Friday, June 30, 2006


The Grand Union supermarket is completely out of place here in town. Large and bulky, it sits awkwardly on Milford's outskirts, its parking lot empty and longing for customers. Inside, hundreds of fruits and vegetables sigh in their refrigerated homes, just waiting to be fondled, thumped, felt. The aisles are all but deserted most of the time, a few cashiers and a stockboy wandering the aisles, straightening bags of potato chips and jars of jam that haven't been touched in ages.

It's not that people in Milford don't need food, it's just that Grand Union, time and time again, is passed over for its larger, newer, brighter counterparts. The Shop Rite, the Price Chopper, the Super Wal Mart. They're bigger, and cheaper, and they have more than one register open at all times. The selection they offer is grander, fresher, than the Grand Union's, their buildings are whiter and fancier, boasting bakeries and real butchers. Their rows throb with activity, shopping carts rolling in all directions, piloted by countless residents. The Grand Union has none of that. Muzak falls from hidden speakers, serenading the lonely store and its few shoppers, and the fluorescent lights hum overhead, passing the time until the hour of closing rolls around.

The clerks, most barely past sixteen, chat with one another over empty aisles, hardly paying attention to the few people who graze the store in search of the one last-minute item they forgot at one of the bigger stores. A bottle of Coke, a pack of hot dog buns, some Tylenol. Their big rush entails no more than five people, causing a delay in checking out that feels like hours. The cashiers know the customers, and people chat as the register beeps its way through the conveyor belt of purchases. They talk about family, school, work, or gossip while the customers dig for money and the cashier bags the items. The process takes forever.

But today, it's different. Today, our tri-state area is limited to only one grocery store. With a flood shutting down all other alternatives, people have no choice but to swarm the Grand Union and buy the things they were hoping to get at Price Chopper. The cashiers look at each other over lines that morph from one or two people to twenty, moving items over the scanner with a speed to which they are not accustomed. There are actual people in aisles, filling their carts with salad and dessert and feminine products.

Today, I needed Ginger Ale. That was it. And normally, I head to our Super Wal Mart for such purchases, because shopping at Wal Mart allows me to spend a minimum of fifty dollars on things I don't need. And, that, I enjoy. But a main road that leads to the now-flooded Wal Mart is closed, its yellow lines beneath the murky overflow of the Delaware. So I drove into Grand Union, the insides of a store that I've only ever seen when I was running low on something and needed it now. But I had to cruise a spot in the parking lot, and inside I had to wait while people surveyed the selection and blocked the row of soda. And, having secured my three bottles of Ginger Ale, I headed to check out.

Before me were five lanes open, an occurrence I've never - never - encountered in the GU. The lines leaked away from the registered and slithered through the passage between checkout and aisles. People leaned on their overstuffed carts, or shifted the weight of their purchases from one arm to another as they waited. The Express lane pulsed with people, their one or two items bobbing in their impatient arms, while they looked around in disbelief. Frustration set in on the customers, who rolled their eyes and checked for other cashiers. I can't believe it's taking this long. I only came in for one thing. Who are all these people? was written across their faces as plain as day. But with Milford being gateway to all points beyond it, what with the interstate and most main bridges closed, foreigners trickled in, stealing the time, and spaces in line, from us residents.

With my bottles cradled in my bare arms, I made my way to the shortest line. It had just been opened, and the purchases of the lady before me were steadily making their way over the scanner and into her bags. Perfect, I thought, as I noticed myself moving forward, and my fellow shoppers in their respective other lines standing still. I can't believe my luck.

And then, it happened.

"That'll be $32. 78," the teenaged cashier, who was so new she hadn't yet earned the rights to the navy blue Grand Union shirt worn by the rest of the employees, said to the woman in front of me.

"Okay," she said, setting her young son in the seat of her cart. She dug through her massive purse. And there it was: The Checkbook. She flipped the green checkbook case open while simultaneously clicking her pen to life. "Can I just sign it? I mean, do you guys fill it out?" Her pen hovered above her personalized checks, waiting for instruction.

"Uh, no?" the cashier replied, more questioning than telling, apparently confused by the notion of her filling out her customer's check.

"So, it's not like Wal Mart then? Where I can just, you know, sign it, and give it to you, and then the computer fills it out for me?"

"No," said the cashier, with more authority this time.

"Oh. Uh, well. Okay then." The customer nodded, apparently accepting the cashier's disappointing news. "Well. I'll just, uh, fill it out then."

My three bottles of Ginger Ale just sat there, inches away from being scanned, halted by this woman's confusion. I looked at them, so close, yet so far. I looked at the woman.

"How much did you say it was again?" She squinted her eyes at the register.

"$32.78," sighed the cashier. People were beginning to pile up behind us, their groceries gathering like angry villagers.

The lady ripped the check from her book and handed it to the cashier with a smile. The cashier, who had just begun staring into the distance, accepted it gladly, and furiously typed numbers into her machine.

"I'm gonna need your ID," she said.

We all waited while the lady pried it form her wallet.

The register beeped angrily, little number signs taking the place that just moments ago displayed the lady's total. She cashier looked past me, to the customer service desk behind me, and picked up a little white phone and waited for an answer. "It says over limit," she hissed into the receiver, "but it's only for, like, thirty dollars."

The customer service rep, who was right behind me, hung up her phone and spoke over me to the cashier. "You just need manager approval. Page Dave."

And she did. And we waited, each of us in the line madly surveying the store for Dave to appear. I watched the other customers in the other lines, the ones I was moving ahead of, as they collected their bagged items and strode through the automatic doors to their waiting cars. One line emptied entirely. AND CLOSED. A sigh traveled through our line.

Dave emerged from the juice aisle and ran up to our cashier. "It says over limit," she explained again, "but it's only for thirty bucks."

"I have money in my account," Check Lady announced, as though we were all doubting her financial health.

"Of course, ma'am. That's fine. Actually, it's because you wrote a check at our other store this week. That's all. No problem at all," said Dave, typing his override into the register. "Now," he said, turning his attention to the cashier, his smile and his pleasant demeanor remaining constant through the exchange, as though unaffected by the exponential rise in his daily traffic, "you just have to write over limit on here, and you're all set." He patted the cashier on the back and looked at those of us standing in line. "You guys have a nice day now."

The receipt printed, and the Lady of the Checks was on her way. In less than a minute, my bottles were scanned and paid for. All that waiting, for that.

The thing is, even if I had been in the Grand Union a few days ago, when it was all but deserted, I could almost guarantee that I still would've gotten stuck behind someone writing a check, or someone who picked the one jar of salsa without a barcode, thereby requiring a price check. I always pick the wrong goddamn line.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Some Things

1) The Gynecologist, the one I was so worried about, was Romanian. Not Serbian, or Croation, or Bosnian, or any of the new, tinier countries Yugoslavia has dissolved into. All that fretting was for naught. But, see, this is the problem inherent in the American view of Eastern Europe. The former Yugoslavia and Romania, Russia, The Czech Republic, and Poland – for instance – are all, apparently, interchangeable. Like, when someone asks me where my family is from, the conversation typically goes like this:

“Your mom has such a cute little accent.”

“Oh? Really? She has an accent? I don’t even notice it.” It’s true. I don’t.

“Where’s she from?”


“Serbia?” Confused look.

“Yeah. It’s part of the former Yugoslavia.”

“Yugoslavia?” Another confused look. And then, a moment of enlightenment. “Oh! Russia!”

“Noooo. Yugoslavia. It’s on the Mediterranean.”


“Well, that’s not there anymore, either. It’s the Czech Republic now. But no. Not the Czech Republic. Yugoslavia.”



Sure, all the accents are similar, and even the languages resemble one another. But they are not one-in-the-same. It’s like you telling somebody you’re from America and they say “Mexico?” And you say, “No, The USA.” And they say “Costa Rica?” And you say “NO! NORTH AMERICA! NOT CENTRAL AMERICA!” And they say “Oh! Canada!” Sure, a majority of the aforementioned countries understand each other when speaking, but saying you're from Pennsylvania does not equate you saying you're from Guatemala. It irritates me.

2) My little brother, Chase, was working here for some extra money last week. His task was to be outside, raking thick red mulch into the appropriate places around the front of my building. It was obscenely hot out last week, so, halfway through the day, he started raking without his shirt on.

In the afternoon, we got our daily UPS delivery. The UPS man is a tall, skinny, 50-ish, borderline-creepy guy who comes in every day and compliments me in one way or another. He’s told me I’m always “Dressed to kill,” and has admitted his fondness for summer because I wear skirts on the hotter days. This, to me, is all just harmless flirtation and flattery. Sure, he’s a little weird, and gets a little too excited to see me (When I’m not around, he tells whomever must sign for the package that now his day is ruined because I’m not here), but it’s all in good fun. Right?

Well, Chase is out there raking, UPS man is delivering, and as the UPS man heads back to his truck, he says to Chase, “I sure wish it was Laurie out here raking without her shirt on,” figuring, I suppose, that Chase is a new guy around here and probably has a mild obsession with me, too. He probably sought camaraderie from this new guy.

Chase, of course, stops raking, and rests the rake against his massive frame. He crosses his arms in front of his 20 year old, Military Academy student, former-football player body, and looks at the guy. “Man, that’s my sister.”

UPS man goes all apologetic and scoots his way back into the truck and takes off. Chase tells my coworkers and me the story, and we all get a good laugh.

The next day, UPS comes again, and I’m chosen to go downstairs to sign for the day’s package.

“Did your brother tell you what I said to him yesterday?” UPS man asks, handing me the magic pen with which I’m supposed to sign.

I decide to play dumb, wondering how much he’ll admit to. “No, no. He didn’t mention anything,” I say, scrawling my name on his electronic book.

“I told him,” he says, leaning in to me, “that I’d rather see you out there raking with your shirt off.”

I finished my signature at the exact moment he finished his sentence. I held the pen in mid air and just looked at him. “Riiiight. That’s not creepy at all,” I say, recoiling a bit. I hand him back his pen like he has leprosy.

“Well,” he says, taking the pen back and not noticing how skeeved out I am, “I didn’t know he was your brother.”

“That doesn’t make it any better,” I say, disgusted.

“Yeah, I know! Have a good weekend!” he says, all smiles and laughter.

Should I be worried about this guy?

3) Seriously, I have the most amazing boyfriend ever.

4) It’s been raining here since Thursday of last week. It’s been hard at times, thundering, windy…Then it’ll break, go soft, the sun will come out and birds will sing for about thirty minutes, then the rain will start again.

Thing is, all of this on-and-off raining has tricked us into believing that it’s not that much rain. But it is.

In fact, Matamoras, a town just miles away from Milford, flooded. This happened two years ago. And it’s happening again. They’re evacuating homes. They’re warning against the same flood – if not worse – happening by tomorrow.

They said that the 2005 flood was a freak accident; A combination of Hurricane Ivan, melting snow, a released dam, and hard steady rainfall. They said it would never happen again.

It is.

I just feel so bad for the people who are about to go through the same trauma of just two years ago again.

5) I want to go to the gym tonight, but I don’t want to for a few reasons:
The Flood (which can be an excuse for many things for many months to come).
My stomach muscles are sore due to Monday’s workout.
Billy’s supposed to bring me home sushi tonight. I don’t want to WAIT for the sushi. It’s been too long since I’ve had it. So I'll want to eat it as soon as he walks in the door.

Decisions, decisions.

6) I really do have to get to work. But I can't stop monitoring the height/depth of the Delaware. It's become an obsession.


Extreme Makeover Home Edition played on the large TV in front of us as Billy and I nestled into our new couch. Having caught the show from the middle, instead of the beginning, I only knew that the mother of the family receiving the home makeover had cancer. I didn't know what kind it was. But, as they revealed room after remodeled room, not knowing the root of her disease didn't stop me from crying. That show always makes me cry: Always, without fail, no question. By the time the busdriver has moved that bus, my face is soaked in tears. Billy watches me whenever we watch it, his mouth turned into a slight grin, just waiting for the waterworks. He thinks it's cute, he says, that I cry over those shows. He knows exactly which moments will push me over the edge, and waits for that moment to wrap me up in his arms, simultaneously comforting me and taking little jabs at my over-active tear ducts.

This Sunday was no different. As the parents thanked Extreme Makeover for making their children smile for the first time in months, he looked at me. I saw his grin from the corner of my tear-filled eyes, and reached out to hit him half-heartedly. "They haven't fallen yet," I said, keeping my eyes glued to the screen, "so technically, I'm not crying." But the pre-commercial previews of what would happen when they returned proved to be my breaking point. The mother was talking about her husband, their love, their relationship.

"That's gonna push you over the edge, huh?" Billy said as the show faded into an ad for a new ABC series.

"Yes. Yes it will."

And so we waited for the show to come back, and for me to cry. Sure enough, the master bedroom was revealed to the couple, who, I learned, have battled not only cancer, but a low-life contractor who stole $44,000 from the family while "remodeling" their home earlier in the year. The husband and wife took tentative, reverent steps into their new master bedroom, touching the walls and the new sheets, looking at the art work and the accessories, and as they did this, they cut away to an interview with the mother. She talked about her cancer, and how she's fighting all the time, and she's tired and frustrated and angry. She doesn't know what she'd do, she said, without her husband. He allows her to be depressed and angry and sad, but he also gives her the days where she's just feels lucky. To have someone who loves me more than he loves himself, who takes care of me, who gives me strength, she said, was what has kept her going. Of course, I cried, large, appreciative teardrops for the husband she'd found, who, while her voice-over spoke, knelt before her in their new bedroom and kissed her operation-scarred neck. I held a kleenex under my eye, catching the tears I couldn't keep from falling and scooted a little closer into Billy's chest.

"That's how I feel about you," Billy whispered, holding me just a little tighter.

I giggled at him through my tears, a sarcastic "yeah" falling from my lips as I cleaned up the tears that had rolled down my cheeks. When the moment was over, when she was done extolling the virtues of her husband and how he loves her, I turned my face into Billy's neck. "That's probably one of the sweetest things you've ever said," I told him, "even if you were just messing around."

"I wasn't. It's the truth."

That was three days ago. Since then, I've needed Billy. Not just needed like I had a bad day and I needed someone to bitch to. Not needed like my overly-dramatic way of saying I wanted him around. Needed like Keep me from falling apart. And you know what? He was there. He left work and he rushed to my side and he held me while I cried and kept my fragile being together when I was on the verge of shattering. He told me what I needed to hear, he kept me rational, he made it better. He gave me strength.

I didn't believe him when he said that, when he claimed to love me like that man loves his wife: Putting himself before me, being there for me when I need it, giving me what I needed to push forward. I don't know if I was short-changing him or me. But, either way, I just didn't believe that he was capable of loving me that way; the way that I love him. I always just assume that I'm the only one who loves that deeply, that emotion of that magnitude will never be reciprocated. Whether I thought I don't deserve it, or that he just wouldn't want to, I don't know. But, either way, I didn't expect it.

Until his car pulled into the driveway, and he rushed upstairs and wrapped me in his arms and just held me like that for a bit and let me cry.

"Thank you for being here," I said into this chest.

"When are you going to realize that I love you?"

I always knew he loved me. I just didn't give him enough credit. Until now.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Help Me Up

I’m having the kind of morning Mondays are infamous for. The coffee I could’ve sworn I set to start before I woke today wasn’t brewed when I plodded, first thing after waking, downstairs. And so I made it. It was still dark out, even at almost 7 this morning, no sunshine, no birds chirping. Just rain. Lots and lots of rain. The kind that breeds sticky air, just warm enough to remind you that it’s summer, but just cool enough to make you uncomfortable. I went back downstairs to prepare the coffee for Billy and me, only to notice neither Billy nor I had cleaned out our travel mugs from our excursion yesterday. And Billy, bruit that he is, apparently used his superhero grip to put his lid on. Freshly lotioned from the shower, my fingers slid around the twist-on lid of his Borders mug, refusing to let loose and uncap. Old coffee sloshed from the half-full mug when I finally – using a paper towel and a hand towel – manage to get the lid off. After washing out our cups, I realized that someone had used the last of the sugar from the diner-esque glass dispenser we use, and didn’t feel like filling it back up. So I pulled the new bag of sugar from the cabinet to refill the container. And, of course, while I did that, sugar spilled everywhere. After cleaning up the million granules all over the counter, I stirred the cream and sugar into our coffees. Naturally, in my haste to get upstairs and finish getting ready, I stirred too vigorously, splashing my creamy coffee down the side of my travel mug, and all over the counter I’d just cleaned. The sleeve of my robe got caught on a drawer as I left the kitchen, cursing all the way.

Once upstairs, I realized that Billy was still in bed. He was supposed to be in the shower by now. So I roused him from sleep, presented him with his coffee and pulled out my makeup bag. Perhaps he saw it on my face, or perhaps it was just the first question he could think of, but “How are you today?” were the first words out of his mouth.

“Fine, fine,” I said, quickly and quietly, feeling the tears behind my eyes. He was walking around the bed, preparing for the shower, as I spoke. I appeared to very interested in finding something in my makeup bag as he came toward me. Why the fuck am I crying? I thought, while trying to hide my face from him.

“Are you sure?” he said, his voice concerned, as he kneeled toward me.

“I’m fine,” I replied, clipping my words short to keep my voice from betraying me. I didn’t want him to see me crying. What an asshole I am, I thought. Crying? First thing in the morning?

“No you’re not.” He moved the covers on the bed and sat in front of me. “What’s wrong?”

“I don’t even know!” I said, half laughing, half crying, finally revealing my watery eyes. “I don’t. Really. I don’t.”

“What’s a word for how you’re feeling?”

“Frustrated.” I reached for a kleenex.


I recounted the story of the coffee, the unmade pot, the unwashed mugs, the unfilled container, the spilled sugar, the spilled coffee… “But, I don’t know, I mean, that shit happens to me all the time. I don’t know why I’m so upset…” I trailed off.

“Is it the zit?”

I have a pimple the size of fucking France on my face right now. It’s been there since Friday, but, until now, it’s been all but invisible. Resting squarely between my lip and my nose, it hurts with every smile, every frown, every move of my mouth. It’s deep, rooted somewhere miles below the surface of my skin, which is why no one but me even knew it was there. Until last night, when I decided it was ready to be picked on. Which was a bad move on my part. Because although I did relieve some of the pressure, I really only served to make it red and obvious. This is very bad. This morning, staring back at me from the mirror was, not my face, but an angry red bruise. It’s all I can see. And it still sort of hurts. But what hurts me more is the way it looks. Yeah, I’m vain. So what.

“Well, it doesn’t help,” I said, my bottom lip quivering uncontrollably. “And now I’m going to have puffy eyes from crying over nothing,” I continued, throwing my hands up in helplessness.

“Well I think you’re beautiful,” he said, kissing me gently on the mouth.

“Thanks.” My voice was barely above a whisper, my eyes stared down at my makeup bag. I was embarrassed and sad and frustrated. And I knew I was overreacting, but I couldn’t stop it.

After his shower, when he entered the room to find me dressing, my posture told him that I felt sad and dejected. He waited for me to notice him. “It’s just a zit, babe," he said. "And you can’t even see it anymore.”

I must admit, I’m a whiz with the makeup. I had made it pretty much disappear. But I still knew it was there. I felt gross.

“I know,” I said, pulling my shirt on over my head. “But I just don’t feel very…sexy.”

“You are sexy,” he said, pulling me to him. “Always.” He bent down to kiss me, but stopped. “I assume I’m not allowed to kiss you, huh? To preserve the makeup?”

“You can kiss me,” I said, “but gently.”

And he did.

We parted ways for the day, and when I got to work, I noticed a text message from him. Our exchange was quick and funny, just a short set of messages. That’s it. But they said what I needed to hear. And they made me laugh. In essence, he took my hand, helped me up and dusted me off from the fall. And I needed that. Desperately

And I love that, when I need him, he’s there for me. Even though I’m too proud to admit that I need him to help me put me together sometimes, he’s there. Without my asking, without my urging. Because he knows I need it. And it’s in those moments when I realize that I’m wasting my time, questioning and worrying and fretting over Us and The Present Tense and Does He Feel The Same and all of my typical insecurity-induced quandaries. It takes energy to help me up, even if the thing that got me down was something small, and that’s what you do when you love someone. And that’s what he did for me.

Some days, despite the fact that things aren’t going my way, I just feel lucky.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

The State of the Union

I'm not sure I believe in forever anymore. I know it sounds pessimistic, and harsh, and overall negative, but I just don't know.

I was going through my old email account yesterday, the one I've used since before my 20th birthday. It's 68% full of emails dating back to 2001. In an effort to do some long overdue housekeeping, I clicked on a folder I didn't even recognize to empty it. As the screen loaded, I saw what it was: My ex's full name stared back at me, over and over; a full page worth of emails that he had sent in a month's time. It was from back in 2003, when we were getting back together after a breakup. Our reunion is documented through these emails: My reticence, and his promises to be a better boyfriend. Along with promises to love me forever.

That was just over two years ago. My, how brief forever can be. It's not that I'm saying I wish it had worked out with him. I'm grateful that my relationship with him led me to where I am now. I'm a better girlfriend, a better person because of my relationship with him. Sure, I came out of it with some work to do on myself, but overall, it's made me more patient, more understanding, less unrelenting, more willing to give. But we were both so sure that this was forever. And it wasn't. Not even close.

The emails are peppered with phrases like "I can't wait to wake up to you every morning," and I look back at it now, knowing the emotion behind it was forgotten mere months after it was written. Promises of a future, a family, the love I was denied being paid to me. You're my life, I love you so much, I want to spend forever with you. And now I don't know where he is - hell, I don't even know him now - and I'm waking up to Billy every morning. Look where those promises got me.

It makes me fret, prematurely, in my relationship with Billy. Maybe forever to him means a few months, too. But we haven't even discussed forever. I'm too afraid to bring it up. Not to mention that I feel it's too soon to wade into that subject (another thing I brought with me out of my last relationship: A concept of too soon.). But, to me, it doesn't matter anyway. He could tell me anything, and I'll still believe it's only a matter of time before he changes his mind.

That's why fights bother me so much, why a slight chill in his voice is enough to make me believe he's through with me. Because, for me, forever isn't a reality. I know that, in doubt like this, I should look at examples of success, not my own proof of failure. I should look at my parents, 34 years and going strong. My grandparents on both sides. The way my dad's father kissed my grandmother when she lay in her coffin the day of her funeral. How he kissed her on each cheek and the lips and said goodbye, just as he had done before work every morning for the 50-odd years they were married before she died. The way my mom's mom has missed her husband every day since he passed away seven years ago. The way she still talks about him. I should think about that. But when I do, I just see it as something I won't be lucky enough to have.

My masochistic curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to read through a few of the emails he had sent me. He had just shown me the house be bought for us. And he explained his purchase, saying "I guess it's just my way of showing you that I'm not going anywhere, that you can count on me not to flee now or anytime in the future."

I put a lot of faith in what people say to me. Or I used to, I guess. You tell me you love me, that you're going to stay around forever, then I believe you. I think you're being honest. And you probably are. But I don't depend on the changing of your mind, I depend on your sticking to the statement you just made.

And so I put all of my faith in what he said. And I wonder why I'm so scared now, of bringing up the future, of believing in one at all, and then I see that and I remember: I feel like I was lied to. Like all he said was said just to keep me around until he'd had enough. And who knows? Maybe that's all anyone does. We don't know for sure how long we're going to love someone. We don't know, unequivocally, that we're going to stay enamored of them, hopelessly infatuated, attracted to, in love with the people we share "I love you"s with right now. There's no way.

Which makes me miserable.

It comes down to faith: How much faith you have in your relationship, in your partner, but - mostly - in yourself. And I guess I lost mine somewhere along the line. I just don't believe anymore. And I counsel myself: Just be happy right now. Don't concentrate on the future, just enjoy what you have while you have it. Is that sick, or hopelessly self-destructive? I don't know.

But when it comes down to it, it's not an issue of whether or not Billy and I will last for forever. It's an issue of me believing that he loves me in the here and now. And, that, I believe.

Friday, June 23, 2006

New York City Bar

"You wanna get a drink while we're here?" Billy said, adjusting his coat. I glanced over at the bar, at the one chair at the end.

"Sure." I was unsure, uncomfortable. Being in big cities always makes me feel like a country bumpkin. Like I should be chewing straw and missing my teeth.

Billy ordered for us and excused himself to the restroom.

"Is this seat taken?" I asked softly, placing my hand gingerly onto the back of a vacant chair next to a man with his back to me.

He turned around, looked me over. He smiled and pushed the seat toward me. "It's all yours. But I'm warning you, if you sit in it, I may ask you to marry me."

I giggled and sat in the chair. "Well, I'll take that chance. I'm short on marriage proposals these days."

"God. You smell terrific," he said, his hands around his small glass of dark liquor.

"That's horrible." I said, my voice disappointed. "'You smell terrific'? Can't you come up with something better?" He laughed.

He was much older than me, probably in his fifties. "Nah. It's the truth. What is that?"

"Well, it could be the perfume I put on at eight this morning, about twelve hours ago. Or it could be my apple gum." I wasn't shutting him down, I was engaging in banter. It felt good.

"What's the perfume?"

"Chanel, Chance."

He considered it. "I don't know which one it is. But you smell great. And you're so beautiful. God. Your boyfriend is a lucky man." I laughed and accepted the glass of wine the bartender placed in front of me. "And look at that smile," he said. He slapped the much younger man to his left on the arm. "Great orthodontia."

"Or orthodontics," countered the new stranger.

"Nope. This is all natural, baby," I said, circling my mouth with my finger.

I learned that the two men were father and son. They were funny. They were good conversationalists. While Billy spoke with a waitress about her art, I spoke to the guys, trading jabs and sipping my wine, delighting in the attention from strangers.

And it was peculiar, how wonderful I felt about myself. A little bit of attention and I'm off and running. Suddenly, I didn't feel so countrified. So hopelessly outclassed. I felt desirable and good.

And the weird thing is, it doesn't matter who the attention comes from. Sometimes, a girl just needs to feel wanted.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


It’s that time of year. Time for my annual gynecologist appointment! I don’t know about all women, but my allegiance to my very personal doctor is strong. I’ve gone to my gynecologist ever since I moved to Milford. I may only see him once a year, but he sees more of me than even Billy sees. But when I went to call him for my checkup, I saw that his name was no longer announced by the office in which he ordinarily worked. I figured he’d gone and opened a private practice, so I called my old coworker, who also visited the same guy, and asked her where he was and how I could get in touch with him.

“You didn’t hear?” She said.

I immediately worried. Sex scandal? Sued by a patient like Annabella Sciorra's character in The Hand that Rocks the Cradle for touching her inappropriately? Disbarred (if they do that to doctors)? Stripped of his license? Gone crazy? What? “No,” I replied hesitantly, unsure that I wanted the answer. “I didn’t hear anything.”

“He’s gone,” she began, her smile audible in her voice. “He’s working for NASA now. He’s going to – get this – become an astrophysicist.”

To say I was surprised would be a drastic understatement. “An astrophysicist?”

“Yeah. He’s a working as a doctor for NASA now while he goes to school so that he can do, you know, whatever an astrophysicist does.”

How random is that? My gynecologist got so sick of seeing vaginas on a daily basis that he’s going to NASA. And he now hopes to study outer-space. I could make a very off-color joke about black holes and ASStrophysics, but I’ll spare you the gross humor.

On another, completely unrelated, note, this is week is, apparently, National Slow Driver week. I mean, there’s nothing on my calendar that says that, and I haven’t heard it on the news or anything, but I’m pretty sure it is. Because that’s the only explanation for the fact that every goddamn time I’ve driven anywhere since Monday, I get stuck behind someone going at least ten miles under the already-too-slow speed limit.

I may have mentioned this before, but I’ll spare myself the look through the archives and just explain it again – just in case. My drive to work is roughly 23 minutes, on a long, winding road that is referred to not as a highway or street, but a Route. At any rate, it’s long and stretches between my house and my place of employment, flanked by forests and state land on either side. A long, solid, foreboding yellow Do Not Pass line snakes through the center of the road, save for only two hopelessly short sections of dashed line that tell you it’s okay to scoot around the asshole in front of you. Literally, these sections are about five car-lengths long; Whatever the bare-minimum is for a passing zone: That’s what these sections are. They come toward the end of my ride, too, when I’m less than two miles away from work. So when I turn onto the Route I take to work, and see that I’ve unfortunately landed behind some dump truck/construction vehicle/school bus/old person, I know I’m fucked. And that’s what’s happened, EVERY DAY, TO AND FROM WORK, this week. I kid you not. And, Tuesday, as I eyeballed the handicapped New Jersey plate that belonged to the two old geezers that just HAD to pull out in front of me on my way home (even though there were no cars behind me at the time), I noticed that an SUV was coming up behind me, full-throttle. When the driver of the Mercedes got close enough to my car so that he could smell my perfume, s/he began to weave around, sort of attempting to nuzzle my bumper with his own, in an effort, I guess, to see if I was the reason for the big hold up. Because that meant he could hate me. And I did not want to be held accountable for our snail’s pace. I even sort of drifted to the shoulder to show him “hey, not it, buddy. Look, it’s them, not me. I want to go fast, too. I'm like you. Don’t blame me for the fact that we’re doing 40 in a 55.” And saying we were doing 40 was being generous. That’s the top speed we reached when coasting down a hill, before Ma & Pa Kettle ahead of me hit their brakes to harness the out-of-control momentum of their speeding Buick. They were the sort of drivers who, even given their ridiculously slow driving, chose to brake around turns and slow almost to a stop when encountering a cross-road of any kind. You know, just in case. Cleary, Mr. or Mrs. Mercedes behind me had had enough of this, because, out of nowhere, the Mercedes was suddenly beside me. In a no-passing zone. On a curve. And a hill. Now, PA has a law, for some ridiculous reason, that says you can pass in a no-passing-zone, so long as there isn’t a sign there that says “No Passing.” So, really, the yellow lines that we’re all taught mean “DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT PASSING HERE” really mean absolutely nothing. It’s the teeny tiny sideways-triangle sign that says “No passing” to which we really must pay attention. But I don’t risk it, ever. Because my SUV is only powered by 4-Cylinders, which means it doesn’t have a whole lotta get-up-and-go, if you know what I mean, especially up hills and the like. Besides, you never know how fast someone is barreling around the next corner. And because that whole sign thing is very vague. If you see that sign that tells you to obey the lines, how long until the sign’s like, “Okay. It’s alright. You can ignore the yellow line now. I’m tired of policing you people”? I mean, where does the sign’s authority run out? I don’t know. So I don’t do it until I see those friendly little dashes.

So, anyway. Mercedes beside me, solid yellow line, around a curve on a hill. And I, for the record, am very close to the geezer in front of me. Because, obviously, the closer I get to his ass, the more time I save. Duh. Anyway. The three of us are driving along, (uncomfortably, I might add) and I look ahead of the geezers. CARS! Coming toward us! The Mercedes punches his accelerator only to realize there’s no way he’s going to get ahead of both of us without slamming head-first into the angry dump truck that's looking right at him. So what does he do? He nearly removes my front bumper and squeezes between me & the geezer. So now, he’s still going slow, but at least he's not the last in line. And I guess his near head-on collision scared Mr. Mercedes, because that’s where he stayed for the remainder of the drive home. Going not a mile faster than he was originally. Yet an exponentially bigger asshole. Good move.

On yet another, marginally related, note, I love my Sirius satellite radio. I mean, really. I LOVE it. Like, I'd marry it and have its little computerized babies if I could. But I can't, so I'll just say that I love it so much that I would never give it up. Ever. In all seriousness, I can never go back to regular radio in my car. Ever. I’m forced to listen to regular radio in the house, and it drives me nuts. Because, in the half-hour or so that I spend getting ready, I hear probably twenty minutes of commercials, one song, and maybe five minutes of entertaining talk. I hate it. Plus, everything’s so censored. All the talk is so vanilla and they're forced to double-entendre their way through jokes, instead of being able to reference things outright. I hate that I can’t hear a rapper say “ass” in a song. Because, really, what is rap without references to supple rear ends? So, yeah, I love my satellite. Because, not only do I live completely without commercials in my music, but I can hear the word “fuck.” And there’s just something comforting about that.

But, there’s a problem. A big problem. And it only happens in summer. It's the leaves on the towering trees that surround the winding country roads that I have to take to get ANYWHERE: They block out my signal. Not constantly or anything, just randomly. So listening to talk radio, I hear: “Eh….ra….mmm……………n….li….” and so on, for at least a minute. Then it snaps into full reception. But around any turn, under any tree, I run the risk of losing it again. Which is possibly the most frustrating thing that can happen on my morning commute. My reaction to this is very visceral, because I almost always lose the signal right at the punchline of a joke, or some very important celebrity gossip, or during my favorite part of any given song. So this anger sort of swells in my chest, making me feel tight all over. And I grip the steering wheel and glare at my Sirius receiver and yell, "OH, COME ON!" in my meanest voice. As if that will bring back the reception. I'll intimidate it into working. Because that always works, due to my severe badassness. Anyway, this rarely works anyway, and really only occurs if I'm in a bad mood. Which is bound to happen if I’m stuck behind someone slow.

In an effort by the universe to make all of my most irritating factors bombard me on ONE day, today, the heavens opened as I drove into work. The rain was slamming into my windshield and I drove - 20 miles per hour below the speed limit - behind a “Caution: Construction Vehicle” signed dump truck while my radio’s signal came and went. Despite the fact that I left for work early, I still managed to be late. Upon getting here, I made an appointment with a new gynecologist, who I’ve never met. But this time, it’s a woman. “You’ll like her,” said the referring ex-coworker, the same one who told me about the other OB/GYN’s move into astrophysics. “She’s Croatian or Serbian. Something like that. One of your country-men!” But what she may not know is that it's important to know where exactly she's from. Because some Serbs and Croats hate each other. Vehemently. I’m not one of them, because I was born and raised here. But she may be, because she was born over there. So I need to know which part she's from. And I know I'll want to ask her about it, and then I'll want to relate to her by saying "My family's from the former Yugoslavia, too!" Then she'd ask which part, and I'd say Serbia, and she'd be all "Oh really? I'm from Croatia," in a clipped tone and then push me down to start my exam. And then, I may have the most scathing pap smear of my life. And I almost wanted to ask over the phone, when I made my appointment, what her nationality was. Just in case. But I didn't. So now I have that to look forward to. Then I realized that the little lift on the bottom of my high heel fell off somewhere between my house and work. Which means the metal stake that makes up my stiletto and supports nearly all of my weight with every step I take, is sticking out of the bottom of my shoe. Not only does it really look tacky, but it makes this horrible nails-on-a-chalkboard type screech everytime I walk across the tiled floor here at work. This is the worst thing that can happen to a shoe lover like me. Because now I have to take these, my favorite pair of shoes, to the Cobbler to get them fixed, but he's only open a few days a week. Which means I'll have to go without these shoes for at least three days. This is very sad to me. Very sad, indeed.

It's like all the planets aligned to make me as uncomfortable as possible today. I'm just waiting for today to be over.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Hot. Humid. Thick. That's the air when, abruptly and without warning, Belize goes still. Wind gushes off of the ocean directly through the seaside village of Placencia, brushing residents and tourists with cool hands, forever ruffling hair and tossing napkins from tables and bars. But, from time to time, the wind stops, mid-blow, as if second guessing herself. "Wait. Is this too much?" she says, forcing palm trees to finally stand at attention. And, in the wake of her sudden uncertainty, your world stops. You feel every molecule of the heat, its syrupy texture as you move through it. You are suddenly aware of the stickiness on your skin about which you, just seconds ago, had forgotten. The wind, she made you feel smooth, soft. Sand, the gritty handfuls of it that cover every walked-upon surface, radiates and tosses up at you the heat it's been holding all day, as though it had been waiting for just this moment. And you cease to move, unwilling to exert yourself, holding your body still, suspended in mid-action, just waiting for the stillness to pass. And, just as quickly as she paused, the wind begins again, shaking the thick waxy leaves of tropical trees, rustling the palms, soothing away the sweat that just begun to form on your upper lip. You resume eating, talking, reaching, walking...Whatever it was you were doing before you slammed head-first into the thickness of the heat.

When you're not in the middle of the wind's gusts, when you're stuck in the awkward shift from westward to eastward, you feel grimy, oil-covered, slick. You notice the sweat that's accumulated on your glass of cococut rum and pineapple juice. Your hands, even though you only just washed them, feel dirty, as though covered with food or sand or salt; Remains of the wind. And you curse, wiping your palms on your pants. "This wind," you say, shaking your head and searching your fingers for visible dirt. "It's driving me crazy."

But she doesn't drive you crazy. She's comforting. You hear her constantly, nudging lazy waves to shore, shaking loose palm fronds, rattling a tin ashtray - She's everywhere, the subtext of every conversation, the soundtrack to your every action, in the soft cadence of the locals' accent. She slams closed the doors you carelessly left open. She plays practical jokes on you and your fellow diners, extinguishing the flame of lighters every time someone attempts to light a cigarette. Click-click-click, you hear as one smoker after another attempts to light up. They change positions, curl their fingers around their Bics. Click. They shift their shoulders to block her out. She giggles and circles them, rendering their cupped hands and hearty shoulders useless. When she's finally bored of this to and fro, she relents; lets you light.

She sings you to sleep each of the ten nights that you crawl - sunkissed and still warm - into bed, windows open to her. She greets you when you wake, pushing your skirt ahead of you as you walk across the sand courtyard from your hotel room to the restaurant to make your coffee. She turns the pages in the books you read on the porch. She tricked you into thinking you weren't getting burned by her big brother, the sun. But she kept the bugs away from your heat-rashed arms.

She was in your every step. She was with you at every dinner. She cooled your forehead and soothed your sunburn. And when it came time to board a plane and leave your boyfriend in Belize, while you flew home to America, she invited you to use her as an alibi for your watery eyes.

And you were grateful for her; For her soft caress on your moist arms, for her gentle touch, for her constant company. Just as you reach the top of the stairs that will take you into a plane and away from this country, she embraces you one last time, and howls goodbye.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

You Asked for It: Part Deux

Aaaaannnndddd....Picking up where we left off:

Onairelav asks: "When are you coming to visit?! ;) What's your favorite coffee? What's your favorite thing to do on a Saturday morning?"

Question one: If I had my way, TOMORROW! But, sadly, it will probably be a while before that happens. Although, Billy and I were talking about taking a trip to Louisville to visit my incredible grandmother. I don't know if it will actually happen, but we were talking about it.

Question two: My favorite coffee to make at home is Starbucks French Roast. It's an "extra bold" blend that manages to be crazy dark, yet still not bitter. If our Super Wal Mart happens to be out of French, though, I'll buy the Italian Roast, though that one tends to be just a touch more bitter. You must understand, though, that when I make coffee, I don't even measure. I just dump enough grounds in the maker to be sure it's crazy extra strong. My old boss joked that you can chew my coffee. But I'm a big fan of cream and sugar, so the bolder the coffee, the more I can taste it through all of my accoutrements.

Question three: My favorite thing to do on Saturday morning (assuming I don't have to work) is this: Wake up to no alarm, turn on the TV. Watch TV for a few minutes, then go downstairs and make coffee. Bring the coffee back upstairs and crawl back into bed. Smoke my first cigarette of the day, coffee in hand, while watching VH1's Top 20 Countdown and Best Week Ever. After I've been sufficiently lazy, I like to do laundry and clean up a bit, then get in the shower, get gussied up, and go shopping. But, if I'm off on a Saturday, I rarely leave the house before 2:00 in the afternoon. Billy works on Saturdays, but, if he didn't, you could just add some couple activities to the morning I described.

Scoot asked: "Why did you stop emailing me?"

Because I'm a horrible bitch. No, actually, Mr. Scoot, I recall the email ceasing when they revoked our internet privileges at my old job, then it started, briefly, when I got to my new job...And then it just...stopped. I think, as two mature adults, we should agree that we share responsibility for the stopped emails. Or, back to point A, I'm just a horrible bitch.

Bodidarma asks: "What's it like to be 25?"

Awesome. Seriously awesome. I love this age, but I was never a hanger-on to my youth. I think finally being in mid-twenties is right where I want to be. I like getting older, no longer being subjected to comments like "You're just a baby," or "When you're older." I mean, I still get those, but being twenty five lets me make assertions with some degree of authority. I love it.

Paul asks: "Do you believe in God? If so, do you pray often? What is your idea of heaven? If there is a God, and He/She is responsible for all that is good in the world does that mean He/She is responsible for all the bad things (famine, war, floods, diseases, etc.) in the world? Once a person dies do you think they have the ability to affect a living persons life? On a lighter side: Crest or Colgate?"

Wow. Okay. To begin...Do I believe in God? Yes, I believe that there is some force greater than us out there. Do I believe it's an old white man with a long beard in a flowing robe? Not necessarily. It could be a woman, it could be any race. It could be anything. No one knows - or will know - until we see it for ourselves. I was raised with no particular religion; My dad is Methodist, my mom is Orthodox. I was christened Methodist, and we went to Orthodox services a few times. But I went to a Baptist school for a period of time (we were in the south - there are a lot of Baptists there), and our family never really went to church. We were raised to make our own choices and to figure out what we believed for ourselves. As a teenager, I was baptized Mormon, for all the wrong reasons. I fell away from that not long after I started. I guess my problem with any and all organized religions is the idea that doing something can send you to HELL, unless you go and talk to some old guy in a church, confess your sins and act out the redemption he assigns you. Who is he, really, to be making those calls for me? In the LDS church (that's another term for Mormon, for those of you who don't know), the boys - BOYS! Twelve years old! - are priesthood holders, and allowed to give blessings. At twelve. And when I asked why the girls weren't allowed to be priesthood holders, I was told "Women can bear children, they're close enough to God already." To which I responded, "Well, I don't know about you, but I'd prefer get a blessing from someone close to God." I was not popular in our church. And I hated the way the boys got to learn about being priests, and I was stuck doing arts and crafts and trading recipes with the other women. I hated the assigned roles. I think that every religion has its redeeming qualities (for instance, the sense of unity and community in the Mormon church is like nothing I've ever seen. If you want to see a group of people band together for someone in need, check out the local LDS ward. They are incredible. And their emphasis on family and spending time with loved ones is truly incredible...), and I would never criticize anyone for believing what they've chosen. I just don't think that church-going religion is for me; My relationship with God is my own, and I don't feel I need to visit a certain parish, or donate my money to a specific chapel, or show up every Sunday for him/her to know I believe. I don't pray often, but I certainly don't pray only in times of trouble. I'm very conscious of NOT calling on God to bail me out of trouble. I could never stand people who claimed to not believe until they were in a bind, and then they found religion, praying, "God, just get me out of this and..." and then they make a string of promises they don't really intend to keep. I hate that. So I pray when something goes really well, as thanks. I pray when someone passes on. I pray when I feel powerless, not for help, though. Just to pray, to get in touch with the notion that I can't control everything. I don't really have an idea of heaven. I joke that being the only girl among (at least) thirty gay men is my idea of heaven. I joke that eating all the chocolate I want without gaining an ounce is heaven. That shopping with no credit limit, and no responsibility to pay the bills, is heaven. But, honestly, truly...I have no idea. I don't think about it much. I guess I'll find out one day. Yes, I think God is responsible for all the good and bad. I think s/he gives the sour to appreciate the sweet, I think s/he keeps the cycle of life as we know it going. Diseases, famine, floods...They keep life moving. I believe that we're always evloving. I don't believe that people were just created one day, I believe that we evolved from something...But I believe God created the first amoeba that split and went on to become us. As far as someone affecting another person's life after their death...I'm not quite sure what you mean. Do you mean ghosts? Spirits of those that have passed on? Yes, I believe that; that sometimes we're visited by great-grandparents and old friends whose time here is over. But, more so, I believe that they affect us by remembering who they were, what they believed in, what they stood for, and what they'd want you to do in any given situation.

Crest, totally. Gel, not paste.

Anonymous asked: "What is your favorite post that you've written?"

As a little back story, my favorite part of this blog is having a chronicle of my life. Most of my relationship with Billy is here - from meeting, to our first date, to how I felt about him, to the day we said our "I love you"s - and I love that I can go back and remember what it was like in the beginning. And some of the hardest times in my life are here, too. It's hard to narrow it down to a favorite post because they're all so personal to me (obviously). Each one is a snapshot of me, that very day. I love that.

But my favorite? I guess I'd have to say Baggage Claim. Not because it was scathing, but because it was honest. And I felt freed after I wrote it.

Cheetarah asks: "Isn't it so much easier to answer questions, rather than think of stuff on your own? Okay, let me think, let me think. What do I want to know. What's the longest you've ever been single? I ask that because I'm perpetually single and from your blog it seems like you're a relationship girl."

NO! It's not easier! These questions take time. :)

The longest I've ever been single (not counting high school and the like, because that doesn't really count) was almost a year; the time between Tom and meeting Billy. And, though it wasn't that long of a time in the grand scheme of things, it was a long while for me. And being single was actually pretty eye-opening for me. I'm so independent now, more than I ever thought I would be. I'm used to my space and my time and my life being all my own. It was an adjustment to fall back into the relationship swing. But my relationship with my single status was love-hate. I loved finally discovering me. I hated that, for a long span of time, I couldn't find anyone I wanted to share that me with. It's nice, finding your complimentary person, someone who lets you be you, and wants to be a part of you. And I am a relationship girl. I love being in love. I do. I can't help it.

Doug asks: "If you could invite any 5 people from the past to dinner, who would they be and why?"

One: My great-grandmother (my mother's grandmother). Because the stories of what she's done, seen, experienced in her life are incredible. I'd love to chat with her. Two: My late friend Roland. Because I miss him, I love him, and we'd be able to share some laughs together. Three: Abe Lincoln, because he was ahead of his time and fought for what he believed was right. Four: My other great-grandmother (my father's grandmother). Because I knew her when she was alive, but I don't remember her. And I'm sure she was extraordinary. Five: Vincent VanGogh. Because I love his art. Something that beautiful comes from a man who is either extremely crazy (as some would argue), or just extremely gifted - a misunderstood genius. Some people think he was gay, some believe he was sick, but most believe that he was talented. I'd love to meet him.

Ok! So I've answered it all! Marriage, kids, religion, toothpaste, coffee! You know pretty much all there is to know about me. I hope you still like me. ;)

To everyone who participated...Thanks for playing with me!

Monday, June 19, 2006

You Asked for It: A Play in Two Acts

Thank you all for not making me feel like a loser with my last post. In truth, a very large part of me feared that I'd keep refreshing the page for days, only to find that big fat 0 Comments staring back at me. And, being that there are actual questions there, I must say they are some good ones! And I'm so long winded, that I have no choice but to split this up into two posts.

So, let's get to it.

You Asked For It: Part One

Liz asks: "What is your favorite line of make-up?"

You have no idea the can of worms you've just opened, Liz. Let's see....For moisturizers, it's Biore and Estee Lauder (Biore makes an awesome oil-free moisturizer, Estee Lauder makes an incredible tinted, sunblock-infused moisturizer). For foundation, I'm all about Estee Lauder. I have been for years. Because my skin is very sensitive, and the lotion/foundation is the thing closest to and on all of my skin, I stick with the tried and true. For mascara, there is nothing better than Maybelline's Full & Soft in Very Black. I don't use waterproof because I don't like to invest the time to take eyemakeup off separately, but it stays on, doesn't flake, and makes your lashes look INCREDIBLE. For eyeliner/lipliner, I'm all about L'Oreal. Le Grand Khol for eyes, and Crayon Petite for lips. I go through phases with lipsticks and gloss, so it wouldn't be fair for me to claim a favorite. As far as eyeshadow and blush go, I usually use whatever comes in my free gift from Estee Lauder (because I ONLY purchase it when there's a free gift up for grabs), or any of the drugstore finds: Cover Girl, Wet N Wild, Maybelline, generic stuff. Whatever. So, now that I totally beat that subject to death...Moving on!

Michele asks: "Do you really read all the blogs you have links to each and every day, if so why don't you comment more often?"

I don't really read all of the ones that are linked, because some of them are no longer operative, and I'm too lazy to take them down and rearrange (in fact, there are two bloggers whose addresses have changed that I've yet to go update!). But, no, I don't make it to every blog every day. There's no particular rhyme or reason to why one does and one does not get visited, except for the fact that I'm supposed to actually be WORKING at work. But if I don't get to one one day, I'll make sure I hit it the next day. As far as the commenting goes, sometimes I feel weird. Okay, bear with me on this: I'm a girl. I overthink everything. So, when I get a comment from someone new, the first thing I do is go check out that person's page. And I want to comment, but I don't want to comment just for the sake of commenting. When I first started this, I'd see comments all over the place on other people's blogs that said nothing about the post it followed, just "Hey! Thanks for stopping by my blog!" And I thought that was ridiculous. So, I want to make sure that, when I comment, I actually have something to contribute. Something of substance. I don't want you to think "She's just commenting here because I commented on her blog." So unless I can actually say something of worth, I keep quiet. Additionally, I hardly ever respond to comments on MY blog, which should be some indicator of how lazy I am when it comes to commenting. Maybe I'm just a voyeur at heart, willing to read about someone, but unwilling to contribute my own two cents. But really, those are just excuses. Mostly, I'm just lazy. And it's hard to comment at work when I'm liable to be caught at any second. Now that I have a computer at home again, the comments should start becoming more frequent.

Michele also asks: "Oh, and when are we going to get to see some photos from your wonderful trip!?"

Soon. Very soon. Like I said, I have a computer at home now, so it should be any day now. (I know, promises, promises.)

Anno asks: "What will you have to do to consider yourself a successful writer? What are you willing to do to become one?"

To consider myself a successful writer, I think I'll have to be a published author. Either regularly contributing to a magazine, or with a book of my own. As far as what I'm willing to do...I'll be honest, I'm a pussy. I'm terrified of doing anything to pursue it. I'm afraid of the rejection, I'm afraid of failure...It's sort of a weird feeling for me. To try and become what I've wanted to be for so long. But, pretty soon now, I'm going to bite the bullet, submit what I can and see where it goes from there. I'll suck up the fear and the dread and just do it already, because I just know it's not going to happen any other way. And I just know that writing is something I'm meant to be doing.

Was that even an answer? I don't know. Moving on!

Casey asks: "You said you didn't go to college because you really wanted to be a wife and mother. Is that still true?"

It's hard to say. I can't see myself being happy just being a girlfriend for the rest of my life, so I know I'll want to be married someday. But the older I get, the less it's a pressing issue. I said, six years ago, that I'd never live with a boy unless we're married. Three years ago, I said I wouldn't live with a boy unless we were engaged. Now, I'm living with a boy with no engagement and no marriage. Things change, I guess. And, additionally, relationships never seemed to work out for me when I was staunchly against being unmarried and living together; When I was fighting daily to get what thought I wanted. I'm trying something new - the girlfriend who isn't talking, day in and day out, about tying the knot. I'm not pressing any issues like I did before, trying not to force anyone (ahem...Billy) into anything. Now, the kids thing....

Leandra asks: "Do you think you still want children or do you think you SHOULD want children?"

I don't know if I want kids anymore. Like I said before, the older I get, the more things change. I really can't stand to be around kids anymore. I don't feel that maternal instinct, I don't long for pregnancy, I'm put off by the time and effort and selflessness that goes along with having kids. I'm selfish, and I just don't know if I can ever put ME aside for a baby. My mom, who desperately wants to be a grandmother, keeps telling me that that will change, that having kids of my own is different from dealing with someone else's kids. I'm kind of afraid to take that chance, you know, that I'll still dislike kids, even if they are my own. But I just don't know. I don't want to say NO, I don't want them, but I can't say yes. At this point in my life, absolutely not. Five years down the road, maybe. I'm afraid of what it will do to my body, my life, my freedom...But on the other hand, I think it's a beautiful and amazing thing to be a parent, to give life to someone with my features and my blood. I just really don't know.

Leandra goes on, "What was the most romantic part of your trip? Do you think you are beautiful? (I think you are!) Do you think one day you'd go back to Kentucky?"

The most romantic part of my trip? Wow, it's hard to say. Really, the whole thing was incredible. The first night we got into town, we had dinner at this cute little restaurant right on the ocean called De Tach. We had the local drink, toasted one another, ate our seafood, held hands across the table for the first time in a foreign country. After dinner, Billy suggested we take a little walk. The beach was empty, the moon was huge, and the waves were lapping the shore. We took off our shoes and walked to a pair of chairs sitting beneath an imposing palm tree. "I believe," Billy said, "that this is an actual moonlit walk on the beach. This is officially a romantic moment." And he looked over at me and smiled, illuminated by the bright moon, and he pulled me in and kissed me. He was so cute. And he sent me to the waterline to test the temperature of the ocean, and when I came back, he kissed me soft and sweet...It was so textbook romantic that I couldn't believe it. Just thinking of it makes me all mushy inside. And then, a few days later, we sat on our porch, in the hammock together, reading our respective books and sipping cocktails...We just held hands and read. No talking, just being together. It was one of those moments where you realize you don't need to fill up silences anymore, that just being near one another is enough.

And, first off, thank you for saying I'm beautiful! But do I think I'm beautiful? Yeah, I guess I do. Of course I take issue with my body sometimes, and there are times when my makeup doesn't go on well, and I feel bloated and icky. But I've finally started to appreciate myself as a whole, not just the size of my ass or the clarity of my skin. I know I'm smart, and I know I'm kind, and I know that I have good heart. And I think that makes any person more beautiful than the sum of their features. Aesthetically speaking, there are days when I'm just on, you know? The kind of day where everything falls into place and you just feel hot. I have those. I also have the bad days, where I feel anything but attractive. I'll admit to my insecurities, but, generally, I love who I am. I'm happy with my looks. I'm happy with who I am as a person. I think I'm a beautiful person, inside and out.

Will I ever go back to Kentucky? Yes. Absolutely. Maybe not to live (although you never know...Louisville is an awesome city), but certainly to visit.

Melish asks: "Have you and Billy talked at all about marriage??? And if so, please elaborate. Oh, and I'm still anxious to hear about your trip to Belize!"

Hmmm. Interesting question. And one that I sort of dreaded when I opened myself up to this. But here goes! No. We haven't. Not even in vague terms. There are a number of reasons that I haven't brought it up. One, because in my last relationship, I pressured my boyfriend about marriage from the get-go. I started talking about marriage within the first month. Obviously, that didn't work out so well. No one wants to be forced into anything. And it only served to make me miserable. So there's that. And then there's this (which I'm not particularly proud of, but oh well...): Billy is 34 years old. He's never been close to marriage. From what I've gathered so far, he's not so keen on the idea of matrimony to begin with. So, honestly, I don't want to know. Because if I bring it up, and he says he never wants to be married, I have to make a choice to either stay with him because I love him so much, even knowing that marriage is out of the question, OR leave, regardless of how much I love him, because marriage is important to me, and if I stay, knowing we'll never marry, I'll only be miserable in the long run. So, for now, I'm making like an ostrich and sticking my head in the sand, enjoying this for what it is, and tackling marriage when we're a little further down the road. I know it's important to know, and I know it will come up - it always does - and I'll deal with that then. But we've only been dating for ten months. I'm not going to worry about it right now. Could I see myself marrying him? Yes, I believe I could.

The Belize story is in the works. Soon. SOON. I promise!

TKBS is doing just fine, although we do miss you!

Tiffany asks: "Were there other contributing factors in your break up with your ex or was it just that he didn't ever want to be married and you do?"

Yes, there were other contributing factors, although the marriage issue was the biggest one. We differed in a variety of ways that were, ultimately, insurmountable. He didn't want to spend enough time with me (I thought), he didn't sacrifice anything for me, he wasn't willing to do things for me that he didn't want to do in the first place, I didn't feel complimented, appreciated enough, I didn't feel like he thought I was the most beautiful girl in the world in his eyes, I felt like he was always looking for something more. He wanted to spend his life moving around, I was happy here in Milford (I still am). He never wanted to stay in one place, and I saw my life with a home in ONE town, close to my family. There were those differences, and then there was me. I'm purely reactionary, and when I felt I was being short-changed in any arena, I reacted by doing short-changing him, too. So I started denying him. And I tried to make him jealous. And I wouldn't help him out. The list could go on. But we loved each other, and we were, at a time, best friends. Aside from the major issues I just detailed, we actually did have a quite good relationship. Despite the fact that I always felt like I could never be enough, I knew he loved me. He just didn't love me the way I wanted him to. And I couldn't love him the way he wanted, either. We couldn't love each other properly, we were stifling one another, instead of making each other better people generally speaking. So we ended it.

Steve the Pirate asks: "What would our dream date consist of? Also, why is it that you think I'm so awesome?"

I think our dream date would be to Jack in the Box (for you) and then to Dairy Queen (for me). And then, maybe, we could go to a park, where we'd walk around and you'd tell me how utterly fabulous I am.

I think you're so awesome because you think I'm so awesome. (I'm purely reactionary, remember? See above.)

This concludes part one. Part two to follow!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Step Right Up!

Okay, so, I'll be honest with you. What I'm about to do right now is technically stealing. From Cheetarah. But I know she won't mind. Because we're cool like that, she and I.

Why am I stealing? Because I'm lazy. And, I'm at work right now, and I don't have the time to dedicate to a real post. And, I've got something REALLY IMPORTANT that I need to be working on during my free time later tonight. And, I'm lazy. Plus, it sounds like it could be kind of fun.

So this is the big theivery: This is an interactive post. One of the very few interactive posts I've ever done, in my over-a-year of blogging. And the interactive part? I would like for you, dear reader, to ask me something about me that you'd like to know. This is for regular readers, strangers, newbies, lurkers. EVERYONE! You ask the questions (in the comments or via email), and I'll post the answers. I'm even going to go out on a limb and go ahead and say that you can ask me pretty much anything*. You can ask me what my childhood nickname was, whether or not I was teased in school, or you can even ask me why I read your blog all the time but never comment. You know, whatever you feel like asking.

In doing this, I'm taking the chance that I haven't already bored you all to death with details about me, my life, my emotions, and my beliefs. Also, I'm assuming that anybody cares enough about, well, me to participate in this. But I think it could be interesting, to see what I haven't talked about. And to see what you want to know.

So, that's your assignment. Ask me something. And if I get zero comments with questions in the next few days, I'm just going to take this shit down and pretend like it never happened.

Ready? Set. Go!

*Alex and Nancy, I will NOT answer questions about my favorite positions or anything like that. So don't bother asking. (Yeah, I know you two all too well.)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Even Though It's Not My Cup of Tea...Get it? Cup? Heh.

First thing in the morning yesterday, I texted Billy and asked him to call me when he wakes up. Because it was his day off, it was my job to remind him of the things he needs to get done. This is not, mind you, your typical nagging-girlfriend's idea of "reminding," it is only at his request that I remind him of his planned tasks. Because, when he's lying in bed at 10:00am on a Wednesday, it's easy for him to forget that he has anything at all to do that does not include lying in our sublime bed, drinking coffee and enjoying one of Blue Ridge Cable's 600 or so channels.

So he called me, from the comfort of our bedsheets, cup of coffee that I'd left for him before I left for work in his groggy hand. I went over the list of things he wanted to do: Paint the trim in the hallway, move the table in the kitchen so that the furniture company can deliver our new couch tomorrow, pay some bills, call the computer tech who, after taking our computer twice (which left us without said computer for probably two months, and costing hundreds of dollars), still managed to forget, or just fail, to reinstall not only our old programs, documents and music, but also your basic building block of any functioning computer: Microsoft Word. And as we discussed his hefty to-do list for the day, he revealed to me that he was watching the World Cup. "Spain and the Ukraine," he said, his tone far-away and detached. I could see him there, in bed, holding the phone to his ear, sort of interested in our conversation, but eyes glued to the television with the sort of riveted gaze reserved for surgeons at work: Unwavering, concentrated, hoping to catch everything.

He detailed for me the events that were currently taking place on Germany's soccer field, as though I was hoping for a play-by-play when I asked him to call. But I wouldn't dare interrupt him. He's excited, he's enthralled. He's a mite obsessed.

As I commented over at The Anchored Nomad, Billy's family is part Mexican, part Italian. He lived for two years in Ghana. I don't know if his bloodlines and history are the root of his appreciation for the game, but to say that he is excited about the prospect of World Cup soccer is putting more than mildly. He's giddy like a ten year old. He wears his bright yellow Brazilian team jersey around the house to watch the games. He settles in on the couch with a pack of cigarettes and glass of Jack and Ginger to watch the games, no matter what time they play. However, he's all but eliminated the inconvenience to the tournaments crazy TV schedule; He can watch the games at his leisure, because of the DVR we have. All of the games are recorded, on High Definition channels, so that we can see every grain of grass, every muscle as it tightens on the defined legs of the players. Every tear, every droplet of sweat, every single solitary second in excruciating detail.

I'm not a huge fan of soccer. Really, I'm not a huge fan of any televised sport. I'll watch any sport live, but I've never quite experienced the need to watch people running around on TV, when I know I could be watching a rerun of Sex in the City or something. But, Sunday morning, we watched as The Netherlands (maybe? I'm not quite sure) took on Serbia & Montenegro. It was the first time I ever felt a draw to watch a sporting event. I felt some sort of pride for the (ultimately losing) team, and delighted in the announcers pronouncing the names of the players who represent the same country from which my mother's side of the family hails. I'll admit, I enjoyed it. Sort of.

Monday night, Billy got home at his usual time: Around ten. Having been at the gym sweating my ass off earlier in the day, I had fallen asleep in bed while half-heartedly watching The Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Fresh Meat. I didn't hear Billy come in, as he does his best to be quiet when he knows I'm sleeping, but I find it impossible to stay sleeping when someone is walking around in my room. I opened one eye to find him shedding his work clothes and stepping into his lounging clothes. "Hi baby," I mumbled, rousing myself from sleep.

He smiled as he pulled his neon yellow jersey over his head and walked over to sit next to me on the bed. "Hey, babe." He kissed my face gently in the quiet of the room. "How was your day?"

"Fine. I was trying to wait up for you..." I trailed off, sensing that I really had no point.

"Are you awake now? Or are you going back to sleep?"

I pushed myself up into a sitting position. "I think I'm up now." I pulled him into me and kissed his forehead. "How was your day?"

"Long. Sucky. You know, the usual."

"I'm sorry."

"Me too." In an instant, his face lit up. "Hey!" Suddenly, he was all smiles and excitement. "You wanna come downstairs with me and watch the Italy-Ghana World Cup game? On the high def TV?"

There was something so genuine, so pure about his excitement. His eyes were wide and expectant, his smile broad and effortless. He was a man made of pure anticipation.

I shrugged my sleepy shoulders. "Sure," I said through a slight smile. Worse came to worst, I thought, I could just fall asleep there instead of in bed. I dressed myself and plodded downstairs, joining him on the couch as he aimed the remote at the TV.

I nestled into him as the game began, watching his reactions more than I was watching what was happening on the TV. Every so often, during a goal or a near miss, he'd leap from his reclined position, pumping his fist in the air out of frustration or elation. I found myself getting knocked around by his exuberance, giggling at how physical his reactions were to the game before us. Soon, I began to laugh at the players, who writhed on the crisp grass of field each time they fell onto it, hoping to cause the other team a penalty. Billy joined in with me, laughing at the players, speaking for them as they rolled around, covering their faces and feigning life-threatening injuries. After a goal was made by the Italians, the announcer exclaimed "Everyone here is excited," just as the camera panned to a crowd of screaming fans, with one guy standing in the middle of all of them, arms crossed with a scowl on his face. "Except for that guy," I added. It was a moment that struck us both as hilarious, and we laughed our way through Italy's celebration.

We went to bed no earlier than one in the morning, crawling into our covers, exhausted from just watching TV. When the alarm blared the next morning, it felt like we'd only been sleeping for an hour. I sat up and started to scoot out of bed, only to have Billy pull me back in. "I'm glad you came downstairs with me to watch the game last night," he said, his voice deep and sleepy. "I had fun."

And, quite surprisingly, I did, too.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Break Up

That movie. The one with Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn. The one with all the buzz: The "Are they together in real life?" "Is it any good?" quandaries. That one.

Don't go see it. Just don't. Not if you're in a relationship, anyway. Don't go see it with your boyfriend. Because if even one of you senses that things are the slightest bit askew, it will spark The Conversation. The kind of conversation that, if things aren't really askew, can only lead to trouble.

Billy and I ended our incredible Sunday by driving the half hour to Middletown, NY to eat some sushi and take in a movie. We both like Vince Vaughn, and have thus far never really been let down by the comedic value of any of the characters he's portrayed. Though not particularly a fan of Jennifer Aniston, I thought the movie sounded funny and light, exactly the type one wants to indulge in on a lazy Sunday.

I'd heard the conversations about the movie. The critics panned it, and I figured that was just more of a reason to go see it. I tend to disagree with critics anyway, finding delight in the stupid humor of movies like Old School and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. And then there were the conversations on morning radio shows. Stories about girls elbowing their boyfriends in the theatre, poking their men in the ribs to illustrate the sting of recognition they were feeling. Stories about the quarrels erupting as the movie goers flooded out of darkened theatres across America, one or both halves of each couple highlighting the points in each onscreen argument with which they identified. I'd heard that the movie was aptly titled, and bound to ignite a few breakups of its own.

Whatever, I thought one day last week, as I applied my moisturizer in the bathroom, listening to the morning DJ talk about how it does, in fact, lead to many relationship-altering conversations. I won't have to have a conversation about it. And as I wiped on some deodorant, I made a mental note of how strong my relationship is with Billy, how if we decided to see it, we would not exit the theatre preparing to battle.

And I was right. For the most part.

I watched the movie and felt grateful that I actually didn't identify with Jennifer Aniston's character. For the first time in my life, I didn't feel buried in the weight of the time-honored woman's mantra: I do everything around here. My relationship with my boyfriend is fair. We do everything we can for one another. We don't crucify each other if things don't go according to plan. We're malleable. We adjust. We accept.

We held hands and giggled about the movie as we left the cineplex. We were even okay as we rolled out of the parking lot. But, merging onto Route 17, one thing led to another. I told him he can be cold. He asked me how. And in doing that, he forced me to dig up the rotted remains of our last fight. And, before I knew it, we were hacking away at the corpse of an argument best left untouched. What began "You can be sorta cold," devolved into "Well, I didn't know it was such a big deal for you to help me. Next time, don't offer." It was back and forth, back and forth; the queasy ebb and flow of that nauseating game, Tit for Tat.

Ugh. It was awful. Just what I didn't want to happen. But it wasn't a fight. It was more like a debate. Even tempered, yet still vicious. Calm, but sharp. We spent the whole ride home detailing our sacrifices, but still trying to be sympathetic to the other's cause. "I understand," I said diplomatically, "that you can't do the things that your average boyfriend does for his girlfriend because of your crazy schedule. I'm just saying that it hurt my feelings to be called 'inconsiderate' when one time I didn't put your convenience ahead of my needs." Naturally, we both hunkered down, secure in the knowledge that we were each Right. We bore down and sunk in our feet and clenched our fingers and maintained that there was no moving us from our individual stances. It's horrible when two perpetually correct people must face off, head to head. It's like running into a brick wall, over and over and over again, determined to convince that wall on each try that it might be hard, but my skull is harder.

My point, in all of our debating, was that, when we fight, he can be cold. He'll shut down for a minimum of a day, treating me like an obligation until he's finally found himself over it and ready to be us again. And, for that period of time, I feel him thinking Okay, I'm gonna touch you. But only because I have to. Not because I want to. And so, I respond by wondering if it's over and if he loves me and worrying that maybe this time (all three times we've fought) would break us. On the contrary, once I have bitched my way through a fight, I'm fine. An hour, tops, and I'm back to normal, as if nothing ever happened. I can't hold grudges. It takes up too much energy. It stresses me out. It gives me pimples. I don't need that in my life. So I'm over it. But, with Billy, I'm forced to wait to be done with a fight until he's decided an appropriate amount of time has passed between spear-hurling and now.

And I never got to make that point. We started a conversation, took a side road, then a corollary, then a tangent, and before I knew it, we wound up discussing something that, forty-five minutes ago, I'd just happily told myself was a non-issue. And, at the end of it all, it was a non issue. We do things for each other. We're happy. What the fuck are we fighting for?

All was well by the time we pulled into the driveway. I set the automatic timer for Monday morning's coffee and he snuck up behind me and hugged me, hard, around the waist, planting kisses along my exposed shoulder. Things are, were, always have been pretty fucking fantastic.

And that movie made us forget that.

So, I repeat, don't see it. Because, for everything that transpired after its viewing, it wasn't even all that funny.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Bitching is Good for the Soul

I was alone at work on Friday. Well, that's not entirely true. There were people in the building, I was just the only one in the office. I knew in the first hour - when the phone wasn't ringing and the door wasn't opening to let in customers - that it was going to be a long day.

I'm not sure what it is these days, maybe it's this, but I'm running terribly short tempered. I've been unable to keep my cool in the face of even a slight amount of irritation. It's unlike me to immediately jump to The Defensive or The Bitchy, at least this consistently. I am woman, and we are known for our mood swings...But at work, I'm a different animal entirely. I have a keen ability to be friendly and firm at the same time, and a fairly impressive knack for being a kind, smiling, perpetually nice person when it comes to customers. My voice is always cheery when I answer the phone, my attitude is always pleasant when customers come in to visit. But, when I'm in a mood like this, I see every phone call, every opening of the front door as an intrusion. An annoyance. Aggravation. And you would think that I'd welcome something to do, someone to talk to. But, instead, I have to fight to keep the irritation off of my face.

Earlier in the week, a customer of ours came in with his girlfriend and his girlfriend's son. Our customer, we'll call him Phil, introduced his girlfriend to my boss and me, and then said "And this is her son, Patrick." He put his hand protectively on the kid's head of sandy hair, then turned his attention to the child. "Patrick, go over there and hang out with Laurie."

This is not the first time this has happened. In fact, it happens all the time. And, at the risk of offending any parents out there, I just don't get it. What makes them think I want their kid to come over and hang out with me? Do they even care that the last thing I want to do is shoot the shit with a six year old? Why do they think it's perfectly acceptable to stick me with their offspring? I know that the very fact that they're there, in my office, implies that they have something to do or go over while there, and they don't want to be bothered watching their kid while they do what needs to get done. But I have things to get done, too, and I've never seen Babysitter on my list of responsibilities. And even if I don't have anything to do, I still don't want spend my time keeping a six year old entertained; I can think of a million things I'd rather do. I guess it's not the hanging out with the kids that bothers me most (but, yes, that does bother me), it's the audacity of the parent to think it's okay to shove them onto me. I wonder if it's because I'm a twenty-something, unmarried woman; perhaps they look at me and think Look at her, unmarried, no kids. I bet her biological clock is ticking like mad. She probably welcomes any chance to play with children. I bet she loves kids.

Hey. You know what? I don't. I don't love kids. In fact, I'm not even comfortable saying I like them. And, unless I have some sort of tie to them by blood or love, I don't want to spend any more than a minute or two with them. They make me uncomfortable, they make me feel weird, and they make me feel like I sound stupid. I can't relate to them, I don't have any patience for them, and pretty much anything sounds better than having to hang out with them. Particularly in an OFFICE setting, which isn't really conducive to child-like activities. They want to play on my computer, stand behind my desk, open my drawers, and color with my highlighters. Well, I'm sorry. My computer is my own, and I don't want some kid putting his grubby paws all over it, nor do I wish to take the risk that he could hit a button and fuck something up. I don't like anyone standing behind my desk and I don't want anyone in my drawers, due in large part to the fact that I just don't want anyone - child or adult - that close to me, sucking up my personal space. I particularly dislike children opening my drawers because they see letter openers and my fancy white-out and my hidden stash of chocolate, and a million colored pens and they want to touch or play with or eat everything they see. Which brings me to the highlighters. I'm so particular - possibly even OCD - about my writing utensils. I like specific pens, I like my highlighters to stay clean and maintain their sharp, perfect-for-highlighting points. Kids don't understand that.

So when Phil unleashed his kid on me, the kid did just as he was told: He came over and stood right next to me. And Phil and his girlfriend went off with my boss to finish up their work together. And they left me with the kid. For an hour. I would be lying if I said it didn't irritate the shit out of me.

Additionally, to round out my week of crap, I had fights with our vendors, audibly losing my cool over the phone when a certain guy wanted me to fax him the same invoice for the fifth time because he couldn't find it due to his desk being a mess. The fax machine jammed twice when I attempted to send it, and he called each time he didn't receive the whole fax to tell me that he did not, in fact, receive the whole fax. This was at 4:42. I leave at 4:30. I had plans for the evening. And they did not include fighting with a fax machine OR an incompetent, messy ass.

I was told by customers how our business works. Nothing, nothing, makes me angrier than being told something I already know. Yesterday, I said to a complaining customer that I was the only person here - because my boss is on a small vacation, and my other coworker is on her honeymoon - but that I would gladly have my boss give her a call, if, of course, he called in while he was out on his vacation. "Yes, well, he always calls in when he's not in the office," she said, as though that very day was my first time ever in the office without him. Apparently, it hasn't been me fielding his phone calls in his absence, giving him the status updates when he calls in from the road. It's been her. Silly me. And here I thought I've been working here all this time. Clearly she knows so much more than I do. Clearly. And another customer just explained to me that, even though I didn't see it there, I should have the key to his house somewhere in my office. He explained to me why I should have his key. "I understand that," I said, doing my best to measure my voice so that it came out steady, and not in a scream, "but there still aren't any keys for you here. When and if I am able to speak with my boss, I'll see if he knows anything about it."

"Well," the customer said, "you should have my keys."

By 9:30, I was ready to go home.

In a drastic turn of events, today, I was actually quite busy. And, in between answering the phones and making calls and paying bills and balancing the bohemoth of a checkbook I keep there, before I knew it, it was quittin' time. I'm cautiously optimistic that the rest of my week will follow suit.

As long as no one sticks me with their kid.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

One Man's Trash...

Z100 premiered Paris Hilton's new song on Monday morning. Billy and I listen to Elvis Duran and the Z Morning Zoo every day in the shower. We love their phone taps and their banter and the (usually) good music they play in the morning. As I finished my shower on Monday, Billy came into the bathroom to shave. I heard Elvis talking hyping up the fact that they were about to play the song, but I couldn't hang around in the bathroom to listen to it (I have a routine to stick to, you know). I had, however, heard bits and pieces of the song on the internet, having watched Paris attempt seductive, come-hither moves on a white sandy beach while accidentally flashing her nipple on TMZ. I'll admit, I wasn't as repulsed as I thought I'd be by her "music." But, in my defense, I hadn't heard the whole song.

I went back into the bathroom minutes later, to find that I'd just missed her vocal stylings. "So," I said to Billy, reaching past him for my new Pantene Hair Serum. "How horrible was the song?"

"Not bad, actually," he replied, rinsing his face in the sink.

"Hmph," I uttered, flipping my head over to apply product to my hair. I began scrunching the serum into my strands.

"Actually, it sounds a little Gwen Stefani-ish," he offered.

I stopped scrunching. How dare he compare Paris Hilton to Gwen Stefani. One is an icon, one of my heros. The other? She's an airhead. And kinda slutty.

"I don't think so," I replied, haughtily. "I heard some of it online, and I hardly think it sounded anything like Gwen Stefani." I followed my statement with a snort of contempt, a sort of half-laugh that was meant to illustrate my superior taste. "Gwen is a muscial genius. Paris is just, Paris." My voice dripped with disdain.

Billy loves Paris Hilton. Because she's hot. And naughty. And stupid. All of the things men admire in objects of lust. (He would not, however, choose to be stranded on a desert island with her. I asked.) And he knows how I feel about her. I think he enjoys defending her to me because it gets me all riled up.

"Why do all women hate Paris Hilton?" he asked, purely curious this time. Not at all mocking, as is his usual M.O.

"I don't know." I finished my hair and flipped my head back to the upright position. I grasped for a tangible reason to hate her. "Because she's stupid, I guess."

But that's not the real reason. The real reason is that I'm jealous. It's just not fair that she got to be born with all that money, and an incredible body. It's not fair that she gets to dress in high-end designer clothing without having to work for it. I hate that she fucks up over and over again, and still has the balls to keep going back out. I'm jealous of her confidence. She thinks she's the hottest, best, most amazing thing in the world. And no one could convince her differently if they tried. She suffered the embarrassment of a sex tape, and yet she still wouldn't go away. She didn't hide in shame. She just kept on doing what she was doing. She made no excuses. She's unflappable. And she's not ashamed to try acting, to try singing. To just try. And, I'm sorry, but I can't help but admire that about her. And that makes me mad. So I just decide to hate her instead.

Because ME? I make a mistake and I'm crucified for it. If not by someone else, then by myself. I have to work for everything I have, and my purchases are made at TJ Maxx. And, God, if I went through that sex tape scandal, I'd hole myself up in my bedroom and never come out. And I'm too chicken shit to sing kareoke. I'm afraid to even attempt to write for a living - and that's something I know I'm good at it. So, yeah, I admire her guts. I'm covetous of them.

But I still think the song sucks.