Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"Due to my general aversion to machines and a few pronounced episodes of screaming, I was labeled a technophobe, a term that ranks fairly low on my scale of fightin' words."

            Holy crap! January is nearly over and I haven’t posted anything in a week. I figured my New Year’s Resolutions would go by the wayside, but I thought it would take longer than a month. Oh well.

            But I have accomplished a few things. I’ve put a lot of time into studying for those graduate school tests. You know—the GMAT, the GRE, the LSAT, the MCAT, etc. Yeah, I figure I’ll apply to every program in every school in the country and just see who accepts me. Maybe by this time next year I’ll be a doctor. I know, I know, you can’t be a doctor in a year. But if I turn out to be like Doogie Howser, I might just breeze through all those pesky medical school classes and coast right into residency. (Isn’t it disturbing how often I mention Doogie Howser? I swear I never had a Neil Patrick Harris fixation, even if he is awesome. And we're both Leos and we're both from Albuquerque. But seriously, don't care about him.)

            In other accomplishments, I’ve taken up tea drinking and more or less discontinued alcohol drinking, which you would assume would make me more productive. And in a way it has, but I still have no clue how to manage my time, so note to those considering sobriety: it won’t fix your life. It’ll just free up a lot of your evenings. And then you’ll realize that drinking was sort of one of your weekly (or daily, in the case of some folks—NOT ME! I swear!) activities and now you have to find some new hobbies. One fun way I’m spending my time is on the toilet, as tea makes you pee ALL THE TIME. I guess my kidneys are grateful for the flush. And I’m also hoping 20 pounds will magically melt off my ass and my new hot body will be incentive to continue my quest for physical health. 

I've added some photos of my new hobbies.
              And lastly, I’m considering joining Twitter. I’m not entirely sure what Twitter is, and Facebook stresses me out pretty bad already, but I’m trying to be open-minded, if only for the sake of creating more readership for this damn blog. That way, if the blog makes me rich and famous, this time next year I won’t be a doctor and it won’t be a problem. Or at least I’ll be feeling really good about myself. One career I’m definitely NOT pursuing is computer science because I find it to be truly terrifying and utterly beyond my comprehension (as I know I’ve talked about in the past). The fact that I walked into a parked car while checking my email on my “smart phone” today just strengthens my opinion that technology is in many ways ruining my life.
            So that’s my update. It is one of my top priorities to stay tuned into my great ideas this week (month, year), so keep reading (when there are things to read) and enjoy the last day of the first month of the last year of the world (maybe).

            And since it is the last year of the world (maybe), I feel no shame in this shame(less) plug: subscribe to my blog! It will make us both so happy! Smooches!

*Quote from David Sedaris’ Me Talk Pretty One Day.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

"Am I going to prom or to hell?"*

            I watched one of my favorite movies the other night: Heathers. And I’m not sure how I came to love this morbid, violent, darkly-disturbing-yet-oddly-funny movie in the first place. But I do remember when I came to love it.
The Heathers and Veronica, playing croquet.

            At twelve-years-old I was already an extremely experienced babysitter, and the Jensens—friends of my parents—asked me to sit for two hours with their six-week-old, first-born child.
            So, Scott Jensen picked me up from home (I guess this was before the days when parents only entrusted their kids to 35-year-old college graduates, which is weird, because a 12-year-old can’t invite a boyfriend over and most likely won’t steal your booze and smoke cigarettes in the garage.) and drove me to their beautiful home a mere half-mile from my parents’.
            They were nervous: they’d never been out since little S.J .was born. But I was so expert in my infant handling, that they were soon out the door, leaving a cloud of expensive perfume and aftershave behind them.
            Little Scooter, as I decided he should be called, was nothing but a tiny butterball of sweetness. He was too young to do much of anything other than eat, sleep and poop, and he would grip my finger in his teeny-tiny little hand and I  did everything in my power not to kiss his face off.
            He was sleeping in my arms when I started channel-surfing and came across a teen movie starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater.
            I don’t know why, but I was immediately sucked into this utterly whack-a-doo movie from the beginning. Scooter in my arms, I stared, chin hanging down to my throat, as Veronica and J.D. murdered their classmates and made the murders look like suicides.
            But, three-fourths of the way into the movie, the Jensens came home early.
            “I couldn’t stand to be away from him another minute,” cute Sally Jensen drooled as she took the warm baby from my arms. “We’ll pay you for the whole night, Lacey, we just missed him so much!”
            I got on board with that. It was sweet, even if it was interrupting my viewing.
            I was in the car before Scott even realized we were leaving. I never found it hard to make small talk with adults when I was a kid, so I’m sure I would have normally blabbed his ear off the entire four-minute car ride. But all I could think about was Heathers, and so, like a kid who has to go pee, I sat there mute beside him, wiggling and anxious, and I gave him monosyllabic answers to his polite questions all the way home.
            I busted in the door and ran to the den. The movie was still on. I sat there, entranced.
            Heathers is a movie about a smart girl, Veronica (Winona), who dumbly winds up a member of the most popular clique in school: The Heathers—three girls, all named Heather, who treat everyone else in school like garbage. Their leader is the most popular Heather: Heather Chandler, whose sadism goes far beyond fucking with the nerds and the fatties. She likes to treat her friends like shit, too.
            When new student J.D. (Christian Slater) arrives at school, he senses that Veronica doesn’t “really like her friends”, and he romances her. But then he eventually tricks her into killing Heather Chandler and making it look like a suicide.
J.D. suggests a cocktail of liquid drainer. Veronica assumes he's joking.
            People don’t think this movie is funny. I think it’s hysterical, but that probably says more about me than it does about the movie.
            There’s this line where J.D. tries to justify blowing up the entire high school, “Society nods it head at any horror the American teenager can think to bring upon itself. People are going to look at the ashes of Westerburg and say, 'Now there is a school that was self-destructive. Not because society didn't care. Because the the school was society!' That's pretty deep, huh?"
            Now, at the time, I thought it was incredibly deep. And this was before Columbine or that heinous shooting at Westroads Mall a few years back. Before 9/11 and before the shooting at Virginia Tech. This was before a gazillion atrocious events that have happened IN THE LAST DECADE that made us all feel really unstable and wonky.
            If you grew up in the eighties, you probably watched a lot of nonsensical movies about how hard it was to be a teenager, how hard it was to be unpopular and how poor you were if you weren’t a millionaire (think about The Lost Boys, Karate Kid or anything John Hughes ever made).
            But this movie was sort of ahead of its time in it’s own dark, independent way. It was the first movie (that I know of) that featured a teenager that felt so unloved that he wanted to blow up his high school, anyway.
            Now, that being said, I thought the movie was funny. I still do. Am I fucked up? Yes, probably I am. But I think teenagers are hilarious. They think their problems are so intense (and at that age, what isn’t intense?), their issues are new issues, and their friends right now are going to be their friends forever.
            But I also think most of those movies made it seem like life was a sort of live-or-die scenario and we were all within a moment of figuring everything out or being destined to die unpopular and unloved. 
Veronica decides to be a hero and save her high school.
            In seventh grade (when I first saw Heathers) I thought it would be really cool to establish a color for myself, along with one for each of my girlfriends (Heather Chandler was red, Heather Duke was green, Heather McNamara was yellow, etc. I now realize that this is the same way gang members think.) I thought it was a movie about teenage angst. I thought it was sort of cool that they were casually bumping off the assholes. 
            And yes, high school is full of assholes, full of hard times and full of intense feelings. But it GETS BETTER, YOU IDIOTS! And the message is that Veronica is the ultimate "cool kid" because she does whatever it takes to save the rest of the assholes. And which one of us would give a shit about anything anyone said to us in high school now? If they were to say, "You are such a pillow case!" to me now, I'd laugh their faces off! (And not just because that would be an incredibly clever film reference.)
            But mostly I keep thinking about the line Veronica writes in her diary, when she’s realized that things have spiraled out-of-control, “I just want my high school to be a nice place.”
            Oh, sweet girl, high school was really hard back then? Try hiding under the table in the library while a psychopath goes on a shooting rampage through your high school hallways! What's happened to teenagers? The eighties really spoiled us, movie-wise, didn't they? Compared to now, the eighties look like a stroll down the Champs-Élysées in the 1840's! Then: weird fashion, occasional beatings from bullies, not having a car. Now: metal detectors, mass beatings that are televised (and yet not stopped), not having a chance of living through senior year. What the what? (To borrow an expression from Liz Lemon.)

            Yeah, high school blows--that's the point. And if your glory days were in high school, I feel a little sorry for you, because, again, HIGH SCHOOL SUCKS. You have no control over anything--your skin, your curfew, your friends, your living situation, blah blah etc..The eighties made it all seem like a beautiful (albeit fucked up) dream.
           To the kids going through it today, I say: hang in there. It (life) gets much, much better.
 *Winona Ryder as Veronica Sawyer in Heathers (Michael Lehmann, 1988).

Monday, January 23, 2012

"And these children that you spit on, as they try to change their worlds, are immune to your consulatations. They're quite aware of what they're going through."*

              Ahoy, Mateys! My blog is under construction, as you may have guessed based on its ever-changing and yet still strange format. I have several brilliant minds on the project, however, so never ye fear. I promised something good would happen to my layout in the New Year, and several of my smartest colleagues are working on it. Don’t think about it, is what I recommend. And I try not to think about it, either.

            Tonight was sort of bittersweet, as Mike (whom you may remember from here and here) came in town for a “business trip” (I guess he’s a real grown-up now) and we sat out on what used to be our balcony when we were mere children right out of undergrad and reminisced a bit about “the past” and “yore” and “ye olden times.”

            You see: I’m leaving my apartment.

            I’ve been in this place for almost eight years and I feel like I’m getting divorced. Down have come all the (not-so-expertly) stained wine crates in which I so artfully ensconced my books and DVDs and random tchotchkes (yep, definitely had to look up the spelling on that one, and Word still isn’t having it…maybe Word is an anti-Semite?) and into the walls have gone little rolls of putty and lots of cursing and slabs of primer. I took all my beloved maps down from the walls. My precious book and play collection is in boxes. My series of bathroom action figures is packed away.  All that remains is….the other 90% of my shit. Clothes, shoes, bags, (blazers), kitchen stuff, tools, towels, board games (of which I have many), furniture, furniture, more furniture, all the light bulbs I hoarded before the government outlawed the old ones in favor of the new long-lasting (mercury-ridden) ones, crafts, artworks, bathroom stuff….oh fudruckers! I’m having a panic attack. I better stop while I’m (somewhat) ahead.

            Change is hard for me. But it usually happens in my life in giant leaps and bounds, rather than in gradual baby steps. If all I had to contend with right now was moving, I think I’d be in excellent shape. But this past month and the two months ahead have packed themselves (okay, I’m partially, perhaps totally, responsible) full of enormous troughs of change.

1.     I’m moving.

2.     I’m considering going back to school for a Master’s degree (in what? Who knows?! Maybe Animal Husbandry. I want to find husbands for all the unwed animals!). This involves re-learning math starting from what I’m going to guess, based on my practice tests, is the 4th-grade level. (On a positive note, the math I do understand—which is precious little— is quite fun and entertaining.) Lesson: stay in school. Forever, if you can.

3.     I promised quite a few people that I would edit their manuscripts, plays, screenplays, etc…And it’s sad, because I truly enjoy editing. But why would I agree to these things when I can’t even remember the Pythagorean theorem? (Question: how did I get through the last 10-12 years without ever using math aside from leaving tips and figuring out how much something would cost on sale? But, along those same lines, my expertise in fractions and percentages remains undiminished!)

4.     Turning 30. I haven’t quite done it yet, but I’m staring down the barrel. My three best friends, Emily, Gabe and Regan, all turned 30 in the last few months (I doubt my girls would mind me saying so here). They’re all handling it like it’s no big whoop, but they’re also more elegant and together than I am (unsurprisingly—that’s why I want to be friends with them).  I feel like I’m supposed to have done something or that maybe I have only 6 more months to do something or I’m going to drop dead on my 30th birthday from mis- or disuse. It’s not that 30 is old, it’s that it’s significant, somehow. And I really can’t wrap my head around it. Maybe if I could be 29 for one more year, I could get it together…

5.     Turning 30, when I think about it, seems to be more about figuring out a life plan (which I went into a bit here). To that end, I must say that I’m baffled. I’ve had lots of hopes and dreams, but most of them seem sort of ephemeral at this point in my life, and I don’t know how to redirect my ambitions. Does this even make sense? (Is this destined to be one of those things I write about and then I'll look back on it in 10 years and chuckle knowingly while rolling around naked on piles of money?)

6.     I’m pregnant. (Just kidding! You have to have sex to get pregnant! Right?) I only said that because it's listed as one of the most stressful of life's changes.

7.     The Hunger Games. I started reading it because my roommate, Ron, recommended it and then I was useless for three days because all I could do was read The Hunger Games, eat (The Hunger Games makes you feel famished, I kid you not), and go to the bathroom. I’ve missed out on lots of valuable time. I haven’t exercised in days or vacuumed or packed or planned my life. DO NOT READ THIS BOOK. Unless you want to have your mind blown, that is. Seriously.

            It’s super late for me to be writing, but I worked all weekend, and this is the first time I’ve had alone, especially since Mike went to bed because he has a big important, grown-up, business meeting tomorrow. Because that’s what we are, or are supposed to be: grown-ups. And so, I guess I’ll find a new and different and maybe even better apartment (hopefully something anywhere near as nice as Mary Tyler Moore’s). But part of me will always think of this one as mine.

Emily took this picture from my balcony at sunset. Sigh.

            This is where I spent the first part of my “real” life—my post-college twenties. I learned how to pay bills and get to know my amazing neighbors and bitch at the landlord and order in delivery and grow a plant and (occasionally) have it live. It’s really hard, I’m not gonna lie. But I think it’s going to be a good year. Fingers crossed.

*The legendary David Bowie, "Changes."

Thursday, January 19, 2012

"It is sooooo drafty! They much be catching cold all the time!"*

Tony and Jack as Josephine and Daphne.

            No offense to men (because I love men) but goddamn you, men!

            I’m not really mad at men, just mind-numbingly jealous.
            I talked at length to my mom tonight, who later told me that she’d been lying in her bed for the duration of our conversation because she was having a hot flash. What?
            “You’ve been out of menopause for years!” I seethed, angry with god or the universe or “the big bang” or evolution or whoever created the uterus and those pesky ovaries. I was just plain angry that my mom still has to put up with these kinds of blatant shenanigans.
            “Yeah, but my mom tells me it never really goes away.” She said, referring to my grandma. She seemed like she was okay with it.
            I’m really not okay with it.
            Despite musicals like Bye, Bye Birdie and Flower Drum Song, it’s not always so lovely to be a woman and I do not always enjoy being a girl.
            Yeah, sure, make-up is fun, and pretty hair is fun and even childbirth is fun (yeah, I’m sure squeezing a watermelon through a kiwi-sized hole is a really delightful adventure!). But seriously, guys have it better.
            Let’s do a little comparison:

Bad Things Associated With Being A Man

1.     Wet dreams in adolescence

2.     Erections at weird times (especially, but not exclusively, to be fair, during adolescence)

3.     Always pants or shorts, and if you wear a skirt: ridicule!

4.     No nail polish unless you’re punk, and if you’re not punk: ridicule!

5.     Debates about circumcision (though it seems that if you’re raised as a man, you are automatically confident and therefore whatever your penis has going on is the “preferred thing” if only in your mind.)

6.     Hair: shaved or beard or some variation in between (e.g. goatee, mustache or fu manchu)? On head: long or short?

7.     Judged on: height, penis size, how much hair is on head.

Bad Things Associated With Being A Woman

1.     Periods, cramps, associated embarrassment in adolescence

2.     Periods at weird times and hormones associated with that nonsense (and let’s not forget the associated expense that goes along with those things: pads, tampons, laundry detergent, new underwear, etc. I should have invested in Tampax years ago: just like death, tampons are a business that keeps on booming.)

3.     Pants, shorts, or skirts, but if you wear a skirt you better look “sexy” in it and it better not be too short because then you’re a “slut” but if it’s too long, then you’re a nun, so you better spend 5-10 years figuring out what the proper length of skirt is and how much you should be wearing underneath it (underwear, tights, shorts, leggings, and (just to be safe) a pair of pants?)

4.     Nail polish required, unless you go to Catholic school and it’s deemed inappropriate and you’re left questioning what “appropriate” even means and why your nails factor into the equation in the first place.

5.     Hair: shaved from armpits, legs, face (in some cases), stomach and nether-regions? Some variation in between? On head: long or short? Blonde, brunette, black, redhead? Curly, strait, wavy, relaxed, extensions, blow-out or shaved?

6.     Judged on: height, weight, breast size, hip size, stomach size, arm size, hand size, smell, hair (presence and lack thereof), lips, skin, how bad those periods might be, etc…

7.     Uterus: this thing can get pregnant if a man puts sperm in it (I’m sure it works something like that). Therefore, the need to keep this thing from getting pregnant (or go to agonizing lengths trying to make it be pregnant) is another huge expense. An expense that falls largely in the woman's lap, if I may say so (and I did say so, so deal with it).
8. The fact that even after you've passed through the years of heinous period cramps (and the expenses associated with them), after the years when you could still viably conceive and carry a child, you still have to deal with NONSTOP BULLSHIT! Hot flashes and hormonal fluctuations and weird hair growing in never-before-known places (not talking about my mom with the hair, so we're clear)! It's fucked up!

            Okay, so like I said, men just have an easier life. They make more money for doing the same jobs that women do, they are better at “managing their feelings” (i.e. they never have to discuss anything if they don't want to and that's okay with society and, apparently, with women) and they are trained from birth to feel really good about themselves.

            But, to make myself feel better, I’d like to point out what they don’t get to do:

1.     Wear ball gowns. I mean, technically they can, but they usually don’t and who remembers George Clooney’s tux from the Golden Globes? NO ONE. Thank you.

2.     Have babies. Men are notorious weenies when it comes to pain, so they probably wouldn’t have babies, even if they could. But they certainly act like they did it, anyway, so this one’s not so great.

Um…yeah...so that’s all I could think of. Must be really nice to be a dude.
You got any other points on this topic? I'd love to hear them!

*Jack Lemmon realizing what it's like to wear a skirt. Some Like It Hot is probably my favorite movie of all time. While Tony Curtis' character uses the opportunity of living as a woman to score a woman (Marilyn Monroe), Jack Lemmon empathizes with women so much during his experience pretending to be female, he actual starts to become a woman. (Some Like It Hot, Billy Wilder, 1959).

Monday, January 16, 2012

"Who can turn the world on with her smile? Who can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile? Well it's you, girl, and you should know it. With each glance and every little movement you show it."*

            I remember being approximately seven-years-old when I first saw Mary Richards hang her large, gold “M” in her new apartment on the first episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show (I was watching it on Nick-at-Nite, not, like, on it's original air date, duh: I'm super young!). Her apartment was a fabulous studio with shag carpet, an enclosed kitchen, a tiny balcony and what appeared to be the world’s largest walk-in closest (which also seemed to house her bathroom).

            For many years I've thought about what kind of apartment I would have when I finally managed to afford to live on my own. I knew that there would definitely NOT be shag carpet (duh) and there would definitely be laundry and parking on the premises. And if I managed to finagle a balcony into the deal, so much the better.

            Alas, things have changed since the 70’s.

            I would like to show you the differences here.

            Example one: Mary Richard’s first apartment:

Good friend over to hang out whilst hostess does needlepoint

            Now, I make approximately the equivalent of what Mary was pulling down at the News Room as an associate producer at WJM over 40 years ago. Let’s forget for a second inflation and that her job was much more important and high-powered than mine. Not to mention the fact that she quickly became "best friends" with all of the people at the office (Ted, Lou, Murray, Gordy and even Sue Ann).

            Let’s also forget, for a minute, that Mary lived beneath Rhoda Morgenstern, who was perhaps THE BEST NEIGHBOR OF ALL TIME. I mean, how sweet would it be to have the funniest, goofiest and realist gal pal of all time living right upstairs? (And we’ll just as tactfully forget the fact that Phyllis and Lars lived downstairs.)

            But my life isn't like this at all! The more I look at apartments, the more convinced I am that it would be in my best interest to move to Minneapolis. In the 70’s. (My flux capacitor still isn't working...is anyone else's?)

            And there’s an additional problem: I have a large, purple “L” that I’d like to hang in my new apartment (should I ever find the proper abode). But think about it: how do you hang an “L”? There’s nothing for it to hang from, so I guess I’m going to have to bore holes in the wall and have it rest on screws. (Tacky.)
            Examples 2 through 4: here are some photos of the apartments I've found:
You can't even get the photos upright? Really?
         So, alas, my life isn't like Mary Richard's life...at all. Sigh. And that makes me sad. I can't hang my "L," I don't have a wise-cracking sidekick upstairs, hell, I don't even have a balcony/shag carpet/a really important job. In addition, this whack-job of a potential landlord can't even post photos of his (or her) available apartment in an upright fashion (literally and figuratively). 
                  I still love MTM and everything she stands for (powerful, single woman who doesn't need a man to make her feel worthwhile and who doesn't need a bedroom to make her apartment feel like home), but she kind of set the bar a little too high, didn't she? 
                  Fuck you, Mary Tyler Moore. (Aw man, I can't drop the f-bomb on Mary Tyler Moore. It's been tormenting me all day.) Darn you, Mary Tyler Moore (shake fist at sky). That feels much better.

*"Love Is All Around" The Mary Tyler Moore Show theme song by Paul Williams.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

"But no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time in the world. Whatever it meant."*

Road Trip Part II           
              This is the story about how  my dear friend Mike and I continued our journey to the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas. You can find the first part here. And yeah, you're gonna wanna read that.
             Mike and I scooted in under the wire and moved our In-and-Out fattened butts over to the edge of the Canyon in record time.

            I have to take a moment to explain how awe-inspiringly beautiful The Grand Canyon is. It actually brought out emotions in me that were totally unexpected. It’s like as if the world held all of these sort-of sub-par moments and then you experienced one that was just beyond all of that and you saw something that was so much greater than any painting or book or piece of music and it just left you utterly stunned and moved in a way you never thought possible. 
The Grand Canyon just after sunset.

            It hits you in the solar plexus and bleeds out your eyeballs. 

            Also, the air is a bit nippy at night, so you might start looking like you’re tearing up, even if you’re just having an awesome time and you’re not crying at all. You ARE NOT crying, okay?

Still doesn't capture it.

         So we immediately set about taking a gazillion pictures of ourselves from every angle imaginable and ended up looking so cute in one that I almost proposed to Mike right there on the spot. (If you look good in a picture together, what difficultly can the world hold for you, even if you are not at all in love romantically? A story that illustrates this point: I was dating a guy one time and someone took a picture of us kissing and it was so gross, I wanted to break up with him when I saw it. See? You gotta look good in the pictures.)
My lord, aren't we adorable?

            But then we realized a bunch of things needed to happen if we were going to be happy for one more minute: we had to pee, we had to find our digs, and we had to eat.

            So Mike busted out his incredible navigational skills while I popped on my driving glasses (which I keep in the glove compartment and which he kept insisting I should keep over by my door, probably because the glove compartment door kept hitting the knees of his tremendously long legs. But I explained that I don’t drive at night all that often so maybe he could keep his big mouth shut), and we wrangled our way to our lodgings.

            (Bossy Mike had made me the person in charge of lodgings all along the trip, so this was destined to be the first in a series of letdowns for him. But he was a butthead to leave it to me in the first place! I’m poor! And I’m horrible at planning things!)

            We pulled in to the cheapest of all possible venues: The Maswik Lodge, on the south rim of the Canyon. On first glance it looked like the summer camp I attended as a kid, but on second glance it proved to be much awesomer. (Yeah, I said awesomer. Suck it.)

            Maswik Lodge is essentially a lobby with a big cafeteria inside and a bunch of little cabin-style rooms scattered out around the premises. We retrieved our key and headed over to our cabin with mixed expectations.

            I opened the door and turned on the light.

            “Oh my god, Mike! It’s just like a regular room in here!”

            He laughed and followed me in. We settled ourselves and picked beds and took turns in the WC. His turn was running a little long so I stepped onto the porch to call my mom.

            It was an obliterating view. Pitch blackness and smothered in stars.

            After I talked to Mom, Mike met me on the stairs and we got in the car. The woman on the phone at the Bright Angel Lodge said it would be a quick drive, but it was definitely not walk-able, and this was where we planned to eat dinner. We followed her directions and found ourselves taking a series of left-hand turns and ended up in front of the Bright Angel approximately 2 minutes later (with traffic).

            There was no parking and it was one block from our hotel room anyway, so we took the car back and parked again.

            So then we set out on foot, but found it difficult to navigate because it was so utterly dark outside. He lives in San Francisco and I live in Los Angeles, so neither of us had seen stars in some time, let alone experienced darkness so profound as to allow for stars of this abundance.

            Mike, ever resourceful, pulled out his iPhone and used the LED light as a flashlight. He pointed at the sky and said that he could see the Milky Way. I pretended to know what he was talking about.

            Then I made a confession.

            “Mike, I’ve been known to fake constellations before.”


            “I pretend to know what people are pointing to, but the only thing I’ve ever seen is the Little Dipper. Or maybe the Big Dipper. I can’t tell them apart.”

            “Yeah, I can’t really see too many, either. Except Orion’s Belt. And the Seven Sisters.”

            “Oh, where are they?”


            Mike craned his neck up at the sky.

            “Yeah, I don’t really know,” he finally acquiesced. “Do you think I can take a picture of these stars?”

            He tried. It didn’t work. We walked on. It was black. (It occurred to me later that mountain lions or bears or even aliens could be standing three feet away from the pitiful light from his phone and we would be none the wiser.)

            As we approached the Bright Angel Lodge (which is settled right on the rim of the Canyon, on the south side), Mike pointed up at the sky.

            “There’s Venus!” 

            “I thought Venus was the morning star?”

            “Nope, Venus is the evening star and that’s it. Right there.”

            (Okay, I did a little research and in a way we were both right: Venus is known both as the morning star and the evening star.)

            “Okay.” I lied and pretended to believe him because I was hungry.

            We sauntered into the Bright Angel.

            It wasn’t that much fancier than the Maswik Lodge, but it smelled like tourists and old people. And the Bright Angel turned out to be named after a scary, Native-American themed bird sculpture hanging over a large fireplace. And it was neither bright nor angelic, but sort of...hmmm, hideous?

            So we rerouted and put our names in for a forty minute wait at the more unassuming restaurant in the lodge. We then wandered down the hall and found ourselves in a quaint little bar with a man playing endless covers of Van Morrison songs (with a huge tip jar in front of him) and ordered some strong, fortifying cocktails.
            There was nowhere to sit, but a nice couple offered to share their table with us. Our butts were too sore from sitting all day so we passed, and stood there in the middle of the bar sucking back our cocktails.

            Ugh…this is long, so I’m stopping.

            More later…
*More from Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

"Get out of my dreams and into my car."*

                        Do all of my blog posts have to have a specific topic or can they just be my insightful musings on life? For instance, last night I woke myself up from a dream laughing. How great is that? I wish to god I remember what the hell I was finding so funny so I could write it for you here. Although stuff that’s funny in dreams is often super un-funny in life. And speaking about that, one of my biggest pet peeves is when people insist on relating their dreams to me in explicit detail. News flash: your dreams are not entertaining to me unless I was somehow prominently featured. Or if the dream was really sexual and about someone I know (preferably me). Haha, just kidding.(But seriously, don't tell me your dreams.)

            What I really want to address is road rage. (Perhaps a non sequitur.)

            In the past, I’ve been known to be a person with a heinous case of road rage, and I can accept that. Los Angeles is a brutal city to drive in, and there are any number of different reasons to be pissed off on a daily basis. (Of course, to be fair to my detractors, I was also known to have road rage in my early driving days in Omaha. At least that's what my friends told me.)

            But one of main things that irritates me, for example, is when people cut me off as though they’re in a huge rush and then proceed to go 15 miles under the speed limit. I was okay with you cutting me off, I figured you had to pee. But this is clearly not the case now, jerk-off.

Los Angeles Traffic of Yore.
            Or when I try to pass someone (usually a man—no offense to guys in general, it’s just a trend I’ve noticed), and suddenly he feels the need to speed up because in some twisted scenario in his mind it’s emasculating to have someone (especially a woman) pass you. Even if you drive a Volvo station wagon and insist on going 10 miles below the stated speed limit every moment of your life, the second someone tries to pass you you’re in a game of chicken to the death, and society’s perception of your penis size is at stake! (Again, no offense to all men, and no offense to Volvo drivers, either.) Go slow if you want to, I just would rather not, if I can avoid it. Can I get by now? 

            These kinds of situations leave me screaming at the top of my lungs and pounding on the steering wheel, usually. And this, I am thoughtful enough to note, may be the reason my friends said I had "road rage" as early as high school. But you have to draw the line somewhere. Like, when I flip other drivers off, I usually do it so low that they couldn’t possibly see. I mean, who wants to get shot, right? This sets me apart from the other psychos on the road.

            But lately, I don’t seem to be the one with all the rage.
            Gasp! Am I mature now? Aw, fuck no! I'm just more observant. And tired. And I don't really drive anywhere during key traffic times (e.g. rush hour or "Saturday night"). I just don't have enough of a life to get mad. But no, I'm definitely not "mature." I am something of an "old fart" when it comes to driving (only in the middle of the day and only with my headlights and glasses on) but definitely, certainly not "mature."

            Anywho, I’ve witnessed several things happen in the last two weeks that make me feel like society has gone insane.

Los Angeles Traffic of Now.
            I’ve seen people stop their cars in the middle of the road to get out and yell at other drivers; people (usually women on this one) so engaged in cell phone conversations (which are ILLEGAL, by the way) that they stop their cars in the middle of the road because THEY’VE COMPLETELY FORGOTTEN THAT THEY’RE DRIVING. I’ve seen big SUVs nearly run cars off the road so they can proceed to speed past. I saw a woman park her car at a fire hydrant and then make every driver in the street stop so she could jay-walk her kid across the street to school and then she got mad when the drivers were annoyed.

            What’s happening, people? Is it the End of Days? Or was it always like this and I’m suddenly morphing into one of those Zen-like hippies who is so serene that I can see other crazies for who they are?

Ah, Omaha. Why was I ever angry driving in you?

            I wish I had a clever way of tying this into my little paragraph about my funny dream, but I don’t. I think, if I’m being super positive, that perhaps my dreams being so happy that I laugh myself out of them is a sign that I am becoming more peaceful in my subconscious life, if not so much in my waking life.
            Yeah, okay, let’s go with that. 
*How great is it that Billy Ocean has one song about dreams AND cars? Perfection.