Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Why Women Hate Men


You'll never guess what I picked up for you on New Years Eve .... a MAN.

He's hilarious and he makes me cry/laugh. You must visit him at his blog, but also read his car advertisement on his companion blog. But then, when you're done, come back to me! Where's your solidarity?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Hard Way - Conclusion

After one night of perfect safety and peace I felt stronger and optimistic that I could salvage this well-deserved tropical vacation. The ship was to sail to another island that day and I planned to go ashore. Of course I was freaked out about the possibility of a Dave Encounter but I figured there’d be lots of witnesses so I should be safe. Besides, I could not spend another day in my poo poo dungeon.

I wanted to play in the blue waves and get a tan on the white sandy beach. There were loads of local Caribbean women there shouting at me to buy this or buy that. One woman wanted to braid my hair for $10. I said all I had was $3 and she said sternly “I’ll do half. Sit here!” Obedient and stupid, I handed her my $3 allowance for the day and sat on the burning hot sand. Her thick black hands worked fast and strong, pulling little tiny strands of my blond hair into intricate rows. It looked like I had a little farm growing on my scalp. She finished the right side of my head and walked away. I felt stupid but I tried to play it off anyway. I spent the day on the beach and felt self-conscious the whole time. I met some nice people on the ship and small talked for a while. Then I told them the whole story and all about Dave. The asked if I’d like to join them for dinner that night. I was so happy to have someone to talk to, especially since they were going to pay for dinner. I was planning on leaving with Carlos, this ship waiter, later that night for some clubbing, but I’d have dinner with my new friends first.

I returned to my shit room for a shower and to dress for dinner and dancing. I noticed how warm I’d become. Really hot, actually. I stood in front of the little steamy mirror in the bathroom and beheld the scorching site of me. I was hot pink from head to toe, save the bikini lines. But worst of all was my scalp. Between each row was a raw strip of skin that resembled half cooked bacon. It felt like thumbtacks dipped in salt had been hammered into my head. But only on the one side. I slid on my black leather dress and four inch heals and left for the evening anyway.

After dinner I caught up with Carlos. He asked if I’d like to go have some fun with him on shore. Maybe go to a club and dance. I was ecstatic and I eagerly agreed. He was suave and polite. He looked pretty nice in a pair of white slacks and silk shirt. I’d be fine with him, I thought.

As we walked to a local club, I could sense a complete change in his demeanor. He dropped the suave routine as soon as we were away from the ship. Instead of small talk and polite questions, he was silent and fast moving. I was unsettled. We entered a small club with live reggae. He told me where to go and sit while he talked to his friends. Pretty soon he came over to the table to see what I wanted to drink. “A coke, please” I replied quite kindly. He looked shocked. “You can have some rum too, okay?” he said. “No, I don’t drink alcohol” I replied. He went to the bar and returned with a coke. He sat next to me and told me that I was being boring. I needed to learn to have fun. He seemed more and more impatient as the night wore on. We did not dance or talk. He just drank and pouted.

Carlos on the ship was different than Carlos off the ship. I had been such a sucker! Why had I thought Carlos would be any different than Dave? He just kept getting angrier and drunker. I kept getting hotter and more frightened. I got up the nerve to ask him if we could go back to the ship. He shot me a daring look and said “Go ahead, I’m staying!”

Oh shit, now I had to walk through the streets of a Caribbean town in my black leather dress, four inch heals, and half braided head. I’m sure anyone who saw me knew I was looking for a cruise ship. I was frightened and lost. I started to get a sick feeling and then I saw my ship. Thank God.

I returned to my shit hole and started to sob from relief and self-pity. I liked to watch myself cry really hard because there’s just something about the out of control contortions my face makes that normally I don’t get to see. So I sat in front of the mirror and watched myself cry while I tried to take out my tiny braids. It took over an hour and when I was done I checked for bleeding. My hair frizzed out like Rosanna Rosanna Danna on one side. I was too tired and depressed to take a shower, so I just laid down and cried myself to sleep.

I had managed to completely avoid Dave until we offloaded the ship. We were all standing around with our luggage waiting for our bus to the airport. That’s when the Purser Bitch asked us for our bus tickets. Oh my God! I don’t have any tickets!!! I told her that I didn’t have them. She stopped short, put on her very nicest grin, and said “That’s not my problem, ma’am.” Wow, what a twat. I pleaded with her “He took the tickets. I don’t have any money or credit cards, please just let me on the bus so that I can get to the airport!” She was pleased with my dilemma, you could tell by just looking at her. “Please, you can’t just leave me here!” and she gave me her favorite line “There’s nothing we can do.”

Dave had everything. I spotted him up ahead in the swarm of sunburned cruisers. He was standing there with his stupid square camera case strapped across his chest like a … well a tourist, I guess. By now I was no longer afraid of him, I was pissed. I stomped over to him and demanded my bus ticket and plane ticket. I stood there with my hand outstretched, palm up, waiting. He rummaged through his suitcase and made this puppy dog face and said “I thought you had them.” “What the Hell would I be doing with the tickets? Look in your stupid camera case, I saw you putting them in there a few days ago.” I said disgustingly. Sheepishly he pulled them out and handed them to me. Relief. “Here they are! I have a limo waiting for us at the airport if you need a ride back home?” he said in a most pathetic tone. “Fuck You! I never, ever want to see your face again!” I shouted and damn it felt so good. Then he asked for his jewelry back. Looking back I wish I would have kept it and then sold it for some new tires. But I took the high road and threw it at him instead.

As it was the very last day in the United States of America to fly on an airplane and smoke, I was quite happy to find myself in the smoking section. Not only that, but I had the last smoking seat, on the last day, with an empty seat next to me. I took the last $3.00 out of my purse and ordered a headset so that I could watch the movie and relax. I was grateful to be alive and going home to my little boy. I was happy not to have to spend another night in my shit hole eating turkey and mayo sandwiches and reading the same book over and over again. I was pleased with myself for telling off Dave, too.

Halfway through the flight, a big drunk guy stands over my seat and asks if he can sit down and have a smoke, as he was mistaken for a non-smoker when seat assignments were made. I said “sure”, being very careful to not give the impression that I was interested in chit-chat. I pointed to the headset stuck in my ears and ignored him. But it didn’t work. As soon as I’d begin to the movie he’d say something again. I tried to just ignore him but he was too drunk to get the message. He’d finish his cigarette and go back to his seat only to return a few minutes later for another one. Argh!!

“Hey, can I buy you a drink?” he slurred. “No, I don’t drink” I said in a monotone, irritated response. He replied “Neither do I!” He had a surprised look on his face, like we just found out we were distant cousins or something. “Oh really? Then why are you holding a vodka and slurring your words?” I snipped. He replied sadly “Well, I hadn’t had drink for a couple of years, but I’m afraid of flying and I slipped today.” I was stunned. His atonement slapped me in the face. He suddenly looked frail and helpless. I told him that I hadn’t had a drink for a couple of years either. I told him he could sit next to me if he wanted to. He slumped next to me and all his former bullshit just slipped away. He was so humble and grateful that I let him sit next to me. When the stewardess passed by he handed her the vodka and asked for coffee. He kept drinking the coffee and we talked about drinking and talked about being sober for hours.

After at least a pot of coffee (and zero movies) we heard the captain make his announcement “We will be landing soon ….” The man next to me tensed up and fell silent. He asked me if I would hold his hand while we landed. Now I know you think I’m a sucker, but I had to hold his hand. I was so brave and he was so scared. I was so sober and he was just sober. I remember the feeling of the wheels touching down and his big hand squeezing my skinny little hand. I thought that maybe this was why I had to go on the trip, just to sit next to this guy and help him get on his feet on the ground.

When we got off the plane, he gave me a big bear hug and thanked me for helping him get sober. In the corner of my eye, I spotted my mom and my little son. I said goodbye to the man and headed over to my family. Little Sean had been staying with his father and caught pneumonia. This sweet little pale face looked gaunt and tired. He had dark circles under his beautiful blue eyes. My heart aches today just as much as it did then, when I think about him being sick without me. I was so grateful to be home, with Sean.

When I returned to the law office the next day, I told my boss, Steve, about the horrible ordeal. He was much older and had a reputation for being a hot-head. After hearing my story, he shook his head in a disapproving way and said “Sharon, there are only two kinds of guys in this world, guys who want to get you in bed, and gay ones. And if they say they’re neither, they’re lying.” I hoped he was one of the gay ones. Yuk.

I hung onto the key from my shit hole and the postcard from Dave for many years. I wanted to always remember that in this world, you just can’t get something for nothing. But I had to learn the hard way, didn’t I.

The End

10 Questions for Real Friends

You know those "get to know you" emails? There's a list of questions to answer about yourself and then you send it back to the sender and all your friends. I need to know who writes these questions and what are they trying to get at? For example, whether a person prefers spicy, cheesy or plain hamburgers is of no interest to me at all.

Here are questions from the BloggerQueen for you to answer and pass around. They are so much more interesting. Please feel free to cut and paste this into an email and pass it around. You should also write your answers in my comments for the blog. Come on, I dare you ...

10 Questions for Real Friends

1. Would you ever get plastic surgery? If so, what?
2. Who would you kill if you got a Get out of Trouble Free, card?
3. Did you ever make yourself throw-up just so that you can fit more in?
4. One Night Stands ... good or bad?
5. What's in your underwear drawer besides underwear?
6. Did you ever damage a car without leaving a note?
7. If you had to give someone a blow-job, who would it be:
Michael Jackson or Dick Cheney?
8. What's your favorite color (no, just kidding. Who gives shit?)
9. What have you lied about to impress people?
10. Ever went streaking? Tell me all about it.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Me, but older

You think you’re cool? Even though you’re a grown-up, you still have some style left, right? You’re not quite as thin and tight as you were when you were younger but guys still check you out sometimes. They’re usually old but hey, what the hell. Maybe sometimes you can squeeze your ass into something from the juniors section. After all, aren’t those other departments for people a bit low on the cool scale?

Yesterday morning I thought I was somewhat, a little bit, hopefully cool and hip. By afternoon the veil of denial was lifted and there stood a middle-age woman. Me, but older. Sometimes I catch a glimpse of the Older Me in the mirror at the gym. I’ll be running on the treadmill and feeling really awesome about myself. I’ll have my iPod blasting techno punk and I’m visualizing my goddess self running through a dark damp forest and kicking butt along the way. Then, out of the corner of my eye, is the Older Me in the mirror. She does not look like a techno punk goddess running through a forest; she looks like a floppy housewife with a bright pink face. My legs are not gazelle-like, in fact with each step my feet kind of wind outward and I look like a sissy dork trying to catch up with the cool kids.

What brought this all on was a trip to the consignment shop yesterday. I’m ashamed to say that I was trying to pawn some clothes and shoes for Starbucks money. I had some feeling of dread as I approached the hip, cool, 20-something shop across the street from the J.C. But, sadly, I had faith in myself again.

I plopped my three paper grocery bags on the counter and filled out some paperwork. The sweet young shopkeeper (I’ll call her Carnela, I just made it up) said to be patient, that there were two people ahead of me. I decided to get a healthy fruit smoothie a few doors down. Too bad, on the way was a pizza shop that sold by-the-slice. They made me come in and eat a piece. But it was only $2.50.

Then I returned to the consignment shop and tried on some jeans that barely covered my c-section scar. They looked fine as long as I was standing in front of the mirror and holding in my stomach; but my food babies were going to pour over the top like a root beer float on a hot day if I bent over. I decided to get some t-shirts for my YOUTHFUL nephews while I waited. Only $18.00 for four shirts.

Carnela called me over to the counter to tell me how much money she’d give me for my fabulously cool shoes and skirts. Apologetically, she said “I’m sorry; your items are too mature. We won’t be able to take them.” I laughed and dropped my head. The reality set in while I replayed the assault out loud “… too MATURE? Oh my God!” Then out of sheer pity she said “but we’ll take this pair of sandals. Is $6.00 okay?”

All in all, the hour of humiliation cost me $14.50 and probably 25 grams of fat. But as cracked as my delicate ego was, I did finally arrive in the Reality Department, third floor. I looked at the girls shopping in the store and tried to picture them in my black patent leather sling back Franco Sartos and came to the conclusion that they would only wear my stuff to a job interview … at funeral home. And I would only wear their clothes to a costume party. So, we’re even.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Merry Christmas Blogger Queen!

Want to know what you can get Blogger Queen for Christmas? It won't cost you a cent or even much time:

1. Send your favorite Blogger Queen story to some friends with a link to www.bloggerqueen.com

2. Check out my advertisers. They are important to me, personally.

3. Leave comments. You don't have to be witty or even spell anything correctly. But unless you leave a comment, I don't know if anyone's out there. It's really easy to leave a comment. You can either be yourself or anonymous, I don't care. But I read all the comments, I can promise that.

Thank you so much for reading my posts and supporting me. (You see, I can be serious sometimes!).

Love and Cheer,
Sharon the Blogger Queen

P.S. The Hard Way - Part IV is coming ...

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Hard Way - Part III

I only had a few minutes before I knew he’d return to the ship’s cabin to either find me packing or discover me gone. I spotted a postcard and a small box on the desk. Dave the Platonic Friend had spent a short afternoon on the tiny tourist trap island in the Caribbean and apparently brought back a gift for me. The card was rich with oblivious remarks about his love for me. He wanted me to spend the evening with him at the casino on the island. I opened the small box and there was a diamond and topaz pendant necklace. The gemstone was the size of two mini marshmallows and hung from a delicate gold chain. I was horrified.

I threw all my clothes and cosmetics in my cheap little suitcase that I borrowed from my mom. I took the necklace and the postcard. The whole episode took less than five minutes and I was out the cabin door and running down the hallways. My heart was pounding, terrified that he’d see me and flip-out. He was obviously unbalanced and potentially dangerous. He had tricked me into coming on this stupid cruise and taken advantage of me in my sleep. I hated him even more because of the necklace and the postcard.

I had to keep going lower and lower in the ship before I finally reached my little cabin. The Purser Bitch who obviously thought I was a harlot gave me a cabin that nobody else wanted. She said there was a prior plumbing problem but it was “all they had.” I opened the little oval door with my key on a little red oval key ring. Instantly I was kicked back with the strong smell of the Bowels of Hell. The stench made me gag. The ship’s doors are all the same, you have to step over the bottom to get in or out. This apparently served as a kind of reservoir for shit water that spilled from the bathroom and into the cabin during the prior plumbing problem. It had soaked into the freshly shampooed carpet, but the reek was still there.

As fast as I could, I lugged my suitcase over the door ledge, turned on the little light, and locked the door behind me. I was a safe prisoner. I had four nights left on this free vacation, but my measly $100 had already been depleted by half. This was an all-inclusive cruise; all the booze, food, and gas station owners you wanted, but I only wanted the food. By now Dave probably realized that the cabin was vacated and he must be falling apart, surely crying into a pillow and planning his hunt for me. There was no way to leave the the cabin. I pictured him in my frightened imagination creeping through the hallways and waiting to pounce. I found there was an in-room menu but the only items that were complimentary were cold sandwiches. “Good enough” I said and dialed the number.

The room was much like my previous one, but only had one small bed. There was no window because it was so far down in the ship. My sentence was all too quiet with no television or radio, this allowed my mind to conjure up the very worst scenarios and feel completely hateful for him and me. When my pathetic dinner was delivered the knock on the door made me jump. I wouldn’t answer until they said “room service!”

That night the ship was on the move and the weather was rough. I was awakened with the violent rocking of the ship and overwhelming nausea. I stumbled toward the bathroom and threw up my turkey and mayo on white sandwich in the little silver airplane toilet. Alas, the rejection of my stomach’s contents did not relieve my sickness and the smell of the room was fierce. I had no choice, I had to open the door and let some air in. It seems that every other poor fool on the cheap deck had the same idea. For as far as I could see down the hall, doors were opened and the sound and smell of retching was thunderous.

The need for fresh air was absolutely necessary, Dave could go to hell. Besides he was probably still wallowing with his broken heart and planning our murder/suicide. I threw on a summer dress, grabbed my key and my smokes, and headed for the deck.

The ship was rocking back and forth but the night clubs and dining rooms were still lively. There were about 50 of us on the deck in front of the wheel house. The night was wicked and beautiful. The waves crashed against the ship and sent curtains of water splinters over me, then the warm wind would take its turn and blow them off. The bright moonlight lit the wave caps and outlined the clouds drifting quickly past. It made me feel powerful to leave the cabin, like I had just given Dave the finger and said “Go ahead, what are you going to do about it Skinny?” and I fantasized about throwing him overboard.

One of the ship’s waiters came up to me to ask if I needed anything and inquired about my trip. I spilled my guts in a very dramatic way. He was very tall, dark, and sort of handsome. He apologized for my bad luck and invited me to go to shore with him the following night – his night off. I instantly agreed and was happy that some nice man had taken pity on me and offered to take me out on the town. Because, after all, didn’t I deserve something nice? If I had scrutinized the situation, I would have appreciated the similarities, but again, I was too involved with the prize to consider the price.

To be continued

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Hard Way - Part II

I was going on a seven day cruise to the Caribbean with Dave, my platonic friend. We’d fly from California to Florida where our ship would launch the following day. All expenses were paid; I just needed souvenir and cigarette money. It was really hard, but I scratched up $100. This meant that an essential bill would not be paid, but it simply had to be. Fall out be damned!

We arrived at our hotel in Florida. It was a tall tacky looking white building with turquoise chairs and faded pink flowers made out of crinkly fabric stuck in white pots. At the heavily lacquered front desk they handed us our keys … to the same room. I felt very uncomfortable about sharing a room with Dave my platonic friend but he seemed super happy. When we opened the room door and walked past the fluorescently lit bathroom I saw the bed. One king bed. I had a horrible feeling that he requested it this way but I didn’t have the nerve to ask or argue. He assured me that he was sorry we had to share a bed but he would be a perfect gentleman.

That night, who knows what time, I was lost in deep sleep. I was half conscious but aware of some cuddling. Not wanting to wake up and not knowing who it was, I just enjoyed the body heat. But it went further and then too far. Before I had a chance to fully wake-up and resist, it was over. I felt sick and scared. I questioned myself and my motives. Did I bring this on? Did I try and stop him? Finally, I resolved to believe the easiest thing for me to handle and still go on my cruise. I talked myself into believing that I liked him more than I thought I did. I sucked it up and said to myself “Well, I guess we aren’t just friends anymore” and I went on with the voyage as planned.

Deep down, but not very deep, I was humiliated and really angry at him and myself. But if I allowed myself to feel those feelings I would have to do something about them and I just couldn’t bare it.

Boarding the cruise ship was more dramatic than I’d dreamed. The massive entryway with inside/outside carpeting being inundated with tourists of every kind was overwhelming. I’ve never liked being in a giant crowd of people because I believe they are all looking at me. This is an indicator of an ego large enough to necessitate a massive entryway. Dave knew many of our fellow shipmates because Union 76, the gas station that he owned, had given away hundreds of these incentive vacations. He would introduce me as his “friend, Sharon” but I could not mistake a certain twinkle in his eye. I wished he would just spell it out for them “This is Sharon; she’s willing to do ANYTHING for a vacation!”


We each had a key to the room, but he used his to enter the cabin. It was a teeny tiny room with one little round window like the ones you see in the old ship movies. There was a bathroom that looked exactly like the one on the plane and there were two thin beds against opposite walls about three feet apart from each other. This meant I was safe while I was sleeping in my catatonic state.

He was so impressed with everything – like a 13-year old on her first limo ride. I just wanted to slap him to knock some of the enthusiasm out of him. It was only a cruise ship, for God’s sake, not exactly the Plaza Hotel! We dressed for dinner as if we were going to a fine restaurant. I wore one of my work dresses from my law firm job as a legal secretary, and he wore grey slacks that his mother must have picked out for him in junior high. His short sleeve blue shirt was tucked in sloppy and his tie was wide enough for Ed McMahon. Astonishingly, he blended in nicely with the rest of the winners from Union 76.

I could tell this mess hall really wanted to be a fine restaurant what with the massive chandeliers hanging down and all, but it felt more like the Titanic (there, I just couldn’t write another word without making that connection). The poly-blend table linens, that’s an oxymoron by the way, were the same pale pink as the fake flowers from the hotel. I loath this color, especially when it’s mixed with turquoise and fake crystals. We were sitting with a large table of gas station owners with bad table manners.

When we returned to our, what would you call it, State Room, he opened the lid on top of his head and let all of his crazy thought bubbles out to float around the room. “Pop – I love being with you, you’re so beautiful – Pop – This is an amazing time in my life with you – Pop - I would like to have children – Pop – with you – Pop Pop – We could adopt if you don’t want to have any more – POP!” Oh shit.

I heard my heart beating in my stomach where all the rice pilaf and chicken Cordon bleu was sitting. I wanted to go home to my money problems, my mundane job, and my sweet little son, but I was stuck on a ship with this crazy guy. I couldn’t sleep that night for fear that he’d make his away across the 36 inches that separated us. It's not that he was large, muscular, or tough in any way, but crazy carries a lot of weight on the danger scale.

The next day we stopped at some island designed just for cruise ship tourists but I couldn’t get off the ship with him. I told him to go without me, that I wanted to rest. After some soul searching and a nap, I went to the Ship’s Purser to explain my situation and ask for help. “I went on this cruise with a man claiming to be a ‘friend’ but he’s taken advantage of me in my sleep and now he’s talking crazy talk. I’m really afraid to find out what he’s going to do next! I need to get out of that room this afternoon while he’s on the island, please.”

Her expression was flat. Her chin dropped and she peered at me over her glasses so that she resembled a stereotypical school teacher and replied “I’m sorry miss, there’s nothing we can do.” We? Who the hell was she referring to and why couldn’t “they” understand that I had an unstable roommate. She had no empathy no matter how much I pleaded, so I resorted to frantic threats. “Listen, if he rapes me in the middle of the night, I will sue you. Personally. You are ignoring an imminent threat on board. Isn’t it your responsibility to keep your passengers safe? I’m writing all of this down for the Complaint which I shall file as soon as I return to my law firm. She sighed as if to say “I give up” and said they did have one room available. She gave me a key.

During my bitch exchange, I had hoped Dave had not returned to the room. It seemed that admitting my predicament out loud served to snap me into quite a state of terror, the kind where I was running down hallways as if someone was chasing me. But I didn’t make it in time. He had returned to the room and left again. I knew because he left a box and a card addressed to me.

To be continued

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Hard Way - Part I

Ridiculous, really, that I thought I could get something for nothing. But it is one of the lessons in life that must be learned the hard way. This is the story of

THE HARD WAY

I was dating another car mechanic, his name was Dave. It was a symbiotic relationship: I was saddled with a 1978 Cutlass with four bald tires, a dead alternator, and dirty oil; and Dave was naive and needy, two personality traits that I would usually avoid when dating but I had certain automotive needs and he owned the station.

When I agreed to a date with him, I tried to mean it. I energized myself with the potential of finally finding a “nice” guy. I only lasted a couple of dates before I exhausted my supply of denial. Nice guys were not my gig. I simply advised him that although he did nothing wrong we were meant to just be friends, but that’s all. He took it well on the outside. His insides had other ideas.

I would still go to his gas station once in awhile to say ‘hi’ and keep this friendship balloon full of helium a little longer. One afternoon, as I was pumping the last three dollars I had into my gigantic V8 engine, he quick-stepped out of the garage, wiping his oily thin hands on a dirty red rag. His hair was so thin that it looked painted on his head and his features were almost boyish. But he was “nice.”

“Guess what? I have some good news!” he shouted before he even reached me. “My station won a free cruise for two to the Caribbean!” His shit brown eyes were round, surrounded by his feminine lashes, looking downright innocent.

“That’s great.” I said with fake enthusiasm. Why did he have all the luck? I was put out and full of self-pity. Here I was a single-mother with no financial support or real education trying to support my 4-year old son. Things had gotten very bad for us. Here’s a glimpse: I stole toilet paper from work because I’d run out at home and had no money to buy more. My son would have water on his cereal, if we had cereal. I was rolling coins to buy gas. So vacations were not on the horizon, not even in the peripheral.

He was quiet for a minute and then said “I want you to go.” I was confused. Did he want to give me the trip or take me with him? I didn’t know whether I should automatically accept or get more information. But, God, a cruise? That would be so lovely I couldn’t even imagine it. But no matter, I could not accept such a huge gift from a “friend”, could I? He said he knew how hard it was for me and I deserved a vacation. A break from all of this and that and he was right. I really deserved it, in fact, the world owed me this. I was Cinderella part one long enough and I wanted to be Cinderella part two! But I could tell by the puppy dog look that he was going too.

“Dave, there’s no way I can go on a cruise, especially with you. We’re just friends remember? I’ve explained that to you.” He looked amused and patronizing. “Of course, Sharon. I’m not insinuating anything else. I understand we’re just friends but I think you need this more than anyone else I know. We’ll just go as friends.” I couldn’t resist.


to be continued ....

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The House with STDs

What's the first thing you do when you know someone is coming to the house? Stash that crap!

I have an appointment with the cable guy this morning. His name is John and he's going to bundle my services and save me $30 per month. According to my husband, that works out to $360 a year. This is almost the exact price of a iPod Touch that my daughter wants for Christmas. So, keep your fingers crossed honey.

The appointment was for 8:00am. This left me hardly any time to prepare: I sprayed smelly stuff in the downstairs bathroom that always smells like pee. I blame this on the previous owners' eight-year old son. Boys are notorious for peeing on floors and I'm not convinced that some other people in this house have grown out of it. We've tried everything to evacuate the smell except ripping the subfloor out and replacing all the plumbing.

Then I cleaned the bedrooms (i.e., I systematically shut each door). I hauled the pile of little shoes, backpacks, and discarded lunch bags from the entry hall. Lastly, I brushed my hair but forgot my teeth.

When the cable guy came to his appointment this morning, he thought he'd be dealing with a responsible adult so he's talking in big words like router and co-ax like I know what he's getting at. I just nod and say "Hmmm" and "uh-huh" and he keeps on going, bless his little heart. "Where's the access to the crawl space?" he says. Shit! Its in the worst bedroom in the most horrible closet. I hope he doesn't have dust allergies or a weak stomach. I was also forced to give him access to the girls room and I could almost hear his voice in my head "Is this the best you can do all day?" I'm hoping he thinks I have a full-time important job that keeps me from organizing and cleaning all day.

John is going to disconnect me all day long. No television, no internet, no phone, no music. Obviously this is a conspiracy to make me clean all those embarrassing areas out of sheer boredom and shame. I feel like I'm at the gynecologists office and I just accidentally farted during the exam. This is humiliating.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Looking for a Fight?

I was shopping in a grocery store that wasn't familiar to me. This takes extra focus and patience because they put everything in the wrong place. I usually start from the right of the store in produce and make my way through each and every aisle except for pet food and cleaning products, both of which I let other people deal with. I always finish up in the bread/bakery section on the far left. I do not stray from my pattern.

In this alien store, I was perplexed because the produce was on the left. What a stupid, stupid place to keep the produce. Everyone knows its supposed to be on the other side of the store, God! So I gather a cantaloupe and a head of lettuce. I only had a few items to get so I skipped some aisles. I didn't want to financially support a grocery store that ignored logic and had it all wrong. At last I entered the final section on the other side of the store and that's when I noticed my purse was missing.

My heart stopped and I turned red all over. My adrenaline kicked on hyper speed mode and I ran .... RAN .... to the front of the store so that I could watch the exit doors. I grabbed a large guy that worked there and said "My purse is missing from my cart. I think someone stole it! Watch the exits for a big red purse!" I paced like a shark. I played out the scenario in my head of how I was going to get my purse back. I do this all the time; imagine different scenarios where I need to get my kids out of a burning building, stave off a rapist, roll out of a moving vehicle, rescue a choking victim, chase a kidnapper in my car, ad infinitum. I think I'm ready for anything.

As I'm stalking for my opponent, I realize how I can trap him. I tell the grocery guy "Call my cell phone! Its in my purse" Ha ha ha!!! Perfect. It will ring, they won't be able to turn it off and I'll get 'em. It was late and the store was rather empty so it was quiet enough to hear the custom ring tone. We waited and hushed and listened. Ready to pounce.

RING, RING, RING .... The grocery guy and I locked eyes and I said in a quiet evil voice "I'm going to drop kick the mother fucker" I full throttle sprinted to the left of the store to take back what's mine. There it was, my big red purse in a shopping cart. Also in the the shopping cart was a cantaloupe and some lettuce. I looked around and no one was there. Confused and a little disappointed, I returned to the front of the store. I looked in the other cart and realized it wasn't mine. I had stolen someone's cart way back in the vegetable aisle. Apparently the person who had their cart stolen just gave up and got a new cart. My purse and cart were sitting there all alone for about 30 minutes, nothing was missing.

I had to admit to the grocery guy and the manager what a huge mistake I had made. I was apologetic and humiliated. The manager assured me that people lose their carts all the time (yah, probably old people)and there was nothing to be embarrassed about. The grocery guy said quietly "I've never heard anyone say 'I'm going to drop kick the mother-fucker' before." His eyes were all wide and innocent.

This is why my husband worries about me.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Poopy Pets



Did I mention that I'm an inventor? Well, I am. I made up the Poopie Pets! This one is named Party Pooper and he hates to have any fun at all. He just lays there and has a really stinky personality.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Jesus was Not Even a Capricorn!

I wrote this poem just for you. Merry Christmas!


Jesus Was Not Even a Capricorn!

Clawing out of Thanksgiving Fog
Stumbling into the Christmas Blizzard
Writing the cards that nobody reads
Forgetting to mail them, again.

‘Tis the obligatory merry-ish season
Deck the halls with remorse and debt
Hark the angel's fall from treetop
Tra la la la la, I wish I were a Jew

Oh Holy Shit
I forgot to invite my mother-in-law
Oh Holy Night
I'm out of her Will, again.


Written by Sharon the BloggerQueen
copyright 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mall Massage


Today’s my birthday and nobody forgot. I’m feeling kind of special, not in the retarded way this time, just plain special. For a treat, I made my way to the mall for a Mall Massage. This freaks my friends out and they ALL say “You mean the chair massage in the middle of the mall?!” and they’re horrified at my audaciousness, but that only encourages me. It makes me feel like I’m so much braver (and I probably am). The truth is that I’m a total massage slut.

Years ago I had an uptight friend whom I have since broke it off with. She told me that she could “never have a stranger rub her feet” and I replied “Really? I would let the homeless guy downtown rub my feet.” I just couldn’t figure her out. Was she worried about a foot rub being just too intimate? I considered that her sex-life must be extremely b.o.r.i.n.g.

The first time I had a chair massage at the mall I struggled while watching all the pairs of legs passing me by while my face was planted inside the giant donut. Sometimes the legs would slow down in front of my chair and I didn’t know if they were watching me or just loitering. I was horrified to imagine that maybe my underwear was peeping out above my waistband. Or maybe the masseuse was talking about me in Thai language saying “look at this giant American with her fat arms. She smells like fried onions.” I don’t know what they’re doing or saying up there. I was concentrating on how much it tickled or hurt or it was too soft. I was hoping I wouldn’t relax too much and accidentally fart. How much should I tip? Should I tip? Oh my God, look at all my mascara I left on the paper!

By the way, the above picture I just found on the internet. It is not me, or my Thai masseuse, or even my mall cop, but don't you just love his big mounty hat? What are they, Canadian?

But I somehow made my way through it and felt so invigorated. Really it was the best massage I’ve ever had and it was only $15 … with tip! So I decided to just “suck it up, Mary” and develop my own mental trip. Now when I go for my mall massage, I just relax and enjoy the moment. I think that anyone who thinks I’m a fool, is a bigger fool, because look who’s getting a massage for $15! Come on by and take a long look at me! Happy Birthday to me.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Gypsy Curse

For the last three weeks, my children have had half-day at school. Totally sucks for me and has made it quite difficult to spend time with you, my readers.

Today I was working on a quick story about a maniac lady throwing a tantrum at Mervyns. My kids were coming home in one hour, barely enough time to complete a first draft. But I was going to give it a try.

I sat down with my laptop on the sofa, next to my husband who was working on a program on his laptop. I started my story and heard him say "chika chika chika chika chika" real fast. That's his impersonation of me typing. He's really just jealous because he uses the old "hunt and peck" method and his fingers are all the size of thumbs. "Am I bothering you? Do you want me to go upstairs?" I ask, nicely. "No, I was just kidding" he replies.

Quiet.

"So, its 12:12. What do you think of that?" He asks
"Well, I think its 12:12" I reply in an irritated voice.

Quiet.

"chika chika chika chika chika chika chika" he whispers.

I stop typing and loose the sentence from my brain. Take a deep breath and start reading from the beginning of my paragraph to grasp a hold of where I was going. Feeling the chill, he walks into the kitchen to look for a snack.

"Are we having this soup for dinner?"
"I don't care, just eat what you want!"

I unplugged the computer, walked into my office and closed the door. Now all I hear are his sniffs, the door opening with a creak, shoes in the house (against the rules) and the dark voices in my head that say "Damn, I am such a bitch! Why can't I be one of those people who are never distracted. I think I was cursed by a gypsy."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Improve your Life with Props and Costumes


I spoke with Kathy the Best Friend yesterday to see how she scored on the 20 Things a Best Friend Should Know. She said she scored 50%, but was not surprised by the other 50%. For instance, she did not know that I once wore a fake wedding ring to go to the movies alone, but she did not need any explanations either. Which means, although she did not know of the actual incident, she was aware of its probability.

When I was 28, I was so insecure that I needed a fake husband to make me feel fake companionship. I was terrified that someone might look in my direction with revulsion and warn “Honey, maybe we should sit on the other side of the theatre. Whatever she has that keeps her from finding a husband might just be airborne!” I’m not that bad anymore, but it doesn’t hurt that I have a real live living husband now. Allegedly.

Because of my husband’s silly work schedule, he’s rarely able to attend parties, so sometimes I bring a balloon with his face drawn on it. I have a supply of large pink balloons that are hidden in a drawer in the garage. When I arrive with my balloon husband, they all understand that Kent’s working again, and I’m having a Balloon Date Night. The little kids love to play with my balloon husband and knock his head around the living room in a spontaneous game of soccer or volleyball. At dinner time, I’ll tie him up to the back of my chair so that he doesn’t bounce around and cause any trouble.

We should all have a drawer in the garage full of props to help us along the way. We could have confidence wigs and fake wedding bands. How about eyeglasses to raise our perceived IQ? I could always use a pair of fake boobs for fun. Don’t forget the clipboard to make you feel important. We all have props anyway; fancy cars, purses, bumper stickers. All in a desperate journey of acceptance of total strangers that we’ll never see again.

I think men wear more props than women, probably because they don’t get to carry purses and wear make-up. Those two props are very valuable to me. Right now I’m carrying one of the coolest purses I’ve ever owned. It’s much cooler than I am, so I hope strangers will judge me by it. “Well even though she wears Jesus shoes and her jeans flood, she does still carry one of the hottest purses I’ve ever seen. I can barely even notice her fat wings!”

There has been a biker trend amongst the suburban dads for about the last fifteen years. They get their platinum cards and hop in their minivans to go to the nearest Harley shop. They buy all their props there: Shiny black leather boots, t-shirts, do rags, and lots and lots of fringe. Props.

Another one is the Great Outdoorsmen costume. My son works in Alaska on a charter fishing boat and sees them all the time. I think they feel very timid around my son and the other fisherman, so they pull on all the props they can find. First, they stop shaving a few days before they get to Alaska so that they look “rugged.” Then they throw on as much camouflage gear as possible, which is hilarious since they’re out on a boat in the middle of the ocean. I mean, really? Camo on a fishing boat? Props.

Now I’m not disrespecting here, I’m only making a point. We all have props to make us feel like we belong to a tribe. Mine was a fake wedding band, but I traded that in for a real balloon husband and if he complains about the movie, I’ll just pop him one.

Monday, November 17, 2008

20 Things a Best Friend Should Know

I was inspired by a recent post written by Beth Spotswood to make a list of 20 things my best friend should know about me. If you'd like a back-story for full clarification, just ask and I'll tell you the tale.

1. I once wore a fake wedding ring to go to the movies alone (Schindler’s List)
2. I used to take fake airline reservations for World Airlines
3. I’m afraid of ghosts and zombies more than rapists and burglars
4. I love to fill out forms
5. I used to steal toilet paper
6. I have gone to museums to appreciate art, only to be sidetracked by creating a believable persona of myself that says “I know exactly what this piece is trying to say”
7. I cannot keep a good secret, but I can keep a bad secret forever
8. I would let anyone rub my feet. Anyone.
9. I don’t drink alcohol or smoke or huff glue
10. I love Marie Antoinette and King Henry the VII way too much
11. I love to sleep in my clothes and eat in bed
12. I have a peculiar habit of biting the inside of my mouth, thereby causing permanent weird wrinkles above my lip.
13. I want to work in a hospital because I love the potential for drama and the smell of disinfectant
14. I stick my hand down the garbage disposal while its running to push the food through and to feel brave.
15. I’m afraid of falling, but not afraid of heights.
16. I’ve been in fights and lost all of them due to unfair advantages
17. I hate being “pampered” it just feels so ridiculous
18. I don’t have any marketable skills or education and I might be homeless if anything ever happens to my husband
19. I have multiple awesome inventions
20. I was intensely disliked by half a cruise ship, but the other half admired me

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Malady of More

I suffer from the Malady of More.

When I get a backache and I reach for the Ibuprofen, I always take an extra little brown pill. Why? Because I think two will not be sufficient for someone as special as me. My back pain is unique and I need something just a little stronger than the average commoner.

I try to be reasonable with caffeine too, but again I need more than most because I think that I’m extra tired and today I certainly need and deserve an extra shot in my Americano. Unlike overdoing an Ibuprofen dose which does not have any immediate painful reaction, too much caffeine makes me feel like a crack head. My eyes get intensely narrowed and start shooting laser beams. My feet get cold and my armpits sweat. I dash around the house like a rubber pinball, and I am just a little crabby. The good news is that I suppress my appetite.

Food is the biggest trigger to my Malady of More. I cannot bake homemade chocolate chip cookies in my house without a plan. The plan must consist of an immediate evacuation and distribution plan for the cookies. So its okay if I’m making them for a party, but the party must be immediately following the removal of the cookies from the oven. I have already tried everything else, and immediate evacuation is the only method that works for me.

My friend said that when she was growing-up, her parents taught her that nobody ate more than three cookies. I tried it. I would put three little warm love cookies on a napkin and walk into the next room. I’d say to myself “Three is enough for anyone.” Then when I had devoured two and a half, I could already see that three is not enough; four is much more appropriate for a tall woman like me. So I’d walk back into the kitchen where the gooey chocolate chips would be hardening to the perfect texture and I’d grab just one more. “This will be all I need - just this one more cookie. Then I’ll be wrapped up. I’ll put the cookies in a container out of sight and that’s that.” I’d make it half way back to the living room and the cookie would already be gone. “Well, since I’m already up, I’ll just grab one more.” By now the surge of chocolate and sugar has started affecting my pulse and I feel anxious thereby intensifying my feelings of guilt. So I’d walk quickly just in case someone on the street was looking in through my window and disapprovingly counting.

I’d feel ashamed and mad at myself, declaring “fuck it!” which is exactly what I say before I do something that I’ll later regret and have to apologize and/or pay for. I’d grab the whole container and sit angrily in front of the television by myself and polish off about a dozen justifying that it’s easier to just eat them all at once and really work out hard tomorrow, than it is to just eat three a day and have to work out every day.

I make myself feel sick, but not enough to throw-up. The Malady of More.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Escape

The first time I ever went wine tasting I was only 18 yet I was making my way through all the wineries and tasting anything they would pour my way. I would pretend to appreciate the oak or chocolate or paint … whatever, it was all about getting an underage buzz courtesy of them. I was with Eugene, my first real boyfriend out of high school and he was seven years older than me. He was just so alluring with his cutting edge Levi 501’s, top-sider shoes, and pink IZOD shirt. Only three months previous I was attending Old Milwaukee keg parties and lying to my mom to stay out late. Now I was cruising with my older boyfriend in wine country and drinking fine wines. It was intoxicating, really.

Eugene had a flair for socializing, or he was unconscious of ridicule and immune to shame. So when the wineries closed and we weren’t ready to stop the fun, he parked his canary yellow station wagon outside the liquor store and sauntered inside in search of a party. He emerged with a bottle of rum, six-pack of beer, and a smile. He found a party for us to crash.

We drove up a dark curvy mountain road out of town, the kind of location two tourists could get strangled with their souvenir t-shirts and left for road kill. I was dressed in my coolest 80’s fashion, tight purple striped jeans with zippers on the ankles, matching vest, and four inch pink stilettos. Eugene was dressed in his latest effeminate regalia. His hair slicked back on both sides with lots of gel, the top in full puffiness, a hint of ringlet curls cascading down his forehead. He had a diamond stud earring in his left ear that screamed “Its fun to go to the YMCA”.

Toward the top of the mountain, on the side of the road, there were beefy muscle cars, hot rods, and 4-wheel drive pick-ups with those big hunting lights on top that look like eyeballs. I began to sense peril, not physically but socially and that is more painful when you’re a teenager. Eugene’s little station wagon was missing its muffler so our approach was loud and embarrassing. It was just like walking up to a group of rock stars and laying down an atomic fart.

Ten guys who looked like they had just finished a shift at the John Deere Factory Outlet were standing there with Budweisers in their hands and disbelief on their faces. Eugene pulled the car over with a quick jerk, like we were in a race car doing a pit stop. I knew he was trying to make his wagon look like a sporty little ricer burner, but it would never work and I did not want to get out of the car.

We were not blending but that didn’t stop Eugene from trying to mingle. He and I had met at the mall the previous summer, he sold jewelry and I sold cheese and sausages whilst wearing a Swiss girl costume. So he threw on his very best jewelry salesman smile and thrust himself upon the crowd of locals like a manicurist at a rodeo. I held back behind him and secretly tried to give the Good Ole’ Boys a glance that said “Geez, what’s this guy’s problem? What a weirdo!” and I cursed myself for my Flock of Seagull’s hair-do.

Eugene was completely unaware of our non-conformity. He had this childish enthusiasm of hope that made me want to slap him, but he was obviously slightly daft so I restrained my hands under my elbows. Shortly after our landing on mars, a beer a fight ensued between two farm boys. Everyone backed up and gave them lots of room to shove each other around. One of them was thrown onto the hood of Eugene’s little wagon and with a loud thud Eugene’s fog of denial finally lifted enough to see that this was not our crowd and he would have a permanent dent on his hood. He was terrified of fighting, a dance off would have been more his style, so he gave me the look that said “Get in!” and I we escaped.

A few months later, I decided to break up with him. I was driving on a busy freeway and he burst into tears after I dropped the bomb. He claimed he could not go on and crumbled to the floorboard, resting his head on the seat and sobbing. I knew right then that I had made the correct decision. Four years later, after my first marriage and consecutive divorce, I called him up. I was curious and plus I owed him an apology for being such a bitch. I could hardly recognize him at the door. He was 25 pounds heavier (in the belly and face), his lovely curly locks were slicked back and thin. He presented a 4-pack of Bartles and James for the sake of good old times. He was selling used cars in the worst part of town.

There was a look of anger and hope on his face, a strange mix that I did not know what to do with, I knew instinctively that he was not my crowd anymore. I got him to leave while he still had two bottles left in the cardboard holder.

In writing this essay, I researched him on the internet and there were two people with his unusual full name; one was a doctor and the other was a convicted felon with multiple convictions. I have my vote locked in. Although this is a sad story for him, it’s a great lesson for you … follow your gut, its never wrong. Case closed.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Most Important Video of the Year

I was at a party recently and announced that I would perform an egg trick. Its amazing. Its perfect. Its going to change the way you think about hard boiled eggs. What is also amazing is how horrible I look in this video. I swear to God, I don't know who put the ugly lens on my video camera, but I should sue somebody. At least I'm wearing my Obama shirt.

Its alarming because I walk around feeling okay about myself most of the time. I sometimes even feel sort of pretty. Then the veil of denial is lifted when I see a picture of myself and I think "What the hell? Is that what I look like when I'm not posing in front of the mirror?" Because let's face it, who looks into the mirror without just a little pose? I've caught everyone doing it, especially at the gym. We suck in our guts, throw out our chests, and perhaps give our hair a little lusty toss. But you and I don't really look that good. We look like this video. Plain and ordinary. Like I said, at least I'm wearing my Obama shirt.
video

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Let Love Win - Vote No on 8

Let’s say, for the sake of consideration, that your child is gay and will thereby grow-up to be a gay grown-up who wants and deserves equality and human rights. My nephew is one of those people. When he was five, he would wrap himself up in sheets fashioned to look like evening gowns and sashay around as if there was a runway competition in the living room. He’d love to pretend he was me. Aunt Sharon. I was so honored and I was 17.

One day the little kids from the neighborhood discovered a new word: “Faggot.” I know this because my nephew came inside sobbing “They said I’m a faggot! What’s a faggot?” I was so angry I felt like throwing rocks at the little bastards, but instead, we just stayed inside and played.

Voting Yes on 8 is like that day all over again, but in grown-up world. I don’t understand any objections to gay marriage. I’ve tried to see the other side and to empathize but I still just don’t get it. I mean, are people afraid that someone’s going to make them be gay? Are they afraid their kids might “turn” gay? If so, that probably can be handled in a therapists’ office, not the ballot box.

Someday American’s will look back on these days of gay prejudice with shame and disgrace as we do when we recall outlawing interracial marriages once upon a time.

Monday, October 27, 2008

PMS Hospital Plans

I’m writing myself mysterious notes. For instance, the other day I wrote on my calendar “Pick-up piano.” Its impossible for me to go pick-up a piano! I could not recall writing that cryptic message, why I wrote it, or any recollection at all. I really thought I was going nuts and that I perhaps purchased a piano in some kind of weird sober black-out. As it turned out, it was my turn to pick-up the carpool girl at her piano lesson that day.

Just now, I pulled up the document with my stories and the first line at the top of the page read “Feeling a little depressed, are we?” It was like God was in my computer, or something! I swear I don’t remember writing that, but I must have this morning and guess what? I really am depressed. Its mostly hormonal, but has an extra sprinkle of gloomy weather on it. Therefore, I’m just eating voraciously. In bed, of course. I just finished off a giant bowl of BBQ chips and Cheddar Chex Mix. When I just typed that I felt a little sick, but when I was throwing it into my face hole, I really thought it was helping me.

I’m on strike. I’m not doing anything I’m supposed to be doing. Everything on my mental “to do” list is not as important as me going insane. I’m mentally folding my arms and sticking my tongue out at my commitments, declaring “I won’t do it!” Its not that I want to be mean, it’s just that I cannot bear to be helpful to anyone right now. I think its best for me to stay inside and away from vulnerable human beings.

When I was at the *hospital the other day, I was casually noticing patients being wheeled around in their hospital gowns. Some had little blankets on their laps. Some had flowers and balloons that they were taking home. Each had a handler with them, a nurse or someone who was looking after them. Just making sure they didn’t fall out of their chair, or need another shot of Demerol. I wanted to be them so badly that I felt a little sorry for myself for being so healthy. They looked so cared for and I’m just expected to prop myself up and make it through life everyday. Then I found out that my husband’s co-worker’s wife is dying. They’re taking her off life support and saying good-bye. Now I feel even worse, because I realize what a selfish, ungrateful person I am.

That’s when I decided there should be a specialized PMS hospital for people like me, healthy as a horse, but needing to be a patient just for a couple of days. I don’t want to be sick or anything like that. I just want people to come and visit me, bring me flowers, and sneak treats in for me. I’m never too old for the electric bed either; knees up – knees down; head up – head down. Sigh.

I would shuffle down the hallway in my little hospital booties and a peek-a-boo nightgown and the nurse would come up to me and gently say “Its been a long day, better go lay down some more. I’ll bring you some decaf in a minute, honey.” I could catch-up on my reading because no one would expect anything of me because Jesus Christ, I’m in the HOSPITAL aren’t I?!

I would even appreciate the hospital food, because it comes on that shiny tray with the different size squares and rectangles. Neatly placed in each and every hole is something individually wrapped and never touched by human hands: Broth, Jello, cracker, juice. I really need someone to bring me a tray of food in bed today, I don’t care how horrible it is, because it’s really the thought that counts, although a Big Mac would be super thoughtful.

My special PMS hospital will have a ward just for men like my husband who, no matter what he says in the next three days, will be on the shit end of a shit stick with me. There will be big giant screen tvs and each and every husband will have their own remote control that they can carry around and even sleep with if they want to. There will be beef, chicken, pork, and brontosaurus ribs. Each fart will be welcomed with a boisterous cheer from the ward; and at night each one will get a hand-job from the nurse and then they can roll over and go to sleep.

Wow, maybe I’m not so totally selfish after all.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Kick'n Up My Heels!


Yesterday I had to take another trip to the doctor’s office . Don’t presume that I’m a hypochondriac. I’m not. I’m a woman. We HAVE to go at least once a year. That’s why its called an “annual” boys and girls.

I dreaded it more than usual and cancelled three appointments before I finally ran out of excuses. When I walked in they shuffled me off to the weigh-in scale conveniently located in a major thoroughfare so that everyone can hear how much I weigh (with all of my clothes on!). That’s when I spotted Lydia, an old friend from the last town I lived in. By the look of her clipboard, she must work there, although I’ve had an ongoing fantasy about walking around “off-limits” places with just a clipboard and a serious look on my face and getting away with it. But Lydia has never been that type of a person, so I believe she actually does work there. We made quick small talk and I was moved into the exam room.

I wonder if Lydia thought I was there for a disgusting STD or something. What if she thinks I have vaginitus, whatever that is, it sounds horrible. The nurse walks in and I compliment her on her frock. I tell her “If I was a nurse, I would wear that” but of course, I’m not a nurse, I’m a patient and they’ve already picked out my paper outfit for me. When she opened the paper gown armoire, I noticed different shades of blue and different size square piles. She seemed to know exactly what to pull out for me. “Here’s the top and here’s the bottom, please strip down to your socks.”

I’m not too sure about the size she selected for me because the top is a big giant square and the bottom is simply a long tablecloth. Who does she think she is? I know for sure she’s just given me a tablecloth. Who were the other shades of blue for? Are they secret signals to the doctor? Does the doctor walk in and know exactly what kind of a woman she’s dealing with based on the shade of blue?

Example:
Light Blue: Hypochondriacs and Whiners
Bright Blue: Sluts and Skanks
Dark Blue: Unstable Crack Addicts

The next time I am provided with a tablecloth for clothing, I’ll turn it into a Project Runway assignment. I’ve found a great instructional website so that I can learn how to wrap my own sari so the next time I visit the doctor, he’ll know exactly what kind of woman he’s dealing with. Not just some run-of-the-mill light blue tablecloth patient.

As I wait there for the next thirty minutes, I’m noticing all their free literature. This is the kind of stuff they never have out in the waiting room because who’s going to run over to a stack of Urinary Confidence Group – The Key to Successful Bladder Control pamphlets and shout “Hey! Look over here Mary, I’m totally going to this!” There is a flyer for laser treatments with a discount coupon. I’m skeptical about a cosmetic surgeon that accepts coupons.

I see there is a metal tray on wheels that has been prepared for the doctor and me. On it is a giant swizzle stick, a tube of Surgilube, and a bottle labeled “Cytology Fixative Poison.” What the hell is going to happen here? I lie back on the crackly paper table and stretch out my legs straight, sort of practice my position. I feel my back crack down low and I’m relieved for a moment and then I remember that the peace will end soon when Dr. M enters the room.

I look to the ceiling for distraction but there’s nothing in this exam room but an acoustic ceiling. I think they should put some kind of puzzle or word-find up there to keep my mind off the work at hand. This would have been a great place to bring my iPod.

Dr. M comes in and gives me a warm handshake. For which I’m relieved because a cold handed gynecologist is nightmare, right ladies? He pokes around, takes things on and off the tray while I’m trying to avert my eyes, I practice my breathing, and after some small talk and a couple of laughs, its over. He declares me “normal” and exits the exam room.

As I got dressed I felt like a little piece of me was missing or maybe slightly exploited. So I looked around to see if anything would make me feel better. That’s when I found this big giant Q-tip and just had to have it. I didn’t consider this theft because I plan on bringing in my old magazines next time I visit. I dropped it in my purse and felt like we were even.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My Bubble

I’m not sure, but I might be a little neurotic about space issues. In my daughter's pre-school they taught her about having a bubble around each person and if you get too close, you might pop their bubble. Kids have weird space perception. Have you ever seen them stand in a line? Its like they’re in the noodle line in Hong Kong or something.

The other day I was in an x-ray waiting room. There were plenty of seats from which to choose. Why oh why would someone have to plant themselves in the chair directly next to me? Isn’t there some kind of rule about leaving one empty seat between you and a stranger? I have wide shoulders and unless I want to play some kind of junior high version of petting, I’ll have to be the one to slouch my shoulders, because it's always me that has to. Who designed those stadium-style chairs anyway? They all connect side-by-side and they leave about 2” between each chair. Unless we all turn sideways at the same time, we’re never going to fit!

I was there having my back x-rayed. It’s probably due to years and years of trying to squeeze into ill fitting chairs that were probably designed in 1950 when Americans were the size of human beings and not small horses like we are today. I’m speaking for myself of course. Slouching and curving, crossing and tucking every part of my body so that I don’t touch any weird strangers. Speaking of weird strangers, of course that’s who sits next to me because I am the Weirdo Magnet .

He was probably about 45 years old and looked a little disheveled, but also a little wealthy (you can always tell by the shoes). He flops his ass down and gives a really audible sigh. He waits a few more minutes and then he sighs again and looks in my direction. I know exactly what he’s doing; he wants me to engage in a conversation with him, about him. He wants me to say to him “Wow, you look really awful, are you okay? Is there anything I can get you? Perhaps a daiquiri or a crutch or a band-aid?” He needs someone to understand how he’s feeling and what’s going on in his life. He needs sympathy. Well, sir, you’ve chosen the wrong seat for that. I once heard an old guy say “Go and look up sympathy in the dictionary; it’s in between ‘shit’ and ‘syphilis’! My sentiments, exactly.

He keeps up this pathetic attempt for attention for 20 minutes, but I’m an asshole and I’m still pissed off that he even sat in the chair next to me. Another patient checked in and the nurse asked her if she had been fasting for 24 hours like they told her to. Weakly she muttered “yes.” I wanted to nudge the big baby next to me and say “Now there’s someone who’s really suffering. So suck it up, Mary, you’ll have your vagina x-rayed soon enough.”

I had to go to the pharmacy that day too. There’s always a long line. The back and forth kind like in Disneyland. We can only go as fast as they call “next” so I don’t understand why the woman behind me has to get all up in my ass. There’s plenty of room to leave for good manners and considering that this is a hospital pharmacy, I would consider this an especially important place to reserve real estate between people. But nope. I can feel her breathing so I move up. She moves up. I move up. She moves up. So I start rocking back and forth like I have a baby and she doesn’t budge. Then I start fake coughing to mimic a patient with a rare disease that’s becoming airborne. But she just stayed there. I consider this harassment and decided to confront it. So I just turned around really abruptly and looked her dead on in the face. Making it super obvious that there’s only 2” between her nose and mine. Bringing forth the imposition this has presented in my life. I just stared. It was unnerving for both of us, but I held on. She quickly lost her battle and I won the war.

For days like these, I want to buy a jacket with porcupine quills on it and shove garlic cloves in my pockets. I want to flail my arms around and swat at pretend flying insects. I want to have a big bean lunch with extra broccoli. Maybe I should just stay home.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Size is Relative

Until I hit my 30s, I was officially “skinny”. I was called “Skinny Little Bitch” on more than just a few occasions from some of my larger acquaintances, a weird way of complimenting me I suppose. Assuming that this style of compliment is acceptable, I shouted “You big fat whore!” to a woman in a parking lot who almost ran over my son one day. Strangely, she did not find this flattering and took another lap around the parking lot in order to flip me the finger, which I graciously replied in kind. That’s when I noticed this nice daddy right next to me. He had an alarmed look on his face and was quickly shuffling his children into their SUV to be safely away from the “Crazy Lady.” I felt a little embarrassed and shouted “Sorry!” but mostly I felt good just to let it out. Sorry kids. This event took place in my neighborhood grocery store parking lot and I’ll just bet that every time that daddy sees me, he ducks down and whispers to the other parents in the elementary school parking lot the story of the woman with Tourette Syndrome.

Tell me why Skinny Little Bitch is more acceptable than Big Fat Whore? There are a lot of skinny haters out there. I have a dear friend who just had a baby and she was in great shape for the entire pregnancy, so she naturally snapped back into shape about four weeks after she had her little baby. Well, this just drove 90% of the female population around here crazy with jealousy. Not me, though. Perhaps it’s because of the gift she gave me.

She called me one day to see if I’d like some of her old pants she can’t wear anymore. Well, I just love her style and I’ve had some luck with her hand-me-downs before. So I said “sure.” Then she muttered her confession that these were actually her maternity pants. “What? You cannot expect me to wear your maternity pants!” She assured me that they did not look like maternity pants and she insisted that I at least try them on. When she brought them over that afternoon, I was skeptical. There was one pair that had an honest-to-God stretchy panel in front. “Jesus Christ! There is no way I’ll wear these.” Then she pleaded and pressed my vanity button. “Please, just try them on, they’ll look great on you.” I begrudgingly agreed just to prove her wrong. To my horror and astonishment, she was right. I didn’t want to keep them but they just made my butt look so great and I cannot pass up that opportunity no matter what. Plus, if I roll down the stretchy panel in front, it just feels so soft and supportive. They are now my official PMS/Eating pants. I think they’d also make great hiking pants, because I could just carry all kinds of stuff in there like a water bottle, iPod, keys, sandwich, spare socks, ad infinitum. I can also tuck my shirt inside and pull the panel way up to my bra and I look like this schizophrenic woman who used to walk around downtown on Thorazine.

A couple of years ago, when I visited Hungary and France, that’s when I became fully aware of being a freaky giant. I’m not kidding either, I’m 5’10” and I was soaring over all the men by at least half a baguette. I brought with me only two pairs of shoes: high-heeled boots that made me 6' tall and a pair of running shoes. Both of these shoes only heightened my insecurities about being a big oaf. When I walked through the streets, I felt like there should be a kettle drum behind me … Boom, boom, Boom, boom! In Europe, gym shoes are for the gym. Otherwise, you look like a big dorky American tourist with no class or style with your jeans and sneakers. It’s sort of the equivalent of wearing acid wash jeans and a Members Only jacket to an opera.

I was planning on buying a pair of European shoes upon my arrival. That would be my “treat” for my feet. In these two countries the customer service is not what we’re used to here. In America, we are practically offered hand-jobs just for walking through the front door. “Hi, I’m Mandy and if you have any questions or need any help with sizes, or colors, or fabrics, or washing, or cooking, or anything – anything at all, I’ll help you. Just please God, ask for me by name because I’m the one who greeted you and DON’T forget my name. M.A.N.D.Y. Here’s my card, my cell phone number, and my picture in case you forget what I look like by the time you get to the counter. Don’t forget, that’s Mandy rhymes with ‘Candy’ hee hee hee!”

I walked into a Paris shoe store with my hidious jeans and sneakers. I probably had spinach in my teeth and a piece of toilet paper coming out of the top of my pants too. I weighed more than I’d ever weighed, except during pregnancy. The saleswoman was a beautiful petite French woman with tussled black hair and a couture pantsuit. She looked at me as if I’d tracked dog shit into her store. A total possibility since there are no laws or manners about picking up your dog’s shit in France.

In America, women will look me up and down in order to determine who's the alpha. In Paris, they looked me up and down in order to keep their distance so that they wouldn't catch my ickyness. I used my fingers to tell her what size I wear. I held up four fingers on my left hand, and two fingers on my right. Size 42, that’s 10 in America. She sniffed the air and pointed toward the men’s department. I felt so ashamed of myself, like I’d just asked for creme for a scorching case of ass herpes or something. Store after store I searched for shoes that would help me feel less like the star of a monster movie but guess what? They don’t make shoes for gargantuan women in France, or Hungary for that matter.

When I returned back to America and complained about feeling like Big Bird in France, my husband suggested that next time I travel to Germany where people are large. So, you see its not what size you wear, its simply that you might be in the wrong country. I'll be packing my maternity hiking pants.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Women are Suckers for Little Things

I love little things. All women do. We’re wired for it. It doesn’t matter what kind of little thing it is, just as long as it’s the smaller version of something larger (the exception being penises). Case in point, I was in a run-of-the-mill souvenir shop where I spotted a whole basket of tiny little Tabasco bottles about a half inch tall. I raced over to them and held it up between my thumb and middle finger and smiled. My head tilted to the side, my voice went up an octave and I said “look how cute it is!” I just knew I had to have it. I must take it home with me and make a little home for it. I wished I still had a doll house, and then I could put this little bottle of hot sauce in the pretend pantry. Then I tried to justify the purchase by pretending that I needed a miniscule bottle of Tabasco. The committee inside my head had an informal summit on the matter. It was decided by the Committee on Impulse Buying (CIB) that said bottle was not a timely purchase, as I was not formally planning any miniature Mexican fiestas.

The reason women find such pleasure in miniaturized things is because nature gave most of us this brain germ to trick us into taking care of babies and other needy little things. Baby people, baby animals, baby Tabasco, baby whatever. We’re drawn to babies. We’re such suckers. But what happens when the things get bigger?

I had my first baby 22 years ago, but before you think I’m all old and decrepit, just go take a look in the mirror. You’re no spring chicken either, you know. The first time I held him in the hospital I knew what love really was. There were no more questions in my life like: What am I here for? What’s life all about? How do I know what love is? All of the answers were snuggled in a blanket. Little feet, yellow skin, and big blue eyes. A little miniaturized person and he needed me more than anything.

Twenty-two years later, he’s all grown-up. His eyes are still bright blue, but his feet are size 13. He only needs me sometimes for problems that baffle most adults like, what do I do about insurance, where are my tax forms, and “will you tell me when birthdays are coming up?” But last week I got a call in the middle of the night from his girlfriend. They were in the E.R. and he had fluid on his brain. I knew the moment she said “emergency room” that I was going to get on an airplane and be with him. I had to. He was my little bottle of Tabasco and I simply had to have him with me.

By the time I got there, he had been released and diagnosed with Viral Meningitis and a hernia. Thank God it wasn’t bacterial meningitis, which is deadly. I stayed with them both and reminded him to take his pills. I also had other important jobs like making sure they remembered to take their rental movies back because $3.00 is $3.00 buddy! I bought them both a pair of winter boots, because you can’t go traipsing around Alaska in sneakers in October! But mostly, I was just there. I needed to be there just in case. I needed to be there for him and her. I needed to be there because, no matter how big he grows, he still needs me sometimes.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT TELEPHONE CALL

When you get a call at 1:17am from out of state and its your son’s girlfriend saying “Sean’s in the hospital and they’re doing a spinal tap” I might make some “Do” and “Don’t” suggestions:

Should Do:

Get the name of the hospital, just in case the cell phone batteries die and you have no idea where the hell they are.

Make coffee, you’ll be up anyway.

Find a quiet place to receive your multitude of telephone calls and bring your favorite blanket and new robe that your husband got you because he’s nice.

Be calm (at least while you’re on the phone) you can freak out when you hang up.

Plan to fly there immediately, even if you cannot.

Pray. Hard.

Eat chicken taquitos and diet coke for breakfast. You'll feel better.

Call your bitches (aka supportive friends who know just the right thing to say).

Act like you’re making rational decisions when speaking with your husband about flying out that very minute.

Start some laundry, because heaven knows you’ve waited until the last minute AGAIN and the luggage sniffing dogs would surely find your period panties and bark like crazy to alert everyone in line that there is a homicidal slasher boarding the plane.

Should Not Do:

Don’t try and catch up on your sleep with a nap, as your mind will go places you never want to wander.

Don’t look up “fluid on brain” on the computer.

Don’t book a flight, just yet.

Don’t say scary things to the girlfriend because she’ll freak out too.

Don’t try and do math (this always applies to me).

Don’t forget to pray. Hard.



Here’s a quote from DrewBacca.com that spells it all out for me:

“ … dealing with some very sad family news. Its been very difficult to want to write anything funny.

Sometimes I wish I were back in second grade. Making people laugh was so effortless back then. All I had to do was stand on a chair in my classroom and say “Penis farts!” and I’d have people doubled-over screaming “Bravo!”, “Brilliant!” and “Get this man another chocolate milk!” But sadly, I’m somewhat of a grown-up now, and that material doesn’t fly so well. […] thanks or being patient with me.

Penis farts.”

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The First Triathlon - Part II



The continuation and finale of my two part series (read Part I first)
THE RUN

I had what I perceived to be at the time a moment of clarity. I had a stern talk with cheerleaders in my head “You’re wrong about me and you’ve been lying this whole time! You almost killed me in the swim portion, Jesus H. Christ, what’s your trip? Then, as if hanging off a lifeguard’s surfboard isn’t humiliation enough, then I get passed by old people, large people, and anything else on two wheels. The only thing I passed was the dead raccoon in the middle of the road. I’m a failure and I hate this triathlon. I’ll be happy when it’s all over because this was the biggest mistake, in public, that I’ve ever made.” So all the voices in my head that once said “You can do it - it's gonna be easy” and “It’s not about winning, it’s about finishing” walked off the job and probably went into someone else’s head where they’d be appreciated for once.

My legs felt like poorly fitting prosthetics and denied me anything but a slow draggy swagger. I looked like a drunken cowboy walking uphill in sand. Since all the cheerleaders in my head were on strike and pissed off that I was so hard on them – after all, they were just trying to help, I had nothing left to make me go. I just moved forward because I was too tired to figure out what else to do. I was in the pack mentality and I forged ahead. But inside my head there was a dimly lit “vacancy” sign.

After a quarter mile of playing the part of Zombie #8 in Night of the Living Dead, I realized that if a jogged I could end this horrible day faster. I passed a couple of tables with lovely people handing out water and power drinks to the zombies/participants. I passed signs that See Jane Run had hung upon the trees, very inspirational quotes from people like Eleanor Roosevelt, I just love her. There were the official motivators that were clapping and cheering and helping us not get lost. All these people held me up when I was empty. They told me I could do it and then, to my astonishment, my interior cheerleaders put down the strike signs, picked-up their pom-poms and walked back on the job and said “You know what, Sharon? This is getting easy and you’re running pretty fast. See all those people your passing? I think you’re going to make it!”

I ran for a while and then slowed down for a fast paced walk. A woman I don’t know went gliding past me and as she did she looked over at my worn spirit and said “You’re almost home.” I did feel close to home, not the home that I live in, but the home at the finish line and I sprung into a run that lasted the rest of the race. I ran uphill and downhill, which is what I hate the most because it always makes me pee a little. At first I was worried that all the other runners would know, but then I thought “Screw it, man. Am I going to worry about what people think of me – a bunch of total strangers? Or am I going to make this the best leg of the race?” So I went for it while the little sprinkler in my pants gently sprayed the ground behind me.

THE FINISH LINE

I could see the Finish Line and hear the cheers of the crowd. This made me run a little faster until I approached the last four official motivators and they were yelling “Only 200 more yards to go!” As I passed them and looked toward the Finish Line, I noted two women between me and the ultimate goal. I said out loud “Watch me beat those two women up there”. I put my 34” legs into full speed ahead, tucked my head down and approached them for the pass, but just as I was about to pull ahead, one of them spotted me and the race was on. We were neck and neck and just as we were about to cross the Finish Line I pulled in front and won.

I have yet to receive my Finish Line photo, but I’m afraid it will tell the whole ugly story. We’ll see what the expression on our faces will portray. I’m pretty sure I’m horrible – I can’t wait!

I completed the race in 1:35:25:3! Why so proud? Because I met my two goals: 1) finish the race and 2) beat Gina (1:38:09:7). That’s right race fans; I beat the toughest woman I know. She has kicked my ass in a lot of other departments:
1) Style and Grooming
2) Income
3) Education
4) Bad-Ass-ness
5) Math skills
6) a lot of other crap …

But on this day, I won.

BECOME A T.W.A.T. ("Tough Women Are Triathletes")

You must first understand what we are. We are women who are not afraid to try. We hold each other up and cheer each other on. We don’t allow anyone to embarrass us, we insist on embarrassing ourselves. We want other women to laugh with us along the way. We want fun.

You must also know what we are not. We are not serious athletes; we’re just plain people with hang-ups and foibles, and special gifts. We are not bad people just because we shout “Go TWAT!” and we’re not forcing you to join us. But if you want to be a T.W.A.T. you just have to do a few things:
1. Try to do a race. Any race.
2. Don’t be afraid to wear a T.W.A.T. t-shirt
3. Support other women in their goals and dreams
4. No whining or making excuses

FINALLY

I would like to send my love and gratitude to all the T.W.A.T.s for making me try harder and commit to something that I almost bailed out on, but I just couldn’t let down my team by quitting. Now I’m hooked and so are they. We are all looking forward to our next Triathlon.

Thank you to See Jane Run for making this a celebration of phenomenal women. The participants were 8 to 70 years old, and they ranged from high-ranking athletes to women kind of like us. There were the Super Jane girls in the hero costumes and they were so awesome. All of the employees and volunteers were completely into it. I wish I could be that charitable, but I’m more of a “taker” than a “giver.”

Thank you to our loyal and loving T.W.A.T. supporters which consist of our husbands who were proud of us and encouraged us to do it. Our children, who set an example for us every day just by their very existence. My best friend in the world, Kathy, who showed up and cheered me on just like she has for the last 25 years. And all our friends and enemies because we just had to prove to you all that we could do it.

And we did.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The First Triathlon - Part I


I'm not the cute #273, she's "Hot Lips". I'm the one 5" taller than everyone else who looks like a dude.

My car pulls up and stops on my driveway and waits for the garage door to open. I flop out like a flaccid penis from a pair of briefs. I’m dirty, hungry, and so tired that I cannot imagine anything but laying on the couch and watching Abbott and Costello for the next 24 hours. My family gleefully bounds from the house to greet me and hear all about Mom’s first real triathlon.

I hold up my Super Jane medal strung on the red ribbon around my neck and smile. My 7-year old looks impressed and asks if I was first, second, or third. I was 642nd, no lie. There were 785 participants, so that puts me pretty low. Even though this is exactly what I would have expected, there was a secret little voice in my head the whole time I trained. It said “Hey, what if you got first place?” I know that’s completely impossible considering there are real, live athletes competing, but I just couldn’t help it.

I always believe I can do anything. This mentality is described as Optimistic or Stupid, depending on what kind of person is doing the evaluation. That’s why I almost died in the first leg.

THE SWIM
We were to swim 400 yards in open water which is pretty scary. You might be surprised at how many people asked if I’d be able to touch the bottom. So I trained more on my swimming than my bike or run. By the triathlon, I was swimming well beyond 400 yards without resting (or touching) and this led me to believe that not only could I do it, but that it would be easy for me.

Prior to the triathlon, experienced triathletes warned me to swim behind the pack and to the outside and I heard them. I believed them. Until I got in the water and said to myself “shit, this is no sweat.” The horn blew and we all started running through the gushy mucky lake bed until we were deep enough to start swimming. I was with all the T.W.A.Ts “Tough Women Are Triathletes” except for some of the youngsters (under 40) who decided to go in the previous wave.

By the time we were one-fourth through the water course, I was in what has been referred to as “the washing machine.” This is when you’re getting kicked in the face, squished on both sides, and run over from behind. There was nowhere to go and I lost my stroke and thereby lost my breath. I could not tread water, float on my back, or side stroke to rest, as I had previously planned on doing. I was being pulled down into the abyss. That’s when I spotted the lifeguard on the surfboard floating on the sidelines. She had four swimmers hanging from her board. I needed desperately to reach her, but it was like trying to swim though an elevator full of people; they just wouldn’t move. That’s when I started shouting “I’VE GOT TO GET TO THE OUTSIDE! I’VE GOT TO GET TO THE OUTSIDE” and I just plowed through the bunch of them like a lawnmower. What could I do?

I felt like giving up. I didn’t think I could finish and I was going to ask one of the lifeguards to disqualify me. That’s when I remembered how much money I sank into this. How much work I put into this. And, most importantly, how many people I talked into doing this. I couldn’t let down the T.W.A.T.s. So, after resting, then swimming, then resting again, then swimming some more, I approached the beach. I kept lowering my legs to, please God, touch the bottom. Finally I felt the familiar soft gush wrapping around my toes and I started to walk to the beach. Then I remembered that my next leg was the bike ride, but I needed to pee first. I continued to walk toward the shore and pee as fast as I could. But before I new it I looked like a Russian dancer all squatted down and stepping forward. So, to use a manly reference, I pinched it off.

I found my “Transition Area.” This is where my bike, helmet, towel, and rubber poop is. I brought my rubber poop in order to mark my territory. I guess it worked because nobody took anything. I had two transition neighbors; one of them thought it was pointless and stupid. The other one laughed and said “good one”. I think these two women accurately represent most people’s opinion of me. As I slopped up like the creature from the black lagoon on heroine, I see Nellie standing there waiting and smiling. I wasn’t sure if she was waiting for me, but we got on our gear and our bikes and headed out.

THE RIDE

I start off on the road, Nellie in front as usual, but then we heard a weird clicking from her bike and she had to pull over. I rode right past her and shouted “good luck!” It did not take me but about four pedals to realize some things. This is the order in which I realized them:
1. I should stop and help her
2. I am no help, because I’m bike-stupid
3. She was waiting for me in the transition area so we could ride together
4. This is a race, not a day at the park
5. I am a selfish bitch and very competitive, too

By the time I’ve processed these five facts, I’ve rode too far past her and its impossible to turn around. Luckily before too long she comes clicking up behind me and happily passes me. So does everyone else in my wave. Then comes the next wave and they pass me too. Because they’ve written our ages on the backs of our calves I’m fully aware that 60 year-old women are passing me now. This was probably karma for leaving Nellie on the side of the road like a bad date. Between the swim/drown and my biking skills, I’m officially getting my ass kicked.

We started up a really steep hill and I had to stand up on my pedals and grunt out the last few yards. A woman approximately 250 pounds passes me and declares “I’m sure glad I trained for this!” and I wanted to reply “Oh, well I’m really fucking glad too then!” but I didn’t have the breath.

Along the course, there were volunteers to motivate us. Now, while this kind of cheery backslapping happiness would normally make me want to roll my eyes and walk right past, I was so needy of the nourishing support, that I totally bought it. They were mostly college age kids, clapping and yelling “keep going, you’re doing great!” I loved each and every one of them and while most people just passed them by, I said "thank you" to every single one of them. They were like the people I keep in my head that tell me “I can totally do this!” except they weren’t imaginary.

After 11 miles on the bike, I had a full-on bicycle seat episiotomy. It was so sore down there that I’d lost all feeling. I rode the streets wondering if all the other women felt the same way or if, perhaps, I was special. Maybe my vagina was more fragile and bony. I would like to think of myself as very delicate down there, so I imagined that I was in more pain than anyone else.

When I got off the bike, my legs stopped working and I shouted to the cheering crowd around the gate “Where’s my legs? My legs are gone!?” I hobbled like a 10-month old baby toward the Transition Area for the last leg of the race.

…. Tomorrow I’ll continue with THE RUN and THE FINISH and supply pictures of the T.W.A.T.s with some of our favorite T.W.A.T. supporters. You’ll also learn about this marvelous event that, in the end, changed my life and the lives of all the T.W.A.T.s and how you can become a T.W.A.T. too!