Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Almost Doesn't Count...

The friendly neighborhood Ocean State Job Lot is close to my place of gainful employ, so I occasionally frequent the place to pick up unnecessary crap and whittle away a lunch hour. It was such the other night. I picked up some severely discounted Pria bars (50 cents! Hell yeah!) and was on my way, propelling Gustav the BeetleBugCar out of the shopping center and back toward the highway.

They were in front of me almost immediately, before I had gotten out of second gear, before I was facing the right way in the lane. Kids, children, four or five or six, I'm not really sure. Soft skin and bone and flesh wrapped around sharp metal bicycles. And as my foot mashed the brake with every ounce of pressure available to it, and my hands tore the steering wheel desperately to the side, everything became blurred and agonizingly slow, like a dream sequence. I looked into the eyes of one of the children, soft and brown like a seal's. They slipped across like molasses, not one of them over the age of 8, not one of them wearing a helmet.

At some point, my car finally stopped; touching nothing but air, facing the complete wrong direction, in need of being restarted. I gasped like a fish, flipped the ignition, turned the car back in the correct direction, and went back to work.

I had a lot of time to think about the whole incident. Had I not looked closely enough? I had looked both ways, left and right and left again, as I always do. But were my eyes trained to look for cars? Had I just not noticed? Or were they just not there before? Kids can dart out so quickly...

It didn't really matter to me either way. The only thing that mattered was that even though I hadn't crushed any of them under my miniscule car, I could have. I could have done so and spent the rest of my life with my head in my hands wondering what could I have done differently? I could have spent an eternity in my own purgatory, battling embittered parents and grieving siblings and my own demons.

But I didn't, so now I don't have to. But for a bit there, I kind of did, just the same.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

How NOT to Get Favors From Me

I was in my friendly neighborhood Shaw's this morning, picking up some groceries so Sean and I would not be forced to subsist on lo-carb pasta and frozen peas. Not that lo-carb pasta and peas are necessarily a bad thing, but when combined with each other and nothing else, quite less than delish.

But I digress. Since it was still rather early, only a couple check-out lines were open. I waited for a bit, then began loading my things onto the belt. I had gotten through the buy-one-get-one-free turkey burger, the bags of salad mix, the buy-one-get-two-free strawberries (which is a fuckload of strawberries, to be sure), the cage-free eggs, the organic 1% milk, the various kinds of short, I had most of my stuff on the belt. It was then that I happened to notice a small ruckus occuring over at the express lane. Now the express lane, generally being for customers with 10 or fewer items, sometimes can have quite a line going. But it usually does move more quickly than the others.

Apparently, a man had grown sick of waiting and stormed away from his line and over to mine. He had in his possession a single bag of pita bread. Portuguese pita bread, which I never even knew existed.

Now, at this point, Pita Bread Guy was right behind me in the line. Although I was almost finished unloading my groceries, the cashier had yet to start ringing me. Let's review the different steps Pita Bread Guy could take at this point in order to persuade me to let him jump in front of me in line. There's:

A. Politely asking: "Excuse me, ma'am, I hate to bother you; but could I please go in front of you? I am in a bit of a hurry, and would really appreciate it."

B. Smiling and engaging me in conversation in the hopes I would offer to let him go ahead. "Wow, that express lane sure is busy! It always seems to happen when I'm in a hurry. By the way, I can't help but notice that you are lovely as well as poised."

C. Coughing or otherwise trying to draw attention to his plight in the hopes I would offer to let him go ahead.

D. Countless other polite options.

As you may have imagined, Pita Bread Guy chose to exercise none of these options. Instead, he flung his Portuguese pita bread on the belt with a force that made the cashier jump, looked at me pointedly, and heaved an exasperated sigh while glaring right at me.

This is not a nice way to ask to go in front of me in line. In fact, I thought it downright rude.

I shot Pita Bread Guy a pointed look, raised one eyebrow, and resumed loading my groceries on the belt. One item at a time. With the utmost care and consideration for the safety of my foodstuffs. And as if that weren't enough, I couldn't seem to locate my Shaw's card. Or my $3 off coupon. Or my debit card. And then I entered my PIN wrong.

I was still putting my cash withdrawl in my wallet when Pita Bread Guy pushed past me, literally shoving me out of the way and stepping on my foot as he sought his egress. I yelped involuntarily and was thrown back by the force of the impact. Rent-A-Cop Cop Guy was watching by the door. He didn't seem to like that so much.

As I wheeled my cart out the door, Pita Bread Guy and Rent-A-Cop Cop Guy were still deep in discussion.

Pita Bread Guy would have been better off in the express lane.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Bad Hair Day

Reasonably bad hair is expected on rainy days like today. That's really no surprise.

What is a surprise, however, is just how bad my hair is today. I am experiencing a Bad Hair Day like no other. My hair does not look like Redpanda's hair on a bad day. No. It looks like a bad wig. That's askew. I'm waiting for someone to come up to me and try to helpfully adjust my "wig". Only to find that it is, in actuality, my head. My head is askew.

I have a naturally askew wig head.

This can't be good.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

I Find Ways

Even in situations where there is no possible chance of embarrassing oneself, I generally can find a way to do so. It's quite a talent, really. Perhaps even akin to a Superpower. The Superpower of Self-Inflicted Humiliation.

For instance, alone in one's car. There's no potential source for embarrassment there! You're safer than safe.


There I was at my lunch yesterday, seated comfortably in Gustav the BeetleBugCar, enjoying the warm sunshine with my windows and sunroof open, taking slugs of my diet Pepsi as I waited for the light to change.

The thing about diet Pepsi is that, if you are anything like me, it will make you have to burp. And if you are really really like me, you will not hesitate to do so with a Barney Gumble-like gusto. Especially if you are all alone in Gustav the BeetleBugCar with no one to impress but yourself.

Of course, being as much like me as one can be since I am, in fact, me; I let a giant burp (or 3) rip. Ahhh. Spent, I happened to glance to the right and noticed the woman in the car next to me, windows also opened wide, gaping open-mouthed at me in horror. She then moved her car about a length in front of me, to avoid any more of these "incidents", I presume.

It's a gift, really.

But come ON, it's not like I farted or something.
Help Me, I'm Stranded in a Chinese Fortune Cookie Factory...

One of the "perks" of working in a department filled to the brim with medically-trained clinicians is that somehow, I am the person to come to with your technology-related questions. In other words, when you can't find the icon for Microsoft Word, when your internet connection won't work, when you can't remember how to save in CarePlanner, you seek out RedPanda. And, more often than not, she has the answer.

This amuses me to no end, and didn't really have much of an effect on my everyday life until the plans for a new, web-based rollout of our favored application were unveiled. Now scads of people from scads of departments with scads of different roles and workflows need to be re-trained. Of course, my name was mentioned as a potential SuperUser (for which I would prefer a cape be issued, thank you) and Trainer.

I have no wish to be either of these things. But in the interest of Best Furthering My Career, I now find myself locked in a dank, windowless room as a Real Trainer drones on and on about the web-based functionality v/s original functionality. They are virtually identical, to the point where I'm quite sure that I could buzz along easily on my own with a one-hour demonstration (which I attended a few weeks ago) and directions to the "help" button.

But no, instead I must sit through this. Other SuperUsers argue. A lot. They argue with the trainer about whether or not she is doing It right. (Often, she isn't...). They argue about what the workflows and needs of different departments (including mine) are. They argue about what Regular Users will need to learn this application.

I do not argue. I sit placidly and surf the 'net. Occasionally, someone will look right at me and demand to know what my department thinks/needs/wants. Usually, I spout off a few intimidating S.A.T. words and explain that my department has different needs that will have to be explained in context. This usually results in someone wanting to argue with me. I find the only way I can quiet them is by using progressively more complicated S.A.T. words until they are no longer exactly sure what I am saying but are too proud to admit it, so they simply nod their heads and agree with me.

This is tortuous.

I was telling Sean this morning that the entire ordeal makes me feel like I'm back in grade school. I always would finish my readings before anyone else, and then the teacher, not believing me, would yell. So I'd read ahead. Then I'd get in trouble for reading ahead. Now, the trainer walks around saying "are you on practice exercise 2 yet?" To which I generally respond (sheepishly) "Er...I'm actually finished with exercise 10..."

I believe I am slowly going crazy....

Forgive me if this is rambling and brain has long been reduced to a form of paste.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Things to do Before You're 30

Since I have now "officially" entered the Last Year of My Twenties, I've decided to begin pondering my life early, to ensure that I still have time to do all the stuff you're supposed to do then before it's "too late".

Here's one page of suggestions. I've done a few of those.

Here's another. I've done a few of those, too.

I haven't done everything I thought I would have done, or that I wanted to have done. And I doubt I will before all is said and done.

But, I was wondering; what do ya'll suggest I add to the list? What was or is on your list?

And lastly, a happy b-day shout out to my b-day peeps, Moglia and Wayne!!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

The Beginning of the End Looms

I'd just like to take this opportunity to share that I am now in the home stretch of the age "28". The age of "28" has been good to me. I am sorry to leave it. And in a scant 4 hours and 20 minutes, I'll be doing just that.

29 seems so much older than 28, somehow. 28 is "late-20's". But 29? 29 is 30. And 30 is 35. So basically, what I'm saying is that I am going to age 6 years in one fell swoop.


28's been good. Very good.

I miss you already, 28.

Friday, April 09, 2004

Fun and Games With Google

This is really funny.

Go to google and type in "weapons of mass destruction". But instead of hitting "enter", click "I'm feeling Lucky" instead.

Read the seeming error message fairly thoroughly.

And hurry before someone takes it down!
An Officer and a Self-Obsessed Asshole

While I'm on the topic of representations of women.

The other night I was flipping through the channels (surprisingly, I was not glued to TLC...) and I came to rest on one of those movies everyone has seen on a Sunday afternoon, An Officer and a Gentleman. This is one of those movies that people oooh and ahh over, a "romantic", "inspiring" movie. A contributer to pop-culture references, a movie spoofed in The Simpsons.

What a bunch of crap.

Watching it, I was completely disgusted--I couldn't believe I had ever actually liked the movie.

Let's recap what I saw. There's this guy who has been dating this girl for a short time. She is desperate to get out of the town where she lives, but is apparently unable to do it herself (she's just a woman, after all!). He treats her like a whore. She tells him she loves him anyway. He never apologizes for treating her like a whore. Then he shows up suddenly at her workplace, and wraps his arms around her. Yay for her! He has lowered himself to love her back. It is her lucky day! Without a word, he then carries her off, like some kind of THING he has claimed, as the entire room celebrates for her stroke of luck.

I was fucking infuriated. And Sean didn't get it. Just didn't get it. Looked at me like I was a crazy person. Which maybe I am, but that's beside the point.

The thing is, it's not like it's just that movie. This is not an isolated situation. This is just one of many, many images that women and men are presented with countless times a day, every day, 365 days a year. After awhile, it weighs on you. After awhile, when you take a step back and allow yourself to see these images for what they are, you start to become angry.

How many times a day do you see something that suggests that women are objects? That they are possessions? That they are "less"?

Do you see them, I mean really see them? Probably not. But they're there, and they are having an affect on your life, whatever your gender. They are affecting the lives of your mother, your wife, your sister, your daughter. When she is treated badly by her male boss, when she is raped, when she is made to feel badly about herself because of her gender; these images are partly to blame.

Do you see them? Do you see those images you are bombarded with every day that teach you that women are less than people? That they are pretty tempermental things to be pampered? That they are sweet submissive things? That they are objects for your sexual gratification? Do you see them?

Open your fucking eyes.

Thursday, April 08, 2004


One of my co-workers was recently regaling us with stories of the fun she had visiting her daughter. "She is fat, though;" she said, nodding sadly. "But I only made fun of her for it once. I put my hands on her and said 'Beep! Beep!'."

This is her daughter who at the tender age of 20 has overcome drug addiction, having a self-admitted alcoholic for a mother, having an absentee father, and multiple eating disorders and has settled on her own with a wonderful man in a state thousands of miles from home.

But she's "Fat". What a disappointment she must be to her mother.

I hurt for the daughter then. Hurt because it's far beyond crappy that somehow, one's success is measured by her weight.

I know how it is because that's how it works in my family. Going home for visits after graduating magna cum laude in three years with a double major, I was congratulated on "looking good!" and having "lost weight!". Not on my academic achievements. To this day, people come up to me and say "You've lost weight!" I know when I go home for my family reunion in June, it'll be the same way.

The ironic thing about that is that I've actually gained weight overall. But for some reason, my family's mind functions as a unit that remains stuck in a time warp to when I was Big Huge Obese Fat for like, 2 years. I haven't been Big Huge Obese Fat for a good 6 years now. And wasn't before that period. But that's how I'm remembered. So clearly I've "lost" weight because of the obvious decrease in my Overall Fatness.

It makes me fucking crazy. How and why is relative thinness a measure of success in life?

I sometimes wish that I, and every other woman, could be known as something more than a weight.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

And With That, She's Back

Sorry for the ages-long hiatus. I've been doing battle with the Neverending Sucky Ass Kidney Infection of Death (NSAKIoD). I won. Me = 1. NSAKIoD = 0. I dance on your grave, NSAKIoD!!! Muhahahahahaha!

I've learned much from the experience. The Number One Thing Learned (NOTL), is Fuck The Rest of The World and Take Antibiotics When You Have a UTI. And I shall do so. I shall flagrantly Fuck The Rest of The World whenever necessary, making Levaquin smoothies and sucking them down with vigor. I shall scoop up Cipro in giant handfuls, crunching them down like peanut M & M's. No more shall I rely on the "natural remedies" of Goldenseal, Saw Palmetto, and Cranberry Extract. I say Fuck the Natural Remedies. I say Bring on the Antibiotics. I say it so firmly that I must capitalize nearly all of it.

I've missed out on countless fun things this week. Notably, there was Dinner with Mike (that particular incident became Grab Take-out and Take Redpanda to the ER). Then there was brunch and cavorting with the lovely Paige and Theron, who were left to eat and cavort sans me. (They did bring me a beautious plant, though! Not to mention books and movies to occupy myself. They rock!) But the very worst thing that has happened--I have developed a scorching, tragic addiction to TLC.

I watched approximately 47 hours of TLC during my time at home.

Actually, it was worse than that. I would start at 9 am with A Baby Story and not stop till the end of Clean Sweep at 7 pm.

Actually, sometimes it was even worse than that. And I would sit there, in my fever-and-drug-altered state, weeping with joy at A Wedding Story or Perfect Proposal. I would cry when Hilde on Trading Spaces created yet another disaster room. I would call up Sean, sobbing uncontrollably about how happy or unhappy someone was when they were reunited on Second Chance.

And now, that time is over. I'm back at work, suffering from acute TLC withdrawl.

It's not a pretty thing.

Tivo would be a disaster at this point. There would be 166 hours of TLC recorded in a given week. And I would shamefacedly watch every last second of it, gleefully stuffing Kettle Korn in my mouth and bribing Sean to turn a blind eye with the promise of neverending burritos.

The burritos, of course, would never materialize. And I would become a bitter old woman, hurling obscenities at the TV screen when it dared to take a commercial break while I was trying to focus on the life of a couple in Wichita, KS.