Sunday, March 27, 2005

An object lesson: Lies of omission are just as bad as lies of commission

Yesterday it was my birthday,
Hung one more year on the line.
I should be depressed,
My life's a mess,
But I'm havin' a good time

—Paul Simon, "Have a Good Time

My birthday was this week—I turned 24 on the 23rd. All things told, it was pretty underwhelming, which, you know, not surprising considering that it was on a Wednesday and I'm not a crazy party girl. However, it was a good birthday in one way: about half my friends forgot.

As I get older, I'm getting more compulsive about not making a big deal out of my birthday, this post notwithstanding. Once you get to a certain age, it's just not...seemly to tell everyone and their dog that your special day is coming up, and, by implication, that you expect some sort of fawning attention slash expensive gift. You can tell your significant other, because if he forgets you have to stab him, and then you have to find another SO and that's a hell of a birthday present. And you can tell your parents, because they pretty much think you're still eight and this adulthood thing is just a phase, so why not.

So I didn't tell my friends that my birthday was approaching, and of course, several of them totally spaced it. I talked with or IMed many of the that day, too, not that that's unusual or I was fishing or anything, but they didn't mention it. And since, as previously stated, I didn't want to remind them, I was put in the very strange position of having to hide the fact that it was my birthday. "We're all going out to lunch today. Um, no reason. Also, it's cake day, yay! Oh, and I have to tell you about this new game Mary gave, because she's nice? Yeah." It actually really constrained my topics of conversation for the next few days, because I didn't want to deal with the I-forgot-your-birthday fallout, which is a lot of apologizing and I'm-so-sorrying, which, you know, nice, but not if you fish for it. That's cheating. But every time I talked around it, I had to giggle a little. Isn't your birthday kind of a stupid thing to hide? It's the one day of the year when you're supposed to be the center of attention, and everybody expects a little self-centeredness, so it would have been pretty easy to just say, "Yeah, we're going to lunch for my birthday...yeah, it's today. Mmhm. Oh, don't worry about it."

I didn't, though, because be honest. You want your friends to remember on their own—it's kind of pathetic if you have to remind them. I don't want pity presents, here, people. Besides, there are a lot of advantages to not reminding them. For example, when you remember their birthdays year after year, you can feel superior and count it as a karma bonus. And if they ever do figure it out, it's a guilt card you can play forever. "Oh, so what I'm half an hour late. It's not like I forgot your birthday." Really, I'd almost prefer that they forget, because there's nothing I enjoy more than the stupid funny situations I get myself into, and hiding my brithday from my friends has been cracking me up since Wednesday.
Extra awesome

Professionally made sign staked in the median at Fairview and Montrose this morning:

"Hey you, in the red truck. Shave your mustache."

Can the person who had this sign made please call me? I have a marriage proposal for you.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

"But I want to talk about it now!"

I don't know where I was when The Poisonwood Bible came out (well, that's a lie, it was 1997 and I was in high school in Wayne), but I just got around to reading it last week, and let me tell you, it is the most awesome thing ever. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up. If you're normal, though, you'll have read it eight years ago. In eight years, I'll be recommending The Davinci Code, which you probably read six months ago, anyway.

I am, by and large, always behind trends, and not only in what I read. Sometimes it's only by a few months—I got my messenger bag about six months after everybody else who went to Rice did—and sometimes by whole entire years or more. Capri pants are another; I didn't get my first pair until last year in Austria when I couldn't find any shorts I liked to buy for the beach. In my defense, I thoroughly despised capri pants until I owned a pair. Now when I wear them, I feel self-conscious, because I'm all, I railed against these for years! I've succumbed to the trend! Then I remind myself that my legs are cool but mostly unexposed, and I move on. The capri pants are an unusual case, though, because I didn't like them and so wasn't trendy. I feel the same way about last year's poncho craze. Normally, however, I just don't pay enough attention, so about 90% of the population has to be doing something before I catch on. "Oh, we're all reading Harry Potter now, are we? Oh, fine." I didn't read the first HP book until 2002, by the way.

Just once I'd like to be on the cutting edge of a trend, or maybe start one. I'm not sure what, though. Being mouthy? Eating cereal three meals a day? Using Downy Wrinkle Release as an alternative perfume? I don't know, but I'll be thinking about it. Keep your eye on me for the next hip thing, because I'm going to start it.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Here's some lead. Please apply liberally to your right foot.

I don't usually claim any affinity with Texans or their Texany ways, but being in Missouri has made me appreciate one thing about them: they don't drive like 80-year-old grandmothers whose 7 p.m. bedtime is fast approaching. Move it along, Missourians! I'm not getting any younger.

I've spent a fair amount of time behind the wheel this weekend, and it's been a definite learning experience. I spend a lot of time on Houston's freeways cursing the...creative maneuvers of other drivers (particularly those guys with pickups who feel free to cross medians whenever they're not getting their way), but I'm going to have to reconsider my attitude after the 300+ miles of frustration I've enjoyed this weekend.

As I mentioned earlier, I rented a Jeep Grand Cherokee for this school-visiting adventure, and while it's a very fine car, it's not particularly zippy. Since I've had it, however, I've outpaced a BMW Z-3, several Mustangs, and the entire fast lane between St. Louis and Columbia. Wake up and drive! You're slowing me down, bluehairs. I don't mean that you should all drive 100 miles an hour, but may I perhaps suggest something above 47 in the left lane? Perhaps something even approaching the speed limit? I realize that 60 is a very scary number, but if you try very hard, I'm sure you can reach it and even manage to avoid crashing into other drivers. Houstonians do it all the time, mostly while talking on cell phones and wrangling eight kids in their GIANT SUVs. So buck up, little driver. Or at least get the hell out of my way.

Friday, March 18, 2005

How great is free wireless internet?

A: So great, especially when combined with a blueberry muffin (unfortunately not free).

I'm in Missouri, being wooed by a couple of graduate schools and generally running around like a crazy person. I have to leave for class in 5 minutes, but I thought I would briefly wax enthusiastic about the great parts of this trip: driving a Jeep Grand Cherokee, having graduate students tell you that their director said they had to be nice because he really wants you, and free dinner with a crazy woman who ranted about how Bush's attitude is a holdover from slavery. No kidding.

Tomorrow: St. Louis, my sister, and hopefully, less rain.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Equipped to kick your ass

For David, who asked for it and who will have no one to nag him until Tuesday

Do people not understand that if they can't spell, I can't give them my money? Honestly, I don't think it's that difficult a concept.

I was walking by the door of a cell phone shop in our building the other day, and this is the sign on their door that caught my eye: "Equipt for Business: Nextel." I was immediately filled with rage. Equipt? Equipt?! What the hell is that crap? I looked the word up in the dictionary. It's not an acceptable alternate spelling, even if you're the President of the United States of I'm Out of My Mind. I then went to the Nextel website to see if it was some kind of cutesy product name. No. It's not. It's just a stupid slogan that doesn't represent anything except some ad writer's complete and total incompetence.

Now for the rest of my life I will actively boycott Nextel products. I will roll my eyes when they are mentioned and say viciously, "Equipt. Bah."

Honestly, this sort of ridiculousness happens all the time, and I won't stand for it. A few months ago I came out of a mall and found a flier stuck on the windshield of my car. It said: "Mrs. X, Psychic — riliable readings, $10." I was like, if you were really a psychic, lady, you'd have been able to predict how to spell 'reliable.'

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

The Elegant Put-Down

PBS donation solicitor during Nova: The Elegant Universe: Right now, the two of us are watching something fascinating.
Me: Hey! I could be watching this with somebo—yeah, no I couldn't. Good work, PBS.
Sleep Notes (R Rating, so beware [although it's probably only PG or PG-13 if you're European])

Group of guys standing below my window at 12:30 a.m.: as much as I like eavesdropping, for the love of Pete. Shut. UP. You are grossing me out—I don't need to hear about your marginal sexual escapades when I am trying to sleep. Or ever, really. Especially you, Yelling Guy. There's no way your girlfriend...paid you some special attention for two hours while you watched Full Metal Jacket. More likely is that you fantasized about it for two hours while watching Full Metal Jack-Off. Everybody listening to you knows the truth, so give it up and let me get some damn sleep.

My subconscious is staging a rebellion: sometimes I think my sleeping brain likes to boss me around, sort of all, "And now you will like...this guy." And suddenly I'm in a dream kissing some kid I never gave two thoughts to otherwise and then babbling incoherently the next time I see him awake. Or it's like, "You haven't been nice enough to your sister lately, so here's this, asshole," and I dream that my sister is dead and then I wake up and send her a postcard with a butt on it (seriously, who wouldn't find that hilarious?). One time I dreamed I was dying of lupus. I don't even know what lupus is, nor what my subconscious was trying to direct me to do, but yo. I was tres surprised when I actually woke up.

Best sleep attire: the world's best pajama pants, which made me happy last night because they were misplaced a while ago and I finally found them at the back of my sock drawer. These pajama pants are the best because they are the most ridiculously ugly pajama pants that you could possibly imagine, so I just giggle whenever I have them on. They are gold satin with patches of leopard print and patches of tiger stripes, all overlaid at random by giant magenta flowers. It's awful. I got them several years ago from my lover, Target. They look particularly hot (hott?) with my technicolor pig slippers. I wore them with a pink tanktop, which is not really sufficiently awful to go with the other two, but I am working on that.

Question: at what point are you too old to sleep in a twin bed? Whatever point that is, I have to be approaching it. Too bad I won't be able to afford a new bed for a MILLION years.

Things I do in my sleep that will be annoying to any future bedpartner: talk, grind my teeth, thrash around, and hog the covers. In college I hated one of my roommates and was constantly paranoid that I was going to say something about it in my sleep. I don't think I ever did, but who knows. Things that I do not do in my sleep: snore, drool, or walk. Probably it will just be best if we have beds like Laura and Rob on The Dick Van Dyke Show, except I am too old to sleep in a twin, so that's a conundrum. Giant master bedroom, two doubles. It's a plan.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Someday I'm just going to get smacked by a stranger

Exchange between a couple at the blood-pressure cuff in Target:

Him: Just put your arm in it.
Her: Okay. Don't squeeze it!
Him, patronzing: I'm not going to squeeze it, but it's going to squeeze. That's how it works, it's got to press to get a reading.
Her: Don't press that twice!
Him: Calm down.
Her: I don't-
Him: And no talking!
Her: Don't tell me not to talk!
Me, safely out of earshot: Thaaaat reading's going to come out higher than it should.

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