Wednesday, November 11, 2009

who is costco's bitch? i am. . .


have you ever been to costco?  i love it so much, with it's aisles of televisions, ink pens, blenders, jewels, dog food, bagel bites, sweater vests, bulk cheese, kayaks, antacids, couches, fresh bread, video games, the audrey hepburn hatbox dvd collection, pregnancy tests, sinus irrigation kits, lentils by the pound, gasoline, and my FAVORITE favorite thing--food samples.  sometimes, if i'm a little low on money, i'll just go to costco for lunch.  i don't even mean to buy the hot dog and soda for $1.50, or the slice of pizza for $1.99.  i mean i will flash my membership card at the door, walk past the eye care center and the lawnmowers, walk straight to the cheese and salsa section to get a tortilla chip topped with hummus, then move to the dog food/cleaning products section to eat some pressed, breaded chicken in the shape of a circus animal.  next, the frozen foods aisle has a lady in a plastic hat handing out spinach ravioli (slimy).  If it's a thursday through sunday, there's a little old guy deeper into the aisle handing out 1/8" squares of cheese pizza.  the pizza is the apex. i like to take off my jacket after the first pizza sample, leave it in my cart in the next aisle, and sneak back to get more pizza looking like a different person.  on the backside of the hill is granola, vitamin water, and a tiny slice of protein bar for dessert.  i once took katie there for lunch on a date.  (it's not like i didn't pay for lunch, the dues are FIFTY DOLLARS A YEAR!)  however, i am not the only person who has found a free lunch at costco.  i accidentally went there on a saturday once, the day that all of the cheap rich  people have off.  beginning in the parking lot, chivalry and civility are dead dead dead.  waiting in my car with my blinker on, indicating that the spot i have been waiting for while the family of seventeen pile their purchases into the minivan,  a tiny, wrinkled old lady steals my spot.  then i get the finger from the frat boy behind me for sitting in the aisle.  i dodge a lady in a sparkly baseball hat with a fanny pack dangling from her neck on a cord to park in a spot fourteen miles from the entrance.  on my way in, a girl returns her cart and the cart attendant says, "thank you".  too quietly, i guess, because the girl says, "WHAT?" looking for a fight.  the attendant repeats, "thank you".  the girl says, "oh" and walks off.  inside, everyone is navigating their boat sized carts among the aisles, which isn't too bad until you get near a sample table, where the line looks like the girl's bathroom line at a professional sports event.  everyone brings their cart with them to the sample table, and things get a little out of hand.  as i was waiting for a turn at a little smoky, an old man in a riding cart hit me with his motorized basket.  I WAS STANDING STILL, and it hurt, and i said ouch.  the withered mister looked at ME like I was the problem.  then he followed me around for the rest of my visit giving me dirty looks.  i think he even tried to hit me again near the produce, but i can't prove it.  rounding the corner in the pharmacy, i find a lady telling herself out loud what a good deal the price of citrucel is. i feel a little crazy. on the plus side, everyone in there is wearing sweatpants, so i feel kind of pretty, as well.  I feel pretty in two places, costco, and the salvation army.

finally, i get in one of the two open lines with three items:  pens, dishwashing liquid, and turkey jerky for dogs.  the guy in front of me starts writing a check.  a check!  who the hell writes checks anymore?  enter into the 21st century, jerk.  okay, okay, i'm a little crabby, i need some caffeine.  i head to the snack center to buy a diet coke ($0.68), and the girl in front of me is getting a berry smoothie AND WRITING A CHECK!  for $1.85.  i hate costco.  i'm never coming back.  i say this every time.  and then, like a battered wife, after a little time has passed, i think of all of the nice things about costco, and how when it's good it's really good, and how much i really do love it, and then i start to miss it a little.  and then i go back, because i need a giant bag of sun chips, and a floatie for the swimming pool, and a brick of cheese, and some floor mats for my car, and then someone's kid hits me in the back of the knee with a wiffle bat, and i quit costco all over again.  i was complaining to my friend traci about all of these things, and traci asked me, "why do you even need to go to costco?  don't you live alone?"  shut up, traci.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

the pullover




so i was talking with an old work friend, joe, the other day, and he mentioned that he had lunch at the old place, it had been years. he said, "i saw that one guy that always used to eat there, still eating there, you know, that guy in the wheelchair." oh, i know that guy. that guy in the wheelchair. his name is jeff. he is in his fifties, i would guess, no use of his legs, minimal use of his arms, which are encased in braces. real, real, crabby. now don't get me wrong, if i were in that position, i would probably have paid someone to knock me off, so i give him a pass on being cranky. but this guy takes it to a new level. he used to come in two or three times a day, wheel up to a table, and before he even says hello, he demands that you take his coat off for him. okay, fine, not that big of a deal. i can do that. then he makes you get a straw for his glass of wine. again, fine. then he makes you cut his food into little pieces. sure. then he asks one of the male servers to empty out his bag of pee. wait, what? well, i'm not one of the male servers, so i just snicker as marc or david or benji heads to the restroom with jeff. we all do,(snicker, i mean) it's not just me. then the tip. one dollar. this goes on for years. i swear i am not making this up. so one fine fall day, jeff enters the restaurant again, pulls up at my table, and asks me (i mean demands of me) to take off his jacket. but for the first time, jeff is wearing a pullover. you know, the kind of nylon jacket with a hood, and it opens from the neck all the way to in between his nipples. the man has braces on his arms! underneath his pullover! a pullover is hard enough to remove for the ablest of people. i poke myself or someone else in the eye every time i try to take my own off. i am not a registered nurse, nor have i ever been a home health care aide. not that i wouldn't, i just haven't been up until now. so i help jeff take off his pullover. his sleeves keep getting caught in his braces, i keep hitting him in the head with his own hands, (NOT ON PURPOSE) and resist the urge to say, "why do you keep hitting yourself? why do you keep hitting yourself? why do you keep hitting yourself?" yeah, i know. but here is the real question: how in the hell did a paraplegic end up wearing a pullover? did someone think to themselves, "hey, i know what to get jeff for his birthday---A PULLOVER!" or did jeff say to himself, "i know how to fuck with those assholes at the restaurant, i'll buy a PULLOVER! then i'll make them take it off and then put it back on me! that will teach those bastards for grumbling about emptying my colostomy bag!" i think it's the latter, i really do. when i finally finished pulling off the pullover, with (accidental) bruising, i stomped downtstairs into the office and blew off a little steam to the accounting staff, who i think didn't really care, but welcomed the interruption. then i went back upstairs, got a straw for jeff's glass of wine, cut his soup into bite sized pieces, lit his cigarette, and then disappeared until he found someone else to put his pullover back on. my tip? one dollar. yes, joe, i remember jeff.

Friday, July 24, 2009

the names are changed to protect the innocent


talk about a sunday drive. i'm sitting in the back seat of tris' bright yellow submarine (i mean suv) with two dogs, paige and tris in the front seat. riding north on nicollet avenue, trying to keep dingo the dog from chewing off my ear when paige shouts, "hey! what the hell!" tris and i both look toward where she is pointing, and see a car parked facing south at a meter. no big deal. but then we notice a middle aged white woman with short, ginger colored hair lying on the street next to the car. as tris makes a u-turn, the woman grasps the driver's side handle with one hand and then the other as if she were pulling herself up a rope. we park behind the car parked behind her car, but we needn't have, since the guy in the car parked behind her car pulled out and away giving an exaggerated wide birth to the fallen woman and her car. was the woman sick? was she having a seizure? it was five in the afternoon, and paige had to pee thanks to the two bottles of water she had consumed at the dog park. did she let that stop her? not yet. not being a big fan of conflict, i sat in the back seat while paige and tris got out to see if the woman was alright. the windows were closed, so i heard nothing and watched a lot of arm waving and gesturing. to my right, there was a lone twenty something brown haired girl sitting outside of a chinese restaurant sitting in a chair and reading a book. no table, no food, just a chair and a book. then it got kind of hot in the car, and plus things were beginning to look interesting, so i decided to join the conversation and i got out. ". . . fucking bitch! i'm fine! leave me alone!", were the first words i heard upon hitting the sidewalk. no, not paige, the sick woman. i mean the REALLY REALLY drunk woman. tris and paige were trying to tell her that she certainly should not drive and she was not having it. then paige kindly informed the woman that if she got behind the wheel, the cops would have to get involved. the woman then angrily stated that she was WALKING HOME! and lurched spasmatically up the street to the corner where she tried to open the door of a bar. which was locked. leaving her car with the door open and the keys in the ignition. so the three of us waited paitently while she lurched back, now trying a less angry tactic, saying, "ssserrioussly, i'mmm fine. i jussst want toooo go home. i can drrrrrivvvvve." uhm, no. you can't. we asked if we could call a taxi, but she seemed to have no money, so i was elected to drive her car to her house, with her in the passenger seat, paige and tris and the dogs following behind. paige now has to pee even worse, but she agrees. gotta give her credit. i slide into the driver's seat of the light blue 1993 chrysler, and turn the key. nothing happens. "ohhhh, yeahhhh, it only starts in neutral," i hear from my passenger. she was right, it started in neutral. on the drive, i inquire about the woman's day. turns out she has had a bad weekend, she says, big break-up. she spent the day at the lake. lake harriet. i didn't know the lake had an alcohol content, but i let it go. now it's all sweetness and light. "thhhank you gggirrrls ssssoo much, i love you girls. thhhank yyyoooouu for all you havvvve ever done fffffor me." instinctively, i want to pat her knee and say everything is fine, don't worry, but then i change my mind and just say everything is fine, don't worry. i left out the knee thing. upon arriving at her apartment complex, the woman directs me to her parking space three different times, until we find the right one. i say goodbye and run to the yellow suv, where i see a clear plastic bag filled with dog poop hanging off of the windshield wiper on the back window, slurred thank-yous ringing in my ears. i grab the poop, toss it in the trash, and get into tris' car. we speed off, toward a bathroom, and all is well. but is it? if paige had not seen the woman lying in the street, what would have happened to her? the man parked behind her didn't care, the girl in the chair outside of the chinese restaurant didn't care, and the many people walking and driving by didn't care. what is that about? how has it become that we can see a woman lying in the street, and just drive, walk, rollerblade, (or read) by? a sunday drive shouldn't just always be a drive. we need to look out for each other, even if we have to pee.
p.s. i don't even know anyone named paige or tris, i just made those names up.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

waiting for an epiphany

RACHAEL: YOU HAVE DEFINITELY ALREADY HEARD THIS STORY


i have had one major epiphany in my life, it came when i was nineteen years old, first week of august, 1990. there were a lot of signs i could have seen, looking back, but at the time it was as if a brick hit me on the head and in one day my life had changed irreversibly.
summer, 1990. i had just finished my first year of bible college in minneapolis. i was planning to return in the fall, but my father had told me that he wasn't going to pay, so i took three jobs. (in retrospect, he probably would have paid, but i took him at his word.) i worked in a diner, at a cafe in a hotel, and at victoria's secret. go ahead and laugh at that last one. a few months went by, uneventfully. one night, i had a dream. i was in a living room with a woman and her two children. for some reason, i knew that we were together, even though in my real life that was unthinkable. the kids were acting up, and i scolded them. their mother was angry with me for that, and she sat on the couch, pouting. i sat next to her and placed my hand on her leg, and said, "don't be mad, i'm sorry." that was it, really. but it was intimate and strange and i didn't understand. i woke up and sat bolt upright in bed. it was about 3 am. my heart was racing, and i was terrified. i didn't know what to do, so coming straight from bible college, i did what i knew. i prayed. out loud. in the pitch black. i told god that he probably knew everything about me anyway, but i was going to say it so he could fix it. i told him that i didn't want to dream about a woman. i told him that i wasn't gay. i told him that if a really pretty girl wanted to kiss me, i might want to kiss her back. i said i just want to tell you the truth, so you can make it go away. then i said, i don't even know anybody that's gay, and i probably never will, so it's a mute point, right? i'm just saying, god, okay? get rid of this please. after this prayer, i went to sleep feeling like i had taken care of the whole mess and i didn't have to worry about it anymore. what do they say about the best laid plans. . .
the next day, i worked several hours, and was in my bedroom awake around 2 am. i was just getting ready to turn out the light when my phone rang. first of all, i don't have any friends. and even if i did, none of them were up at two in the morning. but i answered the phone anyway. do you remember three-way calling? that's what this was. two girls, calling. i said hello and they said, is this one nine hundred something? indignantly, i said no this is a private number. and then i talked to them for two hours. halfway through the conversation, they asked me what i looked like. i thought that was a normal question to ask a stranger you've been speaking to for an hour, so i answered. five four and a half, 110 pounds, (this WAS a long time ago) long curly dark hair. (yeah, i had a perm. they were real popular back then. i was in style, okay?) then they asked me if i was feminine. WHAT? what the hell did that mean? i knew what the word meant, but they were asking it in a weird way, i could tell, but in what way i didn't know. i said, um, i guess, i work at victoria's secret, so yeah, i guess. then they asked me if i was gay or straight, because they were gay and i sounded cute. EXCUSE ME? GOD? WERE YOU NOT LISTENING LAST NIGHT? I SAID FIX IT, NOT MAKE IT WORSE! somehow, i got through the rest of the conversation, and the girls said they would come by and visit me at the store. since i had spent my whole life up until that point in a small town bible banging bubble, i did not take into account that it was two in the morning, the girls had probably been out at the bars all night, were drunk when they called, and had no intention of finding me if they even remembered our conversation at all. i waited for them to come in for two weeks. i couldn't eat, i lost 15 pounds. they never came.
finally, i took matters into my own hands and found one of the girls at her job in a restaurant in st. paul. i won't bore you with the details, actually, that's a good story too, but for another time. after her shift, we went to her apartment where she had a mattress on the floor and special export cans everywhere. i didn't stay long that night, but we met again, this time with the other girl, and we started to hang out. through them, i met my first girlfriend. she was sweet, and beautiful, and very vulnerable, turns out she was also a ward of the state. i didn't know what that even meant, all i knew was that she was the most loving, kind person i had ever met, and she liked ME. i couldn't believe it. the first time we kissed, my heart exploded, and it wasn't about sex, not even one bit. i just could not believe that someone so wonderful liked me, and wanted to be around me more than she wanted to be around anyone else. and just like that, i knew. i knew i wanted to be loved by someone like that. so that was it. my epiphany. i called my parents the next day to tell them the news. they were not happy. but what could i do? i told god my problem, i asked him to fix it, and within 24 hours, the gays called me at home.
so my life changed in an instant, and it has been wonderful and horrible since then. but here is the problem: since then, i have been waiting for another epiphany, because i had one once, to show me what i should do with my life. in the meantime, i have been working in bars and restaurants, drinking beer, hanging out, all the while telling myself that it's coming, my OTHER epiphany is coming, any day now, i'm going to know what i should do. well, it's here. i've had it today. i need to stop waiting for some stupid sign, for some dumb luck, to show me the way. i need to take action, be pro-active, get something started, live my life to the fullest, live like it's 1999. except that was a bad year. but you get the idea. so now that i've got that down, does anyone have any ideas? feel free to call me in the middle of the night.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

went to a party last saturday night


so, i went to a party last saturday night. and although it's true that i didn't get laid, AND i got in a fight, (actually it was more like one of my friends yelled at me and then stomped off to her car and left) that part is not what causes me to write. i didn't know a single person there besides the friends i came with and also a girl named nader(don't ask me, i don't know why). i tried to mingle but i was very stiff and wooden, mostly because i hate being around a bunch of people who already know each other but don't know me. during the course of the evening, i noticed that several people suddenly were wearing pieces of masking tape above their chest with strange tags on them like "man boy", or "living large", or "bodacious beauty". i didn't think much of it until nader approached me weilding a spool of masking tape and a sharpie asking me to put one on myself. i impolitely declined, because i hate wearing a name tag. it makes me feel all vulnerable and exposed and weird. it's not like i don't want you to know who i am, i just prefer not to have it posted on my boob. what's wrong with that? which brings me to my actual point.
last winter, i attended a volunteer orientation at a non profit charity group. these people make healthy, intersting meals for people who are afflicted with a terminal disease. they make the food onsite, (volunteers) and then distribute the meals (more volunteers) around the city. i really wanted to volunteer for several reasons. 1. i feel sorry for myself far too frequently, and i should, instead, feel sorry for somoeone else for a change 2. i don't have too many reasons to get out of bed in the morning, because it seems like getting up just means moving to the couch, and really, the bed is much more comfortable 3. i have experience cooking food, and i also have a car so i could cook and i could deliver. 4. i really need to stop feeling sorry for myself. oh, right, i already said that. ANYWAY, i show up at the volunteer orientation, and the girl at the desk asks me if i would like to put on a nametag. the classic nametag. . .HELLO MY NAME IS. . . so i politely decline the nametag. i think i may have said "no, thank you. i hate nametags". and she says, (by the way, i am in a position where i know no one, and am feeling a little icky) "WOW. no one has ever said no to a nametag before. which made me feel a little chagrined, but thankfully, she doesn't make me wear one. i sit through the whole thing, and really, i am genuinely impressed with the organization. they do a lot of good for people. when orientation ends, i give the coordinator my availability status, and leave feeling kind of good. she says they will contact me. except that she never does. contact me. i send several e-mails saying that i can't wait to get started, i can deliver, i can cook, but i hear nothing. it's been a year and a half and i still have heard NOTHING. i think i was rejected by the charity. i told my friend laurie about it, and she thinks it's because i rejected the nametag. SERIOUSLY? who gets rejected from volunteering? really. who? i do. apperantly.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

GIRLFRIENDS


i have a gripe. weird, i know. it starts out kind of nice. picture this. i'm at work, and a few cute girls come into the place and sit at the bar. see, that part is good. it kind of breaks up the monotony, and who doesn't like to look at cute girls? even gay guys like hot chicks. for different reasons than the rest of us, and i don't even pretend to understand, but still. like a slab of medium rare new york strip is always good, cleavage is also always good. anyway, they begin to talk among themselves, and eventually i hear, "so my girlfriend and i went to" and then i have to go away because those drinks do not deliver themselves. but then i come back to pick up more drinks, and sometimes the drinks are not ready, so i say something funny to the girls who say "my girlfriend". girls laugh. deliver drinks. push customers to order more drinks so i can pick up drinks at bar near hot girls. flirt some more with hot girls. repeat a few times. finally, hot girls are a bit tipsy. because i can be a conversational genious when the need arises, i get hot girls to open up. (not like THAT you pervert) i know you can see where this is going, but of course it turns out that the "girlfriends" these ladies speak of are just their straight friends because the hot girls are also straight. of course they are. no offense, gay ladies, but you know what i mean.

so i ask the girls, why do you refer to your friends as girlfriends? they never know the answer. it's like i asked for the meaning of life. they giggle, and shrug, and look confused. (straight girls giggling--never gets old) i ask, if you go out for lunch, let's say, with a guy from work, do you tell your friends that you went out with your boyfriend walter for lunch? no, they do not. why, then, if you go out for lunch with you friend brenda, do you say my girlfriend brenda and i went out for lunch? they don't know. but they see my point. don't say girlfriend, straight girls, it confuses the gays. and that is just not nice.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

i'm never trying something new again


this winter has not been kind to many of us, and a few months ago i found myself feeling lethargic, and ugly, and pasty, and fat. and a little unloved, but i really couldn't blame anyone for that. so i took some tennis lessons with my friend tris. turns out i was better (just barely) than two of the four people in the class, and started feeling a little less icky. so when my friend stephanie asked me to be a substitute one night for her in her basketball leauge of women over forty, i thought hey, why not? i'm only 38. i will kick some old lady ass! i played basketball in eigth grade, and that was only twenty four years ago. i'm okay at tennis, and i remember last summer i was shooting some baskets in my friend's driveway, and i made a few. no problem, bring it on! the team leader, linda, calls me and lets me know the details. show up, she'll give me a shirt, play a little. no big deal, it's all just for fun, no one gets too serious. be there at 6:45. i can do that. wednesday night, 5:00, i think it's a good idea to eat a huge hamburger and salad. delicious. wednesday night, 6:30, huge snowstorm, i wear 18 shirts and a huge coat and boots to the gym. 6:45. i walk in, lots of women playing basketball, more than one game going on. looks kind of serious. plus i don't know ANYONE. starting to feel a little sick. linda finds me, underneath the scarf wrapped around my head, gives me a friendly pat on the shoulder, and hands me my shirt wrapped in plastic and points to the locker room. it takes a while to unwrap myself, and then i get to the shirt. it is 1980's neon green, and is a size XXL. my shorts have a five inch inseam, but the shirt is longer. i now look ready to eat popcorn and watch a movie in bed. (if i were five and wearing my dad's shirt and if he were tall and fat.) the sleeves hang far below my elbows. trudging out to the court, my hamburger reminds me of itself. our neon green team shoots around for five minutes, if you call six women and two balls and myself standing awkwardly near the free throw line touching my face neurotically and rearranging my ponytail shooting around. because i am the new girl, i don't have to start. i watch for a few minutes, doesn't look too hard. then. i run up and down the court a few times, someone passes the ball to me, this is my chance. have i mentioned the other team yet? HUGE WOMEN. MEAN HUGE WOMEN. some of them are wearing a grille. in their mouth. the woman i was gaurding was number 17, and the 1 of the 17 was made out of duct tape. the seven was written in with a sharpie. have you ever played pinball? do you know that sound the silver ball makes when it hits something? those girls made me that silver ball, and i heard that sound. again and again. sixty seconds into my game, i lunged for the pass, came up miles short, and catupaulted into the groin of (well, i don't know who, because at that point my face was purple and i could not breathe and i was gagging uncontrollably). the referee stopped the play and everyone wondered if i would like to go to the hospital. i kind of did want to, but i said no. i did sit down for a bit, and because my team had no other choice, i went back in. my team got the ball, and i was open, and i also could see the girl with the ball looking, looking, looking for someone else to throw it to. nope. had to be me. i caught the ball, and threw it up toward the basket. beautiful. i mean ugly. i am certain that i even grunted. loudly. the ball landed three feet short of the basket and hit someone's foot and careened out of bounds. back to the folding chairs. the game ended and my team lost by about three thousand points, even though they had been previously undefeated. it was my fault, and no one would even look at me, again standing awkwardly near them touching my face and acting a little autistic. by now, i never wanted to see another hamburger. i changed back into my snowmobile suit, and limped out without a goodbye, totally humiliated. the next day, stephanie, who i was originally subbing for, forwarded me a message from linda to stephanie. "thanks for having tina play with us last night, do you think you could get the shirt back from her? um, washed?" you can have your nightgown back, linda, i'm sticking to tennis.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

nothing.

not one single notable thing has happened in the last week. but don't worry, i am sure to be humiliated or irritated soon. probably both at the same time.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

white teeth


as you know, i love shopping. i am fortunate enough to live a mere ten minutes away from the mall of america, and i go there often. most people that live here berate it publicly, pretending that they hate commercialism, and i don't call them on it. more mall of america for me. that place is fantastic. i have a certain routine that i adhere to when i shop there. i always park in the arizona lot, right by nordstrom's. i have found that the high end shops rent near the high end anchors. near nordstrom's is williams-sonoma, abercrombie, puma, j.jill (well okay, it's not a perfect science). near the sears anchor you get glamour shots, lady foot locker, the dollar store, old navy. but no matter where you are, you get the kiosks. gold plated jewelry. viking's bedroom slippers. the guy who will draw you, but uglier than you really are. crocs. high-heeled crocs. perfume vendors and hair straighteners, begging to make eye contact. i like to hurry by these vendors, pretending to be absorbed in my phone although i haven't had an incoming call for at least three days. sorry, perfume guy, too busy for a sample. i feel guilty about it, but not guilty enough. but then. a new kiosk. right outside of nordstrom's, next to the caribou coffee. TEETH WHITENING! i try to avert my eyes, but i am interested. i have always hated my teeth. i have dated (well, slept with) people because of their teeth. celebrities have white teeth. politicians have white teeth. people that other people like have white teeth. i have diet coke guinness smokers teeth. i want people to like me. i don't care if it's just because i have white teeth. good enough. i avoid the teeth whitening kiosk, but i do not forget. i think about the kiosk in the morning when i wake up, i think about it when i am at work and see someone with really nice teeth, i think about it when i watch america's next top model. i think about it a lot. so, last monday, i dropped by the mall. i walked up to the kiosk and asked for some white teeth. there was one girl in a white lab coat working. she had very white teeth, blonde big hair, and long red fingernails. i was smitten. plus she was really really friendly. i knew she liked me right away. in retrospect, it was probably because i had a credit card in my hand, but whatever. i voiced my concern that i was going to look like an idiot just like the somali girl in the chair right next to me, but she assured me that no one ever even looks at us because they all have their own agenda and don't really care. i choose to belive this, and let her fit me with a mouthpiece. let me say at this point that i am a gagger. i have thrown up more times than i can tell you just from brushing my teeth. (this is a testament to being born gay as opposed to choosing it, if i can't handle a toothbrush in my mouth, then god help a penis. i'm just saying.) she squeezes some gel into my mouthpiece, and puts it on my teeth. i gag for a while, in the sexiest way possible, because this girl is really cute. i make a joke, we move on. now my lips are spread up and down as far as possible, i start to feel like jack nicholson in the shining. only 30 more minutes, my new girlfriend tells me with a (bright) smile. the somali girl leaves, and i am the only customer. nicole (that's her name) comes around every few minutes to see how i am doing. i say some hilarious things, like "hey, these magazines are from july, 2008!" and "is it okay if i put my coat over my head?" and (because everything i say sounds like hmphmmhph) "wouldn't it be fun to make out with me?" she says, "doing GREAT! only 20 more minutes!" i take that as a yes. finally, my time is up. the mouthpiece comes out. as i pay my bill, we make some small talk, and i invite nicole to visit me at barbette on some monday night. she replies heartily, "that would be GREAT! my boyfriend and i are always looking for something to do on monday nights!" well, at least my teeth are white.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

come-uppance


today my friend laurie and i were both scheduled to spend some time at the minneapolis food and wine show, handing out samples of the delicious food that we normally serve at the restaurant that employs us. as you may have derived from my first post, laurie and i are like family: we would do anything for each other, and we also, most days, find ourselves dreaming of putting our fingers around each other's necks and squeezing until one or the other's eyes pop out like little ripe grapes. today was no different. in her defense, it was mostly my fault, i had gotten little sleep last night, and i was cranky and bad tempered. but in my defense, i had gotten little sleep last night, and i was cranky and bad tempered. the information that we received from our cafe was sadly lacking, to say the least: pick up the food from barbette, pick up the boys from bryant lake bowl, and bring it to the convention center where we had a booth. HAH! as if it would ever be that easy. we arrive at the convention center where the security guard asks us for our credentials. um. does a car full of food qualify? no. it does not. we say we are from barbette and bryant lake bowl. he says, so what? good point. i look at laurie, and she is giggling, because that's what she does when she doesn't know what else to do. i see grapes. luckily, i seem to have a way with men. men love me. i don't want them to love me, i think that's why they do. anyway. i talk the guard into letting me walk through the room to the front where the women who give out the credentials sit. oh, crap. women. don't so much have a way with them. probably because i want to. i say: barbette. bryant lake bowl. not on the list. i don't understand. then, out of the blue, comes a girl who says, "they're with us. we need four passes. " i have never seen this girl in my life. ever. we get the passes, and she explains that barbette and bryant lake bowl are part of a bigger picture. she is in charge of the lake street collective. the lake street collective, it seems, are the people who have actually secured the booth, and feature restaurants in their booth over the two day convention. that explains why no one knows who the hell we are. (barbette and bryant lake bowl are both located on the five mile stretch that is lake street.) i wonder, murderously, why no one bothered to tell us this until now. grapes again, but not just laurie's this time. it seems that we will be switching out with another establishment from lake street. fine, whatever. back to the car, get the food, get the boys who are smoking cigarettes without a care in the world, and FINALLY to the booth. guess who is there before us? glosssy pamphlets and all, it's the salty tart girls. (you must read the last post in order to see the irony.) i deserved it all.

Monday, February 23, 2009

public pooping


here is a subject we just don't hear enough about: pooping in a public place. i have always just assumed that everyone else is as horrified as i am to feel that terrible jolting twist in the stomach when shopping, at a movie, at target, at a restaurant, even at a good friend's house. not so. ever been inside a women's public restroom? enough said. my fear of pooping started very early in life. it was my misfortune to share part of my bedroom wall with our upstairs bathroom. every morning, EVERY MORNING, for my whole life, my father would spend some time in that bathroom. he used to drink over 20 cups of coffee a day, and he had a healthy appetite. let's just say that i did not need an alarm clock. when i was in junior high, my parents went through a wheat germ phase. wheat germ is like prunes, only worse. every single thing we ate had wheat germ sprinkled on it. liberally sprinkled. five people, two bathrooms. not enough. although my father had no qualms about pooping at home, he could not poop anywhere else. on sundays, our whole family would go to church in the morning, and then we would join our extended family at my grandmother's house where she made the most fantastic spaghetti and meatballs for lunch. and garlic bread. god, that was good stuff. but i digress. we would have to take two cars to church, one with my dad in it, and one with my mom and us kids. why? because immediately after lunch at my grandmother's, my dad would drive home and poop. so this public fear took deep root. i would go away to camp as a kid, and would refuse to poop for the whole week. i didn't eat much on thursdays and fridays. when i became an adult, a few things happened. i got a job, and i learned that i liked to have some drinks at night. because i worked in restaurants, working lunches was not that big of a deal, ususally there was a private employee bathroom, and if you timed it right, everything would be okay. until i worked at sapor. this restaurant was (and still is) located in an office building, and you had to go down the hall to use the restroom which served the entire building. not a busy building, so it was usually okay until one day, after drinks the night before, and then a little lunch, i was having an emergency. i was walking down the hall, stiffly, when i met jessica, our chef, on the way. i told her that she was not allowed to go to the bathroom right now because i really, really, needed to poop. she said, too bad, i really have to pee, so what if you have to poop? i told her that i had some shame, and what if it made some noise? she asked me if i would like for her to sing to me while we were in adjacent stalls so that nothing could be heard. i accepted, because clearly, i had no choice. so she sang while i pooped. i don't see her much anymore, but i still love her for that to this day. the reason this subject comes up today, is because my friend told me a personal pooping story that happened to her just the other day. there is a place here called the midtown global market. it's kind of like an open air market, but inside. lots of little shops, and places to eat. on the floor below, there is the dmv and some other random rooms. on this particular day, (let's call her amy) amy was attending a class on the lower floor for first-time home buyers, because she wants to buy a house. the class lasted all day long, and although she didn't tell me this part, i know she likes wine, and i am guessing that she had some the evening before the class. on the lunch break, amy goes upstairs and finds a cute little place called the salty tart. it's owned by a woman who used to make pastries at charlie trotter's in chicago, and amy bought a pastry, and while she was waiting, picked up a beautiful glossy pamphlet about the woman and her shop. she ate her pastry, and was delighted because it was so delicious. but then. the twisting. she ran to the restroom, and gratefully found and open stall. she read the pamphlet. and then she looked for the toilet paper. there was none. then she looked under the stall at the woman's feet next to her, and heard a sound. thump, thump, thump. the woman next to her was also out of toilet paper. so she half pulled up her pants and hobbled like a convict in shackles to the other stalls. nope. then she says to me, "HAVE YOU EVER TRIED TO WIPE YOUR ASS WITH A GLOSSY PAMPHLET? " i have not, and this is why i stay at home.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

shopping


i really, really, really love shopping. you could drop me off in a hardware store, a grocery store, a model train store, a comic book store, a store full of nothing but miniatures, a butcher shop, a lumberyard, a florist, a bead store, it doesn't matter. it doesn't matter if i don't have any money. it doesn't matter if don't know what the hell to do with 750 thousand different beads. it doesn't matter that graphic novels really confuse me. it doesn't matter that i weigh 115 pounds but am in lane bryant. nothing matters. when i am in a store, i become myopic. i decide that i should be a jewlery maker with all of those beads. wouldn't that be cool? people would buy my jewery and i would get a blurb on entertainment tonight because the all of the stars would love my beautiful jewelry. oh! and all of the different kinds of tools at the hardware store! i could make stuff with wood, and tile samples, and coathooks, and yards of chains. i don't know WHAT i could make, but it would be cool when i did. and flowers! i could make the coolest arrangements and not put in a bunch of pussy willows and dried leaves and those annoying white sticks with the little white dry round things on them.i don't know what they are even called, but who cares, i'm not using them. i could be famous for my innovative avant garde arrangements, right? and if i could draw even a little bit, i could make the best comic books ever. forget archie and that stupid lesbian comic in the gay magazines. I'M WAY FUNNIER THAN THAT FOR GOD'S SAKE! don't even get me started with the little tiny representations of everyday items. no. i can't do any of that, because i am not only a dreamer, but an underachiever. also not so much with the talent. i never buy anything in any of those stores, but i can spend hours in each one of them living a life i could have if i wanted (i mean, how hard can it be, really) in my head. but my most favorite venue are clothing stores. i love clothes. i am amazed that just by putting on certain clothes, you can be anyone you want. i dream about having a boyfriend just so i could buy him clothes. i don't want a boyfriend for any other reason than to dress him up. it's difficult to find someone to fulfill only that role. straight guys want a few others things to go along with it, and gay guys can dress themselves. it's hard to find nice things for the ken barbie guy, and plus i don't play with dolls. but i do hate one thing about stores: the salespeople. not as individuals, but as a team. i feel okay if one person says in an insincere high-pitched voice, "HI! HOW ARE YOU TODAY? ALL OF OUR FULL PRICED SWEATERS ARE BUY ONE GET ONE HALF OFF! ISN'T THAT FABULOUS?" it's alright if one person pretends to care about how i am doing today. kind of. but then the other seven people working there need to individually ask me how my day is going. so i learned a trick. when the first person asks how i am doing, i answer, "mediocre. how are you?" to pull this off, i must not smile. i'm not sure why, but after that, no one else in the store asks me how i am, and i can live my alternative reality in peace. i tried to mix it up by answering, "medium. how are you? but that induced a whole lot of "ha, ha, i am well done!" and "i think medium rare! ha. ha." not ha ha. that is not funny and i make more money than you and i'm just a waitress so quit talking to me. so only mediocre works. half of the people don't know what it means, and the other half think that i are some kind of lunatic. i'm okay with that. i probably am a lunatic.
p.s. i don't care who you are, NEVER buy pants with pleats, they make your stomach look fat if you are a man, and they make your hips look big if you are a woman. and never buy unlined wool pants. i don't care if they cost two hundred dollars. you WILL itch.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

because you asked me out


first of all, no one has asked me out for quite some time. i'm okay with that, i'm just saying that i am reaching back into the memory banks on this gripe. so. someone asks you out. and you are not attracted to them for whatever reason. it's awkward to say no directly, because you don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, right? so you make up some story about being in a weird situation, and can't really date right now, blah, lie, blah, lie. so they give you their number anyway and then say, "well, let's just hang out as friends, that would be great!" lie. you know they are thinking that once you get to know them you are going to fall madly in love with them because they are so awesome. i know they think that, because i think that, and i am nothing if not typical, really. but here's the rub: so now i have to be friends with someone that asked me out on a date, and the only reason i have to be friends with them is because i clearly don't like them. that is some messed up logic. (i am aware that i switched from YOU to I, but who cares, i'm not an english major and i'm not writing this to get a grade. i write exactly the way i speak, and if you don't like it, read someone else's blog. wait. i didn't mean, it, don't get mad, i really care about you and would never purposely hurt your feelings. i'm really sorry.) that last part was an excerpt from my last 10 relationships. let me know if it's effective. ANYWAY, i just don't think that because you like me and i don't like you but feel guilty because i don't like you is a good reason to begin a friendship. i don't want to be your friend, random person! i am sure that you are a fantastic human being, but for god's sake, the friends i already have find it difficult to get me to leave my couch. (it's very comfortable, and faces my television directly. and i have hd.) it's not you, it's me. (another line used in my last 10 relationships, either to me or from me. NOT effective.) and another thing: i love it when one of my customers ask me out, and then leave a bad tip. this is before you tell them about your bad (lie) situation, i have found that you should always save that part for after the check is paid. REALLY? you want me to date you and you tip twelve percent? REALLY? i no longer feel guilty for not wanting to be your friend. and just so you know, i touched you pretending that it was accidental, and i leaned over so you could get a better look at my cleavage pretending that it was accidental, and i smiled at you and laughed at your clever drunken witticisms because I NEED TO PAY MY MORTGAGE! because this is my job. my parents are so very proud of me.

Monday, February 16, 2009

semantics


i am a big fan of semantics, and working in a restaurant has taught me that most others are not. why do people walk up to me at work and ask me if i know where the bathroom is? of course i know where the bathroom is, i work there. anything else you wanna know, sir? oh. . .you want me to tell YOU where the bathroom is. that's not what you asked. (okay i just realized that i am going to veer off of the topic of semantics and just complain about some stuff.) another favorite: you ask me what the soup is, and i tell you that it is parsnip puree. perhaps parsnip puree sounds gross to you, so you ask me if i have any other soup. i tell you that, YES, in fact there is a SECRET SOUP for the people who are innovative enough to ask me if there is another soup. it's a soup just for you. it's called "NO THERE IS NO OTHER SOUP YOU MORON OR I WOULD HAVE TOLD YOU ABOUT IT ALREADY. DO YOU THINK I LIKE PARSNIP SOUP ANY BETTER THAN YOU DO?" and it's $3.75 for a cup. another thing i really enjoy is when i come to work at around 3pm to start my shift, and those guys who sit at the bar by themselves and drink all day (you know who they are, they are freaking everywhere) listen to the conversation that you may be having with the bartender and then decide that i would benefit from their advice. yes, thank you, guy who sits in a bar all day every day by himself, i would love to know how you think i should handle things. just because you are drunk does not mean that you are charles bukowski. it seems my filter has rotted a bit over the past 23 years, so i actually tell them this. then i get to hear that if i smiled more, i would be so much prettier. SERIOUSLY? i don't give a rat's ass if you think i am pretty or if you think i look like the witches of eastwick all rolled into one. and your breath stinks, mr. close talker. do i come to your job and tell you to smile while you are perfoming tasks? i would, but you don't have a job, do you? oh, but if you did, i would be there. drunk.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

robbie


so, have you heard about this kid in england who just had a kid at 13 years old? people seem so surprised. personally, i am surprised it hasn't happened sooner. i remember my first boyfriend. he was 13. name of robbie. skinny little redhead with freckles and a chipped front tooth. i think it was the tooth that did it for me. anyway, he was in 7th grade, and i was in 8th. we grew up in a pretty small town, and most of us lived within walking distance from the grade school. i was in the popular group, by accident, i believe, and the ringleader's name was debbie. everyone loved her because she couldn't care less if anyone liked her or not. she also had the good luck to have divorced parents who both worked during the day. that was lucky for all of us, because we grew up in the upper peninsula of michigan where several times a year, the school would close for a snow day. it snowed a lot there. debbie's mom lived in an apartment right across the street from the school and debbie would host little get-togethers at her mom's house on all of the snow days. we'd call all of the boys, eat some doritos, watch a little guiding light, and then we would pair off and go into the bedroom. yep. one bedroom. four or five couples. in the same room. lights off, blinds closed. usually eyes closed as well since that's what you do with your eyes when you are making out, right? that's what just happened on guiding light. we all saw it. after a few snow days, making out started getting boring. and it seemed imperative to move things along. not to me, really, but to robbie. he went up my shirt, poor guy. i was never what you would call a b-cup. well, i kind of am now, but more like a b-minus. but then. along with some curiosity on my part, and some urging on robbie's part, i put my hand into his junior size 12 (i don't actually know the size, but it sounds good in the narrative, i think) bvds, and put my hand around A SHARPIE? wait, no, it was his penis. i hope for his sake that thing is bigger now, but good lord it was small that day. i won't tell the rest of the story, how long we dated, how he broke up with me, how i would put in a cassette tape of air supply and listen to the lyrics of "all out of love" which begin with the words, "i'm lying alone with my head on the phone, thinking of you till it hurts. . ." and then literally take the phone and put my head on it while i listened to the song. you don't need to know any of that. i'm just saying that maybe i am a little surprised that the kid in england fathered a child. he must have had one of those jumbo sharpies, you know, the kind that we used to make posters or banners with before computers and kinkos.

Friday, February 13, 2009

the beginning


People keep telling me that i should write stuff, so i am going to write stuff. i don't actually expect that anyone will read the stuff, but i am going to stuff it all in this blog anyway. i even almost got out of my car today to tell the lady behind me in the parking lot to stuff it when she leaned on her horn several times, presumably wanting me to move faster. that made me kind of irritated, so i just sat there on purpose. then she leaned on her horn for a full 30 seconds without interruption. i would have sat there even longer, but my friend laurie was in the car with me and wondered out loud why she ever goes anywhere with me. i wondered out loud right back about why she ever does. that made two people in close vicinity want to punch me, so i moved the car. but i did not want to. was the chunky middle-aged lady with a home perm driving an ambulance? no. burgundy 1984 junk heap. were we in the parking lot of a hospital, perhaps near the emergency room? no. target. was someone drowning that she needed to save? no. pavement. was her house on fire? maybe. i don't know where she lives. i would like to know what the big hurry was. i wasn't even going that slow. now i will never find out, thanks to laurie. so she can stuff it too. but in a nice way, because i actually like her. you know, i had to tie in that stuff it thing that i started at the beginning but never had any plans for and then it just felt like there wouldn't be any closure if i didn't put it in at the end.
(this is a photo of laurie when she is not mad at me)