La Vida Mexicana Plus Memes

So, I have some catching up to do. This first week in Mexico has been a whirlwind affair. I’ve mostly had fun and been productive, but I’ll admit, there have been times where I’ve strongly considered booking the first ticket home. This is not for sissies. A huge factor making my life hard right now is that, due to some medical considerations, I can’t really eat simple carbs or sugar. Since everything in Mexico is either corn or a fruit, I’m fucking starving. I’ve lost probably close to ten pounds this week. I don’t have a scale to verify that number, but I know my body, and I’ve never seen this much of my ribcage before. I think eventually, I’ll get it worked out, but in the meantime, it’s been a struggle.

On the bright side, I has made friend. There’s a Danish girl here for study abroad, named Maja, who was staying in my hostel, and we have bonded due to the fact that we’re both staying in the city for the long haul. Also, she’s really cool. We do cool worldly things like explore boutiques and visit neighboring towns. Take pictures of windows and dogs. You know the drill. One night, we went out to sit in the plaza near the cathedral, and after being accosted by a number of panhandlers, we were approached by two Mexican men who didn’t even want money. One of them I actually remembered, as he had tried to get me to sign a petition earlier in the week. The other one was his friend, who barely spoke any English. They spent a great deal of time hitting on us in two languages, and although it was kind of icky, it was a great opportunity to practice my Spanish. Unfortunately, it’s had the lasting effect of ongoing Facebook messages from both of them. I need to unfriend, but it’s very awkward, because I’m quite sure we’ll accidentally run into them again. It’s already happened once. Plus, for the time being, I’m kind of amused.

Also, speaking of Mexican men, I briefly rediscovered Tinder during breakfast one day this week, and now I already have a Latino fuckboy on the hook if I want him (I could have a zillion—Mexican men love nothing more than a white chick, which I find bizarre since Latinas are the most gorgeous creatures ever made by god or man). We’ve been chatting. He seems fun, and we have the same taste in memes, which is, you know, the most important thing in a casual relationship. On the one hand, I do really want to learn Spanish and experience whatever excitement goes along with a fling in a foreign country, but on the other hand, I’m kind of fatigued on dealing with man persons. I just feel like I’ve had the entire casual fuckboy experience, and although it would be fun and educational to have someone to hang out with down here, I’m not sure it’s worth it to me. But I’m deferring that decision until I’ve met him in person. Who knows?

There are some points in his favor, the primary one being, again, that we have the same taste in memes. A sense of humor is important in such situations. He sent me a gross picture of a foot with one really long, fucked up toe, captioned “This little piggy went to Chernobyl.” It reminded me greatly of a Buzzfeed article Elysia posted on my wall not too long ago, so I sent this dude the article, which was originally referred to me because it reminded Elysia of this:

I sent that utterly disturbing visage to Elysia last year, and it made a lasting impression, so when she saw the article, she was like, clearly Anna needs to read this. The 14th photo in the article is the foot picture above. Tinder guy earned some points with me when he, not knowing that #14 was the inspiration for my having been sent this article in the first place, picked #14 out as his favorite.

So, things are happening. I have the beginnings of a social life here if I want one, and although I occasionally get hit with the feeling of “what the fuck am I doing here?,” for the most part, I just feel like a total fucking baller.

—————————

Note: I don’t know who to credit that image to, therefore, if you are that person or know that person, please contact me.

The Part Where Things Get Good

You would think that the part of my life where it’s actually starting to get interesting would be easier to write about. I “quit” my job, got a raise to stay on part time working remotely, bought a plane ticket to Mexico, road-tripped up the coast, stayed in an expensive and luxurious suite in Portland for a wedding, and am now killing some time on the island I grew up on. And yet I’m finding it difficult to write about all of this, largely because there really hasn’t been a single traumatizing or ridiculous aspect to any of it. And I realize clearly now that that is where I get most of my material. Things that would make lesser mortals sob into their coffee? That’s what I write about. So all of this hopeful, proactive, upbeat adventuring is—dare I say?—uninspiring? I mean that only from the perspective of a writer, of course, not from the perspective of me being a person in the world, which I also am. When things are going smoothly and unremarkably, I am a happy person and a silent writer.

There’s an aspect of this silence that is rooted in wanting to stay far, far away from sounding like an insufferably self-congratulatory prick. After all, I know my life is great. It feels good at the moment, and it also looks good on paper (just a bonus), so how do I convey that without what I write sounding like a bland recitation of my successes? I could focus on the small and petty concerns that do keep me up at night, but in a certain light, I feel that that dishonors the work I’ve done to get to this point. I don’t want to focus on the things that are still not quite where I want them. Those things will always be there in one form or another and it serves no purpose to gripe about them to the exclusion of all the things going right.

That being said, I can offer two truths about leaving your home and job: first, people like you better when you’re leaving. Second, because of item one, people will buy you a boatload of liquor. On my last day of work, my team showed me the great honor of sending me off with not one, but two, going away parties. The first one was a lunch party where the liquor came in the form of an unopened bottle of George Clooney’s tequila. The second was an after work deal which resulted in the collection of a magic eight ball, a Lord of the Rings inspired compass necklace, a travel journal, and so many Mai Tais that, for the second time in my adult life, I had to call my sister to come pick me up (thanks, Alice!).

Despite this, I managed to dodge the hangover I should have had through judicious use of hydration, sleep, and electrolytes, which tells me I shall survive Mexico. On that Friday evening, my sister and her boyfriend decided to bring home a puppy, damn their eyes. They could have done this a month ago and I could have meant something to that dog. I was going to be The Bad Aunt. The one who gives it treats and takes it on walks to pick up dudes, but no. They had to get a dog when I have one foot out the door, so I’ll be lucky if the dog even remembers me. I didn’t even get a proper selfie for my records.

I gave myself the weekend to pack, which fortunately for me, wasn’t that hideous of a process. Recall that I’d already moved several times in the early part of the year, so most of my nonessentials and unwanted things had already made their way to Goodwill. There are now a few boxes of things I’m not sure I should have kept stuffed up above the garage door in the Santa Barbara house, but it’s not overwhelming. In totality, it would all fit comfortably in the back of my car, which I’m also not sure I should have kept. However, I needed it for the trip north, which I should probably also spend a few words on.

I left a little later on my targeted Monday than I had originally planned, simply because at first, I was waiting for my sister to get off the phone so I could say an appropriate long winded goodbye, and then later, because while I was waiting for her to get off the phone, I received a phone call of my own, a desperate plea from my friend and former landlady to help her reformat her resume as soon as humanly possible. She offered me fifty bucks and her undying gratitude, so how could I refuse?

Finally, around 1pm, I was successfully disentangled from business in Santa Barbara, and with a certain sense of let down (can it really all just come down to something as simple and unceremonious as getting in one’s car, alone, and turning it on?), I started driving to Oakland. I might have cried a little. For all that I was desperate to get out of Santa Barbara and just GET. ON. WITH. THINGS. at the end, circumstances had conspired to send me off with some mixed feelings about the people I was leaving behind. Not enough to keep me there, but enough to let me know that the things and people you love don’t let you leave them without first taking a piece of you.

My first stop was in Oakland, by way of San Francisco. I met my friend Aza somewhere close to the Embarcadero and found the best parking spot ever. Also the only parking spot. But even if it hadn’t been the only one available, I still would have wanted it because it was oriented in such a way so as to prevent ever being parked-in. Aza, being the very practiced city girl that she is, was concerned about potential theft of our belongings in the back of my SUV, given that there isn’t a way to get anything out of view. The tint helps, but it’s not a complete solution.

We went to a tourist store to track down a blanket, which I was sure would put me out about forty bucks, however, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it only cost ten. I’m unsure as to whether this was the actual price, or whether Aza and I just got the cute girl discount, but I also don’t care. We returned to my theft-mobile and spread the blanket over our things, crumpled up some paper towels, threw a half-empty container of oil on top, and anything else we could think of to make it look as much like a garbage heap as possible, and then we locked up and left my car to its own defenses (which apparently were pretty good since it was still unmolested when we returned several hours later). Mixed feelings being a theme in this story, note that I had them. On the one hand, yes, it’s probably best not to leave your things in plain view in your car in the city. On the other hand, I can’t help but think that by making such a production out of trying to hide them, we increased our risk factor significantly. All the same, nothing untoward occurred in our absence.

The next day, continuing on with what would become a trend over the next week or two, we began the morning by overeating. We found a nice brunch place, fell in love with the apricot preserves, and then around one in the afternoon, I got started once again on the drive north, this time bound for Coos Bay, OR. Most of the drive went pretty smoothly, although there was a section of bumper-to-bumper construction traffic near Shasta. I stopped in Ashland briefly for a sandwich, and felt the relief of being back in the presence of normal looking people. Santa Barbara is hell on normal looking people, and, as I count myself among their numbers, it was hell on me. I like being around people with love handles and worn out clothing, messy ponytails and no aspirations towards exercise bulimia. It’s relaxing.

I arrived in Coos Bay quite late, but even in the dark, it was obvious that the town hadn’t seen any significant economic activity since the early 80s. It’s a time capsule town, and it looks like what would happen if a town wished for a eternal life, but forgot to wish for eternal youth. All the same, they have a very delicious burger shop and an equally delicious brewery, where I discovered the joy of soft pretzels with cheese dip. Ten of ten, would eat again. Other than that, I have to admit that one day is plenty of time to explore Coos Bay. There isn’t much there, really. And it’s cold. Even in the height of summer, there’s a chilly cross breeze that slices into you, very typical of the Pacific Northwest.

After spending one day and two nights in Coos Bay, I was excited to find myself in Portland for a few days. It was, thank god for small miracles, hot as hell, and I was surrounded by a number of my favorite people. Becca had reserved a hotel block for her wedding party and guests, and the result was similar to being back in college, running back and forth to each other’s rooms at all hours of the day and night. There were a number of people I hadn’t met before or just didn’t know very well, and while I was unpleasantly surprised by some, I was very pleasantly surprised by others. For the most part, I had a good time, other than one or two awkward and slightly combative conversations with someone who everyone else seemed to like very much but to whom I just could not warm. He was okay, I suppose, but he seemed weirdly defensive with me, becoming argumentative over even things as basic and petty as my description of the weather. That being said, he failed to live up to his press.

The wedding, as one might expect, was beautiful. The people intending to get married did, in fact, get married. Some beautiful pictures were taken and a good time was had by all. There was a boatload of free food and liquor (free to me, at least. Probably really expensive for Becca and Chris!), and some punchlines were created that will likely have an enduring presence in our friend group. I will summarize the more notable parts of the weekend and the wedding by saying timing, for both jokes and romance, is everything.

By the conclusion of the weekend, I was actually pretty excited to go back to the islands for a couple of weeks, get some rest, stop eating myself sick every day, and visit with the small handful of people on Lopez who are actually worth talking to. In a moment I found to be very illustrative of the Lopez environment, I had barely pulled onto the ferry and parked before I was accosted by someone hoping I would sign a petition. He knocked on my rolled-up car window as I was taking my first bites of what I will call “mystery chicken” from the Mount Vernon Co-Op. Grease on my face and hands, I rolled down the window, and looked at him with one eyebrow raised. “Are you registered to vote in this county?” the bearded petitioner asked, as I sat in my car, surrounded front and rear by California license plates. “No, I’m from California,” I responded, gesturing, chicken in hand, in the general direction of my front license plate. “Oh, I was hoping you could sign a petition,” he said before wandering off to knock on other peoples cars.

Which brings us to the present moment. I have been on Lopez for a little over a week, taken care of all of my pre-trip necessities, seen most of the people I care to see, and, after sitting in the sun recounting all of this for an hour or so, have one very tan shoulder, and one not-so-tan shoulder. I am ready to go.

A Modern “Romance,” Among Other Things

As hilarious as Matty’s stories are, I would be remiss if I didn’t provide an overview of the actual bachelorette weekend. Also, I kind of want to throw in a few brags on my personal magnetism, cause I was straight fire last weekend.

I carpooled up with Danielle, Elizabeth and Shira, all of whom live in LA and none of whom have hung out with me any time in recent history. We stopped in Santa Maria for snacks at Trader Joes and consequently bought enough ready-to-eat garbage to feed an Army. Then we decided that none of it was quite right and went through the In N Out drive through, too, cause, burgers. The line was about a million cars long, but they had a dude-let running around taking orders with an iPad so it went pretty quickly. I had to repeat myself approximately eight times because the iPad guy was too busy trying to make eye contact with me for his ears to work properly.

When we got to the pay window, I encountered a similar issue, except this guy was better at multi-tasking. He took Danielle’s card out of my hand, ran said card, handed it back, said “You have really pretty eyes,” then gave me a startled look that said what did I just do?, and then closed the window in a hurry before disappearing into the bowels of the In N Out kitchen. While it is generally agreed upon that I do indeed have pretty eyes (a feature I share with many serial killers if the studies are true), there were still ten or so people behind us, waiting to pay. We drove off.

Because very little of interest happens on long car rides, save the machinations of my own inner universe, I’ll spare you the details of each mile marker. We arrived in Santa Cruz in the late afternoon and made our way to the trailer we had found on AirBnB. It was up a dirt road and across a set of rail road tracks. You should know that when I say “dirt road,” I’m actually using the term “road” very liberally. Very. This was more like a car-width BMX track, with striking undertones of an Indiana Jones movie. But it did end in our lodgings, which were pretty cool.

We overate a little on our Trader Joe’s snacks, and then headed downtown to re-explore Santa Cruz and determine which unique store fronts had been replaced with Forever 21 (hint: plenty). However, some things never change. It didn’t even take five minutes to run across a homeless guy who was so disillusioned with life that he couldn’t be bothered to pull his pants up past his upper thighs. We walked behind him for a block or two, distracted by his leathery ass cheeks wobbling gently over the waist band of his jeans. After a couple drinks at a lounge, we went back to our trailer to try to get a decent night’s sleep on what amounted to dog beds stapled to sheets of plywood. Unless you happened to be Shira, in which case, you just got plywood (Sorry, Shira!).

We woke up the next morning to get breakfast and then meet up with the rest of the group at a café, where I sadly did not have time to get coffee. Then we were off, and I was being liberally showered with Matty’s flirtations and stories. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, especially at our last winery when Matty was finishing up an important story and didn’t let us out of the van until the bride-to-be, Becca, was like, “Why are we stopped? Are we supposed to get out? Wait. Are we just sitting here so our bus driver can finish his story?” Yes, Becca. Yes we are.

When Matty finally delivered us back to our parked cars, I got out of the van and was immediately accosted by a diminutive, brown-skinned guy who was so obviously high that he actually still had powder on his nose. My feet had barely landed on the ground before Powdernose McGee extends his hand, grabs mine, and says, “I saw you from across the street. You’re just so beautiful and I wanted to make sure you know.” Clearly his tender, drug-addicted heart was in the right place, and he has wonderful taste in women. May many blessings fall upon his cocaine-addled soul.

Anyway, after a long day of day drinking and laughing our asses off, we went to yet another AirBnB to prepare for dinner and a night of shenanigans. There was about one mirror to every six girls, so this was a somewhat slow process for most people. I’m pretty low-maintenance, generally, so I used most of the getting-ready time applying and re-applying the dick-shaped lipstick in the party-favor bag Becca (ahem, Alana) had provided. By the time we left, my lipdick game was on-point.

The rest of the night really just came down to eating a shit-load of mediocre pizza, rescuing damsels in distress from make-up malfunctions in public restrooms, and asking every group of guys in multiple bars to ambush Becca with unwanted sex advice. Turns out it’s surprisingly easy to ask for sex advice—for someone else. And generally, people are pretty willing to deliver, but you do get what you pay for, so there were some suggestions of a finger up the ass. And some people like that, but seriously, just ask first. Seriously.

At the end of the night, someone got trashy. One of Becca’s work friends had a few too many shots of bourbon and sashayed drunkenly down Pacific, shaking hands like a miniature politician and hooting loudly at passing cars, or just for the pleasure of hooting. I’m not sure. But in any case, about the time it got cold and other people got hammered, I got ready for bed. Which is how it came to be that everyone else had to stay up into the wee hours listening to the drunken wonder have outrageously loud pseudo-bondage sex on the front porch with a stranger while I slept soundly on an air mattress in the kitchen. None of this woke me up, and therefore, I didn’t hear about any of it until after I ran into our upstairs neighbors on my way back from getting coffee in an attempt to semi-revive myself the next morning.

I very sincerely stated I hoped our group hadn’t been too loud or disruptive, and at the time, I had no reason to believe we had been disturbing, so I engaged in a lengthy conversation which involved them asking probing questions and trying to flush out the reason our group was in town, etc. I was like, oh, these people are really friendly. How cute! And then I went inside to a firestorm of thinly veiled disgust expressed by a household of very tired women. I no longer think our neighbors were unusually friendly. I just think they were trying to figure out which one of us was shamelessly fucking on the front porch. They probably thought it was me. Dammit.

Matty’s Greatest Hits

This last weekend was my friend Becca’s bachelorette party and bridal shower, and as part of these festivities, we drove up to the bay area to paint not one, but two, towns bright red. On Saturday, we were to go wine tasting. This was to be done by tour bus, and, by popular vote, I was assigned to sit up front with the driver, Matty. Matty was quite flirtatious, although married, and part of his flirtation was talking about sex. Lots of sex. And I learned things. Hilarious things. So, for the sake of posterity, I’m recording the best of these epic stories for future generations—tawdry tales should never be lost to history.

The Last Unicorn

Matty, at one point, early in the morning, came across his friend driving somewhat crazily down a road on the east side of Santa Cruz. He flagged him down to inquire what was going on, and the friend, in a state of utter panic, struggling to find the right words, responded “I crashed my unicorn!” As one might expect, this statement wasn’t particularly illuminating for Matty, so he pushed for further details, and the friend eventually was able to outline a rather painful series of events, beginning with enormous amounts of alcohol.

Apparently, the night prior, at a party, this gentleman and his girlfriend had gotten absolutely hammered, and then proceeded to have sex. The friend was going hard, real hard, and then an unfortunate plot twist ended the fun for him. The girlfriend fell off the bed, and as she was falling, his junk missed its moorings and he drove full force into her right ass cheek, breaking his dick.

The girlfriend thought his moaning was pleasure instead of pain, so she continued to ride his sad, broken equipment until she got off and he passed out. When he woke up in the morning, his penis, according to Matty’s account, looked like a very full purple water balloon. The friend ended up with his dick in a cast, taped to his leg for several weeks. He couldn’t even think sexy thoughts without experiencing excruciating pain, so I was afraid to inquire how the whole morning wood thing worked out for him.

Anyway, I think that’s what one might call having too much fun. I’m happy to report that the friend apparently recovered and didn’t experience any unfortunate Pavlovian consequences of thinking about sex and then having his downstairs burn like fire. Small blessings, you know?

 

Follow the Money

After Matty filled us in on the details of his friend’s very broken unicorn, he dropped hints that he had an even better story, but that we had to be a little drunker before he could tell it. With not very much prompting, I managed to convince him that, indeed, we were sufficiently drunk already (in reality-land, I wasn’t drunk at all), and he needed to tell this story immediately, lest I die of curiosity. After all, it’s been the death of more than one cat, and I’m quite a cool cat, really, so I have a lot to lose in this scenario. Having adequately convinced him that I absolutely must hear his story, he launched into what would turn out to be… pretty gross.

Picture a group of friends at a playoff game for the Dodgers. They’re looking to have fun, and they run into a group of super attractive, done-up, Southern California girls and start to flirt and hang out. When the ball game breaks up, both parties join forces and go to a bar. One of the gentleman in Matty’s party is a very nerdy germophobe, described as a socially awkward man who doesn’t have a lot of success with women. He doesn’t try very often, but when he does try, it’s worse for him than when he doesn’t. We all know one of these dudes, so, whoever this person is in your life, picture that poor son of a bitch right now. And then picture a crazy hot girl walking up to you and saying “I want to sleep with your friend,” which is what happened to Matty.

Justifiably, Matty was a little confused. Of the two questions forefront on his mind (number one being “why?”), the most pressing was determining what this chick needed from him. Everyone’s an adult in this story—if this girl wants to sleep with Matty’s nerdy friend, she should be able to make that happen. After some probing questions to figure out his own role in this narrative, the girl conveyed to Matty that her roommate got upset when she brought strange men home. She was hoping Matty would come along to keep the friend company while she got down to business with the nerdy friend. Caught in a sandwich of revulsion and altruism, Matty had a decision to make: help his friend bang the hottest girl he would probably ever have a chance with, or opt out and not have to listen to his friend and some girl get it on all night in a very small city apartment. After a brief war with himself, he decided that he couldn’t be the reason his friend lost this “opportunity.”

The three of them leave the bar and arrive at the apartment, where the nerdy friend and the hot chick remove themselves to a bedroom and begin having what was described to me as “very loud porn star sex, with banging and crashing noises, complete with x-rated moaning sounds.” Matty, meanwhile, is sitting upright on the couch, attempting to carry on polite conversation with the roommate. After several hours, the sex noises abate, the roommate goes to her own room, sans Matty since he’d declined sex due to the awkwardness of the situation. Matty falls asleep on the couch.

All is quiet for a short period of time, and then, from the porn cave erupts a series of loud expletives (“Fuck! Hell no!”) and the nerdy friend comes bursting forth from the darkened doorway, with some haste. Without stopping to explain, the friend bolts from the apartment, not to be heard from for the rest of the night. Once again left to assess his options, Matty elects to stay on the girls’ couch rather than running after his friend and undoubtedly ending up back in a motel room with six other dudes, all of whom are “likely passed out, farting.” Because of this auspicious decision, he was party to the conclusion of this story, and we are all better (?) off for it.

Shortly after the nerdy one’s sprint from the apartment, but well before anyone was able to go back to sleep, the hot girl comes out of her room holding a phone and goes to convene with her roommate, showing a video of the events which had just transpired. The roommate watches this video in rapt horror and astonishment, mutters “No. No fuckin way,” and then hands the phone back to the hot girl, ducks into her room and returns minutes later with a manila envelope, which she hands to the hot girl.

Matty, by this point, is completely confused and very curious about the contents of both the video and the envelope. The envelope mystery is solved soon enough when the hot girl pulls out a fistful of cash and begins counting. She peels off five hundred bucks, hands it to Matty and says, “give this to your friend and tell him I’m sorry.”

And he’s like “wut?”

And then she shows him the video, which consists of this girl cajoling the nerdy dude into letting her sit on his face, because she wants to, and I quote, “ride his nose like a dick.” [Editor’s note: wtf the kind of a nose did this dude have?] Naturally, the guy didn’t put up too much of a fuss. What’s a little oral between friends, right? Then this girl goes on to mention that she gets awfully wet down there, and it’s just embarrassing, and she’d be so much more comfortable if he’d let her put down some saran wrap (air? how?). The nerdy dude concedes to the plastic, she jumps on to ride, they get things going, and then… the hot girl straight up takes a crap on this dude’s head. Which brings us right up to the point where expletives were yelled and the nerdy dude runs out the door, hell bent for leather.

For Matty, this solved the mystery of his friend’s departure (disgusting sexual mishap, excrement, germophobe—anyone can see why a person would leave, hastily), but they hadn’t quite connected the money dots yet. What does an envelope of cash have to do with this situation? Why is this woman getting rewarded for poor bowel control? As it happens, the group of girls Matty and his friends had run into had an ongoing wager for the preceding five years’ worth of playoff games in which, every year, each participant (there were five or so) would put in two hundred bucks, until one of them was able to present photographic evidence of shitting on someone’s face. To be clear: this group of women went to the playoffs game actively seeking a person to shit on. And the hot girl really found her mark. Five years of searching, and it finally happened.

Which, for me, raises one majorly burning question: who does a person have to be in order for someone to look at them and think, That one. That one right there. That’s the one I’m going to poop on. What do you have to look like, act like, be like, for someone to look at you and think, “Imma take a crap on that dude’s face”? If anyone knows the answer to that, please email me and enlighten me so that I can avoid EVER being that person. Gag.

I do have to comment that, if this story is true, that girl must have had the mind of a professional chess player and the soul of a politician. Also, setting aside for a moment the desire to shit on someone, how the hell did she just crap on-demand during sex? She had to PLAN that shit (hehe). I am suitably disgusted and impressed, regardless of the veracity of Matty’s account.

The Earth Turns, My Eyes Roll Back in My Head, and My World is Intruded Upon By Stupid

Occasionally, not often, but occasionally, I take the low road on social media and fight in the gutter with people who have very little to offer in terms of valuable insights. Most of the time, I just ignore rude comments and let it happen, not giving rise to the argument the other person clearly hopes to provoke. But every once in a while, if I’m feeling particularly pugnacious, I’ll entertain an online battle of “wits.”

I say this with a certain level of sarcasm, as there is usually wit only on one side. While I feel a little bit bad about letting loose on someone who came to the gunfight a little under-gunned, I can at least console myself with the knowledge that, at least in this week’s case, my opponent was too stupid to know he was overmatched. He quickly resorted to ad hominem arguments and misogyny to defend his point.

Now, before we get started, I would like to credit him with the fact that, technically, he’s kinda right about the level of retro-ness of the poster in question. It’s not super retro–I just wasn’t that invested in coming up with a better term for it, because I wasn’t expecting some jackass to pop out of the woodwork to criticize something so non-controversial. Also, this guy clearly pays waaaaaay more attention to the history of Charlie’s Angels shit than I do. Anyway, despite starting on the wrong side of the argument, I still managed to do a better job defending my position. Let’s begin.

It was at this point that he stopped commenting. He either respected my request to get the f*** out of my life, or he realized that in a head on debate with me, he would not represent himself well. If the latter (due to subsequent events, I’m inclined to believe this is more on target), I might offer a few suggestions to future internet trolls who would like to take me on:

  1. Learn your ABCs and some basic grammar. Some spelling skills wouldn’t hurt either.
  2. Learn what an ad hominem argument is and why it makes you look unpolished and uneducated. Don’t bring them with you when you step up on the soap box.
  3. Know when to quit. If you feel you are embarrassing yourself, you probably are. Projecting that embarrassment onto me, as if your idiocy is somehow contagious, will not absolve you of being an idiot. It will only further serve to convince your audience that your self-awareness is sorely underdeveloped, along with your basic cognitive functions.

Now, predictably, although I got the last word on my own profile, having thusly embarrassed himself, he decided to take the fight to an area outside my field of influence. In a predictable, yet wholly cowardly move, he saw fit to screenshot my post (note he did not include the existing conversation), and start a NEW conversation on his own timeline, that I obviously couldn’t see, given that he’s no friend of mine. He gained access to my post through a tagged friend, but no such courtesy was afforded me, when he re-posted MY content in order to shit talk me to his equally stupid and misogynistic friends in an attempt to soothe his thoroughly-chewed ass unchallenged. The mutual friend was kind enough to share the conversation with me. Onward, to Stupidville!

A few comments here, since this is just so rich in opportunities for satire. First, I don’t know about anyone else, but personally, I’ve never had a disk in my ass. I can only assume he means “dick.” That being said, aside from my original point that he should REALLY invest in Hooked on Phonics, I’d also like to ask a very pointed question: Who does the dick belong to, Henry? Am I now a hermaphrodite, doing a reach-around with my own dick (Spoiler alert: nope)? If not, go ahead and admit that as much as women can take “disks” in the ass, you’re the one who likes to put it there. You’ve had ass on your dick. Think on that next time you’re jerking it in the shower.

Second, the only one not taking a joke around here is Henry. I took my coworker’s joke just fine. The only one displaying an allergic reaction to amusement is Henry King. As an aside on joke-taking, any woman taking Henry’s dick in her ass can most DEFINITELY take a joke. Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled programming:

Further commentary–Henry, in addition to learning how to spell, needs to learn to read for comprehension. No, I most certainly did NOT put my face in this image. My coworker put my face in this image. If I was going to be offended by any of this, being saddled with the credit for this dubious photo editing work would have to be the most offensive. For anyone who wasn’t listening, this is not my work. But it is a funny image, which was the POINT.

Now, as a final note on the subject, it bothers me not at all that I am stupid in Henry’s eyes. Henry’s intellectual horsepower wouldn’t move a lawnmower, so I can’t reasonably expect him to grasp the role he played in this comedy. Anyone who can look at any portion of the above and think that, of the two of us, it is Henry who is the brain trust, is not a person whose respect I need or desire. But everyone is entitled to their opinion–as long as they keep it off my social media.

 

 

On Authenticity

There’s a lot of talk these days about being your authentic self, being genuine, and embracing you, in all your glory. In theory, this sounds like a wonderful proposition, but I actually think it’s fundamentally flawed if you want to be generally well liked and get good responses from most people. I say this because, for the average run of humanity, one’s authentic self is not exactly glorious. We are ruled by fear and id, and plagued by the grossness-factory that is our body. Granted, there are other problems with the concept of “be yourself,” but the main problem with it is that it’s based on the assumption that others would rather have your authentic self than a carefully curated image that is buffed and polished to resemble as closely as possible the social norms we see around us. I don’t think that assumption is valid, at all.

If your natural “self” happens to match nicely all the parameters outlined for today’s humans and you don’t have any body problems, habits, or knee jerk reactions that would rub people the wrong way, then congratulations, by all means, be yourself. You’re already perfect enough to be “authentic.” For everyone else, though, we’re probably too weird, too gross, too shy, too bold, too tall, too short, too skinny, too fat, too smart, too stupid, too lazy, too ambitious, too sloppy, too OCD or too something else to be appealing to most other people if we don’t filter and monitor at least some things. We can’t run around responding or behaving exactly as we want to. It’s not being fake, per se, it’s just not showing anyone our first draft. We have to fix or hide the things about us that fall significantly outside of the norm, because those things limit our opportunities.

The problem with being “yourself” (whatever the fuck that means), is that whatever the natural “you,” is, it’s going to be competing with everyone else’s best. Don’t like putting on makeup? Hope you enjoy being asked if you’re tired. Don’t like shaving? Get used to being the Burly Mountain Woman. Suffer from anxiety and don’t hide it well? Welcome to your new role as the token basket case! So, in essence, authenticity is reserved for those lucky humans whose problems or differences are acceptable or trendy. The rest of us have to do everything in our power to hide the things about us that, truly, no one would like, and all the while, try not to let on that our best state isn’t our natural state.

Anyway, my point definitely isn’t that, if you weren’t born “perfect,” you should try super hard to be “someone else.” My point is threefold. First, the “be yourself” dictate has some limitations. You can only push the boundaries just so far before people will reject you—it’s erroneous to say that being yourself will always attract the best possible results from others. Second, even if you’re playing it safe and doing everything you can to fall as close as possible to societal norms, you’re still not going to please everyone or even most people. Third, and in my opinion, most important, the only thing you should be trying to be is how (not who) you want to be. If you work diligently to become, at every possible moment, the version of yourself you want to wake up as every morning, you’ll satisfy yourself much more quickly than if you try to be the version that pleases everyone else. Don’t be yourself, don’t try to be someone else, just be authentic and persistent in your pursuit of the you that you want to be. No stress.

My Date with the Chodercycle

I’m about a week away from getting my motorcycle license, but the odds of me ever sitting on a motorcycle again are remarkably slim. You’d think, and I’ve been told by a number of different people, that I’m the kind of person who would A) look really baller on a motorcycle (this matters), and B) really enjoy it. While I can’t speak to point A, I will note that, as far as point B goes, the most I can say is that I really wanted to enjoy it. I’ll go into the specifics, later, but first, let’s discuss how it came to pass that I spent the entirety of last weekend sitting on the abandoned tarmac at Camarillo Municipal Airport with the motorcycle equivalent of a chode between my legs.

This goes back to December. Recently, my supervisor, Marylou, has gotten involved in motorcycles to the extent that it’s her life’s purpose and passion. She got a Vespa last year because her friends had them, and then took the beginner class at Learn to Ride VC so she could get her motorcycle license and ride the Vespa legally. However, once she’d taken the course, she realized the Vespa wasn’t enough bike for her, so she bought a shiny, navy blue Harley, started a local chapter of a women’s motorcycle club, began the process of getting certified as an instructor for the CMSP, and has since become something of a missionary. As part of her religious duty in this regard, she (very generously), purchased a gift certificate for myself and Natali for half the price of the Learn to Ride VC beginner class.

As far as me being well-rested and fully prepared to spend an entire weekend sitting out in what was basically a parking lot with a bunch of strangers squinting into the sun trying to figure out what in the fuck the trainer was trying to get me to do, this weekend was quite likely the worst possible choice. I’ve been drowning in mortgage paperwork, side-hustle stress, and major, life-changing decisions since January and this was basically the final weekend before things calmed down a little. However, they hadn’t calmed down yet and I was definitely at my most tired.

Therefore, having to get up at 5am to drive to Camarillo felt like somewhat of an imposition. Plus, my sister’s boyfriend’s friend from Fillmore was visiting and staying on the couch, so I had to try and make food silently, in the dark, before Natali showed up. Fortunately, I had plenty of time since she was twenty minutes late. I lied. That didn’t help at all. Being late for anything usually puts my anxiety level somewhere between neurotic Chihuahua and a really bad trip, so by the time we got there, I was already pretty grumpy.

On the plus side, the first part of the day was in the classroom, and there was coffee. On the negative side, it was in an arctic-ly cold converted metal storage building which we drove past at least 6 times before spotting. I was grumpy, exhausted, and did not feel cute (didn’t look cute either). I didn’t necessarily care about the last part, since our classmates were a married couple and a bunch of 19 year old dudes, but it wasn’t helping me feel any better about things, either.

We quickly made friends with the group of kids, since they were also from Santa Barbara. I actually adore 19 year old boys, because I can properly appreciate how floppy and ridiculous they are without holding it against them. The same behavior that would annoy the hell out of me in a 24 year old is kind of hilarious in a 19 year old. They reminded me of my cousins. We ran into them at the Camarillo Premium Outlets during our lunch break on the second day and spent an hour or two helping the youngest one shop for pants, including a side trip to the Disney store.

Anyway, our instructor, James, was a moderately sarcastic, portly guy in his early to mid-thirties with ginger hair and only one eye. He made the class interesting enough by discussing our options if we got caught in a rainstorm (basically either have proper gear, or ask a local merchant for a Hefty bag), among other things. I was very interested to see him on a motorcycle—he laid claim to a swan-like elegance aboard a bike that was conspicuously absent from his movements on land.

I did get to see that demonstrated in fairly short order, and he was better off on a bike, no question. When we hopped in the shuttle to go to the “range,” I wasn’t at all sure what to expect, but I wasn’t exactly shocked to find a second instructor, a shipping container, cracked asphalt, and a couple of porta-potties. There were ten motorcycles lined up at the edge of the lot, and ten students. We were each assigned a bike. Mine was a little silver Kawasaki that was slightly too short and too wide to be comfortable. The first thing we practiced was straddle-walking, which, for me, was basically a duck-walk with a motorcycle stuck to my ass. The awkward angle gave me an epic Charlie-horse in my right hip more than once.

Soon, we moved on to actually riding, and my favorite part was the turns, because we all had the enormously pleasurable experience of trying to look where we were going, and also see the hand signals of the instructor directly behind us. Sadly, the eyes in the back of my head were covered up by my sweaty, retro helmet, so I couldn’t see a damn thing. Also on the list of things not helping was the fact that the instructors each had slightly different hand signals. James’ signal for “ride over” was roughly equivalent to Jonathan’s signal for “do not move under any circumstances” so it was kind of a toss-up which was which until I got used to it.

By the end of the first day, my lips were super chapped. It’s been almost a week and I’m still recovering, just to put this in perspective. Something about nervously biting your lip all day in a hot, dry wind while getting progressively more dehydrated destroys your face. It’s just a thing. When we were released for the day, I immediately went to Target and bought half a gallon of aloe, two tubes of chapstick and sunscreen. Fool me once, shame on the motorcycle people, fool me twice, shame on my own dumb ass. I might make mistakes, but I don’t make them twice.

Then we went to the hotel, ordered a delicious, meat-covered pizza which was delivered by a flirtatious, balding middle-aged guy. For dessert, I discovered that the vending machine accepted credit cards, which is dangerous if you want to buy one of everything and you are not limited by cash-on-hand or pesky things like better judgement. We watched crappy movies on cable until ten, and then we turned the lights off. I would say “we” went to sleep, but that would be lying. Natali went to sleep, and I laid discontentedly in the dark for eight hours listening to a) our upstairs neighbors and what I can only assume was a herd migration of the miniature horses they were surely travelling with, and b) Natali’s wet-sounding, allergy-congested snoring. Neither of these things stopped. Ever. Even if they had, it would have been so late that my rage over being kept up that late would have, in all likelihood, kept me up even longer.

When the alarm went off at 5:45, I was already in a terrible mood, being both exhausted, and aware that I would be spending the entire day, once again, outside, getting chapped, wind-burned, cramped, thirsty, and anxious. I was calculating vigorously, trying to mastermind a plan for getting out of it, and determined that there really wasn’t an escape, so I may as well ride it out. The day was lots of turns and slow speed control (which is the worst), culminating in the practical exam, which I very nearly failed (shocking, I know). The practical exam qualifies me to go to the DMV and only take the written portion of the DMV requirement, but other than that, I have to consider it kind of a joke, because I would absolutely not trust myself anywhere near a road while riding a motorcycle.

In summary, I may or may not like riding motorcycles, but there is one thing I know to be true about myself, and that is that I do not enjoy being uncomfortable. And that class? That was uncomfortable.

Me, Myself, and My Superiority Complex

I hate meeting people online (I hate meeting people at all, actually). It sucks, and I try not to do it. And almost every time I try to do it, it ends up curing me of any desire to repeat the experience for a very long time, at least until I realize that no one in Santa Barbara actually meets people in person anymore. So I try again, and again, I’m like, “Eww, nope.” Which means I’ve downloaded and deleted Tinder probably close to seven times, and I can only stomach leaving it up for, like, 3 days tops before I delete it, and when I delete it, I always feel this enormous sense of relief. Talking to people online for any length of time never fails to remind me that, by and large, the human condition is a super shitty one. Most everyone seems to have some sort of hideous personality disorder (which kind of makes me wonder what mine is).

I don’t really think this is exclusive to people you meet online—I’ve met my fair share of losers in person, too. I just think it’s more obvious online, because there’s a pervasive idea that people met online aren’t real humans—they’re just characters in a game with no rules where the risks are spectacularly low and the rewards potentially high. Because of that, people will treat you shittier once they do meet you in person, especially once they realize you are not going to sleep with them. Does it help to be honest and kind when you let them down, so as not to waste their time or hurt their sad little man feelings? No. No, it does not. Because apparently, meeting someone online and going on one date with someone where both parties pay their own freight constitutes an obligation to let them stick it in.

To be totally transparent, this diatribe isn’t coming out of left field, but out of recent experience. Shortly before I shut down all of my online accounts (again), I started talking to someone named John. He seemed like he wasn’t an asshole and was also not hideous, which is the Santa Barbara version of a unicorn. Therefore, despite having ill-advised sideburns, I decided to meet him for Thai food. As soon as I saw him in person, I realized it was a no-go. I’ve seen cucumbers I’m more attracted to. All the same, we had a very pleasant dinner, and I paid for my share, and then we left.

He texted me later that evening to thank me for an interesting conversation, and I returned the favor, but wasn’t really planning on contacting him again. However, the next morning, I woke up to a couple of texts. I didn’t have an opportunity to respond for most of the day, because I had to do laundry, go to the beach, spend some time with my brother, go to the gym, and other crap normal people do on a Sunday. However, by the time I got done with all of those things and saw fit to look at my phone, I had not only the original pair of texts to respond to, but also a bunch more from him, culminating in a request to hang out again. Generally, non-crazy people don’t blow up a person’s phone after knowing that person for a day, so, at this point there was no denying that the red flags I’d spotted the night prior were now at full mast. For most well-adjusted people, myself included, it takes a fair amount of attachment before any crazy texting incidents occur. Mostly, it’s best to send one text, and then forget you sent it until it’s been responded to.

Naturally, I did not want to hang out again, intentionally or by accident. Therefore, I needed to craft a response that would be appropriately non-ambiguous without being hurtful (rejection is an art form). Because of this, I didn’t get around to responding until 11:30 PM, which, to be honest, should have been enough information for him to know that the news wasn’t going to be good. That aside, I responded by saying I had had a nice time, but that I didn’t see us being anything more than friends and didn’t want to lead him on. Concise, upfront, and sparing of any unnecessary cruelty. I felt my duty as a decent human being had been done, and I slept the sleep of the righteous.

And then, I woke up for work the next morning to three texts from him:

“I hope your anxiety gets better.” (Thanks.)

“And your sense of superiority.” (Ooooh. Burn.)

“Also, maybe you shouldn’t be looking for guys online.” (Could not agree more, John!)

In his defense, at least they were short. That is the only good thing I can say, however. The impression left by these texts is of a butt-hurt 12 year old. We should all be aware that John is 30. At this point, had I had any doubts at all about my decision to never communicate with this human tapeworm, ever again, they were now entirely dispelled. That’s the problem with lashing out like a dumbass—it’s the gift of proof that I was right for not wanting anything to do with the person, and therefore, I feel better about me and worse about them. No guilt. Before, I was passively disinterested. After, I actively think he’s a garbage troll. How was that worth it?

So I’ll leave you with these, the words of my sister: It’s not a superiority complex if it’s actually true.

And Then The Night Exploded

So, for starters, feel free to judge me for my shocking lack of commitment to keeping this blog up to date. The first part of my year has been unusually uproarious, and, as one might expect, my personal pet projects were the first to fall off the list of priorities. I’ve also been honing my ability to view the world through a lens of more nuanced emotion, which has required a certain degree of inward focus rather than the unapologetic, chunky brashness with which I usually live my life and express my thoughts. All the same, I’m baaaaaack! Mostly because I’ve had an outrageous experience that I’d like to share.

Last night was girls’ night with my kickboxing friends, and while the original intention was to stay in and eat garbage and do makeovers, that’s not where it ended. There was more interest in makeovers than garbage, and since we all looked so good, my friend Elysia was feeling herself, so we decided to go out. We went to O’Malleys, and had a very normal time there. We talked to some people, danced with some others, and stayed until closing, which means that when we exited the bar, the streets were bursting at the seams with moronic drunken frat boys.

That’s all well and good, and things would have been fine, until you factor in a hot-headed Mexican boyfriend, drunken stupidity, and a misogynistic comment. All of those things being very real factors indeed, things blew up pretty quickly. As we were crossing the street to the parking lot where my friend’s boyfriend (henceforth referred to as The Boyfriend) had parked the car, a herd of five of the aforementioned frat boys pulled down their pants, leaned over one by one, so far we could see their assholes, and mooned the whole street, but mostly our group.

One of the boys (henceforth referred to as The Buttcrackers) asked if he needed asshole bleach. I responded that that wouldn’t begin to be enough for his issues. My friend Natali said something even bitchier, and then we continued onward. We had passed them by about ten feet when one the barely post-pubescent rapists-in-training made the very unfortunate choice to run his mouth, saying “At least one of us is going to fuck those girls.” This is exactly the kind of off-hand comment that I am happy to ignore for my own personal convenience and safety. Nothing I could say or do is going to magically transform some disrespectful cum-stain of a male human into someone with more acceptable views of female humans, so the smart money is to flip them the bird over your shrugging shoulder as you keep walking. Apparently, however, The Boyfriend disagrees with this.

I could practically see his ears prick, as he froze, and then pivoted on one foot and marched over to the group of boys like a flesh and blood angel of death. The biggest of the other guys was basically a puppy in a sweater, but with attitude. Very soft in a pretty-boy kind of way, quite young, and not experienced enough to know that you really should stop running your mouth when approached by an enraged, tatted-up Latino with cauliflower ear. This poor idiot hadn’t actually been the one to say the comment that had spiked our boy’s temper (that honor goes to his skinny, preppy, hatchet-faced friend, who looked like a product of incest dressed as the lead singer of a British boy-band), but since he was by far the loudest, he took on the role of Whipping Boy Number 1, being the first to become intimately acquainted with The Boyfriend’s brown-skinned knuckles.

The Boyfriend cracked a few more heads, laying out at least three of the five Buttcrackers, and, rather un-sportingly, loaded up a kick and drove his shin into the ribs of one who had already fallen over. Notice, of course, that The Boyfriend is a trained martial artist with boxing and MMA fights in his past, so even though The Buttcrackers had numbers on their side, The Boyfriend was able to do some damage before our group could contain him. Once disentangled, Natali and our other friend hurried him back to the car. It was looking promising for a clean getaway, except, once again, as we were trying to leave, one of the squashy, mentally deficient man-children that hadn’t run to their car in fear during initial blow-up had the courage and poor sense to yell out “Ha! Yeah, take that!” like their group had won, apparently not understanding that it was The Boyfriend’s desire to remain a free man, rather than a lack of ability to murder the entire group with bare hands, that had resulted in his early departure.

The Boyfriend was far enough away to have missed this comment, but the very buzzed Elysia was still close enough to hear, and, in what was not one of her best-thought-out moments, she ran back to the Buttcrackers and began giving them a tongue lashing on everything from feminism to sportsmanship and basic human decency. A timely lesson, to be sure, but also completely useless. Meanwhile, while I was occupied trying to rein in Elysia and get her to the car, which took probably no more than two minutes but felt much longer due to the time-warp of poor choices in which I found myself, The Boyfriend and our other two friends fled the scene, so by the time Elysia wound down and started looking for the car, they were long gone.

Seeing us wandering around the parking lot, wondering where the fuck our friends had gone, the Buttcrackers trotted over to try to convince us to share The Boyfriend’s contact information. Once again, the big puppy served as spokesman, with the product of incest right behind him, as well as what looked, to all appearances, like a very sunburnt albino. To the puppy’s credit, he actually was quite polite, describing The Boyfriend’s onslaught as “rude.” The generosity of the understatement made me slightly less irritated with the Buttcrackers, albeit just as desirous to leave and never speak to them again.

One would think that this had all been quite enough excitement for one night, but one would be wrong. Naturally, the Buttcrackers’ renewed presence had resulted in a return of Elysia’s lecture, which provided plenty of time for some rando to wander over to inject himself into the situation, under the guise of concern. Unfortunately, when we did finally begin to leave, the aforementioned rando followed us. Elysia had called an Uber, which I had assumed was going to be a rescue chariot with room for two, but you know what they say—to assume is to make an ass of u and me. Elysia opened the door of the Prius, got in, and then, rather than scoot over and make room, said “Night! I’ll see you later!” shut the door firmly, and left me standing on a Street Corner with the Creepy Savior, who would not go away, and who kept repeating “I just want to make sure you get home safe” while continually negating the expressed sentiment by trying to put his hand on my ass as he followed me down State Street.

In an extension of his unwanted “chivalry” he naturally offered to let me go home with him. You know, in case I was so upset I needed comfort. I stopped dead in the middle of the sidewalk, shoved his shoulder so that he was facing me and said, “Look around, asshole. There isn’t anyone else bothering me right now. The only thing upsetting me is you! Go away.” He didn’t, of course. I saw a cab half a block away and made my way to it, with the Creepy Savior following along, occasionally snaking his hand out for a grope. Needless to say, I do have a very long fuse, and I was more irritated than afraid, so I handled the situation with some vigorous swatting.

When I got to the door of the cab, I opened it and began to get in. Right about that time, the Creepy Savior pushed me off the curb so I was off balance, wrapped his arms around me, forcing an awkward hug, and then smacked my ass with some force as I pulled away. I told him to fuck off, with attitude, and then scrambled into the cab, and shut the door. He was holding the door. I think he got his fingers out, but I don’t know, and I also don’t care. I’m sure in the Creepy Savior’s memory, he’ll remember only the parts where he was vocalizing concern for my safety and that I was a bitch about it, conveniently glossing over the parts where he was a creepy, predatory asshole, who was, in fact, the bad-news guy he was concerned I might run into.

I bet when he’s sober, he’s a “nice guy.” And that’s the problem with “nice guys”—forced chivalry is just as disrespectful and unpleasant as overt misogyny, especially when that chivalry comes with an expectation, as it so often does. To illustrate how weird this is, think of a situation where you expressly tell someone not to get you ice cream when they go to the store, but they do anyway, and you’re like, “Thanks, but no thanks,” so they get pissed and then send you a Venmo request anyway. It’s like that, except ice cream is the unwanted protection, and the currency requested is booty. Fuck that. And fuck that guy.

Predictably, on the ride home, I had some time to reflect on the events as they had transpired, and I have decided that I would have been better off alone last night. So much for safety in numbers. I mean, for one thing, as much as I appreciate that The Boyfriend cares about the women in his life being disrespected, it’s his escalation of the situation that caused me to be standing in a parking lot with four strange, drunk, pissed off men at three o’clock in the morning. As much as I don’t enjoy disrespectful comments, I care far more about the safety of my actual physical person than I do about my “honor.” If a guy’s parents did a shitty job conveying to him that women are, in fact, people, I don’t consider it my responsibility to take him back to school on that subject at the risk of my own personal well-being. I’ll just walk away and let him be a dick by himself, and I don’t really appreciate being robbed of the opportunity.

Secondly, we all could have left together if Elysia hadn’t gone back for seconds. I, of course, wasn’t going to leave her alone, which meant both of us ended up stranded. I take a lot of responsibility for the fact that I ended up being the last man standing, because in my commitment to ensure Elysia was taken care of, I didn’t take care of myself. I failed to realize that I was taking care of Elysia, and Elysia was taking care of Elysia, and no one was taking care of me. Had I been alone, there would never have been a “who’s on first?” moment that resulted in me stranded with a creeper.

So, in summary, if The Boyfriend hadn’t exploded, there never would have been an unsafe situation to escape from, and if Elysia hadn’t decided to go another round, my ability to safely exit the situation without feeling like a huge asshole never would have been impacted. Next time someone creates an unnecessary three-ring circus, I think I’ll just Irish exit and let them pick up the pieces on their own.

Knowledge is Power, Hindsight is 20/20

I’ve been particularly busy and distracted the last week or so, mainly with travel, setting personal boundaries, preparing to move to the new condo, and just generally getting my life together, but here are a few short lessons that I’ve run across in the intervening time which you may or may not find interesting or personally useful:

1. They do indeed make micro-printers for the on-the-go professional. Sign me up: http://a.co/5Gitxmu
2. I’m a natural at riding mechanical bulls. Seriously, just hold my drink and watch. West Coast knows what up—how you like me now, Texas?
3. If you ever pay for a drink in Austin, TX, you are doing it wrong. The bars practically pay you to drink and take stupid pictures. Go to there.
4. No matter how excellent your phone case is, your screen will not survive you tripping over a sidewalk and smashing it into the ground with the full force of your body weight behind it. Even if you weigh less than I do. Not recommended.
5. If you’re caught in an unrelenting vortex of stupid with any kind of customer service rep, and no matter what you do, you just can’t escape the event horizon of idiocy, your only recourse may be laughter.
6. Airlines never have your best interests at heart, but sometimes you can get lucky if you pay attention.
7. Double-decker tourist busses are actually fun, as long as you avoid the trees and have someone to talk to during the silent stretches between attractions.
8. It’s okay to bail when someone starts being an asshole. No debts are owed for past good behavior if that’s stopped being a thing. Walk away with your middle finger held high and proud, but keep it classy and be sweet about it, like a true steel magnolia. And that goes for anyone, no matter where you’re from.
9. It is possible to hail a cab by accident, and not realize that the cab you got into isn’t the cab you ordered, and:
10. No matter where you go, you’re always in Portland. It’s everywhere.

Anyway, that’s a very truncated list of things I’ve learned this week.