Saturday, September 29, 2012

The savior of squirrels

Let me preface this blog entry by saying that my neck still hurts. Badly. I visited the chiropractor yesterday, a pretty cool guy recommended to me by my friend Marianne. I have never been to a chiropractor before so I was unsure of what to expect; I only knew I wanted pain to go bye bye. Thankfully this chiropractor both accepted my insurance and was right up the street from my apartment.

Without boring you with too much detail about how I'm convinced there is a small, yet angry gnome taking residence inside my neck who spends her time kicking the muscles in there and twirling the nerves around like fresh hot spaghetti on a fork, the chiro concluded that I have inflamed neck joints and he promptly sent me to get X-rays. And that whole experience was bizarre. No matter how hi-tech and electronic the world becomes, X-rays and machines and photographing inside the body will always seem dystopian to me. I was given a copy of the films to take to the doctor on Monday and looked at them when I got home. I tried to decipher anything at the base of my skull and neck but it was all a ball of yarn to me. Nothing gnome shaped though. Those neck gnomes are tricksy.

The chiropractor did put these electrical pulses on my neck that felt so good that I wanted to crack up laughing. I need to get one of those machines surgically attached to my body so that I can always have it on and always be happy.

I slept pretty decently, considering everything and I owe that to a very late night "revelation" that came to me in the form of a dream. I had been dreaming about Adrien Brody reading a novel I wrote and in the dream he told me that the best advice he took away from my novel was that you have to use your arms. You just have to use your arms, he said. I woke up and instead of flipping over in bed to get more comfortable, I used my arms to lift my body up instead of just sitting up. It didn't hurt and now I just think Adrien Brody, aside form being my exact physical type of guy, is also a genius that appears to me in dreams to give me advice.

This morning as I drove to work, I almost ran over a squirrel, which would have devastated me. He got out of the way in time and because I had slowed down for him, I was well able to slow down for the second squirrel who darted out in front of my car immediately after him. I wouldn't call myself the savior of squirrels or anything but I am the savior of squirrels.

That's all I got. Whachu got?

Thursday, September 27, 2012


I just ate a rushed dinner inside my car. It is officially autumn but someone forgot to tell Thursday since it feels like summer. Being a soup aficionado, I opted to get black bean soup, even though it was 90 degrees inside my car. While I ate, I listened to a news report about new technologies that are being retooled to help prevent/control oil spills. As I spooned into my slick soup, I thought about oil. I pictured it coating all the meaty, rounded edges of my organs, my throat, my esophagus and settling into my stomach like a fresh coat of paint. I thought about pelicans and ducks smothered in black ooze, fish and sea anemones suffocated mid movement. And for the first time in my entire life, I lost my appetite for soup. THANKS BP/EXXON and for some reason DICK CHENEY.

A few nights ago I must have done something to my neck while I was sleeping. If the lingering pain I have been experiencing for about three days now is any indication, I was competing in an aerobics marathon. I have a blurry memory of seeing a movie in the 80s wherein the denouement was an aerobics "competition" and whomever dropped from utter exhaustion first, lost. Why was this made into a movie? Aerobics should not be a competition. Rather, we as a species should recognize it for what it is: pure, unadulterated hell. Anyway, yeah, my neck is hurting. When I was driving to work this morning I had to look before changing lanes (what a novel concept) and I swear at one point I saw stars. Or little yellow birds encircling my head as lay back in my seat, X's covering my eyes. Each time I go to move my body, the right part of my neck stiffens and I must look like a weirdo. I have this urge to bow while saying hello, as if this is an action made necessary by neck pain, which it isn't. I just feel like bowing everytime the muscles in my neck tighten.If this doesn't go away soon, I suppose I'll have to get a deep tissue massage. It's either that or I'm busting out my guillotine and goodbye, cruel world.

I haven't really been feeling myself lately, mostly due to the fact that nothing is happening. Most of me is okay with nothing happening but sometimes, I just want something to happen. As Radiohead once said:

I wish it was the 60s, I wish I could be happy
I wish, I wish, I wish that something would happen...

I don't really wish it was the 60s. The 60s were a veritable powder keg of societal sea change. As exciting and romanticized as people are about the 60s, they forget about all the war and racism and sexism. I think if I lived in a time when the president was killed along with like four other prominent speakers and leaders, I may, again, have to bust out the guillotine.

I am digressing all over the place. I just wanted to write a little. I'm going to write more in earnest in the coming month. That is going to be attributed to me not spending extra money. I've been out of control so I am going to partake in what I  have decided to call Ascetic October (Asco). I figure I'll have plenty of time to write then. I'm defining extra money as anything that I have recently spent on the following:


I figure I could save roughly 3.2 million dollars by cutting those things alone. Also, seeing as I have lost 20 pounds, I don't need to buy any more clothes since I fit into my skinny clothes once again. Well, skinnier clothes. Plus I have plenty of belts to tighten anything that is loose fitting. Yeah, that should get me through. Does anyone think this will work? For the sake of all the money I spent printing up Asco t-shirts, I shirley hope so.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

In which I perform my civic duty. (Heh, doody.)

I have warned readers of this blog before that should I ever be left idle, my mind will meander and so, consequently will whatever I write in here. I had jury duty (doody) all last week and the previous Friday. There are few things more idle than jury duty or at least the very beginning stages of it.
I had been talking to my coworkers, friends and family members about their previous experiences with jury duty and what I could expect if I was chosen or what had gotten people out of it. It wasn't so much that I didn't want to serve as a juror but more that I was concerned it would interrupt my plans for Tuesday, September 11 that I had carefully constructed with my sister, as I do nearly every year. However, I honestly believed that I would go in on Friday, they would ask me a bunch of questions and I'd either get chosen and told to report back at another time for a trial to start or I'd get super lucky and be summarily dismissed and set free to roam and perform my other civic duty: spending my money on businesses. The courthouses are located very close to the shopping outlets out here so in all honesty, I just wanted to drive out there and shop and then not have to be summoned for another six years. (Also, who thought of that time span in between being called for duty? Six years seems a bit random.) As it turns out, neither of my well prepared scenarios was the case.

The thing about things like jury duty is that no one explains to you what will happen. My general impression upon first arriving at the courthouse was mass confusion and aggravation. There are lots of arrows pointing everyone to the enormous waiting room and two civil servants at desk that looks suspiciously like a judge's bench and expressions that look suspiciously sullen and bored that are supposed to serve as guidelines. Even after talking to people prior to getting called in, I was still really unsure as to what to expect. So one of the people who queued up behind me started saying "I had BEST not be called back for more than today. I am not missing my business meeting!!" He was adamant. I thought it was weird that he used the term "business meeting" and frankly, it made him sound like he was making it up. "I need to attend a place where men in business suits will sit around a table and point at a pie chart!!" He also said "They can arrest me. Let them try to find me." This was even before we entered the main doors and he really just set the scene for the rest of the day. One very young looking hipster looked positively terrified of what awaited on the other side of the door. He shakily asked me for the time and said quickly "I've never done this before have you?" I don't have any idea why, but it carried the same sort of awkward as the beginning of a one night stand. Not that I'd know anything about that of course.

The other thing I noticed was that no one makes eye contact with you. The two people who were giving out instructions and answering questions at the front of the room kept their heads down for the most part. When I asked one of them "Do you call people individually or in groups?" She didn't even raise her head and said "Groups." Okay, then. I got there around 9:30 in the morning and maybe it was all the uncertainty of the morning but by the time they called my name around 11:30, I was positive my stomach lining was digesting itself, so pressing was my peckishness. We were gathered in a group and led "backstage" by one very, very attractive looking lawyer. Despite the easy on eyes vibe of this, I was mentally preparing to present myself in every unflattering light without overdoing it just so I could be seen as unfit for jury duty or at the very least just so I could get in and out quickly and get to the shoving of food into my mouth. They took us into a small room that belied its size by actually fitting about 30 people inside. Attracto, Esq. left the room only to return with no less than four hundred other lawyers. I instantly became aware that there was a small tiger in my stomach and so did everyone else in the room when it growled in anger. This was going to take forever.

The lawyer for the plaintiff in this medical malpractice suit explained to us that this was a pre-selection selection. The nature of the case was such that there were, and I'm not sure if this is the correct legal term for it so bear with me, an assload of defendants including an entire hospital. Also, as a result of said assload, the trial would potentially take about six to eight weeks. Um, no thank you. So essentially they asked all of the potential jurors if they thought they might have any "hardship" that would keep them from attending such a long trial. They did not specify what would qualify as a hardship so I automatically knew it would be impossible for me to invent one. Still, having resigned myself to having to return for actual jury selection did nothing to either make me less hungry nor less annoyed that nearly 3/4 of the room raised their hands, necessitating us all to sit in silence as each one was pulled out of the room to tell their story. This took an hour. After it was all done, the lawyers returned en masse to tell us to report back the following Tuesday. That happened to utterly bum me out since I had planned on spending the day with my sister.

Given no other option, I returned on Tuesday morning. My sister came out to visit anyway and borrowed my car to go outlet shopping while I sat in a windowless jury room falsely hoping for early release and inwardly sobbing at what a waste of time it all felt. The morning was spent without my name being called until it was lunchtime and I met my sister for some sub par food over which I complained loudly about how I had to go back for more sitting.

Because that is what jury duty is: sitting. If you aren't sitting in a huge windowless room pumped full of recycled air and a grumpy mass of humanity then you are sitting in a tiny courtroom that recalls the phrase "it is so much bigger on tv" and you are listening to your fellow potential jurors being asked seemingly random and out of context questions. I do admit that the my more curious side enjoyed hearing about other people's lives/hobbies/past law suits filed against parents but I could have read a short story as opposed to sitting in a court room for four days. Ah well, it is what it is. It all ended with me not being called at all. There were three of us left in the room and the last girl to be interviewed got selected as the final alternate. I don't have to return there for another six years, much to my utter and very deep relief. Now that I consider it, "Deep Relief" would be an excellent title to a short film about the jury duty selection process. I'll write the script; who will make the film version? Please make sure Salma Hayek is available to play me. If not, Sofia Vergara is a close second.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Feelin Prousty

"Trying to understand love by looking at a nude woman is like trying to understand time by taking a clock apart."

I begin today's post with a meta quote. The film I saw last night (more about that later) quoted the above and attributed it to Marcel Proust. I studied Proust in college but not very extensively and frankly the only things I remember about him are that he was especially fond of Madeleine cookies, the dipping into tea of which prompted him to write no less than four million books about his obsessive preoccupation with time and memory and that he spent his life embroiled in one long memory. Oh and also, during my studies we watched a dramatization of "Remembrance of Things Past" and the actor who played Proust looked like the dude who played  Robin Colcord. on Cheers and how I stopped paying attention to Proust and instead kept thinking about Cheers and how that show pretty much defined how I saw adult relationships when I was 10. (Confusing, neurotic, hilarious) Wow, is it ironic that after rereading this entire paragraph I realize that I have made an subconscious nod to Proust with involuntary memory?? Yeah, anyway I just really liked that quote. Phew.

I volunteered again last night at the art house movie theater and I met a lovely woman that I kinda want to be exactly like when I grow up. She is retired and spends her time seeing films, traveling, reading and writing and just in general living the life I envision for myself after the sweet ass day of retirement. I also had a small moment of clarity while talking to her that has pretty much set me on my way to changing my perspective on the direction my life has been taking. It was really simple, actually. She just asked me where I lived and how I spend a lot of my time. As I was telling her what I do in my free time, I just started to realize that I really have enjoyed the past two years living in my town and I made the firm decision (I know I've said this before, but I really mean it now) to just decide to be content where I am and make a go at happiness. It is a real effort for a restless soul like me to do this but I think before I only ever made half assed attempts at it. Time to buckle down and really try.

The film I saw was called Oslo, August 31 and I actually loved this movie more than I want to. I say that because it is one of the saddest movies I have ever seen. I was not surprised by how sad it is, it being a Norwegian film. I don't know why but that part of the world always seems like it would be cloaked in a winter darkness. I should visit to change my mind maybe. Anyway, the film is about a recovering drug addict who is on the verge of completing a rehab program. He's given one night away to interview for a job in Oslo as an editorial assistant for a magazine. In his life before drugs, he was a writer. The story takes place during that one day he is free and he meets up with old friends and visits old haunts. It is pretty incredibly acted by the lead guy who, I have come to find out, is actually a medical doctor as well. I'm glad he started acting because he's really just remarkable. Anyway, a lot of what went on in the film resonated with me and I have a feeling that it is because it was such a beautifully done film that even though the only thing I had in common with the character was our relatively close ages, I felt empathy for him. Or a deep sympathy. There is one scene in particular when he is sitting in a cafe and listening to the conversations going on around him, absorbing the life he feels so completely disconnected from through these strangers. I watched that scene and knew instantly what that feels like. I actually woke up early this morning at around 3am and thought about him. The film haunted me.

I want to recommend this film to everyone but judging from the reaction of the theatergoers last night, it definitely is not for everyone. After the film as I was cleaning up the theater this old man approached me and was like "Did the film cut off at the end? I don't get it. What happened?" Then another person told me they hated how bleak it all was. So, I'm going to reserve my recommendations and just say that this might be my favorite film this year.

Yesterday also saw me at jury duty (doody) during which very little of interest happened but I do have to return on Tuesday for further questioning. I'm hoping that I do not get assigned to any jury because I can't think of anything I want to do less. Maybe get an MRI. I want to do that less than be on a jury but that might be it.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I will never be rich

I can't stay away from my blog. I mean, how else can I impart such vital information as follows...

Yesterday I tooted (tat?) my own horn on Facebook, announcing that I returned a shirt I bought on impulse (I had, literally, been on my way out of the store when I spotted the shirt and just grabbed it and picked it up and carried it lovingly to the cash register. What followed is what usually follows when I don't try crap on before buying it; it looked all kinds of wrong) and then proceeded to gas up my car to just beyond the mid-line. I felt proud of myself because the old me would have gone back to the store and exchanged it for something else useless at the store. It is in my blood. My mother and I have the best times ever while we are shopping at Macy's or Marshall's or some other last named place. I inherited the proclivity to be spendy and revel in it.

However, so short lived was my new found maturity that I just g chatted with my sister and said the following:

i can't wait until friday
i am blowing my wad at ulta
then at the vet

This was because I realized that I get paid this Friday and I already have a shopping cart at ready to go. Also, my cat Greta has to go to the vet on Friday evening because I am a paranoid and overprotective mother of my furry children (does that sound wrong, pervert?) and she looks like she is losing weight so she needs to get checked out. Or I need to be reassured in the exact amount of money a vet visit costs. Either way.

In fairness to me, I'm also volunteering at the art house theater again so I can see the movie FOR FREE and I fully intend on sneaking a nectarine as my snack in there. Wait, none of that makes me a good or smart person. It just makes me annoying. I want to apologize for that but I feel like that would need to be repeated later in the course of these blog posts so why pursue something so futile?

The way I see it, money is, was and ever shall be an issue for me. I work all the time. I am at work, in fact, 13 hours a day on most weekdays and most Saturdays, occasional Sundays during the winter months too. I make a decent salary but I am just not very smart with my money. I am prone to spending it enjoying my life through food and booze and films and travel and books and peter pan collared shirts and nailpolish. In fact, I need to save. I need to save the future. I have no designs on buying a house or starting a family of my own. I don't especially feel the need to. However, I'm fully aware that my car will not last forever, I will not have the gumption to work two jobs forever (it may have already been forever) and that I need to be smarter about money. But then my sister asks me to go to Barcelona with her and that consignment shop I just discovered in town has such cute things and ooooh what's that shiny thing over there? I'm such a consuming American. 

Does it help to know that I regularly donate money to charity? I mean, my name will never appear on a plaque or anything but I do give money to causes that are important to me. Does that assuage my chomping image? Or would I have appeared better to you wearing that shirt I just returned?