Oh yeah

Hey, I have good news, and if you know me (or have been stalking me for at least the last… three weeks?), then you probably already know what my good news is, unless you’re the super clueless type, but in any case, hang around until early Wednesday evening at the latest and I’ll either inform you of the good news or confirm your preemptive crazy ecstatic-ness. Unless you’re going crazy ecstatic preemptively over this notion that I helped the group win Pub Quiz tonight, ’cause I didn’t, though I DID know that the state which shares its name with its capital city is NOT Kansas, but Oklahoma, and also I knew that it was the 19th Amendment which gave women voting rights.

But yeah. I’ll write the fun story about my Car Adventures later, too. And sorry about that ridiculously long entry down there, I just got carried away with all the sidetracking. I think it’s the Shirley Temple I drank earlier.

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Boys are stupider and come from Jupiter

Kids these days are missing out on some good old-fashioned playground rhyming fun, all because of the overly-politically-correct politically correct movement. Heck, kids these days are missing out on some good old-fashioned PLAYGROUNDS. What good is a playground if you can’t run and jump and climb with wild abandon and go home (or go back to class) with skinned knees and sand in your underwear and god only knows what in your hair? Where are the monkey bars? Where are the tire swings? AND WHERE THE HELL ARE THE SEE-SAWS?

But, yeah. Boys really are stupider.

(Stupider than *what*, now that’s the genius of the comment.)

Here’s something strange: Guys love dogs. Most guys are apathetic toward, if not totally against, cats, but dogs rank pretty high in the Very Cool Stuff Book For Guys, somewhere above beef jerky but still below beer. They were trying to keep the list alphabetical (Angelina Jolie being first), but right as the writer guys were about to put down "Dumb and Dumber," someone said, "Hey, I’m hungry, let’s get some beef jerky," and everyone was quiet for a second and then they all slapped their foreheads and said, "BEEF JERKY!" and they frantically scribbled it down and were about to move on when a woman walked by and casually noted that now their list was no longer alphabetical, and all the guys put on their Blank and Stupefied look, not to be confused with their Constipated look, and, as would any male in the face of Challenge Requiring Immediate Attention, abandoned the project.

Getting back to the point. Guys love dogs, which is strange to me and should be strange to you when you consider: dogs are awfully needy creatures, and from the general overview of human history, guys don’t like needy creatures (read: women). Dogs, ESPECIALLY compared to cats, need to be taken care of every single day. They beg for attention. They beg for anything. They whine for food, for treats, for toys, for water, for pats on the head and scratches behind the ears. They whine to be let out, they whine to be let in. They whine to sleep in the bed. Oh, sure, with a lot of work, they can be trained not to whine, but they still need food, treats, toys, water, someone to oepn the door to let them in and out (unless you’re lucky enough to have access to a doggy door). And have you noticed how much ATTENTION dogs need? Attention all the time! All day! Every day! They need walks, they need someone to play with, they need happy smiles and laughter and praise and love and WHAT AN OVERLOAD OF ATTENTION! Dogs hardly *ever* leave their owner’s side. Needy and overattached animals is what they are.

Now I’m not saying dogs and women are the same; dogs don’t nag or leave jewelry catalogs lying on the kitchen table, open to the pages with diamond rings. I just find it strange that guys have such an affinity for dogs and such a distaste for cats– cats, which are as independent as free-range domestic pets come. You would never have to tell a cat, "Look, I just need a little space, okay?" Cats will give you ALL THE SPACE you want. Probably more.

Strange paradoxical nitwits, the male species be.

For whatever reason, I spent a few hours last night reading articles on– ::cue fanfare:: –AskMen.com. I don’t remember the exact cirumstances which led to my initial arrival upon the site, other than it involved a Yahoo! search… but once there, I saw a link to an article called something like "17 Things About Women We Love To Hate." And the first on the list was "Bathroom Crap," which I found to be hilarious, because I had just been thinking about how much of my girly bathroom stuff (body wash, body pouf, fancy shampoo and conditioner, hairbrush, hair clips, leave-in conditioner, shaving razor, etc.) has already accumulated at The Guy’s place, and the rest of the article hooked me because the writer’s style was just that good (I’ve found that I either like a writer’s style or I don’t, right from the start– moreover, I’ve found that I don’t like much, and whether my taste is a good judge of quality, I don’t know yet, but just for the record, I DON’T LIKE MUCH, so if I’ve TOLD YOU I LIKED SOMETHING YOU WROTE, HINT HINT, take the damn compliment to heart, you paranoid psychopath).

I thought maybe he had written some other things, and some of the other headlines intrigued me, so I just started reading a whole crapload of articles. A few were worth the investigation, most (see above) weren’t, but yeah, I spent at least two hours, just reading stuff. And I’m a fast reader, and those articles weren’t that long.

And then today I went to Borders to celebrate the Fixing of My Car And It Barely Cost Anything!*, and also because I needed to buy a book for a gift, and also because I just like books even though I’ve still got an enormous stack of books waiting to be read, books I bought a year ago, some which I bought two years ago, and have never touched since bringing them home and taking them out of the bag. One of the books I ended up buying today is titled, "How to Remodel a Man: Tips and Techniques on Accomplishing Something You Know Is Impossible but Want to Try Anyway," by W. Bruce Cameron, apparently the author of "8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter," which I never read and of which I never saw the ABC television adaption. And it’s not a bad book. It’s something on par with all of Dave Barry’s explanations of the male community, an observation which not only did I make up all on my own but is ALSO justified by a review on the back cover which states: "W. Bruce Cameron is the Dave Barry of modern family life" (John Temple, Rocky Mountain News).

The book is more or less an instruction manual (hey, I’ve seen some manuals that were 268 pages. Texas Instrument graphing calculators, anyone?) for women on how to Change Men. Topics include:
–"How to tell a man that no matter how much he yells at the television, he’s not a part of the team"
–"…changing the toilet paper roll– a twelve-step program"
–"Men Doing Housework– Not as Rare as a Solar Eclipse but About as Useful"

And I like it. In fact, I like it so much that I’m going to abandon this post right now, even though I never got to what was my intentional point which by now I’ve probably forgotten, what with all my tangents and what-have-you, and I’m going to go back to reading it. So, ‘bye.

*For repairs regarding manual transmissions ("stick-shift"), GO TO STICK SHIFT CITY because they are the nicest people EVER and they have two of the coolest dogs on the planet there, Seabiscuit and Rusty. For everything else, go to CATSKILL AUTO. Tom is the most wonderful car mechanic EVER, as wonderful as that super mega wonderful guy Bri found on a lark down in San Diego, only maybe Tom is a little bit more wonderful in my opinion because Tom is 5 miles away and Bri’s guy is, like, 328 miles away. But also, Tom is a genius and he’s honest and… eh… I’ll write more about this later, I have a book to read.

Oh, those kids

On the front panel of the tow truck, there was a yellow sticker in the shape of a school bus, and printed on it in big black lettering was this:

School’s in!
Drive with caution.

And it made me wonder if, during the summer, that sticker is replaced with a red one in the shape of a Corvette which reads:

School’s out!
Drive like a bat out of hell.

E-I-E-I-O

Sometimes, I wonder about this whole vegetarian business. It’s on par with the whole drinking business, or at least, with how it used to be before August came.

The only thing that has ever even remotely begun to tempt me to retract my non-meat-eating ways has been the smell of chicken, specifically, chicken cooked in its skin (roasted, fried)– until last night, when I smelled the turkey that had just come out of the oven. I guess it’s just something about white meat– though pork has never done this, and neither has lamb. Fowl, then. Though duck– oh, well. Chicken and turkey. Domestic non-flying and commonly eaten fowl.

I was close, physically and mentally, to eating meat last night. I didn’t, but the fact that I wanted to made me start really thinking about why exactly it is I don’t eat meat. On a general level, I don’t because it’s habit. I’m used to not eating meat, so when I start thinking about what to do for dinner, "T-bone steak" doesn’t pop into my mind as an option. But in situations like last night’s, or similar situations before, what is it that keeps me from the carnivorous act?

I wish I could fall back on the stereotypical vegetarian answer– "It’s wrong to eat animals! It’s cruelty! It’s murder!"– but while I’m still a little weirded out by the idea of eating animals, the distaste for it simply isn’t passionate enough to serve as justification for my choices.

And I think what it ultimately comes down to is, I’m afraid to stop being a vegetarian. I’m afraid of merging back into the mainstream, of blending into the mold– I know vegetarianism isn’t all that much of a social deviant anymore, but in my own social sphere maybe 1% of the people I know are vegetarians and I’m only nodding acquaintances with them, so for me, it’s a little less crowded out here, away from what’s mainstream in my world, and it’s a little bit easier to breathe where I stand.

I don’t think I’m ready to throw myself back into that crowd.

And always it’s the problem of, why does everything have to be so extreme for me? Why not settle with giving into the cravings when they hit, which is maybe once every other month IF THAT, and not eat meat the rest of the time, quite like what you do with drinking? (Although I don’t get alcohol cravings, just moments when I’m more willing to drink and therefore do, and those moments are about as common as the meat cravings.)

Because I’d feel like I was giving in, giving up. Giving in to what, giving up to what, I don’t know, but that’s how it would feel. I know *that*, because it’s what I feel every time I’m tempted. I know because it’s what I felt about a month after I ended my personal campaign against alcohol.

Blessed are the simple-minded who don’t over-think every fucking little thing.

Maple syrup ain’t got nothin’ on this sap

Excessive posting, I know. But it’s PMS week, also known as Really-Good-Imitation-of-a-Bipolar-Headcase Week, so IT’S ALLOWED.

Something I found from back in May:

***************
It’s a strange thing… perhaps it’s everything I’ve been reading today—for Advanced Comp., we’re reading The Granta Book of the Family, short autobiographical pieces by various authors relating to family members… maybe it’s this whole idea of family—maybe it’s this vague notion of graduating into a different compartment of life—maybe it’s the hormones racing through my body—but, for whatever reasons… I want, so much more than ever, to be a mother. To be a wife—but more than that, to be a mother. I want children, I want to bake cookies for my children—to cook wonderful breakfasts on weekend mornings that rouse them sleepily out of bed, to make them lunches for school and put them in brown paper bags or colorful lunchboxes, to read them bedtime stories and help them with their homework. I want to take them to soccer practice, to piano lessons, to doctor appointments and violin recitals—I want to hug them goodnight and kiss their foreheads, to fluff their pillows and bring them cool glasses of water when they’re not feeling well. In a house of sunshine with a yard of green, green grass and fruit trees and vegetable plants and flowers and more sun—I want to be a mother. A wife, too, yes, of course—I want my husband to work himself into a state of uncontrollable excitement as he paints the nursery and decorates the crib, to rough-house with the children when they get old enough, to tell them fantastic tall tales at which I will roll my eyes, at which they will react with wide eyes and open mouths. I want to be married—but, oh, how I want to have children. If I succeed at anything in my life, it will be as a mother. I will be a good mother. I will make my mother proud of me.

I want so desperately someone to love. “Why did she fight so hard to become a nurse, if not that she needed to care for and nurture people and to be loved for it?” –Doris Lessing, “Impertinent Daughters”

As though I have this impossible thing of energy—of wild love—and nowhere to put it, no way to release it, no one to whom I can give it. There are, truly, moments when I feel I could die if I don’t find an outlet for it soon enough.

***************

As already stated, this was back in May. I clearly have not died. This was clearly one of my more emotionally-driven pieces. Ugh.

But, the lesson the intervening six months have taught me is: unleash it and die. Actually, it’s more like, unleash it OR die, which hearkens back to something a former friend used to jokingly tell me years ago, that my propensity and need to love would be what killed me in the end– but getting back to the ~point, what I’ve learned, justifiably or not, sensibly or not, is to keep whatever that thing is swallowed and kept deep, deep down. And if it figuratively kills me, so be it– it’s better than unleashing it on an innocent, unsuspecting world.

Such contrast to the advice I gave to another friend back in July– "Fall in love whenever you get the chance. The world will be here any given day of the week, the year– but love, love only comes every once in a while. Why let the opportunity to love and be loved pass you by?"

Complicating matters is the arbitrary, relative nature of the concept of "love." I love my friends and family like mad and would do anything and everything possible for them and will never stop loving them as such, though the above "lesson" suggests otherwise… I suppose it’s romantic love that befuddles me so.

I despise romantic love and hope to evade it for a good long time. What peace of mind I should have, then. Yet– the heights of sweetness, the depths of despair– so rarely do we tread the middle ground.

A Gainesville perspective

The frat boys are sleazier because there are no old perverts around to
serve as examples of what their “fuck first, check for vital signs
later” policy may turn them into after they hit middle age. The
free-spirits have less restraint because there’s no one with authority
around to reassure them that no one has ever run through a public area
while waving ribbons and reciting soliloquies about chocolate chip
cookies because it is a fucking retarded thing to do. The
intellectuals are more righteous because there aren’t many people
around who have lived through enough hard knocks to explain to them why
dead poets, obscure play scripts, and pursuing a PhD in “Literary
Criticism of Literary Criticism” has no relevance to the rest of their
lives.

Look, Bob, you’re a nice guy and all, but…

After approximately 17 net hours of a really bad day (tracked over the course of two full days) and the learning of some unsettling news, may I announce:

The commencement of the November 2004 Selectively Social Hermetic Retreat!,

wherein I will most likely become:

1. A really crappy friend, daughter, etc.
2. Obsessed with all things literature
3. A writing maniac
4. Addicted to something or other. Like sugar-free mints.

Activities of this Fun! and Exciting! event include, but are not limited to, hiding under the layers of blankets on my bed, reading and writing all the time to forget about the outside world, putting the phone on silent to avoid hearing incoming calls, and occasionally leaving the house so as to not totally piss everyone off.

::sigh::

I need a new coping strategy. Maybe I should take up racquetball again.

An exercise in excess elimination

For whatever reason, I just went through my AIM list and deleted about 40-something contacts, which whittled the total list down to 41. Empowered by this random digital spring (autumn?) cleaning, I then went into one of my e-mail accounts and deleted four unread e-mails, three of which have been in my inbox since summer of last year, the fourth which was sent to me early this summer. I don’t know what any of them said, though I have a pretty good idea of their contents, but their permanent absence now gives me some modicum of– relief? Happiness? Freedom?

Some people wait and let life determine their reality for them. I hate waiting and determine my own reality, which in turn shapes my life. Things just make more sense for me that way.

Busted

If, while out doing errands, you buy a cookie for someone else, then decide to eat said cookie on the way to see that someone else, it’s probably best that you not be wearing sticky lip gloss at the time, lip gloss which acts like a magnet for give-away little cookie crumbs (or at least, it would act like a magnet if cookie crumbs were metallic, but that’s just disgusting, metallic cookies), because he will see those crumbs and know right away what’s happened.

The next time you’re on the road at 8:46 p.m…

When you see that car kind of swerving in its lane, before you think sarcastically to yourself, "Gee, a little early to be hitting the bottle so hard, eh?"– stop and consider the likely possibility that the driver COULD be a girl who has just gotten her nails manicured and is paranoid about ruining the polish, even though the polish has long since set, and is thereby doing everything she can to button the cuffs of her sleeves without using said nails but is failing miserably, all the while trying to steer the car with her left knee. JUST CONSIDER IT, OKAY? Because it happens.