Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Working Nights

I've got a nightmare problem. The problem, obviously, is that I have them, and spend a portion of almost every night being dragged through the sketchier neighborhoods of my subconscious. I'll inevitably drift off, earbuds lodged firmly in both sides of my skull, listening to At My Age and hoping that my brain will send me to make out with a variety of Englishmen or raise fruit bats or wear pants made of ham or any other totally normal dream plots. Instead, my third grade teacher whose face is made of broken glass and dangling eyeballs holds me down and feeds me a bowl of salsa seasoned with my own teeth.

Good times.

The other night, I woke up at 3:17 a.m. to the smell of smoke and singed hair. I yanked the 'phones out of my ears and assumed that my gothtastic neighbor--an over-eyelinered college student majoring in Sighing Loudly with a minor in Leggings--had done her best Sylvia Plath impression, broiling herself beneath the faux-granite countertops.

"There's no way she'll get her deposit back," I said to myself, sleepily rolling out of bed and hoping that the firemen would be too busy with the human pot pie across the hall to notice my dinosaur footie pajamas.

On my way toward the door, I stepped on one of Pigpen's bones that he'd somehow chewed into a rawhide shiv. Pulling a shard of animal byproduct out of my foot was painful enough to wake me up completely. The building wasn't burning and my neighbor hadn't gotten Plath-tered; I'd just been fooled by the nastiness inside my own brain. Again.

I turned to Pig's bed in the corner, expecting to see him sound asleep on his back, weiner pointing skyward like a DirecTV dish. He wasn't there. I pulled back the sheets on my own bed, assuming he'd burrowed under the covers when I headed for the door. No Pig.

Now I'm concerned. And confused. Confuserned. "Oh shit," I said out loud. "He's stuck!" Just last week, he'd chased his tennis ball under the bed and lodged himself between the baseboard and a box of outdated sweaters, forcing me to shove the mattress onto the floor so I could lift the bed frame and drag him out by his back legs. I flipped the light on and pressed my face against the carpet.

No dog.

I raced to the other side, moved a stack of music magazines and pulled out a half-eaten carrot.


I sleep with the bedroom door closed because even after ten seasons of Law & Order: SVU, I'm still convinced that even the rapey-est of intruders will be deterred by two inches of artificial wood. There's no way out of the room, saved for the always-locked sliding glass onto the balconOH GOD THAT'S HOW THEY'LL GET IN WHERE CAN I BUY APPROXIMATELY FIFTY THREE CINDERBLOCKS? HURRY BEFORE THEY GET HERE--ahem--the balcony.

I looked in the bathroom, lifting a pile of festering gym clothes with the gnawed stump of the carrot.

No Pigpen.

Now I'm seriously entertaining the idea that at some point during the three hours I'd been asleep, I managed to eat him, I'd devoured the entire dog. I stared at my bedheaded reflection in the mirror wondering how many calories are in a two-year old Boxer when a muffled thump came from the closet.

Warily I approached the door, pushing it open with my pajama-ed foot and smacking Pigpen in his smashed little muzzle.

He looks pissed, like I've interrupted. I turn on the light and see that I have. He's dragged a number of shoes--all sneakers, all mismatched--into the center of the floor and topped them with the jacket from The Artist Formerly Known As My Interview Suit (now rechristened as my Funeral Costume) along with a handful of unfortunately patterned tank tops and my bathrobe. Basically it looks like he blew up Punky Brewster.

He circles the pile and takes a seat on a shoe, looking absolutely delighted with his handiwork. I'm confused more than anything, wondering how he managed to get these things off their hangers in the dark and wondering if he has retractable thumbs I'd just never noticed before.

I dragged him out of the closet and closed the door tightly behind us, hoping we'd get through the rest of the night without any additional redecorating.

Fast forward to the next night when a similar scenario occurred. I'd just been tracing the outline of a friend's face with my tongue when his wife shoved me off the inflatable iceberg and into the path of an oncoming clipper ship. I woke about the time my head struck the side of the boat. Again, I looked toward Pig's bed...and he's gone. I trudged toward the closet and there he was, sitting on a totally different stack of my shit.

The closet is conveniently located to the right side of the toilet so, in case I'm ever sans Charmin, I can always reach a t-shirt from a company that's long since fired me. Last night, I woke up when Pig tried to wriggle through the semi-closed bathroom door on his way to his night job.

So I'm asking you guys...WHAT THE HELL?! He's not being destructive. He's not chewing the armpits out of my shirts or clipping his toenails into the coat pockets. As far as I can tell, he's making a nest or a shrine or perhaps a sacrificial altar where he'll eventually kill me for buying store-brand Snausages. Either way, has anyone else's animal ever done this?

And while we're at it, can someone tell me why I've started smelling my dreams? Because fruit bats are way less fragrant than their names lead you to believe.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

By Request

Here's my eagerly anticipated Maid of Honor outfit. No, my actual dress won't be blaze orange, not unless the reception program has been restructured to include deer hunting. I just hope that the other members of the bridal party will be able to find an Elvis Costello tee and brown leather ankle boots because those accessories are obviously what bring this ensemble together.1

I'd been in the store less than two minutes when a nametagged David's Bridal associates--one wearing several pounds of eyeshadow--tapped a logo pen against her clipboard, cocked her head to the right and said "I'm guessin' you ain't the bride."

Wow, what gave it away? The fact that I strolled in still licking bits of my Long John Silvers' combo meal off my forearms? That I have no idea what my dress size is but quickly volunteered that I wore a medium t-shirt? The tumbleweeds rolling out of my vagina?

"Nope. I'm the Maid of Honor."

"Really?" she said. "OK, we can get start--um, you've got something on your face."

I flicked my tongue toward my cheek, ever the lady. "Tartar sauce."

She sighed. "This is just my second weekend here. We may need my manager for this."

1 One of my friends said that I looked like a Hooters waitress from the 1940s.

I'd been dreading the trip to D-Bridal since last fall when my sister used a handful of Anytime Minutes for a shrieking, weeping phone call that sounded a lot like "SQQQUUUUEEEEAAL! I'M ENGAGED! SQUUUUEEEEEEAAL! OK BYE!" Of course I'm delighted for her but I wish her wedding had the same dress code as Burger King. The nicer Burger Kings, obviously, the ones that have playgrounds and dumpsters with lids.

The search for formalwear is a difficult one for me because of my comically oversized back. Yes. My back. My workouts include an abundance of pullups, which means I cast the sexy silhouette of a king cobra. Or Michael Phelps, minus the Marfan syndrome. It's a bit of a problem because shoving myself in a size large for my lats means that I have enough excess room in the bust to successfully shoplift a number of appliances.

It's not a scenario that the staff deals with very often although Eyeshadow did tell me that my actual dress, when it arrives, could be altered to accommodate my cape-like back and Craisin-like boobs. She may have phrased it more politely.

I was given a stack of unfortunately-hued items and quarantined in a dressing room until I emerged wearing something that I could actually zip, like a denim-clad larva that becomes a dry-clean only butterfly who will find a way to stain her dress several months before the actual ceremony. It took several false starts, a lot of creative profanity, and several twirls in front of the most unflattering mirror on earth, but I won. My Maid of Honor Costume is now on order and I have the receipt to prove it JUST IN CASE THE BRIDE OR THE MOTHER OF THE BRIDE (AKA MY OWN MOTHER) REQUIRES DOCUMENTATION.

Now it's just up to the bridesmaids to find matching boots.

Friday, September 04, 2009


I'm just about ready to take it to the streets, Pointer Sisters-style, and head home for the weekend.1 As soon as I lug my suitcase to my car and drop Pigpen off at his luxury accommodations2 it'll be time to weave in and out of traffic as I try to reach the neon orange peanut butter cracker I just fumbled onto the floorboard.

Obviously, I'm taking the essentials with me. From left to right, we've got:

--The latest issue of Mojo magazine, a British import I dig enough to justify the $9 cover price, even though I didn't pay nine bones for the last pair of pants I bought. Read that sentence again.

--Some Vonnegut, even though Kurt will immediately be swapped for whatever Britney-infested tabloid I can impulse-buy at the grocery store, along with a bag of teriyaki-flavored beef jerky and a package of tiny razors so I can carve my bikini area into elaborate topiary.

--DVDs of The Prisoner and Black Books. I will watch neither of these because my sister and I will spend all of our time watching endless episodes of Law & Order: SVU. She's recovering from shoulder surgery and just yesterday spent a pharmaceutically-enhanced afternoon watching NINE HOURS of SVU, which means she's officially an NYPD officer. And also terrified to leave the house.

--McDonalds' coupons. FREE McGRIDDLES, GUYS! I've never been more excited to get a piece of mail lovingly addressed to "Resident".

-- A pair of Robyn Hitchcock box sets. This needs no explanation, not even to help you understand why I need damn near a day's worth of music for a two hour drive.

--Two screenprinted garments that put Peter Buck's face dangerously close to my boob. JUST LIKE THAT DREAM I HAD.

1 I have been instructed to stop at David's Bridal to order a Maid of Honor dress for my sister's wedding to Dr. Fiance. Apparently this garment is going to be painstakingly woven from unicorn pelts or decorated with the eyelids of endangered species because that's the only reason it needs to be purchased seven months before the wedding.

2 Pig doesn't get to make the trip across state lines because my parents' Nasty Little Dog doesn't take kindly to strangers. If she did, perhaps she would have a more charming nickname.