Sunday, December 6, 2009

Small Things Can Be Big Things

There's a dead cockroach under my desk right now. Two years in this house and only once have I encountered a roach. It's small and thin and barely even noticeable, not like one of those massive cat-eating ones that you find in the trash can, but it's still a member of the roach family. It has six legs and is red and is probably laden with all sorts of diseases. If I die sometime next week, you know why; I got the Bubonic Plague from little roachy roach. Or the bird flu. Or the west nile virus. Or shingles.

I'm considering picking it up but can't bring myself to do so. It's almost like asking me to bathe in dirty water or watch a Martin Lawrence movie in one sitting. The thought makes me cling to the drapes, stand on chairs, squeal like the little twelve year old schoolgirl that I really am deep down inside. I have such a fear of roaches that I find myself choking on my own tongue every time I see one, and this situation is no different despite this roach's small size. Dead munchkin roach or not, it still is completely capable of crawling up my leg.

I have never fully recovered from Mr. Shirey's fourth grade class when I was attacked and sexually assaulted by that cockroach. There I am sitting in the middle of class, daydreaming about Ryan from Kids Incorporated, and here comes a roach. For some reason, it decided to crawl up my leg and into my stonewashed, tapered button-fly pants by Levi's. My blood pressure went sky high, my Hypercolor (TM) shirt changed colors, and I nearly lost all of my jelly bracelets as I flailed around the classroom. Humiliating. Absolutely humiliating. If I ever made the mistake of going back to my high school reunion, I'm sure someone will remind me of the time I started Moonwalking to the bathroom in 4th grade as that roach explored my butt crack and scrotum.
That roach from 4th grade was much bigger than this one, much much bigger. The size of a silver dollar, maybe bigger.

Oh, God. That roach is still alive. It's little antennae are still barely moving. At any moment it could have a quick breath of life and come back from the dead to wreck havoc, just like in a horror movie. Eww. I would crush him immediately but I'm barefoot, and I don't want to get the smallpox or ebola he's carrying all over my toes. If I get up and go in the other room I'll probably hate myself for being such a pansy, but if I stomp it I will surely act like the pansy I hate in myself. I won't for a minute have delusions of adequacy and convince myself I can remain calm and rational when that horrible insect crunches between my toes, so I'm leaving it there to die for now. I'm going to watch it die from afar, laughing as it gasps it last breaths before plaguing my life no more.

Oh, God, what if it is going to have babies? Little roaches crawling all over the house, invading my personal space and seeking out every crevice on my body. I have to kill it immediately, then dispose of the body.....

I just got Raid and sprayed on the little red devil. I used about half the can, so surely it will kill the roach and whatever roach children it might have spawned. I'll douse it with hairspray now just to make sure I kill it.

Oh, wait a second. That's not a roach. That's a wadded up credit card receipt. Nevermind.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Weird People A, B, C (and D)

Weirdo A. The Vampire in the Gym

I’m beginning to believe that the woman who works out beside me at the YMCA is a 50 year-old chupacabra. I am constantly questioning whether I should be working out next to someone devoid of a circulatory system who eats babies. Then again, I'm pretty sure the other guy who shares the elliptical machines with me is a hard-lining Republican and bipolar, so this really couldn’t be much worse.

The woman who works out beside me looks like the secret love child of Nosferatu and Helen Gurley Brown. Her skin is almost translucent, and I can see the blue veins in her massive forehead between her stringy blonde-highlighted bangs. Every time she inhales, one particular vein pulsates, and I shudder. Her over-waxed eyebrows arch upwards at a forty-five degree angle, so at all times she looks surprised, fearful, and/or insane. I also have a sneaking suspicion this woman's startling countenance is due to more than one injection of botchulism.

Sometimes, I can’t tell if she has a lazy eye or if she is very interested in the veins in my neck. Either way, my palms sweat.

I have seen this particular woman in RSVP magazine several times, smiling with her millionaire philanthropist husband at huge galas attended by bored rich people. She's a socialite, and I know her name though i am not giving it here, of course. Just find the person in RSVP magazine with the most plastic surgery, and we're on the same page.

The other day as I was working out, I looked over at her. She's rail thin, obviously has an eating disorder. No one could be that thin without intentionally doing something to your body. She's always there before me and I always leaves before she's done. Sometimes I sneak a peek at her calorie count, and it's over 1000 calories. (Only a chupacabra would have that stamina)

She answered her cellphone as I looked at her, and she didn't even say hello. "Fashion is just people's last resort when they don't have enough to offer other people. Be suspicious of anyone in couture."

And that's all she said and hung up. I liked this woman, even though she probably hated herself.

Weirdo B. The Corn Starch Lady

As I'm driving down Summer Avenue the other day, I came upon a stop sign where, at first, I noticed two transexual prostitutes standing across the street looking for johns. Then I noticed the hefty lady in the Kia Rio right beside me. While I don't like to stare at people, she had an interesting resemblance to a hamster so I couldn't take my eyes off of her.

She raised her hand upto her mouth, holding a box of corn starch. Just as the light turned green, she began shoving handfuls of cornstarch into her mouth. All I could do, as I drove away, was wonder how fun that must be to swallow.

Weirdo C. The Guy Who Talks to His Weiner

A few minutes ago, I walked into the bathroom at work and took my place at the urinal beside a tall, thin man. Just as I began to relieve myself, I noticed that the man was staring at his own penis. This is not uncommon behavior. Some people's eyes remain focused on the wall, refusing for a moment to catch a glance at their neighbor's peeing. We'll call these people the Wallwatchers. Others glance around, perusing the room as they go to the bathroom. Some even talk to their neighbor about things like sports, the weather, or boobies. Heterosexual men normally engage in this, as we homosexual types fear rejection, embarrassment, or a black eye if we engage someone in conversation. We'll call them the Socializers. Others feel the need to watch their own urination, as if they must closely guard this natural phenomenon for signs of discrepencies in the color, odor, or consistency of their urine. Or, perhaps, they really like themselves a lot and take every opportunity they can to marvel at their own reproductive organs. We'll call these types the Narcissus Urinators.

I was assuming that this man beside me was a narcissus urinator, as his eyes were fixated on his own organ. But, I was shocked as he began to talk to his own member as he stood there. Now, if you know me at all, you know I don't typically respond well to situations like this. Who would? "Men who talk to their penises" is not a topic covered in any chapter in "Social Norms 101," right?

Perhaps he was a socializer, and he was talking to me., clearly this is a conversation he was having but certainly not with me.

"No, no, no, no. You aren't listening to me," he said to his penis, which we will now name Joey, as I don't enjoy typing the word penis this many times in a blog.

He paused and continued staring, as if Joey was responding. "No, that's really beside the point. Those kids are not your responsibility!"

I am sure that many would beg to differ. He looks at me, and I cannot take my eyes off of him. He gives me a look like, "what the fuck are you looking at, mary?" and returns to the conversation down below.

By this time, I'm freaking out. I've gone from wallwatcher to now watching this guy talk to his body part, but really I just want to run back to my office and tell everyone about this guy. The IRS shares space on our floor of the building, and an ongoing joke in our office is about how weird the IRS people are. Boy, are they. Now that I know they talk to their weiners, I'm really convinced they are a strange lot. Just imagine the next time you get audited that the guy who audits you might have been talking to his weiner earlier in the day.

I've finished my business, and I made the error of wearing button-fly pants today. Gap really needs to work on making better button flies for their pants. I stand around the bathroom for what seems like five minutes desperate to get my pants finished while this dude is talking to his....Joey.

"I have other priorities!" he said to Joey, his tone getting harsher. "What do you expect me to do?"

It was then that I noticed the earpiece in his ear and the cellphone clipped to his belt. It was then, and only then that I realized he wasn't so weird. He was a Wireless Urinator, a rare breed of cat that makes telephone calls at the urinal. And, because I almost had a panic attack thinking he was talking to his Joey, that sort
Weirdo D. The Overreactive Paranoid Drama Queen

It's Not a Perm, Thankyouverymuch!

For most of you, I am certain that you have figured out the three ways to my heart: Lie and say I have lost weight; seem interested in my stream-of-consciousness stories--and the many tangents; or simply buy me a gift. Nothing says "You're important and special" like materialism. Don't get me a card or give me a hug; buy me a new shirt and an iTunes giftcard and I will love you forever.

Do not, however, buy me anything from Kirklands. This is the best way to end our relationship and show your disdain for my existence. I hate Kirklands. I hate how everything, from clocks to dish towels, have roosters on them, and I hate how Kirklands answer to everything is to just add more fake greenery or add a proverb or add a faux antique finish. These are not, my friends, ever the answer to anything. Interior design is much more, as anyone would know if you have ever watched Trading Spaces, Design Star, or anything on HGTV.

That's why it was such a burden for me to enter Kirklands yesterday when my grandmother sent me to fetch a wedding gift for her. I'm always flattered when my grandmother sends me out as her personal shopper--especially when she gives me extra money for myself. However, when she said I needed to go to Kirklands to purchase this gift, I shuddered. Did this woman she was buying for live in a barn? Was Pier One too upscale? What the FUCK was I going to buy at Kirklands that I wouldn't regret for years to come? Did they sell Herman Miller and I just didn't realize it?

I imagined myself in Kirklands with a bunch of big-haired Mississippi women. Every one of them is dressed in pink sweatshirts with something barely clever puff painted on in gold paint. Their skin is flaky from undermoisturizing and over-tanning. Their shoes are matching gold, and they have gaudy costume jewlelry and french manicured toes. This is who I was shopping with.

Clay Aiken, give me one of your Paxil. I may have a panic attack.

So, I head to Kirklands hoping that there will be something on clearance immediately at the front door so I can scoop it up, lunge to the checkout counter, pay, and get the hell out of there. Ugh, the agony of being in a store where they sell styrofoam lawn ornaments and name them "Fleur-de-Lis Finial" and sell them for thirty dollars. I hate Kirklands. HATE IT. You cannot just frame a big gold medallion and expect someone to pay two hundred dollars for it. It is not a 5th century artifact! It is styrofoam!

I walk in, and of course nothing catches my eye. I feel a bad case of the hives coming on, so I am desperate to buy something and get out of there. My hunch is correct. I am in a sea of overtanned Mississippi women in puff paint shirts and gold flip flops, and they cluck like hens at each other in that burdensome sing-song debutante speak, like everyone around them are cute babies. "I just LOVE thi-is, don't you? I LOVE it SO much! It just makes me SMIIIIIIILE and wont ta go own a pi-ic-nic!" one of the women says at a picnic basket covered in not-so-clever saying and stencils of children playing.

As the store clerk hands me a flyer about "the Worlds Biggest Pillow Fight" coming soon (what?) I can see in the corner of my eye a man in all black peering at me from behind a fake tree filled with stupid Christmas ornaments made out of handpainted popcorn (what?!). He is wearing dark sunglasses, and even from twenty feet away I can tell he has the most makeup on of anyone in here. And the most cosmetic surgery. (And that says a lot considering the woman beside me is about 60 years old and has tits perkier than Pam Anderson and lips bigger than Angelina's.)

Convinced this is probably one of those shady West Memphis retail gays that always work in the back of the store in the stock room and only come out when they get a whiff of penis, I continue desperately searching for a gift. I see something shiny on a ledge and run for it. Yippee! Finally something shiny! I love shiny!

It's a sparkly handbag with the words "WORLD'S GREATEST DIVA" superglued to the sides. I throw up a little in my mouth.

Beside it, I find a metal urn that, in the right lighting and hidden behind larger objects, might almost seem nice. Granted, there are fake ferns shooting out of it and a jungle print ribbon tied around it, but with a little imagination it could be undressed and reshuffled into something more appropriate. I decide to buy it, despite it not being on sale. I just have to get out of this dreadful store.

"I always wished I had curly hair," someone said behind me in what sounded like Felicity Huffman playing a man playing a woman. "Tell me, is it real?"

I couldn't imagine that anyone would ask me this. I pretend not to be aware and act interested in the World's Greatest Diva purse again. "Is it a perm?"

I whip around ready to lash out and bite someone's head off. Or at least be condescending and icy. This is the fourteenth person to ask if I got a perm since I started letting my hair go naturally curly. I used to have what amounted to bad lesbian hair, bur no longer. NOo longer! And it is not a perm!

"No it is not a perm. It is completely natural, thankyouverymuch. I--"

I'm talking to David Gest. Yes, THE David Gest who married Liza Minelli and looks like her is made completely of prosthetics. Yes, THE David Gest who considers Michael Jackson a close friend and who has the most extensive collection of Judy Garland memorabilia in the world. David Gest just asked me if I had a perm.

My first reaction was to ask him why on earth he relocated to Memphis, TN of all places. Then I want to ask him why he married Liza. Then I want to ask if he ever had sex with her, and if so, does her plumbing still work. I also want to know all about Michael Jackson. Ooooh, and Elizabeth Taylor, too! Tell me all about that boozy old whore, David! Ok, so then I just get really stiff, because I am frightened by him. I am not enchanted by the idea of celebrity, so don't get the idea that I was petrified by some admiration of his notoriety. I was just petrified by HIM! He looks like one of the bad alien guys from "Dark City."

"You have great hair," he says to me. Is he hitting on me?

I smile at him, waiting for his face to melt or an alien baby to shoot out of his chest. He returns the smile, and his smile is like a tic that crinkles his face into a horrible position.

"Thank you." I'm clutching the World's Greatest Diva purse like a shield. It's slightly below my neck, and I'm just standing there with it, half smiling. I am frozen there like a grimacing victim of Medusa, and I can't say anything else.

Is this dude hitting on me? He is gay, right? He's hitting on me. In Kirklands.

And he said I had a perm.

Does he do dinner with Michael Jackson ever?

He said I had a perm.

I wonder if he will ever be on "Dancing With the Stars" or VH1's "The Surreal Life."

He is gay, right? Should I ask him that?

Who on earth would buy ANYTHING in this place?

Is he buying something for himself or a friend? Does he like himself or this friend?


And I am so frightened by him that I can't move. Can't......move. His eyebrows looks like they are made of felt, and his lips look like those wax lips you buy at Halloween at the candy shop. Behind those dark Gucci sunglasses I am assuming his eyes have no pupils.

Perhaps had I been cornered by him at a swanky bar or even a gas station I would have been more apt to act human, but not in Kirklands. The worst store ever. This is a nightmare, an utter nightmare that I would come to Kirklands and be cornered by a man this frightening--especially a man that used to be married and was abused by Judy Garland's pill-popping daughter. You know inevitably there will be a movie one Liza, and someone will win a Best Supporting Actor nod for playing this dude.

I can barely breathe. I keep smiling. And holding the Diva purse like I'm shielding my face.

David Gest looks at me like I am a tool, and he walks away.

Wait a second. David Gest just looked at me like I am a tool. David Gest just judged me. He hits on me, then he rejects me. I will not stand for this.

Um....ok, maybe I will. I have to leave immediately or I am going to have a seizure. I am paying for this and getting the hell out of here.

Paying....paying.....paying. Hurry up, checkout girl. David Gest is over there in the corner looking at me like I am a serial killer. Like I am a serial killer! Has he looked in the mirror lately? He's like a Saturday Night Live skit! And he has a limp! Hurry up, checkout girl.

It's only when I get to the car that I realize I have not bought the metal urn, and I bought that stupid purse instead. It will have to do. No way am I going back in there.