Sunday, November 28, 2004

I hated "On the Road"

Things learned from this weekend's wedding/mini-reunion (perhaps an ongoing list):

1. There is a correct way to pronounce the word "podium," and then there is a hilarious way.
2. Some people never grow up (Vodka Claus is one of those people.)
3. When it comes to panic-attack-inducing locales, the airport trumps the mall any day of the year (yes, even the busiest shopping day of the year.)
4. "I feel like a rose sitting between two thorns" is NOT a compliment. Nor is it meaningful in the slightest.
5. When in the company of sober Navy boys, singing "In the Navy" is considered poor form. When in the company of less-than-sober Navy boys, nothing is considered poor form.
6. It is possible -- though frowned upon -- to check out a guy's ass while he's in line to take communion.
7. There is no need to worry that, as a non-Catholic, you will feel guilty about your religion--or lack thereof--following a Catholic wedding ceremony. There is an enormous need to worry that, as a single woman, you will feel guilty about your relationship status-- or lack thereof--following a Catholic wedding ceremony.
8. There is a Waffle House mafia. It owns Georgia. And why not? The fine folks at the WH can work a potato like nobody's damn business.
9. Though humiliating to admit, it is possible to suffer defeat at the hands of gigantic men who call themselves "Rainbow Warriors."
10. The FCC can censor "Saving Private Ryan," but can allow the line "I had the naughtiest dream about an improper fraction last night" to be uttered on a Saturday morning children's television program.
11. Nothing shows a couple love for each other more than when they push each other off a bed (in some cases inducing actual tears.)
12. If you're trying to throw your bouquet to a specific person, aim away from them; flowers will inevitably fly in the direction opposite the one you try for.
13. The Peanuts theme song is apparently appropriate to head-bang to.
14. You know your friendship is meant to last when it turns out you're wearing the exact same navy-with-light-blue-and-white paisly Victoria's Secret underwear as one another.
15. It is possible for the youngest people in a group to be "too old for this."

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Just like growing older...

I anticipate post-wedding travel/tiredness/melancholia will preclude me from writing on my actual birthday, so I'll jump the gun a little.

Apparently, my iTunes playlist* indicates me as a "high school student on an undercover assignment to see what it's like working in 'the real world.'" But despite all the now-that-it's-your-birthday-you're-finally-legal-to-drive**jokes, I feel really old. A few examples of why I'm feeling particularly early-bird-special-eligible this year:

1.) A conversation with Avril Lavigne goes something like this:
AL: How old are you? You sound really young.
EQ: I'm 22.
AL: Oh, so you graduated from college?
EQ: Yeah, in June.
AL: Oh, yeah. I'm not going to college. I mean, I've already done everything I want to do, and I'm going to keep focusing on my career.***

2.) "Alexander" comes out today. Alexander the Great had conquered 90% of the civilized world by the time he was 25. I'll give myself a few years grace period, since there's more civilized world nowadays (well, that's questionable, I guess.) But... SHIT! I've got to get going on that whole world domination plan.... or at least start making enough money to shop somewhere besides Target.

3.) An article in "Jane" a few months back focused on young women as the new career threat. And they weren't talking young, as in 23 young. They were talking young as in so-awesome-she-didn't-have-to-go-to-college-and-just-started-her-own-magazine young (that would be namesake Jane herself, who, cocky, self-possessed bitch that she is, is really effin' awesome in general.) The story was so kind as to point out that, at 23, I'm far to old to be the youngest novelist/magazine editor/fashion designer/Pulizer winner/anything. Don't get me wrong; it's not that I need the "youngest-whatever" gimmick to feel successful, but everyone's so focused on phenoms that it's hard to stand out, even when you graduated at the top of an awesome class at an awesome college**** and have a pretty great resume for someone who's spent the past 18 years in school.

Look at it this way: if someone was going to start a magazine and was looking for an editor-in-cheif, would he pick: A.) The 23-year-old who spent four years in journalism school and has had a variety of odd-journalism-related gigs between quarters or B.) The Lindsay Lohan/Olsen Twins/Britney Spears/Jane Pratt of the journalism world who hasn't necessarily done anything over-the-top cool, but who got good word of mouth because she did something marginally cool at age 12? Yeah, it's a tough one. I'd probably pick B, you know, if I ever wanted to give away a magazine job.

Maybe spending the weekend with people who are (gasp!) going to grad school and who won't be out in the full-time workforce until they're 26 will ground me a little. We'll see. 'Til then... I'm going home for Thanksgiving, where I'll eat dinner at 2, make it halfway through a sappy family movie before falling asleep, and then wake up at 5 (no alarm) to hang out with the cat. Just like an old person....

* It's, like, the most totally awesome playlist ever, dudes, so shut it!
** Smart-asses. I've been able to drive forever. Now I'm finally legal to DRINK.
*** ...At which point I think, "Yeah, I should probably think about doing that sometime soon." ... At which point I re-think, "What the fuck do I call driving an hour to Fort Worth to talk on the phone to some 19-year-old punk-ass if not 'focusing on my career?'" ... At which point I re-re-think, "Is this what I want my CAREER to be? Yeesh!"
**** I hardly ever feel like Northwestern was a waste of time I could have spent "focusing on my career." (Key words: hardly ever.)

Saturday, November 20, 2004


You want updates? Well, why you gotta be all up in my grill about it, bi-otch? (Cowers) Just kidding. I'll update. I'm updating right now. I'm sorry (and if I was the kind of gal who peppered her writing with emoticons, there'd be a little blushing sheepish-face right here... but I'm not... so there's not.)

Anyway, not much news. I've had a couple of minor breakdowns in the past week, one ending with my mom saying: "you're wierd. What did I ever do to you to make you so wierd?"* and the other ending with my mom saying: "as soon as you get health insurance, you're going back on that Paxil."**

So the first breakdown was at the mall (how the hell did I end up in a mall... with my mom?) after seeing Bridget Jones 2 (perhaps the source of said breakdown.) Granted, the mall can give just about anyone sweaty palms at this time of the year, but my little episode is the worst I've had since I quit taking anti-freakout drugs.*** This one had it all – the cold sweat, the shaky limbs, the acute awareness of every stroller w/ howling child within a 50 foot radius. I actually almost had to sit down (nowhere to go but the food court – I passed and stuck it out.)

To make matters worse, my mom had to go on and on about how strange my adverse reaction to humankind was. I couldn’t explain to her that I react differently to crowds (especially crowds made up of chattering parents grabbing at rayon shirts and plastic watches like they’re going out of style [a note – those things were never in style] while their 3+ slimy little kids dart in and out of clothes racks and wipe their noses on the backs of their wrists) than most normal, adjusted, mall-going adults do. It’s not anything that could have been foreseen or avoided by reading Spock or some shit.

The second breakdown (much less severe) came when I got the COME TO RECRUITMENT!!! e-mail that I knew was on the way. I used to be pretty kickass at that kind of thing. You could set me down in a room crowded with eager freshman girls and make me shake a hundred hands and start a hundred conversations, and I would be witty and charming and totally in control of the situation. And I wasn’t just tolerating it – I was thriving on it. If I had to do something like Rush now, much tequila and breathing into a paper bag would be involved. Oh, and some of that hand-sanitizing lotion. Pathetic.

For now, I’ll just pass it all off as a typical holiday-induced malaise-and-anxiety cocktail. But I’ll need to start working on getting that charming-around-strangers thing back. That thing was pretty cool.

*Thanks for the support.
** That's more like it. There's nothing like happiness-inducing, anxiety-squelching awesomeness all bundled up into an adoreable pink shell. Nothing. (And on Paxil, PINK goes with everything!)
*** ... And I love what you do, but you know that you're toxic.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Hey, hey, hey, hey WHAT is going on here?

Yesterday I woke up at an ungodly hour; because my usual 7 a.m. programming (the previous day’s E!News or some other such brain-power-not-necessary early fare) wasn’t on, I watched Saved by the Bell instead. Ah, good old Saved by the Bell… like Seinfeld, it’s a show whose references are applicable on an almost daily basis. Yesterday’s episode was particularly relevant, and as I watched those crazy kids struggle through election time at Bayside, I noticed a few striking parallels.*

We have our underachieving, supposedly “charismatic” goofball (Zack Morris/ George W.) versus our less-fun-but-more-practical intellectual (Jessie Spano/ John Kerry.) One candidate is in the race because he thinks he can get (a week/ four more years) off from (the taxing daily ritual of school, detention, and homework / the taxing daily ritual of stringing words together to make “sentences.”) The winner of the election, you see, gets to spend (a week/ four more years) on a trip (to Washington, D.C./ that includes landing planes on aircraft carriers – yippee!) The other, obviously more-qualified candidate is in the race because (she/he) thinks (she/he) can make some changes for the better. As if that matters.

One candidate has a too-perky-to-be-a-good-idea running mate (Kelly Kapowski/ John Edwards) who probably doesn’t do (Jessie/ John) any favors by going on and on about (losing the “jock support”/ health care.) But they’re cute, so who cares, right? The other candidate is allied with a big geek (Screech/ Cheney) who will inevitably, if elected, (do all the work/ clean up all the messes.)

Unfortunately, as shown time and again, the (students/ voters) of (Bayside/America) aren’t too bright. They’ll fall for just about anything, so when they’re promised (MTV during study hall/ freedom from “trrrorists,”) they believe it and show support for the (class clown/ national dunce.) The qualified candidate is accused of having no (popular platform/personality) and, to prove (her/him)self, dumbs down and (promises, like, field trips to the mall/ goes windsurfing.)

Alas, it is not enough. The (geeks, dweebs, jocks, and party animals** / rich, born-agains, and Fox News watchers) turn out en masse to vote for their man. (Zack/W.) wins, and you can see it in the faces of the (dorks, who know what’s going on/liberal media): (Bayside/ America) is screwed for the next (semester/ four years-plus.)

And here the parallels end, because, in Saved by the Bell, Zack realizes he doesn’t want (and can’t handle) the job. He has a quickie heart-to-heart with Jessie (blankies and teddy bears are exchanged -- ???) and turns over the Bayside reins to his former opponent. All goes back to normal – the random geek goes back to being allowed to hang with the cool clique. Classes go back to being three minutes long. And that gag where a kid hides in one locker and then emerges from another (gasp!) goes back to being perfectly logical – and cool!

If only America had elections that ended with jokes like, “Don’t worry Screech. You’ll *always* be first dweeb.”

* This may be a stretch. Lots of things seem “striking” when it’s 6:30 a.m. and you haven’t polished off your first Diet Cherry yet.

** Classic line of the show, courtesy of Kelly: “Zack’s got the geeks, dweebs, jocks, and party animals. Now that’s what I call a Rainbow Coalition!” I couldn’t make this shit up if I tried.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


I've been getting the most gorgeous sleep lately.* Maybe that's why I've been noticing all the minute-but-surreal things happening around me (especially in the mornings.) Today I became acutely aware of how many Park Cities cars have chrome accents on their doors; of how I pass the same people on my way to work every day (hello to the driver of the 2005 Mercedes with the Park Place tags -- your ride is sweet, but I would have gone with black); of just how many half-full cans of Diet Cherry Coke are cluttering all the flat surfaces in my bedroom (oops.)

The strangest thing: today I was drumming my fingers on my steering wheel**, waiting for the (excruciatingly long) light at Mockingbird, when a black Crown Vic (the really harsh, boxy, old school pimp model) pulls up next to me. It's got red airbrushed writing on the doors and the trunk (faux-pas #1): Kitty Kat's Exotic Entertainment.*** There's also an airbrushed illustration of a cat (or, "kat,") and this is what really trips me out. Because it's not a c/kat you'd associate with strippers (er, "exotic entertainers") or Crown Vic drivers, or anyone except maybe your grandmother. It's not sleek or sexy or mysterious (as so many c/kats are): it's brown and long-haired and big-eyed and almost downright cute. Except that it has red eyes. Wow.

So, to the marketing executive that holds the (lucrative, I'm sure) Kitty Kat Exotic Entertainment account: you might want to rethink a few things. The ride is fitting, I suppose, but you may want to look into AP or MLA styles (misspellings strongly discouraged.) And buy copy of Cat Fancy; there are some pin-up-worthy felines in the pages of that fine publication for sure (turn to the center section, unfold, observe [ignore staples], repaint.)

*I've been attempting to replicate Midwestern autumns by sleeping with open windows; I haven't needed to set the alarm for a couple of days now; I've been having the most vivid dreams (and then promptly forgetting all except their vividness); and I just wish someone would burn a pile of leaves in my back"yard" (that would totally complete my faux-Evanston vision.)

** "Goodies," one of my favorite songs to sing along to in the car (and one of the songs that will almost surely be playing on 106.7 between 8:02 and 8:17, when I'm typically commuting); I only really belt it out when it's the version with the rap, though.

*** Faux-pas #2: businesses that spell words incorrectly! Arg! That was definitely a factor in my 4-year boycott of Krispy Kreme (BOTH words spelled wrong!) and it has contributed to many comments-to-self while driving.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Don't ask, don't tell

So recently a number of things* have come up that highlight my singledom. Honestly, I don’t mind being single – I’m way too focused on myself right now (read: always) to focus on someone else, let alone someone-else-and-me-as-a-unit [shudder.] But just because I dig being single doesn’t mean I want to talk about it or think about it all the damn time. I'm no Carrie Bradshaw.

In the interest, then, of steering my day-to-day conversations away from things you’d expect to find in Chick Lit [double shudder,] I have compiled this easy-to-access list.

The perfect guy must: require some kind of vision enhancement (20/20 freaks me out); read at least one book a month (alternating between novels and non-fiction, please; I need someone well-read and well-rounded); call me on my shit, no matter what (I don’t really mean that); let me win (in fights and at board games); write poetry (but not let me – or, God forbid, make me – read it); have impeccable grammar; excel in some kind of art (music is acceptable, but I prefer something visual); choose beer over liquor (most of the time); own something vintage (clothing’s OK, furniture’s better); be a cat person (even if he tells people he’s a dog person); be a Mac person (even if he used to be a PC person); tolerate my terrible taste in music (and sing along); be good at spur-of-the-moment math (because I’m useless in that department); subscribe to at least one magazine with great content and even better design (no, Maxim doesn’t count); be a morning person (who stays up late, too); be able to cook something (toast doesn’t count because I’ve got that covered); own some kind of hair-styling product (and use it – Boy Band Hair does it for me); write a letter every once in awhile (good handwriting’s a plus); know his way around a Home Depot (better than I do); know his way around a Crate and Barrel (there’s no way he could know this better than I do); be able to pull off pink (only occasionally); have a few bad habits (that I can break him of); have a few bad habits (that I’ll pick up and make my own bad habits); be sarcastic; be realistic; be the opposite of clingy; giggle like a girl sometimes; say nothing when I ask him to open a jar (because I got it started, dammit); refrain from using my sorority-girl past against me; hold my hand; believe in something (Russian literature, coffee, abstract art, the changing seasons, yoga, me ... anything).

So there it is. Of course, this list is by no means all-encompassing (I mean, I don’t want you to think I'm picky or have outrageous standards!) Now there’s no need to ask me about my perfect guy, no need to get all Sex & the City-girls-at-brunch (why don't they ever WORK?) on me, and, most importantly, no need for me to waste any more focus-on-me time by giving the standardized “smart, funny, cute” answer.

* Namely: being privy to Mary’s newfound obsession with “Sex & The City;” staying home from the decidedly-couples-only Cirque du Soleil and watching 20/20’s sex study instead; being asked on more than one (more than two) occasions about “my perfect man;” and being invited to the first (of many, I’m sure) of my college friends’ weddings.
** If anyone reading this happens to witness me on the brink of a Chick Lit conversation, please assist me in directing whomever I’m chatting with (bi-othces) to this site.

Friday, November 05, 2004

(N)ever (E)at (S)our (W)atermelon

When I lived in Chicago, I had a great* sense of direction; I always knew where I was in relation to the lake, and, hence, everything else. Maybe being on foot had something to do with it, but I got rarely got lost in Chicago.**

I get lost all the time in Dallas, and it’s not just going to new places. I’ll think I know a “shortcut” to get home from my apartment, and I’ll end up in Arlington (I always end up in Arlington – how does that work?) I suppose it doesn’t help when “the West End” is east of downtown, and “East Dallas” is north of downtown, and downtown is south(???) of Colleyville, and there are no large bodies of water to act as directional magnets.

When I was in school, I had a pretty awesome directional sense, and I don’t just mean that in an “I’m facing south and I need to walk east (sense the lake sense the lake) aha! turn left” kind of way. I mean in an “I have a five-year plan, and keep outlines and spreadsheets and lists of attainable goals” kind of a way. Even toward the end when everyone else was tapering out, I was uber-direction-oriented: driven, optimistic, a little cutthroat, and more than a little neurotic. Now that I think about it, I probably scared a few people. Ah, well.

Unfortunately, the lethal combination of AssPubs and the outrageous cost of living in Chicago sent my sense of direction (in life, that is) into a tailspin, and now I’m here, where I don’t feel nearly as driven, and where I get (actually, physically) lost all the freakin’ time. I still have goals, and I’m still more driven*** than a lot of people, but I find that I’m getting comfortable, taking little shortcuts, and getting lost all over again.

So I’ve decided to look at this whole Dallas stint as nothing more than a minor detour (not accidental, but certainly not in the five-year plan.) It’s an economic detour, for sure, but it’s also kind of a regrouping detour. I know I’m going back to Chicago (the lake has a magnetic effect on me here, too; it’s just not quite strong enough to direct me away from Arlington) but it couldn’t hurt to stop, get my footing, and maybe (gasp) ask for directions for once.

* A message to those of you saying, “How is that possible?!”: zip it bi-otch!
** Except that one time. And here I should issue an apology to my mom, whom I called, cell phone battery on its last little life bar, to tell that I had walked 15 blocks west of the El station, couldn’t find a bus stop, and was standing on a concrete island in the middle of an intersection “in the ghetto,” asking people in with their windows rolled down for directions. (The ghetto part was maybe a little dramatic. Really I was near Diversey Lanes Rock’n’Bowl, which, in fairness to me, doesn’t need much to achieve full-on ghetto status.)
*** Maybe if I was (actually, physically) driven, I wouldn’t (actually, physically) get lost all the time. Something to look into…