Disclaimer: The following in about 92% true. This is based upon the inadequacy of my own memory, varying levels of insomnia-induced confusion and personal tendencies towards hyperbole. Please don't take any of it too seriously - the stories, yourself or life in general.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Fucking Cocks

I don’t want to have children.  Collective gasp.  I know, saying that tends to paint a picture of me as a real bitch.  It typecasts me as the narcissistic, selfish offspring of boomer parental-type figures, who has never wanted for anything and seems incapable of relinquishing even the slightest bit of sovereignty and self-determination over life in favor of trying the ultimate form of narcissism on for size – procreation. 

And maybe someday I’ll change my mind.  I’m certainly not dead set on remaining free of the grasp of tiny, crumb-crushing fists, but for now that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.  Only I’ll have to tell you about it some other time.  Right now I’ve got a funny rug rat tale to impart.  It’s these sometimes poignant, always devil-may-care and never concerned with social norms or public decorum moments that kids seem to conjure up, that make me want little-me’s sometimes.  They keep it real.  They rock out.  And they keep us all honest.

My sister owns two kids and has a restaurant (or is that supposed to be the other way around?) and as anyone who has ever worked in a kitchen knows, the two are not easily reconciled.  From the most anal retentive, five-star kitchens to the questionable dive bar across town that’s been shut down three times by the health inspector, kitchens are cesspools of all manner or depraved morality and sexual degradation.  If it doesn’t have to do with the male or female sexual anatomy, things that can be inserted into the male or female sexual anatomy, myriad and assorted terms for the male and female sexual anatomy or the things that happened (or that they wish had happened) between and male and female sexual anatomy the previous night, then it isn’t welcome in a kitchen.

My friend the pastry chef is thrilled to be coaching eight year-old boys soccer.  It teaches her the patience in the kitchen that she needs to deal with the man-children, Peter Pans who act like eight year-old boys trapped in a grown man’s body.  My sister the restaurateur routinely quiets her chefs.  Who am I kidding, she routinely tells her chefs to, “Shut the fuck up and don’t say cock, fuck, dick or pussy until the dining room full of 90 year-old women clears.”  Usually, this is too much to ask of them.

And so we come to our illustrative example.  Exhibit A.

While she gives eight-month old Knox his bath, two-year old Cooper looks on.  Being the precocious one that he is, he decides to practice being a man and offer unsolicited advice about a household task.  “Mommy, pour the water on his penis,” he instructs his mother.  She promptly ignores this and finishes the cleaning of the wee one.

The next day she recounts the story to the delight of her Corona drinking chefs and servers.  But, “Where did he learn what a penis is?” she ponders the linguistic accomplishments of her progeny.  “Steve and I only ever say pee-pee or wee-wee.”  On a side note, this is also why I should never have my own issue.  I am fairly certain that it lies outside of my impulse control capacity to refrain from using foul language in the presence of children.  Maybe that’s why the chefs and I get along so well.

“Maybe he heard it in the kitchen,” someone suggests.

“No.  That can’t be,” she says assuredly, “Because then he would have said, ‘Mommy, pour the water on his fucking cock.’”

Need I say more?  Priceless moment of kitchen ethos enlightenment and childrearing edification.  

Author's Note:  Sorry, I said I wouldn't curse in the titles anymore.  But there was really not other appropriate title.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

In Defense of a Little Place Called Aspen

“Aspen is a place for people who can’t make it to San Francisco and who have enough money to fail gracefully.” ~Hunter S. Thompson

Give me a Peeber and a porch or give me death.  I think that’s what some famous colonial once said.  Well not really.  But some drunk Ohioan, erroneously citing an old, dead white guy whom he believed to be a famous colonial definitely said that.  That’s PBR by the way – Pabst Blue Ribbon – for those of you who missed the reference.  It might have won a blue ribbon at the 1893 World’s Fair (it’s unclear) and it’s of decent, Midwestern stock.  So it’s got my vote – blue ribbon or not.

I’d gladly get rid of the too-trendy-to-function martini bars for the rest of my life if God would promise me that I could drink cold beer and watch the sun drop over Shadow Mountain forever (Palmer 2009).  And there you go rolling your eyes at me  “Yeah right,” you’re saying, “Look at this poor, little rich girl.  Thinks she’s slummin’ it because she drinks PBR.  She lives in Aspen.  Who’s she kidding?” Or maybe you just think I’m channeling my inner hipster by ironically imbibing with the beer of farmers and steel workers in the town of investment bankers and trophy wives.  But just because I competently play the part of a martini bar whore doesn’t mean I am one. And Aspen allowed me to be me.  Just me.  Jeans and a T-shirt and never a stiletto in sight.

And most people roll their eyes at me and chuckle, “Ohhhhh you live in Aspen.”  Or they pull out dated movie lines circa 1996, “A little place called Asssssssspen.”  And last but not least,  “Where the women flock like the salmon of Capistrano and the beer flows like wine.”  Congratul-fucking-lations, you’ve seen Dumb and Dumber.  And please know that quoting it is the furthest thing from original.  If I had a nickel – well actually a quarter, this is Aspen after all – for every drunk tourist who stumbled down the street quoting Dumb and Dumber at top volume, I’d have a house on Red Mountain.

God bless the tourists for keeping us all in beer and pot.  But unfortunately they show up, go big and go home.  They leave loaded down with fancy and piled high with stories of Aspen as the American Nightmare.  A veritable Sodom and Gomorra – nothing more than a hedonistic playground for Goldman Sachs execs and a fantasyland for their lost and pot-smoking offspring.  My friends in Cleveland, good Midwestern souls that they are, love to inform me that I am delusional in thinking that I live in the real world. And this really pisses me off.  First, it implies that Aspen is populated entirely by rich people swinging from the rafters of their Sotheby’s acquired homes and resting on the laurels of the Italian leather seats of their Gulfstream V.  False.  Second, it implies that people who possess said Gulfstream V, make more than $500,000 a year (lowball) or have more than one home are not, in fact, real people.  False again.

Despite a healthy base of cash money bling-bling in the Land of Milk and Honey, there are normal people.  Now I am not claiming that I live in Hough or Watts or in some backwoods, West Virginia rural ghetto.  I know that we are the lucky ones up here in Aspentown, and that most of us have never worried about feeding our children with food stamps, gun fights in schools or foreclosures in the suburbs.  Nonetheless we work hard to support this life we’ve chosen.  We swig PBR (yes, I’m really hooked on PBR right now.  I’m missing luke-warm PBR’s and softball at the moment.  It’s the withdrawal talking), make thirteen-bucks an hour, wear Carharts, support families and otherwise bust ass to try and “live the dream” as Aspen virgins are so fond of claiming until they realize that the dream is really just life.  And without those people – the bartenders, the maids, the ski patrollers, the APD, the nurses, the firefighters, the waiters, the lifties, the raft guides, the clerks and the baristas – there would be no Aspen.  And those are my friends.  And we drink Peebers.  And watch the sun set.  And play beer league softball.  And get our kids to school.  Just like you there in Des Moines, IA.

It’s a known fact that neither the Franklins in someone’s wallet, nor the cost of their phallus on chrome, matters much to me.  However, neither does it give me right, or reason, to claim that they are less worthy of respect just because they possess these toys of capitalistic gluttony.  Rather, I judge people (harshly) on their ability to treat others with the basic respect and decency that all human beings deserve.   And in my experience, the ability to treat someone like the shit on your toilet paper is by no means directly proportional to the size of one’s stock portfolio.  An upturned nose directed at a man with money simply because he has more green than you not only speaks volumes about your lack of class, but also of your ignorance.  Because without these people to spend the money, and buy the Prada and drink the Veuve Cliquot, Aspen as we know it would be long gone.  We’d all be shit out of luck and shit out of work.  Sent packing on the first plane back to Cleveland.

And I’m not ready to see Aspen kick the bucket.  When I found this odd little snow globe, I quit my big-girl job three days later, packed a duffel bag and never looked back.  Now I understand that my falling-down, former meth lab of a ski bum mansion is valued at $2.5 million.  Not just expensive for what it is, but stupid expensive.  And I understand that life in Aspen is costly (Well really only real estate.  Groceries for example, are cheaper in Aspen than in Cleveland.  But that’s an argument for a different day). I also understand that by employing my frontal lobe capacity – made strong through four Ranger Rovers worth of education – I’ll figure out how to make it rain…er…snow.  I’ll keep life small enough to fit into the back of my Subaru.  I’ll crash in a ramshackle ski bum pad with five roommates to cut down on rent.  I’ll give up on the house in the burbs with the manicured lawn (not that I ever had that Steppfordian hallucination, but anyway you get the point).  I’ll get rid of the TV.  I won’t have kids.  And then I’ll maintain my freedom to head of the Kathmandu or Quito at a moment’s notice.  So call me naïve and delusional, most people do, but this is where I want to grow old and die.

If I had another quarter for every time someone bemoaned the crippling boredom and unending uniformity of their paltry existence in cubical hell, I’d have a surfing compound in Fiji too.  They say, “Man I wish I could live your life,” or, “I would totally live your life if only I didn’t have [Insert Half-Assed Excuse Here] holding me back.”  And I think, “Well, maybe you should have thought of that before you attached that ball and chain to your ankle.  Or maybe, the ball and chain isn’t as onerous as you think it is.  Cut it off.  Head on out there into that too vast world and get you one of them lives you’ve always dreamed about.”  Why not?

And that’s why Aspen is magical.  It’s a sociological study in what happens when you put a bunch of death-sport seeking, adrenaline junkies in one mountain town and cut them loose.  My guess is that Aspen is really the psychological study of some vast and secretive government agency, funded entirely by Paepke investment and tasked with studying human behavior in a post-consumer, post-capitalist world.  Put simply, we’re a study in what happens to the most risk-taking people when they are given everything they want.  What happens is one degree from total anarchy – in the best possible sense of the word.  We always ask, “Why not?” instead of, “Why would you do something that crazy?”  We will climb any mountain, ski any run, raft and river, visit any country, drink any whiskey and huck any cliff.  And we will change the world someday because we’re bold enough to think outside the box.  The people inhabiting this little place called Aspen are genuine, certified, grade-A real people.  Sorry to disappoint.  I know it would have made ye-of-outside-the-snow globe feel better about your lives to think that Aspenites weren’t actually real, or were at least a bunch of rich assholes who spent their days counting and recounting their pile of money.

Come out a see for yourself.  Just go ahead and quit your job, pack your bag and never look back.  It’s not as crazy as it sounds.  Would you rather the unknown possibility of a chance or unchanging security of destined certainty?  

Ski Co is always hiring lifties.

A little place called Aspen

Our $2.5 million ski bum palace

The view from said palace

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Who Killed Prince Charming? I Liked Him

Prince Charming, the Knight in Shining Armor, Cinderella’s Prince, Barbie’s Ken, hell, even Jerry McGuire really screwed it up.  They were our childhood heroes, around whom we crafted our brittle and often misguided hopes and dreams.  They played with us through thick and thin, until, one day, they didn’t.  And there we were, cold and alone, probably standing in the rain in the middle of a street lit dimly by one hanging streetlamp as the “Grey’s Anatomy sad breakup music” swelled in the background and we listened as the love of our life told us he didn’t love us.  And it feels like the time we got the wind knocked out of us in third grade gym class because we couldn’t catch the kickball – equal parts pain, embarrassment and a panicky inability to breathe.  And we have reached it.  The death of hope.  That poignant coming-of-age moment in which we realize that happily ever after doesn’t exist, fairy tales aren’t real and life is sometimes hard.  Actually, it’s usually hard.

Happily Never After.  The End.

Or so you think.

But if you are among the enlightened few that have the presence of heart and mind to move beyond this really crappy moment, then you come to realize that the death of hope isn’t so bad.  The sooner you stop waiting for Prince Charming to whisk you away to Happily Ever After Land, the sooner you are able to realize that real relationships take work, not fairy dust magic.  

I knew a man once who couldn’t stay content in a relationship for longer than two weeks, a month, maybe three if he was lucky.  His demons grew restless when that first-two-week honeymoon faded into the reality of the everyday.  So he’d leave woman after woman in search of an eternity of just-met-you giddiness.  His own Happily Ever After, if you will.  The problem is that the just-met-a-new girl jitters is not love, or even being in love, it’s being in lust.  And it’s very real, but not at all realistic.  Unfortunately, people are mean, people are annoying and people let you down.  It’s what you do after those letdowns that make love.  Hopefully, he finds it someday.

I also know my parents.  And I know that sometimes they want to scratch each other’s eyes out, or rip each other’s throats out, and then tear each other limb from limb and feed those body parts to a pit of flesh eating vipers (do flesh eating vipers actually exist?).  Or all of the above.  And I also know that they are still together after 27 (ish) years of marriage and that for some unknown reason my parental-type figures appear to love each other. 

And that’s what love’s really all about.  It’s the desire to tear someone limb from limb, but the ability to love and respect them at the end of the day for who they are, not who you wish they would be.  Perhaps if people stopped believing in this fairy tale propaganda, stopped watching so much Grey’s Anatomy and stopped waiting for a Happily Ever After that never comes, they would find Happily Ever After where they least expected it.  Or at least some form of it.  Maybe if people waited for their soul mate in the form of shared intellect, mutual trust and big belly laughs they would stop following the ghost of passionate romance down an endless road.  Maybe then families wouldn’t break, dreams wouldn’t shatter and hearts wouldn’t rupture.

So ride in on your own white horse and be your own knight in shining armor.  Fairy tales aren’t real.  Love isn’t that tingle in the pit of your stomach when you meet a pretty girl for the first time.  Love is what is still there after the fires of passion have cooled.  After you’ve succeeded in really hurting, annoying, despising and destroying someone, and then the dust settles, and they’re still there.  Just like you wished your childhood fairy heroes would have been.  And that’s when you find out that Happily Ever After is real.  Just not at all in the way we thought it was.  And in the end all we’ve got is hope in love.

Author’s Note:  Inspired by a wonderful aunt who I’ve always thought rocked the free world because of her ability to do her own thing and find a tremendous amount of joy and happiness in doing so.  Big ups.

My own death of hope moment.  Doesn't look so bad, huh?

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Quitter Who Laughs Last

This is not a fairy tale.  But it does end happily ever after.  I think.

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, I lived in cubical hell.  And then I quit my perfectly logical, very reasonable, well-enough paying job, packed a duffel bag and hopped on a plane to Aspen.  And I’m not going back.

I have a history of quitting.  And of making quick decisions once I make up my mind.  I just pack my bags and go.  My father likes to be melodramatic about these things and worry that I will never amount to anything and end up barefoot and pregnant every time I quit something.  Herein lies a brief history of my quitting.

First I quit college.  Four times.

I spent approximately one month of my freshman year at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington.  It just didn’t feel right.  And for the first time I trusted my gut.  And it felt good.  And then I quit two more schools just for good measure.  And then I graduated.

Then I got into Oxford.  So I went.  Because it was Oxford.  And if you get into Oxford you go.  I guess.  But it just wasn’t for me.  I like freedom, and mountains and madness.  Not seven hundred year-old stiflingly damp tradition in a flat, damp land.  So I quit.

Then I went a got me one of those high-paying jobs.  At a reliable company.  With reliable pay increases.  Doing reliable work.  With reliable people.  It was a great company.  Just not for me.  The problem was that I hate reliability.  I like remarkable.  And really the opposite of remarkable is very good.  And McMaster was very good.  But not remarkable.  I was seeking something.

I was seeking myself.  I still am.  Hopefully I still will be on the day I hit the pearly gates with a six-pack and a slew of stories.  I was seeking that madness that feels like its going to explode out of you like an orgasm of lunacy.  I was seeking people who inspire me to be just a little more insane every day.  People who ask, “Why not?” instead of, “Why bother?”  I needed to find my fellow dreamers and sinners – my desperados and free birds, my rolling stones and high-flying birds.  I like crazy people with a gleam in their eye.  I like the kind of people who might walk out the door and never come back because the world was calling and they had to go.  These people have broken my heart and destroyed me.  They’ve left me lying naked on the floor asking, “What the hell just happened?” 

But they challenged me, and pissed me off and made me question my reality, my morals, my dreams and my soul.  And I have stories and laughs and tears.  But never a dull moment.  And I’d rather have that remarkable life than a life of safe reliability, a stable marriage and a good paycheck.  Because I guess I am just fucking nuts.  And each day I get a little bit closer to the authentic me.  My own crazy devil without a cause.

So I quit that life and I hit the road.  And I’m still going.  Everyone likes to call it a phase.  And rattle of trite clichés about “growing up” and “settling down” and “changing my mind” and “getting it out of my system.”  I think they truly believe that one day you reach a magic age when you must get serious and settle down into the mendacity of a 9-5 job.  This life supposedly offers the steady security that your life will never falter and will never be scary, but will never be crazy nuts either.  I promised myself never to go back there lest I go back to the dark corner of hell where I was wallowing.  Go ahead.  Roll your eyes at my youthful naïveté all you want.  I’ll add you to my list of people to call in ten years and say, “I told you so.”  And yes, there really is such a list.

And I know it’s going to end happily ever after.  And I will find people to share my ride with.  And every night before I fall asleep I pray (even heathens can believe in God).  I thank God for having the strength to change the way I was.  And I ask for peace of mind, and a gentle hand, and a miracle to heal my broken soul.  And I pray – don’t let us get sick, or old, just let us be together tonight.  

Friday, May 14, 2010

I Have The Bartender's Clothes But No Bartender

Stuck in Denver with no place to go (Please See Exhibit A and Exhibit B for further explanation) and out of luck for the moment I opt for comfort food.  I come from Aspen, the love child that was born when Sodom and Gomorra went out drinking with the Land of Milk and Honey and just happened to have an unprotected good time.  In other words, because I spend my life in a  hedonistic winter playground for adults, my comfort food is anything that is not celebrated by Bon Appetite or Food and Wine, is not frequented by Paris Hilton or Kate Hudson and is decidedly not creative or progressive.  Comfort food is mainstream America at its finest.  I can order $2.95 tasters and cheap wine in Cherry Creek (an upscale enclave in Denver populated by hipster yuppies, desperate housewives and grey flannel suite wearing execs – all with crunchy-hippie yearnings), just as easily as I can in Cleveland.

I belly up to the bar and order a satisfyingly cheap glass of Zig Zag Zin and a basil, tomato and goat cheese pizza.  And then it commences.  My obsessive compulsive, psychoanalysis of my fellow Brio patrons.  There are the requisite business travelers.  A 30-something woman in a power suit who looks like she over-compensates for being a woman in Corporate America by being a raging bitch.  There’s a member of the grey flannel mafia hunched over a scotch on the rocks and studying the melting ice cubes in his highball glass.  There’s the brassy-haired blond behind the bar who probably escaped from St. Louis as soon as she got the chance.  And then there’s the bar clown.  Every bar has one.  He was the loveable funny guy in high school and has never really grown up.  His apartment likely has Chili Peppers posters and remote control cars strewn around despite the fact that he’s old enough to have a big-boy job and an apartment that is more Pottery Barn than Kappa Sig; or at least responsibilities greater than showing up to the bar in time for his 4 PM shift.  I’m intrigued by him though and throw him a wry smile.

He and the brassy blond and debating who gets to leave early on account of the snow.  They decide to Rock Paper Scissors for it.

“I can beat anyone in this bar in Rock Paper Scissors,” the clown puffs out his chest.
“That’s a bold statement.”   This seems to offend him.
“Well then let’s go kiddo.”
I throw paper.  I always throw paper first.  It’s easy.  Just a flat hand stretched out in front.  My paper covers his rock.
“All right it was just luck.  Let’s go best two out of three.”
My scissors beat his paper.  Sweet victory.

Less than 24 hours later, Mr. Rock-Paper-Scissor’s clothes would be in my car.  Alone.  Without their rightful owner.  How did he get away with no clothes you might ask?  Well the night didn’t end up like that.   What kind of girl do you take me for?  So how did I end up with three brand new shirts from Brooks Brother, a Nordstrom bag full of socks and two news ties of unknown designer origin?  Some things in life are just a mystery.

I returned said bag to the hostess stand with a polite note reading, “So sorry I had to leave quickly last night.  Thanks for a great evening!  Good luck in all future endeavors.  (970) 319-4810.  Kate.”   Four hours later I was almost back to Aspen and my phone rang.  Little did I know I had recruited a stage five clinger.  He would proceed to call me daily for the next three weeks.  He didn't stop until i threatened a restraining order.  Well actually that's not true.  But it would have been funny if it was, huh?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

On Writer's Block and Bipolar Disorder

Writing gives you a glimpse of what it’s like to be manic depressive.  Bipolar.  So does all art I suppose.  I’m sure I’m not the first person who has said that.  After all Hemingway killed himself and Van Gogh cut off his ear.  Talk about a depressive state if I’ve ever heard of one.  The highs are so high.  The words are pouring through your fingers like Spiderman’s webbing.  You are simultaneously witty, poignant and intelligent.  You are making readers laugh and cry and ponder their very existence on the earth.  You are resolving latent psychological issues and becoming a better person.  All through the power transferring from brain to MacBook Pro.  And it just keeps on rolling like a boulder down the mountainside.  Until it stops.




And there you wake up one day without the words.  Sometimes they are gone for years.  Sometimes just for a few days or a few hours.  You feel like you can’t even type a grammatically correct sentence let alone a poignant observation on personal experiences that somehow sheds light on the deep-seated fears and longing of all humanity.  There are no witty remarks.  There are no laugh-out-loud anecdotes.  Just a big, fat, blinking cursor on a blank page.  It laughs at you, mocking your inadequacy and lack of intelligence.

And it won’t stop blinking.  

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

On Dying Alone

Today my mother called me a raging bitch.  Well not exactly.  But that’s how I took it.  I was perfectly content wallowing in a tub of self-loathing and self-pity for my soulmate-less state.  Who asked her for advice?  She “tried to help” by telling me that maybe I am too smart for my own good and that I make men feel inferior.  Talk about a backhanded compliment if I’ve ever heard ‘one.

My mother’s exact verbiage implied that my hyper-intelligent and overly intense personality, coupled with my inability to keep my mouth shut about my controversial opinions intimidates people by making them feel unintelligent and inferior. In further Freudian psychoanalysis, I was informed that I systematically alienate people because I have a fear of rejection.  I took this to mean that I am essentially a raging bitch who can’t leave well enough alone and who likes nothing more than to belittle, insult and demean by so-called friends in an attempt to alienate myself from society and live out the rest of my days in self-imposed isolation.  Ok so maybe that’s a bit melodramatic.  But then again I suppose I am just being true to my personality – a uber-intelligent, slightly crazy, hermitic writer who everyone loves to hate.  I’ll toast to that.  Here’s to living out my days with nothing more than my red wine and laptop for company. 

If I am to understand correctly, my dear old mum utilizes the following algorithm to reach the conclusion that I am a raging bitch who is destined to live my life alone.  It is given that I am very intelligent, very opinioned and completely unafraid of voicing these insight and opinions.  It is also given that I have been very deeply hurt (read: royally fucked over) by people who I thought were my friends.  It is also given that because of this I have lost my general faith in humanity, love and common decency.  By the way, that’s the adult version of finding out that there is no Santa Claus.

Mom concludes that I subconsciously use my intelligence, intensity and strong opinions to push people away to avoid loss and rejection.  After all, I wouldn’t want to find out there is no Tooth Fairy or no Easter Bunny.

Which brings me to a post-feminist rant outlined in a series of clichéd, rhetorical questions.  Since when did it become unacceptable to unabashedly voice one’s opinions no matter how controversial or unpopular they might be?  Since when did intelligence become a roadblock to the acquisition of male companionship?  Since when did making intelligent and truthful observations, in spite of any discomfort that they might bring listeners, make someone disagreeable to be around?  Since when did standing up for yourself equal a lifetime of loneliness?  And aren’t we all alone in the end anyway? 

The way I see it, we all end up alone and I’d rather do it with some dignity and aplomb.  Certainly we can bend ourselves like a Gumby Doll to fit the whims and fancies those we “love.”  Perhaps this allows us to find The One and live Happily Ever After.  Until, that is, we wake up one day, forty years from now, utterly alone in a room crowded with people.  When we realize that those around us only love the self-created, cellophane wrapper of a person we realize that we are more alone than ever.  Alternatively, if we stick to who we are, no matter how disagreeable that person might be in her utter authenticity, we realize that no one really wants to be around that person.  At least not for this social time construct known as forever.  And so we wake up forty years from now, utterly alone in an boho chic apartment with an English Bulldog named Charlie and a bottle of Tanqueray.  Either way, we’re alone.  Pick your poison I suppose.  I’d rather be a lonely raging bitch who stood up for myself every second, refused to sell out and had a damn good time throughout it all.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Cleveland's 11 O'Clock News: Sex, Boobies and Sleazy Politicians

There’s nothing like a good dose local news to compound my complete loss of faith in the human race.  You’ve got the 80s-called-and-want-their-shoulder-pads-back outfits, the sordid tales of rape and murder delivered without so much as a batted false eyelash and the sex and money laundering scandals of local politics – priceless.  All at once it makes me laugh out load, cry and ponder the existential nothingness of humanity as it spirals downward into a vortex sleazy local politicians, gangs of unrepentant thugs and average singles seeking commitment-free sex.  And Fox 19 Action News at 11, broadcast in living color from a studio in sunny Cleveland, Ohio, has it all.

And here’s what they are serving up tonight. 

First off we’ve got a Clockwork Orage-esque gang of hooligans kicking the crap out of a 70 year-old grandpa.  This is all caught on tape (but of course), which makes you wonder about the morality of the cameraman even more than that of the East 55th Street Hooligans.  The old man survived and the police want your helping identifying the gang of thugs.

Next we’ve got Jimmy Dimora.  My personal hero.  There will never be a dull moment in Cleveland politics as long as we’ve got Jimmy Dimora.  Cuyahoga County Commissioner by day, scumbag by night.  Well actually he’s a scumbag by day too.  But let’s not split hairs here.  Accused, among other indiscretions and white-collar crimes, of unscrupulously accepting bribes of all kinds, Jimmy D awaits trial and endures almost daily ridicule in various Cleveland news outlets.  Fox News’ latest highlight of his indiscretions is billed as, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.  Unless you’re Jimmy Dimora.  Stay tuned for more details after this word from your local sponsor.”  This time our hero Jimbo spent at least $2000 on hookers, ahem, I mean on a “private massage” at The Mirage in Vegas.  He attended a nude pool party at Bare Pool which does not disclose its pricing on the web site.  If you have to ask, you can’t afford it.  After Fox makes several failed attempts to wring a comment from JD, they conclude with a clip of the hero himself calling them, “full of bleep,” and “ridiculous.”  Now Mr. Dimora, I respect your intelligence, but that seems a little bit like the pot calling the proverbial kettle black. 

Also on tap tonight we’ve got Miss Ohio (and a handful of other Miss Universe contestants) getting naked.  There is nothing the local news loves more than a PG version of Girls Gone Wild.  Donald Trump, the executive producer of the Miss Universe Pageant, placates his PR department by saying that, “this might have been a little over the top.”  But his true class and grace really shines when he follows up with, “we are, after all, in the business of beauty.”  Right.  By the way, those are gross paraphrases.  Fact checking is not my thing.

Which brings us to the grand finale of Fox 19 Action News at 11.  This titillating tidbit was advertised not only throughout CSI Miami, but also throughout 24.  Anything that shares billing with Jack Bauer has my vote.  It is entitled “Friends With Benefits.”  The voiceover man ominously asks, “When does this disturbing new phenomena jeopardize a friendship?  Tonight at 11.”  (Again that’s grossly paraphrased and negligently incorrect.  I told you, I’m not a researcher.  I’m a writer.)

This statement begs further examination.  One, since when did casual sex with a close friend become a “new phenomena?”  Pretty sure we’ve been fucking just for the fun of it, with no strings attached, since the human race started to walk upright.  And maybe even when we didn’t.  Second, why is this newsworthy?  Third, why am I actually staying tuned until 11 to watch it? 

Like any good one-night stand, the story is all build up and anticipation with not climax.  I am left with a nasty case of news story blue balls.  The only “fact” I learned was that 1/3 of all relationships lack exclusivity.  How they ascertained this fact was unclear.  But then again, who am I to judge a distaste of fact checking?  So after a morally corrupt gang of degenerates, a scumbag used car salesman of a politician and a naked beauty queen with Playboy aspirations, what advice does the newscaster give me – “Always avoid sex with the ex.  That is always a bad idea.”  Thanks for the advice friend.

Monday, May 10, 2010

My Roommate Is A 400-Pound Fat Bitch...And She's Hungry

Bears suck as roommates.  They eat all the food.  Especially the really yummy junk food.  They leave the refrigerator door open.  And they never pay rent. 

The first time it happened I blamed it on the dog.  I thought Maverick had gotten into the trash. Hamburger buns were awry.  Peaches were akimbo.  Sugar was askew. 

“I think there was a bear in the house last night.”  Trent is from Texas.  And nothing against Texans, but they tend to exaggerate.  Everything’s bigger in Texas.  Including the stories.  I decided leave the mess for Maverick’s mom Sarah.

The next night I woke up to Sarah pounding on our connecting wall.  Rolling over to check my phone – it was just past 3 AM - I did the I’m-drunk-from-sleep stumble over to her room. 

“Are you crazy?  Shut the door.  The bear is upstairs.”

Maverick, guard dog that he is, seemed oblivious to the fact that a 400-pound bear was making short work of our food upstairs in the kitchen.

“I called the police.  They are sending a game warden.”

Shotgun-toting Kevin the game warden showed up. He was everything I’d ever hoped a game warden would be.  He looked like the Brawny man before he got old and started wearing flannel.  He was all broad shoulders, rippling pecs and mountain man swagger. Bear season was probably the most exciting part of working for the Aspen Police Department.  Unless Charlie Sheen shows up for a good, old-fashioned domestic dispute, things are pretty quiet. Kevin seemed stoked to be dealing with something besides drunk Argentineans at Eric’s stealing bottles of vodka from behind the bar.

“Damn bear got away.”  He seemed genuinely disappointed not to have gotten a round of rubber bullets off.  “It was a mom and two cubs though.”  Bear 1.  Kevin 0.

This is bad shit.  Never fuck with a mother bear and her cubs.  The world knows no fury like a pissed of mom.  Kevin gave us his card and told us to lock our doors.  This would be great advice if our doors had locks. Unfortunately, our pad was a refurbed meth house that was built by a bunch of stoned out ski patrollers from Aspen Mountain.  It was straight out of How To Be A Ski Bum 101.  Step 1: procure ramshackle house of questionable structural stability with no locks.  If the Big Bad Wolf huffed and puffed our house would be toast.   Besides, no in Aspen locks their doors.

And so the next night rolled around.  I heard some shuffling upstairs and decided that the cooking of drunk food had commenced.  And then there was the crash.  Knives this time I think.  Bolt upright and very alert now I started shaking the boyfriend in the bed next to me.

“Get up.  Get up.  Get up.  Get up.  There’s a bear in the house.”

I had explained the previous night already but I’m not sure he really believed me.  He believed me now.  We set off the car alarms, set the dog to barking and started shouting at the bear to go away.  Get the fuck out. 

We stacked the porch furniture, living room furniture, old furniture we found in the storage space and the terracotta planters in the front of the door is discourage further bear entry.  Or at least, we hoped, the crashing of said furniture would alert us to the bear’s impending entry and allow us ample time to remove the bear from the kitchen before she and her greedy, fat-kid cubs ate the rest of our Ben and Jerrys Cherry Garcia. 

It didn’t work.  How a 400-pound, hungry, fat bitch had the patience or dexterity to maneuver around the furniture maze without knocking down a single item continues to baffle me to this day. 

The casualties continued to mount in this war against Hungry Fat Bitch.  She and her snot-faced cubs visited twice a night for four nights. That’s eight times, five hundred dollars worth of food, one destroyed dog door, and a gnarly scratch on the wall. It was cute for awhile.  Then it stopped being cute.  To this day we find souvenirs.  While icing an ACL injury with a bag of frozen corn, my roommate picked bear drool and black hairs off of the bag six months later.  There is a muddy bear print that hangs out on the back of our sofa.  Grocery store exchanges for the next four months went something like this.

“Do we have hamburger buns?”

“Well we did.  But I think the bear ate ‘em.”  

Next summer Trent is bringing his big guns back from Texas.  Loaded down with rubber bullets to, “Fuck some bear’s shit up.”  Watch out bear.  The world knows no fury like a pissed off Texan with big guns.

Words of wisdom living on our refrigerator...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

I Drink Gin

I drink gin.  I also drink microbrews and red wine, PBR and tequila.  But when I mean business I drink gin.  When I put my shit-kickers one and accessorize with my don’t-fuck-with-me face, I drink gin.  Tanqueray.  It smells like Christmas.  And I like the green bottle with the red seal that looks a bit like my family crest. 

I am nursing a Tanqueray and tonic in a dying hole-in-the-wall on a rainy Monday night.  It could be anywhere but it’s here.  A jazz quartet is picking out Thelonious Monk’s ‘Round Midnight.  The warm, wet smell of summer rain slinks down the stairs.  A lady in a bottle green dress, sliding down the stairs to remind the dark drinkers that the world outside is alive. 

The drummer looks like he’s about to fall asleep.  Or pass out.  Or kick the bucket.  I’m uncertain which.  The redhead down the bar sits up straight and stares ahead.  She’s calculated and self-conscious.  She’s picking the ice out of her highball glass and crunching it uncertainly.  They say that’s bad for your teeth.  She seems normal enough but she’s got that crazy rider look in her green eyes.  She’s dark.

Dark-complexioned, a man sitting in the corner is smokes a Parliament.  “Drug addict cigarettes,” I remember.  His lids are half closed doors with children eyes peaking around the corner watching the parent’s party.  The smoke unfurls around him like a burlesque dancer in a cabaret show.  She reaches around the two-day stubble on his neck and traces a line from ears to chin. 

The redhead gets up and leaves.  Parliament follows.  I drink gin.  

Friday, May 7, 2010

What Happens When You Challenge A Chef

Everyone’s a critic.  Everyone has an opinion.  The problem is most people are sheep.  Their opinion is not their own.  Rather, it is recycled and regurgitated, assured to offend no one.  Unless an opinion offends more than 50% of the population, it probably isn’t worth having. Or at least it isn’t very interesting.  It’s like a Buick.  Offensive to no one, but heinously boring.  Who aspires to own a Buick?  I’d take an uproariously amusing, albeit ill-found, illogical and irrational opinion any day over a banal, beige and boring opinion, no matter how rational and well-conceived it might be.  At least for its entertainment value that is.  But this is not the point.  The point is the sheep out there want to hear what I ate for dinner.  And so I will tell them. 

I ate a ten-course meal at a trendy, local/organic restaurant in Sun Valley, Idaho (Check Out Sego's Blog).  I sat at the chef’s table in the kitchen.  The meal would have cost me close to $300 (just for me) if I had paid.  The problem emerged because Sarah challenged Chef.  She said, “This girl can eat.  You’ve got your work cut out for you.”  And everyone knows that you should never challenge a chef unless you are prepared for a show so fueled by over-the-top egoism and competitive instinct that it would intimidate even the gluttons of Rome.  And I, the ever-present hard ass who runs with the big dogs, plays with the boys and never, under any circumstances, backs down from a challenge, accepted.  It was sure to be a stalemate – two stubborn, competitive egoists facing off. 

I consumed delicata squash salad with frisee, Idaho goatster and walnut-sage pesto; sorrel soup topped with crab and caviar; a red win poached duck egg on brioche with creamed spinach and spring greens; roasted squash flatbread with Oregon black truffles; handmade garganelli pasta with pine nut pesto and shrimp; pork shoulder with beans and biscuit; grilled local sturgeon with sun-choked capelletti, clams, chili, lemon and parsley; homemade ice cream (Sarah’s first love and absolute specialty) of the mint, toast, apple, grapefruit, vanilla and coffee varieties; carrot cake topped with a candied carrot and no heinously thick butter cream frosting and last but not least a palate cleanser of every sorbet flavor (Sarah’s second love). 

Does that impress you?  It should.  I guess.

After stuffing myself fuller than a fat man at a Vegas buffet, I eventually managed to roll my overstuffed, Michelin man of a body out of the restaurant and into the car.  I have never, in my twenty-four years on this Earth, been so physically ill just from eating.  I was entirely certain that I would need to stop the car to vomit on the 35-second drive from the restaurant to Sarah’s house.  I think the chemicals in my brain released some sort of strange reaction.  I actually felt drunk.  I collapsed on the floor in a stupor of carbohydrate-induced oblivion and felt the twinges of a sugar coma coming on.  I writhed on the floor in visible pain, occasionally releasing small groaning sounds and gurgles from my packed tummy.  I had an overwhelming desire to poke a hole it he side of my stomach and watch its contents drain out.  Sweet relief I imagined.

Good thing they invented hot yoga and spinning class.  Detox must commence immediately.

One more plug for Sego (Don't be lazy.  Check It Out)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Manners Gone Wild

I don’t do this often but I’m going to get on my soapbox for a minute and preach.  Sorry, just bear with me, read the letter below and maybe you’ll understand.  It just seems like social decorum is crumbling around me in a sea of drunken nudity, reality TV and a complete loss of verbal filters.  Where have good manners gone?  I will begin with a heinous example of public behavior gone wrong and I will move to topics like thank-you note writing, unreturned phone calls, proper conversation, inappropriate questions and drunken behavior.  True we’ve all been social fuck-ups at times.  But let’s at least make an effort to stop being so terrible.  As my own Mom would say, “Their mothers would be horrified.”

Author’s Note:  When I first received this forwarded letter I was going to write a commentary on it.  Upon reading it, I decided that it speaks for itself.  Names have been blacked-out (much like the people themselves) to protect the guilty.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Dive Bars Defined: Hey Sweet Tits Can I Buy You A Drink?

Since I mentioned seedy, hole-in-the-wall dive bars previously I feel compelled to further define said establishments.  Once upon a time, someone is Aspen defined the eatery Little Annies as a dive bar.  I laughed in their face.  Literally.  If you are not familiar with the establishment please look it up.  It may not be Spago, but it certainly is not a dive bar. 

A dive bar must be a place that you would never, under any circumstances, feel comfortable taking your children.  The floor must be so sticky with spilled beer, human fluids and decades-old dirt that no toddler should crawl upon it.  The booths must be so unstable that one dare not place a car seat atop it.  The bathroom graffiti must be so vulgar that you would be ashamed to allow you seven year-old to read it. 

A dive bar must be a place so libertarian (at least) and anarchical (at best) that all rules of decorum, religion and government are flagrantly ignored.  Cussing like a sailor in the presence of the elderly is permitted (but not in front of the kids because remember, there are none).  Spitting inside is tolerated.  Drinking on the Lord’s Day is admired (Sunday Funday).  Smoking is allowed despite, or perhaps in spite of, laws against it. 

A dive bar must have cheap drink specials.  These may include but are by no means limited to Ladies Night, Margarita Madness, $2 drafts, $2 shots, all-you-can-drink pitchers, Insert Favorite Sports Team Here Fans Drink When Insert Start Player Here Scores and my personal favorite – Dollar Night. This may be $1 well drinks, $1 beers, $1 shots or $1 anything.  But the concept is simple. For $20 I should be able to kill myself with booze.

A dive bar must have at least one full-fledged bar fight a week.  And by bar fight I mean fists flying, bottles breaking, stools overturning and windows shattering.  Extra dive bar points are awarded if the cops come, if chicks are involved and if Chuck Norris mysteriously shows up to roundhouse kick his way through the door.

A dive bar must have at least three down-and-outs bellied up to the bar at any given moment.  Depending on the demographic composition of the region and the geographic area of the country, these might be laid off steel workers, black lung infected coal miners, downtrodden cotton farmers, off-season cowboys or illegal immigrants.  Also depending on demographic composition and geographic region, said patrons must be hunched over a bottle of Jim, Jack, Johnnie or Jose, a shot class and a can of Bud, PBR, Coors, Natty or Modelo. 

A dive bar must have at least one questionable character who addresses any good looking woman (and by good looking I mean she has tits the hang above her belly button, a ass that stays above her knees and all her teeth) as, “Hey sweets tits can I buy you a drink?"

She's Just Not That Into You

Between three men I have been in a relationship for almost eight years.  This is most of my adult life.  I suppose this makes me a relatively uninformed and unreliable source of dating world observation.  Furthermore, most of these observations have already been made ten million times, by ten million women, over the past ten million years.  But here are a few new (or at least recycled) words from someone who is new to these phenomena and new to this brave new world called dating.

You have to admire the persistence of the male species in his attempts to sequester female attention.  I can only ascertain that they see it as a grandiose romantic gesture rather than begging, whining or stalking.  Guys listen up.  Despite what the movies tell you, his isn’t romantic.  I digress here for a moment to argue that movies know no gender lines.  Conventional wisdom holds that only women, in their overly emotional states full of budding neuroses and easy tears, succumb to the fairy tale fodder of Hollywood.  The penis is just as susceptible.  The testosterone slinking around the local bar (or library, or grocery store, or cubicle, or classroom, or gym, or pool, or yoga studio, or chairlift, or gas station, or drugstore, or restaurant, or bachelorette party, or class reunion, or grandmother’s 80th birthday party, or church, or temple, or synagogue, or country club, or mall, or boutique store, or Christmas party, or New Year’s Ever bash, or office party, or Tupperware party, or sex toy party, or gay pride parade, or night club, or beach, or amusement park, or need I continue) has gone all soft and romantic.  They have forgotten how to properly demean and sexually harass women.  Where is a good old-fashioned ass slap when you need it?  Now don’t get me wrong the meat market at the local watering hole is certainly alive and kicking.  All I argue is that men are trying too hard to woo women.  There is a certain point – reached much faster than most males seem to understand – when persistence ceases to be romantic and progress to annoying and then to restraining-order-grade stalking.  Which brings me to my first point of advice.

1. Take a hint.  Don’t make us resort to being rude.  If she just doesn’t seem that into you please take the hint.  If she checks her watch, Blackberry or iPhone more than once every three minutes during dinner, she’s just not that into you.  If she answers, “Mmm hmm,” to a question that required at least some sort or articulated opinion, she’s just not that into you.  If you’ve received variations of texts, phone calls, emails or BBMs that read, “Rain check on dinner?  Soooo sorry.  My Mom/best friend/ex-boyfriend/grandmother/dog needs my help! Emergency!  Xoxo!”  Guess what?  She’s just not that into you.  And the kicker is - this really happened, I shit you not - if you lie down in/pass out in her bed in an I’ve-been-drinking-in-the-sun-all-day stupor and ask to have sex with her and she politely declines, she’s just not that into you.  If you wrap your arms seductively around her waist (most women view this sloppy drunk move as vaguely pathetic and akin to a two-year old grabbing his mother’s leg) and she less-politely removes them, she’s just not that into you. If you try slobbering on her face in an attempt to relive the earlier make-out session and relight her supposed passion and she much less politely pushes your face away, she’s just not that into you.  If you suggest that the two of you might, “Just fuck.  Have some hot rowdy sex.  Have some fun,” and give the seductive waist grab another try and she pulls away while making that I-just-threw-up-in-my-mouth-and-swallowed-it-back-down face, she’s just not that into you.  If she informs you that she just wants to shower and go to bed and you suggest that it become a group activity and she walks out, she’s just not that into you.  If you ask for a goodnight kiss and she says, “Only when you’re standing outside my front door,” she’s just not that into you.  And then she must resort to being rude.  “Look I am not going to have sex with you.  I have not going to hook up with you at all.  I don’t even really want to be within ten feet of your penis right now.  I don’t want to shower with you and I don’t want you in my bed.”  Point taken, you must now slink out, tail between legs.  This embarrassing situation could have been easily avoided had you taken the fucking hint. 

2.  Pathetically fake compliments don’t work.  The compliments have all been used and abused.  Yes I know my eyelashes are really long.  No they are not fake.  Yes I know I have large lips.  No that doesn’t mean I look like Angelina Jolie.  And no likening me to her when we look so blatantly unalike does not flatter me.  Yes I know that my ass is nice.  So are a lot of other booties.  Yes I know I have a nice smile.  How many other women did you tell that to tonight?  As one of my favorite Silver Screen good girls once spat at one of my favorite Silver Screen bad boys, “Listing my qualities on your fingers is not going to get you anywhere with me.”  (Don’t judge me.  I know it didn’t win an Oscar but my best friend Elyssa and I can quote every line).

3.  Fancy dinners are a waste of money.  If you want to pay for sex I hear some very nice women are working the corner tonight.  They are a lot cheaper and more efficient than a five star dining extravaganza.  Taking me out to a grotesquely expensive dinner that could pay my rent for the month (I’d rather just have the rent check without the small talk) and feed a family of four will not guarantee my naked body in you bed.  It is even less likely to guarantee your naked body in my bed.  The hip quotient of the restaurant will not help your cause.  I am more impressed by seedy, hole-in-the-wall dive bars on Colfax Ave (please see future post for further discussion on dive bars) than the hottest, hippest, newest mastication establishment.  You have a brain. Use it to come up with something more creative. 

Three simple rules.  Please heed them.  Please don’t make me resort to rude behavior.  It’s unflattering and not very post-feminist.  I don’t want to have to stop returning your phone calls.  I don’t want to ignore the 19th text message you send me at 1:27 AM on a Tuesday.  I don’t want to tell you to “get the fuck out of my bed.”  But you leave me no choice. 

A Rainy Day In Idaho

It’s a rainy day in Idaho and I’m on the road again.  Still looking for that real world out there in that big, vast somewhere.  Disappearing down this lost highway, underneath that purple-gray bruise of a sky, I can breath.  Smells like wet, and dirt, like one of the juicy sausages of a caterpillar unearthed from beneath Mom’s terra cotta pots.  Country is on the radio again and it keeps interrupting my otherwise profound musing on the metaphysical being of life. It’s all pure America.  It’s all heartbreak and hope, healing and moving.  It’s never easy to say goodbye.  I’m gonna drive to Atlanta, and live out this fantasy.

It’s nice to sleep again. Woke up early this morning around 4 AM.  Thoughts of us kept keeping me awake.  Not passed out drunk from too many bottles of Fat Bastard sleep.  Not return to the crypt from taking four Tylenol PM’s sleep.  Not I’ve cried so hard that snot dripped from places I didn’t know it could drip and now my body is cooked sleep (footnote: thanks for dealing with that one D).  But good old-fashioned sleep.  The kind you get when the rain is sliding down the windowpanes on a summer night as seductive as Miles Davis’ Blue Is Green.  It’s what seeps into your body when you’ve finally put everything else to bed. But that’s ok, there’s nothing left to say. But you’ll think of me.

Clayton, Idaho.  Population 26.  I note the irony of the name.  My family’s name is Clayton.  Sweet somewhere far away someone’s name is Clayton. But we can be assured we’ll meet again by and by.  If not here then somewhere up above.  The place is lump-in-your-throat beautiful.  It must be how parents feel looking at their babies, or how art connoisseurs feel looking at a Caravaggio.  I am neither so I can only imagine.  The Salmon curls up and wraps around my mind like the ribbons of smoke that used to twist and wind up from my old lover’s midnight cigarettes.  It’s seductive and sort of frightening.  Like any good lover should be.  Most are neither. 

I really like to know things.  That’s deep I know.  But bear with me. Not knowing what we could have been, what we should have been.  However, it’s this desire to “know things” that provided the jet fuel for American expansion.  It’s also our collective, national ADHD.  Once we know one thing we want to know another because our attention has already deviated from the original thing that we discovered.

The lure of the open road lies in its promise of freedom and hope and new beginning and forgotten sorrows.  The logic is as follows.  If Point A is bad, and Point B is unlike Point A, then Point B must be better.  This has drawn road warriors from the pioneers to Kerouac, Lewis and Clark to Thelma and Louise.  The problem lies once again in the fact that human behavior is inherently illogical.  Generally humans arrive at Point B only to realize it has it’s own set of problems and that they should either go on ahead to Point C, or cut their losses and head home to Point A.  And so we as Americans move.  As Stevenson said, the great affair is to move.  That’s what we do as Americans.  We pack our worldly belongings into the big, American-made land barge (or small Japanese vehicle in my case) and head out in search of meaning and answers, new beginnings and buried problems.  The problem is we don’t find them.  But then again, I guess that’s life.  Take your records.  Take your freedom.  Take your space and take you freedom.  But you’ll think of me.

And it’s a good thing we’ve got problems, and highways, and cars, and hope.  Because if we didn’t we would never move.  And if we didn’t move we wouldn’t have the America we know today.  And maybe that would be good.  But maybe, like the weird uncle everyone has, you have to love America warts and all.  Because maybe that’s how life is.

It’s never easy lettin’ go of the ones we love.

Author’s Note:  Cut me some slack.  Thanks for listening to me wax poetic about life and the open road and it’s effects of the interpersonal relationships to individual problems that define the dichotomy of American life today.  I’m a bottle of cheap red wine in and it seemed appropriate.  Tomorrow we will return to our regularly scheduled programming.  

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Princess and the Power Mower

I’m going to tell a fairy tale.  This is not a happy tale.  This is more a fable or a parable.  It has a moral.  And like the original Grimm Brothers fables, it can be, well, grim at times.

I have one regret in life.  One time I called a man my lover.  I called this same man an uneducated, illiterate fool who would never amount to anything.  Or something to that effect.  I wish I hadn’t done that.  I’ve learned to bite my tongue.

I never thought I’d see the day that I was working hourly, under a brick-oven sun for this same man.  Or that’d I would be excited, even blood-hungry crazy, for this 13 bucks an hour.  Neither did he.

Life’s a funny bitch like that.  She’s a jokester she is.  She gets drunk and conjures up all sorts of strange ideas.  And once you learn to accept her for who she is, life gets easier.  She’s just that insane friend we all have.  You’ve known her since you were five years old.  You probably met on the playground when she showed you how to kiss boys behind the slide.  You stayed friends though high school because she drove your drunk ass around when you couldn’t hold your head up.  Now you’d never be friends if you met her at work because she’s nuts.  However, because you met her when you were only five years old, when you didn’t know any better, you’re still friends.  And she gets a kick out of the jokes she plays on you.  But I digress.

And here I am.  Almost two years after we broke it off due to irreconcilable differences I am a Carehart-wearing lawn girl with my ex-boyfriend as my boss.  I like to think I held my own pulling, and pushing, and shoving, and moving, and raking and baking, and extricating.  I walked the walk and talked the talk. I swaggered and I dropped the G’s off the end of my active verb conjugations.  I blew snot rockets and hawked loogies.  I had my first real urge to light up a Marlboro Red and spit at things that I passed in my big red landscaping truck.  I probably looked every bit the over-educated, upper middle class nerd that I am.  But I’m going to pretend that I didn’t.

To add insult to injury, as if life hadn’t proved her point already, I got fired, or rather laid off, by my boyfriend turned boss.  Apparently his girl back home disliked the idea of us working with each other.  To be more accurate I think she disliked the idea of us being with a ten state radius of each other let alone a ten-foot radius.  But again, I digress.  The point is I got fired.

The moral of this story (because all good stories should have morals) is that if you are a bitch, and say mean things, life will turn your world around.  Karma is real shit.  Not to be messed with.  And that is how I ended up working hourly for my ex-lover who I once thought was stupid and would never amount to anything.  And then we rode off into the sunset of a big, red rider mower and lived happily ever after.  The end.

PS Rob I’m sorry.  I take it back.  I’m proud of you.  You rock.