those who perished while doing the exercises. As far as I can tell, you don't stop lifting weights until you've achieved complete muscle failure and/or start to pee blood.
  • Has a Wayne Campbell-Without-the-Cable-Access-Show living arrangement in his parents' house, one that I would definitely copy if the 'rents and I lived in the same state. They could boxersit The Pig while I spent my Friday nights eating selections from the House of Boyardee, watching Moesha reruns, and trying to harvest my own eggs.
  • We talked about movies and There Will Be Blood came up. He said that he wanted to see it but couldn't take it seriously since Daniel Plainview looked exactly like the guy on the Red Baron pizza box.
Several weeks/days/minutes from now when he would rather eat a handful of roofing nails than speak to me again, I will still bookmark that pepperoni-coated confession as the moment I knew that I liked him.
  • Aaaand the money shot... he reads this site. Thank you, FaceBooksheba for the backstabbery. Import note, import Chuck Taylors into wide open gob.****
_________
I didn't see him again until Thursday, when I stumbled directly into his shoulder as he walked across the lobby of the gym. He gave a quick wave and said hey, but didn't slow down, and I assumed that I'd managed to fuck it up already. Or maybe it was just my t-shirt. My 50 cotton/50 poly was screened with a picture of Jimmy Carter***** and although Mr. Peanut's presidency and my life only overlapped for a couple of months, to him it was probably a pre-shrunk reminder that I'm ancient. Next time, I'll just drag a cotton gin behind me or loudly ask for a refill on my angina medication.

So Crayola me Shocked Pink when he bounded across the weight room on Friday evening and asked [insert Max Weinberg skins work] if I'd like to go see Iron Man. WITH HIM.

He waited for me to say something, idly fiddling with a rope attachment.

"Sure," I said, trying to sound nonchalant even though my aorta was rupturing. "That would be neat!".

NEAT.

I used the word "neat". And then I went home to stitch a poodle appliqué on my skirt.

But he called. And we Iron Man-ned and I tried to listen to him instead of SHARING EVERY THOUGHT IN MY HEAD, especially the ones that involved sopping Robert Downey Jr up with a biscuit.

I only spilled the awkwardsauce once. When the cashier asked him if he was a college student, he said yes and got a discount. She asked me the same question and the words "I wish" tumbled out, a response that meant that she addressed me as ma'am for the rest of the transaction and probably wondered why I wasn't at home plucking stray chin hairs and weeping.

We stayed for Nick Fury and then we were back in the parking lot, making awkward small talk and pushing imaginary pebbles with our feet. At one point he asked why I was still single, which I think he meant in a complimentary way but also could have been interpreted as "What the fuck is wrong with you?". It's the same kind of discerning question I ask when I find a Lacoste shirt at the thrift store and immediately assume that someone died in it.

It's interesting to be on this side of the age divide. I feel like Demi Moore. Or Susan Sarandon. Or Michael Jackson. And I'm increasingly OK with that.

* After months of stretching, I snagged my first bag of Sun Chips and the Y responded by clearing all of the treats off the bottom row. I'm either going to have to start scraping together some change or remove my arm bones.
** I didn't make it to the article but hope the secret was to cut off your own head.
*** He could've been saying "Cheeses". Either way.
**** He Enola Gay-ed me with this BombPop by saying that he didn't know why I'd noted his smile because he could "chop wood with [his] teeth", an observation that is totally false. He has lovely teeth, as opposed to the enamel-coated thumbtacks that jut out of my gums at irregular angles.
***** J-Cart's head is encircled with iron-on letters that read "Politicians Do It With Their Mouths". Yeah.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Supply and Demand

OK, so my inbox has been stuffed* with e's asking about these comments from this post's thread:

Some of the notes asked if this meant that we'd dated in college, some wanted to know if he was the last person who'd checked my "yes" box**, and one of you who is possibly my mom wanted to know if she would be receiving another Chia Head this Mother's Day. To answer those questions in order: yes, almost, and not unless Walgreens gets another shipment.

I got to know Troy when he roomed with one of my friends during sophomore year. Initially we shared nothing but stilted conversations and an occasional cardboard basket of curly fries. We had nothing in common. He liked flute music and learning. I enjoyed Popov Vodka and passing out in flower beds. I was Goofus. He was Gallant.

Besides, he was involved with someone else--a girl who didn't dress like Happy Gilmore***--and I was just beginning a relationship with Marlboro Reds. But before that semester's drop date, we were speaking to each other in paragraphs, not sentences. I learned that he listened to Kenny Loggins, ground his own coffee****, and frequently gave sweaters as gifts. Throw in a dash of lactose intolerance, and he was essentially the most eligible middle-aged man I was going to find on campus, unless I decided to seduce the Provost.*****

I soon realized that I was stumbling down the stairs to see him, just him, more often. He generously offered to help me through Econ--his major--and in return, I promised not to throw up on his desk planner again. For our first lesson, he taught me that 'conspicuous consumption' didn't mean having a McRib stain on my Yzerman sweater. During our second, I asked him out. I'm not sure why he agreed but think I shot out a cloud of ink, giant squid-style, temporarily stunning and confusing him.

None of our mutual friends Our one mutual friend didn't get it, our John Bender-Claire Standish Breakfast Club courtship (with the part of Troy being played by Molly Ringwald) and I think we all knew that from the start, it was stamped with an indelible expiration date, taunting us like that carton of cottage cheese that he couldn't eat. Thirteen episodes of Ally McBeal****** later, when he (unsurprisingly) decided I wasn't right for him and I (unsurprisingly) wouldn't let it go, he switched his major to religion, probably because he spent so much time praying that I would transfer to another school.

Flash forward ten years and he's earned two master's degrees from colleges that don't advertise during syndicated sitcoms and has a career that lends itself to French cuff shirts and a yard full of swans. He's married and has a child that--because he and Mrs. Troy******* both have cheekbones I could open my cable bill with--is destined to make Shiloh Jolie-Messiah-Pitt look like a lawn gnome.

By contrast, I sleep alone, wear a name tag to work, and recently ate an earthworm for a dollar.

Despite living two Targets from each other, I rarely see him since he doesn't need to purchase running shoes nor buys groceries at Big Lots. I'm glad he stops by the site, I appreciate all the reader e's, and still hope I can find a Chia Head by Sunday.

* Not a euphemism.
** Not a euphemism.
*** This was during my devoted hockey fan period, which overlapped entirely with my "frequently assumed to be a lesbian" period.
**** Also not a euphemism.
***** I spent a full semester considering it until someone pointed out that, despite the sideburns, he was actually a woman.
****** At this point, the show was still known for its short hemlines and unisex bathrooms and not because Calista Flockhart weighed less than a barn owl.
******* They were nice enough to invite me to their wedding even though there was a very real possibility that I would make a scene and/or empty an entire tray of mini-quiche into my purse. Mrs. Troy--and the entire Trojan family--is made of win.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Yes It's True (Yes It's Truuuuue)

I'm so happy to be stuck with you.
Cause I can see (I can see)
That you're happy to be stuck with meeeee
.

I just won this t-shirt on eBay and it's absolutely the best $12.49 I've ever spent on a product not marketed using the words "ribbed" or "nonoxynol-9".

My HuLew* lust goes backbackback to second grade:**
"Huey Lewis was my first love. When he was on the cover of People magazine, I threw a tantrum in Elliott's grocery store until my mother would buy a copy which I immediately took home and hung on my wall. It seems like maybe this would have been a warning sign to my parents, when all of my friends liked Kirk Cameron or Corey Haim but I wanted Huey, a 38-year-old married father of two."
Seriously. I couldn't be happier if I'd just placed the winning bid on the Shroud of Turin.

* I think this is also the #8 meal at China Garden. It comes with shrimp and scallions.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Hives

Here's a question for you reader(s)...

Why, after five months of sharing my bed and increasingly scratched-up sofa with him, has my little Boxerbeast started to make me itchy every time he licks me? This morning he woke me up by enthusiastically lapping at my face and within five minutes I looked like Macaulay Culkin in My Girl.

Any ideas? Because right now my only solution is to trim an eyehole out of my pillowcase and shroud my head John Merrick-style before heading to work.

Update: 10:08 a.m. Kaeti said... You're allergic to love.

This is quite possibly the most plausible explanation. It also explains why my trachea closes every time I watch "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition". Oh, and why I'm so alone. Urticaria lines the bottom of the turn-on pile, sandwiched between "surly" and "refuses to chew with mouth closed".

Friday, May 02, 2008

Local Cable

I caught an insomniac episode of the X-Files around 3 a.m. and when I wasn't distracted by Gillian Anderson's "Kabuki-Meets-Career Woman" makeup style, I was kickstarting my cortex trying to remember where I had seen the villain before. (Robert Patrick Modell, for any remaining X-Addicts).

I Heimliched it out of my head this morning, during my second bowl of Shrek cereal*. He was the undersexed dad** in the Lifetime Original Movie Secret Cutting***.

I hate myself for knowing this.

* I know we're, like, a year past the latest Shrek installment, which probably explains why the box had been banished to the clearance endcap. And also why it tastes like potting soil.
** And the family's reluctant math tutor. For some reason in made-for-tv movies, whenever the main character starts sucking at math, they're three Mylanta commercials away from a psychological disorder. I tanked my trig class too, but that's because my teacher stopped speaking to me after an unfortunate incident where she asked for an example of a vulgar fraction and I suggested two divided by dick.
*** Plot synopsis: A teen girl spends lots of time drawing elaborate sketches of wolves which you know she's just going to rip up later. To cope with her classmates' teasing****she locks herself in her room (or the bathroom or the garage or the inexplicably unlocked school furnace room/smoker's den) and sometimes cuts herself! Secretly! This results in several appointments with tough-but-caring therapist Rhea Pearlman whose only medical credentials appear to be an endless supply of cable knit sweaters. The End.
**** Her fellow students tease her with uninspired epithets like "Weirdo", ignoring more creative choices like "Dances With Wolves", "Wolf Blitzer" or "Wolf Camera Center".*****
***** Or "Starting Center for the Sudbury Wolves". Or "Wolf Lake, Minnesota". I can do this All Effing Day.