Thursday, November 22, 2007

Burning Down the House

I'm grousing around with my panties in a bunch because I think I've got the whole fireplace thing under control. If anyone would let me near it. I'm swinging a huge log pilfered from our neighbor's yard when they cut down the primary shade tree to our front yard back and forth in front of the hearth, not quite sure if I should just chuck it in or listen to Chris and Kristi and cut it into more manageable pieces.

I have no problem with the idea in principle because I like to do things by the book, but we have no hatchet, no ax, no splitting power. And in order to keep the fire going, I am whining about how, as long as it's hot, we should just keep fueling the fucker. This would be sentiment along the lines of something my grandfather would let loose at Christmas whenever a discussion about how to tend the fire would crop up.

I wait until all backs are turned and then heave it in. It lands perfectly in the crux of the small stack of pine branches and scrap lumber, the latter complete with nails still embedded in some places. It lurches sideways, then settles picture perfectly and the bark goes up in flames.

I'm a huge snot, so I probably said something like "HA!" as I clapped the pine needles off my palms and strutted around the living room.

Twenty minutes later, my sister looks over from her perch on the couch and sees the enormous log now rolling towards her, freed from purgatory by time and simple physics. There is yelling. The log builds momentum for a burst of space, but bumps against the couch and starts melting the varnish on the hardwood floor even before it stops rocking.

I dance around in a circle, not knowing what to do. Chris grabs two towels and, taking it by each end, hurls it back into the fireplace. The floor smokes. This has transpired in the course of maybe 15 seconds. We discuss the pros and cons of putting the grate up. Eventually we all drift back to our little nests around the room. The cats' tails are all normal sized once more.

This time it is I who walk by just as the log crushes through it's cage and comes lumbering towards me. This time it doesn't get as far as the couch, but settles right back into the grooves melted into the floor from the first time it escaped. Luckily, Chris dropped the towels right there and with Kristi's assistance (kicking) it back up onto the bricks, everything is handled with a minimum of issue. We are becoming experts.

Over 12 hours after the fire goes out, uneventfully, I scoop up all the ashes and put them in a paper grocery bag. Kristi walks by as I'm in the other room, up to my elbows in cat litter, scrubbing the floor under the pans, wondering if cats miss the target more or less often than drunken frat boys. It would be a close race.

"Looks like you snagged some live ones from the fireplace. They're burning a hole through the bag."

I rush out to the living room, and there is my bag, going up in smoke, releasing a torrent of ashes onto the floor. Luckily I set the bag on the bricks.

I grab a metal garbage can (yes, I realize this is what I should have been putting them into in the first place) and dump the whole mess in. A pitcher of water follows. I put the entire package out on the patio in the rain.

Kristi is laughing as I step outside into the back yard, and I now know that I should leave all things involving flame to my more evolved monkey family. Thank god I don't smoke.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Quandary and reminiscing

I'm all the way across the building, cause this is the only open restroom at this time of day, and am looking forward to this little activity the same way those guys in "Cocktail" must have looked forward to tossing full tequila bottles in the air all night. This is something I'm good at, but it's also just a means to an end. Efficient and showy.

I pull out the tampon from my pocket and squeeze the end. It doesn't really give, so I flip it around, knowing I'll need to unwrap the squishier end first. In a move practiced yet somehow instinctual, I pop open and peel back the wrapping like a monkey getting into a banana.

As I grab for the end with the hand that just deftly dropped the outer paper in that maddeningly hard to clean mini-can attached to the wall, something goes awry. I'm not sure what. But the next thing I know, my only tampon is flying across the room and bouncing around in the fruit fly inhabited shower stall.

Even as I watch, lip pulled back in a disgusted sneer, the thought flashes through my mind for an instant: "Should I still use that?"

The correct answer is no. But the thought of having to wad up a bunch of scratchy government issue toilet paper and jam it in my crotch, hobble back to my office to try and extract a tampon from one of my colleagues is exhausting.

I wish there was some way to make a tourniquet in situations like this, but other than duct taping my legs together at the hip hinge, I can't think of anything that might work.

I hem and haw for a minute and then do exactly what I have done many times since 8th grade: thank god that I am wearing black underwear.

I dash in and out of my cube. Make it back to find the room unoccupied. Crisis averted.

But this has made me think of adventures from the past:


Working in rural MN in a greasy spoon after school until 8:30 serving endless pots of Farmer's Bros coffee to groups of upstanding citizens attending court-mandated AA meetings.

It's January, which means the temperature is about 12 below the donut. My bag is in my car because it is the only way I'll be able to carry it around at school the next day without it smelling like a bowling alley.

As I'm running yet another order of fries to the back room where the smoke and heat make it seem like a low class vision quest, I get "the feeling." Right after "the feeling" I get another feeling, which is my stomach sinking into my pelvic floor. My bag, which is in the car, has essentially been in a deep freeze all day.

I'm one of two kids working, and my boss is glued to the TV in the kitchen because COPS is on FOX. I have to make arrangements for my surly waitstaff partner to watch my tables and not steal my tips and then duck out into the parking lot and pry open my door, grab my bag and haul ass to the ladies room, where I roll a Tampax Popsicle in my hands like how kids make Playdoh snakes. I think it has warmed up to room temperature, and I can hear the alcoholics getting restless for me to dump their ashtrays into the gallon ice cream bucket I carry in there for that purpose, and banging their cups on the table nervously for more coffee, always more coffee.

I breathe deep and impale myself with a skinny fist of cotton that feels cool at first, which is okay, but then a basic law of thermodynamics proves to me in a demonstration more gripping than any 5th period science class lab ever will that two objects at varying temperatures will seek common ground, making me double over in what can't really be called pain, but can be categorized more as blinding discomfort.

I recovered, of course. The AA people got their new ashtrays and coffee, my coworker was scowly because my tips weren't worth his trouble to pilfer, and my boss got to watch an entire episode of COPS without us hitting the bell on the heat-lamp warmed pick-up counter and screaming "Order in!"

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Wisdom and meatballs

Leaning over a steaming cauldron of soup so spicy my sinuses drain with the first tentative sniff, my friend D tells me this analogy for dating:

"If single women are empty parking spaces (and we all know how hard it can be to find a space at all), why would I want to park somewhere really far away from where I want to end up? I'd like to find a space near my destination."

He warned me that his thoughts on this upset most other people, but as I absorb what he has said so far, I happen to think it's the most accurate description of trying to figure out what you want in another person I've ever heard.

"Like, a space might be close in, but it might be too tight and if I took it I wouldn't be able to open my door. And there are always things like fire hydrants. Those are like, I don't know, gay men. Those spaces are open, but not for me."

I fill my soup base with about a pound of chicken thighs and radishes and stir while trying to keep from laughing. The steam is locker room thick. This is the best abstract conversation I've had in a long time about the nature of relationships. It certainly helps that I'm not trying to butt in and let everyone know what I'm thinking. But I have questions.

"So, do you like to cruise lots of neighborhoods or do you just try to stick to the reality of your ultimate destination? And what about if you see someone walking to their car? Do you just idle behind them and wait to grab it or what?" These are some of my burning questions.

"I've been trying to stay close to home. I have a couple of neighborhoods I drive around in, but I never get on the freeway to check anything out across town anymore. And I have, once or twice, gotten the sense that someone was about to get in their car, so I waited, but ultimately, you can just never know how long it's going to take for someone to really clear out completely. Now I just keep my eye on the spot, especially if it's a good spot, but just keep driving with the option to check on it later."

I put 20 cloves of garlic in my broth, along with a whole glass of soy sauce and hot peppers. D has already eaten his last meatball, urging me to stay away from the thinner slices of red meat as he 'had some trouble with the gristle and everything.' I ask him if the meatballs were okay, and he says since they're already ground up with no chunks of problem connective tissue, so they're safe.

Conversations with him are always really sort of paradigm shifting for me. His abstract observations of animals always leave me doubled over in hysterics. Things like:
"If you can't use a cat as a weapon, why are they so filled with hate?"
"I think chickens have more hate than brain."

One final thing on why I like D: I recently heard him play a Justin Timberlake cover on the concertina. Top that.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Black lights without fuzzy posters

Chris got a small black light at Target in the dollar bin section. It was so cheaply made that he had to tape the batteries down in order to keep them from springing out and giving him a black eye.

As soon as it got dark enough, he was scanning everything. It turns out that I am covered with invisible freckles, my pink hair turns neon orange, and my eyes appear to be nothing but cataract under black light.

Disgustingly, it picks up everything you don't want to see. Pores that seem to be doing okay in daylight appear to be bursting with bright orange oil sprinkled with white bits of dead skin, like hellish nuclear sundaes set side by side on the topography of a nightmare. Flakes of what used to be you outline a human shape on the sheets, emphasizing the puddle of drool that dried before you woke up. Wherever the cats have spit up is suddenly apparent.


So I take a bath, scrub, and I mean scrub my face until it hurts, then turn off the lights and see if things have improved. Now, instead of being dotted with orange, I'm smeared with white fluff from the towel I used to dry may face. While I'm at it, I check out the towel. No good! What is that mysterious streak there on the corner? Do I dare sniff it? Isn't this the way they analyze body fluid deposits in cop dramas?

I hear Chris from outside the closed bathroom door: "Um, whatever you do, don't look around in there too much."

Great. Now I have to know what he could possibly mean by that.

I move over to the toilet. The whole area looks like a crime scene. The underside of the bowl gives the impression that the toilet has thrown up on itself. I open the lid, unable to stop myself, and become almost unhinged. I've read about the spray that's supposed to be kicked up when a toilet flushes, but never thought about it much except when in department stores or airports where the suction is like an undertow. Now I see scientific evidence that it happens even in residential areas with low water pressure. I can see the edge of where the liquid can no longer achieve escape velocity. It is like a water balloon has burst by someone sitting on it.

I reel backwards and out of the room, catching the hand towel that until this moment, had seemed like it was far enough away from the bowl. It's not anywhere close. I will be rehanging it in the hallway later. But now I am struggling to get into natural light, where everything does not appear to be drenched in old bits of people and cats.

Chris winces as I stumble into his room.

"I told you not to."

"I had to."

"I know you did."

"Let's move."

He laughs, but I don't think it's very funny at all.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Our friend Jayson's rendition of Chris giving himself a haircut.

Internal Conflict

I chose Maya's for lunch because I didn't see a single person there. (Not that I don't like people, but 45 minutes to myself a day is starting to become my greatest fantasy.)

I took my heaping plate of carnitas upstairs and nestled in with my trade paperback. Just before I gave myself over to the drama unfolding on the cheap paper propped open in front of me, I noticed a guy wearing winter clothes lurch into the bathroom and sort of fling the door shut. Not slam. Not enough coordination to pull that off. But whatever.

Ten minutes later, I hear a slurping snuffly sound. I peek slowly over my glasses and then my book, feeling like a Saturday Night Live cast member in a bad skit. Winter Outfit guy is standing over the bus tub by the wall, unstacking dishes and hoovering up whatever remnants are available.

Now. The part of me uncomfortable with the thought of people thinking I've been brought up in a barn (not far off the mark) is freaking out. She is, in fact, clutching another part of me that is completely germ phobic and screaming hysterically in her face. Maybe guilt by association?

Winter Outfit turns slightly in my direction. Our eyes lock over a squeezed and dripping fistful of refried beans, soggy tortilla chips, and a battered Stephen King novel.

Then the part of me that cringes at the thought of the tons of perfectly good stuff that gets tossed into Dumpsters every day shoves the two screeching ninnies in my head over on their skinny asses and nods at Winter Outfit. I offer him my chip basket. He looks suspicious for a second, then shakes his head, holds up his dripping hand full of leftovers and turns back to the bus tub.

I tried. But here's the thing:

Chris reported the other day that while waiting to get a table at the Hotcake House at 4AM that one of his drunk friends pulled the same thing. He reached over and snagged a piece of French Toast off an abandoned plate and was unceremoniously booted out. Chris and company ordered their food to go and ate with their exiled friend on the curb of Powell and 15th.

Since good things happen in threes, let me end with this encounter: I was sitting on the bench on the south side of the library and a man (also in winter garb, but far more vocal) was making his slow way from one end of the block to the other. I say slow because he would stop every 10 steps and turn around, screaming at an invisible opponent.

When he was three feet in front of me, he stopped, turned back, flipped the bird and yelled in a hoarse voice: "Smell this you dog-eared lesbian bitch!"

I love this town.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

What's in that suitcase?

My grandmother was finally admitted to an Alzheimer's care facility after wads of unopened mail were discovered squirreled away in the dishwasher and a fruitless search for a missing cutting board revealed that she had packed a suitcase for a trip to God knows where containing three pairs of my grandfather's poop-filled boxer shorts stabbed by numerous ball point pens, topped with a sprinkling of fake flowers all surrounded by rolls of paper towels.

The paper towels were for shredding. She used to knit, write long letters, bird watch with the Audubon Society guide dog-eared in her lap, and bake these delicious caramel rolls. But now she dismantles roll after roll of paper goods and dispatches the super-absorbent confetti across their apartment. It takes her days to arrange the five magazines on the coffee table to her liking. She exclaims in first time delight when my mother brings her a Dilly Bar from Dairy Queen as though they haven't been her favorite thing for most of her life.

My mom had bought her a couple pairs of those elastic waistband pants to encourage her to remove her clothes on her own more than once a week. Instead, they disappeared. Having already given up on finding the cutting board (still missing months later), and sorting through the bills that had been through several wash and rinse cycles, my mom decided to just ask her what had become of the pants.

Grandma perks right up when asked a question she knows the answer to: "Oh, them. They ran off down the street together."

Getting her into the home was, as my mother put it, "not unlike trying to get a rabid animal into a carrier." She may not recognize the man she's been married to for 55 years, she may be afraid of zippers and hairbrushes, she may think that every piece of mail with her name on it is part of a conspiracy and that her pants routinely run off down the street in pairs, but once she sets her mind to something, she sticks to it.

I hope they let her continue wearing the boxer shorts she's become so fond of over the last few years. Finally! Bodily liberation after decades of industrial strength bras and 'shape refining' briefs!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Weeding; not the library kind

Number of weeds, mainly thistles, eradicated by my weeding fork this evening: 65
Number of scraggly-ass irises finally laboriously dug up and tossed so they no longer get their banana-fiber leaves tangled up in my weed wacker and make me have to dig them out with my fingers, as nervous as if I was sticking a fork in a toaster that was not only plugged in, but actually toasting something: 2
Areas of weird mushy bogginess dug up and examined, to reveal only rotting tree roots and weird little pockets of trash wrapped in tin foil that I genuinely hope wasn't the drug-addled former occupant of our house's idea of "saving it for later,": 1
Feral cats scaring the shit out me by buzzing my kneeling form and letting out a low rumble as they pass by not inches from my uncovered arms and their daily frequency of terror: 1 (named Socks) and at least 2 if I'm outside.
Charcoal briquettes tossed into the hedges: 16
Full bins of yard debris: 1
Earwigs obliterated by said weeding fork: 8
Slugs tossed over the fence: 4
Times this year I've thought about getting a compost container: approximately 30
Rank of the smell of rot on the list of why I don't: 1
Bowls of homemade macaroni and cheese consumed after said yard activities gave me a blister on the inside of my thumb and made me retreat to the house like I'd received a mortal wound: 1.5

Friday, May 18, 2007

Tuna Intervention

When I looked over at him, Chris was using his remaining tuna nigiri as a flesh drum pad, whacking it senseless with a pair of those disposable saliva-covered chopsticks, wasabi and soy sauce splattering around.

"What are you doing?" I asked, horrified.

"What do you mean?"

"Why can't you, you know, respect your tuna? Isn't it enough that it gave its life for you? Now you humiliate it by beating on it with a stick to 'Superstition?'"

Of course Chris and Eddy laugh uproariously at this, as would I, if I were them and not suddenly filled with sadness for the indignity of the whole ordeal.

"What if that fish used to be Jesus?" I ask.

"If Jesus were cut up into little sections like this, then I probably wouldn't recognize him."

"That's my point."

"Oh (hahahahaha)!"

I get really emotional at inappropriate moments about inanimate objects. Cartoon drawings of dancing hot dogs have been known to make me break down in tears in the refrigerated section at the grocery store because I don't like that the hot dogs don't know that they look like idiots . One time, a fake fur pillow made me weep because it was just too soft for its own good. It goes without saying that scruffy stuffed animals abandoned on the side of the road send me into a def-con 2 meltdown.

So for some reason that last lonely piece of tuna, looking tired and ready to just be eaten, for god's sake, struck the mis-strung cat-gut stitches of my heart.

This all reminds me of that personality defining moment way back when I was married, and my husband wanted to make me something fancy for my 24th birthday dinner, so he brought home a big package of surf clams, a vehicle for butter that I had recently discovered. He cooked them and brought me a dish of drawn butter and a bowl of steaming yawning clams. As I shovelled them into my mouth, using their shells as spoons, he casually mentioned that it had taken them a long time to die.

I froze. Shell-scoop part way to my mouth, dripping into my lap.

"What do you mean, 'a long time to die?'" Like Tim Curry as Wadsworth in the movie Clue, asking the officer what he means by 'murder' after opening the door grinning like an idiot.

"You know, they open when they die in the boiling water. That's how you tell when they're done. They're alive when you put them in the pot." A look, a furrowed brow. "Angela? What's wrong?"

Tears are running down my face, mixing with the broth already in my lap, ruining my pants. I'm sobbing, yet still scooping up butter and slurping brainless clams into my mouth. My nose is starting to run. It's truly amazing how fast my face can melt into an unrecognizable Butoh mask.

"I didn't, I didn't know they were...ALIVE. Oh, God, that's horrible!" Still scooping, still chewing.

"If you're getting so upset, why are you still eating them?" He's reaching for the bowl, trying to remove the source of my pain. I won't let him.

"Because they're delicious!" I sob again, and sort of hiccup, and I wonder why he didn't just leave me then.

But at sushi now, Chris is so affected my my goofy statements that two veins in his forehead are throbbing in tandem with his heart.

"Are you upset, because you look like your head is going to pop."


And the tuna shares none of this hilarity. It goes on sitting there, slowly oozing into the rice, trying to become invisible.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Stephen King Library Internet Policy Quote from Everything's Eventual

"They had a computer room in the library, and you could get on the Internet at a very reasonable cost. I had to get a library card too, but that was okay. A library card is good to have, you can never have too much ID."

I sort of love Mr. King.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Public Humiliation: Drawer Soiling VS Vomiting

"I have some...concerns," I inform Eddy as I put my coat on.

"Oh...kay...What might these concerns be?"

My activities for the past hour have included crapping my guts out, walking back to my desk, and then running back to the restroom under the influence of what feels like a red-hot poker pressing down on my colon. I don't say this exactly, but lay out what I feel our options might be for geting back to my car, which is parked across the river, driving Eddy to his house and then getting to my own.

"Well, you could go get my car yourself and come back here and pick me up. We could call a cab. Or we could just try walking to the bus stop and see what happens." I fuss around with my sleeve, disturbed to find the lining pushing out past the cuff.

"I suppose I could go get your car. Or we could call a cab."

I have been thinking about the possibility of just riding the bus, and have put a stash of tissue in a plastic bag and tucked it in my satchel. You never know when a ziplock full of toilet paper could save your ass, literally.

The other options seem less likely to produce a scenario where I would have to bolt into the bushes, drop trou, and humiliate myself in front of God and everyone than taking an admittedly short but tortured bus ride over the bridge. I've had a rumbly in my tumbly before on public transportation, and while I've never actually had to pull any emergency manuever, I have run through enough scenarios in my mind (hundreds for sure, more likely thousands-chronic stomach issues can push large critical buttons in the imagination, to be sure) to know that I'd have virtually no problem jumping off a bus and wrestling out of my pants to drop a load on the sidewalk. Considering the alternatives, it's the most pleasant.

Now, on the other hand, the thought of throwing up in front of people in the same forced social situation mortifies me beyond rationality. I mean, I am so anti-vomit that I will lie still for hours on end when I'm sick, feeling like a dog, toughing it out when I know I'd feel better if I just let myself puke. I haven't officially thrown up in over 20 years. I've gagged, dry heaved, and belched stomach acid into the back of my mouth, but never produced a stinking pile of totally identifiable foodstuffs through my mouth.

I try to relate this to Eddy on our way to the bus stop (I've decided to just roll with it), this I-don't-know-if-preference-is-the-right-word preference, and he strongly disagrees with me.

"But vomiting is so much more intimate," I protest. "Your whole body gets wracked, vile stuff is coming out of your mouth, people can tell what you've eaten and if you've chewed it properly. I don't want anyone hanging over my shoulder exclaiming 'Wow, is that a whole mushroom?' You can't tell that sort of thing from excrement." I think for a minute. "Unless you've had corn."

He does concede that if you vomit hard enough, it can and does come out your nose, which is really bad, and there's a taste that doesn't easily go away, but he still sticks to his opinion.

I chalk this up to a difference in life experience at the mercy of an easily irritated bowel and by the time we make it to the other side of the river, I am no longer feeling the familiar yet in no way welcome clenching and twisting of my gut.

Eddy will have to wait until next time to hold my bag and pretend not to know me while I defile the side of a building.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


portly before miso arrived...

Little Portly VS Miso

Portly decidedly does not like the interloper. Miso is quite rightly feeling put out by the fact that he's a laid back, easy-going sort of cat, and yet he has been quarantined in Chris' studio until Portly can get over the fact that someone else wants to claw up the sofa.

We knew Portly was a freak of the evil step-sibling kind, but this new family member is proving that he is as snuggly awesome as she is cranky.

Attempts to move her food dish to the hallway, where the door to the studio is, have shown us that Portly will break her daily ritual of throwing herself in her empty food dish and begging and just not eat if it means she'll have to eat in the vicinity of the smell of HIM.

She will now enter the hallway and scootch around for a few nervous seconds before bolting, tail ramrod straight and as big around as a soup can. This is progress.

Miso, on the other hand, when we go in to pay attention to him, will hop right into our Portly scented arms, wrap his velvety paws around us, and rest his face on our necks. Oh the Joy! The horror of comparison! I can understand how parents can love two children the same, and yet favor one against their will.

It just occurred to me that if we get fleas ever again, that two cats will be far more challenging than one; they can work together to thwart the Time of the Medicated Bath. Maybe once Portly sees that she can utilize this newcomer to her advantage, she'll warm up.

Or maybe she'll just keep hissing at everything until her saliva gland shrivels up.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

New Favorite Sentence

"The guy is smarter than anyone I know. If you were to open up his head, his brain would burst out like an airbag."
From "Spook" by Mary Roach.

This is what it means to be admired. What an awesome metaphor!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Presidents Who Resemble Catfish

Someone came up to the desk a few weeks ago and launched into this little statement with no preamble:

"I have scrutinized THOSE BOOKS and George W. Bush and Abraham Lincoln look like CATFISH!"


Once again, the public rendered me speechless.

Before I could even begin to think up an appropriate response to that, the guy left. I nodded to myself and filed the interaction away for later processing.

The next person who came up didn't actually need any help either, he just wanted to let me know his thoughts on the catfish guy: "Oh yeah, I bet he scrutinized those books. They don't look anything at all like catfish." This from a well-known built-in bookcase who might be missing a few shelves himself. "They look like rodents; ask anyone and they'll agree."

Luckily, my hour was up and I escaped to my closet-like office and hid behind the door until I was sure it was safe to come out.

Most days I have the words "FREAKS TALK TO ME" written in invisible-to-regular-people ink on my forehead. Most of the time I'm totally all right with that. I pretty much meet other people's definition of Nutcake myself. When anyone starts in with politics though, even just cosmetic opinions from a whole different century, it's usually time to take a break.

For the record, Lincoln totally looks like a falcon or some other big bird of prey, don't you think?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Have you missed me?

I am entering this on my new laptop, courtesy of the wireless router Chris just bought. Chris actually fixed this up for me so that everything runs. I have trouble even turning it on and off. I picked it up last night and realized it had been in standby mode for 2 days. I'm not technologically inclined.

I'm learning all the things that millions of people in the US have known for years: cats dig sacking out on the keyboard when you're typing, internal touch pads are in alternating cycles irritatingly sensitive and then completely unresponsive, the message "No problem detected" really gets on my nerves when there IS a problem or I wouldn't be running a program to help me figure out what it is.

Enough about that though, let's talk about the amazing array of life at the library's lobby level. I have heard 3 "My Evil Twin Stole My Identity and I Can't Do Anything About It Because S/he Looks Just Like Me" stories this month. Not always twins; some people just have the bad luck to look like their siblings. And not always evil; but definitely delinquent. So it appears that numerous people in the metro area have managed to get government issued IDs that have their brother's/sister's info as their own, which I find a little hard to believe, but not totally impossible. What to do with those accounts?

Chris just asked, "Are you blogging?"

"Mm-hmm," I said.

"Are you writing about the, uh, loaf of bread?"

"No. Do you want me to?"

"Not really."

Chris made up an awesomely raunchy sex joke while we were coming back from Pambiche earilier today, one that involved a loaf of bread and other baked goods and had me laughing so hard I was snorting into the steering wheel, but I have taken an oath to not post it here.


Okay, I'd say this entry has been long and pointless enough. I am back online and officially committed to bringing you more stories about whatever whenever.

La la la!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

i love my dog jake and here's why:

when we first brought him home from the humane society, we were so excited. here was a Constant Companion, a creature to love us unconditionally, caring not about whether we put the milk container back in the fridge when it was empty, or forgot to pay the water bill for three months. to be loyal, and come when we called his name. it was all so very american dreamy that in retrospect it sort of makes me gag. but that is neither here nor there. we loved him, robert and i, and we found it difficult to leave the house at all, for fear we would miss something cute that jake might do. in one extreme instance of this overprotective maternal manifestation, i actually left my little sister at the emergency room all by herself, in pain, holding a soggy washcloth on the edge of her eye, where she had developed an unfortunately placed sty, causing her so much distress that she ended up having me take her to the er, as i've said, and then after almost an hour, i lept up and realized that the puppy had been by himself for all that time, and was probably dying of loneliness right then and there, and i had to leave kristi and rush home and bundle jake into my arms, all squirmy and not the least bit upset at all, really.
A Whole Big List Of Stuff:

1) Today a man wanted to renew a video he had checked out on Islam because, and I quote, “You have to understand your enemies.”

2) On Sunday, a man with a bullhorn burst into the main lobby and yelled as he flew up the stairs, “THIS IS THE LIBRARY!” Security was all over him in a matter of seconds. They excluded him for overstating the obvious. I’m kidding.

3) I dealt with my first deceased patron the other day. A woman called to say her husband had died, and she received a bill that that read “Assumed Dead- $49.95.” She asked if she was being billed for an item with that title, or if “assumed dead” was the category for which she was being billed. As in, we assumed the man had died and wasn’t going to return his items. I was horrified that she would think that, and reassured her that we presume nothing of anyone at any time. We had a sad laugh, and I deleted the man’s account. My boss says that the saddest one she ever had to deal with was a person for whom English was a second language, and the wife had printed on the bill “He is exit.” She said she could visualize her paging through a dictionary looking for the correct term to explain, and it made her really sad.

4) My friend David is sick of calling me only to get my voice mail, even though I’ve told him repeatedly that I can hardly ever hear my phone through my bag, and I’m not setting it any louder or I’d be one of those people who answer their phone on the bus and tempt everyone to slit their wrists with long, boring accounts of what their dinner plans would be if they didn’t have to work late. Anyway, he suggested that I just set it to vibrate and keep it in my underwear. Which might work, although it probably wouldn’t make me want to answer the phone any faster, even though I would know it was ringing. So I vetoed.

5) I caught an elbow to the face the other night while we were out dancing, and my labret caught under my gum, the little space right in front of my lower incisor, and ripped. Bleeding from the mouth but having too much fun to realize, it was the next day before I understood how many nerve endings blossom in that weird little pocket behind my lower lip. I had to take out my metal piece and replace it with my glass retainer so the rubber band could keep it snug up against my lip. Stupid jewelry. Don’t tell my mom, who would say, “Well, what did you think was going to happen when you put a piece of metal in your face?”

6) Chris returned from his wild weekend playing noise music in Texas with famous click-music celebrities and riding around with nutcake drivers polishing their nails while in rush hour traffic and proclaimed to have missed me and my ‘ding-dong dangly ways.’ That’s the nicest thing anyone’s said to me in a long time.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Saturday, January 13, 2007

My sister sends me an email with an attachment from the local “I Saw You” ads on she cruises online. It reads something like this: “You: sexy, well-dressed blond working at (store where she works) with killer smile and laugh. Brown boots. Coffee or drink?”

Totally her. She’s the only blond in the store.

Now if you’ve ever trolled around looking at the “I Saw You” section on any site or in any paper, you know that what you’re really looking for, although you might feign purely anthropological/sociological interest, is yourself. My sister happens to be one of those women who get noticed by the sort of person who writes these ads. Descriptions of her appear in papers and online like clockwork. It doesn’t matter if the guy is some bottom-feeding troglodyte because she’ll never know. She can just fantasize that it’s some independently wealthy Johnny Depp look-alike with a mysterious past who will ravish her daily until her brain explodes. Or maybe that’s what I would fantasize about.


I don’t ever see myself in those ads. It might be because I never leave the house.

But so not five minutes after I read her email, a woman comes up to my desk. She’s 45 or so, huge Einstein hair with bad red-brown dye job, chapped lips, crooked glasses, and an odor of fish food. Her wiry eyebrows jump all over her forehead like a couple of puffy squirrels.

“Hi,” I say and lean back out of her reach. I’ve been grabbed at by nutjobs before, and I’m not taking any chances.

“I just wanted to tell you that I love your eyebrows.” She leans heavily on the counter and flakes of dead skin from her lips fall to the marble surface. I recoil.

“Um…thanks.” I’m not sure what else to say about that.

“Yeah, they’re just like mine. Big and stuff. Don’t ever wax them or anything. Big eyebrows are great.”

Okay, now I’m getting a little freaked out. The woman leaves, but there I am with the truth unspooling around me like a dropped roll of Christmas ribbon. My sister and I both attract attention, but that attention is wildly different. Even if it was the same person complimenting us, at least she gets to filter it through her imagination. I get grizzly reality, no filter, no chaser.

I think I need to develop a drinking problem.