Wednesday, May 31, 2006



Welcome To Miami* (Part II)

The first attempt to open my eyes was thwarted by a heavy does of fatigue. The second by a wave of laziness. But on the third try, my eyes opened to sunlight filtering through the curtains. The bride to be was buzzing around the room and the matron of honor had left to run an errand. The usher was still asleep next to me in an alcohol induced coma.
"So what's the plan for today?" I asked.
"We're going to the beach today, then Opium Garden tonight," the bride to be answered.
"I'm hungry. I need to find food." It was after noon and the pancakes, cheese eggs, and turkey bacon I'd devoured 8 hours earlier were long gone from my system. Food would need to be administered soon before my stomach began eating itself. The situation was urgent, so I sat down at my laptop and checked my email for the next hour. Ooooohhh, look! 12 new comments on the blog. Woohoo!!
Showers, outfit selection, hair and makeup for four women took over two hours. But by 3:30 we were suited up

and ready to go
The heat blanketed us the moment we stepped outside. Desperate for relief we hauled ass into a nearby drugstore and picked up some essentials. Towels, shades, sun screen, soap opera mags. Two blocks and 5 minutes later we were at 8th and Ocean.
Teddy and the twins were nowhere to be found, but we did happen upon 1/2 off lunch specials. French toast and eggs quieted my rumbling stomach and gave me a touch of gas, which I promptly released into my chair's cushion. I felt a thousand times better. Beach time!! A brisk walk across the street and there it was in all it's glory. South Beach!
I raced towards the Atlantic, the bride to be several feet behind me. The other two stayed by our umbrellas, lest a drop of water touch their hair. The bride to be and I frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called....wait, wrong reference...we frolicked in the surf. The waves pounded against us, moving us further out to see before bringing us back towards the shore
It was all good clean fun until a tidal wave crashed against my back, denting my perfectly rounded, coily fro. I admitted defeat and exited the ocean.
(Halle Berry ain't got nothing on me)
I needed a breather, so I found a chaise and lounged.

A few minutes later we were South Beached out. We gathered our belongings, rinsed off our feet and headed back to Ocean Ave. I wanted to shop. Unfortunately every store I entered only specialized in stripper couture. $500 for butt floss? I don't think so. After unfruitful stops at several stores along the strip, my body begged for a break.
"Hey guys, I'm gonna head back to the hotel. I'm tired."
I retired to room 412 and passed out, but not before downing 2 slices of extra cheese pizza and a lipton iced tea.
I awoke to a headache and a mean case of the sniffles. Wet hair, plus artic air conditioning equals post nasal drip. The others arrived back in the room to find me buried underneath the covers.
"I'm not going out tonight," I announced.
"What's wrong?" the bride to be inquired.
"I'm sick. And my head is pounding."
"Oh, it's probably from being in the water this afternoon."
Really? Why didn't I think of that? They plied me with Tyelonol and fluids in the hopes I would feel well enough to go to Opium Garden. We were on the list (for real this time) and would be sure to get in free without waiting on line. That is, as long as we arrived before 1 a.m.
By 5 minutes to midnight, I was feeling no better, so they headed out without me. At 12:15, my fog cleared. I raced to the shower, hoping I could get ready in a fraction of the time it normally takes me. I rubbed some Dove on the essential areas, rinsed, then toweled off. Lotion was applied to the parts visible to others. I wrangled myself into a pair of too tight jeans and put on a wife beater that read "He didn't forget your number. He's just not that into you." I slipped on a pair of low heeled sandals and dashed out the door just as the bride to be was calling to tell me to get my ass to the club in the next five minutes or don't bother coming at all.
I dashed down Washington, made a left onto Collins, and damn near sprinted the 8 long blocks to Opium Garden. I found my party immediately.
"Why are you still waiting outside? I thought we were on the list."
"We are. Along with everyone else out here," the matron of honor replied.
I looked around at 200 hundred plus bodies standing on the sidewalk waiting to gain admittance. FUCK!
Then a drop of water hit my left arm, followed by another on my right, trailed by a torrential downpour.
The bouncer, opened the velvet rope and we rushed inside. Leaving the other party goers drenched outside.
"20 dollars," the lady in the front vestibule stated.
"We're on the list," said the bride to be.
"Nope, the list just gets you in, it's $20."
Conference time. The four of us huddled in a corner to determine our next move.
"Should we stay?" I asked.
"I'm not paying that just to get in," the usher chimed in.
"I'll figure this out." The matron of honor walked towards a burly dark skinned man with a clipboard. He bent down and she whispered in his ear. 30 seconds later, she waved for us to come through. We were in!
We walked across the threshold into a rainy mist. There was no ceiling. Palm trees and exotic plants were planted throughout and techno rang out in the air.
"Umm, I thought it was hip-hop night," I said to no one in particular.
"I think that's in the upstairs section at Prive`."
"Well how do we get up there?"
We approached a bouncer, 6'4 250 with flowing locs.
"We want to get into Prive`," the matron of honor announced.
"You need a wrist band to get up there."
"Well how do we get wristbands."
He looked to his left, then his right and lowered his voice.
"Look, I can get you up there for $20 each."
"WHAT!!! But we're on the list," she said.
"That list don't mean shit. $20 a piece and you're in there."
Time for another conference.
"How much do you have on you?" the bride to be asked.
"Okay I can cover you," the matron of honor offered.
We scrounged together $80.
"We got the money."
"Shhhhhhhh, not here," the bouncer whispered. "Wait 10 minutes then meet me near the bathrooms."
What the hell type of stealth operation was this? The exchange went down exactly 10 minutes later.
"Now don't put these on out here. Go into the bathroom and do it," he instructed.
The four of us crammed into one stall and affixed the bands to each others wrists. Then we hustled towards the steps that led up to Prive`. We got in without a problem.
It was packed inside the roofed in structure. Girls danced on the bars and men watched from below, cheering them on. 50 Cent blared from the speakers. So this was the hip-hop section. Only one thing was missing.
"Yo, where are the black folks?" the bride to be wondered.
I was thinking the same thing. An hour later we found them in VIP. The bouncer let us in because we're cute. We found a spot on the dance floor and dipped it low. When my feet began to hurt, I removed my shoes, hopped up on a platform and grinded my body against the wall for several hours. One bouncer even got me a free bottle of water just for dropping it like it's hot. Thankfully there is no photographic evidence of my behavior that evening.

*The Miami Heat suck sweaty goat ass

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

It's My Blog and I'll Bitch if I Want To

I am in a foul ass mood today. It's been building for days and now it's simmering beneath my pores wanting to boil over in an all out temper tantrum. Verunca Salt has nothing on me. If there was actually someone here to listen to me, I would stomp my feet, throw blunt objects, and scream "Why ME!?!" until my lungs ache.

I'm getting fat again. I feel it. In the last two months I have worked out once. Is it because I'm too busy? Nope, it's cause I'm a lazy fucktard who doesn't feel like popping in a workout video for a half hour. Lucky for me, my inactivity hasn't kept me away from extra cheese pizzas, chocolate chip cookies, french fries and fried chicken.

I'm broke. A $250 doctor bill here, a $1000 water mitigation invoice there. Oh look, I'm overdrawn again. Payday isn't even exciting anymore. The money is gone before it hits my account. And oh yay!! I gotta find another $400 bucks to head home for my brother's high school graduation. Can I just send a card?

Todd just got executed via lethal injection for killing Margaret and her unborn child. Too bad both Margaret and child are very much alive. That vapid bitch Paige knew for months that her ex husband, Spencer, set up Todd so that he could have a clear shot at Todd's fiancee Blair. But did Paige tell her boyfriend Bo, Llanview's police commissioner. NO!! She's pussied out because she didn't want Bo to be implicated in the frame up (even though he had nothing to do with it). She did nothing! She just stuttered and stammered and lied whenever Bo asked what she knew about Spencer and Todd. Hello bitch! A man's life is at stake. That's whole lot more important than trying to hold to Bo. Besides he dumped your lying ass anyways, so what was the point in keeping quiet? And now an innocent man is dead and his kids are left without a father because Paige decides 20 minutes before Time of Death that she's going to tell the truth. Too bad she got in a car accident on her way to the prison. I hope she dies. STUPID BITCH!!

I want to move home. I want to move home YESTERDAY! Fuck that, I want to move home 3 years ago. Damn it. Am I doing anything to get me closer to that goal. Nope. Haven't submitted one resume, written one cover letter. NOTHING. Maybe a job will fall out of the sky. I doubt it. I'm pissed off with my lacadaisacal ass.

I want to be a writer. Yeah yeah, I already write. I wanna get paid for it. Yeah, I said it. I don't care if it's not proper etiquette to announce on a blog that you want to be more than a blogger. Fuck it. Half the blogosphere does and if they say they don't, they're lying. No one would tell Judith Regan, "thanks but no thanks" if she came a knocking with a six figure 2 book deal. And no one would say, "I'll pass" if The New Yorker offered to run a six part series of their fantabulous blog entries. So do I put together pitch letters for agents? Do I write eye catching query letters to magazine editors? Do I try and finish a manuscript or article of any kind? Yes, but then I give up after five minutes and start patrolling the famous blogs. Ugghh, why does she get 20,000 hits a day? Booo, hisss. How come he has over 100 comments for everything he posts? Blech!! Why not me?! Why! Why! Why!! Self pity has driven me to the depths of hateration. I hate being a covetous bitch.

And then there's the shit filled cherry on top. The Pistons are trailing the Heat 3 games to 1 in the Eastern Conference Finals. Pat Riley and that band of ogres can lick my unwaxed ass crack.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Welcome to Miami* (Part I)

The idea was brilliant. Four days and three nights on South Beach for one final hurrah before saying, "I do." I didn't think of it, but I was more than happy to participate. Miami was a different world I couldn't wait to explore. Beautiful people, high end stores, outrageous nightlife. Preparation began months in advance. I saved, I shopped (it is possible to do both), and even adopted the South Beach diet. I didn't want to feel inadequate in the midst of greatness.
The day I left, I was 11 pounds lighter with a chic new wardrobe. After four hours of traveling, I arrived at Miami International Airport at 2:30 p.m. I met up with the weekend's masterminds near carousel 2. My luggage wasn't forthcoming, so we found another way to pass the time.
(the bride to be and me)

(the matron of honor and me again)

My overstuffed suitcase arrived 25 minutes later and we hustled outside to catch a cab. The day was young and we didn't want to wait another second to experience the city. Our driver was sure to point out the celebrity mansions and other points of interest on the way to the hotel.

"You are very beautiful women," he told us in heavily accented English. He had emigrated to the U.S. from Pakistan 9 years ago. He was also married with a 4 year old son. "So can I have some fun with you ladies?" he asked. After failed attempts to hit on the two committed women in the car, he threw some attention my way. "You're single? Yes, I will take you to the strip club." 5 minutes later he offered to help me convert to Islam. What a guy!
When he dropped us off at the hotel, I stayed behind to pay, while the other two ladies checked in.
"You really should be Muslim. It's good religion from black woman."
"No thanks. I'm cool with Christ." I sign the receipt and watch him head off to proselytize some more unsuspecting tourists.
When I walked inside The Clinton Hotel, I soon forgot the cabbie from hell. It surpassed my expectations.

We chose our beds, half unpacked our bags, then headed out for food and exploration. A fourth friend would be arriving later in the evening. We ate, found an ATM, and then I went back to the hotel for a nap before the night's festivities. They spent the afternoon walking along Ocean Ave and finding a good club for later.
"We're going to Mansion," the matron of honor said when I awoke.
"Cool, how much?"
"The concierge got us on the list, so it should be free."
Free is my favorite word. For the next three hours we showered, fixed our hair, and got sexified. We wanted to live up to Miami standards. The final member of our team arrived and was club ready within minutes. We were good to go.
When we got to mansion, the line was ridiculous and stagnant. There was no way in hell we were going to wait on that line. We were on the list and going to use it to our advantage.
"Excuse me, excuse me," the matron of honor called to the bouncer. "We're on the list, so can we get through the rope."
"What's the name?"
The matron of honor told her.
"Nah, it's not on here."
Huh? The bride-to-be saw the concierge type the names into his computer. Unfortunately, he didn't send those names to the club's promoters. The line was looking longer and longer. While waiting for the others to concoct a plan B, I noticed the crowd. To my surprise, all the women looked extremely ordinary. I didn't see amazing outfits, flat stomachs, and perky boobs. I saw clunky platforms, love handles, and thick bra straps. I felt like quite the supermodel in my black dress and stilettos.
We finally managed to gain entrance into Mansion, but since we weren't on the list, it was $20 more than free. Three rooms, featured three different DJs. We stuck to the hip hop room. I was a bit taken aback when the DJ started playing Mariah's greatest hits, but overall he made me shake my ass. In fact, when my feet started to hurt, I just took off my shoes and danced on top of a large speaker. So what if the whole club could see up my dress.
Three hours of dancing and drinking (them, not me) made us famished and on the way back to the hotel we stopped at a diner for some 4 a.m. breakfast. God smiled on us and blessed us with the best waiter ever: a cute Nicouraguan named Dref. We loved Dref!! He took our picture.
(the effects of too many Long Islands)
(sobriety at its best)
(yes, that's your ass)
(alright, enough with the picture taking, and get us our damn food)

We gorged on pancakes, eggs, turkey bacon, orange juice, and french toast. Satiated, we staggered back to the hotel and took our asses to bed. The fun was just beginning....

*The Heat suck big hairy moose balls!

Friday, May 26, 2006

It's Not You, It's Me

I changed my mind. I don't want this. It's not right for me and it's not fair to either of us for me to continue to pretend. This shouldn't be a surprise. I've been noncomittal for months, nonchalant and lacadaisical too. If my heart isn't in it, there's no reason to do this.

My reasons for wanting to leave have nothing to do with you and everything to do with me. You're great, really. Anyone would be lucky to have you. You have given me so much. You bought me my home, gave me a car, provided an extensive wardrobe, paid to get my hair and nails done, took me on trips to Vegas, Orlando, New York, and even Peoria, IL. You've been a more than excellent provider. Plus, you've taught me more than I could've ever imagined. Because of you, I know how to organize a grocery store shelf. How many people can say that? I am beyond grateful for everything you've done. But it doesn't matter, because we will never fit. I need to feel passionately about something that constitutes such a huge part of my life. In spite of everything, I just don't feel that passion for you.

When we first got involved almost four years ago, I really thought I would love you. You were offering so much, and it was all that I thought I wanted. The first year was difficult, but I stuck around because I knew there was so much to you that I had yet to discover. I was sure that it was just a matter of stumbling upon the part of you that I would want to hold onto forever. I thought I found that in my second year. I was happy for a while, but it didn't last. Even when you offered me more than you've ever given me before and moved me to another state, I couldn't truly get into this. For the past year or so, I've just been going through the motions. You deserve more and I know I can't give that to you.

I'm not saying this because I'm angry or bitter. Yes, you lied to me on occassion. You told me there were things you just couldn't do for me, then turned around and did it for others. You used material things to try and keep me happy. It worked for a little while. But now I know it doesn't matter what you give me, it won't give me the fulfillment I crave. It won't make me look forward to being with you from 8 to 5 every Monday through Friday.

I admit I haven't gone about this involvement the way I should have. I've kept my options open the entire time, even keeping a side piece for almost a year. You knew where I spent my weekends, and still kept me around. You even gave me what I'd been demanding for months. No, I haven't been involved with anything but you since then, but I've made myself available to others. They've called and I've travelled to see them, dined with them, gotten to know them. I even told them I wanted to leave you to be with them. I've kept it from you. When I said I was going home to see friends, I left out that finding someone new was also on the agenda.

This whole mess is my fault. I made a commitment to you without knowing who I am or what I really want. I know those things now and it's leading me in another direction. This is so hard for me because this doesn't seem rational. Everyone keeps telling me I'm crazy for wanting to leave you. They say they wish they had what I do. And there are so many things about you that I don't want to give up. But staying in a bad situation because it's convenient will be worse in the long run. So, I think we should break up. But not right this second. I need to be sure that I am leaving you for something concrete. So please do not fire me before I can quit.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


No. I hung up the office phone in disbelief. He had made a mistake, gotten the details confused once again. I pushed aside a file folder, envelopes, and committee report and unearthed the morning paper laying on my desk. I flipped to the page he indicated, breathless with anticipation. There it was in black and white. Crumpled metal, shattered glass, and the names. Her name. He had gotten the story right for once.

I reread the blurb over and over, hoping it would say someone different each time. I stared and breathed. Tears were on a five minute delay. No, not her, I repeated to myself. A drop of moisture slipped down my cheek, followed by another on the other side. Soon my eyes spilled down my face in a torrent and my chest heaved for air.

"What's wrong?" my supervisor asked as she entered the room.

I couldn't say it. If I said it, then it would be real and I was sure I was going to wake up at any second. I handed her the paper. Her eyes scanned the page until the reason for my sorrow registered.

"You know them?"

Not them. Her. I know her. Knew her. At one time I knew her like I knew myself. She was the new girl in my fourth grade class. Light brown waves, jumbled teeth, narrow nose, non existent lips. I liked her immediately, at least I wanted to. She had no history with us. There was no puking on the school bus incident that trailed her from first grade. No accidental bathroom break on the swings at recess the previous year. She could be whoever she wanted, create a brand new identity. Through her, I hoped I could as well.

By the fifth grade we were in seperable.

"You two are no longer allowed to sit near each other," our teacher would say after hearing too many whispers in the back of the classroom.

She was the recipient of the first note I ever passed.

"The gym teacher is a bitch! I bet she's a lesbo," I wrote. My parents were called for that one.

In the 8th grade she joined the Aqua Net addict and me when we tied a rope around the neck of a stuffed cat, dragged it through our junior high's halls and called it Pussy on a Rope.

"Would you like to pet my pussy," we asked the Technology teacher. My parents were once again summoned.

She flew under the radar, her mischief never detected. I admired and envied that about her.

In high school our assigned lockers put too much distance between us. We drifted silently into separate circles. I didn't notice when she no longer made my Best Friends list. We still spoke at lunch and shook it at school dances, but there were no more phone calls and plans to hang out at the mall. Graduation day was the last time we spoke. Reading the newspaper brought her to mind for the first time since the ceremony.

My supervisor wrapped her arms around me. I sobbed, but my shoulders were rigid.

"Do you want to go home?"

I shook my head no. It was a lie. I wanted to call my high school friends and cry into the phone while buried beneath my covers. But I couldn't ask for that. I didn't have the right. I knew her, but I didn't know her anymore. It would be fake to grieve for someone who had been lost to me for years.

"You're a mess. Call for a ride home," she insisted.

I had no energy to protest again. I dialed my father's work number.

"Can you come get me?" I sniffed.

Guilt consumed me. She was gone and I was getting a day off from work. I cried while I waited for Daddy and I cried some more as we rode home.

"Ah shah," he comforted in his native language. The words brought on a new onslaught.

I went back to work 48 hours later.

"I'm sorry for your loss," a coworker said.

What did I lose? I kept asking myself. That evening I walked through my elementary school while my younger brother sang in the 6th grade chorus recital. I passed her locker, then mine.

"Liz, wait up!" I could hear her voice echoing in the empty corridor. I heard laughter and rumors and everything we shared outside the classroom.

Over the next few days I spoke with many of my old classmates. She wasn't the first one we lost. I knew the other two as well. I even had a short lived crush on one of them in junior high. But this loss was different. When she died, possibilities died with her. There would be no chance meeting at the mall, no playing catch up at the 10 year reunion, no rediscovery of the friendship that faded. I felt bad when I found out about the deaths of the ones before her. But with her it was deeper. Her, I missed.

She was buried a couple days before her 2oth birthday. In the six years that have passed, I have thought about her so many times. I think about her on Flatty Girl's birthday, because it was her birthday too. I think about her when I'm driving. And I think about her when I see her in the face of a stranger. And for the split second that I want to run and say hi, I forget that she's gone and I'll never say anything to her again.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


"Can I buy you a drink?" That's a rehtorical question.
"Sure," I agreed.
"What would you like?"
Without hesitation, I answered, "An orange juice, please."
He motioned for the bartender and shouted, "Let me get a screwdriver."
I shook my head vehemently and cut in front of him. "No screwdriver, just an orange juice."
He looked at me quizzically as if I had made a mistake. Who goes to a bar and orders virgin OJ?
"You don't want a real drink?"
"I don't drink."
"Why not?"
"I'm a recovering alcoholic."
His face went blank. The words would not come to him. The corners of my mouth twitched up in a sly grin. I'd had enough fun.
"I'm kidding," I assured him. "I just don't drink."
His eyes turned to saucers as if he had encountered a new species of woman.
"You've never drank? Ever?"
I laughed. I never said all that.

I had my first drink when I was four. My parents allowed my brother and I to partake in a wedding toast with half a sip of champagne. I guzzled my drop of bubbly and asked for more. The taste didn't please my pallette, but I wanted to be like the adults for a little while longer. So as not to bring me home intoxicated, my parents declined my request. Periodically, on special occassions my mother would pour a dollop of her Dom P into my glass and let me pretend to be all grown up. I was fascinated by alcohol. Maybe a bit too much. Mommy stopped sharing her wine cooler with me after my all too real reenactment of Marion's drinking competition in Raiders of the Lost Ark. I slammed back apple juice, mimicing Indy's love interest shot for shot. By seven years old, I was cut off.

I went to my first drinking party when I was 16 with the goal of getting plastered. After less than half a can of beer, I determined that I needed to find another way to accomplish the task. Someone suggested a screwdriver. Vodka is perfect for a beginner because it's tasteless yet potent. I poured a shot of Absolute into a cup of OJ. It burned going down and left an unpleasant after taste, but it was bearable. I drank the whole cup, then another. An empty stomach with a low tolerance made it easy for two drinks to push me past tipsy. Because of my manic tendencies when sober, very few people were willing to aid in my early attempts at experimentation. For this reason, my drinking days were few and far between. It wasn't until I started working at a local supermarket that I found a group of aiders and abetters. They introduced me to tequila shots, which immediately resulted in the contents of my stomach spilling onto the floor. Rum and coke got the job done without the digestive pyrotechnics, but choking down a glass was more than my throat wanted to handle. Eventually, I just stuck with my old faithful screwdriver.

A few weeks before leaving for college I discovered that alcohol wasn't the only gateway to an altered mind state. I traded in screwdrivers for the sticky green and was quite happy for a while. Then one night, during my sophomore year of college I needed a drink. In fact I needed a whole lot to drink. It all started when I went to a house party with Chesty LaRue to celebrate a friend's birthday. The house was packed with every black student enrolled at Cornell and about 50% of the Latino population too. There was no room to move, let alone breathe. Except for the room where the DJ was playing. Lucky for me, I knew the DJ. It was none other than my good friend (i.e. object of my obsession) Jock Boy. I went over to the closet like room and saw Jock Boy on the 1 and 2s while our friend KPB guarded the entrance. A group of sorority girls were also chilling in there as well. When I approached, KPB placed a hand across the doorway.
"This room is for VIP," he told me.
I balked. "You're kidding."
"Nah, sorry, but you can't come in."
"If it's VIP, why are they in there?" I asked pointing towards the girls in pink and green.
"Yo, c'mon Ma. Give me a break. You just can't come in."
My eyes burned a hole through him. How dare he! I was his friend, not those girls. I was the one who sat on his couch, ate his food, and refused to leave his apartment for hours on end. Not them! How in the hell would they be considered VIP over me? Popularity was a stock I wasn't trading and our frienship wasn't buying me a break.

I turned away from him and steeled my resolve. I was pissed. So I did what any rational person does when they want to teach someone a lesson. I went into self destructive mode. I headed to the kitchen, grabbed a 16 oz cup and dunked it in the punch bowl. I had no clue what I was drinking and I didn't care. I was getting drunk, pissy drunk. That would show him. I downed the first cup, then went back for another and another and another one after that. It was fruity and potent. Within a half hour I was stumbling around the house dancing with boys, girls, walls, and furniture. I loved everybody that night. After a while, I got so bad that I was placed in the VIP room to keep the other party goers safe from my love fest. Mission accomplished! I spent the remainder of the party babbling nonsense to myself in the coat corner.

When the music stopped and people began to leave, I decided it was time to take pictures. I must've taken over 20 shots that night, although my camera ran out of film after the third or fourth frame. Didn't matter a bit to me. When I got bored with the camera, I tried to climb out the window. That's when Chesty intervened and decided it was time to get me back to the dorms. She convinced two of our classmates to give us a ride back to campus and threw me in the backseat. I serenaded the girls the entire way home.
"12 a.m. on my way to the club. 1 a.m. D.J. made it a rub. 2 a.m. now I'm gettin with her. 3. a.m now I'm splittin with her. 4 a.m. at the waffle house. 5 a.m. now we at my house. 6.a.m I be diggin her out. 6:15 now I'm kickin her out. 7 a.m. Imma call my friend. 12 a.m. we gonna do it again!"
I would've made Jay-Z proud. The others didn't sing along. When Chesty and I got out of the car, I staggered back to the dorm. My bladder was ready to burst and it was taking Chesty forever to unlock the entrance. Since we were close to some trees, I unbuttoned my pants and pulled down my jeans and underwear. Just as I was about to squat, Chesty grabbed me.
"What the hell are you doing?" she yelled.
"I'm gonna peeeeeee," I slurred.
"Damn it, Liz. Pull up your pants and wait til we get inside."
Somehow I got my pants back up and she got the door open. I went straight to the communal bathroom and let it flow and flow and flow. Relief. I stumbled to Chesty's room and splayed myself across her bed. I was mumbling incoherent nothings, but I was comfortable. That is until my stomach started to protest the ethanol. Within seconds I was spewing into Chesty's garbage can. When my stomach was finally empty, I crawled out of her room and left her to clean up my mess. I couldn't be bothered. I had people to call. I went out to the phone booth and started dialing. My first call was to the Rapid Pimp.
"Heeeyyyyyy....." I said when he answered.
"Liz, you're drunk. Go to bed."
"I'm not drunk. I'm happy."
He didn't buy it and hung up on me. Undaunted, I dialed Jock Boy's number.
"Hey! It's me," I sang.
"Yeah, umm, how are you doing?"
"I threw up," I bragged, "but I'm fine now."
"I love you."
"Liz, you're drunk. Go to bed."
I listened. I went back to Chesty's room and crashed.

The next morning I awoke to a floating stomach, pounding head, and horrendous morning breath. Toothpaste, water and tylenol offered modest relief. I tried to eat breakfast, but the dining hall selection was less than appetizing. To add insult to injury, everyone I encountered felt the need to remind me of my actions the previous night. Some things I remembered, others I wished I could forget, and some I still believe were made up. By the afternoon the pounding had dissipated into a dull thud, but my stomach was still in flux. I was hungry, but couldn't bring myself to eat. I'd been hungover before, but never like that. Desperate for relief, I made a pact with God. I promised to never drink again, if He would just make it all go away.

Eventually, it did. He kept his end of the bargain, so since then I've kept mine. It really wasn't a tough promise to keep. I've never liked the taste of alcohol. Even in mixed drinks I could always taste it. It doesn't matter what type of drink I've tried, it just doesn't go down well. Hard liquor burns, wine tastes gross, beer is rancid, and champagne doesn't do it for me. Forcing down a glass of chardonnay just to be social doesn't make sense in my mind. I've never had any sense of moderation and long since rationalized that the only reason to drink is to get drunk. After that night sophomore year I learned the valuable lesson that being drunk doesn't agree with me. So for me, there's no point in imbibing. I'm perfectly happy to go out and watch everyone else in the club getting tipsy. Besides, someone's gotta be the designated driver and with my road skills, I'm the perfect choice.

(A sample of the drunken photography. If you look closely, you'll notice some curly hair towards the bottom right of the pic. That's ME!!)

Monday, May 22, 2006

Be Careful What You Wish For

We stood huddled in the bathroom. Our voices were low, barely a whisper lest a teacher heard us and ushered us back to the classroom.
"Did you get it yet?" one of us asked to no one specific.
A half dozen pairs of eyes darted back and forth in an effort to see everyone else's answer before determining their own.
When no one spoke up, it was safe to assume we all held the same status. That is until one of us raised a tentative hand, letting us know that she had taken the first step into a world we had only heard of. The rest of us gasped and congratulated her, but deep down we hoped she was lying. We were only 10 and a half. But now 10 and a half was different on her. In the midst of our celebration, we all wished the miracle would happen for us in the next 24 hours so we could be the next girl to raise her hand.

From the moment our teacher separated the girls and boys into two rooms in the 5th grade and taught us about the wonderful changes that were beginning to happen to our bodies, every girl longed for the same thing. The first spot of red to show up on her Minnie Mouse panties or pool in the toilet and signify that we were no longer girls, but young women. We checked for it when we changed our clothes, took a shower, sat on the can, or did anything else that facilitated a look down there. At recess, we hid behind the gym door and turned around to make our friends check for the non existent spotting we were positive existed. Cramps were imagined and bloating feigned in the hopes of willing that first period to fruition. Adults told us that there was no way to control when it happened. The best indicator was our mothers. I didn't want to hear that since my mom's didn't come until she was 14. I thought I would die if I had to wait that long.

In sixth grade, I watched as girl after girl was escorted to the nurse's office to pick up her first maxi pad after springing an unexpected leak during art class, music lessons, or phys ed. I hoped with everything in me, that periods would be contagious and I could catch mine too. My competitive nature wouldn't allow me to be patient while nature ran it's course. Age 14 was my albatross. The thought of graduating junior high school without a single menstruations was a Herculean tragedy in my eyes. Tragedy was averted a couple months after my 12th birthday. After waiting nearly two years to see the evidence of my womanhood, I didn't even recognize it when it arrived. When I saw freakish brown streaks in my Hanes for Her I assumed I hadn't wiped well enough after taking a dump. My mother had to inform me that I had in fact experienced my first period. I was absolutely estatic and called every friend I had to share my good news. While I wasn't the first girl to enter the Red Dot club, I wasn't the last! That was most important.

Thirteen years later, I want to kick my 12 year old self for being so damn happy about being on the rag. Five to seven days per month of cramping, bloating, bleeding, and mood swings for the next 35 to 40 years is not cool in the least bit. Unfortunately, women don't get menstrual days included in our sick time. Heating pads, Aleve, and chocolate have no place in a boardroom, so we suffer in silence. Tampons are expensive as hell and one box per period ain't enough. Plus, tracking its comings and goings is a bitch, since the tiniest thing can throw it off. Get a new roommate and it wants to come twice in the same month. Get stressed out at work and it decides to take a month off, which for most single women is NEVER a good sign. And for some women, it shows up when they desperately want it to go away for nine months. Then, when it finally does go away for good hot flashes and estrogen shots are left as replacements. If I would've known all this crap back in elementary school, I would've gladly held out until I was 14. Whoever gave me this scourge, take it back, PLEASE!!!!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A Novel Idea

"You should write a novel."
I heard those words too many times last summer. My response never changed. It was an emphatic, "No!" I had recently started my blog. Week after week I regaled readers with tales of The Idiot Who Made Me Cry, Satan's Henchman, Chesty LaRue, and my personal musings on the perfect way to stalk a man, music video chicks, and Broke Ass Niggas. Writing a 1000 word essay two to three days a week was one thing, but a novel was a completely different beast. A beast I had no inclination to tame. Constructing characters, conflicts, plot twists, a climax, and more would require large amounts of effort. Effort has never agreed with me. The writing bug had definitely bit, but I was determined to be a columnist, not a novelist. I was thinking Carrie Bradshaw, not Charlotte Bronte.

In late August the itch to find a new career blossomed into an all out obsession. I took one of my cousins up on an offer to help with my resume. Immediately, we hit a snag when I had no idea what my new career objective should be. In wading through my interests, I brought up my renewed love of writing. In order to give him an idea of the type of writing I wanted to do in my next career incarnation, I sent my cousin the link to my blog. Several weeks later, we met in my grandmother's living room to discuss job objectives, qualifications, work history, and skills. However, before that process could begin my cousin had something to tell me.
"You have to write a novel," he commanded.
Just like every other time the suggestion had been made, I begged off, informing him that I don't do novel writing. Unfortunately for me, my cousin is pitbull. Once he latches onto something he won't let it go.
"Look, I'll give you the plot, you just have to write it," he assured me.
Hmmm, that would be one step out of the way. He kept talking, I listened. Maybe it was his enthusiasm, maybe it was peer pressure, maybe it was sheer madness, but suddenly crafting a novel didn't sound as daunting as it once did. That afternoon, I agreed to give it a shot.

I arrived back in Michigan motivated to write the first chapter. It took me a week and the moment I was done I emailed copies to my cousin, Chesty LaRue, Jailbait, and others. I needed feedback. How was the storytelling? Did the characters have life? Was it enough to make them keep reading? The response was overwhelmingly positive. I wrote Chapter 2 the next week and sent it off to them as well. They liked it, they really liked it.

Something in me clicked and the story and characters took on lives of their own inside my head. Even when I was nowhere near a computer I was writing. Between September and February I cranked out nine chapters in over 150 pages. In those sheets of paper, a woman named Renee came to life. Her issues with family, friends, career, and love played out before my eyes. Then one day in late February, her life stopped, not because there was nothing to tell, but because I had no idea how I wanted to tell it. I didn't know how the rest should sound, and at this moment I still don't.

In the last three months, I've thought about Renee, her family, friends, and men over and over again. But I can't seem to reach out and touch them, make them come alive again. The motivation that fueled me in the beginning is gone and the fumes haven't been enough to get me going again. I refuse to give up on telling the rest of this saga. I feel like I owe it to the people who have been reading along since Chapter 1. I owe it to my characters. But most of all, I owe it to myself.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Only in Theory

The room was filled with women. Ranging from ages 3 to 3 plus five decades, we were gathered to celebrate. With Mother's Day less than 24 hours away, we bestowed gifts and well wishes on the first time mother to be. We ate, rolled out streamers in an attempt to estimate her pregnant circumference, and tried our best not to say, "baby" or "belly" nor cross our arms or legs, lest we lose our pipe cleaner bracelets. And we talked. Talked of baby names and the people babies become as they get older. Well, they talked. I listened, shaking my head vehemently when asked if I had any offspring of my own.

Some day, I want to be able to join in that conversation with my own stories and anecdotes. From as early as I can remember, I've wanted to be somebody's mommy. Actually, I wanted to be mulitple somebodies' mommy. In elementary school I wanted two, twins, just like the ones in the Sweet Valley novels I collected like stamps. The only thing I couldn't do was name them Elizabeth and Jessica, since I already owned one of those names. I decided upon Kelly. Kelly would be the good twin and following in the footsteps of her namesake, Jessica would be the mischevious one.

In the sixth grade I was barraged by an intense liking for several baby names. Determined not to let any of them go to waste, I decided that between the ages of 21 and 29 I would have 8 kids. In order to prevent a pregnancy per year, I had the extremely ambitious goal of having two sets of twins to get the first four kids out the way. Jefferey and Steven would be born shortly after my 21st birthday, followed 18 months later by Kelly and Jessica (couldn't let go of those two). At 24 another daughter, Cherish would be born. We'd call her Cherry for short, sort of like the girl on Punky Brewster. Baby Michael would be welcomed into our family when I turned 26, followed a year later by little Damian. Then at the end of my reproductive years (the ripe old age of 29), I would have one last daughter, Meagan (pronounced Mee-ghen), who would be affectionately referred to as Runt, being that she is the runt of my litter.

I kept the eight kid fantasy going for a while, until I determined that I would still be in college at 21 and it would probably be best to wait until after graduation to start the procreation. Not wanting to be pregnant in my 30s (perish the thought), I decided that pushing out three kids between the ages of 25 and 29 would be much more doable. I also relinquished my fantasy of recreating my own personal Sweet Valley Twins. Kelly and Jessica no longer existed in my psyche, replaced by my own mini me, Brooke Lyn. Visualizing myself as an eternal bad ass who could only be tamed by the love of a stable man, Brooke Lyn would be the best of both me and her imaginary father. Blessed with my height and looks, but moderated with her dad's temperament, Brooke Lyn was going to be the basketball star that I never was.

Shortly after I conceived Brooke Lyn in my mind, the Rug Rats reinvigorated my love for twins, but this time of the fraternal male/female variety. I wanted to have the Negro version of Phil and Lil (but with different names of course). My twins would look exactly alike, yet both look distinctly like members of their sex. I was going to dress them identically, except that the boy would wear pants and the girl would wear skirts. After March 9, 1997 a large part of me wanted to name my boy Christopher Wallace (I still do), but it didn't really fit with the Br___ trend I would've started if I named his other half Brianna. What to do, what to do. Maybe Brandon or Bradley would work. Oh, but Christopher Wallace beckons me to this day.

Even now, I'm still stuck on my three kids. But, I've run into a little snag, and not having a viable father for the brood is the least of my worries (just waiting on Jay-Z to dump Beyonce so the baby's daddy role will be filled). After mentoring a preteen and spending time around other people's children, younger cousins, and the bad ass spawn that roam America's malls, I've realized that I don't really like children very much. Actually, I really don't like them at all. They are needy, attention seeking, and money pits. It's bad enough I have to deal with these traits in myself. I really don't think I could deal with it in someone else for 18 years. Not to mention that children are loud and have more energy than a speeding bullet. I hate piggy back rides, playing on swings, and all that other crap the under 4 feet set is so fond of. For me, babysitting is the best form of birth control that ever existed.

But even worse than my overall distaste for children is my absolute self absorption. I am way too concerned with myself to be concerned about anyone else. At least not enough to continually put their needs ahead of my own. Give me a choice between feeding a child and feeding my shoe addiction and the shoes would win hands down. And even if they didn't, every time I shoveled strained peas into the kid's mouth, I'd think of the shiny red pumps with my name on them still sitting on a department store shelf. Responsibility just doesn't work for me. I even have dreams about misplacing my own child in the mall or my house and forgetting to feed my baby for weeks on end. Even as a child, I could only pretend to be my Cabbage Patch doll's mommy for about 2 days before she was once again tossed on the bed and left to starve. I'm starting to think this was an early indicator of my parenting skills. There is a definite reason why there are no living things in my home. I am incapable of taking care of anything or anyone but myself. Even a cactus would wilt under my care.

On top of all of that, my maternal instinct has yet to kick in. When I was 12, I thought I'd have it by 21, and when I was 21 I thought I'd have it by 25. I'm 25 and it still ain't here. I have no patience and absolutely no ability to nurture. So if I'm not ready now, when? I see people my age and younger preparing to start families all the time (oftentimes accidentally). When I say congratulations, I really want to shout, "but you're too young to be a parent!!" Or maybe I'm really just saying that to myself. People tell me all the time that before they had their own, they never liked kids either. They keep reassuring me that even though I don't like kids, I will like my own. And I do. I really do love little Brooke Lyn and company (Christopher Wallace will more than likely win out over the other names). But I'm starting to wonder if I only like the idea of these children so I can live out my adolescent fantasies through them. If Brooke Lyn is going to be like her dad, then younger sister Brianna (tentative) will be just like me. Or rather who I wish I was, the black version of the vixen Alicia Silverstone created in three early 90s Aerosmith videos. Bad ass indeed! The day to day child rearing never comes into the fantasy. If I can't picture all that being a mommy entails, do I really want to be their mommy? What if they don't turn out the way I envision them, then what? Could it be I only want these children in theory, not in practice. I don't want to wait until the bun is in the oven to find out.

Monday, May 15, 2006

All By Myself

I can smell the incense burning in her bedroom. The bedroom that used to be my office. Her boyfriend is in the bathroom brushing his teeth. Not her, the other her. There are two of them, here in my home, watching Bobby Brown sing Every Little Step on The Tyra Banks Show. Actually, as of April 20 it's our home. All three of us, one big happy family.

When I graduated college and moved out of my parents home into my very own apartment I loved it so much that I vowed I would never live with another soul again until I got married. I eventually bought a three bedroom house for me and me alone. I loved the privacy and autonomy of living alone. If there was a mess, it was my mess and I could clean it up or leave it there as I saw fit. Nudity in the living room was more than allowed, it was required. And my business was mine all mine. Even when the house felt too big for just me and I longed for company, it was always of the tall dark man variety, perfect for snuggling on the couch.

Then fate brought the Curly Haired Stick Figure into my life. Fast friends, we spent an exorbitant amount of time together, mostly at my house. Sleepovers were common and before long my couch doubled as her bedroom (the bed in the guest bedroom was broken...and no not from THAT. Get your minds out the gutter). When her lease was up and she moved in with a friend, all of her belongings that wouldn't fit in her new place were stored in my basement. Even with a change of address, she was a permanent fixture on my couch. And I can't complain. I enjoyed having her here. When she would leave for a few days at a time there was a definite void. I missed her presence, the jokes, laughter, food, and friendship.

One day it became more than obvious to both the Stick Figure and I, that for all intents and purposes we were roommates. While technically she still lived with her other friend, 90% of her belongings resided at my house and she slept here darn near every night. The only thing she didn't have was her own personal bedroom, since the guest room didn't have a viable bed. In order for her to feel at home, I knew she needed a place all her own. One where she could shut the door and relax. So to give her that peace, I fixed the guest bed, bought new sheets and turned the guest bedroom into Stick Figure's bedroom.

I liked to think of us as accidental roommates. It wasn't planned, it just happened, but it worked. Together we ravaged the living room, dining room and kitchen, and together we cleaned them up just to do it all over again. When one of us would get sick of the clutter, we cleaned up, making the other feel obligated to help out. I would tell people that the Curly Haired Stick Figure was the only person I could have as a roommate.

But then I spoke too soon. Our mutual friend the Curly Haired Munchkin, a recent college grad, needed a place to live when living with the parental units proved to not be the ideal situation. Technically, I was sitting on an extra bedroom. But I didn't look at it that way, since that bedroom was my office. But after careful consideration, I figured that giving up the room could be mutually beneficial to both of us. Munchkin could get out from under her parents' roof and I could get a bit of extra rent money. Sure, the walls in the "big" house seemed to close in, making the space a million times more cramped the moment I said yes, but I figured that was all in my head. The Munchkin agreed to move my office into the back den for me and also pay for installing all the phone and internet hookups I'd need to reestablish my work area.

I came home from vacation three weeks ago to find my office was no longer and her bedroom had been resurrected in its place. Walking past the dining room, my desk greeted me in the cubby hole that was once a dumping ground for errant furniture, junk mail, exercise equipment, and sundry other crap. I felt cramped, the couch placed too close to my desk, and the exercise balls I rarely use squeezed into a corner.

Today I came home to a clean house. The mail that usually littered the dining room table was now in a pile in my office. The shoes I left under the table were placed on the steps leading up to my bedroom. The message was loud and clear. "Put your shit away!" The kitchen was wiped clean and my beautiful quesadilla maker had a new home on top of the refrigerator, a Brita water filter having taken its place on the countertop. Then, I went to the bathroom. My beautiful duck decor was traded in for pink bath rugs and a matching shower curtain. I thought to myself, "Now wait just a damn minute. First ya'll clear off MY dining room table. Then you clean MY kitchen and move MY quesadilla maker. Now ya'll have the audacity to redecorate MY bathroom! Aww hell NO!!"

Then it hit me, when I agreed to let them move in, I made this our home. That bathroom is just as much theirs as it is mine, no matter who's name is on the property deed. Their Brita water filters have just as much right to counterspace as my quesadilla maker. Just because I bought the TV, doesn't mean I have the right to control what's on 24/7. And my shoes no longer have a home underneath our dining room table. I can't say that the changes have been easy for me to take. After almost three years of living with me, myself, and I, I'd gotten used to answering to no one else. There are definitely times when I get sick of the weary looks from the Stick Figure because I insist on spending hours in front of the computer, either blogging, bullshitting, or trying to write the next sentence in my great American novel. And I definitely can't stand when the Munchkin's morning routine wakes me up before my internal alarm. But despite all of my roommate reservations, I like having them here. The house feels full and warm. Yes, there are still days when I would love to enjoy all the perks of living alone. I haven't walked naked through this house in ages, nor have I brought anyone home because I have a house all to myself (but first I'd need someone to bring home, so that's a moot point). But it's an even trade to get to live with two fabulous women who complement me, always know where I left my keys or my glasses, eat the extra food in the basement, and help me keep the house semi neat. Well at least for the first two days of the week.

Setting the Record Straight

When a joke needs to be explained, it loses the punch that made it funny in the first place. The same can be said for blog entries, the funny kind or otherwise. For the first time since I started this blog, I'm starting to feel sort of misunderstood. It recently dawned on me that putting my thoughts on the web in a public forum leaves them open for any number of interpretations. For the most part those interpretations have been correct, but on an occassion or two what I meant wasn't what was perceived. If it's a joke involving myself that someone takes a bit too seriously, then I could really care less. But more often than not, I am not the only person who is featured in my posts. To be fair, I wouldn't want to misrepresent any person or situation in order to tug at reader's emotions. Unfortunately, without my intention, the previous post Savior did just that.

While my blog definitely chronicles my life as I know it and everything I write is true, all that I write is not necessarily an indication of current feelings. Sometimes a song, conversation, or something I've read reminds me of my past. All of the memories turn into words that beg to be written. So I write them and post them here, not necessarily because I'm still a wreck about the situation, but because I just need to get the thoughts out of my head and into something concrete. I try to preface these stories with words like, "I used to," or "A few years back," or even "Once upon a time." But often times the past tense gets lost in translation. Trust me when I say that I am not as depressed as my blog reads.

Other times I choose to use my own experience to make a point regarding a larger idea. That's what I was trying to do in Savior. I meant the last line to be ironic and funny, to sum up the moral of the story in a tidy little package. Instead, it made me seem bitter and covetous, which I am not. I really don't feel like going into the whole story, but I would like it to be known it wasn't selfless benevolence, but a calculated strategy to worm my way into his life and eventually his heart. I convinced myself that if he saw that I was the one who cared the most, one day he would care the same way. Yes, he upset me more times than I can count. Yes, we had a tumultuous dynamic for over two years. No, we were never romantically involved. And yep, I did take a load of emotional crap from him without even a hint of interest on his part. Give me a break, I was 18 years old and stupid enough to try and use the friendship to relationship route that has been used on me time and again. Over time, my feelings for him took a backseat to our friendship. I pined, but didn't say a word about it for fear that it would send him running. I realized that even if I couldn't be with him, I still wanted to be his friend. True, he was a difficult friend to have at that time, but I was convinced that I could fix all the things that were broken in him. Eventually, with the help of others, I did and he finally became a human being. I got over it on my own, after a very busy Spring 01 semester, the details of which cannot be devulged (FLS, you know what I'm talking about). By the time he was involved with his now fiancee, I was over him and we had finally settled into a healthy friendship that exists to this day. I will be at his wedding with bells on and if asked, I would even be the flower girl.

Chesty LaRue and I constantly joke about this situation whenever we talk about wanting to change or save a man with whom we are involved. We remind ourselves how well that savior mentality served us in college. That was my point in writing Savior. I wanted to show that it's hard work to be someone's life raft. And even if you can get them to shore, they're probably just going to run down the beach to play with someone else. So don't bother.

Sunday, May 14, 2006


They're drowning. Drowning in fear, apathy, distrust, or their preferred method of self destructive behavior. You see them struggling, flailing, fighting for their next breath. Something in you won't let them go under permanently. You gather your strength, gird your stamina, and race into the choppy waters, determined to save them. Just reaching them seems impossible. The closer you get, the further away they drift. Your lungs burn, ready to burst from exertion. Your limbs ache, unable to carry you much further. You begin to wonder if you should turn back, if they are too far gone. But then you look for them, and see they are within your grasp, so you press on, knowing that if you can just get to them everything will be okay. And just as they are about to slip beneath the surface for the last time, you reach out and touch them, telling them to hold tight as you help them back to safety. If they don't let go and just keep kicking, they'll make it. But when they hold on to you, their grip is like a noose, choking the life from you. And while straining towards the shore, you realize they're content to float where they are, a blob of dead weight. You start to ask yourself what exactly is the point in this rescue mission. Through it all, you persevere with the conviction you will be richly rewarded in the end.

Once upon a time, I thought I could save him from himself. I could get him to trust, to open up, to see the good in people. He was my mission. For over two years I twisted myself in knots, drowning while he used me for a life preserver. If I held on long enough, I could get him through the undertow and back on solid ground. I succeeded. And in return for all my hard work, I get an engraved invitation to see him marry the woman who reaped all the benefits.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


Elusive and out of reach, it haunts. The need to know, really know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it's finished. There is nothing left to feel, nothing left to do, nothing left to say, no more questions, nothing, nada, zilch. If there are remnants, it's unfinished, and if it's unfinished it can't be over, and if it's not over there's no moving on. Closure. That's what it's called. Pursued with relentless vigor, it slips and slides, evading our grasp.
I have a confession. Sometimes when I'm alone with nothing to do but think, I think of The Guy (the one who shouldn't make me cry). I think of all the things I want to tell him, things that he just has to know. How I felt, why I acted the way I did, why he was wrong, and various pieces of who what when where why and how. In my head, the conversation plays. What I will say, how he will respond. It unfolds beautifully, dramatically, complete with accusations, defenses, and heartfelt admissions, leaving me with an overwhelming urge to call him. I want to perform the script I've created. And at the end, it will all be out there, nothing left to disclose, and we can walk away either separately or together confident that we know all there is to know.
It's all pointless. If I call, he won't pick up the phone. And if he does pick up, I'll forget my lines, saying everything but what needs to be said. I'll talk around the issues, he'll be confused, I'll get frustrated, he'll have to go. Nothing will be solved, and on another day in another week I'll try to do it all over again with similar results. If there is one thing that three years of bullshit with the Idiot Who Made Me Cry taught me, it's that closure likes to be chased and rarely allows itself to be caught. Questions answered only lead to more questions to ask. Oftentimes, it's best to just Leave It The Fuck Alone.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Conspiracy Theory

I opened the door and flung myself into the passenger seat, slouching down as far as my long legs would allow. Without a word, I shook my head, then folded my arms across my chest, completely dejected.
"What happened?" my mother asked.
I didn't want to answer, preferring to let tears do the talking. But the tears wouldn't come. Shock coupled with disbelief and disappointment left me numb. It wasn't real, it couldn't be. I was in the middle of a bad dream and I would wake up to realize my day was only beginning, instead of wimpering to an end.
"I didn't get it," I mumbled. I didn't want to offer any other details. Details would mean it actually happened.
We rode home in silence, interrupted by my mother's occassional listless attempts to cheer me up. "You can try again in a couple weeks," "It's not the end of the world," and blah blah blah.
I walked in the house and headed straight for my room, bypassing my father's reclining form planted on the sofa in front of the family room televsion. Hiding under my covers, I could hear my parents discussing me. The comforter covering my head wasn't enough to drown out their voices. Their voices kept me from convincing myself it was all a dream. And dreams overtook my addled brain when denial rocked me to sleep.
"Lizzie!!" my father bellowed. "Telephone."
My eyes opened to darkness and the familiar thunder of Daddy's voice. Comprehension came quickly and I staggered to the phone in my parent's bedroom.
"Hello," I croaked.
"Did you get it?" Jailbait asked, her tone breathless with anticipation.
"Are you kidding me?"
"Dead ass," I replied.
"What happened this time?" she inquired.
Coming to terms with the reality of the situation, I provided the details I had previously been unwilling to give. "Some crap about speeding in a school zone! I didn't even see a freakin school."
Laughter was her response. Uncontrollable, side splitting, hiccuping laughter.
"Oh shut up," I snapped.
"Umm, Liz how many times have you failed your road test now?"
"Only five, and one of them doesn't count," I said with as much dignity as I could muster.

While I was consistently ahead of the majority of my peers in the classroom, when it came to earning the right to operate a motor vehicle, I was quite remedial. Like every other teenager across the country, I looked forward to my 16th birthday, determined to head down to the DMV to take the first step towards vehicular independence. I counted the days and perused the drivers manual. Four way stops, first come first serve, unless there was a tie, then the car to the right has the right of way. Signal when changing lanes. Always wear a safety belt. I mastered the basics and prayed the test was multiple choice. Sweet sixteen arrived with moderate fanfare and I was all too happy to jump into Mommy's station wagon when she said, "I have some place to take you." To my dismay, instead of pulling into the DMV, she took me to the local McDonald's to fill out a job application. Happy fuckin birthday to me.

My learner's permit didn't come for another eight months. Armed with a not quite license to drive, I was ready to learn how to navigate the side streets, avenues, and highways. Unfortunately, my parents weren't quite ready to teach me. Too chicken shit to get behind the wheel with me, they insisted that I take driver's ed, like my older brother did before me. With an after school job and an overflowing activity calendar, driver's ed just wouldn't fit. Whenever I tried to explain to the parental units that building the perfect high school resume to get me into the perfect top tier school didn't leave time for driver's education, they told me I could wait until my summer vacation to take the course. That plan would have worked, if I didn't go away to an 8 week summer program two days after school was released.

The first day of 12th grade, it dawned on me that I was the only senior still riding the bus to school. I spent the entire year begging and bitching at my parents to teach me to drive. Over time they relented enough to sit white knuckled in the passenger seat as I drove their cars two miles down the road to my part time job at the local supermarket. It was difficult to learn with my mother gasping at every sign of acceleration and my father shouting whenever I hit the breaks. Changing lanes was never allowed.

I graduated high school with an honors diploma, but no driver's license. Hollow promises of driver's ed still sprung from my parents' mouths, even though I left for college the day after graduation. Two brutally sweltering months of trekking across a mountainous college campus strengthened my determination. As God as my witness I would never walk uphill again. I called home and convinced my parents I was ready to take the road test. The fact that I hadn't been behind the wheel in over 60 days wasn't an issue. I could signal, I could turn, I could start the car and stop it too. The only thing I couldn't do was parallel park, but after a conversation or two with my licensed friends I figured that was something I could learn to do 20 minutes before the test. Tired of the harassment, my parents relented and allowed me to schedule my test for early August, when I would be home for a break between summer session and the official first semester of freshman year.

Test day arrived. 30 minutes before my appointment, I had my father set up two garbage cans roughly 15 feet apart. I threw his car in reverse, backing up past the makeshift parking space, then tried to maneuver into the spot driving forward. Not quite parallel parking. On the third attempt I was ejected from the drivers seat when I tried to put the car in park without first coming to a complete stop. It was a sign of things to come.

The test began smoothly. I remembered to buckle my seat belt before I touched anything. I put the key in the ignition, made sure to check my blind spot, then pulled the car onto the road.
"Make a right turn here," the man instructed.
I turned on my blinker and easily turned the corner.
"Okay, stop here and make a left turn."
Left turn completed. Next.
"Alright, now you see that car up ahead. Parallel park behind it."
The moment of truth. I pulled up alongside the wide body GM car and shifted the gear to reverse. My foot eased off the brake, and the car rolled backwards.
"You didn't check over your shoulder for oncoming traffic," the man chided.
Strike one. I backed up past the parking space and tried to ease into a parallel position from drive.
"No, you have to back into the space. Try again."
Strike Two.
I sidled up next to the marker car again and reversed right past the parking space once again.
Strike Three.
"Okay, let's stop. You can drive back to the DMV now."
One left turn and a right turn later I was back where I started. I looked at the keeper of my fate expectantly.
"I'm sorry, but you didn't pass."
"But why?"
"You couldn't parallel park. You have to parallel park to pass," he explained.
Oh. Shit!

Over the next year and a half I trudged back to that DMV four more times with the same result. Parallel parking screwed me up during the second test too, but I'm not such a moron that I made the same mistake twice. I got into the parking spot just fine, but almost hit the car in front of me on the way out. That didn't piss the tester off nearly as much as missing a stop sign and almost hitting a pedestrian. I'd never seen anyone get out of a car so quickly. On my third attempt, I was sure I had passed. I parallel parked and avoided hitting anyone in a crosswalk. Unfortunately, two dangerous actions prevented the conferrance of a license upon me that day. I was positive the fourth time would be the charm, but I wasn't even allowed into the car that overcast day when it was brought to my attention that corrective lenses were required for me to even turn on the engine. Who actually looks at what's on the back of the permit, anyway? While I assured the nice man that I didn't really need glasses to drive, he proved me wrong when he stood 10 feet away from me with an eye chart and asked me to read the bottom row. Ummm, N D that an H or a W...uhhh T...yeah T. Or not.

It was at this point that I started to think that maybe there were forces beyond my control operating in a covert mission to keep me from getting a license. Whoever heard of a dangerous action anyways? And was it really possible to fail a test without even putting the key in the ignition. I didn't think so. And most of all, why the hell should I have to parallel park. I live in the suburbs and have a driveway, so was it really necessary in order for me to pass the test? Someone, somewhere didn't want me driving. Nothing anyone could say could make me believe I wasn't a good driver, so what was the hold up. I was rapidly approaching my 20th birthday and I was still dependent on mommy and daddy for a ride to the mall on Friday night. Hell, even 17 year old Jailbait had her own car and could drive after nine.

After the fifth failure, I was even more convinced that there was a statewide DMW conspiracy to keep me off the road. Maybe someone wanted to see how many times my name could come up on the test schedule, just to get their jollies. Or maybe someone was jealous of my stellar three point turns. There are some sick individuals in this world. But good always triumphs over evil and in May 2000, I finally got my due. Five points from a failing score, I got my license! Nobody could ever keep me from driving again. That is until I got a very official looking letter in the mail 90 days later informing me that my license was suspended for non payment of a speeding ticket. CONSPIRACY!!!!!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006



To: All Employees

From: Not Quite Management

Subject: Telephone Policy

Date: 5/9/2006

This is a reminder to all coworkers, managers, and clients that work hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Please confine all phone calls to these hours. Do not call outside of this time frame and expect me to be working. Since I have no motivation to go that "extra mile" in my job performance, I do not work before 8:30 a.m. or after 4:30 p.m. If that is actually expected, company business hours need to be adjusted accordingly and I will need an extra $1500 per half hour worked. While I do acknowledge that my home is also my office, do not assume that I am working just because I am home. Unlike you, I have a life. Even if I answer the phone at 7:30 a.m. and sound alert, I assure you, I was not engaged in any work related activity. It is simply a trained response to a ringing telephone, similar to Pavlov's dog's responese to a ringing bell. Just because you are productive at the butt crack of dawn does not mean that I am. Similarly, just because you work until 5:00 p.m. does not mean I will. Please note, you are trying to get ahead, while I am only trying to not get fired.

Effective immediately, in order to compensate for loss of sleep, leisure time, and the occassional bit of nookie, every minute spent on a business related call outside of business hours will result in 15 minutes of me bullshitting on company time. For example, a four minute call conducted from 8:15 a.m. to 8:19 a.m. will automatically lead to a 60 minute nap at 10:00 a.m. This is in addition to the one hour lunch break to which I am already entitled. If you insist on calling at 5:00 p.m. and not shutting up about product performance until 6:00 p.m., thus interrupting Judge Judy and Friends, you just earned me an entire week's worth of bullshitting time.

This policy is non negotiable and violators will be required to kiss my ass in perpetuity.

Thank You

Monday, May 08, 2006

Dear God

Heavenly Father*, first I just want to thank you for who you are and all you have done in my life. I know I don't deserve half of the blessings you've bestowed upon me, but you're merciful and faithful and love me inspite of myself. Thank you for that. I need that right now. And I'm sorry for all that I have done intentionally and unintentionally that displeased you. Please help me to walk closely to you, in the path you light so that I do not go astray.
Now Lord, you know what I'm going through right now, so I don't need to go into the details. You know how badly this hurts right now and how long it's been hurting. I've tried to make it go away, but it won't. It just keeps right on aching and I can't take it anymore. Please, I beg you to take it away. It's been months and he's still right here with me. When I wake up, he's there. When I hear that song, he's there. When I close my eyes he's there. But he's not here! He's not with me, not for real. And I can feel this pain, in every fiber of my body I feel it.
I know you couldn't possibly want me to be in this kind of agony. So I figure there are two options.
You could take all the feelings away. If I don't want him anymore, I won't care that we are no more. It won't matter that he no longer calls and that he's with someone else. It won't matter that he's just fine and I have to pick up the pieces. I won't miss him, I won't remember him, and I won't cry over him. Most of all, I won't need him back.
But honestly, from the look of things, I don't think this feeling is going away. So that makes me think it must be here for a reason. Maybe this is our trial or test before we can embark on forever. That's fine. I've learned all my lessons and won't make the same mistakes again. Since the hurt won't go away, please give me the cure...him. If I have him, everything will be better. I'll be better.
It doesn't really matter which option you give me, because either way, I won't be heartbroken anymore. I trust you, Lord, and know that you can make this all work out. Because that's what you said. You said that in all things you're working for the good of those who love you. I love you, so please, please, please find some way to make this heartbreak into something good. Amen.

*extremely past tense prayer. I am FINE now, I swear it.

Sunday, May 07, 2006


It was only supposed to be a weekend getaway, at least that's how I planned it. I would leave Grand Rapids early Friday afternoon to drive 10 hours nonstop to New York (not the city), then turn around and make the same nonstop drive around 8 p.m. Sunday evening, only missing a half day of work. In my head, it would work out perfectly. Even though nothing I planned to do in NY involved sleep, I was positive I would be well rested enough to drive through the wee hours of the night on Sunday and be productive at work on Monday. Aahhh, the best laid plans.

It is now 9 days later and I just stepped into my house a few short hours ago. First, let me just say that the unexpected week long vacation was NOT my fault. Everything started out just fine. I woke up early on Friday to get the day's work out of the way so I could get on the road by 2 p.m. The first order of business in any day's work is updating my blog. Unfortunately, brilliance takes longer than 20 minutes. In fact it took five freakin hours to pound out approximately 1000 words. Okay, I'll admit that those five freakin hours were laced with instant messaging, email, my space, soap operas, and other important activities, but that's neither here nor there. Because I spent my entire morning writing, I was forced to spend the entire afternoon working, which I really did NOT want to do. The 2 p.m. departure time was working on a four hour delay. Did I give in? Did I resolve to leave first thing in the morning? No! I persevered, forging ahead towards the Empire State.

The drive started smoothly enough. It took me less than 2.5 hours to hit Ohio. Traffic was non existent, I was driving away from the setting sun, and I had a stack of CDs. Plus there was my very willing phone companion to ensure that I handled my 85 mph speeding vehicle with one hand for at least 100 miles. I enjoyed the scenic cornfields that met me somewhere along I-90. Passing by one particularly impressive barn, I noticed that I was entering Sandusky County. Interestingly enough, when I was on Map Quest getting directions for my trip, I wondered if I would pass Sandusky, OH on my voyage. So imagine my surprise when I crossed the county line. Now normally, I wouldn't be on the lookout for an unknown town in a state I haven't thought about since 5th grade U.S. geography, but on a daily basis my sitemeter tells me that a visitor from Sandusky peruses my blog so it made me conjure this weird daydream about stopping off at her (I'm assuming I'm talking about a her) home for some milk and cookies. This line of thinking makes me think I might be becoming a bit obsessive with this whole blogging thing. But again, I digress. The highway became a bit hypnotizing, but a quick stop at Starbucks for a white chocolate mocha espresso fixed that problem. Onward I drove in a state of caffeine induced alertness.

Somewhere around Cleveland, the first mishap occurred. I have absolutely no idea how it happened, but all of a sudden an interstate that is supposed to span the country ended in a backwoods town. After a quick conversation with a dentally challenged gas station attendant, I learned that I was no longer on the interstate. I still have no clue how, but I inadvertantly got off I-90. So I backtracked, and 20 miles later found my way back to the interstate. That little detour added approximately 45 minutes to my trip.

I was back on the right path for no more than ten minutes when tragedy struck. An ambitious/stupid/dare devil raccoon sprinted across the highway. My headlights shone on his big furry body within seconds of him safely making it to the other side. I breathed a sigh of relief for not hitting him. Oh, but I breathed too soon. For reasons I have yet to comprehend he didn't stay on that side of the road. Maybe he felt life was complete after that first run, or maybe he wanted to show how big his balls were, or maybe he just had a personal problem with me, but whatever the reason he darted back onto the highway right in front of my left lane driving vehicle. I have to say the raccoon put up a good fight. There were several loud thumps, followed by a severe lurch. Lucky for me, my car made it. Unfortunately I can't say the same for the raccoon. In that moment, I felt remorse like I have never felt remorse before. Thanks to Walt Disney, roadkill isn't just a stupid animal that should've looked both ways. No, no! A deer on the side of the road is automatically Bambi's mother and that raccoon was Meeko of Pocahontas fame. All I could think about was his little raccoon family, huddled in a home made of twigs and leaves, hungrily awaiting the arrival of Papa with the evening's supper. Just thinking about it now makes me tear a bit. Damn you Disney!!!

The rest of the drive through Ohio was pretty uneventful. I made it to Pennsylvania, and then to New York without any further incidents. By this time it was almost 1 a.m. and I was still 3 hours from my destination. Over 8 hours of sleep the previous night paid off because I was nowhere near tired and positive that I would make it all the way to my alma mater without having to stop. But then, I looked at the gas gauge and realized that couldn't happen. With a little less than a quarter of a tank of gas, I began looking for a good exit to make a pit stop. I thought I found one several miles up the highway, until I got to the pump and realized the gas station wasn't handing out any fuel after midnight. Pulling out of the drive, I started to hear an interesting sound coming from my car. I ignored it and kept on driving. Interestingly enough, my gas levels started plummeting faster than Enron stock the second the gauge fell below a quarter of a tank. Within minutes, my gas light was on and there wasn't a living soul in sight. A few miles later I found another gas exit, with absolutely no gas. When I got out of my car to bang on the door of the still lit Mobile mart I noticed that several pieces of my front bumper were hanging on for dear life, thus explaining that weird noise I'd heard earlier. Plastic and metal scraping pavement is always a good sign.

Not wanting to take a chance with another gasless exit with less than 3o miles to go on the current tank, I decided to call it a night at a Days Inn less than a mile away. The room was pleasant, and I slept well. In the morning, I checked out of the hotel, put some gas in the car and got on the road again. I thought all my troubles were behind me. But I was wrong. Late that night, while driving on the back roads in upstate NY my car fell victim to several more potholes, causing the bumper to begin leaning at a 45 degree angle. Upon seeing the new damage, I determined that my car while driveable, was in no shape to make it back to Michigan. I decided that I would call my company's vehicle assistance hotline the very next day. Priorities are an interesting thing. I didn't get around to calling the hotline until after 9 p.m. the next day and was informed that I would need to have my car towed to a dealership in the morning as it was too late for them to do anything that evening. So much for emergency service. I can't say I was upset though. After staying up for nearly 24 hours the extra time to rest was more than welcomed. I called my boss who grudgingly accepted that I would not be at work on Monday, then crashed at a friend's house.

When the tow truck came to get my car at 8:30 a.m. I assumed I would have it back by 5 p.m. Once again, I was wrong. Turns out that cute not so little raccoon did over $1000 worth of damage to my car, creating a need for new parts and lots of labor. The bumper was cracked, fog lights damaged, and the undercarriage was dented and sprinkled with animal bits. I was soon informed that my car wouldn't be ready until Thursday at the earliest. I made the mechanic break the news to my boss thinking she would take it better from him. She didn't, and I'm convinced she spent the next 4 days conjuring ways to tell me, "You're fired."

At this point, I'd run out of clean clothes, so I was forced to resort to washing my three pairs of panties along with the matching bras and some deoderant stained T-shirts. To make matters worse, I started receiving threats against my life if I did not update the blog. Cece even tried to stage a coup and steal all of my readers. I was forced to acquiesce to the demands of a rabid militia, further adding to my stress. By Thursday afternoon I still didn't have my car, and was beyond tired of rewashing my Vickie's. So instead of doing another load of laundry, I hauled ass to the mall and took advantage of the 5 for $25 deal. I also picked up some pants and shirts to get me through Saturday. I knew I wasn't going to make it back to Michigan for work on Friday, so I figured, why not just stay an extra day or so. I stayed til 5 p.m. on Saturday.

First thing Friday morning, I picked up my injured car. The sun radiated off the freshly washed exterior, and there was no trace of the bird shit and dead bugs that previously decorated the hood. Even better, the interior had been thoroughly vacuumed for the first time since June 2005. My baby looked as good as new. But looks can be deceiving. "You're going to have to get your front tires changed cause they are nearly bald. And your back breaks are almost out," the mechanic said to me as he handed me the keys. I guess tires and brakes don't rate as high on the safety scale as a new bumper and fog lights. Assured that it would be safe to drive back to Michigan with faulty brakes and no tread on my tires, I pulled out of the dealership's lot.

When I departed New York on Saturday, I assumed I'd be driving straight through the night. That motivation left after I got a speeding ticket for going 84 in a 65. I tried to convince the officer that an urgent need to pee was causing me to speed, but that reason didn't wash when he pointed out that I just passed a rest exit no more than 100 feet behind me. Then I tried to leverage my Michigan license to convince him that I knew nothing about New York State driving laws and didn't realize the speed limit was 65. I fucked that up too when in the very next breath I claimed my alumni status at Cornell University. I guess after all of that I deserved my ticket. When I pulled back onto the interstate with a little piece of paper guaranteed to cost me at least $100 I decided to stop at the first hotel in Ohio and call it a night.

The Days Inn was clean and I clocked 8 hours of sleep. To avoid any more calamities I took my sweet ass time driving from Ohio to Michigan. I stopped at Cracker Barrell and dined on a yummy pancake breakfast that caused a bad case of sulfuric smelling gas to emanate from my ass for the next hour. But that was nothing compared to the stiff ache that began to creep up my neck as I drove through Detroit. I'm sure the ache was less a by product of the drive and moreso a result of sleeping on a love seat for the past week, with the exception of one night spent sharing a twin bed in a college dorm room (no college boys were molested during this trip). I arrived home around 6 p.m. this evening with the intention of immediately blogging about my adventures. However, hunger followed by a severe case of the itis (if you don't know what this is, ask a Negro) prevented that from happening. Please do me a favor, the next time I think I am capable of driving cross country and back in one weekend, remind me of everything that happened and talk me the hell out of it. Thanks much.