October in a nutshell

This has been a busy month.

I made two pumpkin pies and finished one of them by myself in two days. Though in my defense, I had bought the shallow pie crusts so it was more like a tart. Whatever; I’d do it again.

Also, I visited a haunted house with my Scully and our friend. As we were driving out to its suburban location, I remembered that haunted houses can legit freak me out, plus I have terrible night vision. Death, obviously, was imminent. It didn’t help that this particular haunted house had people in costume lurking in the line area, creeping up behind you to surprise you. We finally made our way to the front of the line and were placed in a group of about 7, all of us full-grown adults, just hanging out on a Saturday night ready and willing to be chased by fake killer clowns. At first, we were near the back of our group, so we didn’t bear the brunt of most of the big jump-out-and-freak-you-out surprises. However, as we made our way through the twisting tunnels and pitch-black passageways, we began to lose people from our group one at time like an actual horror movie. I was staying strong, being brave, resolute to make it through to the end (What Would Jennifer Love Hewitt Do?). At one point we reached a fork in the tunnel quickly followed by a dead end, and the female half of the couple in front of us said turned around and said with disdain “It’s a fucking maze.” Our little group of three splintered off from them and got through quickly, but then we were alone and an easy target for all of the ghosts/monsters/theater majors.  We reached a room that was completely dark except for an intermittent, blinding white strobe light. During the dark intervals, a person in all-white spandex suit snuck up right into our faces, scaring the hell out of us when the lights flashed back on. I wondered what a full 8-hour shift must be like for that guy, working all by himself in a constant strobe light-filled room peppered with terrified screams. It must be an interesting talking point on his résumé. After we reached the exit, I took a selfie with a ghoul. Overall, it was fun; I’d do it again.

#YOLO

#YOLO

And then most recently, I got tattooed. To match the cat paw print on my right forearm, I added a dog print on my left side. It’s my ninth tattoo and therefore my ninth step down the road to being less employable by mainstream businesses without further investments in an extensive cardigan collection. Luckily, I enjoy my current job at a company that is open-minded when it comes to personal expression, so no trips to the Gap sale section are needed. (Quick digression but when I worked at the Gap just out of college, one of our favorite jokes in the stockroom was to respond to a messily folded pile of sweaters with the sarcastic remark “What do you think this is, Gap Outlet?” Which just shows that every society has its own politics). Back to the tattoo–I’m really happy with it, a tribute to our rescue dog that lines up nicely with her feline sister’s paw print on my other arm. Should we ever have children, I’m going to have to get their names or something tattooed somewhere so they don’t grow up with a complex. So, yep, I’d do it again.

October, you’ve been pretty dope.

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Who, me?

This morning, after brushing the snow off the windshield of my car I caught a glimpse of a folded piece of paper stuck under my wiper blade. I opened it up and read the following message: “You should know that you park like a bitch, a bitch, That’s right a bitch!”

Like a what? One more time please.

Like a what? One more time please.

My reaction was equal parts confusion, annoyance, and amusement. I do not deny that at times in my life I have indeed parked like a bitch. This particular day, however, I was in the last spot before the Burger King entrance, a perfectly acceptable parking job with adequate but not ample room between my front bumper and the car in front of me, appropriately hugging the curb. I could see no reason for complaint, let alone getting called a bitch not once, not twice, but thrice.

The note was scrawled in pencil on a piece of paper obviously torn from a college-ruled notebook; its author may have been a scholar but is no gentleman. Interestingly, the message has almost a sing-songy cadence to it. Perhaps it was left by a musical theater major–someone who just lost out on a coveted role in their school’s production of Into the Woods might be disgruntled enough to leave a note like this on an unsuspecting Ford Focus. Also, who besides a student carries a pencil on them? I guess it could have been a police sketch artist, golf caddy, or Pictionary enthusiast.

After the initial wave of indignant anger passed, I just felt bad for this person and their lack of creativity. What does “park like a bitch” even mean? They could have said “You park like a person with poor spatial intelligence” and gotten their point across more clearly. (And get a pen like a normal grown adult, you weirdo.) There is so much negativity already in the world that it doesn’t do anyone any good to perpetuate it further. Let’s right this ship. Maybe I will start leaving random notes on peoples’ cars like “You parked excellently today. Well done!” Or even better: “You should know that you park Like a Boss, a Boss, THAT’S RIGHT A BOSS!”

And While We’re At It, Get Off My Lawn

Hearing the headliner announcements for this summer’s Pitchfork Music Fest has gotten me all excited about festival season. I haven’t been to a concert since before my knee surgery. I can remember being at a show at the Metro fairly recently where a mosh pit broke out (yes, it’s still a thing). At this point in life, I’m about 10 years and a knee injury beyond moshing. At most, I am OK with a light jostle, but the idea of being pushed into sweaty, shirtless dudes who smell like dirty laundry and Cheeto feet totally grosses me out. When a crowd surges forward, I rush backwards like Marty McFly avoiding the Rolls-Royce. At about this point, I decided that the only way to deal with the crowd was to get so drunk that nothing bothered me anymore. This is how I discovered that I can pass out standing up, which must be how drunk racehorses sleep. The downside to this is that I missed a sweet encore, but at least I didn’t have to watch it from inside some dude’s armpit.

Whooping It Up

It’s officially cold and flu season, suckas. Throughout my 20’s, I used to make it through each winter untouched by whatever plague that was going around, thanks to a freakishly strong immune system (or my bloodstream was too diluted with PBR to be a hospitable environment to viruses). However, at some point the tides turned and whatever human firewall I had that kept the germs at bay quit on me, and I started getting sick just like normal people.

A couple of years ago I caught whooping cough, which was really surprising because I had no idea that I was a 19th century British orphan. I woke up one day feeling a little achy and sluggish, but tried not to think about it because I had to catch a plane to San Diego for a business trip. As the week went on, I started feeling progressively worse and developed a cough that kept me awake all night. Thinking that it was just a really bad cold, I dosed myself with Dayquil and toughed out the week. I visited the doctor when I got back home, who tested me for  pertussis, a.k.a. whooping cough “just in case.” To both of our surprise, I tested positive. To the dismay of the Center of Disease Control, I had exposed a full airplane load of people to my communicable illness. I received a series of phone calls from the CDC for my flight and seat number so they could warn my seat mates to get tested, making me feel like the first person to die in a zombie movie. Not only that, near the end of my trip I had convinced myself I was feeling better (this was before my diagnosis when I still thought it was just a cold) so I visited the San Diego Zoo. If I got a panda sick I couldn’t live with myself. Oh, and those 700+ people at the conference to whom I personally handed registration materials–whoops.

Thankfully, no one else that I knew of caught my totally retro illness and the CDC decided I wasn’t contagious anymore, reversing their original request for me to wear a medical mask on my next work trip to Seattle the following weekend. I breathed a (congested) sigh of relief that I wouldn’t have to travel looking like a Michael Jackson impersonator or a socially conscious Harajuku girl. However, it did make me realize that us human beings are pretty much just walking bags of bacteria, spreading our nasty germs to each other via elevator buttons, hotel remotes, or that bowl of mints that you are NEVER SUPPOSED TO EAT FROM, GAH-ROSS!!! And from now on, I will always get my flu shot.