Tuesday, May 16, 2017

9 Reasons I Don’t Want to Be Your Friend

All the friend I need.

It may not surprise you to learn that I don’t have a lot of friends. Here’s why:

9) You Have Offended Me in Some Small Way

I can hold a grudge like no other, even if it’s over some stupid, petty shit you did in passing two years ago that no one remembers but me. No, I don’t want to talk about it. Go away.

8) You Hang Around with Assholes

I have a lot of flaws. For example, I'm a terrible judge of character. But I've learned that if somebody's friends are assholes, they're probably an asshole too. Quit bringing your asshole friends around, asshole.

7) You’re a Bigot

I run into this a lot more often than you might think, and these people never seem to realize what’s wrong with them. I’ll meet someone and they’ll seem perfectly normal, and then they’ll say, “Say what you will about Donald Trump but at least he speaks his mind,” and just like that, all bets are off.

6) I Already Have Enough Friends

The older I get the more curmudgeonly I get, and I was never a social butterfly to begin with. What I’m trying to say here is that I already have, like, three friends. That’s at least four more than I need. All friend positions have been filled, but there are still some openings for casual acquaintances. Please write a letter no more than two pages in length detailing all the reasons why you think you should be my acquaintance, then throw it away and buy me a beer.

5) Don’t Take This Personally, but You Exhaust Me

No really, don’t take it personally. Everyone exhausts me; I'm an introvert. 

I know most people seem to desperately need to be engaged with others ALL THE FREAKING TIME EVEN WHEN THEY’RE ASLEEP, but I socialize the way some people exercise. That is to say I often don’t want to, and sometimes I hate every minute of it, but I do it anyway because I know I will get sick and die if I don’t. When I invite you to get a coffee that means I want to get a coffee. It does not mean I also want to then get lunch, see a movie, go for a hike, get dinner, accompany you grocery shopping, and then go back to yours to watch another movie.

4) You Won’t Shut Up About Your Political or Personal Beliefs

Unless they happen to be the same as mine, of course, in which case I will happily listen to you talk about them till the end of time.

3) You’re Judgmental

It’s probably judgmental of me to say so, but stop being so judgmental. Surely you can think of something better to talk about than how all the other people in the restaurant are clearly living their lives wrong because they need a haircut, or are fat, or dared to bring a child out in public, or are wearing mismatched socks. Have a little fucking compassion, why don’t you.

Also, I am fat, and probably wearing mismatched socks.

2) You Don’t Laugh at My Jokes

Tbf, most of my jokes are stupid, but when someone tells a joke – especially someone with whom you claim to want to be friends – you do one of two things: you laugh, because you found it funny, or you pretend to laugh, because you are polite. What you don't do is heave a big, put-upon sigh and say, “Ohhhhhkaaaaay." 

1) You Offer Your Condolences When You Find Out I Lived Abroad

Okay, so I’ll admit not everyone is a big enough douchenozzle to say “I’m sorry” when I tell them I lived in France, but it’s happened more than once, most notably at my grandmother’s wake, when an old school friend of my mother’s offered his condolences for ENTIRELY THE WRONG THING. I mean, seriously, if you’re going to offer someone some fake-ass jokey condolences for doing something awesome, DO NOT DO IT AT THE FUNERAL OF THAT PERSON’S BELOVED RELATIVE. That’s solid life advice, kids – take it.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

I Marched Because My Vote Didn't Count


I went to the Women's March on Washington this weekend with some friends from my grad program at WVU. Here I am decked out in all my finery:

 I had known before I went to the march that I wasn't the only American dismayed by the outcome of the 2016 election -- far from it. Hillary won the popular vote by 2.9 million, but because our electoral system is jacked, my own vote and that of three million other Americans just didn't count. Hillary Clinton got more than 65.8 million votes. That means there's a good chance that any person you might meet voted for Hillary, and that's not even counting the 40 percent of eligible voters that didn't bother to participate in the democratic process. I think it's safe to assume that some percentage of those people don't support Trump, even if they might be somewhat apathetic in their dislike. But you know what they say -- if you don't vote, you're not allowed to complain when they take you to the camps.

But even though I knew that many people oppose Trump's rhetoric and policies, it was still pretty awesome to see them all in one place, with my own eyes. Conservative estimates place the Women's March turnout at half a million. I would not be surprised if there were 700,000 or more. There were so many people at the March that we couldn't even march. We just kind of shuffled on Washington. We also stood still on Washington quite a lot. Several renditions of "We Shall Overcome" were sung, along with "This Land Is Your Land," "This Little Light of Mine," and a peppy one that was, ironically, about marching. There was also the requisite chanting. My favorite chant was "We want a leader, not a creepy tweeter," although "Fuck you Trump" also had a certain ring to it.

There were many creative signs.
After we had our fill of shuffling, singing, and chanting, we went back to the place where we were staying and the lovely people who welcomed us into their home for the weekend, where we found out that others were marching in cities all over the country -- and the world. Three quarters of a million people turned out in Los Angeles alone. They were even marching in Antarctica. With 673 marches worldwide, some are calling the Women's March on Washington the largest protest in history. 

We all want President Tinyhands to do a good job, myself included, but it doesn't seem likely. I didn't like Dubya, but it would be great if we could give Twitler back and get Dubya instead. I'd settle for giving Trumplethinskin back and getting Reagan's disintegrating corpse instead. Compared to Trump, Reagan's disintegrating corpse would make a FINE president.

I didn't post about the election, even though I wanted to. I kept trying to put my thoughts and feelings into words, but what could I say? I've always been fascinated by the Many Worlds theory, and I've believed, deep down, that there must be an alternate universe out there, or perhaps many alternate universes. But now I realize that this is the alternate universe, and the normal, sane universe, where the President paid attention in kindergarten and therefore knows how to be nice and share, is chilling out somewhere else, separated from us by a skin as thin as a soap bubble's, so close we can almost touch it. Maybe, together, we can make it to that place.

But in the meantime, #ReagansCorpse2020.




Tuesday, November 8, 2016

What Are You Wearing When You're Deported?

Well, kids, tomorrow is Election Day, and that means Adolph Trumpler is going to become the next President Our Beloved Orange Leader and, like all the other non-normative Americans, my queer ass will be grass – and I don’t mean the Devil’s lettuce. My mother brought me up to dress appropriately for the task at hand, and that’s why I’m putting careful thought into what I’m going to wear when the secret police break down my door in the middle of the night and haul me away to the work camps.

Sensible Shoes

I mean, there’s no way I’m going to survive a weeks-long, mid-winter death march if I’m not wearing appropriate footwear. I got my boyfriend to buy me a pair of hiking books a couple of weeks ago. He thinks they’re for hiking.

Bless his heart.

A Leather Jacket

The leather motorcycle jacket I bought at the Goodwill for $20 should offer some scant protection when I throw myself from the back of a moving semi-trailer in a desperate, last-ditch bid for escape. My second choice is a denim jacket wrapped in duct tape. I saw this documentary on TV that said that duct tape protects against zombie bites, and there’s no telling what I might be up against as I journey cross-country by moonlight to join the resistance.

Jeans, I Guess

I hate jeans like a Bernie supporter hates voting for Hillary. Well, okay, I don’t hate voting for Hillary. I like Hillary. But I hate jeans. The older and fatter I get, the more I hate jeans. Once upon a time, jeans were my friends. Now they refuse to hang out with me until I stop dipping my French fries in hot bacon grease, but I’m going to need all this extra body fat when I’m walking to Canada, subsisting on grubs.

This map is saved in my phone as "walking directions to Canada."

So, it looks like I might have to wear slacks to be deported. I love my slacks – they have elastic in the waistband. But you don’t see Mad Max wearing slacks, because you don’t wear slacks to the apocalypse. I recently tried on the boyfriend’s jeans, “for no reason,” and they were absurdly long because he’s 6’5”, but I guess they’ll have to do in a pinch. I can roll them up. A lot.

Layers, Probably?

I’m not sure what time of year it’ll be when I’m deported – I’m white, so they probably won’t get around to deporting me until after they’ve deported all the brown and yellow people first, and I’m bi, so they probably won’t deport me until they’ve deported all the lesbian, gay, and trans people first. Hell, maybe I’ll get lucky and they’ll just sterilize me instead – I’ve been thinking about getting that done anyway. But I’m guessing that unless they deport me in the middle of July, I should probably dress in layers, because who knows what the weather will be doing. Of course, it all depends where they’re deporting people to. If it’s Canada (please be Canada), I’m going to need my snow clothes, even if it is the middle of July. If it’s Mexico (or…Cuba???), I don’t know what I’m going to do. I have lots of sundresses, but you don’t see Mad Max wearing a sundress either.

I hate elections.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

I Don’t Believe in Killer Clowns

Forget Donald Trump, forget drugged Halloween candy, forget climate change – everyone knows the real threat this Halloween is killer clowns.
Or is it?
People have been reporting alleged clown sightings all over the country, including one woman who lied about a killer clown attack so she wouldn’t get in trouble for being late to work. I should totally use that excuse to cancel class some morning. “Dear students: I’m writing to let you all know that we won’t be having class today because I was attacked by a clown, and I threw my back out beating him to death with his own arm.”

Let’s be real – everyone’s afraid of clowns. A University of Sheffield study of 250 patients at a children’s hospital found that the poor little sick kids “universally disliked” clowns. The researchers went out of their way to point out that “even the older children” professed a dislike of clowns, as if they, the researchers, were baffled by this result for some reason.

Given the state of America today, I think if people were really dressing up as clowns to scare their neighbors, there’d be some dead f&cking clowns by now. You can get shot in this country for literally no reason. On a scale of “went to the movies” to “attended school,” dressing up as a creepy clown comes in at about eleventy-three in terms of “reasons to shoot somebody in America.” And yet, there’ve been dozens of “creepy clown” news stories and not a single “dead clown” report.
Supporting this argument is the fact that the clowns have now spread in West Virginia. I saw a screenshot of a Facebook status purportedly made by a woman who lives a few miles away from me. Allegedly, a clown walked into her kitchen while she was eating with her family. When it (she used the word “it”) saw them it supposedly ran back outside and hid behind the neighbor’s tree, peering at them. I was skeptical, and so was the manfriend, because the post didn’t end with, “And then I shot it.” I mean, this is West Virginia we’re talking about here. People take their shotguns to the dinner table in West Virginia. You have to, because at literally any moment, there might be a bear.

Besides, as the manfriend pointed out, a clown costume isn’t something you just throw on in five minutes. It takes time and a certain level of skill to paint the tortured features of the damned over your own. That’s not something you do just so you can skulk around in the woods and probably get shot.
Or is it?

Friday, May 13, 2016

Adulting Wins to Be Proud Of: Putting the Trash Out on Time

There was a time, when I was young and the world was new, when I could never manage to put the trash out on time. Sure, I managed to sort the recycling and put the non-recyclables into the big green curbside bin provided me by the city. The part I consistently failed at was the part where I was supposed to drag that bin to the curb on the designated morning of the week so that the trash man could come and collect its festering contents. Fortunately, it was a big bin and it could hold like two months’ worth of my trash, so this wasn’t as much of an issue as it might at first appear.

Then, there was another time, when I was not so young and the world was getting on a bit, that I didn’t have curbside pickup because I lived in an apartment building in France where I was expected to perform the herculean task of carrying my trash down the hall and putting it in a bin in the rubbish room. Circumstances at that time were such that I was regularly far too overwhelmed to tackle that oppressive chore, so I lived with a pile of trash in the kitchenette of my not-quite-200-square-foot (17 sq m) studio apartment.

“You’re going to get rats,” somebody almost certainly said to me at some point.

“It’s okay, I have a cat,” I almost certainly replied.

But now that I’m old and the world is just falling apart, I get up every Tuesday morning to put out my trash before the trash man comes at 9:00 a.m. to collect it. As far as Kitchen Trash Pile Me was concerned, 9:00 a.m. may as well have been the middle of the night, but she didn’t know how I would swell with pride upon seeing that bag of trash fly into the back of the garbage truck every week.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

My Reputation Always Precedes Me

Recently, I was talking to an old friend and he reminded me of why I’ve always had a problem making new friends. It's not just because I’m an asshole, it’s also partly because I’m a five-year-old in a thirty-three-year-old's body. That means I go around doing weird things, like leaping into the air for no reason, or breaking into a run, or walking around muttering to myself and giggling. I sing in the shower at the gym. Last week I ate a Fruit Rollup in class and believe you me, it was noticed.

My mother wouldn't buy them for me when I was a girl, so now I buy them for myself. What.

During this conversation with this friend, he confided that when we first met, “Everyone told me to stay away from you.” I took this confession with a lump of salt because, let’s be real, the “everyone” in that sentence refers to a bunch of ass-gaskets.
I was like, “When I was in the fifth grade there was a rumor going around the school that I would bite anyone who got too close to me. Nothing you’ve heard could be worse than that.” Of course, I didn't find out about this rumor until my freshman year of high school, so who knows if it was true, but I would be heartbroken if it wasn't.
So, I asked my old friend why “everyone” told him to stay away from me, and then I immediately regretted it because I realized it would be something really weird and insulting. All my life people have been hearing weird rumors about me and then they actually get to know me and they're like, shocked to discover that I'm a regular human being and not, for example, an escaped mental patient or a mad scientist. Several months ago I was talking to a girl I know in France and she asked me a question, I can’t remember what, and I replied, “Because I’m crazy – haven’t you heard?” and she laughed entirely too loudly and I realized that yeah, she had heard.
I expected my old friend to tell me he'd heard I kept a shrine in my closet covered with locks of hair taken from everyone I'd ever sat behind in class, or that I peed into Mason jars at home and kept the jars under my bed, or that if you pissed me off I'd borrow a cup of sugar from your mother and use it to put a curse on your entire family for seven generations, or that instead of eating normal food I went out on rainy nights to catch live toads and bite their heads right off. But instead of saying anything remotely bizarre, my old friend told me, “They said you were easy,” and I was taken aback. l literally told him, “OMG HA HA HA THAT’S NOT EVEN A CHARACTER FLAW!” I mean, everyone knows that’s just something a man says when he's pissed off that you slept with some other guy and not with him. But even now, when I meet someone new and they say, “I’ve heard so much about you,” I can’t help but wonder if they're worried I'm going to bite them.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Decorating Isn't My Thing

I heard someone say recently that the way you decorate your home is a reflection of your personality. If that’s true, I found my personality in a dumpster and it has seen better days. Some of my personality was left here by the previous owners. The cats are doing irreparable damage to my personality, and I give zero fucks.

Decorating has never been a big priority for me. My own mother decorated her home with cobwebs, ninja weapons, dirty dishes, and cats, so I feel like a vintage tin sign advertising fishing tackle is a step in the right direction, even though I don’t fish.
I guess you could say I don’t get emotionally invested in material things. When you put it that way, it sounds very Zen. I promise you, I am not enlightened. I was feeling anxious yesterday so I scarfed down an entire bag of gummy bears and also some other stuff. I sob inconsolably when I have too much to drink, and also sometimes when I haven’t. I have a habit of dating people who don’t have jobs. I have been known to get snappy when I am feeling irritable. These are not the actions of an enlightened person.
But in the swiftly receding days of my wildly misspent youth, I lived out of a Dodge Neon for six months. That Dodge Neon was better decorated than my house is right now, but only because my artist boyfriend drew on the headliner with a Sharpie. I have also lived out of backpacks, tents, vans and RVs (not all of which ran, I feel compelled to add), squat houses, and for one memorable two-week period, a cave. A CAVE, YOU GUYS. It was in Wisconsin. I don’t exactly regret it – all things considered, I have surprisingly few regrets – but if you’re going to live in a cave, take my advice and don’t do it in Wisconsin, in October.
All of which is to say that if there is one thing I’ve learned in my many travels, it’s that there are more important things than having nice furniture.
Like having furniture, for a start.