Thursday, August 30, 2007

Here’s What You’re Going To Do

So, rr and I have been considering attending a KC & the Sunshine Band concert next month. I emailed my brother and a friend of his for directions. I emailed my brother’s friend because I had been told that the lived very close to the venue, so I expected that he’d be able to give good directions. I emailed my brother because he had been there once, and he can tell you how to get to anywhere even if he’s never been there. It’s amazing, and he’s been like that since he was 4. When he was 4, he gave my mother directions to get to a place he’d only been to once, the year before.

I should have known that I really only needed to ask my brother.

Don’t get me wrong. My brother’s friend gave me perfectly competent directions. Those directions would have enabled 9 people out of 10 to get there without trouble. But my brother gave RR directions that are more appropriate for our skill level. My brother (1) has an amazing sense of direction, (2) is very observant about landmarks, and, most importantly, (3) understands that neither (1) nor (2) applies to me or rr. It’s like God took the sense of direction that three people should have and gave it all to my brother, leaving none for RR and me. Accordingly, my brother has long been the go-to guy for us.

Despite that, he almost always, very sweetly I think, overestimates us. He knows we aren’t good with directions, but he has too much confidence in our memories, specifically, in our ability to remember places we’ve been 50 times before. At least, he does at the beginning of a conversation involving directions. And then he comes back to reality. I cannot tell you how many times we’ve had a conversation that went something like this [all places and road names are made up]:

Me: Hey, how do I get to the YadaYada?
Him: You just get on the 101 and take it up to the 12 and exit Norville, it’ll be on your right.
Me: Ok, great. . . Do I know where the 101 is?
Him: You’ve been there, we went there with the family 17 years ago for lunch once. Remember, it was raining, and dad said [insert lots of details about a day I don’t remember at all]. [or worse, it might be something like, “you remember, that’s where your high school graduation was,” or “you know, the interstate you used to live right off of,” something that I really should remember but don’t]
Me: ooook, so, how do I get there?
Him: You just take Interstate 70 north.
Me: And . . . Interstate 70, that’s . . . I get there by . . . by taking . . .
Him: Interstate 40.
Me: Ok, right. Interstate 40. So, I’ll take Interstate 40. Right, ok, I know what you’re talking about now. I’ll take Interstate 40 east and then take the exit for Interstate 70, and I’ll go . . .
Him: North.
Me: and that’s–
Him: Left.
Me: Right, ok, 40 to 70, go left, take that up to the 101. Exit Norville Road. And then I’ll be able to find it?
Him: Take the 101 to 12. 12 to Norville.
Me: Oh. Ok. . . So . . . then. . .
Him: Ok, tell you what. This is what you’re going to do. . .

And then he proceeds to give me directions that will take me longer to get there but are easier to follow, involving at least some streets that I know. He’ll give me landmarks and mileage and approximate wait time at stop lights and the license plates of the cars I’ll pass on the road. Ok, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. But he gives idiot-proof directions, is my point.

Yesterday, he went straight to the idiot-proof directions, skipping over his usual nod to the intelligence the family supposes us to have. Perhaps it’s because the last time I was at my parents’ house with him, we had a conversation that went something like this:

Me [talking about what would happen if he made one of his vindictive coworkers angry]: You’ll be walking around with one of those things on your back.
Him, Mom, and Dad: ?
Me: You know, those things. [drawing desperate circles with my arms] The round things, with the red? You throw things? [mimicking throwing darts]
Him [incredulously]: . . . You mean a target?
Me [relieved]: Yes!

I wish I could have captured the looks on their faces. It was like they were all thinking, “oh, this is worse than we thought.” Like they all finally realized what I’ve been saying for years, that my brain really does only hold on to the stuff I absolutely have to remember to survive. That rr’s habit of finishing my sentences for me isn’t so much a trait that would annoy me as one that’s absolutely vital to my conveying a complete thought. So maybe, when giving directions to rr last night, my brother was thinking that we were only one step up from having to have our address pinned to our shirts. Whatever the case, he gave us good directions.

I’m only a little nervous about getting lost and having to ask for directions from some guy at a convenience store. “You know, that place, with the building, for the singing?”

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

And lo, it was the longest day ever.

Is it just me, or is today dragging by for everyone? I spoke to Deals on the phone about an hour ago, and it feels like yesterday. A minute ago, I thought to myself that I could use more caffeine but shouldn’t drink it late in the day, and then I realized that it’s not even 1:30 yet. On the plus side, I have lots of time to get work done today, which is good because I’m behind and moving at the pace of . . . something slow (my brain is also moving slowly today). On the downside, although I only have a little over 3 hours left in my work day, it will feel like 8.

Y’all, I have a cut on my finger that is starting to look a little puffy. I am concerned because (a) I cut myself with my own fingernail, and (b) I cut myself with my own fingernail. By (a) I mean that I am concerned that I have razor-like fingernails (I knew they were strong and therefore not inclined to break; I did not know I could use them to clip coupons and shave my legs). And by (b) I mean that I am concerned because what could I have had on my fingernail that would cause a cut made by it to look all red and puffy? Don’t say fungus.

Don’t say tetanus, either.

Friday, August 24, 2007

This and That

So, I was walking past the county jail today, like I do everyday, and I saw a woman outside in a black evening dress, aqua socks, and flip flops. And I’m wondering if she always dresses like that, or if she just got out of jail and that’s what they picked her up in? I have to say, I hope it’s the former. And if that’s the case, I kind of want to meet her.

In other news, several of my coworkers are leaving for new gigs, and I’m mostly sad about it. We all more or less learned the being-a-lawyer ropes together. We all found out we’d passed the bar together. And now we’re going in different directions, and though we’ll keep in touch, I can’t pop into someone’s office to ask for input on a sticky issue, and none of them will be calling me and beginning with, “this may be a stupid question, but” and following with a question that I also was struggling with but was sure I was the only one who didn’t know the answer. It’s just nice to work with people at the exact same point in their careers as you are. But at the same time, I’m happy for them. It’s good for them, and that’s all that really matters. The good news for me is that my Starbucks buddy is not leaving, so I still have someone to make the trip with every week. So I’ve got that going for me.

Misc. Notes
  • I am not in favor of pizza crust with cheese in it. I never thought I’d say this about anything, but it’s just too much cheese.
  • It is possible for Twinkies to go stale.
  • One of my coworkers and I dressed almost exactly alike today, right down to our purses. Except that I looked like the unkempt version.
  • And for that matter, I really should stop looking like a slob at work. This would require me getting out of bed earlier than 20 minutes before I have to leave. I do not see this happening in the foreseeable future.
  • I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Trash. Coming to a Mailbox Near You.

I’ve been absent, I know. I took a week off from work and also from the computer. It was reeaaaal nice. Mostly, I cleaned. That doesn’t sound exciting to you, perhaps. But I was glad to get stuff out of the house. I have become a woman obsessed with getting rid of things. It makes me happy, so much so that when people try to give me gifts, I get upset. ‘No, no, no! I’m moving things the other way! Out, not in!’ I don’ t actual say that out loud, of course (except to my mom, the poor woman), but I think it. There are exceptions to the "no new stuff" rule. Hils got me a t-shirt that I love, another friend got me a handbag (but I got rid of another one I already had, so no net gain). I wouldn’t turn down a cd or a book by an author I love. But other than that, nothing doing. And instead of missing my things, I just feel relief. I’m sure that my throwoutitis will clear up before I’m sleeping on the floor, entertaining myself by counting bumps on the ceiling, and keeping my one clean change of clothes neatly stacked in the corner, but hopefully it will keep going for awhile. I love that I have discovered that what will make me feel at peace at home is not a bigger place with more closets, but just less stuff.

Of course, it does mean that, in my quest for getting rid of things, I have taken to mailing random junk to friends. I want to send some of it to BF/R, in the hopes of getting the “[JLR], what the hell?” phone call, but I know that she’ll just politely accept it, throw it in the trash, and later, if asked, will tell me that she’s terribly sorry, she feels really bad about it, but the dog ate it. And anyway, I’d just be sending it to her because I know she’d hate whatever it was. But because I won’t be around to see her reaction, it’s just not as fun. Thus, I am sending things to other friends, those that aren’t used to receiving random, pointless “gifts” in the mail from me (that rules out Hils) ("um, thanks for the ice trays?"). And so, at brunch this past Sunday, my friend D asks me why he’s recently received in the mail a dusty, cat-hair covered, plastic jump rope (he left out the description, but it hung in the air, unspoken but heavily present). “Well,” I said with only a slight twinge of embarrassment, “you’d mentioned you were wanting a jump rope.” ‘And,’ I thought, ‘it got it out of the house.’ This is what I’ve been doing.

So, for those of you whose address I know, be on the look out. I will probably not send you something you haven’t previously mentioned off-hand that you were looking into getting for yourself, but you never know. And if you’d like to receive random junk that you’ll be too ashamed to display but feel too guilty to get rid of (‘she did mail it to me, I can’t just throw it out’), just give me your address. Junk mail will be heading your way. But not the Cow-as -Vegas-Showgirl statuette. That stays with me.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

A Brief Letter to That Certain Hairstylist, Who Shall Remain Nameless

Dear Woman Who Recently Cut My Hair;

I know that this was the first time you cut my hair. And I know I said that I wanted my hair to be layered. But I thought that you would be able to tell that I meant for it to have one layer, and a long layer at that, just enough to keep my hair from looking like Alice’s in the Dilbert comic strip (although I have much admiration for Alice, I do not admire her hair). I thought you could tell that from the way my hair was already cut, and, you know, the words coming out of my mouth. I don’t know where you got the idea that I would be ok with you giving my hair a modified shag, with significant amounts of my hair shorter than the rest, so that when my hair is curly, it looks like an inverted triangle, and when it’s dry, I look like Mrs. Brady. I appreciate that my hair can be a challenge and maybe a bit overwhelming, but you should have noticed at some point before it was too late that it just wasn’t going to work. It’s not cool, and I’m not pleased.

Thanks ever so.

Sincerely,
JLR