When a co-worker casually says “Oh, that’s just like that wolf-baby family,” it’s really in your best interest to immediately change the subject and pretend that statement never happened.
Because, if you say, “Wolf-baby family? What’s a wolf-baby family?” Then she is going to tell you—in detail—the story of a family she knows who as soon as the mother birthed the baby, they all licked it clean together.
And then your views on humanity will never be the same again.
Today I’m wearing a shirt I haven’t worn since last winter. When I grabbed it out of my closet this morning, I forgot an important detail about said shirt: It has a button in a rather precarious place that has a tendency to come undone for no apparent reason.
Last winter, I wore the shirt with camisoles under it and cardigans over it to prevent this being an issue. Today, I didn’t think about it and wore it with very little under it. So far, I’ve looked down after not one, not two, but THREE different business meetings today to discover that I look like a prostitute in Banana Republic slacks.
I’m now sitting in my desk chair with a blanket wrapped around me under the pretense of being cold. I’m not cold. I’m actually really freaking hot. But if one more person sees me partially unclothed today, there’s a good chance I’m going to just give up and go home.
Last fall I took a pole dancing class. In my defense, it was for work (not being a stripper, my other job: being a writer). Anyway, it was awesome.
I made my coworker come with me and while everyone else was wearing stilettos and tight shorts, we were barefoot in sweatpants. I learned a lot though. For instance, my instructor told me repeatedly that my problem was forgetting to “always keep your bottom out.” (Talk about life application possibilities.) And I learned that while the class was for pole dancing, it’s also important to know what to do once you land on the floor. And apparently collapsing on your back and laughing isn’t it.
The only problem with the class was that somehow, on one of my many graceful slides down, I hurt my right hand. And now, almost a year later, it still occasionally aches. I went to a hand specialist last spring, but was never able to determine exactly what was wrong. (Sidenote: I didn’t want to tell him the injury had occurred while pole dancing so I just said that I thought perhaps it had occurred while I was pulling my hand down a pole. And then I did the motion for that. And then things were very awkward between my doctor and me.)
Anyway, these days it only hurts on days like today when it’s raining. As in, I can judge barometric pressure based on my hand. Like an old-timer. My hope is that one day, when I’m a grandma, I’ll be sitting on my front porch rocking chair with all my grandkids gathered around (I envision being a grandma in 1912) and I’ll say “Rain’s a comin’ y’all” (I also envision being a grandma in the country). And they’ll say “How do you know that Grandma?” thinking, no doubt for the millionth time, that their grandmother is a genius. And then I’ll tell them the story of my days as a stripper and the subsequent injury (because that will make a much better story).
If I ever run an office (because it’s Friday afternoon and I feel like fantasizing):
-Dogs will be allowed. Especially dachshunds. -Mid afternoon cheese breaks will be highly encouraged. -For the last hour of work on Fridays we will play Lil Wayne over the office speakers in preparation for the weekend. -All employees will be required to bring one new funny YouTube video to weekly meetings. Dachshund-related videos will be encouraged. -If work requires employees to stay after 6 p.m., wine will be available. If work requires us to stay after 9 p.m., vodka will be available.
An FBI investigator came to my office to ask me some questions about a former intern. Questions like, “Do you think she is a loyal American?” and “Did you know her to be involved in any terrorist groups?” Oddly, these topics don’t come up much in an editorial internship, so I had a hard time answering a few. But once he was done interviewing me, I had a lot of questions for him. I learned some fascinating stuff like that spies from the Czech Republic are really good at using disassociation to lie on polygraph tests. Then, he just randomly told me that if I were ever taking a lie detector test for the FBI and had used marijuana, that it would be better for me to admit that than fail the test. Well. Ok, then.
On my way home yesterday a woman came up to my car and asked for 75 cents to help with her bus ticket. When I hesitated, she pointed out that it wasn’t like she could buy weed with 75 cents. I handed her the 75 cents and noted that it wouldn’t be very good weed at any rate. Then she told me I was funny for a white girl. So that was nice.
When I arrived home Cowboy’s step-granddaughter was over at his house and apparently in the mood to talk. She’s about five months pregnant (with her second child. She’s 20.) and was smoking a cigarette while we chatted. I complimented her on her new haircut and she said, “Thanks, yeah, everybody says not to dye your hair when you’re pregnant, but they also say not to smoke. And I’m like, look, smoking ain’t the worst think you can do when you’re pregnant. There’s a girl who lives in the duplex behind my boyfriend who when she was pregnant she stabbed her boyfriend, smoked weed, and went to bars all the time.” I haven’t had a whole lot of life experience that prepared me to hear that statement and act like it was normal, so I just nodded and agreed that yeah, smoking the occasional cigarette is probably better than stabbing your boyfriend.
Last night I watched Crazy, Stupid, Love. Mostly to see what all this Ryan Gosling fuss was about. I liked the movie alright, but I have some thoughts.
Enough with the guy who is a womanizing player being the romantic comedy protagonist, Hollywood. Seriously. I was annoyed with it in Love and Other Drugs. It made me want to throw something at the TV in Just Go With It. And last night I officially maxed out on it.
The storyline of the guy who sleeps with a million girls and then somehow finds one worth keeping around is TERRIBLE. It’s terrible because it makes guys think that the different-girl-every-night thing is not only acceptable, but even desirable. And it’s even more terrible because it makes women think that maybe, just maybe, they’ll be the one girl who woos the hot player.
AND IT DOESN’T WORK LIKE THAT.
In real life Ryan Gosling’s character has like eighteen STDs, will inevitably cheat, and—possibly most importantly—will eventually lose those abs because no one drinking that much alcohol can maintain a stomach of that nature. And Emma Stone’s character? She’d have the world’s lowest self esteem because she just joined a long line of sluts.
Now, if all of this didn’t already make me sound like an Amish grandma, here’s my thought: Bring back the Tom Hanks, John Cusacks, and Billy Crystals. Not literally, because they’re old. But those characters—those guys who may not have Gosling’s swagger or Jake Gyllenhaal’s charming grin—but who are endearing because they are funny and smart and kind. Not because they can bed multiple women in one night.
Because here’s the thing. The romance of the moment when John Cusack traces Cassiopeia in the freckles on Kate Beckinsale’s arm is so much more than that of Gosling’s cheesy Dirty Dancing move. And when Billy Crystal tells Meg Ryan that “when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible,” it’s a million times better than when Gosling is all like I’m in love with her and I don’t know how to handle this because I’m used to just doing girls.
So, seriously, c’mon Hollywood. Throw a little something towards those of us who prefer falling in love to falling in lust. I’m not asking for Cary Grant, just quit giving me douchebags with six packs and expecting me to fall for them.
Last night was a late one at work. And as I stepped over the mossy bricks on my front walk, I felt sad about summer’s fading daylight. And as I pulled an old t-shirt over my head and laced up my sneakers, I wished I lived a life where this was my uniform.
I tugged squirming furry bodies into collars and leashes and began a long walk in the damp air. A friend called and we talked until I gave up trying to hold a phone and two leashes. And then it was just me, the sounds of paws on pavement, and the perfect night for thinking.
There’s no place more welcoming for thoughts than a long evening walk. And lately, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. Mostly about the stuff everyone thinks about occasionally. Wondering about my choices. Thinking about my future. Considering a change. Four years ago I felt the same way. Back then I made some pretty crazy love life, work life, and life life decisions. And they were right for me then, but not for now. Now I’m older and mildly wiser and encumbered with four more years of adulthood.
This time my changes have to come slowly and with patience. I am not a patience person. I crave the spontaneity of quick choices and a long open road. I want the metaphorical wind in my hair and past at my back.
But I’m learning about the peace in patience. I’m learning about the small pleasures that can come from working towards the future while living in the moment.
“Here’s the truth about telling stories with your life. It’s going to sound like a great idea, and you are going to get excited about it, and then when it comes time to do the work, you’re not going to want to do it. It’s like that with writing books, and it’s like that with life. People love to have lived a great story, but few people like the work it takes to make it happen. But joy costs pain.”—Donald Miller, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years