Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Fecal Coliforms

I dried my hands hastily, snatching off more paper towels than I really needed. He'd made no effort at trying to conceal his impatience with my umpteenth visit to the restroom that day. I could imagine him waiting outside the public bathroom, pacing around with that brow furrow-look he always wore when he was irritated with me but not voicing it. I tossed the wad of paper towel into the rubbish bin before making my hasty exit. I reached out, grasped the handle, and yanked the door open before realizing I'd just grabbed it with my bare hand. I jerked my hand off the handle as though it was made of hot iron.

Shit, shit, shit!!!

I stood frozen in the doorway as the horror of all the people who did not Wash Hands Before Returning To Work washed over me, but it was too late. He'd already seen me and was unsubtly stabbing his index finger at an imaginary watch on his wrist. His brow furrowed furiously, mimicking perfectly the expression I'd just been imagining. It would've been comical if it weren't so utterly horrible.

I thought fast. Maybe I could tell him I'd forgotten to wash my hands? He didn't know that the whole bathroom mission was aimed at that very task, but it wouldn't matter- he'd know I was lying. I considered telling him about the grievous error I'd just made, but the furrow threatened to cleave his head in half, checking the words before they could reach my mouth.

"Why are you standing there?! Let's go," he urged obliviously. There was no help for it. I'd just have to go. By sheer force of will, I put one foot in front of the other, moving farther away from the one thing that could save me from raving madness: the soap.

'It's okay, you can do this,' I coached myself. I fought down the panic, and continued moving forward, a grim rictus that I hoped passed for a smile plastered across my face. I wiped my sweating palms on the front of my pants before taking his outstretched hand and proceeding toward our theater.

He was half-dragging me across the lobby, ranting quietly about how much he hates missing the previews and sitting on the ends of the rows, and I was desperately trying to focus on his displeasure to distract me from my mounting unease.

". . . don't sit RIGHT in the center of the row, you miss SO much. . ."

My palms began to tingle. I wrestled my attention back to my husband, forcing a look of conspiratorial resentment across my features and murmuring something like agreement.

"And if you sit too far forward OR backward. . . "

The tingle graduated to an outright itch.

". . . you miss the effect of the surround sound."

It was all I could do to keep from yanking my hand out of his and fleeing for the sanctuary of the sink. Mercifully, he released my captive hand to surrender our tickets. I pushed my hands into the front pocket of my hoodie and used the cover to scratch them a bit. I felt somewhat relieved.

He carried on with his rant, unaware of my fretful inattention. I could practically feel the bacteria burrowing into my skin, breeding and spreading their pyrogens. They appeared in my mind as the wormy-looking creatures depicted on telephones and light switches in Lysol commercials. The wormies squiggled and crawled across the surface of my hands, etching the words Fecal Coliforms in neon green microscopic lettering into my flesh.

I shuddered at those words. Fecal coliforms. Ass-germs.

The itching, crawling feeling in my hands was reaching a fever pitch as we stumbled and apologized our way over peoples laps and belongings, zeroing in on our destination- the center of the row (neither too far forward nor too far back). I completely dropped any pretense of paying attention at this point and focused on clawing at my hands. I fantasized about inundating the nasty, wriggling wormies under the purifying faucet; of conflagrating them with the scalding water. Dreams of this boiling baptism and the devastation it would visit upon the coliforms filled me with such longing that I missed one woman's foot and pitched forward onto the floor.

I didn't feel my head banging on the chair next to me, nor my shin banging on the arm rest of another seat. I didn't feel my teeth sink into my lip nor the sting of my bruised pride. What I felt was my hands pressing down into the soda-sticky, food-littered, gum-stuck seething mass of germ-procreation that was the theater floor. I stifled a scream that the concerned onlookers took for a grunt of pain, and they helped me up. My hands felt like they were being devoured from the inside out.

"Your lip is bleeding, honey," my husband worried at me, "are you alright?"

I smiled shakily at him.

"I'm fine. I'm just gonna go wash my face and get myself together."

He nodded sympathetically, and I hurried off to pursue my long-awaited ablutions.

This is my entry for Mrs. C's blogging challenge, topic 6: Obsessed

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Dear ELIB-

Dear Ex Live-In Boyfriend-

It's been awhile since since we broke up (and by 'we broke up', I mean 'I kicked your ass to the curb like last week's trash'), and I have to say I was always uneasy about the way I went about it. Kicking your ass to the curb, I mean.

You demanded to know why I ended our relationship, what you did wrong, blah-blah-blah, and I quite unfairly told you some pretty bald-faced lies. Now, these lies were told in the spirit of sparing your feelings, but the more I think about it, the more I realize I deprived myself of the opportunity to tell you just what a special kind of loser you really are! I know this may shock you, as it flies directly into the face of what I've previously led you to believe, and I really hope you can find it in yourself to forgive me my dishonesty, but I'm not sure if I could ever forgive myself if I allowed you to proceed into your next relationship with the idea that "It wasn't you, it was me", when, truth be told, it really was you. Allow me to elaborate on a few of those finer points:

1. For the love of Balls, man, sever the fucking umbilical! There's no way you should be living with one foot in mom's vagina at your age. Seriously! Commuting forty five minutes to the south side just so we could live ten minutes from Mummy?! That was just unfuckingreasonable. And do you think I enjoyed waiting for you in her driveway for hours on end because she wouldn't let me in her house?! You must have since you made me do it ALL THE GODDAMN TIME!

2. Even your douche nozzle friends considered me saintly for waking up two hours early to drive your incompetent ass to work, and then driving your incompetent ass home after having driven for eight hours at MY job. Come on! Learn to drive! Twenty nine year old suburbanites should possess this skill from, what, fifteen? Sixteen? You were twentyfuckingnine! Twenty. Fucking. Nine.

3. I can totally understand your expecting me to leave from school and either pick you up something to eat on the way home or cook for you upon my return. I mean, I would have hated for your internet gaming time to be interrupted by something as mundane as feeding yourself! But I have to say, the best part of all was listening to you whine about how you didn't like what I made, or my choice in take-out. I should've come home and picked you up and THEN gone and gotten take-out, seeing as how I just loved chauffeuring you around in my limited spare time.

3. "Motion of the ocean"? It might be a myth, but I can't be sure, seeing as how you seemed to have been modeling your ocean after the Dead Sea. At any rate, size might've somewhat made up for that, but you struck out there too.

4. Exactly how DID you expect me to take the news that your idea of being "in school" meant that you attended one class, then spent the rest of the day playing Descent online at the campus computer center, anyway?! Because I thought I handled that little gem like a fucking champ.

5. Toothbrushes- NOT a new invention! Of course if they were, you'd have been all over that shit since you just HAD to spend all our money on the latest gadgets and game systems.

I could go on, but I think I'm painting a fairly clear picture here, and surely even someone of your stunning lack of intellect can see that dropping you like the bad habit you were was my only option. Sure, I wasn't the easiest person to live with, but in my defense, this was the natural reaction of a person who didn't want to have kids to having a twenty nine year old child foisted on her. In short, grow the fuck up.

Never Again,


p.s Please tell your mother than in order to qualify as a gold digger, I would have had to pursue someone who either had lots of money (which you didn't), or some future prospects of making lots of money (again, not you). She seems somewhat unclear on this simple concept.

This is my entry for Mrs. C's blogging challenge, topic #5: Drop it like a bad habit.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Don't Be Such A Fucking Douche Nozzle On The Lanes, or How To Piss Me Off When I'm Bowling

Wear Your Wet Fucking Shoes Down In The Pit

Anyone who bowls knows that you end on a slide before hurling the ball down the lane. They also know that if you step in something wet, you won't slide- you'll go and attempt to slide, and pitch forward directly onto your face, fucking up your face and the frame. It's winter, people! Take your wet fucking shoes off on the goddamn carpet!

Bring Your Screaming 2 Year Old

. . . and please, don't bother trying to control them. By all means, plead with them as they scream and run all over the lanes, as though that will cause them to see the error of their ways, go sit sedately on the bench and tone it the fuck down. Don't mind me standing there on the approach, waiting for you to collect your snot-nosed spawn out of my path. And you know how much I love it when they let out that piercing shriek when you finally decide to give up with the pathetic-voiced cajoling, remember that they're portable, and come and carry them back to your side of the bench!

Try On Six Pairs Of Shoes Each While I Wait To Pay

Really?? How is it that you don't know your own shoe size?! Oh, you DO know your shoe size, you're just looking for that perfect-fitting pair of RENTAL shoes. Well, that makes perfect sense. Rather, it would if they weren't RENTAL shoes.

Ignore Lane Courtesy

Seriously, if you don't know any better than to wait for the guy next to you to throw the fucking ball before you go charging up there to throw your granny-shot, just don't even bother lacing up your shoes. This is one of the single jerkiest things you can do to another bowler.

Arrive In A Group of Pre-Teen Girls

Pre-teen girls shouldn't be allowed in public in groups of larger than, oh, say, one. They definitely shouldn't be allowed to congregate on the lane next to me and scream OMG OMG OMG!!! at one another. Strike, spare, gutter ball, the ball returning. . . it all elicits the same response, and I hate them for it. So if you're a girl between the age of 10 and 17, kindly stay home and spare those around you the agony of your presence.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Snippet From My Day #5

[Flipping through the channels. Jim pauses on the Weather Channel. Snow storm warnings abound in the Greater Chicagoland Area.]

Me: Hey, listen to that, babe! The Weather Channel's playing porn music in the background.

[I snicker.]

Jim: That's cause the mid-west is getting FUCKED!

[Jim makes fisting gestures to emphasize the point.]

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Blindfold Test, Book 4.2 of Angie and Christie's Literature and Blogging Project

Predictably, my guesses at the plot of this book weren't even close (duh). It was much better than anything I could have anticipated. So let's go through my list of I Hopes to see which were met and which were disappointed.

* I hope it's funny, and the humour is dry and/or cheesy.

It WAS funny! And the humour was kind of dark and sardonic.

* I hope the author doesn't try any pretentious "ground breaking" literary styles that'll make it difficult to read.

Check! Easy to read, the author didn't try to be fancy with the writing style. I devoured this book.

* I hope it involves a guy NOT getting the girl (or vice versa).

This was lookin' good for the home team till the very end. I was actually happy he got her, though, he'd been through enough.

* I hope the Blindfold part isn't figurative.

The blindfold was completely figurative.

* I hope it isn't set in the 1980's.

Set in 1985. My initial reaction: damn. After reading it, I changed my mind. It sort of poked fun at the 80's, and I was alright with that.

* I hope there's some disguising and/or furtiveness involved.

Disguising and furtiveness abounds! He really went the distance here. Mr. Shechter, I mean.

* I hope it isn't secret agent crap.

Ehhhhh. . . it was and it wasn't. It wasn't secret agent-y enough to ruin the book, and the secret agent-iness that did go on was really goofy.

* I hope the main character is geeky.

The main character is hopelessly geeky! He's easy to feel sorry for, especially once you know what's happening to him.

Ever been called an asshole by soda machine? Or lost your girlfriend to a tweed-wearing colleague? Has your apartment been broken into and vandalized? More than once? Has your mail been stolen, and then re-delivered to you three years late? Ever feel like the government has hired a personal saboteur to follow you around and ruin your life? Welcome to Jeffrey Parker's life.

Meet Hank Monroe, Jr. He was hired by J. Edgar Hoover to stalk one Jeffrey Parker, an average-looking 35 year old English professor with a PhD, a published book at 25, and a better-than-average intellect. Despite his credentials, he can't land a decent job at a major university, and finds himself instead deposited at the dubious Skokie Valley Community College to stagnate professionally. He's had offers from Princeton, Yale and the University of Chicago, which were all withdrawn suddenly, apologetically, and without explanation, thanks to some well-placed rumours perpetuated by Mr. Monroe.

Parker, or rather, ruining Parker's life, has become Hank's life's work, and this life's work is being frustrated by the subject himself. Over the years, Parker has accepted his lot in life as a rather unlucky bastard and developed a defense mechanism described by friends as "actively unobservant". He never dreams that every bad thing that happens to him is completely intentional, and simply doesn't react to the woes that Hank puts him through. This lack of reaction on Parker's part makes Hank's work completely unsatisfying to him.

Daunted by Parker's obtuseness, Hank resorts to outsourcing the majority of his work to a company who specializes in pushing people to their bullshit-tolerating threshold, Tolerance Management. Though the plug was pulled on the program funding Hank's work, he has continued it obsessively, determined to defeat Parker's indifference.

This book took forEVER for me to get into, but once I was into it, I had no difficulty in remaining engaged. I'm not sure if I'd recommend it or not; even though I liked it a lot, I can see why others might find it tedious.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Dream Job?

The thrill of securing the career Audri been preparing her whole life for had long since faded into dimness. Had she ever been happy at this job? Certainly after she heard those magic words.

"We believe you'll make a good fit for our company, Ms. Langley. We'll see you on Monday!"

Audri looked down at the coffee pot she'd been clutching for the past five minutes, suddenly remembering its existence, and set it down, forgetting it almost immediately. Summers spent in study, party invitations turned down, potential friends held at arms' length. . . all of life's opportunities she'd gently, but firmly set aside in pursuit of her goal to graduate at the top of her class and achieve her PhD a full two years early. All of it marched across her mind in a parade of What Could Have Been. Sure, she wouldn't have this dream job at the most prestigious architecture firm in all of New England, but perhaps she would have had happiness.

Dream job. Hah! she snorted, absently dropping two lumps of sugar into the murky brown liquid. She didn't care that she'd sloshed some of it over the side of the styrofoam cup she'd intentionally chose as a barb to the man who'd ordered it. Audri knew he hated styrofoam, and anticipated the twinge of petty satisfaction his frown would bring her when she handed it to him.

Is this what my life has been reduced to? Fuck Yous handed out in the form of styrofoam cups? Audri demanded angrily of herself. She shook a dash of powdered creamer into the cup as a bit of extra insult, not bothering to mix it in. She stared at the blobules of powder floating around the oily surface, trying to swallow her resentment and gagging on it slightly. With a deep breath, she snatched up the cup and made her way back to the conference room where the meeting she'd been summoned to was carrying on without her.

This will be the last coffee I ever fetch, she assured herself, and she felt liberated by her decision. As she let the burden slide from her shoulders, her head and spirits rose. Audri grew calmer with each step; her ragged breathing softened, her tremors subsided, and she felt the anger draining out of her like someone had pulled a plug in her gut. She even smiled a bit and let her hips swing in her fashionable-but-understated skirt. She reached out for the door handle and paused for a moment.

Are you sure? Audri asked herself. She stayed there a moment longer, giving the question the full consideration it merited. She gripped the handle, turned it, and let herself into the room.

I'm sure. And she was.

Audri walked over to the man who'd welcomed her to the company five years ago. She thought of the broken promise he'd made to the little girl inside her who'd dreamed of creating art that people could live in; the little girl who didn't know the word 'architect', but wanted to be one so badly she chose drawing over living. She offered him the cup with a smile.

After intentionally leaving her there with her hand extended, he finally condescended to look up at the brilliant girl he'd crammed into the role of assistant, glaring as though she was inconveniencing him even as she complied with his request. His eyes fell on the styrofoam container of white clots floating in lukewarm coffee, and the beginnings of a scowl crept onto his face.

Before the scowl could get too comfortable, Audri upended the cup over his head, and Shock bumped Scowl rudely off of his face. She relaxed her grip on the cup and watched it fall, bounce off the bald spot, and land in his lap.

"I don't feel that I'm a very good fit for your company," Ms. Langley informed him brightly. She smiled winningly at the stunned group of people surrounding the table and breezed her way out the way she came in- happy and hopeful.

This is my contribution to Mrs. C's blogging challenge, topic 3: Take this job and shove it.