Sometimes during staff meetings, words tend to run through my mental sieve unheeded as I daydream about the yummy waffles I ate that morning or ponder why I always giggle and think of boobs when someone says "cahoots" or wonder why it is that a mile is exactly 5,280 feet because seriously, what is up with that?
I don't think Fun Size candy bars are fun at all.
I don't know why it is, but I can't help but sing. I'm a singing fool. Pretty much wherever I am, if a song I like is pounding across the airwaves, I will sing along. In my car, in the elevator, in American Eagle, at the doctor's office, while I'm jogging (especially while I'm jogging), wherever. In all honesty, there doesn't even have to be a song playing. I'm like that kid in About a Boy who burst out singing "Killing Me Softly With His Song" during math class, except, well, I'm not British, or a child, and I dress MUCH better. And sing better. And I'm not a geek. (TGIM, shut up!) Wait. What was my point again? Oh yes! I sometimes burst into song with no provocation whatsoever. To my chagrin, my colleagues will ofttimes tease me mercilessly when I break into a rousing chorus of Todd Rundgrens "Bang the Drum All Day" (my spontaneous song choices are often thematic in nature), but hey, someone needs to liven up those staff meetings, I tell you what. Honestly, it's a hardship for TGIM, but he powers through. But my most favoritest place to sing evah is in my very own bathroom because hello? mirror? and hairbrush? I mean really. If I can't SEE the choreography how will I know which dance moves make me look the coolest? Think about it. And everyone knows a solid vocal performance of Captain and Tenille's "Love Will Keep Us Together" is simply not as convincing without a mic. I mean, obviously.
I've been tempted on more than one occasion to set up a "Valet Parking: $5 (Tips Appreciated)" sign in front of Wal-Mart. Because I'm betting that would be good money, right there.
Sometimes in the night when I'm all alone in my home, I hear noises and get a little freaked out, so I grab a bat (or something equally smackdown-worthy; a tennis racquet will do in a pinch) and tiptoe from room to room, bat aloft, swiftly throwing open closet doors, letting loose with an ear-piercing "AAAAAAIIIIIEEEEEEGH!", and swinging that bat with all I've got. This is called aerobic exercise and is very good for my fast twitch muscle fibers AND my heart.... once the violent heart palpitations stop pounding at three times the rate of my normal cardiac cycle, naturally. I don't recommend this particular brand of personal home security for the faint-of-heart, however. Tachycardia is nobody's friend.
(DISCLAIMER: Just so we're clear, I have never watched Sex and the City in my life, so don't even go there or I will freaking CUT YOU. I'm not even kidding.... What?! A vague disclaimer is nobody's friend. [tm Willow Rosenberg of BTVS])
For several years now I have had a secret desire to do something that some people may call crazy. No, not bungee jumping... I've already done that. No, not rappelling a cliff wall, hundreds of feet in the air... I've done that, too. Skydiving? Pshaw! Been there! Cliff-diving? Train trestling? Driving down a highway in the dead of night at top speeds with my headlights off? Did it, did it, totally did it... unless my momma is reading this in which case I absolutely did NOT do that last one because how freaking stupid would a person have to be to go screaming down Williamson Valley Road with a carload of (totally sober) sixteen-year-olds with her headlights off even if she was totally sober (hand to God!) and even if she did have her hazard lights on so she could clearly see every few seconds anyway so it really was wasn't as bad as it sounds and I was only SIXTEEN and whose dumb idea was it to let sixteen-year-olds have licenses to drive ANYWAY?! HUH?! Because hello?! Let me introduce you to DUH!
Seriously. I blame the government.
Anyhoos, in all honesty, I don't know why I crave these things. I don't know if it's the speed, the danger, the physical exertion, or even the sheer awesomeness of spectacular stunting. I just always... have. Craved them, that is.
I was the kid who saw the couch not as a place to sit, but as an obstacle to flip over. Or as a springboard for flipping over other *inanimate objects in the room. (*I learned early that you don't want to try flipping over things that, you know, MOVE. Let that be a lesson to us all.)
I was the kid who would suddenly be overcome by a burst of exhilaration while running across the neighbors' lawn which usually resulted in the execution of some sort of crazy, airborne somersault, with no idea how to land it but a willful determination to get 'er done, by damn! I mean, why run when you can fly?
I was the kid who defied the lifeguards at the public pool when they told me to get in the shallow end because I was too little to jump off the high dive. I was all, "Aw, hell no! I've been swimming since I was two, biznitches!" But it sounded more like, "No I'm not!" because seriously I was like five and who says "biznitch" when she's five? And then I jumped and swam away very fast and they decided I was big enough after all.
I was the kid who took sharp turns on her bicycle while riding with no hands and no shoes on a gravelly city street... which actually turned out quite badly, what with the crashing and the gaping wound and the infected toe and the blood poisoning and all, so forget I mentioned that one. But you get the picture.
Some would say, "Damn, girl. What up? You have a death wish or something?" But truthfully, I don't think the powerful rush I experience when I do these things is based on some sort feeling that I somehow cheated death. Because I'm not afraid of eluding life. However, I find that I'm vastly afraid of life eluding me. Which made sense in my head, but now... maybe... not so much? I think I do these things not to prove to the world that I am brave or strong-- because, duh! I rock solid!-- but to prove to myself that I am alive. And in control. And way cool, junior.
Because there's nothing like spitting in the eye of the blood-rushing, gut-wrenching fear that bulldozes you as you ascend in a crane to a height equivalent to a 14-story building with nothing but a few flimsy bungee cords between you and the pavement below where you can barely make out the ant-like shapes of your friends shouting things you can't quite hear because all sound faded out about eight stories ago and there is nothing but you, the wind, and the guy counting down from ten... nine... eight... (I'm going to die)... seven... six... (I'm clearly insane)... five... four... three... (Uuuh! No! I have to pee!)... two... one... (pleaseGodhelpmeohGodI'mdying)... GERONIMO! (aiiiiiiaiaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiighhhhhhhhhaaaarrrrrrrrg!... Oh yeah! WOOOOO!!!)
Hi, for those of you just tuning in, Cat is a crazy person.
And now? Guys? There's this new obsession that I am just so, SO excited about! Something I've always wanted to do but I always thought I had to travel to New York City to do it, and I've just never made it over there. And now I discover that they have a place to do it in Baltimore... right down at the Harbor, even. And Baltimore is not far away at ALL. How perfect is that? And it's not even very expensive and it is so much safer than skydiving, which is cool because there is a good chance I traumatized my children for life by flinging myself out of a perfectly good airplane as they looked on. Yep.
So guys? GUYS?! Guess what?! Just guess!
Okay, I'll tell you. This summer? At some point? Before the kids come home? I'm going to Trapeze School. I know, right?! "I'll be sooooooaaaaaarin'... flyyyyyyyyyin'..." (Oooh! Damn you High School Musical! Get out of my head!) And I shall fly through the air with the greatest of ease... and totally kick gravity's ASS.
In other news I watched The Producers last night and it was WAY funny. Just thought I'd share.
O. M. G. What the hell was TGIM thinking?! Look at these cliffs! Look at MY CHILDREN! And their COUSINS! Honestly! I CANNOT BELIEVE they did this...
...hiking in... Note use of Big Sticks to keep wild animals (and any cousins attempting to pass to the front) at bay...
...diving from big big big high rocks-- Geronimo!...
...daredeviling it up!...
(Wow. Good form, Tanner)
... and fishing (a much better use of Big Sticks I'd have to say)...
...all THIS... this... this CRAZINESS!... without ME!!!
Man. I seriously miss all the fun. And I'm the one who discovered the joys of cliff-diving at Sycamore Canyon in the first place! (except I'd actually be DIVING, but we can't all be as cool as me. I'm just saying.) Meanies.
"Why was Rush Limbaugh in possession of a bottle of Viagra that was not prescribed to him?" Oh no. The question should be, "Good lord! Who the hell is hittin' that?!"
I'm just saying.
So here's the thing... about a month ago, after a heartfelt explanatory treatise on the general kickassiness of the musical Grease-- despite the frequent sexual innuendo and the puerile tawdriness and the underlying message that compromising your value system in order to win your guy is a GOOD idea-- my good blogger friend Charlotte recommended that my kids and I check out something called High School Musical. "Nothing objectionable there," she wrote. "Well, except for the overt cheesiness. But it's kind of endearing."
Now, Charlotte's a good gal and totally cool so I took her advice to heart. But I tell you what, getting my hands on that movie was like trying to get my hands on Jason Dohring's tight, sexy abs... impossible. (What?!) Seriously. Every time I went to Blockbuster all fifty of their copies would be checked out and people were obviously NOT bringing them back because I'd ASK and the teen at the counter would be all, "People aren't bringing them back"-- which, see? So every time I'd check, I'd get near the H section and see the DVD covers and get all excited and rush over, only to be disappointed when all I'd see were those cardboard cutouts of the DVD cases that stand behind all the movies, and I'd see the smiling, happy kids on the fake front cover silently mocking me, all "Psyche! You thought we were in, but we're totally not! HA!" I mean really. Allow me to say rude.
Anyhoo, I finally had to put the movie in my queue at Blockbuster.com-- which smacked of capitulation, but seriously, what else could I do?-- and lo and behold, that sucker came just in time for TGIM's birthday. Which he obviously wasn't all that thrilled about, but hey, his birthday isn't all about him, now is it? Some people can be so self-centered. I'm just saying. So we ordered pizza and the kids made a birthday cake and we popped popcorn and invited a friend and her daughter to come over and watch the movie with us and it was just a whole big thing. And despite the fact that there were two Movie Talkers of the Obnoxious Question-Asker variety, and one little Drama Queen who kept jumping up in front of the television to dance and sing along (not my Drama Queen, amazingly, it was my friend's Drama Queen, but it goes without saying that it would have been mine also had she already seen the movie), let me just say, High School Musical equals Good Times For All. For reals. Good stuff.
So I simply wanted say... thanks a WHOLE LOT, Charlotte! I cannot get the damn songs from High School Musical out of my head! Gosh! So I had to go and buy the video, naturally. Er, and download the soundtrack. And now I'm sitting here at work and I Gotta Get My, Get My Head In The Game because those fruit fly regulations aren't going to consolidate themselves, but in my mind I'm all, "We're soarin'! Flyin'! There's not a star in heaven we can't reach!" I am embarrassed to admit-- but a little proud, too! mostly embarrassed, though-- that I now know the entire Bop to the Top song and dance number by heart. Because I may or may not have spent one or several hours yesterday afternoon pausing and rewinding the dance tutorial in the Bonus Features until I had it down solid. This is called aerobic exercise and is SUPER good for your heart. Plus the song is very catchy. "Ai ai ai ai! Quieres bailar? Mira me!" My favorite part is "...kickin' and scratchin', grinding out my best..." because I adore the little hip action she breaks out to "grinding out my best." Seriously. Way. Cute. I'm just glad all those salsa moves I learned from Dirty Dancing have finally come in handy.
Now I don't mean to knock Grease, because hello? still love it? but High School Musical is made up of actual teenagers (who, by the way, are just the cutest things!), has a much nicer, kid-friendly message to impart, and to top it all off features some admittedly zingy music and fancy footwork. Plus in the Bonus Features there's this way cool Sing-Along feature and when you turn it on it's like this whole big karaoke experience... while you're watching the movie! Right in you very own living room! Not that I've done that or anything because clearly it's for the children. Duh.
I've already called Grandma Sue in Podunky Small Town Arizona and have urged her to buy her own copy of the movie so my children can become truly obsessed with it (this summer's Phantom of the Opera, if you will) and learn all the lyrics and dance moves and when they come home at the end of the summer we can have friends over and dance and sing together (because I'm a totally unrepentant musical theater geek and there's no reforming me) and it will be this whole big thing.
Hey... check it out. It appears that in writing about the movie I have effectively purged my mind of the songs which have been running over and over and over in my head. Now I can finally settle down and do my --
-- We're gonna bop bop bop! Bop to the top! Slip and slide and ride that rhythm!...
The kiddos left last night for their annual Podunky Small Town AZ summer with the grandparents. Let me tell you, TGIM was absolutely thrilled when their flight was delayed two hours. Yep. They didn't make it in to Phoenix until 1 o'clock in the AM. Which, as you well know, is equivalent to 4 o'clock in the AM for our three cranky, overtired, east coast chillins! They are SO going to be the children from hell today. I'm not going to lie to you... it won't be pretty. Aaaaah, good times, y'all. Good times. Poor TGIM...
But whatever. Dorks are at a kick-ass waterpark in Phoenix RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND! (*jealous*) A WATERPARK! With slides called The Cyclone and Twister! FUN in the SUN! Without ME! The MOMMA!
Well that's just rude.
I miss 'em already.
There I was, smack dab between two colleagues, busily engaged in an animated discussion about recent movies we had seen.
"The last movie I saw? Um, oh, yeah, it was X-Men 3: The Last Stand," said Tom (all names have been changed to protect... well, me.)
"Me, too!" I piped in.
Katie asked, "So how'd you like it? I was disappointed in X-3, myself. It was nothing like the comic books."
"I liked it," I said. "I mean, the special effects alone... But I've never read the comics, so... yeah."
Not to be outdone, Tom added his two cents: "Well, what bothered me was that the first two X-Men movies had this great subtext of nonconformity and minority discrimination, whereas X3 pushed that all aside and focused more on a mutant cure. And the whole cure thing just didn't work as a parallel for me because mutants-- who have powers and could conceivable be a threat to society-- had the choice to become 'normal,' whereas, say, Jews in WWII-- who were not a threat to anyone-- never had a choice to conform. It wasn't like they could just take a pill and stop being Jewish."
Okay, so maybe it was more like ten cents. Or twenty, perhaps. Fine, let's say he added his two hundred and forty-two cents and call it good, mm'kay? Geez. What an overachiever.
Anyway, I was still trying to figure out what the hell he was talking about when Katie nodded in solemn agreement and said, "You know, in the comics not all mutants had superpowers. Some were just different colors, but in the movie they were all superheroes. And don't even get me started on the Phoenix--
The Phoenix?! YES!
"Oooh! Oooh! I totally loved The Dark Phoenix! Man, Jean Grey looked WICKED COOL! With the flaming hair?! And the uber superpowers?! Because Famke Janssen?..." I whistled appreciatively. "WOW. She looked amazing, right? Right? DAAAYUM."
Tom and Katie stared at me. Which... rude?
"Well, she did."
Our food came then, and the conversation drifted to a classical music concert Tom had recently attended. Which was too bad, honestly, because I was just about to launch into my spiel-- which is simply brilliant, if I do say so myself, like Buffy brilliant!-- on how exactly Rogue could have worked around the whole sucks-the-life-out-of-anything-she-touches thing so she could totally get it freaking ON with Iceman without giving up her mutant powers.
Eh. Maybe next time.
I am currently enamored with the word "tawdry." It just rolls off the tongue. Tawdry. Taaaaawdreeeee. You see? Unfortunately it has proved surprisingly troublesome to fit the word into everyday conversation in the workplace, which is totally strange because, you know, government? federal? hello tawdriness? So when I actually come across an opportunity to drawl "taaaaawrdry" while employing Joey Tribiani's trademark soap opera "I have a fishhook in my eyebrow and I like it" look, I just go for it. Lately, however, I have found myself so wrapped up in attempting to weave the conversation to a point where I can throw "tawdry" into the mix that I totally lose the thread of the conversation and end up missing my opportunity. Plus, I end up with no idea what the hell anyone is talking about. This is apparently "bad manners." And annoying.
It is entirely possible, in fact, that at our last staff meeting I volunteered to take on the next extraordinarily difficult, time-consuming docket coming our way because when asked if anyone wanted to tackle it, I may have expressed an interest due to the tawdry nature of the topic. I don't know for sure. It's all a blur now. But I believe my exact words may have been, "I'll take it. I like [topic]. It's taaaaawdry." Good lord. An extraordinarily difficult, time-consuming docket and tawdry topic equals... well, it equals something decidedly not good, of this I am sure. This is obviously "bad news." And annoying.
Clearly it's time for me to pick a new favorite word. Perhaps something a tad easier to integrate into any standard office conversation...
I'm thinking "misanthrope."
link | posted by Cat at 6:47 PM
That you blushed like a girlie-girl today when our waitress and the entire staff of T.G.I. Fridays commanded the attention of all the diners in the restaurant and proceeded to sing in clapping cadence, "I don't know what you've been told!... But someone here is getting old!" And I also love that you totally shared the free yummy birthday sundae they brought you which was absolutely free and for which we did not pay one red cent because they didn't charge us and it was totally free. Because it's your birthday, yo.
That you say things like "Woo! Hot mama!" and "HEY! You're plumb naked!" when I step out of the shower and then proceed to do your Happy, Happy, Hurray For Yay! dance.
That even though you pretend to be humoring me, all "Okay, okay, whatever, I'll watch Buffy with you tonight," or "Fine, we can watch the season finale of Veronica Mars again, but just one episode and then it's all about Sports Center..." I know you will end up spending hours watching all four episodes on the disk or flipping through the special features with me because you totally love Buffy and Veronica almost as much as I do. Which is a whole lot... you know, because Girl Power?
That even though you claim to hate cats (because you're a Dog Man, dammit! Cats are for sissies!), when there are kittens around and I suddenly realize I haven't seen you in a while, and everyone is all, "What happened to TGYM?", I have often found you hiding in a corner somewhere cuddling with the kittens, stroking their fur, and cooing softly at them. Which is the sexiest thing EVER. And also... aaaw! Cute.
That you get really, really excited when you talk on your cell phone and forget that this is the 21st century and you don't actually have to "speak up," so you talk really super loud and the person on the other end (usually one of your brothers) ends up modulating his voice proportionally to yours, thus spurring you to speak even louder, so eventually anyone within a hundred square yards could conceivably pass a pop quiz covering how much money you dropped on the the new pair of northern Virginia square-toed oxfords you bought totally on sale ($59 marked down from $175! SCORE!) or how often your wife has taken a turn doing the laundry in the past month (once!... what?!), which is more endearing than annoying, most of the time, because how cute is that? But still? Kind of annoying. But mostly endearing!
That due to my complete inability to take a joke, you have directed all your prankish ways toward our children who seem able to take it much better than I, but hey, that could simply be wishful thinking. They will in fact most likely need buttloads of therapy when they grow up in order to work through their Daddy Issues and their complete inability to take a joke. GOSH.
That when a HUGE glass of Dr. Pepper was knocked over during your birthday lunch at T.G.I. Fridays and the mess was so devastating that we had to switch tables, when the waitress came bustling out apologizing for the tall glasses of soda the new hostess had mistakenly brought for the children and handed my youngest a fresh Dr. Pepper in a child's cup complete with lid and bendy straw, you actually restrained yourself from gleefully informing the waitress and all others in the vicinity that it was in fact your clutzy wife who caused the whole commotion, which took enormous force of will, I am sure. It's quite possible you pulled something from the strain of holding it all in. Hey, in my defense, there were too many damn things in the middle of that table. It was like a freaking obstacle course to get to the chips and salsa, okay?! Not to mention that those glasses are super tall and have a way smaller circumference at the bottom in relation to the top, clealy a design flaw defying several laws of physics. Totally an accident waiting to happen, that's all I'm saying. Honestly. What's that about? Good lord.
That you are an extraordinarily loving and involved father to three of the most precious people in my life. They (and I) are lucky to have you.
I love you, gorgeous. Happy birthday.
The room, guys. The room. It is TOO. FRICKIN'. LOUD.
Shut up, room! Some of us are trying to get some sleep.
Wow. Arizona is all desert-like and shizz. Brown. Desolate. Hot. For reals. There are cacti, people. CACTI. I'm not even kidding.
Is it weird that I miss that?
So I'm digging the fact that I was able to get my bum on a plane and fly back to AZ this weekend for my big sister's Wedding Weekend Rama Lama Bing Bang Extravaganza!
I adore this picture of me and my two sisters not just because we are like totally cute and stuff in it but because just over my left shoulder my silly, silly niece is captured mid-jump, stone-cold busted in her valiant yet doomed attempt to jump high enough to bunny-ear her mother. Which... ha?
Okay, okay. I cannot in good conscience allow anyone to infer that my sister is capable of the utter geekiness involved in naming this oh-so-special weekend in such a ridiculous manner. Okay, I lied, she is absolutely geeky enough, but that is beside the point. Because "Wedding Weekend Rama Lama Bing Bang Extravaganza"? That's all mine, baby.
Good LORD, girls. This is for POSTERITY. And hee. My nieces crack me right up.
Aaaaw (and I mean this...) CUTE. Honestly. How cute are the happy couple? Huh?! So, SOOOOO cute, that's how much!
We are clearly giddy here. She's totally like, "nakednakednaked...mehimnaked...sexnaked...heeheeheehee...NAKED!..." and I'm all, "Now, Kim, when two people love each other VERY much..."
Congrats, my sistah. You found yourself a winner! Now go have lots of the sex, yo?
You know that feeling you get? You know, the one when you just KNOW that summer has finally arrived and then there's that happy, jittery feeling in your tummy and you know if you take a deep enough breath you could actually smell the tropical, coconutty tang of Coppertone sunscreen mixed with the heady, suffocating yet oddly enticing smell of chlorine? Do you know it?
Hallelujah. Summer's here.
1) Shouting "Down in front!" at the freaking tall people who crowd right in front of you even though they can clearly see that you are too short to see anything over their big ass noggins is frowned upon in Biennial Town Hall Meetings with the Agency Administrator. Ditto "Oi! You make a better wall than a window, dude!"
2) Baby boomers know how to give good phone. Note it.
3) Standing Room Only is no fun at all. Always find a wall on which to lean. Don't be shy. Crowd those wall hoggers. They don't own the wall. Tell them so if necessary.
4) Spray-on tans look reeeeally creepy on women's feet. For reals. That ain't right.
5) Hello?! Sloppy dress equals sloppy work? Leave the jogging suits and beach sandals at home, GOSH! (Note to self: change out of flip-flops when get back to cube.)
It's a shame, really. My interpersonal relationships-- especially at work-- have suffered a most debilitating blow. You see, in our increasingly insular national culture (what with the globalization of the internet, cell phones, telework, and the undermining of indigenous cuisines by forcing a homogenization of world dietary preferences-- and yes I'm looking at YOU, McDonald's), network television remains one of the last positive vestiges of a more intimate, close-knit time, and as such is the only topic of increasingly infrequent moments during which I am forced-- I mean, given the opportunity-- to actually speak to people. You know, face to face?
So now that Taylor Hicks has successfully spazzed his way into America's heart, Veronica Mars has discovered who killed the busload of Neptune High students, and Jim has finally declared his love for Pam, what the hell are we supposed to talk about around the proverbial water cooler? Huh? Politics? Pass. Religion? Be serious. SPORTS?! Bitch, please.
No more impromptu meetings in Cat's cube where we defend our latest AI pick or speculate wildly about whodunnit on Veronica Mars. No more "JimtotallykissedPamandwasn'tthatlikethecutestthingEVAH?" and "Didn't my wee Ryan look especially fine last night with the scruffiness and the ironic tee under a suit coat and whatnot?..." Yep. It's arrivederci "OMG! Did you see Kat's boobs last night?!" and hullo "Did you do something with your hair? No?... Oh."
Seriously. There is nothing on television. NOTHING.
Summer hiatus is no fun at all.
Conversation overheard outside orthodontist's consultation room yesterday (my 10-year-old inherited my teeth, poor boy):
"Wait... that's his mother?! I thought it was his sister!"
Now, I realize I look a tad young and I admit to being somewhat vertically challenged... but it's not like I'm a midget or anything. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Midgets are cool! And short! I mean, I'm totally almost 5'6"! If I were 3 inches taller! Honestly... just because I had my hair in pigtails... okay, that could have conceivably sent mixed age signals, but just because I was wearing cutoffs and my Aerosmith Live Bootleg t-shirt (don't judge! it was my Work At Home day! plus, comfy!) doesn't mean I'm a ten-year-old's sister. Come on. Do teenagers even know who Steven Tyler IS? I don't think so. 'Sha! Way to be perceptive, Mr. Ivy League Orthodontist Guy. Nice to see that outrageously expensive education didn't go to waste or anything. And it's not as if I can do anything about the freckles either-- hey, I've tried, believe you me-- but geez. I had the CREDIT CARD, people. Come on.
Okay, sure, sometimes the youthful appearance can be useful, even downright fun. Oooh! Like there was that whole thing that I used to do when I was a teacher and parents who didn't know me personally would come into my classroom and ask me when the teacher would be back and I'd be all, "Gosh, she won't be back for, like, at least 45 minutes!"-- because hello? occasionally antisocial much? -- and they would GO AWAY. For reals. HOO! And sometimes it was funny when I'd be walking the halls between classes and I would hear, "Hey, where's your hall pass young la-- oh, hahaha. Sorry Mrs. Cat. I thought you were a kid!" And I'd be like, "Hahaha THIS, Principal Berry!" and make a rude gesture. But not really because it would be stupid to piss off my boss. But don't think I didn't imagine it because that can get old real fast. Yep. Good times, those.
You can imagine the good times I had when I had just turned 21 and was old enough to get into bars, casinos, strip clubs, what have you, totally on the up-and-up, you know, all legal-like and stuff.
Oooh, now I'm feeling nostalgic.
I remember this time soon after my birthday when I went to the casinos in Laughlin, Nevada... WITH MY PARENTS... and security kept skulking in the shadows, following me around the floor, accosting me at the slot machines. Finally I went to the change counter, showed the guy my ID, and had him stamp my hand with a big, red "OK." The rest of the night I'd just flash that sucker at security when I'd catch them lurking about and they'd back off.
It gets better.
There was also that time my friends took me dancing on Under 21 Night and I went into the 21 And Older ONLY bar area for water, seriously, WATER, and the bartender was all, "You can't be in here," and I was like, "I just want water," and he got all up in my grill about it and I was like, "Bring it ON!" and flashed my ID at him and he TOOK it! And wouldn't give it back! And then he called in security! The bastard. And they took my license from the bartender and I'm like, "You guys are STEALING my driver's license!" and they were all, "Mwah ha ha! Prove it, you Totally Not 21 Yet Person!" and then they made me sign my name on a piece of paper so they could match it to my license signature.
Okay, here's where things went terribly wrong. You see I was young, just 21, and I was going through this phase, you know, experimenting? Anyway I had just recently changed my signature from upright and round-lettered to slanted and mysterious. Come on, don't judge, I was 21. It was college. Experimenting was expected, right?! Trouble is, in my anger and haste, I signed the paper with my old upright and round-lettered signature, but my new license had-- you guessed it-- my newer, sexier, slanted signature.
"Ah-HA!" the cops said and began to drag me out.
"Wait! Let me try again!" I dug in my heels and held onto the bar, totally resisting arrest. "I gave you the wrong signature! Let me do it over! I want to do it OVER!"
They weren't buying it.
"Okay, but you guys are going to feel reeeeally stupid when you run my information and find out I'm really 21..."
Boy were THEIR faces red when I signed again, I tell you what. And the college picture ID I had on me that just happened to have my old signature on it helped, too. Dorkwads. I never got my water.
Eh. Overall, I suppose it's not a bad thing that I don't look my age. Truthfully it's only ever really an issue when I'm trying to get into a club, or gambling, or buying guns and ammo. TGIM tells me I should be flattered. I tell him he should watch his back because he's the dirty old man banging the young chick.
On a whim I bought a DVD copy of the musical Grease (only five dollars! bargain!) and brought it home to watch. With my kids. Because Grease is the Word, y'all! And the music it brings forth is its raison d'etre! I mean, be serious. How can anyone resist thirty-year-old high school seniors singing the oldies, which were-- let's face it-- essentially 70's disco-inspired, tecnho-ized songs masquerading as 50's rock? Not me, that's who!
I know, right? What was I thinking?
In my defense, as a child I was so enthralled with the singing and dancing that the sexual innuendo went right over my head. Who can blame me for assuming my kids would have the same experience? Which by and large they did, naturally.
I, however, had to leave the room because I kept giggling during especially sordid scenes (not so much at the tawdry, puerile humor, but at the thought of my parents allowing me to watch this movie as a child, which... ironic?) and I thought it best to skedaddle so I wouldn't have to keep choking out "Nothing!" every time my kids asked, "What's so funny, Momma?"
After the movie my six-year-old burst into my room, out of breath, excited, her mouth running away with her in her haste to express her personal assessment and insightful review of Grease.
"And then... at the end... he fell in love with her... because she got all skinny and cool, and she came up to him and was, like, you know... smokin' and stuff... and she was all shaking her booty and singing with him..."
"... and then this car came flying..."
"... no, seriously, back up..."
"...and they drove, I mean flew, away, into the clouds, and--"
"So... you liked the movie?"
She nodded vigorously.
"And you think smoking made Sandy..." I paused and employed air-quotes for emphasis, "... cool?"
"Well, um... she was in those real tight black clothes and she put on lots of makeup and stuff and was pretty so she was, you know... cool!" On my look, she hastily added, "But not the smoking part! That was NOT cool! No way!" She looked at my face and added, with accompanying facial gestures, "Smoking? Ew! Yuck!"
As she bounded away I realized that my youngest daughter, while as predicted oblivious to the sexual innuendo, had successfully deciphered an underlying message I completely missed as a child. She realized that even though Danny was willing to step up and make positive changes to his hoodlum ways-- even lettering in varsity track & field and e'rything!-- it was ultimately Sandy's transformation from sweet, innocent teen to tawdry, leather-clad S&M goddess-- complete with dangling cigarette and skanky 'do-- that won her the guy.
And Alli, my baby, thought that was "cool."
Oh, good lord. You see? DO you? Honestly. What are they teaching kids in school these days? Huh? How do my young, sheltered children grasp these things? Hello? My kids should be able to watch sexually suggestive musicals like Grease and Moulin Rouge-- hell, even classics like GiGi and My Fair Lady!-- innocently oblivious to the sordid, tawdry nature of the storylines, right? Right?! What is up with that?! It's un-American, that's what it is! GOSH.
Seriously. I've got chills. They're multiplying.
This weekend TGIM and I watched Steve Martin's novella-turned-motion picture Shopgirl (which... great movie) and though it had moments of humor which one would expect from the guy who shall go down in infamy as That Guy Who Played The Jerk, the humor was quiet-- subtle, even. Further, the movie truly said something, spoke truths, and conveyed this in an atmosphere that was slow and thoughtful and deeply affecting. It reminded me quite a bit of Lost in Translation, actually, in both pace and poignancy. Both movies star over-the-hill comedians in quirky, May-December relationships with beautiful young girls-- and I do freely admit the thought of watching Steve Martin and Bill Murray playing any beautiful young girl's crush/lover initially squicked me right out-- but amazingly, they both pull it off, so yay them.
But most of all, both movies speak of loss and discovery and an emotional awakening in a way that I have come to realize I long to master in my own writing. But too often it seems that when I am writing and find myself faced with the choice of expressing myself in a thoughtful, subtle manner or in a humorous, bantering light, I inevitably choose to joke. And I joke because that's just what I DO, I laugh, whether life brings me gifts of joy all tied up with pretty bows or bitch-slaps me and hands me bitter disappointment, I laugh and laugh and laugh. Then laugh some more. To be honest, I cry, also, but not in front of anyone, not so anyone can see, because what if people find out there are chinks in this laissez faire demeanor I've created-- they could hurt me more, right? I don't like anybody to see me cry. Much like my youngest daughter Alli, who when she hurts herself will inevitably jump up from the spill shouting, "I'm all right! I'm okay! That kind of tickled, actually!" even though we all know it hurt her and there are tears in her eyes and she is just saying it didn't hurt so we will leave her alone and she can run away and cry in peace. In a way perhaps we are trying to say, "You can't hurt me. Nothing can hurt me. I laugh at pain! Ha ha ha!"
So I write and I'm silly and whimsical and manic and almost always utterly tongue-in-cheek, and though I quite often express exactly what I am truly feeling, it is more often than not hidden away in evasive verbiage. Linguistic smoke and mirrors, if you will. And though I know emotional honesty does not always have to be slow or thoughtful and that poignancy and humor are not mutually exclusive, I wish sometimes I could find the words to illustrate what I really mean without resorting to silliness and feigned vapidity. To be starkly honest, to lay my heart out in words so you could actually feel it beating if you just listened closely enough, and you just KNOW. You feel me. Hear me.
Then, inevitably, I run off to watch an old episode of Buffy or Veronica Mars and I am lost in the witty quips and snarky banter, and awed by the sheer brilliance of the marriage between humor and poignancy in the writing, and I'm like, "Eh."
Because although I sometimes yearn-- burn, even-- to write peaceful, thoughtful prose, yes, passages of deeply affecting language whose impact will stay with people for hours, days, even years after reading it, that is not who I am. I am impulsive and passionate, rarely peaceful. And I see life though a haze of sardonic humor and I can't help but spill it out in my writing.
And I think I am finally coming to terms with that.
Grr! Stupid Shopgirl. Making me all meditative and whatnot. Bah! I'm off to eat a donut and shake off this silly moment of introspective sentimentalism... I'm thinking cinnamon cake.
While chatting with a friend yesterday I was reminded of the strangest thing. When I was a senior in high school there was this... incident in my English class. It involved a mouthy, lewd football player, a ditzy, impulsive girl, and a quick-witted English teacher. And even though this was, oh, over seventeen years ago (oh good lord) I remember the incident vividly. I don't know why, actually. I suppose it was just one of those moments, you know the ones. The type of moment in which your mind decides "Hey, let's keep this one for posterity!" and takes a mental snapshot then imprints the moment indelibly in your brain. Yes. It was one of those.
We were in the midst of a vocabulary lesson. Ah, yes, I remember it well. The word was "masticate." Allow me to say that any English teacher worth his or her salt knows to steer clear of any words that even remotely resemble certain words or phrases that will evoke, shall we say suggestive, images in a healthy adolescent's mind (e.g. I always gave the word "titillate" a wide berth). Ahem. In most situations I would have conjectured that Mr. Wherley was one of those teachers-- a teacher who knew better, a teacher who paid attention, a teacher who was unwilling to be caught unawares-- but he put the word "masticate" right out there, oh yes he did, said it right out loud, and to nobody's surprise there were consequences.
So Mr. Wherley threw out the word "masticate" at us during our usual Word Wealth vocabulary dictation lesson and the aforementioned lewd football player immediately punted back the inevitable: "What was that again? 'Masturbate'?!"
Giggles and red faces all around. Because... duh? Who didn't see that coming?
Enter the ditzy impulsive girl. Let's call her... Melissa. You know, because that was her name? Good lord, this girl was a ditz. Probably still is. An obnoxious ditz, too, because we all knew it was just an act, and DUDE, there is nothing worse than a fake ditz who asks utterly ridiculous or embarrassing questions simply to draw attention to herself, thus disrupting the learning environment for the entire of the class. Oops. That was the Recovering English Teacher talking, wasn't it? But still... grrrr! Anyhoos, enter Melissa.
"Mr. Wherley, what does masturbate mean?"
Twenty-five heads whipped around to gawk at Melissa. Giggles and red faces turned to gut-busting guffaws.
I was mortified, naturally. My virgin ears were burning, I tell you what. Mouth agape I looked over at Melissa with my best, wide-eyed Hello? Dorkwad? Even I Know What That Means! look.
In tandem, twenty-five heads whipped around again, this time to land on Mr. Wherley, who stood still as stone at the chalkboard. His hand, clutching chalk so tightly it's a miracle it didn't snap, froze in mid-air. After an interminable, collective heartbeat, Mr. Wherley spoke in a calm, unwavering voice.
"Self-stimulation for sexual gratification. Now, moving on..."
Self-stimulation for sexual gratification... Self-stimulation for sexual gratification! Wow! Get a load of that, would you?! A virtual masterpiece of evasive yet conclusive enlightenment! Honestly. To this day I have never seen the like. Yes, sir. I have to give the man his props. He handled a sticky situation with an air of dignity I could never have pulled off in a similar situation. (Heh. I said "sticky." Heh heh... D'oh! See?!) Not to mention his definition of masturbation was practically a poem-- what with the rhyming and the alliteration and whatnot-- which tied the whole exchange into literature, thus making it relevant to English class, which... way to go, Mr. Wherley!
I know, I know... What a moment to have indelibly imprinted in one's mind, eh? I tell you what... Hey, I never said the scrapbook in my head was pretty!
But back to the conversation with my friend. The strangest thing is that this memory was dredged up while I was arguing with my friend as to whether or not a person is still technically a virgin if they have done anything and everything EXCEPT actually joining body parts together in the act of procreation. You know, rounded all the bases, like, 69 times, but never slid into home?
I argued that if you are touching someone's stuff, or they are touching yours, and all this touching of parts is resulting in orgasms, I don't care where you're putting your junk, that's sex. And if you are having sex then you can't just go around calling yourself a virgin. I mean, seriously. It's an insult to all those poor people out there who aren't getting any, you know what I'm saying? What about them, huh?!
My friend, a self-proclaimed virgin who has "NOT" had sex in more exciting places and in more intricate positions than I had ever dreamed possible, disagreed.
"Okay, so how do you explain masturbation, huh? Is that sex?" She thought she had me there. I could see the HA! it in her eyes.
"Well, that depends. If you are assisting someone else, you know, mutually engaging in the pursuit of sexual gratification, then I guess it is." Double HA! Bonus points for big words!
"That is not sex."
So I was all "Whatever you need to tell yourself, slut." And she was like, "Bite me." And then we grabbed our bags and went out for some tasty Chik-fil-A. Mm-mm! (Try the waffle fries, they're delish.)
Man, oh man. "Self-stimulation for sexual gratification"... (*shakes head in amazement*) Genius.
(Hey, I TOLD you this was random! Sheesh. Oh, and sorry, Mom.)