Monday, May 27, 2013

The Tale Of Crazy Boots & Hot Tub McGee

Soooo, Tiffany wanted to know my terrible get-together story, which was only slightly less terrible than her own. It turned into quite the odyssey, so I thought I'd make a post out of it!

I really, really didn't care for my guy AT ALL when I first met him.

I had two buds that lived together, and they decided to take a summer road trip to the Lower 48, so they asked me to pet/plant/house-sit. All good so far. But then suddenly this chick, whom I barely knew as a friend-of-a-friend that I sometimes saw in the Arts building between classes, suddenly upgraded me to Bestest Friend EVARZ to try and swing a spare free bed for the summer. I resisted, but she got one of the road-tripping buds to say yes in the ask-the-other-parent style of getting the answer you like, and in she went.

Cute as a button, but mad as a mittenful of monkeys
It was intense. She decided to promote me from her outermost to innermost circle of intimacy, and did that by telling me terrible, unforgettable things she claimed had happened to her. She had either a whole HOST of issues, or a bad case of psychological-malady hypochondria, because she told me hideous things I could only hope were lies -- for her sake. She loved talking about it, which seemed like a sign, and she LOOOOOVVVED sympathy. Big buckets of it. The more, the better.
But, there's other things to do, other people to hang out with -- things to talk about other than Miss Crazy Boots, and that was pretty rough on her. Things would escalate. She'd sigh, and mope around. If that didn't get the sympathy ball rollin', she'd go fetal upright on a chair or couch, refusing to watch/engage in whatever me and my friends were doing. That was usually nervously ignored, in which the rocking began. But that could hold her for only so long before she'd jump up, tear out the front door and INTO THE NIGHT -- in Anchorage, after dark, in a seedy neighborhood that boasts its own corner liquor store. Without shoes or a coat. Argh. Just remembering makes me cringe. Someone would have to retrieve her and assuage her neurosis, and quickly before she could take it to the point where our evening became a cautionary tale.

There wasn't really a hobo.

I know I haven't even mentioned a guy yet -- here's the guy. Crazy Boots had just been broken up with, and she was SO NOT over him. I half suspect that her escalations were a way to get him back into her life, even if it was just to pick her up and take her to the ER. He felt partially responsible for her emotional distress and therefore her crazy behavior, and so as soon as she called he'd come straight over, apologize to the rest of us and cart her off. I loathed the whole thing: Her repetitive self-centered antics, his feeding into it, his weakness perpetuating the situation...the fact that I had to share a bathroom with this hot mess. Finally one time when he came over, I told him that I was not at all impressed with how he was dealing with the situation. Apparently this flipped his "Wow, she's sooooo sensible, I love that," switch. Not what I meant, but hey.

Also, I had not dressed for a responsibility lecture...
That may have clouded the issue somewhat

He started coming over BEFORE she could flip out. Next time she did flip out, he took her to STAR, a program for abused women that keeps you for a greater period of time and does a full work-up of your mental/emotional situation. So she was gone, but he was still coming over. Turns out we had a mutual friend, and the three of us started hanging out more. Oh, Anchorage -- everybody knows everybody, it's crazy, right? LOLZ!  Cough cough.

He was sort of obliquely courting me, complete with a chaperone like in the Good Ol' Days. He took us out to eat at fancy places, and to windswept sightseeing spots...yeah, it was kind of apparent what was going on. I was still unimpressed, because I was seeing someone else; and who tries to make moves on someone who's already taken? Not someone I could ever like. But he was falling hard, and just went right ahead and did it anyway. He confessed to me later that he actually made his first and last (so far!) psychiatric appointment, just to get a second opinion on this crazy situation. Was he nuts for doing this? Apparently she said no.

Like a swain

Eventually he got into a long debate with me in the mutual friend's parent's hot tub (I know, I know) about the current fellow I was with. It was not going well, the lad had some problems -- and this is me saying it, not Mr. Hot Tub McGee. But I'm not into bailing on people because they need help, so I was still feeling positive and committed to my relationship. It was a bit of a one-way-street arrangement, though, which was presented to me that night in the hot tub, Debate Team style.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, he won me with words. His emotional awareness, earnest yet easy manner, great vocabulary and intuitive communication skills got me all a-twitter. I swear it wasn't just the hot tub.

Okay, maybe the hot tub helped

There was a climactic scene the next day at the Ren Faire (spot-on, after all that wooing and swaining) with the Crazy Boots, becorseted bosom heaving, screaming at us about betrayal while fairgoers looked on with legs of mutton. It may have been mistaken for a show. Finally there was a long talk between my new guy and Boots, ending with a very literal demonstration of how he was walking away from the cycle, and wouldn't be running to the aid of her self-inflicted dramas anymore. By leaving her ass at the ass-end of the parking lot.

Then we went home so I could make The Call; my first time ever being the Break-Up-er  instead of the Break-Up-ee. He took it like he'd been expecting it, which threw me, and all the while my new flame of passion took a nap on the couch. Boys. Where do they GET this level of chillness?? It's baffling.

And that was the bizarre and terrible start of our relationship, which has turned out to be the best one I've ever been a part of. A relationship coming up on its 6th year anniversary, might I add, this June -- at the Ren Faire.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Totally Toasted OR: Smoke Em' If Ya Got 'Em

When I was a kid, I had this dark HBO-esque fantasy where I would take two pieces of bread, and they were like two biddies going to a spa day together. I'd put them into the toaster oven/tanning bed, imagining some invisible & insincere attendant promising them beautiful, golden tans. Then they'd come out, all stiff and brown, and I'd imagine his mock horror; "Oh dear, ladies, let's get something soothing on that right away," as I smoothed the margarine on. Then I imagined the complimentary "natural preserves treatment" he added as an apology -- usually my Mom's homemade peach-nectarine jam -- and coddled them in fluffy fresh white paper towels. Then, just when the affronted duo were just beginning to settle down, I'D EAT THEM OM NOM NOM NOM NOM. And the attendant, who'd been in on it, laughed and laughed. I know -- creepy.

But that was when we got the new toaster oven, sleek and spiffy and white; that was after the Incident With The Last Toaster.

Ahhh, memories - crazy, terrifying memories

The last toaster was my first toaster, in that it had already been a well-established resident of our household before I was born. It had served us well, or at least I assume it did, through my infancy and toddlerhood -- it's hard to be definite about anything before I was tall enough to see over the counter, of course. Unfortunately, as I was almost through kidhood and just about to cast my eye upon the pree-teen era, it started to show Signs. You know; getting tired easily, its jointings stiffer, all the hallmarks of advancing age. We were worried about it, of course -- started keeping a closer eye on it, seeing how it was doing, etc. But sometimes you need to make some toast AND do something else, gods forbid, and as riveting as the toasting process is through that little window, you walk away. This model had a spring-action linked to its timer function, which would cause the little door to burst open and the tray to pop out, presenting you with your toast with a flourish and a rather celebratory-sounding ding! And I'd had a few years to be trained to that sound, my Pavlovian promise of the first meal of the day.

So I go, preparing for my day in the way children do -- not caring about my hair, or my clothes, only techincally brushing my teeth, blah -- waiting to hear the ding. But on this, the secret final day, our toaster was Godot. I eventually came back to the kitchen, wondering why it hadn't dinged yet, and looked over to find our kitchen counter the stage for some dark and tortured hellscape now being enacted. The toaster's hatch was still shut tight, but through its little window I could see rolling smoke and tongues of open flame. I was appalled, and uncertain of how to proceed. Our friendly, once-familiar toaster was posessed. I advanced one tenative step towards the monster, and the hatch sprung open -- probably at the vibration through the floor and not, as it appeared to me at the time, to gobble me up -- and twin pillars of flame stabbed upwards as the tray popped out. At the base of each fiery column was the charred remains of a piece of toast.

I do not remember if it dinged. I know -- its last words. Haunts me still.

 I do remember yelling for Mom, in the way that any sensible person under the age of twenty thirty forty might do if they know there's someone more capable around. I remember her bustling with terrified efficiency to tame the fire demon, and a looooonnng lecture afterwards about fire safety in which I was like, Tell it to the toaster. And I still had to go to school, which seemed like a terrible waste of an emergency -- this was like the death of a family pet, it should have at least been a half day with a note.

RIP, First Toaster -- you will always be remembered. Because trauma will do that to you.

Monday, May 13, 2013

These Are The Days Of Our Lives

Ohhh, music videos back then were SO not what they are now.

Have fun with that being stuck in your head all day, for it is the theme song of today's post, in which I viciously mock the week. No, not like that -- not this week, per se, but the very idea of the Week itself.

Despite the myriad difference of our day-to-day lives --  whether you're a paper-mover, bean-counter, retail-drone, student, stay-at-home, whatever -- we all get the same seven days. Monday to Sunday, in the same order, forever. Depending on your personal schedule, different days may have different connotations for you; for instance, my roommate who only gets Mondays and Thursdays off has a very different idea of "on the weekend" than I do. But there seem to be what I'm gonna go ahead and call general characterisations of each day; a cast of characters that make up the average workweek.

This is the big one; what you've been dreading. You grit your teeth, squinch your eyes, and just try to make it through. Those who are impervious to its evil will hoot, "Someone's got a case of the Mondays!" These people should be hogtied to the printer-copier and sacrificed to Garfield, but all they get is a pained grimace because who has the energy to spare? Not me.

Bad things tend to happen, because society as a whole is not at its best. Parking tickets, surprise deadlines, someone else eating your lunch -- it's all about getting home, dragging yourself to your favorite horizontal soft surface, and putting comfort foods in your face. Unless you're my roommate, in which you feel chipper, well-rested and spunky, and attempt to violate the personal space of as many grumpy Garfield roommates as possible. Personal space and horizontal surfaces are of the utmost importance on Mondays.


This is the week's equivalent of Second Day Soreness -- that wincing and mincing you do at the gym on Day 2, when you're all sore from yesterday and are now being asked to do it all over again. Everything is harder to do on Day 2s and Tuesday is no different. My inner child always registers disbelief at my absurd behavior as I rise and return every Tuesday morning; "What, you're doing that again? What're you, stupid?"

Yes. Because everything is stupid on a Tuesday. So I must be too.

 I even coined an initialism to capture the zeitgeist of the phenomenon; DCIOT, or Dear Christ, It's Only Tuesday. Feel free to use it jovially around the office, the karmic balance to the well-known and similarly sacrilegious TGIF.

You're starting to get back into your stride by now, which is just as well, because it's time for the next of the week's empty slogans to get brayed at you -- "Over the Hump!" they cry, whilst anyone with any sense of dignity cringes with involuntary sympathy-embarrassment. This is a hideous phrase that should be given physical form only so that it can be burned. Okay, that's a little strong -- but still, my least favorite of the empty office nothingisms. I picture Wednesday as some homely, bulge-eyed mutt straddling the week, staring blankly as it helplessly struggles to dismount. Hump Day -- a phrase that cries out for a bucket of cold water. Ugh.

Now we've reached a strangely anticipatory phase in our week, where the hopefulness of Friday bleeds backwards in time to the desperate Thursday workforce. This is the Friday Eve phenomenon; almost to Almost There. It is not much of a day in and of itself, so much as an awkward barrier to Friday; and it is, as Douglas Adams so famously wrote, rather hard to get the hang of them.

This is a day devoted to the sunny confidence we all seem to hold that this weekend is going to be, in fact, The Best Weekend Evarz. The merriment generated by this secret knowledge sustains us throughout, despite the overwhelming likelihood that it will turn out to involve little more than laundry, television, and maybe some takeout you will come to regret. This never seems to occur to us on that beautiful, optimistic Friday; we are all of us joyfully awaiting that moment when the walls of our individual professional rat mazes will fall away, and the boundless relative freedoms of the wider rat maze of traffic-clogged streets, social contracts, familial obligations and household chores appear with an overarching high blue sky where puffy white clouds spell out Well At Least You're Not At Work. TGIFs abound.

My favorite Saturday-regression cartoon
regresses a bit himself. Meta.
This rarely lives up to the Friday hype. Sunshine, actual plans, and someone wonderful to do them with are all necessary precursors to this expected wonderfulness; unless you have somehow arranged for all three (especially since you can't really control the first one) you will probably have a laundry day. But, you can rebel a little by staying in pajama pants all day, subsisting off bowls of sugary cereal and watching cartoons. Regressing is the new rebelling.

This is the day when all the chickens you didn't realize you owned come home to roost; what you shoulda done, what's about to come. The feathers positively fly (as do the fowl meatphors, apparently), each one settling with a thud on your guilty conscience. Strangely enough, this doesn't send you into the productive frenzy that's called for; the feathers usually coalesce into a down comforter that's to be lurked in while you sulkily watch your favorite TV shows and pretend you're still having fun BECAUSE IT'S STILL THE WEEKEND, DAMMIT. This has primed you perfectly for Monday grumpiness, a little Monday Eve spirit that Garfield would be proud of.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Uh-Oh, Poetry: A REAL Love Song

A little more vocabulary, a little less hyberbole. If anyone's musically inclined, I'd love a tune to put this to; alas, I am not musically-minded.
~ * ~

For you I would work all my adult life
In a job that’s not really “me”
Alarm clocks, traffic jams, office policy
For the wages to support one husband and wife

They talk about mountains and oceans
To try and express their love
How they’d go beyond and above
Fuelled by superlative emotions
But I’d do real things for you
The kind of things you actually need to do
To build real love

For you I would admit I was wrong
Even if I was still angry at you
I’d learn how to talk it through
So much harder than singing a song

For you I would truly change
Not superficially, but slowly and over time
Your interests would become mine
In loving you, my priorities would rearrange

They talk about mountains and oceans
To try and express their love
How they’d go beyond and above
Fuelled by superlative emotions
But I’d do real things for you
The kind of things you actually need to do
To build real love

For you I would grow up and grow old
Face all of life’s challenge and tragedy
At your side ‘til we’re wrinkled and crotchety
And I know every story you’ve ever told

They talk about mountains and oceans
To try and express their love
How they’d go beyond and above
Fuelled by superlative emotions
But I’d do real things for you
The kind of things you actually need to do
To build real love