Dienstag, 15. Juni 2010

Shaggy Dog; No Keys

I was singing a little tune today on the way to work and my voice cracked. This is what happens when you spend the night before in a musty old bar drinking pints with your coworker and smoking some two hundred cigarettes in quick succession, talking shit about everything and especially about yourselves. It was astonishing how quickly the conversation came around to religion (and 'Spirituality', of course); what usually takes a solid four hours of throwing 'em back was accomplished in a matter of 45 minutes, and then I stumbled home. I can't quite piece together what happened after that, but I remember having an incredibly intense discussion with Dan about him and me and the nature of Us and what he does and not love about me. And by intense discussion I mean I quizzed him on the depths and breadths of his love for me and asked questions that have no good answers. (I remember only that the personal feature I most need to work on is my feet.) Then we had a play fight about something or another, which ended when I stormed into the bedroom, hauled out our largest suitcase, threw my toothbrush in, put on sunglasses and stomped into the night. Barefoot and in pyjamas, it goes without saying. Then I realized I had no follow up plan. So I stood around flapping my arms because I realized that I didn't have my keys. A few moments later, Dan kindly went to the trouble of opening the door, coming outside, telling me I'm an idiot and insisting that I come back inside. Obviously this was all great fun to me. Jury's still out on whether I get to sleep in bed tonight.

Anyway, my voice cracked this morning and then I thought, perhaps I need to be just be still for a minute. With my humming and buzzing and jittering and snuffling and coughing and talking and talking and talking I sometimes feel like I'm trying to disguise myself as a whole city, in order not to hear myself think too clearly. Sometimes I think I use my voice so often and for the wrong things that I can't even remember what I'm trying to say. This mostly happens at work. Work at our office constitutes a "challenge" the way that slamming your face into a wall is an "uphill battle." Sometimes I feel like my real self is being subsumed into this creature I become at work, this feathered reptile that has evolved to fit into an absurd world, adapted to these improbable conditions . What kind of person do you become if you spend fifty hours a week in a place where people sitting ten feet apart write each other electronic letters? And where people answer the phone with that particular sing-song tone fall, the one that signifies fuck all except that you are on the phone, a fact that any jackass on the other end could have told you anyway. It exhausts me to go to work in the morning, but it also exhausts me to leave again. Mostly because, on my way out, I realize that THAT is where I just spent one whole precious day that I have to live on God's green earth.

But the POINT is that my voice cracked this morning and since I couldn't sing I wandered down the street and hummed, instead.

Dienstag, 23. Februar 2010

A Short List of Things We Should Probably Discuss at Great Length Somewhere Else

First of all, the following sick tautology. When our feet stink we pick them up and take a sniff and declare that they smell like old cheese. When we eat old cheese we pick it up and take a sniff and declare that it smells like feet. In all seriousness, whose funk is original?

Secondly, crystallized armpit hair. Don't look at me like you don't know what I'm talking about. Dan himself has a cozy flock going half the time, he'll be pleased to learn I shared with you. It's when your armpits sweat and then the salt crystallizes along individual pit hairs, sometimes fusing together, to create what on a molecular level is probably a really beautiful space like some strange underground cavern full of twisting stalagmites and whatever. On a not molecular level, it pretty much looks like your armpits are full of mineral-encrusted armpit hair. I say "your" because my pits are as smooth as your mom. Which my boyfriend reliably informs me is why we, and I mean "we" as in people, never talk about armpit hair. Apparently men would never waste their breath talking about it, and in our circles they are the ones who are primarily afflicted. But that's stupid because you know what else men never talk about? Your U-spot. And I say "your" because what I really mean is me and my earth sisters.

No idea what a U-spot is? Yeah. Figures.

Lastly, grass fetuses. If you are unfamiliar with the grass fetus, it's what you find when you split a blade of grass open in the middle of May. Tucked into stem between the blade and the root is a perfectly formed, bright green grass fetus just waiting to peel off into the world and ripen into grass seeds. Last summer my friends and I sat by a pond and aborted them individually one beautiful day. We established that they would make a pleasantly crunchy if flavorless addition to a light salad, possibly in combination with toasted grains and a mild goat cheese. And my question is, pretty much humans have eaten everything that won't kill them since the beginning of time. So what's up with us not eating grass fetuses? It's not like we're going to run out of the things any time soon. They could be this delicious seasonal delicacy. What gives? Are they secretly poisonous, only me and my hunter-gatherer friends are immune? I mean, its pretty cool if I have some rare grass fetus immunity, because even fluffy bunnies make me break out (especially fluffy bunnies, and pillows and flowers and god knows probably rainbows and true love, too), but somehow I doubt it. So...does that mean we discovered something totally delicious that's actually a secret? That would make us geniuses. Because hahaaaa, suckers, that shit was right there in front of you all the time, hiding in the grass. Or we're at least Explorers. We're pretty much the Magellan of grass fetuses. Which is probably more than some people accomplish on a Saturday, right?

And speaking of Magellan and fetuses, you thought I was making things up back there when I was talking about the U-spot, didn't you. Schooled.

Mittwoch, 20. Januar 2010

The sex offender shuffle: everybody clap your hands!

I don't know what this is about, but I think that they're trying to say that even sex offenders can get down. Probably.

Dienstag, 22. Dezember 2009

Why Does Everyone Hate Christmas?

I know, I know, I know. It's the forced jollyness. And it's the sick consumerism, the overwhelming loneliness of people who are far from their families, the ever present, maddening whine of Christmas tunes played over crappy speakers, it's the props in the windows and the fake snow. It's the glitter. It's the tacky electronic Rudolphs, and tripping over the stupid extension cords that dangle out the backsides of said Rudolphs. It's the crazies of all stripes who crawl out of their hovels every year, like so many disgruntled little elves, muttering about the alleged War on Christmas, or rioting about nativity scenes at the local shopping center, or yelping about how Santa was invented by Coca-Cola (which, by the way, totally not true.) So-I know, I know, I know.

But you know what? I fucking love Christmas. And not just because Jesus was born, although that's a big deal at our house. But it isn't just that. I LOVE that at Christmas, if at no other time, you see all your relatives and play stupid board games. I love that otherwise perfectly respectable people walk around with Santa-shaped brooches, and reindeer horns, and ugly sweaters that have glitter and lights and fuzzy red bobbles.

I love that all of a sudden, red and green look GREAT together, and even better with a string of lights! And maybe some tinsel! And definitely some pine cones! Ooh and also gold stars! OH and what about little paper angels? Yes! Yes! Yes! Here in Austria, I love that for a whole month everyone you see gives you homemade cookies and chocolate filled with tongue-curlingly sweet liqueur. I love that everyone is pretty much drunk for the whole of December, sipping steaming mulled wine and frighteningly strong punch while they stand in the snow.

In the United States, the pleasures are more absurd. People decorate, inside and out (and my family's home is no different). You should see the suburbs. It seems like, once a year, some kind of merry Christmas Godzilla has a little too much christmas cheer and then vomits across the whole neighborhood.

Up come string lights, snowmen and four foot candy canes. Cheerzilla stops, says "Ungh," and takes a wobbly step toward the North Pole...only to wheel around and puke again: plastic reindeer! Shiny red sleds! Cornhusk wise men! Hand-painted nutcrackers! Shivering, Merryzilla wipes the last few sleigh bells and gilded pine cones from his trembling lips, swears "never again" and crawls home to put a cool washcloth on his forehead and wait for next December.

It's awesome and I love it. Even if Coke DID invent Santa Claus (which they didn't, you stupid motherfuckers. Go get a job. So that you have money. To buy things. Like candy canes. Then your kids will love you. You ASSHOLE. Merry Christmas.)

Sonntag, 13. Dezember 2009

No Carrot Left Behind. Yeah, I Went There.

Someone better come over and give me a hug, because I just cleaned out the fridge and it was effing terrifying. As usual, I've now promised myself that from now the refrigerator will always be spotless, because now that it's clean I can pretend I'm the type of person who has a clean fridge.

Yeah. From now on, I'm going to throw away leftover coconut curry before it is disguised by a half inch layer of green spores. I'm going to dispose of half-empty containers before the sour cream has separated into its component parts that host apparently competing strains of life. I pledge that no colony of fungus will again be allowed to grow so lushly that it overspills its foil-covered plate. I promise that I will not permit alleged unperishables such as olives to be opened and then sit unused in their glass jars for so long that they half-dissolve in the darkening brine. I swear that never again, no not on my watch, shall any carrot -- not one carrot -- ever again be left in such a state of sorry neglect.

This is all a load of crap, of course. My careful policies are ruined by gross mismanagement and a lack of political will at a community level. In two months, when the guilt and the stench become unbearable and its time to boil the fridge again, I can be sure that I will find at least one carrot that was left behind.

But no matter far I backslide, I'm still never buying anchovies again, because wow.

Montag, 30. November 2009

Stupidity is Circular, Like Time and Circles

At the phone store...

ME: "I need a phone charger please. For that phone."
[I point at a display case.]
HE: "Ah. Let me see... No, we don't carry a charger for that phone."
ME: "But I bought the phone in this shop."
HE: "Yes. It's a very good phone."
ME: "I see."
HE: "You like it?"
ME: "I can't turn it on. I need a charger. Mine broke."
HE: "But the charger is unusual. It has a micro USB port."
[I listen politely.]
HE: "We don't have the charger, but we have this MLine universal travel charger, and one of the attachments will fit in your phone. You can use this."

[I am grumpy.]
ME: "Yeah, but that charger doesn't work. I bought it before, and it fell apart. Plus it's expensive, and I don't need 16 extra attachments for phones I don't have."
HE: "Oh." [A beat.] "Well, I'll need the original receipt if you want to replace it."
ME: "Thanks. I don't have the receipt. I don't want to replace it. I just need a new charger."
HE: "Well...we have this MLine universal travel charger."
ME: "Which doesn't work."
HE: "It does work. Just not very well."
[He looks sad. I contemplate filching his stupid name badge and poking both of us with it until this conversation goes away.]
HE: "*Sigh*. Their products really aren't very good."

ME: "Sorry, what?" [I pretend to be listening through an ear horn. Like a jackass.]
HE: "What do you want me to say?"
ME: "Uh, if their products suck, then why do you keep buying them?"
HE: "They might have the charger you need at Niedermeyer."
ME: "That's miles away. Why don't you sell it here, where I bought the fucking phone? Don't you think that would make sense?"
HE: "We have this MLine universal travel charger."
ME: "Right. Thanks. This is stupid."

Several hours later, at Niedermeyer

ME: "Hi! I need a phone charger."
GUY: "What kind?"
ME: "Um."
[This is where karma comes round and kicks my butt. Uh oh.]
ME: "Uh. For a Nokia. A flat, black Nokia."
GUY: "Really."
ME: "Er. It takes a mini USB."
[She said, confidently.]
GUY: "Sure! Right over here."
"No, wait, that doesn't look right."
GUY: "But you said mini USB.
ME: "Yeah..."
GUY: "Where's your phone? Let's try it out."

ME: "I don't have my phone with me."
GUY: "Oh. I see. That makes sense."
[I wonder if he wants to poke me with his badge until this conversation goes away.]
ME: "Well, the other guy said mini USB. Or tiny USB. Or something. A teensy-weensy USB."
[She said. Confidently.]
GUY: "Do you mean a micro USB?"
ME: "Tiny USB."
GUY: "It's smaller, and flatter."
ME: "Oo, maybe. Can I see that?"
GUY: "Sure!" [We walk to a rack. He hands me another charger.]
ME: "This doesn't look right."
GUY: "Listen. There are mini USBs and micro USBS. And nothing else."
ME: "Yeah, but they both look funny."
GUY: "Do they."
[Yeah. They kinda do.]
ME: "Sorry."
[At this point, I'm pretty much prepared to inconvenience everyone and their mom to get a phone charger.]
ME: "Can you look it up online?"
[He blinks slowly. He's calling me names in his head, I can tell.]
"SURE. Which phone did you say you have?"
[His voice has a certain sour edge.]
ME: "It's flat. And black. Oh and it starts with a six. Six...five... something?"
GUY: "I will fucking shank you." (p.s. he never said that.)
[Five minutes later, after scrolling through pictures of Nokia cell phones on Google.]
GUY: "Got it. Your phone takes a micro USB."
ME: "Right. Which one is that again?"
GUY: "The one you're holding."
ME: "But this one looks funny. And it's from MLine."
ME: "Oh. Do you have one that isn't from MLine?"
GUY: "NO."
[Gosh, why is he so touchy?]
ME: "Oh. Okay. I guess I'll have this, then."

P.S. The charger from MLine works great. Way to go, MLine. But don't think I'm going to forget the travesty of your stupid universal travel charger. I mean, really.

Freitag, 27. November 2009

Help, the Internet Is Slurping Up My Soul

The Internet is kind of like those machines for making slurpees that you see in drug stores. You know, those clear plastic boxes with the rotating cylinder that keep the slush frozen but not solid. The web is an ever-revolving slurry of brightly colored garbage that is kind of satisfying, but mostly it rots your guts and costs four dollars and gives you brain freeze if you get greedy. Flavored nonsense goes in, frozen nonsense comes out.

Not here, of course.

I was pleading with my coworker. "Help me. Tell me a word. Any word. Or a phrase. To write about," I begged, because apparently I have no mind of my own. (And I love her.) "Okay! Any word? And you have to write about it?" she asks.

I sense she has some devilish suggestion in mind. Like thermodynamics or penis or Robert Pattison. Except I wasn't thinking of thermodynamics or Robert Pattison at the time. "You can't use cock," I tell her, smugly. She arches an eyebrow, which she's really good at. "Or and. Or the," I hasten to add. "Those totally don't count." She just stares at me. "Idiot," she says.

And then she says, "Oh I know, let's ask mystery google."If you don't know, and I didn't, http://www.mysterygoogle.com/ is a site that looks just like Google, but the schtick is that once you type in your query and hit enter, the site cunningly gives you the search results for the last thing that was searched. Hilarity presumably ensues forthwith.

So Peaches and I typed in some crap or another, and this is what we got (I blacked out the number):

...Yeah, exactly. Ahaha.

Nonetheless, in the interest of journalistic seriousness, I accepted the mission. Plus, Peaches made me. I got on skype and texted: "Hi! I'm gay! Well, not really, but google told me to tell you, so that's what I'm doing, you infant. If you get this, tell me. I'd be totally excited." And I gave my email address.

Strangely, that was ages ago and I still haven't gotten anything back. What the hell? You go out of your way to accomplish a Mystery Google mission, and no one even cares enough to send you an amusing ending to your story. Typical.

To be fair, maybe the person that put this mission online added his best friend's phone number, because that's like, totally hilarious. Or his worst enemy's phone number, or his stepmom's phone number. Because actually, oh shit, its probably some kid. If his mom got it (am I wrong to assume the writer is a pimply adolescent boy?), I hope she put two and two together and yelled at him, which he totally deserves, since he didn't bother to send me a thank you note after I went to the trouble of doing his stupid mission. On the other hand, when she asked about it he probably did the right thing and blamed it on someone he hates.

Although actually, it was probably his best friend, who totally has a crush on his bb's MILF. Because the perp is probably in, like, the eighth grade. Where the sprout of sexuality has not yet seen the sun but it's germinating like a wild beast anyway, cheerily exploding tendril after tendril into wrong, dark places, and you end up doing bizarre things like thinking it would be totally hysterical if your friend's hot mom got a text from someone who's (*snort*) gay! Haha. Little perv. Yeah. That totally explains why I haven't got any email. Um. Because I sound like a freak who's sending sick texts to some zitty adolescent.

the kid really did send his own phone number, and is just too lazy to write an email. Or he's pissed that I called him an "infant," although really, only a total infant would be pissed about that.

Or, come to think of it, maybe the mission came from some pathetic loser in her mid-twenties who hopes that soliciting such a text on Mystery Google is so tragically lame that it's awesome again, and will make for a sort of meta-cool story and she'll write about it and it'll be totally fabulous and everyone will be like, ooh, you're so meta-cool. Stupid bitch.