Saturday, April 30, 2005

That Which I Loathe

I have already accepted the fact that I am an anal-retentive person (like seriously - I refused to go to the bathroom as a kid). But there are some things in this world that simply drive me nuts. It may be ignorance on my part, but I just can't help it:

*any shopping center or mall in the country the day after Thanksgiving;


*opera - why does it take a 3-hour aria for someone to say that the queen is dead when we didn't even know she was sick, the princess is a brat, the king is up to his testicles in despair, and the natives are getting restless - and all in Italian, yet?;

*ballet - why does it take 4 hours for someone to dance the same scenario?;

*that I still have not come out formally to my brothers;

*MTV's REAL WORLD - Geez, what a bunch of bitchy spoiled brats!;

*when someone else either makes my bed or folds my laundry for me - the gesture is sweet, but it's not how I do it;

*people who hold conversations by yelling at each other from 100 or more feet apart;

*being allergic to strawberries -- besides vanilla ice cream and Oreos, they're the easiest dessert in the world to serve;

*reaching for the milk carton in the refrigerator and finding it empty – completely;

*that I have two ex-boyfriends that I no longer want to speak to - ever;

*selling things door to door to raise money for a school trip;

*telemarketers;

*walnuts in my brownies, bananas in my Jello, raisins in my cookies – in short, food in my food;

*being born on Good Friday and for the rest of my life, not having my birthday fall back on that day;

*that it is my responsibility to supplement the difference between $2.13 an hour and minimum wage to a food server who was ungracious;

*dirty dishes in the sink;

*Busch Gardens in Tampa Bay, Florida -- WHATTA DUMP!;

*strippers (both make and female);

*Dick Cheney;

*not having a date on New Year's Eve, even when I seem to be dating someone at the time;

*men who come on to me who already have a partner;

*cars that block the intersection;

*rats;

*employees who bitch about their jobs in front of me and while they’re working;

*completely losing touch with Kathy, Matt, Caroline, Leigh, Bill, Joe, Arlene and other close friends from college;

*my legs;

*not being able to cook;

*no snow on Christmas Day;

*when someone borrows my car and doesn't put the seat back in its original position;

*the check-out person at the express lane of a grocery store who shoves the bag in my face before I have time to organize my money in my wallet;

*that people choose to culturally and racially segregate themselves: African-Americans, Asian-Americans, South Carolinians, etc.;

*never having a snow shovel until after the first big storm;

*visiting Disney World in Florida three times in 16 months, being overexposed to it and never really wanting to go back again as long as I live;

*people who tail you in their cars while you're walking to your car in parking lots so that they can get a closer space; these people can walk the fourteen miles inside the mall but not the additional 50 feet in the parking lot;

*that I had to stop donating blood because I'm gay;

*bad drivers;

*not spending more time with my now-deceased Grandmother;

*AIDS;

*cancer;

*taxes;

*hunger;

*poverty;

*slowing down

Saturday, April 23, 2005

My "KICK ME" Sign

I have come to the conclusion that God plays with people's lives the way a child plays with certain toys: some are His favorite and although He seems to abuse them, He would be heartbroken if they were to get lost. And that's totally cool with me. I certainly don't mind if He wants to treat me like a Tonka Toy or a Transformer. He put me here and He can take me out whenever He wants.

This is the only explanation I have for some of the idiotic occurences in the short time I spent as a child -- those years before I reached the voting age. Some of these "happenings" are quite funny while others are not so amusing. You be the judge:

My earliest recollection of "why me?" occurred the day before my second grade picture was to be taken. The kids in my neighborhood were having lap races around a predetermined course set through surrounding homes. I was leaps and bounds ahead of everyone else and feeling quite sure of myself when I suddenly lost my footing on a cement sidewalk and fell. On my 2nd grade school picture, I look like Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Dweeb. I remember my parents telling me that years from now I would look back on that situation and laugh. Why is it that I found no consolation in those words then?

My sixth grade class raised money for all of us to take a two-day trip to the Nation's Capitol and sightsee around DC. The first of our stops was on the steps of the Capitol building and a meeting with then state senator Charles Mac. Mathias. He asked our group if any of us knew the name of the statue that stands atop the dome. I smugly replied, "The Statue of Freedom." (I was a smart little tyke). The senator looked at my classmates and said, "Now she's right." (Can I help it I was a beautiful boy?) Even though my teacher corrected the Senator as to the actuality of my gender, the edit did not reach the ears of the reporter covering the story and a picture was published of me standing beside Mathias with a caption that read, "Sixth Grade Girl Matches Wits with Senator". Argh.

In eighth grade gym class, we were studying gymnastics. I was hanging upside down by my knees from one of the uneven bars when the cable that supported one of the vertical poles snapped out of the floor causing the horizontal bar and the vertical pole to clang together and catch my right knee in between the two. I hung there for a while because no one was tall enough to pull the bars apart and the instructor didn't have the strength to do it himself. An ambulance finally came and I suffered a broken femur.

I was accepted at the Maryland State Gifted and Talented Symposium (sort of like a school for the arts, a pre-teen "FAME" if you will) that lasted for two weeks during summer break at Goucher State College in Baltimore. The second day I was there, I was going to lunch with Darrell Cummings and Marc Jensen. We were jumping steps trying to see who could clear the most (during some spell of obligatory male competitiveness). Well, I didn't make all of them and landed sideways on the edge of the last step and banged my knee on the cement floor. Darrell ran to get a counselor and, again, an ambulance took me to the hospital. I busted my knee up pretty good and broke my ankle. The worst part was that since Goucher was a walking campus and the courses I was taking were all over the place, I had to leave because on crutches I couldn't travel fast enough to get from one place to another.

Another summer at Ocean City, my friend Janie had traveled down to stay with me for a few days. One night, we decided to take the bus north and go shopping in the Gold Coast Mall. While we were innocently sitting at the bus stop outside my house, a white Trans-Am pulled up in front of us and the occupants started squirting water at us with squirt guns! The group laughed uproariously and sped off. Janie and I sat there dazed, drenched, and discombobulated. I was just glad that she was there, because no one would have believed me if I told them it had happened.

It was a beautiful autumn day and my friend, Crystal and I decided to go for a drive. We were travelling down Route 9 just east of Oldtown, MD when in the distance we saw a big clump of something laying just slightly off-center on the middle of the road. She asked what it was and I said it looked like a garbage bag that fell off of a truck and since there was no room to go around it, I'd just drive over top of it. Twenty feet short of clearing the mass, the garbage bag suddenly sprouted a head, a long neck, and wings! It was a damn turkey! I hit my brakes but couldn't stop in time. I hit him with the front of my car, he flew up, hit the windshield and disappeared. In the rear view mirror I saw this massive blob plop to the earth and remain motionless, feathers flying everywhere. I looked at Crystal in amazement and said, "I can't believe I just killed a turkey."

I had been donating blood for about a year when I attended a blood drive held at my college. Since I was in a fraternity, I had talked all of the brothers into donating blood as well. I explained that it was a painless process and that it was such a great cause. They agreed to follow me. I checked in and sat down to have my temperature taken. An elderly lady with a name tag reading "Midge" was working that station. I guess she just wasn't paying attention to what she was doing because instead of putting the thermometer under my tongue, she rammed it up my nose. I reared my head back and yelled. It echoed throughout the gymnasium. All of my brothers got up in unison and left the blood drive. Flustered, Midge asked if I was all right. "Of course not!" I screamed. So then she tried to stick that same thermometer under my tongue. "Don't put that thing in my mouth, God!" Poor Midge was so confused. My nose hurt for five days after that.

One night I was driving home from a night out with friends when I hit a bat. Not a baseball bat, mind you -- a bat as in a mouse with wings (shiver!). It landed smack in my left headlight, busted it out and laid there motionless. I didn't want to touch it to take it out because I was afraid it was just playing opossum and would miraculously regenerate spontaneously and attack me. So, after about a week, I drove to the do-it-yourself car wash and sprayed the little sucker out onto the concrete.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Shifting to Dating

What exactly is that madness and what are we thinking and expecting when we enter into that black hole of an abyss called "dating"? Who in the world created this social pressure cooker that can either enlighten or deteriorate the kindred souls and spirits of mankind? From blind dates to personal ads to flirting with a guy in a bar, the process of dating has become a fine art form. Certainly not everyone can do it, nor is everyone capable of successfully pulling a date off. It takes oodles of planning . . . strategy . . . patience . . . not to mention an incredibly extensive wardrobe (I mean, you never know if the guy you met at the gym who is attired in sweat clothes is into country or leather or preppie or what).

You go out to a club with friends or to a party and you try to look your absolute best -- actually better than you really are. You realize that out of a closet full of clothes, you have nothing to wear (without warning, the little Fashion Fairy came in and took away every stitch of clothing that looked at least halfway decent on you). When you finally settle on an outfit that "will do" (and your bedroom looks like a bomb exploded), you check yourself out in the mirror from every angle noticing every minute detail. If you're at least satisfied, you meet your friends and constantly hassle them with the terms, "Do I look okay? Are you sure? You're not just saying that are you?" When you finally arrive at your destination, it starts - you can practically smell it in the air: the hunt has begun. Everyone has "that look". Eyes dart, heads turn, stomachs are sucked in. It's truly a jungle. You act happy and friendly and try to at least look "approachable". And then you spot him! He's looking at you, you’re looking at him, it's happened.

Now what?

Your friends egg you on, you bashfully decline -- you suddenly become demure (you, the one who ran naked through the Lincoln Memorial only because your friend said he'd pay you a dollar to do it, but I digress). You tell your friends that you wouldn't know what to say. Let's face it, this is it, the most crucial event of the evening: the opening line! What you say and how you say it makes all the difference in the world. You have 3.7 seconds to completely charm this man. What do you say? Do you say something like:

"Your place or mine" (No, he'll think you're a slut and besides, that is soooo forward!); how about,

"The music's great, huh?" (No, I picture some guy in tight polyester pants and a leisure suit saying that);
how about,

"Since you're going to be the father of my children, I thought it would be a good idea if we introduced ourselves" (Too much, you think?); here's one,

"I have worshipped you from afar for two years" (Don't laugh, that's what someone actually said to me. I bought it and we were together for two years.).

Okay, let's just say that you do finally meet someone that you really think you like and who you think really likes you. The two of you are eventually going to have sex. But how are you in the sack? Are you any good? Sure no one's complained to you, but have you honestly ever complained to anyone you thought lacked all the sexual drive and passion (we feel sorry for those people, we don't try to help them. Come on.).

So now you have to take every good thing you've ever learned about how to please your partner and put it all to the test for this one guy. Even kissing is a challenge -- how much tongue is too much? Do you even use your tongue? What if he hates to kiss on the mouth? What if you are doing things to him that he hates to have done, but he's too polite to tell you about them and it just ends up ruining the whole thing for him ... or vice versa. I don't want to constantly have to stop every new partner to cordially request that he not ingest those two little spheres kept tucked in their own little pouch and stored under my favorite appendage (in other words, ask him not to suck my balls. Lick them all you want but don't draw on the things. I'm sorry, but it hurts!).

Even worse, what if you're both bottoms or both tops. This can be extremely gauche. Two bottoms would both just end up laying there on their backs staring at the ceiling all the while patiently waiting for the other to make the move, while two tops would be clumsily rolling all over each other, each trying to gain the upper hand. (Actually, it's kind of hysterical when you think about it.)

All of this so far is assuming you sleep with guys on the first date. Frankly, I have always found first dates to be a piece of cake. I enter into them thinking that I am at least going to make a friend out of this if nothing else, or at the very least someone to say hello to when I am out and all my REAL friends are nowhere in sight. As far as I am concerned, it’s the SECOND date that is gut-wrenching. If it gets to that point, a second date means that there was interest. So now you have to be careful not to screw everything up. He apparently saw something in you and the last thing you need to do now is abandon whatever it was and leave him wondering what it was he saw in the first place. I always call the second date the “salad date” – you know how guys will date a girl, take her to dinner and all she eats is a salad to impress him with how little she eats. Then he drops her off at home and she orders 3 pizzas from Papa John’s. Usually, if you make it past the second date, you’re in.

All right, just for the sake of argument, let's just say that you both find that you're getting along extremely well: you like the same music, the same foods, the same movies, the sex ain't so bad ... it's kismet. And then he says those words that strike fear into your heart, those words that make you purge lunch just thinking about them. One day he looks at you and says, "I want you to meet my friends!" Your brain suddenly flashes a red neon sign that warns, "DANGER! TURN BACK! ROAD CLOSED! SALE ENDED YESTERDAY!" All the similarities and likenesses you two may have don't amount to diddly squat when it comes down to meeting his friends. You two could have been born identical twins, and it still won't make a difference. It was hard enough to impress just one man, but now you have to impress the four or five people that mean more to him than God (razor blades are the suggested fashion accessory for these meetings). You know things are being said behind your back, because he's done nothing but talk about you for weeks, and that every move you make is being scrutinized and analyzed like a strategic missile attack all the while smiles are tossed around like confetti. The easiest escape is to excuse yourself and retire to the bathroom so that they can at least speak above a whisper and are warned by an appropriately timed flush of the facilities. If you pass the "friends" test, the relationship will then pursue.

Sure, there are many great reasons that a relationship starts, but the realist in me can't help but point out the one bad reason for a new relationship ... the one before it failed! We, as a society, just love to see failure. Why do we hold contests? Sure there's a winner, but there is also a loser (I mean, which would you rather see -- the face of the immediately crowned Miss America when her name is mentioned, or the face of the first runner up who is trying to look cheerful as the infrared lasers shoot from her eyes engulfing the lady standing beside her?); after the Super Bowl game, is it at all necessary to go into the locker room of the defeated team (unless it is to catch a cheap shot of a naked butt walking from the showers, not that that would upset me)? For that matter, why the hell is Doug Llewelyn even on "People's Court" -- "well, Judge Wapner just ruled against you, how do you feel?" WHAT IS THAT?

One time I was sitting in a teacher's lounge in a school while I was a student teaching and members of the faculty were sitting around amid the fog of cigarette smoke (yeah, it was that long ago) talking about past and present students -- not the students who earned A's and B's, mind you, but the ones who attempted to break into the school on Sundays and the ones who carried switchblades and sat in the back of the classroom and were passed only through shear fear of retaliation. Not one remembered the good students, only the bad ones. It seems when you're good, you're doomed to insignificance, but when you're bad, you're immortal. I believe that no one wants to see anyone succeed in anything. This also holds true in the dating industry.

Let's be honest, what is more nauseating than getting a phone call from a friend who is getting ready to go out for the fifteenth straight dinner date with "Robert" who will take your friend to the best restaurant in town, brandish him with not one but two dozen roses, pick him up in one of the top of the line sports cars, dressed in the finest clothes, giddily romancing your friend with just a sampling of one of the 8 languages he speaks fluently while you're at home on a Saturday night sitting on your sofa with the mute button pushed on the TV remote, wearing fuzzy flippers and your bathrobe, your face immersed in skin creams, patiently waiting for the bell on the microwave popcorn to sound so that you can tell your friend that it was actually the doorbell and you absolutely must go now because your date has arrived. (Not that this has ever happened to me, mind you.)

Just remember that each time someone throws the illuminating glow of a new affair in your face, just do what I do: when a friend comes bouncing to you to tell you about Mr. Wonderful, simply remind him that this was exactly how he felt the last time and as memory would serve you something seemed to go wrong then, so try not to screw up this time like he did with the previous Mr. Wonderful.

I understand that new relationships stand for much more than the physical aspect of having one special person in your life. Aside from guaranteed sex, new relationships are second chances (or third, or fourth, or fifty-seventh depending on your track record) to get right this time what you got wrong last time. Don't we all say, "Well, I learned my lesson on that one and it won't happen the next time." Good Lord, we're even optimistic that there actually will be a next time.

The oddest thing about relationships is that we knock ourselves out trying to get into them and then once we are we're miserable. We cease being ourselves and become one of two people. Your name will instantly have an ampersand (&) immediately prior to or following it: John & Doug, Lee & Mike, Jan & Dean, Josie & the Pussycats. And not only are we attached to some emotionally, we truly become intertwined in other ways. (You've heard the expression "joined at the hip".)

Now I'm not knocking relationships. God knows I've ridden that roller coaster several times myself. And it is truly a roller coaster like the Backwards Rebel Yell at Paramount's King's Dominion: all the excitement is there as you ascend the first big drop. You don't know when you're going to fall because you can't see, but you know you're going to. Then you drop, then you're yanked back up, then you drop, then you're yanked back up ... and you're never sure exactly when the next fall and yank are coming so you brace yourself during the entire ride. And when the ride is finally over, you're just a little bummed out because you didn't see it coming ... and it came faster than you expected. Plus your hair is a mess. Now that's deep.

It would be a big lie to tell you I remember the names of every guy I dated. I can remember my first kiss, my first touch, my first time between the humps of a camel while the man above me is riding me like a magic carpet all the while screaming something in Hindu (but I digress). Most of the people I have dated have remained friends with me one way or another. That was why I "dated" the person, to see if there was any potential for any kind of friendship/relationship. But if it didn't work out or I found no redeeming qualities in this person or he got bored with me or someone better came along (which someone invariably always does, God love him), he ceased being a person and became a time frame in my life: "that was when I was with Tom" or "that was my Jason period" or "that was the Todd Christmas". Perhaps that is how the word "date" originated for this action. We all suddenly become artists naming the eras of our existence. What better way to remember the times of your life than to honor them with the names of the people with whom you were no doubt in unadulterated lust (although I truly would love to know who thought up the word "date" for that particular function).



Monday, April 11, 2005

Kicking the tires

I have always been technologically retarded and behind the times when it comes to anything other than a television or a radio. I am not sure if my complacency in advancing myself digitally is based on fear or ignorance ... or perhaps both. It seems as though the minute a new gadget comes out, it is obsolete. Why buy a computer with a Pentium IV processor when Pentium XIIs are sitting in factories just waiting for their chance to be rolled out to a giddy, salivating public?

Getting new technology is like dating men: if you wait long enough, something better always comes along. And it's almost always prettier, more compact, and can make your friends extremely envious. I date about as well as I update my technology. At first I am all excited about the possibilities and then after trying it out a few times, I realize that my life is really no better off with it than it was without it. So I move on and/or wait for the next best thing to come along.

My DVD player is about two years old and I have about 30 DVDs - not really enough to be considered a collection but enough for me to have something to choose from should I have company over. I burned all of my CDs onto my old laptop and then figured, "who needs the CDs now when I can just burn the songs I want?" This bright idea came to me before the iPod craze, and subsequently before the old laptop had an aneurysm and just stopped functioning one afternoon. These days, I now own maybe 50 CDs. So with this process I start all back over again - sort of like beginning a new relationship. I only recently acquired a digital camera in December 2004 and that's because my then-boyfriend bought it for me as a Christmas gift. My website is not even a year old yet and - until I moved to my current home - my laptop was on a dial-up connection.

But I thought I would give the blogging thing a try to sort of dip my toe in the world of technology. I almost always have an opinion and something to say about any given subject. And if you are one of the few who will check back to my blogspot from time to time, you are either very interested in what I have to say or you have no life. Either way, I welcome you to my corner of the world. And who knows, if all goes well here, I might break down and buy that iPod soon.
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