Monthly Archives: July 2011

I’m going on vacation! There is no internet! And there might be bears!

I’m off for vacation very early tomorrow morning, with possibly no Internet access. (There might be a little. Apparently, you can use the local library computer for half an hour to an hour a day. I might make it to town a couple of times while I’m gone to check out this situation.) I promise I’ll be back; I promise hijinks will happen while I’m gone; I promise to write about them in such a way to make them sound MUCH MORE DRAMATIC than they actually probably were.

Also maybe I’ll take photos to document the insanity. Because nothing says “crazy person with a blog” like someone taking a photo of something random that’s only funny to her.

Behave while I’m gone! No bad touches; eat lots of chocolate.

Oh, yeah, I’m going to the woods. There might be bears. I mean, there never has been before, but you know. Anything can happen. Think good thoughts, because wouldn’t bears make an awesome blog post (as long as they don’t eat my hands?)


Banished Forever to Hell; Today Have I Been Expelled

I promised I’d talk about this, and the time is now. Yes, it’s true. I got booted out of churchschool. And even more distressing: I’m still, almost two decades later, irrationally proud of how it went down.

In high school, our church got a new priest. Our old priest – who I mentioned in an earlier post – was beloved by all. Honestly, there wasn’t anyone who didn’t adore this man. However, if anyone’s aware of how the church works, they move priests around a lot. Our priest was very, very good. Very passionate, excellent at getting people involved who wouldn’t normally be, getting a community together where it had just been a group of disparate people before – he was a pro at this. So he was in high demand. The powers that be kept him in our area longer than they normally do, but after a while, he got his reassignment and they moved him to a town an hour away, and we got a new priest.

Google tells me this man is still a priest, (and has quite a wide Internet footprint) so I’ll be circumspect and give him an alias – because it’s going to be confusing if I don’t. I’m also going to try to be as nice as I can, here. Let’s call him…Voldemort.

I was heartbroken to lose the priest that I’d loved and who’d inspired me for years, but my parents tried to assure me that the church wouldn’t send us someone evil. I was predisposed to hate this replacement; as we’ve learned about me, I make snap decisions.

I was willing to let it go that Voldemort looked, talked, and acted like a used car salesman moving in on a country rube about to spend the year’s mortgage on a lemon. I was willing to let it go that his sermons were long, dry as dust, and completely uninspiring. I had a little harder time letting go how he talked down to me. I still have this problem – I don’t have a lot, but I am an intelligent woman. If you’ve gotten to know me and you find I’m mentally deficient, then fine, by all means, talk down to me (I can’t be held responsible for what I might do or say to you, but you gave it a chance, so I can’t fault you for that, I suppose.) Voldemort was one of those adults who assumed everyone under the age of twenty must be an automatic idiot. He used a baby voice. I was in high school. This didn’t go over well. He was also very, very patronizing. He’d say things like “Oh! Amy! I heard you like to study! Isn’t that nice?” in that singsongy voice people use toward children, the village idiot, and people who are about to lose their shit. I wasn’t the first two, but I was coming up on the third.

We had churchschool once a week, Sunday nights, I believe, in the basement of the church. My parents insisted I attend, at least until I graduated high school. I still didn’t enjoy going, but I was a fairly law-abiding kid. I went. I sat there, quietly, I didn’t answer many questions, and when the session was up, I went home, not having learned much other than there were very few things in the world less inspiring than being forced to study religion.

One night, we had a guest speaker. In his infinite wisdom, Voldemort had invited an employee from the local Planned Parenthood to show us a video about safe sex and talk to us. I’m still, all these years later, not sure what was going through his head. Again, I’m not sure what you know about the Catholic faith, but premarital sex is a no-no. Not a little no-no, either. A big fat one. So safe sex isn’t something you want talked about with your unmarried, high-school churchschool class. Because “no sex” really would have to be the topic. Did he think Planned Parenthood was going to talk about no sex? Because that’s not really what Planned Parenthood does.

The video was a basic safe-sex primer. It was brief. It’s not like it showed naughty bits, or anything. Then she talked to us, briefly. Voldemort was off in the corner somewhere. I remember the Planned Parenthood worker. She was young. Much younger than I am now. I’m thinking early twenties, maybe. You could tell she didn’t have a lot of experience giving these talks. She finished the talk with something along the lines of “And, so if any of you do decide to have sex, please practice safe sex. Thank you!”

Voldemort ERUPTED from his corner. He was a Mount Vesuvius of righteous anger. His face was so red I thought he was having a stroke.

These are Catholic children,” he spat at her. No, really, he spat. Like, spit FLEW from his lips and splattered all over the Planned Parenthood lady. “They don’t have sex.” Sex was said like the Church Lady used to say it on Saturday Night Live. Like it was sin wrapped in hookers and porno and then rolled in edible panties. “Get out. Now.” He then started cleaning up her things for her and shoving them at her.

Planned Parenthood lady was in tears. She was probably thinking what I’m thinking now – what exactly was he expecting to happen? Did he think Planned Parenthood was known for its abstinence talks? Or talks about becoming a nun? Planned Parenthood helps you with a lot of things, and I suppose would talk to you about abstinence, if you asked them to. But obviously he hadn’t, otherwise, wouldn’t that have been what she talked about?

I don’t like bullies. Not at all. I think I’ve made it pretty clear, to anyone that’s been reading this for any length of time, or anyone who knows me at all, that I was bullied for years. Bullies immediately put me on the defensive. When I was younger, they made me want to run and hide. As I got older (and I was right on the edge of younger and older, then) I want to protect the person that’s being bullied. Even if it isn’t my fight, or my business, or I don’t like the person being bullied all that much. It doesn’t matter. I want to protect that person. Because I know what being bullied can do to someone. I live with what being bullied can do to someone every single day of my life; odds are good I will for the rest of my life. Show me a bully, and you will see me go into full-on momma-bear protective mode.

I stood up. “I’m very glad she came. I’m not currently sexually active, but the information was helpful for when I will be. Thank you!” I said. The other kids in the class just gaped at me. The Planned Parenthood lady, on her way out, her things hastily gathered to her chest, gave me a teary, white-faced smile.

Voldemort came over to me, puffing like a bull in heat. “Excuse me?”

I just stared at him. He got very close. Right in my personal space. Which I was not comfortable with then and I am not comfortable with now. But I did not move.
One of the other girls in the class stood up. “I actually am sexually active, and I use Planned Parenthood, so I’m glad they’re around. They’re a good resource.”

Voldemort’s head snapped around to her.

Another girl stood. “I’m not sexually active, but my boyfriend and I are planning on becoming so, so I’m glad she was here. I’ll call you for more information, ok?” she said to the Planned Parenthood lady, who had a very small smile on her face at this point. Voldemort turned to her and she beat a hasty retreat up the stairs.

I felt like Amy Madigan at the PTA meeting in Field of Dreams.

“All of you, sit down,” he hissed. “I won’t stand for outbursts in my class. If you can’t control yourselves, you can leave.”

The other two girls sat. One had a mother who volunteered at the church, so I suppose she didn’t want to make waves. The other didn’t care much; I don’t think it mattered to her either way. Me? Stubborn. And I really, really hate bullies. Did I mention that? It bears repeating.

“You,” he said. The patronizing voice was gone. Voldemort was speaking parseltongue now. All hissing gliding vowel tones. This was the real Voldemort, I thought. Interesting it took this for him to show his face. “Get out. You’re not welcome here. This is your last churchschool class. And we’ll be calling your parents.”

I thought about it, for a minute. On one hand, someone was telling me to go, and I don’t like being told what to do. Part of me wanted to plop right back down and start singing “I Will Not Be Moved.” But on the other hand – I hated churchschool. I had just been kicked out of the place I hated going almost most of all. It was like I had pulled a long con that had finally paid off. How stupid would it be to go back into the lion’s den when you’d finally been freed?

Also, Voldemort was scaring me a little. Like, “I’m just about to take off my man-mask and show the monster-face that has been lurking just beneath the whole time” scary.

I walked out of there with my head held high. I waved at Planned Parenthood lady in the parking lot as I drove off. I felt like I had an early release from prison.

My parents were not pleased about this. Voldemort hadn’t even called them himself. He’d immediately called one of his church minion ladies – there were a bunch of them, who hung on his every word like he was a vending machine spitting out free little bags of M&Ms – call them, so that when I got home, they already had the news. My mother told me she’d talk to him, smooth things over, get me back in. Oh, also he lied, and told them I had stood in front of the entire class and said I was having sex. Well, unless I was sneaking men into my room after midnight, via ladder, into my second-floor window, men who were somehow attracted to the fact that I was so shy as to seem mute, burdened with a crippling case of adolescent acne, and had a fancy 80’s era perm – my parents knew that wasn’t true. I wasn’t dating. I never went out. I stayed home and read and wrote and studied and sometimes I had a play. Whoo, backfire, Voldemort. My complete and total lack of potential suitors defeats your lies!

I’d gone to churchschool for twelve years at this point. I went to mass whenever required; I behaved myself (well, except for my out-of-control mouth, of course); I made all As; I was a pretty decent kid, altogether.

I refused to go back to churchschool. My parents tried to convince me, via bribery, vague threats, punishments, cries of “duty.” I refused. I would not be moved.

I never trusted Voldemort again. I won’t go into detail – it will make it much too easy for people to identify him – but, years later, things came out (no, not those type of things; as far as I know, he didn’t become a stereotype) where I was proven right. He was not a good person. He did some really, really awful things. Not the kind of things that get you kicked out as a priest, but the kind of things where I would most certainly not want to be in his shoes come judgment day. I tried not to say “I told you so” too loudly when this happened. But I say everything loudly, once I found my voice, finally, so it probably came out as a roar.

I never got suspended from school, but I got officially kicked out of churchschool. Yep. Total and complete badass.


The Spazziness is Strong With This One

As I’ve mentioned (I know, I know, ad nauseum, suck it up), I work in a theater. So you’d think I’d be really, really cool around actors and other famous people, right?

If you answered “right” to this you a., haven’t been reading this very long, and b., don’t know me very well. I am a spaz. A complete and total spaz. Around normal people, I’m just your everyday, basic spaz, which people can explain away with “she’s kooky” or “aw, Amy” in a patronizing tone; around real life famous people OMG FAMOUS PEOPLE!!! I turn into Spaz Extraordinaire.

I haven’t met a lot of famous people in person. Which is probably a good thing, because it is embarrassing. I’m better off sticking to Twitter, where you can talk to (and sometimes get responses from, as long as you’re not a crazy attention-seeking lunatic) famous people and still retain a facade of cool aloofness. I was discussing this with a friend last night and told her that once I blogged about how I completely self-destruct around famous people, she would no longer invite me to come with her on our hypothetical quest to meet Joss Whedon. Here you go, Amanda…I won’t be too hurt if my invitation gets lost in the mail.

Chance encounters that weren’t too bad:

When I started working at my theater, four people who worked on the first play I’d seen when I moved to town were involved with the show I was working on. I was so daunted by them I was afraid to talk to them, other than mono-syllabic “yes”’s and “no”’s, for a very long time. (I’m fairly sure if they knew this they’d laugh now, since I’ve known them for years and they’re just the loveliest people and not at all scary.) Spaz Quotient – 5 (because community theater people aren’t even CELEBRITIES, really!)

I met Lynn Redgrave after a play she’d acted in when I was doing a semester abroad in London. This was not too embarrassing because I wasn’t aware she was a famous person. I thought, “Isn’t it nice that the Weight Watchers spokeswoman got a role in a play!” So I didn’t spaz out. She was very gracious and shook my hand when I told her I’d enjoyed the play. (I didn’t. There was a horse onstage and I found it very distracting. I kept thinking it was either going to bolt or poo and therefore couldn’t pay attention to what was happening in the story because I was waiting for one of those two things to occur.) Spaz Quotient (on a scale of 1-10) – 2 (because I didn’t know she was a famous person, which is embarrassing in itself.)

I went to New York City with some friends while in college. One of them saw Buster Poindexter (Hot, Hot, Hot? No? Also known as David Johansen? Anyone? The song was popular then. Yes, yes, I know. I’m old) in a restaurant eating and wanted to go in and talk to him. He was summarily kicked out of the restaurant by Buster Poindexter’s goons. Yes, Buster Poindexter, at the height of his popularity, had toughs with him. I don’t know either. Spaz Quotient – 1 (I had nothing to do with this. I was embarrassed anyone wanted to meet Buster Poindexter.)

Also in New York City, while walking with a friend, he said, “Don’t look now, but there’s Ted Levine.” “Who?” I said. “Ted Levine. Jame Gumb. From Silence of the Lambs.” In my haste to see the real life person who said “It puts the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again,” one of my favorite movie lines EVER, I almost knocked over three people on the sidewalk. For my pains, I saw a man’s back receding from us. He was wearing jeans and a hoodie. This could have been anyone. But it was very exciting nonetheless. Spaz Quotient – 4 (would be higher had I actually gotten to speak to him)

I went to college with two people who have since become “famous.” I put this in quotes because it’s not true. One of them was an extra on Contest Searchlight, which was a comedy show making fun of Project Greenlight years ago that starred Denis Leary. I saw him in a crowd scene. It was very exciting. In real life he was a bit of a tool, I guess, according to people who knew him. I always liked him well enough personally. The other one is even more fantastically “famous” as he was one of the “dates” on the episode “Whatta Manhunt” on the short-lived Salt-N-Pepa Show.  This was disheartening, because I know he’s an actor, so it ruined my true and honest belief that Pepa was looking for a real date as the dates were actually actors. Also, he was a very nice, very sweet, very earnest boy, and it made me sad that the best he seemed to be able to do was “Bachelor #2” on “Whatta Manhunt.” Spaz Quotient – nonexistent (however, embarrassment quotient for “Bachelor #2” is kind of high.)

I have met and had books signed by two authors I admire – David Eggers and Russell Banks – and both times when I got to the signing table I stuttered out something like “I like you good books nice.” This, I think, makes them think I am possibly dyslexic, and isn’t it brave that I keep trying to read! Spaz Quotient – 6 (if I’d stayed longer, it would have been higher.)

Also, I went to a David Sedaris reading once, and afterwards, he was outside smoking, and I stood there watching him and was SO DESPERATE to go and talk to him but was too afraid, because he’s notoriously shy and I adore him so much I was afraid my love would kill him. So eventually he just walked away with the friend he’d been talking to. I’ve been sad about that ever since. Spaz Quotient – 4 (because I was a chickenshit)

I mentioned this in the past, but when I worked at the video store in grad school, Everett McGill used to rent videos from us. I didn’t spaz out on him because I was only aware of his work in The People Under the Stairs. So I was actually really quite cool with him, and he always waited patiently to be in my line, because my co-workers would act like weirdos if they waited on him and he was very taciturn and that seemed to freak him out. I have since seen him in a few things and I think I’d spaz out more now. Also, once, there was a mattress sale in the parking lot of the video store and he and his wife bounced on the mattresses in an adorable and gleeful manner. So there is a celebrity story for you. Breaking news, TMZ. Spaz Quotient – 1 (because I was unaware he was a famous person other than in ‘The People Under the Stairs’)

I went to a film festival and Kevin Bacon did a talk after a movie. I was sitting on the aisle and had my legs kind of stretched out more than I should have (stop it, I wasn’t being a dick, if anyone was coming, I would have pulled them in.) Someone said excuse me and I moved them and this very short, very thin man walked by. Yep, Kevin Bacon. Who is MINISCULE. But polite! +1, Kevin Bacon. And now you can all use me in your “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” game. Oh, it only counts if I’ve ACTED with Kevin Bacon? I disagree. I think you can say, for example, “Sarah Jessica Parker was in Footloose with Kevin Bacon and Amy was in A THEATER with Kevin Bacon” and that totally counts. Spaz Quotient – nonexistent (because I didn’t have enough time to react)

But here, here is my most embarrassing moment. A quick preface: I have a short list of people I’d like to meet; people I admire a great deal, whose work has made a huge impact on me and my life. A few new people get added here and there, but the three main, core people are Stephen King, Kevin Smith, and Joss Whedon. Their work has affected me more than anyone else’s; they are the people I’d like to meet and thank for giving me what they have over the years.

If you think these people suck, or are not fans, fine. I don’t care. You probably have your own short list. I won’t judge yours if you don’t judge mine. These are my people; I don’t need to explain or apologize for them.

A few years ago, two friends and I went to the Woodstock Film Festival to see an advanced screening of Zack and Miri Make a Porno. The Woodstock Film Festival is awesome – not too far from me, lots of excellent indie films, some bigger-budget ones, famous people come and give talks about films and filmmaking and acting, and it’s all-around a really happy and stress-free experience (especially for me, who hates crowds and people and hype.)  We knew Kevin Smith was in town, because he won the Woodstock Maverick Award that weekend, and was in town to accept it. Sometimes, after the movies, an actor or director will come and do a question-and-answer session, but not always, and it hadn’t been announced, so we weren’t sure if he would be there. So we watched the movie.  (Side note – right before it started, one of the snooty film snobs who comes to these things, who I have no idea why was there, said, “I hope this isn’t too VULGAR” and I almost spit-took my water because listen, lady, this isn’t a two-hour silent film about glassblowing, it’s a KEVIN SMITH MOVIE.) When it was done, the lights came up, and nothing happened, and we waited a bit. And I had butterflies, because I thought, maybe? Maybe Kevin Smith? And then, yes, Kevin Smith. I was in the same room as Kevin Smith, who has been one of my idols since I watched Clerks as a disaffected moody college student and realized “People are making movies? That are about me and my friends? THIS IS AMAZING.” When it was over, we left, and realized that Kevin Smith was standing RIGHT THERE IN THE PARKING LOT HAVING A CIGARETTE. I froze like a raccoon caught stealing from a trash can. See, most of you are reading this and thinking, “So what? I wait outside of concerts for people I like ALL THE TIME” but I never, never have the courage to do that. Also, I AM A SPAZ.

Friend’s boyfriend: We have to talk to him.

Me: No. Too afraid. Can’t.
FB: You are going to hate yourself if you don’t.
Me: SO SCARED.
FB: Seriously. He wouldn’t have come out if he didn’t want to say hi to his fans.
Me: I AM GOING TO BE A SPAZ.
FB: Well, um, yeah, probably. You are Amy. That hasn’t changed in the past ten minutes.
Me: TOO SCARED. IT IS KEVIN SMITH. TOO SCARED.

My friend agreed with me – she’s with me on the “it’s kind of embarrassing to be up in celebrities’ faces” thing – but her boyfriend? The bravest. He started walking over there. And I couldn’t let him go alone. I had to go. I mean, I had to go, right? I would hate myself, right? This would be David Sedaris but to the power of A MILLION.


So we were standing in front of Kevin Smith, who had complained at the Q&A that he had food poisoning. No one else, apparently, had noticed him. We were all alone with Kevin Smith.

FB:  This is Amy. She’s really nervous to meet you.

Kevin Smith: Oh, because I might projectile vomit all over you?
Me: NobecauseIreallyadmireyouyou’reoneofmyidols. (All in one breath. Like a crazy person with asthma.)
KS: Thank you, that’s so nice! (Shook my hand. SHOOK MY HAND. I KNOW! Which I totally didn’t lick afterwards because that would be gross and he had food poisoning but I might have joked about doing so and also thought about not washing it.)
Me: This is my friend! She ALSO likes you!

Then he shook her hand and laughed a little at my weirdness, in a “I think she might be sizing my skin up to wear it as a cape” sort of way.


FB: Could you sign this? (Kevin Smith signed his program.) Congratulations on the Maverick Award last night!
KS: Yeah, thanks, that was cool.

And now, here is where I use WITTY WORDPLAY. On KEVIN SMITH. Ready? I don’t know if you can handle it.

Me: You’re a maverick, just like Sarah Palin.

 

In my defense, this was back in what, 2008? When she had just debated and said she was a maverick 43 kabillion times. And I did say this sarcastically. But I think in my haste to say words out of my mouth it came out like “Blah blah LOONEY PERSON WITH CRAZY EYES blah.”

KS: I am JUST LIKE Sarah Palin, you’re right.

Then we all laughed. My friend’s laughter was normal; Kevin Smith’s was a person who had to deal with a crazy; mine sounded like that person you change cars to get away from on the subway who smells like feet.

KS: OK, I have to get going – really not feeling well. Nice to meet you all, though.

Me: I hope you feel better!
KS: Thank you! (He said this VERY NICELY.)

Then he left. And he WAVED TO US AS HIS CAR DROVE HIM AWAY. No, seriously.

OK, what have we learned, here?

I am a GOON and a SPAZ.

Kevin Smith is really the nicest. See? I choose GOOD people to idolize. I have since seen him live again and he was wonderful then, too.

I should not be allowed out in public where there are people because I am EMBARRASSING.

Also, Friend’s Boyfriend gave me the signed program as a birthday present a week later, cementing him as a keeper in my book.

 

Spaz Quotient – 9 (I suppose things always could be worse, like I could have tripped and fallen on him or something)

Bored Now

I am a fairly intelligent woman; not to toot my own horn (eh, who am I kidding, HONK) I was the valedictorian of my high school, did fairly well in college once I realized it wasn’t the smartest idea to stay up all night drinking, and still keep up on current events, read, and do generally nerdy things for fun. I like researching things. I make pie charts and find it enjoyable. I collect obscure grammar rules like shiny river stones. I have a necklace of an antique semicolon typewriter key.

But there are certain things that I cannot wrap my head around. I don’t know if it’s my adult onset ADD (which, listen, IS A THING! A friend informs me it is ACTUALLY A THING! I have been joking that I have this but it’s a real, live thing, not something I made up to explain why I can’t pay attention in boring office meetings! So of course now that I know it’s real I’m convinced I have it, like every obscure disease in the world. I’m very often most likely dying of whatever I’ve heard of most recently, if you haven’t guessed) or the way my brain is wired or that these things are deathly boring or what, but there are certain topics that can guarantee my eyes will glaze over and I will go into a boredom coma faster than my nephew will move onto the next toy in his gigantic Smaug-like pile of Christmas presents every December.

SPORTS

Ok, listen. I am the most uncoordinated person alive, as discussed many times in the past. I had to take (I am not kidding about this) remedial skipping in kindergarten. When I was in kindergarten, I would try to skip in gym class, and I kept falling down. My mother became concerned (and, seriously, wouldn’t you? That’s a little alarming. I mean, who can’t skip?) and brought me to the pediatrician. The diagnosis was (I wish I was joking about this) too much cartilage. He showed her that I was way too bendy and then bent parts of me (like my nose and my thumbs) at weird angles. He then told her I would most likely always be extremely clumsy, even when I solidified (which I have, so don’t go thinking I’m all limber, because nope), and so I got a DOCTOR’S NOTE THAT SAID I WAS EXEMPT FROM SKIPPING. No joke. So while the other kids skipped gaily in a circle around the gym, I was told to plod in a small circle in the middle of the gym. I think you can see that I’ve always been small-bus special.

I can’t do sports. I’m not good at them. I don’t understand the rules of them, and I am afraid of the ball that always seems to be rushing at my head/face/soft unprotected places/glasses. The only sports I was good at in school were volleyball (I don’t understand this, either, but I was so good at this! It’s confusing) and badminton, sort of. So the idea of watching sports on television confuses and bores me.

The only sports I can sort of get behind – I mean, I don’t want to WATCH them, or anything, but I don’t hate them – are basketball and baseball. Basketball because I used to watch it with my father as a kid, I kind of understand the rules, and I love betting on the NCAA tournament every year. Baseball because it’s the American pastime and it seems noble and I love the movie Field of Dreams.

I hate football with the fiery passion of a million suns because if a show is scheduled to run from 4-7 and it runs late, it is making my entire evening of television-watching run late and that is ANNOYING.

MOST POLITICAL DISCUSSIONS

I say “most” because there are some political discussions I really like. Who’s going to be voted into office next. (Voting is one of my favorite things to do, ever. I would vote every DAY if I could. It makes me feel important. I know it probably matters not at all, but I feel like I have a voice when I vote. And I miss the old voting machines, which made voting a ritual. These new bubble sheets are kind of a letdown. I feel like I’m taking an unscored standardized test.) Anything having to do with people (equal rights, marriage equality, things of that nature.) How a bill becomes a law. However, take, for example, this “debt ceiling” thing that’s going on right now. I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THIS MEANS. I know. This makes me irresponsible and a bad American. Here’s the thing. We, as Americans, we can’t do anything about this, right? Our elected officials are taking care of this (supposedly) for us? And I suppose it affects us, but the economy already sucks so hard that I can barely afford groceries or a full tank of gas, so what, is it getting worse? How much worse? Am I going to have to start prostituting myself to buy laundry detergent? Because if that’s the case I think I’m going to have really dirty clothes. I’d be the worst prostitute ever. “You want me to do WHAT? You want to put that WHERE? That’s disgusting. I’m too tired to deal with your nonsense. Go home to your wife, you sicko perv.” And there’s so much hate from all sides of the political arena right now. It’s exhausting. I mean, I have a side, I’ve picked my side, but I don’t want to fight about it all the time, you know? Debt ceiling. Start talking to me about the debt ceiling and I’m going to find something I desperately have to do elsewhere, like categorize and list my magazine collection, or something. SO BORED. And then I feel guilty about being bored. But seriously, I DON’T CARE.

MONEY

I don’t have enough. Ever. And when people start talking about investments and 401(k)s and the latest cool thing they bought and retirement and whatnot I zone out. Because listen. I’m going to be working until I drop dead. I get that annual social security statement and I open the envelope and a little whiff of canned laughter drifts out at me. I’m going to be that ancient Walmart greeter you feel bad for when you’re running in to pick up tampons and she looks so confused and you think, aw, she must really love working! NO. She made BAD LIFE CHOICES and her jobs didn’t pay enough and she has to work until she drops dead at her post but not in a good, chivalrous, fantasy-realm sort of way, in a sad, pathetic, I’m-wearing-a-polyester-apron-with-my-name-on-it-and-why-won’t-I-die-faster way. I don’t want to hear about investments. They are out of the realm of my understanding and also they depress me.

CARS

Mine goes when I push the gas and stops when I push the brake. That’s the extent of my car knowledge. Oh, and I know where the windshield wiper fluid and gas go. I don’t know about makes and models and hemis and RPMs. It used to amuse my brother to no end when he’d ask, “What kind of car was it?” and I’d say, “A blue one,” and not only did I not know it was a Chevy Tahoe or whatever, IT WASN’T EVEN BLUE. I have the worst powers of observation. Does anyone remember that episode of The Facts of Life where they tested a classroom’s power of observation by having a man run in, steal someone’s purse, and run out, and then the class had to describe him, and no one got it right, they were all, “Tall? Short? Blonde? Scar across his face? Limp?” and he was none of those things? That’s me, only worse. I WOULDN’T HAVE EVEN NOTICED SOMEONE HAD RUN IN. People often ask me things like, “Hey, didn’t you notice six months ago when I’d lost fifty pounds?” or “Hey, what’s different about me?” and my answers are “Nope” and “You’re here and earlier you weren’t?” People start talking about cars and the extent of my contribution to the conversation is “Sometimes the cars I’ve had didn’t work well? But the one I have now does. I like cars that work.” (Also I like red ones. Or maybe they’re not red. I honestly couldn’t tell you.)

CLOTHING

I do not care about clothing. I don’t like shopping for it; I don’t like picking it out; it all looks weird on me because I have the oddest body shape you’ve ever seen in your life (like, in Cosmo, they’re all “your body shape is AN APPLE or A PEAR?” Mine is IN PLACES A WATERMELON and IN PLACES A PRICKLY PEAR and IN PLACES A STARFRUIT and I can tell you straight up there are no designers making clothes for that ideal); and it costs money I don’t have to buy it. Also, I don’t know what looks good together. I mean, I have a basic idea, but mostly I stick with some sort of non-offensive top and khakis, which work year-round. I don’t understand designers; I don’t understand fashion, as a rule. Also, fashion shows. I am confused about them. So, none of the clothes that people wear in those are ever for sale, right? Because no one wears, like, a floor-length fur poncho in real life. So why do they do them? To show off? Confusing.


MOST REALITY TELEVISION

I watch a few of these – I’m kind of embarrassingly addicted to VH1’s lineup of reality shows (side note – I was watching an old episode of Celebrity Rehab last night, and Leif Garrett, who will always make me laugh because of that Behind the Music about him where he confronted the friend he injured that one time and cried and cried, does anyone remember that? Yes, I know, I’m totally heartless – was shown walking through the hall cussing and they were bleeping it out and he was complaining about how he couldn’t deal with anyone and everyone was annoying him and then the voice over – the very foxy Dr. Drew, did you ever SEE him in a tight t-shirt? Rawr – said “coming down from heroin makes you very testy” and I thought, whoa, if a camera followed me around they’d see THE SAME BEHAVIOR AND I CAN’T EVEN BLAME HEROIN I JUST HATE EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE ANNOYS ME WHAT’S MY EXCUSE) and I like cooking reality shows and The Amazing Race and Project Runway and such (I know, you’d think not, because I don’t like fashion, but something about that show is very soothing to me.) But I don’t watch, or like, or understand, or want to discuss, Big Brother, any of those shows where someone’s going on a “journey” to find “the one,” any of those stupid dancing shows, any singing show, any of those shows about jobs like fishing or trucking, any of those horrendous trainwreck housewife shows, or anything about hoarding (I watched a few minutes of one of these once and had to take a shower NO THANK YOU.) I just don’t care. I know America loves them. And yay, America. But sooo bored, just thinking about them. And everyone always wants to discuss them with me! And everyone gets this sad-clown “what’s wrong with you?” face when I say I don’t like them! What? Why? I like scripted television, mostly. Is that wrong? To like stories people made up in their heads? Because listen, the stories I make up in my head trump my reality any day of the week. Would you all like to hear about the hour’s worth of photocopying I did this morning, or what I’m saying right now? What’s that? Neither? NO ONE’S MAKING YOU READ, CHUMP.

DISCUSSIONS WHERE YOU EXPECT A CERTAIN RESPONSE FROM ME

I don’t like being steered toward the response you want from me. This is most prevalent when you want me to give you a false compliment. I HATE GIVING THOSE. Here is an example. I…made this up. This is not about a real person. At all. Totally not.

Person who is not a real person at all: I am bad at singing.

Me: Oh?
PWINARPAA: Yeah. SO BAD AT IT.
Me: That’s too bad.
PWINARPAA: I mean, SOME people think that.
Me: Huh.
PWINARPAA: Yep. Some people say, “You are a bad singer!”
Me: Do they.
PWINARPAA: They do. They do say that. To me. About my singing.
Me: Look at that shiny thing I want to go to there.

The response this completely fictional person was fishing for was “No! You are not a bad singer! That person is a LIAR! Who SUCKS! Who would SAY THAT? ABOUT YOU?” And if this weren’t a completely fictional scenario, I’d tell you the person is the worst singer I’ve ever heard. But since it’s fictional, I mean, it’s all a moot point, right?

Listen. I can’t be bothered to prop up everyone’s egos I meet. I just can’t. It is EXHAUSTING. If you suck, part of you knows it already. Just keep quiet about it. Also, don’t compliments mean more when they aren’t prompted?

So sorry, people who’ve tried to discuss these things with me. Like I said, it could be a number of reasons why I can’t stay awake for them, or find that I have pressing business elsewhere when they come up. But here’s a rule of thumb – when a person tries, nicely, to change the subject about fifteen times, and you keep steering it back to the original one? You’re a conversation hog. And you’re annoying. And I’m either replaying a Buffy episode or the lyrics to Martha Wainwright’s Bloody Motherfucking Asshole on repeat in my head while I map out potential escape routes. My apologies. And I’m sorry to interrupt, but where’s the restroom, by the way? I’ll be right back.

(After I posted this and was wandering aimlessly around trying to avoid “working” at my “job” because “I am lazy” I realized that my lovely Mer, without my brain even realizing this, inspired this post. So I am kind of a thief. Apology sent into the blogosphere! In my defense, I didn’t fall asleep last night until late. I’d like to say it was because I had a super-hot gentleman caller or something but really I was discussing Community’s casting with friends online until the wee hours. Anyway. Her blog is well-written and always a must-read for me, so if you like things that are awesome, click on her link! She handled the topic in a classier fashion. As she handles most everything.)


Stop asking. YOU ARE NOT INVITED.

I would make an excellent rich person. I know this because I make an extraordinarily shitty poor person; therefore, using the law of opposites, I would be equally as awesome a rich person as I am an awful poor one.

The way I see it is, rich people make a lot of mistakes with their money. Like, Nicholas Cage. He recently had to declare bankruptcy and I’m pretty sure (but I’m not going to research it because I’m feeling kind of lazy today) that part of the problem was that he kept buying castles. Well, Nicholas Cage, that seems like a very stupid use of your money. First, once you started wasting your talent on things like National Treasure, you had to know that the money wasn’t going to keep pouring in, so you probably should invest, and buying real estate is a tenuous investment at best. I mean, I don’t know a lot about things, and I’m not a conspiracy theorist or anything, but I’m pretty sure I’ve read in a few places that the real estate market sucks right now. And castleS? Like, MULTIPLE castles? Why would anyone need more than one castle? I can see the appeal of one castle – I mean, who can’t, having your own castle would be awesome, you could stage, I don’t know, your own version of A Game of Thrones in your foyer, and wear period gowns to dinner, if you wanted, because, hey, you’re that chick that owns a CASTLE, you’re already kind of branded an eccentric, what the hell – but unless you’re royalty, you don’t really need more than one castle. OK, well, maybe two castles. Maybe a home castle and a vacation castle on an island, or something. But really more than two castles is just showing off.

And Wesley Snipes. He got in trouble for not paying his taxes. I know, the more money you make, the higher your tax bracket is. I work for an accounting firm. I have above-average knowledge of how the tax bracket system in our country works. But what makes you think you don’t have to pay them? I know you couldn’t have forgotten them. It’s all the news talks about, come April, that the 15th is fast approaching. I mean, I live hand-to-mouth and I pay my damn taxes. You make like, say, a million bucks a year and you can’t be bothered to pay the government what you owe them? Pay your damn taxes! The longer you let it go, the more they accrue and the more you owe. Also, there are penalties and such. Also, I can’t imagine you’re all too popular in prison when you’re in for tax evasion. You’re probably pretty low on the totem pole when you did something that stupid. “What are you in for?” “Killed and ate my mother. You?” “Refused to pay THE MAN!” “Yeah. Bottom bunk. Also, I own you now.”

If I were a rich person – like, enough money that I could play with it, and still have a cushion to fall back on – I would really be truly awesome at it. I would invest enough that I would have plenty to live on forever. Then the following conversation would happen with my boss:

“Hi, Amy. Today, I’m going to need you to do this copying, file these two rooms full of files, cover the phones, do this job that really doesn’t matter but I like to make work for you to do when I have time to think of such things, and also do all of the things that actually fall under your job description. Oh, also deal with the copier repairman who you think is a serial killer and is going to stuff your body in his trunk. And I think from 12-2 people are going to make irrational demands of you, so pencil that in.”

“SUCK IT.”

Next up: my own private island.

I want an island. Castle? Eh, sure. Only if Nicholas Cage doesn’t come with it, though. No one needs that kind of bad juju hanging around their rockin’ castle. See, when I was a kid, my great-uncle had this camp on an island which has been my dream home ever since. You had to take a boat to get there. (This will come in handy when the apocalypse comes, because you’d have plenty of warning and time to fortify if you were about to be invaded. Also stalkers and murderers, who I am always sure are waiting just outside my apartment, would not be able to find me. Although it would not protect much against zombies, because they can just walk underwater. They don’t need to breathe.)  This camp was excellent. It had a boathouse with a dock you could just dive off into the water any time you wanted. In the boathouse was a huge bar so you could get a drink and sit out and look at the lake. There was an attic that you could only get to by accessing a secret hatch in the ceiling full of toys and old things and a weird miniature piano. There were a million books. The whole thing was surrounded by the woods, so you could explore. It was perfect. This is what I want. I want an island.

No. You can’t come to my island. OK, this is very important. I know, once I get my island, everyone’s going to be angling for an invite. It’s a PRIVATE island. That not only means I don’t share the island with other HOMES, it means I don’t share the island with HANGERS-ON. I may invite people, on a very select basis, to my island. But don’t be calling me up, all, “Hey! How’s life on that super-awesome island! Man, I have a vacation coming up, I WONDER what I could DO with my TIME, I have NOTHING planned!” Because I will recommend you take a staycation. You cannot guilt me into letting you come to my island. Have I mentioned enough that I don’t like people? Here’s a true story for you: when I was a kid, I had my first sleepover. I was very excited. I invited over a friend. We rode bikes and played with Barbies. And a couple of hours later, I went to my mother and said, “I’m ready for her to go home now. Can we send her home now?” Five-year-old me didn’t like people; rich grown-up me won’t like them, either.

You know who IS invited to my island?

All the animals. I’m going to go all Noah up on my island, yo.

No, seriously. I want all the animals. I want all the dogs and cats I haven’t been able to have because of space or time or whatever other restrictions I have placed on my life. But also! I want goats and cows and horses and random zoo animals. But I don’t want monkeys. Because when I was young, we went to Parc Safari in Canada? That is a drive-through animal park. I don’t know why it’s spelled with a “c.” I guess that’s French. Anyway, in the monkey area, there was a sign not to slow down or stop, because the monkeys would swarm your car. And the guy in front of us apparently was an illiterate because he stopped to take a photo. AND MONKEYS SWARMED HIS CAR. As our carful of parents and kids watched both gleeful and horrified, monkeys STRIPPED HIS CAR OF ANYTHING SHINY. Like, the chrome flashing and the antenna and the license plate. They were more efficient than a chop shop. Ever since, I have had a recurring nightmare that I am trapped somewhere and unable to move and there are monkeys. SO MANY MONKEYS. With their fast, cunning hands. NO MONKEYS ON MY ISLAND.

Also on that trip an ostrich pecked my dad’s best friend really hard in the stomach and I got to feed a giraffe out of my hand. I’m pretty sure due to lawsuits these things can’t occur anymore.

Anyway. All the animals. Animals who are broken! Animals with missing legs! Animals that people have given up on! I will be an animal hoarder, only not gross like on the show Hoarders because the animals will not be swimming in their own filth. See, I like animals more than people. An island of animals is kind of the most awesome thing I can think of. Well, except that movie The Island of Dr. Moreau. That was not the most awesome. The Val Kilmer version? So distressing. Marlon Brando! And a mini-Marlon Brando! So awful!

Now I have my own island, with no people on it SO STOP ASKING, and all the animals and they are awesome (oh, also no birds, they annoy me, except for hawks, which don’t really count, because they are raptors, and exciting and not all flitty and high-strung and pecky) I can do the other things in life that I want to do, which are (after caring for the animals, of course):

Being completely and totally lazy
Reading
Randomly donating money to causes anonymously that need it to see how happy it makes people
Playing for hours online and not worrying about wasting time because I HAVE NOTHING BUT TIME
Watching every single television show and movie that I have ever had the slightest interest in, ever
Eating and drinking fancy things like petit fours
and
being more lazy.

Seriously, this is what rich people don’t do that I think they should. Why don’t more rich people give poor people that need it their money once and a while? I’m not saying that every ten minutes they should donate $100,000 to Save the Whales, or something (ooh, also, I’m totally going to have fish. Maybe not whales, but I do like fish. They are restful and pretty. But they die a lot on me. I’m like a fish mass-murderer. I don’t know what’s up with that. Fish commit suicide on my watch. Except algae eaters! I can grow those suckers to the size of the tank. Now that I think about it, I might have an algae issue) but there are plenty of places that a small amount of money can go a long way. Like Donors Choose. Teachers go on there and need, like, $200 so they can buy books. BECAUSE THEIR SCHOOL CAN’T AFFORD BOOKS. Seriously? How can rich people not give kids books? Maybe that’s WHY rich people don’t give to charities like this, because they wouldn’t be rich for very long. BOOKS. Or sometimes DRY ERASE BOARDS. Because schools can’t afford these things anymore.

Best rich person ever, on my eccentric island full of three-legged one-eyed pets and books and NO PEOPLE. Well, maybe some people. But I might want you to go home after an hour or so. I can’t guarantee anything. Oh, and no llamas. Llamas SPIT and DROOL, in case you weren’t aware, and that is GROSS. Rich people don’t have time for grossness. Too busy being fancy.


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