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.


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


"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.