My good friend T. Wayne shares his thoughts on Orlando and the crisis of our national (international) love deficit. His words are soft and sad, hesitantly hopeful, a poignant antidote to anger and hate. Dalai Lama XIV tells us that “the true hero is one who conquers his own anger and hatred.” In the spirit of that sentiment, please check out this post and reflect with me on our collective responsibility to restore love to the world.
Perhaps Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On?” would make a better Morning Groove today. Because even after 45 years, we are still asking the question.
Yesterday was a sad day for all of us. And yet, some of us want to argue: about Islam, about LGBTQ, about gun control. One tone-deaf “politician” wants to take credit that he was right about what happened in Orlando. A tragedy occurs, and he wants to say “I told you so?” Someone tell him to get his head out of a particular orifice.
Lives have been lost. Another mass shooting that didn’t have to take place, but did. Because hearts and minds wrapped around hate are still strong, and tough to take down.
We all have to be better than this. A lot of us are tired of these killings. Killings, period. I wish we didn’t have to say the rote condolences that we all say after events…
Have you ever considered what bears and grocery stores have in common? I have. It’s fear. Bears and grocery stores have fear in common.
Some people are afraid of bears. I’m not. I have a healthy respect for them, and I know proper procedures to prevent bear encounters and protocol should I ever encounter one anyway (though I’m sure all of that knowledge would elude me at such a time). But I do not fear them. Not exactly. I mean, I was wary enough to avoid cooking when I stayed in Shoshone National Forest, or in GNP or Yellowstone, places like that. I was afraid to cook, but that was mostly because I was afraid of myself – of not being cautious enough or missing spots during cleaning. I was afraid I’d fuck it up. I didn’t actually go to sleep in fear. I happily climbed into my tent and into my sleeping bag, falling asleep nearly instantly after long days of hiking.
I’m not afraid of bears.
Some people are afraid of grocery stores. I’m gonna go ahead and assume you’ve figured out how I know. I am afraid of grocery stores. But I believe it’s less about being in public (which is a whole separate issue for me) and more about whom I may encounter there. I don’t live in a huge metropolitan area, which makes the chances rather high for running into people whom I’d rather not run into. Even so, it’s happened a disproportionate amount of times. Sometimes I’ve been so shaken up that I’ve left the store without making my purchases. I believe there was only once that I had a buggy full of groceries, and I left in a panic. But I’ve seen people I’d rather not with high frequency. My anxiety and fear ratcheted up to the point where I’d drive to the grocery (after allowing myself to run out of pretty much everything), then sit in the car in the parking lot for several minutes to an hour before finally driving away without ever getting out of the car.
I’m afraid of grocery stores.
This fear has caused me to spend more money than I can really afford (considering other shit I desperately need to take care of) and damage my health with fast food. There’s no risk I’ll run into anyone when I just go through a drive-thru and go home. But it’s not a healthy way to live, not for mind or body.
I went to the grocery store today. It sounds so simple, it’s nothing more than an inconvenience. Rightfully so. It’s pretty irrational to be petrified of grocery shopping. But I am. I have been. I went today, and I didn’t make a quick run, either. I started in produce and made my way around the store, selecting my purchases. I’ll need to go again tomorrow, as I didn’t take a list today (it was more about pushing through my fear and getting started with the basics). I got nearly everything I need. But I need a few more things. Perhaps I’ll make crawfish étouffée tomorrow.
I had a big day for me, really. I got up early (on a Saturday – what the fuck is the world coming to (I like to sleep until 3 PM or Sunday)), got dressed (that’s important to do before going out in public, or so I’ve been told), grabbed a bottle of water and hit the park. My foot still hasn’t healed (what the fuck, man), but I walked a trail anyway. Along a lake. It was so fucking humid, but it was lovely. It was lovely. The birds and the flowers and the water and the occasional breeze. Left there and went to a café (sort of), got a fruity iced tea thingy and a croissant. Then I went straight to the grocery store. I only sat in the car for about fifteen minutes (trust me, that’s good for me). When I got home, I didn’t stop. There has been zero bed or moping or bed moping today. Mowed the yard, fixed the new gravel that’s on the driveway, babied some suffering plants, and now I’m doing laundry. I need a shower so badly, but I wanna make sure most of the sweating is behind me before I do!
I kept a promise today. Promises are sacred to me. You don’t fuck with a promise unless you didn’t have a choice (and you pretty much always have a choice, so you better have a fucking good reason). I promised to work on myself today, push past the fear and do it. And I did. And I felt (feel) fantastic and optimistic afterward. I know optimism is a feeling like any other – it comes and goes with the days and moods. But for now, I’m enjoying it. And when it begins to fade again, I’ll have to push past the fear again. Today was one day. This is one weekend. I need to make it two. And keep going.
Because if I don’t – I’ll get to Oregon or Washington and nothing will have changed. I will go to work as I do here. I will drive straight home as I do here. And I will cry and mope and wish for adventure. And I will hold myself back. If I can’t push through it here, what makes me think I will there? I don’t want to move to the PNW just to continue the lifestyle I have now. What’s the fucking point of that? If I’m to live, I need to start living.
What else am I afraid of?
I’m not afraid of spiders – not majorly so. I have a massive fear of venomous ones. But little jumping spiders? They’re fucking adorable. The wolf spider I found in my garden made me scream like a little girl and literally run away. That was pretty funny. But I didn’t kill it. I let it be…and used gloves when I got back to it.
I was afraid of pubs. I pushed through it, and I’m okay there now. Not exactly comfortable, but okay.
I’m afraid of my nosebleeds. What do they mean? Dunno. But that’s the kind of thing I’m afraid of.
I’m afraid of my neighbors. Not in any dangerous sense, but in the sense that they’re there. Watching me. Judging me. Talking about me. Hell, I should just say I’m afraid of people and have done.
I’m afraid of attachment. I crave it, and yet I fear it. Because allowing yourself to be completely vulnerable exposes your soft underbelly. And some people like to stab those, repeatedly.
I’m afraid of the government, and all of its agents, because of the power we’ve given over to it.
I’m afraid of the threat of tornadoes. Always was, irrationally so. But now that one has hit my house, the fear is greater.
I’m afraid of heights, but not to a crippling extent. Not enough to hinder me from walking cliff trails in the mountains.
I’m afraid I’ll die alone. Nothing I can really do about it aside from keeping myself open to possibilities and otherwise keep on keepin’ on.
I’m afraid of missing out. Of never discovering meaning or purpose. Perhaps there isn’t one. And if there isn’t, then I’m afraid I’ll never be content with that answer. Again. Just gotta keep on keepin’ on, and keep myself open to new ideas and possibilities.
I’m afraid of suffering. I’m afraid of cancer and heart disease. Too much of it in my family, and it scares me. I need to live more healthfully and mindfully.
I’m afraid of my bad memory and what it may mean for my old age, should I make it there. Yet another thing I need to work on improving.
I’m afraid of touching crickets. When I’d go fishing, I could never bait my own hook. I could never get a fish off of a hook, either. I couldn’t touch the cricket. I’d try and try and try, then squeal and back away. Yes. I’m such a girl in some ways. In more ways than I let on here sometimes, I think. And you know what I mean. Soft. Emotional. Sensitive. Gentle. Nervous. Bashful. Afraid to touch bugs, but don’t want to see them dead. Those aren’t purely feminine traits, but fucks sake why am I trying to explain this. Anyway. Yeah. I’m more of a “girl” than I let on.
Hm. I think that’s enough for now. I’m actually in a calm, gentle, smiley mood. So don’t let all this fear talk fool you. I’m looking inward and taking inventory as I am wont to do. Today I don’t find it depressing. Today it’s like cleaning out the cobwebs and taking stock.
What? How did? I mean it’s not like I put it in the title. What? Fucking hell, I put it in the title, didn’t I? You people are supposed to keep me from doing shit like that. What am I paying you for?
Sigh. Well, since somebody (cough, cough) let the cat out of the bag, I may as well get to it. How about some background music first, shall we? Haven’t done that for a while.
Got music; let’s go. I am officially a copywriter now. It’s already on my resume as freelance work. But you know how some people fudge their resumes? I’ve never once lied on my resume, but I did use some creative word choices. Such as “freelance writing and copy-editing.” It’s not actually a lie: I’ve done a good bit of editing and writing for other people over the years, though it was largely unpaid work. Research papers, articles, book reviews, theses and dissertations, etc. That line on the resume did the trick, though. And it was a happy accident, really.
So. Local VIP who has contact with other company VIPs all over the country? The one who put in a good word for me in the Portland/Vancouver area? Yeah, that guy. I had to give him my resume so he could send it to his homegirl. Shortly after I emailed it to him, he stormed into my office and says, “Why didn’t you ever TELL anyone you’re a copywriter?” I’m surprised and say, well it was never in an official capacity, and I have told people. “Well you didn’t tell the RIGHT people. Didn’t you know we were looking for someone a while back? And that’s why (your dumbass supervisor) hired that giggling idiot in there!” Nope. I sure didn’t, VIP. You know damn well everything is a secret around here.
Long story short, the guy (just a year or so younger than I am) is being groomed for major leadership. Major. And he’s finally stepping up for real and actually getting involved. (I used to make fun of him. He’d come in the office to chat. “What’s going on in here!?” And I’d say, “Work. Ever heard of it?” Or I’d ask him if he learned a certain vocabulary word from a cracker jack box. I think that’s why he respects me, strangely enough. I’m one of the only people in the building who doesn’t lick his asshole for him.)
He asked me to give my opinion on some blog articles the new girl wrote, the one who was hired to be an in-house copywriter. I asked him how candid he wanted me to be, and he said “be the you I know and love to hate.” HA. So I ripped it to shreds. I didn’t rip her. This shit isn’t her fault. He said straight out that my super hired her because she’s cute and didn’t even bother to ask for writing samples. I feel bad for her, because no one is talking to her or trying to fix the situation. Anyway. So I do that, and he then asks me to comb our website for grammatical errors. I spent an entire day tearing it up, and then he had one of our web dev people fix it.
A week or two pass, and I hear nothing back from him – except that everyone is pleased with what I did. And my super calls me “our resident scholar” now. It’s…fucking lame. But it also feels good.
Yesterday, VIP emailed a document to me. He wanted my opinion. It was several pages long, fucking endless walls of text, so I just gave it a cursory reading and replied to him that I would suggest significant changes. We met for three hours yesterday afternoon to go over what those were, with the end result of him tasking me to rewrite the entire thing from top to bottom. He asked for design critique, too, but I could only give ideas – I don’t actually know design. (Oh. And to be fair, the meeting wouldn’t have been so long if we hadn’t been cracking so many jokes and laughing our asses off to the point that people came and griped at us to shut up. Put the two of us in a room together, and you have an HR nightmare. Alone, we behave. Together, we’re terrible.)
Anyway. I spent all day today rewriting the brochure copy and trying to adjust graphics and shit (that is once I got Archie to stop entertaining every fucking hen in the house – seriously, dating advice, recipe exchanges, cleaning tips – what the fuck, man). The fact that VIP is even allowing me to touch it is funny, really. He befriended me on FB just before asking me to do this…and he asked me anyway. My FB page is pretty much super tame – when I even bother to post anything. Park pictures, the occasional music video, cool art…shit like that. But I DO occasionally drop an f-bomb. And VIP, well, let’s just say his page is full of hunting videos, pictures of his children and bible verses.
Tomorrow, he and I are meeting with creative to look over the brochure, talk about design and layout changes and make sure the copy is cool. Once that’s done? We’re also gonna talk about completely overhauling the website. Those two will be responsible for design, the web dev department will handle coding, and I will do every single word of copy.
It’s daunting, but exciting.
If I have to work in corporate hell, I would rather do something that interests me or that I’m more suited to. I have to say that brochure was a pain in the ass, and I loved every minute of it – even when I was grumbling under my breath at how shit the original copy was. I’ve been wanting to transition in to some sort of writing job for a long ass time now…but it’s hard to do when your degree isn’t in communications or journalism. So this is a HUGE boost for my resume.
I’m officially a copywriter, y’all! That copy is gonna be off the fuckin’ hook. That was a lame attempt at a joke. I’m sorry. No, really. I’m sorry.
P.S. I’m not sorry. To make it up to you, here’s a pretty picture. Clicky.
I don’t know what to write about today. I could talk about work, but I don’t feel like it. I could talk about house progress, but I don’t feel like it. I could talk about job progress, but I don’t feel like it. I’m in a “I CANNOT WRIIIIIIITE” mood, but I committed to writing today. So here I am.
And since I can’t word, I’ll let others word for me. I’m gonna share some quotes that are special to me, and hopefully you’ll enjoy them as well.
Piss off. ~ Ezekiel
One of my personal favorites.
Become who you are. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
I love this sentiment. Love it.
Nourish yourself with grand and austere ideas of beauty that feed the soul…seek solitude. ~ Eugène Delacroix
No problem here, though sometimes I fear the ideas are too grand and austere!
If I stayed here, something inside me would be lost forever – something I couldn’t afford to lose. It was like a vague dream, a burning, unfulfilled desire. The kind of dream people have only when they’re seventeen. ~ Haruki Murakami
“The answer is dreams. Dreaming on and on. Entering the world of dreams and never coming out. Living in dreams for the rest of time. ~ Haruki Murakami
It’s no secret I love Murakami. I know a lot of people think he’s overrated. To be fair, I had no fucking idea he was some famous author. Someone had Kafka on the Shore on a reading list, and I was transported when I read it. His words, his worlds, were enticing, maddening, emotional, real, surreal, transcendent. And the pursuit of his words and his ideas kept me going in dark times. I haven’t read all of his works yet – I was reading them back to back, but I had to stop because I am not in a hurry to not have any of his b0oks to look forward to.
Those two quotes above are probably self-explanatory as to why they’re meaningful to me. Dreaming and the pursuit of those dreams is what I’m clinging to right now. I cannot stop dreaming. I cannot stop pursuing those dreams. It is vital that I do not.
The best people possess a feeling for beauty, the courage to take risks, the discipline to tell the truth, the capacity for sacrifice. Ironically, their virtues make them vulnerable; they are often wounded, sometimes destroyed. ~ Ernest Hemingway
Isn’t that the fucking truth? What a beautiful sentiment, and I like to think that this is part of why I’m wounded. I just hope I don’t end up destroyed…but in the end, that’s up to me, isn’t it?
Hemingway is another that is either loved or hated, and I have no shame in saying I love his work.
Quit assuming others have it better, or you have it worse. Everyone suffers tremendously in life. It’s rude to belittle someone’s suffering, thinking yours is greater. Don’t judge someone’s suffering as better or worse. A dark life can be lived brightly, because pain gave great perspective and wisdom. An average and easy life can be its own kind of tragedy, suffering a mundane deadness. A great life can spoil under great fortune. It’s hard having nothing. It’s hard having everything. It’s hard. Suffering is very personal and cannot be measured by someone from the outside. Everyone suffers in different ways. Life is not a suffering contest; the contest is for compassion. ~ Bryant McGill
I used to be a lot better at this perspective. In fact, I used to remind others about this – that you never know what others are going through, no matter what it looks like on the outside. As I’ve grown older and more storm-tossed, I’ve grown more bitter. I know this, but I’m more concerned about it now as it’s been brought to my attention by others. “Don’t get so jaded you can no longer see the light, Stephanie.” “Don’t get so self-righteous in your struggles that you forget others struggle, too.” Important reminders, and I definitely need to work harder on seeing the good in people again. I readily admit I see more bad than good, and it’s dangerous for the psyche.
Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen. ~ Anne Lamott
Whew. That. Right. There. Is so fucking important. I’m incredibly guilty of passing up on experiences and opportunities because of self-doubt, self-loathing, fear, etc. I already live in regret of things I passed up for those reasons, and yet I continue to do so even now. I’m not gonna lay on my deathbed upset that someone saw my fat rolls. No. I’ll be upset that I didn’t jump in the ocean because this is my life, and I want to jump in the ocean…but I didn’t because fear. We must stop allowing fear dominion over our lives.
And finally, yet again, because I must remind myself of this on the daily:
That’s all you need. Just a glimmer. A hint of a glimmer, even. That’s all. It doesn’t take much. All you’re looking for is one tiny hint of a glimmer…
Life isn’t easy. Heh. What a fucking understatement. Life is a pain in the ass, that’s what. Especially when you’re an emotional brooder. I am one seriously angsty, existentially pained person. And I’m not the only one. You ponder the same things, don’t you?
Why am I here?
What’s the fucking point?
What is my purpose?
Why fucking bother?
Who am I?
What does it all mean?
What is my place?
Do I have one?
Am I even real?
What does it even mean to be real?
I don’t have answers to any of those questions. Sometimes I wish I could stop seeking them. But I also don’t wish to cease the quest. Because questing is part of the answer of “Who am I?” I’m a woman on a quest. A tiny speck in the Cosmos on my own personal quest for meaning and purpose. And when it isn’t breaking me down and crushing my lungs, it’s thrilling, exciting. The search, the quest…when I stop asking questions; when I stop searching for meaning and purpose and truth and beauty; then I cease to exist.
I just wish…that I could stop turning suicidal when I cannot find satisfactory answers to the questions that haunt me. Drive me. Push me. Tear at me. Claw at me.
I feel incomplete. And since I know not how to become complete, I devolve into a mass of emotional futility. I begin feeling that I wish I could simply cease to exist. For if there is no purpose for me, for my existence, then it should be extinguished.
But I know. I know that is the depression talking. The downswing of bipolar. What-the-fuck-ever it is. I know that’s what’s doing the talking in those dark hours of my soul.
And that’s what’s talking to you. When you feel like you can’t go another step. Take another breath. Eke out another heartbeat. That’s what’s talking: your depression.
Maybe the people in your life who were supposed to build you up and love you failed in their responsibilities to you. Maybe they taught you that you’re worthless. Useless. A no-account failure.
Maybe you made mistakes in your past, and you’ve never forgiven yourself for them. Even as everyone else around you has forgotten or moved on. Or perhaps their punishments far outweigh your crimes.
Maybe you’re all alone. Or you think you are. But guess what? If you’re here, reading this right now, you aren’t alone. Not entirely.
Listen, I’m no therapist. I certainly don’t have the answers. I’m a mess my damn self. Anyone who’s been around here a while knows that to be true. I’m a work in progress, and I always will be.
But there’s something I do know for sure: if you don’t grasp those tiny glimmers of hope, then you’re in big trouble. No one can grasp them for you. You have to reach out and grasp them on your own.
But we can show you. We can show each other. We can point each other toward the glimmers. Toward the “light.” Toward survival. Toward life.
I don’t have much. Disregarding all the first-world bullshit, I don’t have much in the way of what I think makes a complete life. But you know what? I have to recognize that part of that is my misconception of what makes a complete life. There is no one right way to live your life.
I feel alone. Completely and utterly alone. And you know what? That’s fucked up. Because I have you awesome people here. All I have to do is show the fuck up, and people come and say hi and talk to me and to each other. That’s it. No one can force me to be here. I have to do that part myself. But people point me toward this glimmer. One amazing friend in particular hassles me to show up and write. Hassle hassle hassle. And you know something? When I do, I feel better. Every. Fucking. Time. And I feel less alone.
I still go to bed alone. I still don’t get hugs and affection. I still don’t have someone to sit beside me and play video games with, or read and dissect the same literature with, or tickle each other until we nearly piss our pants.
But I’m not completely alone. And to say so would be a slap in the face to you wonderful people here. This is something I have to remind myself of daily.
I feel worthless. Pointless. Useless. I really do. It hurts, and I’m crying even typing this all out. But then I get reminded sometimes that I do have worth, even if I don’t think I do or I don’t think it’s enough. Because sometimes someone shows up here and says my words touched them. Or they understand how I feel and are glad to know they aren’t alone. And I know that feeling well. I’ve visited some of you and read your words, and I think to myself…I wish this person wasn’t going through that but fucking hell it makes me feel such a sense of relief to know I’m not alone in this. It’s not just me. I’m not some fucked up anomaly.
Maybe you feel trapped and hopeless, like you’re stuck in your current situation with no way out. Or you don’t even know what you want or how to get there. I’ve been there. I know that feeling, too.
I feel like this is all very rambly, but I’m pretty much freewriting right now. Because I had a conversation today, with one of the most important people in the world to me. And he said he was tired. Tired of life. Tired of it all. Just. Fucking. Tired. And didn’t feel there was any reason to go on anymore. And I said, you have to dig deep and discover what those things are that make you want to keep trudging forward. He said he doesn’t want to trudge. I wish I could do it for him. I wish I could do it for all of you. But all I can do is share my experiences and try to give you a glimmer of hope. And I hope with all my soul that you reach for it.
Each and every day, I tell myself: find one thing. Just one thing. And let that one thing be your one reason to get out of bed today. To keep on keeping on. Everyone can find one thing. Just. One. Thing. I got that from this beautiful post that I used to read every single day. Now I read it once or twice a month or as needed to remind myself. Please. Please read it. It’s important for those of you who struggle with me. Or if you know someone who does, maybe this will help them as it helped me. Hell it saved me. I found it because I was googling suicide. I think I googled something like, “give me one good fucking reason I shouldn’t kill myself right now.” And that showed up. And I’m still here.
Let me tell you the sorts of things I cling to, some “big” and some “small.” I put those in quotes, because anything that keeps you going is a Big Fucking Deal.
The things I “trudge on” for:
You. Yes, you. The one reading this right now. The community here on WordPress.
My friends. I actually have friends now, thanks to this space. And you mean the world to me.
The smell of freshly cut grass. Oh I love that smell.
All sorts of smells: rain, ocean, sweat, flowers, pot, clean skin, mountain air, pine…
The feel of rain on my face.
Mountain breezes and cold glacial air.
The crunch of autumn leaves underfoot.
Thick, dank forest air and the clean sweat from humidity.
Laughter, pure and uninhibited.
A purring feline nestled against me.
Books and words and thoughts and challenged perspectives.
Popsicles on 105 degree August days.
The new Deftones album I’ve yet to listen to.
I want to thru-hike the PCT.
I want to jump out of an airplane.
I want to sit on the steps of Montmatre.
I want to walk the cobblestone streets of Prague.
I want to kayak Class IV and V rapids.
I want to fix up an old sailboat myself, learn to sail and take that bitch for an epic excursion.
There are so many reasons, y’all. And all you need is one. One reason. One little reason for each day. Maybe it’s the same reason over and over. Maybe it’s something small. Maybe it’s something grand. But all you need is one. And I know good and damn well everyone has at least one.
Find it. Ask yourself what you live for. What your simple and grand joys and visions are. Find them. And then reach out. Reach out for those glimmers of hope. And once you’ve found them and reached for them, pursue them. I will never kayak Class V rapids, until I learn how to control my kayak in Class II and III rapids and overcome my fear of great depths in water. I will never accomplish that sitting on my ass or crying in bed all weekend.
Life is a bitch sometimes. It’s just a point of fact. It would be so easy to pull a trigger and end it all. So. Fucking. Easy. But you’re still here reading, because you’re looking for a reason not to.
Know this: the only thing that 100 percent CANNOT be changed or undone is death. Everything is in your power to change or improve upon. Except your death. You cannot change that. You cannot undo it. You cannot try again. You cannot start over. And you will never get that first kiss. You will never climb that mountain. You will never see that open air opera in Rome. You will never land your dream job. You will never learn how to bake that cake. You will never have that cottage near the forest. If you pull the trigger.
Depression is strong and deceptive. You have to fight it. Fight for your life. The glimmers of hope aren’t going to track you down and save you. You have to extend your hand. Reach for them. Then tomorrow, you can get up and take one step forward. And another step the day after.
And before you know it, you’re no longer surviving.
Today is a difficult day for me. Not because of the beasts within, but for a very specific and deeply personal reason. So, while it’s highly unusual for me (especially lately), I’m gonna do my second post of the day. This one is gonna be fun! I’m in need of fun diversion, and I think some of you will wanna do this fun little thing for yourselves, too!
Over at A Momma’s View, the lovely blogger issued a superfun list of 35 questions for her readers to answer. She also asks her readers to come up with a question of their own. So. I’ll do hers and add the ones her commenters asked, and I’ll try to come up with my own to add for you.
Let’s do this thang, chickenwang. ((That was really fucking lame, but it popped into my head so it stays.) (You’re welcome.))
1 – Boxer shorts or budgy smugglers? Bam. I can already tell these are gonna be my kinda questions! So. Chick. I don’t wear either. But if I’m gonna get to see a man’s underwear, I really hope they’re boxer briefs. Gray or black. Hm. But if he has dark skin, white ones look awesome. Hm, I bet white looks good on pale skin, too. You know what? Fuck the color, just make sure they’re snug. (What? Aren’t these Essay Questions? No? Piss off. They are so.)
2 – What color of underwear are you currently wearing? Black.
3 – How long have you been wearing them for? Let’s see, it’s 3:10 PM at this very moment. So I’ve been wearing them for 8 hours. Geez, why does that sound gross? It’s totally not!
4 – Do you ever use binoculars to watch people? No. But good idea! No, I take that back. My street is filled with old people and college kids. Wait. There’s the Lebanese guy a block down. Anybody have a pair of binoculars I can borrow? I need to find out his answer to the first question. (Look. I’m not a pervert, people. I’m a human. A fucking perverted one.)
5 – Have you ever kicked someone in the groin? Not no, but fuck no. No one has ever done anything to me that would come close to warranting that. At least not once I was old enough to consider retribution. Hell, I probably wouldn’t even now. Even if he or she deserved it. I just couldn’t be that cruel.
6 – Would you pull a trigger? No. No, I wouldn’t.
7 – If you met your favorite celebrity, and they wanted to make out with you, would you? No. Because making out leads to sex. And that ain’t happenin’ without an STD-free permit and exclusive relationship rights. Call me a prude. Don’t give a fuck. (Not without the STD-free permit, anyway!)
8 – Have you ever slept in the same bed with someone you were not in a relationship with (not talking about sex and one-night-stands)? Fuck no. Why the fuck would I be in bed with someone I didn’t want to have sex with? If you crawl into my bed, prepare for the fuckening. Unless you’re a chick. Then get out.
9 – Have you had one-night-stands? Not exactly.
10 – Does sex have the same importance to you now compared to when you were younger? Fuck. No. It matters a great deal more, now! And I’m single – what kind of bullshit is this, universe?! HUH? FUCK YOU. No. NO. No “fuck you.” If I’m not getting laid, neither are you! UNFUCK YOU!
11 – Have you ever eaten a worm? No. But I made my little sister eat one when we were kids. I felt like a god. It was awesome. And then I felt guilty, because I’m a softy. (Fuck off, I am, too.)
12 – What’s the grossest thing you’ve ever eaten? Bread. Nah, I’m kidding. Broccoli. Fucking broccoli. And mayonnaise. And cream cheese. And potted meat. And…I’m going to go puke now. Thanks a lot.
13 – How long do you spend sitting on the toilet? Uhhhhhh. I don’t like this question. Damnit. If I have a book or iPad with me (I know I know germs bleh), my ass will go numb. Good enough?
14 – What do you do when you sit there (besides the obvious)? Read or play games or pet my cat. (Not THAT “cat,” sickos. I don’t do that kind of petting on the toilet. One of the cats always follows me to the bathroom….)
15 – Have you ever been peed at? Yes, yes, I’ve been aggressively peed at by a legion of angry toddlers. It was like walking through a warm sprinkler. Ew. NO. I’ve never been peed at or on. WAIT. YES I HAVE. FROGGIES. FROGGIES HAVE PEED ON ME.
16 – What’s the grossest thing you have ever swallowed? This is a dangerous question. Don’t worry, I’m not gonna say cum. Piss. Piss with cigarette butts in it. Yeah, I’m not fucking kidding. I wish I was. Someone pissed in my soda can and put a cigarette out in it, because he thought I was done with it. Yeah. Fuck, I’m gonna hurl.
17 – What’s the constantly dirtiest place in your home? The kitchen. Ugh, I hate cleaning the kitchen.
18 – Why don’t you clean it? Because I fucking hate it. Dishes and shit. The oven. The sink. Ugh. I fucking hate it, that’s why!
19 – Do you eat your boogers? Fuck. No. But my sister used to. How do you think I knew I could easily convince her to eat worms? Nasty little shit. She was still sneaking them in her twenties. I bet she garnishes her dishes with them now.
20 – Can you describe the one smell that makes you gag? Human. KIDDING. Hmm. The one smell that makes me gag. Rotten milk or eggs. Yeah, that’s two things, but they both popped into mind as something guaranteed to make me gag.
21 – Have you ever had head lice? Yes. My sister brought them home, and we all got ’em. Fucking nasty. And she KEPT bringing them home until mom finally figured out exactly which friend they were coming from.
22 – Have you ever been utterly disappointed in someone? Yes. Yes, I have. And it’s a devastating feeling. To be utterly disappointed in someone, you have to have a high level of trust and expectations. And unfortunately, I’ve been disappointed many times in life.
23 – Have you ever been scared of someone? Yes. I’d have a real urge to piss my pants if he showed up even now.
24 – What do you do when you’re drunk that you wouldn’t want anyone to know about? Uhm. I’m honestly a pretty fun drunk. I just get silly and giggly. If I get too drunk, I run into shit. But that’s normal. Uhm. That I wouldn’t want anyone to know about? Does “get aroused” count? Not really. I think that’s pretty standard, too. I dunno! I’m fucking awesome when I’m drunk. I should probably drink more. (Kidding. I don’t drink often, and I plan to keep it that way.)
25 – Have you tried pole dancing? Not the kind you’re talking about.
26 – Have you been in a strip club? Nope. I’m not into window-shopping of any sort.
27 – Have you ever run over an animal? Yes. And I sobbed so fucking hard…every time…sometimes for days.
28 – Have you ever peed in snow? No! Bucket list!
29 – Have you ever made fun of someone and then regretted it? You bet your sweet ass I have. I regret it still. It’s shameful. Shameful.
30 – What’s your favorite kind of question on Cards for Humanity (if you know the game)? Uhm. Sex ones. DUH. Anybody wanna play?
31 – If the father of your best friend hit on you, what would you say to him? I have a specific man in mind, and my usual timid self would be out the window. I would strongly tell that bastard to fuck right off, stop breathing my air, and I hope your dick falls off.
32 – Would you go out on a date with someone half your age or double your age? No. Half my age would be 17. I have no interest in boys. Twice my age would be 70. I have no interest in changing diapers.
33 – Do you clean the sink after brushing your teeth? Isn’t that what toothpaste is for? Kidding. I don’t. I’m a fucking slob, okay? Sometimes.
34 – Have you ever spat in someone’s food or drink? No.
35 – Have you ever kissed someone only to be grossed out afterwards? Oh god, yes. Patrick, you sleaze.
36 – What is your number one goal in life, and are you living it? Contentment. Yes. I think that’s what it all boils down to. Contentment. And no. I’m not. But I’m striving for it.
37 – Do you spy on your neighbor(s)? If yes, why? No. I don’t give a fuck about their lives. Does that make me an asshole? Perhaps. But it also makes me NOT A CREEPY SPY! So there!
38 – Have you ever danced and/or cried in the rain? I know I’ve cried in the rain. I think I danced in the rain, but I could have dreamt it. Do you have “memories” like that? Where you aren’t sure it ever happened? And maybe it was just a dream? Yeah.
39 – Have you ever ditched work to just chill out on your own (with or without Netflix)? Fuck yes.
40 – And this one is from me: What do you wish you were doing right now (anything goes)? I wish I were sitting cross-legged in a mountain-rimmed meadow, laughing and talking and wishing and sharing and getting righteously baked with a companion. Maybe some guitar playing. Maybe sex under the stars. But mostly a boatload of giggles and exchanges of ideas.
What up, homeslices. See how hip I am? I still say “what up” and am so gangsta I didn’t even use a question mark. Yeah, bitch.
So. Y’all already know I’ve been pushing myself lately. More than usual, I mean. You know I had the April thing get canceled and I carpéd the fuck out of those diems (I just indecently Latined all over your faces. You’re welcome.). With the haircut. Masturdating with Deadpool. At the bookstore. At the park. At the park again. I even willfully introduced myself to a stranger! And the little turtle peeking out of the shell didn’t get her little neck cleavered! Do wonders never cease?
They do not.
For the tale I am about to tell is a tale of public Stephanie in public at public places with public people doing public things.
Did I mention I did more things in public. Because I did.
I publicked my ass off. (That’s the correct way to past-tense verbify public. I know. I’m an expert on these matters.)
Ass Publicking Chapata One (That sounds so fucking wrong. So I’m leaving it.)
Rewind to Friday, April 22. That’s, what? Two Fridays ago? This dude suggested Happy Hour to me months ago, as a great way to loosen up, kick back and just enjoy life a bit. But I was adamant in my refusal. No. Fucking. Way. Was this ever going to happen. And then this dude pushed me to go “network” at Happy Hour for weeks. Relentlessly for weeks. WEEKS, I tell you! So I finally relented, but it was no easy task.
There’s a cool (and very popular) Irish pub within walking distance of my house. I’d been once before when the greatest history professor to ever walk the earth took all his Historiography grad students out for a couple of rounds on him. But that’s the only time I’d ever been.
Other than that, I was always on the outside looking in. I drive past the joint on a regular basis – in fact, I did so daily for several years.
But I was always outside.
At the people looking out.
At the people unwilling or unable or uncool enough.
To come in.
But this would be the day that I’d make the transition. I was fucking determined. But I was not going alone, damnit. That’s just pathetic. Single fat chick sitting alone at the bar during Happy Hour on Friday night? No.
So what’s a girl to do?
Round up a posse of course.
I was having a slow work day, so I wandered around the building herding geeks. Y’all know those little decorator crabs? The ones that wander around, plucking pretty debris from the seashore and affixing it to their shells? So that they may adorn themselves in their very surroundings and be hidden and protected?
That was me.
Unwilling to remove my shell, I wandered the building plucking rogue geeks and affixing them to my shell. They followed me around like Mother Fucking Goose. I was the Pied Fucking Piper of Geeks, trying to lead them down the path of rowdy drunken carousing.
At one point, I had about seven geeks straggling behind me. I’d formed my own posse. And we were going pubbing.
If we could get The Sloth to go.
See, these boys are a unit. And I was going to be the ultimate Dungeon Master, corralling them all for drinks and vulgarity and laughs.
Well, The Sloth would only agree to go if we could get Pookie to go.
So commenced The Hunt for Red October Pookie.
We couldn’t find him. I texted him silly pictures of The Sloth and Buttermilk doing slothy semi-gay things on warehouse equipment.
“LOLOLHAHAHA” came the mature and measured response.
Posse in tow, we rounded corner after corner until we had Pookie in our sights.
Naw man. It’s not pay week.
I told him I’d buy the first round.
I said, “I’m not being weird, you little fucker. Bring your damn girlfriend.”
He blushed again.
Well, I’d HAVE to bring my girlfriend.
I stared at him.
He blushed harder.
I stared at him.
He looked down at his book.
I stared at him.
I just really can’t. I’m broke! I’m sorry! I’m sorry!
“Pookie,” I glared into him with rage in my eyes and condescension dripping from my voice, “you’re dead to me. Now The Sloth won’t go. And then Buttermilk will back out. And then no one is going to go.”
What about Thundercat and Lebowski?
“I asked THEM before I asked YOU. But Thundercat is home alone with his spawn tonight, and Lebowski has to go to some viewing for a dead uncle he never met. You’re dead to me, you understand?”
As I walked away, he was laughing, blushing and apologizing.
I flipped him off without looking back.
So, as anticipated, everyone backed out. I nearly had The Sloth convinced, until he remembered he had other plans. Looking up at me from the filthy warehouse floor, looking every bit like he’d just disappointed the potty-mouthed version of Mother Teresa or gotten caught sniffing his finger after scratching his ass, all wide eyed and hesitant, he tells me…
Aw fuck, I wouldn’t have been able to go even if Pookie went. I promised Dangerhole I’d drink with him tonight.
“That’s a thing? Are you fucking kidding me? Are you fucking kidding me right now, Sloth?”
Noooooooooo. It’s his drinking weekend, and last time I wasn’t there to keep him calm, he broke someone’s face and went to jail. That cost us a month of drinking money, man. I’m sorry, but I promised.
I called them all lousy motherfuckers, told them to enjoy their weekends jerking off in their mothers’ basements and stalked off. This whole mission lasted about two hours.
I had a decision to make, and fast.
To Happy Hour alone? Or to Home?
And then I remembered: you don’t have a home. You have a dwelling. A domicile. A house. Is that where you want to go? You want to go cry in bed? That’s preferable to going out just because you don’t have the support of a group of semi-friend stoner geekboys from work? You barely fucking know them anyway.
Decision made, I clocked out early and determined to open the place. It opens at 4:00, and I knew I simply Would Not Go if there was already a crowd before I got there. So if I was gonna tackle this, I was gonna do it on my own terms.
Fuck the Geek Squad.
Everything happened in slow motion:
I pulled into the parking lot.
I braked to a stop.
I put the car in park.
I looked at the guy unloading liquor from the back of a pickup.
I looked at him look at me.
I killed the ignition.
I palmed my keys and wallet.
I pushed my shades atop my head.
I opened the door.
I stepped out.
I closed the door.
I walked to the front (because I wasn’t a regular and didn’t realize there was a back entrance).
I opened the door.
I observed the old men at the bar.
I chose a stool near the register.
I sat on it.
I put my things down.
I made eye contact with the regulars observing me, the stranger.
I smiled back at the bartender.
Do y’all have cider?
I opened my very first bar tab.
Haha no, I’m not new in town. I’m just new. To going outside.
A big exhale.
My first sip.
And I was in.
Listening to the old men, who trickled in one at a time, talk about golf and wives and exes and crooked dicks and business trips gone wrong.
Right about the time I agreed to try Irish Champagne (apparently just some sort of Irish beer mixed with cider), Wes plopped down beside me.
Soft. Blonde. Blubbering. Gay. Twenty-something. College student. Clearly a regular. At some point, he simultaneously cracked open a Miller Lite and a lame joke. I laughed politely.
Then he showed me the picture he had up on his phone, “That’s my granddad.”
Is he flexing?
“Why is he in his tighty whities?
“Haha Haha………Haha. I don’t really know. I took a picture of the picture, and I think he must have been posing for grandma back then.”
The bartender, a chick, chimed in, “So that’s where you get it from.”
Haha no way, he was definitely posing for grandma, not some guy.
Much much laughter.
“That’s not what I meant,” she said, “although…but I meant the flexing in your underwear.”
He laughed and agreed that must be the case.
Wait. Wait. You flex in your underwear? And people…people know this about you?
“Hahahahayeah, wanna see another one??”
And from that point forward, I called him Flexy Wes and finally just Flex.
At some point in the midst of all this, I took a phone call. Laughing my ass off, I went to one of the tables by the window for the call. And I saw it. I became aware of what I was doing.
I was one of the ones on the inside.
I was looking out.
At the ones looking in.
I was looking out.
At the ones unwilling or unable or afraid.
To come inside.
I wasn’t one of them anymore.
By the time Flex left, I was about four or five ciders in and was feeling righteously buzzed. Also, the Friday night crowd was fast filling up the place, and I felt it was time to make my exit.
Fucking proud of myself, too.
I sat in my car for quite a while, waiting out the buzz. It was worth it. Totally worth it.
Ass Publicking Chapata One, Part Two
I got home. Changed clothes. Plopped down in bed. Updated stupidityhole about my “networking.” Played on my iPad.
And then The Anklebiter texted (about two hours later). She had been updating me off and on throughout the evening, telling me that she would perhaps, maybe, eventually make her way to the pub. But she never did. She kept trying to get me to go to this big party. I refused.
And now she was texting.
“Where are youuuuuuuuuuuu?!???????? Are you in bed???????????????”
I replied, “How did you know?”
“LOLOLOLOL that’s where I’d be! Come back! We’re here! Pleeeeeease! It’s my biiiiiiiiiirthdaaaaaaaaaay!”
So you know what I did?
I went back out. Met up with The Anklebiter and her friends. Wished her a happy birthday. Had more drinks. Listened to the band. Had more laughs.
And had a fanfuckingtastic time.
Booyah. First Happy Hour a rousing success.
Ass Publicking Chapata Two
Chapata Two occurred this past Friday. And it was happening because of me. You see, I had asked a certain group of people to do Happy Hour with me before I ever tried to get the Geek Squad. But most of them had prior engagements and promised they could go out next week. But I couldn’t wait. I had to go that first night – it was a now or never kinda thing.
I no longer wanted to go, though. I knew it would be fun, but I had a raging day-after headache from the Modest Mouse concert I’d gone to the night before. I always have head-splitters on the day after a concert. (And I went to that fucker by myself, was the only one standing in my section, danced and sang and cheered and had a blast. An absolute blast.)
But I took care of my headache, drove home from out of town, gave myself a pep-talk and went to the pub.
And this time was soooo different.
It was me, Anklebiter and Her Little Dog Too, Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong, The Woman Formerly Known as Crankles, UberGeek McHottiepants, and even my supervisor, McFly, for a half hour or so. (Thanks a lot, Anklebiter.)
And I laughed so hard my stomach and chest hurt.
And then I drank some more.
A lot more.
And then I laughed so hard we became that table. We were outside, under the covered patio part, and we were the obnoxious ones.
And it was one of the most fun nights I’ve had in my adult life. Hands down.
I got there before anyone else – had to open the place to quell my anxiety. Got a cider or two in, and the old men from the first Happy Hour talked to me this time. Called me a snob for drinking cider. And I called them cheap old fucks with their PBR.
When the crew got there, UberGeek McHottiepants made me follow through on my promise to do an Irish Carbomb with him. HOLY. SHIT.
Everyone laughed and asked, “how was it?”
And the antics continued. There’s photographic evidence of me cringing as I slammed the carbomb with Uber. There’s photographic evidence of me sucking on a lime wedge after slamming Patron with Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong.
It was hilarious and vulgar and fucking fantastic. Uber and I made some of the dirtiest jokes…but we were at a separate table for a bit, so we had a blast making the others wonder what was so fucking funny.
Once the band started setting up, everyone wanted to leave and go to Anklebiter and Her Little Dog Too’s house. Everyone except Little Miss. She bailed. (And McFly had been long gone, though he did witness the carbomb.)
Ass Publicking Chapata Two, Part Two
I went because I didn’t have a choice. Uber and I couldn’t drive yet, so we rode with The Woman Formerly Known as Crankles over to Anklebiter’s place.
There was talk of Karaoke and mixed drinks.
But we mostly chilled and talked about the concert I’d gone to the night before, concerts, 90s bands, gardening.
We listened to music. They learned how vulgar I was (this group had no idea – well Uber did. And Little Miss did. But the rest had nooooo idea).
I only had one more drink once we got there, because I needed to sober up to drive.
It was nice. Chill. We played with the dogs and had a fuckton of laughs.
And it made me question my judgment of The Anklebiter. She’s not what I thought she was. She’s not what she presents as. Well she kind of is, but not in a malicious way.
Before we left, Anklebiter had us all take a group selfie. One of them has a dog licking my boob. And the other one has Her Little Dog Too’s bare abdomen in it.
Not low enough for Grandma’s mustache.
Ass Publicking (Future) Chapata Three
And tomorrow night?
Happy Hour at a Mexican restaurant for three dollar margaritas with The Anklebiter and The Woman Formerly Known as Crankles.
I don’t want to go. It’s going to be extremely crowded. But The Woman Formerly Known as is like me in the sense that she’s trying to put herself out there for the first time. I never knew that. But she shared it with me, because I told them it’s what I was doing. They knew, anyway. I’ve rejected everything I’ve ever been invited to – granted, it has never been much. But I’ve never participated.
So. Even though I hadn’t gotten along so well with The Woman Formerly Known As back when I first started working here (she reminded me of my mother – and that’s a bad thing), she’s working on herself just like I am. And she asked me to go, so I’m gonna go.
So. About that four-day weekend. I kinda went crazy, y’all. I did a lot of masturdation. And you know something? I’m a damn good date.
Mkay. Let’s see. (I’m putting dates on these, because this was actually the weekend before last. And I did more shit this past weekend!)
Thursday, April 14: Sassy and Pensive
I’ve already told you about the sassy new haircut I got last Thursday. That was on the 14th. So last last Thursday. And then later, I went to the bookstore, too! And bought books!
Friday, April 15: Date with Deadpool
I’ve also already told you about the Deadpool masturdate last last Friday, so let’s move right along.
The end credits had such cute (and vulgar) graphics. This was one of the only clear snaps I could get.
Saturday, April 16: Please sir, may I have some more…books?
I found myself lying in bed. All. Fucking. Day. Around 7 P.M., I had had enough. I was angry and disappointed with myself. So I got up, took a shower, and went to the bookstore. I didn’t know what else to do or where else to go, but I knew I needed to get my pathetic ass out of the bed and move. Also. It’s always fun checking out the cute geeks in the sci-fi/fantasy/comics section. Sometimes they’re so deliciously yummy, I want to kidnap them (don’t worry; they’re adults) and do things to them. So uhm. I bought more books. Quelle surprise!
Added three more to the TBR stack!
Looking forward to reading this when time allows. Speaking of time, that’s a “pocket watch” on a chain. I wear it around my neck to remind me that time our time on this earth is finite; it is precious and I must Carpe the fucking Diem. “There’s only lifetime. GO!”
Yes, I spent too much money. This is rare for me. But when I do decide to spend on myself, it usually happens in a splurgy burst. But I at least had coupons for books! So I didn’t do so bad at the bookstore.
I also justified it by using “spending money” I had set aside for the trip that wasn’t. I wanted to treat myself after some personal shit went down. And y’all, I ain’t even done. I’m tired of being in the backseat of my life (unless, of course, someone is back there with me) (even then, maybe I want to drive for a while, damnit).
No, I didn’t buy this. But seriously? Trigger Warning? Sex Inside? There’s sex ON THE COVER. But “trigger warning”? Good fucking grief. Overuse of “trigger” shit drives me nuts. And sex? This is Cosmo, people. It’s gonna be like, “10 things to make your husband less likely to fall asleep after cumming in 3 seconds flat.” or “5 tips on how to bedazzle your vajazzle.”
Anyway. Let’s get to the park, shall we?
Sunday, April 17: Parks & Masturdation, or One if by Land, Buddha if by Trees
This dude has been driving me batshit about getting the fuck outside. I make excuses. He tells me to piss off. I make more excuses. He says so the fuck what. I say, but I hate it here. I want to be in the Pacific Northwest! He says, but you’re not in the fucking Northwest. Get out and live now. I say my foot is broken; he says piss off and go hobble.
So you know what? I fucking hobbled my ass to the park last last Sunday. And unfortunately, I have to admit that the smug fucker was right. I couldn’t do much walking. My foot is legit still broken (had new x-rays and it’s finally and slowly healing, though – NO SURGERY! NO PINS!)
Anyhoodles. Park. I got my ass up. At oh…1 in the afternoon or some shit. But I did good. I went straight to the shower then straight to the park (with an intermission for getting dressed – it’s not that kinda park).
I grabbed my book, Buddha in a Teacup (which is bullshit so far – more later), and did a little wandering. Not much, mind you. My foot wouldn’t let me forget it’s broken. I went first through the greenhouse. It was always my favorite part of the park, though they’ve let it go to shit.
Lemme share some lovelies from that day:
That was park day numberus oneicus.
Monday, April 18: Parks & Masturdation, or Making Friends and Influencing People, or A Writing Assignment
Because some little shit couldn’t be satisfied, I went to the park two days in a row. (He also says go listen to High Pass Filter right now!) And I mentioned it to someone else…all like I know I should, but I don’t wanna and he was all but you must go! And you must write something while there! No reading! Must write! These demanding asshats, I’m telling you. I did go, and I did write. But I can’t share the writing yet, as it’s to be part of a collaborative something.
Lemme share a gratuitous amount of flower piccies, and then I’ll tell you about someone I met. It was one of those moments in life when you just know. You just fucking know. You’re exactly where you’re meant to be.
But first. Flower porn. GASP! New word! FLORN!
Ahhhh isn’t spring glorious? I fucking love flowers. Can you tell? No? Lemme show you some more.
KIDDING. Just kidding.
Lemme tell you about Anthony now. I had been watching him, you see, crafting the beginnings of a short story based on him. He had no idea, of course. I just saw him and was inspired. I caught a glimpse of him from my table. He was down fishing off this little covered pier thingy. It showed up in the picture up there with my notepad.
I actually snuck an excellent shot of him re-baiting his hook. It was the perfect shot of him in his element, but I won’t even show my face on the blog. Not my place to show his.
Anyway, the more I wrote, the more I felt compelled to meet the real man. Not the one I was making up.
This. What I’m about to tell you about is well and truly outside of even the remotest of my comfort zones. But I felt compelled, in the truest sense. I had to meet this man.
So, for what seemed ages, I gathered my courage.
And then I gathered my things.
And then I walked down that pier.
And then, heart pounding, I spoke,
Hi! Mind if I keep you company for a bit?
It’s a public pier in a public park, but he was alone. Serene. And compared to the weekend chaos at that peer, with all the kids and geese, I figured he was probably enjoying his solitude. His communion with nature.
But he turned to me and grinned, telling me “Sure!”
So I put my things down, and he said he’d seen me writing. Asked if I was in school. Hehe. I said no; I was just writing a story. So he told me about his granddaughter. She writes children’s books, but is having fits getting published.
We chatted for a while. He asked questions about me; I answered. He told me about himself. Turns out we work for the same company. He had been retired, but grew bored after a long relationship busted up and went back to work. In his sixties now, he expressed that sometimes he grows weary of having been in the same place all his life.
Only so many times you can see the same ole thing and not wonder what else is out there that you’re missin’ out on. Ain’t much time left, and I’m past retirement age. Got a brother in Minnesota, though. Sure do love it up there. Why not, right? But it’s a scary thing, so I don’t know if I have it in me.
Why not, indeed.
So I shared a bit of my story with him, and my desire to move to the Pacific Northwest. He asked why there, and I told him how I’d been in love with Oregon ever since watching The Goonies as a kid. And then once I visited the region, I fell even harder and knew a life change was in order.
He told me I’m young and should go for it.
So I pointed at the “pocket” watch on the chain around my neck. Held it up for him to see.
Do you know what this is?
He shook his head, “Naw. Reckon you gon’ tell me, though.”
I popped it open and showed him the watch. “And do you know why I wear it?,” I asked. He just looked at me, expectantly waiting.
I wear it to remind me that life is short. I wear it to remind me that our time on this earth is finite. I wear it to remind me that there’s no time like the present time. I wear it to remind me that there’s never a right time. There’s only right now. I wear it to remind me that as long as I continue ticking along with it, it’s not too late. So I’m moving to Oregon. And you’re moving to Minnesota. And we’re going to make it count.
He smiled a winsome smile, tilted his head and cast his line back into the water.
You know somethin’, young lady? I’m gon’ call my brother tonight. See what we can see.
He looked hopeful now, wistful. I smiled and gathered my things.
Then I shook his grimy bait hand, told him it was a pleasure to meet him and to have good luck with his fishing.
And hey, Anthony? Make it count. Let’s make it count.
He grinned back at me and said, “Never too late.”
This post brought to you by:
Tomàs, for encouraging me to write even when, especially when, I doubt my ability to write anything worth anything at all. For making me feel worthy, writing aside.
Stupidityhole for relentlessly pushing me to get the fuck out of bed and the fuck out of the house. Many. Many. Many times now. I am eternally grateful.
Dedicated to Anthony and everyone else who thinks it’s too fucking late. Grab life. Pluck it when it’s ripe; carpe the fucking diem.
Coming Soon: Masturdating at Happy Hour last Friday, complete with photos of old men flexing in their tighty-whities. Perhaps a recap of tomorrow night’s concert – yes, another masturdate, and then my group Happy Hour this coming Friday night! Oh. Oh yes. And allergic reactions and moronic recruiters and the relocation conundrum. Stay tuned! You know me. I’ll fill you in in a month or so. (Winky Face, bitches.)
I was going to tell you all about the awesome four day weekend I had this weekend just past.
I was going to tell you about bookstores and masturdating and parks and recreation and old fucks and Buddha by the rhododendron and fishing and fiction.
I can’t do that right now.
Because fuck me, that’s why.
I let the doc put me on geodon. It’s an antipsychotic. Hear me out. I had it on good authority that it could, in fact, help with the mixed episodes I’ve been experiencing a lot lately.
Problem is…turns out I’m allergic to the shit. Severely.
I’ve been throwing up for 2-3 days straight, no chaser. Seriously. I chased it with anti-vomityourgutsup juice, and I vomited the anti-vomityourgutsup juice out.
Big ass rash spreading across the back of my neck.
Bubbles on my arm (blister).
Dizziness and worsening headache.
Confusion. Randomly stopping myself mid-thought or even mid-sentence.
Fucking. (Yeah right. No such luck.)
Torn up guts.
Itching. Did I mention this COOKIEMONSTERFORSAKEN ITCHING?! MOTHERFUCK, I ITCH.I’d pay somebody to scratch my itch, but I think that’s called solicitation.
Anyway. The one thing it geodon DIDN’T fuck with, clearly, is my ragingly filthy mind. So there’s that. And also my cookiediction. Me want cookies. Now. (Also. May I borrow someone’s kids so I can “not” teach them this lesson by what is obviously The Real Cookie Monster, please stand up?)
The one thing I DIDN’T get as a side effect was the heart-racing arrhythmia. It’s a damn good thing, because if that box had gotten ticked, he was going to have to admit me. My heart was not only NOT racing, it was lower than he’s ever recorded it. 42. I think? OH MY GOD, MY HEART IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?! I KNEW IT!
Anyturtles. My GP said I met every single other criterion for the Rare and Severe reactions. Yay me!
A man once told me I was rare. Now I know what he meant. RARE AND SEVERE AND FUCKED UP.
Except I don’t kid. You kid. Keep the kids over there. Because I’m MANGRY.
On top of forvomigen, the nausea med he gave me that doesn’t work, he also gave steroids. Lots and lots of steroids that I have to take for six fucking days.
He asked if I had any issue taking short-term steroids to stop my allergic responses and wipe out the rash. I said no, except Hulk. He was mildly puzzled, then laughed when I said YOU know….then I made rage face and said Hulk Angry! Only some of that actually happened. I’ll let you work it out.
So I’m on steroids for a week. And I’m sweating and angry and itching and sore. AND NOT FOR ANY OF THE FUN REASONS.
And I can’t make my brainhole focus on the things I WANTED to write about.
Fucking fuckstick douchecanoe handledick. Oooo handledick. New one. That works a myriad of ways, that one.
Anyway. I’m gonna fuck off outta here.
Just wanted to say Hi.
Just wanted to say I’m Pissed Off.
Just wanted to say I Miss You.
Just wanted to say Bye Fuckers, Because ME MANGRY.
Oh. And for what it’s worth? Either I was on one of my upswings already, or geodon was actually helping me. Because starting the drug coincided with the start of a major uptick in my moods and mindset. So. Let’s hope it wasn’t the geodon. Because now I’m pissed that I can’t take it anymore. WAAAAAAH. Look at me. Crying like a bitch. MANGRY.
P.S. If that mangry music isn’t your thing, mute it and watch. Because Sully Erna is in Fine Fucking Form here. Shirtless. Shoeless. Perfect jeans. Yum. You know what? I’ll take my steroids with a side of Sully. (Unfortunately, that’s the only good part of the video. The rest of it is wrestling or boxing or nascar or some other lame shit where grownass boys beat each other up for money.) (Hey, don’t start in on me! I told you I’m mangry! It’s in the title! FUCKING STEROIDS. GRAWR.) (But now I’m sleepy and itchy and mangry and hungry and sweaty and ARRGGGHHHHHHH I SAID GOOD DAY!)
P.S. Numberonius Twovicus. How about a preview of last weekend, hm?
Priority #1: I mentioned getting my eyebrows “did” the other day. This was before even deciding to get my hair did. And dude says that reminds him of a Missy Elliott song. (Dudes, how did I not listen to more Missy Elliott? I loved her.) He thought that’s where I got it from..maybe it was. But I have no idea. So anyway, here’s the very filthy song as an intro. Enjoy, fellow pervs. (Also, thanks dude. This song is nasty, and I love it.)
So. With that fun little nasty outta the way, let’s get to it.
I have an issue with haircuts. Heh. I have an issue with lots of things. First cleavage, and now haircuts. What the fuck? “Is she Pentecostal?,” you quietly whisper among yourselves. No, she isn’t Pentecostal.
I was sitting in the chicky’s chair, wondering why I’ve always been so afraid of changing my hair – that goes twofold. I’m scared to cut my hair short, and I’m scared to dye it. And that goes for “normal” short cuts and “normal” colors, not just scene styles or funky, attention-grabbing stuff.
And, as I was encouraging her to “choppa choppa choppa!,” it hit me.
You see, Butch McGee was our immediate neighbor and, budding hairdresser that she was, offered up free haircuts. My brokeass mother was unable to turn down a free service, so she offered us up as sacrifices to The Ruthless Butch McGee.
The roiling river of acid finally hardened into a steely lump in my gut as I trudged forth toward The Eye of Sauron my doom. Butch McGee lured me into her lair with promises of loveliness and free-ness that would help the mother figure. Her lair reeked of fried things, turnip greens, dirty laundry and chitlins. The air laden with grease, the sticky particles struggled to find purchase as everything was already coated. Don’t dare touch a surface. You’d become one with the abode. Stuck forever to watch the family suck crawfish heads and watch reruns of All in the Family.
Her husband, a local tater chip distributor, was completely vegged out on a sticky recliner, watching “wraslin'” and chugging the cheapest beer on Earth. Her son (whom I had a semi-crush on until my brother tarnished his image in my little eyes) asked me if I’d ever had frog legs before. “They taste like chicken,” he swore. I took a little nibble and to his upturned, expectant brows said, “I guess so.” He smiled like he’d won a prize, then said he forgot that was a rabbit foot and not a frog leg. Then he blushed and went away, only to come back later to tell me deddy sed them wasfrawg laygs. They’d already eaten all the rabbit.
So I suppose that means I’ve tried frog legs. Sort of. Maybe.
Butch McGee set me down on a sticky stool. My thighs stuck to the vinyl top of the damn thing. I kept looking at her hair. It was this helmet-like thing. Or was it a mushroom? I couldn’t be sure. All I knew was it looked like my crush had two dads. And Butch McGee was definitely the manlier of the two. She was grumpy and brusque, abrasive and pushy.
Butch held me down on that stool, one hand gripping my shoulder with the force of Andre the Giant, the other hand snipping away at my now frizzy and grease-laden hair. Even my little eight/nine year old brain knew this was a bad sign: one hand forcing me down and only one hand snipping? Seriously, this could only end in tears. And it did.
I was so upset, my usual M.O. of hiding my emotions dissolved into a puddle of tears when she showed me my reflection in the mirror. Tears. Tears. I choked out a timid little “thank you Ms. Butch,” and practically ran the twenty feet home.
Bad. It was bad, y’all.
The pudgy little tomboy-looking thing was no more. No, no. In her place stood Stephen. That’s right. Stephen. Now I was a pudgy little boy with a soft voice and an extra-feminine shyness. (Shut up. This is my blog, and y’all already know I ain’t PC. So suck it. You know. The dick that I don’t have.) (But for a while, everyone sure thought I did.) (Except, WHAT THE FUCK, PEOPLE. No one should have been thinking about my privates at that age. Fucked up. This world is fucked.)
I had officially gone from long, curly hair to short, bushy helmet-head. Much like Butch McGee’s do. Oh yeah. Fucking bitchwhorecracklicker.
Shortly after the Haircut of Doom, the mother unit took us to a little local park. We walked over. I mean, seriously. It was right. fucking. there.
I always felt out of sorts at events like this.
What am I supposed to do, here?
Play with other kids?
But I was taught not to talk to strangers.
Plus. I hadn’t forgotten that little girl that shunned me not too terribly long ago. So I knew better than randomly trying to make friends.
I just kinda walked around, looking every bit the Charlie Brown (except I had at least three more strands of hair than him). Kinda mopey, kicking dirt, hands in pockets, face fearful and shy.
I finally stood in line at a slide. Just as it was my turn, this little girl darted in front of me and started climbing the ladder. The thing’s mother appeared and admonished, “Hey Spawn, that little boy was here first!” So Spawn backed off, and I started crying. Silently, of course. Spawner held Spawn back and insisted I go ahead. So I reluctantly climbed that ladder, in obedience to Spawner, slid down the slide…and went and sat down until the mother unit was ready to leave.
And this was a mild version of what happened from there on out until my hair finally grew back out. God, the bullying was intense at school.
Anyway. This is less about that and more about the why of my haircutaphobia.
Fast forward to sometime last year. Hell, it’s probably been closer to two years now. Yeah. My hair was down to my waist – all one length – and nearly to the point where it would be getting caught in my jeans again. And I knew I needed to do something about it. Or at least I had an urge to. I was tired of being afraid of short hair.
I’d cut it up to my shoulder blades a few times over the years. But the ex loved the long hair, and I loved it, too. So that was as short as I was willing to go. But I started getting anxious for a change.
So a couple years ago, I got this cool, funky cut. Kinda reminded me of Mikasa‘s awesome hair. Except it was just past my shoulders at the longest layer. But it was semi-choppy and cool. And totally different. I asked the chick to give me long, funky layers. And man. That’s all I told her, and she gave me my favorite haircut ever…to that point.
It was cool and funky, and I loved it. Well. Fast-forward about six months, and I knew I needed to get it updated. Bring all the layers back up. But I couldn’t find the chick who had done it. She had gotten fired from the place I found her. So I called the number she gave me…and I was told she no longer lived there. And I haven’t been able to find her since. I have her first name and her profession, and that’s not good enough. I’ve called so many hair salons, and they all tell me she’s not there.
This past Thursday, I had a wild hair (hardy har har) and made an appointment with a new chick. (Oh. Forgot to tell you, I let a dude from the first chick’s original place cut it…and he ruined it. Fucker. So that’s why I went two years without messing with it again.) Anyway. New chick. I’m going all anxious crazy person on the phone with her.
I had this haircut a couple years ago.
It was awesome.
Best haircut ever.
Then the chick disappeared or got fired or died or something.
Then Ricardo cut it, and he ruined my life forever.
And now I’m calling you. I mean, no pressure you know?
Can you give me something fun and funky and choppy and shaggy and cool?
Yeah, but can you give me something that works straight or with curls? Cuz my hair is naturally very curly!
Can you tell I’m nervous?
Can I come in today? Is that okay?
Okay. Today. What time again?
That’s today, right?
Is that with you or someone else?
So today at 4:00?
And and we can talk about it when I get there? Before any cutting commences?
Yes, much laughter was had while I was rambling and anxious and kind of freaking out on her. I was talking fast but friendly…but very clearly oh so anxious. She finally said, “Just come on in at 4:00, sugar, and we’ll work it out.”
So I’m sitting in the chair, after she shampooed the shit out of it. (There wasn’t actually any shit in it. Unless it’s like fly shit. I bet tiny little microscopic bugs shit all over us.) (Fucking. Ew. Fucking. Ew. Thanks a lot.) I showed her some piccies.
She told me which ones would not work, because my hair would look like a curly mullet on days I decide not to straighten it. So those were an obvious no go. I showed her one, and said look…this is what I want not to look like: the fat chick that tried choppy cool layers. She laughed her ass off and said, “oh honey, you’re not gonna look anything like that. Relax.” Then it was my turn to laugh.
So she got to chopping, and then told me that she didn’t want to go any further until she dried it and let me see it. Once she dried it? I was like duuuuuude, CHOPPA CHOPPA CHOPPA! More layers! More movement! More choppies! More chunkies! More shaggies!
She laughed and said I was fun. And they tried to get me to go out to a pub with them. I know I should have taken them up on it, but I didn’t…I didn’t. Maybe next time. I also went ahead and told her to put her house on the market, because she has to follow me to Oregon.
Best. Haircut. Of my Life, dudes! I freakin’ love it.
I’d show you if it weren’t for stupid internymity. That’s Internet anonymity. It’s cool as fuck, and I love it. I even have little bangies, and it’s juuuuuuuuuuuust long enough for the tiniest ponytail on Earth. And I actually think I could let her go choppier next time!
So I have a badass new haircut that I debut at work tomorrow. I’ve been off for a few days because of plans that went awry. But I kept some of the time off and accomplished so many personal achievements that I’m glad plans went awry. I don’t believe everything happens for a reason. But I do know that I seized the opportunity, took the bull by the horns, made the best of it…ran out of cliches. You get the idea. And the haircut was just the start of it.
Perhaps tomorrow I’ll tell you about masturdation (yes that’s a D, not a B) and parks and recreation and making friends and influencing people. Perhaps, perhaps. Soon.
But for now, just the haircut. Because I need to go shower and shave and have a late dinner and get my ass to Mars bed.
I’m going for my orthopedic consult tomorrow. They want to put rods/pins in my left foot. But I’m going to hold my ground and request we try a hard cast and crutches before going for the surgery. Either way, this needs to be sorted before the move.
Fuck, I’m hungry. I’m going to eat and shave and all that fun stuff.