Waiting for My Real Life to Begin

The life and times of a girl named Swishy.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Psycho, aisle 5

Throw together all your stereotypes of a crazed ex and multiply by 100, and that's my friend's ex-husband. We'll call him Norman, after the movie Psycho, because that's what he is. Anyway, I'm in the grocery store the other day, totally minding my business, and literally bump into Norman and a couple of his kids.

"Hi, Swishy!" the kids say.
"Hi, kids!" I say, then look up. "Hi, Norman."

Norman's face gets all red and smoke starts coming out of his ears and his eyes do that crazy swirly thing they do in cartoons. "DON'T YOU DARE TALK TO ME!" he bellows. The lady over in dairy perks up, because holy crap, what a story this is going to be for her book club tomorrow. Crazy man at the grocery store! "YOU TRIED TO GET MY KIDS TAKEN AWAY FROM ME!"

Me, normal voice, basket swinging on my arm: "Uh, no, I didn't."


"It wasn't for or against anyone, Norman."


"Oh, yeah? Then why don't you stop embarrassing them by causing a scene."

(Starts sputtering) "WELL, YOU ... YOU JUST GET OUT OF HERE."

(Stifling laughter) "Um, it's a grocery store, Norman."


"Or what?"


"Oh, so you're a grocery store manager now, Norman?"

(Steps toward me and points his finger in my face) "GET OUT OF HERE RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!

(There was a little more to it, but that was the gist.) I did walk away, not because I care about the crazy little man throwing a tantrum between hair products and the frozen food case, but because I do care about the effect it has on a couple kids to see their dad screaming at someone they like while everyone stares in the middle of a grocery store.

The upshot is that I ended up filing an incident report at the police station, which led to this exchange, easily the highlight of the evening:

Officer: Can I see some ID, please?
Me: Sure. (Pulls out driver's license.)
Officer (looking at license): Wow. Wow. I've never seen anyone take a good driver's license picture before. This is really good.
Me: Really?
Officer: Oh, yeah.
Me: That's so nice of you, because seriously, I was totally frazzled that day. I finally got all my stuff together, you know, the birth certificate and everything, and then I wait in line and finally get to the front and realize, oh crap, I don't have my wallet. I'd totally left it where I'd had lunch! So then I had to go back and get it, and then wait in line again, and by the time I finally got the picture taken, I was like, I don't even care anymore.
Officer (not even remotely fazed by this barrage of totally useless, unnecessary information): Well, it's great. I really didn't think it was possible for someone to look good in a driver's license photo, but you do.
Me (all of a sudden pretending to be shy and demure, all while crossing my legs and eyeing the officer's handcuffs): Well, thank you.

This is not some random person commenting on my driver's license picture. This is someone who looks at them for a LIVING! So thank you, Norman. If it weren't for your status as conductor of the Crazy Express, I might never know I look hot in my driver's license picture. And with that knowledge, ladies and gentlemen, comes power.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Plop, plop, fizz, fizz

As if it's not enough that I'm personally in the midst of the longest pseudo-move ever, my company moved to a new office a couple of weeks ago. It's very Office Space. It's also very high security. We need keycards to get from one room to another, from the working area to the bathroom--you know, because it's soooo dangerous working in a corporate park in the middle of the suburbs, and our 10-year-old computers are soooo valuable and the stuff we work on is soooo classified.

So anyway. Our first day there, I was ranting about the sky-high cubicle walls and the "velcro it to your hip or you'll lose it" security cards, and joked, "Gee, I wonder how long it'll take me to drop my keycard in the toilet."

The answer? Seven days.

I totally had to go, but I was holding it, because it's such an ordeal to go to the bathroom. You have to find your keycard, parade past the boss's office, walk through one locked door and cross the lobby. It's a pain. So I'm holding it, but I REALLY have to go, because I am, after all, a responsible eight-glasses-a-day kind of girl, so finally I bite the bullet. I slide my card in my back pocket, head to the potty, do my business, stand up to flush and ... PLOP.

Verrrry slowly, I turn around and there it is--my keycard, swimming in a sea of urine. Which, even if it IS my urine, is still sick. If I flush, I might clog up the toilet and make it overflow all over my flip-flopped feet. If I don't flush ... well, I have to flush eventually! Which means I have to fish it out. I wrap an eight-inch barrier of paper towels around my hand and use it to grab on to the little corner of the card sticking above water level. I throw it in the sink, start running the hot water and dump in a bunch of soap. Then I wrap another eight-inch barrier of paper towel around my hand to pull the card out of the sink and use it to let myself back in. (Yes, I used it to let myself in. What was I supposed to do?!?)

Me: I need a new keycard! I totally dropped mine in the toilet! In my PEE!!!
IT guy, looking at me like I have octopus arms sticking out of my head: Well, I've definitely never gotten THAT request before.

So I have a new keycard. So far, so good.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Oh, won't you take me to ... cheesy towwwwn

Many moons ago, I used to come home from work in time to make dinner while I watched Entertainment Tonight. I could see the TV from the kitchen, and I'd make delicacies like spaghetti and scrambled eggs while I caught up on the latest Bennifer and Britney news.

I haven't done that in a long, long time--two years, probably--but I was home by 6:30 tonight and decided to flip it on. We got the Cannes Film Festival report (apparently The Da Vinci Code movie sucks), the latest on Paul McCartney's divorce and then ... they threw it to their special in-studio guest hosts for Will & Grace finale news. Those special in-studio guest hosts? A RED AND A YELLOW CARTOON M&M. The red M&M introduced a clip from the show with absolutely no trace of irony or satire--it was delivered completely seriously, deadly so, like he was freaking Anderson Cooper reporting from Iraq.

I don't think it's putting it lightly to say I was utterly appalled. They went from walking the tightrope over the vat of melty, gooey cheese to diving right in and doing the backstroke. I guess I shouldn't expect anything more from a show called Entertainment Tonight, but I mean, come on!

The whole reason I turned on Entertainment Tonight in the first place was because I've taken a little detour to funkytown this week, as in "I'm in a funk" town. That's always fun, as I obsess about things over which I have no control, ignore the things I have control over and REALLY NEED TO DO, and stay up way too late because I can't sleep and then spend the next day in a foggy stupor which does absolutely nothing to improve my funkified mood. It's a fantastic cycle.

So I go looking for a little fun and trashy pick-me-up and what do I get? Cartoon M&Ms, that's what I get.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Just indulge me for a second

It's after 3 a.m. I have, you know, a JOB I have to be at tomorrow. And yet I can't stop rewinding and watching my favoritest show in the history of TV shows.

McDreamy and Meredith had sex.

McDreamy and Meredith had sex.

McDreamy and Meredith had sex.

I totally don't know how I feel about this. MCDREAMY AND MEREDITH HAD SEX!

I did NOT see that coming. Well, yes I did. They've been having sex with each other in their heads for months. But I didn't think they'd actually DO IT, do it.

Holy crap, the way he looks at her is insane.

I'm watching one more time, and then I'm going to bed. For real!

P.S. Yes, that means President Bush didn't interfere with my big, big night. His 30-plus percent approval rating holds steady for another day.

Monday, May 15, 2006

31 percent and dropping

Tonight is a big night. A very, very big night.

I sound like Jerry Maguire. You know the part? The part where Jerry bursts through the door and starts his "You complete me" speech? That's what I sound like.

But it IS a big night. A big TV night, that is. It's 24, which, of course, is always crazy good, especially this late in the "day." It's Game 4 of the Mavs-Spurs series. (And yes, I care. So sue me.) But the biggest of the big is the two-hour second part of the Grey's Anatomy finale, the one where Addison decides she'd rather take her chances finding someone who really, really loves her than be safe and comfortable in an otherwise less-than-satisfying relationship. The one where they try to save Burke from dying after he's shot in the parking lot. The one where Izzie basically kisses her medical career goodbye. THE one. The BIG one. The one I've had marked on my little mental calendar for weeks--nay, MONTHS.

And of course it also would be the night that our good president has decided he MUST address the nation. This, apparently, can't wait another two weeks until AFTER May sweeps. It has to be NOW.

This has led to all kinds of manuveuring on my end. Seriously. We're talking phone calls, emails, trips to TVGuide.com (which, thank you very much, has issued THREE updates). I sent the latest update to my friend and fellow Grey's fan Allee, and she made an excellent point: Considering his already low approval rating, isn't it a little risky for Mr. Bush to schedule a national address on a night of such OBVIOUSLY important TV shows? Seriously, if it's not over in 20 minutes like they're promising, and parts of these shows get cut out or pushed back, I guarantee that anemic little approval rating will be hovering around the 25 percent mark by morning. This has nothing to do with politics and EVERYTHING to do with the morale of our fine country, a morale that is boosted considerably by stuff such as Jack Bauer beating up the bad guys and McDreamy getting his long-overdue wakeup call.

Presidential speeches during May sweeps? Clearly, the terrorists have won.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

There's a first time for everything ...

So, a couple weekends ago, I hit Chi-town for a two-day writers conference. (Oh, fine, it was in a suburb OUTSIDE of Chicago. Happy now, my little Chicago friends?)

Anyway, so I went to Chicago-or-the-vicinity-of for a conference, where I engaged in all kinds of firsts. Like ...

My first bikini wax. My buddy and conference roomie Manic Mom wrote about her own "spring cleaning" a few weeks before the conference, and I was like, "Omigosh, Manic Mom, you are SO BRAVE! Doesn't it hurt?"

"Nah," she said, then: "You should totally get one! I'll make an appointment and go with you when you come to town!"

"Ha ha," I said, but the wheels were turning. No shaving! For a month! "OK," I said, before I could lose my nerve, "let's do it."

I didn't touch a razor for a week and popped Aleve for 24 hours prior to the appointment as instructed, and then it was time. Time to lose my waxing virginity. (Well, kinda. I'd had my eyebrows done before. But that's like going to first base in comparison, you know?)

I clutched Manic Mom's hand with my sweaty palm and followed her and my Mistress of Pain Elena into the waxing room. Elena produced a paper thong. "OK, put this on, and we'll be right back!"

You know how people sometimes pull out of their own bodies in times of stress? Like, almost hovering above, watching themselves go through the motions? That's the mode I switched into. Robotically, I pulled on my little paper thingy, laid back on the table and locked my eyes to the ceiling.

Elena and Manic Mom burst through the door. "Are you OK?" Manic Mom asked, and I immediately shifted to another coping mechanism: talking and giggling incessantly.

"Am I, like, super hairy? Because Manic Mom told me, DO NOT SHAVE. Under ANY circumstances."
Elena: "Oh, no. Not at all."
(Nervous giggle) "I know, but REALLY. Because what are you going to say, I look like a gorilla? But REALLY, am I?"
Elena: "Really! Not even close."
(Nervous giggle, which raises sharply in pitch as soon as I feel the first bit of warm wax spread across my skin) "I can't believe I'm doing this. Can you believe I'm doing this? This is so funny. You must think we're totally crazy, huh, Elena? You'll be telling all your friends about the crazy girls who came in today. (Quick breath.) I'll be glad when it's done, right? And it won't take very long? Like 10 minutes? Because that's what I read on the Internet. I Googled it this morning while I was getting rea--"


OH. MY. GOODNESS. I see a flash. I'm not dying; rather, Manic Mom has just snapped a picture of my jaw-to-the-ground-in-pain face. Elena holds up the strip of wax flecked with pieces of hair. "Look!" she beams.

"Yeah, that's great." I can barely breathe.

It's torture, total torture. Ten minutes of hell. But the results? Fan-freaking-tastic.

My first time getting stuck in an elevator. Fresh from our trip to the salon, Manic Mom and I decide to grab some lunch. We step into an elevator with two guys sipping Slurpees, a Paris Hilton-wannabe sucking on a Tootsie Roll pop, and an older guy in gray coveralls standing by the button panel.

The doors close. The elevator moves. And then it stops. And then it moves a tiny bit more. And then it stops.

"I knew this would happen," says coverall guy.

"You knew it would stop?!" we reply. "Then why did you let us get on?"

He shrugs. Slurpee Boy 1 is trying to be cool, but he's freaking out. Totally, totally freaking out. "I hate elevators. And I'm claustrophobic. And I hate elevators," he says, gnawing on his straw. Slurpee Boy 2 is laughing at him. Paris Hilton is sucking on her lollipop, utterly impassive. "Quit eating!" orders Manic Mom. "We need to preserve our rations!" Slurpee Boy 2 sucks down some frozen goodness. "I'm serious!" she says, and directs her attention to Paris. "You too!" Paris blinks: "I have more in my purse."

Fortunately, it doesn't come to that. Five, maybe 10, minutes later, we all safely tumble out of the elevator onto the fourth floor. Slurpee Boy 1 starts breathing again, bless his heart.

My first time meeting Jess Riley! Jess was my other conference roomie for the weekend. We all had a GREAT time. Jess is fun and talented AND she has a book coming out next summer! (That's '07, kids, not '06. Because the publishing industry is sloooooow.) It's called Riding With Larry Resnick, and you totally need to buy it.

My first pitch to an editor. I walk into the room, I do my spiel, it seems to go over OK. We start talking about the girl-heavy genre it fits into. We somehow segue into enlightened guys who read, or at least exhibit a familiarity with, said girl-heavy genre. Somehow this all leads--in about 46 seconds, mind you--to the editor telling me about how her husband is six years younger than she is. She tells me she met him when she was 29 and he was 23.

"You bagged yourself a 23-year-old?" I exclaim, eyes wide, mouth open. "That's impressive!"

Yes, I complimented a polished, super-professional woman possibly in a position to influence my career on her younger man-bagging skills.

"You bagged yourself a 23-year-old," I said.

Thank goodness for the bikini wax, or I'd totally be mistaken for a guy.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Gimme a P!

For Peeps, my favorite Easter treat.
For pecs, the body part that can't be beat.

And, um, procrastinating, which is what I'm doing.

I'm supposed to be a) finding a new apartment so I'm not homeless in 21 days and b) polishing up my query letter and first 50ish pages. Instead, I got home from work at 7, just in time for Amazing Race, which of course I watched. Then I watched the American Idol results show, even though I didn't see the performances last night. (It didn't stop me from being appropriately shocked by rocker/stepdad Chris's ouster!) Then I worked out and read articles about stuff like the best sex position for women and how to be assertive at work. And now I'm half-watching Sex and the City, half-blogging about the most exciting Wednesday night EVER! See? Procrastinating. With a capital P.

I've lived in my apartment for, like, three and a half years. I've outgrown it. I use my kitchen table for storage. And did I mention I have a crack ho for a neighbor? I have a crack ho for a neighbor. Fun times. Anyway, so I need to move. Last November I couldn't quite muster up the energy to do it, so I said, "OK, six months! In six months I'll be ready to move." So I signed a six-month lease, which seemed forever at the time, but ended April 30. (Which is another fun story, since I thought it ended at the end of MAY, not April, because obviously I haven't mastered the ability to count beyond the fingers on one of my hands. I have a one-month extension which, believe me, I'm paying dearly for.) So three weeks from tomorrow I'm outta here, and I have BARELY begun looking. I sent one email about a place which went unanswered. I HATE moving. I hate it, hate it, hate it. I think about packing up all the crap I've accumulated over the past three and a half years and it makes me want to run for the nearest box of chocolate-covered Oreos (which I highly recommend but no longer keep in the house).

And I'm whining. I promised fun stories, and I don't think this qualifies. This weekend, for sure! But right now I need to go find an apartment. Maybe.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Up and running!

I first started this blog in January, which was not the happiest of times in Swishville, and while it was a nice release, it was just a tiny bit too angsty. You know? So I cleared out all the old, angsty posts, slapped on a new URL, and BOOM! New blog!

I have some storytelling to catch up on. I went to a fantastic writers conference a week ago and did all kinds of firsts--my first conference, my first bikini wax (ouch!), my first time pitching to an editor, my first time getting not one, but two, invitations to boys' hotel rooms within minutes of each other! Good times all around.

But I've been in my favoritest coffee shop in the world a tiny bit too long today, and I need to stop sucking down Dr Peppers and go make something of myself (in other words, go do some laundry, hit Target, get my ass up on the elliptical ... the stuff of scintillating blog entries, for sure). Story time later!