Wednesday, October 12, 2011

1987 Turned on the Sexy

Have you ever been asked what smell you remember most vividly from childhood? I always answer, "Lilacs," because I remember so clearly that summer essence in my parents' backyard. Upon deeper reflection, though, I realize there is one odor above even lilacs that stands out among the rest. That scent is: Drakkar Noir.

Now, men, let me ask you a few questions. Was there some kind of chain mail in 1987 that threatened the lives of your parents and dogs if you didn't wear the Drakkar? Was it the free cassette some of the bottles came with, featuring the likes of Jimmy Hendrix and Rod Stewart that drove you to the purchase? Or does it actually smell good to you? Does it smell like the success of banging hot babes in the back of that van you'll someday buy with your earnings from your after school job at the D.Q?

Who knew working at the D.Q. could be so sexy?
I need someone to explain to me why every boy I developed a crush on from 4th grade through college seemed to bathe in the fine fragrance that IS Drakkar Noir.
One boy, in particular, kept what could only be described as a family-size bottle of the stuff in his locker and would dab droplets behind his ears between classes.
It was so strong, that all my books got dosed and later in the evening as I sat down to do my homework, the smell would waft up like a cartoon and lure me to a faraway land. Drakkar would whisper to me, Who needs Advanced Algebra when you could be dating a man not afraid to wear base notes of patchouli?

Drakkar promised me a life filled with the dulcet croons of Rod Stewart and a man sporting a feathered mullet even MacGyver would be jealous of. In short, Drakkar lied.

Only recently, I learned that D. also once wore the infamous scent. He gets defensive about it now, but I can't blame him for his dark past. I imagine him, dabbing it behind his ears, and being transported to a world of mystery. Throwing on his trenchcoat and defiantly flipping his long hair out from under the collar, 'cause that shit pulls, and striding out the door. Then running back in, for one final spritz.

After all, haven't we each, at one time in our lives, been lured in by that self-important feeling one can only achieve from smelling like Treemoss and Guy Laroche?

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Few Rules

Vow 1: Be pretty. Not for him, but because I am not a hippy and end up feeling all dumpy when hair is not brushed, clothing is rumpled, pimples apparent to the world and not an accessory in sight (for shame!). he knows what he's missing.

Vow 2: Exercise! Every day! Even if it's simply taking doggins for a walk. He needs it and you need those endorphins if you're gonna get through this.
fuck yes, vogue!
     Codicil: Vow 1 does not necessarily apply to Vow 2. Do NOT be the lady who wears makeup to cardio kickboxing. It's weird, and can't be good for her pores.
Exercise will aide with Vow 1, making me thin and pretty. I will be more confident, have more energy, and it will be a giant slap in the face to Mr.-I'm-Not-Attracted-to-You-Anymore. That guy is a jerk and will not stand in my way.

Vow 3: Try to say "yes" more often than "no." If your friend wants you to trek into the city on a rainy day to listen to some execrable slam-poetry, grab yourself some public transportation before you have a chance to think about how much you abhor slam-poetry. You will be happier if you are out of the house and strengthening friendships than you will be by staying home and attempting to put dreadlocks in your hair whilst watching Bridget Jones' Diary for the thousandth time.
Maybe consider putting Bridget Jones' Diary under lock and key for the time being.

Vow 4: Go to things that interest you regardless of if anyone else is willing to go. If there are classes to learn Madonna's "Vogue" dance for a future flash mob, put some fucking eye-liner on and GO. Don't let Mr.-I-Don't-Like-the-Things-You-Like stop you just because he's feeling snobbish towards Madge. He's a cloud hovering above your parade and wouldn't know how to vogue anyway.

Vow 5: Wake up by 7a.m. at the latest. That's just good sense. And staying up late every night watching Charles in Charge is making you sad. Charles was never in charge. Those kids didn't listen to a thing he said.

Vow 6: Consider canceling Netflix. Their recommendations are crap, anyway and you don't need to watch Dirty Dancing again ever for a little while.
Baby was in the corner. Baby got out of the corner. And they fucking nailed that lift!

nailed it.
Vow 7: Don't be so angry. Sometimes things end. Doesn't matter if you saw it coming or not. Endings are sad. Buck up and move on.
Mr.-You're-Not-My-Equal will find his equal and that'll hurt. Take comfort that his equal is nowhere near as awesome as you.
...And she probably can't vogue for shit.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Letter to my Dad

Like many of you, today I scrambled to call my dad at a reasonable hour for the both of us, as he is 3 hours ahead, to wish him yet another happy Father's Day. He was buzzing a little bit and I got to sit back and listen to him give me the details of his walk to find some snapping turtles.
As I sat there smiling, I realized something rather important that I've never actually taken stock of before: I unconditionally adore my dad. He is amusing, even downright hilarious, and he's always been fair and stable, and a solid influence in my life. What's more, he laughs at my jokes (a true testament of character), watches Harry Potter with me, and generally gives the impression that he likes me as a person. My dad, in short, has never given me reason to doubt him.
Now, 3000 miles away and desperately attempting to become a grown-up, I can thank him for his most exceptional gift: in a world where finding one's character can be mercurial and demanding, he always encouraged me to be exactly who I am.
Thanks, Dad. I love you.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Not Particularly Exciting

Imma share something with you:

Every time my foot falls asleep and I put my weight on it, I think maybe I'm somehow breaking my foot/toes and just can't feel it at the moment.
It's a terrifying few seconds, let me tell you.
Glad I got that off my chest.
I feel better. It''s something I've been living with for a very long time.
Aren't you glad you tuned in today?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Goldilocks Looks at Puppies

You know, every time you're feeling down you start looking one of two things: apartment listings, or adoptable puppies.
That little insight was brought to you by my delicious man-friend and all I have to say is, "Fuck yes, bitchers! That is how I keep on keeping on! Adoptable puppies are my mahfuckin' double rainbow!"
And I tell you, I will be lookin' at a whole bunch of them in the coming months.

My dad has cancer. Imma just say that right out. While there is a little bit of "poor me" in there, mostly my reaction is WHAT THE FUCK? Why can the man not catch a break? And then I thought, by some magical circumstance, if I was to be given the decision of taking the cancer and giving it to someone I know (a common acquaintance, though not necessarily someone I like), would I take it?
Dad, I've got a list of names that I would be willing to give your cancer to. You just let me know.

Add to that the fact that I'm stuck in California, and my job pays me butt-all, so there's not much chance of plane tickets in my near future. At least, with the current job, I can walk into a room and shout, "What's up, bitches?" and actually get a few laughs. Office environments tend to frown on that kind of behavior. Also, I can work in what is basically pyjamas, clearly more comfortable than any fuckin' pantsuit.

Lastly, we've got a leaky fuckin' sink. Our landlord is apparently going to be the one to fix it, though that pill-poppin booze-hound (role-model though he may be) should not actually be allowed near any home maintenance projects. Allow me to point you to exhibits
A) the kitchen light that just randomly falls out of the ceiling at any given moment;
B) the hole in our kitchen counter. Presumably some kind of weird mold thing;
C) our front door, which does not actually fit into its frame; too tight in one corner, and all gaping wide in the other. Listen to me, like the mahfuckin' Goldilocks of front doors.
D) don't even get me started on the fact that our entire living room rests atop two very nervous looking wooden stilts.

So, I look at puppies. 'Cause they're so goddam adorable! What with their big eyes and fat bellies and OMG that puppy smell! Here's a word of advice: if you're in the Bay Area and not in MA helping my dad (shame on you!) you should adopt a pup. I mean, you could adopt one no matter where you are, 'cause they're small and helpless and don't pretend you don't have the time, you selfish prick!, but if you're IN the Bay Area, you should go to That's where we got our Watson Shittypants, and I highly recommend them (though not him, specifically). Or, you could just foster or hand them a fat wad of cash, 'cause they're just a rescue group and they deserve your help!
Hands off Lombard, though, or I will cut you!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

If I Left Tomorrow....

If I left tomorrow, would you come with me?

You  had so many questions. Where would you go? What would you do? How would you get there? And I didn't have any answers for you. Just that question. That was all that mattered.
I give you credit, you needed a night to sleep on it. In the morning, a full 8 hours later, you gave me your answer.
And that was it. We were over, without ever having to say it.

Now you have a new girl, and she's lovely. Someone to grow old with, in the same spot. Someone who wants that white, picket fence, 2 car garage, and 2.5 children. An undeniable safety to return to after a long, hard day in the office. Food on the table, or leftovers, at least, in the fridge, waiting for their microwave warm-up.

You'll be happy, Because that's normal, and it's lovely. Safety is a beautiful thing, isn't it? I don't say that in any kind of arrogant, scoffing tone. I really do think it's something wonderful.

But I don't want it. Never did.

That's where you left me, broken-hearted; no hand to hold.
Maybe that's what drives me.
How can you romanticize something so sad? you asked. As though my quest for some ideological freedom was just a sad, lonely girl running away.
Maybe it was.
But it's what I want, and why is that something to be compromised?

Broken-hearted I stayed, till I found someone new. Someone strong and wonderful, and I love him more than I ever loved you. I don't even say that to be mean or hurtful, just as a fact.
But I don't ask him the question.
I already know the answer; I just don't want to hear it. 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Sad Moment

I have become the most uninteresting person alive.
I know that because you have chosen to spend your long weekend with the dog.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


 Billy walked to the front of the classroom, anxiety twisting his otherwise placid features. He wanted so desperately for the other students to like what he brought for presentation. Not only to like it, but to really look closely at it, so they could see how special Billy was.
It was important to Billy that the other children thought him special. All the television programs he'd been watching told him he was, and it was often so confusing when the rest of the world didn't seem to notice. Billy would like for his classmates to pay more attention, and start picking him first in gym class. Special boys, he was certain, were always picked first for team sports. They also got their pick of lunch tables, and even had dibs on the desserts other children brought for lunch. People like giving their treats to special people, because it makes them special by association.

Show-and-Tell was meant for yesterday's class, but Billy didn't see any reason why he should have to participate. He intentionally didn't bring anything, expecting that to be acceptable. Teacher, however, had other ideas and insisted that participation was required.  She sent him home with a stern reprimand and threats of cleaning chalkboards during recess if he didn't bring in something to show the class the following day.
"It doesn't have to be remarkable, just something that interests you. Billy, it's time you became an active participant in this class. I know you miss Tommy, we all do, but the police will find him soon, and before you know it, he'll be back at home like nothing had ever happened. In the mean time, this gives you a wonderful opportunity to make friends with some of the other children. Bring in something you'd like to talk about with your classmates; it'll be your first step towards some new friendships."
Again, Billy was confused how Teacher could be speaking to him as though he were just another student. The more he thought about it, the angrier he got. How could Teacher expect the same things from him as she does from the other students? Isn't it her job to recognize the special boys?
A frown now plagued Billy's countenance.

He got home and threw his bag into the corner of his room, angry at Teacher. Tommy Tommy Tommy, he thinks. All anybody ever talks about, as though they actually think Tommy was the special boy. Of course, Billy knew better, Tommy was just another ordinary boy, but it still bothered him. The very idea that the police were even wasting their time looking for Tommy vexed him.
Tommy was his best friend and treated Billy just the way he liked. When they played tag, Tommy was always "it," even when he caught up with Billy. Same with Hide and Seek. At sleepovers, Tommy knew to always let Billy have the bed, even when his leg was in that cast.
But last week, Tommy was not being very good at all.  He had a Score Bar that he tried to hide from Billy. Even after Billy found it in his jacket pocket, Tommy refused to share, claiming that Billy never shared his candy, and it wasn't fair. It was as though he had forgotten that ordinary boys should ALWAYS share their treats with special boys.
Billy watched him eat the toffee treat, and then decided to share something with Tommy. He walked into Mommy's room and grabbed the small brass key she kept in the top drawer of her bureau. Mommy kept the key beneath her delicates, like that would ever stop him. How stupid Mommy can be, he thought, as he made his way, key in hand, to the attic. The attic is where Mommy keeps things that scare her.

Billy was gone for a few minutes, long enough for Tommy to lick his fingers clean of chocolate, and then returned with a dusty old album, with a picture on the cover that looked a little like Billy's dad. Billy told Tommy when they first started palling around that his dad one day just went missing, and Tommy knew exactly what that meant. Half the boys in their class had dads that went missing, and now they saw them on birthdays and Christmas, when they got to have extra presents.
Billy put the photo album in Tommy's lap and then excused himself to take a wiz. Tommy looked at the cover photo of Billy's dad and felt a little...perturbed. His dad had long needles in his face, and his mouth was open like he was screaming. Creepy, thought Tommy, and he opened the photo album.

When Billy came back, only the photo album was in the room, with a new picture on its cover. Tommy, done up like some boy from an old movie, but a needle poked through his face. Tommy's mouth open in a scream. I'll bet he wishes he shared his candy bar now, thought Billy, as he sat down to play some video games.
The police have been looking for Tommy for two weeks, but Billy knows exactly where to find him. Every day, there is a new needle, and Tommy looks more scared and Billy is glad to be teaching him some manners.

It didn't take much thought to decide on what to show the class. Billy was so angry with Teacher and is happy to finally show the class what a special boy he is. He brought his two most prized possessions that day for his Show-and-Tell inside a pillowcase, to keep them from being seen before he was ready. Now, standing in front of the class, full of ordinary boys and girls, he feels ready. Billy reaches into the pillowcase and pulls out his two presentations. First, is his skeleton toy. It is his favorite, he tells the class.
Then, the big reveal. Mommy's special photo album.
Teacher squints and leans closer. " that a picture of Tommy? But why have you made him look like that?"
Billy smiled at Teacher, like a nice boy.
Then he squeezed his eyes shut and opened the album wide, for the whole class to see.
Then, a sound. Of a pencil rolling and falling off a desk. Billy opened his eyes. A terrible smile upon his placid features.

Springtime Hopeful

Oakland library has a bunch of daffodils out front, in full bloom. I know California's winters are different, and flowers are always blooming, but these daffodils struck me as a "Finally, Spring has arrived!" kind of vibe.
With that comes so many ideas of what this warm weather will bring.
Maybe a bicycle ride through the Napa vineyards. Progressively more drunk and dangerous to myself and to the very idea of "upright."
New walks with the dog. Maybe Muir Woods. That place always looks beautiful.
Road trips!
This year, Spring will lead all the way to Summer, where my 30th birthday awaits. Like a bear hibernating,  it will soon crawl out of its cave and lunge at me.
I've decided Spring will be the few months I need to get back into shape. So that I can hit 30 feeling good about myself, and not hide beneath any more ponchos.
This Spring, I've learned to knit. A few hats (one of which is more of a fez, really, given my lack of pattern knowledge), one half of a pair of fingerless mittens, and a lonely pair of legs to a monster who remains out of my reach as of yet.
Spring is a general time of housecleaning and exercise, and a general willingness to persist in both. I welcome it all this year, and maybe I'll even welcome 30.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Nursing Home

Every morning on my way to work, walking down Mission away from the 16th Street BART, I pass a dirty building with dirty windows. Actually, I pass by dozens of such structures (this IS the Mission, after all), but this one, above others, breaks my heart.
Bars in the windows, presumably to keep potential burglars out, but likely with the side effect of deterring visitors, making prisoners of the elderly.
You see, this specific squalid construct is a nursing home. Its one large window streaked (nay, caked) in detritus, overlooking a vacant building and parking lot now resembling a shanty town. Remnants of a garden in front, clustered only with weeds.

"Promise you'll never put me in a rest home," my mum's words, spoken years earlier, echoing through my mind.

Next door is a bright, newly refurbished cafe. Free Wifi enticing youth inside. Clean suits and briefcases forming a line for their fix, accidentally emphasizing the clear lack of a line of callers just next door. The cafe is auroral, its inhabitants young and animated.

An elderly lady watches them all, as she does every morning. Today, just as yesterday, and the day before, she is impeccably dressed, makeup applied. A face of bleak hope.
She sits in her wheelchair in the doorway, blocking no one, and I hope today (as I did yesterday) that just behind me, on the horizon, her visitor approaches. I nod at her and the nurse behind her. The nurse, hands on hips, casts me an illusory smile, and I hurry on my way.

Every night I take a different route back to the BART, walking South Van Ness rather than Mission. The idea of seeing her, still waiting twelve hours later, too grim a thought.

"Promise you'll never put me in a rest home," she asked.
"I won't. I promise."