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the latest waddle:

good morning, wordpress - 10:36 a.m. , 2009-07-03

elaborate murder attempt - 2:56 p.m. , 2009-07-01

building a tractor in the basement - 10:42 a.m. , 2009-06-19

ask no questions tell just a few lies - 3:17 p.m. , 2009-06-09

my long lasting flavor really lasts long - 1:10 p.m. , 2009-06-04


2002-11-26 ... 7:50 p.m.

Early this morning the snow started out big. Big snow, real snow, fine fat flakes in fine fulsome fettle, the kind of snow you can be proud of. You can call up some friend who has just moved to Florida and describe the gorgeous snow-scenario and feel smugly superior, because you are a sturdy midwesterner who's not afraid of a little snow, and now we get to make snow angels and go ice-skating and all kinds of Norman Rockwell shit like that. Or at least we have the option. The snow is wide and clean like the future you used to think you would have.

It never lasts. The snow has gotten smaller and meaner and sharper and angrier, and there are no drifting or even falling type of verbs associated with it at this late date. Instead the snow is sort of being thrown sideways and even though you know it is ridiculous to ascribe motives to frozen water, it seems like the snow is after you, and it seems like the snow knows just where the wrist-gaps are between glove and sleeve.

And now I sit and try to make some thematic connection between the progressively-less-beautiful snow and used men's underwear. I am thinking white, I am thinking bleach, I am thinking the appearance of innocence with a surprise underneath, but the analogy does not quite work. However, if used men's underwear is on your holiday shopping list, you are in luck.

Or maybe you could continue with the theme and read about other people's horrible holiday gifts. I have a fairly short list of my own.

1. I have already detailed the horror that was the polarfleece poncho.

2. When I was at my snottiest and most fashion-conscious stage, carefully blackening my eyes every morning and ready to commit hara-kiri rather than wear anything that didn't meet my eclectic but exacting standards (thank god that's over), my grandmother on my father's side came for a rare visit. Occasionally, Nanny would decide to quit smoking super-long mentholated cigarettes and drinking seven-and-sevens. These periods of abstinence always seemed to result in her taking up some sort of evil and unnecessary "craft," which she would then inflict on everyone at holiday gift-giving time. On my 14th birthday I opened a box that contained a pink sweatshirt, with puffy-paint hearts up and down the sleeves, and the neck had been "enhanced" to include a crocheted little Peter Pan collar. I remember that my mother made it a point to privately tell me how proud she was that instead of immediately projectile vomiting I was able to politely tell Nanny that it was very...interesting. Later my friends and I buried it in an empty field as a sort of made-up goth ceremony. Death to pink puffy paint!

3. A few years ago, LT's father gave us, and then persisted in renewing for us, a subscription to Mother Earth News. In case anyone hadn't noticed yet, I live in a large city and I have no need to build my own chemical toilet, and I am not allowed to keep goats in my apartment.

4. LT has a crazy aunt. I have a crazy aunt too. In fact, I have two crazy aunts, one on each side of the family. I think I have only seen LT's crazy aunt once, but out of courtesy to the crazy we invited her to our wedding, knowing that she would not be able to make it. Six months after the wedding, a box arrived in the mail. Inside was a homemade Xmas tree skirt. It stank horribly of cigarettes. It had a large mustard stain (or something yellow, I didn't want to investigate too closely) prominently in the center of it. No note was included, and it was only through the postmark (fourth-class US mail) that we were able to figure out it was probably from her. Six months after that, we heard through the family grapevine that the crazy aunt was angry with us because she never received a thank-you note. So I am a bad person for not realizing that something that arrives six months after the fact, in an inappropriate season, with large scary stains on it, and no note, is a wedding gift. My bad.

5. My own personal crazy aunt (one of them) gave me the same jewelry box two years in a row when I was a kid. The musical kind with the pink plastic ballerina. Exact same jewelry box. The second year, there was a pocketknife inside. I was eight years old. Baffling. And a little scary.

Honestly, to me, it's all about the giving. Well, not so much about the giving as about the fudge and the mistletoe and the cocktails. But I have never been upset about any gift, no matter how horrible, because it is always funny in its own way, and it's not like you were really entitled to anything in the first place. That is why they call it a "gift."

LINKS, I DON'T KNOW WHERE TO PUT THEM

A senior health inspector, Bosco Opio, had requested the teachers to inform him how they provided anal cleaning materials for their pupils.

There's another taste.

MORE OF THIS

Which do you want first? The cranky or the nice? I think you want the cranky first, so we can finish with the nice. That is what is known in sketchy massage circles as a "release" or a "happy ending." (Note: for some reason I am OBSESSED with these reviews of sketchy massage parlors or escorts. It is so very very bizarre that people rate these places, like Zagat's for sex work). (Note #2: My god! Tulsa!) (Note #3: Yes, Iím naÔve.)

THE CRANKY

Why? Why is there the cranky? Because it is winter? Because work is trying to kill me? This morning I decided I was really losing it because as I got off the train with all the other worker moles this guy totally knocked into me from behind and moaned, "God, everyone walks so SLOW" in this irritating queeny voice. (a) I do not walk slow. (b) Even if I was walking slow, this does not give you the right to bump into me more or less on purpose and act like it's nothing. I am used to the urban jostle. Really. I take crowded public transportation every day of my life. This was more like a deliberate push to get me to walk up the stairs at his preferred rate of speed.

Well, whatever, right? Shrug it off, right? Wrong. Because of my generally fucked-up mood lately I get all pissed off about it. For real. The guy is ahead of me by now, but then he gets jammed up on the stairs again, and as I walk by him I casually let the bag of stuff I am carrying swing jauntily so it hits him in the leg a tiny bit. And then I feel better.

But SHIT. Do I want to be this person? This person who is all subway-rageful for no reason? This person who finds herself stabbing at the Close Door button on the elevator, and, on one particularly bad rageful day, literally trying to use brain waves to make the doors close faster? The person who came perilously close today at work to saying GOD WHY CAN'T YOU PEOPLE SOLVE YOUR OWN DAMN PROBLEMS FOR ONCE when some perfectly nice person came to inform her about another publishing crisis?

I don't. Want to be that person. Help me calm down.

THE NICE

I left work somewhat early and then walked down to meet LT at his client. Even though the small sharp snow was all small and sharp in my face, and even though I walked almost a mile because I cannot just stand around and wait for the bus (see above), it was nice. I so rarely get down into the Loop anymore.

Here are some things I saw on my walk: An empty carton of goat milk. Lots of people not dressed appropriately for the weather. A pizza place that served a "jumbo slice" + soda for $3, an unheard-of bargain downtown and almost worth walking to even from my office, since we have no cheap pizza anywhere around us but only tourist traps. A wild-eyed guy in a pith helmet (really!) who asked me directions to Greektown. (Speaking of tourist traps...) A bar near the Board of Trade called "Stocks and Blondes." (Arrgggggh. Arrggggh on more than one level, even.) And then LT, leaving his client and meeting me outside, and we walked to Union Station together, and took the Metra train to the Rogers Park stop. The commuter train is very different from the El. People talk more, and they have shopping bags and luggage and stuff. (I keep forgetting about that holiday weekend thing.)

We had an errand to run too, which was part of the impetus for leaving work early. LT needs new glasses frames and since we are both kind of blind (me much worse than him...if you tried on my glasses you would be able to see forward in time), he needs to bring someone along to tell him how frames look. For being kind of a drab black sweater/black jeans guy, he sure has some outrť ideas about eyewear. He kept putting on strangely shaped and strangely colored frames until I convinced him that he was no Elvis Costello and no Karl Lagerfeld either.

On the way home we invented a new non-lethal weapon, the tarantula gun. It shoots tarantulas at you. Lots of them. One after the other. Even if you are not afraid of GIANT HAIRY SPIDERS, no one wants tarantula goo all over them. We abandoned the idea after realizing that PETA would get all over our asses, but of course that led right to another idea about a gun that shoots really cute puppies at you, because nothing is bound to depress an enemy so much as a barrage of cute dead puppies, and then we really had to stop talking because we always take everything too far. Besides, it was dinnertime.

---mimi smartypants is bootylicious.

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