SPEAKING OF FIREMEN, thursday was supposed to be a big day for me, right? hot date and impending trip to the promised land? RIGHT. i left work a touch less miserable than i typically do, with a limited-mobility skip in my step, and got home fast as hell because i was supposed to meet this hot dude for a beer AND i was going to pack all my black t-shirts for my trip. exciting shit. so i live in this pretty decent old mid-rise, and my apartment is a standard-issue chicago northside rental: hardwood floors, hissing radiator heat, and enough layers of thick white paint to choke a farm animal. my building has the added amenity of not one but TWO functioning elevators, and anyone who's carried a shitload of groceries and fucking cat litter up to a third or fourth floor walk-up knows just how amazing those two little words can be when looking for a new place to live. i don't mind stairs, especially if i don't have a choice, but stairs are the very reason i started letting peapod deliver me seven cans of soup and a case of diet coke a few years ago. it was always my worst fucking nightmare for one of my neighbors to open their door while i was in the midst of carrying more than one grocery bag up 150 fucking stairs. the day i met nina she found me panting in a cold sweat on the landing between her apartment and mine trying to drag a bunch of steadily ripping whole foods bags up four flights of stairs. i couldn't even properly introduce myself, i just stood there rubbing the cramp in my midsection and trying not to dry heave. anyway, the elevator options in my building are two different kinds: "scary" and "scarier." scary has a heavy metal door that opens outward toward you with a handle you pull. then there is a metal gate that you slide open. the inside is tiled, including the ceiling, from which shines a soft fluorescent light. scarier is a large service elevator that is equipped with a heavier metal door that has grooves into which you are supposed to insert your fingers and slide to the left before you step inside into what might as well be an oversized dog crate. the walls are all scratched up from bitches' futons and bookcases and ikea couches and shit, and a bare incandescent lightbulb hangs from the ceiling. TERRIFYING. my apartment is on the other side of scarier, tucked between it and its salty cousin fire escape, and now you know why my paranoid ass sleeps with a hunting knife in the bed.
anyway, after collecting the hospital billing envelopes and dress barn sale flyers disguised as my mail i walked past scary and noticed that she was waiting patiently for me on the first floor. usually that bad girl is sitting on six, and i could run up and down the stairs five times in the time that lazy bitch takes to make it all the way down to one (old piece of garbage), so i always walk right past it and jump on scarier. but i took the fact that it was sitting there as a sign that the sun was FINALLY shining on this dog's ass. plus i had to take a shit. so i opened the door, yanked back the creaking gate, got in and pressed the button for the third floor. i was skimming the crate and barrel catalog thinking about just how much i could use a $200 cuisinart slow cooker when i realized it was taking waaaaay longer than usual to get to my floor. i glanced at the display, and although the elevator was creeping upward, the display still read ONE. i immediately broke into a sweat and pressed the button for every goddamned floor in the building, and scary responded by grinding to a screeching halt. between floors. here's the deal: the doors that open out into every floor remain locked until the elevator arrives (COMPLETELY) at that particular landing. if, by chance, you arrive at floor five and a half, as i did, even though you can slide open the gate and pound helplessly at the door, you will NEVER EVER EVER be able to open it from inside. even if you are eye level with the floor above you and can hear two people having a ridiculously stupid conversation a mere foot or three away from you, as i did, you won't be able to push the door hard enough to interrupt whatever dumb shit they're talking about. i guess that's not technically true, since i did hear one say to the other "what the fuck is that banging? it's really bothering me," while i screamed for them to help. i pressed the call button, connecting me to this transparently irritated latina (come on, you can TELL) who was probably sexting her boyfriend and drawing on her eyebrows at the time and i had the nerve to interrupt that important transaction with my petty need to be oh, i don't know, RESCUED.she took my dyyyying cell phone number (huh? why?) and promised to send help as soon as her nails dried. by this point i had perspired my way through two layers of clothing and was standing there in my thin base layer no other human being gets to see. seriously, sweat was pouring down my face in rivulets and pooling at the small of my back. and i was so hot and anxious i thought i might vomit, which might have been good considering that the shit i'd had to take had somehow miraculously reabsorbed into my body the second the elevator stopped. my phone rang a few minutes later, and a dude who sounded like he'd just been woken from fucking hibernation was heavy-breathing into my ear. "so you got some troubles with your elevator there?" he grunted. "you need some maintenance or something?" goddamn that chola bitch. "NO," i said, trying in vain to sound calm, "I AM TRAPPED INSIDE." sensing my impending hysteria, he made his vocal tones all soothing-like. "ma'am, please don't panic." "I'M TRAPPED IN AN ELEVATOR THE SIZE OF A SHOE BOX AND I THINK I'M GOING TO THROW UP." i fucking hate my terrified voice. it is easily ten octaves higher than my normal speaking timbre and i sound like some sort of possessed child. fucking awful. "well i think i can get out to you in a couple hours." i started trying to mentally calculate the number of minutes i could withstand before i had to remove my pants and shit in my bag. "I'M GOING TO CALL THE FIRE DEPARTMENT. THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP." forty-five minutes after i stepped into that rattling death trap i heard the sound of multiple fire trucks blaring down my street. i had no idea what to expect, or what i might be asked to do to get myself free. i listened to heavy boots pounding up and down the stairs, shivering in the corner like fucking anne frank, as they opened every door and shouted into the elevator shaft to try and follow my voice to figure out where i was. after what felt like an eternity the door above me opened, and the oldest fireman i've ever seen was standing there grinning at me and dangling the key. on television, rescues look all heartwarming and heroic; everyone is happy and smiling and hugging and all the rescuers are muscular and sexy. damn near makes you want to fall down a well, doesn't it? pffft. in REAL LIFE rescues are GODDAMNED AWFUL. the CFD B-team came to get me, a bunch of old fat dudes who i would pay good money to see scale the side of a burning building to rescue someone trapped inside. the only hot one looked young enough to be my son, and he had girl wrists that i was too terrified of crushing to grab a hold of. and before you fix your brain on the mental image of some gross dudes wedging me out of a hole not big enough to accomodate my EGO, you should know that i fucking rescued myself. i tossed my bag to one of the dudes and climbed my crippled ass out. take that, arthritis.
i am incredibly particular about SO MANY FUCKING THINGS, and most of them are 100% unreasonable. which is why i am an exhausting person to have in your life sometimes. for instance, i like to sit in the very top row at the very end in the movie theater. now my preferences are never without merit; i like to sit there 1 because i refuse to listen to the running commentary of stupid assholes sitting behind me and 2 because i have diarrhea all the fucking time and i am NOT squeezing past 700 people because my dumb ass decided to sit in the middle seat in the middle row after eating a small bag of popcorn with radioactive butter. a lot of my particulars are based on shit like this and really are a service to anyone i might fucking inconvenience. i'm thoughtful in that way. what a peach. anyway, BECAUSE i have all these crazy rules, i do what i have to to make sure i get what i want. like arriving forty minutes early at the theater even though i bought my ticket online. because it is important to me to get what i need. so if i have to sit on the floor reading while the clean up crew sweeps up popcorn and milk duds that have welded themselves into the floor, that's what i'll do. i'll leave a concert before the first encore to avoid the crowd. i'll go to brunch at seven am and dinner at 11 pm if it means i don't have to sit next to your drooling grandfather or your teething baby. I WILL ACCOMODATE MYSELF. which means i will also pay ten dollars extra per flight for early bird check-in, thus allowing that i will automatically be in the first wave of people who board the plane so that i have a better chance of getting my chosen seat. the trip out to SD was fucking PERFECT; i got a good seat and sat next to a hilarious couple who didn't bother me too much and drank vodka the entire flight. my trip home was looking pretty good, too: rain clouds had parted, i spent the morning watching pelicans out on the sunset cliffs with nina and izzy, i narrowly avoided missing the flight, my belly was full of hot chilaquiles, what could possibly go wrong? so i'm sitting there organizing all of my in-flight essentials in the seatback pocket in front of me (two ipods, water bottle, dried banana chips, new issue of entertainment weekly, airport copy of the girl with the dragon tattoo) when i notice the plane is nearly full. except for the two seats beside me. a few minutes later i'm checking my email on my phone when i feel a shadow hovering over me and look up. there is a white woman standing there, baby on her hip, husband by her side, making the "excuse me, miss" face. before i can say a word she motions for me to pull my earbud out of my ear (fuck EVERYONE who does that, BLARF) and when i do she says, "we would all like to sit together." not a question, a STATEMENT. now i don't know if you know this about me, but i'm a really nice person most of the goddamned time, and my knee-jerk reaction was to think i'd done something wrong and start packing my shit. BUT WAIT. put that ipod down, samantha! southwest doesn't assign seats, hence the EXTRA MONEY I PAID FOR MY MOTHERFUCKING PLANE TICKET, therefore it was impossible that i was sitting in someone else's seat. she pushed the kid, less than a year old i'm guessing, toward me like a threat. i looked quizzically at the woman and motioned to the two seats beside me. "there you go," i said. she rolled her eyes at me. "the BABY has a TICKET," she shot back. "and SHE would like to sit with both ME and her DADDY." i wish i was exaggerating. without so much as a please or a thank you this self-centered cunt bitch was expecting me to give up my seat for her worthless brat just because she happens to exist? YEAH FUCKING RIGHT. i rosa parked my ass back in my fucking seat.
if you have a baby it's either because you planned to have one or you were too fucking broke or stupid to get a goddamned abortion. babies aren't like cancer, you don't just wake up one day with a tickle in your belly and find out it's a tumorbaby. and even if you did you could cross your fingers and radiate that little sucker to within an inch of its life in the hopes that he goes away and never comes back to fuck up your good time again. you have sex without condoms or neglect taking your birth control or spend tens of thousands of dollars on fancy fertility treatments and shit. it's not a genetic malfunction that finally caught up with your otherwise healthy ass, nor is it an accident that happened to you. that screaming ball of need was OPTIONAL. and NOT MY FAULT. babies are the ONLY personal choice for which people other than the CHOOSER (and in some cases perfect fucking strangers!) are expected to concede and/or accomodate. even though i, who has not chosen to do anything more strenuous than drink myself sick and tell dirty jokes, PLANNED my trip to suit my requirements and PAID extra money for a little bit of reassurance, am supposed to inconvenience myself and get up from where i've settled and sit where i don't want to because YOU had a fucking BABY? wrong. for those of you who think i'm an asshole, after you go kill yourselves consider this: i get on an incredibly full train downtown at RUSH HOUR, toppling over with shopping bags. it's winter, so i'm wearing a coat, AND i have on a backpack. and big boots. i pay the same $2.25 to get on the train that you did, or maybe even less because i still have a U-Pass from when i was enrolled in community college. smirk. i shove my way into the train at the last possible second, ramming into innocent bystanders and forcing people to help pick up the bags that i drop along the way. there is an open seat next to someone and i PUSH my way through the masses to get to it, only to stand there pouting at the occupant of the connected seat. when he questions me with his eyes my response is to exaggeratedly roll mine, dramatically sigh AS LOUD AS I CAN, then to point to my shopping bag and cottage cheese ass. "um, i would LIKE to put my ass in one and a half SEATS and use the rest of the space for my BAGS." then i stand there expectantly, waiting for him to pack his shit up and fucking move. if that were a real scenario, you would call me a fat bitch who should have eaten less or exercised more or not gone shopping or gone at a less busy time or taken a cab or called a friend or used a zip car or bought my own car or jumped off a fucking cliff because that is 100% INCONCEIVABLE, UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR. but if my fat roll came from the baby whose stroller i'm jamming into your big toe that would somehow make it okay? yeah, i'm sure.
i love pissing contests. i really do. and i'm a salty piece of shit BITCH. especially when challenged or provoked. nothing warms my cold, dead heart more than pulling my big hairy dick out and measuring it against some inferior opponent's. so i sat there as this broad with congealed graham cracker crumbs drying in her hair stood there and tried to look menacing. when that tough guy act didn't work she resorted to fake niceness. "what if i begged?" she asked, all saccharine sweetness and light. why is it that regular humans think that subjugating themselves to BEG you for something is anything other than embarrassing? i would rather be shot in the face than beg for someone to give me something. are you fucking kidding? why does no one EVER say, "i'll give you a HUNDRED DOLLARS to inconvenience yourself for my benefit?" maybe it's because i come from a family of criminals and have seen casino too many fucking times, but when i want something unreasonable i usually ask for it with my WALLET. no one wants to hear you begging unless you're on your knees naked in front of him. anything other than that is downright INSULTING. anyway, begging doesn't wet my panties unless it's coming from a mouth connected to a hot, veiny penis. i didn't say anything, just kept staring straight ahead (remember: i keep my sunglasses on when i fly, because I CONSIDER MYSELF A CELEBRITY). then she changed tack and decided to plead her case to the flight attendant, who gave her the "bitch, please" face and continued to busy himself organizing his ritz bits with cheese. reluctantly she cut the umbilical cord between the choice and the husband and flopped down with choice in the seats next to mine, leaving him to suffer for a whole four hours not within sight of his screaming, writhing, fussing, flopping, squirming little choice. SIGH. i don't believe in passive aggressive, especially because i work in the suburbs and deal with it on a daily basis. as much as i hate black people, WHITE PEOPLE have the market on passive aggression fucking CORNERED, man. i've been in the presence of too many bitches saying shitty things to their chihuahuas that they're too moist and timid to say to my black ass ("i don't know why you have to wait so long, bruiser. they must not care about sick little doggies!"), and when this whore turned to the CHILD THAT HAS THE COGNITIVE ABILITY OF YOUR AVERAGE HOUSE FLY and said, "i don't know why she won't let you sit with your daddy, honey. i know how much you want to" i almost fucking DIED. so this is somehow my fault. i am the wicked witch of flight 1638 because what? because i paid more and chose the seat i wanted and quietly sat there waiting for takeoff? oh, TOTALLY. i sat there patiently listening to this bitch talk shit in the guise of comforting her crestfallen offspring (who, i might add, seemed to not give a FUCK that her dad was a mere ten rows north of ours) until i could no longer take it. "you are being INCREDIBLY unreasonable," i said politely. she made a weird huffing noise and turned to me exasperatedly. "well, i have a BABY." and then came the words that made a hush fall over the entire cabin. "FUCK YOUR STUPID BABY."
i don't give a shit about saying things like that to people. i really don't mind destroying someone with the most awful thing you could ever think to say to him. especially clueless fucking assholes who CLEARLY don't give a fuck about ME. she didn't ask why i wouldn't move (crippling anxiety? the need to be blown to smithereens upon impact in case of a fiery crash?), she just assumed that her choice was more important than anything i could possibly have going on. interesting. what do i get for choosing NOT to give birth to a baby? is there any special consideration given to me and my single ass because of all of the things i don't fucking need, like making room to set up a play pen when i drop by your house unexpectedly or asking you to give me the PG version of your date last night because my son's young ears might be listening? if i were flying with a child who needed to be nestled between me and whatever vagrant i could find to impregnate me, i would book a flight on UNITED or AMERICAN or any other airline that could assign us a clustered group of seats. you know what? no, i fucking wouldn't. because people who fly with babies are ASSHOLES. but if it were an emergency and the only money i could come up with to pay for a plane ticket had to be gathered from between the cushions of my couch, i would fly southwest and check in early and be at the gate an hour before i needed to. so that my choice and i could choose where we wanted to sit in peace. and i don't hate all babies, nor do i hate all parents. i just hate the ones that force me to interact with their screaming little snotbags against my will and expect me to give up swearing in public or sitting where the fuck i want to because THEY had a BABY. and let's get the race war started, because nine times out of ten it's someone white trying to manifest destiny their kid all up on your ass. black people still beat the shit out of their children, and guaranteed if that had been a young black couple on my flight she would have dropped the baby in my lap and taken her husband to sit someplace in the emergency row. lakeisha beyonce and i would be stuck together eating tiny bags of pita chips and peanuts while latoya and her mancake plotted how best to slip out of the plane once we landed without my catching wind. after i said that (admittedly) foul shit a couple seats MIRACULOUSLY opened up so that the three little bears could all sit together and make a voodoo doll of me out of cheerios and baby wipes or whatever the fuck tiny people eat and need. really, what's in all of those BAGS you moms have to carry around?! blerg. i ended up sitting with a nice gentleman from minnesota who got tanked on heinekens and kept asking me where to get the best pizza in chicago. "pizza?" i scoffed. "what do i care about fucking PIZZA?" he looked confused. "but you're from chicago." "i am," i said, "and i eat TACOS."
these greenberg photos really wind my watch. because i loathe most children. duh.