Wednesday, January 6, 2010

What I’ve Learned This Post-Christmas Vacation—So Far

1. “Dayton has suffered its first double-homicide of the year” is the most depressing sentence in the world.

2. There is an entire television show in which second-rate celebrities pretend to be retail or food-service slaves, and say “I get that a lot” every time someone cries, “holy crap, you totally look like a second-rate celebrity.”

3. Lean Pockets are repulsive.

4. A shocking number of people do not secure their wireless networks.

5. Some people think I need to lose weight. Some people think I’m too skinny. Apparently, I have two options: be a trophy, or be a typical southern Ohio resident. Both of those options suck, and actually aren’t really options, since I’m pretty sure I’m stuck with my own damn metabolism. Alas.

6. I have no upper-body strength. My arm is still sore from playing Wii—although, in my defense, I did spend hours stubbornly trying to beat my power throw bowling score.

7. If I lived here, I wouldn’t do anything—just sink into my rapidly-expanding body and cuddle my Wii console as I gave way to a sugar coma, with the strains of country-pop bouncing in the background and lending amusing contrast to my pathetic situation.

8. I’m really just not that interesting. Hopefully that changes and I can write something semi-not-completely-dull soon.

Monday, November 2, 2009


I suffer from a complete inability to care.

Except for when I’m stressed out and grumpy, in which case I’m pretty easy to piss off.

“You keep eating burritos that big, you’ll be huge!”

Thanks for the concern, sir, but burritos have beans; this is a coriander shrimp wrap. Still, you’ve got a point – what the hell am I doing, eating lunch like a normal person? Next thing you know I’ll be eating dinner or some shit. Maybe even snacks. And one day? I might descend to the level of a cupcake guzzler.

I’m not sure what it is that makes people think it’s their place to make those sorts of comments, but you know what? Shut it. Especially since I could fit in one of your pant legs and probably still need a belt.

(I’ve been sitting here listening to a bug fry in a ceiling light. The sound is like heavy radio static. Then the bug fell on my shoe and lay there twitching while I yelped and spent a good thirty seconds jumping around like Rumpelstiltskin at his most gleeful until I succeeded in shaking the thing off. And it was horrible.)

“Is there any way you could photocopy part of this book for my daughter so she doesn’t have to buy it?”

“No way that’s legal.”

Had to love the eye roll I got for that one. And I suppose my stance was pretty ridiculous. After all, what’s the problem in making illegal photocopies of books that also negate the incentive for our customers to actually, like, buy merchandise? I should be catering to even the cheapest of these peoples’ whims.

But I fail at cheapness catering, so they left. Sad news.

So, Wednesday. I was pretty relaxed on Wednesday. I’d popped some biscuits in the oven and was curled up in my nest of blankets, reading a novel completely for pleasure – no highlighter in sight. I had tea and I felt great.

And then came the stress lasers. Do you know the stress lasers? Those blazing little shitheads. They skewer your brain cells and push them out through your eyes, which, in turn, causes the cells to take on the form of giant glittering stress tears. The empty space left by these former cells is then filled with pooling golden stress light that completely incapacitates the surrounding brain material and sends the body housing the brain in question to embark on a wonderfully fun panic attack.

Stress lasers blow.

The upside: dressing as a hipster zombie for Halloween, as in the photo at the top of this page, and as below:

I may not look enthused, but I wouldn’t have relinquished that Guinness for anything.

Thanksgiving break come quick, so I can be chipper once again.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Witching Hour

I hate midnight. I hate being awake at midnight when I’m alone and there are drunk people outside loudly attempting to waltz. All the booming drunken guffaws with their breathy giggle counterparts, catching on burps and cigarette smoke…it’s painful. It makes me feel horribly guilty for all of my drunken shenanigans.

Trying to hide behind curtains while peering through the gap in them is hard. Impossible really. Luckily these people are oblivious.

The waltz has devolved into…I don’t even know. Vague circles that stretch into ovals and then snap shut. I don’t know what you’d call that, except for maybe stupid. Very, very stupid.

I enjoy listening to these people talk. I like hearing their words stumble over each other and collapse before the sentence is complete.

I’m going to pretend now that I have an actual alcohol tolerance, because if I don’t I’ll start to feel something vaguely like shame. No, my hand has never gotten confused and chucked my cell phone at a glass of hard cider, submerging said phone in the cider’s bubbly depths. And it definitely did not do that twice in one evening.

The couple is in the building now, climbing the stairs to the top floor. I can hear them walk down the hallway, with their irregular weaving steps. I can hear a door slam shut, and then, for the hundredth time this month, I can hear the creaking springs of the bed upstairs.

Seriously, this girl needs a hobby. I might destroy her otherwise.

Squeak. Squeak. Squeak squeak. Squeeeak.

I need some tea.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Labor Day

There are times when life does not make sense. Like when you wake up to find a nearly nude Russian exchange student frantically searching for his boxers, explaining, while still thoroughly obliterated, that he has all his cash hidden in said boxers.

"Well, but how much cash?"
"Two thousand dollars."

And then everyone's faces flatten and sag.

"But...why? Why would you have that much on you...?"

I mean really. There is nothing logical about that scenario. Especially not in the morning, when waves of stale vodka are crashing against your temples and you don't know where your glasses are. And you're standing in a hallway while the Russian stumbles drunkenly around, and his 40-year-old host mom looks flatly on.

Then you notice that the Russian appears to be wearing your boyfriend's shorts, as they're far too big for him and are exposing the majority of his skinny ass. You're wondering how exactly they stay on, since you walked past the bathroom at a very inopportune moment the night before and know conclusively that there is distressingly little to hold them up in front...

So your boyfriend and his roommate are searching for the boxers in the bathroom, and the kid has passed out on the bed you woke up in. You're still standing there in the hallway, alone save for the host mom; you look into the kitchen, at the empty bottles of Jameson's and Jack, the one-third left in a bottle of vodka, various crushed beer cans and empty glasses scattered over the counter, and you suddenly feel like the Worst Person in the World.

Then you notice your shirt for the first time. It says "Do Something With Your Life. Get me a beer." Your humiliation is compounded.

"So. So yeah." You try to cover your shirt with your hair, crossing your arms high up over your chest to keep it in place. The host mom blinks at you; stupidly, you bluster on. "I mean, so those boxers. I know I saw them somewhere. They just...yeah. They've gotta be around."

Your brain and your vocal cords mercifully detach. You continue talking, but your brain's submersion in last night's booze renders you unable to recall any of the idiot things you say. Your boyfriend finds the boxers in the cabinet under the bathroom sink ("he must've hidden them last night"), and you all take a moment to observe the wad of cash sewn into the crotch. The Russian wanders into the kitchen and vomits gracelessly into a wastebasket, as you gaze pensively out the window and consider your life.

But all you come up with is, god damn I need an aspirin.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Maybe I'm Just Bitter 'Cause I'm Klutzy

There was some kind of hippie concert thing on campus today. I was walking to class and there was a band playing, a woman singer with a thin wail and a random cluster of instruments behind her. (Actually, they might not have been that bad, I don't know. I wasn't really listening. I heard it as buzzing occasionally broken by the singer's wails.)

But mostly I was disturbed by my fellow students' ebullience. They were leaping across the green like athletic-shorted gazelles, snatching frisbees from the air, their charming attempts at facial hair lit by the joyful late afternoon sun. I looked to my left and saw a physics professor demonstrating gravity by playfully lobbing freshly picked apples at his students' heads.

Well, no. I just expected to see this. Because I was pretty sure I had walked into a college brochure. And so I stood there thinking, "oh, come on. I do not really go to school here." And then I walked into the building for my next class, leaned against the cold wall in the shadowy hallway and felt much better.

Best of all, by the time my class ended, both the music and the ebullience had died.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Five Wonderful Sights I Didn't Get Pictures Of (While At the Bike Rally)

1. A rat atop a cat atop a dog, who was being lead around on a leash by its owner. The cat and rat sat perfectly still while dog and owner wove through the maze of motorcycles.

2. The Christian Coalition of Motorcyclists, who trudged through the heat bearing wooden crosses (I still say they were hollow inside) and signs saying "Got Jesus?"

(I desperately wanted to follow them singing "Always Look On the Bright Side of Life," but I didn't. Because I suck.)

3. A man with "TANK" tattooed across his beer gut, who totally checked me out.

4. A woman wearing her underwear and bra with silver knee-high hooker boots, her hair styled like Cleopatra's.

5. Two children asleep in a little red wagon, being pulled down the sidewalk alongside a row of motorcycles.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Or They Might Just Be Tacky As Hell.

I hate it when children cry. It's not an emotional thing - I just really hate the sound. And I hate watching their faces crumple and their mouths stretch open like rubber bands.

Not that I want children to be sad and miserable, because amazingly, I don't. I just want them not to look so incredibly grotesque on the (hopefully rare) occasions that they are.

And I want them to stop wearing those damn blinking sneakers. Those have been around since I was a kid, and you know what? I never wanted a pair. I thought they were weird, which is pretty much how I feel today, and I really think that if any of these intellectually lazy toddlers stopped and thought about it, they'd come to the same conclusion.

Children are not cars; they don't need a turn signal. I can hear them coming perfectly well without a visual warning. Unless the blinkers were designed as an aid for the deaf, in which case my whole world ceases to make sense.

But then I was a weird kid, so maybe I'm just missing out on something. When I was little I had to spend six weeks of every summer in Ohio, and one of its (admittedly few) highlights was this store in the mall called The Imaginarium. It had a regular entryway for adults but a smaller door for kids that I would always crawl through, into a shiny plastic and taffeta paradise. The Imaginarium had tons of shit, but mostly I remember the rows of costumes, none of which I ever tried on. I would just stand there, touching the fabric and looking deprived.

It was a good time.

Anyway, I remember being in there once when a pair of girls, probably about fourteen, were taking pictures of themselves in sequined hats, holding child-sized ball gowns up to their necks, etc. They were giggly and loud and bothering me, so I glared at them, prompting the taller of the two to turn to me and say:

"We're just having fun. Don't you ever have fun? Or don't you know how?"

And I thought, I'm walking through The Imaginarium alone while my Bio-Dad stands outside the store reading USA Today. Of course I don't know how to have fun.

Only I didn't say that. I just walked out and told Bio-Dad that I wanted a soft pretzel, and he got me one. And then when we got back to my grandparents' house I split my identity into three so I could enjoy a lively card game alone.

So maybe I shouldn't be judging kids for their sneakers. Those blinkers are probably really fun, and I'm just not getting it.

Actually, On Second Thought:

The NASCAR Harlequin romances are amazing. The one I read last night (yes, I read the whole thing) is called On the Move, and the male love interest is an illiterate NASCAR driver.

No really. An illiterate NASCAR driver named Brandon. He always wanted to read, but his awful father, so intent was he on pushing his son into the world of competitive racing, neglected him in his homeschooling. Brandon asked for a tutor, but Daddy said no - and when Brandon failed his standardized tests, well, no biggie. He'd had racing sponsors since he was nine.

But luckily, he has this great new agent named Vicky. She's way hot, in a buttoned-up sort of way, and she's going to teach him to read if it's the last thing she does. Which is not to say it's the first thing she does - she isn't always successful in fending off his wholly unprofessional advances - but she sort of gets around to it. A couple of times anyway.

Vicky's hotness, working hand-in-hand with her sexual reticence, ultimately helps Brandon to man up, develop his confidence, and tell off his douchebag dad. Apparently Dad, in addition to giving Brandon an incredibly shitty education, used Brandon's earnings for his own benefit, buying cars, boats, and the like. Only he doesn't see it that way:

"I told you in Florida, I bought that for us," his father said, taking a step toward him.

"Yeah, right," Brandon said. "And when the money dried up, when I lost my ride, where was the us?" His cheek began to twitch. Brandon told himself to calm down. He shouldn't let his father rile him up, not anymore, and especially not just before qualifying. "I can't believe you," Brandon said. "I can't believe you have the nerve to come here as if nothing had happened."

"I came because I'm your father," Harold said.

"I lost my dad years ago," Brandon said, refusing to back down. "I lost him when I made my first million and my dad went on a gambling binge in Las Vegas. But you know what? I probably lost him before that. Back when I was thirteen and I begged you to get me a tutor because I wanted to learn how to read. Do you remember that, Dad? You told me I didn't need to learn that stuff. That I was going to be a famous race-car driver and all drivers needed to do was learn to go fast. I begged you to get me some help, and when I when I wouldn't shut up, what did you do?"

He waited for his father to answer. He wondered if he'd have the guts.

He didn't.

"You beat me black-and-blue," Brandon said.

His father's eyes went hard.

On the Move also features one of my all-time favorite relationship paradoxes: a man who wholeheartedly supports the driven, suit-donning female lead in her career, but acts like a condescending asshat who often jeopardizes said career, by - for example - running his hand up her leg during important meetings.

It's a great book, and I'm not the only one who thinks so; reviewers agree.

"Brandon Burke is the 'bad boy' to end all 'bad boys'. Big-time. He is so over-the-top you just want to punch him out. Or else shake him until his gorgeous blonde hair falls off his head." - Kelly in Cleveland Heights

"The story line is faster than a spin around the oval as Vicki and Brandon fight and kiss and fight." - Harriet Klausner, Amazon's #1 reviewer

"This book like more so the genre is G-rated but is a fun read - which I always pick up." - Brandon the Illiterate Driver

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Is There a Drug For This?

I can't remember the last time I ordered a chicken barbecue pizza and gnawed on it absently for four consecutive days. I can, however, remember the last time I prefaced my sauteed chicken with a roasted red pepper and feta salad (last night), and this disturbs me greatly. All that saved me from complete adult emulation was the fact that both courses were consumed with me sitting on the floor watching Monty Python - but even then, I was sitting on an actual floor pillow, and the space around the pillow was free of crap magazines and empty milk dud boxes.

And this morning...I made an omelet. A real omelet. A tasty, herb-seasoned omelet, which I washed down with a tall glass of orange juice, all while reading a book that I marked my place in before leaving for work. With a bookmark. A bookmark picturing a white rabbit under a tree in the snow.

Next thing you know I'll have my own car.

Friday, July 31, 2009

My Only Real Motivation to Succeed Is My Aversion to the Following Phrases

"Well, at least you can always say you did your best."

How in the hell is that supposed to make me feel better? "You did everything you could and still failed. Ergo, you just plain lack the ability to succeed." That is what this says to me. I would much rather have someone tell me to "just try harder" or "not be such a damn slacker, you lazy bum" - at least then I could delude myself into thinking that I only failed because of my attitude (or other circumstances unrelated to my abilities).

"Just remember, things could always be worse."

Now there's a comforting statement. "Yeah, your life sucks right now, and guess what? Eventually, it might suck more!" I guess this is supposed to remind me of how green my grass is compared to, you know, someone else's significantly less green grass, but all it really does is remind me that my grass could be subjected to a drought, possessed lawn mower, or plague of locusts. None of which is terribly cheering.

And finally:

"Welcome to the real world."

Which, come on. That's just obnoxious.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What I'd Like to Say

Q: Can you recommend me a book? I like everything.

A: No - no you don't. Nobody likes everything. And if you were truly the exception, you wouldn't need my advice; since, as someone who literally cannot be disappointed, you would just close your eyes and pull a random book off the shelf. And you would like that book. You would like everything about that book. You would even like the cover, and the blurbs on the front, and the ragged faux-antique page edges.

Whereas all I like is the world "blurb." It makes me giggle.

Q: Omigod I love the Twilight books!!! Have you read them?

A: Just the first one. I vomited glitter and Mormonism into a bowl formed out of dead feminism immediately after. Coincidence?

Q: What's the cheapest thing you have in here?

A: You.

Q: I'm from out of town. Can I get a deal on this bookmark?

A: 1. Being from out of town is not going to help your case, and I have no idea why you people insist on bringing it up. Surely there are better weapons in your cheapskate arsenal. 2. If you can't afford to spend $1.25 on a bookmark, maybe you should have forgone the vacation? Just a thought.

Q: Do you have a boyfriend/phone number/drastically low standards?

A: For you, yes/sorry, I'm a technophobe/not nearly low enough.

Q: Ya got any books in here?

A: Yeah, 'cause I totally haven't heard that one before.

Q: Where do you have [such-and-such author]? Oh, you don't have to get up! - just point me to the right shelf.

A: Look, I get that you are trying to help me out, and I appreciate your lack of demanding assclown-like behavior. Really I do. But this is a small store - it is cluttered, with the spaces between the shelves forming a winding maze of windingness - and I simply cannot point you to the right shelf, at least not from my desk. I honestly have no problem standing up and walking to the other side of the store, so please don't fret, okay?

Q: What's your favorite book?

A: Yeah, so, I don't do favorites. I don't have a favorite food, color, animal, movie, musician, or song, and I definitely don't have a favorite book. I have books I love, but I do not have one that I prize above all others, and I fail to see anything wrong with that. Oh, don't give me that pitying look - maybe I'm just less reductionist than you. Maybe you fail at life.

Q: Hey, you need to look up a book on that little computer thing there. You know how to do that, right?

A: Yeah, only I can't now - I'm too busy blogging about how much I hate you.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Hollywood > Real Life

He was tall. He was burly. He had a blond buzz cut, so he really wasn't my type.

He followed his mother and sister into the store, and then stopped and looked at me curiously. I thought he looked familiar, and as it happened...he was.

"Hey," he said after a moment, "were you...on a plane at all? Like yesterday?"
"From Denver to Rapid?"
"I think I sat next to you."
"I think you did too. How weird."

His mother was delighted. "Really! What a coincidence! Did you two talk the whole way?"

"No," he answered. "We were reading."
"You were reading Twilight..."
"You were reading a very interesting-looking book. It was...Brief Interviews With Men - despicable men? I remember they weren't good men."
"Hideous men. Brief Interviews With Hideous Men."
"Right. What was wrong with the men?"
"Mostly they were misogynists."

The rest of the conversation wasn't particularly notable. We reminisced about the toddlers who squealed with delight during the plane's turbulent descent and then we marveled at the smallness of the world, and as he left he made a point of saying that he was glad to have seen me again and hoped to see me soon.

All of which would have been kind of awesome and mid-90s-romantic-comedy-esque were he remotely my type.

(And of course his airplane reading choice didn't help matters.)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Yeah, the New Harry Potter Movie Was Good. However:

There are things I want to know. Things like: Who the hell takes a full bag of popcorn into a bathroom stall? Well actually, I know who - giggly preteens. But what is the thought process there? And why did they have a full bag of popcorn post-movie?

More importantly, what makes said giggly preteens think it's okay to leave the spilled popcorn on the floor, along with their spilled water? Because there's no way in hell I'm going to wade through an ocean of wet popcorn kernels. That's disgusting. Therefore, Dumbshit Youths, I'm not going to let you leave the restroom giggling about your mess - I am going to block the doorway with my imposing frame and watch as you pick up each individual kernel. You will crawl on your hands and knees as you rid the world of your ridiculous mess, because this entitled bratty rich kid shit? Does not fly.

Thank you girls. You have a terrific, sunshiney day now.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Proof That I Need My Upcoming Vacation

Um, tourists? You can't hide. I saw the brim of your pastel visor from a mile away. I also saw the bag in your hand advertising "Authentic" Western Wear, with your flamingo pink cowboy hat inside.

Seriously, where do you even get a pink cowboy hat? I don't know any place in town that would sell them, but I'm guessing it must be somewhere nearby or you would have stashed the bag in your car, am I right? Or maybe not; you don't seem too bright.

I can't decide if the majority of tourists are tacky by nature, or if the act of touring brings out the tack they never knew they had. All I know is that middle-aged men should never wear polo shirts in colors with names like "mango dream" or "fresh mint swirl" - and under no circumstance should their wives coordinate their eye makeup to said shirts. (Okay, fine, the shirt colors probably have much more masculine names - "citrus rage," perhaps, or "herbal death freeze" - but you can bet I was right on with the eyeshadow names.)

And no, we don't sell newspapers. And while I am perfectly happy to direct you to the nearest newspaper stand, I will not apologize for the inconvenience of you having to walk an entire extra block.

Anyhow, Herbal Death Freeze does you no favors. Your body's need for exercise is clear.

I really don't understand why you're harping on about this, Good Sir Death Freeze. "You should really have newspapers. It'd be a good business venture." Yeah, and you know this how? There are three coffee shops within three blocks of our store, and all of them have newspaper stands. There's also a newspaper stand down by the barber shop. There is no need for us to sell newspapers. In other words, there is not enough demand to necessitate supply.

You're looking for the Wall Street Journal, yet you can't grasp that concept?

Of course, there was also the guy who asked me to explain our credit policy, and then stopped me midway through my spiel, saying, "well, I have a better idea."

Oh do you now?

"I have a bookstore in Nebraska" (uh-huh) "and I think you should do a straight trade. We can give you our books and then you can give us some of your classics, since they don't sell."
"Actually, our classics do sell. That's why we have so few of them."
"We don't sell many classics at our store."
"That's unfortunate. But I can't change the policy for one person."
"You mean you don't have the authority."
"No, I mean I'm not going to change the policy just for you."

I know I'm pushing my luck when I say things like that, but come on. Just shut up.

And look: I understand that you want someone who will discuss the merits of Jodi Picoult with you. But that someone? Is not me. Because I. Hate. Jodi. Picoult. I hate her clunky phrasing. I hate her Lifetime movie dialogue. And I freaking. LOATHE. her cop-out endings.

I think the merits of Jodi Picoult can be best summed up by observing that none of her fans know how to pronounce her name.

So yeah. My vacation starts this Sunday, ends next Sunday, and necessitates the use of planes, which had better not screw me over. Because if I get stalked by a crazy drunk woman at the Radisson and have to eat at their restaurant (called - I shit you not - "Enigma") again, I will cry. And if that crazy drunk woman stands outside the door to my room and tells me to "make sure I lock the door tight," well...that would be messed up.

Monday, July 6, 2009

I Only Date Guys Who Wear Ascots

Smartly-dressed Jovial Man: Where's the men's clothing store in town?
Me: Actually, I don't believe there is one.
Jovial Man: What? How can that be?
Me: Erm...
Jovial Man: What has happened to Spearfish?!
Me: I don't recall there ever being -
Jovial Man: There was when I lived here! But that was before you were born.
Me: Ah. I see.
Jovial Man: Maybe there's one a way's up? Up on the hill?
Me: I don't think so...
Jovial Man: Huh. I would have thought, what with all the college students and all...

Yeah. Because when I think dress shirts and tasseled leather shoes, I think the men of Black Hills State. Seriously guys, stand up and fight.

Fight for your right to look like pretentious asshats.

Friday, July 3, 2009

So, This Unbelievably Stupid Woman Came In Today.

She held up a book on hand reflexology and asked, "do you have any books on foot reflexology?"

"Um, I'm not sure. I'll take a look." I walked out from around the desk and started toward the health section; she blocked my path, saying:

"And I'm also looking for a book called Heal Yourself From Within. And one called...I think it's Move Your Stuff. And I think it's by someone called Carter - like, Karen Carter. I think."

"Okay." I walked back to the computer and ran a search for the titles. "Hm, I don't see either one."

"I'm not sure of the title for the second one. Something like Move Your Stuff, Move Your Life...I don't know."

Well maybe you should have figured that out before asking me.

"Well, I don't see anything with a title like that, and I checked for books by people named Carter as well. What kind of book is it?"
"Feng shui."
"Okay, well, I can show you the section where -"
"What about Healing Yourself From Within?"

Yeah, it's not like I just told you we didn't have it or anything.

"We didn't have that one, no."
"And books on foot reflexology?"

Are you freaking serious?

"Well, I'll have to take a look - over in health -"
"Where is health?"
"Right this way."

I walked her over to the health section and started scanning for reflexology books.

"Where would stuff on feng shui be?"
"Probably in self -"
"Self help? Really?"

Yes, really, although I don't know how you could be so sure about what I was telling you since you didn't let me finish.

"Yeah. I'll check in -"
"Why wouldn't it be in decorating?"
"Well, it could be - I'm going to che -"
"And foot reflexology?"

Forget checking. Maybe I'll just shoot you.

"...Would be here, in health."
"And where is self-help?"
"Right there, where you're standing."

I continued looking for foot books; then she turned to me...

"Where is self-help again?"


"That shelf in front of you. And it doesn't look like we have any books on foot reflexology, sorry."
"I don't see any feng shui. Why isn't it in decorating?"
"I'm looking there now."
"Do you know what it is?"
"Do I know what what is? Feng shui?"
"Yes, I'm familiar with it. But we don't get very many books on it in, so..."
"Well that's surprising."
"I guess."
"I don't see any books on feng shui."

I am going to cry.

"Well, I'm looking over here, too - but again, it's not something that we tend to have a lot of."
"Ooh! Dr. Phil!"

She held up a copy of Love Matters. "I like him."

Yes, I'm sure you do.

"Ooh, you have a whole Dr. Phil section!" She pointed to a label on the shelf reading Dr. Phil.
"Are the books here in order?"
"Yes, somewhat - the labels tell you the sub-categories..."
"Like what?"
"Like...Dr. Phil. Or relationship issues, here. Or parenting - it's all categorized."
"I can't remember the name of the feng shui book. Do you have internet access? You can find it on this website, called Amazon."

Oh my God. No way. There's a website called AMAZON? And I can look shit up on it? My whole. World. Has opened up.

"Yes, I've used Amazon. I'll check for you."

I abandoned my perusal of the decorating section, did a search for the book, found the correct title, and checked our database again. We didn't have it, which I told her, and then I enjoyed a few moments peace while she browsed.

Eventually, though, she walked up to the counter with a stack of books. And amazingly, she had a question.

"So, like, how does it work?"
"Um, how does what work?"
"Bringing books in."

Oh, Christ. Now I have to explain the credit policy to this woman?

I explained the policy in painstaking detail, and she listened with her head cocked so far to the side it was almost lying on her shoulder. When I finished she stared at me for a moment; then:

"Well, can you give me an example?"

So I did. I gave multiple examples, and after about five minutes or so she seemed to digest it. She asked me to set some books back for her so she could buy them later, which I did, and then she asked:

"So did you find any books on foot reflexology?"

And I killed her.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

This Is the Abridged Version, On Account of I Am Lazy

I went out for a beer last night with a friend, and then we ran into another friend, and then we made a friend, although I don't believe she ever told us her name. But then it's hard to remember all that when you're so trashed that you start hatching schemes sure to win you a Darwin award.

"I want a log cabin that's built around a tree, and I want the tree to be a chimney."
"But...then it would burn."
"No no no! I would scorch it. I would scorch it really, really well, and then it would be fire resistant."

Our new friend flicked the ashes from her cigarette into our bowl of pretzels and continued, claiming that, while she did want to live in a forest, she couldn't always tell the difference between forests and cities.

"Well, what if there were more trees than people?"
"See, now that's a forest."

She took a pretzel, swirled it in the salt and ash at the bottom of the bowl, and popped it in her mouth. I tasted it vicariously, the ash gritty and wet between my teeth, and, grimacing, washed it down with a swallow of beer.

And then our friend was standing, grabbing her empty glass, and deserting us - she was, apparently, in search of more beer. It was only after she left that we noticed her wallet, also deserted, sitting on the table. Rachel picked it up and turned it over in her hands, saying:

"You know, if we weren't such nice people..."

Friday, June 26, 2009

Being a Pansy Can Be So Inconvenient

My family left for Ohio this morning, so the house, and its multitude of pets, are in my care. There are two dogs, three cats, some random fish, and one other pet - the one my brother dragged me outside to see.

When he said there was another animal my first thought was please, for the love of Jesus, don't let it be a snake. My brother loves snakes, because he is weird, and he had a snake once before (who died by choking on his own food - an understandably traumatic experience for Cormac, who witnessed the scene). We went outside and he lifted the lid of a plastic container, saying,

"He eats nightcrawlers or slugs, but the slugs can't be any wider than his head and the nightcrawlers need to be cut up or he'll choke and die. And the slugs are hard to find so you'll probably have to get a worm. Now I'm not too happy about this either, but we need to keep him alive for study purposes so you have to take good care of him."

And I thought:


It's not the snake itself that I mind, it's the worms. I do not want to cut up a worm. I do not want to drop little wriggly worm bits into the home of a snake that is "probably a bull snake but could possibly be a baby rattler," and I do not want to watch the thing digest.

I'm not too thrilled about feeding the fish either, because I find fish kind of gross-looking and hate how they look when they die, and if any of them die on me I'll have to take them out of the tank and flush them down the toilet, which is disgusting. But asking someone to take care of fish is, at least, a normal request, and doesn't necessitate slicing up a live worm.

I am so tempted to don a trench coat and, looking all shifty on some curb, offer naive kids five dollar bills to do the dirty work for me. But then I might feel guilty about luring unsuspecting adolescents into the seedy world of worm-dicing, and anyway, I'm not a Dickens character. So instead I will prove my love for my brother beyond any reasonable doubt, and hopefully overcome my fear of potential rattlesnakes and the worm bits they slurp.

With shaking hands and my eyes squeezed shut, of course.