Saturday, June 28, 2008

Why you won't find me in a church with a veil

So, as you may have figured out from the heading, today was my friend's wedding. It seemed to go on without a hitch (but who really knows for sure except the bride) but, like the bachelorette party, it made me all the more aware that:

a) You will not find me in a bar with a sash
b) You will not find me in a church with a veil

Don't get me wrong-- if you have a big family, lots of money, and you come from a religious background, go on and have your church wedding and big reception. I will gladly take advantage of the dinner, OPEN BAR (a key reason why this entry may not make sense!), and believe me, I'll dance all night. But don't be offended when you find out that I flew off to Vegas and I got hitched without you even knowing, let alone being invited.

When I was engaged years ago (the wedding was supposed to take place August 2008.. see our Theknot page here) I remember sitting down with my mother and writing out the invite list. We came up with a total of over 300 people-- and that was just my MOM's family. The truth of the matter was, over 95% of people on that list were people I hadn't spoken to in probably over 15 years. Should I really feel obligated to invite people who, while they may be "family" by birth, have had nothing to do with my upbringing in all that time?

I don't think so. And I definitely am not going to file into some church and pretend I'm religious. (Hell, the first thing I did upon entering the church today was take a picture of a wall-hanging that looked exactly like a vagina. I don't belong in churches!) And furthermore I wouldn't subject my friends to a ceremony of only one faith. A friend said to another friend today, while gesturing at the man sitting in the pew in front of us (at the strict catholic ceremony) "I feel so bad. I forgot that Guy In Front of Us is Jewish." So... what? I'm an Atheist. Do you feel bad about me? Hardly.

Oh and then there's the small issue of money. I don't understand the point of inviting all these people that you "have to" invite to keep up appearances, and then spending 50+ dollars each to feed them and keep them in booze. Renting the big hall, buying the $2,000 dress. Months of dieting, then hair, makeup, nails, tanning... you essentially turn yourself into something you are not now, nor have ever been for your "big day". Now, the photographer I totally understand. I wish I had a personal photographer to follow me around 24/7, and I am completely obsessed with photos of myself, so I'd definitely want any wedding well documented.

And then, with all the planning and obsessing and perfecting, you're forced to fake smiles all day and pose for photos with everyone and their brother (Uncle Todd? Since when did I have an Uncle Todd?!) and you barely get to see or speak to your groom, unless it's for the first dance or cake-cutting. If this is supposed to be "your big day", why are you spending it making other people happy? If it's so special... shouldn't you be spending it, oh, I don't know... with your new husband?

So here's my idea of the ideal:

  • Crazy wild bachelorette party with a couple really close friends. Way too much alcohol, way too much nudity, limos, dancing, singing, gambling... whatever.
  • SUPER small ceremony. I'm thinking Vegas, although alternatively a Justice of The Peace in a VERY pretty location could work.
  • LOTS of photography. I want a beautiful picture of every second. That's the only thing I'm nit-picky about.
  • Immediate Honeymoon, somewhere awesome and expensive. Think of all the money we'd save on the wedding that we could blow on the Honeymoon!
Anyway, that is all neither here nor there, but after being subjected to a day of white-veiled formality, I had to get it out somewhere or I would have exploded. (And lord knows I probably shouldn't be prattling on to the boyfriend about my "ideal wedding"... just not appropriate at all at this point.)

All for now :)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Things I need to get together:

  1. Work. Let's face it, my current work situation sucks. I need something better, or maybe just something different. I'm working on that, but most of the things I'm finding state "college degree required", "bilingual a must", or turn out to be dead ends. I've sent 4 emails regarding craigslist ads only to receive those annoying "mailer-dameon" responses. I possibly have an interview for a Barista position next week. We'll see how that goes.
  2. Health. Since moving out of my obese ex-friend/ex-boss' house, I'm no longer subjected to fast food for every meal, pizza at work, alcohol twice a week, and big, extra lard-added home cooked dinners. You'd think the pounds would have melted off, right? Well, they haven't. And in an effort to appease hunger pains, I'm smoking too much. I'm also not drinking enough water because I've decided that bottled water is too expensive/bad for the environment, and my Brita sink attachment doesn't work and I can't afford a Brita pitcher for the fridge. The clear answer to my dilemma is exercise, but I can't afford to join a gym, and after 8 hours a day of standing, my feet and knees protest greatly to a stroll around the block. I'm a step away from venturing into the dangerous world of diet pills. And don't go telling me I'm fine and perfect or whatever. I'm not healthy, I don't look how I want to, and clothes are starting to piss me off.
  3. Debt. I'm making enough money for rent and some bills. Which leaves things like food and gas being put on my charge card. Not good. This problem will hopefully be solved once problem #1 is solved.

Okay, so really I guess that's it. Not too bad in the grand scheme of things, I suppose, but nonetheless things I'm not terribly pleased with at the moment.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Countdown until work: 1 hour 15 minutes.

I really need a new job, especially with all the hidden expenses that have suddenly been brought to my attention.
Someone, please. Open a cute little coffee shop and let me work in it!

In other news, my mother totally removed the guesswork from my decision of whether or not I should contact my father. She needs copies of bankruptcy forms... so I sent him off an email. I'm not exactly happy about it, but my poor mother has been a wreck ever since she was served court papers. If this makes her feel better or helps her out, it's the least I can do.

We had an actual phone set up in our apartment, so now when people come to the door we can let them in, and sign for packages instead of having to go all the way to the post office to pick them up. I got my first phone call at 10:30 and it proved to be inconvenient. I was on the toilet, of course, when it rang, and rushed to finish my business and get it. Dead air. I threw on a shirt and went to the lobby to make sure it hadn't been UPS, and there was no one there. (Okay, what the hell. I've now had to do this TWICE. Nothing. Maybe we need a new telephone... we've got a reproduction candlestick phone which seems to work okay if I'm calling it from my cellphone.... I don't get it.)

Alright. Must go to work now...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Legality....

I am positively buried in red tape over here.

  • I go to court in July to contest a speeding ticket. I've never gone to court by myself, and quite frankly, the idea of standing before a judge and pleading my case scares the shit out of me.
  • I'm sending certified letters to Boink Magazine in a last-ditch effort to get my money & magazines, before I have to take them to small claims court. I really don't want it to come to that.
  • I just had to draft a letter for J. to send to a NY court, requesting more time on a plea bargain for a speeding ticket he got on the way back from Canada.
  • My mother is getting sued for a mortgage she co-signed on over 20 years ago. She doesn't remember doing so, AND she filed for bankruptcy since then... but she's getting sued anyway. My lovely father (see past entry) was served the papers months ago and simply ignored them.

I'd like a lawyer just for this month. I don't want to have to think about all this shit. I don't have a legal brain at all.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Shock?

I haven't seen or spoken to my biological father in fourteen years now.

Today, he found me. On Myspace, of all places. A Myspace message stating little more than, "Happy Birthday!"

I'm still not sure what to make of this.

He is not mentally sound. He tried to kidnap me back in 1998. I have spent much of my life in fear of him finding me, and now he has.

He's schizophrenic, a term which used to explain it all away for me-- until I made friends with another schizophrenic. Is the illness not so bad? Or are there varying severities? There must be.

I find myself wondering if I'm missing out on anything by keeping him away, or if it's the wise decision. My mother and I left him in Florida when I was seven years old. I was never given a concrete choice in the matter-- no one sat me down, explained exactly what was going on and asked who I'd rather live with, at least not that I recall, granted 17 year old memories are a bit hazy--but it seemed natural, and smart to follow my mother. My diary entry from around that time reads, "We're moving back to Springfield, my hometown! Maybe I can buy some ice skates and Nikki can teach me how to skate." (Nikki, my cousin, was a figure skater and used to train with Nancy Kerrigan.) Not daddy is hitting me while mommy is at work or daddy drank all of mommy's paycheck-- again although either of those entries would have been factual. Just excitement at leaving. I don't remember missing him, crying, or ever feeling the need to go back.

I saw him once since then, when I was ten. He drove to Boston, and when he showed up at the front door, I locked myself in the bathroom, hysterical. I kept begging my mother to make him go away, but she wouldn't. I eventually had to face him. The rest of the day is a blur, I recall going to the aquarium with him, but I refused to go unless my mother and her then-boyfriend (my stepfather) came along. I stuck to their side for the entire outing, although they kept trying to walk two steps ahead so my father could talk to me. At the end of it all, he gave me a hundred dollars and left. I was, of course, thrilled by the money, and gave him a big wave and smile as the car pulled away.

I remember feeling as if I had been put through torture, and the money was showing that I had paid my dues.

But how would I feel if the shoe was on the other foot? If I fathered a child who was taken away from me so young, who I never really got to know? Am I wrongfully prosecuting a man because of his past failures and shortcomings? There are others in this world who I feel have wronged me far worse, and I'm still forced to pretend I enjoy their company. Am I acting out of instinct or simply fear?

When I was a teenager, I was depressed. (Weren't we all, though?) I underwent extensive psychiatric testing through the public school system, but there were so many gems that were left unearthed. When they mailed the report to my mother and stepfather, the only thing I can remember them saying to me after they read it, disappointed, was, "Do you want to go live with your father?"

The answer was clearly a bold-faced "NO", but now it bothers me that they had even asked.

I'm afraid of what happens next.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Getting stuff done.

Yesterday, I got my nose pierced. It looks awesome, and doesn't really hurt until I forget it's there and try to rub my nose, or flare my nostrils. Nostril flaring is a big owie right now. And it does kind of feel like there's a big booger that needs picking... but that's just the metal part that sits against the inside of my nostril, and I'm sure I'll get used to that soon. (Or "grow a callus" as my friend M. said while in the salon. Nose calluses. Sexy, right?)

Today, I worked and volunteered at the library, and by some godly miracle, neither place commented or complained about my new facial jewelery.

Tomorrow, I turn 24 years old.

As usual, birthdays and new years are a time of general reflection for me. What have I done in this past year to move me closer to my goals? Sometimes, it feels like nothing. Completely depressed one day in 2004, , feeling I was at a complete stand-still, Tim Noah, an idol from my childhood, wrote to me in an email:
"In spite of the way you may be feeling and the way it seems, it is truly a wonderful world. Your present circumstances are only a reflection. Take a step toward your goal every day. It starts with a thought, a decision and then...action. Ask yourself what you can do today. Step by step. That's the only way I know.

I was the host, coproducer, songwriter of a television show for two years. It was a lot of hard work and a lot of fun. I am now teaching guitar, piano and voice and have an ongoing musical theater class. I have worked for a while doing carpentry...it didn't hurt a bit! Just more life experiences. Look for the good in everything. The way toward your dreams will present itself as you take action. You must simply start with what you can do now."

It may seem like small potatoes, or someone stating the obvious, but it's pulled me through in countless situations.

So let me dig through my memory banks for a moment.

  1. I got a short story published for the first time in Boink Magazine. Of course, it turned out to be a huge fiasco and they never paid me for my work as promised-- but it was still amazing and inspiring to have my work out in the world.
  2. Meeting Sharon, Lois and Bram... obviously.
  3. Finally moving out, for good, with the boy :)
  4. The job at the Kirby Company ended badly, but I was able to snag some valuable skills while I was there. And "office manager" looks so damn classy on my resume!
  5. Getting schooled on music and proper webpage design at the Children's Music Network Conference.
  6. Bought a Canon Rebel. Now any pictures I deem interesting enough to attempt to sell will also LOOK good enough to sell.

I'm sure there were more, but that's what immediately comes to mind.

What's up for me next? Well... I'm slowly finishing up typing out a 500 page novel I wrote in middle school. My friend Danielle started the process for me a few months ago, and got almost entirely through the book. There's about 20 or 30 pages left to type out, but I get completely caught up in the editing process so it takes me FOREVER to do. But it's looking like it will be finished soon!

All in all, it's been a good year I suppose. But I'm looking forward to this one. :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Times Square, 2011


(Not much is going on right now that doesn't involve me completely bitching about work, so I'm taking this opportunity to post something I wrote about a year ago. The photo is a still from the film "Coffee and Cigarettes", directed by Jim Jarmusch)

* * *


He didn't catch up with me again until the winter of my 27th year. We locked eyes above the crowd in a busy Times Square coffee shop and my heart skipped a beat-- an affliction I had wrongly assumed that I had left behind with my teenage years. As I ordered my latte and deliberated whether or not to speak to him, and what was the proper thing to say in such a situation...? he approached me.

He greeted me by my business name and I was taken aback. Introducing himself to me as a journalist from a nearby paper and using an alias as well, he informed me that he'd like a quick interview with me. We shook hands, all mittens and gloves in the New York winter. I searched his eyes for a glimmer of recollection but there was none; he had no idea who I was.

I agree to an unbelievably quick interview, since I was simply taking a coffee break and had to get back very shortly. He asks me very basic questions about myself... he is the portrait of a young journalist who has not done his research. If he had, he would know who I am, not just who I pretend to be. He would remember.

He asks me how it is I came to be where I am today. It is with a sad smile that I inform him simply, while never breaking eye contact: "The wrong people let me go, and the right people kept me." He jots it down, not understanding its relevance. I find myself thinking of all the nights we spent with our bodies intertwined, and suddenly I have to go.

I stand and he thanks me for my time. Another mittened handshake. I smile and tell him it was nice to talk to him again. I call him by his birth name. I know where he comes from.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Feel the burn.

My lovely mother applying Solarcaine to my sunburn this weekend. It's Tuesday and I'm STILL having trouble wearing proper clothing. Let this be a lesson to you: even if you put on sunblock, you can get TERRIBLY burned! You have to let it absorb into your skin for a half hour before frolicking in the rays.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Lobster.

So, I've had myself quite the weekend.

It started off with waking up early and getting horribly lost driving to my friend's house. When I finally arrived (a half hour late, after driving down two different roads, and then ALL THE WAY HOME to retrieve the cell phone I had left on my dresser, to call her and ask her which of the two roads was correct), we went off to Six Flags to see The Wiggles. I'll have to admit, I was more excited then my friend's four year old daughter. It was a good show, but quite short and different from what I've seen in the past. Each Wiggle came equipped with three personal body guards (they are CHILDREN, they aren't going to hurt you!) and they did NO meet & greet before or after the concert-- which only lasted about a half hour in the absolute brutal sunlight.

I had brought my own sunscreen, and applied it before the concert started. It made no difference, however, and I'm currently in a quite painful lobster-red state that just keeps feeling worse and worse. I'm debating calling out of work tomorrow since I'm not exactly certain I'll be able to wear normal clothing.

We spent some time at the park, me going on all the little kid rides with the four-year old, until the sky opened up and poured, and we hightailed it back to the car.

After being entertained by Wii fishing and bowling back at my friends house, she took me home--- where I found a surprise party waiting for me! My amazing (aww) boyfriend had apparently spent the past month crafting this entire event and making sure everything was perfect, because he knew I didn't really have the time or money to do anything for myself this year. There were balloons, crepe paper and banners everywhere, and as soon as I walked in everyone took pictures of me. J. had invited a bunch of my friends from work, but the best part of all was that LaVonna was able to come from Boston! There was a ton of food, alcohol, and board games. It was a lot of fun, and very nice... I'm not really used to people doing that sort of thing for me.

I am, however, glad it's over-- because now I realize that people had been lying to me for weeks! I HAD noticed that people were treating me a little bit funny, and little comments they said made absolute sense as soon as I realized they were all hiding something from me.

Today J. and I spent the day with my parents, which was interesting as it always is. We had long drawn out conversations about politics, the Bible, and Nostradamus... and it's all making me realize how BADLY I want to move to Canada. I'm afraid of what the US Government is becoming. But, that's a blog for another time.


I got a Jack Kerouac book for my birthday from my mom, and $50 from my stepfather. I'm going to use the money to get my emissions test for my car... and then my nose pierced. Rock on. :)

Now, I need to lay my little sunburned self down and try to get some rest.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Out of the way-- fat kid wants a cheeseburger, bitches!!!

Or, HEY, summer is here. Let's deal with a whole new set of insecurities!


Being overweight is such a vicious cycle.

It's summer. It's hot as hell. And all of a sudden, you realize that your jeans and tank tops just AREN'T going to cut it this year-- both fashion-wise, and comfort-wise.

So, you round up a friend and hit some stores. You eye the shorts, thinking that they would be suitable summer wear, maybe with that ribbed tank top over there---

and then it hits you. You can't wear that. Why not? I hear all you toned, tight readers asking. Because, my friends, of "chub rub". The urban dictionary definition is slightly more vulgar then my liking (foul odors? I think NOT), but regardless, it's what happens when you've got too much going on in the thigh department, wear shorts or a skirt, and walk in the heat. Welts, rashes, general pain. It's not a fun time.

Needless to say I ended up leaving the store with a pair of capri pants and a few tank tops. And then, after the depressing event which is trying on clothes when you aren't a size 6, my friend and I hightailed it over to Burger King.

I find this happening constantly. "UGH, nothing fits. I need to lose weight. Fuck, this sucks. I'm a failure. Milkshakes, anyone?"

I am also currently sitting here covered in self-tanner. I don't know WHY I insist on trying this stuff every year, because every damn year I end up looking streaky.

Oh well.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

TOO.EXCITED.TO.SLEEP.

My incessant perusing of careerbuilder.com was interrupted by an email from a Sean Altman email list I belong to. And because of this glorious email....

... I just bought two tickets to see the founding members of Rockapella perform in NYC this July.

No one else cares about this but me, no doubt, but I am smiling my face off!

I hope I can get autographs and pictures with them....

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Gotta get me one of them career-type things...

Or, where Alison bitches about WORK.

Let me just begin by telling you, straight off, that 95% of the customers I deal with every day are complete and total assholes. I work in a Pharmacy, and we only get a few different kinds of people:

  1. Soccer Moms: Usually picking up Ritalin for their children. Their kids are usually running in hyperactive circles around mom and screaming.
  2. Sick old men: As a rule, they seem to always be perverted.
  3. People who forget what that big porcelain device is in their bathroom with the water sprocket in it. It's a SHOWER. It will not hurt you. If you try it at least once a week, we're off to a good start.
  4. People who fail to realize that EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD IS NOT THE FAULT OF THE CASHIER.
Now, I've been working in a retail setting for... *counts* oh, nine years now. I am experienced with customer service. But, the important thing for everyone here to remember is that I am NOT fake. I never have been, and I never will be. If you're a dick to me, I'm going to be short with you. Case in point, a conversation I had last night:

Grumpy Old Man: Picking up for [his last name].
me: [searches the bins like crazy, nothing there. Finally go to the computer and type in his name, where I find that one of his prescriptions didn't have refills, so we had to fax the Doctor. It usually takes between 24-48 hours to get a response from a doctor, and we haven't gotten one. I tell him this.]
Grumpy Old Man: Why didn't someone call me and tell me that? I would have called my doctor already.
me: Did you use the automated system to call in your prescription?
G.O.M: Yes.
me: Well, when you do that, the automated system TELLS you that you have no refills left. So you already should have known.
[Not to mention, his BOTTLE tells him there's no refills left. But people are morons, and I don't mention this part.]
G.O.M: Okay. Well, what about my Advair?
I go back to the computer and discover that his request for Advair has been denied by his doctor.
me: The doctor actually denied your request for Advair... he wants you to contact his office first, he'll probably want you to make an appointment with him.
G.O.M: [fuming] And I'm just supposed to GUESS THIS?!
me: No... I'm TELLING you.
[G.O.M storms off, quite clearly dissatisfied with my customer service.]

Now, yesterday, HOURS before this whole exchange, my very non-understanding boss, N., took me aside and told me that they weren't happy with the level of customer service I'd been providing.
"Going to the register, punching in your employee number, and asking for the customers last name isn't good customer service." he told me.
"Are you kidding me? Do you see how many times I go up there saying "Hi!" all smiley, and they IGNORE me? These customers treat me like crap, what else do you want me to do?" [I was about to add "suck their cocks?" but he would definitely not have approved, and regardless he cut me off before I could continue. Good thing.]
'That's not good customer service." he repeated, clearly not even listening to what I have to say.
"Okay, whatever." I said and walked away. Why should I listen to him if he's not listening to me?

As I see it, I have the following options:

  1. Continue working there and trying to keep a smile on my face until one day I snap, punch my boss in the face and storm out... pretty much putting a stop to the ONLY decent reference I have left.
  2. Quit and become a starving writer/artist, hoping that my boyfriends salary will be enough for us to survive on. (He works at the same place I do... it won't be!)
  3. Start working the corner.
  4. Hope that this is way more lucrative then it seems..
  5. *cough*
I've already applied at the latter.

Really, I'm in search of the ever elusive "career". Where does one find one of those? And how do I make it something I have an actual INTEREST in? The internet just doesn't seem to be helping me.

Anyway. I have to go to work in 10 minutes, so I might as well stfu and pretend to enjoy my job for now.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Ali-Stock. Or why you won't find me in a bar wearing a sash.



I'm back, marginally well-rested, nowhere near hung over (I had to drive from Boston back to Connecticut at 2AM), and also nowhere near ready for tomorrow to be Monday.

The bachelorette party was fun, but remarkably low-key. It consisted of four of us and the bride-to-be, driving to Boston and going out to eat. The restaurant we went to is known for it's intentionally rude waitstaff (think Roadkill Cafe, if you've ever been to one of those), and huge paper hats they construct for you, with some kind of "clever" saying. Observe.


This all got me thinking of what type of bachelorette party I might someday end up having. Traditionally, it's the maid of honor's job to throw the bride a bachelorette party, I know. But considering my very bestest friends (there are two of them vying for the title of M.O.H... it's a difficult decision!) live exceptionally far away, and, knowing my own personality, I'll likely wind up getting hitched VERY spur of the moment, likely in Vegas, this doesn't really give anyone time to plan me a party.

But, you know, regardless. Katie and LaVonna, if you're listening... I would like a limo, champagne, strippers, and various debauchery that only Vegas can supply.

At a bar I used to frequent, I constantly saw girls having bachelorette parties there, and I found it pretty ridiculous. You go to the bar for a night out... not... your BIG night out. You get wild, you don't just have a few drinks and call it a night.

But, then again, maybe that's just me. My 23rd birthday party last year was a four day event that consisted of live entertainment (provided by my friend Drew), sex in public places (um... also provided by my friend Drew...!), karaoke, cookouts, sleepovers, swimming... My parents likened it to Woodstock, and my friends refer to it as "Ali-stock".

So there's no way in hell I'm spending my final nights as a single woman behaving myself in some damn bar.*





*this is, of course, assuming that anyone can actually put up with my bullshit long enough to decide I am for some reason wife material.




Saturday, June 7, 2008

Starting the day off on the wrong foot...

I had an emissions test scheduled for 8:30 AM today. For those of you who know me, you know that me scheduling ANYTHING at 8:30 AM is just ridiculous, seeing as I am absolutely the furthest thing from a "morning person" under the sun. And on SATURDAY morning? Unheard of.

BUT, I have an insanely busy day today. So I was forced to schedule the emissions test at the ass-crack of dawn. So in I roll, 10 minutes early, with reading material in hand.

Only to be met with a big ugly sign that reads, "Emissions Test-- CASH".

Now, any other time, I would have just scooted myself over to the nearest ATM, grabbed $20, and been back-- and on time, still-- for my appointment. But right now, I'm in god-i-hope-my-rent-check-will-clear mode, and the absolute LAST thing I want to be doing is screwing with my bank account balance. To supplement this problem, I have of course (unwisely) been charging essentially everything under the sun. Groceries, gas... I even had to pay my cell phone bill with my credit card. It's a terrible habit, I realize, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

I went in just to make sure the man at the counter would make no exceptions. He would not. He stated, 'It's a problem we've run into in the past.' People paying with credit cards is a problem? I was pretty sure that credit card sales total more then cash sales, nowadays. Regardless, I thanked him and told him I'd have to secure another appointment at a later date.

This sucks because every month that I don't get my emissions test, is another month that my car is not licensed and registered in Connecticut. Which means, since the car is still licensed, registered, and insured in Massachusetts, AND is insured in Connecticut... I'm still paying double car insurance. The man at the insurance place told me this happens when people move out of state all the time. Which is all well and good except, I can't really afford this. ::frustration::

Anyway, my next appointment was at 10:30, with a woman at the library. I was determined for it to go more smoothly then the emissions test, but at the same time, freaking out as I had no idea what to wear/say/do, etc. I was terribly concerned with impressing this woman, but I shouldn't have been worried-- she loved me instantaneously, for no good reason. I didn't get to tell her much about myself, or even my intentions, or why volunteering appealed to me. She just REALLY wanted me as her long-term assistant... so, I am.

Ideally, I'd like to be doing story-readings, but it seems I will be helping out with crafts first, doing some general children's library work (filing, setting up displays, etc). I'm sure the librarian will be very open to any suggestions that I have in the future, however, as she was very enthusiastic about EVERYTHING, so I intend to work there for a month or so and then start idea-dropping and see if she bites.

Now, I'm off to make some tea for the caffeine I so badly crave [I'm addicted, but was recently informed by my doctor that I'm not allowed to drink coffee]and prepare for a friend's Bachelorette Party. Should be interesting.

Friday, June 6, 2008

I interupt this regularly scheduled blog...

On the children's TV show "Zoom" on PBS, they had a language called Ubbi-Dubbi.
Essentially, it was pig-latin. You would simply say 'ub' before every vowel sound. Now, it's not as easy as it may sound, and as a child I was desperate to figure out this language. This was evident in the millions of scraps of paper that I left around the house, with things like "rubow rubow rubow yubour buboat, gubentlubly dubown thube strubeam!" and "bubah bubah bluback shubeep hubave yubou ubanuby wubool?" scrawled upon them.

I'd simply figure out how to say what I wanted to say, write it all down, and then memorize it. It was, basically, cheating. I had a very difficult time figuring out exactly what a vowel sound sounded like.

But then one morning, I woke up, and I just... HAD IT. I could do it, fluently, all of a sudden. This was roughly ten years ago now, and my ability to speak Ubbi Dubbi has never failed me-- I can still conjure it up when I have to, sans-practice.

I sometimes think learning to play an instrument must feel like this. You struggle and struggle and it sucks and you feel dumb, but then one day you just... GET it. You just wake up and instantly know what strings to pluck to play exactly what you want, and you're no longer worrying about fretting or if your F is sharp or flat or whatever.

Today my lap harp arrived. It's constructed by FirstAct Discovery, and it's supposed to be so simple that a child can master it. I bought it with the intention of using it to conduct sing-alongs during story readings at my local library, but... christ. I can't even play Three Blind Mice, and it has those handy little slip-in pieces of paper that show you EXACTLY what strings to pluck. It's designed for 'ages 6 and up'. Apparently I have not grasped the hand and eye coordination that a typical 6 year old has.

It's at times like these I wonder if I'll ever be successful.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Predator:: Part II

I stopped the car at a public park.
"Do you seriously expect me to be grateful to you?" She demanded, as I shut off the ignition. "or is this some kind of twisted pick-up line? Do the other girls actually go for this?"
"I've never done this before." I told her plainly, exiting the vehicle and crossing to the passenger side. I let her out. "If you'd rather be at work, let me know. I 'd gladly bring you back." Then I waited. I watched her face. The passenger door hung open, her ticket to a new world. To the unknown. I stood before her like forbidden fruit: pressuring, suggesting, but not forcing. She could come with me and face the unknown, or she could go back to her safe but monotonous existence. The choice was hers to make. She seemed to weigh all the options, then, taking a deep breath, she trustingly offered me her hand and allowed me to help her from the vehicle.

She could not have possibly made a worse decision. But I was not about to let her know that. People should feel a sense of pride for making a decision, particularly one where they abandon a life they are used to. I couldn't bare to break the news to her about how horribly wrong she was. We walked silently from the parking lot to the park and directly to the swings, which were abandoned. She took one, while I hesitated before taking the other. "Do you want a push?" I asked, trying to conceal the almost devilish smile I felt forming.
"No." she said firmly, before taking a deep breath and beginning to pump her legs furiously. I sat beside her, making images in the sand with the toes of my shoes. I didn't say anything to her for a long time, hoping that the silence would make her uncomfortable enough to fill it. It did.
"You're wrong about me, you know." she said finally. "My job may be unfufilling and unexciting, but as far as personal talents go? I don't have any. At all." "At all?!" I asked, incredulous. "At all." she repeated.
"I find that very sad." I told her.
"Yeah? Well, you and me both. Not to mention my parents, teachers, and guidance counselor." She paused. "Do you have any cigarettes?" The mere mention of school had clearly upset her.
Digging into my pockets, I produced a pack of cigarettes, but discovered I only had one left. We split it, passing it back and forth between the swinging chains. I was a bit of a cigarette hog, undeniably not used to sharing, and she had to keep motioning for me to hand it back to her. Her smoking abilities were less then perfect as well, and she slobbered all over the filter. I pretended not to mind and said nothing, but it was disgusting. We allowed each other our imperfections, and she continued. "I hate school, I hate work, I hate everything. Life as a whole is pretty goddamn disappointing."
She looked sad, but not scared, and I had to ask-- even though I already knew the answer.
"Have you attempted?"
"Suicide?" she asked, mid-drag, nodding. "Who hasn't? My only regret is failing. Things don't change once you attempt... they only get worse. The people who pitied me before just pitied me harder. People who ignored me went on ignoring me. The only people who even dared to mention what had happened were the people who used it against me... mostly the same people who had driven me to it in the first place."
"The bullies?" I asked.
"Bullies," she laughed. "such a ridiculous term, only used by parents and teachers. A bully is when you're seven and they pinch you and steal your lunch money... chase you on the playground, tell you Santa doesn't exist, that sort of thing. These kids are way beyond that," she paused for one final drag before crushing the cigarette but into the sand with her heel. "I call them The Sadists."
I nodded, remembering my high school days. That seemed a fairly accurate name for them. "Yeah," I sighed, feeling a sense of nostalgia, if such a word could be considered in a negative context. "kids can be pretty fucking cruel."
"You have no idea." she replied, pulling up the sleeve of her shirt to reveal a large patch of scarred flesh. "Freshman year Chemistry. Hairspray and a Bunsen burner. Sheena Lewis had seen her boyfriend glance at me in the hallway and wanted to make damn sure it wouldn't happen again."
"Jesus," I breathed, staring as she continued to show my the full size of the burn-- it began at her arm and went clear up to her collarbone.
"I got lucky," she told me. "she was aiming for my face."
"What happened after that?" I asked.
"Dropped out." she replied. "Naturally. I mean, what would you have done in my position?"
"Probably the same." I answered. "How long ago was that?"
She shrugged her shoulders. "Two, maybe three years ago. I've lost track."
"Are you working on your GED?" I asked.
She scoffed at that. "Why bother? It won't make any difference or do me any good when I'm going to be working at the supermarket until the end of my days."
I shook my head at that, but said nothing at first. She didn't need me to reiterate how sad I thought she was-- she knew exactly how I felt. I thought for a moment before delivering my next questions with all the determination of a newspaper reporter.
"Do you plan on traveling? Having children? Getting married?"
She laughed in my face. "Right. Like there aren't enough fucked up kids and failed marriages in this world without me adding mine into the mix."
She was growing more and more hopeless in my eyes. I was clearly a fool to originally believe that I could save her-- she obviously wasn't interested in being saved. She was completely content to go on like she was... a high school dropout, minimum wage earning perpetual child with no goals and no foreseeable future. Worst of all, no desire to improve.
Our swings rocked back and forth in silence. It was a long, uncomfortable silence that neither o fuse were sure how to break.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Predator:: Part I

[This is another chapter of my yet-unfinished novel that also contains The Perfect Shot. The male narrator is the same from TPS. I wrote this last year but had yet to type it out.]


The first time I heard Kelsey's voice, it was over the loudspeaker at the supermarket. I was drawn to her immediately, simply by her quick, mumbled, "Produce, you have a call on line two". I recognized the despair in her voice, the bored desperation that only fellow retail slaves can pick up on. A bystander would have thought her lazy, unmotivated, perhaps even socially awkward. I saw her for what she really was-- and what I had been-- a bundle of exuberance, energy, ideas, passions and goals that were being crushed unmercifully by the everyday grind of corporate America.
I knew that every time someone argued with her over dollar off coupons, or declared, "I wanted PLASTIC, not paper!", a little bit of her internal spark died.

I had to save her.

I finished my shopping while formulating my plan. If she was anywhere near as desperate as I had imagined, she wouldn't mind me scooping her up into my Jeep and taking her somewhere exciting. She might be scared at first, but she'd get used to it. She might try to act tough, but I'm fairly intelligent and can likely talk her out of it. I'd pay with cash so my credit card wouldn't be traced. I was already wearing a baseball cap, thus blocking my face from the view of most downward-pointing security cameras. I'd tell anyone who asked that she was my sister. Cousin. Sister's cousin. I was confident that it would work.

I approached her checkout line. As I suspected, she seemed professional, but unique. Her work uniform was clean and pressed, but I could see a long striped tank ton underneath, and a button that read "Do I look like a fucking people person?" just barely being concealed by the collar of her work-issued top. I was certain she took great pleasure in wearing it without her supervisors taking notice. She wore black eyeliner, applied with a heavy hand, very likely hours ago, I guessed by the fact that it was smudging around the edges. She bagged my groceries quickly, expertly separating the eggs and bread. She handed it to me and said robotically, "Have a nice day."


She was on auto pilot.
This was going to be easy.

I grabbed my groceries with one hand and grabbed her upper arm as tightly as I could with the other. She let out a surprised gasp, but didn't scream. I liked her already. "Come with me," I said sternly, guiding her towards the door. "and don't you dare scream."
She glanced around, helpless, looking for her supervisors, but no one was paying attention. They were busy getting change for register seven and voiding items mis-scanned by the new girl at register three.
She left her register almost willingly, and although there was fear in her eyes, there was nowhere near as much as I had expected. She's EXCITED, I thought. She's LOVING this. This is an adventure for her.
I unlocked my Jeep from across the parking lot and pushed her into the passenger side. I was fairly confident by now that she had no intention of running. I got in beside her and locked the doors.
"Where are you taking me?" she asked, more curious then fearful.
"I hadn't really decided yet." I informed her as I turned on the ignition. "Maybe somewhere that you can get a new job."
A NEW JOB? She looked obviously baffled, so I continued. "You looked like you needed saving. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you find your job unfulfilling. Unexciting. It has no relation to your own personal talents. It isn't helping you to grow as a person. Quite frankly, it's stifling you."
She blinked, obviously shocked. Not expecting such a speech from the man who was her abductor. She was silent for a long while. Sizing me up. Accessing the situation. When she finally spoke, her voice was cold and accusing. "So, is this what you do? Go around kidnapping girls who are unsatisfied in their work environments? You must have your work cut out for you. Why don't you try being a social worker or something? I'm sure the pay is better."
I laughed at her standoffishness. "Correct me if I'm wrong," I began, "but, did you not WANT to get out of there? You can hardly kidnap someone who is crying out for help. Not to mention, you came willingly. I'm only doing you a favor."
"Keep your fucking favors." she snapped at me, and then was silent for the remainder of the ride.


To Be Continued...