November 2, 2014

To Text, Or Not to Text?

How do you know when to be bold, and when to take it down a notch when it comes to love?  Or is it best just to be bold all the time and risk crashing and burning for the small chance that something wonderful will happen?  How do you know when to walk away before something even begins?

I don't know what feels worse, to know that you didn't try to get the guy you wanted, or to get completely rejected when you do try.  I think the later, in dating and in life, is the best route.  It's better to try and fail than to never try at all, or whatever that famous phrase is.  But then when it comes to dating, you also have to take into consideration this "playing the game" thing.  I hear tale from happy couples I know that when you meet the right person you don't have to play the game.  I think this is insane and a lie.  EVERYONE IS PLAYING A GAME.

So, when I meet a guy that I like and we exchange numbers, I have a couple of options.  I can text him, or I can wait for him to text me (please note that calling is never an option in modern dating, not ever.)

Or there is the ever elusive Facebook friending, which opens a whole new world of possibilities.  To Facebook stalk, or not to Facebook stalk?  To change your profile pic prior to friending so that the pic is at its best quality, or to leave up the pic where you look like Gollum to show you have a sense of humor?

If you do stalk, you then check his photos to see if there is a girl showing up frequently, and then you confirm when he dated that girl (god forbid he is still dating that girl, in which case he is dumb for friending you), and then you check to see if she is more accomplished than you.  And also hotter.  I'm not ashamed to say it, and anyone who says they haven't done this is lying or in denial.

A problem with Facebook stalking is that you might find out a piece of information about a guy, and then reveal that you know that information on your first date, before he tells it to you.  Thus exposing the fact that you have Facebook stalked him, and making everything awkward for the rest of the night.  I once dated a guy who had a kid, which I first found out from his Facebook page.  When he got around to telling me on the first date, I wanted to pretend like this was new information so I said "OH WOW!" really loudly and accidentally knocked over my water.  This is one of the many reasons why Facebook stalking is not advisable prior to the first date.  But just because something is not advisable, does not mean you will have the willpower NOT to do it.

And then, the golden miracle of miracles is when that person's Facebook profile is public and you don't even have to friend them to get the goods.  It is a great gift when this happens, because if your profile is private (which it should be people!!) then the stalking cannot be reciprocated.

I am talking a lot about Facebook in the dating world, which seems silly and sad, but whether we like it or not, it is EVERYTHING.

If you choose not to Facebook friend the new guy you just met, and both of your profiles are private (again, as it should be), then it's back to the texting game.  To text, or not to text?

I am a terrible romantic that cannot be controlled, so I am usually the first to text.  Some may say that this is not playing the game correctly, and those people would be right.  You're supposed to wait a good long while to text in order to keep that person wanting.  But my romantic brain is already off in a rom-com montage, and can't handle the pressure.

And I always text back.  I hate it when guys don't respond to me, so if a guy texts me, I will text back dammit.

So you're texting, but now the problem is WHAT DO YOU SAY?  I would love to say the thing you shouldn't say which is "Hey do you want to go to the movies, to dinner, etc."  But that is too direct for playing the game.  And when I have done that, and the guy says yes, endless texts of scheduling a time ensue (everyone is SOOOOOOOO BUSY.)  It's a marathon just to find a time to be together.  And oddly enough, we could have had dinner in the amount of time it took to text about having dinner.

On the other hand, if I don't choose to text first, and the initial text comes from the guy, nowadays it is either the words "Hey", or "How are you?", or some nonsensical message that I then have to decipher.  "Oh, he sent me a joke."  or "Oh, he sent me an emoticon of a wizard with a banana."  WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?  DO YOU LIKE ME?  ARE WE JUST FRIENDS?  WHAT THE FUCK DOES THAT MEAN?

I spend a lot of time having text conversations that go absolutely nowhere, to the point where the whole conversation is in emoticons and I'm clutching a glass of wine and wondering how my life got to this point.

Sometimes I just want to say "I like you."  But that sounds like an insane thing to say doesn't it?  If a guy said that to me directly I would faint from astonishment.  Same goes for myself.  I can't remember the last time I had the courage to say that unless I knew for sure how the other person felt.  I think that is called, as they say, "fear of rejection."

There have been times in my life when I have told someone straight up, "I like you!" or have asked a guy out on a date.  It doesn't always work out.  And those particularly painful times are the ones that make me hesitant to do it again.

But when you do get to the point where you have somehow fought the text battle, and stalked your little heart out on Facebook, and you actually see each other in person, NOW WHAT?  Now, you are "hanging out".  I hear that all the time: "let's hang out", "do you want to hang out?", or "we're just hanging out."  I've lost a lot of good romances to the friendzone that way.

I won't even get started on the friendzone, which is a mystery to me.  You never know you're about to enter it, but once you do, it is too late.

Despite all of these obstacles and the plight of modern technology, and my complete failure to know when the RIGHT time is to tell a guy I like him, again and again it starts, and I have a crush.  This brings new meaning to the phrase "I'm not a player I just crush a lot."  It's true!  Also, if you look like a hobbit, I'm done for.  It's a weird thing.  Or, if you're funny, if you're kind, if you're driven, done and done and done.  And I am such a hopeless romantic that I can see romance everywhere, even if I'm being foolish.  I believe the best and I believe in love, even if I haven't found my best love yet.

When I first meet a guy that I hit it off with, I always joke to my friends "We're in love."  And then we all laugh and I say how stupid that would be.  But there's a weird little voice inside my head that sounds kind of like Elton John, that says "It could be love.  Give it a try."  Damn you Elton John, damn you.  So I send off a text, in the hopes that I might get one back.

October 27, 2014

Dear Josephine

I first heard about you when my Grandpa Lema called my whole family and said "I eloped in Reno and I don't care who knows it."  Apparently Grandpa met you, decided he wanted to marry you, won you over, and convinced you to run away to Reno to get married.  And he didn't give a damn what anyone thought about it.  We had no idea who you were but I thought you must be pretty awesome if you ran away to Reno to get married in your 80s.

Before you met my Grandpa, he was alone.  My Grandma had passed away on my birthday a year before.  I will never forget the look on my grandpa's face when he said goodbye to my grandma.  I will never forget his voice saying "Well Avis, this is it."

I wondered how he would ever be able to go on without my grandma, a person he had spent his entire adult life with.  The person who was waiting for him when he came home from World War II with scars much deeper than his skin.  The person who took his crap and dished it right back.  The person who smacked him with a wooden kitchen spoon if he tried to eat dinner before anyone else.  And the only person who could rival him in competitiveness when it came to family board games.  If dice was flying through the air at someone, it was one of them throwing it.

But then you came into his life and gave him a chance to be happy again.  And to have a companion.  I immediately liked you when I met you because your hair was perfect and you were wearing head to toe fuchsia.  It was a bold fashion choice, and I respected it.  You didn't ever try to replace my grandma, but you were kind and you loved my grandpa, who at the time was one of the grumpiest people on the planet.  To the point where we all called him Grumpa. I know you did your best to help him when his mind started going.  Thank god he had you.

I will never forget that you held me at Grandpa's funeral.  I went to hug you and tripped and fell towards you instead, flailing my arms.  My face landed in your bosom and you were not fazed.  You did not budge as I tried to regain my balance.  You never judged me for being weird and accident prone, even at funerals.  You just kept hugging me.

And even though your ties to our family were cut when Grandpa passed away, you still wanted to be a part of our lives.  You wrote me letters and were an excellent pen pal.  Also your handwriting was way better than mine.  As was your grammar.

When I went to see you last, you said when I was leaving that you hoped we would meet someday again.  We both knew what that meant, but you weren't scared when you said it.  You looked brave.  You were wearing a fuchsia sweater and your hair was still perfect.  You were 99 years old and you didn't give a damn what anyone thought.

Thank you for keeping the memory of my grandpa alive by telling me stories about him long after he was gone.  And for being so kind to an awkward little kid (adult) when she needed it the most.

-In memory of Josephine Lema, a hell of a lady

September 27, 2014

A Ghost Story (Get It Together)

Some days I don't get much done.  Some days I spend more time worrying and being afraid that I will never achieve my dreams, than I do taking actual steps to achieve my dreams.  I want to have a career as an actor and a writer.  So, I need to act more and write more.  I need to do so every day and not let that dream escape me for one second as I go about my life.  I tell myself this, but still some days I don't even make it out of the house.  I have days where I am really motivated and making great strides, and then I have days where I watch an entire season of Gossip Girl on my couch in my underpants.  I thought I would be doomed to repeat this pattern forever.  Then one day a ghost scared the shit out of me.  

I was having trouble sleeping one night, thinking about how I need to act more and write more.  I was just drifting off to sleep when I heard a loud crashing noise downstairs.  I swiftly jumped out of my bed and landed like a cat on my floor, ready to quietly move downstairs and take down whoever had intruded upon my apartment.  And by "take down" I mean flail my arms around madly with my eyes closed, hoping I hit said intruder and knock them unconscious.

As soon as I got downstairs I Mission Impossible'd my way around every corner of my apartment.  There wasn't anyone there, but I noticed a book lying on the ground.  It was a book of quotes that had previously been snug in between my grandma's two Shakespeare volumes that I inherited after she passed away.  The book falling to the ground must have been the loud noise.  

I looked more closely at the book, and it was perfectly open to this page:


Holy shit.  I looked wildly around the empty room and shouted "DID ANYONE JUST SEE THAT!!!?!?!?!?  DID ANYONE. JUST SEE THAT."

I looked back at my grandma's Shakespeare books.  They were standing straight up, with a space in between them where the book of quotes had been.  There was no way that book of quotes fell on its own because nothing around it fell.  It must have been a FREAKING ghost.

Also damn, Francis Bacon, you're harsh.  BUT YOU'RE RIGHT.  It was a message.  This ghost was like, bitch, get your shit together. This ghost was like, I cannot stand watching you fret about achieving your dreams any longer.  This ghost was like, just do it, fool.  

I was no longer afraid that someone had intruded into my apartment.  And I was very impressed by the well read ghost with excellent timing.  I put the book back on the shelf in case the ghost had any other messages for me that it wanted to throw down to the ground.  

The next day, I wrote a similar note for myself to keep at my desk, as a slightly modernized version:


Thank you, ghost, for you may very well have saved me.

August 10, 2014

Other People's Conversations: Part 1

I've been doing things by myself a lot lately, as sort of an exploration piece for my blog.  In other words, I am using my writing project as an excuse to be a loser, which I would be doing anyway with my life.  It makes it all sound better, and meaningful.

Even when I am dating, I crave my alone time, because I am a hermit-like creature that needs to recharge in solitude before I can face people.  I love people, but sometimes I wish I could just watch them, instead of participate in conversations with them.  

I find that by doing things by myself, I can do just that.  When I am alone it's as if I am invisible and people have no problem starting the most inappropriate conversations within my earshot.  It is wonderful.  Here is what I heard today when I was having lunch:

Guy:
Let's rate each other 1-10 in bed.

Girl:
Okay.  You're a 10!

Guy:
Great.  You're a 3.

Girl:
What?

Let's stop right there.  I don't need to rehash the REST of the conversation because obviously it did not go well.  But what the hell was this?  WHAT HAPPENED HERE? WHAT?  Either that guy was trying to find a way to tell his girlfriend she is not good in bed in the most crass way possible OR, he's an idiot.  Or both.  Also, girlfriend needs to show a little bit of mystique.  Don't go straight for the 10.  Start off with a reasonable number to show some sort of disinterest. Like a 6.  Even if it truly is a 10, don't say it.  We all know the key to good dating is to NEVER show your true feelings and to keep enthusiasm to a minimum.  Get it together, LA couple.


July 23, 2014

The Punt, or Forgiveness

About six years ago, I was out with some friends at a bar in Silverlake.  It was a normal night like any other. Until some guy picked me up and punted me. 

Let me explain.  As I exited the bar, a friend of a friend asked me if he could pick me up.  Before I could respond, being a tiny person, I was picked up against my will and he promptly tripped, dropped me and accidentally kicked me.  I had been punted.  I fell to the pavement, bewildered that in one moment I was solidly on the ground, then up in the air, then punted.  That was the day that I lost my innocence.

Now, I've been picked up in my day.  I was always the kid who had to climb to the top of the pyramid, be lifted, or be thrown (as the smallest one in my class.)  Trust falls, no problem, lemme at it.  No one ever dropped me.  I was not afraid.  I was invincible. Until that fateful night.

I decided that my long run of trusting people who wanted to pick me up (which was everyone because everyone can) had come to an end.  I would never be picked up again, and thus, never punted again.

Whenever someone started towards me with open arms, I knew what was coming, so I promptly sprinted away before any harm could come to me.  I avoided thinking about the punting incident ever again.

Six years passed.  Then one day at an audition, a guy approached me and said "Hey.  Aren't you the girl I accidentally punted."  I turned and sure enough, it was HIM.  I stared at him in shock, and then he started towards me with arms wide open.  I was too afraid to move.  He was going to punt me again, I just knew it.  And then, he embraced me.  And he said, "I'm really sorry I did that."

It was as if a curse was broken.  I grabbed his face and looked him in the eyes and said "Pick me up."  We stared at each other for a long time, and then he awkwardly picked me up a few inches off the ground and returned me to the floor.  Then I said the most important words anyone can say, "I love you.  I mean.  I didn't mean to say that.  I meant to say.  I forgive you."  And I did forgive him.  I was no longer mad at him for punting me.  I was no longer afraid. 

I guess sometimes you have to get punted.  And when you do, you have to forgive and continue on.  Fearless.  And ready to be punted again if that's what it takes to move forward, unafraid.

July 22, 2014

The Sad Car Show

I went to an old car show alone on a Saturday night.  Which sounds kind of sad.  And it kind of was.  I was feeling pretty good about it and enjoying all of the cool old cars and the mass of people around me.  Until I ran into two ex-boyfriends, one after the other.  They were both with their new girlfriends.  Ex-BF #1 saw me and introduced me to his girlfriend.  I told him I was there with my "boyfriend" and waved to a random guy next to me.  The random guy promptly said "what the F*%&" and walked away.  (NOTE TO SELF: If any sad person pretends that you are their girlfriend, go with it, for some day you may need the same kindness.)  Ex-BF #1's new girlfriend patted me on the back.  I would have punched her, but I appreciated her pity.  I continued on.  Ex-BF #2 came out of nowhere with what appeared to be the most AWESOME GIRL IN THE WORLD.  She looked cool and had on an amazing outfit and her hair was FULL OF SASS! I couldn't handle the shame so I tried to duck behind this old car:
The man who owned it yelled at me and Ex-BF #2 definitely saw me.  I saluted him.  I'm not sure why.  I ran away, wondering whether this was a car show or a carefully staged mockery of my dating past.

Then I got indignant.  Dammit.  It's not sad to be alone at a car show. RIGHT?  RIGHT!!!!!!!  I marched up and down and looked at more cars with pride.  This was MY NIGHT and I owned it.  Forget my Ex-BFs and their actually really pleasant and beautiful looking new girlfriends that I have nothing bad to say about!  I looked at every single car.  My favorite was this dull '67 Mustang.  It was the least shiny out of all of the cars, but it was in perfect condition.  It hadn't been made up or changed from it's original appearance but it had been taken care of.  You could tell that it had been lived fully in.  There's a metaphor there but before I could eloquently think of it, the song Earth Angel came on nearby and I thought of the scene in Back to the Future where Marty McFly is disappearing as his parents dance.  So obviously, I left and I went home to watch Back to the Future.  Which might also be sad, if I didn't feel so happy.

July 20, 2014

L.O.V.E.

I will always believe in love.  No matter how many times I get knocked down, heartbroken, or have to walk away from something that wasn't quite right.  I will always believe in it.  Sometimes I wonder why I have this stubborn belief.  A lot of my solo show (Refried) Bean is about awkward, embarrassing, and terrible encounters as Bean searches for love in this crazy city. I've met a lot of douche bags in my day, and I thank them for the endless amounts of inspiration they have given me.  And of course I've met a lot of great guys too.

It's easy to get cynical about love.  The idea of devoting yourself to another human being for a long period of time can seem unobtainable and exhausting.  I enjoy being single.  My career has always been the number one priority in my mind.  That is what keeps me up at night.  But in the back of my mind I'm always on the look out for that next great "love".  Whether the "love" ends up being another catastrophic dating story to put into my show, or it ends up being THE "love" that makes me want to be a better Bean, I am exhilarated by the fact that you really never know who you're going to meet at any given moment.  I love not knowing what's next.

And so, chance is how I met my friends J & T, an awesome married couple with talent oozing out of their ears and out of their vocal chords (we met at karaoke.)   Living in a city such as Los Angeles, it is rare to form a steady friendship with people you meet at a bar.  Let alone a karaoke bar in the valley. But so we did.  For a girl who doesn't have family in town, I sure feel like a part of theirs whenever I see them.  I attended T's surprise birthday party today at (of course) a karaoke place, a party which J had organized.   True to form, I was awkwardly sitting by myself, as I am wont to do in any given social situation.  Also true to form, J's family noticed this and invited me to sit with them. I did so and was significantly less awkward (which is saying a lot for me), and grateful.  Then J gave a speech about T.  He talked about taking risks as a couple to follow their dreams, and supporting each other every step of the way.  Their respect and admiration for each other is very apparent.  That is true L.O.V.E.

In a city where I see artificial relationships form all of the time, in this moment I thought, thank god I know these people.  Not only can they sing a mean karaoke tune, but they are generally awesome people who have been made more awesome by combining their powers.  And there was a time when they didn't know each other, but somehow they found each other.  And that very thing is why I believe in love.

Not to be outdone, as I was lost in these lovely thoughts on my way to my car after the party, a bird sitting in a tree pooped on me.  So thank you also to the city of Hollywood, for keeping me in check.

July 17, 2014

Movies By Myself

I love seeing movies by myself.  Mostly because I am hypersensitive to the actions of people I go to the movies with.  I hate being whispered to when something is sad, smacked when something is funny, or worst of all, having the plot predicted to me throughout the whole movie.  I find this particularly offensive because everyone has a different experience when watching a given film and telling someone else what you think the outcome will be may entirely alter their viewing experience and destroy their chance to come to their own conclusions or be surprised.  I also don't like holding hands in movies.  This is mostly because I have sweaty hobbit hands and don't want to bring that upon anyone.  And also because I'm not twelve.  When you are twelve, that hand holding in movies is all you've got.

I recently saw the movie Begin Again all by myself and it was glorious.  I stretched out across two seats because it wasn't crowded and enjoyed the movie in peace.  There is something so tranquil and calming about seeing a movie by yourself, surrounded by strangers.  The movie was lovely and very inspiring and starred Mark Ruffalo, Keira Knightley, and Adam Levine's Beard.  Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley were adorable (I love Keira Knightley and I don't care who knows it), but Adam Levine's Beard left something to be desired.   I love when I see a movie that was exactly what I needed in the moment, and this movie was it. That is the power of film and it's just magical and that's corny but, again, I don't care who knows it.

July 16, 2014

The Long Hallway

One of the most awkward things in the world is walking down a long empty hallway with someone else at the other end of it walking toward you.

You can see the other person coming toward you, but you don't want to acknowledge them or make eye contact too quickly because then you have to stare into each other's eyes for a minute until you pass by.  And you can't wave or say hello right away and look away for a while, because then you have to wave again when they get closer.  And you can't avoid them completely by looking around at other things or down at your iPhone because then it is glaringly obvious that you are trying to not make eye contact.  It's a conundrum I often find myself in.

I have yet to find a way to not feel awkward when I get into this situation, no matter how many approaches I try.  I usually wave or say hello too quickly and then I wave every few seconds at the other person until they pass.  At that point I am usually sweating from the stress of the awkward long hallway greeting but the other person doesn't look phased.  Hm.  Maybe it's not the long hallway that is awkward.  Maybe me + long hallway = awkward sweat inducing experience.  But long hallway on its own = just a long hallway.

July 15, 2014

Crutches

One day at a party, one of my uncles asked me if I was seeing anyone.  I wasn't, so I told him the truth, knowing that this would not end well.  He said loudly, "Well now, we gotta get you a man on crutches so he can't run away!"  He then puttered away leaving me hunched over and muttering unwitty comebacks to myself like Gollum.

Not five minutes later, my uncle returned.  WITH A GUY ON CRUTCHES.  He sat the guy next to me without introducing us and then took off with the guy's crutches, cackling madly.  He was too quick for me to stop him.

The guy, who we'll call Crutches, had a broken leg and was stuck with me.  All according to my uncle's plan.

I saw my uncle peeking out at us from behind a plant in the distance.  I wondered if he truly thought this was going to work.  I refused to play into this game so I stared indignantly at Crutches, who stared indignantly back at me.

My aunt walked up with two beers and handed them to me and Crutches and then mouthed "I'm sorry" to me and rolled her eyes and walked away.  My uncle threw his fist in the air from behind his plant in triumph.  He looked so happy that he was solving my life problems by kidnapping an invalid and forcing him to be my husband that I thought I'd humor him.

So, I asked Crutches about himself.  He said, "I'm eighteen."  As yes, I remember the days of being eighteen, when your age was all you needed to say about yourself.  There was no pressure to tell people how much you've accomplished and how you've got big plans for your future.  You say, "I'm eighteen" and people say, "Good for you!"  I tell people my age now and they try to force strangers to marry me.  Crutches asked me my age as well.  I told him and he looked at me like I was old lady time.

I grabbed the beer away from him and stomped over to my uncle.  My uncle hissed "Ask him to marry you!" as I grabbed the crutches out of his hands and left him to hide behind his plant.

I took the crutches back to Crutches and told him with great wisdom and kindness, "Crutches, it will never work out between us."

And sweet Crutches said back, "Ew."

July 13, 2014

The Bouquet Toss

I'm sure most of you have heard of this wedding tradition called the "Bouquet Toss."  I myself like to call it the "Worst."  I believe the tradition was originally created long ago to predict who would be the next single lady to get married.  But, really, who can know the accuracy of the bouquet?  Nowadays, the Bouquet Toss has become either a savage competition or a public shaming for single women.  I dread this moment in weddings not because I don't like being single, but because that little tiny bouquet is flying through the air, laughing in all of our faces, perpetuating the assumption that all of the single women want to catch it and get married next.  Which is something I most likely want to do one day pending the right mate, but not at the whimsy of some asshole bouquet, as I grapple at it wearing heels and an up do.  NOPE.

There are numerous Bouquet Toss photo stills out there of me, cowering away from the bouquet and/or covering my face in horror as it flies at me.

One wedding I went to was attended by three hundred people, and when it came time for the Bouquet Toss, I was one of eight single ladies, most of which were probably young enough to be Justin Bieber fans. And these girls were going for it.  I don't even think they wanted to get married next, I think they just wanted to WIN.  Which was actually awesome.  There was shoving and pushing as the bouquet flew through the air.  So, I did the only thing I could do.  I ran and jumped as high as I could and smacked the bouquet down to the ground in front of all of us and roared a mighty roar.  All of the girls stared at me in shock.  I was exhilarated.  Why does the bouquet have to be caught?  Why must we follow these traditions that no longer apply to women who, dare I say it, just want to win, not wed?

So anyway, I think I might become a wedding crasher.  I will go to weddings and as soon as the Bouquet Toss happens I will leap out like a gazelle and smack the bouquet away and all of the single girls will cheer and be glad that someone distracted the crowd from the antiquated public spectacle that declares their singledom undesirable.  It will be the ultimate photo bomb.

July 12, 2014

Yo and Emoticon

One day I got a text from a guy I had given my number to the night before.  I had hoped that he would ask me out.  Instead, the text I got said "Yo."  Just that.  I wrote back "Hey!  How are you?"  And he responded "Chillin'."  I need not continue to rehash the rest of the conversation because every response I got was one word (either "yah", "yo", "hah", or "chillin'".)  It was a lot of work on my part to suggest a place to hang out for the evening, and to receive consent on a time to meet, with only those words to work with on the other end.  I thought, maybe he doesn't type well.  Maybe he's a man of few words.  We'll call this guy "Yo."

On the date, Yo had a lot of things to say and was completely knowledgeable of other words in the English language.  The texting was forgotten.  I definitely wanted to hang out again.  I got a text the next day saying, yet again, "Yo."  I responded "Hey do you want to hang out?"  I received no response.

Two days later, I got another text from Yo saying, you guessed it, "Yo!!"  I tried to beat him at his own game, so I responded, "Yo!!!!!"  No response from him.  I suppose I used too many exclamation points and scared him off.

I gave up on Yo.

Then there was another guy I met, who texted me a couple of days later, and simply sent an emoticon of a monkey.  What the fuck does that mean?  Seriously, what does that mean?  I didn't respond because I refused to type words in response to an emoticon monkey.  We'll call this guy "Emoticon."  A couple of days later he tried again and texted me an emoticon of Santa Claus.  Mind you, this was during the summer.  You can imagine my confusion.  Does he want to go out on a date?  Or does he just like Santa Claus?  This went on for weeks.  At one point I got a toilet emoticon from him and was beside myself.

I can only draw one conclusion.  Something has shifted.  It seems to me that some (and certainly not all) guys, like Yo and Emoticon, do not want to do the work.  Either for fear of rejection, or downright laziness.  My guess is it's the latter.  They want to throw out a "Yo!" or an emoticon of a deer or a catfish or something weird, and if I bite and do the work, they'll go along with it.  If I don't respond, no harm no foul, because they weren't asking for anything anyway so there was nothing to lose.

I don't like this.  Now I'm all for asking a guy out myself.  But damned if I will ask a guy out on a date via text following a nonsensical emoticon.  Smart phones have made it too easy for us to communicate with each other, to the point where the communication via written (texted) word has gone from sentences, to only one word, to abbreviations, to pictures.  Like in caveman days.  Don't get me wrong, I have an unhealthy love for my smart phone, but there are some moments like these that drive me nuts.

Every once in a while I get a text from Yo.  And I always write back "Yo!!!!!!!!" and never get a response.  I think it will be a running joke between us for years.  Only I don't think Yo knows it's a joke.  And every once in a while I get a text from Emoticon.  I have not seen him since our first meeting.  And I certainly never shall, unless someone creates an emoticon that says, "Will you have dinner with me?"

June 3, 2014

A Conversation Between Me and Kevin. Part 800.

When Kevin missed my birthday party:

Kevin
As penance, I will take you to lunch.  A weekend perhaps since we'll both be working.  As early as this Sunday.  And the suffering I bear at this lunch will be due punishment for missing your big night.

Me
Perfect!!! I can't wait!

Kevin
Shut Up.

Then on the day of my belated birthday dinner with Kevin:

Me
Where do you want to meet?

Kevin
Any-goddamn-where you want
$8 max

Then, when Kevin came to see my solo show a couple of weeks later:

Kevin
We were going to leave town for the weekend but didn't because of your show
Literally worse than dying in a fire

Me
That's cause we are BFF!!! (emoticons of dancing people)

Then, when Kevin needed to exchange his tickets for another night:

Kevin
We want to go tomorrow instead of tonight
Alternatively never


For More Inspiring Conversations with Kevin, click any of the links below:
Part 2Part 3Part 6Part 7Part 11Part 8Part 25Part 35Part 102Part 306, Part 421

June 2, 2014

What Doesn't End Up on Facebook

What if, instead of posting how much they have accomplished on Facebook, people started posting what they actually did?

For example, I could post that this weekend I was very productive as weekends go, I rehearsed my upcoming solo show, I started blogging again, I sent out submissions to agents, and met all of my goals.  Part that doesn't end up on Facebook: AFTER I WATCHED 10-15 HOURS OF MAD MEN AND DIDN'T MOVE FROM MY COUCH BUT TO EAT.

Or, I could post that I went to a party and had a lot of fun.  Part that doesn't end up on Facebook: AND WOKE UP FULLY CLOTHED ON MY FLOOR WITH MY IPHONE STUCK TO MY FACE.

Or, I could post that I'm really happy with where my career is at.  Part that doesn't end up on Facebook: I'M NOT REALLY HAPPY WITH THAT, NO ONE IS.  PLEASE.

Sometimes I see posts from friends that say THIS IS THE BEST DAY EVER!  I'M SO HAPPY!  Part that doesn't end up on Facebook: THIS DAY IS ACTUALLY PRETTY MEDIOCRE.

One might say, and this is just a theory, that the amount of excessive bragging and or #blessed that one does on social media is equally proportionate to the amount of actual dissatisfaction one has for ones life.

June 1, 2014

Fish Funeral

Who's idea was it that the most dignified thing to do when your fish dies is to flush it down the toilet?  What fish ever thought, "ah yes, that is the way I want to go, into the sewer with disease and excrement?"  No fish ever thought that.  But somewhere along the way, some human thought, "well obviously when I flush you down the toilet, fish, it is symbolically sending you to the ocean." That is inaccurate and a terrible symbolic gesture.

I remember as a child that was how all of my carnival fish would go (the ones that only lasted a few days, a week tops.)  And I thought, that can't be right.  But I was only five and what did I know?

When I got my first fish as an adult, a beta named Mr. Miyagi, he lived for five glorious years.  He was my friend and companion.  He traveled with me when I would drive home to see my family (6 whole hours in a travel case with nary a complaint from him, except the occasional puffing up of his face, which betas do when they want to attack.)  He was a grumpy fish and lived a long fish life.  I went away to Scotland for a summer and had my boyfriend at the time take care of him.  However, Mr. Miyagi fell ill, probably because he missed me and/or hated my boyfriend.  As the end grew near, my boyfriend took Mr. Miyagi to my best friend's house to live out the rest of his days.  Which was a wise choice as Miyagi would have wanted that since he hated my boyfriend so much.  I remember the day like yesterday when my friend called me to tell me Mr. Miyagi had passed.  I cried for a long time.  Some say it was just a fish, but that fish got me through college and I SERIOUSLY think he understood everything around him because when I was acting like an ass, he would poof his face out at me until I stopped.  My friend couldn't get a hold of me right away so she flushed him down her toilet when he died.  Mr. Miyagi would have hated such an undignified funeral and I imagine him in fish heaven perpetually puffing his face out about that, which makes me happy as he loved looking grumpy all the time anyway.

My next beta fish, Captain Barbosa, lived a strong four years.  He was a pirate fish with a canon, a skeleton, and a pirate ship in his bowl.  He didn't puff his face out ever, which was disappointing to me, but he was much more mild tempered than Miyagi.  When the good Captain fell ill, it was during a particularly hard time in my life.  As such, when he died I wept for him in a way that was very embarrassing.  It actually turned into me crying and then laughing at myself for the absurdity of my sorrow.  I was glad I was there so that the Captain would not be flushed.  I buried him in the garden in front of my house with his cannon, and said a few words.  It was very sad and also awkward when people would walk by and ask me what I was doing.  It's hard to say "i'm having a funeral for my fish" in a way that doesn't sound completely insane.  And perhaps it is.  It's funny how we deal with having to say goodbye.  But at least this time it didn't have anything to do with a toilet.

January 8, 2014

The Largest Lint Ball

When I was around five years old I started a lint ball collection.  I don't remember why.  I was weird.  My family's house had this carpet that left a lot of lint around so one day I grabbed some of it up and made a tiny ball of the stuff.  For fun.  It was so much fun in fact that I decided it was the only thing to do ever.  When I saw more lint, I would add it to the ball.  Sometimes I would just scrape at the carpet to get more lint.  When I was at my grandparents house, I was in heaven because their carpet was super shaggy, so I could get 50% more lint in one day.  Every time I entered a room, I calculated the lint to carpet ratio and then went to work.  This went on for many years.  My lint ball grew to enormous proportions.  I had to start storing it in a cardboard box to contain it.  I would hide it at the top of my closet so no one would steal it.  Because obviously if someone robbed our house, the lint ball would be the first thing to go.  My precious.

I asked my mom recently if she remembered the lint ball collection and she said solemnly, "You were very serious about it and it meant a lot."  It made me picture my mother watching my five year old self clutching a giant lint ball that was probably some sort of health hazard.  She was probably wondering what she did wrong.

I do remember thinking it was one of the most important things I could do - to make the largest lint ball.  I think maybe it's because deep down I knew that no other child in the world was making a lint ball like mine so it made me feel special.  

At some point, I stopped adding things to the lint ball box, which was now really more of a crate that read "Do Not Touch - Michelle's Lint Ball Collection."  I don't remember the very last time I added lint to it.  I bet I didn't know it would be the last time when I did.  It may have been when I got into high school and forgot about the lint ball.  I asked my mom if she knew what happened to it.  I feared the worst, that it was thrown out.  But she whispered after a long pause, "....I think it's still in your closet."  She said this as if some wild animal was living in there.  Which may well be true because an animal could fit into the center of the lint ball very comfortably.

When I'm home again I will go searching for the lint ball.  I want to know that that ball and the child who made it still exist in some way.  It represents a time in my life when the simple act of continuously doing something that was important to me was everything.  I had a daily task, and that was to collect all of the lint in the world, and by God I was going to do it and I was going to do it well.  And at the end of the day, I knew I had done something great.  

That weird five year old reminds me that if I just keep picking up some lint every day, every day relentlessly with no excuses, one day I will get the biggest lint ball I ever dreamed of.

January 5, 2014

A Conversation Between Me and Kevin. Part 421.

A couple of years ago I created a segment of my blog called "A Conversation Between Me and Kevin" so that the world could know about my hero Kevin.  And also because it required little to no effort on my part to compose.  I literally just copied and pasted the words exchanged between me and Kevin via text message.  When it started, the segment irritated Kevin enormously.  That has not changed.  So for his birthday gift this year I thought I'd start it up again.  Here we go, A Conversation Between Me and Kevin Part 421:

Me
I had a dream last night that you cast me in a sketch and I forgot what character I was playing and you got so mad and made me sing Swing Low Sweet Chariot.

Kevin
Good dream.

Me
I woke up feeling panicked that I had disappointed you.

Kevin
Ha.  Stop panicking because you have always disappointed me.


For More Inspiring Conversations with Kevin, click any of the links below:
Part 2Part 3Part 6Part 7Part 11Part 8Part 25Part 35Part 102Part 306

January 4, 2014

On My Level, Part Two

When I was in college, I vowed to never be the kind of person who would call in a noise complaint.  I lived in a building that often threw all-building parties, they were the best, and very loud, and we all thought anyone who didn't like it should just be cool for one night and handle it.  Or move away from the party street.

We all operated under an unspoken rule.  If someone was throwing a party, or talking too loudly late at night when you were trying to sleep, you worked through it and let them party on, because one day very soon the roles would be reversed and you would be that asshole.  This worked nicely.  Many a time in college I had to get to bed early because of an exam the next day, and if anyone threw a party next door to me, I learned to sleep through the sounds of heavy bass and keg stands as if it were a lullaby.

I could sleep through most noise from then on.  Until now.  I have been trying to do this thing called "well rested-ness" where I actually get to bed early and get up early and get a full night's sleep.  It's been a constant battle, but slowly I've been able to reset my clock.  I went to bed around midnight one night (which sadly is early for me) when it started.  A bass sound so loud, it was shaking my apartment.  So loud, that it sounded as if I was now living in Mordor when everything was exploding.  Then a bright light like the eye of Sauron somehow managed to make my curtains obsolete.  There was a party somewhere.  And it was bangin'.

I hopped out of bed, now wide awake, and drew closer to my windows in order to determine the source of the noise and blinding light.  At first I thought it was my neighbor and was slightly annoyed.  This kind of noise at Midnight on a Wednesday?  Absurd.  And rude.  But also hilarious and ballsy.  But as I opened my window, it no longer sounded like the noise was coming from my building.  In fact, I didn't have to wonder anymore because some movement caught my eye. The little antique shop across the street was RAGING.  Young tiny people were poring in and out of the once innocent shop, smoking cigarettes and staring at their phones while dancing to the music, probably texting more people to join in on the party.

I was amused at the pure audacity of this party.  The quiet little antique shop was probably in shock.  OR having the time of its life.  Also, who in the world got a large speaker and a strobe light so bright it blinds the entire block into that antique shop?  The whole thing was a beacon just waiting for the police to shut it down.

I was amused for the first hour of the noise. Let them party on as I used to in college.  I felt a sense of pride.

Then on hour two, I thought, okay.  OKAY.  These damn kids and their damn loud music are messing with my "well rested-ness."  I have a job to go to tomorrow you slackers!  I finally understood how the bald Principal in Back to the Future felt.  A movie that none of these kids probably knew.  This made me feel worse.

Then I remembered the vow I made not so long ago to never be the kind of person who would call in a noise complaint on a bunch of kids having some fun or talking loudly, just so I could get some sleep.  When I was that age, I didn't mean any harm.  I just wanted to bump that bass and yell things.  I watch the party from afar, in my pajamas and wearing my retainers.  I was not on their level.  But dammit I was not going to be the one to ruin their level.

True to my vow, I never called a noise complaint on those kids.  But someone else did cause the police finally showed up and shut that party down REAL quick.


This is Part Two of Part One, which you can read here: On My Level.

January 2, 2014

Hello 2014. Hello.

Last year, I started off 2013 with a very negative attitude.  On the night before New Years, my gas water heater started making some very startling popping noises.  It sounded as if there was a fawn in my kitchen banging a tiny pot with a tiny wooden spoon.  I got up enough courage to gaze into the room with the water heater. Disappointed that there was no fawn, I then knew that I had a problem.  Because now I could smell gas, which is never good when you have a gas appliance.  Or just in general.  I called the gas company emergency line.  They said they would send someone right away.  

Before hearing the sound, I was on my way to meet some friends for New Years all the way across town, but now I was stuck.  I was advised to stay away from the water heater so I went as far away as possible, which was in the next room, and waited, in a sparkly outfit, alone on New Years.  I was a little mad because my hair looked GREAT and no one was there to see it.  Finally the Gas Company guy showed up.  He obviously hated me because he got an emergency call on New Years Eve.  I decided we would become best of friends. We didn't.

He performed all of the necessary procedures to confirm there was in fact a gas leak in my water heater.  He then put scary red stickers all over the appliance that said DANGER and DON'T FUCKING TOUCH THIS, or the like.  He shut down my water heater and said a technician would have to fix it after the New Year.  So, no hot water for me.

The technician left and all the paranoia that ever lived inside of me was released.  I was suddenly terrified of the gas water heater.  I knew it was off but I kept checking it to make sure.  The DANGER signs loomed at me and I felt like I had escaped near death.  Which in a way I had - gas leaks are no joke.  Maybe the sound I heard really was a tiny fawn trying to warn me.  

I ended up making it to my friend's house for New Years, masking my terror and pretending like everything was fine and whoooo 2013!  If I had a thought bubbling looming over my head at that party, it would have been a picture of a giant gas water heater with sharp teeth and arms flailing about.

Once I got home from the party I opened some windows and sat on my couch and watched television until daylight.  I was afraid to sleep for fear of the gas heater magically turning on again (that damn fawn!)  Or what if the gas company guy made a mistake?  Could I really put my life in his hands?  Eventually I had to sleep.  I had to trust that the water heater was off and that I was safe.  I took a cold cold shower.  And went to sleep in the daylight.  I woke up in the afternoon and was thankful to be alive.

This was just the beginning of my long battle with the water heater that lived in my apartment.  And it was the start of a 2013 full of fear.  And when you are always afraid, let me tell you, you don't do much.  I mean you do things cause you have to, but you are always doing them with the scary monster thought bubble looming over you.

So towards the end of 2013, I went on a quest to get all of the scary things out of my life.  Or at least to conquer them.  Not to say that all scary things are bad.  It's good to do things that scare you and challenge you.  When I did my solo show for the first time I thought I would pass out or pee and wanted to run away and never return.  But I got through it and in the end it was one of the best days of my life.  No, the good scary things must always be there.  But the bad scary things, the ones that take you over and make you feel like you can't do anything or be anything or move one inch, those must be conquered.  I finally conquered the water heater.  Still working on the monster under my bed that I check for every night.  Although I think he might be cool cause he's been there all my life and has let me be.  So maybe he's looking out for me.

Anyway, hey, 2014.  Hey.  You're gonna be alright.