August 16, 2015

Dating Advice You Should Probably Ignore (Part 2): Five Reasons Why YouShould Not Break Up With Someone In A Parking Lot

Let's suppose, hypothetically, that I got broken up with in a parking lot. If this were to have happened, which I'm not saying it did, these would be my thoughts on it. And, if you were to consider breaking up with someone in a parking lot, below are the reasons why you should in fact, NOT, do that:
  1. If you break up with someone in a parking lot, it shows that you think they are crazy. I say this because everyone knows you take a crazy person to a public place to break up with them so that they don't throw something at you. What would go on in my mind, if this parking lot break up hypothetically happened, is the following: "But I'm not the crazy person. I'm not crazy. OR AM I?  Only the crazy person would say that they are not the crazy person. OMG I'm crazy." See, now you've driven someone insane.
  2. People that you both know could walk up at any moment. This is true with any public place, but in a parking lot, it's significantly more awkward. Say an acquaintance of the person you are breaking up with happens to walk by just as you are saying, "I think this isn't working out." Now said acquaintance is awkward as all hell and accidentally drops his keys, which proceed to fly under his car. He then has to body crawl on all fours to retrieve the keys, and is forced to listen to the rest of the break up while he does so because he has no other option. It's not like the acquaintance could have walked away, unless he wanted to leave his car and keys there and take Uber for the rest of his days. This is all a "what if " scenario of course, but you see my point. Onlookers should not be a part of a break up.
  3. Exhaust. Not only are you breaking up with someone, but you are also causing them prolonged inhalation of toxic fumes. Thanks.
  4. Noise level. Break ups are never fun, no matter how you go about it. But when in a parking lot, all you can hear is, "I just CAR HORN and I think it would be better if SCREECHING TIRES and I hope that you CAR ALARM. CAR ALARM. CAR ALARM." Once that car alarm goes off, all of the car alarms go off. And then nothing ever gets said and what could have been a proper break up becomes the soundscape of the next Fast and the Furious movie.
  5. It's rude.  RUDE.
That's all I have to say about that. Not that I should have much to say about it. Because it didn't really happen.

April 15, 2015

Dating Advice You Should Probably Ignore: The Anatomy of a Text Message

Sometimes, when it comes to matters of dating, the text message is a vital part of early communication.  This is the truth of the world we live in.  A world in which no phone calls are made ever, and most communication is done through abbreviated text messages.  Because of this, a text message can make or break whether or not you see a person again.  It's all about timing and word choice.  And punctuation and emoticons.  Never underestimate the importance of a well placed emoticon.  And never forget that the first text makes the first impression, which lasts forever.  Or something like that.

The good thing about sending a text instead of calling someone you're interested in, is that you have time to collect your thoughts and think about what you want to say.  The bad thing about sending a text instead of exactly the same.  I've seen friends (guys and girls alike) consulting each other as to what they should say in a text, panicking as time progresses and the proper response time window is closing.  Someone somewhere made up a rule that you're not supposed to respond to a text from a potential date right away, but at the same time you shouldn't wait too long to respond either. It's a balance of showing interest, yet not seeming too eager.  The person who made up this rule is terrible.  There is no way of knowing when the perfect response time is.  There should be an equation for it.  Science should get on that.

This all sounds completely ridiculous, and it is.  It really is.  But, we all do crazy things in the name of love, so I must add "spends twenty minutes composing a text" to that list.  For example, this is a text that a guy that I was interested in sent to me:

It was good to meet you today.

I was excited to get the text, and then I got down to business figuring out how I should respond.  The following went through my mind:

What do I say to that??  I guess it's best to just repeat what he said back to him:

It was good to meet you, too.

But that sounds so boring!  I should ask him out.  I don't have to wait for him to ask me out.  I'm going to ask him out.

We should hang out some time!!!

Wait.  Don't use the word hang out.  Should I use the word "date"...or is the word "date" too serious?  Also, too many exclamation points...

We should hang out some time.

That's pretty good.  Maybe I should suggest where we should go...

We should hang out some time.  In my pants.

AHHAHA I'm hilarious.  Must delete that before I accidentally send it.  Okay - deleted.  Maybe a more appropriate location.

We should hang out some time at a bar.

No.  That sounds like all I do is hang out in bars.  Thank god he doesn't have an iphone.  Otherwise he could see how long it's taking me to type.

We should hang out sometime in LA.

That's vague enough.  Perhaps I should put a smiley face so it's a little flirty.

:) We should hang out sometime in LA. 
We should hang out sometime in LA. :)

Each smiley face position has a very specific meaning.  But, I feel like the second one is a little TOO flirty.  WHERE DO I PUT THE SMILEY FACE?!  What about combining?

It was good to meet you, too. :) We should hang out sometime in LA. 

Perfect.  Although...I hate when guys just say "we should hang out" and don't say when.  It's so open ended and lazy.  More specific?

It was good to meet you, too :) We should hang out sometime in LA.  I'm free Friday or Saturday night!!!!

Too many exclamation points again.  More like desperation points. But WHY do I even care?  You know what?  I will use those exclamation points.

It was good to meet you, too :) We should hang out sometime in LA.  I'm free Friday or Saturday night!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ah.  I see it now.  That is way too many exclamation points.  It looks like I'm yelling via text. Or insane.  Which isn't far off.  What would I write if I said exactly what I was thinking?

I think you're adorable and I would love to go on a date with you this weekend.  But not a date that involves eating melted cheese, because I hate melted cheese.  I need to put that out there because I know it's a deal breaker.  I also don't like being picked up because I was accidentally punted once. It's a long story. Everything else, I pretty much like.  And I'd really like to know what you like, or just anything about you really.

But the rules forbid me to say such honest and forward things. Or to write a text that looks like a novel. But....what if I defy those rules?  What's the worst that can happen?  Why can't I just say what I really mean when it comes to love?  You know what, screw it.  SEND.  I did it.

So, I was really proud of myself for sending that text.  It was a modern love note.  And I realized how freeing it is to not care.  Not in a complacent way, but in a way in which I don't worry about things I can't control.  There's a lot of power in saying what you mean.  If your potential date doesn't respond, the worst that can happen is...they didn't respond.  And even then, you at least know you told the truth.

I spent the next few minutes dancing around my apartment, raising my phone in victory.  Until I realized that while I was dancing I hadn't locked my phone, and I accidentally sent the toilet emoticon in a second text to the guy.  Why.  WHY!!!  Damn you emoticons, damn you.  Of all the emoticons to accidentally send, it had to be that one.  I stared at the toilet emoticon for a long time, willing it to be erased.

But then I thought, I am the type of person who accidentally sends toilet emoticons in text messages to boys.  And that is okay.  And you know what, that toilet emoticon got me a date.

March 13, 2015

Movie Rewatch: The Freaking Notebook

I am not ashamed to admit that I read The Notebook when I was in high school.  Actually I'm a little ashamed about it.  For those of you who don't know what this book is, I don't know what to tell you.  At the time, I thought it was the greatest love story of all time.  It was written by Nicholas Sparks and is about two young kids who fall in love and then one moves away and drama ensues.  There are probably going to be spoilers in this blog, but if you haven't read the book by now, the time has probably passed.

Later on, there was a movie based on the book, staring Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling who play Allie and Noah.  When I watched it for the first time in the movie theaters, I was extremely moved.  I sobbed at the end.  I thought, this is love.  Even though I was the same age as the characters, I hadn't ever experienced anything like that but I hoped one day I would.  I wanted the drama and the standing in the rain and the boating on the river in the rain.  Basically anything in the rain.

So, I hadn't seen the movie in a long time and it came on the telly on Valentine's Day weekend (OF COURSE IT DID), and I thought YES.  This is exactly what I need this weekend.  A good old fashioned love story.  I got prepared to watch the greatest love story of all time.

But as time often does, you begin to look at things differently than you would have a decade ago.  Suddenly this was no longer the greatest love story of all time.  It was now the most confusing love story of all time.  Here are my thoughts on this:

1)  Old People in the Beginning
This part is actually still adorable and so sad.  The movie starts with the main characters in old age (James Garner and Gena Rowlands who are wonderful), and continues to revisit them throughout the story in the care facility that they live in.  The older woman has dementia which is very hard to watch.  I couldn't handle this and tried to ignore the welling tears in my eyes while watching.  I started to remember why this film moved me so much until...

2)  Ryan Gosling is hanging off a Ferris wheel
In order to get Rachel McAdams' character Allie to go out on a date with him, Ryan Gosling's character Noah hangs off a Ferris wheel in front of her.  Please.  NO ONE survives this.  My sweaty palms would have slipped off from that bar in minutes.  Ridiculous, Gosling.  But charming. 

3)  Ryan Gosling says, "When I want something I have to have it, to be near it."
Red flag. Allie, run away.  This is what stalkers say.  Later, Noah literally grabs Allie's face to quiet her, which is unsettling.  Allie also beats the crap out of Noah when she's angry a couple of times.  Although Gosling could probably use a good smack, red flags all around on both sides are happening CONTINUOUSLY throughout the movie.  This movie was slowly teaching my young impressionable mind that love is constant battles and verbal abuse.  The last decade of my dating life has now been explained.

5)  Laying in the road
There is a scene where Noah and Allie lay in the middle of a road at Noah's request, to have fun.  This is ridiculous.  They almost get hit by a car, which is hilarious to Allie.  Then they go back into the street AGAIN to dance under the moonlight.  It's like they want to be hit by a car.  

6)  Rachel McAdams' dad's mustache
I don't know WHY I didn't notice this when I saw the movie for the first time, but WHAT is Allie's dad's mustache doing?  It is absurd and obviously not real.  He's like the brunette KFC guy.  Look it up.  Right now.

7)  Ryan Gosling taking Rachel McAdams to a haunted house so that they can do it
Red flag again.  This house is shady and gross.  When I first watched it, I thought it was so romantic.  Now I'm like, ew that floor they are laying on is moldy.

The use of the phrase "I'm a stupid woman" twice by two different characters
First Allie, and then her mother say, "I'm a stupid woman" when they have let themselves speak their minds or make a decision.  This is no good.  It is a period piece so perhaps it was meant to be a reflection of the time, but you don't hear Gosling saying he's a stupid man.  I never noticed it when I watched it as a kid, but it was glaring to me now.  You are not stupid women, Allie and her mother, where ever you are.

10) The ending *spoiler alert*
Then the ending sneaks up on you. The older version of Allie has a lucid moment where she remembers the older version of Noah and their love story (which he has been telling her this whole time, acted out by Rachel and Ryan in flashbacks).  They have an adorable dinner and then older Allie snaps out of her lucidity and starts screaming at older Noah because she doesn't recognize him.  Doctors have to restrain her and Noah sobs and it is DEVASTATING.  Then older Noah has a heart attack.  Then he sneaks into older Allie's room and I DARE YOU not to sob when the couple holds hands in bed and basically pass away at the same time in their sleep because their LOVE IS SO STRONG. 

So.  I sobbed at that part.  Like a lot.  An embarrassing amount.  I was sitting there and everything was fine and I was rolling my eyes at the whole movie, and then in a second, I lost it.  Just like I did a decade ago.  Those old people, man, they get ya.

So, the movie is confusing and does not paint the picture of the perfect love, but in the end, it does paint the picture of a resilient love. Which is something that even through the ridiculous haunted house and mustache moments, still moved me.  Sometimes I wonder if romantic movies mess up our ideas of love and paint unachievable or unhealthy pictures of what love should be.  For example, that love should always be in the rain.  Love is not always in the rain.  But, I guess sometimes it is.  And maybe there is no such thing as "love should be".  There are a million ways to love, and dammit if I don't still love the magic of Gosling and McAdams on screen.

Notebook, you saucy minx.

March 10, 2015

Today I would like to direct your attention to an article I wrote for Disney on their Babble site.  So excited to be blogging for Disney!  You can see the article by clicking here:

Awkward Things People Who Don’t Know How to Behave Around Babies Do

March 2, 2015

Worst Dates (Part 2)

I went on a first date with a guy who was very proud of his ability to plan dates.  As such, I had no idea what was in store for me.  I was excited because rarely have I been on a surprise date. He picked me up right on time.  Everything was awkward, as it should be on a first date.  I think I said something about the weather and then immediately despised myself.  He started driving and I wondered where he was taking me.  He hinted that we would have great views where we were going.

I was secretly hoping it would not be the Griffith Observatory because everyone seems to think this is a very unique place to take someone on a date, but I think it is the obvious choice, because it is a giant building on a mountain that you can see from everywhere.  There is no secret about it.  Don't get me wrong, it's beautiful.  But, there is no wine there.  Or maybe there is, however I have never found it.  There should be wine there if there is not.

We were soon driving suspiciously close to the Griffith Observatory.  I wanted to guess that that was where we were going, because my date asked me eight thousand times to guess.  But I didn't want to crush him if I guessed correctly, so I kept saying random things like "Nebraska" and "Space!"  Little did I know.

So we took the turn onto the winding road leading up to the Griffith Observatory and it became obvious.  I managed to uphold my obliviousness until the last seconds when I yelled too loudly "Oh wow!  The Observatory!"  I had just been to the Observatory as a work outing, so I didn't think of it as the most exciting and romantic place.  However, I was more concerned with him thinking I was having a good time than actually having a good time, so I put on a smile.

He told me we were going to watch the next show in the Planetarium, which is a dome like room in which projections are made all around to look like the sky, as you sit in chairs that recline slightly.  I had no idea what to expect.  I hadn't had dinner yet, or any wine, so I was stone cold sober and a little hungry.

The show started.  There was a live person telling the story of the universe from the dark, holding a lantern.  Projections all around showed the stars and space and the earth.  I don't quite remember exactly what was said, but the message of the story was very clear: the universe has existed for a long, long, long, long time, with many great events shaping the earth, and an individual human's life is merely a tiny speck on that existence.  I looked over at my date and he was happily exclaiming about how pretty the stars were.  He put his arm around me.  Meanwhile, I was having an existential crisis.

I thought, I've got to do some things.  There are things to do!  What am I doing with my life?  I spent most of the day before watching a marathon of Keeping Up With the Kardashians.  Was that a good use of my time?  I must make a difference.  I must change the world.  I must make myself a bigger speck, so that my life has meaning. there any point at all?  Should I just jump out of my seat, rip off my clothes, and go streaking through the Observatory instead?  Why not?  Why should I not do that?  Or maybe I should move to an island and live out my life in a tree.  Also - where is the wine when you need it?!

I was sweating and my eyes were watering.  I stared up at the night sky and the changing landscape surrounding me, taunting me, and when I could look at it no more, I glared at the woman who was telling the story of the universe.  How does she do this every night?

Finally, thankfully, the story ended.  I think the last line was, "You are nothing."  No, it wasn't, but it might as well have been.  We walked out and my date was chattering on about how cool that was, but I was in a state of shock.  We walked outside and took in the views of the city, and the cold air did me good.  I stared out at Los Angeles and thought about all of the things I came here to do.  I was having a moment.  Then my date broke the silence with "Do you want to get Thai food?"

I wanted to yell, "Does it even matter?!  The universe!  The universe doesn't give a shit if we get Thai food! That is a tiny problem!  There are things to do!  Big things!!  I must do all of the big things!!!"  But instead I said, "Yes, that would be wonderful."

We walked away from the Observatory.  As we got to my date's car, I took a quick look back at the dome that made me question my entire existence.  It really was a beautiful place.

The Observatory Planetarium kicked me right in the face that night.  It's very easy to get caught up in daily life and the little things, and forget about the big picture.  It's easy to get upset when we only see what is right in front of us.  I do it all the time.  And then I think about the Planetarium and the universe and the vivid and fiery landscapes that surrounded me in the dome that night, and I remember that there are bigger tasks at hand.  But I guess it is all of those little things that make up the big picture.  Because you never know when a tiny, tiny moment that means nothing at the time, will change your life or someone else's for the better.

February 14, 2015

You Know You've Been Single For Too Long When.... (Part 2: Valentine's Day Edition)

You know you've been single for too long when you wake up on Valentine's Day and have no idea what day it is.  You have seen it in the news and have heard people talking about it all week, but it doesn't compute in your single brain.  You see it as a Saturday.  A day for getting things done.  A day to be happy.

You go for a run, get ready for the day, get in your car, and as you're driving down the street you see a lot of pink and red but still, it doesn't compute.  Friends ask you what you're doing tonight and you say, "I don't know, maybe watch a movie?"  And they either look at you with pity or say "Good for you!"  And you are not sure why.

Then you get a package in the mail from your parents with chocolates and sunflower seeds and a card with a bunch of hearts on it.  And you think, my parents are amazing!  But still you don't realize.

Then you drive around some more, get a coffee, get some groceries.  You are having a really wonderful day.  AND a great hair day.  Your hair is a lion's mane today.  You swish it unnecessarily as you walk.  The bag boy at the grocery store gives you a small smile and you think, I look good today.  He looks surprised at your happiness as you buy dinner for one. You wonder why.

You notice a lot of couples in the parking lot as you leave the grocery store, walking hand in hand, but that's not new.  You're always surrounded by couples.

Then you get back in your car.   And Sam Smith comes on the radio.  That song, Lay Me Down.  It's beautiful and you belt it out in the car.  Then you decide you belting it is ruining the song so you stop singing and just listen.  The song makes you sad but hopeful, and you don't know why.

Then you go to the mall and get into an elevator.  There is a couple already in the elevator.  They are obviously angry at each other.  One of them is holding flowers.  The other is yelling.  You are uncomfortable and the elevator seems to be taking forever.  As the couple gets off the elevator continuing to argue, you hear one of them shout angrily, "Well happy FUCKING Valentine's Day."  The elevator doors close and you continue up.

That's when you realize.  Today is Valentine's Day.

A lot of single people hate Valentine's Day for obvious reasons.  But I think we forget there is a whole lot of love in our lives whether or not we are in a "relationship" or have a "valentine."  Anyone who has seen my most recent solo show (Refried) Bean or anyone who has read my blog will know that I have experienced some pretty weird and awkward relationships and dates.  I love that stuff.  I am always able to laugh and then I write about it.

There was one relationship I was in a couple of years ago that didn't leave me any room to laugh.  It turned me into an insecure, scared, and unhappy person.  Although we were only together for a few months, this person managed to make me believe that everyone who ever loved me was wrong.   He isolated me from the people who truly cared for me.  He said they didn't know who I truly was.  He then told me who I was by listing all of my flaws.  He tore me down with his words.  He told me that no other man would ever love me.  I was embarrassed that I had gotten myself into this situation.  I wanted to fix it so that no one would know.  But I couldn't.  It's terrifying how easy it is to fall apart.  It's ever scarier how another person's words and manipulations can take over your life.  I didn't know how to get out of it.  The story of how I did involves the movie Titanic and Leo DiCaprio.  But that is a blog for another day.

Now, two years later, I am happier than I have been in a long, long time.  I am chasing my dreams again and am excited about my acting career.  I am writing almost every day.  And the people I let into my life are loving and inspiring and challenge me to be better.  Anyone who wants to throw around their negative opinions fueled with jealousy and self hatred can take a hike.  That's a nice way of saying fuck off.

So, I'm sitting at home alone tonight, but I am not sad about it.  Because I am able to feel happy again.  Because I know it's worth it to wait for someone who truly respects and values me.  That might take a long time.  I may own a lot of cats at some point.  I'm not sure.  But everything will be just fine.

In the mean time, I will do all the things only single people can do.  Like dance around my house singing loudly using my hair brush as a microphone.  Like eating an entire bag of sunflower seeds and spitting them in a cup like a baseball player.  Like waking up on a Saturday, not knowing what day it is, and only doing what I want to do.  Like knowing that I will never give up on love.  Never.  And that's why I love Valentine's Day.

February 8, 2015

The Greatest Play Of All Time

My Grandpa taught me how to fall asleep with my eyes wide open.  It's no easy task, but it is very handy when I don’t want people to know that I am sleeping (like in a boring lecture).   It's also very creepy.

On one such occasion of wide eyed sleeping, I awoke with a start and didn't know where I was at first.   The roar of a crowd surrounded me.  I was in an audience.  People were on their feet.  Crying.  Hugging each other.  Stomping on the ground.  There was a stage and three actors were taking a bow in exultation. 

Like a bad dream suddenly remembered, it came crashing back.  I was at a national theater in Edinburgh.  I had just arrived in Scotland that day, jet-lagged but trying to adjust to the time difference.  When I arrived, I had immediately purchased a ticket for a three hour play that was described by critics as “life changing.”  I got the best seats in the house.  And I had slept through the entire thing.  The entire thing.  Now awake again, the energy in the room was deafening, the emotion buzzing in the air.  I stood up, joining the rest of the room in cheers and pretending that I had just seen the best play in the history of mankind.  A stranger next to me hugged me.  Real tears rolled down my face.  The stranger thought I too was moved.   However, I was crying because I was very upset that I had just spent 60 pounds to take a three hour nap.

Determined not to miss out, I went back to see the play again after a full nights sleep.  I watched all three hours intently.  I watched every breath and movement and beautiful poetic word from the three actors.  The play ended and the same chaotic rapture filled the air.  I had watched the whole play.  But still, I felt nothing.  I sat in my seat in shock, watching everyone around me gasp for air and scream at the top of their lungs as the actors took about a thousand bows.  A man near me noticed that I wasn't clapping, so I shot up in my seat and cheered a little too loudly and he gave me a nod of approval.  

Clearly I was missing something.  What was wrong with me?  I purchased the play in the lobby on my way out.  I climbed to the top of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh and I read the play in full as the chilly Scotland air whipped around me.  It was the perfect setting.  But still, I felt nothing.

Finally I decided.  Either the theater gods had punished me for sleeping through the greatest play of all time and cursed me so that I wouldn't be able to feel its brilliance, OR my mind was too weak to understand its brilliance, OR this play was actually bullshit, but no one wanted to admit it.

February 4, 2015

You Know You've Been Single For Too Long When.... (Part 1)

You know you've been single for too long when you have to strategically plan how you are going to zip up a dress because there is no one there to help you.

I bought an adorable dress recently that had a long zipper up the back.  However, I realized when I went to wear it that I couldn't zip it up.  I got the zipper up a few inches, but then I was faced with a logistics problem.  My arm was not long enough to reach over my shoulder to finishing zipping.  Nor was it long enough to reach behind my back and zip it up.

I ignored this logistics problem for a few minutes, trying to reach the zipper over my shoulder and spinning in a circle as I did so (because that would make my arm grow longer.)

I finally gave up on that pursuit and stared at myself in the mirror for a long time.  I was determined to do this on my own.

I thought, I've got it.  I will turn the dress around the wrong way, zip it up in front, and then turn it around the right way and voila!  This was a grave mistake.  As I zipped the dress up in front of me and then tried to shuffle it around to the back, I heard the fabric starting to rip and the zipper was slicing into my skin.  I abandoned this effort.

I wish I had a wire hanger to fashion into some sort of hook, but thanks to Mommie Dearest my closet was devoid of any such tool.

Hm.  What would Indiana Jones do?  What would Katniss Everdeen do? What would Oprah do?

They would all do something awesome.  Indiana Jones would replace the dress with a rare artifact, Katniss would use a bow and arrow to zip up the dress, and Oprah would make the dress a multi-million dollar company so that it didn't even have to worry about having a zipper.  I, however, was out of these options. I decided the only thing to do was to walk out into the world, with my head held high, and ask the nearest, least creepy person to zip up my dress.

This lucky non-creepy person happened to be the hostess at a restaurant I frequent near my house.   She zipped me up and then informed me that I had lipstick all over my teeth.  Me for the win this evening.

I went off to a party in which I wore the adorable dress.  The dress was perfect and I was so glad I wore it.  I got home well into the wee hours, exhausted after a long night, and ready to climb into bed.  I went to unzip the dress.  I thought, maybe I couldn't zip it by myself, but SURELY I can unzip it on my own.

I was so tired and the dress was so tight that I considered using kitchen sheers to remove the dress.  But, knowing I would regret this later, I decided my only option was to try to unzip the dress as much as possible, and pull it over my head.  I got the dress around my shoulders with my arms in the air, but then got stuck.  Now the dress wouldn't go up or down and my arms were permanently flailing above my head.  I was so tired, I plopped onto my bed in this awkward position and fell asleep.

The next morning, I woke up, and somehow, miraculously, the zipper had unzipped enough in my sleep to allow me to get out of the dress.  I had a fairy godmother un-zipper out there somewhere.

I am not ashamed to say that later that day, I went to Home Depot and bought some materials to craft an extendo-arm for zippers (made of a small wooden closet rod and a tiny hook) so that I may never be in this position again.  So give me all the zippers, world!  I will zip them, and it will look weird, but I will do it on my own!

February 1, 2015

The Secret Shoe Box

I found a shoe box from my childhood in my closet.  It was marked "Top Secret - Do Not Open".  It was wrapped with many layers of duct tape.  A hole was drilled through the cardboard where a metal lock was placed.  The lock was absurd because the smallest pressure on it would have ripped it through the cardboard without having to unlock it at all.

I racked my brain to try and remember what could have been so top secret that I needed to take these precautions.  Perhaps this shoe box contained information about my past.  Perhaps I was once a child spy or superhero but my memory had to be wiped, and I stored all of my memories in this box for safekeeping.

Or perhaps I would find a note from the Queen of some land saying that I am royalty.  I think that might be the plot of an Anne Hathaway movie.  I didn't rule it out though.

Or maybe it was something special from one of my ancestors, passed down for many generations and only made visible to me when I was ready to see it.  Like a magic jewel that allowed me to time travel.

I wished that whatever was in this box was something that was going to send me off on a great adventure.

It was time to open it.  I ripped out the lock and cut through the duct tape.  I threw open the box and inside was...

...a single cassette tape.  My heart pounded.  I must listen to the tape.

Then I panicked.  Where was I going to find something that could play this now antiquated piece of plastic?  I realized I still had a Walk Man somewhere in my things.  I ran to my desk and dug through my electronics drawer.  I pulled out my old Walk Man with orange headphones.  I said to it, "Hello, old friend."  I slammed some batteries into the thing, ran back to my Top Secret Shoe Box, and pulled out the tape.

This was a big moment.  I placed the tape in the Walk Man, put on my cool ass orange headphones, and pressed play.

A terrifying sound emanated from the headphones.  It was high pitched and loud was ME.  It was my childlike voice.  I was singing.  I listened to my warbling tones for a few minutes and realized that my childhood self had sung the entire score of Beauty and the Beast into a tape recorder. With gusto.  And then placed it in a box marked "Top Secret".

Unfortunately even at a young age, my voice was at its best only when I sang Gaston's parts.  Throughout the tape, I did a new voice for every character without missing a beat.  I was uninhibited.  I was singing the score of Beauty and the Beast at the top of my lungs and I didn't care who knew it.  I was not afraid.

I had forgotten what it was like to be truly unafraid.  So much fear builds up in us as we grow up.  The little kid on the tape recorder had not yet been told that her singing voice wasn't perfect.  She hadn't been told yet that she would never get cast in the pretty parts.  She hadn't yet been poisoned by negative comments and bullies.  She merely wanted to put on a show, and sing at the top of her lungs like a crazy person, so that she could make people laugh.  Because it made her happy. Because it was her dream to do so for the rest of her life.

The tape ended and I pulled off my orange headphones.  I don't remember making the tape, or putting it in a shoe box and wrapping it with duct tape.  Or putting that pointless lock on it.  But I wonder if that little kid took such great care of this tape because she knew that she would need to hear it again some day.

That little kid turned big kid has faced a lot of rejection, uncertainty, and all around bullshit from controlling, negative, and judgmental people.  As Frank Sinatra said "some people get their kicks  stomping on a dream."  Sometimes you have to shut those people out of your life.  And when you can't, all you can do is sing a song loudly and off key until they leave you alone.  And also keep working every day to prove them wrong.

Maybe this Top Secret Shoe Box didn't contain a magic jewel or a secret letter from a queen, but it was most certainly the beginning of an adventure.

January 28, 2015

The One that Got Away

I have a One That Got Away list.  And I just added another name to it this evening.

I was at dinner with some friends.  When we were leaving the restaurant, I caught the eye of a handsome yet scruffy guy at a table who was also with some friends.  We locked eyes and I smiled at him and then I ran away, as I am wont to do when I see a cute guy.  Or clowns.  The other option would have been talking to the cute guy and inevitably saying something weird and running away anyway.

My friends were most likely unaware of this inner dialogue/love story that was happening in my head during the few seconds it took to exit the restaurant.  Outside, I said goodbye to my friends and got in my car.  I stayed parked for a moment in order to answer a couple of text messages.  Then I started my car and drove on.  I stopped at a stoplight.

And there he was.  The guy from the restaurant.  He was crossing the street in front of my car.  He did a double take and then we locked eyes again and smiled shyly at each other.  He waved and since there was no one around to honk at me, I got up the nerve to talk to him.  I rolled down my window, we smiled more at each other, and I opened my mouth to say hello.  But instead, I burped.  Really loudly.

I rarely burp in public, or in life really.  It's just not my thing.  But it happened in this moment.  We both stared at each other wordlessly and wide-eyed, and I slowly rolled my window back up as we maintained awkward eye contact.  The window made an EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE sound as it rolled up.

I shifted my eyes forward, pretending like I didn't see him there anymore, and I put my blinker on to turn right.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him slowly back away and then turn and continue to cross the street.

I cursed myself and whoever invented burping.  As I drove on, I glanced back one more time.  At the same time, he glanced over his should at me.  I kept driving.

I will never know who this cute guy was or what our story would have been.   But I do know that today I aggressively burped at at stranger in the street.  And that's something.

To the One That Got Away #10, where ever you may be.

January 24, 2015

Do You Have A Boyfriend?

Every time I go to my doctor, who happens to have an Irish accent, she asks me the same question.  "Do you have a boyfriend?"  

One time I said no and that was followed by a long disapproving look from Irish Doctor, immediately followed by a long look of pity, and then a swift and encouraging pat on the back.  After that experience, I started to say yes, even if I didn't.

As soon I said yes, Irish Doctor always continued with the same follow up question: “Is he a good guy?”  I then frantically made up some imaginary good guy and told her all about him.  I have dated some pretty unbelievable good guys: an astronaut, a politician, a prince.  That one was harder to sell.  But she always seemed to believe me.  

Over time, I started to run out of good guys to describe to her.  I wanted to tell her the truth, but I couldn’t break the chain of imaginary good guys that I had been dating.  What would happen if I told her what I’d really been up to?  “No, I’m not dating any guys right now. I prefer to spend my weekends alone, drinking tea and pretending I'm at Downton Abbey.”  I was certain the world as I knew it would collapse around me if my poor sweet Irish Doctor knew this.  I was keeping the shred of dating sanity I had left together by one tiny lie.  And that was the one I told Irish Doctor.  So, I would keep lying.

One day, I went to see Irish Doctor and she burst into the room like my Fairy Godmother and asked the age old question, “Do you have a boyfriend?”  and then “Is he a good guy?”  But for some reason on this day of days, I couldn't think of a made up good guy to save my life.  I couldn't even remember the last good guy I made up so I could gush about how long we'd been dating.  There was a long silence and I started to panic.  I had to lie.  Think, think.  I looked around the walls desperately, which were plastered with pictures of happy parents and their babies that Irish Doctor delivered.  My eyes landed on a picture of Matthew McConahey and his baby.  He was holding the baby in one hand and making the sign for the Texas Longhorns in the other hand.  This infuriated me as I hate the Longhorns.  My anger for the McConahey, the Longhorns, and the terrible car commericials he’s in, mixed with my confusion of loving him in True Detective made me lose it.  I yelled “I don’t have a boyfriend!!! I don’t have a good guy boyfriend!”  

I closed my eyes waiting for the world to collapse around me.  When I opened them, Irish Doctor was paying no attention and was looking through my chart.  She looked up and said "Hm?  Did you say something dear?"  Perhaps she had never been listening to me to begin with.

I felt proud of myself none the less, for I had told the truth.  I was a dignified, independent lady.  Except for the fact that I was wearing an ass-less gown.

January 20, 2015

A Conversation Between Me and Kevin: Part 801

As some of you know, I have a dear friend and personal hero named Kevin.  Often times when I am too lazy to write a new blog, I simply retype a conversation I had with Kevin, which aggravates him to no end.  If this is your first time reading this segment, it may help you to first click the links here to read previous segments and the words of my BFF Kevin:

A Conversation Between Me and Kevin
Part 2Part 3Part 6Part 7Part 11Part 8Part 25Part 35Part 102Part 306Part 421Part 800

After Part 800, every time we talked or exchanged texts, Kevin took to forbidding me to blog about it.  Then I didn't hear from him for a long time.  It was a dark time.  

And then one glorious day when I thought there was no hope, Kevin sent me this:

Accompanied by this caption:

Awful, awful wine

Then I said:

Best wine ever!!!!!!!  Your new favorite wine!

I did not receive a response to that.  But I know this means that Kevin and I are BFF again.  More Conversations Between Me and Kevin to come.  Especially when my weak mind cannot write and I need Kevin's unfaltering encouragement.

January 17, 2015

The Most Obliviously Rude Man

I recently had the following experience whilst travelling. 

I was leaving for a trip.  When I boarded my flight, I sat on an aisle seat toward the back of the plane.  A businessman was already sitting in the window seat and we nodded curtly to one another, with the unspoken understanding that we would not speak to or bother the other person for the duration of the flight.  He placed his briefcase and jacket in the middle seat so as to ward off any unwanted middle companions to our row.  I relaxed knowing that I had picked the right row to sit in.  No awkward conversations, no elbow bumping, just me and my books and magazines.

The plane was boarded and it looked like we would leave the gate early, when a flight attendant exasperatedly announced that we were waiting on one more passenger before we could depart.  Everyone groaned.  Unless the late traveller was Kermit the Frog or some other lovable Muppet, we were all going to hate this person as soon as they boarded.

We heard him walking down the gate before we even saw him.  He was talking loudly and cheerfully and saying "I just barely made it!  Wow can you believe it?  I barely made it! Whew!"  I peeked toward the front of the plane and saw a sweaty man who had obviously been running through the airport emerge into the aisle and start making his way toward the back.  He was wearing the largest backpack I had ever seen.

The businessman and I exchanged glances.  With another curt nod to each other, we silently vowed to not make eye contact with the sweaty man and both stared down at our reading materials.  The business man piled another item onto our middle seat.  There were a ton of middle seats available as the plane was not full, and today would not be the day that the sweaty man chose our aisle.  Not on our watch.

The entire plane held its breath as everyone prayed the sweaty man would not choose their aisle to sit in.  I heard sighs of relief when he passed an aisle.  The sweaty man was humming happily and telling everyone, including the frustrated flight attendant who was trying to make him go down the aisle faster, that he couldn't believe he made the flight.

Then he stopped at our aisle.  I stared resolutely at my copy of Vogue, which was unfortunately open to a lipstick ad that had no words on it, so it was hard to pretend I was reading.  The sweaty man cleared his throat. I flinched and the business man clutched his newspaper as if to warn me to hold strong.  I continued staring at the lip stick ad.  Then the sweaty man said very politely and loudly, "May I sit next to you young lady?"  I looked up as a reflex and made eye contact with the sweaty man.  The business man dropped his head into his hands.  The flight attendant looked at me expectantly, pleading with her eyes to allow the sweaty man to sit down so that she didn't have to deal with him anymore.  Other passengers were looking at me sympathetically, yet with relief that they weren't the chosen ones.

I had no other option.  I cast a last look at the businessman who shook his head vigorously.  Then I said to the sweaty man,  "Of course you can."  I got up and felt respect and pity from the entire plane.  I moved into the aisle to allow the sweaty man room to get to the middle seat.  The businessman was staring daggers at me, our silent promise to each other long forgotten.  The sweaty man turned to thank the flight attendant and his gigantic backpack smacked me so hard I almost fell over.  I backed away further down the aisle to a safe distance and watched him struggle to take the backpack off.  He placed the backpack in my seat and proceeded to take out three sweatshirts, a wad of napkins, and a giant laptop from the early 90s.  The flight attendant helped him stuff the backpack up above and asked him to sit down and stow his laptop and sweatshirts under the seat in front of him.  She walked away quickly.  As the sweaty man struggled to sit down and get his laptop and sweatshirts organized (why did he need sweatshirts when he was so sweaty?) he pulled his cellphone out of his pocket and called someone and told them, you guessed it, that he "Just barely made his flight!  Wow!" 

I sat down next to him as far into the aisle as I possibly could so that his sweat would not drip on me.  The businessman was not as fortunate as he had nowhere to go but out the window.  He was pressed up against the wall of the plane trying to avoid the sweatshirts that were flowing over into his seat.

The flight attendant came back and yelled at the sweaty man to put his cell phone into airplane mode.  He cheerfully put his phone away.  At this point, our flight was running late.  I hoped the message boards at the airport said next to our flight, "DELAYED - due to the most obliviously rude yet cheerful man."

Our plane finally took off.  I hung into the aisle reading the rest of my copy of Vogue.  Five minutes into the flight, after exclaiming about how sweaty he was, the sweaty man took out his pile of napkins and started blotting his face.  He then lifted up his shirt and blotted his armpits.  And then did the same in his pants.  The egregiousness of this act cannot be understated.  The businessman had his eyes closed at this point, muttering to himself.

After the sweat blotting, the sweaty man threw his napkins on the ground and then decided to put a sweatshirt from his pile of sweatshirts on, all the while hacking and coughing.  Oh good, he has a cold too.  When he put his right arm in his sweatshirt, he flailed it out and smacked me right in the face with his hand.  I bent further into the aisle and prayed that my immune system was strong enough to fight off whatever germs were now on my face from his sweaty hand.  He apologized happily and continued to cough into his hand for the duration of the flight.  I wanted to yell at him and tell him to do the vampire (cough into your elbow, fool, it's less germy) but I was afraid to engage into any sort of conversation with the man, lest my flight turn into hearing his life story or, even worse, hearing how he just barely made the flight eight thousand more times. 

Thankfully, it was not a long flight and we finally landed.  When our plane's wheels hit the ground, the businessman and I exchanged another look.  His once curt nod was now full of an annoyance and disgust for the sweaty grossness between us that only he and I could understand.

As soon as the plane stopped at our gate, the sweaty man stood up, with his butt completely in the face of the businessman.  Being as how we were at the back of the plane and had to wait to deboard, this was for a long time.  When it was finally our row's turn to exit, before I could stand up (since I was on the aisle and should exit first), the sweaty man started CLIMBING OVER ME.  We're talking butt in the face, using me as an object to propell him into the aisle.  THAT. WAS. IT.  I was so overwhelmed by my annoyance that I could only muster a few muffled words.  "Sir.  SIR. NO. SIR, NO! BAD! NO!" 

Once he was in the aisle and had successfully climbed over me with his sweatshirts, gross napkins, and old laptop in his arms, he gestured to me, looked at someone else and said "what's wrong with her?"  He laughed heartily as if I was insane and took his giant backpack out of the overhead compartment, which promptly fell on my head.  I hit the sweaty backback away from me and he picked it up and exited the plane with a shrug.  The businessman and I exchanged no words and exited the plane as well, defeated.

As I left the airport I saw the sweaty man again, running to catch a shuttle with his giant backpack on and sweaters streaming behind him.  He was knocking people and luggage over in order to get to the shuttle.  I heard him board the shuttle, cheerfully exclaiming about how he "almost missed the shuttle.  Wow!"  

The shuttle took off.  I watched it until it was out of sight, and thought, there he goes, into the sunset, the most obliviously rude man.  I hope we never meet again.

January 14, 2015


Today a real life tumbleweed rolled in front of my car.  Don't ask me where it came from.  I've never seen a tumbleweed in the city.  But that was definitely what it was.

I think the tumbleweed was mocking me.  It rolled along aimlessly, clearly saying to me "Your life is so empty that I traveled many miles from the desert just to roll by you to make a point."

Because that is the role of tumbleweeds, isn't it?  In movies, a tumbleweed will roll across a deserted town in the Old West, usually after an outlaw has threatened the townspeople, who have boarded up their windows and are peeking out into the road fearfully.  They are waiting for something to happen: for the Sheriff to face down the outlaw, for the heroic cowboy to save the day, for Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman to appear from the heavens.

So, the tumbleweed rolls down the empty street and all of the townspeople watch it.  It's a symbol of emptiness, and a symbol of solitude.  But I think the tumbleweed is trying to tell those townspeople something.  I think the tumbleweed is actually saying, "Hey!  Lazy townspeople!  There's like a hundred of you and one bad guy!  Why don't you put together a plan?  Or make a booby trap?  Or lure him to a hole in the ground and push him in?  Or start a book club.  Or create an app.  Do SOMETHING!  DO ANYTHING! Don't just stand there waiting for someone else to make it happen!"

Then the tumbleweed continues to roll along, exasperated that no one respects or listens to it.

I smiled at the tumbleweed as the light I was at turned green.  I drove forward slowly so that I wouldn't hit the tumbleweed with my car, but the car behind me got impatient, sped around me, and smashed the tumbleweed first with its front wheels and then with the back ones.

Surprisingly, the tumbleweed kept moving along, albeit in a less circular and more sideways motion.  I gave it a nod, and continued on my way.

So I kind of want to start a new thing.  When someone in my life is being complacent, avoiding solving a problem, or stuck in the same old routine, instead of watching them waste away not progressing, I will do continuous somersaults in front of them and yell "TUMBLEWEED!" until they take action.  Or if I catch myself being lazy, I will give myself a good hard look in the mirror and scream "TUMBLEWEED!" and then splash cold water on my face.  And then do a somersault.

This could work, everyone.  I challenge all of you to Tumbleweed someone tomorrow and send me a picture of it.  Perhaps because of this, all of us will start taking more action and stop making excuses. We can encourage one another to be better, more productive people, who achieve their dreams and make a difference in the world.  And please if you see me in the streets, Tumbleweed the hell out of me.  Cause I need it.

January 11, 2015

The Secret Bar

My friend Boobs invites me to a bar one night and says she has two hot guy friends that are dying to meet me.  I immediately question this as no guy is dying to meet me.  Especially if he's already met Boobs.  And especially if he's seen my Facebook profile picture which is currently of me looking like a Muppet in front of the Tardis.  Even so, I allow myself to get my hopes up.  

Boobs talks these guys up all day to me and tells me how wonderful they are and how one of them will be perfect for me.  Their names are Guy and Rory.  

I dress in a really cute skirt and shirt and make my way to the bar where I am supposed to meet Boobs, Guy, and Rory.  Boobs tells me the bar is in a basement and I have to use a secret code to get in, which is “lord”.  I can't tell if the secret code is lord like the Lord and God, or Lorde like the Australian pop singer.  

I enter the bar and no one is in it.  Except the bartender who is wiping down the bar and looking really mysterious.  There are about ten doors in the walls of the bar.  The bartender says “CHOOSE WISELY” and then sinks behind the counter.  

I can hear him breathing from behind the counter but I decide not to ask questions.  I try the first three doors to no avail.  The fourth door opens with a creek.  Behind it is a narrow winding staircase which seems to descend quite a ways down under ground.  So this is how I die.  

I start down the staircase hoping these guys are worth it.  I finally reach the bottom and a really creepy hot girl is sitting on a lounge chair.  We stare at each other for a long time.  I start to speak and she yells “PASSWORD?”  I say…”Lorde.”  She says “Lord like god or Lorde like Lorde?”  I take a wild guess based on the douchery around me.  “Lorde like Lorde?”  “Correct!” She says.  Then her lounge chair starts to move to the left by some sort of witchcraft, revealing a trap door underneath it.  “DESCEND!” She yells.  I am irritated, but scared.  “Alright, alright, jesus.”  

I open the trapdoor and a blast of swing music fills the room.  I look for more stairs, but there is only a fireman’s pole that I’m supposed to descend down.  I curse Boobs for not telling me about this, as I grab the pole and wrap my legs around it.  I’m wearing a skirt, and my ass is hanging out, but there is no other way.  I slide down and everyone stares at me.  

The room is full of cigar smoke and the scent of bourbon.   If I have died, this heaven is okay by me.  I start asking around for Boobs and some guy says she’s in the Backroom.  I make my way to where he pointed and discover a door that says “Backroom.”  Clever.  I hear Boobs laugh behind the door.  

I turn the doorknob, throw open the door, and there Boobs is.  Making out with two guys.   Who I recognize as Guy and Rory.  Boobs says, “They both told me they love me tonight so I’m trying to decide who I want by making out with both of them.  You understand.”  I feel like a fool.  I've been Boob'd yet again.  I say, “Selfish Boobs.  Very, very selfish.”  

She doesn’t hear me as Guy and Rory are already back in her face.   I stomp out of the Backroom and I go back to where I came in and start the long climb back up the fireman’s pole, ass hanging out and all.  This takes a considerable amount of effort.  When I’m halfway up the pole, some guy says, “Hey."  I look down at him.  He's really cute.  I smile.  Then he says, "You don't have to go up the pole.  There’s a door right there.”  He points to a door that is very clearly marked "EXIT" which I could have walked out of without having my ass hanging out.  To maintain my dignity, I ignore him and finish my climb up the fireman’s pole as if it was what I was born to do.

January 8, 2015

iTunes Message

Tonight I was working on a play and had to stop for a moment to reflect on something that just happened.

My writing partner Melissa and I write a new play every year for our high school Alma Mater.  The play gets produced for a couple of months, performed by the high school for elementary school kids.  So today I wrote a short song for a character and had to record it as an example for the actor who will play the part.  Now, anyone who has ever heard me try to sing anything from any musical that doesn't require me to sound like a man knows that I should not be singing.  However, some poor high school student will have to listen to my weird voice over and over again in order to learn his part, and that brings me much joy.  I'm sure he deserves it.  May it be a turning point in his life.

So I recorded the damn thing and saved it to iTunes.  I listened to it once to make sure it was okay, hoping my neighbor wasn't listening and pitying me.  The song stopped in the middle so I hit a button on my keyboard and I kid you not, instead of continuing the song, my iTunes started blasting All By Myself.  The following then transpired:

I laughed heartily and pressed stop.
The song would not stop.
I laughed a little more. And pressed stop with more vigor.
The song would not stop.
I sat and listened to the song, helpless.
"I think of all the friends I've known, but when I dial the telephone, nobody's home."
What the DAMN HELL kind of lyric is that?!
I got angry. iTunes is rude.
I listened to more.
I got sad.
I sang to the chorus a little bit.
I air played to the piano part.
I Bridget Jones'd the ending.  (If you don't get this reference, I don't know what to say.)
The song stopped.  Finally.
I was relieved.
I pressed play again and put the song on repeat and have been listening to it ever since.

Then I wrote this blog.  I'm in some sort of an All By Myself trance/therapy session.  But I love it.  Much like how the high school student will feel when he has to listen to my singing over and over again, only, he will hate it.

January 6, 2015

Worst Dates

I met a guy who was into Raw food and he asked me out on a date.  Presumably, he would take me out to eat at a Raw food restaurant.    He called me on the day of our date and said his car was in the shop so he asked me to drive.  Sure. 

I picked him up, I’m a modern woman after all, and then proceeded to drive to some town I hadn’t heard of on the outskirts of Los Angeles.  This took about four hours, because he didn’t believe in using directions to get somewhere, because it was about the “journey”.  Fine. 

We entered the restaurant and everyone was wearing white or beige.  I was wearing red.  Which the hostess pointed out to me was the color of animal’s blood, which they don’t serve there.  Great.

We ordered an appetizer of raw god knows what.  It came out as a tiny tiny tiny orange mound of food.  We split it and it barely filled my spoon.  That appetizer was $45.  Hm.

We had a meal of tiny food (that was, to be fair, minuscule but delicious.)  I felt like I was eating the food of tiny squirrels.  I’m talking every plate had about a dime shape of food on it.  The bill came after our meal and it was $200.  I politely offered to pitch in.  But, my date said he forgot his wallet and asked if I could pay.  FANTASTIC.

I paid angrily and he looked happy as a clam.  He then asked me if I could take him to get groceries at a Raw food store since he forgot his wallet and didn’t have a car until it was fixed.  I began to question whether this “car” existed.

I took him to get groceries because I’m an absurd person.  And I paid for them, with the promise that he would pay me back.  I drove him home and dropped him off.  I waited for him to go inside his “house” but he just lingered in the yard.

I realized I may have just taken a cute, fancy, penniless homeless man who was really into Raw food on a date.