...Miss Head, if You're Nasty

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Good Times

I went on a long walk today. I'm living in a new town, now. A college town. And I'm surrounded by 18-22 year olds all day, who wear ridiculous slippers and tight black pants that might or might not be considered leggings and who seem only to eat Doritos and Pop Tarts. I couldn't even eat like that when I was there age. Rather, I ate like that. And it wasn't good.

During the walk, I saw a lot of things that reminded me of my college years. Guys in Jeep Wranglers, who reminded me of Ace, the best looking Indian man I've ever known, or even seen. He had a hard topped grey Wranger...or maybe it was black...and eyes like liquid midnight.

I saw rocks painted with various slogans and mottos, which made me think of a spring night when I and my friends managed to paint a logo on a train trestle bridge, in the rain no less, running out of the road whenever a car drove by.

I saw a guy walking home at about 9 a.m., clearly wearing last night's party clothes. He didn't smile back when I grinned at him. That made me think of the first week or two of school, when the fraternities would set up donut stands in front of their houses every morning to sell breakfast to the freshmen girls who would be walking back to their dorms after a hard game of Century Club and whatever sexual experience she was talked into afterward.

I went to Target, which reminded me of long afternoons, shopping with friends, smelling every single scent of deoderant in the store, looking at all of the greeting cards and ending up buying laundry detergent or something similarly lame.

And I sat on the other side of the door from a table full of girls, talking about people they knew, stories they'd heard, things they'd done together. Listening to them was like watching my friends and I at our table at dinner in Wright Quad, sitting there rehashing the day, talking about what party we'd be going to that evening, figuring out who was going to get beer, laughing about someone's boyfriend. Just being together.

I hope they enjoy it while it lasts.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Fight, Fight, Fight!

Who is the saddest girl in the world?

The girl who is up at 10:22 pm, trolling the internet to find out why Jon Gosselin of Jon and Kate + 8 was wearing an IU t-shirt on that horrible mess of a show last night.

Monday, May 04, 2009

If It's Yellow

There are some things I just don't understand. I don't understand why people cook with margarine and not butter. I don't understand people who are not motivated by food. I don't understand spending money to vote for television show winners.

And I don't understand people who don't flush the toilet.

I mean, what is that about? Seriously. I mean, you've clearly learned, at some point, how to use the facility. You know how it works. You know where everything goes. You know there is water involved. You clearly must be aware there is a handle on the back of the tank. So how is it that you don't actually touch the handle?

Now, I'm not talking about scary bathrooms. I'm not talking about holes in the floor or places that clearly haven't been cleaned since the Ford Administration. Or toilets that are completely unable and unwilling to flush. Or when you're at the summer place and no one wants to call out the septic guy until absolutely necessary. I'm talking about people's homes! Or bathrooms in the workplace! Where people come to clean daily! And...you know, people go!

I understand there's a learning curve. I understand that a five-year-old might be so excited by the episode of Dora that the flushing thing? It just plain skipped their mind. However, I've been coming across this more and more. At work, like, where adults are in the bathroom every five minutes. What. The. Hell?

Have we come to the point where we need bathroom monitors? Perhaps bathroom facilities in Eastern Europe aren't just staffing old ladies in their bathrooms to give pensioners something to do with their days. They are really there to make sure we flush. Maybe we in the States can learn a lesson here, particularly in our advanced state of economic decomposition. Perhaps the day isn't too far out when we have to place ads for monitors.

"Wanted: Flusher."

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Ghost of St. Patrick's Days Past

Some good St. Patrick's Days past:

The year I ended up at Flanagan's at closing time.

Last year, when I sat at a bar all Sunday with Jeff and Kim and just watched the freaks wander by.

The year I was in Naples for Spring Break and was under 21 and didn't have a fake, so it wasn't that exciting.

The year I got stuck at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with my friends, Christie and Patti. Then we got trapped by the St. Patrick's Day Parade.

The year I found out the guy I'd hooked up with was now hooking up with my roommate.

At Friday's one time, when they let us add our own food coloring.

The day I got dumped.

I actually only remembered that just now.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

If I Didn't...

If I didn't...

--work as your lab partner in Chemistry
--go on a family vacation with you
--get stuck in a carpool with you
--share a hotel room with you and four others on Spring Break
--drive with you and your sister to Florida
--live on your dorm floor
--drink all your beer on successive weekends
--make you jello for your birthday
--go through a haunted house with you
--bitch about work with you over beer
--try to horn in on your torts study group
--make out with you during a drunken brawl and then pretend it never happened
--spend an entire Saturday with you in another state then never see you again
--go to your wedding because I'm friends with your mom
--act as your bridesmaid
--borrow your car to go buy beer
--paint your living room
--ask you to help me move
--work in student government with you
--have you as my human sexuality TA
--go to your house for Thanksgiving
--ride on the bus with you for junior high
--steal your Legos
--shower in your outdoor shower in an effort to reduce the hangover
--go to breakfast with you after a great party
--share an apartment with you
--know your "french" name from high school
--hang out with you at a Halloween party
--go to the Knight's Inn with you and another 20 people after prom
--drink your wine and eat your snacks
--watch "Lost" with you
--play golf with you
--go to camp with you

If I didn't do any of those things? I'm ignoring your friend request on Facebook.

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Pinch and a Nod

Valentine's Day has always been kind of a rip-off, I think. I was always the girl sending the secret admirer flower to homerooms, never getting them. I hand-made the Valentines for our class card exchange but never received any. Handmade, that is. I got them...the Scooby-Doo ones, the Strawberry Shortcake ones. But not made with paste and doileys, like the ones I slaved over for hours. Of course, this might have just been a project thought up by my mother to keep me out of her hair for a week of afternoons in February. If so, she sure was smart.

In college, I only got cards from my parents. I never got flowers. From anyone. Or grad school...I don't think. I may have gotten roses once or twice...but I cannot swear that they were for Valentine's Day. They may have been for Oops-I-slipped-and-my-penis-fell-into-someone-else Day. That holiday might not make it onto the calendar but it occurs with somewhat surprising frequency. Hard to schedule, that one is.

I can't complain about them all. I've had some sweet, thoughtful Valentine's Days over the years. But I think, on the whole, the day is overrated. I'd rather get flowers on a random Tuesday when I'm feeling low than on the federally mandated Day One Must Show Their Love. And I do. So that's nice.

This year, I'll be taking a chinchilla to a Veteran's Home to cheer up old men and women who served their country. I may get my ass pinched. And I'm okay with that.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

A Story

She listened to him move around in the bathroom, wondering if he'd be okay.

The dead man had been his friend for many years. They'd spent Christmas Eves together. Super Bowl parties together. They'd worked on cars and spent idle hours on screened in back porches, discussing the relative merits of the Indians bullpen. Growing up hadn't meant growing apart for the two men.

And now, one was dead.

He came out of the bathroom, looking tired. He'd spent long hours at the hospital with the dead man's wife and their family, taking care of things she didn't have the strength or inclination to handle. The extended illness had sapped the life from his friend, even though he'd still been able to laugh at himself, even up to the last. The dead man had been known in the hospital for the bad jokes he'd been famous for even back in elementary school. But the jokes couldn't erase the black circles under the eyes, or the slumping shoulders of the man. His own wife, putting her earrings in, hoped they'd be able to make it through the day quickly so she could get him back her, back home, and get him to bed and sleep.

"Which should I wear?" he asked, showing her two ties. One was floral. His teenage daughter had given it to him for Father's Day. The other, a bit more sedate, he'd received for Christmas from his mother. It was striped and looked a bit like something a British schoolboy would have to wear a number of years before graduating. Stripes of deep purple and kelly green, with smaller but more numerous ones of orange. It wasn't a funeral tie. But it wasn't gardenias, either.

"Stripes," she said, definitively, as she put on her shoes.

* * *

They arrived at the funeral home, shook the hands of all of the family members, said hello to people they hadn't seen since high school. They circulated throughout the room, postponing the inevitable trip up to the open casket.

She worried he wouldn't be able to make it through the ceremony. She worried he'd break down. She knew she could take it if that happened but she didn't think he could.

He looked at her. Then to the front of the room. He walked to the casket and knelt.

She watched him. He seemed quiet, somber, in telling his friend goodbye.

Then his shoulders started to shake.

"Oh God," she thought to herself.

She walked up behind him slowly and gently put her hand on his shoulder. "Are you okay?" He shook under her hand. If anything, he shook harder.

"Honey," she said, kneeling down next to him. "Honey, it's okay."

She knelt. And she looked at the dead man.

"Do you see?" her husband said, and she turned to look at him. She could hear the catch in his voice before she turned. And she realized he wasn't crying.

"Do you see?" He pointed at the dead man.

He kept laughing, silently, snorting out of his nose in the way 12-year-old boys laugh in church, knowing they aren't supposed to. Tears leaked out of his eyes. Not the hot tears of sorrow. But little tears of mirth.

She looked back into the casket. She saw repeating stripes of deep purple and kelly green, with more numerous stipes of orange. And she, too, began to laugh.

They left in the middle of the service, after sitting in the back of the hall. People marveled that the friend who'd spent so much time at the hospital without so much as a tear shed was so prostrate with grief that he had to hold a handkerchief over his face the whole time, while his wife buried her face in his shoulder. They were so loud in their grief, according to the folks sitting next to them, they were actually snorting.

She thought the dead man, the eternal prankster, would approve.

A fictionalized version of a story I heard in school.

Monday, January 26, 2009


When you kick a dog, over and over, during the course of years? Don't be surprised when it doesn't jump up and lather you with puppy kisses when you decide, on rare occasions, to treat it with some kind of respect.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


So my friends sucked me onto Facebook.

It was only supposed to be for my college friends. We are planning to get together this summer in Chicago. This is because the last time we were in Bloomington, two of the crowd managed to get arrested. We now have to move to new turf.

So we started a Facebook group to talk about getting together at some point. But then people started finding me.

People from high school. People from work. People I worked with overseas.

These were people I liked, for the most part. I have no problem with them seeing what I am up to on any given day.

But then I started getting weird ones. From the kid in elementary school who picked his nose on the bus. From the parent of a client. From the suspected murderer next door.

Okay, that's not true. I mean, he is a suspected murderer, but he hasn't tried to "friend" me. Yet.

I have a running discussion with a friend: when is it okay to "ignore" a friend request. When your ex sister-in-law friends you? When your ex friends you? When someone from high school you spent one unfortunate evening with friends you? When your boss friends you?

And if you do "friend" them, then when is it okay to remove them? I mean, do you want your ex husband to know you are dating someone new? And do you want him to know who it is? If you are living in England, probably not so much, since husbands there tend to kill women who change their relationship status on their accounts.

Who knew the internet age would usher in so many questions of ettiquette. Where is Emily Post's internet edition when you need it?

Saturday, January 24, 2009


I watched the inauguration at a local watering hole. We went to a sports bar, my friend and I, knowing that they would have many televisions and they couldn't have Sportscenter on all of them. Not that there is anything wrong with SC. Nothing like SC on a cold winter morning to make you realize that March Madness isn't that far away. That just wasn't my purpose that day.

We sat pretty close to the televisions. It is a buffet type place and we got up once while Feinstein was going on and on and on. The room in the place started to fill up. I couldn't tell if these were people who just happened to come on that day, looking for huge portions of pizza and pasta or if they knew there would be televisions tuned to CNN showing the crowds in Washington.

Most people didn't talk. Some did. The girl behind me? Would. Not. Shut. Up. She was in her 20s and clearly an imbicile in the most Three Stooges fashion. She kept up a running commentary on just about everything going on in her life, none of it applicable to the moment at hand.

There was another table of two older men. They sat and chatted like nothing was going on, like we were all sitting around watching soap operas and they had better things to do. From their grey suits and wingtips, I could tell who they voted for.

Then the good stuff got going and I forgot about going up for a second plateful of carbs. The words were hard to hear, since the sound system in the place is geared more toward catching the roar of the crowd, rather than the nuances of great oratory. But I could see the crowd. And I could read lips, when the cameras stayed focused on our new president. And I know the scope, both of the National Mall and of history.

I got teary, I won't deny it. Then I saw George H.W. Bush and his sartorial choices and I got over being weepy.

At the end, we waited for our check, with most of the people in the place leaving. When the room emptied out a bit, I noticed an African-American couple sitting up by the wall. They'd clearly been there for the event and were just finishing their own lunch.

And they had a half bottle of champagne on their table.

A great many things made me smile that day. But that moment was the best.