Thursday, August 28, 2008


On July 18th, 2004, I turned 33 years old, and I wasn’t in a particularly good place in my life. Don’t get me wrong; things weren’t horrible or anything; I had a steady job, I was healthy, and I lived in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

But I was so fucking lonely.

It had been over a year since my last relationship had ended, so impulsively, I signed up on It wasn’t that expensive, and I figured if nothing else, I’d get out of the house once in a while, go out to dinner, collect a few snarky anecdotes. After posting an ad of my own, I answered a couple of others and shut down the computer.

The first date I had from Match was a child psychologist. I should have known it was going to be a bust when we set up a date at a local wine bar and his confirmation e-mail read, “I’ll see you there! We’re going to have a grape time. I’m coming straight from work, so please don’t wine if I’m a little late!”


Anyway, the guy was nice enough, despite his corny puns, but barely gave me a chance to get a word in edgewise. On the rare occasion he did let me speak about myself, his eyes kept drifting to the side, as if scanning the room for someone more interesting. At the end of the date, he paid the tab, we shook hands, and I stopped at Subway on the way home to pick up dinner. When I got home, K took one look at the bag in my hand and said, “That good, huh?”

The next response I got was from a guy who lived about 20 miles away, which was further than I would have liked, but certainly not a dealbreaker…especially considering that his e-mails were so goddamn funny. I knew better than to get my hopes up too high, since I’d had plenty of sparkling online repartee with guys who turned out to be about as exciting in real life as a bag of hair, but things seemed promising. I mean, the guy loved martial arts and Resident Evil, so if nothing else, I figured I might have a new friend.

Well, the day of our big date arrived, and I got dressed up and drove to a nearby mall. I’d already seen pictures of him, so I spotted him instantly. He was standing in front of the Cheesecake Factory, and as soon as he saw me coming towards him, he smiled and said, “And you must be [sairentohiru].”

I’m not kidding when I say that I have never in my life had such instant rapport with someone. Aside from pausing to chew our food, there was no lull in the conversation. It was like, if you’ll forgive the cliché, I'd known him my entire life.

After dinner, we saw Hero, starring Jet Li, and then he walked me back to my car. He told me that he was putting in lots of overtime at work, but that he’d like to see me again. Being the eternal Pollyanna that I am, I feared that the “overtime” bit was a kiss-off, but I tried to remain optimistic. I gave him a ride back to his car, which was parked on the other side of the mall. He got out of the car and thanked me for the ride, and I fastened my seatbelt and said, “Well, I’ll talk to you soon!”

“Drive safe!” he said, stepping away as I turned the ignition.

“You too, G,” I said.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

bury my heart at Chick-Fil-A

Ordinarily, leaving work 3 hours early would be a cause for celebration, but I wasn’t too thrilled about it yesterday. It was time for my annual blood test, and I was dreading it. I hate needles, I hate the drive to the grungy city where my doctor is located, and I hate waiting for the results.

Anyway, by the time I got there, I was drenched in sweat. (The A/C in my car has been broken for a while now, but $1000+ to replace it in a 12-year-old car? No thanks!) I was glad to get inside and discover that the hospital doesn’t skimp on the air conditioning. I signed in at reception and sat down with my book. I hadn’t even read two pages before they called my name.

Did I mention that I hate needles? Because my god, I fucking HATE needles. As soon as the nurse tied me off like a Trainspotting extra, I squeezed my eyes shut so I wouldn’t see the needle piercing the inside of my elbow. After she took what seemed like a Sparkletts’ jug full of blood, she untied the rubber tubing and said, “Okay, we’ll see you next week!”

I kept my eyes firmly shut. “Is the vial out of sight?”


I opened my eyes, thanked the nurse, and left.

The bloodletting left me feeling a little teary and lightheaded, so I figured I should get something to eat and rest for a bit before getting back on the freeway. Fortunately, there was a Chick-Fil-A just down the street. I needed to replenish my lost fluids with grease, lemonade, and Polynesian sauce.

“Welcome to Chick-Fil-A!” the freshly scrubbed teenage cashier said. “What may I get for you today?”

“I’ll have combo #5 [chicken nuggets and waffle fries], and can I get lemonade instead of a soft drink?”

“You absolutely may!” he said, beaming. He turned around to get my food, and I looked for wires but didn’t see any. Seriously, he seemed so genuinely THRILLED to help me that I figured he must be a Servbot.

When he placed the tray in front of me, I said, “Thank you.”

“My pleasure!”

I started to pick my tray up, and he gasped and said, “Oh, no, wait!” He rushed around the side of the counter and said, “Please, let me.”

Confused, I said, “Uh, okay,” and followed him to a table.

“Is this all right, ma’am?”

Ugh, the dreaded MA’AM.

“Sure, this is fine. Thank you.”

“Oh, my pleasure,” he said, and favoring me with another blinding smile, he returned to his post.

Okay, seriously, what the hell? Don’t get me wrong, it was nice dealing with a fast food employee that didn’t act like they were doing me a colossal favor taking my money and clogging my arteries, but the whole thing was more than a little Stepfordian. But whatever. I shrugged and reached down to pick up a nugget, and then I noticed the cotton ball, held to the crook of my arm with medical tape. I’m assuming that’s why he carried my tray for me, since I didn’t see anyone else get this special perk while I was sitting there.

I was curious about this company, so I did some research on Chick-Fil-A today while I was shirking my duties at work. Apparently, the company was started by a really religious dude who won’t allow any of the restaurants to be open on Sundays. Well, whatever; praise the Lord and pass the Polynesian sauce.

That shit's tasty.

Monday, August 11, 2008

a day at the fair

Last week, G sent the following e-mail to C, M, and me:

I just won four tickets to the Ventura County Fair (with thirty ride tickets thrown in for good measure)! Cotton candy, haunted houses, kettle corn, huge-donged livestock: something for everyone! Any or all of you up for a little quasi-costless carny caper?

Um, hell to the mothereffin’ YES!

The day was a resounding success. Real animals were cooed over. Stuffed animals were won. Copious amounts of food were crammed into maws. I began my food extravaganza with a cup of freshly squeezed lemonade and an ear of roasted sweet corn, and for dinner, I had BBQ chicken, french fries, and beans.

“Oh, great, beans,” G said. “That ought to make bedtime interesting.”

“Excuse me?” I barked, pointing at his dinner. “That burrito ain’t filled with Beano, mister.”

“What are you going to have for dessert?” C asked.

I set down my fork to contemplate this weighty question. “Hmmm…you know, I’m thinking of choosing something from the deep-fried family, like a deep-fried Snickers, Twinkie, or Oreo. Extra points for whipped cream and/or caramel.”

We walked to the midway to scope out rides. Unfortunately, in my old age, I can’t really do the hardcore rides anymore, which ruled out anything that went upside down or looked too whiplashy.

Then, like a blessing from heaven, IT appeared:

“Ohmygod!” I squealed, grabbing G’s hand and pulling him towards the line. “Zombieszombieszombies!”

Unfortunately, the scariest thing about the ride was the dead-eyed old man taking tickets. We laughed hysterically at the glowing skulls and lame mannequins inside. I did jump when a hand suddenly reached out across our car, but other than that, it was about as terrifying as a wet kitten.

Afterwards, we continued our quest for my dream dessert, and then I saw a pink banner that said “Muffin-Size Cupcakes!”

“Oh dearest Jesus,” I moaned, hand flying dramatically to chest. “I have found my sugar fix for the night.”

“Are you sure?” G asked. “Didn’t you want something deep-fried?”

“Well, we haven’t seen anything like that, and I have to have something unhealthy immediately. I require a cupcake the size of my head.”

Dear reader, I wish I had taken a picture of my cupcake, but I was too busy nomming it to death. It was red velvet topped off with a glorious crown of cream cheese frosting dusted with pink sugar. Despite its glorious girth, I polished it off in less than a minute. It was infinitely superior to the dry clod of cupcake that I had at Magnolia Bakery, and I didn’t even care that we found a shrine to the Fryolator arts just moments later. I had had my foodgasm for the night.

We walked past a souvenir booth, and I stopped dead in my tracks. "Inflatable Batman!" I cried. "I totally want an inflatable Batman!"

"Now what would you do with an inflatable Batman?" G asked suspiciously.

"I would..." I bit my lip and shivered with delight. "I would MENACE him."

"No inflatable Batman," G said firmly, steering me away.

The fair began winding down at 9:30, so G and I took a ride on the Ferris wheel. To the left of us, we could see moonlight dancing on the ocean; to the right of us, we saw the lights of the midway.

When our car stopped at the top, we nestled against each other for warmth. I was chilly, my chin was greasy, my fingers were sticky, and the salt air had turned my hair into a halo of snarls, but I don’t think I could have been any happier.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

more than me job's worth, guv

Yesterday I was forced to attend a seminar at work that was so stultifying I would rather have read Twilight aloud to an enraptured group of goth girls. (Seriously, after hearing it was the next Harry Potter, I tried reading it and wanted to fling myself from my balcony. I only live on the second floor, so I doubt it would kill me, but hopefully it would cause just enough brain damage to erase the memory of that infernal book.) I don’t want to give the actual name of the seminar, but let’s just call it Go for the Gold: A Winning Mindset Means a Winning Workplace! The real name was about as dippy and Dilbertian, so this will do nicely as a substitute.

I knew it was gonna suck as soon as I walked into the room and a chirpy blonde with fake tits and a Texas accent said, “Y’all pick any table you want. Might wanna find a friend, ‘cause there’s lots of group activities involved!”


I didn’t recognize anyone I knew---well, anyone I LIKED---so I sat down at a random table. There were several spools of thread and a pile of paperclips in the center, and the mere sight of them filled me with dread.

After introducing herself, Perky started kissing corporate ass. “Now, I’m an independent consultant, but I gotta say that your company is SO awesome, because…” Blah blah blah. She was dishing out propaganda at such an alarming rate that I expected to see Leni Riefenstahl filming from the sidelines.

Button nose sufficiently browned, Perky said, “Now, I bet y’all are curious about those paper clips and spools of thread. What I want you to do is take a piece of thread and tie it to a paper clip.”

I picked up a spool and started yanking on the thread, but it wouldn’t come loose. Knowing full well it wasn’t particularly sanitary, but lacking appropriate tools, and seeing that there was so little thread left that the spool would probably be thrown away after I took my piece, I bit the thread loose.

The woman sitting across from me tsk’d and said, “You could just rip it off, you know.”

Um, did you not see me tearing at it for the last five minutes, bitch? Who am I, Edward Scissorhands? Mind your own damn business before I MacGyver this thread and paper clip into a torture implement.

Okay, you know that game kids play where they take a ring on a chain and say, “Does So-And-So like me? Circle for yes, back and forth for no.” Then the ring starts “magically” swinging? That’s what this was, basically.

“Now y’all weren’t even moving your hands!” Perky cried. “See the power of the MAHND?”

I began mentally compiling Monster search terms.

There was more…yes, there was more. There were group discussions, and there were group activities, and at one point, there was fucking ARM WRESTLING. For some inexplicable reason, I was paired with a beefy-looking man. Neither one of us managed to pin the other, but I’m sure he was going easy on me. I’m not even going to pretend it was because of my intimidating guns, because as a lifelong nerd, I lack upper body strength. I still remember the horrifying rope climbing incidents of junior high, where I’d get about two feet off the floor and then hang there until the PE teacher snapped, “Just get down.”

Finally, after 90 minutes of pep talks and arm wrestling and arts and crafts, we were allowed to leave. I raced back to my cube and consoled myself with DListed and a cookie.

Friday, August 01, 2008

cranky girl is cranky

Today, awash in profound hatred for my job, I stalked off to the bathroom to pee. The first stall I entered had the longest pubic hair I’ve ever seen on the seat.

…okay, what the fuck? I’m not going to call someone out for having pubes (personally, I’ll start getting Brazilians when they start doing them under general anesthesia), but could you maybe, oh, I don’t know…wipe it off the SEAT?

The next stall I went into had a disposable lighter sitting on top of the sanitary napkin disposal box.

Don’t tempt me, people.

Cranky! I’m just cranky. Part of it is the heat, part of it is the aforementioned hatred of my job, part of it is just fairly minor things here and there.

For example: I walked over to the grocery store on my lunch break to buy a trashy magazine. I have a chore I’ve been putting off, and this trashy magazine is my bribe to myself. Once I knock this chore off my to-do list, where it’s been living for literally months, then I can enjoy wallowing in pure sloth and mindrotting celebrity gossip.

Anyway, when I got to the store, I plucked the magazine from the shelf and went to the self-checkout stand to pay. As I was feeding my money into the machine, a man walked up to me and put his hand on my shoulder. “Hey, what’s that?” he asked, pointing to my hip pocket with his other hand.

Um, excuse me. If I don’t know you, DO NOT FUCKING TOUCH ME. There are obvious exceptions to this rule, of course. If I’m standing on a subway platform and lose my balance, and I’m about to hurtle to my death on the tracks below, not only may you grab my arm, but I insist on it. (And if you’re Jason Statham, I strongly encourage you to not only touch me, but grab a meaty handful of my ass. It’s squishy! You’ll enjoy it, Jason.) But lifesaving maneuvers or hunky celebrity grabass aside, if I don’t know you, seriously, don’t fucking touch me.

“It’s a pedometer,” I said, rolling my shoulder in an effort to dislodge his hand.

“Oh,” he said, thus ending the most intellectually stimulating discourse since the Renaissance.

As I was walking out of the store, a man came in holding a dog. When the hell did it become de rigeur to bring your fucking dog everywhere? Petsmart or a vet’s or groomer’s office, obviously. But why do you need to bring your goddamn dog to the grocery store or the mall? I was sitting at Borders the other day, and a beagle wandered up to me and began enthusiastically sniffing my leg. I don’t go to Borders to be sniffed by a dog! I go there to read magazines that I have no intention of purchasing!

This could, of course, be prejudice on my part. I don’t hate dogs (although I am afraid of German shepherds, which is understandable since one took an Albert Fish-sized chunk out of my ass when I was a kid), but if someone walked into Borders holding, say, this:

I’d pretty much lose my shit and basically glue myself to the person’s side, begging to hold the tiny fluffy morsel.

And since I’ve gotten back to the office, my coworkers have been talking at unbearably loud volumes about inane bullshit like clipping coupons, and I’m watching the work pile up and the vein in my temple is throbbing like a teenage boy’s wang upon his first viewing of Penthouse.

I wonder if that lighter is still in the bathroom?