Monday, August 31, 2009

Razzle dazzle.

Were you aware of this? Seriously, I read about this yesterday, and it blew my mind. (And I'm not one of those History Channel types who enjoys documentaries about things made of steel and smells like Grandpa.)

Dazzle ships haunted me; I even dreamt about them last night. (Also: why is spell-check getting in my face about this? I have always said "dreamt," and I am rarely wrong.)

Speaking of dreams, Middy, I've been meaning to tell you about a recurring one that's been visiting me for about the last year or so. It's really a nightmare, although there is something satisfying about it. Here's what happens: I am in a professional or public setting of some sort (e.g., office, subway, crowd). Someone irks me. I audibly refer to this (usually female) person, in his or (usually) her presence, as the c-word. (This differs from my real-life experience, where I usually say this word under my breath.) I wake up relieved to learn, of course, that I haven't in fact stepped in a steaming serving of Great Dane-sized professional cacky, or that some angry young lady hasn't thrown me onto the tracks.

P.S. I debated whether to spell that one out or not.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Filthy Exuberance

As an earning bitch, pretty much I have resigned myself to a certain level of stress. Yay for yoga class, multivitamins, sure-- but being a Libra and all, there are things that cannot be ameliorated except with pure, unadulterated tidiness. That's what momma like. But then also there is the toddler. Exhibit A:

One thing that is highly stressing me out is my total inability to have EVERY ROOM in the house clean at the same time. It might be making me insane. As soon as we tidy one room, another becomes a disgusting flop-house tornado of smushed grapes, scraps of chewed paper, pee puddles, cheerio dust and other (often sticky) detritus. Oh sure, I know that is just life with a toddler, but I have to believe that somehow, SOMEHOW if I had the time to do a hard reset and find a permanent home for all our objects, then this chaos would be kept to a minimum. Right? At this point, every evening and weekend is spent agonizing over whether or not I have the time and energy to confront the monolith. You know, thats what I do; I narrate the awfulness as I am participating in and prolonging it. Sweet.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The fuddle of my distrust.

It seems, Middy, that I live in a foreign place. Take this, for instance:

The trash can in my local laundromat. I guess this is what they call "trash cans" in foreign places.

I didn't move to this part of Brooklyn expecting Middle America (or even Middy America), but I didn't expect alienation and bafflement, either. Here's an example.

Let me begin by telling you I am one of a minority in my neighborhood. There is a crippled Haitian man with one crutch who sits outside on a folding chair, one block up from me, whenever it's warm. This means that during the spring and summer I walk by him every day on my way home from the train. He tends to call out after me when I pass. Pretty early on, I began to suspect he was either lewd or retarded, because he alternated between saying things like "I like your boots" or "I like your eyes," and saying things that sounded kind of like, "Do you want to fuck me?"

Eventually, he upped his game. He began asking me how I was doing, but he'd add the n-word at the end. Yes, that's right. The n-word. So I would simply hurry by, not knowing if this was a bit of insane (but ultimately forgivable) banter along the lines of "I like your boots; do you want to fuck?," or if it was a form of ridicule so advanced that I should perhaps consider moving.

"Hey, n-word." "How you doing, n-word." This kept up for about a month. Each time, I said nothing; eventually, I felt comfortable glaring. Returning from the cleaners one day, my guard was down. He caught my eye, and seeing his face as he said it revealed what he'd actually been saying (with a somewhat distorting accent) all along. "Hey, neighbor."

P.S. I still feel uncomfortable walking past him, mainly because I can't determine whether he did indeed ask me if I wanted to fuck.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Fraught via Facebook

Dear Shiddy:

In the early nineties, high school was finished with me. I'd accepted the role of borderline nerd, cool enough for ski club, say, or a part in the spring musical. But too bookish to be invited to any real parties or be part of anyone's inner circle. I was awkward enough that there were many playback moments where my vocabulary solidly alienated me from boys. It was generally a bummer. I've spent lots of time reliving it, can you tell?

(Note: I'm sure hundreds of thousands of Gen-Xers have already written their versions of teen angst and embarrassment, so feel free to roll your eyes, be bored, etc.)

Throughout high school I'd had more guy friends than girl friends but that never equaled any physical action for me. Despite the raging hormones I was dramatically virginal and whiny about it. Perfectly Catholic.

At some point in the spring of our senior year, Jude asked me for a ride home from play practice. For years I'd been somewhat close to him - an AV/TV nerd who had managed to remain uncool, almost strikingly handsome, and above the fray at the same time. As I stopped in front of his driveway, engine idling, he pounced on me. I think that is the word I mean to use. He lunged over the console, took my face in his hands, and commenced making out with me. Hardcore. (It is so hard to contain my laughter as I type this). It was a good twenty minutes, and by that I mean, it was really, really good. Liberating, fun, random... It was probably the hottest moment of my adolescence. Well, I still remember it quite vividly, so it must've been seminal, right? (snigger)

The next day at school it was like it never happened. We still chatted in the hallways, acknowledged one another's existence during Chemistry lab, smiled, but that was it. There was no repeat performance, and I never saw him again after graduating.

Last week, while trolling Facebook, I noticed that kid (now obv a grown man), had friended me. So I took a look at his profile, browsing the pictures and becoming increasingly confused. Even anxious, because this guy looked nothing like the kid I knew some 15 years ago. This could not have been the kid that I knew back then, right? Yeah, people put on some poundage, they lose hair maybe, they hunch. But 15 years isn't a lifetime, or half of one. This guy didn't even seem to have the same jawline.

But there he was, standing around drinking a beer in a snapshot containing at least three other people from our class whom I could clearly recognize. What happened?! Surely my memory could not have fucked me so hard, right?

I was DEVASTATED. Frantically, I retrieved my yearbook from the basement. I tried to remap his old visage to the new one. It was total cognitive dissonance. Half-laughing/half-ranting, I told my husband the entire story-- and his only suggestion was that possibly this guy contracted moonface. That did little to cheer me.

There are questions here, Shiddy. Did I totally imagine the whole thing? Was the episode magnified by my nutso, melodramatic teen fantasies? Did this guy really get in my pants? Didn't I really want him to? Doesn't my brother still harass me about it (after overhearing me on the phone weeks after the event)?

Sigh. I regret ever getting an account on Facebook. It destroys what small succor nostalgia brings.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

P*ssy Control

Dear Shiddy: I don't watch much television. Between the full-time bacon-bringing, the baby, and our century-old house, let's just say I am fully occupied the majority of the time.

That said, I had the unfortunate opportunity to see some cable last night. The commercials I saw brought me to levels of horror/dismay/sardonic laughter heretofore unrecognized. Maybe my guts have been replaced with those of some whiny old hag who yawps on at length about the old times... but can you please reassure me that these products (and their attendant ad campaigns) are some of the most OMFG you've seen?

I need you to have my back on this. It took every ounce of strength I could muster to not post THIS WHOLE ENTRY in ALL CAPS.

  1. Vagisil Infection Screening Strips (tagline: BRING YOURSELF BACK) These little wonder swabs come with a full-color infection reference card with a gorgeous piss/pus gradient so you can instantly tell how deep into the shit you are. This was advertised on ABC FAMILY prime time.

  2. Fancy Feast Appetizers (tagline: THE PERFECT WAY TO EXPRESS YOUR LOVE) Since there aren't any restaurant chains catering to pets (yet), someone had to market the equivalent of Applebee's Parmesan Chicken Tanglers to your cat? (by the way, WTF is a chicken tangler?) The Flaked Skipjack Tuna in Delicate Broth is my favorite of the series. Do we not have more pressing societal problems to address than the pre-dinner hunger of your pussy?

  3. And speaking of pussy, this third item lacks Internets documentation because I've failed to remember the brand name of the product. Regardless, it was a disposable bikini hair trimmer, which in and of itself is not horrifying. However, the TV ad featured women walking by roughly-hewn topiaries that suddenly morphed into perfectly coifed femail pube styles (triangle, landing strip, brazilian, etc.). It was advertised during AFV. Yes, that's right. My 14-month-old sat transfixed for a moment as the glossy, animated image of pubic greenery flashed repeatedly across the screen.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Category salad.

Dear Middy: Time to get my brain fixed. This morning, as I was walking to the subway, a plane flew directly overhead. I looked up, and my first thought was: Will it poop on me?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Prescription pants for people with specific needs.

Middy: There seems to be a pants theme here.

First, your mention of underwear a few posts back was timely. I'm currently reaching the end of my tolerance for a set I bought from American Apparel when I was twenty-five. In 2003, they were bright, flattering, and adorable. In 2009, they're faded, holed, discolored (yes, I did just type that), and barely holding it together. They've been slowly dying off over the last two years in a drawer-to-trash war of attrition. Their replacements are cheap crappies from Target, which proves that in 2009 a) I would rather spend my money on the clothing that goes outside the underwear (which, I should mention, is also barely holding it together in 2009); and b) I am in a long-term relationship.

Second, shiny ideas generally cause me to start Googling and amassing Post-Its at my workstation. Unfortunately, I generally don't think of new or useful items; it's more that I remember or realize things (arcane and basic) that I want to look up or know more about.

Here are some things I have recently Googled or looked up on Wikipedia:
  1. Cats (Wikipedia)
  2. Cat Meat (Wikipedia; n.b. The link to this was in item #1, and I couldn't not click it)
  3. pregnancy symptoms (Google)
  4. Swastika (Wikipedia)
About #4: I was trying to determine, once and for all, where the thing came from originally.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Vitamin Pants.

It turns out I am not the only one who randomly had that phrase pop into their head. What gives?

Speaking of random thoughts, dear Shiddy, what do you do when you have effervescent, sparkling, shiny, wondrous ideas and no place to put them (or time to ruminate on them, or ability to act on them) between the hours of 8 and 5?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Arcless, hairless, etc.

Dear Shiddy,

I think maybe you glossed over the whole white hair thing rather quickly and without due coverage. WHAT? While I am no stranger to impulsive hair choices (impulsive for the purposes of this post shall mean 'mind-fucking and agonizing over it for weeks but then ultimately making a split-second decision to do it'), I have successfully avoided it for the last few years. There are some key memories I've tucked away in dark recesses which I allow to surface briefly when there is immediate danger of me repeating a bad style decision. For example, beginning 11th grade with shoulder length straight hair and one week into the semester getting it razor-cut (basically shaved) off. Instantly I added about 40 years to my "look" and it was clear I had just walked out of a fiber ad.

P.S. I had one of those awesome high school girlfriends who relished my every misstep. She dramatically fell down a half-flight of stairs after seeing my haircut during the change of classes. She made a monkey face combining alarm and glee (schadenfreude?) and lunged over the railing. Things were never the same between us after that.

The Valley Legends

Dear Middy: Please enjoy this.

It does remind me of something:


Dear Middy: Because I love lists:

Five things I have feared since childhood

1. Pregnancy
2. Certain large insects
3. Recovering repressed memories
4. Death (mine)
5. Balloons popping

Five (additional) things I have feared since adulthood

1. Coming home to discover a suicide
2. Pictures of outer space
3. Walking along/near the subway platform edge
4. Millipedes and centipedes
5. Death (others')

This story lacks a narrative arc.

So, Middy: I did an unreasonable thing yesterday. I asked my stylist to make my hair white. Which is exactly what he did.

I can't say that my intention was to look natural. I was going for something extreme but toothsome. I thought about it for months beforehand. I had grown tired of the ashtray darkness my hair had been slouching into since my late twenties.

P.S. I woke up around 2 a.m. last night with pangs of remorse, in the same way I occasionally wake with thoughts of an/the/my eventual death: How would I be perceived in the office? What did this say about my personality to my co-workers? Would they feel bad for me? Why couldn't I be reasonable like everyone else? Why was I apologizing to the professional world from my pillow? I fell back asleep.