Archive for August, 2005

Same Song, Different Day

Tuesday, August 30th, 2005

Mood: Content
Drinking: Snapple

70 times

And to think that my dreams
live on
in your head. I told you
too many secrets.
Caught up in the flush
of brand new acquaintance
the feeling of finding
a matched set of souls.
I trusted you before you asked
and that was my own mistake.
I should have checked
your resume first.

But I swallowed too many
little things, watching you
play to the lights. You
dressed up your insults
to sound just like jokes
and I’m good at laughing
at those. But the punch
lines smacked me straight
in the face. I kept wallet-sized
snapshots to showcase the bruises.

You sounded like Shakespeare
scripting your lines, always
keeping a tear on the tip of your
tongue. But I knew all your words
before your mouth moved.
And whether your sorries
came from your soul
I soon ran short on forgiveness.

I let you crawl under my skin
and gnaw at my nerves,
while I memorized how each
tangled ganglia burned.
Stayed far too long
remembering that
counting my scars and
shoving you back.

So tired now. Of you
and of all of yours,
and I know my bitterness
doesn’t become me.

But my seventy times
ran out long ago
when the date
on our friendship
expired.

-Lo, circa 1998

so let’s be done with this…

Thursday, August 25th, 2005

Mood: older, wiser
Drinking: fountain soda

Her smile, the first time it appears, startles me. It comes without warning. It reminds me of you.

She gave me no clues that she had such a weapon in her possession. Nothing about her suggested it — not the crooked whitestrips teeth, not the shiny Mattel hair, not the suburban manicure or the pink lace bra playing peekaboo with the gaps in her button-down shirt. None of it looked anything like you.

But then she smiled and there you were.

The first time I met you, sullen and sulking in your plus-size, out-dated jeans, there wasn’t a smile anywhere in sight. Your eyes, heavy with silver shadow, didn’t lift from your knees. You chewed the ends of your hair and took up far too much space. I couldn’t decide if the blemish on your right cheek was a birthmark or a bruise. I couldn’t decide if I liked you.

But we were friends a few weeks later. You made sure of that. You asked me to lunch at a Burger King with no drive-thru. We picked at our fries, smeared the ketchup in circles, made awkward conversation, and left. I remember feeling sorry for you, but I can’t remember why.

It didn’t take you long to turn the tables. To ignite that 10,000 watt smile and melt all my reservations. I was so dazzled, I didn’t even think to protest. Or step back to safety.

I dream of you sometimes. We are giggling, conspirator-like, over coffee in a bright cafe. (Actually, it’s not coffee. It’s some other imaginary beverage, since I don’t even like coffee in my sleep.) But we are together. We are friends again. We are fine. We’ve forgotten all the reasons why this will never work.

The dream doesn’t last long. It doesn’t have an ending, either. Just fades away… You would pay for this information, wouldn’t you?

Ah, how you used to shine. The world was less bright when you were away. Less complicated, too. But I didn’t yet know the value of simplicity. So I let you attach me to yourself like a surgically enhanced Siamese twin. We were almost that inseparable.

Remember how they called us “the Twisted Sisters”? Or was that your name for our duo? There was such a stack of lies, I can’t remember which ones were true.

We paraded around as equals in our complementary platform shoes, but I always knew you were the one behind the wheel. You had the agenda, the vision, the ulterior motive. Left to myself, I would have spent all those years at home, buried in fiction. I would never have found my dancing shoes.

Perhaps I should have thanked you for that, for drawing me out, for showing me the world, the ropes, the intricacies of eyebrow waxing the way you did. But it seems now such a small compensation for the damage. And you didn’t do any of it for me, anyway.

You should know that you were the one who first told me you were crazy. It would have taken me so much longer to figure out, on my own. But you showed me the stash of stabilizing drugs in your bedroom closet. You blamed the defect on bad genes, bad parenting, bad luck, bad sex. But you brought it up first ? just so you know the insult is not random. Just to justify my means, in the end.

We were parked in my blue Celica the first time I finally believed you were dangerous. It didn’t start out as an argument, but it ended there, and I was the one with all apologies. You got me to repent of sins not yet committed, to confess to lies never spoken. And you covered your tracks with that smile.

Three times I denied you. Three times you talked your way back in the door. (There was no charm to any of it.)

My friends, the ones who knew you, would be horrified to know that, in spite of it all, I sometimes miss you. (The new friends would worry, too. Oh, they’ve heard some stories.) But they shouldn’t. I’m not dialing information. You could flash that smile all you want, now, but we both know where this would end. We’d both go around the bend. I’d hate you all over again.

I have hated you, yes. It’s no exaggeration this time. I hated you with a far greater fire than I ever used to love you. So I sold all your secrets, mon cherie. I exposed all your lies. I ripped doors from closet hinges and dragged your skeletons into the burning light. I made a public display of all your dirty laundry. For those few frantic months, I would have done anything to ruin your reputation. With mud, with machetes, with malevolence, as if any of it would make it better. As if any of it would make you go away.

I got tired of it, eventually. (Hatred is exhausting, debilitating.) Time and distance make everything look so much smaller. No, time doesn’t heal the wounds, but it certainly takes the edge off.

I don’t know where you live anymore. I don’t know how you’ve made your life. I don’t know which fads you follow or what you have done to your hair. But I’m sure, I’m very sure, that you’ve replaced me.

You’ve got some other girl hooked on your smile and you’re leading her on, mile after mile. And she’ll swallow all your stories (especially the ones about me). She’ll follow until it’s too late.

But I see through it now. It’s been years since I was fooled. And I am taking it back, finally, what you’ve done to me. My very cells are tired of knowing your name. So these are the last words I will write of you. There’s nothing left of you now but a substitute smile.

-Lo, who still has her dancing shoes.

It Will Bite You Back

Friday, August 19th, 2005

Mood: gloom & doom
Drinking: diet coke, sans vanilla

This is a story about how email done me wrong.
(Or, more accurately, how email enables my own tendencies to be an idiot.)

To start with a caveat, I’ll say that I’m one of email’s biggest fans. Since discovering it way back in the 90s when Pearl Jam was over and the Internet was the World Wide Web and the wonder was just beginning to be commonplace, I’ve sent thousands and thousands of little email gems.

It’s the easiest way for phone-o-phobes like myself to stay in touch with friends, far and near. And I’ve become pretty adept at filtering all the cheesy chain letters with frolicking flowers and kitties, the Nigerian fortune scams and the endless offers for oh-so-handy penis enlargement. (The latest one is all personalized: GROWTH4ULADONN.)

But sometimes email makes it too easy for me to be a complete idiot and sometimes even an asshole. There was the time (just this week) I got an email from a friend who had just suffered through a break up. He was letting a select group of friends know what had transpired. And knowing that he was all raw and wronged, I replied with a heartfelt and personal email to let him know I cared. You know, a private long-distance virtual hug between two friends. Except I hit “Reply All” and shared my private heartfelt virtual hug with my friend and all 17 of his friends, most of whom had no idea who I was. A fairly innocuous mistake but annoying nonetheless, because it turned sweet inentions into a cry for attention, all “LOOK AT WHAT A GOOD FRIEND I AM, SENDING THIS TOTALLY NICE MESSAGE. SEE? SEE WHAT GOOD VIBES I AM SENDING! YOU ALL SHOULD DO THE SAME, YOU MISERABLE PRICKS.”

That one wasn’t so bad. But then there was the time that earned me the temporary nickname “Darth LaDonna”. See, there was this girl, way back in the past tense, who used to be a very good friend of mine. And then we had a falling out, for a few good reasons. And then we had a getting back together. And then there was another falling out, for a thousand more reasons. And then a sort of truce. And then a whole lot of not-talking.

Years go by. We now live two thousand miles apart. She sends me an email to get reconnected, an email which includes a scantily-clad photo of herself, which left me mystified. All I could think was that she was trying to show me how skinny and pretty she thought she had become. Skinnier and prettier than me, she hoped. (‘Cuz that’s what ex-girlfriends do.) And I rose to the occasion with a bland and harmless message back to her, very noncommital, because I wasn’t sure how far I should take this whole reconnection thing. But since it was all online, since there was no real voice on the phone, it felt safe and impersonal. I could draw whatever conclusions I wanted from her glamourshot, and I did. And my conclusions were all based on a whole baggage compartment full of dusty hurts and half-forgotten resentments. I assumed the worst.

And I felt the need to share both my confusion and my assumptions with my sister (‘cuz that’s what sisters do). So I forwarded the bizarre photo, with accompanying email from the Ex-Friend, to her. I prefaced it all with a snarky little message making fun of the picture, which was all red lights and wind machine torn t-shirt, like an amateur Maxim shoot. I spent all of 15 seconds writing it. Then I hit “Send”. Which was my 2nd mistake.

My first mistake was that instead of choosing to “Forward” the message, I clicked “Reply.”

Yup. So right on the heels of my bland and vaguely friendly message, Ex-Friend gets a completely snarky, talking-out-the-other-side-of-my-mouth message. The reconnection attempt failed spectacularly, and falling out #3 took all of about 30 seconds.

What a bitch, right?

Not really. Well, sometimes yes. But the thing about email is that it makes bitches out of all of us. In a moment of passion or fervor or rage or vodka-induced-delerium, you bang out these frantic missives, some of them peppered liberally with totally inappropriate sentiments (“I used to be in love with you.”) or completely uncalled for epithets (“motherfucker” comes to mind) or ill-advised confidences (“What the hell is she thinking? I’m, like, totally not sinking to her level.”) or whatever. And you don’t even re-read it for spelling errors before you hit Send and it’s gone.

Then before you blink twice, you’re in the midst of a shitstorm that could have been avoided, god, so easily! Just by picking up the phone and talking instead. Just by writing a good old-fashioned stamp-required letter. Just by waiting ’til the sun came up. Just by waiting.

And you know what’s even more mystifying about all of this? We try to fix it all with more emails. More emails that will get misconstrued and misunderstood and sent ahead for non-involved parties to misinterpret and malign. And it just never ends.

Of course, I’ll never stop writing emails. I wouldn’t know how to go back to just paper and pen. But I’m well aware of the cost, these days.

Somehow it doesn’t seem to matter, though. I just pay the toll and keep on rolling, fingers flying, down that information superhighway.

-Lo, who thinks if anyone’s gonna call me a Bitch I should at least get to earn the title, first.

The Numbers It Takes to Get Through a Day

Thursday, August 11th, 2005

Mood: Jaded
Drinking: Caffeine with flattened fizz

Number of diet cokes consumed before noon: 2. Number consumed after noon: 3. Number of times the alarm clock goes off before I actually get out of bed: 2. Number of times throughout the day I wish I was back in bed: 73. Number of times per year I call in sick because I want to stay in bed: 1. Number of jobs held since age 15: 28. Number of jobs held since age 15 that involved the handling of fast food: 2. Number of jobs that required the handling of horses: 1.

Number of jobs fired from: 0. Number of jobs quit with no notice: 2. Number of jobs laid off from during dot com bust: 4. Number of friends made on the job that are still a part of my life: 7. Number of jobs held that required selling of soul: 2. Number of jobs that paid less than $5 per hour: 3. Number of jobs that required uniform: 2. Number of promotions received: 3. Number of degrees received: 2.

Number of professors whose asses were kissed (figuratively) along the way: 6. Number of professors whose asses were kissed in a more literal way: 0. Number of professors whose asses I thought about kissing, but didn’t: 1. Number of mortarboards worn: 2. Number of framed degrees hanging on walls of office: 0. Number of pictures of Angelina Jolie hanging on walls of office: 5.

Number of offices inhabited that actually had doors: 3. Number of cubicles inhabited: 9. Number of cubicles and/or offices decorated within an inch of life: 8. Number of times co-workers have felt the need to comment on decorated cubicles and/or offices: 5,348. Number of times I have been asked to decorate some one else’s cube: 43. Number of times complied with request: 0.

Number of co-workers snogged: 3. Number of times alcohol was involved: 1. Number of times co-worker snogging was good idea: 1. Number of times amount of hair on co-worker’s chest rendered me speechless: 1. Number of ice-cream cones sold while on the job: 973. Number of cones sold that were cherry-dipped: 38. Number of cherry-dipped cones consumed by self while on the job: 23.

Number of pounds gained from consumption of ice-cream while on the job: 7. Number of pounds gained from consumption of french fries while on the job: 11. Number of times wished for trust fund so work would no longer be necessary: 15,356. Number of children babysat: 3. Number of bosses’ children that have run unchecked through the office: 8. Number of children I have thought about tripping as they run unchecked through the office: 8. Number of children actually tripped: 0.

Number of co-workers who have fainted while on the job: 1. Number of co-workers who have engaged in long-winded discussions of the previous night’s Buffy episodes: 6. Number of co-workers who have sent me photos of themselves with Buffy star: 1. Number of hours per day actually spent working, on average: 5. Number of hours billed per day: 8.

Number of sour candies consumed throughout workday, on average: 58. Number of times I bring my lunch to work each week: 0. Number of salads eaten for lunch per week: 3. Number of burritos: 1. Number of cigarettes smoked on the job: 39. Number of times cigarette smoke was actually inhaled: 1. Number of movies seen during lunch hours: 13. Number of times caught: 0. Number of times boss went along for the movie: 1.

Number of weekdays motorcycle is ridden to work instead of car: 4. Number of times forced to work on PC instead of Mac: 2. Number of times bitched about it: 42. Number of times PC replaced with Mac: 1. Number of ugly dolls hanging out on desk: 1. Number of night shifts worked: 120. Number of boys flirted with on night shifts: 1. Number of dates resulting from said flirting: 1.

Number of Halloween costumes worn to work: 3. Number of prizes won for wearing costume: 1. Number of times dog went to work dressed up for Halloween: 2. Number of jobs embarrassed to tell friends about: 3. Number of dirty phone calls received from strangers while at work: 2. Number of boobs seen on the job: 3 sets.

Number of jobs worked for a drunk: 1. Number of bosses who slept with co-workers: 2. Number of co-workers who knew about affair: 193. Number of resumes distributed: 2,333. Number of jobs gotten through craigslist.org: 5. Number of jobs with “writer” in the title: 12.

Number of music videos shot for job: 1. Number of “rock stars” met while on video shoot: 4. Number of times required to apply makeup for rock star b/c makeup artist was missing: 1. Number of states worked in: 5. Number of pairs of shoes purchased on payday: 37. Number of paydays: 425. Number of times I left before quitting time: 339. Number of times I felt bad about it: 302.

Number of paperclips stolen from work: 887. Number of post-it notepads: 21. Number of pens: 355. Number of hours spent bitching to coworkers: 96. Number of meetings attended: 2,498. Number of useful meetings attended: 201. Number of co-worker birthday cake “surprise” parties during the lunch hour: 32. Number of times participated in singing of “happy birthday” song to coworker: 0. Number of times I just stopped by for cake: 29.

Number of newsrooms worked in: 4. Number of stories written on deadline: 79. Number of times stories appeared on front page, above the fold: 18. Number of times my photo appeared on the front page, above the fold: 1. Numbers of fan letters received: 83. Numbers of fan letters that were actually hate mail: 12.

Number of times boss was a woman: 7. Number of times boss was a man: 21. Number of unused business cards thrown out: 4,232. Number of bathroom stalls I’ve cried in while at work: 6. Number of times anybody at work knew I was crying: 0. Number of horrible Christmas parties attended: 4. Number of fun Christmas parties: 2.

Number of sexual harassment charges reported to HR: 1. Number of suits purchased for interviews: 2. Number of interview suits still in my closet: 0. Number of times career has changed: 2. Number of years left before retirement: 33. Number of people at current job who know about this web site: 1.

-Lo, getting back to work now.

Five Fine Chicks

Thursday, August 4th, 2005

Mood: Can I go home yet?
Drinking: Wishing

Time’s up.

I’ve got my five (see the preview post if you’re all, “huh?”). Here goes, in order of arrival:

#1. VICTORIA

Bit of random:
I wanna take you shopping for some really tall, really tight, really scandalous platform boots.
Musical:
When I listen to AC/DC singin’ Highway to Hell, I think of you.
Soup:
Definitely chicken dumpling. I would totally wrestle with you amid hunks of soggy dumpling dough.
Alias:
You should change your name to “Inara Serra”.
Memories:
You said, “fucked-up view of God” in your very first email to me. You had me at hello.
Animal:
You remind me of a raven.
Question:
Did you ever want to punch Laura Ingalls Wilder’s lights out?

#2. PAMELA, A.K.A. ELIZABETH

Bit of random:
You have all the range of the color yellow, from the soft buttery end of the spectrum to the blinding orangeish end.
Musical:
Aretha Franklin: Natural Woman. Yup.
Soup:
No question — carrot soup. No peas. No potatoes. Just carrots.
Alias:
Well, you’re kind of a pro at the name-changing thing, so I’m a bit out of my depth here, but I’m thinking something along the lines of “Imogen”. Has a nice ring to it.
Memories:
I was nervous when I met you, not so much because of you but because of the other people I was meeting at the same time. I remember your hair was long and your smile was huge and your hug was warm and then I wasn’t so nervous anymore.
Animal:
A mother hen. The fluffy brown kind with a brood of yellow peeps hiding beneath her wings. And she looks all kind, but she will totally peck out your frickin’ eyes if you mess with her chicklings.
Question:
If your life was exactly the same, but you didn’t have kids, what would you do with your days?

#3. MEREDITH

Bit of random:
In your last life, you were totally punk rock.
Musical:
Beastie Boys: She’s Crafty
Soup:
Chicken Noodle. With the little round noodles, not the long floppy ones.
Alias:
Tabitha. Like that one MTV veejay back in the day, the redhead who you just did NOT want to fuck with.
Memories:
Smokin’ and making fun of certain skeevy coworker toenails. Oh, and for some reason, whenever I think about meeting you, the word “BEDAZZLE” is all blinking in capital letters and covered in rhinestones.
Animal:
You are totally a bright orange tabby cat. And you know it. Rawr.
Question:
When your dog sweater business is highly successful and you’re featured in Real Simple and stuff, can LeeLoo still be your model and spokesdog?

#4. JANICE

Bit of random:
Short. Blonde. Flatironed. It was hott! (with 2 t’s)
Musical:
SneakerPimps: M’aidez
Soup:
Red Pepper Bisque. But only if you make it. Because, yum!
Alias:
Hmmmm. Kathleen. But you would go by “Kat”.
Memories:
Summer. Michigan. That one restaurant? You and I were the only girls. And I thought, “If she doesn’t like me, I’m screwed, ‘cuz she’s got all those boys on her side!”
Animal:
Because you’re probably expecting a cat, I think an Afghan Hound. Long, golden and silky. And not doggish in the least. (They always seem to be such sophisticated hounds.)
Question:
If you knew then what you know now, would you still have married young? (This not being a question about the spouse but about the age.)

#5. JO

Bit of random:
Beanhead Picklewart
Musical:
The Innocence Mission: Bright as yellow
Soup:
Cream of Cauliflower. ‘Cuz it’s tasty and there’s plenty of big chunks of stuff that we could throw at each other.
Alias:
Clementine. Or Jacinda. I cannot make up my mind.
Memories:
My first memory of you is playing drums on your tiny round tummy. It made a nice bongo sound.You didn’t have much hair. And also, there is the famous quote: “When I’m 13 I’m gonna run away from home. Then you’ll be sorry!”
Animal:
You are a lynx. Sleek. Gorgeous. But not quite tame. (And definitely not a panther.)
Question:
Would you have been a cheerleader at Sterling Public High School?

Lo, still thinking of answers. This thing was harder than it looked!

First Five Friends

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2005

Mood: Business-like
Drinking: Morning Caffeine

I tend to be a klepto, so it’s no surprise that I’ve stolen this little post right off Daphne Gottlieb’s livejournal. Modified slightly to avoid charges of plagiarism, of course. Do you think I learned nothing in college?

So here’s the deal. The first five people to reply will get seven (hopefully) witty answers from me. Obviously, this only works really well if I actually know who you are. So if you’re pretty sure that I don’t know who you are, you’re probably right…give me a hand with some incriminating details and a link to your blog/site/dirty pictures/whatever.

And don’t be all, “Your blog is weird and doesn’t have the normal comment section so how the hell am i supposed to respond to you?” Yeah. I did that on purpose. All you gotta do to respond is click on that link in the nav up there that says “Says You” and you’re golden. Okay? Ready? Go!

Here’s what you’ll get:
1. Reply with your name and I’ll respond with a random statement about you.
2. I’ll tell you what song and/or movie reminds me of you.
3. I’ll pick a flavor of soup in which I’d like to wrestle with you.
4. I’ll tell you what you should legally change your name to.
5. I’ll tell you either my first or my favorite memory of you.
6. I’ll tell you what animal you remind me of.
7. I’ll ask you something that I’ve always wondered about you.

Your turn. I’ll be here. Waitin’.

-Lo, whose sister is making her dinner tonight. You should be so lucky.