Monday, October 30, 2006

Stand Up

I suppose it was bound to happen, eventually. Every one goes through it, at one time or another. At least, any one who's on the market for any length of time.

I got stood up.

And we're not talking one of those corny, "I'm sorry, my grandmother's uh... sick... yeah... she's sick," and then he goes slinking off to the game with his buddies. We're talking the classic no-call, no-show. Didn't even deign to make an appolagy until late the following evening, and that came by email.

It probably wouldn't have bothered me in the least, had I not been looking so forward to it. We'd been out to coffee before, which spilled into a leisurely lunch and a few hours of engaging conversation. That was about a month ago - our schedules just didn't line up. So finally we work it out that we can meet up for dinner last week, but neither wanted to nail down a place.

After a long and drawn-out back-and-forth, where he was cheerfully unwilling to offer suggestions, and I was ridiculously indecisive (not unusual, when it comes to me and food), I made the call the night before, and shot him an email with the time, place, and my phone number - just in case he'd lost it in a blizzard or something.

I rushed home on date-night, a fire lit under my ass to shave enough time out to get cleaned up and changed, and low and behold, the boy hadn't responded to my email. Being the thorough young lady that I am (and thinking that with his terrible internet connection, perhaps he hadn't been able to get the note), I called - three times. Three times, I got the annoying beep-beep of a busy line. I sighed, set the phone down, and looked at my watch. We were supposed to meet up in ten minutes.

The question was, did I drive down there and sit and wait, hoping he just hadn't reponded due to time constrictions, and risk looking like Little Miss Lonlihearts, or did I blow it off, and risk beng the one standing him up? I figured without a response on his part, I was under no obligation to show up, and figured he had the number, and he could call if he found I wasn't there. It was, after all, a mere five minute drive from my apartment, and about two from his (chosen more for location than ambiance, I'm afraid - what can I say? I'm a hopeless romantic).

So as a last act of courtesy, I shot him another email, saying that I'd called and hadn't gotten an answer, so I wasn't going to sit and wait, and that was that. Slight blow to my ego, for sure.

Can't get a standing ovation all the time, I guess...

Monday, October 23, 2006

"Houston, we have a @$%#ing problem!"



Want to know something mindblowingly weird? I'm 90% certain I'll be moving to to a job in KC next February.

How @$%#ing weird is that?


PS: How ya been?

----- Response -----


90% certain, huh? And yes, very @$%#ing weird. And exciting, if you're a girl who happens to actually be in KC. Plan on asking me to coffee? Bringing Mrs. Doc with you?

And I've been fantastic. Fan-@$%#ing-tastic!


-----No Response-----
One month later...

Mornin Doc!

Whatever happened to you heading towards KC?




May 2007. But as far as you're concerned, nothing, after your foul-mouthed, ill-judged reply awhile back.




I'm sorry?? I thought perhaps I'd let a word or two slip, but when I went back and re-read my last several emails to you, there was nothing in them that I thought you might find offensive.

You sure it was me?




Nevermind, I found it. If seeing the word @$%# disturbs you, then I'm certainly sorry to have offended. It wasn't my intent.

I think you're being over-sensitive, and it probably would have been more effective to say, "Yanno, that really bothers me. Please don't do it," but whatever works for you, man.

Funny thing is, that word isn't even a part of my regular vocabulary. I was having a great day, and was elated about some life goings-on. It came out a bit over-exhuberant, I'll admit, but I'm not certain it's something I'd break contact over, were it me.

Enjoy the day!

-----End Communication-----

I swear all the men I know are ragging right now. What the hell? Can't a girl get a break for just a week or two? Please? You guys are killin me....

I don't know whether I'm confused, offended, or hurt.

Okay, nix on the hurt. I'm confused and offended. Why is it okay for a man to use that type of language in casual communication, but not a woman? It isn't something I say every day, and it's certainly not something I let slip around folks I'm not comfortable with.

I don't get it. I just don't get it...

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Follow the Leader

A friend sent me a link to a CNN clip about a school near Boston banning Tag! as a recess activity. The school claims it's an unsupervised contact sport, and that children can get hurt.

Other schools have also banned games where contact is involved, specifically dodgeball, which was deemed, "exclusionary and dangerous."

I remember moving every 10 months growing up. I remember always being the new kid. It didn't help that I was overweight and awkward. I was always picked last, and often not picked at all. I remember standing alone on the sidelines, or with one or two other "unwanteds" - kids nobody wanted on their team because they weren't fast enough, or couldn't hit a ball hard enough, or were just plain unpopular. How I wished that some one would have come along and told the other children, "You can't play that game any more. If every one can't play, no one can play."

The memories of that period are still painful, but looking back as an adult, I wouldn't change them. I'm glad no grown-up came to rescue me. Through difficulty, I learned resourcefulness. Through loneliness, I learned how to be aware of others' needs for interaction.

Children of my generation didn't suffer micromanagement by school officials. Our nation was still under the impression that parents should be allowed to... well... parent their children, and that school was a place for book-learning and studying. The "do-s" and "don't-s" of day-to-day interaction were expected to be taught in the home.

My generation was also the first to have children mass-murdering other children in schools. We were the first to have classmates strap explosives to themselves and walk into a crowded gymnasium. We were the first to take bitterness and anger from being excluded from recess games and twist them into justification for revenge. Because of my generation, the children of today aren't allowed to decide what games to play during their breaks.

"What's next?" My friend queried. "A ban on hugs?"
"A ban on smiles," I said, sighing heavily.
"I think they're trying to ban contact," he chuckled.
"Sure, for now. Eventually, though, smiles will be seen as a distraction."
"Your probably right," he agreed, heavy-hearted.

Said one parent, "Playing tag is just part of being a kid."

Even the PTO is at odds with the ban. " I would say it's kind of silly, and there's no reason for it- for them not to be able to play tag." (PTO President)

Why, then, has the ban not been lifted? Parents disagree with it. Teachers disagree with it. Surely that counts for something? Apparently not, when their voices are out of synch with the school principal's agenda.

I'm sure, at this point, you're thinking I'm a bit over the top. Inferences to conspiracy theories and likening the school principal to a Nazi leader probably doesn't sit well with most folks. In truth, it's only a vague musing. Think on this, though:

When the German leadership decided to move in the direction of what we now call the Holocaust, they didn't start out by blazing in with guns firing and mass-murdering people. They started out by smiling at the children. By molding and sculpting young minds as they grew to follow the crowd instead of think independently, they convinced an entire nation to participate in genocide. It all started with one simple phrase:

This is for your own good.

First they came for the Jews

and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists

and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists

and I did not speak out

because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for me

and there was no one left

to speak out for me.
(Pastor Martin Niemöller)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Foot-in-Mouth Disease

I spent the weekend in Austin, attending a wedding for my Bohemian cousin. All her hippy friends flew down from Portland to spend the weekend in drunken revelry.

I'm sitting on a barstool in a dive on the infamous 6th Street, talking to a gal who's got to be eight months along. The bar's so full of smoke I can barely see to the opposite wall, and she's sucking cigs down like they're candy straws. Despite the fact that it breaks my heart, I hold my tongue.

The waiter comes by. "Can I get you ladies anything?" he says, sweet southern drawl melting us both like butter.

I order my customary beer. She follows with, "I'll have the same." He returns in a few minutes toting two perfectly poured, frosted mugs. Finally, I pipe up- I just can't hold it in any longer. I know, I know - I'm a judgemental bitch. I have theories about why I feel justified in saying something to a gal I've only just met, but we'll go into that another time.

"That's healthy," I say as she takes her first sip.

"What?" She blinks at me, all wide-eyed and innocent.

"The beer," I say, nodding to her glass.

She frowns. "You're having one."

"I'm not pregnant," I quip. She raises a brow.

"Neither am I."


Stage Fright

You know, being female has it's advantages - the inability to poop in public places is not one of them. There are any number of places a girl can't drop a brick. They include (but are certainly not limited to):

Friend's house
Boyfriend's house
Parent's house
In-Law's house
Sibling's house
Shopping Centers
Hotel Rooms
Bars and Nightclubs
The Office
The Grocery Store
The Woods

Pretty much anywhere anyone may be even the slightest bit exposed to our utter lack of femininity while we're grunting one out. Pooping is a gal's dirty little secret. I've had more than one male friend comment that his girlfriend never poops. Hate to break it to ya, guys... she does it, she just waits til she gets home.

Ever have your girl stay the night, and go to bed frustrated because she won't put out? She doesn't have a headache - she's carrying a load, and is worried that she might fart while you're smackin her ass from behind... or worse, that she might pinch off a pill during the yoga you like to call sex. Ever try to hold one in when your ankles are up by your ears? And you thought that was her O-face...

The bottom line is (yeah, sorry bout that pun), while men seem to feel free to share the product of their bowels with the rest of the world, women would be mortified if the next person in the powder room caught a whiff of anything other than roses. That's just how we are.

For a lot of us, there's a "Poop Threshold"- a time when we determine you've been around long enough that the sound of a splash on the other side of the bathroom door isn't going to make you run screaming. We'll still lock the door, turn on the water, and fog the bathroom with air freshener, but at least there's some relief.

I pity the woman who goes out of town with a boyfriend before she reaches the Poop Threshold. If she keeps sending you to the store for "forgotten" toilettries, or asking you to go pick up dinner instead of calling room service, you can bet she's overflowing. Do be kind enough to ignore the overwhelming scent of perfume permeating your hotel room and spilling out into the hall, and God save you if you mention that you know what she was doing while you were out. Better invest in Vaseline, that's all I'm saying. You might be takin care of your own business for awhile, and I'm not talkin bout squattin on porcelain.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Pipe Dream

"I had something I wanted to tell you all day, and now I can't remember it." I sighed heavily, laying down my knife and dumping onions into a stew pot. I was half-way through putting together a batch of chili for a work-sponsored cook-off, and the day was wearing on my stamina.

"You can't remember at all?"

"No... I really can't.... Oh wait, yes! I remember!" I slapped the cutting board down on the countertop, triumphant.


"Oh shit!"


"The sprinkler head just popped. I gotta go!"

I don't know if I hit the off switch on the phone, or if I just dropped it and ran. All I remember is hearing a boiler letting off steam, checking the pots, then realizing there was water pouring through the doorway of the pantry. It wouldn't be at all surprising for the sprinkler in my apartment to go off. I'm notorious among family members for burning water (literally).

It only took a moment to realize it wasn't the sprinkler, but the connecter hose to the washing machine that had torn. Using the lid of my chili pot to deflect the scalding water that was spraying from the hose like a geyser, I cranked the spigot handle down as hard as I was able, then stepped back to assess the damage.

I stood in about an inch and a half of water. All my stores of paper towels, most of my small appliances, and the kitty litter box were all soaked. I sighed, getting down on my hands and knees in the pool to fish wads of cat hair from the floor drain so the water would run off. That done, I rescued what I could of the paper towel rolls, and started pushing the flood towards the drain.

Half an hour later, the water is mostly cleaned up. The airline kennel that houses one of the cats has been upended to air dry, and what remains of the kitty litter has been salvaged as well as can be expected. It's too late to go to the store to retrieve new litter - the babies will just have to wait til tomorrow.

In between battles with the tidal wave in my laundry room, I've managed to finish my chili and bake a double-decker pineapple upside down cake for my boss's birthday tomorrow.

Some time tomorrow, I have to call and negotiate a carpet installation, get the service folks for the apartment complex to come out and fix the washer hose, get the parking company to reimburse me $80 they docked from my pay without permission, and sing the Happy Birthday song to a gal nearly old enough to be my mother. I've spent two weeks on my hands and knees, tiling my kitchen and bathroom, mending a fence, repairing a wall, painting, spackling, sawing, drilling, nailing, and plain old tearing out pieces of my house out in the 'burbs. My body's exhausted, my mind is exhausted... I could really use a break.

Anybody feel like taking over for awhile?