Tuesday, November 1, 2016

trick or treated.

i stood in the doorway and adjusted my shiny witch hat as i watched him approaching. dressed as, shit i don't know, a mummy? maybe a tampon!? his confident gait belied his young age. i shifted the large metal bowl i once ate an entire box of dry quaker oat squares out of against my hip, arranging its contents so that the most delectable candies were prominently displayed on top. i went to target last week, before all the good shit was sold out and i was stuck giving out smarties and circus peanuts, and i spent thirty motherfucking dollars on good shit. not candy corn, no good and plentys, and none of those shriveled little tootsie roll turds: there would be no retaliatory egging at this scary old witch's house. scattered throughout the packs of skittles and starburst were brightly colored rubber spiders and glossy vampire fangs. you know, because this is the cool house.

without so much as a "trick or treat!" he bounded up our stairs and accosted me on the porch, tailed closely by a handful of friends all dressed as satan or maybe drake but what the fuck do i know about what kids are into, breathless and vibrating with the kind of energy i can only assume accompanies being allowed to use one's pillowcase outside of the house. "ugh, what are these teeth for?" amenhotep sighed in disgust, plucking a neon pink pair from where it had been nestled between a full-sized reese's cup and the good kind of m+ms to hold in front of my face for review, as if he'd found a used condom or a bottle of xanax in the bowl.

"oh, um...?" i stammered. i hadn't gotten a chance to rehearse before dusk had fallen and screaming batmen and runny-nosed pikachus had come stampeding up the stairs before i'd memorized all my lines. i had only prepared to: 1 exclaim "happy halloween!" with something resembling enthusiasm while waiting interminably long for kindergartners to make the agonizing decision between a snickers and a milky way 2 glare menacingly at the greedy monsters attempting to take more than one candy bar at a time and 3 quickly dip back inside the foyer to grab an unwieldy snack sized bag of unsweetend diet popcorn should some pale, bubble-wrapped child require one due to his allergies. "they're just fun halloween teeth? you know, for fun!?" i groaned internally and silently wished for a meteor to strike the house.

apparently satisfied with that answer, i leaned against the door frame for support as ramses inspected nearly every piece of name brand, expensive candy i had to offer, longing for a simpler time, the olden days of nightclubs circa 2002: wedged in a corner away from the bar between a sexy cat and a sexy burn victim, my "costume" little more than a pair of devil horns worn with my regular clothes, drinking too many corpse revivers and el diablos way too quickly. it's not even eleven o'clock and already two (!!!) hilarious geniuses have asked if i'm benny the bull and since the knives in here are too dull to effectively cut my wrists open the long way i am choosing instead to attempt suicide the old fashioned way: listening to a hot dude who doesn't want to fuck me ask a bunch of questions about the friend i came here with.

after what felt like an eternity tutankhamun finally settled on a hershey bar, just as my arm started to go numb from the effort of patiently holding ten pounds of free candy aloft for a child i had never met to choose from. he reconsidered the teeth and reached in the bowl to snatch them back. i ushered him away from my goddamned house and noticed the candy line had stretched down the block. "all that time for a fucking hershey bar!?" i grumbled under my breath, seething in the direction of his hastily wrapped bandages as he trampled the flowers in the front yard. the teenage mutant ninja turtle next in line widened his eyes in a combination of awe and horror at hearing the f-word out of the mouth of a responsible adult. "sorry about that kid, he's picky," donatello (is that the orange one?) apologized on behalf of his friend xerxes. "and this isn't exactly the best candy." he shrugged before depositing three individual twix and a nestle crunch into his mother's reusable grocery sack. i was gobsmacked.

michelangelo (raphael?) wished me a perfunctory "happy halloween" as he hustled down the steps to meet up with the rest of his crew. imhotep turned to thank me for my disappointing offerings to the gods of all hallows eve and pointed to the jack o'lanterns rotting on the ledge in front of the house. "those are gross!" he called, waving festively, off to feast on the insecurities of the sensible mom handing out raisins and toothpaste and bibles next door. i dumped the candy out on the driveway then slammed the door in the crying face of a tiny little doc mcstuffins before shutting the blinds, turning off every light in the house, then dousing it in gasoline burning the whole thing to a smoldering ash. i sat in my good chair the dining room, face pressed to the window as the flames licked at my skin through my cheap, flammable clothing, scowling as 47-year-old trick or treaters fought with squirrels and raccoons over discounted novelty chocolate, their greedy eyes flashing in the towering firelight. 

living is a mistake, and so is buying a house. not having to think about halloween is one of the many primo benefits of living in an apartment. no having to fix my own toilet, and no having to rake myself over the emotional coals trying to figure out which bag of assorted candy i am too sophisticated to eat will be the most pleasing to the carloads of other people's goddamn kids banging on my fucking door begging for food to prevent them from throwing dog shit at my car. next year this crazy cat lady who never leaves the house is giving out apples. with razor blades.

Friday, October 14, 2016

i have a chinese symbol tattooed on my neck that doesn't mean what i thought it did.

look dude, i had no idea in 1998 that to give off some semblance of cool as an adult i would need to get a cubist rose tattooed on my barely discernible ribcage. in 1998 i had two pagers and one of those clear house phones that allowed you to see all the pink and red and blue wiring within. in 1998 i drove a maroon ford escort hatchback that i crashed in front of a strip mall while distractedly turning up the radio to better hear "the boy is mine." i knew in 1998 that pacey was the only reason on earth to ever watch dawson's creek, on regular CRT tv with an actual antenna. i had only tried three different types of cheese before 1998. in 1998 i didn't have a goddamned email address. so when, in 1998, i turned 18 years old and it officially became legal to carve intricate, lacy floral patterns and the names of my literary heroes into my supple young skin? i raced to the nearest tattoo parlor clutching my poetry journal to my bosom, ready to spend all $217 in my possession to have something deep and meaningful permanently inscribed into my flesh. JK I GOT A BUNCH OF TRIBAL TATTOOS AND SHIT LOL FUCK YOU.

i was in chicago last weekend for a book thing. and when i wasn't in my beautiful hotel room intermittently sobbing into the crisp white towels over how many delicious varieties of fried chicken were available within any one mile radius at virtually any time day or night, i was unfortunately outside of that hotel room being assaulted by other people's inane conversations. one night i was standing on the corner of halsted and randolph laughing at the idea that anyone would actually wait 2+ hours to eat a cheeseburger at au cheval when a handsome young man with two vibrant and colorful full sleeves adorning his pale, slender arms stumbled out of the restaurant, insulted that he was on the wait-for-a-text-list, griped "we can't get a seat at the bar but that guy with the cubs tattoo has a table!? let's go back to logan square, bro." (i might have taken some creative license with the last part of that sentence but whatever you know it's true.)

i could feel all the hair on my unironic mickey mouse/tweety bird/tazmanian devil tattoo stand on end. (i don't have any of those, but i know some bitches who do, and this is about solidarity.) everyone is a dumbass at 18. some people are still dumbasses at 32. it can't be helped. and sure, maybe i should've known that one day the olde english lettering spelling out ONE IRON DUKE on my right forearm would cause me deep and powerful shame at the hands of a style blogger with access to an american express card, but i fucking didn't. there were no smartphones back then, i couldn't just whip out my iphone and bring up the 10,000,000 pictures of the chinese symbol for "mother" available to me so that i wouldn't end up with the word "vagina" TATTOOED ON THE SIDE OF MY MOTHERFUCKING NECK FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE. so give us a goddamned break, kids. back then we still had to fucking use encyclopedias.

so this one's for all the homies getting tattooed in the early aughts who had neither access to 2500 real american dollars to get inked from shoulder to wrist with something cool enough to impress our future roller derby teammates nor the foresight to realize that tattooing "i want no one else to succeed" on her breastplate would force her to engage with so many hideous, mouthbreathing strangers. ugh my life is neverending misery. i should either wear a turtleneck every day or get cards made up that say "please don't make me take my headphones off, it's a quote from there will be blood, okay!?"

i'm here for all you girls with butterflies flapping gently above your ass cracks and what you were misled to believe are the japanese letters for "love" and "destiny" peeking out from under the hems of your jeans; and the bros with barbed wire circling biceps that no longer flex as hard as they used to and faded orange koi gasping for air atop flabby pectoral muscles that strain a little tighter against your old abercrombie polo shirts. yes, i have an inky black tribal "sun" tattooed over the ill-conceived initials on my inner left wrist of a grown man who put ketchup on a steak at ruth's chris one time before leaving a 10% tip and I WILL NO LONGER BE ASHAMED, friends. did that dude and i end up happily ever after? no! but at the time did my then-25 year old brain think that a person who made me a copy of his house key should be honored in return with a corner of real estate on my body!? you bet that ladybug tattoo on your ass i did.

i'm not hiding anymore, fam. some asshole at a reading a couple years ago was like, "lol japanese wave tattoo!?" and for a split second i felt stupid and almost apologetic but wait: HELLO, SON. I AM OLD. and while i hope that tiny hipster mustache etched permanently into the side of your finger remains au courant forever, i'm smart enough to know it won't and that you better start thinking up the cutesy story to explain it away at parties now. because in ten years when 3D face tattoos are the wave and the girls you're trying to bone are all, "ew...mustache?" you're going to feel this exact same shame and hopefully by that point my aquarius constellation tattoo and i will be cackling up at you from the ninth circle of hell.

a semi-exhaustive list of all my trash tattoos, which hopefully will make you feel marginally better about your own life choices:

1 my first ever tattoo was this garbage i got, inspired by my 1998 hero ani difranco, in the dead center of my chest. i had the cover of her spin magazine tacked to a square of cardboard hanging on my dorm room wall, and that tattoo seemed as fitting a tribute as any to let everyone know that i spent a lot of time in high school crying along to "not a pretty girl."

2 giant tribal flame on top of right forearm.

3 tribal flower with nearly illegible name of dead mother scribbled beneath, top of left forearm.

4 below that, some other tribal thing that this dude at jade dragon kept calling a spider as he was tattooing it on me. i'm not really that into bugs and twenty years later it lives on my arm and still creeps me the fuck out.

5 "one iron duke," in honor of dead father, in that running from your wrist to your elbow style that eminem has wow o wow is this humiliating.


7 "shut up" on right upper arm.

8 ugh my sister and i got these matching butterfly tattoos? which is weird because i don't think we even like each other enough to do that kind of thing, and i'm going to go on record and say that i had chosen mine first and was in the chair with my shirt off when she got hers. 

9 oh man i was deeply in love and got the initials of a non-fictional person on the inside of my wrist and totally didn't think it was a mistake.

9a happiness is a lie and love is fleeting as fuck. cover ups to the rescue.

10 i was never one to instill a whole lot of meaning into my tattoo choices (and i definitely did not give them a whole lot of thought?) but i couldn't resist getting a little something when i went with a friend and got that there will be blood quote written on my left boob in this font that looks like a child's handwriting. i think this is officially when i was like "let's just cover this bag of rotting meat with whatever who cares."

11 case in point: i got really, really into sons of anarchy and decided that i was going to get a bunch of biker tattoos? okay so the first is this black and white shaded reaper surrounded by smoke and waves, angrily wielding a sickle with blood oozing from it; 12 the second one is a freehand skull done with only shading needles. he's surrounded by stars and roses and has a serpent coiled throughout, with its tail coming out of the skull's mouth and its head slithering out of where his missing brain would be; and finally, 13 a screaming reaper with terrifying sharp teeth who is brandishing an incredibly detailed smoking pistol. these are all on my right arm, and i still stand by this decision. man, i love that show.

14 slowing down in my old age, i got the aquarius constellation because if you pretend you believe in astrology people tend to be less irritated by your idiotic decision-making. 

15 when i went to dump my dad's ashes i got a tattoo of the state of tennessee, mostly to remind myself that i drove from chicago to nashville in a rented camry in seven hours fueled only by lukewarm diet coke and the kind of adult contemporary playlist that would melt your mom's panties right off.

16 cursed, on my wrist. because duh.

i wish i was cool, man. but i feel like that ship sailed as soon as i decided to pick my first handful of tattoos from the drunk rugby player's handbook circa 1997. there's freedom in covering your body with nonsense, though. once you get one dumb piece of garbage, you can just do whatever the fuck you want! aim low! get all of the cartoon characters and insipid motivational quotes your body can handle! ALL TATTOOS ARE TRASH. "dream as if you'll live forever." *cluster of birds trailing over mole-speckled right shoulder*

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

bitches gotta read: the mothers.

this is such a good fall for books and i'm salty that this is such a good fall for tv too because how the fuck am i going to get it all consumed while also roasting squash for soup!? let's start with my boyfriend the tv: we're working on our problems and as part of our couples' therapy i had to finally learn how to work the DVR (i don't have a tivo anymore, you dicks who made fun of me for having a tivo last year) because 1 there are so many things on at the same time that i can't keep up with what i'm supposed to watch and when and 2 LIVING ON EAST COAST TIME IS THE GODDAMN WORST. listen dude, i like to go to bed at 9 o'clock. doing things when it's dark out makes me feel like i'm actually going to die. black-ish comes on 930 here are you kidding me. that feels like midnight to my old ass. and forget about the handful of shows i'd want to watch if i could maintain consciousness at 10. is that new kiefer sutherland show designated survivor any good? I'LL NEVER FUCKING KNOW. at least not in real time, unless i develop a coke habit. also, there's all this like, queen sugar and atlanta come on at the same fucking time: whose fault is that? who can we prosecute!? and let me disabuse you of the notion that i only watch quality television. i also have to find time for: the voice (i'm still catching up on the blind auditions), project runway, survivor (i am neither gen x nor millennial so i'm for real having a hard time picking a side based on age because everyone is terrible), every trash show that comes on bravo, and love and hip hop duh. wait but omg ALSO insecure and shark tank and secrets and lies (maybe?) and westworld and holy shit the affair is coming back next month and that is my favorite show goddamn i am having real anxiety over this.

how am i supposed to have time to read!? especially when instead of slicing vegetables for dinner prep i spend two hours watching episodes of america's next top model circa 2004? (toccara i love you) i'm too busy re-watching old shit to catch up on new shit and in the meantime my stack of reading material looms menacingly in the background. and then more good books keep coming out. i'm currently reading mr. splitfoot by samantha hunt, and it's good as hell and i really wanna savor it but then this beauty showed up on my doorstep and i was like BYE. except not really, because i'm trying to break the habit of kinda sorta reading six books at a time. then i read this article and then this other one and thought, "well, maybe...?" i mean, it's not like the other book is going anywhere, right!?

the rules
1 we are never going to meet in person. that would require a bra and zippered pants and probably an expensive uber and no one is doing that. you don't have to worry about gwen's dairy allergy or that janice doesn't like champagne. no cleaning the cat box or vacuuming the drapes or hiding the dirty laundry in the oven so your company doesn't realize what a huge slob you are. just you in your house glasses and gravy pants sobbing into your six pack of beer, the way john green intended. getting together with people you don't live next door to is hella stressful. plus, a bunch of old bitches sitting around talking about fictional teenage romance is lame. OR IS IT THO.
2 we are never going to discuss this, ever. i mean seriously. i'm going to derive pleasure from knowing that people i might possibly enjoy spending time with if i ever could bring myself to meet new people and i are falling asleep and drooling on the same book we'll probably never finish. maybe we'll talk about it on twitter or something. but even thinking about organizing that is a daunting task and i'm already exhausted. mariyam suggested making a facebook group, but is that dumb? the internet is so hard sometimes. (ETA: there is a group! it's called bitches gotta read! and it is full of rad people who aren't irritating! come find us!)
3 we are never going to shame each other about not reading the fucking book. this is the beauty of never having to meet or talk about it: i ain't gotta come up with "thoughtful questions" and you ain't gotta pretend to remember what happened at the end of chapter seven while a bunch of wine-drunk bitches you don't even like that much wait expectantly for your answer. i'll read the books for sure, but that's only in case i run into one of you at the bagel shop and you decide to ask how much the ending moved me.

brief internet synopsis:
It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old beauty. Mourning her own mother's recent suicide, she takes up with the local pastor's son. Luke Sheppard is twenty-one, a former football star whose injury has reduced him to waiting tables at a diner. They are young; it's not serious. But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance—and the subsequent cover-up—will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth. As Nadia hides her secret from everyone, including Aubrey, her God-fearing best friend, the years move quickly. Soon, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey are full-fledged adults and still living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer, caught in a love triangle they must carefully maneuver, and dogged by the constant, nagging question: What if they had chosen differently? The possibilities of the road not taken are a relentless haunt.

what is the official day when we can stop being expected to go outside? because listen, if it were up to me i would never be able to tell you what fresh air or sunshine feel like on my skin. but it isn't up to me, and mavis will come in from outside smelling like ethically-sourced, locally-grown produce to find me huddled in a dark room shrouded in sweaters (this hooded one from the gap is a particular fave) and sweetly ask, "hey! wanna get some air!?" to which i respond by hissing and retreating deeper into my corner, batting away the cobwebs i will eventually use as bookmarks. i'm not immune to the allure of a tree-lined stroll though, and occasionally i'll get tricked into believing that the sun can actually cheer me up, but then i remember happiness is a lie and this feeling is what antidepressants are made for and go back to peeking out the window once every couple of days just to make sure no one's stolen the propane grill off the deck. i need for it to hurry up and get cold so no one will look at me funny for being all pale and weak. i need get through this huge pile of books. and get those potatoes out of the oven.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

popular menstrual products: ranked.

i have been bleeding since april. HOW AM I EVEN STILL ALIVE. i don't ovulate normally and my periods have always been fairly irregular, so when she showed up at my door with a couple of suitcases instead of her typical weekend bag i didn't think too much of it. she'd paid me extensive visits before. "staying awhile?" i asked as she painfully dragged her heavy samsonite luggage over my endometrium. she kicked my left ovary in response, grunting as she shrugged out of her dark red coat. 

i went to LA in may and saw jon hamm eating toast on the sidewalk on my period. i got married on a lovely afternoon in the middle of june in a black dress, because i had my period. i packed my entire apartment and moved with my period, i fought that snake who lunged at me from under the garbage can on my period, I AM WRITING THIS BLOG RIGHT NOW ON MY FUCKING PERIOD.

i looked up my symptoms on the internet and decided that i definitely had endometrial cancer, and i made an appointment to have my gp do a pap smear before i left chicago and had to take my chances with a michigan farm veterinarian slash ladyparts doctor who would schedule my hysterectomy between a bovine c-section and an afternoon tractor pull. the pap came back normal and she suggested i get a bladder and transvaginal ultrasound, which consisted of a pleasant young woman making awkward small talk in a darkened room while sawing in and out of my uterus with what felt like a smooth, slim baseball bat. the verdict? basically normal. but the storm raged on, so i went to see a specialist. she took a bunch of biopsies that came back as an unspecified terminal illness that is in no way a result of improper care of this rotting meat carcass LOL JK THE BIOPSIES WERE NORMAL, TOO. wtf, uterus!?

the thing about never wanting to have a baby is that when my period was weird i was just like "meh" and didn't spend a whole lot of time thinking about it. i could have unprotected sex with dudes and never have to worry about fighting over the exorbitant cost of infant yoga class or the appropriate age at which the child was allowed to cook his own breakfast because mommy was "sleeping." (duh the answer is three, maybe two and a half if he was gifted.) 

i tried to get spayed before i left my old job but jim was adamant that my employee benefits didn't cover routine human health maintenance, so after i moved i found a doctor here with a brightly-lit office in a hospital and sterilized medical equipment. i had 1 a urine test whose official results were: VODKA, MOSTLY; 2 a vaginal culture, which didn't feel like much and was pretty useless but i got good pain meds afterward so fine; 3 yet another pelvic exam which consisted of much rearranging of my internal organs by a small gloved hand inserted deep inside my birth canal; and 4 yesterday, another incredibly thorough transvaginal ultrasound! and the bleeding continues. i'm currently doing a chemical d&c, which is exactly as horrifying as it sounds.

the diva cup $39.99, for one. listen dude, i have a subscription to bust. i own a lot of faded grey t-shirts with trees on them; a drawer full of threadbare cardigans that i bought new that intentionally look old and smell like the essential oils i insist upon moisturizing with; and a tiny collection of random, pointless vinyl records by twee singer-songwriter dudes like hayden: THE DIVA CUP WORKS WITH MY AESTHETIC, OKAY. mavis uses one and probably fertilizes the lawn with its contents every night while howling at the moon, so during the first couple weeks of my torrential internal downpour i thought, "yo, why not me?" HERE'S WHY NOT: after struggling for seven real minutes to make sure it was safely in, i spent the next hour and a half baby-stepping through my errands gripped with fear that it was going to shake loose and embarrass me in the middle of the goddamned grocery store. when i finally got home to check on it it was lodged sort of sideways and leaking into the backup pad i was smart enough to know i'd need. i'm using mine as a shot glass now.

seventh generation free and clear maxi pads with purefit flexible protection, $5.01 for 24. i'm trying to fit in here, i really am. i rinse all of the chemicals out of my diet coke cans before putting them in the recycling bin with the empty containers of chia seeds, i walk around smelling like an ox because everyone here makes their own food grade deodorant that smells like medicine and doesn't actually work, and the other night i tiptoed past the snakes and shit in the yard out to the garden behind our actual house and yanked some actual basil out of the actual dirt and used it in a homemade sauce that i was too exhausted to even eat after all that tromping around and digging. so i got some whole foods pads mostly to convince the woman at the checkout that i care about the planet despite not having brought a reusable cloth bag, and i learned the hard way that you should never give a shit about the environment if later that day you're going to be a passenger in a car with a beige interior.

always maxi overnight pads with 10 hour leakguard protection without wings, $5.47 for 28. ten hours is a long time, man. and i know that to be an accurate judge i should've tried to ride out a full season of house of cards with only a half-inch thick strip of weaponized cotton balls or whatever scientific shit they stuff these pads with between me and the couch, but that's gross. also i could practically wring one out after an hour, which is why my doctor wrote me an rx for ferralet and recommended i kill a cow on the way home from the ER and eat it raw because i was so anemic. come to think of it i might actually be dying.

poise ultimate absorbency overnight pads with odor neutralizer, $18.99 for 45. have you ever gone to costco and bought the, like, 700 pack of toilet paper? like, the biggest, unwieldiest package they sell? the size you have to use carabiners to tie to the roof of your car!? THAT IS WHAT THESE PADS ARE LIKE. the package is so large you have to bear hug it up to the register at the pharmacy. as if this nightmare life isn't terrible enough, you have to both deal with incontinence and have no discretion about it!? they make those cute little black boxes of tiny tampons for bitches with adorable menstrual cycles, but no such luck when blood is literally raining from your vagina. i'm the asshole that had to get a cart in the kind of store where people glare at you for having a cart because i needed to buy more than this one thing. i didn't even have a place to put them, i was up half the night googling "small space storage solutions" trying to figure out where to put my wee wee pads other than putting a lamp and all the books i'm pretending to read on it and tossing out my nightstand. i don't want to make you throw up (yes i do), so i'ma just say that these really are just meant for you to tinkle a little bit on. NOT GIVE BIRTH.

bounty duratowel cloth-like paper towels, $12.49 for 8 and a single calvin klein hand towel that i got at marshalls a few years ago, surprisingly cheap because the stitching is all messed up. prostrate atop a crimson tide and having left a damp circle of rust on every absorbent surface between chicago and detroit over the past few months, i found myself alone in the house with no car and not a single sanitary napkin. not even the emergency ones i stuffed in my backpack after i was sure the radiologist had dislodged my fallopian tube with her ultrasound probe. i first grabbed approximately 42 sheets of bounty, the quicker picker-upper, but because i didn't want to walk the store with my ass looking like a crime scene i decided to donate one of the hand towels that i've never used because i don't ever invite anyone over and folded it in the crotch of my underpants, then i used the paper towels to pad both the front and the rear in case there was any leakage from that garbage towel. i put on my sunglasses and bravely walked in that walgreens with my head held high, my sumo-sized midsection crunching and rustling with every step. it worked like a charm! i stood in the pantiliner aisle inconspicuously dabbing at my backside (on camera, in full view of all of the mirrors) and my hand came away clean every time! unfortunately, i've lived in a "we could just dry that out and use it again" house too long, and i would feel incredibly guilty wasting this much paper on something as small as my dignity. so i bought as many of the always as they had in stock and dragged them home in a wagon, stopping every few minutes to stuff some leaves down the back of my pants so i wouldn't ruin my shirt.

the bleeding has let up, thanks to some new drugs. plus i've stopped eating sugar and carbohydrates in an effort to fix my hormones, and you know what? i feel like i would rather just be dead! anyway, i can still have one ounce of steak a week. and dogs have finally stopped following me around the park when i go outside to "exercise."

Saturday, September 3, 2016

bitches gotta read: georgia peaches and other forbidden fruit.

i've read a lot of books this summer. although you wouldn't know it from the infrequency of my book club selections, because i am either 1 reading trash i don't want anyone to know about or 2 see previous answer. kids are going back to school so i figure this is as good a time as any to get back into reading the books frustrated teachers are going to take away from them in class when they should be focused on learning the constitution. (do they even still teach that!?)

the rules
1 we are never going to meet in person. that would require a bra and zippered pants and probably an expensive uber and no one is doing that that. you don't have to worry about monica's dairy allergy or that gladys doesn't like malbec. no cleaning the cat box or vacuuming the drapes or hiding the dirty laundry in the oven so your company doesn't realize what a huge slob you are. just you in your house glasses and gravy pants sobbing into your six pack of beer, the way john green intended. getting together with people you don't live next door to is hella stressful. plus, a bunch of old bitches sitting around talking about fictional teenage romance is lame. OR IS IT THO.
2 we are never going to discuss this, ever. i mean seriously. i'm going to derive pleasure from knowing that people i might possibly enjoy spending time with if i ever could bring myself to meet new people and i are falling asleep and drooling on the same book we'll probably never finish. maybe we'll talk about it on twitter or something. but even thinking about organizing that is a daunting task and i'm already exhausted. mariyam suggested making a facebook group, but is that dumb? the internet is so hard sometimes. (ETA: there is a group! it's called bitches gotta read! and it is full of rad people who aren't irritating! come find us!)
3 we are never going to shame each other about not reading the fucking book. this is the beauty of never having to meet or talk about it: i ain't gotta come up with "thoughtful questions" and you ain't gotta pretend to remember what happened at the end of chapter seven while a bunch of wine-drunk bitches you don't even like that much wait expectantly for your answer. i'll read the books for sure, but that's only in case i run into one of you at the bagel shop and you decide to ask how much the ending moved me.

brief internet synopsis:
Joanna Gordon has been out and proud for years, but when her popular radio evangelist father remarries and decides to move all three of them from Atlanta to the more conservative Rome, Georgia, he asks Jo to do the impossible: to lie low for the rest of her senior year. And Jo reluctantly agrees. Although it is (mostly) much easier for Jo to fit in as a straight girl, things get complicated when she meets Mary Carlson, the oh-so-tempting sister of her new friend at school. But Jo couldn’t possibly think of breaking her promise to her dad. Even if she’s starting to fall for the girl. Even if there’s a chance Mary Carlson might be interested in her, too. Right?

i'm supposed to be finishing some essays for my new book and working on a thing for tv (!!!) but all these IF YOU DON'T READ THESE NEW FALL BOOKS YOU WILL DIE lists are coming out and there are so many i'm looking forward to (brit bennett! zadie smith!) that my procrastination and i can hardly contain ourselves. i just read dark matter by blake crouch and it was a jam, even though i don't know shit about physics and don't usually read sci fi. full disclosure: i subscribe to book of the month and i never remember to select which book i want from the monthly list and i usually end up with something i never would have picked. so far being a forgetful jackass has been a 10/10 strategy and i've read some really good shit, maybe it will start to work magic in other parts of my life. like catching up on my book pile by accidentally not remembering to do some other important thing. 
on deck:
problems by jade sharma.
homegoing by yaa gyasi.
mr. splitfoot by samantha hunt.
you will know me by megan abbott.
underground railroad by colson whitehead.
against the country by ben metcalf.
heroes of the frontier by dave eggers.
the nix by nathan hill.
behold the dreamers by imbolo mbue.
my armpits are sweaty just thinking about getting through all these before other good stuff starts rolling out at the end of the month, especially since my boyfriend, television, asked if we could get back together after the summer break we took to "discover ourselves." and i know it's wrong, i know he's done me dirty before, but how can i resist him? especially since our eight-week fling during the night of was so hot!? i know he's garbage but he promised to be better to me this time, he's even giving me donald glover in atlanta to prove it. brb deleting all the wesley crusher-centric episodes of star trek: tng off my dvr to make room.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

helen died.

she's been gone for a whole week and i still listen for her. grumbling while hauling her bulk up the stairs, panting in the dark next to the bed in an attempt to get me up and into the kitchen to put seven diet kibbles in her bowl, mocking me under her breath as i attempt to make vegan posole ("what is the point of living if that's what you're eating to stay alive"), the sawing of the nail file as she shapes her claws into tiny razors.

when i sent helen to test out michigan prior to my arrival i didn't miss her even a little bit. finally, i could luxuriate in informercial jeans with an elastic waistband without fear of judgment from the fetid hellspawn grooming her privates atop my pillow! i wouldn't have to lock myself in the bathroom to enjoy a six packs of beers and slab of ribs that i'd otherwise have to guard with my life as she plotted a way to take them from me! WHAT BLISS. i got a picture every few days of her in her new home doing something awful (glaring at a bird, hissing at some actor on television, breathing) and smile thinking about how i no longer risked waking up to her tiny paws desperately gripping my throat.

ken's neighbor found her when she was only a few weeks old, a slimy and disgusting ball of hair and worms that was barely clinging to life, and i hated her guts from the minute i laid eyes on her. she hissed at me when she was still too young to open her eyes, sank her little needle fangs into my jugular (in a vain attempt to kill me) before she even had the motor skills to walk across the cage. i only took her home because i never thought she'd make it a week, let alone last long enough to have a significant impact on my finances and serenity, and i'm pretty confident she only grudgingly packed her suitcase and came with me because she overheard me talking about how often i order chinese food. neither of us planned for this to be much more than a one night stand. she had a chronic, incurable upper respiratory infection and the personality of old shoes, but she was funny and refused to die and i respected her tenacity. plus i couldn't euthanize her without all the bitches at my job judging me. that jerk ended up puking and sneezing all over my shit for almost nine years.

it feels weird writing about my little dead homie after sitting at the emergency vet in the wee hours of last wednesday morning, alone and rolling my crying eyes at the unqualified mansplainer in the waiting room yelling at a helpless receptionist about phenobarbital, trying to decide whether or not having the techs make a paw print would humiliate her in the afterlife. so instead of confronting my vulnerable feelings about grief and loss head on and unpacking them in an unhealthy way without a therapist, i instead found a template for a eulogy on the internet and madlibbed our info into it in the hopes it conveys how deeply sad i am. about an awful cat who mostly hated me.

we are gathered today to remember the life of the worst cat on the planet. my beloved companion animal friend, helen keller, was a marginally sufficient substitute for romantic human love for many years. she was mostly loved by me, her owner + daily tormentor; many strangers on the internet; and approximately 137 homeless feline siblings born near o'hare airport before her mother was eventually caught and spayed and rendered unable to continue filling the streets with her demonic progeny.

although she came from simple beginnings, helen worked her way through my nerves and had a long, successful career stealing chicken wings off my plate and trying to escape my apartment with various maintenance men and food delivery drivers. hard work and determination characterized this dreadful and hate-filled piece of actual garbage.

she was born to a flea-ridden stray gray tabby and [father unknown] in an abandoned garage in chicago. it was a shitty, overcast day (probably?) in september 2009. a neighborhood girl recorded in her diary that all of their relatives and neighbors from the surrounding sensible bungalows and single family ranch-style homes had gathered to greet the baby hellion. perhaps as her father and mother looked over the first sproutlings and blossoms of springtime, they were reminded of the life and growth awaiting their new nightmare with teeth.

her childhood is best described as both humble and wondrous: while her adopted mother got by on what meager money i made from being continuously belittled in a grueling customer service job every day, young helen ripped holes in the bed linens and vomited in my shoes. an avid malcontent, i helped the young albatross i'd been saddled with learn the hard work and dedication it takes to be an unrelenting asshole. the time we spent in mutual dislike for one another cultivated a love for mindless emotional eating and antisocial indoor activities that would stay with helen for her entire life.

at the time of the tragic neurological episode that took her life, helen was a sickly, angry 56 in cat years old. unlike many cats her age, who are sweet and smart or cuddly and adorable, helen was awful and judgmental and not worth the expensive-ass pine litter i had to buy for her. throughout her life she cherished two major things: her filtered water pitcher and the burn book in which we documented the various transgressions mounted against us by our enemies.

i loved helen as much as is healthy for a 36 year old woman with no children and will miss her kind of a lot but hopefully not so much that it creeps anyone out. helen's lifetime of excessive flatulence and pointed disdain for decency and manners serve as a monument to the exemplary cat she was. her lack of humility, integrity, and hard work continue to inspire those who knew her.

i worked with animals long enough to know what a relief it can be when a sick pet dies. shuffle off this mortal coil and take the antibiotics you bit me 137 times while administering them to your ungrateful ass with you. everyone's being really nice to me and trust me, i am definitely trying to milk as much goodwill as i possibly can out of my friends, but i also found a pair of tom ford frames that old girl had dragged to the crawlspace she liked to plot crimes in and had obviously been chewing on prior to her demise, and you're cool and everything helen but not designer eyewear cool. and now i can finally cop some new furniture without having to seriously contemplate what color couch will hide dagger marks and best coordinate with "blood-tinged cat mucus." but who even cares about any of that if helen isn't around to physically attack me for deigning to sit on it. or to growl menacingly at shadows. or to eat the carcass of a spoiled honeybaked ham that I WAS PLANNING ON EATING, YOU SAVAGE. man, i'm gonna miss her. pour some gravy out for the hardest bitch to ever do it.

Friday, August 12, 2016

yep, i still hate weather.

i moved last weekend. out of my dangerous neighborhood, out of my slightly below average quality crib, out of the state of my birth. i am a central time zone girl to my core: i like my potatoes with meat, my winters ominous and tundra-like, and my late local news promptly at 10pm. other than a brief and unsuccessful attempt at college in the late 90s, i have never lived anywhere other than the city of chicago and the bracketed suburbs to its north. not only that, but until last saturday i lived in the same apartment since 2005. TWO THOUSAND FIVE, MY DUDE. george w. bush was still smirking uncomfortably through his second term, michael jackson was still alive and moonwalking, and i was still making actual phone calls on a knockoff razr homeboy at radio shack swore looked just like the real thing. i was 25 years old the day i wheeled that granny cart filled with books over the freshly-installed threshold. i knew it was home depot fresh because when she showed the place to me the landlord let it slip that the previous tenant had died in there surrounded by half a dozen cats. as we stepped over window fixtures and ripped up teal kitchen tiles circa 1973, she told me to "use my imagination" but i was like "i don't give a shit what the backsplash is made of or who got murdered in here, the rent is five hundred eighty-what now!?"

i'd had lots of apartments prior to it but this was my first real live grownup crib. no terrifying craigslist roommate, no ill-advised spare closet with a bed shoved in it in some shady boarding house, no living out of a backpack while sleeping in my high school friends' old bedrooms: HAND ME MY CHECKBOOK, I AM PURCHASING WINDOW TREATMENTS. i got all the shit an adult-type person needs to have in their crib so they never have to leave it: a toaster that can hold four (four!!!) slices of bread, lightning-speed internet and cable television with premium channels, toilet paper that won't leave microscopic cuts all over your asshole every time you use it. i loved my place. and it didn't matter that i rarely invited anyone in to see all of the things i wasted money on at cb2, it was still dope. and i never had to worry about things like "grout" or "energy efficient appliances."

i was thinking that mavis and i could maybe pioneer a new type of marriage situation some relationship expert would eventually dissect in the new yorker, the kind of marriage where she could continue to hang laundry on a line and churn her own butter in rural michigan while i spent the days counting down to my early death in my dark, refrigerated apartment in chicago scowling out of my peep hole at my neighbors who made too much noise getting their groceries off the elevator. she could keep withering under the blazing sun while picking her own blueberries to make jam and knitting socks to sell at the christmas bazaar while i ordered $17 cocktails at rooftop bars waited four hour for a table at fat rice, and we'd meet up occasionally to talk about married stuff (uh, property taxes? which big box retailer has the best deal on economy-sized containers of soup!?) and pretend we're still interested in having sex. sounds like a dream, right. but oh no fam, apparently marriage involves a little thing called compromise, a concept of which i'd been previously unaware, which for her meant having to wake up to a framed photo of ice cube on her bedroom wall but for me meant GIVING UP EVERYTHING I EVER LOVED.

i've spent such a long time living my old life that instead of being excited at the prospect of this new one i'm almost paralyzed with fear. i've lived in the same hood for twenty years and worked at the same job for fifteen. WHO AM I EVEN WITHOUT THESE HALLMARKS. i have a very limited set of life skills:
-working in one specific dog hospital.
-navigating the best side streets to get home from work in under 7 minutes.
-somehow always having clean underwear in a building that has 60 units and only 3 washing machines.

-maximizing the free drink wristband.
-ignoring panhandlers on the train without getting murdered.
-spotting a com ed disconnect notice with one eye closed from the back of the envelope.

-knowing when to go to big star if i actually want a seat.
-stretching the last of the dish soap because i keep forgetting to buy more.
-tricking racist cab drivers into picking my black ass up.
-turning a box of triscuits and some margarine into "dinner."

how is any of that going to translate to living in a place that has: roving deer who will just walk right into your yard but doesn't have: streetlights!? i get nervous being places that are too dark. remember last time i let this hoe coax me out into the wilderness for her amusement? the time i drove a rented minivan with new mexico plates into the woods on unpaved roads and my gps was like LOL YEAH RIGHT BITCH and i almost hit a cow!? this is kind of like that, except i live here now. gas is 37 cents a gallon. you can buy shoes at the grocery store. the farmers market is full of actual farmers instead of bearded hipsters in distressed flannel bloviating at you about peak asparagus season. i am living in a literal nightmare.

a week ago i was on the front lawn trying to estimate whether or not i would survive the fall (i hope not) if i jumped off the roof and a man walking his dog actually stopped to talk to me. i was flabbergasted. i just stood there, mute, staring at his mouth and wondering what the fuck was going on. he encouraged me to touch the dog (LOL SORRY CHLOE BUT NAH) and attempted some pleasant conversation about the weather (hot, muggy, unremarkable) before extending his hand and welcoming me to the neighborhood. WHAT. WHY. how did he know i was new? could he smell the lingering stench of unreliable public transportation on me? could he see in my eyes that i couldn't really tell the difference between a cucumber and a zucchini without cutting it open? did he register my smooth, uncalloused hands and instinctively know i had never driven a tractor!? what kind of sorcery is this? HOW DID THIS RETIRED MIDDLE SCHOOL PRINCIPAL KNOW MY SECRETS.

you know what i miss most about chicago!? overpriced appetizers? yes. the african scented oil dude at the morse train station? double yes. being able to get practically anything delivered on any day at any time by someone muscular and attractive!? yes yes a thousand times yes! but what i miss most is the anonymity. sure the barista at starbucks knew to get my black iced tea started the minute i hit the line, but he never got weird about it. we didn't have to, like, talk about it. i was at the doctor and this woman asked me to remove my headphones to ask what i was listening to (why not inquire about the state of my bloodwork since we're being sociable), so i told her. which prompted a follow up question about who beach house is and what kind of music they make and how many albums they have and how did i hear about them and yo i really want to blow your mind ma'am but i'm just here trying to get a pap smear and brood to some moody jams.

i hate nature. birds are terrifying flying rats and the sun will fry you and give you cancer and large bodies of water are made up of mostly garbage and human excrement. THIS IS WHY I AM AN INSIDE PERSON. everything here is dangerous and/or irritating: mosquitos the size of a fist biting me through my sweater (i will never change) and leaving itchy egg-sized welts in their wake; loud-ass frogs in our backyard pond with their deafening croaks all goddamned night; bats hysterically flapping their leathery wings while trapped in the woodstove; the maniacal squirrels aloft in the branches over the deck hurling walnuts at our heads as we mind our human business grilling farmstand corn for lunch. sick raccoons falling out of our trees, fat groundhogs busting through the fence to eat the okra and tomatoes i refuse to help harvest, field mice in the basement that the young cats disembowel in the middle of the dining room at dawn. americana horror story.

yesterday i was trying to be a contributing member of this household so, after watching the garbagemen wave to children on the street while hoisting bags of trash that belonged neither in the recycling (kill me) nor in the compost (kill me harder), i put on my sunglasses and went outside to drag the garbage can up the driveway to its proper place beside the house. i checked to make sure no one was close enough to ask "aren't you hot?" while nodding at my full pants and long sleeves, and started up the driveway, when all of a sudden a snake shot out from under the can and flicked its forked tongue at me. we stood in a standoff for several seconds as i decided what to do. should i:
1 scream, thus inviting intervention from some neighbor whose name i don't wanna know,
2 throw the garbage can to the ground in an effort to distract it and try to beat it to the house, whose door i left sitting wide open, or

"are you poisonous?" i asked voldemort, pushing up my sleeve and offering my supple city wrists to his waiting fangs. "because i cannot live like this and if you kill me i can sail guilt-free right into heaven." helen appeared on the steps, eating from a bag of organic popping corn she'd made on the stove because that's how we do things here (sobs) and he spotted her then quickly slid up the driveway along the side of the house, the same place i needed to go. ordinarily i would be like FUCK THIS TRASH CAN and lock myself in the house but i know there's some old lady across the street peeking through her curtains just waiting to call andy griffith to report that the uppity new colored girl on the block who likes to go to restaurants that take ~reservations~ left her trash can in the middle of the sidewalk, so i screamed a few expletives in my mind and tiptoed up the drive lugging that mobile snake shelter behind me. i spotted him slithering toward the hose and sighed in relief that i'd remembered to include the "i will never water plants" clause in our prenup. he stared at me, i stared back at him, then the mailman clomped up on his horse and buggy, scaring the daylights out of us both.

i don't know how i'm going to survive here. i mean, i'm a nice person and everything but talking to friendly people is excruciating. especially when they don't hate the same things you hate, like talking to people. and living in a place where people just roll up uninvited and knock on your door even though you aren't fully awake and don't yet have on a bra is straight up terrorism, especially when they can look through the front window and see that yes, you are home. this happened a couple days ago and i just shrugged at dude like "yeah i know but i can't" until he got frustrated and left, and now i have to die without knowing about whatever gun lobby legislation or anti-abortion group he was shilling for. i thought my old place was cursed because the ceiling fell in twice and one time my neighbor's water started bubbling up from my sink, but here i gotta worry about snakes coming up out of the toilet and biting my tongue and smiling while chloe shits all over my front lawn. i have to worry about having a goddamned lawn! i'm sure that in time i will get accustomed to it, or maybe i'll just renew my lease so i have a place to stay when i need to go to a bar that doesn't play hair metal all night. or when i miss the ghosts of all those dead cats.