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Monday, November 29, 2010

Three Months

Since September, little Nathan Fillion has gone from this:

To this:

He's spoiled rotten and absolutely fearless. I can't wait to see what he gets into next.

(Note: Ignore the date on the photo. My camera hasn't worked well since that time I dropped it in the toilet.)

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Since my car blew up on Wednesday, I’ve been at the mercy of my mother in terms of transportation and therefore my sanity. I should also point out that it’s mandatory when referencing my mother to italicize it like that, otherwise you won’t understand the dynamic between us. Then again, you’re reading my blog, so maybe you will. Regardless, the moniker only fits if you say it like there’s another word supposed to come after it, so mother will have to do.

Just in case you should get the idea, my mother is not entirely a bad person. She’s just not the kind of person who should ever have been allowed to have kids, or for that matter, be near them on a regular basis. I remember once my psychiatrist asked me, “Do you know if there is any mental illness in your family?” And then I told him about the time my mother threatened to set the floor on fire because I wouldn’t help her move the TV to the middle of the living room because THERE IS NO PLUG THERE AND IT WILL NOT WORK WITHOUT A PLUG, and how she freaked out when I told her and then accused me of trying to get her nice and confused so I could hide her peanut butter.

I got my prescription doubled that day.

Anyway, my daily routine begins at 4:30 a.m., that way I can get a couple of hours of writing and downtime under my belt before my first class. Or as other people see it, I like to sit around and do nothing for a while. You say tomato, I say tomahto. Either way, having a couple of hours to laze around in the morning is the key to my mental health. Without it, I’m a strung-out ball of nerves, jittering around on the verge of tears all the time because THE SKY IS FALLING AND SO ARE MY PANTS.

So between Wednesday and Friday, I tried to mentally prepare myself not only for an interruption in my beloved routine, the one that keeps me sane, but also in having to deal with my mother, the one who drives me crazy, in the wee hours of the morning.

But how do you prepare for a layover in hell?

From the moment she appeared in my doorway to the time I left her car, I had learned to second-guess every decision I'd made that morning, from what I was wearing to why I was writing to my major and whether or not I should have named my cat Rebecca.

"Are you ready? Why aren't you ready? Take your time but hurry up? Have you had breakfast? Let me make you something. You're not going to spend six dollars for a coffee, that's ridiculous. I won't let you waste money like that. Wait, you're not really going to wear that, are you? And you need a coat. Where is your coat? You should really have the weather on right now so you can plan ahead. Are you going to dry your hair? Where's your hair dryer? You know, you should really keep it in your bedroom; an office is no place to dry your hair. Oh, aren't you cute? She's cute, isn't she? She just looks like a Rebecca, don't you think? Hello, Rebecca! Come here, Rebecca!"

"HER NAME IS DANA!" I shouted, and it just deteriorated from there.

By the time I ambled into my psychology class, I was a good twenty minutes late, my hair was wet, and I'm pretty sure I smelled like the leftover turkey sammich from last week she forgot she had in her glove box. Fortunately, rotten turkey smells a lot like regurgitated gin when mixed with my perfume, so I fit in with all the other hooligans coming to class straight from waking up in their own vomit.

"Rough night?" the guy I'd sat down beside asked me as we were filing out of class.

"Rough morning," I said.

"I hear you," he said. "Can those Sigmas throw a party or what? It was like, suh-weet."

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Tale of the Dancing Chicken

For the past two months, I've been at war with Verizon Wireless over my cell phone bill, after one of their representatives changed my plan and crammed my account with a bunch of shit I neither wanted nor needed, just so he could make his monthly sales quota.  Their official stance on the situation is the verbal equivalent of the facial expression a constipated moron makes in an airport bathroom, while trying to pass the kilo of smack his dealer convinced him to eat for breakfast.  It's the look that says, "Dude, where's my official Verizon Wireless flagpole? Oh wait, it's stuck up my ass. THANK YOU FOR HOLDING WHILE I RESEARCHED THAT FOR YOU."

To be completely honest, I gave up ever reaching a satisfactory resolution with Verizon Wireless weeks ago, right around the time I called the representative who made the adjustments to my account, only to have him pretend to be his own voicemail recording halfway through my introduction.  So now I'm in it purely for the catharsis of getting to scream at someone about everything and nothing at the same time. I figure if they're going to charge me $800 to get out of my contract, I had might as well slap a caduceus on it and call it a psychiatric co-pay.

Probably you think that's horrible of me, and I can't say that I disagree with you. But if you think about it, I worked in private label retail collections for FIVE YEARS, so this is just karma paying me my dues.  Plus, now all those representatives know what it's like to deal with an angry paranoid schizophrenic customer. Talk about win/win.

Anyway, our last "session" resulted in me "accidentally" breaking the display on my cell phone, the one I just bought in August, the one they were insisting I had insurance on until I actually tried to use it, in which case, whoops, we took that off last time, ma'am, but if you would like to add a web package to your plan, we'll be happy to send you a car window cling and a year's supply of government cheese.

So there I was, earlier this afternoon, stranded at a Wal-Mart thirty miles from home because my car had overheated, with nothing but a dead cell phone and the molten bitter ire I felt for its network, when who should walk by but a dancing chicken holding a CA$H 4 GOLD! sign.

"Excuse me," I said to the chicken. "Do you know where I can find a payphone?"

The chicken looked at me for a long while. "A what?"

"A payphone," I said. "I need to make a call."

Another look of confusion from the chicken.  "What is that?"

"What is what?"

"A payphone?" the chicken asked. "What is that?"

"It's...a payphone," I said to him. I didn't know how else to explain it. "You put money in it and it calls out."

"Huh," he said. "I ain't never seen one of those.  Sounds cool, though.  Maybe they have one in electronics."

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pull the Lever, Turn the Crank

For the most part, my family is ultra-conservative, not in the sense that they don't drink or smoke or have premarital sex or do drugs, but in the sense that they don't talk about doing those things in an attempt to look better than everyone else. And by everyone else, I mean Democrats.

I know I've told the story of how my grandmother reacted when I came home from school in fourth grade and told her I'd voted for Ross Perot in the school election, but since Blogger wants me to upload all one-thousand-five-hundred-and-twenty-three of my archived posts one-by-one into its system--thus proving BLOGGER IS A COMMUNIST--I guess I'll go ahead and tell it again:

This one time, in fourth grade, I voted for Ross Perot in the school election, and my grandmother had a nervous breakdown.

Wow, that was kind of anti-climactic.  THANKS A LOT, BLOGGER.

I failed as a granddaughter twice on that day: first, by voting, and second, by voting INDEPENDENT. To hear her tell it, Jesus wept tears of blood that day, as did George Bush, because didn't I know? INDEPENDENT is just DEMOCRAT spelled backwards! I can't adequately describe how this affected me growing up, but let's just say that if Jehovah's Witnesses were in cahoots with the mob, then Democrats were in cahoots with oh, I don't know, could it be...SATAN?

I think about her a lot this time of year, because no one brought the joy to political campaigning quite like my grandmother. I remember one year a DEMOCRAT tried to put a Clinton/Gore sign at the edge of her lawn, and she threatened to cut the blood out of him with a switch from the lilac bush. Probably she would have, too, if he hadn't taken her at her word, piled his heathen ass back into his Volvo, and peeled out of the driveway like he was on his third strike and had just overrun a sleeping meth addict.

Wait, make that a basket of really cute bassadoodles, because who counts meth addicts as people, anyway?


Before the 2000 elections--before anyone knew what a hanging chad was, before all the W's had been ripped off the White House computers--I had about as much interest in all things politics as I did all things goat farming. As in, none at all. Between the electoral college and my own cynicism, I had convinced myself voting didn't matter unless you were a middle-aged white guy who made more than $250,000 a year. And while I think it sucks donkey balls that we're still using what is essentially a child safety lock of an electoral process, I realized then that whether you're heard or not, the most important thing you can do is say something, even if the only thing to be said is, "I'm votin' for myself, 'cause y'all both be batshit crazy, dog."*

I know by now most of the polls are long closed, but the message is simple: I don't care who you vote(d) for, as long as you vote(d).

* Overheard this at the polls this morning.



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