About Me

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...over-educated and under-experienced, or so they say...

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Pandora lives...

...she's just a bit unnoticed these days.

I promise she will return -- riding the pale horse and all Hell will follow with her.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Aint Nothing Wrong With The Sell Out

Maybe I should just sell out completely, even though some think I already have.

I sold out to "corporate America."

Do you remember those guys? The ones all dressed in black, somewhere between the ages of 19 and 25, that were convinced you gave up your dreams if you got a "real job" and actually paid your bills. Do you remember them? I do and I often wonder where they are now. Are they like me? (probably, considering I was one of them) Sell outs... sitting in a cubicle somewhere wondering why they have no desire to create, the way they did back in the day when they were all dressed in black playing the role of the anti-social because that was cool and that was "art." Something tells me they're sitting in a cubicle similar to mine, writing advertisements for honeymoon adventures and drinking themselves to death because they hate every minute of it. Life mocks them the same way it does me and I have to admit, I'm laughing about it (at least right now I am).

I read a blurb today about a guy that retired, after 30 years at my company, and in the past two years of his retirement he started writing books. He's actually published now, with another novel on the way. Sure, he may not be making a mint through it, but dude is finally doing what he probably always wanted to do. He's writing.

And sure, he's writing stories about how his main character and his wife are solving mysteries about fraudulent mortgage brokers while they simultaneously explore the wonders of America in their RV, but still... at least the dude is writing. I would love to mock him. I would love to make fun of it -- this couple in their 60s single handedly bringing an end to America's financial demise in their RV. I would love to say something like, "...an RV is a very discreet, stealthy mode of transportation for tracking down evil. Batman had one," but I can't. Why? Why can't I make fun of that guy? Because, to be absolutely honest, I admire the man. He spent a lifetime "selling out" so he could pay his bills and then retired to his laptop to write whatever the hell he felt like writing because it makes him happy.

The Golden Years are upon the man, and I can only hope, at this point, if I'm unfortunate enough to not break through the mundane, that the golden years will be so kind to me when I finally pay for my child to get through college and still have enough money to retire and live the remainder of my days writing whatever the hell I feel like just because I can. Granted, given my cynical nature and sarcastic bite toward life, I doubt I'll write about my RV travels and dream about taking down the evil mortgage brokers that left so many people homeless in the early two thousands, but still... I'll write something.

I imagine, perhaps incorrectly but I still do, that this man wanted to write his whole life. I imagine that this man had to do what he had to do to survive. I imagine that this man took care of his family, the people that meant the most to him. I imagine that this man had moments where the cubicle felt like death. I imagine that he sat up nights thinking that this was a waste, that he was going to lie on his death bed and say, "...but I never did what I really wanted, I never did what I felt drawn to do." And I imagine, when I look at the smile on his face in the photograph included in the article that he now sits with a sense of satisfaction saying, "I'm exactly where I dreamed I would be. Took a while... but I'm here." And to me... that's no sell out. That's a man that had to do what he had to do to survive, to take care of what matters, his family, and when opportunity knocked, he answered. Lord... I can only pray that I have the same endurance as this man. I can only say to myself, "If he can do it, so can I."

Sure... is it art by the young man in black's standard? Probably not. But to me, at this point in my life, art is about feeding my soul and if it happens to feed yours too then I got lucky. Art is all that is beautiful in an ugly world. Art is all about thinking outside the proverbial box, and as far as this man is concerned, writing a mystery novel about a retired couple in an RV with a pertinent political slant to it is most definitely outside the box. More power to the man, and more power to me and people like me. It was a message that I guess I needed to hear today. Do what you must, but never forget your dreams, even if you're sixty something and ready to retire.

The spirit that made you wear nothing but black in your younger years never really dies, it just alters into a bit more color and you actually have money in your pocket. ...nothing wrong with that.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Through Stagnant Waters

Everything is moving slow
It’s frustrating
It smells like death here
We’re moving through stagnant waters
Everything is
same time
same thing
same place
And the one time something new appeared
We killed it
Because change is terrifying.
We might have to commit to something
We might have to face opposition
We might have to argue
We might have to offend
We might have to defend
We might have to love something
We might have to stick together
We might have to take a stand
And we might have to fail
Because God forbid we ever succeed.
And now we sail this ship
Through something no one wanted
And no one foresaw
Because no one planned
And the water was crystal clear
When we started,
Manifest destiny,
At least when we started.
But now…
Who knows…
It all depends…
And some mates have jumped ship
Because the stench was just too strong
And others are weeping
Because something appears to be lost
Or soon to be lost
Or potentially lost.
And me…
I’m stuck somewhere in between.
I hear it all
I feel it all
I understand it all
Why some made their break
Why others stayed the course
Even so
I am prepared to sail this ship
Even while the albatross has fallen
And to everyone’s horror I wear the carcass
Like a badge of honor.
I sail through these seas
Stagnant pools and roaring rapids
And care for nothing that was
But for everything that is and will be.
I fear
What would that get us?
No man will stop me
No fear will freeze me
Not even this stench of toxic waste.
The most stagnant waters can be refreshed
We just need to find the block and remove it.
So jump ship if you must
And whine and wail about your perceived misery
I empathize
I am here with you
I feel the sting
I breathe the air
I am engaged in this
And I am no fool
Nor am I a novice
Doubt if you must
But I will keep moving
With or without you
The strongest survive
Faith and love are one in the same
And change moves with faith
And success stands with love
Now… shall we proceed?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Reminder: BLOG

I've lost that lovin' feeling, like an anemic visited by one too many ticks. The resource has gone dry: part-time love affair, part-time singer/song writer, part-time dreamer... don't quit your day job and remember that reality was meant to bite, just like Winona Ryder was meant to end her movie career as a shop-lifter and Mel Gibson was meant to go down as an anti-semitic overly zealous Catholic with a bad divorce and a ridiculous earring.

(God help us when the Catholics decide to get over zealous. Everyone expects a Bible thumping Baptist screaming hell, fire, and brimstone, but an overly pompous preachy Catholic? I think that's an oxymoron of some kind, at least where I grew up it is. I used to envy the Catholic kids I went to school with. They all sinned whenever and where ever they wanted and had no fear of Hell because they were absolved every Wednesday and Sunday morning like clockwork. As a Baptist? Well... you were potentially traveling down the slippery slope if you owned a deck of Hoyle playing cards and all the nerdy kids that are now successful billionaires were doomed for dabbling in the satanic arts of make believe in their dad's garage because they rolled a set of ten sided dice and created their own plot lines and characters with the help of a book called Dungeons And Dragons. And there was no amount of confession or penance that could save you from the doom you repeatedly brought upon yourself for listening to Ozzy Osborne. The only thing that could save you was complete repentance from your overactive imagination and Go Fish, as well as a potential bonfire made up of sinful vinyl records that you should've never purchased in the first place as an external show of your spiritual commitment to change. You never heard ridiculous stories of fears and judgements like that come from the Catholic kids. They just sorta looked at you and said, "You burned your records? Do you like being Baptist?" And you just sorta looked at them and said, "Um... I bet I can beat you in Bible trivia!")

Anyway... the thing is... what I really mean... (and yes I'm going to stop myself before I quote Elton John, which probably also makes me a bad Baptist because I can quote Elton John) aside from the random and the fact that I've been up since 2:30 a.m. thinking about all of the things in my life at the moment that irritate the hell out of me (that also makes me a bad Baptist, by the way, my use of "four letter words"), I have no inspiration. I am, once again, in the habit of giving everything I've got to everyone else who wants a piece of the pie.

(whatever that is -- "pie." I just felt like saying it because for some reason it made me think of The Jefferson's and their deluxe apartment in the sky, which is definitely not what I'm living in, though I did have a good laugh about that when my mother was high as a kite the other day after coming out of her knee surgery and she told me how proud of me she was because I'm the "big shot" in the family, which is really pathetic for me and everyone else in the family if sitting in a cubicle 40 hours a week and getting paid just enough to live in an apartment with neighbors like Windmill Dick and the girl that thinks her dog responds to the F - word makes me the "big shot" in the family (that makes me a little bit of a better Baptist right there because I said "F - word" instead of the actual word). She's over it now though. She laughed like it was the craziest thing she'd ever heard herself say when I told her about it, which is way more like it. I really do wish I had a little of whatever they'd put in her I.V. though. I might have a little more of that lovin' feeling I've apparently lost if I had some of whatever that was.)

Pie... want a piece of me? It's going fast!

(I just noticed that I put parenthetical statements within my rambling parenthetical statements and I'm pretty sure that's as good as it gets today)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Conversation In The Dark

She said, "It's dark in here."

I said, "I know."

She said, "I can't see you, but I can hear you."

I said, "I know."

She said, "...you keep saying I know."

I said, "Yes, I know."

She said, "Can't you say something else?"

I said, "Well, I said Yes first that last time. What would you like me to say?"

She said, "I don't know."

I said, "Well, between the two of us, at least I know something."

She laughed a little bit.

I said, "At least you're laughing."

She said, "I can't really do anything else. It isn't like I can turn the light on or something."

I said, "I know."

She said, "Even if there were a light to turn on in here, I can't even see enough to fumble around and find it."

I said, "I know."

She was quiet for a minute and then she said, "You're really starting to annoy me with the I know part. If you're going to be stuck in here with me, can you please say something other than I know?"

I said, "Listen, you should be happy that I know. I've been here before. The darkness is thick and intimidating and there is nothing I can do to change that right now. I didn't make it dark in here, but I'm in here, my path brought me here, and until I can get my bearings and adjust my eyes enough to move around in these shadows and navigate my way out of here, there's nothing I can do, just like you said. The difference is, I already know this. Part of being alive is finding yourself in the dark from time to time. And the first time is somewhat terrifying, I know, but eventually something shifts. Eventually you either fumble your way to the light and turn it on yourself, or at some point the sun rises the same way it does every day and you realize that all this time you were sitting in here there was a slight glow to your left indicating a way out. I can't tell you when that will happen, but I know it will happen. I know for a fact the darkness doesn't last forever. There is always a light to follow somewhere, you just have to find it. And in a situation like this, the best thing to do is sit tight, calm yourself, and remember -- this too shall pass. The power goes out, but it always comes back on. The sun sets, but it always rises. You fall into the deep dark pit, eventually you climb back out. You're never stuck, not really, even if you feel like it. This I know. And if you want to disagree with me, well... where does that leave you? What choice does that give you? Other than give up and die here, it leaves you nothing. So... it's dark in here. You can't find the light. All you can do is sit here, back to back with me, the person you can't see but at least hear, and know two things: I know where you are and I know you're not alone."

She said, "I love you."

I said, "I love you too."

And we sat there, together, back to back, in the dark.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Salad Bad Ass

(Pandora, Hope, and G.B. Wittington are seated at a patio table at the local Pei Wei restaurant. They've already discussed the lack of fortune telling from the fortune cookies and wait patiently for their dinner.)

Attendant: (comes out with the food) Honey Seared Chicken, Gluten Free Spicy Chicken, and Chopped Chicken Salad with no dressing. Anything else?

Pandora: No, thank you. Everything looks good.

Attendant: Okay then. Enjoy!

G.B. Wittington: I think I threw that guy off when I asked for no dressing. I mean, who does that? Who asks for no dressing? How many times has that happened to him? Once, like right now, or maybe twice? I bet no one asks for no dressing.

Hope: (looks at G.B. Wittington) Why didn't you ask for any dressing?

Pandora: Because he thinks dressing is the enemy.

Hope: What?

G.B. Wittington: (grimaces at Pandora) I have learned to simply enjoy the taste of food in its natural state.

Hope: But the chicken isn't in its natural state.

G.B. Wittington: ...

Hope: Well, it isn't alive right now, is it?

Pandora: (starts laughing)

Hope: I'm just saying, dead and cooked chicken isn't exactly a natural state.

G.B. Wittington: Ok, there's that, and salad dressing is just a glob of unnecessary goo so... I go without it.

Hope: But it's tasty goo, isn't it?

Pandora: Yes, but people like him think bland is healthy so... we let it go. Who needs the spice of life anyway?

G.B. Wittington: (takes a bite of bland salad) Spice is for sissies.

(everyone quietly eats for a bit and then...)

G.B. Wittington: (stares at his salad bowl)... this is pretty dry.

Pandora: (sneers) ...should've gotten salad dressing? The natural state isn't doing it for ya?

G.B. Wittington: (reaches his fork across the table and dips it into the sauce on Pandora's plate)

Pandora: What's this?

Hope: (holds up the serving spoon) This might work better, you could scoop more up and drizzle it over your salad better.

G.B. Wittington: I'm not trying to use it as dressing, I just wanted to taste it. (as he takes another bit of salad with sauce on his fork)

Pandora: Right...

Hope: Looks like you're "dressing" the salad to me.

G.B. Wittington: No! I just wanted to taste it!

Hope: Cuz the sauce is in its natural state?

G.B. Wittington: ... (with a strange look on his face)

Pandora: What? (noticing the strange look on his face) Are you okay?

G.B. Wittington: (looking a little pale) Yes.

Pandora: What's with that look on your face?

G.B. Wittington: Some salad is stuck in my throat.

Pandora: What? Are you choking?

G.B. Wittington: No, it just feels like a glob of salad is stuck in my throat. It's not going down right.

Pandora: Good grief...

G.B. Wittington: (picks up his water and stands up) Excuse me for a minute, please.

Pandora: What are you doing?

G.B. Wittington: I need to excuse myself.

Pandora: You're going to the men's room to gag and cough and clear your throat from the chopped chicken salad aren't you?

G.B. Wittington: (heads to the door) Yep. (comes back to the table after about five minutes of gagging absence) It's all good. I fixed it.

Pandora: Good grief... if you weren't trying to be some kind of Salad Bad Ass this wouldn't be happening.

G.B. Wittington: Salad Bad Ass?

Pandora: Yeah, Mr. I Asked For No Dressing. (in a mockingly low voice) "I threw that guy off when I asked for no salad dressing. Who does that? Me! I'm the only man on Earth that does that! No one does that because they are all pansies! I am the Salad Bad Ass!"

G.B. Wittington: Haha! Well, I am the Salad Bad Ass!

Pandora: Whatever! Salad Bad Asses don't go gag in the men's room because they're choking on the dryness of the salad without dressing.

Hope: Seriously... why did you do that?

G.B. Wittington: Because I'm a Mountain Man!

Pandora: What???

G.B.Wittington: I'm a Mountain Man! Mountain Men don't use salad dressing.

Pandora: Mountain Men don't eat salad!

G.B. Wittington: Yes they do! They eat grass!

Pandora: They eat meat!

G.B. Wittington: They eat grass and twigs because if they don't they experience extreme constipation and hemorrhoids!

Pandora: Since when have you seen a Mountain Man pull up a handful of grass from the ground and eat it cuz he needed some fiber? Those dudes are out there hunting bears and big game. They're not eating grass!

G.B. Wittington: They are too! They're eating grass and twigs because they're all natural.

Pandora: You're confused.

G.B. Wittington: I am not!

Pandora: Yes you are. You're thinking about those stupid granola hippies with the hemp necklaces. Those guys are out there eating grass and twigs because they're all vegans and can't hurt the living creatures of Earth and whatever the hell they're thinking. But Mountain Men? Those guys are killing every creature that crosses their path and they're eating them and making clothes out of their skin.

G.B. Wittington: No! You're the one that's confused! The stupid vegans don't live in the mountains, they live by the beach in California, where they can go to the all organic grocery store and buy their granola and their vegetables and go home and smoke pot and feel more enlightened than the rest of us. They're not trolling around the mountains where it takes work to live.

Pandora: You have a point there. Okay, but the Mountain Men still don't eat grass.

G.B. Wittington: What does the Mountain Man eat then?

Pandora: Meat! He kills things and skins them and puts them on a rotisserie pole and cooks them over a fire and maybe sometimes makes a stew.

G.B. Wittington: Okay, he makes a stew. What does he make a stew with?

Pandora: Meat and water.

Hope: ...and maybe some blood and some wild beans.

Pandora: (points at Hope) That's right! Maybe some blood... he may add some blood for ... flavor ... or whatever... (looks at Hope) ... blood?

Hope: Ya, Mom. They used blood.

G.B. Wittington: ...and what else, Hope? What else did they use?

Hope: beans

G.B. Wittington: Ha! Did you hear that??? They used beans!

Pandora: They did not!

G.B. Wittington: They did too! Your daughter said so!

Pandora: What? No she didn't!

G.B. Wittington: Yes she did! She just said beans!

Pandora: (to Hope) Did you say beans?

Hope: Yes, I did. And you agreed with me.

Pandora: You did not! You did not say beans!

Hope: Yes, I did, Mom. I said beans, and you agreed with me.

Pandora: I did not! I never agreed to beans! You said blood! I agreed to blood, but I never agreed to beans!

Hope: Well... I said beans. I said blood and wild beans and you agreed with me.

Pandora: ...

G.B. Wittington: And how do they get the beans, Hope?

Hope: They gather them. (she takes another bite of her food) Mountain Men are basically hunters and gatherers. They do both things to exist. They eat meat, and they eat wild beans and berries that they find growing in the wild.

G.B. Wittington: (smiles triumphantly at Pandora)

Pandora: Well... she didn't say they eat grass, and they certainly don't eat Chopped Chicken Salad without dressing from Pei Wei.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Now I'm Schlepped

When I was a kid I used to look cross-eyed at people in an attempt to provoke a reaction from them. If my mother was around she'd usually say something like, "Your face is going to get stuck that way and you're going to look like that for the rest of your life. Is that what you want?" I'm not positive, but I think all moms of that generation said something like that. I know a few friends who had moms that said that right after bopping the kid on the forehead. And though I never believed my mom when she said that, I know some kids were absolutely convinced their mother was right. One time I made the cross-eyed face to a group of kids when there were no moms around at all and still some kid said to me (in a somewhat terrified voice), "Don't do that!!! Something could hit you on the head while you're doing that and your face will stay that way forever!!!" When I tried to argue with the kid and tell him that was a made up statement moms say to make us stop doing that, all I got was, "It will too! My mom went to school with a kid that happened to!"

Anyway, the other day I got into a bit of a stupid debate over the difference between "strolling" and "schlepping." Unless I have a definite purpose or destination to reach in a specific amount of time, I like to stroll -- that is, leisurely walk down the street. However, I was recently accused of "schlepping" instead of strolling. Of course, I highly objected to this.

I do not SCHLEP!!! The elephant man SCHLEPS!!! Igor SCHLEPS!!! Pandora strolls... she DOES NOT SCHLEP!!!

To SCHLEP is to walk as though one has a club foot, a curved spine, and a limp left arm.* So, much like looking cross-eyed at the guy, I demonstrated what it means to schlep: I proceeded to drag my right foot behind me as I hunched over and swung my left arm limply (and I'm pretty sure I made a few strange noises and perhaps drooled a bit for an extra special effect) all in an attempt to a) make a good impression on the guy, b) get a rise out of him, and c) prove my point. It worked beautifully! (particularly since he was forced to admit I was right, because I wasn't going to stop doing that until he couldn't withstand the eyeballs of the passers by and he was forced to say, "Okay okay! Pandora strolls, she doesn't schlep! Stop! STOP!") The problem is, I think the curse of my mother may be coming back to haunt me because I've been schlepping (minus the drool, strange noises, curved spine, and listless left arm) since Saturday morning.

Something happened between sleeping and waking that Friday night. My right hip keeps popping in and out of socket (something that has happened to me every so often since I gave birth to my daughter) causing me great pain and definitely affecting my ability to walk or stroll. Ever since I got out of bed Saturday morning, I've been standing up to hear myself let out a bit of a painful holler and then schlep the rest of the way to my intended destination. It was really great when I went to have lunch with my mother (who's now 70). When I got up from the table and started to schlep to the restroom she said, "Uh oh! You're walking like a cripple! What happened?" and my daughter said, "It's karma, Grandma! She was making fun of people who schlep and now she's stuck schlepping!" And though I denied mocking the schleppers of the world, my mother just gave me that knowing eyeball and shook her head as if to say, "I told you it would stick, and now look at you... you're schlepped."

Anyway, I'm not sure what to do about this. It's day three of schlepping and I have to say it doesn't do much for the power of the power suit when I schlep into the conference room instead of stride. I suppose I'll have to endure this for a while, a sort of penance for mocking the power of the schlep. And I suppose I'll have to start warning Hope about things like this, because she likes to make this sort of lizard looking face once in a while and I would hate for her to get stuck looking like that forever.

*not really. To Schlep means to walk slowly and awkwardly, perhaps even lugging something behind you, but it is still very different from strolling and I was using the art of exaggeration to prove a point.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Detoxing From The Detox

So I was diagnosed with Celiac last November. It's been a bit of a dietary adventure since then. My one standing complaint about this condition is that, thus far, "modern medicine" has no clue what to do with it. My experience has been that after months of testing for this or that they finally figure out what test they should run and then they say, "Oh, hey! Look at this! You're a Celiac! We have no clue what to do with this. Stay away from gluten. Here's pamphlet. Good luck!"

So basically you walk out of there feeling like hell, at the bare minimum knowing you can't eat bread or drink beer, and the rest is trial and error. At some point on your path you start running into other Celiacs who tell you to try this and stay away from that, and even further down the road you start listening to homeopaths, naturopaths, vegans, greenies, hippies, conspiracy theorists, and people who claim to be aliens because, well, they're apparently all Celiacs too. The next thing you know you're telling yourself that if you can do a shot of cheap tequila you can certainly drink this mixture of organic grapefruit juice, extra virgin olive oil, and Epsom salts in an attempt to heal your ailing intestinal tract. (and yes, I did drink that shit)

Anyway, I'd had this great run of almost three months without a gluten attack because I either prepared all of my own meals or I insisted on eating where I knew I would be safe. But (and this is a resounding BUT) there is that one lady (who will remain anonymous) that is a somewhat regular appearance in my life and despite her "knowing" I'm a Celiac and despite her attempts to prepare gluten free meals for me, 9 times out of 10 I get ill every time I eat something she prepares. And after three months of no trouble, I ate one of her dishes and late that evening I could feel it coming on, and the next day was a wash (if one can consider somewhere between my bed and the bathroom a "wash").

I got pretty depressed over this because I'd been doing so well. And after a few days of ranting (and swearing that the next time I go to her place I'm going to eat nothing but lettuce leaves, sans dressing, and a glass of wine), I remembered that the same guy that sent me the crazy grapefruit juice elixir had attached something called The Master Cleanse -- a ten day detox that is supposed to clean out all of your internal organs, heal your allergies, heal your illnesses, and bla bla bla and so forth. The trick is you can do nothing but drink this crazy lemon juice concoction and some tea (and you all know how I feel about tea). No food... no coffee... no wine... none of the things that make Pandora tick, basically. But I was so depressed I had completely convinced myself that this Master Cleanse was a good idea.

On the morning of day three I found myself sitting in a meeting with one of the local Cities. The last time I had my dose of the stupid lemon juice was 9:00 a.m. and it was 10:00 a.m. when the meeting started. Within the first ten minutes of that meeting my intestines started to cramp up, indicating it was time to visit the bathroom (AGAIN), so I had to excuse myself from the meeting (which I never do) and go "release some toxins."

At about 10:30 I started feeling hungry (the thing with the lemon juice is I had to drink it every two hours or I would get really mean and grumpy due to out of control hunger), but there was nothing I could do in the midst of that stupid meeting. My hunger grew to unmanageable levels until the meeting came to a close and left me with a 30 minute drive back to the office.

As I was walking out of the building, one of the ladies asked if I was feeling okay because I "looked kind of green in there" and all I could do was fake a smile and tell her I wasn't quite up to snuff. (What was I going to do? Tell her I brought this on myself because I'm on the path to healing via starvation, lemon juice, Cayenne pepper, and some "Smooth Move" tea?) And as I sat in the back of the car we drove in, this other lady went on and on about this congressional act and that congressional act and my brain kept slipping in and out of consciousness and every once in a while I'd snap back in long enough to realize she was still looking into my dead eyes as she was talking to me, but all I could think about was how good that chicken was going to be when I cooked it for Hope's dinner and that I wouldn't be able to eat it with her. And then I started thinking about salad and how I would give anything for a stupid salad. And then I started thinking about chewing and how good it would be to chew something. And then I started thinking about my taste buds and how good it would be to taste something. And by the time we got back to the office I couldn't take it anymore! I didn't want to drink that stupid lemon juice!

"LEMON JUICE BE DAMNED!!! I'm having a salad!!!"

And that's what I did. I went down to the cafeteria and I made a salad and I ate it.

I had 7 more days to go and between the constant bathroom journeys and the lack of pleasure to my palate, I just couldn't do it anymore. I'd rather endure an Epsom salt enema than drink lemon juice for ten days straight!

How do people do this shit? These things may be effective, but who can do them and still have a smile on their face? Maybe these people will live to be healthy and functioning and 120 years of age, but I'm sorry... this is some seriously miserable shit here! (literally) And I don't give a crap about living to be a ripe and healthy 120 years old! I have no desire to live that long! Despite the happy moments here and there, life on Earth is a struggle and a somewhat miserable existence anyway! ...wars that have no real purpose and no solid end; the Cloward & Piven plan is destroying capitalism (as well as the vast majority of people who don't read, think, or do for themselves); the homeless people don't get to take a shower in their traveling shower power machine because the mayor used up their time slot with his photo op; Windmill Dick is down there making a living on camera while his kid is sending someone to the morgue via baseball bat bludgeoning; teachers are prostituting themselves for paid vacation time and the principal is skimming off the top of their tip money; my daughter's friends are either Team Jacob or Team Edward while maintaining a crush on some kid named Justin Beiber; there's a rapist in Lincoln Park and a crazy hippy in Yellowstone receiving messages from the Universe through rainbows; there are aliens implanting probes in all of us; and the government controls our minds by the contrails from US Airways. Why should I bother? So the anonymous lady kills me slowly with her rice pilaf, who gives a rip? The answer isn't in the lemon juice! The simple answer to it all my dear friends is this:

(stay away from gluten though)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My Soccer Mom Conversation

So I'm sitting at my daughter's soccer practice last night (something I work hard not to do, but because there was a severe storm watch warning, something rare around here, I got nervous and sat there through the entire hour and a half practice while it stormed all around us but not actually on us, and I'm sure it would've stormed if I hadn't stayed so... back to what I was saying) and I found myself greatly amused as the one guy said, "Did you hear about the teacher that was turned in for prostitution?" And after everyone gasped and we were all chided for not watching the local news, he went on to say, "Yeah, I guess she has two kids and after she got divorced she couldn't pay some of her bills so she started selling herself. Her husband called the principal of the school and turned her in, and after she got turned in she turned around and exposed the principal for embezzlement."

There were a few more gasps and oos and ahs and a couple, "You never know what kind of people you have teaching your children." Then this other lady chimed in and said, "It's like that other story that came out a few years ago about the teacher that was a stripper. You remember that one don't you?" And everyone sat there with a blank look on their face until I finally joined the land of the soccer mom and said, "Yes, I remember, but the issue was she made a pornographic film, not a stripper. And the school was trying to decide whether or not the woman should keep her job and the parents were making a lot of noise about the bad example for the children." And then the lady got all excited and started pointing at me saying, "Yes! Yes! That's the one! When was that? That was a while ago, wasn't it?" So I told her that was back in 2006 or 7, and then more moms started shaking their heads saying, "See... you never know who's teaching your child."

The strangest part about it all was there seemed to be an awkward silence, as though some would've liked to get on some kind of ethical high horse, but no one dared because, well... probably none of us are what we seem to be on the outside anyway and what if someone there had been a stripper or a prostitute in their past or in their present?

Breaking that strange silence, the originator of the conversation finally said, "I guess they should just refer back to their teaching record. I mean... if they are still good teachers and your children are learning, that should count for something, shouldn't it?" Unfortunately for him, he said that to a group of women who all happen to be mothers of daughters. Actions speak louder than words, and well... "my teacher is a porn star/prostitute" perhaps adds a little validation to something that no mother with dreams of her daughter getting a full ride scholarship to college gets excited about.

Obviously, his comment fell on nothing but more silence. Knowing that I used to be a teacher he looked to me for some back up, so after a few moments of his stare I finally said, "You have a point but the problem lies in the expectation that teachers do more than teach reading, writing, and arithmetic. They are expected, during the eight hours a day they are with your child, to help guide them on a path toward positive social existence. Teachers stop fights on the playground and when disciplining the child they are to discuss the difference between right and wrong. Teachers are to guide the child in academic honesty, no cheating and such, and instill a sense of self-worth and pride when the child performs well in these areas. They are to help children learn to communicate and maneuver through some of the more difficult things they do and will continue to experience in their daily lives, both in and out of the school arena. They are also defenders of the child's well being, keeping a watchful eye on behavior patterns that may indicate disorder or abuse and take the necessary steps to help the child out of that situation. This in mind, a teacher is a mentor of sorts. And how good of a mentor can the teacher be if he or she is caught in their own negative life pattern, be it prostitution or embezzlement?"

They all kind of nodded as I said that, but no one seemed too excited to chip in. So in a sort of conclusion I finally said, "Both of those teachers may have been excellent academically speaking, and I always felt a little bad for the porn actress teacher because it was my understanding that it was something she had done in the past, not something she was actively involved in. She had made a film sometime in college for a few extra dollars or something and it came back to haunt her and destroyed her career. That always seemed like an injustice of some kind. People make bad calls in their lives, particularly when they're young and stupid going through college, but people also change and work to improve themselves and well... that woman will probably never teach again and the public exposure of her past will probably leave a mark on her for years to come. But the woman who's prostituting herself? As a single parent I can say that the reason I left teaching was because I could've never raised Hope comfortably on that salary, and it was a struggle to get myself out of academics and into the corporate world, but stripping or prostitution never popped into my mind as a viable option. As a parent, prostituting herself while housing and raising two children is a problem all its own. And I'm sure we all agree, despite anyone's stance on prostitution theoretically, it isn't exactly a positive environment for the self, let alone for the children. And maybe, if the system would pay their teachers more, we wouldn't have people making decisions like that, who knows... I am amused though that she turned in the principal for embezzlement. The old, 'if I'm going down you're going down with me.'" And then they all kind of chuckled at my last comment and we all just sat there and stared out at the girls working hard on their soccer drills.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Lacan and The Junk Trunk

[Disclaimer: This has been a long time coming. And for the non-academic, I will not only do my best to break down the ludicrously complicated aspects of this subject matter into somewhat comprehensible terms, I will do my best to make it as entertaining as possible. And for the academics (particularly those still holding the torch for psychoanalytic theory), I really could care less if I offend you or if you want to correct me or if you think I take something out of context or what ever. At this point, this isn't about academic accuracy nor am I trying to impress you with my understanding of Freud and his stupid cohorts. The beauty of finally being outside of the academic world is that I finally get to say what I want, when I want, where I want, and how I want with no regard for impressing "the powers that be" and no concern for a letter grade or publication. Oh, and I should probably add, for those who may be "faint at heart" when it comes to speaking openly about certain body parts and their theoretical significance in the Psychoanalytic realm, as well as an aversion to the "F word" and perhaps a few "D words" and such, this post is most likely not for you at all.]

I threw Lacan in the junk trunk the other day. I have a book that I used in one of my graduate classes called _Feminine Sexuality_ by Jacques Lacan and I usually save all of my books (even though this one in particular is far from useful) just in case I may need or want to reference them at some random point in the future. (What a Land Agent may need Lacan for, I don't know, but this is how I roll.) Anyway, I was cleaning up and reorganizing a bit around here, and I found myself standing there with this stupid book in my hand. I stared at the cover for a minute and I felt myself hate the thing and I flipped it open to one of the sections that the broken binding indicates I spent much time reading, and I read, "There is no such thing as The woman since of her essence -- having already risked the term, why think twice about it? -- of her essence, she is not at all." At that point, I closed the book, walked over to what I currently refer to as the junk trunk, and I threw it in there. I then sent a text message to an old colleague of mine who knows my loathe for Lacan, and told her what I did. She responded with, "Good. And I anticipate a blog post on this action?"

Hell yes! You ready for this? Here we go:

Excuse me, Mr. Lacan, but I would like to say that my lack of a "phallus," as you like to politely refer to it, does not mean that I am lacking. I am inclined to say that I am The Woman, completely whole, in all that I think, say, write, and do spiritually, intellectually, physically, and sexually. I take serious issue with your claim that The Woman doesn't know what she's saying, "which is all the difference between [The Woman and you]" because your genitalia (symbolically or otherwise) happens to be all that and a bag of chips and The Woman gets to enjoy said chips as a "supplementary' as opposed to "complementary" component of your own or any man's physical existence. Are you fucking kidding me???

And you're damn right "there is a jouissance of being," you're damn right there is "a jouissance beyond the phallus," and you're damn right that "thought is jouissance." So here's a thought for you: the world does not revolve around the damn phallus. (and while I'm at it, stop referring to The Woman as "castrated" because castrated implies that The Woman had something to castrate in the first place, and the last time I checked, creationists and evolutionists alike would agree, The Woman has nothing, nor ever had anything, to castrate in the first place, you idiot. And I'm pretty sure all phallus bearing men in the real world cringe whenever you use that word anyway so... do us all a favor and just shut up on that one too.)

And if "truth" really is "the name of that ideal movement which discourse introduces into reality," then let's have a little bit of discourse about your statement that The Woman's "condition is fundamentally that of accepting herself as an object of desire for the man." First of all, the word "condition" implies that being the object of desire for the man is a disease or ailment that The Woman must bring to the attention of a physician and receive a prescription for an antibiotic of some kind. As far as The Woman is concerned, being the object of desire places the power of negotiation right in the palm of her manipulative hand. Additionally, The Woman is well aware that her curves are enticing, that she is lovely and quite often the object of lust and desire, but The Woman also knows that it doesn't matter if you're the big time executive upstairs or the crazy stalker from behind the counter at Walgreens, you aint gettin' any unless The Woman says so. And should you try to take it by force, at least This Woman will rip your trachea out and well... that's pretty much that. Furthermore, The Woman is well aware of the power of her appearance in the business world: her smile, the twinkle in her eye, her raised eyebrow, the placement of her hair, the hint of a form beneath her conservative business suit. But as The Woman sits in the conference room, sharing her thoughts and ideas on how things are and where they should go, the employer cares more about what The Woman brings to the table in a business sense than whether or not The Woman's appearance may or may not have invoked a fleeting moment of desire in their minds, because what The Woman brings with her mind is what makes everything financially and professionally lucrative for them, you idiot.

And finally, I would like to address the fact that you continually reference the male and his phallus as the subject, relegating The Woman to the object and ultimately defining the woman as The Other -- little more than a figment of the male imagination, your egotistical way of taking credit for thinking The Woman into existence. I am specifically talking about this notion that The Woman "[follows] from the deviation of man's needs by the fact that he speaks, in the sense that as long as his needs are subjected to demand they return to him alienated. This is not the effect of his real dependency but precisely of the putting into signifying form as such and of the fact that it is from the place of the Other that his message is emitted." Seriously? As far as This Woman is concerned, this translates to, "wow... she had a good idea there. Well, that wasn't really her own thought, that was mine. She's just here because I need her to be, because I imagined her into my own existence, and she's basically telling me my own thoughts and words anyway." Shut up, little French man. You are the epitome of what This Woman would call an egotistical prick with enough education and rhetoric behind him to make an average male's response sound intellectual. The "truth" is, as brought into reality by this discourse, you're no different than the guy in the white wife-beater shirt with a Paps beer in his hand sitting on the patio of his double-wide at the local trailer park. The Woman is her own id and ego and whatever the hell else your stupid mentor Freud called it. And if you imagined me into being at all, I guess I must be your worst nightmare because I'm pretty sure anything The Woman said here wasn't a part of the "message" you wanted "emitted."

So... my dear friend, it is finished. After I write out the pages of your work that I referenced, you're going back into the junk trunk and it's there you will stay until I decide to take you down to the used bookstore for someone else to fondle. Now put that in your fat phallic pipe and smoke it.

[for those of you who are interested, and for the sake of citing my source, I referenced _Feminine Sexuality_ by Jacques Lacan, Edited by Juliet Mitchell and Jacqueline Rose. The various quotations and references were taken from the following pages: 63; 68; 79-81; 83; 142; and 144-145]

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cup Of Tea

I'm sitting here with a cup of tea. This is new. I never really drink tea. I suppose it's an acquired taste that I've never had much interest in acquiring. I've always seen it as something with medicinal purposes only -- to imbibe when I'm not feeling well, to soothe the sore throat, to help open the blocked sinus cavity a bit, to help the body release the toxins that ail me. But to sit and sip a cup while I sit and try to write? Unheard of.

Generally there is always a cup of something beside me as I write. Maybe I'll have a cup of coffee to stimulate the mind, or perhaps a glass of wine if I need to reign in a bit of the creative fire that spirals out of control, or maybe a gin and tonic if I'm feeling feisty, but tea? No offense to myself but, that just doesn't sound like my style, does it?

To be absolutely honest with myself, and you, the cup of tea isn't a result of some new found intellectual enlightenment I've achieved. It actually came about because I simply didn't have a lot of options. I already had a cup of coffee around 8:00 p.m., which my daughter wisely pointed out would probably keep me awake longer than I'd like and ultimately make me late for work tomorrow morning, so I couldn't really counter what she said with another cup of coffee. And given the writer's block I've had lately, I'm certainly not in need of wine to help reign in the wild fires of creative thought passing through my head right now. And my fairly new life as a Celiac has made gin a forbidden spirit, so obviously we will have none of that, regardless of how feisty I may be, in the weeks/months/years to come (those days are gone... wave goodbye to the Bombay Sapphire and Stellar). So, my only options were water (life or not, it just lacks in flavor), orange juice (um... no thanks, not writing material at all), or tea (Good Earth Original or Mint Medley and the word Medley beat out the word Original so I went with the mint).

To be even more honest with myself, and you, I sit here drinking this minty fresh cup of tea because I promised myself I would write tonight even if I had nothing grand and spectacular on my mind, and I must have something to sip while I do that. (Obviously, this post is far from grand and spectacular. I'm working very hard not to delete this stupid thing right now. In fact, I'm pretty sure you're all just as bored as I am, but you're going to continue to read it just as I'm going to continue to write it with the hope that something somewhat amusing may come from it. You know, something odd like the fact that I just google searched mint tea and ran across some homeopathic guru's advice on the pros and cons of mint tea. One of the cons, for you gentlemen out there, is that prolonged use of mint tea can lower testosterone levels. For women with Polycystic whatever that is called on your ovaries, lowering testosterone levels in your body is a good thing, but for the men of Earth who take great pride in their virility well... you might want to stop drinking it lest you find yourself with a prescription for cialis much earlier in your lives than originally anticipated.)

I suppose I could get all mystical right now and say something like I'm drinking tea because it does "soothe the throat" and having writer's block is a form of "sore throat" since I can't really "speak my mind," but that would be a little ridiculous (or, at least I'm not in the mood to be that ridiculous right now). I might as well call upon the power of the unicorns and leprechauns and ask them if they'd like to join me in the study for a spot of tea and a cigar (though, I guess the cigar would require a glass of port instead of tea. What does one smoke with a cup of tea? Maybe some strange rose petal tobacco out of one of those dirty hookahs the local college kid stole from the Oasis Hookah Bar down the street?)

Wow... I'm really reaching here. This has got to be one of the worst posts I've ever put up here. (Oh boy... I just stared at the clock and talked myself out of deleting this again. I'm actually sitting here telling myself that writing is a craft that requires discipline, and yes I do believe that's true,and yes I know that if I don't write something I know of at least two people who are going to start hounding me again the way they did last week. But seriously... tea? What was I thinking? The best I got out of it was a lower testosterone level and a minty fresh aftertaste in my mouth, which is also a little strange. It's like some downgraded peppermint schnapps or something, which I always hated. Maybe I should've gone with the Good Earth Original. It at least has a bit of spice to it. If one wants to soothe the throat and clear the way for the creative voice, maybe one should spice it up a bit. Who knows... I guess I'm not really down with this "cup of tea" thing. I'll give myself points for trying and I'll hit the post button before I give in to the delete button.)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Word Of The Day

Pandora meets up with G.B. Wittington on the way out to the car.

G.B. Wittington: Hey there!

Pandora: (smiles) Hello.

G.B. Wittington: So, how was your day?

Pandora: Nothing significant. You?

G.B. Wittington: Same.

Pandora: Did you catch the word of the day today?

G.B. Wittington: Yep. Behemoth. Impressive. Ever count how many days go by before they actually put a word out you didn't know?

Pandora: No, but that's a good idea.

G.B. Wittington: Yep. It's been ten days since they threw down zaftig. That was a new one for me.

Pandora: Ya, that one was news to me too. I will say this, in definition two of behemoth I noticed that they made a reference to the book of Job, and they said the book's reference to behemoth was "perhaps the hippopotamus." You grew up in Sunday school, didn't you? I don't know about you, but I don't remember any of the Sunday school teachers talking about the hippos in the Old Testament.

G.B. Wittington: Hahahahaha... Right? I had a similar feeling when reading definition number two. I couldn't help but think, "hippopotamus? There was a hippopotamus in the book of Job? I don't remember that." I'm sure that would've been a big deal in my formative years at the ultra-conservative Baptist school I went to as a kid. I imagine we would've sung songs about Job's hippo, if that were the case. I remember boils and crop failures and dead family members, but no hippopotamus.

Pandora: I know! The only mighty creature I remember being worthy of the name behemoth in the book of Job was the random reference to Leviathan, but no one knows what the heck God was talking about there. Some people think it was some sort of sea creature.

G.B. Wittington: Yeah, I once read 4 chapters of a book titled Leviathan, and I think there was a movie about that thing, and it was some insane sea creature thing.

Pandora: ... four chapters, eh?

G.B. Wittington: Come on now... it was a book called Leviathan... some idiot gave it to me and it wasn't any good. Give me a break.

Pandora:... four chapters?

G.B. Wittington: Leviathan is a cool name used by a heavy metal band that sucks too. What do you want from me?

Pandora: pfft... anyway, I have heard some people say they think it was a reference to dinosaurs, but a hippo? Seriously? I know the hippo can be a formidable foe, should one make it angry, but most of the time they're just slothing about eating plants and bathing in lakes and rivers and aren't exactly the picture of an ominous and threatening power. They're no behemoth. I mean, seriously... hippos can sometimes be trained circus animals, they wear tutus and balance psychedelic patterned balls on their nose and suddenly it's possible that they're the "behemoth" from the book of Job? The creature God has bragging rights on as something He created that can neither be killed nor conquered by any man??? Really??? At least Leviathan has yet to be discovered or defined, but we know from our latest visit to Ringling Brothers that the hippo can be conquered. It is no behemoth. I mean... think about this for a minute... really... Oh no! Run! RUN!!! LEVIATHAN THE HIPPO IS GOING TO EVISCERATE ME WITH HIS SHARP QUADRUPEDAL CLUB FEET THINGS AND EAT MY BRAINS FOR DESSERT!!!

G.B. Wittington: ...

Pandora: ... What?

G.B. Wittington: ...

Pandora: What? That wasn't funny? You know that was funny!

G.B. Wittington: I think you should apologize to the hippos.

Pandora: What?

G.B. Wittington: Apologize to the hippos. You need to apologize to the hippos.

Pandora: Are you serious?

G.B. Wittington: I know they aren't that fearsome, but give 'em some respect. I know they're pretty docile, if they weren't that little girl wouldn't have sang about wanting one for Christmas, but I've seen them on the Discovery Channel and they can be kind of scary. And in your case, they can smell pride and arrogance. They will lure you in with their Lennie-like appearance and just when you think they are harmless, your head is gone and the hippos are laughing at your headless body which they turn into a puppet for children's story time at the local library.

Pandora: ... lennie-like appearance..?

G.B. Wittington: Yes. Lennie-like appearance.

Pandora: What does that mean?

G.B. Wittington: It means, be kind, rewind. Apologize to the hippos and get into your car and go home. This Phoenix sun is hot like a behemoth.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Sunshine And Lollipops

To write a little something would be good,
she said,
but the same stupid metaphors leave me
outplayed, outspoken, outthought.

Things like: shedding skin, wearing thin, waiting to begin...

Uh... yeah... that's nauseating.

Suddenly we hear someone saying, "Pardon me, but would you mind putting a bullet through this diaphanous head?"

Diaphanous... that's a fifty-center.

And speaking of stupid metaphors and similes,
I can't get these army ants and worker bees out of my head.
And the government is like a ten pound rock that's still too hefty to lift.
Oh to skip that stupid stone halfway across the greatest of the lakes and watch it sink.

Bitter is the center of the tongue and sweet is the tip, with a bit of salty on the side. All it takes is one good lick to taste it all and then chase it down with something potent -- a little tokillya would do the trick.

I'm not always sunshine and lollipops,
she said.
But wouldn't it be nice if she were.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Hope -- My Best Little Friend

She leaves for her dad's tomorrow. It's summer break now, and this is how it goes. She'll be gone until August, and my heart hurts.

She's my best little friend. I tell her that all the time. I think the first time I said it to her she wasn't quite three. She was making me laugh as I tucked her into bed and she was just so cute and so much fun to be with, I hugged her and kissed her and said, "You're my best little friend," and she responded, "you're my best big friend."

In my card, this past Mother's Day, she wrote, "I love you more than anyone on Earth! I know you will always be there for me in the hard times, and I will be there for you too! I love you, Mom!" After I read it, I held her tight and held in a few tears. To some, reading that may evoke little more than an "Oh, how sweet," but for me, knowing all we've been through over the past ten years, I couldn't help but wonder if that little mind of hers knows or understands how many hard times she's already helped me through.

At a time when I thought I had lost it all and sat in my own mother's living room crying, I remember my 15 month old daughter, seeing my tears, gave me her blanky because she knew it would comfort me. And I remember a smile coming to my face through the tears, not because of the blanky but because of the love and concern she showed me at that moment. And some months later, when she had learned to talk a bit more, I stood in the kitchen talking to my mother about some of the things that troubled me, paying no mind to the toddler in the high chair who suddenly reached out for me and said, "Don't worry, Mimi. Don't worry..." And I remember looking at her sweet little face, dumb founded, and trying to convince myself there was no possible way a child that young could make enough sense of what I was saying to know that I needed assurance that all would be well. (Obviously, I've never forgotten that moment.)

I'm not sure she realizes that it was her little face in the window, watching me walk out to the car as I left her at Papa's and Grandma's to go to school and finish my degree, that drove me to succeed. And I doubt she knows that every night when she ran to me, smiling and laughing out of sheer joy for my return home, made every drop of blood, sweat, and tears worth it.

As cool as she thinks it is, I'm pretty sure she has no idea that she was the main reason I ever set foot in a martial arts school -- because everywhere I went, I was a young woman alone with a baby and a vulnerable target for predators of all shapes and sizes, and I wanted to be confident in my ability to defend her precious little life, as well as my own (which is precious to her), and these small little spaces we've called home.

I'm absolutely certain she has no idea that the reason I sat down in that therapist's office and bore my soul, exposing every wound, every dark and hideous corner of my mind, and placed them directly in front of me so I could see clearly, call it like it is, and heal and change myself is because she deserved nothing but the best from me.

And in the most difficult times of them all, when I felt completely broken and unable to move, it was her fresh eyes looking at the world around her and the life she was so excited to live that gave me purpose and a reason to rise above.

I'm sure she has no idea.

A few months back we were driving home from school and talking about her future -- college and graduate school (yes, we talk about that "already" and we've been talking about that since she was five), and the sweet little one said, "If you didn't have me, maybe you'd have your PhD right now." I simply looked at her and said, "If I didn't have you, I'm not sure I'd be alive right now." She looked at me as if to gauge my level of sincerity. I smiled at her and said, "I'm not lying. I don't miss the PhD. I'm happy with who Ive become, who I continue to become, and if I didn't have you I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be the woman I am right now. And, like I said, I'm not sure I'd be alive either." I could see the wheels turning in her head, but she finally smiled and took my hand as I told her, "I mean it. You're my best little friend." She squeezed my hand and replied, "And you're my best big friend, Mama."

I will miss her this summer... my best little friend. I already do.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Impromptu Politcal Rant, Opus 1

“So,” she said, “you haven’t blogged lately and I really miss reading it.”

“I know,” I said, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me but I haven’t been able to write. I can’t tell you how many times I sit down, write two paragraphs, decide it’s crap, and then stop. I just can’t seem to make it work right now. And it isn’t because I have no material, it’s almost that I have too much material and all of the thoughts are flying around in my head like some kind of intellectual pot-luck and every time I sit down to write something I get nothing but green bean casserole with those crunchy onion things that came from a can.”

She chuckled a bit and said, “What about the politics over there right now? Surely you have something to say about that! That seems like something you’d jump all over.”

I rolled my eyes and heaved a sigh, “One would think, yes, but I haven’t been able to say anything about it at all. The way things are with this one, I can’t really talk about it without going on some kind of 100% political rant. And ranting about this or that is definitely a style of mine, but I do my best to just hint at political issues and hint at social issues. It’s my goal to entertain my reader, to make them laugh or make them cry or perhaps even piss them off a bit, but to do it in a manner that makes them think. This topic around here isn’t really going to make anyone think because there’s nothing I can say to make anyone laugh about it. I can’t even really laugh about it. I get angry just thinking about it because it annoys the hell out of me. It’s everywhere right now. From the day this thing started it was ridiculously annoying – the governor was about to sign a bill and suddenly a bunch of ignorant high school kids who probably don’t know how to properly count change from their place behind the register at the local McDonald's (let alone what the hell’s going on in the economy over here) are outside the capital building protesting. Then, to counteract that impressive show of intelligence, there's suddenly a group of Tea Party Activists out protesting the group of pubescent protesters. Really? We have to out protest the high school kids about this?? Um... what??? And then one night I come home to watch the Suns game, because they made it to the playoffs, and I turn on the TV to see them running up and down the court in jerseys that say Los Suns. Are you fucking kidding me??? Los Suns??? Seriously??? Steve Nash, one of my favorites, is down there running back and forth in a Los Suns jersey because even he has to protest the bill that requires people to be in this state legally? Is this some kind of joke, Mr. Canada Dry? I’m pretty sure his stupid ass is here legally. I’m pretty sure his overpaid pro-ball playing ass is here legally. You bet that idiot’s carrying his papers around everywhere he goes as he’s living it up as a celebrity in this country of ours, but he’s trolling around in a Los Suns jersey? What??? And then that stupid idiot Al Sharpton was out here with a bunch of wackoes protesting somewhere downtown, and… for God’s sake! Who the hell listens to Al Sharpton??? Really??? When is that idiot going to disappear??? Every time I think I’m safe, Al Sharpton shows up again like a recurring "reverse racism" nightmare. Holy cow… And it’s all over the stupid mainstream media all the time, and the right wing media is all about it too and there’s no sign of stopping it. It’s nothing but poison tongue all over the screen and it makes me puke. And then California, my home state, decides it’s a good idea to boycott us. Are you kidding me??? That’s nice. An entire state puts out a boycott against us. Pfft… that’s just fabulous… you know, because California’s the epitome of economic stability and all states in the Union should admire and emulate bankrupt California. Idiots… I wonder how long it will take them to realize that a major portion of their economic failures stem from illegal immigrants. Dumb asses… And I can’t tell you how many of my PhD buddies, you excluded (thank you for that, by the way), have been posting article after article about Arizona and its bigotry and bla bla fucking bla. But do any of them live here? Have any of them even read the bill? Doubtful. And the other day I hop on there and see that so-and-so has posted some stupid article about how the major league baseball players are actively protesting the bill that was recently passed in Arizona, and bla bla bla, and I finally couldn’t take it anymore and so I wrote a comment under his stupid post and said something like yes, yes… and I’d like to know where these big hearted ball players were for the ‘little people’ when they went on strike a few years ago because their multi-million dollar contracts weren’t enough to help them pay the bills and suit their lifestyle. Give me a break! These guys aren’t holding up the torch for anyone or any cause but their own. They think if they jump on the mainstream liberal media bandwagon, it will boost their popularity and increase ticket sales in an economic downturn. I mean, come on people! Where are your heads??? Since when do we just bow down to the appearance and a fa├žade of the “do gooder” without thinking??? Really?!?!?! Where is critical thinking here??? Where has it gone??? ooOOoo… look at these outstanding citizen baseball players with millions of dollars and Publicity Representatives telling them every move to make in front of the press so the average man can be duped by their glory and buy their baseball cards, and jerseys, and hats, and shoes, and season tickets. Come on… really!?!?!? I mean… is it too much to ask my entertainment industry to do JUST THAT – entertain me? Could I please sit through a movie without having some stupid political agenda preached at me? Please??? Is it so wrong if I believe the only reason those people should make millions is because their sole purpose in this life is to give me a little bit of escapism? Really? Is that too much to ask from these idiots? Am I so wrong and wicked because I actually dream of a world where politics is politics and entertainment is entertainment? Really??? And then, to top it all off, that same guy that posted that stupid article about the stupid baseball players, popped back on and started spewing something about all of “the bigots” here in Arizona. And right about now I just can’t take it anymore. I live in a 750 square foot two bedroom apartment surrounded by cuckoo’s nest neighbors and cars that sound like broken time machines. I get up every morning and I feed my daughter a bowl of cereal and get her ready and off to school right before I leave for my own job. I do my job and I come home. I live here. I live in Arizona and I happen to love it here. I’m not responsible for this stupid bill. I had nothing to do with it. And for the most part I guess I try not to think about it because ultimately all I’m concerned about is the well being of my child and whether or not I have the means to get by on a day to day basis. But dude… call me a bigot one more fucking time and I’m going to get myself on a plane and get to Philadelphia, or wherever the hell it is that you live, and I’m going to throw a tomato at your stupid ass!!! ...good grief..."

“Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!” she laughed, “That was awesome! I should’ve recorded that shit! There’s your blog post, honey. Now get off the phone and go write that down. And don’t forget the part about the tomato.”

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Save The Vampires

Okay people, I really can't take it anymore. Will someone please do me a favor and write a real vampire novel? One that is a hit? Perhaps even a multi-million dollar series that glides across the silver screen like hemoglobin and brings out the true horrifying seduction of all that is Vampire? I would do it myself, but I'm too busy working in a cubicle and battling the mundane to take on the task. But please... please... for the sake of the vampire, this MUST BE DONE!!!

I was sitting at lunch yesterday when I heard a sixty-something gentleman tell the sixty-something lady he was sitting with that he wouldn't consider himself a reader "but Twilight is a good book on vampires." Seriously??? How about Bram Stoker? You know, THE Dracula? How about THAT'S a book on vampires? Mr. Stoker must be turning in his grave right now. I know he is and I'm feeling his pain. (Bram! Bram! I am so sorry this is happening! Remember when I read your book in high school and I had nightmares of Dracula gliding into the corner of my room like a mist? Remember when I ran in screaming from reading your novel on the patio because I was certain I heard a bat fly over me? Yes... those were the days. I am so sorry for your loss. I will avenge you! Dracula shall be avenged!!!)

Really, I think the beginning of my disgust was in 1992 when Coppola released his film Bram Stoker's Dracula. In those days, I was a Coppola fan (mainly because of The Godfather series) and a senior in high school set to graduate that June and commence my freshman year in college as an English Major. I was convinced that Coppola was going to do Dracula up right! No more Bela Lugosi to fall back on -- something new, exciting, and "up to date" was just around the corner! So, like a good literature student, I read Bram Stoker's novel, Dracula, before the film was released. On the opening night of the film I sat five rows back from the silver screen and spent the next couple of hours in severe disappointment as I watched Coppola's visually pleasing version of a Dracula that was not Bram Stoker's.

I have always said, and still say, the only reason Coppola was able to call his film "Bram Stoker's Dracula" is because of the one direct Van Helsing quote he took from the novel, nothing more. I believe Stoker would've been sick to his stomach to see Dracula practically martyred in the film. A love story between Dracula and Mina? Mina nearly fighting to save Dracula's undead life? Really? When did that happen in the novel? It didn't. And where was the horror and fear and dread? Where was the seductive power of the dark side? When was that replaced by this fabricated "you were my lover in a past life, come take your place as my queen" kind of garbage? I mean, if you want to write that as a separate vampire story, cool, but don't call it Bram Stoker's story when it isn't. And given the popularity of the film and the people I've spoken to that love it ( who all say something like, "I've never read the book but..."), I've come to believe that perhaps I am one of a select few people that have ever read the book.

Now see, my Bram Stoker rant aside, I've always been a vampire fan. I'm not much for horror stories: zombies make me sick (decaying flesh and random limbs falling off is just gross); werewolves are too hairy, slobbery, and they bore me; ghosts and poltergeists creep me out just a little more than I care for; vampires...? Vampires are just right. Why is that? Because they're creatively and seductively evil. They remind me of Milton's Satan in Paradise Lost -- you know you're supposed to abhor them, you know they're out to get you, but somehow you are drawn in by them, seduced by them into something you don't really want and something that will ultimately destroy you. It is horror and terror in the most subtle and underhanded way, and there is no real defense against their power aside from the strength of one's own conscious mind and will. Overcoming the power of the vampire is the ultimate test in human strength. Take away the wickedness of the vampire and all you've got are some pale humans with sharp teeth and an alternative diet.

I'm not really an Anne Rice fan, never have been, and I hold her partially responsible for this onslaught of pansy-ass vampires who seem more like environmentally friendly denizens of a socialized new world order that would rather lecture me about recycling and water conservation than entice me into the dark shadow where I would serve as their next meal or possibly choose to walk among them in the realm of the undead, feasting upon the glorious and beautiful frailties of the human race. I have nothing against Lestat. The vampire is, as she describes him, "a heady mixture of attraction and revulsion." Agreed, I'll give him (and Ms. Rice) that due. But the minute she created Louis, the poor sap of a vampire that seems tortured by his own wicked nature (a human trait, mind you, not a vampiric one), she opened the door for this ridiculous train of trendy vampires that hunt rodents and protect humans as though they're some kind of super hero. (They're like vegan vampires or something and it's killing me!) And I might be okay with it if the craze were contained between the ages of 9 to 19, but it's not! I have to sit and listen to it being discussed among women of all ages in parking lots, on walks through the park, in lunch rooms and office cubicles, and in front of the mirrors in public restrooms! And as of yesterday, even men in their sixties have jumped on the train? Really? Is this Jonestown? Is there a vat of special kool aid somewhere? Is it a sign of the apocalypse? Maybe this is why the Mayans ended their calendar at 2012. They looked into the scrying bowl and saw what appeared to be a mass group of humans choosing sides between environmentally conscious pro-life vampires and werewolves and they decided it was the end of an age and the dawn of a new one. That's it! Get the crystal skulls everyone! If we can put all thirteen skulls together in a circle by December 21, 2012 then the Twilight series will come to an end and the world will be saved!!!

Seriously... this is ridiculous. Perhaps I shouldn't be such a vampire purist. Perhaps I should drink the kool aid and choose team Edward or something just so I can converse with my fellow woman. (May it never be!)

I'm sitting here with my copy of Dracula in front of me and I feel a sense of 19th century sorrow lingering above me. In this copy of the book there is an Afterward written by R. L. Fisher (I don't really know who R. L. Fisher is aside from some novel called The Prince Of Whales and a forward/afterward he wrote in The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes, but I like what the guy has to say). He wrote:

Had Bram Stoker lived to see the full ripening of his creation, he would certainly be a wealthy man. ...How, I wonder, would he feel if he were suddenly to return like one of his characters from the dead to find that his own reputation had been almost totally eclipsed by that of his creation? The name Dracula, after all, evokes instant recognition throughout the world, while the name Bram Stoker is likely to elicit little more than a scratch on the head, a glance at the ceiling, and the query, "who?" ... Even more vexing, I should imagine, would be seeing his creation parodied mercilessly in movies such as Dracula's Dog. I wonder what he would think if he saw his infamous protagonist, Count Dracula, so fearsome in his day, transformed into a carrot-sucking Bunnicula -- a vampire rabbit? And what do you think it would do to his ego if he walked into a supermarket and happened upon a cartoon caricature of Dracula, his paragon of unadulterated evil, leering down at him from a box of Count Chocula beakfast cereal? Come, now... money isn't everything! -- R. L. Fisher

That excerpt came from the Afterward in my 1988 copyrighted copy of Bram Stoker's Dracula. I'm not even sure Count Chocula cereal is still on the shelves in grocery stores, but at least Count Chocula still held an air of horror to him. At least Bunnicula was seducing and terrorizing and sucking the life out of carrots. What I wonder is what Stoker would think of the Vampire's evolution into a rodent consuming human rights activist?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Wolf

Apparently, I have a knack for cleaning up messes, and I'm not talking about the mess in the kitchen (I'm terrible about that). I'm talking about logistical messes. This is something that I've learned about myself over the past few years. And it isn't necessarily something that I do consciously or intentionally, per se, I just... sit down and do it. I do it for selfish reasons more than anything, because it makes my life easier. It's a matter of survival in the work place. I open my eyes to find myself stuck in a position at work where what they've given me to work with isn't functioning properly and, well, that gets on my nerves so I fix it. If I can get everything running smoothly and efficiently, then I can come into the office, coast through my day, and go home a happy woman. The problem is, management has caught on to this trait of mine and, well, like the A student that gets pushed into advanced placement classes, I get pushed into all the messes (they never let me coast for too long).

I was recently "promoted" (and I use that word lightly) to something called "the government liaison." They said something like, "This is an important move for you, and it's an extremely important position to us. You're not only the department liaison to the engineers, but you are also our representative to the local governments. We need someone who communicates well and gets the job done and we believe you're the perfect person for the job. We already know you have a good rapport with the engineers, and we believe you'll be the one to help grow our relationships with the cities. This is an excellent opportunity for you in your development with the company, at least we see it that way and we hope you do too."

What they meant to say was, "The last agent screwed around on the internet all day and let everything go. Because of this, the inmates are now running the asylum. We need you to go in there and straighten them out. Thanks a lot. If you do a good job, we'll consider giving you a raise."

Anyway, I smiled and said thank you and passed off all my old work (that I spent the last year and a half coasting through)only to find myself in one of the biggest logistical messes I've run into yet. As if it isn't enough that I'm quite literally "working for the man" now, I have a mess on my hands that seemingly requires six more hands to get it done right. And the biggest problem, in situations like mine, is the multiple people that are involved: people that are set in their ways, people that believe their way is the right way, people that don't want change, people who are comfortable with their mess, and people who aren't used to working with someone like me.

I am, more often than not, the shoot from the hip woman. I will use proper grammar and I will be polite, but I refuse to beat around the bush. Because of this, I have, amongst some people, earned the reputation of being scary (which makes me laugh). I have never cussed anyone out in a professional setting, I have never lost my temper, I have never raised my voice to anyone. I have always stayed calm, cool, and collected (at least externally), and I have always been cordial and polite. But if I see something, I won't hesitate to say something. I call it like I see it and I do it that way to save time. We have a mess on our hands, people. We don't have time to play patty cake. We have a business to run and cities to improve, expand, and build. There's no time to bicker and there's no time to take anything I say personal. This isn't personal, it's business. You don't like the way this is running? You want it to work for you? Then stop crying and listen to me. (No joke about the crying part. I sent out a mass email once, during my last clean up mission, that apparently made a fifty year old man cry and, for the life of me, I can't figure out how or why he responded that way. All I did in that email was point out facts A through D and then explained how it was supposed to be. That individual's manager called me up and said, "There was nothing wrong with the email, Pandora. I think the guy got upset because your use of correct grammar is intimidating and I'm pretty sure he had to use the dictionary a few times.")

But this time, this mess I'm in, I have a manager from a different department fighting me tooth and nail. It's one thing when I have worker bees that want to resist change, it's another thing when the Queen Bee wants to resist change. Unfortunately for the Queen Bee, names and titles don't intimidate me. In a situation like this, I run on facts. And facts A through Z indicate to me that we have a problem here and, despite the title, Queen Bees don't really run the hive. So, like the good overachiever that I am, I went to the office on Saturday, gathered facts A through Z, wrote them up in prime Master Of English fashion, and fully intend on making a presentation that will help me turn this thing around. Will I have to apologize for using a four syllable word? Perhaps. But in my experience, once I fearlessly call it out, they never interfere with my "house keeping" again and a few months from now they will be singing my praises. Why? Because all people involved will come to work and coast between the hours of 8 and 5.

If I'm curt with you it's because time is a factor. I think fast, I talk fast, and I need you guys to act fast if you wanna get out of this. So, pretty please, with sugar on top... Clean the fucking car. -- The Wolf, Pulp Fiction

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Potentially Airborne Eyeballs

In days gone by, I have experienced something I call “Hot Face” – a physical sensation that onsets with anger and frustration, resulting from a direct association with idiots. Perhaps you remember this, I may have talked about it before. And perhaps you can empathize with me, having experienced "hot face" moments of your own. That being said, I must inform you that I have now encountered something called “Potentially Airborne Eyeballs.” I’m not exactly sure how to describe this sensation to you, but I must try. You need to be aware of this, in case it comes upon you. I think the best I can do is this:

Potentially Airborne Eyeballs the pressure of internal stress and tension growing so great it builds, like blocked air, directly behind one’s eyeballs, creating a sensation that said eyeballs may very well fly out of one’s sockets across a conference room table, with vortices and contrails of unexpressed yet righteous anger (that may even appear as blue flames) behind them, as they literally stare down the void of nothingness that is contained in the soul of an empty headed, though quite possibly insane, antagonist.

Warning: presently, this is just a sensation, but be advised, were the eyeballs to take flight out of one’s sockets, authorities will be notified directly (perhaps even the local exorcist) and the individual will most likely spend the remainder of their days in a science lab.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lost In The Shuffle

I've been awake since three. I'm sick again (thanks to Pei Wei's "gluten free" dish that I'm convinced wasn't gluten free, but that's a rant I'll save for the day I'm not wishing I could just give it one good vomit and be done with it all). And while I was lying in bed wishing my eyes would just close, I started thinking, "I'm not writing the way I need to. I'm getting lost in the shuffle again."

I say that to myself a lot -- lost in the shuffle. I say that because it happens to me a lot -- caught up with work and the politics of work, and motherhood and the duties of motherhood, and staying alive and what life demands to stay alive (not eating the "gluten free" meals at Pei Wei is now added to that list). Most of the time, when I say this to myself, I have a visual of shuffling my feet while walking shoulder to shoulder with the rest of Earth's sheeple (like leaving a sold out show after three hours in front of a big screen watching a movie about blue people that live under a giant tree the evil white man is about to destroy). This morning however, in the darkness of my bedroom, I had a visual of my own hands shuffling a deck of cards.

I love to play cards, not just Spider Solitaire on my computer but real card games with real people and real cards in my hand. Rummy, Contract Rummy, Hearts, Spades, Euchre, Poker, War, Speed, Golf, Crazy 8s, Go Fish, Black Jack, Slap Jack... you name it. If it requires a deck of cards and it's a game you love that I've never played before, teach it to me. I love them all. I love sitting at a table full of people, watching and listening the rise and fall of conversation as we all shift from simply being social to concentrating on the game because, let's face it, we all want to win. I love keeping track of who played what, when, and where, and pride myself on my ability to predict what they will do next. I love winning and I love watching people win (card games draw out personality traits that people often hide in an average social encounter). I love the smell of the cards, the feel of them in my hand, and I love to shuffle them.

I started playing cards as a little kid. My parents had given me a deck and, like most children whose hands seem too small to hold a full deck, I shuffled by spreading the cards all out on the floor and swirling them around in a big pile. It didn't take long to learn that smearing the deck all over the floor, though it looked like I was mixing them up, wasn't an efficient way to break up the pairs or "matches" created in our last Go Fish round. Because of that, I decided to teach myself to shuffle properly -- like an adult.

I remember shutting myself in my room for hours with cards flying all over the place as I worked to teach myself "the bridge" of the shuffle. I remember impressing all the little neighborhood kids because I was the only one on the block that knew how to shuffle a deck like their dad. I remember teaching a couple of them how to do it too.

The shuffle is important. It's to be done fast, efficiently, and it doesn't hurt to have a little style while you're at it. And if you think about it, if you're a real card player, you want all of the previous cards in your hand and the hands of your opponents to get lost in the shuffle -- part of the silent thrill of the game is watching and waiting for what you need to turn up.

So as I was lying in my bed, feeling the burn in my stomach, thinking of all that I miss while I'm down for the count, and writhing in a bit of self-pity, I realized, as I saw my own hands shuffling the deck, it isn't about being lost in the shuffle (that stupid face in the crowd image), it's about playing the cards in my own game. It's about being fast and efficient, so I don't slow the game, and it's about shuffling the different aspects of my life around with style. And once I deal the cards for this round, I need to remember that each aspect has a place and purpose in my endeavor to come out on top. Sometimes I have a hand full of nothing but numbers, but I need the deuce through ten to complete the series. And I am the face card, the nobility of my own life. And the Ace In The Hole is my creativity. Like an unexpected jolt of inspiration, I'm sometimes lucky enough to hold all four aces in the first round of play, but most of the time I'm lucky if I have one. And when it comes to the days I've had lately, I need to remember that the Ace isn't really lost in the shuffle, it's always a part of the deck -- the thrill is in the watching and waiting, and sooner or later I'll draw the Ace into my hand.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Stalkers & Valentines II

(Two weeks ago: Pandora is walking down the hall when she notices Admin and WhiteNoise standing off to the side gleefully smiling at her.)

Pandora: What?

Admin: (big smile) You have an admirer.

WhiteNoise: (stupid giggle)

Pandora: Pfft... (goes to her cube)

WhiteNoise: (steps into Pandora's cube) You don't even want to know who it is?

Pandora: (puts the files on top of her desk) Not really, no.

WhiteNoise: Are you kidding me? Someone has a crush on you and you don't want to know who it is?

Pandora: There's a certain policy that I live by -- don't shit where you eat.

WhiteNoise: Haha! You crack me up. (sits down) So, want to know who it is?

Pandora: (logs into her computer) Someone in Survey?

WhiteNoise: Yes.

Pandora: Dillon.

WhiteNoise: Oh come on! That's old news. Why would I tell you something that you already know?

Pandora: (turns around) It's someone new?

WhiteNoise: (smiles) Yep. Kurtis.

Pandora: Who?

WhiteNoise: Kurtis. You know, Kurtis Thomas?

Pandora: Kurtis who? I don't know anyone down there named Kurtis.

WhiteNoise: Oh my god! You don't even know who he is???

Pandora: Should I? Is he working on one of my jobs or something? I swear, I've never worked with a Kurtis. I've worked with Dillon, Manny, Rooster, and Troy. A couple times I've worked with Marna, but other than that... I've talked to no one down there. I go in, talk business, and come back out.

WhiteNoise: You've never even said hi to the guy?

Pandora: (shrugs) Maybe I passed him in the hall or something and said hello? I don't know, but I do know that I have no clue who you're talking about. Are you sure it's me he's admiring, or someone else?

WhiteNoise: Who else would he be admiring? You're the only Pandora up here. I wouldn't get that wrong!

Pandora: He said something to you about it?

WhiteNoise: Girl, he walked right up to me and asked about you.

Pandora: Huh. (turns around and starts working)

WhiteNoise: Are you serious? You're not interested in this at all?

Pandora: I don't date men from work. You know that.

WhiteNoise: He's good looking.

Pandora: I've never seen him.

WhiteNoise: He's 37. He's a single dad. He has an 8 year old daughter.

Pandora: I'm not interested.

WhiteNoise: He's a really nice guy! You could be missing out on something.

Pandora: What did you tell him?

WhiteNoise: (sits up straight) Nothing, really. I was shocked. I was down there talking to Dillon and he came out of nowhere and asked about you and I felt really uncomfortable saying anything with Dillon right there.

Pandora: Fabulous.

WhiteNoise: So you're not interested.

Pandora: No.

WhiteNoise: What do you want me to tell him?

Pandora: I'm not available.

WhiteNoise: That's it? You're not available.

Pandora: Yep. I'm not on the market.

WhiteNoise (disappointed that the juicy gossip was stopped short, leaves Pandora's cube)

(Today, two weeks after that conversation, Pandora comes back from lunch and opens her email only to find the following message: I heard you like sushi. Would you like to go sometime? :-) Kurtis Thomas, Survey Dept.
Pandora stares blankly at the email, trying to figure out who this person is, when she suddenly remembers the previous conversation with WhiteNoise. She forwards the email to WhiteNoise saying, "Is this the guy you were telling me about a couple weeks ago?" After hearing a distant "Oh my god!" followed by some girlish laughter, WhiteNoise steps into Pandora's cube.)

WhiteNoise: (half whispering) Oh my god, Pandora! Yes! That's the guy! Have you been talking to him?

Pandora: (a bit confused/concerned) Uh, no. I've never said two words to the guy and I still have no clue who he is or where he sits or what he even looks like.

WhiteNoise: What??? You haven't been talking to him???

Pandora: No.

WhiteNoise: Well how did he know you like sushi? (dramatic gasp) Oh no! He must be doing his homework on you! Oh no! Girl... that's kinda creepy.

Pandora: um... what's really bugging me is that I have never even spoken to the guy, nor do I even know what he looks like, and he's asking me out on a date.

WhiteNoise: Hahahahaha! This is crazy! Did you respond to him?

Pandora: No.

WhiteNoise: You didn't??

Pandora: What am I going to say? "Uh, sorry dude. I have no clue who you are."

WhiteNoise: Well you've gotta say something!

Pandora: What? What am I going to say? This guy came out of the shadows! I don't even know what he looks like! He could be standing next to me in the elevator and I wouldn't know who he is, but he obviously knows who I am and somehow thinks we're acquainted enough to go out for Sushi? What do you say to that guy? Why is this even happening to me right now?

WhiteNoise: Hahahahahaha...

Pandora: Oh yes, laugh at me. This isn't funny.

WhiteNoise: Hahahahahaha... I'm sorry. I am. But this is kinda funny.

Pandora: I thought you were going to say something to him. I thought you were going to tell him that I wasn't available.

WhiteNoise: Me??? What was I going to do? He asked me right in front of Dillon! I couldn't say anything in front of that guy!

Pandora: Whatever! Dillon draws up my maps. So he asked me to dinner once and I said no. What difference would it make to him if he watched you tell this new guy that I'm not available? He already knows because I shot him down a year ago. If anything, it would probably make him feel better. At least it would be better than sitting around wondering if I'm going to say yes to a dude I've never even spoken to!

WhiteNoise: Hahahahahahahaha! You heart-breaker you!

Pandora: What? How can I be a breaker of hearts I never get involved with?

WhiteNoise: Hahahahahaha!

Pandora: More laughing... This is serious! I'm going to get quite the reputation down there if these dudes don't get a grip on reality.

WhiteNoise: (catching her breath) okay... so what are you going to do?

Pandora: (stares at the email for a minute) Nothing.

WhiteNoise: Nothing??

Pandora: Well, if I respond to this then more will follow. So... I think I'm just going to let it go.

WhiteNoise: ...

Pandora: What?

WhiteNoise: That poor guy.

Pandora: Poor guy???

WhiteNoise: He's going to be so disappointed.

Pandora: Noise... I have never even talked with the guy.

WhiteNoise: (sighs) Okay. I'll go down there tomorrow and break it to him gently.

Pandora: What?

WhiteNoise: Don't worry. I'll take care of it for you. I'll tell him you're taken. I just feel bad for him, you know? He likes you. And you gotta admit it, you got it goin' on! These guys really dig you!

Pandora: whatever.

WhiteNoise: Oh come on! It has to make you feel good, doesn't it?

Pandora: No. It doesn't. It annoys me. I'm here at work. I work here. I go down there and I talk business. Sure, I smile and I'm polite, but I'm strictly business. And in this guy's case, I don't even have a working relationship with him. So I have no clue how this even came about.

WhiteNoise: It's the Something About Mary complex. Hehehehehe...

Pandora: It's the annoying complex.

WhiteNoise: Well, don't worry about it. I'll take care of it tomorrow. (leaves Pandora's cube)

Pandora: (stares at the email for a bit) I'm cursed. It's Valentine's Day. That's what it is. Stupid Valentine and Stupid Cupid always missing the mark.