Wednesday, November 3, 2010

In my twilight,
of late nights and bad decisions,
choices I relish…and a few I forgot.

In a stupor of joyful whimsy,
I resemble a taller version of the incorruptibility left behind.
Oh so many years ago.

In a lifetime full of friendly strangers,
I navigate…a sea of same-ness that blends into the background noise.
White noise as you ponder the journey, not quite sure of the destination or its purpose.

Somewhere, somehow the blood that moves through your veins is suddenly frozen.
And in that instant you know what it is to be naked.

Exposing the truth of your soul in the hopes that the gaping magnitude doesn’t swallow you alive,
after a moment of time hurled me into the ether.

Your breath, new life.
Your laugh, my safeguard.
Your smirk, my grace.
Your smell, home.
Your touch, my redemption.
Your kiss, my freedom.

Then the earth returns to its axis. Aching that the rotation’s natural progression would give pause. And for a moment in time…

I was happy.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


When entering the terrifying realm of dating one must strip down the thick skin has been built up over the years and feel the sometimes painful experience of exposing oneself to another. Admittedly, this has not always been my strong suit. In fact, if anything, I am quite talented at peeking outside the ivory tower just long enough to realize that a thicker wall must be constructed for emotional safety’s sake. Bringing another person into my life, let alone letting them see the real me are foreign concepts to me, concepts that seem like an alluring siren’s song, until reality sets in.

As an actor it is much easier to assume a reality that better suits the situation that I find myself in. To assimilate into a new culture and a new personality, while seamlessly weaving parts of my own past into this new character’s background. I can draw from personal experiences to create a familiarity for people that seems genuine enough to be believed. This is how I find myself getting through my day to day. People selectively see parts of me that I bring out when appropriate. Cues from others can be detected when that prompt character growth. Though I am nowhere near a genius (trust me, Mensa wont be knockin’ at my door anytime soon) I do have enough street smarts and enough tribal knowledge built up that I can have fully engaged conversations on subjects I know snippets about and make new friends on barely shared interests. I can safely count the number of people on one hand that know the real me and up until this point in my life, that has served me just fine.

However, I am at an impasse on how to move forward at this point in my life and this is new to me. While I am thankful that I will always have the WONDERFUL people in my life that have seen the real me stripped down and raw and still love me for who I am and who I am becoming, I have never allowed a romantic partner in on that level. And while I do (kind of) like the idea of doing that, the very thought of it makes my extremities cold and my stomach want to bring up whatever it was digesting. Am I doomed to wander to earth a perpetual people pleaser, only showing people the sides of me that I detect they want to see? Will I never be able to allow a man to see my soul and hold my hand? Will I never be able to accept help or a favor from someone who is acting purely out of love without suspecting that I will later have to repay that favor at a greater cost to my emotional wellbeing?

And what if I do meet someone (this is purely hypothetical) that I want to show the real me to? How does one go about removing the layers and layers of their extremities to expose the truth? How do you know if they even want to see the real you? How do you gage their reactions as the real you and not look for the clues to be found in their facial expressions and posture and adapt to what you determine they will find a more comfortable version of you? How do I tell someone that the thought of them seeing me naked makes me want to cry hot tears and hide? How do you tell someone that the thought of someone loving me for real makes me want to hurt myself? Those are things that are not easy to say yet I scream in my head when I meet someone I could really care about.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Great Outdoors

After moving to the Northwest, I have become acutely aware of the amount of people that enjoy a wide variety of outdoors activities, like camping. They actually plan time to trek out into the cold, damp wilderness, set up a gingham shelter and sleep on the ground. I find this procedure asinine. We as humans have spent a lot of time and energy to make astounding advancements in technology so we could live a comfortable life indoors. I have been told that camping is a great way to “escape” and to reconnect with nature. Again, I have to say, this seems asinine to me. As far as I can see, the people that go camping invest a LOT of money in buying expensive and durable equipment to shield themselves from the nature they are trying to connect with.

I guess I have never been what you could call an “outdoorsy” kind of girl…I know, shocker. I have been known to enjoy an occasional long walk, I have skinny dipped in the ocean at dawn, and I have even enjoyed the beach, as long as there is shade near by…that is where my outdoorsy exposure really ends. So you can imagine my horror when I was asked to join some friends on a camping trip, in my mind the only form of camping I was aware of was 3 stars or less.

As I was faced with the fate of spending 3 whole days surviving the elements, I realized that I should probably try to arm myself. I rarely entertain the idea of buying flat shoes, let alone hiking boots. A helpful coworker suggested that I try to keep an open mind and go to REI (conveniently located across the street from where I work). I do want to point out before I begin this open-minded tale, that I find it slightly ironic that people by the thousands gather at this temperature controlled Mecca for out-of-doors activities, to buy very expensive prepackaged merchandise to enhance their experience of the great outdoors.

I was awestruck by how immense the store was. It housed literally hundreds of thousands of items all for people who wanted to go outside all in the name of “fun”. The floors were decorated with staged scenarios and pristine models of colorful equipment, it was like the Ikea showroom (only most of the items in REI have names that are slightly easier to pronounce). I wandered around for nearly an hour just staring at the displays in wonder. The first thought that came to my mind was, how many people out there actually assemble these things correctly on the first try? I’m sure the instructions to these things are more complicated than the Rosetta stone, and anyone that could actually put them together, let alone make them look as good as they looked perfectly displayed in REI, has got to be a genius of Mensa quality.

I first located the biggest item that I figured I would need, a tent. Wandering through the entire section of the store dedicated ONLY to covering oneself, I found myself overwhelmed. Did you know that there are over 20 types of tents? I didn’t. Tents with names that include, Chum, Kohte, Lavvu, Sami Tent, Loue, Pandal, Sibley…I take back my afore mentioned comment about the product names at Ikea.

“Well hey there! Do you have any questions?” asked an overly chipper voice behind me. The first thought I had was to say a polite no thank you and beeline out of there to find myself a place more suited to my personality (preferably a store that stocked high heels). But instead I looked this guy dead in the face and said,

“I have a camping trip coming up, and I don’t really know what to get.”

“Oh well sure! I can help you with that! I’m Chip! Well, the first thing you’re going to need is a tent!” I repressed my urge to say ‘No shit Sherlock’ and instead blindly nodded and followed Chip and his popped collar down one of the isles. “Well, the first thing you should consider, is your location. Do you know where you’ll be camping?”

“In the woods?” I answered. He laughed hysterically for about 2 minutes and then said,

“You’re funny!” It was all I could do to keep from kicking him in the shin, as ‘the woods’ really was my best approximation of where I would be going. My friends did of course mention where we would be camping, I just chose not to retain any of the information dispensed after hearing that we would be braving nature. Chip then noticed my helpless and somewhat miffed face that obviously had no fucking clue where I was going and abruptly stopped laughing. I believe it was at this moment when he realized that he was dealing with a camping virgin. It also must have dawned on him that this was a rare encounter in which he could sell an immense amount of useless crap to an inexperienced first timer.

“We should get you a cart” He said and rushed off. I stood in the isle, much like a cow stands in line at the slaughter house thinking “gosh this is a nice change from shitting in a field, it sure smells funny in here, but I’ll stand here because they told me to. Hmmm, I wonder where Bessy went?” Upon Chip’s return, I had come to two conclusions, one, that I was totally and completely helpless in this situation; and two, that I was going to regret letting Chip help me.

As we piled stuff into my cart Chip would pause intermittently to show me the benefits of the latest lightweight poncho or the exciting advancements in Swiss army knife technology and I would nod in feigned interest, I haven’t had to work that hard at faking anything since my last relationship.

Out of sheer morbid curiosity, I was beginning to wonder what all of this was going to cost me. In fact, I think investing in real-estate might be cheaper and at least in that case I would theoretically have a house to stay in instead of paying to expose myself to all of natures glory. “Hey Chip, what is all of this going to cost me? I need to be able to afford a couple of other things this month, like food and rent.”

“Well, let’s see shall we?” He whipped out a plastic calculator and began to furiously tap away, adding up just how much of dignity was going to be lost while trying to set up this equipment. “Looks like with tax, everything is going to come out to about $1,465.00” After the stunned silence that followed, I was able to muster up the only logical response I could think of,

“Let me get this straight Chip, you want me to spend $1500 on equipment that I will probably only use once, that I will probably not be able to set up properly, and that I mostly likely wont even need to use unless I plan on summiting Everest on this trip?”

“Well, the self cooling rust resistant hydration pod is really very useful and that inflatable respite divan will give added comfort-“

“Well, let me put this a different way, Chip, the ONLY way I am spending $1500 on a 3 day weekend is if it is going to involve a passport, a bikini and barely dressed waiter resembling Brad Pitt carrying a Mojito.”

In retrospect I think I may have bruised poor Chip’s ego a little by reacting the way I did…but the thought of spending that much money on something that ultimately means less to me than socks, was a bit too much for me to entertain seriously. Eventually I was able to walk out of there with less than $100 worth of equipment and a smile on my face…and Chip was able to walk away with at least one testicle still descended.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Working on my Fitness

Lately I have noticed that an alarming number of my friends are working up a sweat for recreational purposes. While I do find this admiral, I have a hard time picturing donning stretchy materials for any reason other than losing a bet. In fact, the last time I went running, I think I was running towards a Charles David sample sale (which admittedly you have to be pretty fit to get through without breaking a limb). To be honest, when I hear them talking about bonding over waking up at unthinkable hours, braving the elements while working up copious amounts of sweat and ultimately thrashing their bodies, all I can think about is how great it felt to wake up this morning in my freshly washed sheets on my fluffy pillow-top mattress and hit the snooze button five times until I was ready to roll out of bed.

Now I am not lazy by any means. I have been known to sprint upstairs in 4 inch heels, crunch pretty hard when taking off the 4 inch heels, stretch into a warriors pose when grabbing the Trader Joes Baked Crispies out of my cupboard, keeping my feet at shoulder width apart while squatting onto my couch, and of course several reps of the 12oz diet coke curl. In fact, just thinking about all of this activity has caused me to break out in a small sweat.

Lately my self-imposed guilt has gotten the best of me as I notice that my coworkers seem to developing a healthy glow and wearing smaller sizes and all I seem to be able to retain is water weight. So in an attempt to jump on the band wagon (that counts as exercise right?) I found myself walking into the gym that I have been a member of for over a year. I have never actually gone into my gym since the day I joined it and got a free tour/personal training session with a very attractive young man named Blaine…with a name like that, he really only had one clear career choice. I also got a free smoothie and a hat, so win, win. Blaine was nice to look at, but by the end of the 45 minutes that I spent with him, the only thing I wanted to do was throw my shoe at his perfectly gelled hair and wipe that crest-kid smile off his far too perfect face for doing 60 sit ups with me while not getting winded. So, needless to say, I was not looking forward to walking into unfamiliar territory that I paid an annual fee to never go to.

After about 10 minutes of wandering around and walking into what I hope was the women’s steam room (it was too steamy to see specific body parts) I managed to find the locker room. I located a locker that was not positioned directly in front of a mirror and began the very painful process of undressing in a public forum filled with perfect strangers. I have found that when in public changes rooms, there are certain unspoken rules one of which, don’t speak to anyone while they are naked. As I was almost done pulling on my lycra calf-length exercise shorts, a much older and naked-er woman looked at me and said,

“Where do I know you from? You look so familiar to me!” I really didn’t know how to formulate a response to this, I was having a hard enough time trying to figure out where to put my eyes.

“Hmmmmm. I don’t know. I work in the area, maybe you know me from the building?” I asked.

“Oh really? Where do you work?”

“Cole and Weber across the street.”

“Hmmmmm. Well, that’s not it. Huh, well it will probably come to me later. Have a good work out!” I smiled to the best of my ability and turned my focus back to tying my shoes.

After locking my possessions with my extremely flimsy $2 padlock which was obviously going to detour any focused thief from walking away with my iPhone, I made my way to the cardio floor. The cardio floor is a gigantic, loosely air conditioned room that smells heavily of human sweat and old men. People hoping to secure a cardio machine stand in line waiting for the opportunity to expend energy in a controlled environment. All the treadmills were taken, so I meandered over the something called an elliptical machine. The elliptical machines are interesting looking contraptions that make me conjure images of Tony Little on his Gazel enthusiastically running suspended in air while wearing spandex and a fanny pack. I had never until that moment ever actually tried one of these machines and I have to admit, I was more than a little intimidated. Somehow the women around me were able to work with the elliptical and not fight against what seemed to be a very unnatural movement. It’s not like running, and in fact, you are forced to keep your feet still while spinning at a high rate and trying to move your hips to the movement so you don’t lock up and launch yourself into the person directly to your right or left. After several unsuccessful tries and some very sympathetic glances from my sweaty neighbors, I admitted defeat. I could not find my rhythm on that thing…hell, who was I kidding, I don’t have enough rhythm to successfully perform the Macarena.

While trying to master the dismount from that horrible contraption, I noticed Blaine from across the room torturing yet another innocent woman who was obviously lured into that situation by his rock hard pecs and winning smile that seemed to say “Don’t worry, you could run a marathon tomorrow if you wanted to, trust me, I’m a professional.” I tried to not make direct eye contact, but somehow he saw me and waved. For some inexplicable reason, I raised my arm to wave back, which is not as it turns out a wise idea while trying to get off of a large piece of “exercise” equipment that you have never used before. Before I knew it, my foot that was still planted firmly on one of the elliptical’s moving parts dropped like a gliding rock bringing my body with it, however I somehow missed the upswing of said moving part and pitched myself forward trying to catch onto anything that didn’t have a component in motion. Instead, I ended up grabbing air as I swan dove into the front console of the machine missing knocking out my front teeth by millimeters. If that wasn’t an argument to spend the rest of my life from the safety of my couch, I don’t know what was. I swiftly tried to correct myself and ended up lurching upward and stumbling a few steps into the machine directly behind me. Not my most graceful moment, almost as bad as seeing me attempt the Macarena.

To my horror, I noticed that the person on the machine behind me, was none other than my once naked conversation partner from the women’s locker room. Thankfully she mentioned nothing of my clumsy dismount and instead took out her ear phones to ask me if I was ok. The only thing severely bruised was my pride at this point and all I really wanted to do was run, far, far away. So I did just that. I retreated to the locker room, gathered up all my crap and bee-lined for the door vowing never to publicly work out again.

I remembered later that night where naked woman knew me from by the way, she was a professor of mine in college 10 years ago…Why she recognized me partially clothed from across a large public locker room is a thought that still plagues me to this day.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Hot Wax and Speed Zones

In Medieval times a common form of punishment was torture. A wide (and rather creative) array of methods, machines, and tools were invented for various degrees of pain and public humiliation. In England for instance, drawing and quartering an individual was a popular practice that was often done for large crowds (the disembowelment and ultimate beheading of a person was the modern equivalent of dinner and a show). Another very widely used form of torment were chastity belts, which women were regularly expected to don in order to give their future husbands and families a semblance of security that her purity was indeed intact rendering her a much more valuable bargaining chip when negotiating her potential marital union. Being a history buff, I have seen multiple examples of the wrought iron thongs, and I would have to say, I would rather be drawn and quartered.

While such methods are no longer practiced today, there have been new rituals invented to take their place. And while ancient forms of torture were regularly acted out on the accused, we as modern women seem to willingly seek it out. I am of course talking about, waxing. Women routinely have their hair follicles ripped from their skin while a perfect stranger (usually named Ingrid or Olga) with a very heavy accent contorts our lower bodies into exposing and uncomfortable positions. After the warm sticky wax, compromising positions that would make a Chinese gymnast blush, excruciating pain, and hours of red bumpy highly sensitive skin, we are expected to pay them for this service and tip them well.

Personally, I had never bought into this. I couldn’t see the sense in paying someone to tend to that area. But I began to notice that more and more women are beginning to liken this experience to a trip to the dentist, as regular maintenance. On a recent shopping trip with my Mom I had it brought to my attention that my “area” could use a little “control”. I was of course doing the one thing that most females dread, swimsuit shopping. Much like the chastity belts of yore, swimsuits are an uncomfortable form of female bondage popular to our era. The spandex prisons are by nature frighteningly unflattering on the wrong form and unsettlingly exposing. Lately I have noticed the stretchy material cutting into the softer regions of my body creating lumps and rivets in places I don’t want others to see. I resemble a lycra hotdog that been overstuffed – and if anything is going to maintain my chastity, it’s being seen in public in one of those.
At first I found it insulting that my Mother would make such an observation, but then I took a good look at the region. To add insult to emotional scaring, my Mom asked me if I wanted to go with her on her next appointment. The idea of being taken along on a hot waxing trip, was more than I could bare (no pun intended). So instead, I took down the name and number of the salon and promised to make an appointment.

I am afraid of salons. They are actually a phobia of mine. They are a collective hive of overly maintained women doing their best to defy nature at all costs. My fears only compound when one or more of these women begin offering up life advice and gossiping about anything and everything. Of course this visit would do nothing for my terror because I was bringing myself (willingly) to have a very sensitive area of my body thrashed. My appointment was difficult to book because the Ukrainian woman who is their specialist liked to book her own appointments,

“Ees for wax, da?” She had a very deep voice that dripped from the back of her throat and rolled into pronunciation.

“Yes” I answered meekly “It’s my first time, so I don’t really know what to have done, or what to ask for…” She let a long pause hang uncomfortably for a few seconds,

“Ees fierst time, da?”

“Da” I answered, “I’m Mona’s daughter”

“Aaaaaaah yees, Mona, she viery lovely, viery hiery” Already I was squirming with too much information, and feeling slightly exposed “eef you like Ma, den you need full hour.”

“An hour?” I squeaked.

“Da” She repeated. She rattled off a date and time, which I wrote down and to my horror realized it was that afternoon. Of course her “office” was as clean and sterile looking, with a couple of half-baked attempts to make it look more personable (a trickling fountain and a picture of a fuzzy kitten, which I’m assuming was the only hairy pussy apparently allowed in that room). She pointed to me and asked,

“What you like?”

“Oh gosh, I don’t know…” She looked at me shrewdly and answered,

“You want same as your mother? Landing strip wis Playboy wax?” I have been told in the past that I have my Mom’s eyes, her cheekbones and her laugh, but I really didn’t want to share her bikini line. Besides hearing that my Mom ordered something with “Playboy” in the name, was just about enough for me.

“Streep!” She ordered.

“Streep?” I asked “as in Meryl?”

“Your pants! Remove.” She stumbled over the word remove, but miraculously she managed to maintain her dominance in the situation. I blushed fiercely and began to sloooowly undo my belt. With my ears burning and every ounce of my dignity gone, I hopped up on the cold stiff table covered in crinkly paper and looked up at my oppressor. I tried to focus on the ceiling cracks, but as soon as the warm goo touched my inner thigh, I knew there was no turning back. With each rip tears would form in the corner of my eyes. With a powerful thrust, she lifted my leg into the air and began spreading wax on an area that I really only ever intended to have treated nicely.

“No!” I cried “I don’t think I want to have that area done, I don’t think I am ready!”

“Yees, must do! Thees is ugly, must Metch!” Since she already deposited the wax, I knew I was doomed so with a whimper of anticipated pain, I let her continue. Once she stopped, I looked down, only to see a red and throbbing exposed area.

“You go home now, buy Bikini Zone and seet down” I couldn’t really argue, or mutter a cohesive sentence at this point. “Hurry! Go get, or you heav ingrown heirs I heav to pull out!” I worte a check (complete with tip) and stumbled out to my car, all the while VERY aware of my “area” and the pain it was in.

I wasn’t fully aware of my diminished driving capacity on the trip home until the red and blue lights flashed behind me in a hail of siren noise. I glanced in my rearview mirror long enough to see the cop motioning me to pull over. I began to panic, I didn’t know what I had done and my vajayjay was beginning to burn in protest t it’s denim prison. He seemed to be taking his own sweet time even getting to my window and I began fidgeting. When he finally got to my window he leisurely leaned over and asked,

“You know how fast you were going?” In truth, I didn’t. I hadn’t even thought to check my speedometer, so I shook me head in response to his question.

“You know what the speed limit here is?” he questioned. Again I found myself at a loss, and again, I shook my head no.

“Well you were going 50 and the limit’s 35” he said while searching my face for a spark of recognition, the only thing I actually did recognize at that moment was the growing ichiness going on in my nether regions. “What’s a girl like you rushing off to?” He questioned.

“Home” I mumbled.

“Well maybe you outta think about slowin’ it down a notch, after all, life is too fast. You should slow down and enjoy it.”

I don’t know what it is in me that snapped, but from somewhere inside I felt a break. I literally could feel my left eye twitching in anger at his blatant disregard for my time and my obvious need to get the hell out of there. I found myself leaning out of my window and making direct eye contact with Officer Slowdown and said in my most measured tone,

“Look, I know as a man you probably will never understand the reason behind my rushing, but I have to get home so that I can buy some industrial strength anti-inflammatory cream to apply where I have just had a full wax…including lips. In layman’s terms, I need to get home NOW so that I can go home and ice down my once hairy taco.”

For a horrifying moment, I feared he would spontaneously combust, but instead he drew in his breath, stretched upwards and lurched towards his car. It is the first and only time I have ever talked myself out of a ticket.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Mommy-Hood

Something I have noticed recently is the alarming amount of life altering announcements that I seem to be receiving from friends and colleagues in my age group. These would include engagement announcements, wedding invitations, baby showers, and divorces (a Mormon friend who got married in high school so she could have sex on prom night). As the rest of my peer group seem to be moving swiftly in to adulthood, I can’t help but feel a bit behind. I am apparently suck in limbo.

Whether limbo is an immediate distraction right out of college, the grey matter that exists as we tumble through our mid-to-late twenties, the catholic equivalent to hell, or the drunken ice/back-breaker at parties, it is quite an uncomfortable position to be in. Especially when it is brought to your attention that the gap is ever widening. I had been doing my best to ignore that little voice inside telling me to pick a future, find a mate, blah blah blah. However what was once a nagging inclination, is now becoming a screaming modulation alerting me to the breadth of the situation (and that was just my mother).

The trigger I believe came when I opened my mail to discover that my dorm-neighbor in college was “with child” and due in June. It didn’t surprise me that Josie was pregnant (I don’t think anyone within three doors of her room was shocked), what blew our minds was that she not only knew who the father was, she married him. Never one to turn down a name brand item, Josie had undoubtedly registered her bundle of joy at all the finest baby boutiques in Seattle. I barely had enough for the month’s rent and food let alone a Diaper Jeanie from Bed Bath and Beyond.

I chose to ignore that I had not been invited to their nuptials or to the reception after, and instead focus on the fact that I now had to hunt down a gift. Entering into stores which cater to those who are making life-altering changes is always something I have to prepare myself for. It’s bad enough that I have to consider shopping at a facility with a name like “Bridal Barn” or “Baby Barn” or “Discount Divorce Hut” (pay for two and the third is free), but to walk freely among those who assume that I am there for the same reason they are is grim. As I pass the numbers of squealing brides and mommies-to-be I am ever aware that I have no business being in these places.

This morning I drug myself to “Babies R Us” after my full work dayto spend my hard earned single salary on something Josie’s kid couldn’t choke on. I really wasn’t prepared for was the frightening scene unfolding in the parking lot. I was faced with an endless sea of SUVs and Mini Vans all vying for the last available parking spot, and these women were out for blood. After about 3 lengthy laps around the lot, the parking gods took pity on me and blessed me with spot about 3 miles from the store. The only catch was that I had to wait for the woman to unload her cart, strap in her kids, load up her crap, move her cart, distribute various juices and snacks to her obviously starving children, and back out. I of course followed parking lot protocol and stopped my car with enough room for her to get out and proceeded to turn on my blinker, indicating that this was indeed my parking spot. As I waited I became aware that a rather large SUV was encroaching on my cars rear end. I hoped that “Objects in Mirror are Closer then they Appear” was merely a decorative statement. After trying to mount my car, the woman driving decided that it was not obvious that I should’nt be in her way. She began honking her horn for 20 second intervals and yelling from inside her car. My first intonation was to get the fuck out of there, but then I realized that this is a public parking facility and I therefore was doing no wrong in waiting for this spot. This of course did not sit well the SUV woman, and she decided to open her car door to better alert me to her anger and colorful vocabulary. While shouting obscenities and honking her horn we had drawn ourselves a little crowd, all wondering if I would stand my ground, or if the scary eyed SUV-Bitch would drive me away.

In the end the woman giving up her much coveted spot shot me a look of utter horror and pity, while speeding up her departure. I of course took the spot, and the ungraciously defeated SUV honked her horn for a good 30 seconds before proceeding on her way. These were mommies?

I hiked to the entrance of the store after shelling out a couple of dollars worth of loose change to various beggars (probably fathers who had been separated from their herd and were now forced to wander the parking lot for life), and found myself in another world. Some kind of strange music played which seemed to be an odd hybrid of elevator music and whale songs, and everywhere I looked there were people expecting children, dragging children, holding children, or fussing over children. I was all alone in a sea of bodies. I fought my way to the customer service desk and obtained a copy of Josie’s lengthy registry, and began my journey into the unknown.

While looking for a clip on accessory for the “Jolly Roller Stroller” a woman’s voice volunteered,
“Those are really helpful for entertaining, but they aren’t machine washable, so beware.” I turned around to find a smiling woman about my age with a child strapped to her belly in what looked like a primitive version of a Lycra torture device. “I almost went nuts trying to entertain little Tailor, until we found the baby Sling-o-Rama” She then rested her hand on the torture device for emphasis “Now, he mostly sleeps and gurgles, it’s wonderful being a Marsupial Mom. Well good luck to you!” She then waved and departed as quickly as she’d shown up leaving me to contemplate Marsupial Motherhood there in the stroller isle.

Women form all angles were smiling at me, offering me advice and showing me how things worked. They were more then willing to follow me around and make sure that I found the best of the best as far as baby accessories went. Then it dawned on me, they weren’t helping me out of the kindness of their hearts, they were assuming that I was one of them! I began to feel ashamed that it wasn’t “baby weight” I was carrying around, it was my very own “baby fat”. All I wanted was a colorful unisex semi-engaging novelty which could pass as a decent gift, and now I was one of them. At first I played along, cooing at all the fun toys, faking rapture at the delicate baby books, and virtually salivating over the astounding advancements in breast pump technology. Then some woman named Gale began to regale about the joys of her first birth. The endless contractions, her water breaking all over the car seat, the drugs needed to keep her from gnawing her husbands hand off, the ripping of her genitals, the stitches needed, the right kind of stretch mark cream, etc. I found myself tightening the imaginary noose around my neck in anticipation of this day. Then everyone chimed in with stories of how much weight they gained, what foods they craved, how submissive their husbands were, the bloating, the gas, the hormone surges, the mood swings...and I had to get out. Motherhood was a club that I was not only unprepared for, I wanted no part of it whatsoever. Just as I felt the floor begin to spin underneath me, one of the mommies turned to me and asked,

“When are you due?” Suddenly all eyes were on me, expecting me to gush with rapt enthusiasm over the next nine months of imminent torture. I had two choices, to lie and sign myself up for jamboree classes starting in 3 to 6 months, or I could simply say,“Oh, I’m not pregnant…” The mommies began to step away slowly all looking at me with measured anger. So I did what any other human would have done in a situation where I was obviously outnumbered by other Marsupials “yet, but we’re hoping soon!” The crowd breathed a sigh of relief and gave me numbers to their doctors so I could consider envitro 'should it come to that'.


I have begun to notice an odd trend in our customers which baffles me to no end. For some reason the most interestingly adorned and freakishly decorated individuals always and without fail order the most boring drinks. You would think that because their outward appearance is so deliberately chosen to shock, offend, or possibly sicken others, that they would want to continue this trend in their food choices.
You know, like ordering a twenty shot espresso and asking us to give our finger a little nick to add some of our own blood. But no, no membranes, or mucus, or even additional shots. For the most part they’ll order drip coffee or an Americana. No bells, no whistles, and no frou-frou additions. Which I guess in today’s world of sugary-fatty-instant-Kentucky-fried-gratification, having straight coffee, is in fact quite bohemian.
This morning, I decided to ask one of our regular freaks why this was. I mean, there had to be a reason. The first decorated individual who always shows up in the morning, is named Jane and she is a true piece of work. A masterpiece in her own right. Her head is shaven (ala Shinade O’Conor) and adorning her melenous dome is a multitude of colorful tattoos which range from skulls and cross-bones, to Muppet Babies. Her ears have more metal then the frame of my car, and in her left earlobe there seems to be a silver steak driven all the way through. Her cloths always contain at the very least one clashing pattern or color, which if you stare directly at it, will render you temporarily stupid. And, as a matter of principle, I think she always has at least one curse word printed on her at all times. This morning her shirt was another wonder of verbal brilliance, in it’s simplicity sporting the
word “cunt”, and was paired with a neon kilt, completed by leg warmers and calf-length combat boots.
Every piece of fabric was torn and/or filthy with bobby pins gouged into the free spaces. Her makeup seemed to be a cross between Kiss and Marilyn Manson. In fact, I think she could have given those guys tips.
She must have a steady source of income though (tattoo artist, side show attraction, lion tamer?...), because she came in every day and she would tip us nicely. Her answer to my query over the simplicity of her
drink, and she answered,
“Gee, I don’t know. I just never really liked any of that other weird crap people put in their drinks...just seems so unnatural to put that in coffee.” This coming from the woman who houses enough metal to be legally declared a pubic construction site. She continued, “besides man, I never liked doing what every other yuppy asshole is doing, I’d rather be an individual then let someone tell me how to be.”
She grinned at me, and I noticed she had strategically blacked out four of her bottom teeth with a magic marker, again displaying her disdain for the mainstream (though dental miscomformity was a new form of rebellion to me).
However, I did admire how Jane liked to be so different from what society dictates as “normal”. But just as I was beginning to take on a substantial form of respect for her individuality, Jane bent over to tie her laces as she was leaving, and I noticed a label protruding from her grotesquely colored skirt that read “Calvin Klein”...I don’t think I need to point out the irony.