Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Adults at the Kids’ Table

I’ve always hated the idea of the “kids’ table” at family functions and holiday events. Since I can remember, I’ve wanted to be older than I am, and as a kid I always resented being placed at the kids’ table.

The kids’ table – it’s usually a shorter, smaller table (maybe a card table or a cheap folding table) that’s crudely dressed in a matching table cloth, surrounded by mismatched folding chairs, old kitchen chairs, and even sometimes a stool.

I remember sitting at kids’ tables as a kid, and it seems that I’d always be stuck sitting with other kids I wouldn’t know. It’s like the adults assumed that we’d have fun sitting together just because we’re kids. Instead, it was more like a dinner party for the clinically antisocial and neurotic. There was the kid with ADD who wanted attention and shoved vegetables up his nose, the clumsy kid who would continually fall out of his chair, the only other girl who was too shy to talk, and me. It was uncomfortable, to say the least.

As per usual for Christmas dinner in Boston, I sat at the kids’ table, only this time it started out with a joke that the kids’ table was the regular table and the other one was the “old persons table”. Most of us at the kids’ table were working professionals (a Project Manager, an Ironworker, an Army employee, and a CIA agent), and all of us had graduated high school (two cousins were still in college). We talked about what we’d been doing, new tattoos, roller derby (of course), and our plans to tour the Sam Adams brewery on Saturday. We weren’t kids, per se, but when you consider that the other table contained our parents, you could see that we definitely had the youth on our side.

After dinner we did the Yankee Swap (gift exchange) and then played Trivial Pursuit, Pop Culture Edition.

“Adults versus kids,” someone said (the CIA agent).

“Great idea,” I thought, but that brief thought was interrupted with one of the “adults” asking what team J and I would be on.

The “kids” said they sacrificed us, so the adults would have a chance, but I’m not so sure that’s how everyone saw it. For the first time in my life, I was older that I wanted to be.

I’d like to say that my youthful presence brought something to their team, but I consistently answered one wrong question after the other. Back at home this board-game flaw is easily remedied by turning the traditional Trivial Pursuit into Drinking Trivial Pursuit, where when you answer a question right, you drink so that it levels the playing field. Tonight I had to drink to cope with providing wrong answers.

Then, just at the end when both teams were tied and trying to win, the rest of the “adults” abandoned us. All game they sat there, answering or giving away answers to questions we had asked the other team, something the kids exploited all night, and now they were washing dishes, putting away food, and folding up the kids’ table. Actually quite relieved that no one was around to give the answer away, we read the kids a question for the win: “Pam Anderson changed the tattoo of her former husband’s name, Tommy, to what when they got divorced?”

Seriously? This question is for pie?! Fine.

“Mommy!” they all yelled. Fuck.

As we got ready to leave, we all exchanged the usual extended-family semi-uncomfortable kisses and hugs, between us and the parents anyhow. “Sure,” I thought, “I’m old enough to play with the adults, but I still sit at the kids’ table and I’m still not old enough to feel confident knowing which uncles I should make a move to hug.”

I’ve always hated the term “young adult” and now I think I hate it even more, but for different reasons. I always swore I’d grow old gracefully, and I still will, but now I have an idea why everyone has a problem with getting old.

Regardless of how I feel, I refuse to let go of the kids’ table – for the first time in my life, it’s the table I want to sit at, and you can bet two wooden stools and a folding metal chair that my adult ass will still be sitting there next Christmas.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Early on a Sunday Morning

I woke up this past Sunday saying the same thing I had apparently said over and again the night before, after our annual Charm City Roller Girls banquet, “I feel like I got kicked in the face.” You know it’s a good party when you come away injured and no one was skating.

Two days later, now here on Tuesday, there’s no question about it: my nose is broken. Sunday morning everyone found it funny, and it totally was. What I found funny was what happened next.

Not having gotten to bed until around 6am, we slept in late – J and I, Chairman Meow, and our newest sponsor crew, JT and two guys from the Flying Dog brewery. With the keg leftover from the banquet still in the center of my kitchen floor, we all just kind of stood there moaning, getting up the energy to start our days.

As if the big blue Flying Dog Winnebago parked across the street from my house wasn’t startling enough to my next-door neighbors as they were loading up the kids to go to church on a Sunday morning, six of us filing out my front door with a keg sealed the deal. I’ve got to say that I found it hilarious. (I’m a good person and I know I am, so I’m really no longer worried what the neighbors who ignore me because I “live in sin” think.)

I love our annual banquet, and even though I came away with a broken nose and a busted elbow and knee, I’d still rank this banquet second in the “How-Wild-Was-That-CCRG-Banquet?” scale.

The banquet itself was bittersweet. It celebrated my last time sharing a track with some ladies I’ve skated with since the very beginning (Cheeta and Mibbs), yet as you know, I only got to skate in our first bout of the season last year, so part of me felt like the banquet wasn’t for me, highlighting once again how much being injured sucks.

However, I am fucking stoked for 2009. I’m currently running 4.5-5 miles at a time, several times a week, and my blocker ass even set the lofty goal of jamming for a team I was recently asked to join and play with at RollerCon in July: The Donut-Eating Fat Asses (my donut name is Sticky Buns!). Whenever I tell anyone about the team they either don’t know what to say or they tell me “That’s terrible!”, but really, it’s not. Hello – look at this blog!

Back to the banquet… I wanted to wear booty shorts, a tuxedo shirt, and suspenders, but I couldn’t find suspenders, so I instead wore a red spandex boob-revealing dress. I paid to get my hair done professionally, but I wound up looking like the Bride of Frankenstein’s grandmother, so I went and got some help from Jules Burn to brush out the hairspray. Running late, late, late and needing ice, ice, ice, I knew my 6-inch spike heels were not ice-getting heels, so I picked up my new bitch (his words, not mine), Chairman Meow, and we got ice.

After an hour of answering “Where’s the beer?”, JT showed up driving my new mobile party spot, the Flying Dog Winnebago – oh, and he brought the beer too. I started drinking beer and was handed really good single-malt by Magnificent Bastard. I hadn’t eaten all day (including at the banquet), so I begin to shove a square of cheese pizza into my face when Dirty Marty starts to announce my public call-out to get up on stage and talk about Sponsorship. So much for eating! The remainder of the night can be summed up shortly:

Cindy Grop-her showed up shortly after I appeared on stage, and I drank more scotch, drank more beer, drank some really good special beer, nearly killed myself a million times on various staircases in Baltimore, shamelessly adjusted my boobs in front of God and everyone (over and again), sat on Santa’s lap, realized Santa wasn’t who I thought he was, danced with Rosie’s man who puked on my friend at Oktoberfest in the Flying Dog Winnebago, danced more at the Ottobar, drank tequila at the Ottobar, took my shoes off, lost my coat, got kicked in the face (or elbowed or something else), unknowingly did pay my tab, and flung myself onto the broken and dirty asphalt in the driveway next to the Ottobar while trying to get a piggy-back ride back to the Winnebago so I could take everyone back to my house and party some more (aka, annoy everyone with hip-hop).

It all culminated in my pissing off my mom who was expecting us at her house at noon, but instead we slept till 11:00am and didn't roll up there until 3:00pm. Sometimes these things must happen. As for the banquet, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Polish Kids with Solar-Powered Flashlights

I promised myself I’d write each day here in New England while on vacation, and I actually had today’s entry more than half written when something weird happened: we got called via Skype by these 15-year-old stoner boys from Poland who are learning to speak English. No joke, it was funny as HELL!

The kids were getting stoned, and we only found out half-way through the conversation why they chose to call us. They play Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, and the main character’s name is Carl Johnson. The person whose house we’re staying at is named Carl Johnson. These kids somehow looked up his name and called him here in America, and we all happened to be sitting around – me with my computer, I had to write down what they were saying.

The following is a transcript of our very broken conversation with the Polish kids. We talked to three of them: Mario, Latve, and Latve’s brother whose name we didn’t ask. It was a very “broken” conversation, but I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed participating in this. The words in quotes are theirs, the ones not in quotes are ours. I must warn you, there’s a word in here I never use, but it’s essential to the conversation, because these kids learn English from American rap:

Mario:

“I want to start English. Are you my Nigger? I smoke weed.”
What?
“I can’t beat war.”
“You go to family? You are a nigger, no? Do you listen to rap?”
What rap?
“Tupac and 50 Cent?”
(pause)
“I speak with white hoe?”
“I sing.”

(He played us a rap song from Poland)
We like rap. We like a new kind of rap, C Rap – Crap.
“Crap is good”
“I speak English with every people in rap machine.”
“You’re smiling?” (this means he hears us laughing and is getting a kick out of it)

“You play San Andreas? Every day I play this – San Andreas.”
No. Oh, Carl Johnson!
“Yes, Carl Johnson!”
Is this why you called us?
“Carl Johnson, yes! Are you a nigger?”
No.

“On the ground I play too.”
“Yes, I like rit games”
“I play internet”
(we’re laughing our asses off)
“Why are you smiling?”
“I can speak English.”
Corva blache (which we think means “fucking asshole” in polish)
“What is this?! “I’m from Polish.”

(They pass the phone on)

Latve:

“What’s up, man? I do speak English!”
Who’s your favorite rapper?
“Hey!”
(pause)
“Yes!”
“Don’t leave.”
“What’s up?”
What’s up with you?
“I smoke – ahhhh, good weed. Good, shit!”

“What’s your favorite singer”
Cat Stevens
“Who’s this?”
And Jimmie Page
“Ah, I know Jimmie Page! Led Zepp-e-lin. I know this guy. Good.”
John Hooker too…
“Yo, man! What is this ‘Yo, motherfucker, yo’? mean?”

Do you speak Russian? (some people in the room speak Russian, which is why we asked)
“Russian, NO! NO! Russia’s a shit country! Which American people were… I don’t like shiny people, Russian people. Poland is the best.”
Yes, the Russians did fuck you, didn’t they? Poland is the best.
“The best!”

“Do you have family? Big smiles? Sister, brother?”
Yes.
“I got brother.”
“3 cat, 3 cat, 3 cat, 1 dog. And a mouse. My cat smoke weed.”
Your cat smokes weed???
“My cat can sing”
Does your cat sing rap?
“Yes, he sings rap. Do you have a cat?”
No.
“Mouse?”
No. Just a dog.
“Do you have presents surprise? Surprise presents? Christmas! Christmas!”
Yes, we have presents for Christmas.
“Merry Christmas. It was nice to meet you.”

“What is your programmers on computer? Processor? Processor? I smoke weed. What program is you got, Windows?”
A Mac. Unix.
“PC I got – yeah, Windows. You smoke weed?”
Everybody smokes weed.
“YES!”

“How are you?”
I’m fine, how are you?
“Yes, I’m fine”
Do you learn English in school.
“Yes, I got a 1 (laughs). Wait a minute.”
(from background) “Smoke Weed… Good shit!”

What do you smoke weed from, a bong?
“What is this, bong?”
What do you drink?
“Coca Cola! What do you drink?”
Vodka. Scotch. Wiskey.
“Beer?”
Yes.
“Beer is very good. Heineken draft keg? Bud-nigger?”
Budweiser?
“Bud-visor? Heineken draft keg!”
Samual Adams.
“Who is this, Samual Adams? Friend?”
It’s a beer.
“Oh, my brother says to you…”

Latve’s brother:

“Hello, I think which white hoe? “Some niggars are there”
No niggers, Carl tells them.
(We then argue with Carl, who is mighty white, telling him that the kid is asking if his friends (niggers) are there, and yes, we are. But isn’t that derogatory, Carl asked us. No, I said. They only know English from rap – we are your niggers.)
“Niggers?”
Yes, my niggers are here.

Do you like Peter Tosh?
“He do it in trousers!”
Trousers? What in trousers?
“I DON’T KNOW!”
You’re smoking weed!

“Yes, I’m smoking weed every day!”
We can tell.
“I don’t give a fuck!”
“NO!”

(he plays us a Tupac song)
What’s that?
“Recent Tupac!”
Tupac is dead.
“I know, I know…”

“What is your favorite color?”
Purple
“Ah, purple, purple, purple!”

“This sweet telephone. Number.”
No. What?!
“Why?”

“Do you listen to Helmet? What is tell?”
I don’t understand.
“Do you speak English?”

“Wait minutes! Wait minutes!” (flipping through some Polish to English book)

“I hear you, what’s up? What’s up, man? What’s your name, man, what’s up?”
Jackle. Where are the bitches?
“Bitches?”
(pauses to look up word, and this next part makes me wonder what book he was using…)
“Bitch in the club.”

“Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!”
Are you OK?
“Mayday!”
You shouldn’t use that word.
“What is this motherfucker, yo?”
What?
“Who the fuck are are? Fuck. Fuck.”
Oh, I’m fucking fine, how the fuck are you?
“Shit!”
People learning English from rap songs, that’s bad.

Are you guys still there?
“Yes”
Are you busy smoking weed?
“Friends? Friends? You got the friends?”
Yes, they’re here.

You got the hoes there?
“Hello”
Have you got the hoes there, or is it a sausage party?
“Uh, party, party, sausage. Sausage.”
Where’s the women?
“No women” (they sounded sad)

You like the rap? Yo, yo motherfucker, yo?
“Yo, yo, motherfucker, yo! YES!”

“You know this songs?”
I can’t hear it.
“What?”
I can’t hear the music.
(plays music)
I can’t hear it well. Who is it?
“This is Mother. Called Mother.”

(I then got on the phone and asked them if they like big booty. They didn’t know what booty was. Big asses, I said.)
“Oh, big asses! Yes!”
I then played Bangers and Cash B-O-O-T-Y, and they were screaming at me to stop.
“I don’t want to listen to this no more! No more! No more!”
OK, OK, I’ll pass this off to my friend, hold on.

Do you have bling?
“What?”
Are you dripping with gold and ice?
“GOLD! Yes!”
How much?
“100 dollar”
You must be rich. Do you live with your parents?
“Parents? Yes!”
You should make $ and move out so you can have bitches.
“Ah, yes, bitches.”

(They play us more Tupac.)

Tupac is shit! Tupac sucks my ass!
“Why? Yes, I understand. I understand.” (sounds sad again)

“I have a Porsche Carerra”
“I am fucking rich!”
You are bullshitting me!
“No bullshit! This is true! True!”
You smoke too much weed!

“Christmas! Do you have Christmas tree?”
I have a plastic tree with little lights on it.
“Do you listen to Santa Clause?”
Yes, we have Santa Clause. Do you have Santa in Poland?
“Yeah”
Big fat guy in a white beard?
“I don’t know what is…”
Red suit…
“Shit, nigger, white!”
What?
“So, so, so so, what’s up?”

“I drink tea”
Yeah? We’re gonna drink scotch and beer and get fucked up tonight.
“Fucked up! You go to club?”
No, club’s for pussies.
“Oh, what you do for New Year?”
Same thing, drink whiskey, get fucked up. My girl says we don’t need the club, the white hoe is here. (I’m referring to myself here)

“What the fuck, motherfuckers! Fuck, my ladies, fuck my ladies…”
Slim Shadey?
“Slim Shadey, yes!”
Eminem is shit.
“NO! Eminem is the best, the best! He and Tupac!”
No, he sucks.
“BULLSHIT!”
Bob Marley is better than Tupac.
“Tupac is the best. Bob Marley smoke weed all day.”
Bob Marley is awesome.
“Ass some?”
No, awesome. Asshole, you are the asshole?

“We speak tomorrow. Goodbye! Goodbye!”

(And they hung up.)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Saturnalia

One of my favorite albums of 2008 was Saturnalia (Gutter Twins), and I’ve probably listened to it a million and one times, but never once did it even cross my mind to find out what the word Saturnalia actually means. Things would have progressed as normal – me lost in complete obliviousness – if only I hadn’t a guilty pleasure for bad TV.

It was this past week after a 10-hour work day, followed by a horrible experience returning some clothing and the utterly annoying purgatory that was my tights inching down with each step I took – no place to duck into to right my crotch from my knees and my waistband (usually under my boobs) from the underneath of my ass – when I entered my house with the force of a tornado, tore off my boots and tights, immediately dug into the take-out I had brought home, and began watching The Big Bang Theory, where the guy who was NOT Darlene-from-Roseanne’s-geeky-boyfriend, David, explained in part what Saturnalia is: a winter festival during which people took in branches from evergreen trees as a symbol of their “protecting life” during the winter, and in the spring when plants started to grow again the branches would be removed from people’s homes (Longest. Sentence. Ever.). This tradition was the beginning of what would become the Christmas tree. I felt like a retard.

There I sat, looking at the slender, white, plastic Christmas tree that sits beside my television, wondering what it is that makes tradition itself and why tradition feels so good.

Quite obviously one of the traditions I hold onto is putting up a Christmas tree, even though my only reference for having a Christmas tree prior to this week was that it’s a thing on which to hang old shit I either made or have had since before I can remember, and it’s the place you put presents unless you’re Jewish. I had no clue the history of the Christmas tree, and after I heard it, “Boy!” I thought, “I’ve truly bastardized the meaning of this!”

Always the good little consumer, another tradition I hold near and dear is spending a lot of money on presents. That’s not a tradition, you say. Well, then, why am I so “not in the Christmas spirit” this year after I decided not to exchange presents with anyone? I like to buy shit. I not only take pleasure in it, but I suspect I may have a bit of a problem, and not in a joking “I have 100 pairs of shoes and like to shop till I drop” kind of way either – in the kind of way where I kind of feel high after I’ve made a large purchase or bought a lot of stuff.

So, there it is: my tradition. Hanging old shit on an effigy of a fake living thing while I light hundred-dollar bills underneath it. I follow this tradition because I enjoy following it, but does it actually have any real meaning?

I think it’s fair to say that I was brought up mighty white as a kid, and the baby Jesus – the true meaning of Christmas – was crammed down my throat. Having the unique perspective I have today, I feel that even that tradition isn’t quite as “traditional” as some people may have us believe, and I don’t just mean in the “is Christ just a metaphor for love?” kind of way either. I mean, I heard on the news this week that someone actually researched the date of the “first Christmas” and found out that when Jesus was born it was the middle of summer in the friggin desert! Wouldn’t it then be more festive to wear Hawaiian shirts and hang our damp sweat-rags up to dry? Well, that doesn’t feel very much like Christmas, now does it?!

My tradition is meaningful. It may not connect me to the accurate historical context of the “things” I use in my traditions, but those “things” hold meaning to me that’s not associated with history or even any particular holiday – they hold memories.

For hours on end I’d lie on my back underneath the Christmas tree, unfocusing my eyes so that all the tiny lights became fuzzy bright blurs, patterns of color – a cluster of reds speckled with green and blue. And when I refocused my eyes, I’d stare at my upside-down reflection in the low-hanging red and silver balls – my big-nosed image warped by the round surface of the ornaments. Focus, unfocus, focus, unfocus, while listening to the sound of timbers popping and crackling in the fireplace – sometimes loud enough to break my trance and make me jump.

Maybe it isn’t the lack of the usually gregarious pile of presents under my tree that’s ruining my Christmas spirit this year – maybe it’s my not allowing myself the time to stop, think, and lie on my back underneath the Christmas tree to do nothing more than focus and unfocus and experience the sounds and smells that enter my consciousness. I need to take hold of that little bit of life that's left out there in the cold and bring it inside. If I protect it, it will only blossom as time goes on, just like the evergreen branches that the Romans protected during Saturnalia. Hmmm, maybe we're not so different after all.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Doggy Style

This past Saturday a crew of us (me, PENALTYna, Chairman Meow, and J) went up to the Flying Dog Brewery to discuss them sponsoring CCRG and drink some beer! It was an awesome time, and I even sold some booty shorts for them by putting them over my clothes and posing for PENALTYna in their merch room.


Who would have thought - this ass selling hotpants? Word.


I'm hoping pix of my ass will tide you over until I can find time to write something thoughtful - hopefully tonight or this afternoon if a meeting gets canceled and I actually get to eat lunch!

Here's our happy crew with "Local Beer Guy", JT Smith, who we were able to work a deal with!


Here's to a great beer selection of Pabst and Flying Dog at all 2009 CCRG bouts!


Thanks to PENALTYna for the awesome photos!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Working Hard for The Money

All I can say is this: it is now 5:41pm, I have worked nearly 2 hours over today, with no lunch and meetings literally back-to-back from 10am up to 5 five minutes ago.

I have been registering the urge to go to the bathroom since 9:30am, but I haven't gone yet. That's right, I haven't gone all day long (even with drinking a lot of water and coffee).

Holy, crap, I need some "me" time. Hopefully I'll be inspired to write once I get home, because I have a lot to say but only work people to say it to!

$5 to anyone who can find a creative way to get me out of all-day meetings again tomorrow. Bomb threats don't count. Or do they...

XO,

Cindy

Monday, December 8, 2008

Love Letters

It’s funny how so rarely in the moment you realize the importance of something that may later become so valuable to you. If only in that moment you had something to tip you off that what you are currently experiencing is important, perhaps you could enjoy it even more. But that’s not usually how it goes. It’s usually the usual, the mundane, what you think you experience as the boredom or nothing. Later, it becomes something, and sometimes it’s not even yours.

When I was a girl, I’d sometimes get notes in my lunchbox from my parents. They were usually from my dad, because he was the one who made the lunches – the bran bread all-natural peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I guess you could say my parents were health nuts. I grew up wanting nothing more than tiny marshmallows in my cereal, and I all I got were raisins. I hate raisins. And I’m not sure if the Raisin Bran did it to me or not, but if a marshmallowless childhood of breakfasts didn’t cause me to hate raisins, then I don’t know what else did.

For lunch it was health food again. I can’t even remember what accompanied the cardboard sandwich full of thick and tasteless peanut paste and fraction-of-a-millimeter layer of jelly. Maybe grapes? Grapes and a note. Several bites from the center of the fiber brick get eaten, the rest shoved back into the bag along with the note and thrown away. You’d never want your friends to see the note. You were embarrassed by the note, and if they saw it you could be made fun of because of the note, especially as you got older.

These days I pack the lunches. I hardly eat sandwiches now, not because I don’t love them but because I have guilt issues with bread. I’m more of a salad or last-night’s leftovers girl, and at this time of year I’m heavily into soup: split pea with ham, lentil, French onion, chicken and corn chowder, or pretty much anything they have made from scratch at the deli in the basement of my office building. And the only note I get now is a bill.

Recently, my mom has been on a cleaning streak. Basically, she’s afraid she’s going to die before she gets the basement clean, so each weekend she “goes through things” down there to make it more manageable for me when she’s moved up to that big uncluttered house in the sky. She’s not dying, she’s just overcompensating for my dad’s lack of preparation preceding his unexpected move to the uncluttered house in the sky.

Several weeks after my birthday, my mom comes to give me my present, and I was surprised to see her pull a jewelry-store bag out of her bag after she had already given me a card full of cash. I told her she shouldn’t have, and she started to cry. She didn’t. What she pulled out of the bag was a tiny frame containing a note she had found in the basement. I was instantly paralyzed. I knew what it was immediately from the handwriting – all capital letters, evenly spaced and angular. It was an undated note to me from my dad that started: “To my loving and lovely daughter…”, and it came at a time when I really needed it. The words written on that note gave me an eerie feeling, like at that moment I was reading it, my dad was watching me read it right over my shoulder.

Nearly two months later I left for Nationals, the framed note on my dresser beside my alarm beside an open notebook that had “GET UP! PORTLAND TODAY!” scribbled largely in black Sharpie, perpendicular to the lines on the page. I live by notes – reminders to myself to do everything from calling someone back to not hitting snooze fifteen times, because I have something fun to do that day. And the Northwest Knockdown was fun indeed.

After an exhausting several days in Portland, we were leaving the venue for the last time Sunday night, and as I was walking out toward the rear of the building, watching poles and curtains disappear like magic and sections of floor being torn up and hauled away, I thought about how great the weekend had been, and I allowed myself to wonder for a split second if what my mom says to me is right – that my dad would be proud of all I’ve accomplished, that his is.

Assuring everyone I’m coming, I duck into the bathroom to pee one last time. The once bustling skater bathroom, full of a constant stream of women fixing their tights and putting on makeup before bouts, was completely vacant. Ah, quiet. As I was walking out toward the sinks to watch my hands, something tucked in the top of the soap dispenser on the wall directly in front of me caught my eye. Like that moment several months earlier, I was paralyzed. After a second I snatched the tiny piece of paper ahead of me. A note. In all capital letters, evenly spaced and angular. “I’m proud of you.”

Immediately breaking into tears, I jolted myself back into reality, shoved the note in my bag, and decided I’d look at it again later – after I got back to Baltimore. I knew I’d have to write about this moment, and since I’ve been back it’s all I’ve ever wanted to write about but couldn’t bring myself to actually write about until now.

What gives these things meaning?

From the embarrassing lunch-box notes to the forgotten and rediscovered notes to notes that aren’t even mine, the feelings these notes evoke are what gives them meaning. The usual, the mundane, what you think you experience as the boredom or nothing. It always becomes something, and at times something is better than nothing at all.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Just the Right Amount of Asshole

Although I was mindful of the stress of hosting Thanksgiving (and even though I did NOT wind up screaming in the middle of my kitchen), I think I held some of that stress in instead of letting it go, because the days following the holiday ushered in my being a complete asshole at times for no reason at all.

I hate being an asshole, and over the past few days I really haven’t meant for things to come out of my mouth that way, but they have, and I’ve done much recanting and apologizing to J as well as scaring the hell out of some people I work with during a meeting on Monday, and scaring myself.

I may have mentioned this before, but I use to be a complete asshole in my youth (when I was 17 and working at the photo lab), and the mere thought of hearing a customer say to me, “You know, the customer’s always right” was enough to make me want to grab the closest scanner-gun and shove it so far up my next customer’s ass that it would come out her mouth.

Luckily I have a bit more tact now, but the intent of a scan-gun ass-reaming was still 100% there in my mind earlier this week, only instead of intentionally picking fights with those around me, I used more directive terms: “You’d better”, and “Oh, no we’re not”. Still, completely inappropriate.

So, while I was home yesterday with a “sick stomach”, I tried to sort out my mental dysfunction to the best of my ability, so I wouldn’t come back to work today and do something stupid, like get myself fired. Keeping my acupuncture appointment, I told my acupuncturist about my recent assholedom, and she placed some needles to make me a more pleasant person. I went home, lit a candle, and curled up with my favorite inspirational book, hoping the niceness would take and I would return to normal.

The good news? It did. The bad news? I think I overcompensated. I’ve noticed that my early discussions with coworkers today have been good, but I think my coworkers have all come away with “I can do this on my own timeline”, when I really meant to express, “I need this by noon”. I’m being too nice. I’ve lost my edge, and trust me that you need an edge when you’re a cat herder. This got me thinking, perhaps I’m successful at what I do because I’m just the right amount of asshole. Maybe being an asshole to a lesser extent is not a bad thing.

I suppose the key is fine tuning the asshole within. After all, if you too big an asshole, you shit all over everyone, and no one wants to be shit on. Conversely, if you’re never an asshole, your frustration and lack of assertiveness back up until you either make yourself sick or, like what you’re trying to avoid, you have a blowout. The kind of asshole I believe I need to harness is the “regular” asshole (think: Joe Six-pack-Asshole), one whose expressions are firm, full of intent, and come out with neither hesitation nor abrupt panic. One who’s confident and does its job, but isn’t spastic or lacking direction. Yes, that is the type of asshole I yearn to be.

Now, I know you may disagree with me. Call it assertiveness, call it confidence, call it effective management, I call it being an asshole – six in one, half a dozen in the other. Earlier this morning I may have conceded that being an asshole, per say, is not exactly the most appropriate way to express this quality of which I’ve experienced polar opposites in the past five days, but you know what? That’s you opinion, and you know what they say…

Monday, December 1, 2008

Hope Burns

I’ve been struggling to write anything derby-like on here lately, because I’m so frigging burnt. That, and it’s technically the first offseason I’ve had in close to 4 years, which means I’m entirely overdue to take advantage of it. This is what it must feel like to be one of those kids with rich yuppie parents who enroll them in way too many after-school activities. A slave to the soccer field…

Life could be worse, I know, and after asking myself repeatedly why I run myself ragged doing so much – and repeatedly finding the same answer I’m never satisfied with (“because I want to”) – I’ve realized in one bittersweet moment that 1) my answer IS acceptable, and 2) maybe life isn’t really conducive to doing what one wants to do after all.

I do what I want. In my spare time, I’m doing it, that is. As a kid I was always told to “find what you love and find a way to make a living doing it”, and just yesterday I heard this piece of advice given again. It’s something we hear all the time, yet no one ever does what the wise man says (unless your passion is bagging groceries or astrophysics). So why don’t we follow this advice? Because we’re stupid, or because we can’t?

It’s sad to think that at some point I’ll likely burn out and quit doing what I want to do and like to do, so I can only do something I don’t really care about in order to relax. People will say:

“There goes Cindy Lop-her. She quit derby right at her peak in order to dedicate more time to couch surfing and herding cats. So tragic. So sad.”

I was totally not going here when I sat down to write this blog entry – I was going to talk about my 30-year-old sagging skin and how any deep-moisturizing body lotion makes me break out into a rash, but that’s now a topic for another day. I always do this. I suppose being strapped for time, tired, cranky, and generally unsatisfied that my life cannot be 100% the way I would like it to be is just a common theme that’s bound to come out over and again in my writing. Poo.

I guess I can’t really get mad at myself or feel guilty for having poor time-management skills if I know exactly what I’m doing and I indeed want to do it. What’s to do? Give up? Hell, no. This girl’s still got some fight left in her. Besides, I refuse to believe I can’t eventually live my life 100% according to my desires – if I gave up now, I’d only ever make 75%.

I don’t know if the hope I have makes me ignorant or brilliant or just like everyone else at some time or another, but for now you’re going to have to put up with me still having it – hope. As for the sagging skin, the only think I’m hopeful there is a good plastic surgeon or enough spandex to hold it all in tight and upright. Shit.