Sunday, September 30, 2007
Yesterday, we all hopped in the car and drove out to New Jersey to go hiking. Having been raised in the boonies, the experience of hiking in Jersey is a little bit alien to me. The elements are there, of course -- you’re out in the woods, it’s beautiful and verdant , the trees are fragrant, and there’s dappled sunlight everywhere… you’d be completely at peace, but for the fact that the hiking trail is right next to a 4-lane highway.
Does that make sense, when the hiking experience is supposed to be about Becoming One With Nature? Doesn’t it ruin the concept of “getting away from it all”? I mean, how can a person fulfill her Pocahontas role-playing fantasy when there are shiny-bodied cars with Garden State plates whizzing by only 25 yards away?
So hiking in New Jersey = not so much hiking, really, as an incredible simulation thereof.
But hey, you know what? I digress. Because the real topic of this post is not Hiking Dissatisfaction.
Flappy McDog Lips: The Power of the Wind.
You can thank me later.
Monday, September 24, 2007
Thing is, except for the earring thing and a weakness for shoes, I don’t really have that many expendable expenses. It’s not like I can stop eating. (And no, I can’t stop drinking either, you damned puritans.) People like Suze Orman are always writing about ways for women to save money, and the articles invariably contain advice like, “Only get a manicure once a month”, and “Don’t buy lattes”, and “Learn to cook”.
For a girl who drinks her coffee black, eats grilled cheese about 5 times a week, and hasn’t had a manicure since junior prom, none of this is particularly useful.
Still, I did have one semi-expensive habit that, as my one indulgence, needed to cease in the name of my ever-dwindling bank account balance. So I stopped. I waited. And then, after two months, when my invoices had cleared at last and I was no longer living in constant fear of overdrawn funds, I sprinted into the first open spa having not waxed my bikini line in way, waaaay too long.
Waxing is uncomfortable already – having one’s pubic hair ripped out in enormous swatches while lying awkwardly on a paper-covered table isn’t known for being fun. It’s even worse if you haven’t been back in awhile, and the hair has had a chance to grow past the half-an-inch mark. That’s why you find a waxing lady, one who you like, and keep going back to her forever (or until one of you dies). I used to visit a woman named Regina, who was like a Brazilian surrogate mother and who would cheerfully chat with me about boys and vacations and makeup tips while she waxed me. It was so nonchalant and carefree, I could almost forget that I was lying half-naked on a table with a stranger ministering to my hoo-ha.
I should have gone back to Regina.
Instead, overwhelmed by the need to just git ‘er done, I was on my way to watch football with Brad when I abruptly broke stride and veered toward a building on 6th Avenue that announced, “Salon and Day Spa”. After running inside to ask if they had waxing (they did) and waving Brad along down the sidewalk (“I’ll meet you there!”), I followed a small Asian woman to the back of the spa, where she instructed me to take off everything below the waist and lie on a paper-covered table. Same old, same old.
Then, as she went to work, things started to get weird.
Obviously, it’s already a little bit weird to have a total stranger buzzing around your nether-regions, dousing things with baby powder and smearing them with hot wax. But it’s all business, like being at the gynecologist – she’s only there to deal with the hair. That’s it. So I was a tad nonplussed when, after pulling off each strip of wax, the Waxing Lady would gently pat my vagina.
Riiiip, the wax would go, and then, pat pat pat pat pat.
Riiiiip, pat pat pat pat pat pat pat.
Lying on the table, vulnerable and with no pants on, I forced myself to think clinical thoughts.
This is not a turn-on, I thought. She’s not doing that on purpose, it has something to do with the hair, this is not, not, NOT a turn-on.
Unfortunately, my brain also has an obnoxious, bi-curious Devil’s Advocate-playing side that unhelpfully decided to pipe up.
“If it was a guy, it would be a turn on,” said Unhelpful Brain.
“Yeah, but it’s not a guy. It’s the waxing lady,” countered Regular Brain.
“Whatever,” said Unhelpful Brain, “I’m just saying, it feels kind of good.”
“No it doesn’t.”
Riiiiip, pat pat pat pat.
“Yes it does. Admit it. That was fun!”
“It was NOT fun!”
Riiiiip, pat pat pat pat.
“Damnit,” said Regular Brain, “We are BEING WAXED. There is NOTHING SEXY ABOUT THIS.”
“Ten thousand porno movies disagree with you.”
A second later, the patting stopped.
“Thank god,” said Regular Brain.
A second after that, the Waxing Lady poked me. POKED ME. The Waxing Lady double-clicked my mouse.
“Whoa! Wheeee!” said Unhelpful Brain.
“That was not on purpose,” said Regular Brain.
“I wouldn’t be so sure about that.”
“Please go away.”
“I’m just saying, you could probably make out with her!”
“I am not making out with the Waxing Lady! This is CLINICAL!”
“Maybe,” suggested Unhelpful Brain, “This is one of those ‘happy ending’ places?”
After ten more jaw-clenching minutes of hair-ripping, tweezing, and God-knows-how-many poking instances, the Waxing Lady gave me a final pat and said, “All done!”
“Okaythanksbye,” I said, launching myself off the table and into my pants as fast as I could. I had been sweating so much that I’d left an ass-shaped watermark on the table.
“See you soon!” the Waxing Lady said, cheerfully, and left.
Still sweaty and somewhat confused, I walked out to the front to pay.
“Seventy-five dollars,” announced the desk receptionist.
“Seventy-fi… huh?” I said. I looked at the menu of services. It said, Waxing, $60 and up.
And up? Up for what?
I looked at the receptionist. She looked back at me. I pictured myself asking why the cost was so high. Then I pictured the possible responses.
“Because we include an extra charge for exceptionally hairy women.”
Or, “Because when you’re on the table, we can read your mind.”
And then, of course, I handed over my credit card and gave the Waxing Lady a really big tip.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
When Brad and I came home from a long afternoon of beer-drinking and football-watching, a lovely little surprise was waiting for us: a gray, furry thing that torpedoed across the kitchen tile and disappeared into a hole in the baseboard.
"WHOA!" I yelled.
"What?!" Brad yelled back, poised in the doorway as though, depending on my answer, he might just turn tail and flee back down the stairs and out the front door.
"Nevermind," I said. "Just a mouse."
After assuaging all concerns (yes, the mouse was definitely gone), and some speculation (Brad: "How could this have happened?!"… Kat: "Um, I don't think it was anything we did."), I retreated to the bedroom to watch TV. Brad promised to join me momentarily, right after he'd had a cigarette and taken a piss.
Five minutes later, I heard the sound of him climbing in from the fire escape, followed shortly by the sound of the bathroom door closing.
One minute after that, the bathroom door crashed open and out ran Brad, screaming, with his pants around his ankles.
"KAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT!" he yelled.
I skidded to a halt in front of the bathroom door, where my boyfriend was standing and mopping at his thighs with a Kleenex.
"What? What?!" I was on the verge of freaking out, assuming some kind of tragedy – a toilet explosion maybe, or anthrax, or herpes.
"I saw the mouse!" Brad yelled.
This was not the catastrophe I had expected.
“It was in there!”
“I don’t get it… you saw it do what?"
"He poked his head out from behind the sink," said Brad.
If the answer to my question had been, "I saw the mouse making a bomb", or "I saw the mouse eating a human corpse", I would have been fleeing pantless down the street myself. As it was, I didn’t quite get it. Instead, I stared at Brad, who was now looking at me with all the outraged offense that a person whose pants were still around his ankles could muster.
"It scared the shit out of me!" he said, indignantly. "I peed on myself!"
I shook my head in disbelief. "Ohhhh-kay."
I moved toward the bathroom.
"It's still in there," said Brad.
"It’s probably scared to death," I said. "No way we're ever gonna see it again."
"Whatever, I tried to warn you."
I made a show of rolling my eyes, then shut the door to pee. As I sat there, I looked casually around the bathroom – sink, tub, shampoo. No mouse.
Not that it mattered, I thought, because I’m not bothered by mice. Not at all. I would NEVER pee on myself over a mouse. I think they’re cute, actually. I remember when we used to have field mice, the kind with the white fur on their bellies, and they’d take up residence in the pantry, and they’d eat the corners off the Pop Tarts, and they were so ador-
The mouse, which had stuck around after all, had darted out from behind the sink and run right over my foot. It did frantic laps around the bathroom, running behind the toilet and along the edge of the tub. I launched myself off the ground, leaping onto the toilet seat where I balanced precariously and continued to scream.
And pee on myself.
Karma is such a bitch.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Do you know people who say this sort of thing? I have. More to the point, I have known women like this in previous jobs, and they -- much more than the uber-professional men I have known -- make me nervous.
They are polished and put-together. They never wear non-matching blacks. They use corporate jargon, talking totally unironically about "checking the temperature" on things which are neither hot nor cold, or "giving key players the heads-up" when there's nary a sports team in sight. They represent a degree of professionalism which I, who cannot blow-dry my hair correctly or sit at a desk for more than 4 hours without getting pen on myself, will never be able to attain. But most importantly, they take their jobs unbelievably seriously -- even though, and this will never cease to amaze me, they (and I) work in an industry that's notorious for being completely fucking unnecessary.
...ugh, I threw up on myself.
Remember that kid, the one who everyone picked on, and who you couldn't quite help because he was difficult and rude and smelled weird? He just took an Uzi into a Wal-Mart.
Send just one plastic bag through the wrong filter, and ONE HUNDRED MILLION FISH WILL DIE.
Just one errant poo, and you spread enough disease to bring an entire country to its knees. Damn you, cows!
And there you have it, youth of America! The only safe job is... well... pet goldfish, I guess. Now go forth, have careers, and do great things from that little plastic castle of yours.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
And, alright, it was bad. Not only that, but instead of being "oh my God she just set her crotch on fire and injected herself with heroin onstage" bad – which would have been interesting to watch, at least – it was that "uncomfortably watching old videos of your talent show competition and realizing that your rendition of The Greatest Love of All absolutely sucked" sort of bad. Let's call a spade a spade, and all. But media and message boards and blogs (including some of my favorites) are all erupting with varied vitriol about, of all things, Brit's less-than-waiflike appearance. And, to quote Bring It On, the classic film about love and redemption and cheerleading:
Uh-uh! NOT COOL!
Which is not to say that the outfit was a good idea – I would have rather seen a revival of the orange vinyl catsuit from Crazy, or whatever it was – but we're talking about a woman whose heyday of blazin' hotness occurred at age 18. EIGHTEEN. And now – seven years, two kids, and one messy divorce later – I can't believe that it really surprises anyone to find that Brit's body has, um, changed a bit. Does the AP reporter who wrote this still look the same as she did at 18? I know I don't. The difference between Me: College Freshman and Me: Now is sort of like the difference between this:
That's right -- forget body types, I actually changed species. And I wasn't even married to K-Fed. (At least, not so far as you know.)
What's going on here, ladies of the media? Why so vile and bitchy? Age happens. Gravity happens. Things start to sag and wrinkle and descend floor-ward, once-taut asses develop into cottage cheese repositories, and it's all according to hard-and-fast rules of nature that apply to every single one of us. And, on this day of nationwide introspection and so on, I propose a campaign of public decency to which we can all live up:
Friday, September 07, 2007
In my previous job, taking a lunch hour was viewed as some sort of weird taboo; the woman responsible for my Day One orientation, when asked about how much time I’d have for a midday break, responded with: “Uh, we don’t really do that here.”
Now, at my new-but-temporary job, I get a whole hour. Which is awesome, except that I’m also in Park Slope, where I have discovered that any sort of sidewalk promenading is tainted by the need to dodge wayward toddlers and the careening strollers from which they have escaped.
So today, armed with half a burrito, I went to Prospect Park instead. I flopped on the grass, took off my shoes, and was gleefully murdering my lunch when a group of teenagers wandered down the path and set up shop next to me. They were all screaming, of course, because when you’re fourteen, it’s not enough to just have a conversation – you are TALKING, goddamnit, AND EVERYONE HAS TO KNOW IT.
Two girls from the group wandered out into the grass and immediately collapsed onto their backs. The rest of them, three boys and one girl, sprawled over some benches. There was general shouting, but then one voice rose above the rest-- It was one of the girls on the grass, a big girl with curly hair, who was wearing clothes that did nothing to contain her undulating flesh as she rolled around and finally sat up.
“Manuel!” she shrieked, pointing at one of the guys on the bench. “Manuel, get over here NOW!”
Manuel looked in her direction, then recommenced joking with his bench-mates.
The curly-haired girl looked like she was going to have a heart attack.
“MANUEL!” she screamed again.
“WHAT?!” Manuel yelled back.
“GET OVER HERE!”
Manuel thought about it.
“NO! WHY DON’T YOU GET OVER HERE!”
Curly-hair snorted and turned to the girl next to her.
“I know what he’s DOING,” she said.
“What?” said the other girl.
“He’s CHEATING ON ME,” said Curly-hair. “With that TRAMP.” She pointed to the benches, where a lone girl – the apparent homewrecker – was lying with her head close to Manuel’s thigh. I had to admit, she did look a little bit smirky.
“I’M gonna KILL HIM,” Curly-hair announced.
“YOU HEAR THAT?” Manuel’s friend asked him. “She’s gonna KILL YOU.”
“I’M GONNA KILL YOU, MANUEL!” Curly-hair yelled.
Manuel looked at Curly-hair, seemed to consider his options, then moved slightly away from Smirking Girl. He looked back his girlfriend for approval. She looked pissed.
“What’s your PROBLEM?!” Manuel yelled.
“I’M GONNA KIIIILLLL YOU!”
“I’M GONNA KIIIIIIILLLLL YOU!!!” Curly-hair shrieked, scaring a flock of geese several hundred yards away into flight. She glared. Manuel glared back, then brightened.
“Hey!” he called, in an astonishingly normal tone of voice, “I love you!”
Curly’s eyes narrowed.
“Yeah, right,” she muttered, rolling over.
Manuel stared at her turned back. He was quiet for while. He hopped off the bench and paced the path.
And then, sadly and so quietly that none of the still-shrieking group surrounding him heard, he said, “But… but… I really do.”
I said nothing, because I am not the sort of person who approaches strangers in the park to offer unsolicited comfort. And also, because I had mole sauce on my shirt.
But I really wanted to hug him.